31 December 2010

30 December 2010

Thomas Case on Suffering, Sorrow and the Rod

On suffering Thomas Case intsructs us that God...

1. Teaches us to feel compassion towards others who are suffering.
2. Teaches us to prize our outward comforts and mercies.
3. Teaches us submission and self-denial. We learn to take up our cross.
4. Willl teach us by enduring little, we learn to endure much.
5. Will allow trouble so that we know our own heart. We will develop meekness through affliction and He will then save us from it.

(From Selected Works, A Treatise on Afflictions pages 5-27.)

24 December 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son...Isaiah 7:14. 

21 December 2010

Saul Tested

Our sermon series on 1 Samuel continues this week with a study of chapter 11.

18 December 2010

The Glory of the Incarnation

A slip of a girl, a virgin, bears a child; he is born in a stable; he grows up in a minor town in a land of little importance, and that under foreign occupation; as an adult, he lives a life which, outwardly, has all the appearance of an itinerant of no fixed address; he eschews military force; and finally, betrayed by a close friend, he is beaten and crucified; and, even then, he depends upon the generosity of another for his tomb. Every step of the way, salvation is wrought by God, in contradiction of the expectations and standards of this world. - Carl Trueman

This never ceases to amaze or effect me. God always works the opposite way we think He should. Praise Him for His wondrous works and Providence!

Thank you Carl Trueman for reminding us of what is truly important at this time of year.

14 December 2010

New issue of Themelios

The new issue of Themelios, volume 35, issue 3 for Nov. 2010  has been published with the usual array of fasciinating and insightful articles. Find it here.

10 December 2010

Dry Prayers?

The prayers and supplications that Christ offered up were, joined with strong cries and tears, herein setting us an example not only to pray, but to be fervent and importunate in prayer. How may dry prayers, how few wet ones, do we offer up to God! - Matthew Henry

08 December 2010

Do not forget prayer...

Do not forget prayer. Every time you pray, if you're prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage. - Fyodor Dostoevsky

06 December 2010

The Atonement of Christ

An excellent sermon from Elder Ray Gilliland on the Atonement...

Saul Inaugurated

We continue....


1. God prepares the nation
2. God provides a king
3. God partitions a people

04 December 2010

Prayer for Others

To make intercession for men is the most powerful and practical way in which we can express our love for them.- John Calvin

02 December 2010

We are not our own...

We are not our own: let not reason nor our will, therefore, sway our plans and deeds. We are not our own: let us therefore not set it as our goal to seek what is expedient for us according to our flesh. We are not our own: in so far as we can, let us therefor forget ourselves and all that is ours.

Conversely, we are God's: let us therefore live for him and die for him. We are God's: let his wisdom and will therefore rule all our actions. We are God's: let all the parts of our life accordingly strive toward him as our only lawful goal. ( Taken from the Institutes of Christian Religion by John Calvin, Book III, Chapter VII.)

As we enter the Christmas season, we are so often prone to indulge ourselves. Hence, let us meditate on Calvin's words above and consider not ourselves but rather deny ourselves and focus on the glory of Christ in every thought, word and deed this holiday season.

30 November 2010

St. Andrews Day

In honour of St. Andrews Day...

Robert Bruce’s March to Bannockburn (song)

SCOTS, wha hae wi’ WALLACE bled,
Scots, wham BRUCE has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to Victorie!

Now’s the day, and now’s the hour;
See the front o’ battle lour;
See approach proud EDWARD’S power—
Chains and Slaverie!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward’s grave?
Wha sae base as be a Slave?
Let him turn and flee!

Wha, for Scotland’s King and Law,
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
FREE-MAN stand, or FREE-MAN fa’,
Let him on wi’ me!

By Oppression’s woes and pains!
By your Sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!

Lay the proud Usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
LIBERTY’S in every blow!—
Let us Do or Die!

Robert Burns

26 November 2010

The Vanity of this Life

Whatever kind of tribulation we may suffer, this should always be our goal: to learn contempt for the present life, and thus be led to meditate on the life to come. ...Our folly comes from the fact that our minds are more or less dazzled by the false glitter of wealth, honour and power, which are superficially attractive and which stop us looking further ahead. By the same token our heart is full of greed, ambition, and other evil desires, and is held so fast by them that it cannot look higher up. Lastly, our entire soul seeks its happiness here on earth, because it is wrapped and entangled in the pleasures of the flesh.

To remedy this evil, the Lord teaches his servants to recognize the vanity of this present life, carefully training them by means of various afflictions. Lest they look forward in this life to peace and tranquility, he allows war, turmoil, theft and other evils to upset and trouble them. Lest they thirst too much  for ephemeral wealth or trust too fondly n the wealth they have, he reduces them to poverty, sometimes by sending barrenness to the earth, sometimes by fire, sometimes by other means; or else he condemns them to bare sufficiency. Lest they delight too much in marriage, he gives them difficult or headstrong wives who torment them, or wayward children to humble them, or else afflicts them with the loss of spouse or children. If, however, in all these things he treats them kindly, to stop them becoming proud in their conceit and complacent through excessive confidence, he warns them by means of sickness or peril, and gives them as it were visible proof of how fragile and fleeting are the good things we enjoy, since they are subject to decay.

Thus the discipline of the cross is of great benefit to us when we understand that the present life, judged in itself, is full of worry, trouble and much misfortune. It is never completely happy at any time, and all the blessings we hold dear are transitory and uncertian, trifling and tinged with endless misery. The conclusion we draw then, is that here we must expect nothing but conflict. If we would seek  our crown, it is to heaven that we must look. We may be sure that our heart will never really learn to want the life to come, and to meditate on i, without first feeling disdain for this earhly life. (From A Guide to Christian Living by John Calvin, translated by Robert White, Banner of Truth, pgs. 87-91.)

This passage from John Calvin has helped more than many others to understand our place here on earth and the afflictions we all encounter. I hope it helps you as well.

25 November 2010


THE FIRST THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION - 20 JUNE 1676: "The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present War with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgments he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions."

Read more here and enjoy your day.

24 November 2010

Whate'er My God Ordains is Right

Catherine Winkworth (translated this hymn to English)
Verse four of Whate'er My God Ordains is Right is such a powerful reminder to us of God's loving Providence in our lives...

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He never will deceive me;
He leads me by the proper path:
I know He will not leave me.
I take, content, what He hath sent;
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait His day.

23 November 2010

Saul Anointed

We see in 1 Samuel 9:1 - 10:16:

1. God's plan is in place by Providence
2. God's plan is interpreted by prophecy
3. God's plan is under girded by promise

22 November 2010

20 November 2010

Pink on Sin

The Bible lays open, as no other book, the turpitude (shameful depravity) and horrid nature of sin as “that abominable thing” which God “hates” (Jer. 4:4), and which we are to detest and shun. It never gives the least indulgence or disposition to sin, nor do any of its teachings lead to licentiousness. It sternly condemns sin in all its forms, and makes known the awful curse and wrath of God which are its due. It not only reproves sin in the outward lives of men, but discovers the secret faults of the heart which is its chief seat. It warns against the first motions, and legislates for the regulating of our spirits, requiring us to keep clean the fountain from which are “the issues of life.” Its promises are made unto holiness, and its blessings bestowed upon “the pure in heart.” The ineffable (that which cannot be expressed) and exalted holiness of the Bible is its chief and peculiar excellence, as it is also the principal reason why it is disliked by the majority of the unregenerate. The Bible forbids all impure desires and unjust thoughts as well as deeds. It prohibits envy (Prov. 23:17), and all forms of selfishness (Rom. 15:1). It requires us to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1), and bids us to “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22). Heavenly doctrine is to be matched with heavenly character and conduct. Its requirements penetrate into the innermost recesses of the soul, exposing and censuring all the corruptions found there. The law of man goes no farther than “Thou shall not steal,” but that of God “Thou shalt not covet.” The law of man prohibits the act of adultery, but the law of God reprehends (finds fault with, censures, blames) the looking upon a woman “to lust after her” (Matthew 5:28). The law of man says, “Thou shalt not murder,” that of God forbids all ill-will, malice or hatred (1 John 3:15). It strikes directly at that which fallen nature most cherishes and craves. “Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you” (Luke 6:26). It prohibits the spirit of revenge enjoins the forgiveness of injuries. and, contrary to the self-righteousness of our hearts, inculcates humility.

Such a task calls for Divine aid, hence help and grace need to be earnestly and definitely sought of the Holy spirit each day. And as, so many today are just playing with the solemn realities of God, never embracing and making them their own. How about you, reader? Is this true of you? - A.W. Pink

16 November 2010

1 John Week 7

This is week 7 of our 1 John study. We look at how John describes Cain as the prototype of hate and Christ as the prototype of love.

10 November 2010

How to Lead a Tranquil Life

...In seeking to know how to lead a tranquil life, Scripture insists that we should resign ourselves and all we have to God, surrendering to him our dearest desires, that he might tame and master them. ...We have a prodigious hatred and fear of poverty, obscurity and disgrace, which is why we do our best to run from them. The result is that people who live according to their own counsel are dogged by constant anxiety: they will therefore try any stratagem, and put themselves through all kinds of torment, to attain whatever ambition and greed impel them to seek, and to escape poverty and loss of status.

There is a path which believers must follow if they would avoid falling into this trap. First, they must cease to wish, hope or imagine they can prosper apart from the blessing of God. That is the only thing on which they can safely lean and rely. ...The fact is that, when problems abound, only God's blessing will find a way through, and ensure a good outcome in all we do. (Taken from A Guide to Christian Living by John Calvin, Banner of Truth, pgs. 44-46.)

This lengthy quote is simply to say that we too often, even as believers, are fearful of the wrong things. We seek to maintain what is not important while we seek after what will perish. Only the Lord makes life truly a blessing in whatever circumstances we are in.

09 November 2010


Redeemer's sermon series on 1 Samuel continues this week as we examine 7:2-17.

There is no gospel without deliverance, there is no deliverance without repentance, there is no repentance without rememberance and there is no rememberance without an Ebenezer.

08 November 2010

1 John Week 6

Our outstanding study of 1 John continues this week with a look at 2:29 through 3:10.

02 November 2010

01 November 2010

The First Drink....

“How is it that the first drink from a tankard tastes best? Perhaps it’s on account of sin, because our flesh and our lips are sinful.” - Martin Luther

30 October 2010

Works as Evidence

Robert Lewis Dabney: The Prophet Speaks (Battlefield Evangelism)
While our works are naught as a ground of merit for justification, they are all-important as evidences that we are justified. - Robert Dabney

27 October 2010

7 Steps for Handling a Tough Day

1. Remember that all things are for your good (Rom. 8:28).
2. You need not be anxious about anything (Phil. 4:6).
3. Trust in the Lord with everything you've got (Prov. 3:6-7).
4. Be courageous (Ps. 31:24).
5. God is always with you (Heb. 13:5).
6. Go to the Lord boldly when things are really tough (Heb. 4:16).
7. Remember that whatever you are doing, do it to the glory of God (Col. 3:17).

23 October 2010

Hand Sanitizer - Tim Hawkins

I love Tim's humor...

(HT:Trevin Wax)

W.G. Blakie on 1 Samuel 7:12

Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us. 1 Samuel 7:12.

All that Samuel has considered well. Even amid the desolations of Shiloh the Lord was helping them. He was helping them to know their sins, and helping them to know the bitter fruit and wo[e]ful punishment of sin...The links of the long chain denoted by Samuel's 'hitherto' were not all of one kind. Some were in the form of mercies, many were in the form of chastenings. (First Book of Samuel by W.G. Blakie, pg. 104 .)

Something we should all seriously consider when we look back on what has occured in our lives; that many situations were chastenings for our good though it may not have seemed so at the time.

21 October 2010

1 John Week 3

God is Light

-He is a God of splendor and brilliance
-He is self revealing
-He is pure and absolutely holy
-He is enlightening

In this Light we see ourselves for what we really are.

This Light is the medium in which we have fellowship with God.

John answers the Gnostics:

vs. 6 "Fellowship with God"
vs. 8 Original sin
vs. 10 Actual sin

19 October 2010


Our sermon series on 1 Samuel continues with todays sermon on 1 Samuel 2:b-22.

17 October 2010

Looking Forward to Worship This Morning?

Psalm 122

1 I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

2 Our feet have been standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem!

3 Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together,

4 to which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the Lord.

5 There thrones for judgment were set,
the thrones of the house of David.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!

7 Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”

8 For my brothers and companions' sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”

9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.

15 October 2010

Propitiation or Expiation?

One of the best explications in the debate over propitiation or expiation in several new testament passages comes from Leon Morris in his classic, The Atonement. This is clearly not just an argument over interpretational methodology of Greek verbs and nouns as they play out in various modern translations. Rather, this is crucial to a correct understanding of where a believer stands in light of God's wrath. Morris explains, Propitiation means the turning away of anger; expiation is rather the making amends for a wrong. Propitiation is a personal word; one propitiates a person. Expiation is an impersonal word; one expiates a sin or a crime (pg. 151).  Expiate is more palatable these days, and has been made so by the efforts of C.H. Dodd, as it indicates a separation from God's wrath. But that is not what we need and to view it as such is to minimize why we need God's wrath to be turned away.

The verses that are in question here are Rom. 3:25, Heb. 2:17, 1Jn 2:1-2 and 1Jn 4:10. In each case we are dealing with the Greek hilaskomai and its related words. Again, Morris clarifies, Nothing deals with salvation from the divine wrath other than hilasterion, which means 'the averting of wrath.' If we reduce hilasterion here to the sub-personal 'expiation', as do some modern translations and commentators, then what has become of God's wrath? ...To do justice to what the apostle is saying [in Romans 3] we must include in our understanding of this passage the idea that part of the meaning of salvation is that God's wrath is averted. ...The plain fact is that hilasterion signifies 'the means of averting wrath' and the new translations miss this (pg. 169).
The Atonement: Its Meaning and Significance

Morris delves further into the Greek for us and explicates Dodd's errors but moreover, he brings to light why propitiation has the correct meaning. It is not the word he is contending for but rather the idea it conveys. We must realize that His wrath will be reckoned with. This is all the more important in that those who reduce our term to no more than 'expiation' rarely face the questions that result. If there is no 'wrath of God', if 'wrath' is the wrong term and there is nothing corresponding to this teaching of Scripture, then the question arises, "Why should sin be expiated?' And another question, 'What would happen if sin were not not expiated?' (pg. 174).

Excellent chapter from an excellent book. This chapter is worth the price of the book alone.

Thoughts anyone?

12 October 2010

God's Prophet 1 Samuel 3:1-4:1a

God is calling Samuel to be a light in a dark time in Isreal's history.

1. God calls His prophet (vs. 10).
2. God informs His prophet (vss. 11-14).
3. God confirms His word. (vss. 19-21).

Likewise today, we must seek Christ as our Prophet and Teacher by

1. Partaking of the means of grace.
2. Praying He opens our hearts and minds.
3. Living our lives by what He has already taught us.

09 October 2010

Baxter on Worship and the Word

As we ready ourselves for worship tomorrow, think on the following from Richard Baxter:

Richard Baxter
You think you serve God by coming to church; but if you refuse to let the Word convert you, how should God be pleased with such a service as this?.... Every time you hear, or pray, or praise God, or receive the sacrament, while you deny God in your heart and remain unconverted, you do out despise Him, and show more of your rebellion than your obedience.... God biddeth you come to church and hear the Word, and so far you do well; but withal, He chargeth you to suffer the Word to work upon your hearts, and to take it home and consider it, and obey it. - Richard Baxter

08 October 2010

1 John Study

We began a new study on the book of 1 John this week at Redeemer Church (PCA). Today's study is the intro to the book. Please join us and follow along.

03 October 2010

02 October 2010

Mohler Cover Story in CT

I have to agree with Justin Taylor's assessment that the cover story on Al Mohler in the October issue of Christianity Today, was at best, condescending. Numerous unnecessary commments on everything from his clothes to his library permeate the article which is driven to focus on his unwanted denominational accomplishments rather than his Biblical vigor. Another let down from CT but let's face it, we don't read CT for it's astute compositions do we.

01 October 2010

Current Reading

The Erosion of Calvinist Orthodoxy: Drifting from the truth in confessional Scottish churchesWe've had the flu or bug or something here in the Renegade household for the past two weeks (hence the lack of posts) but I have attempted to not fall behind on my reading - which I still did. Nevertheless, I've found Hamilton's The Erosion of Calvinist Orthodoxy: Drifting from the truth in confessional Scottish Churches a great read and a serious warning to us all.

Tributes to John Calvin: A Celebration of His Quincentenary (Calvin 500)Delving into Tributes to John Calvin: A Celebration of His Quincentenary (Calvin 500) has been worth every moment of valuable reading time as well. Taken from the Calvin 500 conference each chapter is a study on Calvin in itself. Worth every penny.

What are you reading?

myPraypal - New app for your iPhone, iPad or iPhone touch

Take a look at the new app, myPraypal,  for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. "myPraypal is the simplest and most useful prayer app on the planet. Write down your prayers using myPraypal. Set reminders and get encouragement to pray everyday. Organize prayers into categories. Invite others to pray with you. Mark prayers as answered and keep track over time how the Lord is working in your life!"

26 September 2010

Psalm 67 - Westminster Abbey Choir

God be merciful unto us, and bless us
and shew us the light of his countenance, and be merciful unto us;
That thy way may be known upon earth
thy saving health among all nations.
Let the people praise thee, O God
yea, let all the people praise thee.
O let the nations rejoice and be glad
for thou shalt judge the folk righteously, and govern the nations upon earth.
Let the people praise thee, O God
let all the people praise thee.
Then shall the earth bring forth her increase
and God, even our own God, shall give us his blessing.
God shall bless us
and all the ends of the world shall fear him.

24 September 2010

Spurgeon on Sickness

I venture to say that the greatest earthly blessing that God can give to any of us is health, with the exception of sickness. Sickness has frequently been of more use to the saints of God than health has. - C.H. Spurgeon

23 September 2010


Hey, watch the video. I just downloaded the album.

Disciple - Horseshoes & Handgrenades (album interview) from Disciple Rocks on Vimeo.

Looking for a Commentary?

Focus on the Bible - 1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart (Focus on the Bible Commentaries)If you're having trouble finding a commentary on a book of the Bible or just trying to find the one that suits you're particular needs you can get help at BestCommentaries.com. The site is broken down into various categories (OT, NT, price, author) and specifies the type of commentary (technical, pastoral, etc.). Each book also has a link to various online book sellers such as Amazon, CBD and Barnes and Noble. Certainly worth a look and a try.

22 September 2010

A Three Fold Sacrifice

A very fine sermon based on 1 Samuel. Pay particular attention to the last 11 minutes. You'll be blessed.

15 September 2010

“The Almighty hath afflicted me”

Thomas Watson
It is one heart–quieting consideration in all the afflictions that befall us, that God has a special hand in them: “The Almighty hath afflicted me.” Instruments can no more stir till God gives them a commission, than the axe can cut of itself without a hand. Job eyed God in his affliction: therefore, as Augustine observes, he does not say, “The Lord gave, and the devil took away,” but “The Lord hath taken away.” -THOMAS WATSON

12 September 2010

The Birth of Samuel

We started a new sermon series this morning at Redeemer Church (PCA) on the book of 1 Samuel. Be blessed.

1 Samuel is about three men:
1. Samuel
2. Saul
3. David

The book begins with Isreal in a state of severe spiritual decline. Philistines were in control and Mosaic worship is corrupt.

Verses 1-20 can be studied under three headings:
1. Hannah's problem
2. Hannah's prayer
3. Hannah's peace

Lessons to be learned:
1. We will experience trials
2. Hannah's trials mirror that of church - a desire for the coming of Christ

08 September 2010

Book Burning?

What is the correct Biblical response to Terry Jones' book burning party? Mike Horton weighs in:

As citizens of democratic nations, Christians may be concerned about the implications of Qur’an-burning for international peace and justice. However, as citizens of the kingdom of Christ, they have even more reason to denounce such actions. Recall James and John—the “sons of thunder”—asking Jesus if they could call fire down from heaven on a Samaritan village that rejected their message. We read that Jesus rebuked them.

This is not the era of driving out the nations from God’s holy land, for the church is the only holy land and Christ is its living Temple. This is the era of enduring persecution, not for provoking or participating in it. In the Book of Revelation we read that it was not the martyr’s protests or book-burnings, but “the word of their testimony” and their witness to the Lamb that conquered the Beast.

...Christians are called to love Muslim neighbors simply because they are created in the image of God. Yet they are also called to proclaim the gospel and to explain and defend it, albeit with gentleness and respect.

Read the entire post here.

Medieval Helpdesk

07 September 2010

The Leper

Great sermon on Matthew 8:1-4.

The event in Matthew 8:1-4 demonstrates:
-The Authority of Jesus
-The Compassion of Jesus
-The Wisdom of Jesus

Which confirms:
-Messianic fulfillment (Matt. 8:17)
-The Power of Jesus Christ
-Christ's infinite compassion

28 August 2010

Grief is Permitted

Facing Grief: Counsel For MournersI've been reading John Flavel's Facing Grief and have found it to be an excellent read. Its thrust is counsel to those have have lost their loved ones and is based on Luke 7:13. The counsel to the reader is insightful and can be applied to any kind of grief we encounter. Permit me to highlight chapter three, Sorrow Permitted to Christian Mourners:

1. The afflicted must be allowed an awakened and tender sense of the Lord's afflicting hand.
2. We must allow the mourning, afflicted soul a due and comely expression of his grief and sorrow in his complaints both to God and men.
3.The afflicted person may (ordinarily) accuse, judge, and condemn himself, for being the cause and procurer of his own troubles.
4. The afflicted Christian may, in a humble, submissive manner, plead with God, and be earnest for the removal of his affliction.

This is one of the best little books to come from Banner of Truth this year. If you're grieving, this may help.

More on this great little tome later...

25 August 2010

23 August 2010

A Threefold Blessing

The last sermon in our series on Thessalonians. This sermon includes a simply outstanding explication of the peace of Christ

22 August 2010

King James Who? - God

Ok, I'm bragging a bit - this billboard is my son-in law's work. But I do heartily applaud his church's efforts to advance the Gospel. Great work Neo Church.

21 August 2010

The Gospel or Race?

The World Council of Churches will be meeting here in Cleveland next week. Sadly, it will not be to discuss the Gospel but rather race issues.  Race issues certainly are important but is not the Gospel more so? The issues of race will seemingly always be with us but our time is short to reach many with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a collossal waste when so many are dying in their sins. It certainly demonstrates the course the WCC has taken and it's wrong-headed focus on issues. May we all look inwardly at our motives and goals and realign them to a Biblical standard of life and work. Our time is short.

How We Spend Our Time

How do we spend our time? Technology has invented incredible time-savers for us yet we have less time than we ever have had before. Carl Trueman correctly weighs in here on this issue. As for what we should be doing I particulary appreciated, ...drinking beer with friends is perhaps the most underestimated of all Reformation insights and essential to ongoing reform... Enjoy.

17 August 2010

Working for Christ

Fantastic sermon on idleness and the necessity of work.

Idleness is a grevious sin.

Why? Four reasons:

1. It fails to fulfill the creation mandate
2. It deprives others of our productivity - it is theft
3. It exposes one to the Devil's temptations
4. It is contrary to the example of Jesus Christ

To be learned:
1. Don't take idleness lightly
2. Don't be idle in spiritual things
3. Work hard at whatever God has given you to do

13 August 2010

On Being an Introvert

Adam McHugh's blog on introversion is always an enjoyable read as was his book. His post yesterday was especially thoughtful. In part he states, From a neurological point of view, introverts have more brain activity and brain blood flow than extroverts, and we have less tolerance for the dopamine that is released from social interactions and activity. So in many cases it actually may be more pleasurable - in terms of the good feelings released in the brain - for us to be alone or at home than it is for us to be at a party or a church activity. In other words, we are more motivated to be alone than to be in a crowd. It's not that we don't like people or are anti-social or standoffish, it's that it actually feels better for us to be alone sometimes. Reading a book on a Friday night may feel better than a night out with friends, especially when we have spent the week in a socially charged atmosphere at work. You see, it's not that we don't like people or that we're naval-gazers, we just don't get our energy from being around others. Rather, we recharge our internal batteries by being alone and pursuing whatever our sometimes overly active brains would have for us to cogitate upon. Read the rest of Adam's thoughtful post here and think about all of your introverted friends. His last paragraph is particularly discerning. Let me know what you think.

Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture

12 August 2010

God is Faithful


I've been offline for the last five days thanks to a downed landline that took AT&T five days to repair. But, we're back up and running. New posts to come soon.

06 August 2010

Trueman on Reading Thomas

His constructive theological work (particularly Summa Theologiae Part One) lays the groundwork for much of what is later incorporated into Reformed understandings of God. Did you know that about Thomas Aquinas? Sure we disagree with him in many areas but there is much to be admired. Read more here from Carl Trueman.

03 August 2010

Ryle on Prayer

Recently I was thinking about prayer and how often I neglect the privilege when I came across this quote from J.C. Ryle:

...Sermons and books and tracts, and committee meetings and the company of good men, are all good in their way, but they will never make up for the neglect of private prayer. Mark well the places and society and companions that unhinge your hearts for communion with God and make your prayers drive heavily. There be on your guard. Observe narrowly what friends and what employments leave your soul in the most spiritual frame, and most ready to speak with God. To these cleave and stick fast. If you will take care of your prayers, nothing shall go very wrong with your soul. (From A Call to Prayer by J.C. Ryle.)

What a remarkable statement. In some ways it is most obvious. But, let's face it, it is what we all do. We let the busyness of life get in the way of communion with the Life-Giver. Prayer is too often neglected. It is time to remove those things that so easily unhinge our hearts for communion with God.

A Call to Prayer

30 July 2010

The Implication of a Christian Worldview for Christian Education - Dr.Nelson Kloosterman

Dr. Nelson Kloosterman, Professor of Ethics and New Testament Studies at Mid-America Reformed Seminary, spoke at a local conference on the subject of The Implication of a Christian Worldview for Christian Education. It was insightful and enjoyable for all. Below are the audio links. Be blessed.

27 July 2010

True Christian Love

...The true nature of Christian love is a righteous principle which seeks the highest good of others. It is a powerful desire to promote their welfare. The exercise of love is to be in strict conformity to the revealed will of God. We must love in the truth. Love among the brethren is far more than an agreeable society where views are the same. It is loving them for what we see of Christ in them, loving them for Christ's sake.

The Lord Jesus Himself is our example. He was not only thoughtful, gentle, self-sacrificing and patient, but He also corrected His mother, used a whip in the Temple, Severely scolded His doubting disciples, and denounced hypocrites. True spiritual love is above all faithful to God and uncompromising towards all that is evil. We cannot declare, ‘Peace and Safety’ when in reality there is spiritual decay and ruin!

True spiritual love is very difficult to exercise because it is not our natural love. By nature we would rather love sentimentally and engender good feelings. Also many times true spiritual love is not received in love, but is hated as the Pharisees hated it. We must pray that God will fill us with His love and enable us to exercise it without dissimulation toward all. - A.W. Pink

26 July 2010

Fruit of the Spirit Lesson Three

Outstanding lesson on love. What is real love and how do we relate to others in light of the definition of Biblical love.

24 July 2010

Andrew Murray on the Holy Spirit

It was the Holy Ghost Who was given to the church at Pentecost; and it is the Holy Ghost Who gives Pentecostal blessings now. It is this power, given to bless men, that wrought such wonderful life, and love, and self-sacrifice in the early church; and it is this that makes us look back to those days as the most beautiful part of the Church’s history. And it is the same Spirit of power that must dwell in the hearts of all believers in our day to give the Church its true position. Let us ask God then, that every minister and Christian worker may be endued with the power of the Holy Ghost; that He may search us and try us, and enable us sincerely to answer the question, “Have I known the indwelling and the filling of the Holy Spirit that God wants me to have? Let each one of us ask himself: “Is it my great study to know the Holy Ghost dwelling in me, so that I may help others to yield to the same indwelling of the Holy Spirit; and that He may reveal Christ fully in His divine saving and keeping power?” Will not every one have to confess: “Lord, I have all too little understood this; I have all too little manifested this in my work and preaching”? - (From the Deeper Christian Life by Andrew Murray.)

23 July 2010

A man is what his heart is

The man is what his heart is. If this be dead to God, then nothing in him is alive. If this be right with God, all will be right. As the mainspring of a watch sets all its wheels and parts in motion, so as a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). If the heart be right, the actions will be. As a man's heart is, such is his state now and will be hereafter: if it be regenerated and sanctified there will be a life of faith and holiness in this world, and everlasting life will be enjoyed in the world to come. Therefore, “Rather look to the cleansing of thine heart, than to the cleansing of thy well; rather look to the feeding of thine heart, than to the feeding of thy flock; rather look to the defending of thine heart, than to the defending of thine house; rather look to the keeping of thine heart, than to the keeping of thy money” (Peter Moffat, 1570).

“Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). The “heart” is here put for our whole inner being, the “hidden man of the heart” (1 Peter 3:4). It is that which controls and gives character to all that we do. To “keep”—garrison or guard—the heart or soul is the great work which God has assigned us: the enablement is His, but the duty is ours
. - A.W. Pink

22 July 2010

The Golden Chain

The Implication of a Christian Worldview for Christian Education - Dr. Nelson Kloosterman

Below is the conference audio of Dr. Nelson Kloosterman teaching on The Implication of a Christian Worldview for Christian Education from last May. Dr. Kloosterman is Professor of Ethics and New Testament Studies at Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Enjoy.

21 July 2010

Why Go I Mourning?

“Why go I mourning?”- Psalm 42:9

Canst thou answer this, believer? Canst thou find any reason why thou art so often mourning instead of rejoicing? Why yield to gloomy anticipations? Who told thee that the night would never end in day? Who told thee that the sea of circumstances would ebb out till there should be nothing left but long leagues of the mud of horrible poverty? Who told thee that the winter of thy discontent would proceed from frost to frost, from snow, and ice, and hail, to deeper snow, and yet more heavy tempest of despair? Knowest thou not that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Hope thou then! Hope thou ever! For God fails thee not. Dost thou not know that thy God loves thee in the midst of all this? Mountains, when in darkness hidden, are as real as in day, and God’s love is as true to thee now as it was in thy brightest moments. No father chastens always: thy Lord hates the rod as much as thou dost; he only cares to use it for that reason which should make thee willing to receive it, namely, that it works thy lasting good. Thou shalt yet climb Jacob’s ladder with the angels, and behold him who sits at the top of it-thy covenant God. Thou shalt yet, amidst the splendours of eternity, forget the trials of time, or only remember them to bless the God who led thee through them, and wrought thy lasting good by them. Come, sing in the midst of tribulation. Rejoice even while passing through the furnace. Make the wilderness to blossom like the rose! Cause the desert to ring with thine exulting joys, for these light afflictions will soon be over, and then “for ever with the Lord,” thy bliss shall never wane. -C.H. Spurgeon

“Faint not nor fear, his arms are near,
He changeth not, and thou art dear;
Only believe and thou shalt see,
That Christ is all in all to thee.”

17 July 2010

A Review of "In the care of the Good Shepherd: Meditations on Psalm 23"

To find good, Reformed devotional literature is difficult to do. So when I came across the Reflections series from publisher Day One I was delighted. One book in the series by Iain D. Campbell, In the care of the Good Shepherd: Meditations on Psalm 23, is certainly worth a read.

Don’t be deterred; this is not another boring exposition on Psalm 23. Campbell takes each verse as a chapter and draws out the truth of Scripture while revealing the solace found in the passage. It’s encouraging, comforting and inspirational; a thoroughly enjoyable read. Whether you’re looking for something new for your own devotions or something for group or family devotions this book is worth consideration. It gets a well deserved two thumbs up!

14 July 2010

A.W. Pink on Foreknowledge

Often misinterpreted, God's foreknowledge is critical to a right understanding to the Gospel. Without a correct understanding of it the Sovereign gift God mutates into works righteousness. A.W. Pink clarifies for us:

Let us pause and define our terms. What is meant by “foreknowledge”? “To know beforehand,” is the ready reply of many. But we must not jump to conclusions, nor must we turn to Webster’s dictionary as the final court of appeal, for it is not a matter of the etymology of the term employed. What is needed is to find out how the word is used in Scripture. The Holy Spirit’s usage of an expression always defines its meaning and scope. It is failure to apply this simple rule which is responsible for so much confusion and error.

...Now the word “foreknowledge” as it is used in the New Testament is less ambiguous than in its simple form “to know.” If every passage in which it occurs is carefully studied, it will be discovered that it is a moot point whether it ever has reference to the mere perception of events which are yet to take place. The fact is that “foreknowledge” is never used in Scripture in connection with events or actions; instead, it always has reference to persons. It is persons God is said to “foreknow,” not the actions of those persons.

...The first occurrence is in Acts 2:23. There we read, “Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” If careful attention is paid to the wording of this verse, it will be seen that the Apostle was not there speaking of God’s foreknowledge of the act of the crucifixion, but of the Person crucified: “Him (Christ) being delivered by,” etc.

The second occurrence is in Rom. 8:29, 30. “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called,” etc. Weigh well the pronoun that is used here. It is not what He did foreknow, but whom He did. It is not the surrendering of their wills nor the believing of their hearts, but the persons themselves that are here in view.

...The last mention is in 1 Peter 1:2: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” Who are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”? The previous verse tells us: the reference is to the “strangers scattered” i. e. the Diaspora, the Dispersion, the believing Jews. Thus, here too the reference is to persons, and not to their foreseen acts.

Now in view of these passages (and there are no more) what scriptural ground is there for anyone saying God “foreknew” the acts of certain ones, viz., their “repenting and believing,” and that because of those acts He elected them unto salvation? The answer is, None whatever. Scripture never speaks of repentance and faith as being foreseen or foreknown by God. Truly, He did know from all eternity that certain ones would repent and believe, yet this is not what Scripture refers to as the object of God’s “foreknowledge.” The word uniformly refers to God’s foreknowing persons; then let us “hold fast the form of sound words” (2 Tim. 1:18).

...It thus appears that it is highly important for us to have clear and scriptural views of the “foreknowledge” of God. The popular idea of Divine foreknowledge is not only inadequate and erroeneous, but slanders the reality of God’s attributes, bringing Him disgrace rather than the glory which is His due. God not only knew the end from the beginning, but He planned, fixed, predestinated everything from the beginning. And, as cause stands to effect, so God’s purpose is the ground of His prescience. If then the reader be a real Christian, he is so because God chose him in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), and chose not because He foresaw you would believe, but chose simply because it pleased Him to choose; chose you notwithstanding your natural unbelief. This being so, all the glory and praise belongs alone to Him. You have no ground for taking any credit to yourself. You have “believed through grace” (Acts 18:27), and that, because your very election was “of grace” (Rom. 11:5). (From the Attributes of God by A.W. Pink.)

13 July 2010

Christopher Ness on Foreknowledge

The foreknowledge of God is so often misinterpreted and/or misunderstood that a Biblical understanding of it must by obtained. Christopher Ness (1621-1705) has written:

That which is the fruit and effect of the Divine decree cannot be the cause of it; and faith, perseverance, etc., are but the fruits and effects of electing love.

Such as are given to Christ in the decree of election, do come to, or believe in Christ; others do not come, do not believe; and the cause assigned is, because they are not of His sheep, because they are not given to Him. “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me” (John 6:37). Coming to Christ is believing on Him. “Ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep” (John 10:26). “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Ac 13:48). We may not (according to the Arminian notion) read it, “as many as believed were ordained unto life;” for this would be setting the cart before the horse, as if the means were ordained before the end. We are predestinated that we should be holy, not because we are holy (Eph 1:4). We are foreordained to walk in good works, not because we do so (Eph 2:10). We are predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ, not because we are so (Ro 8:29). It is the election that obtains faith, and not faith that obtains election (Ro 11:7). And the Apostle, in 2 Timothy 1:9, excludes all works (both foreseen and existing), showing that God's gracious purpose is the original of all. Yea, Paul himself was chosen that he might know the will of God, not that he was foreseen to do so (Ac 22:14); and he tells the Thessalonians, that “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess 2:13). We may not make that an antecedent to election which is but the consequent of it. “I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit” (John 15:16).

...God is the cause of causes, and the first cause of all things. There can be no being but from Him, there can be nothing before Him. “Of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things” (Ro 11:36). “In Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Ac 17:28). O Lord, “Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev 4:11). God is the chief efficient cause, and the ultimate end of all beings; but if any being be antecedent to the determinations of God's will, this would take away the dignity of the supreme cause, and make an act of man superior to that of God. (From An Antidote Against Arminianism by Christopher Ness.)

So we can see from these two brief passages from Hess' brilliant work on Arminianism that is not of ourselves that we believe. To embrace such a belief is to aceppt that man is the controlling factor in his own salvation. If that be the case, who should desire to worship a god who man can manipulate with such ease?

12 July 2010

Fruit of the Spirit Lesson 1

We begin the third quarter with a new series on the Fruit of the Spirit. This lesson is an excellent introduction to the book of Galatians.

08 July 2010

Spurgeon on Isaiah 26:4

Spurgeon never ceases to offer comfort in his writings. Consider the following excerpt from Morning and Evening:

“Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” - Isaiah 26:4

Seeing that we have such a God to trust to, let us rest upon him with all our weight; let us resolutely drive out all unbelief, and endeavour to get rid of doubts and fears, which so much mar our comfort; since there is no excuse for fear where God is the foundation of our trust. A loving parent would be sorely grieved if his child could not trust him; and how ungenerous, how unkind is our conduct when we put so little confidence in our heavenly Father who has never failed us, and who never will. ...So far from suffering doubts to live in our hearts, we will take the whole detestable crew, as Elijah did the prophets of Baal, and slay them over the brook; and for a stream to kill them at, we will select the sacred torrent which wells forth from our Saviour’s wounded side. We have been in many trials, but we have never yet been cast where we could not find in our God all that we needed. Let us then be encouraged to trust in the Lord for ever, assured that his ever lasting strength will be, as it has been, our succour and stay. (From Morning and Evening: Daily Readings, by C.H. Spurgeon.)

07 July 2010

A Review of "THE HUMANNESS OF JOHN CALVIN: The Reformer as Husband, Father, Pastor and Friend"

John Calvin has been often been misrepresented as a cold, hard, unfeeling, detached man and responsible for the death of Michael Servetus. Nothing could be further from the truth and Richard Stauffer’s, The Humanness of John Calvin, The Reformer as Husband, Father, Pastor and Friend, dispels any ideas of these distortions be true. Not a new work, published in 1971, it is worth another look however as Calvin’s life is back in the limelight with the anniversary of his birthday last year. The author, Richard Stauffer, (1921-1984), was an outstanding Reformation historian in his own right and his exquisite knowledge of the time period is revealed within this 96 page tome.

Stauffer threads his way through the highlights of Reformer’s life and reveals intimate details, most through detailed knowledge of his letters, about Calvin the man; about his humanness. Dispelling many if not all of the unfair and inaccurate characterizations of the Reformer, we read of the kind, loving, deep feeling man that he was. For those who have been indoctrinated with the lies about Calvin, this book is for you. For those who want to know more about the man behind the theology, this book is also for you. I highly recommend it. It could be a first step to a greater understanding of Calvinism.