Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sunday Post for Shepherds - When You're Not Singing the Psalms on Sunday

Unlike some, I do not advocate Psalms-only singing. But when we're not singing them, they do still remain the standard and should set the trajectory for what we are singing and what we commend to our people as worthy to be employed in biblical worship and in teaching Bible truth. God defines His relationship to us. We are idolaters by nature, meaning that we imagine what kind of relationship we want with God and then imagine that's the one we have. It isn't. You and I are not sovereign. The congregation is not sovereign. Your people's feelings and likes are not sovereign. Your church's traditions are not sovereign. Your denominational leaders are not sovereign. So let's trust God enough to sing the Psalms and songs like them.

To the Christian Rich - Open Your Hands

"If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother;  but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. Beware that there is no base thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,’ and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the Lord against you, and it will be a sin in you. You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, 
to your needy and poor in your land.’"
Deuteronomy 15:7-11

Read through the Scriptures. God has always seen to the well-being of the poor. God is hospitable and generous. He has much, so He gives much. Be like Him.  

Persons Prepared and Placed

"A violent physician for a violent age" - That's what one of Martin Luther's closest friends and co-laborers called him. His name was Philip Melancthon. I thank God for rough men, made so by God, and strategically located in time and space to serve His purposes. These are perhaps the most rare of creatures, whose default setting is truth, not peace or self-preservation.

Then He said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them. For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or difficult language, but to the house of Israel, nor to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. But I have sent you to them who should listen to you; yet the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, since they are not willing to listen to Me. Surely the whole house of Israel is stubborn and obstinate. Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces and your forehead as hard as their foreheads.  Like emery harder than flint I have made your forehead. Do not be afraid of them or be dismayed before them, though they are a rebellious house.”  Moreover, He said to me, “Son of man, take into your heart all My words which I will speak to you and listen closely.  Go to the exiles, to the sons of your people, and speak to them and tell them, whether they listen or not, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’” - Ezekiel 3:4-11

Monday, November 21, 2016

To the Christian Rich - Befriend the Needy

"The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends. He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy" - Proverbs 14:20-21.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Another Reason Why the Christian Life is So Hard

Because, "Those whom the Lord loves He disciplines. 
And He scourges every son whom He receives."
Proverbs 3:11-12, cited in Hebrews 12:6

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday Post for Shepherds - Sing the Psalms with Your People

Every church, when she gathers on the Lord's Day, should be singing the Psalms, because the Apostle Paul says so (Ep 5:19; Col 3:16), and because it was the hymnbook of Jesus, and because the Psalms are the word of God sung and teach us much about Him, and because they express real Christian life under the sun, and because they call us to reality, and shape our expectations as they work against our modern day joy joy-all victory-yeah rah- pure happiness false theology in this broken world where the devil is the prince of the power of the air and almost nothing functions as it should. Hardship is real. Depression is real. Pain is real. Loss is real. Suffering is real. Perplexity is real. Death is real. Failure is real. Agony is real. And their reality in the believer is often not the result of personal sin. And all of these have their rightful place in the Christian experience. God, by the Psalms, teaches us to relate rightly to Him in our genuine struggles and losses. He shows us how to worship Him in our pain. And as Carl Trueman so rightly puts it, He shows us what miserable Christians can sing.