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Archive for the ‘Scripture Meditation’ Category

An offshoot of what I posted from last week, I thought this post  might interests some.
While this is several weeks ago, Dr. MacArthur has some general comment about the role of reason in reading the Scripture, as a direction for me to further think about this subject.
It can be read originally here.
I believe that a good grasp of logic aid in one’s Bible study and understanding of Scripture, perhaps in the near future I can flesh this out some more.
Scripture and Plain Reason
Monday, May 18, 2009

(By John MacArthur)

When Martin Luther was summoned to the Diet of Worms in 1521 and asked to recant his teaching, he replied, “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe. God help me. Here I stand, I can do no other.”

Luther’s well-known formulation, “Scripture and plain reason,” is the only basis on which we can properly ground true spiritual discernment.

Scripture isn’t antithetical to sound, rational wisdom, though many today imagine otherwise. Reason is no substitute for Scripture, of course, but when good reason and sound logic are kept subject to the authority of Scripture, they are in no way a threat to the truth. On the contrary, the application of sound, logical thinking to the truth of Scripture is a key aspect of the formula for discernment.

Contrary to what a lot of people these days assume, discernment is not a mystical or intuitive ability to know the truth as if by magic. It is the skill of understanding, interpreting, and applying truth accurately. Discernment is a cognitive act. Therefore no one who spurns right doctrine or sound reason can be truly discerning.

Authentic spiritual discernment must begin with Scripture-revealed truth. Without a firm grounding in divine revelation, human reason always degenerates into skepticism (a denial that anything can be known for certain), rationalism (the theory that reason is a source of truth), secularism (an approach to life that purposely excludes God), or any number of other anti-Christian philosophies.

When Scripture condemns human wisdom (1 Cor. 3:19), it is not denouncing logic and reason per se, but humanistic ideology divorced from the divinely-revealed truth of God’s Word. In other words, reason apart from the Word of God leads inevitably to unsound ideas, but reason subjected to the Word of God is at the heart of wise spiritual discernment.

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Movie Spoilers. Do not continue reading if don’t want plot spoilers and haven’t watched the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest or At World’s End

“Do you fear death?” -Davy Jones

Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, “Dead Man’s Chest” and “At World’s End,” both express the similar dread and fear of death. In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Davy Jones, captain of the Flying Dutchman, recruited more pirates for his ship by asking them one question, “Do you fear death?” Davy Jones sought dying people willing to delay death by serving 100 years on the Flying Dutchman. Similarly, in Pirates of the Caribbean: At the World’s End, Jack Sparrow is pained between obtaining immortality for himself by taking Davy Jones’ place as captain of the ghost-ship, the Flying Dutchman.

Pirates of the Caribbean assumes there is something to fear of death. Is such fear irrational? No, the underlying the fear of death is the fear of God and his judgement.

Man already knows the outcome of God’s judgement is punishment. “Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them (Romans 1:32).”

This is why some men readily joined Davy Jones’ crew. And why men are hesitant to cast life so easily. Though mankind knows beforehand the outcome of God’s judgement, they attempt to delay it. The fear of God’s judgement motivates the sinner to delay death. However the time the sinner spends “delaying death” is not actually a delay at all. The time before death is time allotted by God, upon “the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead [the sinner] to repentance.”

Death cannot be escaped. Even in Pirates of the Caribbean, Davy Jones himself was unable to escape death. It reminds me of people attempting to hide their face from God:

“When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
-Revelations 6:12-17

Such terror has happened before:

“And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. And the idols shall utterly pass away. And the people shall enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground, from before the terror of the LORD and from the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth.”
-Isaiah 2:17-19

Man would rather hide then face God but God is there to meet them:

For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps. There is no gloom or deep darkness where evildoers may hide themsevles.
Job 34-1-22

Often times in suicide, man attempts to escape the pain and suffering he exeriences. Yet Isaiah warns us, “What will you do on the day of punishment, in the ruin that will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth (Isaiah 10:30)?” There is no consolation or comfort in death.

With this understanding, Jesus’ statement about death makes sense:

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” -John 12:23-26

If one truely desires to escape final judgement in death, one must die to oneself and place faith in Christ. For such faith far exceeds anything Davy Jones or any man can offer, giving everlasting life.

Aye, come ye sinners, and serve on Christ’s crew, for our captain is unlike any other in the past, present, or future.

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riches.jpg

Don’t just think about riches today;

If you allow me to be your investment strategist (I don’t know anything about stocks and investment by the way), I would advise you invest to diversify and ALSO INVEST for the FUTURE.

MATTHEW 6:19-20=

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

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On CNN, an article talks about the public’s response to John and Elizabeth Edwards decisions to continue the 2008 Presidential campaign. Though the article gave a lot of quotes none of them in particular seemed to defend their decision. However, another article did clear up some possible misunderstandings: The cancer though uncurable, “The doctors likened the situation to living diabetes, which can be managed but is a lifelong decision.” Though I can’t say anything about their decision, I can say something about newlyweds.

I thought this scripture gave some insight about what God thinks about newlyweds:

“When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.”
-Deut 24:5

Several observations:

  1. This verse specfically applies to newlyweds.
  2. Public duty or the army entails:
    1. Frequent traveling
    2. Being away from home and consequently his wife
    3. Possibility of death or public scrutiny
  3. It is good to spend a year with his wife

This scripture englightens the trouble in marriage for both military servicemen and celebrities. Both work long hours, spend hours away from home. The servicemen is in danger of death while the celebrity is under public scrutiny. Unfortunately both experience a high rate of failed marriages and divorce. Does this mean spending a year at home in the first year of marriage will prevent problems or a divorce? No. But if you are willing to do so, it does speak of the importance you hold to marriage.

I think God makes clear a principle here. If you are involved in business, music or movie industry, police or military, if possibile you should make arrangements to spend time that year near your wife. Avoid volunteering for extra duty or work. Take a year off of business trips or music tours if possible. God has made it clear- “he shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.”

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Sasuke and NarutoEating Ramen

 

Naruto, Sakura, Choji, Rock Lee, and recently Ino in episode 220 have all felt inadequate after battling various opponents. This caused them to renew their resolve, and begin training hard again. Often times the episodes ends with all the various ninja vowing to not be left behind, and train competitively to become stronger than the other. This is most notable between Naruto and Sasuke.

Let’s see what Paul has to say about competitively training:

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
- 1 Cor 9:24-27

So compete. And “train yourself for godliness… as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

 

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Kitten staring intently at the table he's sitting on. My cat has caused me to ponder about the relationship between mankind and God. Does God design us to have pets so that we may feel a similar inexpressible joy that cry out in our hearts for cute furry animals?The picture is not my cat, but demonstrates my point.
I suspect that, this feeling is probably more deep and powerful for a father holding his newborn child in his arms for the first time. An inexpressible but unquestionable feeling of joy.

I came across this verse upon reading 1 Peter 1:8-9:

“Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of our faith, the salvation of your souls.”

If God has blessed us, as images of God, to feel this way toward our children and pets given and designed by Him, how must God feel about us, with his perfect love, patience, and joy? I can’t imagine with my limited and imperfect joy, which makes me remember John Piper’s reflection in one of his sermons:

He used to be afraid of heaven as a child, because he thought heaven -worshiping God forever- would be incredibly boring after awhile. It wasn’t until later on his life that John Piper concluded we spend an eternity with God because we as finite beings, with limited minds, would take an eternity to see the glory of God.

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I was trying to make an avatar for my account, but unfortunately it scaled my photo down so small you can’t read the text on it anymore. I made it after watching parts of the Lord of the Ring marathon on the television network TNT.

Gandalf’s resolve was unshakeable, whom the actor portrayed extremely well- showing fear and dread, yet a unshakable determination, proclaiming, “You shall not pass!” I thought about how God could give unshakable boldness and courage, even against something so frightening, and so evil and powerful. So then I made my avatar:

Enlarged Avatar

I had memorized this verse from the ESV Fighter Verses I purchased earlier in the year from DesiringGod.org. The entire passage I had memorized months ago was Psalm 62:5-8:

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my slavation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”

Although I didn’t remember the verse completely, I still knew it was there and where to look for it. Even though my memory is shot, I’m glad the Holy Spirit still helps me remember.

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