Thursday, December 3, 2009
Night has conquered, days are shortening.
Leaves have fallen, frost is whitening.
Then lightly falling on the forest,
Softly floating o’er the fields,
Fiercely masking mountains steep
Slowly freezing mighty lakes.
Out of the gray and cloud-filled heavens
From the powerful Lord afar
Pure clean whiteness glaring bright
Blinding men with a glorious sight.
Swirling and whirling while floating and coating,
Dancing round then drifting down.
Quickly covering every dwelling,
A blanket white laid on the realm.
Each flake lovely by itself,
Skillfully harmonizing to create
The earth so strikingly radiant
The earth so dazzlingly brilliant.
Soaring intricacies, marvelous complexities,
Glinting and gleaming, frosting and freezing.
Swiftly snowing o'er the world,
Dancing to a song unsung.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
“Of His wonderful wisdom, both heaven and earth contain innumerable proofs; not only those more abstruse things, which are the subjects of astronomy, medicine, and the whole science of physics, but those things which force themselves on the view of the most illiterate of mankind, so that they cannot open their eyes without being constrained to witness them…….In disquisitions concerning the motions of the stars, in fixing their situations, measuring their distances, and distinguishing their peculiar properties, there is need of skill, exactness, and industry; and the providence of God being more clearly revealed by these discoveries, the mind ought to rise to a sublimer elevation for the contemplation of His glory.”
“Thus it belongs to a man of preeminent ingenuity to examine, with the critical exactness of Galen, the connection, the symmetry, the beauty, and the use of the various parts of the human body. But the composition of the human body is universally acknowledged to be so ingenious, as to render its Maker the object of deserved admiration.”
“The manifold agility of the soul, which enables it to take a survey of heaven and earth; to join the past and the present; to retain the memory of things heard long ago; to conceive of whatever it chooses by the help of imagination; its ingenuity also in the invention of such admirable arts,--are certain proofs of the divinity in man.”
It is important to keep in mind that Calvin published his Institutes in 1559. Today, in our scientific world, we know so much more about the heavens, the earth, and the human body than men in Calvin’s day did. And yet, even then, Calvin was able to say with the psalmist; “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” How much more evidence for God is there today? And yet, men still refuse to believe.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thank you for children. Thank you for knowledge, even though sometimes those children don’t care about it. Thank you for questions and also for their answers. Thank you for the future.
Thank you for unanswered prayers, so that I may trust You with my life.
Thank you for Fall; for apples, for red and yellow and orange, for crisp weather, for hazy light.
Thank you for family, and friends who are family. Thank you for wise friends who always say the right thing.
Thank you for happiness and small joys. Thank you for the beautiful little things. Thank you for laughing. Thank you for tears. Thank you for love.
Monday, August 31, 2009
For, Lord, that could not be;
This heart would still refuse Thee,
Hadst Thou not chosen me.
Thou from the sin that stained me
Hast cleansed and set me free;
Of old Thou hast ordained me,
That I should live to Thee.
'Twas sovereign mercy called me
And taught my opening mind;
The world had else enthralled me,
To heavenly glories blind.
My heart owns none before Thee,
For Thy rich grace I thirst;
This knowing, if I love Thee,
Thou must have loved me first.
--385 in the Psalter Hymnal
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
To write with a broken pencil is pointless.
The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
When the smog lifts in Los Angeles , U.C.L.A.
The dead batteries were given out free of charge.
If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.
A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.
A will is a dead giveaway.
With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.
Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.
A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in , resulting in linoleum blownapart.
He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.
He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
Acupuncture: a jab well done.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Ephesians 1:4-6
“And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; the great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.” Deuteronomy 29:2-4
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44
“Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” John 17:1-2
“And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:47
“Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God…” 1 Corinthians 1:1
“But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
“Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.” James 1:18
In this post, I am not going to specifically answer questions, because they have hopefully already been answered. However, I am still going to write more on predestination. I hope what has already been written has answered your questions and that this post will make sense in light of the answers given to your questions.
If man is actually able to choose God, then he’s obviously not totally depraved, as the Bible says. As Martin Luther said, "It is not in your power to turn to God. If you think that it is in your power to turn to God you have missed the whole Reformation and don't understand total depravity. It is not in your power to turn to God. You are a sinner, you're dead, you're eaten up with corruption. Every free choice of yours is evil and not good. So how can we turn to Him who is light, righteousness, holy and good?" Also consider Romans 3:10-11, “There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” How can one who is “dead in their trespasses and sins” choose God? Therefore, the doctrine of human ultimate free will rejects that man is totally depraved. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the garden, they died spiritually. If they were only sick, they could choose salvation or not, but God said that they would “surely die”. Without God choosing us, we would all be damned.
Comments are welcome (as always). I wish I could write more, but a lot has already been written here on this subject.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
This is unfortunately not my writing, but my pastor's. It was too long to publish in the comments section, so I'm posting it here. My own defense of predestination and election will be coming soon.
First, what glory does God gain by forcing us to choose Him? (or not to choose Him)
1.) We are not forced to choose God. We choose God freely in light of the Holy Spirit’s work of releasing us from the thralldom of our sinful nature. Once one is released from the bondage of sin they freely choose Christ every time. So, until we are born again we cannot close with Christ but once we have been born again by the Spirit through the Word we choose Christ freely every time. This is not an opinion but rather a truth that is clearly taught many places in Scripture – one prominent place being Ephesians 2:1-10.
2.) Second, God gains glory by being the sole author of our salvation. Were we to be necessary and instrumental to our salvation then God would have to share the glory, but Scripture clearly teaches that God does not share His glory with another. Salvation, from beginning to end is all God’s work and it being all God’s work this brings Him glory. What great glory accrues to God that He would provide complete reconciliation to repentance given sinners who deserved nothing but His opposition and wrath.
3.) The idea of irresistible grace (God choosing us) is everywhere taught in Scripture. One of the most prominent places being John 1:10-13. Even were we, for some strange reason not like the idea of God’s sovereign choosing, we are hardly in a position to argue with God’s word.
Second, what is the reason for the Great Commission, and what hope can we show the world, if no one has any choice?
The reasons for the great commission are
1.) Obedience – God commands us to be witnesses. The command does not require my understanding as to how God’s ends comport to His means.
2.) The necessity to have someone who proclaims the Gospel (Romans 10:9). God has not only predestined ends but He has also predestined means to ends. The means to the end of people being gathered to Christ is the proclamation of Christ crucified.
3.) The hope that we can have is that God chooses. Since sinners are dead in their trespasses and sins (totally depraved) they are totally unable to convert themselves or contribute to their conversion. But the great hope that we have is that God will send forth the Spirit of the living Christ to cause His elect to hear our stammering Gospel presentation. Part of the Gospel is that God, because of the work of Christ on the Cross that accomplished salvation, has given sinners such as us hope. He has not left us where we deserved.
Third, If free will is not what we think it is, and God predestines all of our actions, like an author writing a story, how is it possible for God's people to sin? And why would He punish them for an action over which they had no control?
If free will is what you appear to think it is then God is not free to do what God wants. What God is limited by is the freedoms of humans choosing contrary to what God would have them choose were God really sovereign. Fortunately passages like Romans 9 and Ephesians 1 clearly teach the understanding of predestination that Rachel has begun to hint at in her post.
Secondly, predestination does not negate human responsibility. It is possible for God’s people to sin because we still contend with the sinful nature.
Let’s take David for example. David was one of God’s people and yet we know all about his sin against God in the affair w/ Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. Now, certainly God predestined this but David, Scripture teaches, sinned because He gave into His own desires (James 1:13f). Further Scripture teaches in Acts 2:23 (Also Acts 3:18, 4:28) that God predestined the crucifixion of the Son and yet in that same passage Peter is holding them responsible for the death of Christ.
As to your question as to why God punishes them when they have no control, we must first examine Romans 9:19-21 where we find the same objection you’ve raised here raised there and the answer is given that the creature is in no place to find fault with God. But were we to examine this a bit closer we would say that people have a natural ability to control themselves even if they do not have a moral ability and it is for the natural ability refusal to obey God that God punishes them.
But let’s reverse engineer this a moment. If God is not absolutely sovereign to the degree that the Scriptures clearly teach then why do you bother praying to Him? After all, a non-sovereign God can’t be trusted to have the control necessary to answer prayer. And if God is not absolutely sovereign then why bother worshiping Him? After all, is a non-sovereign God that is limited by the Free will of humans really worth worshiping? And if God is not absolutely sovereign then how do we know that whatever is said in Scripture will come to pass? After all, a God limited by the free will of humans may end up getting his promises and purposes thwarted in the end. These are issues you must really come to terms with before you jettison the absolute sovereignty of God.
I have no problem with the idea that whatever actions we take, God is able to bring good (and with that good, glory to Himself) from the results of those actions. Thus predestining us for His glory. (none of what I have said is meant to suggest that God is not sovereign, and I don't think that God's sovereignty and humanity's free will are at odds).
Now, let’s be honest. Your seeming embrace of libertarian free will does indeed mean that God is not sovereign. For every bit of absolute free will you give to humans you take that much away from God.
Second, I quite agree that God’s sovereignty and humanity’s free will are not at odds. Humanity’s free will is what is called a contingent secondary freedom. Our free will is secondary to and contingent upon God’s free will. Were we to give humans libertarian free will we would invest them with the freedom of God’s will and of course Scripture doesn’t teach that and so it will never do.
I also believe that God is humble, not proud, it seems to me to be the course of a proud and unjust tyrant to force a people to worship him against their will.
That is a very unfortunate way of phrasing things Josh. To suggest that the God of the Bible is a unjust tyrant makes my eyes hurt just to read it. I trust you’ve learned by now from what I’ve written that people never worship God against their will. It is only when the Benevolent God releases people from Satan’s tyranny that for the first time they willingly and gladly desire to worship God.
Josh,God is not willing that any should persish,
You’ve taken this snippet of scripture out of context. In context the verse is teaching that God is not willing that any of His people should perish.
but if someone truly wants nothing to do with Him, He will, eventually, give that person what they desire. This is what C.S. Lewis believed really sent people to hell, their desire to seperated from God.
Response,This is not what Scripture teaches, despite what C. S. Lewis taught. Scripture teaches that we should fear only Him who can cast body and soul into Hell. God is the one who casts people into Hell, though certainly they are cast there because they do desire to be separated from God. Indeed, so deep is their hatred of God that if they were to be in heaven it would probably be as Hell to them. (Consider Lewis’ “Great Divorce.”)
Thursday, July 2, 2009
First of all, I want to say that I hope what I have to say does not offend any of my readership. I don’t want to give any wrong impressions here—I am not out to criticize or condemn any one who reads here. Having said that, I will continue without holding back.
The only word I can think of to begin my rant with is sorry; or maybe distressed or saddened. Sorry for the decisions that my friends are making. Not all are friends, some are merely acquaintances, and some are people who I’ve never really liked. But it’s all the same; poor decisions, bad decisions.
The first thing in specific that saddens me is good relatively-strong Christians (or at least to all appearances) who go to churches that teach mostly fluff and half-truths. Churches that do not teach a person to defend their faith against attacks. Churches that teach that we have to do something to get salvation. [Side note: This includes churches that teach that it is up to Us to reject or accept Christ and His Grace. This doctrine does not give God all his proper power, instead, it give Us power over God to reject or accept Him if we want.] Churches that do not take firm stands on issues in the culture such as evolution, abortion, homosexuality, politics, economics, education, etc. [Side note: Religion includes all of these issues and more; religion creates culture.] Churches whose worship looks more like a “youth group” than a time to worship and learn of God. It is so sad to see good friends and well-meaning Christians going to these kinds of churches. Sometimes I wonder why they can’t see why these people, people who you would think are rational enough to think through things, just going along with whatever everybody else believes, or just believing what they are told. What is the solution to this? Well, of course I would say everybody should come to my church. But then, everybody else could say this too. Of course I’m biased. But I have to say, my family and I are truly blessed to be in such a wonderful church body with such a wonderful pastor. [Side note: Wonderful is not a sufficient adjective to describe how wonderful our pastor actually is. Shameless plug here for his blog – www.ironink.org ] I was talking to one of my best friends the other day whom I haven’t seen in quite a while and she told me that they were going to a new church. She said that she was going through a time of “making her faith her own” and that the church that they had been going to was not “relevant” enough for them. She said this new church was just so wonderful, all their friends went there, and there was a huge emphasis on prayer. Now I have no problem with a huge emphasis on prayer, but the way she put it, they were looking for something that met Their needs. Church shouldn’t be about meeting Our needs. Church isn’t supposed to make us feel all spiritual and good. And this new church sounds non-denominational too; which basically means to me that they can pick and choose which doctrines they wish to believe instead of having to affirm all the doctrines their denomination approves. But anyhow, back to more or less on topic, I wish everybody could go to our church. I know that’s very subjective, but I truly wish it. When we moved to Michigan, we were “converted” from Baptist to Calvinist; a huge change. It is amazing to look back on it all and see God’s hand guiding us. We could have so easily became one of those families who went to a huge mega-church with a youth group and fluffy doctrine. [Side note: I will not elaborate here on why I don’t like youth groups—another blog post, another day.] I am so thankful to God for what He’s done to us in these past 6 years or so.
The second thing which saddens me is people who go to fairly strong churches (not ours, unfortunately) and make huge mistakes. One example that weighs heavy on my mind is an acquaintance of mine who I just found out is courting someone. The problem is that she’s 15-16 and has been “courting” for about 9 months now. Wait a minute! Isn’t courtship supposed to not happen until you’re ready for marriage? Who of us is ready to get married at 14-15? Clearly, this relationship is recreational only and therefore should be classified as dating and not courtship. [Side note: I will not here go into all the “evils of dating.” Suffice it to say that dating is preparation for divorce.] I also have two other sets of friends/acquaintances who are “courting” and although they are older, they are obviously not ready for marriage. It is so sad to see dating under the guise of courtship enter and become the norm for Christians. One has to be strong to go against the flow and have Biblical relationships. [Side note: I love these side notes! Ok, that was all......]
That’s all I have on my mind at this moment. My post has ended up longer than expected by myself, so I’m happy. I hope my writings have not offended or insulted anyone who has read this. If they have, please feel free to comment and complain. If they haven’t, please feel free to comment, ask questions, point something out you think I have missed, or compliment. I absolutely love getting responses from people. Adieu until next blog post.
Friday, June 26, 2009
First, I'd like to see how many people are reading my blog. Even if this is your first time reading my blog, please comment.
Second, as to the content of my blog, would you rather I start posting stuff I have written, or are the quotes and poems fine, or would you like a mix of both? Just wondering what people are thinking out there!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
by Charles Wesley
Christ, my Life, my Only Treasure,
Mould thine own,
After thy Good pleasure.
Thou, who paidst my Price, direct me!
Thine I am,
Save, and always save me.
Order Thou my whole Condition,
Chuse my State,
Fix my Fate
By thy wise Decision.
From all Earthly Expectation
Set me free,
Seize for Thee
All my Strength of Passion.
Into absolute Subjection
Be it brought,
Every fond Affection.
That which most my Soul requires
For thy sake
Hold it back
Purge my Best Desires.
Keep from me thy loveliest Creature,
Till I prove
Till with purest Passion panting
Cries my Heart
'Where Thou art
Nothing more is wanting.'
Blest with thine Abiding Spirit,
Now I rest,
All in Thee inherit.
Heaven is now with Jesus given;
Christ in me,
Thou shalt be
Mine Eternal Heaven.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Our dreams are never first; God's always are. If we forget this, God will never satisfy any dreams we have. It is only when we give our dreams to Him and put Him first, that He begins to bless us abundantly.
Friday, June 12, 2009
I asked the Lord, that I might grow
I asked the Lord, that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know;
And seek more earnestly His face.
Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust has answered prayer;
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair!
I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He'd answer my request;
And by His love's constraining power,
Subdue my sins--and give me rest!
Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part!
Yes more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe!
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds--and laid me low!
"Lord, why is this!" I trembling cried,
"Will you pursue your worm to death?"
"This is the way," the Lord replied,
"I answer prayer for grace and faith."
"These inward trials I employ,
From self and pride to set you free;
And break your schemes of earthly joy,
That you may seek your all in Me!"
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
How do you know?
It is vain to trust your emotions,
Do not put your hope in intuition,
For as the heart is deceitful,
So are feelings—above all things.
Faith and love will guide your path;
Faith and love of God.
Love Him perfectly—
You can do; anything you please.
Look for God’s guidance in your life,
Search for wisdom as rare gold
God will give to those who seek
All in good timing.
Meditations When My Soul hath been Refreshed with the Consolations which the World Knows NotBy Anne Bradstreet
Lord, why should I doubt any more when Thou hast given me such assured pledges of Thy love? First, Thou art my Creator, I Thy creature, Thou my master, I Thy servant. But hence arises not my comfort, Thou art my Father, I Thy child; "Ye shall be My sons and daughters," saith the Lord Almighty. Christ is my brother, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, unto my God and your God; but lest this should not be enough, thy maker is thy husband. Nay more, I am a member of His body, He my head. Such privileges had not the Word of Truth made them known, who or where is the man that durst in his heart have presumed to have thought it? So wonderful are these thoughts that my spirit fails in me at the consideration thereof. and I am confounded to think that God, who hath done so much for me, should have so little from me. But this is my comfort, when I come to Heaven, I shall understand perfectly what He hath done for me, and then shall I be able to praise Him as I ought. Lord, having this hope, let me purify myself as Thou art pure, and let me be no more afraid of death, but even desire to be dissolved and be with Thee, which is best of all.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
--Prov. 27:9 KJV
I've been too busy to write up a nice sized post lately, or even (probably you already noticed) to do quotes every week. But I'll do my best and try to have one out by the end of this week.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Emil Doumergue--Calvin la fondateur des libertes modernes – pg. 14
This may be the best quote I’ve read in a very very long time.
Christians in America submit with their bodies to the pagan state but their spirits burn hot against the state for its grasping at the prerogatives of God, for its effeminate attempt to provide temporal salvation, and for its ongoing purposeful attempt to reduce the citizenry to abject slavery. We may submit with our bodies but but such submission does not communicate that the wicked state rules us or sits in judgment of us. No – a thousand times no – we as Calvinists, sit in relentless judgment of the Despot and Usurper. The Calvinist knows that it is only a matter of time until God sets things rights and the Calvinist can patiently wait until that time arrives. Because this is so the Calvinist can laugh at the Despots usurpations and tyranny because the Calvinist knows that payday someday is coming down on the Despotic state. It is these kind of submissions that are more deadly to tyranny then a thousand insurrections would be. This kind of submission is the wind of behavior that will reap the whirlwind of certain coming insurrection.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Eager to proceed with his black resettlement project, on August 14, 1862, Lincoln met with five free black ministers, the first time a delegation of their race was invited to the White House on a matter of public policy. The President made no effort to engage in conversation with the visitors, who were bluntly informed that they had been invited to listen. Lincoln did not mince words, but candidly told the group:
“You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffers very greatly, many of them, by living among us, while ours suffers from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side. If this is admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated.
... Even when you cease to be slaves, you are yet far removed from being placed on an equality with the white race ... The aspiration of men is to enjoy equality with the best when free, but on this broad continent, not a single man of your race is made the equal of a single man of ours. Go where you are treated the best, and the ban is still upon you.
... We look to our condition, owing to the existence of the two races on this continent. I need not recount to you the effects upon white men growing out of the institution of slavery. I believe in its general evil effects on the white race.
See our present condition -- the country engaged in war! -- our white men cutting one another's throats, none knowing how far it will extend; and then consider what we know to be the truth. But for your race among us there could not be war, although many men engaged on either side do not care for you one way or the other. Nevertheless, I repeat, without the institution of slavery, and the colored race as a basis, the war would not have an existence.
It is better for us both, therefore, to be separated.”
An excellent site for black resettlement, Lincoln went on, was available in Central America. It had good harbors and an abundance of coal that would permit the colony to be quickly put on a firm financial footing. The President concluded by asking the delegation to determine if a number of freedmen with their families would be willing to go as soon as arrangements could be made.
Horace Greeley, editor of the influential New York Tribune, called upon the President to immediately and totally abolish slavery in an emphatic and prominently displayed editorial published August 20, 1862. Lincoln responded in a widely-quoted letter:
"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union ..."
It amazes me that we think of Lincoln as our hero. If you want more information about Lincoln and the issue of race, read this site: http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v13
Ps. Don't be afraid to comment and disagree with me, this note was written to be controversial.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Also, I'm thinking of changing the way I do "Quote of the Week." Instead of putting it on the side, I would put it as a post, that way people who visit less than once a week can see quotes from past weeks.