Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Blood's Call: Mercy!

Hark! there is a cry heard in heaven, the angels are astonished; they rise up from their golden seats, and they enquire, "What is that cry?" God looketh upon them, and he saith, "It is the cry of blood, a man hath been slain by his fellow; a brother by him who came from the bowels of the self-same mother has been murdered in cold blood, through malice. One of my saints has been murdered, and here he comes, And Abel entered into heaven blood-red, the first of God's elect who had entered Paradise, and the first of God's children who had worn the blood red crown of martyrdom. And then the cry was heard, loud and clear and strong; and thus it spoke - "Revenge! revenge! revenge!" And God himself, upstarting from his throne, summoned the culprit to his presence, questioned him, condemned him out of his own mouth, and made him henceforth a fugitive and a vagabond, to wander over the surface of the earth, which was to be sterile henceforth to his plough.

And now, beloved, just contrast with this the blood of Christ. That is Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God; he hangs upon a tree; he is murdered - murdered by his own brethren. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not, but his own led him out to death." He bleeds; he dies; and then is heard a cry in heaven. The astonished angels again start from their seats, and they say," What is this? What is this cry that we hear?" And the Mighty Maker answers yet again, "It is the cry of blood; it is the cry of the blood of my only-begotten and well - beloved Son!" And God, uprising from his throne, looks down from heaven and listens to the cry. And what is the cry? It is not revenge; but the voice crieth, "Mercy! mercy! mercy!" Did you not hear it? It said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Herein, the blood of Christ "speaketh better things than that of Abel," for Abel's blood said, "Revenge!" and made the sword of God start from its scabbard; but Christ's blood cried "Mercy!" and sent the sword back again, and bade it sleep for ever.
(Sermon, The Voice of the Blood of Christ, C.H. Spurgeon, August 29, 1858, Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens)

The Precious Blood (© 2005 Valley of Vision, Sovereign Grace Worship [ASCAP])

Thursday, August 21, 2008

School Dreams: Is It Just Me?

It's that time of year again - Back to School! And with the purchase of school supplies and new shoes for the kiddos come the inevitable school dreams!

It's been 20 years since college, and 16 since law school, and yet, when school starts up for the young'ins, so start up my school dreams.

They typically look like this:

1. I'm in the hallway, kids all around me. I've never been in the school before and don't know where anything is, let alone my classes. Sometimes I have a class schedule, and sometimes I don't. But always, I'm frantic in my attempts to find out where I'm supposed to be, or where I'm going next.

2. I've graduated from high school, college and law school, and am practicing law. But I've just been informed that back in high school I failed to take one class (usually English), so my college degree and Juris Doctor are null and void until I go back and take that missing, overlooked class.

3. I'm back in high school, a senior, and it's the last school day of the year. I'm one day away from graduating when I suddenly discover that I've missed one class (and it's English again, or sometimes Math), all year, and without it I won't graduate.

But what about you? Please tell me I'm not the only one having these dreams at this time of the year. If great minds are thinking (dreaming) alike, tell me what yours look like! How are they the same, similar, or different?

(And no, I don't have dreams of standing in the school hallway only in my underwear.)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Parental Duties Circa 1664: Still Relevant?

Richard Baxter, 1664:

"Speaking of the importance of wise, holy education of children is to the saving of their souls, the comfort of their parents, the good of church and state, and the happiness of the world.

Direct I. Understand and lament the corrupted and miserable state of your children, which they have derived from you, and thankfully accept the offers of a Saviour for yourselves and them, and absolutely resign, and dedicate them to God in Christ in the sacred covenant, and solemnize this dedication and covenant by their baptism.

Direct II. As soon as they are capable, teach them what a covenant they are in, and what are the benefits, and what the conditions, that their souls may gladly consent to it when they understand it; and you may bring them seriously to renew their covenant with God in their own persons.

Direct III. Train them up in exact obedience to yourselves, and break them of their own wills. To that end, suffer them not to carry themselves unreverently or contemptuously towards you; but to keep their distance. For too much familiarity breedeth contempt, and imboldeneth to disobedience.

Direct IV. Make them neither too bold with you, nor too strange or fearful; and govern them not as servants, but as children, making them perceive that you dearly love them, and that all your commands, restraints, and corrections tire for their good, and not merely because you will have it so.

Direct V. Labour much to possess their hearts with the fear of God, and a reverence of the holy Scriptures; and then whatsoever duty you command them, or whatsoever sin you forbid them, show them some plain and urgent texts of Scripture for it; and cause them to learn them and oft repeat them; that so they may find reason and divine authority in your commands; till their obedience begin to be rational and divine, it will be but formal and hypocritical.

Direct VI. In all your speeches of God and of Jesus Christ, and of the holy Scripture, or the life to come, or of any holy duty, speak always with gravity, seriousness, and reverence, as of the most great and dreadful and most Sacred things: for before children come to have any distinct understanding of particulars, it is a hopeful beginning to have their hearts possessed with a general reverence and high esteem of holy matters; for that will continually awe their consciences, and help their judgments, and settle them against prejudice and profane contempt, and be as a seed of holiness in them.

Direct VII. Speak always before them with great honour and praise of holy ministers and people, and with dispraise and loathing of every sin, and of ungodly men.

Direct VIII. Let it be the principal part of your care and labour in all their education, to make holiness appear to them the most necessary, honourable, gainful, pleasant, delightful, amiable state of life; and to keep them from apprehending it either as needless, dishonourable, hurtful, or uncomfortable.

Direct IX. Speak often to them of the brutish baseness and sinfulness of flesh-pleasing sensuality, and of the greater excellency of the pleasures of the mind, which consist in wisdom, and in doing good.

Direct X. To this end, and also for the health of their bodies, keep a strict guard upon their appetites (which they are not able to guard themselves): keep them as exactly as you can to the rules of reason, both in the quantity and quality of their food.

Direct XI. For sports and recreations, let them be such, and so much, as may be needful to their health and cheerfulness; but not so much as may carry away their minds from better things, and draw them from their books or other duties, nor such as may tempt them to gaming or covetousness.

Direct XII. Use all your wisdom and diligence to root out the sin of pride.

Direct XIII. Speak to them disgracefully of the gallantry, and pomp, and riches of the world, and of the sin of selfishness and covetousness, and diligently watch against it, and all that may tempt them to it.

Direct XIV. Narrowly watch their tongues, especially against lying, railing, ribald talk, and taking the name of God in vain.

Direct XV. Keep them as much as may be from ill company, especially of ungodly play-fellows.

Direct XVI. Teach your children to know the preciousness of time, and suffer them not to mispend an hour.

Direct XVII. Let necessary correction be used with discretion.

Direct XVIII. Let your own example teach your children that holiness, and heavenliness, and blamelessness of tongue and life, which you desire them and to learn and practise.

Direct XIX. Choose such a calling and course of life for your children, as tendeth most to the saving of their souls, kind to their public usefulness for church or state.

Direct XX. When they are marriageable, and you find it needful, look out such for them as are suitable betimes."
(The Duties of Parents for Their Children, The Practical Works of Richard Baxter, Vol. 1, Chap. X, pp. 449-454)

So - Are any of these still valid? Still applicable for the parents and youth of our day? If not, why? And if you could change any item of R. Baxter's list what would it be; and how would you change it?

Please read Richard Baxter's entire work, and more about Richard Baxter himself.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Reformed Rap?! Shai Linne Says "Yes!"

Christian Rap? Is that not an oxymoron? Aren't they mutually exclusive?

Well, that's what I thought until I came upon Shai Linne. Shai's grasp of rhyme and theology - good, biblical theology - is really something! I prefer to call it "Reformed Rap."

The following is what Todd Friel of Way of the Master Radio had to say of Shai Linne (whom he called a "Christian Rapper Fellow" - funny) and his ministry of reformed rhyme.

Part 1

Part 2

You'll serve yourself well (and you might even find yourself bopping your head to the rhythm) by looking more into the ministry of words, of truth, of Shai Linne.

Here's a short Bio, his blog, and MySpace.

And be sure to listen and download some of his music from The Atonement and The Solus Christus Project.

And let's not forget Voice (Curtis Allen), and his recently released album, The Process of the Pardon. You may download his song, Here I Stand.


Friday, August 01, 2008

The Four Spiritual Laws: Alternative Needed? Available?

For many, when they hear of "evangelism," "witnessing," or handing someone a "tract," what do you think comes to mind? Especially with the word "tract" I would guess that most often it is Campus Crusade's Four Spiritual Laws. Or maybe those warm and fuzzy (just kidding!) Chick Publication tracts that were all the rage in the late `70's, early `80's?

Tell me, if you're familiar with the Four Spiritual Laws, what do you think of it? Its usefulness? Its doctrinal or theological soundness (or lack thereof)?

If you're Reformed and have issues with it, is there a Reformed alternative? Does one exist? Is one needed? If so, why?

Has anyone heard of, or used, Matthias Media's Two Ways to Live? What do you think?

Love to hear your thoughts.