31 July 2012

On Jordan's Stormy Banks

On Jordan's Stormy Banks

1. On Jordan's stormy banks I stand, 
 and cast a wishful eye 
 to Canaan's fair and happy land, 
 where my possessions lie. 
 I am bound for the promised land, 
 I am bound for the promised land; 
 oh, who will come and go with me? 
 I am bound for the promised land. 

2. O'er all those wide extended plains 
 shines one eternal day; 
 there God the Son forever reigns, 
 and scatters night away. 

3. No chilling winds or poisonous breath 
 can reach that healthful shore; 
 sickness and sorrow, pain and death, 
 are felt and feared no more. 

4. When I shall reach that happy place, 
 I'll be forever blest, 
 for I shall see my Father's face, 
 and in his bosom rest. 
 Author: Samuel Stennett
Music: Traditional American Melody 
A favorite hymn of many including myself. Here's some background on the hymn. 
[Author] Samuel Stennett was born, in 1727, in Exeter, England, the son of a Baptist minister. 
...[Stennett] was one of the most respected and  influential preachers among the Dissenting or
non-conformist groups of his time. he was highly esteemed by all religious groups and classes 
of people; it was said that he was even a personal friend of reigning monarch, King George III.
... Throughout his ministry, Stennett also authored thirty-nine hymns, most of which he 
contributed to one of the most important evangelical hymnals of the eighteenth century, 
John Rippon's Selection of Hymns, published in 1787. ...Stennett's two most popular hymns
still in usage are 'Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned" and On Jordan's Stormy Banks." In 1763,
the University of Aberdeen conferred the Doctor of Divinity degree upon Samuel Stennett,
in recognition of his accomplishments. (Taken from 101 More Hymn Stories by Kenneth W. Osbeck, Kregel Publications, pg. 222.)

This is a really sweet rendition.

30 July 2012

Jesus is Sufficient

    Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
(Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV)

27 July 2012

Summer Psalms - Psalm 15 - Dwelling with God

    O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent?
        Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
    He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
        and speaks truth in his heart;
    who does not slander with his tongue
        and does no evil to his neighbor,
        nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
    in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
        but who honors those who fear the LORD;
    who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
    who does not put out his money at interest
        and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
    He who does these things shall never be moved.
(Psalm 15 ESV)

26 July 2012

25 July 2012

Doctrine of Prayer Week 6

    “Moreover, you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarns; you shall make them with cherubim skillfully worked into them. The length of each curtain shall be twenty-eight cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits; all the curtains shall be the same size.
    (Exodus 26:1-2 ESV)

    And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
    And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
(Matthew 27:50-51 ESV)

    Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
        but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
(Proverbs 28:13 ESV)

24 July 2012

Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken

Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken
Composer: Davide C. Marney, 2004
Lyricist: Henry F. Lyte, 1824; text of 1833

Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow thee;
Destitute despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shalt be:
Perish ev'ry fond ambition
All I've sought, or hoped, or known;
Yet how rich is my condition,
God and heav'n are still my own.

Man may trouble and distress me,
'Twill but drive me to thy breast;
Life with trials hard may press me,
Heavn' will bring me sweetter rest:
O 'tis not in grief to harm me
While thy love is left to me;
O 'twere not in joy to charm me,
Were that joy unmixed with thee.

Take, my soul, thy full salvation,
Rise o'er sin and fear and care;
Joy to find in ev'ry station
Something still to do or bear;
Think what Spirit dwells within thee,
What a Father's smile is thine,
What a Saviour died to win thee:
Child of heav'n shouldst thou repine?

Haste then on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith, and winged by prayer;
Heav'n's eternal day's before thee,
God's own hand shall guide thee there.
Soon shall close thy earthyly mission
Swift shall pass thy pilgrim days;
Hope soon change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise. 

This hymn has brought hope and encouragement to many throughout it's history. It has a wonderful story behind it. The author of this hymn, Henry Francis Lyte, ...was transferred to a community of fisherman at Lower Brixham, in Devonshire, England. Here he ministered faithfully to these humble people for the next twenty three years of his life. ..."Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken" reflects Lyte's own personal attitude toward the "cross" of his suffering and the fact that he had found refuge in Christ alone in learning to accept and use suffering in a spiritual manner. It is thought that in addition to Lyte's bodily afflictions, a difficulty with some individuals within his church also weighed heavily upon his spirit. This is possibly alluded to in such expressions from the second and third stanzas as: "human hearts and looks deceive me...," 'man may trouble and distress me...," 'foes may hate, and friends may shun me...;" Yet the glad anticipation of God's hereafter made these "pilgrim days" inconsequential for Lyte, since "hope shall change to glad fruition, faith to sight and prayer to praise."
(Taken from 101 More Hymn Stories by Kenneth W. Osbeck, Kregel Publications, pgs. 158-159.)

Enjoy the cool Indelible Grace video featuring this hymn...

23 July 2012

You Are the Christ Mark 8:27-30

    And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.
(Mark 8:27-30 ESV)

20 July 2012

Summer Psalms - Psalm 14

       The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
        They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
        there is none who does good.
    The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man,
        to see if there are any who understand,
        who seek after God.
    They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
        there is none who does good,
        not even one.
    Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
        who eat up my people as they eat bread
        and do not call upon the LORD?
    There they are in great terror,
        for God is with the generation of the righteous.
    You would shame the plans of the poor,
        but the LORD is his refuge.
    Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
        When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people,
        let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.
(Psalm 14 ESV)

19 July 2012

Misconceptions in the Faith II

St. Paul Preaching
"Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary use words." Ever heard that? Did it strike you as true or did you get that sinking feeling that it wasn't right and people are being misled by others who toss it out at convenient moments? I never did like it. Yes, to be sure Scripture makes it clear we are to display good works (Eph. 2:10; James 2:17) but to emphasize actions over speech is to create a false dichotomy as Glenn T. Stanton helpfully points out here in his informative post. The phrase, falsely attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, is simply incorrect and unbiblical. Let's not forget Paul's words,  How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (Romans 10:14 ESV) Thus, it is most certainly a misconception to think we can preach without employing words.

So as Believers, let's consider what we say more carefully. As Stanton correctly points out, "We can do better."

17 July 2012

Misconceptions in the Faith

J.I. Packer
Are we really to "Let go and let God"?  Sounds good on the surface but as we dig a bit deeper it is a misconception, a misunderstanding of Scripture. J.I. Packer dealt with this in his early years...

... One must deny self. Did not Jesus require self-denial from his disciples (Luke 9:23)? Yes, but clearly what he meant was the negating of carnal self — that is to say self-will, self-assertion, self-centredness and self-worship, the Adamic syndrome in human nature, the egocentric behaviour pattern, rooted in anti-God aspirations and attitudes, for which the common name is original sin. What I seemed to be hearing, however, was a call to deny personal self, so that I could be taken over by Jesus Christ in such a way that my present experience of thinking and willing would become something different, an experience of Christ himself living in me, animating me, and doing the thinking and willing for me. Put like that, it sounds more like the formula of demon-possession than the ministry of the indwelling Christ according to the New Testament.

...But what happened? I scraped my inside, figuratively speaking, to ensure that my consecration was complete, and laboured to ‘let go and let God’ when temptation made its presence felt. ...All I knew was that the expected experience was not coming. The technique was not working. Why not? Well, since the teaching declared that everything depends on consecration being total, the fault had to lie in me. So I must scrape my inside again to find whatever maggots of unconsecrated selfhood still lurked there. I became fairly frantic. - Read the entire article here by Justin Taylor at the Gospel Coalition blog - thanks Justin!

This phrase, "Let go and let God," is another accepted platitude in Christian circles with no Scriptural foundation that can have devastating effects on the life of the believer. It is yet another proof that Evangelicals do not understand what they believe and thus do not really believe it. Packer's solution? Read John Owen on the mortification of sin. Understand what is really happening and work it out Biblically. It will change your walk with the Lord. Praise God!

16 July 2012

Like Trees Walking - Mark 8:22-26

    And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”
(Mark 8:22-26 ESV)

14 July 2012

When you're down...

We have our times of natural sadness; we have, too, our times of depression, when we
cannot do otherwise than hang our heads. Seasons of lethargy will also befall us from
changes in our natural frame, or from weariness, or the rebound of over excitement.
The trees are not always green, the sap sleeps in them in the winter; and we have
winters too. Life cannot always be at flood tide: the fulness of the blessing is not upon
the most gracious at all times.

C.H. Spurgeon

The worst forms of depression are cured when Holy Scripture is believed.

More Spurgeon quotes can be found here.

13 July 2012

A Troubled Soul's Cordial

    How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
        How long will you hide your face from me?
    How long must I take counsel in my soul
        and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
    How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
    Consider and answer me, O LORD my God;
        light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
    lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
        lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
    But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
        my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
    I will sing to the LORD,
        because he has dealt bountifully with me.
(Psalm 13 ESV)

12 July 2012

A Degree of Success

John Owen
...By success [in the mortification of sin] I mean gaining full victory over it and pursuing it for a complete conquest. For instance, when the heart at any time recognizes sin ans temptation in action, seducing it and forming sinful imaginations to put the lust into practice, the heart must immediately see what is happening, bring the sin to the law of God and the love of Christ, condemn it, and follow it to execute it to the uttermost.

...We must implant, promote the continual residence of and cherish those graces that stand in direct opposition to the lust.

...Our victory will be further realized as the new man immediately springs into action, and cheerfully fights against lust the moment it appears. We must use every weapon available to conquer it. (Taken from The Mortification of Sin by John Owen abridged and Made Easy to Read by Richard Rushing, Banner of Truth, pgs. 38-39.)

Powerful words. We must all be working to this point where we have growth in our sanctification, as minimal as it may be. Praise God for the work of the Gospel in our lives.

09 July 2012

Bad Leaven - Mark 8:14-21

    Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
(Mark 8:14-21 ESV)

08 July 2012

Seven Things Guys Need to Remember at Work

If you never get frustrated, angry or annoyed at work you either aren't employed or you're not telling the truth. Our jobs can bring out the worst in us. Here's seven things to remember as we head off to work this week:

1. Gents, we are Christians first and (fill in the blank) second. We are not defined by what we do or who we are at work. Rather, we're defined by who we are in Christ. The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:16-17 ESV)

2. As much as that boss ticks us off, we need to listen and do as we're instructed.  Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ... (Ephesians 6:5 ESV)

3. When that supervisor does ask the impossible, don't start spewing venom at him or anyone else. A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. (Proverbs 29:11 ESV)

4. Since the time of Adam's sin it was declared that we'll have trouble in our daily work. Get used to it. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10 ESV)

5. Learn to be content as Paul did. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13 ESV)

6. Let's face it, most of the trouble we have at work is in dealing with other people. Crawford Loritts just reminded us on Facebook that, People are hired for their competency but fired for their lack of character. Let's make sure who we are is more solid than the job we have. Be patient with others. That other guy has just as many problems in his life as you do.  Love is patient and kind...(1 Corinthians 13:4 ESV)

7. After a difficult day, remember that the Lord forgives.

    Bless the LORD, O my soul,
        and forget not all his benefits,
    who forgives all your iniquity,
        who heals all your diseases,
    who redeems your life from the pit,
        who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
    who satisfies you with good
        so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
(Psalm 103:2-5 ESV)

07 July 2012

John Piper onThe Effects of Aging on Sanctification

Terrific interview with John Piper on sanctification...

As I often grieve over my lack of increasing sanctification I found that Piper's comments comport with my own thoughts and are very comforting. What a blessing it is to have and know the Gospel.

[A]ll the saving events and all the saving blessings of the gospel are means of getting obstacles out of the way so that we might know and enjoy God most fully. Propitiation, redemption, forgiveness, imputation, sanctification, liberation, healing, heaven—none of these is good news except for one reason: they bring us to God for our everlasting enjoyment of him. If we believe all these things have happened to us, but do not embrace them for the sake of getting to God, they have not happened to us. Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel. -John Piper, God is the Gospel.

06 July 2012

Faith or Expedience - Psalm 11

    In the LORD I take refuge;
    how can you say to my soul,
        “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
    for behold, the wicked bend the bow;
        they have fitted their arrow to the string
        to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
    if the foundations are destroyed,
        what can the righteous do?”
    The LORD is in his holy temple;
        the LORD's throne is in heaven;
        his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
    The LORD tests the righteous,
        but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
    Let him rain coals on the wicked;
        fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
    For the LORD is righteous;
    he loves righteous deeds;
        the upright shall behold his face.
(Psalm 11 ESV)

05 July 2012

The Church's One Foundation

A wonderful hymn - one we should ponder and meditate upon.

The Church's One Foundation

Text: Samuel J. Stone, 1839-1900
Music: Samuel Sebastian Wesley, 1810-1876  

The church's one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is his new creation
by water and the Word.
From heaven he came and sought her
to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died.

Elect from every nation,
yet one o'er all the earth;
her charter of salvation,
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with every grace endued.

Though with a scornful wonder
we see her sore oppressed,
by schisms rent asunder,
by heresies distressed,
yet saints their watch are keeping;
their cry goes up, "How long?"
And soon the night of weeping
shall be the morn of song.

Mid toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation
of peace forevermore;
till, with the vision glorious,
her longing eyes are blest,
and the great church victorious
shall be the church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
with God the Three in One,
and mystic sweet communion
with those whose rest is won.
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
like them, the meek and lowly,
on high may dwell with thee.

04 July 2012

The Eternal God - Psalm 90

    Lord, you have been our dwelling place
        in all generations.
    Before the mountains were brought forth,
        or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
        from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
(Psalm 90:1-2 ESV)

Some thoughts on the 40th General Assembly of the PCA

A few thoughts on this year's General Assembly of the PCA held in Louisville, Ky. from Pastor Scott Wright of Redeemer Church, Hudson, Ohio can be found here. Check it out.

Never Alone - Joshua 1:1-9

Dr. Rhett Dodson

    After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
(Joshua 1:1-9 ESV)

Dr. Rhett Dodson is pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Husdon, Ohio. He received his B.A. and M.A. in Bible from Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC. He received his Ph.D. in Old Testament Interpretation from Bob Jones University. Pastor also attended Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia for Studies in Apologetics.

03 July 2012

Annoyed? Its time to pray

At times we're all too easily annoyed - sometimes and some of us more than others. Here is a prayer we need to pray, probably right this moment.

Fools show their annoyance at once. Prov. 12:16 
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Prov. 29:11
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. Ps. 37:8
     Dear Lord Jesus, of all the prayer-worthy things I can think of, “annoyance” has never made it onto my supplication list until now. Through the pastoral pestering of your Spirit, I see and grieve that I’m too easily annoyed. Have mercy on me, Prince of Peace. Free my foolish, fretful, fitful spirit. How can I possibly reveal the magnificence of the gospel when I’m showcasing the arrogance of my annoyance?
     I’m annoyed by the guy who races me when two lanes are becoming one. I’m annoyed when the bar code reading machines in the self-checkout lanes can’t read my items. I’m annoyed when the gas pump trickles way too slowly. I’m annoyed by waiters who fish for a bigger tip. I’m annoyed by fish that won’t bite. I’m annoyed by humidity when I want to jog.
     I’m annoyed by low talkers and over talkers. I’m annoyed at people easily annoyed. I’m annoyed when there’s not enough milk for a late-night bowl of cereal. I’m annoyed when I have to repeat myself. I’m annoyed at whiners, so much that I start whining. I’m annoyed at people preening in front of mirrors at the YMCA, as though I never peek. I’m annoyed when people use way too many words and way too big of words to say something very simple, as though that’s not me.
     I’m annoyed at ever having to wait in line for anything. I’m annoyed by the color orange. I’m annoyed at any box that has the words “requires some assembly” written on it. Oh, Jesus, if only those were the only things that annoyed me!
     My prayer? Gentle my demanding, impatient heart with your kindness and grace. Grant me much quicker repentances. Help me to slow . . . way . . . down. Help me to live in the moment and not simply live to get somewhere on time or get something done. Let me see people with your eyes and respond to them with your heart.
     There are no ordinary people around me. Everybody matters. Everybody has stories of heartache, foolishness, fear, and longing, just like me. Jesus, thank you that you died for all of my sins, including my “annoyability.” I love being loved by you, Lord Jesus. I have no greater hope than knowing one day I will be as lovely as you and will love like you forever (1 Jn.3:1-1). So very Amen I pray, in your gracious and patient name. - Scotty Smith (emphasis mine).

Scotty Smith is Founding Pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition.

02 July 2012

The Demand for a Sign - Mark 8:11-13

    The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.
(Mark 8:11-13 ESV)