Tuesday, January 30, 2007
John Calvin, To the Reader (Institutes)
Monday, January 29, 2007
And though they take our life,
Goods, honour, children, wife
Yet is their profit small;
These things shall vanish all
The city of God remaineth.
Spending time in Hebrews 11 & 12 this morning, with the call to endurance, of eyes fixed on the one whom completes our faith, who makes faith possible, who we have faith in as the completer of the promises. The significance of being promise-aware people is unmistakable - the great roll-call of faith 'heroes' in ch11 are those who had faith in the promises despite their present situations. Yet the truth of 12.1-13 is that our Father is disciplining us as we endure, that the situations we go through are forming us, 'that we may share his holiness', yielding the 'peaceful fruit of righteousness'.
The command to lay aside every weight, every constraining factor and unhelpful distraction, and to throw off every sin that clings so closely. Reading Justin Taylor & Kelly Kapic's foreword to their edited version of John Owen's 'Overcoming Sin & Temptation', with Owen's tagline ringing in my ears: 'Be killing sin, or it'll be killing you'. Know your enemy, examine yourself, outside and within, so that you are aware of your weakness, of the areas where the creepers are growing up. But they are fleeting pleasures... the blame of Christ will always be of greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt. Father, help me to believe it!
Friday, January 26, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
It was a wake-up call again to the real blessing it is to grow up in a Christian home, with parents who know and love the Lord Jesus. It is often the case that kids from Christian homes come to resent their upbringing, but actually that is completely the wrong attitude. To be able to go home and be encouraged, to be able to read the Bible, to meet with friends around the word in the family home, to recieve no condemnation when you go to church... what a joy it is!
God calls us to honour parents - it's the first commandment with a promise attached (Ex 20.12) - and I know I'm very guilty of not practicing that command. Wonderful to hear God's teaching on an issue that too often is side-lined for more 'hip' talks on sex, money, and all the rest of it. God sovereignly chose them to bring us into the world.
Thank you Mum & Dad!
Friday, January 19, 2007
> the superior High Priest, by the power of an indestructible life (7.16) continuing forever so able to save at all times those who draw near to him, holy and blameless, who offered a sacrifice once for all (7.27).
> so he has a more excellent ministry than the old covenant as he mediates a new covenant which deals with the last one's fault: the fact that we sin!
> But Jesus entered once for all, his own blood securing an eternal redemption, once for all (!), in a body prepared for him, choosing to do his Father's will (10.9).
> And he's the only high priest who SITS DOWN! Job done! It is Finished!
And so, the writer finishes the section with some application... and isn't it great!
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
> let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
> Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
> And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
We're studying these books in our CU groups this term, so it'll be a pleasure to get to know them better and to hear God, and see his Spirit change lives. I'm excited!
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Particularly grateful to an article on friendship by the Bish. Looking back at the last term, friendships are amongst the things I count highest. True friendship is built around the cross of Christ.
We chatted about this over breakfast & Psalm 119 with the boys over the hols - we need to be real people, people who are friends in view of the cross, and in light of the Lord Jesus' return. I hope that I may be that kind of friend this year.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
It is the word of God that brings a foretaste of the glorious future into present Christian experience. So often I am won over as I search for 'little rescues', whereas the word of God pulls my longings for the future. A joy to read the promises of 119.150-151, with the nearness of suffering and persecution, yet the closer reality of our covenant God.
It doesn't matter how many 'i-words' we use: inerrant, infallible... unless
we delight in the Word of God, we are practical liberals.
Great to get real with the boys and talk about how we relate to each other as Christians longing for the new creation: genuine concern for the battle, leaving room for reality, killing superficial 'care', encouraging heaven-mindedness.
Humbled again by the closing words of the Psalmist:
I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not
forgotten your commands.
We are nothing but lost sheep, we fall so short. As Rico said, 'If our friends knew what God knew about us, they'd never entrust us with anything like what God does'. Life dependent on grace; ministry dependent on grace. It must be a year dependent on grace.