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27 May

“In short, private piety arises out of public piety, not vice versa.  This emphasis on corporate worship included congregational singing, and the continuity of the covenant of grace in both Testaments gave the Psalms the prominence that they had in better days…for Calvin at least, piety is not just something that is taught; it is also “caught”: as we pray, so we believe (lex orandi, lex credendi). True doctrine is inculcated not only by direct instruction but also by the patterns of public worship and fellowship in the communion of saints in family life, and in everyday callings.”
-Michael Horton, from Calvin on the Christian Life (Crossway, 2014)


Selected Writings 2

17 Mar

Today’s text: Genesis 14:16, 18-20:

Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people. (v. 16)

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine.  And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” 

Abram saves Lot, delivering him from the enemy kings, and receives the blessing of God Most High, from the priest-king Melchizedek.  There is some amazing typology going on in this passage, revealing the consistent, and amazing, faithfulness of God to his people.

Abram serves as the kinsman redeemer, saving his relative, Lot.  Just like Boaz and Ruth, Christ and his Church.

God uses his chosen to save a people (Lot, his family, all their possessions), and be a blessing to the nations (like Sodom, Gomorrah, etc.).

Abram receives the blessings of God Most Hight through the priest-king, pointing ahead to a day when man would receive the immeasurable riches of God’s grace by the perfect prophet, priest, and king, Jesus Christ.

Immediately after this passage, God again covenants with Abram.  God declares that he will bless him.  And how?  Promising himself to Abram as a shield, and to give him the son needed to guarantee the perpetuity of the Covenant of Grace.

So what does this mean for me?  I can take confidence in the patterns, promises, and faithfulness of God to his people.  He will do what he has said he will do, and I need only to look to the cross to be reminded of this.  I can rejoice in this and, despite my fears, failures, and unfaithfulness, strive each day to live obediently in light of the Lord and his faithfulness.  Amen.


Selected Writings

11 Mar

The ESV Bible and Diet Coke

Over the next few weeks, I’d like to share some selected passages from my devotional journal.  This past year, I have been making a more concerted effort at writing down my observations, thoughts, and prayers in a journal (something that has always been a struggle for me).  Today’s selection comes from Genesis 7:1:

Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.”

God tells Noah that he is righteous before him (God) in this wicked, violent generation (Gen. 6:11).  Noah’s righteousness points ahead to that of Abraham.  His righteousness was based upon faithful obedience to the command of God.  The Lord tells Noah that he is going to destroy all flesh, and that Noah is to build an ark to preserve the remnant (another fascinating type throughout the Scriptures).  In faith, Noah does this, to which God declares him righteous.

Hebrews 11:7 states that Noah, by faith, and in reverent fear, constructed the ark.  Through this, he and his household were delivered, the world was condemned, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.  So, it was not the building of the ark itself that brought righteousness, but the manner in which it was built: faith.

And just as Noah became an heir to the righteousness that comes by faith, so, too, does Shem, his son.  And one of Shem’s sons, Terah, had a son named Abram (Abraham), who also received this righteousness as he trusted the gospel preached to him beforehand by God (Gal. 3:6, 8-9), and acted out of this faith in all that God commanded him.  And through Abraham’s offspring, Jesus Christ, all peoples would be, by faith, found righteous as well.

Today, I must trust in these hopeful words, and live by faith in the God who sent his Son to bless the world by his life, death, and resurrection.  Not only this, but I need to remember these truths when faced with temptation to sin, as well as opportunities to serve others:

1. I am united to Christ, the holy, righteous one of God
2. Because I am united to Christ, I can resist temptation, and strive to put sin to death (just as my old self was put to death, and then raised to new life in Christ)
3. It is Christ in me who works for the good of others, and he empowers me by his Spirit to minister to their needs
4. Daily I must turn to Christ, rejoicing in the blessings he’s secured for me, faithfully obeying the commands he’s given me, and looking ahead to the promises yet to be fulfilled



Photo Credit: Scott Fillmer (

Unity, Diversity, and Belhar

6 Feb

I just wanted to share some of my notes on a verse in Jesus’ high priestly prayer that has stood out to me:

…that they may all be one even as we are one.

To be one as the Trinity is one is to be one in essence but many in being.  I find that to be a nice way of understanding the nature of those who make up the body of Christ, the Church.

What this allows for is a great deal of diversity in the midst of the uniting essence of being God’s covenant people in Christ.  This diversity is meant to represent God (glorify Him), the Gospel, and show the world the love of God for His people and the love shared by His people (witness).

Therefore, this diversity should not divide people in ways that detract from, or fail to magnify, the unique and powerful love of God, a love shared by believers in Christ.  Diversity, when properly understood and embraced, serves to build up the body and better equip the saints for the good works God has prepared for them.  Each person brings his or her gifts, talents, and abilities to serve the common good of the body, each one serving his or her role, just as the persons of the Trinity serve one another in their specific roles to the glory of the Godhead.

In the midst of all this, I cannot help but think of the Belhar Confession, the way in which it promotes diversity, as well as unity.  Particularly, I enjoy reading this lengthy quote from Article 2, which states this about the unity of the Church:

“We believe that Christ’s work of reconciliation is made manifest in the Church as the community of believers who have been reconciled with God and with one another…that this unity of the people of God must be manifested and be active in a variety of ways: in that we love one another; that we experience, practice, and pursue community with one another; that we are obligated to give ourselves willingly and joyfully to be of benefit and blessing to one another; that we share one faith, have one calling, are of one soul and one mind; have one God and Father, are filled with one Spirit, are baptised with one baptism, eat of one bread and drink of one cup, confess one Name, are obedient to one Lord, work for one cause, and share one hope; together come to know the height and the breadth and the depth of the love of Christ; together are built up to the stature of Christ, to the new humanity; together know and bear one another’s burdens, thereby fulfilling the law of Christ that we need one another and upbuild one another, admonishing and comforting one another; that we suffer with one another for the sake of righteousness; pray together; together serve God in the world; and together fight against all which may threaten or hinder this unity…that the variety of spiritual gifts, opportunities, backgrounds, convictions, as well as the various languages and cultures, are by virtue of the reconciliation in Christ, opportunities for mutual service and enrichment within the one visible people of God…”

Unity and Diversity.  May we, the body of Christ, both globally and locally, be filled with both.

Quotable: Hymn

29 Jan

One of my favorite hymns, proclaiming the power of God’s Word; spoken, written, and in the flesh, Jesus Christ.

Thy Strong Word

Thy strong word did cleave the darkness;
At thy speaking it was done.
For created light we thank thee
While thine ordered seasons run.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to thee who light dost send!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia without end!

Lo, on those who dwelt in darkness,
Dark as night and deep as death,
Broke the light of thy salvation,
Breathed thine own life-giving breath.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to thee who light dost send!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia without end!

Thy strong Word bespeaks us righteous;
Bright with thine own holiness,
Glorious now, we press toward glory,
And our lives our hope confess.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to thee who light dost send!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia without end!

From the cross thy wisdom shining
Breaketh forth in conqu’ring might;
From the cross forever beameth
All thy bright redeeming light.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to thee who light dost send!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia without end!

Give us lips to sing thy glory,
Tongues thy mercy to proclaim,
Throats to shout the hope that fills us,
Mouths to speak thy holy name.
Alleluia! Alleluia! May the light which thou dost send
Fill our songs with alleluias, Alleluias without end!

God the Father, light-creator,
To thee laud and honor be.
To thee, Light from Light begotten,
Praise be sung eternally.
Holy Spirit, light-revealer, Glory, glory be to thee.
Mortals, angels, now and ever Praise the holy Trinity!



Text: Martin H. Franzmann, 1907-1976; © 1969 Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission of CPH. Tune: Thomas J. Williams, 1869-1944

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