Archive for May 3rd, 2010

Godly sorrow is a gift from God. No hand but a divine hand can make the heart soft and tender under the sight and sense of sin.

Source: Thomas Brooks

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I do not say for a moment that holiness shuts out the presence of indwelling sin… But it is the excellence of a holy man that he is not a peace with indwelling sin, as others are. He hates it, mourns over it, and longs to be free from its company.

source: J.C. Ryle

In December of 1662, as he lay dying, Scottish Puritan David Dickson said: “

I have taken all my good deeds and all my bad deeds, and cast them through each other in a heap before the Lord, and fled from both, and betaken myself to the Lord Jesus Christ, and in him I have sweet peace!”

source: unknown

To cut off the sinner from all reliance upon himself, his merits and his powers; and throw him, naked and helpless, into the hands of the Holy Spirit to lead him to Christ in faith; should be the one great aim of the ministry.”

source: Ichabod S. Spencer

Providence has a voice, if we had an ear. Mercies should draw, afflictions drive. Now when neither fair means nor foul do us good, but we are impenitent under both; this is to wrestle against God with both hands.

source: William Gurnall

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This morning we were watching a children’s TV show about the five senses. In the context of touch they mentioned how our skin feels pleasure and also pain. Pain was introduced as a good thing because the sensation of pain prevents serious injury or even loss of life. (They illustrated by discussing what would happen if you didn’t know the hot water pouring on your hands was hot).

‘Coincidently’ last night when reading the Jesus Storybook Bible to the children we read of Naaman "who had leprosy , which is a nasty thing that stops you from feeling anything. Bits of you fall off without you noticing, like bashed fingers and squished toes."

So between last night and this morning I was providentially reminded once again that pain is not to be seen solely as a bad thing but rather something God uses to save our lives or express his love (as the writer of Hebrews says pain may be discipline and evidence that God loves us as sons and daughters).

This afternoon we watched Little House on the Prairie. Mary and Adam are blind and lost in the wilderness. A fire starts very close to where Mary is injured. Mary screams and her life in endangered. Tragedy seems a certainty. But it is the smoke from the fire that enables her father Charles to find her and save the day. What appears bad is not necessarily so in God’s wise, gracious and good providence.

Yesterday I was thinking about how I expect God to act in a certain way. Tonight we were again reading the Jesus Storybook Bible. It was the story of Ezra and Nehemiah and how as Ezra read from the law the people wept over their sin.

"We’ve blown it," they cried. "Now God will punish us!"
They thought they knew what God was going to do.
But they didn’t.

Last night at church the Bible talk was on how theology ought to move us to doxology. I hope this is where I am headed.

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This analogy is set in an ancient Middle Eastern context of shepherding and does not reflect contemporary shepherding practices. I cannot provide any evidence of this being an actual historical shepherding practice. However as an illustration of how a loving sovereign God may choose to ordain suffering into the lives of his people I think it is helpful. Perhaps it offers one reason why one may rejoice in suffering.

A sheep who will not follow the shepherd’s voice is in grave danger. Wandering will lead to death whether from predators, stumbling over a cliff or exposure to the elements.

A shepherd who is gracious might break a sheep’s leg to save the sheep’s life.

The shepherd will then bind up the broken leg, carry the sheep upon his shoulders and hand feed the sheep. In this way the sheep learns dependence and trust in the shepherd and learns to respond to his voice.

Some might regard the shepherd’s actions in bringing suffering into the sheep’s life as cruel. But the shepherd’s action in facts saves the sheep.

The reality is that the shepherd is good. The shepherd brings suffering into the sheep’s life in order to preserve the sheep’s life.

This is the same shepherd who gives his life for the sheep.

A supporting verse for this concept would be Isaiah 19:22

And the Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them.

cross references: Psa 51:8;Deu 32:39; Job 5:18; Hos 6:1-2; Heb 12:11

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"Faith does not proceed from ourselves, but is the fruit of spiritual regeneration."

source: John Calvin

Did the world come into existence apart from the work of the Holy Spirit? If His work was essential in the creation of the world, what good reason do we have to believe that His work is not needed in the recreation of sinners?

"Though it be said that faith cometh by hearing, yet it is the Spirit that worketh faith in the heart through hearing, or else they are not profited by hearing."

source: John Bunyan


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"Christ’s resurrection is the ground-work of our hope. And the new birth is our title or evidence of our interest in it."

source: John Flavel

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I thought this was very good …

The Scriptures speak of eternal life in the metaphor of a river that causes the waters to teem with life, with many kind of fish, and vegetation thriving on the banks (Ezek. 47:9-12).

This is why one aspect of Jesus’ kingship is to make the waters teem with fish, right in the presence of his commercial fishermen disciples (John 21:3-8).

And this is why the Scriptures consider it an apocalypse when the waters are poisoned, and the sea-life is gone (Rev. 8:8-9).


Source: http://www.russellmoore.com/2010/05/01/the-gulf-of-mexico-and-the-care-of-creation/

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(Mar 1:4-8) Prophet like Elijah. John proclaiming & baptizing. People confessing sin. One coming who will baptize with Holy Spirit.

(Mar 1:9-11) Jesus baptized. Heaven torn open, Spirit descend as a dove, voice from heaven, my Son Psa 2:7 in whom well pleased Isa 42:1.

(Mar 1:12-13) Driven into wilderness by Spirit, tempted forty days, with wild animals, angels ministering to him.

(Mar 1:16-20) Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. They left everything and followed him.

(Mar 1:21-28) Capernaum, Sabbath, authoritive teaching, unclean spirit, You are the Holy One of God, spirit rebuked and driven out.

(Mar 1:40-2:12) Unclean leper, Jesus moved with pity touches & makes clean. Lame man’s sins forgiven and raised. People glorify God.

(Mar 2:22) The new wine of the gospel needs new wine skins of understanding. It cannot be contained within the old ways of the Pharisees.

(Mar 3:7-8) Crowds from Galilee, Judea, Idumea, beyond Jordan and Tyre & Sidon come to Jesus i.e. the geography of all the OT promised land.

(Mar 3:23-27) First time Jesus speaks a parable is in response to unbelief. Jesus is binding the strong man & plundering his possessions.

(Mar 4:11-12,33-34) To some kingdom secrets given, to others parables so not see, hear, understand. Jesus explains to disciples in private.

(Mar 4:35-41) A number of boats. Jesus rebukes wind & sea. Wind ceased, sea grew calm. Disciples filled with fear. Who is this man?

(Mar 5:1-20) Gentile land, tombs, unclean spirit, chains, nakedness, self-affliction, pigs, a legion i.e demonic army, defeated with a word.

(Mar 5:21-43) Woman with a flow of blood is healed by touching Jesus’ garments. Usually touch transmitted uncleanness but here makes clean.

(Mar 6:1-6) Sabbath, teaching, wisdom, mighty deeds, a prophet. People are amazed at his teaching and Jesus is amazed by their unbelief.

(Mar 6:34) Jesus feels compassion for the great crowd because they are as sheep without a shepherd so he teaches them. C.f. Zec 10:2

(Mar 6:46-52) Jesus prays alone on mountain, walks on water to pass by them, wind ceases. C.f. Job 9:8 as the LORD does in Old Testament.

(Mar 6:56) They laid the sick in marketplaces & implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. All who touched made well

(Mar 7:20-22) What comes out of a person’s heart is that makes them unclean e.g. adultery, coveting, deceit, sensuality, pride, foolishness.

(Mar 7:24-37) Jesus in Gentile lands heals the Syro-Phoenecian’s daughter and makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.

(Mar 8:1-10) Still in Gentile territory, Jesus has compassion on a crowd, takes bread, gives thanks, breaks it and gives it to the people.

(Mar 8:22-26) Jesus heals a blind man in two stages to illustrate how he some receive light & revelation in stages e.g. Peter.

(Mar 8:27-33) Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ but rejects Jesus words about Son of Man suffering, rejected, killed & raised on third day

(Mar 8:34) If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. The world no gain if soul is lost.

(Mar 9:2-13) Jesus transfigured, face like the sun, clothes white as light, Shekinah glory, voice from heaven, my son, pleased, listen.

(Mar 9:42-48) Woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! Cut off hand or foot or be cut off into hell. Pluck out eye.

(Mar 10:6-9) A man leaves, holds fast to his wife, become one flesh. What God has joined man must not separate.

(Mar 10:13-16) The kingdom must be received in dependence like a little children.

(Mar 10:25-27) Rich young man. With man salvation is impossible but with God all things are possible.

(Mar 10:32-34) Going up to Jerusalem. Son of Man handed over to the Gentiles to be mocked, flogged and crucified. Raised on third day.

(Mar 10:38-39) Jesus to drink the cup of suffering and be baptized in suffering. Disciples will also do so.

(Mar 10:43-45) Be servants even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

(Mar 10:46-52) A blind man calls "Have mercy on me, Son of David!" Jesus has compassion and gives him sight. Man follows Jesus on the way.

(Mar 11:2) Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a colt of a donkey which has NEVER been ridden but he is the Lord of peace. Fulfills Zec 9:9

(Mar 11:8-10) Hosanna. Blessed is he who comes in ame of the LORD. Blessed is coming kingdom of David! Hosanna in the highest! Psa 118:26

(Mar 11:12-20) Temple with cursed fig tree story on either side i.e a theological sandwich. Picture of Israel’s judgment in rejecting Jesus.

(Mar 12:10) Psa 118 was quoted by crowd in praise when Jesus entered Jerusalem. Now Jesus quotes Psa 118:22-23 to describe his rejection.

(Mar 12:25) Marriage belongs to this age only – not the age to come. Age to come characterized by eternal life.

(Mar 12:32-34) Scribe says that to love God is more important than burnt offerings and sacrifices. Jesus says he is near to the kingdom.

(Mar 12:36) Jesus says David was inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak of Jesus in Psa 110 as being David’s Lord.

(Mar 13:6-13) Wars, earthquakes & famines are not the end but rather beginnings of the birth pains. Persecution and gospel to all nations.

(Mar 13:20) If the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of God’s chosen he shortened the days.

(Mar 13:24-27) After that tribulation of those days, sun is darkened, stars fall, son of man comes in clouds, elect are gathered in heavens.

(Mar 13:30) Jesus’ generation will not die until they see the birth pains wars, earthquakes, famines, persecutions, gospel spreading, 70 A.D

(Mar 13:32-37) BUT concerning that day or that hour no one knows therefore stay awake.

(Mar 14:3-9) A woman who loved Jesus anointed Jesus’ body for burial. Wherever gospel is proclaimed in the world her deed will be spoken of.

(Mar 14:22) Took bread, blessed, broke, gave, bread is his body. This cup is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.

(Mar 14:25-27) Jesus will next drink wine when kingdom comes. Sang a hymn & went to Olives. Sheep will be scattered Zec 13:7

(Mar 14:28) Jesus says, "After I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee."

(Mar 14:32-41) Gethsemane. Jesus was greatly distressed, soul sorrowful even to death. Fell to ground, remove cup, not my will but yours.

(Mar 14:51-52) Young man who had followed ran away naked. Probably Mark indicating he was an eye witness.

(Mar 14:58) We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands & in three days I will build another not made with hands.’

(Mar 14:62) Jesus said, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven."

(Mar 15:16-20) Crown of thorns, struck on head with a reed, spat on, knelt before mockingly.

(Mar 15:21) Compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander & Rufus, to carry his cross.

(Mar 15:22-32) Golgotha. Rejected wine mixed with myrrh, cast lots for clothing Psa 22:16-18, Isa 53:12, wagging heads Psa 22:7-8

(Mar 15:1,24,27,33) OT signs of God’s judgment. Bound & delivered to the Gentiles, hung on a tree, numbered among transgressors, darkness.

(Mar 15:34,37-38) Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?. A loud cry and breathed his last. Temple curtain torn from top to bottom.

(Mar 15:40) The many women who had followed Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem, ministering to him with provisions, watched his death & burial

(Mar 16:1-4) After the Sabbath the women go to anoint Jesus’ body. See the stone rolled away and are alarmed by a young man in a white robe.

(Mar 16:6-8) He is raised. Tell disciples. He is going ahead of you to Galilee there you will see him as he said. Women fear & say nothing.

(Mar 16:15-16) Proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Believing and baptized will be saved. Non-believing condemned.

(Mar 16:17-19) Signs- cast out demons, tongues, not harmed by serpents or poison, lay hands on sick. Jesus taken up & sat down at right hand

(Mar 16:20) They went out and preached everywhere while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

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