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Archive for the tag “worship”

Loved by God…

…a sanctified sinnerJuly 17 2018

In my recent on-line studies with Ligonier Ministries I have been learning more on God’s attribute of love.  The most recent session of the course entitled, “Loved by God,” has visited the spectacular grace revealed in the Scriptures on the subject of “God’s Electing Love.” 

Discussion questions always accompany the study sessions, and I typically dig deep into them. The online study participants are always encouraged to share their answers on the Ligonier Connect community portal where other fellow participants can comment and interact with us.

Each session has a theme verse for the topic. The topical verse for the session entitled, “God’s Electing Love” follows:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”

—Ephesians 1:3–6

The particular discussion question which provoked my little grey cells to address dealt with the relationship between being a sinner chosen by God’s grace to be set apart for holiness and that of actually living as one sanctified by God’s grace while yet a sinner:

In what ways can sinners be holy as He is holy? Do you ever struggle with your own sanctification? In what ways have you progressed in this area of personal holiness?”

Before I could even form a thought on this question, I was driven back to the Scriptures to meditate again on the truths which my little grey cells tend to blur in the daily dust kicked up in the “helter-skelter” of the “ME” kind of life this side of Heaven. Laying hold of the Scriptures and feeding richly on the spectacular grace of the God who is the Ever living King of the cosmos cut through the accumulated “cataracts” on the eyes of this  mind He gave me and exposed the reality of being set apart by His own grace.  In realizing again that I am loved by God through His own electing grace, He “killed me softly” with His Word. What follows are the reflections on the subject of “God’s Electing Love” and the treasures which I found in His Word, both new and old…

There are two ongoing struggles in my life in this dusty existence, while yet being called out in the dust to live as one who knows the redemption from it by God’s grace. The first struggle is to remember that I am LOVED BY GOD and all that is wrapped up in that spectacular love package. The verses I have explored in this exercise are a few which ignite the fire of reality in my little grey cells and my bones and a longing to love God back. These are a few of the passages from the Word of God for my mind’s struggle to REMEMBER in this world of deceptions:

“You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this thing today.” Deuteronomy 15.15

“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine’.” Isaiah 43.1

“The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you’.” Jeremiah 31.3

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” John 10.27-29

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” John 15.16

“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14.25-27

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2.9-10

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1.2-4

“…as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1.14-16

  • Created in His image and likeness to belong to Him;
  • redeemed from my corruption and the corruption of this world to know Him and to LIVE as one alive and not perishing.
  • To know His Kingdom and to declare it—to LIVE as one who belongs to His Courts, His Service, His Royal children, lieges and loved ones.

Because I am loved by God, these are the things that the Holy Spirit reminds me about this spectacular sanctification of which I am privileged to live in Christ Jesus; and it is for Him and for His glory that I live and enjoy this calling.

The second struggle is a “good fight” (1 Timothy 6.11-13) as a sinner sanctified by the holiness of God and by His love. That “good fight” is YIELDING to the counsel, conviction, and correction of the Holy Spirit, and it is truly spiritual aerobics and a full and ongoing “cardio” workout.  Because I am loved by God, feeding on the Word of God and prayer without ceasing stays my mind on what is really real and true in a world of deceptions bombarding from every side. Because I am loved by God, by His grace, I am learning increasing tenderness to the conviction of sin and an increasing hatred for any “darling” sins which I admit to resisting and hesitating to surrender to Christ’s authority to cleanse; and I am learning the terrible effects of quenching the Spirit of God’s convicting work (1 Thessalonians 5.19) and the  grief such obstinacy brings to the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4.30). I am learning an ever increasing desire for the transforming and renewing of my mind that I would not “let sin reign in my mortal body,” and that I would “not present my members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin,” but present myself “to God as being alive from the dead,” and my “members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Romans 6.12-13) Because I am loved by God, there is that longing to more glorify God by living a “Romans 12” and a “Micah 6.8” and a “1 Thessalonians 5.16-18”  life as Christ who lives in me—the “good fight”Soli Deo Gloria!

Made in the Image of God…

photo of man carrying baby

Photo by Alex Smith on Pexels.com

…but not children of God by natural birth.

In my recent on-line studies with Ligonier Ministries I have been learning more on God’s attribute of love.  One of the requirements of the course entitled, “Loved by God,” is to dig deeply into what the Scriptures actually say about the eternal love of God.  One overlooked truth about God’s eternal love is that God’s love did not begin at creation. Just as God is eternal, so are all His other attributes–eternal…including that of His love.

Most people might have some difficulty understanding how our status as image-bearers of God by His creation of us has anything to do with His eternal love or the reason why we cannot claim we are children of God by natural birth. I confess that before I studied the second session in the series, my little grey cells had not digested the clear facts leading to a rational dialog on the subject.  Realizing this truth and the impact it bears on the entire plan of redemption has made me love God more for the magnitude of who He is, the immensity of His eternal love, and helped me to help others think about why there is now a difference between being an image-bearer of God and being a child of God.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

QUESTION #1:

In what ways do many contemporary churches today misrepresent God’s eternal love? What sorts of teaching/preaching have you heard that endorses a universal love of God for His creation without distinction?”

My Answer: Many preachers in churches today have lapsed into a Unitarian view of God’s eternal love; and so they tell their audiences that God loves everybody the same way, unconditionally, just as they are—“warts and all.” They go on to exercise their misrepresentation by advancing their propositions that because God created us in His own image and likeness, they say that we are all children of God; ergo, God loves us all without distinction…This grave error in preaching has profound implications for the Biblical facts of God’s plan of redemption and the work of Christ in His atoning death…

         I have to say that I have never heard a preacher delve into the eternality of God’s love as Dr. Sproul has emphasized in this lecture: a vital point underscoring the eternal attribute of love which has always existed in Him who is self-existing—eternally. If anyone would have pressed me on this issue, of course I would have stated confidently that God’s love is a pure and holy attribute of His as eternal because He is eternal; but I am grateful for Dr. Sproul’s clearly spoken emphasis of this truth.

QUESTION #2:

How would you describe the object of God’s love before He made His people? Why is the work of redemption considered a Trinitarian work? Why would it be a mistake to think that the exclusive object of the love of God is the world or people?”

My Answer: God’s love is Trinitarian and covenantal; i.e., the covenant love in the plan of redemption, established between the persons of the Godhead from eternity past—in the complete foreknowledge that the fall of man was going to occur.

In Dr. Sproul’s words:It would be a mistake to think that the exclusive object of the love of God is the world or the people whom He is pleased to redeem. The primary object of the Father’s affection is the Son, and that is something that is often overlooked in the study of the Scriptures. It is absolutely true that God loves us, but we need to remember that He loves us (the redeemed) in the Son, and it is because of His great love for His Son that we are included in redemption.”

          And when I meditate on this truth, I see encounters with Christ in clear perspective in the Scriptures on the Trinitarian work of redemption declared from His own lips: “All that the Father gives Me will come to me” (John 6.37); “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6.44); “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15.26); “I say to you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God…unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3.3, 5); “…make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28.19).

          The plan of redemption in this covenant love is for the glory of the beloved Son of God, Christ Jesus (Mark 9.7; 12.6; 2 Peter 1.16-18)—by whom and for whom all that was created is created (John 1.1-3; Revelation 4.11), and for whose glory the redeemed are bought for His possession (1 Corinthians 3.23; 7.22-23), and that in all things He might have the preeminence (Colossians 1.17-19). Glory be to God!

QUESTION #3:

Do you find it offensive or unfair that we are biologically born into this world void of the Spirit of God as children of wrath? How would you respond to someone who says that we are all children of God through creation simply because we are made in His image?”

My Answer: Saying that we are made in the image of God is only saying that we bear His image. In the material world, whose image an object bears is the one to whom that object belongs and is under sovereign subjection—even if that object denies it, it cannot be annulled. Saying that we are children of God is, in reality, claiming that God is our Father. The implications of such a claim mean that anyone who claims it acknowledges the sovereign authority of God as Supreme Patriarch over his life and conduct, and gives himself in loyalty, love and obedience to such a Father and Patriarch… 

          It might be offensive to our feelings, it might be painful to accept, but in fact we must face the real genetic implications of being in Adam and subject to the degenerative and lethal effects of his corruption upon the seed inside his loins. The effect of his rebellion—the denial of God’s sovereignty and the darkening of his understanding of the truth in his mind are real effects of his corruption which spread to every cell of his body—every seed in his loins. While his corruption did not nullify the fact of his being an image-bearer of God, he became a fallen image-bearer, corrupted and adversarial to the very God who created Him to be in His own image and likeness—and in his now-corrupted, natural, humanist state he and all his biological issue are worthy of God’s wrath. As a fallen image-bearer, Adam refused to acknowledge that he belongs to God and is subject to His sovereignty over his life—both the temporal and the eternal.  In his rebellion against God, he exalted his own humanist spirit above the Holy Spirit, and became an instrument in the hands of the Evil One. In his rebellion against God, Adam literally became the father of the children of wrath… “This Is Us,” in our natural, biological state. Adam changed his posture toward God, but God did not change His posture toward Adam and the progeny housed within his loins—as fallen image bearers, in our perverted condition, we still belong to God and are subject to His sovereignty over our lives—both the temporal and the eternal…

           If we are talking about what is “fair” or “unfair” on this subject, we must consider that if a holy God did what is “fair” toward us He would have annihilated Adam and Eve on the spot or pronounced an eternal and irrevocable curse upon them without possibility of remedy even by God Himself. But God is fair first to Himself—to His Trinitarian being—the Father cannot deny His Beloved Son His rightful inheritance from the creation. The Holy Spirit’s life giving breath cannot be quenched. It’s what the Godhead does. Therefore, if we examine the “fair” thing to do in the Father’s love for the Son, and the work of life through the Holy Spirit, it was to provide a way for some of Adam’s corrupted progeny to be made clean, reborn, regenerate. This could only be accomplished supernaturally by the regenerating work of God Himself in the lives of the Adamic seed born congenitally unregenerate—children of the corrupted Adam, no longer children of God. What is “unfair” to our constipated minds is the way this mechanism of regeneration would be accomplished—through the sacrificial death of The Father’s Beloved Son for the children of wrath—the Incorruptible for the corrupt—and the work of faith supernaturally given as a gift by the Holy Spirit to awaken the darkened minds of Adam’s children of wrath to life in God’s Beloved Son.

          All humans have been created in the image and likeness of God, and, as such, belong to God who is sovereign over their lives both temporal and eternal, to ordain what He chooses; but because of Adam’s rebellion against God, being an image-bearer of God in itself no longer qualifies all as children of God. All humans are born as fallen, rebellious image-bearers; no humans are born embracing the sovereignty and ownership of a holy God over their lives. We are not born children of God; we are born children of wrath. Until the regenerating breath of the Holy Spirit works in the heart of a fallen image-bearer of God—by grace through faith in The Father’s Beloved Son—he remains a child of wrath. Only those who believe in Christ Jesus are born anew, supernaturally, children of God…

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

–John 1.12-13

Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear; and may God the Father whose love for His Beloved Son is eternal be glorified by another fallen image-bearer being born “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” by His grace in the work of His Holy Spirit.

Too Good To Be True…

He has made everything beautiful.png

At a recent church membership class we were asked to introduce ourselves to each other, to tell where we were born and a notable thing about that city. Our city is always in the news about the seedy things; but no one reports about the work of the Kingdom of God in this town. Since I have been at McLean Presbyterian Church I have discovered some beautiful secrets scattered all over this area. Some are directly “daughter” ministries of McLean Presbyterian; many are close relatives within the Body of Christ, ministering sacrificially and faithfully to individuals at every season of life in their needs both physical and spiritual. So, Hello, from Washington, DC area, the city that is known for Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center, Reformed Theological Seminary, C. S. Lewis Institute, The Lamb Center of Fairfax, Assist Pregnancy Center, Central Union Mission, Project Belong, Casa Chiralagua, Cornerstone School, Bethany House of Northern VA, etc… In the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation, Christ Jesus tells John to write letters to seven different Church centers in Asia Minor during the First Century, A.D. I wonder what He would tell John to write to the Church in the Metro DC area. Take heart, there are great things of God that are going on in the Metro DC area, under the noses of those whose world view and preoccupation with a worldly kingdom is tragically fallen–where its dark web lures and traps men who seek to be rulers of the world.

My journey into membership at our new church was completed in March; and both my husband and I have been enjoying being immersed in the substantial teaching on Sunday mornings.  FYI, there’s a link on my page which will give readers access to the sermons at McLean Presbyterian Church.

Solomon prayed for wisdom

As a follow-up to the Sunday teaching in the Scriptures, our pastors usually direct our attention to thoughtful questions to discuss in our local community group gatherings. One question during the series on “The Gospel in Solomon” was this: “If God answered, in this instant, all the prayers you prayed this week what would happen?” Another one was convicting: “Do you pray simply for your life and circumstances to be more comfortable or are you confident that God will take care of that with your heart compelled for His Kingdom?”

Solomon's moment with God

We have been studying the Bible together in the late mornings. I call these times our “second breakfasts.” Technology has been the instrument which has enabled us to engage with the Word and with each other in this department. We have an elaborate, but effective, array which feeds the intercouple surfing webnet into our large screen video display. From that internet feed, we can stream and view and read  the online Bible, daily commentaries from Ligonier Ministries’ “TableTalk” publication. The series has been following the historical books of the Bible. We began in January with Joshua and are now deep into the monarchy under David in 2 Samuel. Our time together includes reading daily portions from the Bible in a plan to read through the Bible in a year. We sometimes choose to select an audio reading while we read the print on the screen; but we also take turns reading the passages aloud—this helps my husband rehab his speech and cognition with the aphasia he battles.

Wisdom-Quotes-3Our time in prayer follows our exploration of the Scriptures and usually responds to the convictions impressed upon us by the work of the Holy Spirit in the Word of God. Prayer is the chief weapon in our arsenal for warfare in times like these. Our unshakeable certainty of the sovereignty of God provokes us to prayer in all things… I wrote in December that many in our country are struggling with loss of home, belongings, livelihoods and loved ones from fire, monster storms and floods. The same is true again as I write this in Springtime. We are learning to pray Kingdom-of-God kinds of prayers as we observe the times, trusting God for the answers–things so great that the skeptics of this age would say they are too good to be true.

One somewhat unexpected development in my prayers has been that as I began the process of application for children’s Sunday school teaching, I realized that I would be premature in making a commitment to that ministry at this time. As I have waited and sought God’s leading and my husband’s thoughts on the subject, I believe God would have me be more available to my husband; in one key area since he is no longer able to drive, that I would be available to bring him to church without conflict of service.  Thanking God for His wisdom and the joy that has come to my soul in this pruning work. Nevertheless, if you would have told me 38 years ago that when my husband and I became old and weaker in body that we would enjoy the manifold blessings God has given us, with peace in our hearts, purpose and re-productivity  in our last season of life together, and joy which no circumstances can rob, I would have said it too good to be true. Thanks be to God who blesses us with every blessing in heavenly places. By His grace we will finish well.

In the meantime, I am continuing weekly with our local Community Bible Study group. We started in September with the book of Daniel, and in January, we began the book of Revelation. We are nearing the the end of the book of Revelation and it has been one spectacular lesson after another. Some studies of these books can get sidetracked into speculations on imagery and symbolism and miss the whole point and substance of the narrative. CBS has handled the study wisely; what a difference it is making in my here-and-now life.

thorns and gold2The early spring razzle-dazzle is quickly turning to the deeper greens on the trees as the leafing matures; and pollen abounds!   The razzle-dazzle of spring and the spectacular  beauty and stunning drama of Christ Jesus in His glorious atoning death and resurrection coming together has been exquisite; it continues to touch and resonate through all my senses and makes me cry, “Holy! Holy! Holy!”

Look around you! Spring’s Rising! (a link to one of my recent reflections).

“Fear not, I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

–Revelation 1.17-18

Glory be to God and may the Peace of Christ be with you.

 

Spring’s Rising!

Blessed are your eyes, for they see.

–Matthew 13.16

Early Spring2

“Bring forth,” He said,

     to all the waiting branches of the trees,

Their lacey crown’ed silhouettes under bluing skies

     of th’ earliest winds of spring;

To every slumb’ring tendril of the shrub along

     the path, ev’ry bush a resting place for feathered

     prophets bearing promise on their wing.

“’Tis the hour,” He said, “to wake and bear your

     young!

Fear not the last remaining lash of winter’s breath!

Heed not the darkness

     which now sees its timely hast’ning death!

Look up to see the ever lightening, brightening,

     dazzling blues of days,

Waking early from the passing nights of starlit

     indigo, adorned in myriad twinkling blaze!

There’s a message to be spoken to mankind

Whose eyes have dimmed with all their futile

     notions, fabrications of their busy, frantic

     musings in all their fantasies, striving in their

     vanities,

Conceiving an illusion, pretending life immortal

     from their factories of the dead.”

 

“We will,” they answered. “Thy will,” they said.

And all the wood from tallest, robust trees

     whose trunk so stout could feel in every woody

     bone the memory of pain and grace in mankind’s

     greatest story,

To smallest bushy bush of delicate twig and branch:

They all began their laboring to please the King

Who made them for His glory.

 

And every man whose eyes would see could now

     behold,

In ev’ry lacey crown’ed top of tree

     ‘neath cathedral blue of skies,

And ev’ry fring’ed, tasseled shrub and bush

     of earthy ground on which it lies:

On every inch of outstretched arm and limb of every

     one, came forth those orbs of blood-red bud.

These bloody little bodies speaking of

     Redemption’s glory

When once blood poured upon a tree which bore

     the pain and grace in mankind’s greatest story;

And not only His bloodied body did that tree once bear,

but all the weight of rebellious man

who mutinied against their King among the trees

‘Neath cathedral blue of skies in a Garden

     from of old.

And cast away their sight of all the goodness

     they had known,

Their minds now captive, pris’ners trapped in

     darkened musings,

Endless, futile fabrications of their own;

     and by their quest to wield the sovereign sceptre

     of the One in whom their life and breath reside

They brought upon the whole of all creation,

In all its living beauty, the judgment of the dead.

 

Here, then, now in tide of spring, is the message

     to be spoken

To mankind whose eyes have dimmed with all their

     futile notions, fabrications of their busy frantic

     musings,

As on each branch and bushy twig those bloody orbs

     break open, beneath the vaulted ceiling

     of the lightening, brightening, dazzling blue

     of skies of spring, new and verdant life bursts

     forth from blood-red bodies broken–

Life not fashioned from the daydreams of man’s vanity–

But created and designed

     by the True and Living One, after winter’s frozen

     sleep of death is now left far behind.

And every man whose eyes would see

     can now behold,

In ev’ry lacey crown’ed top of tree

     ‘neath cathedral blue of skies,

     and ev’ry fring’ed, tasseled shrub

     and bush of earthy ground on which it lies,

On every inch of outstretched arm

     and limb of every one:

A splendorous array of neo-natal green,

     brilliant pink and yellow dazzeling,

     stunning beauty spoken into life at His command

     for all whose eyes are blest to see in spring

The message of Redemption’s glory

When once blood poured upon a tree which bore

     the pain and grace in mankind’s greatest story.

 

Truth it is! No legend, no vain and futile fable

     of some hope pretending life immortal;

Nay! Creation which man’s vain rebellion

     brought to suffer death,

Now in spring declares the truth:

     the sovereign sceptre of the God

In whom reside all life and breath;

And His Son the Holy One, the Righteous One,

     named Jesus

Whose beaten, bloodied body once upon

     a fallen tree was nailed,

And having suffered all the judgment due

     rebellious, wicked man,

With arms outstretched in God’s great plan,

     yielded up His soul to death.

In Passover’s third cool morn of spring,

     beneath the vaulted ceiling

     of the lightening, brightening, dazzling blue

     of skies

Creation’s Lord came forth in glory as He said,

Triumphant from the grave wherein He laid

     among the dead,

Under lacey crown’ed tops of trees, embraced by

     ev’ry fring’ed, tasseled shrub and bush

     of earthy ground on which it lies:

For all whose eyes are blest to see The One

     in whom all life and breath reside,

Jesus, the risen, reigning, ever-living King!

Now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 

–1 Corinthians 15.20-22

 

Graphics courtesy The Printshop 4.0 Professional, by permission, user license; copyright Patricia Stachew, 2019, all rights reserved.  

Greetings and Blessings at the Feast of Tabernacles…

1890 Holman Bible - Tabernacle with Scripture

Graphic: Public Domain, The Tabernacle in the Wilderness; illustration from the 1890 Holman Bible
http://thebiblerevival.com/clipart/1890holmanbible/color/thetabernacleinthewilderness.jpg
Bible verse added by user

…On this Festival of Our Joy, sending a greeting and blessing to all fellow image bearers of the God of creation…

While you sojourn in this wilderness world in an earthen vessel, may you know the blessing of God’s true presence in Messiah Jesus, our Immanuel, wherever God takes you, whatever God ordains for your life this side of glory…

While you wait for what next unfolds in this wilderness experience, may you rest confidently in the knowledge of the purpose God has breathed into your life in all things…

While you walk through this world of shadows and barren places, may you drink deeply from the wells of the sweet water of salvation in Messiah Jesus…

While you contend boldly with the consequences of life in a fallen vessel, may you embrace walking in the light of the gaze of a holy God bathed in the oil of the joy of the Holy Spirit, clothed in the pure righteousness of Messiah Jesus…

May you know the joy and peace of His Kingdom and Government increasing in your heart and life.

Sukkot – Feast of Tabernacles

L’Chaim b’Yeshua – To LIFE in Jesus!

Pray for Awakening…

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem…” –Psalm 122.6

Natural Theology…

In the last session of course in The History and Overview of Philosophy, there were discussion questions presented to the students. I spent a good deal of time thinking how to answer the question featured here, since I was not immediately certain I could articulate on the basis of the logical necessary being of God. Logical necessary being of God and natural revelation… Here is the question…

Creation: How much can we learn about God from creation?

This is an exciting question.  The painful thing I see in creation is that it seems troubled and put to grief–something my soul recognizes should not be so, unless a terrible event plunged it into trouble and grief. Perhaps I see in this the wrath of the God of all creation, His expressed grief and yet His carefully restrained justice, revealed from heaven against all that mankind thinks and does to deny Him and to exalt man above God–because in the natural, we think we are so very smart; we think we are God. When I look at me–one of the creation–I see that big old “I” problem at the center of SIN… and I am real good at seeing it in others, too…

Then when I look at nature, I think no wonder God sometimes expresses His anger toward us through the elements of creation… Actually, that’s not too far off from what the native Americans or the Incas or the Aztecs realized; the difference is that they responded by worshiping the creation as receptacles of spirit gods, denying the God who is King over all creation…

Nevertheless, I love meditating on the attributes of God which can be known of His Being and character from creation. When I see a thunder cloud advancing in the summer skies, I realize my dependence upon the sovereignty of God to control the natural forces building up inside it; so I see His power to execute wrath and His power to exercise mercy; and these attributes of God are communicated through the mediate medium of His own creation–how He governs the vapors of the firmament for the good or the remaking of the earth beneath…​ summer-clouds

When I see the young fawn grazing in the tall summer ferns along the paths of the Blue Ridge, I observe the providence of God for this creature and I remember His providence in my own life… White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) fawn, also known as the Virginia deer or simply as the whitetail, in spring ferns at Mount Porte Crayon in West Virginia.

When I see the swells of sea water form only yards away from me as I bob buoyantly in the watery firmament oc waves2beneath skies, I feel and know the power of God to govern the motion of the water as it becomes a wave which can either delight me with its rhythmic movement, carry me in its curl to shore, or overtake me and plunge me tumbling and rolling like so much flotsam, till it releases me both laughing and sputtering and disheveled from the humiliation of its tossing…

I could go on and on and on… I could not in my lifetime realize from nature the Way God has provided as the means of redemption for my rebellion against Him to satisfy His grief and justice… But then, this extraordinary God who IS, revealed His necessary being from creation to my once humanistic heart, and then led me to His Word–37 years ago as time is counted. I have not been the same ever since…

What are you all learning about God from your observations and experiences in creation?

Remodeling and Re-Publishing…

nestingI have been working on a new page devoted to the Fall Feasts of Israel. I have revised much of the content to make it easier to read and less cumbersome to navigate–as well as eliminating the repetitive posts…

In the process of re-working those published pieces, I remodeled my homepage. Readers who visit my site will find that the homepage features some things about my life and my vision. From there, the reader may click on the pages listed above the theme picture and access dedicated content; or view categories in the column at the right and choose posts from the archives in those categories…

For some unknown reason, WordPress does not show my new page “Fall Feasts of Israel” published in the Reader; so I am hoping that the word will spread that my new page and its content is published and available to share as God might use it in the lives of readers…

Here is the link. Please share it; and I welcome your comments and any questions you may have…

FALL FEASTS OF ISRAEL

“All authority has been given to Me…”

… for such a time as this… 

Jesus commissions disciples

…Jesus the Risen King

(The Gospel Project for Kids – Fall 2017 Quarter)

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” 

1 Corinthians 15.3-4

Bible Passage: Matthew 28.16-20

Jesus commissionsAfter Jesus’ resurrection, He spent 40 days reviewing the things He had taught His disciples about the Kingdom of God…

During those 40 days, Jesus appeared to more than 500 people. Many of them wondered if Jesus would restore the kingdom of Israel

Jesus has always been “about the Father’s business:” to declare and increase the Kingdom of God. He told the 11 disciples to go to a mountain in Galilee where He would meet with them…

On that mountain, the 11 disciples could see all the lands they had traveled with Jesus, stretching for miles and miles below them…

Jesus announced to them that all authority in Heaven and on earth belongs to Him. He told them to go tell this to all the nations.


Jesus is the Risen King because He took up His life again…

To show that He has overcome the corruption of this world…

To show that He has overcome the power of our own Nasty I-SIN heart

To show that He has overcome the power of Satan (Genesis 3.15)…

snake_heel

To show that He has overcome the despairs of death and hell…

empty-tomb

To show that He has taken up again His glory

as King over all.

ChristTheKing4

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go…and make disciples…and I am with you always…”

–Matthew 28.18-20

My Dancing Day…

An old English Festival Carol, traditionally sung at Christmas; and rarely do we hear all of the verses. But it is the story of the love of God for His people, from the sacrificial incarnation of His Son Jesus to Jesus’ glorious ascension to the Right Hand of the Father…
All of it He has done for His true love…
JESUS DANCES
And since I am celebrating my 37th birthday in Messiah’s Love, I am rejoicing in His calling me as one of His true love to His dance…
Here is the melody to this Festival Carol:
Here are all the verses to this ancient English Hymn…

 

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day

I would my true love did so chance

To see the legend of my play

To call my true love to my dance.

 

REFRAIN

Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love

My love, my love

This have I done for my true love.

 

Then was I born of a virgin pure

Of her I took fleshly substance

Thus was I knit to man’s nature

To call my true love to my dance.  REFRAIN

 

In a manger laid, and wrapped I was

So very poor, this was my chance

Betwixt an ox and a silly poor ass

To call my true love to my dance.  REFRAIN

 

Then afterwards baptized I was

The Holy Ghost on me did glance

My Father’s voice heard from above

To call my true love to my dance. REFRAIN

 

Into the desert I was led

Where I fasted without substance

The Devil bade me make stones my bread

To have me break my true love’s dance.  REFRAIN

 

The Jews on me they made great suit

And with me made great variance

Because they loved darkness rather than light

To call my true love to my dance.  REFRAIN

 

For thirty pence Judas me sold

His covetousness for to advance

Mark whom I kiss, the same do hold

The same is he, who shall lead the dance. REFRAIN

 

Before Pilate the Jews me brought

Where Barabbas had deliverance

They scourged me and set me at naught

Judged me to die to lead the dance.  REFRAIN

 

Then on the cross hanged I was

Where a spear my heart did glance

There issued forth both water and blood

To call my true love to my dance.  REFRAIN

 

Then down to hell I took my way

For my true love’s deliverance

And rose again on the third day

Up to my true love and the dance.

Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love

My love, my love

This have I done for my true love.

 

Then up to heaven I did ascend

Where now I dwell in sure substance

On the right hand of God, that man

May come unto the general dance.

Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love

My love, my love

This have I done for my true love.

Christ is Risen!

Christ Will Come Again!

I’m always ready…

…for Christmas…

Everyone around me is bustling to “get ready for Christmas.” Being ready for Christmas in this culture is a matter of stocking up on the right decorations, the richest festive foods, and the perfect gifts for our friends and relatives. “Being ready for Christmas” is retail oriented…

“Are you ready for Christmas?” is a question I often hear at the check-out line in the grocery store. If that cashier only knew the passion for Messiah Jesus roaring behind the floodgates of my soul, she would think twice before asking me that question. Nevertheless, having the invitation to share my readiness for Christmas, I go gently but boldly… I am always ready for Christmas…

My question is, “How can anyone not be ready for Christmas?” We allow the culture to eclipse our consciousness of the sacrifice of the King of glory who set aside His joys in the Heavenlies to dwell in an earthen vessel for our sake… “Christmas” worship focuses exclusively upon that event in history—when the Son of God, who is eternal, everlasting, and outside of time and space, subjected His life to the confines of our mortality—our temporary-ness… And we must never forget this magnificent event; but the manger scene of Bethlehem’s Tower of the Flock was only the beginning of the Incarnation of the King of kings …

I love this season as much as every other warm-blooded disciple of Messiah Jesus. I am particularly “undone” this year, overwhelmed with the awesome weight of His glory—and I am finding it difficult to confine the passion of worship into the typical Christmas routine of the putting up of the tree and setting up the Nativity scene. It’s not that I feel jaded or cynical at all… Far from it… To be sure, we could not have the whole Incarnation of Christ without the great moment in Bethlehem; but I am changed in the way I view this season and the ways it is viewed by my contemporaries this side of Heaven… Aside from the fact that I will soon be 70 years old—I am told that aging changes one’s perspective—I believe that something else has finally had its way in my heart—something that only the King of glory could do…

For the greater part of the year prior to this season, my heart, soul, mind and strength have been immersed in the Word of God in a systematic study of the years of Jesus’ Incarnation which followed His infant birth in Bethlehem…

The written record of His Incarnate life and ministry for our sake…

To declare the glory of the Incarnate Christ to our children in our church family…

Beloved, I cannot articulate everything I have seen and understood with new understanding of the weight of glory revealed in the whole written record of His Incarnation…

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

–John 1.14

…for our sake…

I am undone by His revealed glory in all His incarnate life and ministry…

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written… but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God…

–John 21.25; 20.31

It’s easy to adore the little baby in the manger of Bethlehem, because an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes poses no apparent threat, no immediate challenge to our secret thoughts and our autonomous posture toward a Holy God—unless we step back and view the panoramic evidence which awakens us from our Christmas lullabies to the true identity of this sweet little Baby Boy…

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your Salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a Light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.” And His father and His mother marveled at what was said about Him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

–Luke 2.25-35

In the phrase of a popular Christmas carol: “Do you see what I see?”

ChristTheKing4

Do you see what Simeon saw? He saw it before the Holy, Incarnate Bundle in his arms walked out every stroke of the Father’s revealing work in the dust of Galilee, Judea and Samaria… Simeon saw it long before the record of the Incarnate glory of Jesus was written down for us in the Word of God… And if you glimpse even a fraction of it, would you still adore Him Who challenges all your secret thoughts and your autonomous posture before a Holy God?

“In Him was Life; and the Life was the light of men.”

–John 1.4

Would you always be ready for Christmas?

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