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So, although in God there can be no suffering, and patience has its name apatiendo, from suffering, yet a patient God we not only faithfully believe, but also wholesomely confess. But the patience of God, of what kind and how great it is, His, Whom we say to be impassible, yet not impatient, nay even most patient, in words to unfold this who can be able? Ineffable is therefore that patience, as is His jealousy, as His wrath and whatever there is like to these. For if we conceive of these as they be in us, in Him are there none. We, namely, can feel none of these without molestation: but be it far from us to surmise that the impassible nature of God is liable to any molestation. But like as He is jealous without any darkening of spirit, angry without any perturbation, pitiful without any pain, repents Him without any wrongness in Him to be set right; so is He patient without anything of passion.

-Augustine

 

Here’s a report on an interesting scientific study that confirms what the Bible tells us after all.  Our Creator has designed us with an innate sense of morality.

We have just resumed our series on the Old Testament books of 1 & 2 Kings during our morning Lord’s Day services.  Picking up after the ministry of Elisha, things go from bad to worse.  The glory fades and darkness drowns the light.  But Jonathan Edwards poignantly observes the greater significance in greater story:

The declining of the glory of this legal dispensation made way for the introducing the more glorious dispensation of the gospel. The declining of the glory of the legal dispensation was to make way for the introducing of the evangelical dispensation that was so much more glorious, so that the legal dispensation had no glory in comparison of it. The glory of the ancient dispensation such as was in Solomon’s time, consisting so much in external glory, was but a childish glory in comparison of the spiritual glory of the dispensation introduced by Christ. The church under the Old Testament was a child under tutors and governors, and God dealt with it as a child. Those pompous externals are called by the Apostle, ‘weak and beggarly elements.’  It was fit that those things should be diminished as Christ approached, as John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, speaking of Christ, says, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease,’ John 3:30. ‘Tis fit that the twinkling stars should gradually withdraw their glory when the sun is approaching towards his rising.

As with Israel and Judah of old, so the night now closes on the West.  But whatever may be the particulars in God’s hidden plan, we are assured that light will break forth again – only infinitely greater than before.  “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.  The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him” (Psa. 72:8-11).

There were three parents, with three precious children.  Only children.

A woman had lost her son, her only son.  As the procession passed, what overwhelming grief she suffered!  To add to the torment, she was a widow.  Stripped not only of her last remaining joy, but her last, flickering ember of hope.

Jairus was a great man and very devout.  But neither his position or piety could prevent the virus.  His dear little daughter, his one and only child, was on the verge of death.  He was desperate.  So as he sought after Jesus, the miracle Healer, time was of the essence.  But the crowds slowed the Master down, and finally the time was up.  His daughter was gone.

Another father came to Jesus.   His one and only son had for years been plagued with a demon, seizing his weak and weary body, convulsing him, and even casting him into the fire.  As the father watched, what agony!  Could Jesus spare his helpless boy?  His one and only son?

Because of Jesus, each precious, ‘one and only’ was spared.  And in sparing them, their poor, tormented parents were spared.

Jesus was also a precious, ‘one and only.’  Not that He was the only child of Joseph and Mary.  He wasn’t.  But He was, is, and evermore shall be, the precious, one and only Son of the heavenly Father.  From eternity, He is “the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”  Yet in infinite love, to lost, undone parents and children, God did not spare His ‘one and only.’  He gave Him, surrendering Him to  the cursed death of the cross, that by such a sacrifice we and our children may be spared for ever.

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Join us this Lord’s Day (Sunday), June 9, as we consider Jesus, the “only begotten Son,” whom the loving Father sent into the world.  “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 Jn. 4:9).

 

 

George_Henry_Durrie_-_Going_to_Church1. Above all, God  commands it.  “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”  “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is.”

2. God lets you have six days for yourself.  One for God, six for us.  That’s pretty generous.

3. God deserves our gratitude.  Think about it.  He formed you when you were in your mother’s womb.  He gave you life, breath, and all things.  He makes His sun shine on you, His rain fall on you, His earth to produce for you.  In short, He gives you everything.  Coming into His house is giving credit where credit is due.

4. God deserves public, not just private honor.  We publicly recognize accomplishments, especially those who are especially worthy.  When we gather together in the house of God, we unite our voices to express His greatness.   Officially.  “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised.”  The purple heart isn’t awarded in a dark basement, but in a public forum.  And God is greater than our greatest heroes.

5. You were meant to worship.  Theologians have well said that each of us have “the seed of religion” within us.  Having been made by God and for God, we cannot escape our fundamental religiousness.  Not to worship is to act against our humanity.  It is animalistic.  Look  in the mirror.  You’re not an animal, meant to eat, drink, and become compost.  You have a soul, a God-shaped hole that only He can fill.

6. Your children were meant to worship.  They are little humans.  And they need you to fear God and to lead them to Him.  They won’t do it otherwise. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  And if they complain, remember – God put you in the driver’s seat, not them.  You make them eat broccoli, even if they don’t like it.  Get over their foot-dragging.  If you hold the line, they will thank you for it.

7. You will improve your physical health.  Our bodies can be overworked, especially in our fast-paced society.  We weren’t made to do 90 in a 25 mph zone.  God tells us to slow down!  Further, when we give rest to our souls in the Church, the hospital of Christ, our souls are healed and reinvigorated.  And a healthy mind contributes to a healthy body.

8. You will recover your sanity.  When God speaks by His Word, light shines and clouds are dispelled.  A calm there descends on the storm of our thoughts.

9. You will improve all your relationships.  The more we are distant from God, the more alienated we become with husbands, wives,  parents, children.  Back to God is back to family, back to community.

10. The doors to God’s house will one day close.   Now there is an open house.  Now there is easy access to this place of forgiveness, renewal, and restoration.  It is an oasis in a desert, available for all the thirsty to drink and be satisfied.  But not forever.  There is a day, unknown to men, in which God’s offers of grace and  mercy shall be withdrawn, and men shall then face a God-less eternity.  “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man.”  The doors then closed, and the rain fell.

“For the power and might of the Creator, who rules and embraces all, makes every creature abide, and if this power ever ceased to govern creatures, their essences would pass away and all nature would perish.”

-Augustine (354-430)

“Always to be a theist in the full and true sense of the word, that is, to see God’s counsel and hand and work in all things and simultaneously, indeed for that very reason, to develop all available energies and gifts to the highest level of activity – that is the glory of the Christian faith and the secret of the Christian life.”

– Herman Bavinck (1854-1921)

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