Archive for August, 2007

“Reader, if thou art, as many in this pretending age, a sign or title-gazer, and comest into books as Cato into the theatre, to go out again, thou has had thy entertainment; Farewell.”

– John Owen in his introduction to his book Death of Death in the Death of Christ

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“That persons need not and ought not to set any bounds to their spiritual and gracious appetites.” Rather “they ought to be endeavoring by all possible ways to inflame their desires and to obtain more spiritual pleasures …. Our hungerings and thirsting after God and Jesus Christ and after holiness can’t be too great for the value of these things, for they are things of infinite value …. [Therefore] endeavor to promote spiritual appetites by laying yourself in the way of allurement”

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one God and two worlds

A story is told about Rabbi Joseph Schneerson, a Hasidic leader during the early days of Russian Communism. The rabbi spent much time in jail, persecuted for his faith.

One morning in 1927, as he prayed in a Leningrad synagogue, secret police rushed in and arrested him. They took him to a police station and worked him over, demanding that he give up his religious activities. He refused. The interrogator brandished a gun in his face and said, “This little toy has made many a man change his mind.”

Rabbi Schneerson answered, “This little toy can intimidate only that kind of man who has many gods and but one world. Because I have only one God and two worlds, I am not impressed by this little toy.”

Philip Yancey, in The NIV Student Bible (Zondervan, 1996)

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People lift their hand to rebel against the Most High only to find that their rebellion is unwitting service in the wonderful designs of God.

– John Piper

Click on the verses below

Psalm 115:3

Psalm 135:5-7

Proverbs 16:33

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The joy of the Lord will arm us against the assaults of our spiritual enemies and put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks.

(Matthew Henry –Nehemiah 8:9-12 c.f. Psalm 135:1-4; Psalm 97:8-12; Mark 14:12-31)

John Piper responds by saying, “I know of no other way to triumph over sin long term, than to gain a distaste for it because of a superior satisfaction in God.”

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Source: Seven Treatises by Richard Rogers (1550-1618)

1. Whether I continually keep a narrow watch over my heart, words and deeds.

2. Whether I am careful to redeem the time now, and to make sure time in the future is not idly, carelessly or unprofitably spent.

3. Whether I attend to private prayer and meditation at least once each day.

4. Whether I have been careful to do good and receive good from others with whom I spend time.

5. Whether my family is instructed, watched over and governed with diligence.

6. Whether I have given more time and care to earthly pleasures and worldly profits than necessary.

7. Whether I have stirred myself and others up, to love God’s people, and especially to suffer for doing good.

8. Whether I have given too much freedom to wandering thoughts and carnal emotions.

9. Whether I have prepared myself to bear the cross, no matter when or where it might please God to exercise me.

10. Whether I have carved out any time, not only to mourn for my own sins, but also for the sins of my time and the age in which I live.

11. Whether I have looked daily with longing for the coming of my Lord Jesus Christ, for my full deliverance out of this world of sin and misery.

12. Whether I have sought out (as my need requires) the acquaintance of some honest, godly and faithful person, with whom I may converse and open my heart, for the quickening of God’s grace in me.

13. Whether I have observed the vanity of all earthly things, in order to condemn them and long after heaven; and whether I have noted the mortality and deaths of other people, and thought often and earnestly of my own passing.

14. Whether I have read daily (when I could with convenience) out of Scripture, for the further increase of my knowledge and conscience.

15. Whether I have renewed my covenant with God to strive against sin, especially against those sins and corruptions of my own heart and life, by which I have dishonored the Lord most.

16. Whether I take note of how sin dies and is weakened in me, and keep myself from returning to my old sins, wisely avoiding all occasions that might lead me to them.

17. Whether I have not lost my first love and liking of God’s word, and all the holy exercises of religion (e.g., prayer, reading, meditation, fellowship, etc.).

18. Whether I have been occupied often in reflecting on God’s benefits and works, in order to sound forth his praises for them.

19. Whether I have fought to cherish my faith, by taking comfort and delight in the great benefit of my redemption by Jesus Christ.

20. Whether I have not made spiritual exercises (see 17. above) and practices of repentance matters of course and custom, rather than matters of conscience.

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Chinese characters

The Chinese word ‘good’ is made up of the characters for ‘woman’ + ‘child’. Good is a mother with a child.

The ultimate conception of good though is God with his people.

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Masters of families, who preside in the other affairs of the house, must go before their households in the things of God. They must be as prophets, priests, and kings in their own families; and as such they must keep up family doctrine, family-worship, and family discipline: then is there a church in the house, and this is the family religion I am persuading you to.

Keep up family doctrine. It is not enough that you and yours are baptized into the Christian faith, and profess to own the truth as it is in Jesus, but care must be taken, and means used that you and yours be well acquainted with that truth, and that you grow in the acquaintance, to the honour of Christ and his holy religion, and the improvement of your own minds, and theirs that are under your charge. You must deal with your families as men of knowledge, 1 Pet. 3:7, that is, as men that desire to grow in knowledge yourselves, and to communicate your knowledge for the benefit of others, which are the two good properties of those that deserve to be called men of knowledge.

That you may keep up family-doctrine, you must read the scriptures to your families, in a solemn manner, requiring their attendance on your reading, and their attention to it: and inquiring sometimes whether they understand what you read. I hope that there are none of you without Bibles in your houses… But what will it avail you to have Bibles in your houses, if you do not use them? to have the great things of God’s law and gospel written to you, if you count them a strange thing? You look daily into your shop-books, and perhaps converse much with the news-books, and shall your Bibles be thrown by as an almanac out of date? You have great encouragements to read the scripture; for notwithstanding the malicious endeavors of atheists to vilify the sacred things, the knowledge of the scriptures is still in reputation with all wise and good men. You have a variety of excellent helps to understand the scripture, and to improve your reading of it; so that if you or yours perish for lack of this knowledge, as you certainly will if you persist in the neglect of it, you may thank yourselves, the guilt will lie entirely at your own doors.

Let me therefore with all earnestness press it upon you to make the solemn reading of the scripture a part of your daily worship in your families. When you speak to God by prayer, be willing to hear him speak to you in his word, that there may be a complete communion between you and God. This will add much to the solemnity of your family-worship, and will make the transaction the more awful and serious, if it be done in a right manner; which will conduce much to the honour of God and your own and your families’ edification. It will help to make the word of God familiar to yourselves, and your children and servants, that you may be ready and mighty in the scriptures, and may from thence be thoroughly furnished for every good word and work. It will likewise furnish you with matter and words for prayer, and so be helpful to you in other parts of the service.

If some parts of scripture seem less edifying, let those be most frequently read that are most so. When you only hear your children read the Bible, they are tempted to look upon it as not more but a school book; but when they hear you read it to them in a solemn, religious manner, it comes as it ought, with more authority.

Those masters of families who make conscience of doing this daily, morning and evening, reckoning it part of that which the duty of every day requires, I am sure they have comfort and satisfaction in so doing, and find it contributes much to their own improvement in Christian knowledge, and the edification of those that dwell under their shadow.

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Isaiah 64:6

All of us have become like one who is unclean,

and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; [menstrual cloths]

we all shrivel up like a leaf,

and like the wind our sins sweep us away

Isaiah 64

“The expression, ‘filthy rags,’ in the Hebrew, is one which we could not with propriety explain in the present assembly. As the confession must be made privately and alone before God, so the full meaning of the comparison is not meant for human ear.” (Spurgeon)

Our righteous acts “are not the sign of new life coming, but of the lack of conception.” (Oswalt)

Filthy rags is ‘a garment of menstruation’; bodily discharges were considered a defilement because they were the ‘outflow’ of a sinful, fallen human nature. So, even what we might consider to be in our favour, righteous acts, partake of the defilement of fallenness.” (Motyer)

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I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”


Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim,
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.


And now complete in Him
My robe His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.


Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.


When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
Shall rend the vaulted skies.


And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down
All down at Jesus’ feet.


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