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Archive for July, 2011

Thanks to HereIblog for this reminder from Thomas Watson:

“Read the Word as a book made by God Himself. It is given “by divine inspiration” 2 Tim. iii.16. It is the library of the Holy Spirit. The prophets and apostles were but God’s amanuenses to write the law at his mouth. The Word is of divine original, and reveals the deep things of God to us. There is a sense of deity engraved in man’s heart, and is to be read in the book of the creatures; but who this God is, and the Trinity of persons in the Godhead, is infinitely, above the light of reason; only God Himself could make this known. Just so, for the incarnation of Christ; God and man hypostatically united in one person; the mystery of imputed righteousness; the doctrine of faith: what angel in heaven, who but God himself, could reveal these things to us? How this may provoke to diligence and seriousness in reading the Word which is divinely inspired. Other books may be written by holy men—but this book is inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Read the Word as a perfect rule of faith; it contains all things essential to salvation. “I adore the fullness of Scripture,” says Tertullian. The Word teaches us how to please God; how to order our lives in the world. It instructs us in all things that belong either to prudence or piety. How we should read the Word with care and reverence, when it contains a perfect model of piety and is “able to make us wise unto salvation” (2 Tim. 3:15)!1

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  1. Watson, Thomas. The Christian Soldier, 1669.

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“When the devil throws our sins up to us and declares we deserve death and hell, we ought to speak thus: ‘I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? Does this mean that I shall be sentenced to eternal damnation? By no means. For I know One who suffered and made a satisfaction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Where he is, there I shall be also.’”

— Martin Luther

Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel, ed. and trans., Theodore G. Tapper

(Vancouver, BC: Regent College Publishing, 2003), 85 via FI

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It is quite certain, my dear brethren, that you who believe in Jesus are personally the objects of the love of the Triune Jehovah. You are loved as much as you love your children, or as the bridegroom loves his bride — nay, those are very feeble images, for you are loved by God infinitely. The heart of God never does anything weakly; his love is strong and powerful, for it is the affection of an omnipotent spirit. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus — “As the Father hath loved me even so have I loved you.” Do you know how much the Father loves his Son? Can you form any conception? Are you not baffled in the attempt? “Even so,” saith Jesus, “have I loved you.”

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled “Miracles of Love,” delivered May 4, 1873.

(HT: The Daily Spurgeon)

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“Believers, if you would have an increase of happiness in Christ’s service, labor every year to grow in grace. Beware of standing still. The holiest men are always the happiest. Let your aim be every year to be more holy–to know more, to feel more, to see more of the fullness of Christ. Do not rest on old grace: do not be content with the degree of Christianity which you have attained. Search the Scriptures more earnestly; pray more fervently; hate sin more; mortify self-will more; become more humble the nearer you draw to your end; seek more direct personal communion with the Lord Jesus; strive to be more like Enoch– daily walking with God; keep your conscience clear of little sins; grieve not the Spirit; avoid arguments and disputes about the lesser matters of religion: lay more firm hold upon those great truths, without which no man can be saved. Remember and practice these things, and you will be more happy.”

~ J.C. Ryle

Practical Religion, “Happiness”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1998], 259.

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I didn’t actually say this: daughters are exhausting.  A godly mother actually wrote that. And she didn’t say it in a bad way. She’s actually making a valid point that we have to listen to our daughters or we will lose them.

Furthermore, let me be clear: our daughter is not exhausting!  She is a joy and a rich blessing!

So having cleared up those two possible misunderstandings, here’s an article for moms (and dads) to read from Barbara Challies, the mother of prolific blogger Tim.  In part she writes:

All children are born with questions, big ones. I remember Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (Francis Schaeffer’s daughter) saying that every question she has heard from an adult she has also heard from a child–just presented in a different form. An adult might ask, “What are foundational, epistemological principles?” A child just asks, “How do I know I am not really a robot?” (a secret fear of mine as a child). Children need answers to big questions, desperately. One of the most important functions of a parent is “prophetic,” interpreting life to tiny people who have next to no context for determining the nature of truth and reality. What a privilege this is for the parents! What a gift to the child! The importance of this type of communication applies equally to boys and girls.

The reason girls become particularly exhausting is that the world of ideas is just one level of their being. Along with this, they have tremendous interest in the world of people. Specifically, they are extremely sensitive to people as they impact their own lives. “What did she mean by that?” “Is she really saying she doesn’t like me?” “Are they better friends than we are?” And so on. Girls twist themselves into knots responding to their own world of people. Because of this, they are often desperately insecure. And the related pain is very real.

Hope you benefit from the whole article here.

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In the episode of Pilgrim’s Progress which we watched as a church family on Wednesday night, we heard and saw Christian dwelling in the palace beautiful which in Bunyan’s allegory is a picture of the local church.  After the book was read Mark Keilar of CrossTV helped us understand some of the blessings Bunyan was picturing as flowing as we enjoy life together in the church. Here are a few:

  • Participation in the ordinances
  • Increasing knowledge of, love for and faith in Christ and His Word!
  • A heart full of  joy, love, and peace!
  • Godly counsel and insight on the Christian life.
  • Fresh insights, hope in, glimpses of heaven!
  • Being equipped with the armor of God
  • The fellowship of like-minded believers.   (Faithful)
  • Opportunities to grow in genuine humility  1 Peter 5:5b
  • Nourishment and strength for the Christian walk

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A sobering reminder from BC4Women:

“When our children were growing up, we explained to them that they each started out with a full account in our  Bank of Trust. When their words were proved to be true they made a deposit that increased our faith and confidence in their integrity. When they were found to be dishonest or not reliable they made a withdrawal from their trust account with us.  Over time, they were always given opportunity to regain the trust they lost. This was a good system for us and it worked well.

When a member of your immediate family lies to you, the schism that results can be devastating.

What cannot be denied is that some people are just very good liars and are able to deceive for extended periods of time. This brings great sorrow into the relationship and eliminates all trust that has been placed in that person.  In such a case, one never knows if truth or lie is being spoken and every word becomes suspect.”

Much more here.

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Do you need a budget?

The answer is yes.  But how to go about it?

This might help!  Tim Challies:

I have always wanted to manage my money well. I have often been convicted that with my rudimentary knowledge of finances, it would be especially important for me to learn to budget well. For many years I tried to put together a budget and often found myself searching for software that would make it simple. I tried all kinds of programs and found that none of them quite did it. Then, finally, I found just the thing I was looking for. It is called . . . .

Click here to keep reading

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You might have read the title and maybe thought this was a blog post about the debt debate in Washington, D. C. right now where it seems as if our nation’s spending is out of control.

Actually this is about when a slice of our life (or maybe more than a slice of it) is out of control.  The fruit of the Spirit includes self-control.  But self-control is not easily attained.  In fact as Ed Welch states,

“There is a mean streak to authentic self-control. Underneath what seems to be the placid demeanor of those who are not ruled by their desires is the heart of a warrior. Self-control is not for the timid. When we want to grow in it, not only do we nurture an exuberance for Jesus Christ, we also demand of ourselves a hatred for sin. . . .

When was the last time you said ‘No’ to something, out of obedience to Christ, when it actually was hard to say ‘No’? Maybe you can say ‘No’ quite easily to cocaine, but you linger over salacious advertising. Maybe you can say ‘No’ to the second or third drink, but you will never miss a dessert (though you vow weekly to change your eating habits). Whatever earthly desire doesn’t take ‘No’ for an answer is a lust that surpasses your desire for Jesus Himself. With this in mind, we quickly realize that self-control is not simply an exercise in self-improvement. It is an essential discipline in a high-stakes spiritual battle. The only possible attitude toward out-of-control desires is a declaration of all-out war.”

Read the entire article here.

HT: Truth Matters

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Gene Veith includes the body of a letter from a Civil War soldier:

I am going to make you cry.  To mark the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Bull Run, a.k.a. The Battle of Manassas, the Washington Post wrote a story about and reprinted the letter written by Maj. Sullivan Ballou to his wife a week before he was killed in that battle.  It shows a man highly devoted to his different and sometimes conflicting vocations as husband, father, soldier, citizen, and Christian:

July the 14th, 1861

Washington D.C.

My very dear Sarah:

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days—perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.

Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure—and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine O God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing—perfectly willing—to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.

But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows—when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children—is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country.
Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me—perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar—that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.

Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the brightest day and in the darkest night—amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours—always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.
Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for me, for we shall meet again.

As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father’s love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God’s blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.

Sullivan

From Wikipedia

For background details see Civil War soldier’s heartbreaking farewell letter was written before death at Bull Run – The Washington Post.

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