Archive for the ‘spiritual life’ Category

2:12-13 Apostasy Begins with the Tongue

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Richard Baxter whose friend went bad.

Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways. Proverbs 2:12-13

While residing at Ludlow Castle, Richard Baxter (who would write The Saints’ Everlasting Rest) became friends with a young man who showed genuine zeal and diligence in faith. He was the first person Baxter ever heard pray from the heart in the pulpit without reading his prayer. He was full of kindness and love, read God’s word and good books and greatly helped Baxter to grow in faith. However, this preacher was encouraged by a higher ranking clergyman to leave the Puritans and to begin speaking evil against them. Soon he debauched himself and became a complete apostate. His error began with perverse words and ended with personal ruin.

By contrast, anyone who continues in the teaching of Christ becomes his true disciple, learns truth and the truth sets him free (John 8:31-32).

15:11 All-Seeing

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Roentgen, discoverer of X-rays.

Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more, then, the hearts of the children of men?

Since the seventeenth century, discovery after discovery has peeled open the universe to the eyes of men. The result has been a revelation of the miniscule and the distant, the hidden and the ancient. It began with scientists such as Galileo and Leeuwenhoek using clumsy telescopes and microscopes, and advanced as old tools were improved and new tools added. Herschell discovered the infrared. Maxwell predicted radio waves and Hertz detected them. Roentgen stumbled on x-rays. Knoll and Ruska invented the first electron microscope.

A host of other pioneers gave us radio telescopes, ultrasound equipment, ultraviolet detectors, DNA testing, magnetic resonance imaging, carbon dating and other techniques. We now can see inside cells and back to a split second after creation—things our forefathers had no idea would ever be seen. Is it any wonder then, that the Bible declares that God, the maker of all things, is able to peer into what he has made? His knowledge is infinitely advanced beyond ours. Through a spiritual back door poorly understood by us, he can even “see” what is going on in our minds and wills.

Humans are also groping toward the ability to see into others’ minds. This goes beyond what shrewd readers of body-language do when they analyze a subject’s psychological state. New techniques allow us to study brain states. Under laboratory conditions scientific teams can even determine with a fair degree of accuracy which of several pre-arranged objects a thinker is focusing on. This is all very primitive.

Jesus, too, had a deep understanding of human nature and sometimes knew just what was on a person’s mind. We have an instance in which he described Nathanael reading under the fig tree and again, before Peter had said a word, put him on the spot about the temple tax which Peter had just been discussing with religious leaders. John sums up Christ’s clear perception of humans with these words, “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs which he did; but Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew all men and needed no one to bear witness of man; for he himself knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25).

4:18 Spiritual Dawn

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Sunrise in space, NASA photo.

Sunrise in space, NASA photo.

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

I once observed a dawn from an airliner 25,000 feet above the sea. The sky grew grey in the east and then an orange arc appeared between the grey sky and the black ocean, tracing the horizon as far as the eye could see. Soon the wrinkled water gleamed, and before long everything shone with a fiery glare.

In literature and in history, dawn is a powerful metaphor. Homer makes “her” a goddess with rosy fingers. Columbus anxiously peers through the darkness, awaiting the dawn which will decide if he and his men turn back, the new world undiscovered. The men of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings wait for a dawn that may bring the final battle for Middle Earth; Mr. Vane, longing for the sun as he attempts to revive a mysterious woman he has found in a field in George MacDonald’s Lilith, says, “Beneath the sad, slow-setting moon, I lay with the dead, and watched for the dawn.”

Solomon employs dawn as a metaphor for the life of a child of God. The image finds its fullest expression in the New Testament. When Christ, the Light of the World, shines upon the spiritual sleeper, a spiritual dawn begins. The sleeper awakens from the dead (Ephesians 5:14). As a child of God, made righteous by Christ (who is our righteousness, 1 Corinthians 1:30), he awaits the full daylight, not certain what it will bring, but knowing that “when He is revealed we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2).