The CCEL Times 8.1 (January 2, 2013)
In This Issue:
From the Director
Jonathan Edwards was one of the greatest American theologians and philosophers. His works combine profound theology with religious fervor. His Resolutions give insight into the intensity and seriousness of his pursuit of God:
Read the rest of Edwards' Resolutions.
"Playing With Whales"
This month's featured article actually is not a written piece, but an audio sermon based on Psalm 104 entitled Playing With Whales. Dr. Paas introduces the sermon by suggesting that looking is a way of loving and that looking very carefully is a gift of grace. Similarly, Psalm 104 is a long, loving look at creation.
Paas discusses Psalm 104 in the context in which it was written and concludes that humans don’t decide what is good and bad; God has already declared creation as good. And, because creation is good, we as Christians are called to care for creation and to protect creation.
If you enjoy listening to this sermon, you might also enjoy listening to other audio sermons available at CCEL. Two such collections include Jonathan Edwards' Select Sermons and George MacDonald's Unspoken Sermons.
Listen to this audio sermon.
What We're Reading
Golden Grain contains the brief thoughts from gifted preacher and teacher, John Wright Follette. These little "nuggets" of truth are short phrases or paragraphs that Follette kept ready-at-hand to dispense to anyone in need of aid. Full of practical wisdom, these different nuggets are ideal for meditation, for each one holds in store a new spiritual insight. Indeed, only after much meditation and several reads do many of these encouraging and edifying thoughts show their greatest spiritual insight. Follette arranges some loosely around topics, others not. Either way, Golden Grain makes a wonderful supplement to one's devotions.
-The Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Featured Hymn"All Things Bright and Beautiful"
In his book on hymns, Albert Bailey writes of this particular one, “For once Mrs. Alexander has forgotten her theology and lost herself in the beauty of nature” (The Gospel in Hymns, 354). Many of us, if not all, have had these moments. Whether we’re in a park, on a mountain, at the sea or a lake, or simply driving down the highway with a glorious sunset behind us, it is not difficult to find ourselves lost in the beauty of God’s creation. These scenes should bring to mind Genesis 1:31: “And God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Albert Bailey is perhaps mistaken when he claims that Alexander forgot her theology in the writing of these verses. For when we are in the midst of God’s creation, are our ideas of who God is not being shaped by all that we see? God made a good creation, and He loves it. Our God is a good God, who gives us good things, and then tasks us with taking care of them. Our God is imaginative, and His creation is both whimsical and sometimes startlingly majestic. Let us lift our voices in praise to our maker, the creator of all things bright and beautiful.
Wesley's Sermons on Several Occasions
“God’s Approbation of His Works” Genesis 1:31
Wesley begins this sermon stating, "How small a part of this great work of God is man able to understand! But it is our duty to contemplate what he has wrought, and to understand as much of it as we are able." In this sermon, Wesley outlines the beauty and perfection of creation, despite the introduction of sin, and consequently the need for praising God for providing us this gift of creation. The sermon concludes with these words, "O the depth both of the wisdom and the goodness of God! He hath done all things well. Glory be unto God, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever!”Read this sermon at CCEL