Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fearing God in His Sovereign Majesty

By A.W.Pink

"Why is it that, today, the masses are so utterly unconcerned about spiritual and eternal things, and that they are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God? Why is it that even on the battlefields multitudes were so indifferent to their soul's welfare? Why is it that defiance of heaven is becoming more open, more blatant, more daring? The answer is, because "There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Rom 3:18). Again; why is it that the authority of the Scriptures has been lowered so sadly of late? Why is it that even among those who profess to be the Lord's people there is so little real subjection to His Word, and that its precepts are so lightly esteemed and so readily set aside? Ah! what needs to be stressed to-day is that God is a God to be feared. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Pro 1:7). Happy the soul that has been awed by a view of God's majesty, that has had a vision of God's awful greatness, His ineffable holiness, His perfect righteousness, His irresistible power, His sovereign grace. Does someone say, "But it is only the unsaved, those outside of Christ, who need to fear God"? Then the sufficient answer is that the saved, those who are in Christ, are admonished to work out their own salvation with "fear and trembling." Time was, when it was the general custom to speak of a believer as a "God-fearing man" —that such an appellation has become nearly extinct only serves to show whither we have drifted. Nevertheless, it still stands written, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him" (Psa 103:13)! When we speak of godly fear, of course, we do not mean a servile fear, such as prevails among the heathen in connection with their gods. No; we mean that spirit which Jehovah is pledged to bless, that spirit to which the prophet referred when he said, "To this man will I (the Lord) look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word" (Isa 66:2). It was this the apostle had in view when he wrote, "Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king" (IPe 2:17). And nothing will foster this godly fear like a recognition of the sovereign majesty of God."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

The colonists of Plymouth Plantation (and ninety of their closest Native American friends) celebrated the first Thanksgiving in the fall of 1621 after their first harvest.

One hundred and sixty-eight years later on October 3rd 1789 George Washington declared Thursday, November 26th to be “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God.”

It’s only three little paragraphs long but it’s packed with a good theology of God’s providence and references to the “Lord and Ruler of Nations.” Imagine a present day President saying something like this!

Here it is, George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation:

 By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

The worst moment for the atheist

“The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.”

-Dante (1828 - 1882)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Christians…..In Hell? (Part 2 of 2)

The Bible tells us that anyone who partakes of the divine nature will manifest certain characteristics in their lives to some extent.  While no one will manifest these characteristics perfectly, if they have truly partaken of the Divine nature they will manifest them to some degree in an ongoing manner.  For instance:
 
1) The true children of God will look completely and solely to Jesus Christ as the only hope for obtaining forgiveness for and salvation from their sins.
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Acts 4:12 See also: 1Timothy 2:5 

2) The true children of God will long to obey Christ.
“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says ‘I have come to know Him’ and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” 1 John 2:3-6 See also: John 14:21-24

3) The true children of God will love God’s Word and read God’s Word. This is the necessary implication of wanting to obey Christ, for the commands of Christ are only found in the scriptures.
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘if you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  
John 8:31,32 See also: Psalm 119:14-16, 18, 24, 31, 32, 47, 48

4)The true child of God will not use foul or filthy language in any ongoing or consistent manner.
“...the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good; the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil. And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you shall be justified and by your words you shall be condemned.”  Matthew 12:33-37
“If any man thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.”  James 1:26 See also: Ephesians 4:29; 5:3,4

5) A true child of God will have a burning passion to talk about Christ, to talk about Scripture and to share the gospel with others.
“...the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart...”  Matthew 12:33
“Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”   Matthew 10:32-33 See also: Matthew 28:19-20, 1 Peter 2:9

6) True Christians will be persecuted to some degree.
“And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”  2 Timothy 3:12 See also: 1 Peter 4:12-17; John 15:18-25; 16:1-4

7) A true Christian will be eventually be sorrowful and brokenhearted over the sins he commits and confess them to God.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar and the truth is not in us.”  1 John 1:9, 10 See also: Psalm 32:3-5; Psalm 34:18

8) A true Christian will experience God’s discipline and instruction.
“....for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” Hebrew12:4-11 See also: Proverbs 3:11,12

These are some of the things that the Scriptures say will characterize the lives of children of God. But Please do not misunderstand, just trying to add some of these characteristics to your life will not make you a “partaker of the divine nature”; just as hanging apples on an orange tree will not change the nature of the tree.  If you want oranges you must first change the nature of the tree. In much the same way these characteristics will naturally and consequently follow a true, biblical conversion.  And just as a tree does not bring forth fruit in order to live, but rather because it is alive; we will bring forth spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22,23) because we have been “made alive” (Ephesians 2:5).

So do these things characterize your life?  If so, then you have objective, concrete evidence that you have truly been “born again” for “the one who practices righteousness is righteous” (1 John 3:7), and “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest (obvious): whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God” (1 John 3:10).

But let me ask you again, does your life reflect the moral character of God?  If not, or even if you are just not sure, I urge you, dear reader, to go back to the beginning and start anew.  Don't go to hell forever because you are too proud to consider that you might be wrong!  Consider anew the enormity of your sins before an all-knowing God who hates sin (Psalm 5:4-6).  Consider that you have sinned against a holy and righteous God who would be unjust if He did not punish your sins.  Consider that you have sinned against an infinite (limitless) God and now your sins have taken on an infinite character that you as a finite (limited) creature cannot atone for.  And finally, consider Jesus Christ-God in human flesh; a sinless man who could die for man’s sins, and yet one who is God and could pay an infinite price!
 
Though God’s goodness, justice and holiness cannot let our sin go unpunished, God in His kindness, mercy and long suffering has provided a Savoir willing and able to bear our punishment in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who died as a substitute for sinners such as you and I and rose from the grave having paid for sin in full!
 
I urge you, dear reader, to flee to that Savior again and again! Surrender to Him! Bow to Him! Love Him! Look to Him! And cling to Him forever!  He alone can forgive your sins. He alone can release you from your guilt. He alone can give you the new nature that we all so desperately need.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
JKB

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Indeed, atheists are but beasts...

"Indeed, atheists are but beasts, shaped in the proportion and dressed in the habits of men. It is impossible for man to manifest more want of reason, than in wandering from God, the fountain of his being, and the wellspring of all his blessed­ness. Who ever, unless bereft of his wits and distracted, would murder his body, much less his precious soul, forever? As soon as ever the prodigal ' came to himself,' he came to his father. It was a clear sign he had lost his reason, when he left bread in his father's house for husks amongst swine. Men's hearts naturally are, like Nebuchadnezzar's, the hearts of beasts, grazing only in fleshly pastures, and savoring only sensual pleasures, till their reason returneth to them; then they bless and honour the most high God, who liveth for ever, Dan. iv. 34;"

-George Swinnock, The Works of George Swinnock Vol. 1

Christians…..In Hell? (Part 1 of 2)

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!"      
-Matthew 7:21-23

 Can more fearful words be imagined?   “Many” will call Jesus Lord, and yet go to hell forever!

Such a passage begs every professing Christian to ask this very sobering question:  how do you know that you are not deceived?  If a deceived person by definition does not know that he is deceived, then how can you know that you are not one of them?

In Luke 13:24-30, Jesus again says that on the Day of Judgment “many...shall seek to enter” the kingdom of heaven “and shall not be able”. They will cry out to Him, “Lord, open up to us...we have eaten in Your presence and Thou hast taught in our streets” and again Christ will respond to them, “depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity.”

What a horrible delusion! These people apparently thought that they were Christians for they called Jesus “Lord”, and they apparently thought that they were Christians for some time for they did “many” works in His name.  These professing Christians spent some amount of time convinced that they were on their way to heaven, when all the while they were on their way to hell.  So how can we know that we are not in the same situation?
 
The Bible commands us to test ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Peter 1:10), but how can we do this?  Can we know for sure that we have been born again or should we just trust our subjective feelings and hope that we are right in the end, or is there something more concrete we can rest our minds upon?  While there is certainly a subjective aspect to true salvation, wouldn’t it be foolish to conduct our “test” solely on the basis of such evidence?  Doesn’t Proverbs 28:26 tell us that "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool..."?

One answer to this puzzling question is found in Matthew 7:16-20, and is repeated in Matthew 12:33-35 where it said that “a tree is known by its fruit.”

Consider this for a moment; a tree brings forth fruit according to its nature. An orange tree will grow oranges. Why?  Because it is an orange tree by nature. An apple tree will grow apples. Why? Because it is an apple tree by nature. If you put fruit salad and raw meat in front of a lion, it will always eat the raw meat. Why? Because that is its nature. The nature of a thing determines what it does.

Likewise, when a person truly becomes a Christian they become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). In other words, by an act of God, they come to share in God’s moral nature and thus begin to resemble Him morally; they begin to like what He likes, love what He loves, hate what He hates, etc. 

This is why they are called “children of God” (1 John 3:10). Just as the children of men resemble their natural parents, the children of God resemble their supernatural Parent. They will begin to hate sin just as their Father hates sin. They will begin to love holiness just as their Father loves holiness. They will begin to love God’s other children just as their Father loves His other children. Do you see the relationship to trees and fruit? Do you wish to see if a tree has the nature of an orange tree? Then look at its fruit. Do you wish to know if you partake of the divine nature? Then look at the fruit of your life.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Neither Were They Thankful

"Neither Were They Thankful"  (Romans 1:21)

From: Knowledge. Worship. Gratitude.
A Sermon delivered by
C. H. Spurgeon
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle

"Did you know, dear friends, that unthankfulness was such a sin as this? Have you ever thought of it in this light before—that men were without excuse because when they knew God they were not thankful? Unthankfulness is a sin for which there is no excuse if it be attended with knowledge. I fear there are thousands who call themselves Christians, who are not thankful, and yet they never thought themselves very guilty on that account. Yet you see these sinners were without excuse, because they were guilty of a great sin before God, and that sin was unthankfulness. I tremble both for myself and you when I see want of thankfulness thus set in the front rank of sins.

    How is it that we may be thankful?

    I answer, first, there is in some a want of gratitude for mercies possessed. They receive many blessings without making a note of them, or even seeming to know that they have them. Their daily mercies seem to come in always at the back door, where the servants take them in, and never tell their master or mistress that they have arrived. They never receive their mercies at the front door with grateful acknowledgments; but they still continue dumb debtors, daily owing more, but making no attempt at a return. The Lord continues to bless them in things temporal, to keep them in health and strength, ay, and to give them the means of grace and spiritual opportunities; and they live as if these things were so commonplace that they were not worth thanking God for. Many professors are of that kind—recipients of countless mercies, but destitute of such common thankfulness as even beast might manifest. From them God hears no song of gratitude, no chirp of praise, though birds would charm the woodlands with their minstrelsy: these are worse than the dumb driven cattle, or the fishes in the brook, which do at least leap up, and mean their Maker's praise.

    Some show this unthankfulness in another way, for they always dwell most on what they have not got. They have manna, and that is angels' food; but then they have no fish, and this is a ready theme for grumbling. They talk very loudly of "the fish we did eat in Egypt," and lament those ample feasts provided by the muddy Nile. Moreover, they have none of those delightful vegetables—the leeks, and the garlic, and the onions. They have none of these rank luxuries, and therefore again they murmur, and call the manna "light bread." They put this complaint over and over again to Moses, till Moses must have been sick of them and their garlic. They said that they could not get leeks, and cucumbers, and onions, and that they were therefore most hardly done by, and would not much longer put up with it. Thankless rebels! And have I not known some of God's servants say that they enjoy much of the presence of their Lord, but they have no riches; and so they are not among the favoured ones. Over their poverty they fetch a deep groan. Some live in the presence of God, so they tell us, and they are full of divine delights, but yet they are greatly afflicted with aches and pains, and all the dolors of rheumatism, and therefore they murmur. I admit that rheumatism is a dreadful pain enough, but at the same time to dwell always on the dark side of things, and to forget our mercies, is a sad instance of ingratitude. We are few of us as thankful as we ought to be; and there are some people who are not thankful at all, for instead of a song concerning their mercies, their life is one long dirge for their miseries. Must we always hear the sackbut? Is the harp never to give forth a joy-note?

    Some show their unthankfulness by fretting under their supposed ills. They know from Scripture that even their afflictions are working for their good, yet they do not rejoice in the prospect, or feel any gratitude for the refining process through which the Lord is passing them. Heaven and perfection are left unsung, but the present processes are groaned over without ceasing. Their monotonous note is always this pain, this loss, this burden, this uncomfortable sensation, this persecution from the world, this unkindness from the saints, and so on; all this goes to show that, though they know God, they do not glorify him as God, neither are they thankful.

    We can be guilty of unthankfulness, also, by never testifying to the goodness of God. A great many people come in and out of your houses; do you ever tell them about God's goodness to you? Did you ever take up a single ten minutes with the tale of the Lord's lovingkindness to you? Oh, what backwardness there is to testify to God as God, and to all his goodness and love! Our mouths are full of anything rather than the goodness of the Lord. Shame on our wicked lips!

    Some fail, also, in their singing of God's praises. I love to be singing in my heart, if I may not sing with my tongue. Is it not a good thing for you house-wives, when you are about the house, to sing over everything? I remember a servant that used to sing at the washtub, and sing in the kitchen; and when some one asked her why she was always singing, she said that if it did not do anything else it kept bad thoughts out of her mind. There is a great deal in that; for bad thoughts are bad tenants, who pay no rent and foul the house. I knew a dear old Methodist preacher, who is now in heaven, who when he came downstairs of a morning was always tooting a bit of a hymn over, and he did the same in the barn, and the field. I have passed him in the street, and noted his happy melody: indeed he was always singing. He never took much notice of anybody, so as to be afraid of being overheard. Whether people heard him or not did not make much difference to him. He was singing to the Lord, not to them; and so he went on singing. I do not think he had much of a voice, or an ear for music, but his soul was made up of praise, and that is better than a musical education. God does not criticize our voice, but he accepts our heart. Oh, to be singing the praises of God every minute of our lives, and never ceasing therefrom! Do you not think that many fail in this respect? They are not preparing for heaven, where all is praise, or they would take up the joyful employment at once.

    It is plain that many are not thankful to God, for they never praise him with their substance. Yet when the Jew was thankful, he took care to give a portion to the house of the Lord: before he would eat of his corn, he would send his sheaf to the sanctuary. If we are grateful to God, we shall feel that the first thing to do is to give of our substance an offering of thanksgiving to the Most High. But this does not strike some people, whose religion is so spiritual that they cannot endure to hear of money, and they faint at the sound of a collection. Their thankfulness rises to singing a hymn occasionally, but it never goes as far as giving a button to the cause of God. I am afraid their thankfulness is not worth more than what they pay to express it: that is to say, nothing at all. God deliver us from such a state of heart as that; and may we never, in any of these senses, be found amongst those professors, of whom it is said that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were they thankful."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Atheism suits the depraved wishes

Speaking of Thanksgiving, what could possibly be more antithetical to the giving of thanks to God than Atheism; the pretending that there is no God in order to escape His rule and thoughts of His judgment.

The following is taken from  The Preacher's Homiletic Commentary and they hit the nail on the head; Atheism is a "belief" begotten by depraved wishful thinking.

"Atheism suits the depraved wishes.— The head is not convinced; but the heart, the seat of affections, is set upon this declaration, that there is no God. It is well known that the wish is the father of the thought; and the fool has the strong wish that there may be after all no God.    It would be a great relief if he could be firmly persuaded that there were no moral governor, and that man were an irresponsible creature.    Responsibility is a heavy burden on the back of him who is sinful and foolish in conduct.   Man finds himself trammeled not only by outward laws, but by an inward feeling that he ought to be subject to and obey those laws, and he cannot rid himself of this feeling, he cannot shake himself free from the trammels.    The words " ought" and "ought not" are as fearful phantoms that torture his soul.    He longs to be free, and yet cannot attain freedom.    His wishes go out towards a goal which he can never reach. He keeps saying in his heart there is no God, and yet he gets no nearer to the establishment of this desired atheistic doctrine in his nature."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The First Thanksgiving

I love this first hand account of the very first Thanksgiving as told by Edward Winslow in a letter to a friend.

As some would tell it our Puritan forefathers walked in, shot up the place, pillaged the Indians, took all their land and coughed on them to give them the measles. Contrary to all such foolishness the Pilgrims and the Indians made voluntary covenants to live in peace with each other, helped each other and spent some amount of time together. This peaceful coexistence between the Indians and the Pilgrims even brought some amount of peace between different Indian tribes that were formerly at war with each other. What a far cry from our modern day revisionist history!


So here it is, a first hand account of the very first Thanksgiving as told by Edward Winslow in a letter to a friend:
.
Loving, and old Friend,

Although I received no letter from you by this ship, yet forasmuch as I know you expect the performance of my promise, which was, to write unto you truly and faithfully of all things, I have therefore at this time sent unto you accordingly. Referring you for further satisfaction to our more large relations.

You shall understand, that in this little time, that a few of us have been here, we have built seven dwelling-houses, and four for the use of the plantation, and have made preparation for divers others. We set the last spring some twenty acres of Indian corn, and sowed some six acres of barley and peas, and according to the manner of the Indians, we manured our ground with herrings or rather shads, which we have in great abundance, and take with great ease at our doors. Our corn did prove well, and God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn, and our barley indifferent good, but our peas not worth the gathering, for we feared they were too late sown, they came up very well, and blossomed, but the sun parched them in the blossom.

Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after have a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the company almost a week, at which time amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.

We have found the Indians very faithful in their covenant of peace with us; very loving and ready to pleasure us; we often go to them, and they come to us; some of us have been fifty miles by land in the country with them, the occasions and relations whereof you shall understand by our general and more full declaration of such things as are worth the noting, yea, it has pleased God so to possess the Indians with a fear of us, and love unto us, that not only the greatest king amongst them, called Massasoit, but also all the princes and peoples round about us, have either made suit unto us, or been glad of any occasion to make peace with us, so that seven of them at once have sent their messengers to us to that end. Yea, an Isle at sea, which we never saw, hath also, together with the former, yielded willingly to be under the protection, and subjects to our sovereign lord King James, so that there is now great peace amongst the Indians themselves, which was not formerly, neither would have been but for us; and we for our parts walk as peaceably and safely in the wood as in the highways in England. We entertain them familiarly in our houses, and they as friendly bestowing their venison on us. They are a people without any religion or knowledge of God, yet very trusty, quick of apprehension, ripe-witted, just. The men and women go naked, only a skin about their middles.

For the temper of the air, here it agreeth well with that in England, and if there be any difference at all, this is somewhat hotter in summer, some think it to be colder in winter, but I cannot out of experience so say; the air is very clear and not foggy, as hath been reported. I never in my life remember a more seasonable year than we have here enjoyed; and if we have once but kine, horses, and sheep, I make no question but men might live as contented here as in any part of the world. For fish and fowl, we have great abundance; fresh cod in the summer is but coarse meat with us; our bay is full of lobsters all the summer and affordeth variety of other fish; in September we can take a hogshead of eels in a night, with small labor, and can dig them out of their beds all the winter; we have mussels and othus at our doors: oysters we have none near, but we can have them brought by the Indians when we will; all the spring-time the earth sendeth forth naturally very good sallet herbs: here are grapes, white and red, and very sweet and strong also. Strawberries, gooseberries, raspas, etc. Plums of three sorts, with black and red, being almost as good as a damson: abundance of roses, white, red, and damask; single, but very sweet indeed. The country wanteth only industrious men to employ, for it would grieve your hearts (if as I) you had seen so many miles together by goodly rivers uninhabited, and withal, to consider those parts of the world wherein you live to be even greatly burdened with abundance of people. These things I thought good to let you understand, being the truth of things as near as I could experimentally take knowledge of, and that you might on our behalf give God thanks who hath dealt so favorably with us.

Our supply of men from you came the ninth of November 1621, putting in at Cape Cod, some eight or ten leagues from us. The Indians that dwell thereabout were they who were owners of the corn which we found in caves, for which we have given them full content, and are in great league with them. They sent us word that there was a ship near unto them, but thought it to be a Frenchman, and indeed for ourselves, we expected not a friend so soon. But when we perceived that she made for our bay, the governor commanded a great piece to be shot off, to call home such as were abroad at work; whereupon every man, yea, boy that could handle a gun, were ready, with full resolution that if she were an enemy, we would stand in our just defense, not fearing them, but God provided better for us than we supposed; these came all in health, not any being sick by the way (otherwise than sea sickness) and so continue at this time, by the blessing of God; the good-wife Ford was delivered of a son the first night she landed, and both of them are very well.

When it pleaseth God, we are settled and fitted for the fishing business, and other trading; I doubt not but by the blessing of God the gain will give content to all; in the mean time, that we have gotten we have sent by this ship, and though it be not much, yet it will witness for us that we have not been idle, considering the smallness of our number all this summer. We hope the merchants will accept of it, and be encouraged to furnish us with things needful for further employment, which will also encourage us to put forth ourselves to the uttermost.

Now because I expect your coming unto us with other of our friends, whose company we much desire, I thought good to advertise you of a few things needful; be careful to have a very good bread-room to put your biscuits in, let your cask for beer and water be iron-bound for the first tire if not more; let not your meat be dry-salted, none can better do it than the sailors; let your meal be so hard trod in your cask that you shall need an adz or hatchet to work it out with: trust not too much on us for corn at this time, for by reason of this last company that came, depending wholly upon us, we shall have little enough till harvest; be careful to come by some of your meal to spend by the way, it will much refresh you. Build your cabins as open as you can, and bring good store of clothes and bedding with you; bring every man a musket or fowling-piece, let your piece be long in the barrel, and fear not the weight of it, for most of our shooting is from stands; bring juice of lemons, and take it fasting; it is of good use; for hot waters, aniseed water is the best, but use it sparingly; if you bring any thing for comfort in the country, butter or sallet oil, or both is very good; our Indian corn, even the coarsest, maketh pleasant meat as rice, therefore spare that unless to spend by the way; bring paper and linseed oil for your windows, with cotton yarn for your lamps; let your shot be most for big fowls, and bring store of powder and shot: I forbear further to write for the present, hoping to see you by the next return, so I take my leave, commending you to the Lord for a safe conduct unto us.

Resting in Him,
Your loving friend,
E.W. [Edward Winslow]
Plymouth in New England this 11th of December, 1621.

Taken from: Of Plymouth Plantation, HardcoverBy William Bradford 

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Wound from Jesus

“Neither in the Church militant nor in the host triumphant is there one who received a new heart, and was reclaimed from sin without a wound from Jesus. The pain may have been but slight, and the healing may have been speedy, but in each case there has been a real bruise, which required a Heavenly Physician to heal.”

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sense and Nonsense

“Without conversion your being is vain. Is it not a pity you should be good for nothing, an unprofitable burden of the earth, a mere wart in the body of the universe? Thus you are, while unconverted....Verily you are in vain, except you are for God. It were better you had no being than not be for Him.”

  - Joseph Alleine (a Puritan)     From a Sure Guide to Heaven

“Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that have no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labor of the ages, all the devotion, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of mans achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins - all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”

-Bertrand Russell (an atheist)

Dr. Pierce on the Therapeutic Benefits of Government Schools

"Every child in America who enters school at the age of five is mentally ill, because he comes to school with an allegiance toward our elected officials, toward our founding fathers, toward our institutions, toward the preservation of this form of government that we have. Patriotism, nationalism, and sovereignty, all that proves that children are sick because a truly well individual is one who has rejected all of those things, and is truly the international child of the future."

-Dr. Chester M. Pierce, Professor of "Education" at Harvard

Saturday, November 13, 2010

That Perverse Conception of the Nature of Love

“The antithesis which is oftentimes set up between love and commandment overlooks this elementary fact. Love itself is exercised in obedience to a commandment—'Thou shalt love'. We cannot get away from the fact that love in this case is not ultimate or original. Love is dictated by a consideration that is prior to itself. Love is obedience to a commandment which comes from a source other than itself; it does not autonomously excogitate or create itself. We must resist that perverse conception of the nature of love that we cannot be commanded to love, that love must be spontaneous and cannot be evoked by demand. It is true that the command or demand will not itself create the love. Commandment of itself has no power to generate love or elicit obedience. But it by no means follows that love is not commanded. Love is commanded, and love is exercised in response to the commandment even though it is not the commandment that creates or generates that response. In this respect the commandment to love is like every other commandment. The commandment to feed the hungry, for example, does not itself create the disposition or will to do so; but feeding the hungry is action elicited in response to the commandment.”
 
 -John Murray  from Principles of Conduct
2811442: Principles of Conduct, Aspects of Biblical Ethics Principles of Conduct, Aspects of Biblical Ethics

By John Murray / Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Well, this is awkward.


Found this "Atheism Motivational Poster" on an atheist blog site. I guess you look at the poster and think to yourself; "I sure am glad I'm an atheist cause Pope Benedict is a dead ringer for Darth Sidious."?

Whatever the point, you have to admit there's an uncanny resemblance.

Horace Mann on the Benefits of Government Schools



"We who are engaged in the sacred cause of education are entitled to look upon all parents as having given hostages to our cause."

-Horace Mann, father of the government school movement in America and apostate from Biblical Christianity.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Faul T. Reezning on Self-Esteem

Greetings once again, ladies and gentleman, fans, groupies and gushing admirers!  It is I, Faul T. Reezning; grandson of the famous German philosopher Eishur Kant Thinkwell.

Well, my friends, the Bible has much to say about following the examples of great men that have gone before us.  Today I would like to take this opportunity to talk to you about one of my favorite examples.  One of shrewd and cunning intellect, the pundit of pundits and the savant of savants, one whose great shining beams of humility will surely help light your path in this dark world; me.

One of our dear readers writes:

Faul,

Brother, you sure are something else. What in the world happened to you to make you what you are today? I would like to know so that I can help my children avoid the wrong paths.

That, my friend, is an awesome question. Naturally we would all like to know more about those that we wish to emulate. So let me tell you all about me.

It wasn’t easy becoming who I am today. I wasn’t just born this way and I didn’t just fall into it either, although my ability to grasp confusing thoughts has seemed to come more naturally since the head trauma. What was I saying? .... Oh yea, I am simply the product of my environment; a product of my parents’ parental choices and the thinking of the church that raised me. I am them.

More than anyone else, though, I probably owe what I am today to my father, Faul N. Reezning. What a man! That quick logical mind of mine that twists and turns and so often leaves people scratching their heads in awe and wonder, I got that from my father.

Oh, how often my father used to look me in the eye and say “Faul, you have to believe in yourself! You have to learn to love yourself! You have to value and esteem yourself! Self-esteem is such a very fragile thing Faul; be very careful not to lose it.”

As I grew older the church at large echoed my father’s sentiments. It would say to me “Faul, you have to believe in yourself! You have to learn to love yourself before you can obey God and love others. Jesus died for you Faul, doesn’t that show you just how much you must be worth!”

So with all the humility I could muster from deep down within myself I would say to myself everyday things like “Faul, you are something special.” You are incredibly important!” or “You are worthy of esteem!” I’ve said those things to myself since I was a young child and I’ve never stopped saying them. And the more I say it the more I believe it and the more I believe it the more I want to say it. Me, me, me, me, me, me, what a wonderful subject!

“But Faul,” you ask, “is this attitude biblical?” Don’t be silly, the Bible speaks of men esteeming themselves in Isaiah 2: 11-22 and men loving themselves in 2 Timothy 3:1, 2. And anyhow, are you really going to argue with thousands of Christian psychologists who have spent hundreds of hours of study and thousands of dollars to learn everything they know from men like Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Abraham Maslow and others? Are you familiar with the character of those men?! Are you?

I mean, Jesus didn’t die for people because they were wretched and deserving of death, did He? Man, some of you Christians act as if there are none righteous, not even one. Like there are none who understand and none who seek after God. You act as if all men have turned aside and become unprofitable and useless, almost as if there are none who does good, not even one. Where do you people get this stuff!!! Do you realize that you could cause people to feel guilty? Then what would you say to them?

If you think that a high self-esteem is one of the most important things in life; then be of good cheer, you think just like me.

That is your Faul T. Reezning for today.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Adolf Hitler on the benefits of Government schools


"He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future."

 -Adolf Hitler

"When an opponent declares, "I will not come over to your side," I calmly say, "Your child belongs to us already... What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community."

-Adolf Hitler

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Some Child Rearing Advice from John Ploughman

You May Bend the Sapling, But Not the Tree
by C.H. Spugeon as John Ploughman

LADDER, and pole, and cord will be of no use to straighten  the  bent  tree;  it should  have  been looked after much earlier. Train trees when they are saplings and young lads before the down comes on their chins. If you want a bullfinch to pipe, whistle to him while he is young; he will scarcely catch the tune after he has learnt the wild bird's note. Begin early to teach, for children begin early to sin. Catch them young and you may hope to keep them.

 Ere your boy has reached to seven,
Teach him well the way to heaven;
Better still the work will thrive,
If he learns before he's five.

What is learned young is learned for life. What we hear at the first we remember to the last. The bent twig grows up a crooked tree. Horse-breakers say

"The tricks a colt getteth at his first backing,
Will whilst he continueth never be lacking."

When a boy is rebellious, conquer him, and do it well the first time, that there may be no need to do it again. A child's first lesson should be obedience, and after that you may teach it what you please: yet the young mind must not be laced too tight, or you may hurt its growth and hinder its strength. They say a daft nurse makes a wise child, but I do not believe it: nobody needs so much common sense as a mother or a governess. It does not do to be always thwarting; and yet re­member if you give a child his will and a whelp his fill, both will surely turn out ill. A child's back must be made to bend, but it must not be broken. He must be ruled, but not with a rod of iron. His spirit must be conquered, but not crushed.

Nature does sometimes overcome nurture, but for the most part the teacher wins the day. Children are what they are made: the pity is that so many are spoiled in the bringing up. A child may be rocked too hard; you may spoil him either by too much cuffing or too much kissing. I knew two boys who had a Christian mother, but she always let them have their own way. The consequence was that when they grew up they took to drinking and low company and soon spent the fortune their father left them. No one controlled them and they had no control over themselves, and so they just rattled along the broad road like butcher boys with runaway horses, and there was no stopping them. A birch or two worn out upon them when they were little would have been a good use of timber.

Still, a child can be treated too hardly, and especially he can be shut up too many hours in school, when a good run and a game of play would do him more good. Cows don't give any the more milk for being often milked, nor do children learn any more because of very long hours in a hot room.

A boy can be driven to learn till he loses half his wits: forced fruits have little flavour; a man at five is a fool at fifteen. If you make veal of the calf he will never turn to beef. Yet learning may be left so long that the little dunce is always behindhand.

There's a medium in everything and he is a good father who hits upon it, so that he governs his family with love, and his family loves to be governed by him. Some are like Eli, who let his sons sin and only chided them a little; these will turn out to be cruel parents in the long run: others are too strict, and make home miserable, and so drive the youngsters to the wrong road in another way. Tight clothes are very apt to tear, and hard laws are often broken: but loose garments tear too, and where there are no laws at all, things are sure to go amiss. So you see it is easy to err on either side, and hard to dance the tight-rope of wisdom. Depend on it, he who has a wife and bairns will never be short of care to carry. See what we get when we come to marry, yet many there are who will not tarry.

In these days children have a deal too much of their own way, and often make their mothers and fathers their slaves. It has come to a fine pass when the goslings teach the geese, and the kittens rule the cat: it is the upsetting of everything, and no parent ought to put up with it. It is as bad for the boys and girls as it is for the grown folk, and it brings out the worst side of their characters. I would sooner be a cat on hot bricks, or a toad under a harrow, than let my own children be my masters. No, the head must be the head, or it will hurt the whole body.
For children out of place
Are a father's disgrace,
If you rule not you'll rue,
For they'll quickly rule you. 

by C.H. Spugeon as John Ploughman in John Ploughman's Pictures

Printer Friendly Version




Friday, November 5, 2010

the nurseries of all societies

"...so it is evident that families are the nurseries of all societies. And the first combinations of mankind, well-ordered families, naturally produce a good order in other societies. When families are under an ill disci­pline, all other societies, being ill-disciplined as a re­sult, will feel that error in the first concoction. To serve the families of our neighborhood will be a service to all our interests."

-Cotton Mather from A Family Well Ordered

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

If any man thinks ill of you....

“If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him, for you are worse than he thinks you to be. If he charges you falsely on some point, yet be satisfied, for if he knew you better he might change the accusation, and you would be no gainer by the correction. If you have your moral portrait painted and it is ugly, be satisfied, for it only needs a few blacker touches, and it would be still nearer the truth.

...-Charles Spurgeon

Do Atheists Exist? Part 2


So Atheism, like all other false religions is a crutch.  It is an opiate to calm the fear of judgment and shut the mouth of a guilty conscience.  It is a lie desperately clung  to by sinful minds in order to escape reality!

My dear reader, all of us have been guilty of this very same sin.  All of us have exchanged the truth of God for a lie at one point or another and God’s judgment has been unavoidably clear.  As Romans 1:18 puts it “…the wrath of God is revealed from heaven…”, in other words we can see it all around us.  Because we have loved sin, He has given us over to its power.  Because we have loved darkness He has given us darkened minds. Because we wanted a lie, He has given us minds prone to believe lies. (See Romans 1:24, 26, 28 and 2 Thessalonians 2:11)

We gave up the glorious truth of God for vain, literally “empty”, speculations, but our hearts did not stay empty but became “…filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:29-32). The seeds of every sin have taken root in our hearts!

We were created to glorify (reflect) God and to have fellowship with Him.  We were created to be God-centered and wired to find fulfillment, joy, happiness and peace in God, in submission to His Law. “….In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forever more.” Psalms 16:11

But we have shaken our little fists at God and have each turned aside from our intended purpose to go our own way (Romans 3:9-18).  We have sought  fulfillment, joy, happiness and peace in the fleeting and temporary pleasures of sin. We have traded eternal delight in the true God for a small mouth full of dust  We worship and love the creation while despising the Creator.   We have dishonored the infinite God and now our sin has taken on an infinite character.

Each one of us has become the prodigal son;  a mutinous, self-centered infantile traitor. Each one of  us a Judas and a rebel. God feeds us, sustains us, gives us air to breath and keeps our hearts beating.  He gives us good and pleasant things such as food, friends, family and more and what is our response?  We bite the hand that feeds us!  We don’t thank Him when things go well and we complain about Him when times get hard.

Our desire to free ourselves from the yoke of God’s rule and from the reality of His existence is nothing less than a declaration of war against Him. It is our little attempt to throw off His Law and govern ourselves; the created trying to usurp the authority of the creator.  The punishment for our rebellion?:  Eternal confinement under His wrath and displeasure in a place we call Hell, a place that cannot even qualify as life and is therefore called the “second death” (see Revelation 20:14).  This is the punishment for rebellion against God, as Romans 6:23 puts it “the wages of sin is death”. 
 
Because we have wanted sin so badly, God has given it dominion over us and now here we are; enslaved to our corruption and helpless to free ourselves from the guilt of our sins and the lusts of our hearts.   We are estranged from God and always fighting with each other. 

But when we could do nothing to help ourselves God provided the way of escape. He sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer that death on behalf of sinners.  God became man and suffered the wrath of God that man deserved.  The Eternal God paid the eternal price that we as finite creatures could never fully pay.  “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6)

Death being the punishment of sin, and Jesus having paid for sin in full, death could no longer hold Him so He arose from the dead and now sits at the right hand of God the Father, receiving any who will cry out to Him for salvation! “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts:4:12

Christ lived the perfect life that God demands we live, and Christ paid the debt for sin that God demands we pay. Now His perfect life and His payment of debt can be credited to us if we will simply look to Him repentantly, humbly and in faith, as the only one able to save us.

My dear professing Atheist; refusing to acknowledge reality will not change reality in the slightest.  Refusing to believe in the God who created you will not make Him go away and cannot release you from the guilt of your sin. Acknowledge your God, surrender to Him and He will graciously receive you as His own dear child.  Look repentantly to Him and He will look favorably and compassionately upon you.

JKB

“Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.”
Isaiah 55:6, 7

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sad but True

"A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul."

- George Bernard Shaw

Do Atheists Exist? Part 1



For centuries now men have been debating the existence of God. Just think about that; men who were created by God debating about whether or not that God exists, little men attempting to bring the almighty Creator before the bar of their finite judgment!  If it were not such a crime it might be something to laugh at.

But the fact of the matter is that men will not sit in judgment upon God, but God will sit in judgment upon man.  And in that great and terrible day of judgment, all delusions will be set aside and all self-deceptions will be swept away.  Everything will finally be set right and reality will be clearly seen by all of mankind.  And in that day, it will be acknowledged by all that atheists did not exist.

Scripture tells us that deep down inside all men know that God exists through what He has made. “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.”  (Psalm 19:1-3) “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes have been clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

All men will be “without excuse” on the day of judgment.  No one will be able to say that they did not know that God existed. Every time we open our eyes creation is right there in our face, so to speak, testifying to the existence and greatness of God. But we don’t even really have to go that far; we don’t even have to open our eyes, for we ourselves are a part of God’s creation and as those who are created in God’s image our very being testifies to the glory, greatness, and existence of God.  We are a revelation of God unto ourselves.

But not only does all of creation testify to the existence and attributes of God, but each person’s conscience testifies to the righteous requirements of God’s moral law (see Romans 1:32 and Romans 2:12-16).  Everyone knows His moral standards. Even those who have seared their conscience to the point where they cannot see their own sins will still see them in others.  Steal from the most hardened thief or attempt to kill the most hardened murderer and they will both quickly recognize your wrongdoing.  Everyone knows God’s moral standards deep down inside, they are part of who we are as creatures originally created in the image of God (Romans 2:15).

As creatures who are created by God and spend our entire existence within the creation of God, the knowledge of God is inescapable! This places the fallen, sin loving human race in a profound conundrum; if we acknowledge the true God’s existence then it follows that we must seek Him, submit to Him, worship Him and obey Him but that is the last thing that sinful men want to do.  We don‘t want a holy God telling us what to do! 

On the other hand, if we acknowledge God and refuse to submit to Him, then we must spend all of our days in the bitter shadow of “the Day” of judgment feeling the constant weight of the guilt of all of our sins. What’s a fallen man to do?

But sin is never lacking in ingenuity, the answer is simple: Don’t acknowledge the true God.  Stifle and suppress what we know to be true (see Romans 1:18-23), invent a lie more to our liking and pretend that the lie is true.  As Romans 1:25 puts it we “exchange the truth of God for a lie”.

For some this means worshipping false gods, for others it might mean going to church and using parts of the Bible to create a false version of the true God. And for others it might mean simply denying that any God at all really exists. In these and other ways men can quiet their consciences while at the same time hanging on to their dearly beloved sins.

This then is the great crime of mankind: we know deep down inside that the true and Holy God exists but we refuse to seek Him. We refuse to worship Him, we refuse to obey Him, we refuse to thank Him and we even refuse to acknowledge He exists. Instead we invent the most absurd ideas and lies (such as evolution) and pretend that they are true. And not only do we espouse the most foolish absurdities but while we do it we pretend that we are very wise for figuring them out!  As Romans 1:22, 23 Puts it “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”



Monday, November 1, 2010

Our children are falling away because...

"Our children are not falling away because the church is doing a poor job—although that is undoubtedly a factor. Our children are falling away because we are asking the church to do what God designed the family to accomplish. Discipleship and multi-generational faithfulness begins and ends at home. At best, the church is to play a supporting role as it "equips the saints for the work of ministry" (Ephesians 4:12, esv)."

- From Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham