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July 2009

John Calvin

johncalvin1On July 10, 1509, John Calvin was born in a small town in France. That means that this month marks the 500th anniversary of his birth.

Calvin was a remarkable man. By the age of 27 he had written his Institutes of the Christian Religion, a seminal work that laid out the Christian religion in detail from start to finish. There is no denying the influence John Calvin has had on the Church and on the world at large. It has been argued that Calvin's writings were the seedbed of concepts such as capitalism and democracy.

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May 2009

Covenant Living: Declare

"You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. " (Deut. 6:9 )

cathedraldoorsFor our May newsletter, we want to conclude a series of lessons on covenant living. Over the past several months we have looked at Deut. 6:4-9 and noted that there are six principles in these verses which all begin with the letter "d". First, we looked at how we are to be doctrinal people, taking seriously the truths of God's Word. Next, we saw that in getting our doctrine right, we must also be devotional people, loving the LORD with all of our heart. Thirdly, we saw that we should disciple or teach people God's truth. Fourthly, we saw that the Word of God should affect what we do. Last month we looked at the fact that the Word of God should affect what we think or how we deliberate. That leaves us with our sixth and final principle which is that we should declare our faith.

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April 2009

Covenant Living: Deliberate

"...and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes." (Deut. 6:8 )

houseinmistFor the devotional section of our monthly newsletter, we have been looking at six principles of covenant living from Deuteronomy 6 which all begin with the letter "d". This month we will look at the fifth of these sixth principles which is Deliberate.

In Deuteronomy 6:8 we read, "...and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes." What does this mean?

"Frontlets" are little ornaments worn around the head like a headband. Each one had a little pocket or pouch. A tradition developed with the ancient Hebrews where they would place slips of paper in the pouch. On these pieces of paper were Bible verses which they had memorized. The more memorized, the bigger the pouch. We see the Lord Jesus mention this in Matthew 23 , but he is not favorable about it. These headbands had become a source of pride. Apparently, the motive of these Pharisees was to be seen by men, which is not a good motive in God's eyes.

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March 2009

Covenant Living: Do

"You shall bind them as a sign on your hand. " (Deut. 6:8 )

cathedralFor the devotional part of our monthly newsletter, we've been looking at Covenant Living. That is, we have been looking at the practical living out of our faith using Deuteronomy 6:4-9 as a text. In that passage of Scripture, there are 6 principles listed. For easy memorizing, we have labeled each principle with a word that begins with the letter "d". So far, we have looked at the importance of doctrine; next, we looked at how we should be a devotional people; and last month we looked at discipleship. This month we want to look at the forth principle which is do.

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February 2009

Covenant Living: Discipleship

"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. " (Deut. 6:6-7 )

A few months ago we began a series of lessons on Deuteronomy 6:4-9 which was the classic Call to Worship for the nation of Israel. I noted when we began that there are six principles in this passage which, if we are a bit creative, can all begin with the letter "d". For example, the first principle we looked at came from verse 4 which says, "The LORD our God, the LORD is one." This is a statement about the nature of God. In other words, it is a doctrinal statement. We can learn from this that if one of the first things said in the classic Call to Worship is a doctrinal statement about the nature of God, then doctrine is very important indeed. We should be doctrinal people.

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January 2009

Covenant Living: Devotion

"And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength." (Deut. 6:5 )

This month's newsletter continues a series of lessons based upon Deuteronomy 6:4-9 . That passage, referred to in biblical studies as the great "Shema" passage, was a classic call to worship for the nation of Israel. "Shema" is Hebrew for "hear" and that is the first word of that passage. It says, "Hear, O Israel..." It then goes on and lists several principles, which, if we are a bit creative, can all begin with the letter "d." For instance, the first "d" would be "doctrinal." The passage begins by saying, "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one." The first statement is a doctrinal statement about the nature of God. We looked at the importance of doctrine in our last newsletter.

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