EVERTHELESS,"—AS if, notwithstanding all the foolishness and ignorance which David had just been confessing to God, not one atom the less was it true and certain that David was saved and accepted, and that the blessing of being constantly in God's presence was undoubtedly his. Fully conscious of his own lost estate, and of the deceitfulness and vileness of his nature, yet, by a glorious outburst of faith, he sings "nevertheless I am continually with Thee." Believer, you are forced to enter into Asaph's confession and acknowledgment, endeavour in like spirit to say "nevertheless, since I belong to Christ I am continually with God!" By this is meant continually upon His mind, He is always thinking of me for my good. Continually before His eye;—the eye of the Lord never sleepeth, but is perpetually watching over my welfare. Continually in His hand, so that none shall be able to pluck me thence. Continually on His heart, worn there as a memorial, even as the high priest bore the names of the twelve tribes upon his heart for ever. Thou always thinkest of me, O God. The bowels of Thy love continually yearn towards me. Thou art always making providence work for my good. Thou hast set me as a signet upon thine arm; thy love is strong as death, many waters cannot quench it; neither can the floods drown it. Surprising grace! Thou seest me in Christ, and though in myself abhorred, Thou beholdest me as wearing Christ's garments, and washed in His blood, and thus I stand accepted in Thy presence. I am thus continually in Thy favour—"continually with Thee." Here is comfort for the tried and afflicted soul; vexed with the tempest within—look at the calm without. "Nevertheless"—O say it in thy heart, and take the peace it gives. "Nevertheless I am continually with Thee."
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I received a package in the mail today from a dear sister in the Lord, Mona Leiter, whose husband, Charles Leiter, is a true preacher of the word as well as the author of the book 'Justification and Regeneration'. The package included this booklet about Helen Ewan. I hope this brief excerpt will be a blessing to you...
After her conversion at the age of fourteen, Helen's whole personality was radiant with the glory of the Lord. Many testified that just her passing smile, or her cheery, 'Good day. God bless you' was an uplifting tonic to them the rest of the day.
In her prayer life, Helen was such an example to us all. She arose each morning around five o'clock to commune with her Lord. She would not put on the heat in her little cold room or seek to make herself comfortable in any way, feeling she could be more alert in the cold. And besides, those for whom she would be praying in foreign lands were not sitting in comfort.
She would begin her communion with praise and worship. She then read the Word to warm her heart. She remembered the words of her fellow Scot, Robert Murray McCheyne, 'it is the look that saves, but it is the gaze that sanctifies'. Helen gazed with rapture into the face of her Lord. I could not mention to you the expressions of adoration which she wrote down in her diary after such times with her Lord. They are too sacred for publication.
After fellowship and communion, followed her ministry of intercession for her friends and family, for her assembly, for hundreds of missionaries on the foreign fields. Then came her prayer ministry for the unsaved. She had a list of unsaved persons to whom she had testified and for whom she had prayed daily until they were born again. Her yearnings after the salvation of the lost were awful to behold.
The reason God gave her so many souls among rich and poor, young and old, illiterate and intelligent, was that she agonized for them in earnest intercession inside the vail. There was nothing vague or general about her pleas. She gave the date when she began to pray for a person and then the date when the prayer was answered. These diaries revealed a prayer life that moved God and man. No wonder that when God promoted her to glory at the age of 22, many wept throughout Scotland, and missionaries in far off lands felt they had lost their greatest prayer warrior.
Helen's seeking after lost souls also put us all to shame. I have seen her on a cold Scottish winter's evening with her arms around a poor drunken prostitute, telling her of Jesus and His love. On other occasions she would be dealing with drunken men, seeking to lead them to her Savior.
Robert Murray McCheyne used to seal his letters with a sketch of the sun going down behind the mountains and with a motto over it, 'the night cometh'. It was this same feeling of urgency that drew Helen on. Like McCheyne and Samuel Rutherford, Helen carried the fragrance of Christ with her, and like William C. Burns, she manifested the power of the Spirit. I have known her to slip quietly into a prayer meeting which had already begun and sit on the back seat; yet, every one of us knew she had arrived because of the mighty sense of the presence of God manifested in our midst.
Helen, who was an ordinary young woman, became extraordinary simply because she surrendered all to Christ and appropriated for herself all that was hers in Him. She, with unveiled face, took time to receive, and thus reflected, the glory of the Lord as she passed from one degree of glory to another.
May you, dear reader, be so fully surrendered to your Lord that you will, like Helen Ewan, fully reflect the glory of the Lord. Let this be your prayer, with Francis Ridley Havergal:
In full and glad surrender
I give myself to Thee
Thine utterly and only
And evermore to be
O Son of God who love'st me
I will be Thine alone
And all I have and all I can
Shall henceforth be Thine own
Reign over me Lord Jesus!
O make my heart Thy throne
It shall be Thine dear Savior
It shall be Thine alone!
Oh, come and reign Lord Jesus
Rule over everything
And keep me always loyal
And true to Thee, my King!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
The confusion seems to stem from the meaning of repentance. Blueletterbible.org gives this definition of repent - to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins- along with this added ‘footnote’ - "Repentance (metanoia, 'change of mind') involves a turning with contrition from sin to God; the repentant sinner is in the proper condition to accept the divine forgiveness." (F. F. Bruce. The Acts of the Apostles [Greek Text Commentary], London: Tyndale, 1952, p. 97.)
Matthew Henry has this commentary on Luke 24:47, ‘The great gospel duty of repentance must be pressed upon the children of men. Repentance for sin must be preached in Christ’s name, and by his authority, v. 47. All men every where must be called and commanded to repent, Acts 17:30. "Go, and tell all people that the God that made them, and the Lord that bought them, expects and requires that, immediately upon this notice given, they turn from the worship of the gods that they have made to the worship of the God that made them; and not only so, but from serving the interests of the world and the flesh; they must turn to the service of God in Christ, must mortify all sinful habits, and forsake all sinful practices. Their hearts and lives must be changed, and they must be universally renewed and reformed. The great gospel privilege of the remission of sins must be proposed to all, and assured to all that repent, and believe the gospel. "Go, tell a guilty world, that stands convicted and condemned at God’s bar, that an act of indemnity has passed the royal assent, which all that repent and believe shall have the benefit of, and not only be pardoned, but preferred by. Tell them that there is hope concerning them.’’
So repentance is commanded in scripture by God, all are commanded to ‘repent and believe in the Gospel’. Repentance is a change of mind, a coming to the realization of what we truly are…sinners, and desiring to flee from our sins. When we see ourselves as we truly are, sinners with no hope apart from the grace and mercy of God, we no longer desire the sins we once loved. So, repentance is indeed a change of mind which, ultimately leads to a change in the way we live, a forsaking or turning from sin. To change your mind about your sins will inevitably lead to a forsaking of sin.
Is repentance a work we are even humanly capable of doing? 2 Timothy 2:25 answers this question, ‘in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth’. Those who do repent do so because God has, through His Spirit and the preaching of His word, brought the guilty sinner under conviction. He opens their understanding and reveals truth to them. When the guilty see, by His grace, just how sinful they are, they are prompted by His Spirit to call out to the One who saves. Repentance is like every other aspect of salvation, it is wrought by God. God is the one who brings us to repentance, He re-births us, He gifts us with faith to believe, He sanctifies, He justifies, He is the One who saves His people to the uttermost. He does it all.
So, back to the original question, if we preach ‘repent and believe in the Gospel’, are we preaching a ‘salvation by works’? NO! What we are preaching is commanded in scripture. There is nothing we can do that would save us; repenting, being born again, having faith, being regenerated and continually sanctified are all a magnificent work of a powerful God. Those who are saved are truly a miracle of God. The power of God is what saves and changes lost sinners into born again believers, His grace and mercy are what brings us to His Son, His Spirit is the one who convicts and teaches. The triune God is all we need as we fall upon the mercy of a Great and Awesome God.
The Gospel is a message of hope. Before lost sinners can embrace this good news, this message of hope, they must first understand why this message is such good news. I.O.W., they must hear the bad news first; the fact that we are sinners and need to forsake sin and embrace the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have no hope apart from Jesus, who loves us so much He died for us. He reconciles us to the Father through His finished work on the cross. The message of the cross is not good news if a lost, rebellious sinner does not first see his/her own crimes against God. Sin and the forsaking of it must be preached before the good news of forgiveness in Christ can be understood. To turn from sin and turn to the Lord Jesus is the message of hope every lost sinner needs to hear. May we go forth and boldly proclaim this good news, may the Spirit of God fill our hearts and minds, may we all profess this glorious Gospel while there is yet time.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. (2 Peter 2:9)
The godly are tempted and tried. That is not true faith which is never put to the test. But the godly are delivered out of their trials, and that not by chance, nor by secondary agencies, but by the Lord Himself. He personally undertakes the office of delivering those who trust Him. God loves the godly or godlike, and He makes a point of knowing where they are and how they fare.
Sometimes their way seems to be a labyrinth, and they cannot imagine how they are to escape from threatening danger. What they do not know, their Lord knows. He knows whom to deliver, and when to deliver, and how to deliver. He delivers in the way which is most beneficial to the godly, most crushing to the tempter, and most glorifying to Himself. We may leave the "how" with the Lord and be content to rejoice in the fact that He will, in some way or other, bring His own people through all the dangers, trials, and temptations for this mortal life to His own right hand in glory.
This day it is not for me to pry into my Lord's secrets but patiently to wait His time, knowing this, that though I know nothing, my heavenly Father knows.
From C.H. Spurgeon
Thursday, July 9, 2009
by Mike Ratliff
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:11-14 ESV)I have heard many Christians explain their lack of spiritual maturity as not important because, after all, they are not under law but under grace. Some take this concept even further and say things like, “God is not angry!” This is said in reference to the call for Christians to walk in repentance and put to death the sins that cling so close, et cetera. However, if these same people would bother to put into context Paul’s statement about Christians not being under law, but under grace, they would quickly see that it is part of a call for all of us to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. This is a command to walk in repentance. This is a command to walk before the face of God in total submission to Christ’s Lordship. There are no exceptions. There are no sins overlooked. What God calls sin is sin. It matters not at all that to proclaim that homosexuality is a sin, for instance, may be offensive to some.
continue on here...
Monday, July 6, 2009
by Mike Ratliff
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:1-4 ESV)The Church since its inception in the 1st Century AD has been plagued by quarrels, disagreements, feuds, splits, et cetera. According to God, the problem is not with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ or His doctrines, but with the fact that people in the Church are not submitted properly to Him or to each other. Pride is behind most disagreements just as it is behind those who break away from the truth to lead their followers with false doctrines and a focus that is on self rather than on God and His glory. Instead, those who cause these problems are in love with self and, therefore, in love with the world, its ways, and the things of the world.
Read on here...