Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

The Duty of Believing Parents

In order for Adam and Eve to properly teach their sons about sin, they had to point to themselves.  Where else were they going to look?  It was Adam and Eve that fell and brought sin into the world, and this they couldn’t hide from their boys.  There was no way they could point the finger at anyone else, because there was no one else there to point the finger at.

This is a sobering, yet essential example for believing parents.  It is our duty to make sure we model repentance to our children.  It is a major part of loving them rightly, bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and teaching them about the grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When we as parents fail to do this, we are always looking to point the finger at someone else.  The more our children see this, the more it becomes the standard in their own lives.  If any parent had a desire to hide the truth of sin from their children, it was the first Adam, the perfect, created man who walked in fellowship with God in the garden.  I’m sure it wasn’t an easy thing to teach his children about sin, but this he did, and this we must.  For if our children understand nothing about guilt, they will never understand grace and repentance.  They will avoid repentance because they will avoid their guilt.  And God never forgives those who come to him with excuses.

Jesus with Popcorn and a Coke

I recently had the opportunity to take my wife to the movies.  No kiddos, just my wife!  Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the movies with my kids, but sometimes it’s nice to watch a grown up movie in the theatre.  We saw Saving Mr. Banks, and it was a great movie.  Tom Hanks is a genius on the big screen!

This post, however, isn’t about the accolades of Tom Hanks, as great of an actor as he may be.  It is about a preview that came on before the movie started.  Another movie portraying the life of Jesus.  The movie “Son of God” comes out in February 2014.  You can read about it here:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/jesus-christ-movie-son-god-648539

This morning as I read Matthew 5:43-48, I thought of that movie preview.  Hollywood actually gets it right a lot more than you may think.  Often times, without even knowing it, they are proclaiming the biblical messages of depravity, redemption, love etc.  Sometimes you have to look hard to see it, but it is there.  Ironically, it is when Hollywood tries to do a biblical movie, that they miss the mark.  Jesus is frequently portrayed in a feminine light, or simply mischaracterized as just a great example and not the Saviour of sinners.  You probably know what C.S. Lewis had to say about that in his great ‘Lord, liar, lunatic’ polemic.

But even when Jesus spoke words that people think they love to hear (such as The Sermon on the Mount), the heart of the message is often difficult.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you , love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others?  Do not even the tax collectors do so?  Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Hollywood can present a “beautiful” Jesus to try and water down messages like this, but at the end of the day it is true believers who understand that Jesus spoke difficult words that the glamour and glitz of the big screen will never get right.  Hollywood is better off sticking to movies where they proclaim gospel messages without even really realizing it, because when they try to do the real thing they usually just make a mess of it.  So if you’re looking for Jesus with popcorn and a coke, I hope at least you enjoy your snack.

Names, Names, Names!

My heart sunk just a little bit a few moments ago when I came to I Chronicles 6 in my Bible reading.  I forgot that it was 81 verses long, and those names….oh, those names!  So I thought to myself, “When the reading gets tough, the tough get reading!”  No, I must confess that I didn’t think that at all!  What I did do, however, was grab my old, green hardback Matthew Henry Commentary Vol II Joshua-Esther.  It was passed down to me from my grandfather, who is in glory right now with Jesus and Mr. Henry.    I love that commentary set.  Not just because my grandfather passed it down to me, but because it has an old-book smell to it.  You know the kind I’m talking about, right?  Something about that old, musty smell makes the reading just a little bit better.

51sSQ5a7KQL._SL500_AA300_

Now, why do I bring up I Chronicles 6 and Matthew Henry?  Well, because, believe it or not, Henry had a lot of good commentary on those 81 tough verses.

For example, Henry points out about verse 10:

And Johanan begat Azariah (he it is that executed the priest’s office in the temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem:)

It is supposed that this was that Azariah who bravely opposed the presumption of King Uzziah when he invaded the priest’s office (2 Chron. xxvi. 17, 18), though he ventured his neck by so doing.  This was done like a priest, like one that was truly zealous for his God.  He that thus boldly maintained and defended the priest’s office, and made good its barriers against such a daring insult, might well be said to execute it; and this honor is put upon him for it;

Azariah was a bold priest, who ventured his life by standing against wickedness.  He was zealous for his God.  That’s awesome!  Thank you, Matthew Henry for reminding me that the tough reading in I Chronicles 6 is still the inerrant, inspired, living Word of God!

Who knows, maybe Matthew Henry, my grandfather, and Azariah the priest are all kneeling together before the Lord Jesus Christ in glory right now.  After all, Azariah was simply a type of the better priest, the Great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, who came and not only ventured his neck by standing against wickedness, but he gave his neck to the chopping block at Calvary!  Because of my wickedness!  He was the boldest of all priests, the most zealous to do the will of his Father!  And tonight, I got another fresh glimpse of my Savior, right in the midst of 81 verses of names, names, names, and more names!

Admonished in Miseries

In his commentary on Genesis 3:19, John Calvin says:

So it is best that when we are admonished of the miseries of the present life, we should weep over our sins and seek relief from the grace of Christ, which not only can assuage the bitterness of grief but mingle sweetness with it.

john-calvin

In my Christian life, I have experienced this to be true over and over again.  Some of my sweetest moments of fellowship with my Savior were when the miseries of this present life were most expounded to me.  As I feel humbled over my sin and misery, I am so thankful for a Savior who is there with me, admonishing me in my misery, and restoring me unto himself.

If you are a believer, I would love to hear how Jesus Christ has shown himself mighty on your behalf.

If you are an unbeliever, I would love to hear the ways in which you deal with your misery and suffering.  This is not a setup or trap.  If you are a non-believer, I would very much enjoy having a civil discussion on how you deal with the problem of suffering.

 

New Year Recommendations

In the Garden of Gethsemane, as the soul of Jesus was very sorrowful, he asked three of his closest friends to watch and pray with him.  As the Son of God prayed, his three disciples drifted off to sleep.  When Jesus awoke them, he spoke these words,

“…the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

I do not know about you, but my flesh tends to be so weak that it looks for justification in other’s failures.  “Well, if Peter, James, and John could not even stay awake and pray,” my flesh says, “then somehow I feel a little better about myself.”  It is much too easy to go that route.  When I read the words that Jesus spoke to his disciples, why are the disciples even at the forefront of my thoughts?  What about me?

I know all too well that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.  Too often I feel no different than the disciples, in that I fall asleep on Jesus time and time again.  Oh, I could tell you about the blessed times of prayer that I had in 2012, but I don’t really want to tell you how they were far outnumbered by the absent times of prayer.  I could tell you about how I just finished reading through the Bible in 2012, but do I really want you to know that too many days it was more of a chore than a delight?  It was more of a get this done, so I can check my box and move on with my day.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak…

This post isn’t about cheerleading you on to a vigorous prayer life and a delight in the word of God for 2013.  It isn’t about convincing you to make these resolutions concerning these areas in your life, when more than likely we will just drop the ball.  Remember, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.  So to help with our weakness, may I offer some recommended books, plans, and tools for the upcoming new year, that may just be of some assistance?  Just promise me that you will remember that the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak, and you won’t beat yourself up over those days when there is no delight in prayer or Bible reading in 2013.  There will be plenty of them.  Instead, look to Jesus who already took the beating in your place.

 

 

51g1-kUM0tL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_

This is a wonderful Bible for your children, and one that I have found great delight in using for our daily devotions at home.  It was put together by a lady named Sally Lloyd-Jones, and I believe she attends Tim Keller’s church in Manhattan.  This is just one of the reasons why you will find a gospel-centered message running throughout all the Bible stories that your children have grown to love over the years.  This children’s Bible is priceless!

 

 

 

519BBAJNJGL._SL500_AA300_

 

This is another priceless gem!  The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions.  There were many times in 2012 when I used this as my model for prayer.  If that doesn’t make sense to you, trust me when I say get the book, and then I think you’ll understand.

 

 

 

 

51w5bP0dj5L._SL500_AA300_

 

Yet another priceless gem!  Each day of the year has a devotion from one of the greatest theologians to ever live, John Calvin.  It is spiritual food for the soul, and if you find yourself overwhelmed by the pressures and duties of a long day, this devotion can be read in just a few minutes.  Dr. Joel Beeke closes out each day with a summary of what Calvin says, and a prayer to help us throughout the day.

 

Finally, I would like to leave you with two links that are full of Bible reading plans for the upcoming year.

The first one is YouVersion.  You can find their Bible plans here:

https://www.youversion.com/reading-plans

They also have apps that can be downloaded on your phone or tablet.  I just finished reading through the Bible chronologically on YouVersion.  I found the app to be perfect, as it kept up with my plan for me, and there were times I would even listen to my daily readings if I was in my car.

The second link where you can find Bible reading plans for 2013 is The Gospel Coalition found here:

http://thegospelcoalition.org/mobile/article/justintaylor/reading-the-bible-in-2013