Saturday, November 28, 2009

Relationships: A Mess Worth Making

I've been reading this book by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp but I've been reading it irregularly, i've read the first two chapters and then the last chapter, chapter 15, and as I read chapter 10 I stumbled across the most insightful and wisest thing i've read in a book on relationships:


"As we look forward to our relationships, we tend to dream of unchallenged unity, unfettered romance, unobstructed communication, mutual cooperation, blanket acceptance and respect, shared decisions, intimate friendship, or absence of conflict. Our dreams tend to forget that our relationships are being lived out in the middle of the already and the not yet. This side of eternity, none of us get to be with the person of our dreams and none of us are ready to be the person of someone else's dreams! We are all flawed people living in a fallen world, but with a faithful God. And at some point in every relationship, we are required to accept graciously who the other person is, even as we humbly admit who we are."
Tim Lane and Paul Tripp in Relationships. A mess worth making. Pg.109



Get This Book at The Westminster Bookstore!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bad Memory

This is why we should always write every new idea down on a paper or somewhere, last night as I tossed and turned in bed not being able to sleep I kept thinking of something I wanted to write about on my blog, since I have ashamedly abandoned it, but I didn't write it down I just went to sleep. Now, I've been trying to remember but I simply forgot, so I'll just have to wait t'ill it comes back to me again.
But I will share that I have neglected this blog because of a series of situations that happened to me but by God's grace all is well and I'm ready to get back to writing :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Grace Gems: You Can Never Lose Your Mother



You can never lose your mother!
(J. R. Miller, "The SEEDS We Are Scattering" 1896)

Though all are born "dead in trespasses and sins;" in another sense, when a baby is born--its life is only a patch of soil in which, as yet, nothing is growing.

A mother's hand is the first to plant seeds there--in the looks of tender love which her eyes dart into the child's soul, in her smiles and caresses and croonings, and her thousand efforts to reach the child's heart and shape its powers; and then in the lessons which she teaches.

All the members of the household soon become sowers also on this field; as the life begins to open, every one is dropping some seed into the mellow soil.

In a little while, hands outside the home begin to scatter seeds in the child's mind and heart. The street, the playground, the school; later, books, papers, and pictures contribute their portion.


As the years advance, the experiences of life--the joys, temptations, tasks, trials, sorrows--all bring their influences. Somewhat in this way, the character of the mature man--is the growth of seeds sown by a thousand hands in the life from infancy.

All our thoughts, words, and acts--are seeds. They have in them a quality which makes them grow where they fall, reproducing themselves. This is true of the good we do.

The mother's teachings enter the mind and heart of her child as mere seeds; but they reappear in the life of the son or daughter, in later years--in strength and beauty, in
nobleness of character, and in usefulness of life. Not only is this strange power in the mother's words; her acts, her habits, her tones of voice, the influences that go forth from her life--are also seeds, having in them a vital principle. Where they lodge--they grow.

You can never lose your mother! She may die, and her body may be buried out of your sight, and laid away in God's acre. You will see her face and hear her voice no more; no more will her hand scatter the good seeds of truth and love, upon your life's garden. But you have not lost her! Your mind and heart are full of the seeds which fell from her hand along the years. These you never can lose. No hand of death can root them out of your life. They have grown into the very fibers of your character. They reappear in your habits, your dispositions, your feelings and opinions, your modes of thought, your very phrases and forms of speech! You can never lose your mother; the threads of her life are woven inextricably into your life!

All the noble things that fall from your hands, as you travel along life's paths, are seeds, and will not die. The good things we do, with the true words we speak, with the faithful example we show, with all the influences of our life that are Christlike, are living seeds which we sow in the lives of others. They will not fall into the ground and perish. They will stay where they drop, and you will find them again after many days. They will germinate and grow, and yield a harvest!

Go on doing the little things, no matter how small, only making sure that you breathe love into them. Let them fall where they may, no matter into what heart, no matter how silently, no matter how hopeless may seem the soil into which they drop, no matter how you yourself may appear to be forgotten or overlooked as you do your deeds of kindness, and speak your words of love. These words and deeds and influences of yours are living seeds, and not one of them shall perish!

The same is true, however, of the evil things we do. They, too, have in them the quality of life and reproductiveness. If only our good things were seeds, this truth would have unmingled encouragement for us. But it is startling to remember, that the same law applies to the evil things.

The man who writes a wicked book, or paints an unholy picture, or sings an impure
song
--sets in motion a procession of unholy influences which will live on forever! He, too, will find his evil words again in the hearts of men, long, long afterwards; or see his unclean picture reproduced on men's lives, or hear his unholy song singing itself over again in the depths of men's being!

The evil that men do--lives after them! "Bury my influence in my grave with me!" said a wicked man, dying with bitter remorse in his soul. But that is impossible. Sometimes men who have been sowing evil, wake up to the consciousness of the harm they have been giving to other lives, and go back over their paths, trying to gather up the seeds of sin which they have cast into human hearts. But the effort is unavailing, as no one can take out of men's minds and hearts--the seeds of evil he has dropped there!

We are not done with life--when we die! We shall meet our acts and words and influences again! "Do not be deceived! God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows--he will also reap!" Galatians 6:7. He shall reap the same that he sows--and he himself shall be the reaper!

There is a law of divine justice, in which God requites to every man according to his deeds. We are not living under a reign of mere chance. But sometimes it seems as if the law of justice did not work universally--that some who do wrong, are not requited; and that some who do good, receive no reward. But this inequality of justice is only apparent. Life does not end at the grave! If it did, we might say that the Lord's ways are not always equal. God's dealings with men, are not closed in this earthly life! The story is continued through eternity!

In this present life--wrong often seems to go unpunished, and virtue unrewarded. But our present lives, are simply unfinished life-stories. There are other chapters which will be written in eternity. When all has been completed, there will be no inequality, no injustice. All virtue will have its full reward--and all sin will receive its due punishment.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Grace Gems: Christ is our Jonah

This is why Grace Gems is Grace Gems:


Christ is our Jonah!

(William Dyer, "Christ's Famous Titles")

"Then they picked up Jonah and threw him
into the sea--and the sea stopped its raging!"
Jonah 1:15

Christ is our Jonah, who threw Himself
into the sea of His Father's wrath--to save
us from everlasting perdition!





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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Evangelism: Why Bus Stops?

A really good post on evangelism:

"Why bus stops? Good question. Let me explain. Let me give you a brief history on how a stumbled across the idea. Two summers years ago I did my first internship at GFC. I was hired as a part-time summer evangelist (12 weeks long). How should I start? I had no idea. The elders suggested that I begin going door-to-door to invite people to church; this would give me a better feel for the dynamics of the community, and it would remind people that there is a church in the neighbourhood which they are welcome to. I was nervous, but by God’s grace I went. Indeed, going door-to-door certainly helped me get a much better grasp of the demographics of our church neigbourhood.

Going door-to-door was a very interesting experience to say the least. To this day I still have good relations with many people in the church neighbourhood, which came as a result of simply getting out there and introducing myself (and the church) in a friendly manner. Some people are genuinely interested in a church which is in their own neighbourhood. They are more likely to come to your Christmas and Easter services if you are that friendly person who stops in every now and then to say hello and to see how they are.

I would sometimes try to talk to people at their door (lawn/porch) if I sensed they had time to talk. Sometimes I would eventually try sharing the Gospel with them. I think I only had the door slammed in my face a few times. I recall being swore at only a few times (in English). Most people were polite, but not interested. Once in a while the Lord opened doors for the spread of the Gospel (which was great!), but the opportunities seemed far and few between....Continue reading the rest"

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Together as One

"There's nothing that can't be done if we raise our voices as one" M.J.


Let me tell you the story of the Tower of Babel...turn to Genesis 11:



Genesis 11
"Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”
And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech.” 8 So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth."

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Life is but a vapor


"Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." James 4:14



Today could've been my last day on this earth. Frankly, I would've died happy after having spent half a day praising God, being edified by His Word, having communion with Him and my brethren in the faith; after having finally gotten my devotional/prayer life back in order, but I think of what I would've left behind:
- My family, that have yet to know God
- My Monday School children, still struggling to learn those Big Truths of the Bible and whom are not yet saved
Moreover, had they died, where would they have gone?
Thankfully, it was not God's will to call us to His presence today, which means there is still a work that needs to be done in us and through us. And He has given them an opportunity to not wait another second and humble themselves before their makers.
Tomorrow could be your last day, your last opportunity to consider the cost of rebelling against God.
"Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over transgression
for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in steadfast love."
Micah 7:18
The Lord our God is one whom delights in showing Mercy and Grace, and that was what He showed all four of us this evening in sparing our lives. Even though we have sinned greatly against him, Romans 3:23, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8. Christ died and bled for us, he bore our sins on the cross and received the punishment we deserve, so please do not wait another second, repent of your sins and trust in Him who delights in showing mercy, who went to the cross so that by Grace we would be saved.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Grace Gems: 'Tis a Point I Long To Know

Today's Grace Gems is a beautiful poem by John Newton about certainty, so for those who doubt their salvation here's John Newton's 'Tis A Point I Long To Know; but before you do read it I can tell you that one can know for sure if one is saved or not, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life." writes John in his letter, 1 John 5:13, after he has written this practically manifesto of what God has done in sending Christ the Son, "offering him up as a sacrifice for sins, and sending forth "the word of life"(1 John 1:1) that is causing this world's darkness to pas away and the true light of the coming age to shine."1

'Tis a point I long to know

(John Newton)

'Tis a point I long to know,
Oft it causes anxious thought;
Do I love the Lord or no?
Am I His--or am I not?

If I love--why am I thus?
Why this dull and lifeless frame?
Hardly, sure, can they be worse,
Who have never heard His name!

Could my heart so hard remain,
Prayer a task and burden prove,
Every trifle give me pain,
If I knew a Savior's love?

When I turn my eyes within,
All is dark, and vain, and wild;
Filled with unbelief and sin,
Can I deem myself a child?

If I pray, or hear, or read,
Sin is mixed with all I do!
You who love the Lord indeed,
Tell me--Is it thus with you?

Yet I mourn my stubborn will,
Find my sin a grief and thrall;
Should I grieve for what I feel,
If I did not love at all?

Could I joy His saints to meet,
Choose the ways I once abhorred,
Find, at times, the promise sweet,
If I did not love the Lord?

Lord, decide the doubtful case!
You who are Your people's sun,
Shine upon Your work of grace,
If it is indeed begun.

Let me love You more and more,
If I love at all, I pray;
If I have not loved before,
Help me to begin today!



1: ESV Study Bible. Introduction to 1 John. Purpose, Ocassion, and Background. Pg.2426

Sunday, June 28, 2009

John Piper on Being Radical

“Find the hard stuff, get satisfied in Jesus, find him sufficiently motivating and enjoy the fellowship of his sufferings.”1


1: Radical Risk without Relocation at C.J. Mahaney's Blog

Thursday, June 25, 2009

God's Chisel

I'm posting this because it soooo reminds me of ME! and how I tend to react many times, after I've prayed to God that he would "chisel me" to conform me more to Jesus Christ:


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Challies: Don't Take Your iPod to Church! (Part 1.5)

"I know a lot about my wife. I know what she likes to wear around the house, what she likes to wear to church and what she likes to wear when we go out for dinner. I know what she likes to eat and what she hates to eat. I know what books she likes to read, what movies she likes to watch, what web sites she likes to browse. I have all of this accumulated knowledge about my wife. But I think I could have this same level of knowledge about whoever the latest Hollywood heartthrob happens to be. This is exactly the kind of knowledge that you might find in those newspapers and magazines that clutter the checkouts at the grocery stores and it is the kind of knowledge that I might find on the hundreds of gossip blogs that pollute the internet.

I also have knowledge of my wife, knowledge that goes far beyond the facts of preferences, likes, dislikes, hobbies. I have an intense and intimate knowledge of my wife—a kind of knowledge shared by no one else in the world. She and I enjoy intimacy that transcends mere bits of information.

A trend we see today through today’s digital technology is the exaltation of this kind of knowledge, cold facts, at the expense of more intimate knowledge. This is true, I’m convinced, when we take our iPods to church. Quentin Schultze says that we have become like tourists who are so enamored by our mode of transportation that we cruise through nation after nation largely indifferent to the people and the cultures around us. We have our passports filled with the little stamps telling people just how many places we’ve been, but what is the purpose of being in places if we have not experienced them? And what is the purpose of knowing people if we do not care to know them on anything more than a surface level? The trend today is toward these fleeting, surface-level interactions...Click here to read the rest of the article

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Of Hymns and Things: I Surrender All

"Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33



Words: Jud­son W. Van De­Vent­er, 1896:

The song was writ­ten while I was con­duct­ing a meet­ing at East Pal­es­tine, Ohio, in the home of George Seb­ring (found­er of the Seb­ring Camp­meet­ing Bi­ble Con­fer­ence in Seb­ring, Ohio, and lat­er de­vel­op­er of the town of Seb­ring, Flor­i­da). For some time, I had strug­gled be­tween de­vel­op­ing my tal­ents in the field of art and go­ing into full-time evan­gel­is­tic work. At last the pi­vot­al hour of my life came, and I sur­ren­dered all. A new day was ushered in­to my life. I became an evang­el­ist and dis­cov­ered down deep in my soul a tal­ent hi­ther­to un­known to me. God had hid­den a song in my heart, and touch­ing a ten­der chord, He caused me to sing.

Music: Win­field S. Weed­en, 1896**



All to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

Refrain

I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessèd Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

Refrain

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

Refrain

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

Refrain

All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

Refrain



I especially love this hymn because of its sobering words of surrendering all to Jesus, how can we not when Christ surrendered all for us undeserving sinners? and yet we still struggle holding on to so many things, when singing hymns like these I pray to God that it may be a reality in my life and not just words to a tune in my lips, and in this case I pray that I may be able to daily die to self by surrendering all to Him, my precious Savior!


**Lyrics and Hymn details compliments of: Cyberhymnal.org (now known as Nethymnal.org)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Being Ungrateful

"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

1 Thessalonians 5:18


I should plaster this all over my room, my books, my things, my everything; because I obviously still have not learned this verse in all its profoundity and yet simple and truthful demand, to give thanks in EVERYTHING. I realized today thanks to the wisdom words of my good friend Tomassetti that I am such and ungrateful fool. It was one of those moments one of the youth leaders from my church described a few Saturdays ago, when the little things in this life can completely throw us off focus. Instead of setting our eyes/minds/hearts to Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, we set them on this earth, on our pride, on ourselves. Suddenly we are all puffed up, we are the victims, we are the wronged ones, and now the world has to serve ME. And oh how it hurts when with the Sword of Truth we are popped like a balloon and we fall right back down to realize that:
"All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away." - Isaiah 64:6
"So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'" Luke 17:10
And why these two realities? Because both of them, our righteous acts and our obedience, lead us to think that we are somehow deserving of any of the blessings God bestows upon us.
And finally another, extra-scriptural I might add, word of wisdom to mortify the pride in all of us, especially in me:
"Beggars can't be choosers"

But even in this hurtful, pride-mortifying, sin-convicting moment I must be thankful to God for He answered last night's prayer that he would work on my pride, and because He as my Heavenly Father loves me enough to discipline me.

Again:
"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

1 Thessalonians 5:18

I leave this now as one of those examples in the Bible of what NOT to do: never be ungrateful, never think that just because the Lord has chosen and saved you and blessed you with His Holy Spirit and working in you that in any way shape or form you deserve any of it because you know what? It's by Grace that you have been saved through faith and this not your own doing, it is the gift of God not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
If all you wanted were lemons and God gave you a lemon tree seed, GIVE THANKS!

Grace Gems: I would teach you a way to be never be disappointed

I would teach you a way to be never be disappointed

(The following is a letter of John Newton

to his 13 year old adopted daughter, who was away at school)

"The LORD does whatever pleases Him--in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths!" Psalm 135:6

My dear Betsy,
How vain are all things here below! "Vanity of vanities!" says the preacher. And you, and I, and your mamma, may say so likewise; for we all counted upon seeing you last Sunday. We listened at the door--and peeped out of the window--but no Betsy came! Now we will venture to expect you next Sunday.

Indeed, it is not amiss that you should now and then meet with a hindrance--that you may learn, if possible--not to count too much on what tomorrow may do for you--and that you may begin to feel the impossibility of being happy, any further than your will is brought into submission to the will of God. In order to learn this--you must have your own will frequently crossed. And things do and will turn out, almost daily in one way or other--contrary to our wishes and expectations.

When such disappointments happen--most people fret and fume! They are angry and impatient! But others, who are in the Lord's school, and desirous of being taught by Him--get benefit by these things, and sometimes find more pleasure in yielding to His appointments, though contrary to their own wills--than they would have done, if all had happened just as they had desired!

I wish for you my dear child, to think much of the Lord's governing providence. It extends to the minutest concerns. He rules and manages all things; but in so secret a way, that most people think that He does nothing. When, in reality--He does ALL!

He appointed the time of your coming into the world. And the day and hour of your coming home from school to us--totally depends upon Him likewise! Nor can you safely travel one step of the road--without His protection and care over you!

It may now seem a small matter to you and I, whether you came home last Sunday--or are to come home next Sunday. But we know not what different consequences may depend upon the day--we know not what hidden danger you might have escaped by staying at school last Sunday. The Lord knows all things! He foresees every possible consequence! Often what we call disappointments, are really mercies from Him to save us from harm!

If I could teach you a lesson, which, as yet, I have but poorly learned myself--I would teach you a way to be never be disappointed. This would be the case--if you could always form a right judgment of this world, and all things in it.

If you go to a bramble-bush to look for grapes--you must be disappointed; but then you are old enough to know that grapes never grow upon brambles. So, if you expect much pleasure here in this world--you will not find it. But you ought not to say you are disappointed, because the Scripture plainly warned you beforehand, to look for crosses, trials and hindrances, every day. If you expect such things--you will not be disappointed when they happen!

"At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: Naked I came from my mother's womb--and naked I will depart. The Lord gave--and the Lord has taken away! May the name of the Lord be praised!" Job 1:20-21

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Of Life, Church, and other issues...

A few months back I began to struggle with a situation, to leave or not to leave, that was/is the question. I had even played around in my mind to be torn between these two worlds because I grown fond of one dearly, and yet the other is where I felt I would be better serving God for a lot of reasons. But after prayer and a lot of thought to the matter finally I had chosen to stay at the one I had grown fond of. It wasn't until I read this from Frank Turk's post on The Tombstone of a Wife, part of his series on why he left his church:
"Let me put it this way: if I was attending a church where I was teaching Sunday school and having serviceable worship on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night, but I found that all my fellowship time and discipleship and real acts of public service for the sake of Christ was under the umbrella of another church, I'd seriously consider changing churches – even if I couldn’t teach at the new church. And the reasoning would be this: I am fruitlessly ministering to this body of people, and I am fruitfully ministering with these other people. My Christian life is actually a life in one circumstance, and no so much in the other."

At no given point was I even hoping for this to happen or praying for this to happen until last year when I began attending this evangelistic Bible study on Mondays. There I met brothers and sisters from another church whom soon enough I began to love dearly. Then when this year began something incredible happened, I had been praying for nearly a year that the Lord would grant someone to be my fellow worker in spreading the gospel, and not only did the Lord answer my prayers, but he provided a whole team of my brothers and sisters to join me in this cause of spreading the gospel. Who were these people? my brothers and sisters from the other church.
What began with a desire to preach the gospel turned into an evangelism ministry to reach out with the gospel a group of women on a certain street who have spent their lives selling their bodies in order to survive. My sister V had shared with my and J her desire to reach out to these women and we found out that the three of us shared this common passion.
Months have passed and what started with me going to this Bible study on Mondays, has turned to me having all my fellowship/ministry/discipleship/accountability with these brethren from the other church: "My Christian life is actually a life in one circumstance, and no so much in the other."
What is the next step? 1. Continue to pray, 2. Seek advice from my pastors and even from the pastors/leaders from the other church.
Please pray for me as I deal with this, not so easy situation.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Grace Gems: When we complain about the weather!

And now returning to our regular broadcast! A Grace Gem! ok so while I abandoned the blog for months I also abandoned my regular Grace Gem posting and reading...but now I'm back! With a great one if I may say so. So often do we complain about the weather and yet we forget that our Lord is sovereign even over the weather, so next time you complain about how hot it is or how cold it is, or how rainy, etc, think of this grace gem.

When we complain about the weather!

(Arthur Pink, "The Sovereignty of God
")


"He spreads snow like wool;
He scatters frost like ashes;
He throws His hailstones like crumbs.
Who can withstand His cold?
He unleashes His winds, and the waters flow."
Psalm 147:15-18


What a declaration is this! The changes of the elements are beneath God's sovereign control. It is God who withholds the rain--and it is God who gives the rain . . .
when He wills,
where He wills,
as He wills, and
on whom He wills!

"I also withheld the rain from you while there were still three months until harvest. I sent rain on one city--but no rain on another. One field received rain--while a field with no rain withered. I struck you with blight and mildew; the locust devoured your many gardens and vineyards, your fig trees and olive trees! I sent plagues like those of Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword . . . says the Lord." Amos 4:7-10

"The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen. He loads the clouds with moisture; He scatters His lightning through them. At His direction they swirl around over the face of the whole earth to do whatever He commands them. He brings the clouds to punish men--or to water His earth and show His love." Job 37:10-13

Truly, then, God governs the elements!

Earth and wind,
fire and rain,
hail and snow,
stormy winds and angry seas
--all obey His omnipotent word--and fulfill His sovereign pleasure! Therefore, when we complain about the weather, we are, in reality, murmuring against God!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Madonna syndrome: I should have ditched feminism for love, children and baking

Someone posted this article on Facebook and I thought it worthwhile sharing. It reminded me of Romans 1, and how God has written certain things in our hearts, and I think Biblical Womanhood is one of them, but we suppress these truths in unrighteousness by following ways that seem right to us but ultimately lead to destruction. Without further adieu:

Madonna syndrome: I should have ditched feminism for love, children and baking
by Zoe Lewis
( http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/article5662099.ece)

I never thought I would be saying this, but being a free woman isn't all it's cracked up to be. Is that the rustle of taffeta I hear as the suffragettes turn in their graves? Possibly. My mother was a hippy who kept a pile of (dusty) books by Germaine Greer and Erica Jong by her bed (like every good feminist, she didn't see why she should do all the cleaning). She imbued me with the great values of choice, equality and sexual liberation. I fought with my older brother and won; at university I beat the rugby lads at drinking games. I was not to be messed with.

Now, nearly 37, those same values leave me feeling cold. I want love and children but they are nowhere to be seen. I feel like a UN inspector sent in to Iraq only to find that there never were any weapons of mass destruction. I was led to believe that women could “have it all” and, more to the point, that we wanted it all. To that end I have spent 20 years ruthlessly pursuing my dreams - to be a successful playwright. I have sacrificed all my womanly duties and laid it all at the altar of a career. And was it worth it? The answer has to be a resounding no.

Ten years ago The Times ran a piece about my play Paradise Syndrome. It was based on my girlfriends in the music business. All we did was party, work and drink. The play sold out and I thought: “This is it! I'm going to have it all: success, power and men are going to adore me for it.” In reality it was the beginning of years of hard slog, rejection letters and living on the breadline. A decade on, I have written the follow-up play Touched for the Very First Time in which Lesley, played by Sadie Frost, is an ordinary 14-year-old from Manchester who falls in love with Madonna in 1984 after hearing the song Like a Virgin. She religiously follows her icon through the years, as Madonna sells her the ultimate dream: “You can do anything - be anything - go girl.” Lesley discovers, along with Madonna, that trying to “have it all” is a huge gamble. I wrote the play because so many of my girlfriends were inspired by this bullish woman who allowed us to be strong and sexy. I still love her and always will, but she has encouraged us to chase a fantasy and it's a huge disappointment.

I may be an extreme case. My views may not represent those of other women of my generation. Perhaps I am just a spoilt middle-class girl who had a career and who has now changed her mind? I don't think so. This month the General Household Survey found that the number of unmarried women under 50 has more than doubled over the past 30 years. And by the age of 30, one in five of these “freemales”, who have chosen independence over husband and family, has gone through a broken cohabitation.

I argue that women's libbers of the Sixties and Seventies put careerism at the forefront, trampling the traditional role of women underneath their Doc Martens. I wish a more balanced view of womanhood had been available to me. I wish that being a housewife or a mother wasn't such a toxic idea to middle-class liberals of yesteryear.

Increasing numbers of my feminist friends are giving up their careers for love and children and baking. I wish I'd had kids ten years ago, when time was on my side, but the problem is not so much time as mentality. I made a conscious decision not to have serious relationships because I thought I had all the time in the world. Many of my friends did the same. It's about understanding what is important in life, and from what I see and feel, loving relationships and children bring more happiness than work ever can.

Natasha Hidvegi, 37, has left her job as a surgeon to look after her son. “I found it impossible to be a good surgeon and a good mother. Though it was a horrendous decision, I don't regret it.”

I thought that men would love independent, strong women, but (in general) they don't appear to. Men are programmed to like their women soft and feminine. It's not their fault - it's in the genes. Holly Kendrick, 34, who holds a high-status job in the theatre, agrees: “Men tend to be freaked out if you work as hard as them.” This is why many of my girlfriends are still alone. The truth, though, is not that men haven't accepted women's modernity - the alpha woman who never questions her entitlement to the same jobs, fun and sexual gratification as them - but that women haven't either. I feel a great pressure from other women of my generation, who have partners and kids, to join their club. In their eyes I am not the trailblazer but the failure. My friend Rita Arnold, 36, works in marketing. “It's not men who judge me for being a careerist. It's other women. The claws come out.”

This leaves me sick to the stomach. We are letting each other down but there is a worse betrayal than that. I am a failure in my own eyes. Somewhere inside lurks a woman I cannot control and she is in the kitchen with a baby on her hip and dough in her hand, staring me down. She is saying: “This is happiness, this is what it's all about.” It's an instinct that makes me a woman, an instinct that I can't ignore even if I wanted to.

Felicity Wren, 36, is an actress who has yet to find Mr Right. “I feel the pressure, but only from myself, about how I do not have a conventional life. Most people don't care.”

Had I this understanding of my psyche ten years ago I would have demoted my writing (and hedonism) and pursued a relationship with vigour. There were plenty of men and even a marriage offer, but I wouldn't give up my dreams.

I talked to the girls who were the subject of my play Paradise Syndrome in 1999. Sas Taylor, 38, single and childless, runs her own PR company: “In my twenties I felt I was invincible,” she says. “Now I wish I had done it all differently. I seem to scare men off because I am so capable. I have business success but it doesn't make you happy.” Nicki P, 35 and single, works in the music industry and adds: “It was all a game back then. Now I am panicking. No one told me that having fun is not as fun as I thought.”

As I write this I feel sad, as if the feminist principles that my mother brought me up on are being trashed. Am I betraying womanhood? No, I am revealing a shameful truth. Women are often the worst enemies of feminism because of our genetic make-up. We have only a finite time to be mothers and when that clock starts ticking we abandon our strength and jump into bed with whoever is left, forgetting talk of deadlines and PowerPoint presentations in favour of Mamas & Papas buggies and ovulation diaries. Not all women want children but I challenge any woman to say she doesn't want loving relationships. I wish I'd had the advice that I am giving to my 21-year-old sister: if you find a great guy, don't be afraid to settle down and have kids because there isn't anything to miss out on that you can't do later (apart from having kids).

In the future I hope that there can be a better understanding of women by women. The past 25 years have been confusing and I feel that I've been caught in the crossfire. As women we should accept each other rather than just appreciating “success”. I have always felt a huge pressure to be successful to show men that I am their equal. What a waste of time. Wife and mother should be given parity with the careerist role in the minds of feminists.

My mother had children early and has brilliantly juggled a career as a filmmaker and parent. She was part of the generation that overlapped, that had feminist values but had children early. She hasn't had the job opportunities of my generation, she had to make sacrifices and take lesser jobs to be at parents' evenings. Choice and careers are vital, of course, but they shouldn't be pursued relentlessly. I love being a writer and still have my dream but now I am facing facts. The thing that has made me feel best in life was being in love with my ex-boyfriend and the thing that makes me feel the most centred is being in the country with kids and dogs, and yes, maybe in the kitchen.

Touched for the Very First Time opened this week at Trafalgar Studios, London; www.touchedtheplay.com

Shai Linne on Biblical Womanhood: Working Out Your Salvation With Fear and Trembling

This is a song from Shai Linne's latest album Storiez, I just love it!

WORK IT OUT

Chorus

You running hard for the King?

I know that’s right!

Is Jesus your everything?

I know that’s right!

Did He really make all things new?

No doubt!

By His grace, whatcha gonna do?

Work it out!

Verse 1

She’s not your typical girl

Sixteen years old and she’s dead to the world

Faith by her lifestyle demonstrated

because the gospel penetrated and now she’s regenerated

Her Master is greater than fashions and flavors

She patterns her behavior after the Savior

Back in the days you would have seen her standing in the mirror

Yeah, her skin was clear, but her vanity was clearer

Now she’s in the Scriptures and wants to be like

Hannah and Sarah rather than Christina Aguilera

Wordly girls imitate Missy Elliot

But she wants to be like Elisabeth Eliot

Not flexing her body, see she dresses with modesty

She’s not perfect- she confesses sin honestly

Christ crucified! That’s her permanent shout

And by the grace of the Lord, she’s working it out

Chorus

Verse 2

She’s not your normal wife

She’s twenty-four and Christ is the Lord of her life

Her walk is evidence that she trusts in God

And it feels so good to be justified

And no, she doesn’t have a Master’s in Divinity

But what she does have is a passion for the Trinity

When she recalls her previous prodigal seasons

And how at times she could be the loudest of heathens

She praises God for making this former feminist

submit to her husband for theological reasons

Worldly wives watch Oprah to learn to be a lady

But she’s reading the writings of Carolyn Mahaney

And she would never disrespect her husband in public

And if she does it, she repents- I love it!

Christ crucified! That’s her permanent shout

And by the grace of the Lord, she’s working it out

Chorus

Verse 3

She’s not your usual mother

{ahem} years old and she’s true to the lover

of her soul, she beholds the cross where He copped it

Once was agnostic, now she’s adopted

Her passion grows greater as she beholds him

Job title: homemaker/ theologian

Early in her walk, she would fight against His will then

The Lord used her marriage and the Bible to reveal sin

Now she fights to kill sin and her greatest joy is

serving her husband as she’s discipling her children

While worldly mothers stress shopping for the new style

She’s pouring into younger women Titus 2 style

Teaching others how to rightly see brothers and be mothers

And most of all better Jesus lovers

Christ crucified! That’s her permanent shout

And by the grace of the Lord, she’s working it out

Chorus

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Our Physical Health

Poor diet, lack of exercise, and unhealthy lifestyle choices are responsible for 65% of cancer deaths - American Cancer Society, 06


As a Christian and a Doctor, ahem (ok I'll stop :P) I feel I have to respond to things like these. Our days are counted right? we can't add a day to our lifetime nor an inch to our stature right? So why even worry about things like these? diet? exercise? unhealthy lifestyle choices? Wrong. While we shouldn't lose sleep over these things we should take care of the things God has entrusted us and one of those things is our body. Now I'm not saying that we should go to a gym and hire a personal trainer and have fit abs and whatnot. That is not what I'm saying. What I am saying is that we have to 1. obey our doctors when they tells us we need to lower our cholesterol intake (meaning all that greasy food that loves to stick to our arteries) 2. When they tell us to lower the amount of sweets we eat (all that goody and unhealthy sugary junk we love so much, oh the pancakes with extra syrup! sorry...personal favorite) or eat healthier carbs 3. When they tell us to do some sort of excercise at least an hour a day (remember lazyness is no good, from a Biblical perspective it can even be sinful. The exercise could be something as simple as a walk around the block/park, walking the neighbor's dog/cat/sugarglider/younameit)
So granted we can't add a day to those 10/40/60/90 days the Lord had planned for us to live but we can live out those days in a healthy way, it could even serve to help us practice self control, I know it has helped me. But remember two things:
1. Not to make an idol of your body.
2. What truly matters before the Lord is our spiritual health (meaning don't do one thing at the expense of another).

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Shai Linne: on Limited Atonement



Verse 1

Here’s a controversial subject that tends to divide
For years it’s had Christians lining up on both sides
By God’s grace, I’ll address this without pride
The question concerns those for whom Christ died
Was He trying to save everybody worldwide?
Was He trying to make the entire world His Bride?
Does man’s unbelief keep the Savior’s hands tied?
Biblically, each of these must be denied
It’s true, Jesus gave up His life for His Bride
But His Bride is the elect, to whom His death is applied
If on judgment day, you see that you can’t hide
And because of your sin, God’s wrath on you abides
And hell is the place you eternally reside
That means your wrath from God hasn’t been satisfied
But we believe His mission was accomplished when He died
But how the cross relates to those in hell?
Well, they be saying:

Lord knows He tried (8x)

Verse 2

Father, Son and Spirit: three and yet one
Working as a unit to get things done
Our salvation began in eternity past
God certainly has to bring all His purpose to pass
A triune, eternal bond no one could ever sever
When it comes to the church, peep how they work together
The Father foreknew first, the Son came to earth
To die- the Holy Spirit gives the new birth
The Father elects them, the Son pays their debt and protects them
The Spirit is the One who resurrects them
The Father chooses them, the Son gets bruised for them
The Spirit renews them and produces fruit in them
Everybody’s not elect, the Father decides
And it’s only the elect in whom the Spirit resides
The Father and the Spirit- completely unified
But when it comes to Christ and those in hell?
Well, they be saying:

Lord knows He tried (8x)

Verse 3

My third and final verse- here’s the situation
Just a couple more things for your consideration
If saving everybody was why Christ came in history
With so many in hell, we’d have to say He failed miserably
So many think He only came to make it possible
Let’s follow this solution to a conclusion that’s logical
What about those who were already in the grave?
The Old Testament wicked- condemned as depraved
Did He die for them? C’mon, behave
But worst of all, you’re saying the cross by itself doesn’t save
That we must do something to give the cross its power
That means, at the end of the day, the glory’s ours
That man-centered thinking is not recommended
The cross will save all for whom it was intended
Because for the elect, God’s wrath was satisfied
But still, when it comes to those in hell
Well, they be saying:

Lord knows He tried (8x)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Eyes Opened

I know I've abandoned this blog, I've just been mentally and spiritually tired struggling over a few things. But reading John 1 today reminded me of two things:
1. Why I love the OT so much, yes even Numbers and Leviticus I just finished reading Leviticus for the third time.
2. How back in the olden days singing at church (RCC) a song that said "Cordero de Dios que quitas el pecado del mundo, ten piedad, ten piedad!" (Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy, hace mercy!) I never really knew what that phrase meant but I did like singing that song.
So as I read that verse "The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’" I remembered the first time I read that verse after having read the first five books of the OT and realizing that Christ was the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, that lamb I had read so much about in leviticus and what its purpose was, that lamb offered by God himself to take away MY sin! Wow! How mindblowing! humbling! convicting!
Isn't our Lord great!? Amazing love indeed.
And today as I re-read that verse I'm still awestruck at God's amazing love and grace that he would die to save sinners and sinners like me.
So take this moment to read John 1 and rejoice at God's grace, at his justice, at his love.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Evangelism: Living Water

World Water Day
by Rennae de Freitas


In 1992, the UN General Assembly designated 22 March of each year as the World Day for Water. The Dominican Republic, like the majority of developing world countries, has serious problems with water supply.

Many people live without running water and for those who do, they must deal with the reality of constant water shortages. Also, like other majority world countries the running water is not potable which results in sickness and disease.

Dealing with this water issues in the country is a part of daily life and our ministry as we work to serve the needs of this country. Yet the issue that is of greatest concern to me is solving the problem of spiritual thirst. Jesus is the real answer to the world’s water problems not digging a well (not to minimize well-digging BRING IT ON!!!) Yet even with contaminated water I have seen God’s people live joyful abundant lives! You see it everywhere in this country. So my passionate quest is to get to the ones in this country who have the least access to living water. And my compassionate actions i.e. well digging and grocery giving, are the tangible demonstration of the eternal, rescuing and thirst quenching message that I am compelled to PROCLAIM.

Friday night I stood in the rain on a street corner with a group of shivering, scantily dressed girls huddled under cardboard boxes. They were there to sell their bodies. We were there to offer them water.

I put my arm around my new friend Luzmely*, three months pregnant holding a saturated piece of cardboard over her head. I asked her if she would trade her piece of cardboard for my umbrella. She smiled at my absurdity, but gladly made the trade.

My friend Rita told the story of the Samaritan woman and her encounter with Jesus. I was amazed at how these girls were totally captivated by the story. As Rita shared, cars stopped at the corner waiting for a girl to come to the car in order to be whisked away into the night. Yet the girls would not move; they wanted to hear the story. Meanwhile, I noticed that one car circled around three times!

It was like Jesus was there with us Friday night just like he was with the Samaritan woman—offering water! As the rain fell on us, we did what Jesus would do, we offered them water, but not contaminated water, not water that is always in short supply. We offered living water. And with all the rain, we all went home drenched, both literally and spiritually!

“Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” --Jesus Christ


As a side note I would like to say that I was terrified when Vivian asked me to prepare the message we'd be sharing, I prayed so much that the Lord would help me and would put the exact words in my mouth that He'd wanted me to share with these women. As we stood there with the first group I asked them if they ever wondered why we were there and had been there for the past 3 fridays. I honestly wondered what they thoughtbecause each Friday we have been seeing God's hand working mightily right on that street on both corners, especially working in each and every one of us. I cannot wait to see how this ends or perhaps what the outcome of this evangelism ministry might be. My utmost desire is that God will be glorified and that if it is His will that these women may be saved and finally delivered from their present slavery, and finally begin using their bodies to glorify the Lord.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Grace Gems: Your Goliath Lust

Last saturday on youth group Mrs. Elba talked about Holiness, and talked about specifically how we should be Holy as the Lord is Holy when it comes to relationships and even singleness. I'm glad the group was divided into men and women because we were able to freely ask questions about sexual immorality, lust and what is appropriate to watch when in front of the television. I was also very glad we touched the subject of lust in tv series and movies women in general usually like, I took the opportunity to speak of some of the things I wrote in my post on Twilight.

"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you." 1 Thesalonians 4:3-7

Your Goliath lust



"Be strong in the Lord, and in the power
of His might." Ephesians 6:10

When you are to resist a temptation, or to
mortify a corruption--do not go out in your
own strength, but in the strength of Christ.

Some go out to duty in the strength of their
abilities; and go out against sin in the strength
of their resolutions--and they both come home
foiled. Alas! What are our resolutions, but like
the green cords which bound Samson! A sinful
heart will soon break these!


Do as David when he was to go up against Goliath.
He said, "I come to you in the name of the Lord!"
So say to your Goliath lust, "I come to you in the
name of Christ!" Then we conquer, when the Lion
of the tribe of Judah marches before us!


Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Reunion

I hurried back inside the temple and they were already praying so I stood, bowed my head and prayed, a few minutes later my phone began to vibrate. It was time to go. As soon as the prayer ended, little papers were handed out where we were to write down specific sins we wanted to repent of or prayer request I never really got to hear what they were for, I walked toward my chair picked up my purse and scurried out, the phone vibrated again. I walked downstairs toward the parking lot where he was waiting. I hopped on the car and off we went to the reunion.
We arrived at MacDonald's and her car was there, we parked and walked toward the door, went it and finally saw them sitting on a table by the window. My heart leaped with joy. With her back towards us was a blond, bluish eyed bubbly young woman with a cheerful spirit talking with a passion about her ministry to women in a place called Boca Chica. I sat next to her, finally, I thought, my prayer has been answered and it is taking form!
Our hearts rejoiced as we heard her stories of how she came to this country, of her vision about the minivan and the women, of her first sheep, the man who was reading John the night before, the gifts, the prayers.

But how will they give worship to him in whom they have no faith? and how will they have faith in him of whom they have not had news? and how will they have news without a preacher?
And how will there be preachers if they are not sent? As it is said, How beautiful are the feet of those who give the glad news of good things.
Romans 10:14-15

We ended our reunion with a set date, Friday the 27th when we would finally begin what we had been praying for , we prayed to end our reunion and left rejoicing and praising God for His providence, His guidance and His blessings. It is an evangelism ministry, it is to a group of women and all I can say is pray for us and for them. Thank You!

The Very End

For the past month and a half every 5 days for 24 hours I've had to share my emergency room at Billini with the most unfriendly creatures that have ever existed on the earth since the beginning of time. Yes I have had to share my space, my lunch time, my snacks and even my patients with them. But as of tomorrow they will cease to exist. At least for the next 3 months according to the instructions.
Ah goodbye my dear friends, it is the end, the very end of you. God willing.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Fallen Humanity

Something happened a few days ago, two satellites crashed and it just made me think and chucke for a little bit how we are soooo stubborn/fallen/sinful. Millions of dollars are spent looking out into the universe and we are so dense that we have missed the obvious. We are taught how far the planets are from each other and from the moon, the size of our planet and the size of the sun and moons, we are taught how the earth orbits in an elliptical rotation around the sun and how all planets in our solar system orbit the sun in that way. We are taught all about constellations, stars, gravity, supernovas and all about the universe and how it ticks. But we have missed the obvious, seeing we did not see, and hearing we did not understand. The universe works in perfect motion like a clock, we orbit around the sun with other 7 (8 if you still view pluto as a planet) other planets, moons orbit around each planet, there is a belt of asteroids not far from us with asteroids orbiting around our sun and some orbiting around us and in 10,000 years of recorded history that we know of none of the planets have crashed with each other or the sun, no dangerous asteroid has crashed and destroyed our earth, our moon hasn't fallen off of orbit.
We have an amazing God who claims that in Him all things hold together (Col 1:17) and the evidence to prove it, and here come these fallen human beings create objects and send them out into space that they may orbit our earth, and a century has yet to pass and already two satellites have crashed with one another, now endangering a lot of the very expensive satellites that are out there orbiting our planet, even one with people in it.
The saddest part of all is that millions of people have placed their trust in these fallen human beings.
5Thus says the LORD:"Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
Jeremiah 17:5

Providence

Providence

From Calvin's Institues:

That this distinction may be the more manifest, we must consider that the providence of God, as taught in Scripture, is opposed to fortune and fortuitous causes. By an erroneous opinion prevailing in all ages, an opinion almost universally prevailing in our own day, i.e., that all things happen fortuitously, the true doctrine of providence has not only been obscured, but almost buried. If one falls among robbers, or ravenous beats; if a sudden gust of wind at sea causes shipwreck; if one is struck down by the fall of a house or a tree; if another, when wandering through desert paths, meets with deliverance; or, after being tossed by the waves, arrives in port and makes some wondrous hair-breadth escape from death -- all these occurrences, prosperous as well as adverse, carnal sense will attribute to fortune. But whoso has learned from the mouth of Christ that all the hairs of his head are numbered (Matt. 10:30), will look farther for the cause, and hold that all events whatsoever are governed by the secret counsel of God.



I saw this on someone's Blog and just had to steal it! All I can say is AMEN!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Busy, Busy

I haven't posted much this year, that's because I'm currently on my last internship rotation of medicine, Surgery and Psychiatry(although this one begins in April), and it hasn't been easy. There has been a lot of studying being done, my schedule is crazy! and my shifts are every 5 days, 24 hour shifts mind you. When I'm finally home my brain is too fried to write anything, but soon this will all be over and I'll have more time to do all the good stuff I've had to stop doing this semester. Heck I even have a list of books I've been wanting to read but haven't been able to. Ah well I'll keep everyone updated. Prayers are always needed and Thanks!
Keep on Keeping on! and Looking always to Him who is the Author and Perfecter of our Faith!

God bless!
Rita M.

Edit:
Oh but I promise there is lots to tell! while a busy year this has been an amazing year! Okay, okay is just the beginning of February but still what better way to begin the year with an answer to a year and half long prayer? and then having that answer confirmed and re-confirmed by God's providence? Seriously if I could name this year something, It'd be: the Lord answers my prayers...maybe I'm just getting way ahead of myself right? ah anywho..I'll write it all down once my brain recovers.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Grace Gems: I would fly away, and be at rest!

I would fly away, and be at rest!

(Arthur Pink
, "The Rest of Christ")
"Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden--and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28


There is also a FUTURE rest beyond any that can be experienced here, though our best conceptions are most inadequate of the glory awaiting the people of God.

In Heaven, there shall be a perfect resting from all of our sins--for nothing shall ever enter there, which could either defile or disturb our peace. The Christian yearns to be done with sin forever--that there may never again be anything in his heart or life dishonoring unto the One who has redeemed him at such infinite cost. He pants for perfect conformity to the image of Christ, and for unbroken fellowship with Him.

What it will mean to be delivered from indwelling corruptions--no mortal tongue can tell. The plague of their hearts is a constant occasion of grief to the saints--as long as they are left in this wilderness of sin. It is a burden under which they groan, and from which they long to be delivered. The closer a believer's walk with the Lord, and the more intimate his communion with Him--the more bitterly he bewails that sin within him, which is ever fighting against his endeavors after holiness. Therefore it was, that the Apostle cried out, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death!" (Romans 7:24) But blessed be God, we shall not carry this burden beyond the grave--the hour of death will free us from all indwelling evil.

In Heaven, there will be perpetual rest from all our afflictions. Though afflictions are needful for us in this present scene, and when sanctified to us are also profitable; nevertheless they are grievous to bear. But a day is coming when such tribulations will no longer be necessary, for all the dross shall have been purged from the gold. The storms of life will all be behind, and an unbroken calm shall be the believer's portion forever and ever!

Where there shall be no more sin--there shall be no more sorrow! "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes! And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever!" Revelation 21:4

"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then I would fly away, and be at rest!" Psalm 55:6

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Is This All That There is To Life?

I was reading at CJ Mahaney's blog today about the whole Michael Phelps ordeal, Mahaney was wondering what Phelps was searching for in the bong pipe he was caught with, "What emptiness in his soul was he trying to satisfy?" Then recalls another sports champion, Tom Brady who came to a profound realization:
"Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, “Hey man, this is what is.” I reached my goal, my dream, my life. I think, “God, it’s got to be more than this.” I mean this isn’t, this can’t be, what it’s all cracked up to be."

It really caught my attention because these very question were ones I myself wondered about that year I was saved. I remember so well sitting with my friend Jenny at the University talking as usual about who knows what, and I wondered out of the blue: "This can't be it, is this what life is all about? we're born, we go to school grow up graduate, go to college/university, get a job, get married have children and raise them to do the same thing we did and then grow old and die? that's it!? that can't be it" I saw no point to it all, my friend Jenny said "yes thats it!" I told her slightly devastated "That can't be it!", she replied "Then my friend you are missing something". I too like CJ was "a sinner (of greater degree), held captive by sin, pursuing the fleeting pleasures of this world. And sadly, in my case, pursuing sin with passion." But found no point to it all, I began to fear death like I had never feared it before, I would wake up in panic thinking about the "nothingness" the blackness after death.
CJ ends his post with a quote by Augustine:
"It was Augustine who said that the soul is restless until it finds its rest in God. So true. Only God can satisfy the soul. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ provides forgiveness of sin, and therefore it is here in this gospel that we find rest for our restless souls."

Excerpt, read the rest here:
"The photograph of Phelps reminds me of myself prior to conversion, a competitive swimmer (of slightly lesser skill), a sinner (of greater degree), held captive by sin, pursuing the fleeting pleasures of this world. And sadly, in my case, pursuing sin with passion.

So what was Phelps searching for in that bong pipe?

Once again we are reminded that athletic gifting, championship trophies, gold medals, and million dollar endorsement deals cannot satisfy the soul.

Last year, in the wake of his third Super Bowl championship, disillusioned Patriots quarterback Tom Brady admitted on 60 Minutes,
Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, “Hey man, this is what is.” I reached my goal, my dream, my life. I think, “God, it’s got to be more than this.” I mean this isn’t, this can’t be, what it’s all cracked up to be.
I commend Brady for his honesty.

And no doubt some Pittsburg Steelers players are beginning to have similar thoughts.

But in Phelps’s case, if you listen to the media (with the exception of my man Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post) you hear a common chorus of excuses like “Give Phelps a break, nothing he did was anything worse than happens in an average weekend at a typical college campus.”

But we are not talking about a typical American college student. Phelps is a rich superstar.

This is what I find so striking: A man whose chest has been covered with gold medals, has achieved international fame, showered with awards, and blessed with an incomprehensible amount of money, still feels compelled to press his face to a bong."

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Divine Appointment: Hell

See this divine appointment is the reason why either:
a. I need to memorize scripture more, or
b. I need an iPhone or need to install the Bible on my PDA

Last night in my prayers and since last week I've been asking God to grant me some divine appointments at the hospital. For those of you who don't know what a divine appointment is, at least according to my definition: divine appointments are encounters with unlikely people, at an unlikely place during an unlikely time for the purpose of being witnessed to obviously by God's providence, hence the term "divine". Like the Ethiopian eunuch reading a prophesy of Christ in the book of Isaiah and Philip showing up to witness to him as we learn in the book of Acts (Acts 8:26-40), that was a divine appointment and in this portion of scripture we get to see God's hand by sending and Angel to tell Philip to go out to where the eunuch was.
Now that you know, let us continue with this story. So I was minding my own business laying on a bed in one of the rooms at the hospital (there was nothing to do and I was sleepy) when along comes my friend Michelle to tell me there were two "americans" out in the hall looking for someone who'll translate for them, she hinted to me that they might be Jehovah Witnesses. So I get out of bed and head toward the hall, only to find a lovely couple with pamphlets in hand speaking to Ramon an internal medicine intern from my university. So I walk up to them and this very nice young woman with an english accent hands a pamphlet to me and begins explaining what the pamphlet was about. I read the words Watchtower at the end of the pamphlet as an endnote and knew they were Jehovah witnesses as my friend had told me.
So I began reading the pamphlet and immediately saw one of their doctrines displayed in the answer to a question, what happens after we die?. They believe the wicked will be dead for forever after they die, no punishment, not even a place called hell.
So I told the girl, Becky, that I disagreed with what they teach because the Bible teaches something else. I told her that the Bible says some are resurrected to eternal damnation or condemnation and some to eternal life, she said "Show me where it says that in Scripture and I'll believe you" so I went to Matthew 25:46 which says:
"And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Matt 25:46 (esv) [Read it in context I mistakenly did not read the whole thing to her just this and other verses]

Of course her Bible had a different term for punishment it says "cutting-off", later on when I pointed to that verse again she asked, but "isn't eternal death a punishment?" I say that's the easy way out, we've sinned against an infinite Holy God and we get a finite punishment?
Anyway, she began talking to me about God being a God of love and pointing me to 1 John where we're told that God is love. By this time the man who was with her joined us in our conversation, I told her I agreed completely but that we cannot forget that God is a just judge as well and he must punish sin. I then pointed her to Psalm 11 which I had read this very morning,
The Lord tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
6 Let him rain coals on the wicked;
fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
7 For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.
She began to rationalize her belief with a bad analogy, one I've even heard from atheists: "What if you had a child who was very bad, always misbehaving, always being bad would you enjoy punishing him forever?" It falls short because you're comparing the incomparable, its not just a child misbehaving it is a criminal breaking God's law, if you had a criminal always killing, stealing, raping would not want this criminal to be punished rightfully?
We continued pointing ourselves back and forth to scripture, she began to feel agitated and kept on repeating "no God is love, you're wrong, he would never do that." Every now and then the man who was with her had to tell her to not argue or to relax or something like that. He pointed me to Romans 6: 7:
"For one who has died has been set free from sin."

I told him they couldn't keep on picking out verses like that and we read all of Romans 6, and I showed him that what Paul was talking about was us Christians being dead to Sin and alive in Christ, nothing about people not existing after death.
He began to talk after that and told me that there were different words in the Greek used for hell, and I said that I knew very well that the Bible uses the word Gehenna, Hades, and Sheol (There is another word used only once but couldn't remember it refer to my post on Hell) I also explained what Gehenna was and how it symbolizes what will be going on in Hell.
Then he pointed me to 6:23 and I told him how he harmonized those verses that seem to talk about death being it with those that talk about the lake of fire, they couldn't answer that except with God is love and he would never do that, and that teaching is demonic. I said well I disagree, the Bible does teach about hell, we then shook hands and they both left.
I was in awe that God should answer my prayers, and in such a providential way, what were two people from England looking for in a hospital with tracts in english! precisely in the same area I was at? Unlikely people, at an unlikely place in an unlikely time, that was a divine appointment.
My prayer is that they will look through those verses again in context especially Matthew 25 and that God will open their eyes to the truths presented in His word.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Present Day Evangelism Part II

The evangelistic monstrosity of the day!
(Arthur Pink, "Present Day Evangelism")


Alas, alas, God's way of salvation is almost entirely unknown today, the nature of Christ's salvation is almost universally misunderstood, and the terms of His salvation misrepresented on every hand. The "Gospel" which is now being proclaimed is, in nine cases out of every ten--but a perversion of the Truth! Tens of thousands, assured they are bound for heaven--are now hastening to hell as fast as time can take them!


It is the bounden duty of every Christian, to have no dealings with the evangelistic monstrosity of the day, to withhold all moral and financial support of the same, to attend none of their meetings, to circulate none of their tracts. Those preachers who tell sinners that they may be saved without forsaking their idols, without repenting, without surrendering to the Lordship of Christ--are as erroneous and dangerous as others who insist that salvation is by works, and that heaven must be earned by our own efforts!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Twilight

1/3/09 (Sorry I was just not going to update all the verbs to past tense)
Yes you read the title correctly. Today after not having been to the movies in like a gazillion years, I decided to go with some of my friends I know from another church. I did not know which movie we were going to watch but trusted in the wisdom of my brethren. When we got there I inquired as to which movie we would be watching and to my surprise found that it would be Twilight. Since I was already there and there were three others already waiting in line to go in I chose to go in as well.
1. Why on earth would any Christian like this movie? Granted, there were some scenes that were funny/cool/ok/great.
But why on earth would I waste my "spiritual calories" on a movie that is so devoid of any nutritional value, spiritual-wise?
2. Yes the movie has no sex scenes, woohoo! but many parts of the movie were very sensual thus VERY uncomfortable.
3. Romantically speaking, ughhh people wake up! STOP drinking the Hollywood Koolaid! Love and Marriage as defined by Christ in the Bible is sooooo muchhh better than the oh-I-can't-live-without-you idolatrous love that Hollywood and most romantic movies offer!
4. Fine there was one thing about the movie that I liked: That the girl was willing to give up her life to save her mother.

I. On Chick-Flicks
I used to love romantic comedies, romantic dramas and everything that ever had to do with Romance, I'm a fool for it, or used to be. Among my favorites were When Harry Met Sally, The Notebook, Titanic, and many others. But as I continued growing, and studying God's word and learning about the true meaning of a biblical marriage, I began to see that the view of romance as presented in these movies was not only unbiblical but sinful.

Let's see one example, a common favorite:
a. The Notebook(Spoiler alert),
- Noah and the Girl have premarital sex also known as fornication.
- The girl (I forgot her name) is very disobedient to her parents all because of this boy (and people confuse that with love?)
- Finally it's time to go, because she was just there for the summer, and when she moves back to her hometown the relationship ends. She meets another man, gets engaged but after having seen a picture of Noah in the newspaper she has an urge to go see him, thinking if she gets married to the man she's with she'll spend forever wandering what if?
- STILL engaged, she goes back to the town where Noah lives, fornicates yet again, and when her mother arrives to confront her, she justifies her sin by reminding her mom of her past (the mom had in a sense gone through the same experience, falling in love with a poor man), only the way she did it is commonly called SASSING.
- She breaks off the engagement with her fiancé, and ends up with Noah.
- She writes a book about their love story since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and after they're really old Noah spends the rest of his days reading their love story to her trying to get her to remember him, she does and then forgets again and then dies, and he dies beside her.

RECAP:
Basically in this movie, their concept of love includes:
- Fornication
- Idolatrous love (Oh-I-just-can't-live-without-him)
- Infidelity
- Dishonoring of the parents
If you're a Christian and I just ruined your favorite movie for you, good I'm glad, trust me I'm doing it out of my love for you sister and brother. Love as described in the Bible is soooo much more glorious and with a much more glorious purpose than that which is depicted in the typical American sap romantic movies. Why expose our eyes and our very souls to movies, songs, among other things that will not glorify God nor edify us? Because of the fun of it? what fun? If people knew how harmful watching that stuff can be, they influence us without us even noticing. We may be saved but we are still fallen, and Satan never misses an opportunity to make us fall into sin.

II. TV Series
How about a common favorite TV show, which I too once liked: Grey's Anatomy
Here we have Meredith, a frustrated surgery Intern who met a guy at a bar, Derek, without knowing much about each other and after a few drinks they leave together and fornicate, they had what is commonly referred to as a one night stand. But she then finds that this man she had sex with is her Resident at the hospital she just got in for her internship. This is just the beginning of endless seasons of the following:
- Fornication
- Deceit
- Lesbianism
- Drunkenness
- Cohabitation
- Infidelity
And a myriad of other sinful activities. Please spare me the justification if you're about to say or are thinking that you're watching the series for your interest in medicine, sure there are interesting cases every once in a while but the LAST thing you will "learn" from this series is anything interesting about medicine.

Please take heed of what we are told here in 1 John 2:15-17
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever."

Is it so hard for you to not watch these things? Then you need to ask yourself just how precious Christ is to you. As Christ becomes more precious to us and we delight in and meditate on His word daily the temporary trappings of this world will seem less appealing, less entertaining and less lovable to us.



Recomended Reading/watching: Book Review - Twilight by Tim Challies
For a biblical perspective on marriage and love and singleness: This Momentary Marriage by John Piper
A movie worth watching: Fireproof - The DVD comes out this month, 1/27/09