For 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 or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Romans 1:18-21 (ESV)

Today I am thankful that our nation, as dark as it may sometimes seem, honors the tradition of giving thanks. To be thankful is an attribute that is distinctly Christian. To give thanks is to recognize something or someone outside of yourself. To give thanks is to give honor, recognition and glory to someone outside of yourself. The world says, “look at me! I am owed! It is my right! I am the victim! I did this!” Ungratefulness is one of the main qualities listed in the passage above which leads to judgment and the wrath of God. This just judgment is evident in futile thinking and foolish, darkened hearts that say, “there is no god.” Today, I thank the Father in heaven who bestows onto His children “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” through His son, Jesus Christ. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father! Give Him thanks and let your thinking dwell on His glory today. Let your hearts shine with the light of His glory today, for He alone is worthy of praise.

The Life You've Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary PeopleThe Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People by John Ortberg
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I really did not like this book much at all. There were a couple of redeeming chapters, particularly the one about the discipline of celebration, taking time to celebrate God’s blessings in our lives. Aside from those couple of bright spots, though, I found it to be extremely “seeker-sensitive” (whatever that means) and self-help oriented. When I think about spiritual disciplines, the first thing that comes to my mind is a proper intake of the Word of God, but Ortberg spends little time discussing this and only about halfway through the book.

Theologically, I had several problems with the book. Ortberg seems to operate under the assumption that God is just begging and waiting for people to respond to him. He even uses Moses and the burning bush to illustrate that, his point being that, just as Moses could have walked by and ignored God, we too can ignore God and just keep going about our lives our own way. I believe in a sovereign God and that it was always God’s plan to uses Moses. He sprinkles this type of thinking throughout.

Finally, my biggest concern was the chapter on hearing from God. He seems to hold to the charismatic belief that we should try to train ourselves to hear the “still small voice” from God. I won’t go into an argument against that. If you are charismatic, then you’ll probably love the book. Regardless, he mentions at the very end of that particular chapter that there are dangers in attempting to hear God in this way… but then he just walks off and leaves the door wide open.

If you are truly looking for a book on spiritual disciplines, then I would highly recommend Donald S. Whitney’s book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. I would liken Whitney’s work to a fine cut gem, in the same way that Ortberg’s would be a dirt clod.

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The reputation of Christ and the beauty of the Gospel is far more glorious and worth fighting for than those momentary things that the enemy wants to leverage to disqualify those that God is leveraging for leadership within the body of Christ.

— D.A. Horton

Since the State is the most visibly powerful human institution, atheism removes a concept of some higher court of appeal beyond the State. The State becomes “divine” by default – the highest court of appeal, the highest moral authority. Not every atheist is a statist. But where atheism predominates, the State steadily encroaches on men’s freedom, for they are left with no higher authority to appeal to or to provide them with the moral justification for resistance to tyranny. Where the fear of God is absent, the fear of the State is a convenient and universal substitute.

— Gary North. Unconditional Surrender: God’s Program for Victory. Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1988. 21. Print.