Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Surprise - a providential meeting

The Lord, in His providence, has provided a very special Memorial Day for my wife’s family this year. So to honor our Lord and the men who fought for the freedom to worship Him, I share this story with the family's permission. I’m merely an ‘in-law’ but this family story goes beyond family ties.

Two childhood friends from Iola, KS, have sacrificed their lives for America.

Harry Lightner was young and never married. My wife’s family knew he served in North Africa and in Italy during World War II. They knew he was in the 180th and was killed in action, but did not know much concerning the circumstances of his death. Though research has been done and the family has tried to learn of the details of his death, very little was uncovered. Until this week.

Friday, my father-in-law Scott Shanahan came across an article in the local newspaper’s online edition, and quickly called his wife, Candie. The article featured a World War II vet, who will be honoring fallen comrades at a memorial service in Paola on Monday. The vet was a 'remains convoy driver' during the war. The article explains:

Much of his time serving overseas from 1946 to 1949 was spent in Italy, where he and his fellow members of the Graves Registration Service took on the unenviable task of collecting and identifying the remains of fallen soldiers.

Later in the article is the paragraph which made this story possible.

Because the remains would often be indistinguishable by sight, (he) said members of his unit used dental records, tattoos and military dog tags to identify the fallen soldiers. With tears welling in his eyes and a quivering voice, (he) talked about the time they identified the remains of a soldier as Harry Lightner — his childhood friend.

Candie phoned the veteran from the article, Mr. Carl Gregg, and had a good talk. Turns out he lives in the same town as the Shanahans, Paola, KS. It was quite emotional understandably. Ryan (Candie’s son) got to speak with Mr Gregg Saturday. He learned the nature of Harry’s death and also heard other stories about the family.

The Shanahans plan to attend the services Monday, now with even more knowledge of how their fallen relative died. How gracious of God to orchestrate this meeting!

At the beginning of this post, I said that two childhood friends had sacrificed their lives for America. One of them (Harry Lightner) died in service to his country before the age of 22. The other is alive today, but some would say he has been a ‘living sacrifice’ in the way he has served others following the War. He served his community through the local VFW in Paola, and has done my wife’s family an invaluable service by simply sharing stories about a beloved family member.

By the way, there is a letter that my wife’s family holds in very high regard, a special family artifact. It was perhaps the last letter Harry Lightner ever wrote. He reportedly wrote the same message to at least three different people. It included the words, “Don’t worry about me, I’ve accepted Christ as my Savior.”

The Miami County Republic article referred to above can be found here.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

RC Sproul - Should Christians be on Facebook?

Several months ago, I saw a video of Paul Washer pleading, "Be a man, get off Facebook!" I love Washer, so this hit close to home, especially since my brother-in-law (not on FB) loves to repeatedly mention the video, albeit jokingly. But still I'm on Facebook. By the way, Washer's appeal (found here), is based on the necessity to not waste your life, to resist the tendency to spend it on trivial things while greater spiritual battles are waging. He is saying that many people need to get off Facebook. For many he is right.

Maybe you're like me and have been frustrated with some of the negative aspects of Facebook. Even if you're not a Christian, it is easy to see its evils (narcissistic triviality, privacy concerns, time-wasting tendencies, etc). So when RC Sproul published an article on the topic (Should Christians Be on Facebook) I was quick to read it.

He offers some great insights, worthy of a read. Most importantly, is the aspect of examining our own hearts. This social networking thing is a matter of personal conviction, but our conviction needs to be constantly evaluated in light of Scripture. I'm sticking with FB for now. I feel it offers many blessings and so far those have outweighed its curses. My aim, and my prayer for those who glory in Christ Jesus, is to find ways to use Facebook to bring honor to His name. (1 Cor 10:31).

In addition, I invite challenge and feedback from any who see my use of Facebook, Twitter, etc as being in opposition to the glory of Christ. Please keep me accountable.

DA Carson on Psalm 84 and Eric Liddell

I love the movie Chariots of Fire. If you haven't seen it, I whole-heartedly recommend it. DA Carson, in commenting on Psalm 84, talks about Eric Liddell who the movie is about.

After quoting Psalm 84, which declares, "no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you (84:11-12)" Carson brings up the anticipated reply, "Isn’t it obvious that God withholds lots of good things from lots of people whose walk is about as blameless as walks can get, this side of the new heaven and the new earth?"

Hear him out here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Guarding the Gospel

This is some good preaching by Steve Lawson. The video is just a few pictures rotated, but the Truth in the sermon is powerful!

Give us some men who know the truth!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Charles Spurgeon on the wrath of God

This is a fitting quote with all the rain we've had in Missouri. I drove through a river last night driving down River Road, sending waves 20 feet in the air!

God's wrath, though it come not on you yet, is like a stream that is dammed up.
Every moment it gathers force. It bursts not the dike, yet every hour it is swelling it. Each moment of each day in which you remain an unbeliever you are treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath when the measure of your iniquity
is full. CHS

As the author of Hebrews warns several times, "we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. (Hebrews 2:1)" If Christ is not your treasure and the object of your hope for eternal life. Repent and believe in Him!

God cannot be thwarted - Martyn Lloyd-Jones

This is a good follow up to what we saw yesterday. Here Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims the futility of a life without Christ:

How can you plan for life and the world and at the same time exclude God who is the Maker and Sustainer and Controller of all things? God has not only made the world, He is actively concerned in it, and constantly intervenes in its affairs. His laws are absolute and cannot be avoided ... God has decided and ordered and arranged that a life of forgetfulness of Him, and of antagonism to Him, shall not be successful and happy ... That is the whole story of mankind from the very beginning, and it has continued until this day, and it will continue to be so until the end of time. Mankind has refused to recognize this - indeed, has ridiculed it. It has been confident that it could succeed without God. But what of the results? Constant failure. God cannot be thwarted. The facts of life, the story of history, proclaim the wrath of God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. That is our first problem. We have sinned against God. We are in the wrong relationship to Him. His wrath is upon us. We have made it impossible for Him to bless us ... None can keep the law ... Is there no hope, therefore? Can nothing be done? God be thanked, the gospel of Christ provides the answer ... God has dealt with our sins in Christ. The demands of holiness and justice have been satisfied ... God in Christ is prepared to receive us ... God in Christ offers us pardon and forgiveness, and instead of cursing, blessing. Without God we cannot be happy, 'for there is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked'. Try as we will, and as mankind has, we cannot succeed. The first step is to have the favour of God, and in Christ it is gloriously possible-indeed, it is offered us.
The Plight of Man and the Power of God, pp. 85-7

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Look to Christ not your circumstances

I love God's Word and the tapestry that is woven throughout every book. Numbers 21 contains a short story (Numbers 21:4-9) that Jesus refers to thousands of years later (John 3:14), to illustrate faith in Himself. D.A. Carson has this to say about this passage in Numbers.

THE BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE BRONZE SNAKE (Num. 21:4-9) is probably better known than other Old Testament accounts of similar brevity, owing to the fact that it is referred to by Jesus himself in John 3:14-15: “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” What is the nature of the parallel that Jesus is drawing?

In the Numbers account, we are told that as the people continue their God-directed route through the desert, they “grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses” (21:4-5). They even whine against the food that God has been providing for them, the daily provision of manna: “We detest this miserable food” (21:5). In consequence the Lord sends judgment in the form of a plague of venomous snakes. Many die. Under the lash of punishment, the people confess to Moses, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you” (21:7). They beg Moses to intercede with God. God instructs Moses to make a snake and put it on a pole; “anyone who is bitten can look at it and live” (21:8). So Moses casts a bronze snake and places it on a pole, and it has just the effect that God had ordained.

So here we have an ungrateful people, standing in judgment of what God has done, questioning their leader. They face the judgment of God, and the only release from that judgment is a provision that God himself makes, which they receive by simply looking to the bronze serpent.

The situation of Nicodemus is not so very different in John 3. His opening remarks suggest that he sees himself as capable of standing in judgment of Jesus (John 3:1-2), when in fact he really has very little understanding of what Jesus is talking about (3:4, 10). The world is condemned and perishing. Its only hope is in the provision that God makes — in something else that is lifted up on a pole, or more precisely, in someone who is lifted up on a cross. This is the first occurrence of “lifted up” in John’s gospel. As the chapters unwind, it becomes almost a technical expression for Jesus’ crucifixion. The only remedy, the only escape from God’s judgment, depends on looking to this provision God has made: We must believe in the Son of Man who is “lifted up” if we are to have eternal life.

That word still comes to us. Massive muttering is a sign of culpable unbelief. Sooner or later we will answer to God for it. Our only hope is to look to the One who was hoisted on a pole.
For the Love of God, May 12th

This passage is not for 'seekers' only, but for every Christian. Do you find yourself grumbling and complaining due to life's circumstances (as I find myself doing this morning?) Repent of your lack of faith and look to Christ, who has provided salvation for us! Look to Him for the answers to all your problems and you will never be without a certain hope!

...looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Repentance and faith

Charles H. Spurgeon describes repentance and faith:

Repentance and faith must go together to complete each other. I compare them to a door and its post. Repentance is the door which shuts out sin,but faith is the post on which its hinges are fixed. A door without a doorpost to hang on is not a door at all, while a doorpost without the door hanging on it is of no value whatever. What God hath joined together let no man put asunder, and these two he has made inseparable--repentance and faith.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A video by Reddit Andrews on the wrath/love of God

Why does the Bible devote so much ink to God's wrath if God is a God of love? Reddit Andrews touches on that here on The Gospel Coaltion video page:

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

I thought this was well said about Mother's Day:

Mothers Day is not primarily about being a mother and receiving honor, but thanking God for the mother he gave you, and giving honor. The people giving honor should include all moms. Persons receiving honor as moms should also being giving honor for their God-given moms.

Mothers are common: Everyone without exception has one. Jesus had one. ...

The set of all people with no mothers is zero. The set of all people with mothers is everyone. The two sets do not intersect.

Though moms are common, the mother of any given individual is a rare mother, uniquely designed and assigned by God to be a person’s tailor-made mom in order to accomplish God’s good purposes.

Honoring your mother is a way to honor the One who gives the command to honor your mother. Thank you, all-wise and almighty God, for giving me exactly the mother you gave me.

Besides this post by Sam Crabtree, there is a lot of other good Mother's Day reading out there. Here is a sample:

I have a wonderful mother, and my wife is a wonderful mother. Praise the Lord for our mothers! Thank you God for giving us all mothers!

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, 9 for they are ja graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. (Proverbs 1:8-9)

HT: Tyler

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Aimee's Song of the Week May 2nd, 2010

The song of the week is 'To Christ the Lord Let Every Tongue', a hymn written by Samuel Stennett (ca. 1727-1795) and has been updated by Laura Taylor. She added the second half of verse five, which includes Aimee's favorite line in the song.

Had I a thousand hearts to give
Lord, they should all be Thine
A thousand men could not compose
A worthy song to bring
Yet Your love is a melody
Our hearts can’t help but sing!

We have sung this at church and love it. The entire lyrics are below. Also, you can here a demo of the song being sung by iGrace music here. May this song stir your heart to worship the infinitely worthy Christ!

To Christ the Lord Let Every Tongue

1. To Christ the Lord let every tongue
Its noblest tribute bring
When He’s the subject of the song
Who can refuse to sing?
Survey the beauties of His face
And on His glories dwell
Think of the wonder of His grace
And all His triumphs tell

2. Majestic sweetness sits enthroned
Upon His awful brow
His head with radiant glories crowned
His lips with grace overflow
No mortal can with Him compare
Among the sons of men
Fairer He is than all the fair
That fill the Heavenly train

3. He saw me plunged in deep distress
He fled to my relief
For me He bore the shameful cross
And carried all my grief
His hand a thousand blessings pours
Upon my guilty head
His presence gilds my darkest hours
And guards my sleeping bed

4. To Him I owe my life and breath
And all the joys I have
He makes me triumph over death
And saves me from the grave
To Heaven the place of His abode
He brings my weary feet
Shows me the glories of my God
And makes my joy complete

5. Since from His bounty I receive
Such proofs of love divine
Had I a thousand hearts to give
Lord, they should all be Thine
A thousand men could not compose
A worthy song to bring
Yet Your love is a melody
Our hearts can’t help but sing!

©2001 Laura Taylor Music.

About Me

Here is my testimony: mike