Aug 21, 2007

Song of Solomon

Is Song of Solomon written about the bride of Christ, or is it merely a story of Solomon and his lover?

Aug 20, 2007

Bishop urges Christians to call God 'Allah'

Catholic churches in the Netherlands should use the name Allah for God to ease tensions between Muslims and Christians, says a Dutch bishop.

Tiny Muskens, the bishop of Breda, told the Dutch TV program "Network" Monday night he believes God doesn't mind what he is called, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported.

The Almighty is above such "discussion and bickering," he insisted.

Muskens points to Indonesia, where he served 30 years ago, as an example for Dutch churches. Christians in the Middle East also use the term Allah for God.

"Someone like me has prayed to Allah yang maha kuasa (Almighty God) for eight years in Indonesia and other priests for 20 or 30 years," Muskens said. "In the heart of the Eucharist, God is called Allah over there, so why can't we start doing that together?"

Muskens thinks it could take another 100 years, but eventually the name Allah will be used by Dutch churches, promoting rapprochement between the two religions, he said, according to Radio Netherlands.

However, a survey published today in the Netherlands' largest newspaper, De Telegraaf, showed 92 percent of the more than 4,000 people polled oppose the bishop's view, the Associated Press reported.

Some letters to the paper were filled with ridicule for the bishop.

"Sure. Lets call God Allah. Lets then call a church a mosque and pray five times a day. Ramadan sounds like fun," wrote Welmoet Koppenhol.

The chairman of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, Gerrit de Fijter, told the Dutch paper he welcomed any attempt to "create more dialogue," according to the AP. But he said, "Calling God 'Allah' does no justice to Western identity. I see no benefit in it."

A Muslim spokesman, for Amsterdam's union of Moroccan mosques, said Muslims had not asked for such a gesture from Christians, the AP reported.

Tensions with the Netherlands' 1-million-strong Muslim community have been high since the 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by a Muslim avenging a film critical of Islam.

Last week, politician Geert Wilders talked about banning the Quran, shortly after the head of a group of former Muslims, Ehsan Jami, compared Islam's prophet Muhammad with al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Muskens made similar remarks several year ago about using the name of Allah, Radio Netherlands reported. He also suggested replacing the national Christian holiday Whit Monday – celebrated the day after Pentecost – with an Islamic religious day.

The bishop also has offended Muslims, saying in 2005 Islam was a religion without a future because it has too many violent aspects.

Aug 13, 2007

The fury of God's storm

The thunderstorm we had early Saturday morning was amazing. It was a torrential downpour: complete with hail, winds as high as 65mph and cloud-to-ground lightning. I really thought I was going to see a tornado touch down at any moment.

I was terrified. All weekend, I kept thinking about this storm though. It was if the LORD was urging me to think on it. Suddenly what came to mind, is that if I was as terrified as I was at this storm, how much more should I be terrified of God's wrath? I wonder sometimes, if He doesn't cause storms and natural disasters to remind us of that? The weather is one thing that man cannot "control" (although God is always in control). Man is completely helpless with what the weather does. We can do our best to prepare, but we cannot stop hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunami's, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, thunderstorms, etc. etc.

It's reminders like these that put praise on my lips, knowing that Christ is my hiding place; a safe cloak for the fury of God's storm.

Aug 7, 2007

Glory is certain

Glory is certain
Henry Lyte (1793-1847) / David L. Ward

My rest is in heaven, my rest is not here,
Then why do I worry when trials are near!
Be hushed my dark spirit, the worst that can come
But shortens your journey, and hastens you home.

I have died to this world, and am hidden with Christ
So my mind will be set on this:
Glory is certain, for Christ is in me,
Glory is certain, for Christ is in me.

I dare not be seeking my comfort and bliss,
Or building my hopes in a place such as this;
I look for the city God promised and built,
Where Jesus has banished my sin and its guilt.

Afflictions may press me but cannot destroy,
One glimpse of His love turns them all into joy;
The tears of a lifetime will vanish away
When He stoops to dry them on that coming day.

So let Satan’s army assail me full force;
Their plans cannot help but to steady my course.
Come joys or come sorrows, whate’er may befall
An hour with my Savior will sweeten them all.

There is no greater portrait
Eric Schumacher & David L. Ward

There is no greater portrait
Of love and sacrifice
Than Jesus leaving glory
And laying down His life.
When I look on the sufferings
My Savior chose to bear,
It fills my heart with sorrow
To think I put Him there.

He ran the race before Him
Though it was filled with pain,
And walked the road to glory
In agony and shame.
Then for the joy before Him,
He chose to bear the cross,
Pursued His Father’s pleasure
And counted all else loss.

The Son of Man was lifted
Before creation’s eyes;
Was mocked and scorned by soldiers,
By kings and priests despised.
But now the Son is risen,
Ascended to the skies.
By angels He is worshiped;
By nations glorified.

O Savior, let this sinner
Be ransomed by the flood
Of mercy and forgiveness
Abundant in Your blood.
O Lord, be my salvation,
Your Holy Spirit send
To change my heart and cause me
To love You to the end.

Aug 2, 2007

Bridge collapses over Mississippi River
Pastor John Piper: Putting My Daughter to Bed Two Hours After the Bridge Collapsed

My thoughts and prayers are with all the people who lost loved ones last night. I pray that everyone who has been hurt would heal quickly and would all turn to Jesus for their salvation.

I am awaiting to see how God might be glorified in this tragedy.

Aug 1, 2007

If our hearts are not rocks

(Thomas Watson, "Body of Divinity")

"And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Philippians 2:8

See here the astonishing humility of Christ. That Christ should clothe Himself with our flesh--a piece of that earth which we tread upon--oh infinite humility! For Christ to be made flesh, was more humility than for the angels to be made worms! He stripped Himself of the robes of His glory, and covered Himself with the rags of our humanity!

Christ's humiliation
consisted in His being born, and that in a poor condition; and His undergoing . . .the miseries of this life, the cursed death of the cross, and the wrath of God.

The prime cause of Christ's humiliation was free grace! Love was the intrinsic motive. Christ came to us, out of pity and love. Not our deserts--but our misery, caused Christ to humble Himself. This was a plot of free grace--a design of pure love! Christ incarnate, is nothing but 'love' covered with flesh! As Christ's assuming our human nature was a master-piece of wisdom, so it also was a monument of free grace!

Behold the infinite love of Christ! Had not He been made flesh--we would have been made a curse! Had He not been incarnate, we would have been incarcerate, and had been forever in the prison of hell.

Consider where Jesus came from. He came from heaven, and from the richest place in heaven--His Father's bosom, that hive of sweetness.

Consider for whom Jesus came. Was it to His friends? No! He came for sinful man--who had defaced His image, and abused His love, and rebelled against Him! Yet He came to man, resolving to conquer our obstinacy with His kindness.

If He would come to any, why not to the fallen angels? The angels are of a more noble origin, are more intelligent creatures, and more able for service! But behold the love of Christ--He did not come to the fallen angels--but to sinful mankind!

Among the several wonders of the magnet is that it will not draw gold or pearl--but despising these, it draws the iron to itself--one of the most inferior metals. Just so, Christ leaves angels, those noble spirits, the gold and the pearl--and comes to poor sinful man, and draws him into His embraces!

Consider in what manner Jesus came. He came not in the majesty of a king, attended with His royal retinue--but He came poor.

Consider the place Jesus was born in--a feeding trough was His cradle, the cobwebs were His curtains, the beasts were His companions!

Christ was so poor, that when He needed money, He had to work a miracle to obtain it. When He died, He made no will.

Consider why Jesus came. That He might take our sins upon Him--and so appease God's wrath for us, and bring us into His kingdom!

He was poor--that we might become rich! He was born of a virgin--that we might be born of God! He took our flesh--that we might have His Spirit! He lay in the feeding trough--that we might lie in paradise! He came down from heaven--that we might go up to heaven!

And what was all this, but love? If our hearts are not rocks, this love of Christ should affect us. "May you
experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it!" Ephesians 3:19