Archive for April, 2009

A Story of Regeneration

Who doesn’t like a good conversion story?
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFGDDfGGTDE[/youtube]
Besides being heart-warming, this video is a good example to those struggling with their view of regeneration of what it looks like in reality.

If you like Paul Washer, here are a couple of longer videos that I like of him:

Communion Journal

The trial the Lord has us in seems to progressively deepen. As always, he still shows his kindness to us in a myriad of ways, and yet he has not allowed us to have any particular success in any ministry. It is an odd sort of trial. God gives us grace to care more for the success of his Church and Kingdom than for our own prosperity; yet the more we are enabled to care, the less we are enabled to accomplish.

My failures in this trial are such:

  1. I’m sometimes filled with jealousy for men who have some great ministry. This is especially severe when I perceive them as having less advantage in sanctification than God has given to me. What a travesty this is. I should rejoice that God chooses the weak things of this world to give himself more glory. Moreover, I should not compare myself to other Christians but to see my own miserable condition before the Lord and call myself the least of the Christians and the chief of sinners. Lastly, I should give thanks to the Lord for this trial especially when the fruit of it is a perceptibly growing dependence on him in all things.
  2. I lust after recognition and accolades. I think to myself that if I can get to know the right people, or if I can get some particular understanding that others lack, than I can show myself deserving of some post or position in ministry. This can turn to triumphal spitefulness, when I attain some of these accolades, as I imagine I can hold them over the heads of my detractors.

This latter sin, I was struggling with just yesterday, which is what prompts me to write this.

Thank the Lord that he gives us strength to see this trail through to the other side. We will wait upon the Lord for his deliverance and his victory. He will show himself our mighty go’el, we will have victory from him or we will have none.

Communion Journal

Feel like yesterday was a waste of a day: full of despair, doubt, lukewarmness, joyless service, and worst of all maybe, is that I lifted all this up to God as if it were holiness. Yet , in today, yesterday is sanctified in that it reminds me of my low estate before God. What can Satan do to me? If he drags me down into despair—I will have all the more joy when God lifts me out of it—he will be shown glorious to the world in how he redeems his own. If Satan leaves me to myself, than I am free of his encumbrances and walk the more freely with my God. Therefore despair of your works,/ oh lord of lies. There is nothing that you can do but that which will be a help and comfort to me and bring glory to my Lord.

Communion Journal

My good, oh Lord, is to dwell with you right now. How can I ask or want other blessing before I seek this blessing? And how shall I not seek your presence with full assurance when that is what your word commands. Conform me to your will in this oh Lord—I need and crave your mercy to me in this—else this day, though blessed in 1000 other ways, will be to me a waste.

A Passion Filled Life

Did you know that you might die soon?

How does that thought make you feel?

Maybe within a year you will be dead.

Did you know that you will suffer in this life? You might even suffer greatly.

What thoughts does that evoke in you?

For some of you, you are getting excited just hearing those questions and thinking those thoughts. A smile is coming to your lips and a twinkle is coming to your eyes.

Others of you can’t imagine why suffering and dying are exciting prospects. I’ll try to explain it:

First of all, this world is not our home. Dying to a Christian is a necessary step towards going home, and though it might be a hard step, it is not comparable to how glorious our home will be.

Secondly, God says that those He loves he chastises (Heb. 12:6). Some of you love God’s chastisement because in it, you feel God’s love.

Thirdly, some of us hope to live a martyr’s life and to die a martyr’s death. That by our living or by our dying we might win souls to Christ and quicken those around us to living glorious and warlike lives for Jesus. Says the servant of the Lord, “Oh that God would use me for the building and the strengthening of His Church.”

Christ suffered death on a cross. Before that death he was mocked, beaten, reviled and tortured by even those He had come to save. People now can have salvation from sins and power for life by looking to that cross.

Moreover, Christ’s servants can show that cross to the world in their sufferings. Men might mock, beat, revile, torture, and kill us. But that is what God uses to proclaim His passion to the world, and it is that prospect that makes us excited: not because we love the suffering itself, but because we yearn to show the world Jesus. We are not only willing, but joyful, to be killed all the day long for Christ’s sake.

Do you want to live a passionate life for Jesus? Doing so takes passion. Allow me to explain what the word “passion” means. Acts 1:3, in the ESV reads “He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs.” The verse says that He suffered.

Now that word suffering in the Greek reads Pathane a form of Pathos, which is a word we use today. The Latin translates the Greek Pathane into Passionem, the root of which is Passio, and it is from the Latin, Passio, from which we get our word passion, which is exactly how the King James renders this verse. “He shewed himself alive after his passion.”

Did you see it? Passion is a synonym for suffering. To live a passionate life for Jesus means to live a suffering life for Jesus. The two are utterly unseparable. As Christ’s Passion was his suffering, so too our passion is our suffering.

I do not know the exact history, but it seems that our spiritual forefathers knew the joy of passion, of suffering, so well that they were able to transform the word itself into a positive word. Oh that we could be the ones to do that in our generation. Let us take such joy in the prospect of suffering for Jesus that hundreds of years from now, our descendents think of the word ‘suffering’ as such a positive word that they use it to describe the joys and triumphs of life.

Now, to those that aren’t excited by suffering, who can’t grapple with the notion of it being a positive thing. I fear that you might have a cold, hard heart. Let me say it a different way: you lack passion. I have no desire to deride you or judge you for this. How can I judge you? I am like you! Without God’s power in my life to live this very day in joy, I would suffer the same condition.

Instead, I bring up this hardness because I would like to help you. Today, God offers to you the power to soften your heart and to be used in His service. Wont you consider His offer? You might have called yourself a Christian all your life, but today, for whatever reason, you do not know the abundant joy of His service. Want it! Crave it!

I do not know to which of you I am speaking, but you know who you are. More importantly God knows who you are. Again, to you, I do not have a message of shame and reproach; but one of hope and encouragement. Today, God can soften your heart! I don’t care if you’ve called yourself a Christian all your life. I don’t care if you are a pastor’s kid or a minister in the Lord’s Church. If you don’t have a joy and an excitement in the things I am saying then God has an offer for you today. “Today”, the apostle says “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion of Israel.”

For the rest of you, those who are excited about serving the Lord by living or by dying. Look around you. God’s Church is full of people who are like you. People who are willing to walk around the world barefoot if that is what the Lord called them to do. Feel the comradery in that. Feel the fellowship. Look around at your fellow soldiers. More mighty and victorious than any army that ever walked the face of the earth are we in Christ. Stop, and let that thought sink into your bones for a moment. There is no force on earth that can stop the armies of the Lord. The suffering saints will be triumphant.

Communion Journal

Felt some degree of heart brokenness for God’s servants who minister unto God with broken and fleshly bodies. Remembered a diagram I saw of how a confessor would try to extract a confession from a saint by sawing them in two. They would hang the man upside down by his ankles tied to two separate posts, then, using a two-man hand-saw, they would begin at the groin and work their way towards the head. This posture would retain as much blood to the brain as possible to prolong the agony. Would I serve the gospel willingly in this way? Would I give my children over to suffer such if I could stop it by denying Christ?

Communion Journal

If I do stop loving God between going down and rising—why don’t I pray for faith to be preserved during the night? Tonight I will do this and I wait in eager expectation for tomorrow.

Communion Journal

Again, yesterday had a sweet day with the Lord. I don’t think I’ve ever had a day where God was so accessible for the entirety of the day. And yet today I again wake up a creature of doubt, ingratitude, pride, and sin such that I don’t feel him near. What a wretch I am. Yet, what a God I serve. He will yet forgive me and send me his Spirit. Must I walk with God always? Must I seek him every day? This is the thought of the soul who knows God little but only duty. I am a whitewashed tomb unit I find what I seek.

Communion Journal

Yesterday, felt full of the Spirit and enabled to speak his words (to some extent). Today, I wonder if I am seeking that filling and that experience more than I am seeking God. SO far today, my mind has wondered during prayer—but soon, God will loft me up. He does not tarry but arrives at the appointed time. I will wait for him.