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Friday, December 31, 2010

Thou crownest the year with thy goodness

Thou crownest the year with thy goodness.   Psalm 65:11a

In the providence of God I turned to Psalm 65 this morning and quite honestly it is so full of our great God that I believe we could spend all the days of the rest of our lives in it and not mine all of its wealth! Truly HE is worthy of all our praise, honor and love! Blessed be God who chose us (the unworthy ones) and causes us to approach him(the high and holy One) and makes us fit (worthy) to approach him, in order that we may dwell in his courts, that we may be satisfied with him and his goodness! Who is He? He is the God of our salvation; the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea! Blessed be His name!

Before reading the entire psalm please take note of verse 11,  the psalmist writes:

"Thou crownest the year with THY goodness; and thy paths drop fatness"

Oh how the people of God have much to rejoice in as we close another year in the history of our lives,  always remembering that history is nothing less than 'His story'. He who goodness is, he that is full of goodness from eternity to eternity, he crowns our year with goodness! Oh that we might fellowship with Him, that we might lay our head on his breast and rest and then as we rise to walk in this world may we more fully realize his goodness to us and in us and around us. Because in HIS paths drips the very fat of this goodness. Oh that we might continue in His way! Also as we walk his paths may we call others to come and go with us.


Father, we give you thanks, you who alone are worthy of our thanksgiving and praise. Thank you for calling us out of darkness and into the kingdom of your dear Son. Praise your holy name for washing us in the precious blood of Jesus, thank you for adding His righteousness to our account. Thank you for crowning our year with your goodness. Help us now as we begin a new year, give us grace that we may serve you acceptably with reverence and godly fear. Guide us into your path, the path where the goodness drops fatness, in order that the world may know that you have sent your Son, and that you have loved us just as you have loved your Son!


Psalm 65

Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed.  O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.  Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away. Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea:  Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power:  Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.

They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.  Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.  Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.

Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.  They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side.  The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

By the grace of God--I am what I am!

By the grace of God--I am what I am!

In his old age, when he could no longer see to read, John Newton heard someone recite this verse, "But by the grace of God I am what I am."
1 Corinthians 15:10. He remained silent a short time, and then said:

I am not what I ought to be. Ah! how imperfect and deficient.

I am not what I might be, considering my privileges and opportunities.

I am not what I wish to be. God, who knows my heart--knows I wish to be like Him.

I am not what I hope to be. Before long, I will drop this clay tabernacle, to be like Him and see Him as He is!

Yet, I am not what I once was--a child of sin, and slave of the devil!

Though not all these--not what I ought to be, not what I might be, not what I wish or hope to be, and not what I once was--I think I can truly say with the apostle, "By the grace of God--I am what I am!"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Luke 6:27-36

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,  Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 

And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.  Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.  For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.  And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.  And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.  Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Friday, December 24, 2010

But when the mower comes!

From a letter by John Newton by way of Grace Gems.


Dear friend,
In preferring a warm heart to a full head--you certainly judge by the rule of Scripture. The Lord looks to the heart--not to the stature, the popularity, the intellect, the rank or wealth of a person. These are to the man--no more than ornamental trappings to a horse!


"All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field!" Isaiah 40:6. The mass of mankind may be compared to grass. And those who are distinguished by intellectual or external accomplishments of any kind--may be compared to the flowers which look more gaudy and are perhaps a little taller than the grass. But when the mower comes--the scythe finds no difference! Both fall by the same stroke, and wither with equal speed!


Indeed I believe that the most lively grace and the most solid comfort--are known among the Lord's poor and insignificant people. Every outward advantage, has a tendency to nourish the pride of the human heart; and requires a proportionable knowledge of the deceitful SELF and the evil of sin--to counterbalance them.

If I were qualified to search out the best Christian in the country, I would not expect to find him either in a professor's chair, or in a pulpit. I would give the trophy to that person who had the lowest thoughts of himself--and the most admiring and loving thoughts of the Savior. And perhaps this person may be some bedridden old man or woman, or a pauper in a workhouse.

Love to Jesus is not to be measured by the amount of knowledge we have, or how well we talk--but rather by the simplicity of our dependence upon Him, and the uniform tenor of our obedience to His will.

Your affectionate friend and servant,
John Newton

Sunday, December 19, 2010

a plain book designed for plain people

From the letters of John Newton

Oh, what a reminder for me personally.


All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 
 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:        John 16:13

 

A few minutes of the Spirit's teaching will furnish us with more real, useful and experimental knowledge--than toiling through whole folios of commentators and expositors! It will be our wisdom to deal less with the streams--and be more close in applying to the fountain-head. The Scripture itself, and the Spirit of God--are the best and the only sufficient expositors of Scripture. Whatever men have valuable in their writings--they got it from Scripture; and the Scripture is as open to us--as to any of them. There is nothing required but a teachable, humble spirit; and academic learning, as it is commonly called, is not necessary in order for this.

As a minister, I endeavor to avoid all panaceas, singularities, 'hidden truths' and 'new discoveries' in Scripture. I wish to advance nothing which I cannot maintain upon the authority of the Bible in our English language--which I deem sufficient to make us and our hearers wise unto salvation.

The New Testament is a plain book designed for plain people. The gospel is to be preached to the poor and simple, who are just as capable of receiving it as the educated--and in some sense more so. I therefore lay little stress upon any academic learning--which depends upon a knowledge of original Greek and Hebrew languages, or requires a larger degree of capacity and genius to be understood.

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 

  2 Timothy 3:15

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thought

"Being disappointed and discontented with life is often the result of thinking we DESERVE more from God; while being happy and contented is a result of being amazed at all the bounty God has already GRACIOUSLY rained down upon us."

 

from Free Grace Press

Friday, December 17, 2010

God's Servant

Isa 42:1-16

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare his praise in the islands.

The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemiesI have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools. And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.



Oh that we might see the GLORY in God's Servant, His Son the Lord Jesus Christ!

Paul wrote to the believers at Corinth; "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."

Has He shined in your heart?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thoughts

A Thought or Two for Today


In a letter to a pastor friend the 17th century pastor Samuel Rutherford wrote;
"Tribulation and temptations will almost loosen us to the root; and yet, without tribulations and temptations, we can now no more grow than herbs or corn without rain."


This quote generates a couple of thoughts from the scriptures.

The first from Hebrews 12: 5-11

"And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
 

If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
 

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
 

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians; " In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."


So, in light of our national Thanksgiving holiday and in the spirit of thanksgiving (daily), the scriptures are clear, believers are to give thanks for every thing, including our tribulations and temptations. This sounds good in theory and on paper, but go now and put it into practice!


Go now and partake of the divine nature (2 Pet 2), press on in your tribulations and temptations and enjoy the peaceable fruit of righteousness and be conformed to the image of His dear Son! And finally, if I may close with this thought from the apostle John, "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." 


May the Lord bless His word this day and may He bless you too!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

my prayer today

Psalm 28

Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.   Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.

Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbors, but mischief is in their hearts.  Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavors: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert.  Because they regard not the works of the LORD, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up.

 Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications.  The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.  The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.  Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Life of God in the Soul

The Life of God in the Soul
by James Smith, 1860

True religion
is not a religious form — but a
LIFE. It is the life which God imparts — the life which God communicates in regeneration, and nourishes by his word, ordinances, and communion with himself. This inward principle of life develops itself in:
a life of faith in the Son of God;
a life of love, so that we love God, and everything that is godlike;
a life of holiness, so that we obey God — and in all we do, we seek to please him.
Not only so — but it constantly aspires to God as its author and source. It makes us devout, and the life we live is a life of devotion. In all that we do — we consult the will of God, we seek grace for its performance from God, and we desire most heartily to honor God. Originating as it does in God's sovereign will, flowing as it does from God's loving heart, and ascending as it does in devout exercises to God's gracious throne — it makes us godly, or godlike! It is this one thing which distinguishes God's family from the rest of mankind, and proves their election of God.
This life of God in the soul, is SPIRITUAL, manifesting itself in spiritual desires, and spiritual exercises. It gives us a taste for spiritual things, and requires to be sustained by spiritual provision — Christ, the bread of life — and the living water which He gives. It is energetic, and therefore it urges, and impels us — to perform spiritual duties, overcome all carnal customs and habits, and to seek conformity to Christ in all things.
This life of God in the soul, is USEFUL, not only to its possessor, as qualifying him for spiritual duties and privileges, and making him fit for heaven; but it always makes those in whom it dwells — useful to others, both saints and sinners. A useless man cannot have the life of God within him, for wherever it is, it makes him feel that he must be useful, must do good to others to some extent.
This life of God in the soul, is ETERNAL, it can never die — and never be destroyed. The soul is not more immortal, than is this life which God gives. Yes, outside of God himself, we know of nothing that is more certain of endless duration, than this life of God in the soul. It is the source of all that is holy, useful, happy, and glorious. He who has this life — can never perish, nor can anyone wrest him from the Savior's omnipotent hands!
This life of God in the soul, is for GOD'S GLORY. As it originated in his sovereign good pleasure — so it is communicated and is maintained for his honor. And as it is maintained for his honor — so it is designed and intended to advance his glory.
This life of God in the soul, will ultimately be therefore a life WITH GOD. We believe that we shall live with him. It brings us into his spiritual presence now — and gives us the enjoyment of his love. And it introduces us into his glorious presence at death — and then we shall have a life of perfect enjoyment, and purest pleasure forever! We will be as holy — as God is holy; as happy — as God is happy; as immortal — as God is immortal.
O what a prospect! What glory, what grandeur, what blessedness awaits us! The life of God, which now pants within us, and has to strive and do battle with the direful corruptions of the heart — the life which generates every good desire and every holy aspiration — the life which will not let us rest in forms, or live in sin — that life will soon burst forth in power, splendor, and immortal glory — and then we shall be satisfied, for we shall awake in our Savior's likeness!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

If I may add to my previous post.....

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  1 John 5:12

Recommended reading

I recently read the little book The Life of God in the Soul of Man by Henry Scougal. The author was a 17th century Presbyterian pastor in Scotland. The book is actually a letter he wrote to a friend, as I understand it he never intended it to be published and it wasn't put into print until after his death, which occurred at the age of 27.

It is a heart searching read; a read that both warms the heart and penetrates the soul. The great evangelist George Whitfield said; "I never knew what true religion was till God sent me this excellent treatise".

If I may I'll share an excerpt from the book and let you get a taste for yourself.

This section is from the beginning of the book, enjoy:


"I cannot speak of religion, but I must lament, that among so many pretenders to it, so few understand what it means: some placing it in the understanding, in orthodox notions and opinions; and all the account they can give of their religion is, that they are of this and the other persuasion, and have joined themselves to one of those many sects where into Christendom is most unhappily divided. Others place it in the outward man, in a constant course of external duties, and a model of performances. If they live peaceably with their neighbors, keep a temperate diet, observe the returns of worship, frequenting the church, or their closet, and sometimes extend their hands to the relief of the poor, they think they have sufficiently acquitted themselves. Others again put all religion in the affections, in rapturous hearts, and ecstatic devotion; and all they aim at is, to pray with passion, and think of heaven with pleasure, and to be affected with those kind and melting expressions wherewith they court their Savior, till they persuade themselves they are mightily in love with him, and from thence assume a great confidence of their salvation, which they esteem the chief of Christian graces. Thus are these things which have any resemblance of piety, and at the best are but means of obtaining it, or particular exercises of it, frequently mistaken for the whole of religion: nay, sometimes wickedness and vice pretend to that name. I speak not now of those gross impieties wherewith the Heathens were wont to worship their gods. There are but too many Christians who would consecrate their vices, and follow their corrupt affections, whose ragged humour and sullen pride must pass for Christian severity; whose fierce wrath, and bitter rage against their enemies, must be called holy zeal; whose petulancy towards their superiors, or rebellion against their governors, must have the name of Christian courage and resolution.
But certainly religion is quite another thing, and they who are acquainted with it will entertain far different thoughts, and disdain all those shadows and false imitations of it. They know by experience that true religion is a union of the soul with God, a real participation of the divine nature, the very image of God drawn upon the soul, or, in the apostle’s phrase, “It is Christ formed within us.”—Briefly, I know not how the nature of religion can be more fully expressed, than by calling it a Divine Life: and under these terms I shall discourse of it, showing first, how it is called a life; and then, how it is termed divine."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

September 18, 2010

I came across these two quotes by Augustine, one is a prayer, the other is a warning, both are excellent.

"O let your scriptures be my pure delight; let me not be deceived in them, neither let me deceive by them."

"They that despise God's will inviting them shall feel God's will taking vengeance of them."

The second quote reminded me of the cry of Wisdom in Proverbs 1:20-33;

Wisdom cries without; she utters her voice in the streets:  She cries in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she utters her words, saying,  How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?  Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;  But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:  I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear comes;  When your fear comes as desolation, and your destruction comes as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish comes upon you.
 

Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:  For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:  They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.  Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.  

For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkens unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

May the God of all grace bless your souls on this day, Saturday, September 18, 2010. May He be pleased to blow upon your garden that the spices thereof may flow out. (Song of Solomon 4:16)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

from the pen of brother Mike McInnis

          A BOOK BURNING
  
     And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.                                                                                                                Acts 19:18-20

   We have all read about the plans of a “church” in Gainesville to burn a copy of the Koran.  While this is a clownish act designed to draw attention to its participants, there is indeed a scriptural example of a book burning that took place in Ephesus.   Yet this burning of books was not a publicity stunt or an attempt to garner attention but rather was an act of repentance on the part of those who were former participants in witchcraft and occultic practices and were now converted to become the followers of CHRIST.   They burned their own books without regard to the cost because they despised that which they once loved and practiced and wanted nothing else to do with it.  (see II Cor.7:10,11)
    If these modern day pyromaniacs were former Muslims who had been brought out of darkness and into the light of CHRIST, and desired to rid themselves of all vestiges of that which once held them captive, then such an action would have some foundation in the scriptural example.  Yet it is but a foolish gesture of ignorance (in my humble opinion) to burn a book simply because one does not agree with its contents or to entertain the notion that one can rid themselves of false doctrine by physically destroying written documents.
    There is an increasing public opinion (it seems to me) that Islam is somehow a danger to the gospel and Christianity.   This follows the same train of thought that arises from time to time that immorality, liberal politics, abortion, or gay marriage threaten to destroy the same.  The gospel can in no wise be overturned by any of these things.   All of these problems are but an illustration of the natural depravity of men and pose no spiritual threat to the children of GOD.   It is likely that physical persecution of the followers of CHRIST could increase with a rise in the prominence of Islam.  If this occurs it can but strengthen the true followers of CHRIST and serve to purge the false professors from their midst even as was demonstrated in the early days of the church.   The LORD will thoroughly purge HIS floor. (see Mat.3:12).
    Those who are the enemies of the cross of CHRIST are much more subtle in nature than the obvious errors of those who embrace Islam or any number of other false religions in the earth.   The greatest dangers that face the children of GOD are those errors which most closely resemble the truth of the gospel and embrace portions of the truth while actually denying the foundation of it.  Paul mentions them when he says. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2Ti 3:1-7)
    The greatest enemy of the sons of GOD is right in our own bosom.  This sinful flesh which we possess is a constant warrior against the truth of GOD in the inward parts.   It seldom relents in its continual warfare against the SPIRIT. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal 5:17)  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9)    
   The external errors which most closely resemble the true gospel while denying the very foundation of truth, are widely preached in our day and pose a much greater threat to the truth of the gospel, than all of the forces of Islam combined.  They include:
    Teaching that men can be saved by an act of their own free will.   The modern era of “evangelism” is mostly built around this error.   “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” (John 6:44)  “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” (John 5:40)  “There is none that seeketh after God.” (Rom 3:11)
    Teaching that CHRIST died for all men and yet actually saved none.  The vast majority of those professing to be believers in our day embrace this error.   They say that CHRIST has done all that HE could do to save men and now it is all up to them to make a decision and thus make the work of CHRIST effectual for them.  “Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Mat 1:21) “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Heb 9:12)
    Teaching that men are “justified” by an act of faith rather than by the OBJECT of faith.   This is quite a subtle error, yet deadly, since it not only denies the source of true faith but misses the whole point of the basis of Justification.   “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) “Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.” (Rom 4:25)
    Keeping the free born sons of GOD under the lash of the law.   This is an outright denial of the principle of free grace, trying to make service to GOD a matter of duty rather than delight.  This takes on many forms; from demanding tithes to pastors lording an imagined “authority” over the sons of GOD. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom 8:1-2)
     Teaching GOD’s people that they can merit or forfeit the blessings of GOD by their own actions.   This is nothing but legalism.  The promises of GOD are yea and amen and HIS blessings are bestowed upon HIS people according to HIS sovereign purpose.  HIS people are not blessed because they serve HIM and walk in obedience to HIS commands but rather HIS blessing is manifested in causing their obedience and their blessing is to be enabled to worship HIM in SPIRIT and TRUTH.  “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phil 2:13)  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (Eph 1:3)  “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10)
   Teaching anything other than CHRIST and HIM crucified.  “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)                                                                                             

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Near

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.  For Moses describes the righteousness which is of the law, that the man which does those things shall live by them.  But the righteousness which is of faith speaks on this wise, say not in your heart, who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)  or, who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)  But what saith it? The word is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;  That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ephesians 5:1-21

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;  and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;  neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
 

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 

Be not ye therefore partakers with them.  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:  (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)  proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
 

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.  But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.  Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,  redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
 

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;  giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;  submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Psalm 66

Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:  Sing forth the honor of His name: make His praise glorious.  Say unto God, How terrible art Thou in Thy works! through the greatness of Thy power shall Thine enemies submit themselves unto Thee.  All the earth shall worship Thee, and shall sing unto Thee; they shall sing to Thy name. Selah.

Come and see the works of God: He is terrible in His doing toward the children of men.  He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in Him.  He ruleth by His power for ever; His eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.

O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of His praise to be heard:  Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.  For thou, O God, hast proved us: Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.
Thou broughtest us into the net; Thou laidst affliction upon our loins.  Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.  

I will go into Thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay Thee my vows,  Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble.  I will offer unto Thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah.

Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul.  I cried unto Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue.  If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:  But verily God hath heard me; He hath attended to the voice of my prayer.  Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Self-Examination

This brief excerpt comes from a tract written by Jonathan Edwards titled Christian Cautions or The Necessity for Self-Examination.

His text came from Psalm 139:23-24; Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

I am not trying to be morbid but as I was reading his tract this one point caught my attention. Take a look at it and see what you think.

Here is Mr. Edwards:

Examine yourselves, whether all the ways in which you live, are likely to be pleasant to think of upon a death-bed. Persons often in health allow and plead for those things, which they would not dare to do, if they looked upon themselves as shortly about to go out of the world. They in a great measure still their consciences as to ways in which they walk, and keep them pretty easy, while death is thought of as at a distance: yet reflections on these same ways are very uncomfortable when they are going out of the world. Conscience is not so easily blinded and muffled then as at other times.
Consider therefore, and inquire diligently, whether or no you do not live in some practice or other, as to the lawfulness of which, when it shall come into your minds upon your death-bed, you will choose to have some further satisfaction, and some better argument than you now have, to prove that it is not sinful, in order to your being easy about it. Think over your particular ways, and try yourselves, with the awful expectation of soon going out of the world into eternity, and earnestly endeavor impartially to judge what ways you will on a death-bed approve of and rejoice in, and what you will disapprove of, and wish you had let alone.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Excerpts from a Jonathan Edwards sermon

In 1734 Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon to his congregation at Northampton titled, A Divine And Supernatural Light, Immediately Imparted To The Soul By The Spirit Of God, Shown To Be Both A Scriptural And Rational Doctrine.


His text was Mat. 16:17; And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.


There are three excerpts that I would like to share with you in this blog, they are somewhat lengthy and if you are like me you will need to read them more than once in order to fully digest them.


This first excerpt is from the introduction portion of the sermon;

What had passed in the preceding discourse naturally occasioned Christ to observe this; because the disciples had been telling how others did not know him, but were generally mistaken about him, divided and confounded in their opinions of him: but Peter had declared his assured faith, that he was the Son of God. Now it was natural to observe, how it was not flesh and blood that had revealed it to him, but God; for if this knowledge were dependent on natural causes or means, how came it to pass that they, a company of poor fishermen, illiterate men, and persons of low education, attained to the knowledge of the truth; while the scribes and Pharisees, men of vastly higher advantages, and greater knowledge and sagacity in other matters, remained in ignorance? This could be owing only to the gracious, distinguishing influence and revelation of the Spirit of God. Hence, what I would make the subject of my present discourse from these words, is this DOCTRINE, That there is such a thing as a spiritual and divine light, immediately imparted to the soul by God, of a different nature from any that is obtained by natural means.


The second reading comes from his first point;

...He (Spirit of God) acts in the mind of a saint as an indwelling principle...he unites himself with the mind of a saint, takes him for his temple, actuates and influences him as a new supernatural principle of life and action. There is this difference, that the Spirit of God, in acting in the soul of a godly man, exerts and communicates himself there in his own proper nature. Holiness is the proper nature of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit operates in the minds of the godly, by uniting himself to them, and living in them, exerting His own nature in the exercise of their faculties.

The third and final excerpt comes from Mr. Edwards closing words of the sermon;

 This light, and this only, has its fruit in an universal holiness of life...It shows God as worthy to be obeyed and served. It draws forth the heart in a sincere love to God, which is the only principle of a true, gracious and universal obedience; and it convinces of the reality of those glorious rewards that God has promised to them that obey him.


Some supporting scriptures that came to my mind as I read this message; 

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

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.                             John 3:3-7

But ye are not in the flesh, 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
 
Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.                           James 1:18

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
1 Pet 1:22-23

My own observations:

I could not help but ask myself ; do I have this supernatural light imparted in my soul? Am I born from above? Am I born of God? Is this indwelling principle of life in me? Has He united Himself to me? Has Christ been revealed in me, has He been formed in me? These are fair questions for each of us.

Paul exhorted the Corinthian church; "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"

Peter said in his letter to "give diligence to make your calling and election sure". 


These apostles, under the influence of the Holy Spirit,  were writing to the people in the church. They took none of their hearers/readers soul condition for granted. They assumed nothing. You and I know that no one can examine ourselves except ourselves(and we're pretty poor at that). In the last day we must not be found lacking the very thing we profess to have!



 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages
by Augustus Toplady and Thomas Hastings


Rock of ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood, From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure, Save from wrath and make me pure.

Could my tears forever flow, Could my zeal no languor know,
These for sins could not atone - Thou must save and Thou alone;
In my hand no price I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling.

While I draw this fleeting breath, When my eyes shall close in death;
When I rise to worlds unknown And behold Thee on Thy throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee!




Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. Exodus 17:6

And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by Me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while My glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see My back parts: but My face shall not be seen. Exodus 33:21-23

Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.       Deuteronomy 32:3-4

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.                 1 Corinthians 10:4

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.                     Psalm 61:2

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Augustine quote

You awake us to delight in Your praise; for You made us for Yourself, and our heart is restless, until it rest in You.                      Augustine - Confessions Book One

This quote (perhaps his most famous) from Augustine's writings brings to my mind certain passages of scriptures. Do you see a connection between his quote above and the passages below? Perhaps this quote brings other scriptures to your mind. Feel free to share.


But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.           Ephesians 2:4-7



Wilt Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee? Psalm 85:6

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9


Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11

Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. 
Matthew 11:28-30

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Augustine

 Excerpt from Augustine's Confessions Book One

Augustine lived from 354 to 430 AD. I am only vaguely familiar with him but what I have read of his writings are incredible. His Confessions are sort of the equivalent of our personal journals (assuming you have a journal). They are an inward glimpse into the soul of a sinner transformed by the grace of God. Below is a brief example of his writings, he wrote in Latin so his writings have been translated into English by different men over the centuries. My copy is in old English so I've taken liberty by changing the 'thees' and 'thous'. I hope you enjoy it.


What are you then, my God? what, but the Lord God? For who is Lord but the Lord? or who is God save our God? Most highest, most good, most potent, most omnipotent; most merciful, yet most just; most hidden, yet most present; most beautiful, yet most strong; stable, yet incomprehensible; unchangeable, yet all-changing; never new, never old; all renewing, and bringing age upon the proud, and they know it not; ever working, ever at rest; still gathering, yet nothing lacking; supporting, filling, and overspreading; creating, nourishing, and maturing; seeking, yet having all things. You love, without passion; are jealous, without anxiety; repents, yet grieves not; are angry, yet serene; changes Your works, Your purpose unchanged, receives again what you find, yet did never lose; never in need, yet rejoicing in gains; never covetous, yet exacting usury. You receive over and above, that You may owe; and who has aught that is not Yours? You pay debts, owing nothing; remit debts, losing nothing. And what had I now said, my God, my life, my holy joy? or what says any man when he speaks of You? Yet woe to him that speaks not, since mute are even most eloquent.


Oh! that I might rest on You! Oh! that you would enter into my heart, and inebriate it, that I may forget my ills, and embrace You, my sole good?

Psalm 33

Psalm 33
 
Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.  Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto Him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.  Sing unto Him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.  For the word of the LORD is right; and all His works are done in truth. He loves righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.  He gathers the waters of the sea together as an heap: He lays up the depth in storehouses.  Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.  For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.


The LORD brings the counsel of the heathen to nought: He makes the devices of the people of none effect.   The counsel of the LORD stands for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations.  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.

The LORD looks from heaven; He beholds all the sons of men.  From the place of His habitation He looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth.  He fashions their hearts alike; He considers all their works.  There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.  An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.  Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy;  To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.


Our soul waits for the LORD: He is our help and our shield.  For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name.  Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Kingdom of God

from the pen of pastor Mike McInnis

 
                         THE KINGDOM OF GOD   


Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then
    would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.                                                                                                                  John 18:36

    Most all misunderstandings of the gospel can be traced, at least in part, to a misunderstanding of the nature of the kingdom of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. This is also the cause of the misapplication of many, if not most, of the prophetic scriptures found in the Old and the New Testaments, by well meaning but mistaken modern “prophets”.
   The LORD JESUS declared that HIS primary purpose in coming into the world was to “bear witness unto the truth.” (John 18:37)   In bearing witness to this truth HE declared that HE was indeed a KING, but one quite unlike any other king born of men.  HIS Kingdom was declared in the most unusual of circumstances as HE poured out HIS life’s blood on Calvary’s cross, signaling HIS utter conquest of death, which was then demonstrated by HIS resurrection from the dead, three days later, becoming the first fruits of them that sleep, and having its culmination and final manifestation when death itself is destroyed in the day of the resurrection of them that sleep in JESUS. (see I Cor.15:25,26; Rev.20:14)
    HIS kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom. (see Ps.145:13, Dan.4:3,34; 7:14,27; II Pet. 1:11)  This was that which was first declared in Genesis 3:15 when the LORD said, HE “shall bruise thy head” to the serpent.  It was declared throughout the Old Testament in all of the prophecies which pointed to the coming Messiah and the declaration of HIS gospel.  This is no temporary kingdom, but one which now begun shall endure forever. 
    HIS kingdom is a constant Kingdom.   There is no change in it, nor does HIS power wax or wane, for HE remains a KING forever, having been appointed to this station and declared to be such, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” (Psa 2:6)  HE is not gaining more power nor engaged in further conquests, for HE is seated at the right hand of the FATHER.  HE is a very present MONARCH who ever lives to make intercession for HIS own.
    HIS kingdom is a mediatorial Kingdom.   It pleased the LORD to demonstrate the KINGLY authority of JESUS CHRIST in HIS redemption of sinners.   For it is HE who came into the world to save HIS own people which were given to HIM before the foundation of the world. (see Mat.1:21; Heb.9:12)   By HIS own declaration in HIS prayer in Gethsemane’s garden, HE said, “those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost.” (John17:12)   It is impossible to rightly understand the Kingdom of GOD if one is mistaken about the atoning work of JESUS CHRIST, for it is here that HIS kingdom’s glory shines most brightly.  To be confused as to those who are the objects of HIS redeeming work is to consider a kingdom without subjects.  To be confused as to the extent of HIS redeeming work is to emaciate the kingdom and make it of none effect, a mere shell of a kingdom.
    HE is both a REDEEMER of HIS elect and a DELIVERER of the same.   HIS work in their behalf is both final and complete as Paul said, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 8:1)   HE said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
    HIS Kingdom is an invisible Kingdom.   The LORD told the Pharisees, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.” (Luke 17:20) even though HE went on to tell them that HIS kingdom was in their very midst.   They had no eyes to see it, being blind.  The LORD said “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.” (Mat 11:25-26) 
    Much error has been promulgated over time by those who insist on a carnal manifestation of the Kingdom of CHRIST, either in some future age or a view of it in the present time which can be observed by carnal men.   CHRIST fully rules and reigns in HIS kingdom at the present time accomplishing exactly what HE pleases though it be largely (if not completely) hidden from the view of carnal men.
    For instance the LORD is demonstrating HIS strength by manifesting the weakness of HIS saints to their own conscience.  This is contrary to the reason of men who are convinced that they should be able to observe HIS working which in reality is hidden from view.  Job’s supposed friends and comforters were of this mindset as they upbraided Job and were convinced that Job’s troubles could be traced to his disobedience as well as his blessing to his obedience.   The descendants of these physicians of no value continue to preach their conditionalism, which gives man control of his own blessing rather than the true KING.
    In every thing that is true, Satan has devised a counterfeit.   He has sowed tares among the wheat and sent out wolves in sheep’s clothing even as he “is transformed into an angel of light.” (2Cor 11:14)  Look well unto the indicators of this TRUE Kingdom.
    The money of HIS Kingdom is not the filthy lucre of this world.  There is no connection between the carnal money of this present world and the Kingdom of GOD.  The currency of CHRIST’s kingdom is love.   “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” (Rom 13:8)  “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1Pet 4:8)   The same Peter who wrote this was the one whom the LORD told how many times a man should forgive another who had wronged him.  (see Mat.18:21,22)  “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren” (1John 3:14)
    The citizens of HIS Kingdom must be born into it.  There are no naturalized citizens of this Kingdom, nor can any man join himself to this Country by his own decision.  “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)  “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)
    The law of HIS Kingdom is not written on tablets of stone but on the fleshy tables of the heart.  The law of Moses can do nothing but minister condemnation to those who are awakened to their inability to keep it.   Those who would press the law given on Sinai upon the sons of GOD, are ignorant of the true law of CHRIST’s kingdom and would seek to bind the free born sons of GOD with burdens that none can bear.  “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom 8:2)  “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” (Gal 3:24-25)  “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” (1Cor 13:10)  “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” (Heb 4:9-10) 
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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Do you know too many things?

A. W. Tozer said; "One trouble with us today is that we know too many things."  As I read his quote (written in the 20th century) I thought about that scripture in Eccl 1:17-18 where Solomon wrote;

"And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.  For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow."

Remember, in the context of Eccl 1 Solomon is writing about a wisdom that is "under the heaven". This knowledge, this wisdom, is not from above. Solomon found the pursuit of knowing things, the pursuit of wisdom "under the sun" (earthly wisdom) to be "vexation of spirit" (wind grabbing). He found it to be empty and he found that it produced sorrow.

Now I'm not discounting knowing all things or everything for that matter but what I believe Mr Tozer was getting at was our relationship to our Creator, our walk with God, our knowledge of Him. So, do you and I know too many things? Are our hearts and minds filled with empty knowledge? Are our minds cluttered, perhaps choking out the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

May we, "through God" be those who are "casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ"! May we be found in the company of the apostle Paul who said towards the end of his life here on earth, "that I may know Him".

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Great Transfer

 From Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening for April 13.




“And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt- offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.”                                                                                     - Lev_1:4


Our Lord’s being made “sin for us” is set forth here by the very significant transfer of sin to the bullock, which was made by the elders of the people. The laying of the hand was not a mere touch of contact, for in some other places of Scripture the original word has the meaning of leaning heavily, as in the expression, “thy wrath lieth hard upon me” (Ps._88:7). Surely this is the very essence and nature of faith, which doth not only bring us into contact with the great Substitute, but teaches us to lean upon him with all the burden of our guilt. Jehovah made to meet upon the head of the Substitute all the offenses of his covenant people, but each one of the chosen is brought personally to ratify this solemn covenant act, when by grace he is enabled by faith to lay his hand upon the head of the “Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.” Believer, do you remember that rapturous day when you first realized pardon through Jesus the sin-bearer? Can you not make glad confession, and join with the writer in saying, “My soul recalls her day of deliverance with delight. Laden with guilt and full of fears, I saw my Savior as my Substitute, and I laid my hand upon him; oh! how timidly at first, but courage grew and confidence was confirmed until I leaned my soul entirely upon him; and now it is my unceasing joy to know that my sins are no longer imputed to me, but laid on him, and like the debts of the wounded traveller, Jesus, like the good Samaritan, has said of all my future sinfulness, ‘Set that to my account.’“ Blessed discovery! Eternal solace of a grateful heart!


“My numerous sins transfered to him,
Shall never more be found,
Lost in his blood’s atoning stream,
Where every crime is drowned!”

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

a few thoughts from 1 Jn 3:23

 "And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment."

How simple and yet how profound is this scripture in 1 John. In Matthew 11 our Lord said my yoke is easy and my burden is light and in 1 John 5:3 the apostle John writes "His commandments are not grievous". That is His commandments are not heavy or burdensome. So here in our text John sums up the believer's life in one verse; believe Christ and love His people!


We are to spend the rest of our lives believing the One that God sent into the world to be the Savior of the world, we are to love Him supremely and give ourselves to Him wholly. That is what it means to "believe". But John does not stop there he goes on to say we are to demonstrate this belief in Jesus Christ by loving His people, by loving one another. 

The beauty in the command to 'love one another' can be seen in this, if we love others then we will treat them right. We will not lie to them, steal from them, or covet what they have. We will forgive as we have been forgiven, we will love our enemies and bless them that persecute us, we will rejoice with them that rejoice and weep with them that weep, in short, we will love our neighbor as ourselves.

This thought is contrary to the world's thinking where we are told 
it's all about you (self esteem), even at the expense of others, but this thinking is not in God's kingdom. His kingdom has different principles and its foundation is His Son Jesus Christ. It's all about Him! He is the Head and the fountain, out of Him springs life, love and light. He is the vine and we are the branches, we are forever joined and vitally united to Him and therefore united to our Father in heaven through Him!

So believer go forth into the world, the Truth has set you free. Free to believe God's Son, free to trust Him in all things in this life. Free to cast all your care on Him. Free to call upon Him, to praise Him, to walk with Him and He with you. Free to love Him with all your being. But it doesn't stop there; believer you are free to love one another, free to bear one another's burden and call each other's name before the throne of grace. 

So "believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Then the Soldiers

 I recently received and read a printed copy of a message titled "Then the Soldiers". Pastor Gene Breed of Grace Baptist Church in Jonesboro, GA preached this message from John 19:23-24. It is a gripping message that causes you to search your heart, not only to search it, but search while you stand at the foot of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. I recommend it to all for your soul's benefit.

Here are the opening few paragraphs:

The world has a saying, I don't know that it's true, but it's said that everyone will have 15 minutes of fame. God has a timetable! It's called, "the times before appointed" it is that time of everyone's life on this earth , that has ever been, are "before appointed". Habitations, (where they will live), have been set as bounds by God! You can't go outside those bounds, and no one can get to you inside those bounds except as God wills. These words, "Then the Soldiers", means that now it's their time. It's their 15 minutes! It's their time in the spotlight.

Here they are at the gateway to hell and the gateway to heaven at the foot of the cross. Standing there at the cross will either send you to hell, or heaven, depending on what you do with it, or what it does with you. If you make it some little trinket to hang on your tie; or something you hang on top of your church; or just some little token of religion, you will get in serious trouble. But if it is the epitome of your life,---

"Dying with Jesus through death reckoned mine,
Living with Jesus a new life divine.
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine,
Moment by moment O Lord, I am thine."

 If this is your life, "Always bearing about in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus", then the foot of the cross will open to you the door of heaven. Do not kid yourself; every man, woman, boy, girl; every creature that has ever been in the history of this world; their eternal destination is determined by one person, that is Jesus Christ! The essence of His power is seen here at the cross.

I want you to prepare your minds and hearts. "Then the Soldiers"! Not before. We didn't see them in John 1. They won't be appearing in John 21! This is when they appeared. You have your time. Your time is now. Make sure that the time you are given by God to stand in the presence of a redeeming Savior, who died for the glory of God, is highly esteemed in your heart, and let nothing else come between you and Him and that Glory! Do not let anything come between you and the glory of Jesus Christ on His cross!


Go to this web address:     
http://www.truthtapes.com/ttl/sermons.aspx

- Click on the YEAR 2009.
- Scroll down the Date column to 11/8/09
- The message titled "Then the Soldiers".
- Click and listen.
It is 1 hr and 13 minutes long so set aside some time, you will not regret it.