Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Your Thoughts of God are Too Human

I have been reading (and loving) the book, The Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink.  I have a few more quotes coming from him in the next few days.  Then I hope to do a book review.

For now, I actually found a quote from him on another blog that I felt needed to be shared.
(via Blogging Theologically)

In one of his letters to Erasmus, Luther said, “Your thoughts of God are too human.” Probably that renowned scholar resented such a rebuke, the more so, since it proceeded from a miner’s son; nevertheless, it was thoroughly deserved. We too, though having no standing among the religious leaders of this degenerate age, prefer the same charge against the majority of the preachers of our day, and against those who, instead of searching the Scriptures for themselves, lazily accept the teaching of others. The most dishonoring and degrading conceptions of the rule and reign of the Almighty are now held almost everywhere. To countless thousands, even among those professing to be Christians, the God of the Scriptures is quite unknown. 
Of old, God complained to an apostate Israel, “Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself” (Psa 50:21). Such must now be His indictment against an apostate Christendom. Men imagine that the Most High is moved by sentiment, rather that actuated by principle. They suppose that His omnipotence is such an idle fiction that Satan is thwarting His designs on every side. They think that if He has formed any plan or purpose at all, then it must be like theirs, constantly subject to change. They openly declare that whatever power He possesses must be restricted, lest He invade the citadel of man’s “free will” and reduce him to a “machine.” They lower the all-efficacious atonement, which has actually redeemed everyone for whom it was made, to a mere “remedy,” which sin-sick souls may use if they feel disposed to; and they enervate the invincible work of the Holy Spirit to an “offer” of the Gospel which sinners may accept or reject as they please. 
The “god” of this twentieth century no more resembles the Supreme Sovereign of Holy Writ than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun. The “god” who is now talked about in the average pulpit, spoken of in the ordinary Sunday School, mentioned in much of the religious literature of the day, and preached in most of the so-called Bible Conferences is the figment of human imagination, an invention of maudlin sentimentality. The heathen outside of the pale of Christendom form “gods” out of wood and stone, while the millions of heathen inside Christendom manufacture a “god” out of their own carnal mind. In reality, they are but atheists, for there is no other possible alternative between an absolutely supreme God, and no God at all. A “god” whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses no title to Deity, and so far from being a fit object of worship, merits naught but contempt.
How big is your view of God?

Bertrand Russel's Ten Commandments

Though I had heard of Bertrand Russel, I had never heard of these before.  (I found them over at the 22 words blog.)  Though I clearly do not agree with everything that he says here, I definitely found much of this to be thought stimulating and actually quite agreeable.  So, I share them with you to see what you think.

In his own words,
The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows:

  1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
  2. Do not think it worthwhile to produce belief by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
  3. Never try to discourage thinking, for you are sure to succeed.
  4. When you meet with opposition, even if it is from your family, endeavour to overcome it with argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
  5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
  6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do, the opinions will suppress you.
  7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
  8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
  9. Be scrupulously truthful even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
  10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise, for only a fool will think that is happiness.
My key disagreement is related to a difference of authority and certainty.  Though I agree with his idea of not feeling absolutely certain, I do believe that certainty can and should increase throughout your life.  In conjunction with that, not only do I believe that authority exists, I believe in the reality of absolute authority.

Anyway, chew on this and let me know what you think.

Friday, September 23, 2011

sweet force

"Why was I made to hear is voice,
And enter while there's room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?
'Twas the same love that spread the feast,
That sweetly forced us in;
Else we had still refused to taste
And perished in our sin."
~Isaac Watts 

Quoted in The Sovereignty of God by A.W.Pink

Monday, September 12, 2011

the superficial work of many evangelists

I've been reading A.W. Pink's book, The Sovereignty of God during my bus trips to work and back home.  I Read this bit on the bus this morning:
The superficial work of many of the professional evangelists of the last fifty years is largely responsible for the erroneous view now current upon the bondage of the natural man, encouraged by the laziness of those in the pew in their failure to "prove all things" (I Thess. 5:21). The average evangelical pulpit conveys the impression that it lies wholly in the power of the sinner whether or not he shall be saved. It is said that "God has done His part, now man must do his."  Alas, what can a lifeless man do, and man by nature is "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1)!  If the truth were really believed, there would be more dependence upon the Holy Spirit to come in with His miracle-working power, and less confidence in our attempts to "win men for Christ."
As much as I agree with every word that Pink is saying, I still find myself relying on my preaching and my persuasive abilities for people to repent.  I need to repent.  It isn't that I shouldn't seek to be persuasive, it is that I shouldn't rely on that.  Listen to the rest that Pink has to say:
When addressing the unsaved, preachers often draw an analogy between God's sending of the Gospel to the sinner, and a sick man in bed, with healing medicine on a table by his side: all he needs to do is to reach forth his hand and take it. But in order for this illustration to be in any wise true to the picture which Scripture gives us of the fallen and depraved sinner, the sick man in bed must be described as one who is blind (Eph. 4:18) so that he cannot see the medicine, his hand paralyzed (Rom. 5:6) so that he is unable to reach forth for it, and his heart not only devoid of all confidence in the medicine but filled with hatred against the physician himself (John 15:18).  
O what superficial views of man's desperate plight are now entertained! Christ came here not to help those who are willing to help themselves, but to do for His people what they were incapable of doing for themselves: "To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house" (Isa. 42:7).

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tomato Time

I have A.D.D.

We could argue about the realities of this "disorder" but that wouldn't get us anywhere.  I could tell you about the behavioral studies that have been done.  I could redirect you to the medical reports that go in conjunction with the diagnosing of this particular problem.  I could even point you to the somewhat new diagnostic methods that even include brain scans that will clearly point to this issue.  You, of course, may be able to offer rebuttals to any of these evidences that I could present to you, but as my final piece of evidence I could present to you anyone who actually knows me.  They would be happy to vouch for me... I have issues with attention.

I remind many people of the quintessential dog with the squirrel.  I have stopped typing this blog at least 8 times already because of things like noises out the window, the cat walking through the room, there are books on my shelves with words, etc.  My students all know this about me.  I just spent 30 sec. thinking about how my students have distracted me in the past and how I could be distracted in the future.

I have had this all my life.  My earliest memories of school involve spending hours looking out the window at school and having my teacher literally grab my head and turn it back around to the front of the room.  But thanks to my "old school" parents, medication was never an option.

I haven't regretted that at all.  I have learned to cope with this little challenge in my life.  On a broader scale, I believe that A.D.D. displays itself, not only in those little distractions, but also in a general lack of focus in one's life.  I spent 10 years getting my 4 year college degree, mostly because of big-picture life distractions.  But that's another story.

Ok.  End the intro to this blog post.

Now I want to tell you about the Pomodoro Technique.  To save time and energy, I will direct you to their website to read the details of the technique, but I will give you a brief description.  From their site:
"The Pomodoro Technique® is a way to get the most out of time management. Turn time into a valuable ally to accomplish what we want to do and chart continuous improvement in the way we do it."
Basically, it is a method that involves breaking down your time into increments.  This is something that I have done for years, but not always successfully.  The Pomodoro Technique breaks it down into a more systematic method that I am finding to be quite useful.

Please check out the Pomodoro Technique website.  They offer their book for free as a downloadable pdf.  There are also some cheatsheets and other forms that are useful in integrating this technique into your life.

I also found a nice little Chrome Web App that works well with the technique.  The web app is also available as a web page.  [tomatoi.st]

I don't want you to misunderstand me though.  I am not one who will tell you that a technique is everything. More than that I have learned that God has a purpose in our weaknesses.  More than a technique, having A.D.D. has taught me about Grace.  Many of my sinful struggles have been a result of the fact that I am so easily distracted and pulled away.  I am not a strong person, but God's grace is sufficient.  I wanted strength of will and more focus, what God has given me is grace.  I believe that this is so I might say with Paul,
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
II Corinthians 12:9
If you have a child with A.D.D. (or if you have A.D.D.) and have any questions about how I have learned to cope by leaning on into God's grace and using methods like the Pomodoro Technique and other self-made remedies, please feel free to contact me.  There is a contact page at the top of this blog.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

If I may be so bold...

I am always surprised at the forwardness of some of the preachers from days gone by.  Here is an excerpt from Charles Spurgeon’s 1867 sermon “A Song at the Well-head” (Found on the Gospel Coalition):

You are retired for your private devotions; you have opened the Bible, and you begin to read. 
Now, do not be satisfied with merely reading through a chapter. Some people thoughtlessly read through two or three chapters—stupid people for doing such a thing! 
It is always better to read a little and digest it, than it is to read much and then think you have done a good thing by merely reading the letter of the word. 
For you might as well read the alphabet backwards and forwards, as read a chapter of Scripture, unless you meditate upon it, and seek to comprehend its meaning. 
Merely to read words is nothing: the letter kills. 
The business of the believer with his Bible open is to pray, “Lord, give me the meaning and spirit of your word, while it lies open before me; apply your word with power to my soul, threatening or promise, doctrine or precept, whatever it may be; lead me into the soul and marrow of your word.” 
Also, it is not the form of prayer, but the spirit of prayer that shall truly benefit your souls.
That prayer has not benefited you, which is not the prayer of the soul. 
You have need to say, “Lord, give me the spirit of prayer; now help me to feel my need deeply, to perceive your promises clearly, and to exercise faith upon them.” 
In your private devotions, strive after vital godliness, real soul-work, the life-giving operation of the Spirit of God in your hearts.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

depressed cat

The Twenty Two Words blog just posted a picture of a shy cat.  In responses, I had to post my pictures of my depressed and slightly annoyed hairless cat.  (Who is pregnant now, so we will be expecting some little furry wrinkly kittens soon.)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Netflix Pick of the Week: Life After People

My Netflix pick of the week is going to be the History Channel series titled, Life After People.

My two boys and myself seriously enjoy watching shows like this.  We don't watch the NBA or the NFL, no... no... That's not for us.  We like the documentaries.  And this is a series that we find to be absolutely fascinating.  Here is the Netflix description:
What would happen to Earth if people simply vanished one day? Using special effects and relying on the speculation of experts in fields as diverse as geology and engineering, this series imagines a fascinating post-human future. Iconic landmarks, at the mercy of the elements, collapse and decay, erasing the last traces of human existence. Meanwhile, new predators prowl the ruins of once-mighty civilizations, dominating the abandoned world.
The show doesn't seek to explain what happened to all of the people, it simply wants to answer the question, "...what would happen to our stuff?"  It always surprises me how quickly our things would decay and rot and fall to nothing.  It reminds me of this passage:

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy..."(Matthew 6:19 ESV)

Click here to watch Life After People on Netflix.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Other Wise than God has Eternally Purposed

A. W. Pink, from his book, The Sovereignty of God, at the end of his chapter on the Sovereignty of God in Administration, states this profound paragraph:
The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.  His government is exercised over inanimate matter, over brute beasts, over the children of men, over angels good and evil, and over Satan himself.  No revolving of a world, no shining of a star, no storm, no movement of a creature, no actions of men, no errands of angels, no deeds of the Devil -- nothing in all the vast universe can come to pass other wise than God has eternally purposed.  Here is a foundation for faith.  Here is a resting place for the intellect. Here is an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast. It is not blind fate, unbridled evil, man or Devil, but the Lord almighty who is ruling the world, ruling it according to His own good pleasure and for His own eternal glory. 
Possibly as a moment of worship, he goes on to quote Isaac Watts:
Ten thousand ages ere the skies
Were into motion brought;
All the long years and worlds to come,
Stood present to His thought:
There's not a sparrow or a worm,
But's found in His decrees,
He raises monarchs to their throne
And sinks them as He please.