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Few of the contemporary Christian songs have anywhere near the depth of the old hymns- so, I think I will start posting some of the lyrics from these hymns and songs. Isaac Watts wrote some of the most famous hymns that are still sung in many Protestant churches every week. Here is verse 1 from Laden with Guilt-

Laden with guilt and full of fears,
I fly to Thee, my Lord,
And not a glimpse of hope appears,
But in Thy written Word
The volumes of my Father’s grace
Does all my griefs assuage
Here I behold my Savior’s face
In every page.

This is great.

Rhema Marvanne – ‘Amazing Grace’ REVISED 6/11 from Black Olive Media.com on Vimeo.

This is really good… I recommend Willard’s book “The Divine Conspiracy” for a deeper treatment of this.

Catalyst West 2010: Dallas Willard Part 1 from Catalyst on Vimeo.

From AW Tozer…

And to us who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope that is set before us in the gospel, how unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us completely. No talebearer can inform on us, no enemy can make an accusation stick; no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to abash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew Him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us. “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.”

Amen…

There is a great article over at RZIM written by Ravi Zacharias about the nature of truth and our understanding of reality…

Intent, in the pursuit of truth, is prior to content, or to the availability of it.  The love of truth and the willingness to submit to its demands is the first step.

…To all of this the skeptic might say that such conclusions may be drawn only if the God of the Bible exists.  To that I heartily answer, Absolutely!  And on numerous campuses around the world it has been my thrilling privilege to present a defense for the existence of God and for the authority of these Scriptures, unique in their splendor and convincing in the truth they proclaim.  But let us not miss what the skeptic unwittingly surrenders by saying that all this could be true only if God exists.  For, implicit in that concession is the Law of Non-contradiction and the Law of Rational Inference, which exist only if truth exists.  Truth, in turn, can exist only if there is an objective standard by which to measure it.  That objective, unchanging absolute is God.

One of the things I have noticed about everyone- including those who deny any transcendent truth is that we all live as if there is absolute truth. So, denying absolute truth is really a way to justify sin or at least to deal with all of the very apparent contradictions in our lives. No one can live comfortably with the contradiction between how they live and how they think people ought to live unless they leave themselves a way out. This “way out” is described by Jesus as “the broad road that leads to destruction”. Thus truth is sacrificed on the altar of desire and convenience and people soothe their consciences with the thought that they are the final decision maker about what is true for them. But the honest person will always find that their search for truth is really their search for God.

From AW Tozer…

God’s gifts in nature have their limitations. They are finite because they have been created, but the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus is as limitless as God. The Christian man possesses God’s own life and shares His infinitude with Him. In God there is life enough for all and time enough to enjoy it. Whatever is possessed of natural life runs through its cycle from birth to death and ceases to be, but the life of God returns upon itself and ceases never. And this is life eternal: to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.

The mercy of God is infinite, too, and the man who has felt the grinding pain of inward guilt knows that this is more than academic. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Abounding sin is the terror of the world, but abounding grace is the hope of mankind. However sin may abound it still has its limits, for it is the product of finite minds and hearts; but God’s “much more” introduces us to infinitude. Against our deep creature-sickness stands God’s infinite ability to cure.

yield

Yield!

Up now, slight man! Flee for a little while thy occupations; hide thyself for a time from thy disturbing thoughts. Cast aside now thy burdensome cares, and put away thy toilsome business. Yield room for some little time to God, and rest for a little time in Him. Enter the inner chamber of thy mind; shut out all thoughts save that of God and such as can aid thee in seeking Him. Speak now, my whole heart! Speak now to God, saying, I seek Thy face; Thy face, Lord, will I seek.  Anselm


My friend Dan sent me a link to this video showing Apolo Ohno training for the Olympics and other than his immense skill, the thing that impressed me was his attitude-  He said that he trained 12 hours a day so that when the Olympics were over, he would have “no regrets”. That doesn’t mean that he thought he would win everything he entered, it just meant that he trained and competed with everything he had. I have no idea what his motivation was beyond that, but it reminded me of the Apostle Paul and how he lived his life. I guess one of the things that bothers me about so many Christians is not that they aren’t good moral people, but that they don’t live their faith with the “no regrets” attitude.

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.  I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.  Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:19-27)

Faith is universal- everyone has faith in something. The question is really whether the object of your faith (your own abilities, Darwinian naturalism, or even some brand of religion or philosophy) is worthy of that faith. It is entirely possible to have faith in something that is not true. All of the world’s belief systems and religions cannot possibly be true because they contradict each other on so many points. That is a huge question that I fear many people never stop to contemplate. Everyone believes something about life, meaning, morality, love and what finally happens to us when we die. The real issue is whether what we believe is true.

Tozer, in his usual brilliant, straight to the point method confronts us with the big question- Is it even rational for created beings to trust themselves, another person or “mother nature”?

From all this we may begin to understand why the Holy Scriptures have so much to say about the vital place of faith and why they brand unbelief as a deadly sin. Among all created beings, not one dare trust in itself. God alone trusts in Himself; all other beings must trust in Him. Unbelief is actually perverted faith, for it puts its trust not in the living God but in dying men. The unbeliever denies the self-sufficiency of God and usurps attributes that are not his. This dual sin dishonors God and ultimately destroys the soul of man.

Really, worship is at the center of everything we do. Trying to compartmentalize our lives simply makes us live (or try to) with some glaring contradictions. It never works since we always will find a way to resolve the contradiction- be it beliefs about money, sex or power (politics). This is from RZIM’s Slice of Infinity

Undergraduate professor of theology William Cavanaugh is aware of the academic phenomenon of deflecting such questions, the cultural milieu that encourages compartmentalization, and the natural tendency of students to rebel against it.  He sees in students an authentic discomfort with the idea that we need to compartmentalize our lives, a bold awareness that our culturally growing drive to keep politics from theology or theology from finance and religion from law doesn’t actually work.  “I think they have a very good and real sense,” notes Cavanaugh, “that in real life things are not separated: that the way you buy has a lot to do with the way you worship and who you worship and what you worship.” Cavanaugh encourages this awareness by commending the kinds of questions that recognize compartmentalization as unlivable, and by doing the historical work that shows this notion of separable entities as a modern, credulous construction in the first place.