Friday, December 7, 2012

From Death Into Life

Today's episode of Finding Hidden Treasure has a discussion of the book From Death Into Life by William Haslam. It is a wonderful autobiographical slice of Haslam's life in a twenty year period in early Victorian England in which he had just begun being a member of the clergy of the Church of England in 1841. Despite the surprising death of his fiancee, he becomes resigned to God's will for her and for him.

Perhaps even more surprising is how Haslam described his attitude toward God in those years before his conversion (happy, prayerful, etc). What he describes as his pre-conversion state would, unfortunately, pass for a testimony of conversion to Christ in many churches today. Yet, Haslam was still unconverted and living a life in which he placed faith in his role in the Anglican Church rather than in Christ. 

The podcast episode, covers, in part, his conversion, which happened while he was in church, preaching a sermon on conversion. It is a wonderful story but a sober reminder that simply because we live an outwardly good and upright life, it is no guarantee that we are converted and in Christ.

The program can be found at  

You can subscribe to the Finding Hidden Treasure podcast via iTunes

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Whole Earth is full of His Glory

The opening of the sixth chapter of the book of Isaiah is one of the most intriguing passages in all of the Bible. The first three verses read as follows:
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

First, we find from reading John 12:37-41 that the one who Isaiah sees seated on the throne is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Second, we see that in this vision given to Isaiah, he hears angels in heaven worshipping God. Yet, consider what they are saying; They refer to Him three times in succession as holy. Such repetition in Hebrew serves the same purpose as saying in English that the Lord is holy, holier, holiest.

What I would like to draw your attention to is what is said after this. Angels in heaven, worshipping God conclude their brief and repeated chorus of praise by saying that "the whole earth is full of his glory."

In God's sight, linking Earth with Heaven is important. But note what is said of the Earth: It is full of the glory of God.

If we reflect on this, I think that we will come to the conclusion that the world around us doesn't simply have bits and shreds of God's glory. Rather, it is filled with that glory. That has implications for us. We need to recognize God's glory all around us. We can see it in nature. I think that we can even see that glory in our everyday circumstances. There are so many cases in which humanity's sins have marred the evidence of God's glory in this world. Yet, according to Scripture, that glory is present.

What I have concluded from all this is that I need to take up the joyful task of looking and seeking out God's glory in my environment and in the circumstances of this life. While history awaits a new Heaven and new Earth at some point of time in the future, God has not left this present-day Earth without the mark of His glory. It may be hard to recognize in the humdrum circumstances of everyday life. Yet, it is there.

God has not left this Earth as a spiritual wasteland, devoid of His glory. 

I suspect that looking for that glory will be like looking for a hidden treasure. We might not see it at first, but it is there. Look for it in how God guides His church here on Earth. Look for what He does for His people and in our individual lives. Remember that the sovereign Lord guides and directs the path of human history so that His purposes will prevail.(Proverbs 19:21)  Such a direction of our lives, on the planetary and the individual scale, so much reflects His glory.

Pray to be given eyes to recognize and see this glory in the world around us.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Great Summary of the Gospel

Today's podcast of Finding Hidden Treasure (Episode 4) will discuss the joy-filled theology of the 18th century Dutch pastor and theologian Wilhemus A Brakel.

The program can be found at

In the course of the podcast, I read from a section of Brakel's great work, The Christian's Reasonable Service, to present a wonderful summary of the Gospel. It is among the best which I have ever encountered. I offer the text for your benefit and blessing:

All felicity [a state of great happiness], full satisfaction, and enduring joy of man consists in having communion with God—such was Adam’s life prior to the fall. After the fall, man’s understanding has been darkened; he has become a stranger to the life of God, is deprived of the glory of God, and thus travels upon the broad way to destruction. In His goodness God has revealed a way by which a condemnable sinner can be reconciled with, and enjoy God, this being his felicity, satisfaction, and joy. In this life, this is but in principle, but after death and the general resurrection of the dead, this will be enjoyed in perfection in the third heaven—in the paradise of God. The Lord Jesus Christ is this way, being the one, eternal, living, and only wise God and the eternal Son of the eternal Father. He has assumed our own human nature out of the holy Virgin Mary and has united it to Himself in singleness of person. He is thus true and eternal God, and a perfectly holy man. He was ordained by the Father in the eternal Counsel of Peace—or in the eternal covenant of redemption—to be Surety and Savior. In having given Himself to that end, He as Surety has removed all the sins of all the elect and taken them upon Himself. By His suffering and death He satisfied the justice of God, thereby reconciling the elect with God. Furthermore, by His obedience in fulfilling the law, He has merited a perfect righteousness for them. He is “the way, the truth, and the life,” and no man comes unto the Father, but by Him (John 14:6). Salvation is in none other, and He can save to the uttermost all those who come to God by Him.

God causes this Savior and Surety, being the only way unto salvation, to be proclaimed in various places in the world by means of the gospel, that is, good news. He makes it known to men and calls them; He urges everyone to desire this salvation—and for the obtaining of it, to receive this Savior as their Surety, and surrender to Him in order to be led by Him unto salvation. Is not a person wicked who insists on remaining in his wretched condition; who despises the salvation, eternal bliss, and joy in the perfect enjoyment of communion with God; who despises God, rejects the Surety, disdainfully rejects all friendly invitations, and thus goes lost forever—is he not frightfully wicked? On the contrary, is not he blessed who is acquainted with the necessity of, the full salvation in, and the friendly invitation to come to this Surety, Jesus Christ? Is not he blessed who delights in this salvation, desires this way, and becomes a partaker of it in this way?” (2.601-602).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Finding Hidden Treasure - Episode 2

Episode 2 of the podcast is now up on the net. The topic is the book The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. The webpage is at
The program is also in iTunes. Go to for details.

Friday, September 7, 2012

My new podcast is officially online

Today, my new website and podcast are officially online. The new website is at

This website is the platform for my new podcast Finding Hidden Treasure. This weekly podcast will feature something or someone not widely known in the Christian community and turns out to be a kind of hidden treasure which I want to share with others.

Currently, I am planning to post a new podcast every Friday. Today's first episode features a book written by the 17th century British minister John Owen entitled The Glory of Christ.

You can listen to the podcast in a number of ways. There is an audio player embedded on the episode page on the Restoring the Core website for each episode. You can also do a direct download from the same episode page on the site. The program is also available for subscription through iTunes or RSS feed. You can subscribe by going to the side panel of the Restoring The Core website.

The podcast has its own Facebook page

Please stop by the Facebook page and "like" us.

We're also on Twitter:
My name is @restorethecore

I will continue to post to this blog (School of the Solitary Place). It is actually part of the Restoring the Core initiative. While more can be found about the nature of the initiative on the "About Us" page of the new website, my goal has been to use the Internet to supply Christian resources to those looking to go deeper into the Christian faith. The Internet is where the early 21st century goes for answers to the questions of life. It is my goal to have the existing blog, the new website and podcast, as well as my book be a contribution to this new market place of ideas and resources.

Please visit the new site.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Transforming Glory of God

The glory of God has been a theme on which I have been reflecting throughout this year of 2012. I've been re-reading a book which I first read two years ago concerning the glory of Christ. It is called "The Glory of Christ" by the 17th century Puritan minister John Owen.

I highly recommend this book. If you are new to the writings of John Owen, you may wish to get the Banner of Truth version of the book edited by R.J.K. Law to make Owen's 17th century English a bit more readable and understandable to an early 21st century reader.

Here's a quote from that edition about meditating on the Bible to see the glory of Christ in it by faith:

Having come to the light of the knowledge of the glory of Christ from Scripture or by the preaching of the gospel, let us regard it as our duty to meditate frequently on his glory. It is the neglect of meditation that keeps so many Christians in a feeble state, regardless of their privileges. They hear of these things and assent to the truth of them or at least they do not question them. But they never solemnly meditate on them. They think that meditation is above their capabilities, or they are totally ignorant of how to go about it, or they are not too concerned about it, or they treat it as fanaticism. Many cannot meditate because their minds are so cluttered up with earthly things. The mind must be spiritual and holy, freed from all earthly clutter. It must be raised above things below if we wish to meditate on the glory of Christ. So many are stangers to this duty because they do not mortify [put to death] their earthly desires and concerns.

I highly recommend this book. It put me into the mindset of recognizing how central, how marvelous and how transforming is our beholding of the glory of God.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Weight of Glory

Recently, I have run across a number of references to an essay (actually originally composed as a sermon) by C.S. Lewis written in the early 1940's. I took the time to read it about a month ago. C.S. Lewis had some profound insights into how we humans are anything but ordinary.

I was especially moved to post about this after reading my son's Facebook post from yesterday in which he (independent of my prompting, I think) came across an extended quote from Weight of Glory. With all of these "co-incidences" in which I keep running into references to this essay, I must conclude that "coincidences take a lot of planning"... planning on God's part that is. I have needed to read this essay for a reason. So, here is a link to the essay in pdf form.

I conclude with a quote from the essay:

It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.