Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Habakkuk On Line Video Series-Part I


Habakkuk # 1 from Julian Dobbs on Vimeo.

More info here

Hark! the glad sound! the Savior comes

Sunrise Over Mt Scott
Hark! the glad sound! the Savior comes,
The Savior promised long:
Let every heart prepare a throne,
And every voice a song.
 
He comes the prisoners to release
In Satan's bondage held;
The gates of brass before him burst,
The iron fetters yield.
 
He comes, the broken heart to bind,
The bleeding soul to cure;
And with the treasures of his grace
To enrich the humble poor.
 
Our glad hosannas, Prince of Peace,
Thy welcome shall proclaim;
And heaven's eternal arches ring
With thy beloved Name.
-Philip Doddridge image

Advent and the Exodus

Tim Chester
November 28th 2016

I was confused and distressed.
I couldn’t find any comfort.
I lay awake at night.
I didn’t know what to say.
I groaned when I remembered the good old days.


Any of these statements sound familiar? I wonder how many you could tick off.

They are all sentiments expressed in the opening verses of Psalm 77. And they are followed by the Psalmist’s questions: “Has God forgotten to be merciful?” “Has his unfailing love vanished for ever?”

Yet the Psalm ends with a great expression of confidence. Something happens which makes the Psalmist ask a very difficult kind of question: “What god is as great as our God?”

What’s brought about this transformation? It’s not down to any change in his circumstances. There’s no hint of that in the Psalm. Something else has changed. And whatever it is, it’s surely a secret worth knowing. Here is something that enables us to face life with confidence—even in the midst of regret, heartache and struggle.

The answer is that the Psalmist appeals to the story of God. “To this I will appeal,” he says in verse 10, “the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.” It’s followed by four resolutions “to remember the deeds of the LORD”. The Psalmist determines to let the story of God shape his understanding of God and his understanding of himself.

For the Psalmist that meant remembering the story of the exodus. He alludes to the plagues on Egypt and he describes the parting of the Red Sea. The exodus story kicks off when God meets Moses at the burning bush. “I have come down,” God tells Moses, “to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians” (Exodus 3 v 8). God came down to reveal himself, to liberate Israel from slavery and to form them as his own people. This was the great defining moment for Israel. And it’s recalling this moment that so radically changes the Psalmist’s perspective on life... the rest image

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

It was not suddenly and unannounced...

Adventkranz
It was not suddenly and unannounced that Jesus came into the world. He came into a world that had been prepared for him. The whole Old Testament is the story of a special preparation …Only when all was ready, only in the fullness of his time, did Jesus come. ...Phillips Brooks image

Thursday, November 3, 2016

My God, how endless is Thy love!


Milky way 1/15
My God, how endless is Thy love!
Thy gifts are ev’ry ev’ning new;
And morning mercies from above
Gently distill like early dew.
 
Thou spread’st the curtains of the night,
Great guardian of my sleeping hours;
Thy sov’reign word restores the light,
And quickens all my drowsy pow’rs.
 
I yield my pow’rs to Thy command,
To Thee I consecrate my days;
Perpetual blessings from Thine hand
Demand perpetual songs of praise.
...Isaac Watts image

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Albert Mohler: Will Beauty Save the World?

The Timeless Cross Revisited
November 1, 2016
by Albert Mohler
 
Sometimes persistent questions demand a response. The question I would like us to ask and answer this morning is will beauty save the world? It may sound like an odd question. It’s a question occasioned by Dostoevsky the great Russian novelist, in his work The Idiot—a novel drenched in Christian content and deeply engaged with Christian theology. Beauty will save the world. Is that a Christian affirmation or not? When Dostoevsky said that beauty will save the world, how was he defining beauty?

I want us to consider two biblical texts in response to this question. First Isaiah 53:1-10.

“Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
the rest image

Monday, October 17, 2016

O child of suffering, be thou patient...

O child of suffering, be thou patient; God has not passed thee over in his providence. He who is the feeder of sparrows, will also furnish you with what you need. Sit not down in despair; hope on, hope ever. Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble, and your opposition shall yet end your distresses. There is One who careth for you. His eye is fixed on you, his heart beats with pity for your woe, and his hand omnipotent shall yet bring you the needed help. The darkest cloud shall scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom shall give place to the morning. He, if thou art one of his family, will bind up thy wounds, and heal thy broken heart. Doubt not his grace because of thy tribulation, but believe that he loveth thee as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness. What a serene and quiet life might you lead if you would leave providing to the God of providence! With a little oil in the cruse, and a handful of meal in the barrel, Elijah outlived the famine, and you will do the same. If God cares for you, why need you care too? Can you trust him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens, he has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God.  -CH Spurgeon image

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How To Lose Your Zeal for Christ

The Bible
by Tim Challies

Are you zealous for Christ? Do you have a genuine zeal to live for him and to advance his cause in the world? Or have you lost the zeal that once marked you? Here, courtesy of Joel Beeke and James La Belle are 9 ways you may lose your zeal.

Major in speculative religion. Speculative religion is religion whose primary concern is that which is theoretical or conjectural. Look to the pastoral epistles and you will often find Paul warning Timothy and Titus that they must avoid anything like this—anything vain and unprofitable, anything obsessed with fables and genealogies (see 1 Timothy 4:2, 2 Timothy 2:14, Titus 3:9, etc). Christianity is meant to be an experiential religion, one that is meant to reach the heart and the will and to work itself out in action. “Christian faith begins with an experiential renovation of the heart and progresses by an experiential relationship that impacts all of life.”

Love the world. “How can we be zealous for heaven when our hearts are wrapped up in earthly things? How can we lift our spirits heavenward when our minds are weighed down with the cares of this life? How can we be zealous for God when our love is divided between Him and this world? Worldly mindedness will starve our zeal.” Jesus promised us that we can serve only one master; our zeal will diminish when our loyalties are torn between God and mammon, God and this world.

Be spiritually presumptuous. Some people start out in the Christian faith, but then assume that they have nothing more to do. They presume upon the riches and grace of Christ, but invest little effort in battling sin and putting sin to death. Some take an opposite view and claim that they are no longer sinful, that they have attained perfection. In either case, these people are dangerously presumptuous and will necessarily see their zeal decline and disappear. the rest image

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Cross of Christ...

hanging
The whole stream and drift of the Old Testament moves straight to the cross of Christ. The whole New Testament is nothing but the portrait of Christ. Let a man seek the true course of his own life in the Word, and inevitably it will land him at the cross, to seek mercy as a perishing sinner in the Saviour’s wounds; and let him, starting afresh from this point of departure, seek his true course still farther, and inevitably what he will see will be, rising upon him in the distance, astonishing and enchaining him, but drawing him ever on, the image of perfection in the man Christ Jesus. ...James Stalker image

Friday, August 12, 2016

As artists give themselves to their models...

Artist
As artists give themselves to their models, and poets to their classical pursuits, so must we addict ourselves to prayer.
...CH Spurgeon image

Saturday, August 6, 2016

O Wondrous Sight! O Vision Fair!

O wondrous sight! O vision fair
Of glory that the church shall share,
Which Christ upon the mountain shows,
Where brighter than the sun He glows!
 
From age to age the tale declares
How with the three disciples there
Where Moses and Elijah meet,
The Lord holds converse high and sweet.
 
The law and prophets there have place,
Two chosen witnesses of grace,
The Father’s voice from out the cloud
Proclaims His only Son aloud.
 
With shining face and bright array,
Christ deigns to manifest that day
What glory shall be theirs above
Who joy in God with perfect love.
 
And faithful hearts are raised on high
By this great vision’s mystery;
For which in joyful strains we raise
The voice of prayer, the hymn of praise.
 
O Father, with the eternal Son,
And Holy Spirit, ever One,
Vouchsafe to bring us by Thy grace
To see Thy glory face to face.
...from the Sar­um Brev­i­ary