I'm off with my family to see my folks in Ayrshire. Back on Tuesday, DV.
Full of meaty chunks ...
You will note that I have not been blogging over the last couple of days. This is because I have had a kind of bloggy holiday. What's that, you say? Well, in my various travellings I came across an entry by Messy Christian. I was interested and a bit concerned about the content of one of her posts, so I posted a comment. Well, I got into a couple of rather long conversations which have detained me somewhat, using up all my limited bloggy time - I was camping out contributing to someone else's blog! Now I'm back.
Went into Derby for a meeting this afternoon - 6 miles in and 6 back. I made a quick count of the Euro Parliament political posters attached to lampposts on the way in. Here's the result:
..., I'm hungry and I want toast with butter. But there's not an ounce of butter in the house.
Like most people, we’re being inundated with fliers for the European elections on June 10th. I'm impressed that we've had so much. They must care! Here's a summary:
Pretty Bauble: Elusive gold fillings
Before I start, I apologise for the lengthy quotes in this post, but I think it is necessary to make a point.
The normal Christian life is one of spiritual growth toward greater and greater likeness to Jesus Christ.
God does influence our minds directly, but his primary method of bringing about growth is through what are commonly called the "means of grace," or conduits of divine energy. In these means we are not passive but must participate actively. Even though God indeed works in us both the willing and the doing of His good pleasure, we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12-13)
Prayer. Through prayer our companionship with God reaches its highest intensity. Not only do we grow more like him through this companionship, but we find that prayer is the great means of victory at the moment of temptation.
Scripture. The Bible is God’s means of revealing his character and thus his will for our thoughts and actions. Therefore, the more we know his word, the higher the potential we have for conforming to his will. It is the milk and bread and meat of the soul. Furthermore, Jesus demonstrated in His hour of temptation that Scripture I is a great weapon in spiritual warfare. As we study it diligently to understand it and as we meditate on it constantly to apply it to life, we will be prepared to use it to overcome temptation.
Church. The congregation of God’s family is indispenpsible for spiritual growth. United worship and observance of the ordinances, teaching fellowship, discipline, service and witness within the responsible structure of the church are God’s ordained means for the growth of each member.
Suffering. Suffering may be God’s great shortcut to spiritual growth. Our response to suffering determines its benefit to us, of course for the same adversity may be destructive or life building. The response of faith, that is, confidence that God has permitted the trial for His glory and our own good, transforms a potentially evil circumstance into a means of making us more like the Suffering Servant Himself.
These four “Tools of the Spirit” are indispensable to Christian growth.
While we are constantly dependent on the supernatural agency of the Holy Spirit, we must also take account of the fact that sanctification is a process that draws within its scope the conscious life of the believer. The sanctified are not passive or quiescent in this process. Nothing shows this more clearly than the exhortation of the apostle: "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:12, 13). The salvation refered to here is not the salvation already in possession but the Eschatological salvation. And not text sets forth more succinctly and clearly the relation of God’s working to our working. God’s working in us is not suspended because we work, nor our working suspended because God works. Neither is the relation strictly one of co-operation as if God did his part and we did ours so that the conjunction or coordination of both produced the required result. God works in us and we also work. But the relation is that because God works we work. All working out of salvation on our part is the effect of God’s working in us, not the willing to the exclusion of the doing and not the doing to the exclusion of the willing, but both the willing and the doing. And this working of God is directed to the end of enabling us to will and to do that which is well pleasing to him. We have here not only the explanation of all acceptable activity on our part but we have also the incentive to our willing and working. What the apostle is urging is the necessity of working out our own salvation, and the encouragement he supplies is the assurance that it is God himself who works in us. The more persistently active we are in working, the more persuaded we may be that all the energizing grace and power is of God.
Sanctification involves the concentration of thought, of interest, of heart, mind, will and purpose upon the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus and the engagement of our whole being with those means which God has instituted for the attainment of that destination. Sanctification is the sanctification of persons, and persons are not machines; it is the sanctification of persons renewed after the image of God in knowledge, righteousness and holiness. The prospect it offers is to know even as we are known and to be holy even as God is holy. Everyone who has this hope in God purifies himself even as he is pure (1 John 3:3).
Here's a collection of things I have come across in the blogosphere recently.
I haven't got much time to write anything thoughtful , but here's a piccy: Kenneth the cat spying on the neighbours.
Well, I got fed up with the decor again. I also got fed up with the DIY approach, and since Blogger has come out with a brand new range of stylish off-the-shelf numbers, I thought I would choose one of them. So here it is...
Richard Gaffin says this:
Since these two aspects of the believer's experience [i.e. resurrection in his own experience in the past and anticiplated future bodily resurrection] are integrally related to each other as well as to the past event of Jesus' resurrection, the unity involved may be expressed by saying that the resurrection of Jesus is refracted in the experience of the believer in a twofold fashion. (Resurrection and Redemption, P&R 2nd ed., 1987, p.60)'Refracted'? I like how theologians use the language of physics to explain theological ideas. Gaffin seems particularly good at it.
A couple of people have posted on the problem of the feminisation of the church recently. Jollyblogger has written a long article here and a follow up here, while Discoshaman, while reflecting on 5 years in the PCA, has written some interesting comments on feminisation in the charismatic churches.
And, when the Christian faith is expressed in such sentimental and emotional terms, it will be a turn off to men. Along those lines, think of how it plays to men, when we call the Christian life a "love relationship with Jesus." That sure sounds something like a marriage relationship, but does this mean that I, as a man, am to have that kind of relationship with another man?
I've also noticed that some people's conception of God's sanctifying activity is rather like that of a servo motor in power assisted steering.
I've noticed that some people conceive of the guidance of God to be rather like a mouse following a trail of cheese pieces in a lab somewhere.
I went down to Oakhill with a couple of friends to hear Dick Gaffin speak on By Faith, Not By Sight. After a 2.5 hour journey I got back at around 6:45pm. Just enough time to get a bite to eat and out to homegroup. Didn't get back till late.
Nearly time for bed? Fancy a little munchie something before kipping down? How about making some of this!
Two down, one to go before Friday lunchtime.
Just let me calm down a moment…
…the views of Edward Irving, the great English preacher and contemporary of Thomas Chalmers.
(The History of Christian Doctrines, Banner of Truth, p. 198)
OK, I didn't claim to be on a fast. I only suggested that my head might be down for a while. But here is a micro-breather from reading.
Modern superficiality…evades this difficulty by an appeal to the analogy of human life. Good people forgive one another, how much more then must the good God be ready to forgive! The fallacy is not perceived. Good people forgive because they remember their own sin, because they know they have no right to judge others.(London: Lutterworth, 1934) p. 447
It'll be a bit quiet here over the next couple of weeks. Like Al, I too have essay deadlines coming up. More blogging when I come up for air...
Spent several hours hacking down a tree in the garden. It was only a 12ft conifer. But it was enough for me. Blood (blisters), sweat, though not quite tears. It wasn’t helped by my daughter Kate muttering, "Murderer" in her best Gollum voice. (She’s pretty good at it now. But then, what do you expect from someone who has watched the DVD 60 zillion times!) She and her friend also decided to conduct worm funerals. Murderer, indeed!