Category Archives: Reflections

My Brother’s Keeper*

I am not surprised, nor do I expect more from BHO. From our president-elect, who is a silver tongued devil, who has openly mocked scripture, and claims to have ‘faith’ of some kind. Faith in ‘hope’ maybe? Does that sound optimistic enough?

“People are coming together around a simple truth – that we are all connected, that I am my brother’s keeper…”

I’m sure you’ve heard this audio during his campaign. A fine example of a politician, doing what politicians do (distorting, molding). He has no fear of the Living God. Let’s see context. Genesis 4:9…

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?

This passage is from dialogue between the Lord and Cain, following the first murder in human history.Yes my friends, our President is not only quoting the first murderer in history, but twisting his words, thus twisting Holy Scripture.

Tagged ,

Thoughts on Election Eve…

Psalm 33

1 Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
Praise befits the upright.
2 Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
3 Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

4 For the word of the Lord is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
5 He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;
he puts the deeps in storehouses.

8 Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
9 For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.

10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

13 The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
14 from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
16 The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.

20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

Let us pray boldly that our gracious Father, the merciful,  just and holy, would display His power in the hearts of the people tomorrow, that He may save us from the president we so deserve for our idolatry, our self worship, our fear of persecution, and our passivity to the plight of those who are perishing. When He has spoken tomorrow let us remember this is his Sovereign righteous judgment made manifest to us. In the event of this temporal defeat, remember that it is our Lord who said in Matthew 5:45b:

For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

and as the Psalmist writes in chapter 75:

6 For not from the east or from the west
and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
7 but it is God who executes judgment,
putting down one and lifting up another.

8 For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
with foaming wine, well mixed,
and he pours out from it,
and all the wicked of the earth
shall drain it down to the dregs.

and in Daniel 4:

17 The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’

Our Lord’s purposes will be accomplished, all for His glory and majesty, to the fulfillment of the Kingdom. Follow the example of David, after suffering the loss of a son for his own sin.

19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” 20 Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate.

Let us exalt the majestic name of our Lord, our Messiah, our Christ, our redeemer, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! To the ends that we make His glory our joy, only through the name of the Son.

14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient [1] for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. -2 Cor 2

Tagged , , ,

The Enemy-the “Extraordinary”

An excerpt from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship:

“Pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” This is the supreme demand. Throught the medium of prayer we go to our enemy, stand by his side, and plead for him to God. Jesus does not promise that when we bless our enemies and do good to them they will not dispitefully use and persecute us. They certainly will. But not even that can hurt or overcome us, so long as we pray for them. For if we pray for them, we are taking their distress and poverty, their guilt and perdition upon ourselves, and pleading to God for them. We are doing vicariously for them what they cannot do for themselves. Every insult they utter only serves to bind us more closely to God and them. Their persecution of us only serves to bring them nearer to reconciliation with God and to further the triumphs of love.

Idol Renaissance

I had a thought running through my head after Bible Study at church last Wednesday. We had been talking about Psalm 8, and near the end, we briefly talked about dominion:

6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.

Someone brought up global warming, in dare I say, nearly a mocking tone. I thought about this for a bit. Indifferent to political stances, the fact is, we have been poor stewards of His creation. Near indiscriminate industrialization, gas guzzling SUV’s, sportscars, minivans, sedans. Yes, relative the size of the earth, they are tiny. But the day to day bustle, for the past near century with vehicles, and China will be surpassing us soon in cars/fuel consumption. As it usually goes, Republicans under-emphasize the environment, and the Democrats worship it. I hope we find a balance. He has given it to us for our use, and to be good stewards.

I got to thinking about the industrial revolution and the blessing and cursings that pivotal era brought to fruition. Advances in technology brought us convenience and what we considered freedom. New transportation, new social activities, better medicine. An all encompassing paradigm shift for the world.

But if we probe deeply, do these amazing things really matter… Not being a buzzkill, but I want to see this through to it’s logical conclusion, the effects of which we suffer now. We have a society, Christians (loosly defined) included, who look for happiness everywhere but the Lord. We have new and better TV’s, TV programming for every interest, Movies for every fancy, bigger badder sexier sports cars, glorified station-wagons (SUVs), HD Plasma TV’s, swiss-army cell-phones, iPod’s that make french fries, social networking technology that takes us away from real people and into a shadow world of LOL and ROFLs.

While there has been some benefit, I believe that it has all simply served to divert us from the essentials of life, to the non-essential. It has given us idolatry in it’s most subversive, and at the same time, now obvious form. Our materialism is idolatry.

3 You shall have no other gods before Me.

4” You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

5“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,

6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

This we know, when we rest on the Rock, our firm foundation, the chief cornerstone Christ Jesus, and truly seek his glory, we will be set apart.

Two (partial) Psalms

Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope for His lovingkindness,
To deliver their soul from death
And to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart rejoices in Him,
Because we trust in His holy name.
Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us,
According as we have hoped in You.

-Psalm 33:18-22

I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.

-Psalm 34:4-7
Tagged , , ,

Holiness: Growth

I’m reading the chapter on growth in J.C. Ryle’s classic ‘Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots‘ for discussion at Tim Challies blog. I’m kind of late to the discussion but I won’t let that stop me.

Ryle writes with zeal, passion and a sense of immediacy for his readers. He also pulls no punches in the vein of Piper or MacArthur in telling it how it is, something we can all appreciate, with a hearty 19th century panache.

Before taking us to task with The Reality of Religious Growth, he remarks…

It is an eminently practical subject, if any is in religion. It is intimately and inseparably connected with the whole question of sanctification. It is a leading mark of true saints that they grow. The spiritual health and prosperity, the spiritual happiness and comfort of every true–hearted and holy Christian, are intimately connected with the subject of spiritual growth.

In The Reality of Religious Growth, Ryle clarifies what he terms ‘growth in grace.’ He denies that a believers interest in Christ can grow, nor can we grow in safety, acceptance with God or security, nor can he be more justified, as we know, justification of every believer is complete in Christ (Col 2:10)

Growth in grace, as he describes is… I only mean increase in the degree, size, strength, vigor and power of the graces which the Holy Spirit plants in a believer’s heart.…that his sense of sin is becoming deeper, his faith stronger, his hope brighter, his love more extensive, his spiritual–mindedness more marked. He feels more of the power of godliness in his own heart. He manifests more of it in his life. He is going on from strength to strength, from faith to faith and from grace to grace.

As any classic of the true religion, we are given obligatory scripture reference following his thoughts. He also attests to his view of growth in grace on a ground ‘of fact and experience.’ Appealing to readers of the New Testament, asking if we see varying degrees of grace in lives of saints recorded. He refers to passages of ones with ‘weak faith’ or ‘strong faith’, new Christians as ‘newborn-babes,’ ‘little children,” young men and fathers.’ He also appeals to our own observational prowess in our own lives as well those of other saints.

He then emphasizes grace as ‘a thing of infinite importance to the soul.

a. Growth in grace is the best evidence of spiritual health and properity.
b. Growth in grace is one way to be happy in our religion.
c. Growth in grace is one secret of usefulness to others
d. Growth in grace pleases God

The Marks of Religious Growth

a. Increased humility
b. Increased faith and love towards our Lord Jesus Christ
c. Increased holiness of life and conversation
d. Increased spirituality of taste and mind
e. Increase in charity
f. Increase of zeal and diligence in doing good to souls (others).

The Means of Religious Growth

a. Diligence in the use of the private means of grace (ie. private prayer,Scripture reading, meditation.
b. Carefulness in the use of public means of grace
c. Watchfulness over our conduct in little matters
d. Caution in the company we keep
e. Habitual communion with Christ (sim. to a )

We must seek to have personal intimacy with the Lord Jesus and to deal with Him as a man deals with a loving friend. We must realize what it is to turn to Him first in every need, to talk to Him about every difficulty, to consult Him about every step, to spread before Him all our sorrows, to get Him to share in all our joys, to do all as in His sight, and to go through every day leaning on and looking to Him.

Tagged , , ,

Brethren in the Street

I sit at the bookstore, studying, night after night after night. Rarely if at all do I ever see anyone else engaged in reading of any Christian literature. Tonight was the exception to the rule. I’m reading the Minich article on the Federal Vision controversy and a scripture passage comes to mind that I can’t quite place, and I remembered I saw a guy with Stott, MacArthur and Boice books on the other side of the café when I came in. Bingo!

I went over to the condiment bar for some more water, I started to, as usual, try to talk myself out of an uncomfortable action, but then it’s as if my guard entirely dropped, I spun around, walked up and introduced myself. It was an instant comfortability with this guy. Turns out he’s an associate pastor at Cincinnati Primitive Baptist Church (first time I’ve heard of that denomination)

I was just surprised at how easily we hit it off. We talked a little, I asked him about the passage, he found it on his computer for me, shared our testimonys’ etc… I got his card, he got my contact info.

Researching the beliefs of his denomination has me wondering about the baptism issue. Again. Baptism. Pray for understanding.

Tagged , , , ,

Paper Thin

I stumbled across Christopher Hitchens wrath worthy book ‘God is Not Great’ at Barnes and Noble Sunday evening. I usually avoid secular hate propaganda, but my faith has been rock solid as of late. I flipped open to a random page , to my surprise, was the topic of the mornings sermon on Mark 7:24-30:

Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it; yet He could not escape notice.
But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet.
Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
But she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.”
And He said to her, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”
And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left.

What was interesting, that Christ’s ‘harsh’ initial rejection of the Syrophoenecian woman, was chalked up by Hitchens, to racism, because she was a Gentile, simple as that, cut and dry. Here we see how easy it is for secular crusaders to employ contextomy to build arguments that hold water with unbelievers. While I’d like to think so called intellectuals do ‘research’, I believe in this case research would have refuted his case.

When we look at the same account in Matthew 15, Christ had withdrawn, that is, he went to rest. As Pastor Miessler pointed out, he was constantly hounded by miracle seekers. While he IS God, in his humbled state, he was still man and needed physical restoration.

We dare not say Christ a racist, for we read in Matthew 15:24 a statement of purpose.

But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Christ’s central focus to his ministry was to Israel. In fact, in John 4, prior to the feeding of the 5000, also mentioned in Mark, Christ most compassionately dialogues with the woman at the well:

You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

We see here, ‘salvation is from the Jews’, yet she was a gentile and did minister to her.

It’s people Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins who are, at least on the literary front, spearheading the ‘intellectual’ attack on religion. Dawkins claims his attacks are relegated to only ‘pen and paper’ as an attempt to disguise his hatred.

We all know, Mr. Dawkins, that the pen is mightier than the sword.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

On the Character of Christ

I’m reading, among other things, John Stott’s Basic Christianity. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this small volume, I came to find out it could very well serve as tool for evangelistic training, if not just handing out copies. I would reserve handing out copies only after personal evangelism, as it is small, but dense.

Part One: Christ’s Person – is the first third of the book, wherein lies my topic. Stott draws, if not drives a wedge between the earthly ministry of Christ and His teaching, and all other ‘great’ teachers, prophets, eastern religious figures &c. This distinction is, in the plainest terms, His self-centered teaching. It’s interesting when I first read those words, I did a double take. I knew his ministry was not the all-inclusive hippyfest some would like us to believe, but some pop-culture greeting card view of Christ floating around in my cranium reared its irreverent head. I crushed that quick, needless to say.

Tagged , , ,

Reflection on a Psalm

The LORD looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men;
From His dwelling place He looks out
On all the inhabitants of the earth,
He who fashions the hearts of them all,
He who understands all their works.
The king is not saved by a mighty army;
A warrior is not delivered by great strength.
A horse is a false hope for victory;
Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength.

-Psalm 33:13-17

I find this passage sobering. On my knees as one in utter helplessness. If Kings and Warriors stand powerless, who am I? He sees ALL the sons of men. HE fashions their hearts. Even here we are confronted with the sovereignty of our Lord, his righteous rule and choice of his children.

Yet I do know who I am. I am a child of the Promise, and I will sacrifice even my life for Him.