Monday, August 31, 2015

This is a Treasure...a Member of the Family

I just finished reading this beautifully created book. Part children's-Bible--part adult summary of the Bible.

One of the biggest challenges of the Bible is that, because of it's length, it's hard to capture it's overarching story. It's more likely that one gets the smaller stories and misses the meta-narrative. DeYoung takes great pains to make the overarching story apparent. He succeeds too.

So he writes this children's Bible/story with kids in mind (amazing illustrations!!!) while, at the same time, not dumbing or watering down the major themes in the Bible--themes that capture the essence of the Story. This is why adults can read this book over and over to their kids and themselves grow from it. It truly can become a "member" of the family.

I encourage you to buy one to read to your children and later grandchildren. If you're a grandparent, also buy one for each of your kids to read to theirs. This is a book to pass down generation after generation.

But don't get ahead of yourself. Trying to preserve it and not tear the dust jacket misses the point--just use it. The real value is in the time spent reading this story together!

This is a treasure. Thank you Kevin DeYoung!

Link to Book on Amazon.com

The un-disclaimer.

I was NOT given this book to read and write a review of. I bought the book, read it and was so impressed that I chose to write this review. I'm glad I did!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Treasure on Display

“He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.”  

Jeremiah 18:6 NIV http://bible.com/111/jer.18.6.niv

God is speaking to Israel through Jeremiah. He's not happy with them right now.

He asks a question that should sober and remind us who's God--and who's not. 

"Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?"

God is referring to the potter he sent Jeremiah to observe. The potter takes a lump of clay and forms it into a pot. When he sees it's "marred in his hands" he reforms and reshapes it. Why? Because he can; because he's the potter and it's the clay. No one expects the clay to question or complain to the potter. It "knows" it's place. The potter knows his place too. He is the one with the power to create, shape, reshape and destroy. It's his right as creator.

God compares himself to the potter and Israel to the clay. He tells Israel through Jeremiah that Israel is marred and needs reforming. They should repent from their wicked ways or he eventually will destroy them.

God is speaking to all his people when he says this. Paul refers to this passage in 2 Cor. 4 using the same picture. We're just jars of clay formed by the hand of the master. When we are marred because of our wicked and wayward ways, he calls us to repent. He wants to reform us and make us usable again. We can cooperate or we can resist. Ultimately, persistent resistance leads to destruction. By God's grace I pray we will yield to his good and wise ways and allow him--invite him--to reform us.

Lord, forgive my proud and evil ways. Forgive me when I resist your attempts to reform me. I gladly and humbly submit to your good, great, gracious and glorious rule in my life. I am but clay. Yet in your hands I am a jar of clay holding the priceless treasure of your gospel. May I display it well this day. In Christ's power name I pray, amen.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Extremism on Display

I thought this piece from Gary Bauer illustrated well the difference between two candidates running for President and their position on abortion:

"Senator Marco Rubio in recent days has argued that his philosophy on the sanctity of life does not include exceptions for abortion. Hillary pounced, as Democrats always do, portraying the pro-life position as out-of-touch. 

During a campaign event yesterday, Hillary took a question about Donald Trump and used it to attack Rubio saying that his pro-life position was "as offensive and troubling a comment as you could hear." Normally such attacks would send Republican politicians running for the tall grass. 

But here's the difference: The Rubio campaign immediately hit back and hit back hard. The Florida senator said:

'Hillary Clinton supports abortion even at the stage when an unborn child can feel pain; she has defended partial-birth abortions as a 'fundamental right;' she opposes requiring parents to be notified that their minor daughter is having an abortion; she supports funding Planned Parenthood even after they have been exposed for their role in selling the organs of unborn children; and she supports using taxpayer money to pay for abortions overseas. Hillary Clinton holds radical views on abortion that we look forward to exposing in the months to come.'

That is exactly how candidates should handle the issue. Don't apologize for being pro-life and boldly expose the left's extremism." - Gary Bauer




Thursday, August 06, 2015

A Confession. A Prayer

Zephaniah 1

Why am I not angry when I see people who say they are Christ-followers worshiping things other than God? 

Is it because I struggle with this too and I don't feel like I can speak to it? Is it because I don't have a passion for God's unique place as the sole object of our worship and praise? Is it because I'm so distracted by my trivial pursuits of this world that I don't even notice? Am I even capable of seeing this wickedness?

I think about how little outrage there is over the Planned Parenthood videos. But then it wasn't that long ago when I didn't think about abortion hardly at all. I'd preach maybe one sermon a year. Maybe. The 3,262 babies/day murdered in the name of convenience hardly stirred my emotions--much less righteous indignation.

Lord, have mercy on me. I have not defended the fatherless or the poor. I have ignored the widow. I have sought church growth but not kingdom growth. Cleanse me and fill me with your Holy Spirit for I am a needy and bankrupt man apart from your mercy. 

I cry out to you, Lord, for mercy and grace. Do a mighty work in and through me! Make me usable and then wear me out! Strip away the sin that so easily entangles me. Purify me like silver in the fire. Move me to rejoicing even in trials. (James 1:2-5) Empower me to, "Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with my God." (Micah 6:8) For you are worthy! (Rev 7:11-12)

Lord, when I see idol worship by Christ-followers today, give me the conviction, compassion and courage to confront it. In Christ's holy name I pray, amen.