Monday, March 31, 2008

Here are three excellent blogs I read today that I will post for you to check out. I'm not gonna even try to blog today after reading these three excellent blogs.
First, Chuck Lawless, of Southern Seminary, has a fabulous post today imagining if he were Satan and how he would attack Christians today. You can read the whole post here. It's excellent and sobering.

Second, Michael Patton has a very helpful post (with a picture!) of proper exegesis (that is, biblical interpretation). This is a clip to wet your appetite (and hopefully convince you to read the whole post!):

The problem with the “What-does-it-mean-to-you” approach is that it is purely
subjective. It turns the Scripture into a wax nose that can be shaped into what
ever our our current situation demands. The Bible becomes subjective magic
book through which we serve as mediums to its message.
It does not matter
what it means to you.
It does not matter what it means to
It matters what it means. Yes, there are various ways in which the Bible
can apply to you, but it is not going to apply outside its objective
meaning. It means what it means.
“But the Bible is God’s
word,” you may say. ”It is powerful. You should not limit it. God can
speak directly to me through it.” This is true. The Bible is powerful. It is
God’s word. It can speak to you. But it is not going to give you a different
meaning than it gives to everyone else.

Third, Doug McMasters just gives some notes from Spurgeon which are phenomenal! It is Spurgeon's charge to Trinity Road Chapel. Here's a clip (so, again, you'll read the whole thing):
You need power; not the power of money, or mind, or influence, or numbers;
but “power from on high.” All other power may be desirable, but this power is
indispensable. Spiritual work can only be done by spiritual power. I counsel you
in order to get spiritual power in all that you do to keep the King’s
commandment, for “where the word of a king is, there is power.”
And a little more...
If you want power, keep the King’s commandment, keep close to it in all
things, and make it the law of your house and the motto of your flag. Wherein
you go beyond the word. you go beyond the power, and wherein you stop short of
the word you also stop short of the power. In the King’s word there is power,
and you will have power as long as you keep to it: but real power is nowhere
else to be found. Let us take care that we do not look elsewhere for power, for
that will he leaving the fountains of living waters to hew out to ourselves
broken cisterns which hold no water. I fear that some Christian people have been
looking in many other directions for the power which can only be found in the
word of the King.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Today I had a great opportunity -- to preach at church. I found great joy in studying Acts 1 all week and unveiling some of its truth to God's people this morning.

As I studied I was confronted with the glories of Christ, the ascension of Christ and the guarantee of his return, the absolute necessity of bearing witness of Christ not only globally but also locally in every life situation that we may find ourselves in, and finally, the need to be absolutely committed to Christ.

In a nutshell, here was my outline of Acts chapter 1. I wanted to reveal three essential characteristics of an on-fire Christian:

1. We must be witnesses for Christ (1-8)
2. We must be watching for Christ (9-11)
3. We must be committed to Christ (12-26)

I trust God and know that He used His Word to accomplish His sovereign will. He sure did His work (still in progress) in my life this past week in my study.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

According to Diane Mapes with this is so. She notes in her lengthy article:

For many couples, spats are a necessary evil, something to endure or avoid
(for the sake of the kids!). But new research at the University of Michigan
shows that hashing out marital disagreements is actually good for your health.
It's squelching anger, especially when you feel you've been wronged, that's
She continues by noting:
A study published in January followed 192 married couples in Michigan from
1971 to 1988 and found that those who kept their anger in when unfairly attacked
did not live as long as those who expressed their anger, says lead study author
Ernest Harburg, Ph.D., an emeritus research scientist at the University of
Michigan's School of Public Health and psychology department.
"We're all
interested in longevity," says Harburg, who's studied the health effects of
spousal sparring for over 30 years. "We watch our diet, we exercise. Now we need
to add 'express anger constructively' to that list."
So part of the counsel is simple and straight-forward:
...The first step is to let the person know you're mad -- the sooner, the
"You can either express your anger directly or you can say, 'That
makes me angry, but I don't want to talk about it now; let's discuss it later',"
he says. "But in order to solve the problem, you need to first express your
Perhaps one more quote will suffice. One lady noted:
"My blog has become my therapy," she says. "When I have issues, I'll write
a blog post and my husband will read it at work. And then he'll come home and
we'll talk about the problem and solve it. If we have issues, they never really
last longer than a couple of hours."
Harburg says both partners have to be
willing to listen and work toward a compromise; otherwise it's a no-go.
Unfortunately, this is what the godless mind is prone to think. Just let out the anger on your spouse -- it's better to do so; and sooner rather than later, and it goes on and on and on.

But is this really what husbands and wives should do? Before we look at what is "healthiest" for the body or what may "promote" a longer life we must see what God has to say about this.

God said through Peter to wives:
1 Peter 3:3-5 3 And let not your adornment be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands.
Then to the husbands:

1 Peter 3:7-9 You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. 8 To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
Listen to what the wisest man who has ever lived had to say about the tongue:

Proverbs 10:19 When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.
And Solomon continues,

Proverbs 17:27-28 27 He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. 28 Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is counted prudent.
God says that believers must be those who love their spouses and are selfless rather than selfish. The godly character is that which produces a gentle and quiet spirit - not an outrageous and argumentative one.
Let it not be forgotten that God the Holy Spirit said through Paul to believers:

Ephesians 4:26-27 Though you may be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity (author's translation).
May we be those who take a stand holding firm to the authoritative and clear truth found in God's Word. If this article reflects the average marital counsel people are getting these days, then it is time for us to hold God's Word high with the God-honoring answers to our sinful hearts which can be angry. The answer is not outrage, or expressing your emotions, or to let it out, or to "compromise." Rather, the answer, no doubt, is Christlikeness.

Monday, March 24, 2008

If you are a visitor to this blog and are wondering where I've been the last few days, I want to inform you that Elizabeth and I are moving down to the Valley closer to church and seminary to our church parsonage.

You can pray:
  • That the move goes smoothly.
  • That we continue to cultivate solid and deep friendships with people in our church.
  • That I continue to keep up with all the schoolwork requirements (4 major semester papers due in the next three weeks).
  • That Elizabeth finds a new job in the Valley in the next few weeks.
  • That I preach with boldness and accuracy as I have quite a few opportunities to preach in coming weeks (at church and the rehab. center).
Thanks for your prayers,


Friday, March 21, 2008

This is a helpful article on the physical pain and suffering of our Lord just hours before He was crucified. It is sobering and, at times, hard to read - but very helpful. Oftentimes the word "crucifixion" can become rote and, even, meaningless because we are so accustomed and familiar with the term. If that is the case with you, then read this article here on crucifixion from a medical standpoint.

Acts 2:24 24 "And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.
I've been to cold places before, but this was a little too cold for my liking. I guess since I've been in LA my blood has really, I mean really thinned out! In fact, you can see just how cold it was by the fact that the river at the bottom of the falls was absolutely frozen solid.

Regardless, we had a great time together. We also had Tim Horton's donuts - which is a must if you go into Canada or near the Canada border!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Yesterday in my Psalms class at seminary we sung through Psalm 74. Isaac Watts has some great lyrics (17 stanzas!) on this psalm (some are from the text and others are more, shall we say, interpretive).

At any rate, we sang this song to the familiar tune of "O God Our Help In Ages Past:"

1 Will God for ever cast us off?
His wrath for ever smoke
Against the people of' his love,
His little chosen flock?

2 Think of the tribes so dearly bought
With their Redeemer's blood;
Nor let thy Zion be forgot,
Where once thy glory stood.

3 Lift up thy feet and march in haste,
Aloud our ruin calls;
See what a wide and fearful waste
Is made within thy walls.

4 Where once thy churches prayed and sang,
Thy foes profanely roar;
Over thy gates their ensigns hang,
Sad tokens of their power.

5 How are the seats of worship broke!
They tear the buildings down,
And he that deals the heaviest stroke
Procures the chief renown.

6 With flames they threaten to destroy
Thy children in their nest;
"Come, let us burn at once," they cry,
"The temple and the priest."

7 And still, to heighten our distress,
Thy presence is withdrawn;
Thy wonted signs of power and grace,
Thy power and grace are gone.

8 No prophet speaks to calm our woes,
But all the seers mourn;
There's not a soul amongst us knows
The time of thy return. PAUSE

9 How long, eternal God, how long
Shall men of pride blaspheme?
Shall saints be made their endless song,
And bear immortal shame?

10 Canst thou for ever sit and bear
Thine holy name profaned?
And still thy jealousy forbear,
And still withhold thine hand?

11 What strange deliv'rance hast thou shown
In ages long before !
And now no other God we own,
No other God adore.

12 Thou didst divide the raging sea
By thy resistless might,
To make thy tribes a wondrous way,
And then secure their flight.

13 Is not the world of nature thine,
The darkness and the day?
Didst thou not bid the morning shine,
And mark the sun his way?

14 Hath not thy power formed ev'ry coast,
And set the earth its bounds,
With summer's heat, and winter's frost,
In their perpetual rounds?

15 And shall the sons of earth and dust
That sacred power blaspheme?
Will not thy hand that formed them first
Avenge thine injured name?

16 Think on the cov'nant thou hast made,
And all thy words of love;
Nor let the birds of prey invade,
And vex thy mourning dove.

17 Our foes would triumph in our blood,
And make our hope their jest;
Plead thy own cause, Almighty God,
And give thy children rest.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Luke 19:37-40 37 And as He was now approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, 38 saying, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" 39 And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." 40 And He answered and said, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!"

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dan Wallace, of Dallas Theological Seminary, was featured on the Dallas News today. Here is a clip of what he said (you can also read the whole thing here):

Armed with high-tech cameras and computers, Daniel B. Wallace travels around the
world to photograph New Testament manuscripts that are many centuries old. The
pages are often fragile and the writing may be faded. His work assures that the
treasured contents will be preserved.

Photos by BRYAN WESEL/Special
Contributor The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts works to
preserve the contents of age-old pieces, such as the Codex Vaticanus B, from the
sixth century.
His goal is to photograph 1.3 million pages of Greek New
Testament manuscripts – a project he expects to take until 2020.

Friday, March 7, 2008

I am doing research for a paper proving exegetically that the righteousness of Christ is imputed (reckoned or credited) to believers at the moment of salvation. Here are some quotes from the great John Calvin that are pertinent to this topic (the numbers at the end correspond to the reference in his Institutes):

“It was superfluous, even absurd, for Christ to be burdened with a curse, unless it was to acquire righteousness for others by paying what they owed.” (1:532) – 2.17.4.

“Paul commends God’s grace in this respect: for God has given the price of redemption in the death of Christ [Rom 3:24]; then he bids us take refuge in Christ’s blood, that having acquired righteousness we may stand secure before God’s judgment (Rom 3:25)” (1:532)

** “For the righteousness found in Christ alone is reckoned as ours. Surely the only reason why Christ’s flesh is called “our food” [John 6:55] is that we find in him the substance of life” (1:533) 2.17.5.

**This is justification according to Calvin: “He who is both reckoned righteous in God’s judgment and has been accepted on account of his [Christ’s] righteousness” (1:726) 3.11.2.

** “Justified by faith is he who, excluded from the righteousness of works, grasps the righteousness of Christ through faith, and clothed in it, appears in God’s sight not as a sinner but as a righteous man” (1:726-27) 3.11.2

**We are justified before God solely by the intercession of Christ’s righteousness. This is equivalent to saying that man is not righteous in himself but because the righteousness of Christ is communicated to him by imputation” (1:753) 3.11.23.

He notes that the Apostle “most clearly asserts this [doctrine of imputation] when he writes… 2 Cor 5:21 (1:753).

“To declare that by him alone we are accounted righteous, what else is this but to lodge our righteousness in Christ’s obedience, because the obedience of Christ is reckoned to us as if it were our own?” (1:753) 3.11.23.

“And this is indeed the truth, for in order that we may appear before God’s face unto salvation we must smell sweetly with his odor, and our vices must be covered and buried by his perfection” (1:754) 3.11.23.

In referring to those objections to justification by faith… Calvin writes: “The father embraces us in Christ when he clothes us with the innocence of Christ and accepts it as ours that by the benefit of it he may hold us as holy, pure, and innocent. For Christ’s righteousness, which as it alone is perfect alone can bear the sight of God, must appear in court on our behalf, and stand surety in judgment.” (1:779) 3.14.12.

“To wipe out the guilt of the disobedience which had been committed in our flesh, he took that very flesh that in it, for our sake, and in our stead, he might achieve perfect obedience. Thus, he was conceived of the Holy Spirit in order that, in the flesh taken, fully imbued with the holiness of the Spirit, he might impart that holiness to us” (2:1341) 4.16.18

Concerning this wonderful exchange: Calvin writes: “This is the wonderful exchange which, out of his measureless benevolence, he has made with us; that, becoming Son of man with us, he has made us sons of God with him; that, by his descent to earth, he has prepared an ascent to heaven for us; that, by taking on our mortality, he has conferred his immortality upon us; that, accepting our weakness, he has strengthened us by his power; that, receiving our poverty unto himself, he has transferred his wealth to us; that, taking the weight of our iniquity upon himself (which oppressed us), he has clothed us with his righteousness.” (2:1362) 4.17.2. (emphasis added)!!!

Monday, March 3, 2008

I found this to be helpful and wanted to share it with you. It's Piper's "Guidelines for writing NT Research papers."

Not only is this pertinent to academic papers but also to sermon preparation. Even those in full-time ministry who don't "write a 25-page" research paper, when you prepare for sermons you probably do just as much work as those writing this sort of paper.

People say, what do you do all week if you're a Pastor? The best answer is to tell them, the preacher prepares 2-3 25-page research papers (if you preach 2-3 times a week). Then see what their response is! :=)

Hope this is of help! Blessings.
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