Friday, May 31, 2013

how to stay safe in the world today

OK, here's a fun piece sent to me by a friend recently. Not sure where it originated, but it's been circulated a lot...


1. Avoid riding in automobiles because they are responsible for 20% of all fatal accidents.

2. Do not stay home because 17% of all accidents occur in the home.

3. Avoid walking on streets or sidewalks because 14% of all accidents occur to pedestrians.

4. Avoid traveling by air, rail, or water because 16% of all accidents involve these forms of transportation.

5. Of the remaining 33%, 32% of all deaths occur in Hospitals. So, above all else, avoid hospitals.

BUT, you will be pleased to learn that only 0.001% of all deaths occur in worship services in church, and these are usually related to previous physical disorders.

Therefore, logic tells us that the safest place for you to be at any given point in time is at church!

And, Bible study is safe too. The percentage of deaths during Bible study is even less.

So, for SAFETY’S sake, attend church, and read your Bible; IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE!

Monday, May 20, 2013

led by the Spirit

"So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God."

(Romans 8:12-14 ESV)

"Let us give up the government of our souls to the Spirit. It is for our safety so to do, as being wiser than ourselves who are unable to direct our own way. It is our liberty to be under a wisdom and goodness larger than our own. Let the Spirit think in us, desire in us, pray in us, live in us, do all in us; labor ever to be in such a frame as we may be fit for the Spirit to work upon."  

(Richard Sibbes, from A Fountain Sealed)

Detail above of The Baptism of Jesus Christ, by Piero della Francesca, 1449.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Jesus' humanity

"Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him..." 

(Hebrews 5:8-9 ESV)

"Although he came as one who was both fully God and fully man, he also lived his life as one indwelt with and empowered by the Spirit of God. We shall here suggest that understanding Jesus as the Spirit-anointed Messiah requires that we also see his humanity as prominent in the life that he lived. Apart from his full and integral humanity, we cannot account for this central and pivotal feature that Jesus manifested, namely, that he lived his life, obeyed the Father, resisted temptation, and so fulfilled his calling all in the power of the Spirit who was upon him."

(Bruce Ware, The Man Christ Jesus, p. 33.)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

living in light of the future me

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."  (Colossians 3:1-4 ESV)
Been thinking about the continuity of my identity through time.  Many things change in my circumstances, character, status, relationships, and destiny.  But it's the same me, the same consciousness, that goes through these changes. 

We are told in this passage to live in accordance to what we are our in our heavenly identity, which is our position as redeemed in Christ.  This will be our actual -- not just positional -- future identity, the future self, the then-me.  Following the context, I am to put off certain attitudes and behaviors now and put on certain attitudes and behaviors now in light of my future glory. 

The now-me (present me, present consciousness) knows there are many things the then-me (past identity, past consciousness) regrets.  And if I had the opportunity, I would not repeat them.  I wish the then-me would have known (then) about the now-me and not lived out certain things.  I'm thinking here of past sins of commission and sins of omission. 

But there is no going back, and in a certain sense all that has gone before has shaped the now-me and it's true that many of those things, though bad, resulted in some redemptive good by God's grace over time.  But that doesn't change the fact that those sinful attitudes and choices were still essentially evil in themselves.  God's future grace should never be an excuse for present sin.

This continuity of myself through time should spur me on to progressive good.  What will I be like when actually and fully immersed in Christ's glory?  What will I be thinking, and feeling, and doing, and enjoying?  That will be me.  And there remains a continuity between that future-me and the now-me.  It's that realization which, among other motivations, should shape the direction of my life right now. 

My present decisions, attitudes, and actions -- even right this very minute -- should all be shaped in the light of that future-me, standing in the glory of Jesus my Lord.  I need to live now in the light of my future self. 


Friday, May 3, 2013

a love better than life

"Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you."  (Psalm 63:3 ESV)

How is this true?  In what way is God's steadfast love better than life itself?
I think we all realize eventually that relationships are more important than mere existence.  If I am alive but unloved what does good does life hold?

Now if I am not loved eternally, life will do me no ultimate good.  But if I am loved by the eternal God, I shall both be loved and be alive for eternity.  Eternal existence without love would be hell.  To be loved by God is eternal life.

Here are some quotes from the Puritan theologian John Owen (1616-1683) on communing with the Father in his love...

"Have fellowship with the Father in his love.  Have no fears or doubts about his love for you.  The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to him is not to believe that he loves you."  (p. 13)

"Believers must receive the love of the Father.  Communion or fellowship lies in giving and receiving.  Until the love of the Father is received, we have no communion with the Father in love.  How then is this love of the Father to be received in order that we may have fellowship with him?  There is only one way and that is by faith.  To receive the love of the Father is to believe that he does love us.  God has so fully, so clearly revealed his love, that it may be received by faith."  (p. 16)

"Many saints have no greater burden in their lives than that their hearts do not constantly delight and rejoice in God.  There is still in them a resistance to walking close with God.  Why is this?  Is it not because they are not skilful and so neglect having loving fellowship with the Father?  But the more we see of God's love, so much more shall we delight in him.  All that we learn of God will only frighten us away from him if we do not see him as loving and merciful to us.  But if your heart is taken up with the Father's love as the chief property of his nature, it cannot help but choose to be overpowered, conquered and embraced by him.  This, if anything, will arouse our desire to make our eternal home with God.  If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will?"  (pp. 32-33)

From Communion with God, by John Owen, abridged and edited by R. J. K. Law, Banner of Truth Trust, 1991.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

the Bible

The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable.

Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.

It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter. Here too, Heaven is opened and the gates of Hell disclosed.

Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully.  It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure.

It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.

Introductory statement in Gideon-placed Bibles.