Webinar on Westminster Assembly

Covenanted UniformityDr. Wayne Spear will be hosting a webinar on his book, Covenanted Uniformity in Religion: The Influence of the Scottish Commissioners upon the Ecclesiology of the Westminster Assembly on Nov. 7. If you are interested in the Westminster Assembly and its confession and catechisms you may want to check it out.

Charleston Christmas Conference

Charleston Christmas Conference

Here is an announcement about an upcoming conference.

Christmas in Charleston anyone? Christ Church Presbyterian in Charleston, SC will host the first annual Charleston Christmas Conference on Reformed Theology December 6-8th, 2013. The theme is the Glorious Incarnation. Guest speakers include Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas and Dr. Steve Lawson. In addition, Mr. Michael Giuliani will direct a special conference Christmas choir. Reformation Heritage Books will be present with hundreds of great titles. For those interested, there will be a pastor’s pre-conference with Drs. Thomas and Lawson on Friday, Dec. 6th as well. For more information and registration please click http://christchurchcharleston.org/christmas-conference/

Genesis Meditation #3

Bethany Cole divine motive

The Genesis 1 creation account is remarkably God-centered. God is the consistent subject of sentence after sentence: “and God said,” “and God saw,” “and God called.”

All of creation is a revelation of God; it is given so that we might know Him. Creation shows us who God is, what He is like, how He acts, and what is important to Him. Psalm 19:1–2 stresses that God is the great subject of creation: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.”

Similarly, re-creation, sometimes called new creation, is also God-centered. We are re-created, not just to be born again, but to know God. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

God is the great subject of creation, as He is of the whole Bible. That means that He alone is the Author of the creation process as Father (Gen. 1:1), as Son (John 1:1–4), and as Spirit (Gen. 1:2). He speaks and the earth, the heavens, and all that is in them, including man, come into being. That is also true in re-creation, is it not? God raises dead sinners to life. We are saved by His sovereign, initiating grace.

God is also the great object of creation. Everything that God does—both in Genesis 1 and throughout Scripture—is for His glory. That is true from eternity past to eternity future. God determined to create all things for His own glory in eternity past, and He is the object of glory in eternity future. In Revelation 4:11, the elders in heaven testify to this: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

Likewise, you and I cannot truly live until God becomes the supreme subject and object of our lives. Do you meditate upon Him as the supreme subject? Do you think, speak, and act for His glory so that He may be the supreme object of your faith? “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).

Genesis Meditation #2

Bethany Cole cardinal 2

The purpose of the Bible—Genesis in particular—is to reveal God to us. It is to show us His person and nature, insofar as we are able to know Him, and His plans and works, insofar as we are able to understand them. The very first words in the divine canon—“In the beginning God”—set us in the presence of the living God in whom we live, move, and have our being, both physically and spiritually.

The Bible begins with God. His existence is presupposed as a fact to be believed. With a few strokes of his pen, Moses, the author of Genesis, repudiates atheism (for he declares the existence of God), materialism (for he distinguishes between God and His material creation), pantheism (for he presents God as a personal Creator), and polytheism (for he sets God forth as the only God).

The infinite source of true blessedness is set before us in four words: “In the beginning God….” The purpose of Genesis is to reveal God to us as the Creator and Provider, as the Redeemer and Lord of history. Like all of Scripture, Genesis is not so much a history of man as of God’s sovereign, gracious redemption of fallen sinners.

Genesis is primarily theocentric (God-centered) and only secondarily anthropocentric (man-centered) and geocentric (earth-centered). “In the beginning God” is the foundational truth of Genesis, the Bible, and all theology. False systems of theology begin with man or this earth and attempt to work up to God, whereas true theology begins with God and works down to man.

Genesis is not primarily a book about biology or geology but theology. That does not mean it is scientifically inaccurate. Rather, the focus of the book of Genesis is on God, which sets the foundation for the God-centeredness of the Bible. Genesis is written and designed that we as needy sinners might come to know and worship God in Jesus Christ, whom God has sent to us unto our everlasting life (John 17:3).

Is God the center and focus of your life? Do you know Him in Jesus Christ?

Update on Trichelle

Another update from Dave and Trichelle about her cancer treatments.

Hello again,

We are thankful to our God for again blessing us through another round of chemotherapy. We are now at the end of the second week of this round, and Trichelle is doing very well. The first two rounds have shown a pattern of feeling ill and fatigued during the first week, but the second week seems to be much better. By the third week, Trichelle usually feels ‘normal’! We are thankful for this as we hear of stories where others have reacted very differently to the Chemo drugs.

The medical staff has advised us to ensure that Trichelle avoids people as her immunity is very low even though she may feel fine. They have told us she needs to try to stay six feet from people and to definitely NOT accept hugs or handshakes from people. They also want her to avoid large gatherings of people. For this reason, we have been slipping into church and leaving without being too social to our caring church family. We hope you all understand.

Next Monday we will begin round three of the four initial rounds. After these are complete, she will switch to a different chemo drug for twelve weekly treatments. She will also begin Herceptin treatments every three weeks for twelve months. Radiation will be once chemo is complete.

We will continue to use the medical means and carefully follow the nutrition guidelines, but ultimately our lives are in God’s hands. Right from the beginning of this journey, Isaiah 41:10 has been precious to us. Many of you have pointed us to this text as well:

“Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

We sure have felt the truth of this text. Thanks again for your tokens of care and concern. We certainly value each card, email, and prayer that you have offered for us. Thanks again for the gifts of meals so lovingly prepared for us. We feel very supported by our family, church family, the school community, and even strangers we have never met. We are certainly not alone! Isaiah 41:10: “…for I am with thee…”

Dave, Trichelle, Breyden, Quinten, and Emilee Beeke.

Genesis Meditation #1

Bethany Cole dianthas small

With this blog I begin a series of meditations on the book of Genesis, chapters 1–3. These chapters are the foundation of the whole Bible, and indeed the foundation of Christianity. May the Lord bless these meditations to your soul for His glory in your life. [Thanks to Bethany Cole for the lovely photography.]

The Greek word “genesis” means origin or beginning—an appropriate term because Genesis traces history from the very beginning of time. All great biblical themes begin here. The truths about God, the world, the creation of man in God’s image, the Sabbath, marriage, the devices of Satan, man’s fall into sin, judgment, election, salvation, justification by faith, Christ and His priesthood, prayer, God’s covenant people, and blessing and cursing are all grounded in Genesis. Man’s complete ruin in sin and God’s perfect remedy in Christ are strikingly presented.

Meditate on this amazing book packed with ancient truth that is still relevant today. Can you think of other major truths that Genesis shows us?

The structure of Genesis clearly shows it is a book of origins. Genesis includes eleven distinct sections, each starting with the word “beginning” or “generations.” The opening words of each section are usually something like: “These are the generations” or “The book of the generations”. These sections include the history of creation (1:1–2:3), heaven and earth (2:4–4:26), Adam (5:1–6:8), Noah (6:9–9:29), Noah’s sons (10:1–11:9), Shem (11:10–26), Terah and Abraham (11:27–25:11), Ishmael (25:12–18), Isaac and his sons (25:19–35:29), Esau (36:1–37:1), and Jacob and Joseph (37:2–50:26).

Genesis takes us through various stages of history to trace God’s design of redemption through the line of His chosen people. Chapters 1–11 provide us with a wide-angle view of the history of mankind, while chapters 12–50 offer a more telescopic view of the history of God’s chosen people in Abraham and his family.

Without Genesis, the Bible would be seriously impoverished, for Genesis covers at least one-third of human history. Ultimately, it is God’s story—His-story. In Genesis we find special revelation in three-dimensional color and profound doctrinal, practical, and experiential truth, all directing us to Jesus Christ, the Savior of sinners.

Today thank God for His Word, and particularly for the book of Genesis.

Back Home after Trip to England and Russia

Mary and I with Dr. and Mrs. John Magee

Mary and I with Dr. and Mrs. John Magee

Emmanuel Reformed Church, Conference Host

Emmanuel Reformed Church, Host of Conference in Salisbury

I am back home safely now. I was privileged to be the inaugural speaker (together with my wife Mary) for the Pregnancy Advice Center in Salisbury, England, which is being headed up by Dr. John Magee and a team of workers. Then I spoke six times in Salisbury for my good friend, Rev. Malcolm Watts, and did a PRTS presentation at his request. We flew to St. Petersburg, Russia on Monday. I spoke six times there on Tuesday and Wednesday for the Reformed Pastors’ Conference. Both conferences were encouraging.

Update on Trichelle

Another update from Dave and Trichelle about her cancer treatments. Thanks for praying!

Hello all,

Trichelle continues to improve in strength after receiving her first round of chemotherapy two and a half weeks ago. Although the chemo certainly made her sick, we were pleased that overall the side effects were less than what we were preparing for. Certainly an answer to our and your prayers!

This week we met with the surgeon to discuss future surgeries as well as met the radiation doctor who will be taking care of us. Friday we met with the oncologist again and the second round of chemo is planned for Monday. We are thankful for the port our surgeon put in for receiving these drugs.

The plan as of now is to do nine more weeks of these chemo drugs, then switch to weekly chemotherapy of different drugs for twelve weeks. After that they plan to do around five weeks of daily radiation simultaneous with tri-weekly herceptin treatments.

We are thankful for the continued support, especially the meals and goodies!

Thanks for remembering us in prayer,

Dave, Trichelle, Breyden, Quinten, and Emilee Beeke

Emilee is showing that she enjoyed a donated dinner.

Emilee is showing that she enjoyed a donated dinner.

Why Christ Came

Here is a video about a new devotional book Bill Boekestein and I wrote:

 

Evangelism and Prayer Conference

Russia Conference

Today I am concluding speaking six times at a conference on evangelism and prayer in St. Petersburg, Russia, largely for ministers and their wives. The other major speakers are Dr. Tony Lane and Rev. Dewey Roberts. Please pray for God’s blessing on the conference, and a safe trip home.