Jottings – Righteousness & Peace Kiss

Jottings Pencil Red

Commenting on Psalm 85:10 “For ‘truth,’ which required death (Gen. 2:17), and ‘mercy,’ which can think of nothing but life and blessing, are here together. Death is endured according to truth, and the culprit given life and liberty according to mercy. ‘Righteousness’ also kisses ‘peace,’ and ‘peace’ kisses ‘righteousness.’ Instead of being offended at each other’s presence, they welcome each other. For righteousness is more than honoured by that which He who makes peace offers to it on the cross; and peace is deeply satisfied, when it sees that it can publish itself to sinners on so sure a title as honoured and accomplished righteousness. And all these glories will shine in consistent beauty in that kingdom which this wondrous cross introduces. All is harmony where all was strife before.”

 

J.G. Bellett, Short Meditations On The Psalms; electronic ed. accessed on 5/19/14 here: http://www.stempublishing.com/authors/bellett/Psalms.html#a85

 

Thanks Keith!

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Jottings – The Full Height of New Testament Christian Worship

Jottings Pencil Red

Commenting on Psalm 28:2 KJV “‘Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto Thee, when I life up my hands toward Thy holy oracle.’ And now we get a suggestion here of the difference between Old Testament worship and New Testament worship. The Old Testament saint knew nothing of what you and I through grace should know and understand. In all of the Old Testament dispensation God was hidden behind a heavy veil. He dwelt in the thick darkness and only the high priest could push that aside and enter once a year, bearing the blood of atonement. But now it is altogether different. The Old Testament saint said, ‘I lift up my hands toward Thy holy oracle.’ But what about the New Testament saint? Look at Hebrews 10:19-22 KJV and see how different our position is, ‘Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water,’ or with ‘the water of purification,’ referring to the nineteenth chapter of Numbers, undoubtedly. Look at the difference. The Old Testament saint was truly a child of God, truly forgiven, but he knew nothing of immediate access into the holiest because the veil was not yet rent. The precious blood of Christ had not yet been shed, and so these Psalms do not rise to the full height of New Testament worship. That is why we need to be careful when we try to use [the Pslams] as vehicles of Christian praise, testimony, and adoration. The tone of worship never rises to the New Testament heights until we enter into the holiest through the value of the precious blood of Jesus. The Old Testament saint says, ‘I lift up my hands toward Thy holy oracle.’ Suppose I were to try to sing that today. I will not do anything of the kind. The oracle was the holiest of all. I belong in the holiest of all. I enter, in all the infinite value of the precious atoning blood of Christ. On the other hand, a great many of the Psalms are beautiful expressions of praise and worship, but they all reach just a certain height. You get the full height of Christian worship in the Revelation where we read, ‘Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever’ (Rev. 1:5-6 KJV). I wish I could write music. I would like to write an anthem on those words, for that is what we are going to sing in Heaven”

 

Harry Ironside, Psalms. (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers; 1952), pp. 169-170.

 

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Jottings – Psalm 23

Referring to Psalm 23:1-5:
1. I will not want – Providence
2. I will not fear – Confidence
3. I will dwell – A Home with God

John Thomson, from the handwritten notes of a funeral message found in the papers of my late grandfather.

 

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2013 – The Year Of The Great Comets?

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1 ESV

Comet in the night skyAccording to astronomers there will be two major celestial events that could make 2013 known as “The Year Of The Comets.” Over the course of the year two different comets are predicted to become visible to the unaided eye from most areas on Earth.

The first of the two comets, 2014 L4 (PanSTARRS), should become visible sometime during the months of March and April. The site will be one that most living people have never seen.

However, the second of the two comets (named Comet Ison) could produce a sight so spectacular that no one in generations has seen! How spectacular? Well if the astronomers’ predictions are correct the comet could even outshine a full moon in the night sky!!

I find the prospect of this second comet to be extremely exciting. Unfortunately, we will need to exercise a bit of patience as this event is not predicted to take place until late November at the earliest.

Unfortunately, many will fail to ascribe glory to the Creator of the universe for these spectacular events. Nevertheless, the truth of God’s Word remains unchanged: ‘The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1.

Are you wondering if there really is a God? Maybe you’re looking for a sign from God? If so just look to the sky! Because the heavens declare His glory! and proclaims His handiwork!! In 2013 the sky will proclaim– even scream– His handiwork.

 

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Source: The Independent

Photo credit: NASA

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The Heavens Declare…

eso1242

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1 ESV

The European Southern Observatory recently released an absolutely ginormous 9 gigapixel image showing over 84 million stars from the ‘central bulge’ of our own Milky Way Galaxy. Link: eso1242 Photo Release

I find this to be incredibly staggering… according to Wired Magazine the image is 108,200 by 81,500 pixels in size. If the full resolution 24.6 gigabyte image were to be printed it would measure 30 feet tall and 23 feet wide… and yet the image only captures a relatively small portion of only one galaxy.

How anyone could contemplate this with an open mind** and then walk away unconvinced that there is an all powerful creator God is beyond me.

 

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**Because atheists have eliminated even the possibility of the existence of a supreme being– atheists, by definition, do not have an open mind.

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Entry Level Theological Truth [28]

“For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5

The title of Tears For Fears’ 80’s pop anthem “Everybody wants to rule the world” hits on a basic truth about humanity: people innately desire to command their own lives and circumstances. Of course, the reality is far different. Many live like the embodiment of Henley’s skeptically poetic lines:

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
1

 

Yet the sad truth is that men are not in control of their fate, lives, or world. This inner yearning for control with its correlative quest for personal knowledge and enlightenment are artifacts from the fall. From the garden of Eden onwards, Satan has peddled the lie to humanity “…you will be like God”2, holding forth the promise of self-sufficiency for wayward humanity.

 


A Faustian Temptation



 

The serpent implies to Eve that the Almighty does not want competition by saying this: “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (v. 5.) In other words, Adam and she will know what God knows and be able to decide for themselves concerning the nature of good and evil. Contemporary people also find this lie attractive. They erroneously believe that they are their own arbiter of truth and can determine good and evil for themselves. But God is the standard of truth in Himself; apart from Him humans do not have the capacity to escape evil and achieve lasting, eternal good.

Of course, the Lord does not want man to be ignorant; He is a God who reveals Himself and gives light through His Word (Ps. 119:130.) He wants people to walk in the light with Him (1 Jn. 1:5-7.) That is, God wants them to discover knowledge in Him. Good is what agrees with His character and will (these things are explicitly revealed by what He commands and teaches in His Word.) In Christ – the One “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3) – believers find the truth about God and themselves (Jn. 14:6.)

 


Rejecting Destructive Independence



 

The essence of sin is rebellion against God – a treasonous act of disloyalty to the One who made mankind. When one sins, they dethrone God in their life and place themselves squarely on the throne. As Stott pointedly said: “Every sin is a surrender to the primeval temptation to become like God.”3 When they sin, they are saying in effect: “I know better than God what is good for me; abstaining from this act would be evil – I must do it.”

 


Sharing In The Life That God Has For Us



 

Christian sanctification is the process by which our Creator and Redeemer works out the new life in His new creature’s lives. The more that the saints walk with Christ, the more they learn to deny self in favor of obedience to God. A nineteenth century preacher put it well:

The first object from which our heavenly Father weans His child is self. Of all idols, he finds self the hardest to abandon. When man in Paradise aspired to be as God, God was dethroned from his soul, and the creature became as a deity to itself. From that moment, the idolatry of self has been the great and universal crime of our race, and will continue to be until Christ comes to restore all things. In the soul of the regenerate, Divine grace has done much to dethrone this idol, and to reinstate God. The work, however, is but partially accomplished. The dishonored and rejected rival is not eager to relinquish his throne, and yield to the supreme control and sway of another. There is much yet to be achieved before this still indwelling and unconquered foe lays down his weapons in entire subjection to the will and the authority of that Savior, whose throne and rights he has usurped…The moment we learn to cease from ourselves–from our own wisdom, and power, and importance–the Lord appears and takes us up. Then His wisdom is displayed, His power is put forth, His glory is developed, and His great name gets to itself all the praise. It was not until God had placed Moses in the cleft of the rock, that His glory passed by. Moses must be hid, that God might be all.4

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1William Ernest Henley, “Invictus”; found here: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/invictus/ Accessed on 6/5/12.

2Or “gods” according to some translations; either rendering of elohim is permissible in Hebrew. If one thinks of Elohim as a proper title for God – as in Gen. 1:1 – than it is “God” (NKJV, JND, & ESV.) If, however, the serpent was using the term generically of Adam and Eve, then “gods” would be the correct translation (KJV; “divine beings” NET; see Ps. 82:1, 6 – especially note the margin of the NKJV.) It is a question of emphasis: is he saying they will be like God, emphasizing that they could achieve the same level as their Creator? Or is he affirming that they will be little gods who can decide things for themselves apart from their Maker? Either way, it is a sinful declaration of independence from the God who is the truth.

3J.R.W. Stott, Christ the Controversialist. London: Tyndale Press; Downers Grove: IVP, 1970, p. 207.

4Octavius Winslow, from the blog: http://octaviuswinslow.org/ Accessed on 7/30/10.

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Entry Level Theological Truth [23]

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman,’Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?’” Genesis 3:1

Among human beings, it is a common sin to discount the goodness of their Creator. Often when God is brought into any conversation, it is merely to complain about what’s wrong with the world. Many people live under the misconception that God wants to rob them of any enjoyment they might have on this woeful planet. This brings to mind the journalist H.L. Mencken’s definition of a Puritan: someone who fears that somebody somewhere is having a good time. Many people think God is like that. Not surprisingly, therefore, the first temptation to Adam and Eve came in the form of a question ascribing harshness to the Almighty’s provision for His creatures.

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Jottings – Lord, Break Me!

Jottings

Some years ago, in a missionary prayer meeting, I heard an earnest young believer pray, “Lord, break me!” The request jarred me. Up to that point in my life, I had never prayed that prayer. And I wasn’t sure I was ready to pray it even then. But those words, flowing hissing hot from the heart of that young disciple, awakened me to the tremendous need of brokenness in my own life. They created an awareness that this was a fantastically vital area in the spiritual realm. And now they have become the constant prayer of an aspiring heart: “Lord, Break Me!

William MacDonald, True Discipleship, Port Colborne, ON: Gospel Folio Press, 2003. p. 168.

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:17

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Entry Level Theological Truth [13]

Apple

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17

People sometimes caricature the rift between Adam and Eve and their Creator as being a matter of stolen “apples.” Of course, this betrays an ignorance of the Scripture’s sophisticated narrative of the history of mankind’s progenitors. The tree was not an apple tree, but rather “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” What is more, people often criticize God for seemingly overreacting

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Entry Level Theological Truth [12]

The Alps

“And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Genesis 2:9

There is a common misconception about God: many people erroneously assume that He does not want them to enjoy life – that He is a sort of cosmic-killjoy. Nonetheless, from the beginning of creation the Almighty demonstrates His desire to bless mankind and give them lasting joy. The problem is that humans have a skewed understanding of well-being. Many of the things that we love in this world are self-destructive. The drunk loves his drink; the addict loves her

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