Thursday, April 17, 2008

Covetousness

"Covetousness is desiring something so much that you lose your contentment in God."
—John Piper, Future Grace

Sunday, April 13, 2008

James 3:2-12

"For we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water."

A quick reading of this passage tells you that James is not at all joking about the importance of taming our tongue. In fact when I read this passage I am rebuked because my tendency is always to neglect this small member and fall into the trap that James is warning us of. Sure the tongue is small, but it is strong. When I was reading this passage I wondered what is the underlying theology in what James is saying here. As I thought about this subject I realized an important truth about the nature of God himself that helped me see why godly speech is so important.
God reveals Himself to us, and He does this in different ways. We know that He reveals Himself to us through creation, and through his mighty works that we can see and observe, but the main way that God reveals himself to us is through speaking to us. God himself is the word as it says in John 1. In fact without verbal communication we would not be able to understand God’s other forms of revelation rightly. This is the same with us as Gods image bearers. People can know us through seeing our works, but they can only find out what motivates us through us speaking to them. Joe the Atheist could help a poor orphan, and Evan the Christian can do the exact same good work. The watching world can't know the difference unless we speak up about why we do the things we do. Words are what reveal who we truly are on the inside. As Jesus said "from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." This is why James says with such zeal “My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” He sees the hypocrisy in our speech and knows that we are not only representing and revealing who we are through what we say, but as image bearers and especially as Christians who have God’s Spirit in us, we are to represent God when we speak. So when we speak sinfully we bring dishonor not only on ourselves but on God. Let us use our tongues for blessing, let our speech be to the lifting up of His Great Name. Strive for sanctified speech.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Anglican Psalms

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."

Pastor made mention in Sunday school last week of his desire to eventually sing the psalms in church. I would love that so much because the Psalms were intended to be sung not just read. I know there are difficulties with singing them, mainly getting everybody familiar with them and that they are so long, but I believe that psalm singing is something missing in churches these days. I found this video on YouTube and though it was absolutely beautiful. Read along with the text below as you listen to it.



1 THE Lord, even the most mighty God, hath spoken : and called the world, from the rising up of the sun unto the going down thereof.
2 Out of Sion hath God appeared : in perfect beauty.
3 Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence : there shall go before him a consuming fire, and a mighty tempest shall be stirred up round about him.
4 He shall call the heaven from above : and the earth, that he may judge his people.
5 Gather my saints together unto me : those that have made a covenant with me with sacrifice.
6 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness : for God is Judge himself.
7 Hear, O my people, and I will speak : I myself will testify against thee, O Israel; for I am God, even thy God.
8 I will not reprove thee because of thy sacrifices, or for thy burnt-offerings : because they were not alway before me.
9 I will take no bullock out of thine house : nor he-goat out of thy folds.
10 For all the beasts of the forest are mine : and so are the cattle upon a thousand hills.
11 I know all the fowls upon the mountains : and the wild beasts of the field are in my sight.
12 If I be hungry, I will not tell thee : for the whole world is mine, and all that is therein.
13 Thinkest thou that I will eat bulls' flesh : and drink the blood of goats?
14 Offer unto God thanksgiving : and pay thy vows unto the most Highest.
15 And call upon me in the time of trouble : so will I hear thee, and thou shalt praise me.
16 But unto the ungodly said God : Why dost thou preach my laws, and takest my covenant in thy mouth;
17 Whereas thou hatest to be reformed : and has cast my words behind thee?
18 When thou sawest a thief, thou consentedst unto him : and hast been partaker with the adulterers.
19 Thou hast let thy mouth speak wickedness : and with thy tongue thou hast set forth deceit.
20 Thou satest, and spakest against thy brother : yea, and hast slandered thine own mother's son.
21 These things hast thou done, and I held my tongue, and thou thoughtest wickedly, that I am even such a one as thyself : but I will reprove thee, and set before thee the things that thou hast done.
22 O consider this, ye that forget God : lest I pluck you away, and there be none to deliver you.
23 Whoso offereth me thanks and praise, he honoureth me : and to him that ordereth his conversation right will I shew the salvation of God.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Google Books

Let's see if we can finally get the ball rolling with updating this blog. I figured a good way to jump into this would be to share some links to some great books available online for free through Google books. I have a feeling that this Google books thing is going to be a great resource once it starts catching on and more people begin to upload books for free. I will share some of the gems I have found so far. What I have posted below are full books, there are also a lot of books that gave a sample view so one could test drive the book before purchasing it.

The Private Devotions of Lancelot Andrewes
by Lancelot Andrewes
This is a great book that I have used lately in my devotions. Some of the most beautiful prayers I have ever read.

Reforming Marriage
by Douglas Wilson
I am reading this right now with my wife, and it is great so far. Doug Wilson is great on all things family related, as you will see by the next few books I am about to link to. Wilson also has another book on marriage available as well once you finish this one, it is called For a Glory and a Covering: A Practical Theology of Marriage. I haven't read this book but I have listened to the sermons that this book was based on. Great stuff!

Future Men
by Douglas Wilson
I finished reading this in the hospital after the birth of my first son. This book not only greatly helped shape my understanding of raising a boy, it also helped me understand some things I am lacking and that I need to work on to be a better man. If you have sons, or ever plan to, read this!

Fidelity: What it Means to be a One-woman Man
by Douglas Wilson
This book is excellent. It is written primarily for men. Wilson is very straight forward and scriptural in dealing with all types of sexual sin, from lust and pornography to sodomy. If you are a man that struggles with sexual sin this is a book I suggest you read. It was also designed to be used by fathers to instruct their sons and give them biblical counsel on being a one woman man.

Praise Her in the Gates: The Calling of Christian Motherhood
by Nancy Wilson
This one is by Doug Wilson's wife. I haven't read it but it is highly recommended by my wife. And once you finish that you can read another one by Nancy called Building Her House.

Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History
by Richard Hannula
From the book description, "In this collection of forty-six brief biographies for children, Hannula sketches the stirring trials and triumphs of many famous and some lesser known figures in our family of faith -including Augustine, Anselm, Luther, Bunyan, and CS Lewis." This says it is for children, but if you are like me and are a little behind on some of the history of these great heroes of our faith, then this seems like it is a good place to get a short bio and get caught up.

Trinity and Reality: An Introduction To The Christian Worldview
by Ralph Allan Smith
I haven't read this yet either but from a quick skim through it seems like a good book on how the doctrine of the Trinity affects all of reality and isn't just some mere doctrine to be debated but one that should flow into everything we do and think.

The Victory According to Mark: An Exposition of the Second Gospel
by Mark Horne
Exactly what the title says, an exposition of Mark.

An Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles: Historical and Doctrinal
by Edward Harold Browne
I haven't read this but it comes recommended by Pastor Howden. Here is what he says "This is a hefty tome that explains the Reformational doctrines of Anglicanism. The citations from the Early Church and Reformers on any given subject make this a very valuable tool."

The Baptized Body
by Peter J. Leithart
A short book examining the Biblical texts on baptism and its efficacy.

The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity
by Richard Hooker
This is the blurb on this book from the gracerec.org website: "In these difficult to read tomes, Richard Hooker forges the via media of Anglicanism, a middle way between the extremism of the Puritans, on the one hand, and the errors of the Church of Rome, on the other"

The Works of Thomas Cranmer...
by Thomas Cranmer
Some Thomas Cranmer on the Lord's Supper. Haven't read this yet but it looks like a good resource to have at hand.

That should be enough to keep everybody busy for a while.