29 November 2008

Advent Devotions Nov. 30 thru Dec. 6

Sunday, November 30
Genesis 3:1-20 - Seed of Love
Monday, December 1
Genesis 22:1-18 - Only Beloved Son and Sacrifice
Tuesday, December 2
Genesis 48:15-16; 48:8-10 - Lion of Judah
Wednesday, December 3
Numbers 23:18-24; 24:3-9, 15-19 - Star of Jacob
Thursday, December 4
Deuteronomy 18:14-22 - A Prophet Like Moses
Friday, December 5
2 Samuel 17:1-17 - Son of David
Saturday, December 6
Psalm 2:1-12 - Messiah: Son of God & King

Taken from Covenant, Winter 2008

26 November 2008


OK, Christmas is approaching and as it is my family usually, actually always, indulges in the Christmas Carol movies. Which movies are the best? In no particular order we have:

Scrooge with Albert Finney as Scrooge

A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott as Scrooge

A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart (not in his Star Trek uniform) as Scrooge

and let's not forget

The Muppet Christmas Carol
with Michael Caine as Scrooge

I know, I know, Dickens was a socialist of his day. Nevertheless, it’s a great story that is still capable of conveying some truth. So, what are your favorite holiday films and what will you be doing to prepare for this holiday season?

25 November 2008

Babies Growing Up To Be What?

Too funny not to pass on. I hope this doesn't hit too close to home for any of the Pastors I know.

20 November 2008

Kent Hughes Audio

R. Kent Hughes, author of one of the most outstanding books ever written for men, Disciplines of a Godly Man, recently spoke in Spokane, Washington and we have the privilege of hearing the recordings. I highly recommend his book and these talks to you. Discipline does not come naturally to us and Scripture expects it of us so these are worth a listen. He has some very timely and convicting comments on bible reading and reading in general as well as about church attendance and commitment. Listen to part 1, part 2 and part 3. Listen, be blessed and be encouraged.

19 November 2008

Westminster Shorter Catechism #107

Well, we're here. We finally made it. After more than 1 1/2 years of weekly posts we come to a close of our study of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. The weekly reminders gave us time to pause and think about what God has for us and what the Assembly wanted to pass on. Let's take a few moments and consider the last question of the WSC....

Q. 107. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s prayer teach us? A. The conclusion of the Lord’s prayer, which is, [For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever; Amen.] teacheth us, to take our encouragement in prayer from God only; and in our prayers to praise him; ascribing kingdom, power, and glory to him; and in testimony of our desire, and assurance, to be heard, we say, Amen.

Q. 1. Why is the conclusion joined to the particle For? A. To teach us, that therein are included arguments, or reasons to press God withal, and to prevail with him for audience.
Q. 2. But is it lawful to argue with God, and to urge him with reasons in prayer? A. It is not only lawful, but expedient, yea, highly commendable; as is seen in the saints prayer. In Moses’, Numbers 14:13. And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them.) Ver. 19. Pardon. I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people from Egypt, even until now. In Joshua’s, Joshua 7:7. And Joshua said, Alas! O Lord God; wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan. Ver. 9. For the Canaanites, and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: And what wilt thou do unto thy great name? In Asa’s, 2 Chronicles 14:11. And Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on thee; and in thy name we go against this great multitude. O Lord, thou art our God; let no man prevail against thee. In Jehoshaphat’s, 2 Chronicles 20:6. And said, O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? And rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? And in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? And Hezekiah’s, 2 Kings 19:15. And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said, O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims; thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth:
Thou hast made heaven and earth. Ver. 19. Now therefore, O Lord our God, &c.
Q. 3. But to what purpose, can we think to prevail with God, by our arguments and importunities? A. They are not used, as though we would put God in remembrance of any thing, or would prevail with God to do that for us, which he is unwilling to give.
Q. 4. Why then? A. For our own profit, for the enlarging of our own hearts, for the exciting of our fervency, for the exerting of faith, hope, zeal, charity, &c. in prayer; and so to prepare ourselves for the mercy, that we may the more gratefully receive it, and the more fruitfully employ it.
Q. 5. How many arguments are in this conclusion? A. Three.
Q. 6. From whence are they taken? A. From God’s kingdom, from his power, and from his glory.
Q. 7. What kingdom is here meant? A. God’s universal, essential, and absolute kingdom; wherein may be, and is involved, his special kingdom over the church.
Q. 8. What are the arguments from hence? A. Because all that we can pray for in this prayer, is for the advancement and perfecting of this his kingdom, by the destruction of all persons and things that oppose it, and the completion of his dominion over all his subjects; therefore he would grant all these requests.
Q. 9. What is another? A. Because he being such an absolute Lord and Sovereign has an undeniable right, and unquestionable authority, to give and grant all we ask, and to effect and bring to pass all we beg: For all persons and things are his own, and at his disposal. Matthew 20:15. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?
Q. 10. What is meant by power? A. God’s essential, infinite, irresistible power, whereby he can do what he pleases; Psalm 135:6. Whatsoever the Lord pleased, &c.
Q. 11. What is the argument from hence? A. That we ask nothing from God, but what we can do with infinite ease, in despite of all the opposition that hell, earth and heart can make to the contrary; Philippians 3:21 According to the working, &c. Ephesians 3:20. Now unto him that is able, &c.
Q. 12. What is meant by glory? A. Not his essential glory, which no man, or angel, can ever apprehend.
Q. 13. What glory then? A. His declared and acknowledged glory, even the accomplishment of all his decrees by his providence; and then the love, the adoration, and the praises, the self-dedications of angels and saints, returned to him for the same.
Q. 14. What is the argument or motive from hence? A. That seeing the substance of every request does directly tend to, and will perfectly end in, this glory of God, when they are fully answered; therefore he would gradually answer them while we are here, and perfectly at last, to the advancement of his glory now, and the completion of it then. 1 Chronicles 29:11. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, &c. Joshua 7:9. And what wilt thou do unto thy great name? Isaiah 42:8. I am the Lord, that is my name, &c. Isaiah 48:11. For my own sake, even for my own sake, will I do it, &c.
Q. 15. Why is Amen added? A. Because it is the usual conclusion of prayers and praises; Psalm 41:13. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, &c. Psalm 72:19. And blessed be his glorious name for ever, &c. 2 Corinthians 13:14 .The grace of the Lord Jesus, and the love of God, &c. Romans 16:20. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
Q. 16. But what does this word here signify? A. It signifies, (1.) The reality and ardency of our desires to be granted in what we pray for: Revelation 22:20. He which testifieth these things, saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so come Lord Jesus.
Q. 17. And what besides? A. Our trust and firm confidence that we shall be heard and answered in all these our requests; Revelation 1:7. Even so, Amen. Revelation 7:12. Saying, Amen. Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, &c.
Q. 18. What are the inferences from hence? A. That we ought to use in prayer all such arguments, as may most and best affect our hearts towards God, excite our graces, and succeed with God.
Q. 19. What is another? A. That all we pray for must be in a subserviency to God’s kingdom, and with a desire of his glory.
Q. 20. What is the next? A. That we must act according to our prayers; do all we can for the advancement of God’s kingdom, and the exaltation of his glory, as subjects and votaries thereto; Psalm 116:16; 1 Corinthians 10:31.
Q. 21. What may more be gathered hence? A. That as we ought to begin, so to continue, and conclude our prayers, in lowest adorations of God, and acknowledgments of his glory and attributes.
Q. 22. What more doth this conclusion teach? A. That in prayer we must be fervent in our desires, and longing for what we pray, James 5:16.
Q. 23. Is there any thing besides? A. That praying for things agreeable to God’s will, we ought to be confident that we shall succeed in our requests praying for the matter, and after the manner of this prayer; James 1:6, 8; Matthew 21:22.
- John Flavel

18 November 2008

More on Reading

Hey, speaking of reading (#4 from my last post) here’s a great list on keeping your home library from the latest issue of Banner of Truth thanks to Stephen and Nate.

DIRECTION 1. Always reckon that the best book to be read, the first book to be read, and often the only book to be read, is God’s book.
DIRECTION 2. Give no credit to that opinion which holds bookishness in religion in suspicion or contempt.
DIRECTION 3. Do not be simply a collector of books. Retain them not for the number, beauty, antiquity, rarity, value, or mere possession of them.
DIRECTION 4. Mortify your library. That which you shelve may be construed the measure of that which you approve. That which you retain for reference may be read unwittingly for life (see Acts 19:19).
DIRECTION 5. Reckon that, contrary to popular expectation, those books lately written may be inferior to those of another day.
DIRECTION 6. Judge the importance of a book, not by the author’s exuberance or the publisher’s notices, but by the relative weight assigned that topic in God’s book. Weak books struggle through the press with ease nowadays, which strangely impresses the unwary.
DIRECTION 7. Do not give, lend, or recommend a book which you have not read. Do not trust an author just because he has written helpfully once or upon one subject.
DIRECTION 8. Care for your books. Esteem them as friends, for there may be times when they will be the only friends you have!
DIRECTION 9. And always a. Read widely. Avoid the accumulation of devotional material. Sermons are generally better heard than read. b. Read with discrimination. Be quick to part company with that book which fails to promote sound doctrine, solid thought, balanced inference, experimental godliness, and esteem for Christ.
DIRECTION 10. Never be found without a book nearby.

My disagreements here might be to part a of number 9 where we encouraged to “avoid the accumulation of devotional material.” As we don’t have the accompanying text with the directions I don’t want to put words in the author’s mouth. So, if I may, I would alter this to say that we should balance our libraries and therefore our reading time with both academic and devotional material. If I’m reading one then I’m usually reading the other. Otherwise I’m not academically increasing my general knowledge which should be balanced with devotional reading. In that way the former is not solely for education sake alone. I might also take some slight exception to number 4 and part b of number 9 (again giving the author the benefit of doubt as we don’t have the whole article). We must know our enemy and to do so and to be able to soundly counter him we must study his written work. If we “study to show ourselves approved” first we should then be reasonably able to discern biblical from unbiblical thus avoiding the author’s caution of what we “retain for reference may be read unwittingly for life.” On the whole I take recommendations such as these to heart and give them due thought and application in my life. How about you?

17 November 2008

Seven Ways to Improve Your Day Off

Free time, if there is such a thing, is at a premium. Idle time, let's face it, should not be a part of our lives. So, here's my list to improve our days away from the office. Any additions?

1. Set aside specific time to spend with your wife.
2. Set aside specific time to spend with your kids.
3. Determine/schedule how you will relax (it won’t just happen). Play guitar, have a game of golf, spend time with relatives, but whatever you do, plan it.
4. Spend time reading. Don’t like to read? Tough. There is no better way to enrich your mind & soul with the things of God.
5. Take time to meditate. Whether you’re in your study or at the park, meditate on the things of God. (We should be striving for this anyway, right?)
6. If you watch TV, watch quality. Watch something wherein the actors are true actors and there is a fine story to tell. Don’t watch the 99% of what’s out there and don’t fall prey to the cult of celebrity.
7. Spend some time thinking how you can help someone and then do it.

16 November 2008

The Blues is a Congregation...

The blues is a congregation of those who belong to Adam, who know what it means to be Adam and Eve's sons and daughters. It is also a congregation for whom the hope of Christ means redemption and freedom, the overturning and overcoming of that inherited curse. It is a congregation that sand and continues to sing of faith, hope, and love, one that tasted and continues to taste the sweetness of mercy. It is a congregation that hurls their words into the darkness, listening for a faint echo in return, a congregation waiting both patiently and actively for justice as they live in this world and as they long for the world to come. The blues is a congregation that sings on Saturday night in expectation of Sunday. - From Getting the Blues, What Blues Music Teaches Us About Suffering and Salvation by Stephen J. Nichols, pg. 171

14 November 2008

Never Been to Neverland?

Carl Trueman does it again with his latest article at Ref21, Trapped in Neverland. Its another spot on account of what is happening in our culture today. One pertinent quote reads, ...we need to put aside childish things and start acting like adults. Pascal put his finger on the problem of human life when he saw how entertainment had come to occupy a place, not as the necessary and momentary relief from a life of work, but as an end in itself. When entertainment becomes more than a pleasant and occasional distraction, when time and income become devoted to entertainment and to pleasure, when sports teams become more important to us than people - even the people to whom we are close - then something has gone badly wrong. The frothy entertainment culture in which we live is a narcotic: not only is it addictive, so that we always want more; it also eats away at us, skewing our priorities, rotting our values as surely as too much sugar rots our teeth. Jump over and read the entire article here & give it some thought. It'll well worth your time.

12 November 2008

Westminster Wednesday #106

We're nearing the end of our weekly study...

106. Ques. What do we pray for in the sixth petition? Ans. In the sixth petition, (which is, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,") we pray, That God would either keep us from being tempted to sin, or support and deliver us when we are tempted.

Q. 1. What do we request in praying, "Lead us not into temptation?" A. in praying, "Lead us not into temptation," we request that God would keep us from being tempted unto sin.
Q. 2. How doth God keep us from being tempted unto sin? A. God keepeth us from being tempted unto sin, either when he restraineth the devil (the great tempter of mankind) from assaulting us with his prevailing temptations; or else restraineth us from coming into those ways where temptations are waiting for us, and where we should be tempters unto ourselves. "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation ."— Matt. 26:41. "Keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me."— Ps. 19:13.
Q. 3. What do we request in praying, "Deliver us from evil?" A. In praying, "Deliver us from evil," we request, that when we are tempted by the devil, or the flesh, or the world, unto sin, that we may be supported and strengthened to resist and overcome the temptations, so as to be delivered, by the power of God's sufficient grace, from fallmg into the evil of sin. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."— James 4:7. "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able."— l Cor. 10:13. "There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan, to buffet me. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee."— 2 Cor. 12:7-9.
- Thomas Vincent

06 November 2008

Our Lives Are Like Ruined Castles

“Our lives are like ruined castles in the Highlands of Scotland. We drive around and look through the morning mist; if you squeeze your eyes together you can imagine what that ruin looked like when it was in full swing: when all the windows were in place, when the lights were on inside, when with the skirl of the pipes the laughter ensued and the laughter emanated across the hillside. But its all gone now. But there is a majesty to it; there is a glory to it. Its a ruin. But its a glorious ruin. That’s what the bible says men and women are: glorious as made in the image of God…. and yet ruined as a result of our rebellion against God.” - Alistair Begg

We Forgot The "R"

This was just toooo good not to pass on. Enjoy....

A young monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to helping the other monks in copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand. He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript. So, the new monk goes to the head abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up! In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.The head monk, says, 'We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.'

He goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts are held as archives in a locked vault that hasn't been opened for hundreds of years.

Hours go by and nobody sees the old Monk.

So, the young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him. He sees him banging his head against the wall and wailing.

'We missed the R!'
'We missed the R!'
'We missed the R!'

His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying uncontrollably.

The young monk asks the old Monk, 'What's wrong, father?'

With a choking voice, the old Monk replies, 'The word was. 'CELEBRATE!!!'

05 November 2008

So What Now?

As I’ve stated before I shy away from political issues on this blog and will continue to do so. However, on this historic occasion I find it necessary to share a few thoughts. No, I did not vote for Obama and yes I am disappointed at the outcome. That being said, it has nothing to do with race. I would have gladly voted for conservative Ken Blackwell had he run. For that matter, I would rather live under a Christian dictatorship rather a free democracy that elects the likes of Obama. But what is the crucial issue here? The issue is that Obama is now our God ordained president and we should honor him as such. I truly believe as Christians and conservatives we are in for a very rough road ahead. We may be looking at some of the most truly trying times that many of us have ever seen but we must bow our knee to the true King, Jesus Christ. I am reminded here of question seven of the Westminster Shorted Catechism:

Q: What are the decrees of God?
A: The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.

Some verses to ponder on this are:

Ephesians 1:11. In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.
Acts 4:27-28. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
Psalm 33:11. The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
Ephesians 2:10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Romans 9:22-23. What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.
Romans 11:33. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

So, what do we do now?

We are to honor our president (Rom. 13:7; 1 Pet. 2:17).
We are to pray for our president (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
We are to thank God for our president (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
We are to respect our president (Rom. 13:7).

For the finest blog post on the election may I refer you to Eric Redmond’s post at BTW.

Westminster Wednesday #105

Q. 105. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?A. In the fifth petition, which is, And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, we pray, that God, for Christ's sake, would freely pardon all our sins; which we are the rather encouraged to ask, because by his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others.

1. Are our sins our debts to God? Yes: There was a certain creditor that had two debtors, etc. Luke 7:41. Are they great debts? Yes: ten thousand talents, Matt. 18:24. Can we discharge these debts ourselves ? No: we have nothing to pay, Luke 7:42. Are we liable to the prison of hell then? Yes: not to depart thence till we have paid the last mite, Luke 12:58,59. Is it possible to obtain the forgiveness of this debt? Yes: There is forgiveness with thee, Ps. 130:4.
2. Are we to pray for the forgiveness of these debts? Yes: Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord, Ps. 143:2. And to pray earnestly for it? Yes: For thy name's sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity, Ps. 25:11. Must we plead God's mercies? Yes: According to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions, Ps. 51:1. And Christ's merits? Yes: Through the redemption that is in Jesus, Rom. 3:24. Must we pray for it every day? Yes: when we pray, Give us our daily bread, we must pray, Forgive us our debts.
3. Must we pray that God would ease us of the burden of sin? Yes: Take away all iniquity, Hos. 14:2. And that he would cleanse us from the filth of sin? Yes: Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, Ps. 51:2. And cure us of the wounds of sin? Yes: Heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee, Ps. 12:4. And save us from the punishment of sin? Yes: I will say unto God, do not condemn me, Job 10:2.
4. Must we pray to God to give us that grace which will qualify us for pardon? Yes: for Christ is exalted to give repentance and remission, Acts 5:31. And that he would give us the comfort of our pardon? Yes: Make me to hear joy and gladness, Ps. 51:8. And must we, in order hereunto, be particular in confessing sin? Yes: Declare, that thou mayest be justified, Isa. 43:26.
5. Must we forgive those who have provoked us? Yes: forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any, Col. 3:13. Must we bear them no malice? No: Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye he condemned, Jam. 5:9. Must we be ready to be reconciled to them? Yes: When ye stand praying, forgive if ye have ought against any, Mark 11:25. Should we be merciful to those that we have advantage against? Yes: Thou shouldest have had compassion on thy fellow-servant as I had pity on thee, Matt. 18:33. Is this required to qualify, us for the pardon of sin? Yes: If Ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, Matt. 6:14. Will God forgive those that do not forgive? No: If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive yours, verse 15.
- Matthew Henry

03 November 2008

Stormy Monday

Yeah, its storming here right now but that's not what this post is about. Have you been reading Getting the Blues by Stephen Nichols? He refers to the blues tune Stormy Monday. "....But Sunday I go to church and I kneel down to pray." Here is T-Bone Walker's rendition of Stormy Monday. It just doesn't get any better than this.

02 November 2008

Psalm 119:9-16

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.
With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

Meditation is something that often eludes us. This Lord's Day, let's strive to meditate on God's Word and remember the ultimate sacrifice and rejoice in what He has done for us.