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Showing posts from March, 2018

he will take care of his cause

I've been re-reading Iain Murray's Revival and Revivalism (Banner of Truth, 1994) and came upon the Rev. Samuel Finley's final testimony and last words.  Finley was the 5th president of the College of New Jersey, which later became Princeton University.  At 50 he was taken ill and passed away in Philadelphia soon afterward.  This is what he confessed in his last days...    " A Christian's death is the best part of his experience.   The Lord has made provision for the whole way; provision for the soul and for the body.    Blessed be God, eternal rest is at hand.   Eternity is but long enough to enjoy God.   This has animated me in my secret studies.   I was ashamed to take rest here.   O, that I could be filled with the fullness of God! " And finally, " The Lord Jesus will take care of his cause in this world! "

God who never lies

"Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior..."  (Titus 1:1-3) "Scripture often tells us that God's word is pure, free of all dross and superfluity, unmixed with anything else.  That is why it is compared to gold and silver which have been melted down and refined by fire (Psa. 12:6; 19:10).  Such assurance is given to us that we may truly say that our faith comes not from men but has God as its author; we are thus armed with confidence for whatever fight Satan may choose to pick with us.  For the rest, it is made clear that supposing we had all the knowledge in the world, without the knowledge of God and his word we are no more than

the fullness of time

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son..."  (Galatians 4:4a ESV) "But for this purpose I have come to this hour ."  (John 12:27 ESV) "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly."  (Romans 5:6 ESV)  "...God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word..."  (Titus 1:2-3 ESV) "For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified."  (Hebrews 10:14 ESV)  As we read the biblical record it becomes clear not only that God is the Lord of history, but that the unfolding of this history involves divine timing.  God's timing is perfect!  Notice above: "the fullness of time", "this hour", "at the right time", "at the proper time", and "for all time."   History is not meaningless as many atheists think, nor is it endlessly

Good Friday

Here is G. K. Chesterton on the meaning of Good Friday... "In this story of Good Friday it is the best things in the world that are at their worst. That is what really shows us the world at its worst. It was, for instance, the priests of a true monotheism and the soldiers of an international civilization. Rome, the legend, founded upon fallen Troy and triumphant over fallen Carthage, had stood for a heroism which was the nearest that any pagan ever came to chivalry. ... "But in the lightning flash of this incident, we see great Rome, the imperial republic, going downward under her Lucretian doom. Scepticism has eaten away even the confident sanity of the conquerors of the world. He who is enthroned to say what is justice can only ask, 'What is truth?' ... "The mob went along with the Sadducees and the Pharisees, the philosophers and the moralists. It went along with the imperial magistrates and the sacred priests, the scribes and the soldiers, that th

doctrine lies at the roots of faith

"In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the  sound doctrine which you have been following."  (1 Timothy 4:6 NASV) There is an ongoing concern in many evangelical churches that we need to move on from Christian doctrine to the more practical aspects of the  Christian life.  After all, Christianity is more relational and practical.  It's more about life and relationships than it is about the content of the teachings of the church.  This is a fair enough concern, since all biblical doctrine needs to be worked out in real life.   But the danger here is that we separate doctrine from faith and life, and so remove the very foundation (and motivation) for living faithfully to God in this world.  Those of us who are studying Romans together are seeing that the Apostle Paul lays out eleven chapters of doctrinal groundwork before he comes to the more practical section in Ro

following Christ

"I hope the Lord will make you willing to be guided by him in all things, to leave him to choose your way, and to follow him wherever it leads through thick and thin.  While we follow him we are sure to go right, if we take one step before him it will prove a wrong one. What he calls us to do he will strengthen us for and own us in.  What he lays upon us he will support us under.  But if we set ourselves to work we shall have [hard] labour for our pains.  If we cut out our own crosses we shall find them heavier than his."   ~ John Newton to John Rylands, May, 1773, in Wise Counsel , edited by Grant Gordon (Banner of Truth, 2009).

eyes on the road

Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.  Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left , that you may have good success wherever you go.  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night , so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  (Joshua 1:6-8 ESV) Carefulness is a theme in the book of Joshua (1:7, 8; 22:3-5; 23:11).   Some of the problems the Israelites faced were due to carelessness on their part, for example, the failed attack on Ai, and the Gibeonite deception.  The word used in Joshua for being careful means to "keep, watch, guard, or protect".  It is the same word used in Genesis 2:15 for the command g

the dwelling place of God

"Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God."  (Revelation 21:3 ESV) “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”  ~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

sand castle

Photo by Karl Frederickson on Unsplash The other day we received an email from a friend visiting family in California. This is the story he shared... Guys, as most of you know from past emails, a 45-minute walk to the coffee shop happens with me while here in California several times a week. Yesterday, after arriving and seated with my freshly made ham sandwich from the grocery store and with my usual pour-over, my life was perfect in  every way.  An occurrence then happened which I had never experienced and will probably never forget.   Facing the two front doors of the coffee  shop, they were both pulled open, and a motorized wheelchair appeared with a man inside being operated by his wife (I believe).....This was not the  ordinary wheelchair that we are all familiar . This was the Stephen Hawking variety (in some ways). The normal talking, and noise of the coffee shop came to an abrupt stop.  Everyone was just mesmerized. The couple proceeded to a table next to  mine. I

born of God

"Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.  No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God."  (1 John 3:8-9 ESV) "This means that God's people in Christ, far from regarding sin with weary resignation or fearful foreboding, are assured that their struggle against it has both purpose and promise.  Christ himself stands behind them as they wrestle with the forces and ideas and behavior against which John warns.  The dramatic portrait of Christus victor dominates the literary horizon as the section comes to a close.  The epistle's key counsel -- to abide in Christ and receive eternal life--is not a counsel of despair but a straightforward and compelling application of what Christ has already accomplished."   ~ Robert Yarbrou

church for you, but not about you