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Showing posts from December, 2011

worshiped by angels

There is a prominence of angelic ministry at two places in Jesus' life: at his birth, and at his death and resurrection.   At Christmas we are reminded that there is a spiritual realm, and the existence of angelic beings who are very much interested in what's going on here.   The angels love the Son of Man, who is the Word made flesh. "Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory," (1 Timothy 3:16) "And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, 'Let all God's angels worship him. '"  (Hebrews 1:6) "...things into which angels long to look ."  (1 Peter 1:12) So should we -- like these mighty beings -- see Jesus, look intently at all he has done, and worship him!

more on marriage

Recently published:  The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God , by Tim Keller, with his wife Kathy. I'm looking forward to reading this.  I listened to part of the sermon series this was based upon, but I plan to  put this book in the queue soon.  Here are some popular Kindle highlights, and a quote at the end that Trevin Wax posted.  Great insights to think about... Wedding vows are not a declaration of present love but a mutually binding promise of future love. Marriage used to be a public institution for the common good, and now it is a private arrangement for the satisfaction of the  individuals. Marriage used to be about us, but now it is about me.   According to the Bible, God devised marriage to reflect his saving love for us in Christ, to refine our character, to create  stable human community for the birth and nurture of children, and to accomplish all this by bringing the complementary sexes  into an enduring whole-life

nehemiah walk-through

We finished teaching our adult elective on Sunday, "Rebuilding Jerusalem: Leadership and Community in Nehemiah."   Did a walk-through and discussion to highlight key lessons and applications by chapter, as follows: 1.   Prayer :   important from first to last.   We need to ask, as we live and/or lead in community, have I prayed about each decision?  Do I see the big picture of God's work of redemption in history?  Do I feel his concerns on my heart?  Do I really believe in God's providential guidance? Am I living in dependence upon him? 2.   Planning :  results in informed and timely action.   Am I adequately informed before I take action, or even before I speak of intended action?  Am I thoughtful, and do I know the task that lies before us?  Have I taken the trouble to get first-hand knowledge of the situation?  Am I bringing others into this information -- and my intentions -- at the right time? 3.   Labor :   the work is divided, and everyone has a

my 7 favorite marriage quotes (today)

"Marriage isn't supposed to make you happy - it's supposed to make you married."  (Frank Pittman) "You don't marry one person; you marry three: the person you think they are, the person they are, and the person they are going to become as a result of being married to you."   (Richard Needham) "No two human beings are made for each other. Every human being is made for God. Marriages are not made in heaven. There are no prefabricated marriages. They are made right here on earth, day by day, by the sacrifices both persons are called upon to make. And marriages are not made by what comes naturally. That is important, of course, but marriages are made by what does not come naturally and that is self-sacrifice. You will soon learn that it costs to be a lover, that the language of love is sacrifice. And you will have many opportunities to speak this language."  (From wedding homily by Father Rodney Kissinger) "When there is love in

how we googled 2011

justified as a gift

"[we] are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith." (Romans 3:24-25 ESV) "For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!'"  (Romans 8:15 ESV) "When our salvation depends upon our righteous behavior, our righteousness will be driven by a desire to elevate ourselves in the eyes of God. This is not love for God, it’s self-protection. ...  The gospel turns religion upside down. The gospel assures us of God’s acceptance, given to us as a gift earned by Christ’s worthiness, not ours. In response to that gift, we are moved to obey. Love for Him grows in response to His love for us.”   (J. D. Greear, Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary )

jonathan edwards on kindle

Adam Parker at has posted Kindle-compatible (.prc) files of some of the Yale editions of the works of Jonathan Edwards, available as free downloads.  Tables of contents are included.      Download these to your computer and then transfer them via USB to your Kindle.  All of Edwards works are available online, as well, at the Yale website .   If you are new to Edwards I would recommend two works to start: The Religious Affections , which is an essay on the signs which accompany a true saving experience (a work of God in the heart).  And Charity and Its Fruits , which is a series of sermons on love from 1 Corinthians 13. Download from here .  

unto us is born

Fragile finger sent to heal us  Tender brow prepared for thorn Tiny heart whose blood will save us  Unto us is born Unto us is born So wrap our injured flesh around You Breathe our air and walk our sod Rob our sin and make us holy Perfect Son of God Perfect Son of God Welcome to our world (Chris Rice, "Welcome To Our World")

what grace is ours

athanasius paraphrased

Excerpts from chapter 2, On   The Incarnation of the Word , by Athanasius... "It was by surrendering to death the body which He had taken, as an offering and sacrifice free from every stain, that He f orthwith abolished death for His human brethren by the offering of the equivalent... "Naturally also, through this union of the immortal Son of God with our human nature, all men were clothed with incorruption  in the promise of the resurrection. For the solidarity of mankind is such that, by virtue of the Word's indwelling in a  single human body, the corruption which goes with death has lost its power over all.  "You know how it is when some great king enters a large city and dwells in one of its houses; because of his dwelling in that single house, the whole city is  honored, and enemies and robbers cease to molest it. Even so is it with the King of all; He has come into our country and  dwelt in one body amidst the many, and in consequence the designs of the enem

fred and nehemiah on rebuilding

Here's Fred Smith with some lessons from Nehemiah on rebuilding walls (or, recovering from a loss).   The best way to overcome the confusion that comes with loss is to organize it.  A plan dispels confusion.  When Nehemiah got the vision for rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem, he realized the people had lived depressed for 80 years, moping because the wall was down.  How long did it take to rebuild?  52 days! We have fallen walls in our own life that need restoring.  The longer we grieve, the harder it is to begin the restoration process.  Start rebuilding before you make a heavy psychological investment in the loss. Here are four points for rebuilding: 1. Stay constructively busy .  Too many people think they need to head for the islands for a vacation when experiencing loss.  A good friend, Dr. Howard Rome, formerly head of the World Psychiatric Society, once said to me when discussing a severe loss “Fred, stay busy.”  He knew that if I kept moving my training and habits

the true God-man

And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy - the Son of God."   (Luke 1:35 ESV) "The glory of the incarnation is that it presents to our adoring gaze not a humanized God or a deified man, but a true God-man  --  one who is all that God is and at the same time all that man is: one on whose almighty arm we can rest, and to whose human  sympathy we can appeal."  (Benjamin B. Warfield)

gospel trail (ministry of tourism style)

Israel's ministry of tourism recently inaugurated a "gospel trail" to "follow in the footsteps of Jesus."  Though I don't really think us walking in the literal, physical footsteps of Jesus is quite what he was interested in, nevertheless, this is a great idea.  Seeing the scenery and locations of the events recorded in the Gospels in invaluable.   Gleaned from the JPost article: The route of the Gospel Trail follows the path which Jesus walked at age 30 after he left Nazareth.  The trail, which runs for 63 kilometers, starts at Mount Precipice just outside Nazareth and continues eastwards down to Capernaum, taking in a number of important sites, including the Mount of Beatitudes, Magdala (Migdal today) the home of Mary Magadelene; Tabgha, the site of the Feeding of the Five Thousand; and Capernaum, where Jesus established his ministry.  Those traveling the trail will be able to do so by car, bicycle and, more traditionally, on foot – despite the curre

Dr. Thomas Schreiner - Living Like Jesus is the Only Way - ETS 2011

A good word (17 minutes) from Tom Schreiner to ETS scholars (and all aspiring scholars, and students). If "Jesus is the only way", how does this affect my relationship with others especially in academia... Dr. Thomas Schreiner - Living Like Jesus is the Only Way - ETS 2011 Dr. Schreiner is the author of a superlative commentary on Romans, and is professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

this is how he comes

Ann Voskamp writes:  "And this Gospel? It doesn’t come wrapped in twinkling lights and satin bows; it comes straight into our pitchest black. The Gospel of Christ, it’s a messy, bloody thing and this is how God was born, bloody and bruised, and that’s how God chose to die, bloody and beaten. And our God, He knows the comings and goings of our bloody battles, and this is exactly where He meets us. The Gospel is good news in the eye of the worst news. "Advent is believing this, and this is how Christ comes:   “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him…” (Isaiah 11:1-2) From her post, "One small seed."