‪As The Deer -The Maranatha Singers‬‏

‪As The Deer -The Maranatha Singers‬‏ – YouTube.

For our music reflection on Psalm 42 today we choose this familiar, contemporary song based on v.1, sung by the Maranatha Singers. May it reveal our own heart’s desire this day. The lyrics are as follows:

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after thee
You alone are my hearts desire
And I long to worship thee

Chorus
You alone are my strength my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my hearts desire
And I long to worship thee

You’re my friend and You are my brother,
Even though you are a king.
I love you more than any other,
So much more than anything.

I want You more than gold or silver,
Only You can satisfy.
You alone are the real joy Giver,
And the apple of my eye.

Calvin on Psalm 42:1

Also for our meditation today are these comments of John Calvin on v.1 of Psalm 42:

 

1. As the hart crieth for the fountains of water, etc The meaning of these two verses simply is, that David preferred to all the enjoyments, riches, pleasures, and honors of this world, the opportunity of access to the sanctuary, that in this way he might cherish and strengthen his faith and piety by the exercises prescribed in the Law. When he says that he cried for the living God, we are not to understand it merely in the sense of a burning love and desire towards God: but we ought to remember in what manner it is that, God allures us to himself, and by what means he raises our minds upwards. He does not enjoin us to ascend forthwith into heaven, but, consulting our weakness, he descends to us. David, then, considering that the way of access was shut against him, cried to God, because he was excluded from the outward service of the sanctuary, which is the sacred bond of intercourse with God. I do not mean to say that the observance of external ceremonies can of itself bring us into favor with God, but they are religious exercises which we cannot bear to want by reason of our infirmity. David, therefore, being excluded from the sanctuary, is no less grieved than if he had been separated from God himself. He did not, it is true, cease in the meantime to direct his prayers towards heaven, and even to the sanctuary itself; but conscious of his own infirmity, he was specially grieved that the way by which the faithful obtained access to God was shut against him. This is an example which may well suffice to put to shame the arrogance of those who without concern can bear to be deprived of those means….

 

Psalm 42 – Sunday Worship Preparation

To assist us in preparing for worship this Lord’s Day, we come next to Psalm 42, a song (maschil) for the sons of Korah. It is another intensely personal and painful song, yet one filled with hope in God.

 

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. 2My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? 3My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? 4When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. 5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. 6O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. 7Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. 8Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. 9I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 10As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? 11Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

This Word of God is specially fitting for our purposes because it is the cry of one who desires to be in God’s presence in public worship. It is clear from this passionate, pleading cry that the psalmist is unable to attend the house of God (v.2). He used to, but now he cannot, because of his difficult circumstances (v.4). God in His perfect wisdom and sovereignty is afflicting him, especially through persecuting enemies (vss.7,9,10). And so he is unable to join God’s people in public worship. And that pains his soul. Listen to him describe his discouragement in vss.5, 6, 9, 11. He even senses that God has forgotten him, in part because his foes keep saying to him, “Where is your God?” No wonder he is “cast down” and tears have been his meat day and night!

But the beautiful and blessed thing is that he longs for God and still has his hope in the Lord! Hear the psalmist’s passion for God: like the dear pants after the waters of a refreshing stream, so he pants after God! What he chiefly misses is not the people with whom he worshiped, though that fellowship is important. Not the music or the offerings, as necessary as these are too. No, he misses the Lord! And yes, of course, the Lord is still with him where he is, and he can worship the Lord privately and personally wherever he is (v.5, 11). But there is that special communion with God in public worship, that special place called “the house of God”, and that is what he longs for and cries out for! And so he speaks to himself in the quietness of faith, telling himself to hope in God, vss.5,11. And in that trust in the Lord, though he cannot attend the Lord’s house in public worship, he will still worship Him. He will praise Him (v.5); God’s song will be with him, and he will yet pray (v.8). In that way he will still find comfort and peace in the midst of his pain.

There are many such children of God in this situation today. Whether because of persecution or sickness or weakness, they are unable to “come and appear before God” in public worship. We pray for such this day. You remember the times you could go to the house of God, and it is painful to miss the opportunity this Sunday, and perhaps for many previous Sunday’s. Let this Word of God be your comfort and hope. Cry out to God like the psalmist. Let the Lord know how much you miss His presence in public worship. Tell Him you long for Him. And do so with trust in God and praise for Him, because though you may not be able to be in His house today, He is still with you. His face is still the help and health of your face. He has not forgotten you and He will never forsake you. Remember the cross of Christ, and know that He loves you, has forgiven you, and will always be near you.

And for those of us who are able to attend the services of public worship today, may we have such passion for the Lord’s presence as expressed by this psalmist too. Are we panting and thirsting for God in anticipation of being in His house today? Is God our single pursuit? May we find His fellowship, His Word, His Son our help and health this day. And with His people may we lift up hearty and holy praise and thanks to the God of our salvation in Jesus Christ.

Accommodation or Separation? | The Cripplegate

Accommodation or Separation? | The Cripplegate.

 

For our “culture” post this Saturday, I refer my readers to this fine post by Nate Busenitz at the blog “Cripplegate” (be sure to find out the meaning of this name once you are at the blog!). He makes a fine defense of the Biblical truth of the antithesis (spiritual separation between the church and the world), both in the Christian’s personal life as well as in the church’s corporate life. And though these words were originally intended for pastors (part of a “Shepherd’s Conference” speech, they are applicable to all of us. Here are a few paragraphs from the post; read the rest at the link above.

 

While it is true that we live and minister within a cultural setting, there will inevitably be certain aspects of the culture that we cannot embrace or celebrate. We are called to be in the world, but not of the world.

Though we make every effort to present the gospel message with excellence and effectiveness to the world around us, we should be careful to do so in a way that both stays true to the biblical gospel and stays within the biblical boundaries of moral propriety. Catch-words like “relevance” and “contextualization” are not a valid justification for condoning coarse speech or morally-questionable behavior in order to identify with certain youth subcultures.

The power of the gospel is not in us, our cleverness, or our ability to camoflage with the culture. Thus, we don’t need to cuss to reach sailors, or drink to reach alcoholics; and we certainly don’t need to engage in sinful enterprises in order to reach sinners. To use fleshly methods to reach the lost is self-defeating, bringing a reproach on the pure name of the Savior we proclaim.

“I have called you friends”

Grace Gems posted this beautiful devotional this past Monday, and it speaks to us who are members of God’s covenant of grace – Jesus calls us His friends! Wonderful privileges – and great responsibilities! May we remember and so walk.

 

(James Smith, “Henceforth!” 1859)

“Henceforth, I no longer call you servants–but I have called you friends.” John 15:15

Friends! What–the friends of Jesus! Yes!

And does He love us as His friends? Yes!

And does He treat us as His friends? Yes!

And does He expect us to walk with Him, and converse with Him, and confide in Him as His friends? Yes!

Precious Lord Jesus,
how astonishing is Your love,
how vast is Your condescension,
how amazing is Your grace . . .
to call such insignificant worms, such ungrateful sinners, such utterly unworthy creatures–Your friends!

Yes, henceforth, Jesus . . .
treats us as His friends,
walks with us as His friends,
communes with us as His friends, and
will take us to dwell in Heaven with Him forever as His friends!

Blessed, blessed forever be the Lord, for His free and sovereign grace!

Henceforth, by the grace of God–I must be a new man, walking by a new rule, and aiming at a new end!

Time for End of July Chicago Cubs Update! :(

Cubs Swept Out Of Milwaukee, Lose 4-2 To Brewers – Bleed Cubbie Blue.

And in our Chicago Cubs department, we can now report that this season is pretty much over for the Cubs. Not mathematically, but realistically. They just got swept by the  Brewers up in Milwaukee and handed first place to them in their division, when the Cubbies had a chance to make a move and get within 9 games out – not an impossible hole to climb out of at this point in the season. But now, at 21 games under .500 and 14 and a half games out of first, they are probably where they will finish for the season (probably worse). And just yesterday the front office traded away their “Japanese experiment”, outfielder Kosuke Fukudome ( you don’t have to try and pronounce it!), whom they signed to a big contract a few years ago and who has, well, flopped, as they say. So from here on we get a couple of prospects from the Cleveland Indians, and can watch the farm system funnel players back and forth to the majors as further “experiments” for the rest of the season.

Ah, Cubs baseball – you just have to live it to understand it (it’s actually more like a slow death). Why would we abandon our “lovable losers” label anytime soon?! But, you know, there’s always next season! You just wait! We have a new owner and he’s going to allow us to sign some big names from the free agent market – pitchers, hitters, wow! Then we won’t be the laughingstock of baseball! Yea, you just wait.

In the meantime, I think I’m going to “adopt” the Pittsburgh Pirates for the remainder of 2011. Yes, those Pirates! Still very much in the hunt for the division lead. Almost more amazing than the Cubs! That’s baseball!

Ready for some more Cubs’ quotes? Ready or not, here’s a few more “classics”:

You’re going from playing before 40,000 screaming people to hearing nothing but the crickets in the trees.

Describing being demoted to the minors Alan Zinter, Chicago Cubs, Catcher

I couldn’t resist. I had such a great jump on the pitcher.

Upon making a great steal of third base, unfortunately while it was already occupied

Louis Alexander “Lou” Novikoff, Chicago Cubs OF
a.k.a. “The Mad Russian”

I lost the ball in the moon.

To manager Frank Frisch during a night game after pursuing and calling for a fly ball which landed 20 feet in front of him

Hank Sauer, Chicago Cubs, LF

Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 3:38 AM  Leave a Comment  

‪Impressionist Jim Meskimen Does Shakespeare

‪Impressionist Jim Meskimen Does Shakespeare in Celebrity Voices‬‏ – YouTube.

 

This impressionist is quite something! He “performs” Clarence’s speech from W.Shakespeare’s “Richard III”, mimicking a number of famous people. You will recognize many of them – perhaps with your eyes closed. My favorites: George W. Bush and Garrison Keillor. Yours?

Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 2:59 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Vatican Files N. 4 – Reformation21

The Vatican Files N. 4 – Reformation21.

 

For several months now Reformation21 has been doing a series on 21st century Roman Catholicism. It has been an interesting and though-provoking series of articles. I have not referenced them before (though I have referred to “Ref21” many times here), but wanted to do so now, because the latest article contains what is at the heart of the difference between Roman Catholicism and true Protestantism. That is their view of the Bible. As you will see from this article, “Word of the Lord and/or Word of the Church?”, penned by Leonardo De Chirico, Rome continues to make some significant declarations about the Bible which reveal she has not changed much since the days before and during the great Reformation. Which is why we Protestants must stay where we are – standing on the infallibly inspired Word of God given us in sacred Scripture. And insisting that we have the right before God to read and interpret His holy Word – privately as priests in the office of believer, as well as publicly as members of Christ’s church under the ministry of the Word.

 

Here is a section of the article; read it carefully and fully at the link above – you will have to put your thinking-caps on! Nothing wrong with that. Remember, every believer is a theologian! And you want to be good, sound ones!

 

Secondly, the “eccesial” reading of the Bible. According to VD, Scripture must never be read on one’s own. Reading must be always an “ecclesial experience”, i.e. something done in communion with the Church. The issue at stake is not only methodological, as if private readings were to be replaced by study groups at a parish level presided over by a priest, but also hermeneutical. “An authentic interpretation of the Bible must always be in harmony with the faith of the Catholic Church” (30). Reading the Bible needs to be an exercise done in accordance with the institutional church, both in its forms and outcomes. Apparently, there is much wisdom in these statements, especially considering the real risks of fancy, individualistic, awkward interpretations by isolated readers of the Bible. Yet, there is something missing here. For a Church that has forbidden for centuries the reading of the Bible in vernacular languages, it is at least unfortunate that not a single word of repentance is offered. For a Church that has prevented the people from having access to the Bible until fifty years ago, it is at least puzzling that not a single word is spent to underline the Church’s need for self-correction and vigilance. Moreover, if reading the Bible must always be done under the rule of the institution, what happens if the institution itself is caught in error, heresy or apostasy? How does the Spirit correct a sinful church if not by the biblical Word? In the history of the Church, the teaching of the Bible had to sometimes be played against the institutional church and against its consensus. Only a self-proclaimed indefectible Church can ask total submission to “the watchful eye of the sacred magisterium” (45) without having a final, ultimate bar. Here at stake is the question: Who has the final word? The Bible or the RC Church? Since the Church is “the home of the word” (52), VD responds: the latter!

 

Jerusalem Like I’ve Never Seen It Before

Jerusalem Like I’ve Never Seen It Before « Baker Book House Church Connection.

 

This is an interesting 3D Imax video of modern day Jerusalem. While we do not agree with all the viewpoints of the narrator, the video does show the significance Jerusalem has played in history unto the present time. And you certainly get a good feel of the landscape of the city and its surrounding areas. Though I am not a Zionist or a dispensationalist, I do want to visit Israel and Jerusalem someday. What does that make me? Simply an interested Reformed Bible student! Be sure to enlarge the video to full screen for full effect!

Published in: on July 28, 2011 at 3:26 AM  Leave a Comment  

Augustine’s “Confessions” (Kindle Style)

As I have mentioned here earlier, one of the things I am reading on my Kindle e-reader is Augustine’s Confessions, a classic of Christian literature. Here is another quote I share with you. In this section Augustine has been tracing God’s goodness to him through his youth, in spite of his sinfulness. Such mercies make him pause to pray:

 

Hear, Lord, my prayer; let not my soul faint under Thy discipline, nor let me faint in confessing unto Thee all Thy mercies, whereby Thou hast drawn me out of all my most evil ways, that Thou mightest become a delight to me above all the allurements which I once pursued; that I may most entirely love Thee, and clasp Thy hand with all my affections, and Thou mayest yet rescue me from every temptation, even unto the end. For lo, O Lord, my King and my God, for Thy service be whatever useful thing my childhood learned; for Thy service, that I speak, write, read, reckon. For Thou didst grant me Thy discipline, while I was learning vanities; and my sin of delighting in those vanities Thou hast forgiven. In them, indeed, I learnt many a useful word, but these may as well be learned in things not vain; and that is the safe path for the steps of youth.

Augustine, Saint (2006). The Confessions of Saint Augustine (Optimized for Kindle) (Kindle Locations 247-253). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

Published in: on July 27, 2011 at 4:09 AM  Leave a Comment