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Showing posts from May, 2007

Are there two wills in God?

1 Timothy 2:3-4 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Some have seen two wills of God in this verse: 1) A determinative will; namely, what God sovereignly determines what will happen and 2) A desirous will; namely, what God wishes or wants to happen. For example, God wants (desirous will) all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth, but God's sovereignly determines (determinative will) that only a few be saved. Here is what Piper notes at the end of his book, The Pleasures of God : " My aim in this appendix has simply been to show that God's will for all people to be saved is NOT at odds with the sovereignty of God's grace in election. There are "two wills in God" when it comes to salvation. They do NOT contradict. They are ordered according to God's infinite wisdom and one holds sway over the other when it is fitting in God's unfathom

Do You Commune With God - Do You Even Know How?

Martin Luther was one man who knew how to pray. I read Dr. Archie Parrish's book yesterday entitled A Simple Way to Pray: Life and Wisdom of Luther for Today . It was a very simple read, yet a very convicting, encouraging and challenging one. When I finished the book, I had a greater passion for prayer and for communion with God than I did beforehand. I would like to highlight just a few parts of the first section of the book for you in hopes that you may find great encouragement and lasting joy in your prayer life with the Living God. Frederick Hieler declares of Luther, " After Jeremiah, Jesus, and Paul, the German reformer is indeed the most powerful among the eminent men who had a genius for prayer " (15). Did you know that historical records show that Luther prayed for four hours each day ? Helmut Thieliche wrote, " Luther prayed this much, not despite his busy life, but because only so he could accomplish his gigantic work without praying and witho

The Old is Obsolete, The New is Inaugurated

In my theology class today we were discussing how the Mosaic Law is no longer active in the life of the New Testament saint. The Apostle Paul testified to this truth in his own life with many Scriptures showing that he is not bound by this Mosaic Law. In studying this section, I came across this quote by Arnold Frauchtenbaum in his massive tome, Israelology where he notes: "The Law of Moses was based on the conditional Mosaic Covenant and so the motivation was: do, in order to be blessed. The law of Christ is based on the unconditional New Covenant and so the motivation is: you have been and are blessed, therefore do” ( Frauchtenbaum , Israelology , 641). When I read this, I gave a hearty "Amen" in my soul/spirit. Any comments? Agree? Disagree?

Great Gain in the Christian Life

1 Timothy 6:5-6 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. 6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. It is here that in verse five, Paul introduces the topic of the opponents' greed. Then in vv.6-10, Paul enlarges his discussion which is the second paragraph in this section. Godliness is of great value if it is accompanied by contentment. This means realizing that people will die as they were born: without any material goods . So then the question is begged: "Is it not then irrational for them to pursue wealth?" The answer is that the godliness that the opponents pursued was not one of contentment. Rather, they wanted to be rich, and because of their desire they fell into snares that issued in their destruction. Commentator, William Mounce notes that, " This is one of the most powerful condemnations in Scripture of the destructive lure of pos

Behold the King!

1 Timothy 1:17 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. It is here in this glorious doxology that the Apostle Paul breaks forth in a shout of jubilant praise and worship exalting the royal sovereignty of God. Pastor/Teacher David Guzik says, " Paul could not think of how bad he was, and how great the salvation of God was, and how great the love of God was, without simply breaking into spontaneous praise." First of all, Paul notes that we serve the King . He is the reigning ruler. Everything is in subjection to Him. There is nothing that has ever escaped the reigning sovereignty of God. God is in control. He is the wise and omniscient Ruler. The God we serve is eternal - that is, he endures through the ages. He rules and reigns in complete power and glory ( Guzik ). God also is immortal - that is, that he cannot die. He is the ever-lasting Living God. He is the God who has existed from all eternity past and

Mr and Mrs Geoffrey Kirkland

So I take it that no one cares about my posts except if they are about that telling me something? :=) Well, anyway, here are some pictures of our wonderful honeymoon in Mexico. When you arrive to a city called Tulum that looks like this, how can it not be a wonderful time: Most of our days consisted of just hanging on the beach enjoying some reading, talking, eating and the like: It is rough when you have to have a nice breakfast with a big pot of coffee on your table overlooking the ocean as you have prayer and a quiet time with your wife! Furthermore, our resort had activities going on throughout the day, one of which was beach volleyball. I know, I know...sounds rough. But I sure had a great time. Believe it or not, my wife is actually really good at volleyball. She is very aggressive :=) We also enjoyed 5 wonderful restaurants on the resort property in Tulum - French, Italian, Japanese, World Cafe and a Mexican. We ate like kings...literally. We would get all dresse

Conviction 101

Andrew Bonar (a good friend of Robert Murray M'Cheyne) said this: “Tried this morning specially to pray against idols in the shape of my books and studies. These encroach upon my direct communion with God, and need to be watched” (Andrew Bonar - Saturday, September 17, 1850). This impacted me in many ways this morning...

The Love of God is Mighty

This morning as I began my prayer time I meditated on Psalm 117. This is the shortest of the Psalms in the book. Furthermore, it is the shortest chapter in all the Bible. Psalm 117:1-2 Praise the LORD, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples! 2 For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise the LORD! There are many interesting features of this Psalm, but I only want to bring out one nuance for our meditation this morning. In verse two, the Psalmist notes that " His [God's] Lovingkindness is great toward us ." Two things: 1) The Lovingkindness here is the chesed - the loyal, steadfast, covenant-keeping love of God for his people. This word encapsulates the idea that God is faithful to keep all of his covenants. 2) His love is great toward us. The verb great is gavar . The noun form (gibor) is often used in the OT as referring to a military warrior or some sort of strong man. This is interesting. The psalmist notes that the loyal

The Expository Genius of John Calvin

I will resume to my study in 1 Timothy in coming days, but I want to blog about something that has been on my heart for quite some time and it was inflamed once again upon reading this excellent little work by my hero, Steve Lawson, The Expository Genius of John Calvin . In this book, Lawson gives a brief biography of Calvin in the first chapter. But the entire rest of the work is devoted to observing Calvin's ways of preaching and heralding the Word of God. One thing I now know for sure. Calvin was an absolute believer in the sufficiency of Scripture. I want to post a few quotes from the book. Hopefully it will be an encouragement and challenge to your soul as it was to my own. " Calvin's deeply embedded convictions about the supreme authority of the Bible demanded an elevated view of the pulpit. He believed the pulpit must be primary in the life of the church because Scripture is sovereign over the lives of the people" (24). " As a result [of holding to '

Service and Equipment for God. You Ready To Go?

This was a prayer in a puritan prayer book that I have and it expresses my heart as I approach marriage in a few days and a life of serving the Lord in full-time ministry - if that be His will. Here is the prayer: Thou God of my end, Thou hast given me a fixed disposition to go forth and spend my life for thee; If it be thy will let me proceed in it; if not, then revoke my intentions. All I want in life is such circumstances As may best enable me to serve Thee in the world; To this end I leave all my concerns in thy hand, But let me not be discouraged, For this hinders my spiritual fervency; Enable me to undertake some task for thee, For this refreshes and animates my soul, So that I could endure all hardships and labours, And willingly suffer for thy name. But, O what a death it is to strive and labour, To be always in a hurry and yet do nothing! Alas, time flies and I am of little use. O that I could be a flame of fire in thy service, Always burning out in one continual blaze. Fit me

I hope this doesn't happen at the wedding on Saturday...

This is an absolutely hilarious video that I found. The groom was...well, let's just say, a little excited to get married. It is worth the 1 minute and 21 seconds :=) Elizabeth, if it happens...I love you :=) Watch it HERE

The Reality of the Unsaved in Hell

In his excellent and biblical work, Hell on Trial , Dr. Robert Peterson has this quote that I want us to think on this morning: " Shockingly, the wicked are happier in hell than they would be in heaven because 'the unsubmissive, rebellious, defiant, and impenitent spirit prefers hell to heaven" ( Peterson, Hell on Trial , 133). Along these same lines, I was teaching my youth group last week on eschatology (that is, the end times) and uttered this line: "It would be an extreme injustice to take an unbeliever to heaven, because he would be miserable for eternity. Christ is there, and he hates Christ." (Professor John Hannah speaking of Jonathan Edwards and his view of hell). Do we consider the absolute glory of God as revealed both in heaven and in hell? May this sobering reality of the eternal damnation, punishment, pain and torment be ever in the forefront of our minds so that we are more aggressive in evangelism .

My Latest and Newest Hero

He's a good one, Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843) was a man passionate for preaching the Word, for holy living and for the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. Listen to this Song of Zion as written by McCheyne from the foot of Mt. Carmel in 1839: "Beneath Moriah's rocky side, A gentle fountain springs, Silent and soft its waters glide, Like the peace the Spirit brings." The thirsty Arab stoops to drink Of the cool and quiet wave, And the thirsty spirit stops to think Of Him who came to save. Siloam is the fountain's name, It means one sent from God' —And thus the holy Saviour's fame It gently spreads abroad." Oh! grant that I, like this sweet well, May Jesus' image bear, And spend my life, my all, to tell How full his mercies are." May we all have a passion for the image of God as being evidenced by the way each of us live . To God be the Glory!

YOU MUST KNOW that Hell is Real

I finished last night an eight-week course that I entitled Basic Bible Introduction with my youth group at church. As I was concluding last night with eschatology (that is, the end times ), I got to the part on heaven and hell and thought to myself, " If we as Christians really understood the TORMENTS of hell, we would (1) act much different and (2) we would evangelize a lot more ." So, I would like to post just a few quotes that I included in my class syllabus and gave to the youth. The first two are from Jonathan Edwards and the last one is a quote from Dr. Robert Peterson: “Natural men are held in the hand of God over the pit of hell; they have deserved the fiery pit, and are already sentenced to it; and God is dreadfully provoked, his anger is as great towards them as to those that are actually suffering the executions of the fierceness of his wrath in hell, and they have done nothing in the least to appease or abate that anger, neither is God in the least bound by an

Do Not Do This...

These were actually found in church bulletins . I call them Bulletin Church Bloopers : "Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community. Or... The eighth graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the church basement Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy. And... Thursday night Potluck Supper. Prayer and medication to follow." Or how about this one... "Weight Watchers will meet at 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance." Be sure to proofread those bulletins now... "Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa will be speaking tonight at Calvary Memorial Church in Racine. Come tonight and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa." I hope this is never said of me when I'm absent from my pulpit... "During the absence of our Pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit." One more... &

1 Timothy 5

It is here that Paul speaks to the church to declare to them that the teaching and preaching elder is worthy of double honor. It is clear from the context that this is speaking in terms of money, and not simply just "respect ." 1 Timothy 5:17-20 18 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages." It is amazing that some churches pay their preachers so little because they think that "it is just supposed to be that way for a pastor/teacher. Here are a few helpful guidelines in determining a pastor's salary (I derived these three principles from Dr. Bob Somerville at TMC): 1) Each congregation must arrive at a way that is just and fair of determining how they can arrive at a salary scale that will allow their pastor to share in all the good things in wh

In Honor of my Love

I want to post a few pics of my beautiful fiance. We only have about a week or so till the wedding. Things are crazy - but things were crazy in my life even when there were no wedding plans, but the Lord has been good. I have the best fiance ever. You better watch out though - she can play a mean came of "UNO" - but don't worry, I can still beat her :=) She's cute huh? This is when we went to Griffith Park for a picnic. She took me to Costco to get a hot dog cause she won't make them for me. She says they are too "unhealthy." I mean seriously...who doesn't like "HOT DOGS"?

Loving the Widows

Paul's treatment of the widow's is the most extensive treatment on one issue in the whole book of 1 Timothy. Some of the active feminist advocates cling to this chapter to say that the women must play a more "up front" role in the church than what Paul previously stated in 1 Timothy 2:12-15. It is in this section that Paul goes into detail to show what genuinely makes one a widow. And he continues by showing that the church must love and care for those who are really widows. However, young and wealthy widows are not to be supported (financially, that is) from the church, but were rather to reenter an appropriate marriage. In the case of other needy widows, the bottom line again appears to be Paul's insistence that the church step into the gap where the "anamalous situation" (a widow without kin) truly existed (cf. Towner, Letters of Timothy and Titus, 336). The bottom line: 1 Timothy 5:8 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially f

Are you SURE you are saved?

In his book, The New Covenant Ministry of the Holy Spirit , Dr. Larry Pettegrew (one of my profs at The Master's Seminary) said something that really grabbed my attention this morning and it is worthy of a blog: READ IT CAREFULLY AND THOUGHTFULLY : " Of course, all Christians need to read the Scripture, pray, and worship God regularly. But such acts still fall short of the demands of genuine spirituality ...." walking in the Spirit" emphasizes that we must yield to the direction of our Lord through the Spirit moment by moment. Almost every minute of our days is fraught with a conscious or subconscious battle as the flesh wars against the Spirit. Will our thought life be pure and clean? Will our attitudes be spiritual or fleshly? Will our actions be in agreement with biblical teachings? Will our decisions follow the guidelines of biblical ethics? Will our intellectual powers be biblically or secularly controlled? Will we treat our fellow human beings in a Christlike

Godly Respect in the Church

What we are called to here in the first few verses is to respect others in the church, that is, the local assembly of believers. This is what Paul writes: 1 Timothy 5:1-2 Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, 2 the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity. Paul begins by commanding young Timothy not to sharply "rebuke" an elder. The word for rebuke is epiplesso which means to "strike at," "to rebuke sharply." The root from which this word is derived is also found in Revelation eight during the events of the Tribulation: Revelation 8:12 12 And the fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were smitten (plesso), so that a third of them might be darkened and the day might not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way. It is in this kind of hard, stern, smiting way that young Pastor Timothy is t