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A Humble and Triumphant King

“Earthly kings and princes,” writes Edwards, “when they are about to engage in any great and difficult work, will put on their strength, and will appear in all their majesty and power, that they may be successful. But when Christ was about to perform the great work of redeeming a lost world, the wisdom of God took an opposite method, and determined that he should be humbled and abased to a mean state, and appear in low circumstances.”

The Christmas carol composed by Carol Owens underscores this same truth. After asking the question, “How should a king come?” the melodic voices of men and women answer as follows:

“Even a child knows the answer of course, In a coach of gold with a pure white horse. In the beautiful city in the prime of the day, And the trumpets should cry and the crowds make way. And the flags fly high in the morning sun, And the people all cheer for the sovereign one. And everyone knows that’s the way that it’s done. That’s the way that a King should come.”

With repeated emphasis, the earthly pomp of kings is stressed. But near the end of the song, the Gospel emerges. […]

Guest Post: Ferguson, Staten Island, and Jesus Christ

Our friend, Daniel Howe, posted this thoughtful piece at his blog today. Daniel’s the pastor of Christ RPC in Providence, Rhode Island. Although written for his own church family, I suspect it will be of great help in evaluating and praying over our nation’s current turbulence.

Our church has at least two sets of pastoral needs. About half of those in worship on a given Sunday are African, and about half are American (mainly white), but right now, none are “African-American” – American-born black. I’m writing this note mainly to my church. I want to give you things to remember when you see ugly things happen as they have in Missouri (and, since I started writing this post, in New York City) over the last few weeks. Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island are all over the news, and if you use Facebook or Twitter, all over them, too. Recent events – the refusal of two grand juries to indict police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men – bring to our attention some of America’s most shameful problems and ugliest history.

Some Say I’m a Dreamer; But I’m Not the Only One

Occasionally when reading the dead theologians, and let’s face it, the dead guys are better reading,  you get a glimpse of the humanity of the writer that makes you smile. Occasionally a bit of humor is seen in Calvin. At times a bit of vulnerability is read in a’Brakel. When we are reminded that the best of men are mere men, we take comfort in knowing that we have the same savior who will sanctify us as he has sanctified those who have gone before us. We enjoy the humanity of our divines.

Today I was reading Spurgeon, as I often do on Mondays, and some humanity was seen in the reading. With Spurgeon this is not surprising because often we blush, smile, and occasionally LOL when reading the Prince of Preachers, but today’s reading was different. Today Spurgeon recalled a dream and he told his readership about it! Spurgeon recalled his dream and as I read it, I imagined him attempting to capture the essence of the dream and realizing that he cannot recall it in the same way that he experienced it. Dreams often do not retell well do they? This was no exception.

For Your Thanksgiving Day Table

If you are looking to read one of the old American Thanksgiving Day proclamations around your table this year, here is the 1781 proclamation by Thomas McKean, President of the Congress of the United States.

Remember that this proclamation was issued a week after Cornwallis had surrendered at Yorktown. Notice the detailed list of specific reasons for thanks to God – if you had to make a similar list for our nation this year, what would you include?

President Obama usually issues his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation on Thursday; you will find it at www.whitehouse.gov.

 —

By the United States, in Congress
Assembled.

PROCLAMATION.

Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God, the Father of Mercies, remarkably to assist and support the United States of America in their important struggle for liberty against the long-continued efforts of a powerful nation, it is the duty of all ranks to observe and thankfully acknowledge the interpositions of his Providence in their behalf; – Through the whole of the contest from its first rise to this time the influence of Divine Providence may be clearly perceived in many signal instances, of which we mention but a few: –

In revealing the counsels of our enemies, when the discoveries were seasonable and […]

Is Christianity Homophobic?

A young man in our congregation runs a chain of bakery stores in Northern Ireland. A few months ago a gay man representing a group called ‘Queerspace’ came into one of his stores and placed an order for a cake with the message ‘Support Gay Marriage’. The order was refused by the management because it went against their strong Christian convictions about the nature of marriage. There would have been no problem selling the customer a cake—he wan’t being denied service because of his sexual orientation. The bakery simply refused to endorse his campaign for gay marriage. The management have also refused to ice cakes with (heterosexual) pornographic pictures or slogans they found offensive. There was no question of this man being treated differently because he is a homosexual.

Nevertheless, a few weeks later, the bakery was threatened with legal action by the Equality Commission, a publicly funded body, claiming they had breached equality laws which outlaw discrimination in the provision of goods and services.

Needless to say, the case prompted a media storm. And it didn’t take long before Christians in general, and the management of this bakery in particular, were being accused of homophobia. It’s such a common slur, isn’t […]

Unboxing the Idols of Our Heart

If I were to ask you what is currently the most popular YouTube channel, would you know? Or, what genre of internet videos could earn one stay-at-home mom between $2 million and $13 million in advertising per year? What is your guess? What is the fastest growing genre of internet videos? Cute kitty videos? D-I-Y demos? Pornography?

The answer is none of the above.

The fastest growing genre of YouTube videos is a phenomenon known as unboxing. Yep. Unboxing. Have you heard of it? For the benefit of those who are not Millennials, I will explain. Unboxing is a video genre where the subject of the video is a product that is unpackaged or “unboxed” before the viewer’s eyes. The one doing the unboxing is normally not shown, except for the hands. But her voice is heard as she explains the opening of the new product step-by-step. The viewer hears a description of box quality, what the tissue paper feels like, the amount of plastic around a product, how many ties are holding it in place. In detail, the viewer is invited into the serotonin-driven experience that we all have felt when we get something new. […]

Browse Worthy: David Murray’s Student Tech Tips

With school getting into full swing these days, it is important for students to work on their organizational abilities.  In this increasingly technological age, boxes of crayons and notebooks with tabs are being replaced with digital apps and files it seems.  Not only that, but even yesterday’s technology gets replaced in a blink of an eye.  My youngest daughter’s Christian school just told her to leave last year’s flash drive at home and sign up for Dropbox.  Trying to keep up with the best ways to use and organize the technology can be overwhelming.

That’s why I am thankful for the series of “New Student Tips” Dr. David Murray is doing over at his HeadHeartHand blog.  Clearly explained and carefully linked, he guides you through the top web applications that can help you not only order your educational life, but all of it.  I am not sure how many more he intends to do in this series, but here are the links of the articles so far.  They have been beneficial to me, and I have even learned more about the ones I am already using.  Also, the good news is that these are all free!

So whether a new student or an old one like me,  take […]

The Children Are Always Included

Where do our children stand with respect to God’s covenant? How should we treat them as Christian parents? Why do we baptize infants? Those questions fill the mind of parents. They were never more on our mind this summer than as we drove to participate in extended family gatherings on both sides of our family.

In that drive time, we listened to Ted Donnelly’s six sermon series on infant baptism. He is a now-retired pastor in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland. Though the sermons were preached nine years ago, the timeless truth of God’s word is preached from a grandfatherly man who not only knows the Scripture but who has experienced the blessing of it in the various stages of life, too. In this series, he handles not only the technical aspects of baptism, but each message is drenched with pastoral love and tenderness.