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Linked Together: Questions Answered

A little recommended weekend reading.

What If the Worst Happens?
I have to admit it: I’m a “what if?” woman. I do more than my fair share of worrying about what could happen.

Vaneetha Rendall suggests replacing “what if” with “even if.”

In the Bible, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not guaranteed deliverance. Just before Nebuchadnezzar delivered them to the fire, they offered some of the most courageous words ever spoken. “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it … But even if he does not, we want you to know that we will not serve your gods … ” (Daniel 3:17–18).

Even if.

Even if the worst happens, God’s grace is sufficient. Those three young men faced the fire without fear because they knew that whatever the outcome, it would ultimately be for their good and for God’s glory. They did not ask “what if” the worst happened. They were satisfied knowing that “even if” the worst happened, God would take care of them.

Read the rest at Desiring God Blog.

What Does Repentance Look Like?
David shows us in Psalm 51 (R. C. Sproul).

Why Are You Here on Earth?
The answer is in a George Herbert poem (John Piper).

Why Is Propitiation Important?
Because it’s what we need (Kim Shay).


With and Within

J. I. Packer on the relationship of Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son:

The Spirit, whose creative power effected the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:35), was with and within the incarnate Son throughout his life on earth. He disclosed his presence to Jesus, to John, and perhaps to others by the apparition of the dove at Jesus’s baptism (Matt. 3:16-17; John 1:32-33), which convinced John that “this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit bearer, so John was told, would in due course be the Spirit giver. The Spirit at once led Jesus into the wilderness “to be tempted by the devil” (Matt 4:1); he participated in all the Savior’s ministry (Luke 4:14), empowering his miracles (Matt 12:28), prompting his joy (Luke 10:21), and sustaining him through the agony of Gethsemane for the greater agony of his atoning death (Heb. 9:14). As we Christians are upheld by the Holy Spirit in the life that we live with God and for God, so was our Savior before us. As we live in a simultaneous relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are always together and never apart from each other, so were the Father and the Spirit together with the Son when he was on earth, as they are still and always will be.

Quoting from Taking God Seriously: Vital Things We Need to Know (page 114).


Thankful Thursday

If I am going to feel blue, it will be in September, so it’s especially important for me to keep on being thankful for the small joys that come every day. I know from experience that acknowledging the little gifts from God’s hand helps in times with hard providences, and also in times with many minor irritations that make our lives stressful. So here are a few things I’ve been thankful for lately.

  • Leaves and rakes. My yard is a beautiful carpet of yellow. Yesterday the grandchildren, their mothers, and I raked up a few piles of leaves for them to play with. They walked through them, laid in them, piled them in the wagon and toy wheelbarrow, and pulled them around the yard. We all had fun on a crisp clear morning, and I’m thankful for it. 
  • Ice on the pond. Yes, there was a layer of ice on the pond yesterday morning and we all enjoyed cracking it with our feet and our sticks. That ice was a good gift from God. So is the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of preschoolers. 
  • My youngest son’s work. He had work lined up starting in August, but the project was delayed. Finally, last week he started back to work again and I’m thankful for it. The time off gave him time for fix my fence and paint it, but still, it is not good for a young man to not be working. 
  • That we might be seeing the end of the process of settling my dad’s estate. Who would have thought it would take 3+ years? But it did—and maybe it will soon be over. I’m thankful for God’s timing. I can’t always (or usually?) understand it, but I can trust it. 
  • For the people I can call on to help me when I need it. 

Also thankful today:

What are you thankful for? Leave a comment with your thanksgiving, post your thanksgiving on your blog, or tweet it. Give me the link by email or in a comment and I’ll add your thanksgiving to the list in the post.


Theological Term of the Week

text criticism
“[T]he careful study of the ancient texts in an effort to establish what the original manuscripts of the Bible said”;1also called textual criticism.

  • From 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible by Robert L. Plummer:
    We have historical records of extensive text criticism from at least as far back as Origen (A.D. 185-254), but the modern flowering of the discipline followed the introduction of the printing press in Europe (1454) and the revival of scholars’ knowledge of Greek and Hebrew at the time of the Reformation. Text criticism has flourished especially in the last two hundred years, with the many discoveries of ancient manuscripts and a growing scholarly consensus on methods. 
  • From The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy:
    Since God has nowhere promised an inerrant transmission of Scripture, it is necessary to affirm that only the autographic text of the original documents was inspired and to maintain the need of textual criticism as a means of detecting any slips that may have crept into the text in the course of its transmission. The verdict of this science, however, is that the Hebrew and Greek text appear to be amazingly well preserved, so that we are amply justified in affirming, with the Westminster Confession, a singular providence of God in this matter and in declaring that the authority of Scripture is in no way jeopardized by the fact that the copies we possess are not entirely error-free.

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Heidelberg Catechism

Question 54. What do you believe concerning the “holy catholic church” of Christ?

Answer: I believe that the Son of God (a) from the beginning of the world to the end, (b) gathers, defends, and preserves for himself, (c) by his Spirit and word, (d) out of the whole human race, (e) a church chosen to everlasting life, (f) unified in the true faith; (g) and that I am and forever will remain, (h) a living member of it. (i)

(Scriptural proofs after the fold.)

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