Unrelated verses that caught my heart in reading today

Psalm 68:19
"Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation."

Isaiah 54:10-11a
"All your children shall be taught by the LORD,
and great shall be the peace of your children.
In righteousness you shall be established."

Isaiah 57:11, 15
"Whom did you dread and fear, so that you lied,
and did not remember Me, did not lay it to heart?
Have I not held My peace, even for a long time,
and you do not fear Me?

"I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the heart of the contrite."

Isaiah 59:1-2
"Behold the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
or His ear dull, that it cannot hear;
but your iniquities have made a separation
between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden His face from you
so that He does not hear."


More Ireland - Brigid

Brigid of Kildare became abbess of a large monastery.
Here is the table prayer ascribed to her.

I should like a great lake of finest ale
for the King of kings.
I should like a table of the choicest food
for the family of heaven.
Let the ale be made from the fruits of faith,
and the food be forgiving love.

I should welcome the poor to my feast,
for they are God’s children.
I should welcome the sick to my feast
for they are God’s joy.
Let the poor sit with Jesus at the highest place
and the sick dance with the angels.

God bless the poor,
God bless the sick,
And bless our human race.
God bless our food,
God bless our drink,
all homes, O God embrace.

Ancient Irish scribal scribblings

Cover Image

According to the book (pg 162-163), this playful one was found in the same manuscript as Greek paradigms and a Latin commentary on Virgil.

I and Pangur Ban my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight
Hunting words I sit all night.

'Tis a merry thing to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye,
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Ban my cat and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

Ancient Irish Christian poetry

Ancient Irish poem by Manchan of Offaly, convert of St Patrick:

Grant me sweet Christ the grace to find---

Son of the Living God!---

A small hut in a lonesome spot

To make it my abode.

A little pool but very clear

To stand beside the place

Where all men's sins are washed away

By sanctifying grace.

A pleasant woodland all about

To shield it from the wind

And make a home for singing birds

Before it and behind.

A southern aspect for the heat

A stream along its foot,

A smooth green lawn with rich topsoil

Propitious to all fruit.

My choice of men to live with me

And pray to God as well;

Quiet men of humble mind---

Their number I shall tell.

Four files of three or three of four

To give the psalter forth;

Six to pray by the south church wall

And six along the north.

Two by two my dozen friends---

To tell the number right---

Praying with me to move the King

Who gives the sun its light.

A lovely church, a home for God

Bedecked with linen fine,

Where over the white Gospel page

The Gospel candles shine.

A little house where all may dwell

And body's care be sought,

Where none shows lust or arrogance,

None thinks an evil thought.

And all I ask for housekeeping

I get and pay no fees,

Leeks from the garden, poultry, game,

Salmon and trout and bees.

My share of clothing and of food,

From the King of fairest face,

And I to sit at times alone,

And pray in every place.


Merry Irish Wars

How the Irish Saved Civilization (Hinges of History)
For the great Gaels of Ireland
Are the men that God made mad.
For all their wars are merry,
and all their songs are sad.
GK Chesterton
How the Irish Saved Civilization (Hinges of History)
Rome fell because of inner weakness, either social or spiritual: or Rome fell because of outer pressure - the barbarian hordes. What we can say with confidence is that Rome fell gradually and that Romans for many decades scarcely noticed what was happening - 14.


Thought for the day

When we are frustrated in our efforts to take dominion in our given vocations, there is a great temptation to compensate by indulging the self in some other area of life.
Wise Words : Family Stories That Bring the Proverbs to LifeWise Words : Family Stories That Bring the Proverbs to Life by Peter J. Leithart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the best children's books out there.
Peter Leithart does a unique thing in this book. He relates Scriptural stories, proverbs or truths by telling simple fairy tales. Highly recommended for the reader to experience the narrative dimension of truth.

View all my reviews
Where the Red Fern GrowsWhere the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a great book for children to learn for the first time about love, loyalty, labor and loss. Billy learns to work hard himself for what he wants, he works harder to be loyal to the ones he loves, and then he loses what he labored for and loves.

View all my reviews


Why I blog



by Edgar Guest


Used to wonder just why father
Never had much time for play,
Used to wonder why he'd rather
Work each minute of the day.
Used to wonder why he never
Loafed along the road an' shirked;
Can't recall a time whenever
Father played while others worked.

Father didn't dress in fashion,
Sort of hated clothing new;
Style with him was not a passion;
He had other things in view.
Boys are blind to much that's going
On about 'em day by day,
And I had no way of knowing
What became of father's pay.

All I knew was when I needed
Shoes I got 'em on the spot;
Everything for which I pleaded,
Somehow, father always got.
Wondered, season after season,
Why he never took a rest,
And that I might be the reason
Then I never even guessed.

Father set a store on knowledge;
If he'd lived to have his way
He'd have sent me off to college
And the bills been glad to pay.
That, I know, was his ambition:
Now and then he used to say
He'd have done his earthly mission
On my graduation day.

Saw his cheeks were getting paler,
Didn't understand just why;
Saw his body growing frailer,
Then at last I saw him die.
Rest had come! His tasks were ended,
Calm was written on his brow;
Father's life was big and splendid,
And I understand it now.

Random thoughts on Genesis 3

Satan says their eyes will be opened and they will be like God. When they eat their eyes are opened and... they know they're naked. The form of the words tells us: Satan lied.

God does not question the serpent when the woman blames him. He gives man a chance to repent, but not the serpent.

Adam names Eve "woman" before the fall, and "Eve" after the fall. Not sure exactly what that means. Maybe that good husbandry of the woman takes twice as much work as of creation?


Deliberate Interaction

RC Sproul, Jr. writes:

"If you are alive and not on the moon, you have successfully managed to be "in the world." Now let's work on not being of the world."

I must quibble with this. He asserts we need do no work to be in the world. But it does take work to learn one's cultural assumptions and happenings to know how to speak to them most effectively.

It's true we need to work harder on our holiness. But we need to engage a lost world just as deliberately.

Your 2 minute grace reminder

Good video - Mark Driscoll and Doug Wilson

What grace means for your life now.


Ecclesiastes in 330 words

Funny, reading Ecclesiastes on Labor Day.

Most view this book of the Bible as the musings of a skeptic, who finds no meaning in life without God. I disagree. These are the writings of a wise man, not a fool.

He sees that for all his work, little really changes in the world (1:1-11). He tries to find ultimate meaning (1:12-15) through wisdom (16-18), pleasure, projects and possessions (2:1-11). Wisdom is a little better, but the wise die like the fool (12-17), and work is still frustrating (18-23). What really makes life – enjoyment - is something only God can give; and He doesn’t give it to all (24-26).

God has different times for different things in life (3:1-8). We can ponder but not plumb the depths of eternity, so we should enjoy our place in life, not try to be God, but rather receive gratefully what He gives (9-15). There is injustice (3:16-22), oppression (4:1-3), envy and striving and ambition (4-8). Companionship and wisdom are better, but they go the way of all flesh, too (9-16).

Worship and godliness is not about many words, but deeds (5:1-7). Love of power and money is worthless in the long run, but those who enjoy what God has given and don’t take themselves too seriously are blessed (5:8-6:12).

Wisdom is better than folly (7:1-19), but it isn’t the silver bullet, either, because our sins mess it up (15-29). Earthly authority brings some helpful limitations, but the fear of God or lack of it determines our destiny (8:1-13). Having wisdom and goodness often don’t count in determining if you’re blessed (8:14-9:12). Having wisdom is better, but it is easily ruined or lost (9:13-10:4). Lack of wisdom really hurts (10:5-20).

Do your work and be generous, but the final result is up to God, who judges, so remember Him before you grow old and die (11:1-12:8). Well placed words are useful, but many words weary one. In the end - fear God (12:9-14).

On the Wedding Ceremony

I've had several people comment about how I officiate at weddings.

Before the father gives away his daughter to the groom, there are vows of intent, where the parents hear the future couple commit to what they will do. So the question is "Will you..." and they say, "I will." The parents then, formally satisfied (they obviously are already, but this is the formal acting out of it), give her to the guy. They then (later, after the sermon, responding to the gospel) make vows to one another in the present tense: "I take you..." or "I do." Sometimes this leads to no "I do" if the couple repeat vows. "I groom, take you bride..."

This is a pretty minor grammatical point in the scheme of things. Does the groom take the bride before the father gives her? In real life, it often works this way, but ideally not. The words we say at our ceremonies should uphold the best way, and the hard part is living up to those rituals. Improving our baptism, communing with Christ (Lord's Supper), actually being a walking billboard for Christ and the Church in your marriage - these rituals are easy to administer, but hard to live faithfully.


The Messiah - The Bridegroom

We know the principles of marriage before we are married. We know as single women that we are to be a helper for their future husband, even though they don’t know who that is, yet. We know as single men that we are meant to provide for a future wife, though we don’t know who.

In the same way, God’s people in the Old covenant knew that they were meant for God. They knew the basic pattern of their relationship with Him, and that God would provide for them through a Messiah. But they didn’t know who that was yet.

Until Jesus came and turned water to wine.

At a wedding.

Families, Big and Small

This article by Kevin DeYoung originally appeared in the July issue of Tabletalk magazine.

I want to talk about the size of our families. More importantly, I want to talk about loving as we want to be loved and giving each other the benefit of the doubt.

Scripture says the human race should be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28; Mal. 2:15).  Children are always seen as a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127:3-5; 128:3-4).  Church growth happens evangelistically andcovenantally.  So I like big families. My wife and I are on our way to a big family with four little ones already. In pre-marital counseling I challenge newlyweds to think through the reasons for birth control (which I am not against) instead of just assuming it. I warn against the abortifacient possibilities of taking the Pill.  I try to dissuade most young couples from the notion that they have to be married for several years before they start a family. I am pro-children big time.

But this does not mean I am anti-small family. All else being equal, I’d encourage Christians to have more than two kids (keeping above the replacement rate). But all else is not equal. There are simply too many things I don’t know about other couples to even dare to judge. I don’t know how difficult it can be too get pregnant or how difficult the pregnancies are. I don’t know the financial situation, the medical history, the family pressures, the cultural expectations. I don’t know what their kids are like, their marriage, or their attitude before the Lord. I don’t know what other God-glorifying, self-sacrificing, world-serving opportunities they are praying through. So when we see faithful Christians with two kids or ten kids, we should praise God and assume the best.

And yet, any pastor paying attention to the hearts and hurts of his church, will tell you that there is a lot of tension around the size of our families. Here is an opportunity for the devil to work discord among us. But here also is a wonderful opportunity to love our neighbors as ourselves and open wide hearts and affections to families that look different than ours (Matt. 22:39; 2 Cor. 6:11-13).

Think of all the trouble we get into in the church, and on this issue in particular, because we assume the worst. Big families assume smaller families are being selfish. Smaller families assume big families are out to prove something. Parents assume their children are rejecting their choices when they make different ones. Children assume their parents would have acted like them if they were more spiritual. And everybody assumes everybody else is assuming something about them!

This is not the way of 1 Corinthians 13 love and it has to stop. Let’s assume the best of each other on this issue and not assume we’re being judged because someone else feels strongly about the way they do things.
And let’s be sensitive to the feelings of others rather than sensitive to perceived sleights and offenses. In some churches women may feel a pressure to be pregnant. Maybe the pressure is stated, maybe unstated, maybe it’s inaccurately perceived. But it is felt, so let’s be careful not to add to the pressure. In a church where literally dozens of women are bursting at the womb almost constantly and all the talk is about latching, stripping membranes, and other pleasantries we must be careful that young women who aren’t pregnant don’t feel inferior or out of place. I can just about guarantee they feel that way already, so you’ll have to go out of your way to welcome, affirm, and include.

On the flip side, there’s no good reason—certainly no biblical ones—why families with five, six, seven, ten, or fifteen kids should be made to feel strange. There’s no need for comments like, “Really, another one?” Or, “Wow, he can’t keep his hands off you!”  Those comments are hurtful, and so are the eye rolls and exasperated sighs and suspicions.  Let those who have eight kids not judge those who have two, and those with one child not judge those with six.

And let me throw out one other verse while I’m at it: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). For most Christians there is almost nothing as joyful as having a baby, and almost nothing as painful as being unable to do so. This leads to lots of awkward church lobby deliberations: “Should I tell her I’m pregnant? She’s been trying for so long, my news will just make her sad. But if I don’t tell her she’ll find out eventually and be hurt that I didn’t mention anything. Maybe I’ll tell her privately. But then that will make her feel singled out. What to do?” There is no solution to this problem. Infertility hurts and babies can make it hurt more. But a step in the right direction is God’s command in Romans 12. Let every young lady rejoice with her friend’s pregnancy and let that same friend weep when her sister in Christ hasn’t or won’t experience the same joy.

I don’t pretend to get all this baby stuff right. I’m sure I’ve been woefully insensitive at times. I’ve probably made silly “you get pregnant around here just by drinking the water” jokes that have been quietly unhelpful. I need God’s help too. But as a pastor I try to set the right tone, dial down the tensions, and encourage every man and wife to assume the best (and assume everyone else is doing the same). It doesn’t make all the tensions go away. But I’m hoping it will help us love each other’s families, the small and the big, in big ways and small.


Read the whole Bible

This is really good, especially from :45 to 3:30

Two views on the health and wisdom of the Family Integrated Church movement

These are quotes from a recent email discussion. My summary is at the very bottom.

View One - Potential Allies
"They largely come from baptistic and pietistic backgrounds (which gets a little intolerable, sometimes). But, largely, I consider them allies in the faith. [They] have done MUCH to influence a following into Reformed doctrine."

"The main idea of "family integrated" was to eliminate children's church, youth groups, and divided-up groups, and emphasize the whole family in the worship service. Additionally, it emphasized family devotions/worship/Bible study, at home where the father would take on the spiritual responsibility that had been previously (if any) relegated to the mother. His job was more than bringing home the bacon; but raising up his children in the Lord. Most of these fathers have no confessional/creed/catechism understanding or background. Yet, once they see they don't have to become Catholics to practice such things, they generally embrace it."

View Two - Potential Troublers
"I don't know about this. The folk we've had come through here think of themselves as fully formed and they're here to teach you. What that translates into is immature, grumpy, highly opinionated people who are always quick to jump all over people for their clothing, movies they watch, not homeschooling, feeding their kids Hostess Twinkies, and not having their boys dress up like Davey Crockett until they're 18. This means pastors and elders constantly have to steer them away from new people so they don't scare the crap out of them. Who needs that kind of stress?"

Back to View One
"These people… were effectively run out of their baptist circles because they wanted to keep their children in the main service, and not have them sent off to children's church. That is the kind of nonsense these folks are responding to, by building something on their own where the kids can stay in the service. Help them; don’t blast them."

I found myself agreeing with both of these views, as some folks are loving, sensitive to church life and open to hearing teaching that isn't their exact view; while others are inexperienced in living together as the church and think they have all the answers to the church's problems already.