Friday, 20 November 2009

Secret Faults again!

I love reading John Newton's letters and learning form them. He had great self awareness as a Christian, but also a great trust in Christ-so that his self knowledge did not paralyse him.

'I sometimes compare my words to the treble of an instrument, which my thoughts accompany with a kind of bass, or rather anti-bass, in which every rule of harmony is broken, every possible combination of discord and confusion in introduced, utterly inconsistent with, and contrdictory to the intended melody....By men theupper part only is heard; and small cause there is for self-congratulation, if they should happen to comment, when conscience tells me they would be struck with astonioshment and abhorence could they hear the whole'

At the end that particular letter, 'But though my disease is greivous, it is not desparate; I have a gracious and infallable Physician'.

Great!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Secret Faults

'Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults' Psalm 19.12 (KJV)

According to Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian from New York City, it's the secret faults, or 'hidden' sins which most screw us up. Recurring patterns of thought and behviour that may be all to evident to others but from which we are non-blissfully unaware. He came came up with the expression the sin under the sin, as a a very helpful way of identifying what really lies beneath our conduct and why we do, say and think what we do. Our 'secret' sins in other words reveal our hearts.

So how do we get at them and identify them and ultimately get free of them? From this Psalm I think we begin by acknowledging that they exist and pray that God would begin the work of cleansing to free us from them. It's a lifetime's affair and painful in the process-but not something we tackle on our own. We need the community of fellow believers to help us and the help of the God our rock and our redeemer (Psalm 19.14), and we need a willingness to engage in the process, a great place to start is Tim Keller's book Counterfeit Gods

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Warning

Psalm 19 has an apparent abrupt transition from encouraging us all to see the 'grandeur of God in the heavens' to recognising that seeing God in nature is only partial and can even be misleading-just like communicating without words can be. At a recent karting day for a few of us guys my team kept waving in one of our members for a change over-he claims that we were waving him on and so just kept going!

So verses 7-11 tells us that to really know God (and indeed to know ourselves) we need the 'law of the Lord'-in other words we need the words of scripture, the Bible. It's a beautiful little passage and I just want to mention one aspect of scripture now-the ability it has to 'warn' us ("by them is your servant warned" V11). The Bible gives us a certain ability to foresee the future or rather the consequences of words and actions now for the future.

I was reminded of this whilst watching an extraordinary film made by a school in Wales to emphasize the dangers of texting whilst driving-it's up on the BBC website now-watch it and weep.

Don't lose the shock!

I was talking to a patient this week who has worked in very senior positions in a number of companies. We were discussing how new employ...