My Accent

My AccentThe prophet Amos opens his book with these words: The words of Amos…. Amos was the one God chose to deliver His message, and Amos never forgot that, not did he let his audience forget.

It’s not a filler phrase, but it becomes the accent by which everyone knew Amos’ voice. Over 40 times in this short book Amos uses phrases like “says the Lord,” or “declares the Sovereign Lord.” Amos constantly reminded himself and anyone who heard him speak that he was not speaking his own thoughts, but he was speaking God’s Word.

I wonder: What accent do people hear when I speak?

I want to be so full of God’s Word and His Spirit that the “says the Lord” accent is my accent.

When I speak I want people to not hear me but hear the God Who speaks through me.

My words are fallible, but God’s Word is perfect.

Jesus said that my words reflect what’s in my heart. May my accent make it so evidence that my heart is full of the Word of God.

Great-heart & Christiana From “Pilgrim’s Progress”

Pilgrim's ProgressI love Pilgrim’s Progress! You can read my full book review by clicking here. I’m sharing some of my favorite passages from this classic.

This is part of a dialogue between Great-heart and Christiana—

Great-heart: “He [Christ] has more righteousness than you have need of, or than He needeth Himself.”

Christiana: “Pray make that appear.”

Great-heart: “With all my heart: but first I must premise, that He of whom we are now about to speak, is one that has not His fellow. He has two natures in one person, plain to be distinguished, impossible to be divided. Unto each of these natures a righteousness belongeth, and each righteousness is essential to that nature; so that one may as easily cause the nature to be extinct, as to separate its justice or righteousness from it. Of these righteousnesses therefore we are not made partakers, so as that they, or any of them, should be put upon us, that we might be made just, and live thereby. Besides these, there is a righteousness, which this person has, as these two natures are joined in one. And this is not the righteousness of the Godhead, as distinguished from the manhood; nor the righteousness of the manhood, as distinguished from the Godhead; but a righteousness which standeth in the union of both natures, and may properly be called the righteousness that is essential to His being prepared of God to the capacity of the mediatory office, which He was to be intrusted with. If He parts with His first righteousness, He parts with His Godhead; if He parts with His second righteousness, He parts with the purity of His manhood; if He parts with this third, He parts with that perfection which capacitates Him for the office of mediation. He has therefore another righteousness, which standeth in performance, or obedience to a revealed will; and that is it that He puts upon sinners, and that by which their sins are covered. Wherefore He saith, As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.”

Christiana: “But are the other righteousnesses of no use to us?”

Great-heart: “Yes; for though they are essential to His natures and office, and so cannot be communicated unto another; yet it is by virtue of them that the righteousness that justifies is for that purpose efficacious. The righteousness of His Godhead gives virtue to His obedience; the righteousness of His manhood giveth capability to His obedience to justify; and the righteousness that standeth in the union of these two natures to His office, giveth authority to that righteousness to do the work for which it is ordained.

“So then here is a righteousness that Christ, as God, has no need of; for He is God without it. Here is a righteousness that Christ, as man, has no need of to make Him so; for He is perfect man without it. Again, here is a righteousness that Christ, as God-man, has no need of; for He is perfectly so without it. Here then is a righteousness that Christ, as God, as man, as God-man, has no need of with reference to Himself, and therefore He can spare it; a justifying righteousness, that He for Himself wanteth not, and therefore He giveth it away. Hence ’tis called the gift of righteousness. This righteousness, since Christ Jesus the Lord has made Himself under the law, must be given away; for the law doth not only bind him that is under it, to do justly, but to use charity. Wherefore he must, he ought by the law, if he hath two coats, to give one to him that has none. Now our Lord indeed hath two coats, one for Himself, and one to spare; wherefore He freely bestows one upon those that have none.”

Read a dialogue between Faithful, Christian, and Talkative by clicking here.

And a dialogue between Christian and Hopeful by clicking here.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading & watching from today…

“James has in his mind a picture of people who use prayer to try to get from God something they desire more than God [James 4:2-4]. He calls these people—men and women—‘adulteresses.’ Why? Because in his mind God is like our Husband who is jealous to be our highest delight. If we then try to make prayer a means of getting from Him something we want more then we want Him, we are like a wife who asks her husband for money to visit another lover.” —John Piper

“The greatest outward troubles and calamities that we meet with…must needs appear very little things to the misery which we have deserved.” —Jonathan Edwards

“Our Enemy is a hedonist at heart. All those fasts and vigils and stakes and crosses are only a facade. Or only like foam on the sea shore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are ‘pleasures for evermore.’ Ugh! Don’t think He has the least inkling of that high and austere mystery to which we rise in the Miserific Vision. He’s vulgar, Wormwood. He has a bourgeois mind. He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least—sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working. Everything has to be twisted before it’s any use to us. We fight under cruel disadvantages. Nothing is naturally on our side.” —C.S. Lewis, Screwtape writing to Wormwood in The Screwtape Letters. (In case you didn’t know, The Screwtape Letters are letters from an older demon [Screwtape] to his young apprentice demon [Wormwood]. So the “Enemy” in their correspondence is God.) 

Since I just reviewed Beyond IQ, I have been reading more about the workings of the human brain. This post—How To Rewire Your Brain For Greater Happiness—is interesting. Even though they are quoting scientific findings, everything they have “discovered” was already in the Bible!

Philip Nation has a great list of how God reveals Himself in every book of the Bible.

I love John Piper’s latest project called Look At The Book, which shows Piper teaching the Scripture. Check out this video—

Faithful, Christian & Talkative From “Pilgrim’s Progress”

Pilgrim's ProgressThe dialogue in Pilgrim’s Progress is all so rich and meaningful, that it’s hard to pull out “favorite” passages from this book. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Over the next few days I would like to share some of the passages which especially stood out to me this time reading through this classic.

This is part of a dialogue between Faithful, Christian and Talkative—

Faithful: “Well, I see that saying and doing are two things, and hereafter I shall better observe this distinction.”

Christian: “They are two things indeed, and are as diverse as are the soul and the body; for as the body without the soul is but a dead carcass, so saying, if it be alone, is but a dead carcass also. The soul of religion is the practical part. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. This Talkative is not aware of; he thinks that hearing and saying will make a good Christian; and thus he deceiveth his own soul.” …

Talkative: “Why, what difference is there between crying out against, and abhorring of sin?”

Faithful: “Oh! a great deal. A man may cry out against sin, of policy; but he cannot abhor it but by virtue of a godly antipathy against it. I have heard many cry out against sin in the pulpit, who can yet abide it well enough in the heart, house, and conversation.” …

Talkative: “You lie at the catch, I perceive.”

Faithful: “No, not I; am only for setting things right. But what is the second thing whereby you would prove a discovery of a work of grace in the heart?”

Talkative: “Great knowledge of gospel mysteries.”

Faithful: “This sign should have been first; but first or last, it is also false; for knowledge, great knowledge, may be obtained in the mysteries of the gospel, and yet no work of grace in the soul. Yea, if a man have all knowledge, he may yet be nothing, and so, consequently, be no child of God. When Christ said, Do you know all these things? and the disciples had answered, Yes, He added, Blessed are ye if ye do them.” …

Christian: “You did well to talk so plainly to him [Talkative] as you did. There is but little of this faithful dealing with men now-a-days, and that makes religion to stink so in the nostrils of many as it doth: for they are these talkative fools, whose religion is only in word, and are debauched and vain in their conversation, that (being so much admitted into the fellowship of the godly) do puzzle the world, blemish Christianity, and grieve the sincere. I wish that all men would deal with such as you have done; then should they either be made more conformable to religion, or the company of saints would be too hot for them.”

Pilgrim’s Progress (book review)

Pilgrim's ProgressIt’s been awhile since I have read Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, so I thought it was high time to re-read this amazing classic.

I was not disappointed!

In fact, I think I appreciated this time reading this amazing story more than any other time I’ve read it! The pilgrimages of Christian, Faithful, and Hopeful, and that of Christiana, Mercy and Great-heart are fantastic! Very few books have portrayed the journey of a Christian from salvation until arrival in Heaven with such accuracy and emotion.

Parents, your kids will love hearing you read this classic story to them. As your children get a little older, they can read Little Pilgrim’s Progress on their own. And then encourage them to read (and re-read) the original Pilgrim’s Progress throughout their lives. This book is a true blessing!

Chronology Of Old Testament Prophets

Chronology Of The ProphetsI am throughly enjoying my reading through The Archeological Study Bible. I am reading through the Scripture in chronological order. You can download a chart I produced of the kings and prophets of Israel and Judah by clicking here.

The chart in this post was produced by the editors of The Archeological Study Bible, which I have simply reproduced here. You can click on the picture for a larger view, or you can download a PDF version by clicking here → Chronology Of The Prophets ←

My prayer is that resources like this will aid your own personal Bible reading!

9 Quotes From “Bible Reading”

J.C. RyleJ.C. Ryle’s book Bible Reading has a question repeated all throughout the book: What are you doing with the Bible? do you read it? how do you read it? This is a book that will challenge and encourage both the Bible-reading novice, and the Bible-reading veteran. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are some quotes that I highlighted in this powerful little book.

“This is the Book to which the civilized world is indebted for many of its best and most praiseworthy institutions. Few probably are aware how many good things that men have adopted for the public benefit, of which the origin may be clearly traced to the Bible. It has left lasting marks wherever it has been received. From the Bible are drawn many of the best laws by which society is kept in order. From the Bible has been obtained the standard of morality about truth, honesty, and the relations of man and wife, which prevails among Christian nations, and which—however feebly respected in many case—makes so great a difference between Christians and heathen.” 

“The Bible applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit is the grand instrument by which souls are first converted to God. That mighty change is generally begun by some text or doctrine of the Word, brought home to a man’s conscience. In this way the Bible has worked moral miracles by the thousands. It has made drunkards become sober—immoral people become pure—thieves become honest and violent-tempered people become meek. It has wholly altered the course of men’s lives.”

“The Bible can show a believer how to walk in this world so as to please God. It can teach him how to glorify Christ in all the relationships of life, and can make him a good leader, employee, subordinate, husband, father, or son. It can enable him to bear misfortunes and loss without murmuring, and say, ‘It is well.’ It can enable him to look down into the grave, and say, ‘I will fear no evil’ (Psalm 23:4). It can enable him to think about judgment and eternity, and not feel afraid. It can enable him to bear persecution without flinching and to give up liberty and life rather than deny Christ’s truth.” 

“The Lord God knows the weakness and infirmities of our poor fallen understandings. He knows that, even after conversion, our perceptions of right and wrong are extremely vague. He knows how artfully satan can overlay error with an appearance of truth, and can dress up wrong with plausible arguments, till it looks like right. Knowing all this, He has mercifully provided us with an unerring standard of truth and error, right and wrong, and has taken care to make that standard a written Book—the Scripture.”

“A man must make the Bible alone his rule. He must receive nothing and believe nothing which is not according to the Word. He must try all religious teaching by one simple test—Does it square with the Bible? What does the Scripture say?” 

“A false minister may say, ‘You have no right to use your private judgment: leave the Bible to us who are ordained.’ A true minister will say, ‘Search the Scriptures, and if I do not teach you what is scriptural, do not believe me.’ A false minister may cry, ‘Listen to the Church,’ and ‘Listen to me.’ A true minister will say, ‘Listen to the Word of God.’”

“Love of the Word appears preeminently in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He read it publicly. He quoted it continually. He expounded it frequently. He advised the Jews to search it. He used it as His weapon to resist the devil. He repeatedly said, ‘The Scripture must be fulfilled.’ Almost the last thing He did was to ‘open their minds so they could understand the Scriptures’ (Luke 24:45). I am afraid that man cannot be a true servant of Christ, who has not something of his Master’s mind and feeling towards the Bible.” 

“Read the Bible with Christ continually in view. The primary object of all Scripture is to testify about Jesus: Old Testament ceremonies are shadows of Christ; Old Testament judges and deliverers are types of Christ; Old Testament history shows the world’s need of Christ; Old Testament prophecies are full of Christ’s sufferings; Old Testament prophecies are full of Christ’s glory yet to come. … All these shine forth everywhere in the Bible. Remember this clue, if you would read the Bible right.”

“Let us resolve to read the Bible more and more every year we live. Let us try to get it rooted in our memories, and engraved into our hearts. … Let us resolve to be more watchful over our Bible reading every year that we live. Let us be jealously careful about the time we give to it, and the manner that time is spent. Let us be aware of omitting our daily reading without sufficient cause. Let us not be gaping, and yawning and dozing over our book, while we read. … Let us be very careful that we never exalt any minister, or sermon, or book, or tract, or friend above the Word. Cursed be that book, or tract, or human counsel, which creeps in between us and the Bible, and hides the Bible from our eyes! … Let us resolve to talk more to believers about the Bible when we meet them. Sorry to say, the conversation of Christians, when they do meet, is often sadly unprofitable! How many frivolous, and trifling, and uncharitable things are said! Let us bring out the Bible more, and it will help to drive the devil away, and keep our hearts in tune.”

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