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Showing posts from August, 2016

The "Uncommon" Sarah Edwards

Image from Colonial Quills By Camille Van Buren - Posted at The Highway: There are many great men within American history. Their stories are of dedication to various aspects of American life from the founding of our nation to heroism in battlefields defending her. History easily remembers the men who spent their lives fortifying America, but it often forgets the men who impacted our nation through their faith in God. Many of these stories of faith are found in Puritan America; a time when faith was the foundation of family, church and community. These men, such as John Winthrop, David Brainerd, Cotton Mather, and George Whitefield laid the foundation of faith on which a nation was built. And the backbone of these men lay in the women who supported them. One particularly strong woman was Sarah Pierrepont Edwards, the wife of Jonathan Edwards. Sarah was not just another woman on the pages of history; rather, her amazing faith became her legacy. Sarah’s virtue was intertwined in t

Rev. Samuel Occam: A Great Blessing of the Great Awakening

Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History : In these devotionals before, we have written several times on the ministry of David Brainerd to the native Americans in the land. Some of you may be familiar with the work of John Eliott among the same people in pre-Revolutionary days. Others of early Christianity, including many Presbyterian clergy, saw in their existence an opportunity to spread the gospel. But no where was there such a ray of hope than in the person and work of the Rev. Samuel Occom, a native American himself. Born in 1743, of the Mohegan tribe, he was one of the first converts from among the native American tribes during the First Great Awakening. It was said that his mother had first come to knowledge of Christ herself after contact with the revivalist preachers of the New Side Presbyterians. Then Samuel Occom himself, at age 16, came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through the ministry of a Great Awakening preacher named Davenport. Samuel sought out a

The Mark of the Christian

Reformation Scotland Posted at Reformation Scotland: You might recognise this title from a well-known book written by Francis Schaeffer. His point was that love “is the mark Christ gave Christians to wear before the world. Only with this mark may the world know that Christians are indeed Christians and that Jesus was sent by the Father”. It was a point made centuries earlier by Hugh Binning. He called Christian love the “badge that Christ left to his disciples: if we cast this away on every disagreement, we disown our Master, and disclaim his token and badge”. Both of course refer to Christ’s words in John 13:35 that “love one to another” is the way by which all men will recognise Christ’s disciples. During his lifetime Binning experienced sad disagreements with those who were otherwise fully agreed on the Church’s faith and practice. He was a man of principle who did not cast away his convictions when difficulties arose. But he was also a man of peace who loved obedience to Chr

Of Prayer: Which is the third petition?

Heidelberg Catechism (extended) The Catechism Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion As the Same is Taught in the Reformed Churches and Schools (with the Scripture references written out) Note. This Catechism is fully based on the Scriptures. The references to Scripture are indicated in parentheses with a letter. For example, the letter (a) points to the texts (a) placed after the answer. Of Prayer 49. Lord's Day  Q. 124. Which is the third petition?  A. "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" ; that is, grant that we and all men may renounce our own will, (a) and without murmuring obey thy will, which is only good; (b) that every one may attend to, and perform the duties of his station and calling, (c) as willingly and faithfully as the angels do in heaven. (d)  (a) Matt.16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Tit.2:11 For the grace of God th

The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness

By Dr. Peter Masters - Posted at The Highway: When I was a youngster and newly saved, it seemed as if the chief goal of all zealous Christians, whether Calvinistic or Arminian, was consecration. Sermons, books and conferences stressed this in the spirit of Romans 12.1-2 , where the beseeching apostle calls believers to present their bodies a living sacrifice, and not to be conformed to this world. The heart was challenged and stirred. Christ was to be Lord of one’s life, and self must be surrendered on the altar of service for him. But now, it appears, there is a new Calvinism, with new Calvinists, which has swept the old objectives aside. A recent book, Young, Restless, Reformed , by Collin Hansen tells the story of how a so-called Calvinistic resurgence has captured the imaginations of thousands of young people in the USA, and this book has been reviewed with great enthusiasm in well-known magazines in the UK, such as Banner of Truth, Evangelical Times , and Reformation Today .

The Great Ejection

Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History: Title page of Farewell Sermons preached  by Ejected Ministers in 1662 - Wikipedia August 24: The Great Ejection (1662) 2000 Pastors Refused to Compromise Suppose . . . just suppose now . . . that you as a minister, or your minister, had a certain time period to decide to renounce the ordination vows made at ordination, subscribe to a different set of doctrinal standards, promise to arrange the worship according to a different standard of worship, agree to be re-ordained by another ecclesiastical body, and do all this by a certain day, or be deposed by the spiritual authorities which had the approval of the government. Talk about change! And yet this was the way it was on this day in Presbyterian history, August 24, 1662 in the British Isles. It was called officially The Act of Uniformity, 1662. Its longer title was “An Act for the Uniformity of Public Prayers and Administration of Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies and for

Thomas Cranmer's Martyrdom - By John Foxe

Posted at Ex-Classics: Cranmer's Martyrdom "Then was an iron chain tied about Cranmer, whom when they perceived to be more stedfast than that he could be moved from his sentence, they commanded the fire to be set unto him. "And when the wood was kindled, and the fire began to burn near him, stretching out his arm, he put his right hand into the flame, which he held so stedfast and immovable, (saving that once with the same hand he wiped his face,) that all men might see his hand burned before his body was touched. His body did so abide the burning of the flame with such constancy and stedfastness, that standing always in one place without moving his body, he seemed to move no more than the stake to which he was bound; his eyes were lifted up into heaven, and oftentimes he repeated "his unworthy right hand," so long as his voice would suffer him; and using often the words of Stephen, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," in the greatness of the

Daily Devotional: How To Run the Race

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. HEBREWS 12:2 "Too much occupied with our work, we can forget our Master, it is possible to have the hands full and the heart empty." - Theodore Monod Christ Himself is to be the single object of our attention in the spiritual race which we pursue. The word looking comes from a verb which means to look away from. It denotes the idea of viewing with undivided, fixed, earnest attention. This is the look of total dependence upon Christ for all we need as we run. Christ is the source of all our requirements. Thus the verse can be read, Looking into Jesus, a deep, penetrating look, filling our minds with all that Christ is, constantly communing with Him and drawing out of Him strength for the course. To run looking into Jesus also indicates total obedience. In the context, Paul reminds us that there is a race set before us (v. 1). We must fix our purpose on that race and allow nothing to divert our attentio

Wrath to God's Glory

Jerome of Prague - Foxes Book of Martyrs By C.H. Spurgeon - Posted at Daily Checkbook/ Sermon Audio: "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain" — Psalm 76:10 Wicked men will be wrathful. Their anger we must endure as the badge of our calling, the token of our separation from them: if we were of the world, the world would love its own. Our comfort is that the wrath of man shall be made to redound to the glory of God. When in their wrath the wicked crucified the Son of God they were unwittingly fulfilling the divine purpose, and in a thousand cases the willfulness of the ungodly is doing the same. They think themselves free, but like convicts in chains they are unconsciously working out the decrees of the Almighty. The devices of the wicked are overruled for their defeat. They act in a suicidal way and baffle their own plottings. Nothing will come of their wrath which can do us real harm. When they burned the martyrs, th

Of Prayer: Which is the second petition?

Heidelberg Catechism (extended) The Catechism Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion As the Same is Taught in the Reformed Churches and Schools (with the Scripture references written out) Note. This Catechism is fully based on the Scriptures. The references to Scripture are indicated in parentheses with a letter. For example, the letter (a) points to the texts (a) placed after the answer. Of Prayer 48. Lord's Day  Q. 123. Which is the second petition?  A. "Thy kingdom come"; that is, rule us so by thy word and Spirit, that we may submit ourselves more and more to thee; (a) preserve and increase thy church; (b) destroy the works of the devil, and all violence which would exalt itself against thee; and also all wicked counsels devised against thy holy word; (c) till the full perfection of thy kingdom take place, (d) wherein thou shalt be all in all. (e)  (a) Matt.6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things

Maybe They Really Don’t Get It

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog: Over the years of battling the moralists (Federal Visionists, Norman Shepherd et al) I’ve not always been certain whether the moralists understand the orthodox doctrine of justification and reject it or if they think they are really teaching it. Here’s a post from one of them that gives evidence that they really don’t understand what the Westminster Divines and the Protestant Reformers before them were trying to do. For a 1000 years the medieval church taught that we are justified progressively , gradually through Spirit-wrought sanctity AND our cooperation with the same. The medievals believed in grace, even prevenient grace (i.e., grace comes first), as does the Roman church. What they did not understand, however, was the nature of grace. In the medieval and Roman system grace is a sort of stuff that makes it possible for us to do our part. The focus of the medieval (and Roman) doctrine of justification is the Spirit’s work in

The URCNA Committee Report On The Federal Vision

Posted at The Heidelblog : 4. Justification by the Instrument of an “Obedient Faith” In the writings of FV authors, however, faith, even in respect to its instrumentality for justification, is defined differently. Norman Shepherd, for example, persistently speaks of the instrument of justification as a “living,” “obedient” faith (or “faithfulness”). Rather than distinguishing between faith as instrument of justification and the works that such faith produces, Shepherd insists that faith justifies by virtue of the obedience it produces. The “works” that are excluded, when we speak of justification “by faith alone,” are only those works that are performed in order to “merit” acceptance and favor with God. Once the whole idea of “merit” or “meritorious” works is rejected, we may speak of one “method of justification” that holds for Adam (and all men in Adam) before the Fall, for Christ himself, and for all believers. The one method of justification in the covenant relationship befor

The Six Johns: Dangerous Times Demand Vigorous Faith

Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History : The Protestant Reformation had been a long time in coming to Scotland. But finally, that reformation which had begun in Germany and Switzerland under Martin Luther and John Calvin hit the shores of Scotland under the spiritual leadership of John Knox. His presence was not without its suffering. which we have seen thus far in these pages to Knox and other Protestants before him. But in 1560, members of the Protestant faith took control of the Scottish Parliament. Then, Knox and others wanted a Protestant nation from the top down. And this Reformation parliament agreed, instructing Knox and six other ministers to prepare a creed summarizing of the faith and life of the Scottish church. This group of ministers led by John Knox had met before to hammer out a book of discipline for the Kirk. Their names were: John Winram , John Spottiswoode , John Willock , John Douglas , and John Roe . Along with John Knox, they were famously known as “th

How Do You Know Whether Preaching Edifies?

Posted at Reformation Scotland : Many make the mistake of thinking that the best preaching is that which is most eloquent or proficient. “Sermon tasters” may go further and discern what they think makes an exceptional sermon. We need preaching that has a lasting impact on our lives, however. Such preaching will be spiritually edifying. It must be solid and full of substance but also practical. To edify means to build up in faith, godliness and spiritual maturity. But how do we know whether a sermon does this? James Durham believed that edification was the key to truly biblical preaching. In fact, he spoke of it as key to the ministry and everything that happens within the Church. A sermon on Ephesians 4:11-12 (only recently discovered in a manuscript) emphasises these points. We must seek to “excel to the edifying of the church” (1 Corinthians 14:12). Durham says that we need to aim mainly at edifying the body of Christ. In every sermon, in every exercise of discipline, in

Of Prayer: Which is the first petition?

Heidelberg Catechism (extended) The Catechism Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion As the Same is Taught in the Reformed Churches and Schools (with the Scripture references written out) Note. This Catechism is fully based on the Scriptures. The references to Scripture are indicated in parentheses with a letter. For example, the letter (a) points to the texts (a) placed after the answer. Of Prayer 47. Lord's Day  Q. 122. Which is the first petition?  A. "Hallowed be thy name" ; that is, grant us, first, rightly to know thee, (a) and to sanctify, glorify and praise thee, (b) in all thy works, in which thy power, wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy and truth, are clearly displayed; and further also, that we may so order and direct our whole lives, our thoughts, words and actions, that thy name may never be blasphemed, but rather honoured and praised on our account. (c)  (a) John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only

"Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven"

The Heidelberg Catechism 49. Lord's Day Q. 124. Which is the third petition? Answer: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven"; that is, grant that we and all men may renounce our own will, (a) and without murmuring obey thy will, which is only good; (b) that every one may attend to, and perform the duties of his station and calling, (c) as willingly and faithfully as the angels do in heaven. (d) (a) Matt.16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Tit.2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Tit.2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (b) Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. Eph.5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. Rom.12:2 And be not conformed to

A Personal Revival Needed

Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History : August 10 - Rev. Daniel Baker Every Christian worker should have an experience like that of Daniel Baker. In the thirty-ninth year of his life and ministry, the twelfth year of his pastoral ministry, he felt a dryness in his soul, which was evidenced by a lack of fruitfulness in his ministry. So he went not to the philosophers of his day, nor to the Christian counselors, nor to any self-help guru, but rather to God Himself. Going into the woods on August 10, 1830 near his house in Savannah, Georgia, he came to a cemetery. Entering it, finding a tree near a brick tomb, he began to cry to God for revival. Returning to his congregation, he held a congregational prayer meeting in which he requested the members of that church to write notes for whom prayer might be especially desirable. ... Read more...

Refuge - Psalm 46 by Judy Rogers

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What You Must Do When You Feel Spiritually Dead

Posted at Reformation Scotland : Sometimes believers find themselves so weak and feel so dead that they wonder how things will ever change. Spiritual duties are only a matter of form and a reminder of our dry barren condition. Perhaps it has stolen on the soul through careless indifference. A general spiritual laziness and apathy has the upper hand. In other situations it may be that unconfessed sin may be oppressing the conscience. Christ is still the life that the believer’s soul needs. But how do we make use of that life? John Brown of Wamphray explains that Christ is still life to the deadened soul in the following ways: 1. Christ keeps possession of the soul. The seed remains, the root abides fast in the ground. There is still life at the heart, although the man is motionless. This is like someone in a deep sleep or who has fainted and yet life has not ebbed away from them completely. 2. Christ awakens and rouses the soul in due time. He recovers it from that condition by

David Brainerd

By David T. Myers - Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History : A Deluge of Pentecostal Power We have at various times in the course of this historical devotional turned to the Diary of David Brainerd. Brainerd was a Presbyterian missionary to the Indians, or native Americans as we would call them today, in the mid seventeen hundreds. In his short life and ministry among them, he recorded his thoughts and his actions to them and on their behalf, which diary has been used by the Holy Spirit of God to lead countless in both olden times and modern times to commit their lives to service to the Lord. We look at one day in August 8, 1745 when in a return visit to the Indians of Crossweeksung, New Jersey, the Lord brought about an awakening of their hearts which surpassed anything David Brainerd had experienced up to this time. Listen to his words from his diary: “. . . the power of God seemed to descend upon the assembly ‘like a mighty raging wind’ and with an astonishing energy

Why has Christ commanded us to address God thus: "Our Father"?

Heidelberg Catechism (extended) The Catechism Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion As the Same is Taught in the Reformed Churches and Schools (with the Scripture references written out) Note. This Catechism is fully based on the Scriptures. The references to Scripture are indicated in parentheses with a letter. For example, the letter (a) points to the texts (a) placed after the answer. Of Prayer 46. Lord's Day  Q. 120. Why has Christ commanded us to address God thus: "Our Father"?  A. That immediately, in the very beginning of our prayer, he might excite in us a childlike reverence for, and confidence in God, which are the foundation of our prayer: namely, that God is become our Father in Christ, and will much less deny us what we ask of him in true faith, than our parents will refuse us earthly things. (a)  (a) Matt.7:9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Matt.7:10 Or if he ask a fish, will he giv

The fruit-bearing Christian

By Dr. Iain Campbell - Posted at Sermon Audio : Scripture Text: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (Galatians 5:22 KJV) Link:

He Blesses and Keeps

By C.H. Spurgeon - Posted at Daily Checkbook/ Sermon Audio : "The LORD bless thee, and keep thee" — Numbers 6:24 This first clause of the high priest's benediction is substantially a promise. That blessing which our great High Priest pronounces upon us is sure to come, for He speaks the mind of God. What a joy to abide under the divine blessing! This puts a gracious flavor into all things. If we are blessed, then all our possessions and enjoyments are blessed; yea, our losses and crosses and even our disappointments are blessed. God's blessing is deep, emphatic, effectual. A man's blessing may begin and end in words, but the blessing of the LORD makes rich and sanctifies. The best wish we can have for our dearest friend is not "may prosperity attend thee," but "the LORD bless thee." It is equally a delightful thing to be kept of God; kept by Him, kept near Him, kept in Him. They are kept indeed whom God keeps; they are preserved fro

The Divine Institution of Marriage as Set Forth in Ephesians 5:22-33 (Part II)

By David C. Brand - Posted at The Christian Observer : The “marriage supper of the Lamb” puts times like these in perspective. `Mid toil and tribulation, and tumult of her war, she waits the consummation of peace forevermore; till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blest, and the great church victorious shall be the church at rest. [1] History is His story! We await the consummation. The apostle Peter has admonished us, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” [2] Appropriately, Peter addressed us as “Beloved.” The “elect from every nation” are indeed God’s beloved, and are being prepared for the “marriage supper of the Lamb.” [3] The church triumphant celebrates the marriage supper of the Lamb. This marriage supper is introduced to us through th

The Price of Revival

By Rev. Armen Thomassian - Posted at Sermon Audio: Scripture Text: Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. ~ Hosea 10:12 (KJV) Link:

The hour of our death

By Dr. Joseph Mizzi We don’t know when, but a time will come when we have to depart from this world. At that hour nothing but one thing is essential. It will not matter how much wealth and possessions we had accumulated. We will leave all behind us. We must let go of everything - even our loved ones. With tears and sorrow we have to say our final goodbyes. Not even our health will matter anymore. Our bodies will crumble and fall. Only one thing matters: our soul! For in the momentous hour our spirit will leave to meet our Maker. That hours marks the beginning of eternal bliss or everlasting woe. Our eternal destiny depends solely on our relationship to God during this life. We must make a fundamental choice. Either we trust in God completely or we do not trust him at all. We cannot entrust our souls to anyone else. He alone is worthy of our wholehearted trust, confidence, obedience and adoration. He alone sent his beloved Son to reconcile us to himself, to forgive us a

Measuring the Greatness of Salvation

Posted at Reformation Scotland: Salvation is free but it is not cheap. It is without money but also without price. The gospel has a simplicity yet it must never be undervalued. Appreciating the fulness of the gospel should be our daily delight. It has dimensions that challenge our ability to measure. There are at least eight ways in which we can attempt to measure the greatness of salvation. Andrew Gray draws out the dimensions of this great salvation in a sermon on Hebrews 2:3 “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation”. This great salvation is offered in the gospel. In Ephesians 1:13 it is called “the gospel of our salvation” and in Acts 13:26 “the word of this salvation”. 1. Its Great Cost No less a price was laid down to purchase this great salvation than the blood of the Son of God. Where does salvation flow to you from? It comes running to you in a stream of the blood of the Son of God. This is clear from Hebrews 9:12: “Neither by the blood of goats and calves,