Monday, April 30, 2007

Appetizer Recipe Roundup for May ...

Kim at Hiraeth is having a recipe roundup. Click on her name and read her instructions for the Roundup at her blog.

Here is my families most favorite recipe's ...

Smokey Salmon Spread

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon Hickory smoked salt or 1/4 tsp. Liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
30 ounces smoked salmon, coarsely chopped or 2 cans Salmon, cleaned and drained.
1 bunch green onions, chopped
(also you could add a handful of Smoke House Almonds – chopped)

In food processor blend cream cheese, salt or smoke flavor and dried dill until smooth. Add salmon and green onions, and process very briefly, just to mix. Serve with hearty crackers. (Also can mix by hand with a latex glove) For presentation you can make into the shape of a fish (double recipe works best) on a nice plate, use sliced almonds for scales and a sliced olive for the eye, fresh parsley for some color. Chill well.

Makes 2 cups

Crab Dip

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 bottle shrimp cocktail sauce
1 can crab meat Sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning

Place cream cheese on serving dish. Cover with cocktail sauce. Drain crab meat. Mix lightly together or you can just place crab meat on top of cream cheese. Sprinkle Old Bay Seasoning on top. Chill well. Serve with crackers.

Bagna Cauda (Anchovy & Garlic Dip)

4 cloves garlic, crushed
l 1/2 oz. butter, melted
4 oz. salted anchovies
fresh ground pepper
1 cup olive oil

Sauté the crushed garlic and chopped anchovy fillets in the oil. Stir constantly until the anchovies disintegrate. Add butter and mix. Add pepper to taste. This sauce is served in a pot, for everyone to dip the vegetables in, or in individual terracotta bowls. Bagna cauda should be placed on warmers, as it should simmer constantly. Serve fresh vegetables cut up: red, yellow & green peppers, cabbage wedges, carrots, celery, fennel, cauliflower, and broccoli. Also a fresh loaf of Italian bread torn is great to dippy sop in the Bagna Cauda along with the vegetables. (You can also serve this as a sauce on cooked noodles as a side dish.)

fried zucchini blossoms

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup club soda or beer (not dark)
1/4 teaspoon salt
About 4 cups vegetable oil for deep-frying
18 zucchini blossoms
a deep-fat thermometer

Whisk together flour, club soda or beer, and salt in a bowl until smooth.
Heat 1 inch oil in a 3-quart wide heavy saucepan over moderate heat until it registers 375°F on thermometer. Working in batches of 3, dip blossoms in batter to coat, brushing them against side of bowl to remove excess batter, and fry, turning occasionally with a slotted spoon, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain and sprinkle lightly with salt. (Return oil to 375°F between batches.) Serve warm.

( Batter can be made up to 2 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature and whisk again before using.)

First batches of fried blossoms can be kept warm on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven until all of blossoms are fried.

Blossoms can also be panfried, but they will not be as crisp. Instead of making batter, stir together 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss blossoms in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Heat 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until the foam subsides. Add blossoms in batches and cook, stirring, until they just begin to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes.

They can also be stuffed with a mixture of ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, egg, dash of nutmeg, s & p, and parsley flakes. Tie the stuffed flower with a long piece of sliced green onion top. Also can be stuffed with an anchovy & cream cheese mixture.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Good Read ...

..... “Because Bibles are scarce, child, and we’re too poor to pay the price of one. A weaver’s is an honest trade, Mary but we don’t get rich by it and we think ourselves happy if we can keep the wolf from the door and have clothes to cover us. Still, precious as the Word of God would be in our hands, more precious are its teachings and its truths in our hearts. Those who have learned the love of God, my girl, have learned the greatest truth that even the Bible can teach them; and those who are trusting the Saviour for their pardon and peace and for eternal life can wait patiently for a fuller knowledge of His Word and will.”

Over at In The Garden, Abigail is sharing with us a story about a little Welsh girl named Mary. The story is titled, "Mary Jones and Her Bible" from 1882. It's one you will want to read I am sure. This is part 1. I read this story before and it blessed my heart so I share it with you ... let's follow along with Abigail shall we?

It's a good thing ... podBible

A Bible for your ipod!

Here is a free ESV bible for your ipod. You can use it in the Notes on your ipod to read the Bible. New Testament only available right now with Psalms and Proverbs coming soon. OT will probably then follow.

It is rare to find someone who is willing to give of their time to further the Kingdom of God, teach the Saints and not charge an arm and a leg for it. This is a rare jewel for sure. This jewel is Brendan Ross, a Youth Worker. Take time to read thru the "faq" section of his site, you'll be blessed. He wants this program shared to further the Gospel. How unique to not have to 'pay' for something, nor have the person responsible not wished to be payed. They come far and few between. (Just a Pam Thought ... I often wonder what God thinks of us paying for Christian materials, bible study, etc.?) All 'how-to' info on the website. podBible program works best with ipod nano but still works with ipod mini. Also works for ipod video. Screen looks different on the others but functions just the same. If you have an ipod, jump on over to Brendan's site and download this program ... you'll be glad you did!

Monday, April 23, 2007



I just received my email!

What an honor!!
I'm "the" ADDICT of the Week!!!!

Here is a copy of an earlier post about these guys ...

Next is none other than FIDE-O! I mean these guys have NO FEAR! Talk about hit you in the face with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the TRUTH!! AMEN! Their radio show on Unchained Radio is the absolute best of the best ... I mean geez ... YES, YES I admit it ... I am addicted! Confession over, big breath, alrighty then ... muscles are fine, ok ... these fellows, and yes they are younger than me for sure, (and Pastor Gene - I ride a Honda Shadow, you have a good looking set of wheels, keep the shiny side up!), are such a God send, my husband I are recent converts to Covenant Theology/Amil and we have done all our learning through them on the Narrow Mind. You are foolish if you don't tune in. My humble thanks for your teachings, your heart for the Lord you serve ... you are men after God's own heart. (ps - they, too, are EF Hutton guys!!) They remind me of this verse: Jere. 23:29, "Is not My word like a fire?" says the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks rock in pieces?" That's right, I read nothing but the Best! Yes, I have had headaches sifting thru the old dispensational stuff I was taught and turning/grasping their teachings in my mind, but God is gracious and merciful. Think deep - without a doubt, you have no other choice with these guys. You fellas and yours are prayed for often in our home. They speak the word in Truth ... Jere. 5:14: Therefore thus says the LORD God of hosts: "Because you speak this word, Behold, I will make My words in your mouth fire, And this people woods, And it shall devour them." Amen!

Well Folks, these guys are such a cut-above. They are the most gracious fella's with the radio show call-in's I have ever heard. I will say it again ... I have learned so much about the Reformed Faith from them. They have encouraged me in ways they don't know. I will admit ... I about had a hemorrhage when I realized there was no "Covenant Thursday" show last week. Oh My! ;-00 First I thought, Oh Lord! something happened ... (that's the Mother in me! ;-) ), then I thought, well, after the previous weeks show about 'common grace' they were just studying up. So I tell you now --
You do not want to miss Thursday the 26th's "Covenant Thursday" Show.
The book they are working on ... 'Redemption, Accomplished & Applied" by John Murray should be on everyone's book shelf and top #1 read for 2007 (this of course after your Bible reading time!).

So come on ... get addicted ....
The highest high for His Highest! ...
The Narrow Mind, Unchained Radio Show!

Thanks alot guys, this is sweet ... you're the best!
Blessings ... Pam <><
PS -- we addicts need a Linky for our blogs with html/java script!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Calling All cooks! ...

I need some recipes! ...

I am the Center Manager for my hometown Senior Center. Sometimes we break from their menu and cook our own. The folks really like to do Brunch. Tomorrow I am cooking a Spring Brunch. I prepared ahead this recipe and I will bake it at the Center in the morning --

Brunch For a Bunch
1 lb. of pork sausage (can use cubed ham, smoked sausage or bacon)
4 cups of frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
12 large eggs
2 1/2 cups of milk
Sprinkle of Italian Seasonings (oregano, basil, thyme) and a pinch of rosemary (fresh)
Cook sausage in a skillet until browned and crumbled. Place hash browns in a lightly greased 13x9 baking dish or pan, sprinkle with salt. Layer sausage, cheese and green pepper. Combine the eggs and milk, beat well, and pour over the pan mixture, then sprinkle on some Italian Seasonings. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes. If you prepare the casserole the night before then add 10+ minutes to the baking time.
Serves 8 to 10 people.

I am also serving corn bread, peaches, juice and cinnamon coffee cake with lots of steaming coffee!

We/I do this once a month. So ladies, have any good recipes that would work for us? Publish on your site and give me a link or publish in the comments section. Or if you have a favorite website share the link, too! I really appreciate your help! Thanks!!

Sounds Good To Me!? ...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Lord's Day ...

Heavenly Father, I thank you for matchless love bestowed on me
when Jesus was rejected, crucified and raised.
Now I pray that where any portion of my heart is stony, you will
melt it with Calvary love. Wherever my mind is locked shut, let
your Spirit apply the master key. Let me daily reckon my old
nature to be dead; may I never feed it as a living thing.
Strengthen me for unseen battles ahead. Give me courage for all
the trials and grace for all the joys. Take me to my Savior’s Cross
and leave me there. For Jesus’ sake, amen.

Isaiah 55:1–3
55:1 “Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.

I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say Hymn
Horatius Bonar 1846

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down Thy head upon My breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one, stoop down, and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in Him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “I am this dark world’s Light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise, and all thy day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found in Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that light of life I’ll walk, till traveling days are done.

Monday, April 16, 2007

a moment of silence ...

Our prayers for those families who lost their
loved ones at Virginia Tech today.
For those who are injured, their
parents, family and friends.
For those related to the shooter -
who are wondering why would he do this?
For the survivors who will live with
this memory the rest of their lives.
For those who will clean up after the
massacre at the school grounds.
For those who will witness to students
and families in light of this all.
For healing of wounds for those injured,
both mental and physical.
May God be glorified in all this.

Lord have mercy ...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

D. G. Hart -- Christian Nuture vs. Carnal Excitement ...

As one who until June of '06 knew nothing about the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms previously, I have been so engrossed in the reading/study of these that I came across this and want to share it with you. I know that everything is in the Lord's timing but if my sons could have 'grown up" with the teachings of the catechisms instead of the 'poofy' bible stories about Daniel in the Lions' Den that did not even begin to touch the true Daniel ... well that's water under the bridge is it not? They received these for Easter and I pray it blesses them as much as it has my husband and I. Anyhow read on ...

Ordained Servant

The Religion of the Catechism

D. G. Hart

ServantTruth graphic

Presented at Catechism Day, the American Academy, Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, May 17, 2005.

Residents of Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs may be unaware of two local items of interest that relate to our subject, which is the religion of the Catechism. The first of these has not likely escaped the notice of most folks in the Delaware Valley—that is the desire for a National League pennant. Our home team, the Philadelphia Phillies, have only been in the World Series four times and not since a painful loss in 1993 to a non-American team. The subject of major league baseball was on my mind while reflecting on catechesis because of discussions the Phillies provoke on local sports talk radio. On a recent show the hosts were arguing about whether local fans are obligated to root for the Phillies. The one who said no, himself a Red Sox fan, reasoned that people have the right to choose whatever team they prefer. The other host, a native of South Philly, said that Philadelphians had to root for the Phillies because this was the home baseball franchise. No matter how much the other host, the Red Sox fan, insisted that this made sports-rooting an accident of birth, the Phillies fan insisted that an individual choosing the team of his fancy was completely arbitrary and unnatural.

Buried within this argument was a point with profound theological significance, especially about predestination, providence, and the degree to which men and women can change the circumstances into which they are born. Americans love freedom and have even fought wars to prove their affection. But Americans have also found that certain accidents of history, such as a person's sex, race, family and language, are aspects of the human condition not so easily changed by free choice. As members of modern society we have, of course, changed our view of inheriting the class and vocation of our parents. A boy whose father is an investment banker will not have to grow up and do what his father does for a living, and women today also enjoy more choices than their mothers did who were often restricted by the duties of the home. But when it comes to sports many Americans seem to be comfortable with the notion that you inherit the team to which you were born. If you grow up in Buffalo and move to Philadelphia, you still have an obligation to root for the Bills. And don't bring up the wayward Dallas Cowboys fan living in the Delaware Valley. If he or she actually grew up in Texas, then that's okay as long as they don't wear their jerseys around and flaunt their team at the Eagles' expense. But if someone is caught having grown up in Bucks County or Center City and rooting for the Cowboys they will endure the sort of ridicule Protestants used to reserve for Roman Catholics.

Now some may well be wondering what on earth does rooting for the Phillies or Eagles as residents of this area have to do with the Westminster Shorter Catechism? The short answer is: a lot. The Shorter Catechism, as you probably know, was designed by the ministers and elders who attended the Westminster Assembly during the 1640s in London to be an educational guide for children—the Larger Catechism—and boy, is it large!—was intended for adults. Children at a very young age in Puritan and Presbyterian families would be expected to know and recite from memory the answers to the Catechism. I've heard the story but cannot verify it that Benjamin Warfield, arguably the greatest Presbyterian theologian in American history, knew the Shorter Catechism backwards and forwards AT THE AGE OF SIX! In other words, the Catechism was the way of passing on religion and faith from parents to children, the way that dads today pass on the rooting interests of the family by taking their sons out to Citizens Park to watch the Phillies.

But as you may be aware, just as I heard that debate on the radio about whether Philadelphians are required by being born here to give their allegiance to the Phillies, Eagles and Sixers, American Protestants have argued about whether children are required to adopt the faith of their parents, or whether children should be reared so that when they mature they can choose, like good Americans, their own religious identity which may or may not be the one of their parents. This is a very difficult question to answer and will likely continue to spark debates among Protestants. But it is one worth considering in order to put this whole process of memorizing the Shorter Catechism into wider perspective.

Catechisms have been a device used throughout the history of the church to teach would-be church members the basic doctrines of the Christian religion. As such, catechisms generally included three basic sections: explanations of the Apostle's Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments. The basic idea behind catechesis was for young people or converts—persons coming into the church—to master the teachings of the communion they were about to join, and implicitly to follow in the footsteps of those older in the faith, both living and dead. The catechism was a way for older Christians to pass on the faith to the next generation of saints. Protestants relied on catechesis as much as Roman Catholics. The Reformed churches of Europe, the German, Dutch, and Hungarian ones, all used the Heidelberg Catechism for passing on their faith to children; Presbyterians have used the Shorter Catechism.

The use of catechisms by Protestants began to change in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The reason was a new form of Protestantism that relied less upon inheriting the faith of one's parents and congregation, and stressed the need for the individual to choose what his or her faith would be. This new form of Protestantism in the British colonies was called revivalism. Most Protestants today regard revivalism as a good thing, not something that could in any way be detrimental. I do not mean to suggest that revivalism is without its assets. Clearly the evangelistic zeal of revivalists has been a considerable factor in the growth of Christianity since the eighteenth century. At the same time, the revivalists' call for converts to lead holy lives has injected much godliness into both the church and the public arena (though again the particular mixture of religion and politics in recent years by evangelicals has not always been a blessing). But whatever its positive contribution, revivalism undercut the religion of the catechism.

How did revivalism do this? Go back to the spring of 1721, when the young Jonathan Edwards, who would become the greatest Calvinist theologian in American history, was a student at Yale College, and in the midst of some spiritual discomfort. He had grown up the son of a pastor, he had probably been catechized, and yet he still didn't feel saved. He wanted to believe but had not yet encountered God in a real, direct or memorable way. Then sometime during that spring, Edwards encountered God and the truth of the gospel in a powerful manner. He was reading 1 Timothy 1:17, "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen," when the experience occurred. According to Edwards, this was "the first instance" when he remembered "that sort of inward, sweet delight in God and divine things." He would later write:

As I read the words, there came into my soul, and was as it were diffused through it, a sense of the glory of the Divine Being; a new sense, quite different from any thing I ever experienced before. Never had any words of scripture seemed to me as these words did. I thought with myself, how excellent a Being that was, and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be rapt up in him in heaven, and be as it were swallowed up in him for ever! ... From about that time, I began to have a new kind of apprehensions and ideas of Christ, and the work of redemption, and the glorious way of salvation by him. An inward, sweet sense of these things, at times, came into my heart; and my soul was led away in pleasant views and contemplations of them.[1]

This conversion experience became for Edwards and for all revivalists who followed in his wake, the defining mark of genuine faith.

What does this have to do with catechism? That is the $64,000 question. The new evangelical religion of the eighteenth century so stressed the conversion experience as the way into salvation that the catechism became irrelevant if not a hindrance. Edwards even said that the "sight and taste of the divinity and divine excellency of the things of the Gospel," that is, experience, was more convincing "than the readings of hundreds of volumes of arguments."[2]

No catechism in the history of the church has been one hundred volumes long—though if you've seen the current Roman Catholic catechism you might think it's a tad lengthy. The point in Edwards' remark is that experience matters more than thought, heart more than head, conversion more than catechesis.

This was a major turning point in the history of western Christianity because it undermined the plausibility of the catechism. First, the shift from catechism to conversion exalted the individual over the family and the community of faith. From now on it would be the individual's decision that would be decisive for establishing the reliability of his faith, not the degree to which his beliefs and practices conformed to those of his parents or the church in which he was reared. Second, the shift from catechism to conversion made the individual convert's own words the most important account of his faith, not whether he had memorized the catechism, the doctrinal statements of his church and family.

Think about this for a second. When I was a Baptist and wanted to become a member of my parent's church, I had to go before the trustees and eventually the whole congregation and tell about when I walked down the aisle and accepted Jesus into my heart. But when I was received into the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, I was asked a series of questions, all of which required me only to say yes or no, whether in front of the elders or before the congregation. This is obviously different from reciting the catechism in order to become a member of a church. But it does show how a church that uses the Shorter Catechism views an individual Christian's own words. For churches that continue to rely on the religion of the catechism, words matter, and the words that matter are the ones used by the entire community, either the catechism or answering yes or no to set questions, not the person's own account of their own experience.

One reason why conversion triumphed over the catechism was because memorizing the catechism is easy to abuse. As many of you know, you can memorize all the answers, and even the questions, and not really mean them. This is what Edwards was driving at. He wanted Christians to have a genuine faith. Merely reciting the words written by others, then, was not good enough because the student of the catechism could merely go through the motions, pass the test, but still not be a serious Christian. But someone who had had an amazing experience of divine ecstasy was much harder to find, and such experience became a more reliable guide to a credible profession of faith.

What Edwards had no way of foreseeing, though, was that even conversion experiences can be faked, or that a person can go through the motions of speaking in tongues, one of the most experiential forms of revivalist Christianity. I have friends who are Pentecostal who have admitted that they pretended to speak in tongues, just as I remember kids in my home church who walked the aisle but didn't mean it. The conversion experience appeared to be more reliable gauge than the catechism for measuring genuine faith. But it didn't turn out that way. That is because, as the Bible says, the human heart is only known to God. All that we have to evaluate other people's profession of faith is words and actions. No church official, not even the pope, can see the true state of someone's soul.

This way of looking at the religion of conversion, as something out of sync with the religion of the catechism, is not typical among American Protestants. Especially in the press with the recent attention to religion in American politics, the assumption has been that evangelicalism, with its revivalistic ways, is conservative both theologically and politically. Red state Protestants may be very conservative, but the number of those who voted for George Bush and know their Shorter Catechism is likely very small.

But one Reformed theologian, a Pennsylvanian to boot, did see what few American Protestants have noticed, that is, the tension between conversion and the catechism. John Williamson Nevin was born and reared in central Pennsylvania, trained at Princeton Theological Seminary, taught at Pittsburgh Seminary for ten years before relocating to his ancestral region and teaching at Mercersburg Theological Seminary, an institution of the German Reformed Church. Nevin is not a household name in Reformed circles, but his analysis of revivalism and conversion has never been rivaled. Interestingly enough, Nevin actually used the words "religion of the catechism" to describe the process by which children of Christian parents grow up and inherit the faith of their mothers and fathers, pastors and elders.

Nevin diagnosed the differences between catechism and conversion in a little book, published in 1843, called The Anxious Bench. This bench was a famous device used by Charles Grandison Finney, the most influential revivalist of the nineteenth century, to generate greater and more intense conversions. It was literally a bench at the front of the church designated for listeners who were under conviction, where they could go to sit and receive counsel and where leaders in the church would pray for them.

In his book, Nevin contrasted the anxious bench with the catechism. He did not mean narrowly the Heidelberg Catechism, which the German Reformed Church used to rear her children in the faith. Instead, by the religion of the catechism Nevin was referring to a complete system of inherited religion which included preaching, baptism, the Lord's Supper, weekly observance of the Lord's day (as in refraining from work and recreation on Sunday), visits to families by the pastor, family worship in the home led by parents, and the memorization of the catechism. This entire package of religious influences, Nevin believed, was the God-ordained means of bringing up Christian children, not some contrived service where converts might be manipulated in the blink of an eye to walk the aisle, sit in the "anxious bench," and decide to choose Christ.

Nevin was particularly sensitive to the differences between the religion of the bench and the religion of the catechism because he had had first-hand experience with both. At the fairly ripe age of seventy, Nevin sat down to write about his youth and in his memoirs he described the religion of the catechism that had sustained him as a boy. You need to keep in mind that Nevin was Scotch-Irish, not German-American, and so the church of his early years was Presbyterian. Here is how he described the devotion of his home and congregation:

Being of what is called Scotch-Irish extraction, I was by birth and blood also, a Presbyterian; and as my parents were both conscientious and exemplary professors of religion, I was, as a matter of course, carefully brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, according to the Presbyterian faith as it then stood ... the old Presbyterian faith, into which I was born, was based throughout on the idea of covenant family religion, church membership by God's holy act in baptism, and following this a regular catechetical training of the young, with direct reference to their coming to the Lord's table ... The system was churchly, as holding the Church in her visible character to be the medium of salvation for her baptized children, in the sense of that memorable declaration of Calvin (Institutes 4.1.4), where, speaking of her title, Mother, he says: "There is no other entrance into life, save as she may conceive us in her womb, give us birth, nourish us from her breasts, and embrace us in her loving care to the end."[3]

So far so good. But when Nevin left home for college at the age of fourteen, a fairly common occurrence in the nineteenth century, he was in for a rude awakening. He enrolled at Union College in upstate New York, an institution that was more New England Puritan than Presbyterian. And there Nevin discovered that the religion of the catechism was in short supply. This is how he described the difficulty he faced at college:

We had no religion in college, so far at least as morning and evening prayers went; and we were required, on Sundays, to attend the different churches in town. But there was no real church life, as such, in the institution itself... I had come to college, a boy of strongly pious dispositions and exemplary religious habits, never doubting but that I was in some way a Christian, though it had not come with me yet (unfortunately) to what is called a public profession of religion. But now one of the first lessons inculcated on me indirectly by this unchurchly system, was that all this must pass for nothing, and that I must learn to look upon myself as an outcast from the family and kingdom of God, before I could come to be in either in the right way. Such, especially, was the instruction I came under, when a "revival of religion," as it was called, made its appearance among us, and brought all to a practical point... It was based throughout on the principle, that regeneration and conversion lay outside of the Church, had nothing to do with baptism and Christian education, required rather a looking away from all this as more a bar than a help to the process... [4]

Are baptism, worship, and catechesis means to help lead a child to church membership and participating in the Lord's Supper, or are these practices and instruction barriers that got in the way of an intense religious experience known as conversion? What Nevin saw, perhaps because of firsthand experience, was that the religion of conversion had made memorizing the catechism, sitting attentively in worship on Sundays, and participating in family worship with parents at home irrelevant and unnecessary. The religion of conversion had replaced the religion of the catechism. For Nevin—and I think he was right—this shift was a watershed in the history of western Christianity, perhaps as significant as the thirteenth century when the Roman Catholic church began to teach that the elements of the Lord's Supper, the bread and wine, literally turned into the body and blood of Christ.

Despite Nevin's efforts, the religion of conversion eventually beat the religion of the catechism. An important factor in this victory was the American ideal of self-determination, the individual's freedom, even right to choose for him or herself, especially in such personal matters as religion. Whether it is the make of a car, a brand of mustard, place of residence, or boyfriend or girlfriend, Americans believe something is wrong if they don't get to choose what they own, identify with, or love. For most Americans, it is as objectionable to be stuck with the religion of your parents as to be stuck with your parents' choice for your date or spouse. But learning the catechism is similar to your parents choosing your dates or spouse; it is learning a set of teachings, passed on from many previous generations, that are supposed to become one's own. Some might even say that that memorizing the Catechism is un-American because it denies an individual's freedom to choose his own religion.

Consequently, learning the Shorter Catechism is a situation similar to that of the residents of Philadelphia who are stuck with the Phillies as their home team. You may think that your predicament is entirely unfair. If you had grown up only fifty miles to the south you could have been an Orioles fan. Or if you had gone to an Episcopal school you would not be stuck learning some 107 questions and answers from the seventeenth century.

In conclusion, let me say a few words about the apparent unfairness of the religion of the catechism, of the difficulty of being stuck with the faith of your parents. On the one hand, the Westminster Assembly that wrote the catechism believed in conversion. In other words, they believed in evangelizing those who weren't Presbyterian, and persuading those who may have been reared with a different faith to abandon the faith of their parents and become Presbyterian. Please do not misunderstand. The religion of the catechism is not always and everywhere against conversion. It is only so when conversion becomes the model for those who are born into Presbyterian and Reformed homes. One way to put this difference biblically is to say that Isaac, the son of Abraham, is the model child for the religion of the catechism. He grew up never having known otherwise than that he was a child of God. Why would you ever want to put him in a situation where he had to think about whether he was a child of God, whether he might choose the god of the Philistines or the Chaldeans over the God of Abraham? On the other side, you have the conversion experience of the apostle Paul, which was clearly a good thing. Some conversions are good when they bring people out of darkness into light. But it would not have been suitable for Isaac to undergo what Paul did on the road to Damascus.

This example gets a little complicated because of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. So let me end where I began, with a baseball analogy. What happens if you get stuck with the Shorter Catechism the way you, by virtue of living near Philadelphia, are stuck with the Phillies? Shouldn't you be able to choose to leave the religion or baseball team of your home or school? Well, the last time I checked it was still a free country and you will likely have lots of opportunity to find a different catechism and a different baseball team. But imagine if you were Charles Hodge. Hodge was a famous nineteenth-century Presbyterian theologian who taught at Princeton Seminary, just north of Trenton, New Jersey. If you know much about the baseball geography of the Garden State, you know that everything north of Trenton is Yankee country, everything below is Phillies territory. Now why would Hodge, who lived where folks would eventually root for the Yankees, have to reach a point in his life where he needed to choose between the Yankees and the Phillies? How smart would that be? Why even think about abandoning a superior team for an inferior one?

Well, those who are memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism are learning the equivalent in the theological world of rooting for the Yankees in the world of sports. It is the top shelf of catechisms, not simply because it is Presbyterian, but because it is the one most faithful to the Word of God. If you grow up with it, you will never need to outgrow it. Like this year's version of the Phillies, the Shorter Catechism may not seem like lots of fun. But unlike the Phillies, the Catechism will never disappoint you. And some day, God willing, you will remember back to the drudgery of learning the Catechism and actually thank God that parents and teachers exposed you to a system of truth that has sustained Christians for generations and can sustain you for the rest of your life.


[1] Clarence H. Faust and Thomas H. Johnson, eds., Jonathan Edwards: Representative Selections (New York: American Book Company, 1935), 59.

[2] Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 4: The Great Awakening, ed., C. C. Goen (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972), "Benjamin Colman's Abridgement, November 1736," 125.

[3] John W. Nevin, My Own Life: The Earlier Years (Lancaster, Pa.: Historical Society of the Evangelical and Reformed Church, 1964), 2.

[4] Nevin, My Own Life, 9.

D. G. Hart is the author of John Williamson Nevin: High Church Calvinist. He is also a ruling elder at Calvary OPC, Glenside, Pennsylvania. Mr. Hart is the director of fellowship programs and scholar-in-residence at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. He serves on the Committee on Christian Education. Reprinted from Ordained Servant 16.1, January 2007.
An excellent read!
_detail.php?1071 Charles Finney's most astute critic was John Williamson Nevin (1803-86). Another excellent article on Nevin.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Hallelujah ... What a Savior! ....


Saturday, April 7, 2007

He Arose! ... He Arose! ...

Low In The Grave He Lay

Robert Lowry, 1874

Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior,
Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!


Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!


Death cannot keep its Prey, Jesus my Savior;
He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!


I Can Only Imagine ...

This is for Jim C. Today he stands in Paradise with His Savior. I can only imagine what he is experiencing ... he wanted to get his notes copied into his new Bible ... now he knows everything, has seen everything! He loved worship ... imagine what he is singing now and who all is in the chorus! Thank you for this man with a servant's heart. I can only imagine ...

Friday, April 6, 2007

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God ...

The Purpose ...

The Power ...


Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you over evil a victory win?
There's wonderful power in the blood.

There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Come for a cleansing to Calvary's tide;
There's wonderful power in the blood.

There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Sin stains are lost in its life giving flow.
There's wonderful power in the blood.

There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you do service for Jesus your King?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There's wonderful power in the blood.

There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Words & Music by Lewis E. Jones, 1899

My Utmost For His Highest ...

April 6th.


"Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree." 1 Peter 2:24

The Cross of Jesus is the revelation of God's judgment on sin. Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Cross was a superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken. There is nothing more certain in Time or Eternity than what Jesus Christ did on the Cross: He switched the whole of the human race back into a right relationship with God. He made Redemption the basis of human life, that is, He made a way for every son of man to get into communion with God.

The Cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it. He is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." The whole meaning of the Incarnation is the Cross. Beware of separating God manifest in the flesh from the Son becoming sin. The Incarnation was for the purpose of Redemption. God became incarnate for the purpose of putting away sin; not for the purpose of Self-realization. The Cross is the centre of Time and of Eternity, the answer to the enigmas of both.

The Cross is not the cross of a man but the Cross of God, and the Cross of God can never be realized in human experience. The Cross is the exhibition of the nature of God, the gateway whereby any individual of the human race can enter into union with God. When we get to the Cross, we do not go through it; we abide in the life to which the Cross is the gateway.

The centre of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much. The Cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened - but the crash is on the heart of God.

Taken from 'My Utmost for His Highest', by Oswald Chambers. © l935 by Dodd Mead & Co., renewed © 1963 by the Oswald Chambers Publications Assn., Ltd., and is used by permission of Barbour Publishing, Uhrichsville, Ohio. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Onion Snow ...

Kim at Hiraeth wants to know what an "onion snow" is .... Well ... it's a Pennsylvania saying.

Apparently, the term “onion snow” isn’t as widely known. Here in South-Central Pennsylvania, it’s a common expression for an early spring snow that comes right when the onions and garlic are peeking through the dirt in our gardens. The dark green tops of wild onions are also popping up around field edges and in yards in late March to early April. The snow that falls is no more than a dusting to a couple of inches. A heavy spring snow is called a twig bender or sapling-bender. Either type of snow does not last long.

Wild Onion / Garlic

Wild onion (A. validum or A. canadense) is a bulbous herb of the Amaryllis family and is a close relative of cultivated onion (Allium cepa L.). It has a distinct onion odor. It has slender grass-like leaves and reaches about 2' in height when flowers appear in late summer. Leaves are narrow, long, and with parallel edges arising from the small underground bulb.

Flowers, varying in color, depending on the species, from white to pink, appear at the top of a leafless stem and eventually become bulblets which drop to the ground and propagate.

And Kim, I learned this ... It is thought that the name Chicago is derived from the smell of wild onions: "Indians, mainly Potawatomi, who were the most powerful tribe around the south end of Lake Michigan, hunted, traded furs, and occasionally camped in the area they called "Checagou," evidently referring to the garlic wild onion smell which permeated the air." In teresting what you can learn.

I learned some time ago when reading about Indians in PA that they ate wild onions and garlic to keep the mosquitos at bay and used it in their cooking pots for flavor. Also did you know that garlic juice is a natural antibiotic? (My hubby loves garlic and when cold season comes around in late fall he starts eating his garlic harvest in the raw form. My bedroom reaks of garlic! He sweats the garlic smell because it really gets into your system - this is another thing - farmers hate wild onions and garlic because it taints the cows milk!)

Here are some recipes --

I remember my Gram picking them and adding them to a big cast iron skillet of fried potatoes, then she would break two eggs or more over them and finish frying them. They were delicious! She would serve them with a loaf of homemade bread and jam along with a side meat or fried ham. I can smell her coffee now ...

My hubby's side of the family would cook it like this --

Wild Onion Soup (Zuppa di Cipolle Selvatiche)

This is a typical Calabrian dish, but it is also a favorite in some Puglian villages. In Italy, you can buy wild onions in jars of oil.

You take 14 oz. Cipuddizze (wild onions, replace with the white part of scallions)

Olive oil, 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed; 1 quart of vegetable broth; 1 small hot chile pepper with stem and seeds removed; some stale bread, cubed and fried in a little olive oil; 2 oz. Pecorino romano cheese, grated; salt and pepper to taste. Clean and lightly chop the onions. In a saucepan, heat some olive oil and cook the garlic until soft. Add onions, cook a few minutes then add the vegetable broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook about another 5 minutes. Then add the chopped chile pepper. Take four soup bowls, place bread cubes that have been roasted in olive oil and then pour the soup over the bread cubes and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Add more salt if needed to your taste. Also can use some fresh chopped parsley for color and taste, but not much.

If you have pets - make sure the wild onions/garlic is rinsed well! ;-))

I have also chopped them and mixed them into butter that I whipped and put the mix over a steak fresh from the grill or add them chopped into hamburgers before you grill them. They can be added to salads also.

One word of warning -- if you pick something that looks like an small, tiny onion bulbs but has no garlic or onion smell DO NOT EAT THEM, they could make you sick. They are some type of flower weed bulbs.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Thinking Blogger Awards !! ....



I can't believe it!

I have been chosen by Kim at Hiraeth for the "Thinking Blogger Award!"

(I am going to have to soak in the tub tonight for doing a jiggity-jig at Kim's blog for a pulled muscle!) I guess I will have to get my soaking salts out.

Well! Here we go ... my choices are -- (drum roll .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.)

Kim at Hiraeth (can I hit you again?!) Well I am going to ... this lady has been such a mentor and inspiration in so many areas to me. I sat one night into the wee hours of the morning reading the whole way through her blog back to her day one! You, Kim, are a fine lady. thank-you. PS - this gal made me one of the nicest bookmarks! I was using spaghetti noodles and various other impliments, (uncooked of course), but now I have one dandy bookmark with my blog logo on it! Be sure to check out her blog.


Next person without a blink is The Thirsty Theologian. Here again, when I ran across his blog it just drew me in. I like the way he thinks, like a man who thinks before he speaks. He is a deep thinker. I have learned alot about the reformed faith from his blog. Can't you just smell the pipe smoke when you are there? For some reason this guy reminds me of my Dad and he is probably younger than my 50 years. ;-))) But David, I appreciate you, you are like that commercial for EF Hutton, you know the one "When EF Hutton speaks, everyone listens" ... blog more .. you have tinkered off long enough! Where is the sharp sense of humor? Get with it son!

.-.-.-.-. (you do realize this is a drum roll? Ok we're good to go ...)

Next is none other than FIDE-O! I mean these guys have NO FEAR! Talk about hit you in the face with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the TRUTH!! AMEN! Their radio show on Unchained Radio is the absolute best of the best ... I mean geez ... YES, YES I admit it ... I am addicted! Confession over, big breath, alrighty then ... muscles are fine, ok ... these fellows, and yes they are younger than me for sure, (and Pastor Gene - I ride a Honda Shadow, you have a good looking set of wheels, keep the shiny side up!), are such a God send, my husband I are recent converts to Covenant Theology/Amil and we have done all our learning through them on the Narrow Mind. You are foolish if you don't tune in. My humble thanks for your teachings, your heart for the Lord you serve ... you are men after God's own heart. (ps - they, too, are EF Hutton guys!!) They remind me of this verse: Jere. 23:29, "Is not My word like a fire?" says the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks rock in pieces?" That's right, I read nothing but the Best! Yes, I have had headaches sifting thru the old dispensational stuff I was taught and turning/grasping their teachings in my mind, but God is gracious and merciful. Think deep - without a doubt, you have no other choice with these guys. You fellas and yours are prayed for often in our home. You probably are also too busy to participate in this and that is just fine, but kudos to you all!


Rosemary from Seasoning of the Heart -- you are a Lady. The post you wrote for your friends who were going through a divorce was tremendous. Touched me, made me think, and love my husband so much the more. You are one of quiet strength. I appreciate what you bring to mind. A Woman After God's Own Heart and I do not say this lightly.


Pastor Sloan, a reformed Pastor whom the Lord has brought to me as a friend thru the church I attend, where he did his training before having his own church to shepherd. He, too, causes me to think. He, like me, is new at blogging so pay him a visit. His posts on The Valley of Vision prayers makes me think more deeper. He reminds me of this verse: Jere. 5:14: Therefore thus says the LORD God of hosts: "Because you speak this word, Behold, I will make My words in your mouth fire, And this people woods, And it shall devour them." Pastor Sloan has recently been ordained.

Well ... I really enjoyed this one ... give yourselves a slap on the back! You all cause folks to THINK Deep! You are a blessing to many and this is my way of saying ... Thank You, you are appreciated so very, very much. Have a blessed Easter, from our home to yours! We serve an awesome God, do we not!! Amen!

Those who have been tagged by me are to continue by following the instructions for this meme:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

Testimony Tuesday ...

This is an updated post from Sat., March 24th. Tim Challies from has asked bloggers to post their testimonies today -- Testimony Tuesday. I recently joined a church and was asked to write my testimony. My thoughts come first with my testimony last. Join us and share your testimony. If you do not have a blog, please feel free to share yours in the comment section of this post.

Let's begin --
My Grandfather, my Dad's Dad, was a Pastor of a small Mennonite church, PA. There is information about him and his ministry under the Mother Bedford website. On my Mom's side of the family there were no Pastor's but a deep relationship with the Lord that was the result of the LCOB being built in a small community. So when I was young we attended the Mennonite church but my Father did not agree with the fact that you could lose your salvation, so we left that denomination and returned back to my Mom's church. This church preached all about love but would not preach Hell. My father had passed away at the young age of 42 in 1977. Mom and I continued to attend church but one Sunday the Pastor preached a terrific sermon on Hell. I could hardly set in my seat and keep my AMEN's to myself. We were setting in the back of the church and when the service was done the Pastor always left to stand in the back of the church to greet you before you went downstairs and out the door to home. We were setting there and the Deacon's of the church rose and followed him to the back and told him, "Don't ever preached a sermon like that here again! We preach love, not Hell and damnation." Well, Folks ... Hell is talked about more in the Word of God than love is! What is Hell but other than judgement? No judgement, no salvation message is there? I looked at my Mom and said, "Mom and I can not set in a church that will not teach the full message of the Word of God." And we left. I then attended a GBC in my area since 1989. But as it goes ... things started to change there ... Warrenism started creeping in ... the message did not change but it wasn't as potent. Jokes was the norm from the pulpit, Power Team came and that was like a circus, hymns slowly were exchanged for choruses, Power Point, you get the picture. The Power Team thing was the last straw for us ... the church had become a business. They did not want to offend unbelievers ... my husband and I left the church I loved and served and it was a difficult and emotional change. But God has brought us to where we feel He wants us to be. We have grown more there in the last 8 months than we had at the GBC in 3 years. We know we were called out of that church. God had us there for a season, to work for Him, and then He moved us on. God has blessed me with two sons who are full of character, integrity and have never brought shame to us. I do not know what tomorrow holds but they walk with their Lord. One is strong and bold in his faith and the other is quiet but when he speaks it is profound. God has so richly blessed me. I honestly do not know when He was not with me. I have always, even when young, known He was watching over me. I accepted Him as Lord and Saviour of my life when I was 12. I have been blessed with a Godly husband who came out of the Catholic faith to Salvation with the Lord and he walks strong in his faith and even more so since attending WOPC. He has grown in the Word and he has been faithful to his Bible Study and prayer time with an obedience that has blessed this family many times over. We talk more about what we are learning in this reformed church than we ever have. It has brought us closer and I thank God for that. My mother's faith is unswerving. She is a rock and prayer warrior. I am not the woman I am today without her. The Lord brought my brother thru some really tough times. But he serves His Lord by sharing his testimony in schools, colleges, etc. He was recently asked to speak at a large sports banquet back here at home, he told them there is no M without Jesus Christ. He is a part of me that has made me what I am today by His grace and I can share nothing else but Him. Guess what? ... they decided that would not work since there will be youth there of various faiths and they do not want to offend anyone, so it is best if they get someone else. What a shame. Those teens so need to hear M's message. But where a door is closed God will open another, Amen?! God has such a strong grip on me, my family, that it is a peace that passes all understanding. What would I ever do without Him? I thank Him, over and over again for my salvation, His gift of mercy and grace upon me and my family. And then there are those true friends He brings into your path. What a sweet smelling savour ... J, B, you who love me with all my faults, who honor me and humble me, you who are not afraid to tell me what you think ... I love you dearly and thank God for you. For those whom He has brought in my path that I have never sat down face to face with .. Kim of Hiraeth, Rosemary of Seasonings of the Heart, Rebecca of Rebecca Writes, and those I have yet to encounter ... you keep me sharp - as iron sharpens iron ... God you are so gracious to me. Thank you Jesus ... thank you.

As I have sat down and pondered the texts I would use for my testimony, the one that jumped at me the most was John 6:44., "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him: and I will raise him up at the last day." NKJV.

This one verse sums up for me my election to salvation. The literal Hebrew word for draw in John 6:44 is 'drag.' Strong's #1670 -- drag, draw, pull in.

Do you know of anything that has been "dragged" out of anything or anywhere that could have come if it wanted to? Free Will insinuates that I can make the choice. If I can make the choice, then I don't need to be dragged do I? If I can make the choice then where is Omnipotence? How can salvation be a gift if it can be chosen? Can I choose for you to give me a gift? Or, do you, the owner of the gift, choose if you want to give it and who you want to give it to, being that it is yours? I think the entirety of the bible is a paradox. That is what confuses people. In the worldly understanding of the process of my salvation, as well as any other persons, I chose to follow Jesus. I made the choice in the worlds eyes. However, in the heavenly aspect of it, the truth is that I was called out, clearly stated in John 6:44 as well as many other verses.

This is a paradox. Whosoever could be anyone to us, in this worlds understanding. Because we are not at the throne of God, we do not know who the elect are, so all, to us, are able, therefore the Great Commission of "go, tell the world." God does not NEED us to complete this work, but, what a privilege to have a mighty God want to involve us in His work!

According to Romans 3:1-19; Eph. 2:1-3; 2 Cor. 4:4 and 2 Tim. 1:9 tell us that no 'free will' exists in man's nature, for man is enslaved to sin (total depravity) and unable to believe apart from God's empowerment. Isa. 64:6 -- "But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags." My utter unworthiness to be in God's presence.

So then, my predestination came before my election which came before my gospel call which came before my inward call which came before my regeneration which came before my conversion through my faith and my repentence which came before my justification. (that's a mouth full!)

I was previously taught that my regeneration came after my salvation which I could not comprehend according to John 6:44 and the numerous other verses on election, predestination, called and chosen.

I have been studying thru Redemption, Accomplished and Applied by John Murray and I can not tell you enough how much you would gain in the reading/studying of this little book. I have not posted as much as I want to on this book because of its depth. I have come to realize that I need to study it thru thoroughly then read it again and then possibly post.

Thus far I am even more fully convinced in the study of this book as to how in my audacity could I have ever chosen Him? What arrogance! I am being humbled over and over as I study thru the obedience of my Lord and Savior who hung upon the cross for me. The obedience is profound. I think of the words .. Because of Calvary, but I add ... Because of the obedience of Calvary, His blood was shed for me. Oh, thank You Lord Jesus, thank You!

My Testimony . . . as written for church membership ...

"...And so we must say that this love of the Father was at no point more intensely in exercise than when the Son was actively drinking the cup of unrelieved damnation, than when he was enduring as substitute the full toll of the Father's wrath...What love for men that the Father should execute upon his own Son the full toll of holy wrath, so that we should never taste it!" John Murray, Collected Writings

He loves His chosen that much is mind boggling. Amazing Love but more so, Amazing Grace! He chose a wretch like me? How in my filthiness could I have ever chosen Him? Election keeps no one out of heaven who would otherwise have been there, but it keeps a whole multitude of sinners out of hell who otherwise would have been there. He changed my heart through His effectual calling and made me willing to come. He chose to teach me about Himself through study of His Word, calling me out of churches that would not preach Hell, churches that tried to teach me that I chose Him. I can not know myself without knowing Him. Because of my wicked pride that is naturally in me, He is continuing to show Himself to me, to mold me and break me into becoming a woman after His own heart. I cannot worship my Lord rightly without this principle of knowing Him. I am justified on the grounds of nothing that I did, nor anything that I possess but rather on what I have received, I have no merit of my own. I have been trudging through a deep bog, slogging along trying to understand what my previous church was teaching when everything the Holy Spirit was revealing was a different principle. I had no name for it only an understanding. Now I do – Reformed, Covenantal, … the 5 Solas! My understanding has so deepened since attending Westminster Orthodox Presbyterian Church under the teachings of Pastor B. and G.S. The constant encouragement to read stout books and study the Word is phenomenal. I never had this before but I always taught it. The worship is worship here, not a “make me feel good” sensory type of thing. God is forefront always! What a blessing this is. I ask you to read Colossians 1:9-23. Especially verses 19, 20: “For it pleased the Father … having made peace” He is pleased to have chosen us, to save us from His wholly wrath! I am dedicated to learning fully covenantal, reformed theology with a growing appreciation for the Westminster Confession of Faith. I pray you all realize what you have here at this church with the teachers you are given. As one coming in from outside running from the wolves of false teaching, I am at home here among you all, you have made us so welcome. Thank You ….

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Can You Imagine ...

Peter Denies Jesus

Luke 22:54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest's house, and Peter was following at a distance. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

Reading through this week of events, my eyes roamed over the above passage and became fixated on verse 61. "And the Lord turned and looked at Peter." Someday He will look upon me. I pray it is not the look He gave Peter. As a Mom, we have a variety of looks. Especially THE LOOK! All I had to do was THE LOOK and my boys would stop in their tracks. They knew they pushed Mom too far. What was the look on the face of Jesus? A look of hurt and pain? A look of I told you this would happen Peter? A look of I thought you loved me Peter? A look of disgust? A look of disappointment I am thinking. Luke's gospel is the only gospel that records this exchange between Peter and His Lord. The verb used is suggesting an intent, fixed look. Christ asked for his obedience during the prayer time in Gethsemane. Christ even reverted back to Peter's old name, Simon, Simon, during the exchange about Peter's denial that would come, remember that Christ had given him the name Peter . . .

Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, [1] that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter [2] said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus [3] said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”

Take note of the word "but," does not this little word bring a sense of protection? Here Christ is being the Mediator between Satan and man. SATAN HAS ASKED FOR YOU ... this should have chills going up your spine ... (has he asked for me or you, to sift us as wheat?) The trials we go through are refining even though they are disturbing and painful. When Christ says "you" the pronoun is plural in the Greek texts. SATAN wants us all, to sift us as wheat. Where Christ states "I have prayed for you" in verse 32, this 'you' is singular. Peter, like you and I, failed miserably but our faith is never overthrown! Peter declares himself in verse 33. I would like you to think upon this today -- "Is it not easier to fight for Him than it is to suffer for Him?" We are called to suffer with Him are we not? His burden is easy and His yoke is lite.

Back to THE LOOK ... consider Beloved during this very special week what look you would receive from Jesus. Search your heart and examine your mind. Cleanse yourself of all unrighteousness before our Holy God. In Luke 22:62 After the LOOK, Peter went out and wept bitterly. Are you weeping? Do you need to fall on your face before the One and Only?

Someone reading this post does not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, they do not have the peace that passes all understanding nor the protection of the Shepherd. You are as a filthy rag before a Holy God.

Let's walk the Roman Road together shall we?

Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

- Admit that you are a sinner.

Romans 6:23a "...The wages of sin is death..."

Sin has an ending. It results in death. We all face physical death, which is a result of sin.

But a worse death is spiritual death that alienates us from God, and will last for all eternity.

The Bible teaches that there is a place called the Lake of Fire

where lost people will be in torment forever.

It is the place where people who are spiritually dead will remain.

- Understand that you deserve death for your sin.

Romans 6:23b "...But the gift of God is eternal

life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

- Ask God to forgive you and save you.

Romans 5:8, "God demonstrates His own love for us, in

that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!"

When Jesus died on the cross He paid sin's penalty.

He paid the price for sin.

The only condition is that we believe in Him and what He has done for us.

- Give your life to God... His love poured out in Jesus on

the cross is your only hope to have forgiveness and change.

His love is what saves you -- not religion, or church membership.

Romans 10:13 "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved!"

- Call out to God in the name of Jesus!

Romans 10:9,10 "...If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

- If you know that God is knocking on your heart's door,

ask Him to come into your heart.

Jesus said,

Revelation 3:20a "Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him..."

- Is Jesus calling you to salvation in Him?

Anwer the call today, we never know what

may happen in the next minute of our life.

Believe in Him.

Ask Him to come in to your heart by faith.

Open the Bible to the Gospel of John and

read what God says about Jesus,

about you, and about being born again.

In the sweet and precious name of Jesus -- AMEN!

Palm Sunday ...

All Glory, Laud, and Honor
Trinity Hymnal #235

"Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord"
"Blessed is the King of Israel!"
John 12:13

All the glory, laud, and honor to Thee, Redeemer, King,
to whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring!
Thou art the King of Israel, thou David's royal Son,
Who in the Lord's name comest, the King and blessed One!

The people of the Hebrews with palms before Thee went,
our praise and prayer and anthems before Thee we present;
to Thee, before Thy passion, they sang their hymns of praise;
to Thee, now high exalted, our melody we raise.

Thou dids't accept their praises; accept the prayers we bring,
who in all good delightest, Thou good and gracious King!
All glory, laud and honor to Thee, Redeemer, King,
to whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring!

If You Love Jesus Christ ... Then You'll Love Doctrine