God Breaks Our Hearts’ Idols

Tissot The Egyptians Are DestroyedWhatsoever we have over-loved, idolized, and leaned upon, God has from time to time broken it, and made us to see the vanity of it; so that we find the readiest course to be rid of our comforts is to set our hearts inordinately upon them.

~ John Flavel

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/f29/chastisement-3941/, Comment #3

Not a Saving Mercy Indeed

David Clarkson (Select Works, 420-421):

Giovanni di Paolo 003They ascribe to him a will of universal salvation; when they discern it can be no other than a mere velleity, an incomplete intention, a weak, ineffectual desire, a faint and fruitless wishing of such general happiness, when he knows it will never be effected, and is resolved not to take the course to effect it. This is such a mercy, as jostles out and clashes with his other perfections, and is inconsistent with his knowledge, power, sincerity, wisdom, blessedness, and mercy itself in the true notion of it.

With his knowledge; for who will desire and design that, which he knows will never be effected? With his power; for who will not effect that, which he really intends and designs, if he be able? With his sincerity; for what ingenuous person will pretend to desire and design that which he never means to bring about? With his wisdom; for who will propose to himself an end, and never intend the means which are proper, and alone sufficient to obtain it? With his blessedness; for to fall short continually of what one desires and intends, is an unhappiness. With the nature of Divine mercy and goodness; for that is not real goodness, which does no good, or not the good it makes show of. That is not saving mercy indeed, which leaves the objects of it miserable, when it can relieve them; that wishes them well, but lets them perish eternally. But that which they ascribe to God, is such a mercy, as can well digest the everlasting misery of all mankind: such a love, such a goodness, as could be satisfied, if not one person in the world should be saved.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/f48/universal-will-salvation-destroys-mercy-83253/, Comment #1 (Thank You, Reverend Winzer!)

Seven Reasons to Stop Breaking the Sabbath

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“If you are consumed with secular activities and unwilling to devote merely one day a week to God, you have every reason to be concerned with the state of your soul”

~D. G. Hart

Read more: http://theaquilareport.com/seven-good-reasons-to-stop-breaking-the-sabbath-right-now/

Convert and Marry….Or Else

My heart breaks for these little girls in Pakistan:

Jesse Johnson:

Schoolgirls in Shalwar Kameez, Abbotabad Pakistan - UK International Development“But that is not the worst of what happens to Christians there. The worst is that their children—particularly their young daughters—are the targets of violence. It is estimated by the few Christian organizations that track these things that around 3,000 Christian girls between the ages of 10-12 are kidnapped every year. Schools make Christians wear different uniforms than the other students, making them easy targets. They are forced to “convert” to Islam and marry Muslims (often becoming a man’s third or fourth wife), and their children are by law considered Muslim. Young kidnapped girls that refuse to convert and marry are beaten, physically tortured, and either killed or simply raped and left to die naked in the wilderness.”

Read more: http://jesaja662.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/the-hardest-place-on-earth-to-be-a-christian/#more-3484

The Book of Mormon Refutes Mormon Doctrine

Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes:

Book of Mormon English Missionary Edition Soft Cover“The teaching of the exaltation of God from a man is in direct contradiction to Smith’s Book of Mormon, though. Moroni 8:18 declares, “For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.”3 Mormon 9:9, borrowing from the book of Hebrews reinforces the idea that God is changeless. “do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing.”4  According to the Book of Mormon, then, Joseph Smith’s teaching that God was once a man is false.”

Read more: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2014/06/the-book-of-mormon-shows-joseph-smith.html?utm_content=buffer49e78&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Defining Science to Exclude Cosmic Purposefulness

Image of the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293)“The evolutionists know the threat posed by creationism, and they have always defined science since the days of Darwin to exclude cosmic purposefulness. Science is ‘true’ science, in their view, only when pre-human cause and effect are seen as purposeless. To admit that creationism might be valid, or might be an alternative explanation of origins, is to deny the fundamental presupposition of modern science. In other words, the scientists recognize the exclusive and exclusionary nature of their intellectual endeavor — an endeavor designed to shove God out of the universe of cause and effect.”

~ Gary North, “Intellectual Schizophrenia”, in James B. Jordan (ed)., The Failure of the American Baptist Culture (Tyler, TX: Geneva Divinity School, 1982), p. 18, emphasis in original.

Source: http://biblicallandmarks.com/wpl/creation-versus-evolution/

Changing With The Wind

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Samuel at Gilgal:

“The world has forgotten that truth does not change with the winds of public opinion.”

Read more: http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/desiring-truth/

Can We Judge Bad Trees By Their Fruit?

This is very relevant to my life since I was recently castigated for expressing concern about the path a family member has chosen to follow.

C. Matthew McMahon on whether or not we can rightly judge if a heretic, God-hater, etc. will go to hell [color added]:

McIntosh apple tree and fruitThe point to all this is that Christ has told us that we would know good trees and bad trees. We would know them by their fruits. By what they do, say, act, teach, lead, etc., we will know them. Do you know them? Do you want to know them?

… These tests can be general and specific. Are they conforming to the true nature of the Christian? Do they love Christ and His commandments? Do they teach the Gospel? Tests are not hard. What Gospel do they preach? …We do not judge because we want to judge every soul or think we stand in the place of God. Rather, we judge because every tree is known by its fruit. We can, by Christ’s direction, know good trees and bad trees.

…You say, “But I don’t like to judge.” Then you need to repent. Christ desires His church to act in accordance with His word. If you reject Christ’s authority, and reject His word, then you are either on the road of apostasy, or you are not even a Christian… As a matter of fact, when we get to heaven, we will even judge reprobate angels… We will judge angels, but now, we are the midst of judging rightly as well in terms of those in and out of the church. Remember, Christ says that we must make judgments about good trees and bad trees. Not because we have an authority complex and want to be “judgmental”, but because we desire the glory of God to be reflected in our judgments, we desire to see the well being of sanctification grow, and we desire to see the church stand strong amidst ferocious wolves.

Oranges fruit treesNow do not go and take all that had been said here out of context… Do not presume to be the Holy Spirit, or the “sanctification police”. However, be sure, and make no mistake, you should discern whether people are good trees or bad trees. Are they Christians, false teachers, God-haters, or heretics? The well being of the church depends on knowing such things… If you were not discerning and judgmental in this way, how would you ever know if something is to be believed or not? Christians are to make good judgments based on the word of God, not rash judgments based on their own haste. Calvin says, “There is a wide difference between wise caution and perverse squeamishness.” Christians should be wise as serpents in these things and harmless as doves.

Read more: http://www.apuritansmind.com/the-christian-walk/can-you-really-tell-a-tree-by-its-fruit-%E2%80%93-by-dr-c-matthew-mcmahon/

Employ All For His Service

Thomas Boston, Works, 2:598-599:

Parable of the Talents. MironovWe must act according to the will of providence, Acts 13:36, and we have need of grace for it. When God by his providence puts work into our hands, and gives us abilities and occasions to serve him, we are obliged to employ all for his service, else we answer not the design. Mercies and rods have a call. And every one is by providence put into some particular station, with some talents, less or more, for the duties of that station. He does the will of God’s providence, that employs his interest, gifts, and abilities in his calling, moving in his own sphere prudently, constantly, and vigorously, as those in heaven do.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/f25/will-providence-83404/, Comment #1 (Thank You, Reverend Winzer!)

Photo: Parable of the talents. 2013. Canvas, oil. 60 x 50. Artist A.N. Mironov

Pray Right Away

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Reformation Day

6a00e554ba603388340153929f10e1970b-800wiAt my house, we do not treat Reformation Day as if it were a holy day.  Nevertheless, since we are relatively new to the reformed faith (5 years and counting), we do take some time during the month of October to remember the start of the Protestant Reformation and our Protestant heritage.

We think about Martin Luther and his 95 Theses.  We might even watch a movie about him or have the little ones color a picture of him.  Of course, we sing the song he wrote:

 

I personally think a Reformation Faire sounds like a fun idea, but that is waaay too much work for just our family.  This family’s idea is cool, though.

Do you have any family traditions for Reformation Day?

The Godly Come to the Right Door

Thomas Boston, Works, 3:386:

Ostade, Isaac van - Traveller at a Cottage Door - 1649The carnal man gets not his desire satisfied. He is still saying, who will show us any good, for he is always at the wrong door; but the gracious soul gets its rest taken up in the bosom of the great God. Here it lays itself down and goes no farther. The carnal man is like a traveller that has lost his way in a misty day, when he sees a bush he takes it for a house and promiseth himself rest, but finding he is disappointed there, gets up again and falls into the same mistake, and is disappointed without end. Whereas the godly come to the right door, and continue there till it be opened.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/f25/godly-come-right-door-83893/, Comment #1 (Thank You, Reverend Winzer!)

To Right the Wrongs of Many

Hermann Schweder Hugh Latimer und Nicholas Ridley auf ihrem Gang zum Scheiterhaufen

“To sin by silence when we should protest
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
Against injustice, ignorance and lust,
The Inquisition yet would serve the law,
And guillotines decide our least disputes.
The few who dare must speak, and speak again,”
To right the wrongs of many.

~Shall Unbelief Win? A reply to Dr. Fosdick, by Clarence Edward Macartney

Source: http://theaquilareport.com/shall-unbelief-win-a-reply-to-dr-fosdick-by-clarence-macartney/

Take Your Cause First to Christ

AccusedofWitchcraft-Volk

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19

 Offences will come, both from the wicked and from other believers. We live in an ungodly world, and are members of an imperfect Church. We must not, therefore, expect freedom from wrongs and injuries, from woundings and opposition, from which none have ever been exempt, not excepting our Lord himself, who, in addition to the wrongs He personally endured, was “wounded for our offences.”

 But how are we, as believers in Jesus, to acquit ourselves under a sense of injury and injustice? Are we to take the law in our hands? Are we to revenge ourselves? Are we to vault into the judgment-seat? God forbid! The law of Christian duty touching this matter is clearly laid down. “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath.”

 But does this precept of patient endurance and non-resistance imply that wrong is to go unpunished, injustice unrequited, injury unrepaired, malignity unrebuked, and falsehood unrefuted? By no means! An individual, by becoming a Christian, does not cease to be a citizen. In coming under the law of Christ, he is not the outlaw of man. His spiritual duties and privileges do not abrogate his civil rights and obligations. Our Lord was a striking and instructive example of this. He claimed justice at the hands of his accusers. “Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil–but if well, why do you smite Me?” (John. 18:23.) And Paul asserted his rights and privileges as a Roman citizen.

 Therefore, not prompted by malice or a feeling of revenge, not acting from personal resentment, or a desire to inflict an injury, but moved by a concern for the public virtue and peace, in order to maintain truth and justice, and at the same time to vindicate our personal character from slander and falsehood, it is strictly within the province of the Christian to take his case into a court of human justice; for to this end–“the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of those who do well”–the magistrate holds the sword by God’s ordinance.

 But what is the high ground the believer in Jesus should take under every species of injury, injustice, and wrong? It is first, if not exclusively, to go into God’s court of justice, to commit his case to Christ, his Advocate, who has undertaken to plead the cause of his soul. Let us look at this for a moment.

 Beloved, are you suffering injury? Has a foe assailed you? a friend wounded you? a relation wronged you? Avenge not yourself, but rather “leave room for God’s wrath;” that is, make room for it to pass by and escape; and that no feelings might possess your mind but those of pity, charity, and forgiveness, go into God’s court of justice before you go into man’s. Take your cause first to Jesus. Oh, what a powerful Advocate and wonderful Counselor is Christ! He will avenge you of your adversary, and will compensate your wrong. He will refute the foul slander, silence the lying tongue, and bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday. For thus has the Lord spoken.

 But, oh, the blessedness of reposing trustfully, calmly on the bosom of Jesus amid the unkind criticisms, bitter calumnies, unjust accusations, and the cruel envyings and jealousies of man! Sheltered there, who or what can harm us? “Oh, how great is Your goodness, what You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who trust in You before the sons of men! You shall hide them in the secret of Your presence from the pride of man–You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the Lord for He has showed me His marvelous kindness in a strong city.”

Source: http://www.gracegems.org/Winslows/w19.htm

God’s Blessings are not Just Material

Albert Anker Großvater segnet seinen Enkel“The modern world has promoted the lust for possessions and ignored the spiritual realm of our lives. Even those who profess to be Christians often look at some luxury their neighbors or friends have acquired and ask themselves, “Why has God denied me this pleasure?” We quickly forget the blessings, both spiritual and material, we have already received at His hands. “… Be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5 ESV)”

Read more: http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/blessings-ignored/#more-29134