Saturday, August 30, 2003

Many of us have to travel on business, and face additional temptations. Here are some strategies that can help:

Put a picture of your wife and kids in the hotel room.
Call home every day.
Double the amount of time you usually spend in the Word. Work on memorizing a verse or passage.
Play Christian music in your hotel room -- get a Christ-praising song in your heart and head!
Limit TV watching. Put a towel over the TV to add a step to turning it on. Don't watch anything you wouldn't watch with your wife.
Have an accountability partner who can check on you. Work out code-words to use in normal conversation or around others.

Remember that God is always with you and watching you - nothing is hidden from Him. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses -- and my dad, grandfather, and great-grandfather are among them. May God, our families, and our brothers find us faithful. Amen!
Mark Alexander writes clearly of the situation in Alabama -- it's Civics 101. "Indeed, the substance of this case solely concerns the rule of law as plainly written by our Founders in the U.S. Constitution, the protection of which is entrusted to the federal judiciary, whom it authorizes by oath to defend it, and its Bill of Rights, as adopted by the several states (including Alabama). The core question raised by this case is whether our Constitution should be altered by amendment (as per original intent), or adulterated by adjudication, which our Founders (as explicated in the Federalist Papers) and the states clearly rejected. "

Thursday, August 28, 2003

John Piper reflects on the role of Christians in American culture in his short essay titled, "Taking the Swagger Out of Christian Cultural Influence."

Here's an excerpt :

"American culture does not belong to Christians, neither in reality nor in Biblical theology. It never has. The present tailspin toward Sodom is not a fall from Christian ownership. “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). It has since the fall, and it will till Christ comes in open triumph. God’s rightful ownership will be manifest in due time. The Lordship of Christ over all creation is being manifest in stages, first the age of groaning, then the age of glory. “We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23). The exiles are groaning with the whole creation. We are waiting.

But Christian exiles are not passive. We do not smirk at the misery or the merrymaking of immoral culture. We weep. Or we should. This is my main point: being exiles does not mean being cynical. It does not mean being indifferent or uninvolved. The salt of the earth does not mock rotting meat. Where it can, it saves and seasons. And where it can’t, it weeps. And the light of the world does not withdraw, saying “good riddance” to godless darkness. It labors to illuminate. But not dominate.

Being Christian exiles in American culture does not end our influence; it takes the swagger out of it. We don’t get cranky that our country has been taken away. We don’t whine about the triumphs of evil. We are not hardened with anger. We understand. This is not new. This was the way it was in the beginning –- Antioch, Corinth, Athens, Rome. The Empire was not just degenerate, it was deadly. For three explosive centuries Christians paid for their Christ-exalting joy with blood. Many still do. More will.

It never occurred to those early exiles that they should rant about the ubiquity of secular humanism. The Imperial words were still ringing in their ears: “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13). This was a time for indomitable joy and unwavering ministries of mercy.

Yes, it was a time for influence –- as it is now. But not with huffing and puffing as if to reclaim our lost laws. Rather with tears and persuasion and perseverance, knowing that the folly of racism, and the exploitation of the poor, and the de-Godding of education, and the horror of abortion, and the collapse of heterosexual marriage, are the tragic death-tremors of joy, not the victory of the left or the right.

The greatness of Christian exiles is not success but service. Whether we win or lose, we witness to the way of truth and beauty and joy. We don’t own culture, and we don’t rule it. We serve it with brokenhearted joy and longsuffering mercy, for the good of man and the glory of Jesus Christ."

Dennis Prager has a thought-provoking column reminding us dads that our children should argue with us, citing a biblical model for this. "If we can argue with God, our children can argue with us" is worth reading.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Early this morning a set of heavy clouds rolled through our area, and there was quite a lightning show. But no rain. The clouds rolled on, but the thirsty ground remained parched, and the heat and humidity grew worse, not better.

This is a good lesson for dads. There are times when our families need us to speak in thunder and lightning. But they need rain. The temperature needs to be reduced, and the air made fresh again. Stormclouds without rain will not honor them or the Lord.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Be careful about book titles! From Dr. James Dobson: Parents Beware - Very disturbing information. Please read. Parents, Grand parents, Aunts, Uncles, Please pay special attention not only to the what your kids watch on TV and in movie theaters and the music they listen to but we must also be alert regarding the books they read....Two particular books, Conversations with God and Conversations with God for Teens, written by Neale Donald Walsch sound harmless enough by their Titles alone. These books have been on the New York Times best seller list for a number of weeks. These publications makes truth of the statement "Don't judge a book by its cover/title". The author purports to answer various questions from kids using the "voice of God". However, the "answers" that he gives are not biblically based and go against the very infallible Word of God. For instance (and I paraphrase), when a girl asks the question "why am I a lesbian?" His answer is that she was born that way because of genetics (just as you were born right-handed, with blue eyes, etc.). Then he tells her to go out and "celebrate" her differences. Another girl poses the question "I am living with my boyfriend. My parents say that I should marry him because I am living in sin. Should I marry him?" His reply is "Who are you sinning against? Not me, because you have done nothing wrong. Another question asks about God's forgiveness of sin. His reply - I do not forgive anyone because there is nothing to forgive. There is no such thing as right or wrong and that is what I have been trying to tell everyone. I do not judge people. People have chosen to judge one another and this is wrong because the rule is "Judge not lest ye be judged".

And the list goes on. Not only are these books the false doctrine of devils but in some instances even quote (in error) the Word of God. These books (and others like it) are being sold to school children (The Scholastic Book Club) and we need to be aware of what is being fed to our children. Our children are under attack so I pray that you be sober and vigilant about teaching your kids the Word of God and guarding their exposure to worldly mediums because our adversary, the devil, roams about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). And how many of us know that lions usually hunt for the slowest, weakest and YOUNGEST of its prey.
Phyllis Schaffley has a good column encouraging Congress to rein in the "imperial" judiciary. And Maggie Gallagher identifies three key issues in the upcoming presidential election : fighting terrorism, the energy crisis, and gay marriage. Worth reviewing.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

It's a sobering scene when some of the disciples following Jesus leave him. In John 6 we read:

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
"You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
Then Jesus replied, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!"

Please note that Jesus neither chases after the ones who left, pleading with them to return, nor does He change his message to make it more palatable.

The temptation to water down the Gospel is often with us. Don't give in to it. Let God do His Work through His Word in His timing for His glory. It's not about you.

Each year the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the Faculty a sense of the mindset of this year's incoming freshman.

Here is this year's list:

The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1985.
They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan Era and probably did not know he had ever been shot.
They were prepubescent when the Persian Gulf War was waged.
There has been only one Pope in their lifetime.
They were 10 when the Soviet Union broke apart and do not remember the Cold War.
They are too young to remember the space shuttle Challenger blowing up.
Tianamen Square means nothing to them.
Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic.
Atari predates them, as do vinyl albums.
The statement "You sound like a broken record" means nothing to them.
They have never owned a record player.
They have likely never played Pac Man and have never heard of Pong.
They may have never heard of an 8 track. The Compact Disc was introduced when they were 3 years old.
They have always had an answering machine.
Most have never seen a TV set with only 13 channels, nor have they seen a black and white TV.
They have always had cable.
There have always been VCRs, but they have no idea what BETA was.
They cannot fathom not having a remote control.
They don't know what a cloth baby diaper is, or know about the "Help me, I've fallen and I can't get up" commercial.

Feeling old Yet? There's more:

They were born 2 years after the Walkman was introduced by Sony.
Roller skating has always meant inline for them.
Michael Jackson has always been white.
Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show.
They have no idea when or why Jordache jeans were cool.
Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
They have never seen Larry Bird play.
They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.
The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as W.W.I, W.W.II and the Civil War.
They have no idea that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran.
They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are.
They don't know who Mork was or where he was from. (The correct answer, by the way, is Ork)
They never heard: "Where's the beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel," or "De plane, de plane!"
They do not care who shot J.R. and have no idea who J.R. was.
Kansas, Chicago, Boston, America, and Alabama are places to them, not bands.
There has always been MTV.
They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.
When I left academia and took a job in the corporate world, my dad gave me his three rules for success in business:

1. Always tell the truth
2. As far as #1 allows, make your boss look good
3. Always be nice to the secretaries and receptionists -- they can choose not to help you

Those have worked very well for me.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Continuing to watch and pray for Judge Roy Moore and his response to the federal justices order that the statue of the Ten Commandments be removed from the Alabama Supreme Court building. A lot of media reporting is focused on the "right-wing Christian zealots" [by the way, shouldn't all believers be zealots?] and the separation of church and state issue.

I might agree with a pragmatic approach, such as Marvin Olasky has recommended, except that this is also a serious Constitutional issue. The way this is settled will determine much about both the 1st and 10th Amendments are interpreted in the future. We already have far too much judicial interpretation of the Constitution creating federal law. And judges can be completely wrong (remember the Dred Scott decision that blacks were property not people?).

Mark Alexander has a great column on this issue. "Most media pundits, and the couch potatoes who suckle at their font, never took a civics class and couldn't distinguish the substance of this case -- the constitutional issue -- from the superfluous -- "Showdown on the 10 Commandments." Thus, they have cast this case as nothing more than a "right-wing Christian zealot" trying to keep a monument of the Decalogue in a courthouse in the backwoods of lower Alabama.

Demonstrating their nescience, Leftmedia talkingheads adroitly taunt, "Well, can the state of Alabama put a shrine to Mohammed in the judicial rotunda?" The answer is...YES! In accordance with the First and Tenth Amendments, if the people of Alabama choose to do so, that is their prerogative. "

Thursday, August 21, 2003

An acquaintance who did Santa-duty at malls and department stores some years to help pay for college has told me about his experiences. He grouped kids into a few categories:

1. The shy ones, who wouldn't say a word and would scoot off his lap as-soon-as-the-picture-was-done.
2. The kids who had lists. Sometimes long lists. Always very specific, usually very demanding.
3. The kids who pleaded with him, often with tears, with their requests. "Keep my parents from getting divorced." "Make my sister well, she's very sick." "Bring my dad home again, 'cause my mom needs him."

His heart ached for the third group, because as Santa Claus he was absolutely powerless to answer their requests.

I imagine our loving Father hears lots of prayer requests from people in the second and third groups. The second group want God to be like Santa Claus. The third group know they need the Lord Almighty.

May our prayers have weight as our hearts align with the desires of God.

"Lord, Send Sap!"

We need to persist in praying for the salvation of extended family members, neighbors, and nations. We desire that everyone would "taste and see that the Lord is good." We long for these dear ones to be rescued from the black pit where they blindly stumble along, and find the heart-filling joyful satisfaction that following Christ will bring to them.

How long must we pray? We will boldly ask until God answers (Matthew 7:7-12; Luke 18:1-8) , confident that He hears us (1 John 3:21) and delights to give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). These prayers for salvation are congruent with His heart for the world and every person He has created in His image (Genesis 1:27).

Here is an picture that might help you as you pray.

Jesus tells us that he is the vine, and we are the branches (John 15:5-6). The branches have no life without the vine. Apart from Jesus we can do nothing, and are like dead branches only good for burning. Paul talks about how we Gentiles are branches grafted into Israel, the tree of life. (Romans 11:17-25) God has caused His life (the tree sap!) to flow into each believer, giving it new life and bearing fruit for the glory of God in Christ.

These precious people, these loved ones we pray for, are lifeless branches now. Ask great Lord Gardener to graft each person in, and send the life-giving sap flowing into them. Can you see it with your eyes of faith? Oh, how the Lord is magnified when He grafts in completely-dead-in-their-sins branches (Ephesians 2:1) to the family of God! We cry out, "Lord, send sap!"

My brothers, may we be found diligent, imaginative people of prayer. Amen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Rob Schlapfer, editor of The Right Books, encourages Christians to avoid the dumbing down of today's Christian culture. He writes, "As a Christian, your mind matters. In fact, the proper exercise of the mind is essential if we are to grow in the grace and wisdom of Our Lord. And even as we have to "say no!" to other sinful temptations, so we have to "say no!" to the temptation to become mentally flabby. (And that means "exercising integrity at the moment of choice.") As Os Guinness would say, there is no room for "Fat minds" in the Christian life."

I don't think Satan gets too excited about Christians working to develop fit and trim bodies. But he opposes every effort to create properly exercised minds, because wrong ideas can't influence minds steeped in Christ -- and wrong ideas are his principle weapon. Satan can operate on cruise control in a culture of flabby-minded believers.
Great advice from an interview with J.I. Packer about leading small group Bible studies (bolding is my emphasis):

"I try to lead Bible studies myself, and I will tell you what I do. Keep the monologue introducing the passage down to the minimum. Ask questions that make other people do the thinking and the talking, to get to the heart of the passage. Don’t let people wander far from what the passage is saying. Keep asking questions that bring them back to the passage and make them think about the application: If this is true, if this is what is meant, how does it bear on our lives?
"I don’t think it is profitable to spend a lot of time trying to get people to work out a difficult bit of interpretation that you could get from a commentary. It is better that the leader should say, “There is a strange sentence here, and you have to know a bit of the background. The commentaries tell you the backgroundit— is this, so this is the meaning and this is the principle. Now the question for us is how we turn it into living for today.”
"Avoid getting hung up on things that are simply speculative—people guessing in the absence of knowledge. Instinctively we dislike practical issues of obedience. We would much rather speculate about high and obscure matters like predestination, you know. I don’t think that any Bible study profits if it is allowed to veer into speculation. If some speculative subject is raised, it is much better to ask somebody who knows something to come and give a talk on the subject. But keep the group Bible study down to practicalities—matters of how you live for the Lord, how you walk with Christ how you obey."

(from Discipleship Journal, Issue 10, 1982)

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

I've spent a good bit of time these past 10 days at work battling the MS Blaster and W32.Welchia worms. These have some interesting characteristics:

The worms don't announce themselves before infecting a computer.
They burrow unseen through low-level operating system vulnerabilities. They don't require explicit permission to attack.
They're quick to find other vulnerable systems and spread rapidly.
They don't "kill" your computer outright, but usurp it for their purposes, diverting most of the computing resources to spreading.
MS Blaster spreads lies about Microsoft.
Both were anticipated well before they were launched on the Internet; Microsoft made the "cure" available to everyone for free.
Appropriately patched computers are not vulnerable to infection.

Can you see some spiritual parallels with sin in your life as part of the community of humans?

Monday, August 18, 2003

Chuck Colson shares some encouraging news from Canada -- people are writing the legislatures to back down on the proposals to legalize same-sex marriages.

And those who get excited about Canada's socialized medicine should check out Mona Charen's column, Those Fantastic Socialistic Medical Systems.

Robert P. George's address to the graduating class of Hillsdale College, titled "Freedom and Its Counterfeit," is worth reading. One excerpt:

"True freedom consists in the liberation of the human person from the shackles of ignorance, oppression and vice. Thus it was that one hundred and fifty years ago this July 4, Edmund B. Fairfield, president of Hillsdale, speaking at a ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone of a new college building, declared that education, by lifting a man out of ignorance, “disqualifies him from being a slave.” What overcomes ignorance is knowledge, and the object of knowledge is truth – empirical, moral, spiritual. “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

True freedom, the freedom that liberates, is grounded in truth and ordered to truth and, therefore, to virtue. A free person is enslaved neither to the sheer will of another nor to his own appetites and passions. A free person lives uprightly, fulfilling his obligations to family, community, nation and God. By contrast, a person given over to his appetites and passions, a person who scoffs at truth and chooses to live, whether openly or secretly, in defiance of the moral law is not free. He is simply a different kind of slave.

The counterfeit of freedom consists in the idea of personal and communal liberation from morality, responsibility and truth. It is what our nation’s founders expressly distinguished from liberty and condemned as “license.” The so-called freedom celebrated today by so many of our opinion-shaping elites in education, entertainment and the media is simply the license to do whatever one pleases. This false conception of freedom – false because disordered, disordered because detached from moral truth and civic responsibility – shackles those in its grip no less powerfully than did the chattel slavery of old. Enslavement to one’s own appetites and passions is no less brutal a form of bondage for being a slavery of the soul. It is no less tragic, indeed, it is in certain respects immeasurably more tragic, for being self-imposed. It is ironic, is it not, that people who celebrate slavery to appetite and passion call this bondage “freedom”?"

Friday, August 15, 2003

Mark Alexander has a good article about Judge Roy Moore's stand to keep the Ten Commandments and prayer in the Alabama Supreme Courthouse.

"The battle is not the strong alone, it is to the vigilant and the active and the brave. So said Patrick Henry in 1775. It was true then, and it's true today." -- Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Men, think through your strength, which is in the Lord. (Isaiah 58:11, Nehemiah 8:10)

May God find us -- as husbands, fathers, and leaders in our communities of faith -- vigilant, active, and brave. Only "Christ in us, the hope of glory" makes us real men. Our families and our nation needs us.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

I excitedly read the Bible as a new Christian, seeing with new eyes the wonderful promises of Jesus. I read John 15:7 one morning in 1985 and looked at the cross reference in Matthew 21:22:

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
“If you remain [abide] in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”

Astounded by the incredible magnitude of these promises, I woke up my roommate, the man who had led me to Christ. (It was about 3 a.m.) “Have you seen this?” I said, reading the verses to him. He had been a Christian since he was a young boy. “You’ll get over it,” he said, and rolled over.

Brothers, we should not be “getting over” the promises of Jesus. How’s your prayer life? Do you have some holy discontent for the status quo?

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Yeah, I should read that book on prayer,” DON’T. Just begin praying now.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Dennis Prager writes succinctly about why leftists/liberals hold their beliefs -- they naively believe that people are intrinsically good, and gauge truth by feelings. And there are few antidotes to the deadly dual composition of naivete and narcissism. "Nothing could provide a better example of contemporary liberalism than the liberal battle to remove the Ten Commandments from all public places. Liberals want suggestions, not commandments."
"The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him—and of her. In all her prayers and labor this should have first place. We do the greatest service to the next generation of Christians by passing on to them undimmed and undiminished that noble concept of God which we received from our Hebrew and Christian fathers of generations past. This will prove of greater value to them than anything that art or science can devise. (A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy)

Genesis 29:25 is a our fallen world situation in minature. "When morning came, there was Leah!" And so it is with everything we think will make us happy. Women, cars, the new house, the better job, more recognition, the inheritance money, well-behaved kids, more time to spend alone, more time to spend with my wife -- all can be good, but none will satisfy. We wake up and find that they're not Rachel, they are Leah.

Only God satisfies, men. Only the Lord.
Mark Alexander has an excellent column on Homosexual Normalization and the Church.... Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, and not on any other standard.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Recommended book : Connecting with Your Wife by Barbara Rosberg. Men and women have very different communications styles, and this little gem is helpful! For example, when women think a relationship is ok, they want to talk about. Men generally think, "It's ok, so why do we need to talk about our relationship?"
More perspective on the media coverage of the military deaths in Iraq : Americans are being killed at a faster rate in Washington, D.C. than in Iraq.
God provides wealth for his purposes. The Lord made plans and provision for the gold of the Tabernacle many generations ahead of time. Let's follow the gold, shall we?

He made Abraham rich with gold (Gen 13:2)
He explained to Abraham that his descendents would suffer in slavery in Egypt, then leave the country with great wealth (Gen 15:13-14)
He explained this to Moses, also (Ex 3:21-22)
The Israelites took gold from the Egyptians (Ex 12:35-36)
The Israelites chose to use some of this gold to make an idol (Ex 32:2-4)
God's long-planned objective for this gold was achieved when it was used to cover the Ark of the Covenant (Ex 35:22; 37:1-2)

Please note that the gold became part of the Tabernacle, which was a tremendous means of grace for generations of Israelites. God always directs his provisions to they are a means to His grace.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Heb 13:8) Therefore we rejoice in knowing that the same God who directed gold to flow through many generations to the Ark of the Covenant is at work in our communities of faith today.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Christian History has an interesting article online about the Palestinian Christians. I was surprised to learn the extent of their "2nd class citizen" status in Israel. The whole situation in the Middle East is difficult to understand. The more I learn about the history of this region, and the more I observe current events, the less confident I am in anything except this: only Jesus Christ can provide the lasting answers.
Interceding for our wives and children is our high calling and privilege. Jim Carpenter outlines an excellent strategy for praying for your family. He takes a prayer retreat early in the year, spending concentrated time praying for each family member. He asks God for a theme for each loved one, developing a prayer outline based in Scripture. This outline goes on a separate page in his prayer journal. He lets his family know the key elements. "I usually write a letter to my sons while I’m still on my prayer retreat. I resist the temptation to make it sound like I’ve just returned from the mountain with stone tablets in hand! But I do want them to know that I’ve been meeting with God on their behalf, and about how I’ll be praying for them in the year ahead."

Men, let's emulate this kind of prayer work! Pray! magazine from NavPress has plenty of this kind of practical material.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Men, there is plenty of press today praising the Canadian health system, but not a lot of clear thinking. Rich Tucker correctly identifies the problems with re-importing US drugs back from Canada.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Disciples are learners, and learners need good teachers. A good friend pointed out to me that each of us is especially receptive to some teachers. John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, and prolific author, is one of my teachers. Check out the Desiring God web site. Sign up for free emails of his sermons and writings. Their church statement on homosexuality is marvelous.
One of the best things to do is to read large portions of the Bible or the whole Bible relatively quickly. You can’t get clean by showering with a cupful of water a day. Why do we think we can develop a comprehensive understanding of the most important book in the world in small dollops? Try reading Luke and John in one morning. Read the Psalms in 3 days. Read Genesis on one Saturday.

If you are serious about maturing in God’s Word, then read the whole Bible in 30-40 days. Look for themes, broad strokes, and relationships between characters. Don’t read for details, just read and absorb God’s story. Make this a separate activity from your personal devotions. It helps to partner with someone else doing this at the same time. It will take about 2-3 hours of reading time per day to do this, so go ahead and give up reading newspapers, magazines, and watching TV while you immerse yourself in Scripture. My usual warm-up is to read Psalm 119 each day for four days before beginning Genesis.

You may want to read a chronological Bible arrangement to understand the history and the timing of the events. (There are several versions available.)

Here is a 30-day reading plan that you can follow or adapt to your schedule:

1: Genesis 1-39
2: Genesis 40 - Exodus 26
3: Exodus 27 - Leviticus 22
4: Leviticus 23 - Numbers 26
5: Numbers 27 - Deuteronomy 28
6: Deuteronomy 29 - Judges 5
7: Judges 6-1 - Samuel 16
8: 1 Samuel 17 - 2 Samuel 21
9: 2 Samuel 22 - 2 Kings 4
10: 2 Kings 5-1 - Chronicles 12
11: 1 Chronicles 13 - 2 Chronicles 24
12: 2 Chronicles 25 - Nehemiah 13
13: Esther 1 - Job 42
14: Psalms 1 - Psalm 73
15: Psalm 74 - Psalm 150
16: Proverbs 1 - Ecclesiastes 9
17: Ecclesiastes 10 - Isaiah 33
18: Isaiah 34 - Jeremiah 4
19: Jeremiah 5 - Jeremiah 37
20: Jeremiah 38 - Ezekiel 14
21: Ezekiel 15 - Ezekiel 48
22: Daniel 1 - Amos 9
23: Obadiah 1 - Malachi 4
24: Matthew 1 - Mark 5
25: Mark 6 - Luke 16
26: Luke 17 - John 21
27: Acts 1 - Romans 9
28: Romans 10 - Ephesians 6
29: Philippians 1 - 1 Peter 4
30: 1 Peter 5 - Revelations 22

Those who diligently apply themselves to reading the whole Bible in 30-40 days will be blessed through the experience. We learn about the tone and quality of God’s voice, and the “my ways are not your ways” nature of His working, as we seek the broad perpectives through His Word. These experiences help us fall in love with Christ and His Word all over again.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Do I think the appointing of Gene Robinson as an Episcopal bishop is big news? No. This is only another milestone on downward path, a logical outcome of many earlier decisions, not something in itself that is news.

I'm referring to earlier decisions such as (a) moving away from a doctrinal statement of Scriptural inerrancy -- that means nothing can be disallowed, and (b) allowing Mr. Robinson to remain a practicing minister while "partnering" with another man for thirteen years.
Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore has now been ordered to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom. This creates a unique Constitutional challenge. Doug Phillips, the head of the Vision Forum, writes his commentary in his blog.

Leftists are all over this issue. See, for example, this perspective from Amercians United for Separation of Church and State.

Men, we need to pray. May God exalt himself in our nation, and may the name of Jesus resound throughout our land!
Mel Gibson is producing The Passion, a biblically accurate and grittily realistic portrayal of the last 12 hours of Christ leading up to his death on the cross. David Limbaugh, Cal Thomas, Chuck Colson, and Linda Chavez provide some background commentary. This will be so much superior to the blasphemous "Last Temptation of Christ." I suspect a big challenge for parents will be deciding which of our children should see this when it comes out -- flogging and crucifixion are brutal.

We are guilty of sanitizing the cross. The Romans didn't sandpaper and laquer a cross. We make it into jewelry! Imagine Paul writing, "I preach Christ and Christ electrocuted" and you'll come closer to it.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Hooray for Dennis Prager's campaign to persuade the National Park Service to restore the plaques at the Grand Canyon.
Americans need to know history. It is a demonic strategy to sever people from genuine historical grounding -- it makes it so much easier for people to believe even more lies in the future. "We need to know the Constitution, and we don't. When you have students at our Ivy League colleges saying they thought Germany and Japan were our allies in World War II, you know we've got a very serious problem," testified Dave McCullough at a Senate hearing yesterday. Take your stand against lies by learning history and making sure your children do, too.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Richard and Henry Blackaby define spiritual leadership as "helping people to hear God's voice and obey it." That's a great way to think about our work as spiritual leaders in our homes. How are you doing? What's your next step?
Helping your kids make good choices about movies, TV, books, and magazines is a critical. We must help them develop discernment. Our family has found Plugged In to be helpful for movie reviews.
Our Enemy practices discouragement and deceit. To those who say the US is terrible at nation-building, that we cannot found a democracy in Iraq and influence an entire region of the world, let us remember Germany and Italy after the close of WWII. If they say, "Yes, but those were Western nations, and Iraq is very different culturally," then remind them of Japan and South Korea and the Philippines. If they respond, "But that was many years ago," remind them of Poland and Russia and Romania. We must have steel and remain in Iraq.

Friday, August 01, 2003

We live in a video-saturated world, and frankly, that's hurting our imaginations and our critical thinking. I frequently hear men complain that they don't have time to read, or don't like to read. Why not listen to some good books on tape? Your church library probably has some good books.

I recently listened to Lord Foulgrin's Letters on tape, and my son listened to parts of it with me. This led to some great conversation moments about Christian truth and our enemy's strategies against us. (This book is a modern update to C.S. Lewis' classic, The ScrewTape Letters, detailing instructions from a senior demon to a junior temptor.)

I now ask my son about situations going on in his life, "What would Lord Foulgrin write about this?"

I also recommend the FOTF productions of The Chronicles of Narnia.