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 February, 2009

Amazing Photos!

Posted by Daniel Edwards on February 28, 2009

Some rather extraordinary pictures have been brought to my attention recently and I thought I would share them with you.

The first set is a ghostly combination of the Russian town of Leningrad.

The second set are pictures of realistic paintings found on city streets.

I highly recommend checking these out.

Posted in Photos | Leave a Comment »

Free Calfskin ESV

Posted by Daniel Edwards on February 28, 2009

David Porter is giving away a Calfskin ESV Study Bible for Free! Check out his site for details.

Posted in ESV Study Bible, Giveaway | 2 Comments »

The Mystery of God

Posted by Daniel Edwards on February 27, 2009

When I think about God, I often think of the mysteries that surround Him. How can God be loving and just? How can Jesus be both God and man? Why would the righteous choose to suffere for the unrighteous? And how can God both be three and one?

I love thinking about these mysteries. It assures me that God is truly bigger than my understanding. It is necessary that God be incomprehensible for if He could be understood by his creatures, then they would be greater than He is.

Evelyn Underhill said it this way: “If God were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be worshiped.”

Now, that being said, there are at least two things we must avoid when thinking about the mysteries of God.

First, just because these things are mysterious does not mean they are without explanation. There is NOT ONE mystery that can’t be explained. Incomprehensible does not equal unexplainable. When we accept these apparent contradictions of God, we are not saying that we believe something that is illogical. Rather, we are trusting in God, whose logic transcends our own.

“How is this different?” you might ask. Well, realizing that paradoxes are not flawed logic, but instead superior logic, means that we will not accept something that contradicts what we do know about God. For instance, if we believed that these mysteries were in fact contradictions of reality or Himself then we could accept that certain sins are both right and wrong or that God is both holy and just as well as being lowly and easy-going with sin.

And this leads me to my second point. We should understand that though there is a great deal about God we don’t know (we will never know all about God), there are things He has revealed and new revelations will never contradict old ones. But they might change the perspective.

The greatest example of this is the mystery of Jesus Christ. Before Jesus came to earth, God promised a Messiah. Even as far back as the first sin in the Garden of Eden, God promised that he would send a Redeemer (Gen. 3:15). But as the years went forward, no one knew what this Messiah would be like or anything apart from what was said in the prophecies and even that was misinterpreted.

For all people before Christ, His coming was a mystery. That is what Paul called it in Romans 16:25. But when Paul uses the word musterion from which we get the word mystery, he is not at all implying that we still don’t understand how, when or why Christ has come. That has now been revealed (1 Peter 1:20-21). But that revelation in no way contradicted what we knew of God before. Rather, it enhanced it. Through Christ the mysteries of the forgiveness of sins and salvation by faith alone were revealed.

And so it is with all mysteries of God. As we learn more about God, it will never contradict what is clearly stated about God in the Bible, but it might change how we view Him. I encourage you to enjoy the mystery of Christ today.

Posted in The Nature of God | Leave a Comment »

Sacrifice

Posted by Daniel Edwards on February 26, 2009

A dear friend sent me this quote from David Livingstone:

“Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view, and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege.” – David Livingston, in a last will and testament to college men commissioning them to Africa.

Pondering this, I pray that I would not consider the small areas that I suffer and am discomforted as a sacrifice, but a privilege. It is only my pride that would consider these things as sacrificial. For when we consider something as a sacrifice we focus on ourselves and what we are doing. Instead, when we give our lives as a sacrifice, our focus should be shifted to our Savior. For, what sacrifice could I ever make to compare with that of my Savior?

When I consider His greater sacrifice, I can only consider it a privilege to suffer with Him and for Him.

Posted in Quotes, Sacrifice | Leave a Comment »

Anger

Posted by Daniel Edwards on February 19, 2009

Jonathan Dodson has a helpful article on anger, which I know is a struggle for many Christians.

Posted in Anger | Leave a Comment »

My One True Love

Posted by Daniel Edwards on February 14, 2009

On this day of the year, in which we celebrate love in a romantic sense, I want to proclaim my love for my Savior. This love transcends all other loves and consumes my life. I would be nothing without God’s work in my life. He has taken me from death and brought me into life. I love Him because He first loved me. And I owe all to Him.

Thank You God for loving me.

Posted in God's work in my life, Love | Leave a Comment »

Happy Birthday, Honest Abe!

Posted by Daniel Edwards on February 13, 2009

Today is the 200th birthday of our nation’s greatest president (at least, in the minds of many.) He led us through the Civil War and emancipated the slaves. And he ended up dying as a result. I thank God for blessing us with such a president (despite his flaws!). Happy birthday President Lincoln.

John Piper gives his thoughts.

Posted in History | Leave a Comment »

Love Vs. Fear

Posted by Daniel Edwards on February 12, 2009

(This is my fourth post in my series on fear.)
The Language of the Bible
What is Fear?

New Post Series on Fear

My basketball coach in elementary school, Dan Wentworth who was also a pastor once said “Hate is not the opposite of love. Fear is.” Though I am not certain that I agree that fear and love are complete opposites, there is a definite correlation. In fact, 1 John 4:18:

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

But to examine the idea further, I want to look to the Bible’s definition of love which is most clearly stated in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and look at it’s relation to fear.

Love is patient. Fear is anxious. It worries about what is going to happen, what might go wrong and what others might think. It focuses on its own inadequacy and not the other person.

Love is kind. Fear can be hurtful and is too focused on itself and the problems that it faces to consider others.

Love is not jealous. Jealousy is wanting what someone else has, often as a result of a fear of not being as good as someone else. And, in relationships, jealousy for the other person’s attention may be out of a fear of losing them.

Love does not brag. Fear will boast of itself lest others think little of them.

Love is not arrogant. Fear, and especially worry, is self-centered and only concerned with its own welfare.

Love does not act unbecomingly. Fear can cause people to do wild and strange things. And, if one fears looking “uncool”, they may do many things to change that.

Love does not seek its own. Fear seeks its own safety and welfare.

Love is not provoked. Those who fear others’ opinions may get defensive and angry easily.

Love does not take into account wrong suffered. Fear worries that if they do not deal with the wrong done them, it will not be dealt with.

Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness. Fear does not rejoice in anything, lest it be caught off guard.

Love rejoices with the truth. Fear contradicts the truth or distorts it.

Love bears all things. Fear worries that the weight will crush it.

Love hopes all things. Fear has no hope.

Love believes all things. Fear can’t believe that which might cause it to look foolish or cause it lose control of itself.

Love endures all things. Fear worries that over time it might buckle under the pressure.

Love never fails. Fear always succeeds.

Love is an attribute of God (1 John 4:7). Fear is not.

Posted in Fear, Love, the Bible | Leave a Comment »

War!

Posted by Daniel Edwards on February 11, 2009

During one of my pastor’s sermons a couple of weeks ago, he read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:

3For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

Though I’ve heard this passage many times throughout my life, this particular time it struck me that this passage means more than I first realized. I think I’ve often assumed that this passage, particularly verse 3, only is meant to point out that we do not fight a physical war, but a spiritual one.

And though that is true, I realize now that this verse means more than that. This verse can apply to all areas in which we “war” in this world. I think specifically of how this verse could apply to the debates we may have with the world- the war of ideas.

To war according to the flesh in the war of ideas would be to do so with hostility, arrogance, condescension, and anger. It would also mean that we would argue without listening to the other side and try to attack not only the other person’s argument, but also their character and credibility.

Conversely, if we are to debate in such a way that we are not warring according to the flesh, then we will defend our ideas with graciousness, humility, and kindness, affirming what we can about the other person while patiently pointing out the flaws of the other side. We will do our best to listen to the concerns of others and not immediately shut out their ideas. And we will focus solely on the arguments themselves, not on attacking the person.

Anyway, that’s just one way I believe this verse can be applied and in the future I’m sure that I will only come to see that it means more than I’ve seen now. Just one more testimony to how God’s Word goes much deeper than the surface.

Posted in the Bible | Leave a Comment »

ANTHEM

Posted by Daniel Edwards on February 10, 2009

Looking forward to Valentine’s Day, as a Christian, I realize that much of what will be celebrated next week will not be in fact be love but lust masquerading as such. It is a sad fact and it is not limited to non-Christians. But, to battle this prevalent sin, John Piper has provided the helpful acronym ANTHEM:

A – AVOID as much as is possible and reasonable the sights and situations that arouse unfitting desire. I say “possible and reasonable” because some exposure to temptation is inevitable. And I say “unfitting desire” because not all desires for sex, food, and family are bad. We know when they are unfitting and unhelpful and on their way to becoming enslaving. We know our weaknesses and what triggers them. “Avoiding” is a Biblical strategy. “Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness” (2 Timothy 2:22). “Make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14).

N – Say NO to every lustful thought within five seconds. And say it with the authority of Jesus Christ. “In the name of Jesus, NO!” You don’t have much more than five seconds. Give it more unopposed time than that, and it will lodge itself with such force as to be almost immovable. Say it out loud if you dare. Be tough and warlike. As John Owen said, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.” Strike fast and strike hard. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (
James 4:7).

T – TURN the mind forcefully toward Christ as a superior satisfaction. Saying “no” will not suffice. You must move from defense to offense. Fight fire with fire. Attack the promises of sin with the promises of Christ. The Bible calls lusts “deceitful desires” (
Ephesians 4:22). They lie. They promise more than they can deliver. The Bible calls them “passions of your former ignorance” (1 Peter 1:14). Only fools yield. “All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter” (Proverbs 7:22). Deceit is defeated by truth. Ignorance is defeated by knowledge. It must be glorious truth and beautiful knowledge. This is why I wrote Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. We must stock our minds with the superior promises and pleasures of Jesus. Then we must turn to them immediately after saying, “NO!”

H – HOLD the promise and the pleasure of Christ firmly in your mind until it pushes the other images out. “Fix your eyes on Jesus” (
Hebrews 3:1). Here is where many fail. They give in too soon. They say, “I tried to push it out, and it didn’t work.” I ask, “How long did you try?” How hard did you exert your mind? The mind is a muscle. You can flex it with vehemence. Take the kingdom violently (Matthew 11:12). Be brutal. Hold the promise of Christ before your eyes. Hold it. Hold it! Don’t let it go! Keep holding it! How long? As long as it takes. Fight! For Christ’s sake, fight till you win! If an electric garage door were about to crush your child you would hold it up with all our might and holler for help, and hold it and hold it and hold it and hold it.

E – ENJOY a superior satisfaction. Cultivate the capacities for pleasure in Christ. One reason lust reigns in so many is that Christ has so little appeal. We default to deceit because we have little delight in Christ. Don’t say, “That’s just not me.” What steps have you taken to waken affection for Jesus? Have you fought for joy? Don’t be fatalistic. You were created to treasure Christ with all your heart – more than you treasure sex or sugar. If you have little taste for Jesus, competing pleasures will triumph. Plead with God for the satisfaction you don’t have: “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (
Psalm 90:14). Then look, look, look at the most magnificent Person in the universe until you see him the way he is.

M – MOVE into a useful activity away from idleness and other vulnerable behaviors. Lust grows fast in the garden of leisure. Find a good work to do, and do it with all your might. “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord” (
Romans 12:11). “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Abound in work. Get up and do something. Sweep a room. Hammer a nail. Write a letter. Fix a faucet. And do it for Jesus’ sake. You were made to manage and create. Christ died to make you “zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14). Displace deceitful lusts with a passion for good deeds.

Posted in Helpful Posts, Love | Leave a Comment »