Thursday, November 30, 2006

Another Quote on Prayer

This one is by Arthur W. Pink. It speaks of God's sovereignty and our need of Him.

Prayer is not appointed for the furnishing of God with the knowledge of what we need, but it is designed as a confession to Him of our sense of the need. In this, as in everything, God's thoughts are not as ours. God requires that His gifts should be sought for. He designs to be honoured by our asking, just as He is to be thanked by us after He has bestowed His blessing.
—Arthur W. Pink

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Prayer and One More from the Hospital

If you can indulge me for one more direct reference to my time in the hospital. I was going to post this sooner, but then I had other stuff to post.

Toward the end of my stay a new patient was brought into the same room (There were four beds in it), and he had a visitor shortly after that. I wasn't intending to listen in, but he had a booming voice that carried well. I was trying not to listen as his experience was quite similar to mine, and I wasn't into reliving it at that time.

He told his visitor that the pain was so bad couldn't meditate.

I reflected on my own experience, and felt sorry for him in a way. He may have been in too much pain to meditate, but no matter how much pain I was in I could pray. In fact later I realized I was in so much pain--I HAD TO PRAY.

This is one of the big differences between Christianity and other forms of faith and religion. True Christianity looks to Someone else. Others tend to look to self, and some of those look for the "god" within. So on one hand I am thankful God is not within, that I can look outside myself in faith for help. On the other I feel sorry for those who try to look within-becasue the help they desire is not there.

Unfortunately I never got a a chance to discuss this with the other patient, but he may have overheard some of my conversations with my visitors about the true God. I hope some of that made him think, and God will help him. I also hope that it rubbed off on me. It would be easy to be like the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14, but I pray I am not. I hope this is another reminder to pray with the proper perspective.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

I Love this Quote on Prayer

I had already planned and written the previous post when I came across a wonderful statement on prayer. I debated putting it in the post itself, but it spoke so powerfully to me I decided to give it it's own post. It is related to what I wrote.

"Prayer does not relieve all suffering, but it assures us that no difficulty comes without a purpose."
Bryan Chapell

Let that soak in.

If you want to know more about Bryan Chapell, I have included a link to his site.

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Prayer as a Talisman

First I would like to state I endorse prayer, and do not discourage it. But sometimes we get off track and treat prayer in a way we ought not to. We may not mean to do that, but it's easy to do.

One way we do this is by treating prayer as if it were a talisman. The second definition of talisman on that link to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary is the one I'm using.
Something producing apparently magical or miraculous effects
It's not just those who "name it and claim it" that use prayer this way.

I've heard well meaning Christians who encourage others to start their day with prayer--this is not a bad thing--but the thinking goes off base when they say that your day will go better if you pray. Conversely, if you do not pray your day will go worse. This, unwittingly, is saying we have power over God and His plans for our day. I have had days where I spent much time in prayer at the start and the day went horribly from my perspective. I have had wonderful days when I have forgotten to start my day in prayer.

Whether or not we have a good day is not the purpose of prayer, nor should it be the focus. We pray because it is commanded. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) We pray because it is a form of communion with our Lord. We pray because it can change us, and is a means God does use. But prayer is not a means to guarantee a good day, or even to increase our chances of having one.

So by all means start your day in prayer. That may mean the second you wake up, or at some point after your head clears. End your day in prayer, as you fall asleep. Pray in between. Do all this, but please don't think your prayer gives you a guarantee of a good day. Your day is in the Lord's hands. Give your day to the Lord, no matter how it turns out. If you are His it will work out for the good.(Romans 8:28-30)

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God's Will and Man's Will

Since I'm in an article link mood, (I'm cleaning out a folder of articles I wanted to read), here's another one on God's Will and Man's Will by Charles Spurgeon.

God's Will and Man's Will

I found this through

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Archbishop Ussher

Yes it is an older link, but here is an interesting article from Answers in Genesis on Archbishop James Ussher, his work Annals of the World , and his treatment by Christians and evolutionists.
Just click here.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Two Bible Passages on God's Sovereignty

Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.
Psalm 115:3

Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?
Lamentations 3:37-8

(Read all of Psalm 115 & Lamentations 3. Both passages from the ESV)

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John Owen Quote

"If you are satisfied with an imaginary Christ, you must be satisified with an imaginary salvation."
John Owen (1616-83)

How much more true is this today.

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Non-theological quote

"Hamlet is the tragedy of tackling a family problem too soon after college."
Tom Masson

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Monday, November 20, 2006

A Wonderful Lord's Day

Yesterday I finally was able to attend worship after missing 3 Sundays. (Two of those I was in the hospital, and one I was not physically up to it.)

It was great to be back among some of God's people.

I was refreshed by the service-although I was worn out by it as well. I was encouraged by all who came and said hello and more. God so often uses His people to encourage each other. This is one of the reasons Hebrews 10:25-26 says
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
It's great to know so many have been praying for me, and had words to share. I look forward to being there next week, and the next, and so on. I look forward to recovering more so I can take a greater part in the congregagtion again. I feel so blessed by them, and am very thankful to God for them.

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Being Humbled

When you go through an emergency medical procedure it is humbling.

Things you could do for yourself-and that you would take for granted-are no longer things you can do for yourself. You need others' help, if you don't outright need them to do it for you.

Yes, as I recover there are more things I can do for myself again, but the lesson is learned, I hope.

None of us can do it all for themselves, and yet we try.

Nowhere is this more serious than salvation. We can not save ourselves, we can not even contribute really--Salvation is of the Lord.

So in my recovery I am learning once again to depend on the Lord. I often have had no choice but to depend on Him.

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Book Recommendation-Genesis and the Decay of the Nations by Ken Ham

This time around it's a short post, and a short book, but one still worth your time.

This book is a “sequel” of sorts to an earlier Ken Ham book I recommended a while back in a post on evolution and creation.

Ken Ham’s major point here is showing how the book of Genesis is a foundation to the Gospel and Christianity, and the importance of Genesis as a result. He considers claims of Christianity and the Bible in light of Genesis and how it is not taken seriously by many—even in the church. Well, ideas have consequences-and when we start to disregard where we came from, and how we got here, we get into trouble.

One complaint about sequels is that they are not as good as the earlier works, and that’s true here, but the 79 pages here are still valuable things to consider as a Christian-where have we come from, where are we going? We should consider that for ourselves and the Church as a whole. Therein lies this book’s strength.

This book also contains a valuable list of recommended reading for anyone who wants more detail on creation and evolution. Ken Ham’s ministry-Answers in Genesis- has a website that is a good source for this subject as well. The articles range from basic to complex for all levels of readers.

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Recommended Reading Index

I am moving this post up higher to make it easier for me to update.
I'll be listing the books in alphabetical order by title-although in some cases by topic if I recommended more than one at a time. The link in the right column has been updated to this list for your convenience.

These books can often be ordered by the publisher, or through such sites as

A Basket of Fragments by Robert Murray Mc’Cheyne

Can You Run Away From God? by James M. Boice

Creation & Evolution-(The Lie Evolution by Ken Ham & "In the Beginning, God... by Homer C. Hoeksema)

Discovering God's Will by Sinclair Ferguson

Eternity in their Hearts, Lords of the Earth, & Peace Child By Don Richardson

The Freedom and Power of Forgiveness By John MacArthur

Genesis and the Decay of the Nations by Ken Ham

A Golden Treasury of Puritan Devotion by Mariano Di Gangi

Gospel Truth/Pagan Lies by Peter Jones

A Heart For God by Sinclair Ferguson

I Believe in Jesus by John MacArthur

In the Beginning The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture by Alister McGrath

Introduction to Defending the Faith by Robert A. Morey

The Invisible Hand by R.C. Sproul

John Plowman's Talks by Charles H. Spurgeon

The Life of Arthur W. Pink by Iain Murray

"Oh Worship the King" & "What Wondrous Love is This?" by Joni Eareckson Tada, John MacArthur, Robert & Bobbie Wolgemuth

On Being Presbyterian by Sean Michael Lucas

Onward Christian Soldiers
Protestants Affirm the Church-Don Kistler General Editor

The Passion of Jesus Christ-Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die-by John Piper

The Revived Puritan-The Spirituality of George Whitefield-Edited by Michael A.G. Haykin

The Roman Catholic Controversy & Mary, Another Redeemer? by James White

The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross by Arthur W. Pink

The Sovereignty of God by Arthur W.Pink

Spiritual Warfare & satan’s schemes by Rev Darrin Lauder

Trust and Obey-Obedience and the Christian General Editor Don Kistler

The Vanishing Conscience by John MAcArthur

Willing to Believe by R.C.Sproul


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Reflecting on Original Sin

While I was in the Intensive Care Unit recently I had a lot of time to think. I had visitors, which was great, but I also had a lot of time to just lay in bed. I wasn't able to read much. Some of my thoughts drifted around, but sometimes I could focus. And I found my mind kept coming back to original sin and the effects of the fall.

I was there in ICU because of original sin. I don't mean my condition was a direct punishment for a particular sin of my own. I don't know that. But I do know that illness, suffering, injuries, and all other negative things are the result of the fall of Adam and Eve.

They disobeyed God and ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As a result the earth was cursed. As a result we have health issues, among other consequences. There is pain and suffering because of sin.

I can not blame Adam or Eve for what I went through. If I had been in their place I too would have sinned. I may have sinned sooner. In that sense we are in this together. Anyone of us would have sinned as Adam and Eve did.

Yet there is hope. In eternity future I will have a perfect body, as will all God's people. If we are His we will not suffer. Shortly after their sin God promised a redeemer in Genesis 3:15-
"I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."

God also promised to redeem not only His people, but all His creation. One day there will be a new heaven and a new earth. (Rev 21)

While things may seem messed up now, and we suffer, one day it will end for God's people. I knew all of this before, but now I know and understand it more deeply because of what I've been through. Many have been through worse, I hope they understand this even more deeply. And in that understanding may they have a greater hope in a merciful, sovereign, holy God.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"I'm here to take your blood"

Oh how many times I've heard that over the last two weeks!
Still there are some who hear it way more than I have.

There is something, however, about being awakened by someone saying this in an eastern European accent. It may have been enhanced by being half asleep, but I wanted to make sure they took my blood with a needle, and they didn't take it from my neck. That sentence and accent made for an odd mixture.

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Blog Link-a-rama

Here are some recent blog postings, (from other blogs), I would like to share with

Calvinist Gadfly has this video on 2 Peter 3:9, and how it's often misused. It's not a short clip, but it's not too long either.

There's always something thought provoking on This one is now in the archives, but it's on hymns.

I am chief has an excerpt and comments on "The Glory of Christ" by John Owen

On the Knight of the Living God blog, Aspiring Theologian Albert Shepherd, has this post on Free Will, and this one on The Five Points of humility, where he advises us not to forget the word "Grace" in the Doctrines of Grace.

Kim Riddlebarger's Riddleblog has this Eschatology Q & A on the word "deceive" as used in reference to Satan.

David at Rotundus has a short post and two links on the topic of Christians and tipping.

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LOTW November 14, 2006

It's whenever again, and time for the Links of the Whenever...

First up-
The Cambridge Declaration
of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
It's a great statement on faith and action. If you haven't read it before, check it out. If you have, here's a chance to review it.

In the late 1960's, an interesting and intriguing TV show was born. It was called "The Prisoner" and starred Patrick McGoohan. Some episodes were quite surreal, and you couldn't half-watch it. Unlike much television this show engaged your brain. Here's a web-site about the show that has extensive info on it.
The Prisoner

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Friday, November 10, 2006

God's Providence - He is Good!

God is good.

I have had a lot of time to reflect on that due to recent events. As my situation started with an emergency I did consider my death as well.

I can sit here and go on about how wonderful God's providence is because I survived, but would God be any less God if I had not survived?

I was thankful for how things worked out. My age and previous health were factors in my favour. The timing and location of events, including getting to the hospital quickly all worked in my favour. The doctors were working on me very quickly, and it went well. So of course I am thankful to God that if I had to go through what I went through that things went as they did. I am thankful for the doctors, nurses, and paramedics. I am thankful for their knowledge and actions. But what if it hadn't worked out that way?

As I was being taken to the hospital, and especially as I was being treated once I arrived there I kept thinking of Paul's words in Phil 1:21-6,
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again."

I am not comparing myself to Paul, but this is something all Christians can consider.
We have families and friends here. We may still feel called to some work. But if in God's providence it is time for us to leave this life, as Christians we will be with the Lord. I felt convinced that if it had been time for me to go, my family and friends would be well taken care of.

This was shown by the outpouring of prayer, help, meals, encouragement and more from my family, my wife's family, and our Church family. God would not abandon those I would leave behind. As it turned out I am still here, and it is those fmailies and friends who are caring for me in my recovery. It is very encouraging to me. I am exceedingly thankful for their love, support, help, prayers, etc. And it is this sort of thing, as well as other thoughts that I wish to share from my experiences with those who read this blog. In many ways this is just the surface. May you be encouraged by God's care for His people and His creation.

God would still be God, and still be good, no matter how things turned out for me.

I still plan to blog on other things unrelated to what happened, but I needed to get some of this out first.

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What Happened??

I have sometimes taken a bit of time between posts, but this latest gap was interrupted by a hospital stay. I'm not planning on going into a lot of detail on it though.

I'm trying not to be the patient that keeps going on & on about their problems or procedures or whatever. I'm trying not to be the type of person that acts like everybody else is going to have the same thing happen, and so they tell you how to live based on their life. I also don't want to exalt myself. I wound up in the hospital because of poor lifestyle choices (including ones I no longer make), genetics, and because sometimes that's how things work out. I know people who have higher risk factors than mine, yet they haven't been through what I went through. That's how things work out.

This experience did make me think about a lot of things, and some of that will end up on the blog. Hopefully it will be encouraging, amusing, or helpful in some way.

I still tire easily so I may not post as much as I'd like, but I am recovering well.

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