Wednesday, March 31, 2010


The Song of the Suffering Servant

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted.

Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men. Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand.

Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.

All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.

By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living, For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due?

His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.

Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.

Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted, see him dying on the tree!
'Tis the Christ by man rejected; yes, my soul, 'tis he, 'tis he!
'Tis the long expected Prophet, David's son, yet David's Lord;
by his Son God now has spoken; 'tis the true and faithful Word.

Tell me, ye who hear him groaning, was there ever grief like his?
Friends thro' fear his cause disowning, foes insulting his distress;
many hands were raised to wound him, none would interpose to save;
but the deepest stroke that pierced him was the stroke that Justice gave.

Ye who think of sin but lightly nor suppose the evil great
here may view its nature rightly, here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the sacrifice appointed, see who bears the awful load;
'tis the Word, the Lord's Anointed, Son of Man and Son of God.

Here we have a firm foundation, here the refuge of the lost;
Christ's the Rock of our salvation, his the name of which we boast.
Lamb of God, for sinners wounded, sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded who on him their hope have built.

(Thomas Kelly, 1804)

Saturday, March 27, 2010


In my last post, I said that the seemingly insignificant birth of a baby in a small dusty down was in reality the beginning of a thirty-three year period that would be the "key-stone" in the structure of Redemptive History. Actually, I should probably cite the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-38) as the event that inaugurated that momentious span of time which continued through Pentecost. Why do I say "through Pentecost" rather than Jesus' resurrection or ascension? Primarily, because the sending of the Holy Spirit was so important to our Lord when he spoke to the disciples in the upper room, shortly before he went to the cross.

So, this most crucial time period was enclosed by two divine heralds. The first was the announcement that the "seed of the woman" who was to crush the head of the serpent, was about to appear on earth. The second was the Holy Spirit's empowering the church to announce Christ's victory over sin, death and the devil, and to proclaim forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

I also mentioned in my last post that there are two passages of scripture that illuminate the astounding significance of that baby's birth in Bethlehem. The first one is Genesis chapter three, key verse: 15. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. The other is Revelation, chapter twelve. Verse five is the key: And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

This week, Palm Sunday through Resurrection Sunday, we are remembering the time that our Lord Jesus Christ made atonement for the sins of his people by his suffering and death on the cross. We know that his sacrifice satisfied the debt for our offences and that we are justified before God, because he raised Christ from the dead. For this, we are eternally grateful. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Value We put on Jesus.

This is an edited version of a post by Ray Comfort, yesterday on his "Atheist Central" blog. I have included my comment, following Ray's remarks. To see the post in it's entirety, click on the link provided above.

From the Gospel of Luke, chapter two.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:16-19)

Ray Comfort's commentary (edited):

So, what’s all the fuss? This is just a baby in a cow’s feeding trough. Babies are born everyday in poverty. It’s no big deal. True, it’s not a big deal to those who have no understanding. ... [They] give no value to this babe in a manger. They mock that which is precious.

However, those who understand who this was, give it unspeakable value. This babe was God in human form--God "manifest in the flesh" for the express purpose of suffering for the sins of the world, so that the door of death could be closed for humanity and the door of immortally swung open wide. Think of it--if this was the promised Messiah, if Jesus of Nazareth was God in human form, if He did take our punishment, if He can give everlasting life to all who repent and trust in Him--what better news could you hope to ever hear! ...

My comment:

_By itself, this scene with the new-born baby in Bethlehem does not seem all that special.

But, illuminated from one side by the third chapter of Genesis (Key verse: 15), and from the other side by the twelfth chapter of Revelation (key verse: 5), we see the beginning of a thirty-three year period of time that is the key-stone in the structure of redemptive history.

God came to us in the person of Jesus Christ, and lived a perfect life as a genuine human being, body and soul.

He suffered and died on the cross for sinners.

He was buried, rose from the grave on the third day having overcome death for us.

Forty days later, He ascended to the "right hand of the Father" in heaven from where He now rules His kingdom (the church), and from where he will come again to judge the world.

This is that little baby in a dusty little village, who now holds in his hands the eternal destiny of each one of us.

Craig B

Saturday, March 20, 2010

On Picacho Peak, Arizona

Joseph looking out over southern Arizona

"Chippy" the chipmunk

Looking toward Mt. Lemmon

Hiking group. Joseph with cast on his broken hand.


The voice of my Beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills,

“My beloved.”

Song of Solomon 2:8

This was a golden name which the ancient Church in her most joyous moments was wont to give to the Anointed of the Lord. When the time of the singing of birds was come, and the voice of the turtle was heard in her land, her love-note was sweeter than either, as she sang, “My beloved is mine and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.” Ever in her song of songs doth she call him by that delightful name, “My beloved!” Even in the long winter, when idolatry had withered the garden of the Lord, her prophets found space to lay aside the burden of the Lord for a little season, and to say, as Esaias did, “Now will I sing to my well-beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard.” Though the saints had never seen his face, though as yet he was not made flesh, nor had dwelt among us, nor had man beheld his glory, yet he was the consolation of Israel, the hope and joy of all the chosen, the “beloved” of all those who were upright before the Most High. We, in the summer days of the Church, are also wont to speak of Christ as the best beloved of our soul, and to feel that he is very precious, the “chiefest among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely.” So true is it that the Church loves Jesus, and claims him as her beloved, that the apostle dares to defy the whole universe to separate her from the love of Christ, and declares that neither persecutions, distress, affliction, peril, or the sword have been able to do it; nay, he joyously boasts, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

O that we knew more of thee, thou ever precious one!

“My sole possession is thy love;
In earth beneath, or heaven above,
I have no other store;
And though with fervent suit I pray,
And importune thee day by day,
I ask thee nothing more.”

From Morning and Evening - March 20, (morning) - Charles H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More From Tucson

Photos by Joseph Boyd                 

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Question About Repentance

On Ray Comfort's blog, "Atheist Central," someone asked for clarification about repentance. Here, I have re-posted his question, and my response.

Y = X said...

Hopefully one of the Christians on the site can clarify something for me. Ray quoted the Bible:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Now, taken literally, which is the way the Bible is supposed to be read. It is the literal word of God and inerrant. This means I just need to believe in Jesus. It doesn't say anything about repentance.

Is this passage wrong? Is it just poorly worded?

These are genuine questions. I have heard Ray chastise those who say, "You need to believe in Jesus." He calls such people false converts but it appears that their belief is Biblically based.

March 12, 2010 7:31 AM
_________________________________________________________ said...

Hey, Y=X. How are you?

It is true that sometimes the Bible includes "repentance" in the call of the gospel:

And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:46-47)

...and sometimes it is omitted:

Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
And they spoke unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. (Acts 16:29-32)

Now look at John 3:16 with the preceding verses:

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:14-16)

If you look to Christ because you feel the sting of your guilt and sinfulness, as the Israelites looked at the brass serpent when they were feeling the sting of the serpents' bites which stemmed from their rebellion, your faith will be accompanied by repentance.
Now, if someone professes belief in Jesus but has not been convicted by the law of their sin and guilt, they believe in him for some other reason than to have their sin and guilt absolved.

True "faith in Jesus" and "the repentance that leads to life" (Acts 11:18) always go together.

Clarified? Take care, my friend.


March 12, 2010 7:47 PM

Our Redeemer - Altogether Lovely

His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of JerusalemSong of Solomon 5:16  (KJV)

My absolute favorite web site is Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings. I have spent many hours there just reading the articles and treatises by Puritans and other Reformed writers who knew and loved our Lord and Saviour so well. (One of the neat features of Fire and Ice is the "easy-on-the-eyes" option that you can click on to change the the color of the background.)

Here is a short excerpt from John Flavel's article, Christ Altogether Lovely. It is Flavel's exposition of Song of Songs 5:16 where he brings out some of the many ways in which Christ is "altogether lovely."  If this small portion leaves you desiring more, read the entire article. (I have re-read it many times) It is only about four pages when it is printed out.

So, here it is, from  "Yes, He is altogether lovely." Song of Songs 5:16

He is a lovely Redeemer, Isa. 61:1. He came to open the prison-doors to them that are bound. Needs must this Redeemer be a lovely one, if we consider the depth of misery from which he redeemed us, even "from the wrath to come," 1 Thess. 1:10.

Consider the numbers redeemed, and the means of their redemption. Rev. 5:9, "And they sang a new song, saying, 'You are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood, out of every kindred and tongue, and people and nation.'"

He redeemed us not with silver and gold, but with his own precious blood, by way of price, 1 Pet. 1:18,19. with his out-stretched and glorious arm, by way of power, Col. 1:13. He redeemed us freely, Eph. 1:7, fully Rom. 8:1, at the right time, Gal. 4:4, and out of special and particular love, John 17:9. In a word, he has redeemed us for ever, never more to come into bondage, 1 Pet. 1:5. John 10:28.

O how lovely is Jesus Christ in the relation of a Redeemer to God's elect!

__John Flavel

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Ultimate Loss: Your Soul

The loss of a soul is the heaviest loss that can befall a man. The worst and most painful of diseases - the most distressing bankruptcy of fortune - the most disastrous shipwrecks - are a mere scratch of a pin compared to the loss of a soul. All other losses are bearable, or but for a short time, but the loss of a soul is for evermore. It is to lose God, and Christ, and heaven, and glory, and happiness, to all eternity. It is to be cast away forever, helpless and hopeless in hell.

~ J.C. Ryle

(from J.C. Ryle Quotes)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Advertise Your Blog

If you have a Christian blog and want to increase your readership, Eddie Eddings, of Calvinistic Cartoons can help. Click here to find out how. (Deadline is March 13)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." _Matthew 26:39
What was Jesus confronted with in Gethsemane? Does God’s wrath factor into the situation? This, and other topics will be dealt with at the John 10:16 Conference on August 4-5 in New York. Click on the link above for details.