Psalm 16:5

The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

God's Warth is Coming... Are You Ready?

You had better listen to the words of Jesus, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, shall enter, but he that does the will of my father in heaven.” If ye by the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live. If you live after the flesh, you’ll die! The cross does not give us a minor shift or two with regard to a few of our ethical and religious values. The cross radically disrupts the very center and citadel of your life from self to Christ. And if the cross has not done that, YOU’RE NOT A CHRISTIAN! My Friend face it, young rogue, you’re not a Christian until the cross has radically disrupted the very center and citadel of your life! And brought you from a life of commitment to serve self…What are the focal points of the reign of your self? If you’ve gone to the cross in union with Christ, it’s been shattered!"
- Al Martin

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Families in the Economy of God

"Families are to be the real core of successful civil society and of nations. This is why the Scriptures give extended and detailed instruction for the structure and operation of the family. It is also the reason that those who oppose God and the Bible are always working to breakdown families, and to redefine the traditional family."

- Donald Schanzenbach, Advancing the Kingdom: Declaring War on Humanistic Culture, p. 160

The Reforming Church and Family Road Trip has its first conference tomorrow. Then Memorial Day with Doug Philips and finally on the road Tuesday at 6:30 AM to Washington DC.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Time is Short

With our first Road Trip conference on Sunday, our big Memorial Day Celebration on Monday, and our Washington, DC conference on Tuesday, and our Long Island, New York conference on Wednesday - life is very busy. Praise the Lord for His grace amongst all my shortcomings!

"Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

If you want your child to love the church

If you want your child to grow up in the church and love the church - love the church. Don’t send them off to Sunday School or children’s church. Show them how you love to worship God.

– John Piper, Raising Children Who Hope in the Triumph of God

This quote is the tag line on all the emails I send out for the NCFIC. I fond it on an old message I had from Mr. Piper. It is very fitting with our mission here at the NCFIC.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Will Send a Famine

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD." Amos 8:11

Has this not befallen America? Our churches are full of people having itching ears and preachers to more than willing to accommodate. As a nation we have first rejected the Word of the Lord and now we no longer even preach it.

The good news is that there is a small but growing group who truly are seeking to hear and preach the Word of God. I pray for the Lord's abundant blessing on this small but growing minority and that they should never lose sight of the end goal: beholding the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. If Satan, that roaring lion who goes about seeking whom he may devour, waylays us on other things than that of God himself, if our cry is not "God and God alone," we shall be thwarted in our own efforts of having the Word magnified. May God have mercy on us and spare us from such an end.

Monday, May 24, 2010

What Will You Do With Jesus?

Jesus is standing in Pilate’s hall,
Friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all;
Hearken! what meaneth the sudden call?
What will you do with Jesus?


What will you do with Jesus?
Neutral you cannot be;
Some day your heart will be asking,
“What will He do with me?”

Jesus is standing on trial still,
You can be false to Him if you will,
You can be faithful through good or ill:
What will you do with Jesus?


Will you evade him as Pilate tried?
Or will you choose Him, whate’er betide?
Vainly you struggle from Him to hide:
What will you do with Jesus?


Will you, like Peter, your Lord deny?
Or will you scorn from His foes to fly,
Daring for Jesus to live or die?
What will you do with Jesus?


“Jesus, I give Thee my heart today!
Jesus, I’ll follow Thee all the way,
Gladly obeying Thee!” will you say:
“This I will do with Jesus!”


Friday, May 21, 2010

O Ye of Little Faith

We are told of our Lord and His disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat. A storm arises, and the boat is in danger of being filled with water, by the waves that beat over it. Meanwhile our Lord is asleep. The frightened disciples awake Him, and cry to Him for help. He hears their cry and stills the waters with a word, so that there is "a great calm." At the same time, He gently reproves the anxiety of His disciples. "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith!"

What a vivid picture we have here of the hearts of thousands of believers! How many have faith and love enough to forsake all for Christ's sake, and follow Him withersoever He goes, and yet are full of fears in the hour of trial! How many have grace enough to turn to Jesus in every trouble, crying, "Lord save us," and yet not grace enough to lie still, and believe in the darkest hour that all is well! Truly believers have every reason to be "clothed with humility."

- J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Vol. 1, pg. 79

Thursday, May 20, 2010

John Winthrop Offers Advice for Those Seeking to Establish a Godly Government

“Now the only way to accomplish this end and to provide for our posterity is to follow the counsel of Micah, “do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.” For this end we must be knit together in this work as one man; we must entertain each other in brotherly affection; we must delight in each other, make other’s condition our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in this work, our community members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The Lord will be our God and delight to dwell among us, as His own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of his wisdom, power, goodness, and truth than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find the God of Israel among us – when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies, when He shall make us a praise and glory…"

John Winthrop quoted by George Grant, The Patriots Handbook, p22

3 Dimensional Art

One of the things I learned to do yesterday is how to create 3d drawings in illustrator and then to add texture to them in Photoshop. Here is my first work of art (the texture for the pot is a piece of paper and the dirt is from one photograph, the plants from another):

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." John 3:14-21

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

From the Rising of the Sun to the Going Down of the Same

Psalm 113:3, "From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised."

Here is another time lapse video I created when I lived back in Indiana. Taken with a Nikon D70s @ 12 pictures/min. Total time recording pictures: 15.3 min. Playback at 20 pictures/sec for 9 sec. 1 sec of video = 1.7 min of real time. (This is as I recall from when I made the video, so if I am a little off on my numbers, pardon my slip.)

Sunset from Ryan Glick on Vimeo.

I Waited Patiently for the Lord

The Lord encouraged my heart through this Psalm this morning:

"To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.
Psa 40:10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.
Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.
For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.
Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.
Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.
Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha.
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.
But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God."

Psalm 40

The last line of this Psalm is so meaningful: I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me. Our God is such a faithful God. Let us kneel and worship before the Lord our Maker! Let us love Him for He has heard our cry.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Redeeming the Time - Declaring War on Entertainment

"Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." Ephesians 5:14-21

I realize I just made a post a little while ago, but it was short and this issue to which I now speak has been heavy on my heart tonight. Really, I have come under a lot of conviction of things I have been allowing to waste my time.

In the above passage, we have a verbal snapshot of the life of a believer. In every time and age, the devil fights this way of life with everything he has - lulling believers to sleep with whatever means he can. Paul sends a jarring command into our lives to wake us up and make us understand the way of the Lord: "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."

The result of this light is that we walk circumspectly, and not as do the fools, redeeming the time for the days are evil. In other words, fools do the opposite of that. They do not redeem the time. How then does the current drive for entertainment jive with this? It means we are fools much more often than we realize. It may be that some piece of entertainment is entirely lawful in itself. There may be no inherent sin in the actual thing. But does that mean by default that it is not sin for the believer to participate? Maybe in some circumstances. But if the entertainment begins to cause the Christian to live in a way other than commanded by Paul in these verses, then it is sin to him, though lawful in and of itself.

Further, the use of lawful entertainments often causes an appetite to be born for more entertainment - the flesh lulling the Christian into useless sleep. Amusement (a = not; muse = to think. Amuse, to not think.) begins to steal the Christians time, remove deep thinking about anything serious (makes him lazy because he would rather not think than have to do the hard work of actually being productive in the thoughts of his mind), and render him impotent in the kingdom of God.

Not only does entertainment thus steal a Christian's time and cause him to walk in ways contrary to Paul's admonition, but it also opens the doors to innumerable evils. I have seen this in both personal experience and in others - we think that a particular piece of entertainment has enough "redeeming value" to justify watching the sin that is displayed with it. We think, "Oh, it is just a little. The movie was so good and there was only one bad part. The Name of the Lord was only used in vain a couple times." Little by little we allow more and more sin into our entertainment, our conscience being dulled by the repetitiveness of the small sins we allow. Our appetite is whetted to be entertained and we love our sleepy pleasure - the laziness and lack of responsibility that entertainment allows. We do not even realize it but we are feeding the lusts of our flesh.

Soon, we are allowing things in our entertainment that are shocking to the awake Christian. Immorality, immodesty, shameful speech, blaspheme, rebellion. Our drive for entertainment is sending us directly to the world - but the love of the world is not the love of God. For he who would be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. This "good entertainment" we allow into our homes is in a subtle - or not so subtle - war against Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God and has been the means of the destruction of a whole generation of Christian warriors.

How about the push for epistamologically self conscious Christian movies as espoused by groups like Vision Forum and the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival? The Devil seems to be lurking here as well. First, we see him rearing his ugly head in the movies being endorsed within the movement: the rise of movies from yester-year which are "clean".... but Godless. These movies present to us a life that can be lived without the power of God. So the Lone Ranger does not swear and he doesn't go out with the girls (assuming - I haven't seen a lot of the Lone Ranger films), but he lives a life apart from Jesus Christ. The movies are inherently atheistic in their make. Satan first took God out of the entertainment and then once that was done, morality was removed years later when there was no foundation left for it.

When we play movies like this for our children, we give the subconscious view that life is great without God or prayer. You can be a hero and not love Christ. You can be successful and not advance the kingdom of God.

Then we have the result of the drive for Christian film making which does not have at its heart a repudiation of useless entertainment and a drive for redeeming the time. I spoke with a couple young filmmakers in this movement a couple months back about a new film that was recently released. Expressing subtly my desire to have the same footage turned into a more indepth film extolling the greatness of the creation more fully, they said that they thought the film was too dry already and that the point of a film is to be entertaining and if it isn't, it isn't any good. In my personal opinion, the film to which they referred was geared to much toward being entertaining and was a royal flop and an overall waste of money for that reason. However, their comments revealed to me the ugly head rearing up in this movement. We are creating a generation of young people who want to get into film making because they love entertainment. It is simply a way to feed their drive for entertainment. It is not redeeming the time and the fruit down the road is most likely to be much worse than we have imagined it would be.

Christian, be not unwise but understand what the will of the Lord is. Awake from your entertainment induced sleep and begin to redeem the time. Those movies you think are of no harm - but which are of no value in encouraging you to walk in the way of faith - trash them. Is the name of God taken in vain? Trash them. There is no way to redeem such a thing. It is an abomination to the Lord your God. Is foul language used? Let no corrupt thing proceed out of your mouth. You would not let your children say those words. Neither let your computer or TV. Trash them. Is there immodesty? Would you let your daughter dress that way? God says that we are not to go by the way of her street corner. Don't invite her in! Trash them. You will be no worse off than Christ who had no movies to watch. Put out the evil from among you. Get rid of these things which are subtle means of your destruction. The time is short, shall we waste it on these frivolous things?

They Will Give an Account - a Word for the Civil Magistrate

"You will please to remember, Gentleman, that in this weighty affair, you do not act merely for yourselves - you act for the whole community - every member has an interest in the transaction.

"But above all, suffer me to remind you, that you act for God, and under His inspection, by whose providence, this trust is committed to you - and that you must one day give an account to Him whose eyes are a flame of fire, of the motives of your conduct."

An Election Sermon, Gad Hitchcock, Proverbs 29:2, Boston 1774

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thunderstorm Time Lapse

I enjoy photography - particularly of extreme weather. Storms represent to me the smallness of man before his Creator. They are powerful expressions of the sovereign power of God manifest in His creation. When I get the opportunity, I try to document what I do see on film (OK, OK, so digital file, but it sounds better to say "on film"). The sidebar shows some of the better events I have been able to capture. In the case of this post, I took the stills from my camera and made it into a time lapse video. I took this particular video several years ago so there were things I didn't know then that I know now... like turn off absolutely everything auto when doing time lapse video.


The Vanity of Outward Religion

Before I get to the point of this post, I just have to post a picture which unfortunately I did not take but is of one of the cutest little guys you ever saw: Knox Defender Bradrick.

OK, so now the main point of the post:

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." - Mat 7:21

"The first lesson here us the uselessness of a mere outward profession of Christianity. Not every one that saith, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven. Not all that profess and call themselves Christians shall be saved.

"Let us take notice of this. It requires far more than most people seem to think necessary, to save a soul. We may be baptized in the name of Christ, and boast confidently of our ecclesiastical privileges. We may posses head knowledge, and be quite satisfied with our own state. We may even be preachers, and teachers of others, and do "many wonderful works" in connection with our church. But all this time are we practically doing the will of our Father in heaven? Do we truly repent, and truly believe on Christ, and live holy humble lives? If not, in spite of all our privileges and profession, we shall miss heaven at last, and be far cast away. We shall hear those awful words, "I never knew you: depart from me."

J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, vol. 1, pg. 70. 

What words will you hear on that day?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Make No Provision for the Flesh

"Satan shall not need to to tempt him much who has already tempted himself. He who will work sin in his heart, a weak occasion will draw it out in his life. Thirty pieces of silver will prevail with a covetous Judas, who already had gold as his master in his heart."

An Examination of Secret Sins, Obediah Sedgwick (1600-1658)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Church Killers

"Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell." James 3:5-6

This morning's blog post for the NCFIC was on the subject of "Church Killers." More specifically on the use of the tongue and the various ways it can destroy a church. For the post, we needed a burning church - so grab photoshop, a picture of old paper, our NCFIC church picture, a picture of a burning church (source of the fire and smoke), the render clouds and difference clouds filters, the radial blur filter, and do some cloning and blending mode changes....

And I have my picture:

You can listen to the audio here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Project from Work

I locked my keys (car keys, house keys, office keys) in the NCFIC office this evening along with my computer which seriously delayed me in getting home. So, instead of posting something of length, I will post a little photo manipulation project I am working on for an html email.

Made in Photoshop from a combination of 4 photographs and a couple rasterized text blocks... and a few shading layers. I still need to tweak the perspective on the last two rows of text. The perspective, warp, scale, transform, and other like tools are amazing. The smudge tool is a great tool as well when creating varied out of focus. I made the picture for a side project I am doing at work - a new html email template that effectively is like emailing the NCFIC home page. It has pretty much all the links and graphics, the first few lines of the latest blog, and a spot for letters from Scott Brown - hence the picture.

The more I learn about coding, the more I enjoy it. Maybe someday I'll tackle a website...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hallowed Be Thy Name

The Lord's Day. What a wonderful thing it is! A day - a whole day, not a partial day - to be set apart from the others and in which the work and distractions of this world may be removed and our focus directed to the worshiping our Lord and Maker. It is a day when we can turn away our foot from our general employment and labors, remembering that there is a day coming when we shall cease from our labors as God did from His - and remembering the resurrection of Christ which makes possible that rest. It is a day, not for doing our own pleasure, but the pleasure of the Lord that we may be reminded of the purpose of our being upon this earth. It is a day to set aside our ways, our thoughts, our words, and to focus our energies on delighting in God.

What a blessing it is then that the Lord gives us such a day. We merely curse ourselves when we try to treat it as any other day. It removes from us the spiritual blessing of the lifting of the cares of this world and physical rest in Christ which may now be experienced. It removes the blessing of being close to God for a whole day as we worship with His people and fellowship with them and as we have more time to spend in private and family worship than other days.

So what does the above have to do with the title of this post? A lot. There are four simple words in the second phrase of the model prayer which Christ taught to his disciples when they asked him to teach them to pray. Four words that speak volumes about the Person of God, His transcendence, His holiness, His infinite worth. And God is glorified in it. Our worship of God - our ascribing worth to Him - is captured by Christ in four simple words.

Across America today, millions of people went to church services filled with words supposedly in praise to God. Our big bands drummed out the syllables, our preachers scratched the ears of their congregations with soft and swelling sermons about God. Yet the question must be asked - does God receive more honor and glory through those four words than through all the swelling words of the American "church"? Do all the emotional, music driven "worship services" with all their 7/11 praise songs (seven words sung eleven times) bring less glory to God than these four words?

Christ answers to the affirmative if the heart of God is not in the words spoken by the American church. We think that by our loud music and our many swelling prayers that God is glorified. We think that if we jump and shout and dance and get emotionally worked up that God must hear us and be pleased with what He sees. We think that when we work ourselves into an emotional frenzy singing the same phrase 10 times that God is glorified.   

But Christ offers a different picture: "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." Christ rebukes the "much speaking" of the "heathen" and offers a short and simple prayer. There are no swelling words of vanity in it - yet as Ryle says,  "Perhaps no part of Scripture is so full, and so simple at the same time, as this. It is the first prayer we learn to offer up, when we are little children. Here is its simplicity. -- It contains the germ of everything which the most advanced saint can desire. Here is its fulness." (Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Vol. 1,  pg. 50)

In the aforementioned phrase, we a petition to God respecting His Name. We understand that by name, we infer all the attributes by which God defines Himself. He calls Himself by the name of Jealous, the Self-Existent One - "I am that I am," the Holy One, the Everlasting God, the Prince of Peace, the Eternal Father. Our petition as that all that God is be set aside as holy and be glorified in the earth. This glory for the Name of God is the end to which all are made. Again I quote Ryle: The glory of God is teh first thing that God's children should desire. It is the object of our Lord's own prayers: 'Father, glorify thy name.' (John xii. 28). It is the purpose for which the world was created. It is the end for which all saints are called and converted. It is the chief thing we should seek, that 'God in all things may be glorified.' (1 Peter iv. 11.)" (Ibid. pg. 51)

Let us then remember that it is not the quantity but the quality - the heart - of our words that makes the difference. It does us no good to speak many words when the genuine worship of God is not in our hearts. God would rather hear the poor child on the street who in all genuineness prays, "Father in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name," then to hear a church of 10,000 saying "This is my Bible: I am what it says I am; I have what it says I have; I can do what it says I can do. Today, I will be taught the Word of God. I'll boldly confess. My mind is alert; my heart is receptive; I will never be the same. I am about to receive the incorruptible, indestructible, ever-living Seed of the Word of God. I'll never be the same - never, never, never! I'll never be the same, in Jesus' Name."

Oh Father, unto Thy Name be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus through all ages, world without end. Amen.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Road Trip - Kick Off in 3 Weeks

The Deification of Man

I am running off to a conference on Child Raising so I only have a moment to put something up. So here is a thought provoker:

This sign was on the outside of a large Catholic church building in New Orleans, LA.

Andrew Jackson

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lightning Storm - Happy Birthday Chicho!

"The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory. Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods. Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O LORD. For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods. Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness."

     - Psalm 97

I realize I already posted something this evening, but we just had a strom roll through here and I decided to try my hand at some hand-held - though braced against solid objects - lightning photos. A tripod would have been very nice, but I can't recall where mine is. So, hand-held it shall be and we'll just have to look at the lightning and not at the foreground. :-)


Happy Birthday Chicho! I hope you have had a wonderful week with your (or should I say my? :-) family. I can't wait to see you again on Saturday little Bro.

Final Considerations - Do You Have the Spirit of Christ?

"Let me conclude by asking you this question: do you have the Spirit of God in you? You have some kind of religion, most of you, I daresay. Well, of what kind is it? Is it a homemade article? Did you make yourself the way you are? Then, if so, you are a lost person up to this moment. If, my friend, you have gone no further than you have walked yourself, you are not on the road to heaven yet; your face is turned the wrong way. But if you have received something that neither flesh nor blood could reveal yo you, if you have been led to do the very thing that you once hated, and to love that thing that you once despised, and to despise that on which your heart and your pride were once set, then soul, if this is the Spirit's work, rejoice, for where He has begun the good work He will carry it on (Phil. 1:6).

"And you may know whether it is the Spirits;s work by this: have you been led to Christ, and away from self? Have you been led away from all feelings, all doings, from all willings, from all prayings, as the ground of your trust and your hope, and have you been brought nakedly to rely upon the finished work of Christ?" If so, this is more than human nature ever taught a man; this is a height which human nature never climbed. The Spirit of God has done this, and He will never leave what He has once begun, but you will "go from strength to strength" (Ps. 84:7), and you will stand among the blood-washed throng, at last complete in Christ, and "accepted in the beloved" (Eph. 1:6). But if you do not have the spirit of Christ, you are none of His.

May the Spirit lead you to a quite place where you can weep, repent, and look to Christ. May you now have a divine life implanted, which neither time nor eternity will be able to destroy. God hear this prayer,. and bless us for Jesus' sake. Amen."

C.H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon on the Holy Spirit, pgs. 50-51.

Reading the Bible - J.C. Ryle

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

C.H. Spurgeon on Private Devotions

C.H. Spurgeon - They Shall Be My People

“I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” - 2 Corinthians 6:16

What a sweet title: “My people!” What a cheering revelation: “Their God!” How much of meaning is couched in those two words, “My people!” Here is speciality. The whole world is God’s; the heaven, even the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s, and he reigneth among the children of men; but of those whom he hath chosen, whom he hath purchased to himself, he saith what he saith not of others-”My people.” In this word there is the idea of proprietorship. In a special manner the “Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” All the nations upon earth are his; the whole world is in his power; yet are his people, his chosen, more especially his possession; for he has done more for them than others; he has bought them with his blood; he has brought them nigh to himself; he has set his great heart upon them; he has loved them with an everlasting love, a love which many waters cannot quench, and which the revolutions of time shall never suffice in the least degree to diminish. Dear friends, can you, by faith, see yourselves in that number? Can you look up to heaven and say, “My Lord and my God: mine by that sweet relationship which entitles me to call thee Father; mine by that hallowed fellowship which I delight to hold with thee when thou art pleased to manifest thyself unto me as thou dost not unto the world?” Canst thou read the Book of Inspiration, and find there the indentures of thy salvation? Canst thou read thy title writ in precious blood? Canst thou, by humble faith, lay hold of Jesus’ garments, and say, “My Christ”? If thou canst, then God saith of thee, and of others like thee, “My people;” for, if God be your God, and Christ your Christ, the Lord has a special, peculiar favour to you; you are the object of his choice, accepted in his beloved Son.


Prayer is not appointed for the furnishing of God with the knowledge of what we need, but it is designed as a confession to Him of our sense of the need.  In this, as in everything, God's thoughts are not as ours.  God requires that His gifts should be sought for.  He designs to be honoured by our asking, just as He is to be thanked by us after He has bestowed His blessing.

—A. W. Pink

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Christ - The Secret to a Happy Home Life

"What are some of the secrets of happy home life? The answer might be given in one word - Christ. Christ at the marriage altar; Christ on the bridal journey; Christ when the new home is set up; Christ when the baby is born; Christ when the child dies; Christ in the pinching times; Christ in the days of plenty; Christ in the nursery, in the kitchen, in the parlor; Christ in the toil and in the resr; Christ along all the years; Christ when the wedded pair walk toward the sunset gates; Christ in the sad hour when farewells are spoken, and one goes before and the other stays, bearing the unspoken grief. Christ is the secret of happy home life."

       –J. R. Miller, Secrets of Happy Home Life

Monday, May 3, 2010

John Brown Finds a Wife

The mid-1680s is remembered as the Killing Time in Scotland. Royal regiments martyred Scottish Presbyterians at will. Despite the danger, Presbyterian John Brown fell in love with Isabell Weir. He proposed to her, but warned that he would one day seal his testimony with blood. Isabell replied, “If it be so, I will be your comfort. The Lord has promised me grace.” They were married in a secret glen by the outlawed minister, Alexander Peden. “These witnesses of your vows,” said Peden, beginning the illegal ceremony, “have come at risk of their lives to hear God’s word and his ordinance of marriage.” The vows were spoken, then Peden drew Isabell aside, saying, “You have got a good husband. Keep linen for a winding-sheet beside you; for in a day when you least expect it, thy master shall be taken.”

The Brown home soon included two children. It was happy, filled with prayer and godly conversation. Fugitive preachers were hidden and cared for there. But on May 1, 1685 John rose at dawn, singing Psalm 27, to find the house surrounded by soldiers. The family filed onto the lawn. The commander, Claverhouse, shouted to John, “Go to your prayers; you shall immediately die.” Kneeling, John prayed earnestly for his wife, pregnant again, and for his children. Then he rose, embraced Isabell, and said, “The day is come of which I told you when I first proposed to you.”

“Indeed, John. If it must be so, I can willingly part with you.”

“This is all I desire,” replied John. “I have no more to do but to die.” He kissed his children, then Claverhouse ordered his men to shoot. The soldiers hesitated. Snatching a pistol, Claverhouse placed it to John’s head and blew out his brains. “What thinkest thou of thy husband now, woman?” he snarled. Isabell, fixing Claverhouse in her gaze, told him she had never been so proud of him. Claverhouse mounted his horse and sped away, troops in tow. Isabell tied John’s head in a napkin and sat on the ground weeping with her children until friends arrived to comfort them.

Armies may surround me, but I won’t be afraid;
War may break out, but I will trust you.
I ask only one thing, Lord:
Let me live in your house every day of my life
To see how wonderful you are
And to pray in your temple.
— Psalm 27:3,4

Morgan, Robert J.: On This Day : 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes. electronic ed. Nashville : Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997, S. May 1

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dangers Facing the Young and Reformed - Paul Washer

Spurgeon on Verse by Verse, Expositional Preaching

"I don't believe God the Holy Spirit ever intended men to publish three months before hand lists of sermons that they were going to preach because there always will arise changes in providence, and different states of mind both in the preacher and the hearer, and he will be a very wise man who has got an Old Moore's Almanack correct enough to let him know what would be the best sort of sermon to preach three months ahead. He had better leave it to his God to give him the same hour what he will speak, and look for his sermons as the Israelites looked for the manna, day by day." - C.H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon on the Holy Spirit, pg. 12

I must admit that I tend more towards this view than most of my co-patriots in the cause in which I work, though I understand and respect their views. I do not believe that it is a sin to preach through a book of the Bible verse by verse - necessarily. (It can be sin if by it the preacher neglects the obvious needs of the congregation - God says feed my sheep. This is a command not an option.) In fact, it can be very helpful in giving a sound overview of the Word of God to a congregation. But I would contend that it is mostly that - a sound overview - unless you creep through the book and do topical messages on each topic discussed. I have yet to see an in depth study of a doctrine which did not come down to a topical message. In order to flush the whole counsel of God out on an issue, the preacher needs to use all that God has said on this subject. Consider also that the day to day needs of a congregation do not always line up with the next passage of Scripture. Paul looked at the Galatians and said, you need to understand the law. You are using it wrongfully. But what if he had been an expositional, verse by verse only preacher who was preaching through the book of Esther at the time? How shall he deal with his churches misunderstanding of the law without doing just what he did? A topical message meeting the people's need.

I have heard it said that topical preaching is dangerous because the preacher can jump on hobby horses then. True, but since when are we to throw out what is nearly the exclusive style of preaching in the New Testament because of the abuse of man? There have been abuses of the office of the elder, but we are not to throw out church leadership. There have been abuses by money hungry preachers, but to chose not to pay the preacher is still stealing. And there are abuses of expository preaching as well when men fail to do what Christ says - feed my sheep. Expository preaching does not guarantee the whole counsel of God is preached, it does not guarantee that the preacher is being led by the Holy Spirit about what to preach (the next six verses - who needs to pray about that?), it does not guarantee that the people will have in depth knowledge and understanding of the great doctrines of God which are interwoven throughout the pages of Scripture. I would more contend that Spurgeon is right - but that it only works if the preachers are being led by the Holy Spirit. If they are not, they will end up on hobby horses. But conversely, if they are not led by the spirit, though they preach expositionally verse by verse, they will not be feeding their congregation as they should.

Another danger with verse by verse preaching - which I have personally witnessed - is forcing the text to deal with something that it doesn't. You say, how could that be? In verse by verse preaching, doesn't it get dictated by whatever is being talked about? It should, but that is not always the case. I have seen cases where a certain topic was needing to be dealt with so a book of the Bible which touched on that topic was chosen to be preached through. But because they wanted to deal with that topic in every message, the book was misinterpreted and forced to say what the preachers wanted to say in every message on the book. It was verse by verse, but because the author did not actually deal with the topic as it was needing to be dealt with at the time, the book was forced to say things it didn't say and badly misinterpreted.

So how should I conclude? The issue is the Spirit of God. Without the Holy Spirit leading and guiding the preaching of the church, neither topical expositional preaching nor expositional, verse by verse preaching through whole books of the Bible will solve the church's problem by default. We tend to focus so much on the method we forget the only One that can make the Word effectual - The Spirit of God. The fact is, Paul preached topically. Peter preached topically. Christ preached topically. To throw out topical preaching is to throw out the New Testament. Let us not become better than Paul in our own eyes, but let us be led by the Spirit that we may "Feed Christ's sheep."