Too Young in the Meaning of Love

Are you in shadow? Are you pain? Do not cry to me. I can only cry with you. I will not die for you. I am still too young in the meaning of love. Talk to the Fool, to the one who left a throne to enter an anthill. He will enter your shadow. It cannot taint Him. He has done it before. His holiness is not fragile. It burns like a father to the sun. Touch His skin, put your hand in His side. He has kept His scars when He did not have to. Give Him your pain and watch it overwhelmed, burned away by the joy He takes in loving. In Stooping.

From Notes of a Tilt-a-whirl by N.D. Wilson

And the Backs of the Proud will be Broken

It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.

From Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis

Practicing Affirmation

Our Lord Jesus Christ
Our Lord Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Zechariah 8:16 “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace.”

In your heart of hearts, what do you long to hear God say, once you’ve arrived at the end of your race? Jesus taught that at the final judgment God’s children will receive affirmation that their faith was not in vain when the Father pronounces, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” This is good news. We’ll know that we have run our race well. But it is a long road to the end. We have to wait and live out our faith with fear and trembling.

Presently, we have God’s Spirit, which affirms in our hearts and minds the truth of who we are in Christ, but this is not all. We are commanded to speak the truth in Love and we often think this only means telling people the ugly truth. But God commands us to build one another up with our judgments.

Ephesians 4:15 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.”

Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Zechariah 7:9“Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another,”

God is a God of judgment. God pronounces judgment on everything that pleases him and displeases Him. Judgment is not merely a negative action. In our modern Christian culture, judgment as become a purely adverse term. But acquittal is a judgment, not guilty is a judgment, innocent is a judgment and righteous is a judgment. Judgment can be positive. God’s judgment is either condemnation of behavior that is contrary to Him or affirmation that people are glorifying Him and should continue in the direction they are going. Continue reading “Practicing Affirmation”

The God who calls

Therefore the strongest argument that can be opposed to the previous one is to be found in the fact that God made a distinction between Isaac and Ishmael and between Jacob and Esau, who were born in the same way of Abraham and Isaac. Nevertheless, Ishmael, no matter how much he desires it, cannot be the heir. No, the seed of the promise, which has the call and, over and above the first birth, has the second and regeneration, is given the preference. But this is the source of perpetual war from the beginning of the world to the end, not about trivialities but about that glorious title “church,” the people of God, the kingdom of heaven, and eternal life. Thus today we are at variance with the church of the pope, which wants to be the people of God and to have possession of the kingdom and the priesthood. They boast that they alone are the church of God which acknowledges God as the Father and worships Him properly. They condemn and persecute us as heretics and the church of the devil. This is what it means that the infants are at variance before they were born; for from the beginning there is a twofold church in the world, just as the seed is twofold: the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, which contend and are at variance with each other because of the title “church.” Paul certainly handed down an exceedingly clear and powerful dialectic when he pointed out the difference between the birth and the call. Where there is the birth alone, there is condemnation; for, as John says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3:6) and “not of blood, etc.” (John 1:13). Paul says something else. “Because of His call she was told,” he writes (Rom. 9:11-12); that is, the Word of God and the promise are necessary. Over and above the creature, he who wants to rule and be a son of God must hear Him, not as the God who creates but as the God who calls.

Luther, Martin (1966-01-01). Luther’s Works, Vol. 4: Genesis Chapters 21–25 (Kindle Locations 6816-6830). Concordia Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

To wield a mirror and sword

Thus, the apologetic task will consist, not of externally verifying the Christian presupposition but, of applying it by (1) bringing God’s truth and commands to bear upon the lives of unbelievers, appealing to the image of God in them (distinguishing between present remnants of man’s original nature and the ever-present nature of fallen man), pointing out that every fact of the world bears witness to God, and (2) doing an internal critique of the non-Christian’s system, calling down its idols, and pointing out the absolute necessity of Christian presuppositions if logic, factuality, history, science, and morality are to have any meaning, validity, and application at all. The Christian apologetic will not concede intellectual ground to Christianity’s cultured despisers or allow them to exploit theoretical foundations to which they have no legitimate claim without depending on the Christian faith. Thus, part of the Christian’s reasoned defense of the faith will be an aggressive offense.

Bahnsen, Greg (2009-03-01). Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated & Defended (Kindle Locations 433-442). American Vision. Kindle Edition.

Imitate the Angel Gabriel

Gabriel is not stealing praise from God by singling out Mary for a commendation uttered to only one woman in all of human history, by saying, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). He affirms her by (1) greeting her (a simple practice overlooked in many homes to the detriment of many relationships); (2) describing her as favored—she has earned nothing, can boast in nothing, and has passively received this bestowal, yet it is an honor to be savored, to be sure; and (3) declaring that the Lord is with her, for her, proactive on her behalf. Again, Mary is distinguished from all other women as being “favored,” and yet ultimately God gets the honor, for he is the one doing the favoring, the gracing, the bestowing.

Crabtree, Sam (2011-02-10). Practicing Affirmation (pp. 14-15). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.

The Nature of God’s Holiness

God’s holiness isn’t simply the absence of defilement, a negative thing. The holiness of God is positive and active. It’s God’s perfect nature at work in accomplishing God’s perfect will.

Wiersbe, Warren W. (2010-11-01). Be Holy (Leviticus): Becoming “Set Apart” for God (The BE Series Commentary) (p. 17). David C Cook. Kindle Edition.

A primer on Canonicity

Apostolic Authority in antiquity

The Old Testament is approved holy writ by the testimony of the Lord Himself.

The front side (recto) of Papyrus 1, a New Tes...
The front side (recto) of Papyrus 1, a New Testament manuscript of the Gospel of Matthew. Most likely originated in Egypt. Also part of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (P. oxy. 2) Currently housed in: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luke 24:44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

This three-fold division is clearly recorded by the Jewish authorities and their specific contents are also recorded and align with the modern Old Testament of the Protestant Bible, though in a different arrangement. Jesus also affirmed the Common Tradition of Scripture by his statement that all the blood from Abel to Zechariah would be visited on the Jews in Luke 11:50-51. This starts with the first Murder and ends with the last murdered prophet in the Jewish bible.

For the New Testament, the teaching and example of the Lord and his apostles, whether conveyed by word of mouth or in writing, had axiomatic authority for them. If writing was the work of an apostle or of their disciples it belongs to the apostolic age. Later writings, whatever their merit, could not be included among the apostolic or canonical books. Continue reading “A primer on Canonicity”

Emerging from the Wordsmithy

The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written i...
The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written in alliterative verse and paragraphs, not in lines or stanzas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used to write and write and write poems. 5 a week. Sometimes I would write for 6 hours a day. I loved to draw attention to the overlooked, everyday things of life. The magical things. The deep things in the foreground of our daily lives that we just don’t see because we’re usually so busy.

Then I was converted, over a two year period, from the age of 23-25. At the time I was baptized,  I had a fellowship with Jack Straw Productions and was well on my way to a promising career as a poet. But as the months passed me by and I began to read Spurgeon instead of Rousseau and Tolkien instead of Patchen, I found that something was different. I couldn’t escape how vainglorious my work had always been. I read it with new eyes and found that it was humanistic, shallow and self-centered.

I continued to write after my conversion, but I couldn’t help it from becoming sermonic. I would pull out my pocket notebook and pen and pour drivel all over the pristine page. Though I was clothed in the white of the lamb, my words were full of kitsch christian platitudes. Continue reading “Emerging from the Wordsmithy”

Five Offerings and Jesus

“Each of the five sacrifices that Leviticus requires of the Israelites points to Jesus’ life and death. The burnt offering symbolizes Jesus’ offering of Himself to the Father as the spotless Lamb of God. The grain offering points to Jesus’ life, with the flour representing His perfect character in word and deed. The fellowship offering symbolizes the peace we have with God through Christ (Col. 1:20). The sin offering explains Jesus’ death on the cross, when He took the place of every sinner who would ever believe. Finally, the guilt offering points to Jesus’ payment for our sins against others. None of these sacrifices actually forgives sin, but they point toward the ultimate sacrifice of God’s Son, who makes complete atonement for all sin (Heb. 10). It is through Jesus’ death that every believer is made holy in the sight of almighty God: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21 NIV). But not only has Jesus provided the means for our positional holiness, He also demands us to live with a practical holiness: “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life” (1 Thess. 4:7 NIV). This practical holiness is possible only through the power of the Holy Spirit, who gives us both the will and desire to obey Jesus’ commands (Phil. 2:13).”

Wiersbe, Warren W. (2010-11-01). Be Holy (Leviticus): Becoming “Set Apart” for God (The BE Series Commentary) (pp. 8-9). David C Cook. Kindle Edition.