Posted in comforter, encouragment, God, orphans, spirit

We are not orphans

I was thinking of how wonderful God is. The Trinity, Three-In-One, Father, Son, Spirit are intimately involved in our lives. The Father’s Providence, bringing all things to pass at the good will and pleasure of Himself. The Spirit, dwelling inside us as a deposit of the guarantee to come. The Son, Priest, interceding for us on our behalf in heaven. Each Person of the Godhead intimately knowledgeable of each one of us and loving us and leading us and providing for us. It is amazing.

The Bible’s treasures are limitless. Each time we open it to read more of what God will reveal to us about Himself is a journey into love, wonder, and awe. I was reading and listening to a sermon on Saturday. John MacArthur’s “What the Cross Meant to Christ.” It was a terrific sermon as usual. In my reading and thinking about that section of John there is this verse:

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18).

The word orphan here means fatherless, bereft, desolate. In the context of the entire passage, Jesus is comforting the disciples, because He is going to leave them. They are lost, confused, heartbroken. They don’t quite understand but they sense something bad is about to happen and they are upset. Jesus is reassuring them. He is explaining that He is going to prepare a place for them and will return. He says He will not leave them as orphans, He will come to them.

Alexander McLaren’s commentary is excellent in explaining this beautiful moment. Imagine, the God of the Universe, softly and reassuringly comforting His little children. That was how Jesus began the conversation in chapter 13:33- “Little children.” he IS our Father, and He will not leave us Fatherless as orphans. See McLaren on the unification of the Christ and the Spirit. One says He is leaving, but One is actually present.

Then, note, further, that this coming of our Lord is identified with that of His divine Spirit. He has been speaking of sending that ‘other Comforter,’ but though He be Another, He is yet so indissolubly united with Him who sends as that the coming of the Spirit is the coming of Jesus. He is no gift wafted to us as from the other side of a gulf, but by reason of the unity of the Godhead and the divinity of the sent Spirit, Jesus Christ and the Spirit whom He sends are inseparable though separate, and so indissolubly united that where the Spirit is, there is Christ, and where Christ is, there is the Spirit. These are amongst the deep things which the disciples were ‘not able to carry’ at that stage of their development, and which waited for a further explanation. Enough for them and enough for us, to know that we have Christ in the Spirit and the Spirit in Christ; and to remember ‘that if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.’

“Christ is the only Remedy for the orphanhood of the world” ~McLaren

What a mystery the Trinity is! How tremendous His care of us in sending the Spirit! I can hardly contain myself. McLaren again-

Then, note, further, that this present Christ is the only Remedy for the orphanhood of the world. The words had a tender and pathetic reference to that little, bewildered group of followers, deprived of their Guide, their Teacher, and their Companion. He who had been as eyes to their weak vision, and Counsellor and Inspirer and everything for three blessed years, was going away to leave them unsheltered to the storm, and we can understand how forlorn and terrified they were, when they looked forward to fronting the things that must come to them, without His presence. Therefore He cheers them with the assurance that they will not be left without Him, but that, present still, just because He is absent, He will be all that He ever had been to them.

Wonder of wonders! He is good. He is so good!

And the promise was fulfilled. How did that dis-spirited group of cowardly men ever pluck up courage to hold together at all after the Crucifixion? Why was it that they did not follow the example of John’s disciples, and dissolve and disappear; and say, ‘The game is up. It is no use holding together any longer’? The process of separation began on the very day of the Crucifixion. Only one thing could have stopped it, and that is the Resurrection and the presence with His Church of the risen Christ in His power and in all the fullness of His gifts. If it had not been that He came to them, they would have disappeared, and Christianity would have been one more of the abortive sects forgotten in Judaism. But, as it is, the whole of the New Testament after Pentecost is aflame with the consciousness of a present Christ, working amongst His people. And although it be true that, in one aspect, we are absent from the Lord when we are present with the body, in another aspect, and an infinitely higher one, it is true that the strength of the Christian life of Apostles and martyrs was this, the assurance that Christ Himself-no mere rhetorical metaphor for His influence or His example, or His memory lingering in their imaginations, but the veritable Christ Himself-was present with them, to strengthen and to bless.

Please know dear brethren, no matter what you are going through, no matter how trying the hardship, no matter how difficult the circumstances, your Comforter is here. He has not left us as orphans.

Posted in doctrine, encouragment, ligonier, rc sproul, reformation

20 Free ebooks from RC Sproul

A reader sent me an alert from Ligonier Ministries of RC Sproul. There are a series of ebooks that the Ministry has made free forever. In addition, the Ministry adds free ebooks constantly. Here is their blurb

To further help Christians know what they believe, why they believe it, how to live it, and how to share it, in May 2013 we made the ebook editions of R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series free forever. We continue to publish new ebooks in this series and this year have added Are These the Last Days?, What Is Repentance?, and What Is the Relationship between Church and State?

Here is the link.

I don’t have a kindle or have set up my iTunes for eBooks, but it only took me ten minutes to find and review (through CNET and Amazon) the app “FB Reader”. I downloaded FB Reader (declining all the junk and games they try to bundle in with it) and I’ve successfully opened the first eBook I downloaded from Ligonier:

Are We Living In the Last Days?” (of course!). I am also interested in the ebook “What is Repentance?

It is such a blessing that so many ministries have made their material available for free. Chris Powers’ AKA ActionJones’s animated videos and tracts, Grace to You sermons from John MacArthur, so much from Ligonier, and many others. In like kind, please pass along the generosity when you can, making what you have available too. And don’t forget to support one of these worthy ministries, or a ministry of your choice, so that others can continue to benefit from doctrinally solid products.

Posted in earthquakes, encouragment, news, prophecy

Lightning strikes on the rise, quakes this week, ground shift in WY, Heaven tourism books, New Jerusalem

From a good science essay which discusses a comparison of DNA between apes and humans and shows why Christians don’t have to worry about the theory of evolution. “How Similar are Humans & Apes?

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Here’s why Christians don’t need to worry about the Jesus Wife papyrus fragment. Or listen to this 15 minute podcast on Issues, Etc, with Dr Craig Evans.

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I’ve often published essays reporting on the statistics which show increasing numbers of earthquakes, or storms, or strength of storms, or sinkholes, etc. But I’ve never been able to discover whether lightning strikes are more common now than before, until I read this article in an Israeli news outlet.

Lightning strikes a warming planet
They say lightning never strikes twice, and that getting struck by lightning is as rare as winning the lottery. But such folk wisdom may no longer be true, report scientists studying global lightning patterns. A cross-country research project published recently in the American Journal of Climate Change suggests that in developing countries especially, lightning strikes and death by lightning appear to be growing. Asked to comment on the story by the BBC, Price said: “The underdeveloped world is where you have the maximum frequency of lightning and thunderstorms — in places like the Central African Republic and DR Congo, the Amazon region of South America, the Indonesian islands and Borneo in South East Asia. “When you add the figures up, there may even be more people killed or injured by lightning than most of the other natural hazards we have on the earth today.” A rising world population also means that there are more people who have the potential to get hit by lightning.

According to Price, the increase in lightning activity will be seen especially in areas that become warmer and drier –– like the Mediterranean region and the southern United States. From 2012 research, he already concluded that the storms of the future will be more violent. For example, the Brazilian city of Manaus, in the middle of the Amazon, has witnessed a 50% increase in lightning strikes over the last three decades. The city now gets about 13.5 strikes per kilometer per year.

There have been several major earthquakes over the last day. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), there was a quake at

Nicaragua, 6.6
Papua New Guinea, 6.5
Papua New Guinea, 7.1
Chile, 6.0
Nicaragua, 6.1

In Chile there have been 61 quakes this week.

Of interest is the continuing quake swarm at Oklahoma. This week there have been 50 quakes, including a large (for the area) 4.1.

In France, a rare 5.0 earthquake occurred this week. Strong earthquakes are rare in France.

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Dozens evacuated in Wyoming as ground shifts
Dozens of Jackson residents who were evacuated after land began shifting on a hillside in this Wyoming resort town are waiting to find out if and when they can return home. Assistant Town Manager Roxanne Robinson said today there is still no word on what is causing the East Gros Ventre Butte land to shift, but officials have taken steps to ensure there is no catastrophe. Geologists are on the scene, and other geologists are being brought in to get a better idea of what is happening. A road and parking lot of a Walgreens pharmacy have been distorted and buckled by ground movement, which was also the cause of breaks in nearby water pipes last weekend.

When you see these kinds of scenes out of Washington state and the landslides in the canyon, it’s not to be trifled with,” he said, so the officials are monitoring carefully, but despite many rumors as to the reason this is occurring, in the article “Worry Mounts as Butte Slips, he continued, “I don’t know if anybody knows exactly what the issue is,” Barron said.

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Understanding the times and knowing what the church should do. Seven things to keep in mind.

Pastor David Platt speaks with clarity and beautiful fervency and discernment of the demonic deception of the surge in heavenly tourism books. They’re fanciful accounts, frivolous features and juvenile attractions. 4-minute video. Please watch

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In light of the two blog essays I’ve written recently about adopting a heavenly perspective and being of heavenly good, let’s finish with Nathan Busenitz’s essay on the physicality of the heavenly city of New Jerusalem. It is an essay titled The New Jerusalem.