Saturday, January 31, 2009

God's Love for Us

God's love for us is not determined by our own actions. He loves us because He chooses to love us. What greater security can there be for us? We are safely protected in the hand of God. And as a reminder of that, I provide the following:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. -Romans 5:6-10

"The apostle's absolute confidence in the continuance of this love (and therefore in the final perseverance of the saints) is founded on its being free. If He loved us because we loved Him, He would love us only as long as we love Him, and on that condition. Then our salvation would depend on the constancy of our treacherous hearts. But since God loved us as sinners, and since Christ died for us who were ungodly, our salvation depends, as the apostle argues, not on our loveliness but on the constancy of the love of God." -Hodge, Romans

Friday, January 30, 2009

Christian art

There is today a much more vocal and vociferous contingent of atheists today with an almost missionary zeal. And while the majority of Americans still believe there is a god, the atheists are the most vocal in our society, dominating the media and artistic worlds, as well as the educational institutions. And the religious response in America has been to retreat, become isolationists, even appease the culture.

At best, Christians seek to engage culture by copying and Christianizing the secular, rather than truly seeking to create art that simply flows from their worldview. Most Christian art is mediocre; yet some people seem to break free from the reactionary role and genuinely create. Those works of music or cinema, etc. are usually the ones that receive broad acclaim, because secular people can appreciate the value of the art itself and are influenced by its message in a subtle way, as contrasted with the blatant Christian messages in Christian copy work.

Can we be artists who look at the world through the lens of Christ and His work rather than "Christian artists"?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Honoring God

I long to have a wholehearted reverence for God. I fall so short of purity in obedience and service, but worse, I many times fail to even desire to do good. There is that part lurking in me still that desires to sin - and that desire wins out all too often. How many times recently have I found myself being short with Matt without provocation? And provocation itself wouldn't even warrant my tone or attitude. How many times have I, upon recognizing this, apologized and worked to treat him with more kindness and respect? All too few.

Beyond that, when I do well I attribute my success to my own efforts or to my intelligence, diligence, ambitions. I fail to regularly acknowledge the gifts God has granted me in those small successes and in those character traits themselves. And I think this is part of the reason I fail to rest in Him. As long as I think my successes result from my own efforts and take pride in them, I am unlikely to confide in Him or trust Him to provide, believing in His faithfulness and care.

As Calvin said, "All men promiscuously do homage to God, but very few truly reverence Him."

How I long to truly reverence Him.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Colossians 4:5

I read this in Calvin's commentary on Colossians and I found it good food for thought:
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time

Why would he have regard to be had to [unbelievers], rather than to believers? There are three reasons: first, lest any stumblingblock be put in the way of the blind (Lev 19:14), for nothing is more ready to occur, than that unbelievers are driven from bad to worse through our imprudence, and their minds are wounded, so that they hold religion more and more in abhorrence. Secondly, it is lest any occasion may be given for detracting from the honor of the gospel, and thus the name of Christ be exposed to derision, persons be rendered more hostile, and disturbances and persecutions be stirred up. Lastly, it is lest, while we are mingled together, in partaking of food, and on other occasions, we be defiled by their pollutions, and by little and little become profane.

To the same effect, also, is what follows, redeeming the time, that is, because intercourse with them is dangerous. For in Eph. 5:16, he assigns the reason, because the days are evil. "Amidst so great a corruption as prevails in the world we must seize opportunities of doing good, and we must struggle against impediments." The more, therefore, that our path is blocked up with occasions of offense, so much the more carefully must we take heed lest our feet should stumble, or we should stop short through indolence.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Language

This article by David McCrory highlights the importance of a solid foundation in languages. The article is short, so I post it here in full:
Why is language mastery so important? Because as Christians we believe God is a God of His Word. The Lord has chosen to reveal Himself to mankind through His Word. The Scriptures tell us, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth,” (John 1:14). The infallible and immutable revelation of God to man contained in God’s Word is most clearly expressed in the medium of language. Every Christian should be proficient in the language arts to use as a tool in order to read and understand the Bible. Every pastor/teacher of God’s glorious Word needs a working knowledge of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin (grammar), able to delineate truth from falsehood in his doctrine (dialectic), and able to expound eloquently on the Scriptures (rhetoric).

Language is also the medium in which both truth and lies are expressed. Yet, Jesus promised that we should know the truth, and that knowing it, it will set us free. Understanding the proper use of language is something every Christian ought to have mastery over in order to be able to discern the truth from a lie. Our modern culture has learned the power of language and uses it to pervert truth. In addition to this, the commission of every Christian is to witness to the truth of Jesus Christ. The ability to effectively and eloquently express truth is not optional for believers. So that while a firm comprehension of Biblical truth is essential for knowing truth, equipping ourselves with the proper linguistic tools helps us disseminate the Truth to others.
We must not only be equipped to understand Scripture, but also to communicate the concepts we learn to those around us.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Notable Quotables

A few selected quotes from Josh Billings … (okay, more than a few):

There are some people so addicted to exaggeration that they can’t tell the truth without lying.

There’s a lot of people in this world who spend so much time watching their health that they haven’t the time to enjoy it.

There is nothing so easy to learn as experience and nothing so hard to apply.

The best way to convince a fool that he is wrong is to let him have his own way.

Confess your sins to the Lord and you will be forgiven; confess them to man and you will be laughed at.

It is much easier to repent of sins that we have committed than to repent of those that we intend to commit.

About the only difference between the poor and the rich, is this, the poor suffer misery, while the rich have to enjoy it.

As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand.

There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory.

As a general thing, when a woman wears the pants in a family, she has a good right to them.

About the most originality that any writer can hope to achieve honestly is to steal with good judgment.

It’s not only the most difficult thing to know one’s self, but the most inconvenient.

There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.

Common sense is instinct, and enough of it is genius.

I have never known a person to live to be one hundred and be remarkable for anything else.

Time is like money, the less we have of it to spare the further we make it go.

If a man should happen to reach perfection in this world, he would have to die immediately to enjoy himself.

One of rarest things that a man ever does is to do the best he can.

To bring up a child in the way he should go - travel that way yourself.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sabbath Rest

I find myself increasingly enjoying the blessing of Sabbath rest. A day set aside for worship and prayer and delving into the Word of God. A day spent curled up on the sofa with my husband, deepening our relationship with each other and with God. Such a blessing! I look forward to it throughout the week. Today I feel so rested and peaceful after a Sabbath reset and reminder of right priorities, a day of setting forward Christ’s righteousness and stepping back from the chaos and sinfulness that surrounds, ready to step forward in the week loving God and loving others. One step at a time until this coming Sunday brings renewal and rest yet again.

I hope you all enjoy such rest!