Monday, December 28, 2009

Uninspired Musings on Mark

In Mark 1:16-20 & 2:14 Jesus calls Simon, Andrew, James, John and Levi (Matthew), and they immediately follow Him. Did you get that? They immediately follow him! Good golly, but that just blows my mind! Did they know He was coming? Had they heard Him preaching previously, gone home, weighed the facts and come to a reasonable conclusion? "Today, when Jesus comes walking by as I'm fishing, I'll be leaving with Him." Did they go home first to make sure the gas was turned off? No, they just followed Him.
I go to church expecting, and even looking forward to, a sermon which convicts, encourages and admonishes me. I read the Bible looking for the Lord to instruct my mind and heart. I live my life seeking to follow Jesus, but I have never followed the way the disciples did. I have never been asked to drop everything and just go. Honestly, at this point I could not. I feel as the man who says "Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief!" I want to believe and follow without hesitation, yet it is difficult!
I think of these men following in such faith, and I am ashamed. But God is kind, and he pours out his blessings on us. The challenge is to become this kind of man, to have that kind of faith! I do not think God is angry at weak faith, but I do think he has anger towards complacency, towards a uncaring or indifferent faith.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Alfred the Great

I would like to highly recommend a book I just finished reading. It's called "The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great" by Benjamin Merkle. The author is a professor at New St. Andrews College in Moscow, ID (www.nsa.edu), and the book is available from Canon Press here www.canonpress.org.
I loved this book. It is exciting, fascinating, inspiring, and even easy to read! Reads like a good adventure story, and yet it's all true.
Mr. Merkle brings to life the kind of man we need much more of today. Alfred (849-899AD) was born into a time that us moderns can not even comprehend. Vikings that were everywhere, brief life expectancies, etc. He was a man who accomplished an extraordinary number of things (you'll just have to read the book to find out!), but also a man who took his Christian faith very seriously. Here's a short section of the book (pg. 180): "Now Alfred saw his kingdom in a similar light. The nominally Christian Anglo-Saxon people whom Alfred ruled inhabited a landscape marked throughout by empty and decaying churches; it was a land formerly given over to the worship of the Christian god. The Angl0-Saxons had become an unfaithful people dwelling on formerly sacred Christian soil. Was it any wonder then that God had raised up the Viking scourge, the "lions of Israel," to strike them and remind them of their duties to God? Alfred concluded that the Vikings were not the cause of England's overthrow. They were the result. The Anglo-Saxons' own lethargic apostasy had been the cause of the fall of the various Anglo-Saxon nations...If Wessex wanted to be successful in her ongoing struggle with the plundering Danes, then the nation must devote itself to a revival of Christian learning and Christian worship."
I absolutely love the kind of man Alfred was, and the kind of man men were expected to be as kings and princes and lords. They were expected to be on the front lines with the men, shoulder to shoulder, putting himself in front and beside his men at all times during war, leading by example, willing to die to lead his men well. We do not have that much today, but it is expressely Biblical, a man willing to put himself to death for the life of others. Alfred did not ask his men to do something he was unwilling himself to do, and this was the way things were done for all Anglo-Saxons leaders during this time. It is very refreshing and convicting to read examples of men whose leadership was truly self-sacrificial, and not just one time, but a way they lived their entire lives, Viking attack after Viking attack, rebuilding a people and kingdom.
Also, there are great lessons to learn from the Anglo-Saxon emphasis, and in how Alfred emphasized this much more, on oath/promise-keeping. For them the keeping of your word was extremely important, their very lives often depending on it. This is very different from today where many of us have comfortable lives, our word is, of course, very important but not often does it carry the weight of life and death, of defending our homes and families.
There is much, much more, so get it and read it!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Heaven Misplaced: Chapter 3 (What Abraham Saw) Questions and Answers

Question 1: When Abraham believed the promise of God, what was the promise that he believed exactly?
Answer 1: That all the heathen would be converted.

Q 2: If Jesus died in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, does this mean that God promises Abraham that Christ would come to die as a sacrifice, in order that the promise to Abraham might be fulfilled? Did Abraham understand this?
A 2: Yes, and yes.

Q 3: Why does Paul argue that going back to the old, pre-Messiah order was an impossibility?
A 3: Because the old order was in bondage, and Christ accomplished freedom from all bondage. Christ is the new witness of Himself in the new order.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dancing With My Wife

Dishwater hands. No makeup. Hair down around her shoulders. Dancing in the kitchen to "Baby, It's Cold Outside". My wifey has never been as beautiful.
I remember a former pastor and professor saying on more than one occasion how the longer one is married, the better it gets. It is true. My wife grows in beauty every day, and is more beautiful than she was on our wedding day. She is amazing, and I am very blessed to be her husband. Happiness, for me, is being married to her and dancing in the kitchen.

Wonderful Words

Rom. 10:9-13 ...if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on whom shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.


1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rambling Thoughts on Loving Jesus

I would like to post a few times on having a love for Jesus. I was thinking that even with all the right theology and doctrine, all is hollow and dusty without a love of and for Jesus. I know this is true for myself...not that I resist this, nor do I even say that I do not love Jesus. Rather, I do love Him, but I feel that I do not love Him as I ought to, not nearly as deeply or fully as I should. A love for Jesus, a true, heartfelt love for Him must be the foundation our faith, but must also be the fingerprints on every nail, 2x4, and window. What else is love but utter thankfulness? A thankfulness for who He is and what He has done, for who He has made us to be in saving us from who we were? I love my wife, my children, and I love Jesus, but I am not always grateful for them, nor even to them. Why? It is easy to forget what we've been given, taking for granted those things closest to us, those things that are the most important. I think this is one of the reasons why we are instructed to love our neighbors, those closest to us being most easily forgotten. Jesus gave Himself for us, but even the Son of God can be forgotten or taken for granted. It is a daily discipline because of sinful nature to master a deep, abiding, all-permeating love for Jesus, and it is this I will keep exploring in other posts.

Wonderful Words

Ps. 103:8-14 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

Ps. 119:11, 30, 32 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that Im ight not sin against thee...I have chosen the way of truth...I will run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.

Men Don't Like Death and Decay

Men do not like death and decay. Who would, right? Particularly in the area of women, our temptations are to dislike the woman who is "not in her prime," preferring to ogle the "pretty young thing." This is false, a blatant lie about how God created mankind. God made men and women to be young, to be older, and then to be old, and all of these times of life come with physical changes. It is a denial of the created order to desire women to remain frozen in a certain time of their life. I think it is fundamentally a denial of the resurrection, meaning God established new life, the true life, life renewed and completed to come about after death. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried and then resurrected to new life.
When men lust after women who are designed and scripted not to change by a sinful world (or compare and criticize women who do change), they are denying the very essence of what it means to be human, to be made in the image of God. First God made us in his image, and as if that were not enough of a blessing, he continues on to transform us into his sons in his Son. Husbands are Sons of God fundamentally and foundationally, and Scripture teaches that we are to love our wives as Christ loved the Church. Christ did not come to love His bride in one time of her life, as if one time were better than another, but to love her eternally, completely and fully.
We die in Christ's death, and are brought to life in His life. To love a wife as Christ loved the church is often viewed by men as a burden, as something that "just has to be done." Not that Christian men reject this...it's Biblical after all. Rather, while men easily accept Christian terms and definitions, readily agreeing to the principle of the thing, it seems to be another thing entirely to be saddled with the actual reality and responsibility of doing what Christ did (and, let us be honest, of doing a very minuscule version of what He did for us).
Christ loved the church, and thus did what He did. Christ continues to love His church, and thus delights in us regardless of what part of the body we are located in. His love is a love that delights in the perfect skin of the newborn, and the marred skin of the burn-victim. His love is with us when our bodies are decaying and dying. How could a husband's love be any less? We as husbands have been given a wife! God gives us a wonderful gift, commands us regarding the proper way to treat her, and then promises throughout Scripture that he will always be with us, helping us to do complete our charge. How much greater could this be?!
Husbands are to delight, and I mean truly delight, in wrinkles, stretch-marks, extra weight and even changing emotions. This is our "church". This is our body. This is our delight.

Heaven Misplaced: Chapter 2 (Heaven Misplaced) Questions and Answers

Question 1. When Jesus rose from the dead in the middle of human history, was this simply a very odd event, or did it have ramifications for history itself?
Answer 1. "The resurrection was the central event of all history, but we have to take this as the central even for all history. It defines history; it establishes the trajectory of the remaining story...the defining event of the new creation, the new heavens and the new earth.. It is harbinger of all things made new." (pg.21)

Q 2. When Jesus ascended into heaven and approached the Ancient of Days, what was given to Him?
A 2. Universal authority over all the nations of men.

Q 3. When Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, in what three senses has this created a longing, a "groaning," for the day of resurrection?
A 3. "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits fo the Spirit, even we ourselves graoan within ourselves, wiating for the adiption, [to wit], the redemption of our body...Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." Rom. 8:22-23, 26.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Heaven Misplaced (Douglas Wilson): Chapter 1 (On the Mountain of the Lord) Questions and Answers

I am reading through Douglas Wilson's book Heaven Misplaced and at the end of each of the chapters he has a few questions for discussion which I will be attempting to provide answers to here. My answers will be paraphrases and/or quotes from the chapters themselves, and I will provide page numbers as needed or thought helpful.

Cheers!

Question 1. Once the Messiah comes, what will His government and peace do? What are the implications of this?
Answer 1. His government and peace has been unceasing since His birth, the government being on His shoulder. "The Lord reigns from heaven, exercising all rule an dominion. From that place He will destroy every enemy, and every thought that sets itself up against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:1-5)." (pgs. 14, 15, 17)

Q 2. When did the apostle Paul locate the beginning of the fulfillment of Isaiah's great prophecy?
A 2. Jesus' life.

Q 3. When the root of Jesse is established as a standard, what will all the Gentile nations do?
A 3. They will stream to Him, putting their trust in Him, becoming people of God, taken to the Lord's holy mountain, God will give His people a feast culminating in the destruction of death. (pgs. 16, 17)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Here We Go

I'm sorry to add yet another blog to the mix...it's really only intended for myself, to think and write about being a better husband and father. If you find yourself reading this, it's not too late to turn back! Otherwise, blessings!