Showing posts from July, 2024

Return from exile

In our adult Sunday school class, we are studying the book of Esther. Here's a timeline for that period... And here is a reading guide for Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.  

Messianic prophecies

When I came to faith in Jesus Christ in 1971, one of the early encouragements that I received was learning about the many prophecies in the Old Testament that testified to the coming Messiah, our Lord Jesus.  Along with teaching regarding the reliable eyewitness accounts of the New Testament apostles, I was realizing that my trust in Christ was not based upon a psychological mood or wish fulfillment. ( Frankly, at first, I did not wish to be changed in the way Jesus would bring changes... ) My faith was resting on historical events and upon prophetic witness.  In his Pensées, Section 11 (The Prophecies), Blaise Pascal (above) writes that it is one thing for a person, one individual, to make predictions before an event takes place, and quite another for many different individuals to make a variety of predictions over centuries of time, all of which are all fulfilled in turn. He writes...  When I see the blindness and the wretchedness of man, when I regard the whole silent universe, and

praying for leaders

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way." (1 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV) "But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare." (Jeremiah 29:7 ESV) In thinking through these verses (and others) it strikes me that we should not engage in prayer which is politically partisan.  If a person is a leader of our nation, or was a leader in our nation, we should pray that God would heal, protect, and guide them into righteousness.  This we pray, not only for their own sake, but also for the welfare of our nation. If we pray only for our favored leaders, then we reveal our unbelief in the sovereignty of God and his guiding hand in history.  We, as believers in the sovereign Lord are not to be part

Sayers on categorization

One of the errors in discussions regarding racism and social justice, I believe, is that injustice is viewed almost totally in categorical or socio-economic terms (similar to Marxist thought), rather than in the full light of biblical justice, which includes individual, moral considerations.  Recently, I came across some quotes from Dorothy Sayers (1893--1957) who was a friend and contemporary of C. S. Lewis. I've always enjoyed her mystery stories and was deeply impressed with her book, The Mind of the Maker (1941).  In thinking through the legitimate issues raised by the feminists of her day, she sounded warnings on the danger of categorization, that is, in being too prone to deal simply with racial, gender, economic, and class distinctions. She wrote...    “It is the mark of all movements, however well-intentioned, that their pioneers tend, by much lashing of themselves into excitement, to lose sight of the obvious. That 'obvious,' all too often, was the basic humanity

enlarging our view of the cross

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” (Isaiah 6:4-7) And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10) The prophet Isaiah was given a vision of the glory of God (Isa 6). Note: he was already a believer and had been active in ministry. We too, as we grow in the Lord, know more of ourselves. We know more of our mixed motives. We haven't come as far as we thought in our growth and sanctification. The world and flesh and devil have pro