Tuesday, 25 October 2011
Wednesday, 19 October 2011
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
Preachers talk about the need to have their own hearts prepared by the Lord. I feel that need especially when it comes to evangelistic preaching. Please pray for me, that the Lord would refresh me in an awareness of the reality of Christ’s love, and of the serious, urgent offer of the Gospel. Thanks.
In brief, we saw how Abraham and Sarah buckle under the pressure of simply trusting in God’s promise that He will give them a son, and try to engineer their own miracle child. After Hagar is pregnant, relationships collapse into finger-pointing, abuse and misery. Then Hagar encounters Abraham’s God, getting a word of encouragement about her child – though not Abraham’s promised child, after all - and receiving a tough word about going back to life with her mistress. By the end of the chapter we’re in no doubt about two things: they’re in a mess, but God’s grace will certainly prevail in the lives of this dysfunctional but elect family.
The echoes of Genesis 3 are so clear: the couple disobey, the man being more culpable as the original recipient of the Word, whilst being the one without the courage to obey it. Relationships then turn sour, and tears are plentiful. They have to live with the pain their sin has brought upon them. Nevertheless, God has a plan. To a broken world, then and now, God will keep His promise. Jesus is the Promised Son, Whose coming was worth all tears and waiting. His coming again will be the end of all of our miseries, and our welcome into the true Promised Land. Will we learn patience with Abraham until that great day comes, and rest in the promises of His grace?
Monday, 17 October 2011
Friday, 14 October 2011
'There He was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.' (Mark 9.2-3)
I don’t have favourite Archbishops, and not many more top Bishops, though Hooper, Ridley, Cranmer, Grindal and Ryle all deserve most honourable mentions, as does the still-living Wallace Benn. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) I do read with real profit, though. As I was preparing for last Sunday's sermon I was glad to be reminded of him, as he makes this comment on the Transfiguration:
‘He gave a preview of His glory, and of the glory of those who are His own.’
A preview of His Glory. In other words, Peter, James and John beheld for those moments on the mountain, what they are beholding now in heaven: shining deity, and transfigured humanity in the person of Jesus Christ. The glory they glimpsed with terror on that day, they now gaze on with awe and deep joy. They see Him as He is. And we will see Jesus one day, too, and for all eternity. The sight will fill us with admiration, unspeakable joy, peace, love, wonder, and the deepest, purest and truest worship.
We shall be sharers of this glory. 'We shall see Him as He is,' says John; and 'we shall be like Him' (1 John 3.1-3). Like Him in heaven, not in His power, but in His perfection. He shall fill our sight, and fill our minds and our hearts, our desires and loves. There will be no atom of our being where sin and its effects can ever lurk once we are in our eternal state. His glory shall shine out in heaven, and shine through our lives, so that we want, do and say in eternity will be a celebration of His glory. That will be our transfiguration.
In this world, though, deep down most of us want some sort of transfiguration. We want to be lit up with light, so that people will marvel at our gifts / godliness / significance, intelligence / good looks / sporting prowess etc, (delete as applicable to you!). Few of us, though, will ever get that moment when others will see in us what we want them to. We will struggle on, with our highs and our many lows, our successes and our spectacular failures. But that is OK, because of what awaits us.
Thursday, 6 October 2011
Remember the perfections of that God whom you worship, that He is a Spirit, and therefore to be worshipped in spirit and truth; and that He is most great and terrible, and therefore to be worshipped with seriousness and reverence, and not to be dallied with, or served with toys or lifeless lip-service; and that He is most holy, pure, and jealous, and therefore to be purely worshipped; and that He is still present with you, and all things are naked and open to Him with whom we have to do. The knowledge of God, and the remembrance of His all-seeing presence, are the most powerful means against hypocrisy.
Richard Baxter on
Richard Baxter onPsalm 62.11-12
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
Excellent wisdom and instruction from last Sunday's Catechism Questions:
Heidelberg Catechism on the Sixth Commandment
105. Question: What is God’s will for you in the Sixth Commandment?
Answer: I am not to belittle, insult, hate, or kill my neighbour – not by my thoughts, my words, my look or gesture, and certainly not by actual deeds – and I am not to be party to this in others; rather, I am to put away all desire for revenge. I am not to harm or recklessly endanger myself, either. Prevention of murder is also why government is armed with the sword.
106. Question: Does this commandment refer only to killing?
Answer: By forbidding murder God teaches us that He hates the root of murder: envy, anger, vindictiveness. In God’s sight all such are murder.
107. Question: Is it enough, then, that we do not kill our neighbour in any such way?
Answer: No. By condemning envy, hatred, and anger God tells us to love our neighbours as ourselves, to be patient, peace-loving, gentle, merciful, and friendly to them, to protect them from harm as much as we can, and to do good even to our enemies.