Monday, April 16, 2007

Principles for personal growth and ministry

Good points (From Paul Tripp):

1. Our hearts are always being ruled by someone or something.
2. The most important question to ask when examining the heart is, "What is
functionally ruling this person's heart in this situation?
3. Whatever controls my heart will control my responses to people and situations.
4. God changes us not just by teaching us to do different things, but by recapturing
our hearts to serve him alone.
5. The deepest issues of the human struggle are not issues of pain and suffering, but
the issue of worship, because what rules our hearts will control the way we
respond to both suffering and blessing.

"We do not respond to people and situations in the same way because we do not bring the same heart to them. This is why any attempt to examine the causes of conflict must begin with the heart."

"Desires precede, determine, and characterize everything you do....Desires sculpt every relationship in your life. They are the lenses through which you examine every situation.....James encourages us to examine our desires because it is the only way to understand our anger.....He says, 'Don't your conflicts come from your desires that battle within you?'.....desires, which fight for control of our hearts. What controls our hearts will exercise inescapable influence over our lives and behavior......Every day creation battles with the Creator for the control of our hearts."

"If my heart is ruled by a certain desire, there are only two ways I can respond to you. If you are helping me get what I want, I will be happy with you. But if you stand in my way, I will be angry, frustrated, and discouraged when I am with you. .....My problem is not you or the situation we are in together. My problem is that a legitimate desire has taken over my heart and is now in control. This desire has so much power that it is no longer legitimate. It has become an inordinate, sinful desire, because it has grown to a position of authority over my heart. This authority belongs to God alone, who sent his Son to set up his kingdom there."

"It is not wrong to desire relaxation at the end of a long day. It is wrong to be ruled by relaxation in such a way that I am irritated with anyone who gets in the way.

"He knows what is best, and he will not let there be peace until he alone controls our hearts. He is a Warrior King, who will not rest when we are captive to other kings. He fights for us, for the thoughts and desires of our hearts."

"Desires are a part of human existence, but they must be held with an open hand. All human desire must be held in submission to a greater purpose, the desires of God for his kingdom.

James solution----"If human conflict is rooted in spirtual adultery, change must begin by bowing before God in humble repentance for the idols that have replaced him in our heart." __James---humble ourselves before God

He (James) calls us to cleanse our hearts (4:8)--the anger is a result of our heart idolatry---"The biblical logic is clear. You can't keep the second Great Commandment unless you are first keeping the first. Only in bowing before God and submitting to his desires can we really turn to one another in peace and love.

"We will blame people and situations for the resulting chaos and conflict, when they are really the fruit of our idolatry.---we suffer as sinners with a deep propensity to run after god-replacements." (we are in a warfare---for our hearts--"Biblical personal ministry is rooted in the story of a war and a Savior King."

Monday, April 9, 2007

God's Children

We were talking in one of our Bible studies about how much we have learned from having children in regard to our own relationship to God. As parents we want the best for our kids and we may lay down rules to protect them. We may tell them to not touch the outlets, to not talk to strangers, to eat the good food etc. All of this we do because we love them and want what is good for them. God is the same way--He has given the rules which we have---the laws and commands he has given because He knows what is best and what will make us the most happy---but we as kids often think these commands are hard or a big burden etc---if we realized the greatness of His love (which is a perfect love) then we would realize how much better to follow him instead of our own way!


Paul Tripp says--"There is no deeper personal joy and satisfaction than to live committed to his glory."

I think this is really a true statement. It is different from happiness in that we may be suffering as we seek to be living for His glory; but in this suffering and living for His glory there is a very deep joy and satisfaction as we experience God's presence, God's grace, God's sovereignty, and see His glory in it and through it. This is much deeper than happiness and much more satisfying.

Thursday, April 5, 2007


On thinking about death this week I realized several things. The obvious is that we all have to die (unless we are here when the Lord returns). So we have to trust that the time when God takes us or our loved ones home is the best time for them and for the rest of the family. We may think---why now--but it has to happen sometime and He alone knows when the time is best for all involved. .....this was something for me to think on--since He loves us more than we do and since he knows what is best; he ordains the best time.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Keller--psalm 23

In speaking about "surely goodness and mercy shall follow me"-----"How many of us are truly concerned that no matter what occurs in our lives we are being followed by goodness and mercy?.........But what about when one's body breaks down? What do I say when I stand by helpless, as I have had to do, and watch a life partner die by degrees under appalling pain?.........These are the sort of times that test a person's confidence in the care of Christ........When my little world is falling apart and the dream castles of my ambitions and hopes crumble into ruins can I honestly declare "Surely--yes---surely---goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life"? Or is this the sheer humbug and a maddening mockery?.......As I see all of this in retrospect I realize that for the one who is truly in Christ's care, no difficulty can arise, no dilemma emerge, no seeming disaster descend on the life without eventual good coming out of the chaos. This is to see the goodness and mercy of my Master in my life. It has become the great foundation of my faith and confidence in Him......My serenity has as its basis an implicit, unshakable reliance on His ability to do the right thing, the best thing in an given situation."