Friday, July 31, 2009

Reply to Comment

"the anonymous" W. Holmes made a good point in the first comment on this post. This post is a reply to that. (I tried to do this as a second comment, but the Comments don't allow the "<sup>" HTML tag, which I use for my footnotes.

That said, here's my reply:
--------------------------------
Great thought, W. I completely concur. As Moses said in Deuteronomy 29:29,

"The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law."

What "things" are revealed to us now? All things (that we need to know, anyway), are revealed in Christ. Indeed, even though the "secret things belong unto the LORD", we can know all we need to know and understand about Him, since He has revealed Himself fully in Jesus Christ, His "Son...Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,"1 and "[W]ho of God is make unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, 'He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.'"2,3 I am reminded of the Hymn, All I Need, which goes like this:

Jesus Christ is made to me,
All I need, all I need,
He alone is all my plea,
He is all I need.

[Refrain

Wisdom righteousness and pow’r,
Holiness forevermore,
My redemption full and sure,
He is all I need.]

Jesus is my all in all,
All I need, all I need,
While He keeps I cannot fall,
He is all I need.

[Refrain]

He redeemed me when He died,
All I need, all I need,
I with Him was crucified,
He is all I need.

[Refrain]

Glory, glory to the Lamb,
All I need, all I need,
By His Spirit sealed I am,
He is all I need.

[Refrain]
As I indicated previously, I can only pray that God will enable the man, by grace, to believe what his mind is telling him is impossible, so that, believing, he would 1) be saved, and 2) begin (through the Spirit, of course4), to "behold the beauty of the LORD", even though he mightwill not understand it all until we see Him face to face.5
--------------------------------
1Heb. 1:3a
21 Cor. 1:30
3Paul quotes Jeremiah 9:23-24, which is highly relevant here:

Thus saith the LORD, 'Let not the wise [man] glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty [man] glory in his might, let not the rich [man] glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I [am] the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these [things] I delight,' saith the LORD.
As a comment reply, this post is already getting long, so I'm going to leave the significance of Jer. 9:23, 24, and how it relates to W. Holmes' comment, this comment, and Paul's own letter (i.e. why Paul quoted it) as an exercise for the reader's meditation (and comments, hopefully).

:)
41 Cor. 2:9-16
51 Cor. 13:12

Thursday, July 30, 2009

QOTD

Should a hymn, which has endured the test of time, be stripped away from God’s people merely because it does not appeal to the ear of individuals who do not love God?

— Dan Miller, Pastor
From his article at Sharper Iron.org.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

First Meeting with JW's: Summary

I finally got together, this afternoon, with the Watchtowerites for a discussion over coffee. From our phone conversations setting up the meeting, I was let to believe that we would have at least 45 minutes, and possibly an hour.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been studying, as a refreshment and expanding of previous study, the topic of the Deity of Christ: that His title as the "unique Son of God" necessitates that He is "God the Son".

Well, we started the conversation by looking at the the Watchtower organization's "restoration of the name" to the New Testament. If you read the New World Translation, you will notice the name "Jehovah" popping up all over the New Testament, where it is not in the Greek. The Watchtower avers that the name was in the originals, but was written out of them in reverence for the name. They cite Hebrew Translations "from the 14th century onward" that include the Tetragrammaton ("YHWH"), which is where the name "Jehovah" comes from ("LORD" in the KJV Old Testament, or "JEHOVAH" in places).

Their NWT purports to have "restored" the divine Name JEHOVAH to the text, based on these Hebrew sources. I would have no problem with this, if they were consistent. However, there is scholarly evidence that they were arbitrarily selective in where they chose to "restore" the name or not, based on whether it seems to be supporting Christ's Deity or not.

I started with this evidence, and we looked at Hebrews 1:10 specifically.

Of course, they tended to interrupt me quite regularly, and barely let me finish any thought. But thankfully, the Lord allowed me to get them to look at the entire context of Heb. 1, see what was being said and why the OT was being quoted in v. 8-10, and about Whom. Then I showed them that the very Hebrew sources that the NWT relies on the restore the Name to the text use the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) in reference to the Son in v. 10.

They didn't like that at all. The following is, as best as I can remember, how the argument went from there:

The older fellow said, "I have a son. He is not me. How can the Son be God if there is only one God and that God is the Father?" I said, "It's the doctrine of the Trinity. God is One God in Three Persons. These persons are distinct Persons, yet One Being, of the same substance. It's as Jesus said, 'I and my Father are one.'"

He replied, "You are quoting John 10:30."

Me: "Correct."

Him: "Well, the Greek word there means 'one in purpose', not 'one in substance'."

Me: "Actually, it's 'hen', and it literally only means 'one', and has no shade of meaning except what is put on it through the context."

Him: "Exactly, but you have to look at how Jesus used it in other passages of the same kind. In John 17, He prays that the church may be 'one' as He is 'one' with the Father. He is not praying that the church be of the same substance with each other, or that they become God. He is praying that they be 'one' in purpose."

Me: "I do not disagree with your interpretation of the word in John 17. He does indeed use it to mean 'one in purpose' there. However, that is a completely different context, and He is saying a completely different thing."

Him: "But it's the same word!"

Me: "No, it's not. Let me give you an example. Let's say I say to you, 'Thanks!' [said very sarcastically, like 'thanks for nothing']. Then, James here comes over with the coffee (which he did), and I say, 'Thanks!' [said very sincerely and in a praising manner]. I, the same person, said exactly the same thing. But in two completely different contexts, and with exactly opposite meanings. That's the way language works. We cannot judge John 10:30 based on John 17, because they are two completely different situations. We have to judge John 10:30 based on the reaction and understanding of the people to whom He was talking, and whether He affirms their understanding to be correct or not."

We then read the passage.

Me (cont'd): "So you see, the Jews understood Him to be claiming to be God."

Him: "But they were apostate, and were wrong. They misunderstood Him."

Me: "Well, did they? Let's look at what His response is. The easy response to this, assuming you're right, is 'Hey, look, that's not what I'm saying. I'm just saying that my purpose is aligned with the Father's. I'm not God! That's preposterous.' Problem solved."

Me (cont'd): "But instead, He gives a defense from their own scriptures (Ps. 82 specifically) of His Deity."

Him: "That's not what He was saying. He was saying that other humans had been called 'gods', so what's the big deal calling Him a god?"

Me: "On the surface, it seems that way. However, let's look at their reaction to that, and see if they understood Him to be saying that. If so, they would have had no reason to stone Him, saying, 'Oh, ok. Sorry about the wanting to kill you and all. You're OK. had us worried there for a second, though.' Then they would all have a good laugh about it and go home."

Me (cont'd): "But that's not what happened. They wanted to kill Him even more. They understood that His defense was not, 'Well, you know, I'm not actually YHWH, that would be blasphemy. I'm just a god, in the same sense you are.' They understood that His defense was, 'Yeah, I am indeed YHWH, and the Scriptures affirm that I exist, and I'm telling you that I'm here now. Get used to it.'"

Him: "But the Son can't be the Father!"

Me: "I never said He is. They are two distinct Persons, but one is substance and essence, as well as in purpose."

Him: "It just doesn't make sense. There is only one God. I agree that Jesus is the Son of God, but He is not God the Son, and He is not YHWH."

Me: "The two are synonymous. By every standard of Scripture, both Old Testament and New, you cannot deny one and affirm the other. To deny one is to deny the other. And we know that if you deny the Son, you deny the Father, and you dwell in darkness: there is no life in you — you do not have everlasting life."

Him: "....!"

Him (looking physically pained): "Um, I just remembered...I've got to be somewhere. I've got to go. Nice meeting you."

Then he got up and walked away. I'm not saying he was running away, but his body language screamed "fleeing". Since I do not see the heart, but only the outside, I cannot exactly know his reason for such a hasty exit. However, I pray that the Holy Spirit is working on him and bearing witness in his heart that Jesus is, not just "the Son of God", as they define that term, but also, as the Scriptures clearly indicate, "God the Son."

Please pray for him; his name is Lou. He told me his last name also, but I do not remember it. (To protect his privacy, I would not post it here anyway.)

After Lou's rather precipitous departure, James took over the conversation again — or rather I should say his wife did. About five minutes later (about 1:15), she mentioned that they had to leave for her doctor's appointment, which was, at most, about an hour away (I'm not going to say where, to protect her privacy). So I said, "Ok, so you have to leave by...oh...2:00?"

Their rather hasty response was, "Oh, no, we have to leave right now."

So we wrapped it up. I gave James the printout of the proof for the Name changing monkey-business that Watchtower was doing, including the actual Hebrew texts in question. I said, and he agreed, that we needed to do this again. I tentatively suggested Saturday. He said, "Call me."

I think next time, I'm going to suggest putting some official parameters in place for the conversation, to prevent us from getting into a zeal-based shouting match.

I have in mind, for example, that only one person at a time could be speaking, and they must indicate that they are finished speaking by a certain phrase or sentence. For example: "I yield the floor." or "Ok, I'm finished."

Another suggestion might be that, since only one person can be speaking at a time (see the first suggestion), all other parties would need to wait three full seconds before beginning their response, and that whoever wishes to respond raise his or her hand and be recognized by the person who just finished. If more than one wishes to speak, they both get to speak, but in the order that the one who is just finished talking chooses, if one doesn't submit to the other before the previous speaker can make his decision.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other potential "keeping it cordial" suggestions.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Update on the Discussion Over Coffee...

The JW I was talking to put off our meeting, because he wanted to bring along "a buddy," who wasn't able to make it that day. Then, on the newly appointed day (last Saturday), I called, and he put it off again, claiming he is tired from a long week of "Bible training". He asked to "tentatively" schedule it for Wednesday, to which I agreed.

I am going to attempt to record the conversation (with his permission, of course) if/when we finally get to it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

QOTD

Together for the Gospel, 2008 conference, Session 7: How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Christian Sacrifice, by John Piper. Quote starts 13m23s.

The quote is in context of I Tim. 6:9, and pastoral ministry.

The world is not going to glorify Christ because they see that Christians are wealthy, and healthy, and prosperous.

Very simple reason why: that's what they live for!

So you use Jesus to get it? They use other means to get it. They're not impressed!

Jesus is the ticket? When the show starts, you throw the ticket away! They don't need your ticket. They're not impressed!

You should really listen to the sermon, since there are nuances of expression that don't come through in transcription. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Splitting the blog...

I just split this blog into two. I started a new blog called On Freedom and Oppression, and moved a few of the posts I had here over there.

Beholding the Beauty is still my main blog, since the majority of my posts are related to spiritual things, but I really got the sense that the political stuff needed it's own space to play in.

On the Deity of Christ: The Love of God Requires It

...but thou hast in love to my soul [delivered it] from the pit of corruption: for thou has cast all my sins behind thy back. (Isaiah 38:17)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8)
Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law. (Rom. 13:10)
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
...
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it...(Eph. 5:1, 2, 25)
But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)
Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16)
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
It is clear from these verses that love, as defined by God Himself, is shown best by sacrificing oneself.

According to Rom. 5:8, God demonstrated His own love toward us by sacrificing His Son on the cross for our sins.

It's glaringly obvious from this, that if the Son were a created being, separate from the Father in substance, that this is not a demonstration of God's love, but only of Christ's love.

In order for God (YHWH) to demonstrate His own love by His Son's sacrifice of Himself, The Son must also be YHWH.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

On the Deity of Christ: It's Importance

I'd like to start this series by asking the question: Why am I doing this? Why am I taking all this time to prove plainly from the Scriptures that Jesus is God -- not a created being inferior to the Father -- Who is one with the Father not just in purpose, but also in substance? What difference does it make whether we see Him as a created being or the One Who has no beginning?

Why is it important that we understand what the phrase "the Son of God" means?

First, Jesus thought it was important enough to explicitly take time to make sure His disciples "got it," and had the Holy Ghost record the lesson through Matthew.

When He was here, some of the people were confused about Who He was: His identity. Let's take a look (Matt. 16:13ff):

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

And they said, Some [say that thou art] John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

But He starts out by asking who other people were saying that He was. Turns out other people thought He was all kinds of different great men, but all men nonetheless: nothing more.

Then, to correct this misperception in His disciples, He asks them Who they think He is. Peter speaks up and says, "You're the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus acknowledges this, even going so far as to say that the Father had revealed it to Peter, and giving Peter a high position in the early church as a direct reward for getting it right (see the rest of the passage).

So, first, Jesus thought it was important to understand correctly Who He is.

Secondly, it is essential to salvation. For someone to be saved, he must believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that He is the Son of God. To believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, you have to know what those terms mean. Let's start with the first part -- that you have to believe the terms -- by looking at John's first letter:

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father... (1 John 2:22, 23a)

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. (1 John 4:15)

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God... (1 John 5:1)

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:5 [cf. Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:7])

So we see that it is imperative for salvation that one believe that Jesus is 1) the Christ, and 2) the Son of God. This is the same formula that Peter gave, Thou art 1) the Christ, 2) the Son of the living God.

The way Peter said it, and Jesus confirmed, the phrase the Son of the living God is the Christ's identity -- i.e. Who He is. Therefore, if you deny that Jesus is the Christ, you also deny that He is the Son of God, and vice versa.

Also, John indicates (1 John 2:22, 23a - see above) that to "deny the Son" is to deny the Father also (v23). To "deny the Son" is to deny that Jesus is the Christ (v22).

So it's pretty important that we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

It's elementary that you cannot believe something you don't understand. Jesus indicated this when He said, in His explanation of the parable of the sower,

But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth [it]... (Matthew 13:23a, emphasis mine)

The Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 was reading the words of Isaiah 53, but they did him no good because he didn't understand them. It wasn't until Phillip explained them, and he understood, that he was able to believe on Christ, of which the passage speaks. In fact, only upon understanding Phillip's explanation can he (v37) recite the creedal formula given earlier: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Paul wrote to Timothy (1 Tim. 1:6, 7) that there were some who had turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. People were trying to teach by parroting words, but they themselves didn't understand what the words really meant.

So we see it's actually very important not only 1) to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, but also 2) to understand what those titles mean.

It is my contention, and that of the general church, that those titles have a specific meaning: one that defines Jesus as God, and not as a created being.

If it is true that the definition of the term "Son of God" does not include "a created being", then to say that Jesus is a created being is to deny that He is the Son of God, and is therefore to be an anti-Christ, who has not the Father or the Son, and who therefore has not eternal life. To put it colloquially, "this is heavy, dude." This is a very serious topic -- the "heaviest" topic ever!

It is my goal in this series On the Deity of Christ to prove, according to the Scriptures, that the definition of the terms "Son of God" and "the Christ" necessarily exclude the idea of "a created being," and necessarily include the idea that the One who holds those titles is God Almighty, a.k.a. Jehovah (or Yahweh -- however you want to translate YHWH), a.k.a. God the Son.

I am writing this series so that any who read it may know, from the Scriptures, what all goes into the phrase "the Son of God", and therefore, as John wrote (1 John 5:13), ...that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On the Deity of Christ: Introduction

The place I work is an actual office, but it is in a neighborhood. As I was pulling into the parking lot, two gentlemen from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (commonly called the "Jehovah's Witnesses") were crossing the entrance. They waited to cross until I was parked, and started to address me through my open window.

Now, it has been some time since I had any substantial interaction with any from this (IMHO) cult, and I was in a particularly spunky mood today, so I grabbed by Bible off of the front seat next to me, and prepared for battle.

(Disclaimer: I make it sound as though my attitude was one of wanting to destroy these men. It was not. In fact, I realized that they are trapped in false teaching, and only want to destroy their belief in that. I want them to see our matchless God and Savior in all of His wondrous glory -- not as a created, and therefore necessarily inferior, being.)

They began the conversation by mentioning my Bible (it's a rather large one, and it was prominently displayed under my left arm when I exited the vehicle). Then they asked what I thought about what was going on in the world -- how bad it is, etc. (They use this in a good majority of the literature and initial interactions as a "hook" to get people interested and talking.)

I replied that my God is in control, that I "keep a weather eye on it", and contribute where I can to maintain freedom, but that ultimately, it's not my job to worry about it.

Well, they liked that answer (what's not to like?), so they moved on. They said, "Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?" I replied, "Of course, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, a.k.a God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity." Well, that got us started!

We had a very good discussion of the deity of Christ. I must give credit where credit is due. They argued reasonably, and without trying to change the subject (much). (This ability to stick to the subject is, in my experience with JW's, a rare thing). We ended the conversation cordially, when RCC's secretary showed up and told me I needed to get to work.

The man with whom I was primarily conversing suggested that we continue the conversation over coffee (he's buying), to which I agreed. I set this coming Saturday around noon as the time, so please pray that the Holy Spirit will use me and will work in this man's heart, to bring him out of the false religion, into true knowledge of our wonderful Savior.

But I digress: the point of this post is that, even during the discussion, the Holy Spirit showed me yet more proofs of Christ's Deity from the Scriptures, and I would like to share those with whoever cares to read them. I will address each one individually, in a series, over the next few weeks.

Enjoy, and feel free to comment.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Our Advocate: Jesus Christ the Righteous

The Lord is so good to me. He instructs me constantly, even in my faults. Over the weekend, He has taught me even more the value, meaning, and joy of sanctification: living daily in the grace of God by applying the same faith that brought justification -- faith in His Son.

This past week at Family Camp, Dr. Fox brought a great message on advocacy of Jesus, and how that relates to our daily forgiveness for sin. I really enjoyed the messages all week, and was greatly instructed in the Lord; and that message was no exception.

So, of course, I got an opportunity to apply that teaching. Unfortunately, I yielded to temptation in a certain area, and in doing so I sinned! (Don't look at me in that tone of voice! cf. Matt. 7:1-5; Rom. 2:1; 1 Cor. 4:5, James 4:11, 12; 1 John 1:8-10)

Instantly, the Holy Spirit worked me over with conviction, and assured me constantly that my fellowship with the Father was going to be pretty much nonexistent until we got this thing taken care of.

At once, having been reminded of the surpassing, eternal joy of fellowship with the Light, I greatly desired to be restored to Him. But I also greatly feared His wrath at having yielded to a temptation so obvious (and clearly warned against!). (Don't even ask -- I'm not going to tell you. As you are about to see, even God doesn't make it His business anymore, so why should you? :) )

After all,

...make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of mean sold his birthright.

For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to the them any more (for they could not endure that which was commanded, 'And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be soned, or thrust through with a dart:' and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, 'I exceedingly fear and quake'): but ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things that that of Abel.

See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, 'Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.'"

And this word, 'Yet once more,' signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire.


And again,

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is their any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.


(Yikes! If you don't have a healthy fear of the Lord after understanding those passages...well, check your salvation. cf. 1 Cor. 2:14, Php. 2:12, Heb. 12:8)

Anyway, with the concept of being separated from fellowship with my wonderful Lord, and over something so stupid and temporary, the Holy Spirit brought me to my knees in godly sorrow and repentance.

But I was yet afraid to even "enter into his gates...into his courts" -- forget coming before Him with singing! Like the Hebrews before me, I could not look on the brightness of His glory and holiness.

Then the sweet Comforter (once His job of conviction was accomplished, He switched roles) reminded me that the wrath of God that I had brought on myself through my sin (Eph. 2:3, etc.), has already been poured out on Jesus at the Cross, and that, "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." He encouraged me to "...therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that [I would] obtain mercy."

Furthermore, He assured me that "the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin...And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitation for our sins."

Additionally, He reminded me that I do not have to stand naked before the judgment bar and face the fierce wrath of God, which "cometh on the children of disobedience" (for Jesus is my advocate, standing at that bar for me, having already face that awesome wrath and "propitiated" [satisfied] it through His blood), and that "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

You see, it is only by living this life in the flesh "by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" that I can overcome the world.

God promises that, when we come boldly1 to the throne of grace, not only will we receive mercy, but we will also "find grace to help in time of need." In other words, if we remember all this in future temptation, He will supply our need for strength and grant us grace to stand. "Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him to stand." For it is only by His grace that we will overcome the world, and we have access into said grace by our faith (which is also a gift -- so don't get a big head about it. :)

Once reminded of all this, the blessed Holy Spirit lovingly came along side me and brought me into the courtroom (through prayer), where He helped me to confess my guilt. As promised, Jesus also came along side and stood for me against my Adversary, the Devil (who was constantly railing against me, and accusing me before our Father).

Now, I am once again restored to fellowship with Him -- and how sweet it is! He continually makes me to rejoice in His love, and I sing with David:

"But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice:
let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them:
let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous;
with favor wilt thou compass him
as with a shield." (Ps. 5:11,12)

Sing with me!

"O come, let us sing
unto the LORD:
let us make a joyful noise
to the rock of our salvation.

Let us come before his presence
with thanksgiving,
and make a joyful noise unto him
with psalms.

For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King
above all gods.

In his hand
are the deep places of the earth:
the strength of the hills
is his also.

The sea is his,
and he made it:
and his hands formed
the dry land.

O come,
let us worship and bow down:
let us kneel
before the LORD our maker.

For he is our God;
and we are the people
of his pasture,
and the sheep
of his hand.

To day if ye will hear his voice,

'Harden not your heart, as in the provocation,
and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.

Forty years long was I grieved with this generation,
and said,

"It is a people that do err in their heart,
and they have not known my ways:"

Unto whom I sware in my wrath
that they should not enter into my rest.'" (Ps. 95)
" (Ps. 95:1,2)
---------------------------------------------------
1(trembling, for our God is a consuming fire, yet bold in the faith that the righteous Christ [who alone, because of His righteousness, can approach the throne] is our advocate and high priest, having satisfied the wrath of God through the shedding of His blood, to which God gave witness by raising Him from the dead by His Power)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Praising Him

I waited patiently for the LORD;
and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

He brought me up also
out of an horrible pit,
out of the miry clay,
and set my feet upon a rock,
and established my goings.

And he hath put a new song in my mouth,
even praise unto our God:
many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

(Ps. 40:1-3)
And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record, and to thank and praise the LORD God of Israel:

Asaph the chief, and next to him, Zechariah, Jeiel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah, and Obededom: and Jeiel with psalteris and with harps; but Asaph made a sound with cymbals; Benaiah also and Jahaziel the priests with trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God.

Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren.

"Give thanks unto the LORD,
call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the people.

Sing unto him,
sing psalms unto him,
talk ye of all his wondrous works.

Glory ye in his holy name:
let the heart of them rejoice
that seek the LORD .

Seek the LORD and his strenght,
seek his face continually.

Remember his marvelous works
that he hath done, his wonders,
and the judgments of his mouth;
...
Sing unto the LORD, all the earh;
shew forth from day to day his salvation.

Declare his glory
among the heathen;
his marvelous works
among all nations.

For great is the LORD,
and greatly to be praised:
he also is to be feared
above all gods.

For all the gods of the people are idols:
but the LORD made the heavens.

Glory and honor are in his presence;
strength and gladness are in his place.

Give unto the LORD,
ye kindreds of the people,
give unto the LORD
glory and strength.

Give unto the LORD
the glory due unto his name:
bring an offering, and come before him:
worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

Fear before him, all the earth:
the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.

Let the heavens be glad, and
let the earth rejoice: and
let men say among the nations,
'The LORD reigneth.'

Let the sea roar,
and the fullness thereof:
let the fields rejoice,
and all that is therin.

Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD,
because he cometh to judge the earth.

O give thanks unto the LORD;
for he is good;
for his mercy endureth for ever.

And say ye, 'Save us,
O God of our salvation,
and gather us together,
and deliver us from the heathen,
that we may give thanks to thy holy name,
and glory in thy praise.

Blessed by the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever."

And all the people said, "Amen," and praised the LORD.

(I Chron. 16:4-12, 23-36)
Sing praises to the LORD,
which dwelleth in Zion:
declare among the people his doings.
...
That I may shew forth all thy praise
in the gates of the daughter of Zion:
I will rejoice in thy salvation.
...
Put them in fear, O LORD:
that the nations may know themselves
to be but men. Selah.

(Psalm 9:11, 14, 20)
...they shall praise the LORD that seek him:
your hear shall live for ever.

All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD:
and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

(Ps. 22:26b, 27)
Rejoice in the LORD,
O ye righteous:
for praise is comely
for the upright.

Praise the LORD
with harp:
sing unto him
with the psaltery
and an instrument of ten strings.

Sing unto him
a new song;
play skilfully
with a loud noise.

For the word of the LORD
is right;
and all his works
are done in truth.

He loveth righteousness and judgment:
the earth is full
of the goodness of the LORD.

By the word of the LORD
were the heavens made;
and all the host of them
by the breath of his mouth.

He gathereth the waters of the sea
together as an heap:
he layeth up the depth
in storehouses.

Let all the earth
fear the LORD:
let all the inhabitants of the world
stand in awe of him.

(Ps. 33:1-8)
I will bless the LORD
at all time:
his praise shall continually
be in my mouth.

My soul shall make her boast
in the LORD:
the humble shall hear thereof,
and be glad.

O magnify the LORD
with me,
and let us exalt his name
together.

(Ps. 34:1-3)
I will give thee thanks
in the great congregation:
I will praise thee
among much people.

(Ps. 35:18)
My heart is fixed, O God,
my heart is fixed:
I will sing and give praise.

Awake up, my glory;
awake, psaltery and harp:
I myself will awake early.

I will praise thee, O Lord,
among the people:
I will sing unto thee
among the nations.

For thy mercy is great
unto the heavens,
and thy truth
unto the clouds.

Be thou exalted, O God,
above the heavens:
let thy glory be
above all the earth.

(Ps. 57:7-11)
Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:
Sing forth the honor of his name:
make his praise glorious.

Say unto God,
'How terrible art thou
in thy works!
through the greatness of thy power
shall thine enemies submit themselves
unto thee.'

All the earth
shall worship thee,
and shall sing unto thee;
they shall sing
to thy name.
Selah.

Come and see the works of God:
he is terrible in his doing
toward the children of men.

He turned the sea into dry land:
they went through the flood on foot:
there did we rejoice in him.

He ruleth by his power for ever;
his eyes behold the nations:
let not the rebellious exalt themselves.
Selah.

O bless our God, ye people,
and make the voice of his praise
to be heard:

which holdeth our soul
in life,
and sufferth not our feet
to be moved.
...
Come and hear,
all ye that fear God,
and I will declare
what he hath done for my soul.

(Ps. 66:1-9, 16)
God be merciful unto us,
and bless us,
and cause his face to shine
upon us; Selah.


That thy way may be known
upon the earth,
thy saving health
among all nations.

Let the people praise thee,
O God:
let all the people praise thee.

O let the nations be glad
and sing for joy:
for thou shalt judge the people righteously,
and govern the nations upon the earth.
Selah.

Let the people praise thee,
O God;
let all the people praise thee.

Then shall the earth
yield her increase;
and God, even our own God,
shall bless us.

God shall bless us;
and all the ends of the earth
shall fear him.

(Ps. 67)
So we thy people and
sheep of thy pasture
will give thee thanks for ever:

we will shew forth thy praises
to all generations.

(Ps. 79:13)
O sing unto the LORD
a new song;
for he hath done
marvelous things:

his right hand, and
his holy arm,
hath gotten him the victory.

The LORD hath made known
his salvation:
his righteousness
hath he openly shewed
in the sight of the heathen.

He hath remembered
his mercy and
his truth
toward the house of Israel:

all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.

Make a joyful noise
unto the LORD,
all the earth:

make a loud noise,
and rejoice,
and sing praise.

Sing unto the LORD
with the harp;
with the harp,
and the voice of a psalm.

With trumpets
and sound of cornet
make a joyful noise
before the LORD, the King.

Let the sea roar,
and the fullness thereof;
the world,
and they that dwell therein.

Let the floods
clap their hands:
let the hills
be joyful together
before the LORD;
for he cometh
to judge the earth:

with righteousness
shall he judge the world,
and the people
with equity.

(Ps. 98)
Then believed they
his words;
they sang
his praise.

(Ps. 106:12)
O that men would praise the LORD
for his goodness, and
for his wonderful works
to the children of men!

(Ps. 107:8, 15, 21, 31)
I will greatly praise the LORD
with my mouth;
yea, I will praise him
among the multitude.

(Ps. 109:30)
Wherefore should the heathen say,
'Where now is their God?'
...
But we will bless the LORD
from this time forth
and for evermore.

Praise the LORD.

(Ps. 115:2, 18)
O praise the LORD,
all ye nations:
praise him,
all ye people.

For his merciful kindness is great toward us:
and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever.

Praise ye the LORD.

(Ps. 117)
I will extol thee,
my God, O king;
and I will bless thy name
for ever and ever.

Every day
will I bless thee;
and I will praise thy name
for ever and ever.

Great is the LORD
and greatly to be prasied;
and his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation
shall praise thy works
to another,
and shall declare thy mighty acts.

I will speak
of the glorious honor
of thy majesty,
and of thy wondrous works.

And men shall speak
of the might
of thy terrible acts:
and I will declare thy greatness.

They shall abundantly utter the memory
of thy great goodness,
and shall sing
of thy righteousness.

The LORD is gracious,
and full of compassion;
slow to anger,
and of great mercy.

The LORD is good to all:
and his tender mercies
are over all his works.

All thy works
shall praise thee,
O LORD;
and thy saints
shall bless thee.

They shall speak
of the glory
of thy kingdom,
and talk
of thy power;

To make known to the sons of men
his mighty acts,
and the glorious majesty
of his kingdom.

Thy kingdom is
an everlasting kingdom,
and thy dominion endureth
throughout all generations.

The LORD upholdeth
all that fall,
and raiseth up
all those that be bowed down.

The eyes of all
wait upon thee;
and thou givest them their meat
in due season.

Thou openest thine hand,
and satisfiest the desire
of every living thing.

The LORD is righteous
in all his ways,
and holy
in all his works.

The LORD is nigh
unto all them that call upon him,
to all that call upon him
in truth.

He will fulfill the desire
of them that fear him:
he also will hear their cry,
and will save them.

The LORD preserveth
all them that love him:
but all the wicked
will he destroy.

My mouth shall speak
the praise of the LORD:
and let all flesh bless
his holy name
for ever and ever.

(Ps. 145)
Praise ye the LORD.

Praise ye the LORD
from the heavens:
praise him
in the heights.

Praise ye him,
all his angels:

praise ye him,
all his hosts.

Praise ye him,
sun and moon:

praise him,
all ye stars of light.

Praise him,
ye heavens of heavens,
and ye waters that be
above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of the LORD:
for he commanded,
and they were created.

He hath also stablished them
for ever and ever:
he hath made a decree
which shall not pass.

Praise the LORD
from the earth,
ye dragons,
and all deeps:

Fire, and hail;
snow, and vapor;
stormy wind
fulfilling his word:

Mountains, and all hills;
Fruitful trees, and all cedars:

Beasts, and all cattle;
creeping things, and flying fowl:

Kings of the earth, and all people;
princes, and all judges of the earth:

Both young men, and maidens;
old men, and children:

Let them praise the name of the LORD:
for his name alone
is excellent;
his glory
is above the earth and heaven.

He also exalteth the horn of his people,
the praise of all his saints;
even of the children of Israel,
a people near unto him.

Praise ye the LORD.

(Ps. 148)
And in that day thou shalt say,

"O LORD, I will praise thee:
though thou wast angry with me,
thine anger is turned away,
and thou comfortedst me.

Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and not be afraid:
for the LORD JEHOVAH is
my strength and my song;
he also is become
my salvation."

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

And in that day shall ye say,

"Praise the LORD,
call upon his name,
declare his doings among the people,
make mention that his name is exalted.

Sing unto the LORD;
for he hath done excellent things:
this is known in all the earth.

Cry and shout,
thou inhabitant of Zion:
for great is the Holy One of Israel
in the midst of thee."

(Is. 12)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Waiting on Him...

For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee. (Ps. 31:22)

I never noticed this verse before. I was thinking earlier today about the folly of making "snap" decisions for most things in life (to be blogged about later), and so I did a search (using e-Sword) for the word "haste," which brought me to this verse.

I got to meditating on it, and several things occurred to me.

I know I've been there before: You pray for something, and when it doesn't happen immediately, or as you planned, you get cynical and pouty. "But I trusted You, Lord! What happened?"

My question is: what are we trusting Him for? Too often, we "trust" Him to immediately swoop to our aid like a magic genie -- to do our will. Then we act all surprised and get despondent when He doesn't do it.

Then, much later, when some or all of the details of God's plan come out, we say, with David: "For I said in my haste, 'I am cut off from before thine eyes:' nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee."

There are several lessons here, each of which I have, at some point, been guilty of ignoring, and I'm willing to bet you have too:

  • Don't assume that your plan is God's plan.
  • Don't assume that because you can't understand what's happening, God can't either.
  • Don't assume that because you can't see God working, He isn't.
  • Don't ever assume that you could have actually been happy/fulfilled/joyful/etc. with your own plan, and God just happened to get lucky this once.
  • Don't ever take a "no" answer as a sign that God has "cut [you] off from before [His] eyes." Remember, "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, 'I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.' So that we may boldly say, 'The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.'"

This topic is so rich, that I know I've left out a few really good points. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

(Disclaimer: I moderate my comments, so don't feel bad if yours 1) don't show up, or 2) don't show up immediately.)