Breakfast Anyone?

From Scotty Smith's blog.  Eat up!

     Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8

     Dear heavenly Father, I cannot conceive of a better way to begin every day than feasting on the gospel. Lay the big breakfast buffet out before me… give me the choice of any and every delicacy imaginable… and I’ll choose words of your unfailing love for me in Jesus, every time.

     There’s no nutrient I need more than the fresh manna of your grace. Nothing tastes as sweet as the assurance of your welcome… presence… and affection. I’ve never met a carbohydrate I didn’t like, but just send me ample supplies of the Bread of Life am I’m a “happy camper”… far better than that, I’ll be a different man.

     Indeed, Father, I’m not just looking to be a satisfied consumer of the gospel. I need your unfailing love for the challenges of the day… this day.

     Apart from the gospel, I’ll whine more than I’ll worship. Apart from the gospel, I’ll judge people more than I’ll seek to understand them. Apart from the gospel, I’ll get my feelings hurt quicker than being careful not to offend others. Apart from the gospel, I’ll avoid people that want more from me than I want to give them.

     Apart from the gospel, I’ll react selfishly to irritants, rather than responding graciously. Apart from the gospel, I’ll talk more than I listen. Apart from the gospel, I’ll think about me much more than I think about you. Apart from the gospel I won’t risk anything, I’ll do just enough to get by.  Apart from the banquet of the gospel, I’ll be reaching for junk food all day long… literally and figuratively.

     Father, because of your unfailing love for me in Jesus, I have put my trust in you. I do lift my soul up to you, right now. Show me the way of the I should go this very day. Show me what thinking, feeling and choosing in line with the truth of the gospel requires of me, and then give me that supply. So very Amen, I pray, in Jesus’ beautiful and bountiful name.


Jesus Our Advocate

From the book "Voice from the Past" a daily devotional of Puritan writers. 

27 May




He is the propitiation for our sins.

I John 2:2


Christ stands as our advocate alone before God's bar and pleads before the Father. Whatever can rightly be charged upon us, he accepts the whole charge upon himself, acknowledging the crimes to be his own. And this, he must do. If he hides the sin, or lessens it, he is faulty; if he leaves it still upon us, we die. He must then take our iniquity to himself, make it his own, and so deliver us. Having thus taken the sin upon himself, as lawfully he may and lovingly he does—'for we are members of his body' (it's his hand, his foot, his ear that has sinned)—it follows that we live if he lives; and who can desire more? What comfort is this in a day of trouble and distress for sin!

There is a harmony between Christ's offices. As a sacrifice, our sins were laid upon him [Isa. 53). As a priest, he bears them [Exod. 28:38). As our advocate, he acknowledges them to be his own (Psa. 69:5). Having acknowledged them to be his own, the quarrel is no more between us and Satan, for the Lord Jesus has adopted our quarrel, and made it his. O blessed God! What a lover of mankind are you! And how gracious is our Lord Jesus in thus managing matters for us! The Lord Jesus after having thus taken our sins upon himself, and presented God with all the worthiness that is in his whole self for us; in the next place he calls for justice, or a just verdict upon the satisfaction he has made to God and to his law. Then the proclamation is made in open court, saying, 'Remove the filthy garments'—from him that has offended—'and I will clothe you with pure vestments' (Zech. 3). Look then to Jesus if you have sinned. Look to Jesus as an advocate pleading with the Father for you. Look to nothing else for he knows how, and that, by himself, to deliver you; yea, and he will do it in the way of justice, which is a wonder; and to the shame of Satan, which will be God's glory; and also to your complete deliverance, which will be your comfort and salvation.


John Bunyan, Works, r.161-162

Romans 1:16 - NOT ashamed of the Gospel


It has been a while since I have written on Romans.  I have been chewing on probably the most two important verses of the letter (1:16-17) for many a day now.  I have been also trying to determine just how much to write in these posts.  I could spend many a post just on these two verses, but I think perhaps three will do. 
In this first post I turn to the first phrase of verse 16.  but in doing so, we must look backward to verse 15 for the context.  Paul desires to come to Rome so that he might preach the Gospel to them.  Paul is "eager" to get to Rome and impart his message, or rather the message of the gospel.  I find two items of interest as we look backward.. 

first, Paul wanted to preach the Gospel to those believers at Rome. 

These had already heard the Gospel and put their trust in Jesus.  What did they need to have preached to them?  The Gospel is not only the starting point but it is the totality of the Christian life.  How often I forget the Gospel in my daily life.  I must continue to look at the finished work of Christ on the Cross daily for my strength, substance, joy, peace and endurance. 

Second, Paul would preach the Gospel to the unbelieving

I know that whenever Paul went he took all opportunity to tell unbelieving Jews and Gentiles of the saving grace of Jesus.  This would have been the same in Rome.  Paul could just imagine the audience that God would give him in such a place as Rome to preach. 

Not ashamed of the Gospel

And here is the reason Paul is so eager to preach the gospel to those in Rome.  this Gospel radically shook his life on that road to Damascus and he was never  the same.  I find several aspects of the Gospel that Paul was not ashamed of.
  • It  simplicity.  Paul was so able to explain the Gospel in its simplest terms (1 Cor 15:1-5, Gal 6:14). 
  • Its folly.  Paul didn't care that the gospel was foolishness to those who in the world's eyes are wise (1 Cor 1:18-19).
  • Its hardships.  Paul didn't care that the gospel caused him great suffering.  This suffering was not only physical (2 cor 11) but also handed out by those who opposed his message.  
  • Its ability to cause controversy.  Paul confronted even Peter directly because of Peter's denial of the Gospel truth that it is faith alone that saves and perseveres (Gal 2).
here is a modern day Paul being not ashamed of the Gospel.  Franklin Graham was disinvited to speak at the pentagon for the national day of prayer  Read about it here at Al Mohler's blog. 
  So what was it in the life of Paul that made him to be so confident in the Gospel that wherever he went, whomever he spoke to and whatever happened to him the Gospel came out of his mouth? 
  • the gospel totally and radically changed his life.  He wanted that same experience for others.
  • The Gospel is the only way to God.  It must be proclaimed as such.
  • Clinging to Jesus through the Gospel is the only way to live a life of worth.

From Others

Truly a great post on God's sovereignty and disability. 
Here is the expansion of Psalm 139:13-16 that is amazing and challenging.

For you formed my inward parts with Down syndrome;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb without eyes.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made with cognitive challenges
Wonderful are your works in creating me without limbs;
my soul knows it very well though my ears will never hear a sound.
My frame was not hidden from you as you made me with Apert syndrome,
when I was being made in secret with autism,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth without Hexosaminidase A.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance with spina bifida;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me with cerebral palsy,
when as yet there was none of them.

Promises of God

43 Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. 44 And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. 45 Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

Joshua 20:43-45 esv
As you have found out by now, I like to number/bullet my thoughts.  so here goes with this passage I read during my daily Bible time.
  • Three times in the verses it is said God kept His promises.
  • God is faithful to His word even though His people fail.
  • When God claims He is sovereign over enemies He means it.
  • Sometimes God's promises take a while to fulfill.
  • God's promises are good.
  • No promise God makes will not succeed in coming true.
Jesus, let me relax in the promises that you made to me.  Let me not waver but stand firm and believe that whatever you said will indeed come to pass.  Your Word is true, help my unbelief. 

Words are such a hurtful weapon at times

Over the past couple of days, I have engaged in a email conversation with an old friend from high school.  The mail was quite harmless.  She was asking to have another person added to a mail list of which I am the moderator. 
We have had a relationship over the years filled with bantering back and forth.  and this is how the mail went until yesterday when I replied.  I believed that I was continuing in the bantering but my friend did not read it that way.  In her reply she was rather upset at my words.  I then replied that I did not mean anything negative and asked for her forgiveness.  Her mail back said she was very close to writing some very mean words last night but did not.
I was once again reminded just how powerful words are and how quickly they can turn ugly.  Some lessons I learned from this experience, and am sure will violate sooner or later are:
  1. Any words can be interpreted as hurting even if they weren't intended to be.  Lord, may I think before I speak.
  2. Written words don't carry tone, inflection, facial expression, body language and the such.  They are much more likely to be seen as hurtful when they aren't written that way. 
  3. be quick to ask for forgiveness, and not the "If I offended you" kind.  Make your forgiveness not dependent upon anything.  Humility should rule the day.
  4. Words should always be seasoned with grace and loving-kindness.  Perhaps there isn't even a place for friendly jesting even amongst the closest friends. 
  5. The book of Proverbs has much to say about words and communication, read it frequently.
Even though I wish this episode hadn't occurred, I am grateful that it reminded me about the power of words. 
Lord Jesus, guard my tongue and pen as I speak and write.  May my words uplift people and not bring them down.  May I exalt you in my speech. 

From Others

Albert Mohler writes concerning the Death of Antony Flew a well known atheist of his time.  Of most interest is Mohler's first conclusion.  He states that we need to answer the questions of youth honestly.  To do that may I recommend Josh Harris's book "Doug down Deep".  You can read Mohler's post
From Scotty Smith's prayer today
"     Father, may the gospel continue to free me from “cheap-gracewhich ignores your law, and from grace-less legalism which ignores your Son. I want to continue growing in the obedience of faith and love… until the Day when Jesus, who has perfectly fulfilled the law for me, perfectly fulfills the law in me. So very Amen, I pray, in His holy and loving name."

From Scotty Smith prayer for today

     The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers… Deuteronomy 7:7-8

     Most holy and gracious Father, like every day, this day begins with the bodacious promise of your steadfast love and new mercies for me. Yet I am still foolish enough, at times, to look for some generating basis… some causal motivation… some rooted explanation in me for why you love me as much as you love any and all of your people. Here my cry for mercy…

     Where do these moments of temporary insanity come from? Why in the world do I have days when I think there’s something I can do to prompt you to love me and stimulate you to even greater affection?

     Isn’t it because I want to manipulate and control you? Isn’t it because I want less mystery and more predictability in my walk with you? Isn’t it because I’d rather spend the Monopoly money of self-salvation than declare my real bankruptcy? Isn’t it because I’d rather work my way out of guilt than be shut up to sheer grace? Isn’t it because I want to make you responsible for my bad days and hard circumstances? Isn’t it because I want to justify my critical attitude towards other less-disciplined more-irresponsible people? Oh, how much I need the gospel, today and every day…

     Indeed, Father, all day long, I will rehearse this good, humbling and liberating news. You have set… settled… secured your affection on me NOT because of anything in me… not because of anything I have done, do or ceased doing. You have chosen me not because I am choice, but simply because you have chosen to redeem and restore me for your glory. It’s only because of your covenantal faithfulness—promises you have made that you alone can keep, that I have the absolute assurance that I am loved with your everlasting unwavering love.

     The only mirror I want to consistently stand in front of is the mirror of your Word, where I behold Jesus, the author and perfecter of my salvation. For Jesus is your “Yes!” to every promise you have made on my behalf. So very Amen, I pray, in His matchless and merciful name.

In the Journey,

From Others

Tim Challies has a first look at a book written about listening to preaching.  It will now be on my to read list. 
In the Journey,

Esther -- Where is God in the everyday

I just finished reading Swindoll's book on Esther.  Esther has always been one of my favorite books of the bible. 
I was reminded that:
  1. Do you need to know that God is working even though He is silent?  Read Esther!
  2. Do you need to be reminded that God wins?  Read Esther!
  3. Do you need to be encouraged that God uses ordinary people to achieve great things?  Read Esther!
  4. Do you need courage to do something for God in a difficult situation?  Read Esther!
  5. Do you need reminding that you should celebrate God's victories in your life?  read Esther!
  6. Do you need to know that God is faithful to His children and promises?  Read Esther!
  7. Do you need to remember that good will triumph over evil?  Read Esther!

The Death of Moses

5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of

Moab, according to the word of the Lord, 6 and he buried him in

the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one

knows the place of his burial to this day. 7 Moses was 120

years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor

unabated. 8 And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the

plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and

mourning for Moses were ended.

Deut 34:5-8 ESV
As I read this passage today several truths came to mind.
  1. God is faithful to His word.  He told Moses much earlier that because of his sin he would not enter into the promise land.  That is what indeed happened. 
  2. Even though we sin, God extends His grace and mercy toward us.  Moses, although he could not enter the promised land, did get a tour of it  from God.
  3. When our work is done on the earth god brings us to Himself.  Moses could have lived several more years and been fruitful but that is not God's plan and purpose for his life. 
  4.   The work of God will march on when we leave this earthly temple.  Joshua was ready and took the reigns of leadership from Moses. 
  5. Grieving for those who die is a natural human emotion.  And yet, after grieving for a period we must go forward with the work God  has for each of us.

Prayer of Compassion

In his daily prayer for this morning Scotty Smith prays for those who are suffering physically and spiritually. 
As I read his prayer, I am reminded of my brother-in-law, Gary, who has suffered with back pain for so many years.  He is looking at still another surgery this week. 
So I pray,
jesus, show your compassion on Gary.  He has been your servant for these many years while suffering pain that I can't even imagine.  May your  mercy, compassion, and grace rain down on his life this very day.  Lord, take the pain away! 
I pray this in the name of the one who suffered, bled and died for our sins and restoration back to you Mighty and sovereign God.

Romans 1:8-15

In this passage we learn several truths about Paul and his ministry.

  1. Paul gives thanks because of the church at Rome.  He has the habit of thanking God for the church no matter what state it is in.
  2. Paul prays for others.  In this letter like almost every other one, Paul begins with prayer for his readers.  In this case, he prays for them even though he has never met them. 
  3. Paul's eagerness to preach Christ everywhere he can is demonstrated here.  He wants the gospel to be spread to the world. 
  4. Paul also wants to be a part of the Romans life and growth in Christ.  He also desires to fellowship with them and receive from them. 
  5. Paul understands that he has been given a work to do among the Gentiles.  Because of the work of Christ in Paul’s life he is obligated to be a servant of the risen Lord.




  1. Am I thankful for those who have influence in my life?  Do I praise God for them?  Today, I thank God for my family, parents, brother and sisters, nieces and nephews, Wife, daughter and son.  
  2. How often do I pray for the church world wide, for those suffering oppression?  Not enough!  Lord Jesus, strengthen my brothers and sisters who are standing faithful to you even when life is at risk.
  3. We sponsor two African children through compassion.  I don’t pray for them nearly as I should.  I support them financially but that should just be the starting point.  

Two Books Worth your Consideration

In the last couple of days I finished a number of books two of which I want to recommend.
What is the Gospel
By Greg Gilbert
this rather small and easy to read book, about 122 pages, clearly and concisely defines the Gospel. 
He asks four questions him the first chapter and then spends the rest of the book answering them.
1. Who made us, and to whom are we accountable?

2. What is our problem? In other words, are we in trouble and why?

3. What is God's solution to that problem? How has he acted to save us from it?

4. How do I—myself, right here, right now—how do I come to be included in that salvation? What makes this good news for me and not just for someone else?


As many different opinions about the scope of the gospel are prevalent in the realm of the church today, this book sets forth the Biblical Gospel. 



by D. A. Carson

this small book consists of five lectures that Dr. Carson gave at Mars Hill church in Seattle.  each chapter is an exposition of a passage of Scripture.  here are the chapters:

1 The Ironies of the Cross: Matthew 27:27-51 a

2 The Center of the Whole Bible: Romans 3:21-26

3 The Strange Triumph of a Slaughtered Lamb: Revelation 12 75

4 A Miracle Full of Surprises: John 11:1-53

5 Doubting the Resurrection of Jesus: John 20:24-31



From Others

Here is the 2nd post from Tim Challies on how to read a book
In the Jour


I am currently backing up an external drive to another so I can reformat it and then copy the data back.  Backups are always good, that is what the experts say.  In fact, I am going to make two backups just in case.  don't want the only backup not to be good.  Besides, this is important data, pictures!
In my work, it would almost be a firable offense if I lost data and did not have a backup.  We do both onsite and offsite backups.  Can't have enough of those backups. 
Yesterday, I listened to a sermon preached by Josh Harris at Southern Baptist Seminary.  He spoke on Proverbs 3:5-6.  The main point was trust.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
   and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
   and he will make straight your paths.
If we have a backup plan with God, we truly aren't trusting Him with all our heart.  There are times when I truly don't like the word "all" in Scripture.  All my heart?  I guess 3/4 is not enough.  God I trust you but if it doesn't work out then  I have this backup plan ready to go.  That isn't trust at all but being double-minded as James says. 
the second part of verse 5 drives home this truth.  Lean not on your own understanding:  translation "no backup plan".  Is my god big enough that I don't need a second alternative?  How often do I try and figure out the best solution for the issue and totally forget about God and His solution.  
Looking at verse six there it is again "all".  In whatever I do I must have a mindset that God is over all and is sovereign in all things.  I need to acknowledge His rule of the universe even down to my every life decision. 
Then comes the last part of verse six.  Our paths will be made straight.  He will take the crooked and make it straight.  When we "trust" and "acknowledge" with "all" then our path is made straight.
Lord Jesus, may I trust in you today with all my heart.  May I acknowledge that you are the sovereign ruler of my life and that whatever you have for me is for my best.  May I put aside my own understanding and plans  relying on You.

From Others

How would you answer Jesus when he asked, "What do you think about the Christ?"  (Matthew 22:41).  After pondering this question read Scotty Smith's prayer.
 Kevin Deyoung paints a beautiful picture of Jesus the Lion and Lamb of revelation 5.

From Others

Tim challies, who reads a lot of books, has some tips on reading.  This is the first part and tomorrow will be the second.

Romans 1:1-7 - Gospel

I find no better explanation of the gospel in these first seven verses than that of Stott in his Romans commentary. 
  1. The origin of the gospel is God
  2. The attestation of the gospel is Scripture (v2)

  3. The substance of the gospel is Jesus Christ (v1,3)

  4. The scope of the gospel is all the nations (v5)

  5. The purpose of the gospel is the obedience of faith

  6. The goal of the gospel is the honor of Christ’s name (v5)


To sum up, here are six fundamental truths about the gospel. Its origin is God the Father and its substance Jesus Christ his Son. Its attestation is Old Testament Scripture and its scope all the nations. Our immediate purpose in proclaiming it is to bring people to the obedience of faith, but our ultimate goal is the greater glory of the name of Jesus Christ. Or, to simplify these truths by the use of six prepositions, we can say that the good news is the gospel of God, about Christ, according to Scripture, for the nations, unto the obedience of faith, and for the sake of the Name.




      barnhouse puts it this way in His commentary:
      "Let there be that first lesson for all of us. If we would be used of God, we must have a view of the gospel that is as broad as the universe. We must see that God is making the great offer of grace to the entire human race and that now the door is open, not for men to pick and choose to come to God as they want to, but for all men to come to God in His way if they will."

Romans 1:1-7 -- Rome

We now turn to what Paul has to say about his audience at Rome.
Called     to belong to Jesus Christ
Paul uses called three times in these opening verses.  Remember that Paul was called to be an apostle.  He now wants his readers to know that they are called to belong to Jesus Christ.  One of our callings is to belong to our Lord.  We are His and nothing can dismiss that relationship.   
called to be saints
Not only do we belong to Christ but we are saints.  the plural here denotes the community of Christ not so much individuals.  Set apart, in our minds, usually means from something.  In the New Testament being set apart is positive in nature.  We are set apart to God. 
loved by God
Not only do we belong to Jesus and are separated unto God but we are loved by Him.  How can a holy god love a sinner such as I?  It is only because of His Son's work on the cross.  Apart from the blood of Christ the love of God would not be extended to us.  He loves us and has our best interest in mind.  This is not some mushy love but a love that will never let me go.
grace and peace to you from the Father
finally, Paul writes his normal greeting of grace and peace.  We must know grace before we can have peace.  Peace is not so much the absence of conflict but the positive side of a relationship that brings a calm assurance.
  1. I belong to Jesus.  That is a calling on my life.  Nothing I do can break this calling because it all depends upon Him.  Let thanksgiving flow from my lips that I am His.
  2. the more I realize the positive side of being separating unto God the more the being separated from sin will happen.  Cast my eyes on Christ and His work.
  3. Contemplate the love of god for me daily.  Let that consume my thoughts.  Let me reflect upon the love of Christ as He died for me.
  4. Flowing out of the love of god for  me, let me never forget His grace that brings peace in my life.  when I am troubled, bring my heart back to the grace and peace that I have from God through Jesus. 

From Others

If you want to get off the performance treadmill with God this prayer should be yours. 

Lessons From Job

I just finished Charles Swindoll's book on Job.  in his last two chapters Swindoll, in his traditional way, gives us principles to live by. 
What we learn about ourselves and others  
  1. We don't know ahead of time the plans God has for us.  Our god does know what is best.  (Jer 10:23-24, 29:11-13:  Prov 16:9, 20:24, Isa 55:8-9, Phil 4:6-7, James 1:2-4, I Peter 5:6-7).  Be ready for anything in life.  there is no guarantee that life will continue tomorrow as it is today.  Our times are in His hands.  (job 1:20-22).
  2. A vertical perspective will keep us from a horizontal panic.  A strong vertical perspective fans the flame of passion.  When hard times come it is easy to forget our vertical relationship and only concentrate on the horizontal problem at hand.  
  3. Discernment (Job 2:10).  Discernment is needed to detect bad advice from well-meaning people.  
  4. When things turn from bad to worse sound theology help us remain sound and stable.  
  5. Caring friend know when to come, how to respond and what to say.  Unfortunately, Job's friends did okay on the first two items but when they opened theirs mouths it went downhill.  
  6. Its easy to be Monday morning quarterbacks when we encounter another's outburst.  
  7. The cultivation of obedient endurance is  the crowning mark of maturity.  Growing up and growing old should walk hand in hand. 
What Job teaches us about our God
  1. There is nothing God cannot do (job 42:2).  God's power is infinite and independent, self-energized and never depleting.  
  2. It is impossible to frustrate God's purposes (job 42:2b).  There is nothing out of control with God.  
  3. God's plans are  beyond our understanding and to deep to explain (Job 42:3).  God doesn't reveal His grand design He reveals Himself.  
  4. Only through God's instruction are we able to humble ourselves and rest in His will (job 42:4-6, I Pet 5:6-7).  
  5. when the day of reckoning arrives, god is always fair.  God never forgets He just doesn't adjust His plan to our timetable. 
  6. No one can be compared with God when it comes to blessings (Job 42:9-15).  Grace  doesn't wait for works to catch up.  God doesn't bless perfect people only imperfect ones. 
  7. Only god can fill our final years with divine music that frees us to live above our circumstances.  God's unmerited favor frees us.  It enables  us to live fully for Him.

From Others

Are you distraught about health care?  Are you upset with our government?  Please read this prayer.
Albert Mohler points us to an important Supreme Court case coming on the docket concerning religious freedom.

From Others

Today is David Livingstone's birthday.  John Piper AT Desiring God has a tribute worth your time.


In these first seven verses I find four descriptions of Paul that he desires his Roman readers to  know about him.  Paul had never visited Rome so his readers only know about him from others.  He introduces himself with these four traits.
A servant of Christ Jesus 
  1. First, Paul says he is a servant.  this is  a free and voluntary submission of Paul to Jesus.  Paul is so overwhelmed by the grace of Jesus toward him that he freely becomes his slave.
Called to be an apostle
Paul next realizes that he has been called to a particular work in the kingdom of Christ.  In this statement we see what work God has done in the life of Paul.  he is called. 
Set apart for the gospel
The third characteristic Paul wishes his readers to know about him is that he was not only called to be an apostle but he was set apart for the gospel.  What would our Christian faith look like today if that statement wasn't true?  what, in a grander scale, would the world look like today without Paul and his being set apart for the gospel?  This further defined God's grasp on Paul's life.
Received grace and apostleship
finally, Paul lets Rome know that he was the recipient of grace and apostleship.  Note the order, grace comes before the calling of apostleship.  apart from grace apostleship would mean nothing.  Paul always looked back to the interruption of his life by the Savior on the road to Damascus.   He constantly focuses his gaze upon that grace which took place at the cross.
What do I learn from Paul's description of himself:
  1. To be amazed at what God has done at the cross will allow me to freely give myself to Him. 
  2. god has placed a call on my life.  It won't be to apostleship but nevertheless there is a call to work in His kingdom. 
  3. My whole existence should be about the gospel.  May I never forget that Jesus died for me a wicked sinner.
  4. Grace has extended down to me from a loving sovereign God.  May  I receive it daily and pass it on.
Isaac Watts penned these beautiful lines:

Alas! and did my Savior bleed?

And did my Sovereign die?

Would He devote that sacred head

For such a worm as I?

Was it for crimes that I have done

He groaned upon the tree?

Amazing pity! Grace unknown!

And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide

And shut its glories in,

When Christ, the mighty Maker, died

For man the creature's sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face

While His dear cross appears;

Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,

And melt mine eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne'er repay

The debt of love I owe:

Here, Lord, I give myself away -

'Tis all that I can do!

Numbers 7 -- Another example of Repetition

So I read Numbers 7 today in my journey through the bible in a year.  I  am on a different plan than John Piper he got to Numbers 7 on March 8.  Here is his thoughts.
"I just read Numbers 7 on my annual way through the Bible. I read every word. It is one of the longest, most repetitive chapters in the Bible.

From verse 12 to verse 83 Moses describes the offerings that each of the twelve tribes of Israel brought to the tabernacle when it was first dedicated to the Lord.

But here's the amazing thing. There are 93 words in the description of what each tribe brought as an offering. And all 93 words are repeated verbatim for each of the 12 tribes. Twelve times he says exactly the same thing. Twelve times! Exactly the same 93-word description for each tribe's offering!


Gordon Wenham answers: "It seems likely that a theological purpose underlies his wordiness."

The purpose he says is "to emphasize as strongly as possible that every tribe had an equal stake in the worship of God, and that each was fully committed to the support of the tabernacle and its priesthood." (Numbers, p. 93)

Yes. But let the method of emphasis sink in. Moses could have used Wenham's words and saved time, space, and tedium. He could have said, "Every tribe has an equal stake in worship and all are to be fully committed to the tabernacle." That's 18 words. But he used 12 x 93 = 1,116 words.

Here are some lessons:

  • There are times when you look into every child's eyes and say the same important thing. You don't say the precious thing to one and then sweep over the others: "That applies to all of you."
  • These tribes are not equal. Some are larger. Some have sordid legacies. But everyone heard every word of God's plan for their approach to God. Every one. Every word. Identical.
  • Efficiency is not always the highest value. Slow, long, repetitions are sometimes the best way to make an impact.
  • Patience in reading God's word may be a test of the frenzy of our pace and our demanding attitude toward the Bible that it be the way we want, not the way God made it."

From Others

I just subscribed to this blog on Wednesday and have already been amazed.  If you want to see prayer from the heart

Good deals on classic books from Christian audio

They have 10 classic books on sale right now through the end of March for $2.98.  I got five of them. 

The book of Numbers

In my daily Bible reading I have come to the book of Numbers the last two days.  If you are like me, you ask yourself why is this here and more importantly what does it have to do with my life?
I have several truths that god has given me in the last two days.
first, God is in the details.  Moses continually uses the same phrases and sentences over and over when a summary statement would do.  I find myself saying, "get on with it".  But, God wanted the details preserved.  God is interested in the details of His people. 
Second, God had Moses write down the names of people.  Not only does god work in the details but He knows each one of us by name.  God knows you better than you know yourself.  That is both frightening and comforting. 
Third, God assigned the Levites special tasks to do concerning the Tabernacle.  We read in Ephesians 2:10 that He also has good works for us to do.  God wants us to work  in His kingdom while we are here not just wait for His return. 
So, as you come to passages of Scripture that seem meaningless, remember that all Scripture is God breathed and is profitable (II
 Tim 3:16-17). 

From Others

AT Desiring God, John Piper has a rather interesting blog on praying imprecatory Psalms
And another from DG concisely stating the difference between Armenianism and Calvinism:
The ESV is now a free app for your IPhone or Ipod Touch:
Justin Taylor points us to an article in the ESV Study bible on levels of Doctrine:


Matthew 15:21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district

of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that

region came out and was crying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son

of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon." 23 But

he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged

him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying out after us."

24 He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house

of Israel." 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying,

"Lord, help me." 26 And he answered, "It is not right to take

the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." 27 She said,

"Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from

their masters' table." 28 Then Jesus answered her, "O woman,

great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her

daughter was healed instantly.

In my daily readings today this passage was part.  I am truly amazed by this woman's faith and persistence.  
Jesus now goes into a Non-Jewish region.  A Non-Jewish woman has heard about Him and wants Jesus to heal her daughter.  She cries out but with no response.  This lady does not give up.  The disciples are getting frustrated with her as she is disrupting their journey.  They come to Jesus and ask Him to dismiss this lady.  Jesus' response is curious at best.  But the woman still does not give up. 
Somehow she gets passed all the disciples and kneels at the feet of Jesus.  He again answers her curiously.   she is not satisfied with the answer.  Blessings are tied to the house of Israel is basically what Jesus is telling her.  but again she doesn't stop. 
she says even crumbs fall off the table and the dogs eat them.  Paraphrase, even the Gentiles are blessed by god's relationship to Israel.  this goes back to the promise god gave Abraham in Genesis 12. 
Jesus finally grants her request noting that her faith was very great. 
I find three characteristics in this woman that we could all use more of in our lives:  determination, persistence and faith. 
She has a need and has heard that Jesus has met those needs before.  She is fully determined to get to Him and will not let anything stand in her way. 
when people do get in her way, she is persistent.  this lady will not take "no" for an answer. 
Finally, her faith amazes me.  Her statement "even the dogs get crumbs" is filled with faith that she has in the fact that Jesus can heal. 
Determination , knowing that Jesus is the answer.  persistence, not easily detoured when obstacles come in our way.  Faith, believing that Jesus will come and save.  We can learn a lot from this lady. 

Romans: stopping and Starting

Well, I have tried many times to get the first post about Paul done.  each time I start and then stop again trying to determine just how much to write.  Right now I am back to the drawing board attempting to figure out methodology and structure before I dive into the writing. 
Hopefully in the next couple of days I will have it nailed down and begin.
Writing is difficult!

From Others

Tim challies has a quote from Charles spurgeon about weeping for Jesus on the Cross.

From Others

From the Desiring God blog concerning a speech by Charles Malik in 1980. 
Kevin Deyoung gives us his 3rd part in the series social justice. 
this week it is Jeremiah 22:
I have started reading C. J. Mahoney's book "Living the Cross Centered Life".  IN  the introduction he quotes John Stott and D. A. Carson.
John Stott:  "The Cross is the blazing fire at which our heart is kindled, but we have to get near it for its sparks to fall on us."
D. A. Carson:  "I fear that the cross, without ever being disowned, is in constant danger of being dismissed from the central place it must enjoy by relatively peripheral insights that take on far too much weight.  Whenever the periphery is in danger of displacing the center, we are not far removed from idolatry."

From Others

Excellent quote from B. B. Warfield on grace and sinners. 
Tim Challies has yet another book review which deals with short term missions and helping the poor.

ROMANS 1:1-7

In this introduction there are three items I will discuss:  Paul, the Rome church and the gospel of Christ.  These will take one post each.
 But here we introduce them.
Paul wants his readers to know four characteristics of himself:
  1. A servant of Christ
  2. Called to be an apostle
  3. Set apart for the gospel
  4. Received grace and apostleship
What Paul says about the Romans:
  1. Called     to belong to Jesus Christ
  2. called to be saints
  3. loved by God
  4. grace and peace to you from the Father
What Paul declares about the gospel:
  1. Declared beforehand by the prophets  and holy scripture
  2. concerning His Son
  3. descendant of David by the flesh
  4. declared to be the son of god in power according to the Spirit

From Others

Sermons on Jude

C. J. Mahaney preached a two part series from Jude which is quite worth your hearing.  The presentation of the gospel of grace is set forth  powerfully and Mahaney's pathos in his preaching is extraordinary. 



I will take a section of text and work through it following this approach.
  1. Discover what the text meant to the original audience.
  2. examine any differences between the original audience and us living today.
  3. Discover timeless principles from the text that apply to any people at any time living in any culture.
  4. Apply the principle to life so that it transforms the individual more into the image of Jesus Christ and impacts not only his life but the way he interacts with his world.
I will first deal with the text before consulting any outside sources such as commentaries.  I want to understand the text uninfluenced by others.  After I have gone through the above process I will consult commentaries. 


I will start using these six commentaries and add others as needed.  I will, when coming to chapters 9-11 find dispensational viewpoints.
  • Leon Morris:  Romans (Pillar New Testament Commentary)
  • Donald Grey Barnhouse:  Expositions of Bible Doctrines: Taking the Epistle to the Romans as a Point of Departure
  • John Stott:  The Message of Romans
  • Everett F. HarrisonExpositor's Bible Commentary: Romans

  • James D. G. Dunn:  Word biblical commentary, Romans

  • Douglas Moo:  NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Romans


On page 2 in the first volume of Barnhouse's commentary on Romans he writes:

Luther wrote: "The epistle to the Romans is the true masterpiece of the New Testament and the very purest gospel, which is well worth and deserving that a Christian man should not only learn it by heart, word for word, but also that he should daily deal with it as the daily bread of men's souls. It can never be too much or too well read or studied, and the more it is handled the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes."

One of the greatest fathers of the church, Chrysostom, had it read to him twice a week. Coleridge said that the epistle to the Romans is "the most profound writing that exists." The latter thought must not frighten the reader, for it is most certain that the truths of this epistle are those which have entered into the hearts of many simple men and given them a light and a life which was utterly beyond their natural capacities.


So with that said, we begin.



From Others

Denny Burk has an interesting post concerning a new book out by someone who pretended to be a convert and spent two years at Thomas road Baptist Church.  Might be a book worth the read.
The MacArthur study bible comes to the ESV.
Kevin Deyoung writes on the relationship between the kingdom and the church read it

From Others

this will be a reoccurring  topic from time to time.  I will gather posts from other blogs I watch which I think are of import.
Social Justice:
Kevin Deyoung has started a seven part series on the major passages in the bible, his opinion, on social justice.  You can find the first two at:
and here is an interesting online magazine this month about sanctification, I will be reading this with interest as I just finished a rather scholarly work on the matter and need some practical writing.
Tim challies has a  review of yet another man book, but I am putting this one on my Amazon wish list.