Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 16
"Make a joyful
noise unto God, all ye lands:
Sing forth the
honour of his name:
praise glorious" (Ps. 66:1-2)
Morning Service - 11:00 AM
God’s Way is in the Sanctuary
Psalms: 107:1-9; 119:33-40; 73:12-18; 77:7-13
Service - 6:00 PM
Catechism, Lord’s Day 27; Ephesians 1; 6:1-4
Psalms: 84:4-12; 119:41-48; 25:6-12; 71:14-19
cassettes of the worship services or CDs of the sermons, contact Sean
John Calvin on Psalm 77: "In the time of sorrow,
we are always desirous of finding some remedy to mitigate its
bitterness; but the only way by which this can be done is, to cast our
cares upon God. It, however, often happens, that the nearer he
approaches us, the more, to outward appearance, does he aggravate our
sorrows. Many, therefore, when they derive no advantage from this
course, imagine that they cannot do better than forget him. Thus they
loathe his word, by the hearing of which their sorrow is rather
embittered than mitigated, and what is worse, they desire that God, who
thus aggravates and inflames their grief, would withdraw to a distance.
Others, to bury the remembrance of him, devote themselves wholly to
worldly business. It was far otherwise with the prophet. Although he did
not immediately experience the benefit which he could have desired, yet
he still continued to set God before his view, wisely supporting his
faith by the reflection, that as God changes neither his love nor his
nature, he cannot but show himself at length merciful to his servants."
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
Please leave the back two rows of chairs which
are on the carpet for those with small children.
Catechism Classes: Monday, 5:30 PM at the Murrays
Monday, 7:00 PM with the Campbells at the manse
Women’s Bible Study meets Tuesday, 18 March,
10:30 AM at the Murrays.
Membership Class: Tuesday, 8:15 PM at the
Midweek Bible Study meets Wednesday, 7:45 PM, at
the manse. We will study II Timothy 3:15 on knowing the Scriptures.
Offerings: General Fund - £598.70.
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is entitled "The Power of Christ’s
Resurrection" (I Cor. 15:3-4).
Francesco De Lucia is due to arrive late Tuesday
afternoon. We are arranging tea after the evening service next Lord’s
Day to welcome our brother.
Next Lord’s Day, we will have preparatory with
a view to celebrating the Lord’s Supper on 30 March.
Upcoming Lecture: 28 March, "God’s Magnifying His
Word," in South Wales
Plan on a congregational outing on Monday, 24
March. Venue under review.
Website Additions: 1 Italian ("A Compendium of
the Christian Religion," an abbreviation of the Heidelberg Catechism
recommended by the Synod of Dordt), 1 Dutch, 2 Hungarian (ecumenical
creeds) and 2 Slovakian (ecumenical creeds) were added. An improved
Italian translation of the Heidelberg Catechism was also added.
How then can
man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a
woman? Behold even
to the moon,
and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much
less man, that is a worm?
and the son
of man, which is a worm? (Job 25:4-6).
Sunspots are dark splotches which appear on the sun’s
surface. They have different sizes and shapes. The larger ones are a few
times greater than Earth’s diameter. Sunspots can last for as long as a
few days to several weeks. They drift across the sun’s face as they
travel with the rotation of the sun.
Sunspots are the result of the sun’s magnetic field.
We are familiar with Earth’s magnetic field with its north and south
poles. The sun’s magnetic field, however, is far more complicated.
Observing solar activity, of which sunspots are an important indicator,
is much more important today than ever before. Solar activity affects
major power grids and satellite communications. With modern society’s
increasing reliance upon cell phones, global positioning technology and
Automated Teller Machines, governments are willing to spend millions of
dollars for continuous space-based solar observations.
The sun’s surface temperature is normally about
10,000° F. Where there is organized magnetic activity on the sun’s
surface, the temperature decreases to about 7,600° F. This decrease in
temperature results in the dark patches which we can observe.
The development of the telescope in the 1600s opened
the way for the study of sunspots. An interesting discovery was made
regarding sunspots soon after. The number of sunspots increases and
decreases over an 11-year cycle. At present the solar cycle is at its
minimum of sunspot activity. The next sunspot peak is expected to be in
2011 or 2012. Some scientists, sceptical of popular claims regarding
man-caused global warming, postulate that observed climate change could
be related to variabilities in long-term solar activity.
Sunspots have even had a role in European philosophy
and church history. An ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, taught that
the sun and heavens were ideal, an embodiment of unblemished perfection.
Aristotle’s teachings influenced the Roman Catholic Church. Rome taught
the heavens were perfect, giving us a picture of God’s perfection.
Heavenly bodies were thought to be the perfect shape, a sphere. Earth
was not a perfect sphere, but was rough with mountains and valleys
because of the effects of the sin of man.
Chinese astronomers could have been the first to
notice sunspots. They had recorded them already in 28 B.C. Some sunspots
are large enough to be seen with the eye when the sun is observed at
sunrise or sunset through a haze or mist. (However, be aware there are
those who warn against ever looking directly at the sun with unprotected
When Europeans witnessed sunspots, there was
confusion about what they could be since many believed the concept that
the sun could have no blemish. What were they seeing? The observed
motions of the planets did not match early mathematical predictions.
Some scientists believed the cause of this discrepancy to be a planet
which orbited the sun even closer than did Mercury. They had already
named the planet Vulcan, and it was thought the spots observed on the
sun might actually be moons, Vulcan or some type of cloud. It was
Galileo who, after careful observation in the early 1600s, first
asserted that sunspots were actually part of the sun itself. It was a
striking discovery, especially for the Roman Catholic Church. The
heavens were not pure.
When Adam sinned, he sinned as the head of creation,
all creation. His sin did not affect just the Earth, but the heavens
were sullied as well. How did the sun and the night sky appear to Adam
before his fall? How much more clearly did they speak in praise of the
Creator? What was their original state?
Bildad, part of whose speech is quoted above, knew
the heavens were not pure. Not everything spoken by Bildad and his two
friends met with God’s approval, otherwise they would not have been
directed in Job 42 to bring animals to Job for sacrifice and have Job
pray for them. Here, however, Bildad speaks the truth. "How then can man
be justified with God?" If the stars, once thought to shine in
perfection, are not pure in God’s sight but bear their blemishes, are we
to stand before Him and claim to be holy of ourselves? God is not merely
a little holy, somewhat holy, or even mostly holy. Jehovah is perfect
holiness itself. God’s holiness is what makes our sins so offensive to
Him, and why the suffering required to pay for them was so deep and
Would we dare claim to be personally worthy to enter
His fellowship? Are our spiritual blemishes insignificant or few? At the
time this article was written, the sun displayed no large sunspots. Our
Dutch grandmothers would have been pleased to keep their houses so
spotless. Can we claim a time when our spiritual blemishes are at a
minimum? Have we experienced days when we can assert our hearts display
no spot of sin? If any were to make such a claim, wouldn’t this serve as
clear evidence that one simply does not understand the nature of sin?
For years the sun and stars stood as examples of
purity. Yet, Bildad knew the stars were not pure in God’s sight. If the
stars are not pure, how can we be? We are lowly creatures. Bildad
unflatteringly, but accurately, likens us to worms. Give thanks that
Jehovah can make our hearts completely clean by the blood of Christ, and
that some day His people will stand in glory before Him in spotless
robes of white!
Mr. Brian Dykstra, teacher at Hope P. R. Christian