Return to Things Unseen

Things Unseen 2023

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

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.

The newest notes are at the top.

These are my notes from Year 1: 2023.

December 29, 2023 – Renewed Day by Day. we don’t get God’s grace by what we try to do. It’s God’s grace that transforms all we do. We don’t become acceptable to Jesus by our efforts, not our efforts to follow His example or live according to the Sermon on the Mount. It’s really the other way around. It’s only when we come to recognize our own spiritual bankruptcy and then entrust ourselves to Him as our Savior and embrace Him in all His saving sufficiency—it’s then that life begins to change.

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

December 28, 2023 – Remember Jesus Christ. (We are prone to forget.) Moses drives things home by saying in verse 2 of chapter 8 (Deuteronomy), “Remember,” and in verse 11, “Take care, lest you forget,” and then in verse 18, “You shall remember,” and then in verse 19, “And if you forget.” There’s a kind of rhythm here.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits. (Ps. 103:2)

Remembering is our privilege, and it’s also our responsibility.

We are dust. We can be careless and forgetful and even cool-hearted children. Our minds easily wander to other things and we forget what God has done for us.

We need to (remember to) make the Lord Jesus Himself central in our thinking>, and our feeling>, and our willing>, and our living.

December 27, 2023 – Looking Back on the Year. Roman god, Janus, he’s the god who faces both ways. He looks backwards to the past and he looks forward to the future. (January, named after Janus.) As Christians, we too live facing both ways, not in the sense of being a hypocrite, but in the sense of living looking back to what the Lord Jesus did in His first coming and looking forwards to what He will do at His second coming. And so, we sometimes say that we live between the times. We live the Christian life between the already of what Christ has done and then not yet of the completion of His work. And actually, we’re reminded of that every time we have the Lord’s Supper: we proclaim His death until He comes again.

Psalm 126:3, “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad.”

December 26, 2023 – Making Christmas Last. Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Remember that in as much as you do something for one of the least of Jesus’ brothers, you do it for Him, who has done so much for you.

December 25, 2023 – Coming Face-to-Face with Christ. John wrote the final gospel later than the others. He pondered: the promise Jesus had given him and the other Apostles in the upper room the evening before the crucifixion. He told John and the others that the Spirit would come to them to remind them of everything He had said, to show them the things that were still to come, and also, interestingly, to lead them into the truth about Him. The other gospels, John Calvin once insightfully wrote, show us Christ’s body, but John shows us His soul—that is, in a sense, John gives us the inner story of the incarnation. The others describe the outside, the events in which Joseph and Mary and the shepherds and the Magi and Simeon and Anna were all involved. But John tells the story from the inside, not from their point of view, but in a sense from the Lord Jesus’ own point of view, and then from John’s observations.

John’s gospel account is deep and comprehensive.

Week 50–actually it is week 52. This podcast began in January 2023. Dec. 25 begins the 52nd week of the year.

December 22, 2023 – Should We Celebrate Christmas? Yes (but it is not a “holy day.” We no longer have holy days.)

Christmas is not a pagan holiday. And in fact, historically, that’s one of the reasons Christmas came to be celebrated around the time of the Roman Festival of Saturnalia. It was a way of pointing the pagan world to a better story, to an infinitely greater God than the Roman god Saturn. It was saying, “You are worshiping the creature, and we want to encourage you to worship the Creator.”

December 21, 2023 – The Savior’s Lowly Birth. At the birth of Jesus, in the cattle stall, of hardship in meager conditions, in Bethlehem, mary, Joseph, and Jesus were already suffering for us. Sinclair also quotes a number of nice hymns.

December 20, 2023 – A Friend Who Sticks Closer. A fuller love for Jesus Christ. It needs to come from the outside (from the Holy Spirit) to the inside. It doesn’t come through a self-help procedure or by trying harder.

Proverbs 18:24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (#Jesus)

Jesus, the reliable brother, can even dispel loneliness and despair.

December 19, 2023 – Renewed Affection for Christ. Immersion in Christ grows the relationship.

December 18, 2023 – Recovering Christ at Christmastime. Sermon illustration: 2 Police standing near the manger scene in the city square, because last year someone stole Jesus. This is the central problem:  Jesus getting stolen at Christmastime.

Perhaps the reason He’s not central to us at Christmastime is that He’s been stolen from our lives long before Christmas. So, the first issue to settle is really this: Is Jesus central in my life, day by day?

Thomas Chalmers preached a sermon, called “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.”

The sermon emphasizes the transformative impact of cultivating a new, positive affection or love. Chalmers argues that the human heart is most effectively changed not by suppressing sinful desires but by replacing them with a higher, virtuous affection. By redirecting our focus and affections toward something greater, such as the love of God, the undesirable traits are naturally expelled. The sermon underscores the profound influence of cultivating positive affections in shaping one’s character and behavior.

Reminds me of the Pilgrims Progress, when they try to sweep out the dusty room, and all it does is kick up the dust, and make it even more unpleasant.

The law and a bunch of do’s and don’t’s do not motivate us to stop sinning or righteous living. There are umpteen reasons why our primar y commandments are to love God and to love our neighbor.

Week 49 – The expulsive power of a new affection for Jesus Christ.

December 15, 2023 – Worship (God) with the Angels. But we are not to worship angels. Revelation 4 & 5<<worship. In church, remember where you are, remember the angels, and worship (in awe) with them.

December 14, 2023 – The Angels That Ministered to Jesus. In wilderness. (BTW, this is the second Adam’s temptation, which is parallel to the temptation of (the first) Adam. Can you imagine the eagerness of the angles, who had this great opportunity, to minister to the anointed and Son of God. The angels did not repress the devil (Jesus did), but they did minister to Jesus, so the He could do his work. The coach does not make the FT for the player, but puts them in a position to succeed.

In Gethsemane, an angel came and strengthened Jesus. “There appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony he prayed even more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground” (Luke 22:43–44).

December 13, 2023 – Angelic Appearances. Often times betrayed in small or whimsical forms. But in fact, they are significant and powerful. In general terms, they’re servants of God and establishing His purposes.

They appear at especially strategic points in biblical history. Good list in article. Defense and advance of the kingdom of God.

The book of Daniel, they’re described as the “watchers” (Dan. 4:13). They’re watching out for God’s kingdom and watching out for God’s people in times of crisis or in moments of great advance. That’s a great way to think about the angels and their ministry.

December 12, 2023 – Different Kinds of Angels. “There’s at least one archangel because he’s referred to in that way in 1 Thessalonians 4 in connection with the Lord’s return, when the Lord Jesus will overwhelm His enemies and destroy death itself. And we know his name, he’s called “Michael” [often a military leader] in Jude 9, where he’s said to have contended with Satan over the body of Moses.” Gabriel is another. Gabriel’s honored position is underlined by the fact that he’s the one who appears to Zechariah and to Mary, announcing Johns’ and Jesus’ births. And he seems to be less of a military leader and more of a kind of royal herald, a communicator and interpreter of the divine will. These 2 archangels, express God’s purposes in deeds and in words. One guards the people of God, and the other communicates God’s will to them at crucial moments. cherubim and seraphim

December 11, 2023 – What Is an Angel? Messenger. There are the faithful and the fallen. See podcast for Bible verses. Sinclair says they are created beings. (Created by God/Jesus, like everything else, as per Colossians 1:16.) They do ‘person’ activities, such as speak, they direct, they obey, and they serve, and they show interest in earthly activities, and they worship. They serve God (including Jesus and the Holy Spirit) and humans on earth.

Two things for us to reflect on today: first, to think for a moment about just how rich and full that heavenly world of God really is, and then second, to ask ourselves this question: “Have I assumed too easily that this is the real world, the world that really matters, the substantial world, whereas that world is kind of empty, ephemeral, insubstantial, when the truth is that world is actually very substantial, very real, and full of glorious life?”

Or we can think of it this way: we are only one branch of the amazing family God has created through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Week 48 – Angels.

December 8, 2023 – Our Lord, Come. (It’s wise to be modest in our statements and to focus on the main things.) Jesus prayed before His crucifixion that all of His people would, in the future, be with Him to see His glory. He wants the same for us. We too, as believers, desire to be with Him to see His glory. This desire is borne out in our relationship and long-suffering. This being with and seeing His glory occurs after death and in the second coming.

Jesus will return visibly, every eye will see Him. And He will not come alone. He’ll be accompanied by His holy angels. He’ll also come audibly and triumphantly.

December 7, 2023 – We Shall Be Changed. The resurrection of the body is like switching from an old clunker to a brand new car.

December 6, 2023 – Delivering the Kingdom to the Father.

December 5, 2023 – Proclaiming His Death Until He Comes. It’s important for us to see there’s a big difference between convictions about the teaching of the whole of Scripture and a fixation on one particular element in it. During the Lord Supper we remember Jesus’ death until He comes.  When considering the second coming, we should not be diverted from the Lord Jesus Himself.

December 4, 2023 – Looking to Christ’s Return. “At the beginning of this Advent season, it’s spiritually healthy for us to remember that the Jesus who came at Bethlehem is going to return again in majesty and glory, and to pray that we’ll learn to say with the early church maranatha, our Lord come.”

Week 47 – Jesus’s Second Coming. Maranatha, our Lord come. A common topic for the first Sunday of Advent.

December 1, 2023 – The Triumphant Son of Man. Mainly used by Jesus, but John wrote it and Stephen said it at his stoning.

“Son of Man is an expression that occurs around, I think, eighty times in the Gospels. And we could say it’s not only Jesus’ unique way of describing Himself—because basically nobody else uses the title—it’s actually His favorite way of talking about His own ministry. Now, many Christians have bee n taught to think that Son of God refers to Jesus’ deity while Son of Man refers to His humanity. But that’s not the whole story. Certainly, Son of Man can simply mean “man,” but Jesus doesn’t talk about Himself as simply a son of man, but as the Son of Man, the well-known Son of Man. And what He means by that is the Son of Man you’ve heard about in the Hebrew Scriptures. But what Hebrew Scriptures?” Daniel 7. In Jesus, (life, death, resurrection, ascension) Daniel’s vision is realized. Daniel was not seeing in chapter 7 the second coming, but first.

November 30, 2023 – Son of the Living God. This is the second part of Peter’s answer. peters, brother, Andrew, may have been at Jesus’s baptism, where the voice from heaven said: “This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!” Matt 3:17.

Jude refers to Him four times as “our Lord,” kyrios, the word the Greek version of the Old Testament always used to translate the great divine name, Yahweh.

November 29, 2023 – Christ, the Anointed One. Christ, Messiah, “The anointed one.” Anointing is a setting apart process (make holy, consecrated). In OT, prophets, priests, and kings were anointed (and things, like the temple). It meant the Holy Spirit was upon them. Jesus began his ministry with Luke 4:18 .(Nazareth synagogue- BAM). Believers (from the New Testament forward) are metaphorically anointed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Cf 1 John 2:27; 2 Peter 1:3.

November 28, 2023 – Who Do You Say That I Am? The answer given was not his name, but something much bigger (including titles). Pilot (as others) ask, “Who are you?” Peter’s answer was correct, but he probably didn’t fully understand.” Also before Peter had met Jesus, his brother Andrew said, “We have found the Christ.” Matt 16:13-20 at Caesarea Philippi.

November 27, 2023 – Knowing Jesus. The key. Jesus promised the spirit, which would give First, the Spirit would remind the Apostles of everything Jesus had taught them. Second, He would lead them into all the truth about Himself. And thirdly, He would show them the things that were still to come. We find that in John 14:26 and 16:13–14. This is also the outline/structure/summary of the New Testament.

Week 46 – Who Jesus really is.

November 24, 2023 – The Reality of Hell.

November 23, 2023 – What Will Heaven Be Like? Most people do not mention the presence of God (which is the #1 feature of heaven). Ps 10:4 The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.

November 22, 2023 – The Coming Judgment. Psychologists tell us that people can actually convince themselves to believe something that they knew wasn’t true. (For example, there is no judgment.) See Romans 2:1–16. 7 powerful points. There is a present justification for Christians according to grace and a future judgment or assessment according to works. There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved, and if it was necessary for the Son of God to die to bring us into the presence of God with joy, who on earth do we think we are that we can find our own way? There is one way to be brought into the presence of God.

So, this is an enormously serious subject, but let’s thank God that He has found a way to bring the forgiveness of sins to us.

November 21, 2023 – Death.

Sin is the sting of death, and its sting injects corruption into our mortal bodies. We were wonderfully created out of the dust, given the breath of life, created as the image of God, but it’s as though we’ve received a lethal injection that means death will work its way into every particle of our physical being and we will disintegrate into the dust from which we came. We hate death, but…

When we breathe our last, we will be able to say to those we love in Christ: “I go gently into this good night to be with Christ. I love you, and I will see you in the morning.”

November 20, 2023 – The Four Last Things. Eschatology, speaking about final realities. subdivide that topic into corporate and personal eschatology. Personal eschatology 4: death, judgment, heaven, and hell.

Week 45 – Personal eschatology.

November 17, 2023 – Glorification: Perfected in Christ. Vs 30 connected to 29. *and* Glorified like Christ. Already done to a degree. Final crown in heaven is assured.

November 16, 2023 – Justification: Final and Irreversible. Linger with the scriptures, as a bee gathers nectar. By Christ’s work we are completely, permanently, irreversibly, and eternally justified. We are glorified, and the purpose of this is to glorify God.

November 15, 2023 – Calling: Awake, O Sleeper. 3: “general call” and the “gospel call*” (which may not be effective) and the “effectual call*” of God. *The spirit must work (for it to be effective).

November 14, 2023 – Predestination: He Loved Us First. John Knox, “The Bible is a book about predestination.” Predestination can be unsettling. If it’s true, it means God is Lord and I’m not Lord. And so, in all these different ways, it humbles me. Predestination becomes a wonderfully comforting and encouraging teaching. God always acts first. God needs to bring us to new birth. And all of that means we need God to be acting, first of all. But if He is the first actor, then He surely planned to act beforehand—and that’s predestination. We love Him because He first loved us, and that’s at the heart of predestination.

November 13, 2023 – A Golden Chain—Or Is It? Rom 8:(29-)30 #GoldenChain. (0: foreknew) And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified. However, the problem, maybe even the danger, is that linking them to each other in this way (the links of a chain), we haven’t left any room for the Lord Jesus.

“But there’s something in Romans 8:30, or just before it, that really helps us here. It’s the very first word, “and”—yes, “and.” It’s an indication to us that these actions of God—predestination, calling, justification, glorification—don’t exist in splendid isolation. They belong to something else. They’re aspects, dimensions of something else, something even bigger.

Something bigger? Is that possible? Well, yes it is. And here it is: “Those whom God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29). In other words, these wonderful privileges in Romans 8:30 are actually four aspects of that union with Christ that leads to us becoming like Him. So, if you do want to think about Romans 8:30 as a golden chain, remember that it’s the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who is the gold.”

Week 44 – Further look at Romans. Romans 8:30.

November 10, 2023 – How Does the Gospel Work in Our Lives? IV. Ch 12-16. In these closing chapters, he wants to teach us how righteousness is realized in the lives of Christian believers, how it’s applied. In other words, he’s now answering the question, How does this gospel work out in our lives, not least in the capital city of the Roman Empire? Lots of good suggestions. Concentric circles.

November 9, 2023 – The Unfailing Promises of God. III. Ch 9-11. After the joy of part II, How sad, then, that God says of Israel, “All day long, I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people” (Rom. 10:21). (Jews rejecting Jesus.)

The truth has always been that belonging to God’s people has never been merely a matter of physical descent. God’s grace has always worked in fallen humanity through the response of faith (in response to a nudging of the Holy Spirit, Which may come about  in various forms, including preaching).

November 8, 2023 – The Wonders of the Gospel. 3:21 “but now God.” The holy God we have actually offended to the point of our condemnation is the very God who delivers us from it. He does this without compromising His own righteousness. Romans 3:21–24. It’s often called the gospel in a nutshell. In Christ’s death for our sins, God’s wrath is propitiated. We are justified. The price of our redemption—our liberation from bondage to sin and Satan—has been paid. And Paul then works out in detail what this means for us in chapter II. 3:22–8:39.

The message: righteousness is lacking in us, but righteousness has been provided for us in Jesus Christ. That’s Paul’s gospel. That’s the gospel. That’s our gospel. Praise God today.

November 7, 2023 – None Is Righteous. I. Romans 1:1 – 3:20. Q: How can a sinful man be righteous before a holy God?

November 6, 2023 – The Letter That Changed the World. (Romans) Very influential book, including on Augustine, himself. 4 sections the week

Week 43 – Paul’s letter to the Romans.

November 3, 2023 – The Cup That Could Not Pass. Garden of Gethsemane. Agony of His soul.

November 2, 2023 – A Foretaste of Christ’s Glory. Mt. Herman. Mount of transfiguration. (or Mount Tabor) Just before the transfiguration, Jesus said that some of the disciples would not see death before they saw “the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:27), or as Matthew puts it, before they saw “the Son of Man coming in his kingdom” (Matt. 16:28). That is, the transfiguration. An event, but it was also a glimpse of what was to come, a kind of preview. May have been talking with Elijah and Moses about the upcoming new Exodus that was going to occur in Jerusalem. People being taken out of their sinful condition.

It was important for Peter, James, and John to see the glory of Jesus, because, fairly soon, they would see the humiliation of Jesus on the day of the crucifixion.

November 1, 2023 – The Turning Point in Jesus’ Ministry. Caesarea Philippi. 1) Simon Peter’s confession that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. 2) He says, “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). What Jesus is saying is, “Here, where Satan has ruled at Caesarea Philippi, I am announcing My manifesto: nothing on earth or in Hades will be able to prevent Me from building My church.” Building church in enemy territory. 3) Beginning a journey to Jerusalem, which would end in His suffering, His judicial execution, and then His resurrection. Plan and progression – for all of us.

October 31, 2023 – Baptized into the Sins of His People. Set apart & reassured by his father. Commitment.

October 30, 2023 – Living under the Shadow of the Cross. Throughout his whole life.

Week 42 – Big moments/events in Jesus’ life

October 27, 2023 – What’s New in the New Covenant? God’s covenant of grace unfolds in a series of covenants from start to finish. They all have their distinct shape and style, but they’re all the unfolding of one single promise. And I think what becomes clear to us is that in all of these different covenants, grace is the foundation for our response of unreserved, total, joyful obedience to the Lord. Grace-based obedience.

“New” It’s new in the sense that it fulfills everything that was promised in the earlier covenants God made. It’s new in the sense that when it comes, it makes all previous covenants seem old. Of course, the great promise about the new covenant is found in Jeremiah 31:31–34, a passage that’s referred to in several occasions in the New Testament, not least by Jesus Himself when He inaugurated the Lord’s Supper and said, “This is the new covenant in my blood.”

October 26, 2023 – God’s Law and Grace. The Mosaic covenant, the Sinaitic covenant, is not a covenant of good works. It looks back, and forward to the Jesus covenant.

October 25, 2023 – The Covenant Made at Sinai. It is a misunderstanding to see this covenant as a rule following.  It is a covenant of grace . God says to Moses (at the burning bush): “I’ve remembered My covenant, and I’m going to bring you out. I’m going to take you as My people, and I’ll be your God. And you will know that I am the Lord, your God, who has brought you out. I will bring you into the land that I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I am Yahweh, the Lord.” It’s the covenant-making and covenant-keeping God of grace that inaugurates the exodus. It is a work entirely of God’s sovereign grace, and it’s in that context that He gives the law. He makes His covenant with us and binds Himself to us, and then He summons us to live in a way that conforms to His wonderful grace, and as we do so, we enter into His promised blessings.

October 24, 2023 – Safeguarding the Promise of Grace. Covenant with Noah Genesis 6:18. Then Abram. “Bless” is a covenant word. He’s a covenant-keeping God, as well as a covenant-making God.

October 23, 2023 – The Promised Covenant of Grace. Gen 3:15 is foreshadowing the new covenant of Jesus. This verse is known in Christendom as the protoevangelium, or “first good news,” because it is the first foretelling of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In some sense, all of the Bible is a footnote to Genesis 3:15. satan is a symbol for sin.  Christ,  on the cross,  crushed sin by eternally, forgiving us of our sins.

Week 41 – Covenant of Grace

October 20, 2023 – When Two Become One. For those who are successful (for example, raising children or teaching math), who have applied principles to come up with their own set of practices, they may want to turn those practices into principles. This is unsound and unreliable. There’s not one size that fits all.  God made husband (Adam) and wife (Eve) to fit together. They are more together than the sum total of what each of them would be without the other.

Atmosphere. May the family members breathe in the atmosphere that mom and dad breathe out— their relationship with God, and their relationship, and covenant, with one another, and in their mutual respect (trust), and in their friendship with each other. The goal, with God’s help, is a stable home and family life in which the children can flourish.

October 19, 2023 – A Husband’s Integrity and a Wife’s Respect. Respect includes trust. (Attraction does not cause trust.) Husband needs to live worthy of his wife’s and children’s respect.

October 18, 2023 – Honoring Our Parents for Life. Commandment 5. First commandment, having to do with our relationships with other humans.  The only commandment that does not have a negative component. Children and adults honor parents. Nature of honoring evolves over time. Not just childhood obedience. #5 is the foundation for all the commandments. 

October 17, 2023 – Raising Children in the Church. We only see the result of child-rearing until the ‘child’ is in mid/late 20’s.

October 16, 2023 – The Christian Family and the Church. Eternity-long family. The biological family is in (becomes part of) the church family. Fold into. It takes a church/village to raise a child. Both families take part in loves us, cares for us, encourages us, strengthens us, and protects us.

Week 40 – family and parenting

October 13, 2023 – A Consecrated Feast. Consecrate (v) to make or declare sacred (holy); to devote irrevocably to the worship of God by a solemn ceremony. Give yourself to trust and obey. Turn from compromising aspects of your life. here’s the message of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and sup with him, and he with me.”

October 12, 2023 – A Meal of Anticipation. Maranatha = “Our Lord come.” 2nd coming. The not yet aspect (we are between already and not yet). Good saying: May we see Him more clearly and love Him more dearly and want to follow Him more nearly.

October 11, 2023 – Participation [communion] in Christ’s Body and Blood. Greek word koinōnia >> fellowship, communion. Representation of body and blood of Christ. At the Last Supper. We receive and accept Jesus. Just as the Hebrews in Egypt ate the Seder meal and accepted their participation in the exodus (and there would be a new covenant of Moses), christians receive the bread and wine and accept and all that he is and the new covenant. John 6 is a watershed section of the Word.

October 10, 2023 – The Cup of Blessing. Benediction. (Well-speak, pronounce, blessing ) May the curse be turned away from you. Jesus drank the cup of the divine cursing, so that we, His disciples, may drink of the cup of blessing.” (In the Middle Ages, the sneeze was seen as an early sign of the plague. Therefore, people would say, God bless you in hopes of saving them from the plague.)

October 9, 2023 – The Lord’s Supper: A Proclamation. The Lord supper is a visual/visible representation/proclamation/drama of the gospel.  just as God came to mankind on earth,  and the Word of God has been preached today, the elements of the Lord’s supper are offered  for us to be edified, nurtured, and saved. #Receive

Week 39 – The significance of the Lord’s Supper. 5 things to think about 

October 6, 2023 – What It Means to Be in Christ. Prepositions – relationships. In Paul said that we were in Adam, but now we are in Christ. This is how Paul identified himselSf, and how we can identify ourselves.  #inChrist Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:3–4; it’s what it means to be in Christ. We receive every spiritual ☑️blessing in Him because we’ve been ☑️chosen in Him. We’ve been ☑️predestined in Him. We’ve been ☑️reconciled in Him. We’ve been ☑️pardoned in Him. We experience ☑️illumination in Him. We are given ☑️adoption in Him. We are brought to ☑️sanctification in Him—and all to the praise of His glorious grace. Being and living in Christ gives us many privileges from Christ. 

October 5, 2023 – Positive and Negative Steps in the Christian Walk. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul several times describes the Christian life as a walk: we’re to walk in

  • manner worthy of our calling;
  • love;
  • as children of light;
  • as wise people.

But Paul teaches us that walking worthy in this way means we don’t walk in ways that are unworthy of Christ. + and – balance – We tend to lose our balance. Col 3:16-17.

October 4, 2023 – Already and Not Yet.<<we live between these. Analogous between D-Day and V-Day. And so, we live between two moments, looking back in faith to D-Day and all Jesus has done, and looking forward in expectation to V-Day and the consummation of Christ’s victory. However, we’re still in a battle between D-Day and V-Day. 

October 3, 2023 – Gospel Indicatives and Imperatives. An indicative is a statement of fact, “God loves you.” An imperative is a statement of command. God’s indicatives are always the basis for God’s imperatives. This is why we often find the word therefore in the New Testament. God loves us and forgive us of our sins. Therefore, we should obey him. The “ natural Man” (who doesn’t understand) often turns these around, thinking I will try to obey the rules, and then God will except me. This is in the wrong order. The correct order is when the mighty indicatives of God’s grace in Christ are in place—then we know that there is in Christ all the grace and help we need to fulfill the all-embracing, all-demanding, life-transforming imperatives of the gospel.

October 2, 2023 – The Grammar of the Gospel. Nicodemus understood the words that Jesus spoke, but he did not understand the meaning/message, because he did not understand the grammar.

Week 38 – The Grammar of the Gospel.

September 29, 2023 – The Hundredfold Harvest of God’s Word. Good news at the end. Good soil, perhaps broken up, with quality (non-rocky) substratum, with the weeds removed. So let’s do what Paul said the Thessalonians did; namely, receive the Word of God not as the word of man, but as it really is, the Word of God, which is at work in you believers (1 Thess. 2:13).

September 28, 2023 – Choked by the Cares of This World. Thorny soil.

September 27, 2023 – The Kind of Faith That Falls Away. Rocky soil. Received with joy, but then quickly falls away. Joy yes, but there needs to also be a sense of sorrow for sin and a feeling of need for repentance.

September 26, 2023 – Hardened Hearers. Parable of the sower is The Parable. It is the first parable recorded in the Gospel of Mark. 4 kinds of soil – spiritual condition. The hard soil of the path where the birds snatch the seed before they can even germinate might be hardened by the farmer frequently walking there. Repetition in redundancy has led to complacency and indifference.

September 25, 2023 – Take Heed How You Hear. Chew on and ponder the Word being preached.

Week 37 – Different kinds of hearers. Take heed how are you hear.

September 22, 2023 – The Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever. Hebrew’s 13:8. “You’ve got to fix your eyes on Jesus.” “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” The multi-faceted Christ. It’s not find Waldo (find ourselves), but find Jesus. Central emphases of the entire book of Hebrews.

September 21, 2023 – Dead to Sin’s Dominion. Through the work of the Spirit, faith unites us to Jesus Christ. This is my new identity. I have died to the dominion of sin. And so, to go on living in sin would be an ontological contradiction, a contradiction of who I really am. It would involve identity amnesia. I would be forgetting what it means to be in Christ. I’m no longer a citizen of the kingdom where sin reigns both over me and in me. I’m a member of a new kingdom, I have a new family, a new citizenship, a new identity altogether. It gives us both stability and dignity. And that’s surely what we need today,

September 20, 2023 – Servants for Jesus’ Sake. The Scottish Old Testament professor, John “Rabbi” Duncan said about Jonathan Edwards preaching. He said, “His doctrine is all application and his application is all doctrine.”

September 19, 2023 – Following the Light of the World. John 8:12: “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”

Having read the Bible since I was eight or nine and tried to live a decent life, thinking that’s what it meant to be a Christian, I now discovered  that I was actually a sinner by nature—not just someone who occasionally lapsed—it came as a tremendous shock to me, and it shook me to the foundations. That’s the only way I can express it.

I now began to realize I’d seen myself entirely from the wrong point of view—my point of view—not God’s viewpoint. I was seeing myself in terms of whether I was as good as the next person. I wasn’t thinking about myself coram Deo, as we sometimes say, standing before the face of the holy God. Cf Wesley conversion hymn.

“I rose, went forth and followed Christ.”

Trusting Him as your Savior and following Him as your Lord.

September 18, 2023 – Come to Christ for Eternal Life.

Week 36 – verses that have shaped me. Looking at a few scripture passages, which on first view are seen at dots in one’s life, but when put together, a pattern emerges.

September 15, 2023 – The Power of the Spirit in Preaching. Three different preachers showed: all my heart; he majesty of God; the loveliness of Christ.Preaching is a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, in order that our faith might rest not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

September 14, 2023 – Different Kinds of Preachers. Sameness would mean everyone was wearing Saul’s armor, and it doesn’t fit everybody. It’s not a one size fits all. Thanksgiving for each is appropriate. A great lesson to me, to learn to feed on the good food of the Word, no matter who is preaching it to me.

September 13, 2023 – HowThe Effects of Preaching. There are things that are fundamental and ought to be unchangeable. Jonathan Edwards said this: “I should think myself in the way of my duty to raise the affections of my hearers as high as possibly I can, provided that they are affected with nothing but truth, and with affections that are not disagreeable to the nature of what they are affected with.” [That is, it is ultimately the Holy Spirit that convicts.] [mine:] do not speak down to the congregation, but use raise factions using, “brothers and sisters.” Spirit seems to get under us with the Word and lift us up to God. Preaching that lifts the members of the congregation up to God is part and parcel of worship. (That is, worship isn’t just the singing.)

September 12, 2023 – HowWhat Is Wrong with Preaching Today? Preaching is central (but in a sorry state). The threefold ingredients of a call to preach are these: first of all, gifts for preaching; second, a desire to serve by using them; and third, the recognition by others of God’s call and God’s gifts in a person’s life. “What is wrong with preaching today?” is found in the words of James 4:2: “You do not have because you do not ask.” #Pray. Congregations make preachers, by nurturing children, and pray, and more.

September 11, 2023 – How Important Is Preaching? Shorter Catechism. Q89: How is the Word of God made effectual to salvation? That is, how does it point us to Christ and then transform our lives? A: reading and preaching the Word. True preaching takes your soul to levels of dialogue with God that nothing else can (including a dialogue).” Paul told Timothy he’d experience a time when people didn’t want to listen to preaching. A: “Preach. Preach the Word.”

Week 35 – Preaching

September 8, 2023 – Who Shall Separate Us? The devil is a threat, but how can we be so sure that we are secure against such opposition as this? God’s love. 3-fold cord: Paul indicates that the One whose power is said to be perfect in verse 28, and whose plan is seen as perfect in verse 29, is also the One whose purposes are perfect in verse 30.

September 7, 2023 – Who Is to Condemn? (Condemnation is the result of being charged, and being found guilty.) Satin tries to accuse and condemn, but we must remember that we are justified by the blood of Christ, and we cannot be condemned. 

September 6, 2023 – Who Shall Bring Any Charge? Satin is the accuser, and in heavens thrown room. Examples include scene in Zechariah 3. Satin does accuse, but the charges do not stick. We are righteous due to Christ’s blood.

September 5, 2023 – Who Can Be Against Us? Series of questions. Each starting with “who”/”whosoever”. Rom 8:35 Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Says *who* but examples are *what’s*. The key is who A: It is the devil. Satan can afflict us, but will never succeed in separating us from God.

September 4, 2023 – Beloved Bible Verses. Romans 8:28–39.

Week 34 – Romans 8:28–39.

September 1, 2023 – Named in Baptism. Baptized in the name of the father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Fellowship with each.

Jesus preached, you could argue first and foremost, the Kingdom.  The great commission was to make disciples (for the Kingdom). Baptism is a sign of kingdom membership (like a wedding ring is a sign of marriage). Kingdom membership means God is committed to you (#covenant). Remember your baptism to remember God’s covenant with you.

August 31, 2023 – Baptized: A New Identity. Remember and Improve our baptism. Analogy: wedding. Neither the words nor the ring are actually essential to their marriage? The words and the ring are a sign and seal of it. They’re a visible representation of the marriage bond. The big thing is not the ring but what the ring represents. The ring isn’t the commitment, but it expresses the commitment in this moving visual way. And baptism is like that: it’s the visible expression of Christ’s commitment to us in His union with us. It’s like the wedding band placed once for all on the ring finger—our once-for-all baptism with water as a permanent reminder of the new identity that belongs to all those who trust in Christ that they’re no longer their own, but they belong to another. We are endowed.

August 30, 2023 – Why Was Jesus Baptized? John even asked this. When interpretation is that Jesus’ baptism was a foreshadowing–at the beginning of his ministry (foreshadowing the cross). John was washing the sins of the people in that water. Baptism symbolizes our union with Jesus Christ. Jesus, who had no sin, took that sinful water onto himself. Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how it consumes Me until it is finished!

August 29, 2023 – The Meaning of Baptism. A sign of the gospel. What Christ has done and our sinfulness need to be first and foremost.  Like the optical illusion of the old hag, and the beautiful woman we need to be able to see both.  With baptism, we need to see both gods work and our work. The sign of baptism is a reminder and confirmation of what the Lord Jesus has done to set us free and to cleanse us from sin. And so the gospel message of baptism strengthens us to remain faithful to the One who loved us with a Calvary love.

August 28, 2023 – The Promise of Baptism. Baptism is a gift from the Lord Jesus to help us all to live for His glory. in each of the great covenants God went on to make with His people, He did something similar each time: He gave them his word of promise, and then He added to it a visible sign to reassure them of the meaning of His promise and that He was going to keep that promise. The covenant of Jesus has two signs: baptism and holy Communion. Sinclair says it’s really important to remember that baptism points us to what God/Christ has done for us. It’s not a sign of what we have done, but a sign and reassurance of what He has done for us.

August 25, 2023 – Principles for Holiness. a) 17th C theologian and pastor John Owen: measure spiritual growth by the distance a person has traveled to get where they’ve arrived (not the height or the location of where they are), and especially by the obstacles they’ve overcome in order to get there. b) 18th C Anglican minister Charles Simeon. says that the striking thing about Henry Martyn was not only that he manifested the fruit of the Spirit but that all of the fruit seemed to be in perfect proportion in his life.

Week 33 – Baptism 

August 24, 2023 – Sanctification Summarized. Come Holy Ghost, Our Hearts inspire (by Charles Wesley). (‘nature’s night’)

Galatians 2:20 four prepositions

August 23, 2023 – A More Excellent Way. Sanctification—being holy, being a saint, being reserved for God. Becoming more like Jesus. Having a life of love. Gifts wo real holiness (grace) is dangerous. In 1Cor 13 replace ‘love’ w ‘Jesus.’

August 22, 2023 – The Fruit of Sanctification. Set apart and becoming God’s possession. Don’t be sanctified with vinegar (unpleasant). Being like Jesus—means that being holy isn’t just a matter of doing the right things, performing in the right ways. Being like/knowing/being in relationship Jesus is more important than doing things.

August 21, 2023 – Set Apart for God. Sanctify used 150 times. Being holy used 100 times. Being set apart* for a special use *Reserved. God has called dibs. We are not an ugly duckling. If you are Christian, you I’m here are a saint.

Week 32 – sanctification.

August 18, 2023 – The Anger of Jesus. Compassion is the most common emotion shown/seen. Anger is seen. Jesus was angry about death. In fact, he came to give us eternal life. Jesus was angry with Satan, because Staton created death in division and separation. hates death. Jesus’ love and hate or two sides of the same coin. Alas, at times, it seems we rest content with a love that reassures us occasionally rather than a love that possesses us entirely. But the real Jesus wants to have us all.

August 17, 2023 – Christ, a Man of Feeling. Compassion, sensitiveness, indignation, delicacy , modesty are beautiful personal qualities in the Lord Jesus.

August 16, 2023 – Rest for Our Souls. What we need to be is united, or yoked, to the Lord Jesus, and then we will discover we can trust him and find rest for our souls.

That’s what the real personal Jesus is like. He’s a Savior whose yoke will fit well on us as we yield to Him. He is a Savior who brings to us all the blessings God has stored up for us, and Jesus describes that as rest.

August 15, 2023 – He Grew in Favor with God. Luke: Jesus grew in favor with God and with people. Hebrews says Jesus Christ is perfectly suited to be our Savior and our friend.

August 14, 2023 – The Personal Jesus. 🗝️What was and is Jesus really like? People often (incorrectly) make up their own form of Jesus. Preach Christ, and Christ crucified is CH Spurgeon did. Fix your eyes on Jesus, as it says, in Hebrews 12:1-2.

Week 31: the character of Jesus

August 11, 2023 – The Legacy of a Godly Life. Bill and his family showed humility, Grace, devotion, generosity, encouragement and patient kindness (of Christ). He gave a comment (and complimented), “The Holy Spirit loves to exalt the Lord Jesus in preaching.”

August 10, 2023 – A Christian’s Enduring Influence. When dealing with a young Christian, be Gentle and enjoy the growing & easy years (it may not/will not always be).

August 9, 2023 – An Older Friend in the Faith. “Would you be a mentor to me?” I’ve always said, “No, but I will be your friend,” because that’s what Hamish was to me. Sense of love and zeal for the Lord Jesus Christ. Invest in young people. Jesus’ words at the end of the parable of the good Samaritan: “You go and do likewise. You become a Hamish to somebody else.” May the Lord help us all to be such men and women.

August 8, 2023 – The Man in Black. Who asked Sinclair (out of the blue), “Are you saved?” Then listen to this word of God: “Seek the Lord while He may be found, and call upon Him while He is near.”

August 7, 2023 – Our Hidden Helpers. Rufus carried Jesus’ cross and in epistles. Christianity can be taught or it can be caught. What I am as a Christian and who I am as a Christian is in very large measure the fruit of other people’s loving investment in my own life.

Week 30 – people who have influenced us that we can be thankful for.

August 4, 2023 – Shaped by Grace. When it comes to sin, some have many more hurdles to overcome then others. We should appreciate those who have overcome numerous hurdles as much as those who are tall, spiritually. We’ve been thinking about soul shapes, and what I want us to avoid is knowing about soul shapes and then being critical of the shapes of others.

August 3, 2023 – Solutions for Distorted Souls. (2) The first is friendships—Christian friends who care about us and know us, and we can trust them, and they love us enough to wound us if it’s necessary; The regular preaching of His Word.

August 2, 2023 – The Big-Headed Soul. So my existence, the fact that I have life—I owe it all entirely to God. It’s because that’s actually true that it’s logical, and originally was instinctive for us, to love Him, to live for Him, to want to please Him, and to enjoy Him. Pride and self-sufficiency. I.e., our minds do not (can not) subordinate itself to God and His Word.

It can also be the case: We hold the right view, but with an inflated-head soul. We hold the right view in the wrong way and in the wrong spirit, and it manifests itself in the way we speak to or about others. Remedy: union with Christ.

August 1, 2023 – Turned In on Ourselves. There are many, many soul shapes (or rather soul misshapes.) 1 is being incurvatus in se, being turned in on ourselves. It’s what Saint Augustine meant when he said that there are two ultimate loves: love of God and love of self. #1 (of Luther’s 95) When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

July 30, 2023 – The Shape of the Soul. Man vs animals: The difference is that we, men and women uniquely, have been made as the image of God. That’s who we are. That’s what we are made to be. That’s how we are intended to function. That’s the specific soul shape that we have.

Soul is not so much something we have; it’s the privilege of what we are.

When you use a tool for the wrong. Purpose the tool gets bent out of shape and often the object that you’re working on also is damaged. This is like, Is our soul. When we use our being for the wrong purpose Our soul is Bent out of shape and damaged and so is the world and individuals around us.

Week 29 – Soul Shapes; in particular, how sin can distort our soul.

July 28, 2023 – All the Kingdoms of the World. “Satan’s bargain.” Temple. (#3 in Matt.; #2 in Luke) This is he climax temptation in Matthew, because going into all the world is a big deal in Matthews gospel. Satan is offering all the kingdoms of the world,  which are a bunch of orphans at this point. If Jesus came to create the kingdom of God on earth. He, of course, will do it on his own terms; no, by worshiping Satan.

“Here’s how Jesus resisted temptation, and here’s what will enable us to resist temptation too: trusting in the One who has overcome Satan and learning to say, “I will worship the Lord my God, and Him only shall I serve,” because Satan cannot withstand the soul that is thus resolutely committed to the Lord Jesus and has experienced His salvation.”

July 27, 2023 – The Pinnacle of the Temple. (#2 in Matt.; #3 in Luke) Jesus is being tempted here to gather disciples by another way altogether—by a spectacular action. The devil knows that people love spectacular events and are impressed by them. But you see, Jesus knows it’s unbelief that says, “I’d believe in Jesus if He did something spectacular.” Jesus didn’t come to win converts by parading spectacular powers; He came to save sinners by suffering and dying on the cross for them, and only then rising victorious over sin and death, and yes, hell and Satan too.

July 26, 2023 – Not by Bread Alone. This first temptation of Christ is similar to the temptation of Adam and Eve, and of course, to us. “God is being mean and depriving you of food. You need to take matters into your own hands.” That’s why Jesus replied, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). That was exactly what Adam and Eve failed to do. But this man—the second man and the last Adam—He was going to resist the tempter.

July 25, 2023 – Christ’s Victory in the Wilderness. We have to be leery of the where’s Waldo approach to the Bible.  Too often we’re searching for where am I in this story. Instead, we should focus on understanding Christ.  The temptation stories in the gospels are about the temptation of Christ, and how he dealt with it, not about temptation with me. Jesus was led up by the Spirit . . . to be tempted by the devil.

You see the point? There’s a military strategy here. Satan is the prince of this world. He has usurped the authority, the dominion that God gave originally to Adam. Remember in Genesis 1:26–28, God made man as His image and gave him dominion. And now, the divine director of military operations, the Holy Spirit, is leading out the great general, Jesus Christ, into the field of combat. The Spirit is the connecting link between the heavenly operations center and the battlefront. And what we have here—to borrow language from World War II—is the beginning of D-Day. If I can give you a spoiler and the rest of the story, something is going to happen for the first time in human history. The man, Christ Jesus, the new Adam, is going to enter enemy-occupied territory—a garden that’s been turned into a wilderness by the enemy—and He’s going to face him down, withstand his fiercest, attacks and conquer him.

July 24, 2023 – He Was Tempted as We Are. Toward the end of His life, He said to the Apostles, “You are the ones who have stayed with Me in My temptations,” or “trials,” or “testing” (Luke 22:28). So, throughout His whole life, as Hebrews emphasizes, Jesus was being tempted in every way just as we are (Heb. 4:15). We have sinful desires within us, but if Jesus had been tempted by His own desires, it would mean He had sinful desires; He wouldn’t be holy and undefiled and separated from sinners.

Week 28 – the temptation of Christ.

July 21, 2023 – The Gospel according to Isaiah. 4th song. Suffering servant song, Isaiah 52:13—53:12. Vs 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

July 20, 2023 – The Savior’s Open Ear. Isaiah 50. The servant speaks. Servant not only heard what the Father said, He listened, in the sense of taking it in, working it out, applying it to Himself, and being obedient to His heavenly Father.

July 19, 2023 – A Light for the Nations. Isaiah 49 (The 4 Servant Songs are found in Isaiah 42:1–9; Isaiah 49:1–13; Isaiah 50:4–11; and Isaiah 52:13—53:12.) servant is described as the Lord. Ps 110 said God would become incarnate. The suffering servant is for the Jews, but also for the gentiles.

July 18, 2023 – A Bruised Reed He Will Not Break. (Isaiah 42:1-4) Matt 12:18-22. Isaiah begins behold. People are bruised reeds and dimly burning wicks, but the Savior does not break and discard.

July 17, 2023 – Meeting Christ in the Old Testament. (Preaching) This can be done mechanically: So, it doesn’t sound as though Jesus is someone who is loved, so much as Jesus is someone who solves a problem in the incomplete story of the Hebrew Bible. The Bible is literature. Jesus is a person, working, with a heart, multi-faceted. Also, do connect to passages in the NT.

Week 28 – 4 passages on Jesus in the OT.

July 14, 2023 – The Family of God<<<most important picture. The real thing (not a metaphor). The well-functioning family, growing together, is a most beautiful thing.

July 13, 2023 – The Temple of God. (Peter) people are (living) stones being built into a temple. The Lord is chiseling us so that we fit together.

July 12, 2023 – The Bride of Christ. Christ is patiently removing spots on us, the church. Eventually, we’ll be presented spotlessly.

July 11, 2023 – The Flock of God. The church as a (His) flock. I am the good shepherd. Knows us calls us. We respond.

July 10, 2023 – The Body of Christ. The church is the body of Christ. 1) Lord Jesus is the head (and it is His church, not ours). 2) Each is different and diverse and working somewhat separately. 3) We honor the weaker.

Week 27 – Pictures of the church in the Bible.

July 7, 2023 – A Marble Pulpit in South Carolina. Big and marble. Priceless privilege to preach to the people, love* the people, and be loved by the people. Many of them (the members of the flock in the pews) were like Barnabases to me, you know, the son of encouragement. I’ve actually sometimes known people that I call “sabanrabs”—that’s actually Barnabas backwards—because they’ve been the very reverse of encouragers. Pastor is a member of a relay race. *So, it can be a challenge to love, but it’s first of all a gift from heaven. Family of God. Sacred place. Love, serve (minister), and worship with the people.

July 6, 2023 – Home. The family is the basic Bible way of thinking about the fellowship of the church. Seeking to improve people’s sense of self and sense of self-identity (my spending [wasting] time and money) is futile, and they can never provide what the church of Jesus Christ can provide: a Savior who gives our lives significance, and brothers and sisters in Christ who love us and with whom we will spend eternity.

July 5, 2023 – A Seminary in Philadelphia. Sinclair (from Scotland) unexpectedly went there, but was excepted by the faculty and experienced fellowship. Christian bonds. Sacred place. Friends. Significantly, Jesus said to the disciples at the end of His ministry: “I have called you friends.”

July 4, 2023 – Room C37. At age 18, Sinclair was in his second year at the (Scottish) University and studying philosophy and psychology (study bedroom). Many important, aha moments occurred in this room. Martin Luther’s comment that Romans is a key to the whole Bible. Include in your reading, some of the classic Christian books. For example, the Institutes by John Calvin.

July 3, 2023 –A Little Pulpit in Scotland. Count your blessings, one by one. lovely hymn by Horatius Bonar:

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“I am this dark world’s Light;
Look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
And all thy days be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found
In him my Star, my Sun;
And in that light of life I’ll walk,
Till trav’ling days are done.

John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”

Week 26: Special, sanctified places in our lives.

June 30, 2023 – The Glory of God’s Providence. “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” God’s providence does not mean that everyone experiences, health, wealth, and happiness. 

June 29, 2023 – Instruments of God’s Providence. Joseph was turning out to be God’s providential instrument of testing the brothers to see whether the work of grace that had begun in them had now delivered them from jealousy and hatred of their youngest brother.

June 28, 2023 – The Mystery of Providence. As John Flavel said, like Hebrew words, the providence of God makes ultimate sense only when we read it backwards. E.g., Joseph’s story. Providence work in and through us. So, the doctrine of the providence of God doesn’t relieve us from going through difficult times, seasons when we wonder what God is doing. But what this doctrine of providence does do is it reassures us that God knows what He is doing. So yes, we can’t pre-guess God’s purposes, and we don’t understand the whole of God’s purposes either. And one reason for that is that He works in His providence in our lives, not only for our lives, but because of what He plans to do in the lives of others.

So, the answer to the question, “Lord, why is this happening to me?” may well be: “My child, My purposes in you are not simply for you. I work in you in order to work through you in the lives of others.”

June 27, 2023 – God Meant It for Good. The story of Joseph in the Bible. …Why is this happening to me? Where is God, and what is He doing? Devine wisdom and power.

June 26, 2023 – All Things Work Together.

Week 25: Providence. God is working providentially in our lives, but we do not see the foot prints.

June 23, 2023 – The Spirit of the Father. John 15:26. “When the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father — the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father — He will testify about Me. Proceeds, goes out from, goes forth to us. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit. With Christ back up in heaven, we, as believers, are his empowered agents here on earth. Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Once indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we call on God as Abba Father.

June 22, 2023 – The Spirit of Christ. Numerous examples (texts) which talk about the Holy Spirit working in Jesus. Everything Jesus did and did for us, He was relying on the Spirit’s presence and power. The same is (can be) in us. #Pentacost

June 21, 2023 – The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The spirit which was inside Jesus, as he walked on earth is inside the Christian.

June 20, 2023 – Another Helper. What did Jesus teach about the HS. Upper room. John 14-16. Two Greek words for another.  Another of the same kind and another of a different kind. In the book of John, Jesus used the word allos, which is another of the same kind, I.e., like me. Jesus said it was to the disciples’ advantage that He was going away because otherwise the Spirit, the other Helper wouldn’t come to them.

June 19, 2023 – Knowing the Holy Spirit. Don’t just think about the benefits/blessings of the Holy Spirit for us, but learn to understand the characteristics of the Holy Spirit.

Week 24: The Holy Spirit.

June 16, 2023 – Reconciliation in Christ.

Good Summary:

  • Propitiation that saves us from God’s wrath- visiting the temple;
  • Justification that saves us from our guilt- visiting the law court;
  • Redemption that sets us free from our bondage in sin- visiting the slave market;
  • Reconciliation, saves us from alienation – it has to do with personal relationships.

Reconciliation brings about  a new integration, because alienation involves disintegration. Every human alienation is rooted in our alienation from God. We can even be alienated from ourselves. Greek reconciliation is change/exchange. Like a business deal. #Jesus. Multiple exchanges…including new creation and perspective and purpose/meaning of life.

June 15, 2023 – Redemption through His Blood. Slavery term. Payment for slavery (our bondage to sin and satan). Liberated from its dominion.

June 14, 2023 – God Justifies the Ungodly. God counts us as righteous. This takes place at the beginning of Christian life. All believers,  no matter how long they’ve been a believer, have the same level of justification (complete justification).  Sanctification does not equal justification.

June 13, 2023 – The Propitiation for Our Sins. Think about four New Testament words that help us to understand our needs and Christ’s work. Propitiation. John and Paul. Doing something that averts or exhausts the anger or the wrath of another. when people are awakened to the dangerous condition they’re in, they tend to say things like, “I need to do better” (but no). But even if they were to be perfect from that point on, they’d still not escape the wrath of God. Jesus on the cross and godforsaken him we have both the horror and the wonder of the mercy of God in Christ. The horror is God’s wrath against our sin. The wonder is God’s love that He provides mercy in the propitiatory sacrifice of His son.

June 12, 2023 – Every Spiritual Blessing in Christ. The person and work are closely related.  We should not just seeking blessings, but instead seek and trust the Lord Jesus Himself – in his multi-fascetedness. Savior and Lord. Paul: Ephesians 1:3–14. Every spiritual blessing, and He enumerates quite a number of them—redemption, pardon, adoption, sanctification—they’re all to be found in Jesus Christ and only in Jesus Christ.

Week 24: The work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

June 9, 2023 – One Person, Two Natures. Chalcedonian theologians had two errors in mind. Eutyches and Nestorius. We need to be very careful and precise about the who, what, and the nature of Jesus Christ. Without theology, without great Christology, without patiently thinking things through, we don’t really have a very good foundation on which to build our Christian lives. So, it’s worth the hard thinking.

June 8, 2023 – Co-Essential with the Father. Referring to the definition of Chalcedon. Now should we think about these dense words of these great theological statements as too complicated? What they are doing is giving us a beautiful, detailed description of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And if we are impatient, the fault is probably with ourselves. As a musician looks at all the locations carefully in a piece of music.

Two  misguided thinkers from the fourth century: Arius and Apollinaris. So what Chalcedon is really saying to us is this: We have a great Savior who was truly one of us, truly like us—sin apart—and that’s what qualifies Him to be our Savior. And He’s God, and that’s what qualifies Him to reconcile us to God.

June 7, 2023 – Truly God and Truly Man. The (very dense) Definition of (Jesus and his 2 natures) Chalcedon, which was written in 451 AD, a group of Christian thinkers tried to distill the best way to summarize the biblical teaching.

June 6, 2023 – The Person of the Son. The process of stocking up knowledge and retaining it is always helped by having structures in our thinking, foundation stones we can build on. The Velcro strips of Christian doctrine, to which things can stick. (1) The Lord Jesus Christ: He’s a divine person.

June 5, 2023 – Thinking about Jesus. In this day and age, we often get detached pieces of information. We need the digger context. Often we are collecting fragments of a picture, but I didn’t really know where and how these fragments fitted into the frame.

Can you sit down and think for five uninterrupted minutes about the Lord Jesus and how great He is?

Week 23: The person of the Lord Jesus Christ

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 Father, 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 ⬆️ ⬆️

Things Unseen Podcast begins Jan. 1, 2023

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.

Starting with March 27, 2023, notes are above in reverse chronological order.