Saturday, July 28, 2012

In what way is Jesus God's Son?

One of the aspects of the mystery of the Godhead is the Father-Son relationship of the first and second members of the Trinity (ie. God the Father, and God the Son). There are are many terms that can trip you up surrounding this topic, such as only-begotten, or firstborn of creation, aside from the term, Son, itself.

The mistake most people make is to assume that these expressions have to do with physical generation (natural birth) as opposed to Jesus' uniqueness, and His positions of functional submission to the Father, heir of the Father, and the preeminent One over all creation.

Recently a sister in Christ had an encounter with a modern-day Arian (aka Jehovah's Witness), and it spurred her to ask a question. You can read the question, and my answer, here.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A new review of Outlander Chronicles: Phoenix

A new review of Outlander Chronicles: Phoenix has been posted on the Captivated Reading book blog. You can see it here. It's a great review, and the blogger, Christy P., puts her finger directly on the aspect of Phoenix that distinguishes it from other post-apocalyptic novels, which is the presence of hope.

It's a great review, and I encourage you to check it out on her blog. The review will also be posted on Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon sometime this weekend.

Thank you, Christy!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Houston, Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed!

Forty-three years ago today, Neil Armstrong made that small step for man which was a giant leap for mankind.

 Did you know that when the lander settled on the moon, it had but sixteen seconds of fuel left in the descent engine?

Did you know that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were cleared to land, even though an alarm was going off repeatedly, telling them that the guidance computer had a problem?

What an incredible feat of innovation, engineering, science, and raw courage! 

What an amazing creature is man! On the one hand, he is capable of conquering space and traveling to earth's satellite, the moon. On the other, he is capable of picking up an AR-15 and murdering total strangers, as we saw early this morning in Aurora, Colorado.

The latter demonstrates that we are fallen creatures; the former demonstrates that even as fallen creatures, the image of God persists in us and God continues to bless His creatures with common grace. 

But there is a grace far superior to common grace. Oh,  that men would hear of the cross, and the death of Christ, and of His resurrection for their sins, and believe! Forgiveness is available, and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit makes one a new creation in Christ. It is all available through repentance and faith in Christ.

There is a base of Tranquility, but it's not on the moon. It's at the foot of the cross.

[The pictures used in this post may be seen at and were paid for with your tax dollars, if you were old enough to be paying taxes in 1969.]

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hot Poker

Okay, we aren’t talking about a game of cards, gang.  [I bet I just lost half my audience!]

We’re talking about fireplace pokers, and how you turn a cold one into a hot one. So how do you? You start messing around in the fire with it. You put it next to burning logs. The hotter they burn, the hotter the poker gets.

Now, wasn’t that just an amazing piece of wisdom? Worth every penny you paid for it, wasn’t it? Step right up, folks, there’s plenty more where that came from!

Cynical self-deprecation aside, there is a point to this: hang around people with a passion for something, and it’s catching. This is what mentoring is all about: hanging around people who love Jesus more than you do, in the hopes that it will rub off. Just like the fire makes a cold poker hot.

So, if we take this hot poker motif just a little further we can ask this question: if my love for the Word of God is growing cold, how can I reverse the decline? How can I renew and refresh my love for God’s Word?

You might start by hanging around people who really love the Word. May I recommend someone in particular? Try the writer of Psalm 119. Psalm 119 is a paean, a song of praise for the Word of God. You want to love the Word more? Hang around Psalm 119.

According to Derek Kidner [Kidner, Psalms 73-150, 453-454], the psalmist uses 8 primary expressions in Psalm 119 to refer to the Scripture:
  • Law
  • Testimonies
  • Precepts
  • Statutes
  • Commandments
  • Ordinances (also translated ‘judgments’)
  • Word
  • Promise (sometimes translated ‘word’)
Less common but also used: ways, name (loving God’s name here is equivalent to loving what He has said), and faithfulness (in verse 90 faithfulness stands in a place in the colon that matches it with ‘word’ in its parallel colon in verse 89).

One or more of these expressions occur in 173 of the 176 verses of Psalm 119. Here’s my favorite sample: Psalm 119:97 (NASB) O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.

Psalm 119 is a highly structured poem, being written in 22 eight-verse sections. It is an acrostic, meaning that the first word in each verse (in Hebrew) in each section begins with consecutive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In other words, verses 1-8 all begin with aleph, verses 9-16 all begin with beth, 17-24 with gimel, and so on. Some have said that it expresses the psalmist's love for Scripture from A to Z.

C. S. Lewis correctly identifies the passion behind such complex and beautiful verbal choreography:
“This poem is not, and does not pretend to be a sudden outpouring of the heart like, say, Psalm 18. It is a pattern, a thing done like embroidery, stitch by stitch, through long quiet hours, for love of the subject and for the delight in leisurely, disciplined craftsmanship” [Lewis, cited by C. Hassell Bullock, Encountering the Book of Psalms, 221].
In other words, the psalmist’s love for God’s Word is not only reflected in the propositional content of the words, but also in the beautifully crafted poetic structure of the psalm.

Here's a 46-day summer project for you. Get yourself a notebook, or journal on your computer, thusly:
  • Day 1: read the entire psalm.
  • Days 2-23: read an eight-verse section
    • write down what the psalmist says about God’s Word. Expand a little in your own words.
  • Day 24: read the entire psalm.
  • Days 25-46: read an eight-verse section
    • write down what the psalmist says about himself regarding his own commitments or responses to God's Word. Pick out a response in each section that you need in your life, and ask God to develop that response in you.
 Want to refresh your love for the Word of God? Hang around Psalm 119. It’s really hot!