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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

a word from Samuel Rutherford

I am now reading "Letters of Samuel Rutherford", I would highly recommend it to all.

This is a short excerpt from a letter he wrote to a 'Lady Kenmure' in June 26, 1630. She had written him and apparently was suffering physically.

Rutherford said;
And sure I am, it is better to be sick, providing Christ come to the bed-side, and draw aside the curtains, and say 'Courage, I am thy salvation,' than to enjoy health, being lusty and strong, and never to be visited of God.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God..... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:1-2, 14


And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on his vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Rev. 19:-11-16

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

the birth of the Savior

This poem was sent out by Pastor Gene Breed of Grace Baptist Church in Jonesboro, GA. The author of the poem, Bro. Gary Baldy, is an original member of the church.


What About the Birth Of

“A Savior Which is Christ the Lord?”



Let harlot religion paganize it.

Let the world system merchandize it.

Let ransomed souls recognize it.


Artistic ones will glamorize it

Emotional ones will sentimentalize it.

His ministers will emphasize it.


While intellectuals analyze it,

And scoffers trivialize it.

Repentant sinners utilize it.


Historians and calendar makers,

Categorize it and seasonalize it,

True worshippers

Internalize it and eternalize it.


Indifferent hearts generalize it.

His enemies criticize it and eulogize it.

God’s sons and God’s daughters

Realize it and personalize it.


Gary Daniel Baldy

12/17/2009


Monday, December 14, 2009

Isaiah 12

And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.

Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Crucified with Christ

From the pen of Bro. Mike McInnis

CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

This verse along with several other New Testament passages of scripture profoundly declare the glorious and perfect standing of the sons of GOD with their FATHER. One is “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal 6:14) Another is “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom 8:1) And yet another is, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 6:11) Still another is, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1Cor 1:30-31)

We have all heard the mantra; “What you have is GOD’s gift to you, what you do with what you have is your gift to GOD.” This teaching is espoused far and wide among many well meaning folks who are convinced that it is a basic truth. It certainly has a nice ring to it and is very appealing to the natural religious mind. This is exactly the concept that the Jews followed according to Paul’s description. “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” (Rom 10:3)

Paul recognized that he could not in any way enhance that which was given to him by GOD’s grace nor did he suppose he could somehow perform some deed of righteousness which could insure GOD’s continued favor or, conversely, commit some act would cause him to forfeit that gift. “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1Cor 4:7) He understood quite clearly that there was no place in the believers life wherein he might glory in his own effort, regardless of the supposed triumphs or victories which GOD was pleased to manifest in him. “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.” (Rom 14:7-8)

Those who have been given the privilege to be the sons of GOD are so because it has pleased GOD to make them such. HE has redeemed them with the precious blood of HIS only begotten SON and does, in HIS own time, call them out by HIS grace. HE has seen fit to leave them in this world for a season, not as a “proving ground”, to find out which among them are worthy, but rather to manifest HIS faithfulness to them in applying the righteousness of CHRIST to them, even though they be thought to be the offscouring of the earth by its inhabitants, and in and of themselves worthy of nothing but death. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2Cor 4:7)

How can any man ever take credit for that which is the operation of GOD’s SPIRIT? “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phil 2:13) Or how can a man entertain the notion that he can somehow become a child of GOD by some activity of his own? “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13) Paul said:

“I am crucified with CHRIST.” He makes it clear that HIS redemption is in and by CHRIST. One of the most glorious aspects of that which CHRIST has performed is a contemplation of HIS love for and union with those whose sins HE atoned for. HE came as the “KINSMAN REDEEMER” for all of those whom HE loved before the foundation of the world. HE says to HIS FATHER, “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me.” (John 17:6) HE is the ELDER BROTHER of all of those who belong to HIM and can no more be separated from them in that capacity than HE can be separated from HIS FATHER as the ETERNAL SON. Therefore when HE suffered they suffered, when HE died they died, when HE rose again so did they, and when HE comes back they shall be with HIM.

“Nevertheless I live”. He is saying that he presently is alive in a state totally free from the condemnation, power, and guilt of sin, He cannot be brought under its curse any longer because he is dead to the law and alive unto CHRIST. His case has been taken out of the court of sin and death, (since CHRIST has died in his behalf) and now he dwells under the law of the SPIRIT of LIFE in CHRIST JESUS where there is no condemnation of any sort that can be leveled against him, by men or angels.. (see Rom.8:1,2)

“Yet not I but CHRIST liveth in me.” Lest any man should think that the power of this LIFE is in any wise his own or that its ownership is somehow “transferred” or the righteousness thereof “imparted” to him, he makes it clear that all of his “righteousness” is that which is his by the imputation of CHRIST’s righteousness and that any product thereof is that of the SPIRIT of CHRIST who dwells in him.

“And the life which I now live in the flesh”. Then so that no man should think that he is describing some “out of body” (or purely spiritual) experience he plainly declares that the LORD is pleased to operate in us and through us in these mortal bodies. Some seem to think that those whom the LORD is pleased to manifest as HIS children can live in such a manner as to be totally at odds with the work of that SPIRIT. Paul entertained no such notion saying, “Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Cor 6:10-11) GOD is pleased to work in those HE has justified and called. A man devoid of the SPIRIT’s presence is not a manifested child of GOD. “But ye are not in the flesh, (i.e. operating under its dominion) but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Rom 8:9)

“I live by the faith of the SON of GOD.” He makes it very plain that even that faith in which we stand by the grace of GOD is not ours. That “faith” which we possess is “of CHRIST” in its origin. HE is the giver of faith, no man can boast either in its presence or in any wise as to the degree with which it is bestowed upon him, it is the gift of GOD. It is the faith “of CHRIST” because all of the hopes and expectations of the sons of GOD have their total basis in that which HE has done in their behalf. It is the “faith of CHRIST” as to all of their desires for the future. “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68-69)

“Who loved me and gave HIMSELF for me.” “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” (1Cor 6:19-20)

Monday, December 7, 2009

a thought for Monday, 12/7/09

Sanctify the LORD of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. Isa. 8:13

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gospel preachers, follow the Preacher's example

Ecclesiastes 12:9-11

And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.



Keying in on verse 11:

I pray today for my preacher brethren, that your preaching: 1) comes from the throne of the "one shepherd", the Great Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd and Bishop of our souls! 2) May it "goad", prick, cut, divide, warm, and soften the hearts of your hearers, and 3) may it "fasten" to their hearts and minds and in due time bear precious fruit in their souls, some thirtyfold, some sixty and some hundred!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him above you heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
Amen.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ecclesiastes 7

I bolded the verses that jumped out at me.


1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.

7 Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.
8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.

10 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.

11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.
12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.

13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?

14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.

16 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?
17 Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?
18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.

19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.

20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.

21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:
22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.

23 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.
24 That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?
25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:
26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.
27 Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account:
28 Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.

29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

No More Sea

from the pen of Bro. Mike McInnis


NO MORE SEA

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Revelation 21:1-4

John bears testimony that he received this Revelation of JESUS CHRIST (see Rev.1:1) while he was on the isle of Patmos, (see Rev.1:9) just off the coast of Greece. In John’s characteristic humility he does not go into detail about how he came to be there but does mention that it was for “for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev 1:9)

History bears record that John was banished to this somewhat deserted island for preaching CHRIST, (which was deemed subversive by the government) by the emperor Domitian around 95 AD. There is one high point on the island from which the mainland (Greece) could be seen on a clear day. One can only imagine the exiled John looking longingly, from time to time, over that expanse of the Aegean Sea which separated him from those churches which he had by the grace of GOD established in Greece. He desired to be with the people of GOD, (see I John 3:14) who are the body of CHRIST.

Thus we see him writing of that new heaven and new earth which the LORD showed him, and commenting that there was “no more sea”. I believe he meant that there was nothing to separate the people of GOD from one another, but most importantly no bars of separation between him and his LORD. The LORD JESUS, had told HIS disciples that it was a necessity that HE go away and that they could not accompany HIM at that time. But HE promised that HE would prepare a place for them and that HE would come back to get them. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John14:3)

Thus with this promise firmly planted in his mind, we can imagine the exultant joy that must have gripped HIM as the LORD showed HIM this Heavenly Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, prepared as a bride for her HUSBAND. For he saw there not bricks and stone but those whom Paul said “HE would bring with HIM.” That city of GOD is a people chosen, redeemed, and prepared to dwell everlastingly with HIM who loved them before the foundation of the world and has hid them in the palm of HIS hand. (see John 10:28,29)

The entire life experience of the sons of GOD in this world is but a preparatory work for that which is to come. The elect angels have never experienced sin, along with its corruption, and they can but look on with wonder and amazement at the unfolding of redemption as it remains a complete mystery to them. They worship and glorify GOD daily but they can have no true appreciation of the redeeming work of CHRIST in the behalf of HIS chosen people as those men can, who have known what it is to be lost and separated from GOD.

Those who are the objects of CHRIST’s redemption shall forever praise HIM for that which HE so freely performed for them. “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” (Rev 5:9)

What a glorious privilege indeed to be included in that number for which CHRIST laid down HIS life as a sacrificial LAMB. That man who has never been acquainted with the depths of his own sin and his total unworthiness to dwell in the presence of the LORD, could never have any appreciation for what CHRIST has done. Yet those who know themselves to be unworthy of the least of the LORD’s mercies shall rejoice and glorify HIM forever for such an unspeakable gift as the purchase and bestowal of eternal life upon them. Those who are worthy of death are presented in the courts of heaven as having never sinned, so great is the work of CHRIST in their behalf. (see Rom.8:29-34)

So John speaks of this heavenly city coming down and sees it not as some unpopulated metropolis but rather as a “bride adorned for her HUSBAND”. This city is indeed that bride, which is the church of JESUS CHRIST, made ready for the unending wedded bliss that can only exist between a bride whose love has been earned, and the ONE who purchased and loved her as HIS own body. (see Eph.5:22-33) This marriage is described as one in which:

HE will be their GOD. A look at the history of the nation of Israel reveals that they were constantly going after other gods and engaging in idolatrous practices. One of the greatest laments of the true Israel of GOD is that they find themselves prone to disobedience and unfaithfulness. That day is coming when all of their unbelief and this wicked flesh shall be put off and HE shall be their GOD and they shall be HIS people. (see Rom. 7:14-25)

HE will dwell with them forever. There has never been a time revealed unto men when the LORD has not had a perfect and unbounded love for those whom HE chose in CHRIST. According to HIS purpose HE subjected them to the rigors of sin and the law and ultimately to the separation which such a course of action brought to pass. (see Isa.59:2; Rom.3:23) John sees this barrier of separation removed, (no more sea) and now there being no impediment to their enjoyment of HIS presence forevermore. For while HIS affection for them has never waned or changed in anyway, their ability to completely rest in HIM shall reach its unending climax in the ages to come when they see HIM face to face.

There will be no more death, pain, sorrow, or crying. This earth in which we dwell is but a lowland of sin and sorrow, it is a valley of suffering by the direct design of HIM who works all things together for good to those who are the called according to HIS purpose. But it is only a temporary stay for those whom Peter describes as “as strangers and pilgrims” (1Pet 2:11) in the earth. Though the people of GOD are in the world they are not “of it” and freely confess to be looking for a city which hath foundations. They mourn their sin daily and long to be free from this “body of death”. That which they desire shall be brought to pass when CHRIST shall come to claim HIS purchased possession and wipe their eyes forever.

The former things are passed away. We are all, without exception, sinners.(see 1John 1:8) Thankfully the LORD JESUS CHRIST came into the world to save sinners. HE has not failed in any wise to accomplish that task, even though we see not all things yet put under his feet (see Heb. 2:8) for the last enemy to be destroyed is death. (see I Cor. 15:26) Now we are certain that death itself has been stripped of its power by HIM who has triumphed over it openly, but we are yet subject unto death in order to fulfill HIS purpose. The certain hope of the resurrection is that which is the great hope of the sons of GOD for we know that even the state of death upon the people of GOD is but a temporary condition.

“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Co 15:54-57)

www.gracechapelobrien.net

http://wayfarerblog.blogspot.com/
mam

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wind grabbing

Ecclesiastes 1
with a few of my added Ramblings

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Solomon identify's himself, these are his thoughts, as he was moved by the Holy Spirit, probably written in his later years. Written after he himself had lived and experienced a life of vanity.

2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

The 'all' refers to all worldly things, all men's great plans, purposes and labors.
'Vanity' is that which is empty, worthless, fruitless and unsatisfactory.

3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
8 All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

How true regarding the 'eye' and the 'ear'; we cannot see and hear enough. We might taste, hear, and handle enough but even when we are tired and worn we never seem to 'see' and hear' enough. We can sit and stare and listen and still gain nothing.

9 ¶ The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.


12 ¶ I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.

Solomon gave himself to seeking out all things (see 2:1-11) and he concluded all is "vanity", empty, unsatisfying, and like trying to catch the wind. The phrase "vexation of spirit" is literally 'feeding upon wind'. Go ahead, step outside and grab some wind today.

He found out with all his wisdom and seeking that there are things man cannot change, "crooked cannot be made straight". Think about it, with all our science so-called and all our vast technology we are still not able to cure many diseases, we cannot (naturally) add to the height of a man or change the color of their skin. Much less, are we able to change our own hearts.


16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.
17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. (grabbing the wind)
18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

I hear you Solomon, think of all the cynicism in the world today, most of it gotten from to much "wisdom" and "knowledge". Guilty, I am!

Oh, what I wouldn't do to go back to that time in my life when I first learned of my precious Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. When I desired to know Him, to love Him and follow Him. Somewhere, along the way, a little here and a little there, I sought out worldly wisdom and worldly knowledge and it brought nothing but grief and sorrow to my soul and to those around me. Empty wind grabbing, that's what I did and what I am still prone to do.

I hear the apostle John say, "sin not"! I read Peter's admonition with fear; "Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness." I cry with the apostle Paul "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"

And I ask, what else does the word of God say? It does say "sin not" but then John writes; "And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." The apostle Paul writes "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." In another place Paul wrote; "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

May God forgive me for all my 'wind grabbing'. Lord, I pray for mercy and grace to help me in time of need. In the name of my High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


May I close with this;

"But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

HIM

HIM
by
John Berridge


Join, all who love the Savior's name,
To sing His everlasting fame;
Great God! prepare each heart and voice
In Him for ever to rejoice.

Of Him what wondrous things are told!
In Him what glories I behold!
For Him I gladly all things leave;
To Him, my soul, for ever cleave.

In Him my treasure's all contained;
By Him my feeble soul's sustained;
From Him I all things now receive;
Through Him my soul shall ever live.

With Him I daily love to walk;
Of Him my soul delights to talk;
On Him I cast my every care;
Like Him one day I shall appear.

Bless Him, my soul, from day to day,
Trust Him to bring thee on thy way;
Give Him thy poor, weak, sinful heart;
With Him, O never, never part.

Take Him for strength and righteousness;
Make Him thy refuge in distress;
Love Him above all earthly joy,
And Him in everything employ.

Praise Him in cheerful, grateful songs;
To Him your highest praise belongs;
Tis He who does your heaven prepare,
And Him you'll sing for ever there.


Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. Acts 5:31

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.
Phil. 2:9


This Gadsby Hymn (171) may be sung to the tune of Blessed Assurance or When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The End of Boasting

From the pen of Bro. Mike McInnis, pastor of Grace Chapel in O'Brien, FL.



THE END OF BOASTING

For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

I Corinthians 4:7

One of the important tactics of successful arguing is to endeavor to have the last word. This is very difficult to achieve in most cases, especially if both combatants are intent on having that final word. Arguments can go on for hours or perhaps even days, sometimes long after the original point of contention has been forgotten. Of course I don’t know this from personal experience but just observing others who seem to actually enjoy a good argument.

Paul was quite adept at speaking the truth that he had been taught from the lips of the LORD and could often bring the “last word” before his opponents could even formulate their arguments. When the truth is spoken in power then there is nothing left to say and no other questions can be asked. The LORD demonstrated this ability when HE silenced the Pharisees and the Sadducees. “And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.” (Mat 22:46)

Paul often anticipated the arguments of those who, he knew, would oppose the truth. He demonstrated that in the ninth chapter of Romans where he answers the question that he knew would be on the lips of men who by nature are enemies of GOD’s sovereign grace. “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?” (Rom 9:18-21)

The man who has not been born again by the SPIRIT of GOD cannot help but raise such arguments against GOD’s sovereign right to do as HE sees fit with HIS own creation. By nature all men despise the absolute nature of GOD to determine the destinies of all of HIS creation according to HIS own sovereign purpose. The man who does not admit that such a concept causes anger to rise up in his flesh is not honest with himself. Paul anticipates the thinking of the unspiritual mind and ends the argument before it starts.

All men are born enamored with their own “free will”. No one ever has to instruct another on his “right” and “ability” to do as “he pleases”. Every child dreams of the day when they will grow up and be able to escape the rigors of their parents’ decision making. They can’t wait until they are “on their own” and can come and go as they please. That first taste of “freedom” often has disastrous consequences but this does nothing to dampen each one’s determination to be his own boss.

It usually comes as quite a shock when GOD is pleased to teach a man (by HIS SPIRIT) that the “will” that he thought was free is actually a total bondslave to sin. Those who have not been taught the true nature of sin think they can simply avoid sin by their own choice or religious transformation, but those who have been enlightened by the SPIRIT of GOD are quite convinced that “in their flesh dwells no good thing” and they are brought to realize that unless the LORD delivers them from it, their own sin will ultimately bring about their certain destruction. This was the lament of Paul as he cried out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom 7:24)

Here in the fourth chapter of first Corinthians Paul lays the proverbial axe to the root of all human boasting by saying a few simple words, “For who maketh thee to differ from another.” Now it would seem logical that men would delight in the grace of GOD, but the reality is that the natural man hates the doctrine of grace because it totally strips him of any place of boasting except in that grace. It takes away any thought of merit in any endeavor which he might consider to be of value in his own actions. It does the same thing in the man who is born again by the SPIRIT. He is taught that:

He cannot boast in faith since faith is the gift of GOD. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (Eph 2:8) Not only is the initial work of granting faith, all of grace, but the subsequent operation of it is as well. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phi 1:6)

He cannot boast in his maturity in CHRIST. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Rom 12:3) HE is pleased to grant great faith to some and weak faith to others but HE is the ONE who grants the measure that HE sees fit to give and the faith of all, (whether great or small) has the same singular object, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1Cor 1:30-31)

He cannot boast of his knowledge. “We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” (1Cor 8:1) Regardless of all that we think that we “know” we are still sadly deficient “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” (1Cor 8:2) Whatever level of true knowledge that we might possess is only that which HE is pleased to teach us. “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.” (2Cor 4:6)

He cannot boast of his earthly station in life. GOD is pleased to give some much of this world’s goods and HE is pleased to withhold it from others. “Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.” (James 1:9-10) While the men of this world may think that they have made themselves rich, (as the man in Luke 12:15-21) that man who is instructed by CHRIST knows that all that he might possess is merely the gift of GOD.

He cannot boast of his faithfulness. Peter had to learn this lesson the hard way since he made the boast that he would stand with the LORD even if all others forsook HIM. The LORD used the “sifting” of the Devil to teach Peter that apart from the LORD upholding him, he would surely fall. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jud 1:24-25)

He only has one place in which he must ever boast. ““But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal 6:14) He cannot boast in his election because he might be mistaken. He cannot boast in his religious ties because he might be deceived. He cannot boast in his brethren because they might forsake him. But oh even the weakest of those who feebly call upon HIS name shall never be confounded. They are those who have fled for refuge to HIM who ever lives to make intercession for those who come unto GOD by HIM. The LAMB who was slain for sinners is their only HOPE and EXPECTATION.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The prayer of a desolate heart

Psalm 143

Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness. And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands. I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.

Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble.

And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Stony Heart

Stony Heart
by Joseph Hart


O for a glance of heavenly day,
To take this stubborn stone away;
And thaw, with beams of love divine,
This heart, this frozen heart of mine!

The rocks can rend, the earth can quake,
The seas can roar, the mountains shake:
Of feeling all things show some sign,
But this unfeeling heart of mine.

To hear the sorrows thou hast felt,
Dear Lord, an adamant would melt;
But I can read each moving line,
And nothing move this heart of mine.

Thy judgments, too, unmoved I hear,
(Amazing thought!) which devils fear;
Goodness and wrath in vain combine
To stir this stupid heart of mine.

But something yet can do the deed,
And that dear something much I need;
Thy Spirit can from dross refine,
And move and melt this heart of mine.


may be sung to the tune of 'When I Survey the Wondrous Cross'

Isa. 64:1, Ezek. 11:19, 36:26

Friday, September 18, 2009

Why are you still standing?

This is an excerpt from a message preached by Augustus Toplady in May 1774. While we know him today for his hymn Rock of Ages there is so much more to the man who died at the age of 38 years old. He wrote many, many hymns, served as a pastor, and was a very able writer of the truths of grace. He did, by the grace of God "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints".



This excerpt comes from a message titled, Men Not Their Own Saviors, on this occasion he was speaking from Psalm 115:1 which reads,

"Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth's sake".

We will break into the middle of his sixth point where he asked the question; Whom are we to thank for perseverance in holiness and good works, to the end?



Let me address myself to the true believer in Christ. You were called, it may be ten or twenty years ago, or longer, to the knowledge of God; and you still are found dwelling under the droppings of the sanctuary, and walking in Him you have received; following on, to know more of the Lord; sometimes faint, yet always wishing to pursue; tossed, but not lost; occasionally cast down, but not destroyed. How comes all this? How is that many flaming professors, who blazed out for a while, like luminaries of the first lustre, are quenched, extinguished, vanished; while your smoking flax(Isa. 42:3 & Mat. 12:20), and feeble spark of grace, continue to survive, and sometimes afford both light and heat? While more than a few, who perhaps once seemed to be rooted as rocks, and stable as pillars in the house of God, are become as water that runneth apace; why are you standing, though in yourself as weak, if not weaker, than they? A child of God can soon answer it thus: Having obtained help of God, I continue to this day(Acts 26:22). Not by my own might and power, but by the Spirit of the Lord of Hosts (Zec 4:6).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"We Shall Be Like HIM"

This is one of the more encouraging articles that I've read in a long time. Excellent, Excellent, Excellent!! Don't hurry through it.



"WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM"

1st John 3:2

It is well to be unsatisfied with anything less than the presence of our God, and that eternal perfection in His sight. How shall we, such sinful, frail mortals, attain to such happiness? There are moments, even while now on the earth, when the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, divinely discovers to us our perfection in Christ Jesus, the Head of the church, when in His blood and righteousness, by that inwrought faith, (which is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not seen), we see we are "complete in Him," made "acceptable in the Beloved." In Him we shine forth in perfection of beauty, perfect through His comeliness in His Robe of Righteousness which He putteth upon us. (Ezek. 16:14; Isaiah 61:10; Rom. 3:22.) And what is this? It is the earnest of our inheritance, the spirit of adoption, which in faith and hope is ours in Christ Jesus. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know, when He shall appear, we shall be like, for we shall see Him as he is." Jehovah hath predestinated us at last to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29.) Have we "this hope" in us? To this we have not already attained. (Phil. 3:10-14.) Ah, we do not yet bear the image of the Heavenly One, our risen, ascended and glorified Jesus in Heaven. How very manifest this is to us as we groan, being burdened with the bondage of corruption, so sinful, tempted and afflicted we are now, with pain, and sickness, and mortality wearying us. But we are the Lord's body; our bodies are the members of Christ. (1 Cor. 6:15.) We are not yet glorified, for it doth not yet appear what we shall be. But, O! blessed anticipation, we shall at last be glorified together with Christ. We shall be all glorious as His Father glorified Jesus here, and as He is now all glorious with His Father in Heaven. (Rom. 8:17.) We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is; we shall awake with His likeness. We shall be raised in glory. (1 Cor. 15:43.) He shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned and glorified like unto His own glorious body. God hath called us, His chosen, ransomed ones, unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, and Christ is in us the hope of glory. (Col. 1:17.) O, in this blessed hope we have precious foretastes of the glory that shall be revealed. (1 Peter 5:1.)

Yes, in the dissolution of our mortal bodies back to dust, while the soul does not return to dust with the body, it shall make its exodus from the vile corruptible body, and shall be translated to the realms of glory, to be with Christ in paradise. (Luke 23:43; Phil. 1:23; Acts 7:59.) And when in "that day" (2 Tim. 1:12-18) our Lord Jesus Christ shall descend from Heaven (with the New Jerusalem, See Rev. 21:2) to raise the ransomed bodies of His saints by His Spirit, He shall quicken our mortal bodies, (Rom. 8:11), and they shall be raised spiritual bodies, in power and glory, immortal and incorruptible like unto Christ's glorious body. Then with both soul and body reunited again, we shall be like Him. Then in actual reality (not in faith and hope in Christ Jesus, which at present is our earnest and foretaste of our inheritance), then actually and forever and ever we shall bear the image of the Heavenly; to this we hope to come. (Acts 26:7.) This is the one, final crowning attainment of believers in the Son of God, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass, the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." Having such a hope, by the Holy Ghost we can say, "As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness." (Psalm 17:15.) Then shall be consummated our adoption, which will be that all glorious liberty, and eternal manifestation of the children of God. (Rom. 8:17-25.) The bondage of corruption shall no more hold us; death shall no longer celebrate its power over our bodies in the grave. "The last enemy that is to be destroyed is death." Christ Jesus, our risen, and ascended Head, reigns in Heaven today triumphant over death, hell and the grave; and all His ransomed people, His body the church, shall be at last triumphant too. (Hosea 13:14.)

"Triumphantly glorious, our Head has ascended
O'er death and the grave, all their power laying low;
This gains us a rising when time shall be ended,
Death no more shall hold us; Ah never, Oh no!"

Our precious Christ is the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ's at His coming. O, then, (and not till then) shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory."

This is the gospel which we have received, and wherein we stand, and by which we are saved. (1 Cor. 15:1, 2.)

"Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure." (1 John 3:1-3.)

Now only in part we know; then, when we are gather home to glory in that glorified body and soul, we shall know then even as we are known.

"Then shall I see, and hear, and know
All I desired and wished below;
And every power find sweet employ
In that eternal world of joy."

Frederick W. Keene, North Berwick, Maine, August, 1908

Sunday, September 6, 2009

the preacher's prayer

Before Sermon
from Gadsby's Hymns #508


Lord, fill thy servant's soul to-day
With pure seraphic fire
And set his tongue at liberty,
And grant his soul's desire.

O may he preach the word of God
With energy and power;
May gospel-blessings spread around,
Like a refreshing shower.

May God's eternal love and grace
Be sweetly felt within;
While he is preaching Christ the Lord,
Who bore our curse and sin.

May burdened sinners lose their load,
And downcast souls rejoice;
May doubting souls believe to-day
They are Jehovah's choice.

May Christ be first, and Christ be last,
And Christ be all in all,
Who died to make salvation sure,
And raise us from the fall.

O may thy servant now to-day
Proclaim salvation free,
As finished by the Son of God,
For such poor souls as we.



So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isa 55:11


My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. Deut 32:2-3


This hymn may be sung to the tune of Amazing Grace.

Monday, August 31, 2009

from Gadsby's Hymns, 173

Christ a Sanctuary

To see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary. Ps. 63:2

Honour and majesty are before Him: strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Ps. 96:6

Sanctify the LORD of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. And He shall be for a sanctuary. Isa. 8:13-14a


Jesus before Thy face I fall,
My Lord, my Life, my Hope, my All;
For I have nowhere else to flee,
No sanctuary, Lord, but Thee.

In Thee I every glory view,
Of safety, strength, and beauty too;
Beloved Savior, ever be
A Sanctuary unto me.

Whatever woes and fears betide,
In Thy dear bosom let me hide;
And, while I pour my soul to Thee,
Do Thou my Sanctuary be.

Through life and all its changing scenes,
And all the grief that intervenes,
Tis this supports my fainting heart ,
That Thou my Sanctuary art.

Apace the solemn hour draws nigh,
When I must bow my head and die;
But O what joy this witness gives,
Jesus, my Sanctuary lives!

He from the grave my dust will raise;
I in the heavens will sing His praise;
And when in glory I appear,
He'll be my Sanctuary there.


As I read this hymn I thought of those verses in John 6; "Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

This hymn may be sung to the tune of Blessed Assurance or When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

faith

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. Luke 17:5


Lord, increase my faith.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Relief

"Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast." PSA. 57:1

It is believed that David wrote this psalm while hiding in a cave from King Saul of Israel. You, perhaps remember the story of Saul and David. For many years, Saul, for no good reason, sought to kill David. Stop and think on that for a moment, to literally live from day to day with the threat of physical death lingering over your head.

These were the "calamities" that David sought relief from. The word translated 'calamities' carries the meaning of ruin, iniquity, evil, and wickedness. For me it is hard to compare my life's troubles with David's life's calamities. Nevertheless, I am reminded by him that true refuge and therefore true relief is found only in Almighty God.

To seek refuge in something or someone else is worthless. Jonah called these false refuges "lying vanities", Jeremiah referred to them as "broken cisterns". We might, perhaps, find temporary relief in these other refuges but in the scope of eternity they will eventually give way like the house built on sand.

Believers have a different hope and a different refuge. Jesus said; "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me." Our refuge is Christ; He, alone, is appointed by God as the way, the truth and the life. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

May we say with the psalmist; "Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.

Friday, July 24, 2009

a brief thought from Psalm 43

O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.

Such a simple prayer and yet such a necessary prayer for the soul.

If God does not send we are left in darkness. If God does not send understanding (light) we will only know the truth in a cold, dead way. If He does not send truth then we will continue to live in our own ideas, our own opinions of 'truth' which only lead to death. Unless light and truth lead us and bring us then we have not been brought and we are still in darkness.

Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by Me."

"Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 1 Cor 6:19-20

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Rom. 12:1

Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Rom. 6:13

By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. Heb. 13:15

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Spurgeon "Blog"

"The Lord shut him in." --Genesis 7:16

Noah was shut in away from all the world by the hand of divine love. The door of electing purpose interposes between us and the world which lieth in the wicked one. We are not of the world even as our Lord Jesus was not of the world. Into the sin, the gaiety, the pursuits of the multitude we cannot enter; we cannot play in the streets of Vanity Fair with the children of darkness, for our heavenly Father has shut us in.

Noah was shut in with his God. "Come thou into the ark," was the Lord's invitation, by which He clearly showed that He Himself intended to dwell in the ark with His servant and his family. Thus all the chosen dwell in God and God in them. Happy people to be enclosed in the same circle which contains God in the Trinity of His persons, Father, Son, and Spirit.

Let us never be inattentive to that gracious call, "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee, and hide thyself as it were for a little moment until the indignation be overpast." Noah was so shut in that no evil could reach him. Floods did but lift him heavenward, and winds did but waft him on his way. Outside of the ark all was ruin, but inside all was rest and peace. Without Christ we perish, but in Christ Jesus there is perfect safety. Noah was so shut in that he could not even desire to come out, and those who are in Christ Jesus are in Him for ever.

They shall go no more out for ever, for eternal faithfulness has shut them in, and infernal malice cannot drag them out. The Prince of the house of David shutteth and no man openeth; and when once in the last days as Master of the house He shall rise up and shut the door, it will be in vain for mere professors to knock, and cry Lord, Lord open unto us, for that same door which shuts in the wise virgins will shut out the foolish for ever. Lord, shut me in by Thy grace.

---from Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 151 of 2009

Psalm 1

Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly(wicked), nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither(fade); and whatsoever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

question

Psalm 137:1-4

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land?


Acts 16:22-25

And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.


Question

Why did Israel, captive in Babylon, say "How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land?" and Paul and Silas, captive in prison, "prayed and sang praises"? What's the difference?

It seems to me that Israel was laid low because of their sin. It was their sin that led to their captivity. Their sin had separated them from God, their sin had broken their fellowship with Him.

Paul and Silas were in prison because they were persecuted for proclaiming God and His gospel. Perhaps they remembered the Lord's words that said "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "

We believers are sometimes laid low, like Israel. We are captives, we are captive to our sin. We lose our joy, we lose our fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. Perhaps, we should, at those times, remember the words of the apostle John "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

It is this same John who said; "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not." He then goes on to tell us; "And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous".