Jesus Christ Makes My Day!

John Owen was a puritan theologian who lived from 1616-1683. Some consider him to be the greatest theologian ever born in England. Owen has left a wealth of theological writings behind. And though he is dead, he still speaks!

Here is a John Owen quote worth pondering! Enjoy!

"We can begin each day with the deeply encouraging realization, I'm accepted by God, not on the basis of my personal performance, but on the basis of the infinitely perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ." 


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Insane Money!

The Philadelphia Phillies just signed their All Star lefty, Cole Hammels to a six year, $144 million contract. As I reflected on that mind numbing figure, I starting wondering how much Hammels would be making PER PITCH. So ... I did some research and here is what I came up with. If he starts the average number of starts In a season(approximately 30) and throws the average number of pitches (approximately 95 per game) .... then he will be making (are you ready for this?) ..... $8421 every time he winds up and throws the ball to the plate! With just a few pitches ... he can easily afford to buy any new car I might be interested in! I don't know about you ... but I find that kind of salary insane! Especially for playing a game!

With athletes (and other entertainers) at the top rung of the earning ladder - what does this tell you about our culture? I believe it says SHOUTS --- "Entertainment is KING!" People want to be entertained. It does not matter if it is on the baseball diamond or the silver screen .... people will pay big bucks for a couple of hours of amusement. Life is stressful ... and it feels good to leave that all behind for a time as we cheer on our favorite sports team or clap to our favorite recording artist's latest hit.

Now do not get me wrong. I go to see an occasional movie or baseball game . . . but I believe the value we place on entertainment is WAY out of line. Therefore, those of us who follow Jesus must be careful not to get sucked into the "Entertain me!" mindset of the world around us -- our life on earth is too short ... and our mission from heaven too urgent! So I encourage you to take a moment and evaluate how you are spending your time and money on entertainment.

Thanks for stopping by . . .

PS -- My wife and I recently did this and as a result decided to ditch our cable and go with an old fashioned tv antennae. Not only will we be saving on a monthly cable bill ... we won't be tempted to turn on ESPN or the History Channel - because we don't have them any more!

Thursday A La Carte

Here is this week's a la carte . . .

1. Here is a solid article, You Cannot Improve on God's Design for the Family.

2. Chuck Swindoll offers up encouragement in this brief video to keep praying that Christ be proclaimed among the nations!

3. Holiness is the sum of a million little things ... this is a brief excerpt from a new book coming out by Kevin DeYoung.

4. Here's Ed Welch on Making Wisdom Attractive to Children. Parents out there ... well worth the 3 minutes to watch!

5  Recently we marked the 32nd anniversary of Apollo 11's moon landing. Of course, there are a few who still believe it was all part of a conspiracy and never happened. Here's a lighter take on it all . . . 

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Setting the Torch to Anxiety!

Casey James Fury is a 24 year old civilian laborer who works at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kettery, Maine. Back on May 23rd, Fury allegedly started a fire aboard the USS Miami, a nuclear powered attack submarine. It took firefighters 12 hours to get the fire under control. When it was all said and done, the sub suffered $400 million dollars in damage. That's one costly fire! And why did Fury allegedly start the fire? Fury told investigators that he was suffering from anxiety (which "started getting really bad") and therefore he wanted to get out of work early that day. So he grabbed a cigarette lighter and set some rags on fire. If convicted of arson, Fury could spent the rest of his life in prison.

Ouch! Here is an illustration of how anxiety, fear, worry can lead people to do foolish, irrational things It sure did with Casey Fury . . . but it does not have to! So what should we do when we feel our soul being gripped by anxiety and fear? Ed Welch offers up some really insightful thoughts on The Secret of Dealing with Fear and Anxiety.  IF you struggle with this (as I know I do more than I would like to admit to) ... you need to read what Ed has to say. You will be better for it! 

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A Prayer about God's Sovereignty in My Daily Routine

All of us who claim allegiance to Jesus Christ as the Lord and King of the Universe would agree that He is indeed sovereign, that he works ALL things after the counsel of his own will (Ephesians 1:11). Yet when it comes to accepting the outworking of his sovereign will in our lives ... especially in those times when we feel pain ... we struggle. Below is a prayer from Scotty Smith that you just might want to make yours!

      "I don’t have any problem with you setting up and sitting down presidents, premiers, and potentates. But when it comes to things that are limiting, inconvenient, or a contradiction of my sensibilities or plans, sometimes I question your focus, timing and goodness.

     Free me from such foolishness and arrogance. You’re always at work for your glory and our good. Nothing goes unnoticed before your throne of grace. There’s no lapse in communication. Wires never get crossed in heaven. You’ve promised to do all things well, not make all things easy."

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What is Most Important in Life?

All of us have numerous items that compete for our attention and our efforts. But of these, what is THE most important?  Sinclair Ferguson suggests an answer. I offer it to you for some reflection on this Lord's Day.

"What is the most important thing in the world to every Christian? It is to grow in the knowledge of God. The knowledge of God is the heart of salvation and of all true spiritual experience. Knowing Him is what we were created for. It will occupy us throughout all eternity. In Scripture, it is almost equivalent to salvation. Jesus said that eternal life, or salvation, means knowledge of God: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3, ESV). To be a Christian is not a mindless experience, but involves knowledge and understanding. It means a personal relationship and personal acquaintance with the Lord." 
(How Great Is Our God: Timeless Daily Readings on the Nature of God)

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An ... what???  Anxanity!  This is a word that came out of the mouth of a friend recently. He was trying to explain some feelings of anxiety he was having ... and got caught between the word "anxiety" and the word "insanity." What came out was "anxanity."

As I thought about that ... I thought, "Wow! That's not a bad word!" How so? Think with me for a moment. Anxiety is basically the feelings we have that are born out of fear. Fear that our needs won't be met. Fear that danger is lurking around the corner for us or a loved one. Fear that "life" is about to take a wrong turn. Because of these fears we worry. We grow anxious. But for the one who professes faith in Christ .... it is literally an act of  insanity to allow anxiety to dominate our lives. Simply put, insanity is wrong thinking. And it is wrong thinking that leads to fear. If we truly believe that God is in control and that his promises to be with us and to care for us are promises he will back up ... then it is insane to worry (see Psalm 27:1, 3; Matthew 6:25-34).

So if you are feeling some "anxanity" beginning to darken your mind ... recall some of God's promises. And remind yourself of his faithfulness that is great ... and new every morning (Lamentations 3:21-25)!

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Thursday's A La Carte

Here's a few things from here and there that you might find to be of interest:

1. Tim Challies offers up some thoughts on eHarmony.  With so many turning to the Internet for an increasing number of reasons (including finding that special someone), this is a good read!

2. There are some 600 million people with disabilities in our world. What is God's purpose in all of this? David Murray offers some insights. 

3. Here is Scotty Smith with a prayer for the discouraged.  I just love the prayers that Scotty writes!

4. Ed Welch on the topic, Let's Talk about Money. Another good read!

5. A quick (and powerful) quote (from J.I. Packer's book, The J.I. Packer Classic Collection): "It is no accident that Christians down through the centuries have typically prayed on their knees. In kneeling, the body reminds the mind that God (not the person praying) is in charge."  

6. On a lighter note . . . (for you non football fans, Desmond Howard played for Michigan ... Ohio State's hated rival!)

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Here's My Two Cents!

In a recent email, a friend offered up an idea to me and then closed by writing, "just my two cents worth."  Did you ever wonder where this expression “two cents worth” came from?  I did some research, and there are two dominant theories.  The first dates back to the years 1883 – 1932.  During this time, a first class stamp cost two cents (can you believe it?  No price increases for almost 40 years!  You talk about “the good old days!”).  So if a person wrote a letter to the editor to express his or her opinion it would cost two cents to do so.  Hence he was offering his two cents!  The other theory states that the expression “two cents worth” arose to simply mean “of little worth.”  When a writer stated he was offering his two cents it was his humble way of saying what he had to offer might not be all that valuable a contribution.  So bottom line – you can take your pick.  Either one makes “cents” to me!  

This is basically what I do on my blog - offer you my two cents on some random topics.  It may not be worth a whole lot – but I hope I get you to think. Today consider the date on the calendar. It is July 17th. That means that this summer (June-August) is half over. Soon, we will be raking the leaves from our yards, wondering where the good old days of summer went! But time is like that. As God reminds us ... our life is like a puff of steam ... here today, gone tomorrow (well really even quicker than that! - see James 4:14). So, if we really want to live a life that makes a difference for God and HIS kingdom, then we had better get at it and quit pursuing trivia! And that’s my two cents!  

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Rejoicing this Lord's Day in the Blessings of the Cross!

This morning as I was reading a Puritan prayer (from the book, Valley of Vision), I was struck by a segment of the prayer that listed the blessings that are ours as a result of Christ's death on the cross. I thought I would pass these on to you. Rejoice with me in how blessed we are because God so loved us that he gave his one and only Son!

Because of the cross and our faith in Christ's sacrifice for us . . .
"atonement is achieved,
satisfaction made,
guilt done away,
my debt paid,
my sins forgiven,
my person redeemed,
my soul saved,
hell vanquished,
heaven opened,
eternity made mine."

Praise God for his indescribable gift!!! Have a great Lord's Day!

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Happy Friday the 13th!

If you have looked at a calendar, you would know that today is Friday the 13th. In fact, it is the third time this year (and the last) that the 13th of a month has fallen on a Friday (and all three have occurred exactly 13 weeks apart!).

Why is the # 13 considered "unlucky?" (So much so that the dorm in which I lived during my college years - which was a former hotel in center city Philadelphia - had no 13th floor! It had a 12th and 14th floor, but no 13th! This is quite common in building taller buildings. The Lancaster Marriott has no 13th floor either!). The answer to this question is long and complicated. But after doing some research, here is my conclusion. If something is said long enough ... and frequent enough ... and fervently enough ... people begin to believe it. It does not matter how outlandish it might be .... but at some point ... what is being put forth becomes, at least for many, truth! 

Unfortunately, that has not happened with the message God has been putting forth for the past two thousand years. Many people have heard this message over and over again but have chosen to ignore it (and, yes, there are far too many who have never heard it!). Why have people accepted this ridiculous message about Friday the 13th, while at the same time rejecting the most important and life changing message ever offered up to humanity? Jesus gives the answer. In the gospel of John, he says, "And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil" (John 3:19). Friends, don't get discouraged when you share the good news of the gospel with another and get no interest (or some hostility). People would much rather believe anything rather than God's truth (this should be a CALL TO PRAYER for us to ask God to open the eyes of the blind around us!). 

This morning as I read the paper, I noticed an article about Friday the 13th. The writer lists several superstitions associated with the day. The first? "Don't change the sheets on your bed or you will have bad dreams." Gulp! My wife changed the sheets this morning! Guess I had better wear my bike helmet tonight in case I fall out of bed as I fight off my nightmares!  

Thanks for stopping by . . . 

P.S. - My wife and I were married on May 13, 1978. We have enjoyed a wonderful marriage together ... for some 34 years now and counting! - Thank YOU, Father! 

Back in the Office!

Just stepped into my office after a wonderful time away with my wife (more on this later after I wade through the emails and other work that has piled up in my absence). But since I have not offered up anything of real substance for you to chew on in the past week and a half ... here is an extended quote from one of my favorite guys, J. I. Packer. Take a moment to reflect on what he has to say .... it's good stuff!

"Recognizing that the study of God is worthwhile, we prepare to start. But where shall we start from? How do we plot our course? Five basic truths, five foundation-principles of the knowledge about God that Christians have, will determine our course throughout: 

1. God has spoken to man, and the Bible is His Word, given to us to make us wise unto salvation. 
2. God is Lord and King over His world; He rules all things for His own glory, displaying His perfections in all that He does, in order that men and angels may worship and adore Him. 
3. God is Savior, active in sovereign love through the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue believers from the guilt and power of sin, to adopt them as His sons, and to bless them accordingly. 
4. God is Triune; there are within the Godhead three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and the work of salvation is one in which all three act together, the Father purposing redemption, the Son securing it, and the Spirit applying it. 
5. Godliness means responding to God’s revelation in trust and obedience, faith and worship, prayer and praise, submission and service. Life must be seen and lived in the light of God’s Word.

In light of these general and basic truths, we examine in detail what the Bible shows us of the nature and character of the God of whom we have been speaking. We are in the position of travelers who, after surveying a great mountain from afar, traveling round it, and observing how it dominates the landscape and determines the features of the surrounding countryside, now approach it directly with the intention of climbing it."  (J. I. Packer, Knowing God)

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Northward Bound!

By the time you read this, my wife and I should be well on our way on our long anticipated time away (just the two of us!!!). Five years ago we took a trip to Maine. We had such a great time that we decided we would have to do it again. So today we are on our way to Maine (ultimate destination: Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. If you have never been there, I HIGHLY recommend you consider making the trip. It is well worth every mile you have to drive - and then some!). 

With that said ... I will not be posting to my blog until sometime next week. So until then ... May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you, may the Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you peace!

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Friday Coffee with PJ

Friday morning means COFFEE! (frankly, every morning means coffee for me)! So why not pour yourself a cup of your favorite brew and join m...