"How often do we hear about the discipline of the Christian life these days? How often do we talk about it? How often is it really to be found at the heart of our evangelical living? There was a time in the Christian church when this was at the very center, and it is, I profoundly believe, because of our neglect of this discipline that the church is in her present position. Indeed, I see no hope whatsoever of any true revival and reawakening until we return to it." - D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Edward Payson Scott (1832-1869) was an America missionary to India during the Civil War. The following excerpt comes from Thomas Ray at the The Baptist Bible Tribune.
“After seven years of diligent and faithful service, Scott became convinced God had called him to take the gospel to the unevangelized Naga tribes. The Naga were brutal and cruel headhunters. Before a young man was allowed to marry he had to kill at least 30 of his enemies, after which he would shrink their heads and wear them around his neck as a token of his bravery. Only after accomplishing this feat would he be considered brave enough to defend a wife.
The British military commander, upon hearing of Scott’s plans, warned him that any attempt to enter the Naga territory would certainly cost him his life. Scott was undeterred. Armed with only his Bible and violin and prayer for the success of his mission, he entered Naga territory. Suddenly he was surrounded by 12 savage warrior chiefs; their spears were raised and death seemed imminent. Scott demonstrated no fear, placed his violin on his shoulder, and began to play and sing “Am I a Soldier of the Cross.” The Naga, mesmerized by the beautiful music, slowly lowered their spears. Scott, sensing he had gained their attention, explained he had come to tell them about the one true God. He asked the chiefs for their permission to live among them. They agreed to his request but only if he would bring his violin.
Scott’s ministry among the Naga produced amazing results. In fact, the Naga would become one of the most evangelized people groups in India. Tragically, in 1869, Asiatic cholera struck the Naga and thousands died from this dreaded disease, including missionary Edward Scott. The last words he spoke were in response to his wife’s question, “Do you have peace?” He responded, “Yes, perfect peace.”
Other accounts attribute the song that won the hearts of the Naga people to "All Hail the Power of Jesus Name". However, it appears there is stronger support for Isaac Watt's "Am I a Soldier of the Cross". Either way, the fact that God used Gospel music and a fearless missionary to reach an otherwise unreachable tribe is amazing.
arr. by Ralph Harrison, pub.1784
A follow’r of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His name?
On flow’ry beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?
Increase my courage, Lord;
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.
Shall conquer, though they die;
They see the triumph from afar,
By faith’s discerning eye.
And all Thy armies shine
In robes of vict’ry through the skies,
The glory shall be Thine.
Saturday, January 24, 2015
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." Romans 1:18
... It is the universal voice of nature, and is also revealed in the consciences of men. It was revealed when the sentence of death was first pronounced, the earth cursed, and man driven out of the earthly paradise, and afterwards by such examples of punishment as those of the deluge, and the destruction of the Cities of the Plain by fire from heaven, but especially by the reign of death throughout the world. It was proclaimed in the curse of the law on every transgression, and was intimated in the institution of sacrifice, and in all the services of the Mosaic dispensation.
In the eighth chapter of this Epistle, the Apostle calls the attention of believers to the fact that the whole creation has become subject to vanity, and groaneth and travaileth together in pain. The same creation which declares that there is a God, and publishes His glory, also proves that He is the enemy of sin and the avenger of the crimes of men. So that this revelation of wrath is universal throughout the world, and none can plead ignorance of it.
But, above all, the wrath of God was revealed from heaven when the Son of God came down to manifest the Divine character, and when that wrath was displayed in His sufferings and death, in a manner more awful than by all the tokens God had before given of His displeasure against sin. Besides this, the future and eternal punishment of the wicked is now declared in terms more solemn and explicit than formerly. Under the new dispensation, there are two revelations given from heaven, one of wrath, the other of grace. "1
1. Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans by Robert Haldane; pg. 55-56; Forgotten Books 2012; originally published 1874
Thursday, January 22, 2015
If you are one of those women and have wondered if it's even possible to be forgiven and enjoy peace again, God has made a gracious provision for you. He has sent His only Son Jesus Christ, who was literally God Himself manifest in the flesh (John 1:1-3). Jesus Christ was without sin and lived a perfect life for the express purpose of dying to save sinners. He willingly gave his life (John 10:18) as a ransom for all who turn away from their sins and by faith put their trust in Him (Matthew 20:28). Whether our sin is great or small, his sacrifice was a sufficient payment for every sin we have ever or will ever commit.
No matter who we are or what we have done, there is nothing we can do to merit God's forgiveness except to believe in Christ (John 6:28-29). Salvation is a free gift from God that cannot be earned (Ephesians 2:8-9). Christ rose from the dead three days later as proof that he was who he claimed to be. (I Corinthians 15:3-4) He is alive today (Matthew 28:20) and has promised to cleanse you from every sin, free you from your burden of guilt and comfort you through his Holy Spirit. (Matthew 11:28)
" God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God." Romans 5:8
Maybe you are already a Christian and know that you are forgiven and you are still grieving the loss of your baby. You are probably familiar with Psalm 139 so please take a fresh look at verse 16.
" Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
Dear sister, this verse applies to both you and to your child. It reveals that every moment of our existence from the time of our conception was pre-ordained by God. Even though a woman who has aborted her child must take full responsibility for her actions by confessing it to God and repenting of it, it is still God who ultimately has predetermined how long each person lives, even if they are still in the womb. God is sovereign over all things, both good and evil, even though this has always been a great mystery.
When you meditate on this beautiful Psalm I pray it brings you much comfort through knowing that God is intimately involved in every detail of your life. He loves you and cares for you. May you sleep peacefully tonight knowing that He has forgiven you because of what Christ did on the cross on your behalf.
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
5 You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.
Photo by Katie Tegtmeyer, Creative Commons license
Monday, January 19, 2015
Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed can sure be depressing. The world is filled with so much trouble. The church is full of troubles too. Robert and I were talking about this over coffee this morning and I posed the question “How much attention should Christians be giving to things that are so “negative”? In his own inimitable way he said, “As much as Christ and the Apostles did in the New Testament”.We discussed how Romans chapters 1-3 are clearly a downer when we read the long list of indictments against humanity :
“Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” Roman 3:13-14
But then Paul switches gears with all those wonderful BUT GOD’s and we see that God has given us Christ to redeem us and give us hope, and an inheritance of eternal blessing:
“Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” Romans 4:7-8
It’s unrealistic to expect Christians to go around grinning like a Cheshire cat. But it’s also unhealthy to allow ourselves to become miserable over the state of things. There is a monumental difference between joy and the superficial kind of “happiness” that is solely contingent upon circumstances. True or genuine happiness is the kind that comes from God. It is that “peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, [which] will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
I’ve title this post after a Bluegrass Song by the Carter family that I’ve loved since I was young. I hope this quick little blogpost gets a lot of hits today because I think it's a message Christians could use as we witness the world and the church deteriorating around us.
How many of those things that bring us low would be lifted off our shoulders by simply resting in what Christ has done and will continue to do for us?
“Let us greet with the song of hope each day
Tho' the moment be cloudy or fair
Let us trust in our Saviour alway
Who keepeth everyone in His care”