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Things Unseen

Things Unseen is a podcast by Sinclair Ferguson. It is available on

1 Corinthians 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Beginning March 27, 2023, the newest notes will be at the top. Dates are in reverse chronological order. It was about companionship from the begining–in God’s image (which is 3 in 1).

June 2, 2023 – The Glory of Pentecost. In the OT (and during Joel’s time) prophecy, dreams, and visions only came from Prophets, Priests, and Kings (a few). But the prophecy, and what Peter is saying , is that the Holy Spirit is going to come on many, and many. will be capable of prophecy, streams, and visions. The Spirit was poured out on all flesh. Internationalizing.

June 1, 2023 – The Promise of the Holy Spirit. (promised in the upper room.) The very same Spirit who had superintended the life of Jesus—His conception, His growth in the womb, His birth, His nurturing, His baptism, His temptations, His whole public ministry, His atoning work, His triumph over sin and death—that’s the very same Spirit He’s now asking the Father may be sent to us.

May 31, 2023 – Welcome to the Last Days. We are living in a new age. We are living in the power of the risen Christ.

May 30, 2023 – Seeing through the Lens of Scripture. On Pentecost, Peter is thinking, biblically and using biblical logic, which is a little different for him usually he’s just reacting from his own thinking. he did not say (and we should not say), “Well, the way I like to think about what’s happening is this.” Peter is teaching us that we need to get back to the Bible. 

May 29, 2023 – What Was Pentecost AllAbout? We shouldn’t read a Bible story as we would read a Where’s Waldo book. Where Waldo that we’re looking for in the narrative is ourselves. But it should be “find Jesus.” Who is He? What is He like? What is He doing? Peter’s whole sermon turns out to be what people today would call an evangelistic sermon about Jesus Christ. It’s Jesus he preaches, not the Spirit.

Week 22 – Pentecost

May 26, 2023 – Praise Fa ther, Son, and Holy Ghost. Gal 4:4 is a Christmas text and about the father and about the Spirit. Romans 8, similarly has all 3.


Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

May 25, 2023 – What Jesus Taught about the Trinity. In John 3-17, in the upper room we see/find in these chapters is a magnificent tapestry of gospel grace, woven from three threads: the work of the Father, the work of the Son, and the work of the Holy Spirit. We need to develop the tendency: one of the most basic spiritual principles of all: the saints of God seek to see and understand things through the eyeglasses of God’s Word.

May 24, 2023 – Baptized into the Triune Name. – Matt 28:19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (and common to all religions) Not complex, Trinity is basic and foundational; part of baptism. Baptism is identification. Identify. It calls us into a growing relationship with the three components of the Trinity. We are part of the family. We are a child of the Trinity. [1] The Father loves us and cares for us, we know that [2] the Son loves us and has died for us, we know that [3] the Spirit loves us and is willing to lead us.

May 23, 2023 – The Triune God of Love. Q: Why is the Trinity important? A: Because God is love. Each of the three parts of the Trinity love the other parts.  God does not need anything else, or the created order, to be love. (He does choose, out of his love,  to create the created order and man.)

May 22, 2023 – Knowing the Trinity. We can understand some things about Trinity. However, we won’t ever be able to fully understand the Trinity. This should not keep us or delay us from believing in the Trinitarian God. Opening words of the book of Hebrews are powerful when it describes the coming of Jesus to earth as a game changer.

Week 21 – Trinity.

May 19, 2023 – He Must Reign. I’m doing king.  Westminster shorter catechism. Q26: How doth Christ execute the office of a king [now]? A26: Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies. Christians come to Christ as Savior and Lord. It is not possible to come to Christ just as Savior. That would be half a Christ. Jesus, as our Lord is a progressive reality. The growth mindset. We grow as Christians and have a growing relationship with Christ. As Paul says, keep our minds on things above.  That is, the ascended Christ.

May 18, 2023 – Interceding from Heaven. Ongoing priest. Sacrifice, yes, done. Ongoing intercession for us. As the priest in Old Testament times had onyx stones when I need shoulder engraving with the names of the 12 sons of Israel, and the priest interceding for the Israelites, the ascended Jesus, and receipts for all believers.

May 17, 2023 – The Heavenly Ministry of Christ. After the ascension, in heaven,  Jesus is continuing His ministry as Prophet and Priest and King. Ongoing Prophet: Paul says to the Ephesians (2:7), “Christ came* and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.” *It was actually Paul preaching the words of Jesus. We say, “The Lord was speaking to us today.”

May 16, 2023 – Dominion Regained. Ascension dramatic and marks a new era. Jesus enthroned with authority. Joy to/for us and worship to God (as in Luke 24).

May 15, 2023 – He Ascended into Heaven. Many references to the ascension throughout the NT. Important. Ascension states that His earthly tasks were completed and finished. He is reigning in heaven.

Week 20 – The Ascension

🔑May 12, 2023 – Looking to Our Loving Father. John Owen excellent. All of this powerful. Coram Deo. Owen says: “Christians are but little exercised . . . in holding immediate communion with the Father in love. Unacquaintedness with our mercies, our privileges, is our sin as well as our trouble. We hearken not to the voice of the Spirit which is given unto us, ‘that we may know the things that are freely bestowed on us by God.’ This makes us go heavily, when we might rejoice; and to be weak, where we might be strong in t he Lord.” Satin sought to deceive Eve into doubting it, and then to entrap Adam to choose a lesser love.

Adam and Eve exchanged the truth about God for the lie. And even when they were restored, that lie was now in the bloodstream of the human race.

John Owen’s Council: Eye the Father as love.”


May 11, 2023 – The Deceiver’s Great Lie. This is what Paul refers to in Romans 1:25. He says that men “exchanged the truth about God for a lie”—the result was that they were deceived—and “they worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.” The lie, the big lie, the fundamental lie.

Satan so hates God that he wants you to hate God too. Satan, in his exchange with Eve is distorting and twisting her view of God. To do that, he wants to twist your view of God from that of a loving, generous, heavenly Father into someone you can’t fully trust because you’re not fully sure He really wants the very best for you. So you suspect He basically wants to restrict your joy and pleasure, and you cease to love Him and begin to hate Him.

May 10, 2023 – The Enemy of Our Souls. Why this destructive hatred for Adam and Eve  and, therefore, for the whole human race? Well, it wasn’t just about them or about us, was it? No, ultimately, Satan’s hatred was hatred directed against God. 1. God created Satan. 2. Satan rebelled against God. 3. Satan never wants to be alone. 4. Devil means throw against. He is “accuser of the brethren.”

Why did Satan attack Adam and Eve? He was ultimately attacking God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit through the very best gift they had given to themselves, namely ourselves. At the end of creation, the divine Trinity held counsel and said: “Now, let us make the best of all for ourselves. Let us make man as our image and likeness to know us, love us, trust us, have fellowship with us, and let us make man as male and female.” Satan hated: God’s joy in His children, Adam and Eve, and the joy He would have in their children too.

May 9, 2023 – The Strategies of Satan. Statement Paul makes in 2 Corinthians 2:11. He says to the Corinthians, he doesn’t want them to be “outwitted by Satan; for,” he says, “we are not ignorant of his designs.” Satan has regular ways of pulling the saints down into sin. He uses the same strategies again and again, but Paul adds, “Our strength lies in this fact: we are not ignorant of his strategies or designs.”

Remember James 1:14–15? He doesn’t specifically mention the devil there, but he does seem to outline his strategy, and it has echoes of Genesis 3: “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” There’s a kind of echo there of Genesis 3 and 4. And don’t you think it’s significant that James’ next words are, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers”?

🔑May 8, 2023 – The Tragedy of the Fall. First and foremost we are made in the image of God. Gender is secondary. We’ve come into a time when the loss of the sense of God and therefore the loss of the sense that we are made as the image of God has led to all kinds of alienations and antagonisms, not just generally among people, but between male and female as well. We seek togetherness and harmony.  Why did Satan choose to deceive the woman? Satan used God’s very best gift to Adam to steal Adam away from the Giver of that best gift. (Satan deceived the woman [Gen 3:13].  Both Adam and Eve sinned.)

Week 19 – The Tragedy of the Fall

May 5, 2023 – Lead Us Not into Temptation. Jesus Himself knew how fierce the battle could be. I think that’s probably why He taught His disciples to pray like this, that the Father would deliver us from both evil in the sense of falling into sin, and from the evil one who seeks to devour us.

May 4, 2023 – Forgive Us Our Debts. The Lord’s prayer teaches us how to pray, and how to live. The relief of God’s forgiveness is enormous. The joy is wonderful, the new life is freedom. And then, instinctively, we want to forgive others if somehow they have become debtors to us.

May 3, 2023 – Our Daily Bread. Sometimes knowing is not enough. We need to learn how to apply. We are asking for here is for the provision we need for each day so that we can have the daily strength to honor God’s name, to serve His kingdom, and to do His will. Proverbs 17:1: “Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting and strife.” Sweet simplicity.

May 2, 2023 – On Earth as It Is in Heaven. Lord’s Prayer reorders our thinking and direction and purpose. We’re praying here for help to know and to do God’s will.

May 1, 2023 – Our Father in Heaven. The last 8 questions of the Westminster Shorter Catechism (#100-108) are on the Lord’s prayer. The preface, the six petitions, and conclusion.

Our Father, which art in heaven, [preface]
hallowed be thy name; [1]
thy kingdom come; [2]
thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. [3]
Give us this day our daily bread. [4]
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. [5]
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from the evil one. [6]
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen. [conclusion] And, in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen.

Week 18 – Lord’s Prayer

Apr. 28, 2023 – Worthy Is the Lamb. Jesus, mission statement, Matthew 16:18 I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not o verpower it. Rev 5:5.

Apr. 27, 2023 – The Blessing of Abraham. “My father,” said Isaac, “we have the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham says, “God will provide for himself the lamb” (see Gen. 22). Isaiah– Yet he opened not his mouth; Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. (Isa. 53:7) “he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29). Abraham‘s promise A is for the whole world, so is B John 3:16, so is C the Great Commission.

Apr. 26, 2023 – He Will Give Us Rest. These words reflect Lamech’s (Noah’s father) hope that Noah would be the one who would reverse the curse of Genesis 3:15 and bring rest. Temporary relief, but we are a long way from the actual Messiah. 

Apr. 25, 2023 – God’s Unfailing Promise. Adam and Eve believed that God would bring an end to the enmity. They named their children Cane, which means gotten, and Seth, which means he appointed. They didn’t realize the wait for a deliver would be quite a long wait. 

Apr. 24, 2023 – The Central Promise of Scripture. Gen 3:15 ongoing story includes struggle between good and evil. Ultimately God will win. There will be ongoing enmity (I’ll will) throughout the Bible and our lives.

Week 17 The Bible is ‘Smith-sewn’ (reliable and trustworthy)

Apr. 21, 2023 – Created for Glory. Adam was the first prophet, priest, and king. Rom 3:23 all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But God sent Jesus.

Apr. 20, 2023 – Jesus’ Teaching on Marriage and Gender. Many want to create a distortion of the created order. Also a dis-ordering. Distortion: the act of twisting or altering something out of its true, natural, or original state. No-fault divorce was a key step in the slippery slope distortion we’re seeing.

God’s present day judgments are not usually manifested in cataclysmic destruction, but in giving people over to their own desires to doing what they want to do. Three times in Romans 1—verses 24, 26, and 28—Paul tells us this: God simply gave them over to their own desires and to the consequences of them. And as C.S. Lewis once put it, there is a sense in which the most terrible words in the universe are when God Himself says, “Thy will be done.”

I think it’s very telling how Paul ends his exposition of Romans 1:18–32. He tells us that those who break God’s law in this way, not only do it themselves, but they give approval to those who do the same. In a sense, they’ve got to. Rebellion against God must have company. It must make its own way normal, and if possible, normative.

But as has often enough been said, we can never finally break God’s law—it’s indestructible. We can only break ourselves against it. And we need to pray with great compassion that our world will soon realize that before more people destroy themselves.

Apr. 19, 2023 – The Inconsistent Atheist. Agnostics and atheists can’t really live consistently on the basis of their own agnostic or atheistic presuppositions. They’ve got to beg, borrow, or steal from a biblical world and life view—of course, without admitting it and often without realizing it. Now that’s only an illustration of inconsistency, but think of this more broadly. We’re created as God’s image and likeness. We can’t escape the fact that life was created to have meaning, no matter how much we try to deny it. Try to think consistently from a presupposition of atheism and its partner, biological determinism, and the result will be an intolerable darkness and despair.

Apr. 18, 2023 – Male and Female He Created Them. The only “not good” that God noticed in the original creation was that Adam, the man, was all on his own.

Apr. 17, 2023 – Who Am I? Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s a poem titled “Who Am I?” This is now a common title of poems written by teenagers. They is a quest for identity and often an expression of identity confusion. There are those (influencers, in fact) who want to get rid of God and religion (Nietzsche, at the head of the list). When a society gets rid of God’s identity, when a society gets rid of God Himself, something follows logically, even if gradually: we inevitably get rid of our own identity too. Because we are created in the image of God. imago Dei, the image of God, is so very important. The knowledge of who I am—yes, with all my faults and inadequacies—gives me the stability and the dignity that I need. That’s exactly what our world needs today.

Week 16: What is man?

Apr. 14, 2023 – James Reunited with His Brother and Lord. Paul records that Jesus appeared to James. All that Jesus appeared to had a less than perfect past. Mary Magdalene, Peter, James, his half brother, Saul.

Apr. 13, 2023 – Peter’s Failure Was Not Final. Easter morning (Mark’s gospel), the young man in the white robe explained Jesus had risen and “go, tell His disciples and Peter.” God wanted to make sure not to lose Peter. Failure need not be final!

Apr. 12, 2023 – The Disciples’ Hearts Burned within Them. Road to Emmaus.

Apr. 11, 2023 – John Saw and Believed. John 29:1-10. There’s a multi-step process here for John’s (and the other disciples’) thinking/processing. When he first saw it was what? When he saw the face cloth neatly folded up, he knew the body had not been stolen, and he believed in the resurrection. Considerable additional processing would have to occur in John’s mind to fully grasp this momentous event in human history.

Apr. 10, 2023 – Mary (Magdalene ) Knew Her Master’s Voice. The apostle John lifts of Mary Magdalene as the first to witness the resurrection (even though she had little or no reputation). Therefore, this isn’t made up – but rather something to ponder and reflect upon. When Jesus said, “Mary.” She recognized. We still hear that voice today. When the Word of God is preached in the power of the Spirit, the human accent in which we hear it begins to fade into the background. We begin to hear the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, speaking to us. I wonder if that is your experience. I wonder if you’ve recognized Him speaking to you and calling you by name, and I wonder how you’re responding. I wonder if you too have called Jesus “Master.” “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”)

Week 15 – Those who saw Jesus after the resurrection

Apr. 7, 2023 – The Man Who Was Crucified beside Him. It was Good Friday for him. Turning to Christ makes it good for us as well.

Apr. 6, 2023 – Simon, Who Carried His Cross. 💫💫 💫💫💫 excellent. Simmons family became Christians. Watch the Lamb song/video.

Apr. 5, 2023 – Pilate, Who Condemned Him. There’s no escape from it. It’s clear who Jesus really is, and the question is, What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?= Pilate’s question.

Apr. 4, 2023 – Peter, Who Denied Him. Our security doesn’t lie in ourselves. It doesn’t evenlie in what God has done within us, wonderful although that is. It lies in Jesus and His intercession for us. Wonderful hymn: Before the throne of God above

When Satan tempts me to despair, And tells me of the wrong within,

Upward I look, and see Him there Who made an end of all my sin.

Because the sinless Savior died, My guilty soul is counted free;

And God, the Just, is satisfied To look at Him and pardon me.

Apr. 3, 2023 – Judas, Who Betrayed Him. Fraction of each gospel dedicated to Holy Week: Matthew 1/4; Mark 3/8; Luke 1/4; John 1/2. 1 strand with 5 threads.  Judas as an Apostle ; therein lies both the mystery and the tragedy. There was regret, but there was no turning back, no real repentance.

Week 14 –Holy Week – People of Holy Week

Mar. 31, 2023 – Consecrated to God. It’s not only separation from something, it’s also consecration to something that gives God’s holiness its deep intensity. Jesus prays for his disciples: John 17:17 make them holy, consecrate them, sanctify them. (devotion, dedication)

Mar. 30, 2023 – Dwelling in Eternal Light. Even the seraphim  in Isaiah chapter 6 cannot bear the burning bliss of gods holiness.

Mar. 29, 2023 – The Thrice-Holy One.When a Roman general was given a triumph after a great victory and then rode into Rome with his troops and the booty from the victory and the prisoners following behind, they always put a slave in the chariot beside him who would say repeatedly the two words homo es—you’re only a man. You maybe remember that Paul actually says that to someone who was arguing back with God because he couldn’t understand what God was doing: “Who do you think you are, O man?” Holiness is separation from sin.

Mar. 28, 2023 – The Simplicity of God.  We grasp the privilege of knowing God, then, not by making Him small, but when we realize the sheer greatness of the One we’ve come to know. God has made us as His image and likeness, giving us, as it were, built-in receptors that enable us to know Him.  However, God is infinitely more great, dense, and omniscient than us. We never will fully understand Him, and we shouldn’t attempt to reduce Him down to our size.

Mar. 27, 2023 – Knowing God. The breathtaking privilege and wonder of knowing God. So, what’s lesson number one when we think about God? Augustine taught it and Calvin echoed it; if these masters of the Christian faith were similarly asked the secret of living the Christian life, they would say, “Humility, humility, humility.”

Herman Bavinck, the great Dutch theologian, put it well, I think, when he wrote: “It is absolutely necessary that the person who cultivates any branch of knowledge first of all and most of all study to be modest and humble. This applies especially to the theologian. He should not think of himself more highly than he ought to think.”

And if you’re familiar with the title of what I think is one of Dr. R.C. Sproul’s best books, you’ll be thinking, “Yes, that applies to me too,” because everyone’s a theologian.

Week 13 – The ultimate unseen – God ⬆️ ⬆️

There’s a theme each week.

Week 1 – Happy New Year

Began Jan. 2, 2023. – Covenant Renewal Service of the UMC. Commit ourselves to the Lord and pray for His help this new year. Wikipedia. Prayer found here.

Jan. 3, 2023 – Charles Wesley’s hymn, And are we yet alive. Grow in Love for the Church.

Jan. 4, 2023 – A Resolution for the Christian Life. Paul’s personal resolution. Phil 3:10-14. 1 thing. I’m [busy] doing 1 thing in many different ways.  🔹Getting to know the Lord Jesus Christ better; 🔹share His life, 🔹to become like Him. Translations vary. Good News Translation Phil 3:10
All I want is to know Christ and to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death.

Jan. 5, 2023 – How to Be Happy. Hymn: A debtor to mercy alone.

Things future, nor things that are now,
Not all things below nor above
Can make Him His purpose forego,
Or sever my soul from His love.

Jan. 6, 2023 – A Life-Changing Experience. Isaiah 6. 🔸 awareness of his own sinfulness. Of unclean lips, in fact; and Isaiah was an elegant preacher. Previous he stated six woes. His own sinfulness was the seventh woe. 🔸 God’s pardoning grace. 🔸 unreserved willingness to serve the Lord. *here am I, send me.”

Week 2 Revelation

Jan. 9, 2023 – Creation Reveals the Creator. Profound closing paragraph:

It’s in this way that the invisible God makes His invisible attributes known to us in visible things. And that’s revelation. But we’re blind to it because of our sin, and our eyes are opened to it by the grace of Jesus Christ. That’s why the hymn writer Anna Letitia Waring once wrote, “Something lives in every hue that Christless eyes have never seen.” As Christians, we certainly don’t know everything, but the great thing is we know something about everything. We know that it’s been made by God. We know that we are living in His world. And we know that we are secure with Him.

Jan. 10, 2023 – No Real Atheists. Actually, to the atheist, nothing makes sense, there is no foundation for rationality, And sooner or later they are driven to despair. 

4⭐️ Jan. 11, 2023 – Our Identity: The Image of God. Dutch theologian, Abraham Kuyper. Here’s a beautiful statement he makes in his encyclopedia of theology when he says, “If the cosmos is the theater of revelation, in this theater, man is both actor and spectator.” God made man in particular as His image in order to reflect Him and to imitate Him. St. Augustine said it best when He wrote, “Because you have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in Thee.” (Like a homing pigeon, returning.) Unless we identify ourselves with God, we are lost.

Jan. 12, 2023 – Unbelief: A Moral Issue. Story: the Russian poet and playwright Yevgeny Yevtushenko met Sir Kingsley Amis. And he said to him, “Sir Kingsley, is it true what I hear about you, that you are an atheist?” – “Well, yes,” said Kingsley Amis, “It’s true I’m an atheist, but it’s more than that. You see, I hate Him.” This prompted laughter from those who were hearing the telling of the story. However, it is desperately sad. Paul said we are haters of God. It isn’t intellectual honesty, but unrighteousness. Atheists are inconsistent. God’s revelation is, in fact, inescapable. Atheists can dislike it, attempt to deny it, ignore it, hate it, and certainly not follow it, but can not actually escape the existence of God.

Jan. 13, 2023 – Eyes Opened to Christ. When you come to Christ as Savior, you discover that He is also the creator, and something lives in every hue that Christless eyes have never seen. I hope that’s true for you too. (Anna Letitia Waring)

Week 3 – Letters by John Newton.

Jan. 16, 2023 – The Faults We Fail to Notice. John Newton wrote many letters (that are still available to read). Like a blotch on a tie or noticeable and distracting scratch on a car, do you have a flaw in your character which distracts from your otherwise worthy attributes?

Jan. 17, 2023 – The Austere Christian. Mr. Austerus says he prizes the precepts of God’s Word, but there’s one thing he seems to have forgotten. He’s forgotten to be courteous and loving. And instead of having the gentleness of the Lord Jesus, there’s something about him that seems to demand attention…And the problem with Mr. Austerusis that he doesn’t realize that his virtue has got twisted out of shape. It’s become disconnected from the other graces that are so vital to a Christlike life.

Jan. 18, 2023 – Can You Keep a Secret? It’s a letter about people whose problem is really that they sing about amazing grace, but they haven’t themselves become amazingly gracious. Mr. Humanist had lost control of his tongue and he couldn’t keep a secret. Mr. Humanist had actually lost control of his heart because spiritually, the tongue is directly connected to the heart. Faithfulness isn’t really faithfulness unless it’s faithfulness in everything.

Jan. 19, 2023 – Loud Opinions and Little Prayer. Mr. Querulus, and perhaps Mrs. Querulus too. Always has an opinion, but doesn’t really do research-or prayer. Sinful conformity to this world.

Jan. 20, 2023 – Give Sin a Name. Principles. The first is this: whatever you come to realize is distorting the image of the Lord Jesus in you, be sure to give it a name. If we don’t have a clear sight of the target that we want to destroy in our lives, then we will miss it. Unless we confess to the Lord, “Lord, the blemish on my Christian character and walk is called (whatever it is),” it’s unlikely that we really will be delivered from it. So, we need to learn to name the distortion.

(2) Write down the name of the opposite grace of your blemish. And when you have done that, commit yourself before God to seeking it. We are not transformed merely by avoiding the works of the flesh. We need simultaneously to seek the fruit of the Spirit.

(3) We need to realize that the resources for lasting transformation are to be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray the simple prayer, “Lord God, make me more like my Lord Jesus Christ.”

PRAYER ANSWERED BY CROSSES | By John Newton hymn laments that prayers are not answered but trials continue. In the final verse and a half God replies,

“’Tis in this way,” the Lord reply’d, “I answer pray’r for grace and faith. [7] “These inward trials I employ, From self and pride to set thee free; “And break thy schemes of earthly joy, “That thou mayst seek thy all in me.”

Week 4 – things to Remember, from scripture

Jan. 23, 2023 – A Day to Remember. Sabbath. Stimulate memory banks. *Ex 20:8-11 remember the sabbath and keep it holy-reflect. Stop, shut down, unplug, reboot.

Jan. 24, 2023 – Lest You Forget the Lord. “take care lest you forget the LORD” (Deut. 6:12). But if we have forgotten Him, the first step of recovery is this: to say out loud, “But you, Lord. Ps 102:12.

Jan. 25, 2023 – Storing Up Scripture in Our Hearts. We desperately need to sow the seeds of the Word of God in our hearts.

Jan. 26, 2023 – Remembering the Covenant. “Take care, says the Lord, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God” (Deut. 4:23). And the word “Lord” there, as you may know, is Yahweh, the covenant name of God. [We are in the New Covenant– via Christ.] Isaiah 50:4: “Morning by morning, the Lord awakens. He awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.” TheLord helps us to remember it. Every time we come to the Lord’s Table. God, through his son Jesus, did the overwhelming majority of the work, through his sacrifice on the cross, in setting up the covenant with us, with each of us.

Jan. 27, 2023 – I Will Remember Their Sins No More. Don’t be haunted by past sins. When Satan tempts to sin, he tells us, “This isn’t such a big deal.” But then when we fail and fall, he capitalizes on our sin; he emphasizes our guilt. He comes to us, and he almost seems to screw into us our deep incapacity, and as John Calvin once said, seeks to drive us to despair. We can be paralyzed with shame.

Week 5 – the Bible. Living working Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Jan. 30, 2023 – Scripture: The Mouth of God. Therefore, the authority and reliability of the Bible. In Hebrews, he doesn’t say, “This is what God said.” He says, “This is what our heavenly Father is saying to us.” He is now, through the Scriptures, addressing us as sons. I think we need to recover that sense of the amazing privilege we have in possessing the Bible.

Jan. 31, 2023 – God’s Word at Work in Us. Bible gives us/teaches God’s promises, God’s will, and God’s son. It’s given to us chiefly in order to make us like Jesus. We need to be convinced of the authority of scripture. Paul was speaking about when he wrote to the Thessalonians and said, “I’m so glad that you received the word of God not as the word of men, although it had come through men, but as it really is: the word of God.” And then he added something I think is very significant. He said, “You received it as the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” And that’s the big difference. The Bible is not just an information source but working in us.  It works in us. It transforms us. It shapes us to be more like Jesus.

Feb. 1, 2023 – Teaching and Reproof. God says that the Word that goes out of His mouth will not return to Him empty. Isaiah 55:11. Teaching/transformation of our minds. And reproof-And that’s the kind of healing that causes pain before it brings cure. So, God’s Word can hurt in order to heal. That’s why when you’re reading the Bible, you should always hold it up as a mirror of your own soul and ask yourself, “Is there something amiss?

Feb. 2, 2023 – Correction: a healing word. Greek word is a positive word. Orthos. healing straighten. Doctors and orthodoxy- a beautiful thing. Some rebuke yes, but we want teaching and straightening (positive) , profitable.

Feb. 3, 2023 – training in righteousness. instruction word is a *child training* word. 2 Tim 3:16-17. A good story about street kids learning 100 Bible verses and a snooty bishop.

Week 6 – Worship

Feb. 6, 2023 – Let Us Worship God. John Calvin said that what really lies at the heart of things is worship. Q: What does God actually like? What does He want? What kind of directives has He given to us? Begin the service with “Let us worship God.”

Feb. 7, 2023 – The Quality of Our Worship. Sadly, at least in my experience, what people are often talking about when they assess worship is really only whether the singing was…, choir, anthem, the organist, the liturgy, etc. We should be assessing, and focusing on, a sense of the majesty of God and His glory, a sense of the exaltation of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Feb. 8, 2023 – Bowed Down in the Presence of God. Become conscious of the presence of the Lord with us.  John 14:23  23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey* my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”  *Obedience.

The efficacy—the power, the influence, the impact—of the sacraments is not tied to the moment of administration [and worship, in general]. So, the significance of our baptism lasts the whole of our Christian life. The pleasure of being at the Lord’s Table endures even when we get up and leave.

Worship is an experience of the treasure of the presence of God lingering with us, transforming our lives, shaping our character, and putting  dignity and reverence into our lives. And that’s what worship is about: seeing the King’s face.

Feb. 9, 2023 – Principles for Worship. Singing praise, praying, exposition of Scripture, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. When we ask, “What will tend to the glory of God?” we are likely to be able to worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Feb. 10, 2023 – Cleansed and Renewed. Isaiah’s sins were forgiven by The Seraphim come and putting the burning coals on his lips. our sins are forgiven by Christ coming to us and forgiving us.  we should end our worship service (leave our worship service), saying, “Lord, whatever you want me to do, wherever there is need that I can meet, Lord, whatever you hold for me in this week, here am I. Send me.”

Week 7/8 The Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22–23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Feb. 13, 2023 – The Fruit of the Spirit. Singular, they grow together. Horticultural not mechanical. Time to grow. They are balanced. Learning to do the natural thing spiritually and the spiritual thing naturally. Likeness to the Lord Jesus.

Feb. 14, 2023 – Do You Have Love? Love is a decision, a verb. From God. Q: What is love? A: Forgetting about ourselves and living for others, being like Jesus. Devotion and care.

Comment that Peter the Venerable, the abbot of the great monastery of Cluny in the medieval days, once made about his much more famous friend, Bernard of Clairvaux. “Bernard,” he said to him, “You do all the difficult and complicated things well. But you’re failing in the simple thing. You don’t love.” I must say when I read these words first, they were like an arrow in my heart—doing the difficult things, but not doing the simple thing well.

Feb. 15, 2023 – A Supernatural Joy. As per Romans 5:1-11, joy is not referring to a sunny disposition (or personality) but rather joy in our salvation (counted righteous, and more). As people might say at home in Scotland, “Christian joy’s no natural.” It’s not natural. It’s something that’s produced in us by the Holy Spirit. And it’s produced in us only when we’ve been brought to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Hope is not listed explicitly but it is a byproduct of joy.)

Feb. 16, 2023 – Peace Be with You. Augustine says in his Confessions that our hearts are restless. God has made us for Himself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God.

I was brought up as a teenager on the Rolling Stones’ words, an anthem of the sixties: “I can’t get no satisfaction, and I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried.” And where there is no satisfaction, there can be no peace. But here for the simplest and newest believer is the privilege and blessing of the gospel that the Lord Jesus says to you, “My peace is now yours.”

Feb. 17, 2023 – The Patience of God and of His Children. (Patience is not just quietly waiting for something.) Patience is not having a short fuse, but longer and longer fuse. To learn/gain patience we need to be put in situations which would cause us to be impatient.

Feb. 20, 2023 – Kindness: Simple Yet Significant. Related to kin, treating people as family. hesed, loyalty love. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4. agape (Strong’s g0026)

Ruth is about kindness. Ruth toward Naomi. Boaz noticing and being kind. God chose 2 very kind people to be the parents (g-g-…-parents of David, and His Son, Jesus.

Wonderful story of Augustine coming to faith under Ambrose. “When Augustine’s wanderings and searchings eventually led him to Milan, he encountered the figure of Ambrose, the bishop, one of the great preachers of his day. He was tremendously impressed by his eloquence. He says he hung on his diction with rapt attention, but he was pretty bored by what he said. What he loved was only the charm in his language, and as a result of that, he was relatively indifferent to what he said. But then as he got to know him, things changed. Listen to what he says towards the end of book five of his Confessions: “I began to like him, at first indeed not as a teacher of the truth, for I had absolutely no confidence in your church, but as a human being who was kind to me.” Isn’t that something? The milk of human kindness in Ambrose—not his great preaching—was what God first used to bring to faith in Christ a man whose Christian life, witness, and writings have shaped the history of the Western world for 1700 years. So, who knows what your kindness today to someone might mean?”

Feb. 21, 2023 – Reflecting God’s Goodness. Joseph of Arimathea was a good man. Mark’s gospel gives us a beautiful description of him: he was a respected member of the council looking for the kingdom of God (Mark 15:43).

Feb. 22, 2023 – Faithful, Trusted, and True. The words for faithfulness and faith in the Old Testament have the same root as the word amen. Faithfulness is just saying an ongoing amen to the commitments that we’ve made. Faithfulness is being consistent, being reliable, being able to be trusted, being dependable.

Feb. 23, 2023 – Soft-Handed Gentleness. Like the athlete with soft hands (infielder or golfer). Ps 18:35 “Your gentleness made me great.” Possibly remain silent and speak carefully.

Feb. 24, 2023 – The Heavenly Music of Self-Control. Self-Control by itself isn’t really fruit. It’s cold and metallic. There’s really only one fruit of the Spirit, and it’s this: being more like the Lord Jesus. Only the Spirit of the Lord Jesus can make us like Jesus and produce in us the fruit of the Spirit.

Week 9 – Q: What is God really like?

Feb. 27, 2023 – The Most Important Question. (W. Shorter catechism) Q4: What is God? A: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. Burning bush: Moses knew that the key question on peoples minds that they would ask is who is this God? 🔑Who God is and what He is like is bound to shape who we are and what we are like and how we live.

Q3: What do the Scriptures principally teach? A: The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.

Feb. 28, 2023 – I Am Who I Am. Unchanging (we grow, grow old, die) God does have a beginning or end. He saw their need and wants relationship. Also an aspect of I am is that I will deliver that I will make good on my promises. Also, keep your eyes and ears open.

Mar. 1, 2023 – Knowing More of God. “Yahweh” is used dozens of times already in Genesis. (Not just at the burning bush in exodus.) I am. We are always growing in our understanding of God.  I’m going growth. The prayer of Richard of Chichester, “Lord, for these three things I pray: to see Thee more clearly, to love Thee more dearly, and to follow Thee more nearly.”

Mar. 2, 2023 – Burning, Yet Not Consumed. Moses met with God as the Fire that burned but was burning in a bush that was not consumed, the Fire that came to save the people, the Fire that transforms our lives. An active parable of a God who is absolutely independent, uncaused, in need of nothing, sufficient for Himself: a fire who simply burns, uncreated fire. And yet, at the same time, He is the I Am who makes Himself present in history and among His people, like the fire in the bush, without them being consumed. In fact, He comes not to consume them, but to preserve and save them. He is infinite and independent, but He’s not a prisoner of His infinity. In the mystery of His being, He can make Himself known in history. And more than that, He can come to be with His needy people and save them.

Also words from the piece of paper that was found sewn into the coat lining of Blaise Pascal when he died.

Mar. 3, 2023 – The Lord Will Provide. Jehovah-Jireh. This is what He is like: He is the God we can trust to provide us with everything we need. Abraham told his son on Mount Moriah that the Lord would provide a sacrifice. He did provide a sacrifice, a ram caught in a ticket. Years later, God provided the ultimate sacrifice his son, Jesus, on that same Mount Moriah know the place of Jerusalem and Golgotha. Look at the cross. This is proof that God will provide. 

Week 10/11 – Ten Commandments

Mar. 6, 2023 – The Ten Commandments. Given in a context of grace. His first words are, “I am Yahweh, your God, your God who…” The first commandment teaches us that putting the Lord first is not only the right way to live; it’s the best way to live.

Mar. 7, 2023 – The Danger of Idolatry. Anything we think about more than God. Car, bank, balance, job, pop-star.Idolatry is wrong, but more than that it is neither safe nor healthy.  They cannot satisfy Ezekiel idols of the heart. St. Augustine: “You have made us for Yourself,” he writes in his Confessions, “and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.” It’s just as the Rolling Stones: “I can’t get no satisfaction.” And here’s Ecclesiastes: “God has put eternity into man’s heart.” Are you safe with Him, or in danger with an idol?

Mar. 8, 2023 – Taking God’s Name in Vain. Including not lightly. The first petition in the Lord’s prayer is hallowed be thy name. The name of God is taken a pond one’s self at baptism. Belonging.

Mar. 9, 2023 – A Pattern for Our Days. Fourth commandment remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. It’s a mistake to think that the Sabbath commandment is either only about one day in the week or all about one day in the week. Balance, all week. This is a commandment that reminds us of our dignity and destiny as men and women. One day to rest, admire, and enjoy it (creation and God).

Mar. 13, 2023 – Murdering in Our Hearts. Every commandment has an outside and an inside. And the real significance of the commandments and the real challenge of the commandments is not just about our outward behavior but about our inner spiritual condition. 

Mar. 14, 2023 – The Beginning of Lust. Adultery destroys the good that God has created. Satin uses it.

Mar. 15, 2023Theft and Generosity. (#8 do not steal) Negativity can be very positive for your spiritual health. Some things you need to be negative about because they will destroy you or someone else—and perhaps both. God is protecting us. Expressing in the negative implies something positive. In this case, the saying of yes here is becoming generous.

Mar. 16, 2023Is It Ever Right to Lie? Arguing backwards from the result is not valid. We can’t argue backwards from what God does in His providence to justify everything that we or other people do. (For example, good following a person telling a lie is no more a justification of a lie than that the blessing of God resulted from Joseph’s brothers selling him as a slave into Egypt and him ending up as the prime minister. Also, we are not obligated to blab. There’s a time to speak and a time to keep silent, and we need to know the difference.

Mar. 17, 2023 From Covetous to Christlike. Saul, see Romans 7:7 – 12.  When we are obedient, it pleases God. We need to seek to be obedient rather than covet.

Week 12 – Christians Love to Sing

Mar. 20, 2023 – Christians Love to Sing. Being born again makes the hymns more beautiful and more meaningful.

Mar. 21, 2023 – Do You Have a Hymnbook? In advantage of a hymnbook, over hymns on the screen, is being able to see the whole hymn in front of you at once. The hymnbook is valuable,  in that it provides wisdom and theological insight from the past. 

We need to be aware of, and cautious of, the subjectivism and individualism which may be present in contemporary Christianity.

Mar. 22, 2023Singing with the Son of God. Jesus sang at the last supper, in fact, sang hymn. Probably from Psalms 113 to 118.

Mar. 23, 2023 Christians Sing Differently. Sing horizontally and vertically. You see, when you become a Christian, you live, as we often say, coram Deo, before the face of God, in His presence.

Mar. 24, 2023 Let the Word of Christ Dwell in You Richly. Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” These four are interconnected,  go, hand-in-hand, and  enhance one another.

Week 13 – The ultimate unseen – God

Mar. 27, 2023 – Knowing God. The breathtaking privilege and wonder of knowing God. So, what’s lesson number one when we think about God? Augustine taught it and Calvin echoed it; if these masters of the Christian faith were similarly asked the secret of living the Christian life, they would say, “Humility, humility, humility.”

Herman Bavinck, the great Dutch theologian, put it well, I think, when he wrote: “It is absolutely necessary that the person who cultivates any branch of knowledge first of all and most of all study to be modest and humble. This applies especially to the theologian. He should not think of himself more highly than he ought to think.”

And if you’re familiar with the title of what I think is one of Dr. R.C. Sproul’s best books, you’ll be thinking, “Yes, that applies to me too,” because everyone’s a theologian.