30 July, 2007

Technical Difficulties

I will not be posting until my laptop has been fixed. It is the only approved instrument for blog post making. Pray for her, she is a good machine.

Whatsoever we have over-loved, idolized, and leaned upon, God has from time to time broken it, and made us to see the vanity of it; so that we find the readiest course to be rid our comforts is to set our hearts inordinately or immoderately upon them.
—John Flavel
In the meantime, I will, continue the Memoirs of Thomas Boston. I will also finish a sermon that I have been working on. I will have to break out the Greek lexicons, since I rely on Bible Works 7 for my lexicons. Time to sharpen some pencils.

28 July, 2007

Sabbath a'Brakel: The Lord Loves a Singing Heart

God is particularly pleased when His children praise Him in song. There where the Lord is sweetly praised in song--there the Lord will come with His blessings. "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel" (Psa. 22:3). It is noteworthy to consider what transpired at the dedication of the temple. "It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD...that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God" (2 Chr. 5:13-14). When Jehoshaphat, together with his army, lifted up their voices in joyous exclamation and song (2 Chr. 20:22), the Lord defeated their enemies. When Paul and Silas sang praises unto God in the middle of the night, the doors of the prison were opened and the bands of all the prisoners were loosened (Acts 16:25-26). Therefore, if you are desirous to please the Lord, and delight in having the Lord visit your soul and experience His help, then accustom yourself to singing (IV: 36).

Banner of Truth Book Sale

Starting yesterday, the Banner of Truth is offering some slightly damaged books at 50% off. This list will change every Friday.

This is a great way to build a library. I have never really understood why some people are so opposed to buying books that have a bent corner or a dirty spine. That is the way that they are going to look after reading them anyway! Check out this new offer and start building a great Reformed and Presbyterian library.

Make sure to check back every Friday. Set your bookmarks.

26 July, 2007

Let the Nations be Glad

Last night at prayer meeting we sang through the Psalms that discuss the nations. It is amazing how many promises there are that will be fulfilled through the reign of King Jesus. I advertised a book there that I used in my undergraduate program. It is called Operation World and gives specs on each country in the world as well as information about how the Lord Jesus Christ has worked in the people as well as prayer requests. This book is quite helpful in our ongoing quest to become world Christians.

* One point about the book that I should mention is that it is not from a Reformed worldview. It is quite broad in its evangelicalism, either way, it is a very helpful tool that I would recommend to anyone who wants to expand their prayer life.

23 July, 2007

Prayer and Praise: the Church in the Psalter

Part of my internship is leading the "prayer and praise" during summer Wednesday evenings. We gather at the home of one of our members and sing and pray. We use the United Presbyterian Psalter of 1912 in our congregation so the following numbers correspond with this book of praise. Last week we went through 'the Church' in the Psalter and looked at some of the ways that she is described as well as some of her duties. This discussion and Psalm sing led to some very good prayer for the church and her faithfulness. We will be looking at some other themes as the summer continues. If you would like to join us feel free to email me and I will give you further directions. I hope that the following copy of the handout can be helpful to your own family worship or private worship.

50: Diverse, faithful, everlasting.

63: Redeemed from adversity.

69: Secure, peaceful, and happy.

125: Regal, loved, and wedded.

205: Christ’s inheritance, saved by grace.

224: Fought against by God’s enemies.

260: Rejoices over God’s work on earth.

368: Shouts with joy and is Christ’s glory.

373/374: Indwelt by God & sings His praise.

375: Praises and blesses God’s name.

403: Built, cared for, and blessed of God.

22 July, 2007

Sabbath a'Brakel: Self-Denial

Self-denial is, first of all, a Christian virtue. Pagans have observed that their inner peace has been disturbed by their lusts. Some therefore sought to extinguish them by way of reason and appeared to practice self-denial in regard to some things. However, it did not issue forth from the right motive--love for the will of God. They did not have the right objective in view, but rather it was a seeking of self (be it in a different manner than others), resting in this as their peace and seeking to be honored by men. Their self-denial was thus a splendid sin which had a counterfeit luster, and was not accompanied by deeds (III: 397-398).

19 July, 2007

Thomas Boston as a Mentor

Mrs. Lanning, my pastor's wife, has assigned a book for me to read as a part of my internship under her husband. I have been asked to read the Memoirs of Thomas Boston as a way to get a feel for what real ministry is like.

So far, I have seen pain and suffering as well as the occasional high point. Above all, I have seen the desire to please God above all things. I hope that in many ways, my ministry can reflect that of Mr. Boston's. Thankfully though, my upcoming presbytery exams will not be like Boston's- his were in Latin and Greek!

One quote that was helpful concerned how many Christians get caught up into things indifferent. Boston always fought against that and only tried to fight for that which was eternal and obvious revealed truth. We must always have the honor of Christ in mind when dealing with such things, and many Christians (including myself at times) are willing to go to war over ideas that are not worth dividing over according to the Scriptures.

I might not mix quarrels on my private interest with those I was engaged in for the honor of God. And this principle I have all along in the course of my ministry, aimed to walk by.
Memoirs, Thomas Boston, p.25

I am looking forward to finishing the book- as well as working through the rest of the works of Boston!

It is Much Needed

West Michigan has been a dry place this summer. This is not good for those who work in agriculture. It is also not good for my rose gardens. Please pray for West Michigan to be given an abundance of rain. Ask that it falls on the just and the unjust alike. Pray that the unjust may see God's blessings and turn unto Christ Jesus.

O GOD our heavenly Father, who by thy gracious providence dost cause the former and the latter rain to descend upon the earth, that it may bring forth fruit for the use of man; We give thee humble thanks that it hath pleased thee, in our great necessity, to send us at the last a joyful rain upon thine inheritance, and to refresh it when it was dry, to the great comfort of us thy unworthy servants, and to the glory of thy holy Name; through thy mercies in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-Book of Common Prayer, 1662

16 July, 2007

Books For A Christ Centered Home

I recently received a letter from a dear friend that had a question about parenting books. Here is a copy of my letter with the books that I have suggested. I would like you all to comment on what books you have found helpful for raising children to the glory of God!


There are a million parenting books out there, but very few that are based in the Word of God.
I can recommend a few and give a couple of comments. All of these should be able to be purchased via RHB. I would suggest ordering from them since they are a non profit book seller. If they do not have them on the website, call and ask for Steve. Tell him that you are a friend of mine.

*Raising Children God's Way
by Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
This book is new, but is from some sermons that were preached a number of years ago. His style is good and he shows the importance of a godly home (one chapter will not apply. It is on unbelievers in the home.)
Shepherding a Child's Heart
by Paul Tripp.

This book is the must have for learning to use the Word of God as the means of Discipline instead of your own thoughts. It helps to show how using Scripture when disciplining connects the discipline to God and not to your own authority.

The Duties of Parents
by Jacobus Koelman.
This book was first published in 1679, but is timeless. It was translated from Dutch in 2003. It discusses the reason God has designed parenting all the way to various promises that parents can claim for their children. There are good discussions on how to train them in godliness as well and giving Christian instruction in the home.
Christian Living in the Home
by Jay E Adams.

This book is helpful in more areas than just parenting. It gives concise chapters on husbands, wives, leadership, submission, and other areas as well. It is important to look at child rearing in the scope of all of the Scriptures and this book does this for you.

The Christian Father At Home
by WC Brownlee.

This book is another classic. It was written in 1837 originally. This book shows that the father's NUMBER ONE duty is to show the way of salvation to his children. The book helps fathers to discuss, demonstrate, and model what a sinner redeemed by grace looks like. (This is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak, many dads can talk the talk, but are they living out a life of redemption applied in their home? Many do not.)

Proverbs for Parenting
by Barbara Decker.

This book is an arrangement of the book of Proverbs into sections that are applicable to Christian parenting. It is worth having just because the work of categorizing Proverbs is done for you. (I would not start here though).

Help to Domestic Happiness
by John Angell James.
This is another Nate-classic. He also deals with a lot of other issues in the home, but look at chapters 5 and 6 especially. This book also has the old-school oddety of a chapter for servants in the home. James also writes a book just for women that is really good as well called
Female Piety.
Of Domestical Duties
by William Gouge. This is another classic, but needs to be updates with current illustrations. If you are not used to reading old writing, save this one for later. I LOVE it, but it is hard even for a reader of the Puritans. Someone has put it online, but the format is super ugly. It can found here.
Don't Make Me Count to Three
by Ginger Plowman.
This is a really new book. It was recently on James Dobson's show (so they tell me). It takes a biblical counseling approach to parenting and also gives the 'rebuke the children with the Word' approach. Many people forget that we have no authority over our children just because they are our offspring, but because God has entrusted us to raise them to his glory and honor! (Lydia just finished this one and liked it a lot.)

Praise Her in the Gates
by Nancy Wilson.
This book is especially for women. It shows the importance of being a godly mother as well as how to train your children in many biblical virtues. I have profited from a lot that the Wilsons have penned.

Standing on the Promises
by Douglas Wilson.

This book shows the importance of building a Christian culture in the home. Children will not be raised to honor the Lord Jesus in a home that is Sunday-Christian at best. Wilson helps to fight against this while aiding in the rearing of covenant children. The cover says, "
The norm for faithful members of the covenant is that their children will follow them in their faithfulness. Unless we reestablish faithful Christian culture in countless homes, we will never reestablish it anywhere."

I hope that this helps. I am sure that others will come to mind and I can send them off. This list may seem to be overwhelming, but I think that they are all reasonable reads. I have starred the three that I would begin with. I will also put this list on PRESBYTERIAN THOUGHTS to see what some of my readers can come up with.

With humility and for Christ's Honor,

14 July, 2007

Sabbath a'Brakel: On the Civil Government

It is the duty of civil government not only to uphold the second table of the law, but also the first. It must see to it that God is honored. It may not tolerate any idolatry, worship of images, or any false religion within her jurisdiction, but must rather eradicate these. It must prevent the vain use of God's Name by way of cursing, swearing, and blasphemy. It must prevent the desecration of the Sabbath, punish violators of this commandment, and see to it that the gospel is proclaimed everywhere within its jurisdiction. It must see to it that the church, as the darling of the Lord Jesus, is protected and preserved; and that neither internal dissension nor any external oppression disturb or destroy the church, but that instead she be safely preserved in the use of the privileges and liberties which her King Jesus has given her (II: 179).

06 July, 2007


My family, along with one other Presbyterian Traveler, James 'J Dub' Lanning, will be heading out to the Great Lakes-Gulf Coast Presbytery (RPCNA) family camp. The camp, according to the Mintues of the Young People's Work (1947), was begun in Indianapolis, Indiana in that year.

In 1949 the name COVFAMIKOI was given to indicate that it was COVenanters from Florida, Alabama, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Illinois who were joining for mutual fellowship and encouragment. The meeting place then was Lake Wawasee, Indiana. Since then it has moved to Kentucky, which is central for the presbytery. The name does not show the seriousness of the 'killing times'... but it sure is fun to say! COVFAMIKOI!

If there is internet available, I will give daily updates on what is being taught and discussed.

*both LOUA as well as PT will have the same posts this week.

05 July, 2007

More on Our "Christian" Nation

My wife, who brings a lot of theological insight into our home, had this to say to me concerning my former post, "Who cares if we were or were not a Christian nation? What do we have to do to become one now?"

This is a very good question.

She then read a quote to me from Daniel Webster that is worth sharing on the blogosphere.

If religious books are not widely circulated amongst the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, error will be; if God and his Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy; if the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will; if the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness, will reign without mitigation or end.

The power of the Gospel is the only thing that can reform a nation that is possibly more corrupt than the one from which we declared independence. Man-centered documents, political parties, rights and entitlements; they are unable to do anything in comparison to the power of the Gospel coming to sinners, families, communities, and even nations. Pray that kings of the earth would kiss the Son as they are commanded to do!

02 July, 2007

PRESBYTERIAN THOUGHTS on Independence Day and our "Christian" Nation

What were Christians of the time of the writing of the Constitution of the United States thinking?

Today intellectual circles spill ink over whether Washington was a deist or a Christian (deist). They want to know if the founding fathers were believers (despite holding a secret society to write the Constitution, members of the Masonic Lodge, and deny biblical authority for civil government). Despite these aspects of the intellectual debate over the "Christian-ness" of the States, we need to ask, what were Reformed Christians thinking at the time of our national law's writing?

Here is a quote from WM Glasgow that sum up the position of the Presbyterians of the day:

While civil society is founded in nature, it is one of the “all things” that are put under Christ as Mediator, and the nation flourishes or decays as it is obedient or disobedient to His law. Now as our highest allegiance is due not to the state, but to Christ, it is the duty of every Christian to stand aloof from such a government and refuse to incorporate with the political society which refuses or neglects to acknowledge the authority of Christ and His word in its fundamental law. The document reads: “We, the people of the United States * * * do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” This declaration is historically, philosophically and scripturally untrue. The Constitution in all its essential elements was in existence before the document thus called was penned; constitutions are not ordained of men, but grow; and the Scripture affirms that the powers that are legitimate powers at all, are ordained of God. These glaring defects, with the denial of any religious qualification, the absence of the name of God from the oath, and the license of immorality and crime upon which it sets its official seal, give the document, called the Constitution, such a character of infidelity and irreligion that no true Christian ought to give it his full sanction.

For some further thoughts on this issue, check out this site.

01 July, 2007

The Faith Once Delivered

The Faith Once Delivered is a new book commemorating the life and work of Dr. Wayne Spear of RPTS. The book is a compilation of writing from authors on various aspects of the Westminster Standards and their implications for Reformed Christians. I have read, From Popery to Principle: Covenanters and the Kingship of Christ by David McKay this evening. The article was very scholastic yet readable. It was also very honest about some of the changes that have occured in the last 400+ years of Covenanterism in regards to the kingship of Jesus Christ. I would recommend this article alone as a great introduction to Presbyterianism or a refresher in Covenanter history. I look forward to reading the rest of the book.

Trivia question: What is the literary term for a collection of essays that are written in honor of someone?

Sabbath a'Brakel: While Seated at the Lord's Table...

While sitting at the table, consider yourself as being seated in the brightness of an open heaven, shedding forth its light upon the table and all seated guests--and thus also upon you. Consider yourself to be in the presence of God your heavenly Father, and Christ your Bridegroom. Sink away in your insignificance and let a childlike awe and reverence arise in your soul, while saying, "Surely the LORD is in this place....This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven" (Gen. 28:16-17). Be observant and do not fear, for the Lord has determined to bestow much grace upon you in Christ. Remain steadfast in the faith, and glorify God in His grace and Christ for the perfection of His atonement (II: 591).