Monday, October 29, 2007

Anger Tends To Murder

Proverbs 25:28 says, "A man without self-controlis like a city broken into and left without walls."

I know what it's like to be ruled by anger. All I have to do is go into the homes in Danville that I grew up in, and find walls with holes in them--some of them of from my own fist. It shames me incredibly. And ask any of my closest friends, especially Audrea. When I used to get angry, I was embarrassing to be around. I was an angry man.

Since I've had children, God has grown me in this area. Audrea pointed it out to me a few years ago. Big mistake. Because then pride went to my head and it got real fat like a zit ready to be popped. Yeah, I know, but I had to come up with something appropriately disgusting! That's how God views my sin--with abhorrence and complete disgust. And what I've learned is that though He has granted me some small measure of self-control, my heart still radiates with anger at times. And when I read a verse like Proverbs 25:28, I'm reminded that were it not for the amazing grace of God, my life would completely fall apart around me. The city of my life with its walls of seeming protection would be thoroughly defenseless, in a shambles because apart from the enabling Spirit of God granting me any measures of self-control, left to myself, I would destroy those around me and myself. I still am an angry man.

You don't believe me. You say, "Oh Paul, you're not a bad guy." Well, Charles Bridges summarizes well what happens to the human heart when left to itself:

28 He that hath no rule ocer his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and wiikvut walls A former proverb declared him that had rule over his spirit to be a mighty conqueror And certainly the noblest conquests are gained or lost over ourselves For he that tal t no ride over his own spirit is an easy prey to the invading foe Any one may irritate and torment him and spoil him of his comfort 4 He yields himself to the first assault of his ungoverned passion offering no resistance like a city broken down and without walls the object of pity and contempt Thus having no discipline over himself every temptation becomes the occasion of sin and hurries him on to fearful lengths that he had not contemplated The first outbreaking of anger tends to murder 3 Unwatchfulness over lust plunges into adultery 7 The mightiest natural strength is utter feebleness in the great conflict 3 How should such an object excite our tenderest compassion

(From An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs By Charles Bridges)

The human heart left to itself will wreak havoc and destruction. James tells us that:

4:1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.

Praise be to God, though, for the adversative "BUT". Verse 6 of James 4 gives me much hope and exhortation at the same time--"BUT he gives more grace." He promises that whoever draws near to Him in humility, He will draw unto Himself:

6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

God, grant me the grace to be a man of self-control, a man of patience and humility. Be my Rock and Fortress.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Reaping

When Audrea goes away for a couple days with her mom, I tend to take the time to do stuff that all my girls would not enjoy: eating sushi and any other seafood I can find, working late, not shaving, and watching scary movies. Last time it was The Exorcism of Emily Rose. This week I watched The Reaping. The previews had piqued my interest for quite a while and this website convinced me it wouldn't be a movie that I would regret or have to turn off half-way through.

I don't want to take the time to write a review, but if you're in the mood for something fairly scary and thought-provoking, this one is a sure bet. Near the end, the plot takes a twist I didn't see coming at all which at first I found a little corny, but still 3 days later, I'm not sure I've figured it all out!

The plot of the movie is about a town that seems to be experiencing the plagues of Egypt but being carried out by the hand of Satan instead. The main actor is a former ordained minister-turned-atheistic science professor who makes it her life ambition to prove so-called miracles as natural occurences. This particular town in Louisiana (interesting trivia: the film was made in Louisiana right during the middle of Katrina) has a science teacher who has asked her to come down and doing her typical job of proving them wrong. That's all I'll give you...

I do recommend watching the brief liberal documentary on the extras menu. The point of the documentary is to present natural explanations for the plagues instead of the supernatural intervention of God Himself. The first half spends its time giving a "scientific" explanation for each plague. Then at the half-way point, the narrator underscores that this would all be speculation unless one could show that there is a basis for the explanations actually found in the text of the book of Exodus itself. Which is very true. However, it takes the standard attack mode against the Inspiration of the Bible and brings in Terrence Fretheim (an early open theist from here in town) to explain the "evolution" of the books of Moses. While he does not go into detail explaining the JEDP theory (which undergirds the comments), there is a broad statement that "no scholars today think counter to this" which is essentially an insult to many members of the Evangelical Theological Society who would not hold to that theory.

Near the end of the documentary, they point out that through the book of Exodus, the author is leading to the Passover. They say that because the Passover is the main point the author is trying to get across, there is latitude for embellishing the truth. Fretheim says, "The concern is not as sort of historiographer, or some modern university professor seeking to find exactly what happened in some ancient time. The concern is to convey to every new Israelite audiences the religious importance of these events--that God has been involved on behalf of the Israelites in leading them out of Egypt."

I however have a real problem with this and you should too. If faith is a hope based on an objective reality, then the evidence which reveals the source of your faith should be completely reliable otherwise it's not worth putting faith into it. So if I read a text that says God is sovereign, omnipotent, holy, omniscient, righteous, wrathful, just, and loving, wouldn't I want that text to be wholly true. If, as this seminary professor says, the details of the text are basically made up, then the whole shooting match should be scrapped. It's not worth it.

But I, however, believe:

in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
The third day He arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
Keep this in mind always, but especially if you watch this movie!

Summer 07 Highlights

Recent Portraits

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

back to the drawing board...

Well, it's time to wait for another offer to come in on our house. I spoke with our realtor yesterday and he informed me that the buyer changed her mind about purchasing any home and has decided to stay with her parents for the time being.

I personally think this was a wise decision on her part. Even though I know very little about her situation, I do know that she was borderline on getting her financing and according to our information, if she was to purchase the home even at our competitive price she would have been stretching herself. Even though it's her own decision, I wouldn't feel comfortable selling our home to someone who is the epitome of the kinds of buyers that have brought this market to this place it's at now.

For those of you who prayed along with us for her--thank you. Please continue praying for us though that we would soon receive an offer that would be solid and reasonable. I know that nothing we pray is too large for our God. This morning, in Transforming Grace, I read the following encouraging hymn by John Newton:

Come, my soul, thy suit prepare:
Jesus loves to answer prayer;
He himself has bid thee pray,
Therefore will not say thee nay.

Thou art coming to a King,
Large petitions with thee bring;
For his grace and power are such,
None can ever ask too much.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I wish I could've caught this with a sharper image but I didn't realize the blurriness until I downloaded it... at any rate, I caught the prince and princesses watching a movie together tonight:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Offer Update

Something Audrea and I have consistently done in our real estate transactions is to pray for the people on the other side of the table and for the other parties involved (lenders, realtors, attorneys). Our realtor just called me and said that though the offer is still on the table, the buyer is really unsure about buying at this price range. The reality is that the difference between our offer and their offer is a difference of $70 per month. For many people that is not a huge difference, but it may be for this potential buyer. Please pray that God would grant them grace to have good wisdom in this decision.

Monday, October 15, 2007

offer update

Just a quick update... the offer we received on Saturday was absurd and even asinine. That's what happens when buyers think that because it's a "buyer's market" they can do whatever they want. Of course, it never hurts to ask and they did.

We responded with a counteroffer coming down only a little bit (we're already listing the home at a price less than what we paid for it 3 years ago). Their realtor said we wouldn't hear from them until at least Monday. When we hear more, we'll let everyone know.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

finally... an offer

It's 7:25 pm and in about a half-hour our realtor will be showing up at our door with the first offer we have received on this home. There are two things I really appreciate our realtor, David Cohen: 1) He works very hard as a realtor by thinking way outside the box in terms of marketing and 2) He is so even-keeled. He called me this afternoon and said in his usual flat tone, "Well, they're going to fax us an offer today." The reason I appreciate that is because he wants us to be realistic about everything. He warned me before he saw the offer to not be surprised if these buyers low-ball us unbelievably. Like 8K to 15K below our asking price. Keep in mind, our current list price is $100 less than what we paid for the home in 2004.

Yet we have resigned ourselves to losing money on this. We know that we really want to move to Louisville and have been trusting and waiting on God all along. So please pray for us that we will have wisdom tonight and over the next couple of days. It also sounds like if this offer is accepted they will want a fast closing. We're not sure what that means, but David did say to prepare your family for much stress.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Tripp: "Why I Hate To Wait"

I am so with this guy... Paul David Tripp on his blog has this poem about waiting:

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:14)

I hate to wait,
I have places to go
I have people to see
I have things to do.
I love me
and I have a wonderful plan
for my life.
I hate to wait.
I don't like obstacles
in my way
or people that disagree
or processes that take too long.
I hate to wait.
I don't like lines
or traffic
or delayed appointments
or tardy people.
I hate to wait.
I wake up everyday
with an agenda.
I know
what I want to accomplish.
I know
how I want it done.
I know
where I want it done.
I know
when I want it done.
I know
who I want to do it.
I know
why it has to be done this way.
I hate to wait
I am the one having to wait.
I don't mind
that you have to wait
but I don't want to have to
wait with you.
I hate to wait
I tend to put myself
in the one place
I am never supposed to be
I tend to want to be
the one thing
I should never crave to be.
I hate to wait because
I want to be
in the center of my universe
and I want to be
my own sovereign.
When I forget your plan
When I lose sight of your will
When I begin to think
that my life belongs to me
When I fall prey to
the delusion
that I am wiser than you
my way is better than yours
Then I hate to wait
I curse the obstacles in my way.
But you are sovereign
and you are
and loving
and gracious
and kind
and mighty,
filled with compassion
overflowing with mercy.
You bought me
with the price of your Son.
You forgave me
and the cost was his death.
For all my attempts
at independent wisdom
the truth is
that my life does not belong to me.
once more I fall to my knees.
Once more I open my hands
give my life back to you
and say
"You do in, with, and through me
what you think is best
I will follow
and when
your wisdom and grace
require it,
I will be willing
to wait.

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