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So many people are caught in the trap of saying the “right” things that completely deny the way that they are truly feeling as they go through deep trials.  The words may well be 100% Theologically accurate, but are completely incongruous with the inner war that is raging to find a foothold of true faith.  

It’s nothing more than duplicity and positive self talk in most cases as the words they utter when asked how they are doing are as contrived and scripted as a Daily Bread devotional/poem.  It’s the notion of I can’t say how I’m truly feeling as those words won’t sound like faith to the people I’m talking to, and then I’ll feel guilty for not handling my trial in ways deem as Bilical.

Here’s an excellent depiction of how one can truly find contentment in God when the whole deportment of them outwardly says they’re really slipping away from any semblance of a James 1 “joyful” experience of trials.

A depressed but born again person, Piper added, has a “seed of contentment in Christ.” “And the form it might take is, right now I feel nothing; I am totally numb emotionally. But I have a memory that there was once a sweetness of affection, a sweetness of trust… and I by faith believe it’s still down there because theologically, the Bible says it… I now, in this room while everybody is singing and I don’t have any feelings… I am saying to Him, please restore to me the joy of my salvation.”

 

That sentence coming out of our mouths with “raw faith that is still down there” is crucial, stressed Piper, author of many books, including the award-winning Spectacular Sins. “Because it’s rooted in satisfaction in God that temporarily is clouded over by whatever pain has brought this depression on.”

 

Piper cited Psalm 40: “I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.”

 

The pastor said we don’t know for how long the psalmist was in the “pit,” but he prayed to come out of that state. The key to joy in worship for the hurting, Piper suggested, is found in 2 Corinthians 6:10: “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”

HT:  Christian Post via Zite

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A great post on a sin issue that is pervasively overlooked in the Church.  Worth reading, worth repenting of.

What is gossip? It is not necessarily false information. Slander is false. Gossip might include true information, and maybe that’s why gossip doesn’t always feel sinful. What makes it sin is, first and foremost, that God says it’s sin. But gossip spreads what can include accurate information to diminish another person. That is not how people behave when they are living in the power of the grace of God.

Gossip leaves a wide trail of devastation wherever and however it goes – word of mouth, email, blogging, YouTube. It erodes trust and destroys morale. It creates a social environment of suspicion where everyone must wonder what is being said behind their backs and whether appearances of friendship are sincere. It ruins hard-won reputations with cowardly but effective weapons of misrepresentation. It manipulates people into taking sides when no such action is necessary or beneficial. It unleashes the dark powers of psychological transference, doing violence to the gossiper, to the one receiving the gossip and to the person being spoken against. It makes the Body of Christ look like the Body of Antichrist – destroyers rather than healers. It exhausts the energies we would otherwise devote to positive witness. It robs our Lord of the Church he deserves. It exposes the hostility in our hearts and discredits the gospel in the eyes of the world. Then we wonder why we don’t see more conversions, why “the ground is so hard.”

What should we do when a conversation starts slipping into gossip? We should immediately challenge the sin: “Hey friend, sorry to interrupt, but this is gossip. So here’s the deal. This conversation is now on hold until you go get _____________, and then you can start over and say whatever you feel you must say right to his face. I am willing to be a witness to that conversation, but I will not participate in gossip. What do you choose to do?” Amy Carmichael established this rule at her mission station: “Never about, always to.”

One of the many things that were said at T4G that resonated deep within my heart were CJ’s comments on how grateful suffering people are for those who do nothing other than BE THERE to suffer with them.

C.J.: “By God’s grace, when we care for people in the midst of suffering, they will never forget the difference we make. Their gratefulness will be deep and it will be profound and it will be unending.”

I have witnessed this personally as I laid in a hospital bed for 8 days and a good friend came and spent the night with me in a hospital chair.  As my father in law did the same and then passed on into eternity and some came by with food, fruit, smiles and encouragement.  As my wife has suffered with the headaches and dizziness of Chiari and people have cared for our kids with rides and meals and encouragments.  Just the quick visits from brothers and sisters who acknowledge by their presence, “Hey I know you’re here and not where you’d like to be;  I know it stinks, it hurts and is hard;  But I’m here with you as I can be;  I care about you, and am thinking of you, and praying for you, and will walk this road with you until God moves” is worth more than its weight in gold.

The meals.  The emails.  The acts of kindness to your children.  The prayers.  They are all graces of God that absolutely do rise to the top of things that one is grateful to God for.  An enduring gratefulness not soon forgot. And through that season of suffering and being comforted and cared for by friends you find yourself being curiously drawn to draw near to others who are suffering and just be there.

2 Cor 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. [1] 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

Praise God for the seasons of suffering where His grace is seen anew.  Where the suffering that Jesus Christ endured on behalf of my sin is understood and felt and valued more than it ever was.  Praise God He conquered it, and one day, one glorious day, all will be made new.

Foosball used to be a mainstay of freetime at the Wilds.  Wonder if we’ll see any mad foos skills like this next week?

Here’s a link to a great post from one of my favorite authors.  Had I been paying better attention I could have met him at T4G at an ACE sponsored talk.  Anyway, here’s a recent post summarizing reaction to his book Just Do Something.

On the other side, some have been concerned that I leave the door open, even just a smidge, for supernatural surprises. I believe the canon is closed and nothing should be added to or subtracted from Holy Scripture. I believe everything should be tested against Scripture. I believe the only sure voice of God is heard in Scripture. I believe the apostolic deposit is the once-for-all, nonrepeatable, non-improvable foundation of the church. I believe waiting to hear from God in dreams or visions is a bad idea. I also believe God can surprise us through non-discursive means of communication.

It’s that last statement that makes some Reformed types start to squirm, but he is dead on.  He concludes the post with this nugget.

Dreams can be abused and twisted and overemphasized in all sorts of ways. But God can use them too, and has throughout history. Leaving the door open for supernatural surprises could mean you’re a charismatic. Or, just a good Presbyterian.

Rock on Kevin!  (that’ll be understood by those who read the post).

T4G Recap

Together for the Gospel was as expected – a time of great Spiritual refreshment and renewal.  It was even better this time having members of Redeemer with Julie and I and to watch how the preaching and worship impacted them.  The overflow of these types of feeding are priceless.  Here are my highlights.

John MacArthur – The Theology of Sleep.  What  a great encouragement that my job (our job) is simply to sow the seed.  The seed grows automatically at the working of The One who gives the increase.

Thabiti Anyabwile – While he might have received some blowback for “The Kingdom of God is multi-ethnic but it is not multi-cultural” was on point.  I plan to meditate on this from SCripture some more, but it is true, there is a Gospel culture that transcends ethinic culture and is recognizable no matter where you are.  Think about it; how many times have you been in a place where the ethnic culture is different from what you normally traffic in and you meet someone or observe someone in a public setting and think to yourself “I bet that person is a Chrsitian”.  I gurantee you it is not because of the clothes they were wearing or the cultural slang they were using or the cultural music style they were enjoying.  It was something that transcended all that.  It was the gospel culture of love, peace, humility, longsuffering, etc.

Eating dinner with the Redeemer clan at some Italian restaurant in Louisville where the whole room was filled with Pope memorabilia and a massive lazy Susan where we shared our food with an acryllic box house a bust of Pope John Paul in the center of it!  The food was certainly good as was the discussion around the table.  Thank God for our Body.  They are precious.

C.J. – Encouraging, genuine, funny, Godly.

Matt Chandler – A hero in the faith for me anyway, and to have him prayed over by the T4G men, and for them to ask for those suffering from chronic conditions (my wife) to stand and include them in the time of prayer was overwhelming in a really good and soul cleansing way.

The free books – Wow!  love that part.

The worship – Was awesome as usual.  Would have liked a couple other new songs from the ones we sang in 08 more.

The drive through the mountains of NC and Tenn.  Gorgeous.

The centrality of the Gospel. I weary so often from the denominational and inter-denominational debates centered on what our identity ought to be along the lines of  lesser truths at the expense of THE CULTURE we all share, and that is recipients of and participants in the Gospel.  As Thabiti reminded us, “We are Gospel men.”

Can’t wait for 2012!