Above All

God is above all nations and His glory is above all the heavens (Psalm 113:4). How is God above? In the following ways:

  • He is physically above all. You cannot travel to a location that is physically beyond God. There is nowhere His glory is not present. No church or Temple or universe can even contain Him (II Chronicles 6:18).
  • He is universally above all. There is nothing in the universe that shares authority with Him, because He created all and everything belongs to Him.
  • He is theologically above all. He is Lord. He is supreme. His Word is the only and final Word. There is nothing that trumps His will.
  • He is incomparably above all. Because He is transcendent, there is nothing that we can liken to Him. He is so above all things that there is nothing even on the same plane as Him.
  • He is nationally above all. He rules every nation and people group and tribe and tongue. Countries may have Presidents or Prime Ministers or Dictators, but they are all #2 in charge under God Himself.

And we could go on and on with a list of how He is above all, couldn’t we? The point is that no one or no thing is higher or will ever get higher than Him. What a clearly obvious reason to praise God!

There are too many alive today who view God – at best – as AN authority in their life and not THE supreme. Too many people think their time is equal to God’s time; too many people think their agenda is equal to God’s agenda. Too many people think their goals or priorities are equal to God’s goals or priorities. The only agenda I should have is God’s agenda.

Book Blurbs: June 2017

Here are some books I had the privilege of reading this past month and some brief thoughts about each one.

#1 – The Printer and the Preacher: Ben Franklin, George Whitefield, and the Surprising Friendship That Invented America by Randy Petersen (published by Nelson Books, 2015). Not many know of or forget that Franklin and Whitefield were contemporaries of one another and good friends. This book, while not the most engaging of an historical book, is helpful in sketching the culture in America that helped shape two of the most significant thinkers in our nation’s past. BOOK RATING: 9 out of 10 stars.

#2 – Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk by Michelle DeRusha (published by Baker Books, 2017). This history books tells the story of the relationship between Martin and Katharina. In it, you will enjoy reading about their sense of humor, their simple approach to marriage, and their philosophy in child-rearing. Not too many Luther biographies go into detail about his marriage to Katharina, as this one does. BOOK RATING: 10 out of 10 stars.

That Time I Stole a Candy Bar

“Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.(Prov 9:17)

When I was in the 3rd grade, I came to the realization that theft was not a career option. I was grocery shopping with my mother in the town we lived – Pryor, OK – when she sent me to another aisle to retrieve a few items. While I was meandering to that aisle, I walked down the candy section.

For reasons I cannot explain, there was a candy bar that looked too good to pass by. I knew my mother wouldn’t buy it for me and because I had no money, the only option in my little depraved mind at that point was to steal it. So, I broke the 8th Commandment. I placed the candy bar into my pocket carefully and quietly, made it home without anyone knowing, and then proceeded to eat it in the privacy of my room.

Image result for candy wrapper

Some days later, my mom was washing our clothes and found a certain candy wrapper in one of my pockets that she knew was probably consumed without her permission. So, she asked me if I had recently stolen or eaten a candy bar without her permission. I, of course, pretended to not know what she was talking about – breaking the 9th Commandment. Then, she showed me the wadded-up candy wrapper. I was caught, and discipline followed.

I have often thought about why I stole that candy bar in the first place. It wasn’t like I was stealing $1,000,000 or something. It was a candy bar that probably cost 50-cents.

After reading the above referenced proverb, the answer became clear: I stole that candy bar because it was a risky and dangerous move. I stole it because I knew it was wrong and thought I could get away with it. And if I had got away with it, I can only imagine how that might have fueled my ego and thirst for greater stolen goods.

One of Satan’s oldest tricks in his book is to convince us that those things that are forbidden are sweeter than the things we are permitted. Just ask Eve about that forbidden apple if it was worth it. Or ask the man who had an affair and lost his family if that forbidden act was worth it.

Sin is never worth it. Risking God’s provisions for one taste of sweet water is never worth it. Taking a piece of bread that is forbidden is never worth it.

The alternative is to be delighted in God and what He gives us. It is to find our hunger and thirst quenched in knowing Him (Matthew 5:6).

May we never be content with dribbling at the promised pleasure of the world but rejoice in God’s gracious gifts that allow us to see His faithfulness and goodness to us.

Allen Ross, On What Worship Should Produce

Image result for allen rss recalling the hope of glory“If worshipers leave a service with no thought of becoming more godly in their lives, then the purpose of worship has not been achieved. If they walk away from an assembly without a conviction that they need to conform their lives to Holy Scripture, even if it means changing their lifestyle, then worship has been perverted somewhere…The clear teaching of Scripture is that genuine worship is life changing.”

(Allen Ross, Recalling the Hope of Glory)

Just In Case You Missed It – June 19-22, 2017

  1. Maximum Security Seminary” by Sarak Eekhoff Zyistra (The Gospel Coalition). Here is an encouraging story of a prison that is handing out seminary degrees.
  2. The newest edition of the 9Marks journal is out. And the subject is church planting.
  3. Analyzing Annihilationism: Will Those in Hell Cease to Exist” by Eric Davis (The Cripplegate).
  4. The History of Pews” by Gene Veith (Cranach: The Blog of Veith)
  5. Preacher’s Toolkit: Should I Always Call for Repentance and Faith?” by Steven Lawson (The Gospel Coalition).

 

Q/A Friday: Does the Bible Teach or Allow for Reincarnation?

Reincarnation is the belief that the soul – after death – is reborn in a new body. I have heard of alternative views that believe the soul would be reborn in an animal or even objects. But, by and large, reincarnation teaches that when you die, you get to come back in some form or fashion to this world as something or someone else. Reincarnation does not allow space for the view that we go to heaven or hell upon death.

Answering this question of whether or not reincarnation is a reality is quite simple if you are willing to accept that the Bible is authoritative. Consider what Hebrews 9:27 teaches – “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”

In short, when we die, we die once. There is no dying again. Contrary to being born and then spiritually reborn, there is no spiritually dying again or physically dying again. After death, we are judged by God and then placed into the eternal destiny that we deserve (Matthew 7:21-23; 25:46).

The Bible does not support the belief in reincarnation.

If you have a question you would like to submit to our blog to be answered in the future, please it to charlesheck@cox.net or pose your question in the comments section of this post.