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Archive for February 18th, 2013

An Evening Prayer

An Evening Prayer by the preacher and churchman Petrus Dathenus (1531–1588) who put together the first complete church songbook for Dutch Reformed Christians in 1566:

O merciful God, light eternal shining in the darkness, Thou dispellest the night of our sins and the blindness of our hearts. Since Thou didst ordain that man should rest in the night and labor during the day, we pray Thee that our bodies may rest in peace and quiet, in order that they may be enabled to sustain the labors to which we shall again be called. Control our sleep and rule our hearts while we slumber, in order that we may not be defiled in either body or soul, but may glorify Thee even in our nightly rest. Enlighten once more, we beseech Thee, the eyes of our mind, lest we enter upon the sleep of death. Grant that we may ever cherish the expectation of our redemption from the misery of the life that now is. Defend us against all assaults of the devil and take us in Thy holy protection.

We confess that we have not spent this day without grievously sinning against Thee. We pray Thee to cover our sins in Thy mercy, even as Thou dost shroud all the things of earth in the darkness of the night, lest we be cast away from Thy face. Be pleased to bestow comfort and rest upon all that are sick, bowed down with grief, or afflicted with distress of soul, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who would have us pray, saying: Our Father who art in heaven, etc. Amen.i

By means of praying such prayers every morning and evening, we pour out our hearts before our Lord in response to His desire for us. In doing this, we grow in our relationship with Him.

Psalter Hymnal (Grand Rapids: Board of Publications of the Christian Reformed Church, Inc., 1976), 188–89.

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Keith Mathison writes an open letter to his pro-choice neighbor and says what everyone knows is true: the fetus is a living human being. [Even many pro-abortion advocates will acknowledge this and some quite publicly.]  Therefore, abortion is the killing of a living human being.

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Below is a great quote from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the unity of Scripture. This is so pertinent to what we have been discussing in our Adult Sunday School class recently as we are working our way through the first chapters of Genesis currently.  I hope you find it helpful.

Higher criticism is man picking and choosing out of the Scriptures, believing what he likes and rejecting, or ignoring, the rest. It is man failing to submit himself completely and utterly to the whole of the Scriptures. And I believe that this is one of the most urgent problems confronting us today. There are even evangelical people who no longer believe the first three chapters of the book of Genesis. They are not believing all the Scriptures. But until we come back to a belief in all the Scriptures we shall be in trouble because we are setting ourselves up as authorities, and we are not competent to deal with the problems that face us. If we pick and choose, and believe this and reject that, we will ultimately have no authority whatsoever. We are so anxious to please the modern scientists, the modern educated people, that we have lost our gospel.

The Bible is a unity. We must take it all. It not only teaches us salvation, but it teaches us creation. It tells us now God made the world and how he is eventually going to restore the whole cosmos. If you begin to pick and choose from the Scriptures, you will soon end in a state of dejection. This is what the Christian church has been doing for so long, and it is not surprising that things are as they are. Here is our Lord telling these men [on the road to Emmaus], and I believe he is saying it to us today, that we must submit to the Scriptures completely, entirely, whether we understand them or not. Whether we can reconcile everything or not, we must submit to it. We must say that we believe this is the Word of God and we believe everything it says. It is history. It is an account of the creation and the fall. All these events that are presented as facts we must accept as facts; otherwise we shall soon be doubting the fact of Christ himself and even the very being of God. Here is our Lord’s own analysis. There is a unity in the Scripture that must never be broken. There is a wholeness and a completeness, and it is only as we submit to this that we can look to the real solution to our problems.

Setting Our Affections Upon Glory: Nine Sermons on the Gospel and the Church (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013), 81
HT:   Ref 21

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Grace for the monotonous routines

Andre Yee:

How do we glorify God when engaged in the repetitive work that seems to be completely devoid of creativity? How do we glorify God when we’re cleaning out our email inbox or filing paperwork? . . .

He provides one answer in this post that deals with grace at work but which can be applied to mothering as well as studying in school:

We desperately need new eyes and hearts for the monotonous aspects of our daily work. We need new eyes to see our work in light of God’s mandate to Adam and Eve to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Martin Luther had eyes to see this. He wrote, “when a maid milks the cows (repetitive monotony) or a hired man hoes the field (repetitive monotony) — provided that they are believers, namely, that they conclude that this kind of life is pleasing to God and was instituted by God — they serve God.”

This carries over into the office.

We are called to shape the world we live in, to bring order to it. And in the modern world this may take the look and feel of organizing paperwork, filing reports, and cleaning our desks. When we carry out these monotonous tasks with joy, we exercise order in a world rendered disorderly by sin, and we reflect the faithfulness of our Father. We are God’s agents in tending this world that we live in.

We must trust God for the joy and strength required to do this work well. Some jobs are simply boring, and as a result they are hard jobs to face every day. And so we need strength — I would argue we need more strength for the monotonous tasks than for the creative work.

But here’s the good news — “the joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). God can and will give us joy and strength for the work he’s called us to do. Even the non-creative stuff.

Read all of “Grace for Monotonous Work”.

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This is the tool I mentioned to my congregation on Sunday evening. . . which I have found helpful through the years in ministering and in battling sin: A.P.T.A.T

 

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Is this God?

Your view of God is the most important thought you will ever have.  Greg depicts below a composite picture of what many people think about Him today.

“Let me introduce you to god.  (Note the lowercase g.)

You might want to lower your voice a little before we go in.  He might be sleeping now.  He’s old, you know, and doesn’t much understand or like this ‘newfangled’ modern world.  His golden days—the ones he talks about when you really get him going—were a long time ago, before most of us were even born.  That was back when people cared what he thought about things, and considered him pretty important to their lives.

Of course all that’s changed now, though, and god—poor fellow—just never adjusted very well.  Life’s moved on and passed him by.  Now, he spends most of his time just hanging in the garden out back.  I go there sometimes to see him, and there we tarry, walking and talking softly and tenderly among the roses. . . .

Anyway, a lot of people still like him, it seems—or at least he manages to keep his poll numbers pretty high.  And you’d be surprised how many people even drop by to visit and ask for things every once in a while.  But of course that’s alright with him.  He’s here to help.

Thank goodness, all the crankiness you read about sometimes in his old books—you know, having the earth swallow people up, raining fire down on cities, that sort of thing—all that seems to have faded in his old age.  Now he’s just a good-natured, low-maintenance friend who’s really easy to talk to—especially since he almost never talks back, and when he does, it’s usually to tell me through some slightly weird “sign” that what I want to do regardless is alright by him.  That really is the best kind of friend, isn’t it?

You know the best thing about him, though?  He doesn’t judge me.  Ever, for anything.  Oh sure, I know that deep down he wishes I’d be better—more loving, less selfish, and all that—but he’s realistic.  He knows I’m human and nobody’s perfect.  And I’m totally sure he’s fine with that.  Besides, forgiving people is his job.  It’s what he does.  After all, he’s love, right?  And I like to think of love as “never judging, only forgiving.”  That’s the god I know.  And I wouldn’t have him any other way.

Alright, hold on a second. . . . Okay, we can go in now.  And don’t worry, we don’t have to stay long.  Really.  He’s grateful for any time he can get.”

Greg Gilbert, What is the Gospel? (Wheaton, 2010), pages 37-38.

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