Friday, November 23, 2007

Bitter Providences

I was reminded by Caroline's latest blog entry that is not always easy to feel thankful for things during Thanksgiving, or any time for that matter. Sometimes, life seems to be dealing you a bad hand, directly, or maybe indirectly through family and friends. Because of this, it's hard to recognize any good in your life. And all this reminds me of a guy named William Cowper.

William lived in the mid to late 1700s. He was a Christian, but one who battled with depression all his life. He was a poet who also ended up writing many hymns, including his most famous, "There is a fountain." He lived with his good friend John Newton most of his life who loved him well during his dark days.

He wrote a hymn called "God moves in a mysterious way" the day before he fell into his greatest depression that lasted until he died. It is a hymn that has greatly comforted me during my darker days over the last several years. It is reminiscent of Jeremiah's Lamentations, when, after he groans over his life devoid of happiness, he says this:
"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."

So let this hymn remind you, Christian, that now matter how hard things seem to be in your life, God is always sovereign and working all things out for your greater good, your richer joy, and for His greater glory.

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill.
He treasures up His bright designs and works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take, the clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour.
The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.

Here's Piper's bio of WIlliam.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

John Piper and Thanksgiving

For those of you who don't know that I'm a big fan of John're a little out of the loop. For about 5 years now I've been blessed to be able to learn from him and his teaching, delivered to me via DG's website. I've listened to most every one of his sermons from the last 10 years, including a 8 year trek through the book of Romans. This has happened mostly via my Ipod to and from work.

The above picture encapsulates well why I very much appreciate him and his teaching. It has been through his teaching that I have been helped to look to Christ and to know His great love for me. John explains the Word with such passion and insight, through such great humility. He continues to help me see God more clearly and vividly. He excites within me the desire to know God more fully. His love for the Word, God's sovereignty, reformed doctrine, and most especially the gospel has radically shaped me in who I am, and what I believe, today. Most of what God has done in my life spiritually in the last several years, he has used him.

Please don't misunderstand me. I don't worship him. Instead, God has used him to help me worship Christ more fully and deeply. And as Thanksgiving is coming up, I'll leave with you two of his best sermons surrounding Thanksgiving. Enjoy. And let your heart rejoice this week as you consider all that God in Christ has done for you.
Thankful for the Love of God. Why?.

Thank God for the Mercies of Christ.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Turner's Creed

The following quote (somewhat edited) is taken out of Ravi's book "Can man live without God?" It basically sums up, in satire, the creed of the modern (postmodern) man. And if you get A.D.D. and can't read all of it, at least read the last paragraph.

by Steve Turner

We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don't hurt anyone
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.

We believe in sex before, during, and after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.

We believe that everything's getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated
And you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there's something in horoscopes
UFO's and bent spoons.
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha,
Mohammed, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher though we think
His good morals were bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same-
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of creation,
sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the Nothing
Because when you ask the dead what happens
they say nothing.

If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then its
compulsory heaven for all excepting perhaps
Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Kahn

We believe that man is essentially good.
It's only his behavior that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that
is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly. The universe will readjust.
History will alter.

We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth
that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds,
And the flowering of individual thought.
If chance be the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky

and when you hear:
State of Emergency! Sniper Kills Ten! Troops on Rampage!
Whites go Looting! Bomb Blasts School!
It is but the sound of man worshipping his maker.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Garrett at Smith's this Friday

If your in the Atlanta area Friday night, make sure you come and see Garrett Moore. He's playing at Smith's Olde Bar in the Brookwood area. The show starts at 8. See you then. Directions here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Global Warming

The founder of the Weather Channel has recently commented on the Global Warming issue. He says:
"It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM."

Does this mean that all the politicians and actors are wrong about the issue? Couldn't be. Surely they know more about the weather than this guy. (To be read with sarcastic tone) Read more here.

Via Tim.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

Irony in Modern Intellectual Progress

I've been reading a book called The Passion of the Western Mind by Richard Tarnas. It was Arnold's idea, and a good idea at that. It's just been slow moving.

Anyway, the subtitle is "Understanding the Ideas that have shaped our Worldview." It particularly focuses on the worldview that us "Westerners" operate in. I read this quote tonight:
" was the irony of modern intellectual progress that man's genius discovered successive principles of determinism...that steadily attenuated belief in his own rational and volitional freedom, while eliminating his sense of being anything more than a peripheral and transient accident of material evolution."

Now you know why it has been taking me so long to get through it. Good quote though. It points to the fallacy of naturalism and such a high regard for the intellect.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Paste Magazine

For those of you who don't have a subscription yet, Paste Magazine just made it so you can name your own price for a year subscription. And if you don't know, it's a music magazine that is excellent at introducing new, up and coming artists, as well as talking about bands that have been around for a while. Their tagline, "signs of life in music, film, and culture," pretty much sums up how they differentiate from other magazines (thanks MV).   They seek to give great insight into what really inspires the music that is created.  This is a great time to check it out.  

Saint Augustine

I was flipping through one of my favorite books today. It's called Confessions by St. Augustine. It was written over 1600 years ago, and still has some incredible thoughts for us today. I encourage you to read it if you haven't yet. Here's a good thought:
“It is not for nothing, not mere chance, that the towering authority of the Christian faith has spread throughout the world. God would never have done so much, such wonderful things for us if the life of the soul came to an end with the death of the body. Why then do I delay? Why do I not abandon my worldly hopes and give myself up entirely to the search for God and the life of true happiness.?”

He was writing these words as a non-Christian. But, they hit me today because although I am a Christian, I seem to forget a lot that true happiness is found in Christ. I often turn to cisterns that can hold no water, desperately searching out that which can give me life. And I forget that God Himself is the true source of my everlasting joy.
"Thou has formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee."
- Augustine