September 25, 2010

The Unspeakable Gift of Jesus

O God of grace,
teach me to know that grace
accompanies, and
my salvation;
that it sustains the redeemed soul,
that not one link of its chain can ever break.
From Calvary’s cross, wave upon wave of grace
reaches me,
deals with my sin,
washes me clean,
renews my heart,
strengthens my will,
draws out my affection,
kindles a flame in my soul,
rules throughout my inner man,
consecrates my every thought, word, work,
teaches me Your immeasurable love.
How great are my privileges in Christ Jesus.
Without him I stand far off, a stranger, an outcast.
in him I draw near and touch His kingly scepter.
Without him I dare not lift up my guilty eyes;
in him I gaze upon my Father-God and friend.
Without him I hide my lips in trembling shame;
in him I open my mouth in petition and praise.
Without him all is wrath and consuming fire.
in him is all love, and the repose of my soul.
Without him is gaping hell below me, and eternal anguish.
in him its gates are barred to me by His precious blood!
Without him darkness spreads its horrors before me.
in him an eternity of glory is my boundless horizon.
Without him all within me is terror and dismay,
in him every accusation is charmed into joy and peace.
Without him all things external call for my condemnation;
In him they minister to my comfort, and are to be enjoyed with thanksgiving.
Praise be to You for grace,
and for the unspeakable gift of Jesus.

—”Privileges,” from The Valley of Vision

HT: Justin Taylor

September 21, 2010

Doug Wilson on Glenn Beck

A good word from Doug Wilson:

Ask Doug: Glenn Beck from Canon Wired on Vimeo.

HT: Mere Orthodoxy

September 20, 2010

Jesus and the Elephant

There is an old Indian story that is often used to express relativity of or the impossibility of knowing truth.

Basically, the story goes that there were several blind men all touching the same elephant, wondering as to what it was.

The first man, touching the ear of the elephant said "Surely this thing is thin and papery."

The second man, feeling the elephant's trunk said, "I agree that the thing is thin, but it is certainly not papery, but rough and round."

A third man, with his hand on the leg of the elephant, responded, "My brother, I agree that this thing is round and rough, but I must say that it is thicker than my thigh."

Still another, feeling the tail of the animal, said "I don't understand how any of you could think this thing is thick or rough, it is clearly thin as my little finger, and besides that, it has hair on the end."

So the four of them debated the nature of the elephant, unwilling to back down from their convictions or to consider the possibility that any of the other men could be right.
At the end of this story the question is then asked, "Which man was correct?" The expected answer is that all of them were equally correct, they just didn't have the complete picture. Or if the answer is that none were correct, then the response is that this is because no one can fully comprehend the truth and, in that we are all equally wrong, we are all equally right in the part that we do know.

Then, to end the story, the point is revealed, "So is truth".

What as Christians, should we do with this old tale? We could just ignore it and say that it is not in fact representative of reality. Or we could use this story as a Gospel opportunity.

We, as Christians, clearly believe that the truth is knowable through Jesus Christ and that this truth excludes all other views claiming to be truth. So, how does Jesus fit into this story? I would alter the story as follows:

While the four men debated the nature of the elephant, a fifth man, who was not blind, came upon them. Hearing their arguments, he said "Brothers, I tell you that that which you debate about is an elephant, and the attributes that you argue about are all present in different functions within this animal; but none of you have seen the complete picture."

For a minute, the men considered what the new man had said. But, one of them replied, "Why should we believe you? How can you claim that you are any more correct than we?

The man responded, "I too was once like you, blind and stubborn in my way. But as I was hobbling about one day, a man named Jesus came and touched me, removing my blindness. Now I can see this and much more. And you too, can see, if only you'll believe in Jesus and his healing power."

"Why should we believe you? What proof do you have that you can see any better than we can? And even if you can "see", why should we believe that you're not just trying to take advantage of us?"

And so the man tried to reason with them, but could not change their stubborn hearts. He went away sad.

Without Jesus Christ, we are all blind to the truth. We may know some things that are true, but we will never know the truth unless He opens our spiritual eyes. And the truth is not an elephant, it is a person, Jesus Christ.

September 18, 2010

The Gospel

It's been way too long, but I've finally finished "The Gospel". You can access it  under the pages heading to the right. I encourage you to check it out.

September 12, 2010

Fatherlessness by Odd Thomas

"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." (Gal. 4:4-5)

September 10, 2010

Love, Righteousness and Doctrine

In his commentary on The Epistles of John, James Montgomery Boice, lays out the intricate relation between love, righteousness and doctrine in the Christian life:

Love without righteousness is immorality.
Righteousness without doctrine is legalism.
Doctrine without love is bitter orthodoxy (Pharisaism).

As Christians, we need all three.

September 9, 2010

You Need a Mother Very Badly

Brett Harris, who lost his mother earlier this year has posted this poem:

You need a mother very badly!

               she always used to say

And I agreed when loads of laundry needed washing

       or when my stomach stole my lunch and

               held it ransom for a midday snack, and I

       always told her she was right

                            because it made her

       Smile, knowing she was loved.

Then I left for college and suddenly what I needed was

        George Washington's face times five

                Once for washing,

                         again for drying

    And my face on a keycard

           fed me three times a day

    Sometimes more if I

           could stash a snack in Styrofoam for later.

But I still called her on the phone and she

             still told me I'd be lost without her, and I

     always told her she was right

                         because it made her

       Laugh, knowing she was loved.

Summer came and went, and she

      never said, You need a mother very badly,

and we never told her we'd be lost without her

                     because it made her

       Cry, knowing she was fading.

But life goes on, and we're still living

      lungs keep breathing, hearts keep beating

            heavier perhaps, but steady as the world turns, and I

don't always think about the reasons why

      she needed to be needed so

                     because it always makes me


       knowing I was loved.

(HT: Josh Harris)

What is the Bible Basically about?

A great video from Tim Keller:

September 4, 2010

People in Need of Change

Let me just get straight to the point with this review: Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul David Tripp is a book I believe every Christian needs to read; I cannot recommend it highly enough. In his book, Tripp takes Scripture and the Gospel and applies it to life in such a way that everything we thought we knew about counseling and ministry is turned upside down.

In the first part of the book, Tripp dispels the notion that ministry and are primarily done by ministers. The truth is instead, that most of this is done by the "normal" Christians as they come into contact with friends, family, and others who are going through difficult situations. The counseling and ministry comes as those people seek help and an ear from us. Secondly, he rejects the idea that changing behavior is our goal. Every issue is a heart issue and, therefore, our goal in every situation should be to see the heart changed through the Holy Spirit's work in us. Thirdly, he counters the view of many that the Bible is simply an encyclopedia of counsel or, in other words, a book which we come to looking for advice on a specific topic. To the contrary, we need to see what the Bible says as a whole, taking into account its view of God, man, sin and the world, and from there we begin to apply its message to our specific situation. The last thing I'll mention that Tripp talks about in this section is the idea of incarnational living. We are to be Christ and represent the Gospel in what we say and do in various situations.

In the second part of the book, Tripp lays out his plan for biblically counseling others, which he summarizes in four steps: love, know, speak and do. Before anything, we are to love the other person or people we are counseling, as Christ loves them. We are to get to know them well and have an understanding of their situation lest we simply throw verses or advice at them that may not actually be helpful. Then, once we have gathered information about the situation, we are to lovingly confront the people involved (confrontation here is not meant to be seen in light of its present negative connotation, but instead in it positive biblical meaning). Lastly, once the person has responded to the correction, it is necessary to have a plan of action to deal with the problem. This process is lengthy and hard, but it is biblical and right. And as we help people we too will be helped because everyone of us are, as the subtitle says, people in need of change.

Once again, I just encourage you to read this book and see how God uses broken vessels like us to be His instruments in accomplishing His glorious will.



© 2009Mind in Renewal | by TNB