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Heart Aflame - January 10th

Calvin comments on Psalm 7:

O Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me.  David constantly entertained confidence in God in his afflictions.  This is a genuine and an undoubted proof of our faith, when, being visited with adversity, we, notwithstanding, persevere in cherishing and exercising hope in God.  The gate of mercy is shut against our prayers if the key of faith do not open it for us.

If I have done this and there is guilt on my hands.  David, by entreating God to succour him upon no other condition than this, that his integrity should upon trial be found to be untarnished teaches us by his example, that as often as we have recourse to God, we must make it our first care to be well assured in our own consciences with respect to the righteousness of our cause; for we do him great wrong if we wish to engage him as the advocate and defender of a bad cause.  Since God is no respecter of persons, we cannot expect him to be on our side, and to favour us, if our cause is not good.

Awake, my God; decree justice.  We should in everything conform our requests to the divine will.  We can never pray in faith unless we attend to what God commands, that our minds may not rashly and at random start aside in desiring more than we are permitted to desire and pray for.  David, therefore, in order to pray aright, reposes himself on the word and promise of God.

His violence comes down on his own head.  However skilled in craft our enemies may be, and whatever means of doing mischief they may have, we must neverthelss look for the issue which God here promises, that they shall fall by their own sword.  And this is not a thing which happens by chance; but God, by the secret direction of his own hand, causes the evil which they intend to bring upon the innocent to return upon their own heads.

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness.  God does not shut up on conceal his righteousness from our view in the secret recesses of his own mind, but manifests it for our advantage when he defends us against all wrongful violence, delivers us from oppression, and preserves us in safety, although wicked men make war upon us and persecute us.


What I want

Well, there are a few things... I want to be a better wife and mother, a more faithful Christian woman, a more loving individual.  Right now, what I want is to have more dedicated Christian women in my life.

I desperately want that.

I want women in my life who are discerning; women who will think with their heads as well as their hearts; women who will saturate themselves in Scripture.  I want women in my life who will look at everything through the lens of Scripture, who are concerned to ask themselves daily, "How is what I am doing contributing to my holiness?" 

I want women who are not afraid to take an unpopular stance in the name of maintaining biblical standards.  I want women in my circle of friends who hunger and thirst for righteousness, even at the risk of being unhip, unpopular, or uncool.

Why do I want that?

Because I want to be a woman like that, and I can't do it alone.  The Body of Christ needs its members -- all of its members -- to be strong.  There is strength in numbers.

I pray daily for the strength to be that kind of woman, because I believe that is what God wants me to be.


Language and Humanity

"Language is, I maintain, an indispensable element of the image of God in which we are created.  (1) It likens us to God, who does all things by His powerful Word and who is identical with His word (John 1:1ff).  (2) It distinguishes us from the animals, giving us a powerful tool of dominion.  (3)  It is central to human life.  Man's first experience recorded in Scripture was the experience of hearing God's word (Gen 1:28ff), and his first task was the task of "naming" the animals (Gen. 2:19ff).  James, building on Proverbs, teaches us that if a man can control his tongue, he can control his whole body (3:1-12).  Sins of the tongue take prominence in biblical lists of sins, such as Romans 3:10-18.  Redemption is often presented as a cleansing of the lips (Isa. 6:5-7) or language (Ps. 12; Zeph. 3:9-13).

The points I have been making, then, about the responsible use of theological language, are not merely of academic interest.  Speaking truthfully, for edification (rather than speaking lies, blasphemies, and foolishness) is a crucial part of our responsibility before God (I Cor. 14:3, 12, 17, 26; Eph. 4:29)."


Thankful Thursday

In November, Rebecca hosted a month long Thanksgiving festival.  Daily, many of us shared things for which we were thankful.  It was a great blessing.

I have occasionally posted Thankful Thursday (I do love alliteration!), and I have decided to do this again throughout 2010.  It was such a good thing in November to be reminded of how thankful we are.  Thanksgiving breeds humility, and we all need that.  I invite anyone to leave a comment about things for which they are thankful.  Yes, yes, I am being a copy-cat, but copying Rebecca in this instance is a good thing!

This morning, I am thankful for the words I read in my devotions this morning, in Psalm 6:

Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.

I am thankful that the Lord hears me when I weep and that he hears my pleas.  While we may not have enemies like David did, some people do.  There are places in the world where persecution exists beyond anything we understand here in North America.   A day may come when we are persecuted more.  We are being persecuted in subtle ways here in Canada, with various forms of legislation that seek to inhibit the gospel and biblical living.  It is a comfort now to know that the Lord hears our pleas, and that He will in the future.

Please share a thankful thought!


Learning about theology from a theologian

I'm currently reading about language as a tool of theology.  In the chapter "The Situational Perspective - Language as a Tool of Theology," John Frame first points out that theology and Scripture use language.   As well as being something we live, theology is a body of language.  Theology not is Scripture, however.  The job of theology is to explain Scripture, which requires the use of language.  In this chapter, Frame discusses the strengths and the limitations of language as a tool of theology. 

One of the things he brings out is that all languages lack total precision.  Vagueness is a part of any language.  Scripture is no different.  It contains vagueness, in Frame's opinion by design.  Ultimately, our standard is Scripture, and in our efforts to explain theology, we have to remember that the systems we use to explain Scripture are only tools.  As we try to be precise in our descriptions, it may be tempting to place more reliance on the system than the Word.  I like what Frame says here:

The fact is that Scripture, not some form of "precise" theology, is our standard.  And Scripture, for God's good reasons, is often vague.  Therefore there is no way of escaping vagueness in theology, creed, or subscription without setting Scripture aside as our ultimate criterion.  Theology does not dare to try to improve the preciseness of Scripture.  Its only role is to apply what Scripture teaches.  Let us be satisfied with that modest task, for it is glorious.

I like the fact that Frame, a theologian himself, sees the limitations of theology, yet sees the pleasure in it.