January 30, 2010

Order and Argument in Prayer

In the third chapter of his book The Power in Prayer, Charles Spurgeon explains two aspects of prayer which seem to me to be lacking in many Christians' prayer life, including my own. He suggests first that we, as Christians should order ourselves before prayer and secondly, that we should have proper arguments for our cause.

Order in Prayer

First and foremost, when we approach God we must realize that we are coming before an infinitely holy, powerful, and just King of all Creation. By all rights, we should never be permitted to come before God at all. It is only by sheer grace that God would allow us to come before Him. It is only because He has taken us (wretched, arrogant, sinners dead to all that is holy) and made us alive through the blood of His perfect Son.

This is the very same God who made the universe with the breath of His mouth and holds in being at all times. He ordains the sun to rise and fall and rains to fall. This is the God whom we approach when we pray.

Because of this, we need to prepare our hearts -to humble ourselves and consider just how unworthy we are and, more importantly, how merciful God is in letting us come before Him. And not only does God allow us to come before Him, but He invites us to approach the throne of grace confidently (Hebrews 4:16) and with the expectation that our prayers will be heard. With this in mind, we prepare our hearts before God -reverent of His great power, and gratefully awed by His grace.

Arguments in Prayer

Once our hearts are in order, we then may approach God with arguments, not against God, but for what we are presenting before Him in prayer. Argument must not be mistaken for complaints, for complaints are made unaware of the true nature of God and not out of a grateful and trusting heart. In particular, he outlines six arguments in prayer that one can use:

1. God's Attributes: We must use what we know about God to be true from Scripture. We know that God is just and merciful. If you cannot lay hold on God's justice rightly, lay hold on his mercy. We also know that God is faithful and holy and that He will do what is right in all circumstances. It is with who God is that we begin to for our arguments.

2. God's Promises: Whether it's Romans 8:28 or Philippians 4:19, the Bible is filled with the promises of what God will do for His children. What God has said He will never go back on.

3. The Great Name of God: God will not be dishonored for long. He will always vindicate His name. We can trust that if what we ask is for God's glory then it is a worthy argument to bring before Him.

4. The Sufferings of His People: "Nothing is more eloquent with a father than his child's cry. Yes, there is one thing more mighty still, and that is a moan -when the child is so sick that he is past crying a lies moaning with the kind of moan that indicates extreme suffering and immense weakness. Who can resist that moan? Ah, and when God's Israel will be brought very low so that they can scarcely cry but only their moans are heard, then comes the Lord's time of deliverance, and He is sure to show that He loves His people."

5. The Past: If God has begun a work, He will complete it. He is faithful to us and will not grow weary or tired of what He has set out to do. God is unchanging and will do in the future what He has done in the past.

6. The Sufferings of Christ: God will not deny His own Son's name. "When you plead the name of Christ, you plead that which shakes the gates of hell and that which the hosts of heaven obey, and God Himself feels the sacred power of that divine plea."

January 29, 2010

A Good Word from Kevin Deyoung

Kevin Deyoung writes some helpful advice to all Christians. We would be wise to heed what he says. You can see his post here.

January 25, 2010

A Godly Vision

(This is a guest post from my wonderful girlfriend Mollie.)

This past month, I found my mind drifting to the idea of “vision”. I questioned: What does God have to say about vision? From where do visions come? How do we know if an idea I have latched onto is a self-centered dream or a God-given vision?

One evening, Daniel and I discussed this idea and decided to search Scripture regarding the subject. Two passages that he noted, in particular, piqued my curiosity:

Where there is no revelation*, the people cast off restraint;
but blessed is he who keeps the law. - Proverbs 29:18, emphases mine
*some versions use the word “vision”

Thus says the LORD of hosts,
"Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you
They are leading you into futility;
They speak a vision of their own imagination,
Not from the mouth of the LORD
- Jeremiah 23:16, emphases mine

Aha! God told his people through Jeremiah that prophecies or visions from the mouth of the LORD were reliable, but that those from human imagination were not. We can be sure God has a plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and that it stands aligned with the law (Proverbs 29:18 above. See also Deuteronomy 11:18-25). Over and over again while reading passages about vision Daniel and I discovered that vision, or “revelation”, was aligned to the law – in other words, God’s Word – in this way. Could it really be that simple? Do we discover and test vision through the reading of the Word?

While meeting to pray with friends after returning to school earlier this month, I shared this idea of vision. Rather than brainstorming to create personal goals or (i.e., those from our own imagination) we searched Scripture for prayers of the Bible, noted that which was lacking in our own prayer lives, and wrote what we called “What if?” statements on which to focus this coming year.

Here is part of my “What if?” statement, or if you prefer, my Prayer Vision:

"What if I let go of myself and set my eyes on God in prayer? What if I trusted him to do abundantly more than I could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), even though my prayers were "imperfect" every time? What if I prayed prayers of thanksgiving when I was enduring challenges and difficulty and truly learned to rely on God for my everything (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)? What if, not just in my mind but in my heart, I deemed nothing impossible for God, even that which I knew was humanly impossible (Luke 1:37)?"

There it was – a God-given vision for my prayer life. It wasn’t accompanied by flashes of lightning. It didn’t make me giddy with excitement. And it certainly wasn’t original or creative. But it was biblical and, because I believe that the Bible is “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16), I knew it was trustworthy.

Lesson learned? Don’t “dream big” because you follow the world’s doctrine that tells you to “believe in yourself.” “Live big” and “pray big” because you follow a God who is strong in your weaknesses and glorifies Himself despite your failures! Immerse yourself in “the law” and you will be immersed in God’s vision. I have discovered that my failures and those areas in which I am lacking are precisely the places where God extends the most grace and where He begins to show me His vision.

January 24, 2010

Missions Call

I thought I would round out my week of videos with a call to the important work of missions.

January 23, 2010

R.C. Sproul interviews Ben Stein

The next video I would like to share is an interview of Ben Stein by R.C. Sproul. Though this was made a few years ago to discuss Stein's move Expelled, the points about evolution, chance, and creation are still worth noting.

Note: To my knowledge, Ben Stein has never professed to be a Christian, but rather claims the Jewish faith as his own. Pray that God will change his heart. Even though he does not share the Christian faith, still he can see the logic of a Divine Creator. I only hope that Stein will know Him personally some day.

January 22, 2010

99 Balloons

To comemorate the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I would like to show this video of Eliot Harman Mooney, celebrating the dignity of every life, no matter how short.

99 Balloons from Igniter Media on Vimeo.

January 21, 2010

John Piper on the Prosperity Gospel

Since I seem to be in the mood for videos, I thought I would post a couple of my favorite of all time over the next couple days. First, John Piper preaches against the Prosperity Gospel:

January 20, 2010


In response to the horrible events in Haiti, Mark Driscoll and James McDonald have teamed together to create Churches Helping Churches Ministries to provide support and the Gospel to those who have been effected by this disaster. You can donate here.

Totally Like Whatever, You Know?

Not only is this video funny, but it's an important message for this generation.

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.

January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream"

Update from Matt Chandler

For those of you who have heard of Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Texas, and his amazing story of faith under trial, here is an update on his present condition.

January 15, 2010

Does God Hate Haiti?

In the midst of the tragedy and destruction in Haiti, Albert Mohler offers his answer to the question, "Does God Hate Haiti?":

Does God hate Haiti? That is the conclusion reached by many, who point to the
earthquake as a sign of God's direct and observable judgment.

God does judge the nations -- all of them -- and God will judge the nations.
His judgment is perfect and his justice is sure. He rules over all the nations
and his sovereign will is demonstrated in the rising and falling of nations and
empires and peoples. Every molecule of matter obeys his command, and the
earthquakes reveal his reign -- as do the tides of relief and assistance flowing
into Haiti right now.

A faithful Christian cannot accept the claim that God is a bystander in world
events. The Bible clearly claims the sovereign rule of God over all his
creation, all of the time. We have no right to claim that God was surprised by
the earthquake in Haiti, or to allow that God could not have prevented it from

God's rule over creation involves both direct and indirect acts, but his rule
is constant. The universe, even after the consequences of the Fall, still
demonstrates the character of God in all its dimensions, objects, and
occurrences. And yet, we have no right to claim that we know why a disaster like
the earthquake in Haiti happened at just that place and at just that moment.

The arrogance of human presumption is a real and present danger. We can trace
the effects of a drunk driver to a car accident, but we cannot trace the effects
of voodoo to an earthquake -- at least not so directly. Will God judge Haiti for
its spiritual darkness? Of course. Is the judgment of God something we can claim
to understand in this sense -- in the present? No, we are not given that
knowledge. Jesus himself warned his disciples against this kind of

Why did no earthquake shake Nazi Germany? Why did no tsunami swallow up the
killing fields of Cambodia? Why did Hurricane Katrina destroy far more
evangelical churches than casinos? Why do so many murderous dictators live to
old age while many missionaries die young?

Does God hate Haiti? God hates sin, and will punish both individual sinners
and nations. But that means that every individual and every nation will be found
guilty when measured by the standard of God's perfect righteousness. God does
hate sin, but if God merely hated Haiti, there would be no missionaries there;
there would be no aid streaming to the nation; there would be no rescue efforts
-- there would be no hope.

The earthquake in Haiti, like every other earthly disaster, reminds us that
creation groans under the weight of sin and the judgment of God. This is true
for every cell in our bodies, even as it is for the crust of the earth at every
point on the globe. The entire cosmos awaits the revelation of the glory of the
coming Lord. Creation cries out for the hope of the New Creation.

In other words, the earthquake reminds us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is
the only real message of hope. The cross of Christ declares that Jesus loves
Haiti — and the Haitian people are the objects of his love. Christ would have us
show the Haitian nation his love, and share his Gospel. In the midst of this
unspeakable tragedy, Christ would have us rush to aid the suffering people of
Haiti, and rush to tell the Haitian people of his love, his cross, and salvation
in his name alone.

Everything about the tragedy in Haiti points to our need for redemption. This
tragedy may lead to a new openness to the Gospel among the Haitian people. That
will be to the glory of God. In the meantime, Christ’s people must do everything
we can to alleviate the suffering, bind up the wounded, and comfort the
grieving. If Christ’s people are called to do this, how can we say that God
hates Haiti?

If you have any doubts about this, take your Bible and turn to John 3:16. For God so loved the
world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish
but have eternal life. That is God’s message to Haiti.

January 14, 2010

Check out...

Kevin DeYoung's post on over thinking decisions we make.

Also, Katherine Jeffrey, in Christianity Today, writes a helpful review on The Shack. (One caveat. I do believe that some things that Young writes in his book, within the proper context, could be helpful to the Church and Christians as a whole. However, I agree with her on the whole, and particularly that this book is not one that should be considered helpful, but rather harmful for the Christian (see my review)).

January 6, 2010


My dear friend Brad recently sent me an e-mail with these considerations of the attributes of salt:

1. Salt incites thirst

Salt makes any of us (human or animal) thirsty. It has the effect of making us get to some water or juice and guzzle it down. The other day I was unusually thirsty and upon reflection I realized that I had tasted some of Papa's country ham and biscuits. It was the salty country ham that made me really thirsty.

Jesus said to his disciples: "You are the salt of the earth...”
When people are in your presence (or even after they leave your presence) do they have this inexplicable thirst to find out more about Jesus?

This may be a partial answer to the age old proverb: "You can lead the horse to water but you can't make it drink." You can't force the horse to drink, but slip him something "salty" and see if that doesn't trigger his thirst.

That puts a responsibility on all Christians to stay "salty". Our very presence in others' lives should incite a thirst for Christ.

2. Salt flavors

A salty disciple has a way of turning bland into tasteful. I hope and pray that your presence in the lives of friends, relatives and co-workers makes them want to "taste and see that the Lord is good"; that your "salty" presence will turn blah and bland fare into desirable and tasty victuals . Spice up your life! Spice up others' boring existence with juicy flavor. "Season your speech with salt" Paul said, so that people will desire to ingest more of what you have.

3. Salt holds back corruption

In the days before refrigeration, people would salt their meats not only for flavor, but to preserve it from spoiling. Does your presence in a place (work, home, play) hold back the onslaught of sin and corruption? It will if you are salty. A Christian's presence anywhere holds evil at bay...

So, are you salty? I plead and beg God that we who are "the salt of the earth" (Jesus' description of us) will never lose our saltiness or flavor. Bland is boring. Salt stimulates thirst and appetite. I hope we are more stimulating and less bland as we grow old.

January 5, 2010

The Five Solas

For those who haven't ever heard of the Five Solas of the Reformation (or those who have forgotten about them), I thought I would post them in Latin with their English translation.

~Sola Scriptura- Our ultimate standard is "Scripture alone"
~Soli Deo Gloria- Everything is "For the Glory of God alone"
~Solo Christo- Salvation is through the work of "Christ alone"
~Sola Gratia- Salvation is by "Grace alone"
~Sola Fide- Justification by "Faith alone"

For a brief explanation for each "sola", you can go here.

January 3, 2010

Mind in Renewal is here!

After a little over a year of blogging as "A Fool for Christ", I have decided to move my blog here to its new home "Mind in Renewal". As you may see, the blog has been renovated and renamed. My main purpose in changing the blog is to make it easier to remember. As you can see, the name of this blog is in the URL.

However, in the process of moving the blog, I have made some basic changes in the appearance of the blog. Also, I intend to add a couple pages to the sidebar (Starting with "The Gospel" which will hopefully be up soon). Aside from that, posting will remain the same. I hope that you will find this blog edifying, encouraging, and pointing you to Christ. Soli Deo Gloria (To God alone be the glory)!



© 2009Mind in Renewal | by TNB