Tag: abortion

Tolle Lege and Spectare, too

Anyone else find themselves with extra time on their hands?  In my last post I put up a Bible reading and memorization calendar for the month of April.  Click April 2020 Printable for a link to the printable version. It’s never too late to come to the table and feast on the Living Word.  Already filling up on Scripture and have even more time to spare?  I not only have some suggestions to “take up and read” but some “sit down and watch” ones as well.

The first book was highly recommended by John MacArthur at the G3 Conference I attended back in January when such goings-on were still perfectly normal and legal. “Delighting In The Trinity” by Michael Reeves is perfectly suited to it’s title.  I had never thought of the doctrine of the Trinity as something to be delighted in.  Mainly it just seemed vague and confusing. This book truly is a must read for every Christian and anyone else seeking to educate themselves about this foundational element of our faith.

I happened to be reading this book by my Dad’s bedside the week before he died (you can read more about that by clicking here). One of the things he kept saying while he was “journeying” (the Hospice term for the time of transition between life and death) was “Wow!” It’s like he was getting glimpses of the glories to come. I found my own heart echoing my Dad’s rapturous exclamations with each turn of the page.  Wow! “Since God is, before all things, a Father, and not primarily Creator or Ruler, all his ways are beautifully fatherly (23).”  Wow! “Because the Father’s love for the Son has burst out to be shared with us, the Son’s inheritance is also (extraordinarily!) shared with us (50).”  Wow! “While the Son establishes and upholds all things (Heb. 1:3), the Spirit perfects or completes the work of creation…the Spirit garnishes and beautifies the heavens and the earth… And so, while the Nicene Creed speaks of the Father as the ‘Maker of heaven and earth,’ it speaks of the Spirit as ‘the Lord and giver of life’ (51).”

Maybe this crazy time of social isolation is the perfect time to understand the relational aspect of God’s character. He is a God all-together “together.” And moreover, we were created to be in fellowship with that perfect Triune fellowship of the One True God, the Great I AM.  Any loneliness you might be feeling during this pandemic will vanish as you get to know God better through this book. As the introduction states,

“To know and grow to enjoy him is what we are saved for–and that is what we are going to press into here.  Nonetheless, getting to know God better does actually make for far more profound and practical change as well.  Knowing the love of God is the very thing that makes us loving.  Since the desirability of God alters our preferences and inclinations, the things that drive our behavior: we begin to want God more than anything else.  Thus, to read this book is not to play an intellectual game. In fact, we will see that the triune nature of this God affects everything… (10)”

The second book was brought home by my husband from The Shepherds Conference right before the world shut down.  “Gentle and Lowly” by Dane Ortlund zeroes in on the second Person of the Trinity and His heart for “sinners and sufferers.” I haven’t finished reading this one yet but I’m recommending it anyway because I like it so much already and because I think it is such a timely read. Consider this description from the introduction:

“This book is written for the discouraged, the frustrated, the weary, the disenchanted, the cynical, the empty.  Those running on fumes.  Those whose Christian lives feel like constantly running up a descending escalator.  Those of us who find ourselves thinking: “How could I mess up that bad–again?”  It is for that increasing suspicion that God’s patience with us is wearing thin.  For those of us who know God loves us but suspect we have deeply disappointed him.  Who have told others of the love of Christ yet wonder if–as for us–he harbors mild resentment.  Who wonder if we have shipwrecked our lives beyond what can be repaired.  Who are convinced we’ve permanently diminished our usefulness to the Lord.  Who have been swept off our feet by perplexing pain and are wondering how we can keep living under such numbing darkness.  Who look at our lives and know how to interpret the data only by concluding that God is fundamentally parsimonious.  It is written, in other words, for normal Christians (13).”

But here’s the clincher, “Gentle And Lowly” totally builds right off of “Delighting In The Trinity.” It addresses key questions like “How does the heart of Christ relate to the doctrine of the Trinity–does Christ relate to us differently than the Father or the Spirit relates to us?…How does his heart related to his wrath? Yet again, how does Christ’s heart fit with what we find in the Old Testament and its portrait of God (14)?”

The book takes its title from the one passage in all four gospels where Jesus gives us a description of His own heart–Matthew 11:28:30, which reads, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (18).” Ortlund builds heavily on this description, but with the following important qualifier:  “This is not who he is to everyone, indiscriminately. This is who he is for those who come to him, who take his yoke upon them, who cry out to him for help.  The paragraph before these words from Jesus gives us a picture of how Jesus handles the impenitent: ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!… I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you” (Matt. 11:21.24). ‘Gentle and lowly’ does not mean ‘mushy and frothy.”

Go get on Amazon and buy these books and while you’re over there, might as well check out these watch recommendations:

  1. Tomorrow is April 9, the 75th anniversary of the execution of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by the Nazis.  My first recommendation would be to read his “Letters and Papers From Prison.” But if you happen to have Prime Video check out “Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace.”
  2. While we’re on the theme of martyrdom, my boys all gave two thumbs up to “Poycarp.”  This film was really well done and gave a beautiful portrayal of life in the early church, highlighting the faith of not just everyday Christians of the time but of such well known heroes of the faith like Justin Martyr and the Apostle John’s disciple, Polycarp.
  3. Another biographical film we enjoyed was “Charles Spurgeon: the People’s Preacher.”  Again, I always recommend books first, but this is a great introduction into this unparalleled pastor’s life for members of the family who aren’t quite ready for his “Complete Sermons.”
  4.  Now, hands down the absolute most thumbs up goes to “The Riot and the Dance.” Prime Video only has the first one up for free but we can’t wait to see the sequel to this stellar nature documentary from a creationist’s perspective. It is truly stunning.
  5. Finally, here’s one (actually two, wait.  three) just for mature teens and adults. I recommend “American Gospel: Christ Alone” and its sequel, “American Gospel: Christ Crucified” to every one but kids. The only reason I don’t recommend this series for children is not because of content but because of format. Because the interviews switch so quickly between false teachers and theological sound teaching, its really hard for a younger person to distinguish between “the good guys and bad guys” and they could walk away really confused about what is the truth. Those are the only two films on my whole list that you have to rent ($2.99 and $4.99 respectively). The rest are free, including my final recommendation, again, for mature teens and adults only and that is “Babies Are Still Murdered Here.”  Just watch it.  That’s all I’m gonna say.

Well, that oughta keep y’all busy for a while.

Devo 21

“It is He who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding stretched out the heavens.”  Jeremiah 51:15

The Aramaic translation of Genesis 1:1 reads,  “From the beginning with wisdom the Lord created and finished the heavens and the earth.”

The inclusion of wisdom’s presence at the time of creation is repeated several times in scripture.  Job hints at it in chapter 28.  He searches all over creation as a miner plumbs the depths of the earth for treasure but to no avail.  Until he considers the source of wisdom itself.  “God understands the way to it, and He knows its place.”  How so?  Because when He weighed the wind and measured the waters God saw wisdom, declared wisdom, established wisdom and searched it out (Job 28:23-27).  

So how can man attain this wisdom?  Is it by studying creation itself?  Only insomuch as one begins with God and a proper fear of Him.  Job concludes in verse 28, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.”  

Proverbs picks up on this same theme in chapter 3 verse 7 with the admonishment to “Be not wise in your own eyes; but fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”  First fear, then wisdom.  Verses 19,20 continue on the wisdom at creation riff, 

“The Lord by wisdom, founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens; by His knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.”

Proverbs 8:12,13 further clarifies what the fear of the Lord is.  “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion.  The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.”

Wow!  I never thought of the fear of the Lord in quite those terms before!  But it goes right along with the earlier Proverbs and Job passages, doesn’t it?  Do you seek wisdom?  Then fear God.  How? Hate evil and turn from it.  That’s the first step, and it’s a necessary one.

I want to quote one more long section of Proverbs 8 and then make a drastic departure from the usual form and function of these devos by way of application.  Verse 22 takes us back to the wisdom of God being present at the time of creation,

“The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His work, the first of His acts of old.  Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.  When there were no depths I was brought forth…” And Wisdom goes on describing her presence at each point of creation, the dry land, the plants., etc…

“…When He established the heavens, I was there;  when He drew a circle on the face of the deep, when He made firm the skies above…”  Until finally, the culmination of all God’s creative activity, a living thing made in His own image.  Wisdom was there, too, “beside Him like a master workman, and I was daily His delight, rejoicing before Him always, rejoicing in His inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.

How amazing is that!  Wisdom rejoices to see God’s world inhabited, populated by image bearers.  Wisdom delights in the offspring of those image bearers, the children of man.  

And then Wisdom takes on a somber tone, “And now, O sons, listen to me…”. Do want to be wise and blessed and obtain favor from the Lord?  Then keep wisdom’s ways, hear instruction, do not neglect to listen, to watch and wait, “For whoever finds me finds LIFE,” but all who hate me love DEATH.

This passage shed an entirely new light on two recent readings of mine.  The first was the book on Christian Education by Ted Newell I did a review of last week, which you can click here to read, and the second is an article on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act which last week was voted down by 44 of our 47 Democrat Senators. Please take the time to read this important article by clicking here.

The connection of wisdom, and knowledge, and understanding to education is obvious.  But what does the wisdom of God in creation have to do with abortion?  And what do they all of these have to do with each other?

Let’s start with education.  IF the purpose of education is to impart wisdom, knowledge and understanding, and I acknowledge for many that is not the goal, but IF it is, then the beginning of, or foundation for, that education has to be the fear of the Lord.  According to the passages we’ve looked at today, the fear of the Lord is, or at the very least must include, a hatred of and turning away of evil.  Any truly Christian education has to build up from that foundation.  

Now, how does abortion tie into all that?  Proverbs 8:31 says that the wisdom of God delights in children, babies made in His image, and verse 35 promises that whoever finds wisdom will find life there.  But in the next verse we’re warned that those who fail to find the wisdom of God not only injure themselves but those who hate the wisdom of God actually love death.  

When I read the statistics about the products of our current forms of Christian education turning their backs on the doctrine of creation and thus, the very wisdom of God, and at the same time embracing the so called “right” to murder the most defenseless of God’s image bearers, not just in the womb, but now fully emerged, I read a failure to impart in the next generation the fear of the Lord.

The God who in His own power and by His own wisdom stretched out the heavens is INDEED a God to be feared!