January 30, 2011

God, Who is Like You?

Holy God, with eyes like fire,
What could I do to please You?
Is there anything in me You could desire?
Is there any good that I could do?
Entangled in sin up to my eyes,
Even my “good” deeds are as filth.
I'm worth nothing but the pyre.
O God, who am I before You?

Mighty God, with eyes of flame,
Who am I before You?
I look at the many works that You have made
There is nothing You can't do.
Your deeds are marvelous,
Your wonders are grand,
And I am but a rebellious slave.
What is my worth before You?

Gracious God, who formed my being,
What is my worth before You?
Surely I am dust and filthy as the lowest thing,
And unable to stand before You.
But You formed my inward parts,
And knit me together in the womb.
Every part of me You have always seen.
How do You not see my sin?

Glorious God, with radiant face,
How do you not see my sin?
From my egregious evil You turned Your eyes away.
As Jesus took my place, condemned.
His righteousness now mine,
My penalty paid by Him.
Your holy wrath is now assuaged.
O God, do You love me so?

Wondrous God, who sent Your Son,
Do You love me so?
Five wounds attest the answer yes, the vict'ry's won
You've washed me white as snow.
Nothing in me but what You've done
In You only is my hope.
Bought by Your grace,
You've made me Your son,
God, who is like You?

-Nathan C. Matthews

January 29, 2011

Thoughts on Bible Reading Plans

Last January, I made a New Year's resolution to read through the entire Bible in one year, as many people do. I must confess that, though I have stuck with my reading plan, I have not in fact completed the plan yet. Still, I intend on completing this goal, but partly due to some inconsistency in my reading and partly because I have chosen to slow my reading down, I still have two months left. That being said, I thought that I would share my thoughts with you on reading the Bible in a year.

First of all, I think that wanting to read through the Bible is a noble and good desire. And reading the Bible quickly and in large sections has it benefits, if done correctly. Foremost of these benefits in my mind is the overview of the grand story, the meta-narrative. When we read books and chapters at a time, we can sometimes see better how things connect to one another and how the Bible truly is one story, with books written down at different times by different God-inspired authors.

Also, when reading quickly through, we can have a general idea of what each part of the Bible is about. This may allow us to know where to look when specific trials come our way, and have an idea of what areas we would like to study further.

On the other hand, I don't think that it's healthy to normally read Scripture in large portions without digging deeper. The Scriptures are breathed out by God and have riches farther down than we'll ever be able to delve. Therefore, we are called to meditate on God's Word and to write it on our hearts, and I believe that this is best done in smaller portions. I know there are times when I have spent more than an hour simply trying to understand a single verse. Because God's Word is deep and because our hearts are sinful, often we will have to grapple to truly comprehend and appreciate the beauty of this treasure, something that often can't be done with large portions of text.

The one qualm I had with my particular Bible reading plan (The Discipleship Journal Plan) was that often while reading in the Old Testament, I had to read between 3 and 5 chapters at a time to stay on track. Now, this wasn't always that bad, particularly when I was reading through the narrative portions, but especially when I tried to read books like Isaiah or Lamentations, I simply wished I could have had more time to take it in.

All in all, I think that trying to read the Bible in a year is a worthwhile endeavor and I think that I may attempt to do so every few years. But, I also believe that this should be accompanied with careful and specific study in the Word.

January 17, 2011

A Blog in Renewal

So, it's been a while since I last blogged. I've been on an unplanned, but needed break to refocus myself and organize my life a little more. But, it's good to be back with a renewed vision for this blog and how to carry it out.

As always, my ultimate goal for this blog is that God would be glorified. To this end, my posts will continue to be for the purpose of edifying other believers and pointing them further to God's Word and His glory in the cross. However, I feel that a couple of changes are in order.

First, I will be making a greater effort to post more original content. At times, I have felt that this blog has simply been a compilation of what other people are writing and creating. While I will continue to post content from other blogs, I simply will be writing more myself and posting here.

Secondly, I want the posts that I write to be more Bible-saturated. Because of this, I will be writing more about what I am wrestling with and thinking through in Scripture. And the things which I write about which are not directly Scriptural I want to be more obviously biblically informed and grounded.

These are my two New Year's resolutions of sorts for this blog- 17 days after the fact, but I pray not too late.  

December 13, 2010

Did Jesus Get Sick?

Russell Moore always does a great job of answering questions with insight and candor. His latest question deals with whether or not Jesus got sick, something that may seem inconsequential on its face, but I think Dr. Moore answers this question particularly well. Check it out:

It just doesn’t seem right to us to imagine Jesus feverish or vomiting. But that’s precisely the scandal. It didn’t seem right to many to imagine Jesus as really flesh and bone, filled with blood and intestines and urine. Somehow that seemed to detract from his deity. It surely didn’t seem right to many to imagine the only begotten of the Father twisting in pain on a crucifixion stake, screaming as he drowned in his own blood. This was humiliating, undignified. That’s just the point. Jesus joined us in our humiliation, in our indignity.

December 6, 2010

Donate to The Gospel Coalition

I have decided to take part in a contest to raise funds for the the Gospel Coalition. The competition is being held through the website razoo, a website which allows nonprofit organizations to fundraise through creating web pages where donors can give money as they wish.

For those of you who don't know about the Gospel Coalition, it is basically an organization whose main purpose is to see Christians live Gospel-centered lives by equipping them with resources to do so. For more information, you can visit their website or watch this video.

I would ask that you please support the Gospel Coalition by donating at my page. You can also donate using the widget on the side of the blog.

I would rarely ask anyone to give money to anything of mine, but all funds go directly to the Gospel Coalition and I think that this is more than a worthy cause to give to. I have listed my reasons for making raising funds here:

I am a college student at West Viriginia University who plans on going into full-time ministry. I have joined this fundraising campaign for several reasons. 

1) The Gospel Coalition has provided with many resources to help keep my life Gospel-centered. Particularly, I subscribe to several blogs and will be attending their conference this coming year. These things consistently point me to the cross and help to equip me to lead a godly life. Therefore, making this fundraising page is really just a small way to say thanks. 

2) The Gospel should always be first and foremost in our lives. This is the main premise of the Gospel Coalition and to that end they work. In my opinion, any organization that aims for such godly things should be supported and promoted. 

3) Not only does the Gospel Coalition want to see those who are Christians living lives that are Gospel-saturated, but in addition they want to see the Gospel proclaimed to the ends of the earth for the purpose of many people coming to know, understand and accept the Gospel. This is a high aim and one that I support wholeheartedly. 

My prayer for this page is that many would donate and that all would be done for the glory of God. 

P.S.- for full disclosure, yes I would like to win this competition and I am grateful for the DVD that The Gospel Coalition is giving out. However, I think that my chances at winning this competition are very slim and hope that this campaign competition will truly be used by God to continue to equip Christians everywhere for living Gospel-centered lives.

Thank you!

December 2, 2010

The Gospel is NOT... A Datum

(This is the third post in the series "The Gospel is NOT...")

3. A Datum: Sorry to use such an unconventional word here, but my main point in this post is that while the Gospel is factual, it is not merely a set of facts.

When talking about the Gospel, we must recognize that we are presented with radical truth claims about who God is, who Jesus Christ is, who we are, what our greatest need is and how that need can be met. On one hand, this means that we cannot simply say we believe in the Gospel and not understand what that actually means. This is why we must be so careful to present and understand the Gospel correctly. Yes, it can be presented in a variety of ways and in different contexts but the core truths cannot be changed. Otherwise, we will not have the Gospel, but a false one.

On the other hand, simply agreeing with these truth claims does not equate a reception of the Gospel. These truths must be understood and accepted, but they call for radical change. The truth of Jesus Christ calls us to confess and repent (turn away) of our sin and to trust and rely on Jesus alone to save us. One can agree with the truthfulness of Scripture and still not have saving faith. One may even be able to know how to defend Christianity historically and logically and still not have saving faith. We cannot simply say that we accept these things; we must trust in them. 

It may help to have an example. I believe that the Earth is 93 million miles away from the sun and that it orbits it every 365.25 days. I can validate this scientifically and mathematically and I can show you well documented proof of these facts. However, they have nearly no effect on my daily life. I don't get up every morning and think about how the light had to travel 93 million miles to get to where I am. I don't adjust my daily routine because the Earth's orbit is 365.25 days. 

Those who have saving faith are entirely different.  They take the facts of the Gospel and stake their entire life on them. They will not be able to go on living as they once did before their encounter with these glorious truths. True saving faith will produce a radical change in their hearts and in their lives, a radical change that is not the basis of our faith, but the result of it. 

December 1, 2010

Christians and World AIDS Day

Russell Moore has some helpful and convicting thoughts on World AIDS Day. He closes his article with this:
I wonder how many of us will hear the words from our Galilean emperor, “I had AIDS and you weren’t afraid to come near me.” 

And so, if we love Jesus, our churches should be more aware of the cries of the curse, including the curse of AIDS, than the culture around us. Our congregations should welcome the AIDS-infected, and we shouldn’t be afraid to hug them as we would hug our Christ. Our congregations should be on the forefront of missions to AIDS-ravaged regions of the world. Our families should be willing to welcome those orphaned by this global scourge. 

Through it all, we should be insistent in gospel proclamation. To those whose blood has become their own enemy, we should announce blood they know not of, the blood of One who can cleanse them of all unrighteousness, just as it cleansed us (1 Jn. 1:7); the blood of One who is forever immune to sin and death and hell (Jn. 6:53-56). 

Jesus loves the world, and the world has AIDS. Jesus identifies himself with the least of these, and many of them have AIDS. Jesus calls us to recognize him in the depths of suffering, and there’s AIDS there too. 

Jesus has AIDS.



© 2009Mind in Renewal | by TNB