THE ONLY MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MAN – THE MAN CHRIST JESUS!

God wifi final

THE ONLY MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MAN – THE MAN CHRIST JESUS!

compiled by Michael Jeshurun

“Fundamentally, our Lord’s message was Himself. He did not come merely to preach a Gospel; He himself is that Gospel. He did not come merely to give bread; He said, “I am the bread.” He did not come merely to shed light; He said, “I am the light.” He did not come merely to show the door; He said, “I am the door.” He did not come merely to name a shepherd; He said, “I am the shepherd.” He did not come merely to point the way; He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” — J. Sidlow Baxter

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to”. — C.S. Lewis

Despite our efforts to keep him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: “a virgin’s womb and an empty tomb”. Jesus entered our world through a door marked, “No Entrance” and left through a door marked “No Exit.” — Peter Larson

If I might comprehend Jesus Christ, I could not believe on Him. He would be no greater than myself. Such is my consciousness of sin and inability that I must have a superhuman Saviour. — Daniel Webster

More than nineteen hundred years ago, there was a Man born contrary to the laws of life. This Man lived in poverty and was reared in obscurity. He did not travel extensively. Only once did He cross the boundary of the country in which He lived; that was during His exile in childhood.

He possessed neither wealth nor influence. His relatives were inconspicuous and had neither training nor formal education.

In infancy He startled a king; in childhood He puzzled doctors; in manhood He ruled the course of nature, walked upon the waves as pavement, and hushed the sea to sleep.

He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for His service.

He never wrote a book, and yet perhaps all the libraries of the world could not hold the books that have been written about Him.

He never wrote a song, and yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all the songwriters combined.

He never founded a college, but all the schools put together cannot boast of having as many students.

He never marshaled an army, nor drafted a soldier, nor fired a gun; and yet no leader ever had more volunteers who have, under His orders, made more rebels stack arms and surrender without a shot fired.

He never practiced psychiatry, and yet He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors far and near.

Once each week multitudes congregate at worshiping assemblies to pay homage and respect to Him.

The names of the past, proud statesmen of Greece and Rome have come and gone. The names of the past scientists, philosophers, and theologians have come and gone. But the name of this Man multiplies more and more. Though time has spread nineteen hundred years between the people of this generation and the mockers at His crucifixion, He still lives. His enemies could not destroy Him, and the grave could not hold Him.

He stands forth upon the highest pinnacle of heavenly glory, proclaimed of God, acknowledged by angels, adored by saints, and feared by devils, as the risen, personal Christ, our Lord and Savior.

We are either going to be forever with Him, or forever without Him. It was the incomparable Christ who said:

“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me!” (John 14:6)

“There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5)

THEREFORE:

“Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved!” (Acts 16:31)

‘THE HEALTHY’ AND ‘THE SICK’?

Doctor girl final

‘THE HEALTHY’ AND ‘THE SICK’?

J.C. Philpot

“They that are whole (healthy) have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance!” [Mark 2:17]

Let us look, then, at the character pointed out in the text by the expression, “THE WHOLE.” I need scarcely say, that the word naturally means a person healthy, strong, and vigorous; one untainted by sickness or disease; one in all the enjoyment of robust health, without any constitutional ailment or bodily affliction. Now it is a truth, naturally, that such people “need not a physician.” They are not in circumstances to require such aid; their vigorous health, their robust constitution, their freedom from all disease, give them perfect liberty to dispense with the services of medical skill.

From this comparison we may easily gather who are “the whole,” in a spiritual sense. Those who have never received any wound in their conscience, who have never felt sick unto death, WHO HAVE NEVER GROANED AND SUFFERED UNDER THE DISEASE OF SIN.

But who are these hearty and healthy people? All men in a state of unregeneracy; all in whose hearts the Spirit of God has not begun His quickening work. These are called “whole,” – not as really and actually free from taint or infection – for in the sight of God they are one mass of disease; but they are called “whole” in the text, because they feel and know nothing, spiritually and experimentally, of sickness. They are not healthy in the sight of God, but in their own sight – for “their eyes stand out with fatness,” and they are not “plagued with sickness like other men.” Psalm 73:5,7

If we look a little more closely at these characters, we shall find them divided into two grand classes – THOSE DEAD IN SIN, and those dead in a profession. As never plagued with the sickness of sin, both of these characters may be said to be “whole.”

Look, for instance, at men generally – say, those you have daily to associate with, whose conscience God has not touched with His finger. Is there any sigh, any cry, any groan, any sorrow for sin ever manifested by them? Are they not light, trifling, and frivolous; or, if settled and sober, altogether buried in the things of time and sense? Do you ever witness anything in them, that shows they have the least concern for their immortal souls? Are they not evidently dead in sin – so dead as not to have one thought for the future, one solemn feeling of eternity?

And is there not a large class of PROFESSORS, who are as DEAD IN FORMALITY as the others in transgression, though they may have a name to live? But what is the grand distinguishing mark of both? Is it not that they are “whole?” They have never felt any inward sickness or running sore; they have never been wounded by the arrows of God shot into their conscience; they have never had the ill-conditioned ulcers and deep abscesses of human nature laid open by the keen dissecting knife of the great Anatomist; nor have they ever been brought down to sigh and groan under a body of sin and death. “Their strength is firm.” Their “face is covered with fatness, and the bundles of fat are on their flanks;” their “breasts are full of milk, and their bones are moistened with marrow.” Psalm 73:4 Job 15:27 Job 21:24

Now, however heady, high-minded, presumptuous people may despise the groans and sighs of God’s sin-sick people, and the feeling acquaintance that each rightly-taught man has with his own sore, and his own grief; or whatever ridicule may be poured out upon the trials which God’s children experience when the internal plague of corruption is felt, it is a solemn truth, in spite of all contempt or ridicule, that “the whole need not a physician.” And it is equally true, let them speak of Christ as much as they may, that there can be no spiritual communion with the great Physician, Jehovah-rophi (the Lord, the Healer), unless there be some inward wound or sickness of soul felt, so as to make them desire healing from His blessed hands.

“The whole need not a physician;” they need no visits from Jesus, no smile from His loving countenance, no balm from His tender hands, no cure from His gracious lips. They may know from the Bible that there is such a Person as Christ, just as a healthy man may know that some celebrated physician lives in such a street; but as to any personal application to Him, any sighing at His gracious footstool, any showing before Him their sickness, any laying down their broken bones or bruised consciences at His door, they can know nothing of it, because they are “whole.” Still less can they know the efficacy of His balmy blood sprinkled on their conscience; still less the spiritual experience contained in those words, “He makes sore, and binds up; he wounds, and his hands make whole” Job 5:18; “Who heals all your diseases.” Psalm 103:3 And how can those who despise or ridicule all experience, know anything spiritually of Jesus? For they are “whole;” and being “whole” they “need not a physician.”

No one knows anything spiritually and experimentally of soul sickness, until God the Spirit quickens him from a death in sin. Then for the first time a wound is made in his conscience by an arrow shot from the bow of the Almighty. Now spiritually, as well as naturally, when a man is groaning and languishing under a wound, will he not anxiously desire a surgeon to bind it up? Let a man meet with what is called an accident; let him fall from a ladder, or be run over by a carriage. Will not the bystanders gather together in a moment, and take him off to a hospital? And even the poor man himself, if he retains his senses, is glad to be taken there as soon as possible. But what has made the laborer, who just before was standing careless upon the scaffold, now all pale and trembling upon a stretcher, crying to be taken to the surgeon? Is it not the broken rib or fractured limb that in a moment has produced the change?

So spiritually, there was a time when the vessel of mercy ridiculed spiritual things, cared for neither heaven nor hell, nor had one pang of concern about his immortal state; but the wound came, the bones were broken, distress of mind followed, and the soul pined and languished away, fearing the “second death.” But no sooner was this felt, than a Physician was wanted, one able and willing to heal. At first, perhaps, through ignorance, he looked out and sought after “physicians of no value,” running here and there for ease, and not seeking only to the Lord. But, sooner or later, being baffled in all his attempts to find relief from human help, he is brought to apply to “Jehovah, who heals you” Ex 15:26; and finds there is “balm in Gilead,” and a “physician there.”

But the Lord’s people are not merely wounded by the arrows of God sticking in their conscience; THEY HAVE ALSO TO BE LED INTO THE DEEP DEPRAVITY OF THEIR FALLEN NATURE, THE DESPERATE WICKEDNESS OF THEIR EVIL HEART. We may class spiritual patients under two heads – those that are wounded and need the surgeon – and those that are sick and need the physician. And generally speaking, we need the first before the second, and have to go to the surgeon before we go to the dispensary. Thus usually, we know but little of our dreadful depravity, when the Lord first takes us in hand; the fountains of the great deep are not then broken up; the desperate unbelief, enmity, rebellion, perverseness, pride, hypocrisy, uncleanness, and all the other vile corruptions of our heart are not at first opened up and brought to light.

But as the Lord leads the soul on, He opens up by degrees the desperate corruption and depravity of our nature, and unfolds the hidden evils of our heart, which before were covered from our view. It is with us as it was with the Prophet. The Lord led him into one chamber after another; and when his astonishment increased at what he saw there, He said unto him, “Turn yet again, and you shall see greater abominations than these.” Ezekiel 8:15 But as the Lord leads us into a knowledge of our depravity, He makes us to feel sick at heart, and thus we come into the state of feeling described by the prophet Isaiah – “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores.” Isaiah 1:5,6 And as we are led into a knowledge of our sinfulness, and groan under it, we feel more and more a burden of shame and sorrow on account of it; and the more deeply and daily that this is felt, the more deeply and daily do we find our need of the great Physician.

All the Lord’s dealings with our souls are that He may exalt His dear Son in our hearts, that we may have all the shame, and Jesus all the glory; and therefore, all this deep and daily discovery of our depravity is eventually to bring greater glory to the Son of God. The deeper we sink into shame and guilt, under the knowledge of the depravity of our nature, the more do we seek unto, feel the power, and prize the love, blood, grace, and preciousness of the Lord Jesus. Every fresh discovery of our vile nature, when the Lord is pleased to bring the savor of Jesus’ name, like the ointment poured forth, into the conscience, serves only instrumentally to increase our faith and affection towards Him; and thus the deeper we sink in self, the higher the Lord Jesus rises in our soul’s admiration and adoration.

But to make us more and more dependent upon Jesus, the Lord, by His teachings, leads us usually into a knowledge of our backsliding and idolatrous nature. And O, what a backsliding and idolatrous heart do we carry in our bosom, and how perpetually does it make us sigh and groan! Is there anything too vile for our depraved nature not to lust after? Is there anything too base which our hearts will not imagine? Are there any puddles, which, if God left us to ourselves, we would not grovel in? As we are brought more to feel the workings of this base backsliding heart, and have the burden of it more laid upon our conscience, the more sick are we at heart, and the more is the disease felt to be in the very vitals. We sigh and groan because we are so vile – for we would be far otherwise. In our right mind, we would be in the fear of the Lord all the day long, and would never do a single thing inconsistent with the precepts of the gospel – we would never say a word that the Lord would disapprove of – would always walk in faith, hope, and love – and would continually be spiritual and heavenly-minded.

But alas, this is what we cannot attain unto. Our eye is caught by every passing vanity, our carnal minds rove after forbidden things, and our vile heart will still commit villainy. And as the conscience is made tender – and if it be not so, the fear of God is not there – and as the soul is led into a deeper acquaintance with the spirituality of God’s character and the purity of His nature, and as a deeper and clearer knowledge of Jesus in all His covenant relationship is gained, the more it is felt to be an evil and bitter thing to depart from “the Fountain of living waters.”

But there is, after all, one class only of people that this great Physician admits as patients. In this metropolis, you know, there are hospitals for different diseases; and a man afflicted with one disease must not go to an infirmary intended for another. The consumptive patient must go to the hospital for diseases of the chest; the man suffering from typhus fever must be taken to the fever hospital – and the sufferer from inflamed eyes must go to the Opthalmic institution. So spiritually, the Lord’s Hospital,”Christ’s Hospital” – if I may use the expression without irreverence – IS ONLY FOR INCURABLES; and until every other hospital refuses us admission, or turns us out as hopeless cases, the Lord does not admit us as patients. It is like a man with a fever going for admittance to the consumptive hospital. They would say, “You are not the patient for us; people with your disease are not admitted here.” So spiritually, THE LORD’S DISPENSARY IS ONLY FOR INCURABLES, whom every other hospital rejects; and as long as we, like Asa, seek to other physicians, we are not admitted into His sick wards.

The leprosy was an incurable disease. So experimentally, until the disease of sin gets so desperate as to be past the help of all human skill, past our own healing, and all healing from others, we will not seek unto, and I am sure we cannot find, the great Physician. A great part, an important part of the Spirit’s work, is to bring men into this state; for we read, “The Lord kills, and makes alive; he brings down to the grave, and brings up.” 1 Sam 2:6,7 And what is “to kill,” and “bring down to the grave,” but to render a man incurable? Not that God is the author of sin – God forbid. He does not work sin in us, but discovers it as already there; and shows us what we are, by bringing light and life into the conscience; so that in His light we see, and in His life we feel, and groan over the malady of sin thus made manifest.

Now many of God’s people are on the way to this free hospital; but they are not admissible yet; not deeply sunk enough into the disease yet; it has not yet laid hold of their vitals, not yet spread its deep roots into their conscience. Like the first commencement of a cancer, or of a consumption, the symptoms may be discoverable, but the disease has as yet not spread into the whole constitution. But like the two fatal diseases I have named, the felt malady of sin will spread and extend until the soul becomes incurable – and the more this is seen and experienced, the more urgently will a man seek, and the sooner will he find, the great Physician.

Read the full sermon – http://www.gracegems.org/sin_sick_soul.htm

A Pastor’s Opinion of the coming American Election

Hilary n Trump

If You’re On the Fence About Your Vote, This Pastor Clarifies How the Very Future of America Is At Stake

8/11/2016  Dr. Jim Garlow, Skyline Church, San Diego

I have been asked “the question” so many times regarding Trump or Hillary. By way of background, I have followed every national convention—Republican and Democrat—from the time I was age 9, and have attended most of the GOP Conventions from 1984 to the present. I have watched the news virtually every day from the age of 8. I have never seen anything like what we are observing.

In spite of the unprecedented nature of this election cycle, I will attempt to respond to “the question.” I am not demanding that anyone else share my view. But I was asked. Here is my best attempt to answer as I am able to see things at this time:

1.   The Democratic and Republican party platforms are as different as night and day, in my opinion, as far apart as evil vs. good. The 51-page Democratic platform is the most leftist ever. (I don’t care for the “right vs. left” nomenclature. I am far more concerned with “right vs. wrong.”) The Democratic platform contains many points which are anti-biblical. (Time does not permit me here to identify what is meant by “anti-biblical,” which is covered in my new book Well Versed: Biblical Answers to Today’s Tough Issues.) It is thoroughly socialistic (a socialist is a communist without a gun). The 54-page GOP platform is one of the strongest GOP platforms ever. A biblically alert person could be comfortable with almost all of it. Party platforms are a big issue to me. Although some “blow off” party platforms, I do not. Nor do many people up and down the ballot who are running for office. This is a serious and very important item. I have a hard copy of both platforms in front of me now. Most people have never checked out what the party platforms say. They should. If a person is not drawn to the “top-of-the-ballot” candidate, they ought to at least consider voting for the candidate attached to the best party platform.

2.   Analogy #1: Both candidates are flawed. We all know that. But permit me an analogy: As a pastor, I would rather deal with a church attendee who is blatant and brash in his sinning than one who is devious, lying, cunning and deceptive. Both are problematic, but one is easier to deal with than the other. If I were a pastor bringing correction to a parishioner, I would prefer dealing with a “Trump-type” any day over a “Hillary-type.” The chances of making progress with the “Trump-type” are many times greater than the “Hillary-type.”

3.   Analogy #2: When my (late) wife’s remarkable and much loved oncologist said, “Don’t take Carol to that alternative (non FDA approved) treatment.” I asked, “Why not?” He said, “The unknown.” I said, “Doctor, your ‘known’ is much worse than the alternative treatment’s ‘unknown.'” I took her to that alternative treatment. One year later that same oncologist went to the alternative treatment doctor to see how it was that Carol had improved so much. While this alternative treatment did not ultimately save her life, it likely stretched two to three years of life to six years of life—by the admission of another one of her brilliant young oncologists who later said, “Without any medical training or scientific fact, you have put together a protocol of treatment that has moved her into the top fraction of 1 percent of survival rates of all patients with Carol’s particular cancer. Application of the analogy: Hillary’s “known” is considerably worse—many times over—than Trump’s “unknown.”

4.   Trump has lots of sins in his past (actually, we all do), and—in the present—says things he should not say. I make no attempt to defend any of the things he has said. There is no need to rehearse the wrong things he has said. We know what they are. He should not have thought or said them. But there is no need to rehash them here. So we won’t. But let’s turn to the other candidate. Although America has had some scandal-ridden candidates in its history, we have never seen any one major party candidate more constantly scandalous as Hillary (along with her husband). She seems to exceed all previous boundaries for wrongdoing. The scandals just don’t stop. In the same way we did not take time to list all of Trump’s misstatements, neither will we here rehash the seemingly continuous string of horrific scandals of the Clintons.

5.   Trump is slowly being surrounded by increasingly good people. From time to time, I receive encouraging calls regarding this. Can these good people impact Trump? We will see. In contrast, I see no reason for any encouragement regarding the people who surround Hillary.

6.   Trump is right on approximately 75 percent of the issues. I wish it was 100 percent. It is not. I am in hopes that those beginning to surround him can help him connect the dots on more issues. Hillary is wrong on 100 percent of the issues.

7.   This next issue might be one of the most important, but I suspect few will understand its significance. Trump opposes globalism. Hillary thrives on it. Globalism is far more than “geographical” or “eliminating national borders and boundaries.” It is spiritual and demonic at its core. Few—very few—understand this. This is quite likely one of the main reasons why Trump is hated. Do your homework on this one. Think “principalities and powers.” Serious. Extremely serious.

8.   Not voting is not a viable option, contrary to what the “purists” claim. It is not my intention to begin a war of the issue. I know that some radically disagree with this. My view? They have the right to be wrong.

9.   Voting for a third party candidate is—regardless of what is said—a complete “throw-away.” No third party candidate will be elected, or even come remotely close to being elected. And yes, that matters to me. And for the record, the Libertarian ticket—Johnson and Weld—is nearly as bad on many issues as Hillary. When I listen to them, I am stunned people of their ability have ever made it to elective office.

10.   Trump has moved pro-life. Hillary is pro-baby killing, and prides herself on that, and honors the organization—Planned Parenthood—that actually traffics human parts from dead babies whom they have killed. This is below anything we have seen since Nazi Germany. The gall of Hillary! The Clintons have evaded justice for decades and likely will continue to. But they will someday stand before the Great White Throne. They will have to give account of their support of the ripping babies to shreds in the womb. For the record, those who vote for those who support the genocide of pre-borns will also have to give an account.

11.   Trump wants to defend the nation (which is the purpose of government). Hillary has a horrific track record as Secretary of State, and due to hundreds of millions of dollars given to her and her husband’s foundation, she is beholden to those who want us dead.

12.   Hillary claims “everything is fine” in America. This defies every single fact, but facts have never been an interest of Hillary’s. Trump understands that it is 11:59 p.m. on the “cultural clock.” America is near the end—morally, economically, militarily and, sadly, spiritually. There are very clear identifiable indicators—measurable ones—that America is no longer the world’s leading power. That day is over. Hillary will hasten the final destruction. Trump could either slow that down—or possibly, with God’s help—reverse it. Maybe.

13.   Trump will address the massive government spending. Hillary will expand it above the existing unsustainable debt the U.S. currently is carrying (almost $20 trillion plus unfunded liabilities to Social Security, etc).

14.   Trump will expose—and I pray, bring down—”the systemic evil” (crony, deceitful, misuse of capitalism) that reigns among many high-dollar lobbyists. Hillary thrives because of them.

15.   Trump will stop the massive overreach of government. Hillary will extend it.

16.   Freedoms come in “threes.” Political freedom, economic freedom and religious liberty coexist together. Take one away and the other two will eventually disappear. One cannot exist without the other two. The genius of America is that it had all three, until recently. Trump fully grasps the loss of religious liberty. I have heard him speak on it in person on several occasions. He knows that economic and political freedoms are evaporating. He will reverse that. Hillary will decimate all three.

17.   Every rational person knows the Supreme Court appointments are paramount. Trump has listed 11 superb potential nominees. Hillary’s appointments would snuff out the tiny vestige of the three freedoms that are left (mentioned in the statement above).

18.   I make no excuse for wrongdoing or wrongful, hurtful words from either candidate. Candidly, I want King Jesus. He rules in my heart. And yours too, I suspect. And I want Him to rule here—now. But that day is not fully manifested—yet. In the meantime, we prayerfully, carefully navigate this challenging election season, with great concern that above all, we honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in every arena of our lives, including the voting booth. That is my hope. I believe it is yours as well. Error! Filename not specified.

Dr. Jim Garlow is pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego. He is also co-founder of The Jefferson Gathering, a weekly worship service for members of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

An additional note by Michael Jeshurun – 

I believe much of what he has written is true. As I always say “a snake in the grass is more deadlier than a snake out in the open.” And methinks that Hilary is truly a venomous snake in the grass and full of subtilty! And anyone who is ‘pro baby-killing’ and sides with ‘Planned Parenthood’ should surely be off the Christian’s list as a likely prospect for a Presidential candidate.
 I do not watch much of Americas election campaign programs on television, but the little that I have watched has convinced me that Trump is more outspoken and often says things impulsively while Hilary like the serpent that she is weighs every word and knows the right things to say to manipulate the gullible! Her husband Bill is no angel either. If what I’ve read concerning him in the past be true, he has his membership with a lot of dark secret societies which the average American has no clue about.
 The 7th point in Dr. Jim Garlow’s article which you just sent me is worth pondering in the light of what I’ve just said above – “This next issue might be one of the most important, but I suspect few will understand its significance. Trump opposes globalism. Hillary thrives on it. Globalism is far more than “geographical” or “eliminating national borders and boundaries.” It is spiritual and demonic at its core. Few—very few—understand this. This is quite likely one of the main reasons why Trump is hated. Do your homework on this one. Think “principalities and powers.” Serious. Extremely serious.”
 Now don’t get me wrong, I am not someone who is into ‘conspiracy theories’ and the Illuminati, the Masons and the Zionists etc. And though I am thoroughly convinced that it is GOD who puts down one and sets up another, I believe that He does often use the devil to do His dirty work if you will. And some of these secret societies are backed by some of the worlds richest Rothschilds and Rockerfellers who in a sense control the economy and fund much of these election campaigns which have a great influence as to who finally sits behind the ‘Resolute desk’ in the Oval office.
 As Christians I believe that it is our duty to pray for “kings, and for all that are in authority; (not for their salvation) but that WE may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” [1Tim 2:2] So let us pray that the Lord will do that which seemeth Him good with regards to the election in America. Amen!

My Father is the Husbandman!

Pruning girl

“My Father is the Husbandman!” [John 15:1]

J.R. Miller

It is comforting to think of TROUBLE, in whatever form it may come to us – as A HEAVENLY MESSENGER, bringing us blessing from God. In its earthly aspect, it may seem hurtful, even destructive; but in its spiritual outworking, it yields blessing.

Many of the richest blessings which have come down to us from the past, are the fruit of sorrow or pain. We should never forget that redemption, the world’s greatest blessing – is the fruit of the world’s greatest sorrow.

In every time of sharp pruning, WHEN THE KNIFE CUTS DEEP AND THE PAIN IS SORE, it is an unspeakable comfort to read, “MY FATHER IS THE HUSBANDMAN!”

One tells of being in a great hothouse where luscious clusters of grapes were hanging on every side. The owner said, “When my new gardener came, he said he would have nothing to do with these vines unless he could cut them clean down to the stalk. He did, and we had no grapes for two years – but this is the result.”

There is rich suggestiveness in this illustration of THE PRUNING PROCESS, as we apply it to the Christian life. Pruning seems to be destroying the vine, the gardener appears to be cutting it all away; but he looks on into the future and knows that the final outcome will be the enrichment of its life and greater abundance of fruit.

In the same way, there are blessings we can never have – unless we are ready to pay the price of pain. There is no way to reach them, but through suffering.

“Every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth (prunes) it, that it may bring forth MORE fruit [John 15:2]

CONTENTMENT AND THE CHRISTIAN

Dancing in the rain

CONTENTMENT AND THE CHRISTIAN

Michael Jeshurun

The Apostle said, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”. [Phil 4:11].

Notice, he did not say that it was something which he was born with, but something which he had LEARNED. Contentment is something which we all need to LEARN.

The only thing promised to the Christian in the New Testament as far as temporal things are concerned are Food and Clothing! [see Mat 6:25-33, 1Tim 6:8]]. Everything else is a BONUS!

Yes that’s right! The roof over your head, that vehicle you go around in, and even that wristwatch on your hand is all a bonus. Scripture says that, “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord”. And again the servant is not greater than his Master! If you remember well, the Master said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head”.

But thanks be to God, that He has given us so much more than what He Himself had on earth. In fact Scripture says that “His divine power hath given unto us ALL THINGS THAT PERTAIN UNTO LIFE and godliness”. [2pet 1:3] And the ALL THINGS include the roof over your head, the job that you hold, your vehicle, your wristwatch etc.

Now these things along with the blessing of the Lord should keep us content. But sadly there is within the best of us a covetous spirit. The old nature does not vanish once you become a born-again Christian. David the man after God’s own heart prayed – “Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies, and NOT TO COVETOUSNESS”.[Psa 119:36].

Covetousness is nothing but a strong or inordinate desire of obtaining and possessing some supposed good. This strong or inordinate desire is what I term as a ‘MUST-HAVE’ MENTALITY.

From time to time we Christians fall prey to this ‘must-have’ mentality even without consciously knowing it. In order for us to be happy or be fulfilled we feel we ‘must have’ a certain thing. It could be something as obvious as the shining ‘new car’ parked in your neighbour’s yard or something as harmless as the new leather bound Thompson Chain Reference Bible your pastor was using in Church this Sunday. It matters little that you already have a car (though an old dinky one) and you have a Gideon’s Bible in almost every room!

The Spirit of God is faithful to remind you that you can’t afford that new shiny car and there is no need for the Thompson Bible! But then you have already been enticed and the lust hath conceived! YOU MUST HAVE IT! You know that as a Christian you cannot rob! So what’s the answer?

When we reject God’s warning and decide to follow the lusts of our heart the devil ALWAYS HAS AN ANSWER FOR US. “You can still buy that car, dude” he whispers. But how, you ask? ……. “Buy it on CREDIT! Buy now and pay tomorrow”!

So the covetous Christian unwittingly buys the ‘shiny new car’ which he CANNOT AFFORD and BINDS HIMSELF TO THE LENDER! He is not the ‘free man’ that Christ wants him to be! Scripture says, “THE BORROWER IS SERVANT TO THE LENDER”. [Prov 22:7] God never intended His Children to borrow! He says , “thou shalt LEND unto many nations, but THOU SHALT NOT BORROW’. [see Duet 15:6 & 28:12].

And sadly his covetousness does not end with the shiny new car. He realizes that he is still living in a RENTED HOUSE while his unsaved brother-in-law has just bought his own mansion in Beverly Hills! “No problemo” says the devil. “Your credit score is good and the banker likes you”. So he buys that house too on credit and spends the rest of his life slogging to pay off his debts.

So you see, how refusing to be content and living within our income leads to unwanted sorrow. [I personally worked for a Collection Agency as a collector for four years and I know what I am talking about]. I guess ‘peer-pressure’ has a lot to contribute to it. “Oh what will my neighbours think of me if they see me going around in this old dinky car”?

We must determine to be like the Master who cared little about what men around Him thought, but was always concerned about pleasing His Father![see Mat 22:16]. And the Apostle said, “Do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for IF I YET PLEASED MEN, I SHOULD NOT BE THE SERVANT OF CHRIST”. [Gal 1:10]

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and BE CONTENT WITH SUCH THINGS AS YE HAVE: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”. [Heb 13;5] is more than just good advice. It is a rule to live by for the Christian, if he is to be sober and vigilant and steer clear of the devils jaws [1Pet 5:8].

If there is one lesson that life has taught me and in many ways I am still learning, in my twenty nine years as a Christian, it is this – “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth”. [Lk 12:15]

Think about it – Even if I had a room full of mattresses, I can only lie down on one!

ELECTION AND PREDESTINATION FOUND ALL THROUGH SCRIPTURE

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ELECTION AND PREDESTINATION FOUND ALL THROUGH SCRIPTURE

A.W. Pink

There is not a single book in the Word of God where election is not either expressly stated, strikingly illustrated, or clearly implied. Genesis is full of it: the difference which the Lord made between Nahor and Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, and His loving Jacob and hating Esau are cases to the point. In Exodus we behold the distinction made by God between the Egyptians and the Hebrews. In Leviticus the atonement and all the sacrifices were for the people of God, nor were they bidden to go and “offer” them to the surrounding heathen. In Numbers Jehovah used a Balaam to herald the fact that Israel were “the people” who “shall dwell alone, and shall not be numbered among the nations” (23:9); and therefore was he constrained to cry “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, 0 Israel” (24:5). In Deuteronomy it is recorded “The Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance” (32:9).

In Joshua we behold the discriminating mercy of the Lord bestowed upon Rahab the harlot, while the whole of her city was doomed to destruction. In Judges the sovereignty of God appears in the unlikely instruments selected, by which He wrought victory for Israel: Deborah, Gideon, Samson. In Ruth we have Orpah kissing her mother-in-law and returning to her gods, whereas Ruth cleaves to her and obtained inheritance in Israel—who made them to differ? In 1 Samuel David is chosen for the throne, preferred to his older brethren. In 2 Samuel we learn of the everlasting covenant “ordered in all things, and sure” (23:5). In 1 Kings Elijah becomes a blessing to a single widow selected from many; while in 2 Kings Naaman alone, of all the lepers, was cleansed. In 1 Chronicles it is written “Ye children of Jacob, His chosen ones” (16:13); while in 2 Chronicles we are made to marvel at the grace of God bestowing repentance upon Manasseh.

And so we might go on. The Psalms, Prophets, Gospels and Epistles are so full of this doctrine that he may run that readeth it. [Hab 2:2]

 

SOMETHING FOR EVOLUTIONISTS TO PONDER!

Happy kid girl eating health dark chocolate with pleasure and closed eyes. Vintage portrait

SOMETHING FOR EVOLUTIONISTS TO PONDER!

The Morpho is a butterfly from South America that has some incredible design features. All butterflies have features that are impossible for evolutionists to explain, but the special blue color of the Morpho is extra special.

THERE IS NO BLUE COLOR!

The picture above you are looking at has blue in it but the butterfly does not. Researchers have found that this butterfly has no blue pigment on its wings. If you use a electron microscope and look at the wings of a Morpho you will notice thousands of rows of cones on every scale. These cones have ridges on them that are spaced 0.00022 mm apart. That is 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. These rows are so straight that the maximum distance they go out of line are 0.00002 mm. No machine humans have ever made have this type of accuracy!

If two people hold a rope and shake the end up and down you will notice some of the waves cancel each other out. The ridges on this butterfly do the same thing with light. The ridges are spaced exactly far enough apart to reflect the blue light but cancel out the other colors. Evolution has no way to create beautiful structures just for looks. These wings were created to show the handy work of God.

The metamorphosis and the complex surface of these wings would not be possible unless God designed the DNA. The DNA of a butterfly contains more information than any computer program ever written. Information always comes from an intelligent source, and cannot be produced by time and chance.

Evolution could never produce this incredible detail just for looks. Butterflies were created by our God, Creator, and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

“For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” [Rom 1:20]

Quoted from sixdays.org

 

WHEN GOD CLOSES A DOOR DON’T JUMP THROUGH THE WINDOW

Boy (4-6) standing on arm of chair, peering through window, rear view

WHEN GOD CLOSES A DOOR DON’T JUMP THROUGH THE WINDOW

“When God closes a door, look for a window!” Have you ever heard that before? Someone probably said it to you when you failed to get that perfect job you applied for. Maybe someone spouted it off after you failed to make the team or when that university rejected your application. Whatever the case all of us have had doors close on our hopes and dreams.

So what do we do when that happens? We immediately look for a window!

For what it’s worth-I think looking for a window is a dumb idea.

I’m not convinced God replaces doors with windows. I think a better approach to a closed door is to just keep checking the door. Think about it. The only time you should be jumping through a window is if your house is on fire. In fact, when people are seen climbing through windows it usually means they have been locked out or they’re trying to break in. Climbing through windows usually means someone is in trouble or someone is trying to cause trouble. God knows this. That’s why when he closes a door he usually locks the windows as well. It’s not because he’s mean or wants to frustrate us. He simply closes doors so that he can get our attention.

So, the next time God closes a door in your life, don’t be so quick to look for a window to jump through. I’d suggest you take some time to pause and reflect on why God closed the door in the first place. Maybe he wants to teach you patience or instill in you the discipline of perseverance. He could be protecting you from a bad decision or showing you what it means to fully trust him. Whatever the case, closed doors are God’s way of getting our attention. Read that again. Read it slowly. Let it sink in: God, the creator of the universe, will close doors in your life in order to get your attention. You know what that means? It means God cares about you. It means that God is not distant. It means he wants you to know him personally. So forget about looking for a window and just listen.

In the end, closed doors help us hear the voice of God in our life. Closed doors are God’s way of reminding us that he loves us. It’s his way of correcting our perspective on life and helping us see that what he offers is way more fulfilling than anything this world offers.

So next time God closes a door, instead of looking for a window, listen for what God wants to say to you. When you hear him, check the door again. You might find it open, if not He will open another door for you!

(copied from the Web)

 

CHRIST OUR ROCK OF REFUGE!

Hideth my soul final

CHRIST OUR ROCK OF REFUGE!

The word “REFUGE” is from a Latin word meaning to escape and depicts a place which provides shelter or protection from trouble, danger or distress. A REFUGE is a place of safety and security. And so it is fitting for David to invite us: “O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes REFUGE IN HIM [the Solid Rock]!” [Ps 34:8-] In contrast, in his classic Paradise Lost, John Milton writes “Rocks, dens and caves [of this passing world]…in none of these, find place or REFUGE.”

In the Revelation, kings, great men, commanders, rich, strong, slave and free, all hide themselves in “the rocks” of this world and say “to the rocks “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him Who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.” [Rev 6:15-16-, cp Lk 23:30, Isa 2:19-] Spurgeon writes “It will be vain to call to the rocks in the Day of Judgment, but our ROCK attends to our cries!”

And so we see that every man of every age will chose to hide either in the “rocks” of this passing world or in the “everlasting ROCK” [Isa 26:4], a solid, unchanging ROCK [Heb 13:8, Mal 3:6, Ps 102:26-27]. Indeed, the believer’s sure REFUGE in this world and the next is not a place but a Person, Christ Jesus, our “ROCK in Whom [we] take REFUGE” [Ps 18:2], for “Who is a ROCK, except our God?” [Ps 18:31]. “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” [Ps 118:8] Spurgeon exhorts us “to let the sandy foundations of terrestrial trust be the choice of fools, but we are to be like one who foresees the storm, and builds for ourselves an abiding place upon the Rock of Ages.”

Ray Stedman encourages us to “Remember that, when you feel defeated, when you are under attack, when doubts come flooding into your mind. Remember that you are already encircled by the belt of truth. You have found the One who is the solid, unchanging Rock. The words of the hymn express this well: On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand, All other ground is sinking sand.” Moses affirms this faith stabilizing truth declaring “The ROCK! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just. A God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He” [Dt 32:4]

Moses then reminds us that the world’s “rock is not like our ROCK, as even our enemies concede.” [Dt 32:31]. Dear Father, we who are so prone to wander [and wonder!] ask that by Your sweet Spirit, you might enable us moment by moment “to fix our eyes on Jesus” [Heb 12:2], our “spiritual ROCK” [1Cor 10:4], so that we might not be like those of old who so often “neglected the ROCK” [Dt 32:18], who quickly forgot “the God of their salvation and who did not remember the ROCK of their REFUGE” [Isa 17:10, cp Hos 4:6]. Amen

Indeed, Moses affirms that “The eternal God is thy REFUGE, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee” [Dt 33:27] and “The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” [1Cor 15:26]. “Bless the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD” [Ps 104:35], our everlasting Rock of Refuge. As Spurgeon affirms “I am in a cleft of a ROCK which is so enduring that time can never dissolve it. Precious Christ, may I be found in Thee amidst the concussion of the elements when the world shall melt away [2Pe 3:10-12], and the heavens shall be dissolved [Isa 34:4]! Oh, may I stand in Thee, Thou precious cleft of the Rock, for Thou art all-in-all to my soul!” Puritan Thomas Watson writes that as “the dove hides ‘in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the cliffs’ [Song 2:14], Christ’s wounds are the clefts of the rock where the believing soul hides itself!”

F B Meyer adds that He “is the Rock of Ages! Time may beat upon Him, but it cannot alter Him or impair Him. Whilst this fleeting breath is drawn, when eyes close in death, when unknown worlds are entered, when the judgment throne is set, always and forever the soul may shelter in the cleft Rock of the unchanging Redeemer, and Peace, like a double window, intercepts alarm from the heart which is stayed on God and trusting in Him [Isa 26:3]

Hallelujah!

[Quoted from Preceptaustin.org]

THE FRUITS OF REPENTANCE

Lead me to repentance

THE FRUITS OF REPENTANCE

A.W. Pink

(A ‘must-read’ for those who cherish the ‘Blessed Hope’ – Titus 2:13)

To help the exercised reader identify true repentance, consider the fruits that demonstrate godly repentance.

A real hatred of sin as sin, nor merely its consequences.

A hatred not only of this or that sin, but also of all sin, and particularly of the root itself: self-will. “Thus saith the Lord God, Repent, and turn from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations” (Ezek. 14:6). He, who hates not sin, loves it. God’s demand is, “Ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed” (Ezek. 20:43). One who has really repented can truthfully say, “I hate every false way” (Ps. 119:104). He who once thought a course of holy living was a gloomy thing, has another judgment now. He who once regarded a course of self-pleasing as attractive, now detests it and has purposed to forsake all sin forever. This is the change of mind which God requires.

A deep sorrow for sin.

The nonsaving repentance of so many is principally a distress occasioned by forebodings of divine wrath; but evangelical repentance produces a deep grief from a sense of having offended so infinitely excellent and glorious a Being as God. The one is the effect of fear, the other of love; the one is only for a brief season, the other is the habitual practice for life. Many a man is filled with regret and remorse over a misspent life, yet has no poignant sorrow of heart for his ingratitude and rebellion against God. But a regenerated soul is cut to the quick for having disregarded and opposed his great Benefactor and rightful Sovereign. This is the change of heart which God requires.

“Ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner . . . for godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation” (11 Cor. 7:9-10). Such a sorrow is produced in the heart by the Holy Spirit and has God for its object. It is a grief for having despisedsuch a God, rebelled against His authority, and been indifferent to His glory. It is this which causes us to “weep bitterly” (Matt. 26:75). He who has not grieved over sin takes pleasure therein. God requires us to “afflict” our souls (Lev. 16:29). His call is, “Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your hearts and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful” (Joel 2:12-13). Only that sorrow for sin is genuine which causes us to crucify “the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Gal. 5:24).

A confessing of sin.

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper” (Prov. 28:13). It is “second nature” to the sinner to deny his sins, directly or indirectly, to minimize, or make excuses for them. It was thus with Adam and Eve at the beginning. But when the Holy Spirit works in any soul, his sins are brought to light, and he, in turn, acknowledges them to God. There is no relief for the stricken heart until he does so: “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long, for day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer” (Ps. 32:3-4). The frank and brokenhearted owning of our sins is imperative if peace of conscience is to be maintained. This is the change of attitude which God requires.

An actual turning from sin.

“Surely there is no one here so stupefied, with the laudanum of hellish indifference as to imagine that he can revel in his lusts, and afterward wear the white robes of the redeemed in Paradise. If you imagine you can be partakers of the blood of Christ, and yet drink the cup of Belial; if you imagine you can be members of Satan and members of Christ at the same time, ye have less sense than one would give you credit for. No, you know that right hands must be cut off and right eyes plucked out—that the most darling sins must be renounced—if you would enter the kingdom of God” (from Spurgeon on Luke 13:24).

Three Greek words are used in the New Testament which present different phases of repentance.
First, metanoeo, which means a change of mind (Matt. 3:2; Mark 1:15, etc.).
Second, metanolomai which means a change of heart (Matt. 21:29, 32; Heb. 7:21, etc.).
Third, metanoia, which means a change of course or life (Matt. 3:8; 9:13; Acts 20:21).

The three must go together for a genuine repentance. Many experience a change of mind: they are instructed, and know better, but they continue to defy God. Some are even exercised in heart or conscience, yet they continue in sin. Some amend their ways, yet not from love to God and hatred of sin. Some are informed in mind and uneasy in heart, who never reform their lives. The three must go together.

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prov. 28:13). He who does not, fully in his heart’s desire and increasingly so in his life, turn from his wicked ways has not repented, If I really hate sin and sorrow over it, shall I not abandon it? Note carefully the “wherein in time past”of Ephesians 2:2 and “were sometimes” of Titus 3:3! “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him” (Isa. 55:7). This is the change, of course, which God requires.

Accompanied by restitution where this is necessary and possible.

No repentance can be true which is not accompanied by a complete amendment of life. The prayer of a genuinely penitent soul is, “Create in me a clean heart, 0 God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Ps. 5 1:10). And where one really desires to be right with God, he does so with his fellow-men too. One who, in his past life, has wronged another, and now makes no determined effort to do everything in his power to right that wrong, certainly has not repented! John G. Paton tells of how after a certain servant was converted, the first thing he did was to restore unto his master all the articles which he had stolen from him!

These fruits are permanent.

Because true repentance is preceded by a realization of the loveliness and excellency of the divine character and an apprehension of the exceeding sinfulness of sin for having treated with contempt so infinitely glorious a Being, contrition for and hatred of all evil is abiding. As we grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord, of our indebtedness and obligations to Him, our repentance deepens, we judge ourselves more thoroughly, and take a lower and lower place before Him. The more the heart pants after a closer walk with God, the more will it put away everything which hinders this.

Yet repentance is never perfect in this life. Our faith is never so complete that we get to the place where the heart is no more harassed with doubtings. And our repentance is never so pure that it is altogether free from hardness of heart. Repentance is a lifelong act. We need to pray daily for a deeper repentance.

In view of all that has been said, we trust it is now abundantly clear to every impartial reader that those preachers who repudiate repentance are, to poor lost souls, “physicians of no value.” They who leave out repentance, are preaching “another gospel” (Gal. 1:6) than Christ (Mark 1:15; 6:12) and His apostles (Acts 17:30; 20:21) proclaimed. Repentance is an evangelical duty, though it is not to be rested in, for it contributesnothing unto salvation. Those who have never repented are yet in the snare of the devil (II Tim. 2:25-26), and are treasuring up to themselves wrath against the day of wrath (Rom. 2:4-5).

If, therefore, sinners would take the wisest course to be the better for the use of the means of grace, they must try to fall in with God’s design and the Spirit’s influences, and labor to see and feel their sinful, guilty, undone state. For this end they must forsake vain company, drop their inordinate worldly pursuits, abandon everything which tends to keep them secure in sin and quench the motions of the Spirit; and for this end must they read, meditate, and pray; comparing themselves with God’s holy law, trying to view themselves in the same light that God does, and pass the same judgment upon themselves; so that they may be in a way to approve of the law and admire the grace of the gospel; to judge themselves and humbly apply to the free grace of God through Jesus Christ for all things, and return through Him to God. (Jos. Bellamy)

A summary of what has been before us may be helpful to some.

1. Repentance is an evangelical duty, and no preacher is entitled to be regarded as a servant of Christ’s if he be silent thereon (Luke 24:47).

2. Repentance is required by God in this dispensation (Acts 17:30) as in all preceding ones. 3. Repentance is in nowise meritorious, yet without it the gospel cannot be savingly believed (Matt. 21:32; Mark 1:15). 4. Repentance is a Spirit-given realization of the exceeding sinfulness of sin and a taking sides with God against myself. 5. Repentance presupposes a hearty approval of God’s law and a full consent to its righteous requirements, which are all summed up in “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart 6. Repentance is accompanied by a genuine hatred of and sorrow for sin. 7. Repentance is evidenced by a forsaking of sin.

3. Repentance is known by its permanency: there must be a continual turning away from sin and grieving over each fall thereinto. 9. Repentance, while permanent, is never complete or perfect in this life. 10. Repentance is to be sought as a gift of Christ (Acts 5:31).