LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Thanks, Mark!

So, the other day I switched over to the 'new' Blogger, which is Google, so I had one heck of a time replying to the invite! I had to actually set up a new Blogger account. The whole process has left me dazed and confused. But I finally made it, and I want to say thank you, Mark, for the honor of being invited to share your blog! :) Like Wayne, I've not met Mark in real life, but have developed a great friendship thru blogging ... well... and a shared viewed of the doctrines of grace and reformed theology.

Mark and Wayne are the heavyweights! I'm just the girl. OK, maybe not just the girl. But they are leaps and bounds ahead of me in the study of God's sovereignty. I pray I will do justice to this great blog!

Happy New Year to you both, and to all who read. May God see fit to grant us His abundant mercy and grace in 2007. (And Mark, I'm praying for your dad.)

The effectual calling of Jazzycat’s servant W.H.

Before I became the servant of Jazzycat, I had never cared for cats and did not want anything, whatsoever, to do with them. I was aware of how other people adored them, but that did not influence my thinking one bit; nor did it stimulate my interest enough to investigate why people adored them. I resisted allowing any inside pets into our home, especially cats.

However, nine years ago I relented and allowed two kittens to be brought into our home. One day, soon after Jazzycat (Jasmine) and Cuffy arrived, I was sitting on the couch with my legs resting on the floor. Both legs were straight, together and at a slight angle as I slouched on the couch. Tiny Jazzy came slowly toward me and climbed up and onto my feet. I remained still as she inched her way slowly up my legs and kept coming past my knees, waist and crawled onto my stomach. As I remained completely still, she kept crawling until she was on my chest very close to my head. We were eyeball to eyeball as she made a move directly toward my face and lips. I turned my head slightly to avoid contact on my lips and she rubbed her head against my face several times. My heart melted and in that instant, I was effectually called to an irrevocable bond with a five-week-old kitten named Jazzy. My heart, attitude, interest, and affections, toward cats in general and Jazzy in particular, were completely changed. I was nothing short of a new person in my feelings toward these creatures that I once disliked.

I believe this illustrates what happens on a spiritual level when the Holy Spirit quickens and makes alive sinners that are totally unresponsive and, in fact, dead and hostile to God. I am also familiar on a personal basis with the effectual calling of God as I spent about forty years being an agnostic and hostile toward God. I was blind and am convinced that it was not on my own that I came to God but, rather, it was the work of the Holy Spirit giving me an effectual call. My testimony is a little long to give now, but I can say with certainty, that during a period of seeking, some dramatic changes occurred in my life that I cannot explain. Scripture that had always been boring foolishness to me suddenly became interesting and began to make sense. Sermons that had just as well been spoken in a foreign language became understandable and captured my attention. Activities that once were my focus in life lost their appeal. I have no doubt that I was called by the Holy Spirit to saving faith in Jesus Christ, and it would not have been possible apart from the divine intervention that first changed me. I lived and experienced God’s grace first hand.
Posted by: Wayne H. A.K.A. Jazzycat

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Piper on Christ-likeness

This is an excerpt of a paper written by Tom Steller that can be found here...http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1985/483_We_Shall_Be_Like_Him/

"And well it should be. Nothing can be more comforting. But too often we fail to ask what the "good" is that God is working all things toward? The next verse explains the good: "For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to become conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren." The "good" which God is working all things together toward is our conformity to the likeness of Christ. That is what he is aiming at in our lives. Not health, or wealth, or earthly success, but Christlikeness. If you love God and are called according to his purpose, then everything that has come your way and will come your way is designed by God to shape you more into the likeness of Jesus. Good things shape us, hard things shape us, successes shape us, failures shape us. All things work together to shape us into the likeness of Jesus.
So Paul and John agree that one day, we shall be like Jesus. That is our destiny."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

MacArthur on Christ-likeness

This is an excerpt from an article found here...http://www.gty.org/resources.php?section=articles&aid=28

"No one is going to put forth that kind of effort, however, unless there is some reward at the end. For Paul, and us as well, it is "that for which I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:12). Paul's prize, and ours, is the very purpose God had in saving us: "Whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son" (Rom. 8:29). God saved us so that we might become like Christ, and as a result, that should be our lifelong pursuit. "

Did you see that last sentence? "God saved us so that we might become like Christ, and as a result, that should be our lifelong pursuit. "

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christ-Likeness: Growing from Glory to Glory

In the Parable of the sower, as recorded in Mark 4, we see that what is sowed is the word; yes that same "implanted word" that we are to receive with meekness in James 1:21. As we see in Mark 4:8 the seed that fell on good ground yielded a crop that sprang up, some 30, some 60, some 100.

Question: what is that which is yielded in this crop? I believe it to be the fruit of the Spirit, mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. In short the crop is Christ-likeness in varying degrees from individual Christians. Where FGT and I disagree is what salvation is all about. From what I have observed FGT seems to believe that Justification is the be-all and end-all. I believe it only holds to part of the over all big picture provided in the word.

Jesus said "This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is shed for you". If we look at 2 Cor. 3:3-18 we get some insight into this new Covenant...

1)Christians are epistles of Christ to the world. vs.3

2) The Spirit of God is the writer, and our hearts are what He writes on. vs.3

3) Paul was a minister of that new covenant, that one by which the Spirit gives life. vs 6

.4) the ministry of the Spirit is more glorious than the old covenant. vs. 8.

5) the new covenant is called "the ministry of Righteousness" in verse 9.

6)Entrance into that new covenant means a veil is taken away from our eyes in Christ. vs.14-16.

7)Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. vs.17.

And now the clincher: as we look with unveiled faces at the Lord, through His word, we are transformed into the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit... Sanctification, Christlikeness.2 Cor.3:18.

I believe that the Holy Spirit applies the whole of the new covenant to every believer in Christ. Part of what Christ accomplished on the cross was our being set free from slavery to sin in order to be slaves of Christ, no middle ground. See Romans 6:18, also Acts 3:26. We are now in Christ's kingdom,under His rule in our lives, having been put there by God the Father. Col.1:13-14. See also 1 Peter 1:2. We are now temples of the Holy Spirit and evidences of His presence in the Christian life will show. Over time we grow from glory to glory, due to the Spirit's ministry to us through His Word. The seed (the word, attended by God the Holy Spirit, for they are always in concert) once planted begins to grow, grow towards its intended end, Christlikeness. Romans 8:29.

If we look at Luke's rendering of the sermon on the mount, 6:40, we see Jesus say that a perfectly trained disciple will be like his teacher. May I suggest that here we see the whole intent of Christ for His people? Look at the great commission, Matt.28:18-20...We are to:"make disciples, baptizing them, teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded. Look at Eph. 2:1-22. The progression begins with our having been quickened, having once been dead in tresspases and sins, having walked according to the course of this world, walking according the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience, and were by nature children of wrath. Then God makes us alive with His Son (regeneration)and enables us to believe. We then become His workmanship (poema, His work of art)as He causes us to walk in good works. He causes Jew and Gentile to be one new man in Christ. We now have access by the Spirit to the Father. We are now a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. I believe this to be the very appex of redemptive history. It is the glorious work of God on once dead sinners comparable to the great scene in Ezekiel 37, the valley of dry bones. God's Spirit brings life where there was none, that life being Christ-likeness, coming to full fruition when we see Him in the air. 1 John 3:2.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Jonathan Isn't The Only One Doing Sports

Bench-press anyone?

Now this is my kind of sport. Yeah, baby!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

James 1:2-4 - Reid Ferguson

Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from Scripture James 1.2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you
meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the
testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And
let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be
perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

The biggest problem you and I face in terms of our
spiritual growth, is not temptation or sin. At least
not in the sense we ordinarily think of it. In truth
the biggest problem most Christians face is a lack
steadfastness. Irregularity. Hit and miss spirituality.
On-again-off-again, hot and cold, up and down,
sporadic spirituality. Nothing more undermines true
spiritual progress and growth in the likeness of
Christ than the lack of consistency. Or in the words
of our text, steadfastness.

The argument most often
proffered against steadfastness however, is in fact a
categorical error. If it is suggested that one needs to
read their Bible daily, pray daily, worship with the
saints regularly and witness to others of God's
saving grace – the immediate response is – "what!
are you a legalist?" But of course that has nothing
whatsoever to do with it. If your doctor told you
you have to eat, drink, sleep and exercise to stay
alive the response wouldn't be that. Why not?
Because in physical terms, we understand that
while none of those things creates life, they are how
life is sustained. And it is exactly so with our
spiritual lives. If we were to suggest that one earns
God's favor by such things, or that our salvation is
the result of them – THAT, would be legalistic.
You ought rightly recoil at the thought. But what is
being talked about here, is the nature of sustaining
and maintaining one's health – supporting and
growing in the life you have been given by grace.
And nothing, nothing is more central to that growth
and the experience of the ability to obtain joy in the
midst of trials than steadfastness. This is why the
current trend of endless lists of techniques and
steps to cure loneliness or heartache or anxiety so
consistently fail. You tell me, how many sets of
steps and techniques can you digest and have at the
ready at all times to meet each circumstance? You
can't. Fresh trials and challenges require a fresh
supply, poured into us daily, and providentially
provided when we CONSTISTENTLY, and
STEADFASTLY look to His counsel in His Word,
His intervention in prayer, His provision for
encouragement in the saints, His presence by His
Spirit quickening all to us each day. You cannot, I
repeat you cannot just go, find in Scripture the best
strategy for dealing with temptation, and then log it
internally to bring out on any occasion. We must
receive it in humble, deliberate, daily, conscious,
steadfast reliance upon Him in the present. This is
living in the Spirit. Anything else, is religicized
self-help. --

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Fruitless Faith - Spurgeon - an excerpt from sermon #3434

What James does mean, however, is this, no doubt, in brief and short, that while faith saves, it is faith of a certain kind. No man is saved by persuading himself that he is saved; nobody is saved by believing Jesus Christ died for him. That may be, or may not be, true in the sense in which he understands it. In a certain sense Christ died for all men, but since it is evident that many men are lost, Christ's dying for all men is not at all a ground upon which any man may hope to be saved. Christ died for some men in another sense, in a peculiar and special sense. No man has a right to believe that Christ peculiarly and specially died for him until he has an evidence of it in casting himself upon Christ, and trusting in Jesus, and bringing forth suitable works to evince the reality of his faith. The faith that saves is not a historical faith, not a faith that simply believes a creed and certain facts: I have no doubt devils are very orthodox; I do not know which church they belong to, though there are some in all churches; there was one in Christ's Church when he was on earth, for he said one was filled with devils; and there are some in all churches. Devils believe all the facts of revelation. I do not believe they have a doubt; they have suffered too much from the hand of God to doubt his existence! They have felt too much the terror of his wrath to doubt the righteousness of his government. They are stern believers, but they are not saved; and such a faith, if it be in us, will not, cannot, save us, but will remain to all intents and purposes a dead, inoperative faith. It is a faith which produces works which saves us; the works do not save us; but a faith which does not produce works is a faith that will only deceive, and cannot lead us into heaven...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Gayla tagged me

Christmas Meme
My friend, Gayla tagged me for this meme, and I'm quite excited as I haven't done one in the longest...

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Never had Egg nog. Chocolate, I guess

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? I like those little pre-decorated bags. You just shove the gift in and you're good to go.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? My idea of a one foot tall, pre-decorated tree got nixed. I'm still sore about that, @#$%^&*()_+_)(*&^%$#@ !

4. Do you hang mistletoe? A what?

5. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Squid on top of macarone and sauce. I am half Italian on my mother's side.

6. Favorite holiday memory as a child: From my earliest memories right on through early adult-hood. All were GREAT!

7. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? My dad broke the news after a lengthy Q/A session. I was about 7 years old.

8. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? My older children still do...

9. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? If it shines, it hangs.

10. Snow! Love it or dread it? This is Rochester. "nuf said.

12. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Getting them over with. I do like the time off from work though.

13. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Never heard of such a thing.

14. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Never thought of one.

15. What tops your tree? A star - what else!?

16. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? It's a tie.

17. What is your favorite Christmas song? Secular: Nat King Cole"s "White Christmas". Sacred: "O Holy Night".

18. Candy canes: No thank you.

19. Favorite Christmas movie? Actually, it's only a half hour special: Charlie Brown Christmas

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Trial of Your Faith - Spurgeon

Without further preface we will come at once to the text; and observe that in speaking about affliction, for that is the subject of the text, the apostle notes, first, the essential point which is assailed by temptation, namely, your faith. Your faith is the target that all the arrows are shot at; the furnace is kindled for the trial of your faith. Notice, secondly, the invaluable blessing which is thus gained, namely, the proving of your faith, discovering whether it be the right faith or no. This proof of our faith is a blessing of which I cannot speak too highly. Then, thirdly, we may not overlook the priceless virtue which is produced by this process of testing, namely, patience; for the proving of your faith produces patience, and this is the soul's surest enrichment. Lastly, in connection with that patience we shall note the spiritual completeness which is thus promoted:—"That ye may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing." Perhaps you have noticed that little variations I have made in the text; but I am now following the Revised Version, which gives an admirable rendering. I will read it. "Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold temptations; knowing that the proof of your faith worketh patience. And let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing."I. First, let us think a little upon THE ESSENTIAL POINT WHICH IS ASSAILED by temptation or trial. It is your faith which is tried. It is supposed that you have that faith. You are not the people of God, you are not truly brethren unless you are believers. It is this faith of yours which is peculiarly obnoxious to Satan and to the world which lieth in the wicked one. If you had not faith they would not be enemies of yours; but faith is the mark of the chosen of God, and therefore his foes become the foes of all the faithful, spitting their venom specially upon their faith. God Himself hath put enmity between the serpent and the woman, between the serpent's seed and the woman's seed; and that enmity must show itself. The serpent bites at the heel of the true seed: hence mockings, persecutions, temptations, and trials are sure to beset the pathway to faith. The hand of faith is against all evil, and all evil is against faith. Faith is that blessed grace which is most pleasing to God, and hence it is the most displeasing to the devil. By faith God is greatly glorified, and hence by faith Satan is greatly annoyed. He rages at faith because he sees therein his own defeat and the victory of grace.Because the trial of your faith brings honour to the Lord, therefore the Lord Himself is sure to try it that out of its trial praise may come to his grace by which faith is sustained. Our chief end is to glorify God, and if our trials enable us more fully to answer the end of our being it is well that they should happen unto us. So early in our discourse we see reason to count it all joy when we fall into manifold trials.