Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Trials Turned to Gold


Has anyone ever considered the similarities between Yahweh and Rumplestiltskin?



Let's not take the comparison TOO far, considering Rumplestiltskin's wickedly impish nature and self-destructive temper, but there is one particular skill of Rumplestiltskin's that directly relates to something Keith Green praises God about in his song, "Trials Turned to Gold".

Just as Mr. R. could take a roomful of straw and turn it into a precious metal, so Yahweh specializes in using the negative circumstances of our lives, no matter how trivial or traumatic, to transform us into kids of the Kingdom..."heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ." (Romans 8:17 NIV)

He's brought me here, where things are clear
And trials turn to gold
He shared with me, His victory
He won in days of old

Oh Lord, I don't deserve
The riches of Your word
But You've changed my filthy rags
To linen white as snow

The view from here is nothing near
To what it is for You
I tried to see Your plan for me
But I only acted like I knew

Oh Lord forgive the times
I tried to read your mind
Cause you said if I'd be still
Then I would hear your voice

My Lord, my King, my urge to sing
And praise the things above
No words can say the glorious way
You changed me with your love

He's brought me low, so I could know
The way to reach the heights
To forsake my dreams, my self-esteem
And give up all my rights

With each one that I lay down
A jewel's placed in my crown
Cause His love, the things above
Is all we'll ever need

He's brought me here, where things are clear
And trials turn to gold
©1977 April Music



Truth is...we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)



Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Scottish Snippets


While I've never been disappointed when reading a book or article by Alistair Begg, he has proven that he is just as able to pack a wallop with only a few words:


The great need is for us to be taught theologically, not just stirred emotionally.

The reason most preaching is ignored today is that it deserves to be.

The Church is where it is today because it has decided that the advertising agents know better than the Holy Spirit of God.




Our relationship with God will never be right as long as our relationship with others is wrong.

It takes a whole Bible to make a whole Christian.

I only need a mirror to see a sinner.

Do you want to lead, or do you want to be liked?


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Truth is... More important than his Scottish brogue, the reason I benefit from listening to Begg's "Truth for Life" podcast is that he eschews controversy in favor of living up to this frequent saying of his: "The main things are the plain things, and the plain things are the main things."

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Dangerous Christians: Top 25 Jesus Quotes: #21


Ask 25 people why Jesus came to the planet and you'll get at least 12 different answers.


"He came to show us how to love everyone."

"Jesus came to teach us how to live simply."

"Jesus' mission was to save us from the consequences of our sins."

Ask Australian activist, evangelist, and international speaker, Christine Caine, why Jesus came to the planet and you'll get Number 21 on azquotes.com's list of the top 25 quotes having to do with Jesus:


Christine Caine


Jesus didn't come to make us safe.
He came to make us dangerous
to the kingdom of darkness.


You see, our lives as Christ-followers aren't meant to be just about our own lives. "I've got my ticket to heaven and that's all that matters." 

Jesus used a lot of action verbs when he commanded his followers: "Go." "Preach." "Make disciples." "Love one another as I have loved you."

Truth is...in the words of Rich Mullins, "He gave us a promise and He gave us a job. He'll be with us, but the work is up to us." ("Alrightokuhhuhamen")

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

When You and Your Parents Don't Share a Common Faith


In recent years, Taylor Swift and other songwriters have earned a reputation for writing songs that publically express some very personal feelings or events. But they've got a long way to go to match the heartfelt transparency Keith Green displayed in "Song to My Parents (I Only Wanna See You There)".




I need to say these things 'cause
I love you so
And I'm sorry you get angry when I say that
You just don't know
That there's a heaven waiting
For you and me
I know it seems every time we talk
I'm only tryin' to just make you see

And it's only that I care
I really only want
Just to see you there

Please try and overlook my
My human side
I know I'm such a bad example
And you know I'm so full of pride
But Jesus isn't like that
No, He's perfect all the way
I guess that's why we need Him
'Cause by ourselves, there's just no way

And it's only that I care
I really, really only just want to see you there
To see you there

Close the doors
They're just not coming
We sent the invitations out long, long, long, long time ago
We're still gonna have a wedding feast
Big enough to beat them all
The greatest people in the world just wouldn't come
So now we'll just have to invite the small

And it's only that I care
I really, really only want
Just to see you there

Isn't that Jesus?
Isn't that Joseph and Mary's son?
Well, didn't He grow up right here?
He played with our children
What! He must be kidding
Thinks He's a prophet
Well, prophets don't grow up from little boys
Do they? From little boys?
Do they?
©1977 April Music



Truth is...it's a hard thing to put a desire for a smooth, peaceful relationship aside in favor of the desire for an eternal one. Talking to our parents or other dearly loved family or friends seems scary, but if we really love them, and Jesus is really real, their rejection of Christ should scare us even more.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

How to Succeed in Politics


This has never aspired to be a political blog, but Clement Eaton has made some observations that certainly contain facts and point out a deeper truth.


The voters failed to elect their superior men to office. To obtain the [votes] of the people it was not necessary for a politician to have a superior education or a brilliant mind. Rather, he must be able to sense the common man's discontents, his economic grievances, his prejudices, and his dreams. The successful politician was, as a rule, a vigorous or eloquent speaker, a man who could devise popular slogans and organize political workers, and who gave the common people a feeling of their own importance. As party warfare developed into violent partisanship and as sectional tensions arose, the politician who had strong convictions and had taken a courageous public stand on issues was often pushed aside in favor of a candidate of availability.



In the spirit of Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story, it may surprise you to learn this is a quote from the book, Henry Clay and the Art of American Politics, and is talking about the voters of the 1830s and 1840s.


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Truth is...What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

I Am Loved: Top 25 Jesus Quotes: #22


If you go to TimothyKeller.com, you are immediately greeted by a picture of Keller apparently speaking from a pulpit or lectern. In large type, like a banner across the top of the page, is this quote:


The gospel says you are more sinful and flawed than you ever dared believe, but more accepted and loved than you ever dared hope.

That's a pretty good collection of words right there, and it relates to Jesus Quote #22 in two ways:

     1.   It covers similar ground...talking about how Jesus has an effect on what I think about myself.
     2.   Its source is the same person.


Tim Keller


The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.


Truth is...While I have often said that God loves us so much He would rather die than live without us...and there is truth in that statement...I am also reminded of something Rich Mullins said: "I grew up hearing everyone tell me 'God loves you'. I would say big deal, God loves everybody. That don't make me special! That just proves that God ain't got no taste. And I don't think He does. Thank God! Because He takes the junk of our lives and makes the most beautiful art."

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Something to Stop Praying About


It might surprise you that in a book titled Pray Big, the author (Alistair Begg) actually spells out something he thinks we should all STOP praying:


Mouth Taped Shut

I want to erase the two words that shut most of our prayers down. Here they are:

"Be with..."

If you were to record my prayers, I have a sad suspicion you'd hear a lot of "be with": "Dear Lord, I pray you will be with Tom as he goes to work, and be with Mary also, who's having her wisdom teeth removed on Tuesday, and be with...and be with...and be with...and be with us all. Amen."

This is unimaginative. It's limited. It's certainly not spiritually ambitious, like Paul is. And it is, I think, unnecessary. Jesus said, "Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). He's promised to be with Tom and with Mary. It's a bit of a waste to make the sum total of my prayer for them the request that Jesus would do what he already said he'd do, and has already started doing.

Search the Scriptures, and you won't find a prayer recorded that just asks God to "be with" his people. The prayers of the saints have far more weighty, far more spiritual concerns.


*  *  *  *  *  *  *


Truth is...we can all understand the intent behind our "be with" prayers. Maybe we could expand them into prayers pleading that our friends and family would actually sense God's presence and walk boldly into whatever circumstance they find themselves, knowing that Yahweh, the creator of all that is, loves them and will never give up on them.