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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Souls That Are Tohu and Bohu

Sunday Night January 31, 2010

Genesis 1:1-2
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form [tohu] and void [bohu]. and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

This post will begin Matthew Henry’s 2nd Point: The work of creation in its embryo, or in its early stages of development. And this post will also explain why I gave the Hebrew words tohu and bohu when quoting this Scripture each time…

Matthew Henry: “II. The work of creation in its embryo, v. 2, where we have an account of the first matter and the first mover.

1. A chaos was the first matter. It is here called the earth; it is also called the deep, both for its vastness and because the waters which were afterwards separated from the earth were now mixed with it. The Creator could have made His work perfect at first, but by this gradual proceeding He would show what is, ordinarily, the method of His providence and grace. Observe the description of this chaos. (1) There was nothing in it desirable to be seen, for it was without form and void. Tohu and bohu, confusion and emptiness; so these words are rendered…

Isaiah 34:11
But the pelican and the porcupine shall possess it, Also the owl and the raven shall dwell in it. And He shall stretch out over it The line of confusion [tohu]and the stones of emptiness [bohu].

To those who have their hearts in heaven, this lower world, in comparison with that upper, still appears to be nothing but confusion and emptiness. (2) If there had been anything desirable to be seen, yet there was no light to see it by; for darkness, thick darkness, was upon the face of the deep. This chaos represents the state of an unregenerate, graceless soul: there is disorder, confusion and every evil work; it is empty of all good, for it is without God; it is dark till almighty grace effects a blessed change.”
Clay Miller: The first matter was created and unfinished. God could have created it all in less than an instant…but He established things with His method. Creation is a great metaphor of the new creation of conversion. God gave us a great physical picture of a spiritual reality. Paul alludes to this in 2 Corinthians 4:6—“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

So our souls are like this chaotic and empty scene at the beginning of creation. Our souls are tohu and bohu, without form and void. Our lives are lives of confusion and emptiness. We try to fill that with all sorts of things, but only God can fill the void and make sense of existence. All other fillers are counterfeits and will fail us.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

From One God to No God

January 30, 2010

“The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good” (Psalm 14:1).

Stephen Charnock: “But, 1. Doth not the growth of atheism among us render this necessary? May it not justly be suspected that the swarms of atheists are more numerous in our times, than history records to have in any age, when men will not only say it in their hearts, but publish it with their lips and boast that they have shaken off those shackles which bind other men’s consciences? Doth not the barefaced debauchery of men evidence such a settled sentiment, or at least a careless belief of the truth, which lies at the root, and sprouts up in such venomous branches in the world? Can men’s hearts be free from that principle wherewith their practices are so openly depraved? It is true, the light of nature shines too vigorously for the power of man totally to put it out; yet loathsome actions impair and weaken the actual thoughts and considerations of a Deity, and are like mists that darken the light of the sun, though they cannot extinguish it: their consciences, as a candlestick, must hold it, though their unrighteousness obscure it…

Romans 1:18
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

…’who hold the truth in unrighteousness.’ The engraved characters of the law of nature remain, though they daub them with their muddy lusts to make them illegible: so that since the inconsideration of a Deity is the cause of all the wickedness and extravagances of men; and as Austin saith, the proposition is always true, the fool hath said in his heart, &c. and more evidently true in this age than any, it will not be unnecessary to discourse of the demonstrations of this first principle. The apostles spent little time in urging this truth; it was taken for granted all over the world, and they were generally devout in the worship of those idols they thought to be gods: that age run from one God to many, and our age is running from one God to none at all.”

Clay Miller: You would almost think from this paragraph that Charnock lived in our times, but he was born in 1628 in London. It seems we could say it is even worse today than the days he lived in. It is in vogue to ridicule theism of any kind. It seems like if a person can live for self vigorously enough, he can somewhat convince himself that there is no God, or at least no God such as in the Bible. No matter who they are though, they will always have that flicker of knowing that there is a God. But they let themselves rationalize those rational thoughts away. They do everything they can not to think about it or they do everything they can to fight it with arguments they wish were true.

These men so sin, that it truly clouds their reasoning. They begin to use their thinking for ungodliness rather than for God. It seems the world spirals downward. In this information age we live in, the propaganda of atheism is spreading and being loved. It feeds the desire of the sinners. And as Charnock says, our age is running from the truth of one God to no God at all. So this will be something we Christians need to know about and understand so we can talk to these people with understanding and love. More later…

If God Created All, What Then?

January 30, 2010

Matthew Henry’s commentary observed four things from this passage which I discussed in the four previous posts on the 23rd, 25th, 27th, and 28th of January. He continues…

Matthew Henry: “Let us learn hence, (1) That atheism is folly and atheists are the greatest fools in nature; for they see there is a world that could not make itself, and yet they will not own there is a God that made it. (2) That God is sovereign Lord by an incontestable right. (3) That with God all things are possible, and therefore happy are the people that have them for their God, and whose help and hope stand in His name:

Psalm 121:2
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth

Psalm 124:8
Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth

(4) That the God we serve is worthy of all blessing and praise:

Nehemiah 9:5-6
And the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said: "Stand up and bless the Lord your God Forever and ever! "Blessed be Your glorious name, Which is exalted above all blessing and praise! 6 You alone are the Lord; You have made heaven, The heaven of heavens, with all their host, The earth and everything on it, The seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You.

If all is of Him, all must be to Him.

Clay Miller: That concludes His first section on “Creation is in its epitome” (or condensed account). My other study I am doing on this BLOG is The Existence and Attributes of God by Stephen Charnock. It deals in more in depth with the folly of atheism. It is amazing that common sense tells every man this world was created and yet so many have forced their minds to accept the irrationality of pseudo science called evolution. The things evolutionist would have us believe, we would not accept under any other context, and yet, most say, “Who cares, they are smart, use big terms and words, and give me an excuse not to have to be accountable to God.” The ironic thing is, in naturalistic evolution’s system, absolute morality is eliminated so there is no moral compass for these so-called scientists to adhere to. So why would lying be a big deal to them? In survival of the fittest all is fair. So it is ironic to me that people put their trust in them. But then, there is the folly.

God is sovereign. He owns this world and it is His to do what He pleases. He has revealed in His word what He pleases to do. He has revealed His character and explained how all of His character relates to His purpose. We are to use God’s standards on God, and not our own. He makes known what HE, what GOD, is, we do not.

If God created this world, determined its nature and laws…then it goes to say He alone can change it at His will. He can intervene at any moment to heal, calm a storm, cause a storm, break laws of nature, make an axe head float, part a sea, engulf a bush in flames and yet not consume it, turn water to wine, etc…The God of nature is not bound by the laws of nature, He determines them and manipulates them according to His good pleasure.

And when we take all of this into consideration, it should draw us to praise Him and worship Him and live for Him, because in Him is not only true joy, but a joy that will last for all eternity. What a mighty God we serve!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

God is Evident

January 28, 2010

“The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good” (Psalm 14:1).

Stephen Charnock: “I. It is a great folly to deny or doubt of the existence or being of God: or, an atheist is a great fool.

II. Practical atheism is natural to man in his corrupt state. It is against his nature as constituted by God, but natural, as nature is depraved by man: the absolute disowning of the being of a God is not natural to men, but the contrary is natural; but an inconsideration of God, or misrepresentation of his nature, is natural to man as corrupt.

III. A secret atheism, or partial atheism, is the spring of all the wicked practices in the world: the disorders of the life spring from the ill dispositions of the heart.

For the first, every atheist is a grand fool. If he were not a fool, he would not imagine a thing so contrary to the stream of the universal reason of the world, contrary to the rational dictates of his own soul, and contrary to the testimony of every creature, and link in the chain of creation: if he were not a fool, he would not strip himself of humanity, and degrade himself lower than the most despicable brute. It is a folly; for though God be so inaccessible that we cannot know Him perfectly, yet He is so much in the light, that we cannot be totally ignorant of Him; as He cannot be comprehended in His essence, He cannot be unknown in His existence; it is as easy by reason to understand that He is, as it is difficult to know what He is. The demonstrations reason furnisheth us with for the existence of God, will be evidences of the atheists folly. One would think there were little need of spending time in evidencing this truth, since in the principle of it, it seems to be so universally owned, and at the first proposal and demand, gains the assent of most men.”

Clay Miller: He will deal with II. And III. later. God is a universal idea through all times and all places. It is also something everyone considers in their own soul no matter where they are. God is evidenced all around us…in all of creation. This includes what we see on the surface and the intricacy we see when we probe deeper.

“if he were not a fool, he would not strip himself of humanity and degrade himself lower than the most despicable brute”…Atheists often speak of self-worth while relying of a system for existence that denies any purpose at all. They would rather contradict than admit the rationality of an intelligent Being…all to preserve imagined autonomy. In one breath we are all valuable and in the next breath (usually in the context of a religious discussion) he is nothing more than mutated protoplasm.

It is true we cannot know all there is to know of God. If we could, we would be God. He is infinite. But He has condescended in creation to not only to create us intimately, but also to put evidence of His greatness all around us. So while He is transcendent (exists beyond the created universe)…He is also immanent (existing in our universe). And the evidence of His immanence is overwhelming, thus it is just pure folly to deny the existence of God. Charnock has much to say on this and I will try to keep posting to get it in…Again though, the point is this, God has put so much before us to show that He is. Then He puts it in words through Scripture. And in His providence He brings people to share with us both of these revelations to consider. The alternative? Go to naturalistic evolutionists who do not allow from the very beginning, the possibility of supernatural explanations (God). They do this for two reasons: One, they know if God is allowed in the equation it will make sense of all science. And two: They can make most people buy into thinking that such a presupposition (God) is unsophisticated and thus avoid looking foolish themselves. More later…

Eternal God

January 28, 2010

Genesis 1:1-2
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form [tohu] and void [bohu]. and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Matthew Henry gives 4 things for us to observe from this text: 1). The effect produced. 2). The Author and Cause of this great effect. 3). The manner which this work was effected. 4). When this work produced.

I have covered the first three in the previous three posts on this subject. I go back and forth between two studies so if interested in those posts look back to the 23rd, 25th and 27th of January 2010. Today we will look at the fourth observation.

Matthew Henry: “(4) When this work was produced: In the beginning, that is, in the beginning of time, when that clock was first set a-going: time began with the production of those beings that are measured by time. Before the beginning of time there was none but that infinite Being that inhabits eternity. But to us it is enough to say, ‘In the beginning was the Word”, John 1:1.”

I love the concept of eternity. It is mind boggling yet reasonable. It is incomprehensible for we finite beings, but necessary to our finite minds. It is explainable but we cannot fully grasp it. I had a Unitarian confront me on the Trinity when he visited my doorstep one time. Before I surprised him with a reasonable explanation of the Trinity wherein there is no contradiction, he chuckled at me and sort of condescendingly said to me, “Let me guess, God is one and God is three and it’s a ‘mystery’ right?” He emphasized the word mystery. He was insinuating to me, and admitted as much, that if you cannot comprehend it, it cannot be true (for a brief explanation of the Trinity see my January 10th 2010 post: Jesus is God). At that point I asked him to give me a comprehensive explanation of eternity…how can that be? He said he believed God was eternal but could not fully grasp the implications of it. At least he was honest. If we could comprehend God fully, we would be God.

This eternal God existed eternally in three Persons and therefore was never alone. He was always, and always will be a perfectly satisfied being. His eternality is very difficult to ponder. To try to think of a Being with no beginning can “fry the brain”. I love a God that can short circuit my thoughts. Because it makes me realize how great and utterly other He is than we are. I do not want a god who is too small. Most of what is passed off today in the churches is a small unsovereign (my new word) god. God had been un-godded (another word that needs to be added to the dictionary). The eternality of God is a doctrine that immediately eliminates many religions, especially ones with gods who have beginnings.

Another great thought is that time is a creation. Eternality is a dimension that I cannot grasp. Time is manageable. Eternity, that is something outside of time. When Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning” it is referring to the beginning of time, the beginning of something existing other than God. These truths are designed to glorify Him as we consider His infinite nature. What an awesome God.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sins of Commission; Sins of Omission: Guilty

January 27, 2010

“The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good” (Psalm 14:1).

Stephen Charnock: [continuing from the last post on January 26th 2010] “The text then is a description of man’s corruption.

1. Of his mind. ‘The fool has said in his heart.’ No better title than that of a fool is afforded to the atheist.
2. Of the other faculties, 1. In sins of commission expressed by the loathsomeness (corrupt, abominable), 2. In sins of omission (there is none that doeth good) he lays down the corruption of the mind as the cause, the corruption of the other faculties as the effect.”

We are fools because we do not see the obvious…there is a God. This can come, as noted in preceding posts, that this can be displayed by denying God’s existence altogether or by imagining God to be something other than He is. Both are the result and the cause of corruption. We are corrupt in our nature and this leads to two types of sinning: sins of commission and of omission. Sins of commission are sins we commit. It is when we do things against God’s law and perceptive will. Sins of omission are things we do not do that we are prescribed and commanded to do by God. We are guilty of both. We have done abominable works and we have not done good. We need mercy, grace and forgiveness for this. That is what God provides in sending His Son Jesus Christ. God carries out justice against our sins by imputing them to His Son on the cross. God treated His Son on the cross as if He had committed every sin of every person who would ever believe, even though Jesus never sinned, nor became a sinner in and of Himself. The other side of the transaction is also amazing, God treats the believer as if he/she lived the perfect righteous, sinless acceptable life of Jesus Christ, even though they are not righteous in and of themselves. Christ’s righteousness is credited to the believer’s account. This is what Paul was saying when he wrote in Philippians 3:8-9—“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Emphasis

The First Cause

January 27, 2010

Genesis 1:1-2
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form [tohu] and void [bohu]. and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

The last two posts over this passage on January 23rd and 25th covered two of four things Matthew Henry observes from this passage. First there was the effect produced, i.e. Creation happened and it happened at the very word of God. Second, He pointed out the author and cause of this effect…God (Elohim) and noted the name for God (Elohim) used signified His power and plurality. See those two posts for more on those. Today we will look at the third observation: The manner in which this work was effected.

Matthew Henry: “(3) The manner in which this work was effected: God created it, that is, made it out of nothing. There was not any pre-existent material out of which the world was produced. No artificer [craftsman] can work, unless he has something to work on. But by the almighty power of God it is not only possible that something should be made of nothing (the God of nature is not subject to the laws of nature), but in the creation it is impossible it should be otherwise, for nothing is more injurious to the honour of the Eternal Mind than the supposition of eternal matter.”

Clay Miller: God is the Prime Mover, the First Cause. He is the self-existent Being from which everything else gets its being. He created out of nothing (ex nihilo). This is hard for us to comprehend and naturalistic evolutionists would rather attribute this to “nothing” or “eternal matter” that is dead than to an eternal intelligent Being. Of course the same evolutionist would say you were absurd to declare New York City as not created but evolved by itself over years and years of mutations and spontaneous generation. Yet that absurdity is infinitely more probable than the human body doing the same with all its complexity, not to mention an entire universe with all its contents. Reason goes out the door…all in attempt to free themselves from a God to whom they would have to be accountable to…and will be anyway. The account of creation is succinct in Genesis and says much about God…That He is wise, all-knowing, and all-powerful. It shows us He is the God of nature (what we see as natural) and nothing is supernatural to God because nothing is above His own nature. He is above our nature and all we observe, so He is supernatural to us, but nothing is supernatural to Him that He should search it out to find His own meaning. This is our Creator and we can know Him. See previous posts to see how.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Atheistical Bubblings in Every Man

January 26, 2010

“The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good” (Psalm 14:1).

Stephen Charnock: No man is exempted from some spice of atheism by the depravation [moral corruptness] of his character, which the psalmist intimates, “there is none that doeth good:” though there are indelible [un-erasable] convictions of the being of a God, that they cannot absolutely deny it; yet there are some athiestical bubblings in the hearts of men, which evidence themselves in their actions. As the apostle, (Titus 1:16) “They profess that they know God, but in works they deny him.” Evil works are a dust stirred up by an atheistical breath. He that habituates himself in some sordid lust can scarcely be said seriously and firmly to believe that there is a God in being; and the apostle doth not say that they know God, but they profess to know Him: True knowledge and profession of knowledge are distinct. It intimates also to us, the unreasonableness of atheism in the consequence, when men shut their eyes against the beams of so clear a sun, God revengeth himself upon them for their impiety, by leaving them to their own wills, lets them fall into the deepest sink and dregs of iniquity; and since they doubt of Him in their hearts, suffers them above others to deny Him in their works, this the apostle discourseth at large [Romans 1:24--Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves] The text then is a description of man’s corruption.”

Clay Miller: The Bible puts all men under sin. We are naturally corrupt and because we are naturally corrupt we do sin. No one is exempt. Rehabilitation will not work. We cannot pay the penalty for the sins we have committed, nor can we change ourselves. We can make changes, but they too will be corrupt changes. We are hopeless in and of ourselves. The only way we can be made right with God is if He simply overlooks our sins and offenses and decides not to punish them (which will not happen), or He chooses to provide Someone to stand in our place and take the punishment of our sin for us. This He has done for His elect. He gives them this great gift. It comes with repentance, a new desire to serve Jesus Christ, not for merit, but out of love and gratitude…What has changed is our position. We have gone from corrupt sinners to corrupt sinners saved by grace. This is what the truth of our condition is designed to do…to drive us to recognize our utter need for a righteousness outside of our own. Christians are not necessarily better than some of the most moral non-Christians…but we do not stand before God based on our works, but based on Christ’s life and His substiutionary atonement for our sins on the cross.

For the Christian, when we stir up the dust with an athiestical breath,,,that is, when we sin, we hate it, we do not enjoy it. For the non-Christian, they don’t care, they minimize it, explain it away. They claim to believe in God, even to know Him, but their actions and response to those actions show otherwise. Saying we know God and actually knowing Him can be two different things.

And God’s judgment is seen by handing men and women over to their sin. That is judgment…God’s wrath in action. Men get worse and worse and think they are okay…But in reality they are storing up more and more wrath for themselves. This is all of our destiny unless God intervenes. All of this is because we either deny God altogether or we try to make God what we want Him to be, rather than bow to Him as our Lord and Savior as He is. More later.

Monday, January 25, 2010


January 25, 2010

Genesis 1:1-2
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form [tohu] and void [bohu]. and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

We left off with the first of four things Henry observes in this passage which was the effect produced and six things we can observe from that effect. You can read Saturday’s post to see what those things are. Today we will look at observation #2 which is the author and cause of this great work…

Matthew Henry: (2) The author and cause of this great work—GOD. The Hebrew word is Elohim, which bespeaks, [1] the power of God the Creator. El signifies the strong God; and what less than almighty strength could bring all things out of nothing? [2] The plurality of persons in the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This plural name of God in Hebrew which speaks of him as many though He is one, confirming our faith in the doctrine of the Trinity, which, though but darkly intimated in the Old Testament, is clearly revealed in the New. We are often told that the world was made by Him and nothing made without Him.

John 1:3
“All things were made through Him [the Word…Jesus] and without Him nothing was made that was made”

John 1:10
“He [Jesus] was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.”

Ephesians 3:9
“and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;”

Colossians 1:16
“For by Him [Jesus] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”

Hebrews 1:2
“has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;”

Clay Miller: I was having a discussion with a Christian friend of mine who was talking to a co-worker about God and the subject of God being angry came up. This man claimed that God has no anger, that anger is a human emotion. From there the conversation went to God’s omnipotence (all-powerful attribute) and he asked the same question many ask because they do not understand what God’s omnipotence means. He asked if God could sin. It is like the conundrum of “Can God make a rock He cannot lift?” The answer to both is “NO”. You see, God has no reason to WANT to do that. When we say God is all-powerful we are saying what Psalm 115:3 says, “Our God is in the heavens, He does as He pleases.” God can do whatever He wants to do. He will only desire good because He is good. He will only do what is right because He is perfectly righteous with no flaw. Sin is weakness. God does not lie because He has no reason to lie to cover Himself or protect Himself. The Bible says God cannot do things. He cannot lie. He cannot disown Himself (which is why He cannot outdo Himself as in the rock conundrum). He can only do good. The foolish thing is those who try to impose their standard on Him… “Well, if God is all-powerful, can he make a rock that He cannot lift? Well then He is not all-powerful!” Or as my friend’s co-worker said, “If God cannot sin, He is not all-powerful”, and lets add that He cannot deny Himself to that too. God is all-powerful within Himself and there is nothing outside Himself that can overthrow that. We are so prone to judge God by standards we make up. For example, the man’s comment that anger is a human emotion. Where does he get that standard? Who is he to say God cannot and does not get angry? Does he get that from God’s word? I can list over a thousand passages to refute him but I will just mention Psalm 85:5 because I happened to read it this morning… “Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? The Psalmist knew God could be and was angry.

There is much to say about the plurality of God, the doctrine of the Trinity. See my January 10th 2010 post for more on that if interested. The passages above remind us that God created all things and yet Christ is credited with Creation as well. There is only one God and He is eternal and yet Christ is attributed with being eternal and creating the world. That is because Jesus is God. He created all things and upholds all things. Interestingly, Henry mentions He created out of nothing. This is know as creation ex nihilo (out of nothing). This is another attribute and ability that defines God as opposed to creatures. We can only create with pre-existing materials. God created out of nothing, by His mere word. More later.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Without Christ I am a Putrefied Carcass

January 25, 2010

“The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good” (Psalm 14:1).

Stephen Charnock: “ ‘They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who doeth good’. He speaks of the atheist in the singular, ‘the fool;’ of the corruption issuing in the life in the plural; intimating that though some few may choke in their hearts sentiments of God and his providence, and positively deny them, yet there is something of a secret atheism in all, which is the fountain of the evil practices in their lives, not an utter disowning of the being of a God, but denial or doubting of some of the rights of his nature. When men deny the God of purity, they must needs be polluted in soul and body and grow brutish in their actions. When the sense of religion is shaken off, all kinds of wickedness is eagerly rushed into, whereby they become as loathsome to God as putrefied carcasses are to men. Not one or two evil actions is the product of such a principle, but the whole scene of a man’s life is corrupted and becomes execrable [utterly detestable; abominable; abhorrent…very bad].

Clay Miller: There is what is described as an absolute atheist and then there are the actions in all of us that betray an atheism in our hearts. I think about this a lot and am still a work in progress in grasping the enormity of it. Every time I sin, in one way or another, I am acting on atheistical principles. Something of me, in those moments or times, is rejecting something about God. That scares me. It is both scary and relieving. I said that in an earlier post and forgot to explain. What I mean to say is, it is frightening to know how offensive I am in and of myself to a holy, holy, holy God. It frightens me how easily I am distracted from Him. It shows how utterly unworthy I am of him. But it is also relieving. I probably should say it like this instead, it is scary but it is also a great reminder. A reminder of what? A reminder that God’s grace covers even this sin, even this principle that I battle everyday. It is a reminder of how great God’s grace is. It is a reminder that I am insufficient and incapable of making up for my sins, or even keeping the law from here on, but God had imputed to me a righteousness that has done both…Christ’s righteousness.

The scary thing that remains scary is watching so many live in these atheistical mindsets and think they are “okay” with a God who “might” be there, or with a God they think is there (but they have created in their own image). We do not realize anymore that without Christ’s covering, we are stinky, rotten, foul smelling, putrefied dead men and women. It taints every part of our being…because even the good things we do are filthy rags to God…because they do not meet His standard of good. All of this is to drive us to the cross for forgiveness and salvation. It is to teach us that we need His Son’s sacrifice and substitutionary atonement for the propitiation (satisfying) of our sins. More later.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What Does Creation Tell Us?

I am going through a little study of Stephen Charnock's book, The Existence and Attributes of God. I wanted to begin another little devotional for my friends too walking through Matthew Henry's commentary of the Bible. I plan on following the same format as the Charnock study so I will quote his commentary and then restate it. Feel free to comment anytime.

Genesis 1:1-2
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form [tohu] and void [bohu]. and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Matthew Henry: “The work of creation in its epitome [condensed account].

I. In its epitome, v.1, where we find the first article of our creed, that God the Father Almighty is the maker of heaven and earth.

1.Observe, in this verse, four things:--(1) the effect produced—The whole frame and furniture of the universe. The world is a great house, stately and magnificent, uniform and convenient and every room well and wisely furnished. The heavens are not only beautified to our eye with glorious lamps which garnish its outside, of whose creation we here read, but they are within replenished with glorious beings, out of our sight. In the visible world it is easy to observe, [1] Great variety, several sorts of beings vastly differing in their nature and constitution from each other. [2] Great beauty. He azure sky and verdant earth are charming to the eye of the curious spectator. How transcendent [beyond the ordinary] then must the beauty of the Creator be! [3] Exactness and Accuracy. To those that, with the help of microscopes, narrowly look into the works of nature, they appear far more fine than any of the works of art. [4] Great power. It is not a lump of dead and inactive matter, the earth itself has a magnetic power. [5] Great order. A mutual dependence of beings, an exact harmony of motions, and an admirable chain and connection of causes. [6] Great Mystery. There are phenomena in nature which cannot be solved. But from what we see of heaven and earth we may infer the eternal power and Godhead of the great Creator. Our duty as Christians is always to keep heaven in our eye and the earth under our feet.

That ends the first of four things Matthew Henry observes: The effect produced. One thing about Henry’s commentary is it betrays he is one great outliner. More seriously though, looking at what he had to say…

We have here in Genesis 1:1-2 a condensed account of the creation of matter, space, and time. It is brief and to the point. It reminds me of the effortlessness it took. No big deal, God created the seemingly infinite universe and the huge mass of a planet earth, which will be the focal point of His creative purposes. As if it were nothing, it is simply stated that God created it. This is because it should be presupposed by every man, although man will do anything and believe anything to ease their minds of there actually being a God to be held accountable to.

Henry points out six things that can be observed by our eyes in looking at the world we live in.

1. Great variety: We have grass and many different kinds of grass. We have trees and many different types of trees. We have people of various races. We have animals, insects, flowers, plants, foods, soils, chemicals, gases, colors, smells, sounds, seasons, events, etc…It is evidence of an infinitely complex Creator.
2. Great beauty: Sunsets, stars on a clear night, planets as seen through telescopes, flowers, people, landscapes, oceans, islands. Every time we plant a garden or flowerbed, we are enjoying the privilege of manipulating God’s creation to form beauty…it should remind us of the beauty of God.
3. Great Exactness and Accuracy: Everything is perfect per se, to sustain life for planet earth. Things could happen in space to exterminate us, but it does not happen. If the earth tilted an inch to the left or right on its axis we would freeze or fry…but it won’t. Because Jesus Christ upholds all things by the word of His power.
4. Great Power: A recent earthquake in Haiti reminds us of the sheer power held back on this planet. This planet is powerful enough in itself to kill us all. But it does not, because it is controlled by a higher power, an almighty power, and omnipotence beyond comprehension.
5. Great Order: Symbiosis is an amazing thing to consider. This world is so interdependent. We could not live without trees. Trees need sunlight and water. We need insects. We need food. It is amazing that a person would believe that all of this came from nothing and is an accident. How is it that one thing came from nothing and that things survived and somehow reproduced with something it needed…eventually separated into male and female and every other thing there is….trees, planets, chemicals, foods, perfect for interdependence? All by accident? And we are the “unsophisticated ones? This reminds me of our dependence of on God
6. Great Mystery: Scientists scurry about spending trillions of dollars for answers of how we got here. Through research after research they keep discovering things they cannot explain. It is all there to remind us that although God humbles himself to look down on us and draw near to us, He is also a transcendent God who is utterly other than us. Psalm 113:4-6—The LORD is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens. 5Who is like the LORD our God who dwells on high, 6Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Turn out the Lights.

The Fool has said in his heart there is no God--Psalm 14:1

Stephen Charnock: "Of the denial of the providence of God most understand this, not excluding the absolute atheist, as Diogaras is reported to be, not the skeptical atheist, as Protagoras, who doubted whether there were a God. Those that deny the providence of God, do in effect deny the being of God; for they strip him of that wisdom, goodness, tenderness, mercy, justice, righteousness, which are the glory of the Deity. And that principle, of a greedy desire to be uncontrolled in their lusts, which induceth men to a denial of Providence, that thereby they might stifle those seeds of fear which infect and embitter their sinful pleasures, may well lead them to deny that there is any such being as a God. That at one blow, their fears may be dashed in pieces and dissolved by the removal of the foundation: as men who desire liberty to commit works of darkness, would not have the lights in the house dimmed, but extinguished. What men say against Providence, because they would have no check in their lusts, they may say in their hearts against the existence of God upon the same account; little difference between the dissenting from the one and disowning the other."

Note: Diagoras was an atheist philosopher in the 15th century and Protagoras was a 5th century sophist who believed man was the measure of all things.

Clay Miller: As already noted in a previous post, teaching that denies the true character of God is as good as not believing in God at all. I can make up a god that suits me, but it does not mean I believe in the real God. God defines God. It amazes me sometimes how people try to judge God by their standard rather than letting God judge God by His own standard. People say things about what they think God should be like as if they have a better grasp on Deity than God does. God is God because He is God. We are not God nor anything close. And the truth is, no one really likes Him, because He is terrifying to a sinner...unless He discovers God forgives and pays for our sins Himself. So what men do is suppress the truth of God. They make God in their own image. I remember a quote that said, "If I had God's power, I would change everything; But if I had His wisdom and knowledge too, I would do everything the exact same way He does."

We, in our sinful nature, want to be uncontrolled in our lusts and desires. Even in America today the push for desires to become rights is being crammed down our throats. So what does man do? He professes to know God but gets a kick out of immorality. He participates in it and is entertained by it. How does he justify this? He makes God something other in his mind than God really is. It is a sick condition we are all in, unless God breaks us free from it. My understanding of why we do this in our lost condition is that we want to feel like know God, but we do not want to be subject to Him. As Charnock said, you might as well turn the lights out altogether, because dimming them is just as bad when it is your theology. More later.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quoads: Which One Are/Were You?

Psalm 14:1--The fool has said in his heart there is no God.

Stephen Charnock: "There is a threefold denial of God, 1. Quoad Existentiam; this is absolute atheism. 2. Quoad Providentiam, or His inspection into, or care of things of the world, bounding Him in the heavens. 3. Quoad Naturam, in regard of one or other of the perfections due His nature.

Clay Miller: This is pretty cut and dried but worth restating. There are three ways to deny God's existence.

1. Deny He exists at all (Quoad Existentiam).
2. Deny that he knows about, cares about, has authority over this world (Quoad
3. Deny something about Him, like His sovereignty, omniscience, wrath, love, etc...
(Quoad Naturam)

The first one I think everyone understands. This is the person who refuses to listen to his own reasoning that tells him there is something more, that he is no accident, and that there is a Creator. No matter what you tell this person, he or she does not care. They do not want there to be a God so they will not let their minds consider it, at least not publicly.

The second is more challenging. This is the kind of thinking that says there might be a God but if there is He is not holding me accountable for anything I do, no, he probably does not even know what I do. He certainly is not ruling over the world. And He will not judge me. But it also is the kind of thinking that says, sure there is a God, Yes He hates sin, but I am going to sin anyway, because when the rubber hits the road, I really do not think He will hold me accountable or really punish me. A lot of times this is the result of the third type of atheism...

The third type denies something about God for convenience of ease of mind. Some people deny God has wrath. In doing this they are not believing in something essential about God's character. They may deny His sovereignty. I see this when people say God had nothing to do with some calamity that happened, or that He could do nothing about it, also denying His omnipotence. Some want to limit His sovereignty for the sake of giving man just a little of his own in salvation, not realizing that this leap into philosophy is denying God's actual being as He truly is.

The scary and and relieving thing is, we all can mess up on #2 and #3 with our actions even as Christians. It may not be a deliberate denial, or apathetic denial, but when we choose to sin, at that moment we are acting as an atheist, as if God did not see what we did, or did not care. Or perhaps in those moments we know He sees, and cares, but we choose to think of His grace and presume upon His grace, and ignore His Fatherhood with its discipline. There are many ways to go with this. It is worth thinking about. It worth adding to your arsenal in your fight against sin. More Later...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

An Atheism That Claims to Believe in God

The fool has said in his heart there is no God--Psalm 14:1

Stephen Charnock:
" 'There is no God' is not Jehovah, which name signifies the essence of God, as the prime and supreme being; but Eloahia, which name signifies the providence of God, God as a rector and judge. Not that he [the fool] denies the existence of a Supreme Being, that created the world, but his regarding the creatures, His government of the world and consequently His reward of the righteous and punishments of the wicked."

Clay Miller: The denial of God being spoken of in Psalm 14 is not merely the being or existence of God. The fool might believe there is some kind of god out there, but the fool does not believe this being regards us or bothers with us. The fool does not believe this being actually governs this world or has authority over it. The fool does not believe there is any accountability to this Being that may exist. Many feel freed from this passage when they read it in English, but when we understand more specifically what the Psalmist is saying, the name he is using, it indicts many more. Agnostics believe there might be a god but they do not believe they are accountable to Him if there is. Those who say there is a god but live like there is not are described here as well. Those who say there is a god and enjoy and find entertainment in things He sees as abominations are described in this passage, and so on. More Later.

Believing the Unbelievable

"The fool has said in his heart there is no God..." Psalm 14:1

...Charnock continues: " 'Said in his heart;' that is, he thinks, or he doubts,or he wishes. The thoughts of the heart are in the nature of words to God, though not to men. It is used in the like case of the atheistical principle, (Psalm 10:11, 13)'He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten; he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it.' He doth not form a syllogism...that there is no God: he dares not openly publish it, though he dares secretly think it. He cannot raze [destroy] out the thoughts of a deity, though he endeavors to blot those characters of God in his soul. He hath some doubts whether there a be a God or no: he wishes there were not any, and sometimes hopes there is none at all. He could not so ascertain himself by convincing arguments to produce to the world, but he tampered with his own heart to bring it to that persuasion and smothered in himself those notices of deity; which is so plain against the light of nature, that such a man may well be called a fool for it."

Clay: Whatever we say in our heart, it is as if we said it out loud to God. He knows our thoughts and knows our motives better than we do. So no matter what we say with our lips to give lip service to the existence of God, God looks at the truth in the heart. The fool is the person who thinks there is no God. As much as a person hopes, wishes and doubts, he still knows there is plenty of evidence around him in support of a Creator. He will accept anything even if it is irrational. Evolution is a friend to such a person. Although he would never believe the utter silliness posed by evolution in any other context, he will gladly join in by faith that somehow, some way, nothing created everything. He would not believe a car could evolve from nothing...but a problem. He would not believe his house just evolved with all its structure, support, foundation, wiring, outlets, switches, etc...but a universe, no problem. He will let his heart smother the absurdity...all because he loves his sin.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dead Men Walking: They Lost Their Juice

The fool has said in his heart there is no God." Psalm 14:1

Charnock: " 'The fool' a term in scripture signifying a wicked man, used also by the heathen philosophers to signify a vicious person...[the word used here] signifies the extinction of life in men, animals, and plants; so the taken, a plant that hath lost all that juice that made it lovely and useful. So a fool is one that hath lost his wisdom, and right notion of God and divine things which were communicated to man by creation; one dead in sin, yet one not so much void of rational faculties as of grace in those faculties, not one that wants [lacks] reason, but abuses reason. In Scripture the word signifies foolish."

Clay: We are alive in a physical sense, but dead in a spiritual sense in and of ourselves. Because of sin, we are spiritually stillborn. We have a form of living, but not the living we were created for. We may think we are lovely to God, but the truth is we are not. He does not save us because we are lovely or lovable...He saves us because of mercy and grace. Mercy means we do not get the punishment we deserve for being sinners. Grace is getting more good than we deserve. Grace by definition explains that God saves on something other than some worthiness in ourselves. We are born with abilities, but all of those abilities are tainted by the corruption of our sinful nature. Even the good we do is tainted. This too is bad news. But it is all to set up the good news of God's mercy and grace. Every sin will be punished, but for believers in Christ, those sins were already punished in Christ. He took the wrath of God for the believers. And God in His grace also credits Christ's perfect life to the believers' account and treats the believer as if they had lived the sinless, perfectly righteous life of Christ. Salvation is by grace alone. More later...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Consequences of Ideas

The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Psalm 14:1

...This is a continuation of the last post which is some commentary from Stephen Charnock on Psalm 14:1. He continues...

"The psalmist first declares the corruption of the faculties of the soul, 'the fool has said in his heart'; secondly, the streams issuing from thence, 'they are corrupt, &c.: the first in atheistical principles, the other in unworthy practice; and lays all evil, tryanny, lust, and persecutions by men, (as if the world were only for their sake)upon the neglect of God [meaning their neglect of God, not God's neglect of them], and the atheism cherished in their hearts."

To break this down a little. First Charnock points out how the psalmist is declaring the corruption of the soul. This is a principle. It is the fundamental law in our hearts that determines all others. When we believe there is no God, or deny His rule over our lives, this is a principle governing everything else in our lives. It will determine everything else we do. It will be like blinking, you won't notice it determining for you, but it will. And the psalmist goes on to describe the effects...they are corrupt, etc... This is the fruit, the practice, of living without acknowledging God and God's rule over your life.

Charnock then shows how this passage explains why their is evil, tryanny, lust, and persecution of every kind. People live as if this world were for their sake. They neglect God and opt for self as king. They try as hard as they can not to think about God or "religous" issues or they seek every single alternative that sounds good enough...even if it makes no sense at all. When you say there is no God, their are consequences to that. Ideas have consequences. If their is no moral map then their really is not right or wrong. This is the spirit of lawlessness that must come before the return of Christ. It is in the world. And the world will fall for it. Now is the time to repent of all of this and fight for the souls of others. I close with 2 Thessalonians 2 describes the end of this movement...

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12--Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work
; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10
and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie
, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Naturally Corrupt

The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Psalm 14:1

Below is the beginning of some commentary on this text from Stephen Charnock. Charnock wrote in ways we don ot write today so I will do my best to "commentate" on his commentary. He does a great job exegeting and explaining this text so we can understand it and apply it to our lives and worldview.

This Psalm is a description of the deplorable corruption by nature of every son of Adam, since the withering of that common root. Some restrain it to the Gentiles, as a wilderness full of briers and thorns, as not concerning the Jews, the garden of God, planted by his grace, and watered by the dew of heaven. But the apostle, the best interpreter, rectifies this in extending it by name to Jews as well as Gentiles, (Romans 3:9)--"We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;" and verses 10-12 cite part of this psalm and other passages of scripture for the further evidence of it, concluding by Jews and Gentiles, every person in the world naturally in this state of corruption.

Charnock begins by explaining that this foolishness describes the condition of all of us by nature: not just Jews but Gentiles (non-Jews) as well; Not just Gentiles but Jews as well...and every single one of us. Adam was the first man and when he sinned he contaminated the entire human race with sin so that we all are born from that root, that sinful withering root. We are all born with a sinful nature. We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners. It is our nature.

The apostle he mentions is Paul, writing in the book of Romans. Paul cited this passage and some others in chapter 3 in describing the condition of all men, and he defined all men specifically as Jew and Gentile.

This is the bad news. We are all born fools. We are born with the inclination to sin. We are all born with the will to fight the idea of God as He really is. Even those of us raised in "Christian homes" may accept the idea of God, and some things about Him, but it is often a struggle, even in that setting, to accept God for all He is. Many people live today calling themselves "Christians" who actually hate who God really is. They hate his sovereignty especially. They hate that His sovereignty usurps their imagined autonomy. God defines God. We cannot judge "Godness" by some standard outside of God's own standard. But that is our nature. And why are we like this? Because our nature is corrupt. More later...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Challenge for Clay: Measure It All By God's Word

January 12, 2010
Here is a challenge for me. All my actions, responses, beliefs, traditions, etc…why do I believe them and are they consistent with God’s word?

I find I am shaped in many ways by my culture rather than God’s word. I affirm the Bible at points where I do not realize my life is not affirming a true conviction of that truth. For example, I may want someone to have revenge on someone and enjoy it. Last night, our neighborhood was hit by thieves and they got into my Blazer and Pilot which were not locked (my fault). My first response: “I wish I could have caught those punks, losers, etc…” My mind kept going back all day long to what I “wish” could have happened if I would have caught them. Now, if I go to my cultural handbook (TV) that is pretty consistent thinking. But if I go to God’s word…well, not so much. I am angry because our property was violated…reasonable. But should I then act inconsistently from Christian protocol? No. Can I pursue justice? Yes. Can I expect consequences on offenders? Yes. Should I gloat and wish pain on those people? No. That is not consistent with the faith. It is amazing how much work I still have left on me. But I thank God that it is all covered in Christ and because of Christ, God is working this stuff out of me little by little.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jesus is God

January 10, 2010
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God.

3All things were made though Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4In Him was life and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Before there was a beginning of anything, there was God who had no beginning. When God chose to create, a beginning began for the first time. When that beginning began, Christ was already there. This is an expression of Christ’s eternality. Only God is eternal and yet John is expressing that when that which can be measured by time was started, Jesus was already there…meaning He cannot be measured by time…meaning He is eternal…meaning He is God.

Jesus was there in the beginning with God. A person can have to possibilities here: One, Jesus was with God as a created being when God created the world. Or two, Jesus was with God as part of God’s being. The problem with the former is that this passage is going to go on to say in verse 3 that “All things were made through Him [the Word, which is Jesus] and without [outside of Him] nothing was made that was made.” Also the very next words after this are, “and the Word was God.” The second explanation is correct. Jesus was with God [the Father] in an eternal co-existence. This begs the question. If there is only one God, how can Jesus be God with the Father? Would that not make two Gods? Add to that, there is a third Person in this equation, the Holy Spirit…does that make three Gods?

No, and no. If this were a contradiction, we should reject it. The amazing thing about God is His existence, His Being. He is utterly other than us. So there are things about Him we can understand but may not fully comprehend. He is not the author of confusion, so He definitely is not asking us in His word to believe a contradiction. So, how are we to understand this? Philosophically speaking, to say that God is three persons in one Person is a contradiction. It is irrational. That is not what we say. To say God is three beings in one being is a contradiction, and that too is not what we say. However, it is not a philosophical contradiction to say that God is three Persons in one Being. There is a definitive difference philosophically between being and person. When I go to a funeral and see a the body of a deceased person, the body has being but the person is gone. The person inhabited that body at one time, but now all personality is gone. But the body still exists, still has being. So the being of God is one thing that is shared by three Persons. That is the teaching of the Bible.

This passage teaches us that Christ existed with God in eternity past. It shows distinction in the Trinity. This is important because not only is there a heresy that says Christ is not God, but there is also a heresy that declares that there is no distinction in the Godhead…this is called Sabellianism, or Modalism. It is the teaching that God simply acts in modes. Sometimes He acts as a Father, sometimes a Son, sometimes the Spirit. Proponents of this view compare it to modes we have. For example, I am a dad, a son, and a husband. But I am one person. I just have different modes. This is true. But what is not true is that I speak to myself in those different modes…Clay the Dad does not have a relationship with Clay the son in which we communicate with each other. I do not have conversations between my two modes…that would be crazy. Neither does God, because God the Father speaks to God the Son because God the Son is a separate Person from God the Father.

If it is not enough that Jesus co-exists with God, then John makes it very clear in his next statement… “and the Word was God.” Even John’s grammatical construction here is brilliant. He used a construction that exclaimed Christ’s deity while at the same time guarded against Modalism. That is for a deeper study but worth looking into.

Jesus was in the beginning with God. This Word was a “He”, a Person. The second Person of the Trinity. He was God, equal with God, and yet John is going to share an amazing truth…He came to earth in the flesh. The eternal Son of God, clothed Himself in humanity in order to do for sinners what sinners could not do for themselves, satisfy the wrath of God. He subordinated Himself to the Father, His equal, in His redemptive role. He would go back to the Father and says that the Father is greater than Himself, which is to say, in that existence, is greater than His existence when on earth. He was going back to His glory. But for a short time, He dwelt here. He came to save His own. And those who believe in Him and evidence it by a joyful submission to His Lordship, receive Him and have their penalty for sin satisfied. What a great gospel.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Shot in the Eye to the Glory of God

January 6, 2010
A couple of weeks ago, on the 27th of December 2009, my son took his new dart gun with rubber bullets, took aim at the bull’s eye, and hit the mark. The bull’s eye was my eye. I was chatting with my sister’s-in-law, oblivious to the little sniper only three feet away. Without warning and no reaction time, my eyeball was blasted. There was no protection, no eyelids closing to protect from a direct hit. It was dead on. My eye was red for over a week. But also with that was a morning eye ache. This has been very bearable…until today.

Today, the eye ache made its appearance but seemed to invite some friends over for the torture. A sinus headache accompanied along with my teeth hurting as well from my braces and sinuses. It was a triple whammy. I prayed this morning through it and asked God to take the pain away. I prayed also that I would be able to glorify Him through it. I asked myself, “How do you glorify God with a headache/eye ache/mouth ache?” There are ways of thought of and certainly ways I did not think of. But here were a few:

One, maintain a positive attitude toward Him. Don’t get negative because of how you feel. The greatest moments in life to prove God’s worth is in the painful times of life.

Two, hold fast to all my Christian values, even through the pain. This is no excuse to lose my temper, be grumpy, be irritable, be unfriendly, etc… I know the kind of man God desires me to be is a consistently godly man. No matter what my troubles are, I want to be consistent. If I am angry, I want to have self-control. If I am sad, I want to have self-control. I want people to see a different attitude in me than they see in a person who does not know Jesus Christ or who claims to know Christ but acts just like the world.

Third, share this with others. This says nothing about me in the end. I am not writing this to glorify Clay. It is more of an objective little dissertation about God. I could not accomplish any of that! I did not feel (subjective) like doing any of that. But that is what God’s character is like (Objectively). So what I mean when I say “share this with others” is not to share this with the intention of trying to impress people with what a swell guy I am. On the contrary, what happened today was totally God’s grace in me. Somehow, some way, I maintained a positive attitude, remained personable to others, shared with others with a good attitude and felt compelled to just thank God profusely for not taking it away, but rather, orchestrating my day to be bearable through it. God is an amazing God.

To add just a bit more to this…you can also just think about the complexity and abilities of the eye. We actually take in vision through those little holes in our head. It speaks volumes of the wisdom of the Creator. You can teach your sniper son valuable lessons about using all things to edify others and not to harm others because God teaches us to love all people, which includes helping them in need and not shooting their eye out! You can also think about passages in the Bible about the eye, plucking it out when it causes you to stumble (the idea of going to the most violently extreme spiritual measures to overcome sin), the eye is the lamp of the body, we are the apple of God’s eye (meaning He will protect us). It is amazing what an eye ache and its mean friends can teach me about an amazing God.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Practical Atheism

I was reading Stephen Charnock's the Existence and Attributes of God today. I have read most of it, but started from the beginning today. Right off I was reminded of practical atheism. Basically it is that atheistic principle in all of us naturally. Naturally everyone knows there is a Creator, no matter how much they hate it and deny it. But there is also a natural inclination to a type of atheism that is not ultimate atheism. It is practical atheism...and Psalm 14 describes it. "The fool has said in his heart there is no God." The term for God refers to God's government, or to put it in practical terms, God's awareness, care, and governing of our lives. We do many things we would not do if we really believed God was truly there seeing it combined with truly believing He is all the Bible says He is. Anytime we sin, we are acting out this practical atheistic principle. The fool says in his heart, "God is not really concerned about my actions here." The fool says in his heart, "God does not see what I am doing." The fool says in his heart, "God will not hold me accountable for this sin." The fool says in his heart, "God does not care if I sin." To strip God of this attribute is to ungod God and consequently deny His true existence. We, in those moments, replace Him with a false god, we exchange the truth of God for a lie. God help us in 2010 and beyond to say in our hearts, "There is a God who sees all I do, cares about it, holds me accountable for it and will deal with it." And thank God for His mercy on us who have put our faith in Christ for the forgiveness of this weakness in our souls.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do all for the glory of God

I have been thinking a lot lately about the call of doing everything for the glory of God. That is an amazing goal. Over the past couple of months I have been praying more with God-centered requests. It has been something different, but peaceful. This thought process has carried over into my daily behavior and goals and actions. I find that I do very little with a God-centered consciousness. This has at least three-fold effect on me. One it humbles me. All I do without His glory as my goal is sin. So if I ever thought, “I am a pretty good person”, this pretty much devastates my case. I fall far short of doing the only true good there is…glorifying God. Second, it drives me back to the cross of my redemption. If not for Jesus laying down His life for me, I would suffer the wrath of God myself. But as it is, He took my punishment on Himself. Third, it pushes me to press harder for this goal…to think more…to be more thoughtful about all I do. In too many ways, we “retire” from thinking. We learned so many ideas when we were young that we accepted without consideration and we refuse not only to bend in those views, but also to even think them through. No thinking! We believe what society teaches us without thinking it through. We even accept what any preacher says, whether or not it is what Scripture means or not. We have lost our minds…or the proper use of them anyway.

So, I am driven to think more. Why am I against abusing drugs? Is it because I was taught to be or because it is objectively wrong? How should I glorify God with the issue? Is abortion wrong? How can I glorify God in defending the unborn and fighting the evil of murder? How can I fail to glorify Him in doing it? Sports. How can supporting a sports team glorify God? How can it fail to glorify God? Why am I a Republican about to be an independent? Should I separate politics from God? No. That would glorify politics. I am here to glorify God. I cannot support things God condemns and I cannot condemn what God condones. I need to make my decisions based on Scripture. Why does Socialism threaten me? Why do I believe in a Republic and Capitalism? How can I glorify God in fighting things that are not good and standing for things that are? Is my fight worth anything if it is not for God’s glory? Even if I stand for all the right things, and fight against all the wrong things…if I do not do it for Him and His greatness and value to be put on display, I have done nothing better than my enemies and opposers. So please pray this prayer for me: That I would be Biblically thoughtful in all I do this coming year.