David Westerfield

Gospel. Culture. Technology. Music.

Category: Theology Page 1 of 66

What Does it Mean to Abide in Christ?

https://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-does-it-mean-abide-christ/

“The exhortation to “abide” has been frequently misunderstood, as though it were a special, mystical, and indefinable experience. But Jesus makes clear that it actually involves a number of concrete realities.” (Cont’d…)

Social Media Engagement Guidelines From the Larger Catechism

From the Westminster Larger Catechism. I’m still learning how all of this applies in the realm of social media engagement specifically and desire to walk this way (albeit imperfectly).

Q. 144. What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?

A. The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for and covering of their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; discouraging talebearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth; keeping of lawful promises; studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.

Q. 145. What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbors, as well as our own, especially in public judicature; giving false evidence, suborning false witnesses, wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause, outfacing and overbearing the truth; passing unjust sentence, calling evil good, and good evil; rewarding the wicked according to the work of the righteous, and the righteous according to the work of the wicked; forgery, concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others; speaking the truth unseasonably, or maliciously to a wrong end, or perverting it to a wrong meaning, or in doubtful or equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of the truth or justice; speaking untruth, lying, slandering, backbiting, detracting, talebearing, whispering, scoffing, reviling, rash, harsh, and partial censuring; misconstructing intentions, words, and actions; flattering, vainglorious boasting, thinking or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others; denying the gifts and graces of God; aggravating smaller faults; hiding, excusing, or extenuating of sins, when called to a free confession; unnecessary discovering of infirmities; raising false rumors, receiving and countenancing evil reports, and stopping our ears against just defense; evil suspicion; envying or grieving at the deserved credit of any; endeavoring or desiring to impair it, rejoicing in their disgrace and infamy; scornful contempt, fond admiration; breach of lawful promises; neglecting such things as are of good report, and practicing, or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering what we can in others, such things as procure an ill name.

The Gospel Embraced, For the Sake of Our Neighbors – A Prayer

Father, in light of Your Son’s condescension from heaven and Your great love toward us, that the Lord Jesus would set aside His heavenly throne in order to be numbered among us, to redeem us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, to raise us to new life through His resurrection, and to bring us with Him into His eternal Kingdom: Father out of that love and grace that we’ve experienced and soak ourselves in today, would You produce the fruit of being other-oriented and not so self-concerned and self-consumed with our own needs and conveniences; would we set our gaze toward Christ crucified for us, that we would be a people freed from self to pursue our neighbors, for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of tangible needs that we see all around us, these two coming alongside together as a witness to the good news of eternal resurrection life and the inbreaking of new creation. We need Your Spirit to accomplish this in us for apart from You we can do nothing.

Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP)

Awaken Our Hearts – A Prayer

Father, we know that no good thing can come from us in our flesh, but only that which is wrought in our hearts by Your Holy Spirit. Lord we are weak and frail apart from You, and even dead in our trespasses and sins before we come to know You, unable to respond positively until you shine the light of Your Spirit in our dark hearts to give us life from within. Even as believers though, we all know how easily we can stray from You in our thoughts and actions and even in the way we plan our lives. Lord when we set about a course for our lives, in our own wisdom, strength and power, it can only end in frustration and destruction when our course isn’t centered on Your Son. Would you go behind and before us to enable us to think and do always that which is pleasing to You, to live according to Your will? Remind us always not only of our daily dependence upon You, but even how You brought us to Yourself from the very beginning through the life, death and resurrection of Your Son, through the application of Your Spirit bringing and sustaining life within us when there was none.

O Good God, our King and Creator, seeing we have our whole trust in Thee, and do worship thee in spirit and truth, despise not, we pray thee, the sighs and prayers of thy poor servants, oppressed and afflicted by thy enemies; and keep us continually under thy protection, until we be glorified with our Head and Saviour, Jesus Christ thy Son. Amen. | Prayer on Psalm 5 – Prayers on the Psalms (From the Scottish Psalter of 1595)

Psalm 77 – Reminding Ourselves of the Gospel Story… Everyday

It was during the course of reading the Daily Office readings for today that I read Psalm 77. Asaph has a struggle of confidence in the Lord within his heart causing him to waver, displayed here (man, have I been here before):

Psalm 77:4–9
You hold my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old,
the years long ago.
I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart.”
Then my spirit made a diligent search:
“Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah (ESV)

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Pentecost Sunday – A Prayer

Lord God, we worship You as the God who isn’t distant from us, but One who made Yourself near and accessible and known to us. In the very beginning, by Your Spirit You hovered over the face of the waters in creation, intimately involved in all You were making. By Your Spirit You made Yourself known to Moses at the burning bush, declaring yourself to be the Great I AM from all eternity. By Your Spirit You came and dwelt among Your people in the Temple, where only the High Priest could go once a year to make sacrificial offerings on behalf of the people. Your Spirit came upon King David, anointing and empowering him as Your chosen king, a man after Your own heart. All of the prophets, empowered by Your Spirit, spoke words of both blessing and judgment with the goal of repentance and faith in the hearers. And then finally when Your Son came, the perfect Prophet, Priest and King, He accomplished for us that which we could never accomplish: the very redemption of our bodies and souls and the Spirit dwelling with us now perpetually. And all of the writers of the Scriptures through which we have come to know all of this were carried along by Your Spirit and wrote precisely that which You intended us to know for eternal life and godliness. And on this day Lord we celebrate the outpouring of Your Spirit at Pentecost, promised long ago, upon all who call upon the name of Jesus. No longer did Your Spirit dwell in the Temple for now Your people’s hearts were the very temple where He dwells. No longer do we need to offer sacrifices to commune with You, for Christ has made a once for all time sacrifice, putting away sin by the sacrifice of Himself and tearing the curtain of the temple that You may dwell in the hearts of Your people. Your Spirit empowers us, gives us strength, convicts us, draws us, and ultimately points us and unites us to Your risen and ascended Son. Lord we praise You for this unfathomable gift as a church together. Would Your Spirit work in our hearts as a church, drawing and moving us to strive to know and be known in our life together. Would You create community and depth of relationships that center on Christ’s glory as the end goal of all things. We can’t do this in ourselves and our flesh Lord because we can too easily fall prey to the ways the world engages in relationships. We all need the humility Your Spirit provides and we ask for Your help.

God, who as at this time taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (BCP)

The Lord Shall Make Good His Purpose for Me

A meditation on Psalm 138:8, “The Lord shall make good His purpose for me.” (NRSV)

The Lord…

The omniscient, ever-present, almighty God from all eternity, never created, always there, the One through whom the universe came to be, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, the great Magnificence of all that ever was, is, or will be, the Great I AM, the omnipotent, all powerful, consuming fire of glory and power, yet whose mercy and love, compassion and gentleness are always and at the same time displayed in all His works, from generation to generation, unfolding throughout the Old Testament, fulfilled and brought to completion in the New through the Son, brought about by the love of the Father, accomplished in His life death and resurrection. This is the Lord.

Shall Make Good…

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I Will Take Joy in the God of My Salvation – A Prayer

Habakkuk 3:17-18: Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

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Practicing the Fear of the Lord

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.” | Psalm 111:10

What does it mean to “practice” the “fear of the Lord”? We know what practice means, there’s obviously something you’re intentionally giving yourself to here. There’s activity involved. And it’s repetitious. And what is the ultimate end of this repetitious activity? And what does it mean to fear the Lord in the first place?

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Resurrection Sunday – A Prayer

Lord this is the day! The day in which all the hopes of the saints from ages past were waiting for, the first fruits of resurrection life coming to pass. And yet this was the moment that people at that time didn’t see coming: that the crucified Messiah, who suffered and died in such a horrible manner, would rise in glorious triumph by the power of the Spirit over all His enemies: Satan, death, sin and hell. This is the moment, the great day in which Your glory burst forth to show in no uncertain terms, that You have won the victory, defeated death, defeated the work of Satan that began in the garden ages ago; that You in fact did conquer our sin, absorbing in Yourself our due penalty, taking it with You to the grave; It is Finished! This is the day that You did indeed crush Satan’s head along with all his works; and this is the moment that all of Your promises of resurrection life and new creation began. Lord because of our union with You by faith, we see in Your resurrection, our resurrection. Because we’re united to You, everything that is true of You is ours, and in this moment in particular we are raised with You both now and will be raised in fullness and completion on the Last Day. Your resurrection life is also our power over sin at the present time, in the already and the not yet in which we live. Through Your resurrection is also our justification, just as Your glory and righteousness and justice was vindicated and You were displayed to be the righteous King over all. Lord we worship You not just as a crucified King, but also as the great conquering, victorious, warrior, Savior, King who will rule the nations with an iron scepter at His second coming, who we will get to spend eternity with and even get to share in Your glory forever! You have risen indeed King Jesus!

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