Music: Building 429 “Blameless”

Posted: Saturday, February 4, 2017 in Music

Occasionally on my morning run I have a certain lyric that grips my attention. I have been studying again the beauty of our adoption by God in Christ. 1 John 3:1, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” He was our Judge – He is now our Father!

The following lyrics point to that truth and touch upon one thing that means for us – the forgiveness of sins. A loving Father doesn’t overlook sin, but He does overlook the penalty and the guilt for sin if one is truly in Christ. A loving Father no longer punishes, but disciplines His children (Hebrews 12:5-11). So, wake up child of God, and live in the freedom of forgiveness that is yours!

i’m not who i used to be

blameless, you have made me blameless
sin has been made nameless
doesn’t matter who i was before
i am
shameless, you have made me shameless
sin has been made nameless
cause your love has come and left its mark
and i am blameless

if only we could
wake up, wake up, oh sleepers
we are children of our god
lift up your eyes oh people
there is freedom in his arms

you are blameless…

 

Advertisements

Book Review: Bible Studies on Mark

Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2017 in Book review, Gospel, Scripture

51tefsmeil-_ac_us160_What a delightful read! It is not often one can say such a thing about a Bible commentary. Commentaries vary in purpose – exegetical, homiletical, devotional, theological and/or doctrinal tradition. While all of these are necessary in a thorough biblical study with depth of meaning and application, not all can be called delightful. William Bernstein has provided a commentary that is both homiletical and devotional – and delightful!

Bible Studies on Mark will prove a great help to both shepherd and sheep, pulpit and pew. For the pastor, Boekestein provides a brief (each chapter is 8 pages) homiletical (each chapter appears to be a sermon) commentary for sermon preparation. It is brief, so the pastor will need to expand a bit on key theological and doctrinal themes. But this is a positive for the pastor – give to whet the appetite and spur meditation.

This will also prove beneficial to the Sunday School teacher or leader of a small group Bible study. In fact, with the questions provided at the end of each chapter, you already have 21 lessons (that is what Boekestein calls them). The easy-to-read format will be a great help, like for the pastor, for the teacher or leader in initial thoughts on Mark. It is brief enough that the student can read in one sitting and come to class ready for discussion.

And as mentioned, Bible Studies on Mark can be used as a devotional commentary. Brevity does not mean vacuous! Each reading will prove helpful in starting a day with thoughts tuned on Christ and His Word. It is simple to read for believers young and old. It is a delightful read!

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

Pondering Inauguration Day 2017

Posted: Friday, January 20, 2017 in Politics

It was January 20, 1977 – 40 years ago today. I was in the 8th grade at Covington (TN) Elementary School, a small county seat town in west Tennessee. We were in a brand new school – literally, it was one of our very first days in the new school. We were scheduled to start in the new building upon our return from Christmas break. And we did, though the return was delayed a number of days due to snow and ice (two whole weeks as I recall). So on this day, you could still smell fresh paint and new carpet (yes, there is a new carpet smell!). And there was the open theater that was the visual centerpiece when you entered the building – fully equipped with a state of the art overhead projector and large projection screen. And it was inauguration day for the 39th president of the United States, Jimmy Carter.

I remember the excitement as the 8th grade class gathered together to watch the inauguration live on the big screen. Honestly, the excitement could have come from getting to watch something on a screen larger than I had ever seen – at least that was not in a theater or at the drive-in. Or the excitement could have come from the fact that we were missing Mrs. Craig’s Social Studies class. Of course, that goes to show just how good a student I was. We were not missing her class – this was her class!

Now that might sound simple. But as I ponder that day (as I just have with you) I can’t help but think of a day when the office of the president of the United States was held in high esteem, respected and honored like no other vocation on earth. A day when the inauguration was a national event – an event orchestrated to celebrate the passing of the torch from one administration to another – what I have heard time and again over the past few days, the peaceful transition of power in the most powerful nation in the world. It is a message to the rest of the world of one of our founding principles of government, a government by the people and for the people.

That day was then, and today should be, the single greatest civic event for you and your children, me and my children, to view and to ponder. The transition of power from the 44th president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, to the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump. The end of one era, the beginning of another. And we need to pray that this president will uphold his position honorably and will fulfill his duty as a citizen of the United States faithfully. And what is that duty?

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

This the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. Sorry Mrs. Craig – I really did memorize it in your class but needed a little help from Google today!  It is not a perfect document, but has served us well as a nation, as a republic, when followed according to its intent. If you are a citizen of this great yet imperfect land then I encourage you to read and remember – maybe even memorize again – these words. And then pray for your new president and his administration (if you need help in doing that, see here). and ask yourself, “How can I be a part of helping this nation be what our forefathers foresaw?”

Just pondering today – and I will be watching at 10am CST. I was inspired to do so, and to write this, by a young man who wrote on Facebook that he didn’t want to go to work today because he would not be able to watch. He had seen the previous four inaugurations. Oh that this would once again become a day to be cherished. Because it is on this day that Donald J. Trump will put is hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States. And if you are a Christian today, pray that he will also seek to uphold the words of the book that his hand will be on.

And it just hit me – 40 years ago! I am getting old…

Luther on Christ as Bridegroom

Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 in Books, Gospel, Marriage, Reformation

51jhmpyz8ql-_ac_us200_The following is quoted by Sinclair Ferguson in The Legacy of Luther, chapter 7:

“Faith unites the soul with Christ as a bride is united with her bridegroom… it follows that everything they have they hold in common, the good as well as the evil. Accordingly the believing soul can boast and glory in whatever Christ has as though it were its own, and whatever the soul has Christ claims as his own. Let us compare these and we shall see inestimable benefits. Christ is full of grace, life, and salvation. The soul is full of sins, death, and damnation. Now let faith come between them and sins, death, and damnation will be Christ’s, while grace, life, and salvation will be the soul’s; for if Christ is a bridegroom, he must take upon himself the things that are his bride’s and bestow upon her the things that are his. If he gives her his body and very self, how shall he not give her all that is his? And if he takes the body of the bride, how shall he not take all that is hers?… Who can understand the riches of the glory of this grace?” (R. C. Sproul, Stephen J. Nichols. The Legacy of Luther (Kindle Locations 3570-3576). Ligonier Ministries, Inc. – USA.)

The bride got the better deal… Glory be to God!

Kingdoms

Posted: Friday, July 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

I worshiped to this song from 7eventh Time Down as I ran this morning. Words of wisdom for today for sure.

“Kingdoms”

How did we get here?
Where did we go wrong?
Yelling at each other
Every time we talk
How come together
We feel so alone?

Picture perfect
Is where we started off
The frame is broken
Somehow our dreams got lost
But it ain’t over
God can restore it all

If we could break down
These walls in between us
And reach out
To love like we mean it
Lay down
The weapons that are guarding our hearts
And let our kingdoms fall

I don’t need to be right
Love is stronger than the fight
We can start all over
And let go of our pride
It’s not too late
For us to change
If we decide

If we could break down
These walls in between us
And reach out
To love like we mean it
Lay down
The weapons that are guarding our hearts
And let our kingdoms fall

We gotta learn to live in grace
Look past each other’s mistakes
Whoa oh
We gotta learn to walk with each other
Together we can weather the storm

If we could break down
These walls in between us
And reach out
To love like we mean it
Lay down
The weapons that are guarding our hearts
And let our kingdoms fall

You decide – and pray that the Spirit rains down! (Is 32:14-20)

A Thought for Father’s Day

Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2016 in Gender Issues, Marriage

Psa 128:1  Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways!

Psa 128:2  You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

Psa 128:3  Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.

Psa 128:4  Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.

Psa 128:5  The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!

Psa 128:6  May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel!

The image does not mean simply that the wife will produce lots of children, though children are a blessing. In the Bible the vine with its grapes and the wine that is produced from them is often a symbol of the refreshment and enjoyment to be gained from an abundant harvest at the end of a long, dry summer. Psalm 104:15 states that wine makes a man’s heart glad. That is the picture of the wife that Psalm 128 portrays. However hard the day’s work is to a laboring man, to come home to a good wife is like coming home to a bountiful harvest at the end of a long summer. He finds satisfaction in his wife!

He then describes children “like olive plants around your table.” Olive trees take a long time to mature and become profitable. When cultivated patiently, and the key here is patiently, they become valuable and continue to produce a profitable crop for many years. When one’s children are rightly nurtured over time, they will become productive as well and experience the blessing of God. This does not mean that no properly reared child will ever rebel against their upbringing. The children of godly parents have and often do rebel. But as a rule godly training produces godly lives by the grace of God. An apple does not fall far from the tree.

Symbols and Signs

Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 in Music

Instruments_of_Mercy

Beautiful Eulogy’s ‘Instruments of Mercy’ is one of my favorite listens over the past couple of years. The following is a verse from their song ‘Symbols and Signs.’

Yep, are you the kind
That’s completely consumed
By symbols and signs?
If you are that’s fine
But don’t you find it interesting
How most of the time
Your self-interpreting seems to coincide
With what’s deep inside
Your heart’s desires
Seems rather convenient, doesn’t it?
I’m not saying that God can’t do it
Not saying that God won’t do it
That might very well be the case!
I’m simply making an observation of how much weight you place on it
What seems to be at stake and how much of your faith is actually banking on it
And how much of your mysticism is mixed with your religious philosophic system
Sometimes what we believe to be true from our supernatural pursuits is actually a fluke
A series of events that’s used to distract you from the truth
But, I’ll give you a sign that’s obvious
One of the most supernatural acts is that God through his Word has actually revealed everything pertaining to life in Godliness
There’s this idea that an individual
Is somehow more spiritual
If he sees these signs and symbols
And takes what’s normally invisible
And makes it simple
But I say the mark of a mature man
Is the one who reads God’s Word and understands
And allows that to govern his decisions and his prospective plans

True! And FYI – if you’re a runner you’ll like to play this album as you run and meditate 🎧