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Showing posts from August, 2014

Sin is an Invasive Species

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I have a funny memory that serves as a helpful illustration to me demonstrating the invasive nature of sin. Several years ago, I was fishing with a friend in northwestern Ontario and I hooked into a lively fish. As the fish battled with me, I said to Norm "I think that this is a bass." Norm had owned a cabin on the lake for several decades and he replied, "There are no bass in this lake." It was a pristine Lake Trout lake and was known for big Lake Trout and huge Northern Pike. A few seconds later, I looked at the wide eyes of my friend as I held a nice little Smallmouth bass in my hand. That was the first bass that he had ever seen caught in this lake. Today, the lake is overrun with Smallies. They came in. They took over. They were an aggressive and highly successful invasive species. You can find them in just about every bay and point on the lake. They are fun to catch but it is a whole lot harder to catch Lake Trout now. In Psalm 19:13, King David prays &…

Praying for I.S.I.S.

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As the horrific violence and brutality of the latest religious monster called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria plays out daily before our eyes in the media, the need to think Christianly rather than instinctively is crucial. To think and then to respond as a Christian takes careful and continuous meditation on the teaching of Christ and the Scriptures. Often, our initial impulses are less than godly and are driven more by fear, anger (that may be justifiable), weariness with the widespread brokenness of the world, or hopelessness as we witness the propensity for human depravity to return each generation in its vilest forms when our longing is to see wickedness vanquished forever.
            The call of Christ upon our lives is to go out into the world but our impulse can be to pull back and become increasingly isolated from the peoples of the world. The methodology and example of Jesus is to love sacrificially in the power of the Holy Spirit but the temptation is to allo…

Jesus is like the Sun - A great quote from Richard Sibbes

Here is a great quote from the Puritan pastor Richard Sibbes from his excellent work "Glorious Freedom: The Excellency of Gospel above the Law." In this quote, he teaches why the ascended Christ is of far greater benefit to the believer than the earthly Christ, now that the earthly Christ has finished the work of the cross. I have long thought that Christians should spend a great deal of time reflecting on the fact that Jesus is ascended and now reigns forever for us with all power and authority. Jesus said in John 16 that it was better that He go because then He could send us His Holy Spirit. Richard Sibbes reflects on how much better is now for the believer to have Christ high in the heavens like the sun being high in the sky:


"As that glorious creature the sun by the advantage it hath being placed in the heavens above us, is able to shine upon the greatest part of the earth at all times; and we need not call the sun down from its place to come into our houses, or fiel…

A Note for Lauren on the First Day of School

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Today, the children return to class at Los Pinares Academy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The first day back is always an exciting and nervous day for kids and parents. However, it is also a big day for teachers, especially if you are a teacher who wants to make a genuine lifelong difference in the lives of these young souls who are precious to God in heaven and therefore, extremely valuable to you. I thought I would send a note to my daughter, Lauren, who is teaching fourth grade. I know she takes her ministry very seriously and so today will be a big day.


Dear Laur,


Here are just a few words of encouragement as you jump into another school year:


1. Remember that God has planned this year to the smallest detail. Every blessing and trial, every interruption and school wide event is under the sovereignty of a God who has given Himself to do us great good. I read Spurgeon's "Morning and Evening" yesterday and found great encouragement from this sentence: "The thought is full …

War Against Worry

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"Doubtless the shadow of anticipated trouble is, to timorous minds, a more prolific source of sorrow than the trouble itself, but faith puts a strengthening plaister to the back of courage, and throws out of the window the dregs of the cup of trembling." C.H.Spurgeon


            John Piper has a great line in which he says "Books don't change people. Sentences do." That, of course, is a paraphrase but it is also a line that has changed me. I linger over sentences. My opening quote from the famous 19th century British preacher, Charles Spurgeon, reminded me of another line that gripped me many years ago. It was from an eighteenth century French Jesuit named Jean Nicholas Grou who I know nothing more about than this one quote. He wrote "The chief pang of most trials is not so much the actual suffering itself as our own spirit of resistance to it."
            I am sure that the reason these quotes stand out to me is that I, like many others, have the unfo…

Look to the Right. Look to the Right

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I have spent the past three weeks in England. Ten of those days were participating in the C.S. Lewis Foundation's Summer Institutes, Oxbridge 2014: Reclaiming the Virtues. If you have ever spent anytime at Oxford or Cambridge, you will know that July is a time when the streets are buzzing with crowds of people who are taking in the historical sites, enrolled in summer classes and programs, or enjoying the numerous plays and concerts offered here. The narrow sidewalks are filled with representatives of all the nations of the earth.
            There are also bicycles galore. My initial worry, as a North American, was that I might get run over on the side of a street by a passing automobile since I tend to look in the wrong direction. However, I learned quickly that you usually hear a car coming. It is the myriad of cyclists who you are more apt to cross if you are careless. There are many. They are fast. They don't always make a sound.
            So, at least for the fir…