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].

Friday, March 30, 2007


“Our Father who art in heaven.”

Jesus does not teach us to pray this way in order to differentiate between our earthly fathers and our heavenly Father. He is reminding us about the character of God, our Father. Our Father is in heaven. We are on earth. That is how completely other God is from us. He is holy. We are not.

Our Father is absolutely separate from sin and evil while we are immersed in them. He is eternal while we live in time. He is life and we are bound to bodies of death. Our Father is surrounded by holy angels while our community is made up of our fellow fallen creatures. In heaven, our Father sees all things, the beginning from the end. We have no idea what the next moment holds for us.

Our Father in heaven is perfect Lover of our souls. He is Giver of peace and contentment. He is unchanging, the rock of our hope from which our anchor will never slip. Our Father is in heaven from where his protection of our lives and souls is both certain and sure. From heaven he never loses sight of us. From heaven he never fails to hear our petitions. His will is never frustrated and he always accomplishes that which he intends. Our Father is in heaven.

What comfort and assurance is afforded us in this brief clause! God is in heaven and as long as he is in heaven, all is well with my soul and my prayers!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Question for non-Calvinists

1 Cor. 4:7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

The pitcher in the above photo was a 1st round draft choice and made it all the way to the major leagues. From where did he get his talent and ability? Do athletes, musicians, and other mentally talented people have any abilities that they did not receive from God? Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike refer to all kinds of talent as God given gifts. This begs the following question for non-Calvinists:
What aptitude did you use to come to faith in Jesus Christ that you did not receive from God?

I have heard many non-Calvinists claim they chose to come faith in Christ by virtue of their free will. One non-Calvinist said the following on his blog: “Would it violate His sovereignty to give man latitude and freedom to rebel from Him or respond to His wooing and drawing?”

The dictionary defines will as follows:
1. the faculty of conscious and especially of deliberate action; the power of control the mind has over its own actions: the freedom of the will.
2. power of choosing one's own actions: to have a strong or a weak will.
3. the act or process of using or asserting one's choice; volition: My hands are obedient to my will.

If the will springs from your mind as this definition states, then from where did you receive your mind? There are many who die in unbelief that have been thoroughly exposed to the gospel and have had the same amount of wooing as you. Why did you respond to his wooing and drawing, and they did not? What causes your “human will” to exercise faith and their “human will” to reject Jesus? Did you receive this ability from somewhere other than God? Does the pot get something other than what the potter gives? One way or another, could the answer be that you owe your faith to something God gave you that he did not give the unbeliever or did you acquire some faculty that you did not receive from God?

Since non-Calvinists reject the Biblical teaching of God enabling faith by the irresistible grace of the Holy Spirit, please explain how your faith resulted apart from God given attributes. Any answer that acknowledges that faith springs forth from something God given like the mind, soul, or spirit will be affirming that this ‘something’ is not given to all men. While this is unbiblical, it would be affirming a back-door unconditional election.

All non-Calvinists are invited and encouraged to answer. We want to hear from you. Calvinists may also comment………..

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Myth Crusher

It is a common misconception that Calvinists have all arrived at their personally held calvinistic convictions through text books and indoctrination classes.


Calvinists will be invited to share here a brief testimony of how they came to the Doctrins of Grace. Even if you shared in a previous thread, please do so again here.


Saturday, March 24, 2007


How often do you pray the “Lord’s Prayer” or, as it is called in other traditions, the “Our Father?” Does your congregation pray the “Lord’s Prayer” in unison? I grew up in a church where praying written or memorized prayers was looked down on. One was supposed to pray “from the heart” and memorized prayers simply could not be from the heart. And besides, only Catholics prayed such prayers and we all knew where they were headed!

Last year I was looking for something to enrich my personal devotional and prayer life. Not that there was anything drastically wrong with the way it was. I was praying. I was reading my Bible devotionally. I just sensed an urging of the Holy Spirit to bring a little more discipline to my disciplines.

I have long been a student of church history. I was reading the Church Fathers and wondering about how they prayed. They seemed to observe regular times of prayer throughout the day. Then I came to St. Benedict and his ordering of the times of the prayers of his monks, or the daily offices. Both before and after the Reformation there were many examples of a “Book of Hours,” or personal prayer books which were generally owned only by people who could read and afford books.

This reading peaked my curiosity about praying at set times throughout the day. I have many manuals for prayer in my library. I got them down and studied them. I bought a new one, The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle. In short, I have been practicing the daily offices of prayer for about six months now and my prayer life has been revolutionized.

Most importantly, I have learned what it means to “pray without ceasing.” When I pray more often during the day I find myself continually turning my mind back to God in prayer during the “in between” times. I have learned a great deal about praying scripture back to God and meditating on the Psalms. I have had the “boundaries” of the subjects of my prayers broadened. God has used this discipline to work deep changes in me.

What does this have to do with the “Lord’s Prayer?” Since beginning this discipline I have been praying that prayer at least four times every day. At first I had some doubts about the value of doing that. I was tempted to skip it sometimes, but I pressed on and the results have been amazing! The Lord is teaching me things I never thought of before.

Mark honored me by asking me to contribute to this blogsite and I think I will dedicate my occasional contributions to reflections on the “Lord’s Prayer.” I will share what God is showing me in the hope that it will prove a blessing to any who read it.

“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father…’” Our Father! See how much my relationship with the God of the universe is changed! I have been taken from being an enemy of God to being one of his children! The redeeming work of Jesus on the cross has lifted me from the realm of Satan into the kingdom of heaven. As a child of the King I am a prince of the kingdom. God is not only my King but he is my loving Father. I can run to him as often as I want and he will be there to hear me. I can sit at his feet and listen to his voice and find comfort and peace.

Jesus taught us to pray “our” Father. He identifies himself with us! He honors us by recognizing us as his brothers and sisters. He is saying, “I want you, my disciples, to address my Father as your Father. He is our Father!” This thought alone has given the first two words of the “Lord’s Prayer” more sweetness to my soul than I ever could have imagined!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Antonio and Mark

Antonio - Welcome!

>But we must understand that any such "whatever" is tempered by His essential nature and attributes.God is holy, rightoues, true. God is love, just, and impartial. He is a God of equity, mercy, and grace.Nothing that He would desire could impinge on His essential nature and attributes.<
Nobody here would have a problem with that statement.
>Is God sovereign? You bet. Is God capricious, arbitrary, and partial? To be so in any sense would violate His essence.<
Again, nobody here would have a problem with that statement either. At this point you are beginning to set up your straw man.
>Let me ask you a question. Would it impinge on God's sovereignty to create humans in His likeness and image?<
He did so, Adam and Eve. They chose to disobey, and in them the entire race fell into inherited guilt and inherited corruption. See Romans 5:12-21; Eph.2:1-3.
>Would it violate His sovereignty to give man latitude and freedom to rebel from Him<
No, it would not. Again, He did so in Adam and Eve. They chose to rebel.
> or respond to His wooing and drawing?<
Here you show your seeming Pelagian tendencies. According to Eph. 2:1-3 we are by nature children of wrath. It is our nature,our desire, yea our inclination to sin and rebel against God. Thanks to the fall man loves sin and hates God. See John 3:19 which is descriptive of the whole human race; not just some.
>Can you consider, rationally and logically, that if God has "ordained" all things "that has ever happened or will happen" as Wayne has suggested, this must include sin, evil, adulteries, murders, incest, rape, pedaphilia, homosexuality, brutality, matricide and patricide, genocide, etc?<
God did ordain the fall, Antonio. What you mention in the above are results from the Fall. God hates all that you mention and man is responsible for his actions. Because of all that you mention above the wrath of God is coming.
>Such a thought is only feasible to someone who has bought into a heavily-stacked, lop-sided, and unbalanced understanding of the bible. God forbid that He ordain pedaphilia!<
Again, this logic of yours is the product of your Pelagianism, your seeming refusal to acknowledge that the results of the Fall are seen in man's subsequent corrupt affections.
>To consider God ordaining that which He finds abominable may be in vogue in various theological circles, but it offends the God given conscious and Scriptural witness that God is Holy, good, righteous, and light (not to mention love!).<
It only offends those who, for whatever reason,choose to ignore the clear teachings of scripture of man's corruption,his hostility against God. See Romans 8:7. God went into that race that hates Him and rescued a people for Himself, having changed their affections along the way so that they no longer hate Him, but now love Him
>Any view of God's sovereignty that has God necessitating men's abominations by His "fore-ordination" and "predestination" should be obviously rejected.<
Why? He ordained the Fall. He hates sin. He judges and punishes sin. He sent His Son to pay the price for sin. Isaiah 53. Those whom He elected have their affections changed and come to the Son. See John 6:44-45,65.
>But what has happened is that some theologies have become like secret societies where the initiated slowly become indoctrinated to the point that they will believe things that go against all reason. Such attitudes are taught and not formed.<
Antonio, such a way with words. ALL of the Calvinists that I know personally came to Calvinism purely through the scriptures, no indoctrination, no text books. My journey began with a lost argument in 1978. My Calvinism grew while attending churches wholly hostile to my budding Calvinism - no text books were involved, just the scriptures themselves.

We see John 12:32 as teaching that Jesus also does the drawing, as does the Father and the Spirit. If you'll notice that the NKJ says "all peoples", meaning from every tribe and language on earth. See Rev.5:9-10. We do not see this as a different drawing than that of those whom the Father has given Him.

Mark D. Pierson

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hebrews 12:3-4

Hebrews 12:3-4 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

The photo above shows that some people still want to honor a system built on sin and misery. A war was fought over 140 years ago to end the institution of slavery that this flag represents. The system of slavery was set up for the purpose of subjecting people to hard labor for economic benefit and many Christians remained silent. Why this flag, which represents seceding states’ attempt to preserve slavery, deserves being honored is a puzzle.

This passage in Hebrews points out that Christians have a duty to struggle against and oppose sin in themselves and in the world. There is not an option to not struggle against sin, as the passage does not say, “If you struggle” but rather “In your struggle.” Believers should always begin with themselves in mortifying sin. The war against personal sin is never completely won in this life and the battles are never ending. But, Christians are called to oppose and battle against their own sin and also against sinful practices and activities of the world (Eph. 5:11). God’s grace not only enables believers to come to saving faith, but it also enables them to grow and fight the good fight in opposition to sin. This passage is an exhortation and, indeed, an expectation that believers will participate in this Christian endeavor.

While we in America have not resisted to the point of shedding our own blood, we are called to remain true to Christ even if our physical safety becomes threatened. There is a growing trend of hostility in America from the atheistic secular left toward Christians and Christian beliefs. Even Christian doctrine in the form of speech is being labeled “hate speech” and there are political leaders currently advocating the silencing of what they consider hate speech. The so called politically correct standards and rules that have so much influence in our culture are being set and controlled by the secular left, the media and university liberals. I believe a more severe form of Christian persecution in America is knocking at our door as we continue to see good being called evil and evil being called good.

However, we are to be strengthened by considering Christ who endured much hostility, suffering, pain, and death in order that believers may have eternal life. With our eyes solidly focused on Jesus we will not grow weary or fainthearted as we draw from his reservoir of grace. His grace is sufficient and his plan for our lives will not fail even in times of hardship and persecution. All things work for our good of being conformed to the image of Christ.

It should also be noted that this call to spiritual warfare against sin will involve conflict with false prophets who claim Christ, but deny his deity and his gospel. In a like manner there will be false teachers who will pervert grace by turning it into a mere momentary profession with no call to repentance or discipleship (Jude 4).

Praise God that this passage gives us instruction in our duty to fight against sin in ourselves and in the world. Let us pray that we will recognize sin for what it is and not accommodate, tolerate, or honor it, as the photo above illustrates can happen. So, let us put on the whole armor of God and report for duty to our commanding officer and King, Jesus Christ.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

My Favorite Subject

It seems to me that perhaps there should come a time when, as diligent students of the Word of God, we need 'do' something with some of the more difficult and weighty texts in Scripture. I reserve the right to be wrong about this, though, since I was discussing this with my husband yesterday, and he didn't necessarily agree. I suppose it's quite possible to live one's entire Christian life and never deal with some of the tuff stuff. But then you'd have to deal with 2 Timothy 2:15,

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

See, there's really no escaping it. :)

I've been studying, like crazy, the sovereignty of God for the past two years. I just can't seem to get enough of it. I've had to earnestly pray for the Holy Spirit to illuminate to me some extremely formidable passages as well as give me the ability to bend my stubborn, self-centered will to His. So I'd like to know - how do you handle some of the texts?

My favorite: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ' What have You done?' ~Daniel 4:34-35

The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all. ~Psalm 103:19

Thus says the LORD, " Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. ~Isaiah 66:1

The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these. ~Isaiah 45:7

...for all the earth is Mine; ~Exodus 19:5

But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. ~Psalm 115:3

Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps. ~Psalm 135:6

Do we 'really' believe and accept that God can do WHATEVER He pleases? Even when that which pleases Him runs contrary to what we'd like to believe about God?

Then there's Romans 8:28-30, Romans 9, and all those verses pertaining to that dreaded word...predestination. ::gasp::

How do we process this? How do we begin to formulate a right view of God Almighty? And of ourselves? Do we have a fear and a reverence for the holy and righteous God of the universe?

Believe me, these aren't just questions I'm asking you. I'm asking myself.

Wayne, Gayla and Dave: Welcome to bluecollar

About three months ago an idea occured to me: There are some excellent writers out there in blogdom; and some of them are good friends at that. Hmmm. Why not invite them to be contributors here at bluecollar blog. So I started inviting those great writers, and to my delight they accepted. First was my good friend Wayne (Jazzy Cat), then my YOUNGER sister in Christ, Gayla. Both are fine writers. Both add class and style here. Then a pastor by the name of Dave Moorhead caught my attention. He too is a very fine writer. You can see him at ...http://shilohguy.blogspot.com/ . One more thing about Dave - he loves a certain nineteenth century preacher. I'll bet you can't guess who that would be...

Welcome Wayne, Gayla and Dave...

Now, to add more lady bloggers as contributors. I'm working on that too.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mark! What is it they say? Life begins as 50!!!!!!

Abba, Father

By Mark D. Pierson

"Abba, Father,...not what I will but what You will" In those moments when anguish settles into the very core of your being...those times when there seems to be no hope, nothing but utter darkness and despair, when all you can do is fall to your knees before God in absolute surrender for there is nowhere else to turn - it is there that you encounter your Father Who adopted you. Absolute surrender, when you can't see any other avenues, beyond your own resources, yea, beyond those of any mere human being; undone, naked, at the very end of your rope.

Let's face it, there are even times when trials literally come flying at us from every conceivable direction, all at one time, at a dizzying pace, so as to make us wonder "how could God be in control of any of this at all"? Doubt and frustration fill the mind. Angry outbursts can follow.It would seem that, at times like these, the Lord has chosen to invade, attack, dismantle and enlarge our comfort zone. There is no maintaining or taking of control that we can do; it is entirely beyond our abilities. You find out the hard way that you are not "the captain of your own destiny". You have NO control AT ALL.

Take that man whose son has a debilitating disease, whose medical bills are pilling up, and he has just lost his job. Or the couple whose daughter is born with a rare cancer and tumorous growths cover her body. What about the young couple whose six-year-old son contracts a rare disease and shortly thereafter dies. Or, yet again, what about that missionary, faithful to the call of Christ in his life, who now lay in bed with Lou Gherig's disease.

Powerless, helpless, out of control; you fall to your knees and cry out to your Maker; the One who saved your soul from everlasting destruction; the One Who Alone has the Power over such things.We can cling to Him Whose promises are true. He Alone is our Refuge and Shield. He never changes. He will always remain true to His Word; we can bank our lives on that.

Somehow, in the acknowledging of His power and control over the matters and events in our lives, both joyous and grievous, the peace begins to flow into our hearts.The Lord never once promised us a "Rose Garden" nor to feather our beds. The problems will come. Spouses will abandon; loved ones will contract terminal illness; jobs will be lost; dear ones will die.

In considering our adoptive relationship we do well to remember back at what it took for our Holy Maker to enter into that special relationship with us - that of being our Father. Believe it or not we were once the children of wrath even as others. We too walked in disobedience and according to the course of this world. If not for God's intervention into our lives we would have gone on to experience the full brunt of His fury on our sins. We would have been outside of His care and favor in this life, and subjected to eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire after it was over. No one, no one has attracted God's love and care. If not for His mercy and grace, His sovereign grace in choosing us in His Son before the world was created, we would be the objects of His Holy wrath just like everybody else. Eternal punishment is what we deserve when held up to the Holy Standard, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Unsaved, dead in trespasses and sins, slaves to sin, children of the devil, objects of the coming wrath; that's who we were before the love of God in Christ appeared to us; before the Holy Spirit quickened our hearts to the truth.

Jesus took the punishment we deserved. And, oh how He suffered! God the Father unleashed all of His fury on His Holy Son as He bore our sins in His sinless body. The Holy suffering for the unholy. All to bring to an end the enmity that existed between a Holy God who is just in His Righteous anger against sin, and sinful creatures as we, who deserve to be recipients of that righteous anger. So now there is peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Peace, no more being at odds, peace now to experience the love of God in all it's breadth, depth, and height. Peace, His care leading and guiding us through life, in all its ups and downs. Peace because now HE has control over us, no longer is it the "spirit that now works in the children of disobedience". Peace, because His promises to us are now "yea and amen" in Christ. Where once existed hostility - God's wrath towards sinful creatures as we, versus our willful disobedience to His decrees and will - now there is harmony to those in Christ.

What did it take to bring about this peace? What did it take to bring together two polar opposites - a Holy Righteous God, with whom is no darkness at all and unholy, sinful rebellious creatures as we? How could He become our Father and we His children? There was a price to be paid! Oh, what a price it was. God gave His Son. He gave His Son that we, His elect, might be saved from the wrath to come - that we might be adopted into His family as He puts us into His Son. He has made us accepted in His Beloved Son. "In Him we have redemption through His blood". Ephesians 1:7 says.

Now, let us consider what price the Son paid. Both Testaments paint a graphic picture.In Isaiah we read: "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting". Isaiah 50:6. ...His visage was so marred more than the sons of men...Isaiah 52:14.By the time the soldiers had gotten done with their mistreatment of Him, He was beaten beyond recognition, even beyond having the form of a man! "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed" Is 53:5. Isaiah goes on: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Verse 6. There's more---"He was oppressed, and He was afflicted---He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter---for the transgression of my people was He stricken. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief:---Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin---by His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for He shall bare their iniquities---He has poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors - Is. 53:7-12.

In the New Testament Jesus Himself at the Last Supper, while taking bread and wine, which stood symbolically for His body and blood, said of the wine "...this is My blood which is shed for many for the remission of sins."His blood shed that our sins may be forgiven. The blood poured from the crown of thorns pressed deeply upon His head. The blood poured from His back from the scourging with the whips laced with glass and bone chips. The blood poured from His face after the pounding He received from the soldiers' fists and from their pulling out of His beard. The blood poured from the nails in His forearms and ankles as He dangled from them on the cross. And, finally, the blood poured when, after His death, the soldier pierced His side with a sword.

Ah, there it is, that "fountain---opened---for sin and uncleanness." There is the means whereby sin can be forgiven and washed away. There is the means whereby we can come before the Throne of the Holy Creator and call Him "Father." From a position of rebellious, disobedient, hostile, morally filthy, unthankful objects of the coming wrath, to the positions of pardoned, forgiven, cleansed, reconciled, adopted sons and daughters of the Most High God! "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool" says Isaiah. Jesus came to die in our place, IN OUR PLACE!

While hanging on that rugged old cross something happened; Something that never, in all eternity past, nor shall it ever happen again. Something horrible, indeed the most horrible event in all history took place: at the height of His sin-bearing mission the Father turned His Face from the Son. "My God, My God why have you forsaken me?" was the Son's cry. Who could possibly imagine what it was like for the Father to turn His Head from the Eternal Object of His love? Who could imagine what it was like for the Beloved Son to experience the Father looking away from Him - a once in eternity experience. For the first time ever, never to happen again, the Son experienced the loss of Fellowship and joy of being in His Father's presence.That is the price that God paid for lost sinners!

And, oh how we are often tempted to trifle with this knowledge! How, at the slightest turn in our fortunes, are we tempted to question His love and care for us! Even after our regeneration we still have no concept of the price God paid for our adoption into His family. There is no real concept of what it was like for the Holy Father to have to vent all of His Righteous fury on top of His Beloved Son - His Holy, Pure, and Righteous Son. There is no concept of what it was like for the Son to experience the Father turning His head from Him as He bore our sins - "the just suffering for the unjust, that He might bring us to God."

Now, the price has been paid. Now, we can call Him "Father." After His resurrection Jesus said, "I ascend unto My Father, and your Father." He taught us to pray, "Our Father, who are in Heaven, Hallowed be Your Name---." In the Gospel of Matthew alone Jesus referred to His Father as our Father no less than 22 times!"But ye have received the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father." Romans 8:15. "And because you are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will---." Eph. 1:5.

Now we can come to Him as His adopted children - He adopted us, it was His will! We can call Him "Father.:"We can call Him "Father" of Whom it is written,"---for I am God, there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me." Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure---" Is. 46:9-10.We can call Him Father of Whom it is written, "My times are in Your hand---." My times, every event sweet or sour, pleasant or unpleasant, joyous or sad are in [His] hand."

He knows the number of hairs on our head. He, in His Providence, controls all the comings and goings of our lives. Not one trial or experience comes at us without His approval and permission. He, not we, is in control. Nothing catches Him by surprise. Nothing gets by Him. Regardless of our deceptive feelings, everything is in His control - He has the reigns of every trial and tribulation. We can console ourselves with this truth.

But there is more...We can call Him "Father" of Whom it is written, "You are my Rock and my Fortress---my Strength" Psalm 31:3-4. The mighty King David knew our "Father" as his place to run and hide. He knew our "Father" as his source of strength and comfort. David, a model of manliness and power, shamelessly clung to our Father for protection and strength. The mightiest of warriors taking refuge in his God, our Father! David's hope and trust were not in his own abilities, but in his God, our Father. David entrusted his entire make-up, his emotional well being; his physical safety; his future state into the hand of his God, our Father.

David acknowledged God's Hand in his past and in the present. David knew that as surely as God was in control of all that ever came his way, He would also direct all of his future as well. David's heart took refuge in these truths. The storms; inward turmoil's - depressions, fears, anxieties and terrors - external oppositions of people and events, in all these things he found our Father faithful. David prayed "Into your hand I commit my spirit." God, our Father was his Rock, his fortress, and his strength. There was no better place to commit his spirit. Oh, the utter surrender and careless abandon with which he threw himself into God's care - and found Him utterly faithful! No reservation, complete dependence on our Father's abilities to uphold, sustain, protect, lead and guide him in his life.

Beloved, there is so much more that we could examine in scripture concerning our Father, but let us for now turn lastly to 1 Peter. While giving instructions to Christian slaves on how to live God fearing lives before their masters, Peter invited his readers to consider Our Lord and how He conducted Himself in the last hours before the crucifixion. Here Peter writes "---Who, when He was reviled did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously." Our Lord handed over Himself to His Father, our Father, to keep. To borrow the words of John MacArthur in his commentary here Jesus had "perfect confidence in the sovereignty and righteousness of His Father."Knowing full well the sufferings and all of the experiences that lay ahead Jesus "committed Himself" into His Father's care. He did not shrink back or faint at what lay ahead. He did not plot or plan an alternate route. He did not try to take charge of the situation. He did not lower his shoulder and charge into the situation like a fullback into the line of scrimmage. There He stood, full of peace, calm, collected, in the full assurance that His Father was in complete control of the situation. He was there in complete compliance to His Father's will. His Father was in charge. Nothing should befall Him but that which His Father had ordered. Surrender sweet surrender, total submission, absolute abandon, no reserve, unshaken, utter reliance.Just hours earlier He had prayed "Abba, Father---not what I will but what You will."

And there is the lesson. The One Who in scripture said, "I must be about My Father's business" or "for I always do those things that please Him"; The One of Whom it is written that He said; "a body you have prepared for Me. ---then I said "Behold, I have come---to do your will , O God."Our Lord's whole strength and energy was in the doing of His Father's, our Father's will. The absolute focus and gaze of His life was His Father's Face and being in perfect and total surrender to Him. Oh, what trust. In the midst of false accusations and venomous hatred by the mobs outside His trail, there He stood - in perfect peace. Was His heart-skipping beats due to anxiety? Was His stomach upset about the sufferings that lay ahead? No! That was behind Him now - back at the garden. This is now after the prayer "Not My will ---but Thy Will be done." This now, is the time of reliance on His Father's being in charge. His Father's Face must have been all that Jesus was content to behold in these terrible moments. A scripture that describes Jesus' relationship to His Father is Psalm 16:11b "...In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures for evermore.""Not My will ---but Thy Will be done."

Oh, to behold the lesson taught here! Unselfish devotion to His Father's Will. In John 4 Jesus said, "My meat is to do the Will of Him that sent me." His sustenance, the thing that filled His appetite was the doing of His Father's will. A very central lesson in Christianity comes to us here, for you see, we too are to live our lives in total submission to our Father's will. His will is to conform us into the image of His dear Son. In the middle of the trails and tribulations that come our way. He is at work molding, melting, breaking, and chiseling our lives like a Master Craftsman. He breaks and hammers away at our lives. He melts us in the heat and fire only to skim away the dross. He shakes us up in order that we don't settle on our lees. How very painful it can be. Yet, it is our loving Heavenly Father, the One Who adopted us at a Great Price, Who is in complete control. Thus, as our Saviour "committed Himself into His Father's care" we too should pray "Abba, Father not my will but Thy Will be done".

Living for Him, selfless, submissive, and surrendered. Thankful for His promises, thankful that He "the only Wise God" is in control. Thankful that He "who calls the beginning from the ending" the One whose thoughts and ways are higher than ours "as high as the heavens are above the earth" is in control of everything that comes our way. Thankful that we don't have to rely on our own faulty, frail and very mortal wisdom to guide us through life. Thankful that the very most beautiful destiny in all of creation is ours - that of being conformed into the Image of God's Beloved Son, and becoming like Him when we see Him face to face as He comes to take us home to be with Him for all eternity.

In the middle of your darkest hour, in the middle of your manifold temptations cry out to Him in surrender. Give yourself totally into His care. Weep in His presence "casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."Let us close now with a prayer of king David and echoed by our Saviour as His last prayer while hanging on the cross "Father, Into Your Hands I commit My Spirit."

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hebrews 12:1-2

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Chapter 11 of Hebrews gives a thorough description of faith and many Biblical heroes who acted on their faith and did mighty works in service of the Kingdom of God. In verse one of Chapter 12, these heroes are referred to as a great cloud of witnesses, and believers are exhorted to get rid of sin and lay aside all worldly hindrances so they can run with endurance the race that is set before them. This is a call for believers to be active in their sanctification. Just as the geese in the photo above are active in their migration south, Christians are called to be active and run the race of Christian growth. Christians are enabled by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit to pursue this growth and actively participate in service to the Kingdom of God. This verse infers urgency when it uses the word run rather than walk or stroll. It does not say, “If you feel led and have the time, then participate in kingdom work.”

Verse 2 of this passage tells us to look to Jesus and be encouraged by the example he set and the salvation he accomplished by enduring the cross on our behalf. As we meditate on the person and work of Jesus Christ, we are overwhelmed with gratitude for what he suffered in order that sinners may have eternal life. It is inconceivable that redeemed sinners would flatly refuse to follow the urging of the Holy Spirit and Scripture to run the race. Believers are still sinners and still wage war against sin, and they may walk instead of run and perhaps even pause and stop at times; however, they have been given a new heart and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and this assures that they will respond to the new life they have been given. In contrast, Scripture tells us that those sinners that have not been redeemed do not have the indwelling Holy Spirit, do not run the race and, in fact, are hostile to God and cannot respond.

Praise God that his grace not only saves and justifies, but it also enables redeemed sinners to run the race of sanctification which believers are called to do in this passage.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.
~Psalm 139:16

If Mark is like me, this is one verse that has sustained me throughout this last year when my mother died one year ago tomorrow, March 14. Mark's mother died two years ago today, March 13. We rest in knowing that God is sovereign, and it is He alone who ordains our days. He alone is the Author of life and death. We don't take one breath that God has not commanded we do so. Not to sound like a surfer dude, but that is AWESOME!

Mark, may God comfort you today and give you grace.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Wonder at Your Adoption - Spurgeon

Wonder at Your Adoption - Spurgeon

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” 1 John 3:1,2

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us.” Consider who we were, and what we feel ourselves to be even now when corruption is powerful in us, and you will wonder at our adoption. Yet we are called “the sons of God.” What a high relationship is that of a son, and what privileges it brings! What care and tenderness the son expects from his father, and what love the father feels towards the son! But all that, and more than that, we now have through Christ. As for the temporary drawback of suffering with the elder brother, this we accept as an honour: “Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” We are content to be unknown with him in his humiliation, for we are to be exalted with him. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” That is easy to read, but it is not so easy to feel. How is it with your heart this morning? Are you in the lowest depths of sorrow? Does corruption rise within your spirit, and grace seem like a poor spark trampled under foot? Does your faith almost fail you? Fear not, it is neither your graces nor feelings on which you are to live: you must live simply by faith on Christ. With all these things against us, now—in the very depths of our sorrow, wherever we may be—now, as much in the valley as on the mountain, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” “Ah, but,” you say, “see how I am arrayed! my graces are not bright; my righteousness does not shine with apparent glory.” But read the next: “It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him.” The Holy Spirit shall purify our minds, and divine power shall refine our bodies, then shall we see him as he is.

-Charles Spurgeon-

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Thoughts On Phillipians 3:8 - Reid Ferguson

Walk in Wisdom - Gleanings from ScripturePhilippians 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish,
in order that I may gain Christ.

Here is a subtle but extremely powerful and important principle. I think it was A. W. Tozer who phrased the idea in the words: We may not each be as holy as we'd like to be, but we are
each as holy as we are willing to be. Or, we could express it yet another way - with the question often posed in marriage vows: And forsaking all others, keep yourself wholly unto him (or her)?

It is the lost element of Biblical Christianity.
Simply, if I would have God, I must forsake who or whatever it is I currently turn to for love,acceptance, happiness, peace and security - and find it only in Him. Paul did not say - Having gained Christ I now suffer the loss of all things
and count them as rubbish - that's backwards. No,he said he HAD ALREADY suffered the loss of them, had already counted them as dung, IN ORDER THAT he might gain Christ. We have to stop dating Jesus. If we want His fullness, the intimacy with Him we
crave, we have to make the commitment to forsakeevery other person, place and thing we currently look to for that fulfillment. THEN, we can have Him that way. My wife required me to stop dating other women if I wanted to enter into marriage
and the intimacies which belong to that union. So with Him. Perhaps, our experience of God is shallow and unsatisfying because we're only willing to let go the other things WHEN He at last satisfies us.
But that eliminates the need for - the risk of...faith. Perhaps the words of Martha Snell Nicholsonin a poem which became a popular Christian songabout 30 years ago can rephrase it yet again to get the point across. Pay special attention to the
last stanza.

One by one He took them from me, All the things I valued most,Until I was empty-handed;Every glittering toy was lost. And I walked earth's highways, grieving.
In my rags and poverty.Till I heard His voice inviting,"Lift your empty hands to Me!"So I held my hands toward heaven, And He filled them with a store Of His own transcendent riches,
Till they could contain no more.And at last I comprehendedWith my stupid mind and dull, That God COULD not pour His richesInto hands already full!--

Blessings: Reid

Ex Asperiswww.responsivereiding.com"Oh, my brothers and sisters in Christ, if sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies; and if they will perish,let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them tostay, and not madly to destroy themselves. If hell must be filled, atleast let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for." -C.H. SpurgeonFor from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be theglory forever. Amen. Rom. 11:36 (ESV)

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Matthew 20:28

Matthew 20:28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

The photo above shows a barely noticeable scar from a smallpox vaccination from many years ago. With advances in medicine we have more and more vaccines to protect us from all kinds of diseases. Since humans have no way of knowing who will be exposed to these various diseases, we attempt to vaccinate all that we possibly can. If human beings possessed the foreknowledge that God has, we would need to vaccinate only those who would actually be exposed to the disease. With this same foreknowledge, Jesus gave his life for the many that his atonement redeemed and them only.

Since God does have this foreknowledge of exactly who will be redeemed by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, the verse above indicates that Jesus Christ came to the earth to serve and to give his life as a ransom for the many who are saved by the atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Everyone agrees that the atonement of Jesus Christ is of infinite value and sufficient to save an infinite number of people. Some argue that Christ died for everyone. In this view, the atonement makes salvation possible for everyone, but actually saves no one. This, the Arminian view, limits the power or effectiveness of the atonement by leaving salvation up to human decision. This view leaves open the possibility of no one being saved and Jesus dying in vain. The reformed view does not limit the power as it holds that all that Christ died for (the many in Mt. 20:28) will be saved. This view limits the extent of the atonement by affirming that Christ died for only those that God chose before the foundation of the world (see Feb. 27 post). Jesus in the high priestly prayer said, “John 17:9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.” After reading this entire prayer in John 17, it is hard to believe that the atonement of Jesus was meant for anyone other than those redeemed by faith in his sacrificial death on the cross.

In Mt. 20:28 above Jesus died for the ‘many’. This either refers to believers only or everyone that has ever lived. Since the passage speaks of his death providing a ransom (redemption) for the many, this passage teaches universalism if the ‘many’ includes everyone that has ever lived. Therefore, since Scripture clearly does not teach universalism, this passage teaches that the atonement of Jesus was for believers only. This is referred to as limited atonement or particular redemption.

Praise God that Jesus’ atonement on the cross saves sinners. Jesus saved all the sinners he intended to save (John 6:37) and that is everyone that place their faith in him for paying their sin debt on the cross.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Sacrifices of God

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

I was going through my blogroll today and came across a blog that has gone dormant for over a year now. I went through his now ancient postings and happened on his confession of a secret sin. It was pornography. I too am well aquainted with that sin.

He writes, "Pornography is a sin against my wife and family as well. Eph 5 calls for a man to love His wife as Christ loves the church. We are told in Prov 5 to be wholly devoted to and satisfied with our wives. I betrayed the promises I made to her before God. I have sought her forgiveness and my loving gracious wife has extended that forgiveness to me once again. She is a model of the mercy of God. I explained to my children that I had made sinful choices that led to me no longer being a pastor. My family is understanding the corporate consequences of personal sin, like Nehemiah talks about in chapter 1."

Pornography is a scourge. It is addicting. It is deadly; It cost this man the pastorate. I have known it to cost Christian men their earthly lives as God moves in with the "ultimate" chastening. I, myself, spent six weeks in the hospital, five of those in traction, because of that sin. That was in 1978.

Imagine what it would be like to go to an X- rated theater, only to see that the one taking your ticket is someone you had witnessed to about Christ only two years earlier! "Mark, You?!" Was the astonished question from him. "Yes, Tom, me". Twenty-nine years later I am still haunted by that scene. I had sinned! I had misrepresented Christ in front of someone I had once tried to win to Christ.

But, note our verse - "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart--- These, O God, You will not despise" Psalm 51:17. Back to that man's post, "Repentance involves the intellect, emotion and will. In the past my half attempts at repentance have included the intellectual owning of guilt and the emotional sorrow, but rarely an intentional change of the will. I am working, by the grace of God to radically amputate this sin and fully repent. Again, I am here to seek your forgiveness as a church family. Please continue to pray for me and for my family. We love you and thank you for the love and grace you have demonstrated to us!"

I believe this man, in the above paragraph, showed the outworkings of "a broken and contrite heart".

Dear Christian brother, are you sinning against God, your wife and your children with this wicked sin? Wicked sin? Yep. Why I say wicked is because we men try to treat this sin so lightly, because, after all, all men struggle with it; it's so natural. Well, no, it is actually grievous to the INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT!

Do you wish to go on grieving Him? Do you wish to go on being unfaithful to your wife? Do you wish to face severe chastening?

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Well, Now I Gone and Done It

My family and I stepped out to buy a new computer on Sunday; A Gateway GT5426E.
Now we are having a terrible time getting the email to work.....HELP!

Other than that, it's cool. It has an LCD Monitor, and a MP160 printer/scanner.

This baby is for Ashley's homework as it can do things her computer can't; things wayyyy over my head.

I hope to have email back soon. This crazy thing is gonna take some gett'n used to.

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Friday, March 02, 2007


Walk in Wisdom - Gleanings from Scripture

Psalm 50.14 Offer to God a sacrifice of
thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most
High, 15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I
will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."

Last time, we saw 3 key things to draw out of this
short but pregnant text: God finds Thankfulness,
Faithfulness and Humble Dependence upon Him,

And we discussed the power of being
thankful. Nothing else can disarm and disgorge
bitterness from the heart than thankfulness. This is
vitally important when we consider that Heb. 12.15
tells us that bitterness fails to obtain the grace of
God, causes trouble and defiles many - spreads to
others. Bitterness grounds itself in one's sense of
being shortchanged, wronged, and that, without any
justice. Thankfulness attacks bitterness head on by
reminding us that we are God's and He is just and
can do us no wrong. SO that even when others do,
He is overruling them, and meaning good for us in
it. But why is it then referred to here as a sacrifice?
Herein lies the rub. Thankfulness is seen as a
sacrifice because it is so very expensive - at least in
fallen, human terms. For us to be thankful you see,
we have to give up very dear products of our own
hearts and mind which are both familiar and
comforting. Things like Self-pity, grudges and
unforgiveness. We hold these kinds of things very
tightly. They serve as a means to justify ourselves
and rationalize all sorts of sins against others. They
are a means to soothe our consciences artificially.
So that we can hit back, and feel right about it. We
don't want to give up the things that allow us to
focus upon ourselves and our sad condition. I mean
if I don't feel sorry for myself, who will?
Thankfulness and rejoicing in God's goodness in
the aftermath of sin robs me of doing penance,
which is so sweet to the self-justifying soul. It takes
away sympathy from others, excuses for inaction,
self-indulgence, rudeness, shortness with others
and lowered expectations all around. I'll have to
surrender anger at God over unmet desires or
unliked providences. These are very expensive and
dear to us. They will cost a lot to give up. Some of
us have a lot invested in those "stocks". Thankfulness
will force us to do so. And, it will free us from their tyranny,
while bringing joy and
gladness to the soul. -- Blessings: Reid
Dulcius Ex Asperiswww.responsivereiding.com

"Oh, my brothers and sisters in Christ, if sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies; and if they will perish,let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them tostay, and not madly to destroy themselves. If hell must be filled, atleast let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for." -C.H. SpurgeonFor from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be theglory forever. Amen. Rom. 11:36 (ESV)
ECF Connection is a service of:Evangelical Church of Fairport 38 East Church Street Fairport, New York 14450(585) 223-0229http://ecfnet.org/

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Jonathan Moorhead Comes Through Again

See what Spurgeon had to say on things eschatological...