Friday, January 30, 2009

The Good Book Company Launches US Operations

A number of fellow bloggers have shared the news that Good Book Company is launching operations in the U.S. That's good news for those who love solid Christian material. The press release is below:

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new, Bible-centered, Christian resource provider in North America. From the 2nd February 2009, The Good Book Company will make available its full range of resources to churches and individuals in North America from its new US-based website.

The Good Book Company is a Christian resourcing agency that began in the UK and grew out of the need for attractive, quality, practical materials for gospel work, which don’t compromise on the essentials of the Christian faith. It has a particular focus on daily devotional reading, small group Bible study, outreach, discipleship and resources for youth and children.

A number of The Good Book Company’s resources already have a strong following in the US and Canada, including Christianity Explored, The Gospel Centered Church, Christianity Explained and If you could ask God one Question. Now they are cheaper and easier to get hold of than ever before.

Editorial Director Tim Thornborough said, ‘When we exhibited at Together for the Gospel last year, we saw a real hunger for sound gospel resources which are faithful to the Bible but which also engage with an increasingly post-Christian culture. That's what we specialize in and our prayer is that the range of resources we've developed over the past two decades will serve to equip local churches in discipleship and reaching out with the gospel.”

US Ministry Director Brad Byrd said ‘February 2nd may be Groundhog Day on the calendar but, no matter what our furry friend may predict, spring has come early with the launch of The Good Book Company in the USA. A wave of fresh ideas, new perspectives and tried and true Biblical insights are available for the first time in North America.’

The launch has been timed to coincide with the Desiring God Pastor’s Conference in Minneapolis where two of The Good Book Company’s key resources - Christianity Explored and Christianity Explained – are being commended to delegates.

To celebrate the launch, visitors to will receive 10% off all purchases until the end of February.

For more details of the Good Book Company range, contact US Ministry Director, Brad Byrd at or on 866 244 2165 (toll free). To browse the site, please visit

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Make It Plain Preacher!

Derek Thomas asks:

Which of these two statements do preachers most like to hear: a) "I didn't understand much of what you said, but I love to hear you preach," or "You know, when I hear you preach I say to myself, 'I could have seen that in the text"?

Read here for his short response.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Glory of God in Unusual Medical Situations

Healthy octuplets born in 5 minutes to a California woman. The eight one was a surprise.

A 7 feet 3 inches tall 12 year old boy who can't stop growing.

And a 26 year old woman who is 3 feet 3 inches tall.

And God is glorified in each one!

Psalm 139

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Feeding My Soul Today

Today is Heroes' Day in the Cayman Islands. The country celebrates those men and women who have given themselves in extraordinary ways for the commonweal. It's a great holiday and a great cause to give God praise for His providence in national prosperity, safety, and opportunity.

I'm also celebrating other heroes--heroes of the faith. So, I'm feeding my soul by listening to John Folmar expound Eph. 5:25-33. A sweet meditation on the gospel and marriage. I'm thankful for all those heroes who labored in love to make their marriages a reflection of the Divine Love displayed in the Gospel of our Lord, and those men like John who boldly and clearly preach on these needed topics.

Speaking of marriage, our young married small group meets tonight to begin Paul David Tripp's War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles. The group nearly unanimously chose to focus on communication and this is an excellent treatment of the subject and exposing of our hearts. We begin with Genesis 1 and the fact that God is a speaking God, which fills communication with unimaginable dignity and power.

What God Has Joined Together, Let Not Man Separate

Okay, I'm taking that out of context. But, I think the thought is warranted in discussions of church membership as well. I posted this over at 9Marks where there is a good interview series with Steve Timmis about some of these issues.

But last night I began reading through John Stott's The Living Church: Convictions of a Lifelong Pastor. A dear member of the church gave me an autographed copy after a visit to London and All Souls where Stott served for so many years.

After reading the preface and the first chapter, I'm a little saddened that I've left this book unread for so long. It's vintage Stott--relentlessly clear and biblically centered. In the opening chapter, he spelled out a couple assumptions undergirding the book, assumptions pertinent for recent discussions here on the blog.

Stott writes:

First, I am assuming that we are all committed to the church. We are not only Christian people; we are also church people. We are not only committed to Christ, we are also committed to the body of Christ. At least I hope so. I trust that none of my readers is that grotesque anomaly, an unchurched Christian. The New Testament knows nothing of such a person. For the church lies at the very centre of the eternal purpose of God. It is not a divine afterthought. It is not an accident of history. On the contrary, the church is God's new community. For his purpose, conceived in a past eternity, being worked out in history, and to be perfected in a future eternity, is not just to save isolated individuals and so perpetuate our loneliness, but rather to build his church, that is, to call out of the world a people for his own glory. ... So then, the reason we are committed to the church is that God is so committed.

A little later, Stott meditates on Acts 2:47 and the hints there of the early church's commitment to evangelism. Acts 2:47 reads, "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." One of the truths Stott directs us to is:

The Lord did two things together. He 'added to their number... those who were being saved.' He didn't add them to the church without saving them, and he didn't save them without adding them to the church. Salvation and church membership went together; they still do.

In our day, we unfortunately have broken apart what the early church seemed to view as a natural, necessary, and seamless chain of events: gospel preaching and evangelism, leading to conversion and baptism, leading to church membership and communion. It's difficult to imagine that Paul or Peter or John could conceive of something called a 'Christian' that was not a baptized, communing member of the church. I think Stott is absolute correct when he refers to such creatures as a "grotesque anomaly." Part of what is critical to healthy community in the church is the conceptual and temporal tightening of the events in this chain. The clearer these things are (the gospel, conversion, the practice and meaning of baptism, church membership and the privilege of communion) and the more joined together they are in practice the stronger will be the ties that bind the church. Loosen these and you unravel the church.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fun Pics

From the Girl Talk blog.

Now that's just wrong. Can you say, "Road rage."

Heeerreee... kitty, kitty, kitty!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Colossians 3:1-17

This past Sunday, in God's kindness, my assistant pastor and I traveled to be with the saints at Bethlehem Baptist Church for their Racial Harmony Weekend. What a joy it was to gather with them several times over the weekend to think about the nature of the church and to think about the Christian's call to accept one another in Christ.

While we were at Bethlehem, my dear friend, brother, and fellow-laborer in the gospel and 9Marks, Jonathan Leeman, served the saints at FBC in a sermon from Colossians 3:1-17. I commend it to you for your soul's edification and your joy found in the gospel.

Thank you, Jonathan, for supplying what was lacking in our faith and leaving a spiritual deposit in our lives together!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Leader of the Free World

Woke up this morning
and the leader of the free world
was a black man.

Woke up this morning,
got myself dressed,
and marveled at what's happened in this land.

Brushed my teeth in the mirror,
smiled at a face made silly with tooth paste.

No more black face comedy,
there's a black man in the White House,
and so much of the world is subject to his tastes.

What will it mean,
to now be a black man in the free world?

Will anything change,
will everything change,
a million ideas in my mind all in a swirl.

I don't even write poetry.
But I woke up this morning
and a black man was the leader of the free world.

Prose won't do it for me,
describe this ended longing.
Can you believe an African-American leads the free world,
with a beautiful brown wife and two little girls?

My country tis of thee,
sweet land of liberty,
land where my fathers died,
land where black mothers cried,
land where we were so long denied,
on every mountainside,
freedom rings.

Barack Hussein Obama,
son of a black man and a white mama,
now leads the free world.

Heaven knows the plot twists of this drama.
God help us, please help us.
Protect every unborn boy and girl.

Can't wink at some things,
even as the joy is irrepressible.
The confluence of emotions are inexpressible.

Gil Scott Heron had it wrong:
The revolution has been televised, has been televised, has been televised.
And a black man is the leader of the free world!

I never believed my mama,
when she said I could be anything, even president.
But now the White House has a new resident,
Barack Hussein Obama.

Goes to show what I know.
On a cold January day, my mama was proved a prophet.
In God's economy, nothing could stop it.
And this morning, a black man is the leader of the free world.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We Will Always Praise The Lamb

I've slowly read this section from Horatius Bonar's The Everlasting Righteousness (pp. 33-36)several times. My heart sings each time I read it. I hope your heart breaks forth in praise for the Lamb.

We are never done with the cross nor ever shall be. Its wonders will be always new and always fraught with joy. "The Lamb as it had been slain" will be the theme of our praise above. Why should such a name be given to him in such a book as the Revelation, which in one sense carried us far past the cross, were it not that we shall always realize our connection with its one salvation; we shall always be looking to it even in the midst of the glory; and we shall always be learning from it some new lesson regarding the work of him "in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace"? What will they who here speak of themselves as being so advanced as to be done with the cross say to being brought face to face with the slain Lamb, in the age of absolute perfection, the age of the heavenly glory?

You fool! Do you not know that the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ endures forever and that you shall eternally glory in it, if you are saved by it at all?

You fool! Will you not join in the song below, "To him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood"? Will you not join in the song above, "You were slain, and here redeemed us to God by your blood"? And do you not remember that it is "the Lamb as it had been slain" that "the seven spirits of God are sent forth into all the Earth"? (Rev. 5:6)

It is the Lamb who stands in the midst of the elders (Rev. 5:6) and before whom they fall down. "Worthy is the Lamb" is the theme of celestial song. It is the Lamb that opens the seals (6:1). It is before the Lamb that the great multitude stand clothed in white (7:9). It is the blood of the Lamb that washes the raiment white (7:14). It is by the blood of the Lamb that the victory is won (12:11). The book of life belongs to the Lamb slain (13:8). It was the Lamb that stood on the glorious Mount (14:1). It is the Lamb that the redeemed multitude are seen following (14:4), and that multitude is the first fruits unto God and unto the Lamb (14:4). It is the song of the Lamb that is sung in heaven (15:3). It is the Lamb that wars and overcomes (17:14). It is the marriage of the Lamb that is celebrated, and it is to the marriage supper of the Lamb that we are called (19:7, 9). The church is the Lamb's wife (21:9). On the foundations of the heavenly city are written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (21:14). Of this city the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb (21:27, 22:1, 3) sum up this wondrous list of honours and dignities belonging to the Lord Jesus as the crucified Son of God.

Thus the glory of Heaven revolves around the cross, and every object on which the eye lights in the celestial city will remind us of the cross and carry us back to Golgotha. Never shall we get beyond it, or turn our backs on it, or cease to draw from it the divine virtue which it contains.

The tree--be it palm, cedar, or olive--can never be independent on its roots, however stately its growth and however plentiful its fruit. The building--be it palace or temple--can never be separated from its foundation, however spacious or ornate its structure may be. So, never shall the redeemed by independent of the cross or cease to draw from its fullness.

In what ways our looking to the cross hereafter will benefit us; what the shadow of that tree will do for us in the eternal kingdom, I know not, nor do I venture to say. But it would seem as if the cross and the glory were so inseparably bound together that there cannot be the enjoyment of the one without the remembrance of the other. The completeness of the sacrificial work on Calvary will be matter for eternal contemplation and rejoicing long after every sin has been, by its cleansing efficacy, washed out of our being forever.

Shall we ever exhaust the fullness of the cross? Is it a mere stepping-stone to something beyond itself? Shall we ever cease to glory in it (as the apostle gloried), not only because of past, but because of present and eternal blessing? The forgiveness of sin is one thing, but is that all? The crucifixion of the world is another, but is that all? Is the cross to be a relic, useless though venerable, like the serpent of brass laud up in the tabernacle to be destroyed perhaps at some future time and called Nehushtan? (2 Kings 18:4). Or is it not rather like the tree of life which bears twelve manner of fruits and yields its fruit every month by the banks of the celestial river? Its influence here on Earth is transforming. But even after the transformation has been completed and the whole church perfected, shall there not be a rising higher and higher, a taking on of greater and yet greater comeliness, a passing from glory to glory--all in connection with the cross and through the never-ending vision of its wonders?

Of the new Jerusalem it is said, "The Lamb is the light [or lamp] thereof" (Rev. 21:23). The Lamb is only another name for Christ crucified. Thus it is the cross that is the lamp of the holy city; and with its light the gates of pearl, the jasper wall, the golden streets, the brilliant foundations, and the crystal river are all lighted up. The glow of the cross is everywhere, penetrating every part, reflected from every gem; and by its peculiar radiance transporting the dwellers of the city back to Golgotha as the fountainhead of all this splendor.

It is light from Calvary that fills the Heavens of heavens. Yet it is no dim religious light, for the glory of God is to lighten to it (Rev. 21:23). Its light is "like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal... and there is no night there, and they need no candle, neither light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light" (Rev. 21:11; 22:5). Yes, we shall never be done with the cross and the blood; though, where all are clean and perfect in every sense, these will not be used for purging the conscience or justifying the ungodly.

It is the symbol both a a dying and of a risen Christ that we find in the Revelation. the "Lamb as it had been slain" indicates both. But the prominence is given to the former. It is the slain Lamb that has the power and authority to open the seals; implying that it was in his sin bearing or sacrificial character that he exercised his right, and that it was his finished work on which this right rested and by which it was acquired. It is as the Lamb that he is possessed with all wisdom and strength--"the seven horns and the seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God" (Rev. 5:6); the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of omniscience and omnipotence.

The Lamb is one of his special and eternal titles; the name by which he is best known in Heaven. As such, we obey and honor and worship him; never being allowed to lose sight of the cross amid all the glories of the kingdom. As such we follow him, and shall follow him eternally. As it is written, "There are thy that follow the Lamb wherever he goes" (Rev. 14:4).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Family Worship Made Simple in Three Steps

Thanks to James Grant for a useful, fear-free approach to building a routine for family worship. The three steps:

1. Plan to have family worship after an evening meal
2. Read through a good book (like this one)
3. Say the Lord’s prayer after reading the book

Grant's final encouragement:

whether you are starting out or have been doing this for a while, don’t make it into a burden. You will defeat your purpose if you treat this as a strict discipline. Your kids need to enjoy this, and if you include them and keep it simple at first, they will help you build it into more.
Good counsel indeed. Read the entire post for more explanation and some additional resources. (HT: JT)

In the "He Always Says It Better Than I Could" Category

Al Mohler reflects on President-elect Obama's decision to have Episcopal Bishop Eugene Robertson lead the prayer at the Lincoln Memorial part of the inauguration festivities. The concluding paragraphs:

"The crisis in the Church of England," wrote Clive James in The Dreaming Swimmer, "is that too many of its bishops, and some would say of its archbishops, don't quite realize that they are atheists, but have begun to suspect it."

The "God of our many understandings" is a confused composite -- a very postmodern idol. Clive James is quite right about the theological crisis of unbelieving bishops - but you need go no farther than New Hampshire to find an example.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

In the Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself Category...

Phil Johnson explains why, though a Calvinist, he is not an over-the-top-rabid anti-Arminian firestarter. Phil, thanks for spilling a little ink to save a little blood between brethren.

Not 20 Questions, But 20 Observations

Colin has a helpful tip for preparing sermons or for regular Bible reading. Play 20 observations.

In His Humility

“Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:4) Humility is true greatness as our friend C.J. Mahaney might say. The humble, the lowly of heart, are the exalted ones in the kingdom of heaven, not the braggarts, the strong, the worldly wise.

The Lord began teaching that with the beatitudes. The first one (Matt. 5:3) is “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Later in Matt. 20:26-28 Jesus says, “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

And without question Jesus is more humble than all. Phil. 2 says He made himself of no reputation… and took upon himself the form of slave… and became obedient to death. He came, the King and Creator of glory, and gave His life as a ransom for His people. Who would have imagined such humility from an omnipotent God?

In His humility Christ took upon himself human flesh… a nature that shrouded His true glory for a season.

In His humility… He obeyed the Law that He himself had given.

In His humility… He suffered ridicule and rejection, beatings and crucifixion… at the hands of men He had made.

In His humility... He tasted the curse of death, a curse pronounced against sinful men.

In His humility… He quietly suffered the wrath of God against sin that belonged to others… that belonged to us.

In His humility… He intercedes for us who believe on Him.

In His humility… He will bring wretched, undeserving sinners to share in His kingdom and glory.

My non-Christian friend… if the Savior has been so humble… surely it is right, then, that those who would be saved by Him… would humble themselves like children. Would see how their sins have made them helpless and unimportant babes. And would turn away from their sins… which have caused the Father’s wrath. And in humility and dependence, call out upon the Name of the Lord to be saved. Repentance and faith… turning and believing… are nothing more than humility leaning on Christ Jesus for rescue from a deserved hell.

Do you have that kind of humility? Do you admit that you are a sinner and that you do sin? Does your conscience convince you that you deserve the punishment of God for your sins? Do you admit that God is right and just to avenge sin? If so… then can you see your need to be rescued from God’s judgment against your sin? Can you see why you must humbly turn to Jesus and pray for His salvation? And do you see that you need to do this now… urgently… before it is too late and Judgment Day begins?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Marriage To Go

This is too bizarre to pass up. A couple recently exchanged wedding vows in a Taco Bell. The first two lines of the story are downright hilarious. "Normal, IL." Apparently, there's not much normal about Normal, IL.

Customers inside the fast-food restaurant continued to order tacos and burritos as the couple sat Friday in an orange Taco Bell booth and exchanged vows.

Employees displayed hot sauce packets labeled with the words "Will you marry me?" They decorated the restaurant with streamers and balloons.

The bride wore a $15 hot pink dress and the entire wedding cost about $200. Several dozen guests looked on as the couple's friend, Ryan Green of Normal, administered the vows while wearing a T-shirt. He was ordained online.

Now, I'm all for inexpensive weddings. My wife and I married for about the same amount of money. And too many high-dollar productions are over in a couple year's time, leaving the couple with huge debt as they prepared for the wedding but not the marriage.

But a fast-food wedding speaks volume about the state of marriage and the ceremonies that celebrate them. On-line relationship, add one on-line "ordination", pull up to the local drive-thru, and let's call it a marriage. One hopes they don't "run for the border" before death does them part.

Just when you thought things weren't weird enough with marriage, divorce takes a wacky turn. One NY man wants his former wife to return a kidney he devoted to her in 2001. Wow. Now a divorce can cost you an arm, a leg, and a donated kidney.

Monday, January 05, 2009

How to Pray for Your Pastor from My Dear Brother, Ligon Duncan

Because I have a congregation that loves me more than I deserve, I am often asked by them: "how can I pray for you?" I've tried to put some thought into how I answer that question. So, maybe these ideas will help you pray for your pastor, or tell others how they can pray for you.
Pray -

1. That [your pastor] would know and love the living God, would have a saving interest in Christ, being purchased by His blood, and thus would be bound to the Lord by the indissoluble bond of the Holy Spirit.

2. That [your pastor] would know, embrace and ever more deeply understand the Gospel and be shaped by it in life and ministry.

3. That [your pastor] would be useful servant of the Lord, that he would know and love God's word, God's people, and God's kingdom; that he would be used to build it up and so that it prevails even against Hell's gates.

4. That [your pastor] would study, practice and teach the Word of the Lord, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

5. That [your pastor] would love to pray, because he loves to commune with his God, and that he would be a man of prayer, characteristically.

6. That [your pastor] would be ever dependent upon and filled with the Spirit; and that he would possess true Spiritual wisdom.

7. That [your pastor] would be holy unto the Lord. That his tongue and heart would be wholly God's.

8. That [your pastor] would be kept from pride, and especially spiritual pride. That the Lord himself would be gracious to slay pride in him, and that your pastor would endeavor to always be putting pride to death, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

9. That God would give [your pastor] guidance as to where to focus his efforts in ministry.

10. That He would protect [your pastor] from himself, from the enemy of his soul, and from all earthly enemies.

11. That no decision which [your pastor] ever makes or desire that [your pastor] ever pursues would restrict his ability to pour his whole soul into the Gospel ministry.

12.That many would be converted and many built up under [your pastor]'s ministry, to God's glory alone.

13. That the Lord would bless [your pastor]'s wife, [. . . ], with holiness and happiness, Gospel assurance and Gospel rest.

14. That God would make [your pastor] a decent husband and father.

15. That [your pastor] would be a good friend to his wife, and love her self-sacrificially,

16. That [your pastor] would be a good daddy to his children. That they would love God, their parents and the church.

17. That [your pastor] would be a testimony in the home so that his wife might be able to respect him when he is in the pulpit, and so that [your pastor] will be able to feed her soul, along with the rest of the congregation.

A Most Excellent First Monday in 2009

Today started a bit slowly. I've been fighting off a cold or flu for the past couple days. So, it was a congested, sluggish start.

I arrived in the office in time to pick up a big stack of mail, answer a couple emails, then begin meeting with staff one-on-one. I am so thankful for the team the Lord has and is assembling here. Such gifted men and women passionate about the cross and committed in love to this body of believers. The day began to perk up as the Lord made me freshly aware of how privileged I am to serve with and lead this team, and as we considered many of the ministry opportunities before us in the next couple of months.

The day was going so good I didn't even flinch when my wife showed up and told me the car needed a major unexpected repair.

Then a young woman, who had asked yesterday following the service if she could come meet with me to discuss spiritual things, came in to meet. She's had a varied church background, but it seems the Lord is opening her heart through repentance and faith to believe upon and trust Him. What a privilege it was to hear of the Sovereign Spirit's work in her life in bringing her to Christ. What a joy to pray with this dear woman, a newborn sister in Christ whom I trust will walk with the Lord all her remaining days!

May the Lord be praised for using His word! How wonderful to be used, an earthen vessel, to share the riches of the glory of Christ from Sunday to Sunday and to see Him call lost ones to himself! This is the sweetest calling! It's the first Monday in 2009, boy I hope all the remaining Mondays are like this one! But if not... I'm encouraged.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Racial Harmony Weekend at Bethlehem Baptist Church

In a couple weeks time, Bethlehem Baptist Church will have its annual "Racial Harmony Weekend." It's a time in the life of the church where the believers at Bethlehem celebrate the supremacy of Christ over the long and ugly history and wounds of racial division and over the richly varied and wonderful contributions of every tribe, nation and tongue.

This year's celebration will occur against the backdrop of Dr. King's birthday celebration, the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington, and the inauguration of the country's first African-American president.

And this year, it will be a great privilege to be with the saints at Bethlehem and to share with them over the weekend. If you're in the Minneapolis area, consider joining us in praise of our glorious God and His Son Christ Jesus. Here's a poster with the details.

We'll begin the weekend with a consideration of "Bearing the Image: Identity, the Work of Christ, and the Church." Friday night and Saturday we'll participate in a workshop on What Is a Healthy Church Member? And then it will be a privilege to preach Romans 14:1-15:13 on Sunday morning.

I'm looking forward to the fellowship with the saints, and praying the Lord will be honored and exalted among us.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Perfect Substitute

From Horatius Bonar's, The Everlasting Righteousness, pp. 10-12.

The various sacrifices are all connected with the altar. Even that which was "burnt without the camp" was connected with the altar. It was no doubt carried forth without the camp and burnt with fire (Lev. 6:30, 16:27); but "the blood was brought into the tabernacle of the congregation, to reconcile withal in the holy place." "The blood of the bullock was brought in, to make atonement in the holy place." Their connection with the altar is sufficient of itself to show the truth of substitution contained in them, for the altar was the place of transference. But in each of them we find something which expresses this more directly and fully.

In the burnt offering we see the perfection of the substitute presented in the place of our imperfection, in not loving God with all our heart.

In the meat offering we have the perfection of the substitute, as that on which, when laid upon the alter, God feeds, and on which he invites us to feed.

In the peace offering we find the perfection of the substitute laid on the same altar as an atonement, reconciling us to God; removing the distance and the enmity, and providing food for us out of that which had passed through death; for "he is our peace."

In the sin offering we see the perfection of the substitute whose blood is sprinkled on the altar and whose body is burnt without, as securing pardon for unconscious sins--sins of ignorance.

In the trespass offering there is the same perfection of the substitute in his atoning character procuring forgiveness for conscious and wilful sin.

In the drink offering we have the perfection of the substitute poured out on the altar as that by which God is refreshed and by which we are also refreshed. "His blood is drink indeed."

in the incense offering we have the "sweet savor" of the substitute going up to God in our behalf; the cloud of fragrance from his life and death with which God is well pleased, enveloping us and making us fragrant with a fragrance not our own; absorbing all in us that is displeasing or hateful and replacing it with sweetness altogether perfect and divine.

In the fire we see the holy wrath of the Judge consuming the victim slain in the place of the sinner. In the ashes we have the proof that the wrath had been spent itself, that the penalty was paid, that the work was done. "It is finished," was the voice of the ashes on the altar.

In all this we see such things as the following: (1) God's displeasure against sin; (2) that displeasure exhausted in a righteous way; (3) the substitute presented and accepted; (4) the substitute slain and consumed; (5) the transference of the wrath from the sinner to his representative; (6) God resting in his live over the sinner and viewing him in the perfection of his substitute; (7) the sinner reconciled, accepted, complete, enjoying God's favor, and feeding at his table on that on which God had fed; on that which had come from the altar and had passed through the fire.

For that which satisfies the holiness of God cannot but satisfy the conscience of the sinner. God, pointing to the altar, says, "That is enough for me"; the sinner responds and says, "It is enough for me."

God Threw a Brick Through Tim Challies' Window

In April 2002 to be exact. Tim is up to some good cliffhanging posts this year. This one is about how he left the work-a-day world and began a new business in web design. If you ever wondered how the uber-blogger got his start, here's the skinny.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Ray Ortlund Asks...

As you go into 2009, how are you praying? Got the nerve yet to ask God for what you really need and really long for and what would really display his glory in this God-denying world? Or are you settling for polite prayers that bore you and bore God and change nothing?

Read the brief but provocative post here.

While you're there, check Ray's reflection on four things he is thankful for and four things that give him concern in 2009. Here.

What to Do About Those Darn Resolutions

Instead of resolutions, David Matthis recommends we take a healthy dose of the good Dr. Lloyd-Jones for the new year. He directs us especially to this quote from Spiritual Depression:

Would you like to be rid of this spiritual depression? The first thing you have to do is to say farewell now once and forever to your past. Realize that it has been covered and blotted out in Christ. Never look back at your sins again. Say: ‘It is finished, it is covered by the Blood of Christ'. That is your first step. Take that and finish with yourself and all this talk about goodness, and look to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only then that true happiness and joy are possible for you. What you need is not to make resolutions to live a better life, to start fasting and sweating and praying. No! You just begin to say:

I rest my faith on Him alone
Who died for my transgressions to atone. (35)

Happy New Year!

May the Lord bless you and keep you,
May the Lord make His face to shine upon you