Archive for March, 2007

Rest

March 27, 2007

Matthew 11:28-29~ “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yolk upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

This was our memory verse for this week, along with the rest of our church. The Lord used it to poignantly teach us about resting in Him. This time of the semester gets increasingly busy for Bret adding pressure and stress to his life, and decreasing the time that he and I can spend together. This, in turn, adds stress to my life. So this past week, we have been meditating and discussing what it means for a believer to REST in Christ. And indeed, we have been shown that part of what it means not worrying about these burdens, but allowing Christ to carry them and deal with them. It means trusting in His strength to accomplish Bret’s schoolwork and to give me patience and grace. It means coming to Him with burdens, leaving them, and taking up the light and easy yolk. It means learning humility and gentleness from our gently and lowly Lord. These verses have provided so much peace and release to me this week; Jesus has promised that if I come to Him, I will find rest for my soul.

Here is a wonderful song that also speaks of this truth:

Jesus, I am resting; resting
in the joy of what Thou art.
I am finding out the greatness
of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
and Thy beauty fills my soul.
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

Jesus, I am resting; resting
In the joy of what Thou art.
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

Oh, how great Thy loving kindness;
Vaster, broader than the sea.
Oh, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me.
Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine;
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art.
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart.
Satisfies its deepest longings;
Meets supplies its ev’ry need;
Compasseth me ’round with blessings,
Thine is love indeed.

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee
Resting ‘neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

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A Word from John Owen

March 19, 2007

Aside from some serious studying and meditation for an exegetical paper on Romans 9:14-18 over Spring Break, I was able to begin reading John Owen’s Meditations On The Glory of Christ (more recently published by Christian Focus Publications, 2004). One of the most helpful quotes I have read thus far is noted below. After speaking of the many trials of this life Owen’s writes,

“It will in this, and in the discharge of this duty, be made evident how slight and inconsiderable all these things [the trials] are from whence our troubles and distress do arise. For they all grow on this root of an over-valuation of temporal things. And unless we can arrive to a fixed judgment that all things here below are transitory and perishing, reaching only to the outward man, or the body, (perhaps to the killing of it), that the best of them have nothing that it truly substantial or abiding in them, that there are other things, in which we have an assured interest, that are incomparably better than they, and above them, it is impossible but that we must spend our lives in fears, sorrows, and distractions. One real view of the glory of Christ, and of our own concern in it, will give us a full relief in this matter. …a due contemplation of the glory of Christ will restore and compose the mind, bring it into a sedate, quiet frame, in which faith will be able to say to the winds and waves of distempered passions, ‘Peace, be still!’ and they shall obey it” (30-31). 

Owen’s reminds us who believe of Colossians 3:1-4: “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.”

Homemaking Tip #2

March 19, 2007

This is a wonderful recipe!!! Its super easy, and Bret said its the best Kung Pao Chicken he’s ever had. I got it off of www.recipezaar.com, which is my favorite recipe website.

Kung Pao Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons green onions, chopped (about 2 whole green onions)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 cup roasted peanuts

Combine chicken and cornstarch in a small bowl; toss to coat.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok. Add chicken, and stir-fry for 5-7 minutes or until no longer pink in center. Remove from heat.
In the meantime, combine rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar; mix well.
Add onions, garlic, red pepper, and ginger to skillet. Stir-fry 15 seconds; remove from heat.
Add vinegar mixture to skillet. Return chicken to skillet. Stir until chicken is well coated. Stir in nuts; heat through. Serve over hot rice. Garnish with freshly chopped green onions, if desired.

The Nature of the Atonement

March 12, 2007

Four Views

Beilby, James and Paul R. E ddy, eds. The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. 208 pp. $20.00.

Many churches are embracing the postmodern agenda of the ‘Emerging Church’ leaders, who slanderously consider the historic-evangelical doctrine of the atoning work of Christ to be teaching nothing more than divine child abuse. In order to protect the church from such cross-diminishing literature and erroneous exegesis, pastors and teachers should be well prepared to handle various views on the nature of the atonement. Editors James Beilby and Paul R. Eddy provide a helpful discussion concerning the nature of Christ’s atonement in their book entitled, The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views. (more…)

Not a Book Review

March 11, 2007

John G. Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides 

Paton, James, ed. John G. Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides. Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2002 (reprint). 524 pp. $23.99.

Disclaimer: Bret has been educating me on how I know nothing about book reviews. So, I’m not writing one. This is my opinion of a book that I just read.

The Sovereign Lord has used John Paton’s autobiography as a great encouragement to me. Paton consistently recounts the faithfulness of the Savior, and shows by his life God is worthy of obediance and sacrifice. The first sentence of the book is: “What I write here is for the glory of God” and I see in the pages a life lived for the glory of God. Mainly, I want to share with you what the Lord has taught me through this book, not give you an outline of the story. I am, however, going to VERY briefly summarize Paton’s life to give you a context for the lessons I was given.

Paton was born in a poor, godly family in Scotland. He went to Glasgow to study and became a missionary with the the Glasgow City Mission. The Lord gave profitable labor among the slums in Glasgow, but Paton heard “the wail of the perishing Heathen in the South Seas.” He, therefore, became a missionary to the New Hebrides. He spent the rest of his life laboring in the islands, or traveling internationally telling of the Lord’s labor through him to gather funds for missions in the New Hebrides.

Here are some of the things that the gracious Father taught me:

1. The lasting effect that godly parents can have upon a son’s life: Paton says, “In my earlier years particularly, when exposed to many temptations, his [Father’s] parting form rose before me as that of a guardian angel. It is no Pharisaism, but deep gratitude, which makes me here testify that the memory of that scene, not only helped, by God’s grace, keep me pure from the prevailing sins, but also stimulated me in all my studies, that I might not fall short of his hopes, and in all my Christian duties, that I might faithfully follow his shining example.”

2. God’s providence even in VERY difficult and dangerous situations: Paton lived four years in almost constant danger, and he continually testifies of the Lord’s protection, guidance, grace, and strength throughout each dangerous encounter. In one situation, he is forced to spend a night hiding in a tree. This is what he says about it: “The hours I spent there live all before me as if it were but yesterday. I heard the frequent discharging of muskets, and the yells of the Savages. Yet I sat there among the branches, as safe in the arms of Jesus. Never, in all my sorrows, did my Lord draw nearer to me, and speak more soothingly in my soul, than when the moonlight flickered among these chestnut leaves, and the night air played on my throbbing brow, as I told all my heart to Jesus. Alone, yet not alone! If it be to glorify my God, I will not grudge to spend many nights alone in such a tree, to feel again my Saviour’s spiritual presence, to enjoy His consoling fellowship.”

3. The necessity of joyful, willing obedience, even when the commission is against natural desires: After Paton is rescued from Tanna, he desires to wait at a near island, work on translating the Bible, and return as soon as possible. However, the Lord constrains him to go to Australia and endeavor to raise awareness and funds for the mission in the New Hebrides. This begins a vital segment of Paton’s ministry, as the Lord uses him to convict hearts of the commands to all Christians to be involved in making disciples. In this labor, Paton travels all over Australia, England, Scotland, and the U.S. and Canada, and many people’s hearts are changed to care about what God cares about, which is His glory displayed in salvation. 

(John Piper did a biographical talk over John Paton; you can read or listen to it here.)

Sanctification through Gardening

March 9, 2007

Sprouts

I have been sprouting some plants to have a mini-garden in pots outside our back door. I have shoots of bell peppers, tomatoes, and rosemary, and this week I’ve been hardening them off. I put the seed tray outside before I left for work, but when I got home the tray was overturned on my front steps and all my plants were crushed! I was not happy about this; actually, I was furious at whoever knocked my plants over. While I was cleaning the mess up, and trying to salvage what I could, my Savior asked me why I was angry. How could I be so mad over some little seedlings? Especially since the Bible, in Ephesians 4:30-31 says, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” The Lord reminded me that I have to continually and repeatedly set aside anger and replace it with forgiveness. This trading of anger for forgiveness is empowered by God’s forgiveness of me in Christ! Almighty God was right to be angry at me, but He chose to forgive me through the death of Christ in my place. May I learn from the Redeemer to be a forgiver because of His forgiveness towards me!