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too much freedom

…freedom is complicated…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been listening to Dr. Tim Keller (pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC) for the first time. This guy is really pretty amazing. Glad I finally decided to check him out! Right now I’m going through his “The Reason for God” sermon series (correllates with his book I’m sure). I’m listening to his sermon titled “Absolutism: Dont we all have to find truth for ourselves?

In today’s society, absolute truth is thought of to be the enemy of freedom. But truth is more important than you think, freedom is a lot more complex than you think, and Jesus is a lot more liberating than you think. Surrendering to God’s absolute truth gives you a deeper, richer freedom in every area, without oppression.

Give it a listen for free by clicking the link above! I would recommend this whole sermon to anyone (especially believers, no wait… especially everyone… especially you! Go, listen to them now!!)

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I was reading D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ sermons on Romans 1 and came across this portion at the end of chapter 7, where he’s preaching from verse 2. He’s speaking here about how vitally important and reassuring the Old Testament is to us.


There are two things here that really speak directly to my heart and remind and comfort me deep down which I wanted to share. First, is the fact that God’s timing is perfect, but often not what we would expect. And, the second is the last part where he uses Hitler as an example. I think it’s possibly the best example you could find for the importance of the Bible as a whole (and here specifically, the Old Testament as a whole.)


“… you and I must learn to submit ourselves utterly and absolutely to God’s ways and never question them. I am a preacher, says Paul, of wonderful good news. Ah yes, but God had said aforetime that it was going to happen and going to come; but all the centuries passed and nothing seemed to happen. What is the lesson? Just this – put yourself, and everything that is a concern to you, entirely in the hands of God. His ways may seem strange. You remember He tells us through Isaiah,


‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts’
.

Put your case into His hands. Is it a personal problem in your life? Leave it there, Are you worrying about the conversion of some dear one? You have been praying for years and nothing seems to happen, and you are on the point of giving up, and you say, What is the use? If you feel like that, go back to the Old Testament and realize that after God gave the promise about the seed of the woman in the garden of Eden, four thousand long years passed before the seed of the woman actually came and was born as a babe in Bethlehem.Don’t give up.That is God’s method. These are God’s ways. I don’t understand them, but that is the teaching of the Old Testament. That is what I deduce from this little verse in brackets. [(Romans 1:2)]


Or are you troubled about the state of the church, the dwindling congregations, the plight of the world, the might of the world, the organizations of the world, and all these things? Oh, I say, go back to the Old Testament and take hold of the comfort and consolation of the Scripture. Or are you troubled by something that has happened in the world today? Then put it in the context of the Old Testament.
I was never worried for a second about a man like Hitler; it was enough for me to read the thirty-seventh Psalm, and there I read of a man like him spreading himself like a green bay tree, a sort of colossus striding the whole earth. But I read on and learned that a day came when a man wanted to go to see him and to speak with him, and he could not find him. He searched everywhere for him; he could not find any trace of him; he had vanished. Why? God had blown upon him.” (bold, italics, and underlining added)

I hope this spoke to you. This example about Hitler he gives when put in the context of the Old Testament is so potent, but even more so, to me, coming from a man that lived through the world war II era.



O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath!
For your arrows have sunk into me,
and your hand has come down on me.
There is no soundness in my flesh
because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
because of my sin.
For my iniquities have gone over my head;
like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.

My wounds stink and fester
because of my foolishness,
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
all the day I go about mourning.
For my sides are filled with burning,
and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am feeble and crushed;
I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

O Lord, all my longing is before you;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,
and my nearest kin stand far off.

Those who seek my life lay their snares;
those who seek my hurt speak of ruin
and meditate treachery all day long.

But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear,
like a mute man who does not open his mouth.
I have become like a man who does not hear,
and in whose mouth are no rebukes.

But for you, O LORD, do I wait;
it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me,
who boast against me when my foot slips!”

For I am ready to fall,
and my pain is ever before me.
I confess my iniquity;
I am sorry for my sin.
But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty,
and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
Those who render me evil for good
accuse me because I follow after good.

Do not forsake me, O LORD!
O my God, be not far from me!
Make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation!

(ESV)

Hello reader. I feel like I have some things that need writing, but unfortunately I can’t pin it down to anything in particular. So, I’ll just give you an update on what I’ve been up to and maybe even keep you till the end of the post.

Ever since arriving home and starting work I’ve been looking forward to moving out. I thought it might have happened sooner and thought it might have been later. But, I was definitely looking towards sooner. Well, after getting plenty of things situated here we’ve arrived at the end of summer and somehow my brother and I have worked our way into a pretty nice place at reasonable rent.

I know I just sounded like I’ve already moved in, but we haven’t yet. I think I’m just betraying my excitment at the plans. Soon, however, I can speak as if I have moved out since the plan is for that to happen this weekend. We are trying our best to do well something we’ve never done in quite this way. Yes, this is the first time we will be living on our own, for the most part. I believe that you can never fully be completely independant (unless you’re like this guy ). My brother is moving out for the first time, and I’m moving into an apartment for the first time, though I’ve moved into the dorms many many times. It’s going to be really interesting but exciting I anticipate.

Anyways, my thoughts are that I really love my family, but am really excited to be more independant. I love being on my own, something I’m sure I developed a taste for after being mostly independant at college. Family is awesome but sometimes there are times where (most people I’m sure) family is not awesome.

Well, family is back. Definitely not going to be able to concentrate on anything else worth reading.

Till next time,
Billy A.

I was just looking through my blog and found this post I wrote two years ago on Winter Break, but didn’t post. As I’m reading The Slumber of Christianity (Dekker), Mere Christianity (Lewis), and Desiring God (Piper) my mind is once again drawn to this subject but with even more clarity and this post becomes current in my mind again.

~~~—~~~—~~~—~~~

Why does man suffer? Or, why do we not find answers to why we have suffering for different reasons?

I think this all goes back to the purpose of man.
All people are created with purpose. The need for a purpose is easily visible in people today throughout our nation. Many people make this purpose out to be the old “American Dream” of wealth and independence. Some people take the apparent morals which are popular in society today such as a happy family or the advancement of mankind. While not bad, these purposes are not the ultimate purpose of man which he was created to fulfill. This purpose, I believe is to glorify God through the means which God has provided and through the plan which conforms to His will or plans for our lives.

Is man’s purpose to fulfill his desires, to be happy for happiness’ sake, to have knowledge for knowledge’s sake? This brings up another question: Ultimately, what fulfills man’s desire for happiness, and joy. Is it being free from pain? Or is it from being healthy? Or, does material wealth give ultimate happiness and fulfillment?

A look around: There are wealthy people that commit suicide in every generation. How can wealth bring happiness? It would appear that it does not. According to the scriptures, it does not. In Ecclesiastes 2:1-10, Solomon, one of the richest and most wise men ever to walk the earth talks about how he thought wealth and material possession was his fulfillment. He talks about how through hard work he built up wealth and possessions for his enjoyment, but in verse 11 he says “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do; and, behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was no profit under the sun.” He explains more in the rest of the chapter, but that seems to answer that question.

Another look at today’s people shows that people with health and wealth alike are equally not happy and bring themselves to bitter and untimely ends. How can health alone bring happiness? We see people that are in some of the worst of physical cases with the happiness not found in ten people around at a glance.

Does knowledge bring happiness? Do we have knowledge today? As my Prof. Mr. Phillipps said in class “knowledge for knowledge’s sake is not knowledge at all. Knowledge for the Lord’s sake is true knowledge.” (that’s a paraphrase since my notes are still in my dorm) With the invention of the internet we have knowledge galore. Everyone’s knowledge is everyone else’s knowledge. Again from Solomon we hear “For in much wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” (Ecc 1:18). Knowledge has not fulfilled man ultimately.

If the ultimate purpose of man is not fulfilled with health, wealth, or knowledge what brings ultimate fulfillment of man’s purpose? Ultimately nothing can be as great or as noble as bringing glory to the creator of man. Bringing glory to God, the creator of the universe and mankind is the greatest purpose mankind can ever have.

All people are created with purpose, or the need for one. The need for a purpose is easily visible in people today throughout our nation. Many people make this purpose out to be the old “American Dream” of wealth and independence. Some people take the apparent morals which are popular in society today such as a happy family or the advancement of mankind. While not bad, these purposes are not the ultimate purpose of man which he was created to fulfill. Those without purpose become enslaved with depression and self-loathing because of the lack of purpose, the disillusionment that is cast by the thought that one is useless and worthless. This purpose which is ultimate fulfillment, I believe, is to glorify God through the means which God has provided and through the plan which conforms to His will or plans for our lives. Bringing glory to God is the greatest purpose.

~Yokanchi

Well, this has been quite the semester. My friend and next-door neighbor eloped and dropped out of school, I was put on chapel probation without even going over the 6-miss limit, my roommate and good friend graduated this semester, I had a new boss, and I punched someone in the face while I was asleep.

Learning all along the way, I feel that I’ve matured greatly in the school of life, with my grand God the presiding head professor.

The most important lesson I feel I’ve learned this semester is how to let go of strong feelings impeding godly behavior like anger and resentment as well as feelings stemming from desires for revenge and stress from various things, not excluding homework, work, roomates and other trials of life.

God has shown me my innermost thoughts can be revealed when I least expect it, and therefore the importance of developing the right mindset brought about by correct beliefs in truth, and evidenced by correct attitudes, producing ultimately right, godly actions in my life.

Though I haven’t reacted perfectly and maybe not even in the best way, I feel that overall God has brought about these situations, and sometimes even trials, while providing me the strength in maturity and discernment to have come about through each of these things having provided an adequate and righteous reaction. In this way I feel that my experience, knowledge and wisdom have been increased this semester in a visible way, and for this I thank my almighty Creator for His providence, wisdom and loving care towards my soul through these times.

I also want to tahnk all my friends and professors fora ll the things you’ve done for me and taught me, Thanks for being there for me. Whatever happens in the future, whether I see you all again or whether your path in life departs from where God has led you to in my life. I pray that God would heap blessing upon your life and bring prosperity and joy more and more into your life!

Thanks friends!

Till next post.
Your faithful typer,
Billy A.

Sometimes you just want to do something different. Something that will get noticed. Or, maybe it won’t . Maybe you feel like doing something different and seeing if people even notice. Maybe you do it to reassure yourself you aren’t invisible. Or maybe it’s just for fun?

Maybe you’ve never done that. Do you ever look around and see people that you can imagine have never changed a single thing about their lives for the past 20 years. Makes you feel sad for them. But maybe they are more content than you. Do you think contentment is happiness? Why does that scare you? They probably are different unless you haven’t changed in 20 years either. Maybe they are afraid of change. But maybe they are really happier than you.

People say the only thing you can expect to remain the same is change. It’s always going to come. Often it’s inevitable. Maybe your house is washed away by a hurricane, or collapsed by an earthquake, or carried away by a tornado. That’ll make something change. Are people created to be dynamic in nature? Why does habit bring comfort then? Why do we fear too much routine? Or do we really?

Are we naturally creatures of habit really? Or are we really creatures on the move? Always pursuing, always chasing, always working, always accumulating, always thinking, always eating, always breathing, always speaking.

Seems ironic that we can’t even figure out ourselves sometimes, what is our motive? If we never know our motives, what will become of us? Are there people who never question their own motives? Are there people who always question their motives? Is it better to do it or better not to?

Maybe we were meant to always question, but never fully answer. Perhaps it is part of our endless (by all appearances) pursuit of what we want or need. If you knew everything would contentment come? Or would you be dissatisfied by the lack of pursuit?

Many have said contentment is a state of mind.

We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.

~ Frederick Keonig

Psalm 37:7 – Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.

Proverbs 16:8 – Better is a little with righteousness,
Than vast revenues without justice.

(http://www.biblegateway.com NKJV)

Till next post.
Your faithful typer,
Yokanchi

A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.
Baltasar Gracian
(That’s confusing, anyone know what it means?)

Hey if anyone has any good ideas for the layout of my blog I’d really like to change it. Maybe even go to another blog host, I don’t know what’s good. Any ideas??

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