Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Excerpts from Knowing God by J. I. Packer and comment by Lynne Farrow

Many times we are tempted to ask if studying theology is necessary, will it be time well spent???? Well, the answer is some people will indeed benefit, others will not…it is up to the individual how much of God we individually desire. Some would think it irrelevant to our lives today when in reality…and I speak from personal experience…nothing could be more important to how we should and can live our lives. Our era is very, very complex. It seems to me, only God can lead us in a clear, firm path. There is so much confusion, so much noise from all kind of sources, almost NO place to quiet ourselves just to think. God says in His Word to “be still, and know that I am God.” In past generations, life was much more simple, more difficult and hard on the people who were living it, but there was not the confusion and noise that we have today. And, it is constant! I personally enjoy the evenings, in my room, quiet, comfortable and I find God is there waiting for me to quiet me. It might be a good idea to start this journey by stating five basic principles of our faith:

1. God has spoken to man, and the Bible is His Word, given to us to make us wise unto salvation.

2. God is Lord and King over His world; He rules all things for His own glory, displaying His perfections in all that He does, in order that men and angels may worship and adore Him.

3. God is Savior, active in sovereign love in all that He does through the Lord Jesus Christ, to rescue believers from the guilt and power of sin, to adopt them as sons and daughters, and to bless them accordingly.

4. God is Triune; there are within the Godhead three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And the work of salvation is one in which all three act together, the Father purposing redemption, the Son securing it, and the Spirit applying it.

5. Godliness means responding to revelation in obedience and trust, faith and worship, prayer and praise, submission and service. Life must be seen and lived in the light of God’s Word. This, and nothing else is true religion!

We are going to take a journey and examine these basic and very relevant truths about our Father. We’ll learn deep and revealing truths about Him and how he acts toward us and shows His incredible love toward us. The better we understand Him and His character, the more we will grow ourselves and become like Him. That is the object of our salvation…clear our slate, so to speak and grant us a new start. Then we start on the path of sanctification, which  is what we are doing here, the way to move to Christlikeness. It is a long and at times difficult trip. But again, I will speak from personal experience, surely very worth the effort it takes. God is a great God, and a wonderful Father. He wants the very best for each one of us. If we are willing, He will move Heaven and earth to make us like His dear Son, the first born among many brethren.

Tomorrow, we will look at the “why” of studying the Godhead…why are we doing it…what is our motivation. That’s tomorrow’s blog.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


There is a relatively  old book called “Knowing God” by J.I.Packer that I have enjoyed a few times over the years. I like re-reading books that impacted my growth and this one surely did. I am re-reading it now and have decided to share some excerpts from it with you. Lately, due to a new, painful and chronic condition I have developed, I have neglected posting blogs, even reading at times let alone writing or typing has been quite painful. But, thanks to a new, caring doctor and a procedure he uses, I am now more comfortable and able to get “back to business.” Hurricane Sandy has just let our area, I am at Bill’s in Valley Forge..and discovered my copy of that very book is here in my room in the parsonage. So of course I picked it up an thought about re-charging my batteries, so to speak, read and share this wonderful book…I trust you will enjoy it as much as I know I will and if you have any questions or dialogue on the book, email me or message me on Facebook and we will talk.

Knowing God, by J I Packer, excerpts from it directly, and personal, additional comments from personal application by Lynne Farrow

THE STUDY OF GOD, chapter one

It has been said by someone that the proper study of mankind is man. I will not oppose this idea but I believe it equally important and true is that the study of God’s elect is God. The proper study of the Christian is studying the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, he mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of the child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom we call Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in it’s immensity; so deep, our pride is drowned in its infinity. As we contemplate other subjects, we can come away feeling a kind of self-content and go on our way thinking, “I am wise.” But, when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt.; and with solemn exclamation say “I know nothing.” In contemplating our God…our minds are more than humbled…we are indeed nothing.

Nothing has brought my mind and spirit “low” then soaring, is thinking on the great words of Scripture concerning the attributes of God. I did a study for my men a few years ago, and each attribute in turn just made me feel so insignificate…then privileged, to be called and chosen by such a great and wonderful God, and He allowed me to call Him Father!  (LF)

While this subject humbles the mind, it also will expand it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the one that simply plods along this narrow globe. The study will also expand the soul! Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great study of the Deity. The contemplating of God can also be a balm for every wound, a quiet spot for every grief, and the Holy Spirit will ensure a balm for every sore spot on the heart.Plunge yourself into the contemplation of God and you will find yourself in the deepest sea, lost in HIs immensity, and you will come forth rested, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing that can so comfort the soul, so calm the swelling of grief and sorrow, speak to the winds of trial, as a devout musing on the subject of the Godhead.

I have spent years teaching and counseling inmates, and learning “on the job.” The Lord Himself taught me, and as I look back now, I am amazed and humbled to think I ever did such a thing, and according to my superiors, became quite good at the understanding of said subject. I came to the job with a pretty good understanding of the Scripture, but the application of it to this particular group of people was new to me. This I know, devoted love for my Savior and the desire and determination to follow the path He was taking me, caused me to cling to Him and search His heart and mind for the understanding and encouragement of others, that I needed. When you cling to Him, yield to Him continually until there is nothing of “me” left…He shows you His point of view. Couple that view with the spiritual gifts He gave me at salvation, encouragement and mercy, I was able to listen empathetically…and learn…and comfort. You know, there is nothing humanly speaking one can do for a prisoner, but there is much you can do to instruct in the Word and how to personally feed the soul from that Word, to encourage the reading and study of it on a continuing basis. God alone can do for him/her what is needed in His own way, but we have the responsibility to offer the soul-tools to facilitate that end. I cannot tell you here, all that I learned of the God I love and serve, but one of my main reasons for writing a blog and posting on Facebook is to share with others some of the wonders God has taught me over the years.  (LF)



to be continued…