“Jesus Loves the Little Children”

Image result for jesus loves the little children bookI just finished “Jesus Loves the Little Children: Why We Baptize Children” by Daniel R. Hyde. If you’re looking for a short (key word being short, as I do better with short books these days), concise book on this topic, I highly recommend it. However, I must acknowledge that the issue of infant baptism can be very controversial and express that my goal in posting is not to offend or divide. But with this baby boy on the way (eek!), I wanted to make sure I really combed the Scriptures and read from trusted theologians to help discern, as best I can, what the Lord says about it. We may disagree, beloveds, and that is okay. I pray our unity in Christ would not be marred!

My general feeling after reading this book has been excitement over such rich nuggets of wisdom. And so what to do with this excitement (I know I’m nerdy)??? ūüôā I MUST share it with you! Hyde says these things way better than I could, so I’ve picked out a few choice quotations that may bless you and ones that I, selfishly, want to record so I can go back to them in the future. Bravo to you if you get through them all, bravo still if you just skim through them, and bravo to you even if you bow out now. It’s always great to have you visit inkdrops, whether you linger or dodge quickly in and out. Enjoy, beloveds!

Quote 1:

“While we have said that baptism is a sign of God’s saving grace, baptism does not necessarily follow chronologically after a sinner is saved…Since baptism is a tangible way that we have experienced the grace and mercy of God in Christ, it can be a very emotional aspect of our experience as Christians. Many of those for whom this book is intended were baptized as adults in a public setting. I share the same experience. Yet we must not think that our personal experience of testifying to God’s grace before many fellow believers is the litmus test of anyone’s theology of baptism. While baptism can be an intensely moving experience, it doesn’t mean adult baptism is the best way or the only way God intends this sacrament to be used….

…the New Testament does not teach that there is necessarily a chronologically simultaneous relationship between the reception of the sacrament and its spiritual benefits. Consider the way a person heard the Word preached. That person may hear hundreds of sermons before ever receiving the benefits promised in the preached Word. I can testify to this. I grew up in a Christian home, heard Bible stories, attended Sunday school, prayed with my family, heard the Scriptures read, but did not consciously come to faith until I was over seventeen years old. Are we then to conclude that everyone must undergo years of hearing the Word first and before coming to faith? The answer is no. One’s personal experience is not to become the doctrine of the church….Just as the Word of the gospel might be preached to someone at one point but the benefit of salvation may come at a much later point, so too it is with baptism. A long period of time may pass between the time a child receives baptism and the time God brings that child to a saving knowledge of the truth of which baptism is a picture.” (pp. 25, 26)

Quote 2:

In reference to 1 Corinthians 7:14 when Paul says a believing spouse can sanctify an unbelieving spouse:¬†“With regard to children, this text reorients us from an individualistic mindset to a covenantal mindset. Scripture makes it clear that God is a covenant making God, and covenants include children. Thus our individualistic ideas of “making Jesus our personal Lord and Savior” and having a “personal relationship with Jesus” must be augmented. While we and our children are personally to embrace God’s promises, the fact remains that God chooses to work through families. Thus 1 Corinthians 7:14 says that children of believers, or even just one believer, are “holy” to the Lord. Just as the children of Israel were called “holy seed” (Ezra 9:2; Isa. 6:13), so too the children of believers are called “holy” in the new covenant era.” (p. 41)¬†

Quote 3:

“Even as infants do not understand what it means to be a sinner, to place their faith in Jesus, and to live godly lives, so they do not need to understand what baptism is about. Put plainly, we do not need to know what it means to be a sinner in order to be a sinner. On the other hand, they are received in the grace of Christ’s covenant people even before they can know what that means. Infant baptism, then, is a testimony to the sovereignty of God’s grace, in which he loved us before we loved him (1 John 4:10)….In baptism, we see that God always initiates grace! He “came” to us first in eternity in his plan of election; he comes to us in the power of the Holy Spirit in regenerating us from death to life; and he comes to us before we were even able to believe in him, by giving us the gift of faith so we may be justified. So too in baptism he comes to us first, even as we were helpless children, making a promise of grace to us.” (p. 52)

 

Remember Me

“Remember Me” by Andrew Peterson

Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom
Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom

Who can ascend the hill of the Lord?
The one who utters no untrue word
Whose hands are clean, whose heart is pure
Who can ascend that hill?

There is none righteous, no not one
We are prodigal daughters and wayward sons
We don’t know the half of the hurt we’ve done
The countless we have killed

Our priests are cheats, our prophets are liars
We know what the law requires
But we pile our sins up higher and higher
Who can ascend that hill?

And I am a sheep who has gone astray
I have turned aside to my own way
Have mercy on me, Son of David
Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom
Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom

Now hear the voice of the Word made man
The spotless sacrificial Lamb
“A body You gave me, here I am
I have come to do Your will”

And no one takes my life, you see
I lay it down now willingly
And I will draw all men to me
When I ascend that hill

On Sunday You came as a King
On Monday washed the temple clean
On Tuesday You told of what will be
On Wednesday You waited patiently
On Thursday You said it is time
I’ll drink this cup ’cause it is mine
On Friday, Lord, You poured the wine

Like a thief on the cross, as He hung there dying
For crimes, there were no use denying
While the righteous Judge hung right beside him
How could I not recognize You?
How could I not recognize You?
How could I not recognize… my Lord?
My Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom
Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom

Just days ago the sky was stone
The trees were standing stripped to the bone
You could hear creation groan

But I write these words on an April day
And the earth is drinking the early rain
The hills remember green again

And we’ve heard this story all our lives
Still, we feel the pain of the crucified
And the end still comes as a surprise

But before the breath there in the tomb
Before our joy sprang from the womb
You saw a day that’s coming soon
When the Son will stand on the mount again
With an army of angels at His command
And the earth will split like the hull of a seed
Wherever Jesus plants His feet

And up from the earth, the dead will rise
Like spring trees robed in petals of white
Singing the song of the radiant bride

And we will always be, always be, always be with the Lord
We will always be, always be, always be with the Lord
We will always… (we will always be, always be)
Be with Jesus (always be with the Lord)

My Lord, remember me (we will always be, always be)
When You come into Your kingdom (always be with the Lord)
Lord, remember me (we will always be, always be)
When You come into Your kingdom (always be with the Lord)

One New Thing for 2016

New Year’s Resolutions. Though many fade away¬†by February, I love how some people continue to make them every year and give it their all. I’m joining the club!

This year I am going to try and give God 1.5-2 hours a day. I know this won’t be possible everyday, and I may not reach 2017 with much success at this. But it will be my main mission. Why, you ask? Well, one of my favorite bloggers, The Peaceful Wife, wrote this and I don’t think I can explain it¬†better than her:

“I must very consciously set aside time for God and seek to make Him my priority. I need a minimum of about 30 minutes, but I do much better if I have 1.5 -2 hours per day with God. I want to seek many more of the 1.5-2 hour times this year.

I have to have that time with Him alone where I sit at His feet, allow Him to restore my spirit, and drink Him in. I must have time to recharge, to praise Him, to thank Him, to seek Him, to get to know Him more, to desire Him above all else, and to be filled with His Spirit.

If I attempt to minister when I am spiritually depleted and I am operating in my own strength, I will not be a blessing to anyone – and I may actually hurt other people more than help them.” -The Peaceful Wife: April Cassidy

quiet time bibleI¬†admit, I feel anxious in sharing this resolution because of possible judgments made by you, beloveds. I know it’s silly, but I fear you thinking I’m not busy enough, not working hard enough in life if I have 1.5-2 hours free to spend with God. I want to explain myself, but I’m painstakingly going to resist because another sub-goal/resolution of mine is to fear people less and fear God more. So with that, beloveds, know that I love you and I am thankful for you! And feel free to keep me accountable with this resolution…I need all the help I can get!

Do you not perceive it?!!

It took me some time to settle on this, but here’s my¬†scripture passage for year 2015! Two different people sent me this passage on my birthday and I just can’t stay away from it. Reading it is like drinking a tall glass of cold water; refreshing in its truth. It’s replete with God’s powerful action, redemption, deliverance, salvation, hope for the future, excitement (hence my added exclamation points in the title), and refreshment (tall glasses of cold water a.k.a. rivers in the desert). What verse(s) are you focusing on this year, beloveds?

“Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
¬†¬†¬†¬†and rivers in the desert.”

-Isaiah 43:18-19

The Trumpet Call of the Reformation

“The opening line of the Reformation was a reflection on Jesus’ call to “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” It’s no accident that the first of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses was this: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent,” he called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” There’s a comprehensive reorientation of our entire lives. And John Calvin picks up the exact same theme in his Institutes: “In order that believers may reach this goal of nothing less than the image of God, God assigns them a race of repentance which they are to run throughout their lives.” It’s a picture of the essential dynamic of what it means that we are Christians.”

-David Powlison, Westminster’s Convocation Service 2014

Can’t Get Enough of Meekness

Lately I’ve been captivated by Jesus’ call to be meek in the Sermon on the Mount. I’m still trying to grasp what meekness looks like in the life of a person. But looking at Jesus helps, as he’s our prime example of what it means to be human.

After spending some time in James, I was delightfully surprised to read of the intimate bond between meekness and wisdom. Beloved, although the world tells us to be anything but meek, we must listen to our God who says otherwise. This means our prayers are now infused with pleas to grow in meekness.

James has good things to say about why meekness is so captivating and dear to our God:

“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.¬†But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.¬†For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.¬†But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason,¬†full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.¬†And¬†a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” Js. 3:13-18.

The ESV follows up on the passage with some great insights:

“Wisdom for James is not merely intellectual but also behavioral. Meekness was considered weakness by the Greeks, but Jesus elevated it to a primary Christian virtue. Meekness comes not from cowardice or passivity but rather from trusting God and therefore being set free from anxious self-promotion. Bitter jealousy and selfish ambition are the antithesis of true wisdom as characterized by “meekness.” The envious yearn for what does not belong to them and selfish ambition is a divisive willingness to split the group in order to achieve personal power and prestige.

The answer to the “disorder” is to seek wisdom from above, which produces character qualities beginning with purity and concluding with peace. Purity is the primary virtue, with the rest providing aspects of this moral purity. Peaceable is the polar opposite of selfish ambition and the discord it produces. The legacy of those who bring peace rather than conflict is a harvest of righteousness. The “fruit” that comes from peacemaking in the Christian community will be the righteous conduct that God will bless.”

meek tozer

meek real wiersbe

 

A Hopeful Tomb

Today I read Ezekiel 23– one long, shocking metaphor of two adulterous sisters (Samaria and Jerusalem). I was struggling to find the hope as I read of their continual lust and defilement. Iain Duguid helped me with this in his NIV Application Commentary:

“There is no message of hope in Ezekiel 23. The stone is rolled away to reveal the gaping mouth of the tomb, which is ready to swallow up defiled Jerusalem, just as it had earlier swallowed up defiled Samaria. But for those reading Ezekiel 23 from a NT perspective, the opened mouth of another tomb speaks a word of comfort even to those as defiled as Jerusalem. Because Christ has died in our place, and more than that has risen from the dead, there is now no condemnation for us who are in Christ Jesus! My death is swallowed up in his victory; my defilement is replaced by his purity, credited to my account. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I too have been washed, I have been justified, and I am being sanctified. What is more, this is true in spite of the sins that I continue to commit daily. Although I am unfaithful to my commitment to God and continue to sin against him regularly in thought, word, and deed, the gospel continue to be good news for me, a sinner.”

Amen! The gospel never gets old. The gospel continues to be good news for me, for us. Beloveds, let’s keep pondering in our hearts that¬†open tomb which displays all our hope and salvation.¬†

Surprised by Ezekiel

ezekielSSSSS….LOW….L…..Y….I have been working my way through Ezekiel; turtle-style. My intention is¬†to camp out for long periods of time in one book of the Bible with the aim of understanding its themes and practical implications. The New Application Commentary by Iain M. Duguid and The Message of Ezekiel by Christopher J. H. Wright are major helps. Ezekiel has its fair share of¬†depressing moments with God’s judgments and oracles against Israel. Yet there are many surprising encounters of encouragement and hope. Today’s reading of Ezekiel 17 provided many helpful warnings and loving correctives.

Enjoy these powerful excerpts¬†from Duguid on Ezekiel 17’s contemporary significance:

“We should work for political change and we should plan for the future. Yet we can be so busy doing the good things that we miss out on the one insight that is really necessary, the best thing: maintaining our personal and corporate life with God. But as Jesus reminds us: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matt. 16:26).

“We want to think that God ought to be impressed, at least somewhat, by our goodness and righteous acts. We prefer not to remember that we are helpless sinners on a collision course with a God of absolute purity and holiness, in whose presence sin cannot be tolerated. But if we accept the fact that we are all covenant-breakers in Adam as well as covenant-breakers on our own account, how shall we stand on that day? The answer lies in the new chip off the old block, the sprig of the cedar tree that God will plant…The good news is that in spite of our weakness and folly, Christ’s kingdom continues to grow and develop, based on his goodness and covenant faithfulness, not ours. Our rebellion and failure may have negative consequences in our own lives, but it cannot prevent God from achieving his purposes in the world. He may work slowly, from our perspective, through imperceptible growth from small beginnings rather than radical revolution, but his work is nonetheless effective. His tree provides perfect shelter and security for all of his own people. As he has planned, he will bring men and women from every tribe and nation to know himself, justified in the perfect obedience of their true king, the shoot of David, Jesus Christ.”

After reading this, I had to ask myself these questions:¬†How easily do I let my work and planning my schedule usurp time spent with my Creator? Do I really believe that I am helpless and a covenant-breaker? Do I find myself rejoicing in Christ’s perfect obedience and faithfulness? Do I live striving for my own righteousness, or do I rest in the shadow of his righteousness and the shade of his perfect shelter? Oh how I long¬†to place my security in the one whose work is sure, effective, and completely good! Help me, O God. What about you, beloved?

An Error I’ve Made

…yet God¬†has been faithful to gently and lovingly correct me! His glory, not my own.

“Keep me from the error of thinking thou dost
appear gloriously
when some strange light fills my heart,
as if that were the glorious activity of grace,
but let me see that the truest revelation of thyself
is when thou dost eclipse all my personal glory
and all the honour, pleasure and good
of this world.”

The Valley of Vision, “Love to Jesus”

“For¬†from him and through him and to him are all things.¬†To him be glory forever. Amen.” Rom. 11:36

Rejoice in Suffering?!?

I wanted to share my notes with you from Dr. Vern Poythress’ riveting chapel talk on 1 Peter 4:12-19. If you’d like to listen to it, you can here:

Reasons Peter Gives to Support that Impossible Demand to Rejoice in Suffering

Suffering is necessary (v.18). Anyone who is a son, is disciplined by their Father. Discipline isn’t great, but even earthly Fathers need to do it. As Christians, we don’t have the question “why” about suffering, and that lessens our worry.

It’s not suffering in isolation, it’s corporate suffering (v. 17). There is a measure of comfort and solidarity and consolation that comes in having other people around and in acknowledging the suffering of others.

Suffering is accompanied with the blessing of the Spirit (v. 14). God gives you the strength to face the suffering AT THE TIME when you need it and not before. There is an implicit promise that this suffering is not the end, and even in the midst of suffering, we get a taste and fragrance of the paradise of God that is coming.

Suffering is eschatological (v.7). You are encouraged by seeing the end in sight. THAT’S the character of how you are called to live as a Christian. To know that the end is coming.

The glorious character of suffering’s outcome¬†(v.13). The suffering of this life comes to an end. There’s an OVERJOY of the time of Christ’s coming. The rejoicing in suffering now is the first installment, and we have the anticipation of the final installment: a greatness of joy unmingled with pain and death.

How To Get Our Hearts To Appreciate Those Reasons

1. Trust God and His power and goodness (v.19). Those very basic things in which the lily of the field have ought to taught us, rather than a magic formula of “3 steps to holiness.” It’s that very basic call to trust the One whom we have no reason not to trust.

2. Participation in Christ’s sufferings (v.13). We’ll be learning to understand this better our whole lives. The pain of suffering, the struggle to believe in God in the horror of it all, gives us a little taste of the outer limits of that immense suffering that Christ was willing to endure for us.

“If God was wise and powerful enough to bring about, through the hands of wicked men, the salvation of the world through the crucifixion, the ugliest crime of human history…if God is wise like that, trust him with your own life. Trust him with your own suffering. And commit your soul to him by doing good.” – Dr. Vern Poythress¬†