Friday, January 30, 2009

HOPE

My friend Saija posted this picture on her blog Thro' a Glass Darkly recently.

How refreshing to see flowers instead of the dreaded snow.

Spring will come...eventually.

Until then we can be filled with HOPE!

"This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary." - Hebrews 6:19 (NLT)


Creator


My friend Donna penned the following.
There's nothing better than beginning
and ending your day with the One who
created your day...GOD! - David

Donna writes:

Sunrise

daybreak,Creator
awaiting, arising, fascinating
east, dawn, west, dusk
stunning, descending, evening,
nightfall, Creator
Sunset

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I'm Boring...Really Boring!

I've been tagged by several people asking me to list 25 random things about me! My question is, "who cares?". Fact is, I always enjoy reading these lists about other people so here goes...in no particular order. The list, of course, is by no means complete. Just a bunch of things that come into my head...and quickly leave.

If you agree with me on some...let me know.


If you strongly disagree...never mind.

My list:


1. A turkey dinner with all the trimmings is my favourite meal.

2. I liked George W. Bush.
3. I'm so pro-life that Barack Obama worries me.

4. Winter is my least favourite season. Snow is beautiful but I hate shoveling it.
5. Give me a book and a cabin in the mountains and I'm on cloud 9.
6. I hate noise. Quiet suits me just fine.
7. Water tastes better than alcohol. I've never been one to drink.

8. I struggle with those who do.

9. I'm trying to overcome # 8.

10. Hockey is my favourite sport.

11. I'm very impatient.

12. I'm very persistent.

13. I'm somewhere in the middle in the Calvinist/Arminian debate. A 2 1/2 point Calvinist?

14. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to church worship.

15. I'd love to live in rural England.

16. Lemon meringue pie is "heavenly" food.

17. I never went to Bible college or seminary and I regret it.

18. Did I already mention that I love books?

19. From what I've written from 1-18 you must thing I'm very boring. I am!

20. Expository preaching is what I enjoy most.

21. I'm useless with tools. You might call me a "useless tool."

22. My favourite tool is a pen.

23. I wish Elvis was still alive.

24. I'm glad Jesus is still alive.

25. I'm glad I know Him...a little. My prayer is that I'd know Him better.

That's My King

Today I rediscovered an incredible video clip by the late S. M. Lockridge (pictured). When I first heard it I was challenged and moved to tears. It's entitled "That's My King". Click here to watch and listen to this preacher's powerful proclamation.

That's My King! Do you know Him?

I pray that you do!

Note: Thanks to Tim Challies for his post today which reminded me of this video.

A New Hallelujah

Last week I picked up a copy of Michael W. Smith's latest worship CD, A New Hallelujah, at our local Christian bookstore, Emmaus Family Books. Being a somewhat reticent and reluctant fan of Contemporary Christian Music there aren't too many artists or CD's that I really get taken up with. I've enjoyed MWS's earlier worship compilations though and this one didn't disappoint.

The title song can be seen and heard here
. Check it out!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Bright and Morning Star

Last weekend I had the privilege and pleasure of being part of an historic occasion in Montreal. Hockey Ministries International convened an outreach breakfast as part of the NHL All Star Game festivities. The breakfast was held at the Sheraton Centre in downtown Montreal on Saturday morning.

On Friday evening many of us gathered at HMI's offices next door to the Bell Centre (the arena where the Canadiens play) for a time of prayer and testimony. What a God-honoring evening it was!

Over 30 years ago the Executive Director of HMI, Don Liesemer, sensed God's calling to launch a ministry geared to the specific needs of hockey players. The rest, as they say, is history.

Following a very successful breakfast Don Liesemer penned the following words of testimony and praise:

"It is Tuesday in Montreal...The celebrations are over...the party tents have disappeared...The hype has dissipated...all seems quiet now...

The All Stars have left town...their brief moment of glory is past...their on-ice heroics soon to be forgotten...("all men are like grass, and all their glory like the flowers of the field...the grass withers and the flowers fall")...

But there is a Star that shines eternal.."The Bright Morning Star," our Lord Jesus Christ. He shone brightly on Saturday morning, Jan. 24, as His players reflected His light one after another telling of His marvellous grace and life-changing power in their lives. The arena was the packed ballroom of the Sheraton Centre in down town Montreal. The audience; a mixture of today's super stars, yesterday's heroes, players of tomorrow and enthusiastic fans. An air of anticipation and excitement filled the room as Bobby Smith, Mike Gartner, Dean Prentice, Marlene Geoffrion (and her daughter Linda), Jean and Diane Pronovost, Paolo Acquilini, Dan Bouchard, Dean Prentice, Laurie Boschman, Shane Doan and Bill Butters gave personal testimony of Christ's saving work in their lives. The program was superbly guided by MC's Charlie Blyth and Don Liesemer Jr.

And the light of the Morning Star shines brightly now in the hearts and lives of the many who were forever changed by the message of the Gospel and the work of His Spirit that special morning...and will continue to shine throughout eternity.

Thank you for praying and planning and supporting and working to make January 24, 2009 a morning in which an eternal flame began to shine in many lives in Quebec.

"Behold I am coming soon!..I am the root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star...Yes I am coming soon" (Rev. 22)

Your prayers and support are appreciated as we continue to shine His Light in arenas everywhere."

Sincerely,

Don

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

God's Activity

This morning I read the and concurred with following quote by Dr. Vernon Grounds concerning the activity of God in human lives:

"I have unquestioning confidence in God's ability to accomplish whatever God wants - the Resurrection proves that - but I also believe that other spiritual forces are trying to frustrate the forces of good. I accept mystery and paradox. When you've been around as long as I have, you have to."

Quoted by Grounds after celebrating his 65th wedding anniversary. Grounds served as President of Denver Seminary for 23 years.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Echoes of Babel...Our New National Sin

The following article was written by Trevin Wax and appeared on his Kingdom People blog. Something to think about...

He writes:

My children will not grow up in a country where race is considered a barrier to the presidency.

That fact by itself made me glad as I watched Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th president of the United States yesterday. It gave me a great sense of satisfaction to think about how far our country has come from the days of separate water fountains and lynch mobs.

But the thrill of seeing an era of sinful racism put behind us has faded quickly, for me at least. I hate to be the one to pop the balloon of our collective national pride in this historic moment, but I sense that we as Americans are facing the rise of a new national sin – one that is more subtle and even deadlier than the sins of our past - one that is common to all other empires that have risen and fallen throughout the ages:

A smug sense of self-righteous superiority that usurps the rightful throne of God.

Watching the news over the past few days has been almost sickening. No, it’s not the average citizens fawning over Obama as if he were the Messiah. Or the over-hyped statements from reporters trying in some way to capture the “historic nature” of the events and speeches taking place. Annoying as the now blatantly subjective news coverage has been, that is not what has bothered me the most.

Instead, the truly troubling aspect of the new era we have just inaugurated is the underlying assumption among so many in our country that now, finally, we have truly arrived. A new age has dawned!

We are now above racism in our land. We have put behind us the terrible sins of our past and we are moving forward into a new world of hope and peace. We have recaptured the moral high ground in our world. We are unstoppable, unbeatable, unassailable!

We deceive ourselves. Our rhetoric reveals an imperalistic mindset grounded in smug self-righteousness and a false sense of superiority.

World, look at us now! We are the biggest. We are the best. And we are nice now. We are above racism. We are above the sins of our forefathers. We are above the notion of sin itself.

We are so enlightened that the writers of our newsweeklies can thumb their noses at six thousand years of human history (and almost every other civilization in the world today) and decide that same-sex marriage should be legalized.

We are so enlightened that we can eliminate whatever might stand in the way of our sexual exploits or prosperity-seeking, even if that means the sacrifice of another 50 million unborn children.

We are so enlightened that we can restore Science back in its proper place (meaning that it’s okay to create human life in order to destroy it, as long as we, the powerful, can benefit somehow).

We are the enlightened ones who bring justice and freedom and peace to the world.

You could hear it in Bush’s audacious speech after 9/11, in which he claimed that “we will eliminate evil from the world.”

You could hear it in John McCain’s claim at one of the 2008 debates that the “United States of America is the greatest force for good in the world.”

You can hear it even now in the speeches of Barack Obama: We are the world-changers.

Behind the clamor of the adoring media and the sight of swooning fans in Washington, D.C. – we can see that what truly unites us as a nation is a sense of superiority over the rest of the world, a belief in America as our savior, a na├»ve assumption that our cause is always right.

The Tower of Babel is going up right before our eyes.

But how many leaders have to come and go before we realize the truth that only Jesus Christ is Lord?

How many examples of government injustice have to take place before we realize that Christ’s Church is still the greatest force for good in the world?

How many towers have to fall before we realize the truth that his kingdom is the one that will never fail?

We live in a day when hope has dawned, yes. But not because we have elected a new president. Let the Church never forget:

Peace has broken out because of the cross - God’s resolution to our war against him. Hope has dawned because the tomb of a certain first-century Jew has been emptied of its contents. Justice will reign because of the Church who anticipates his return and dominion.

Nations rise and fall, but the Word of the Lord stands firm forever.

written by Trevin Wax © 2009 Kingdom People blog

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Late Great Christian Bookstore...an Obituary

Back in 1970 a casual visit with R. Gordon Mitchell in Toronto led to a 15-year career as a Christian bookstore owner/operator.

My father, knowing my desire to be involved in Christian bookselling, had arranged the get-together with Mr. Christian Books in Canada, Gordon Mitchell. After some discussion concerning the trade and my expression of interest, Mr. Mitchell posed the question, “why don’t you buy the bookstore in Peterborough?” We responded, “is it for sale?” When the answer was in the affirmative, the wheels started turning and I owned the Ambassador Bible Book Store in January 1971.


For fifteen years I lived on the edge, struggling to increase sales, satisfy customers, offer services beyond the norm and pay the bills. As I look back on that period of my life I recall only the fond memories. Lives transformed as customers came to know Christ. Friendships forged that continue to this day.


Since the business was sold in 1986 I’ve continued to be a bookseller at heart. Our local Christian bookstore is a favourite place to visit. When traveling, and I’ve been around, I always seek out the local Christian bookstore.


Last fall, the business that R. Gordon Mitchell founded many years ago, R. G. Mitchell Family Books, filed for bankruptcy. Fortunately the founder was not around to see the huge BANKRUPT sign draped over the front of the building. He’s in heaven! Mitchell’s was more than a retail outlet. They had a huge wholesale business and represented many of the major Christian publishers. I made many a visit to their Gordon Baker Rd. location during my 15 years in the book business to pick up supplies.


So what happened? What led to their demise? I can’t say for sure but I do know that a number of factors could have precipitated the events of the last few months.


Among them could be:


- The general downturn in the economy

- The proliferation of online suppliers of books…places like CBD (Christian Book Distributors, Amazon and Chapters/Indigo

- The availability of many of the bestsellers at greatly reduced prices at stores like WalMart, Costco and other big box stores

- The illegal pirating of music and videos

- Unwise business decisions

- Growing too quickly


Whatever the cause, it was a sad day today when I dropped by for the liquidation auction. The retail sales area had been cleaned out of books, music, cards and the stock that was normally carried. Over the last few weeks the discounts had increased and books could be had for less than a dollar.


"What once was Zondervan, Cook and Revell...Today was Samsung, HP and Dell..."


Today the area was filled with electronic equipment, computers, printers, work stations, chairs, office equipment, telephones and other various and sundry items. Shelving, conveyor belts and other warehousing materials were available out back. As I entered the store, the sound of the auctioneer hawking his wares greeted me. It was not a welcoming voice or a pleasant smile. This was big business. Get the most you can for whatever is left. A sad day indeed!


Unfortunately Mitchells won’t be the only store that will have to close up shop. The Christian bookselling industry is struggling. Many mom and pop shops have had to liquidate and clear out. More will follow.


When I bought my store I picked up some helpful literature from our trade organization the Christian Booksellers Association. One item was a brief article entitled The Late Great Christian Bookstore. The title was a take-off on the popular bestseller at the time, The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey. The article spoke of the struggles encountered by Christian bookstores and how they could be overcome. Sad to say, too many stores didn’t take heed.


So what can be done to help prevent these tragic store closings? I have a few suggestions for what they’re worth.


- Support your local Christian bookstore.

- Give them the majority of your business when possible. The price might be cheaper if you order online but how many phone clerks have prayed with customers, taken them for lunch or spoken a word of encouragement during a difficult time?

- Encourage others to patronize your local Christian bookstore.

- Don’t expect your store to carry every Christian book available. They can’t! The smaller the town, the fewer the titles that can be carried. Ask them to order the book.

- Drop by even if it’s just to speak a word of encouragement.

- Be a friend.


I’m committed to supporting the smaller, independent Christian booksellers.


I hope you'll do the same!


Note: If you're visiting Emmaus Family Books in Peterborough tell Jim Rose or any of his staff that you read this post on Pilgrim Scribblings. He'll be glad to hear from you and you never know what he might do. Just a hint...

A Prayer for President Obama

One of the Christian leaders I respect the most is Dr. R. Albert Mohler (pictured). He has written the following prayer for America's new President, Barack Obama. Rather than criticizing Obama for his stance on abortion I'm praying that I will commit to intercede on his behalf, trusting that God will soften his heart and convince him of the sanctity of all human life.

Here is Dr. Mohler's excellent prayer:

Our Father, Lord of all creation, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: We pray today with a sense of special urgency and responsibility. We come before you to
pray for our new President, Barack Obama, and for all those in this new administration who now assume roles of such high responsibility.

We know that you and you alone are sovereign; that you rule over all, and that you alone are able to keep and defend us. We know that our times are in your hands, and that "the king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord" [Proverbs 21:1]. Our confidence is in you and in you alone. We come before you as a people who acknowledge our constant need for your provision, wisdom, and protection.

Father, we pray today for Barack Obama as he takes office as President of the United States. We pray that you will show the glory of your name in our times and in these days, confounding the wisdom of the wise, thwarting the plans of the arrogant, and vindicating those who do justice and practice righteousness.

Father, we pray with thanksgiving for the gift of government and the grace of civic order. Thank you for giving us rulers and for knowing our need for laws and ordered life together. Thank you for this nation and the blessings we know as its citizens. Thank you for freedoms unprecedented in human history. We understand that these freedoms come with unprecedented opportunities.

Lord, we pray with thanksgiving for the joy and celebration reflected on millions of faces who never expected to look to the President of the United States and see a person who looks like themselves. Father, thank you for preserving this nation to the moment when an African-American citizen will take the oath of office and become our President. Thank you for the hope this has given to so many, the pride emerging in hearts that had known no such hope, and the pride that comes to a people who have experienced such pain at the hands of fellow citizens, simply because of the color of their skin. Father, we rejoice in every elderly face that reflects such long-sought satisfaction and in every young face that expresses such unrestrained joy. May this become an open door for a vision of race and human dignity that reflects your glory in our differences, and not our corruption of your gift.

Father, protect this president, we pray. We pray that you will surround this president and his family, along with all our leaders, with your protection and sustenance. May he be protected from evil acts and evil intentions, and may his family be protected from all evil and harm.

We pray that the Obama family will be drawn together as they move into the White House, and that they will know great joy in their family life. We are thankful for the example Barack and Michelle Obama have set as parents. Father, protect those precious girls in every way -- including the protection of their hearts as they see their father often criticized and as he is away from them on business of state. May their years in the White House bring them all even closer together.

Father, we pray for the safety and security of this nation, even as our new president settles into his role as Commander in Chief. We know that you and you alone can be our defense. We do not place our trust in horses or chariots, and we pray that you will give this president wisdom as he fulfills this vital responsibility.

Father, grant him wisdom in every dimension of his vast responsibility. Grant him wisdom to deal with a global financial crisis and with the swirling complex of vexing problems and challenges at home and abroad. May he inspire this nation to a higher vision for our common life together, to a higher standard of justice, righteousness, unity, and the tasks of citizenship.

Father, we pray that you will change this president's heart and mind on issues of urgent concern. We are so thankful for his gifts and talents, for his intellect and power of influence. Father, bend his heart to see the dignity and sanctity of every single human life, from the moment of conception until natural death. Father, lead him to see abortion, not as a matter of misconstrued rights, but as a murderous violation of the right to life. May he come to see every aborted life as a violation of human dignity and every abortion as an abhorrent blight upon this nation's moral witness. May he pledge himself to protect every human life at every stage of development. He has declared himself as an energetic defender of abortion rights, and we fear that his election will lead directly to the deaths of countless unborn human beings. Protect us from this unspeakable evil, we pray. Most urgently, we pray that you will bring the reign of abortion to an end, even as you are the defender of the defenseless.

Father, may this new president see that human dignity is undermined when human embryos are destroyed in the name of medical progress, and may he see marriage as an institution that is vital to the very survival of civilization. May he protect all that is right and good. Father, change his heart where it must be changed, and give him resolve where his heart is right before you.

Father, when we face hard days ahead -- when we find ourselves required by conscience to oppose this president within the bounds of our roles as citizens -- may we be granted your guidance to do so with a proper spirit, with a proper demeanor, and with persuasive arguments. May we learn anew how to confront without demonizing, and to oppose without abandoning hope.

Father, we are aware that our future is in your hands, and we are fully aware that you and you alone will judge the nations. Much responsibility is now invested in President Barack Obama, and much will be required. May we, as Christian citizens, also fulfill what you would require of us. Even as we pray for you to protect this president and change his heart, we also pray that your church will be protected and that you will conform our hearts to your perfect will.

Father, we pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, the ever-reigning once and future King, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He and he alone can save, and his kingdom is forever. Above all, may your great name be praised. Amen.

_________________________

Christians are, first of all, citizens of a heavenly kingdom. The followers of Christ know no allegiance of ultimate rank to any government or earthly authority. Yet, the Bible clearly teaches that God has given us the gifts of law, government, and ruling authorities for our good. We are instructed to pray for "rulers and all who have authority" and to be faithful in praying "so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God" [1 Timothy 2:2].

As Barack Obama prepares to take the oath of office and become the 44th President of the United States, Christians should be thinking about how to pray for the new President. I offer this prayer as a place to start, as we observe the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States together.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

God's Got My Back

Miracle on the Hudson

Thursday's incredible saga of the survival of 155 people in the icy Hudson River is nothing short of amazing. A miracle!

The more video footage I watch the more I'm struck by the fact that a sovereign God must have had a hand in the proceedings.

Of course many will ask, "If there's a God and He cares, why didn't He prevent the plane from crashing into New York's cold, icy Hudson?"

My response is brief. "I don't know!" But God is God and, "as for God, His way is perfect."

The pilot, Chesley Sullenberger III, guided U. S. Airways' Airbus 320, Flight 1549, to a watery landing that's unprecedented. A true hero! 155 on board! 155 survivors!

Without too much pontification let me say that our Father will lead us safely home even though it may be through rough waters. For those of us who have secured passage, by faith in Christ, we will be guided home by the One who paid such a steep price for our redemption, God's well beloved Son.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hot Tub Hymnology

The following lyrics came to mind this morning while sitting outside in the freezing cold...in the hot tub. I adjusted the words somewhat to form an acrostic - MAJESTIC RULE. There is a melody as well but you'll have to wait to hear it.

Mighty to save
Able to keep
Jesus my God and my King
Ever the same
Sovereign and true
To Him our worship we bring
Infinite One
Caring and just

Righteous and holy is He
Uniquely God's Son
Life-giving One
Ever His praises we sing
He is the Almighty King
He is the Almighty King


Oops!

You've heard many of these, no doubt. But, just in case you need a good belly laugh, check these out:
  • The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.
  • Evening massage - 6 p.m.
  • The Pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.
  • The audience is asked to remain seated until the end of the recession.
  • Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30 p.m. Please use the back door.
  • Ushers will eat latecomers.
  • The third verse of Blessed Assurance will be sung without musical accomplishment.
  • For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
  • The Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience.
  • The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, “Break Forth Into Joy.”
  • During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.
  • Next Sunday Mrs. Vinson will be soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on “It’s a Terrible Experience.”
  • Due to the Rector’s illness, Wednesday’s healing services will be discontinued until further notice.
  • Stewardship Offertory: “Jesus Paid It All”
  • The music for today’s service was all composed by George Friedrich Handel in celebration of the 300th anniversary of his birth.
  • Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
  • The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the church basement on Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
  • The concert held in Fellowship Hall was a great success. Special thanks are due to the minister’s daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which as usual fell upon her.
  • 22 members were present at the church meeting held at the home of Mrs. Marsha Crutchfield last evening. Mrs. Crutchfield and Mrs. Rankin sang a duet, The Lord Knows Why.
  • A song fest was hell at the Methodist church Wednesday.
  • Today’s Sermon: HOW MUCH CAN A MAN DRINK? with hymns from a full choir.
  • Hymn 47: “Hark! an awful voice is sounding”
  • On a church bulletin during the minister’s illness: GOD IS GOOD Dr. Hargreaves is better.
  • Potluck supper: prayer and medication to follow.
  • Don’t let worry kill you off - let the church help.
  • The 1997 Spring Council Retreat will be hell May 10 and 11.
  • Pastor is on vacation. Massages can be given to church secretary.
  • Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

Changing the Focus

My writer friend Vicki (Victoria Gaines) posted this excellent article on her blog Windows To My Soul and she captured my sentiments perfectly. Thanks, Vicki, for your honesty!

Read on...

"One week into the New Year and already folks have gone gang-busters trying to renovate their lives.

Wears me out just thinking about it.

I was in no mood to write about resolutions, goals, and changes until several folks invited me to read their take on the subject. Honestly, there's a lot of wonderful inspiration out there. But I can't do it. I can't push myself to do better. That's why I came to Christ in the first place.

Don't get me wrong. We need to make healthier choices. And January gives us pause because we know how bad we failed the year before. The realization hits us again and again because we won't stop magnifying our frail and failing flesh. Something needs to change alright. But willpower is not the answer.

Some have a lot of willpower; some do not. Many of my writerly friends run circles around me with their bookish productivity. It used to make me feel bad until I realized He's accomplishing things in my life that can't possibly be compared to theirs. I'll keep trusting Him.

But sometimes we catch ourselves praying the Lord will help us do more. What? Help our flesh? If our (human) righteousness is like filthy rags, like the bible says, then the Lord is not in the business of strengthening our flesh. Whether we have weak flesh, strong flesh - doesn't matter - nothing we do apart from Him will last. So it doesn't matter if we have an impressive "go-get-'em" temperament that seemingly accomplishes so much. What happens when our goals are blocked by circumstances or people? Who do we turn to then?

Ah, but dear folk who struggle like me - read on. We know our temperaments and willpower can't be trusted. We need Christ's enablement, not just day by day, but moment by moment. May I share with you my verse for 2009?

"Now may the God of peace—
who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep,
and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—
may he equip you with all you need
for doing his will.
May he produce in you,
through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him.
All glory to him forever and ever! Amen."
~ Hebrews 13:20-21 (NLT) ~
Did you catch all that? I didn't at first. After reading this beautiful verse many times, in different translations and paraphrases, it seems to me that God wants to relieve me from the burden of resolutions. He knows I don't fare well apart from His Spirit, and He takes responsibility for equipping me. The onus is on Him, I like to say. That way, I can stop wrestling with my flesh and start trusting His Spirit. It's not about willpower and enthusiasm; it's being rooted and established in Him. Believing this truth causes me to stop pleading for His help and start resting in His life.

Now read the verse with just the words that I put in bold print:

"May God equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you every good thing that is pleasing to him."

Resolutions never get me far. It takes His life operating in me to produce what He desires. He's the One who produces every good thing in us that is pleasing to Him. He's the One whose grace inclines us towards right choices and desires. Its better that I spend time with Him, jotting down what He impresses on my heart through His Word as I confess my need, than asking Him a thousand times to bless my plans. The more I live and move and have my being in Him, the better 2009 will be.

Oh, that He would become the expectation of all our hearts! Let's look to Him, and not our many weaknesses."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Myth of the Secret Sin

NOTE: Back in 2005 I posted the following outline of a message I had presented on more than one occasion to professional sports teams. I believe it bears repeating. Each time I read this I'm challenged all over again. I trust that you will be too!

THE MYTH OF THE SECRET SIN...


“But how can I ever know what sins are lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. And keep me from deliberate wrongs; help me to stop doing them.” – Psalm 19:12,13 (The Living Bible)

“Our iniquities, our secret heart and its sins (which we would so like to conceal even from ourselves) You have set in the (revealing) light of Your countenance.” Psalm 90:8 (Amplified Bible)

“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that it will not be made known.” – Luke 12:2 (NIV)

Four ministers were admitting their secrets sins one day.
1st – battled lustful thoughts and desires
2nd – struggled with gambling
3rd – had a secret addiction to alcohol
4th – could hardly wait to leave. His sin was gossip.

We may laugh at the story but the problem of “secret” sins is no joke. The great preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “Of all sinners the man who makes a profession of religion and yet lives in iniquity is the most miserable.”

One of the greatest hindrances to non-believers entrusting their lives to Christ is the multitude of hypocrites who preach one thing but secretly practice something totally opposite.

The problem of secret sins has destroyed:


- Ministries & Christian Leaders
- Marriages & Families
- Reputations

The reality is . . . THERE ARE NO SECRET SINS !!!

Hebrews 4:13 states this truth proving that nothing is hidden from God: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

Hear what Charles Spurgeon preached in a passionate sermon, decrying the wickedness of secret sins:

“To you, sirs, who sin secretly, and yet make a profession: you break God’s covenants in the dark and wear a mask of goodness in the light – to you, sirs, who shut the doors and commit wickedness in secret – to you I shall speak this morning. O may God also be pleased to speak to you, and make you pray this prayer: ‘Cleanse thou me from secret faults.’ I shall endeavour to urge upon all pretenders present to give up, to renounce, to detest, to hate, to abhor all their secret sins. And, first, I shall endeavour to show the folly of secret sins, the misery of secret sins, the guilt of secret sins and the danger of secret sins. There is no hiding it from God. Thy sin is photographed in high heaven; the deed when it was done was photographed upon the sky, and there it shall remain, and thou shalt see thyself one day revealed to the gazing eyes of all men, a hypocrite, a pretender, who didst sin in fancied secret, observed in all thine acts by the all-seeing Jehovah.”

“O what fools men are, to think they can do anything in secret.”

“It may be a secret sin on earth, but it is open scandal in heaven.” - Lewis Sperry Chafer

Five Characteristics of a Secret Sin . . .

- A secret sin is a sin that the Holy Spirit brings to our attention. It is that practice or habit that we try to not have found out and when it is exposed we are humiliated and embarrassed.
- A secret sin is a sin that we fear those who wish to damage our reputation will spread notice of when it is found out.
- A secret sin is a sin that we are most hesitant to leave. It is that which we often find tempting us and worse still yielding to the temptation. It is often that which we have the least power to resist. It is that which keeps us most from the Word of God and prayer.
- A secret sin is that sin which we most seek to cover up. We justify it by making excuses, explain the extenuating circumstances, define distinctions in our favor, and evade the real problem.
- A secret sin is a sin that we fear the chapel leader might address in his sermon. Is he talking to me? Does he know? Have I been found out?

Your secret sin can be anything from pornography to bitter and hateful thoughts. One may not be any worse in God’s eyes but the consequences can be devastating. Sexual secret sins are epidemic in the lives of non-believers and Christian alike and run the gamut including:

- Pornography
- Adultery/Fornication
- Lustful thoughts
- Homosexuality
- And others too gross to mention
Other non-sexual secret sins include:
- Alcohol abuse
- Drug abuse
- Gambling


How many marriages of ballplayers have been destroyed by one or more of these so-called secret sins! This morning we need to deal with whatever “secret sin” is destroying you and making you ineffective as an athlete, a husband, a father, a son!

These Five Steps for Overcoming Secret Sins can help YOU today:

- Renounce your sins and embrace God's forgiveness.
- Make yourself accountable to your pastor or a trusted Christian friend or teammate. Confess your secret sin to him. (see James 5:16)
- Make whatever changes are necessary to cut off all contact with the persons and places where your secret sin flourished. (see Eph. 5:11)
- Recognize your limitations and live accordingly. (see 1 Cor. 10:12-13)
- Meditate on the scriptures, and ask God to reveal His truth through them. (see Ps. 119:11)

May this be your prayer today as you determine of rid your life of the secret sins that will ultimately destroy you, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” - Psalm 51:10 (NIV)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Hate Resolutions? Try Suggestions

This list of suggestions was prepared early this afternoon for a group of Seniors who I meet with here in Peterborough on the 1st Sunday of every month. It was well received this afternoon as I presented it at the close of our chapel service at Royal Gardens.

I thought this list might be worth sharing with our
Pilgrim Scribblings readers.

God bless you all in 2009!

A Friend of God

Here's another gem from A. W. Tozer who writes:

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God. -James 2:23


After all, what higher privilege and experience is granted to mankind on earth than to be admitted into the circle of the friends of God?...

It is well for us to remember that Divine-human friendship originated with God. Had God not first said "You are My friends," it would be inexcusably brash for any man to say, "I am a friend of God." But since God claims us for His friends, it is an act of unbelief to deny the offer of such a relationship....

The spiritual giants of old were those who at some time became acutely conscious of the presence of God. They maintained that consciousness for the rest of their lives....

The essential point is this: These were men who met and experienced God! How otherwise can the saints and prophets be explained? How otherwise can we account for the amazing power for good they have exercised over countless generations?

Is it not that indeed they had become friends of God? Is it not that they walked in conscious communion with the real Presence and addressed their prayers to God with the artless conviction that they were truly addressing Someone actually there?

Taken from Men Who Met God, 13-14.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Flight Companions

My friend Paul Wilkinson from Thinking Out Loud posed the following question on his blog. I responded but you have to check the comments on Paul's blog to get my answers. How would you respond? Please leave me some comments. THANKS!

Paul writes:

You're on a four-hour flight, up for conversation, and you think the person in the next next to you is also. You turn and find yourself sitting next to _______________!

What person in the "Christian world" would you most like to find yourself sitting next to for that flight? You can name up to three people.

1.
2.
3.

or just name one. But let us know some reasons and if we don't know this person, explain who they are.

And yes, I know it would be more productive if you were sitting next to a stranger who simply needed to hear about Jesus from you, but we'll take that as a given, okay?

Face Down, Listening

Here's another great quote from A. W. Tozer. What is our posture in relation to the King? Are we face down & listening?

Here's that devotional thought from Tozer:

Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying:
"As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations." -Genesis 17:3-4 The Scriptures declare, "Abram fell on his face" as the Lord talked with him (Genesis 17:3).

Abraham was reverent and submissive. Probably there is no better picture anywhere in the Bible of the right place for mankind and the right place for God. God was on His throne speaking, and Abraham was on his face listening!
Where God and man are in relationship, this must be the ideal. God must be the communicator, and man must be in the listening, obeying attitude. If men and women are not willing to assume this listening attitude, there will be no meeting with God in living, personal experience....

Yes, Abraham was lying face down in humility and reverence, overcome with awe in this encounter with God. He knew that he was surrounded by the world's greatest mystery. The presence of this One who fills all things was pressing in upon him, rising above him, defeating him, taking away his natural self-confidence. God was overwhelming him and yet inviting and calling him, pleading with him and promising him a great future as a friend of God!

Taken from Men Who Met God, pp 21-22.

THUG ???

This story is "old" but I didn't post anything earlier so I'll make a comment now.

Don "Grapes" Cherry made the comment last month concerning the dress code of the Ottawa Senators and centered out Mike Fisher in particular.

He mentioned how the Washington Capitals were playing well under head coach Bruce Boudreau and seemingly attributed their improved play to the way they dress when on the road...or out in public.

Mike Fisher dressed like a thug?

If so, what does Don Cherry dress like? A blanket, an afghan, an explosion in a mattress factory? His outfits are downright ugly...most of the time.

In spite of Cherry's comments, I usually enjoy watching (or listening) to him and I generally like the guy.

This time I think he crossed the line with his opinion. He's entitled to them but I disagree.

End of discussion. Go get 'em, Mike!

Something To Think About

"Every wise workman takes his tools away from the work from time to time that they may be ground and sharpened; so does the only-wise Jehovah take his ministers oftentimes away into darkness and loneliness and trouble that he may sharpen and prepare them for harder work in his service."

- Robert Murray M'Cheyne

Friday, January 02, 2009

7 Great Resolutions

Dr. David Jeremiah's suggested resolutions for the New Year:

1. Spend time with Him. Relationships are made and fostered by the time we spend functioning within them. Spend time with your Lord in prayer and study of His Word Reconnect through talking with the Lord of Lords.

2. Take obedience to the Lord seriously. The Lord's commands are made out of love for us. He laid them out in His Word so that we might best find His blessings, and to help us avoid the pitfalls of living in this world.

3. Recognize your sinfulness, and recommit your life to the Lord. Make a spiritual contract with the Lord.

4. Dive into worship. Worshiping the Lord does not have to be just singing along with the choir on Sunday. While that is good and it honors God, you can also worship Him while going for a walk in His beautiful creation, while marveling at the works He is doing around the world, or recognizing and appreciating the provision that He makes in your life.

5. Start to tithe. The Lord promises to provide for you and bless you when you are faithful in giving back to Him.

6. Start serving others. Become the hands of Christ as you serve others and allow the Lord to work through you.

7. Give thanks to the Lord for all the blessings that He has placed in your life.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Future Days

David's disclaimer:

The following thoughts came to mind this morning as I awoke to a new year with new opportunities, new challenges and a chance to begin afresh. The expression I used to begin these thoughts might seem inappropriate and offensive to some but that's how last year seemed to be...the "year from hell". I'm fully aware that nothing comes into our lives without having first been filtered by our heavenly Father. It was NOT the "year from hell" because life comes from our God and NOT from the "father of lies". That's just how it seemed at times. Often, as a matter of fact!

Anyhow, here are those thoughts"

The "year from hell"
Did not go well
In many, sundry ways;
Teach me to put the past behind
And hallow future days.

May we make this our prayer as we behind a new year...

"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." - Psalm 90:12 (ESV)

Uncharted Waters

Here is a prayer taken from a favourite book of mine, The Valley of Vision, and some comments prefacing it from my friend Tim Challies' post:

Tim writes:

"Here is a prayer drawn from The Valley of Vision. It shares hope and encouragement for the new year. It is a good one to include in your prayers as you look forward to 2009."

The prayer:

O Lord,
Length of days does not profit me
except the days are passed in Thy presence,
in Thy service, to Thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from Thee,
but may rely on Thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth Thy praise;
testify Thy love,
advance Thy kingdom.
I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with Thee, O Father as my harbour,
Thee, O Son, at my helm,
Thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to Thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.
Give me They grace to sanctify me,
Thy comforts to cheer,
Thy wisdom to teach,
Thy right hand to guide,
Thy counsel to instruct,
Thy law to judge,
Thy presence to stabilize.
May Thy fear by my awe,
Thy triumphs my joy.