Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holding Fast

Commenting on Titus 1:9, John Gill writes:
The doctrine of the not only to be held forth by the elder, but to be held fast, and tenaciously abode by; in opposition to all wavering about it, departure from it, dropping or concealing any part of it, and pusillanimity concerning it; whatever temptations there may be to the contrary, through popular applause on the one hand, and reproaches and persecutions on the other; and though there may be many that may endeavour to wring it out of his hands.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let Us Imitate Him

Saints of God, keep the eye of your faith intently and immoveably fixed upon Christ, your sole pattern. Our Lord did not keep that law that his people might be lawless. He did not honor that law that they might dishonor its precepts. His obedience provided no license for our disobedience. His fulfillment releases us not from the obligation, the sweet and pleasant, yet solemn obligation, to holiness of life.

Our faith does not make void the law, but rather establishes the law. The "righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us" when we "walk after the Spirit," in lowly conformity to Christ's example. Was He meek and lowly heart? Did He bless when cursed? Did He, when reviled, revile not again? Did He walk in secret with God? Did he always seek to do those things which pleased His Father? Did He live a life of faith, and prayer, and toil? So let us imitate Him, that of us it may be said, "These are they who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth."

~ Octavius Winslow, No Condemnation in Christ Jesus

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Grace of God Hath Appeared

The grace of God hath appeared, and it appeared in the person of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. In Him His grace is made known. His finished work is the source of it. It flows from the cross. And this grace comes to man with salvation.

It brings salvation, not to a certain class of men, but it brings salvation for all men. Because all men are lost, and therefore in need of salvation, unable to save themselves; the grace of God bringing an unconditional, a perfect and eternal salvation hath appeared, offering that salvation to all. And when this salvation is accepted by faith in the Son of God and the believing sinner is saved by grace, the same grace teaches how to live and walk here below in newness of life.

~A.C. Gaebelein

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Confessing Christ Without Flinching

"We are not to be ashamed to confess Christ before men, and to let others know what He has done for our souls. If we have found peace through His blood and been renewed by His Spirit, we must not shrink from avowing it, on every proper occasion. It is not necessary to blow a trumpet in the streets, and force our experience on everybody’s notice.

All that is required is a willingness to acknowledge Christ as our Master, without flinching from the ridicule or persecution which by so doing we may bring on ourselves. More than this is not required; but less than this ought not to content us. "

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Twenty-four years ago today, a dear woman of God went home to Glory.

She wasn't famous--but those who knew her (even those who knew her just a little) will never forget her.

I did not have the privilege of meeting Ruth here on earth--though I have wished many, many times that I could have. But despite never knowing her, I am reminded of her everyday. Ruth's little girl, Lois, became my dear, sweet wife. I am uniquely blessed to be in the circle of those who have been changed by her legacy.

Several years ago, Lois was given an audio cassette recording of her mom playing the piano. One track in particular is poignant on this anniversary.

The path that I have trod, has brought me nearer God,
Though oft it led through sorrow's gates.
Though not the way I'd choose, in my way I might lose
The joy that yet for me awaits.

Not what I wish to be, nor where I wish to go,
For who am I that I should choose my way?
The Lord shall choose for me, 'tis better far, I know,
So let Him bid me go, or stay.

The cross that I must bear, if I a crown would wear,
Is not the cross that I should take;
But since on me 'tis laid, I'll take it, unafraid,
And bear it for the Master's sake.

Submission to the will of Him who guides me still
Is surety of His love revealed;
My soul shall rise above this world in which I move;
I conquer only where I yield.

I Love the Truth

Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it.
~ Psalm 119:140

Albert Barnes commenting on this verse writes:
"I love it because it is pure, holy, true; not merely because it will save me. Apart from all reference to myself. I love thy truth as truth; I love purity as purity; I love law as law; I love holiness as holiness. This is true religion."
John Gill writes:
"That which carnal men hate the word of God for, because it forbids and condemns all impurity of flesh and spirit, all impure thoughts, words, and actions; that a good man loves it for, and which is an evidence of a sanctified heart."
Charles Spurgeon writes:
"It is truth distilled, holiness in its quintessence. In the word of God there is no admixture of error or sin. It is pure in its sense, pure in its language, pure in its spirit, pure in its influence, and all this to the very highest degree - “very pure.” “Therefore thy servant loveth it,” which is a proof that he himself was pure in heart, for only those who are pure love God's word because of its purity. His heart was knit to the word because of its glorious holiness and truth. He admired it, delighted in it, sought to practice it, and longed to come under its purifying power."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cannot Overdose

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children,
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house,
and when you walk by the way,
and when you lie down, and when you rise.
~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Ken Ham writes:
With anything else in life, harmful consequences follow overdosing, but we cannot overdose on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Strength of Weakness

For he was crucified in weakness... ~ 2 Corinthians 13:4

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men,
and the weakness of God is stronger than men. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:25

In a glowing passage, where the ardour of the writer transforms argument almost into poetry, and certainly into rhetoric, Paul declares that "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men". "The weakness of God" -- even allowing for the warmth of argument, it is a startling phrase.

Paul dares to compare the strength of God and man, and to suggest that God, even at His weakest -- even when limited, hedged about, restrained, as it were, by mercy and gentleness and truth, even though He still respects the freedom of the souls He made, and stoops to plead, to wait, and woo -- still God, in the restraining of His strength and the withholding of His power, is mightier than the mighty and stronger than the strong, and shall prevail.

It is a daring thought, but Paul is thinking of the cross, as the context shows. There, so to speak, God is seen willingly at His weakest, suffering, submitting, and rejected; yet that same cross is the power of God unto salvation. They scorned and rejected, smote and scourged, crowned and crucified, yet He broke them in the doing of it, broke them, outdid them, and conquered them. As the Scottish preacher cried, "Where now are all those who put my Lord to death? Either at His feet, or under them!"

~ Beneath the Cross of Jesus - Reginald E.O. White

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Solar System Without a Sun

We can never attach too much importance to the atoning death of Christ: it is the leading fact in the Word of God, on which the eyes of our soul ought to be ever fixed. Without the shedding of His blood, there is no remission of sin. It is the cardinal truth on which the whole system of Christianity hinges.

Without it the Gospel is an arch without a keystone, a fair building without a foundation, a solar system without a sun. Let us make much of our Lord’s incarnation and example, His miracles and His parables, His works and His words, but above all let us make much of His death.

~ J.C. Ryle

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thinking Lightly of Sin

Too many think lightly of sin, and therefore think lightly of the Saviour. He who has stood before God, convicted and condemned, with the rope about his neck, is the man to weep for joy when he is pardoned, to hate the evil which has been forgiven him, and to live to the honour of the Redeemer by whose blood he has been cleansed.


Monday, October 19, 2009

He Recognized No Limit

“Christ turned his back, voluntarily, deliberately, and decisively, upon all that belonged to personal glory, and all that conduced to personal gain. He recognized no limit to the extent to which His obedience to God in self-humbling must go. Whatever he found in himself to be expendable, he spent. While anything was left which could be poured forth, he poured it forth. Nothing was too small to give, or too great. This is the mind and the life which is commended to us by the example of Christ and approved by signal acts of God.

~ Alec Motyer, The Message of Philippians

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Didn’t want to forget the youngest ….

Lydia is growing up fast too.  She is a lot of fun and puts a lot of smiles on our faces.


First Day of School Pics

I’m a little behind, but I thought I would post our annual pics that I take on the first day of school.  Hard to believe how fast time goes by and how fast they grow.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Attraction that Repels

"... the offense of the cross..." Galatians 5:11

"And I, when I am lifted up from the earth,
will draw all people to myself." John 12:32

To the Greek mind, the cross was merely incomprehensible. That men should be "saved" by it was preposterous; that men should preach it, sheer foolishness. "The world by wisdom knew not God" and had found no way of world salvation. The message of the cross underlined that failure; it called for simplicity of faith, not intellectual cleverness; and it perpetually recalled what human "wisdom" did with such a One as Christ. To the Greek therefore the whole idea of redemptive suffering was manifold folly.

To the Jew, a crucified Messiah was scandalous; a given, free and universal salvation, an attack upon his privileged security. Proudly the Jew proclaimed the divine election of his race and the sufficiency of the Law; the cross of Jesus, as the only hope for all mankind, was double blasphemy. Many things can alienate men from God, but if humility find the way to penitence all can be overcome--but pride. "God resisteth the proud" and giveth His grace to contrite hearts humble enough to rest their hope wholly upon Christ's doing for us what we could never hope to have done for themselves.

The offence of the cross is therefore not surprising. To seek to change a man is to imply something unsatisfactory in his present mode of life. You cannot convert him by admiring what he is already; you have to disturb him, challenge, convict and undermine him. It is impossible to save a man without humbling him, to save him from his pride; and subduing him, to save him from his folly. The preaching of the cross pays sinful man no compliments, except indeed the supreme compliment that God thinks he is worth saving.

~From Beneath the Cross of Jesus by Reginald E.O. White (thanks for the book loan, Dad!)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Praise of Men

That same spirit which makes us love the praise of men makes us dread the threats of men. You cannot be pleased with the adulation of mankind without becoming fearful of their censure. It is a perilous thing to taste of human honor: if it makes you sick, it is the best thing it can do for you. If you despise it utterly, it is the only way of bearing it without being injured by it; for I say again, delight in the praises of others saps the foundations of a man's manhood: delight in the praise of men takes a man off from following after the glory of God, and makes him afraid of following the truth if it cost him ridicule.

~ Spurgeon via Pyromaniacs

Monday, October 12, 2009

His Robes For Mine

We started learning a new hymn entitled His Robes For Mine at the chapel yesterday. I found it while browsing the Church Works Media site.

If you'd like to try the hymn out, here is the sheet music. [For what it's worth, I think we may take it down a half or maybe a whole step the next time we sing it.]

Also, here is an audio recording of three of the verses sung beautifully by five sisters.

I'm still wrapping my hands around the bulk of theology packed into these four short verses. When was the last time you sang vicarious and propitiation in the same hymn! In particular, I'm meditating on the line "God estranged from God" in the chorus and the last two lines of the fourth verse.

His Robes For Mine
His robes for mine: O wonderful exchange!
Clothed in my sin, Christ suffered ‘neath God’s rage.
Draped in His righteousness, I’m justified.
In Christ I live, for in my place He died.

I cling to Christ, and marvel at the cost:
Jesus forsaken, God estranged from God.
Bought by such love, my life is not my own.
My praise-my all-shall be for Christ alone.

His robes for mine: what cause have I for dread?
God’s daunting Law Christ mastered in my stead.
Faultless I stand with righteous works not mine,
Saved by my Lord’s vicarious death and life.

His robes for mine: God’s justice is appeased.
Jesus is crushed, and thus the Father’s pleased.
Christ drank God’s wrath on sin, then cried “‘Tis done!”
Sin’s wage is paid; propitiation won.

His robes for mine: such anguish none can know.
Christ, God’s beloved, condemned as though His foe.
He, as though I, accursed and left alone;
I, as though He, embraced and welcomed home!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Run to Obey

"I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!
Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it."
~ Psalm 119:32-35

Obeying God is a phenomenal thing.

You know you're talking to a baby Christian when you hear things like, "The Bible says to do . . . what? That just doesn't make sense to me," and "Isn't that a little crazy?" When someone new to Christ hears a call that demands him or her to go against the natural human tendency to protect or promote self, the person will sometimes react.

Not so for someone who has walked with God for a long time. We know that every step forward is a step of faith. Obedience to God is not a burden. And once you've done it a few times, you realize how awesome God's program is.

Every time I do what God wants me to do - I get blessed. Every time I humble myself and ask for forgiveness or reach out in relationship or deny my flesh or give to the Lord's work or make the choice to serve or open my mouth and speak for God - I get blessed! Every time! Obeying God always makes things better, even when it's hard. Even when the good outcome takes a while.

The more you get to know the Lord, the more you realize that everything He asks of you is for your good. I'm thinking right now of that amazing pronouncement in Romans 8:28, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." When you get that panorama perspective of life, then obeying God today is not a burden; it's a joy.

Things will always work out for good when I obey God. If I could live my life over again, I wouldn't go back on any of my obedience choices, but I'd go back to some disobedience choices and change them in a hurry.

Today I purpose to obey the first time, every time. Let’s be like David who said, "I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!"

Friday, October 2, 2009

More Summer Pics

My sister and her family came up over the 4th of July and we had so much fun.  It’s the first time in awhile our visit hasn’t been around a wedding or a new baby.  The cousins had a blast (of course) and they had some fun moments on the bunk bed.



The kids also had their first experience horse back riding.  Bryan was kind enough to offer to take the kids. It’s kind of weird for me because I grew up around all sorts of animals and my kids just aren’t around them much.  Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed watching the kids.  I did actually have to get up and ride with Lydia because she just couldn’t hold on—thankfully there are no pictures of it.  :-)

Sam Horse

girls horse

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Troublesome to the Enemies of the King of kings

On June 10, 1866 Charles Spurgeon said:
Christians, be troublesome to the world! O house of Israel, be like a burdensome stone to the world! You are not sent here to be recognized as honorable citizens of this world, to be petted and well-treated.

Even Christ himself, the peaceable One, said, "I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?"

What I mean is this, we are not to be quiet about our religion. The world says to us, "Hold your tongue about religion, or at least talk about it at fit times; but do not introduce it at all seasons so as to become a pest and a nuisance."

I say again, and you know in what sense I mean it, be a nuisance to the world; be such a man that worldlings will be compelled to feel that there is a Christian in their midst.

An officer was walking out of the royal presence on one occasion, when he tripped over his sword. The king said to him, "Your sword is rather a nuisance." "Yes," was the officer's reply, "your majesty's enemies have often said so."

May you be a nuisance to the world in that sense, troublesome to the enemies of the King of kings! While your conduct should be courteous, and everything that could be desired as between man and man, yet let your testimony for Christ be given without any flinching and without any mincing of the matter.

One of My Favorite Pics

This was taken on the 4th of July this year.  These 2 went for a ride on the pontoon boat and when the ride came back everyone got off except for them. (notice the arms--so cute!!)

Liddy and Daddy

Monday, September 28, 2009

Poll For a New Tune

As I mentioned earlier, I really like the words of Lord, With Glowing Heart I'd Praise Thee. I'm not, however, terribly excited about the tune that goes with it. So--I figure there are plenty of good tunes available, let's just sing it with a different one!

Just for fun, I thought we'd see what the readers have to say about a new tune. Lois and I picked out a few that fit the lyrics tonight. If you don't like any of ours--maybe you can think of a different one!

Lord, With Glowing Heart I’d Praise Thee

Most of us know that Francis Scott Key wrote our country’s national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner . However, I was completely unaware that he wrote something as theologically “loaded” as this hymn!

Lord, with glowing heart I'd praise thee
For the bliss thy love bestows,
For the pard'ning grace that saves me,
And the peace that from it flows;
Help, O God, my weak endeavor;
This dull soul to rapture raise;
Thou must light the flame, or never
Can my love be warmed to praise.

Praise, my soul, the God that sought thee,
Wretched wand'rer far astray;
Found thee lost, and kindly brought thee
From the paths of death away;
Praise, with love's devoutest feeling,
Him who saw thy guilt-born fear,
And, the light of hope revealing,
Bade the blood-stained cross appear.

Praise thy Saviour God that drew thee
To that cross, new life to give,
Held a blood-sealed pardon to thee,
Bade thee look to him and live;
Praise the grace whose threats alarmed thee,
Roused thee from thy fatal ease,
Praise the grace whose promise warmed thee,
Praise the grace that whispered peace.

Lord, this bosom's ardent feeling
Vainly would my lips express;
Low before thy footstool kneeling,
Deign thy suppliant's prayer to bless:
Let thy love, my soul's chief treasure,
Love's pure flame within me raise,
And, since words can never measure,
Let my life show forth thy praise.

I’m not all that excited about the tune that goes along with the hymn--but, I would like to sing it. Leave me a comment if you think of a hymn tune that fits these words.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chloe’s 5th Birthday Party

Chloe’s birthday was the last Friday of Teen Camp, so we had a party for her when we got home.  We had all the girl cousins over and had a “Princess Dress-Up” party and nail-painting party.  After that we all went to Happy Joe’s to celebrate.  It’s hard to believe she is 5 already.  What a joy she is to us.






Saturday, September 26, 2009

Teen Camp

I didn’t take too many pictures at camp—but here are a few.  It’s always a lot of fun to be at camp and the kids especially like being there. 

Teen Camp

A Few Projects

I thought I’d post a few of the things that have kept us busy over the last few months.

We recently just starting finishing our basement. I am so proud of Jeremy—he has learned so much about construction lately and I am very impressed. He used to not do house projects because he “wasn’t skilled and/or didn’t know how to do it”. Well….now I know better, dear, and I have BIG plans. (j/k) I took this picture of the 2 cutest guys I know—Jeremy was installing an electrical box.


We switched the kids’ rooms and then redecorated them with a Dinosaur Theme and a “Flower” theme, for lack of a better word. I also finally got my flower beds in this spring as well. It’s fun to look out and see my flowers.



Ok…I’m not sure what happened other than I got really busy and stopped blogging and then never started it back up.  Thankfully my dear husband keeps posting so we don’t lose our faithful readers. (Well it’s actually just a few of you :-)  Anyway, I have some pics to post to catch you up on our WHOLE summer.  I will probably do it over the next few days.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Got To's and Get To's

Tim Challies writes:
Last night, a good hour after I put my daughter to bed, and as I settled into the couch to spend some time reading, I heard a cry of “Daddy!” I went to the bottom of the stairs and asked what she wanted. “Will you come and cuddle me?” she called out. I thought about it for a moment and eventually told her that she should already be asleep and that I was not going to come up and cuddle her. Thankfully she soon drifted off and slept well.

As I thought about it a little bit more I realized that I did not want to cuddle her, at least in part, because I had to. I was looking at it as a “got to” situation: “I’ve got to cuddle her.” And I rebelled. It didn’t take me long to regret my decision. She is going to be with us for so few years and for many of those she will no doubt have no desire to cuddle me. And is it so bad for a six-year old to want a cuddle (or another cuddle) before bed? The more I thought about it, the more this seemed like a “get to” situation: “I get to cuddle her.”

It’s funny the difference made by that one little letter. Throughout my life I’ve struggled with the got to’s and the get to’s. Church can seem like a “got to” obligation, but it is so much sweeter when I face it as if it is a “get to” privilege. My morning devotions can often feel like a “got to” but I enjoy them so much more when I treat them like a “get to.” Rather than having to face the Bible and prayer in the morning, I see them as an enjoyable privilege. It often makes all the difference in a mind as feeble and sinful as mine.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Love Is...

Commenting on 1 Corinthians 13:5-6, G.B. Williamson writes in Holiness for Every Day:
Love is not blind but it is fair. It is quick to see wrong, but it does not withdraw mercy for the wrongdoer. Love inspires automatic reaction against rumor and gossip. It will have no part in "spreading evil surmises injurious to the good name of others." Love thinketh no evil.

The Christian in whose heart the love of God is shed abroad will base no conclusions upon his unfounded misgivings. He will argue against his mistrust until proof is established. He accepts the principle that all are innocent until proved guilty. When guilt is established, he grieves that he must admit the evidence is sufficient.

Jesus knew well the long record of rejection of God and willful transgression of His law by the people of Jerusalem. But His pronouncement of judgment was spoken in a heartbreaking lament. Love rejoiceth not in iniquity. It forbids repeating a damaging story even if regrettably true, except to protect an innocent person from being misled.

Can love render judgment upon the guilty? Yes, because justice administered in love can be redemptive. It leads to repentance. Love allows final condemnation only on the finally impenitent.

Love rejoices in the truth. A mind enlightened by the Spirit, whose fruit is love, accepts the truth with its implications even if its sharp, cutting edge brings self-condemnation. Such a Spirit-guided person will not defend himself by clever rationalization. He will admit he is wrong and amend his ways. The truth makes men free and whole.
Devotions are supposed to be an encouraging thing right? But, truth be told, I found myself more convicted than encouraged after reading this.

I am guilty of withdrawing mercy from the wrongdoer. I have argued in favor of my mistrust-- even occasionally when proof has been established otherwise. I have (yes, even in my Christian walk) repeated a true-but-damaging story.

Please pray for me for a mind enlightened by the Spirit that is bearing fruit of love. Pray that having admitted my wrong, I will amend my ways. I do love the truth--and I want to be free and whole!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Courtesy and Determination

Commenting on Galatians 2:1-10, William Barclay writes of Paul:
He was a man who gave authority its due respect. He did not go his own way. He went and talked with the leaders of the Church however much he might differ from them. It is a great and neglected law of life that however right we happen to be there is nothing to be gained by rudeness. There is never any reason why courtesy and determination should not go hand in hand.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Maybe I'm a Nerd...

...but I think this is so cool. The movie shows different colored bars based on the various instruments playing during Beethoven's 5th Symphony.

Here's a chart showing which colors are shown based on what instrument is playing.

If classical music is not your thing--here's Sousa's most famous march--The Stars and Stripes Forever.


Here's an old bluegrass classic:

If you have friends in Gloryland,
Who left because of pain
Thank God up there, they'll die no more
They'll suffer not again.

Then weep not friends, I'm goin' home
Up there we'll die no more
No coffins will be made up there
No graves on that bright shore

The lame will walk in Gloryland
The blind up there will see
The deaf in Gloryland will hear
The dumb will talk to me

The doctor will not have to call
The undertaker, no
There'll be no pain up there to bear
Just walk the streets of gold

We'll need no sun in Gloryland
The moon and stars won?t shine
For Christ Himself is light up there
He reigns of love divine

Then weep not friends, I'm goin' home
Up there we'll die no more
No coffins will be made up there
No graves on that bright shore

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Home - Downhere

In the last several months, I've enjoyed listening to a band called Downhere. Their most recent album, Ending is Beginning, has quickly become one of my all-time favorites. (Maybe I'll write more about it another time.)

On the So Much for Substitutes album, there is a hidden track after the last song called Home. The song is a great reminder for all of us as believers--we're not home yet!

We want to focus on what we can't see
But this scene is just a fading beauty
In this life, when sorrow steals our joy
We want to walk beyond our circumstances
But our feet run to our own advances
Would you be our way and lead your people on

Oh, Remind us that we have not reached home
Remind us that we have not reached home

Pull apart our good intentions
Break the walls of these dimensions
Paint a picture of our eternity
And we'll sing the songs of Heaven
Be the chorus you have chosen
We need Your grace
To echo the saints and journey on

Oh, Remind us that we have not reached home
Oh, Remind us that we have not reached home

As the angels sing Your praises
Let us not forget Your graces
Which far outweigh a world of dreams

Would you remind us that we have not reached home
Oh, Remind us that we have not reached home

Saturday, September 12, 2009

God Is More Committed To Our Good Than We Are

Michael Kelly writes:
God is more committed to our good than we are. There are a thousand moments every day that should move us to both thankfulness and self-examination – thankfulness that as Christ-followers, we will never feel the brunt of the righteous judgment of God. Self-examination in that we never know which moment is going to be our last and that we aren’t promised tomorrow. In some cases we need to repent. In other cases we need to take hold of an opportunity in front of us. The point is that God is speaking in a myriad of ways. The question is whether we are listening. Few things remind us as much of our own mortality than natural disasters, and so few things present a great an opportunity for us to trust in Christ.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Lois


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

O God, Thou Faithful God

I've been reflecting this evening on the Lord's faithfulness thus far over the course of the chapel's building project.

I stumbled across this hymn tonight and found it encouraging and (hopefully) worth sharing. It is a little long--but definitely worth a complete read. Trust me--you won't be disappointed!

O God, Thou faithful God,
Thou fountain ever flowing,
Without whom nothing is,
All perfect gifts bestowing,
Grant me a healthy frame,
And give me, Lord, within,
A conscience free from blame,
A soul unhurt by gain.

And grant me, Lord, to do,
With ready heart and willing,
Whate’er Thou shalt command,
My calling here fulfilling;
And do it when I ought,
With zeal and joyfulness,
And bless the work I’ve wrought,
For Thou must give success.

Oh, let me never speak
What bounds of truth exceedeth;
Grant that no idle word
From out my mouth proceedeth;
And then, when in my place
I must and ought to speak,
My words grant power and grace
Lest I offend the weak.

If dangers gather round,
Still keep me calm and fearless;
Help me to bear the cross
When life is dark and cheerless,
To overcome my foe
With words and actions kind;
When counsel I would know,
Good counsel let me find.

And let me with all men,
As far as in me lieth,
In peace and friendship live,
And if Thy gift supplieth
Great wealth and honor fair,
Then this refuse me not,
That naught be mingled there
Of goods unjustly got.

If Thou a longer life
Hast here on earth decreed me;
If Thou through many ills
To age at length wilt lead me,
Thy patience on me shed.
Avert all sin and shame
And crown my hoary head
With honor free from blame.

Let me depart this life
Confiding in my Savior;
Do Thou my soul receive
That it may live forever;
And let my body have
A quiet resting place
Within a Christian grave;
And let it sleep in peace.

And on that solemn day
When all the dead are waking,
Stretch o’er my grave Thy hand,
Thyself my slumbers breaking.
Then let me hear Thy voice,
Change Thou this earthly frame,
And bid me aye rejoice
With those who love Thy Name.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Come Out and Be Separate

There is a widely-spread desire to make things pleasant in religion – to saw off the corners and edges of the cross, and to avoid, as far as possible, self-denial. On every side we hear professing Christians declaring loudly that we must not be “narrow and exclusive” and that there is no harm in many things which the holiest of saints of old thought bad for their souls.”

That we may go anywhere, and do anything, and spend our time in anything, and read anything, and keep any company, and plunge into anything, and all the while may be very good Christians – this is the maxim of thousands. In a day like this I think it good to raise a warning voice, and invite attention to the teaching of God’s Word. It is written in that Word, ‘Come out and be separate.’

~J.C. Ryle

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Teaching Them to Observe

In Matthew, chapter 5-7 are commonly called the Sermon on the Mount. According to Matthew the Great Commission is, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mathew 28:19-20).

Preaching is no substitute for teaching. They complement each other, and for every preacher there needs to be many teachers, In this respect as well as all others Jesus is the prime Example.

It is obvious that Jesus had called at least 4 of His 12 disciples not long before He went up into the mountain and opened His mouth and taught them. There are those who time this discourse after He had spent the night in prayer and called the Twelve.

What the Ten Commandments were to the chosen nation under the old covenant, this Sermon on the Mount is to all disciples of Christ. It is different but it does not abrogate one item in the Decalogue. It deals not in particulars but in principles. It is the Magna Carta of the Kingdom. Its greatest demands should be laid on the conscience of all Christians.

It is not futuristic. It is the criterion for ethical practice in this day of grace. The Holy Spirit has come to make it possible for Christians to live by these precepts. The Master dealt with ideals and attitudes. He offered remedies for heart diseases in order that His followers might bear the fruit of the Spirit and thus prove to all who observe their lives that they have been redeemed.

~From Holiness for Every Day, G.B. Williamson, August 1

Saturday, August 22, 2009

2009 Fargo AirSho

Sam, his friend Ethan, and I spent the day at the Fargo AirSho. We had a great time, saw some cool things (even a rocket propelled outhouse!), and the kids burned plenty of energy on the inflatable games. The finale of the show was the Navy's Blue Angels.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just a Little While

Soon this life will all be over,
And our pilgrimage will end.
Soon we'll take our heav’nly journey,
Be at home again with friends
Heaven's gates are standing open
Waiting for our entrance there
Some sweet day we're going over
All the beauties there to share.

Just a Little while to stay here
Just a little while to wait
Just a little while to labor
In the path that’s always straight
Just a little more of trouble
In this low and sinful state
Then we’ll enter Heaven’s portals,
Sweeping thru the pearly gates.

Soon we’ll see the light of morning
Then the new day will begin
Soon we’ll hear the Father calling,
“Come my children, enter in.”
Then we’ll hear a choir of angels
Singing out the vict’ry song,
All our troubles will be ended
And we’ll live with heaven’s throng

Soon we’ll meet again our loved ones
And we’ll take them by the hand,
Soon we’ll press them to our bosom
Over in the promised land;
Then we’ll be at home forever,
Thru-out all eternity,
What a blessed, blessed morning
That eternal morn shall be.

~E.M. Bartlett 1921

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Think of a Wanted Criminal

I really like this illustration!

Ray Comfort writes:
Think of a wanted criminal. He has committed multiple and serious crimes. One night, he is stealing in the dark of a moonless night. The darkness gives him a sense of security. Suddenly police spotlights flood the area. He is exposed. The darkness is no longer a cover for his unlawful activity. He hears a loud voice tell him that ten sharpshooters have his pounding heart in their sights. One wrong move and he is a dead man. At this point he has a choice. He can try and make a run for it and die, or he can lift his hands high in surrender and live.
Before I was a Christian, I was engaged in serious unlawful activity even though I hadn’t violated man’s law. I was unaware that God saw my thought-life and that I had violated His perfect Law--the Ten Commandments. The night of my conversion was when the light came like a flood. I was exposed for my many sins. The darkness was no longer my security. The loud voice of my conscience told me that those Ten Commandments, like ten great cannons, had my pounding heart in their sights. If I tried to run I knew that God's Law would justly send me to Hell. At that point I had a choice. I could run from the light, or I could lift my hands high and surrender. On the 25th of April, 1972 at 1:30 a.m., I surrendered.
Read the full post here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What Would Jesus Say?

Recently, John MacArthur was invited as a guest writer on the Washington Post's On Faith section. I appreciated the entire article, but particularly this quote:
"But to "the poor in spirit" (Matthew 5:3)--those who are exhausted and spent by the ravages of sin; desperate for forgiveness and without any hope of atoning for their own sin--Jesus' call to repentant faith remains the very gateway to eternal life."

Monday, August 10, 2009

If He Had Faltered Even Once

No selfishness, no hatred,
No spitefulness was there.
No unbelief, no cursing,
No pity from despair.
One sinful thought; one failure,
And Love would not succeed.
The ransomed souls of hist’ry
Must His perfection plead.

If He had faltered even once,
In flames of hell would men abide.
Then ponder Christ, and praise at length
The strength of Him there crucified.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ironside on the Resurrection

In Full Assurance, H.A. Ironside writes:
Do not, I beg of you, read these words carelessly. Go over them again and again, until their force and their solemnity and their preciousness have gripped your soul. Our entire salvation hangs on the truth that our Saviour, Jesus Christ, has abolished (that is, annulled the power of) death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. He went down into the dark stream of death. All its waves and billows rolled over Him. But He came up in resurrection life never to die again. And so for us the waters of this Jordan have been rolled back, and there is a dry way through death for all who believe. Listen to His triumphant words, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believeth thou this?” (John 11:25,26.) Does not your heart reply, “Yes, Lord, I do believe; I rest my soul forevermore upon Thy sure testimony, and I confess Thee as my Saviour and my Lord”?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Reasons I Love Lois

It is that time of year again--when we remember "the day that started it all"--July 27th.

In honor of the anniversary, here are 10 reasons why I love my dear wife, Lois.
  • She loves caring for people.
  • She values our marriage.
  • She is diligent--when she sets her mind to do something...she's going to do it.
  • She is at the same time my greatest supporter and toughest critic.
  • She is sensitive to the needs of others--and gently reminds me when I'm not.
  • She is a humble servant of our family--providing me time and opportunity to serve the Lord.
  • She always tells me the truth.
  • She has no problem getting her hands dirty--definitely not a girly-girl. :)
  • She is tough--her pain tolerance is at minimum triple mine!
  • She loves me--including all of my computer-nerd, book-reading, hard-question-asking, truth-stomping character flaws.
I love you, Lois--and I'm grateful to the Lord for bringing us together!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Having Loved His Own

No friend in the world is so constant and unchangeable in friendship as Christ is. John 13:1, "Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end." He bears with millions of provocations and wrongs, and yet will not break friendship with his people. Peter denied him, yet he will not disown him; but after his resurrection he says, "Go, tell the disciples, and tell Peter". Let him not think he has forfeited by that sin of his, his interest in me. Though he denied me, I will not disown him. O how lovely is Christ in the relation of a friend!

~ John Flavel

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Keith Green - Asleep in the Light

You can find this song (and several others) on the Live Experience CD.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Jesus at the Feet of the Traitor

W.E. Vine writes in his commentary on John 13:
It does not seem to have entered the minds of the disciples that they might wash one another's feet. Indeed they do not appear to have been in a mood for it (Luke 22:24). If, as Edersheim thinks, Judas, as the manager for the company, took the first place, the Lord may have washed his feet first. In any case here was malice met with kindness. Here was long-suffering manifested with grace and dignity. It has been well remarked, "Jesus at the feet of the traitor--what a picture! What lessons for us!"

Adorn the Doctrine

So that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
~ Titus 2:10

Frank Turk at TeamPyro writes (full post here):
To Titus, who is sent to put things in order, and who must raise up elders, and is in a culture that is, frankly, as far from the Gospel as the most unchurched city in the ancient world could be, Paul tells Titus, "teach people how to adorn the Gospel." Teach what accords with sound doctrine because these people need to adorn the Gospel.

I could probably name ten men right now who would take this post here at TeamPyro and accuse me of adding works to faith, adding works to grace, thereby voiding the Gospel by reading this paragraph exactly as it is written. But this passage is astonishing for one reason only: it says unequivocally that the church ought to be training itself up in such a way that the word of God will not be reviled. That is: it ought to be teaching people how to live after they know the Gospel is true.

The doctrine in this passage is shoe-leather doctrine. It says that those of us who are in the church must act like the church -- that it is necessary and not optional. And in that: we have to be building each other up. The older must teach the younger -- not merely systematics but pragmatics, like how to love one's husband and be submissive to him, how to be a self-controlled young man, how to grow old with dignity and sound in faith.

And this makes perfect sense, given what Paul has already said about raising up elders: if elders ought to be men who are clinging to the word of God, and are formed by the word of God, bearing fruit by the word of God, somehow the church has to be the place where these kinds of men are grown.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Worship Is My Response To God

Shaun Groves' intro to the live songs on his Twilight CD:
"You guys ready to worship with me tonight?

Worship is not a song.

Worship is my response to God with all that I am
to all that He is, all that He has done is doing and will do,
in me, through me, around me, and in spite of me.

But it's not just a song

Worship is our response with all of our lives, everything we've been given, to all that God is.

So, if we come in here to this place and we raise our hands and we raise our voices but we don't stretch these hands out when we leave this place to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and fight for the poor and the oppressed.

Then what you and I have done is worshipped a singer or a song, but not a God

So, let me ask you again--are you ready to worship with me tonight?"

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Immediately the Boat Was at the Land

Then they were glad to take Him into the boat,
and immediately the boat was at the land
to which they were going. John 6:21

The account of Jesus walking on the water is found here in John 6 but also in Matthew 14 and Mark 6. Only John includes the content of this verse.

Two things that I find striking. First, the obvious nature of the statement "they were glad to take Him into the boat". Why wouldn't they be glad! He had come to them in their hour of great need. Their faith had been tested--but in obedience to His will they had endured the storm. And now, He comes to the ship--and they were thrilled to have Him!

Secondly, I'm struck by "immediately the boat was at the land". Was it a miracle? Did He set aside space and time and simply "translate" or "beam" the ship with the disciples in it to the otherside of the sea? He had just walked the 3-4 miles from the shore to where they were. Certainly, it was within His power to do so. But perhaps there is something richer here.

G. Campbell Morgan writes:
In our eagerness to retain all the miracles we need not be eager to read miracles into things that are not miracles. John the mystic, John the lover, John the man who talks mos tabout fellowship says, When He came on board we were there directly. Did not John go as far as the rest? "Straightway!" Every youth and maiden who is in love understands that. A longer journey may be covered in what seems but a few moments.

The storms are about us yet, and He is trying our faith by being absent from us, or so it seems. We are never far from Him nor He from us. He is coming over the waters and through the wind. Presently in the company of the King, we shall be home, and we shall hear His voice more clearly and see His face perfectly. O that God may help us to be so true to Him that He may be able to correct all our faltering and failing! May we be in His Kingdom, and He our King.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

"Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid."

Commenting on Mark 6:47-52, William Barclay writes:
It is the simple fact of life, a fact which has been proved by countless thousands of men and women in every generation, that when Christ is there the storm becomes a calm, the tumult becomes a peace, what cannot be done is done, the unbearable becomes bearable, and men pass the breaking point and do not break. To walk with Christ will be for us also the conquest of the storm.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sam Agrees: We Need To "Prae"

While cleaning out my work notebook (the notebook I use for everything work-related), I stumbled across several pages of drawings. I had forgotten that I borrowed the work notebook to Sam so he could write during one of the meetings at the chapel. Sam agrees with yesterday's post!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Oh Brother, Pray

“Oh brother, pray; in spite of Satan, pray; spend hours in prayer; rather neglect friends than not pray; rather fast, and lose breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper – and sleep too – than not pray. And we must not talk about prayer, we must pray in right earnest. The Lord is near. He comes softly...”

~ Andrew A. Bonar

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


The folks over at give the following as the definition of worship:
Everything you think
Everything you say
And everything you do
Revealing that which you treasure and value most in life.
I've been thinking about the words everything and most in this statement.

Worship is not just for Sunday morning. In fact, a worshipper that is only interested in Sunday morning really isn't much of a worshipper at all. We all live the other six days of the week--if we live them to ourselves--who is valued most? I am. Me. Myself.

The Savior who loved me to death deserves everything that I think. Paul said, "Set your mind on things above." (Colossians 3:2)

The Word who became flesh and dwelt among us deserves everything that I say. David said, "Let the words of my acceptable in your sight, O LORD." (Psalm 19:14)

The Servant who came not to be served but to serve deserves everything that I do. The believers at Corinth read "...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Worship--not just for Sundays.

Monday, July 13, 2009

In the Absence of Bread - Alistair Begg

“We’ve become very familiar with preaching that, pays scant attention to the Bible; is self-focused; and is consequently only capable of making the most superficial impact upon the lives of the listeners. This would be bad enough were it not for the fact, that large sections of the church who listen to this kind of stuff are actually oblivious to the fact that what they’re getting is a placebo rather than the real medicine. And therefore they leave satisfied with the feeling that it has done them some good. A feeling which disguises the gravity of the situation… They get bloated up by all this stuff, and it gives them the feeling that somehow or another they’ve had a meal, but after a few hours they say, ‘You know, I don’t know whether that thing did anything at all…’ And so, in the absence of bread the population grows accustom to cake.”
~ Alistair Begg

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Trust In the Lord - Henry Morris III

"Trust in the LORD, and do good;
so shalt thou dwell in the land,
and verily thou shalt be fed."
~ Psalm 37:3
Sprinkled throughout this psalm are various pictures that provide the assurance of God’s victory--not only in His eternal plan, but also in and through the lives of His precious saints.

Trust is the most basic of the characteristics of our relationship with the Lord and sets the foundation for all the rest. The Hebrew word carries the meaning of confidence, or boldness, and is often used in such a way that it would imply that we are to "gain support" and "lean on" the One in whom we trust. The expanded definition of trust is contained in Proverbs: "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones" (Proverbs 3:5-8).

But merely having great confidence in the God of creation is not enough. We must "do good" (our text). The entire New Testament book of James is devoted to this theme: "faith without works is dead" (James 2:20). "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). "O that there were such an heart in them," God told Moses, "that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!" (Deuteronomy 5:29).

If we would enjoy the blessings of God, we must embrace the plan of God. If we are to expect the promise that we will "dwell" and "be fed," then we must submit to the instructions of our Lord, who told us to "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).

~Henry Morris in Days of Praise, March 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Song is Love Unknown

I stumbled across My Song is Love Unknown this evening. The words certainly are rich with meaning:
My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
My Lord should take, frail flesh and die?

He came from His blest throne
Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none
The longed for Christ would know:
But O! my Friend, my Friend indeed,
Who at my need His life did spend.

Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
Then “Crucify!” is all their breath,
And for His death they thirst and cry.

In life, no house, no home
My Lord on earth might have;
In death no friendly tomb
But what a stranger gave.
What may I say? Heav’n was His home;
But mine the tomb wherein He lay.

Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King!
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.

~ Samuel Crossman

Judgment Seat of Christ - Leonard Ravenhill

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Content of the Teacher

Several years ago, Lois and I attended our first Weekend to Remember marriage conference sponsored by Family Life Today. We thoroughly enjoyed it--and recommend it for all couples interested in fostering oneness in your marriage relationship.

While at the conference, my Mom and Dad bought me the book How to Make a Moose Run...And Other Great Things my Dad Taught Me by Gary Stanley who was one of the speakers at the conference.

The book is a collection of anecdotal yet insightful stories from his childhood days. I recently read the following introduction for section three entitled A Teachable Heart Begins in the Teacher:
The greatest teacher who has ever lived once remarked, "The student, a
fter he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher." He said this immediately before observing that you have to take the log out of your own eye before you can ehlp anyone else get the speck out of his or her eye.

Makes a lot of sense--it isn't the content of the class that makes all the difference; it's the content of the teacher.

When the student falls asleep in class, there's only one thing to do: Get a sharp stick and poke the teacher.
I've been thinking much lately of the World's Greatest Teacher--and how He spoke with such authority that the crowds were amazed. And why shouldn't they be! He was Immanuel--God With Us. He was perfect in all that He said and did.

My prayer is to be a teacher who recognizes that the content of my life is more important that the content of my message. And that I would never need the poke of the sharp stick!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I'd Rather Have Jesus - George Beverly Shea

The Narrow Way

What does He mean when at the close of this wonderful unfolding of law He brings us back to the narrowness of the gate, to the straitness of the way? These conditions imply the making of heroic character! For entrance to, and abiding in, this Kingdom there can be no dilettante fooling with the passing hours. If men would pass that gate and walk that way they must enter into strenuous life. If a man should tell you that Christianity is an easy softness, he knows nothing of it. If a man should tell you that for your life there is nothing to do, he is right as to the initiation of it by the act of God, for life is the gift of His grace; but he is wrong as to human responsibility for entering into it. Every man who would enter this Kingdom must come through the narrow gate. Every man who would live in this Kingdom must walk the straitened way.

~ G. Campbell Morgan - comments on Matthew 7:13-28

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Love the Truth

John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes,
He will guide you into all the truth;
for He will not speak on His own initiative,
but whatever He hears, He will speak.”

James MacDonald writes:
The older I get the more laid back I get about more things, but not about the truth, not about the Scriptures, not about the Bible. I am more and more casual about people and politics. I really have no idea who should win any election or how to fix the economy. I am increasingly laid back about sports teams and other meaningless allegiances. I’m so much more easy going when my kids see smaller things differently, or I can’t make it work, or I don’t get my way, etc.

But MORE AND MORE AND MORE, I have no patience for people who distort and deny God’s Word. I just can’t take it. I can sit back and smile about a lot of things, but I can’t take preachers, or practitioners, who think they are somehow helping the kingdom of God by distancing themselves from or diluting the explicit statements of Scripture. I hate it when I hear it because I love the truth. Here’s a quote from an article I wrote some time ago as a blog post written for Leadership Journal’s “Out of Ur” blog:
We are expected to obey our Master and to accept His Word without equivocation. Cavalier questioning of the explicit statements of Scripture regarding the necessity of the new birth, the priority of biblical proclamation or eternal destination of the lost, or any other thing the Bible proclaims with clarity cannot build a stronger, more Christ-honoring church no matter how sincere the messengers. Critiquing the church is good; disregarding or diminishing the revealed truth of our Founder is not good, no matter how ‘nice’ the people are who do it.
I love the truth of God’s Word, and so should you! Even when I don’t fully understand it, even when I fail to live it, even when I foolishly seek another source of soul satisfaction . . . Not for long, God’s Spirit always brings me back. He loves God’s Word too!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

We're Going to Camp

Posting will likely be on hold for about two weeks while we're at Teen Camp at Story Boook Lodge.

Somehow Lois got all of this stuff into the car. She has serious "Morgan Packing Prowess"! If I would have done it--well, let's just say...we probably wouldn't be able to go to camp.

Please pray with us as we head to camp. I've been thinking about part of Isaiah 43:13 which reads: "I work, and who can turn it back?" That is our prayer as we go--that He would, through, and (perhaps) in spite of us. To God be the glory, great things He has done!

If you're interested--you can follow us on Twitter.

If Twitter is not your thing, you can check out our mini blog on Posterous.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

While Ever Unseen, They Were At Work

Listen as a first-century historian describes the common opinion of Roman pagans concerning the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

They were intensely propagandist. While ever unseen, they were at work. Every member was a missionary of the sect and lived mainly to propagate a doctrine for which they were ever ready to die. Thus the infection spread by a thousand unsuspecting channels, like a contagion propagated in the air it could penetrate, as it seemed, anywhere and everywhere. The meek and gentle slave that tends your children or attends you at table may be a Christian. The favourite daughter of your house who has endeared herself to you by a tenderness and grace peculiarly her own, and which seems to you as strange as it is captivating, turns out to be a Christian. The Captain of the guards, the legislator in the Senate house, may be a Christian. In these circumstances, who or what is safe? What power can defend the laws and majesty of Rome and the peace of domestic life against an enemy like this?

~ Quoted by David Legge

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fight For the Faith

Just because the brilliant Commander-in-Chief promises victory on the beaches doesn't mean the troops can throw their weapons overboard. The promise of victory assumes our valor in battle. When God promises that the church will be kept from defeat, his purpose is not that we lay down our sword and go to lunch, but that we pick up the Sword of the Spirit and look confidently to God for the strength to fight and win. Wherever the promised security of God is used to justify going AWOL, we may suspect there is a traitor in the ranks.
~John Piper on Jude 3

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Honor and Reproach Go Hand in Hand

The tremendous honor bestowed upon Mary must not be passed by without looking at the awful bruden coupled with the honor. It is always thus in the world. Honor and reproach go hand in hand. The virgin was told, "Yea a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also" (Luke 2:35).

She knew what others did not know. Even Joseph had to wait for an answer as to her virginity. The Jews accusingly said, "...We be not born of fornication..." (John 8:41); they were saying they were not illegitimate. Mary knew the reproach, but she also knew the honor that accompanied it.

Such is the dual experience of every Christian. We no sooner experience the blessing of salvation, made possible by the impeccable Savior, than we find ourselves going outside the camp bearing His reproach (Hebrews 13:13).

~ From The Impeccable Christ - W. E. Best

Monday, June 1, 2009

WANTED: Mature Christians

The church wants mature Christians very greatly, and especially when there are many fresh converts added to it. New converts furnish impetus to the church, but her backbone and substance must, under God, lie with the mature members.

We want mature Christians in the army of Christ, to play the part of veterans, to inspire the rest with coolness, courage, and steadfastness; for if the whole army is made up of raw recruits the tendency will be for them to waver when the onslaught is fiercer than usual. The old guard, the men who have breathed smoke and eaten fire before, do not waver when the battle rages like a tempest, they can die but they cannot surrender. When they hear the cry of "Forward," they may not rush to the front so nimbly as the younger soldiers, but they drag up the heavy artillery, and their advance once made is secure. They do not reel when the shots fly thick, but still hold their own, for they remember former fights when Jehovah covered their heads.

The church wants in these days of flimsiness and timeserving, more decided, thoroughgoing, well-instructed, and confirmed believers.

We are assailed by all sorts of new doctrines. The old faith is attacked by so-called reformers, who would reform it all away. I expect to hear tidings of some new doctrine once a week. So often as the, moon changes, some prophet or other is moved to propound a now theory, and believe me, he will contend more valiantly for his novelty than ever he did for the gospel.

The discoverer thinks himself a modern Luther, and of his doctrine he thinks as much as David of Goliath's sword, "There is none like it." As Martin Luther said of certain in his day, these inventors of new doctrines stare at their discoveries like a cow at a new gate, as if there were nothing else in all the world but the one thing for them to stare at.

We are all expected to go mad for their fashions, and march to their piping. To whom we give place; no, not for an hour.

They may muster a troop of raw recruits, and lead them whither they would, but for confirmed believers they sound their bugles in vain. Children run after every new toy; any little performance in the street, and the boys are all agog, gaping at it; but their fathers have work to do abroad, and their mothers have other matters at home; your drum and whistle will not, draw them out. For the solidity of the church, for her steadfastness in the faith, for her defense against the constantly recurring attacks of heretics and infidels, and for her permanent advance and the seizing of fresh provinces for Christ, we want not only your young, hot blood, which may God always send to us, for it is of immense service, and we cannot do without it, but we need also the cool, steady, well-disciplined, deeply-experienced hearts of men who know by experience the truth of God, and hold fast what they have learned in the school of Christ.

May the Lord our God therefore send us many such; they are wanted.

~ Excerpt from "Ripe Fruit," a sermon preached by Charles Spurgeon August 14, 1870 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London (Thanks to Pyromaniacs)