Saturday, June 27, 2015

Young Charlie and Old Martin

This is my niece, Charlie Eden Fiore (named for her father Charles). And yes, that onesie is a gift from yours truly.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Christianity - Wholly Different

Van Til (1895-1987)
[Anyone with such hair is worthy of
some measure of our attention]
"There is an eternal, internal self-conscious interaction between the three persons of the Godhead. They are co-substantial. Each is as much God as the other two. . .The diversity and the unity in the Godhead are therefore equally ultimate. . .The Christian teaching of the ontological Trinity, therefore, gives it a clearly distinguishable metaphysic, epistemology, and ethic. In all these three Christian theism is wholly different from any other philosophy of life." - Cornelius Van Til, Christian Apologetics, pages 29-30

Monday, June 15, 2015

That Day That Is Darkness

After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. And Job said:
 “Let the day perish on which I was born,
and the night that said,
‘A man is conceived.’
 Let that day be darkness!
May God above not seek it,
nor light shine upon it.
 Let gloom and deep darkness claim it.
Let clouds dwell upon it;
let the blackness of the day terrify it.
 That night—let thick darkness seize it!
Let it not rejoice among the days of the year;
let it not come into the number of the months.
 Behold, let that night be barren;
let no joyful cry enter it.
 Let those curse it who curse the day,
who are ready to rouse up Leviathan.
 Let the stars of its dawn be dark;
let it hope for light, but have none,
nor see the eyelids of the morning,
  because it did not shut the doors of my mother's womb,
nor hide trouble from my eyes.

  “Why did I not die at birth,
come out from the womb and expire?
  Why did the knees receive me?
Or why the breasts, that I should nurse?
 For then I would have lain down and been quiet;
I would have slept; then I would have been at rest,
  with kings and counselors of the earth
who rebuilt ruins for themselves,
  or with princes who had gold,
who filled their houses with silver.
  Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child,
as infants who never see the light?
 There the wicked cease from troubling,
and there the weary are at rest.
 There the prisoners are at ease together;
they hear not the voice of the taskmaster.
  The small and the great are there,
and the slave is free from his master.

 “Why is light given to him who is in misery,
and life to the bitter in soul,
  who long for death, but it comes not,
and dig for it more than for hidden treasures,
  who rejoice exceedingly
and are glad when they find the grave?
Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,
whom God has hedged in?
 For my sighing comes instead of my bread,
and my groanings are poured out like water.
 For the thing that I fear comes upon me,
and what I dread befalls me.
 I am not at ease, nor am I quiet;
I have no rest, but trouble comes.”
Job 3

The most righteous man of his day (Cf 1:8).

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Stomach-Soul Connection

"Prayer is the reaching out after God and the unseen; fasting, the letting go of all that is of the seen and temporal. While ordinary Christians imagine that all that is not positively forbidden and sinful is lawful to them, and seek to retain as much as possible of this world, with its property, its literature, its enjoyments, the truly consecrated soul is as the soldier who carries only what he needs for the warfare. Laying aside every weight, as well as the easily besetting sin, afraid of entangling himself with the affairs of this life, he seeks to lead a Nazarite life, as one specially set apart for the Lord and His service. Without such voluntary separation, even from what is lawful, no one will attain power in prayer. . ."
Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer, page 83, Commenting on Matthew 17:19-21 where Jesus explains to His disciples why they failed to cast out a demon. It has to do with their unbelief tied to their lack of fasting.

Murray's book is useful not only for the content but also the structure. The chapters are normally around 5 pages making it easier to get through them. Each one gives commentary on one Scripture text containing one lesson from Jesus on prayer. The simple form lends itself to accessibility, especially to those not given over to learning by reading. To purchase the book inexpensively, go here.

I do think the book is worth reading for its content, yet I am suspicious of some of that content. In my way of understanding sinful Christian humanity, it seems to me that the goals set forth are perhaps unattainable. For example, in Chapter 20 titled "That the Father may be Glorified," in only one paragraph the author speaks of the Christian praying as being in perfect harmony with Him [God] and having our whole being consciously yielded to the inspiration of the Word and Spirit and our prayers bringing us into perfect unison with the Beloved Son in the wonderful partnership He proposes. 

While I believe in God's ability to do such, I do not believe He does such. If I am wrong here I do pray He correct me. As of now, my understanding of human Christian sinfulness does not permit me to expect what Murray holds out as what ought to be the Christian experience in prayer. 

My other concern is that the book overwhelms and discourages with its many demands for a certain kind of praying. Murray means to unpack Bible texts regarding prayer. That's good. That unpacking though has me wondering if I might ever pray for even five seconds in a way that pleases God. Murray offers so many demands that, to begin with, I can't keep up with them. I am through Chapter 20 of 31 chapters. I hope in the end Murray will offer a simplified summary that sets a sound trajectory for our praying and does not depress me.