Sunday, January 30, 2011

Common Grace in the World Today

Many of you have no doubt seen the video following. If you haven't, from someone who typically does not find this show particularly great, this clip is no doubt worth most of your five minutes.

Common grace - defined by Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology as "the grace of God by which he gives people innumerable blessings that are not part of salvation." This would include any actions that would be in line with the way God would have people to act in the world. God in His grace often works in people to have them do things that are more moral or "righteous" than they could be.

As Romans 2:14-15 says, "For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness..." God has written on the hearts of humanity much of the moral code that He requires. However, humanity has suppressed these truths through our sin (see Romans 1:18-32). Therefore, sinful humanity's lives do not often reflect God's truth.

With all that said, this man's decision to stay with his fiancée is a God-honoring decision. God in His common grace allowed this decision to reflect the truth of God. There is however no indication that this man is a believer in Christ. Pray for him to see Christ for who He truly is. May I also be able to reflect God in all areas like this man did in this single area.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Word to Those Who Preach - and Those Who Listen

The only authority with which you can speak is the authority of divine commission. …Everybody is commissioned to be a witness to Jesus Christ. Not everyone is commissioned to be a pastor and teacher. The fact that a number of individuals have banged up against a pulpit to the distraction of their own souls and to the detriment of their own people is evident throughout the entire nation. Better to be a king, or a doctor, or a farmer, or a plowman, to the glory of God than to end up in this position uncommissioned, uncalled, unsent.

–Alistair Begg on Acts 26 Nov. 17, 2010 at SBTS “Preaching the Gospel from Acts”

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Passover and True Value

So they decreed to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that the people should come and keep the Passover to the LORD, the God of Israel, at Jerusalem, for they had not kept it as often as prescribed. So couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with letters from the king and his princes, as the king had commanded... So the couriers went from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them. However, some men of Asher, of Manasseh, and of Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD. -2 Chronicles 30:5-6;10-12

In 2 Chronicles 30, Hezekiah proclaims that the Passover must be upheld(even though a month late). He decided to share this Passover with all the people of God. This meant his nation of Judah and the nation of Israel, which had split with Judah. Hezekiah risks political turmoil, as the nations of Judah and Israel had had near constant turmoil since their split. He risks his own reputation on the success of an event not seen since the time of Solomon.

The people of Israel by and large mock this grand scheme of Hezekiah to celebrate the Lord's Passover. The people don't want to hear what the couriers have to say. The people are not very receptive to the news Hezekiah sends. However, some people of God did heed the word that Hezekiah sent through the messengers. They risk scorn from their neighbors. They risk a trip into hostile territory. They risk much.

But everyone who participates gains much. They participate in the worship of the one true God. They understand that the one God who is worthy of worship is the one God who can be worshiped through the temple in Jerusalem. They recognize that the Passover honors Him for His faithfulness to them in past generations and can show them that He will be faithful in future generations. They see that He is the One worth risking everything for.

Jesus is the One who is worth risking all for in our lives. His value far surpasses that of anything of which we could even think.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Little by Little

I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land. -Exodus 23:29-30

Recently as I was reading through the book of Exodus, I came across the listing of the laws God gave to the Israelites, beginning with the Ten Commandments. Most of this section is easy to find oneself browsing over, but for some reason I read verse 30 over three times. In the process I found God speaking in the midst of His decrees about the land that they would successfully conquer.

God waited for His people to grow stronger until they would inhabit the entirety of the land. He didn't give them all of the land immediately. He took His time, allowing them to prosper and become more numerous so that they could fully possess the land. If God had allowed them to possess the entire land as a weaker nation, they could have very well been overrun by the beasts or the land grown beyond their ability to cultivate it.

How does this even apply to the Christian now at all? We see how God works in our lives. God doesn't drive all of our sin out the moment we become bound for the promised land and saved into the kingdom of God. He doesn't take away our temptations and sins immediately, and leave us to our own pride for our accomplishments. He doesn't take away our sin completely and let us fall prey to our own works to keep ourselves pure. He takes time in sanctifying us to the point where we realize that we must be absolutely dependent on Him for everything. Everything. When we won't fall prey to our pride or sense of accomplishment in getting rid of sin, then God will allow us freedom from that which could reign over us. He is the only One who has rightful reign of us.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Suffering Well for His Glory

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. -James 1:12

This story captivated me a few months ago when I first saw it.

A Story of Living Hope: John Spiro from Covenant Life Church on Vimeo.

This is a man of God who persevered under one of the most severe physical trials one can undergo. This is a man whose hope remained in the One who took away the wrath he deserved and gave him the salvation he didn't deserve. And this is a man, John Spiro, who has now persevered to the point of meeting his Savior on Sunday. People like this leave me marveling at Jesus for the work He does. Blessed be our God who empowers saints like this who suffer well to show His glory.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Practical Theology for Women: Why Should I Care?

Have you ever thought about the nature of God? Have you ever thought about theology? Is it something you are pretty comfortable with, or is it something you think only pastors and seminary students should think about and learn? Until about a year ago, I thought theology was only for "smart people." Sure, I enjoy learning about God and think it's something we as Christians should do often, but theologian was not a word I would use to describe myself.  But the truth is, if we are in Christ, we are theologians! 

And what is theology anyway? Theology is, among other things, the study of the nature of God. (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language). A couple reasons some Christians don't consider themselves theologians are that they think they aren't smart enough or that they don't want to put in the effort. However, we are not only able to learn the deep things of God, we are called to do this through our own personal relationship with God through Christ.

In Chapter 1 of her book, Practical Theology for Women, Wendy Horger Alsup shares: "If you know Christ as your Savior, you have the same Holy Spirit residing in your heart, the same Word of God at your fingertips, and the same access to the presence of God as the wisest and most godly spiritual leader you know of today." Our access to God is not through our pastor or a seminary student, it is through Jesus Christ, so to rely on someone else to teach us the deep things of God is a "copout," as Alsup says.

We can't expect to grow in our relationship with Christ unless we know Him. Alsup suggests, "we have no excuse to remain ignorant of His character. Seek God's face. Understand His character. Pursue knowledge of Him, for apart from the 'fear of the Lord' and the 'knowledge of the Holy One' (Proverbs 9:10) we have no hope for being a wise mother, sister, wife, or friend." Or a wise father, brother, or husband.

If you know Christ, you have all you need to learn the deep things of God. And we can't truly live a life that reflects the nature of God unless we study and know the nature of God.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

He Ransoms Many

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. -Mark 10:45

I've long been fascinated by the many "mission statements" of Jesus. He gave several, including among others, Luke 19:10 and John 18:37 (in Jesus' answer to Pilate). However, the one that has long interested me is the one in Mark 10:45.

This verse has been used for many purposes, as a justification for us to serve more and be humble, as a symbol of the love of God, but the most obvious point of this passage is that Jesus intentionally gave up His own life to ransom many sinners from the entrapment of sin and death. It was not a plan B that sent Christ to the cross. He knew what His purpose was all along. His followers knew too, if they had only listened. But then again there were so many reasons for them to think otherwise.

However, Jesus was true to His mission. He gave up His life to ransom many sinners. As gruesome as it is, the cross was the intentional work of God to redeem. It was needed to bring glory to God through the salvation of many sinners.

The cross is not merely an example of God's love for us. The cross is an example of how bad our sin was that God's Son had to die to ransom sinners. Yet He did it. And in the cross then we know that God loves those "with whom he is pleased." (Luke 2:14) What pleases God is understanding the need we have because of our sin and trusting Christ's work to take away our sin and credit to us His standing with God.

The death of Jesus was needed. It could not be subverted. It could not be avoided. He died for our ransom.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What is Christ's?

There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!

-Abraham Kuyper

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Notes from David Platt's Breakout Session

One week ago, a group of us were headed home from Passion 2011.  Today I'd like to recount a session that was a personal favorite as far as times of teaching and time at Passion period.

Jesus seemingly tries to talk people out of following Him.

Luke 14:25-33 - Jesus says here that one has to hate their mother, take up their cross or instrument of torture, and give it all up to follow Him.  There's no ABC here (as easy as Admit, Believe, Confess).

Luke 18:18-30 - The rich young ruler walks away after Jesus challenges Him regarding His wealth.

We are challenged to value the Lord so highly that our relationships of this world look like hate.

The Lord has great worth and value.

Throughout Luke's gospel we see throughout from chapter 9 onward that He's headed toward Jerusalem.  He's headed to the cross.  This is no accident.  This is no plan B.  As Jesus is headed to the cross, He goes with the realization that He will drink the cup of His Father's wrath.  Psalm 75, amongst others, was mentioned here.

Luke 9:57-62 was his main text.  '57As they were going along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." 58And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." 59To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 60And Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." 61Yet another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home." 62Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."'

1- He is worthy of all trust (verses 57-58)

He is the end - not the means to an end!  He is what is more valuable than anything.  Is He enough for you?  Is He all-sufficient?

2- He is worthy of all our plans and dreams (verses 59-60)

Our position is merely given by God to advance the kingdom of God through the spread of the gospel.  For the Christian, we have sacrificed our right to determine the direction of our lives by giving them over for God's purposes and His glory.

3- He is worthy of all our affections (verses 61-62)

We should have total and undivided affection for Jesus.  He demands our complete devotion.  He should be the supreme desire of our heart.  To know God deeply yields loving Him passionately.

Matthew 13:44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."

This man knows what He has found.  Only Christ is worth losing everything for.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chocolate Peppermint Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint Sugar Cookies

All you have to do is put these together; no baking from scratch required! Here's what you need:

1 package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 bag chocolate chips
1 package candy canes or hard peppermint candy
1 hammer, mallet, or your fists (or a food processor if you'd like to keep your hands and have less mess)
1 coffee mug wide enough for the cookies
1 bowl for the candy pieces
Parchment paper or waxed paper (optional - it just makes things almost a million times easier)


Preheat oven to 350º.

Cut parchment paper to fit baking sheet and place onto baking sheet. *Parchment paper is oven safe. Waxed paper is NOT oven safe, so skip this step if you are using waxed paper.

Roll out the dough into walnut sized balls and place onto cookie sheet. Gently flatten the cookies with a flat-bottomed cup or other flat surface. Bake for 7 - 11 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow cookies to cool for about a minute, and then place them on a cooling rack so you can bake some more cookies!
While those are baking, place candy pieces into a ziptop bag or food processor, crush into teeny tiny pieces and place in a bowl. Fill the coffee mug about 3/4 of the way full with chocolate chips. Melt in microwave in increments of 30 seconds, stirring between each heating, until smooth. Tear off some more parchment paper or waxed paper for the finished product.

When cookies are completely cool, dip halfway into melted chocolate, and then into crushed peppermint pieces. Lay on parchment or waxed paper and let cool. 

Repeat until you run out of ingredients!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Love Little or Love Much?

Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven - for she loved much.  But he who is forgiven little, loves little. -Luke 7:47

This verse has been running through my head quite a bit for the last few days.  It's something that has struck me as so true of the Christian life.

Jesus here is speaking of a sinful woman who came to the house of a Pharisee with whom He was eating.  She was wiping His feet with her tears, rubbing them with her hair, and anointing them with ointment. 

Now here's the push.  She understood that her her sins were great, as Jesus not-so-subtly noted.  Therefore, because her sins were forgiven, she loved Him much.  She grasped that she was a great debtor in the presence of the One who had forgiven her debts and she could do nothing but overflow with love to Him.

Here's where this has taken root in my life - no one is forgiven little!  All sin makes us guilty before God.  All sin is worthy of His condemnation and wrath.  All sin is a stench to the One who desires nothing but perfection.  Therefore great are all of our sins.  For the Christian who has been forgiven, this means that we have been forgiven much because our sins are extensive.

Greater yet though is the One who has forgiven us these sins.  Therefore we can and should do nothing but overflow with love for Jesus, our Savior.  This love comes out of a great forgiveness given by our great Savior.  In my life I've seen this play out as I have examined the scriptures and have come to learn more and more about the grandeur, greatness, and holiness of God.  In the process, I have come to see how great and subversive my sins are to God and understand how much I have been forgiven.  Love for God has become greater and greater in this great sinner's life.  O how great the forgiveness of Jesus!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Welcome to the Hardesty family blog!  That's our name, but really, at the heart of things, it's all about another Name - the Name of the One who is greater than us, and yet has redeemed us.  To God be the glory and may we glorify the Name of Jesus.

What this blog will look like is yet fully to be determined.  My lovely wife Jessica will likely post a few pictures of her own taking from time to time.  She likes music, so there may be a video or two, or maybe even 25 days of them during the Christmas season.  She'll probably link to a few items of interest regarding biblical womanhood.  There may even be a recipe or two.

My part of the blog will be a little bit different.  I read quite a few books, so I'm sure there will be a book review or two.  I'll definitely want to post a couple meditations on scriptures that I have plenty of time each day to think through.  There may be an examination or two of current trends in the faith.  I'll also post some videos and links of importance.  If you have any other thoughts, you can always leave a comment.

All in all, it will be a fairly mixed bag of items.  We're looking to post at least one to two items per week.

No matter what though, we're grateful for this first look, but remember, and help us remember, that this is all for the glory of His Name.