Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Katrina Aftermath is not over

We tend to have short memories in areas we need longer ones, and long memories where short ones would be better. Recently some celebrities were in New Orleans and brought some attention that the recovery from Hurricane Katrina was not finished.

Here are two links to articles at ByFaith, that are worth reading. See what the Church is up to and why. And see why they covet our prayers.

We're Here Now Because the Hurt is Now, By Nat Belz

“God, please don’t do this to us again!” By Robert J. Tamasy

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Oh, the Irony!

On my way home from work the other day my journey was delayed by an automobile accident. I'm not sure if anybody was hurt--but it didn't appear anybody was.
The cars were quite banged up. One of them was painted with a business name-
"Dent Wizards."


What Sinners Should Plead with God-by Ralph Erskine Part 5

Plead his mercy, and the freedom and extension of it. Plead the freedom of his mercy, that needs no motive, and expects no worth: it runs freely, so that the mountains cannot stop the current of it, no more than the rocks can stop the ebbing and flowing of the sea. Plead the extension of his mercy to others: he had compassion on men's bodies, that came to him for healing, and will he not have compassion upon souls, that come to him for life? Is not mercy the work that he delights in? The perfection of his nature, he takes pleasure to display.
-Ralph Erskine (1685-1752)

Thanks to the fine folks at Fire and Ice for their site and for this index to Ralph and Ebenezer Erskine.

(It's public domain--and worth sharing.)

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Jesus-The Great Liberator Conclusion-Why this Freedom is so Valuable

The Puritan John Flavel in his work, Method of Grace points out that the excellence of the freedom believers receive in Christ point to a wonderful liberty, especially for people who owed God more than we could ever pay Him through our works or through our sufferings. All believers have been freed from bondage we did not and could not understand, and our wills were stubborn, our hearts hardened, and our affections for ourselves and meaningless things. We were slaves and did not know it. Christ sets His people free from this, and words can not fully express how wonderful that truly is. But I will attempt to flesh it out some.

1.The freedom of believers is an exclusive freedom-it can only be found in believers, but it is not exclusive to any one type of person, or tribe or tongue.
The old credit card commercial slogan certainly applies here-"Membership has its privileges."

2. It is a precious freedom-it was brought at a high cost-Christ’s own blood.
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.(Acts 20:28-Paul’s farewell to elders from Ephesus)

And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.(I Peter 1:18-19.)

We ought to treat it that way, and not take it for granted.

3. It is an increasing freedom, as we grow in Christ and are changed by the Lord.

4. While believers are not promised a life free from hardship, there is a comfort in the freedom of believers. "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matt 11:30.) Bondage to sin is a heavy yoke.

5. It is an eternal freedom. Believers are not lost, of all the Father gives Him, the Son loses none-as we see in verses like John 6:39 & 18:9.
Of those the Father gives the Son, not one is lost.

6. It is salvation. In saving us from the penalty, the power, and eventually the presence of sin, Christ has set us free in ways we have looked at, if we are His.

7 There is only one way to be set free from sin, and that is through the Son-Jesus Christ. Look at verses such as John 14:6-
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Acts 4:12-
"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

So I hope you see, if the Son sets you free-You will be free indeed, (or free for real.) Only the Son can do that, and that is why He can truly be called the Great Liberator.

In 1864—British preacher Charles Spurgeon asked his congregation this-
“Are we free? I will not answer it for you…but I would beseech you to make a searching enquiry into it.”-I as well encourage each of us to ask seriously if we are free.

Spurgeon also told his congregation, if they are free then-“You wear a garment which a slave may never wear and you feel an instinct within which the slave can never feel. There is an Abba, Father, cry un you which was not there once.”
You have been freed from the bondage of sin, and freed to obey and love God.

If you have not been freed I encourage you to come to only one who can free you from your sins, and give you the real freedom. If you have a sense of your bondage, remember Christ alone can free you, and only then will you be free indeed.

(I am especially indebted to the Puritan John Flavel's work Method of Grace in this series, even more in this conclusion, see the links above for more on Flavel.)

Previous parts-
Part 3 is here.
Part 2 is here.
I've added Parts 2-4 to Part 1 if you'd like to read it in one shot.

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A Quote on Affliction

"To know that nothing hurts the godly, is a matter of comfort; but to be assured that all things which fall out shall co-operate for their good, that their crosses shall be turned into blessings, that showers of affliction water the withering root of their grace and make it flourish more; this may fill their hearts with joy till they run over."

—Thomas Watson (c. 1620 -- 1686)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

What Sinners Should Plead with God-by Ralph Erskine Part 4

I'm still a bit worn out, so I think for tonight I'll give you some more Ralph Erskine, and try to post some more tomorrow night.

And I'll thank the guys at Fire & Ice for posting lots of Erskine stuff.

4. Plead your necessity, your extreme need of Christ and of faith in him. O man, there is not a starving man that needs food so much as you need Christ: there is not a wounded man that needs a physician; a shipwrecked man that needs a plank; a dying man, with the death rattle in his throat, that needs breath so much, as you need Christ. O then, cry, "Give me Christ, or else I die." I may live without friends, without wealth, and honour, and pleasure; but I cannot live without Christ, and without faith. Plead his power; how easy it is for him to help, saying, as Psalm 80:1 "you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth!" It will cost you no more pain to work faith in me, than it does the sun to shine forth. Yea, he can more easily put forth his power and grace, than the sun can dart out its beams. It is no trouble nor loss to the sun to shine forth, so neither will it be to him, to show his power and mercy: a look, or a touch, will do it; since he can so easily do it. You may cry with hope; he will never miss an alms bestowed on a beggar, out of the ocean of his bounty. Nay, as the sun, the more it shines displays its glory the more; so will he gain glory by putting forth his power to help you.

A link to Cowboyology

This is from April and I meant to post it sooner.
This is a great article on Sinclair Ferguson's wonderful book, Deserted by God.(Check out the book link too, it was on sale when I found it.)

I plan to write a review soon and post it here.

In the meantime check this out from Clint-
Owen Finely distilled.

Where does the time go?

I'm amazed at the time that has passed since I last posted anything new here.
There have been days I was going to post something, but something else ccame up, and other times I didn't feel too well.

I mostly thought it was just being tired, but things worked out differently. The other day I was planning on blogging that night after supper. When I got home I felt awful. I wasn't just tired, I was sick. I had felt the same way a few years ago when the apartment I lived in at the time had a mold problem.

Have you ever had oen of those days? I was only going to lay down for a few minutes before supper. The next thing I know it was early morning, about 2 hours before I normally get up for work. God knew what I needed, and made sure I got it.

So after that, I'm back for some more posts.
(And trying to make sure I'm not up too late tonight.)