Pilgrim’s Keyboard

April 30, 2009

It is more than just a pretty bound book …

Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 3:29 pm

The Bible Gives

Help for my soul;

Holiness for my walk;

Happiness for my heart;

Hope for my future.

[TBE, vol. 44, no. 12, March 26, 1976]

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April 27, 2009

Worldliness

Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 4:28 pm

1 John 2:15  |  Do not love the world or the things in the world.

 

HUNCHED OVER HIS DESK, penknife in hand, Thomas Jefferson sliced carefully at the pages of Holy Scripture, excising select passages and pasting them together to create a Bible more to his liking. The “Jefferson Bible.” A book he could feel comfortable with.

 

What didn’t make it into the Jefferson Bible was anything that conflicted with his personal worldview. Hell? It can’t be. The supernatural? Not even worth considering. God’s wrath against sin? I don’t think so. The very words of God regarded as left over scraps.

 

Christians rightly shudder at such arrogant presumption. And no true Christian would be so bold as to attempt to create his or her own Bible, blatantly omitting whatever they don’t prefer.

 

But if we are honest, we too may have to admit that we have a Bible of our own making – a metaphorical one, perhaps, but a cut and paste job just the same. For if we ignore any portion of God’s Word – whether unintentionally, conveniently, or deliberately – we too are guilty of Jefferson’s offense.

 

Sadly, [we too have] been guilty on more than one occasion.  [We’ve] opened [our] Bible[s] and moved quickly to the encouraging and assuring passages, trying to avoid the difficult and challenging passages along the way.

 

Here’s one verse [we] find easy to ignore. It’s the simple, provocative words in 1 John 2:15  |   Do not love the world or the things in the world. 

 

There is nothing subtle about this [verse]. It’s abrupt and to the point … It is categorical: “Do not love the world.” It’s comprehensive: “Do not love anything in the world.” And it’s intrusive, strategically aimed at whatever we desire most: “anything in the world.”

 

It forbids worldliness in no uncertain terms. … Worldliness … is a love for this fallen world. It’s loving the values and pursuits of the world that stand opposed to God. More specifically, it is to gratify and exalt oneself to the exclusion of God. It rejects God’s rule and replaces it with our own (like creating our own Bibles). It exalts our opinions above God’s truth. It elevates our sinful desires for the things of this fallen world above God’s commands and promises. …

 

What dominates your mind and stirs your heart? Is it discontentment with your life? Longings for earthly pleasures? Does outward prosperity appeal to you more than growth in godliness? Or is your prayer life characterized by heartfelt supplications for God’s will to be done and his kingdom to come?

 

Do you relate to God as if he exists to further your selfish ambitions or are you convinced that you exist to glorify him? Are you trying to live without God? Iain Murray describes this way of thinking:

 

Worldliness is departing from God. It is a man-centered way of thing; it proposes objectives which demand no radical breach with man’s fallen nature; it judges the importance of things by the present and material results; it weighs success by numbers; it covets human esteem and wants no unpopularity; it knows no truth for which it is worth suffering; it declines to be “a fool for Christ’s sake”. Worldliness is the mind-set of the unregenerate. It adopts idols and is at war with God.

 

Do you covet the esteem and crave the approval of those around you? Do you go to great lengths to avoid looking foolish or being rejected for your Christian faith? Do you consider present and material results more important than eternal reward? Have you departed from God and adopted idols instead? Are you at war with God?

 

These are tough questions, I know; but they are necessary if you’re to discover whether you have been infected with the disease of worldliness. [C.J. Mahaney, editor, Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World, (Wheaton, IL, Crossway Books, 2008), 15-16, 27-28 (adapted).]   

 

2 Corinthians 13:5  |  Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.

 

ba

April 20, 2009

God’s Sovereignty & Man’s Responsibility

Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 5:29 pm

 

James P. Boyce

 

The Scriptures recognize both the sovereignty of God, and the free agency, and accountability of man. Consciousness assures us of the latter. The nature of God … proves the former. The Bible makes no attempt to reconcile the two.  Paul even declines to discuss the subject, saying, “Nay but, oh man, who art thou that repliest against God?” Rom. 9:20. The two facts are plainly revealed. They cannot be contradictory, they must be reconcilable.   [Abstract of Systematic Theology, 118]

 

ba

April 16, 2009

Torn & All Mixed Up …

Filed under: Bruce — pilgrimskeyboard @ 7:06 pm

A father wanted to read a magazine but he was being bothered by his little girl, Shelby. She wanted to know what the United States looked like.

 

Finally, he tore a sheet out of his new magazine on which was printed the map of the country. Tearing it into small pieces, he gave it to Shelby and said, “Go into the other room and see if you can put this together. This will show you our whole country today.”

 

After a few minutes, Shelby returned and handed him the map, correctly fitted and taped together. The father was surprised and asked how she had finished so quickly.

 

“Oh,” she said, “On the other side of the paper is a picture of Jesus. When I got all of Jesus back where he belonged, then our country just came together.” [unknown]

 

Sometimes children are much wiser than the grownups!

 

ba

April 8, 2009

The Changing View of Sin in America

Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 6:30 pm

Allen Raynor Weblog: arynorweblog@comcast.net

The Changing View of Sin in America

(April 8, 2009)

 

An article in the March 2009 issue of Pulpit Helps Magazine reveals the results of a survey conducted by The Ellison Research Group in Phoenix which finds 87 percent of U.S. adults believe in the existence of sin which is defined as “something that is almost always considered wrong, particularly from a religious or moral perspective.” The survey revealed what most of us probably already knew, that is that Americans tend toward defining sin as what they personally view it to be no matter whether or not their view is consistent with any standard such as scripture, moral codes, etc. David Kinnerman of the Barna Research Group draws the conclusion that “People are quick to toe the line on traditional thinking, that there is sin, but interpret that reality in a very personal and self-congratulatory manner. Their thinking is, ‘I have to do what is right for me.’” Further, the prevailing attitude is that “I am not as bad as most.”

According to the research, 65% of U.S. adults think they will go to heaven, but only .05 percent believe they will go to hell. The article draws attention to the fact that the most popular preachers of our day, such as Joel Osteen, Pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, TX, never mention hell. It is as though it does not exist. Osteen is not alone. Preaching on hell is virtually absent in the modern day. The title of Osteen’s blockbuster best-seller Your Best Life Now, states the spirit of the age pretty well; it is all about today – right now! To a generation of Americans, in essence there is no heaven, no hell, no death, no nothing except today! To this generation the concepts of heaven and hell are no less vague and distant than are space travel to Mars, being a guest on Oprah, or finding a suitcase full of hundred dollar bills. It is not out of the question in their thinking, but it is so improbable that it seems but a pipe dream. There is no longing for heaven or fear of hell. People just are not that interested in what takes place beyond this life, except for those who perhaps are faced with the immediate reality of death.

American pulpits have drifted, over time, into what Michael Horton, professor of theology at Westminster Seminary in Escondido, CA, calls “moral therapy.” He goes on to say, “people still know what sin is, they just don’t believe in it anymore. We mix up happiness and holiness, and God is no longer the reference point.” “If you can solve your problems or sins yourself, what difference does it make that Christ was crucified?”

Topping the list of what Americans considered to be sinful in this survey were adultery (81%), racism (74%), using hard drugs (65%), having an abortion (56%), and homosexuality (52%). What may be most surprising of all is that less than half of the Americans in the survey considered gossip (47%), pre-marital sex (45%), smoking marijuana (41%), getting drunk (41%), gambling (30%), and not attending church regularly (18%) to be sins! Can you imagine, only 18% of respondents thought it to be a sin not to attend church regularly! Could it be, at least in part, that when they get to church the message is on topics such as “how to be happy,” “how to love more,” and how to be a better friend?” There is obvious exaggeration here, but the point is that much preaching is not Biblical, therefore it is not transformational; it is instead behavior-control oriented.

Oswald Chambers explained, “Sin is not weakness, it is not a disease; it is red-handed rebellion against God and the magnitude of that rebellion is expressed at Calvary.” John Bunyan declared, “Sin is the dare of God’s justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power, and the contempt of His love.” Multiple passages of scripture in both the Old and New Testaments pull no punches when it comes to painting the picture of sin. The Apostle Paul even cries out “O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?” We are a long way from even looking at the issue of sin honestly, even within the church. How can we then expect the world at large to grasp the concept. There has been a blurring of lines taking place between the church and the world for decades and now the statistics show any differences are almost imperceptible. In a very real way, we have made our own bed. The Bible is still God’s word however, and God is still on His throne. There is still a heaven and a hell, same as always. Furthermore, His scheduled return is still on His calendar and will not change one iota because of the conditions on the ground in this world. And yes, sin is still sin!

Pastor Allen Raynor    |    First Baptist Church, Broomfield, CO

ba

April 1, 2009

[Death to] A Great Sinner [who has] A Great Savoir

Filed under: Some Famous | Some Not So Famous — pilgrimskeyboard @ 7:41 pm

What is death to a believer in Jesus! It is simply a ceasing to breathe. If we personify it, we may welcome it as a messenger sent to tell us that the days of our mourning are ended and to open to us the gate of everlasting life. The harbingers of death, sickness, pain, and conflict are frequently formidable to the flesh, but death itself is nothing else but a deliverance from them all.

 

John Newton – 1801

(Author of the hymn – Amazing Grace)

 

ba

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