Sunday, August 31, 2008
“On mine arm shall they trust.”
- Isaiah 51:5
In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust to, and is therefore compelled to cast himself on his God alone. When his vessel is on its beam-ends, and no human deliverance can avail, he must simply and entirely trust himself to the providence and care of God. Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this! O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone! There is no getting at our God sometimes because of the multitude of our friends; but when a man is so poor, so friendless, so helpless that he has nowhere else to turn, he flies into his Father’s arms, and is blessedly clasped therein! When he is burdened with troubles so pressing and so peculiar, that he cannot tell them to any but his God, he may be thankful for them; for he will learn more of his Lord then than at any other time. Oh, tempest-tossed believer, it is a happy trouble that drives thee to thy Father! Now that thou hast only thy God to trust to, see that thou puttest thy full confidence in him. Dishonour not thy Lord and Master by unworthy doubts and fears; but be strong in faith, giving glory to God. Show the world that thy God is worth ten thousand worlds to thee. Show rich men how rich thou art in thy poverty when the Lord God is thy helper. Show the strong man how strong thou art in thy weakness when underneath thee are the everlasting arms. Now is the time for feats of faith and valiant exploits. Be strong and very courageous, and the Lord thy God shall certainly, as surely as he built the heavens and the earth, glorify himself in thy weakness, and magnify his might in the midst of thy distress. The grandeur of the arch of heaven would be spoiled if the sky were supported by a single visible column, and your faith would lose its glory if it rested on anything discernible by the carnal eye. May the Holy Spirit give you to rest in Jesus this closing day of the month.
“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light.”
- John 1:7
As he is in the light! Can we ever attain to this? Shall we ever be able to walk as clearly in the light as he is whom we call “Our Father,” of whom it is written, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all?” Certainly, this is the model which it set before us, for the Saviour himself said, “Be ye perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect;” and although we may feel that we can never rival the perfection of God, yet we are to seek after it, and never to be satisfied until we attain to it. The youthful artist, as he grasps his early pencil, can hardly hope to equal Raphael or Michael Angelo, but still, if he did not have a noble beau ideal before his mind, he would only attain to something very mean and ordinary. But what is meant by the expression that the Christian is to walk in light as God is in the light? We conceive it to import likeness, but not degree. We are as truly in the light, we are as heartily in the light, we are as sincerely in the light, as honestly in the light, though we cannot be there in the same measure. I cannot dwell in the sun, it is too bright a place for my residence, but I can walk in the light of the sun; and so, though I cannot attain to that perfection of purity and truth which belongs to the Lord of hosts by nature as the infinitely good, yet I can set the Lord always before me, and strive, by the help of the indwelling Spirit, after conformity to his image. That famous old commentator, John Trapp, says, “We may be in the light as God is in the light for quality, but not for equality.” We are to have the same light, and are as truly to have it and walk in it as God does, though, as for equality with God in his holiness and purity, that must be left until we cross the Jordan and enter into the perfection of the Most High. Mark that the blessings of sacred fellowship and perfect cleansing are bound up with walking in the light.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Leghorn, May 2, 1839.
TO all of you, my beloved flock, who have received Christ, and walk in Him, your pastor wishes grace, and mercy, and peace, from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
My heart’s desire and prayer for you every day is that you may be saved. I am now far from you in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit. I thank my God without ceasing, for as many of you as have been awakened to flee from the wrath to come, have rested your souls upon the good word of God concerning Jesus, and have tasted the love of God. In every prayer of mine for you all, I ask that ye may continue in the faith, grounded and settled—that ye may be like trees, rooted in Christ Jesus, or like a holy temple built up in Him who is the only foundation–stone.
I expected to have written you from London, and again before leaving France; but we have traveled so rapidly, often day and night, and the fatigue was so great to my weak frame, that I was disappointed in this; but I did not forget you night or day, and I know well I am not forgotten by you. Since I wrote you last I have passed through many cities and countries, and seen many faces and things strange to me. Many lessons for my own soul, and for yours, I have learned. At present I must write you shortly.
We left London on April 11, and next morning crossed the British Channel from Dover to Boulogne, and found ourselves on the shores of France. The very first night we spent in France, we were visited by a most interesting Jew, evidently anxious about his soul. He spoke with us for many hours, accepted the New Testament in Hebrew, and bade goodbye with much emotion. We thanked God for this token for good. Pray for us, that God may give us good success, that we may have the souls of Israel for our hire.
From Boulogne we traveled to Paris, by day and by night, and spent a Sabbath there. Alas! poor Paris knows no Sabbath; all the shops are open, and all the inhabitants are on the wing in search of pleasures—pleasures that perish in the using. I thought of Babylon and of Sodom as I passed through the crowd. I cannot tell how I longed for the peace of a Scottish Sabbath.
There is a place in Paris called the Champs Elysees, or Plains of Heaven, a beautiful public walk, with trees and gardens; we had to cross it on passing to the Protestant church. It is the chief scene of their Sabbath desecration, and an awful scene it is. Oh, thought I, if this is the heaven a Parisian loves, he will never enjoy the pure heaven that is above. Try yourselves by that text, Isaiah 58:13, 14. I remember of once preaching to you from it. Do you really delight in the Sabbath day? If not, you are no child of God. I remember with grief that there are many among you that despise the Sabbath, some who buy and sell on that holy day, some who spend its blessed hours in worldly pleasures, in folly and sin. Oh! you would make Dundee another Paris if you could. Dear believers, oppose these ungodly practices with all your might. The more others dishonor God’s holy day, the more do you honor it, and show that you love it of all the seven the best. Even in Paris, as in Sardis, we found a little flock of believers. We heard a sweet sermon in English, and another in French. There are only two thousand Protestant hearers out of the half million that inhabit Paris, and there are fourteen faithful sermons preached every Sabbath.
We left the French capital on April 16, a lovely evening, with a deep blue sky above, and a lovely country before us, on the banks of the Seine. This would be a delightsome land, if it only had the light of God’s countenance upon it. We traveled three days and three nights, by Troyes, Dijon, and Chalons, till we came to Lyons, upon the rapid river Rhone, in the south of France. The Lord stirred up kind friends to meet us. Lyons is famous as being the place where many Christians were martyred in the first ages, and where many were burned at the time of the Reformation because they loved and confessed the Lord Jesus. God loves the place still. There is a small body of three hundred believers, who live here under a faithful pastor, Mr. Cordees. He cheered our hearts much, and sent us away with affectionate prayers.
That day we sailed down the Rhone more than 100 miles, through a most wonderful country. We hoped to have spent the Sabbath at Marseilles; but just as we entered the Mediterranean Sea, a storm of wind arose, and drove the vessel on a barren island at the mouth of the Rhone. We all landed and spent our Sabbath quietly on the desert island. It was your communion Sabbath, and I thought that perhaps this providence was given me that I might have a quiet day to pray for you. There were about twelve fishermen’s huts on the island, made of reeds, with a vine growing before the door, and a fig tree in their garden. We gave tracts and books in French to all our fellow passengers, and to the inhabitants, and tried to hallow the Sabbath.
My heart went up to God the whole day for you all, and for my dear friends who would be ministering to you. I tried to go over you one by one, as many as I could call to mind. My longing desire for you was, that Jesus might reveal Himself to you in the breaking of bread, that you might have heart–filling views of the lovely person of Immanuel, and might draw from Him rivers of comfort, life, and holiness. I trust your fellowship was with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ. Many I know are ignorant of Jesus. I trembled when I thought of their taking the bread and wine. You all know my mind upon this.
The next morning the storm abated, and we sailed over the tideless sea, and reached the beautiful harbor of Marseilles by eight o’clock. We had conference with a faithful young minister, and with the rabbi of the Jews. We also attended the synagogue the same evening. The Jews of France are fast falling into infidelity, especially the younger Jews. They do not love the law and the prophets as their fathers did. They are, indeed, the dry bones in Ezekiel 37. Still God can make them live. It is our part to speak to them the Word of the Lord, and to pray for the quickening Spirit.
True Christians in France are increasing. There are four hundred Protestant ministers, and nearly one–half of these are faithful men, who know nothing among their flocks but Christ and Him crucified. In some places Christians seem more bold and devoted than in Scotland. It is very pleasant to hear them singing the French psalms: they sing with all their heart, and are much given to prayer. Oh, my dear Christians, be like them in these things! May the same Holy Spirit, who has often visited you in times gone by, fill your hearts more than ever with praise and prayer!
Catholicism in France is waxing bolder. The first day we landed on the shore, it was evident we were in a land of darkness. On the height above Boulogne, a tall white cross attracted our eyes. We found on it an image of our Savior nailed to the tree, larger than life; the spear, the hammer, the nails, the sponge, were all there. It was raised by some shipwrecked fishermen; and sailors’ wives go there in a storm to pray for their absent husbands. The Catholic priests meet us in every street: they wear a three–cornered hat, black bands, a black mantle with a sash, and large buckles on their shoes; they have all, a dark, suspicious look about them. At the entrance of every village there is a cross, and the churches are full of pictures and images. I went into one church in Paris, the finest in France, where the crosses were all of pure silver, and there was a large white image of the Virgin Mary, holding the infant Jesus in her arms. Many rich and poor were kneeling on the pavement before the image, silently praying. Gross darkness covers the people.
A priest traveled one whole night with us in the coach. We argued with him first in French and then in Latin, trying to convince him of his errors, showing him his need of peace with God, and a new heart. In Psalm 137 you will see that Babylon, or Catholicism, is “doomed to destruction;” and in Revelation 18 you will see that her destruction will be very sudden and very terrible. Oh, that it may come soon, for thousands are perishing under its soul–destroying errors! And yet remember what I used to read to you out of Martin Boos, and remember the saying of the Lord to Elijah, 1 Kings 19. There may be many hidden ones even in Babylon. The whole way through France we distributed French tracts. Many hundreds in this way received a message of life. In every village they came crowding around us to receive them. Pray that the dew of the Spirit may make the seed sown by the wayside spring up.
We were too sate for the first vessel to Malta, and therefore resolved to sail into Italy. We left Marseilles on April twenty–third, and landed at Genoa on the twenty–fourth. Genoa is one of the most beautiful towns in the world: the most of the houses and churches are of pure white marble, and from the sea look like palaces. But Satan’s seat is there: we dared not distribute a single tract or book in Genoa—we would have been imprisoned immediately. The Catholic priests, in their black, dismal cloaks, and the monks with their coarse, brown dress, tied with a cord, a crucifix and beads hanging round their neck, bare feet, and cowl, swarm in every street. I counted that we met twenty of them in a ten minutes’ walk. Catholicism reigns here triumphant, yet the people “are sitting still, and at ease,” living for this world only. Oh! it is an awful thing to be at ease when under the wrath of God. Every place I see in Italy makes me praise God that you have the gospel so freely preached unto you. Prize it highly; do not neglect the wells of salvation that How so freely for you.
The next day we sailed for Leghorn, where we have been ever since. We are living in the house where the excellent Mr. Martin, once minister of St. George’s, Edinburgh, died in 1834. We visited his grave. I prayed that, like him, we might be faithful unto the end.
There are from ten to twenty thousand Jews here. We went to the synagogue the night we arrived, and twice since; it is a beautiful building inside, capable of holding two thousand persons. The place where they keep the law, written on a parchment roll, is finely ornamented with marble; so is the desk kept where they read the prayers. Lamps are continually burning. One rabbi was chanting the prayers when we entered. Beside the ark there stood three rabbis, in the Eastern dress, with turbans and flowing robes, and long beards. They were much reverenced, and many came to kiss their hand and receive their blessing. One of them is from Jerusalem; we have had many interesting conversations with him. Every day we have met with several Jews; they are very friendly to us, and we try to convince them out of the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ. There are about 250 Protestants here; and we have tried to stir them up also to care for their souls. Dr. Black preached to them in our hotel last Sabbath evening.
Hitherto the Lord hath helped us. Tomorrow we sail from Italy to Malta, then for Egypt, and then for the Holy Land. Dear believers, it is a sweet consolation to me that your prayers go with me wherever I go. Often, perhaps, they close the mouth of the adversary, often keep back the storms from our vessels, often open a way to the hearts of those we meet, often bring down a sweet stream of the Spirit to water my thirsty soul. May I be enabled to make a sweet exchange with you, praying my heavenly Father to render double unto each of your bosoms what you pray for me! May my dear brother, who, I trust, fills my place among you, be made a blessing to you all! May his own soul be watered while he waters yours! Join him with me in your supplications. May he win many souls among you that I could never win.
This is Thursday evening. I trust you are at this moment met together in the prayer meeting. Oh! do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together. My heart is with you all. May the Spirit fill the whole church and every heart with His presence and power. My body is stirs far from being strong. I am more and more convinced that I did right in leaving you. I trust to be restored to you again in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. “The will of the Lord be done.”
My dear brother who is with me, whom you know well, and who daily joins me in fervent prayers for you, sends his salutations. Remember me to all who are sick and afflicted. Alas! how many of you may be laboring and heavy laden, that I know not of; but Jesus knows your sorrows. I commend you to the good Physician.
My dear children in the Sabbath schools, I always think upon on the Sabbath evenings, and on those who patiently labor among them. The Lord Himself give you encouragement, and a full reward.
To all I say, keep close to Christ, dear friends. Do not be enticed away from Him; He is all your righteousness, and all mine; out of Him have all your strength, and I mine. It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirits. Farewell.
Friday, August 29, 2008
|Content to Be Good, Called to Be Godly |
"That morning I honestly questioned if I was busy with the Lord's agenda for my life or if I was simply caught up in the devil's suggestions. I had a ministry... but was it mine, or God's?" Author Janet Denison reflects on what to do when your life is full... but your soul is empty.
Read the full article here
Is the Bible 'Enough' for Church Growth?
Kenneth S. Hemphill
I'm not suggesting that we don't need to organize for Bible study and outreach. But do we really agree with the Apostle Paul that it is "God who gives the growth"?
Read the full article here
| NEWS |
Gay Issues Left Undecided at Lambeth Conference
Reverend Peter Frank, spokesman for Anglican Communion Network, an evangelical renewal movement, said that by design, the Lambeth Conference was structured to forestall any decision-making.
Read the full article here
| FAMILY |
Creating a Kinder, Gentler Marriage
Pam and Bill Farrel
The presence of kind words and actions in a marriage often directly relates to what your parents taught you. Whether you're in need of a full marriage makeover or just wanting to improve a little in this area, here are some ways to bring more kindness into your home...
Read the full article here
The Call to Adopt: How Author Karen Kingsbury Doubled Her Family
For years, shelved somewhere in the storage space of my mind was a dry statistic, a fact that had little bearing on my daily reality: Millions of children around the globe were without a family...
Read the full article here
| ENTERTAINMENT |
Three Years Later, the "Traveling Pants" Still Fit Nicely
Proving that popular books can be beautifully adapted for the big screen, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 has all the verve and spunk of the original as the four friends are now wrestling with being college-age girls.
Read the full article here
A Hero Lies within on Nim's Island
Likely targeting kids five through twelve, the latest Walden Media film is a family-friendly, take-me-away adventure with a good message about finding heroism from within.
Read the full article here
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Since January 1st, Oprah Winfrey has been offering lessons on the Course in Miracles by New Age author Marianne Williamson on her satellite radio program. Now she is in the midst of a 10 week webcast with New Age author Eckhart Tolle who wrote a book entitled: A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose.
What are these teachings? Ingrid reads quotes from Tolle that attempt to point people to a divinity within themselves, a concept that is wholly unbiblical. Such quotes expose Tolle for what he really is; a promoter of the New Spirituality, or what in the past has been commonly known as the New Age.
Ingrid then introduces Warren Smith who is an author of books on the New Spirituality. As a former New Ager, his books include: Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose Driven Church, The Light that was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace, and Reinventing Jesus Christ--The New Gospel.
Who is Eckhart Tolle? Smith says that Tolle was born in Germany and educated in London. He came to public attention through his book, The Power of Now--A Guide to Enlightenment. Smith noted that this was a slow moving book until Oprah Winfrey announced that it was one of her favorites. That helped catapult the book to the top of the New York Times bestseller list.
This Crosstalk looks at the increased presence of this New Spirituality movement. It's an influence that is growing due to the ever increasing desperation of the world. This desperation is causing its proponents to speak more boldly about their false belief that humanity must understand the need for a shift in everyone's consciousness so that we all recognize the Christ within ourselves.
- From CrosstalkAmerica.com
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008