Category Archives: Scripture

To Gain Christ, and be Found in Him…

Excerpt from J.I. Packer’s Knowing God, Chapter 2…’The People Who Know Their God’:

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ,” wrote Paul. ” What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him… I want to know Christ (Phil 3:7-10)  When Paul says he counts the things he lost rubbish, or dung (KJV), he means not merely that he does not think of them as having any value, but also that he does not live with them constantly in his mind: what normal person spends his time nostalgically dreaming of manure? Yet this, in effect, is what many of us do. It shows how little we have in the way of true knowledge of God.

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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

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John 15:1-11

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. you are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, and you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me, you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept my fathers commandments and abide in His love. These things have I spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

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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
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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.

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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.

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