Monthly Archives: April 2019

Of God’s Covenant

Only recently have I come to appreciate the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. The Pastor of a Reformed Congregational Church in a nearby town (where my wife and I attend a Bible study on Monday evenings) has been mailing us a publication every week called The Continuing Witness for quite some time. Aside from the many other wonderful articles and excerpts pertaining to the Reformed tradition of faith, there is an excerpt from that confession in each issue. I have come to embrace it as a good guide for what we should believe as God’s Elect. (For those who might be interested in reading it, but struggle with the old style of English it is written in, there is at least one modernized version I know of that is true to the original in form and content).

The longer I study the Bible and follow those who preach correct doctrine, the more I lean toward Reformed theology in many aspects. In my arrogance, as a younger believer, I discounted the sovereignty of God and relegated it to paying occasional homage in prayers and worship on Sundays. I cannot help but be humbled by the fact that an all-powerful Creator of the universe would elect, call, regenerate and convert me so that I would be justified and adopted by Him! By the way, the term for the Order of Salvation I just partly described is taken from Ordo Salutis.

Now on to the Confession…

From Chapter 7, Paragraph 1:

The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience to Him as their creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of life but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which He hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.

Please consider the following supporting Scriptures:

So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ ” -Luke 17:10 (ESV)

If you are righteous, what do you give to him? Or what does he receive from your hand Your wickedness concerns a man like yourself, and your righteousness a son of man. -Job 35:7-8 (ESV)

More to follow in future posts…

No Compromise.

They do not compromise with evil,
    and they walk only in his paths. -Psalm 119:3 (NLT)

I have noticed in recent times that churches caving to the pressure of what is going on in society, valuing social norms more than they do the Word of God, don’t seem to be doing very well. Many claiming to be of the Christian faith spend far too much time and effort trying to accommodate sinful lifestyles, for fear of persecution. There are those who might be reading this that could think I am being hateful, judgmental or just plain mean. In reality, I write this out of love. As Christians, if we believe the Bible and what it says (not just picking out the easy parts and ignoring the tough stuff) we will face persecution. How that persecution comes will vary, but it will happen. If we love people as we are commanded to do by our LORD, we must take a stand for what is right and help those around us who are caught in sin to discover the truth of God’s incredible love for us and His plan for our lives. It is a matter of life and death. An eternal matter.

What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. -Luke 6:22 (NLT)

I’m a sinner, no better than anyone else. In fact, maybe worse than some. I am redeemed purely because of a sovereign God who loves me and has chosen me. For that, I am forever grateful.

 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. -Romans 3:23 (NLT)

Overwhelmed with desire.

I am always overwhelmed with a desire for your regulations. -Psalm 119:20 (NLT)

Reading that verse should convict most, if not all, believers of laziness when it comes to study of God’s Word. Do you spend time in it each day and wish you had more time to devote to it? This short post should leave one with a lot to think about. I know it does for me.

Psalm 119

Open my eyes so I can truly see the marvelous things in your law! -Psalm 119:18 (NET)

Chuck Smith, in his Old Testament study guide, said the verse above makes an ideal prayer to pray before reading Scripture.  Good advice, don’t you think?

I have recently begun taking a serious look at Psalm 119 after recently attending a memorial service for a dear sister with Christ who went home to be with the LORD in February. Nearly 100 years old, she loved reading and thinking about Psalm 119. One of our dear brothers with Christ sat with her toward the end of her time here and read it, knowing she could still hear and understand it. That got me thinking that I should spend more time in this treasure trove of truths so wonderfully spread out for us by the psalmist in God’s Word.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary on the Bible, said this about Psalm 119: ” like Solomon’s proverbs, it is a chest of gold rings, not a chain of gold links.” Good analogy.

I have begun to put together some material for our Friday night Bible study on Psalm 119 and hope the group will agree with me and devote several weeks to its study. There is so much there to receive from God’s infinite wisdom!


Resurrection Sunday.

Now very early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been moved away from the entrance. So she went running to Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” Then Peter and the other disciple set out to go to the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down and saw the strips of linen cloth lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who had been following him, arrived and went right into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen cloth lying there, and the face cloth, which had been around Jesus’ head, not lying with the strips of linen cloth but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, came in, and he saw and believed. (For they did not yet understand the scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead.) -John 20:1-9 (NET)

Hope everyone enjoyed Resurrection Sunday. Our church generally uses that term instead of Easter, which has become far too secularized. At any rate, Christianity would have “crashed and burned” long ago if not for the resurrection! Jesus is the only one of the so-called famous religious figures from history who actually rose from the dead! His resurrection has provided the hope and the promise of life eternal for those who know Him. Do you know Him?


Good Friday. It Really Is…

6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 (For rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person perhaps someone might possibly dare to die.) 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God’s wrath. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? 11 Not only this, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation. -Romans 5:6-11 (NET2)

There were many who criticize Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ for its brutality, claiming it didn’t need to be portrayed so savagely on the screen. Really? I disagree. Putting aside what one may think about Mr. Gibson, the movie drove home a very important point: Christ suffered horribly to redeem those He came to save.

A book I found very informational is Killing Jesus, written by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. The book provides some historical background so one can understand the absolute brutality of the culture of that day. Crucifixion is probably the worst form of execution that depraved humanity could devise. It is preceded by scourging, often exposing the inside parts of a person while they suffer indescribable pain. I can only imagine what that must have felt like. Moreover, I am sure that my imagination would not do it justice.

Although we know that there is still much horrific barbarism that takes place in the world, our modern culture has done a good job and minimizing it in the name of civilization and sanitizing much of it for consumption by the general public. But let us not forget for one moment that evil does still proliferate in this fallen world.

To the unregenerate man or woman, Good Friday would mean nothing. They may regard Jesus as a ‘good man’ or good teacher,’ but that would be the extent of their thought or attention to the matter. People die everyday, some in horrible ways after long periods of suffering. In fact, in 2011 it is said that nearly 2 people died each second. There is no reason to think the number would have changed that much, if at all in 2019. By my math, that is 172,800 lives a day or 63,072,000 for the year. So what is one more? If you are fortunate enough to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, that ‘one more’ means the difference in determining your eternal address.

Because Christ also suffered once for sins,

the just for the unjust,

to bring you to God,

by being put to death in the flesh

but by being made alive in the spirit -1 Peter 3:18 (NET2)

To simply take Good Friday as it is without knowledge of what happens next would not provide much comfort or encouragement at all. Jesus would have been just another good soul who died and whose teachings are recorded somewhere for posterity, not at all unlike many other religious/famous figures throughout history. But something happened that did not happen for the others. He rose from death to offer the promise of life to all who believe. He paid the price for us so we don’t have to. We do not have what it takes to repay the debt, anyway — even if we wanted to.

28 Now after the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 Suddenly there was a severe earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descending from heaven came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were shaken and became like dead men because they were so afraid of him. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has been raised, just as he said. Come and see the place where he was lying. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead. He is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there.’ Listen, I have told you!” 8 So they left the tomb quickly, with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 But Jesus met them, saying, “Greetings!” They came to him, held on to his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee. They will see me there.” -Matthew 28:1-10 (NET2)

We know the end of the story. We also know that the end might be looked at as our beginning. Eternal life begins now in the person of Jesus Christ. Embrace Him for what He has done for you and know the peace of God that passes all understanding. May you find the eternal blessing this holiday.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies,  and the one who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” -John 11:25,26 (NET2)

Wishing all a meaningful Resurrection Day!

Making a Joyful Noise

Psalm 150
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary!
Praise him in the sky, which testifies to his strength!
2 Praise him for his mighty acts!
Praise him for his surpassing greatness!
3 Praise him with the blast of the horn!
Praise him with the lyre and the harp!
4 Praise him with the tambourine and with dancing!
Praise him with stringed instruments and the flute!
5 Praise him with loud cymbals!
Praise him with clanging cymbals!
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

New English Translation (NET)
NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

The Bible places an importance on “making a joyful noise unto the LORD.” Of that there is no doubt. I enjoy hearing beautiful, uplifting and encouraging music when I am at Church. It is a treat I often look forward to when going to assemble with my brothers and sisters. There is certainly nothing wrong with feeling good when one is worshiping God. In fact, I think something is wrong if we don’t at least feel motivated to be in church and encouraged by what we are seeing and hearing.

I have been thinking about the Church’s position on some issues in this modern age and have concluded that many of our brothers and sisters have compromised some values and basic beliefs. They try to please a world that chases things temporary in nature and often not of God. Sometimes, we are way too ‘seeker sensitive’ for my tastes — to say the least.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. 1 John 2:15,16 (NET)

For some time now I have had problems with churches that embrace modern ‘worship music’ that seems like it belongs more in the set of a rock band than it does in a congregation that worships God. From jumping up and down to bad theology being sung out loud (“fire, rain down on me,” etc) to the smoke machine pumping fog into the room, I have to ask myself if we are gathered to worship our LORD or please a bunch of unrepentant sinners? Believe me, I know how easy it is to get caught up in such ‘feel good’ experiences and forget why we are there. On the other hand, I appreciate good music that is pleasant to hear, but most importantly brings glory to God. We must always remember the reasons why we go to Church: it pleases Him when we assemble together to worship and to pray. Also, we gather to study His Word and learn the lessons He has in store for us to know.

The above being stated, I am not a “hymns only” kind of guy who doesn’t see the value in many modern Christian worship songs or appreciate some of the deep, meaningful lyrics they may employ. But many are not so good and promote bad theology (sometimes downright heresy). Such music must be avoided and watched for carefully at the gates of our local fellowships. We must be careful not to open the gate to sin within the Church. I think the most cautious and best way to avoid falling into one of our enemy’s pitfalls is to stick to the trusty hymnals we have known so well for decades and continue to explore the meaning of many songs that sing of God’s sovereignty, holiness and power.

I listen to a great deal of modern Christian music, especially when in my car or home with the stereo on. There is nothing wrong with a great deal of it. Like many things in this world, there is good and bad. But I think that perhaps it is best if that is where it reminds relegated to and we stick to what is known to work well: the sacred hymns of our ancestors.

What are your thoughts? I would love to know.

NET Bible

Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately. -2 Tim 2:15 (NET2)

One of the many groups I belong to on Facebook has to do specifically with the NET Bible (New English Translation). This is a translation that is the sponsored work of the Biblical Studies Foundation and is readily available on line for free and may be quoted without the limitations that many other translations have imposed upon them. This particular translation comes with the endorsements of some individuals well known in the evangelical world such as Gene Getz, Tony Evans and Charles Swindoll, to name only three of several.

Many of the reviews I have read (and the opinion I hold to) is that the strength of the NET Bible lies more in the translator’s notes than in the actual translated text. The translation style is definitely dynamic with an evangelical slant. Those who like the NIV will probably find the NET to be a more suitable conservative replacement — if they have issue with the NIV’s license in translating certain passages of Scripture. I will leave that argument for another day!

The current 2nd edition of the NET Bible comes with over 58,000 notes from the translators (the first edition had over 60,000, I believe). These notes are an invaluable study aid that I have used on more than one occasion myself. I have had the first edition for some time and acquired the 2nd edition as well, once it came out in published form.

The second edition continues the tradition of the first in publication, being available in Cromwell Bonded Leather and Smyth-Sewn for a mere $50.00. A Bible of this quality from other publishers might cost you over $100. If spending $50 is a little rich for your budget right now, one of the greatest strengths of the NET is its availability online for free. An account on costs nothing and gives you access to some great study tools/resources (look for the Lumina link on the page) with the ability of keep notes.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my favorite things about the NET translation: when appropriate, the Greek word doulos is translated ‘slave.’ To some that may mean little; to me it means a great deal after having read John MacArthur’s book on the subject.

Back to the very beginning of this post and my mention of Facebook: I read in the NET group I belong to that has announced several new editions of the NET Bible from Thomas Nelson scheduled for availability in October 2019 — at what look to be reasonable prices. If you like Thomas Nelson’s new “comfort print” font, you will be pleased to see the selection already listed on (It should be noted that I am in no way affiliated with other than being a regular customer. Because of the Thomas Nelson name, it is very likely that other online and Christian retailers will also carry this new line of NET Bibles, as well).

If you currently use the NET Bible or intend to give it a look, please let me know what you think. I am always glad to ponder other’s opinions, provided they are presented in a civilized Christian manner!