Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Reformation in Poland

I was wondering about the best way to commemorate this date, 490 years from the day when Martin Luther decided to come public with his theses. And, I think, you will benefit from this unusual angle, as not much is known about my home country and the days of Reformation there.
What I am posting is a bunch of links - I am not going to violate the copyright. But please feel free to follow them and read for yourselves.

Reformations in Eastern Europe: Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox

The Reformation first came to Poland-Lithuania in its Lutheran form soon after 1517, finding sympathizers among the German burghers in the cities of Royal Prussia. By 1522 calls for the introduction of the new religion had arisen in Gdańsk against the background of social unrest. King Sigismund I the Old banned the possession and reading of Lutheran books in 1520, and in 1526 he restored order in Gdańsk, reiterating the ban, although some burghers may have continued to practice the religion covertly. In 1525 Königsberg, the capital of the newly secularized Ducal Prussia (a fief of the Polish crown), became a center for Lutheran propaganda in the area (print shop from 1530, university from 1544). Polish and Lithuanian students attended the university, and religious propaganda was printed in their languages. Polish magnates of Great Poland began to serve as patrons of Lutheranism in the 1530s, offering protection to non-nobles on their estates. A few individual voices were heard in Vilnius in the same decade, but pioneering Lithuanian Lutherans such as Abraomas Kulvietis and Stanislovas Rapalionis were forced to seek protection in Königsberg. Another center of the Polish Reformation grew up in the 1520s and 1530s around humanistic circles at the Cracow Academy, at the center of which stood Jakub of Iłża the Younger (member of the Collegium Minor 1518–1535; documented Reformation activity from 1528). It was here that conditions were created for the first propagation of the new religion in Polish society, and there is some justification in calling Little Poland the "cradle of the Polish Reformation."


All of these activities either remained largely covert or depended upon the protection of the nobles until the reign of Sigismund II Augustus (1548–1572), who, although remaining Catholic, was more open to the new ideas. He corresponded with Philipp Melanchthon and John Calvin (who dedicated his 1549 Commentary on Hebrews to him), and he appointed the patron of Lithuanian Calvinism, Mikołaj Radziwiłł the Black, as Lithuanian grand chancellor (1550–1565). The transformation of the Polish-Lithuanian Reformation from a clandestine movement into an open, organized church with public services and synods dates from about 1550, when Protestant gentry began to form a majority in the lower house of the parliament. Protestant magnates were a majority in the upper house from the 1560s. Between 1552 and 1565, only Protestants were elected as marshals presiding over sessions of parliament. In 1552 the diet vacated decisions of the ecclesiastical courts against tithe-resisters and heretics, and in 1555 it declared a Polish interim, guaranteeing religious toleration for nobles until a general council could meet. In 1559 Sigismund II granted religious liberty to Prussian towns, approving the Augsburg confession that had been adopted by the Royal Prussian Diet.

In the years 1556–1560 a reformed church of Little Poland began to take shape as an overt organization, with a presbyterial governing structure and a Calvinist-Zwinglian doctrine. Leaders of the movement included Francesco Lismanini (1504–1566), the Franciscan provincial of Poland and confessor of Sigismund II Augustus's mother, Queen Bona Sforza, and the Erasmian Jan Łaski (Joannes à Lasco, 1499–1560), who returned to Poland after a seventeen-year exile in December 1556.

The Reformation in Poland-Lithuania quickly underwent fragmentation. The Brest Bible—the first printing of the entire Holy Writ by Polish Protestants—was a joint project of the Reformed churches of Poland and Lithuania. Its financial patron was Mikołaj Radziwiłł the Black. By the time it was printed in 1563, many of its sponsors and translators, led by such Italian refugees as Giorgio Biandrata (c. 1515–1588), had made moves in the direction of Anti-Trinitarianism, forming a volatile and loosely organized "Minor church" (as opposed to the still Calvinistic "Major church").

In 1570 the Calvinists, Lutherans, and the Czech Brethren living in exile in Great Poland (the latter had been in communion with the local Calvinists since the Union of Kominek in 1555) met at a synod of concord at Sandomierz and produced a Confessio Sandomirensis, agreeing to hold joint synods, although they actually met jointly only four times between 1570 and 1595. The Minor church, which was excluded from those deliberations, experienced a period of great internal turmoil in the 1570s and 1580s. The social radicals of Little Poland established centers in Raków and Lublin. Their leaders, such as the "pope of Lublin" Marcin Czechowicz (1532–1613), argued for pacifism and a withdrawal from the state. Lithuanian Anti-Trinitarians, such as Szymon Budny (c. 1530–1593), wrote in defense of the jus gladii ('office of the sword') but took much more radical ("non-adorantist") stances on Christological questions. Compromise positions were worked out by the Italian refugee Fausto Sozzini (Socinus), and the "Arians" at Raków published their Confessio Racoviensis in 1605, dedicating the work to King James I of England.

As the tiny but intellectually prominent groups of Polish Anti-Trinitarians were conducting their intensive debates on religion and society, the mainstream Reformation in Poland-Lithuania began to decline. The signs of weakness were already visible as the Polish Reformation reached its zenith in the 1573 Confederation of Warsaw. This document was worked out during the interregnum after the death of the last Jagiellonian king, Sigismund II (d. 1572), and from then on the elected kings of Poland were required to sign pacta conventa based on it and guaranteeing mutual toleration among dissidents in religion.

The rest of the article, about Contrreformation, at

And from Wikipedia:

Poland and Lithuania in the Reformation Era

In modern eyes, the most saliently liberal aspect of Jagiellon Poland is its exceptional toleration of religious dissent. This tolerance prevailed in Poland even during the religious upheavals, war, and atrocities associated with the Protestant Reformation and its repercussions in many parts of sixteenth-century Europe. The Reformation arrived in Poland between 1523 and 1526. The small Calvinist, Lutheran, and Hussite groups that sprang up were harshly persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church in their early years. Then in 1552 the Sejm suspended civil execution of ecclesiastical sentences for heresy. For the next 130 years, Poland remained solidly Roman Catholic while refusing to repress contending faiths and providing refuge for a wide variety of religious nonconformists.

Such broad-mindedness derived as much from practical necessity as from principle, for Poland, and especially the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, that governed a populace of remarkable ethnic and religious diversity, embracing Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Protestants, and numerous non Christians. In particular, after the mid-sixteenth century the Polish lands supported the world's largest concentration of Jews, whose number was estimated at 150,000 in 1582. Under the Jagiellons, Jews suffered fewer restrictions in Poland and Lithuania than elsewhere in Europe while establishing an economic niche as tradesmen and managers of noble estates.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Making Room for Atheism

In line with my previous posts, this one comes very appropriately.

by John Piper

Our church exists "to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ." That is our mission. "All things" means business, industry, education, media, sports, arts, leisure, government, and all the details of our lives. Ideally this means God should be recognized and trusted as supreme by every person he has made. But the Bible teaches plainly that there will never be a time before Jesus comes back when all people will honor him as supreme (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

So how do we express a passion for God's supremacy in a pluralistic world where most people do not recognize God as an important part of their lives, let alone an important part of government or education or business or industry or art or recreation or entertainment?

Answer: We express a passion for the supremacy of God...

1) by maintaining a conviction at all times that God is ever-present and gives all things their most important meaning. He is the Creator, Sustainer, and Governor of all things. We must keep in our minds the truth that all things exist to reveal something of God's infinite perfections. The full meaning of everything, from shoestrings to space shuttles, is the way they relate to God.

2) by trusting God in every circumstance to use his creative, sustaining, governing wisdom and power to work all things together for the good of all who love him. This is faith in the future grace of all that God promises to be for us in Jesus.

3) by making life choices that reveal the supreme worth of God above what the world values supremely. "The steadfast love of the Lord is better than life" (Psalm 63:3). So we will choose to die rather than lose sweet fellowship with God. This will show his supremacy over all that life offers.

4) by speaking to people of God's supreme worth in creative and persuasive ways, and by telling people how they can be reconciled to God through Christ, so that they can enjoy God's supremacy as protection and help, rather than fear it as judgment.

5) by making clear that God himself is the foundation for our commitment to a pluralistic democratic order-not because pluralism is his ultimate ideal, but because in a fallen world, legal coercion will not produce the kingdom of God. Christians agree to make room for non-Christian faiths (including naturalistic, materialistic faiths), not because commitment to God's supremacy is unimportant, but because it must be voluntary, or it is worthless. We have a God-centered ground for making room for atheism. "If my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight" (John 18:36). The fact that God establishes his kingdom through the supernatural miracle of faith, not firearms, means that Christians in this age will not endorse coercive governments-Christian or secular.

This is why we resist the coercive secularization implied in some laws that repress Christian activity in public places. It is not that we want to establish Christianity as the law of the land. That is intrinsically impossible, because of the spiritual nature of the kingdom. It is rather because repression of free exercise of religion and persuasion is as wrong against Christians as it is against secularists. We believe this tolerance is rooted in the very nature of the gospel of Christ. In one sense, tolerance is pragmatic: freedom and democracy seem to be the best political order humans have conceived. But for Christians it is not purely pragmatic: the spiritual, relational nature of God's kingdom is the ground of our endorsement of pluralism, until Christ comes with rights and authority that we do not have.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

Monday, October 29, 2007

This is also persecution

And not a very subtle one, anymore.

This is what we have ahead of us, especially those of us who work at so called intellectual establishments, where people think they know everything better than God and therefore can deny Him, spit in His Face, call us names.
Am I surprised? Not really. Am I ready for this challenge? You bet. That is why those previous two posts are so important. Please take time to listen to Greg Bahnsen, and please read some articles on Christian logic. The "Jesus loves me"- sentence is powerful, but He wants us to think, as well.

I think that new era has come. Christain apologetics is no longer reserved for a few chosen ones, but needs to be taken up by all of us. Serious apologetics, the one giving DEFENSE of our faith.
I, for one, am going to dig deep into it. For the rest of my life.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Test of Faith

Over at Steve Camp's blog, where else :)

Could I Be Called a Christian

from "Consider The Cost" by Steve Camp

Could I be called a Christian
If everybody knew
The secret thoughts and feelings
Of everything I do
Could they see the likeness
Of Christ in me each day
Could they hear Him speaking
In every word I say

Could I be called a Christian
If my faith I did not show
If I did not go to places
Where the Lord would have me go
If I do not love His truth
If I do not guard His trust
If I cherish more than Jesus
My greatest hidden lust

To obey all He’s commanded
To do all that He said
To be His true disciple
To place no confidence in the flesh
To glory in Christ Jesus
It’s He who justifies
To find your life you must lose it
To live you first must die
Let every man examine his own life
Could I be called a Christian

Could I be called a Christian
And believe not His Holy Word
If I take Him as my Savior
And then refuse Him as my Lord
If I could not love the outcast
And am not burdened for the lost
If I fail to deny myself
And each day take up my cross

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Christian Logic

We need it, to use our minds for the Glory of God. We need to defend the Gospel, we need to be able to tell people about the hope that is within us.
Yesterday I posted links to great resources. I want to continue today with another resource, very useful and very well-done.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Why Are People Reluctant to Go into Missions?

by John Piper

When I spoke at Missions in the Main Hall Sunday night, I tried to give a biblical response to possible obstacles that are in the way for some people that may keep them from moving forward toward missions. My prayer is that God would use these responses to call more of you to go. Here are eight objections and a biblical response.

1. "I am not smart enough."

"Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe." (1 Corinthians 1:20-21)

"Consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise." (1 Corinthians 1:26-27)

2. "My body and my personality are not strong enough."

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." (2 Corinthians 4:7)

"[Christ] said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

3. "I am not a good speaker."

"Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power." (1 Corinthians 1:17)

"Moses said to the Lord, 'Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.' Then the Lord said to him, 'Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak." (Exodus 4:10-12)

4. "I am afraid of the horrors I read about in the newspapers."

"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore (katartisei--"mend" or "repair" your horribly disfigured body when the lions in the coliseum are through with you), confirm, strengthen, and establish you." (1 Peter 5:8-10)

5. "I am afraid I won't be fruitful"

Your responsibility is not to be fruitful but to be faithful. "And said, 'The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come." (Mark 4:26-29)

"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

6. "There is plenty to do here."

True, but there is a division of labor and God calls some to MISSIONS, not just evangelism. The difference is seen in Romans 15:19-24: "So that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I [Christ] have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named. . . Now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions . . . I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain."

How could Paul say there was no room for work when there were millions in that region to be evangelized? Because evangelism is not missions.

7. "I am not married."

The best spouse is found on the path of obedience. "An excellent wife [or husband!] who can find? She [and he!] is far more precious than jewels" (Proverbs 31:10). The finding is exceedingly hard. It will happen on the road of obedience.

8. "I fear that when I get there it might turn out I made a mistake and will come home with shame."

Which is worse, shame for having endeavored to follow Christ in missions, or fear to venture? Shame before others for making a mistake will not hurt you; it will humble you and can make you more useful in a new situation. But fear will make you useless everywhere.

Consider Ecclesiastes 11:4 and what it says about risk: "He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap." Meaning: without taking the risk of sowing when the seed might be blown away and reaping when the rain might ruin the harvest, you will starve.

Oh, how precious is the freeing word of God, Pastor John

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thank you

To all you who commented on my yesterday's post - thank you, brothers and sisters. I appreciate your warm and loving words a lot.
We are coping - right now at a distance, since my husband tends to the various urgent matters at the house his father lived, and it is 130 km away from where we live.
The funeral ceremony will take place on the 8th of November.

We ask for more prayers, and we love you all.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

To the best Dad-in-law

We loved you so very much. You were the kindest person on Earth, you loved us, took care of us, always denying yourself, always putting our needs first.
You were smiling, happy, you loved God... And God loved you, Dad...

You are with the Lord, starting today. You left us all so suddenly, we did not say our good-byes, but we hope to meet again, because we share your Hope, Dad.

Dear Lord - take care of him. He is glorified and with You now. Give us strength to endure the pain, give us strength to love You and glorify You through this mourning.
In Jesus precious name, Lord.

Eccl. 7:2 It is better to go to a house of mourning Than to go to a house of feasting, Because that is the end of every man, And the living takes [it] to heart. (NASB)

My father-in-law died today. He is with the Lord forever.

The Gospel Message

Sunday, October 21, 2007

If I know God

Lately it hasn't been easy
Things haven't been working out right
Answers I pray for have been so uncommon
Seems like I'm lost in the night

But if I know God, He'll find the way to bless me
It's just like Him, to turn things around
He'll take a bad situation
And work it for my good
That's how life goes
If I know God

Sometimes it's hard to remember
How could I ever forget
He's never failed me as long as I've known Him
Though I can't see the way yet

But if I know God, He'll find the way to bless me
It's just like Him, to turn things around
He'll take a bad situation
And work it for my good
That's how life goes
If I know God

And I know my tomorrows will bring their own sorrows
But I can't foresee today

But if I know God, He'll find the way to bless me
It's just like Him, to turn things around
He'll take a bad situation
And work it for my good
That's how life goes
If I know God

If I know God From "Workin' Our Faith" by The Pfeifers

What happens to those who have never heard the gospel?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Spiritual stability...

Psa 1:1-6
(1) Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
(2) but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
(3) He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
(4) The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
(5) Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
(6) for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Spiritual stability...

Or Love, Joy, Humility.

And resting on a confident faith in the LORD.

Php 4:5-8
(5) Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
(6) do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
(7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(8) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Your view of God is what stabilizes you.

The LORD is near in the terms of space, immediate presence, personal presence. He is living in you - In your soul. John MacArthur says that we are dependent on that. We have to also understand who He is. Why? Because your view of God will control your conduct.

Applications and Theology

In trying times, in times of persecution, loss, confusion, illness - what does it take to remain strong?

1. Peace and fellowship of love, harmony in the church
2. Spirit of joy - rejoice in the LORD
3. Accept less than you deserve - humility, contentment
4. Resting on a confident faith in the LORD

The way you handle problems is a reflection of your view of God. Proper understanding takes the anxiety away. The improper one makes you constantly insecure and in doubt.

God is sovereign, loving, in control of everything in your life for His Glory and your good. Nothing is beyond His control, He has orchestrated everything for eternal purpose. You understand this - and you remain stable in the most serious times.

Psa 31:1-5
(1) To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!
(2) Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!
(3) For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me;
(4) you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
(5) Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.

(noted while listening to John MacArthur)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

2 Peter 2:1 and Universal Redemption

Just for all Arminians: this is not a game. Please read it.

2Pe 2:1 But there arose false prophets also among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

It is worth it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Spurgeon's Devotionals for October 17


“And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul.”

- 1 Samuel 27:1

The thought of David’s heart at this time was a false thought, because he certainly had no ground for thinking that God’s anointing him by Samuel was intended to be left as an empty unmeaning act. On no one occasion had the Lord deserted his servant; he had been placed in perilous positions very often, but not one instance had occurred in which divine interposition had not delivered him. The trials to which he had been exposed had been varied; they had not assumed one form only, but many-yet in every case he who sent the trial had also graciously ordained a way of escape. David could not put his finger upon any entry in his diary, and say of it, “Here is evidence that the Lord will forsake me,” for the entire tenor of his past life proved the very reverse. He should have argued from what God had done for him, that God would be his defender still. But is it not just in the same way that we doubt God’s help? Is it not mistrust without a cause? Have we ever had the shadow of a reason to doubt our Father’s goodness? Have not his lovingkindnesses been marvellous? Has he once failed to justify our trust? Ah, no! our God has not left us at any time. We have had dark nights, but the star of love has shone forth amid the blackness; we have been in stern conflicts, but over our head he has held aloft the shield of our defence. We have gone through many trials, but never to our detriment, always to our advantage; and the conclusion from our past experience is, that he who has been with us in six troubles, will not forsake us in the seventh. What we have known of our faithful God, proves that he will keep us to the end. Let us not, then, reason contrary to evidence. How can we ever be so ungenerous as to doubt our God? Lord, throw down the Jezebel of our unbelief, and let the dogs devour it.


“He shall gather the lambs with his arm.”

- Isaiah 40:11

Our good Shepherd has in his flock a variety of experiences, some are strong in the Lord, and others are weak in faith, but he is impartial in his care for all his sheep, and the weakest lamb is as dear to him as the most advanced of the flock. Lambs are wont to lag behind, prone to wander, and apt to grow weary, but from all the danger of these infirmities the Shepherd protects them with his arm of power. He finds new-born souls, like young lambs, ready to perish-he nourishes them till life becomes vigorous; he finds weak minds ready to faint and die-he consoles them and renews their strength. All the little ones he gathers, for it is not the will of our heavenly Father that one of them should perish. What a quick eye he must have to see them all! What a tender heart to care for them all! What a far- reaching and potent arm, to gather them all! In his lifetime on earth he was a great gatherer of the weaker sort, and now that he dwells in heaven, his loving heart yearns towards the meek and contrite, the timid and feeble, the fearful and fainting here below. How gently did he gather me to himself, to his truth, to his blood, to his love, to his church! With what effectual grace did he compel me to come to himself! Since my first conversion, how frequently has he restored me from my wanderings, and once again folded me within the circle of his everlasting arm! The best of all is, that he does it all himself personally, not delegating the task of love, but condescending himself to rescue and preserve his most unworthy servant. How shall I love him enough or serve him worthily? I would fain make his name great unto the ends of the earth, but what can my feebleness do for him? Great Shepherd, add to thy mercies this one other, a heart to love thee more truly as I ought.

Renewing your mind

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

listen to chapter (Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Prayers appreciated

Total Depravity - if you do not believe it, you must be living under a rock.

The latest at only confirms this human condition. Please pray for this ministry, the one of the few that love the Word of God.

O loving God,

to turn away from you is to fall,

to turn toward you is to rise,

and to stand before you is to abide forever.

Grant us, dear God,

in all our duties your help;

in all our uncertainties your guidance;

in all our dangers your protection;

and in all our sorrows your peace;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

—Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

His Plans

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

listen to chapter (Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Global Warming?

A film on the great fraud....

HT Even So...

This is to "honor" yesterday's Nobel Committee decision... NOT.
Al Gore gets Peace Prize? You've got to be kidding me...

(an encore presentation)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Police evict nuns

Police evict nuns after two-year convent rebellion

Police forced their way into a Polish convent yesterday, evicted about 65 former nuns, and arrested the mother superior and a monk who had occupied the complex illegally for two years.

The women had taken over the building in a rebellion against the Vatican, which had ordered the replacement of the mother superior, Jadwiga Ligocka, who had reportedly had visions.

"They were disobedient," said Mieczyslaw Puzewicz, of the Lublin diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican formally expelled the women from their Sisters of Bethany order last year.

Police said they planned to question the mother superior and a former Franciscan friar, Roman Komaryczko.

A locksmith opened the gate to the walled convent in the eastern Polish town of Kazimierz Dolny and police in riot gear pushed forward, encountering verbal aggression from some of the nuns, a police spokesman, Mariusz Sokolowski, said.


Sweet unity of Roman Catholicism...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Just one word

Got me a new cell-phone.
Will write some more when the first shock subsides :)

This phone is so called smart one....

Well, so far it is smarter than me.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Rock

“Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.” (Isaiah 26:4)

listen to chapter (Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)

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Because who else there is to trust in? Teachers? Scientists? Philosophers? Politicians?
There are plenty of those who want us to trust in them, luring us with promises, prosperity, benefits and love of self. Their fruit is in their deeds.

Trust in the Lord.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Value of Learning History: A Lesson from Jude

by John Piper

The little letter of Jude teaches us something about the value of learning history. This is not the main point of the letter. But it is striking. In this next-to-last book of the Bible, Jude writes to encourage the saints to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (verse 3).

The letter is a call to vigilance in view of "certain persons [who] have crept in unnoticed... ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ" (verse 4). Jude describes these folks in vivid terms. They "revile the things which they do not understand" (verse 10). They "are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage" (verse 16). They "cause divisions, [and are] worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit" (verse 19).

This is a devastating assessment of people who are not outside the church but have "crept in unnoticed." Jude wants them be spotted for who they really are, so that the church is not deceived and ruined by their false teaching and immoral behavior.

One of his strategies is to compare them to other persons and events in history. For example, he says that "Sodom and Gomorrah . . . since they, in the same way as these, indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire" (verse 7). So Jude compares these people to Sodom and Gomorrah. His point in doing this is to say that Sodom and Gomorrah are "an example" of what will happen when people live like these intruders are living. So, in Jude's mind, knowing the history of Sodom and Gomorrah is very useful in helping detect such error and deflect it from the saints.

Similarly in verse 11, Jude piles up three other references to historical events as comparisons with what is happening in his day among Christians. He says "Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah." This is remarkable. Why refer to three different historical incidents like this that happened thousands of years earlier - Genesis 19 (Sodom), Genesis 3 (Cain), Numbers 22-24 (Balaam), Numbers 16 (Korah)? What's the point?

Here are three points: 1) Jude assumes that the readers know these stories! Is that not amazing! This was the first century! No books in anyone's homes. No Bibles available. No story tapes. Just oral instruction. And he assumed that they would know: What is "the way of Cain" and "the error of Balaam" and "the rebellion of Korah"? Do you know? Isn't this astonishing! He expects them to know. It makes me think that our standards of Bible knowledge in the church today are too low.

2) Jude assumes that knowing this history will illumine the present situation. The Christians will handle the error better today, if they know similar situations from yesterday. In other words, history is valuable for Christian living. To know that Cain was jealous and hated his brother and resented his true spiritual communion with God will alert you to watch for such things even among brothers.

To know that Balaam finally caved in and made the Word of God a means of worldly gain makes you better able to spot that sort of thing. To know that Korah despised legitimate authority and resented Moses' leadership will protect you from factious folk who dislike anyone being seen as their leader.

3) Is it not clear, then, that God ordains that events happen and that they get recorded as history so that we will learn them and become wiser and more insightful about the present for the sake of Christ and his church. Never stop learning history. Gain some knowledge every day. And let us give our children one of the best protections against the folly of the future, namely, a knowledge of the past.

Learning with you, for Christ and his kingdom,

Pastor John

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

God is Not Boring

Meditation on the Imagination
by John Piper

Recently I spoke at Northwestern College as part of their year-long 100th anniversary celebration. The title of the message was "The Supremacy of God in the Life of the Mind." One capability of the mind that I focused on was the imagination. It applies to everybody who has a mind. Here's what I said.

One of the great duties of the Christian mind is imagination. It is not the only thing the mind does. The mind observes. The mind analyzes and organizes. The mind memorizes. But imagination is different. It does not observe or analyze what's there; it imagines what is not seen but might be there and might explain what is there (as in the case of most scientific discoveries). Or it imagines a new way of saying what is there that no one has said before (as in the case of creative writing and music and art).

I say that imagination is a Christian duty for two reasons. One is that you can't apply Jesus' golden rule without it. He said, "Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them" (Matthew 7:12). We must imagine ourselves in their place and imagine what we would like done to us. Compassionate, sympathetic, helpful love hangs much on the imagination of the lover.

The other reason I say that imagination is a Christian duty is that when a person speaks or writes or sings or paints about breathtaking truth in a boring way, it is probably a sin. The supremacy of God in the life of the mind is not honored when God and his amazing world are observed truly, analyzed duly, and communicated boringly. Imagination is the key to killing boredom. We must imagine ways to say truth for what it really is. And it is not boring. God's world - all of it - rings with wonders. The imagination calls up new words, new images, new analogies, new metaphors, new illustrations, new connections to say old, glorious truth. Imagination is the faculty of the mind that God has given us to make the communication of his beauty beautiful.

Imagination may be the hardest work of the human mind. And perhaps the most God-like. It is the closest we get to creation out of nothing. When we speak of beautiful truth, we must think of a pattern of words, perhaps a poem. We must conceive something that has never existed before and does not now exist in any human mind. We must think of an analogy or metaphor or illustration which has no existence. The imagination must exert itself to see it in our mind, when it is not there. We must create word combinations and music that have never existed before. All of this we do, because we are like God and because he is infinitely worthy of ever-new words and songs.

A college - or a church - committed to the supremacy of God in the life of the mind will cultivate many fertile, and a few great, imaginations. And O how the world needs God-besotted minds that can say the great things of God and sing the great things of God and play the great things of God in ways that have never been said or sung or played before.

Imagination is like a muscle. It grows stronger when you flex it. And you must flex it. It does not usually put itself into action. It awaits the will. Imagination is also contagious. When you are around someone (alive or dead) who uses it a lot, you tend to catch it. So I suggest that you hang out with some people (mainly dead poets) who are full of imagination, and that you exert yourself to think up a new way to say an old truth. God is worthy. "Oh sing to the LORD a new song" - or picture, or poem, or figure of speech.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Friday, October 05, 2007


“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1)

listen to chapter (Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Focus on the Family

Because I subscribe to many Christian places, I get a fair amount of e-mail letters. Some are good, some are better :), but sometimes there comes an e-mail worth mentioning on the blog. Today is such a day. BTW: what a week! Two good days in the press, and now brave Christians who do not duck under the political correctness of the day.
Focus on the Family article. It conveys the unbroken message of scriptural picture of family, so much attacked by today's humanists.
The e-mail that pointed me to the article:

"Protecting Tomorrow's Families Today
Greetings to you and your family from Colorado Springs! Here in Colorado, the leaves are turning and there's a chill in the air—fall is in full swing. While the beautiful weather can be a distraction at this time of the year, there's a more urgent matter that I'd like to share with you— one that has implications for families across the country, including yours.

Last December, Dr. James Dobson, licensed child psychologist and founder of Focus on the Family®, was asked by the editors of Time magazine to comment on Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter and her decision to parent a child with her lesbian partner. Because I believe you're keenly interested in protecting the institution of the family, I thought you'd be interested in reading the editorial, which I've enclosed. It captures many of the core principles you and I hold dear.

In the months following the Time commentary, Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family were viciously attacked by an assortment of media pundits and organizations promoting the homosexual agenda. It was no surprise to us. These activists are fiercely committed to waging battle against any person or organization that objects, from a biblical perspective, to their social re-engineering experiments—even when those objections are expressed with respect and sensitivity for others, as they were in Dr. Dobson's article.

I'm writing you because the long-term negative effects that same-sex “marriage” could have on our children are monumental—from increasing the instability of families to undermining the biblical institution of marriage.

The stakes are simply too high for us to stay silent. That's why we must respond with the kind of commitment and passion that drowns out the shrill voices of our deceived opponents. If we don't stand and voice our position now, we will betray the next generation—our children and grandchildren—and, by negligence, allow the God-ordained institution of marriage and family to become a vague memory.

Editorials in Time—as critically important as they and other civic dialogues are—will not by themselves make the difference. Effectively nurturing and defending families—and helping parents raise children who love and serve God—are essential to making the ultimate difference.

While it's easy to feel overwhelmed at times by the negative influences in today's society and our culture, there are many efforts currently underway at Focus on the Family that encourage me, and may encourage you as well."

Go to and read on. It is worth it.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

And another good day

Somewhat double feeling about it, but anyway - the Church of Sweden is not a Christian church anymore, at least not its official part. The gender-neutral marriages divided it once and for all, and made it stand quite alone since many other churches stopped affiliating themselves with it.
Today a deacon in Roman Catholic Church in Sweden rebuked the whole matter in strong and harsh words, calling what the Church of Sweden does a political game, a social adjustment, a break from Scriptural truth.

I liked those words, and I liked the judgement. Pity, that nowadays those who are not in truth, are still more in it than those who once broke away from the ones rebuking them today, and rebuking them rightly.

Judgement begins in the House of Lord.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sometimes it is a good day in media

As yesterday... The local newspaper published a Christian article reviewing Richard Dawkins' "God's Delusion". I must admit - I did not expect this newspaper to publish something like this one. The author was humorous yer precise, light in tone yet never giving up on the truth of the Scriptures. His final appeal was directed to those publishing houses that usually publish anti-Christian literature. He asked them to order an anti-Dawkins book, and claimed that writing of such one is not a difficult task.
Basically, Dawkins got presented as the rabid atheist he really is, a very subjective person without a will to show the true picture, and a person not knowing the first thing he was talking about.
This book is old news - but apparently not in Sweden, which surprises me a bit. Since many call this country the most de-christened country in the whole world... Or is it so that because the last sentence is true, there no longer is a need to preach the atheistic manifesto, even if coming from the very pope of atheism himself? Who knows :)
But the snake has bitten his own tail.

Monday, October 01, 2007

All Glory, Laud, and Honor

Author: St. 1: Theodulph of Orleans, 760-821
St. 2-4: Paul Gerhardt, 1607-1676
Musician: Melchior Teschner, 1584-1635, alt.

All glory, laud, and honor, To Thee, Redeemer, King,
To Whom the lips of children Made sweet hosannas ring:
Thou art the King of Israel, Thou David's royal Son,
Who in the Lord's name comest, The King and blessed One.

O Lord, how shall I meet Thee, How welcome Thee aright?
Thy people long to greet Thee, My Hope, my heart's Delight!
Oh, kindle, Lord, most holy, Thy lamp within my breast
To do in spirit lowly All that may please Thee best.

Thy Zion strews before Thee Green boughs and fairest palms,
And I, too, will adore Thee With joyous songs and psalms.
My thankful heart shall ev er Sing praise to Thee anew;
And from Thy name shall never Withhold the honor due.

What tho' the foes be raging, Heed not their craft and spite;
Your Lord, the battle waging, Will scatter all their might.
He comes, a King most glorious, And all His earthly foes
In vain His course victo rious Endeavor to oppose.