Friday, 25 February 2011

The Desires of Your Heart

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." (Psa;m 37:4)

I was thinking of this verse only this morning, in connection with the "name it and claim it" faith movement. Too often this verse is misapplied to say that God will give us anything we want.

But what I believe it says is that if we delight in Him, He will give us new desires. The actual desires of our hearts will come from Him. Worldly desires come from a heart of stone, but when He gives us a new heart, one of flesh, He will also give us new desires. As we become more and more conformed to His likeness, the desires of our hearts should become closer and closer to His own desires.
It is my constant prayer that my will would conform to His, rather than me expecting His to conform to mine.

Take Care

Monday, 14 February 2011

I Love This Song

Sunday nights I go to Bethesda Christian Fellowship in Edmonton. They have one of the best worship bands I know. One of my favourite songs they do is this one. I thought it might have been an original with them, but apparently not. Here is a version of it performed by the band who wwrote it, the Desperation Band. It is quite inspiring to be part of a congregation of a couple of hundred people singing this. Watch and listen to the whole thing.

Seated above, enthroned in the Father's love
Destined to die, poured out for all mankind
God's only son perfect and spotless one
He never sinned, but suffered as if he did

All authority, every victory is Yours
All authority, every victory is Yours

Savior, worthy of honor and glory, worthy of all our praise, You overcame
Jesus, awesome in power forever,awesome and great is Your name,You overcame

Power in hand speaking the Father's plan
You're sending us out, light in this broken land

We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb
and the word of our testimony, everyone overcome

Desperation Band Overcome lyrics are property and copyright of it's owners.

Take Care

Wedding Clothes

The gulf between, for the sake of terminology, orthodox and liberal churches can nowhere be more made apparent than by the comments Here..., notably by commenter Dale Sparkes.

For example;
Sexual relations are unnatural when they are contrary to the nature of the person—whether that nature be celibate, homosexual, or heterosexual. Homosexual relations... are not unnatural, they are, as with heterosexuals, just different between different people.

It is my opinion consolidated from various readings, thematic understandings of the Bible, and relationships with people who have a variety of lifestyles. I myself am heterosexual, happily married. I see the sin in sexuality not in the act but in the condition of the act: exploitive, dominating, violent, degrading, or unfaithful, etc. towards the other... ... I see sin as estrangement from the other in relationship.

Note the repetetive use of phrases such as, 'I see,' and 'in my opinion'; purely subjective feelings on the subject, rather than firm Biblical support, which, if we claim to be Christians, should be our first refernce, as it often was for Jesus. Also, apropos of whatever, note the newest liberal cliche, 'the other,' referring to, I gather, anyone different than ourselves.

More quotes;
Anti same gender relations are not sound Christian expressions, they are simply cultural prejudices founded in fear of difference and the need for a comparison to elevate view of self. Some people pick Semites, others pick aboriginals or dark skinned peoples, some select women, still others pick homosexuals. In time all such views are proven false by God. The fact is God loves them all in their natural condition.

This liberal attitude brings to mind the parable of the wedding banquet in Matthew 22:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Without having to go into too much detail regarding this parable, the original invitees represent unfaithful Israel, the people gathered by the servants represent the gentiles, and the weding clothes represent the righteousness of Christ, given by God through faith in him. The one who entered without wedding clothes represents someone trying to enter the kingdom of heaven on his own terms, not meeting God's requirements. Those requirements include a total surrender of oneself to God and His will, and a complete trust in His plan for one's salvation. That plan is that one can only be saved and enter His kingdom through the sacrificial death and resurrection of God the Son, Jesus Christ.

But who was responsible for bringing this person in? One of the servants, of course. One of the servants let him in. That servant must have known that the person was not clothed properly, but would have said something like, "It's OK. You can come in, because the King will accept you just the way you are. You don't need to change a thing. He will accept you.

But does this parable illustrate a loving teddy bear kind of God? No! The last sentence of the parable shows it. The king requires us to be properly clothed. But here's the wonderful thing -- He supplies the clothes -- to anyone who asks. He will not refuse these clothes to anyone who truly wants them. God is indeed slow to anger, abounding in love to those who call out to Him. But he will not leave the guilty unpunished. And the blood of that ill-prepared guest is on the head of whichever servant assured him he could come in without meeting the conditions set by the king.

So will it be with all today who assure their followers that they can enter the kingdom on their own terms. And so will it be for those who believe them.

Take Care

Thursday, 10 February 2011

When You Hear it Like This...

How can you not be affected? How can you not be disgusted? How can you not feel pain?

From an article Here... about a former Planned Parenthood director who walked away.

Johnson describes holding the ultrasound probe on the woman’s abdomen and watching the screen as the abortion doctor worked and the mother cried. The fetus was at 13 weeks gestation based on the abortion doctor’s estimate, Johnson wrote.
“At first, the baby didn’t seem aware of the cannula,” she writes. (...the cannula is a hollow plastic tube that is connected to a vacuum-type pump by a flexible hose. The abortionist runs the tip of the cannula along the surface of the uterus causing the baby to be dislodged and sucked into the tube – either whole or in pieces). It gently probed the baby’s side, and for a quick second I felt relief. Of course, I thought. The fetus doesn’t feel pain. I had reassured countless women of this as I’d been taught by Planned Parenthood. The fetal tissue feels nothing as it is removed...
“The next movement was the sudden jerk of a tiny foot as the baby started kicking, as if it were trying to move away from the probing invader,” she continues. “As the cannula pressed its side, the baby began struggling to turn and twist away. It seemed clear to me that it could feel the cannula, and it did not like what it was feeling. And then the doctor’s voice broke through, startling me.
‘“Beam me up, Scotty,”’ he said lightheartedly to the nurse. He was telling her to turn on the suction – in an abortion the suction isn’t turned on until the doctor feels he has the cannula in exactly the right place...

The article also says Ms Johnson is leaving the Episcopal church because of their own pro-choice (read, "feel free to have one of these") stance. This, of course is similar to mainline protestant churches here in Canada, including the Anglican church.

How can anyone counsel such a thing without a very heavy heart?

Take Care
h/t the mcj)

Monday, 7 February 2011

Was John Calvin a True Calvinist?

I have long maintained, in my discussion with various all-out (as I may call them) Calvinists, that God has placed in every human heart an awareness of Himself. Rightly or wrongly, unless I have misunderstood, those with whom I have had these discussions have disagreed with me on this point, insisting that God has revealed this awareness only to those whom He has elected for salvation. Imagine my surprise, and even delight, to see that I am in agreement in this matter, with no less than John Calvin himself. Calvin apparently agreed that God has implanted in every person what he called a, "seed of religion." Note the following references;
...all men naturally possess some seed of religion... (John Calvin; Commentary on John)

...a seed of religion is divinely sown in all...(Institutes of the Christian Religion, chapter 4)

and perhaps most explicitly;
Since the perfection of blessedness consists in the knowledge of God, he has been pleased, in order that none might be excluded from the means of obtaining felicity, not only to deposit in our minds that seed of religion of which we have already spoken, but so to manifest his perfections in the whole structure of the universe, and daily place himself in our view, that we cannot open our eyes without being compelled to behold him. (Institutes, chapter 5)

I believe this confirms a number of my own thoughts on the Calvinist position.

Only if God has indeed implanted this awareness of Himself, can men be, as Paul puts it, "without excuse." (Romans 1:20)

It makes sense out of John 3:19;
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
Only if men are aware of the light can they prefer darkness.

It makes sense of all the verses, and there are many in both the OT and new, where God calls on all people to seek Him, and then promises rewards to those who do, especially, for example;

But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart... (Deut 4:29)

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11: 9-13) [emphasis mine, JK]

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. (Acts 17:26-27)

Make no mistake; I give man no credit for his own salvation. Without God's own call, or that, "seed of religion," he would be entirely incapable of seeking Him on his own. And I don't even like the phrase, popular with some, "making a decision for Christ." We do not even decide to, "accept him into our heart." In reality, God comes into our hearts, if you like that term, on His own. I prefer to say that He transfers us from the kingdom of darkness into His own (Colossians 1:13), but that without our permission, or even our awareness, until after it has been accomplished (In my opinion this is the "irresistable grace" of the Calvinist acronym, "TULIP"). Then, rather than, "accept" Christ as saviour, we can only acknowledge him as such.

All of which is to claim that in any future discussions with those Calvinists who disagree with me, I can cite Calvin himself in my support.

Take Care