Matt 20-24

20 - Parable of 1-hour worker getting grace (same pay as all-day workers), and the poor response to this by the all-day workers. Jesus predicts His death and resurrection again. Zebedee's wife asks a higher place for her sons, resulting in offense and rivalry.

21 - Jesus enters Jerusalem, cleanses the temple, curses the fig tree (representing temple leadership), and rebukes them via parables when they question His authority.

22 - Parable of the wedding feast. Many invited, few come, and even of those that do some do not come on the king's terms. Pharisees, then Saduccees each try to trap Jesus: pay taxes to Caesar? Multiple wives in the resurrection? Jesus answers defeating them soundly. He summarizes all the law as loving God and neighbor. Then He performs some exegetical jujitsu from Psalm 110 to show Messiah will be greater than they expect (as His own teaching skills far surpass their own).

23 - Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for proudly seeking honor from men, for spreading their legalism which keeps themselves and others outside the kingdom, for lacking discernment by callous disobedience in greater things while being over-scrupulous in lesser matters, for keeping up pious appearances while being evil on the inside, for being glad their forefathers killed God's prophets but claiming they wouldn't do that now.

24 - Jesus predicts the fall of the temple. Disciples ask when. Jesus gives signs: persecution, gospel spread, false prophets, abomination in the temple, people fleeing Judea, sun moon and stars will fall, elect gathered, Son of Man comes with power and glory - you'll know when it is near - all before this generation is gone (fulfilled in 70AD). Of the LAST day no one knows. That will be sudden and unexpected, like the flood.

Covenant is relationship

So I started reading The Christ of the Covenants, by O. Palmer Robertson last night, and within the first three pages of this well-respected classic, Robertson says right out what seems to be disputed and rejected as Federal Vision error these days:

"The contextual usage of the term ["covenant"] in Scripture points consistently to the concept of a 'bond,' or 'relationship.'" (page 5)

And in the footnote: "While the divine covenants invariably involve obligations, their ultimate purpose reaches beyond the guaranteed discharge of a duty. Instead, it is the personal interrelation of God with His people that is at the heart of the covenant."

I'm not denying the role of structure in covenant relationship, but want to keep it in its proper place. The structure is there to serve the purpose of making peace between people: between God and man. There is a way to so overemphasize the obligations and duties that it perversely gets in the way of relationship.


Rivalry countered by humble service

Matthew 20:21, 24-27

21 She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”
24 And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”


Matt 17-19

17 - Jesus is transfigured so that His divine majesty pierces the veil of earthly things. Jesus heals a man; it required prayer and fasting. He predicts His death and resurrection. He pays the temple tax for Himself and Peter, miraculously.

18 - We must become as children to enter the kingdom. Take extreme measures to not cause anyone to sin. Jesus has come to save those lost sheep. We are to deal justly with those who sin against us, and forgive much as we have been forgiven even more.

19 - Is divorce allowed for any reason? God intends marriage to be permanent on earth, but our hearts get hard, so divorce is allowed (not required!) only for sexual infidelity. It is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom, but those who sacrifice here will be rewarded in the regeneration.


Matt 12-16

12 - Jesus plucks grain and heals on the Sabbath, resisted by the Pharisees. Jesus withdraws so as not to break bruised reeds. Pharisees pursue and escalate accusations. Jesus answers that He is plundering the strong man. He is greater than the temple, Jonah, and Solomon.

13 - Jesus teaches in parables about the kingdom, to help those who believe and keep doubters at a distance. It is received variously, bearing fruit or not; it has weeds sown in with the wheat until the end; it grows to great size and is useful; it is worth pursuing with all you have. Jesus is rejected in His hometown of Nazareth.

14 - Herod is haunted by John's rebuke and his unjust execution of John. Jesus feeds 5,000, then walks on water to disciples, who worship Him.

15 - Jesus rails on Pharisees who violate the Word of God to uphold their external traditions. Sin comes from within. A Gentile woman receives crumbs from the Master's table, by faith. He heals, and feeds 4,000 Gentiles.

16 - Jesus opposes the Pharisees further. Peter confesses Jesus is the Christ, God's Son, but then seeks to keep Jesus from going to the cross. Jesus says we must all take up our own cross.


Matt 8-11

8 - Jesus heals a leper, centurion's servant, and Peter's mother-in-law. He has authority. Following Him comes before honoring your parents. He has authority over wind, waves, and demons.

9 - Jesus has power to forgive sins, proving it by healing a paralytic. He eats with tax collectors and other sinners who know they need a savior. New wineskins. Raises a girl to life from death; restores sight and speech. Laborers for the harvest are needed - the need is great.

10 - Jesus calls and sends out the twelve apostles to preach and heal with His authority. They will be rejected and persecuted as He has been and will be. Do not fear man, but God.

11 - John doubts Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus confirms He is, and that John was the greatest prophet leading up to Him. But Israel has rejected both. It will be worse for Sodom than for them. God hides the truth from the wise and gives it to the simple. Come to Jesus for rest, all who need it.


Matthew 5-7

5 - Blessedness of kingdom citizens who are poor, mourning, meek, hungry for righteousness, merciful, pure, peacemakers, and persecuted. Be salt and light; Jesus fulfills law: anger and hostility is murder, lust is adultery. Love your enemies.

6 - Don't give, pray and fast for others to see, but for God. Don't give your heart to riches; trust God, seek His kingdom and don't worry.

7 - We tend to lose perspective in assessing ourselves and others. Don't give yourself a pass. Do to others as you'd want done to you. Watch out for false professors who don't obey Me. Do what I say and you will endure.


We want to get in our own way

...men always delight in contriving some way of acquiring righteousness apart from God's Word. Hence, among what are commonly considered good works the commandments of the Law are accorded too narrow a place, while that innumerable throng of human precepts occupies almost the whole space.

Calvin, Institutes, Book II, Chapter 8, Section 5


John 18-21

18 - Jesus arrested in Gethsemane, betrayed by Judas. He goes of His own free will, much like Elijah did in 2 Kings 1 (read that whole chapter, notice Elijah's ascension in the next chapter, and ponder the parallels!). Jesus is tried by Annas and Caiaphas while Peter denies Jesus thrice. Jesus accused by Jews to Pilate of claiming to be a king. Pilate finds no fault in Him

19 - Pilate flogs Jesus, then tries to have Him released, but the Jews demand crucifixion. Pilate gives the order. Prophecy is fulfilled about His garments, unbroken bones, pierced body, as John and Mary look on. Joseph and Nicodemus bury Him in Joseph's new tomb, at the eve of Sabbath.

20 - Mary goes early Sunday to the tomb, but finds the stone rolled away. She goes and tells the disciples. Peter and John race there and go away wondering. Mary stays and Jesus appears to her. She tells the disciples again. He appears in their upper room that night. Thomas wasn't there and doubts. We are to believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

21 - Jesus appears to the disciples in Galilee after a while, when they are fishing. He miraculously helps them catch 153 fish, representing all the nations for whom they will fish for disciples. Jesus restores Peter.


John 14-17

14 - Jesus comforts the disciples that He only leaves to get a place ready to be with them. He is the way, truth and life, one with the Father. If anyone loves and obeys Jesus, the Father will send Him the Spirit to lead him into further truth.

15 - abide in Christ and you will bear fruit joyfully. Love one another. The world hates Me, so it will hate you. The Spirit will help you testify to me.

16 - it is good for Jesus to leave, for He will send the Spirit to comfort disciples and convict the world. Their sorrow will give way to joy for He will come again. He came from the Father, and the disciples say they understand and believe this.

17 - Jesus prays His disciples would be preserved and united
17 - Jesus prays that He would be glorified and we would be with Him.


John 9-13

9 - Jesus heals a blind man, Jews persecute both and refuse to believe Jesus is from God

10 - Jesus says He is the good shepherd the sheep should follow. He is the door they sheep must pass through. He will lay down his life for the sheep. He and the Father are one - His miracles prove this

11 - Jesus raises Lazarus from death, showing He is the resurrection and life
11 - Caiaphas prophesies He will die to preserve and gather scattered Israel

12 - Mary anoints Jesus at Bethany. Large crowds amazed; leaders plot to kill
12 - Triumphal entry where Jews laud Him and Greeks seek Him, but He must be lifted up. Most don't believe Him and the influential who do keep it secret. Jesus says He came from the Father to save the world

13 - In the upper room before Passover Jesus washes the disciples' feet, telling them to serve each other, since even He their Lord served them. He predicts Judas' betrayal, Judas leaves, Jesus commands the rest to love each other, and predicts Peter's denial of Him.


Computer crashed yesterday

Computer crashed yesterday. After 2 tech support calls and 3 runs to Best Buy, I saved my data and got it transferred to a new laptop. Took the better part of 2 days, though.

7 Ways to provoke your children to wrath...

... disobeying Ephesians 6:4.

Here's the link to the full, short post.

Here's the cliff notes:

1) Excessive Discipline
2) Inconsistent Discipline
3) Unkindness
4) Favoritism
5) Overindulgence
6) Overprotection
7) Pressure to Achieve

On passing germs in Communion

Toby Sumpter:"When you partake of this bread and cup, you are sharing your life with your neighbors. Sometimes people object to the idea of a common loaf or a common cup in communion because of all the germs that might be shared and spread. But Paul teaches here that there is an even more significant sharing going on. We are being knit together, grafted together into one body, and this means that we share blood."

Read more here.


John 2-8

2 - Jesus turns water to wine, from ritual cleansing jars.
2 - Jesus cleanses the temple, and claims He will rebuild it in 3 days
3 - Jesus tells Nicodemus we must be born again, and that God sent His Son into the world to make this happen. John testifies that Jesus is meant to be greater than he

4 - Jesus offers the Samaritan woman living water
4 - He offers the disciples the food of doing God's will: harvesting believing Samaritans!

5 - Jesus heals a cripple at the pool of Bethesda, but without the pool. Jesus makes Himself equal with God by calling Him "My Father." Jesus strengthens this, claiming to have power of life over death in His Word, and that Scripture testifies to Himself

6 - Jesus feeds 5000, with 12 baskets left over; He walks on water
6 - Jesus tells the crowds they must believe He is bread from heaven they must eat to live. They must also drink His blood, by the Spirit not the flesh, to live. Many leave at this, but the disciples know only Jesus has the words of life

7 - opinion about Jesus divided among Jews, while leaders oppose Him. Jesus asserts He is from the Father, points to His miracle, and says He is living water

8 - Jesus does not condemn the adulteress but hypocritical Pharisees. As Jesus tells them he is from God, opposition intensifies, some believe. Jesus says Abraham's children are identified by believing Him

Books for boys

Look no further than this link!


Gospels - John's ministry through Jesus' calling disciples

Matt 3-4 - John begins preaching the need to repent, be baptized, and prepare for God's Messiah. Jesus comes and has John baptize Him. Mark 1; John 1 - Jesus is then tempted by Satan, preaches John's same message, calls Peter, Andrew, James and John, moves to Galilee and heals (Luke 4-5). Luke 3 - Herod imprisons John; genealogy of Jesus (Mary's side; note Nathan son of David in vs 31).

How it should go between man and wife

Susannah, in just a moment you and Samuel will be exchanging vows.
Your vows are identical in every respect except for one. He will be
vowing to love and cherish, while you will be vowing to love, cherish
and obey. This is a Christian wedding, and this is the Christian
order. But it is not an order that exists independently of the laws of
mutual dependence. These laws govern you, just as they govern Samuel.
He needs you to follow him, and you need him to be strong enough to
follow. Now as everyone who knows you can attest, you are a pippin. So
this is my charge to you—let that strength of your character not be a
challenge to Samuel’s authority, but rather be the kind of strength
that gives Samuel’s authority real direction and purpose.

Douglas Wilson

Gospels - Jesus' birth through childhood

Luke 1 - the births of John and Jesus are announced Miraculous conceptions, Spirit-filled prophecies astound people.

John 1 - The Word was with God in the beginning, the light that gives us life. He lived among us, John bore witness to Him.

1 John 1 - We (the apostles) have seen, heard, and touched Jesus and reveal Him to you. By Him we have forgiveness of sin.

Matt 1 - Jesus' genealogy; Mary conceives; angel appears to Joseph, so he doesn't divorce her.

Matt 2 - Mary and Joseph have to go to Bethlehem for a census and Jesus is born in a stable there. Angels announce it to nearby shepherds who go see and tell all they meet. Jesus circumcised. At the sacrifice for Mary's cleansing at the temple, Simeon and Anna proclaim Jesus the coming Redeemer of Israel.

Matt 2 - eastern wise men come to worship Jesus, and find a craft, paranoid Herod on the throne instead. The scribes and the star lead them 5 miles further to Bethlehem. After giving gifts to Jesus, God keeps them from Herod, and sends Joseph running from Herod to Egypt. Herod kills the baby boys in Bethlehem, like a Pharoah. When he dies, they come back to Nazareth.

Luke 2 - Jesus grows; goes to temple at 12 and interacts with teachers, doing His Father's business. Parents lose him, but He goes home with them after 3 days.

Women at college

Women and College from Canon Wired on Vimeo.


Bigger houses

Average size of a new single family home in the U.S.

1950 - 983 square feet
1970 - 1500 square feet
1990 - 2050 square feet
2009 - 2422 square feet

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


Lack of Fathers

This, from Randy Booth, on the need for fathers.

"Feminism has been the hostile reaction to this pervasive father-hunger; the false answer to some very real problems. Feminism is not the problem, it's the symptom. Father-love is the solution to the problem. And so, a pervasive fatherless culture has led us to our aimless, postmodern, emasculated culture: "Who's to say? Who's to lead? Who's to protect?" We are left without authority, guidance, or protection—all of these are fatherly provisions, and we are left empty and hungry.

As Christian men desperately look for an image of a godly father and household, it is natural to look to the past. We find old images in books, and soon a movement is born that tries to recreate those nostalgic old images. As charming and quaint as they might seem, they are as out of place as three-cornered hats and buckled shoes. We end up looking silly, and worse, we become culturally irrelevant. We need to know what a father looks like today, painting a new image using the old colors of Scripturelearning how to worship and how to live in a community—how to pull together. We must learn how to live around the Table, and around our tables. We have to start thinking again. This will take a self-conscious re-design.

We are called to be fathers that truly represent The Father. This will feel awkward at first, because in many respects it is new. Yet, for our sons and daughters, it will feel normal. We buy what is familiar. This is why advertisers spend millions on branding. Our children are no different. Sons imitate their fathers (or anti-fathers). Daughters marry their fathers (or anti-fathers). What is feeding our imagination? It cannot feed on what it has not seen or heard. Pop-culture gives us father-images: buffoons and lovable idiots, the old fogey, the abusive father, etc. We begin with abstract knowledge: theology (what God thinks), followed by instruction and verbal images (preaching and teaching). Little-by-little the new pictures get drawn. Soon they become plausible, next, they become habit (culture), finally, they become generational."


1 - God loves Israel, for she is preserved while Edom is in ruins
1 - But Israel saves their best sacrifice for the governor, not the temple
2 - Priests don't honor God, for they teach the law with partiality
2 - They weep over the altar, but God doesn't hear, for they are faithless
3 - God will send the messenger of His covenant, to purify Levi
3 - Israel has robbed God by not giving a full tithe. Priests teach confusion
3 - The faithful gather and write up a statement; God honors this
4 - God's day is coming, when the wicked will be consumed and the faithful will be healed. Remember the law and prophets until then. Elijah will come just before that day and spare a remnant by turning their hearts toward their children and fathers.



1 - Nehemiah, Persian king Artaxerxes' Jewish cupbearer, hears Jerusalem is in sad shape. He confesses Israel's sin and asks God to help as he gets ready to speak to the king about it.

2 - He asks and gets support to go rebuild. He arrives, inspects the wall, and gets the people's support. Sanballat and Tobiah oppose it.

3 - List of who repaired what walls and gates.

4 - After taunting and intimidation, morale falters, but Nehemiah counters with encouragement and military defense against a surprise attack. This slows the work by half.

5 - Nobles charge interest and take debtors' kids as slaves. Nehemiah rebukes them. He himself does not burden the people financially, but helps them from his salary.

6 - Tobiah intimidates and threatens Nehemiah, but the wall is finished in under two months.

7 - Nehemiah regulates the opening and closing of the Cory gates, records the names of the 50,000 returning exiles, and the gifts given for the temple.

8 - Ezra reads the Bible all morning, and the expound it, giving the people joy. Feast of booths celebrated.

9 - Israel confesses their sin and God's faithfulness to them.

10 - Names of the leaders who sign the covenant, to obey the law, not intermarry with syncretist neighbors, not work on the Sabbath, and to bring their first tenth of harvest to the temple for the priests.

11 - leaders in Jerusalem listed: chiefs, priests, Levites

12 - wall dedicated with choirs, instruments, and much rejoicing. Musical service reestablished.

13 - Nehemiah goes back to work for the king in Susa. When he returns he kicks Tobiah out of the temple, ensures the Levites get their salaries, stops buying and selling on the Sabbath, rebukes intermarriage with idolators, and ensures sacrifices are made.


by Jay Adams

It is important in counseling to bring people to a place of repentance, confession of sin, and forgiveness whenever necessary. That is good, biblical and necessary. But there is more.

Reconciliation ought to follow. As we are reconciled to God after forgiveness, so too ought the counselor help counselees to develop proper relationships with one another. Two who have been at enmity, may not find it easy to do so. They ask forgiveness, seem embarrassed, and in the future avoid one another, RECONCILIATION MEANS DEVELOPING A GOOD RELATIONSHIP FOR THE FUTURE.

So, don’t just send off two who have quarreled after forgiveness. Work with them to develop a future, friendly relationship. Naturally, there will we embarrassment, but that should not cause them to avoid one another in the future, A new, and truly biblical relationship must be developed.

Of course, it may be difficult especially when two are members of the same church, but that’s the beauty of reconciliation—it is possible to exhibit it in many ways in the future before others....

I didn’t say that such persons must become the closest of friends. But there must be no standoffishness. The pastor ought to warn about the problem and monitor it in days to come. Further counseling may be required, but—whatever it takes (biblically)—they must establish a holy relationship as God does after reconciling with us.


Good verse for blogs...

... and Facebook:

Matthew 12:36
"Every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment."