PJ

PJ

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Never To Be Forgotten!

On my post of the other day I mentioned that my wife and I visited the Fredericksburg battlefield during our vacation of last week. As part of our tour, we took a walk through the Fredericksburg National Cemetery which is adjacent to the battlefield. Approximately 15,000 Union dead are buried there, with only about 20% of them being identified at the time of their burial. As a result, most of the grave markers are nameless. All they carry is what you see in the adjacent photo ... a larger number (which is the plot number) above a smaller number (which indicates the number of soldiers buried in that plot). Many of the graves contain more than one set of remains.

After seeing row after row of these types of markers, we came across a grave marker that caught our attention. It was not so much because this particular marker had a name. Rather what caused us to pause was what we saw on the ground in front of the marker. As you can see in the photo below, there in front of this marker was a flower and a laminated printout containing a brief bio of the soldier buried there.              
 Someone ... perhaps a descendant of S. Dykes did not what this soldier to be forgotten. Private Dykes was wounded in the leg at the battle of Spotsylvania Court House, serving as a member of the 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery. He was brought to Fredericksburg where he later died of his wounds. Talk about a contrast! Four men buried in plot #1034 unknown and forgotten. Another buried in plot #1068 still remembered!

It is a terrible thing to think that one day ... long after we are gone from this earth ... that we too, may be forgotten by those who follow. Even if this were to happen, for those of us who choose to follow Christ, we can be assured that HE will never forget us! After all, he has engraved us on the palms of his hands (Isaiah 49:16). Wow! Never to be forgotten! That's a thought that can encourage the most discouraged heart!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Back to Work ... Oh Yes!

Last week my wife and I spent a wonderful week together. We traveled many miles south (as far as Williamsburg, Va) and many years past (in addition to "traveling" back to Colonial days at Williamsburg, we also visited the years of 1861 and 1862 at the Manassas and Fredericksburg battlefields). I heard some of you yawning as you read that, but Sharon and I love history as there are always interesting things to discover. For example, I learned that during the revolutionary war, it was considered dishonorable to shoot at the opposing army's fife and drum corps. These men and boys were used to issue commands to the army. To protect them, they would wear the colors of the opposing army. Therefore, colonial drummers and fifers wore red coats, while their British counterparts wore blue coats. All I can say about this is ... WOW! Have things changed since then. Now armies go after their enemies' communication centers - no matter what!

As I thought of that, I found it somewhat refreshing that soldiers would refrain from doing something that would aid their cause because it was dishonorable. The whole concept of doing the honorable (and avoiding the dishonorable) is not a virtue that is pursued in our society as a whole. But before we point our finger and wag our heads at our world, we need to be sure that we as Christ-followers are known for showing others honor. After all , it is God's will for us to do so (Romans 12:10). SO ... who have you honored today?

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Monday, April 15, 2013

Unplugged and Enjoying It!

This week I will be unplugging from by blog (and a number of other things) while I enjoy some vacation time with my wife. I trust you will have a great week. I leave you with this quote for you to chew on . . .


“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” 
(A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy)


Until next week!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Coffee with PJ

Here are some random thoughts for  you to enjoy with your coffee, no matter how you prefer it (I prefer mine with just a dash of milk or cream (and not the flavored stuff!).

1. One of the courses I teach at Lancaster Bible College is a course on the Pentateuch. Now apart from the opening chapters of Genesis, the first half of the book of Exodus, and some of the narrative sections of the book of Numbers, the average Christian would most likely prefer to be reading from other sections of the Bible. After all, who needs to read about all the laws and regulations God put before the people of Israel! But there is value even in them. Sam Storms, in his delightful devotional, More Precious Than Gold: 50 Daily Meditations on the Psalms, states the following about the commandments of the Bible: "Every commandment in Scripture, every precept, every prohibition or principle is lovingly designed to lead us away from what otherwise might spoil our appetite for God."  No wonder the Apostle John wrote that "his (God's) commandments are not burdensome" (1 John 5:13). Of course they are not for they are given for our benefit!  


2. Yesterday I heard a devotional taken from Joshua 9. The chapter relates how the people of Gibeon used deceit and cunning to avoid being annihilated by Joshua and the Israelites as they were conquering the Promised Land. The Gibeonites took a group of men and clothed them in worn out attire and gave them provisions that were weeks old. These men then came to Joshua and claimed to be from a far off country. As evidence they showed Joshua their worn out sandals and their dry crusty bread and their wineskins that had burst because of their age. Joshua and his leaders swallowed their lie and made a covenant with them, not realizing they were doing so with inhabitants that God had commanded them to drive from the land. They did so because, as we read in verse 14, "they did not ask counsel from the Lord." NOW ... it may very well have appeared to be a "no-brainer" to Joshua and his leaders. After all ... the evidence that the Gibeonites had traveled from a distant land was quite clear. BUT ... things are not always as they seem, which Joshua and company were soon to discover. ALL this to say ... there are NO "no-brainers" with God. We should constantly be seeking God's wisdom for the decisions we make. To fail to do so ... is an invitation to fail!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thursday A La Carte

This week's offerings ... enjoy!

1. John Ortberg writes on Seven Things I Hate about Spiritual Formation. A worthy read!

2. It's easy to criticize others ... yes? Here's a take on the fact that most of us find it far easier to criticize than to encourage in our relationships with others.

3. The suicide of mega church pastor Rick Warren's son has focused a lot of attention on this tragic reality of life. David Murray has done a great job in asking and answering Seven Questions about Suicide. 

4. Paul Tripp ... Somebody Else! 

5. Ray Ortland, Christinaity or Morality? 

6. On a lighter note . . . Kevin DeYoung posting some British humor!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Don't Be Bamboozled by the World!


Imagine yourself crawling across the hot, burning sands of a desert.  Because you have no water, your tongue is cracked and swollen. You grow weaker with every step you are able to take. Finally – you collapse on the sand. As you watch your life pass before your eyes, you raise your head for one last look at the world – and there before you – you see two things about 50 yards in front of you. To the left are stacks of $100 bills! There must be thousands upon thousands of stacks! On the right is an oasis with a bubbling pool of clear sparkling water and all kinds of fruit trees offering both food and shade

WHICH  are you going to choose?  Obviously the water! The money (no matter how many millions of dollars are there) will do you no good if you don't survive! 

This world we live in offers quite a bit to us. But what we really need to live the abundant life that Jesus promises, is the spiritual water and food that will quench the thirst of our souls and satisfy the hunger of our hearts. The world with all of its trappings cannot give us this (1 John 2:15-17). So ... don't be bamboozled! Say "NO!" to what the world can give you (it's only stuff and fluff!). Instead, pursue God and the things of God! Only then will you experience life as the Creator intended it to be lived! 

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

God, Teach Me!

Approximately 17 times in the book of Psalms, the writer asks God in so many words to teach him God's way (Psalm 27:11, 86:11; 119:12; 143:10). Now that is a prayer we would benefit all of us. Why? Paul Tripp, in his book,A Shelter in the Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble, suggest there are two compelling reasons why this is a prayer we need to be praying.

First Tripp cites the depth of God's wisdom. In answer to the question, "Why would I pray over and over and over again to be taught by the Lord?" he writes, "Because his wisdom is just that deep and vast. His wisdom has no boundary. His wisdom has no bottom. His wisdom has no ceiling. If for ten million years I would sit for twenty-four hours a day at his feet and listen, I would scratch only the very surface of the wisdom that is his. If I gave every day of my life to study only the wisdom that is captured on the pages of Scripture, I could study until my very last day and not have mined all the treasures of wisdom that are there. So, once more, I pray to be taught because the wisdom of God is just that deep."  So bottom line, if you want God's wisdom, then open God's Word and PRAY! Ask God to teach you!

Secondly, Tripp references the danger of this world. Concerning this world in which we live he notes that it is a "a world where the sounds of falsehood echo more loudly and repeatedly than the sounds of wisdom. Living in human culture is like sitting in a twenty-thousand-seat arena just before the concert begins. Everyone is talking at once, a den of voices so loud and pervasive you can barely hear yourself think. Every day a thousand voices speak into my life and the vast majority of those voices have not gotten the flowers of their insight from the wisdom garden of the Lord. They tell me who I am. They tell me what life is about. They tell me how to invest my time. They tell me how to use my resources. They tell me how to conduct my relationships. They tell me what is true and untrue. They tell me what my goals should be. They tell me what the good life looks like. They tell me what I should be and do and want. They offer me a comprehensive system of wisdom that’s well thought through and attractive on many levels, but that competes with the true wisdom that can come only from God. It’s so easy to be taken captive. It’s so easy to have divine wisdom corrupted by human wisdom. It’s so easy to breathe in the polluted air of a culture that no longer actually thinks that God is, let alone that he is wise." So at the end of the day ... after you have listened to the world telling you how to live, ask yourself, "How much time did I spend today listening to God's voice telling me how I need to live?"

So let me encourage you to take this verse ... Psalm 25:5 and make it a daily prayer as you open up His Word: "Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long."

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj




Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Coffee with PJ


Thoughts from here and there for you to enjoy with your coffee . . .

1. I just read yesterday that tea consumption in the U.S. continues to climb while the intake of coffee is declining. Even with this drop, coffee is still by far the king among these two. In 2009, annual per-person coffee consumption came in at 23.3 gallons (Wow! I must drink that much in a month!), while tea came in at a per-person rate of 9 gallons. So although the gap between them is shrinking, it is still significant. What is driving the switch to tea? Apparently recent studies promoting the health benefits of drinking tea are fueling the increase. These studies suggest that drinking tea helps prevent cardiovascular disease, burn calories and ward off some types of cancer (That's good to know ... because I consume a lot of iced tea during the summer months!). But studies have also shown that there are benefits to drinking coffee (in moderation, of course) ... such as helping protect against diabetes, Parkinson's disease and prostate cancer. So ... it appears you can't go wrong with either choice. But if you are really tired ... you just might want to go with a hot cup of joe. It' got about twice (or more) the caffeine content. And frankly, there are some mornings I need that kind of a wake up call! 

2. I recently picked up a small paperback book at Berean Christian Bookstore. Its title caught my eye and I thought I would find it helpful. And it was priced so low that I bought a few copies to give away. The book's title is 199 Favorite Bible Verses for Leaders. These verses are grouped into 20 different categories. I have begun reading a different group each day, praying as I go. The book also contains some quotes from some well known people from here and there. Introducing the category on Integrity is a quote from Robert E. Lee, the well known general of the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War. He writes, "You must be careful where you walk, and where you go, for there are those following you who will set their feet where yours are set."  Well said, General Lee! 

3. Several times in Scripture we are commanded to "humble ourselves" (James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:6). I can't speak for you, but I find Scriptures that command us to do this, tough to put into practice. For starters, how do you know if you are obedient? Humility is one of those virtues that when you think you have it, you probably don't. In addition, there is so much misunderstanding on how we attain humility (belittling ourselves for example) that we often don't know where to begin. SO ... let me give you one thought to chew on ... and I do believe this is the key toward genuine humility. When we have a HIGH view of God (i.e. - we see God as the majestic, glorious all awesome God that he is) ... then we will tend to have a RIGHT view of ourselves. We will understand that before God and apart from God we are nothing. And friends, that will move you toward humility (and will cause you to rejoice in HIS grace!). 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thursday A La Carte

1. Did you ever listen to a recording of your voice and think, "What? Do I really sound like that?" Here's the explanation for that kind of reaction. 

2. We spend so much of our time online ... so how can we best use that time to the glory of God? Tim Challies gives some insight in an interview he did for Ligonier's Tabletalk Magazine. 

3. Here is a compelling article from CCEF .... Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery. 

4. Many have been talking about the History Channel's mini-series, The Bible. So does it live up to the hype? Is is biblically accurate? Here is one man's take. 

5. On a lighter note . . .  (classic!)

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Who Do You Trust?

A recent Gallup poll asked Americans to rate the "honesty and ethical standards" of 22 different professions. Nurses came out on top with 85% of respondents giving them a "very high/high" rating. Pharmacists came in second with a 75% rating. I can't say that I would disagree with those high marks for those two professions. But what bothered me is that my "profession" (and I put that in quotation marks because I do not believe God calls pastors to be "professionals!") came in #8 on the list with 52% of Americans saying members of the clergy were "highly honest."

Now this bothered me because I happen to believe pastors should be marked by a clear demonstration of honesty and integrity. But alas, we do often fall short (I said "we" because I am not beyond failure in this arena). Pastors have feet of clay and therefore, make unfortunate and often sinful choices and decisions. I also believe that pastors have a huge target on their backs placed there by the Enemy himself, for as the Scripture says, "strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter" (Mark 14:27). How often has a pastor "fallen from grace" which, in turn, has negatively impacted his church? Far too often! Yet ... for every pastor that has fallen, many more do remain faithful. I believe a huge factor in the faithfulness of pastors is the prayers of those within their churches who are regularly praying for them.

I know for I have many who tell me, "Pastor John, I want you to know that I pray for you every day!" So let me go on record to say to all who pray for me (and other pastors, too) - THANK YOU for making that effort. And PLEASE don't stop! God is working in my life through your prayers!  And at the end of the day ... I want to be a pastor who can be trusted!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Never To Be Forgotten!

On my post of the other day I mentioned that my wife and I visited the Fredericksburg battlefield during our vacation of last week. As part of our tour, we took a walk through the Fredericksburg National Cemetery which is adjacent to the battlefield. Approximately 15,000 Union dead are buried there, with only about 20% of them being identified at the time of their burial. As a result, most of the grave markers are nameless. All they carry is what you see in the adjacent photo ... a larger number (which is the plot number) above a smaller number (which indicates the number of soldiers buried in that plot). Many of the graves contain more than one set of remains.

After seeing row after row of these types of markers, we came across a grave marker that caught our attention. It was not so much because this particular marker had a name. Rather what caused us to pause was what we saw on the ground in front of the marker. As you can see in the photo below, there in front of this marker was a flower and a laminated printout containing a brief bio of the soldier buried there.              
 Someone ... perhaps a descendant of S. Dykes did not what this soldier to be forgotten. Private Dykes was wounded in the leg at the battle of Spotsylvania Court House, serving as a member of the 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery. He was brought to Fredericksburg where he later died of his wounds. Talk about a contrast! Four men buried in plot #1034 unknown and forgotten. Another buried in plot #1068 still remembered!

It is a terrible thing to think that one day ... long after we are gone from this earth ... that we too, may be forgotten by those who follow. Even if this were to happen, for those of us who choose to follow Christ, we can be assured that HE will never forget us! After all, he has engraved us on the palms of his hands (Isaiah 49:16). Wow! Never to be forgotten! That's a thought that can encourage the most discouraged heart!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Back to Work ... Oh Yes!

Last week my wife and I spent a wonderful week together. We traveled many miles south (as far as Williamsburg, Va) and many years past (in addition to "traveling" back to Colonial days at Williamsburg, we also visited the years of 1861 and 1862 at the Manassas and Fredericksburg battlefields). I heard some of you yawning as you read that, but Sharon and I love history as there are always interesting things to discover. For example, I learned that during the revolutionary war, it was considered dishonorable to shoot at the opposing army's fife and drum corps. These men and boys were used to issue commands to the army. To protect them, they would wear the colors of the opposing army. Therefore, colonial drummers and fifers wore red coats, while their British counterparts wore blue coats. All I can say about this is ... WOW! Have things changed since then. Now armies go after their enemies' communication centers - no matter what!

As I thought of that, I found it somewhat refreshing that soldiers would refrain from doing something that would aid their cause because it was dishonorable. The whole concept of doing the honorable (and avoiding the dishonorable) is not a virtue that is pursued in our society as a whole. But before we point our finger and wag our heads at our world, we need to be sure that we as Christ-followers are known for showing others honor. After all , it is God's will for us to do so (Romans 12:10). SO ... who have you honored today?

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Monday, April 15, 2013

Unplugged and Enjoying It!

This week I will be unplugging from by blog (and a number of other things) while I enjoy some vacation time with my wife. I trust you will have a great week. I leave you with this quote for you to chew on . . .


“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” 
(A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy)


Until next week!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Coffee with PJ

Here are some random thoughts for  you to enjoy with your coffee, no matter how you prefer it (I prefer mine with just a dash of milk or cream (and not the flavored stuff!).

1. One of the courses I teach at Lancaster Bible College is a course on the Pentateuch. Now apart from the opening chapters of Genesis, the first half of the book of Exodus, and some of the narrative sections of the book of Numbers, the average Christian would most likely prefer to be reading from other sections of the Bible. After all, who needs to read about all the laws and regulations God put before the people of Israel! But there is value even in them. Sam Storms, in his delightful devotional, More Precious Than Gold: 50 Daily Meditations on the Psalms, states the following about the commandments of the Bible: "Every commandment in Scripture, every precept, every prohibition or principle is lovingly designed to lead us away from what otherwise might spoil our appetite for God."  No wonder the Apostle John wrote that "his (God's) commandments are not burdensome" (1 John 5:13). Of course they are not for they are given for our benefit!  


2. Yesterday I heard a devotional taken from Joshua 9. The chapter relates how the people of Gibeon used deceit and cunning to avoid being annihilated by Joshua and the Israelites as they were conquering the Promised Land. The Gibeonites took a group of men and clothed them in worn out attire and gave them provisions that were weeks old. These men then came to Joshua and claimed to be from a far off country. As evidence they showed Joshua their worn out sandals and their dry crusty bread and their wineskins that had burst because of their age. Joshua and his leaders swallowed their lie and made a covenant with them, not realizing they were doing so with inhabitants that God had commanded them to drive from the land. They did so because, as we read in verse 14, "they did not ask counsel from the Lord." NOW ... it may very well have appeared to be a "no-brainer" to Joshua and his leaders. After all ... the evidence that the Gibeonites had traveled from a distant land was quite clear. BUT ... things are not always as they seem, which Joshua and company were soon to discover. ALL this to say ... there are NO "no-brainers" with God. We should constantly be seeking God's wisdom for the decisions we make. To fail to do so ... is an invitation to fail!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thursday A La Carte

This week's offerings ... enjoy!

1. John Ortberg writes on Seven Things I Hate about Spiritual Formation. A worthy read!

2. It's easy to criticize others ... yes? Here's a take on the fact that most of us find it far easier to criticize than to encourage in our relationships with others.

3. The suicide of mega church pastor Rick Warren's son has focused a lot of attention on this tragic reality of life. David Murray has done a great job in asking and answering Seven Questions about Suicide. 

4. Paul Tripp ... Somebody Else! 

5. Ray Ortland, Christinaity or Morality? 

6. On a lighter note . . . Kevin DeYoung posting some British humor!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Don't Be Bamboozled by the World!


Imagine yourself crawling across the hot, burning sands of a desert.  Because you have no water, your tongue is cracked and swollen. You grow weaker with every step you are able to take. Finally – you collapse on the sand. As you watch your life pass before your eyes, you raise your head for one last look at the world – and there before you – you see two things about 50 yards in front of you. To the left are stacks of $100 bills! There must be thousands upon thousands of stacks! On the right is an oasis with a bubbling pool of clear sparkling water and all kinds of fruit trees offering both food and shade

WHICH  are you going to choose?  Obviously the water! The money (no matter how many millions of dollars are there) will do you no good if you don't survive! 

This world we live in offers quite a bit to us. But what we really need to live the abundant life that Jesus promises, is the spiritual water and food that will quench the thirst of our souls and satisfy the hunger of our hearts. The world with all of its trappings cannot give us this (1 John 2:15-17). So ... don't be bamboozled! Say "NO!" to what the world can give you (it's only stuff and fluff!). Instead, pursue God and the things of God! Only then will you experience life as the Creator intended it to be lived! 

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

God, Teach Me!

Approximately 17 times in the book of Psalms, the writer asks God in so many words to teach him God's way (Psalm 27:11, 86:11; 119:12; 143:10). Now that is a prayer we would benefit all of us. Why? Paul Tripp, in his book,A Shelter in the Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble, suggest there are two compelling reasons why this is a prayer we need to be praying.

First Tripp cites the depth of God's wisdom. In answer to the question, "Why would I pray over and over and over again to be taught by the Lord?" he writes, "Because his wisdom is just that deep and vast. His wisdom has no boundary. His wisdom has no bottom. His wisdom has no ceiling. If for ten million years I would sit for twenty-four hours a day at his feet and listen, I would scratch only the very surface of the wisdom that is his. If I gave every day of my life to study only the wisdom that is captured on the pages of Scripture, I could study until my very last day and not have mined all the treasures of wisdom that are there. So, once more, I pray to be taught because the wisdom of God is just that deep."  So bottom line, if you want God's wisdom, then open God's Word and PRAY! Ask God to teach you!

Secondly, Tripp references the danger of this world. Concerning this world in which we live he notes that it is a "a world where the sounds of falsehood echo more loudly and repeatedly than the sounds of wisdom. Living in human culture is like sitting in a twenty-thousand-seat arena just before the concert begins. Everyone is talking at once, a den of voices so loud and pervasive you can barely hear yourself think. Every day a thousand voices speak into my life and the vast majority of those voices have not gotten the flowers of their insight from the wisdom garden of the Lord. They tell me who I am. They tell me what life is about. They tell me how to invest my time. They tell me how to use my resources. They tell me how to conduct my relationships. They tell me what is true and untrue. They tell me what my goals should be. They tell me what the good life looks like. They tell me what I should be and do and want. They offer me a comprehensive system of wisdom that’s well thought through and attractive on many levels, but that competes with the true wisdom that can come only from God. It’s so easy to be taken captive. It’s so easy to have divine wisdom corrupted by human wisdom. It’s so easy to breathe in the polluted air of a culture that no longer actually thinks that God is, let alone that he is wise." So at the end of the day ... after you have listened to the world telling you how to live, ask yourself, "How much time did I spend today listening to God's voice telling me how I need to live?"

So let me encourage you to take this verse ... Psalm 25:5 and make it a daily prayer as you open up His Word: "Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long."

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj




Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Coffee with PJ


Thoughts from here and there for you to enjoy with your coffee . . .

1. I just read yesterday that tea consumption in the U.S. continues to climb while the intake of coffee is declining. Even with this drop, coffee is still by far the king among these two. In 2009, annual per-person coffee consumption came in at 23.3 gallons (Wow! I must drink that much in a month!), while tea came in at a per-person rate of 9 gallons. So although the gap between them is shrinking, it is still significant. What is driving the switch to tea? Apparently recent studies promoting the health benefits of drinking tea are fueling the increase. These studies suggest that drinking tea helps prevent cardiovascular disease, burn calories and ward off some types of cancer (That's good to know ... because I consume a lot of iced tea during the summer months!). But studies have also shown that there are benefits to drinking coffee (in moderation, of course) ... such as helping protect against diabetes, Parkinson's disease and prostate cancer. So ... it appears you can't go wrong with either choice. But if you are really tired ... you just might want to go with a hot cup of joe. It' got about twice (or more) the caffeine content. And frankly, there are some mornings I need that kind of a wake up call! 

2. I recently picked up a small paperback book at Berean Christian Bookstore. Its title caught my eye and I thought I would find it helpful. And it was priced so low that I bought a few copies to give away. The book's title is 199 Favorite Bible Verses for Leaders. These verses are grouped into 20 different categories. I have begun reading a different group each day, praying as I go. The book also contains some quotes from some well known people from here and there. Introducing the category on Integrity is a quote from Robert E. Lee, the well known general of the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War. He writes, "You must be careful where you walk, and where you go, for there are those following you who will set their feet where yours are set."  Well said, General Lee! 

3. Several times in Scripture we are commanded to "humble ourselves" (James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:6). I can't speak for you, but I find Scriptures that command us to do this, tough to put into practice. For starters, how do you know if you are obedient? Humility is one of those virtues that when you think you have it, you probably don't. In addition, there is so much misunderstanding on how we attain humility (belittling ourselves for example) that we often don't know where to begin. SO ... let me give you one thought to chew on ... and I do believe this is the key toward genuine humility. When we have a HIGH view of God (i.e. - we see God as the majestic, glorious all awesome God that he is) ... then we will tend to have a RIGHT view of ourselves. We will understand that before God and apart from God we are nothing. And friends, that will move you toward humility (and will cause you to rejoice in HIS grace!). 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thursday A La Carte

1. Did you ever listen to a recording of your voice and think, "What? Do I really sound like that?" Here's the explanation for that kind of reaction. 

2. We spend so much of our time online ... so how can we best use that time to the glory of God? Tim Challies gives some insight in an interview he did for Ligonier's Tabletalk Magazine. 

3. Here is a compelling article from CCEF .... Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery. 

4. Many have been talking about the History Channel's mini-series, The Bible. So does it live up to the hype? Is is biblically accurate? Here is one man's take. 

5. On a lighter note . . .  (classic!)

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Who Do You Trust?

A recent Gallup poll asked Americans to rate the "honesty and ethical standards" of 22 different professions. Nurses came out on top with 85% of respondents giving them a "very high/high" rating. Pharmacists came in second with a 75% rating. I can't say that I would disagree with those high marks for those two professions. But what bothered me is that my "profession" (and I put that in quotation marks because I do not believe God calls pastors to be "professionals!") came in #8 on the list with 52% of Americans saying members of the clergy were "highly honest."

Now this bothered me because I happen to believe pastors should be marked by a clear demonstration of honesty and integrity. But alas, we do often fall short (I said "we" because I am not beyond failure in this arena). Pastors have feet of clay and therefore, make unfortunate and often sinful choices and decisions. I also believe that pastors have a huge target on their backs placed there by the Enemy himself, for as the Scripture says, "strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter" (Mark 14:27). How often has a pastor "fallen from grace" which, in turn, has negatively impacted his church? Far too often! Yet ... for every pastor that has fallen, many more do remain faithful. I believe a huge factor in the faithfulness of pastors is the prayers of those within their churches who are regularly praying for them.

I know for I have many who tell me, "Pastor John, I want you to know that I pray for you every day!" So let me go on record to say to all who pray for me (and other pastors, too) - THANK YOU for making that effort. And PLEASE don't stop! God is working in my life through your prayers!  And at the end of the day ... I want to be a pastor who can be trusted!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Are You Preparing for Eternity?

Our journey on earth is but a breath ... a heart beat when compared to the expanse of Eternity. We all must remember that how we live live in the here and now will impact our experience in the then and there.

Thoughts on how biblical truth impacts all of life.