ECOS PARKRUN

Had a great run this morning battling with an old friend Cathy Hamilton from Antrim who I pushed to a new PB. My time was best of the year and getting closer to all-time PB of 21.57. Pictures at start, during run and at the end. Ordered my 100 milestone T shirt for doing 100 parkruns.

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Mark Kelly one of our regulars took his drone up and got this remarkable and beautiful video.

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Revelation

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We depend on divine revelation! Man left to himself would never come to know God because he has no desire to seek him and is separated from him, dead in sin. By nature we are blind and deceived. Creation reveals God’s power and glory but Christ reveals God to save men (Matthew 11:27). The Spirit of God, active since creation reveals spiritual truth to men (Deut.29:29). He must convince us we are hell-deserving sinners, God in Christ is a glorious sufficient Saviour and we have an eternal inheritance kept for us.

But, as regards God’s dealing with men, he reveals truth progressively. Our first parents were told a Saviour would come, Abraham was given further revelation of the covenant and his blessed Seed (John 8:56). Moses not only was given the law but also told of a great Prophet who would come (Deut. 18:18) and one for whom he suffered (Heb.11:26). David was granted in great detail prophesy concerning the life, work and death of his Lord and Saviour. All this revelation came by the Holy Spirit (I Peter 1:11-12). God does all this through his word Christ-directly to prophets in the Old Testament and up to the time of the apostles and now exclusively and pre-eminently through the completed Scriptures which are “Christ in print”. Although the third person of the trinity is immutable and omniscient yet he limited what he revealed progressively of the covenant to God’s people through the ages. Paul spoke of mysteries, truth not previously revealed, but now made known to him e.g. that the Gentiles were included in the covenant people. Truth is still being developed and revealed by God to his church-we still await the revelation of Antichrist and finally the personal bodily revelation of Christ.

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Truly a phenomenon-Ed Whitlock!

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Any time Ed Whitlock, 85, of Milton, Ontario, steps up to a starting line, there’s a good chance a record will fall. Sunday’s Waterloo (Ontario) Half Marathon was no different. Whitlock blazed the course in 1:50:47 (8:27 per mile) to establish a new record for 85-year-olds, breaking the 2006 record of Germany’s Georg Gabriel by 9:18.

Whitlock holds more than 80 age group world records at distances from 1500 meters to the marathon. In 2004, at age 73, he ran a 2:54:48 marathon, and he remains the only person over 70 to break 3:00 in the marathon.

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New Testament teaching on food, drink, other habits.

 

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New Testament on food laws.

Sung Psalm 119:17-24

Read   Mark 7:1-23

Modern arguments for keeping the OT food laws might include:

  1. Christ as our example who kept them.
  2. The idea that all God’s truth and commands are eternal.
  3. The idea Christ in passages like the above addresses traditions, not commandments.

But Christ clearly teaches that no food, per se, defiles (v15), rather it is our total depravity that defiles us, issuing in wicked thoughts, words and actions. The Pharisees were majoring on hand-washing, which of course is hygienic, but which had become traditional legalism.

The Pharisees and their successors today (Anabaptists, cultists and some fundamentalist denominations) are guilty of adding man-made traditions to their rule of life which usually displace God’s commands (Matthew 23:26). The danger is of making food “fads” real religious scruples (Romans 14) and forgetting much more important matters (Matthew 23:23). Legalism will either distract or even damn the works-righteous person! We discussed, at some length, eating, exercising, smoking and other habits that affect our bodies and there is no doubt that two principles ought to underlie all we do namely, that we reap what we sow (Gal.6:7-8) and we are called to wise stewardship of our bodies (I Cor.6:20, Heidelberg Cat L.D.40).

James 1:19-25

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James 1:19-21

Receiving the Word

  1. “Wherefore” refers to the preceding verses which describe our regeneration by God’s word and his every good gift that comes down to us including trials, all spiritual blessings, material blessings and most importantly the word in all its forms, hence we are exhorted to be quick to hear it.
  2. Being “quick to hear” is the proper response to God’s word (Psalm 119:60). It means as we read, hear and study it we ought not delay in obeying it and applying it (Matthew 7:24). Delayed obedience is disobedience!
  3. In context this probably applies to our response to the preached word but in wider context it also applies in everyday conversations. When we respond quickly we often say things in anger or that hurt and which we regret afterwards-hence we ought to be slow to speak. Control of the tongue is a key theme in James (Jas.3:8 and also Gal.5:15, Mark 7:20).
  4. We must be slow to anger because God is! (Psalm 103:8, 145:8, Jonah 4:2, Prov.14:17,29). Examples are his waiting before the flood (120 years), the cup of iniquity of Canaan before the conquest, destruction of Sodom etc., Nineveh, and the whole history of Israel before the captivity. Furthermore, our anger is usually unrighteous, unlike God’s, it is uncontrolled, selfish and hurtful. God’s anger is measured, just and for his people’s good. The righteousness of God is his purpose to sanctify his people and glorify himself in them and we promote that purpose by upholding his standards, teaching them and meekly confronting sin in others (II Tim.2:25, Gal.6:1). Unrighteous anger will lead to more wicked responses and criticism rather than repentance.
  5. The filthiness is moral impurity, anything that defiles us (II Cor.7:1).
  6. “Superfluity of naughtiness” or abundance of evil is something that may surface when we react sinfully to God’s word or are guilty of unrighteous anger (I Peter 2:1).
  7. The word is God’s word in some form made effective by the Holy Spirit which becomes the source of faith and obedience in us (Rom.10:14, Matt.11:15, 13:11, 15:13, Phil.2:13, John 17:17). The planting of the seed is what regenerates us (I Peter 1:23) and further engrafting of the word makes the tree more fruitful.
  8. Accepting or better receiving the word means believing it is true and obeying it (John 1:12). “With meekness” means humble submission without pride, disputing, or other sinful reaction against it which is typical of Arminianism (Isaiah 66:2).
  9. The implanted word sanctifies us in initial and on-going regeneration. What is the relation between word and Spirit? You cannot separate the two. The Word (Lord Christ) IS the Spirit (II Cor.3:17), by grace they are together effective (Eph. 6:17, Heb.4:12, II Cor.3:18, Luke 24:45). The word is the instrument and means by which the Spirit works by irresistible grace.

James 1:22-25

Hearers and Doers

  1. Those who hear the word only without obedience deceive themselves by not acknowledging their sin (I John 1:8), only paying lip service to the word without true repentance and obedience. For example, women thinking I Tim.2:12 allows for women office bearers because it only applied to the early church. Listening to lies also deceives us like Eve.
  2. Hearers only, hear amiss. The word disobedience (Greek PARA KOE meaning hear aside) tells us that true hearing, with ears to hear, leads to obedient action whereas hearing only is not really paying attention. The self-deception is that hearing alone is obeying which it is not! (Acts 4:4, Heb.4:2).
  3. Hearing the word is like seeing your true nature (attitudes and actions), like a face in the mirror and then taking action to clean it.
  4. The forgetful hearer learns nothing, remains untouched and profits nothing by the word. He goes his own way, which may well end in death (Prov.14:12).
  5. A doer of the law simply obeys it.
  6. The law of liberty is all God’s commandments which when written on our hearts and obeyed by the power of the Spirit free us from sin because true freedom is doing the will of God (Rom.8:2).
  7. The law is perfect for many reasons. First it reflects God’s perfect righteousness, it is also perfectly complete and sufficient (Psalm 19:7).
  8. Continuing in the law is like continuing in the word (John 8:31), meaning lifelong discipleship because learning and sanctification is a process and all our lives are to be a living sacrifice.
  9. Being blessed means enjoying God’s favour, having a clear conscience, being aware of his fellowship and goodness which gives us an inner joy.

Next study (DV) is May 14th on James 1:26-27 and 2:1-4.

Luther on the Christian Life (8)

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Every calling is equally holy when the believer carries it out for the glory of God.

Young Calvinists

In the last chapter of Luther on the Christian Life, Truman explores Luther’s theology of vocation and family life. Luther’s thought on these areas of the Christian life was truly groundbreaking. Luther’s understanding of vocation, i.e., calling was groundbreaking because he denied the accepted opinion of his day that there are spiritually higher and lower callings in life. The common opinion of the day said that the calling of a civil ruler or officebearer in the church is inherently better and more holy than the ordinary callings that most of God’s people pursue in this life. To be a magistrate was better than being a farmer. To be an officebearer or monk was holier than being a shopkeeper or milkmaid. Luther strongly opposed this idea. In Luther’s view, every calling that accords with God’s law constitutes a holy calling  and can be done for the glory of God. The idea that certain vocations are more holy…

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Samples From Seminary – The Millennium is Happening Right Now

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Christ reigns NOW!

Yes Y2K has come and gone but we are already in the millennium that matters!

Young Calvinists

When I hear the term “millennium” in the context of theology, I immediately think of the doctrines of pre-and post-millennialism. By these two terms, we refer to the teaching that at the end of this age, Christ will establish an earthly kingdom that will last for 1000 years. This teaching is based on the reference to “1000 years” in Revelation 20. Premillennialism teaches that Christ will return before this 1000-year period of time in order to establish this earthly kingdom. Postmillennialism teaches that Christ will come after this 1000-year period. In contrast to these two views of the end times, the Protestant Reformed Churches, of which I am a member, teach amillennialism. This view rejects the idea of a literal 1000-year period of time during which Christ will reign over an earthly kingdom.

Like I said, this is what I typically think of when I hear the term millennium. Therefore…

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Judgment inevitable

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“From the playground bullies to the leaders of our age who misrepresent or mock the Christian faith, and all the wicked who are so highly praised and extolled in our day, as well as the ungodly legislators and rulers of our wicked world—all are mortal and will one day have to stand before the glory of God manifest in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be judged for every thought, word and deed.

Isaiah 51:12 adds that they “shall be made as grass.” The ungodly are fragile and transient, like grass which is cut down and withers away in the desert heat (Ps. 90:5-6), unlike the Word of our God which stands for ever (Isa. 40:6-8).

This is man, fallen and frail man, who is a “son of man” (51:12), just like his father and his father before him: weak, mortal and under God’s wrath. So do not fear him, even if he is rich, attractive and powerful. “Fear God” instead (Ecc. 12:13)!”

Rev. Stewart, Covenant protestant Reformed Church, Ballymena.

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