Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sovereign Election: And the Winner Is . . .

With the recent elections a fading (?) memory, let's take a moment to look at a mere snapshot of the eternal election that occurred before the foundation of the world.

From the incomparable pen of C.H. Spurgeon:

Before Salvation came into this world, Election marched in the very forefront, and it had for its work the billeting of Salvation. Election went through the world and marked the houses to which Salvation should come and the hearts in which the treasure should be deposited. Election looked through all the race of man, from Adam down to the last, and marked with sacred stamp those for whom Salvation was designed. "He must needs go through Samaria," said Election; and Salvation must go there. Then came Predestination. Predestination did not merely mark the house, but it mapped the road in which Salvation should travel to that house, Predestination ordained every step of the great army of Salvation, it ordained the time when the sinner should be brought to Christ, the manner how he should be saved, the means that should be employed; it marked the exact hour and moment, when God the Spirit should quicken the dead in sin, and when peace and pardon should be spoken through the blood of Jesus. Predestination marked the way so completely, that Salvation doth never overstep the bounds, and it is never at a loss for the road. In the everlasting decree of the Sovereign God, the footsteps of Mercy were every one of them ordained. As nothing in this world revolves by chance—as even the foreknown station of a rush by the river is as fixed as the station of a king—it was not meet that Salvation should be left to chance; and therefore God has mapped the place where it should pitch its tent, the manner of its footsteps to that tent, and the time when it should arrive there. . . . The origin of Salvation lies alone in the sovereign will of God the Father; in the infinite efficacy of the blood of Jesus—God the Son, and in the divine influence of God the Holy Spirit.
(Sermon, Things That Accompany Salvation, September 20, 1857)

And from Pastor John Piper, Desiring God Ministries:

If all of us are so depraved that we cannot come to God without being born again by the irresistible grace of God, then it is clear that the salvation of any of us is owing to God's election. Election refers to God's choosing whom to save. It is unconditional in that there is no condition man must meet before God chooses to save him. Man is dead in trespasses and sins. So there is no condition he can meet before God chooses to save him from his deadness. We are not saying that final salvation is unconditional. It is not. We must meet the condition of faith in Christ in order to inherit eternal life. But faith is not a condition for election. Just the reverse. Election is a condition for faith. It is because God chose us before the foundation of the world that he purchases our redemption at the cross and quickens us with irresistible grace and brings us to faith.
(John Piper, What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism, March 1, 1985 [Rev. 3/1998]) (In Spanish)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Train Up a Child; And Weary Not In So Doing

Speaking of his admiration for Cicero's teachings on the love of wisdom and pursuit of knowledge, St. Augustine said that the one thing that made him cautious of following Cicero and his teaching totally was the complete absence of any mention of the name of Christ. Saint Augustine said while at the time he was not a believer, he had yet drunk in the name of Christ with his mother's milk, and so deeply had it been implanted into his thinking that he could never be completed satisfied with any argument, no matter how learned or eloquent, that omitted giving Jesus Christ a placed in its discussion. (St. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, Book 3)

So, take heart and be encouraged! Weary not in the training of your children in the love and honor and admonition of the Lord!

My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life. (Proverbs 6:20-23)

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

Fathers, bring [your children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4b)

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thanksgiving: How Can I Say Thanks?

And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. (Revelation 11:16-17)

When I was thinking about Thanksgiving, and the words "thanks" and "thankfulness," I was reminded of the above verse in Revelations, and the 1970's song by Andrae Crouch that just keeps going round-and-round in my head. His song "My Tribute" was my all-time favorite growing up. I use to listen to that album (yes, the old vinyl LP, folks!), over and over again! I could think of no better way to express my thankfulness at this time of Thanksgiving than with Andrae's words:

How can I say thanks
For the things You have done for me,
Things so undeserved,
Yet You gave to prove Your love for me.
The voices of a million angels
Could not express my gratitude.
All that I am and ever hope to be,
I owe it all to Thee.

To God be the glory,
To God be the glory,
To God be the glory,
For the things He has done.
With His blood He has saved me,
With His power He has raised me,
To God be the glory,
For the things He has done.
© 1971, Andrae Crouch

All I can say is, "Thank you, Lord!" To you, alone, be all the glory, praise, and thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Wise Up? Or Wise Down!?

Proverbs 3:7-8
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

I am wise in my own eyes …

1. When I don’t pause to pray for God’s guidance on a decision.

2. When I fail to depend on God’s word and approach it as a daily “lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Ps. 119:105)

3. When I assume a decision doesn’t need a second opinion, and I don’t take the time to ask trusted friends for counsel.

4. When I am critical of another person’s practice or perspective without taking the time to understand it and ask questions.

5. When I am lax in fleeing temptation, assuming that I’m adult enough to “handle it.”

6. When I do something right and fail to acknowledge before God that it is only his grace that allowed me to do it right.

7. When I pat myself on the back about knowledge I have that I learned from someone else.

8. When I don’t draw out, or seek to understand, a person who is bringing criticism (whether or not it’s being brought constructively).

9. When I assume that the truth of a sermon is for someone else, not my own life.

10. When I neglect to consistently plead to God for his wisdom.

Until I see God and fear him, I cannot see myself rightly. When my view of him is clouded, when I’m a functional atheist, I will trust and applaud my own wisdom. But when I rightly fear God—when I see him for who he is as the all-seeing, all-powerful Holy One to whom I will answer—I will see myself as weak, dependent, and in need of heavenly wisdom. When I fear God, I will shun the evil of pride and self-sufficiency. (HT: Josh Harris, Sovereign Grace Ministries)


Here are a couple of my own:

I am wise in my own eyes when I think what this world has to offer is better or more desirous than His riches in glory.

I am wise in my own eyes when I prefer my paper mache crown over the one He's promised me in gold.

How about you? How are you wise in your own eyes?

Friday, November 17, 2006

How Much Is Your Blog Worth?

Here's some Friday-Fun.

My blog is worth $12,984.42.
How much is your blog worth?

(HT: Gavin)

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith - that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:7-11 [ESV])

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Klingon Bible! Why am I Not Surprised?!

Before you go and buy yourself that new English Standard Version Bible, or Sproul's Reformation Study Bible, and if you speak Klingon, you may want to consider the new Klingon Language Version of the World English Bible.

You may look up Bible verses with this new "Bible," here.

Here's Eph. 2:8-9, vaD Sum grace SoH ghaj taH toDpu' vegh HartaHghach, je vetlh ghobe' vo' tlhIH'egh; 'oH ghaH the gift vo' joH'a', ghobe' vo' vum, vetlh ghobe' wa' would boast.

Someone obviously had way too much time on their hands. How much you want to bet he's a blogger?!

(HT: Riddleblog)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thank You, Veterans!

This picture says it all.

Thank you, Veterans, past and present, for your service to our nation, and to me and my family! You're our heroes, and are in our thoughts and prayers!

The Lord bless you and keep you.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Laymen! Pastors! Watch Your Life and Doctrine!

Here's a wonderful, for a limited time, offer from Crossway Books.

Crossway is making available one of the chapters from a forthcoming book, Preaching the Cross, by C.J. Mahaney. This chapter, "The Pastor's Priorities: Watch Your Life and Doctrine" comes from C.J.'s plenary session at the recent Together for the Gospel Conference. His message was from 1 Timothy 4:16 which reads: "Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers." While directed primarily to pastors, most if not all the truths addressed by C.J. are equally applicable to every member of the Body of Christ.

This chapter is available at Justin Taylor's site, Between Two Worlds. May I encourage each and every believer to read this timely, biblical treatment of I Timothy 4. On just the first page alone C.J. admonishes us with, "The stakes could not be higher. Nothing less than the preservation of yourself and your congregation hang upon the God-appointed means of your faithful pastoral ministry. The implications couldn’t be more serious. They are, in fact, eternal."

This is great stuff, folks. Don't miss it!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Search My Heart; and Create In Me a Clean Heart!

Must Read: Tim Challies' article on the Ted Haggard scandal is a humbling, grace-filled message that all should read!

Must Read: John Piper's paper (written in 1995) on how Christian leaders should avoid sexual sin; listing ten potential pitfalls and proposing ten protections against them.

Must Listen: Dr. James Dobson, Al Mohler, Ravi Zacharias, and H.B. London discuss sin issues and clergy and how the church should respond. (Focus on the Family Broadcast, Nov. 6, 2006)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” (Jer. 17:9-10)

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Ps. 51:10)

What's in a Name? God's Name(s)?

Marvin Cotter at Asphaleia, besides being a fellow Texan and holder to the Doctrines of Grace, has put together a very extensive, and interesting post on the names of God in the Bible. For example, Marv tells us that the name “Jehovah Jireh” is the name of a place, not of God. Interesting. Something to certainly look into.

Take a look at this post and tell me what you think. He appears to challenge a few widely held beliefs about the names of God.

Do you agree with him?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Take Pause to Wonder, Marvel, Worship!

Wonderful meditation by A.W. Pink,

"O how infinitely worthy of our constant thought, meditation, study and love, is the blessed One who died that we might live! The Lord of glory descending into unfathomable shame! The Giver of all blessing being made a curse for us! Well may we pause and wonder, marvel, worship. But blessed be his name, the cross did not end all: 'It was not possible he should be holden of death.' [Acts 2:24] He rose in triumph from the tomb, ascending on high, and took his place at God’s right hand. Why? For his own comfort, peace, or joy? No – 'Whither for us the forerunner hath entered.’ [Heb. 6:20] We engage all his thoughts! Our interests are his one concern. Nor is that all. Heaven will not fully be Heaven to Christ till he has all his redeemed with himself. Not content with having gone to prepare a place for us, he is coming back to receive us unto himself, that where he is there may we be also. [John 14:3] What a happy, praising, worshipping people we should be!"

Although I must ask -

What do you think of his statement, "We engage all his thoughts?" How should I/you take it in light of my recent reflection on the song, Above All?!