Friday, July 30, 2010

Living life in the light of the Kingdom to Come ...

How deep and solid is your faith, really?  Would you continue to trust God if doing so implied suffering or death for you or your loved ones?  Are you ready to walk the way of the Cross?  These are questions I ask myself as a sort of "ultimate test" of the state of my faith.

And, even though I know that God promises He will provide me with His presence and with the strength to face every trial I will encounter, and that He'll bring me safely home, I have to confess that I often ask myself how I could possibly face a life-or-death test like that when I fail so regularly on a day-to-day basis to put the priorities of the Kingdom of God above my own priorities.

But asking myself the question is a good discipline.  The question corrects me and encourages me to keep asking God for the faith to exercise in the small tests day to day, as the best way to prepare for possibly large "life-or-death" tests of faith in the future.

God grant that in the day of trial we may all be able to sincerely pray the prayer of Jim Elliott:

What is this, Lord Jesus, that Thou should'st make an end
Of all that I possess, and give Thyself to me?
So that there is nothing now to call my own
Save Thee; Thyself alone my treasure.
Taking all, Thou givest full measure of Thyself
With all things else eternal -
Things unlike the mouldy pelf by earth possessed.
But as to life and godliness, all things are mine,
And in God's garments dressed I am;
With Thee, an heir to riches in the spheres divine.
Strange, I say, that suffering loss,
I have so gained everything in getting
Me a friend Who bore a Cross.

Lord God, open my mind and heart to be willing to sacrifice all things for the sake of the Gospel.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How God's words and men's words are different ...

Jeremiah 23:25-29 came into my mind this morning:
"I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, 'I have dreamed, I have dreamed!' How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal? Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the LORD. Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?"
and also Hebrews 4:12
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account."
and Isaiah 55:10-11
"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."
God's Word is very different from the words of men. Men imagine and describe. God's Word embodies His power.

Lord, grant that we your people may not speak words of own own imagining, but rather that we may speak your Word faithfully. "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, oh Lord my Rock and my Redeemer."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

If the penalty of sin is paid by Jesus, then why do Christians die?

If you've ever engaged with the question of why Christians still have to die if Jesus paid the penalty of sin, the following post at The Gospel Coalition is interesting food for thought and discussion:

Interested in your thoughts ...

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Finitude of Man - D.A. Carson

I understand that matter can be changed
To energy; that maths can integrate
The complex quantum jumps that must relate
The fusion of the stars to history’s page.
I understand that God in every age
Is Lord of all; that matter can’t dictate;
That stars and quarks and all things intricate
Perform his word—including fool and sage.
But knowing God is not to know like God;
And science is a quest in infancy.
Still more: transcendence took on flesh and blood:
I do not understand how this can be.
The more my mind is stretched to understand,
The more it learns the finitude of man.

-- D.A. Carson

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Long Goodnight | Challies Dot Com

I was touched by the words of an old song posted by Tim Challies at his blog: The Long Goodnight | Challies Dot Com:

The song has been put to music by Matthew Smith of Indelible Grace (link to the album at Challies' blog above).

What a great testimony to the Christian attitude toward death and the life to come.

"I journey forth rejoicing
From this dark vale of tears,
To heavenly joy and freedom,
From earthly bonds and fears;
Where Christ our Lord shall gather
All His redeemed again,
His kingdom to inherit.
Goodnight, goodnight till then!

Why thus so sadly weeping,
Beloved ones of my heart?
The Lord is good and gracious,
Though now He bids us part.
Oft have we met in gladness.
And we shall meet again,
All sorrow left behind us.
Goodnight, goodnight till then!

I go to see His glory,
Whom we have loved below:
I go, the blessed angels,
The holy saints to know.
Our lovely ones departed,
I go to find again,
And wait for you to join us.
Goodnight, goodnight till then!

I hear the Saviour calling,
The joyful hour has come:
The angel guards are ready
To guide me to our home,
Where Christ our Lord shall gather
All His redeemed again,
His kingdom to inherit.
Goodnight, goodnight till then!"

Prayers from the Valley of Vision - Meeting God

A prayer from The Valley of Vision, a book of Puritan prayers and devotions from The Banner of Truth Trust:
Great God,

In public and private, in sanctuary and home,
may my life be steeped in prayer,
filled with the spirit of grace and supplication,
each prayer perfumed with the incense of atoning blood.

Help me, defend me, until from praying ground
I pass to the realm of unceasing praise.
Urged by my need,
invited by Thy promises,
called by Thy Spirit,
I enter Thy Presence,
worshiping Thee with godly fear,
awed by Thy majesty, greatness, glory,
but encouraged by Thy love.
I am all poverty as well as all guilt,
having nothing of my own with which to repay Thee,
But I bring Jesus to Thee in the arms of faith,
pleading His righteousness to offset my iniquities,
rejoicing that He will weigh down the scales for me,
and satisfy Thy justice.
I bless Thee that great sin draws out great grace,
that, although the least sin
deserves infinite punishment
because done against an infinite God,
yet there is mercy for me,
for where guilt is most terrible,
there Thy mercy in Christ is most free and deep.
Bless me by revealing to me more of His saving merits,
by causing Thy goodness to pass before me,
by speaking grace to my contrite heart;
Strengthen me to give Thee no rest until Christ
shall reign supreme within me,
in every thought, word, and deed,
in a faith that purifies the heart,
overcomes the world,
works by love,
fastens men to Thee,
and ever clings to the Cross.

On the philosophical foundations of the Progressive movement in the United States

I ran across this article in the National Review today.

The author contrasts the theory of natural rights and limited government that underlay the foundations of the United States' political system with the philosophies and theories which animated the people who lay the foundations of the Progressive movement during the 1890's.

More on my view of where these two philosophical systems coincide and deviate from a Christian worldview in a future post.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Excellent Yarbrough Response to Kenton Sparks Biologos Essay on Biblical Inerrancy

Recently, Kenton Sparks of Eastern University posted an essay on Biologos which attacks Biblical inerrancy and advocates that evangelical churches should accept that the Bible is a broken human document requiring redemption. He does this while claiming to be a creedal evangelical Christian!

In response, Robert Yarbrough of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School posted a wonderful critique in Themelios.

Here is the essay by Kenton Sparks:

And here is the response by Yarbrough:

For those of you who are interested, there is also an excellent piece by Kevin DeYoung posted at The Gospel Coalition blog:

Happy reading, and let us know what you think!