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Soundtrack for a Saturday

Last night, before bed, I was listening to a little Debussy.  It's wonderful "before bed" music.  I will admit, however, to being entirely disgruntled to hear from my teenaged son that many people are calling "Claire de Lune," the "twilight song," because the song is used in the silly piece of film known as Twilight.

My son likes Debussy.  He has been trying to learn "Claire de Lune," although it is a grade level above where he currently plays.  But next year, his teacher will help him learn it.  He was doing a very good job on his own, and I was thrilled that my son actually likes a classical composer.  I also heard him trying to learn this one the other day, "Reverie:"

I hope I get to hear this in my living room at some point.


Sin's Foul Bondage

That is the title of the most recent chapter I have read in Martyn Lloyd-Jones's book Studies in the Sermon on the Mount.  I have been dragging my feet a little with this book, but not because it's boring, or I'm losing interest.  My best friend and I get together weekly to discuss this book, but over the past month, we have also been meeting with two other friends for a study in the attributes of God, so we have had less opportunity to meet and discuss this book. 

Lloyd-Jones discusses sin's effects in the context of the verses that remind us that we must not lay up treasure on earth, but rather treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21).  One of the reasons we tend to lay up treasures on earth is that our minds are blinded by sin.  Lloyd-Jones states that our minds can only truly function in a rational manner when we have been redeemed by Christ.  He says this:

If you are not a Christian do not trust your mind; it is the most dangerous thing you can do.  But when you become a Christian your mind is put back in the centre and you become a rational being.  There is no more pathetic illusion than for a man to think of the Christian faith as sob-stuff, the dope of the people, something purely emotional and irrational.  The true view of it is stated perfectly by the apostle Paul in Romans 6:17.  You have 'obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.'  The doctrine was preached to them, and when they came to see it they liked it, believed it, and put it into practice.  They received the truth of God first of all with the mind.  Truth must be received with the mind, and the Holy Spirit enables the mind to become clear.  That is conversion, that is what happens as a result of regeneration.  The mind is delivered from this bias of evil and darkness; it sees the truth and loves and desires it above everything else.  That is it.  There is nothing more tragic than for a man to find at the end of his life that he has been entirely wrong all the time.


Thankful Thursday

Well, for those of you who know what July 1st means here in Canada, you may know what I'm thankful for today.

Today, is the 143rd birthday of Canada.  I am thankful to have been born and raised and to live in this country.  I am actually quite a patriotic person, even if my patriotism doesn't look that of others.  I pray for my country, learn about my country and support my country.  Hey, I even watched the Canada-U.S. hockey game at the Olympics this year.  I mean, who could resist watching them beat the U.S. in such an exciting way?

There are many good things about living here and as with other countries, there are bad things.  There is no perfect government system.  Me, I prefer a theocracy, but currently that won't fly here in North America.

I'm thankful for some time this afternoon we're going to spend together as a family with my in-laws.  I have two kids who have to work tonight (yes, stores and businesses are open even on a holiday here) so the time will be brief, but precious nonetheless.


Facebook in a book form

I've been thinking a lot about writing and leaving pieces of ourselves behind.  I bought a book recently called Canada:  A Portrait in Letters.  It is a book that shares contents of letters written to and from ordinary people.  There are letters written by those who were settlers in the early days of Canada's history, letters written during two World Wars, and letters written in the post War era.  As someone who is very interested in social history, I didn't hesitate to buy this book.  The lives of ordinary people, doing ordinary things, is an important part of a country's history.

I recently read an article in The Globe and Mail about the decline of journal writing; and by journal writing, I mean the paper kind of journals.  There are certainly on-line journals, but the nature of them being online means that they are intended to be read.  I have a blog, and I hope people read it.  I have a hard backed notebook where I write that isn't meant to be read by people, although I make it a rule not to put anything in there that I would be ashamed of thinking.  Maybe my future grandchildren will read my blog; I don't know.  But what if technology has changed to the point where that is not possible?  

The Globe article also talked about the honesty of journals in a paper format as opposed to online journals.  We can certainly scratch out what has been written in a paper journal, or tear out the pages, but the reminders of those removed sections remains.  The author speculated about how historically honest a personal journal could be if it was able to edited.  I wish I had saved the article; it was good.

I thought about how Facebook status lines, and probably Twitter status lines can document what a person is thinking and doing.  I could follow someone's Facebook status lines and see what was occupying their thoughts.  Well, why could someone not do that in a book?  It wouldn't have to be a journal entry, documenting deep thoughts (although, there is something about a blank page and a pen which works well that makes one end up saying more than she intended), just a brief comment.  I have decided to start doing that in my personal journal.  I have reading journals where I keep track of what I read, and where I record passages I liked, but this would be different.  Short and to the point is I'm thinking.  Who knows? Maybe my future grandchildren -- assuming that people are still literate, haha! -- will have a glimpse into an ancestor through it.


What about retribution?

In the book A Call to Spiritual Reformation, D.A. Carson discusses the prayer of Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12.  Paul is thanking God that their faith is growing and that love is increasing.  The Thessalonians were enduring persecution, and Paul was thankful for their perseverence in the midst of persecution.  He goes on to remind them that "God is just; He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well" (v. 6-7)

Carson points out the reality that retribution in some form is consistent with who God is:

In fact, the Christian gospel is solidly based on some elementary notions of retribution.  Where evil occurs, it must be paid back, or God himself is affronted.  If God forever overlooks evil, ostensibly on the ground that he is loving and forbearing, is he not also betraying the fact that he is pathetically unconcerned about injustice?

The truth is that every Christian who has throught long and hard about the cross begins to understand that God is not merely a stern dispenser of justice, nor merely a lover who lavishly forgives, but the Sovereign who is simultaneously perfect in holiness and perfect in love.  His holiness demands retribution; his love send his own Son to absorb that retribution on behalf of others.  The cross simultaneously stands as the irrefutable evidence that God demands retribution, and cries out that it is the measure of God's love (see Rom. 3:21-26).  That is why, in the Christian view of things, forgiveness is never detatched from the cross.  In other words, forgiveness is never the product of love alone, still less of mawkish sentimentality.  Forgiveness is possible only because there is a real offense, and a real sacriice to offset that offense.

In a ladies' Sunday school class recently, one of the challenges put forth by the teacher was for us to think each day upon our salvation and appreciate what it has done for us.  I commented at the time the one of the ways to become more thankful for our salvation is to reflect on the reason why we need it:  our sin is an offense to God that needs forgiving.  Aren't we always more thankful when someone gives us something we really need?  I don't see how we can appreciate salvation truly unless we know what it a salvation from.