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Showing posts from February, 2013

Thursday A La Carte

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Here are this week's offerings . . .

1. The most offensive verse in the Bible? Consider this take by Dan Philips.

2. And to think the sun (as a star) is the "work of his fingers" (Psalm 8:3). Check out this amazing NASA video of a fiery looping rain on the sun! 

3. Tim Tebow was at the center of controversy for agreeing to speak at a baptist church that was on record as stating homosexual behavior is sinful. Tebow eventually withdrew. So, what are we to make of this? Here are two takes on the matter ... one from Al Mohler the other from Kevin DeYoung.

4. Ed Welch on what it means to give thanks in all circumstances ... and why it is a good thing to do so!

5. On a lighter note . . . 

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Grace Beyond the Cross!

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This morning as I was reading a new book by Paul David Tripp (Dangerous Calling) I ran across the following insightful comment concerning biblical maturity. Take a moment to read it and "chew" on it.

"Biblical maturity is never just about what you know; it's always about how grace has employed what you have come to know to transform the way you live." 
Tripp is right on with these comments. Grace does not end with the cross. It's not, "I am saved by grace" ... "I am sanctified by works." No! We are dependent upon grace for all of our faith journey through life! Jerry Bridges, in his book, Transforming Grace, writes,

"Grace doesn't first rescue us from the penalty of our sins, furnish us with some new spiritual abilities, then leave us on our own to grow in spiritual maturity. Rather, as Paul said, "He who began a good work in you [by His grace] will [also by His grace] carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus&…

A Project Done - and Another in Progress!

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My wife would tell you that when it comes to "handyman" projects around the house, I fail miserably. And I would not argue (and for many of you who know me, you are probably just smiling right about now!).

This past weekend ... I took on a MAJOR house project (please understand that the word "major" as I have just used it is relative ... for others the project I completed would be nothing more than a minor chore). SO ... you are probably wondering just what this MAJOR project was. Yes?  Sharon and I went out and bought four new sets of shades for our bedroom windows. That meant I had to take down the old ones (including the brackets that supported them) before I could install the new ones. A task that probably would have taken even an average "handyman" an hour at most ... took me at least twice that. Then, of course, I had to put up new curtains. I will say I was able to do that in a much more timely fashion. And ahh ... does it feel good to have that p…

T.G.I.F.

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Today it's Friday ... and most people are glad that it is! Some might even be thanking God that the work week is almost over. But this morning ... I am thanking God for something else (and besides, Friday is not the end of my work week!). Today ... I'm Thanking God I'm Free! Free? Yes! Absolutely! And incredibly so! Jesus himself said, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free ... So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed"(John 8:31-32; 36). The freedom Jesus is talking about here ... is the freedom from the bondage that arises from our sin and rebellion against God. And when we are free (and free indeed!) ... we will move toward experiencing life as God intended it to be lived! 

This morning I read some thoughts penned by J.I. Packer in his book, Celebrating the Saving Work of God. In them, he powerfully describes the highest privilege that is ours as a result of the freedom w…

Thursday A La Carte

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Here are this week's offerings ... enjoy!

1. Here is a rather heated exchange between Ray Comfort (Living Waters/Way of the Master) and a woman named Cindy. Sad to think there are millions of "Cindy's" in this world who defiantly shake their fists in the face of God.

2. Randy Alcorn says (and writes) a lot of cool things about eternity, money and the Christian journey. Here is an article in which he talks about Uncoolness, Intolerance, and Christ's Bride the Church. 

3. We need to be praying for the Church in China. Seems that the communist government is stepping up its attempts to wipe out the house church in China. 

4. I always find myself helped by reading through Nancy DeMoss' Brokenness Bookmark. But I warn you ... it is quite convicting. The sin of pride so subtly lurks with in us ... if we don't get intentional about rooting it out ... it will remain!

5.On a lighter note .  . .  (for you Downton Abbey fans!)

Thanks for stopping by ...
pj

When Life Isn't Always Safe!

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Yesterday morning, in the predawn quiet of the day, a fire broke out in the city of Lancaster, PA. Before its flames were extinguished, two lives were gone and three firefighters were injured, one seriously. Gone in the fire were a 38 year old woman and her 6 year old niece. Both were trapped by the flames and could not get out. The three firefighters who were injured all did what they were trained to do ... get the trapped people out. It did not matter that the fire was engaged at that point. These men and women take the job knowing that on every call they may have to do what these men did. Please pray for these three men (two were treated and released). But pray especially for the one firefighter who remains in the hospital, listed in critical but stable condition, suffering from second and third degree burns. Also pray for the family and friends of the two victims who died. As of this writing, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

As I reflected on this tragedy, I th…

Our God is an Awesome God! A Thought for Your Sunday Worship Pleasure!

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Here is a thought from J. I. Packer on just how great our God really is. Truly mind boggling to think of how awesome a mind our God has!




Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

New Feature ... Friday Coffee with PJ

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Today I am launching a new feature that I am calling "Friday Coffee with PJ." I got the idea as I was enjoying breakfast with a former student of mine this morning. He made a comment that he just enjoyed sitting and discussing different topics with me. Well, I enjoy that too ... just talking almost randomly about topics here and there. So, with that in mind ... I thought each Friday I would post some random thoughts about a couple of random topics.

- Death: Death always brings with it a lot of pain and grief and suffering. Those left behind are often heart broken and feel as if life just simply cannot "go on." As I minister to a lot of people who grieve ... I am reminded over and over again at just how UNNATURAL the experience of death is. God never designed us to have to deal with death. Death only entered the human race when Adam and Eve sinned (Romans 5:12). So it is no wonder that death wrecks life as it does. BUT there is coming the day for the follower of Jes…

Thursday A La Carte

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Here are this week's offerings ... enjoy!

1. Boston.com posted over 40 photos of the blizzard which roared through New England last week. Wow! So glad the storm missed us!!!

2. For you Downton Abbey fans out there .... here is one compelling take on the series. 

3. Here is a Valentine's Day must read. Far too many Christian parents place their kids above their relationship with one another on their scale of priorities. This is neither the God-honoring nor children-benefiting thing to do. Take a moment and read!

4. Here's a brief article I wish I could get into the hands of every single follower of Christ in our culture ... The Goal of God's Love May Not Be What You Think. 

5. On a lighter note . . . for your Valentine's Day enjoyment!  

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

My Church .... My Family!

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This past Sunday, as we continued to walk with Mark through the life of Christ, we came across Jesus's somewhat puzzling words. They occur when Jesus' family comes to take him back home as they thought he was "out of his mind." And when Jesus was told that his mother and brothers were outside calling for him, this is how he responded: "Who are my mother and my brothers?”And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35). As I pointed out, Jesus was not ditching his natural family here (evidence being he provided for the care of his mother as he hung upon the cross; his half brother James wrote the New Testament book of James). But what Jesus was saying was this ... that when push comes to shove, the "supernatural" family trumps the "natural" one. For even though we are related by blood to our "natural" fam…

The Awesome Power of God's Creative Word!

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From the very moment we open our Bibles and begin to read the beginning of this grand story of God . . . we are confronted with the awesome power of this God. The first words we read are these ... "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." So ... in the beginning when there was NOTHING (except God, of course), He created. He had no raw materials to work with. He had to make that as he went along. And how did he create? "And God said, 'Let there be light' and there was light." So he created out of nothing by merely commanding this vast universe into existence! Now that's one powerful God!

Concerning God's act of creation, author J.I. Packer states, "To say that he created 'out of nothing' is to confess the mystery, not explain it." Packer is right ... there is a lot of mystery here. Our limited minds find it very (extremely proably the better word) difficult to grasp the actions of the One who is infinite and whose b…

The Enormity of Our Sin ... The Amazingness of His Grace!

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Below is a quote from Jerry Bridges book,The Transforming Power of the Gospel.  After I read it ... these words of King David came to mind, "Blessed is the one whosetransgression is forgiven,whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lordcounts no iniquity" (Psalm 32:1-2).

Please take a moment and read what Bridges has to say about the enormity of our sin. Only by understanding that will we fully appreciate God's grace!


"Suppose you want a new rug to cover the wooden floor in your living room. Being of modest means, you go the local discount store and pay three hundred dollars for a rug. I come into your house with a bottle of black indelible ink and spill that ink on your rug. I have just ruined your three-hundred-dollar rug. But suppose you are a wealthy person and you pay thirty thousand dollars for an expensive Persian rug. If I spill ink on that rug, it is an entirely different matter. Why is that true? It is the same act on my part. In both inst…

Warm and Inviting OR Cold and Forbidding??

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Psalm 42:1As a deer pants for flowing streams,so pants my soul for you, O God.

I ran across a rather disturbing quote today by one of my favorite authors, Jerry Bridges. Please take a moment and read what he wrote ....


Now if you read those words, you might be wondering why I found his words to be disturbing. More than I would like to admit ... I don't find those words "warm and inviting" describing me (at least not nearly as much as I would like). I can get awfully grumpy and critical at times, complaining about this and that to anyone who might want to listen. So as I thought about that ... it made me see that I am not spending enough alone time with God. So ... with that said ... I am signing off to do just that.

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Making the Doctor Call!

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Sometimes I have the most difficult time making the call to go see the doctor when I am sick. As I thought through why this is the case .... I came up with the following: I don't really want to spend money on the cost of the office visit and the medicine that he will most likely subscribe. I simply hate sitting in a waiting room with a bunch of people who appear sicker than me. In addition, I detest taking the time to do so when I have a mountain of tasks calling my name. Finally, I figure if I wait long enough my body will be able to fight off the illness on its own.

Well I tried waiting my current illness out. But after at least two weeks of doing all the home remedies that I could think of ... I finally waved the white tissue of surrender. So later this morning ... it's off to the doctor I go.

All too often, I do the same think in the spiritual realm (and I am guessing you do this, too). I try to grow in my faith more or less on my own ... giving little thought to the divi…

Know Your Name, Christian!

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My 2 1/2 year old grandson is named after his two grandfathers ... "John David." However, he was also given the nickname "Jack." So most people call him Jack. However, I do not want him to lose sight of the reality that his given name is "John." So I play a little game with him. I'll ask him, "Where's John?" He immediately pats me on the arm. Then I ask, "Who else is John?" And without batting an eyelash he taps himself on the chest. So ... even though he answers's to "Jack," he knows that his REAL name is "John!"

I wonder how many followers of Christ lose sight of their "real" name (and I am not talking about some mysterious, mystical name that God will reveal to you if you ask him to do so!). No ... I am referring to our names that God has ALREADY revealed to us in His Word! For starters he calls us "my child" (John 1:12), "friend" (John 15:15) and "my sheep" (J…

Man's Response to His Guilt before a Holy God

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This morning as I was reading J.I. Packer's Concise Theology, I was struck by the following quote which comes from his section, Guilt: The Effect of General Revelation: 

The apostle Paul begins his magnus opus (greatest work), the book of Romans with these sobering words:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man a…