Friday, October 29, 2010

Christian, these words stirred my heart this morning—

"How long will you love vanity?" Psalm 4:2

The Lord is often represented in His word as expostulating with us. He manifests the deepest interest, shows intense pity, and uses many means to draw us back from the vortex of ruin.

But man, thoughtless man, silly man--rushes on his way, trifles with his soul, and plays on the brink of the most dreadful precipice! He is in love with his sin--and therefore in love with his own destruction! But God does not abandon him to despair--but touchingly, tenderly, lovingly--He expostulates with him and asks, "How long will you love vanity?"

Man by nature sets his heart upon what is vain and worthless--that which is not suited to, or required by, his immortal nature. Vanity represents that which is light, changeable, and of brief duration. Man displays his love of vanity . . .
by preferring human friendship--to God's friendship,
by thinking much more of the creature--than the Creator;
by preferring earthly riches--to heavenly felicities;
by preferring carnal pleasures--to spiritual delights!

Nor only so--but he manifests his foolishness by indulging in sin--the worst of vanities!

Look at the profane swearer, the drunkard, the glutton, the proud, the lover of pleasure. They are in love with vanity! They imagine that they shall have pleasure and enjoy happiness--but they never ponder the questions, "What shall it profit a man--if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

God asks the lover of vanity, "How Long!" "How long will you love vanity?" You have been doing so for years. Some for twenty, some for forty, and some for sixty years! You have manifested love to vanity--though warned, though convinced you were doing wrong, though you have often promised to reform. You are still loving vanity . . .
though mortality is at work within you,
though death is very near to you,
though eternity is within a step of you,
though hell is ready to receive you!

You persevere in loving vanity . . .
while a pardon is presented to you,
while peace with God may be enjoyed by you,
while holiness may be obtained by you, and
while heaven is within your reach!

How long will you love vanity?
Until some affliction unfits you to seek the world?
Until God's Spirit no longer strives with you?
Until Satan fills your heart?
Until God laughs at your calamity?
Until some sudden stroke takes you away to hell?

How long?

Let your past foolishness suffice, and now, while the door of mercy is open, enter!

Now, while the way of escape is clear--flee for your life!

No one ever came too soon--thousands have delayed too long! No one ever regretted that he was saved too early--millions have cursed their folly that they were not saved at all! Myriads wish that they had never been born--because they persevered in such folly. Beware then, beware--lest you rue your folly too late! Love vanity no longer!

From Grace Gems.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I love how Asaph puts it into words:

Psalm 78:1-8 Listen, O my people, to my instruction; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, 3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. 4 We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. 5 For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children, 6 That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children, 7 That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments, 8 And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God.

Calvin comments:
"In the passage before us, however, a particular injunction is given to the fathers on this point — each of them is enjoined diligently to instruct his own children, and all without distinction are taught, that their exertions in transmitting the name of God to their posterity will be most acceptable to Him, and receive his highest approbation. By the words, That the children to be born should arise, is not denoted a small number of individuals; but it is intimated, that the preachers of divine truth, by whose efforts pure religion may flourish and prevail for ever, will be as numerous as those who are born into the world" (Psalms, Part III, 165).

Also peruse the great comments by my mentor and friend, Dr. Varner.
FoxNews resported the following clip: China rolled out its fastest train yet on Tuesday, one of the engineering triumphs that signal the nation's growing ambitions as its economy booms.

The successes demonstrate how, after decades of acquiring technology from the west, Beijing has begun to push the limits of its new capabilities, setting the bar higher on mega-projects as it seeks to promote the image of a powerful, modern China. But many of these initiatives have come at great human and environmental cost, and some have questioned whether the country fosters a sufficiently innovative spirit to compete on the next level.

Still in the works: it is a $32.5 billion, 820-mile (1,300-kilometer) Beijing-to-Shanghai high-speed railway that is scheduled to open in 2012.

"We are now much faster," Railway Ministry spokesman Wang Yongping said at Tuesday's inauguration of the super-fast line from Shanghai's western suburb of Hongqiao to the resort city of Hangzhou. "Now other countries are hoping to cooperate with us."

The train will cruise at a top speed of 220 mph (350 kph), making the 125-mile (200-kilometer) trip in 45 minutes.

China already has the world's longest high-speed rail network and aims to more than double its length to 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) by 2020.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Psalm 78:35-37 35 And they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer. 36 But they deceived Him with their mouth And lied to Him with their tongue. 37 For their heart was not steadfast toward Him, Nor were they faithful in His covenant.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stirring words from Richard Baxter:
“There is joy in receiving things in this life, but the fullness is in God’s own presence. Oh, Christians! You will then know the difference between the creature and the Creator, and the content that each of them affords. We shall then have light without a candle, and a perpetual day without the sun. We shall then have rest without sleep, for God will be our rest. We shall then have enlightened understandings without a written law: for the Lord will perfect His law in our hearts, and we shall be all perfectly taught of God.

His own will shall be our Law, and His own face shall be our light forever. Then shall we have joy, which we drew not from the promises, nor was fetched us home by faith and hope. Beholding and possessing will exclude most of these. We shall then have communion without sacraments, when Christ shall drink with us of the fruit of the vine new; that is, refresh us with the comforting wine of immediate fruition, in the kingdom of His Father. When we shall live in our Father’s house and presence and God shall be all in all, then we are indeed at home in rest.”

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I agree with my brother FF Bruce (Epistle to the Hebrews, NICNT, 94):
“The conditional sentences of this epistle are worthy of special attention. Nowhere in the NT more than here do we find such repeated insistence on the fact that continuance in the Christian life is the test of reality. The doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints has as its corollary the salutary teaching that the saints are the people who persevere to the end.”

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I find myself gladly and wholeheartedly in this "next generation" of New Calvinists:

DeYoung, Duncan, Mohler: What's New About the New Calvinism from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

Note some deliverance passages and how it is God who solves the problem:

Isaiah 59:2-4 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken falsehood, Your tongue mutters wickedness. 4 No one sues righteously and no one pleads honestly. They trust in confusion and speak lies; They conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity.

The Scripture states that the iniquities of Israel has separated them from their God. The result of one who is sin-infested is that God hides Himself from him. Indeed, the hands of sinners are defiled, unclean, and filthy. Even the very fingers on one's hands are full of iniquity and transgression. The lips find comfort in speaking falsehood and the tongue mutters wickedness. This is the utter depraved state that Israel found herself in back in Isaiah's time. Indeed, this is the same state that all human beings find themselves in. This is the human plight. The predicament is evident: God turns away from sinful man because of his impurity and defilement.

Note even verse 12:

Isaiah 59:12 12 For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify against us; For our transgressions are with us, And we know our iniquities:

Man, utterly helpless and incapable of bringing any deliverance unto himself in any way whatsoever needs One to interceed on behalf of Him. Note, the response does not come from man and his ingenuity but from God and His abundant mercy:

Isaiah 59:15-16 Now the LORD saw, And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice. 16 And He saw that there was no man, And was astonished that there was no one to intercede; Then His own arm brought salvation to Him, And His righteousness upheld Him.

What an amazing concept. Man, covered in filth, sin, defiling wickedness and unrighteousness cannot save Himself. But the LORD saw. That's the greatest phrase that brings comfort to deadened sinners. The LORD saw us. The LORD looks upon us. The LORD regards us. NOTE, it is not because there is anything worthy in us. Rather, the opposite is true. It is because we are wholly unworthy to look at that Yahweh—in his sovereign and supernatural mercy—looks upon our helplessness and brings salvation to him. The text says that God's "own arm brought salvation."

This is OT gospel given by Yahweh through Isaiah to the people of Israel. But the same truth can be found in the NT as well. We are dead in sin and in need for God's sovereign intervention to "bring salvation" to sinners. May we be faithful to evangelize and wait for God's "own arm to bring salvation" to His elect.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I couldn't agree more with what my professor said today:
“The priority of the preacher is first to DISCOVER the author’s intended meaning and second to declare that meaning to his hearers in an effective way so that they can RESPOND to it correctly!”
A fabulous reminder from Mr. Spurgeon:

Sin has evermore a swelling tendency, and until the Holy Spirit has cut up the last root of sin, evil will grow up again in the heart, at the scent of water it will bud and put forth once again its shoots. Here is work for all time, enough to keep us busy till we land in eternity.

Monday, October 18, 2010

From John Bunyan’s “A Few Sighs from Hell“:

How many souls have blind priests been the means of destroying by their ignorance? Preaching that was no better for their souls than ratsbane to the body. Many of them, it is to be feared, have whole towns to answer for. Ah! friend, I tell thee, thou has taken in hand to preach to the people, it may be thou has taken in hand what thou canst not tell what. Will it not grieve thee to see the whole parish come bellowing after thee into hell? crying out, “This we have to thank thee for, thou wast afraid to tell us of our sins, lest we should not put meat fast enough into thy mouth. O cursed wretch, thou wast not content, blind guide as thou wast, to fall into the ditch thyself, but hast also led us thither with thee.”

Charles Spurgeon quotes this section from Bunyan in his sermon, “The Minister’s Self-Watch.” His point: How disastrous is an unregenerate minister failing to preach the gospel to a people blindly and deafly led to hell. We rightly lament the demonic terror Hitler unleashed on the world. Who can count the number of souls condemned to hell because unfaithful and unregenerate preachers refused to proclaim the only news that saves? Brothers, let us search ourselves for evidence of God’s saving grace then preach the whole counsel of God!

HT: Thabiti

Over at my other website I posted a writeup taking a shot at the structure of Hebrews. I divided the book into exhortational and expositional sections (with the warning passages thrown in as well at key junctures). Let me know what you think.

Also, I found a great "chill" song that I really enjoy accompanying me as I read.

As for an update, I finished my PhD module last week where I presented my dissertation topic: "The Book of Jeremiah in John's Revelation." There is much work that needs to be done here. My adviser gave me the "go-ahead" so I'm extremely excited about being in God's Word—both testaments and both languages (and, there's even one verse in Aramaic!)! Thank you for your prayers.

soli Deo gloria!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Here is a portion from my reading in the prophet Isaiah this morning:

Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
6 All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.

‏אָכֵ֤ן חֳלָיֵ֙נוּ֙ ה֣וּא נָשָׂ֔א וּמַכְאֹבֵ֖ינוּ סְבָלָ֑ם וַאֲנַ֣חְנוּ חֲשַׁבְנֻ֔הוּ נָג֛וּעַ מֻכֵּ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים וּמְעֻנֶּֽה׃
‎‏ וְהוּא֙ מְחֹלָ֣ל מִפְּשָׁעֵ֔נוּ מְדֻכָּ֖א מֵעֲוֹנֹתֵ֑ינוּ מוּסַ֤ר שְׁלוֹמֵ֙נוּ֙ עָלָ֔יו וּבַחֲבֻרָת֖וֹ נִרְפָּא־לָֽנוּ׃
‎‏ כֻּלָּ֙נוּ֙ כַּצֹּ֣אן תָּעִ֔ינוּ אִ֥ישׁ לְדַרְכּ֖וֹ פָּנִ֑ינוּ וַֽיהוָה֙ הִפְגִּ֣יעַ בּ֔וֹ אֵ֖ת עֲוֹ֥ן כֻּלָּֽנוּ׃

And one of my favorite songs that closely relates to it:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

An early passage from a minor Talmudic tractate entitled Abot de Rabbi Nathan places in the mouth of Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai the following declaration:

"Be not grieved; we have another atonement as effective as this [=the Temple sacrificial ritual], and what is it? It is acts of loving kindness, as it is said: 'For I desire mercy and not sacrifice'" (Hos.6:6)."

Elsewhere the Talmud writes:

"Not to mourn at all is not feasible, for the decree has already beeen decreed. But further, to mourn excessively (also) is not feasible. Rather, thus the sages have said, 'A man shall plaster his home with plaster and leave over a small bit as a remembrance of Jerusalem'" (t. Sotah 15:12).

Here's the issue: they replaced the offering of sacrifices with good deeds. This, they purport, is acceptable before the eyes of God.

Or, is it?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Like the Apostle Paul, my heart goes out to my kindred according to the flesh:

Jesus will be excluded from the World to Come (m. Sanh. 10:2),

Jesus will be boiled in filth in Gehenna (b. Git. 56b-57a),

There was a man, the son of a woman, who would rise up and seek to make himself God, and cause the entire world to err. . . . If he says that he is God, he lies; and in the future he will cause to err—that he departs and returns in the end. He says, but will not do. . . . Alas, who shall live of that people that listens to that man who makes himself God (Yal. Simeoni on Num 23:7)?

We do well to share with our Jewish friends the truth from the Hebrew Scriptures:

Psalm 2:6-12 6 "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain." 7 "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9 'You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'" 10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. 11 Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling. 12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

Proverbs 30:4 4 Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son's name? Surely you know!

Isaiah 53:4-7 4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.

See also,

Hebrews 1:1-3 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Praise God!
I found tremendous encouragement this morning in these short but eternally-significant verses:

Romans 5:6-11 — 6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Romans 5:6-11 — 6 ἔτι γὰρ Χριστὸς ὄντων ἡμῶν ἀσθενῶν ἔτι κατὰ καιρὸν ὑπὲρ ἀσεβῶν ἀπέθανεν. 7 μόλις γὰρ ὑπὲρ δικαίου τις ἀποθανεῖται· ὑπὲρ γὰρ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ τάχα τις καὶ τολμᾷ ἀποθανεῖν· 8 συνίστησιν δὲ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἀγάπην εἰς ἡμᾶς ὁ θεός, ὅτι ἔτι ἁμαρτωλῶν ὄντων ἡμῶν Χριστὸς ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἀπέθανεν. 9 πολλῷ οὖν μᾶλλον δικαιωθέντες νῦν ἐν τῷ αἵματι αὐτοῦ σωθησόμεθα δι᾽ αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῆς ὀργῆς. 10 εἰ γὰρ ἐχθροὶ ὄντες κατηλλάγημεν τῷ θεῷ διὰ τοῦ θανάτου τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ, πολλῷ μᾶλλον καταλλαγέντες σωθησόμεθα ἐν τῇ ζωῇ αὐτοῦ· 11 οὐ μόνον δέ, ἀλλὰ καὶ καυχώμενοι ἐν τῷ θεῷ διὰ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δι᾽ οὗ νῦν τὴν καταλλαγὴν ἐλάβομεν.

I still can't get over the simple truth in v.8a that while we were still sinners (ὅτι ἔτι ἁμαρτωλῶν ὄντων ἡμῶν) Christ died for us (ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν). My heart is stirred with joy this morning because of the truth in Romans 5! Praise God.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

From the marvelous note from grace gems today:

In each season of affliction, to whom can we more appropriately look--than to Jesus? He was preeminently the man of sorrows--and acquainted with grief.

If you would tell your grief to one who knew grief as none ever knew it;
if you would weep upon the bosom of one who wept as none ever wept;
if you would disclose your sorrow to one who sorrowed as none ever sorrowed;
if you would bare your wound to one who was wounded as none ever was wounded
--then, in your affliction, turn from all creature sympathy and succor, and look to Jesus! You could not take . . .
your trial,
your affliction,
and your sorrow . . .
to a kinder nature,
to a tenderer bosom,
to a deeper love,
to a more powerful arm,
to a more sympathizing friend!
Go and breathe your sorrows into His heart--and He will comfort you!

Blessed sorrow if, in the time of your bereavement, your grief, and your solitude--you are led to Jesus, making Him your Savior, your Friend, your Counselor and your Shield.

Blessed loss, if it is compensated by a knowledge of God, if you find in Him a Father now, to whom you will transfer your ardent affections, upon whom you will repose your bleeding heart, and in whom you will trust.

Question: "How many denominations are there within Christianity at large?"

You may be surprised to find out that Wikipedia (the theological factbook — haha) states:

This is not a complete list, but aims to provide a comprehensible overview of the diversity among denominations of Christianity. As there are reported to be approximately 38,000 Christian denominations,
Let's remember what Paul says about the true and undeniable gospel:

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Isaiah 46:3-4 3 "Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, You who have been borne by Me from birth And have been carried from the womb; 4 Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.

God is speaking to Israel (=the House of Jacob, v.3 and the house of Israel, v.4) and declares to them that God will guide them. Note all the "I" determinative indicatives from God in v.4—I will be the same, I will bear you, I have done it, I will carry you, I will bear you, and I will deliver you. To me this seems that God is unequivocally telling His covenant people that He Himself is the One who will take care of them, watch them, guard them, bear them up, and deliver them. None other can deliver them (as clearly seen in the immediate context of Isa 46). It is God and God alone.

Isaiah 46:9-10 9 "Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';

For those who are tempted to make idols (46:6-7), God squashes every possible reason in a sarcastic manner by telling His people to recall the past—God has been God, none other. He is God and there is no one like Him. He asks (in context) for Israel to consider their idolatrous past and contemplate which of their gods could declare the END from the BEGINNING? Could any of their 'carved images' do this? Could any of their tree stumps that they hoisted upon their syncretistic holy places cause his pleasure to be established? Indeed, no! Only God—Yahweh, the covenant keeping and sovereign God of Israel can do this!

May we, this day, be reminded of these words and heed the call to shun all forms of idolatry (and think—subtle forms of idolatry creep in to all of our lives!) and fall and worship God, the true God who will accomplish all of His soveriegn purpose.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I love how Isaiah writes the words of God in these verses:

Isaiah 43:20-21 20 "The beasts of the field will glorify Me, The jackals and the ostriches, Because I have given waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My chosen people. 21 "The people whom I formed for Myself Will declare My praise.

The people that God has formed and created for Himself will declare His praise. God has formed His covenant people for Himself—for the expansion, glorification, and magnification of His great Name.

Isaiah 43:25 25 "I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.

How amazing is it that God–yes, God Himself—is the One who wipes out His people's transgressions for His own sake. For His glory, for the magnification of His sovereign Name, he wipes out the sins of His people.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Made it safe to Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit this morning after a red-eye flight from LA. I'm tired, but God sustained me through the day and especially through my presentation on global ministry principles gleaned from Paul's third journey. I think it went very well. I had a guest speaker (Dr. King) and the fellas were very interactive which provided great feedback on my thoughts.

God is good. Two more weeks to go!

Psalm 136:1

הֹוד֣וּ לַיהוָ֣ה כִּי־טֹ֑וב כִּ֖י לְעֹולָ֣ם חַסְדֹּֽו׃

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The [OT] prophets repudiated perfunctory, ritual forms of repentance (Isa 1:11; 29:13; 58:5; Jer 14:12; Hos 7:14). True repentance consists of acknowledgment of personal guilt (Jer 3:13), remorse for sins (Jer 31:19; Ezek 36:31; Jon 3:8a), forsaing evil thoughts and deeds (Isa 55:7; Jer 18:11; Ezek 14:6; Jon 3:8b), turning to the Lord with one's entire being (Isa 55:6; Joel 2:12), and bringing forth fruits indicative of a changed heart (Hos 12:6; 14:2). In response to genuine repentance, the Lord would withhold punishment (Jer 26:3), forgive sins (Isa 55:7), and grant life (Ezek 33:15-16). Those who fail to repent genuinely can expect divine judgment and death (Ezek 33:8-11, 14).

—Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, 254.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Folks, this is a MUST watch for all parents.

Friday, October 8, 2010

My favorite hymn always seem to change every month. So I guess it's accurate to say that this is my favorite hymn for this month! The words stir my heart to worship the sovereign King Jesus. I love verse 4.

I love this excerpt from a Puritan prayer:

The death of Christ has redeemed me;
The Spirit of Christ fills me,
The love of Christ animates me,
The Word of Christ governs me.

May we pray the same prayer with this Puritan expressing our gratitude, submission, and love for the Savior.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

God Redirects Plans According to His Sovereign and Ordained Will.

Proverbs 16:9 9 The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
לֵ֣ב אָ֭דָם יְחַשֵּׁ֣ב דַּרְכֹּ֑ו וַֽ֝יהוָ֗ה יָכִ֥ין צַעֲדֹֽו׃

This weekend I planned to surprise my bride by taking her to the beach for a two-day camping trip. I’m not much of a camper (massive understatement!) so I thought I’d gain significant “brownie points” in planning, strategizing, organizing, and following through with this trip. One thing, however, I forgot to reserve our campsite online. Believe it or not, I had the webpage on my browser for about a week and I kept forgetting to reserve that campsite (which is very unlike me—normally I do these things way in advance!). So I finally got around to it the night before the trip (Sun night) but they wouldn’t let me reserve the campsite 24 hours in advance. So I had to call them the next day. Monday morning I tried to call them in the early morning but they didn’t open till 9am and we’d be in the Master’s Chapel by that point. So, needless to say, I had not reserved the campsite (nor paid for it!) yet.

Eventually, I told Elizabeth our plans and we were both excited! So, Monday morning arrives and we drove up to the Master’s College for chapel. It was raining on our drive there and Elizabeth asked me if I really wanted to go beach camping and I said “Of course” (what else could I say?). Needless to say, during chapel Kiah was a bit rambunctious so he was running around outside with Elizabeth while I was in chapel listening to the sermon. A man who works at Master’s was heading to chapel (quite late!) and saw Elizabeth and they began to talk. He is a good friend of ours and asked what we were up to. Elizabeth told him that we were spending the morning at Master’s for chapel and then we were heading to the beach for a camping trip. He said: “in the rain?!” Elizabeth responded: “I think so.” To which he then replied: “No, you should stay in a beach house!” “Ha,” Elizabeth said, “We’d love that but we don’t have the funds for that.” The man kindly replied: “You can stay in our beach house—for free!” To which Elizabeth immediately replied: “sounds like a plan!”

Then after chapel they came up and told me of our new plans that God had sovereignly orchestrated (all because Kiah was a bit cranky and was running around outside during chapel). Then, after chapel we took some of our college students to lunch and then departed for the beach house.

It was an amazing two days of rest, relaxation, Monday night football, and food! I had some of the best fish & chips I’ve ever had at the Ventura Harbor. Then on Tuesday we ate at a hole in the wall Mexican joint in Ventura which was just excellent!

Looking back, here are some ways that God sovereignly changed our plans:

1. God prevented me from making the online camping reservations and paying the fees online because He had a better plan for us—staying in a beach home for free!

2. God allowed Kiah to be a bit cranky so he couldn’t sit still through chapel. So he was outside working off the energy by running around.

3. While Elizabeth and Kiah were outside, God allowed our friend to be late to chapel and ask what we were up to that week.

4. God worked it out that the beach house was available for those specific days (the day after we left another family was going to the home to use it for the weekend)!

5. God brought rain and heavy wind that would have made it quite difficult to have a bonfire—much less, erect a tent and stay warm!

Again, Proverbs 16:9 9 The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. And I’m thankful for it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hebrews 5 consists of a remarkable structure that fits within the larger discourse of Jesus as the high priest (Heb 5-10) that itself fits within the entire discourse/sermon. Check out my structural analysis of Hebrews 5 here.

Friday, October 1, 2010

So, if you've ever wondered whether you could own your own deserted island, here's your chance.

The Wall Street Journal has the article here. :=)
If, in fact, the Bible is what it claims to be, namely, wholly inspired, totally inerrant, supernaturally God-breathed, and powerfully able to accomplish change in the lives of regenerate believers, then it behooves us to study that Word and obey that Word. How foolish for the man of God to suppose the Bible is God's powerful Word and leave it to collect dust on the shelf. How could such a man think that he would inherit the kingdom of God when he has no delight in the King's Book? How could such a person think that he would enjoy the glories of heaven when he neglects the fellowship of God in this life? The man of God who loves the Son of God must be consumed with the Word of God resulting in obedience to God all for the glory of God. The believer must hold fast to God's Word.

The Bible mandates believers to study God's Word. But it's not a legalistic issue–nor should it ever become one. Rather, it should flow from the heart of the regenerate believer who is totally in love with his Savior, Jesus Christ. It is only natural for people to desire to spend time with other people whom they love. That is natural and to be expected. How could it be any different with our relationship with Jesus Christ who saved our souls from hell?

For the Christian, the study of God's Word must play an important part in his maturation as a child of God. Just as a young man desiring to enter the medical field and perform surgeries one day in the future studies all sorts of books and becomes, as it were, a "professional" in his field, so it is with the man of God. He must study the Book as he desires to grow in his maturity and progress in the discipline of the Christian life. Let it be said again: the believer must hold fast to God's Word.

Hebrews 10:23 — Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
Preached last night on the topic: what will we be like in heaven? and had a marvelous time! God is so good to reveal so many details in His all-sufficient Word for us to learn.

The sermon is here.

I love this quote by Richard Baxter on what it will be like in heaven when we're perfected without any sinful temptation—ever!
All our temptations from the world and the flesh shall also cease. Here we are in continual danger. We can hardly open our eyes without danger of envying people above us, or despising those below us. If we see beauty, it is a bait to lust. If we see deformity, we are liable to feel repulsion. If we are beautiful, it is fuel for pride. If we are ugly, we are likely to complain. If we have a high intelligence and gifts of learning, how prone we are to be puffed up, to seek applause, and to look down on ordinary folks. On the other hand, if we are not well educated, how easy it is to ridicule what we don't have and despise the scholarly. Are we in a position of power? How strong is the temptation to abuse our authority and mold others to our benefit. Are we subordinates? Then we are prone to envy others, to be critical and rebellious. It is our own corruption that thus traps us. We are our own worst enemies. But our heavenly rest will free us from all this. As Satan has no entrance there, so he has nothing to aid his subversion; but all things there shall help us praise our great Deliverer.
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