Sunday, 31 May 2009

Hallowed be your name

5. We must take special care that our profession is sincere and that we are as good as we profess to be. Otherwise:

a. Your profession will condemn you

b. It will dishonour the truth you deceitfully profess (Romans 2v3, 23-25)

6. Don’t let your profession be so much about your own sincerity as of God and his excellencies; and do it to God’s praise, not your own.

‘boast not of yourselves, but of God and Christ, and the promise, and the hope of true believers’

Notes on Baxter's Christian Directory, Part 3, Chapter 4 (p563)

Saturday, 30 May 2009

The mightiest can fall ... and be raised too!

O Father of heaven!

O Son of God, Redeemer of the world!

O Holy Ghost, three persons all one God!

have mercy on me, most wretched caitiff and miserable sinner. I have offended both against heaven and earth, more than my tongue can express.

Whither then may I go, or whither may I flee? To heaven I may be ashamed to lift up mine eyes and in earth I find no place of refuge or succor.

To Thee, therefore, O Lord, do I run;
to Thee do I humble myself, saying,
O Lord, my God, my sins be great,
but yet have mercy upon me for Thy great mercy.

The great mystery that God became man, was not wrought for little or few offences.

Thou didst not give Thy Son, O Heavenly Father, unto death for small sins only, but for all the greatest sins of the world, so that the sinner return to Thee with his whole heart, as I do at present.

Wherefore, have mercy on me, O God, whose property is always to have mercy, have mercy upon me, O Lord, for Thy great mercy.

I crave nothing for my own merits, but for Thy name's sake, that it may be hallowed thereby, and for Thy dear Son, Jesus Christ's sake.

And now therefore,

O Father of Heaven,
hallowed be Thy name, etc.

[Thomas Cranmer, repenting of his denial of Christ before the 'congregation' in St Mary's Church, Oxford, on 21st March, 1556.
Not long after this he was burnt as a heretic near Balliol College]

p 248 Fox's Book of Martyrs

In season and out of season

4. We must understand the season of each sort of profession so that we don’t omit the season or do it unseasonably:

a. Profession by baptism, Lord’s Supper and church assemblies must be done in their season as directed by the ordained leaders of the churches.

b. Profession ‘by an innocent, blameless, obedient life is never out of season.’

c. Profession by conversation one to one and through acts of generousity/service etc. must be as the opportunities arise.

d. The whole tenor of the believer’s life should be holy and heavenly, fighting against sin & adorned with good works, that it is evident in all and to all that he is hoping in the life to come.

Notes on Baxter's Christian Directory, Part 3, Chapter 4 (p563)

Friday, 29 May 2009

Word & Deed

3. We must understand the way we profess true religion:

a. By words and by actions.

b. The solemn profession of ‘God’s public ordinances’ and an occasional or more private profession ‘by conference or conversation’. (I think by this he means in the first part – going to church, baptism and the Lord’s Supper especially – and by the second – the way in our ‘private lives’ we live as public Christians, observed by all around us in all we do.)

In all these ways must true religion be professed.

Notes on Baxter's Christian Directory Part 3: Chapter 4 (p563)

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Camels and Carrots

2. We need to understand what it is in true religion we are to boldly profess.
‘It is not every lesser truth much less every opinion of your own in which you are confident that you are wiser than your brethren'

(Romans 14v22; 2 Timothy 2v14).

It is the chief matters: the being and perfections of God himself, his love to man and power over him and man’s subjection and obligations to God; the person and office and work, the benefits of our Redeemer, with all the duty that we owe him and all the hopes we have in him. It is the joy of the saints, the hatred of sin and the misery of the wicked.
'These and such as these are things that we are called to profess; yet so as not to deny or renounce the smallest truth.’

Notes from Part 3: Chapter 4, ( p 563)

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Our faith must not be JUST a private matter

Notes taken on Baxter's Christian Directory, Part 3: Chapter 4 (p562):

1. We must understand how great a duty it is to profess true religion to others. We mustn’t fall into the trap of saying that faith is only a private matter.


a. Our tongues and bodies are made to exercise and show forth the acknowledgement and adoration of God which is in our hearts. (cf. Isaiah 45v23-25; Phil 2v9-11; Isaiah 44v5)

b. Public gathering together and worship are purposed by God so that in them we might make open profession of our religion.

c. We need to profess our faith in order to glorify God because men cannot see our hearts to know whether we believe in God or not. They need to hear or see. (Phil 1v20;Matthew 5v14-16)

d. Our profession is the means of saving others (Phil 2v12-14)

e. God has required our open and bold profession of him with the strictest commands (1 Peter 5v3, Romans 10v9-10, Mark 8v38)

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Nothing wasted

When Adoniram Judson entered Burma in July, 1813 it was a hostile and utterly unreached place.

But Judson went there with his 23-year-old wife of 17 months. He was 24 years old and he worked there for 38 years until his death at age 61, with one trip home to New England after 33 years. The price he paid was immense in the emotional/spiritual and physical pain he endured to his death.

He said, "If I had not felt certain that every additional trial was ordered by infinite love and mercy, I could not have survived my accumulated sufferings."

This was the unshakable confidence of all three of his wives, Ann (or Nancy), Sarah, and Emily.

For example, Ann, who married Judson on February 5, 1812 and left with him on the boat on February 19 at age 23, bore three children to Adoniram. All of them died. The first baby, nameless, was born dead just as they sailed from India to Burma. The second child, Roger Williams Judson, lived 17 months and died. The third, Maria Elizabeth Butterworth Judson, lived to be two, and outlived her mother by six months and then died.

When her second child died, Ann Judson wrote,
"Our hearts were bound up with this child; we felt he was our earthly all, our only source of innocent recreation in this heathen land. But God saw it was necessary to remind us of our error, and to strip us of our only little all. O, may it not be vain that he has done it. May we so improve it that he will stay his hand and say 'It is enough.'"
Today there are close to about 3,700 congregations of Baptists in Myanmar who trace their origin to this man's labors of love.

More about the extraordinary life of Adoniram Judson and his wives, all of whom died serving Christ in very tough circumstances in Burma, can be found in this sermon by John Piper. © Desiring God. It is seriously worth reading (here)!


Rob's website has had an upgrade!
Lots of amazing photos of people, animals and sights from around the world to be found here!

Monday, 25 May 2009


It's a long way from Tipton, but the talks (or most of them) seem to be going up on here, so the 'freebie' extends to us here too!!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

No means of measure

We are looking at Matthew 26 in the evenings at church and I was reminded of this wonderful sermon about King Jesus, his glory and victory. At so many points I say 'Amen'!

But in the place called Gethsemane (v36) we see Jesus utterly overwhelmed and in need of comfort (in some sense). And that too is my King!

"That's My King"

The late Dr. S. M. Lockeridge, a pastor from San Diego, California said these words in a sermon in Detroit in 1976:

My King was born King. The Bible says He's a Seven Way King. He's the King of the Jews - that's an Ethnic King. He's the King of Israel - that's a National King. He's the King of righteousness. He's the King of the ages. He's the King of Heaven. He's the King of glory. He's the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords. Now that's my King. Well, I wonder if you know Him. Do you know Him? Don't try to mislead me. Do you know my King?

David said the Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. My King is the only one of whom there are no means of measure that can define His limitless love. No far seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of the shore of His supplies. No barriers can hinder Him from pouring out His blessing. He's enduringly strong. He's entirely sincere. He's eternally steadfast. He's immortally graceful. He's imperially powerful. He's impartially merciful. That's my King.

He's God's Son. He's the sinner's saviour. He's the centerpiece of civilization. He stands alone in Himself. He's honest. He's unique. He's unparalleled. He's unprecedented. He's supreme. He's pre-eminent. He's the grandest idea in literature. He's the highest personality in philosophy. He's the supreme problem in higher criticism. He's the fundamental doctrine of historic theology. He's the carnal necessity of spiritual religion. That's my King.

He's the miracle of the age. He's the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him. He's the only one able to supply all our needs simultaneously. He supplies strength for the weak. He's available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He's the Almighty God who guides and keeps all his people. He heals the sick. He cleanses the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharged debtors. He delivers the captives. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent and He beautifies the meek. That's my King.

Do you know Him? Well, my King is a King of knowledge. He's the wellspring of wisdom. He's the doorway of deliverance. He's the pathway of peace. He's the roadway of righteousness. He's the highway of holiness. He's the gateway of glory. He's the master of the mighty. He's the captain of the conquerors. He's the head of the heroes. He's the leader of the legislatures. He's the overseer of the overcomers. He's the governor of governors. He's the prince of princes. He's the King of kings and He's the Lord of lords. That's my King.

His office is manifold. His promise is sure. His light is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I wish I could describe Him to you . . . but He's indescribable. That's my King.

He's incomprehensible, He's invincible, and He is irresistible. I'm coming to tell you this, that the heavens of heavens can't contain Him, let alone some man explain Him. You can't get Him out of your mind. You can't get Him off of your hands. You can't outlive Him and you can't live without Him. The Pharisees couldn't stand Him, but they found out they couldn't stop Him. Pilate couldn't find any fault in Him. The witnesses couldn't get their testimonies to agree about Him. Herod couldn't kill Him. Death couldn't handle Him and the grave couldn't hold Him. That's my King.

He always has been and He always will be. I'm talking about the fact that He had no predecessor and He'll have no successor. There's nobody before Him and there'll be nobody after Him. You can't impeach Him and He's not going to resign. That's my King! That's my King!

Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory. Well, all the power belongs to my King. We're around here talking about black power and white power and green power, but in the end all that matters is God's power. Thine is the power. Yeah. And the glory. We try to get prestige and honor and glory for ourselves, but the glory is all His. Yes. Thine is the Kingdom and the power and glory, forever and ever and ever and ever. How long is that? Forever and ever and ever and ever. . . And when you get through with all of the ever's, then . . . Amen!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Where is neutral? distrust the sources because they show evidence of theology and exegisis is like distrusting an astronomer's report because the observations were not conducted during the hours of daylight. (p541)

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Of Mice and Old Men

A garden of tears

JC Ryle comments on Matthew 26v36-46

'It is a passage which undoubtedly contains deep and mysterious things. We ought to read it with reverence and wonder, for there is much in it which we cannot fully comprehend.' (p259, Matthew, JC Ryle)

...'The extent to which Satan was allowed to tempt our Lord at this time; the degree of suffering, both mental and bodily, which an entirely sinless person like our Lord would endure in bearing the sin of all mankind; the manner in which the human and divine wills both operated in our Lord's experience, since he was at all times as really man as God - all these are points which I prefer to leave alone. It is easy on such questions to 'darken counsel with words without knowledge.' (p260-261, Matthew, JC Ryle)

mmm.... so that gives me pause for thought ....
'The Socinian utterly denies the doctrine of atonement and says that our Lord was only a man, and not God. Yet on his view Jesus showed less firmness in suffering than many men have shown! Some modern theologians say that our Lord's death was not a propitiation and expiation for sin, but only a great example of self-sacrifice. On this view, the intense agony of body and mind here described is equally unaccountable. Both views appear to me alike dishonouring to our Lord Jesus Christ, and utterly unscriptural and unsatisfactory. I believe in the agony in the garden to be a knot that nothing can untie except the old doctrine of our sin being really imputed to Christ, and Christ being made sin and a curse for us.' (p260, Matthew, JC Ryle)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

1000 days

One thousand days. That’s roughly how long it takes for a newborn baby, muling and puking in his mother’s arms, to be miraculously transformed into a walking, talking little boy, bursting to break out of domesticity and into the wider world. If all’s gone well in those thousand days, he’ll have moved far beyond his native Stone Age heritage.

He’ll have a growing understanding not only of the natural world and the fundamentals of human nature but also of his own technological age, and he’ll have more than 500 words to help him to learn more and tell excitedly about his findings. But it depends — particularly in the first 18 months — on personal care. In a society obsessed with systemised solutions, we’ve forgotten the significance of love in raising happy, balanced children. It’s led us to accept practices which — in a healthy, wealthy society, after more than 50 years of peace and prosperity — are frankly shameful.

Sue Palmer in the Times today writes on Why nursery schools are bad for little boys. I enjoyed this article, which makes some telling and empathetic observations about the difficulties of parenting in this 'modern' age.
It suprises me though that some of these comments need to be made at all in a broadsheet. Surely a child could tell us most of this. Why are we so slow to see it?

The British economy has now adjusted to women’s independence and the cost of living has gone up to take account of their earnings. Taking several years off the career ladder and/or losing several years’ pay is a luxury many mothers no longer feel they can afford. In the space of a couple of decades, a huge daycare industry has grown up to fill the childcare gap. And much of that industry consists of institutional care.

There is a world of difference between personal loving attention in a familiar domestic environment and the sort of care that can be provided by a day nursery for children under 3. Unless staff ratios are extremely high, there’s little chance of much one-on-one attention and no one is likely to be as attuned to a particular infant’s wavelength as his or her own dedicated carer.

in the UK where many private nurseries are run on a shoestring, staff are often low-paid and poorly qualified, and there may be a worryingly high turnover. To ensure a baseline of “good practice”, the Government has introduced a legal framework of accountability procedures, which means that nursery workers are kept busy with bureaucracy and box-ticking. This eats into the time available for personal interaction with the children and lowers morale, leading to more staff absences and problems with turnover.

scores on school tests are not the only measure of wellbeing in early childhood. Indeed, focusing on the academic at this stage seems rather to miss the point: long-term academic success, like long-term emotional resilience and social competence, is rooted in a young child’s sense that he is loved and secure.

Child-rearing wisdom has traditionally been handed down through the female line, and cross-generational contacts between both genders are desperately needed in the 21st century. In a fragmented modern world, it’s difficult for young parents to make informal, non-professional contacts with other mothers and surrogate grandparents — but it shouldn’t be beyond the combined power of the web and local children’s services to match people of similar profiles who’d have a good chance of hitting it off and forging long-term relationships.

If boys are to receive the high-quality personal attention they need at the start of their lives, we have to find 21stcentury ways of tipping the domestic balance away from systems and institutions and back to personal interaction and parental collaboration. Because without the love, learning and language that comes from personal care, boys are more likely than girls to grow “colder, sadder, more stressed and more aggressive” with every passing year.

In her call for local organisations to be actively involved in 'making personal interaction and parental collaboration' available she speaks of the involvement of a wider network of family and friends, and against the fragmentation of our society. Good for her - even if she seems to only have a pragmatic basis for this.

But what about the role of a local church?

You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no-one will malign the word of God. 6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. (Titus 2:1-6)

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Friday, 15 May 2009

Trapped by Our Own Desires

'Edmund was already feeling uncomfortable from having eaten too many sweets, and when he heard that the Lady he had made friends with was a dangerous witch he felt even more uncomfortable. But he still wanted to taste Turkish Delight again more than he wanted anything else.' (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe CS Lewis, p42)

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The food of the gods

'Renewed humanity does not consume ambrosia; mundane though it may be, the kingdom of heaven is populated by bread eaters. Beyond that, Jesus chose a food that does not occur naturally. Bread is a uniquely human food; as Samuel Johnson observed, animals think and feel but no beast is a cook. Bread production is thus a further clue to the Christian conception of man's place in the creation.' (p173 Blessed are the Hungry, Peter Leithart)

Monday, 11 May 2009

Death and resurrection

In chapters 26-28 Matthew presents Jesus not merely as the suffering prophet, but as the embodiment of the suffering city, bereft of inhabitants. As a result, the final chapters show that Jesus experiences the exile and restoration of Israel herself in His death and resurrection. The disciples, particularly Peter, play an important role in these chapters; they flee from Jesus, leaving Him wholly isolated before the combined forces of the Jewish Sanhedrin and the Roman Pilate (cf. 26:56; 26:58-75). Jesus is subjected to the Gentile power, as Israel was to the Babylonians, and on the cross He cries out that He has been forsaken even by His God (27:46). As NT Wright has argued on other grounds, on the cross Jesus suffers the curse of Israel’s, and humanity’s exile, in order to bear that curse away and return humanity to the presence of God.
(p36 Jesus as Israel: The Typological Structure of Matthew’s Gospel, Peter Leithart)

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Friday, 8 May 2009

The hungry, fed

(Sorry for being offline for a while .... computer troubles have knocked me off course for a bit. Grrr....! But it is good to be back.)

Few individuals leap from the pages of history with more profound irony attached to their lives than does the Lord Jesus Christ; and Matthew was aware of this fact. He noted that Jesus experienced hunger (4:2) but fed others (14:13-21; 15:29-39). Jesus grew weary (8:24) and gave rest to others (11:28). Although He was King Messiah, He paid tribute (17:24-27). He was called the devil but cast out demons (12:22-32). He died the death of a sinner but came to save His people from their sins (1:21). Sold for thirty pieces of silver (26:14-16), He gave His life a ransom for many (20:28). He who would not turn stones to bread for himself (4:3, 4) gave His own body as bread for the people (26:26). (God with Us – Carson, p153)

Wilson Review from Collision Movie on Vimeo.