Singleness and Valentine’s Day

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With all this talk about love and relationships on Valentine’s day, what about those who are single? Does the Bible say anything about this?

The Internet is filled with various “helps” for singles meeting singles. Among many in society and the church there appears to be this false notion that there is something wrong with being single. This false notion leads to an obsession where people try to mix and match people while disregarding their situation. Sadly, there are a number of silly expectations placed on those who are single and strange conclusions concerning their singleness. It doesn’t help when people look at those who are single and ask questions like, “I wonder what is wrong with that person?” Granted, being single means different things for different people. For some, the condition of being single is satisfying whereas for others it is a struggle. Continue reading Singleness and Valentine’s Day

Anxiety and the Christian

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Solomon wrote, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad” (). In , Jesus provides a good word to His people. There are many things in life that consume are thinking and can weigh us down. The pressures of these things can cause a strong sense of fear, anxiety and worry. As citizens of the Lord’s kingdom, the people of God are called to live in total dependence on the Lord, which means they are to trust Him in all matters. This includes the worries of life. Three times in this passage Jesus says, “do not be anxious” (vv. 25, 31, 34) clearly indicating an important emphasis. The three-fold repetition of this command provides three reasons why the believer should not worry.

The first reason why the believer should not worry is because of the Father’s Provision (). By arguing from the lesser to the greater, Jesus demonstrates the Father’s provision for the birds () and the lilies of the field () as a proof of His provision for His people. The Lord cares for animals and nature, but He His care for humans is greater for they are created in His image ().

The second reason for not worrying is because of the Father’s Promise (). The Father knows all that we need, so as we “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness“, He promises to grant us what we need (). To seek His kingdom and righteousness means to pursue those things that conform to His will.

The final reason why we ought not to worry is because of the Father’s Plan (). Only God knows what will happen tomorrow so we must rest in His sovereign plan.

Anxiety is something we all battle with. Despite the reality of the constant cares and concerns of life, it is wonderful to know that we have our Heavenly Father loving us and caring for us according to His Holy will.

25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down,
but a good word makes him glad.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Daniel in the Lions’ Den – Daniel 6

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“Daniel in the Lions’ Den” is a story of devotion, deception, despair and deliverance. This specific event in the life of Daniel reveals the character of a man who lived the life of faith (cf. ). From the time he was a teenager through to his later years, Daniel proved to be faithful. This story is the faithfulness of Daniel on public display.

Devotion 6:1-4, 10-11

So as to have order in his kingdom, Darius sets over his kingdom 120 satraps. Over these 120 satraps, he appoints three high officials (of whom Daniel was one). God caused in Daniel an “excellent spirit“, which resulted in excellent conduct (“distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps“). This internal possession was the source of how Daniel would respond to the events that would transpire in this chapter. As a result of Daniel’s character, Darius planned on promoting Daniel by setting “him over the whole kingdom” ().

When his fellow ruling officials found out about this promotion, they “sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom” (a). These men did not like Daniel and they certainly did not like the idea of him being promoted above them. The consistency of Daniel’s life stood in their way and in their minds an old Jew who is faithful to his God was a threat, so they wanted to eliminate him. They evidently placed a close eye on him in the way he carried out his kingdom duties. After careful investigation of what he is like at work “they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him” (Dan. 6:4). Daniel displayed faithfulness in all situations. He was a man devoted to the Lord.

Deception 6:5-9

After this failed investigation, these men formed a conspiracy against Daniel. The focus moves from devotion to deception. These conspirators concluded, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God” (). The only way they can bring accusation against Daniel is by making his loyalty to God a crime. Being aware of Daniel’s faithfulness, the officials (by means of deception) approached the king claiming that “All the high officials of the kingdom” agreed to their proposed plan (). This plan was the prevention of making petitions to any god or man for thirty days (a cleverly devised plan making Darius god for a month). The penalty of those who do not conform was death by lions. An injunction was made and sealed by the king. It was now illegal to pray to anyone apart from Darius.

How does Daniel respond? He didn’t panic or compromise, but instead he displayed faithfulness. When he arrived home “he got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously” (). Daniel didn’t overreact to this difficult situation – instead he was simply faithful, doing what he normally did. As expected, the conspirators caught Daniel in the act! These men assumed that they had Daniel right where they wanted him (Dan. 6:11).

Despair 6:12-17

Because Daniel was loyal to his Lord, the conspirators had ground for his punishment, and that was to be cast into the lions’ den. They brought this situation to the king by first reminding him of the newly appointed law, of which the king had affirmed and signed off on (cf. Dan. 6:12). Then they revealed to the king who the one was who broke the law – it was Daniel. As soon as Darius heard this, it would have become clear that this was a set up, and he was distressed and did all he could to reverse this law (). Despite his great respect and admiration for Daniel, there was no loophole in the law (Dan. 6:15). Darius then gave the orders for the punishment to be enforced. He said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” (), and the den was sealed.

Deliverance 6:18-28

In this portion of the narrative the reader sees the kings distress and Daniel’s deliverance. In the night of Daniel’s trial, the king ate nothing, received no entertainment and was unable to sleep (Dan. 6:18). In the morning, Darius rushed to the lion’s den and called out for Daniel. Daniel responded by giving God the glory for shutting the mouths of the lions and preserving his life. Darius gave orders for him to be released and issued a command that brought the demise of the conspirators and their families (). King Darius writes a decree revealing his understanding of what truly took place in this situation. These words testify of the sovereignty of God. Daniel was faithful and therefore showed integrity by simply living in response to the fact God was sovereign. Wherever Daniel found himself, he knew it was God who placed him there, so he would respond faithfully. By God’s sovereign plan “Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian” (Dan. 6:28).

This is a story of triumph in the midst of lies and deceit. The temptation to compromise was before Daniel but he remained faithful. Daniel may have experienced a miraculous deliverance, but all God’s people can expect an eternal deliverance. Regardless of the earthly outcome, by God’s grace we are to devote ourselves to Him and His glory.

 

33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.

Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him.

Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”

All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.

10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.

14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him.

16 Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!”

24 And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

Thomas Watson and Divine Providence – Part 2

a-body-of-divinityIn Thomas Watson’s, A Body of Divinity, his chapter on providence provides the reader with seven propositions concerning Divine providence. These propositions work as a helpful framework to build upon in forming an understanding of the Puritan’s theology of providence. Significantly, these propositions are an excellent illustration of what the Puritan’s did with their theology. After considering these propositions, I will conclude with a brief consideration of Watson’s exhortations that come as a result. This is an indication that for the Puritan’s true theology must lead to a practical divinity. Theology must never be disconnected from practice.

What is Providence? Continue reading Thomas Watson and Divine Providence – Part 2

Why the Right Kind of Faith is Important

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Do you have faith? Many will answer “yes!” I often hear people talk about having faith. Faith in others, faith in themselves, faith in circumstances, and even faith in nothing! So here is the second and more important question, do you have saving faith? What I mean by that is, does your faith become the means in which you take hold of complete forgiveness of your sins and receive eternal life? In-order for the answer to be “yes” in response to this second question, it must be a kind of faith that is placed exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ. That kind of faith is genuine saving faith – not a mere belief in something.

Saving faith does not trust in or rely on one’s own achievements; instead, the object of trust and reliance is the Lord Jesus Christ. Genuine saving faith is the recognition that we have nothing to offer God in-order to be forgiven of our sin and be saved. Faith is God’s appointed means in-order for us to receive salvation. Therefore, faith is coming to God on the grounds of grace – having nothing to offer – and trusting and adhering to Christ as Lord.

It is important to note that faith is not something we already have residing in us. It is not as if one has come to their senses and then decide to employ it. Genuine saving faith is actually a gift from God (cf. and ), and with this gift we cling to His Son. Without faith “toward the Lord Jesus” () there is no hope of salvation because He is “the way, the truth and the life” (). Or as Peter said it, “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (). Faith is so valuable because of whom it looks to!

What does this mean now for those that are saved? Well, in addition to receiving God’s gracious provision of complete forgiveness and eternal life, saving faith leads us to a life of holiness (cf. and ). Why is the right kind of faith important? It is a matter of one’s eternal future. In my next post, I would like to talk about how a believer can strengthen their faith.

29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,

1:1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints,

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

When Sorrows like Sea Billows Roll

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When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
 When sorrows like sea billows roll;
 Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, 
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

 

Sorrow is that dark feeling of distress that comes after experiencing loss or tragedy. Such an experience can be consuming and cumbersome. As the people of God, our hearts ought to be filled with a genuine sense of compassion and care for our troubled brother or sister. We ought to love them (), cry with them () and pray for them (). In this post, it is my desire to provide encouragement to the troubled person by pointing them to the provisions found exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

It is important to note that trouble does come in the lives of God’s people (). However, when trouble overwhelms the heart of the child of God, what are they to do? In we will note the cure to trouble. J. C. Ryle calls this passage “a precious remedy against an old disease”. The disease is trouble and the remedy is faith. Our Lord spoke these words,

 

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

Continue reading When Sorrows like Sea Billows Roll

10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

14:1 “Man who is born of a woman
is few of days and full of trouble.

14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

Inerrancy of Scripture

[This introduction1 written by Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary — the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.]

“More than twenty years ago, theologian J. I. Packer recounted what he called a “Thirty Years’ War” over the inerrancy of the Bible. He traced his involvement in this war in its American context back to a conference held in Wenham, Massachusetts in 1966, when he confronted some professors from evangelical institutions who “now declined to affirm the full truth of Scripture.” That was nearly fifty years ago, and the war over the truthfulness of the Bible is still not over — not by a long shot.

With current challenges to the inerrancy of Scripture in view, I convened a panel of theologians to revisit the question. In one sense, the challenges to inerrancy are more direct than ever, with figures associated with some evangelical institutions calling for a straightforward repudiation of the doctrine. Other assaults are more subtle, but all of these challenges demand our close attention.”

The panel was convened on Thursday, September 27, 2012, in Alumni Chapel at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


 1albertmohler.com

Melbourne’s Earthquake and the True Rock

© chnrdu under Creative Commons

Melbourne was struck by an earthquake on Tuesday night. The HBC Ministry Leadership Team were meeting at my home and we were deep in discussion, when suddenly the whole house started shaking. People out in the La Trobe Valley would have felt it even more than those of us in the suburbs. Earthquakes are a very rare event in Victoria, and this was the largest for over 100 years. God was gracious to Melbourne and basically no damage has been reported. Some people’s homes are Continue reading Melbourne’s Earthquake and the True Rock

Faith and Assurance

© Shawn Hempel – Fotolia.com

In a book I was reading this week, there was a distinction made between faith and assurance.

The author certainly asserted that not only is there such a thing in the Bible as assurance, but that it is most earnestly to be desired and sought.  However he made it clear that in his opinion, and the opinion of many authors (he quoted 30!), many can have faith without assurance.  Faith as small as a mustard seed will save.  Such faith may not be accompanied by assurance.

Here are but two of the thirty quotes (mainly from the Puritans).  What do you think? Continue reading Faith and Assurance