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Showing posts from February, 2012


“In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.”   (Dorothy L. Sayers)

by word, but no form

"Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure..." (Deuteronomy 4:15f ESV) "God did not show them a visible symbol of himself, but spoke to them; therefore they are not now to seek visible symbols of God, but simply to obey his Word.  If it be said that Moses was afraid of the Israelites borrowing designs for images from the idolatrous nations around them, our reply is that undoubtedly he was, and this is exactly the point: all manmade images of God, whether molten or mental, are really borrowing from the stock-in-trade of a sinful and ungodly world, and are bound therefore to be out of accord with God's own holy Word.  To make an image of God is to take one's thoughts of him from a human source, rather than from God himself; and this is precisely what is wrong with imag

Eversharp Symphony

It's been a while since I let you know what fountain pen I'm journaling with.  One of them right now is an Eversharp Symphony, dated 1949/50.  (Older than me...)  It is b lack, lever-fill, with a 14K gold (fine) nib.     This is the model 703, one of the second generation models, marking the appearance of several trim levels distinguished by their cap trim.  For lots more information visit the PenHero site article here .  

knowing and being known

From chapter three of Knowing God , by J. I. Packer... “What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it — the fact that He knows me. I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because He first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me, and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted from me, and no moment therefore, when His care falters. “This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort — the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates — in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love, and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that His love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can

meditating on the truth

I've been enjoying listening to Knowing God , by J. I. Packer on CD-mp3, files that I downloaded for free.  Thank you, ! Chapter one, on "The Study of God", ends with Packer's words about meditation... How can we turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God?  The rule for doing this is simple but demanding.  It is that  we turn each truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God. We have some idea, perhaps, what prayer is, but what is meditation?  Well may we ask, for meditation is a lost art today, and  Christian people suffer grievously from their ignorance of the practice. Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God.  It is an activity of holy thought, consciously  performed in the presence of God, under the eye o

Jesus in a word

"Certainly what the Bible says about Jesus contains many mysteries; but the distinctive features of it at least can be put  almost in a word.  Jesus of Nazareth, according to the Bible, was no product of this world, but a Savior come voluntarily  into this world from without.  His entrance into the world was a stupendous miracle.  While he was on earth he manifested a  wondrous control over the forces of nature.  His death was no mere holy martyrdom, but an event of cosmic significance, a  sacrifice for the sins of the world.  His resurrection was no mere vain aspiration in the hearts of his disciples, but a  mighty act of God.  That is what the Bible says about Jesus."   (J. Gresham Machen, Selected Shorter Writings , p. 33)


three essential truths

Jerry Bridges writes,  In the arena of adversity, the Scriptures teach us three  essential truths about God, truths we must believe if we are to trust Him in adversity.   They are: • God is completely sovereign. • God is infinite in wisdom. • God is perfect in love. Someone has expressed these three truths as they relate to us in this way: "God in His love always wills what is best for us.  In His wisdom He always knows what is best, and in His sovereignty He has the power to bring it about."  (From  Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts ) 

what harms the gospel

“The more wise, righteous, and holy people are without Christ, the more harm they do to the Gospel. So we also, who were religious, were doubly wicked until God enlightened us with the knowledge of his Gospel despite our apparently true piety and holiness.”   (Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians )

from schaeffer's letters

"What we must ask the Lord for is a work of the Spirit . . . to stand on a very thin line: in other words, to state intellectually (as well as understand, though not completely) the intellectual reality of that which God is and what God has revealed in the objectively inspired Bible; and then to live moment by moment in the reality of a restored relationship with the God who is there, and to act in faith upon what we believe in our daily lives." --Francis Schaeffer, Letters of Francis A. Schaeffer: Spiritual Reality in the Personal Christian Life .  

spurgeon on election

"So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills."  (Romans 9:18 ESV) "I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite sure that if God had not chosen me I should never have chosen him; and I am sure he chose me before I was born, or else he never would have chosen me afterwards; and he must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why he should have looked upon me with special love."  (Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students )

he loves me just the way I am

My friend Harry keeps me supplied with theologically-pertinent comics.   Today it is the Calvin & Hobbes version of "God loves me just the way I am, so [therefore] I don't need to change anything." The first statement, of course, does not imply the second.  He may receive me in his love, mercy and grace, but he loves me too much to let me stay the way I am.   "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV)

dogma that is drama

Trevin Wax shared a good quote recently from Dorothy Sayers' Creed or Chaos? Official Christianity, of late years, has been having what is known as a bad press. We are constantly assured that the churches are empty because preachers insist too much upon doctrine—dull dogma as people call it. The fact is the precise opposite. It is the neglect of dogma that makes for dullness. The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man—and the dogma is the drama. It is the dogma that is the drama—not beautiful phrases, nor comforting sentiments, nor vague aspirations to loving-kindness and uplift, nor the promise of something nice after death—but the terrifying assertion that the same God who made the world, lived in the world and passed through the grave and gate of death. Show that to the heathen, and they may not believe it; but at least they may realize that here is something that man might be glad to believe. --Dorothy Sayers, cited at The G

in search of adam

Here is Christianity Today's  report on the state of the debate: "The Search for the Historical Adam" found here .  I appreciate Tim Keller's evaluation... Another participant, much-respected local pastor Tim Keller, offered a workshop paper laying out in irenic but firm terms a  conservative stance on Paul's view of the first humans. "[Paul] most definitely wanted to teach us that Adam and Eve were  real historical figures. When you refuse to take a biblical author literally when he clearly wants you to do so, you have  moved away from the traditional understanding of the biblical authority," Keller wrote. "If Adam doesn't exist, Paul's whole  argument—that both sin and grace work 'covenantally'—falls apart. You can't say that 'Paul was a man of his time' but we can  accept his basic teaching about Adam. If you don't believe what he believes about Adam, you are denying the core of Paul's  teaching."


abba! father!

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) Francis Schaeffer comments on this passage in The Finished Work of Christ ... We have received the Holy Spirit, and we are to let Him lead us. If we are truly saved, there should be some evidence of this in our lives. But Paul isn't saying these things to make us grovel in sorrow, searching our hearts and beating our  chests, wondering, “Am I really a Christian?” We will see that the rest of this chapter is a great cry of victory and  assurance. If you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, then indeed you should walk in the Spirit and you should be led by the  Spirit. At the same time, interwoven with these reminders is the tremendous realization that, having accepted Christ as  Savior and being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, God is our Father. [8:15-17]  He loves us and cares for us. If we have accept

new artist: josh garrels

Trouble has beset my ways, and wicked winds have blown Sirens call my name, they say they’ll ease my pain, then break me on the stones But true love is the burden that will carry me back home Carry me with the, memories of the, beauty I have known I’m sailing home to you I won’t be long By the light of moon I will press on So tie me to the mast of this old ship and point me home Before I lose the one I love, before my chance is gone I want to hold, her in, my arms. <p><a href="">Ulysses by Josh Garrels</a></p>

moralists old and new

"They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them..." (Romans 2:15) Trevin Wax writes in Counterfeit Gospels (p age 117-18) about the human drive for moral standards, as well as the deep-seated tendency to justify ourselves by those standards... In Policy Review , Mary Eberstadt compares two imaginary ladies, a grandmother named Betty and her thirty-year-old granddaughter, Jennifer. Betty wouldn’t think of judging someone based upon what they eat. Jennifer wouldn’t think of judging someone based upon their sexual activity. But both still maintain some notion that there is right and wrong.   What the imaginary examples of Betty and [her thirty-year-old granddaughter] Jennifer have established is this: Their personal moral relationships toward food and toward sex are just about perfectly reversed. Betty does care about nutrition and food, but it doesn’t occ

reaching college students

Insightful post by J. D. Greear and college worker, Rupert Leary,  at the Gospel Coalition on " 9 Keys to Reaching College Students." After recently meeting with the campus staff who attend our church (for a time of evaluation of our ministry), we found much overlap with this points:   We learned the following nine lessons along the way as our college ministry grew and flourished in an area that features many prominent universities. 1. Whatever you do, don't shy away from depth. 2. Preach the gospel. 3. Love on display is often the most effective apologetic. 4. Remember that we live in the Bono generation. 5. Lift their eyes to the nations. 6. Aggressively develop summer projects and overseas opportunities. 7. One-on-one meetings and small groups are often more effective for evangelism than large gatherings. 8. Providing multigenerational connections within the church is essential to discipleship. 9. Cultural adaptation is important, though not e