The Benefits of Reading Stories

“Stories serve important functions in the lives of individuals and societies. The most obvious one is entertainment. What makes stories entertaining? One answer lies in their power of transport. The genius of narrative is its ability to remove us from the physical world around us and plant us in an imaginary world replete with its own places, characters, and events. This occurs easily because stories unfold as a sequence, creating their own momentum, drawing us in and placing us under their enchantment. The phenomenon expressed by the familiar phrase ‘lost in a book’ is preeminently true of stories.

“While we intuitively enjoy a book without necessarily thinking about what produces the pleasure, we can also notice delightful techniques. A story’s aesthetic pleasure lies in seeing and relishing creative skill and its beauty. We admire a storyteller’s inventiveness in crafting captivating scenes, characters, and episodes. The author’s way with words and chosen prose style can generate pleasure.

“A further function emerges when we consider why we tell stories. John Shea has written that ‘we turn our pain into narrative so we can bear it; we turn our ecstasy into narrative so we can prolong it.’ People feel a strong compulsion to tell about their experiences. What characterizes the story we share when a friend or spouse asks how our day went? The story is selective and interpretive. We speak of having had a good or bad, boring or challenging day. Our story is more condensed than the day’s experiences, and we highlight important aspects. These traits are equally true of the literary stories we read. They too are simplified and organized, silhouetting important material with heightened clarity.”

Taken from the new book from Crossway (2021) titled Recovering the Lost Art of Reading: A Quest for the True, the Good, and the Beautiful (pp.82-83). I continue to make my way chapter by chapter through this book and am highly appreciating its wonderful perspective on and incentive to reading. The above section from chapter 7, “Reading Stories: Tell Me a Story,” is another example. Have you read any good stories lately? (Don’t forget the Bible is full of them – God’s true stories centered on His Son, our Savior!)

Published in: on August 3, 2021 at 9:28 PM  Leave a Comment  

Saving Grace’s Power to Transform Vile Sinners

In the last few weeks the “Grace Gems” daily meditations have focused on the transforming power of God’s efficacious grace in Jesus Christ toward sinners. The life-giving, total-renewing, holy-making power of His undeserved favor is amazing and magnifies the God of all grace. In this post I give you two of them. The first is from Arthur W. Pink’s The Sovereignty of God, while the second is from Octavius Winslow’s “From Grace to Glory.”

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“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

In the new birth, God exerts a quickening influence or power upon His own elect. Regeneration is very, very much more than simply shedding a few tears because of some temporary remorse over sin. It is far more than changing our course of life, the leaving off of bad habits and the substituting of good ones. It is something different from the mere cherishing and practicing of noble ideals. It goes infinitely deeper than coming forward to take some popular evangelist by the hand, signing a pledge-card, or “joining the church.” The new birth is no mere turning over a new leaf, but is the inception and reception of a new life! It is no mere reformation, but a radical transformation. In short, the new birth is a miracle, the result of the supernatural operation of God. It is radical, revolutionary, lasting!

In the new birth:

God lays hold of one who is spiritually dead, and quickens him into newness of life!

God takes up one who was shaped in iniquity and conceived in sin, and conforms him to the image of His Son!

God seizes a drudge of the Devil, and makes him a member of His holy family!

God picks up a destitute beggar, and makes him joint-heir with Christ!

God comes to one who is full of enmity against Him, and gives him a new heart that is full of love for Him!

God stoops to one who by nature is a rebel, and works in him both to will and to do of His good pleasure!

By His irresistible power, God transforms . . .
  a sinner–into a saint;
  an enemy–into His friend,
  a drudge of the Devil–into His beloved child!”

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“Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

How comprehensive the words–how vast the change!
The effect produced by the new birth is radical and thorough:

The HEART, once so hateful and hating–has now become a fountain of sweet waters, transmitting its pure and holy streams throughout the whole soul, changing the entire conduct of the individual, and working out, in its degree, a universal holiness of his whole being.

The WORLD he once loved–is now as a crucified thing.

The PLEASURES he once indulged–have lost their charm.

The SINS he once committed–are now loathed and forsaken.

The SOCIETY he once enjoyed–no longer attracts or pleases.

The new birth will be manifest in our Christlike temper and mind and spirit . . .
  the moroseness and churlishness,
  the pride and selfishness,
  the worldliness and frivolity,
  the levity and man-pleasing,
which cropped up so luxuriantly from the soil of our unsanctified heart–will now, in a great measure be supplanted by the fruits of righteousness springing from a heart which has been changed, sanctified, and occupied by the Spirit of God.

The walk and conversation of a renewed man, will be the outward and visible reflection of an inward and invisible grace.

As a parent, and as a child, as a brother, a sister–so let your light shine, so let your life evidence its reality, so let your religion be visible in its lowliness and gentleness, its lovable and loving spirit, as to command from all who see it the admiring exclamation, “Behold! he is a new creature; old things have passed away; all things are become new!”

Published in: on July 31, 2021 at 10:30 PM  Leave a Comment  

“Like all revered parks, it is a shrine, a field of dreams, a green cathedral.”

Paperback The Final Season : Fathers, Sons, and One Last Season in a Classic American Ballpark Book

“It’s been four months since I embarked on this mission and in that time I’ve heard this place described affectionately by hundreds of fans. Some call it Tiger Stadium; others, Briggs Stadium or Navin Field, names engraved upon their memories in youth. To many it’s simply The Corner – Michigan and Trumbull. When Al Kaline came, he saw a battleship; Lance Parish, a warehouse; sportswriter Joe Falls, a barn. Don Hall, the poet, compared it to a frail grocer ‘who wears a straw hat and a blue necktie.’ Like all revered parks, it is a shrine, a field of dreams, a green cathedral. To those inclined to ascribe gender, the park is a woman: Grand Lady, Queen of Diamonds. To Steve Olsen, the scorekeeper, it is simply ‘old friend.’ To Pete Munoz in the bleachers, ‘my home.’

“I went to Wrigley Field twice, once in winter and once in summer when it rained. Other than those visits, I’ve never been to another major-league park. I’ve not witnessed a game outside of Tiger Stadium. Of course, I’ve gotten glimpses of other parks on television. But you know it’s not the same.

“It’s only in Tiger Stadium from the outfield stands that I’ve heard ball hit bat just after seeing it, like bad lip-syncing in a foreign film. It’s only here that I’ve felt the bleachers shake during a foot-stomping rally and smelt the blend of cigars and sausage and held my dad’s hand as a boy and braced his arm as a man.

“For me Tiger Stadium is the keeper of a million memories.”

Taken from my 2021 summer baseball read – The Final Season: Fathers, Sons, and One Last Season in a Classic American Park by Tom Stanton, pp.182-83. I’m in the final days (chapters) of his journey through 81 games at the old Tiger ballpark in 1999, and this has been one of my best baseball-book reads, no doubt because his own recollections of visiting the park as a child and following the Tigers via radio and Ernie Harwell (see my previous post) resonate with me. Plus, the author is a fine writer, with a flare for revealing the personal side of the game, including sharing it with family and friends – dads, sons, and buddies.

Published in: on July 27, 2021 at 9:34 PM  Leave a Comment  

“The family cannot be effective and productive without the church.”

“Balance is found when the family understands and embraces their need for the church to fulfill their calling. Such a family believes that they are responsible for the spiritual nurture of their children. They also know that they need the church to equip them by providing the needed insight, understanding, encouragement, and vitality to undertake this work. They understand that they need fellowship with other believers and accountability to godly elders who watch over their souls. I have had the joy of meeting many of these families all over the world. I have witnessed their joy in being purposeful about training their children and fully committed to the household of God.

“God has designed the church to support and extend the ministry of the family for the nurture and development of children. The church supports and models the character qualities we desire in our children. This is especially important in today’s culture where everything our children hear is contrary to Christian values. The culture does not support biblical structures of morality, ethics, or authority. Consider the ways that the church provides essential support for the family.

“Corporate worship in which God is reverently and joyfully honored with thanksgiving gives weight and significance to the family’s practice of Bible reading, singing, and prayer. Family worship is daily practice preparing both heart and mind for corporate worship.

“The normative authority of the Bible is foundational for the teaching, life, and practice of the household of God. Just as you work in your household to follow the absolutes and principles of Scripture and apply them to the “stuff” of life, so the church underscores God’s law as satisfying and necessary for an edifying and productive life.

“Concepts of hierarchy and accountability to God and to the authorities that He has established are important in the church as in the home. Being accountable to God-ordained authority is necessary for successful living. As parents submit to the leaders God has placed over them in the church, children are being taught to submit to mom and dad. Children, like all of us, need loving authority for protection from our own sin and folly. Submission is a beautiful concept that yields the fruit of a biblical sense of well-being, protection, fulfillment, and security to all who understand the blessing of God’s order in the world. Christ modeled submission for us by always doing the will of the Father. Both family and the church illustrate that submission is not servile but dignified and noble. Roles define the practice of submission both in the home and in the church. All human beings are equal in value and dignity, but God has established differing roles for us to fulfill. Christ’s submission to the Father in redemption shows that submission does not mean inferiority.

“Both the family and the church bear concern for “the least of us.” Our homes and the church are gracious and welcoming. We have compassion on people who suffer in all sorts of trials. We rejoice in diversity of persons, gifts, and abilities.

“Many other examples of ways the church and home are interdependent could be marshaled to illustrate the importance of both in the Christian’s life. The educational function of the church is essential for the educational vision of the family. The familial nature of relationships between brothers and sisters in the church model and mirror godly relationships in the family. Active participation in the household of faith encourages and motivates attention to schedules and priorities that yield productive lives.

“I trust the interdependence of the household of the family and the household of faith is apparent. The family cannot be effective and productive without the church.

From Dr. Tedd Tripp’s article “The Function of the Household” in the July 2021 issue of Tabletalk Magazine.

Published in: on July 25, 2021 at 9:01 PM  Leave a Comment  

Good Works Through Grace

Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.- John 15:8

“It is the sacred calling of the believer in this world, saved by grace, that he walk in all good works. For “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5: 14-16) And: “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (John 15:8) “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2: 10)

Especially this last passage is significant in this connection. For it emphasizes the truth that we are saved by grace even to the very end. As believers we are God’s workmanship, in no sense our own. It is He that created us, made us new creatures in Christ Jesus by His almighty power of wondrous grace. And He performed this wonder of grace in order, to be sure, that we should do good works; but even these works were ordained for everyone of us before the foundation of the world by God Himself, and it is our privilege to walk in them. To elucidate this last truth, we may use the illustration of a great chorus rendering Handel’s Messiah. If such a rendering is to be successful, every member of the chorus and each voice, tenor and bass, soprano and alto, as well as the soloists, the orchestra, and the accompanist at the organ, must know and perform his part so as to blend into the grand harmony and beauty of the whole. But in order to attain to this end they must strictly follow their music. For the whole of the performance by the chorus, as well as the several parts, have been “before ordained” by the artist who composed the oratorio; and the members of the chorus only “walk in” the parts that have thus been ordained for them. This may be applied to the good works of all the saints in Christ. The church of Christ is not a mere number of saved believers: it is a body, a unity. And its purpose is to show forth the glory of God in Christ. This one theme all the saints sing and develop in their good works, each in his own position and performing his own part. And the great Artist ordained and prepared all the several parts of this glorious theme for everyone of the saints, just as He by grace prepared them all for the parts they are to perform. He created us in Christ Jesus exactly unto those good works which He prepared for us, that we might walk in them.

…The purpose of good works is the glory of God, the manifestation of the beauty of His grace in the Beloved. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5: 16) If our works are to be good in the sight of God, they must be motivated by the will and desire to attain to that purpose. Purpose and motive are closely related. Purpose denotes the end which we have in view in performing a certain deed; and motive is the will, the urge, and the desire that spurs us on from within to seek that end. Now God’s purpose is His own glory. And that purpose must be ours if our works are to be good in His sight. Good works, therefore, are motivated by the will and desire to reach that purpose, to glorify our Father which is in heaven. Hence, in order to determine whether or not a certain act on our part is good, we must not merely ask what we did, but also why we performed it, and what was the purpose we had in view.”

Quoted from chapter 11, Good Works Through Grace,” in The Wonder of Grace (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1944), pp.90-97.

Published in: on July 15, 2021 at 10:06 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Heart of R.C. Sproul’s Theology: The Holiness of God

R.C.’s theology – this distinct theological method and contribution to the Christian tradition – is to move from the doctrine of God to the doctrine of man to the doctrine of Christ and salvation. He does this precisely and poetically in The Holiness of God. He starts with where the Bible starts:

The Bible says, ‘In the beginning God.’ The God we worship is the God who has always been. He alone can create beings, because he alone has the power of being. He is not nothing. He is not chance, He is pure Being, the one who has the power to be all by Himself. He alone is eternal. He alone has power over death. He alone can call worlds into being by fiat, by the power of His command. Such power is staggering, awesome. It is deserving of respect, of humble adoration.

That is the ens perfectissimus, the most perfect being. R.C. continues, ‘The idea of holiness is so central to the biblical teaching that it is said of God, ‘Holy is his name’ (Luke 1:49). His name is holy because He is holy.’

That is the doctrine of God, the eternal, immutable, omnipotent, majestic, holy God. Next comes the doctrine of man. Consider the example of Isaiah. What happens to Isaiah after he encounters the thrice-holy God? He says, ‘I am undone’ (Isaiah 6:5 NKJV). R.C. elaborates:

To be undone means to come apart at the seams, to be unraveled. What Isaiah was expressing is what modern psychologists describe as the experience of personal disintegration. To disintegrate means exactly what the word suggests, dis integrate… [Isaiah] caught one sudden glimpse of a holy God. In that single moment, all of his self-esteem was shattered. In a brief second he was exposed, made naked beneath the gaze of the absolute standard of holiness. As long as Isaiah could compare himself to other mortals, he was able to sustain a lofty opinion of his own character. The instant he measured himself by the ultimate standard, he was destroyed – morally and spiritually annihilated. He was undone. He came apart.

God’s holiness revealed Isaiah’s sinfulness. On cue, a seraphim took a coal from the altar and purged Isaiah’s lips. Atonement. This was a foreshadowing, a type, of the God-man to come who would make full atonement for sin, who ends our ‘holy war’ and brings peace. So R.C. moves from God’s holiness and our sinfulness to Christ’s work and the gift of salvation.

When our holy war with God ceases, when we, like Luther, walk through the gates of paradise, when we are justified by faith, the war ends forever. With the cleansing from sin and the declaration of divine forgiveness we enter into an eternal peace treaty with God. The firstfruit of our justification is peace with God. This is a holy peace, a peace unblemished and transcendent. It is a peace that cannot be destroyed. …It is the kind of peace that only Christ can bestow.

Christ’s holiness swallows up our unholiness. Christ’s purity swallows up our uncleanness. Christ’s righteousness swallows up all our transgressions. ‘He took our filthy rags and gave us His righteous robe.’ R.C. says, ‘This is the legacy of Christ: peace.’ It all starts with the proper view of God’s holiness. A shallow view of God will distort the views held on all other doctrines.

Taken from the brand new biography R.C. Sproul; A Life by Stephen Nichols (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2021), pp.173-75.

Published in: on July 10, 2021 at 10:06 PM  Comments (1)  

The Pigskin Library: Or, TR’s Philosophy of Vacation Reading | The Art of Manliness

This fascinating story about the “vacation library” of U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt appeared on the website “The Art of Manliness” ten days ago. I found it not only interesting but motivational in terms of pursuing the passion for reading also when one seeks a break from life’s busyness.

Here’s the first part of the story – find the rest at the link provided below. Be sure to check out the actual list of books in this “pigskin library” – you may find some ideas for your own get-away time this summer!

After his presidency ended in 1909, Theodore Roosevelt decided he needed a nice long vacation — away from the United States. He understood his own tendencies quite well; had he stayed, it would have been nigh near impossible for him to resist meddling in his successor’s administration. TR wanted to keep his hands on the levers of power and stay front and center of the news cycle, and he knew it. Since he desired to give William Taft room to operate as his own man, Roosevelt was thus determined to get far away from it all: he set his sights on taking an extended African safari.  

There was one particular challenge that required a novel solution: as an incurable, obsessive reader, how would Roosevelt transport a library of books to the African plains and jungles to sate his voracious appetite? He of course couldn’t just do without. As Thomas Bailey and Katherine Joslin write in Theodore Roosevelt: A Literary Life, Roosevelt possessed “a true, deep need to always be reading books.” (Oh, how I can relate!) 

The answer to this vexing problem? The Pigskin Library.

Roosevelt and his son Kermit picked out around 60 books — “those which, for one reason or another, we thought we should like to take on this particular trip” — and had them bound in pig’s leather. This would not only make them more durable for transport to and through Africa, but protect the pages from the kind of “blood, sweat, gun oil, dust and ashes” that might arise whilst on safari. Whereas “ordinary bindings either vanished or became loathsome,” TR explained, “pigskin merely grew to look as a well-used saddle looks.” 

Source: The Pigskin Library: Or, TR’s Philosophy of Vacation Reading | The Art of Manliness

Published in: on July 9, 2021 at 9:23 AM  Leave a Comment  

That all important comma in biblical exegesis

Perhaps the key thing one needs to realise about the early history of punctuation is that, in a literary culture based entirely on the slavish copying of venerated texts, it would be highly presumptuous of a mere scribe to insert helpful marks where he though they ought to go. Punctuation developed slowly and cautiously not because it wasn’t considered important, but, on the contrary, because it was such intensely powerful ju-ju. Pause in the wrong place and the sense of a religious text can alter in significant ways. For example, as Cecil Hartley pointed out in his 1818 Principles of Punctuation: or, The Art of Pointing, consider the difference between the following:

“Verily, I say unto thee, This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.”

and:

“Verily I say unto thee this day, Thou shalt be with me in Paradise.”

Now, huge doctrinal differences hang on the placing of this comma. The first version, which is how Protestants interpret the passage (Luke xxiii,43), lightly skips over the whole unpleasant business of Purgatory and takes the crucified thief straight to heaven with Our Lord. The second promises Paradise at some later date (to be confirmed, as it were) and leaves Purgatory nicely in the picture for the Catholics, who believe in it. Similarly, it is argued that the Authorised version of the Bible (and by extension Handel’s Messiah) misleads on the true interpretation of Isaiah xl,3. Again, consider the difference:

“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord.”

and:

“The voice of him that crieth: In the wilderness prepare ye the way of the Lord.”

Also:

“Comfort ye my people.”
(please go out and comfort my people)

and

“Comfort ye, my people”
(just cheer up, you lot; it might never happen)

Of course, if Hebrew or any of the other ancient languages had included punctuation (in the case of Hebrew, a few vowels might have been nice as well), two thousand years of scriptural exegesis need never have occurred, and a lot of clever, dandruffy people could definitely have spent more time in the fresh air. But there was no punctuation in those ancient texts and that’s all there is to it.

From the chapter, “That’ll Do, Comma (pp.73-75) in Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss (New York: Gotham Books, 2003). I have been making my way through this fun but instructive book and its approach to proper use of punctuation. While the way the author approaches the Bible here may seem too light (it is God’s Word!), she is simply emphasizing how important the comma is in the history of punctuation and its use in literature, including (especially!) in the Bible.

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On a truly lighter note, a reader sent me a picture of this T-shirt her son (a teacher) likes to wear to demonstrate the importance of the comma. I think you will catch on rather quickly to the point.

Published in: on July 7, 2021 at 10:15 PM  Leave a Comment  

Happy 245th Birthday, America!

Yes, officially it was yesterday that the United States turned 245 years old, but the 4th of July fell on a Sunday this year and so today is the day we celebrate it – though many did yesterday as well.

For us, Sunday is the Lord’s Day, not a holiday but the holy day our God has set aside for the worship of His name, and so that was our focus. After all, the kingdoms of this world belong to Jesus Christ and He reigns and shall reign, even forever and ever, while the kingdoms of man will soon end (Rev.15:11).

Yet, we paused to thank our Lord for our country and the freedoms we still enjoy, especially the freedom to worship Him publicly according to His Word. And we prayed for our leaders, that God may work in and through them for His church and people’s good, as well as for their willing subjection to Him in true faith. For our God is the Savior of all (kinds of men – kings and rulers too!) and sent Jesus to be the sole Mediator by whom sinners are reconciled to Himself. And to that end Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all (kinds of people – 1 Tim.2:1-6).

Today as we celebrate our country’s birthday, we point you to a couple of worthwhile things that passed through my emails this weekend.

The first is a really neat virtual tour of “Lady Liberty” – the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor, produced by the National Park Foundation. Here’s the description and link to that:

Lady Liberty has been a national monument since 1924 and in the care of the National Park Service since 1933. She stands as a symbol of freedom and democracy.

You can get an inside look at this iconic monument through this virtual tour, exploring every nook and cranny of the statue’s interior, including areas normally off-limits to visitors. It’s a fun and unique way to celebrate Independence Day!

Architect Paul Davidson and his team spent ten nights inside the statue, working in 11-hour shifts to carry out a first-of-its-kind laser scan of Lady Liberty. The images he captured allow anyone to explore the statue like never before, with a panoramic 360-degree view from the crown and even a look inside her arm and torch.

The second thing is some profitable articles posted at The Daily Signal’s website on what freedom should mean to and how it should be treasured by Americans. One such article is Lee Edwards’ “Why ‘Red, White, and Blue’ Should Bridge Red vs. Blue Divide on Fourth of July.” Here’s the first part of it:

As John Adams—that passionate advocate of “independency”—wrote, July Fourth should be commemorated with “Pomp and Parade, with [Shows], Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of the Continent to the Other from this Time forward forever more.”

There’s a more serious side to July Fourth when we remember what makes America exceptional, as set forth in those truly revolutionary words in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

The Founders pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to protect the cause of liberty and the self-evident truth that all men, including kings, are created equal.

Abraham Lincoln, who knew something about the unique character of America, praised the 56 men who produced the Declaration of Independence for their “coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times”—that is, that “all men are created equal.”

No wonder, then, that in war, recession, and even a pandemic, our presidents have turned to the Declaration of Independence for inspiration.

The second is Dean Nelson’s “Frederick Douglass’ Other Fourth of July Speech Is Particularly Timely in 2021”. Here is part of that one:

This time of year, many Americans rightly draw attention to Frederick Douglass and his famous speech “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro,” delivered to white abolitionists in Rochester, New York, in 1852.

As I’ve written before, there is a great deal more to this speech—given years before the Civil War—than those who quote it often understand or remember. In fact, many reproductions of the speech completely omit the last section, which is far more hopeful about the possibilities for America than some of its fans might have you believe.

But even less known is another July Fourth speech Douglass delivered in 1875, a decade after the Civil War and slavery ended. In it, he spoke once again about what Independence Day meant to black Americans, noting first our role in the founding and shaping of America.

If, however, any man should ask me what colored people have to do with the Fourth of July, my answer is ready. Colored people have had something to do with almost everything of vital importance in this great country … We have been with [the white man] in times of peace and in times of war and at all times. We were with him in the hardest hours of the Revolutions of 1776.

Douglass confidently asserts the right of black Americans to share in the celebration of Independence Day because—from the very beginning—we have been part of every great struggle and achievement of our great nation.

Make reading about our American history part of your July 4 celebration! Have a happy holiday, fellow Americans!

Published in: on July 5, 2021 at 10:06 AM  Leave a Comment  

God’s Great Glory Calls for Great Worship

The knowledge of God always calls for an immediate response in the lives of those to whom He reveals Himself. Whenever God makes Himself known to us, we must respond with immediacy to worship Him.

‘Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship’ (Ex.34:8). He lowers himself in utter submission and total surrender to God. He responds in complete yieldedness to Him. He humbles himself beneath the mighty hand of God and worships Him. This servant of God could not stand upright in His presence – not after such a display of His sovereign mercy. He has to fall before God in humble reverence and acknowledge the worthiness that belongs to Him alone. In the New testament, one of the words for worship …means ‘to kiss toward.’ Worship is showing loving affection for God and is, in essence, like kissing toward God.

A greater vision of the glory of God, such as Moses received, leads to greater worship of Him. High theology from God ignites high doxology toward Him. The Word of God produces the worship of Him. This revelation about God produces our reverence for Him. There is only one thing that causes true worship, and that is for God to be known and adored for who He is – and for what He has done for us in Christ.

This must be the chief pursuit f our lives today. God must be the greatest priority in our life. We must seek to know more of His glory with everything in our being. Every decision we make must have God as our primary concern. Wherever will most magnify God must be our highest priority. We must not look for what is easiest in life. We must not choose the path of least resistance. Neither must we follow the crowd for fame and fortune. We must not pursue what looks the most appealing. Instead, we must prioritize the glory of God in all that we do.

Whatever will most honor God is the path we must choose. May every one of us pray what Moses prayed. May we seek to know God more fully, love Him more deeply, and behold His glory more closely. May God fulfill this request in our lives.

Steven J. Lawson in Show Me Your Glory: Understanding the Majestic Splendor of God (Reformation Trust, 2020), pp.26-27 (based on Moses’ prayer recorded in Ex.34:18)

Published in: on July 4, 2021 at 7:53 AM  Leave a Comment