What Have You Accomplished?

7/31/2007

"LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us." - Isaiah 26:12 (NIV)

I like accomplishments. I like reading biographies of people who have accomplished great things. I enjoy sifting through news articles to find the ones about people who have done something amazing. The Guinness Book of World Records fascinates me. It amazes me to read about the man who typed the most books backward, or about the woman with the longest hair in the world. And I like accomplishing things, and getting things done. It feels good to finish reading a book, or finish my college education, or finish running a 10k race. Spiritual accomplishments feel even better. It's deeply satisfying to memorize a long passage of scripture, or read the entire Bible in a year, or share the gospel with a non-Christian.

But there's a unique temptation that comes with accomplishing something. I'm tempted to be proud of what I've done, what I've achieved. I want to say, "Hey, look over here! We've got something pretty significant going on. I just shared the gospel. Feel free to call me The Apostle, or Mr. Graham. Yes, I know, I'm gifted. What can I say?" After every accomplishment, pride whispers words of self-adoration in my ear.

Scripture however, takes a different view of our achievements. We're told very clearly that all we've accomplished is from the Lord. Wow, that puts a bit of a damper on my enthusiastic self- worship. All that I've accomplished comes from the Lord. My accomplishments at work? From God. My spiritual successes? They are the result of God at work in my life. My athletic ability? That too is from God. Anything good or noble that I've accomplished is the result of God's unmerited kindness. To be proud over my accomplishments is to rob God of the glory that belongs to Him alone. It makes me a glory thief.

Friend, what have you accomplished? Are you tempted to be proud at your recent successes? Are you tempted to boast of what you've done and glory in what you've achieved? If so, take time to meditate on this passage and to remember where all success comes from.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM 3 comments  

The Secret of Success

7/30/2007

"And David had success in all his undertakings, for the LORD was with him." - 1 Samuel 18:14

Our culture loves to celebrate success and to honor those that are successful. If you're a successful businessman and make billion of dollars, you get a TV show where you get to say, "You're fired!" If you have a sweet singing voice, you've got a shot to be the next American (or Canadian, or French, or British) Idol. If you can throw a baseball upwards of 90 m.p.h. you can make seven figures playing a game. It seems that everybody has a chance of succeeding and of being somebody great. And those that do succeed have the right to boast about it, or so our culture says.

But scripture gives us a different perspective on success. Success isn't ultimately the result of working 70 hours a week or spending countless hours in the weight room. Success isn't purely the product of intelligence, or business smarts, or beauty, or money. In scripture we see that success ultimately comes from the Lord. Why was David such a powerful warrior? Why did he always end up on the winning side? How did an insignificant shepherd boy become the greatest king in the history of Israel? How was a sheep farmer transformed into a giant-killer? The answer is clear. David's success was from the Lord.

This has massive implications for our jobs, ministries, hobbies, relationships, athletic endeavors, and creative pursuits. Any success that we experience comes from the Lord as a gift. Christian, are you experiencing success at work? That is from the Lord. Are you performing well on your basketball team? That too is from the Lord. Are you in the midst of particular spiritual blessing at your church? God has been kind to you. Any and all success you are currently experiencing is because of God's unmerited blessing.

Don't let another day go by without stopping to thank the Lord for your success. All that you have accomplished God has done for you. And as you experience success, honor God by continuing to express your dependence on Him.

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World Record Trampoline Jump

7/29/2007

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dc Talk - Heaven Bound

This my friends is Christian music at its best. I love dc Talk, and this was their first hit.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:28 AM 4 comments  

What Happening In The World?

7/28/2007

I always knew cats were evil. This article proves it.

World's tallest man meets world's shortest man. Read it here.

EHow demonstrates how to give a good back massage. Husbands, this is for you!

Josh Harris posts a wonderful quote by Charles Spurgeon as an encouragement to those who are suffering.

Sovereign Grace Ministries gave me and my dad the chance to do our own album together. It has finally arrived!

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:41 AM 0 comments  

Our Ultimate Hope

7/27/2007

"Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." - Hebrews 3:12-13

This is a sobering, frightening, soul-gripping text. I confess that as I think about the possibility of becoming hardened by my sin, I am tempted to be afraid. After all, I know the depths of my own depravity. I'm wicked and ungodly, often straying, and with a heart that quickly loves other things. How am I to be sure that I won't stray from God or let my heart become deceived by sin? How will I ever make it to the end?

Then I remember glorious passages such as Jude 1:24, which says, "Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy..." Oh what sweet words these are! My confidence does not ultimately lie in my ability to fight sin or the spiritual insight of those in my accountability group. My confidence is in our great and glorious Savior, who promised that He would never lose me or leave me or let me go. My confidence is firmly placed in the one who hung upon the cross and died in my place. My hope for heaven is in the One who purchased heaven for me. Christ, and Christ alone is my hope.

Take time today to thank Christ that He is the One who sustains you and keeps you. Thank Him that He will never let you go, and that nothing can snatch you from His hand. You are His forever, purchased by blood and sealed by the Spirit. That is our confidence.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 9:22 PM 0 comments  

Who Do You Need?

7/26/2007

"Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." - Hebrews 3:12-13

This passage highlights two questions that we should ask of ourselves:

1) Who do we need to invite into our life? The sad fact is, we won't accurately see and understand our sin apart from the input and correction of others. God has created us in such a way that we need others, and He has ordained that the Christian life be lived out within a community of other Christians. Those who seek to follow God without the help of others are fools, setting themselves up to deceived and hardened by sin. God speaks to us through the insight and wisdom of other believers.

And yet many times we don't invite other Christians into our lives. We don't want their correction and don't desire their help. In fact, when someone brings correction or rebuke, we act offended, irritated that they had the audacity to tell us where we are failing. In our pride we end up being fools. We're like a blind man with a fly swatter. We know sin is there, and we can hear it buzzing around, but we can never quite seem to hit it.

Who do you need to invite into your life today? Are you asking for correction and rebuke from those near to you? Are you aware of your blindness and asking others to help you see?

2) Who do we need to initiate with? Most of us don't like correcting people. It feels awkward, and people don't always respond well. And most of the time we're not even sure if someone is really sinning. We just have some vague thoughts about something that might be sin. I can't count the number of times I have neglected to correct someone because I was afraid of what they might think of me.

But the truth is, scripture calls us to correct others in love. If we truly care about someone and are truly concerned for their soul, we will help them see their sin. If we are passionate about the glory of God, we must initiate correction and rebuke with those around us. It is terribly unloving to leave someone blinded by their sin. And our correction should be marked by humility and gentleness, and always done with the motive of helping someone draw near to the Savior.

So who do you need to initiate correction with today? Who do you need to admonish and encourage today? Who do you need to exhort? If we are to please God, we must invite correction and initiate correction.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM 0 comments  

Exhortation and Insight

7/25/2007

"Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." - Heb 3:12-13

How do we fight against spiritual hardness of heart? How do we avoid being deceived by our sin? In His wonderful kindness, God has provided the answer. He is passionate that we grow in godliness, and has graciously instructed us how we might do so. The solution is clear, and because of the gospel we have much hope for growth.

In this passage we are charged to exhort one another as a means of guarding against the deceitfulness of sin. We are called to exhort, encourage, and challenge one another for the purpose of helping them grow in godliness. And by the same token, we are desperately in need of exhortation and encouragement from other Christians. The fact is, without the involvement of others, we will not grow as God intends and we are in danger of being hardened and deceived by sin. We have pockets of sin that we are blind to, and without the insight of others we simply won't see them. As Paul Tripp puts it, "Personal insight is the result of community."

The solution is obvious but not always easy. We must involve others in our spiritual lives. It's crucial for us to be surrounded by people who know us well, who can identify our spiritual blind spots, and who can graciously correct us. And we should make it easy for these people to correct us. We should beg them for correction, and plead with them to point out our sin. Most people are reluctant to point out areas of sin and we should do everything possible to make it a pleasant experience for them. Take notes, ask questions, whatever it takes.

Do you have a few, well-trusted individuals in your life who will correct you, challenge you, and encourage you? Do you make it easy for them to correct you? Are you grateful for their correction? Husbands, do you ask your wife for correction on a regular basis? Do you humbly and gratefully respond when she brings correction? We are blind to sin, and we desperately need the help of others. If you don't have someone in your life who serves this role, get someone...soon.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM 1 comments  

Fight The Hardening

7/24/2007

"Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." - Hebrews 3:12-13

If there's one thing I know, it's how to take care of a paintbrush. My dad, who was an art major in college, was very careful to teach us the proper procedures for cleaning out a paintbrush after a painting session. Why? Because if you don't take proper care of your paintbrushes, they become hard and unusable, and must be thrown away.

Our hearts are like paintbrushes. Without diligent care, they can become hard to spiritual things and the flame of our love for God can dwindle to just a flicker.

But how does this happen? Is it an overnight thing, kind of like the twenty-four hour flu? Do we go to bed with a passion for God burning in our hearts and then wake up the next morning as apostates? No, scripture tells us that hardness of heart is the result of being deceived by sin.

Sin is deceptive, isn't it? It doesn't come right out and say, "Hey, I'm sin, and I'm here to hurt you." No sin looks attractive and enticing. It lies to us, telling us that it won't matter if we give in just this once. It tells us that one lustful glance never hurt anybody, that one little lie isn't a big deal, that just a little discontentment is normal. Sin promises happiness, satisfaction, and long-lasting pleasure. But it lies. Never once has it made good on its promises. It deceives us.

Believing the lies of sin leads to a gradual hardening of the heart. The heart doesn't become hardened all at once as a result of some massive sin. No, it's a gradual, subtle, and yet deadly process. Often it begins in the mind when sinful, ungodly thoughts are left unchecked. Thoughts then turn to small sinful actions, such as a short lustful look or a quick outburst of anger. If these sins are not cut off quickly they will grow. And all the while the heart grows progressively harder. Sin is subtle, and its effect is gradual.

Friends, we must fight against this hardening process! As I mediated on this passage I was made aware of an area where I had failed to fight against sin. I don't want my heart to grow hard, and by God's all-powerful grace, I will fight my sin. I would appeal to you to do the same.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM 1 comments  

Caretakers of the Heart

7/23/2007

"Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." - Hebrews 3:12-13

I take care of my car. I get the oil changed every three-thousand miles and make sure the tires are in tip-top shape. I attack the carpets with a vacuum, the outside with soap and water, and the dashboard with some sort of cleaner that leaves a greasy film . When I hear strange, moaning noises coming from within, I take it to the mechanic. Every six months I receive a new shiny plastic card informing me that I am a privileged member of Automotive Association of America (AAA). I keep diligent watch over my car. Yet as I read this passage of scripture, I'm forced to ask myself, "Do I watch over my heart with the same diligence?"

In these verses we hear God Himself exhorting us to "take care" of our hearts. Why? Because dwelling within each of us is an enemy of our souls. Sin lurks within our hearts, always watching and waiting for an opportunity to ensnare us. Our battle with sin doesn't end at the moment of our conversion. The power of sin has been broken, yes, but the presence of sin remains entrenched in our hearts. And sin hates God, and it hates us. It is always seeking to tempt us and to lead us away from God. It doesn't sleep, doesn't rest, is always seeking to harden and deceive us. Sin doesn't take breaks.

Therefore we cannot rest in the battle of sin! We would be wise to heed the words of Proverbs 4:23, which says, " Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." The very springs of spiritual life flow within our hearts, and we are called to guard those springs passionately.

Christian, are you taking care to guard your heart? Are you a scholar of your heart, taking time to study it carefully that you might know its sinful tendencies? Sin is deceitful and it has a distinctly hardening effect. Are there any areas where you are not carefully guarding your heart? Television? Relationships with the opposite sex? Work?

Christ is supremely glorious and worthy of our deepest affections. Let us guard our hearts against anything that might steal those affections.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 9:02 AM 0 comments  

Babies Eating Lemons

7/22/2007

There is something innately funny about babies eating lemons. Watch the video here.

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Weekend Video Fun

7/21/2007

Videos for the weekend...

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Speed Stacking

Is this really talent?

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 10:36 AM 0 comments  

A pool filled with non-newtonian fluid

We used to make this stuff in Sunday school...

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 10:34 AM 0 comments  

To Be Continued

7/20/2007

There are too many must-read books to review in one week. I plan on continuing this series periodically over the next few months. Stay tuned...

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:27 AM 1 comments  

Books For Every Christian - Theology

More books that every Christian should read:

The Holiness of God - R.C. Sproul
When was the last time you trembled in the presence of God? When was the last time you were bowed low in humility before the greatness of our God? When was the last time you felt compelled to lift adoration to your Maker? If it's been awhile since you felt this way, you may want to consider reading this book.

Sproul begins the book with a story, communicating a very personal, and sobering encounter he had with the holiness of God. He then begins to explain what it means that God is holy. He explains the staggering meaning behind the cry of 'Holy, Holy, Holy' found in Isaiah 6, and paints a picture of the prophet Isaiah cursing himself for his lack of holiness. Sproul shows the glories of our transcendent God, and the vast differences between us and our Creator. He examines the fear of God, the burning justice of God, and what it means to have peace with God. Finally, Sproul concludes with an exhortation to Christians, calling them to be holy as their Father in heaven is holy.

This book truly is a must-read book. It is destined to be a classic of the Christian faith and will serve as kindling for the fires of your love for God. Special thanks to Justin Taylor for this recommendation.

Buy it here.

In Light of Eternity - Randy Alcorn
Does the thought of heaven seem boring to you? When you think of heaven, do you think of harps, clouds, robes, and distant choirs of angels singing in the background. If so, you really need to read this book. It will drastically change the way you think about heaven. In this short, easily readable book, Alcorn helps us to understand what heaven is really going to be like. He makes it clear that heaven is going to be anything but boring! Here's a quote to stir your longings for heaven:

When we arrive there, heaven will immediately feel like home because we'll instinctively connect it to all we longed for an occasionally caught magical glimpses of while on earth. But in heaven we won't just look back; we'll look forward to and anticipate all that's ahead of us there. The longer we're in heaven, the more memories we'll make and the more our home will be...home.
This book made me long for heaven, may it do the same for you!

Buy it here.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM 0 comments  

Books For Every Christian - Christian Living

7/19/2007

More books that every Christian should read:

Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life - Donald Whitney
The pursuit of God through the spiritual disciplines (e.g. prayer, Bible reading, scripture memorization, etc.) is not optional for the Christian, it's essential. That's the point that Donald Whitney makes in this brilliant book. You can't expect to grow in your relationship with God, love for God, and passion for holiness if you are not consistently practicing the spiritual disciplines. This book is meant to encourage and challenge Christians, serving as a practical guide to the spiritual disciplines and providing a scriptural basis for them. Whitney consistently emphasizes that the spiritual disciplines are a means for the Christian to experience God in a deeper and more intimate way. Instead of being viewed as drudgery, the spiritual disciplines should be seen as a delight.

Whitney addresses the following subjects: Bible Intake, Prayer, Worship, Evangelism, Serving, Stewardship, Fasting, Silence and Solitude, Journaling, and Learning. If you have struggled to consistently pursue the Lord through the spiritual disciplines, this is a must-read book.

Buy it here.

Tell the Truth - Will Metzger
I don't know a single person that doesn't struggle with evangelism in some way. Some of us are terrified by the thought of telling someone about Jesus. Some of us just don't know what to say when it comes to sharing the gospel. Some of us might even be a little confused on what it means to share the gospel. If you have ever struggled in any of these ways, this is a book for you.

Metzger begins his book by helping his readers understand what it means to really share the gospel. Sharing your testimony is not sharing the gospel. Sharing apologetics is not sharing the gospel. Sharing solely about the love of God is not sharing the gospel. What is sharing the gospel? Metzger answers that question in his book. He then moves into what it means to be truly converted to Christ. Conversion is more than just intellectual acquiescence or an emotional response. True conversion involves the whole will of a person, heart, mind, and soul. Finally, Metzger moves into practical approaches to evangelism. He seeks to help his readers understand what true evangelism looks like. This portion can be particularly helpful if you're not sure how to evangelize.

Do you want to grow in evangelism? This book is a wonderful asset to help you grow in that area. Special thanks to Tim Challies for his recommendations.

Buy it here.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM 0 comments  

Books For Every Christian - The Puritans

7/18/2007

The Puritans weren't just men who wore uncomfortable clothing, used odd words, and shunned dancing. They were men whose hearts were alive with passion for God. They were men who treasured God's word and sought to apply it to every aspect of their lives. They were men who had a deep, sobering reverence for God. They were men we need to spend time with. Here's two books by Puritans that will stir your heart with love for our God.

The Godly Man's Picture - Thomas Watson
Although the title indicates that this book is for men, it is written in such a way that both men and women can and should read it. In this book, Watson seeks to paint a picture of the godly man or woman using nothing but the brush of scripture, and to exhort his readers to strive for godliness. Watson says that a godly man or woman is:

  • A man or woman of knowledge
  • A man or woman fired with love
  • A man or woman careful about the worship of God
  • A man or woman who loves the Word
  • A man or woman of prayer
  • A man or woman of humility
  • A man or woman of thankfulness
  • A man or woman who loves the saints
  • And many other characteristics....
This book breathed fresh life into my soul and kindled a passion for holiness in my heart. If you desire to grow in holiness and to live a God-honoring life, this is a must-read book. Don't be intimidated by the Puritans, learn from them.

Buy the book here.

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment - Jeremiah Burroughs
We live in a world that is full of thoroughly discontent people. They want better jobs, more money, less suffering, more friends, a girlfriend/boyfriend, a husband/wife, a boat, a bigger house, etc. Most people, including many Christians, are convinced that they won't be happy until they have some or all of these things. Jeremiah Burroughs cries out against that mentality, calling Christians to find their deepest joy and contentment in God Himself. Burroughs describes the glories of Christian contentment, the way in which Christ teaches us to be content, the wickedness of complaining, the excuses we make for our discontentment, and the way to a contented soul. Let this quote whet your appetite for more:
If I am contented because I have what I desire, perhaps I am contented in that one thing, but that one thing does not furnish me with contentment in another thing; perhaps I may grow more dainty and nice and froward in other things. If you give children what they want in some things, they grow so much the more coy and dainty and discontented if they cannot have other things that they want. But if I have once overcome my heart, and am contented through the grace of God in my heart, then this makes me content not only in one particular but in general, whatever befalls me.
Buy the book here.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM 1 comments  

Books For Every Christian - Theology

7/16/2007

Continuing with books that every Christian should read.

Bible Doctrine - Wayne Grudem, edited by Jeff Purswell
Do you desire to love God more, to have a deeper relationship with Him? You can't love God if you don't know Him, and this book is a wonderful tool to help you grow in your knowledge of God. In this book, Wayne Grudem seeks to help his readers develop a systematic theology, or in other words, a thoroughly Biblical view of God. Grudem seeks to determine what the entire Bible says about a massive number of subjects, including God's character, the doctrine of election, church government, apostolic leadership, the role of the Holy Spirit, and the end-times. This book is an absolute must-have for every Christian. When you have a question regarding the Bible, this is the place to go. You will be well served by this book.

Buy the book here.

Knowing God - J.I. Packer
Like Bible Doctrine, this book will help you grow in a deep, soul-satisfying knowledge of God. Here's a taste of Packer's brilliance:

What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it - the fact the He knows me. I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because He first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when His care falters.
Buy the book here. Thanks to Justin Taylor for reminding me about this book.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM 2 comments  

Books For Every Christian - The Gospel

7/15/2007

Today we're going to start a series on books that every Christian should read. Reading books is an invaluable part of the Christian life. Books allow us to see Christ through the eyes of other, wiser men and women. They allow us to stand on the shoulders of the saints who have gone before us and to survey our glorious God from a different vantage point. They give new, deep, soul-satisfying insights into the character and nature of our glorious God. If you don't read books by other Christians, start now. You will find your walk with the Lord enriched and you will find your affections for the Lord stirred. Now, on to the books. Today we're looking at books related to the gospel.

Living The Cross Centered Life - C.J. Mahaney
The gospel is to be the centerpiece of every Christian's life. It is to be the source of our joy in God and it defines our very relationship with God. It is the very crux of our theology and gives meaning to every other facet of the Christian life. God doesn't want us to be spiritual gift centered, or spiritual warfare centered, or evangelism centered, or apologetics centered. He wants us to be cross centered and gospel centered. Do you want to be freshly reminded of the glorious gospel and have fresh joy implanted in your heart? Do you want to be free from condemnation and legalism? Do you desire more affections for God? Then read this book! A quote to wet your appetite:

The Bible tells us that, while there are many different callings and many possible areas of service in the kingdom of God, one transcendent truth should define our lives. One simple truth should motivate our work and affect every part of who we are. Christ died for our sins.
Buy the book here.

God Is The Gospel - John Piper
This book is a treasure that should be in every Christian's library. In this book Piper makes it clear that the ultimate end of the gospel is not the forgiveness of sins, or a clean conscience, or even an eternity in heaven. The ultimate end of the gospel is God Himself, the all-satisfying Fountain of Life. The gospel brings us into an intimate relationship with God Himself, and this is what makes the gospel truly glorious. God doesn't show His love for us by making much of us. He shows His love for us by giving Himself to us and showing Himself to be glorious in our eyes. Piper says:
The ultimate good of the gospel is seeing and savoring the beauty and value of God. God's wrath and our sin obstruct that vision and that pleasure. You can't see and savor God as supremely satisfying while you are full of rebellion against him and he is full of wrath against you. The removal of this wrath and this rebellion is what the gospel is for. The ultimate aim of the gospel is the display of God's glory and the removal of every obstacle to our seeing it and savoring it as our highest treasure
Buy the book here.

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Worst Commercial Ever

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 1:25 PM 2 comments  

Boom Goes the Dynamite

I just went through the painful process of giving announcements at church, I can relate to this guy.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 1:17 PM 0 comments  

Will Ferrell is The Phantom of the Opera

7/14/2007

I love Phantom of the Opera.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 10:29 AM 0 comments  

Japanese tv tetris game

This is the kind of TV that America is missing.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 10:28 AM 4 comments  

Coming Up Next Week

7/13/2007

Next week I plan on putting together a list of books that every Christian should read. If you have any suggestions for this list please leave a comment.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 1:13 PM 5 comments  

It Is Finished

"When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." - John 19:30

Oh how sweet these words are, like honey to the Christian's soul. No sweeter words have been uttered since our Savior said, "It is finished," while hanging from the cross. May God open our eyes to see all that He has accomplished for us through the cross. Let's ponder these words for a moment.

It is finished. The glorious work of salvation is totally and completely finished. There is absolutely nothing left to do, Jesus did it all. Wrath is satisfied. Jesus fully absorbed the soul-crushing fury of God's wrath towards sin, drinking the cup of God's wrath to the very last drop. For those who trust in Christ, wrath is gone and only mercy remains.

It is finished. God's law is fully satisfied. Jesus obeyed the law to its fullest extent. Every command of God, Jesus obeyed. His thoughts were perfect, His words were perfect, His worship was perfect, His life was perfect. The law can make no claims or accusations against Jesus, for He fulfilled the law. And praise God, the law cannot condemn the Christian either, for Christ is our righteousness.

It is finished. God's righteousness is vindicated. At the cross we see that God is righteous. He doesn't play around with sin or turn a blind eye towards sin. He hates it, despises it, cannot tolerate it in His presence. And because He blazes with righteousness, He must punish sin. At the cross we see the blazing righteousness of God on full display. As the wrath of God overwhelms Jesus it is proof that our God is righteous. The Christian who trusts in Christ is counted righteous as well.

At the cross Jesus completely finished the work of salvation. There is nothing left to be done, no works to be added. We are called to fling ourselves wholeheartedly upon the finished work of Christ, rejecting any self-righteousness as filthy garbage. Have you done that today? Have you freshly placed all your trust in the Savior, or are you trying to smuggle works into your relationship with God? Honor God by rejoicing in the words, "It is finished."

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM 0 comments  

Spurgeon On Jesus' Thirst

7/12/2007

"How great the love that led Him to such a condescension as this! Do not let us forget the infinite distance between the Lord of glory on His throne and the Crucified dried up with thirst. A river of the water of life, pure as crystal, proceeds today out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, and yet once He condescended to say, "I thirst." He is the Lord of fountains and all deeps, but not a cup of cold water was placed to His lips." - Charles Spurgeon, The Power of the Cross of Christ

I can't say it any better than Spurgeon. The Lord of Glory bled and died that I might live forever. He was thirsty so that I might drink from the Fountain of Living Water. He was crushed by His Father that I might be embraced as a son.

Jesus, such wondrous love enthralls us. When we see all that You've done for us, our hearts cry out for joy. When we look upon You hanging from the cross, bleeding and thirsty, struggling for breath, our hearts are melted with love for You. How can we not love You? Your blood spilled upon the ground is overwhelming proof of Your great love for us.

Teach us to love You. Keep us near the cross that our hearts might blaze with love for You.


Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:21 AM 1 comments  

Thirsty

7/10/2007

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), "I thirst." - John 19:28

Thirst. Such a human condition. After a hard day of working outside or a long jog, nothing is so sweet as an ice cold glass of water. A few days without water and we perish in a burning thirst. Corporations devote thousands of dollars every year to satisfy our thirst and mega-stars get paid absurd amounts of money to tell us what beverage we should drink. Humans are thirsty.

In the two words, "I thirst," we see the utter humanity of Jesus. We see the depths to which our Savior stooped to redeem us and the heights of His magnificent love. Within these words is the great mystery of the incarnation, the wonder of God become man. Within these words is our salvation.

As Jesus hung upon the cross hour after brutal hour, His body began to break down. He was fully God, yes, but He was also fully and completely human. His hands had been driven through with nails, His back ripped open by the lash, and His head crowned by needle sharp thorns. The pain would have been nauseating, overwhelming, unimaginable. Seeing Him would have been enough to make us vomit. And accompanying all this was the raging thirst that precedes death.

Ponder for a moment the words uttered by the Savior. "I thirst." The One who created the oceans, lakes, and rivers was thirsty. The One who brings the rain upon the fields was thirsty. The One who called Himself the fountain of living water was thirsty. God was thirsty.

Let us be freshly affected by the great humility of our Lord. Though He was God, the maker of the universe and giver of life, He became a man. The Creator stooped to save the created. Our Lord became lowly. How can we not love Him? How can we not love the One who became thirsty?

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 9:38 PM 0 comments  

Truly Alone

7/09/2007

This cry represents the most agonizing protest ever uttered on this planet. It burst forth in a moment of unparalleled pain. It is the scream of the damned - for us. - R.C. Sproul

In this strange, unnatural darkness, by the flickering light of the soldiers torches, we step closer to the cross to watch and listen.

Suddenly His face contorts in a display of anguish more terrible than anything we've yet seen. He can restrain Himself no longer. He screams out, "My God, my God!" Why have you forsaken me?

"Nowhere in all the Bible," writes one author, "do we encounter any mystery that so staggers the mind and shocks the Christian consciousness as this tortured cry from the lips of our dying Savior."

The cry is a question - but Jesus is not accusing His Father; nor is He perplexed as to why He's dying. It's a question from David's words in Psalm 22, and on the cross our Lord is fulfilling that messianic Psalm. But Jesus is also doing more than that. He's experiencing on the cross what no one in human history ever has or ever will experience. He's receiving what you and I should be receiving - His Father's full and furious wrath. He's experiencing what every other human being in history deserves and which He alone does not deserve. And He's experiencing it alone.

C.J. Mahaney - Christ Our Mediator

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 7:54 PM 0 comments  

The Scream of the Damned

7/08/2007

"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" - Matthew 27:46

This my friends, is the scream of the damned. It is the cry of a man utterly condemned by God, a man bearing the full and horrible wrath of God. It is a cry of desperation uttered in the midst of a spiritual blackness that you and I will never know.

Do you hear the pain in Jesus' voice? He was forsaken by the One He loved most, rejected by His closest friend. Jesus was crushed and cursed by His father, condemned and judged upon the cross. Even those who spend an eternity in hell will never know what Jesus endured, for they are only punished for their sins. Jesus was punished for the sins of millions.

Consider for a moment the blackness that enveloped our Lord. He was perfect, holy, and righteous, never sinning once in His entire life. As the righteous God, He hated and despised sin. Yet on the cross, it was as if He became sin itself. He became what He hated so passionately. Our lusts became His lusts, our anger His anger. Every vile word we ever spoke was placed upon our Lord, every perverse thought laid upon His soul. This is why He was forsaken by the Father.

What would move our Lord to do such a thing? Why would He take the great weight of our sin upon Himself? Only infinite love and mercy could move Jesus to save us. Only a heart that beats with compassion for sinners could move the Son of God to become sin.

Don't let another moment pass without thanking the Lord for His great love. Let your heart be filled with gratitude to Jesus. Remember the many sins you have committed, and thank the Lord for taking them all upon Himself.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 7:28 PM 2 comments  

Valet Parking at the ER

7/07/2007

More Brian Regan for your enjoyment.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 7:27 PM 1 comments  

Volkswagen Dance

I would love to have moves like this...

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 7:17 PM 0 comments  

Brian Regan On Doctors

7/06/2007

So true, so disturbingly true.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 10:43 PM 0 comments  

Beat Box Insanity

Weekend video fun. I love beatbox, and this guy is amazing. I don't understand a word that anyone says...

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 10:37 PM 0 comments  

My God, my God

7/02/2007

"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" - Matthew 27:46

We tread on sacred ground as we read these verses. In these verses are housed deep theological mysteries and glorious truths that only God can make plain to us. May God open our eyes to the glory of Jesus Christ shining through the precious words of scripture. Let's look at this verse in detail.

My God, my God. These are the anguished words of broken intimacy. From eternity past, the Son of God had perfect, intimate fellowship with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Never has there been a closer, more delightful, more joyful relationship, than that of the Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit living and acting in perfect, loving harmony. Our relationships, wonderful as they may be, are marred and broken by sin. The most intimate relationships on Earth are but a faint glimpse of the fellowship that exists in the Trinity. Throughout His entire ministry on Earth, Jesus enjoyed perfect fellowship with the Father. Even when He was deserted by His closest friends, He could still say that God had not left Him.

But at the cross, Jesus was deserted. Without actually breaking the Trinity, God the Father hid His face from Jesus. The Father, who loved Jesus with the deepest passion, actually forsook His own son. Why did the Father do this? To save you and me. He forsook Jesus so that we might never be forsaken. Jesus cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?", so that we might say, "My God, my God, You'll never forsake me."

Does anyone love you more than God? Do you need any more proof that God loves you wholeheartedly? At the cross we see the depths to which God went to save wicked sinners like us. How can we not praise Him? How can we not give Him our deepest devotion?

Lord, thank you that you will never leave me or forsake me! Thank you for looking away from Jesus that I might always be under Your gaze. Teach me of the cross. Keep me near the cross. Stir my heart with deep affection for You.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 9:38 AM 0 comments  

Mother and Son

"When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home." - John 19:27-28

I don't do well with pain. When I'm in pain I want to be cared for and looked after. I want my wife to bring me a cup of tea while I lie on the couch and groan, complaining of the slight scratchy feeling in my throat. When I'm in pain I think about one thing: me. I don't care about others, I care about me. After all, I'm the one in pain, right? I'm the one with the headache, and when I have a headache the world needs to stop what it is doing and get me some Tylenol.

But Jesus isn't like me. As He hung upon the cross, with pain exploding through every one of His ripped nerves, He thought about others. In this passage we see the great caring heart of our Lord, who in the midst of agony took the time to care for both John and His mother.

Jesus looked down from the cross, and through blood that streamed into His eyes, saw His mother standing at the foot of the cross. Mary's eyes were probably stained with tears and her face was probably twisted in anguish as she saw her son having the life crushed out of him. As Jesus looked upon His mother He must have felt compassion for her. In the midst of death itself, Jesus felt deep compassion for His mother. When most people would only be aware of overpowering pain, Jesus' heart was moved with compassion. From the cross Jesus instructed John to care for Mary as if she was his mother, and He instructed Mary to care for John as a son.

What a compassionate Savior we serve! His heart beats today with the same compassion for you and me. When we are pain, He feels compassion. When we are caught in the darkness, He feels compassion. When it seems that all is lost, Jesus feel compassion. There is no one more compassionate than Jesus.

Today, let your heart be drawn upwards in thankfulness to your compassionate Savior. Take time to worship Him for His deep heart of compassion.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:24 AM 1 comments  

The Dying Trust The Dying

7/01/2007

"Remember, he [the thief on the cross] was crucified. It was a crucified man trusting in a crucified Christ. Oh, when our frame is racked with torture, when the tenderest nerves are pained, when our body is hung up to die by we know not what great length of torment, then to forget the present and live in the future is a grand achievement of faith! While dying, to turn your eye to another dying at your side and trust your soul with Him is very marvelous faith." - Charles Spurgeon, The Power of the Cross of Christ

What a stunning example of faith we find in this beaten and battered thief. When the thief looked upon Jesus, he saw a man who looked much like himself. He saw a man covered in blood, beaten beyond recognition, and groaning with the pangs of death. He saw a man who had been abused by Roman soldiers, mocked by the Pharisees, and deserted by His disciples. From external appearances, the thief had no reason to trust in Jesus.

Yet the thief recognized that Jesus was his only hope. The thief saw Jesus hanging from the cross, blood dripping from His brow, completely drained of all strength, and realized, "I need this man."

What an example of faith for us! We know the end of the story. Christ is risen. He has beaten death, triumphed over sin and the grave, and now reigns from His throne. Christ is on our side, eager to save those who come to Him, and eager to dispense grace to us in our time of need. In Christ is all power, all grace, all mercy, all kindness, and all strength. Why would we ever doubt our Savior? How can we not trust Him?

Let us be provoked by the dying thief who trust in the dying Savior. The thief trusted when all he could see was a dying Jesus. We know the living Jesus.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 3:15 PM 2 comments  

A Simple Plea

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." - Luke 23:39-43

Have you ever prayed a desperation prayer? You know the kind I'm talking about. You're at your wits end, and in desperation cry out to God, "God please help me!" In this passage we see that Jesus loves to answer desperation prayers, especially concerning salvation.

The penitent thief didn't appeal to Jesus for salvation using a well thought out prayer or fancy rhetoric. He didn't say, "Jesus, if it wouldst pleaseth thou, remember mine soul when entering into thy glorious kingdom." No, this was a ragged prayer, coming between gasps and gritted teeth. This was a prayer of anguish, uttered through screaming pain and the fog of mind that comes shortly before death. It was a prayer of desperation uttered by a desperate man.

Yet the Savior heard and responded to this desperate plea for help. The thief had absolutely nothing to offer Jesus. His life had been lived in the criminal underworld, and he had spent his days engaged in wickedness. But we have a Savior with a great heart of love. Jesus didn't reject the thief, nor did He rebuke the thief for his life of crime. Instead, Jesus promised the thief salvation. With His breath coming in painful gasps and blood pouring into His eyes, Jesus promises the thief a place in the kingdom of God.

We serve a God who loves to save desperate sinners. Who can measure such grace? Do you remember when He saved you? Do you remember when you uttered a prayer of desperation to Jesus?

As you go about your day, let your heart be drawn upward in thanksgiving to the God who answers desperate prayers.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 2:47 PM 1 comments  

With Me In Paradise

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." - Luke 23:39-43

The movie Transformers is coming out in a few days. As you probably know, the movie is about robots that can quickly change shape, changing from an innocent looking compact car one minute, to a laser-shooting robot the next. It's a quick change act of gigantic proportions.

But in this passage we see a change even more astonishing. We see a hardened criminal transformed into a trembling, penitent sinner in a matter of hours. We see a God-hater become a God-lover before our very eyes. The overwhelming regenerative power of the Holy Spirit is on full display in these few short verses, and we should be immensely encouraged by these words.

Christ was crucified between two thieves, and from the beginning both men were spitting curses at Him. They mocked Jesus, they cursed His name, and they dared Him to save Himself. These men were dead spiritually, and would soon be dead physically as well.

But something began to happen in one of the men. Perhaps it began with just the slightest inkling of remorse, just a twinge of guilt. Then he began to see things in a different light, as if with new eyes. God scraped the blindness from his eyes and allowed the thief to see Jesus for who He truly was: the Son of God dying for wicked men. Then, in an act of astonishing mercy, God granted the thief repentance. The thief had lived his entire life in full rebellion against God, and yet God saved Him. Isn't our God kind?

Do you remember when God scraped the blindness from your eyes? Do you remember when he gave you the gift of repentance? How can we not respond in gratefulness to such a kind God? We are no different than the thief upon the cross. We deserve hell, wrath, and infinite misery. Yet God spared us.

Jesus, why would You spare those who mocked and hated You? Let us see how high and how wide and how deep is your love.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 2:22 PM 0 comments  

A Little More Weekend Video Fun

Here's a little more video fun before we dive back into the serious stuff.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 2:15 PM 0 comments  

Ventriloquist

I'm a sucker for ventriloquists. Make sure you watch his final act on this video.

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 2:14 PM 0 comments  

Perhaps the Most Amazing Juggler Ever

This is absolutely astonishing

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 2:04 PM 0 comments