Friday, February 27, 2009
The word of God directs our steps; it is living and powerful. When husbands, wives, fathers and mother neglect it, trivialize it, or ignore it, then their humanity starves. “Man lives not by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Without the sustaining, nourishing word of God men become less than human; like beasts, they live only for themselves. The Bible humbles us; something we must acquire before we can succeed. After the new wears off, it is the only thing that enables us to look at another human being and love, honor and cherish them. A family cannot exist for long if they habitually ignore God’s call for gracious, edifying words toward one another and instead offer rude, crude, hostile or untruthful words. Every sin breaks down the body and tears apart what God has joined together. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” — 1 Corinthians 5:17.
Robert Capon observes:
“The only available candidates for matrimony are, every last one of them, sinners. As sinners, they are in a fair way to wreck themselves and anyone else who gets within arm’s length of them. Without virtue, therefore, no marriage will make it. The first of all vocations, the ground line of the New Jerusalem is made of stuff like truthfulness, patience, love and liberality; of prudence, justice, temperance and courage; and of all their adjuncts and circumstances: manners, consideration, fair speech and the ability to keep one’s mouth shut and one’s heart open, as needed.”
Thursday, February 26, 2009
- Dr. Adrian Rogers
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
The Bible teaches us that there is another important expression of love: “whom the Lord loves He chastens.” (Heb. 12:6). Moreover, to not chasten those who are under our care (when they are in need of it), is to not love them. “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Pr. 13:24). The child might not perceive such discipline as an expression of love at the time, but those who have been trained by it will be grateful to those who loved them enough to keep them in the way of righteousness. In many ways, this expression of love is the most difficult because it involves the greatest sacrifice. It often goes unappreciated in the short run; it has to wait for a return. Parents and pastors must keep a long view of love. Cultivation is hard work but the harvest is sweet.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
“…you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7)
There are many ways to study the Bible and to learn about God: systematic theology, biblical theology, historical theology, etc. These are not only good, they are necessary. However, if we stop short of the Bible and God speaking to us personally and individually, then we have come short of the grace of God. Some aspects of theology can be abstract but the Scriptures never allow us to reduce our Bible study to an academic pursuit. “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: ‘So I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,’ although the works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Hebrews 4:1-3).
God speaks to us through His word. If God loves the world, but doesn’t notice you, then it will not matter much that He has loved the world. Psalm 139:1-16 declares how much the Lord knows us and cares for us:
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
Notice how the careful attention of the Lord is expressed toward us when we remember that He:
- Names His Sheep: John 10:3, “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
- Numbers Our Hairs: Matthew 10:30-31, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
- Counts Our Steps: Job 31:4, “Does He not see my ways, and count all my steps?”
- Records Our Thoughts: Malachi 3:16, “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name.”
- Bottles Our Tears: Psalm 56:8, “You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?”
- Takes Our Hands: Isaiah 41:13, “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’”
- Supplies Our Needs: Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
- Relieves Our Burdens: Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
- Eases Our Worries: 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
Friday, February 20, 2009
Take the largest part of that truth first. God makes wine. For all its difficulties, there is no way around the doctrine of creation. But notice the tense: He makes; not made. He did not create once upon a time, only to find himself saddled now with the unavoidable and embarrassing result of that first rash decision. That is only to welsh on the idea of an unnecessary world, to make creation a self-perpetuating pool game which is contingent only at the start—which needs only the first push on the cue ball to keep it going forever. It will not do: The world is more unnecessary than that. It is unnecessary now; it cries in this moment for a cause to hold it in being. It was St. Thomas, I think, who pointed out long ago that if God wanted to get rid of the universe, He would not have to do anything; He would have to stop doing something. Wine is—the fruit of the vine stands in act, outside of nothing—because it is His very present pleasure to have it so. The creative act is contemporary, intimate, and immediate to each part, parcel and period of the world.
Do you see what that means? In a general way we concede that God made the world out of joy: He didn't need it; He just thought it was a good thing. But if you confine His activity in creation to the beginning only, you lose most of the joy in the subsequent shuffle of history. Sure, it was good back then, you say, but since then, we've been eating leftovers. How much better a world it becomes when you see Him creating at all times and at every time; when you see that the preserving of the old in being is just as much creation as the bringing of the new out of nothing. Each thing, at every moment, becomes the delight of His hand, the apple of His eye. The bloom of yeast lies upon the grapeskins year after year because He likes it; C6H12O6=2C2H5OH+2CO2 is a dependable process because, every September, He says, That was nice; do it again.
Let us pause and drink to that.
[Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb]
Monday, February 16, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Charles Darwin was well aware of this fact. In one of his early notebooks he records the prophetic statement that his theory of evolution would affect the whole of metaphysics [the underlying principles of every field of study.]. About Darwin’s The Origin of Species (1859) Josiah Royce commented: “With the one exception of Newton’s Principia, no single book of empirical science has ever been of more importance to philosophy than this work of Darwin.”
Darwin called men away from the common presupposition of a decreed, mature creation of all things by a personal God; by replacing this presupposition with that of evolution, Darwin altered the entire direction and thrust of the next century’s thinking.
Historian Will Durant observed about Darwin,
It may well be that for posterity his name will stand as a turning point in the intellectual development of our western civilization... If he was right, men will have to date from 1859 the beginning of modern thought.
Cornelius Van Til writes,
The Bible requires men to believe that God exists apart from and above the world and that he by his plan controls whatever takes place in the world. Everything in the created universe therefore displays the fact that it is controlled by God, that it is what it is by virtue of the place it occupies in the plan of God. The objective evidence for the existence of God and of the comprehensive governance of the world by God is therefore so plain that he who runs may read. Men cannot get away from this evidence. They see it round about them. They see it within them. Their own constitution so clearly evinces the facts of God’s creation of them and control over them that there is no man who can possibly escape observing it. If he is self-conscious at all he is also God-conscious. No matter how men may try they cannot hide from themselves the fact of their own createdness. Whether men engage in inductive study with respect to the facts of nature about them or engage in analysis of their own self-consciousness they are always face to face with God their maker.
It appears, then, that two religious positions stand over against each other: the religion of humanistic autonomy and the religion of biblical Christianity. Each accuses the other of idolatry. The Christian must see the situation clearly. The choice between evolution and creation is at base religious. Nothing less is at stake than the charge of worshipping the creature rather than the Creator. An answer to origins weighs idolatry in the balance. “The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, these shall perish... They are vanity, a work of delusion” (Jer. 10:11, 15).
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
—C. S. Lewis
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Robert Capon, Bed and Board, Plain Talk About Marriage
Monday, February 2, 2009
To not be content is to question the goodness of God. The first temptation in history was the temptation of discontentment.God withheld only one tree from Adam and Eve to test their obedience. Satan sowed the seeds of discontentment in Eve’s heart; discontentment with her possessions; discontentment with her position. Satan tried the same strategy with Jesus in the wilderness. He sought to make Jesus discontent with His lack of food (possessions). And he sought to make Jesus discontent with His position. In fact, Satan’s fall from heaven was apparently the result of his own discontentment with his position.
Cultivating a thankful heart—the self-conscious giving of thanks to God and those around us—paves the road of contentment. You already occupy a position far greater than you deserve; you are a child of God. You also have far more possessions than you deserve; you are an heir of eternal life. “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” —1 Timothy 6:6-8
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Then Jesus said to them: “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” 35And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst”. . . .“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world” (John 6:32-35, 51).
Calvin on the Lord’s Supper, Institutes, vol. 3, XVII, Sec. 1