Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hymn of the Week -- For All the Saints

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

T4G-The Book's Back Cover

Those of us who had the privilege of attending this year’s Together For the Gospel conference in Louisville were given 20 books that we are encouraged to read over the coming months. I thought I would let you know the titles and authors of those books along with the quote from the back cover. These postings are in no particular order.

The Book: The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul

Are you intrigued by God's holiness, or are you terrified?

"Every Christian who is serious about his or her growth needs to read The Holiness of God. I profited greatly from this book." -- Jerry Bridges

"It may be a bit early to call R.C. Sproul's The Holiness of God one of the classic theological works of our time. But if it does not have that status yet, it is well on the way to achieving it." -- James Montgomery Boice

Dr. R. C. Sproul, theologian, pastor, and teacher, is the founder of Ligonier Ministries, an international teaching ministry based in Orlando, Florida. He is the author of more than sixty books, and the executive editor of Tabletalk magazine. He can be heard daily on the radio broadcast Renewing Your Mind. He is also the senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew's Chapel in the Orlando area.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Memorization Monday - Challenge - Be Strong in Temptation

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Reading -- Commanded and Expected by God

Reading is commanded, encouraged and expected by God. As an example, we can consider the kings of Israel. According to Deuteronomy 17:18 and following, the king was to write out a copy of the law for himself and then he was to keep it with him always and read it every day. The purpose of this expectation was so that he would learn “to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.”

Also in the book of Deuteronomy we find that every seven years there was to be a public meeting where all of the men, women, children and strangers were to be in attendance. At this meeting, the book of the law would be read to the people so that they may hear, learn and do what was written in it.

In Nehemiah 8, we read of Ezra calling the people together for one of these meetings. As they stood there, he read to them distinctly the words of the law. As the passages were read, they were explained to the people so that they would understand the reading that was taking place. In verse 3 we find that they read from morning until midday. Nehemiah 9:3 says that they did this for one-fourth of the day on the following day.

Can you imagine people in our culture being able to pay attention for several hours as a book was read to them while they were standing? We have moved a long way from that kind of culture and yet God has chosen to speak to His people through the word. He doesn’t use videos and five-minute nuggets. What this says to me is that we need to work diligently to preserve and increase our ability to attend to the written word. We need to make sure that our children are able to do the same. If they are not able to read or listen to the Word of God, then they will not hear from God and be saved. This is not an issue of minor importance. Take up the challenge and cut down on the amount of input you have in your life from TV, cell phones, and the like and set aside some time for just you and God and His Word and see what positive changes will result in your life.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Importance of Reading in the Christian Faith

I'm reposting this article because part two will be published tomorrow.

All of us have heard of ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder. We can argue about whether it is a real condition or not, but there is no question that more and more people are unable to focus or pay attention for long periods of time.

Reading and meditation are two skills that require the ability to “attend” to the task at hand for extended time periods. These are skills and practices that God requires of us as Christians.

We as men, since God has called us to lead, must be sure we are able to attend to these things and then in our position of leadership in our homes we need to be prepared to set a tone that will help our children avoid the pitfalls of attention deficit.

1. The Word and reading are central to the Christian faith.

God has chosen to act through words. According to Genesis 1:3, God used words to create the world. Even though He used words, the world became a real place that human beings can see, study and investigate. In Mark 4:39, Jesus spoke and the sea became calm. The natural world responded to the words of God.

The Apostle John calls Jesus the “word”. He says that the word became flesh and lived among us. The author of the book of Hebrews elaborates on this by saying that God has spoken in many ways throughout history but in these latter days He has spoken in His son. In other words Jesus Christ is the language or word that God used to communicate with mankind.

From these examples we can see how important word is to God and His way of doing things.

In addition, God has given us His Word in written form. The Bible says that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God. (2 Timothy 3:16) The Greek word for “scripture” in this verse is “graphe” meaning “writing”. In another passage, Peter writes that holy men spoke as they were moved along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21). Even the Psalmist said, “The Lord gave the word and great was the company of those that published it.” (Psalm 68:11) The Bible says that the Word of God is living and powerful being able to pierce down into our souls and help us discern between the thoughts and intents of our hearts. (Hebrews 4:12)

The Christian life is one based on the written and spoken word. In a day and age when the written word is being down-played in preference to visual presentations, it is important for Christians to make every effort to strengthen our ability read and attend to the written and spoken word and to help our children develop those skills as well.

Next time we will look at several passages of Scripture that show us that reading is commanded, encouraged and expected.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

T4G-The Book's Back Cover

Those of us who had the privilege of attending this year’s Together For the Gospel conference in Louisville were given 20 books that we are encouraged to read over the coming months. I thought I would let you know the titles and authors of those books along with the quote from the back cover. These postings are in no particular order.

Book: What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert

"Provides a biblically faithful explanation of the gospel and equips Christians to discern deviations from that glorious message. How I wish I could place this book in the hands of every pastor and church member. ~C. J. Mahaney

"This little book on the gospel is one of the clearest and most important books I've read in recent years." ~Mark Dever

"This book will help you better understand, treasure, and share the gospel of Jesus Christ." ~Joshua Harris

"Greg Gilbert shows just how important it is to understand both the theological nature and the functional necessity of the gospel. ~Tullian Tchividjian

Monday, May 10, 2010

Memorization Monday - Challenge - Separate from the World

1 John 2:15, 16
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Hymn of the Week - O Great God

O Great God by Bob Kauflin

O great God of highest heaven
Occupy my lowly heart
Own it all and reign supreme
Conquer every rebel power
Let no vice or sin remain
That resists Your holy war
You have loved and purchased me
Make me Yours forevermore

I was blinded by my sin
Had no ears to hear Your voice
Did not know Your love within
Had no taste for heaven’s joys
Then Your Spirit gave me life
Opened up Your Word to me
Through the gospel of Your Son
Gave me endless hope and peace

Help me now to live a life
That’s dependent on Your grace
Keep my heart and guard my soul
From the evils that I face
You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed
O great God of highest heaven
Glorify Your Name through me

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Another Puritan Prayer

O source of all good,

What shall I render to thee for the gift of gifts, thine own dear Son, begotten, not created, my redeemer, proxy, surety, substitute, his self-emptying incomprehensible, his infinity of love beyond the heart’s grasp.

Herein is wonder of wonders: he came below to raise me above, was born like me that I might become like him.

Herein is love; when I cannot rise to him he draws near on wings of grace, to raise me to himself.

Herein is power: when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart he united them in indissoluble unity, the uncreated and the created.

Herein is wisdom; when I was undone, with no will to return to him, and no intellect to devise recovery, he came, God-incarnate, to save me to the uttermost, as man to die my death, to shed satisfying blood on my behalf, to work out a perfect righteousness for me.

O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds, and enlarge my mind; let me hear good tidings of great joy, and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore, my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose, my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father; place me with ox, ass, camel, goat, to look with them upon my redeemer’s face, and in him account myself delivered from sin; let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child to my heart, embrace him with undying faith, exulting that he is mine and I am his. In him thou hast given me so much that heaven can give no more.

From The Valley of Vision; The Banner of Truth Trust; 1975; 2007 reprint; page 16

Monday, May 03, 2010

Memorization Monday - Challenge - Separate from the World

Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Hymn of the Week - I Hear the Words of Love

"I Hear the Words of Love" by Horatius Bonar

I hear the words of love,
I gaze upon the blood,
I see the mighty sacrifice,
And I have peace with God.

’Tis everlasting peace,
Sure as Jehovah’s Name;
’Tis stable as His steadfast throne,
For evermore the same.

The clouds may go and come,
And storms may sweep my sky;
This blood-sealed friendship changes not,
The cross is ever nigh.

I change—He changes not;
The Christ can never die;
His love, not mine, the resting-place;
His truth, not mine, the tie.

My love is oftimes low,
My joy still ebbs and flows;
But peace with Him remains the same,
No change Jehovah knows.