Thursday, July 31, 2014

Are you "for Him"?

If you are not with Him and for Him, you are against Him (Matt. 12:30), and if you are against Him, He is not with you as Savior, and if you do not have Him as Savior and Redemer (Rescuer), you do not stand a chance against the Enemy of your soul. (1 Peter 5:8).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Preparing to Receive God's Word

"We are told men ought not to preach without preparation. Granted. But we add, men ought not to hear without preparation. Which, do you think needs the most preparation, the sower or the ground? I would have the sower come with clean hands, but I would have the ground well-plowed and harrowed, well-turned over, and the clods broken before the seed comes in. It seems to me that there is more preparation needed by the ground, than by the sower, more by the hearer than by the preacher." --
--Charles Spurgeon.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

If you fail to worship God, you will still worship....

“If not to God, you will surrender to the opinions or expectations of others, to money, to resentment, to fear, or to your own pride, lusts, or ego. You were designed to worship God and if you fail to worship Him, you will create other things (idols) to give your life to. You are free to choose what you surrender to, but you are not free from the consequence of that choice.”

― Rick Warren

Friday, July 25, 2014

Freedom vs. Obedience?

"Obedience never ends freedom, but is evidence that true freedom has entered your life and liberated your heart." -- Paul David Tripp

Thursday, July 24, 2014

One Must Actually Turn....

“It is not conversion to think that you will turn, or to promise that you will turn, or resolve that you will turn, but actually and in very deed to turn, because the Word has had a true entrance into your heart. You must not be content with a reformation; there must be a revolution: old thrones must fall, and a new king must reign. Is it so with you?”

- Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Christianity: the Way of Truth and Righteousness

Saving faith comes from hearing the message from, and concerning, Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:17), whom the Gospel presents as Savior and Lord. When that gospel message is rightly understood and truly believed it realigns (converts) the person so that from then on they habitually respond to Christ as Savior in confidence/trust, and characteristically respond to him as Lord in  allegiance that leads to what Paul calls "the obedience of faith" (Rom. 1:5)

The Christian life is called, in 2 Peter, the way of truth and the way of righteousness (2 Pet. 2:2, 21). That mirrors Paul's description of Christianity (in Titus 1:1) as a "knowledge of the truth that is in accordance with godliness."  And so Christianity is a way of life rooted in belief and knowledge of the truth (about God, ourselves, sin, salvation, etc.) that addresses every aspect of a person's life (1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Cor. 5:14-17). It is a repudiation of the empty way of life that was handed down to us (1 Pet. 1:18) that we live before in our ignorance of gospel truth. And it is a new way of seeing, knowing, believing, valuing and doing that is shaped by the gospel truth concerning Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Eph. 4:17-24)  It is a walking in faith by the Spirit, according to Paul (2 Cor. 5:7; Gal. 5:16) and a walking in truth and obedience, according to John (2 John 4; 1 Jn. 1:6).

All of  these Biblical images (of walking in and along a new way) refute the notion that becoming a Christian can be merely about making a decision that leaves a person unchanged and unmoved.  Images of 'walk' and 'way' require movement and action -- which may involve detours and backsliding that needs to be reversed through new repentance -- but it is movement forward toward the goal of Christlikeness in character, conduct and purpose.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Divine Justice or Mercy

"I will receive only justice or mercy from God. I never receive injustice from His hand." —R.C. Sproul

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Christ’s resurrection bestows the benefits of his death on us

"By his death sin was taken away, by his resurrection righteousness was renewed and restored.

"For how could he by dying have freed us from death, if he had yielded to its power? How could he have obtained the victory for us, if he had fallen in the contest?

"Our salvation may be thus divided between the death and the resurrection of Christ: by the former sin was abolished and death annihilated; by the latter righteousness was restored and life revived, the power and efficacy of the former being still bestowed upon us by means of the latter."

— John Calvin, quoted by Adrian Warnock in
Raised with Christ
(Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 118

Friday, July 18, 2014

"If Jesus is the Son of God...."

"If Jesus is the Son of God, when then must we do? We must commit ourselves, heart and mind, soul and will, home and life, personally and unreservedly to Jesus Christ. We must humble ourselves before him. We must trust in him as our Saviour and submit to him as our Lord; and then go on to take our place as loyal members of the church and responsible citizens in the community."

-- John Stott, "Basic Christianity"

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Mystery of Iniquity

"The mystery of iniquity is at work in the world during this interim time, and it is not always clear how its malignant work is being checked, overridden, or woven into the glorious purposes of God. We need to remember, though, that while Judas betrayed Christ, and woe to him for doing so, it was God’s plan that Christ was thus betrayed. Evil by its very nature opposes the purposes of God, but God, in his sovereignty, can make even this evil serve his purposes."

— David F. Wells
The Courage to Be Protestant
(Grand Rapids, Mi.: Eerdmans, 2008), 206.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Re-creational leisure

"People wish they had more leisure time. The problem is not too little of it, but too much of it spent poorly." -- Elisabeth Elliot

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The One Essential Condition of Human Existence

“The one essential condition of human existence is that man should always be able to bow down before something infinitely great. If men are deprived of the infinitely great, they will not go on living and will die of despair. The Infinite and the Eternal are as essential for man as the little planet on which he dwells.”

-- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Possessed (New York, 2005), page 663.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"Go to Christ immediately..."

"I feel when I have sinned an immediate reluctance to go to Christ. I am ashamed to go. I feel as if it would not do to go, as if it were making Christ the minister of sin, to go straight from the swine-trough to the best robe, and a thousand other excuses. But I am persuaded they are all lies direct from hell.

"John argues the opposite way—‘If any man sins, we have an advocate with the Father.’ The holy sensitiveness of the soul that shrinks from the touch of sin, the acute susceptibility of the conscience at the slightest shade of guilt, will of necessity draw the spiritual mind frequently to the blood of Jesus. And herein lies the secret of a heavenly walk. Acquaint yourself with it, my reader, as the most precious secret of your life. He who lives in the habit of a prompt and minute acknowledgement of sin, with his eye reposing calmly, believingly, upon the crucified Redeemer, soars in spirit where the eagle’s pinion [wings] range not."

— Robert Murray M’Cheyne, quoted by Andrew Bonar in
"Robert Murray M’Cheyne"
(Edinburgh, UK: Banner of Truth, 1960), 176

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

God's goodness is near us

“God’s goodness is near us. It is not a goodness far away, but God follows us with his goodness in whatever situation we are. He attaches himself to us, he has made himself close, that he might be near us in goodness. He is a father, and everywhere to maintain us. He is a husband, and everywhere to help. He is a friend, and everywhere to comfort and counsel. His love is a near love. He has taken upon himself the closest kinds of relationships, so that we may never lack God and the evidences of his love.”

-- Richard Sibbes, Works, IV:196, paraphrased.

The Basics of Islam

A helpful summary of the belief and practices of Islam from Joe Carter

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

When we truly care for someone....

"Kindness cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided that it escapes suffering… It is for people whom we care nothing about that we demand happiness on any terms: with our friends, our lovers, our children, we are exacting and would rather see them suffer than be happy in contemptible and estranging modes."


Sunday, July 6, 2014

God's good work...

"Where the foundation is laid, God will be sure to put up the roof."

— Richard Sibbes (compare Phil.1:6)
"Glorious Freedom"

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Are "these truths" still "self-evident"?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” As we celebrate July 4, there are some striking things to take note of in this most famous sentence from the Declaration of Independence. The founding fathers regarded these to be among the ‘self-evident truths’ that were foundational to our republic: “that all men are CREATED equal”, and that “their Creator” (not any human government or governmental institution) was the source of their “inalienable rights.”

So if the Creator is the source of our rights, surely he must be the one who defines them, which makes this statement from Jesus seem especially relevant in our time: “Haven’t you read…that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,….” (Matthew 19:4).

I am not one to claim that all the founding fathers were orthodox believers, but who can doubt that they and Jesus had the same Person in mind when they refer to the Creator?

It seems that Secularists today are determined to re-define historic cultural institutions, but to do so they have to attempt what even they cannot actually and legitimately do -- which is to re-write history. As John Adams himself said, "Facts are stubborn things...."