Category Archives: spirituality

Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 40)

Psalm 40

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I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

Blessed is the one
    who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
    to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, Lord my God,
    are the wonders you have done,
    the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
    were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
    but my ears you have opened—
    burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
    it is written about me in the scroll.
I desire to do your will, my God;
    your law is within my heart.”

I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
    I do not seal my lips, Lord,
    as you know.
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
    I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
    from the great assembly.

11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
    may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles without number surround me;
    my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
    and my heart fails within me.
13 Be pleased to save me, Lord;
    come quickly, Lord, to help me.

14 May all who want to take my life
    be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
    be turned back in disgrace.
15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
    be appalled at their own shame.
16 But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
    “The Lord is great!”

17 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
    may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    you are my God, do not delay.

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Posted by on September 27, 2016 in spirituality


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Response to Rob Bell on Soul Sunday with Oprah (Part 1)

Here’s the short video of Bell on Oprah’s “Soul Sunday.”

I asked for your thoughts.  Here are a few of mine.  I have been highly FirefoxScreenSnapz564critical of Bell since his book Love Wins came out a couple of years ago.  I believe his “spirituality” has veered far away from biblical Christianity and try to prove my case in my booklet Farewell, Rob Bell.

Here are a couple of notes I took on the questions Oprah asked Rob and the answers he gave:

Oprah:  The difference between religion and spirituality?  Bell: “Religion is people don’t want to go to hell; spirituality is people who’ve been to hell already.”
Oprah:  What’s one lesson that’s been the hardest for you to learn?  Bell:  “That’s there’s nothing to prove!  All we have to do is enjoy.”

Oprah:  What do you think happens when we die?  Bell:  “There’s a ton of [greeting] all these people.  Meeting my grandpa [is more exciting to me] than meeting God.”

Oprah:  What do you know for sure?  Bell:  “That you can say yes to this moment & experience a joy that can’t be put into words.”

FinderScreenSnapz046Oprah:  The world needs _____  Bell:  “All of us to wake up.”

Bell:  “I believe that we’re going to be fine.”

Oprah:  God is ________  Bell: “Love.  Stick to that one.”

Oprah:  My favorite thing to do on Sunday morning ________  Bell: “Going surfing with his 13 year old.”

KeynoteScreenSnapz111My thoughts on this short video:  I’m sure I don’t understand the arrangement between Rob Bell and Oprah for her Sunday morning show.  It appears that short interviews with him will be a semi-regular feature, sound bites which fit into Oprah’s approach to spirituality.

Part of me wants to be grateful that someone professing to be a follower of Jesus is actually having a regular audience with the billionaire woman who has impacted the spiritual perspective of millions of people.  A greater part of me grieves that he seems to be fitting in nicely with her New Age advocacy of “the All,” clearly rejecting the exclusive Good News of the Christian gospel.

The interview segments provide no opportunity for Bell to elaborate on what he means by “we’re going to be fine,” for example.  I believe Bell’s universalism (that all will eventually be saved) may well stand behind his comment, but I don’t know.   One could argue that Bell has “sold out” the gospel, refusing to speak clearly of Jesus to the one influential woman who needs to bow to the Lordship of Christ. (to be continued)


Posted by on May 16, 2014 in spirituality


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In our course, “The Integration of Theology and Psychology,” Dr. AllanKeynoteScreenSnapz003 McKechnie andI have been discussing the doctrine of salvation and its implications for counselors who are Christians.  One aspect of salvation is the continuing work of God the Holy Spirit in making us like Christ.  This doctrine is called SANCTIFICATION.  The word means “being set apart” or “being made holy.”

I believe I Timothy 4 presents us with ten very specific steps we may take to advance in our becoming like Christ.  Let’s look at that passage and continue investigating those ten steps.

I Timothy 4 says,

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

The FIRST STEP we saw in this text was simply:  PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU AVOID (v. 7)



Verse 8 issues the challenge “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”  When I was a teenager, my best friend Ronnie decided to become a body builder.  His parents were strong believers, and, as I recall, would sometimes quote to him this verse (but from the King James version).  His dad would say, “You know, Ronnie, the Bible says ‘bodily exercise profiteth little . . .”  My friend’s dad was actually misquoting the verse, because he left out the little world “a” (“bodily exercise profiteth a little . . .”).  The text is really saying, there is some profit in physical exercise, but Timothy should give his primary attention to training himself to be godly.

My wife of 41 years has really gotten into physical exercise over the last year.  At the ripe age of ___ (you didn’t really think I was going to tell you, did you?), she “spins” four or five days a week.  Spinning is riding a stationary bike going nowhere.  Her spinning class meets from 6-7 AM!  I admire her for her commitment to this exercise group.  But — and here’s my point — she gets up at 4:30 AM to have her quiet time with the Lord every day before she gets on that bike to nowhere.  That’s a commitment to something that will outlast this world!


1.  What kind of physical exercise are you involved in?

2.  What kind of spiritual exercises are you practicing — and how have they helped you in daily life?

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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in spirituality


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