Archive for February 16th, 2013

Be prepared and be forewarned.  Persecution is likely coming to a church near you that preaches the gospel faithfully.

Alistair Begg talks about what might get us into hot water.

[vimeo 55399513]

Jesse Johnson lays out where, when and how persecution may come to biblically faithful churches in the not too distant future.  He also shares four responses to the persecution.


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Psalm 42 is one of those “go to” Psalms for me when I am down.  In both Psalm 42 and 43 the psalmist asks himself, “Why are you downcast o my soul?”  And he answers himself “Hope in God!”  I love how this writer identifies his need and talks to himself.

Ernie Baker, a biblical counselor and a teacher at The Master’s College and Seminary, recently wrote about this psalm and how it gives comfort to the oppressed soul.

“As the deer pants for the water so my soul longs after you. You alone are my heart’s desire and I long to worship you.” This song is commonly sung without realizing that it is based on a Psalm describing intense suffering. The intense heat of life causes intense thirst that, if dealt with properly, will yield an increased satisfaction in God, who is the Living Water. The principles of Psalm 42-43 help sufferers by modeling how to articulate anguish of soul along with questions to God. The psalmist reminds himself of truth and every part of his being is addressed.

These two Psalms were probably originally one as indicated by each having the same repeated phrases, “Why are you in despair, O my soul” (42:5; 42:11; 43:5)? In these “chapters” we see the psalmist dealing with rejection by people, disappointment with circumstances, remembering how good things used to be, being mocked, feeling forgotten by God and trying to cope with a body and emotions that are feeling the impact of the pressures. Sounds like life. In the midst of this suffering he models how a godly person deals with suffering. But, there are some surprises along the way. These surprises will dispel some myths about what it means to be a godly person during suffering.

The ultimate hero of these chapters, though, is God. He is the God who is always present in the midst of suffering. He is the God of truth. The God of these Psalms has a sovereign design for suffering (and even plans it, see 42:7). He is full of lovingkindness. The psalmist has a personal and vibrant relationship with Him that could never be compared to false hopes. This God is completely trustworthy. By the way, what are you trusting in or hoping to deliver you during your suffering?

My hope is that you will realize that you need to store up good theology for days of suffering. We need to have a joy in the Lord that can be shaken by no pain in the hard times and competed with by no earthly pleasure in the good times. We would be honest to admit that the depth of our beliefs will be revealed during suffering. Another way to say it would be that your success during suffering will be proportion to the depth of your belief system and you choice to live it out.

Continue reading Dr. Baker’s article here.

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Afflictions are needed

“Afflictions are as needful as ordinances (1 Peter 1:6). No vessel can be made of gold without fire; so it is impossible that we should be made vessels of honour, unless we are melted and refined in the furnace of affliction. ‘All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth’ (Psalm 25:10). As the painter intermixes bright colours with dark shadows; so the wise God mixes mercy with judgment. Those afflictive providences which seem to be prejudicial, are beneficial.”

– Thomas Watson, All Things for Good

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Your eyes and God!

I visited a lady in our church this week who is suffering with degeneration of her eyes.  She is blind in one eye and has had a lot of degeneration in her other eye.  The doctors are trying to save her vision in her one eye because she loves to read and she would like to live out the remaining days of her life here on earth in the home where she has lived for nearly 60 years.

When I was a child, my eyes changed very rapidly and I have a very strong prescription for my glasses.  So far I haven’t reached the true bifocal stage of my eyeglasses but am in the transition stage.

I am highly thankful that, even though my eyes are the best they could be, nevertheless I don’t have serious difficulties with them.

Joe Thorn, a fellow blogger and pastor, has had some recent problems with his eyes and it lead him to consider what the Bible says about our eyes from a spiritual perspective. He recorded the following six observations in his journal that I think are worth remembering:

1. My eyes must be turned from evil.

I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.
(Ps. 101:3)

2. My eyes should be set on the God who saves.

My eyes are ever toward the LORD,
for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
(Psalm 25:15)

3. My eyes should be set on God’s steadfast love.

For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness.
(Psalm 26:3)

4. My eyes should be set on his word.

Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.
(Psalm 119:18)

5. My eyes should be fixed on fixed on Christ.

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Heb. 12:1, 2)

6. God sees.

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.
(2 Chronicles 16:9 ESV)

Read more of Joe’s observations here.

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