Tag Archives: Bible

I stand alone on the Word of God

When I was a kid, this was part of the chorus of the popular B-I-B-L-E song that I memorized, “The B-I-B-L-E yes that’s the book for me.  I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E.”  Who knew that almost 30 years later, I’d still be singing it (and to my daughter) although now with greater meaning?  In this short little children’s tune, we actually have a stated worldview and theological stance.  Now, I suppose that without knowing the history or meaning of this song one could view it 2 different ways and still arrive at truthful implications.  The first, and perhaps the view that I held as a child singing this song, is that to “stand alone on the Word of God” is to stand by oneself.  When everyone else is chasing the world and following clever fable’s and myth’s, God’s children are standing on His Word.  There is imagery of solitude here; that no matter if we stand alone, by ourselves, on God’s Word, upholding it, defending it, proclaiming it, then we still stand.  When I think of this now, I can’t help but picture the great reformer Martin Luther, standing by himself on the truths of God’s Word.  His famous words, “Here I stand.  I can do no other” no doubt are symbolic of his position on God’s Word as his only foundation.  This view is an absolute encouragement to put on the armor of God, “and having done all, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:13

But I think there is also a second implication, one of equal importance, but perhaps deeper in meaning.  Within it is the presence of a great theological truth, i.e. the sufficiency of Scripture.  This is something that may not immediately jump out to those singing this song.  It certainly didn’t to me as a child.   

Perhaps there is no greater single passage on the sufficiency of Scripture than Psalm 19:7-14 as it magnifies the Word of God.  Before we look at that passage, let me define my term in using the “sufficiency of Scripture.”  Below is a quote from pastor/teacher John MacArthur:

“Scripture is comprehensive, containing everything necessary for one’s spiritual life. Scripture is surer than a human experience that one may look to in proving God’s power and presence. Scripture contains divine principles that are the best guide for character and conduct. Scripture is lucid rather than mystifying so that it enlightens the eyes. Scripture is void of any flaws and therefore lasts forever. Scripture is true regarding all things that matter, making it capable of producing comprehensive righteousness. Because it meets every need in life, Scripture is infinitely more precious than anything this world has to offer.”

As a broad statement, that is the heart and essence of the sufficiency of Scripture, “containing everything necessary for one’s spiritual life.”  By implication, if it contains everything for the individual Christian life, then it also contains everything necessary for the government and rule of the local church.  God’s Word is sufficient.  If we may return to our children’s song from earlier, let us be reminded there is no need to have one foot standing on God’s Word and another on something else.  “I stand alone on the Word of God” not being propped up or founded on anything else, especially human wisdom.  In reality most churches have gone beyond that and have turned church operation and governance into a game of Twister; Right hand on experience, left hand on pragmatism, right foot on tradition, and left foot on the latest fad or Purpose Driven method.  At best there might be a pinkie toe from one foot outstretched to God’s Word.  But this cannot be and certainly is a failure to rely on God’s Word as sufficient.   

Like the popular saying goes, “On Christ the solid rock I stand.  All other ground is sinking sand.”  God’s Word is faithful and true.  It alone should be the source and authority for all we need in our spiritual lives and for ruling our churches because through it God the Holy Spirit illumines the mind toward the will of God and provides wisdom to apply to any and all situations.  So stand by yourself on God’s Word and stand on nothing else but God’s Word.    

Below is Psalm 19:7-14.  I won’t expound on it at this time, but will simply allow God’s Word  to speak for itself.

“7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
   reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
   making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the LORD are right,
   rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the LORD is clean,
   enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
   and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
   even much fine gold;
 sweeter also than honey
   and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.

 12 Who can discern his errors?
   Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
   let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
   and innocent of great transgression.

 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
   be acceptable in your sight,
   O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

 

Thinking about Santa

Repost from December 22, 2009.

I found this post on the blog at Pastor John Piper’s ministry www.DesiringGod.org  It was written by his wife Noel and I think it perfectly explains the distraction that Santa Claus is to the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  Society likes to portray those folks who don’t get wrapped up in this fairy tale diversion as a “Grinch” or lacking “Christmas Spirit.”  How typical of a fallen world to denigrate those who recognize Christmas as the birth of Christ and not that of a mystical man with a god-like persona.  Thank you Mrs. Piper for writing words of truth and providing a model for Christian families to follow.

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By Noel Piper http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/2141_thinking_about_santa/

Over the years, we have chosen not to include Santa Claus in our Christmas stories and decorations. There are several reasons.

First, fairy tales are fun and we enjoy them, but we don’t ask our children to believe them.

Second, we want our children to understand God as fully as they’re able at whatever age they are. So we try to avoid anything that would delay or distort that understanding. It seems to us that celebrating with a mixture of Santa and manger will postpone a child’s clear understanding of what the real truth of God is. It’s very difficult for a young child to pick through a marble cake of part-truth and part-imagination to find the crumbs of reality.

Third, we think about how confusing it must be to a straight-thinking, uncritically-minded preschooler because Santa is so much like what we’re trying all year to teach our children about God. Look, for example, at the “attributes” of Santa.

  • He’s omniscient-he sees everything you do.
  • He rewards you if you’re good.
  • He’s omnipresent-at least, he can be everywhere in one night.
  • He gives you good gifts.
  • He’s the most famous “old man in the sky” figure.

But at the deeper level that young children haven’t reached yet in their understanding, he is not like God at all.

For example, does Santa really care if we’re bad or good? Think of the most awful kid you can remember. Did he or she ever not get gifts from Santa?

What about Santa’s spying and then rewarding you if you’re good enough? That’s not the way God operates. He gave us his gift-his Son-even though we weren’t good at all. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He gave his gift to us to make us good, not because we had proved ourselves good enough.

Helping our children understand God as much as they’re able at whatever age they are is our primary goal. But we’ve also seen some other encouraging effects of not including Santa in our celebration.

First, I think children are glad to realize that their parents, who live with them all year and know all the worst things about them, still show their love at Christmas. Isn’t that more significant than a funny, old, make-believe man who drops in just once a year?

Second, I think most children know their family’s usual giving patterns for birthday and special events. They tend to have an instinct about their family’s typical spending levels and abilities. Knowing that their Christmas gifts come from the people they love, rather than from a bottomless sack, can help diminish the “I-want-this, give-me-that” syndrome.

And finally, when children know that God’s generosity is reflected by God’s people, it tends to encourage a sense of responsibility about helping make Christmas good for others.

Karsten, for example, worked hard on one gift in 1975. On that Christmas morning, his daddy stepped around a large, loose-flapped cardboard box to get to his chair at the breakfast table. “Where’s Karsten?” he asked, expecting to see our excited three-year-old raring to leap into the day. Sitting down, I said, “He’ll be here in a minute.”

I nudged the box with my toe. From inside the carton, Karsten threw back the flaps and sprang to his full three-foot stature. “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them . . .” He had memorized Luke 2:8-20 as a gift for his dad. Karsten knew the real story.

In fact, a few days later, he and I were walking down the hall at the church we attended then. One of the older ladies leaned down to squeeze his pink, round cheek and asked, “What did Santa bring you?” Karsten’s head jerked quickly toward me, and he whispered loudly, “Doesn’t she know?”

(Adapted from Treasuring God in Our Traditions)

Saul Revisited

Two months ago I published a post entitled, Are We Re-living the Time of Samuel.  My intention with this post was to point out some of the parallels that “could” happen to our country with the election of a new president.  I say “could” happen, because I included the caveat, “Unless the people can return to their roots and mission, they will crumble from within.”  I received some positive and some negative feedback on this post, because some were able to see the connection while others tried to compare every single detail of the transition of Samuel to Saul to the transition form President Bush to President Obama and that just simply wasn’t the comparison I was making.  No, Samuel is not the former president and Saul is probably not the new one, though time will tell.  It’s more about ideals and where we are as a country.  If you’d like, take a couple of minutes and read/re-read the original post and I’ll wait right here…..:-)

Back?  Good.  What we have to understand about Israel during their transition of power was that until this point, they had no king, no ruler, only judges and then priest(s) who served in capacity as prophet, priest, and “king”.  Samuel was an understudy to the priest Eli and took over for him after his death.  Eli had judged Israel for 40 years. I Samuel 4:18 Samuel had charged the house of Israel to abandon their idols and give their hearts back to God.  Samuel actually traveled via circuit year by year to different regions during his time over Israel, but as he aged, the people became disgruntled and increasingly dissatisfied.  Now is where we’ll start to see the parallels to today’s society. 

Let’s pause briefly to address the foundation of the United States.  We learn very early on in our education that the Pilgrims and Puritans came to the new world to seek religious freedom.  As such they escaped religious tyranny and began years of migration from England to what would be America to allow the practice of their religion based on the Bible.  This isn’t a history lesson, but merely to provide background for the foundation of this country on Biblical principles.  Some debated with my last post that we are such a “melting pot” that many different religions and ideas have factored into the development of the U.S., but this simply isn’t true.  It’s only been within the last century+ that this has been the case.  As I’ve mentioned, our laws, values, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, judicial system were ALL based sound Biblical principles and the authority of God.  As one of our founding fathers John Adams said, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Interesting.  As a nation, we are daily abandoning these foundational truths.  Churches are being divided via the gay agenda, atheism is on the rise, apostasy is upon us, our country has become one of many worldly religions and to speak out against any of these issues via Christian principles will soon be deemed hate speech.  We are turning our back on God and rejecting him as our King and sole provider.

So back to the Israelites, Samuel was able to bring them back to God and as a result their adversary the Philistines no longer had dominion over them and the cities that were taken from them were restored. I Samuel 7:13-14 But as Samuel began to age, the people began to be restless with him and demanded a king; they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” I Samuel 8:6 KJV In response to these demands, this is what the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their King.”  The Israelites forsaked God, but He told Samuel to grant their request for a king, but offer a stern warning to them.  Below is his warning:

I Samuel 8:11-18 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

Keep in mind, this warning was given because the people had turned their back on God.  God had Samuel anoint Saul as king knowing full well what would happen. 

I understand that many people view the Bible with their own interpretations and above correlation is just an example of my viewpoint.  I even debated going through the passage above and relating each specific warning to what is and will take place in this country, but elected not to, because the focus should be on returning to our roots and foundation in God.  Read the passage for yourself and let God speak to you and what it means to you.  Because agree or disagree with the analysis, there’s no debate that we are a nation falling away from God.  Will we follow the same path as the Israelites?  Have we been given our warning?  Is it too late to heed the warning?  I pray that we’re not already on the path of the warning consequences, “When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religious, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”– Patrick Henry 1776

“The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”  The US Congress 1782

“If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.” – Ronald Reagan