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Archive for January, 2012

The Bible is full of examples, both good and bad. We should follow the good ones and avoid those which are negative. King Hezekiah provides us with a good example of prayer in 2 Kings 19:14-19.

Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, had mocked, ridiculed, and blasphemed God in the process of trying to intimidate Judah. Sennacherib was ready to bring his Assyrian army to defeat God’s people. He sent a letter to Hezekiah stating his intention and – once again – mocking God.

Because the danger was clear and present, Hezekiah did what a man of God does – he took the matter to the Lord in prayer.

Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD (verse 14). He took the actual letter written by Sennacherib with him when he went to pray, which indicates that he was serious and he meant business – he wasn’t playing around or going through the motions.

Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said, “O LORD, the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made the heaven and the earth” (verse 15).

The first thing Hezekiah did was praise God for who He is. He adored God, who is the creator, ruler, and sovereign King of heaven and earth. The true and living God is in complete and total control of all things. Human kings – including Sennacherib – come and go, but Yahweh does not!

“Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes and see; and listen to the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands and have cast their gods into their fire, for they were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them” (verses 16-18).

At this point in his prayer, it might look like Hezekiah was trying to inform God of the situation he and the nation of Judah faced, but he wasn’t. He was reminding himself of the situation, not the Lord. God is omniscient (all-knowing), therefore we don’t ever have to “fill Him in” on what’s happening at any given moment. God is also sovereign and knows with exhaustive knowledge what will happen and won’t happen because it’s part of His divine plan. We need to be reminded of the magnitude of what we’re asking God.

“Now, O LORD our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, O LORD, are God” (verse 19).

Hezekiah made a specific request of God – a big one, but a request nonetheless – and he took note of the results of God doing what he’d asked.

These are all good things to remember as we go before the Lord in prayer.

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I had the privilege of preaching on Genesis 1:26-28 this morning. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: God commands us to take dominion, or “tend our garden,” physically, personally, publicly, and in the propagation of God’s kingdom.

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Kevin DeYoung gives an answer you may not expect, and I totally agree with. We need more teaching in the church, not less.

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Jeff Bethke’s video called “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” went viral and ended up all over the Internet, including numerous Facebook posts. The early response was very positive, but some needed correction and perspective has been given by Kevin DeYoung and Glenn T. Stanton.

Some of what Jeff said was right, but some of it was wrong at best or misguided at least.

You can read DeYoung’s response here.

You can also read some interaction between Bethke and DeYoung here, to both of their credit (a good example of brothers in Christ having a good discussion).

Glenn Stanton adds his thoughts here – more on the reaction to the video.

All of these pieces are worth our consideration and the issue raised by Bethke is worth discussing.

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This morning, I had the privilege of preaching on Genesis 1:26-31. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: God created human beings to reflect Him, rule in creation, and reproduce a godly heritage.

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Spurgeon on God

Charles Haddon Spurgeon:

God writes in a pen that never blots, speaks with a tongue that never slips, acts with a hand that never fails.

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Does what you wear to church matter? Duane Litfin has an excellent, well-reasoned article, which can be found here.

If you’ve never read Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, you need to. You can find it here.

Enjoy and get ready to be challenged.

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C.J. Mahaney defines humility as “honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.”

C.S. Lewis describes humility in the following way: “In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that – and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison – you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud, you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

Proverbs 15:33 says, “The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.”

Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit,  but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; and do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

1 Peter 5:5 says, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'”

Lord, we are far too proud and far too full of ourselves. Give us grace that we may be humble and forgive us for our irrational and unfounded pride. Develop the virtue of humility in our hearts so that it may work its way out into our actions. In the Name of the One whose humble example we’re to follow, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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This morning, I had the privilege of preaching on Genesis 1:1-25. The following is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: God created everything out of nothing for His glory and our good.

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I had the privilege of preaching on Genesis 1:1 this morning (actually the first four words in English – “In the beginning God”). Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: God has first place in everything.

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