Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A gentle and quiet spirit

I read a wonderfully written piece concerning godly women, their appearance, and the aging process at a blog called 'out of the ordinary'. A verse from 1 Peter 3:4 was included in this piece, which prompted me to look closer into this particular verse...

"but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." We must be careful, for some have used this passage and turned it into a legalistic form of dress required by godly women.  What Peter is saying is this, inward beauty will manifest itself outwardly; so what is that inward beauty? Who better to explain this than Matthew Henry? He writes "Instead of the outward adorning of the body, he directs Christian wives to put on much more excellent and beautiful ornaments, v. 4. Here note, First, The part to be adorned: The hidden man of the heart; that is, the soul; the hidden, the inner man. Take care to adorn and beautify your souls rather than your bodies. Secondly, The ornament prescribed. It must, in general, be something not corruptible, that beautifies the soul, that is, the graces and virtues of God's Holy Spirit. The ornaments of the body are destroyed by the moth, and perish in the using; but the grace of God, the longer we wear it, the brighter and better it is. More especially, the finest ornament of Christian women is a meek and quiet spirit, a tractable easy temper of mind, void of passion, pride, and immoderate anger, discovering itself in a quiet obliging behaviour towards their husbands and families. If the husband be harsh, and averse to religion (which was the case of these good wives to whom the apostle gives this direction), there is no way so likely to win him as a prudent meek behaviour. At least, a quiet spirit will make a good woman easy to herself, which, being visible to others, becomes an amiable ornament to a person in the eyes of the world. Thirdly, The excellency of it. Meekness and calmness of spirit are, in the sight of God, of great price - amiable in the sight of men, and precious in the sight of God. Learn, 1. A true Christian's chief care lies in the right ordering and commanding of his own spirit. Where the hypocrite's work ends, there the true Christian's work begins. 2. The endowments of the inner man are the chief ornaments of a Christian; but especially a composed, calm, and quiet spirit, renders either man or woman beautiful and lovely."


A gentle and quiet spirit is one that is at peace, undisturbed and unmoved by the what the world deems as necessary and important. There is contentment in this spirit, a sense of 'all is well with my soul'. 

The 'imperishable, or as some translations render it, incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is describe by David Guzik as ' The inner beauty of a godly woman is incorruptible. This means that it does not decay or get worse with age. Instead, incorruptible beauty only gets better with age, and is of so much more value that the beauty that comes from the hair, jewelry, or clothing.'

One of my favorites, C. H. Spurgeon, writes 'There is no ornament like that. No taste can ever conceive anything so lovely as a holy character. No expensive materials, and no ingenious fashioning of them, can ever produce such true beauty as “a meek and quiet spirit.” You must have known some godly matrons, venerable Christian women, whose gentle piety has blessed the whole household of which they formed a part. They attained supreme authority over all simply by yielding; they gained a queenly position in the house by gentleness and quietness. Nobody dared to offend them; — not because they would have been in a passion, but because they were themselves so inoffensive, so kind, so gentle.'


This type of inward beauty is precious in God's sight, it has much value and is well pleasing; or as Thayer's Greek Definitions defines it - 'excellent, of surpassing value'. To be excellent in God's sight is as rewarding as it gets in this life. Adam Clarke says this 'All the ornaments placed on the head and body of the most illustrious female, are, in the sight of God, of no worth; but a meek and silent spirit are, in his sight, invaluable, because proceeding from and leading to himself, being incorruptible, surviving the ruins of the body and the ruins of time, and enduring eternally.

Outward blemishes can be wrongfully focused upon, as this short quote points out - '
The Birthmark - Charles William Eliot (1834-1926), former president of Harvard University, had a birthmark on his face that bothered him greatly. As a young man, he was told that surgeons could do nothing to remove it. Someone described that moment as “the dark hour of his soul.”
Eliot’s mother gave him this helpful advice: “My son, it is not possible for you to get rid of that hardship. But it is possible for you, with God’s help, to grow a mind and soul so big that people will forget to look at your face.” 

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity;
O Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine,
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.


Beautiful people are those who mirror Christ. - author unknown


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The human heart







How many times have you heard someone say, 'you don't know their heart?' If you know Scripture, you do know their heart, 'for the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?' God examines our hearts, He knows every thought before it is even formed.  The Lord Jesus teaches what comes out of the heart in Matthew 15:19, 'For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.' This is what defiles, or makes unclean.

Theologian John Gill details our 'evil thoughts' - " Of God, of Christ, of the Spirit, of fellow creatures, and of all sorts of wickedness. The thoughts of sin are evil, are to be hated, forsaken, and for which men are accountable to God. All wicked imaginations, carnal reasonings, lustful desires, and malicious contrivances, are here included; which take their rise from, and are devised, and forged, in the corrupt heart of man." 
I also like what Albert Barnes has to say about the matter and want to share his words, "“Evil thoughts” These are the first things - these are the fountains of all others. Thought precedes action. Thought, or purpose, or motive, gives its character to conduct. All evil thoughts are here intended. Though we labor to suppress them, yet they defile us. They leave pollution behind them."
Next on the Lord's list is murder; once more, Gill enlightens us, "inveterate hatred of men's persons, malice prepense, schemes to take away life, all angry and wrathful words, and actual effusion of man's blood."
Matthew Henry's commentary states " sins against the sixth commandment; these come from a malice in the heart against our brother's life, or a contempt of it. Hence he that hates his brother, is said to be a murderer; he is so at God's bar, 1Jo_3:15. War is in the heart, Psa_55:21; Jam_4:1". 

Moving on to sexual sins - adultery and fornication- again, Henry says "Adulteries and fornications, sins against the seventh commandment; these come from the wanton, unclean, carnal heart; and the lust that reigns there, is conceived there, and brings forth these sins, Jam_1:15. There is adultery in the heart first, and then in the act, Mat_5:28." If someone who acts upon their lust of homosexual desires, which is birthed from their own lust in their mind, how is that considered by some to be genetic? Sin is a choice we make because we are sinners, not because God made us do anything we choose to do.

Concerning 'theft', M. Henry writes "Fourthly, Thefts, sins against the eighth commandment; cheats, wrongs, rapines, and all injurious contracts; the fountain of all these is in the heart, that is it that is exercised in these covetous practices (2Pe_2:14), that is set upon riches, Psa_62:10. Achan coveted, and then took, Jos_7:20, Jos_7:21." I have seen people at work take 20 minute breaks when we are only allowed 10, is that not stealing time from your employer? Theft comes in a variety of ways, sometimes we are unaware of all its ways.

Lastly, we will look at false witness and slander, this is a huge problem in my workplace. Let's look at commentary from Matthew Henry, "False witness, against the ninth commandment; this comes from a complication of falsehood and covetousness, or falsehood and covetousness, or falsehood and malice in the heart. If truth, holiness, and love, which God requires in the inward parts, reigned as they ought, there would be no false witness bearing, Psa_64:6 : Jer_9:8.
Sixthly, Blasphemies, speaking evil of God, against the third commandment; speaking evil of our neighbour, against the ninth commandment; these come from a contempt and disesteem of both in the heart; thence the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost proceeds (Mat_12:31, Mat_12:32); these are the overflowing of the gall within." 

Albert Barnes goes a little deeper into these sins..
"5. “False witness.” Giving wrong testimony. Concealing the truth, or stating what we know to be false - a violation of the ninth commandment. It proceeds from a desire to injure others, to take away their character or property, or to do them injustice. It proceeds thus from the heart.
6. “Blasphemies.” See the notes at Mat_9:3. Blasphemy proceeds from opposition to God, hatred of his character Rom_8:7, and from a desire that there should be no God. It proceeds from the heart. See Psa_14:1. Mark adds several things to those enumerated by Matthew:
(a) “Covetousness.” The unlawful desire of what others possess, this always proceeds from the heart.
(b) “Wickedness.” The original here means malice, or a desire of injuring others, Rom_1:29.
(c) “Deceit,” i. e., fraud, concealment, cheating in trade. This proceeds from a desire to benefit ourselves by doing injustice to others, and this proceeds from the heart.
(d) Lasciviousness. Lust, obscenity, unbridled passion - a strong, evil desire of the heart.
(e) “An evil eye.” That is, an eye that is sour, malignant, proud; or an eye of lust and passion. See Mat_5:28; Mat_20:15; 2Pe_2:14, “Having eyes full of adultery, that cannot cease from sin.”
(f) “Pride.” An improper estimate of our own importance; thinking that we are of much more consequence than we really are. This is always the work of an evil heart.
(g) “Foolishness.” Not a lack of intellect - man is not to blame for that - but a moral folly, consisting in choosing evil ends and the bad means of gaining them; or, in other words, sin and wickedness. All sin is folly. It is foolish for a man to disobey God, and foolish for anyone to go to hell." 


In Luke's Gospel we find this...
Luke 6:45  "The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." 
Once more, we look into Matthew Henry's commentary, "The heart is the treasure, and the words and actions are the expenses or produce from that treasure, Luk_6:45. This we had, Mat_12:34, Mat_12:35. The reigning love of God and Christ in the heart denominates a man a good man; and it is a good treasure a man may bring forth that which is good. But where the love of the world and the flesh reign there is an evil treasure in the heart, out of which an evil man is continually bringing forth that which is evil; and by what is brought forth you may know what is in the heart, as you may know what is in the vessel, water or wine, by what is drawn out from it, Joh_2:8. Of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks; what the mouth ordinarily speaks, speaks with relish and delight, generally agrees with what is innermost and uppermost in the heart: He that speaks of the earth is earthly, Joh_3:31. Not but that a good man may possibly drop a bad word, and a wicked man make use of a good word to serve a bad turn; but, for the most part, the heart is as the words are, vain or serious; it therefore concerns us to get our hearts filled, not only with good, but with abundance of it."
Unless God has regenerated you, which includes the renewing of the mind {Romans 12:2; Eph. 4:23} you will wrongly 'assess' your own heart. Most compare themselves to those who are more wicked than themselves and figure since they do not kill, they aren't that bad; they do not cheat on their husband or wife literally but they are unaware of what Christ taught in Matthew 5:28, if you even look at another with lustful intent, you are guilty of adultery. How many are in this category, thanks to pornography and the entertainment industry. Only a regenerated heart/mind can discern the teachings in the Bible concerning the wickedness of the 'heart'. In our time, to tell someone how wicked their heart is simply isn't done; instead, you hear motivational speeches as well as humorous stories as pastors strive to please men and tickle the ear...their condemnation is not idle and their destruction is not asleep {2 Peter 2:3}. 

I close with this from Thomas Watson...

"The human heart is the most deceitful
 of all things, and desperately wicked! Who
 really knows how bad it is?" Jeremiah 17:9

The human heart is full of hostility against God.

The human heart is the very nursery of sin.
The human heart is the storehouse where all
the weapons of unrighteousness lie.
The human heart is a lesser Hell.
"For from within, out of a person's heart—come
 evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder,
 adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful
 desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.
 All these vile things come from within; they
 are what defile you." Mark 7:21-23







Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The beauty of the doctrine of election


Eph 1:4-5  "even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love  he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will"

The doctrine of election is hotly debated and denied by those in the 'free will' camp. They insist the Bible does not teach God elects some for eternal life and leaves others in their dead and depraved state. This makes their 'God' seem all too unfair, after all, what kind of God would choose some for eternal life and not all? The God of the Bible does just that, and in so doing, it does not make Him 'unfair' or 'unjust'. Let's take a look at Eph. 1:4...

This verse clearly states that God chose us, the elect, in Him before the world was ever formed.  Thayer's defines chose as ' to pick out, choose, to pick or choose out for one’s self'. The Greek word is eklegomai, which comes from two root words, ek, a preposition denoting origin, the point which motive or action proceeds, from, out of place, time, or cause; and lego, a verb meaning to bid, call. The bid/call unto eternal life proceeds from God, not man. Man is not able to call himself out of sin and unto eternal life, because salvation originated from and by God in eternity past. The result of this choosing leads to a life patterned after holiness.
Matthew Henry briefly defines election as 'Election, or choice, respects that lump or mass of mankind out of which some are chosen, from which they are separated and distinguished.' Concerning this doctrine, A. W. Pink says 'There cannot be an election without a rejection, a taking without a passing by, a choice without a refusal. As Psalm 78 expresses it, "He refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim; but chose the tribe of Judah" (vv. 67, 68). Thus predestination includes both reprobation (the preterition or passing by of the non-elect, and then the foreordaining of them to condemnation—Jude 4—because of their sins) and election unto eternal life. "

When discussing the doctrines of grace, we must always keep in mind that Christ is the end of all things; Spurgeon reminds us of this when he said  "Search for the celestial fountain, from which the divine streams of grace flow to us, and you will find Jesus Christ the well-spring in covenant love. If your eyes shall ever see the covenant roll, if you shall ever be permitted in a future state to see the whole plan of redemption as it was mapped out in the chambers of eternity, you shall see the blood-red line of atoning sacrifice running across the margin of every page, and you shall see that from the beginning to the end one object was always in view—the glory of the Son of God." The doctrine of election certainly brings God glory, as does the doctrine of reprobation. Pink explains this in saying "The matter or substance of a divine decree is God’s purpose to manifest one or more of His attributes or perfections. This is true of all the divine decrees, but as there is variety in God’s attributes so there is in the things He decrees to bring into existence. The two principal attributes He exercises upon His rational creatures are His grace and His justice. In the case of the elect God determined to exemplify the riches of His amazing grace, but in the case of the non-elect He saw fit to demonstrate His justice and severity—withholding His grace from them because it was His good pleasure so to do. Yet it must not be allowed for a moment that this latter was a point of cruelty in God, for His nature is not grace alone, nor justice alone, but both together; and therefore in determining to display both of them there could not be a point of injustice." 
A. W. Pink  also puts into perspective being 'chosen' and the One at the head, " In all things Christ must have the "preeminence," and therefore is He "the Firstborn" in election (Rom. 8:29). In the order of nature Christ was chosen first, but in the order of time we were elected with Him. We were not chosen for ourselves apart, but in Christ, which denotes three things. First, we were chosen in Christ as the members of His body. Second, we were chosen in Him as the pattern which we should be conformed unto. Third, we were chosen in Him as the final end, i.e., it was for Christ’s glory, to be His "fullness" (Eph. 1:23)."

Did God choose sinners unto salvation because He needed us or because He was lonely or lacking? Again, Pink so eloquently states, "Jehovah is the first cause and the last end of all things. His essence and existence are of and from Himself. He is Jehovah, the self-existing essence: the fountain of life, and essential blessedness—‘The King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, who alone hath immortality, dwelling in that light to which no mortal eye can approach.’ And throughout a vast eternity the eternal three enjoyed boundless and incomprehensible blessedness in the contemplation of those essential perfections which belong to the Father, Son, and Spirit, the everlasting Jehovah: who is His own eternity, and cannot receive any addition to His essential happiness or glory by any or all of His creatures. He is exalted above all blessing and praise. The whole creation before Him, and as viewed by Him, is less than nothing and vanity. If any should curiously inquire, what was God engaged in before He stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth? The answer is: the blessed, co-equal, and co-essential three, Father, Son, and Spirit, had a mutual in being and society together, and were essentially blessed in that divine eternal life, in the mutual interests or propriety they have in each other, in mutual love and delight—as also in the possession of one common glory. Nowhere does the sovereignty of God shine forth so conspicuously as in His acts of election and reprobation, which took place in eternity past, and which nothing in the creature was the cause of. God’s act of choosing His people in Christ was before the foundation of the world, without the consideration of the fall, nor was it upon the foresight and footing of works, but was wholly, of grace, and all to the praise and glory of it."

So we now have some insight and understanding concerning this doctrine, and yet, we find so much resistance to it. Why? No one says it any better than A. W. Pink, so I will share his writings on this, "Wherever the doctrine of election is Scripturally presented it meets with fierce opposition and bitter declamation. It has been so throughout the entire course of this Christian era, and that, among all races and classes of people. Let the high prerogatives of God be set forth, let the sovereignty of His grace be proclaimed, let men be told they are but clay in the hands of the divine potter to be shaped into vessels of wrath or vessels of mercy as seemeth good in His sight, and at once there is an uproar and outcries of protest. Let the preacher insist that the fallen creature has no claim whatever upon his maker, that he stands before Him as a convicted felon, and is entitled to naught but everlasting judgment, and let him declare that all of Adam’s progeny are so utterly depraved that their minds are "enmity against God" and therefore in a state of inveterate insubordination, that their hearts are so corrupt they have no desire for spiritual things, their wills so completely under the domination of evil they cannot turn unto the Lord, and he will he denounced as a heretic.
But this should neither surprise nor stagger the child of God. As he becomes more familiar with the Scriptures, he will find that in every generation the faithful servants of God have been hated and persecuted, some for proclaiming one part of the truth, some for another. When the sun shines on a dunghill, an odious stench is the consequence; when its rays fall upon the stagnant waters of a swamp, disease germs are multiplied. But is the sun to be blamed? Certainly not. So when the sword of the Spirit cuts to the root of human pride, reveals man to be a fallen and foul being, reduces him to an impotent creature, laying him in the dust as a bankrupt pauper, and declares him to be entirely dependent upon the discriminating pleasure of a sovereign God, there is a storm of opposition evoked, and a determined effort is made to silence such flesh-withering teaching.
 The bitterest enemies against the doctrine of election are the Papists: This is exactly what might be expected, for the truth of election can never be made to square with the dogma of human merits—the one is diametrically opposed to the other. Every man who loves himself and seeks salvation by his own works, will loathe sovereign grace, and seek to load it with contempt. On the other hand, those who have been effectually humbled by the Holy Spirit and brought to realize that they are utterly dependent upon the discriminating mercy of God, will have no hankerings after nor patience with a system which sets the crown of honor upon the creature. History bears ample testimony that Rome detests the very name of Calvinism. "From all sects there may be some hope of obtaining converts to Rome except Calvinism" said the late "Cardinal" Manning. And he was right, as our own degenerate age bears full witness, for while no regenerated Calvinist will ever be fatally deceived by the wiles of the mother of harlots, yet thousands of "Protestant" (?) Arminians are annually rushing to her arms." 

I decided to do this post on election after being confronted by a professing Christian who vehemently denies sovereign grace and insists this doctrine is not found in the Bible. After giving a multitude of verses to show the error of his thinking, he still did not have 'ears to hear'. So I left it alone; churches in this nation will have much to answer for because of the twisting and perverting of Holy Writ. The whole counsel is not preached, there is a serious famine of truth in the land. This is judgment by God as He withholds truth because of man's perverting of His word.    "Behold, the days are coming," declares the Lord GOD, "when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. " Amos 8:11  John Gill defines the 'hearing of the words of the Lord', "the word of prophecy, and the preaching of the word, or explaining the Scriptures. Of this blessing the ten tribes were deprived at their captivity, and have been ever since; and the Jews, upon their rejection of Christ, have had the kingdom of God, the Gospel of the kingdom, the word and ordinances of God, taken from them, and remain so to this day; the seven churches of Asia have had their candlestick removed out of its place, and this famine continues in those parts to this time; and, by the symptoms upon us, we may justly fear it, will be our case before long. "The words of the Lord" are the Scriptures, which cone from him, and are concerning him; the doctrines of grace contained in them, the wholesome words of Christ: hearing them signifies the preaching of them, Isa_53:1; by which hearing comes, and is a great blessing, and should be attended to, as being the means of conversion, regenerations, the knowledge of Christ, faith in him, and the joy of it. Now, to be deprived of hearing the Gospel is a spiritual famine, for that is food, bread, meat, milk, honey, yea, a feast; it is food that is savoury, wholesome, nourishing, satisfying, strengthening, and comforting; and when this is took away a famine ensues, as when a church state is dissolved, ministers are ordered to preach no more in such a place, or are scattered by persecution, or removed by death, and none raised up in their stead; or when error prevails, to the suppressing of truth: all which is done, or suffered to be done, for indifference to the word of God, unfruitfulness under it, and contempt of it, and, opposition to it; which is a dreadful case, when such a famine is; for the glory, riches, and light of a nation, are gone; bread for their souls is no more; and the means of conversion, knowledge, comfort, &c. cease; and people in course must die, for lack of these things." Does that not paint a picture of what we see in our present day? Truth, such as the truth of the doctrine of election, is scoffed at and rejected. The doctrine of soteriology is perverted and centered around man, which is why America sees little conversion; it isn't that God cannot save, He will not save where truth is suppressed. Underground churches in places like China and Russia are growing by leaps and bounds, but in America we see little actual God-empowered growth.  This nation is under judgment by God, including a famine of truth which stems from God abandoning America and letting her go head-long into sin. The evidence is in the rampant deterioration of morals, the corruption of Government, and the downward spiral of our economy. I do not wish to veer too far off topic on this, so I will leave it go for now.

To understand election is to be filled with gratitude for God setting His affection on His elect, it is to understand the beauty of grace for sinners that are depraved, wicked and vile. To be chosen by God solely for His glory is the reason for election, not that He needs us or that we have any worth, but that He is merciful. This understanding should cause us to be filled with such reverence and awe, that the God of heaven would bestow such a glorious honor on sinners is baffling. It reflects His glorious attribute of being a God of mercy as well as a God that is just, righteous, and holy.

"All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee." Psalm 145:10

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How Majestic is your name!


 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 
  
Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. 
  
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? 

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 

You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. 

 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! - Psalm 8


Spurgeon writes...
Unable to express the glory of God, the Psalmist utters a note of exclamation. O Jehovah our Lord! We need not wonder at this, for no heart can measure, no tongue can utter, the half of the greatness of Jehovah. The whole creation is full of his glory and radiant with the excellency of his power; his goodness and his wisdom are manifested on every hand. The countless myriads of terrestrial beings, from man the head, to the creeping worm at the foot, are all supported and nourished by the Divine bounty. The solid fabric of the universe leans upon his eternal arm. Universally is he present, and everywhere is his name excellent. God worketh ever and everywhere. There is no place where God is not. The miracles of his power await us on all sides. 
Everywhere, and in every place, God dwells and is manifestly at work. Nor on earth alone is Jehovah extolled, for his brightness shines forth in the firmament above the earth. His glory exceeds the glory of the starry heavens; above the region of the stars he hath set fast his everlasting throne, and there he dwells in light ineffable. Let us adore him "who alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea; who maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south." (Job 9:8, 9.) We can scarcely find more fitting words than those of Nehemiah, "Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee." 
Returning to the text we are led to observe that this Psalm is addressed to God, because none but the Lord himself can fully know his own glory. The believing heart is ravished with what it sees, but God only knows the glory of God. What a sweetness lies in the little word our, how much is God's glory endeared to us when we consider our interest in him as our Lord. 
How excellent is thy name! no words can express that excellency; and therefore it is left as a note of exclamation. The very name of Jehovah is excellent, what must his person be. Note the fact that even the heavens cannot contain his glory, it is set above the heavens, since it is and ever must be too great for the creature to express. When wandering among the Alps, we felt that the Lord was infinitely greater than all his grandest works, and under that feeling we roughly wrote these few lines:—


Yet in all these how great soe'er they be,
We see not Him. The glass is all too dense
And dark, or else our earthborn eyes too dim.
Yon Alps, that lift their heads above the clouds
And hold familiar converse with the stars,
Are dust, at which the balance trembleth not,
Compared with His divine immensity.
The snow-crown'd summits fail to set Him forth,
Who dwelleth in Eternity, and bears
Alone, the name of High and Lofty One.
Depths unfathomed are too shallow to express
The wisdom and the knowledge of the Lord.
The mirror of the creatures has no space
To bear the image of the Infinite.
'Tis true the Lord hath fairly writ his name,
And set his seal upon creation's brow.
But as the skilful potter much excels
The vessel which he fashions on the wheel,
E'en so, but in proportion greater far,
Jehovah's self transcends his noblest works.
Earth's ponderous wheels would break, her axles snap,
If freighted with the load of Deity.
Space is too narrow for the Eternal's rest,
And time too short a footstool for his throne.
E'en avalanche and thunder lack a voice,
To utter the full volume of his praise.
How then can I declare him? Where are words
With which my glowing tongue may speak his name?
Silent I bow, and humbly I adore.








You can read Spurgeon's entire exposition of Psalm 8 here...












Saturday, September 15, 2012

Losing 'Self'...


The hardest part of the Christian walk is dying to self...daily. I have not 'got it down' yet, so the Lord directed me to this wonderful short piece written by J. R. Miller. This was a tremendous blessing to me, I pray it will be to you as well...



"If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." Luke 9:23-24
The Christian's first duty—is to honor his Master. He must be willing to sink himself out of sight—in order that the name of Christ may be magnified. It is not possible to both honor Christ—and yet to honor ourselves before men. The wreath on our own brow must fade—if we would keep the wreath for Christ beautiful and green. We must decrease—that Christ may increase. We must be willing to fall into the shadow—that the full light may be cast upon Christ's lovely face. We must be ready to suffer loss—that the cause of Christ may be advanced.

The greatest thing possible in any life—is to have the divine plan for it fulfilled, the divine will go on in it—even though it thwarts every human hope and dashes away every earthly dream. It is not easy for us to learn the lesson—that God's ways are always better for us than our own. We make our little plans and begin to carry them out. We think we have all things arranged for our greatest happiness and our best good. Then God's plan breaks in upon ours—and we look down through our tears upon the shattered fragments of our fine plans. It seems wreck, loss, and disaster. But no—it is only God's larger, wiser, better plan—displacing our little, imperfect, shortsighted one.


continue reading here...

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Chief of Sinners...

God desires to save sinners, not the self-righteous. He takes the 'lowest of lows' and washes them in the blood of the Lamb. I read a short piece by Stephen Charnock that explains this so very well...



 It was Christ's employment in the world to court and gain such kind of creatures. The first thing he did, while in the manger, was to snatch some of the devil's prophets out of his service, and take them into his own, Mat. 2:1, some of the Magi, who were astrologers and idolaters. When he fled from Herod's cruelty, he chose Egypt, the most idolatrous country in the world, for his sanctuary; a place where the people worshipped oxen, crocodiles, cats, garlic, putida numina [unclean spirits], all kind of riff-raff; to show that he often comes to sojourn in the blackest souls. The first people he took care to preach to were the seamen, who us usually are the rudest and most debauched sort of men, as gaining the vices as well as the commodities of those nations they traffic with, Mat. 4:13. The inhabitants of those sea coasts are said to sit in darkness, ver. 16; in darkness both of sin and ignorance, just as the Egyptians were not able to stir in that thick darkness which was sent as a plague upon them. And the country, by reason of the vices of the inhabitants, is called the region and shadow of death; a title properly belonging to hell itself. To call sinners to repentance was the errand of his coming. And he usually delighted to choose such that had not the least pretense to merit, Mark 2:17. Matthew, a publican, Zaccheus, an extortioner, examples of the majority of that generation of men and harlots, and very little company besides.

He chose his attendants out of the devil's rabble; and he was more Jesus, more a Saviour, among this sort of trash, than among all other sorts of people, for all his design was to get his people out of hell itself. What was that woman that he must needs go out of his way to convert? A harlot, John 4:18, an idolater, for the Samaritans had a mixed worship, a linsey-woolsey religion, and upon that account were hateful to the Jews. She continued in her adultery up to the very time Christ spoke to her, yet he makes her a monument of his grace; and not only so, but the first preacher of the gospel to her neighbours. "Is not this the Christ?" ver. 29, and an instrument to conduct them to him; "Come, see a man which told me all things," &c. Was any more defiled than Mary Magdalene? Seven devils would make her sooty to purpose, and so many did Christ cast out of her. "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene," Mark 16:9, out of whom he cast seven devils. This lustful devil he turns into a weeping saint.

What was that Canaanitish woman who had so powerful a faith infused? One sprung of a cursed stock, hateful to God, rooted out of the pleasant land, a dog, not a child: she comes a dog, but returns a child; Christ made this crab-apple in a wilderness to bring forth fruit, even the best that heaven could afford, viz. the fruit of faith; and larger and better bunches of it than that time sprouted out of any branches of the Jewish vine, so well planted, and so often watered by Christ himself. When he comes to act his last part in the world, he saves a thief who was next to the hell-gates, ready to be pushed in by the devil. Do you find examples among the Pharisees? No. Dunghill-sinners take heaven by violence, while the proud Pharisees lose it by their own righteousness. Scribes and theologians continue devils in the chair, while harlots come out saints from the brothels, and the thief goes onward a convert from the cross.


you can read this in its entirety here...







"Sin in a wicked man is like poison in a serpent; it is in its natural place."-
THOMAS BROOKS

Do all for the Glory of God



This devotional is one we all must read, take to heart, and apply. I pray God will make this a reality in each of us...


So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.- 
1 Corinthians 10:31




This life is not to be valued but as it yields opportunities to glorify
God. We were not sent into the world to live for ourselves, but
for God. If we could make ourselves, then we could live for ourselves.
If we could be our own first cause, then we might be our own end.
But God made us for himself, and sent us into the world for himself.
It is not our duty to glorify God in heaven only, but also here on
earth in the midst of difficulties and temptations. No one is sent into
the world to be idle, or to bring forth fruit to themselves, but God’s
glory must be our chief work and aim while we are here upon earth.
We must not promote merely our own interests. Every man, besides
his general calling, has his own work and course of service where he
might glorify and honour God; ‘I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do’ (John 17:4). In a great house one has one employment, one another: so God has designed
for every man the work he has to do; some in one calling, and some
in another; but all have their service and work given them for God’s
glory. Every morning we should revive the sense of this upon our
hearts. This day I am going to live with God. When a Christian leaves
home in the morning, he must remember he is at Christ’s disposal;
he is not to do as he pleases, but to be guided by rule, and for God’s
glory. Not only in our duties or immediate conversation with God,
but in our sports, business, and recreation. What is it to do things in
the name of Christ?—But to do it according to Christ’s will and command! In discharge of this work, we must do it all for God’s glory. We can do nothing without him. If we have anything to do for God, we
must do it in his own strength, in every word and every deed.


Thomas Manton

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why Salvation must be Supernatural

This is from Stephen Charnock's 'The Chief of Sinners Saved'; this type of preaching is not popular in our culture, which is why we live in a nation that claims to be 'Christian' yet loves immoral behavior, murders the unborn, lavishes itself with material possessions, and worships the 'god' seen daily in every American home as they view their own image in the mirror. Oh that God would raise up more men like Charnock, Spurgeon, Ryle, Watson, Calvin, MacArthur, Washer, Sproul, and a few others of  days gone by as well as this present day...


Two things are certain in nature. (1.) Natural inclinations never change, but by some superior virtue. A loadstone will not cease to draw iron, while that attractive quality remains in it. The wolf can never love the lamb, nor the lamb the wolf; nothing but must act suitably to its nature. Water cannot but moisten, fire cannot but burn. So likewise the corrupt nature of man being possessed with an invincible contrariety and enmity to God, will never suffer him to comply with God. And the inclinations of a sinner to sin being more strengthened by the frequency of sinful acts, have as great a power over him, and as natural to him, as any qualities are to natural agents: and being stronger than any sympathies in the world, cannot by a man's own power, or the power of any other nature equal to it, be turned into a contrary channel.
(2.) Nothing can act beyond its own principle and nature. Nothing in the world can raise itself to a higher rank of being than that which nature has placed it in; a spark cannot make itself a star, though it mount a little up to heaven; nor a plant endue itself with sense, nor a beast adorn itself with reason; nor a man make himself an angel. Thorns cannot bring forth grapes, nor thistles produce figs because such fruits are above the nature of those plants. So neither can our corrupt nature bring forth grace, which is a fruit above it. Effectus non excedit virtutem suae causae [the effect cannot exceed the power of its cause]: grace is more excellent than nature, therefore cannot be the fruit of nature. It is Christ's conclusion, "How can you, being evil, speak good things?" Matt. 12:33, 34. Not so much as the buds and blossoms of words, much less the fruit of actions. They can no more change their natures, than a viper can do away with his poison. Now though this I have said be true, yet there is nothing man does more affect in the world than a self-sufficiency, and an independence from any other power but his own. This attitude is as much riveted in his nature, as any other false principle whatsoever. For man does derive it from his first parents, as the prime legacy bequeathed to his nature: for it was the first thing uncovered in man at his fall; he would be as God, independent from him. Now God, to cross this principle, allows his elect, like Lazarus, to lie in the grave till they stink, that there may be no excuse to ascribe their resurrection to their own power. If a putrefied rotten carcass should be brought to life, it could never be thought that it inspired itself with that active principle. God lets men run on so far in sin, that they do unman themselves, that he may proclaim to all the world, that we are unable to do anything of ourselves towards our recovery, without a superior principle. The evidence of which will appear if we consider,
1. Man's subjection under sin. He is "sold under sin," Rom. 7:14, and brought "into captivity to the law of sin," ver. 23. "Law of sin:" that sin seems to have a legal authority over him; and man is not only a slave to one sin, but many, Tit. 3:3, "serving divers lusts." Now when a man is sold under the power of a thousand lusts, every one of which has an absolute tyranny over him, and rules him as a sovereign by a law; when a man is thus bound by a thousand laws, a thousand cords and fetters, and carried whither his lords please, against the dictates of his own conscience and force of natural light; can any man imagine that his own power can rescue him from the strength of these masters that claim such a right to him, and keep such a force upon him, and have so often baffled his own strength, when he attempted to turn against them?
2. Man's affection to them. He does not only serve them, but he serves them, and every one of them, with delight and pleasure; Tit. 3:3. They were all pleasures, as well as lusts; friends as well as lords. Will any man leave his sensual delights and such sins that please and flatter his flesh? Will a man ever endeavour to run away from those lords which he serves with affection? having as much delight in being bound a slave to these lusts, as the devil has in binding him. Therefore when you see a man cast away his pleasures, deprive himself of those comfortable things to which his soul was once knit, and walk in paths contrary to corrupt nature, you may search for the cause anywhere, rather than in nature itself. No piece of dirty, muddy clay can form itself into a neat and handsome vessel; no plain piece of timber can fit itself for the building, much less a crooked one. Nor a man that is born blind, give himself sight.
God deals with men in this case as he did with Abraham. He would not give Isaac while Sarah's womb, in a natural probability, might have borne him; but when her womb was dead, and age had taken away all natural strength of conception, then God gives him; that it might appear that he was not a child of nature, but a child of promise.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What America Is

There was a post at Defcon written by Matt Barber concerning Baal worship: what I found of great interest was a comment left by a woman who goes by 'Lynn' {this wasn't me btw!}. I wanted to share her comment with you; you may want to read the article for background info, but I think you could read Lynn's comment w/o reading the article and understand perfectly what she is saying. You may not agree with all that she says, but she does give profound insight into this corrupt and vile nation that repeatedly claims to be 'Christian'...


Christ said: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but now My kingdom is not from here.” Jn 18:36 So there is actually a third “side” & neither “patriots” nor “progressives” are on that side (God’s side, Whose kingdom is not of THIS present world).Those who claim to follow Christ (the Truth/Jn 14:6) & are caught up in nationalistic patriotism, are following another jesus, not the Truth. Furthermore, the freemasonic, zionist Jew, banker corporation (NOT soveriegn nation as you have been led to believe) known as America, was not founded on Christianity but Freemasonry. Freemasonry is the Church of Lucifer masquerading as a fraternal mystical philanthropic order. It fronts for Illuminati (Masonic & Cabalist Jewish) central bankers who started the US as a vehicle to advance their New World Order. Also known in Scripture as the daughter of Babylon (Jer Chpts 50 and 51) and Mystery Babylon (Rev Chpt 18) who will be destroyed completely by God during the tribulation because of her gross immoratlity (pornography, homosexuality, abortion, wars of aggression and global hegemoney based on false flag contrivances in order for bankers to steal resources from other countries, false, 501c3, government yoked, “christianity”, Baal worship (ChristMass/Easter/Valentines/Mother’s Day, etc), Idolatry via Hollywood “stars” and musicians, Satanic music, etc. etc. etc. Not only is America NOT “God’s chosen nation”, America is God’s black list. It is painfully obvious to those with spiritual discernment that America and its citizenry have been brainwashed to believe that America was founded upon Christian principles & champions the Christian Faith when in reality, America is the Masonic empire with enough “Christianity” to keep the masses distracted, and worshiping a “nationalist” false christ, not the Word of God (Jn 1:1). At the time in history the NWO Freemasons formed the USA, monarchs were seen as more of a threat to their power than democracy. Does a government who governs upon the “foundation” of Christian principles involve itself in wars of aggression? Killing its currency? Stealing from its own citizenry only to transfer their wealth to foreign banks? “Create jobs” by shipping them to China and India? I think not. The United States of America is little more than the “host” for the infectious disease of the New World Order…Freemasonry and it’s phony political charade simply keeps the fever up.

Beware

When I was a contributor on another blog, I posted this from J. C. Ryle. I wanted to share this with those of you who frequent this blog; Ryle is one of my favorites. This quote speaks volumes even in this day and describes the 'god' America worships, one that is lop-sided and fashioned in the depraved minds of the unregenerate. 
 I hope this blesses you...



Beware of manufacturing a god of your own: a god who is all mercy but not just, a god who is all love but not holy, a god who has a heaven for everybody but a hell for none, a god who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and broad in eternity.  Such a god is an idol of your own, as truly an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him.  He is not the God of the Bible, and beside the God of the Bible, there is no God at all.
Beware of making selections from your Bible to suit your taste. Dare not to say, ‘I believe this verse, for I like it. I refuse that, for I cannot reconcile it with my views’. Nay! But O man, who art thou that repliest against God? By what right do you talk in this way? Surely it were better to say over EVERY chapter in the word, “Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth”. Ah! If men would do this, they would never deny the unquenchable fire.
-J.C. Ryle {from ‘Fire, Fire!’}

Monday, September 10, 2012

The sinner's cry


Luk 18:13  But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'

If there were a 'sinner's prayer' in Scripture, this is it. This cry was not a mindless cry, it was a plea from a heart that was broken over sins against God. The tax collector didn't pray this as some tell us to do today - with sincerity, or as though he really meant it; he prayed because God the Spirit had brought him to an understanding of his own wickedness and vileness. He understood he'd broken God's law and offended God, who is holy, pure, righteous and undefiled. He also knew there was nothing in and of himself that could make things right with God, how do I know this? Because he cried out for mercy; I will show you the definition of this in a bit.

First of all, notice the tax collector stood 'far off', unlike the Pharisee, who prayed in such a fashion as to put on a show  for others to see {see Matthew 6:5}. The publican understood his need to go before God and not make a public display or exalt his self righteousness before God as the Pharisee had done. Matthew Henry rightly describes the contrast of these two...
'The Pharisee came to the temple upon a compliment, the publican upon business; the Pharisee to make his appearance, the publican to make his request. Now God sees with what disposition and design we come to wait upon him in holy ordinances, and will judge of us accordingly.'
The tax collector stood 'far off'; once more, let's read Matthew Henry's commentary...
'He stood afar off. The Pharisee stood, but crowded up as high as he could, to the upper end of the court; the publican kept at a distance under a sense of his unworthiness to draw near to God, and perhaps for fear of offending the Pharisee, whom he observed to look scornfully upon him, and of disturbing his devotions. Hereby he owned that God might justly behold him afar off, and send him into a state of eternal distance from him, and that it was a great favour that God was pleased to admit him thus nigh. '
This standing far off shows the tax collector's understanding of his unworthiness to approach the sacred place of commune with his God; he knew his sins had separated him from God. He proves it as well by not even lifting his eyes towards heaven, where the Holy One sits on His throne. The publican was aware he could go no farther into the temple, into God's presence until he had confessed the burden of his sins that weighed so heavily upon his heart. It was his shame that prevented him from looking towards the holy habitation of the Holy One. He had defiled himself and needed cleansed. He beat his breast ; John Gill's commentary explains...
' pointing at the fountain of his sin; expressing by this action, his sorrow, and repentance for it; and an aversion and abhorrence of himself on account of it, joined with indignation and revenge; and he did this to arouse and stir up all the powers and faculties of his soul, to call upon God. '
Adding to that, Matthew Henry writes 'He smote upon his breast, in a holy indignation at himself for sin: “Thus would I smite this wicked heart of mine, the poisoned fountain out of which flow all the streams of sin, if I could come at it.” The sinner's heart first smites him in a penitent rebuke, 2Sa_24:10. David's heart smote him. Sinner, what hast thou done? And then he smites his heart with penitent remorse: O wretched man that I am? Ephraim is said to smite upon his thigh, Jer_31:19. Great mourners are represented tabouring upon their breasts, Nah_2:7.'
This is a picture of brokenness over sin; not because the tax collector wanted to avoid wrath and judgment and was looking for a way out, but because he had taken direct aim at striking a severe blow at the very heart of God by breaking His law. He cried out "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!".  He was crying out to the God who reigns over all, the God of all mankind, the living and one true God. His cry was one of and for mercy, which comes from the Greek 'hilaskomai', and is defined as 'to atone for, make reconciliation for, to be gracious, be merciful'. He cries out for the Lord God to take action against his crimes speedily; to provide atonement for his sins and be gracious so he could be reconciled back to God. This tax collector understood he could not atone for his own wickedness, there was nothing he could do to make himself right before God. Let's again look at Matthew Henry's wonderful commentary on this 'sinner's prayer'...
'He expressed it in what he said. His prayer was short. Fear and shame hindered him from saying much; sighs and groans swallowed up his words; but what he said was to the purpose: God, be merciful to me a sinner. And blessed be God that we have this prayer upon record as an answered prayer, and that we are sure that he who prayed it went to his house justified; and so shall we, if we pray it, as he did, through Jesus Christ: “God, be merciful to me a sinner; the God of infinite mercy be merciful to me, for, if he be not, I am for ever undone, for ever miserable. God be merciful to me, for I have been cruel to myself.” (1.) He owns himself a sinner by nature, by practice, guilty before God. Behold, I am vile, what shall I answer thee? The Pharisee denies himself to be a sinner; none of his neighbours can charge him, and he sees no reason to charge himself, with any thing amiss; he is clean, he is pure from sin. But the publican gives himself no other character than that of a sinner, a convicted criminal at God's bar. (2.) He has no dependence but upon the mercy of God, that, and that only, he relies upon. The Pharisee had insisted upon the merit of his fastings and tithes; but the poor publican disclaims all thought of merit, and flies to mercy as his city of refuge, and takes hold of the horn of that altar. “Justice condemns me; nothing will save me but mercy, mercy.” (3.) He earnestly prays for the benefit of that mercy: “O God, be merciful, be propitious, to me; forgive my sins; be reconciled to me; take me into thy favour; receive me graciously; love me freely.” He comes as a beggar for an alms, when he is ready to perish for hunger. Probably he repeated this prayer with renewed affections, and perhaps said more to the same purport, made a particular confession of his sins, and mentioned the particular mercies he wanted, and waited upon God for; but still this was the burden of the song: God, be merciful to me a sinner.'

And John Gill's commentary...
'This is his prayer; a short, but a very full one, and greatly different from that of the Pharisee: in which is a confession that he was a sinner; a sinner in Adam, who had derived a sinful nature from him, being conceived and born in sin; and a sinner by practice, having committed many actual transgressions, attended with aggravating circumstances; a guilty and filthy sinner, a notorious one, deserving of the wrath of God, and the lowest hell: he speaks of himself, as if he was the only sinner in the world; at least, as if there was none like him: and there is in this prayer also a petition; and the object it is put up to, is "God", against whom he had sinned; with whom there is mercy and forgiveness; and who only can forgive sin; and who has promised that he will: and has proclaimed his name, a God, pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin; and has given instances of his forgiving grace and mercy; and therefore the publican was right in addressing him by confession: the petition he makes to him is, to be "merciful", or "propitious" to him; that is, to show mercy to him, through the propitiary sacrifice of the Messiah, which was typified by the sacrifices under the law: the first thing a sensible sinner wants, is an application of pardoning grace and mercy; and forgiveness springs from mercy; and because the mercy of God is free and abundant, therefore pardon is so: but this is not to be expected from an absolute God, or God out of Christ. God is only propitious in Christ: hence it may be observed, that God pardons none but those to whom he is propitious in his Son; and that he forgives sin upon the foot of a reconciliation, and satisfaction made to his law, and justice, and so pardon is an act of justice, as well as of mercy; and that there is no pardoning mercy but through Christ.'

Charles Leiter says this in his book 'Justification and Regeneration', "If our concept of salvation is just that a man makes a decision - steps out of the line of those on the way to hell and into the line of those on the way to heaven - we've got a very defective view of salvation".  True salvation is wrought by God, from start to finish. The tax collector is a picture of a sinner broken over sin, brought to this state of brokenness by God the Spirit; the Pharisee is a picture of what we see much of in Christianity today-  mere outward appearance as one gives lip service from a mind that is unregenerate, going through the motions and doing all that religious 'stuff', following carefully devised man-made methods as he stands before God filled with pride, self-righteousness and stinking of sin. His words were an abomination to the Lord, his presence a stench in the nostrils of our Holy God, so much so that God would not even look upon this filthy sinner, His ears were shut off from hearing such pompous words, His face turned far away. 
Come before the Lord, come broken, come like a child. Say no more than what the tax collector said, cry out for mercy. 

"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. " - Psalm 34:18

Go Up


Here is this morning's devotional from Spurgeon; words that we should take to heart from the 'prince of preachers'...

“And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.”
- Mark 3:13

Here was sovereignty. Impatient spirits may fret and fume, because they are not called to the highest places in the ministry; but reader be it thine to rejoice that Jesus calleth whom he wills. If he shall leave me to be a doorkeeper in his house, I will cheerfully bless him for his grace in permitting me to do anything in his service. The call of Christ’s servants comes from above. Jesus stands on the mountain, evermore above the world in holiness, earnestness, love and power. Those whom he calls must go up the mountain to him, they must seek to rise to his level by living in constant communion with him. They may not be able to mount to classic honours, or attain scholastic eminence, but they must like Moses go up into the mount of God and have familiar intercourse with the unseen God, or they will never be fitted to proclaim the gospel of peace. Jesus went apart to hold high fellowship with the Father, and we must enter into the same divine companionship if we would bless our fellowmen. No wonder that the apostles were clothed with power when they came down fresh from the mountain where Jesus was. This morning we must endeavour to ascend the mount of communion, that there we may be ordained to the lifework for which we are set apart. Let us not see the face of man to-day till we have seen Jesus. Time spent with him is laid out at blessed interest. We too shall cast out devils and work wonders if we go down into the world girded with that divine energy which Christ alone can give. It is of no use going to the Lord’s battle till we are armed with heavenly weapons. We must see Jesus, this is essential. At the mercy-seat we will linger till he shall manifest himself unto us as he doth not unto the world, and until we can truthfully say, “We were with him in the Holy Mount.” -C.H. Spurgeon

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The work of the Holy Spirit

Christianity in America is by and large very superficial, countless numbers of people profess to be Christian with little to no evidence of regeneration present. Their salvation is based on their profession; they claim to be born again based on something they have done, i.e., repeating a prayer or making a decision. This puts the credit for being saved to sinful man; by his own admission, he has regenerated himself by the power of his confession. The human mind is filled with deceit and trickery {Jeremiah 17:9}, you can convince yourself of all sorts of things simply by believing it to be so. However, you cannot change yourself from the inside out; I read a quote on twitter that went something like this, 'i am no more responsible for my new birth than I was for my natural birth'. Who is responsible for regenerating sinners? According to the Bible, it is the Holy Spirit.

"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"-John 3:5. The Lord Jesus tells Nicodemus a man must be born of water, and of the Spirit; here the Lord is speaking of regeneration. Matthew Henry gives insight into this verse, ' By our first birth we were corrupt, shapen in sin; therefore we must be made new creatures. No stronger expression could have been chosen to signify a great and most remarkable change of state and character. We must be entirely different from what we were before, as that which begins to be at any time, is not, and cannot be the same with that which was before. This new birth is from heaven {John1:13} and its tendency is to heaven. It is a great change made in the heart of a sinner, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is not wrought by any wisdom or power of our own, but by the power of the blessed Spirit. We are shapen in iniquity, which makes it necessary that our nature be changed. We are not to marvel at this; for, when we consider the holiness of God, the depravity of our nature, and the happiness set before us, we shall not think it strange that so much stress is laid upon this.' 
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is not expounded upon as it should be, which leads to a rash of professing men and women claiming to be something they quite possibly aren't...born from above. 

'Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost' - Titus 3:5. Again briefly, I turn to Matthew Henry, ' The worker therein is the Spirit of God; it is the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Through him we mortify sin, perform duty, walk in God's ways; all the working of the Divine life in us, and the fruits of righteousness without, are through this blessed and holy Spirit.'  
We will also look at commentary from John Gill, 'by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; by the former is meant, not the ordinance of water baptism; for that is never expressed by washing, nor is it the cause or means of regeneration; the cause being the Spirit of God, and the means the word of God.' 
 Albert Barnes says 'The “renewing of the Holy Ghost” of course means that which the Holy Spirit produces, recognizing the fact, everywhere taught in the Scriptures, that the Holy Spirit is the Author of the new creation.'
As John MacArthur rightly states, 'the Holy Spirit is the agent of the working of regeneration.' 

It is impossible to be a Christian unless God the Spirit has supernaturally changed you from the inside out. This will be manifested in the way the regenerated believer carries out the rest of their time on this earth...living for Christ; submitting to His authority, striving for holiness, fleeing from sin, walking in repentance minute by minute. Sadly in America we see so many claiming to belong to Christ and yet, by their actions, they prove themselves to be in error. When confronted, they become argumentative and accusatory, i.e., 'you're judgmental', or 'are you perfect?'. Some live in blatant sin, such as homosexuality or adultery, and  do not come under conviction for their sins. There is no way the Holy Spirit could reside in the heart of a habitual sinner, the evidence that a person is still unregenerate is that they are still in their sins. 
God does deal with His own when we fall into sin, as we see with David. When that happens, the Spirit of God brings us to repentance, causing us to be like David. Psalm 51 is a prayer by David from a heart broken over sin, not because he feared wrath and judgment, but because he struck a direct blow at the heart of God when he sinned...'against You, You only, I have sinned'. David knew he broke God's law, and he was brought low by God the Spirit because of it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

You knew this was coming...

The homosexual agenda continues to push for the right to marry. If/when this is accepted, it will open up a can of worms concerning legalizing marriage for polygamists, pedophiles, bestiality, and whatever else the depraved mind of man can think of. There is a story out of Brazil, where civil unions have been given the green light, concerning the civil union of three people, a man and two women...polygamy is now okee dokee in Brazil!! Coming soon to a USA state near you! You can read about this story here.

Can you see why it is important to speak truth concerning the covenant of marriage found in Genesis 2:24? Once civil unions are accepted on a wide scale, the depraved will push for acceptance of marriage between a man and his dog, a woman and her bird, etc. I have already read stories of people wanting to marry themselves. Society will be forced to accept marriage between men, women, children, beast, whatever- because of the acceptance of civil unions; to not allow would be to 'discriminate'. We should be on our knees crying out to God for truth to penetrate the hearts of men, and for God to have mercy.

The argument concerning polygamy rages on as well, with those who condone it claiming God okay'd it in 2 Samuel 12:8. Let's look at this verse, ''I also gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!"
 Here God addresses David after he'd sinned with Bathseba and murdered her husband; David was blessed and yet, he turned and sinned against the very God that had blessed him. So was God telling David He would have given him Saul's wives to be his wives? I think not, for God is not the author of sin, nor does He tempt any man with sin {see James 1:13-14}. John Gill gives insight into this passage that clearly does not condone polygamy, ' though we read of no more than one that belonged to Saul, if he is meant by his master, excepting Rizpah his concubine, nor ever of David taking them into his bosom and bed; wherefore this can be understood only of his having them at his disposal, to give them to whom he pleased; the word may be rendered his "women", as well as his "wives", and may design his daughters, Merab and Michal, who were both given to David, though taken again and given to others.' To assume that God was suggesting David bed down with any of Saul's wives is to add to the text and to accuse God of instigating sin; no one should dare to go there, but defenders of polygamy do go there. They take out of context this verse as proof of God's approval, forgetting that God's silence on polygamy throughout much of the O.T. does not mean He approves.

We see the devastating results of polygamy throughout the O.T., it caused much grief for Abraham and jealousy between Hagar and Sarah; it led Solomon away from God as his wives practiced pagan worship and drew him into that worship. Why does God allow polygamy? I can only give my opinion; He shows us that sin has devastating affects on those who fall into it, as has already been pointed out. The people we find in the Bible are sinners, most saved by grace but still, like us, they fell into sin. The bible is written with truth, not holding back or glossing over anything. God doesn't paint Abraham or David as these perfect saints, He shows us their sin and struggles so we may learn from them. That certainly does not mean God approves when His elect fall into sin, but He is rich in mercy and forgives all who confess and forsake their sins. To misinterpret 2 Samuel 12:8 is to miss the heart of God and His desire to be ready to forgive sin.

We must brace and equip ourselves for what may come as the homosexual agenda forces its way on America; if accepted, it will open the door for what we are currently seeing in Brazil. Let us proclaim truth, and pray for God's power to strengthen His people during these dark days we are in.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

'One sitting on the throne'


 "Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. 
And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance." - Revelation 4:2-3

This is the vision the Apostle John saw has he was in the spirit and taken up to heaven, and what a vision it was. He saw a throne set in place in heaven; this throne is a seat of absolute supreme authority where righteous judgment is meted out for the wicked as well as rewards for the righteous by the One who occupies the throne.



Matthew Henry gives us excellent insight into John's vision in his commentary on these verses...

 "To prepare John for the vision, a trumpet was sounded, and he was called up into heaven, to have a sight there of the things which were to be hereafter. He was called into the third heavens. (1.) There is a way opened into the holiest of all, into which the sons of God may enter by faith and holy affections now, in their spirits when they die, and in their whole persons at the last day. (2.) We must not intrude into the secret of God's presence, but stay till we are called up to it.
3. To prepare for this vision, the apostle was in the Spirit. He was in a rapture, as before (Rev_1:10), whether in the body or out of the body we cannot tell; perhaps he himself could not; however all bodily actions and sensations were for a time suspended, and his spirit was possessed with the spirit of prophecy, and wholly under a divine influence. The more we abstract ourselves from all corporeal things the more fit we are for communion with God {emphasis mine}; the body is a veil, a cloud, and clog to the mind in its transactions with God. We should as it were forget it when we go in before the Lord in duty, and be willing to drop it, that we may go up to him in heaven. This was the apparatus to the vision. Now observe,
II. The vision itself. It begins with the strange sights that the apostle saw, and they were such as these: - 1. He saw a throne set in heaven, the seat of honour, and authority, and judgment. Heaven is the throne of God; there he resides in glory, and thence he gives laws to the church and to the whole world, and all earthly thrones are under the jurisdiction of this throne that is set in heaven. 2. He saw a glorious one upon the throne. This throne was not empty; there was one in it who filled it, and that was God, who is here described by those things that are most pleasant and precious in our world: His countenance was like a jasper and a sardine-stone; he is not described by any human features, so as to be represented by an image, but only by his transcendent brightness. This jasper is a transparent stone, which yet offers to the eye a variety of the most vivid colours, signifying the glorious perfections of God; the sardine-stone is red, signifying the justice of God, that essential attribute of which he never divests himself in favour of any, but gloriously exerts it in the government of the world, and especially of the church, through our Lord Jesus Christ. This attribute is displayed in pardoning as well as in punishing, in saving as well as in destroying sinners.'


The description of the appearance of the one sitting on the throne is done in such a way as to not break the teachings of Scripture, as Henry rightly states; Albert Barnes points this out as well in his commentary...

And one sat on the throne - 'It is remarkable that John gives no description of him who sat on the throne, nor does he indicate who he was by name. Neither do Isaiah or Ezekiel attempt to describe the appearance of the Deity, nor are there any intimations of that appearance given from which a picture or an image could be formed. So much do their representations accord with what is demanded by correct taste; and so sedulously have they guarded against any encouragement of idolatry.'

This fits with the command we find in Exodus 20:4, "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth." We must make certain we do not form a God with physical attributes in our minds when we meditate upon Him even though the Scriptures speak of God having such attributes. This is merely an anthropomorphism for our benefit; God is spirit as His word clearly teaches. 
It is fascinating to read John's inspired writings concerning his vision as he describes what he saw by comparing his vision of the One on the throne to precious stones; colorful, illuminating, and of great worth. It is also fascinating to consider John being transported to heaven in the spirit; there isn't great detail given to John's going to heaven, whether he was in bodily form or not isn't clearly stated. I cannot fathom being in this world one minute then with the blink of an eye, being caught up to heaven to see the throne and the One who sat on it and all that surrounded that throne. We only see and know in part this amazing and awesome God, 'For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.- 1st Corinthians 13:12. Albert Barnes  describes the word 'darkly' -  "The word means a riddle; an enigma; then an obscure intimation. In a riddle a statement is made with some resemblance to the truth; a puzzling question is proposed, and the solution is left to conjecture. Hence, it means, as here, obscurely, darkly, imperfectly. Little is known; much is left to conjecture; a very accurate account of most of that which passes for knowledge. Compared with heaven, our knowledge here much resembles the obscure intimations in an enigma compared with clear statement and manifest truth."

There is a day coming that will leave us absolutely speechless and in awe: Psalm 96:6 states this, "honor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary." Honor translates from the Hebrew word 'hod' meaning grandeur, an imposing form and appearance, beauty, excellency, glorious, and majesty. It gets better- majesty translates from the Hebrew hadar and means magnificence, splendor. When, one day, we lay eyes upon this Eternal Majestic being, we will be without words to describe what our eyes are taking in. To see the Lord is best described in this manner- the eyes are flung wide open, in utter amazement, mesmerized by what they are taking in...a remarkable, breathtaking, never before seen sight; it is awe-inspiring, this grandeur, delightful, sweet, majestic God, in all His holiness, sitting exalted on His throne: our breath will leave us, our hearts will race, our eyes will be fixated on what we simply cannot describe and will not want to turn away from. We will be like quivering jell-o, falling at His feet, crying out praises, not wanting to ever leave His presence or take our eyes from Him. Is it any wonder Moses cried, “I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.”- Exodus 33:18
May we focus on that day as we go through this life keeping in mind continually what awaits us...