Wednesday, March 31, 2010
C.J. Mahaney, Living the Cross Centered Life
D.A. Carson (Scandalous, pp. 98-99)
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969), 71.
HT Calvin and Calvinism
There are some who are always talking about corruption, and the depravity of the heart, and the innate evil of the soul. This is quite true, but why not go a little further, and remember that we are perfect in Christ Jesus. It is no wonder that those who are dwelling upon their own corruption should wear such downcast looks; but surely if we call to mind that Christ is made unto us righteousness, we shall be of good cheer. What though distresses afflict me, though Satan assault me, though there may be many things to be experienced before I get to heaven, those are done for me in the covenant of divine grace; there is nothing wanting in my Lord, Christ hath done it all.”
Read Heavy Books
Read Light Books
Read New Books
Read Old Books
Read What Your Heroes Read
“Christ’s righteousness is so imputed to believers that their justification is not merely the act of a sovereign dispensing with law but the act of a judge declaring the law to be satisfied.”
Charles Hodge, quoted in James Buchanan, The Doctrine of Justification (Edinburgh, 1984), page 410.HT Ray Ortlund
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The pulpit, therefore, (and I name it filled
with solemn awe, that bids me well beware
with what intent I touch that holy thing;)
the pulpit (when the satirist has at last,
strutting and vaporing in an empty school,
spent all his force, and made no proselyte;)
I say the pulpit (in the sober use
of its legitimate, peculiar powers)
must stand acknowledged, while the world shall stand,
the most important and effectual guard,
support, and ornament of virtue’s cause.
There stands the messenger of truth. There stands
the legate of the skies; his theme divine,
his office sacred, his credentials clear.
By him, the violated law speaks out
its thunders, and by him, in strains as sweet
as angels use, the gospel whispers peace.
He ’stablishes the strong, restores the weak,
reclaims the wanderer, binds the broken heart,
and, armed himself in panoply complete
of heavenly temper, furnishes with arms
bright as his own, and trains, by every rule
of holy discipline, to glorious war,
the sacramental host of God’s elect.
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.
Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
"Salvation does not mean merely deliverance from sin or the experience of personal holiness. The salvation which comes from God means being completely delivered from myself, and being placed into perfect union with Him. When I think of my salvation experience, I think of being delivered from sin and gaining personal holiness. But salvation is so much more! It means that the Spirit of God has brought me into intimate contact with the true Person of God Himself. And as I am caught up into total surrender to God, I become thrilled with something infinitely greater than myself.
To say that we are called to preach holiness or sanctification is to miss the main point. We are called to proclaim Jesus Christ. The fact that He saves from sin and makes us holy is actually part of the effect of His wonderful and total surrender to us.
If we are truly surrendered, we will never be aware of our own efforts to remain surrendered. Our entire life will be consumed with the One to whom we surrender. Beware of talking about surrender if you know nothing about it. In fact, you will never know anything about it until you understand that John 3:16 means that God completely and absolutely gave Himself to us. In our surrender, we must give ourselves to God in the same way He gave Himself for us— totally, unconditionally, and without reservation. The consequences and circumstances resulting from our surrender will never even enter our mind, because our life will be totally consumed with Him."Oswald Chambers
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Read the entire article by Tim Challies Here
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
"My advice, as it relates to the last two dangers, is simple: forget about bandwagons. Not one of the leaders I know is interested in hitching the work of God to a bandwagon. They want to proclaim the gospel, build up the local church, guard the good deposit, and work for the good of saints, sinners, and sufferers. This is the stuff to be into. And if other Christians can help you get into this stuff, listen to them.
In other words, learn from good teachers, but don’t idolize them. Read your favorite authors, but read lots of other authors too. Download the gifted preachers, but honor your pastor first. Go to the great conferences, but realize that the mission of God and the promises of God are with your local church. Be thankful for strong preaching, good theology, warm hearts, and visionary leaders. But, most of all, be thankful for sovereign work of the Spirit, the redemptive work of the Son, and the unchanging, everlasting love of the Father. Let’s keep our noses in the text and our eyes on Christ and let the bandwagon go where it will."Read the entire article here.
John Piper provides these quotes from Marilynne Robinson's Novel Gilead:
He’d walk fifteen miles across open country in the dead of winter to settle a point of interpretation. We’d have to thaw him out before he could tell us what it was he had on his mind. (p. 16)
Existence seems to me now the most remarkable thing that could ever be imagined. (p. 53)
You two are dancing around in your iridescent little downpour whooping and stomping as sane people ought to do when they encounter a thing so miraculous as water. (p. 63)
In my present situation, now that I am about to leave this world, I realize there is nothing more astonishing than a human face. (p. 66)
Each morning I’m like Adam waking up in Eden, amazed at the cleverness of my hands and at the brilliance pouring into my mind through my eyes—old hands, old eyes, old mind, a very diminished Adam altogether, and still it is just remarkable. What of me will I still have? Well, this old body has been a pretty good companion. Like Balaam’s ass, it’s seen the angel I haven’t seen yet, and it’s lying down in the path. (pp. 66-67)
I have always liked the phrase “nursing a grudge,” because many people are tender of their resentments, as of the thing nearest their hearts. (p. 117)
Presumably the world exists for God’s enjoyment, not in any simple sense, of course, but as you enjoy the being of a child even when he is every way a thorn in your heart. (pp. 124-125)
At my time of life, I refuse to be angry. It was kindly meant. And it had to be done sooner or later. It’s true that if I have to spend my twilight stranded with somebody or other, I’d prefer Karl Barth to Jack Benny. (p. 128)
Boughton says he has more ideas about heaven every day. He said, “Mainly I just think about the splendors of the world and multiply by two. I’d multiply by ten or twelve if I had the energy. But two is much more than sufficient for my purposes.” So he is just sitting there multiplying the feel of the wind by two, multiplying the smell of the grass by two. (p. 147)
Adulthood is a wonderful thing, and brief. (p. 166)
But the fact is, I have never found another way to be as honest with myself as I can be by consulting with these miseries of mine, these accusers and rebukers, God bless them all. So long as they do not kill me outright. I do hope to die with a quiet heart. I know that may not be realistic. (p. 179)
And she kissed me on the top of the head, which, for her, was downright flamboyant. (p. 186)
We human beings do real harm. History could make a stone weep. (p. 190)
He could knock me down the stairs and I would have worked out the theology for forgiving him before I reached the bottom. But if he harmed you in the slightest way, I’m afraid theology would fail me. (p. 190)
It is true that we all do live in the ruins of the lives of other generations. (p. 198)
My heart was very heavy. There was Boughton sitting in his Morris chair staring at nothing. Glory told me the only words he had said all day were “Jesus never had to be old!” (p. 236)
It is worth living long enough to outlast whatever sense of grievance you may acquire. Another reason why you must be careful of your health. (p. 238)
It was truly a dreadful thing he was doing, leaving his father to die without him. It was the kind of thing only his father would forgive him for. (p. 240)
There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, every one of them sufficient. (p. 243)
“He will wipe the tears from all faces.” It takes nothing from the loveliness of the verse to say that is exactly what will be required. (p. 246)
This whole town does look like whatever hope becomes after it begins to weary a little, then weary a little more. But hope deferred is still hope. I love this town. I think sometimes of going into the ground here as a last wild gesture of love—I too will smolder away the time until the great and general incandescence. (pp. 246-247)
The hope of the people of God is not merely a desire or wish. It is a confidence rooted in God's promise and God's faithfulness. It is a trust that is rooted in Christ's trustworthiness and the certainty of His wonderful plan for us. Jesus said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house there are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I'm going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am" (John 14:1-3).
Monday, March 22, 2010
"The pleasures of loving and obeying, loving and adoring, blessing and praising the Infinite Being, the Best of Beings, the Eternal Jehovah; the pleasures of trusting in Jesus Christ, in contemplating His beauties, excellencies, and glories; in contemplating His love to mankind and to us, in contemplating His infinite goodness and astonishing loving-kindness; the pleasures of [the] communion of the Holy Ghost in conversing with God, the maker and governor of the world; the pleasure that results from the doing of our duty, in acting worthily and excellently;…these are the pleasures that are worthy of so noble a creature as a man is."
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
I like Reformed theology. I believe it’s what the Bible teaches. But I don’t like Reformed culture. I don’t believe it’s what the Bible teaches.
Reformed theology is all about grace deciding to treat people better than they deserve, for the sheer glory of it all. Sometimes Reformed culture doesn’t look like that, feel like that, taste like that. It gives people exactly what they deserve, as judged by the Reformed person. But who exalted him as judge in the first place? Our true Judge stepped down to become our Friend. That theology of grace must translate into the sociology of grace as we treat one another better than anyone deserves, for the sheer glory of it all.
“If our theology does not quicken the conscience and soften the heart, it actually hardens both; if it does not encourage the commitment of faith, it reinforces the detachment of unbelief; if it fails to promote humility, it inevitably feeds pride.”
J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness, page 15.Ray Ortlund
Friday, March 19, 2010
"If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."
Thursday, March 18, 2010
“Love is at the bottom of all. We may give a reason of other things, but we cannot give a reason of his love, God showed his wisdom, power, justice, and holiness in our redemption by Christ. If you ask, Why he made so much ado about a worthless creature, raised out of the dust of the ground at first, and had now disordered himself, and could be of no use to him? We have an answer at hand, Because he loved us. If you continue to ask, But why did he love us? We have no other answer but because he loved us; for beyond the first rise of things we cannot go. And the same reason is given by Moses, Deuteronomy 7:7-8: ‘The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people, for ye were the fewest of all people; but because the Lord loved you…’ That is, in short, he loved you because he loved you. All came from his free and undeserved mercy; higher we cannot go in seeking after the causes of what is done for our salvation.”Thomas Manton
"In math, if you divide an infinite number by any number, no matter how large, you still have an infinite quotient. So Jesus' love, being infinite, even though it is divided up for every person on earth, is still infinitely poured out on each one of us!"
Read the entire article by Russell Moore Here
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
We adjust the bar to our own performance and we have to live the rest of our life in denial of our sinfulness. It's deadly."
HT Reformed Voices
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Robert Murray M’Cheyne
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
HT Kingdom People
Friday, March 12, 2010
Is it a small thing in your eyes to be loved by God – to be the son, the spouse, the love, the delight of the King of glory? Christian, believe this, and think about it: you will be eternally embraced in the arms of the love which was from everlasting, and will extend to everlasting – of the love which brought the Son of God's love from heaven to earth, from earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to glory – that love which was weary, hungry, tempted, scorned, scourged, buffeted, spat upon, crucified, pierced – which fasted, prayed, taught, healed, wept, sweated, bled, died. That love will eternally embrace you.
J.C. Ryle : Thoughts For Young Men
“Don’t talk of things
and matters of experience
with an air of lightness and laughter,
which is too much the manner in many places.
In all your course,
walk with God
and follow Christ
as a little,
taking hold of Christ’s hand,
keeping your eye
on the mark of the wounds
on his hands
whence came the blood
that cleanses you from sin
under the skirt of the white shining robe
of his righteousness.”
HT Tony Reinke
Thursday, March 11, 2010
“Be careful how you treat God, my friends. You may say to yourself, ‘I can sin against God and then, of course, I can repent and go back and find God whenever I want him.’ You try it. And you will sometimes find that not only can you not find God but that you do not even want to. You will be aware of a terrible hardness in your heart. And you can do nothing about it. And then you suddenly realize that it is God punishing you in order to reveal your sinfulness and your vileness to you. And there is only one thing to do. You turn back to him and you say, ‘O God, do not go on dealing with me judicially, though I deserve it. Soften my heart. Melt me. I cannot do it myself.’ You cast yourself utterly upon his mercy and upon his compassion.”
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Revival (Westchester, 1987), page 300.
Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies, Book III:1.1
HT: Symphony Of Scripture
"Someday archaeologists will be digging up the once great American landscape and they will find gigantic concrete sports stadiums, with all sorts of luxury boxes. And then they'll find churches made out of plywood and press board and siding. And homes made out the same thing. And they will ask---- why did they spend more money on entertainment than on food, clothing shelter, and God combined? And in the end----- who won???"
Read the entire article Here
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
"If the evangelical church at large was ever too confrontational in its evangelism, those days are gone. In our shrinking, pluralistic world, the belief that Jesus is the only way of salvation is increasingly called arrogant and even hateful. In the face of this criticism, many shrink back from affirming the global necessity of knowing and believing in Jesus.
In Jesus: The Only Way to God, John Piper offers a timely plea for the evangelical church to consider what is at stake in surrendering the unique, universal place of Jesus in salvation."
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you:
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me…
Restore me to liberty,
And enable me so to live now
That I may answer before you and before me.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.
Monday, March 08, 2010
To ignore someone’s pain is to add to that pain. Instead of fearing we’ll say the wrong thing, we should reach out to hurting people. Many times it’s better just to put our arms around someone and cry with them; people almost always appreciate it when you acknowledge their loss. Yet so long as your heart is right, saying something is nearly always better than saying nothing."
Read the entire article by Randy Alcorn at Eternal Perspectives
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Whatever may be said about the doctrine of election, it is written in the Word of God as with an iron pen, and there is no getting rid of it. To me, it is one of the sweetest and most blessed truths in the whole of revelation, and those who are afraid of it are so because they do not understand it. If they could but know that the Lord had chosen them, it would make their hearts dance for joy.
Bono, in U2 by U2 (London, 2006), page 300.
HT Christ Is Deeper Still
Saturday, March 06, 2010
HT Soli Deo Gloria
Friday, March 05, 2010
Beware of the pleasant view of the Fatherhood of God - God is so kind and loving that of course He will forgive us. That sentiment has no place whatever in the New Testament. The only ground on which God can forgive us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ; to put forgiveness on any other ground is unconscious blasphemy. The only ground on which God can forgive sin and reinstate us in His favour is through the Cross of Christ, and in no other way. Forgiveness, which is so easy for us to accept, cost the agony of Calvary. It is possible to take the forgiveness of sin, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and our sanctification with the simplicity of faith, and to forget at what enormous cost to God it was all made ours.
Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace; it cost God the Cross of Jesus Christ before He could forgive sin and remain a holy God. Never accept a view of the Fatherhood of God if it blots out the Atonement. The revelation of God is that He cannot forgive; He would contradict His nature if He did. The only way we can be forgiven is by being brought back to God by the Atonement. God's forgiveness is only natural in the supernatural domain.
Compared with the miracle of the forgiveness of sin, the experience of sanctification is slight. Sanctification is simply the marvellous expression of the forgiveness of sins in a human life, but the thing that awakens the deepest well of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven sin. Paul never got away from this. When once you realize all that it cost God to forgive you, you will be held as in a vice, constrained by the love of God.
“The cross is not simply a lovely example of sacrificial love. Throwing your life away needlessly is not admirable — it is wrong. Jesus’ death was only a good example if it was more than an example, if it was something absolutely necessary to rescue us. And it was. Why did Jesus have to die in order to forgive us? There was a debt to be paid — God himself paid it. There was a penalty to be born — God himself bore it. Forgiveness is always a form of costly suffering.”The Reason For God Timothy Keller p.193
Thursday, March 04, 2010
Growing up in a Christian home, we would always practice the formality of going to church on Sundays. As a large family with many extended members, we all had the ability to transform ourselves into the best and most cheerful Christians we could be on Sunday mornings. For those two hours a week that we spent in that red brick Baptist Church, we were Christians par excellence. We knew the hymns, we knew the prayers, we knew that the sacraments were certainly not sacraments, but simply ordinances. Salvation was so easy a "child could do it", and we all prayed "the prayer" for salvation as young children. With decisions made and eternity secured, we would shake hands and smile to the people we knew, then we would go out from the Sunday morning church service and live our lives during the week like Jesus was just another option to our busy daily routines.
That was many years ago. Today, we are all grown up and have families of our own. Yet we continue the tradition of claiming the name of Christ, but living our lives as if we don't really need Him. Spurgeon once said it like this:
"Ordinary religion is nature gilded over with a thin layer of what is thought to be grace. Sinners have polished themselves up, and brushed off the worst of the rust and the filth, and they think their old nature is as good as new. This touching-up and repairing of the old man is all very well; but it falls short of what is needed. You may wash the face and hands of Ishmael as much as you please, but you cannot make him into Isaac. You may improve nature, and the more you do so the better for certain temporary purposes; but you cannot raise it into grace. There is a distinction at the very fountain-head between the stream which rises in the bog of fallen humanity, and the river which precedes from the throne of God."
Yet our "inner experiences" and "feelings" still seem to be our final authority. Scripture and the Creeds & Confessions of church history (although not equal in authority) continue to play very little, or even no role at all in our lives. We have our own personal Jesus, made in our image, who stands ready to bless us whenever we decide that He is needed. Jesus typically isn't brought into the conversation until we need that new car, or some other form of help or blessing. We are in a spiritual battle that is played out before us each and every day (Eph. 6:8-10). Yet we seem to be so unaware that we are held captive by the flesh and the many amusements this world has to offer. We need the Christ of Scripture to radically transform our hearts and our lives and to wake us up from our self reliance and complacency. We need a full recovery of the Gospel in all its power that actually makes a difference in our lives.
Let's not deceive ourselves: Our lives will reveal what we treasure most (Matthew 6:19-21).
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Why does today's Christian find the reading of great books always beyond him? Certainly intellectual powers do not wane from one generation to another. We are as smart as our fathers, and any thought they could entertain we can entertain if we are sufficiently interested to make the effort. The major cause of the decline in the quality of current Christian literature is not intellectual but spiritual. To enjoy a great religious book requires a degree of consecration to God and detachment from the world that few modern Christians have. The early Christian Fathers, the Mystics, the Puritans, are not hard to understand, but they inhabit the highlands where the air is crisp and rarefied, and none but the God-enamored can come.
Russell Moore on Misguided Christian Outrage
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Don't Waste Your Life: John Piper, p 120