Friday, December 31, 2010
Teach me to behold my creator, His ability to save, His arms outstretched, His heart big for me.
May I confide in His power and love, Commit my soul to Him without reserve, Bear His image, observe His laws, pursue His service, And be through time and eternity A monument to the efficacy of His grace, A trophy of His victory.
I love these Puritan prayers. They reveal the bigness of God, the heinousness of sin, and commitment to holiness. I long that I may pray more in this fashion and that other pastors may model this kind of prayer for the people in the churches.
Let us remember what this Puritan prayed:
1. Work repentance in my soul (again!),
2. Represent sin in all its odious colours that I may hate (yes hate) it,
3. Teach me to behold my great God and Creator,
4. Cause me to confide in His power and love
5. Make me a trophy of His grace and of His victory.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
"When one makes an Old Testament story the base text for a message, the theme of the message should derive from that text, not somewhere else. Though purporting to explain what an Old Testament story means, a preacher will sometimes ignore the point of the story in its original literary setting and instead impose an entirely different theme upon it. . . . To be truly biblical we need to be faithful to the text's literary context" (Robert B. Chisholm, From Exegesis to Exposition: A Practical Guide to Using Biblical Hebrew [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998], 222-23).
Monday, December 27, 2010
1. study and take my theological german exam,
2. write some articles on the missing feature in the church today, namely, the gospel,
3. preach Ephesians 6.10-20 part 3 on the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God,
4. preach Psalm 87: glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion city of our God,
5. take one of our singers at church out to dinner at a historic restaurant in downtown LA,
6. finish reading through the gospel of John and the book of Revelation before Jan 1, 2011,
7. continue reading (in advance) for my 2 PhD classes this Fall (OT hermeneutics and exegetical method and NT backgrounds),
8. most importantly, take my wife and son out for our family date where we can get *cheap* dinner and Monday-night football at at the same time!
Doable? Only with God's amazing grace.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
And in conclusion . . .
The Bible does not depend on archaeology for its authority. It is authoritative because God is the author. But archaeology can help interpret, illuminate, and validate God’s Word. It’s encouraging to know archaeological discoveries support biblical facts.
The Lord answered that a few days ago when I talked on the phone with a man who was just released from prison. He grew up in the church; he knows about 'God' and Jesus but the gospel most definitely has not gripped his heart.
So I had an opportunity to talk on the phone with him for about 5 minutes. God gave me the words to say and provided a blessed opportunity to present the entire gospel to this young man and "command" (*note I didn't invite*) him to turn from his wicked ways that would only lead him to the Lake of Fire (which I said) and to turn in saving faith and repentance to Christ who is eternally satisfying and abundantly loving toward those who repent.
Yes, God does answer prayer. I shared the gospel with someone this Christmas season! Now I've been praying that God would penetrate his hard heart and that the gospel would convict him of his sins so that he would believe in Christ and be saved.
And yes, I believe that God does answer prayer.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
by RC Sproul Jr.
That there is a deep and profound chasm that separates believing in the total depravity of man and our own understanding of the depth and scope of our own sin is a potent sign of the depth and scope of our own sin. “Total depravity” is a true and sound biblical doctrine about how the fall has impacted mankind. We are sinful in every part of our being and utterly unable, precisely because we are unwilling, to embrace the work of Christ on our behalf unless He changes us first. Because we are totally depraved, however, we see this as a doctrine about man, rather than an actual self-description. We distinguish between the problems of “man” and our own problems. It is safe to speak ill of man, but dangerous and sad business to look too closely into our own hearts of darkness. So instead we think ourselves as partaking in a general sense of this depravity thing, but see it manifest in our own lives in nice, clean ways. We have a high view of God’s holiness, of His law, and so confess with all due piety that we are sinners indeed, rebels against the living God, in a nice, clean, abstract sort of way.
The living God, however, has a far more accurate and potent picture of what we are. We are whores. We are shameless, self-degrading, crass and crude. We throw ourselves at strangers, selling our dignity for cash. Worse still, after He has redeemed us, washed us, even married us, we go back for more. We turn tricks before the all seeing eyes of a Husband who suffered hell for us. Again He comes and washes us. He holds us. He confesses His love for us. He promises He will never leave us. He makes us new again.
But because we are still proud, we parade around in the beautiful gown with which He has covered us, suggesting that it surely had a few spots, a wrinkle or two on it before He found us. But they were nice, respectable spots and wrinkles. What we should be confessing that it was once stained through with our whoredom. The joy of the Lord is not that He took we who were mostly clean and made us wholly clean. The joy of the Lord isn’t that because He worked in us no one needs to know our former shame. The joy of the Lord is that while we were out walking the streets He came for us. While others paid to pollute us, He paid to redeem us.
Our Father told us a story so that we would know what we are. He gave us a prophet, Hosea. And we, sinners that we are, instead of confessing to being Gomer, thought He was telling us to be more like Hosea. “Oh,” we humbly confess, “we should be so much more compassionate towards the really bad people. Please forgive us for not being more loving toward the unseemly ones of this world.” The truth is He is confessing that we are the unseemly ones. That’s what we are, the people Jesus died for and married, the people adopted and loved of the Father, the people indwelt and being cleansed by the Spirit- God in three persons, consorting with such as we.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Tuesday — Ephesians 6:10-20 - the armor of God, part 2
Wednesday — Psalm 86 - praying through the hard and suffering seasons of life
Sunday — Revelation 2:12-17 - the church of Pergamum...the compromising church
Psalm 19:10-14 — 10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward. 12 Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. 13 Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:11-15 (10-14, Eng)
הַֽנֶּחֱמָדִ֗ים מִ֭זָּהָב וּמִפַּ֣ז רָ֑ב וּמְתוּקִ֥ים מִ֝דְּבַ֗ש וְנֹ֣פֶת צוּפִֽים׃
12 גַּֽם־עַ֭בְדְּךָ נִזְהָ֣ר בָּהֶ֑ם בְּ֝שָׁמְרָ֗ם עֵ֣קֶב רָֽב׃
13 שְׁגִיאֹ֥ות מִֽי־יָבִ֑ין מִֽנִּסְתָּרֹ֥ות נַקֵּֽנִי׃
14 גַּ֤ם מִזֵּדִ֨ים׀ חֲשֹׂ֬ךְ עַבְדֶּ֗ךָ אַֽל־יִמְשְׁלוּ־בִ֣י אָ֣ז אֵיתָ֑ם וְ֝נִקֵּ֗יתִי מִפֶּ֥שַֽׁע רָֽב׃
15 יִֽהְי֥וּ לְרָצֹ֨ון׀ אִמְרֵי־פִ֡י וְהֶגְיֹ֣ון לִבִּ֣י לְפָנֶ֑יךָ יְ֝הוָ֗ה צוּרִ֥י וְגֹאֲלִֽי׃
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Note this essential piece of the armor:
Eph 6:13 ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν θώρακα τῆς δικαιοσύνης.
Eph 6:13 ...by putting on the breastplate of righteousness.
The church today is often guilty of supplying believers with the paper armor of good advice, programs, activities, techniques, and methods — when what they need is godly armor of holy living. No program, method, or technique can bring wholeness and happiness to the believer who in unwilling to confront and forsake his sin.I couldn't agree more.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
A profound apprehension of God in His majesty, with the poignant realization which inevitably accompanies this apprehension, of the relation sustained to God by the creature as such, and particularly by the sinful creature. The Calvinist is the man who has seen God, and who, having seen God in His glory, is filled on the one hand with a sense of his own unworthiness to stand in God's sight as a creature, and much more as a sinner, and on the other hand, with adoring wonder that nevertheless this God is a God who receives sinners. He who believes in God without reserve and is determined that God shall be God to him in all his thinking, feeling and willing—in the entire compass of his life activities, intellectual, moral and spiritual—throughout all his individual social and religious relations, is, by force of that strictest of all logic which presides over the outworking of principles into thought and life, by the very necessity of the case, a Calvinist.Just fabulous! I praise the LORD for His receiving of me for salvation through Jesus Christ my Righteous One!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
1. the preaching of the Word of God
2. the regeneration by the Spirit of God
3. the evangelization by the regenerate of God
If one studies Church history he finds that God has often brought revivals at certain points of history when His Word was faithfully and fearlessly proclaimed. Through the preaching of His Word, then, He saved and regenerated sinners so that they then take that gospel message and faithfully evangelize and share the gospel with others.
Oh how we need a revival today. But we can't expect revival until these three key elements are in place.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Public prayer is no evidence of piety: it is practiced by an abundance of hypocrites; but private prayer is a thing for which the hypocrite has no heart — and if he gives himself to it for a little time he soon finds it too hot and heavy a business for his soulless soul to persevere in, and he lets it drop. He will sooner perish than continue in private prayer. O for heart searchings about this! Do I draw near to God alone? Do I pray when no eye sees, when no ear hears? Do I make a conscience of private prayer? Is it a delight to pray? For I may gather that if I never enjoy private prayer I am one of those hypocrites who will not always call upon God.
— Charles Spurgeon
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
If I have learned anything in 35 or 40 years of teaching, it is that students don’t learn everything I teach them. What they learn is what I am excited about, the kinds of things I emphasize again and again and again and again. That had better be the gospel.
If the gospel—even when you are orthodox—becomes something which you primarily assume, but what you are excited about is what you are doing in some sort of social reconstruction, you will be teaching the people that you influence that the gospel really isn’t all that important. You won’t be saying that—you won’t even mean that—but that’s what you will be teaching. And then you are only half a generation away from losing the gospel.
Make sure that in your own practice and excitement, what you talk about, what you think about, what you pray over, what you exude confidence over, joy over, what you are enthusiastic about is Jesus, the gospel, the cross. And out of that framework, by all means, let the transformed life flow.
1. Is God's Word being proclaimed there?
2. Is God's worship being pursued there?
3. Is God's will being practiced there?
4. Is God's work being performed there?
Healthy reminders for those who are in need of finding a church-home.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
"Through faith you are so closely united with Christ . . . that you can say with confidence: . . . Christ's righteousness, victory, life, etc., are mind; and Christ, in turn, says: I am this sinner, that is, his sins, death, etc., are Mine because he clings to Me and I to him; for through faith we have been joined together into one flesh and bone" (quoted in Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, 336).
Friday, December 3, 2010
O God the Holy Spirit,
That which I know not, teach thou me,
Keep me a humble disciple in the school of Christ,
Learning daily there what I am in myself,
a fallen sinful creature, justly deserving everlasting destruction.
O let me never lose sight of my need of a Saviour,
or forget that apart from him I can do nothing, and can do nothing.
Open my understanding to know the Holy Scriptures;
Reveal to my soul the counsels and works of the blessed Trinity;
Instill into my dark mind the saving knowledge of Jesus;
Make me acquainted with his covenant undertakings
and his perfect fulfillment of them,
that by resting on his finished work
I may find the Father's love in the Son,
His Father, my Father,
and may be brought through thy influence
to have fellowship with the Three in One.
O lead me into all truth, thou Spirit of wisdom and revelation,
That I may know the things that belong unto my peace,
and through thee be made anew.
Make practical upon my heart the Father's love
as thou hast revealed it in the Scriptures;
Apply to my soul the blood of Christ, effectually, continually,
and help me to believe, with conscience comforted,
that it cleanseth from all sin;
Lead me from faith to faith,
that i may at all times have freedom to come to a reconciled Father,
and may be able to maintain peace with him
against doubts, fears, corruptions, temptations.
Thy office is to teach me to draw near to Christ with a pure heart,
steadfastly persuaded of his love,
in the full assurance of faith.
Let me never falter in this way.
I don't know about you but my heart is stirred.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
O God, do not remain quiet; Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still.
אֱלֹהִ֥ים אַל־דֳּמִי־לָ֑ךְ אַל־תֶּחֱרַ֖שׁ וְאַל־תִּשְׁקֹ֣ט אֵֽל׃
Believers often struggle with the idea of God seeming to be silent. Why is this? In the 17th c. a man named Gualter Cradock gives three helpful reasons why God seems to be silent.
First, The Lord keeps silent to try the faith of the believers. The Lord will not suffer his people to be overwhelmed, that is certain, but he will suffer them to come very near, that the waves cover them, and fear and horror shall cover their souls, and all to try and test their faith.
Second, the Lord keeps silence in the midst of the troubles of his people to try men's uprightness and discover who will stick to God, and his cause, and his people, out of uprightness of heart. Sometimes God leaves his cause, and leaves his people, and his ordinances to the wide world, to see who will plead for it and stick to it.
Third, God keeps silence in the midst of the greatest troubles, so that he may gather the wicked into one bundle so that they may be destroyed together. God may withdraw himself from his people (in seeming absence only) yet he hath a hook within the hearts of His people and he holds them up secretly by His Spirit, that they shall not leave him. Yet the world shall not see but that God hath quite left them, and all their ordinances and his gospel and everything, and then the wicked come together and insult, whereby God may come upon them at once, and destroy them, as we find exemplified in this psalm (=Ps 83).
I think this is good theocentric wisdom.