a prayer called Regeneration


I was talking to Sara today about how the Puritans were given grace to sweetly combine both rich doctrine and warm devotion. And I happened upon an example of this tonight in the “Valley of Vision” prayer book.

I hope this helps you enjoy our great God!

O God of the highest heaven,
occupy the throne of my heart,
take full possession and reign supreme,
lay low every rebel lust,
let no vile passion resist thy holy war;
manifest thy mighty power,
and make me thine forever.
Thou art worthy to be
praised with my every breath,
loved with my every faculty of soul,
served with my every act of life.
Thou hast loved me, espoused me, received me,
purchased, washed, favored, clothed,
adorned me,
when I was a worthless, vile soiled, polluted.
I was dead in iniquities,
having no eyes to see thee,
no ears to hear thee,
no taste to relish thy joys,
no intelligence to know thee;
But thy Spirit has quickened me,
has brought me into a new world as a
new creature,
has given me spiritual perception,
has opened to me thy Word as light, guide, solace, joy.
Thy presence is to me a treasure of unending peace;
No provocation can part me from thy sympathy,
for thou hast drawn me with cords of love,
and dost forgive me daily, hourly.
O help me then to walk worthy of thy love,
of my hopes, and my vocation.
Keep me, for I cannot keep myself;
Protect me that no evil befall me;
Let me lay aside every sin admired of many;
Help me to walk by thy side, lean on thy arm,
hold converse with thee,
That I may be salt of the earth
and a blessing to all.


“The fellowship of his Son”


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God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1.9, ESV)

This verse struck me in a song my boys were listening to. What does it mean that we have been called into the fellowship of God’s Son?

Does it mean that God called us into fellowship with Jesus? Certainly he has, praise him! I want to enjoy communion with Christ more and more! This is the way some translators render this passage.

But I think the translators of the ESV have served us very well here with their literal translation. It makes clear that God has called us into Christ’s own fellowship with God! God’s Son is the subject whose fellowship with God we share in, not merely the object with whom we have fellowship.

Believers pray to God not merely as the unutterably transcendent God that he is, nor simply as Lord of all, but as “our Father.” Both we and Jesus are included in the “our” as we call him “our Father.” But we can only call him ours because this “only Son of God” allows us and invites us to pray in his own name! We are so united to Christ through Holy Spirit-wrought faith that God loves us just as he loves his one and only begotten, perfectly righteous Son!

For more about how we have begun to participate in and reflect God the Son’s fellowship with God the Father, I highly recommend you check out “Life in the Trinity” by Donald Fairbairn.

Enjoying Christ


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Once you start getting to know Jesus, you begin realizing more and more that he is really worth knowing!

God the Father has known him, God the Son, for all eternity, and loves everything about him! Jesus is the apple of the Father’s eye, his greatest delight, his most valuable treasure. I was awakened to this amazing reality with the help of John Piper’s book, “The Pleasures of God.” Here’s a sample:

If God’s pleasure in the Son becomes our pleasure, then the object of our pleasure, Jesus, will be inexhaustible in personal worth. He will never become boring or disappointing or frustrating. No greater treasure can be conceived than the Son of God. Moreover, our ability to savor this inexhaustible treasure will not be limited by human weaknesses. We will enjoy the Son of God with the very enjoyment of his Father. God’s delight in his Son will be in us and it will be ours. And this will never end, because neither the Father nor the Son ever ends. Their love for each other will be our love for them and therefore our loving them will never die.

Oh, the glory of knowing Christ! And to think that because of his death and resurrection, and because the Holy Spirit unites believers to Christ, God loves us just as he loves his one and only precious, priceless, Prince (cf. John 15.9)! He has adopted us sinners through Christ’s blood, so that now he loves us no less than he loves his only begotten Son. He could not love us more!

So if you are in Christ, God the Father, “our Father,” has words that apply very much to you:

This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.

(Matthew 3.17, ESV)

Radical Forgiveness


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I was once watching WGN news, when they had a segment on self forgiveness. They were offering all kinds of tips to help us forgive ourselves: Read a book. Get sleep. Listen to your body. Be aware of your self talk. Don’t dwell on the past. And they directed viewers to check a website entitled Radical Forgiveness.

Even those who are not Christians recognize a need for forgiveness. We sometimes find ourselves suffocating in clouds of guilt. It drives us to do strange things sometimes, either to atone for or hide our guilt (as the above advice exemplifies). It can even cause us to use guilt like a prod to motivate others.

Forgiveness is a legitimate need, whether or not you sense your guilt. Your biggest problem is not job loss, not sickness, not loneliness, not even the impending doom of 2013’s potential “fiscal cliff.” I don’t want to minimize the real pain of all these things, but I also don’t want the biggest problem in the universe to be ignored or unrealized, especially when so many dear people’s lives are at stake. Someone once put it this way: The biggest problem is that God is against me in his holiness because I am against him in my sin.

The Bible puts it best. Regarding all humanity it says (this is Romans 1:18-21 ESV)…

…the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God…

This problem is not something you can just sleep off. You can’t just pretend it isn’t there. Not dwelling on the past will not make it go away. In fact, there’s really nothing we can do to fix this. (Read Ephesians, chapter 2, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.) None of our works can save us. So even the best advice from the people with the best intentions won’t help. Only God can help.

And the good news is that he has! God has done what no one else could (see Romans 8). He sent his Son to live the life we should’ve lived and to die the death we should’ve died for the ways we have snubbed, spurned, belittled, and ignored him.

There is now no condemnation for those who cherish Jesus by faith! God forgives sinners and justifies the ungodly at the cost of his own precious Son’s lifeblood. Now that is radical forgiveness.

If we really realized that, just think of the free and loving people we would become. Just think of all the ways we would be freed up to really want to glorify God, no matter the cost.

New Header Picture


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Sara was driving me to work today. As we drove along 18th Street, some street art caught my eye in the distance.

Hence my new header picture. I just thought it was so neat, and I wish I knew who the artist was. Two smiley faces representing the same sort of miraculous multiplication that my little boys were involved in soon after their conception.

So at the end of my busy day, I got off the bus a little sooner than usual, walked down 16th Street, approached the overpass and snapped this photo with my phone.

I hope it brings a smile or two to your face.


Such good words to this great hymn…

Guitar Chords for Hymns

A D O Lord my God when I in awesome wonder A E A Consider all the works thy hand has made D I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder A E A Your power through- out the uni- verse dis- played A D A Then sings my soul, my saviour God to thee E A How great thou art, how great thou art A D A Then sings my soul, my saviour God to thee E D E A How great thou art, how great thou art When through the woods, and forest glades I wander, And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees. When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze. Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art. Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to…

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Psalm 63

I want to know God the way this Psalmist did.

A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

63.1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you yas long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6 when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
9 But those who seek to destroy my life
shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
they shall be a portion for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult,
for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

NATO and Psalm 2


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U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and oth...

Sara called me last night saying that she’d be just a little late coming home because they closed off the 18th Street exit, because of the NATO Summit happening right here in Chi-town. Our city has been bracing itself for this summit for a little while now. My work’s building has been increasing security more and more as the summit approached.

One reason for the security increase is that the summit draws protestors, from marching nurses to ‘Occupy’ hippies (including even more extreme groups).

With all this stuff going on, I’ve been thinking about a Psalm that deals with something like this happening. It’s a coronation Psalm that foretells the coming of the Messiah, when nations band together against him and his God.

It’s sort of ironic. Whereas NATO attracts protestors, this Psalm portrays the assembled leaders as protestors themselves. Take a look at it.

Why are nations in tumult,
and countries plotting in vain?
The kings of the earth establish themselves,
and the rulers conspire together
against Yahweh and his anointed:
“Let us tear off their bonds,
and cast their cords from us!”
He who sits enthroned in the heavens laughs.
The Lord derides them.
Then he speaks to them in his wrath,
and in his fury he terrifies them:
“But as for me, I have set my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will tell the decree;
Yahweh said to me:
“You are my son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask from me and I will make the nations your heritage,
and your possession the ends of the earth.
You will break them with an iron rod.
Like a potter’s vessel you will shatter them.”
So then, O kings, be wise.
Be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve Yahweh with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son
lest he be angry and you perish on the way,
for his anger burns quickly.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
(Lexham English Bible)

A helpful article, which will hopefully give people more incentive to try to attain a healthier work/life balance.

Business & Money

There’s been a flurry of coverage praising Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, for leaving the office every day at 5:30 p.m. to be with her kids. Apparently she’s been doing this for years but only recently “came out of the closet,” as it were.

What’s insane is that Sandberg felt the need to hide the fact, since there’s a century of research establishing the undeniable fact that working more than 40 hours per week actually decreases productivity.

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“I bind unto myself…”


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Luca Rossetti da Orta, The Holy Trinity', fres...

Luca Rossetti da Orta, The Holy Trinity', fresco, 1738-9, St. Gaudenzio Church at Ivrea (Torino) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever by power of faith Christ’s incarnation, his baptism in the Jordan river, his death on the cross for my salvation; his bursting from the spiced tomb, his riding up the heavenly way, his coming at the day of doom I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead, his eye to watch, his might to stay, his ear to harken to my need, the wisdom of my God to teach, his hand to guide, his shield to ward, the Word of God to give me speech, his heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me; Christ to comfort and restore me; Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the name, the strong name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three, of whom all nature hath creation, eternal Father, Spirit, Word; praise to the God of my salvation, salvation is of Christ the Lord!

St. Patrick, c. 430; paraphrased, Cecil Frances Alexander, 1889

I know St. Pattie’s Day is long gone, but I just wanted to post this lovely meditation for its trinitarian, incarnational, and Christocentric excellence and beauty. I think it was just a couple days before St. Patrick’s Day when Sara and I happened to read this. It was one of those coincidences where we remarked how we didn’t plan it, but we know Who did.