Archive for April, 2011


Top Post of the week…

April 29, 2011

Read the most viewed post of the week:

“Without God’s help through Christ, when we face temptation and times of trial, we inevitably fail.”

 Can God Lead us into Temptation?


Five Thousand Fed…

April 21, 2011

Last week crossed 5,000 views, not much compared to some to be sure, but encouraging nonetheless.  Just a quick post to say thank you for all who take the time to read these posts and hopefully take some encouragement from the Word whose depths are unsearchable and whose application is never ending.

I hope that we can continue to meditate on the Word together and worship in recognition of its glorious role as the revelation of God’s love, grace and justice.

Receiving meekly, the implanted word, for it is able to save our souls. (James 1:21).

The First Post  July 2008

The Latest Post April 2011


Why Should We Pray?…

April 18, 2011

For our Divine Relationship:

” [T]he world [is not] fundamentally a constellation of discrete atomic individuals; we are all in our lives intimately related with one another.” (Charles T. Mathewes, author)

We are created for relationships. This is evident in every one of our lives. The fact that you are here listening to me and reading this is a key sign that you desire to be in a relationship with other people. The church is nothing if it is not a community of believers seeking a relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ. By far the most important relationship you have is the one with your heavenly Father. Just like any relationship you have, your relationship with Him is aided by communication. He communicates to you through His word, through His Spirit, through his Preachers. You communicate to Him through worship, worship in song, worship in His Church, and worship through Prayer.

Think of the relationships you have in your life. How are they affected by communication, especially with the ones you love? If I told you that I loved my wife, but I also confessed to you that despite the benefits of talking to her and communicating with her, she and I haven’t spoken in day, weeks, perhaps even months. Despite my insistence that she and I were in love, and that we were in a relationship, how healthy could that relationship be if she and I never communicated?

Consider your relationship with God. In his word we are told to pray. Jeremiah records God’s promise to him in Jeremiah 33:2-3 ” Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish, the Lord is his name, ‘Call unto Me and I will answer you, I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.'” We know that when we call on the Lord our God He hears us, “I Love the Lord,” The Psalmist says, “because he hears my voice, and my supplications (cries for mercy), because he has inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.” (Ps. 116:1-2)

Among First marriages in America Statistics show that some 45-50% of marriages end in Divorce, ( ) Research done on the causes for divorce reveal, that “Lack of communication is one of the leading causes of divorce. A marriage is on the rocks when the lines of communication fail. You can’t have an effective relationship if either one of you won’t discuss your feelings, can’t talk about your mutual or personal issues, will keep your resentments simmering under wraps, and expect your partner to guess what the whole problem is about.” (

How can you expect your relationship with the Father to flourish if you don’t communicate through prayer? Are you Strong enough to go through this life on your own?


A Tale of Two Kingdoms…

April 15, 2011

We are constantly surrounded by problems and concerns.  The news fills our TV’s and computer screens with images and stories of devastation and war, injustice and crime.  In addition to these external concerns we have personal worries that take up our minds.  We worry about our jobs, about being able to provide for our families, the clothes we will wear, the food we will eat.  This worry and anxiety are part of the kingdom of fear, a kingdom of man, whose ruler roams about seeking those whom he can devour.  When we focus on these worries and concentrate on these concerns we find that instead of making them better, we often make them worse.  When we search for solutions in the same source of our fears we rarely find relief.

In the kingdom of man, man is the end all and be all, the solution to the problems, we seek to provide for ourselves, and anticipate every problem.  All too soon, the stress of such self reliance begins to wear on us and we are overcome with anxiety.  Do you every feel this way?

Thankfully God, in His limitless love has shown us that this worldly kingdom is not all there is, there is another kingdom we are to pray for, another kingdom we are to seek.  This is the Kingdom of Faith, the Kingdom of God.  In God’s kingdom, worry subsides and fear is ended as we realize that He knows what we need, and meets our needs daily when we seek His face.  This is His kingdom, and whoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life.  For those who believe, He calls His children, and for His children He will faithfully equip them for every good work.  When we look at the world He has created and see how He cares for His creation, we see that the needs of His smallest creatures are met, birds have food and flowers are adorned in beauty.

When we seek His kingdom, and set our sights on His righteousness, all our needs are met in Him, and our worry subsides.  So how do we seek this Kingdom?  How do we escape the kingdom of fear?  Jesus instructs us to pray for the Father’s Kingdom to come, for His will to be done on earth as it is already done in Heaven.  The Kingdom comes when we seek Him before we seek our needs.  When we seek Him: He meets our needs, we receive forgiveness and give it to others, and we cease our attempts to deliver ourselves.  And the anxiety which once plagued our hearts is replaced by the assurance that “all these things will be added unto [us].”  So we worry not for tomorrow, for tomorrow, with God’s help, will take care of itself.


Can God Lead us into Temptation?…

April 13, 2011

“Lead us not into temptation…” Matthew 6:13

Temptation will come in the life of every believer and non-believer alike.  There are few days and if we’re honest few hours in our lives that are devoid of temptation.  Christ instructs us to pray to our Father in Heaven and ask the He lead us not into temptation, but that begs the questions Can we be tempted by God?

We have to understand what the word temptation means here, if temptation means “to sin” then no there is no way that God will lead us into temptation.  The key text about God’s blamelessness in regards to sinful temptation is James 1:13 “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘ I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.”   John MacArthur writes,  “God’s holiness and goodness will not allow His leading anyone, certainly not one of His children, into a place or experience in which they would purposely be induced to commit sin.”[1]

But of course the “temptation” in view here is not temptation to sin, but rather a time of trial, where if one fails, sin might result.  God frequently in Scripture ‘tries’ and tests those he loves, testing their faith and faithfulness. The perfect model of grace under the fires of temptation is Christ.  Christ was subject to temptation in everyway that we are, “yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15)  Christ was “led by the Spirit” into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan (the Evil, or evil one from whom we ask to be delivered).  Satan tempted Christ’ appetite in His hunger (Matt 4:3 bread); He was tempted Christ’s obedience to God (4:6); and He tempted Christ’s pride with the kingdoms of the world (4:8-9).  Christ prevailed in each, for He knew that appetites are not satisfied in bread alone (4:4); Obedience is greater than sacrifice, He would not test God through sin (4:7); And His kingdoms are not of this world, He bows the knee to the Father alone ascribing Him glory, “For thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever” (Matt 6:13).

God tempts, or tries, those whom He loves knowing that through trial we learn to rely on him.  He uses the fires of trial to refine us, and we are blessed if we persevere. (James 1:12)  When we are faced with a time of trial, or are tempted, we face a choice, we can choose to sin or we can choose to flee temptation, run to God and rejoice.  Abraham prevailed through the temptation with faith; and it was by that faith he was justified.Hbr 11:17

God allows us to experience temptation, but provides us with the strength to resist, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; an God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”(1 Corinthians 10:13)  When we are in Christ, we pass through the fires of temptation and rather than being burnt up, we are refined, “so that the proof of your faith, being more precious that gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Christ.” (1 Peter 1:7)  Our faith is bolstered when we pass through temptation, after-all “unless a ship can ride a storm, what good is it.”

Without God’s help through Christ, when we face temptation and times of trial, we inevitably fail.  When we fail we become anxious and fearful.  We find that rather than being refined we are run-down; rather than being delivered we are demoralized.  Thanks be to God that He provides us with strength and has given us this prayer and this petition; so that when times of trial come we walk not in fear but in faith knowing that He will lead us in the path of righteousness for His namesake and for His glory.

[1] MacArthur, John MacArthur NT Commentary Matthew 1-7. Pg. 395


A Word from Hitchens, on the Word…

April 11, 2011

When one takes a look at the state of modern cultural criticism, few voices and pens are as prominent or prolific as that of Christopher Hitchens. Knowing his predisposition against all things religious, especially Christian, one might wonder why he and his ilk might find space on this blog devoted to the Word which he so anxiously wishes wasn’t there. The answer comes from his current article in Vanity Fair entitled, “When the King Saved God.”

Hitchens is brilliant. There is no getting around that, he is eloquent, winsome, and biting. He is also battling esophageal cancer. Even while fighting the disease he has found time to bring his considerable lexical acumen to bear against the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible. The event he admits was truly paradigmatic. (that word was for him)

Now, Hitchens is not discussing scriptural inerrancy, nor is he focussed on the power scripture has as the repository of God’s precepts and Gospel of life. Rather this is a literary musing, a discourse on the considerable literary contribution the KJV has had on the language Hitchens loves and wields so well. He States:

“The Tyndale/King James translation, even if all its copies were to be burned, would still live on in our language through its transmission by way of Shakespeare and Milton and Bunyan and Coleridge, and also by way of beloved popular idioms such as “fatted calf” and “pearls before swine.” It turned out to be rather more than the sum of its ancient predecessors, as well as a repository and edifice of language which towers above its successors.”

Much has been written about the impact of the KJV on society and literature.

Adam Potkay, professor of Humanities at William and Mary College has written and taught for over twenty years on the pervasive presence of the KJV in our literary and cultural history. Download his chapter from “The King James Bible after 400 Years” entitled “Romantic Transformations of the King James Bible” here.

Leland Ryken, the Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English at Wheaton College, has written extensively on the literary influence and literary nature of the Bible. (You can read my review of Ryken’s “How to read the Bible as Literature” here.) Out this year is his latest contribution, “The Legacy of the King James Bible” (Crossway). He describes the publication of the KJV as a “landmark event in the english speaking world.”

It is both encouraging and discouraging to watch Hitchens handle so important a text. He uses his considerable God-given skill to weigh God’s given text, and while he misses the texts true impact, he stumbles on some undeniable truths concerning its form. Regardless of his discussion, the KJV’s impact is felt mostly in its ubiquity over the last 400 years; 350 of which it was by far the most commonly used english translation. Hitchens defends the beauty on its pages in a modern world more accustomed to tweets than tried texts. The greatest evangelist in the twentieth century (at least in regards to numbers reached) lifted truth from the KJV’s pages and hurled it forth to over 200 million people; who despite disparate backgrounds could still decipher the Gospel in its stilted and aged prose.

Of course it is my prayer and the prayer of many, that while Hitchens lauds the literary rarity of the KJV, he will not look past the central contribution of the Bible to mankind. The story beneath the prose of a God, His creation, His Justice, and His redemption, available to any who call upon His name.


What Can Flesh do to us?…

April 8, 2011

Psalm 56:3-4, 13

The Psalms enrich the life of the believer in a multitude of ways.  But they can pose difficulties.  For instance, how can I pray a psalm that focusses on relief from human oppression?  I am rarely if ever being pursued, apprehended, or foiled by others.  My enemies are typically spiritual and/or personal.

Three verses in this psalm transcend any difficulty that I might have, verses 3,4, and 13:   “when I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God whose word I praise, in God I trust, I shall not be afraid, what can flesh do to me.”  You can almost hear David building up the argument within his own mind, preaching to his soul, building the case for courage in the face of oppression and despair.

Thankfully, by God’s grace, I do not know oppression.  But I do know fear.  The gift of this Psalm is the perspective that it offers.  What are we to fear?  Christ instructs us that we are not to fear the one who can destroy our body, but rather we are to fear the one who can destroy both body and soul in Hell.  Fear rightly expressed toward God dispels all other fears and eliminates the very source of worry.  What can flesh do to me when I have verse 13; ” For you have delivered my soul from death, yes my feet from falling, that I may walk before God, in the light of life.”

Once God has saved my soul from the eternal death that awaits it apart from His grace, what could possibly arise against me to inspire fear.  What darkness could encompass me when I walk in the Light of life.  A light, that John tells us, has not been overcome by darkness, but rather has overcome the darkness with light.  What can man do to me?  What can I do to myself?  O God rise up and save me from my enemies.  Save me from myself, I believe God, help my unbelief.