I haven't been here for a while but if there is anyone out
there who thinks about the Bible, please help if you wish. I have been thinking about what the Bible has
to say about LOVE.
It happens to us as human beings that we enter relationships
in which we think we really love someone.
But: I was thinking about this passage and that "old familiar
feeling." Whether it is philea (friendship) love, romantic love (eros),
familial love (storge?) or sacrificial love (agape) ... the same question
applies for me. If the object of love
forsakes the trust or shows themselves to be inevitably prone to do that which
betrays trust... are we as humans supposded to trust them still? Even Jesus didn't trust certain people,
because he knew what was in their hearts. Sometimes, we must admit, reasoning can show us when people aren't trustworthy. When do we, as people who might be trying to really follow this description
of love, cease to be obedient to it because we stop trusting?
I Cor. 13: 4-124 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes,what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
A Car Bike
Wow, isn't this wierd? I saw this at the bike shop when shopping for a bike for my daughter the other day.
I also saw this note below, hanging by the register inside the store, what a hoot.
I miss all the nicer bloggers out there so I thought I would share this very non-controversial curiosity with you. Hope everyone is doing well.
The Doctrine of Faith « Wisdom and Knowledge
Glenn W. has dedicated a post to me on his blog. How nice!
My Simple Gospel
I have written out, in several other places on ths blog, my understanding of the gospel. I just wrote the condensed version in a paragraph below for a "mock-up" I am doing for a publication... although I think it will probably be replaced :(
But I wanted to post it here!
This is Good News!
Most of us wonder, at some point in our lives, "How can I be accepted by God?” Well, let us tell you: Jesus made a way! He took all our sins upon Himself on the cross, died with them, and removed the barrier between ourselves and God. He rose from the dead, proving his victory over those sins and the death they bring. All that remains is for us to receive Him as our savoiur, trusting Him in faith, that He has accomplished this on our behalf. Through this faith, we become God’s children, having eternal life which is the very life of God within us. This enables us to escape the torments of hell and live with God forever. We don’t have to perform any goodness to obtain this life, we simply must trust that what He has done is enough. He has done it all. Won’t you receive Him today and begin a relationship that will meet the most basic human need: being accepted by our Creator, God. Then, let’s talk about serving Him with our lives!
A Head Scratcher
This is such an interesting quote. Do you think Dabney speaks for most Reformed folks? If so, I am a little but flummoxed because most that I talk to insist that they have assurance of salvation... but Dabney is calling that an error of Calvin
that has since been corrected
by Reformed leadership (Westminster mentioned specifically). Hmmmm? What to make of this?
The cause of this error [the teaching of assurance of salvation] is no doubt that doctrine concerning faith which the first Reformers, as Luther and Calvin, were led to adopt from their opposition to the hateful and tyrannical teachings of Rome. These noble Reformers... asserted that the assurance of hope is of the essence of saving faith. Thus says Calvin in his Commentary on Romans, "My faith is a divine and scriptural belief that God has pardoned me and accepted me."
Calvin requires everyone to say, in substance, I believe fully that Christ has saved me. Amidst all Calvin's verbal variations, this is always his meaning; for he is consistent in his error... for as sure as truth is in history, Luther and Calvin did fall into this error, which the Reformed churches, led by the Westminster Confession of Faith, have since corrected. - (Discussions of Robert L. Dabney, Vol. I, pp. 215-16)
Can Someobody Please Tell Me Who This Is?
Is blogging a healthy Christian activity? Every time I make the rounds and read blogs lately, the answer seems more obvious.
Shades of Meaning?
Does anyone still click on this blog? :) Obviously, I have been taking a break. It has been nice.
I was looking at this passage Wednesday and by default it came up in the NIV. It seemed to say something - to give me an idea or a 'sense' of something that surprised me. I thought I would check it in the KJV. I don't get the same "sense" from the KJV as I do from the NIV with this passage. I checked other versions too, but I think the contrast was clearest between these two. I know I am being vague, but I just windered if anyone else reading these would see what I saw. Do you see a difference in the 'impression' of the meaning between these two versions? Just curious.
1 Thessalonians 1:4-10 (New King James Version)
4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. 5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.
6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. 8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. 9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians 1:4-10 (New International Version)
4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
I am having much to do this summer and just can't find the time to blog. Maybe when school starts again...
Blue Lake Road
The place we were staying was a cottage on "Starvation Lake" in Mancelona, Michigan. It was a place you might refer to with three letters... or just as "the boondocks." In the middle of nowhere. Snowmobile/four-wheeler trails all around the area. It is hard to find, and not close to any highway exit. Just our kind of get-away place. We went on a couple of "day trips" during the week we were there.
We had decided to go to Mackinac Island the "back way" so that we could go up through the Petoskey area. It took us over 2 hours to get to the Ferry launch in St. Ignace from where we were staying at the lake cottage. Had we gone the direct way, up 75 North, the trip would have been a little over an hour. We planned to take that direct route back home when we were done on the island, since we wouldn't want to do any sightseeing
in the dark. Yes, that's right. No sightseeing. We had no idea
that the trip back would take so much longer than we imagined...
So when we got off the ferry at 9:30pm, we figured we would easily be tucking in our two year old (and the other three kids) by 11:00pm. We followed 75 South for about 55 minutes. The trip was going swimmingly. We exited where we thought we ought to and then things got confusing - the road signs weren't plentiful. (in Michigan? I never...) Looking at the Mapquest directions, I could see that the road we were looking for (to take us back to Starvation Lake) was Blue Lake Road. The county road we needed to sonnect to Blue Lake Road was not on the map of Michigan that we posessed. Shucks - we needed a closer view of that map. This could be a little tricky. We took a few odd turns as we looked for a rare gas station open on a Sunday night at 11 pm. Yeah, my husband was going to ask directions. :)
Then we saw it. Blue Lake Road. Wow, we may be home soon after all. As we turned South, we saw an unusual sign. What is a "seasonal road"? Right away we knew something was wrong. The road was a dirt road, but not a hard
dirt road. It was like a beach, all sandy with big ruts, as though a tractor had been skidding around on it. How do you turn around on this road? What if you try to back up and go forward, back and forth, and then get stuck in the sand? The best course of action seemed to be to keep moving ahead, and not allow ourselves to get stuck. Good thing it wasn't raining. It HAD
to connect back to a paved road soon. 10 minutes later, going about 15 MPH (on and off) we realize that we have seen no driveways. I want to get out and ask someone where in the blazes
we are. But there are no driveways, no houses, no lights. No intersections. Nothing but thick foilage and forest on both sides of the sandy dirt road. No, our cell phones have no signal.
30 minutes later, the situation is the same. My gut is in a tight twist. Thank you, God, that the 2 year old is sleeping through mom and dad's panic
as we come upon one big sand bowl
after another, wondering each time if this is going to be passable by our Dodge Caravan, or if we are going to walk all night to 'who knows where' with our four children. While Daddy forges ahead, Mom begins gaspy cries and the 11 year old daughter sobs, "I hope I am going to see my friends again."
An intersection!!! I get out to look around before we do anything more. The road we are crossing has no marking and looks to be of the same nature. There would be no point in turning. Keep going South, Daddy repeats, and it makes sense. Sooner or later it should run across some pavement. Before I get back in the car, I see a sign off in the brush. "Deward Mangement Area" ... "Protecting Our Natural Resources and the Manistee River". What? We are in some sort of preserve? Or are we on a dune buggy trail?
Blue Lake Road? I don't think so.
My husband tries to keep all our spirits up, although I know he is panicked just like I am. (Later he tells me he was aware of bears in the area. Thank God he did not mention that.) "God, please help us." I cry, back in the car, as I wonder just what lesson God may want to teach me this night. I know He doesn't always have it in His will to resolve our situations just as WE would want...
10 miles. 10 miles of a road with no driveway and only one intersection - that of a road just like it. 10 miles which took 1 hour and 48 minutes to travel. No kidding. Then we saw a stop sign in the distance. It was pavement. As we turned left onto the paved road, I was so happy. We were going to make it to a bed this night! Our KIDS were going to get to bed this night!!!! Our two year old was still asleep. God is merciful.
When we finally went to bed at 2:30am, I told my husband how thankful I was. I just couldn't get over the joy I felt at being off Blue Lake Road
. We had a fun day on Mackinac Island and it had been a great privilege to go there, but I wouldn't be nearly as thankful if the trip home had been uneventful.
Guest Post: What's Faith Got to Do With It?
Another person's take on the book of James, 'guaranteed works' of believers, and the danger of marginalization of FG via the current "conversation" within. by Jim Reitman, aka "Agent4Him"
In reply to the question “What if faith does not guarantee works?” I would say that this in fact is the starting premise
of the whole book of James! Faith was not at all
producing the works that should
have been evident among people of faith, and that is precisely our problem today among people of faith.
The thematic verses, 1:2-4, make it clear that the immediate objective of trials is to challenge
our faith to produce works might make us “whole” and “perfect.” But “whole” and “perfect” in what measure? It is the “commodity” of the righteousness of God.
The larger objective of works of faith in James is that as children of God we might vindicate our birth as His “firstfruits” (1:18)—”friends of God” who display His righteousness to the world (1:19-20, cf. 2:23).
To this end, the most exemplary
works of righteousness are those that are rooted in God’s heart of compassion and longsuffering for His people (Ex 34:6). And what are the main “trials” we face that are meant to elicit
these works of compassion and longsuffering? Invariably (look at the entire NT epistolary corpus), this entails the grueling challenge of loving those who are “hard-to-love” within the body of Christ.
This is epitomized by the teaching on manifested righteousness in Matt 5 and 1 John 2:29-3:18, as well as Christ’s repeated injunction that others will know who we are
by our love for one another (cf. John 13:35).
I contend that the “goal” of works in 2:14-26 as it relates to faith is no different than in 1:2-4: It is that “faith is perfected
[or brought to completion
] by works” (2:22) as we face trials. While God was among “the twelve tribes scattered” intent on purifying His people in the “commodity” of righteousness for His name’s sake, the most important works—those that display the righteousness of God—were sorely lacking, just as they were lacking among the Israelites for most of their prior history.
Thus, the message of 2:14-26 is addressed to a people who were not
demonstrating the mercy and compassion to others that should
be manifested among the people of God who were birthed by Him by grace through faith (1:17-18). If they claimed
to have faith, they should be demonstrating
their faith by “doing” the righteousness of God in their interaction with one another (1:19-20). If, as you claim “I don’t think practically we can look at anyone’s works and tell anything about their own eternal destiny,” how in the world could you see that “a man is justified by works” (2:24)??? How else could Abraham be “called a friend of God” by those who observed his works (2:23)???
Consequently, however we view the controversial 2:18, it is incongruent with James’ argument to claim that he was not advocating a disposition of “I will show you my faith by my works.” While it is ridiculous to claim from 2:14-26 that “faith guarantees
works” (in fact the passage argues the converse—”works make faith visible and bring faith to completion”), I think it is a mistake to shrink from the obvious communicative intent of the passage out of fear that Lordship people will abuse it: James is clearly seeking to humiliate people who are assumed to be “family” and claim to have faith but have little or nothing to show for it!
They should precisely be showing their faith by works!
Along these lines, IMO, one all-too-evident problem within the FG movement at the present time is that we, of all people in the Body, are so stuck on “protecting” faith alone in Christ alone
from any “contamination” by works (lest we “facilitate” incursions by errant Reformed and Lordship theologies) that we are shooting each other over “the right formula for salvation” rather than “provoking one another to love and good works” (Heb 10:24). So, we in FG—who argue most vociferously against works as a “marker” of salvation—are the very ones to whom James’ message is most appropriately addressed.
In response to Christ’s work of atonement, we are called to be ambassadors of reconciliation precisely by becoming the (visible) righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:17-21). If we don’t make more progress in taking seriously James’ injunctions in the way we treat each other, being reconciled to one another, our only “completing” or “perfecting” will be our total marginalization from the larger Body of Christ.
Unashamed of Grace
I posted on the UoG group blog (of which I am a member). The verses that Wingfooted brought up about Judas got me to thinking.
Some questions about Suffering and Evil by Colin Maxwell
A searching GUEST POST by my Irish Calvinist frined, Colin Maxwell:
I am currently reading a very disturbing (secular) book on the Soviet Gulags by Anne Applebaum. Page after page is full of human suffering as millions of people (including many Christians) starved, slaved and were beaten and/or tortured in the Soviet camps, as they endured 12+ hour working days in sub zero temperatures with inadequate clothing. It ain’t happy reading. Tonight’s reading brought me face to face with the children of the prisoners, some of whom were “arrested” with their parents or had the misfortune to be born in the camps and left to the “mercy” of a system which routinely left them to scream unfed, unnourished and unwanted in crude cots in unheated rooms. If I have nightmares tonight, then I will not be in the least surprised.
I haven’t finished that particular chapter. I took a break to write this post and ask a question which must haunt every Christian. Why is there such cruel suffering in the world? We know the stock (Biblical) answer that such cruelty is in the world because of sin. Had Adam not have fallen, then sin, misery and death would not have entered into the world. Christians differ somewhat as to why Adam did fall. However, we but differ in the details and we cannot miss the fact that God easily could have prevented the circumstances that led to the Fall and therefore prevented it from happening and the subsequent effects.
This cannot be seriously doubted.
Although the Gulags are gone, yet tonight there is much cruelty in the world. God could end it all in a single moment of time. We know that there is coming a day when such things will
be ended by His power. But He could intervene this very night and end it now. Some people are providentially delivered from such places. Perhaps they are unexpectedly excused from going in the first place, or they are released early or escape. Others go through the full rigour and are only released because the torturer went too far or the untended to sickness ushered in death.
Here are a few uncomfortable questions for Christians from all schools. If God could end it all today (as He will indeed some day) why then does He not do so? What is He seeking to prove by consciously and deliberately letting it all run? Has any point that He wished to make not already been made? We already know that man left unrestrained is a cruel beast. The Bible tells us this and human history bears it out. We already have many contemporary examples (freely available on YouTube in less than half a dozen computer actions) and therefore if it all was ended tonight, we would not lack source material.
Apart from another stock (though Biblcial) answer, that God’s purposes are somehow being worked out in all these things, I don’t think I can go much further. Can you?