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A Random Thought

Why do people who claim that they feel they are born in the wrong body insist that the answer to their feeling is to change that body to conform to their feelings? I have never really understood their argument. Is it because they feel their feelings are immutable ?  In other words they believe what they feel is who they really are.  Now if that is their rationale it follows that their underlying assumption is that the true authentic part of us is that which is unchanging.  The problem is human beings by nature  are mutable. There is nothing immutable about us.  Only God is immutable.  We are always changing. We grow and decay. Indeed that is the order of the universe according to Big Bang cosmology and evolutionary theory that these people old dear.   So one cannot ground their identity in a some immutable characteristic they possess  because such a characteristic does not exist. The logic that being true to self is confirming one’s feeling, as a ground of authenticity, is frankly

The Christian and Technology, A Review

The central argument of John Fresko’s  The Christian  and Technology  is that technology is a double-edged sword that requires cautious and intentional use. Continuous uncritical use of technology erodes hunger for the Word of God, makes us self-centred and turns our useful devices into idols. The book intends to promote proper use of technology by encouraging us to dig into our hearts to see whether Christ so fills us that nothing can drag us away from him. Fresko believes there is no need for us to flee from technology or become Luddites because technology is value neutral. It is not in of itself good or bad. Instead, we must focus on carefully evaluating how we think about and use technology. This necessarily requires us  not only to understand the relevant technology, but also understand ourselves. A key part of this is recognising that we struggle with technology because we lack contentment in Christ. The book explores explores six different technologies. I think the most fascina

Love, Valerian and Christ

The film  Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) is set in the 28th Century. The International Space Station (ISS) has grown into a space travelling city called Alpha where species from different planets live together exchanging their knowledge and culture. Peace is guaranteed by a special police force, that employs Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne).  In one of the key scenes in the film, Valerian and Laureline are at Alpha. An alien race, called the Pearls, have abducted Commander Arun Filitt in order to retrieve a valuable instrument they call “the converter”. As they face off with the Pearls we discover that the Pearls are a victim of genocife inflicted by the human federation.  The Pearls' leader, Emperor Haban Limaï, explains that they lived peacefully on Mül until a battle occurred between the Federation and another faction. Commander Filitt attacked the enemy mothership knowing that it would crash on Mül and  annihilate life o

Do You Believe? A Review

I have always enjoyed reading the writings of Paul David Tripp (PDT). What I like most about the way he writes is that he focuses on the good news of Christ. He wants us to know how amazing God is and what He has done for us in the Lord Jesus Christ. So when I saw that PDT has written a new book on key doctrines of the Bible,  I was quite eager to read it, even though it is over 400 pages.   Do You Believe?   is exactly what it says on the tin. PDT looks at twelve key bible doctrines over twenty-four chapters. He spends two chapters on each doctrine. The first chapter describes the broad thrust of the doctrine, underpinned by PDT’s paraphrase of the relevant section of the  Westminster Confession of Faith . The second chapter focuses on specific applications to our lives.  There are important doctrines which are missed from the list. Most notably on the person and saving of Christ (Christology). However, PDT is clear from the beginning that his intention is “not to give us an exhaustiv

The Falleness of the Best

Who does not see, when he reads the history of the Church of Christ, repeated proofs that the best of men can err? The early fathers were zealous according to their knowledge, and ready to die for Christ. But many of them countenanced monasticism, and nearly all sowed the seeds of  many superstitions. The Reformers were honoured instruments in the hand of God for reviving the cause of truth on earth. Yet hardly one of them can be named who did not make some great mistake. Martin Luther held pertinaciously the doctrine of consubstantiation. Melancthon was often timid and undecided. Calvin permitted Servetus to be burned. Cranmer recanted and fell away for a time from his first faith. Jewell subscribed to Popish doctrines  for fear of death. Hooper disturbed the Church of England by over scrupulosity about vestments. The Puritans, in after times, denounced toleration as Abaddon and Apollyon. Wesley and Toplady, last century, abused each other in the most shameful language. Irving, in our

Satan Confounded

Satan was conquered by that nature he had cast headlong into ruin. A woman, by his subtlety, was the occasion of our death; and a woman, by the conduct of the only wise God, brings forth the author of our life and the conqueror of our enemies. The humanity of the old Adam had infected us, and the humanity of the new Adam cures us (1 Cor. 15:21, ‘By man came death; by man also came the resurrection from the dead’). We are killed by the old Adam, and raised by the new Adam; as among the Israelites, a fiery serpent gave the wound, and a brazen serpent administers the cure. The nature that was deceived bruises the deceiver, and destroys the foundations of his kingdom. Satan is defeated by the decisions he took to secure his possession, and loses the victory by the same means he thought he would preserve it.  His tempting the Jews to the sin of crucifying the Son of God, had a contrary success to his tempting Adam to eat of the tree. The first death he brought upon Adam ruined us, and the d

The Law of God and our Conscience

The wisdom of God is seen in suiting his laws to the consciences, as well as the interest of all mankind. ‘ The Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires’ (Romans 2:14), so great an affinity there is between the wise law and the reason of man. There is a natural beauty emerging from them, and darting upon the reasons and consciences of men, which dictates to them that this law is worthy to be observed in itself.  The two main principles of the law, the love and worship of God, and doing as we would be done by, have an indelible impression in the consciences of all men in regard of the principle, though they are not suitably expressed in the practice.  Were there no law outwardly published, yet every man’s conscience would dictate to him that God was to be acknowledged, worshipped, loved, as naturally as his reason would acquaint him that there was such a being as God.  This suitableness of them to the consciences of men is manifest, in that the laws of the b

The Law of God is Good for Us

God’s laws are not an act of mere authority respecting his own glory, but of wisdom and goodness respecting man’s benefit. They are perfective of man’s nature, conferring a wisdom upon him, ‘rejoicing his heart, enlightening his eyes,’ (Psalm 19:7-8), affording him both a knowledge of God and of himself. To be without a law, is for man to be as beasts, without justice and without religion. Other things are for the good of the body, but the laws of God for the good of the soul; the more perfect the law, the greater the benefit.  The laws given to the Jews were the honour and excellency of that nation. ‘ What great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?’ (Deuteronomy 4:8).  They were made statesmen in the judicial law, ecclesiastics in the ceremonial, honest men in the second table, and divine in the first. All his laws are suited to the true satisfaction of man, and the good of human society…Everything that is disturbing to

The Genius of God and our Character

God sometimes picks out people according to their natural tempers, and employs them in his work. Jehu, a man of a furious temper, and ambitious spirit, is called out for the destruction of Ahab’s house. Moses, a man furnished with all Egyptian wisdom, fitted by a generous education, prepared also by the affliction he met with in his flight, and one who had had the benefit of conversation with Jethro, a man of more than ordinary wisdom and goodness, as appears by his prudent and religious counsel, he is called out to be the head and captain of an oppressed people, and to rescue them from their bondage, and settle the first national church in the world. So Elijah, a high-spirited man, of a hot and angry temper, one that slighted the frowns and undervalued the favour of princes, is set up to stem the torrent of the Israelitish idolatry.  So Luther, a man of the same temper, is drawn out by the same wisdom to encounter the corruptions in the church, against such opposition, which a milder

The Genius of God in Suffering

The wisdom of God is evident in the various ends which God [works though] afflictions. The attainment of various ends by one and the same means, is the fruit of the agent's prudence. By the same affliction the wise God corrects sometimes for some base affection, excites some sleepy grace, drives out some lurking corruption, refines the soul, and ruins the lust; discovers the greatness of a crime, the vanity of the creature, and the sufficiency in himself. The Jews bind Paul, and by the judge he is sent to Rome; while his mouth is stopped in Judea, it is opened in one of the greatest cities of the world, and his enemies unwittingly contribute to the increase of the knowledge of Christ by those chains in that city that triumphed over the earth (Acts 28:31).  And his afflictive bonds added courage and resolution to others (Philippians 1:14), which could not in their own nature produce such an effect, but by the order and contrivance of divine wisdom. In their own nature they would rat

The Genius of God in Conversion

God does not change the soul by an alteration of the faculties, but by an alteration of something in them; not by an inroad upon them, or by mere power or a blind instinct, but by proposing to the understanding something to be known, and informing it of the reasonableness of his precepts, and the innate goodness and excellency of his offers, and by inclining the will to love and embrace what is proposed. And things are proposed under those notions which usually move our wills and affections. We are moved by things as they are good, pleasant, profitable; we entertain things as they make for us; and detest things as they are contrary to us. Nothing affects us but under such qualities, and God suits his encouragements to these natural affections which are in us. His power and wisdom go hand in hand together; his power to act what his wisdom orders, and his wisdom to conduct what his power executes. He brings men to him in ways suited to their natural dispositions. The stubborn he tears li

The Path to True Greatness

Once we learn that to be nothing before God is the glory of the creature…we shall welcome with our whole heart the discipline we may have in serving even those who try to vex us. When our own heart is set upon this, the true sanctification, we shall study each word of Jesus on self-abasement with new zest, and no place will be too low, and no stooping too deep, and no service too mean or too long continued, if we may but share and prove the fellowship with Him who spake, "I am among you as he that serveth". Brethren, here is the path to the higher life. Down, lower down! This was what Jesus ever said to the disciples who were thinking of being great in the kingdom, and of sitting on His right hand and His left. Seek not, ask not for exaltation; that is God's work. Look to it that you abase and humble yourselves, and take no place before God or man but that of servant; that is your work; let that be your one purpose and prayer. God is faithful. Just as water ever seeks an

Sin and the Glory of God

Nothing serves God so much as an occasion of glorifying himself, as the entrance of sin into the world; by this occasion God communicates to us the knowledge of those perfections of his nature, which had else been folded up from us in an eternal night : his justice had lain in the dark, as having nothing to punish; his mercy had been obscure, as having none to pardon; a great part of his wisdom had been silent, as having no such object to order.  STEPHEN CHARNOCK ( Source : Works of Stephen Charnock, Volume II)

The Pride of Holiness

There is no pride so dangerous, because none so subtle and insidious, as the pride of holiness. It is not that a man ever says, or even thinks, "Stand by; I am holier than thou." No, indeed, the thought would be regarded with abhorrence. But there grows up, all unconsciously, a hidden habit of soul, which feels complacency its attainments, and cannot help seeing how far it is in advance of others. It can be recognized, not always in any special self-assertion or self-laudation, but simply in the absence of that deep self-abasement which cannot but be the mark of the soul that has seen the glory of God …It reveals itself, not only in words or thoughts, but in a tone, a way of speaking of others, in which those who have the gift of spiritual discernment cannot but recognize the power of self… O brethren! let us beware. Unless we make, with each advance in what we think holiness, the increase of humility our study, we may find that we have been delighting in beautiful thoughts

Welcome to the Christian Life

What if someone promised you the perfect place to live, in a more beautiful location than you had ever seen or imagined, with every single one of your needs met and where you would be surrounded by relationships of love forever? What if that person told you that you would need to surrender what you now have, that the journey would be long, and that there would be sacrifices and suffering along the way, but at the end the glories that have been pictured for you would be yours? What if someone promised that when you become weak and disheartened, someone would be there to encourage and strengthen you, so you could continue the journey? What if this person said that there is a place in this gloryland prepared just for you? What would you say and do as you compared the small bag of things you have now to the unprecedented beauty of the gift laid before you? Wouldn’t you say, “I’ll take that journey”? Wouldn’t you be willing to make those sacrifices? Wouldn’t you, in moments of discouragemen

The Proof of Humility

It is easy to think we humble ourselves before God: humility towards men will be the only sufficient proof that our humility before God is real; that humility has taken up its abode in us; and become our very nature; that we actually, like Christ, have made ourselves of no reputation. When in the presence of God lowliness of heart has become, not a posture we pray to Him, but the very spirit of our life, it will manifest itself in all our bearing towards our brethren. The lesson is one of deep import: the only humility that is really ours is not that which we try to show before God in prayer, but that which we carry with us, and carry out, in our ordinary conduct; the insignificance of daily life are the importance and the tests of eternity, because they prove what really is the spirit that possesses us. It is in our most unguarded moments that we really show and see what we are. To know the humble man, to know how the humble man behaves, you must follow him in the common course of dai

Babylon will fall

From beginning to end the message of the Bible, this revelation of God, is that there is to be an end to the world, and that the end is judgement…There is a day coming when astonished humanity is going to hear this cry: 'Babylon is fallen, is fallen' (Rev 14:8). What is Babylon? It is the world without Christ. It is London without Christ. It is New York without Christ. It is all these modern infernos without Christ. Babylon the great, Babylon is fallen, is fallen. This Babylon which seemed so great and wonderful, with its palaces and its great businesses, transacted with all the kings and the princes, and the great of the earth, who all brought their merchandise to it. They boasted of it. How great, they said, is Babylon. That is the world without Christ. But the day is coming when he will judge it, and this Babylon will fall, it will be crushed to rubble and to nothing. MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (Source: The Cross)