Friday, October 07, 2005

October Thanksgiving (What I Love About Canada #382)

It is harvest time.

I had fresh apple sauce today from a friend's apple tree (well, their kitchen actually, but you know what I mean!).

The flowers in my garden are finishing off their wonderful summer of blooming.

My point is - why do American's celebrate Thanksgiving at the end of November? You mean to tell me that is when the Pilgrim's invited the Indians over?

I love Canada - we thank God while the food is fresh!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Challies Dot Com: Where is God in the Storm?

Some reflections on Ashley Smith and Rick Warren on the Larry King Show last night.
Tim Challies has a great post today that ends up being a discussion of the sovereignty of God and the existence of evil. If nothing else, he shows how weightless is the position that God is out control when really bad things happen. I particulary appreciated his conclusion:
The truth is, we don't really know how or why God allows and even decrees that these things will happen. But we do not need to "let God off the hook" in order to make ourselves or unbelievers feel better. Let God be God and take comfort not in our supposed explanations of how and why He acts, but in the fact that He is always present with us, whether in times of joy or sorrow.

Click the link above to read the whole thing.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Is the Bible Determinative? - Part II

2. Is the Bible determinative in your relationships within the church?

We have all heard amazing stories of church rancor. I recall being told of one deacon meeting that ended in a brawl on the front steps since these leaders thought it “un-Christian” to slug each other “in the church!”

Yet, what is visibly grotesque in this scenario is invisibly present in many of our hearts! When tempted to anger and envy and divisiveness... what will determine your response? I am asking what directs your actions when you are forgotten or sinned against or just feeling lousy? What determines how you live with brothers and sisters?

Do we inwardly and outwardly practice such things as:

  • a love that covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8)
  • forgiveness of the same intensity and freedom as Christ’s (Ephesians 4:32)
  • restoration of sinning brothers in humility and under the control of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 6:1)

Or, do we permit ourselves to do what the Bible forbids:

  • holding grudges that grow into bitterness (Hebrews 12:15)
  • giving vent to our anger, clamor, slander and wrath (Ephesians 4:31)
  • feeding our flesh with envy, jealousy, enmity, strife and fits of anger (Galatians 5:21)

Equally important is our response to all the positive commands of Jesus to be “slave of all,” “servant of all,” “least of all” or simply fulfilling our ministry. Again, my question for you and me is, “Do these Biblical commands determine how we live with brothers and sisters in the church?” Asked another way, “Do you excuse certain wrong behaviors when you are hurt or offended?” Circumstance or Christ? Which determines how you live?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Is the Bible Determinative? - Part I

As reformed evangelicals, we often speak of our high view of Scripture – especially in determining our thoughts about God and life. But saying that the Bible is our source of light and direction in this life is one thing – and living it can be quite another.

I propose to ask you three questions that I asked the student body of Toronto Baptist Seminary a couple of weeks ago. I will ask one question, but in three different ways or, if you like, as three concentric circles that share the same centre. Essentially, what I am asking is this: “Is the Bible determinative in your life?”

1. Is the Bible determinative in your heart?

Does the Scripture work upon your “inner man,” shaping your thinking, feeling, and internal living? Hypocrisy always seems to be a half-step away for the Christian, and it begins with an unwillingness to be directed by the plain thrust of the Scriptures in our hearts (see Mark 7). We need to carefully think if the Bible determines our thoughts, imaginations, fantasies, feelings and the like. Does the Word of God speak to my inner man and direct me from there?

Parts II and III to follow...

Challies Dot Com

Challies Dot Com
Here is a great site I have perused many times in the past and that gets linked to often by friends like Justin Taylor or the Pyromaniac. What I just found out last night was that Tim is a Canadian - even a fellow Ontarion (or whatever people from Ontario are supposed to call themselves!). That makes his blog and site 5000 times more important!
There are a whack of great articles and some cool links to news items, book and movie reviews, and other blogs.
Be sure to bookmark this one.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Fore-Loved: No Fear

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

There is no question that Paul is using the word foreknowledge here in its theologically pregnant sense of "fore-love" or "to have relationship in advance." (For a defense of that assumption you could try listening to the sermon I preached yesterday at GFC.)

That being said, it is worth considering again that before God said, "Let there be light," He had already set His love on those who would be His forever. When we doubt God in trials, we are doubting His love. We need to preach to our own hearts that glorious Truth that the One who "is working all things after the counsel of His will," is permitting (directing) our trials for our good and out of His infinite love.

The devil would be thrilled to have us believe that this God of ours is holding something back or making life miserable for us (perhaps just out of sheer caprice!). Nothing could be further from the Truth! This glorious God of the Christian has loved the Christian from before the foundation of the world - and He, the Sovereign One, has promised that He will never stop "working all things for good" for His own.

We are utterly blessed.

I say, own your trials (I write it trembling!) and glory in the love and wisdom of the Eternal.