The Power of God

A post by Danny pointed me to Of First Importance.

This comes from a post there called The Power of God:

Outside of heaven, the power of God in its highest density is found inside the gospel. This must be so, for the Bible twice describes the gospel as “the power of God.” Nothing else in all of Scripture is ever described in this way, except for the Person of Jesus Christ.

Such a description indicates that the gospel is not only powerful, but that it is the ultimate entity in which God’s power resides and does its greatest work. Indeed, God’s power is seen in erupting volcanos, in the unimaginably hot boil of our massive sun, and in the lightning speed of a recently discovered star seen streaking through the heavens at 1.5 million miles per hour.

Yet in Scripture such wonders are never labeled “the power of God.” How powerful, then, must the gospel be that it would merit such a title! And how great is the salvation it could accomplish in my life, if I would only embrace it by faith and give it a central place in my thoughts each day!

Milton Vincent – A Gospel Primer

How great a salvation, indeed!

Thanksgiving

If you haven’t ready Lamentations 3 recently, today would be a good day to do so (here).

(ESV) Lamentations 3:1 I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of his wrath;
2 he has driven and brought me
into darkness without any light;
3 surely against me he turns his hand
again and again the whole day long.

4 He has made my flesh and my skin waste away;
he has broken my bones;
5 he has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
6 he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead of long ago.

[More of the same… but do read the whole chapter!] Continue reading

Baited [sic] breath

I’m always annoyed by references to “baited breath” (*), so when I that saw Michael Quinion wrote about it, I took a look. He quotes this amusing and intentional use of “baited breath” by Geoffrey Taylor:

Sally, having swallowed cheese,
Directs down holes the scented breeze,
Enticing thus with baited breath
Nice mice to an untimely death.

Cruel Clever Cat

(*) Do you think it’s wrong for me to be annoyed?

11/29/07 update: I just found out that the term eggcorn has been used to describe substitutions like “baited breath” since 2003. The term was “coined” (in quotes because “eggcorn” is actually an example of the phenomenon) by one of the guys at Language Log, a blog which I recently added to my list of Language/words sites on my sidebar.  Here’s The Eggcorn Database!

More observations on Ps. 144:2

Ps 144:2 My lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my defense, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me. (NKJV)

I woke up real early this morning and couldn’t fall back asleep, so I started reviewing memory verses while lying in bed, not sleeping. I suddenly realized that though I had previously noticed what looks to me like the use of parallelism in Hebrew poetry, which Danny talked about here, I hadn’t taken that observation far enough. It’s easy to see the parallelism (I hope I’m correct here! Danny?) in the 2nd and 3rd parts of this verse, but it hadn’t yet sunk in that the first part also follows this formula: my X and my Y, where Y redefines, or is another way to look at X. (And then there’s the fact that each of the 4 parts reinforces the others – they all define and contrast different aspects of God as protector or refuge. Calvin helps in understanding how to fit “who subdues my people under me” in with the rest of the verse.)

It’s more evident that God, as my “high tower”, is my defense, and that I can take refuge in (behind) God who is my shield – but God my lovingkindness = my fortress? Somehow, I kept separate the fact that God being my lovingkindness (or goodness, or mercy) is a fortress! How could I not have seen that redefinition? I’ve even written about these verses a couple of times before – here and here – but I didn’t notice this connection: I can dwell securely in God’s lovingkindness in the midst of life’s trials because He is my fortress. God being my lovingkindness defines Him as a fortress.

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

(It’s very possible that thoughts percolating in my head from the Perfect Storm men’s conference I attended this past weekend helped me connect the dots here. I’ll probably write about the conference soon.)

Memory verses: killing sin

I memorized these verses a month or so ago – they are great ones to learn to help with killing sin:

1 Blessed be the Lord, my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle–
2 My lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me.
3 Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?
4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.
Ps 144:1-4 (NKJV)

Killing sin is a war! A war against the “old man”, a pitched battle for the heart and mind. But God, my Rock (I don’t know if this is supposed to be a foreshadowing of Jesus, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to think so!) trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle! Of course, David was talking about real, physical warfare, but this is a beautiful verse to apply to spiritual warfare. He follows the first verse with the comfort of the second – and then a reminder of who we are compared to God. Nothing like some good perspective when thinking about how much He can help in our time of need!

Awesome verses.

Isaiah 5, continued

I thought I finished with Isaiah 5 yesterday, but as I was scanning it in order to get into chapter 6 this morning, I discovered there was a lot more to be learned from chapter 5!

18 Woe to those who draw iniquity with(AA) cords of falsehood,
who draw sin as with cart ropes,
19 who say:(AB) “Let him be quick,
let him speed his work
that we may see it;
let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near,
and let it come, that we may know it!”
20 Woe to(AC) those who call evil good
and good evil,
(AD) who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe to those who are(AE) wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!
22 Woe to those who are(AF) heroes at drinking wine,
and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
23 who(AG) acquit the guilty for a bribe,
and deprive the innocent of his right! (ESV)

Continue reading

Materialism, pursuing pleasure, and a holy God

[Update, September 6th, 2008: I’ve seen an interesting trend of late – this post is getting translated into Arabic!  For any future visitors reading this post in Arabic: السلام عليكم – and welcome!]

I started reading through Isaiah a few days ago. I read chapter 5 this morning, and these verses jumped out at me:

Is 5:8 Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field, until there is no more room, so that you have to live alone in the midst of the land!
9 In my ears the LORD of hosts has sworn, “Surely, many houses shall become desolate, even great and fine ones, without occupants.
10 “For ten acres of vineyard will yield only one bath of wine, and a homer of seed will yield but an ephah of grain.”
11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink, who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them!
12 Their banquets are accompanied by lyre and harp, by tambourine and flute, and by wine; but they do not pay attention to the deeds of the LORD, nor do they consider the work of His hands.
13 Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge; and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude is parched with thirst.
14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its throat and opened its mouth without measure; and Jerusalem’s splendor, her multitude, her din of revelry and the jubilant within her, descend into it.
15 So the common man will be humbled and the man of importance abased, the eyes of the proud also will be abased.
16 But the LORD of hosts will be exalted in judgment, and the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness. (NAS)

Continue reading