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Showing posts from December, 2006

The Christian Hedonist’s Playbook (Part 4)

Today, let’s look at Psalm 130.

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD;
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.

If You, LORD, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the LORD;
For with the LORD there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.
Letting go of idols isn’t easy. Sometimes God makes things even harder by simply taking away an idol even as we try to keep from losing our grip on it. For example, when I lived in California I placed too much importance on my best friend, Peter Bogosian. He and I did everything together. I treated him better than I did my own brother. His friendship meant the world to me.

Then my stepfather decided t…

CHARLOTTE’S WEB (2006)

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From the trailers, it really looked like the filmmakers had gotten it right. The classic children’s story was about to get an upgrade. But as it turns out, the live action version of Charlotte’s Web is a disappointment. The 1973 cartoon is far superior in almost every way—especially in plot, voice talent, and character development. Only when it comes to the musical score does the new film come out on top.

Charlotte’s Web is supposed to be a family film, the main thematic element being the importance of friendship and keeping one’s word. However, most of the promises the main characters make are rash, without much thought given to how they will follow through. (Not the best illustration of genuine commitment.)

An even bigger problem is an implicit message that runs through the film: in the case of rebellious children, parents are usually wrong. At least in the cartoon the parents didn’t allow any disrespect from their children, including headstrong Fern. In this new version, Fern repeat…

The Christian Hedonist’s Playbook (Part 3)

One of my greatest temptations as a single has been to place my hope in the promise of a spouse and not in the God who designed marriage for His glory. That, of course, is only one struggle among many in which idols of the heart have attempted to usurp the rightful place of Jesus Christ. It is in the midst of struggles like these that reading and memorizing the Psalms has become invaluable. They speak to the heart of my problem and call me to seek refuge in God alone.

We’ll limit ourselves to just one verse today:

One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.
(Psalm 27:4)
I love how David’s example encourages me to have singleness of heart. There are, of course, many good things I can desire from the Lord. However, when all is said and done what I really need is nothing less than God Himself. If I can just see and savor the beauty of His glory (which we n…

The Christian Hedonist’s Playbook (Part 2)

One of the passages from Psalms that I have most benefited from memorizing is Psalm 62:5-8:

My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
When I am tempted to trust that something other than God will bring fulfillment in my life, I often recite this passage. In these four verses is found a plethora of nouns used to describe God: rock, salvation, defense, glory, rock of my strength, and refuge. These vivid descriptions reveal God as the idol-antidote, the Original that makes all substitutes look pitifully insufficient to bring me joy.

I especially like the first two lines because they speak to the future-oriented nature of faith. My hop…

The Christian Hedonist’s Playbook (Part 1)

First, a little background information. I used to think Psalms was one of the most boring and useless books in the Bible. I didn’t get what the writers were whining about because I couldn’t identify with their struggles. That was before God decided my life was too comfortable and that my sinful self needed an extreme heart makeover. (Ugh. Sorry, that was lame.) He helped me identify with the Psalmists by allowing my family to go through some serious trials. During that time, the Psalms became a lifeline to me and taught me how to cry out to God for mercy.

Fast-forward several years. As God began to deal with me on the topic of idolatry, the Psalms once again spoke truth to my heart. They helped me see more clearly the root of my sin. Idolatry is not just a sin of the human heart, it is the sin of the human heart.

Focusing on specific sins is important in pursuing holiness, but it also helps to know the underlying problem that leads to those specific sins. David Powlison explains it well…