October 15, 2021

Golden Rule.

You shall not defraud your neighbor.
Leviticus 19:13
When the Heidelberg Catechism asks what is forbidden in the eighth commandment (Thou shalt not steal), it gives this answer: That I do whatever I can for my neighbor’s good, that I treat others as I would like them to treat me, and that I work faithfully so that I may share with those in need.

Defrauding our neighbor, then, is not just taking something from them, but also denying them something that God intends for them to have. If the planet God meant for us to inhabit was created with enough clean air and water for all,

October 14, 2021

Self-Possession

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.
Psalm 146:5
Alexander Maclaren wrote:

By persevering persistence in the Christian path, we gain ourselves. Self-surrender is self-possession. We never own ourselves till we have given up owning ourselves, and yielded ourselves to that Lord who gives us back to ourselves. Self-control is self-possession. We do not own ourselves as long as it is possible for any weakness in flesh, sense, or spirit to gain dominion over us and hinder us from doing what we know to be right. We are not our own masters then.

October 13, 2021

Thy Servant Heareth

Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!”
1 Samuel 3:4
Master, speak! thy servant heareth,
waiting for thy gracious word,
longing for thy voice that cheereth,
Master, let it now be heard.
I am listening, Lord, for thee;
what hast thou to say to me?

Speak to me by name, O Master,

October 12, 2021

Because Christ Is Good

We do not present our supplication before you on the ground of our righteousness, but on the ground of your great mercies.
Daniel 9:18
When we need God's help more than ever, when we've gotten ourselves into a mess and cannot find a way out of it—it is then that we are often the most hesitant to come into God's presence. Why? Because we are not good enough. How can we, ungrateful sinners that we are, possibly ask God for anything?

And yet, that is the message of the gospel. We can approach God not because we are so good, but simply because we believe in the One who sits at God's right hand.

October 11, 2021

In My Head and in My Understanding


But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Jeremiah 31:33
I suppose there are two ways of looking at the chief promise of Jeremiah 31. The first is that we'll learn God's law by rote—know it by heart—so that we'll be able to obey it perfectly. This might sound good to some people, but to me it would seem to create an entire race of robots. Such thorough memorization would result in automatic obedience, thoughtless words, and mindless actions.