Thanksgiving For God Himself

Typically on the Sunday before Thanksgiving I post a hymn emphasizing giving thanks. That’s something readers expect from Christian bloggers who post Sunday hymns. And it’s by all means a perfectly reasonable expectation.

But 2020 has been anything but a typical year, and I want to look at this holiday from a slightly different perspective. Instead of emphasizing thankfulness in and of itself, I’ve selected a hymn that centers on the One Who deserves our thanks — not for what He gives us, but for Who He is.

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A Different Saturday Sampler

Various circumstances have ruled out reading many blog posts this week, so I didn’t get to organize my usual curation of links. That being the case, I’ve decided to make a sampler of Scriptures about Who our Lord is. May His Holy Spirit use these passages to prepare us for Sunday morning worship.

All passages come from the New American Standard Bible.

Of course we’ll start with my favorite passage:

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation: 16 for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. ~~Colossians 1:15-20

That wonderful passage always reminds me of how the writer of Hebrews describes Jesus:

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom He also made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, to the extent that He has inherited a more excellent name than they. ~~Hebrews 1:1-4

Come to think of it, the apostle John opens his gospel narrative with a testimony of Christ’s deity and majesty:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not grasp it. ~~John 1:1-4

Isaiah certainly gives us a powerful picture of the Lord in His glory:

In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim were standing above Him, each having six wings: with two each covered his face, and with two each covered his feet, and with two each flew. And one called out to another and said,

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of armies.
The whole earth is full of His glory.” ~~Isaiah 6:1-3

Let’s close with John’s encounter with the glorified Christ:

12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And after turning I saw seven golden lampstands; 13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and wrapped around the chest with a golden sash. 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze when it has been heated to a glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. ~~Revelation 1:12-16

What a holy God!

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Hospitals And Speaking In Tongues

Although I came home from the hospital on November 5, my ten-day stay weakened me so much that I am just beginning to regain my ability to type. My diagnosis was initially anemia and malnutrition, but during my stay I developed a blood infection. I returned home with a Hickman port, which allows visiting nurses to give me daily IV antibiotics.

But let’s not make this article another update on my health, okay? I do appreciate your prayers during my absence, and I want to assure you that I am doing better. At the same time, I prefer to focus this post on something the Lord taught me while I was in that hospital bed.

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The Plan, And What It Means For You

Tomorrow morning I’ll return to Milton Hospital for extensive testing. My legs are terribly swollen (I’m turning into an elephant), all my food tastes so metallic that I don’t eat much, and my red blood cell count keeps dropping. Queasiness separates me from eating supper each evening. I’m physically exhausted, and frequently fall asleep at my desk.

Spiritually, I’m not doing well. Sometimes I question my salvation because of my anger and frustration. Praise God, He always brings me back to trusting Him for my salvation!

Some of you have generously sent Kindle books and PayPal gifts. I’m deeply grateful for your love and support. At this point, however, I need to ask that you not send anything further until I’ve returned home. Unlike most people, I can’t operate a smart phone or a tablet, meaning that I have no way of handling digital gifts until I’m back on my computer. Additionally, I won’t be able to moderate comments on this blog.

Thank you for your support and understanding. I look forward to recovering and writing articles that will serve you.

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Update

I spent Wednesday and Thursday in the hospital. I’ll most likely go back in next week for a longer period of time (I left against medical advice so I could vote, which I did this morning). Consequently, there will be no Saturday Sampler tomorrow. I’ll try to post a Sunday Hymn, but I can’t promise. Thank you for understanding.

So Yeah, Reformation Day Is Coming — And I Don’t Think Anyone Has Noticed

2020 has been (if you’ll allow me to state the obvious) a turbulent year. The alleged pandemic, protests that aren’t as peaceful as the media claims and the U.S. election that threatens to plunge our country into socialism all vie for our attention. Understandably, 1517 is the last thing on our minds.

Should it be?

Right now, we’re living in extremely serious times. I’ll admit that church history doesn’t capture my attention the way it did a year ago. Again, that’s fairly understandable, I suppose. But it’s also rather disconcerting.

Even more disconcerting is the fact that I haven’t seen many other Reformed bloggers writing about the Reformation this year. We’re busy writing about so many other issues. Important issues, certainly, and issues that definitely require attention. I by no means wish to shame anyone for addressing contemporary topics. 2020 demands as much.

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Join To Sing

Everyone loves singing. There’s something about it that liberates our spirits, making us feel as if we’re soaring on the music. What a glorious gift the Lord has given us!

Christians have an even deeper reason to appreciate this gift of singing because we have the privilege of singing praises to our God and King. And those who are blessed with the ability to gather with brothers and sisters in Christ understand the joy of mingling our voices with theirs to form a chorus of worship.

What a joy to know that, in eternity, our voices will join with all the redeemed to praise Jesus! Alleluia, Amen!

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Saturday Sampler: October 11 — October 17

Alisa Childers explains Biblical Judgment in a “Don’t Judge Me World in her guest post for Well Watered Women. Although some of her points have been stated often, she brings in fresh perspectives that strengthen the argument that judging is a Christian duty.

In The Mailbag: Can I share the gospel with my unsaved husband? Michelle Lesley uses both God’s Word and Biblical reasoning to address a common and heartbreaking problem affecting far too many Christian women. If your husband doesn’t know the Lord, I highly recommend this post.

Just as wives with unsaved husbands grieve, so do mothers whose children walk away from the faith. Leslie A, in this week’s post on Growing 4 Life, offers encouraging suggestions. You’ll find those suggestions in How Do We Keep from Losing Our Kids? I only wish she had included a caveat about God’s sovereignty in election. Nevertheless, her suggestions have tremendous value, and certainly would go a long way in leading a child to Christ.

I consider Elizabeth Prata to be the leading authority on Beth Moore. Her essay in The End Time, My first reaction to Beth Moore. 2011, traces Elizabeth’s concerns about this popular teacher, and touches on the pushback should received for speaking up. This is a valuable read — don’t neglect it!

God bless Melissa of Your Mom Has a Blog for writing For All My Fellow Phonies! I don’t know if she’s bugged my apartment, but her words really comfort me at a time when my sin discourages me. Maybe you’ll also be encouraged by her article.

Not all blog posts are pleasant to read, but sometimes the unpleasant ones help us understand the important issues of our day. For that reason, I recommend Two Dark Sides Of The Sexual Revolution by R. Scott Clark of The Heidelblog. Thankfully, his last paragraph extends hope and encouragement to people broken by sexual sin.

Flashback Friday: Limiting The Reformation To October

I originally wrote this article on October 18, 2018. Regretfully. I didn’t take heed to myself. Maybe I’ll get better about it.

Reformation

From November 1, 2016 to October 31, 2017 I blogged every Tuesday about the Protestant Reformation in anticipation of its 500th anniversary. Whether or not readers appreciated that series,  I believed they needed to understand the Reformation’s ties to Biblical discernment. The 16th Century Reformers indeed set the standard for discernment ministry, so they have much to teach 21st Century evangelicals. And several of my Tuesday posts made that connection.

When October 31, 2017 had come and gone, I succumbed to the temptation to put the Reformation on the back burner in favor of writing articles that might attract more readers. I know — utter pragmatism!  The very thing I rail against when writing about Rick Warren and the Church Growth Movement, huh? But oh, those climbing stats felt good!

I assured myself that I would continue writing about the Reformation throughout the ensuing year. Maybe not every week. Certainly not on a rigid schedule! But I’d have frequent articles about Zwingli, Knox, the Council of Dort and Bloody Mary. I’d show my readers how the Reformers bravely stood against persecution for the sake of God’s Word, and how they used God’s Word to discern truth from error.

Yeah, well. Here we are in the second half of October 2018, and I realize how little I’ve written about the Reformation in the past eleven months.  The confetti from the celebration had been swept up, brand new controversies rocked evangelical circles and no one really cared what a silly German monk nailed to a Wittenberg church door on October 31, 1517. I guess I got caught up in Beth Moore’s letter to her brothers, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Woke Movement.

I’m not alone.

As October 31, 2018 approaches, a handful of Reformed bloggers have started spitting out the obligatory posts about the Protestant Reformation. I’m hopping on the sparsely populated bandwagon, as I do every October, which is probably better than nothing. But it shames me that a calendar had to nudge me into writing about it.

The Protestant Reformation was monumental in restoring the Word of God to the Church. After the First Century Apostolic era, it was the greatest move of God in the history of Christianity! Besides serving as a model for discernment ministry, it brought God’s Word back to His people, liberating us from an apostate religious system.

This Reformation shouldn’t be politely dusted off each October, only to be packed away in November to make room for Thanksgiving decorations. It should be joyfully proclaimed throughout the year, encouraging us to praise God for His mercy in the 16th Century and to emulate their zeal for the Bible. Hopefully I’ll do better at writing about it all during the coming year.

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Did The Proverbs 31 Woman Violate Titus 2?

Bible believing Christians should all agree that a wife’s first and overriding responsibility must be to her home and family. Paul’s words to Titus make this point abundantly clear.

 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. ~~Titus 2:3-5 (NASB)

A Christian wife and mother must subject her personal desires and aspirations to the needs of her husband and children. And yes, ladies, that self-sacrifice includes homeschooling children. At least during child-rearing years (and when circumstances allow), a mother should set her career aside in favor of her children.

As we look at the business ventures of the Proverbs 31 woman, therefore, let’s keep in mind that neither I nor the writer of that section of Proverbs would advocate for a woman to seek a career at the expense of her family.

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