Bob and Weave

Musings of an impostor. Welcome to the masquerade.

Archive for May, 2014

Weekend Devotional 5-16-14

Posted by flyingbk on 05/16/2014

I promise that one of these days, I will write an original devotional. But for now, here’s one I wrote to my church to kick off the Lent season. Be blessed!

Psalm 27:1-6, NIV
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
4 One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

I was recently challenged by something I read by Francis Chan. I’d like to share it with you:

What is the one thing you keep asking of the Lord (Psalm 27:4)? If there was a transcript of your prayers over the last few weeks, what would it show is the main thing you are asking for? Would it be God himself? Is the chief desire expressed in your prayers to dwell with God and gaze at his beauty?

I know that this is not the case for me. Whether it be praying for my own needs or even praying for others, I fall short of David’s desirous prayer in Psalm 27:4.

Making Psalm 27:4 a lynchpin of our prayer lives has many salutary effects:
1) We’re reminded that prayer is ultimately a conversation with God, and not just about asking him for things.
2) It cuts against the cultural norm that we always need to be productive and on the go (spending time adoring God can feel like a waste of time at first).
3) “We become what we behold.” Spending time in worship of God ensures that we shall become more like God and better reflect His attributes.

It’s also important to note the context of Psalm 27. Verses 2-3, 5-6 show us that it’s in the midst of struggle and conflict. Sometimes we think to ourselves, “When I have more time, and/or life is less chaotic, then I’ll prioritize my relationship with God.” This is a most dangerous thought to have. Not only because life seems to always get more chaotic, but also because we miss out on what God wants to show and teach us in the midst of our current life situation (hence the seeking and inquiring of him in the temple at the end of v. 4).

The beginning of Lent is a great time for us to re-organize our prayer lives, specifically how we pray and how often we pray. Let us consider how we can pray for our church and others, but most of all, let us not neglect the need to behold and adore God in all His splendor and beauty.

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Surf’s Up 5-12-14

Posted by flyingbk on 05/12/2014

Here’s what I’ve been perusing in the past week:

*Perry Noble wrote a piece back in February about his struggle with mental illness, and whether Christians should take medication for such instances. He writes:

However, as someone who has been on both sides of the issue I want to speak definitively on this by saying that it is NOT a sign of weakness to admit your need for medication in dealing with these issues; in fact, in many cases it may actually be a sign of strength

So true. We don’t get the help we need because of pride and the fear that we appear weak.

*In a similar vein, I really enjoyed Michael Patton’s honesty in this blog post about being scared. We all have fears in life, but instead of processing them, we seek to cover them up. It’s especially refreshing to read this because we often look to chronicle such a period in our lives after the fact and after breakthrough and recovery has taken place. But we must remember that it wasn’t like that in the Psalms; King David constantly expressed his fears in the midst of his current struggles. Therefore, we can be completely honest in the moment especially because we do know that one day, there will be no more fear.

*Many of you already know about Emily Letts, the woman who brashly stated, “I feel super good about having an abortion.” Albert Mohler pens an inspired take on the matter. Also, I would highly recommend Mohler’s book, The Conviction to Lead, which has become one of my favorites on leadership.

*Here’s a good primer on the kidnapped Nigerian girls. Heartbreaking. Let’s keep praying for justice. If nothing else, the publicity of this tragedy will awaken more people about the widespread horror of human trafficking in our world.

*Real Clear Religion shows pics of the ugliest churches in the world. I can’t believe there’s actually a church with a huge display of its URL on the front. Just utterly cringe-worthy. Yeah, traditional buildings work just fine, thank you.

*Finally, as someone who has spent way too much on dating websites in the last year, I enjoyed this video. Pretty hilarious.

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Weekend Devotional

Posted by flyingbk on 05/09/2014

Note: I shared this devotional with my church back in February. I wanted to share it with everyone now (with a few modifications), and I hope to write new devotionals in the week to come. Be blessed!

Romans 8:22-28 (NIV)
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I’m reading Romans 8 today. It’s such a rich chapter chock full of the amazing privileges we enjoy as children of God- I encourage you to read the whole chapter today.

I want to focus on v.26-28. It struck me today that those verses, which are about prayer, follow right after a passage about waiting.

We all have things that we are hopeful and in wait for- a relationship, the birth and/or growth of our children, changes at work, deliverance from tough situations… And we know that waiting can be quite tiring and frustrating!!

But it is such a joy and comfort to know that as we wait, and as we get frustrated, and as we grow weary, that the Holy Spirit lives within us. That means He is working in our waiting, He is aiding us as we struggle to come up with the thoughts and words to pray, and He is even interceding through the silent longings of our hearts!

Knowing this and living by the guidance of the Holy Spirit is what leads us to the famous clincher in v. 28- we have confidence that nothing is wasted in God’s economy, and that He is doing a deep work in us, even as we glare at the parts that are unfinished. After all, the ultimate things that we are waiting and longing for- the redemption of our bodies and the eternal inheritance of being with the Lord- is right as rain, as sure a thing as there is.

So let us always approach God in faith, and ask to be filled with the Spirit so that we can continue to live our lives with joy and hope even as we wait.

Here’s the Message translation of v. 26-28, which states it all so well:

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Amen! I’ll close with a song that fits this theme from the best band in the world:

Have a blessed weekend!

 

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Surf’s Up (Grace Edition) 5-5-14

Posted by flyingbk on 05/05/2014

5/5 is one of my favorite days in the calendar. That’s because five is the biblical number of grace. So yes, I’ll take a double helping of God’s grace on this day! Today is a perfect day for us to brush up on the biblical meaning of grace. Here’s what else I’ve read in the last couple weeks that pertain to grace:

*When we understand the depths of the gospel, and what it really teaches us in terms of our sinfulness, it’s a lot easier to shelve shock. I recently taught my small group from Galatians about this concept: The gospel tells us that we’re even far worse than we think. Therefore, we should be able to understand better and be quick to forgive when we witness people doing terrible things.  As Barnabas Piper explains, “It’s not that we would never do certain sins; it’s often that we’ve never been given the chance. We use the phrase “but for the grace of God there go I”, and much of that grace is the circumstances God gave us as protected church folk.” Truth.

*So much about what goes into a successful marriage has to do with extending grace to one another. And Daniel Darling reveals an important way for spouses to love each other.

*God’s grace also gives us a new identity. But the devil is always on the attack, seeking to thwart us from seeing ourselves correctly. I really enjoyed this excerpt from Nadia Bolz-Weber’s PastrixShe writes: “So if God’s first move is to give us our identity, then the devil’s first move is to throw that identity into question. Identity is like the tip of a spool of thread, which when pulled, can unwind the whole thing.” Yup, and that’s why we always need to be on guard, protecting our God’s-grace-given identity.

*When you truly experience grace, you’re always asking yourself, “Is there anyone else left?”

*Finally, one last cool thing I saw: From Mozart to Dickens — How history’s greatest thinkers managed their time. I think my favorites were Flaubert’s and Frankin’s.

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The Most Important Principle for Productivity

Posted by flyingbk on 05/02/2014

I’m currently reading Matt Perman’s What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done, and I was struck by the Q&A he does with Wayne Grudem:

Q: What is the most important principle for being productive?
A: Without question, Bible reading and prayer, before the day begins, every day.
Q: Why do you say that?
A: Because it’s where I come into the Lord’s presence. When you read his word, he speaks to your heart and mind.
-Perman, p. 127, emphasis mine

For the longest time, I have been “that guy.” The guy who starts a new Bible reading plan on Bible.com, but one week later, he’s clicking on the “Catch Me Up” button because he’s already fallen behind. Then he clicks again a week later, and soon enough, it’s game over. A month later, he’ll try again with a new reading plan (and there’s always new ones to try out with fresh new devotionals from famous people!).

But I am thankful that I can testify that through the first third of 2014, I have been successful in keeping up with the M’Cheyne One Year Reading Plan (link is a PDF). At most, I’ve been just one day behind. I also have been supplementing my Bible reading with devotions from D.A. Carson’s For the Love of God, Volume 1 and Volume 2.

And the results have been life-changing. I feel more in tune with God’s voice, I’m more excited about walking with the Lord, I enter into God’s presence more readily, and yes I am more productive than ever before. Grudem is definitely on to something.

If you have fallen behind in your Bible reading, or like me, constantly started and stopped, I encourage you to engineer a fresh start in the Word. May that be our #1 priority, day in and day out, at the start of each day.

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