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Showing posts from November, 2008

Advent Devotional #5

Today's devotion from Goshen College:

NOV. 28 - WATCH!


By Jake Shipe, resident director



SCRIPTURE: Mark 13:24-37 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

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DEVOTIONAL:
Watch! Watch for what, the coming of Christ. These are the
words of Jesus to his disciples about the coming of the end
of ages, but this message wasn’t just for them. As
Christians we’re assured of Christ's return, but when and
what should we be looking for? What did Jesus mean when he
said, "Watch"? Not only are we asked to watch, but we’re
asked to be prepared, so what does this all mean and look
like?

"Therefore keep watch because you do not know ...",
although we may not know the day of Christ's return, we’re
assured of his coming. To prepare us for that day he gave us
signs to warn us of his coming, "The sun will be darkened
and the moon won’t give its light ..." So we understand the
when and what we should be looking for; what about the
watching?

The Greek translation for watc…

If you had asked....

when Thanksgiving became an official, national holiday, the Pastor would have said:
Proclamation of ThanksgivingWashington, D.C.
October 3, 1863
This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America's national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders like this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving.Sarah Josepha Hale, a prominent magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on 28, 1863, urging him to have the "day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival." She wrote, "You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution." The document below sets apart the last Thursday of No…

Smart Presidents.....

use the good things that other Presidents said and did:
Proclamation of ThanksgivingWashington, D.C.
October 3, 1863
This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America's national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders like this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving.Sarah Josepha Hale, a prominent magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on 28, 1863, urging him to have the "day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival." She wrote, "You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution." The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Th…

Thanksgiving!

I want to wish all 6 of my readers a happy Thanksgiving, and encourage you to find as many things as you can to be thankful for! Post a few in the comments. I'm curious.

Here's a short list:
1. Salvation
2. My wife--that she has stuck around 10 years!
3. My children--they are healthy
4. My freedom as an American
5. My family-
6. My church family---that they are willing to come back Sunday after Sunday
7. Roof over my head
8. Food in the cabinets
9. Coca-cola (what, you wanted it to be totally serious?)
10. Humor
Moving toward the Horizon,
Doug

Advent Devotional #4

Today's devotion from Goshen College:

NOV. 27 - LIVING IN HOPEFUL EXPECTATION


By Amy Showalter, a senior Bible and religion major from
Harrisonburg, Va.



SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

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DEVOTIONAL:
As I read today's text, I’m struck by the promise of God's
faithfulness to accompany us as we wait. We of course are
waiting for Jesus, and the world that will come on his
return. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians holds true for us.
We have been enriched and strengthened in Jesus Christ. Our
spiritual gifts are plentiful, and we have been called into
fellowship that belongs to Jesus, but includes many. These
realities cause our waiting to be joyful and hopeful.

God accompanies us, and turns what could be our passive
wish for the future into an active hope. This hope allows us
to engage the present in a way that looks toward and
believes in a different future. Our present engagement with
the world and our attempts to move toward God's Kin-…

Advent Devotional #3

Today's devotion from Goshen College:

NOV. 26 - HOW LAMENTATIONS END


By Lisa Guedea CarreƱo, library director

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

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DEVOTIONAL:
In the midst of an economic crisis that has hit my community, church, friends and family, reading Psalm 80 stirs up real-time, real-life insecurity. In these verses I hear abandonment, bewilderment, even anger, and I can identify with the sense of desperation. How long is this going to last? Why is this happening? Won't someone please come and save us from this mess?

I realize these questions are unreasonable and unrealistic. Moreover, my gut tells me that I am less deserving of rescue than so many others who have far fewer resources than I do. And this "reality check" leads me to a familiar line of questioning: Is God absent or have I been absent-minded? Has God's face been turned away from me, or has my vision been clouded by other things? Has God made my n…

Are Christians intolerant? Absolutely!

In our society today, it seems that tolerance is the king of virtues.  Personally, I think we have gone from a tolerant society to a society that demands endorsement of other people's opinions.  For example, marriage is, first and foremost, a covenant made between two people before God.  As a Christian, I see marriage outlined in Scripture, and took that covenant with Ann before God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  The God who raised Christ from the dead.  On the side, I signed a little piece of paper to inform the State of Arkansas that I had made this covenant.  I entered this covenant, and continue to view this covenant, in light of God's redemptive work in my life. 

Now, however, the government and small groups of society are trying to tell the church what marriage is.  This is backwards.  Government recognizes marriage, because before there was government, and sometimes in spite of the government (one of the legends surrounding Valentine's Day is that Valentine…

Advent Devotional #2

This is a repost of today's emailed devotional from Goshen College. I don't have explicit permission to do this, but know that these aren't mine, the appropriate author and source are within the post.

Today's devotion from Goshen College:

NOV. 25 - WAITING ON ADVENT


By Jim Brenneman, president

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 64:1-9 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

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DEVOTIONAL:
"Tear open the heavens and come down!" With these blunt and fierce words, the prophet Isaiah literally begs God to make Advent come to pass, now. God's people had waited for years in exile without sensing God's presence. Isaiah beseeches God to shake up the world, make the mountains quake, and frighten all their enemies (64:1-3). Instead, Isaiah gets silence.

Have you ever felt like Isaiah, or the people of his day, wondering where in heaven or on earth God is? Have you ever tried to pray and felt nothing, saw nothing, sensed nothing, for a long, long, time? Or felt the …

Procrastination

You may think I never share an original thought anymore.  Actually, I do share them occasionally, I just enjoy sharing other people's thoughts as well.  If we are to move toward the horizon, we've got to get started.  As the song from the TV show 'Santa Claus is Comin' to Town' says:  'Put one foot in front of the other.'  And there's no better time than right now to take that step!

Pastor Doug


Between Two Worlds: Encouragement for Procrastinators
No unwelcome tasks become any the less unwelcome by putting them off till tomorrow.
It is only when they are behind us and done,
that we begin to find that there is a sweetness to be tasted afterwards,
and that the remembrance of unwelcome duties unhesitatingly done is welcome and pleasant.

Accomplished, they are full of blessing,
and there is a smile on their faces as they leave us.
Undone, they stand threatening and disturbing our tranquility,
and hindering our communion with God.

If there be lying before you any bit o…

Advent Devotional

"Advent" is the term for the season leading up to Christmas. In light of that, I'm going to repost the email devotionals from Goshen College as one way of looking forward to the coming of Christ. Goshen is not a Baptist school, but they do hold to the Word of God. If there's anything that needs explanation or commentary from a Baptist perspective, I'll add it in italics. But this is some good stuff that we shouldn't miss:


Today's devotion from Goshen College:

NOV. 24 - LET YOUR FACE SHINE!


By Bob Yoder, campus pastor

WELCOME:
I read the title of this year’s Advent devotional theme through lens of “me” being the subject of the plea; it was up to me to majestically convey to you, the online readers, of the loving magnitude of God’s working in my life. I wanted to write a wonderful, personal story that perfectly illuminated the theme. However, I confess that at a time of depleted energy levels, I felt tired at what I thought the theme required of me.

Welcome t…

Luther Rice---One of the 1st Baptist Missionaries

The Reformed Reader - Baptist Quote of the Day
"What may be before me, through what scenes of difficulty and distress I may pass, or where I may find a fixed residence, should this be the case, I know not nor am I anxious to know. To endeavor to extend the knowledge of Christ among the heathen, is undoubtedly right. It is the Lord's not mine, to detrmine whether such endeavors shall be successful. To him would I cheerfully commit myself, my brethren, and the missionary cause."

Luther Rice

The Advent Conspiracy

Before the mania hits like a Mack Truck next Friday, I want to challenge you to think about your Christmas spending and habits. THINK HARD! Is it worth what you do? Does what you do really reflect the celebration of Christ? Or are you driven by social and cultural pressures to do things that you really don't have to? Watch this and consider. This is from http://www.adventconspiracy.org. They have some great suggestions, but I don't want you to just look at this as a fundraising pitch for them. Just take it as an opportunity to stop and think for you. If not their project, what? Foreign Missions? Hunger Relief? The family down the street, and not just with trinkets, but with help they need? Shevet Achim Ministry? A church? Getting your family what they need instead of what they want?




Just something to consider....

Waiting on His Plans to Develop

The Reformed Reader - Baptist Quote of the Day
"If right principles prevailed in our hearts, we would not presume to dictate to the Infinitely Wise, nor find fault with his plans, but wait with pleasure on the development of his will: and when we cannot see the wisdom and goodness of his works, we should, in the simplicity of faith, rest assured that his plan, when fully unfolded, will be found most righteous and most wise."

--John L. Dagg



I pulled this quote off of www.reformedreader.org.  This is a good point, and worthy of our remembrance:  We don't see all of eternity.  We must learn to trust the One who does.

November 19

Drat, I missed a day. Sorry about that.

Today, I want to challenge myself to trust God with my needs. One of the challenges that the explorers of the 1400-1500s faced was the need to carry all of their stuff with them. They had little idea at the beginning, how long they would have to be provided for based on what they could carry, because they did not know what lay beyond the horizon.

Our lives look like that too. We are challenged to make sure we provide for all of our possible future needs, because we don't know what's out there. Now, I'm all for good stewardship, for using wisely what God gives us, but we need to remember that God is always our provider. The Israelites found enough manna each day in the wilderness for that day. The only time there was extra was the day before the Sabbath, so that they could honor the law of God and worship and rest that day.

If we extract that principle, God gives us what we need for today, and what we need to be obedient to His di…

Thoughts on missions work

I spent the morning in a very good discussion session on church involvement in mission work. Then, as I was headed back to the office, I was thinking about some of the things we talked about, and some of the other things I've seen in relation to Southern Baptist missions work. I was considering what you'll find on the International Mission Board's Website. You'll find three key words:
PRAY----GIVE-----GO

Which is not a bad plan. Pray---because Jesus said to, because prayer opens our hearts and ears to hear what God says (I've never encountered anyone whose call to ministry didn't come after prayer).
Give---because where our heart is, our treasure follows, and if our heart is with reaching people for Christ, our treasure will go there, because where our treasure goes, our heart will follow...
Go---because we have the best news ever and we ought to want to go.

But I think I've observed that we follow a different pattern. It's the pattern I learned in Boy …

Shamelessly reposting

In school, we learn that it's okay to quote others as long as you quote them correctly, and attribute credit where credit is due.  Therefore, reposted for you from John Ortberg, from http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2008/11/john_ortbergs_l.html where you can find this, and all of the commentary around it, and links to other great stuff from Christianity Today, comes some thoughts about politics. 

John Ortberg's Lessons from the Election | Out of Ur | Conversations for Ministry Leaders
John Ortberg's Lessons from the Election

The seven deadly sins of evangelicals in politics.

by John Ortberg

My son has a bumper sticker on his car that reads: “I poke badgers with spoons.” Its significance is not self-evident to everybody who reads it, so let me tell you its story.

It comes from a British stand-up named Eddie Izzard. Eddie grew up in the church, and heard early on about the doctrine of original sin, but was a little fuzzy on the concept. He assumed that it meant …

Where is the outrage?

I have one question about this:  WHERE ARE ALL THE PEOPLE THAT WERE PROTESTING ABOUT SARAH PALIN'S DAUGHTER BEING 'FORCED' TO HAVE HER BABY AND MARRY THE FATHER?  WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE FROM PRO-WOMEN PRO-CHOICE GROUPS ABOUT THIS WOMAN BEING FORCED INTO AN ABORTION?

I'll tell you where:  gone, because it's not women's choices that Planned Parenthood wants or that Barrack Obama wants, it's government control of who has children and who does not.  There is no outrage from our President-elect because he and his backers want the same things in the US:  Population control, with the government deciding who can have children, and how many.  Planned Parenthood was started with the idea of reducing the reproduction of 'undesirables' and now has a firm foothold in US policy which will grow to the stranglehold they have on UN policy.  Meanwhile, a woman is having her baby murdered at the choice of her government, not her.  Where is Senator Clinton?  Where is MSNB…

Monday 11-17

"The Bible, and the Bible alone, holds ultimate authority in a Baptist congregation. The Second London Confession of Faith (1677) put the issue plainly: "The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own Glory, man's Salvation, Faith and Life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture; unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new Revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men."

--R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

I read this, and I wonder, what things am I carrying because of the traditions of men, rather than basing my life on Scripture alone? Do I live a stressed out life because it is the will of God or because that's just the way we do it?

I want to live today carrying only the yoke which is easy, the burden which is light...the burden of following the Lord Jesus Christ.



Moving toward the Horizon,
Doug

Reposted from the Pyromaniacs...

Ok, the Pyromaniacs may not be people you'd read on a daily basis, but they do have some good things.  In fact, their blog today did what I'm doing now:  Repost what someone smarter than you said.  Here's their post of something Charles Spurgeon preached:

Pyromaniacs: The Danger of Perpetual Uncertainty
The Danger of Perpetual Uncertainty
Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "On Laying Foundations", a sermon delivered on Sunday morning, January 21st, 1883, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.



eware of a religion without holdfasts. But if I get a grip upon a doctrine they call me a bigot. Let them do so. Bigotry is a hateful thing, and yet that which is now abused as bigotry is a great [Spurgeon] virtue, and greatly needed in these frivolous times. I have been inclined lately to start a new denomination, and call it "the Chur…

Don't believe everything you hear or read....

Some news from the day:

NEW YORK — Commuters nationwide found out during Wednesday's morning rush hour that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had ended and global warming, health care spending and the economy's problems were on their way to being solved.

On behalf of a collective of liberal activists, 1,000 volunteers across the country handed out 1.2 million copies of a spoof of The New York Times, dated July 4, 2009.

At first glance, the parody, which used the Times' Gothic-style font on the nameplate, could easily be mistaken for the real thing.

The 14-page paper — which also announced the abolition of corporate lobbying, a maximum wage for CEOs and a recall for all gasoline-fueled cars — showed up in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, it's been shown that MSNBC, the LA Times, and other news outlets were tricked into reporting false information about Sarah Palin, both during and after the campaign. Information in…

What are we made for?

Campaign Slowdown

Since I do have a job, the Doug for President Campaign is in slowdown, with 1 post every 1-2 weeks for now.

Once I get a celebrity endorsement, I'll speed it back up. I'm thinking real celebrity. Does anybody have Chuck Norris's cell number? Or Governor Huckabee's? I had his aide's number when he was in office, but I can't get past the switchboard at Fox.

And, as a campaign, the Doug for President staff salutes Brit Hume in his decision to back off on Fox News to spend more time with his family and to focus on strengthening his Christian faith. Mr. Hume, we pray for you, and hope that, in your political analyst days, you do well. More than that, we pray that you will be encouraged and blessed by your time in Bible study, prayer, and family, and if you ever want to preach or share your testimony away from the bright lights, give us a shout. I know of a small town Baptist church that would listen, and feed you like you ain't been fed in a while!

We're scared! What do we do?

3 Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar at its old site. Then they began to sacrifice burnt offerings on the altar to the Lord each morning and evening. Ezra 3:3 (NLT)
The book of Ezra tells the story of the Jews as they returned to Jerusalem after the exile. (for those details, read the book, or ask later). The Jewish people returned to a countryside filled with enemies, armed with the permission of the Emperor and their faith in God. The people around them did not want to see Jerusalem rebuilt, the Temple rebuilt, the Jews restored to their land, and came together in opposition. There were many threats, there was legal maneuvering, and there was small scale violence. So what did the Jews do? Did they endorse a political party? Did they organize their army to attack? (note: in Nehemiah, we see that they did prepare for their own defense) Did they file lawsuits?
No. They rebuilt the altar of God, and returned to daily obedience of the…

Spurgeon says....

Today's Morning Devotion from Charles Spurgeon: (uncommented, with his British spellings)

November 12
Morning Verse
"The trial of your faith." 1Peter 1:7
Faith untried may be true faith, but it is sure to be little faith, and it is likely to remain dwarfish so long as it is without trials. Faith never prospers so well as when all things are against her: tempests are her trainers, and lightnings are her illuminators. When a calm reigns on the sea, spread the sails as you will, the ship moves not to its harbour; for on a slumbering ocean the keel sleeps too. Let the winds rush howling forth, and let the waters lift up themselves, then, though the vessel may rock, and her deck may be washed with waves, and her mast may creak under the pressure of the full and swelling sail, it is then that she makes headway towards her desired haven. No flowers wear so lovely a blue as those which grow at the foot of the frozen glacier; no stars gleam so brightly as those which glisten in the …

More signs of the end....is this Bush's fault? Or Obama's?

Sources: DEI, Ganassi to combine teams - Yahoo! News
MIAMI – Teresa Earnhardt and Chip Ganassi will combine their slumping race teams next season, an effort to stabilize their organizations in a tough economic time, The Associated Press has learned.

The combined team will be called Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and will field cars for Martin Truex, Aric Almirola, Juan Pablo Montoya and a driver yet to be named, two people familiar with the decision told the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal has yet to be announced.

Both organizations have struggled to secure sponsorship this season, forcing the teams to pool resources.

Truex and Almirola will come from Dale Earnhardt Incorporated; only Truex's car has full sponsorship for next season.

Montoya has half a season of sponsorship, and Ganassi's flagship No. 41 has full sponsorship but no driver.

DEI fields Chevrolets, and Ganassi has a Dodge contract. Details of a manufacturer switch still are being worked out as the team is expec…

Veteran's Day

For those of us here in America, we're remembering our Veterans today. To all of you who have served, we thank you. Our freedom comes as a gift from God, who delivered it by your efforts.

A bit of history is worth remembering here. We celebrate Veteran's Day on November 11 because that's the day World War One ended. Of course, when it ended, it was the end of the 'Great War' since everyone thought humanity wouldn't be so foolish again. It was hoped that we would see peace forever. Then the world faced economic turmoil, some countries turned to anger and hatred to strengthen themselves, and other countries went along with it. This was called appeasement, and was supposed to avert war. Other countries chose isolation, so that they wouldn't have to fight no matter what anyone else did.

Isolation and appeasement failed, because evil is never satisfied. Since the 'War to End All Wars' ended on November 11, 1918, we have seen millions more die to f…

Stretch your brain

Okay, well, I know that all of you won't be able to read what I am about to recommend in one sitting.  I want to encourage you to try and read it over the next several days or weeks.  Take a look at http://pbrd.wordpress.com

If you can read that whole thing, do it.  Sometimes to reach where God wants us, we have to be willing to stretch our brains a little.

Reading that will help as you consider this question:  Is there one unchanging standard of behavior?  How do find it?  How do we live by it and get others to live by it?


A quote to consider

Dr. Adrian Rogers, the late pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, was an excellent preacher of the Gospel. Just as much, he was a man that could challenge a believer to take further steps than they had ever thought possible. One such quote is this one:

"Give God the chance to provide before you buy."Now, this statement to me counters our consumer mentality as Americans. We are so impatient, but we need to learn to let God provide the things we need before we stress out about them. It's true that much of God's provision comes through His provision of a job, but does that change that the gift is His?

Let's thank God today for His provision and His grace.
Doug

Brit Hume

Fox News Channel's Brit Hume is retiring.  I want to encourage that you read and consider this paragraph from an interview with him about his retirement.


Fox News' Brit Hume leaving for family, religion | Entertainment | People | Reuters
Hume: I certainly want to pursue my faith more ardently than I have done. I'm not claiming it's impossible to do when you work in this business. I was kind of a nominal Christian for the longest time. When my son died (by suicide in 1998), I came to Christ in a way that was very meaningful to me. If a person is a Christian and tries to face up to the implications of what you say you believe, it's a pretty big thing. If you do it part time, you're not really living it.




How about us?  Are we part-time?