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Reflect On The Wonder Of The Cross

I haven’t posted anything in a long time, and have so much I could say. Unfortunately, I don’t have very much time, so I can’t quite update you all on what has occupied my summer yet, but I can give some quick encouragement. The easiest way to do this: quote someone who is more spiritually mature than I. Ironically, this man, C.J. Mahaney, also happens to be quoting others. I hope you find this as edifying as I did.

“Martin Lloyd-Jones wrote the following about the surest way to pursue humility:

There is only one thing I know of that crushes me to the ground and humiliates me to the dust, and that is to look at the Son of God, and especially contemplate the cross. 

When I survey the wondrous cross 

On which the Prince of Glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss

And pour contempt on all my pride

Nothing else can do it. When I see that I am a sinner… that nothing but the Son of God on the cross can save me, I’m humbled to the dust… Nothing but the cross can give us this spirit of humility.

“John Stott helps us understand why the cross has this powerful effect:

Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to be saying to us, ‘I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying your death I am dying.’ Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.

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Puritan Prayers - The Valley of Vision

God And Myself – The Valley Of Vision

A couple mornings ago, I ended my devotions with a prayer from The Valley Of Vision. This prayer, like many other Puritan works, switches in focus between our depravity and praise for the Lord. Many times when reading the writings of the Puritans, all I can do is ask the Lord to grant me sincerity in my walk with Him. Grant me a love that is and remains true; a 2 John 6 love- And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments.  If I do not obey my God and Father consistently, I cannot say I love Him. If others cannot examine my life and grasp an assurance of Christ’s existence – and moreover, His love – I should not claim His name. Yet, it is by God’s grace alone, that He enables me and others to present this very image with our lives. Praise be to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for His grace, love, and continual faithfulness!

God And Myself

 Lord God Almighty,

Thy understanding is unsearchable and infinite,

Thy arm cannot be stayed,

Thy agency extends through limitless space,

All works hang on thy care,

With thee time a present now.

Holy is thy wisdom, power, mercy, ways, works.

How can I stand before thee

with my numberless and aggravated offences?

I have often loved darkness,

observed lying vanities,

forsaken thy given mercies,

trampled underfoot the beloved Son,

mocked thy providences,

flattered thee with my lips,

broken thy covenant.

It is of thy compassion that I am not consumed.

Lead me to repentance, and save me from despair,

Let me come to thee renouncing, condemning,

loathing myself, (my sin)

but hoping in the grace that flows

even to the chief of sinners.

At the cross may I contemplate the evil of sin,

and abhor it,

look on Him whom I pierced,

as one slain for me, and by me.

May I never despise His death by fearing

its efficacy for my salvation.

And whatever cross I am required to bear,

let me see Him carrying a heavier.

Teach me in health to think of sickness,

in the brightest hours to be ready for darkness;

in life prepare me for death.

Thus may my soul rest in thee, O immortal

and transcendent One,

revealed as thou art in the Person and work

of thy Son,

the Friend of sinners.

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Other

Facebook: A New Kind Of Predator

One of my last essays for a composition class was an opinion paper. I decided to write on a controversial topic amongst Christians: Facebook. Please enjoy, but realize that this was a five paragraph essay, not an exhaustive source of information on all things relating to Facebook and Christians. I am merely expressing my opinion, as this is not a persuasive paper.

Facebook: A New Kind Of Predator

Facebook, a relatively basic concept for social connection, has somehow affected the very core of American culture. What is it about Facebook, a seemingly simple idea, which has the power to influence an entire civilization? To answer this question, we must first understand the essence of this network. To begin with, a technical definition of Facebook is: “A social network upon which millions of users upload information about themselves for other users to see and respond.” An admittedly opinionated definition created from observation is this: “The internet breeding grounds of abundant narcissism.”

The effects of this social network, both positive and negative, can be seen everywhere. Its mark can be found  on relationships, marketing, entertainment, and society in general. In my own experience, when I meet another person for the first time, one of the first questions I have been asked is, “So… do you have a Facebook?” Instead of writing letters, calling, or emailing, individuals will message each other on Facebook. In advertisements, companies will promote their Facebook pages, saying something along the lines of, “Like us on Facebook! If you like us, we will give you free coupons!” all because advertising has been extremely effective through Facebook. Its name is plastered all over the walls of entertainment. “Like us on Facebook! Follow us on Facebook!” is the petition of every business, movie maker, music artist, and TV show. These are only a few examples, but it is already obvious Facebook has had significant influence upon our culture. This is a fact.

Several questions naturally arise when we examine this social network’s power over both individuals and industries: How is Facebook having such unprecedented effects on those who use it, or even how is it gathering as many users as it has? The answer is simple. It preys upon one of the most basic weaknesses of human nature- our pride. This tactic has proven to be extremely effective, and has been used countless times in both the marketing and entertainment industries. In every commercial on television, a company is telling the viewer he needs its product, as it attempts to stir up greed in his heart. The viewer starts to feel as if he is less of a person because he does not own this product, or he feels that his friends will view him as less of a person because he does not have what they have. This approach to advertising and by extension, reasoning, is actually a logical fallacy. It is an Ad Populum fallacy: appeal to the masses. Facebook uses this strategy, but with a different slant. It does not take advantage of the greed of the user; rather, it preys on his conceit. I dare the reader to log on to his Facebook account and scroll down the news feed with this in mind. How many status updates are all about “me”? How many are about how the user is having such a terrible day, or how he did not get what he wanted out of a relationship? On the other side of the spectrum, how many are about life being just a big bowl of cherries? I challenge the user to click on any random teenage public school user, and try to calculate the number of pictures he has taken of himself with his cell phone in a restroom mirror! If math is not my reader’s strong point, he might find this quite difficult! Now, one should not misunderstand, Facebook does not cause the user to become more selfish or conceited; it just accentuates and provides another channel through which those negative traits can thrive.

Those who have Facebook accounts should not only be wary of the ways it can allow one to practice selfishness, but also the effect it can have on one’s time. Facebook, like almost all other forms of media, is an easy way to waste time. A quick check of one’s account can slip into an examination of other user’s accounts, which can lead to hour-long chats with friends and so on. On Facebook, ten minutes can evolve into two hours without notice! Once again, this is a negative consequence that can be controlled. Facebook does not make or require one to use it for an extended period of time; it merely provides another venue for one to waste time.

In spite of Facebook using such tactics to gain users, it is not evil, and can actually be utilized for great good! I know many true Christians who have Facebook accounts and operate them to point others to the Word of God, ask for prayer, and give glory to the Lord in general. This is an extremely good way to manage a page. It is also a great tool to reconnect with old friends. It is a pleasure to search out friends to discover how they have grown physically and in the Lord. Much redemption can be found in Facebook if one manipulates it for the proper purposes and does not allow it help him sin. I would recommend a Facebook account to anyone as long as he has disciplined himself regarding time, and would advise that one apply discernment in any posts.

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Struggles, The Word

I was going to make a post on this same subject, but I agree with everything Sierra has said. I have very little to add, as this is basically an echo of my own thoughts. J.C. Ryle spoke well in reference to pride and humility – “Remember how often Scripture sets before us the excellence of a humble spirit. How strongly we are warned “not to think of (ourselves) more highly than (we) ought to think!” (Rom. 12:3) How plainly we are told, “If anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know!” (1 Cor. 8:2). How strict is the command, “Put on humbleness of mind!”(Col. 3:12). And again, “Be clothed with humility” (1 Pet. 5:5). Sadly, this is a garment of which many seem not to have so much as a scrap.” – J.C. Ryle was very insightful in regards to pride. So, we know we are to practice humility; how do we do this? Where should we look? Christ Himself was the perfect example of humility. It was His defining characteristic when He was on earth. In Philippians 2:3-8, Paul speaks to this, saying: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” The glorious Lord Jesus Christ, whose image we are to always be conforming to, is the complete and perfect example of selflessness, obedience, and humility. We cannot honor God without humility, for actions seemingly God-glorifying will only be tainted by impure motives of self-righteousness; pride, the very sin that cast Lucifer from the presence of God.

As Sierra said, when the Lord blesses us, we are to boast in Him, and Him alone. It is our responsibility to do so, and we should at all times, especially in suffering. Paul speaks of this in 2 Corinthians 11:21-33. In verse 30, he says, “If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.” Boast only of the sufferings and trials Christ has placed in your life, and by His grace, allowed and strengthened you to conquer. Please read and consider Sierra’s post. Examine yourself; where does pride exist in your heart? In what ways does it manifest itself in your life? For it does, the reader can be sure of that.

Anchored Soul

Psalm 34:1b-3, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”

2 Corinthians 10:17-18, “But He who boasts is to boast in the Lord. For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.”  

Who am I, a sinner ravaged by selfishness and pride, that God would look upon me with grace and magnanimous favor? All that I am, God has given. And yet, have I learned to boast in Him for His blessings? When will my heart glory in the only One worth bragging about? Boasting. My heart will always boast. But in whom is the question to be answered…

God is reminding me that He is the only…

View original post 414 more words

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Lyrics, Other

Lecrae Is Second

A music artist I have quoted many times in my posts is a Christian rapper named Lecrae. The Lord has blessed him with an ability to articulate the truth of His word, to explain it and expound upon it in a clear and beautiful way. I would recommend him to anyone searching for Christian music without shallow or nebulous lyrics. I have included a link to his testimony recorded on the I Am Second website. I have also included the lyrics and a link to one of his songs called Take Me As I Am. It had a profound impact upon me when I was a young believer. I pray that it will on the reader as well.

http://www.iamsecond.com/seconds/lecrae/

Take Me As I Am – http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Take+Me+As+I+Am/4fdZxy?src=5 (If this doesn’t work, you can find this song on youtube or other websites)

Christ through faith
I talked to a cat the other day
And he was like;
“Man I really wanna come to Christ
But I gotta clean my life up first, get my sins together”
I told em: I used to think that way too
I thought I had to change myself before I could come to Christ
But Christ changed me
Let me tell you my story, it starts like this

[Verse One]
It’s 5:46 in the mornin’, tossin’ and turnin’
Chest burnin’, sermons in my head keep reocurrin’
Havin’ visions in my head of a kid
Cryin’ at the feet of the Father, for all the wrong things that he did
Now I’m sweatin’ in my sheets can’t sleep
My mind keeps tellin’ me I’m six feet deep
Don’t remind me, even though I’m still alive I can’t tell
The way I’m living my life I feel I’m going to hell
God they telling me I should accept you
That you had to leave the world, cause the world left you
Reason I can’t change, like a mystery to me
So I make believe there really is a heaven for a G
Even though they say you loved the world so much, you shed ya blood
God I feel I’m too messed up for love
They tell me come as I am but I smell like smoke
My whole lifes full of sin cause it’s all I know
The bible told me that you died for my sins
If I believe in Christ, it’ll save me from the end
But I’m scared to ask you, to save me my heart
So evil, I got thoughts, that’s full of hatred hurtin’ people
I thought at first I had to clean up my life
Now I’m hearin’ I just need to cling to the light
I’m ready to do it, but Lord I pray you understand
My life is a mess, will you take me as I am

[Chorus]
Will you take me as I am
I know the way I’m living is wrong
But I can’t change on my own, trying to make it alone
I wonder, how could you love me when my life so ugly
But you came down and died for me

Will you take me as I am
I know the way I’m living is wrong
But I can’t change on my own, trying to make it alone
I wonder, how could you love me when my life so ugly
But you came down and died for me
Will you take me as I am

[Verse Two]
I’m sick and tired of trying to me the man, my daddy never taught me to be
I’m grown up now, life ain’t what I thought it would be
I made many mistakes in my past I can’t fix
Now I’m staring at this crusifix tatted on my wrist
Is it true what they telling me, am I just crazy
Did ya bleed on the cross, for my sins to save me
But why would ya die for me
My whole life I’ve been working for Satan, while He fed lies to me
And now I’m hearing too much, trying to get a true touch
Of a love that can change me, I’m all screwed up
Figure Hell is what I deserve
But your word says we all fall short so I guess we all outta burn
Teach me I wanna learn
How you could save a wretch like me, before death says it’s my turn
I think I finally understand
No matter my past, you’ll still take me as I am

[Chorus]

[Verse Three]
My father had a few last words to give
I be telling people the reason to live
The reason to die, united with the King in the sky
This life is passing us by, I got no reason to lie
You’ll never give the world enough, they’ll hunger for more
They figure there ways are nuthin to the wonderous lord
More security than the man that left you
More love than the moms who kept you
He’ll always accept you
Be everything your supposed to
Let Christ rule ya heart, mind, body and soul cause He chose you
And if the world don’t know you
It don’t matter you’re Gods child and he’ll never disown you
Ya purpose on earth is far from worthless
That’s why ya glorified like ya life’s been purchased
And it don’t matter if the world don’t seen us
We still mean the world to Jesus

[Chorus]

[Talking]
Yeah, we’re saved by grace through faith
It’s not works
Ain’t nuthin you can do, ain’t nuthin I can do
That could get us this great salavation that we got man
It’s only Christ
So if you feel like you gotta clean yourself up
Before you can come to Him
Forget it
Just come to Him
He’ll take you as you are, and He’ll change YOU
From the inside, out.

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