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Classics of Biblical Theology – Vast Online Library

More excellent resources online:

Classics of Biblical Theology – Vast Online Library.

 

“…He is faithful and just…”

I was driving home from work the other day and I realized that I hadn’t talked to my sister in several weeks.  One of the things I really enjoy about my Ford truck is that it has built-in bluetooth capabilities that actually work extremely well, so I decided to use my bluetooth and give my sister a call, just to catch up.  We talked for the entire drive home (20-25 minutes) about various aspects of our lives: our children, business challenges and other activities.  The end of the conversation turned to a spiritual discussion and I mentioned something that had been on my mind quite a bit lately, which was the proper understanding of 1 John 1 and specifically, 1 John 1:9:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (ESV)

Because of the poor teaching of this passage that I received as a child, I would lie awake at night after my parents sent me to bed and agonize over my fear that there was some forgotten or unknown sin that I had failed to confess and therefore wouldn’t be forgiven.  I shared this with my sister and, to my surprise, she told me that she experienced the same agonizing fears and insomnia, thinking that her forgiveness was based on her “works” of confession rather than on the perfect and complete atoning sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The fact that the verse states that he is “faithful and just” is not referring to any obligation that God would have towards us based on any work that we would perform.  If God applied his justice towards us based on our works the result would always be eternal separation.  No, the wonderful news is that God’s justice that results in forgiveness is the justice applied because our debt was paid by the substitutionary death of Jesus, if we have trusted Jesus alone for our salvation and are the children of God.  Therefore, we can confess our sins knowing, with the utmost confidence, that we are forgiven even before we ask and that he has given us the power to overcome sin as we walk in the knowledge of his forgiveness, through the truth of his word and in the power of the Spirit.  All praise and honor are due his name, the great God of our forgiveness!

Bryan Daniels writes a very clear explanation of the purpose of prayer. Read this if you want to be blessed.

Chief of the least

Your Father knows what you need before you ask him…(Matthew 6:8)

I struggle with prayer.

Conceptually and practically.

Most of those struggles are probably because I put unwarranted credence on my feelings at any given prayer moment. If I don’t feel a tangible groaning, or a burning in my chest, or goosebumps on my neck, then my prayers must have been rendered ineffective. Right? If I voice my prayer simply and without a series of major spiritual manifestations then certainly my appeals never made it past the bedroom ceiling. Right?

Wrong.

I am submitting to the awful doctrine that unless my prayer experience “feels” right to me, then God is impotent to answer them. In a twisted way, that is putting emotional subjectivism on the throne and kicking a Sovereign King off of it.

On top of this, Matthew 6:8 raises a different objection in the conscientious Christian:

God already knows what we will ask, so why…

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Lord Jesus, Comfort Me

This beautiful, worshipful song recorded by Matthew Smith (Lord Jesus, Comfort Me) is a wonderful listen as you prepare for your daily devotional time, for worship at church, for celebration of Easter or for any other time for that matter:

Here are the Lyrics:

You have canceled my transgression,
Jesus, by Your precious blood
May I find therein salvation,
happiness, and peace with God
And since You for sinner’s suffering
On the cross was made an offering
From all sin deliver me,
That I wholly Yours may be

All the pain You have endured
All Your wounds, Your crown of thorn
Hands and feet with nails through bored
The reproach which You have borne
Your back, ploughed with deep furrows
Cross and grave and all Your sorrows
Your blood-sweat and agony
Oh Lord Jesus, comfort me

Your back, ploughed with deep furrows
Cross and grave and all Your sorrows
Your blood-sweat and agony
Oh Lord Jesus, comfort me

from the album WATCH THE RISING DAY
Written by Matthew S. Smith
©2010 Detuned Radio Music
Based in part on a German hymn text by Johann Rist

You can purchase it here: http://bit.ly/8Zov1d

 

 

Excellent Online Resources for Bible Study

While most of us are appalled at the way the internet has and will continue to be used for less than virtuous purposes, it is also a tool that is being used for God’s glory.  As many of you are aware, there are excellent online resources for bible study, but very few as useful as the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, which is a resource provided by Calvin College out of Grand Rapids, MI.  Not only does the reader have access to thousand of dollars (if you purchased printed books) worth of classics such those written by Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, etc., but Calvin College has incorporated the amazing power of technology to quickly and easily search all of these classics at once by key words, subjects and scripture references:

Incredible word/subject search engine

Great Classics at the click of a mouse

The Best Study Bible

Not only do you have access to these classics with the search engine, CCEL has created a whole new meaning of “study bible” that leaves virtually all other study bibles in their dust.  The CCEL study bible enables you to not only utilize multiple versions, either one at a time or side by side, it also brings all of the resource materials into full access, along side.  The powerful capabilities applied to the resources will blow you away.  For instance, if you are studying Luke chapter 6, and you decide to utilize the perspective of Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible(Jamieson, Fausset and Brown), or Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible [Volume Index], not only do you have access to these resources right next to the text, the resource will open precisely on the same book & chapter of the bible.  When you click on an individual verse number in the text, the resource in turn goes precisely to the position in the commentary that addresses the verse that was just clicked.  See the example below:

Amazing Bible Study Resource

Never has it been so easy for the clergy & layman alike, to have access to such a wealth of Christian knowledge, with the power to utilize that knowledge in such a powerful, quick and simple manner.

This wonderful resource is provided free of charge, but it’s certainly not free of cost.  If you find this valuable, then I would encourage you to click on the Give section (http://www.ccel.org/give) to find out how you can help support this amazing tool.

Davy Nanson football recruiting highlights

Forgive the self promotion here.  My son, Davy, is a talented athlete who wants to play college football.  Here is his recruiting web site with stats, video highlights, etc.

http://recruit-match.ncsasports.org/fasttrack/client/RecruitingProfile.do?method=getRecruitingProfile&clientID=763145

Davy Nanson returns a kick 90 yards for a touchdown against Midland Christian, eventual TAPPS Div. II state champs

New song by Matt Papa: download it for free

Terrific new song by Matt Papa – “It is Finished”

This is about as good as it gets, I highly recommend this one.  You can download it for free at the link below.  I’ve also linked the YouTube video, warning: if you watch the video, have your hanky ready and you may not want small children around, it contains some pretty graphic scenes from “Passion of the Christ”

link to Matt’s site: http://mattpapa.com/2012/03/it-is-finished-2/

YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LyKwgYhP6I

A post worth reading. I’m always amazed when a minister fails to clearly proclaim the Gospel of redemption through Jesus Christ alone at a funeral. What better object lesson could exist than that of a lifeless body lying in a casket?

A few years ago, I attended the funeral of an acquaintance who had passed away after a long illness.  The funeral was at a local mega-church, supposedly evangelical, and the closest the pastor came to proclaiming the Gospel was this one, ambiguous phrase: “…let Jesus penetrate your life…”  I don’t even know that that means and I’m sure that the lost that were in attendance didn’t understand the concept of their sin and the reason for Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross.

Chief of the least

Note: This is not an indictment on the eternal state of Whitney Houston’s soul. God will do right regarding what everyone deserves in the end.

I happened upon Whitney Houston’s funeral service yesterday while channel surfing. I only caught the last 45 minutes or so, but the last message caught my ear.

Pastor Marvin Winans delivered the eulogy at New Hope Baptist Church; Winans seems like a passionate articulate leader. But with stars from around the world in attendance and an audience of  millions in television attendance, he  dropped the proverbial gospel ball a bit. To his credit, when bringing up Matthew 6:33, he did stress the “Kingdom of God and His righteousness” before all things be added to us. But righteousness was equated to merely right living, not the righteousness that is only given through the perfect work and person of Jesus Christ. Pastor Winans last sermon point he stressed to the listening masses was this:…

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Excellent lecture series in general, but this one is a must for reformed thinkers.

Setting the forest ablaze

It seems that every time I think that I’ve made any progress at all in my walk, my tongue gets in the way and backwards I tumble.  Last night was a perfect example.  Without going into detail, I let the silliest issue get in the way of my relationship with the person on this earth that should expect & receive the most kindness, patience, grace and love that I could ever give to any person.  I allowed a simple statement to provide justification for tearing into this person (yes, my wife) like a coyote on a house cat.  I use the coyote analogy because we have an ongoing problem with a pack of coyotes that roams our area of town and this pack is notorious for feasting on small pets & children.  I’ve sent a few coyotes to their doom with 00 buck, but I digress (just kidding about the children).

I was attempting to have a morning devotional and the Lord reminded me of the unpleasant way in which I spoke to my wife last night by bringing to mind James chapter 3:

…How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (ESV)

While the tongue lashing I gave my wife was obviously inappropriate, what’s even worse are the subtle ways in which I often find myself using my tongue to sin against God & man.  That subtle, seemingly lighthearted quip that is supposed to be humorous, but quite often is actually hurtful because of the little bit of truth that it might contain is one of my specialties.  That little sting of sarcasm that I can work into a simple statement or question,  which is sometimes so subtle that you might not be quite sure that the sarcasm is actually intended, is another one of my specialties.  This sarcasm “thing” is the one at which I’m most talented.  Of course, I grew up in a family full of master sarcasmologists, each of whom could have easily won the world sarcasm title, against any and all comers, if there was such a contest, but that’s no excuse.  How ridiculous that I let my tongue do so much damage, when God can use it for His glory, “…these things ought not to be…”

Dear Lord, I sadly confess the way in which I use my tongue to tear down rather than to edify.  Thank you for your forgiveness.  Please help me to transform my mind with your word, in a way that transforms my actions, so that I may walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

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