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“It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Being a disciple of Jesus is not the key to being a better us, being a disciple of Jesus is being less like us, and more like him. Christ-likeness is the key to everything.

Tolle Lege

Dundee, October 2, 1840

My Dear Friend,

I trust you will have a pleasant and profitable time in Germany. I know you will apply hard to German; but do not forget the culture of the inner man,—I mean of the heart.

How diligently the cavalry officer keeps his sabre clean and sharp; every stain he rubs off with the greatest care.

Remember you are God’s sword,—His instrument,—I trust a chosen vessel unto Him to bear His name.

In great measure, according to the purity and perfections of the instrument, will be the success.

It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.”

–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Ed. Andrew A. Bonar (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1844/1966), 282.

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Philosophers, Poets & Kings by Kate Rusby

A new album of northern-English folk music from Kate Rusby is always welcome.
Here is the title track from her just released 17th (or so) collection – Philosophers, Poets, And Kings.


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The Common Problem Of The Children Of Both Covenants (via Jeffrey Arthurs)

A helpful observation that provides and insight when approaching Old Testament texts in order to teach them to disciples of Jesus.

The children of the covenants, both old and new, tend to forget.

Jeffrey D Arthurs, Preaching As Reminding, IVP, 2017, pg 30.

They’re good questions to ask of the text: “What were the people forgetting about God and his covenant love”” or “What were the people remembering about God and his covenant love?” which leads us to ask “What does the text remind us about God and his covenant love that we forget?” and “What does this text want us to remember about God and his covenant love?”
The same questions can particularly be asked of the didactic texts of the New Testament, though it is helpful in all situations.


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A Capital City With A Population Of Zero (via Half As Interesting)

This video about a capital city with a population of zero is not about Canberra on a long weekend.
Joking aside, it really exists (presently).


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Breaking Through The Deafness Of Pride (via Chad Bird)

When God brings humans into relationship with himself he makes us part of a larger body.
The danger is when being part of larger body becomes a substitute for a replacement for the relationship with God.
That’s when we need to hear his call to come back to him.
From Chad Bird:

All of Israel’s sins began in their ears. Like a broken record, the prophets preached, “Hear the Word of Yahweh.” Believe in him. Follow him. Give heed to his Word. Jeremiah says, “From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day. Yet they did not listen to me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck” (Jer. 7:25—26). The original Hebrew says that God was “daily rising early and sending [the prophets].” God is saying, as it were, “Look, Israel, I roll out of bed every morning at the crack of dawn and the first thing I do is throw another prophet your way.” And the first thing Israel does is stick headphones in its ears to blare the music of disobedience.
This means that the chief problem for Israel is the same one we face in the church today. It’s not scandals among the leadership, apathy in the pews, or irrelevance to a secular culture. Our chief problem is and will always be unbelief. An unbelief made possible by deafness to the Word of Yahweh. A deafness made possible by pride. And a pride made possible, all too often, by the assumption that we’re good with God because our names are on a church’s membership roster. Outward attachment to a religious institution is no guarantee of an inward attachment to the God of the cross. Indeed, as the Jews in Jesus’s day claimed to be God’s favourites because Abraham was their father, today the temptation is to claim that we are God’s favorites because we’re in the club called Christianity.

Chad Bird, Your God Is Too Glorious, Baker Books, 2018, 33-34.


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The Believer’s Hope Rests In The Saviour’s Memory (via Jeffrey Arthurs)

Jeffrey Arthur grounds preaching as proclamation about the memory of the God who remembers his people and forgets their sins, because those people are inclined to forget about the grace of God and focus on their sin.

As practical theology, preaching as reminding is built on theology proper — the character and actions of God. Because he remembers his covenant and forgets the sins of his children, promising never to leave or forsake them, ministers take their stance as the Lord’s remembrancers, reminding the baptized that nothing shall separate them from the love of God in Christ Jesus. But preaching as reminding is built on a second foundation also, one related to human nature: we are prone to forget.

Jeffrey D Arthurs, Preaching As Reminding, IVP, 2017, pg 25.


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God Be Merciful To Me – Sunday Songs

I featured God Be Merciful To Me years ago.
Here’s a retuned version by Keith and Kristyn Getty of this setting of Psalm 51.

The lyrics:
1.
God, be merciful to me,
On thy grace I rest my plea;
Plenteous in compassion Thou,
Blot out my transgressions now;
Wash me, make me pure within,
Cleanse, O cleanse me from my sin.
Wash me, make me pure within,
Cleanse, O cleanse me from my sin.
2
Broken, humbled to the dust
By thy wrath and judgment just,
Let my contrite heart rejoice
And in gladness hear Thy voice;
From my sins O hide Thy face,
Blot them out in boundless grace.
From my sins O hide Thy face,
Blot them out in boundless grace.
3
Gracious God, my heart renew,
Make my spirit right and true;
Cast me not away from Thee,
Let thy Spirit dwell in me;
Thy salvation’s joy impart,
Steadfast make my willing heart.
Thy salvation’s joy impart,
Steadfast make my willing heart.
4
Sinners then shall learn from me
And return, O God, to Thee;
Saviour, all my guilt remove,
And my tongue shall sing thy love;
Touch my silent lips, O Lord,
And my mouth shall praise accord.
Touch my silent lips, O Lord,
And my mouth shall praise accord.