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 April, 2009

Quote of the Week

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 27, 2009

This quote of the week again comes from Timothy Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York.

“We do not have to make ourselves suffer in order to merit forgiveness. We simply receive the forgiveness earned by Christ. 1 John 1:8 says that God forgives us because He is ‘just.’ That is a remarkable statement. It would be unjust of God to ever deny us forgiveness, because Jesus earned our acceptance! In religion we earn our forgiveness with our repentance, but in the gospel we just receive it.”
– Timothy Keller

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Wiliam Cowper

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 26, 2009

On this day in 1800, the often depressed, but talented hymn writer William Cowper died at the age of 68. Cowper spents most of his life battling depression and he was often helped by the preaching of his dear friend John Newton.

In his times of lucidity and joy, Cowper wrote such insightful hyms as “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”:

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

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He Must Increase…

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 24, 2009

I have been studying the Gospel of John in my personal Bible studies recently, and this verse stuck out to me:

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” -John 3:30

This little phrase was said by John the Baptist, who modeled his whole life after this idea. He never drew attention to himself, but always sought to draw attention and glory to Christ until his death at the hands of Herod.

What a glorious testimony to how each one of us should live our lives. Just like John, we should seek to give of ourselves so that Christ may be glorified in everything. We must increase our time and devotion to Christ, while decreasing the focus we put on ourselves.

O, how I long to be selflessly and totally consumed with the things of Christ. I want to consider all for His glory and not my own. So for me, this has become the theme verse of my life.

What are your thoughts?

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Matthew Patrick Brown (2009-2009)

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 21, 2009

Please take a few minutes to read this moving story about a family’s hard decision to walk the Christian walk in some of the worst of circumstances.
Something that stuck out to me was this quote by the Matthew’s mother:
“I now believe, we are called to selfless acts because in our attempt to selflessness, our selifishness is exposed.”
Matthew passed away Sunday. Please pray for this family during this time.

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Quote of the Week

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 19, 2009

This week’s quote is by A.W. Tozer, author of such books as The Pursuit of God. This quote was found in the foreword of Preaching the Cross, a compilation of the sermons from Together for the Gospel 2006.

Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become “unity” conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.
-A.W. Tozer

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What to Do when a Hero Fails You

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 19, 2009

I am writing this because, sometimes, we take great stock in other people. We look up to them. We respect them. They teach us and show us an example of who we want to be. Some would call these heroes; others might say role models or something else. Whatever the case, the idea is the same. But what do we do when someone who we consider so strong in the faith, so in tune with the Holy Spirit, fails us. It can be devastating and some of us might feel that we want to just sit at home and cry. But as Christians, how should we respond? This is in no way an exhaustive list, but here are my thoughts:

1.Realize that our hope is in Christ and Him alone. People will come and go. They will be here today and gone tomorrow, but Jesus has said that He will never leave us or forsake us. Others may die, get sick, have a bad day, or suffer from any number of things that will prevent them from being there for us. But Jesus Christ is alive and well, constantly strengthening and encouraging us and interceding with the Father on our behalf without fail. Not only that, but no matter how good a hero may be, no matter how much you may respect them, Jesus is the only perfect example. And that will never change

2.Realize that our heroes are human and they make mistakes. No one, no matter how honorable or great we may esteem them to be, is invincible in the battle against sin. All of our heroes, save for Jesus Christ, has sinned, and (unless they are no longer living) will sin again. Those who have walked with the Lord longer may be more faithful and they may not sin as often or as greatly as we see and perceive our own sin, but they do sin, more than we may even realize. Also, if our hero is a leader of any sort, then his or her sin will be magnified by the fact that it will be a more public sin.

3.Pray for them. Perhaps they are struggling with their faith. Perhaps, they had a momentary lapse of judgment or need the Lord’s guidance on a particular subject. But always remember this: even the greatest heroes have their tough times. We can help them by lifting them up in prayer and asking God to give them strength through the hard times.

4.Take time to appreciate what they have done in the past to edify you. Just because your hero has failed you in one area, it doesn’t mean that they are undeserving of any respect. If they were your spiritual hero before they let you down, then recognize that they have made a mistake, but don’t let one flaw blind you to everything good about the person. As humans this is often our tendency.

5.In some cases, confront them. If your hero is someone you know well, and they publicly sin against you, it is your responsibility to confront that person in truth and in love. After praying for that person and yourself, draw that person aside privately and show them from Scripture where they have sinned. Be straightforward, but not critical. Rather, make them aware of your concern for them. It is possible that they were blinded to their sin and they will be grateful to you for showing them the truth. If they do repent, accept their repentance and count it joy to have won a brother or sister over. If they do not however, follow Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 8: take two or three with you, and if that doesn’t work, take them before the Church. If that doesn’t work, then you may need to:


6. In some cases, withdraw support. If the person that you look up to starts forming a pattern and habit of sin(s), then it may be that it is time for you to stop supporting that person. As sad as it is to say, it is possible that your hero has pulled the wool over your eyes and that your hero is not who you thought he or she was. This course of action will of course need the help and discernment of other wise and strong Christians. These cases are truly painful, but remember…

7.Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just because someone sins or promotes a faulty idea, it does not mean that you should not heed the things you have learned from them in the past. It also does not mean that you should try and forget your good memories with them. (Point 3.)

This is something that I have dealt with in my own life and spent some time thinking about and I hope it helps you.

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Quote of the Week

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 12, 2009

This week’s quote on Resurrection Sunday, comes from the liner notes of Andrew Peterson‘s album, Resurrection Letters, Volume II.

He came back.

After that brutal Friday, and that long, quiet Saturday, he came back.

And that one intake of breath in the tomb changes everything. It changes the very reason I drew breath today and the way I move about in this world because I believe he’s coming back again. The world has gone on for more than two millennia since Jesus’ feet tread the earth he made. What would they have said back then if someone had told them that some two thousand years later we’d still be waiting? They would’ve thought back to that long Saturday and said, ‘Two thousand years will seem like a breath to you when you finally lay your crown at his feet. We don’t even remember what we were doing on that Saturday, but let me tell you about Sunday morning. Now that was something.’

These many years of waiting will only be a sentence in the story. This long day will come to an end, and I believe it will end in glory, when we will shine like suns and stride the green hills with those we love and the One who loves. We will look with our new eyes and speak with our new tongues and turn to each other and say, ‘Do you remember the waiting? The long years, the bitter pain, the gnawing doubt, the relentless ache?’ And like Mary at the tomb, we will say: ‘I remember only the light, and the voice calling my name, and the overwhelming joy that the waiting was finally over.’

The stone will be rolled away for each of us. May we wait with faithful hearts.”

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Isaiah 53:10-12

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 11, 2009

10But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
11As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
12Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.

And here ends the song where it began- with Christ in glorified and His ransomed many forgiven of their sins and in awe of Him.
For these reasons, God was pleased to crush Him, not in the sense that God took pleasure in Jesus’ pain and suffering. But it was His will to do so, so that God might save sinners and glorify His Son. Notice that in the same verse that it says God is pleased to crush His Son, it also says that the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
The last two verses speak of what Christ earned in suffering, namely His glory as Savior and our salvation and peace between us and Our Father. Christ justified us by earning our justification. In doing this, He was numbered with the transgressors not only in His physical death by hanging between two thieves, but also in the fact that He was counted sin on our behalf and bore the sin of many (2 Corinthians 5:21).
And because of His sacrifice, willingly given and paying the full penalty of our sin, bearing God’s wrath and our judgment, He has earned for us our salvation. We can rejoice in the assurance that if we trust in Christ, our sins are forgiven and we will live with Him in glory forevermore. Please, understand the sacrifice that Jesus made for you and believe in these words, for they are the source of life.
Praise the Lord for what He has done. Hallelujah!

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A Good Friday Poem

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 10, 2009

I was there in the crowd when my Savior died.
I am the man who yelled “crucify!”
I am the soldier who pierced His bloodied side
I am the one who His name denied.

I am the one who falsely accused.
I am the one who jeered and abused.
I am the one without an excuse
As I abandoned Him to the crowd’s woos.

I betrayed Him with a kiss.
I gave Him up for less than He is.

I am the one who plucked His beard
I am the one who mocked and cheered
But I am the one who should have feared.
While in pity, His heavenly eyes teared

He took the path I should have tread;
I am the criminal who should have gone instead
But even as I placed the thorns on His head
I was the one who should have been dead.

And though it was my sins that sent Him to Calvary,
It was all according to His perfect plan
And though His death was because of me,
No detail escaped His sovereign hand.

He chose to die so that I might live.
When I took his life away, He chose to give.
I am the captive that He set free
By suffering Hell and giving His life…for me.

-Nathan C. Matthews

Posted in Jesus, Poetry | 1 Comment »

Isaiah 53:7-9

Posted by Daniel Edwards on April 10, 2009

7He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
8By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
9His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

Here we see that though Christ’s death was graphic as previously described and the most excruciating and undeserved pain that anyone has ever endured, Jesus never opened His mouth to defend Himself or complain. Trexton puts it this way: “Meekly and without protest the Servant accepts His sentence to death and suffers execution. Although innocent, He is given a felon’s grave.” Ultimately, Christ’s silence was not an admission of guilt, but instead a sign of His utter willingness.
However, Christ was vindicated in His burial. Because Joseph of Arimathea took Christ’s body, He was not buried with the criminals, but instead in with a rich man.
Also, in this passage we see another image that is used to represent Christ- that of the Passover Lamb. So, not only is He the Good Shepherd who looks after His sheep, but also the Sheep who is sacrificed for His people. In fact, this is the image we see at the end of time. Through His sacrifice, Christ achieved the glory of not only being Creator, but Savior as well (Revelation 5:11-13).
Interesting note, this was the portion that was being read by the Ethiopian Eunuch when Phillip shared the Gospel with Him (Acts 8:26-34)

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