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Heart Aflame - February 14, 2010

Psalm 17:2-4

Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.  These words may be suitably explained in this way:  You, Lord, who understands all the secret affections and thoughts of my heart, even as it is your peculiar prerogative to try men, knows very well that I am not a double man, and no not chrish any deceit within.  David subjects himself to an impartial examination, seeing God, whose prerogative it is to search the secret recesses of the heart, cannot be deceived by the external appearance.

The time when he declares God to have visited him is during the night, because, when a man is withdrawn from the presence of his fellow creatures, he sees more clearly his sins, which otherwise would be hidden from his view; just as, on the contrary, the sight of men affects us with shame, and this is, as it were, a veil before our eyes, which prevents us from delibarately examining our faults.  It is, therefore, as if David had said, O Lord, since the darkness of the night discovers the conscience more fully, all coverings being then taken away, and since, at that season, the affections, either good or bad, according to men's inclinations, manifest themselves more freely, when there is no person present to witness and pronounce judment upon them; if you then examine me, there will be found neither disguise nor deceit in my heart.

As for the deeds of men - by the word of your lips I hae kept myself from the ways of the violent.  If we would have a good rule for governing ourselves, when our enemies, by their mischievous actions, provoke us to treat them in a similar manner, let us learn, after the example of David, to meditate upon the word of God, and to keep our eyes fixed upon it.  By this means our minds will be preserved from ever being blinded, and we shall always avoid the paths of wickedness, seeing God will not only keep our affections under restraint by his commandments, but will also train them to patience by his promises.  He withholds us from doing evil to our neighbours, not only by forbidding us, but by declaring, at the same time, that he will take into his own hand the execution of vengeance on those who injure us, he admonishes us to "give place unto wrath" (Rom. 12:19)


Soundtrack for a Saturday

Earlier this week, as I listened to an installment of A Celtic Sojourn, the artist Hanneke Cassel was brought to my attention.  Every week, at the beginning of A Celtic Sojourn, a waltz is played, and Cassel, a violinist, was the artist playing the waltz I was listening to.  I have heard her name mentioned on a number of other occasions when listening to the program.  I did a search for some of her music and came across her MySpace.  There are some selections you can listen to.  If you scroll down the audio clips, you will find a version of "It Is Well With My Soul," which is just beautiful.  I found the recording from which that song comes, and was pleased to see that it is a collection of worship songs, including a beautiful combination of "Abide with Me" and "Fairest Lord Jesus."  The name of the recording is called Calm the Raging Sea.

I wanted to find a clip of her playing one of the songs from Calm the Raging Sea, but couldn't. I did find a clip of her with the group of which she's a part, Childsplay.


Not exactly Church History

The past couple of days have been rather harried ones.  I have been nursing a very sore neck, and trying to stay off the computer if I could, or if I'm on, I only stay on for brief periods.  I have finished reading The Irish Puritans, and I wanted to make some observations, but with a sore neck and busy days, things just didn't happen.  I did feel better today, though, and made my boys their favourite treat, Toffee Bars.

1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

Cream the margarine with brown sugar.  Add the egg yolk and vanilla, mixing well.  Add flour.  Spread the dough out on a 9x13 baking pan (I use a Pampered Chef bar pan, which works nicely).  Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned.

As soon as the pan comes out of the oven, spread the chocolate chips evenly across the top.  As the chips melt on the surface, spread evenly over the top.  When spread completely, spread the chopped nuts across the top.  Cut into bars while warm. 


Heart Aflame - Psalm 16:1-2

Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.  This is a prayer in which David commits himself to the protection of God.  God is ready to succour all of us, provided we rely upon him with a sure and steadfast faith; and that he takes under his protection none but those who commit themselves to him with their whole heart.

You are my Lord, my well-doing cannot extend to you.  David begins by stating that he can bestow nothing upon God, not only because God stands in no need of anything but also because mortal man cannot merit the favour of God by any service which he can perform to him.  At the same time, however, he takes courage, and, as God accepts our devotion, and the service which we yield to him, David protests that he will be one of his servants.

Two things are distinctly laid down in this verse.  The first is, that God has a right to require of us whatever he pleases, seeing we are fully bound to him as our rightful proprietor and Lord.  David, by ascribing to him the power and the dominion of Lord, declares that both himself and all he possessed are the property of God.

Let men strive ever so much to lay themselves out for God, yet they can bring no advantage to him.  Our goodness extends not to him, not only because having in himself alone an all-sufficiency, he stands in need of nothing, but also because we are empty and destitute of all good things, and have nothing which to show ourselves liberal towards him.

It is impossible for men, by any merits of their own, to bring God under obligation to them, so as to make him their debtor.  The sum of the discourse is, that when we come before God, we must lay aside all presumption.  When we imagine that there is any good thing in us, we need not wonder if he reject us, as we thus take away from him a principal part of the honour which is his due.  On the contrary, if we acknoeldge that all the servies which we can yield to him are in temselves things of nought, and undeserving of any recompense, this humility is as perfume of a sweet odour, which will procure for them acceptance with God.



A few links I liked this week

 I enjoyed two links from the Grace to You blog, where Dr. MacArthur talks about Bad Hermeneutics and Good Hermeneutics.  They are audio short clips, and very much worth the listen.

This morning, Annette shared a video done by a young woman from Toronto, discussing how Canadians all drink milk from bags (we do here in Ontario).  A subsequent article in The Toronto Star reveals that Miss Ng, was not properly informed; not all Canadians partake of milk from bags.  I thought it was interesting that her video generated cries of "Are you guys ever weird!"  Have those people seen what is on YouTube?  Miss Ng's video was among the saner material I have seen.  Weird is in the eye of the beholder, at times.  It's kind of mind-boggling that such a trivial piece of informaton can generate so much attention; but then again, this is the internet after all.