Saturday, December 31, 2011

“I delivered thee when bound,
And, when bleeding, healed thy wound,
Sought thee wand’ring, set thee right,
Turned thy darkness into light.”

Author Unknown, Redemption Hymnal, Song 565

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What did the High Priest wear on the Day of Atonement?

The high priest's clothes that day were remarkably simple. When he represented God to the people he was attired in robes of sumptuous colour and glory. When he represented the people before God, he wore little more than a slave would: linen tunic, shorts, belt and turban.  
Gordon J. Wenham, New Bible Commentary; Leviticus, Inter-Varsity Press, 1994 Pg. 143

Friday, December 23, 2011

Incarnation Meditation from a Virgin Mother to her Divine Son

How shall I give You milk, who gives food to all creation?
How shall I hold You in my arms who holds all things?
How shall I look upon You without fear, on whom the cherubim with many eyes dare not lift their gaze?
Matutin, 6. Tone
As quoted in The Mystical Language of Icons - Solrunn Nes, Eerdmans, 2004

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Deeper Symbolism Than The Grave

In fact, the waters of baptism have an even richer symbolism than simply the symbolism of the grave. The waters also remind us of the waters of God’s judgment that came upon unbelievers at the time of the flood (Gen 7:6-24), or the drowning of the Egyptians in the Exodus (Ex. 14:26-29). Similarly, when Jonah was thrown into the deep (Jonah 1:7-16), he was thrown down to the place of death because of God’s judgment on his disobedience - even though he was miraculously rescued and thus became a sign of the resurrection. 
Therefore those who go down into the waters of baptism really are going down into the waters of judgment and death, death that they deserve from God for their sins. When they come back up out of the waters of baptism it shows that they have come safely through God’s judgment only because of the merits of Jesus Christ, with whom they are united in His death and resurrection. This is why Peter can say in 1 Peter 3:21 that baptism “corresponds to” the saving of Noah and his family from the waters of judgment in the flood.
Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, IVP, Leicester, 1994, page 968 (footnote 7)

Why Was Jesus Baptised?

Jesus sanctified baptism when He Himself was baptized, can anyone who scorns baptism pretend to piety? Not that He was baptized to receive remission of sins - for He was without sin- but, being sinless, He was nevertheless baptized that He might impart grace and dignity to those who receive the sacrament. For, “since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same nature,” that we, sharing His incarnate life, might also share His divine grace. Thus Jesus was baptized that we, in turn, so made partakers with Him, might receive not only salvation, but also the dignity.
The dragon, according to Job, was in the water, he who received the Jordan in his maw. When, therefore, it was necessary to crush the heads of the dragon, descending into the water, He bound the strong one, that we might receive the “power to tread upon serpents and scorpions.” it was no ordinary beast, but a horrible monster. No fishing ship could last under a single scale of his tail; before him stalked destruction, ravaging all in her path. But life came running up, that that maw of death might be stopped and all we who were save might say, ‘O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?” Baptism draws death’s sting.
Cyril of Jerusalem:
Catechetical Lectures 3.11

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How shall we grieve?

What the Lord expects from us at such seasons is not to abandon ourselves to unreasoning sorrow, but trustingly to look sorrow in the face, to scan its features, to search for the help and hope, which, as surely as God is our Father, must be there. In such trials there can be no comfort for us so long as we stand outside weeping. If only we will take the courage to fix our gaze deliberately upon the stern countenance of grief, and enter unafraid into the darkest recesses of our trouble, we shall find the terror gone, because the Lord has been there before us, and, coming out again, has left the place transfigured, making of it by the grace of His resurrection, a house of life, the very gate of heaven.

Gerhardus Vos, as quoted by Justin & Lindsey Holcomb, Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault, Crossway Publishers, 2011, pg. 61

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Why So Repetitive?

"Every week I preach justification by faith to my people,
because every week they forget it." 
[Martin Luther]

Friday, December 9, 2011

Why do we study theology?

Theology must be in the service of the church and its mission. Authentic theology must be shaped by what we might call a missionary hermeneutic. Theology divorced from this context is essentially barren, self-referential and indulgent. David Bosch says:
‘Just as the church ceases to be the church if it is not missionary, theology ceases to be theology if it loses its missionary character… We are in need of a missiological agenda for theology rather than just a theological agenda for mission; for theology, rightly understood, has no reason to exist other than critically to accompany the missio Dei.’
Tim Chester and Steve Times, Total Church: A Radical Reshaping Around Gospel and Community, IVP, Nottingham, 2007, Pg 152

What is our anchor in both life and death?

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift and the cables strain
Will your anchor shift, or firm remain?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fasten’d to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.

It will surely hold in the floods of death,
When the waters cold chill our latest breath;
On the rising tide it can never fail,
While our hopes abide within the veil! 

-Priscilla Owens 1882

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Every day belongs to God. But Sunday is the Lord’s day in a special way. Jesus has owned it uniquely ever since that first Easter when He stepped out of the empty tomb. Think of it. On that morning, for the first time, He had conquered death. He had atoned for our sin. He had made a way for us to come boldly into the presence of the Father. And every Sunday since then has been an anniversary of that amazing morning. The Saviour has risen - and everything has changed.

Joshua Harris, Stop Dating the Church - Fall in Love with the Family of God, Multnomah Books, 2004, Pg. 104

Friday, December 2, 2011

Why did God create the world?

The world was not created unintentionally or out of necessity; it is not an automatic emanation or overflowing from God, but the consequence of Divine choice. We should think, not of God the Manufacturer or God the Craftsman, but of God the Lover. By voluntary choice God created the world in “ecstatic” love, so that there might be besides Himself other beings to participate in the life and the love that are His.

Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way, (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimirs Seminary Press, 1995) 44.