Mind in Renewal

"Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed through the renewal of your mind" -Romans 12:2

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Archive for January, 2009

The Language of the Bible

Posted by Daniel Edwards on January 30, 2009

(This is my third post in my series on fear)
What is Fear?
New Post Series on Fear

When I try to think about fear from a Biblical perspective, I’m constantly brought back to how the Bible speaks about the confidence, the courage, and the surety that comes with faith. For instance, though the Bible talks about our need to fear God in a sense of reverence, Hebrews 4:16 says:

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

We can draw near with confidence. Where is the fear in that? And to where? To the throne of grace. We need not fear that when we come to God with our transgressions and shortcomings that we will not be good enough, because God has lavished His grace upon us. And, even though God cannot stand to look upon sin, when we come before Him through the blood of Christ, we need not fear that He will cast us aside. And if we need not fear God, who should we fear?

Also, 2 Corinthians 5:8 says:

we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

Here, in talking about death, one of the greatest fears that all humans have at some point, Paul says that Christians are of good courage. Why? Because death has no hold on us and it has been defeated through Christ’s resurrection.

Along with these, the Bible says several times, “Do Not Fear” (Isa. 41:10; Isa. 43:1; 1 Chron. 28:20) You see, the logic behind all of this, is that once we know Christ and our sins have been forgiven, we have no need to fear because God is on our side and nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Rom. 8:31-35). It doesn’t matter if we get cancer or we go blind or we lose our house or even if we die, we have nothing to fear because God is for us. No matter what happens, we will live with Him for eternity and all our fears will be washed away.

Posted in Fear, the Bible | Leave a Comment »

Glimpses of Jesus

Posted by Daniel Edwards on January 29, 2009

Monday was my pastor’s birthday and in celebration of it Sunday night, the smaller chidren at the church sang him “Happy Birthday.” Afterwards, they went up and threw handfuls of confetti at him.

As they did, he laughed a heartfelt laugh of pure joy that resonated through his entire being, and I was reminded of Jesus and the little children. I imagined how Jesus must have laughed as the small children climbed over Him and played with Him. I imagined the warm smile on His face as He drew them into His arms and hugged them and blessed them.

Too often, we forget that God made joy and laughter. We picture Jesus as always serious and stern-faced. And surely, much of the time, Jesus was stern and He was serious about serious matters. But it is never good for us to only think about one aspect of Jesus’ character. Yes, He was serious and stern, and even angry, when appropriate. But He also laughed and went to feasts and enjoyed time with others, recognizing that the time had not yet come when He will laugh together with those He loves as they rest in His perfect joy. But, He did laugh, and it would not be beneficial for us to forget that- Jesus is too big for us to put Him in a box.

Let us live like Jesus lived, and laugh like Jesus laughed. Let us not be too serious or wrapped up in the things that we face everyday. But instead, let us find the joy that is in Jesus and have a holy humor that recognizes the need to be serious at the proper time, but does not forget the blessing of laughter.

Jesus urged us to be like little children, and I do not think He had in mind a child who never laughs. I hope you’ll laugh today and remember the God who gave you your humor.

Posted in Glimpses of Jesus, Humor, The Nature of God | Leave a Comment »

15 Pro-Life Truths

Posted by Daniel Edwards on January 28, 2009

John Piper posts 15 Pro-Life Truths.

He ends with truth 15:

“Jesus Christ can forgive all sins, and will give all who trusts him the help they need to do everything that life requires.”

Posted in Abortion | 1 Comment »

The Freedom of Choice Act

Posted by Daniel Edwards on January 28, 2009

Though I would not wish to elevate my political concerns above my concern for the Gospel of Christ to be spread, I think it is urgent that as many people as possible understand what is happening in our country right now.

President Obama stated before he took office that when he was elected, the first piece of legislation he would sign into law would be the Freedom of Choice Act. If you have not heard of this bill, or even if you have, you need to understand its significance.

If passed, the FOCA would effectively make abortion a guaranteed right protected on the same level of the first amendment right of free speech and so on. It would “invalidate all current and future statutes, ordinances, regulations, administrative orders, decisions, policies, or practices–at any level of government–that regulate or restrict abortion in any way…” This means, among other things, that this act would:

1. Prohibit any laws that would require parental notification or consent to receive an abortion.

2. Reverse the current ban of the gruesome procedure of partial birth abortion against the opinion of the majority of Americans.

3. Make it illegal for doctors to refuse performing any abortion on the basis of conscience.

This is in direct contradiction to President Obama’s statement that he would like to reduce the number of abortions.

My prayer and my hope is that God will change President Obama’s heart and that President Obama will change his mind. Please join me in this prayer. In addition to prayer, there are a few things we can do.

To fight this, there are some making resources available, such as this flier. Also, there are few ways we can help. E-mail everyone you know, tell your friends, or even write a letter to your senator. But whatever the case, the word needs to get out. And whatever you do, make sure to keep praying. Without God on our side, we have no hope to win this fight.

Here’s the challenge. Now, what are you going to do about it?

Posted in Abortion | Leave a Comment »

Inauguration Day

Posted by Daniel Edwards on January 21, 2009

Today is a momentous and historical day in the life of the United States and its impact has been felt with mixed tears of joy and sadness.

Joy, that the people of America have broken down the last racial barrier and, for the most part, gathered behind a man born of an African immigrant to lead this nation. Today, we take one more step closer to extinguishing the evil of racism that has plagued our land.

On the other hand others today look upon this with sadness.

Sadness, that many of us could not support the first African-American president of America by voting because of his staunch opposition to the pro-life cause and his defense of homosexual “marriage”.

However, whatever your sentiment, we all as Americans and as Christians need to support our president where we can. None of us should wish failure upon our president, though I know many will. His failure would not be beneficial to anyone, in this country or abroad.

Instead, we need to pray for our president. God is in control and He has raised up President Obama to lead this nation and there is no sense contending against God. We need to pray that God protects him during this time and that He grants President Obama with the wisdom and strength to guide this country.

Also, we need to pray that God watches over his family and in particular his little girls as they adjust to these dramatic changes in their lives.

And lastly, as Christians, we need to pray that God would change President Obama’s heart and bring him into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and in so doing raise up a powerful witness to His glory and providence; and an advocate for the life of every human being created in God’s image. These are my daily prayers and I hope they will be yours as well.

Posted in President Obama, The Inauguration | Leave a Comment »

Rick Warren’s Prayer

Posted by Daniel Edwards on January 21, 2009

I am thankful for Rick Warren’s prayer. I am thankful that President Obama asked him to pray at the inauguration and that his prayer was distinctly Christian and directed to the One, true God. Only in Him does our hope for this nation rest.

Here’s the transcript:

“Almighty God, our Father:

Everything we see, and everything we can’t see, exists because of you alone.

It all comes from you, it all belongs to you, it all exists for your glory.

History is your story.

The Scripture tells us, “Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one.” And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.

Now today we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time, we celebrate a hinge point of history with the inauguration of our first African American president of the United States.

We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where a son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.

Give to our new president, Barack Obama,

the wisdom to lead us with humility,

the courage to lead us with integrity,

the compassion to lead us with generosity.

Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.

Help us, O God, to remember that we are Americans–united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.

When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you–forgive us.

When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone–forgive us.

When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve–forgive us.

And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes—even when we differ.

Help us to share, to serve, and to seek the common good of all.

May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy, and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet.

And may we never forget that one day, all nations–and all people–will stand accountable before you.

We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life—Yeshua, ‘Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus—who taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,

for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Amen.”

Amen!

Posted in Rick Warren, The Inauguration | 1 Comment »

The Albert Mohler Program

Posted by Daniel Edwards on January 16, 2009

If you don’t know who Albert Mohler is, you should. Dr. Mohler is one of my many heroes in the faith; an author, preacher and president of Southern Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is wise and intelligent, a rare combination these days and he graciously shares his insights without condenscension.

His program, “The Albert Mohler Program” is an hour-long radio broadcast, Monday through Friday, from 5 to 6 p.m. that is carried by radio stations across the country. You can also listen online be found on iTunes as a podcast. Each week, he addresses issues ranging from theology to politics to science to you name it. And on every Wednesday, Dr. Mohler opens his show to any kind of question that his listeners will throw at him. He always responds without hesitation and is never above admitting that he may not know something. All in all, Dr. Mohler always has something interesting to say and he excels at his aim, to encourage “intelligent, Christian thinking”.

So, if you haven’t heard Albert Mohler, I would urge you to listen to him.

Posted in Helpful Posts, My Heroes, Radio | Leave a Comment »

What is Fear?

Posted by Daniel Edwards on January 13, 2009

(This is my second post in a series I am doing on fear. I apologize that it has taken me so long to get this post written, but the topic ended up being more complex than I first imagined.)
New Post Series on Fear

This may seem like a ridiculous question to ask on the surface, but I feel that as I enter any discussion it is good to first have the terms clearly laid out.

Now, some people, if asked what fear is, might say something like, “that feeling in my stomach when I see someone walking across a tightrope,” or “the tightness in my chest when I wake up from a nightmare.” The truth is, none of us really wonder what fear is. It’s a common emotion that everyone feels at one time or another.

However, this leads us to think little about fear and, therefore, I think it would be helpful to analyze exactly what fear is first as laid out in the Bible, and secondly, as we perceive it in our culture today. So first, what is fear in general as laid out in the Bible?

Fear in the Bible

When the word fear is used in the Bible, it generally is used having one of two meanings. The first use of fear we see in the Bible is positive and denotes reverence or deep respect for someone, usually God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10;Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10) This is a fear that every Christian should have and is a direct result of understanding the holiness and majesty and utmost awesomeness of God.

The second form of fear that is in the Bible is, in a sense, the opposite of the first kind. This is the fear that I will mainly be focusing on, the emotion that results from worry or is invoked by something that is perceived as alarming or unnerving. It is the opposite of the former in that we are commanded not to have this kind of fear (Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 43:1-3) and to have the other. In fact when we fear God in the right way we will not have this fear (Matthew 10:28).

This fear is expressed in different levels throughout the Bible (worry, anxiety, dismay), but it is always expressed in a negative sense.

Fear in Society

Though the definition for the fear we see in society is not different than that of the Bible, it manifests itself in unique ways in this present age. For instance, some people enjoy being scared by movies, books or things such as haunted houses. We see fear as something that entertains or serves us, a feeling that is even necessary or something with which to control. It is simply assumed. Worry is something that we work through and expect in many instances and anxiety is a given. In fact, even in scientific communities, fear is seen as something that protects us as in the “fight or flight” options (I intend to blog further on this more in the future).

But what it all comes down to is that in our society and in the world today, fear is not seen as a problem, and as I said before, something that is not even considered by most. This is what I want to address with this series. I want to look at what fear is and how to deal with it from a Biblical framework. I hope these forthcoming posts will spark thought and hopefully encourage other Christians to think about fear and handle it in their lives.

Posted in Definition, Fear | 2 Comments »

Free Music

Posted by Daniel Edwards on January 7, 2009

For fans of good music and/or Augustine’s Confessions, this is a CD well worth your time.

Posted in Augustine's Confessions, Free Music | Leave a Comment »

Charles Spurgeon’s Re-Birthday

Posted by Daniel Edwards on January 7, 2009

Today is the day that most believe that Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers” repented of his sin and began taking up his cross and following Christ.

Posted in Charles Spurgeon | Leave a Comment »