Friday, January 25, 2008

What is Man? Piece of Work and/or Sinner?

One speaker; two pictures of Man -

What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?
(Hamlet, Act 2, scene 2, 303–311)

Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest; but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me: I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offences at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves, all; believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery.
(Hamlet, Act 3, scene 1, 131-139)

Which is the more Biblical view of Man? Both? Neither? Do they have to be mutually exclusive?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Simon Cowell: It's All About Me!

On the first night of American Idol, from Philadelphia, a contestant's family celebrated with her when she received her ticket to Hollywood. Hearing the joy in the hallway, Simon commented of his amazement that here in America people celebrate when something good happens to someone they know.

Simon's response? He said he didn't understand it; that he could never do that.

That, my friend, is evidence of an unregenerate heart. A self-centered, "I"-focused heart and life. So antithetical to a heart of flesh made alive from a heart of stone, due wholly to the love and touch of Jesus Christ's shed blood and redemptive work on the cross.

How sad. May the love and life of Christ touch you, Simon, and draw you to Him!

Romans 12:15a
Rejoice with those who rejoice.

Romans 12:9-21
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I John 4:7-12
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

So the unregenerate ‘walk in the futility of their mind’ (Eph. 4:17). The natural inclination of the unregenerate mind is to seek those things that cannot satisfy (Gen. 6:5). It is an unstable mind (Prov. 7:11-12). The unregenerate understanding is darkened and cannot judge things properly (John 1:5). The unregenerate heart is blind. . . . Even though the unconverted mind is highly educated and talented, yet it is utterly unable to receive and understand spiritually those things needful for its eternal salvation. It will not respond to the preaching of the gospel until renewed, enlightened and enabled to do so by the Holy Spirit: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned’ (1 Cor. 2:14). The subject of this verse is the natural man. The natural man is quite opposite of the spiritual man (1 Cor. 15:44; Jude 19).
John Owen, The Holy Spirit (Banner of Truth, 1999)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Great, Faithful Steadfast Love - Exalt the Lord!

Be Exalted Oh God (based on Psalm 57:9-11)

I will give thanks to Thee Oh Lord, among the nations
I will sing praises to Thee among Thy people
For Thy steadfast love is great is great to the heavens
And Thy faithfulness, Thy faithfulness to the clouds

Be exalted Oh God above the heavens
And let Thy Glory be over all of the earth
Be exalted Oh God above the heavens
And let Thy Glory be over all of the earth
(Brent Chambers, © 1977 Scripture in Song, CCLI# 178041)

Purchase here.

His steadfast love is greater than great - it's great to the heavens! And His faithfulness! All the way to the clouds. Give thanks and exalt Him for His steadfast love and faithfulness!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Live Nearer to Christ;Think Much of Him

New Year Benedictions -

Oh, beloved, when ye hear of Christ, when you know that this grace comes through Christ, and the calling through Christ, and the glory through Christ, then you say, "Lord, I can believe it now, if it is through Christ." It is not a hard thing to believe that Christ's blood was sufficient to purchase every blessing for me. If I go to God's treasury without Christ, I am afraid to ask for anything, but when Christ is with me I can then ask for everything. For sure I think he deserves it though I do not. If I can claim his merits then I am not afraid to plead. Is perfection too great a boon for God to give to Christ? Oh, no. Is the keeping, the stability, the preservation of the blood-bought ones too great a reward for the terrible agonies and sufferings of the Savior? I trow not. Then we may with confidence plead, because everything comes through Christ.

I would in concluding make this remark. I wish, my brothers and sisters, that during this year you may live nearer to Christ than you have ever done before. Depend upon it, it is when we think much of Christ that we think little of ourselves, little of our troubles, and little of the doubts and fears that surround us. Begin from this day, and may God help you. Never let a single day pass over your head without a visit to the garden of Gethsemane, and the cross on Calvary. And as for some of you who are not saved, and know not the Redeemer, I would to God that this very day you would come to Christ.
(C.H. Spurgeon, Exeter Hall, Strand, January 1, 1860)

Psalm 138:8a (ESV)
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

"We will be glad and rejoice in thee" (Song of Solomon 1:4). We will not open the gates of the year to the dolorous notes of the sackbut, but to the sweet strains of the harp of joy, and the high sounding cymbals of gladness. “O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise unto the rock of our salvation.” We, the called and faithful and chosen, we will drive away our griefs, and set up our banners of confidence in the name of God. Let others lament over their troubles, we who have the sweetening tree to cast into Marah’s bitter pool, with joy will magnify the Lord. Eternal Spirit, our effectual Comforter, we who are the temples in which thou dwellest, will never cease from adoring and blessing the name of Jesus. We will, we are resolved about it, Jesus must have the crown of our heart’s delight; we will not dishonour our Bridegroom by mourning in his presence. We are ordained to be the minstrels of the skies, let us rehearse our everlasting anthem before we sing it in the halls of the New Jerusalem. We will be glad and rejoice: two words with one sense, double joy, blessedness upon blessedness. Need there be any limit to our rejoicing in the Lord even now? Do not men of grace find their Lord to be camphire and spikenard, calamus and cinnamon even now, and what better fragrance have they in heaven itself? We will be glad and rejoice in Thee . That last word is the meat in the dish, the kernel of the nut, the soul of the text. What heavens are laid up in Jesus! What rivers of infinite bliss have their source, aye, and every drop of their fulness in him! Since, O sweet Lord Jesus, thou art the present portion of thy people, favour us this year with such a sense of thy preciousness, that from its first to its last day we may be glad and rejoice in thee. Let January open with joy in the Lord, and December close with gladness in Jesus.
(C.H. Spurgeon, Morning & Evening, Evening Reading, January 1)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year 2008!

I wish you a Happy New Year, and pray the Lord's hand of blessing on you, your family, and calling. May He continue to lead and bless you, and make Himself ever more evident to you in your life.

10 Resolutions for Mental Health
John Piper's reflections of a 1976 lecture in which the speaker plead with his listeners to stop seeking mental health in the mirror of self-analysis, but instead to drink in the remedies of God in nature.

New Year's Resolutions
David Powlison, M.Div., Ph.D., Editor, The Journal of Biblical Counseling; Counselor and faculty member at Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation; Teacher, Westminster Theological Seminary.

70 resolutions written by Jonathan Edwards when he was about 20 years of age. He reviewed his resolutions on a weekly basis.