Monday, January 12, 2009
("The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod"
or, "The Silent Soul with Sovereign Antidotes"
by Thomas Brooks, 1659, London.)
"The Lord disciplines the one He loves, and
punishes every son whom He receives."
"Why should any living man complain--when
punished for his sins?" Lamentations 3:39
He who has deserved a hanging--has no
reason to charge the judge with cruelty--if
he escapes with a whipping!
And we who have deserved a damning--have
no reason to charge God for being too severe
--if we escape with a fatherly lashing!
"God disciplines us for our good---that we
may share in His holiness." Hebrews 12:10
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
(Arthur Pink, "David's Flight")
Prosperity is often a mixed blessing, and adversity is far from being an unmixed calamity!
Alternating spiritual prosperity and adversity, is the lot of God's people on this earth. All is not unclouded sunshine with them--nor is it unrelieved gloom and storm. There is a mingling of both:
assistance from friends--and injuries from foes;
smiles from the Lord's countenance--and the hidings of His face.
By such changes, opportunities are afforded for the development and exercise of different graces, so that we may, in our measure, "know how to be abased--and how to abound . . . both to be full--and to be empty" (Phil. 4:12). But above all, that we may, amid varying circumstances, prove the unchanging faithfulness of God--and His sufficiency to supply our every need.
Ah, my reader, if you are one of God's elect--do not expect a smooth and easy path through this earthly wilderness--but be prepared for varying circumstances and drastic changes. The Christian's resting place is not in this world, for "here have we no continuing city" (Hebrews 13:14). The Christian is a "pilgrim," on a journey; he is a "soldier," called on to fight the good fight of faith. The more this is realized, the less keen will be the disappointment, when our ease is disturbed, and our outward peace harshly broken in upon.
"Many are the afflictions of the righteous," and if 'troubles' do not come to us in one form--they most certainly will in another! If we really appropriate this promise--then we shall not be so staggered when afflictions come upon us. It is written that, "it is necessary to pass through many troubles on our way into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22), and therefore we should make up our minds to expect the same, and to "not to think it strange" (1 Peter 4:12) when we are called upon to pass through "the fiery trial." Affliction, tribulation, and fiery trial--are a times, our portion here on earth.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Who is regulating affairs on this earth today-God, or the Devil? That God reigns supreme in Heaven is generally conceded; that He does so over this world, is almost universally denied-if not directly, then indirectly. More and more are men in their philosophizing and theorizing relegating God to the background. Take the material realm. Not only is it denied that God created everything by personal and direct action, but few believe that He has any immediate concern in regulating the works of His own hands. Everything is supposed to be ordered according to the (impersonal and abstract) "laws of Nature." Thus is the Creator banished from His own creation. Therefore we need not be surprised that men, in their degrading conceptions, exclude Him from the realm of human affairs. Throughout Christendom, with an almost negligible exception, the theory is held that man is "a free agent," and therefore, lord of his fortunes and the determiner of his destiny. That Satan is to be blamed for much of the evil which is in the world is freely affirmed by those who, though having so much to say about "the responsibility of man," often deny their own responsibility, by attributing to the Devil what, in fact, proceeds from their own evil hearts (Mark 7:21-23).
But who is regulating affairs on this earth today-God, or the Devil? Attempt to take a serious and comprehensive view of the world. What a scene of confusion and chaos confronts us on every side! Sin is rampant; lawlessness abounds; evil men and seducers are waxing "worse and worse" (2 Tim. 3:13). Today, everything appears to be out of joint. Thrones are creaking and tottering, ancient dynasties are being overturned, democracies are revolting, civilization is a demonstrated failure; half of Christendom was but recently locked-together in a death grapple; and now that the titantic conflict is over, instead of the world having been made "safe for democracy," we have discovered that democracy is very unsafe for the world. Unrest, discontent, and lawlessness are rife everywhere, and none can say how soon another great war will be set in motion. Statesmen are perplexed and staggered. Men's hearts are "failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth" (Luke 21:26). Do these things look as though God had full control?
But let us confine our attention to the religious realm. After nineteen centuries of Gospel preaching, Christ is still "despised and rejected of men." Worse still, He (the Christ of Scripture) is proclaimed and magnified by very few. In the majority of modern pulpits He is dishonored and disowned. Despite frantic efforts to attract the crowds, the majority of the churches are being emptied rather than filled. And what of the great masses of non-church goers? In the light of Scripture we are compelled to believe that the "many" are on the Broad Road that leadeth to destruction, and that only "few" are on the Narrow Way that leadeth unto life. Many are declaring that Christianity is a failure, and despair is settling on many faces. Not a few of the Lord's own people are bewildered, and their faith is being severely tried. And what of God? Does He see and hear? Is He impotent or indifferent? A number of those who are regarded as leaders of Christian-thought told us that God could not help the coming of the late awful War, and that He was unable to bring about its termination. It was said, and said openly, that conditions were beyond God's control. Do these things look as though God were ruling the world?
Who is regulating affairs on this earth today-God, or the Devil? What impression is made upon the minds of those men of the world who, occasionally, attend a Gospel service? What are the conceptions formed by those who hear even those preachers who are counted as "orthodox?" Is it not that a disappointed God is the One whom Christians believe in? From what is heard from the average evangelist today, is not any serious hearer obliged to conclude that he professes to represent a God who is filled with benevolent intentions, yet unable to carry them out; that He is earnestly desirous of blessing men, but that they will not let Him? Then, must not the average hearer draw the inference that the Devil has gained the upper hand, and that God is to be pitied rather than blamed?
But does not everything seem to show that the Devil has far more to do with the affairs of earth than God has? Ah, it all depends upon whether we are walking by faith, or walking by sight. Are your thoughts, my reader, concerning this world and God's relation to it, based upon what you see? Face this question seriously and honestly. And if you are a Christian you will, most probably, have cause to bow your head with shame and sorrow, and to acknowledge that it is so. Alas, in reality, we walk very little "by faith." But what does "walking by faith" signify? It means that our thoughts are formed, our actions regulated, our lives molded by the Holy Scriptures, for, "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). It is from the Word of Truth, and that alone, that we can learn what is God's relation to this world.Who is regulating affairs on this earth today-God or the Devil? What saith the Scriptures?
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Is this my 'Main' Focus each day, each week, each month, as I wake up, eat, live, and prepare for bed? And Primarily that the new heavens and new earth will be the place of communion for the saints with JESUS. Such a place and such a communion is promised by God himself. While each verse is important to proclaim, it is equally important to bring to personal application, whereas we not only contend for the faith, but live the faith, and rejoice in both the warnings and promises of God. Take time to reflect on this verse and chapter.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!  "For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?"  "Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?"
 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.