Categories
Lord's Day Liturgy

A Heart to Run

The heart is not just an internal organ it is a muscle. Like most muscles, it can be exercised, it can be made stronger, it can get bigger. The heart’s work is to deliver blood to other muscles in the body, and in most cases the bigger the heart the better capable for work.

I used to be more of a runner, and I preferred longer distances rather than sprints. According to some research, an endurance athlete’s heart can be up to 50 percent bigger than a non-athlete’s heart (source).

There are a number of things necessary for running; the blood-pumping organ doesn’t map out the course or see the mangy dog straying outside his fence. The heart doesn’t take even a step by itself, but it enables the legs and feet to stride and the arms to pump for forward momentum.

When it comes to obeying God, we do need knowledge of His law, and His Word lays out the map. Psalm 119, for example, is full of prayerful praise requesting open eyes (verse 18) and learning (verse 7) and understanding of His precepts (verse 27). But there is another request the singer makes that we would do well to imitate.

I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart! (verse 32)

In one way, our hearts are enlarged as we obey; obedience is a strength exercise for greater obedience. Obedience begets obedience. And also, the Lord Himself will expand and spread and increase our heart size. It may not be the case that you don’t know how to run in the way of His commandments, you are just out of shape. Pray that He would make your heart wide.

Categories
The End of Many Books

Live Not by Lies

So much about this book is good for all times, and so much about it is particularly timely. Soft totalitarianism, especially as seen in the faces of social justice ideology and surveillance technology, is upon us, it’s just a question of its level of influence in various places, and how much of it we accept for (preliminary) conveniences.

I held back one star because Dreher’s observations are, from my perspective, tinged with more fear than thanks. And while I wholeheartedly agree with him that it is crucial for Christians to preserve the faith and pass it on to their children and small communities, should we (or the generation that gets to come out of “survival”) ever expect to use (let alone create/advance and give God thanks for) broader technology? Which kinds? Under what circumstances? Because we see the abuses of good, and even an increase in those abuses around us today, are believers only supposed to build bunkers?

Nevertheless, I highly recommend reading this (and sharing it with your Russian friends!).

4 of 5 stars

Categories
Lord's Day Liturgy

Fattened Up

When God told Israel what part of the animals He wanted for Himself, He said He wanted the fat.

the priest shall burn [the fat covering the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them] on the altar as a food offering with a pleasing aroma. All fat is the LORD’S. (Leviticus 3:16, see also the whole chapter, but especially the context in verses 14-15)

The sacrifices were not chosen because they were the most skinny, because they were made of more skin. The animals were bred and fed to be big and fat, and that pleased the Lord.

His people are also called sheep (Psalm 100:3), we are called sacrifices (Romans 12:1). God desires that we be without blemish, He also desires that we be fat. I am talking about spiritual weight, about holiness that’s heavy when you try to push it around and joy that sizzles when the fire is put to it.

He is fattening us up for slaughter. He loves us so much that even when we are sheep led to the slaughter (Psalm 44:22, quoted in Romans 8:36), we can’t be separated from His love, which is Paul’s point in Romans 8. The Lord may not require our martyrdom, but He most certainly requires us to be living sacrifices.

May the bread and wine at this Table fatten up your faith, for sake of pulling the plow, for sake of a being a pleasing aroma to Him when things heat up. This is part of our witness, part of being “the aroma of Christ to God” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).

Categories
The End of Many Books

Planet Narnia

This was my third full time through the book, and I’ve read large chunks more times than that. I’d give it seven stars out of five if that was possible. This time I got to read it with my college astronomy class, to whom I assigned it, and I enjoyed sharing Ward’s discoveries with them and hearing their thoughts. I can’t assign it to everyone, but I can recommend it to everyone, whether for insight into world of Narnia or just for considering the unique power of donegality in fiction.

5 of 5 stars

Categories
The End of Many Books

Revelation 20 and the Millennial Debate

This book by Matt Waymeyer is about as perfect as it could be for its purpose. It’s a brief look at Revelation 20, which is the crucial passage in Scripture related to the “thousand years,” the millennium. Waymeyer compares the three main approaches: Premillennialism, Postmillennialism, and Amillennialsm, and provides the proposed answers of each view to the interpretive questions required to understand each paragraph. In his introduction he states, “the primary contribution of this book rests not so much in the area of original though as in its presentation of the arguments of writers who have gone before.” And it is a great contribution and service to the reader. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to know what’s in Revelation 20 more than what they need to bring in to it.

5 of 5 stars

Categories
Lord's Day Liturgy

Full Obedience

A week ago Monday night was not just a full moon, it was a supermoon. It’s not a particularly rare event, but it only happens three or four times out of the 13 or 14 full moons each year. At least once every 29.5 days the moon is called “full,” and a supermoon is when a full moon coincides with the moon’s perigee, which refers to the point in its elliptical orbit at which it is closest to Earth. This makes the moon appear up to 14% larger and 30% brighter than when it is farthest from Earth. Last Monday was a great display, even from Marysville.

I’m assuming most people would say that the moon is at its most glorious when it is full, and what we should all consider is that when the moon is most full it is also most obedient. The moon doesn’t produce its own light, all its glory is borrowed. When she is most in line with the sun she is most on display herself.

As male and female humans we are most ourselves when we are most reflective (Genesis 1:27). Though people are higher in the hierarchy of the universe than the planets, we do not produce our own light. We were made to bear our Maker’s image, to reflect His glory.

Like the moon, our obedience is glory. If you are struggling with your identity, it may be because you are not lined up to and looking at Him. This is also why our obedience is His glory. When we do good works, and others see our good works, they will glorify our Father, because He is the source of our light.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)