Thursday, November 28, 2019

I Cook the Non-Starchy, Non-Sweet Veggies for Thanksgiving Energy

Pastor John Piper: The Root of Ingratitude, and conversely, Glorifying God By Giving Thanks


THERE ARE MANY REASONS FOR INGRATITUDE.  However,  Pastor Piper nails the underlying culprit:  our illusions of self-sufficiency,  self-righteousness, which lead to hard and darkened hearts.  Listen and learn.

Although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21)

THEN, a meditation on Glorifying God By Giving Thanks.
It is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:15)
Gratitude to God is a joyful emotion. We have a sense of joyful indebtedness for his grace. So in a sense in the very emotion of gratitude, we are still the beneficiaries. But by its very nature, gratitude glorifies the giver. When we feel thankful, we acknowledge our need and God’s beneficence, God’s fullness, the riches of his glory.

Just like I humble myself and exalt the server in the restaurant when I say, “Thank you,” so I humble myself and exalt God when I feel gratitude to him. The difference, of course, is that I really am infinitely in debt to God for his grace, and everything he does for me is free and undeserved.

But the point is that gratitude glorifies the giver. It glorifies God. And this is Paul’s final goal in all his labors. Yes, his labors are for the sake of the church — the good of the church. But the church is not the highest goal. Listen again: “It is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” All for your sake — for the glory of God!

The wonderful thing about the gospel is that the response it requires from us for God’s glory is also the response that is most natural and joyful; namely, thankfulness for grace. God’s all-supplying glory in giving and our humble gladness in receiving are not in competition. Joyful thankfulness glorifies God.

A life that gives glory to God for his grace and a life of deepest gladness are the same life. And what makes them one is thankfulness.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Such Good News Sunday, Real Change Is Possible With Him


 Devotional by John Piper 
Put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:24)
Christianity means change is possible. Deep, fundamental change. It is possible to become tenderhearted when once you were callous and insensitive. It is possible to stop being dominated by bitterness and anger. It is possible to become a loving person, no matter what your background has been.
 This is wonderfully freeing. It frees us from the terrible fatalism that says change is impossible for me. It frees me from mechanistic views that make my background my destiny.
And God’s commands always come with freeing, life-changing truth to believe. For example,
  • God adopted us as his children. We have a new Father and a new family. This breaks the fatalistic forces of our “family-of-origin.” “Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9).
  • God loves us as his children. We are “loved children” (Ephesians 5:1). The command to imitate the love of God does not hang in the air, it comes with power: “Be imitators of God, as loved children.” “Love!” is the command and being loved by God is the power.
  • God has forgiven us in Christ. Be tenderhearted and forgiving just as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32). What God did in Christ is powerful. It makes change possible. The command to be tenderhearted has more to do with what God did for you than what your mother or your father did to you. This kind of command means you can change.
  • Christ loved you and gave himself up for you. “Walk in love, as Christ loved [you]” (Ephesians 5:2). The command comes with life-changing truth. “Christ loved you.” At the moment when there is a chance to love, and some voice says, “You are not a loving person,” you can say, “Christ’s love for me makes me a new kind of person. His command to love is just as surely possible for me as his promise of love is true for me.”
Don’t be a fatalist. Be a Christian. Change is possible. God is alive. Christ is risen. The promises are true.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Veterans Day 2019, We Thank You!


The Spiritual Fight Is Already Won On Earth As In Heaven, No Matter How It May Look From Here



 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world-he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!" And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

Thought for the Day What on earth does this mean - "war arose in heaven"? It suggests that the whole of our spiritual security in Christ is up for grabs. Let's remind ourselves that Revelation is an eternity's eye view of all that is going on, and that it speaks with an eternal perspective on time. Michael is the great archangel who first appears in Daniel 10 and now has summoned the heavenly host to fight against the dragon and his angels - the forces of evil. "If we are able to give this any meaning in our imaginations, it must be that the moral and political struggles of which we are aware, the battles between good and evil, between justice and injustice, which go on in this life, reflect a more primeval battle which has taken place in the spiritual sphere. Michael has won, and the dragon has lost. This loss means that he is thrown down to the earth, ejected from heaven altogether" (Bishop N. T. Wright). Michael and all angels might have been the players in this particular eternal scene, but it is the shedding of Christ's blood that has empowered the victory - as the voice from heaven says.

Thanksgiving for the Day We give thanks to God for angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven.

 Intercession for the Day Let us ask God to give us insight and wisdom as we find ourselves in the midst of this battle between Christ and the power of his Cross, and the forces of sin and evil that seek destruction of all that is good.

Collect for the Day
Lord God Almighty, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
as we gather in worship,
as we break bread and pour out wine
to feed on Christ by faith with thanksgiving,
give us an awareness that we are not a small group all alone
but are together with angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven.
In Jesus's name, Amen

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Sunday---Hillsdale College Builds Christ Chapel For Higher Learning and Ultimate Truth



In his remarks at the dedication, President Arnn noted that the difficult question is not why Hillsdale chose to build Christ Chapel. Rather, it is why other colleges have declined to do likewise. It is not for lack of money or precedent. No, it is because most other colleges have “turned away from things that are beautiful, which also means a turning away from things that are true and things that are good.” When you walk into Christ Chapel, you catch your breath in response to the soaring grandeur of the space. Its stateliness lifts the spirit and puts you, Arnn noted, in mind of “ultimate things.” That is by design, and it is a testimony to Stroik’s skill that the hundreds of people who crowded into Christ Chapel to witness its dedication instantly understood, and experienced, what Arnn was talking about. But the key point is that the architect is not just a manipulator of psychological feelings. He is also a conduit of realities that transcend the quotidian borders of our workaday lives. You do not hear much about beauty or its inextricable relation to the true and the good on most college campuses these days. Even to utter the words without the armor of scare quotes would be to seem quaint or na├»ve at best, compromised by affiliation with a putatively oppressive heritage at worst. But Arnn is right: when we give up on ultimate realities, we lose the foundation for more proximate loyalties. Why should we strive for the good? What is the foundation of human dignity? What is the justification for freedom? When we let go of ultimate realities we rob ourselves of the most compelling answers to such questions.

Read more.


Friday, November 1, 2019

Good News of the Day

1.VIA DRUDGE---THE TRUMPS MAKE THEIR PRIMARY/LEGAL ADDRESS FLORIDA,  leaving the high-tax, high-crime city of New York for good..  My only question is what took them so long?

2.VIA DON SURBER, VIA BBC---A herd of 500 goats was hired to clear the flammable brush away from the Ronald  Reagan Library earlier this year and helped save the compound from being destroyed this week by seasonal wildfires.

If anything else newsworthy comes to mind that doesn't completely  appall me, I'll be back later to post it.