Monday, March 30, 2009

Psalm 92 Exemplified...Ron & Audrey Matthews

Our church honoured our dear friends, Ron & Audrey Matthews, yesterday.  This couple, formerly missionaries to Columbia, were instrumental in beginning Grace Trinity Community Church about 8 years ago.  Ron, a retired pastor, was always ready and willing to step in and preach at a moment's notice.  Audrey has been a true Titus 2 example to the other women in the church, both by her life and her teaching.

Now the Matthews have decided to attend a sister church of ours, simply because of distance.  They will miss us, and we will miss them, but those with whom they fellowship will be the richer for their presence.

I told them yesterday that they are living examples of Psalm 92 to me.

92 It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name,  O Most High;
 2 to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night,
 3 to the music of  the lute and the harp,
to the melody of  the lyre.

Ron loves to sing and to play his harmonica, praising the Most High God!
4 For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
 5 How great are your works, O Lord!
Your thoughts are very deep!

Audrey always testifies to the Lord's good work in her life!

 6 The stupid man cannot know;
the fool cannot understand this:
 7 that though the wicked sprout like grass
and all evildoers flourish,
they are doomed to destruction forever;
 8 but you, O Lord, are on high forever.
 9 For behold, your enemies, O Lord,
for behold, your enemies shall perish;
all evildoers shall be scattered.
10 But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox;
you have poured over me  fresh oil.
11 My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies;
my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.

Ron & Audrey experienced their share of pain; they have seen evildoers at work, and they know that in the end, all evildoers shall be scattered.

12  The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
15 to declare that the Lord is upright;
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Ron & Audrey continue to flourish, to be planted in the house of the Lord.  They bear much fruit as they patiently deal with all the Lord sends their way, and they continually declare that the Lord is upright and their is no unrighteousness in Him!  What an example they set for those of us who are younger!  How I pray that I, too, will bear fruit in my old age!

Ron and Audrey were uncomfortable with the praise and accolades of God's people.  Ron insisted that all of the glory belongs to the Lord!  He quoted the following verse:

To Your Name Give Glory

115 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

God is faithful, and His love is steadfast.  He has proved Himself over and over again in the lives of these His servants.  We are privileged to know them and to follow their example.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Gardening Chores

Granny Miller has a feature on her blog called "Ask Granny", where she answers questions about food, gardening and farming.  I compiled a list of her gardening chores month by month.  For her original post, go here.

Gardening Chores from Granny Miller - Zone 5





  •         Spend January looking through garden catalogues;
  •         Read and plan!


  •         Start spinach or lettuce in a couple of pots on a sunny windowsill.
  •         Ordering seeds, fruit trees or nursery stock


  •         Ensure garden tools & equipment are clean and in good working order.
  •         Prune apple trees, brambles and grapes.
  •          Start cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts in a cold frame.


  •       Spray Apple trees with oil dormant spray.
  •       Sow oats.
  •       Clear farmyard and garden of debris.
  •       Rake and burn debris.
  •       Divide and move perennial flowers.

  •       Plant onions and peas as soon as the vegetable garden is dry enough.
  •       Plant cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, radishes, lettuce and kale.
  •       Plant new asparagus beds and fertilize old ones.
  •       Plant new strawberries in April and bare root fruit trees and roses.
  •       Check herb garden for any winter die off.  Cut back plants.  Chives   are first!
  •       Plant sweet peas
  •       Enjoy the daffodils.

  •       Clean out fishpond.
  •       Plow in the middle of April.
  •       Start tomatoes, peppers or any other tender vegetable or flower annual from seed indoors or in a hot bed, the middle to end of April.


  •         Continue with basic garden chores
  •         Apple trees begin to bloom.
  •         Tulips and lilacs bloom in May
  •         Grass first needs to be cut
  •         Make sure that strawberries, onions and asparagus are well mulched.
  •         Pick first asparagus in May.
  •         By the middle of May the garden gets well rotted horse manure and is tilled.
  •         Roses are pruned in May.
  •         By the last week of May the garden has warmed up enough to safely plant corn, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, melons, winter squash, summer squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, wax beans, beets, carrots and green peppers. Some years I will plant celery.
  •         Plant marigolds in the garden for pest control and annual flowers for cutting. Sunflowers are planted for the winter birds and any annual herbs are planted at this time too. 


  •         First strawberries are ready to be picked by the middle of June
  •         Asparagus are still being harvested.
  •         Make yearly pantry list.
  •         Start canning and freezing.
  •         In June weeding and tilling are the main garden chores.
  •         Lettuce, radishes and spinach need to be gathered and sometimes peas are harvested by the end of June.
  •          Apples are sprayed every week.
  •         Vegetables are sprayed every other week
  •         Keep a close watch out for cutworms and other garden pests.
  •         June is the time for hatching out chicks and ducklings.
  •         Hay is first cut in June.
  •         June is often when deer become a problem in the garden and the garden needs to be fenced with electric fence.



  •         July brings cherries, blueberries, broccoli and cabbage.
  •         Weeding, spraying and pest control continues.
  •         Green beans are often ready to start picking by the middle to end of July.
  •         Dig the first sweet onions
  •         Pick summer squash.
  •         Cucumbers come ready and so do the very first tomatoes.
  •         Cattle are bred in July for April calves and hay is cut again.
  •         Harvest garlic.
  •         July can bring a bumper crop of blackberries.
  •         By the end of July canning season really begins to pick
  •         Many herbs are ready to be harvested during July
  •         Grapes are beginning to form on grape vines.


  •         If I intend to plant turnips, spinach or lettuce for the cool weather I sow them at the beginning of August.
  •         In August the annual flowers that were planted from seed are blooming.
  •         Sometimes it is dry here in August and certain flowers and vegetables will need extra water.
  •         Check for insects and plant diseases - late July and August brings trouble.
  •         Continue to spray during August and take particular care with the grapes
  •         Sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, carrots, beets, spinach, lettuce, melons and new potatoes can all be harvested.
  •         By the end of August cucumbers are beginning to play out.
  •         Cabbage should be harvested before they begin to split.
  •         It’s important to keep the seed beds well watered - it's so hot in August it’s easy to kill cool weather vegetable seedlings before they have a chance to get started.



  •         Watermelons are ready.
  •         It's the end of most vegetables in the garden.
  •         Sometimes hay is cut for the third time.
  •         Tomatoes and peppers are still producing heavy and summer squash and green beans are mostly over unless I planted a second crop.
  •         Sometimes sweet corn is still harvested.
  •         Harvest and dry certain herbs like sage, rosemary, fennel and basil.
  •         First apples are picked in September
  •         By the end of the month some of the winter squash and pumpkins are ready.
  •         As the vegetables are finished, begin to clear out the weeds and old plants.
  •         Collect tomato, pepper, corn and other types of seed on dry, sunny days in September.
  •         Allow all the chickens into the garden to help me clean up.
  •         Move the ducks temporarily to the garden so their manure can be added to the soil.
  •         September is when meat chickens are slaughtered and market lambs are sold.
  •         By the end of September we usually have a killing frost. Kale and Brussels sprouts always taste better after a good frost.
  •         Concord grapes are harvested after the first couple of frosts.


  •   Sow winter wheat in early October.
  •       October is time to remake the garden and to plant garlic.
  •       It is also time to transplant and mulch strawberries.
  •       October is the best time of the year to transplant trees or shrubs and is when tulips, daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs are planted.
  •       It is also the time I collect flower seeds for next year's garden.
  •       Apples are harvested in October and the orchard is cleaned and made ready for the coming winter.
  •       Often the garden is tilled or re-plowed in October.
  •       Sheep are bred in October for March lambs and kale and Brussels sprouts are first picked.



  •         In November field corn is harvested.
  •         Brussels sprouts are also harvested and any garden debris is cleaned up.
  •         Sometimes a single rose will bloom in November
  •         Often the weather turns cold before the garden can be put right before winter.


  •         Life begins to turn indoors again.
  •         Parsley, sage, chives and other herbs can still be harvested.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Living Life Without Breathing

"So many of you are trying to live your life without breathing!" 
~ John Piper, in his sermon, Put in the Fire for the Sake of Prayer.

Take the time to click on the link and listen to John Piper preaching about prayer.  It'll be worth the time it takes, trust me.

We Christians don't do a great job praying.  Oh, we promise to pray, and we shoot up a prayer, because otherwise we'll feel guity.  But we fail to remember that prayer is a privilege - purchased by the blood of Christ.

Three Practical Suggestions from the sermon:

1.  Set aside a time and place each day for concentrated prayer.  Do not leave it to chance.  The devil is shrewd, and will show you all manner of good things that need to be accomplished.  It's not our evil that keeps us from's our righteousness.  Resist!  Pray!

2.  Combine praying with reading the Bible.  Turn your reading into prayer.  Otherwise, you'll be distracted and your mind will wander.

3.  Pray in Concentric Circles:  Put yourself at the centre, then spouse, family, your local church leaders, then members, then missions...followed by your country, then the entire world.  

"I am the most needy, the chief of sinners, so have mercy on ME, Lord. Use me to accomplish Your purposes.  Use me to advance Your kingdom, to bring You glory."

God is not at the centre - He is in it all.  It is His glory, His kingdom, His will that should be the focus of our prayers.  

If we do not pray, says Piper, we'll end up in the School of Prayer.  

Now what about Zechariah 13:8-9? It tells us one of the main ways that God awakens earnest prayer in his children, namely, in the refining fires of suffering. . .

Verse 8: “In the whole land, declares the Lord, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive.” So the one third represents God’s remnant—his faithful, imperfect, weak people, who do not pray with the kind of discipline and desperation and joy, and hunger for God, that they should. So what is God’s remedy? What is his school of prayer?

Verse 9: “And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested.” Notice carefully what is happening. In his great love, God saved the one third from being cut off with the two thirds who perished (v. 8). And then as part of his love for them, he puts them in the fire to be tested and refined. That is normal Christianity. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).

Put in the Fire to Awaken Prayer

But what is it that God wants to see change in his people? Verse 9: “I will test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them.” 

God puts us in the fire to awaken us, so that we'll pray.  He does this out of His great love for us, knowing that in praying we gain power, we gain the Presence of Almighty God, we gain purpose to serve Him.  It is our privilege.

Almost 500 years ago, John Calvin commented on Zechariah 13:9, and what he said then is more true today:

It is therefore necessary that we should be subject, from first to last, to the scourges of God, in order that we may from the heart call on him; for our hearts are enfeebled by prosperity, so that we cannot make the effort to pray. (Commentary onZechariah 13:9 [Baker, 2003], 403, emphasis added)

John says that it's a duty to pray, but it is not to be viewed as a legalistic rule.  It is a means of grace. 

Do I go to pray with many of you . . . out of duty? Is it a discipline?

You can call it that. It’s a duty the way it’s the duty of a scuba diver to put on his air tank before he goes underwater. It’s a duty the way pilots listen to air traffic controllers. It’s a duty the way soldiers in combat clean their rifles and load their guns. It’s a duty the way hungry people eat food. It’s a duty the way thirsty people drink water. It’s a duty the way a deaf man puts in his hearing aid. It’s a duty the way a diabetic takes his insulin. It’s a duty the way Pooh Bear looks for honey. It’s a duty the way pirates look for gold.

Just as we cannot live life without breathing, we cannot live the Christian life without praying.  Don't even try.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

He who finds a wife...

I promised I would say a bit more about polygamy.  Here it is, but my hubby did it. I went to bed the other night, and he stayed up and prayed and pondered and studied.  He came up with this:
Adam had 1 wife - Eve.  This is how marriage was introduced by God, and is the foundation of any Biblical understanding of marriage as being unalterable - there was NEVER the slightest hint that this was not God's single and most holy intention.  Adam had neither additional wives, nor concubines - neither before, nor after the fall.
In 1 Corinthians 7:2 the Apostle Paul, speaking with the very authority of Heaven, declares: "let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband"; adding the provision than just as it is UNNATURAL for a man to have a multiplicity of wives, so it is likewise UNNATURAL for a woman to have a multiplicity of husbands.
Revelation 21:9b declares:  "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife." 
From Genesis to Revelation there is a singularity in the concept of marriage partners - one husband, one wife.
By the example given from the beginning of creation, He did notify His people that marriage is to be one man and one woman.  By the recording in His Word, it is recorded, and WE KNOW IT TODAY.  That you are positive or not is your responsibility, as God cannot make His will and purpose more plainly, or more simply.  One bride.  One groom.  God is immutable, that is, unchangeable (Hebrews 13:8-9a  "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines ")
That Old Testament history shows that many (not all)  were engaged in polygamy is not proof of God's approval, but more rather of His grace.  Any attempt to stretch Scripture to indicate that the practice of polygamy in the Old Testament is prescriptive, and ought to be practiced today, is being "carried about with various and strange doctrines."
Please notice the singularity in the following sample verses.
Proverbs 18:22 "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favour from the LORD."
.Song of Solomon 4:12;6:3  "A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a spring locked, a fountain sealed...  I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;"
Eph 5:28b; 31b  "he who loves his wife loves himself... and the two shall become one flesh"
Ephesians 5:23  "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church..."
The uniting together of a man and of a woman into the marriage relationship is a picture of the redemptive work of Christ - one sinner, one Saviour.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The First Place

The First Place

Radiant colors swirl ahead and behind crystal-like boardwalks
That reflect nothing around rainbows and emerald seas.

Mild flashings under deep rumblings from between
Chambered rounds of faith lumbering in thunderous voices
Too loud to be heard.

The more I think I know the face of the One who made me
The more I know I think wrong things about most of what makes me
Think more of the things that wrongly made me
Think of them in the first place.


The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. . . I think with flawed thoughts. . . yet I think often about the One Who Made Me.  

Like Ostrakinos, I am fragile . . . easily broken . . . a jar of clay.  

Yet, I am treasured . . . eternal . . . full of joy.

May the majority of my thoughts be turned towards the Only One who is Worthy of my thinking.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Idol Factory

 I know my heart is an idol factory that can take and corrupt good things.  I know that I secretly crave affirmation from the world around me.  I know that I want to indulge my flesh.  I know that I want to evaluate people based on my standards.  I know my pride swollen heart really does want to eclipse Christ’s glory even through the Trojan horse of ministry.  I know that I need to spend much more time evaluating my own heart in light of the word of God rather than evaluating others’ in light of my own standards.

Heart Idols are something we all struggle with.  We want to be on the throne, to be appreciated, to be admired.  We want to do well, and we often fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to the next guy.  I  have been homeschooling for many years, and it warms my heart when I see that my son reads better than others his age.  I tend to swell, just a little, with a tiny bit of pride.  

Again I say (agreeing with the Irish Calvinist) I have to preach the gospel to myself.  I have to remind myself that God chose the foolish (me), the weak (me), the low and despised (me!) so that He could show His power through His people. 

1 Corinthians 1:26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;  God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even  things that are not, to  bring to nothing things that are, 29 so  that no human being  might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God,righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

If I teach well, it's because of Christ.  If my children follow the Lord, it's because of Christ.  If I am healthy and have energy and can go from dawn to dusk, it's because Christ, the Lord, empowers me.  I can do all things through Christ, Who strenghthens me.  Without Him, I can do nothing.  At least, nothing of any value.

Lord, keep this child of Yours from idols.  Help me to guard my heart, to recognize the idols I constantly try to manufacture, and to cast them aside.  Help me to live this moment before YOU, before the face of God.  You are SO GOOD to me.  May I live in the light of that Goodness, and bask in the sense of Your presence.  In Christ, I pray.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Preaching the Gospel to Yourself

A friend is coming from out of town, and you think to yourself, "I'd love to see her...but look at the mess in my yard.  And what if she notices I've gained 30 pounds over the past couple of years?  I'd rather make up an excuse than to have to face her."

The trouble isn't really with your weight gain, or your unsightly yard.  The problem is with your heart.  You are trapped by pride, and you've taken your eyes off of what is important (Jesus!) and placed them firmly on the things that don't matter.

You need to learn to preach the gospel to  yourself!

Yes, your sin is real (gluttony), and obvious(laziness, procrastination), but don't forget that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  The very person that wants to visit and has left you feeling unsettled is a sinner, too.

There are sins of the heart that God hates - pride being one of them.  Don't let your pride stop you from ministering to others, and from being ministered to by others.  Satan loves to kill and destroy, including killing and destroying relationships.  But God is a God of relationships - we are commanded to Love God and to Love Our Neighbour.  How that is done is in relationship with Him and with those He brings into contact with us.

I have found Jerry Bridges' writing on Preaching the Gospel to Yourself to be very helpful.  It basically teaches you to have the mind of Christ, to saturate yourself with the Word of God, and to apply it to your life every day.

May this be a blessing to you:

How to Preach the Gospel to Yourself

I retrieved the following from this blog:

Here is how Jerry Bridges does it:

"I begin each day with the realization that despite my being a saint, I still sin every day in thought, deed, and motive.  If I am aware of any subtle, or not so subtle, sins im my life, I acknowledge those to God.  Even if my conscience is not indicting me for conscious sins, I still acknowledge to God that I have not even come close to loving Him with all my being or loving my neighbor as myself, I repent of those sins, and then I apply specific Scripture that assure me of God's forgiveness to those sins I have just confessed.

I then generalize the Scripture's promises of God's forgiveness to all my life and say to God words to the effect that my only hope of right standing with Him that day is Jesus' blood shed for my sins, and His righteous life on my behalf. This reliance on the twofold work of Christ for me is beautifully captured by Edward Mote in his hymn "The Solid Rock" with his words, "My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness." Almost every day I find myself going to those words in addition to reflecting on thepromises of forgiveness in the Bible."
The first step in the scenario above is to recognize the compounding effects of sin.  My gluttony has had consequences - I've gained weight, and am embarrassed to let my friend see me this way.  My laziness and procrastination have had the effect of allowing a mess to accumulate in my yard.  I must acknowledge the sin, and repent.  

Then (oh, joy!) I must realize that Christ died for my sin of pride; He died for my sin of procrastination and laziness.  Those sins were nailed to the cross, and I bear them no more. Praise the Lord! 

Now I am free.  Free to serve my friend, to invite her in, to make her a cup of tea.  I'm free to acknowledge my sinful heart, and to be ever so grateful that Jesus took that sin upon Himself.  I can reflect on the forgiveness found in the Bible - my sin has been cast into the depths of the sea - and can share openly and honestly with others.  Relationships are deepened, both with God and with people.  And all this is because of the good news - Christ died for ME!

JerryBridges  was interviewed by C.J. Mahaney recently.  It's worth the listen.  

You'd be wise to ponder the following verses, then praise our Beautiful God!

Psalm 103:12 as far as the east is from the west,  so far does he  remove our transgressions from us.

Isaiah 43:25 “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

Isaiah 53:6  All we like sheep have gone astray;  we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Romans 4:7-8  “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
  blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 130:3-4 If you, O Lord, should  mark iniquities, O Lord, who could  stand?
  But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now,  let us reason  together, says the Lord:  though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as  white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

Micah 7:19  He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our  sins into the depths of the sea.

Ephesians 1:7 In him we have  redemption  through his blood,  the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

Colossians 2:13-14   And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,  and I will remember their sins no more.”

Hebrews 10:17-18  “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Character of a Happy Life

How happy is he born and taught
That serveth not another's will;
Whose armour is his honest thought
And simple truth his utmost skill!

Whose passions not his masters are,
Whose soul is still prepared for death,
Not tied unto the world with care
Of public fame, or private breath;

Who envies none that chance doth raise
Or vice; who never understood
How deepest wounds are given by praise[1];
Nor rules of state, but rules of good:

Who hath his life from rumours freed,
Whose conscience is his strong retreat;
Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
Nor ruin make accusers great;

Who God doth late and early pray
More of his grace than gifts to lend;
And entertains the harmless day
With a well-chosen book or friend;

--this man is freed from servile bands
Of hope to rise, or fear to fall;
Lord of himself, though not of lands;
And having nothing, yet hath all.[2]

~Sir Henry Wotton

[1]  Proverbs 26:28 A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.

[2]  Psalm 37:16 Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked.

Proverbs 15:16 Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bible Study - The Treasure of God's Word

How should we study the Bible?  How do we understand difficult topics like polygamy, for instance?  When we read about the Patriarchs in the Old Testament, we see that they had many wives.  Is that prescriptive?  Should good Christian men in modern times go out and get themselves a few wives, just to be on the safe side?  (I will respond to that in another post.)

God chose to reveal Himself to the people He created, and He did so in different ways.  First, He created Adam and gave him work to do.  He gave him his beautiful wife, Eve, and we can assume that He walked with Adam in the garden, in the cool of the day.  He taught Adam about Himself while in a relationship with him.

Then, God gave Adam eyes to see the glories of creation.  

Psalm 19 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above  proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard. 

Better yet, God breathed out His very word to people who wrote down exactly what the Lord intended to have written.

1 Peter 1:19 And  we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

"That the Scriptures have a divine origin, being authoritatively inspired of God, is shown by the combined witness of archaelogy and the Scriptures, including the recorded testimony of Christ and evidenced by the transformation of human lives." ~Emery H. Bancroft, Elemental Theology, p. 37

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable 
for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

The Word of God is inerrant, complete, verbally inspired by God, of no private interpretation, and organic.  God used different writers from various ages and backgrounds to record His Word to us.

"In harmony, with the personality, experiences, gifts, talents, vocabulary and style of the writer, the Holy Spirit illuminates the mind, aids the memory, and represses sin within, so that the end product is the Word of God."

Systematics is the study of the doctrines in the Bible done systematically.  Picture a Filing Cabinet full of files.  In one file you will find everything the Bible says about anthropology, or the study of man.  Another one has a file on Ecclesiology, or the study of the church.  It is good and right to study the Bible systematically, as it helps a student to safeguard the Word of God by studying everything God has to say to us on a particular topic.  However, there is a weakness in this wonderful discipline, and that is that things can be taken out of context.  We must learn to study systematically, but we must not neglect Biblical Theology - the study of each of the Books in the Bible.  

 We must remember that God revealed His Word slowly, over time.  Diachronological study is study with the awareness that as time progressed, God revealed more of His plan and purpose and decrees to His people.  Adam knew the pronouncement of the Protoevangelicum... that God would provide someone to bruise the "head" of Satan.  He did not know that this would be the Messiah, Jesus.  We, looking back, see the entire truth of the doctrine of Christology.  

Every doctrine must be studied systematically and theologically.  God revealed truths about certain topics to Adam, to the patriarchs, to the prophets, and to the apostles.  We must study the whole counsel of God to understand what He says about each doctrine.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God...all Scripture, Old and New Testament...but not every Scripture has as much weight on a topic as another Scripture on that same topic.  We must read with wisdom and discernment, with prayer and much study, in order to understand what the Word of God actually says.

What is the danger of "proof-texting", or searching for specific verses to prove one's point?  Those verses are taken out of context, so the historical context (why the passage was written, to whom it was written, what was happening at the time, etc.) is lost.  We must guard against this kind of error by studying the entire Bible, by reading whole books, by learning the historical context, and by understanding the different genres of Biblical literature.  

The final goal of reading any portion of Scripture is the practical application - the So What?  If this is true, how does it apply to my life?  What do I do now?  How should my thinking and behaviour change as a result of understanding this passage from God's Holy Word?

 "The Bible gives forth no uncertain sound.  Its testimonies are reliable, and its teachings are trustworthy."~!A.W. Pink

This is a key verse for the doctrine of Scripture, indicating that Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, but at the same time men spoke God's words, using their own personalities, knowledge, background, vocabulary, and style. “They were carried along” implies that the inspiration of Scripture was invisibly directed by the Holy Spirit, though without overriding the personalities of the human authors. Thus Scripture is fully the Word of God, even though it is recorded in the words of human beings. 

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,