Saturday, July 31

Jesus Only!

You've got to read this wonderfully heart thrilling devotional from Octavius Winslow. Winslow spoke at the opening of Spurgeon's Metropolitan Tabernacle, London in 1861. Please read this slowly. You cannot help but to read it thoughtfully! It warmed my heart, and I think it would for any Christian with half a pulse! You may even decide to go to the site and have it delivered to your email. Now, be encouraged in Jesus Christ!
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:3
When heart and flesh are fast failing, and the trembling feet descend into the dark valley of the shadow of death, to whom shall we then look but unto Jesus? The world is now receding, and all creatures are fading upon the sight; one object alone remains, arrests and fixes the believer’s eye–it is Jesus, the Savior; it is Emmanuel, the Incarnate and now-present God; it is the Captain of our salvation, the Conqueror of death, and the Spoiler of the grave; it is our friend, our brother, our Joseph, our Joshua, loving and faithful, and present to the last. Jesus is there to confront death again, and vanquish him with his own weapons. Jesus is there to remind His departing one that the grave can wear no gloom, and can boast of no victory, since He himself passed through its portal, rose and revived, and lives for evermore.
Sick one! in your languishing, look to Jesus! Departing one! in your death-struggles, look to Jesus! Are you guilty?–Jesus is righteous. Are you a sinner?–Jesus is a Savior. Are you fearful, and do you tremble?–the Shepherd of the flock is with you, and no one shall pluck His sheep out of His hands. How fully, how suitably, does the gospel now meet your case! In your bodily weakness and mental confusion, two truths are, perhaps, all that you can now dwell upon–your sinfulness and Christ’s redemption, your emptiness and Christ’s sufficiency. Enough! you need no more; God requires no more. In your felt weakness, in your conscious unworthiness, amid the swelling of the cold waters, raise your eye and fix it upon Jesus, and all will be well. Hear the words of your Savior calling you from the bright world of glory to which He bids you come, “Arise, my love, my fair one! and come away.” Believer! look to Him–lean upon Him–cleave to Him–labor for Him–suffer for Him–and, if need be, die for Him. Thus loving and trusting, living and dying, for “Jesus only.”
See what I mean? 

Friday, July 30

Why Christ's Flesh Matters

Last Sunday, one of our Elders, Dan Zerbe, led us in a reading from Leo the Great (c. 400-461). We thank the Lord for Dan's commitment to lead us as a Church family in some of the well-known (and not so well-known) documents of the Church. This is vital for the Church of Christ in order that we may know whence faith in Jesus Christ has taken the true Church down through the last two thousand years. We are not disconnected from our forefathers, that "great cloud of witnesses" (Heb. 12:1) who have gone before us. In this reading from Leo the Great, the issue before the church was the person of Jesus Christ, specifically his humanity. Some were degrading the God/man union of Jesus, reducing him to divine, but only in an indirect way, human. It was vital then as now that Christ be 100% God and 100% man if he was to serve as a faithful high priest. As God, Jesus served as the perfect sacrifice. As man he took our sins to the death. This way, Christ paid the price for our sins and that eternally since he is the eternal God. The following reading (keying on these verses) accentuates the necessity and beauty of Jesus' perfect union as the God/man.

See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have. And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, Have you anything here to eat? They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. (Luke 24:39–43)

Accordingly, dearly-beloved,
throughout this time which elapsed
between the Lord’s Resurrection and Ascension,
God’s Providence had this in view:
to teach and impress
upon both the eyes and hearts of His own people
that, just as He was truly born, suffered, and died,
the Lord Jesus Christ might be recognized
to have as truly risen. 
And hence the most blessed Apostles and all the
disciples, who had been both frightened at His death
on the cross and doubtful of His Resurrection,
were so strengthened by the clearness of the truth
that when the Lord entered the heights of heaven,
not only were they affected with no sadness,
but were even filled with great joy. 
And truly great and unspeakable
was their cause for joy,
when in the sight of the holy multitude,
the nature of mankind went up,
above the dignity of all heavenly creatures,
to pass above the angels’ ranks and to rise beyond the archangels’ heights.
In its ascension,
our human race did not stop at any other height
until this same nature
was received at the seat of the Eternal Father. 
Our human nature,
united with the divinity of the Son,
was on the throne of His glory!
And so, dearly-beloved,
let us raise our hearts’ eyes unimpeded
to those heights where Christ is. 
Minds that have heard the call to be uplifted
must not be pressed down by earthly affections,
we that are fore-ordained to things eternal
must not be taken up with the things that perish;
We that have entered on the way of Truth
must not be entangled in treacherous snares,
and we faithful must so take our course
through these temporal things as to remember that
we are sojourning in the vale of this world, in which,
even though we meet with some attractions,
we must not sinfully embrace them,
but bravely pass through them. 
Since Christ’s Ascension is our uplifting,
and the hope of the Body is invited
where the glory of the Head has gone before,
let us exult, dearly-beloved,
with worthy joy and delight
in the holy paying of thanks. 
For to-day not only are we confirmed
as possessors of paradise, but have also
in Christ penetrated the heights of heaven,
and have gained still greater things
through Christ’s unspeakable grace than we had lost through the devil’s malice. 
Our virulent enemy had driven us
out from the bliss of our first abode,
but the Son of God has made us members of Himself
and placed us at the right hand of the Father,
with Whom He lives and reigns
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. 

Thursday, July 29

Electing Love - Not A Violation of Man's Will

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” — John 6:37

Many a curious soul has stumbled over the doctrine of God's electing grace. But with more consideration, they need not do so. Further, they will miss one of the most Christ-exalting, God-glorifying, and humanity-enhancing truths in all of Scripture! We need God's overwhelming grace to bring us to himself (1 Peter 3:18). Hear what Spurgeon pens regarding the above verse in John 6:
Oh! the power and majesty which rest in the words “shall come.” He does not say they have power to come, nor they may come if they will, but they “shall come.” The Lord Jesus doth by his messengers, his word, and his Spirit, sweetly and graciously compel men to come in that they may eat of his marriage supper; and this he does, not by any violation of the free agency of man, but by the power of his grace. I may exercise power over another man’s will, and yet that other man’s will may be perfectly free, because the constraint is exercised in a manner accordant with the laws of the human mind. Jehovah Jesus knows how, by irresistible arguments addressed to the understanding, by mighty reasons appealing to the affections, and by the mysterious influence of his Holy Spirit operating upon all the powers and passions of the soul, so to subdue the whole man, that whereas he was once rebellious, he yields cheerfully to his government, subdued by sovereign love [emphasis mine]. But how shall those be known whom God hath chosen? By this result: that they do willingly and joyfully accept Christ, and come to him with simple and unfeigned faith, resting upon him as all their salvation and all their desire. Reader, have you thus come to Jesus?

Spurgeon, C. H. (2006). Morning and evening : Daily readings (Complete and unabridged; New modern edition.). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.
Is this not why Paul, after penning those mighty words of Romans chapters 1-11 felt that he MUST exult: Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (11:33) A saying my Dad had in his Bible many years ago, was: "They who know Him best, fear Him most." Well said, for those who know best their own depravity, do exult that much more in the face of God's magnanimity. Thus, "Amazing" grace!

Monday, July 26

"The Church: Different From the World"

Therefore "Come out from among them and be separate," says the Lord. "Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you." --2 Corinthians 6:17

The church's mightiest influence is felt when she is different from the world in which she lives. Her power lies in her being different, rises with the degree in which she differs and sinks as the difference diminishes. [Some set out to BE different. This is not what our Lord is commanding of us. Our differences lie in the location of our hearts which are firmly set on Jesus Christ. Naturally, in the process, we will fall out of line with a self-absorbed world system.]

This is so fully and clearly taught in the Scriptures and so well illustrated in Church history that it is hard to see how we can miss it. But miss it we do, for we hear constantly that the Church must try to be as much like the world as possible, excepting, of course, where the world is too, too sinful.... [Thus, aiming only to be different, many churches follow at a distance behind the world, yet ever moving downward in increasingly sinful tendencies. They accept compromise under the guise of difference, viz., "We're not as bad as they are." Instead, our eyes MUST be upon the Holy One of Israel. HE CHANGES NOT]

Let us plant ourselves on the hill of Zion and invite the world to come over to us, but never under any circumstances will we go over to them. The cross is the symbol of Christianity, and the cross speaks of death and separation, never of compromise. No one ever compromised with a cross. The cross separated between the dead and the living. The timid and the fearful will cry "Extreme!" and they will be right. The cross is the essence of all that is extreme and final. The message of Christ is a call across a gulf from death to life, from sin to righteousness and from Satan to God. [Yes!]

The Set of the Sail, 35,36.
[From: "Insight For Leaders," July 23rd, by A. W. Tozer. Comments in brackets are mine]

Saturday, July 24

The Harmony of All God's Decrees (DGM Blog)

The following comes from the DGM blog. Author: Tyler Kenney

If God has already willed to send rain, then why pray for it? Or if God has chosen to save you, then why fight so hard against temptation?
Edwards gives his answer to questions like these in Miscellanies #29 (reformatted for readability):
God decrees all things harmoniously and in excellent order; one decree harmonizes with another, and there is such a relation between all the decrees as makes the most excellent order. Thus God decrees rain in drought because he decrees the earnest prayers of his people; or thus, he decrees the prayers of his people because he decrees rain.
I acknowledge, to say God decrees a thing "because," is an improper way of speaking, but not more improper than all our other ways of speaking about God. God decrees the latter event because of the former, no more than he decrees the former because of the latter.
But this is what we [mean]: when God decrees to give the blessing of rain, he decrees the prayers of his people; and when he decrees the prayers of his people, he very commonly decrees rain; and thereby there is an harmony between these two decrees, of rain and the prayers of God's people.
Thus also,
  when he decrees diligence and industry, he decrees riches and prosperity;
  when he decrees prudence, he often decrees success;
  when he decrees striving, then often he decrees the obtaining of the kingdom of heaven;
  when he decrees the preaching of the gospel, then he decrees the bringing home of souls to Christ;
  when he decrees good natural faculties, diligence and good advantages, then he decrees learning;
  when he decrees summer, then he decrees the growing of plants.
Thus, when he decrees conformity to his Son, he decrees calling; and when he decrees calling, he decrees justification; and when he decrees justification, he decrees everlasting glory.
Thus all the decrees of God are harmonious; and this is all that can be said for or against absolute or conditional decrees. But this I say, it's improper to make one decree a condition of another, any more than the other a condition of that; but there is a harmony between both.


Friday, July 23

The Gateway To The Kingdom

If you've read My Utmost For His Highest, the following will perhaps be familiar. If not, the following will demonstrate why it has been a classic for so many years! Please, read this slowly. Digest it. There's a truth enclosed in this treasury that will bless more than it informs. You can read a daily portion HERE. The book is offered as well. Just read this and see if Chambers doesn't open your eyes . . .
Blessed are the poor in spirit. Matthew 5:3

Beware of placing Our Lord as a Teacher first. If Jesus Christ is a Teacher only, then all He can do is to tantalize me by erecting a standard I cannot attain. What is the use of presenting me with an ideal I cannot possibly come near? I am happier without knowing it. What is the good of telling me to be what I never can be—to be pure in heart, to do more than my duty, to be perfectly devoted to God? I must know Jesus Christ as Saviour before His teaching has any meaning for me other than that of an ideal which leads to despair. But when I am born again of the Spirit of God, I know that Jesus Christ did not come to teach only: He came to make me what He teaches I should be. The Redemption means that Jesus Christ can put into any man the disposition that ruled His own life, and all the standards God gives are based on that disposition.

The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount produces despair in the natural man—the very thing Jesus means it to do. As long as we have a self-righteous, conceited notion that we can carry out Our Lord’s teaching, God will allow us to go on until we break our ignorance over some obstacle, then we are willing to come to Him as paupers and receive from Him. ‘Blessed are the paupers in spirit,’ that is the first principle in the kingdom of God. The bedrock in Jesus Christ’s kingdom is poverty, not possession; not decisions for Jesus Christ, but a sense of absolute futility—‘I cannot begin to do it.’ Then Jesus says—‘Blessed are you.’ That is the entrance, and it does take us a long while to believe we are poor! The knowledge of our own poverty brings us on to the moral frontier where Jesus Christ works.

Chambers, O. (1993). My utmost for his highest : Selections for the year (NIV edition.). Westwood, NJ: Barbour and Co.

Thursday, July 22

When To Confront Someone About Their Sin?

One of the most misunderstood doctrines among practicing Christians is that of judging others. Most would simply assert that it is never right. Don't do it! Period. But that would be to deny Scriptural teaching categorically. Truly, Matthew 7:1 teaches that we must be careful about judging other's motives. But there are other kinds of judging which God calls on his church to perform. Please listen to the following video segment from an interview with John Piper for a brief but lucid answer to this oft-confused and much avoided subject.

If you prefer the written account, click HERE.


Wednesday, July 21

How To Spend the Day With God - Part 3

Continued from yesterday . . . 

Richard Baxter wrote to his church urging them how to spend their time for Christ. Here is the third installment which continues from the last two days.  
Place a high value upon your time, be more careful of not losing it than you would of losing your money. Do not let worthless recreations, television, idle talk, unprofitable company, or sleep rob you of your precious time. 
Be more careful to escape that person, action or course of life that would rob you of your time than you would be to escape thieves and robbers. 
Make sure that you are not merely never idle, but rather that you are using your time in the most profitable way that you can and do not prefer a less profitable way before one of greater profit. 
Eating and Drinking
Eat and drink with moderation and thankfulness for health, not for unprofitable pleasure. Never please your appetite in food or drink when it is prone to be detrimental to your health. 
Remember the sin of Sodom: "Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food and abundance of idleness" - Ezekiel 16:49. 
The Apostle Paul wept when he mentioned those "whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame -- who set their minds on earthly things, being enemies to the cross of Christ" - Philippians 3:18-19. O then do not live according to the flesh lest you die (Romans 8:13).
Prevailing Sins
If any temptation prevails against you and you fall into any sins in addition to habitual failures, immediately lament it and confess it to God; repent quickly whatever the cost. It will certainly cost you more if you continue in sin and remain unrepentant. 
Do not make light of your habitual failures, but confess them and daily strive against them, taking care not to aggravate them by unrepentance and contempt.
Remember every day the special duties of various relationships: whether as husbands, wives, children, masters, servants, pastors, people, magistrates, subjects. 

Remember every relationship has its special duty and its advantage for the doing of some good. God requires your faithfulness in this matter as well as in any other duty.
Closing the Day
Before returning to sleep, it is wise and necessary to review the actions and mercies of the day past, so that you may be thankful for all the special mercies and humbled for all your sins. 
This is necessary in order that you might renew your repentance as well as your resolve for obedience, and in order that you may examine yourself to see whether your soul grew better or worse, whether sin goes down and grace goes up and whether you are better prepared for suffering, death and eternity. 
May these directions be engraven upon your mind and be made the daily practice of your life. If sincerely adhered to, these will be conducive to the holiness, fruitfulness and quietness of your life and add to you a comfortable and peaceful death.
May the Spirit use these words to encourage us all in our pursuit of God.


Tuesday, July 20

How To Spend the Day With God - Part 2

Continued from yesterday . . .

Puritan, Richard Baxter (1615-1691), wrote the following practical advice to his congregation in Kidderminster, England.
A holy life is inclined to be made easier when we know the usual sequence and method of our duties - with everything falling into its proper place. Therefore, I shall give some brief directions for spending the day in a holy manner. 
Diligence in Your Calling
Follow the tasks of your calling carefully and diligently. Thus:
(a)   You will show that you are not sluggish and servants to your flesh (as those that cannot deny it ease), and you will further the putting to death of all the fleshly lusts and desires that are fed by ease and idleness.
(b)   Will keep out idle thoughts from your mind, that swarm in the minds of idle persons.
(c)   You will not lose precious time, something that idle persons are daily guilty of.
(d)   You will be in a way of obedience to God when the slothful are in constant sins of omission.
(e)   You may have more time to spend in holy duties if you follow your occupation diligently. Idle persons have no time for praying and reading because they lose time by loitering at their work.
(f)   You may expect God's blessing and comfortable provision for both yourself and your families.
(g)   It may also encourage the health of your body which will increase its competence for the service of your soul.
Temptations and Things That Corrupt
Be thoroughly acquainted with your temptations and the things that may corrupt you - and watch against them all day long. You should watch especially the most dangerous of the things that corrupt, and those temptations that either your company or business will unavoidably lay before you.

Watch against the master sins of unbelief: hypocrisy, selfishness, pride, flesh pleasing and the excessive love of earthly things. Take care against being drawn into earthly mindedness and excessive cares, or covetous designs for rising in the world, under the pretence of diligence in your calling.
If you are to trade or deal with others, be vigilant against selfishness and all that smacks of injustice or uncharitableness. In all your dealings with others, watch against the temptation of empty and idle talking. Watch also against those persons who would tempt you to anger. Maintain that modesty and cleanness of speech that the laws of purity require. If you converse with flatterers, be on your guard against swelling pride.
If you converse with those that despise and injure you, strengthen yourself against impatient, revengeful pride.
At first these things will be very difficult, while sin has any strength in you, but once you have grasped a continual awareness of the poisonous danger of any one of these sins, your heart will readily and easily avoid them.
When alone in your occupations, improve the time in practical and beneficial meditations. Meditate upon the infinite goodness and perfections of God; Christ and redemption; Heaven and how unworthy you are of going there and how you deserve eternal misery in Hell.
The Only Motive
Whatever you are doing, in company or alone, do it all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Otherwise, it is unacceptable to God.

Part 3 (Final) - tomorrow

Monday, July 19

How To Spend the Day With God - R. Baxter

Richard Baxter (1615-1691), English Puritan is perhaps known best for "near" death-bed tome, The Saint's Everlasting Rest. I say, "near death-bed" because after writing this he recovered! You don't think God had his hand in that do you? ;-)  We ministers also love, and wince at his The Reformed Pastor (by reformed he means "changed, improved"). Very convicting, and therefore, very necessary! In his ministry, Baxter preached much for the practical benefit of his congregation (which at one time I believe numbered at about 800). Over the next few days I am going to publish his paper entitled, "How To Spend the Day With God." I only divide it to keep it somewhat brief for each day.
A holy life is inclined to be made easier when we know the usual sequence and method of our duties - with everything falling into its proper place. Therefore, I shall give some brief directions for spending the day in a holy manner.
Measure the time of your sleep appropriately so that you do not waste your precious morning hours sluggishly in your bed. Let the time of your sleep be matched to your health and labour, and not to slothful pleasure. 

First Thoughts
Let God have your first awaking thoughts; lift up your hearts to Him reverently and thankfully for the rest enjoyed the night before and cast yourself upon Him for the day which follows. Familiarize yourself so consistently to this that your conscience may check you when common thoughts shall first intrude. Think of the mercy of a night's rest and of how many that have spent that night in Hell; how many in prison; how many in cold, hard lodgings; how many suffering from agonizing pains and sickness, weary of their beds and of their lives. 

Think of how many souls were that night called from their bodies terrifyingly to appear before God and think how quickly days and nights are rolling on! How speedily your last night and day will come! Observe that which is lacking in the preparedness of your soul for such a time and seek it without delay.
Let prayer by yourself alone (or with your partner) take place before the collective prayer of the family. If possible let it be first, before any work of the day.
Family Worship
Let family worship be performed consistently and at a time when it is most likely for the family to be free of interruptions.
Ultimate Purpose
Remember your ultimate purpose, and when you set yourself to your day's work or approach any activity in the world, let HOLINESS TO THE LORD be written upon your hearts in all that you do. 

Do no activity which you cannot entitle God to, and truly say that he set you about it, and do nothing in the world for any other ultimate purpose than to please, glorify and enjoy Him. "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corinthians 10:31. 
Part 2 tomorrow 

Saturday, July 17

Spiritually Minded?

From: John Owen in Don Whitney's How Can I Be Sure I'm A Christian? These are the subheadings within the chapter, and are worthwhile in themselves. For more, get the book!







Friday, July 16

How Many Sins Were Involved in the Fall in the Garden?

We tend to reduce the sin in the garden to one sin, the sin of disobedience. Upon further consideration we may be intrigued to learn that this was but one of at least 10 sins according to the Puritan Thomas Watson. Read the following and see what you think.

1)     Incredulity. Our parents did not believe what God had spoken was truth. God had said that they would die on the day that they ate of the tree (Knowledge of Good and Evil). By their unbelief they made God a liar; and, even worse, put their trust in the devil over God!

2)    Unthankfulness. This is the epitome of all sin. Adam’s sin was committed in the midst of Paradise. After God had stamped his own image upon him and made him lord over all the world and given him all the trees of the garden to eat (one excepted), and then to take of THAT TREE! That was high ingratitude! Why shouldn’t Adam after he sinned go and try to hide himself in shame. How could he look his Creator in the face without blushing?

3)    Discontent. Had he not been discontent, he would not have attempted to change alter his condition. Would you not think that Adam should have had enough? He had the robe of innocence to clothe him, and the glory of Paradise to crown him; yet he was discontent, he wanted more; he would be above the ordinary rank of creatures. “How wide was Adam’s heart, that a whole world could not fill it!

4)    Pride. He would be like God! Newly formed dust now aspires to be his own Creator! How could Satan have tempted him had there not been some desire in him to usurp God’s place? “He supposed the tree of knowledge would have anointed his eyes, and made him omniscient. But, by climbing too high, he got a fall.”

5)    Disobedience. God had said, “You shall not eat of the tree” (2:17). But he would eat of it, though it cost him his life. “Disobedience against equity” (what is just and right). It is right that we should serve him from whom we gained our subsistence. God gave Adam his allowance, therefore it was but right he should give God his allegiance.” How is God to endure seeing his laws trampled on before his face? (Remember: if all God had done was very good, then so were his laws. Therefore, any trampling on his laws was a trampling on the good in favor of the bad) This made him place a flaming sword at the end of the garden.

6)    Curiosity. He meddled with that which was out of his sphere, and did not belong to him. God smote the men of Bethshemesh for looking into the ark (1 Sam. 6:19). So, Adam was prying into God’s secrets, and tasting what was forbidden. What? Did God, the Giver, have every right to withhold what he wanted from his creation?

7)    Wantonness. (Shameless, immoral, depravity) Though Adam had a choice of all the other trees, yet his palate grew wanton, and he must have this tree. Like Israel, God sent them manna, angel’s food, yes, but they had to have quail. So, it was not enough that God should supply their wants; now, they would have him satisfy their lusts! Adam had all that he needed and that he would delight in (2:9); yet his wantonness drove him to lust after the forbidden fruit!

8)    Sacrilege. The Tree of Knowledge was not Adam’s, yet he took of it, and thus robbed God of his due. It was a double theft—to take what belongs to God for use by himself.

9)    Murder. Adam was a public person, and all his posterity were involved and wrapped up in him; and he, by sinning, at once destroyed all his posterity, if free grace had not intervened. As Abel’s blood cried out from the ground for vengeance, so did Adam’s race cry out for God’s vengeance. "For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15:21-22, ESV)

10)  Presumption. Adam presumed on God’s mercy. He blessed himself (in effect) saying, “I should, though I have sinned, still have peace.” “Yes, though I did transgress God’s word, I should not have to die.” He thought God should reverse his decree rather than punish him. This was a very great presumption. After all, who would know? There was no one but Eve and me. God must always do what is right for doing right lies within his heart, not in the eyes of those who witness it.

Thursday, July 15

This Heavenly Light of Truth

Thanks to Grace Gems for the following from John Angell James:

"All Scripture is inspired by God, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The doctrines of Scripture are facts, which involve
corresponding emotions and principles of action,
and must, from their very nature, if believed, be
operative upon the heart and the life.

If the doctrines of Scripture . . .
exert no godly influence,
carry with them no practical weight,
exert no moral power,
they are not truly believed.

The doctrines of Scripture are at once . . .
the source of consolation, and
the means of sanctification.

The doctrines of Scripture . . .
come into the mind as knowledge,
produce peace and love in the heart,
and spread the beauties of holiness
over the character and conduct.

The doctrines of Scripture are light; and like the
rays of the sun, they sustain life at the root of
the vine, and produce fruit on its branches.

This heavenly light of truth gives . . .
spiritual vitality to the soul,
and holy conduct to the life.
"For our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction." 1 Thes. 1:5

"Sanctify them by the truth; Your Word is truth." John 17:17


Monday, July 12

How to Spell Relief -- C O M F O R T E R

I recommend the following two ways: 1) as a means unto an end, that is, to encourage you to bookmark the site from which this came (HERE), and 2) for the matter of which these words speak, namely the wonderful ministry of the Holy Spirit of God. Too often we pine away in our trials when the solution to our troubles abides very near at hand. Oh, Father, ever give us eyes of faith to see, yes, to apprehend the treasures which rest under our noses! This selection comes from one, Octavius Winslow. But be sure to check out the site, Grace Gems for much more treasure from the Puritans and others.
What is the life of the child of God but a continuous experience of the truth of His Word, and the veracity of His promises? You have, perhaps, been placed in trying circumstances; resources have lessened and demands have increased; your faith has been sharply tried; your spirits depressed; the sky has lowered and the waters have risen; but lo! the Spirit, the Comforter, has guided you to some precious promise which has just met your case. It has touched your heart, moistened your eye, uplifted the pressure, and your whole soul has been, as it were, absorbed in God. And now the harp that hung sad and mute upon the willow is taken down, and thrills with a new song of praise and thanksgiving to the faithfulness of God in the fulfillment of His Word.

Friday, July 9

The Centrality of Scripture

Preaching the Word imparts a certain passion to those consumed by it. John Piper has often felt this and passed it on in his messages. The following quotation comes from his sermon, "Building Our Lives On The Bible." You may want to check it out in its entirety. We have always needed the Scripture. Jesus affirmed in three locations that while heaven and earth will pass away [that which we know and unfortunately too much depend upon], his Word would NOT pass away (Matt. 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33). And twice we read in the closing words of Luke that Jesus emphatically taught that the Scripture MUST be fulfilled. It is not optional. It is not dated. And it cannot be thwarted! When we read and quote and teach and preach the Bible, we are not drifting into irrational flights of fancy; we are delving into foundational, rock-solid truth! WE MUST SEE THIS TODAY! Every revival reignited a passion in God's people for the Holy Book, God's Word. The protestant reformation recaptured the Scriptures from the Roman Catholic church, who'd taken the people hostage, disallowing them from reading and interpreting the Scriptures themselves. Today, protestants seem quite willing to surrender the centrality of Scripture themselves without any outside devilish machinations! Oh, we must not do this! Hear what Piper says:
We are a people of the Book. We know God through the Book. We meet Christ in the Book. We see the cross in the Book. Our faith and love are kindled by the glorious truths of the Book. We have tasted the divine majesty of the Word and are persuaded that the Book is God's inspired and infallible written revelation. Therefore, what the Book teaches matters…

There is no salvation from sin and guilt and condemnation and hell apart from faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12; Romans 10:13-17; 1 John 5:12). And there is no other authority besides the Scriptures to show you who Christ is and to give you his Word. So don't leave the Bible, children. Don't leave the Bible, young people. Don't neglect the Bible, dads and moms. Don't ignore the Bible, single people. Under God, the "sacred writings," the Scriptures, are the greatest treasure in the world. They alone make us wise unto salvation through Christ. O don't neglect this Book!
I close with this reminder from Paul to the Thessalonian Christians, commending them for HOW they took the Scriptures:
And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. (1 Thess. 2:13)
Go, and do likewise.