1000 views!

1000 page views since I moved to wordpress. Another blogging milestone reached. I wish I could say it’s because of my interesting and informative blogs but the statistics tell a different story. A mention of Mr Motivator has got me the most hits recently. I just added a picture of him in my “Learning a little Greek series” with his name under it and started getting lots more traffic. My wife suggested I should mention Cheryl Cole to get even more hits so sorry if you arrived here expecting to find out something about her. I know nothing!

More on topic for my blog (which is supposed to be vaguely theological in content) the mention of Delia Knox is drawing quite a bit of passing traffic too.

Looking at the statistics for the last few months I can see that at least 75% of people (it’s hard to know exactly for sure)  leave my site after 5 seconds but  5% stay for between 5 minutes and an hour.  Around 17% of visitors are returning visitors so hopefully some are finding something helpful here.

This is the most popular page (it’s about Delia Knox)

https://marcustutt.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/testimony-of-supernatural-healing/

The next one is one that mentions Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair despite being virtually empty of content.

https://marcustutt.wordpress.com/2010/11/26/debate-between-tony-blair-and-christopher-hitchens-2/

Then comes my latest update on the Delia Knox testimony:

https://marcustutt.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/the-continuing-testimony-of-delia-knox/

Then the page with links to my series that I added when someone told me how to do pages:

https://marcustutt.wordpress.com/cool-series/

Then the “about” page.

https://marcustutt.wordpress.com/about/

I’m not too disappointed that none of my content is that popular as I’m mainly writing the blogs for my benefit. In fact I wish I had more time to think and write about even more stuff. Even though I am blogging most days my “Blogging through the bible blog”  has slowed down recently and I have tonnes of stuff I am having to shelve for this one. I am reminded of a prophetic word about having more time to run down theological rabbit holes. I do have a bit more time now but the rabbits are multiplying too fast for me.

Mike Betts’ preached at King’s yesterday. I love hearing him preach. He is always so rich in insight and wisdom and this time spoke on Psalm 96. In it God gives us some key instructions for keeping our focus. Just like our natural eyes can lose their focus as we get older so our spiritual focus can suffer if we are not attentive to the following:

1) Verse 1 says “Sing to the Lord a new song“. We need to seek fresh insight from the Lord about the Lord. Don’t be like a broken record saying the same ting over and over. Seek fresh perspective about him that will help us love him more. Every day of Jesus’ life he faced the fact that he was going to the cross but each day he had a newness of his love for his father.

2) Verse 4 says “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise. He is to be feared above all gods“. We must let God dominate our perspective. Jesus is above all. Mike kept repeating that phrase “Jesus is above all“. Problems at work? “Jesus is above all“. Illness? “Jesus is above all“. Tensions between North and South Korea that threaten world peace? “Jesus is above all”.

3) Verse 6 says “Splendour and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary“. Get to know God such that you are never short of words to describe him; his nature and his character. Meditate on scripture. That is a dying art. (It’s interesting that I have just been talking about that at the UEA and blogging about it in this series). How well do you know your saviour? Who he is, is the anchor of our lives. “I’m out of my depth”, said Mike, “but I keep swimming out to sea and not back to shore. That’s because I know who God is”.

4) Verse 9 says, “Worship the lord in the splendour of his holiness.”  I think that was the verse anyway. Mike talked about the importance of not sinning. When you feel dull and your focus goes squiffy, DON’T SIN! The Devil does not play by the Queensbury rules. He hits you when you are down. He accuses us day and night. He doesn’t sleep. When we wake up he has been thinking all night about the first words to put into our heads to dishearten us. We need to draw close to God ASAP when we get up.

It was a great preach and looking at the Psalm again his approach is interesting in itself. He basically asked a question of the Psalm and got an answer. I did that with Psalm 119 when I asked it “how and why should we read God’s word“. Asking questions of scripture is such a fruitful way of accessing its truth and is complementary to straight exegesis.  I remember Tim Keller talking about it in a lecture I attended once. He said that there is an infinite amount of truth in a passage so there is no way you are ever going to exhaustively exegete it dry. You have to keep asking questions of it and receiving more and more truth.

One more thought : When I was at the UEA I said that I knew there was a mysterious but key link between Jesus, as the incarnate word of God, and the bible as the written word of God (which is of course about Jesus). I admitted that I didn’t know much about the link (it’s another rabbit hole I would love to go down!).   Interestingly at the end of the Sunday meeting one of the leaders brought a scripture which looks relevant:

Rev 19:13   He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. (ESV)

God is good, his word is amazing and his son is awesome. I wonder how many more people will look over my shoulder as I continue to meditate on the unsearchable riches of Christ in my blog.

PS. Another spine tingling verse that I came across while looking up Rev 19:13 is

Jer 33:16   “In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.'” (ESV)

God’s names and nature are soooo cooool. The promises of God are indeed all yes and amen in Jesus Christ (2 Cor 1:20).

The heart of the matter (How to read the bible part 2)

I am blogging my notes on a talk I gave at the UEA a few days ago entitled “How to read the bible”.

It’s possible to miss the point of the whole bible. When I was looking for a version for my children it took me a while to find one that communicated it clearly. Let me read you the introduction to “The Jesus Story Book”:

Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing….Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose). They get afraid and run away. At times they are downright mean. No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes.

So what is then? Listen to what Jesus says to the Pharisees:

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you posses eternal life. These and the scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me and have life. John 5:39-40

The bible is not about you or me it’s about Jesus. It’s not about Abraham or Othniel , its about Jesus, the Alpha and Omega. In a great video on youtube Tim Keller hammers home this key point:

  • Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden (his garden, a much tougher garden) and whose obedience is imputed to us.
  • Jesus is the  true and better Abel, who though innocently slain, has blood that cries out not for our condemnation but for our equital
  • Jesus is the  true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar, to go into the void not knowing wither he went.
  • Jesus is the  true and better Isaac who was not just sacrificed by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us all. God said to Abraham now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love from me. Now, we at the foot of the cross can say to God, now I know that you love me because you did not with hold your son, your only son whom you love from me.
  • Jesus is the  true and better Joseph who is at the right hand of the king and forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his power to save them.
  • ….
  • Jesus is the  true and better Ester who didn’t just risk losing an earthly palace but lost the ultimate heavenly one. Who didn’t just risk his life but gave his life. Who didn’t just say “if I perish, I’ll perish” but “when I perish I’ll perish, to save my people”
  • Jesus is the  true and better Jonah who was cast out in the storm so that we could be brought in.
  • He’s the real Passover lamb, he’s the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light the true bread.
  • The bibles not about you!

The bible is about Jesus. What John says of his gospel is true of the whole bible. It’s written to reveal Jesus as the son of God so that we would know him and have life in him (John 20:31).

So how do you read your bible? To find out how to live? To see examples to copy? These are very, very secondary reasons and they can turn sour and make you  miserable unless they are submitted to this primary one. I read my bible to see and savour Jesus. To know him. To encounter him. To delight in him.

To the Psalmist God’s word revealed and made knowable God himself. He says:

“Blessed are they who keep all his statues and seek him with all their heart.” v2

and again in verse 10:

“I will seek you with all my heart” v10

I love the way he starts of talking about God in the third person “his laws” and by verse 4 he is talking in the second person saying “your ways“. He is not interested in impersonal facts, through God’s word he is seeking a relationship with God. To him God’s word provides landing lights and a safe touchdown into a loving relationship with his saviour.

One commentator wrote that:

The composer of Psalm 119 poured over the Torah, the law of God, and understood its various divisions as few others do. He knew that God’s law represented His Name, His character and His will; that it was a transcript of the Almighty’s own soul and an everlasting fountain of blessing.

The reason he finds God’s word as sweet as honey (verse 103) is that he loves God. I love my wife’s voice, the way she looks, the way she moves, because I love her. I am besotted with her. For the Psalmist, as for me, reading the bible is a matter of the heart. As we read it we are enjoying and deepening our relationship with our wonderful saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Having looked at the Psalmists heart, in the next blog I will consider what is going on in his head.

It’s not about me – or Wally

Last week I blogged about my struggle to press through the fog of moralism that sometimes clouds the truth in God’s word to find Jesus. The story of Abraham and Lot, I felt, was not there to show me about me and about what I must do but to tell me about God and what he has done.

http://marcusbible.blogspot.com/2010/08/genesis-13-and-14-thinking-little-about.html

Then I watched this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkNa6tLWrqk&feature=player_embedded#!

When I say “I couldn’t have put it better myself” I really mean it. I didn’t!  but this short video sums up something of what I was  groping for in my blog. The bible is  basically about Jesus and if I don’t get that then everything I think the bible says about me will be rather distorted.

In the video Tim Keller asks:

“Is the bible basically about you and what you should do or about Jesus and what he has done?…Is David and Goliath basically about you and how you can be like David and Goliath, or about him, the one who really  took on the only giants that can kill us. And his victory is imputed to us.

The bibles not about you!

Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden (his garden, a much tougher garden) and whose obedience is imputed to us.

Jesus is the  true and better Abel who though innocently slain has blood that cries out not for our condemnation but for our equital

Jesus is the  true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go into the void not knowing wither he went.

Jesus is the  true and better Isaac who was not just sacrificed by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us all. God said to Abraham now I know tyou love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love from me . Now, we at the foot of the cross, can say to God, now we know that you love me because you did not with hold your son, your  only son whom you love from me.

Jesus is the  true and better Jacob, who wrestled and took the blow of Justice we deserve so we like Jacob only receive the wound  of grace to wake us up and discipline us.

Jesus is the  true and better Joseph who is at the right had of the king and forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his power to save them.

Jesus is the  true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and mediates a new and better covenent

Jesus is the  true and better Rock of Moses who struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the dessert

Jesus is the  true and better Job. He is the truly innocent sufferer who then intercedes for and  save his friends.

Jesus is the  true and better David whose victory becomes his peoples victory though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.

Jesus is the  true and better Ester who didn’t just risk loosing an earthly palace but lost the ultimate heavenly one. Who didn’t just risk his life but gave his life. Who didn’t just say “if I perish, I’ll perish” but “when I perish I’ll perish for them so save my people”

Jesus is the  true and better Jonah who was cast out in the storm so that we could be brought in.

He’s the real Passover lamb, he’s the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light the true bread.

The bibles not about you!

Great stuff (Oh I’ve just found it transcribed on the internet so I didn’t need to copy it all out! Still, really enjoyable to have listened to it several times). It was in Jared C. Wilson’s blog written last year where he points out that it has been attributed to others like Lloyd Jones as well as Keller.  http://firstthings.com/blogs/evangel/2009/10/a-christian-instinct-not-typology/. Here’s a couple of quotes from it:

“I remember when it was cool to see Jesus in The Matrix. When that five minutes was over, and even your father in law was reading up in 2 Kings to figure out the significance of Neo’s spaceship, the whole thing was a joke. “

Doh! I’ve just written an article that mentions the matrix, all be it along with the more recent Inception and the timeless classic Star Wars. Anyway, the blog went on to highlight the difference between mechanical typology that looks for Jesus in the OT and Spirit awakened instinct that delights in coming across him. My experience of seeing Jesus in the OT is more and more the latter. It’s like opening the door and seeing a dearly loved friend standing there. I cry out with surprise and delight, embrace them and, as I recover, invite them in.

The blog goes on really helpfully:

“I think this is one reason why, for all my appreciation (and utilization) of good scholarship, when a blogger goes academic about the Christian life and ministry, my eyes glaze over. It is why something John Piper said at the last Gospel Coalition Conference resonated with me so strongly: “Commentaries can be sermon killers. No commentary has the word Oh! in it.”

This is why I keep telling myself that my bible blog is not a commentary. I keep having to steer it away from being that and make sure it’s a genuine account of my reaction to seeing Jesus in the bible. Eight months ago I set out on a journey to blog the whole bible in order to climb higher and get a clearer view of Jesus. I am at Melchizedek right now. I’m on very safe ground in seeing a link to Jesus there as the NT has already joined the dots for me (Heb 6:20). No one can accuse me of playing “Wares Wally” with the bible on this one. I recon though that its right and good to go beyond the specific examples of the NTs use of the old in pointing to Jesus. Jesus said it’s all about him (Luke 24:27, John 5:39, Acts 17:2, Acts 18:28, …) and spent a lot of time explaining that to his disciples. Everything should therefore point to him in some way. I remember Lex Loizides play a game at a conference where he got people to give him random bible verses (and people dually obliged with some very random ones) and he showed how each pointed to Jesus and the gospel.

Wally

The “Where’s Wally” analogy for looking for Jesus in the OT is a pretty unflattering one. I prefer to think of it as holding up a jewel to the light and turning it slowly in my hand. With each new orientation prismic sparkles dance on its surface in a unique and wonderful way pointing back to their source. The Lord Jesus. (Rev 10:1-2)

I find more and more that I don’t just see Jesus in the bible; films and even newspaper articles remind me of him. That’s not surprising as he is the truth and any spec of truth points to him . Even falsehood and injustice remind me of Jesus, both the one appointed to judge sin the one who came to be it for us.

PS also found text here on a more recent posting.

http://chipanderson.blogspot.com/2007/06/jesus-is-true-and-better.html

Great to find a fellow Dyslexic blogging. His blog carries a warning ” I am dyslexic. I am sure we will have that with fun.” Perhaps mine should too. There should be a universally recognised sign for it.