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Showing posts from July, 2019

the effect of the word

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving  seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall  accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."  (Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV)  "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."  (Romans 1:16 ESV)  Herman Bavinck writes,  "Through that word, we are always led and guided, admonished and comforted, encouraged and ashamed, convinced of sin and pointed to  Christ.  It is the very atmosphere in which we breathe from our birth; it is the food, the drink, the air, the sunshine, the rain for our spiritual life,  and that all combined together at one time.  "That word is always the power.  Without being ab

a biblical view of diversity

"After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands..."   (Revelation 7:9 ESV) In preparing believers to partake in the Lord's Supper for the first time, Dutch pastor and theologian, Herman Bavinck gave a series of meditations on how and why we publicly confess our faith in Christ.  The sixth message was entitled, "The Diversity of Confession".  Below is an excerpt (underlining added) ... "To be sure, people are already endlessly different from each other in the natural life.  Gender and age, talents and character, education and  environment, country and people, time and place, class and position, and diversity of gifts of intellect and heart all bring about the greatest  changes in the opinion and view of things.  No two people are exactly alike. "And th

this week 7/22

This week   I'm posting some of my favorite one-line quotes ...   “Man’s nature [ or, heart ] is a perpetual factory of idols."  (John Calvin) “The road to the promised land runs past Sinai."   (C. S. Lewis) “When a man truly sees himself, he knows nobody can say anything about him that is too bad.”  (Martyn Lloyd-Jones) "With God there are no little people."  (Francis Schaeffer) "Christianity is the only religion whose God bears the scars of evil.”   (Os Guinness) "Grace is glory begun.  Glory is grace perfected."  (Jonathan Edwards) "This is not the best of all possible worlds, but the best way to the best of all possible worlds." (Norm Geisler) “He who marries the spirit of the age is likely to be a widower in the next.”  (Soren Kierkegaard) "Christian doctrine lies at the very roots of faith."  (J. Gresham Machen) "We are immortal till our work is done."  (George Whitefield) "We have

setting the world right

What do Christians -- or the church as a collective -- have in common with secularists working on the problems of the world today?  How is our agenda different, or the same?  What common ground does a secular social justice have with a biblical social justice?  Is better technology or political / social structures (what Eliot calls "machinery") the answer to "setting the world right"?  What solutions should the Church be expected to bring to societal problems? Following are some excerpts from a radio broadcast talk by T. S. Eliot, given in February, 1937, which forms an Appendix to "The Idea of a Christian Society" in Christianity and Culture .  He writes,   "I want to suggest that a task for the Church in our age is a more profound scrutiny of our society, which shall start from the question: to what depth is the foundation of our society not merely neutral but positively anti-Christian?  "It ought not to be necessary for me to insist that

this week 7/18

"And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."  (Joshua 24:15 ESV) These are among the last spoken words of Joshua as recorded in Scripture.   According to here are some last words that people uttered before dying:  -- Blues singer Bessie Smith died saying, “I’m going, but I’m going in the name of the Lord.” -- Frank Sinatra died after saying, “I’m losing it.”  [ Previously, he sung about doing life "his way."] --When Harriet Tubman was dying in 1913, she gathered her family around and they sang together. Her last words were, “Swing low, sweet chariot.” -- Murderer James W. Rodgers was put in front of a firing squad in Utah and asked if he had a last request. He replied, “Bring me a bullet-proof vest.”   -- Sir Winston Chur

this week 7/9

Photography.  For a couple years in the late 1970s I worked for an  advertising / P.R. firm, Cooper Associates, mainly taking pictures for  press releases and writing feature stories for our clients.  I enjoyed  the photography -- with Pentax and Nikon SLRs -- and doing our black  and white print developing.  Retirement, at least at this stage, has allowed  me to do more picture-taking.  My current phone, a MotoG7, has very good capabilities as a camera.  Many of these photos I'm posting on  Instragram @bkyoung71.  [ Above, from yesterday morning at the CRC. ]   Hymn Sunday is a collaboration with Getty Music . You will find a video  of a favorite psalm along with downloadable sheet music . "One such struggle   [ in reading the Psalms ] is how we as Christians understand 'the righteous' in the  Psalms. At first glance our encounters might actually be more  disheartening than uplifting. We read glorious promises for the  righteous... But our first inclination

when your light is darkness

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of  darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly  bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.  (Luke 11:34-36 ESV) On this passage Francis and Edith Schaeffer write,  "Remember what we talked about at the beginning of this chapter?  That some people talk about prayer, and God, and they don't mean the true God at all?  Think carefully now.  If people think they have the truth, something true when they talk about hundreds of thousands of gods and prayer being incense sticks or prayer being pieces of paper going around on wheels; if people think they are giving truth to others when they teach that Jesus is just a man; or that God did not create man in the first place; or that the Bible is not true when it speaks about the universe

this week 7/2

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me."  (John 15:4 ESV)  What does it mean to " abide in Christ "?  Sinclair Ferguson explains here .   Happy 4th of July!  Here's a nice  celebratory T-shirt ...  Not your grandparents' church.   "As Christians grapple with the fallout from the empty claims of the attractional model of church, it becomes clear: churches without grandparents are just as sick as churches with only grandparents."  (Tim Challies)  Read the article here .  Another saint goes home.   Norm Geisler was instrumental in my spiritual growth at seminary and for many years beyond.   Here he gives an overview of 12 points that confirm the truth of Christianity. What you need to know about the garden of Eden .  "No longer could they live in the holy sanctuary of Eden in the presence of a holy God, because they ha

what benefit is there in suffering?

Rose window, Notre Dame "When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,  strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the  kingdom of God."  (Acts 14:21-22 ESV*) "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my  weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."  (2 Corinthians 12:9) "Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness." (C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain) What are the benefits of suffering in the Christian life?   Here are some highlights from chapter 4 in Joni Eareckson Tada's A Place of Healing :   Benefit No. 1 : Suffering Can Turn Us from a Dangerous Direction .  "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep yo