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The Potter's Clay

Scripture, Theology, the Christian worldview, and other ramblings.

30 January 2006

Da Vinci Code blog series: Debunking Dan Brown

Over at AOMin.org, James White has posted his complete series debunking Dan Brown's "Fact Based Fiction". Keep this one handy, as later this spring, the film will hit theaters, igniting a fire-storm of controversy. This series of small essays will be vital not only in the upcoming debates that will happen on the talking head networks, but around water coolers, bbq's and blogs. Be equipped, and be ready!

24 January 2006

It is their Father's hand which chastens them

by J. C. Ryle, "The Blood of the Lamb"

God lays heavy trials upon His children for the most wise
and merciful purposes. We live in such a fair and pleasant
world, we are so surrounded with so much that is smiling
and mirthful, that if we were not often obliged to taste
of sickness and trial or disappointments, we would forget
our heavenly home--and pitch our tents in this Sodom!

This is why God's people pass through great tribulations.
This is why they are often called upon to suffer the sting
of affliction and anxiety--or weep over the grave of those
on whom our affections are set. It is their Father's hand
which chastens them! It is thus He weans their affections
from things below--and fixes them on Himself! It is thus He
trains them for eternity, and cuts the threads one by one,
which bind their wavering hearts to earth!

No doubt such chastening is grievous for the time--but
still it brings many a hidden grace to light, and cuts down
many a secret seed of evil. We shall see those who have
suffered most, shining among the brightest stars in the
assembly of heaven. The purest gold is that which has
been longest in the refiner's furnace! The brightest
diamond is often that which has required the most
grinding and polishing!

"For our momentary light affliction is producing for us
an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory!"
(2 Corinthians 4:17)

22 January 2006

Super Bowl Seahawks

I Just got back from Qwest Field, and I have no voice, hence I type on my blog. Some photos below are from my camera, others from the local newspapers.

The stadium was rockin, and it was loud. It was fun watching the Panthers get steamrolled. To all the pundits out there who said the Hawks are soft, there is nothing soft about a dominating 34-14 rout. My game ball goes to the Seahawks defense, who shut down everyone's favorite WR, Steve Smith. The Hawks won the time of possession battle 42:00 to 18:00. In every aspect of the game, the Seahawks dominated.

I have been a Seahawks fan since I can remember, so this is sweet!!!

Here we come Detroit, and bring on the Steelers. Yup, bring it. Huff and puff Pittsburgh, you will not intimidate us.

GO SEAHAWKS!!!!

PS - This guy should be fired, what a joke.











19 January 2006

Wave upon wave of grace

A Puritan Prayer

O God of grace,
Teach me to know that grace precedes, accompanies,
and follows my salvation; that it sustains the redeemed
soul, that not one link of its chain can ever break!

From Calvary's cross, wave upon wave of grace . . .
reaches me,
deals with my sin,
washes me clean,
renews my heart,
strengthens my will,
draws out my affection,
kindles a flame in my soul,
rules throughout my inner man,
consecrates my every thought, word, work,
teaches me Your immeasurable love.

How great are my privileges in Christ Jesus!

Without Him I stand far off, a stranger, an outcast.
In Him I draw near and touch His kingly scepter!

Without Him I dare not lift up my guilty eyes.
In Him I gaze upon my Father-God and friend!

Without Him I hide my lips in trembling shame.
In Him I open my mouth in petition and praise!

Without Him all is wrath and consuming fire.
In Him is all love, and the repose of my soul!

Without Him is gaping hell below me, and eternal anguish.
In Him its gates are barred to me by His precious blood!

Without Him darkness spreads its horrors before me.
In Him an eternity of glory is my boundless horizon!

Without Him all within me is terror and dismay. In
Him every accusation is charmed into joy and peace!

Praise be to You for grace, and for
the unspeakable gift of Jesus!

"By the grace of God I am what I am!" 1 Cor. 15:10

18 January 2006

I know everything about every one of them

by J. C. Ryle, "The Privileges of the True Christian"

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them,
and they follow Me." (John 10:27)

The Lord Jesus Christ says of His sheep who hear His
voice and follow Him, "I know them." I know . . .
their number,
their names,
their particular characters,
their besetting sins,
their troubles,
their trials,
their temptations,
their doubts,
their prayers,
their private meditations.
I know everything about every one of them!

Be comforted, all you who are tried and buffeted
with difficulties in your way towards heaven,
difficulties from without and difficulties from within,
difficulties abroad and difficulties at home, grief for
your own sins and grief for the sins of others--the
Good Shepherd Jesus knows you well, though you
may not realize it.

You never shed a secret tear over your own corruption,
you never breathed a single prayer for forgiveness and
helping grace, you never made a single struggle against
wickedness--which He did not observe and note down in
the book of His remembrance.

You need not fear His not understanding your needs.
He knows your particular necessities far better than
you do yourselves. Your humble prayers are no sooner
offered up than heard. You may sometimes sigh and
mourn for lack of Christian fellowship--but remember
that the Good Shepherd is ever about your path and
about your bed. His eyes are on all your movements.
No husband, brother, father, mother, sister, friend,
could take more tender interest in your soul's welfare
than He does. If you sorrow He will bind up your
broken heart and pour in balm. He is ever watching
and observing and listening. The Good Shepherd is
acquainted with all your ways.

14 January 2006

HAWK TIME



I know most of the readers of this tiny blog could care less about the Seattle Seahawks, but I don't do this for my readers, I do this because it's my blog.

This victory ends two decades of football futility, and I for one am glad it is over with. A hard fought victory without the league's offensive MVP is impressive. Matt Hasselbeck is the most underrated QB in football. The guy can run the west coast offense like clock work. The Redskins brought heart and intensity, but at the end of the day, the better team won.

The NFC championship will be the biggest sports event in the history of Seattle. Should be a great show.

GO SEAHAWKS!!!!

PS - I am also glad to see the hated Broncos beat the hated Patriots. It's a lesser of two evils thing for me... :-)

12 January 2006

I am not what I once used to be

by J. C. Ryle

"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without
which no man shall see the Lord." Hebrews 12:14

The regenerate man is a holy man. He endeavors . . .
to live according to God's will,
to do the things that please God,
to avoid the things that God hates.

His aim and desire is to love God with heart and soul, and
mind and strength--and to love his neighbor as himself.
His wish is to be continually looking to Christ as his Example
as well as his Savior; and to show himself Christ's friend, by
obeying whatever He commands.

No doubt he is not perfect. None will tell you that sooner
than himself. He groans under the burden of indwelling
corruption cleaving to him. He finds an evil principle within
him constantly warring against grace, and trying to draw
him away from God. Yet, in spite of all short-comings,
the average bent and bias of . . .
his ways is holy;
his doings holy;
his tastes holy
and his habits holy.

In spite of all his swerving and turning aside, like a ship
going against a contrary wind, the general course of his
life is in one direction--toward God and for God. He will
generally be able to say, with old John Newton, "I am not
what I ought to be. I am not what I want to be. I am not
what I hope to be in another world. But still, I am not what
I once used to be! By the grace of God, I am what I am!"

"Let none conclude that they have no grace, because they
have many imperfections in their obedience. Your grace may
be very weak and imperfect, and yet you may be truly born
again, and be a genuine son of God and heir of heaven."
(Hopkins, 1670)

10 January 2006

A new existence

by J. C. Ryle

"Truly, truly, I say to you--Unless a man is born
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3

To be born again is, as it were, to enter upon
a new existence, to have . . .
a new mind,
a new heart,
new views,
new principles,
new tastes,
new affections,
new likings,
new dislikings,
new fears,
new joys,
new sorrows,
new love to things once hated,
new hatred to things once loved,
new thoughts of God, and ourselves, and the
world, and the life to come, and salvation.

He who has been born again, is a new man, a
new creature, for old things are passed away.
He receives a new bias and direction. All things
have become new! It is the implanting of a new
principle which will surely bear good fruit. It is . . .
opening the eyes of the blind;
unstopping the ears of the deaf;
loosing the tongue of the dumb;
giving hands and feet to the maimed and lame.

"You must be born again." John 3:7

06 January 2006

The divine Illuminator

by James W. Alexander, "Consolation" 1852

"But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will
send in My name--He will teach you all things, and
bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."
(John 14:26)

Divine Truth is an instrument in the hand of the Spirit, for
the accomplishment of His work of consolation. If we would
be comforted, we must seek it by the truth. The Comforter
is the Spirit of truth. The consoling process is carried on by
the application of Scriptural truth. Therefore, the Word of
God is beyond all other volumes--the Book of Consolation.
The precious doctrines concerning God, Christ, salvation,
and heaven--are the principal means which the Holy Spirit
uses for the support of the soul under heavy afflictions.

Thus we are enabled to perceive more clearly and fully, how
the adorable Spirit comes in Christ's name. He teaches what
Christ taught. He takes of the things of Christ, and reveals
them unto us. From the infinite fund of Scriptural wisdom and
knowledge--He draws and dispenses, according to the diversified
necessities of His people. It is scarcely a change of teacher. The
Spirit gives the same lessons as Jesus. He repeats and revives
them. He brings out afresh in the chambers of memory, the
truths which had faded. He touches the sluggish heart to awaken
it to new impressions of Scriptural truth. All this is by a direct
influence on the soul by the Spirit--opening the mind and
pouring in light. It is this which accounts for the difference
between believers; and between different states of the same
individual.

In order that truth be effectual, especially to consolation,
something more is necessary than that it should be revealed
in the Bible; something more than that it should be understood
by the intellect. It must be powerfully brought home to the mind
and heart. And to do this is the especial work of the Holy Spirit.
No effect will be produced in reading Scripture, except so far as
the Holy Spirit takes, shows, and impresses them to the heart.
And this He graciously does to many a broken-hearted Christian.

The experienced and godly Christian, long tried in the 'school
of sorrows'--is made to know that the soul may be comforted
amidst the deepest afflictions. In some unexpected moment,
the divine Illuminator reveals to him the great abiding truths
of Scripture; truths which are as precious and as satisfying--in
adverse as in prosperous days. By a process of holy attraction,
his thoughts are drawn away from self and all its sorrows and
losses--to be fixed and absorbed . . .
by the character of God,
by His mighty works,
by the person of the adorable Redeemer,
by the work of redemption,
by the glory yet to be revealed.

Filled and animated and tranquilized by these blessed truths,
he is led to forget his private griefs; and thus the Comforter
performs His office by means of the truth. "The things of Christ,"
applied to the heart by the Spirit, direct the mind from its earthly
pangs, and to a certain extent afford a foretaste of the celestial joy.