Why we Worship

PSALM 47

Clap your hands, all peoples!
  Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared,
  a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
  and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
  the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

God has gone up with a shout,
  the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
  Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
  sing praises with a psalm!

Why Sing?

God reigns over the nations;
  God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
  as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
  he is highly exalted!


Why Scripture?



 
Resignation


Recent Posts

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It's Not Rocket Science
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Theological Steak
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These words by P. T. Forsythe on the magnificence of Christ's work are to theology what Ruth's Chris is to a good steak.

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What we have in Christ will take all eternity to describe. But for one segment of one sermon, a great preacher made a mighty attempt.

Making Sense Of It All
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Where are things headed? Is there rhyme and reason to the endless cycle of summer, fall, winter and spring? Is there a plan in place, or is randomness the explanation?

Of Whom This World Was Not Worthy

July 20, 2009

In Hebrews 11, the reader is overwhelmed with a heritage of the faithful. They are many and varied. And history testifies that this glorious train of believers is ongoing, and magnificent. It will take all of history to tell the full story.


And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.

Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection.

Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword.

They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated - the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. Hebrews 11:32-38


The centuries since Hebrews 11 was written have added to this list, so that the chapter would be turned into its own volume.

Eusebius tells of Blandina, a slave girl in Lyon, France, who was tortured and killed for her faith in the summer of 177 AD. The Christians were prohibited from appearing in public places and increasingly subject to abuse and imprisonment, and many of them were slowly but surely arrested.

The process included being interragated in the forum by the provincial governor, and those who professed to being Christians were offered the chance to renounce their faith. If they did not, they were subjected to the most horrible tortures, and condemned to the beasts of the amphitheater, "being made all day long a spectacle to the world in place of the gladiatorial contest in its many forms." So wrote Eusebius.

Blandina, a slave girl, was the last to die. Hung from a post, she was exposed to wild animals, but they would not attack. Repeatedly tortured ("the heathen themselves admitted that never yet had they known a woman suffer so much or so long," she eventually was ensnared in a net and trampled beneath the feet of a bull.

Her body, and those of others who had been martyred, was left unburied, guarded by soldiers. After six days, the remains were burnt and the ashes cast into the Rhône.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11:39-40

Faith of our fathers, living still,
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whenever we hear that glorious Word!

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.








The Best And Worst Of Times

May 11, 2009

In the opening sentences of A TALE OF TWO CITIES, the reader is immediately thrust into the turmoil. For Madame Elizabeth of France, that turmoil meant death by guillotine. She was faithful to the end, and went magnificently.


All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16

Dickens described the the period leading up to the French Revolution this way. You know it well.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Madame Elizabeth was the youngest sister of King Louis XVI. When the revolution broke out, she was place under house arrest, and her neice, who was living with her, describes in detail the night of her aunt's arrest and "trial."

"What is your name?"
"Elizabeth, of France."
"Where were you on the 10th of August?"
"In the palace of the Thuilleries, with my brother."
"What have you done with your jewels?"
" I know nothing about them; besides, these questions are wholly useless. You are determined on my death. I have offered to Heaven the sacrifice of my life; and I am ready to die — happy at the prospect of rejoining in a better world those whom I loved upon earth."

They condemned her to death. She asked to be placed in the same room with the other persons who were to die with her. She exhorted them, with a presence of mind, an elevation of soul, and religious enthusiasm, which fortified all their minds.

Sometime while awaiting her pending death, Madame Elizabeth prayed this prayer.

I do not know, my God, what may happen to me today. I only know nothing will happen to me that you haven't foreseen from all eternity, and that is sufficient, my God, to keep me in peace.

I adore your eternal designs. I submit to them with all my heart. I desire them all and accept them all. I make a sacrifice of everything. I unite this sacrifice to that of your dear Son, my Savior, begging you by his infinite merits, for the patience in troubles, and the perfect submission which is due to you in all that you will and design for me.


The memoirs of her niece continue....

In the cart she preserved the same firmness, and encouraged and supported the women who accompanied her. At the scaffold they had the barbarity to reserve her for the last. All the women, in leaving the cart, begged to embrace her.

She kissed them, and, with her usual benignity, said some words of comfort to each. Her strength never abandoned her, and she died with all the resignation of the purest piety. Her soul was separated from her body, and ascended to receive its reward from the merciful Being, whose worthy servant she had been.

The worst of times? Yes. The best of times. Absolutely, for she went to be with her Savior. And we know by faith that it is better by far  to be with the Lord. May the Lord give us similar grace in our hour of trial.





Think About His Love
March 3, 2009
Meditating on the love of God is faith-energizing, hope-building, and the opposite of wasting time. Comprehending God is impossible, but the little we can know will be health and life to our soul.

Avoiding The Demas Syndrome
January 21, 2009
"Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me." 2 Timothy 4:10 If you make it into the Bible, this is not the way to be remembered. How can we live here in this present world, while never losing sight of the one to follow?

Saintly Resolutions: HENRY MARTYN
December 29, 2008
Shaped by the pastoring of Charles Simeon at Cambridge, Henry Martyn burned bright for God in India until his early death at age 31. From an entry in his journal on the first day of 1807, we get a wonderful glimpse of his heart for God.

The Ultimate No-Brainer
November 24, 2008
I'll do it myself. Where does that come from, anyway? We're born with it. But seeing God as the One we turn to instead of "the arm of flesh" is the key to living life well. God is in control, so let Him lead. He's really good at it.

Deep Waters
November 18, 2008
Our God is in the rescue business. He delivers, he saves. And not only that. The very trials we face are the testings we need to become strong, eventually producing eternal results

Making A Difference
November 13, 2008
We all want our lives to matter, to count for something. How can we be sure we are not throwing our life away? What will count for eternity? This much we know. Giving ourselves to Kingdom of God work is never wasted effort.

Satisfaction Guaranteed
November 6, 2008
The mere presence of these two words on the packaging admits that the product may not deliver. With God, there is no risk. We are offered a relationship of the most magnificent possibility, with the absolute certainty that He will never disappoint.

Cheaper Chicken
October 29, 2008
What are you shooting for? Is your life being lived myopically, with self-interest as the bottom line? Or do you have the grand purposes of God propel you? Choose carefully. Each of us gets one go-around.

Tears In A Bottle
October 21, 2008
You list my tears on your scroll. Psalm 56:8 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. Isaiah 42:3

Samuel Rutherford and Gratitude
September 27, 2008
Trials and testing can rob us of joy, and can turn us from contentment, and cause us to be disgruntled. Trust in God's sovereignty is key to spiritual health.





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