Category Archives: suffering

Porn

Porn is a growing world-wide problem – even at the ends of the earth. As more people have TVs and DVD players and especially as internet technology  spreads, so does pornography’s destructive reach. This poem by an anonymous lady describes one of the destructive side-effects of porn. It needs to be read far and wide. Found at http://www.challies.com/quotes/i-looked-for-love-in-your-eyes#comment-52195

“I Looked For Love in Your Eyes.”

I saved my best for you.
Other girls may have given themselves away,
But I believed in the dream.
A husband, a wife, united as one forever.

Nervous, first time, needing assurance of your love,
I looked for it in your eyes
Mere inches from mine.
But what I saw made my soul run and hide.

Gone was the tenderness I’d come to know
I saw a stranger, cold and hard
Distant, evil, revolting.
I looked for love in your eyes
And my soul wept.

Who am I that you cannot make love to me?
Why do I feel as if I’m not even here?
I don’t matter.
I’m a prop in a filthy play.
Not an object of tender devotion.

Where are you?

Years pass
But the hardness in your eyes does not.
You think I’m cold
But how can I warm to eyes that are making hate to someone else
Instead of making love to me?

I know where you are.
I’ve seen the pictures.
I know now what it takes to turn you on.
Women…people like me
Tortured, humiliated, hated, used
Discarded.
Images burned into your brain.
How could you think they would not show in your eyes?

Did you ever imagine,
The first time you picked up a dirty picture
That you were dooming all intimacy between us
Shipwrecking your marriage
Breaking the heart of a wife you wouldn’t meet for many years?

If it stopped here, I could bear it.
But you brought the evil into our home
And our little boys found it.
Six and eight years old.
I heard them laughing, I found them ogling.

Hands bound, mouth gagged.
Fisheye photo, contorting reality
Distorting the woman into exaggerated breasts.
The haunted eyes, windows of a tormented soul
Warped by the lens into the background,
Because souls don’t matter, only bodies do
To men who consume them.

Little boys
My little boys
Laughing and ogling the sexual torture
Of a woman, a woman like me.
Someone like me.

An image burned into their brains.

Will their wives’ souls have to run and hide like mine does?
When does it end?

I can tell you this. It has not ended in your soul.
It has eaten you up. It is cancer.
Do you think you can feed on a diet of hatred
And come out of your locked room to love?

You say the words, but love has no meaning in your mouth
When hatred rules in your heart.
Your cruelty has eaten up every vestige of the man
I thought I was marrying.
Did you ever dream it would so consume you
That your wife and children would live in fear of your rage?

That is what you have become
Feeding your soul on poison.

I’ve never used porn.
But it has devastated my marriage, my family, my world.

Was it worth it?

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Filed under signs of the times, suffering

Name-calling, ostracizing, ridiculing

Interesting post at Herescope in light of  many people’s concern about an increasing intolerance of Biblical Christianity.  Exerpt:

Preparing for suffering is an anomaly in our modern era, particularly since we are so offended at suffering. If we can’t handle the minor stigmas, scorn, rejections, psycho-social and peer-driven mechanisms that cause others to reproach us for the cause of Christ, how can we possibly handle the rougher waters of outright persecution? If we are so readily charmed, schmoozed, persuaded and cajoled into compromises of our faith, how shall we endure? And if we fear and avoid the little darts of name-calling, ostracizing, ridiculing, and other socially punitive pressures, then how shall we stand when the real arrows start flying? Each must answer honestly: How am I seeking to avoid personal suffering? How am I offended by the Gospel? How am I seeking to distance myself from the stumbling block of the Cross?

In our era we also have to contend against systemic peer-driven, psycho-social and marketing methods, which often are quite sophisticated. Some tactics might even be considered brainwashing. See Berit Kjos’s key article “Mysticism & Global Mind Change” and follow the links, for example, or her series “Reinventing the World.” How can believers resist these intensive pressures, structural shifts, reinventions and mind-manipulations? Today’s results-driven (outcome-based, purpose-driven) world is intent on rewarding those who are compliant and penalizing those who aren’t. Again, answer honestly: How am I seeking to fit in with the group?

from http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/01/people-lovers-or-god-pleasers.html  (See original site to access links)

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Christians, buck up!

Bamboo- the more you cut it, the more it grows.

As I have traveled and talked with a lot of people in the first of my worlds during the last couple of months, many have expressed concern over the way things are going in this country, not just politically and economically but more specifically they find a growing intolerance of the Christian faith. Many feel fearful thinking about what may lie ahead. But today I was challenged that we need to buck up, because we serve a mighty God who is perfectly capable of providing for His own.

Today in Sunday school there was a guy from China speaking. He was apparently raised as an atheist as most Chinese are now days. He said he enjoyed reading western literature (for college?). He noticed there were a lot of quotes from the Bible and references to Jesus in the  literature he was reading. He became curious about the Bible and wanted to get a copy to read. But they had been destroyed during the cultural revolution of 1967-77 and he couldn’t even find a copy in the library. Eventually he did get ahold of an old beat up Bible from a friend, one which had survived the cultural revolution. He read it and began to wonder if maybe there really was a God. He then came in contact with some Christians in one of the Three-Selves church (the gov’t official church) and he became a Christian. A few years later he went to seminary, a Three Selves (3S) church seminary in Nanjing and also studied abroad. Later he became a professor at a seminary and taught for nearly a decade.

There are two kinds of churches in China, the official government sponsored 3S Church (about 15 million people) and the house churches (about 60-70 million). The 3S stands for Self-governing, Self-supporting, Self-propagating. It sounds good but the problem is that it is controlled by communism.

He said that on the surface the 3S church may look to Amerian tourists to be “free” and very similar to American churches with choirs, etc. But the difference is that the 3S churches are government controlled. The government decides who can attend seminary and who can be ordained and even who can be baptized. He said that in the 1990’s came what is called the “reconstruction of theology” movement in the 3S seminaries. It basically changed two things 1) justification by faith and 2) authority of Scripture.

According to this movement, all religions must be compatible with socialist society, and must not be exclusive. So instead of preaching that mankind is sinners and needs to be justified by faith they must preach that the important thing is to be nice to other people. In essence they created a new doctrine: man is justified by love.

The other thing is that they would teach that the Bible is just human words. They are not allowed to preach from Revelation or about the judgment, and not too much about sin.

Anything sounding familiar? It struck me as he talked that perhaps that is where this country is also going – to a centrally controlled or government controlled church, dictating what can and cannot be preached, moving towards a theology of justification by “love” with ridicule, harassment and possibly even persecution for those who do not conform or who believe the Bible is God’s authoratative Word.

He said that he realized that teaching went against the clear teaching of the Bible and eventually he decided that he had to stay true to Scripture and leave the 3S church, and his job. He began meeting in his house with 4 other believers. Eventually they were cramming 60-70 people into their small living room! They divided and became two and those two also eventually divided until now there are 13. He said they focus on Bible training, worship and prayer. They don’t have buildings and they don’t have complex structure.

He also told me later that because of his Hebrew and Greek background he is helping with the new Chinese Standard Bible translation that is being done in simplified Mandarin. The New Testament is now available and the Old Testament is in process.

He didn’t say much about persecution other than to say that it seems less now than it had been in the recent past. When questioned, he said that yes they are monitored, their phones and emails are monitored. He said small groups may stay under the wire as long as they stay small but once a group gets to 100 people or more it gets a lot of attention from the authorities.

One of his companions told me that he doesn’t like to speak about his own persecution, he doesn’t like to think of it as a big deal. But she said he had spent time in prison because he started writing articles against the reconstruction of theology movement. He was also a leader of a group of home churches. When he leaves home he has to always be prepared to possibly not be able to come back. She said he did not call his family on this trip because their phone will be monitored. (I think he will be speaking at a conference next week in Chicago). But his attitude is that he will not be fearful because the God of the universe takes care of him. He will not fear the authorities because he is on the right side and they are the ones in danger.

It is a real encouragement to me to hear Chinese believers like him telling of their ministry and their desire to continue to follow the Lord despite the harassment, and even threat of persecution and imprisonment. I find it humbling and at the same time immensely encouraging and challenging. They have survived communist persecution and thrived. So come on, folks, let’s buck up! Our brothers witness that God is taking care of His children in China. And that same God can certainly take care of His children in this country too, no matter what happens!

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Filed under Apologetics, Bible, Biblical truth, cross-cultural, discernment, God's sovereignty, scripture twisting, signs of the times, sola scritura, suffering

Lessons from Job

Recapping the story, Satan saw Job, the righteous man. In fact it was God who brought it up “Have you considered my servant Job? There’s nobody like him on earth. He’s blamess, upright, fears Me and turns away from evil.”

Satan said, “Of course he does, because You have blessed him and made him rich and prosperous. Try taking that away and see how faithful he is!”

God gives him permission to do so but with limitations, ie he can’t harm Job himself. So in the course of a day Job loses all his livestock (his wealth) and all his children. Of course he is in shock and sorrow but he still acknowledges God as sovereign and the source of all, and worships Him.

God again pointsjob-boils out to Satan that Job remains faithful and righteous despite undeserved misfortune. Satan asks to touch him physically, sure that he will curse God. God again grants permission, with limits – he cannot take Job’s life. So Job gets covered with boils.

Lesson 1: God puts limits on what Satan can do to us.

Lesson 2: Suffering is not just about us. There is a cosmic aspect to it.

I once had a large twin boil in a place where those who need to sit a lot can least afford it. I can testify to the exquisite pain. But to have them from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head????!!! Job is in such a state that his wife advises him to curse God and die. Yet Job says we should accept all that God gives us, not only blessing but also adversity.

Lesson 3: All that happens, good and bad, is allowed by God.

Job’s  three friends come to comfort him but they are so appalled at his condition that they weep and tear their robes and throw dust in the air. They sit there in silence for a week. Then in chapter 3 Job begins to speak. He is in despair, in pain, despairing of life itself. His friends begin to answer him one by one. At first they gently remind him of God’s justice and how He punished evil. Job answers that he is innocent.

They come back a bit stronger and say that God knows all and is just and He blesses the righteous and punishes the wicked. Job agrees that God is just but still declares his innocence and wants to defend his case before God.

The friends get more annoyed at his protestations of innocence and come back accusing him of wrong doing and saying he needs to repent. Job again protests that he is innocent and goes over how good his life was before and how he lived upright before God and men and how humiliating it is now. He again longs to be able to present his case before God.

So Job’s three friends were no help. Their answer was that God punishes evil. Therefore Job must have done evil and should repent of it.

Lesson 4: Man thinks suffering is punishment from God. (but that’s not the whole picture – see below.)

There was also a fourth guy present, Elihu, who seemed not so well known by Job and his friends. So he waits patiently until the others have had their say. Elihu gives a long rebuke to Job and his friends. He says that it is wrong to blame God for being unjust. God is compassionate. In fact He uses pain and suffering to warn men, to keep them back from the pit. He chastens men with pain, He reminds men what is right.

Lesson 5: God is just. He is also compassionate. He uses suffering  to warn us and to remind us of what is right so that we will not go to eternal destruction.

And the God speaks. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? … Are you able to command the lightening? … Are you able to lead the constellations in space?”

Who can answer back to God? Who can instruct Him? Can we tell HIm a better way to run things? His ways are unsearchable. His knowledge beyond our ability to grasp.

Lesson 6: God is totally and absolutely beyond what man can comprehend. “Sovereign” does not begin to cover it!

Lesson 7: We are to trust in WHO God is, and not trust in blessings or experiences – nor are we to trust in our own perspective of things.

Job repents.

Lesson 8: Even when you think you are innocent, you don’t have the whole picture. Remember that before accusing God of wrong-doing!

God restores Job’s fortunes – doubled them in fact.

Lesson 9: God is good. God is just.

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Trials and suffering not about me

Another thing to ponder is that trials and suffering aren’t always just about me.

Many people think trials and suffering come as punishment for bad behavior. Our human response to our own hardships is often “why me?” And our response to others’ hardships, cravenly, is too often “He probably deserved it.”

But are trials and suffering and hardship really a punishment for bad behavior? Well, sometimes, yes. Scripture says that God does punish the wicked, and it also says that He disciplines His own that they may share in His holiness (Hebrews 12:7-10).

James said “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” Joy?? You must be joking! Why? “because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4) So trials also come for the purpose of testing and strengthening our faith.

But sometimes trials and problems are also for God’s glory. Jesus healed a man born blind (John 9). People asked Jesus whether it was the man or his parents who had sinned resulting in the man being born blind. Jesus answered neither, but that this had happened so that God’s work would be revealed in the man’s life. What was God’s work? That a man born blind was healed – people said that never had anyone heard of a man born blind being healed. A sign that Jesus was indeed sent from God.

And sometimes trials aren’t about us at all. Many times our trials and sufferings have profound effects on other people. As I interacted with other friends and acquaintances of my friend who just died, I could see that his life and death have also impacted them in various ways.

Look at Job. Satan came to God asking permission to test Job. He was sure that Job would curse God and die when all his blessings and protection was taken away. But God knew that wasn’t so. He gave permission for Satan to test and try Job.

Job’s “friends” assumed that Job must have done something wrong to deserve such a heap of troubles. Job himself asked why, he knew he hadn’t done anything wrong, and didn’t understand why he was so afflicted. He moaned and groaned and wished himself dead, yet he also declared that “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15). He still trusted God even though he didn’t understand why he was undergoing such trials:

“But if I go to the east, he is not there;
if I go to the west, I do not find him.
9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
(Job 23:8-10)”.

Job’s trials weren’t really about him at all. They were primarily for our benefit. His trials and trust and God’s reply were recorded for all succeeding generations to see, that we too might understand that God is sovereign. He knows things we don’t know. Even when we don’t understand, even when we don’t see where He is at work, we can still trust Him to work all things for good and for His purposes.

So yes, knowing Who He is and that He is absolutely trustworthy and absolutely able to do whatever He purposes, we can indeed consider it pure joy when we encounter various trials, knowing that there is
purpose in them especially when we continue to trust in Him.

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When God says "no"

April 25

We had a devotional this morning about asking God for wisdom and believing, not being doubtful. Some of us were sitting around at coffee break talking about how God works. We were talking about how sometimes it seems God has said “no” to something we prayed for. And yet we find out later that He had a better plan. He knows more than we do and so sometimes though it seems to be “no”, it is really a big “yes” in a way we couldn’t have imagined.

For example, last month my househelper’s sister was involved in a motorcycle accident and had a bad bang to the head. She was knocked out momentarily and had a huge lump on her head. Two weeks later she had an excruciating headache, was fainting, dizzy, and vomiting. They were in a panic because of the recent head injury took her to a doctor in the nearby town and he told them she probably needed surgery. Her husband started running around trying to hock the family farm to get money for surgery. So they were asking people to pray that they would be able to find somebody willing to loan the money.

Then we had them bring her to the city to see a neurologist. He examined her and told them while he could be wrong, he didn’t think she was bleeding in her head (he didn’t do x-ray) but that her blood pressure was really high and he thought that was the cause of her symptoms. So he put her on blood pressure medicine.

The husband wasn’t able to find anybody to hock the farm – and it seems now, 3 weeks later, that the blood pressure was indeed the problem.

So here was a case where the prayer was to be able to find someone to rent the farm and the answer seemed to be “no”. Yet, after all, God knew there was no need to rent it out.

A colleague of mine has stomach cancer that had already spread to the liver and lymph nodes when diagnosed a year ago. He’s not doing too well right now and he had wanted a good friend of theirs from here (a pastor) to come and see him. So they were able to arrange an emergency interview at the US embassy in the capital city for him this morning to get a visa. But we just heard that the visa was denied. It is such a disappointment. Yet in the context of our devotional and discussion this morning, we have to believe that God has a better plan.

This later addition (4-28): my friend died Sunday night before the pastor had a chance to reapply at the embassy. So the unneeded trip was avoided.

Can we too trust Him even when the answer seems to be “no”?

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The Padded Cross

 You mind if I look over the crosses? I’d kind of like a new one. I’m not fussy, you understand, but a disciple has to be relevant these days. I was wondering, are there any that are vinyl padded? I’m thinking of attracting others, see, and if I could show them a comfortable cross I’m sure I could win a lot more. We have to keep up with the times. Right? And I need something durable so I can treasure it always. Oh, and do you have one that’s sort of flat so it will fit under my coat? We shouldn’t be too obvious.

Funny, there doesn’t seem to be much choice here. Just course, rough wood, that’s liable to hurt. Don’t you have something more distinctive, Lord? I can tell you right now, none of my friends are going to be impressed by this shoddy workmanship! They’ll think I’m a nut or something! And my family will just be mortified!

What’s that? It’s either one of these or forget the whole thing?

But Lord, I want to be your disciple! I mean, just being with you…that’s all that counts. Life has to have a balance too, but You don’t understand, nobody lives that way today. Who’s going to be attracted by this self-denial bit? I mean, I want to do what’s right but let’s not overdo it. If I appear too radical they’ll have me off to the funny farm or something.

I mean, being a disciple is challenging and exciting and I want to do it, but I do have some rights, don’t I? Now let’s see — no blood — O.K.? I just can’t stand the thought of that, Lord. Lord? LORD? Jesus?

Now, where do you suppose He went?

 

 

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…” Hebrews 12:1-2

 

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24


Well, here I am, Lord. You said, “Take up your cross,” and I’m here to do it. It’s not easy, you know, this self-denial thing. I mean to go through with it though, yes sir. I’ll bet you wish more people were willing to be disciples like me. I’ve counted the cost and surrendered my life, and …well…

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Thoughts on God’s sovereignty

God’s Sovereignty

I have been pondering the sovereignty of God lately. I was listening to a sermon where the peacher was saying how we so often think God has a “perfect will” for our lives in big things like who we marry, where we go to school, what job we take, what house we buy etc. and we agonize over these decisions and later always wonder if somehow we missed it. Yet we tend to think that the little things of life are less of a big deal. Yet, time and time again, it is those little things that determine the course of history. Like, the cry of a baby long ago from the rushes at the side of the Nile River. That baby’s cry led to the finding of Moses, and from there the world was changed. Last month a bridge fell. Amazingly few people were killed in what could have been SO much worse. Many people who were on the bridge or who might ordinarily have been on the bridge at that time commented on the little things that happened that day – a colleague running late picking them up. Working a little late to get a computer virus off a machine. Getting sick and having to call in sick for work that evening. Heavy traffic causing them to get stuck up waiting a second time at a red light. An impulsive decison to take a different route. A bus load of children stopping a very few feet from the edge of the break, not crashing into the burning truck next to it nor going off the edge on the other side.

I have been reading through the book of Isaiah recently. If there is one message there, it is of the sovereignty of God. God Himself is directly quoted in much of the book. His message is loud and clear – He hates sin and will punish it. He is holy. Yet He also determined that a way of salvation would be available for the whole world. He is loving, compassionate, and merciful. He is the Creator and has the power and authority to do as He wants to. His plans from long ago cannot be thwarted and will happen. He will even raise up people to accomplish His will who do not know Him. He will punish, yet restore. “that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other,” (Is 45:6) “And all flesh will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Is 49:26b)

Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” It doesn’t say that all things are good. But all things works together for good. And Who else could coordinate all the little things in all the people’s lives in all of history?

A friend recently shared some hard truths about her marriage. Their adult children confronted them, told them bluntly that their relationship to each other, which is admittedly full of conflict, has been hard on them as children, is hard on other people and does not honor God. Have they considered just getting a divorce. The husband/father responded, “But I promised I would never divorce her.” To which their son-in-law in tears responded, “But is that what you should promise? Or should it be that you promised to love her and cherish her no matter what, even to the point of sacrificing yourself?” Ouch. She sadly commented to me that she and her husband have not even talked to each other about that meeting with their kids.

It is true, my friend’s relationship with her husband is stormy, many public outbursts that are embarassing indeed for others around them. From a human perspective, especially from a 21st century Western perspective, why keep it up? The kids are grown and on their own, why keep up the charade? But yet, from God’s perspective, all things work together for good. It doesn’t mean all things are good. They are not. And it certainly doesn’t mean everything is easy – it most assuredly is not. Yet, is it possible that in this stormy relationship, God is fulfilling His good purposes? Is it possible that the friction over money is God’s way of trying to point out to the one his irresponsibility in caring for those God put in his care? Is He trying to point out to the other that her trust should be in Him and not in earthly security? Is it possible God is trying to show the one his laziness and self-centeredness and the other her manipulative ways and self-centeredness? Is it possible He is trying to teach the one to look honestly at himself and his own sins and see himself as God sees him, rather than always justifying himself and blaming others for everything? Is He trying to teach the other to forgive and to not hold grudges in the same way that He has forgiven her and is not holding grudges? And is He possibly also teaching lessons to their children, and to us their friends and colleagues?

Does God put each of us in the crucible best suited to separating the dross from the gold?

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On Death

This is from a recent thought-provoking post by Dan Phillips on http://teampyro.blogspot.com/

……I read a book on ministering pastorally to cancer patients. It historically traced the attitude folks used to have towards dying. I learned that our forefathers’ attitude was not the same as ours today

Most of us, I presume, would say that we do not so much fear death as we fear dying. We fear a dehumanizing, drawn-out, agonizing,financially-devastating process. Our “dream death” — odd phrase, that — is a quick death. You know: Sky Lab falls on us, or a whale. Something in our brain blows out, and bam! we drop like a lead
sinker in a pond on a summer day. We throw ourselves in front of someone taking a shot at a loved one, and are instantly killed. That’s our dream-death.

Not so, our forebears. Their “dream death” was a slow death.

Why? We recoil from the suggestion.

I think it was because they had a sense of judgment and responsibility that we don’t have. A slow death announced its coming. It’s like getting a “five-minute-warning.” A slow death gives the opportunity to prepare for the judgment of God. It gives occasion for trying to sort out any unsorted relationships, saying last words, arranging our affairs fully. It gives opportunity to prepare in the sight of the pulling of the last curtain on this life.

Knowledge of impending death was their Isaiah the prophet, announcing to Hezekiah, “Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live” (Isaiah 38:1).

Our forebears wouldn’t envy our longed-for quick death, our abrupt exit that leaves no time to prepare. That would be a sad death, to them.

Reading that broadened my perspective… but I’d be lying if I said it has made me feel different about the prospect!

But I think something else, too. Should we really need that kind of warning?

Isn’t our first heartbeat a “warning pistol”? Maybe we don’t have five minutes left, but on the scale of eternity, is there really that much of a difference between five minutes and a hundred years?

Isn’t it true that “you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14)? The statistics are pretty doggoned overwhelming: unless the Lord comes for us, our first heartbeat is #1 of a finite series, a series that has a fixed, definite and unalterable number known to God. While you’ve read this article, your total number of heartbeats has likely gone down by several hundred.

What… you didn’t know that?

I must say, most seem to live as if they don’t. Most live as if life will
go on as-is, forever—though they know as a detached fact that it surely won’t. When people ask me whether it was dangerous being a private investigator, I tell them the most dangerous part was driving the freeways of Los Angeles. People drive as if life is a video game, where if your “blip” explodes, you can just casually put in some more money and go again.

Yet such is not life. The beer commercial is only half-right: you only go around once in life. Then comes the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Usually there is no warning-sign, no “Five minutes, Mr. Phillips.”

Surely this is the wisdom at the heart of Solomon’s craggy observation that “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2).

Whatever our cosmic eschatology is, our personal eschatology had better keep that truth in the forefront. However imminent the Lord’s coming is to the world, or whatever it may involve, our going to stand before Him surely is imminent.

Best be prepared.

Dan Phillips, July 3, 2007
http://teampyro.blogspot.com/

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Tried as gold

A colleague I have worked with for 20 years was just diagnosed with stomach cancer. Early test results show that it has already spread into surrounding organs and lymph nodes, thus indicating a very low 5-year survival rate. I am in shock – as his wife said, “we just went to the doctor to check out tiredness and a bit of tummy upset and he ended up being hospitalized immediately and two days later we had a diagnosis of cancer with a not too great prognosis.”

This surely qualifies as a fiery trial of faith. I pray that the Lord Jesus would be glorified in their lives – husband, wife and two daughters – as they face this humanly daunting future. All of their plans suddenly on hold, very possibly permanently. It seems so awful from a human perspective. Yet, if we believe that the Lord is indeed in control, we can trust that He will complete His work in their lives and in the lives of the people they are working with.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (1 Pet 1:5-6)

Whether the Lord miraculously keeps him alive or not, I pray that they would better understand the surpassing greatness of God’s power that resides in these earthen vessels. I pray that their faith would be strong and that at the revelation Of Jesus Christ they will shine.

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Are you grateful?

Here’s article challenging us to consider how much God does answer prayer. We all have those things we have prayed for time and again, maybe even for years and it seems that God doesn’t answer or maybe is saying “no”. We tend to remember the things not answered. But we tend to forget all the times He does say “yes”.

……What I am saying is that we characteristically forget that every critical, crying Not-yet is floating on a vast, billowing sea of Yes and Yes and Yes. If you are a Christian, reading this, God has said Yes to you far more often than He has said No; and you have every reason to believe that every No conceals a because I have a better idea. Behind our every prayer, our great Mediator, our Savior, our great High Priest the Lord Jesus Christ, pleads for us before the throne (Hebrews 7:25), adding His intercession to that of the blessed Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26).

I am saying that we all, on occasion, make the most spoiled-rotten brat look like a Model Child, through our bursting, thunderous ingratitude. At the very least, I am saying that for myself.

Indeed, what I’m trying to say has already been said better than I could ever phrase it:

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
(Psalm 103:1-5)

Weighing God’s Yes and No
by Dan Phillips
January 26, 2007
http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2007/01/weighing-gods-yes-and-no.html

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Difficult times

This quote from Charles Spurgeon is for those Christians going through difficult times in their lives.

Despair whispers, “Lie down and die; give it all up.”
Cowardice says, “Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action. You cannot play the Christian’s part; it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.”
Precipitancy cries, “Do someting; stir yourself. To stand still and wait is sheer idleness.”
Presumption boasts, “If the sea be before you, march into it, and expect a miracle.”

But faith listens neither to Presumption nor to Despair nor to Cowardice nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immovable as a rock it stands.”

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Filed under Biblical truth, God's sovereignty, suffering