one tiny soapbox: September 2005
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Tuesday, September 27

.the Gospel, re-defined?

Leave out:
the holy character of God,
the holy excellence of His law,
the holy condemnation to which transgressors are doomed,
the holy loveliness of the Savior’s character,
the holy nature of redemption,
the holy tendency of Christ’s doctrine,
and the holy tempers and conduct of all true believers;

then dress up a scheme of religion of this unholy sort:
represent mankind in a pitiable condition,
rather through misfortune than crime;
speak much of Christ’s bleeding love to them, of His agonies in the garden and on the cross, without showing the need or the nature of the satisfaction for sin;
speak of His present glory, and of His compassion for poor sinners;
of the freeness with which he dispenses pardons;
of the privileges which believers enjoy here, and of the happiness and glory reserved for them hereafter;

clog this with nothing about regeneration and sanctification, or represent holiness as somewhat else than conformity to the holy character and law of God, and you make up a plausible gospel, calculated to humor the pride, soothe the consciences, engage the hearts, and raise the affections of natural men, who love nobody but themselves.
Thomas Scott
(1747 – 1821)

Monday, September 26

.Sovereignty: Satan's or God's?

"...The greatest thing that a believer can do above and beyond everything is worship. That is the highest responsibility. The sovereignty of God is the single most glorious reality about God. Even His grace would lose its luster if He weren't really in control of it. His mercy would be diminished. It is His sovereignty that overarches everything. And, you know, when I worship the Lord just as a way of life, it doesn't matter what happens. It doesn't matter if I'm well or sick; it doesn't matter if I live or die; it doesn't matter if things go well or don't go well. It just never interrupts my confidence in the sovereignty of God. So, you know, I think that's the key to my - to just living life on the same high level of joy, come whatever comes, because you know that this is all fitting into His perfect plan.

I remember - this is a good illustration. I remember a few years ago we had some people come here from another church. And, of course, that's not uncommon. But they came from a church where their families were in leadership in the church, pastoral leadership. And so coming here was a big thing. And they came from a charismatic church. And they came here, if I understand the story right, they came here one time when I preached on the sovereignty of God. And they never went back. And what they said to me was we've lived our whole life under the sovereignty of Satan. This is absolutely transforming. Satan makes you sick; Satan messes with your babies; check the kids at night, 3 o'clock in the morning Satan might kill your baby with SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome; pray Satan out of your bedroom, bathroom, dining room, Satan's liable to do -- I mean, you know, Satan made the planes crash into the Towers, Satan does -- everything's -- and poor God, you know, is -- (Pastor indicates by wringing His hands.) And this caused paroxysms of fear, heart palpitation, panic attacks; really unbelievable kind of things.

I mean who could possibly worship God in that kind of environment? Then you get the people together, and you whip them into some kind of emotional frenzy; call it worship. But down underneath it is a theology that literally makes it impossible to worship God, because God's not in charge.

...The opposite of that, of course, is to understand that everything works within the framework of God's purpose and will. And no matter what happens, you know, even the worst of things, are intended for your good and His ultimate glory."

John MacArthur

Monday, September 5

.The Shortest Summer!

Wow! Though I do admit to having moments of pure frustration and subsequent impatience with the pace of time, the last 3 months seem to have flown by with furious speed.

Yes, after a short 3 months, my precious son is now somewhere between Los Angeles and New York City (his mother and he are supposed to be boarding a plane soon, if they haven't already). It was the best of times, the worst of times, frustrating, fun, frenzied and fantastic. As I spend the next 9 months recovering from the carnage of divorce ~ in spiritual, mental, social and financial renewal ~ I'll try to remember to take time regularly to cherish and relish the memories God graciously granted this summer.
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