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Showing posts from March, 2011

doing ministry

"Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.  But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing.  In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.  For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us."  (2 Corinthians 4:1-7 E

Recollecting prayer

"You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.  You are the LORD, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham...  (Nehemiah 9:6-7 ESV)  Recently, I've been reading in the book of Nehemiah and observing the work of God among those exiles returning to Judea.  The Word -- read and heard -- prompted widespread confession, joy, prayer, and a renewed covenant among the people to follow the Lord. Chapter 9 records a lengthy prayer that takes into account God's work from creation to their present circumstance.  I've noticed in Scripture how often prayers review the breadth of God's being and works before coming to any personal request at hand.  Martyn Lloyd-Jones calls this "recollection"... . .. we remind ourselves of the vi

friendship built on virtue

"It is virtue, virtue, which both creates and preserves friendship. On it depends harmony of interest, permanence, fidelity."  (Cicero) "A man is known by the company he shuns as well as by the company he keeps."  (C. H. Spurgeon) "The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant."  (Psalm 25:14) "Actually, the word friendship in this verse (Psalm 25:14) can also be translated secret or intimate. This interesting word in the Hebrew refers to the confidential counsel  that you would get from a close friend. So, the secret, intimate, confidential counsel that comes from the friendship of the Lord 'is for those who fear Him.' God shares His best stuff with the people who fear Him. This is the closeness of trusting God."  (James MacDonald) "[Christians] are accepted and received into friendship with a holy God, — a God of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, — who hates every unclean thing

evangelicals divided

I think Gerry McDermott has made some valuable points on the state of American "evangelicalism" today .  He says there are two groups: Traditionalists and Meliorists, and it all goes back to their view of Scripture as authoritative.  Here are some of his insights... The logic of the Meliorist approach would lead evangelicalism to follow the path of mainline Protestantism over the last decades, as it continued to proclaim the authority of Scripture and respect for tradition while rejecting the Tradition (and in particular its reading of Scripture) at precisely the points where the culture was at war with biblical teaching. In moral theology, for example, if the words of Scripture are culture-bound and not inspired, the particulars of Levitical or Pauline sexual admonitions must give way to the true Word behind the words—love and non-judgmentalism—when confronted by the experience of committed love and presumed new knowledge. For most Meliorists, the Bible’s authority is pr

human goodness not hard-wired

From Jeff Jacoby's "Massacre of the innocents" in the Globe Columnist / March 16, 2011: The civilized mind struggles to make sense of such savagery. There are those who believe passionately that all human beings are inherently good and rational creatures, essentially the same once you get beyond surface disagreements. Such people cannot accept the reality of a culture that extols death over life, that inculcates a vitriolic hatred of Jews, that induces children to idolize terrorists. Since they would never murder a family in its sleep without being driven to it by some overpowering horror, they imagine that nobody would. This is the mindset that sees a massacre of Jews and concludes that Jews must in some way have provoked it. It’s the mindset behind the narrative that continually blames Israel for the enmity of its neighbors and makes it Israel’s responsibility to end their violence. The truth is simpler, and bleaker. Human goodness is not hard-wired. It takes sustained

on pinciple-based leadership

Fred Smith, Dallas businessman and mentor, predicted that America could not long enjoy freedom from dictatorship unless there was a widespread morality built upon spiritual vitality.  In 1977, he wrote: Character is more than ethics because it largely determines the effect one has on one’s self.  Like the old saying, “Reputation is what others think you are… but character is what you know you are.”   Character is the true basis of genuine self-respect. Natural desires of selfish indulgence are allowed to abridge the disciplines of character.  Our future depends on the residue of individual responsibility.  The question remains whether character can be built faster than the deterioration. Two areas of growth exist: 1) The general recognition that character strength is a pragmatic need for the orderly conduct of civilized life.  Just as we continue to use the ancient mathematical principles even with new techniques because they work, character continues to work.  Our American sty

from "patristics for busy pastors"

“When we go back to the church fathers we see them defending the important Christian doctrines that are very basic to us, those doctrines that—if we’ve been Christians for a long time—we may well take for granted, doctrines we don’t question, or have any qualms about. Sometimes as important as they are, we don’t think about them much, and we don’t weave them into our teaching, nor do we express the passion for the importance of them to our people as we ought. When we go back to the patristic period and we see the church fathers defending the reality of, for example, the incarnation of Christ and showing the importance of it, we may—who have fully embraced the incarnation of Christ and never questioned it in our Christian experience—suddenly have a new sense of the significance and the absolute essential-ness of the doctrine of the incarnation in a way we hadn’t before." Ligon Duncan, interview

bonar hymns

During the Lord's Supper on Sunday I was blessed by the lyrics of a couple of hymns by Horatius Bonar (1808-1889), a minister of the Free Church of Scotland.  He and his brother Andrew were excellent writers of devotion, history and other evangelical works.   The first hymn was one we sung and the other was one I read afterwards in meditation... Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face; Here would I touch and handle things unseen; Here grasp with firmer hand eternal grace, And all my weariness upon Thee lean. Here would I feed upon the bread of God, Here drink with Thee the royal wine of Heaven; Here would I lay aside each earthly load, Here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiven. I have no help but Thine; nor do I need Another arm save Thine to lean upon; It is enough, my Lord, enough indeed; My strength is in Thy might, Thy might alone. Mine is the sin, but Thine the righteousness: Mine is the guilt, but Thine the cleansing blood; Here is my robe, my refuge, and

sheaffers, ca 1924-28

Finished working on two more pens for a friend. These are Sheaffer Flat-top Seniors, in Jade and Black "radite" (celluloid), with Lifetime nibs.  They were manufactured in the U.S. ca 1924-28.  Below is a Sheaffer Jade ad from that period.   More here:

newly restored moore

Finished work on this for a friend.  A large Moore L-96 in green marbled celluloid, with a 14K Maniflex nib.  Late 1920s / early 30s. A stunning and sweet-writing pen; highly collectible.