Monday, December 30, 2013

SHOULD BE TERRIFIED

In many respects what passes for "the church" should be terrified that Christ is coming again. Dr. Bray

SET MY HEART ON CHRIST

Many times I am forced in my prayers first to beg God that He would take my heart, and set it on Himself in Christ, and when it is there, that He would keep it there.
—John Bunyan

PRESERVING ME

John Newton (of Amazing Grace note)...

"We are poor, weak, inconsistent creatures—if left but a little to ourselves.

When I think how cold, dull and heartless I have been; how often I have wandered, how often trifled upon the brink of temptation; when I consider what powerful, vigilant, and subtle enemies are combined against me; and how many professors have fallen on my right hand and my left—I am amazed at the greatness of His mercy in preserving me! I am a living commentary, that there is forgiveness with Him—and that He is able to save to the uttermost!"

"Hold me up—and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117

A SOLDIER WHO FIGHTS

"Disputations have been allowed from ancient times. Even concerning the Holy Trinity. What good is a soldier if he is not allowed to fight, a sheepdog if he may not bark, and a theologian if he may not debate? Better spend money to support old women who can knit than theologians who cannot discuss." --Martin Luther

THEY ARE FIXED

"So surely as the stars are fashioned by His hands, and their orbits fixed by Him, so surely are our trials allotted to us: He has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have upon us." --C.H. Spurgeon

BOAST IN MY SAVIOR

I do not confess my sins in order to boast in my sins or my sinning, but I confess my sins in order to boast in my Savior and His saving.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

DON'T WORRY, LIFE IS NOT ABOUT US

I'm convinced that most all the worrying we do in life occurs because we have forgotten that the Gospel frees us from the idolatry that life is all about us.

FROM AL HARTMAN.

APPROACH BY GRACE

How dare you approach the mercy-seat of God on the basis of what kind of day you had, as if that were the basis for our entrance into the presence of the sovereign and holy God?
No wonder we cannot beat the Devil. This is works theology. It has nothing to do with grace and the exclusive sufficiency of Christ. Nothing.


 ~~ D.A. Carson

GRACE IS AT AN END

"There can be no grace when there is no sovereignty. Deny God’s right to choose whom He will and you deny His right to save whom He will. Deny His right to save whom He will and you deny that salvation is of grace. If salvation is made to hinge upon any merit or fitness in man, seen or foreseen, grace is at an end." - Horatius Bonar

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Apologetics to One Audience

I think I suffered from being drawn into apologetics without having the proper foundation of "why" we give an apologetic. Without a proper foundation it is easy to be focused on making points and better points to bring someone to see the "irrefutable" prove of a position, this leads to great frustration as this someone continues to reject the obvious, but this is because one began with the wrong foundation entirely. Our apologetics must begin with a focus on "one audience" ...only-- the Lord. Is the Lord being glorified, praised, honored, pleased in this apologetic. Am I humble, prayerful, meek, loving, diligent, serving, sacrificial, encouraging, friendly, forgiving, forbearing, patient, kind in the apologetic. If we provide an apologetic in faith, and with a single-eye upon providing it as an act of thanksgiving and worship to the Lord then our foundation will be proper; and frustration will not develop because we will not look to earthly results in our offering which is heaven-ward.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

who feeds the burning furnace of the sun

“The same God who directs the earth in its orbit, who feeds the burning furnace of the sun, and trims the lamps of heaven, has promised to supply thee with daily strength.” - Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Drawing a Line Between Circumcision and Baptism


Circumcision pointed to "offspring" singular, to Isaac singular, pointing to the true Isaac singular, the son of Promise, who is Jesus Christ.  Now that Jesus Christ has come incarnate and is the one by whom all nations will be blessed, and by whom the "Land" will be inherited;  He has come, with perfect Life, Crucifixion, Substitution, Sacrifice, Death, Burial, Resurrection, Ascension, Glory, fulfilling all obedience, righteousness and faith.  Thus, He has fulfilled Circumcision, being the Circumcision.  Thus there is a material distinction between circumcision and baptism, circumcision pointed to the future (the Christ promised to come) and baptism cannot point to the "Christ to come" because He already has come. 

Circumcision marked a blood-line of those under the law, and Christ under the law, fulifiled the law. The blood-line of believers will not be given another incarnation of Christ, so therefore the blood-line of believers are not to be given a sign.  Rather, Baptism marks being in the blood-line of those under faith, the "fruit of" Spirit, who are given-Spirit Birth to all those from the loins of Christ.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hymn 559 Red Trinity Hymnal

Father, I know that all my life Is portioned out for me, And the changes that are sure to come I do not fear to see; But I ask Thee for a present mind Intent on pleasing Thee. I would not have the restless will That hurries to and fro, Seeking for some great thing to do Or secret thing to know; I would be treated as a child, And guided where I go. So I ask Thee for daily strength, To none that ask denied, And a mind to blend with outward life While keeping at Thy side; Content to fill a little space, If Thou be glorified.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Valley of Vision excerpts

"O God, I bless thee for the happy moment when I first saw thy law fulfilled in Christ, wrath appeased, death destroyed, sin forgiven, my soul saved. Ever since, Thou hast been faithful to me, daily I have proved the power of Jesus' blood, daily I have known the strength of the Spirit, my teacher, director, sanctifier." -from "The Life Look" (page 54) "In Jesus, my brother, I have my new birth, every restraining power, every renewing grace. It is by thy Spirit I call thee Father, believe in thee, love thee; strengthen me inwardly for every purpose of my Christian life." -from "A Convert's First Prayer" (page 53) "My Father, I could never have sought my happiness in thy love, unless thou had'st first loved me. Thy Spirit has encouraged me by grace to seek thee, has made known to me thy reconciliation in Jesus, has taught me to believe it, has helped me to take thee for my God and portion. May he grant me to grow in the knowledge and experience of thy love, and walk in it all the way to glory." -from "A Convert's First Prayer" (page 53)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sabbath Summary

The Sabbath. Sabbath (from whence we get the word sabbatical) means rest, and the rest for the people of God under the Mosaic Law was a day of the week, namely, the last day, or Saturday, because of our Creator’s rest on the seventh day of creation. (There was also a Sabbath year.) In keeping with its meaning, this day (along with the Sabbath year) was designated for national Israel (as a sign of the covenant) not as a day for worship per se, but for rest. I believe that rest was a shadow of, and completely fulfilled in Jesus Christ Who, in the New and better Covenant, is Himself the Rest (the Christian’s Sabbath) for the souls of those who have ceased from their religious efforts to obtain right standing with God, to rely on Christ’s finished work in their stead. Our Sabbath is not a day but a Person. With Jesus and not a day as my Sabbath, I do not “keep” any day of the week, but I do faithfully assemble with the local fellowship of Believers on Sundays and other appointed times, not because of the Fourth Commandment, but because of the example set by the Apostles, and because of the significance of Christ’s resurrection which He chose to execute on the first day of the week. Our Lord declared “Man was not made for the Sabbath.” To the Christian, there are no special holy days. Resting in God’s provision—not worshipping on Sunday (as good as that is)—is that eternal, moral, principle foreshadowed in the Fourth Commandment. http://www.migliacci.com/Statement_of_Faith-extended-09-11-15.pdf

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

GREAT HYMN

"1 Not all the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty conscience peace
Or wash away the stain.

2 But Christ, the heav'nly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away;
A sacrifice of nobler name
And richer blood than they.

3 My faith would lay her hand
On that dear head of Thine,
While like a penitent I stand,
And there confess my sin.

4 My soul looks back to see
The burden Thou didst bear
When hanging on the cursed tree;
I know my guilt was there.

5 Believing, we rejoice
To see the curse remove;
We bless the Lamb with cheerful voice
And sing His bleeding love."

AN HEIR TO HEAVEN

: "If He loved you when you were a mass of corruption, will He not answer your prayers now that He has made you an heir to heaven?" ~ Spurgeon

WE SHALL ENTER VICTORIOUSLY

"We are all as an unclean thing."—Isaiah 64:6.

The believer is a new creature, he belongs to a holy generation and a peculiar people—the Spirit of God is in him, and in all respects he is far removed from the natural man; but for all that the Christian is a sinner still. He is so from the imperfection of his nature, and will continue so to the end of his earthly life. The black fingers of sin leave smuts upon our fairest robes. Sin mars our repentance, ere the great Potter has finished it, upon the wheel. Selfishness defiles our tears, and unbelief tampers with our faith. The best thing we ever did apart from the merit of Jesus only swelled the number of our sins; for when we have been most pure in our own sight, yet, like the heavens, we are not pure in God's sight; and as He charged His angels with folly, much more must He charge us with it, even in our most angelic frames of mind. The song which thrills to heaven, and seeks to emulate seraphic strains, hath human discords in it. The prayer which moves the arm of God is still a bruised and battered prayer, and only moves that arm because the sinless One, the great Mediator, has stepped in to take away the sin of our supplication.

The most golden faith or the purest degree of sanctification to which a Christian ever attained on earth, has still so much alloy in it as to be only worthy of the flames, in itself considered. Every night we look in the glass we see a sinner, and had need confess, "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." Oh, how precious the blood of Christ to such hearts as ours! How priceless a gift is His perfect righteousness! And how bright the hope of perfect holiness hereafter! Even now, though sin dwells in us, its power is broken. It has no dominion; it is a broken-backed snake; we are in bitter conflict with it, but it is with a vanquished foe that we have to deal. Yet a little while and we shall enter victoriously into the city where nothing defileth.
Charles Spurgeon

Friday, October 4, 2013

holy reverence

“Of all preaching in the world, I hate that preaching which tends to make the hearers laugh, or to move their minds with tickling levity, and affect them as stage-plays used to do, instead of affecting them with a holy reverence of the name of God.” Richard Baxter

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

IN HIS HANDS

“When one knows that his times are in God’s hands, he would not change places with a king! No, nor even with an angel!”

Sunday, September 22, 2013

WORSHIP IS ABOUT GOD

Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name (Psalm 29:2).

It's Sunday around noonish. As the congregation files out of the sanctuary heading toward the parking lot, listen closely and you will hear it.

It's a common refrain voiced near the exit doors of churches all across this land.
"I didn't get anything out of that today." "I didn't get anything out of the sermon." "I didn't get anything out of that service." "I guess her song was all right, but I didn't get anything out of it."

Sound familiar? Not only have I heard it countless times over these near-fifty years in the ministry, I probably have said it a few times myself.

This is like dry rot in a congregation. Like a termite infestation in the building. Like an epidemic afflicting the people of the Lord, one which we seem helpless to stop.

But let's try. Let's see if we can make a little difference where you and I live, in the churches where we serve and worship. We might not be able to help all of them, but if we bless one or two, it will have been time well spent.

1. You are Not Supposed to 'Get Anything Out of the Service'

Worship is not about you and me. Not about "getting our needs met." Not about a performance from the pastor and singer and choir and musicians. Not in the least.

2. Worship is About the Lord

"Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name." That Psalms 29:2 verse atop our article today is found also in 1 Chronicles 16:29 and Psalms 96:8. It deserves being looked at closely.

a) We are in church to give. Not to get.
Now, if I am going somewhere to "get," but find out on arriving, I am expected to "give," I am one frustrated fellow. And that is what is happening in the typical church service. People walk out the door frustrated because they didn't "get." The reason they didn't is that they were not there to "get," but to "give."
Someone should have told them.

b) We are giving glory to God. Not to man.
We know that. At least we say we do. How many times have we recited, "...for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory"? And how often have we sung, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow..."?

c) We do so because glory is His right. He is "worthy of worship."
This is the theme of the final book of the Bible.
  • "Who is worthy?" (Rev. 5:2) 
  • "You are worthy...for you were slain, and have redeemed us" (Rev. 5:9). 
  • "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain" (Rev. 5:12).
3. Self-centeredness Destroys All Worship
If my focus is on myself when I enter the church--getting my needs met, learning something, hearing a lesson that blesses me, being lifted by the singing--then Christ has no part in it. He becomes my servant, and the pastor (and all the other so-called performers) are there only for me. It's all about me.
We have strayed so far from the biblical concept of worship--giving God His due in all the ways He has commanded--it's a wonder we keep going to church. And it's an even greater wonder that our leaders keep trying to get us to worship.

The poor preacher! Trying to cater to the insatiable hungers of his people, even the best and most godly among them, is an impossible task. One week he gets it right and eats up the accolades. Then, about the time he thinks he has it figured out, the congregation walks out grumbling that they got nothing out of the meal he served today.

The typical congregation in the average church today really does think the service is all about them--getting people saved, learning the Word, receiving inspiration to last another week, having their sins forgiven, taking an offering to provision the Lord's work throughout the world.

Anything wrong with those things? Absolutely not. But if we go to church to do those things, we can do
them. But we will not have worshiped.

Warren Wiersbe says, "If you worship because it pays, it will not pay."
 
4. Evangelism & Discipleship, Giving & Praying, Grow Out of Worship; Not the Other Way Around

The disciples were worshiping on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled them and drove them into the streets to bear a witness to the living Christ (Acts 2).

Isaiah was in the Temple worshiping when God appeared to him, forgave his sins, and called him as a prophet to the people (Isaiah 6).

It was in the act of worship that the two distraught disciples had their eyes opened to recognize Jesus at their table (Luke 24).
 
5. We are to Give Him Worship and Glory in the Ways Scripture Commands

"Give to the Lord the glory due His name and bring an offering." So commands I Chronicles 16:29 and Psalm 96:8.

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart--these, O God, you will not despise." (Psalm 51:17)

Singing, praise, rejoicing. Praying, offering, humbling, loving. All these are commanded in worship at various places in Scripture.

The Lord Jesus told the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well, "Those who worship God must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). That is, with their inner being, the totality of themselves, their spirit, not just their lips or their bodies going through the motions. And in truth--the revealed truth of how God has prescribed worship to take place. He is not pleased with "just anything" that we claim as worship.

We must balance our worship between spirit (the subjective part: body, soul, emotions) and truth (the objective aspect: all that God has revealed in His word).
 
6. We Are the Ones Who Decide Whether We Worship upon Entering the House of the Lord

Don't blame the preacher if you don't worship. He can't do it for you.

No one else can eat my food for me, love my cherished ones in my place, or do my worshiping for me.
No pastor can decide or dictate whether we will worship by the quality of his leadership or the power of his sermon. Whether I worship in today's service has absolutely nothing to do with how well he does his job.
I am in charge of this decision. I decide whether I will worship.
When Mary sat before the Lord Jesus, clearly worshiping, He informed a disgruntled Martha that her sister had "chosen the good part," something that "will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:42). That something special was time spent in worship. Such moments or hours are eternal.
Lest someone point out that Martha could have worshiped in her kitchen by her service for Christ, we do not argue, but simply point out that she was not doing so that day.
 
7. Remember: Worship is a Verb

And it's an active verb at that.
Worship is something we do, not something done to us.
In the worst of circumstances, I can still worship my God. In the Philippians prison, while their backs were still oozing blood from the beating they'd received, Paul and Silas worshiped (Acts 16:25).
Even if a church has no pastor and has to make do with a stuttering layman or some inept fill-in, I can still bow before the Lord, offer Him my praise, and give Him my all. I can humble before Him and I can bring my offering.

What I cannot do is leave church blaming my failure to worship on the poor singing, the boring sermon, or the noise from the children in the next pew. I am in charge of the decision whether I will worship, and no one else.

Someone has pointed out that ours is the only nation on earth where church members feel they have to have "worshipful architecture" before they can adequately honor the Lord. Millions of Christians across the world seem to worship just fine without any kind of building. Believers in Malawi meet under mango trees, according to retired missionary Mike Canady, and their worship is as anointed as anyone's anywhere.

(What? No stained glass!)

Our insistence on worshipful music, worship settings, and worshipful everything are all signs of our disgusting self-centeredness.

It's disgusting because I see it in myself, and do not like it.

No one enjoys a great choir more than I. I love to hear a soloist transport us all into the Throneroom by his/her vocal offering in the service. A great testimony of God's grace and power thrills me. And of course, being a preacher, I delight in hearing a sermon that you feel is direct from the heart of God.
But if I require any one or all of those before I can worship, something is vastly wrong with me.
My friends, something is vastly wrong with us today.
 
Dr. Joe McKeever is a Preacher, Cartoonist, and the Director of Missions for the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans. Visit him at joemckeever.com/mt. Used with permission.
Publication date: May 24, 2011

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Proper Worship

R. Albert Mohler Jr.

September 20, 2013
 
In The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor offers this insight into fallen human nature: “So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find someone to worship.”

Though the Grand Inquisitor falls far short as a reliable guide to theology, at this point he is surely correct. Human beings are profoundly religious — even when we do not know ourselves to be — and humans incessantly seek an object of worship.

Yet, human beings are sinners, and thus our worship is, more often than not, grounded in our own paganism of personal preference. The fallen human heart is indeed an “idomaking factory,” always producing new idols for worship and veneration. That corrupted factory, left to its own devices, will never produce true worship, but will instead worship its own invention.

But Christians are those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, incorporated into the body of Christ and are then called to true worship as regulated and authorized by Scripture. Worship is the purpose for which we were made — and only the redeemed can worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

But, do we?

The British philosopher Roger Scruton once advised his fellow philosophers that the best way to understand what people really believe about God is to observe them at worship. Theology books and doctrinal statements may reveal what a congregation says it believes, but worship will reveal what it really believes. If so, we are in big trouble.

Years ago, A.W. Tozer lamented that many churches conceive of worship as “a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction.” Many Christians, he argued, would not even recognize worship as “a meeting where the only attraction is God.” True 50 years ago, those words now serve as a direct indictment of contemporary worship.

Worship is the purpose for which we were made — and only the redeemed can worship the Father in spirit and in truth.


At the worldview level, we must face the fact that modernism collapsed transcendence in many minds. The focus of worship was “horizontalized” and reduced to human scale. Worship was transformed into an experiment in “meaningfulness” as judged by the worshiper, not an act of joyful submission to the wonder and grandeur of God.

While all Christians affirm the necessity and reality of the experiential dimension of faith, the experience must be grounded in and accountable to the Word of God.

Hughes Oliphant Old once summarized Christian worship in terms of “its sense of the majesty and sovereignty of God, its sense of reverence, of simple dignity, its conviction that worship must above all serve the praise of God.” As Old recognized, this path of renewal “may not be just exactly what everyone is looking for.”

Looking for it or not, this is the only path back to the worship God seeks.

Friday, September 6, 2013

THE LOVING GOD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

Far from being a history of a harsh God, the Old Testament is the record of a God who is patient in the extreme. —R.C. Sproul

Saturday, August 31, 2013

MERE MORALITY

GEORGE WHITEFIELD “Mere heathen morality, and not Jesus Christ, is preached in most of our churches."

WASTED LIVES

NATE SAINT "And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives... and when the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted."

Saturday, August 24, 2013

ARE THEY OFFENDED

“If the truth offends, then let it offend. People have been living their whole lives in offense to God; let them be offended for a while.”~John MacArthur

Friday, August 16, 2013

WRONG TO WORRY


REMORSE OVER THE PAST AND WORRY ABOUT THE FUTURE – GOD’S WORD FORBIDS BOTH!

There are two things that usually bring the Christian down: they are : REMORSE OVER THE PAST, AND WORRY OVER THE FUTURE; and God’s word forbids from doing EITHER. What has happened till now is past and there is little we can do to undo it. It is what men term as ‘water under the bridge’.

But for the Christian there is always hope no matter how bad his/her past may have been. The Apostle’s admonition is – “forgetting those things WHICH ARE BEHIND, and reaching forth unto those things WHICH ARE BEFORE”! [Phil 3:13] Now this is easily said than done. Memories of the past constantly haunt us and the results of our past mistakes most often stare us in the face. And if we were without God like most the worldly people the future would be pretty bleak. But we have a God who is SOVEREIGN and with whom ALL THINGS are possible.

Our God can and does overrule any mistake or sins of our past for His glory! In the Old Testament the Lord told His people- “I will RESTORE to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and MY PEOPLE SHALL NEVER BE ASHAMED.”! [Joel 2:25]

Now ponder the above verse very prayerfully! God says He can and will restore what you think may hopelessly be lost, and in the end you will never be ashamed.

This is one of the amazing things about God. He can take our broken dreams and make a miracle out of our lives.

The more we learn how sovereign our God is, the more we can be assured that He is in COMPLETE CONTROL of all that has transpired in our lives. If you are a Christian, then you know that God did not spare His only begotten Son to save you. Now THAT is the ultimate expression of love. One may sacrifice their child to save a FRIEND, but only God sacrificed His Son to save His ENEMIES. “For if, when WE WERE ENEMIES, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life”! [Rom 5:10]

Seeing that He has given His well beloved to save our wretched souls, will He now trick or trap us into ruin? “Oh but I brought all this on myself by MY OWN wrong decisions”! In a certain sense this is true, but in a deeper sense it is God who has been guiding you in all the decisions you have made! “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps”! [Prov 16:9]. Again, “A Man’s goings are OF THE LORD; how can a man then understand his own way”? [Prov 20:24]

The Patriarch Job was so established and confident of God’s ‘Absolute Sovereignty’ that in spite of all the evil that befell him, he could confidently affirm – “But HE KNOWETH the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall COME FORTH AS GOLD”! [Job 23:10]

One thing that I have learnt during these twenty six years as a Christian is that the Lord is sovereignly overruling ALL OUR DECISIONS for His glory and for our ultimate good! Unless we grasp this amazing truth, we shall be miserable in this vale of tears. "The misfortunes and adversities of life, so called, assume a different color when we look at them through this glass of Absolute Predestination. It is sad to hear people trying to live over their lives again and saying to themselves: 'IF I had chosen a different profession,' 'IF I had taken a different turning of the road,' 'IF I had married another person.' Etc. All this is weak and unChristian. The web of destiny we have woven, in a sense, with our own hands, and yet God had His part in it. It is GOD'S PART in it, and not our part, that gives us faith and hope." [Clarence E. Macartney]

Dearly Beloved, this doctrine of Absolute Sovereignty is not a novelty amongst God’s people, but is as old as the Bible itself. This is what made Joseph affirm to his brethren, “ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good”! [Gen 50:20]. Knowledge of this doctrine is what made David say concerning Shimei when he cursed David, “let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so”? [1Sam 16:10]. Finally when Judas would betray our Master, the Lord does not entreat him to repent, but rather says, “That thou doest, do quickly”! [Jn 13:27].

If a sparrow falleth not to the ground without the Father and if the hairs of our head are all numbered, then rest assured that ALL THINGS that transpire in the life of the believer are working together for his/her good. He began this good work in us and He alone will one day finish it and to Him alone will be all the Glory!

“The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it! Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the LORD of hosts”! [Zech 4;6-8]

“Beloved, I would encourage you to constantly remind yourself of the Scripture where the Psalmist says that – “He (God) led them forth by the RIGHT WAY that they might go to a city of habitation." Is that not amazing? For we read that "they (the Israelites) WANDERED:" and that their wanderings were in a "WILDERNESS," where there were no TRACKED PATHS? And we read that it was "a solitary way"? How, then, could it be "a RIGHT WAY," where there was no way at all? Yet the Spirit of God says, that it WAS the "right way." Reason, sense, and nature, have to hold their peace. Because, nature never can understand how a way of trouble, of temptation, of exercise, of sorrow, of perplexity can be the right way. But GOD NEVER MEANT NATURE, SENSE, AND REASON TO UNDERSTAND IT. The Lord gives faith to His dear people, that His dealings may be believed in, not reasoned upon; and He raises up this precious gift of the Spirit in their soul, not that they may confer with nature, sense, and reason, but that they may believe His own testimony in their heart and conscience. For this reason God leads His people by such paths as are directly contrary to nature, sense, and reason, in order to baffle them!

By faith, then, only can we understand how it is "a right way." And when faith is in exercise, then it is known to be "a right way." Our losses, our crosses, our trials in providence, our afflictions of body, our perplexities of mind, our sorrows of heart, – all are then to us "a right way." 'Once,' you say, 'they were a labyrinth: I could not find my way through them: they were an enigma, which I could not unravel. But soon you will see that those things, which so puzzled, perplexed, and tried me, led to your greatest blessings. I could not,' you will say, 'see the hand of the Lord at THAT TIME: but how plainly do I see it NOW? In that painful dispensation, that agony of soul, that trouble of mind, that distressing path, how plainly do I see NOW that the Lord's hand was leading me”! [J.C. Philpot]

And the Lord is not done yet, Beloved! He will CONTINUE to lead you and ultimately bring you into your desired haven!

He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them unto their DESIRED HAVEN. Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! [Psa 107:29-31]

Love
Michael Jeshurun!

P.S. If I could, would I go back and change anything in my life? Trust me, actually NO! This path which He has brought me through is the BEST for me. For had there been a better path, HE who loved me enough to die for me would have brought me that way! Hallelujah!

Friday, August 9, 2013

GOD MOVES IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err

And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

Words: Will­iam Cow­per, in Twen­ty-six Let­ters on Re­li­gious Sub­jects, by John New­ton, 1774. It is re­port­ed­ly the last hymn Cow­per ev­er wrote, with a fas­cin­at­ing (though un­sub­stan­ti­at­ed) story be­hind it.
Cow­per oft­en strug­gled with de­press­ion and doubt. One night he de­cid­ed to com­mit su­i­cide by drown­ing him­self. He called a cab and told the driv­er to take him to the Thames Riv­er. How­ev­er, thick fog came down and pre­vent­ed them from find­ing the riv­er (ano­ther ver­sion of the story has the driv­er get­ting lost de­liber­ate­ly). After driv­ing around lost for a while, the cab­by fin­al­ly stopped and let Cow­per out. To Cowper’s sur­prise, he found him­self on his own door­step: God had sent the fog to keep him from kill­ing him­self. Even in our black­est mo­ments, God watch­es over us.
Music: Dun­dee, Scot­tish Psal­ter, 1615

Hymns to Remember

http://openhymnal.org/Lyrics/Lift_High_The_Cross-Crucifier.html

http://openhymnal.org/Lyrics/Go_to_Dark_Gethsemane-Gethsemane-Petra.html

http://openhymnal.org/Lyrics/By_Grace_Im_Saved-O_Dass_Ich_Tansend_Zungen.html

BY GRACE I'M SAVED

By Grace I'm Saved

1. By grace I'm saved grace free and boundless! My heart, believ'st thou this or not? Why tremblest thou with terror groundless? Has ever God a falsehood taught? His Word is truethen this must be: By grace there is a crown for thee.
2. By grace! our works are all rejected, All claims of merit pass for naught; The mighty Savior, long expected, To us this blissful truth has brought, That He by death redeems our race, And we are saved alone by grace.
3. By grace! mark well this phrase's meaning, When sin rolls sorrows o'er thy breast, When Satan threats with pride o'erweening, When troubled conscience sighs for rest: What reason ne'er can comprehend It pleases God by grace to send.
4. By grace His Son, on earth appearing, Vouchsafed beneath thy woe to bend; Hadst thou, damnation justly fearing, Done aught to render Him thy friend? Was't not that He thy welfare sought, And but by grace deliv'rance wrought?
5. By grace! this ground of our salvation As long as God is true endures: What saints have penned by inspiration, What God to our poor soul secures, What all our faith must rest upon, Is grace, free grace through His dear Son.
6. By grace! but think not, thou who livest Securely on in godless ways, That thou, though all are called, receivest The promised rest that wakes our praise: By grace none find in heaven a place Who live in sin in hope of grace.
7. By grace! They who have heard this sentence Must bid hypocrisy farewell; For only after deep repentance The soul what grace imports can tell; To sin while grace a trifle seems, To faith it bright with glory beams.
8. By grace the timid hearts that languish, Find access to the Father's heart, When conflicts fierce and bitter anguish Bid all their joy and hopes depart. Where, oftimes, should I strength obtain, Bid grace my anchor not remain!
9. By grace! on this in death I'll rest me, Rejoicing e'en though feeling naught; I know my sin it oft oppressed me But Him, too, who my soul hath bought: My heart exults grief flees apace Because my soul is saved by grace.
10. By grace! O sin and Satan hear it! I bear my flag of faith in hand, And pass, in spite of doubts, nor fear it, The Red Sea to the promised land; I hold the word my Savior taught As certain, whether felt or not.

Words: Christian L. Scheidt, 1742. Translated by Matthias Loy, (1828-1915).
Music: 'O Dass Ich Tansend Zungen' Johann Balthasar K�nig, 1738.
Setting: "The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal" (Ohio Synod), 1908.
copyright: public domain. This score is a part of the Open Hymnal Project, 2007 Revision.

GREATEST JUDGMENT

The greatest judgment God lays upon a man in this life is to let him sin without control. When the Lord's displeasure is most severely kindled against a person, He does not say, I will bring the sword and the plague on this man, but, I will let him sin on: 'So I gave them up unto their own hearts' LUST.' (Psalm 81:12)

Thomas Watson

Thursday, August 8, 2013

SINK IMMEDIATELY

If God should let you go, you would sink immediately and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell than a spider's web would have to stop a falling rock.

Jonathan Edwards

Thursday, July 25, 2013

CLOSE EMBRACE

 He has chosen not to heal me, but to hold me. The more intense the pain, the closer His embrace.
- Joni E Tada

Saturday, July 20, 2013

At LEAST 13 years after Genesis 12

Gen 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram ....

Which was thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael last mentioned; so many years more it was before he is expressly told he should have a son by Sarai, or had the promise of Isaac, which was for the trial of his faith; (John Gill).

An inference

An inference from a precedent does not an imperative make.

Friday, July 12, 2013

God is for us

Such a God have we, such a God do we worship, to such a God do we pray, at whose command all created things sprang into being. Why then should we fear if this God favours us? Why should we tremble at the anger of the whole world? If He is our dwelling-place shall we not be safe though the heavens should go to the wrack? For we have a Lord greater than all the world. We have a Lord so mighty that at His word all things sprang into being. And yet we are so fainthearted that if the anger of a single prince or king, nay, even of a single neighbour, is to be borne, we tremble and droop in spirit. Yet in comparison with this King, all things beside in the whole world are but as the lightest dust which a slight breath moves from its place, and suffers not to be still. In this way this description of God is consolatory, and trembling spirits ought to look to this consolation in their temptations and dangers.

Martin Luther

DON'T WASTE TIME

John Calvin: "Paul now forbids him to waste much time in debating with heretics, because battle would lead to battle and dispute to dispute. Such is the cunning of Satan, that, by the impudent talkativeness of such men, he entangles good and faithful pastors, so as to draw them away from diligence in teaching. We must therefore beware lest we become engaged in quarrelsome disputes; for we shall never have leisure to devote our labors to the Lord’s flock, and contentious men will never cease to annoy us. 

When he commands him to avoid such persons, it is as if he said that he must not toil hard to satisfy them, and even that there is nothing better than to cut off the handle for fighting which they are eager to find. This is a highly necessary admonition; for even they who would willingly take no part in strifes of words are sometimes drawn by shame into controversy, because they think that it would be shameful cowardice to quit the field. 

Besides, there is no temper, however mild, that is not liable to be provoked by the fierce taunts of enemies, because they look upon it as intolerable that those men should attack the truth, (as they are accustomed to do,) and that none should reply. Nor are there wanting men who are either of a combative disposition, or excessively hot-tempered, who are eager for battle. On the contrary, Paul does not wish that the servant of Christ should be much and long employed in debating with heretics."

Sunday, July 7, 2013

PROVISION

Name one solitary day in which you provided, secured, sustained your food, clothing, health, housing, needs, or blessings?  So why should I fret and worry about how to do such things in the future, fearing that funds may dwindle. My faith should be in the sufficiency of my Father, not the sufficiency of my funds.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Valley of Vision

"Forgive me if I have tried to add anything to the one foundation, if I have unconsciously relied upon my knowledge, experience, deeds, and not seen them as filthy rags; if I have attempted to complete what is perfect in Christ." -from "The Life Look" (page 54)

Various Types of Legalism

  • RT @PastorTullian: Save yourself = theological legalism. Transform yourself = functional legalism. Change the world = missional legalism.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The accomplishment of Jesus

It is solely due to the life, death, blood, resurrection, obedience, righteousness, perfection, grace, and accomplishment of Jesus Christ that I was born again, given a new mind, a new heart, a living faith, and the exercise thereof. In fact it was accomplishment of Jesus Christ that ensured the exercise of the faith that His mediation gave me.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

CALVIN on Head-Coverings

Should any one now object, that her hair is enough, as being a natural covering, Paul says that it is not, for it is such a covering as requires another thing to be made use of for covering it And hence a conjecture is drawn, with some appearance of probability -- that women who had beautiful hair were accustomed to uncover their heads for the purpose of showing off their beauty. It is not, therefore, without good reason that Paul, as a remedy for this vice, sets before them the opposite idea -- that they be regarded as remarkable for unseemliness, rather than for what is an incentive to lust. [625]

Sunday, April 21, 2013

PRAY CONTRARY TO OUR OWN HEART

thought provoking: "If we are to pray aright, perhaps it is quite necessary that we pray contrary to our own heart." Bonhoeffer.

BEZA QUOTE

Theodore Beza: It belongs to the church of God to receive blows rather than to inflict them -- but, she is an anvil that has worn out many hammers. --Theodore of Beza 1561 to King Charles IX of France

Friday, March 22, 2013

AN OBSERVATION

The Christian life is a personal one. And what I mean is, it is easy to lay back and wait for corporate Bible study, corporate prayer, corporate evangelism, corporate benevolence ministry, corporate outreach, and all things corporate. It seems clear that God has provided a community body of the church to build one another up which includes encouragement, instruction, correction, and joint labor; it is wrong and dangerous to be a lone ranger void of accountability and teamwork.

Yet having said that, I am learning the past 4.5 years that I can never sit back and wait for the corporate functions (or lack thereof) to be my mainstay. In family worship, Joshua and his house will serve the Lord, and so I must constantly pursue Christ and His Kingdom as He first loved me and claimed me for His own possession. I will enjoy the nourishment of Christ, prayer, Scripture, evangelism, ministry, outreach, and worship without waiting for the Christian community to be the inducement or occasion to pursue these things.

Has the local congregation lacked evangelism, prayer, devotion, ministry, outreach, discipleship? Well, don't let that be my (your) excuse for my own lack of personal: evangelism, prayer, devotion, ministry, outreach, discipleship.

Monday, January 28, 2013

WANDERING SHEEP

I was a wandering sheep,
I did not love the fold;
I did not love my Shepherd’s voice,
I would not be controlled.
I was a wayward child,
I did not love my home;
I did not love my Father’s voice,
I loved afar to roam.

The Shepherd sought His sheep,
The Father sought His child;
They followed me o’er vale and hill,
O’er deserts waste and wild;
They found me nigh to death,
Famished and faint and lone;
They bound me with the bands of love,
They saved the wand’ring one.

They spoke in tender love,
They raised my drooping head,
They gently closed my bleeding wounds,
My fainting soul they fed;
They washed my filth away,
They made me clean and fair;
They brought me to my home in peace,
The long sought wanderer.

Jesus my Shepherd is:
’Twas He that loved my soul;
’Twas He that washed me in His blood,
’Twas He that made me whole.
’Twas He that sought the lost,
That found the wand’ring sheep,
’Twas He that brought me to the fold,
’Tis He that still doth keep.

No more a wandering sheep,
I love to be controlled;
I love my tender Shepherd’s voice,
I love the peaceful fold.
No more a wayward child,
I seek no more to roam;
I love my heavenly Father’s voice,
I love, I love His home!

HORATIUS BONAR

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

COMFORT THE FEEBLEMINDED

JOHN GILL ON 1 THESS 5:14

Comfort the feebleminded: such as are not able to bear the loss of near and dear relations; are ready to stagger under the cross, and at the reproaches and persecutions of the world; and are almost overset with the temptations of Satan; and are borne down and discouraged with the corruptions of their hearts, speak a comfortable word to them, encourage them with the doctrines of grace, and the promises of the Gospel.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Preaching with Faith


The preacher preaches the word with the aim to bring attention to the God of glory, an accurate apprehension /understanding of Scripture to the mind, a deepening affection to the heart, and a faithful application in the life.  Yet the preacher realizes he himself cannot change the listener's "attention, mind, heart, life"  The audience may ignore or drift from the passage, or reject and twist the meaning of the passage, and despise the passage, and never bear fruit in accordance with the passage.  So the pastor preaches first as an act of worship to God, an act of obedience to God, and an act of faith toward God, leaving the results of the preaching up to the power and grace of God.  Only God can change the attention, mind, heart, life of the soul.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

POOR OR PLUSH

“For whom the devil cannot overcome with poverty, want, need and misery, he attacks with riches, favor, honor, pleasure, power and the like, and contends on both sides against us; yea, ‘he walketh about,’ says St. Peter in 1 Pet 5:8, so that if he cannot overthrow us either with suffering or love, … he retires to a higher and different method and attacks us with error, blindness and a false understanding of the Scripture.” -- Martin Luther