You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2010.
I know that today is not the official day. But since I don’t post on Sundays I am celebrating it early.
I will have to step away from posting these next few days. This is the most demanding week of the semester for me. I need to focus on doing papers and readings above posting. Hope to be back soon!
Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. (Psalm 36:5)
The Lord’s faithfulness to His children extends all the way up to the clouds. The faithfulness of God is extensive beyond our reach. No matter how hard our fallen flesh makes us fall. No matter how many times we do not act like the children of light which we are. We can never get to a point where we are outside the faithfulness of our God! Our faithfulness may to only seem to extend 3 minutes after we get out of bed. But His faithfulness extends beyond our unfaithfulness! It extends beyond the clouds.
He is always with us, being faithful to bring about His promises. The Father promised His Son a bride as a gift (John 6:37). The Son came down to purchase that gift at the expense of His own blood (Acts 20:28). After the Son rose again and ascended to the right hand of God, the Spirit came into each believer’s heart as a seal that salvation is done and as a promise that we will attain the inheritance ( Eph. 1:14). The promise had been made before the foundation of the world and is being worked out in our midst. It is being fulfilled in each believer’s life. And He is faithful to fulfill this promise. He is always modeling us into the image of Christ. He is always working to provide for our true needs. We are always fully encompassed by His faithfulness.
We have no need to pray that He would be more faithful. We will never get to a point where we move beyond His faithfulness. The end of His faithfulness is beyond our attainment. All that is left for us is to grow in the realization of how faithful our Lord is to us. Let us grow in that knowledge!
What comfort, joy, and strength believers receive from the truths of divine providence. Nowhere else are we given such assurance that the One who perfectly knows the past, present, and future, the One whose wisdom can never be challenged or excelled, the One whose power reigns and accomplishes all that he wills, governs all the affairs of creation, fulfilling in all respects what he alone knows is good, wise, and best. What may seem to us as “accidents” are no such things in the universe governed by the providence of the true and living God. Prayers may be directed to this mighty and reigning King knowing that while he tenderly and compassionately hears the cries of his people, he “sits” in the unique position of knowing perfectly what is best and possessing unthwarted power to bring to pass what he wills. the world is not spinning out of control; in fact, not one atom or despot or demon acts in any respect to hinder the fulfillment of what God has eternally ordained. To know this God, and better to be known by him (Gal. 4:9a), is to enter into the security and confidence of a lifetime of trust in his never-failing arms.
~Bruce A. Ware, God’s Greater Glory, p. 15.
“He will tend his flock like a shepherd.” Isaiah 40:11
“Jesus, the good shepherd, will not travel at such a rate as to overdrive the lambs. He has tender consideration for the poor and needy. Kings usually look to the interests of the great and the rich, but in the kingdom of our Great Shepherd he cares most for the poor. . . . The weaklings and the sickly of the flock are the special objects of the Savior’s care. . . . You think, dear heart, that you are forgotten, because of your nothingness and weakness and poverty. This is the very reason you are remembered.”
C. H. Spurgeon, Treasury of the Old Testament (London, n.d.), III:575-576.
HT: Ray Ortlund
- When I am anxious about some risky new venture or meeting, I battle unbelief with the promise: “Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God; I will help you, I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
- When I am anxious about my ministry being useless and empty, I fight unbelief with the promise, “So shall my word that goes forth from my mouth; it will not come back to me empty but accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
- When I am anxious about being too weak to do my work, I battle unbelief with the promise of Christ, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9), and “As your days so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).
- When I am anxious about decisions I have to make about the future, I battle unbelief with the promise, “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).
- When I am anxious about facing opponents, I battle unbelief with the promise, “If God is for us who can be against us!” (Romans 8:31).
- When I am anxious about being sick, I battle unbelief with the promise that “tribulation works patience, and patience approvedness, and approvedness hope, and hope does not make us ashamed” (Romans 5:3–5).
- When I am anxious about getting old, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4).
- When I am anxious about dying, I battle unbelief with the promise that “none of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself; if we live we live to the Lord and if we die we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose again: that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living” (Romans 14:9–11).
- When I am anxious that I may make shipwreck of faith and fall away from God, I battle unbelief with the promise, “He who began a good work in you will complete it unto the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:6). “He who calls you is faithful. He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). “He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
HT: Justin Taylor
Justin Taylor gives a very helpful and simple diagram of the Trinity which he made to help explain the doctrine to his daughter. I found it to be very helpful way of seeing the truth of the trinity. Justin writes,
Now that you know that I’m a non-expert on teaching at this level, here’s at least the essence of what I went on to try to convey, in illustrated form:
One simple way to get at the difference between person and substance/essence/nature is to say that the Trinity is “three who’s” and “one what.”
To help my daughter try to think through the difference between a “who” and a “what,” we thought about some examples:
|Who are you?||Jasper||Michael||Justin|
|What are you?||Dog||Archangel||Human Being|
Applied to God, it looks like this:
|Who are you?||Father||Son||Holy Spirit|
|What are you?||God||God||God|
Beware of mistakes as to the manner of coming to Christ. Dismiss from your mind forever all idea of worthiness, merit, and fitness in yourself. Throw away all notions of goodness, righteousness, and personal deservings. Think not that you can bring anything to recommend you, or to make you deserving of Christ’s notice. You must come to Him as a poor, guilty, undeserving sinner, or you cannot come at all. “But to him who doesn’t work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:5.) It is the peculiar mark of the faith that justifies and saves, that it brings to Christ nothing but an empty hand.
~ J.C. Ryle
HT: J.C. Ryle Qoutes
Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises dead. 2 Corinthians 1:9
The suffering Paul and his companions were experiencing at this time felt like a death sentence. The burden of their suffering had drove them to the point that they had believed the time had come for them to lose their lives. This was suffering near its highest degree. It was painful and hard for Paul and His companions. Despair had gripped their hearts hard and attempted to drag them down.
In the midst of the despair and sorrow that surround Paul and his companions the God of all comfort came to them. The experience does not end in despair. Though, it does not end in immediate physical deliverance either. Comfort comes by the means of truth. There is a truth attained by the experience which Paul explains in the last sentence,
“to make us;” This tremendous burden of suffering had a purpose. There was an aim, a goal that it was set out to accomplish. No suffering is purposeless. This world in not random molecules bouncing around making chain reactions which cause suffering to come upon us. Far be it from that! Instead the very creator and sustainer of ever molecule has a purpose in every affliction in our lives. What is that purpose?
It is theological in giving us a correct vision of God
“to make us rely not on ourselves;” The first aspect of this correction is in making us see that we are not God. We are not lords over our lives. We like to think that we are. We like to think that we are in control of each and every day. But suffering is the clearest demonstration that this is not the case. We are not in control. We do not have any real power over the events that happen among us. Thus, suffering erases the false vision of self-sufficiency. We cannot rely on ourselves.
“but on God;” When suffering removes our reliance from ourselves the only place that is a sufficient rock is none other than God. Suffering brings us to the place where the only stable and sure foundation is the Lord of the universe. This is why God brings suffering, that it might drives us to Him! That all our hope and reliance would be on His love, His faithfulness, His sufficiency. In this we hope the truth that God is for us.
“who raises the dead.” It is not: rarely, maybe, sometimes. Our Lord always moves and works for His children. Our God is one who does mighty deeds and glorious works for His children. He never leaves them behind, but always fulfills the plan which he set out to do for them. Now, His plans are not our plans. Faith is holding on to this truth while waiting for the glorious plan of God to come to fruition. the glorious works of the Lord might be in raising one who was killed for His name sake. Or it could be in raising the dead soul of an unconverted friend to new life in Christ. But whatever the outcome, God will do wondrous deeds for His children.
Suffering is hard and painful, yet by faith we can hold to the truth that the purpose is more glorious than a life of ease. Let suffering drive us to Christ and His love!