Saturday, April 26, 2014

Moving, with Mara; or, Faith is Not the Absence of Sadness

My family is moving today, again. Marian and I attempted recently to count our moves. We came up with eleven of them, plus the one today; twelve moves in 19 years. I have prayed many times that God would settle us; that He would give us a place and a season of the rest that comes with being planted somewhere. He has refused. So today, if you want to speak to me, you may call me Mara (Ru 1:20).

The truth is I can't see what God is doing. His hands are invisible hands. And His ways are past finding out (Ro 11:33-36). As the Scriptures tell repeatedly, God's providences are regularly hard ones, at least for some of His children. And those God-wrought hardships bring real loss, causing real pain, causing real sadness. And I've had my fill of the ignorant Christian proclaiming his/her  backward view on faith's relationship to such things. Faith, dear people, is not the absence of sadness (See Job, for example, or many of David's Psalms; or Lk 22, or 2 Co 1 & 4; or He 11; Etc, etc, etc).

Friday, April 25, 2014

Am I a Christian?

For help answering the above question, I recommend a visit here. Then pray, and read 1 John repeatedly. Then pray. Repeat. And remember, the work of giving assurance is the work of God the Holy Spirit (See Ro 8, for example). So while God's people may be able to serve as guides on our path to assurance, they cannot provide the assurance itself, and shouldn't be expected to.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Every Sunday is Resurrection Sunday

Had Jesus not risen from the dead, the church would not gather. The whole thing would be undone, and the faith of every believer from Adam onward would be useless. So while we especially remember Christ's resurrection on this day, we ought to remember it each Lord's Day. Actually, we should remember it every morning, when we open our eyes from sleep, which is an illustration of death. Each night we go unconscious, then we awake and arise. God has woven the death and resurrection reality into every twenty-four hours of our experience. The Bible often uses "sleep" to speak of death, and "waking" to speak of life. There's a reason for that.

Jesus got up from the grave to justify His people, and to ascend to His Father's side, the place from which He mediates the new covenant in His blood. He got up from the grave to send us His Holy Spirit, who baptizes us into the Church, sanctifies us, and seals us for the day of final redemption. He got up from the grave to keep promises made to us, promises of His presence and of His return, and of everlasting life.

All of these wonders, and quite a few more, are tied up with the resurrection of Jesus. And frankly, it is the reason I have any hope at all.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Legitimate Use of All the Lord's Favors

"Scripture urges and warns us that whatever favors we may have obtained from the Lord we have received them as a trust on condition that they should be applied to the common benefit of the church. The legitimate use of all the Lord's favors is liberally and kindly to share them with others. . . Indeed, a Christian ought to be disposed and prepared to keep in mind that he has to reckon with God every moment of his life." -- Excerpts from John Calvin's "Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life", Chapter 2

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Einsteinian Philosophy

"Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value."

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."

Albert Einstein

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Because She's My Baby Bird

When Tess was just a few months from the womb, she began to make sounds that greatly resembled those made by baby birds. They were her happy sounds. So I affectionately began calling her my Baby Bird, and have continued to call her that for the past six years. Last week I asked her to write her name for me. Then I took that signature, paired it with a little bird, and had that design forever pressed into my flesh. This is my tat for Tess, because she's my Baby Bird.

"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. . ."
Is 49:16