Sunday, January 22, 2012

Beauty For Ashes - Repost

Two years ago I referred to this link from Laurie at Beauty for Ashes wherein she speaks frankly about abortion.   It's one of the posts that stick with you and perhaps change how you think.  I wanted to repost a link to her original article once again.  
Please click here and read Beauty for Ashes - wherein she speaks frankly about Abortion.

From my own reading I will never regret what this article taught me both about abortion, pro-life and the centrality of the Gospel as touching both these subjects.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Earth despicable, Heaven desirable..

Reading out loud to my family now thrice,
Try aloud yourself, my advice
Thus many visions gloriously seen
Jesus my all, Saviour and King.
--- with much apologies for the above I now present you from Erkine a Gospel Sonnet


Earth despicable, Heaven desirable.

There's nothing round the spacious earth
To suit my vast desires;
To more refin'd and solid mirth
My boundless thought aspires.

Fain would I leave this mournful place,
This music dull, where none
But heavy notes have any grace,
And mirth accents the moan.

Where trouble tread upon reliefs,
New woes with older blend ;
Where rolling storms and circling griefs
Run round without an end:

Where waters wrestling with the stones,
Do fight themselves to foam,
And hollow clouds with thund'ring groans
Discharge their pregnant womb:

Where eagles mounting meet with rubs
That dash them from the sky:
And cedars, shrinking into shrubs,
In ruin prostrate lie:

Where, sin the author of turmoils,
The cause of death and hell,
The one thing foul that all things soils,
Does most befriended dwell.

The purchaser of night and woe,
The forfeiture of day,
The debt that ev'ry man did owe,
But only God could pay.

Bewitching ill, indors'd with hope,
Subscribed with despair:
Ugly in death when eyes are ope,
Though life may paint it fair.

Small wonder that I droop alone
In such a doleful place:
When lo, my dearest friend is gone,
My father hides his face.

And though in words I seem to show
The fawning poet's stile,
Yet is my plaint no feigned woe;
I languish in exile.

I long to share the happiness
Of that triumphant throng,
That swim in seas of boundless bliss
Eternity along.

When but in drops here by the way
Free love distils itself,
I pour contempt on hills of prey,
And heaps of wordly pelf.

To be amidst my little joys,
Thrones,sceptres, crowns, and kings,
Are nothing else but little toys,
And despicable things.

Down witH disdain earth's pomp I thrust,
Bid tempting wealth away:
Heav'n is not made of yellow dust,
Nor bliss of glitt'ring clay.

Sweet was the hour I freedom felt
To call my Jesus mine ;
To see his smiling face, and melt
In pleasures all divine.

Let fools after heav'n of shades pursue
But I for substance am:
The heart I seek is likeness to,
And vision of the Lamb:

The wothy lamb with glory crown'd
In his august abode;
Inthron'd sublime, and deck'd around
With all the pomp of God.

I long to join the saints above,
Who, crown'd with glorious bays,
Through radiant files of angels move,
And rival them in praise:

In praise to JAH, the God of love,
The fair incarnate Son,
The holy co-eternal Dove,
The good, the great Three-one

In hope to sing without a sob,
The anthem ever new,
I gladly bid the dusty globe,
And vain delights, Adieu.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ephesians Chapter Five Verse Twelve

"Would it make any difference to you—any difference at all to the way you talk, to what you watch, to the way you ‘engage culture’—if Eph. 5:12 had never been written?”  -- Carl Trueman

Ok,  I totally ripped this off from Carl Trueman.  Actually from Justin Taylor.  Or was it Tim Challies?   Challies linked to Trueman.  I read Trueman.  Trueman's question probed me.  But then I jumped over to Justin Taylor and he also picked up on Trueman and so once again- the question.  

Would it really make any difference in how I talk, how I express myself, and what I do had Ephesians 5:12 never been written?    Hmmmmm  - I really really hope not, but O' God that I would take this verse more to heart.  My Grandfather epitomized Eph 5:12.  When my mind goes to his example his purity of speech is one of the very first things I remember.  And I do not attain to his example much less than to Christ to whose image I am hoping to be conformed.

EPH 5:12 "For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Blog Commendation: Surprised by Optimism

Times are bad.  People are evil.  The government is corrupt.  Hopelessness abounds.  The world is falling apart.  People will always fail you.    But on the other hand, won't they somehow do what's right?   Isn't there a spark of goodness in every man?  Can't we hope that good men will prevail eventually over evil?  Should we place our hope in man?

My brother in Christ and friend, John, is writing to counter some of this very thinking.  I've come to respect John's words, and appreciate the insight God is granting him for the good of the body of Christ.   And because of this, I'm very excited to become a new follower of his blog, "Surprised by Optimism."  John openly and honestly writes:

"My reason for starting this blog is that I know the crippling power of cynicism, and I want to help others avoid it. Now, it’s not that I always walk around with a scowl on my face, as the song “He’s a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” plays ominously in the background. Instead, as Paul Miller explains in his book A Praying Life, my cynicism begins with my false assurance that “anything is possible”. However, optimism rooted in the goodness of people collapses when it confronts the darker side of life, such as disappointed expectations or downright evil in people (including myself). From the signs I see in our culture, I think that this type of cynicism is becoming a widespread problem."   

After reading John's words, I was made to reflect on my own cynicism.   Am I secretly and unwares cynical?   Admittedly this sin can blindside me unawares.  Is there hope for us to overcome this kind of cyncism?   John, again, writes in words meant to bring hope:

"However, there is a way out of this quiet cynicism. Rather than withdrawing into this negative spirit, we need an optimism that is founded on something more dependable than the goodness of people. We all know deep down that people, including ourselves, aren’t good. Nevertheless, the famous words of Psalm 23 hold the key: God is willing to be our Good Shepherd who won’t disappoint. Jesus proved this willingness when he came to earth to pay the penalty of our corrupted goodness by dying on the cross. Now we have the opportunity to have hope, and even the kind of fun that lasts! There is so much hope and joy to be found in God, and I’d love if you would join me in this journey of learning to be optimistic through Him!"

ht:  Unto-Him-We-Live 
ps:  Please be sure to read the comments on John's new blog seeing especially that from Father to Son and learn from grace.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Guest Post: A Few Thoughts on Free Will

Good friend and brother, Richard, sent me "A Few Thoughts on Free Will."   What a great way to begin the new year by thinking deeply concerning the things of God.  So with permission and to honor my own friends meditations below are "A Few Thoughts on Free Will" by Richard.

First what is the will? (link to the definition of will.)
I am going to define it as our ability to make a decision, and then carry it out to fruition. 
So we when make a decision about anything how do we do this? Lets look at something that seems trivial like what socks to wear. It seems that a decision about sock choice would be made freely. Or is it? When we make decisions we always do so based on some intellectual or emotional factor (or both). In picking socks most people consider style, matching outfits and so on. Someone that would flippantly say, "I don't care about what the socks look like, I just wear whatever have," at the very  least have some thought concerning comfort. They would not wear socks that would hurt their feet. The point is that even the most trivial decisions we make are influenced by something. So then how "free" are these choices? I would say no choice we make is free in this sense.
Does it seem likely that the most important decision we make, that of our eternal destiny would not be influenced by some factor. We most likely agree that the Holy Spirit plays some role in our salvation. Most of us have prayed for the soul of a lost loved one. Are we not asking God to influence their will? Does it not seem true that He would influence our decision to follow Christ. If the Holy Spirit does influence the heart in this decision how can it be called "free."
The truth is, the part of our salvation that is "free" is the Grace that is given to us and the Faith to accept this free Grace. Grace must be given to us freely for our salvation. If we could be saved based solely on our decision or in other words something we do. Would not the glory of our salvation be ours and not Gods? The "freedom" of our will is not really what is at issue here. The ability of our will is what needs to be considered. Do we have the ability to come to Christ on our own terms? NO! This ability is given to us by the Holy Spirit. We have the freedom to choose salvation only after we have been given the ability. The Holy Spirit makes our will willing.

So after reading Richard, have you any thoughts of your own concerning the freedom of the will?

For more information I suggest you check out the following article:  (please click on title for link)
Human Nature in it's four-fold state. 
LBCF commentary on Fair will 
Free Will vs. Free Will   I found this article especially helpful. 
Freedom of the Will by Jonathon Edwards
Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther