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Showing posts from September, 2013

Out of Office

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I will not be posting this week as I am out of the office enjoying some time away with my wife. "See" you again next week!

But before I sign off ... here is a quote for you to ponder this week:


"Religion today is not transforming people; rather it is being transformed by the people. It is not raising the moral level of society; it is descending to society's own level, and congratulating itself that it has scored a victory because society is smilingly accepting its surrender"  (A. W. Tozer, 1897-1963).

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Grab your favorite morning, afternoon or evening beverage of choice and join me for a couple of random
thoughts.

1. Whenever something bad happens in our lives, the Enemy is always quick to whisper in our ear something along the line of "So, God loves you does he? Come on . . . if God REALLY loved you, then would he have allowed this to happen to you?" From the dawn of human history, this has been one of Satan's strategy . . . to get us to doubt God's goodness (see Genesis 3:1-5). But when Satan comes whispering his vicious accusation against our God, we must respond with God's Word (just as Jesus did when tempted by Satan - Matthew 4:1-10). Over and over again the Bible tells us that God is good and faithful (Psalm 107:1; Psalm 36:5; Lamentations 3:22-25). So even when life grows so dark it is tough to see any light, we must, by faith believe that God is near and He has us in HIS hand (Psalm 139:9-11). And there is no better hands to be in than HIS!

2. Jerry Bri…

Helping to Carry Your Burden

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Here are a few quotes that I hope will help those who may be, for whatever reason, bearing a heavy burden today:


"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jesus to his disciples in John 16:33).
"TheLordis mylight and mysalvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (King David in Psalm 27:1). 
"You can be sure of this; your day of trouble will come. Yet, in your trouble, God has not left you alone. What is it that he gives you in your trouble? He gives you himself! He is what will keep you safe"            (Paul Tripp, A Shelter in the Time of Storm).  


Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj

Thanking God for the Comfort He Gives!

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In light of the sorrow that our church family is undergoing this week in light of a high school student's sudden death, here is a portion of a prayer by one of my favorite "pray-ers", Scotty Smith.


"Thank you for comforting us when we’re downcast, discouraged or even despairing. You don’t deride us, chide us, or hide from us—you comfort us; for you’re “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3). Thank you for commanding us to cast our cares on you (1 Pet. 5:7), not to swallow them or pretend like we don’t have any. Thank you for never telling us “buck up” or “get over it.” And thank you for the comforters you send us. Though you regularly comfort us through your Word, or even in our sleep, quite often you send a Titus or a Phoebe (Rom. 16:1) to a Paul. You love to tell your story through your people. Thank you for well timed emails, visits, hugs, calls, texts—for the friends, family, even angels, you send us. But Father, above all, thank you fo…

The Uninvited Intruder

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Intruders. They come in all sizes and shapes. Sometimes they come in human form, other times they crash into our lives as an unwelcome set of circumstances or a tragic event. No matter what they might be ... they are always uninvited.

Over the weekend our church family was impacted by an intruder. A 17 year old student in our youth group died ... suddenly, unexpectantly. His immediate family is devastated by the loss of a son and a brother. Our students are crushed at the loss of a peer and a friend. Our church family hurts for them. And I am angry. That's right . . . I am mad! But, I have no bone to pick with God, for my anger is not directed at him. No, I am mad about sin. SIN ... our rebellion against God. For it is OUR sin that opened the door for the intruder of death to enter our world . . . and eventually our lives (see Romans 5:12 and Romans 6:23). When death pushed open the door of this family's lives over the weekend . . . his intrusion left pain, sorrow and heartac…

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Grab your morning (or afternoon ... or evening) cup of coffee and read on. This morning, a few quotes from my recent readings for you to dunk into your think tank called a mind! 
1. "We as Christians make a staggering claim: we lay claim to truth that is exclusive. In a society that rejects  the notion of objective truth, ours is a monumental claim. We proclaim one way to God - Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. When we lay claim to truth in such radical terms, it is imperative that such truth be undergirded by love. If it is not undergirded by love, it makes the possessor of that truth obnoxious and the dogma repulsive. I believe it is vital that we understand this" (Ravi Zacharias). 
2. "We should soak ourselves in the Bible, so that our minds are awash with it - or as C. H. Spurgeon put it, till our blood is "bibline" (J. I . Packer).
3. "If we consider the unblushing promises of rewards in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desi…

Thursday A La Carte

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Here are today's offerings ... enjoy!

1. Here is a great interview Justin Taylor does with Kevin DeYoung to promote Kevin's new book, Crazy Busy. 

2. Ed Lewis, a friend of mine and a real blessing to so many in our Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (and beyond!) is a great example of a Christian living ON MISSION. Listen here! 

3. Ed Welch with some interesting thoughts on What is Faith? 

4. Alistair Begg on how we need to respond to Bad News! 

5. John Piper addresses the question, Do We Need Christian Role Models? A great podcast!

6. On a lighter note . . . 

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

A Dentist, a Drill and Our God-Given Shape

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I just got back from one of my favorite places in all the world . . . and I am not talking about Starbucks! First
thing this morning I had a dentist appointment to fill a cavity. Yea! I just love getting shot up with Novocain so that I have molasses lips for the next couple of hours. And the high pitched sound of the drill ... man that makes my heart soar! And not in a good way!

Now as much as I hate going to the dentist ... I go. Faithfully (well, probably not as faithfully as I should, but then again, who's perfect?). And I go because I know its in my best interest to do so (one look at those denture commercials makes my teeth shudder!). Now that its all done, I must admit it was not all that bad an experience. But at the same time, I am glad that, God willing, my next trip to the dentist won't be until next year!

All that said, I do have a great respect for my dentist (and his entire staff). I cannot imagine working 8 hours a day, five days a week sticking my fingers into …

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Can you believe it's Friday already? Yep! So grab that cup of joe (or tea, or  . . . ) and spend a few time thinking on some random thoughts.

1. Where has the concept of submission gone in the evangelical church ... at least here in the United States? The New Testament mentions in several places that we are to submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21) and to those in authority over us (Hebrews 13:17). It seems to me that submission to one another and to authority, especial spiritual authority within the church is something that is rarely taught and even more rarely practiced. Why, in the light of the teaching of Scripture, is this the case? I see several factors behind this failure. First, the default setting of our fallen humanity is not submission but rather rebellion. We don't want to submit to God because we want to do things our way (Isaiah 53:6). And as we resist God's authority, so we resist earthly authority as well. Add to this the individualism that pervades our Am…

Thursday A La Carte

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Enjoy this week's offerings ....

1. Desiring God suggests seven ways for busy moms to get into the Word! 

2. In light of our recent summer sermon series (Seven Ordinary People Who Trusted God for the Extraordinary), Michael Horton has some interesting insights on Ordinary Excellence! 

3. Tim Challies weighs in on The Accuser and the Advocate. Good stuff!

4. Ed Welsh on the importance of gratitude in the everyday life of a follower of Jesus.

5. John MacArthur comments on the importance of local church membership. 

6. On a lighter note . . . 

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Beware of the Madness of Anger!

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Jordan Linn Graham was charged this week with the murder (second degree) of her newlywed husband, Cody Johnson to whom she had been married a scant seven days. According to authorities, on July 7th she and Johnson were hiking in Montana's Glacier National Park when they began to argue (Graham claimed she was having "second thoughts" about their marriage). Instead of walking away, Graham informed authorities that in her anger she pushed Johnson face first off a cliff. She then proceeded to report him missing the next day. Johnson's body was discovered three days later. Investigators unraveled her attempt to cover up what had happened . . . and as a result filed the second degree murder charges. 

What a sad and bizarre tale! To go from being a newly married bride to a widow accused of the murder of her own husband - ouch! And all because her anger went unchecked. The Old Testament book of wisdom warns of the dangers of anger when it declares, "A man of wrath stirs …

A Prayer When Tough Times Lay before Us!

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This morning in our weekly staff meeting, a prayer was distributed for us to reflect on and pray back to God. The prayer was written by a Puritan from years gone by. His prayer gripped my heart. Here is just an excerpt ... I thought it could benefit a number of you who read my blog. Far too often we think much of ourselves and not nearly enough of Christ. Take a moment ... and make the words of this individual from yesteryear your words as you talk to the Father.

"When I am afraid of evils to come, comfort me by showing me that in myself I am a dying, condemned wretch, but in Christ I am reconciled and live; that in myself I find insufficiency and no rest, but in Christ there is satisfaction and peace; that in myself I am feeble and unable to do good, but in Christ I have the ability to do all things. Amen."  (from an unnamed Puritan) 
Thanks for stopping by . . .  pj 

Friday Coffee with PJ

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Hope you are having a solid week as you seek to walk with Jesus! Now, grab your coffee and think on a few things with me.

1. The other night, just before I was to lead our India 2013 team meeting, I thought I should check my passport to be sure that my Indian visa was current (on my second trip to India in 2008, I opted for a long term visa . . . but I could not remember if it was for five or ten years). I was glad to see the year 2018 listed as its expiration date. But then I thought I should take a look at my passport. I was pretty certain I had renewed it in 2006. But nope! I had renewed it in March of 2004. No problem, right? I will be traveling in November of this year and my passport doesn't expire until March 1, 2014. But then I recalled reading somewhere that if your passport expires within 6 months of any international travel, you must renew your passport before departing on your trip. Hmm. So I went to the State Department's passport website and read the following: …

Thursday A La Carte

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Here are this week's offerings . . .

1. Having just celebrated the Labor Day holiday, here are some very good thoughts about work.

2. Tim Tebow just got cut .... again. This time it was the New England Patriots. So how should we think about Tebow? Justin Taylor has some thoughts. 

3. In the midst of the tragic turmoil unfolding in Syria, we need to be praying for the church there. Here is one man's prayer. 

4. Listening to a friend. Shouldn't be hard ... yet it often is. Ed Welch gives a brief answer to the question, "How do I listen well as a friend?" 

5. On a lighter note . . . 

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Some Gators!

Over this past weekend, the Missisippi state record for the largest captured alligator was broken twice! Take a moment to view the video below. The size of these creatures is truly stunning!




Wow! Two 700 pound plus alligators. Don't know what they eat to grow that big, but whatever their diet is, it sure has grown both of them!

How about you ... and your faith? Is your faith growing? Can you honestly say that your faith is stronger than it was a year ago? Six months ago? Or even last week? What are you doing to feed your faith? How much time do you spend in God's Word? In prayer? In ministry for Christ? Engaged in accountable relationships? Telling others about Jesus? My friends, God's will for you is that you would "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). So, make sure your daily diet includes those things that will help you grow!

Thanks for stopping by . . .
pj

Beware of the Sinkhole of Sin!

Sinkholes have been in the news often of late. Predominant in the south, they are still not unheard of in our region. In fact, Pennsylvania is on the list of the states most likely to experience these destructive events of nature (take a moment and watch the video below of a sinkhole doing its thing!).




As I watched this, my mind turned to the destructive nature of something else ... sin! Sin always destroys.  It devours both the inner person and his outer world. How often have you seen a public figure resign from office due to a sinful act(s) of adultery or some sort of embezzlement scheme? What began as a temptation to sin ended up as a "sinkhole" that swallowed up the individual's life.

Friends, sin is subtle. It can sneak up on us and ensnare us. If we give in to it and allow it to continue unchallenged, it will, like the sinkhole in this video, swallow us whole! So, above all else, guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23) AND be sure that you are engaging in accountable rela…