Archive for January, 2014

charles spurgeon

charles spurgeon

The church is not perfect, but woe to the man who finds pleasure in pointing out her imperfections!

Christ loved his church, and let us do the same.

I have no doubt that the Lord can see more fault in his church than I can; and I have equal confidence that he sees no fault at all. Because he covers her faults with his own love—that love which covers a multitude of sins; and he removes all her defilement with that precious blood which washes away all the transgressions of his people.

–Charles Spurgeon

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Todd Pruitt writes “Many evangelicals expect God to speak to them in the ways he spoke to the prophets and apostles. But God has not promised this. Indeed it is through his Word that he speaks to his people. He does not speak inside us but to us. His voice comes to us from outside of us by his Word.”

Todd then quotes from the book  Good News for Anxious Christians by Dr. Philip Cary

That’s not how the Spirit speaks, because that’s not why the Spirit speaks. He does not come to give people private instructions – that’s not what prophecy was ever for – but to join them to the community of God’s people. So the best place to hear him now is in a gathered congregation of the Body of Christ, where he is present to teach, comfort, warn, and guide all who believe. His speaking is not an inner experience but a shared event, just like the teaching and admonishing that happened when the New Testament church was filled with the Spirit…

Read more About that little voice in your heart… (Todd Pruitt)

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Nancy Guthrie has a great post here which begins:

“Have you read Heaven Is for Real?” I’ve been asked this question more times than I can count. So let me just tell you—no, I haven’t. I was actually asked by the publisher to read the manuscript to offer an endorsement before the book came out, but I declined. And clearly the lack of an endorsement from me has not hindered sales.

HeavenisforrealtheaterposterI’ve been hoping that the hoopla surrounding this book and so many of the other “died and went to heaven and came back” books would end. And then I went to the theater over the holidays and saw previews for the upcoming movie based on Heaven Is for Real. So before you ask if I am going to see the movie, let me just tell you—no, I’m not.”

Keep reading more here.  For more on the “Heaven is for Real” topic you could look at a previous post “Peddling Fiction about the After-Life as Non-Fiction.”

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A man I admire and thank God for.   Courtesy of Tim Challies and Josh Byers

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Two videos on abortion

A short reflective look at the issue of abortion that urges us to choose life and protect life:  About You

A new controversial pro-life documentary that examines the truth about abortion.  Worth watching and thinking about: Babies Are Murdered Here (53 minutes)

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“How does that verse make you feel?”  It doesn’t matter how you feel.  It matters what God has said!

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What to do about that besetting sin? Ed Welch summarizes:

We will all sin again, of that we can be sure. When we do, we ask forgiveness of both the Lord and those who were wronged. Then some hand-to-hand combat against sin is probably in order along with some public planning to either stand firm or run when there is another assault. All of this is both preceded and followed by our rest in forgiveness of sin secured by Jesus. Rest is spiritual, complacency sinful.

For more on battling a besetting sin read the rest of When You Are Planning to Sin Again

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Yesterday in our morning worship hour I addressed the issue of abortion and homosexuality.  I mentioned that as we take biblical positions on this issues–even if we speak the truth in love–our teaching will not be received well by the unbelieving world.  We should not be surprised by this for whenever the Bible’s teaching contradicts what the world says there will be conflict.  As I read a blog by fellow blogger and pastor Terry Enns today I was reminded from Scripture again that love for God often will result in being hated by the world.  John, Paul, Peter and even Jesus himself warn us of this reality.  Let’s read and remember these truths today:

 “Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” (1 John 3:13, ESV)  

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” (2 Timothy 3:12, ESV)

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” (2 Corinthians 4:7–9, ESV)

“For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind” (1 Thessalonians 2:14–15, ESV)

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” (1 Peter 4:12–14, ESV)

“And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” (Hebrews 11:32–38, ESV)

““If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.” (John 15:18–21, ESV)

““Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11–12, ESV)  

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Colossians 1:15-20 is one of the highlights of Scripture for me. It exalts Christ and summarizes so beautifully His peerlessness and His preeminence.  Then in Colossians 3:4 Paul reminds us that Christ is our life!  A saint from old named Athanasius, who stood almost alone against a heresy that was threatening to sweep the church, combines these two thoughts well:

You are Jesus, the Son of the Father.
You are the One
who commands the Cherubim and the Seraphim.

You have existed with the Father in truth always.
You rule the angels.
You are the power of the heavens.

You are the crown of the martyrs.
You are the deep counsel of the saints.
You are the One in whom
the deep counsel of the Father is hidden.

You are the mouth of the prophets.
You are the language of the angels.

You are Jesus, my Life.
You are Jesus, the object and boast of the world.

– a prayer of Athanasius, 296-373

HT: Kingdom People

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rose 1
“Yes, He is very precious to you who believe!” 1 Peter 2:7

Jesus is precious to believers—as the bread of God coming down from heaven, and giving everlasting life to their souls. By Him they are really, constantly, and daily supported, fed and sustained. As bread is sweet and precious to a hungry man—so is Christ sweet and precious to those who live by Him. The entertainment that He gives to them—is a divine, a spiritual feast!

Jesus is precious to believers—as the Sun of Righteousness. The beams of His grace are healing, enlightening, cheering, and full of consolation. If natural light is sweet, if it is a pleasant thing to behold the sun—how much more pleasant to experience the irradiating influences of the Light of life!

Jesus is precious to believers—as the fountain where they bathe their weary souls, and in which they are cleansed from all sin and impurity. He is the tree of life, under the shadow of which, they sit with great delight, and His fruit is sweet to their taste. He is a rock, a strong tower, a hiding-place, where they find protection from every storm, and security from every foe. He was precious to the Psalmist under all these views—”I will love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my strength in whom I trust; my shield, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”

It is therefore the delight of their lives—to know Him, to love and honor Him with their whole hearts, and to aspire after conformity to His blessed image, and His holy will.

“O blessed Redeemer, I find in you all that my poor helpless soul stands in need of. Though I have the greatest reason for shame and humiliation, on account of what I am in myself—yet in You I behold everything to elevate my hopes, and to afford me relief and encouragement! May my soul magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoice in God my Savior! The characters and relations in which You have revealed Yourself to me in Your Word—exhibit a balm for every wound, and a cordial for every fear.

If I am naked—You are the Lord my righteousness.
If I am soul-sick—You are my physician.
If I am weak and helpless—You are my strength.
If I am neglected and despised—You are my compassionate and faithful friend.
If I am ignorant—You are made unto me wisdom.
If I am polluted and enslaved—You are made unto me sanctification and redemption.
If I am nothing but emptiness and vanity—You are full of grace and truth.”

~ John Fawcett

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