Communion with God (10)

The characteristics of our fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ:

  •  Sweetness.
  •  Delight.
  •  Safety.
  •  Comfort.

” Sweetness: “He brought me to the banqueting-house,” or “house of wine.” It is all set forth under expressions of the greatest sweetness and most delicious refreshment, — flagons, apples, wine, etc. “He entertains me,” saith the spouse, “as some great personage.” Great personages, at great entertainments, are had into the banqueting-house, — the house of wine and dainties — love, kindness, supplies revealed in the gospel, declared in the assemblies of the saints, exhibited by the Spirit. This “love is better than wine,” Cant. i. 2;  it is “not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Gospel dainties are sweet refreshments; whether these houses of wine be the Scriptures, the gospel, or the ordinances dispensed in the assemblies of the saints, or any eminent and signal manifestations of special love (as banqueting is not every day’s work, nor used at ordinary entertainments), it is all one. Wine, that cheereth the heart of man, that makes him forget his misery, Prov. xxxi. 6, 7, that gives him a cheerful look and countenance, Gen. xlix. 12, is it at which is promised. The grace exhibited by Christ in his ordinances is refreshing, strengthening, comforting, and full of sweetness to the souls of the saints. Woe be to such full souls as loathe these honey-combs! But thus Christ makes all his assemblies to love banqueting-houses; and there he gives his saints entertainment.”

John Owen

 

Communion with God (9)

Communion with Christ, as mediator, one who sympathises, who acts as priest and advocate, who desires sweet fruits and rejoices in them. I Cor.1:9,  Song of Solomon 4:12-15 and 5:1.

He provides a spiritual feast for us (Prov.9:2). Song of Solomon is the Scripture par excellence describing this communion. To the  bride he is like a lily and a fruit tree providing fruit for food and shade for refreshment. Thus she eats and she rests; both with great delight.

“Christ is that tree of life, which has brought forth all things that are needful unto life eternal. In him is that righteousness which we hunger after; — in him is that water of life, which whoso drinketh of shall thirst no more.

There is also refreshment in a shade from God’s wrath and earthly weariness. He is “as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land,” Isa. xxxii.  and from the power of corruptions, trouble of temptations, distress of persecutions, there is in him quiet, rest, and repose, Matt. xi. 27, 28.

Communion with God (8)

 

How few of the saints are experimentally acquainted with this privilege of holding immediate communion with the Father in love! He is tenderly loving and kind. His love is eternal, free, unchangeable, distinguishing. Believe what Scripture says about his bountiful attitude towards you. He spared not his own son, how shall he not with him freely give us all things (that we need) Rom.8:32, Phil 4:19. He sees you IN his son, he loves YOU as he loves the son. (John 17:23-26)

The Land (5)

 

Sung Psalm 135:6-13 (NB v12)

Read Joshua 13:1-14

The book of Joshua links the holy war with the holy land. Joshua is often divided thus:

Chapters 1-4 entering the land, 5-12 conquering the land, 13-21 possessing the land and 22-24 retaining the land.

It is a foundational book as it is the first time the people of Israel are in the land of Israel and gives a geographical backdrop to references throughout the rest of Scripture.

First we have the land not yet conquered, that of the Philistines, and the Avites whom they dispossessed, who would become chief enemy from within in I and II Chronicles and Judges.

Second that of the Phoenicians (vv4-6) where Baal worship originated specially promoted by Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal.

Third that of the Geshurites and Maacathites who inhabited in SW and NE (vv2,11). Note that David sinfully married into them and Absalom was the result (II Sam.3:3).

The first tribes to actually inherit were Reuben, Gad and half Manasseh east of the Jordan in Gilead (Numbers 21:21ff and 32) defeating Og and Sihon.

 

 

Sin

“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23. Definition of sin…any action or thought that does not bring 100% glory to God. We must never seek glory ourselves and never glorify any sin.

  • Pride glorifies (serves) self.
  • Sloth glorifies (serves) laziness.
  • Gluttony glorifies (serves) overeating.
  • Lust glorifies (serves) illicit sex.
  • Greed glorifies (serves)materialism and mammon.
  • Envy glorifies (serves) selfishness.
  • Selfish unrighteous anger glorifies (serves) self.

Glorifying God entails keeping his commandments, out of true faith and love and seeking his glory alone.

Communion with God (7)

Another major difference between God’s love and ours is:

His love was first, ours follows.

1 John iv. 10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us.”

In respect of sufficient causes of love: God loved us before time and while we were sinners but we love him because… he is revealed unto us as lovely and desirable, as a fit and suitable object unto the soul to set  its rest upon, before we can bear any love unto him. The saints (in this sense) do not love God for nothing, but for that excellency, loveliness, and desirableness that is in him. Ps. cxvi. 1, “I love the LORD, BECAUSE!” so may we in general; we love the Lord, BECAUSE!

They differ in this also:— The love of God is like himself, — equal, constant, not capable of augmentation or diminution; our love is like ourselves,unequal, increasing, waning, growing, declining. His, like the sun, always the same in its light, though a cloud may sometimes interpose;ours, as the moon, (it waxes and wanes-JK).

Whom he loves, he loves unto the end, and he loves them always alike.  On whom he fixes his love, it is immutable; it does not grow to eternity, it is not diminished at any time. It is an eternal love, that had no beginning, that shall have no ending;  although the sense of it varies, sometimes more, sometimes less; now he shines, anon hides his face, as it may be for our profit. But yet, still his love in itself is the same.

 

Hope

Notes from a sermon by Rev. M. McGeown:

Read I Peter 1:3, ” Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead..”

Faith, hope and love are the three great Christian graces.

The Christian pilgrim needs hope which is a “certain, future, promised good.” We wait for grace and full redemption and glory.

We are exhorted to hope (an activity of the mind) by girding up the loins of our minds (discipline of gathering up loose thoughts like anxiety and lust, that trip us up), by being sober. The belt that hold up our flowing robes is truth. Sobriety is right, clear sensible, realistic (Biblical) thinking. Our mind is same as heart, our spiritual centre, aspect of our soul, not just brain composed of neurones and chemical transmitters. We are to love God with it, that is, our renewed mind. Prior to being born again we are without hope and God. The mind (consciousness) survives death of brain.

“Where there is a belief in the living God, who acts and intervenes in human life, and who can be trusted to implement his promises, hope in the specifically biblical sense becomes possible.*”

Christ in us is the hope of glory…Colossians 1:27.

*New Bible Dictionary IVP 1962

Listen to full sermon here: LRF Sermons

Communion with God (6)

God’s love for us and ours for him differ in this:

  • His is a love of bounty, ours of duty.

…”as the sea communicates its waters to the rivers by the way of bounty, out of its own fulness, — they return unto it only what they receive from it. It is the love of a spring,  — always communicating; — a love from whence proceeds every thing that is lovely in its object. It infuseth into, and creates goodness in, the persons beloved.  He that loves works out good to them he loveth.”

  •  “Our love unto God is a love of duty, the love of a child. His love descends upon us in bounty and fruitfulness; our love ascends unto him in duty and thankfulness. He adds to us by his love; we nothing to him by ours. Our goodness extends not unto him. Though our love be fixed on him immediately, yet no fruit of our love reacheth him immediately; though he requires our love, he is not benefited by it, It is indeed made up of these four things:—

1. Rest; 2. Delight; 3. Reverence; 4. Obedience. ”

Hence God calls that love which is due to him as a father, “honour,”

Mal. i. 6, “If I be a father, where is mine honour?” It is a deserved act of duty.

War of Words (Chapter 2)

Sung Psalm 141 (check words about lips)

Reading Genesis 3:1-13

The key lessons from this chapter seem to be:

  • How sinful speech started (in Eden)
  • How it is carried on by us
  • What motivates it (selfishness)
  1. Tripp felt he had to ask forgiveness after blowing up with his children because he knew his motives were selfish and not God-centred (he wanted some peace).
  2. We learn from Satan’s speech (the first sinful use of words) and the fall of man that:
  • This was the first time the authority of God’s word was challenged
  • Satan led Eve to misinterpret God and actually add to his word
  • Satan lied
  • Adam and Eve tried to shift blame

The result was devastating to the whole universe (death and decay), sin and separation (between God/man and man/man), all societal sins, anger/hatred v fellow man AND God, all heresy/apostasy and church splits (God’s word is challenged and openly misinterpreted and disobeyed). All because our first parents listened.

3. Satan’s strategy:

  • Make God out to be a “kill-joy” (withholding good)
  • Appeal to man through flesh and pride (attractive fruit, wisdom/ knowledge, be as gods)
  • Tell outright lie

4. Then comes the use of tongue to shift blame to others which often wounds them in anger, is disrespectful and leads to quarrelling (see all the Proverbs verses quoted). The fact the tongue needs tamed tells you it is like a wild beast that bites, hurts and devours.

5. Much of our sinful speech is self-justification, trying to win the argument, put others down and hurt them but our conscience brings the backlash of shame. It is Christ-like to admonish wisely as he did and seek to bring God’s perspective on the issue.

6. Tripp ends with a series of typical human quotes and they are all SELFISH ideas or statements, not God-centred. Our aim in speaking ought to be to praise God, share his truth, show loving interest in others, edify them and admonish them in love. The opposite of love by the way is not just hatred it is self-love!

 

Next study (DV) Saturday June 3rd 8pm Kennedys. Chapter 3.

 

Why Do the Birds Sing?

The animals instinctively praise and glorify their maker, all in their own unique way.

Young Calvinists

Psalm 148

“Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the heights.Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created. He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass. Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: 10 Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: 11 Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: 12 Both…

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Communion with God (5)

 

The mutual love of God and the saints agrees in this, — that the way of communicating
the issues and fruits of these loves is only in Christ. The Father  loves us in
Christ; and we make no return of love unto him but through Christ. He is the
treasury of all the riches of his grace, taken from the bottomless mine
of his eternal love; and he is the priest into whose hand we put all the offerings that we return unto
the Father. The Father loves the Son, — as he was the delight of his soul before the foundation of the world, but also as our mediator, and the means of conveying his love to us. From his love, he pours out the Holy Spirit richly upon us, through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Our returns are all in him, and by him also. And well is it with us that it is so. What
lame and blind sacrifices should we otherwise present unto God!

 

The Meaning of Grace

GRACE AND SALVATION

We have seen what grace is as an attribute of God. We must also say something about the grace God shows in saving us.

Following on from the idea that grace is an inner beauty or loveliness that shines out in all a person is and does and that causes others to look upon him with favor, we may say that God’s grace as it is revealed in our salvation is the gift of his own beauty to us, so that we become like him and thus find favor in his sight. That loveliness of God, which he grants to his people when he saves them, becomes evident in all their conduct and speech. It is impossible for one who has received grace not to reflect something of the loveliness of God.

This is one of the reasons that the teaching of common grace should be rejected. It is a repulsive thought that the wicked and unbelieving should find favor in God’s sight or have anything of his own loveliness. Nor could it ever be, then, that God would judge them and send them to hell, for he would be sending someone who had received something of his own beauty to the place of eternal darkness.

There are several other characteristics of God’s saving grace that need to be mentioned. They, too, show why grace cannot be common:

First, grace is not only an attitude of God, but a gift. This is implied in what we have already said, but it needs emphasis. Scripture speaks often of God giving grace (Ps. 84:11; Prov. 3:34; James 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5).We speak of grace as a gift of God when we want to emphasize the freeness and undeserved character of grace, but we must not forget that it is something actually given when God shows it to us, and not only an attitude on his part.

Second, grace is a power. That is really the same thing as saying that it is the grace of God. God’s thoughts, God’s attributes, and God’s Words are not like ours—powerless—but always full of the power of the Almighty. That is another reason God cannot possibly be gracious to all. His grace cannot be in vain, cannot be without power to save and deliver, cannot fail. To suggest that it can is to deny that God is God.

Third, grace is saving. Never once does Scripture speak of any other kind of grace to men. Just as election is particular and atonement is particular, so the grace predetermined and purchased by Christ must also be particular, shown savingly only to some.

That we should find grace in the sight of God is amazing, especially when we take this to mean that he finds us lovely and beautiful. This can only happen because he sees us in Christ, and through the work of Christ. Christ is beautiful as God’s own only begotten Son, the fairest of ten thousand in his perfect obedience and devotion to God, and in him alone do we find favor with God.

Rev. Ronald Hanko

This extract from “Doctrine according to Godliness” is posted with permission from its publisher, Reformed Free Publishing Association, Grandville, Michigan

The Land (4)

The Land (4)

Earth swallows Dathan, Abiram and company.

Sung Psalm 106:11-18 (The ones who did NOT enter the land!)

Read Deut. 11

The inheritance of Canaan was in the way of obedience (v8) although it was God’s ultimate purpose (vv29,31). Similarly there is no way a believer will not make it into the heavenly Canaan by faith, but faith that worketh by love (i.e. by keeping the commandments which is to love God).

God recalls his mighty, miraculous acts (vv2-7), he contrasts Egypt, where irrigation was vital, with Canaan which will be well watered by providential rain twice a year. He warns the people that prosperity may lead to the people forgetting God, being deceived and idolatry (vv15-16) c.f. Deut. 6:11-12 and 8:10-12. SADLY THIS MAY BE TRUE OF PROFESSING BELIEVERS AND THEIR CHILDREN. Disobedience will lead inevitably to drought (Elijah) and dispossession of the land.

 

Feast of Firstfruits

 

untitled

  • Held two days after Passover.
  • Represents all the harvest
  • Promise of all the harvest
  • An offering acknowledging all comes from God
  • Represents first-fruits of covenant life with God (full harvest at end)
  • We are the first-fruits (James 1:18)
  • Christ is the first-fruits (I Cor.15:20,23)
  • All is dedicated to God (as in saying grace before meals)
  • We are only able to dedicate ourselves because Christ was sown into death and offered as first and best, then waved himself before the Father at resurrection (which was on the feast of first-fruits)
  • We rejoice, as Israel did, in all our blessings of grace in Christ.

Sermon

 

 

Communion with God (4)

How is our love like his love?

They are both a love of rest and pleasure. The love of God is so. Zeph. iii. 17, “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with  singing.” Both these things are here assigned unto God in his love, — REST and DELIGHT.  God on account of his own love, so full, so every way complete and absolute, will not complain of any thing in them whom he loves, but he is silent on the account thereof. It is also fixed, for ever.  To have joy of heart in gladness, is the highest expression of delight in love. To rejoice with gladness of heart, to exult with singing and praise, argues the greatest delight. Manifest in when he said to the Son, “This is my beloved Son in whom I rest well pleased.” (Matt.3:17). Because we are “in the Son” he says this to us-JK!

And consequently ours: ” I will give you rest.” (Matt.11:28. “Whom have I,” saith he, “in
heaven but thee and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee,” (Ps. 73:25). Thus the soul
gathers itself from all its wanderings, from all other beloveds, to rest in God alone, — to satiate
and content itself in him; choosing the Father for his present and eternal rest. And this also with
delight. “Thy loving-kindness,” saith the psalmist, “is better than life; therefore will I praise thee,”
(Ps. 63: 3). “Than life,” — before lives. Life, in the whole continuance of it, with all its advantages whatever, is at least intended. He found more sweetness in God than in a long life, under its best and most noble considerations, attended with all enjoyments that make it pleasant and comfortable.

 

 

Witch of Endor

 

 

The incident where Saul, in dire straits, calls on the woman with the familiar (evil) spirit to seek his fortune has been a source of controversy for  many for years. I think John Gill gives the most plausible explanation. He believes the apparition she calls up is an evil spirit. The apparition (not Samuel who was in heaven) says, “Moreover, the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hands of the Philistines,”….no comfort, “it being the business of this foul spirit to drive him to despair by the permission of God.” Had it really been Samuel he would have called him to repent, especially regarding David, and advised him to send for him, who might have been of singular use unto him; had Saul complied God would have appeared for him, and worked deliverance, “and tomorrow [shalt] thou and thy sons be with me.” This was a lie of the devil; if he meant this of himself, as an evil spirit, it could not be true of Saul and all his sons, that they should be with him in hell, especially of Jonathan who appears throughout the whole of his life to have been a godly man; if he would have it understood of him as representing Samuel, and of their being with him in heaven, it must be a great stretch of charity to believe it true of Saul, so wicked a man, and who died in the act of suicide; if the spirit meant all the sons of Saul, as the expression seems to suggest, it was mistaken as Ishbosheth, and his two sons by Rizpah, survived. It is noteworthy that this sin is recorded as the one specifically among many for which Saul died (I Chron.10:13).

God uses sin!

John Flavel: “The Lord makes use even of your sins and infirmities to do you good. By these, He … humbles you, beats you off from self-dependence, makes you admire the riches of grace, makes you long more ardently for heaven, and causes you to entertain sweeter thoughts of death. Does not the Lord then make blessed fruits to spring up from such a bitter root? O the blessed chemistry of heaven—to extract such mercies out of such miseries.

John Flavel

War of Words

“Words that challenge God’s authority, lies, false interpretations of life (and Scripture-JK), accusations and blame against God and man…all have their origin in this dramatic moment of change “(when Satan speaks in the garden-JK)-Tripp.

We can learn so much from Satan’s first words that inform us about our own. Next CPRC Mens’ Bible Study on chapter 2 this Friday 10.30 in church.

Communion with God (3)

John Owen

All three persons of the trinity acts graciously together in us. The Father does it by the way of original authority; the Son by the way of granting what he has earned in his riches; the Holy Spirit by the way of immediate effect e.g. Rom. viii. 11, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

The relationship with the Father is pre-eminently that of love─free, undeserved and eternal (I John 3:1). So in that distribution made by the apostle in his solemn parting benediction, 2 Cor. xiii. 14,“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, THE LOVE OF GOD, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, bewith you all.” Ascribing sundry things unto the distinct persons, it is love that he peculiarly assigns to the Father. And the fellowship of the Spirit is mentioned with the grace of Christ and the love of God, because it is by the Spirit alone that we have fellowship with Christ in grace, and with the Father in love.

Owen sees the love as being two-fold, a love of good pleasure (the will to do good), and a love of friendship (covenant love). Really you cannot divide them! Our calling is to receive it and return it! We receive it by faith. This is the will of God, that he may always be eyed as benign, kind, tender, loving, and unchangeable therein.

Our response must be love. God loves, that he may be beloved. When he comes to command the return of his received love, to complete communion with him, he says, “My son, give me thine heart,” Prov. xxiii. 26, — thy affections, thy love. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind,” Luke x. 27; this is the return that he demandeth. When the soul sees God, in his dispensation of love, to be love, to be infinitely lovely and loving, rests upon and delights in him as such, then has it communion with him in love. This is love, that God loves us first, and then we love him again.

Jesus the judge

 

Peter at Cornelius the centurion’s house where these words were spoken.

Dear friend, is Jesus Christ an irrelevance, a long-dead social activist, an historical figure, a myth?  God says in Acts 10:42, “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. ”  Jesus Christ crucified, dead, buried, raised from the dead and ascended to heaven will one day be your judge! Make absolutely sure he is your Saviour and Lord now! Repent of your sin and believe the gospel. He is the infinite creator-God become man who commands your obedience.

Sermon

Communion with God (2)

In 1657, John Owen produced one of his finest devotional treatises, probably the substance of a series of sermons.

Description: Christian’s communion with God as it relates to all three members of the Holy Trinity. He leads us by green pastures and still waters, and lays open the exhaustless springs of the Christian’s hidden life with God.

OF COMMUNION WITH GOD THE FATHER, SON, AND HOLY GHOST, EACH PERSON DISTINCTLY, IN LOVE, GRACE AND CONSOLATION; OR, THE SAINTS’ FELLOWSHIP WITH THE FATHER, SON, AND HOLY GHOST UNFOLDED.

Proof: 1 John v. 7, the apostle tells us, “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost.” In heaven they are three and they bear witness to us.

1 Cor. xii. 4–6, the apostle, speaking of the distribution of gifts and graces unto the saints, ascribes them distinctly, in respect of the fountain of their communication, unto the distinct persons. “There are diversities of gifts, but the same SPIRIT,” — “that one and the self same Spirit;” that is, the Holy Ghost, verse 11. “And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord,” the same Lord Jesus, verse 5. “And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God,” etc.,

Similarly ; “For through Christ we have access by one Spirit unto the Father,” Eph. ii. 18. Our access unto God (wherein we have communion with him) is, “through Christ,”  “in the Spirit,” and “unto the Father;”  Hence the trinitarian substance of this communion is proven-JK

Owen’s aim in writing?

It is, then, I say, of that mutual communication in giving and receiving, after a most holy and spiritual manner, which is between God and the saints while they walk together in a covenant of peace, ratified in the blood of Jesus, whereof we are to treat. And this we shall do, if God permit; in the meantime praying the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who has, of the riches of his grace, recovered us from a state of enmity into a condition of communion and fellowship with himself, that both he that writes, and they that read the words of his mercy, may have such a taste of his sweetness and excellencies therein, as to be stirred up to a farther longing after the fulness of his salvation, and the eternal fruition of him in glory.

Through the Bible in a year

In the Bible reading plan today (see scans) we had I Samuel 17 and Acts 9. These two chapters clearly illustrate the grace and power of God. In the first God, through David and his slingshot, fells Goliath to the earth and shows that the battle is his (v47). The Lord will destroy his enemies. In the second reading, the Lord again fells an enemy namely Saul of Tarsus but this time in grace he makes him into a servant-friend, a new man by his powerful call from heaven. Known unto God are all his works. He slays his enemies but saves some of them and makes them his friends. This is his prerogative. Which are you? And if like me you are a believer, our calling as his people is to say to his enemies, as we have opportunity, “be reconciled to God” (II Cor.5:20).

Click to enlarge.

The Land (3)

The Land

Sung Psalm 95:6-11

Reading Deuteronomy 6

The last few weeks’ studies have been about three lands:

  • Egypt (house of bondage)
  • Wilderness (testing)
  • Canaan (Promised land)

 

Terms used for Canaan-Promised land, inheritance, gift, rest, land flowing with milk and honey. It is a picture of heaven, the intermediate state (after we die) and the eternal state.

 

What connects law and land? Cities of refuge (6), the dwelling place of God in Jerusalem, inheritance laws, Levitical cities (48) and year of Jubilee.

Vv10-11 show all is by grace

Vv12-16 warn against forgetting, idolatry and tempting God (we are all susceptible!)

 

Deut.8  A land of plenty where fullness can produce forgetfulness, of redemption and the wilderness wanderings/provision. Don’t be like the Laodiceans (Rev.3)!

What Can Separate?

Just as his Spirit is in us for ever and is the earnest of our inheritance, he is also the conduit of his everlasting covenant love for us.

Young Calvinists

What can separate you from the love of your god? If you had asked participants of almost any religion in history, you would compile a whole list of offences, from items as serious as murder to things as simple as a missed prayer. Some religions would have to confess that their god never loved them – they were merely tolerated as long as they behaved. Ancient Greeks were constantly trying to appease their fickle god Zeus, attempting to understand what had made him angry this time. One unsatisfactory sacrifice might result in years of famine. Participants of pagan religions live in constant fear that one omission, one sin, will result in losing favor with their gods.

So, I ask you. What can separate you from your God? Thankfully, we can answer with the words of Paul in Romans 8:38 & 39, “For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life…

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Far East Trip

Summary of our time in Far East:

 

Thankful to God for all those things that reflect his beauty/grace:

  • Beautiful creation-places, animals, people.
  • Gracious providence-all our needs, timing, safety.
  • Beautiful fellowship with the redeemed-worship and fellowship with brothers and sisters.

Last day in Manila, Philippines.

Coming to the end of a great holiday in the Far East. Friday on Borocay we jet skied and took quad bikes to view the whole island from Ocean Towers..  
Saturday we flew back to Manila and had fellowship meal at the Bongats. Sunday was spent worshipping at PRC Bulacan with the Holsteges and all the saints–two services and lunch, evening was spent at Kleyns with  Daniel’s parents, the Holsteges and the Ongs.
PRC Bulacan..Flores family etc
with Rev Kleyn’s parents.
Fly Manila-London tomorrow. Night stop London. Tuesday London-Belfast (DV).

Who I Am and Who I Am Not

My comment: You bring out important points from what many would describe as an awful upbringing and sad set of life experiences. So PTL. In a similar vein the successful Christian businessman or sportsman is also not defined by his success but by his status as God’s covenant child.(Jer. 9:23-24)

Young Calvinists

A lot of us have sad and tragic, yet honest stories about our childhoods or lives in general. Some of us have been through a lot more than others. I decided to use a presentation I gave in a college class as an opportunity to witness to you all, by showing you who I really am, who I’m not, and maybe along the way, helping you find out who you are, too. I’d like to start with a quote from Pastor John Piper. He says, “Not only is all your affliction momentary. Not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there. All of it is TOTALLY meaningful. Every millisecond of your pain from the fallen nature or fallen man; every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is working for you a peculiar glory you will get because of that. I don’t…

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BOROCAY

After about thirty hours of sleeplessness  we reached the Filipino holiday island of Boracay (see map). It is just to the north of the big central island in the Philippines Panay. White sands and clear water I believe but like so many exploited holiday islands it is certainly not a conservation island

C.E.R.C. Singapore

Last day in Singapore!

Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore is sister church (much bigger several times) to my own home church CPRC Ballymena, U.K.

My wife and I enjoyed fellowship with brethren and sisters today in worship, Bible Study, and chat at mealtimes. Though the sermons were “read” they we done in such a way as to be very like sermons preached.

A.M. Israel’s war with Amalek,  Rev. D. Kleyn, (Exodus 17:8-16).

Points:

  • Relatives who hated us and were hated by God (Amalek).
  • God fights using us.
  • Our power is in intercession believing God’s authority (rod)

P.M. Not weary in well-doing. Rev. C. Haak (Gal.6:9).

Points:

  • flesh is weak.
  • we all have our respective callings and “duty-work”.
  • we may sow to the Spirit continuously.
  • work is rewarded as we reap fruitful harvest (our own quality of life eternal, people converted and quality fruit in their lives).

The Men’s Bible Study in John 15 was exhaustive and enlightening and both in it and in personal fellowship I felt privileged to be used by God in serving the brethren.

 

Ladies’ BS (men in background)

Late tonight we leave for Philippines for a few days on one of their holiday islands and then weekend in Manila.

Singapore Zoo and hilltop

So many animals on display but especially liked Komodo Dragon, Fruit Bat and little water Monitor that for me stole the show with the elephants, swimming across their mote and being bombed by a huge log. The Ong family were our hosts. Later another church couple Roy and Florence took us out to a street restaurant and then up to a vantage point where we saw the cable-car to Sentosa island and all the commercial buildings  and apartments. End of day considering Job together and sharing the highlights and perceived purpose of our visit.

 

lit up.

Predestination

New LRF Blog Post


Predestination: That’s Not Fair!

Posted: 20 Apr 2017 01:57 PM PDT

Predestination: That’s Not Fair!

The accusation against God that predestination is unfair is foolish. God cannot be unfair or unjust because He is the very definition of righteousness. “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid!” (Romans 9:14). When something seems to be unfair, we must remember that we are not competent judges, and really have no right to judge the Almighty. He judges us. We do not judge Him.

It is also wicked rebellion against God to label Him a cruel tyrant or an evil puppet master. God is not a cruel monster. He is, in fact, the sovereign Creator and Judge, and as such He can do with His creatures what He wills. All His doings are good and in accord with perfect righteousness and wisdom. Human beings are not puppets or robots—we are rational, moral creatures, who are accountable to God.

If God choose to save none, but punished all, He would be just to do so. None deserve salvation. All of us deserve to be condemned for our sins. If a governor had ten men on death row, all of whom were guilty of heinous crimes and worthy of death, and the governor, by sovereign prerogative, determined to pardon one, the other nine cannot complain that they did not receive the same pardon. All deserved justice. Nine received strict justice, were sentenced to death, and executed, while one received mercy and received a pardon. Similarly, God declares, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Romans 9:15).

Therefore, the sinner has no ground for his complaint. If he hates God, loves his sins, and despises Jesus Christ, how will he complain if God gives him the hell that he so richly deserves? If a man lives as a rebel against God, why should he expect salvation from Him? And if another receives salvation, given to him freely by grace alone, why will any complain that he did not receive what another received—when none deserved it?

God chooses to give salvation to some as is His sovereign prerogative as God. God says to the complainer, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen (Matthew 20:15-16).

Instead of complaining, marvel at predestination and worship God for it.

Rev. Martyn McGeown

Our relationship with the Holy Spirit-a summary.

What he does

 

Allusion to

 

What we must not do

 

What that means

 

Indwells His person sealing-love, kindness and tenderness.

 

Grieve him (Eph.4:30)

 

Pursue universal holiness

 

Sanctifies His gracious operation-like fire

 

Quench him (I Thess. 5:19)

 

Work out what he works in

 

Speaks through ministers The means of grace (preaching, reading)

 

Resist him (Acts 7:51) by closing ears

 

Listen and apply

 

Taken from John Owen’s “Communion with the Triune God.”

Available here:

http://file:///C:/Users/user/Desktop/communion-with-the-triune-god-complete-ebook..pdf

 

What does the Holy Spirit do?

 

He does NOT inspire the “lively worship” or do the spurious “high jinks” or “miracles” or “so-called healings” or prostrations of the Pentecostal and Charismatic pseudo-churches but rather he reveals and teaches the truth of God and glorifies Christ by every means through the Scriptures which he inspired. We are to do the same. He is the divine witness and we are lesser witnesses.

 

Two miraculous crossings.

Red Sea crossing.                                                           Jordan crossing-Ark leads.

The two great water crossings typify and foreshadow the two great stages of redemption in the work of Christ for his people. First the Red Sea crossing during the Exodus typifies release from bondage to sin and the tyranny of Satan and then the Jordan crossing and entry into Canaan typifies our release from this body of death into glorified bodies as we receive our eternal inheritance in our promised land in the age to come. No heaven without being born again. Both redemptive acts solely God’s work!

 

 

Grieve not the Holy Spirit

“We lose both the power and pleasure of our obedience for want of this consideration. The Holy Ghost undertakes to be our comforter. What an unworthy thing it is to grieve him who comes to us on purpose to give us consolation!  The Holy Ghost, in his infinite love and kindness toward me, has condescended to be my comforter; he does it willingly, freely, powerfully. What have I received from him! In the multitude of my perplexities how has he refreshed my soul! Can I live one day without his consolations? And shall I be regardless of him in that wherein he is concerned? Shall I grieve him by negligence, sin, and folly? Shall not his love constrain me to walk before him to all well-pleasing?” Eph.4:30

John Owen

Singapore Botanic Gardens

These are the most visited gardens in the world ( 4 million p.a.) and a UNESCO world heritage site. Trees of the tropics, some huge and 300 years old, beautiful flowers especially orchids AND wandering monitor lizards that swim thrown in, plus fish and turtles. It was hot! Cost 80p!

 

 

Bat-Tailed Drongo (black)

Monitor Lizard

Pitcher plant-carnivorous-insects fall in and are dissolved.

Our responsibility regarding the Holy Spirit

Owen is brilliant (Communion with God).

There are three things considerable in the Holy Ghost: (1) his person, as dwelling in us; (2) his actings by grace, or his motions; (3) his working in the ordinances of the word, and the sacraments—all for the same end and purpose. To these three are the three cautions before suited: (1) Not to grieve him, in respect of his person dwelling in us. (2) Not to quench him, in respect of the actings and motions of his grace. (3) Not to resist him, in respect of the ordinances of Christ, and his gifts for their administration. Now, because the whole general duty of believers, in their communion with the Holy Ghost, is comprised in these three things, I shall handle them severally. TBC.

The test of true religion.

Do you know you are going to heaven?

The self-righteous religionist cannot answer positively because he never knows if he has done enough. The true Christian who has the Holy Spirit has the assurance of God’s love as Father. The true believer knows Christ has done everything for his salvation. The former is slave to a spirit of bondage and fears and even self-cruelty (see flagellation above) and his religion crucifies the Son of God afresh and is a damnable insult to him. Even if you give your body to be burnt without true love for God it profits you nothing. Only those who know Christ paid for their sins ONCE FOR ALL truly love him in return.

                                             Adapted from John Owen’s “Communion with Triune God.”

Tinipak

7/4/17 untitled

 

What a day? Was a two to three hour trip by jeepney and tricycle, the latter over very rough roads up east into central Luzon’s mountains to get to a river, going to be worth it? It surely was! Among amazing marble and limestone formations we swam in the crystal-clear water and the surrounding green-clad steep mountain jungle, watching speeding sand martins dart in and out of the craggy cliffs. Tinipak it is called. Nil and Dorothy have been so kind to take us around AND collect us and take us back home in case we get lost in the incredibly, busy Metro Manila. What was also good was fact we had some steep climbing up and down the gorge sides—my first real exercise since getting here.

Pictures-see FB pages!

Manila

Trip 

Tues. 4/4/17 It was well nigh impossible to sleep on 14 hour flight, but at least with an isle seat I could stretch my legs! Manila is like West Indies, warm and humid 26 degrees. As I write I am surrounded by high rise hotels on the open top floor of Stone House hotel accessing internet. Sleep required!

5/4/17 Having been met and taken to B/B by Benilde and Dorothy (see welcome table) and their friendly taxi-driver, praise God caught up on sleep. Here are some views from top floor.  Some Lovely plants growing there.

Transportation-jeepneys and trikes!

Typical suburban street

 Weds 5/4/17. Standard of living is generally cheaper than UK. Petrol, food and drink about half our prices (1L petrol 50-60p), BUT gyms are a rip off asking me for 900-1200 pesos (£15-20) for one session! Wages are generally low, minimum seems to be about £25 a week (6,000 pesos a month).We toured the huge Farmers Market where every kind of food and utensil can be bought, exotic seafood, chicken legs, live eels, catfish etc. Picked a fish and had it cooked and battered and sauced for us (see pic). Lovely meal and fellowship with Nil, Dorothy and Sonny and Luz Umali, elder and wife from Berean PRC.

Piles of eggs at the Farmer’s Market.

Squid

Snooze time.

Our fish.

6/4/17  Visited with Nil and Dorothy with Dick Espiritu. Late afternoon to Cloud 9 to see all of Manila from high vantage point as sun went down. Pall of grey smog hung over the city. Dropped and broke camera, so no more pics from me! These two of our hotel and Nils house are courtesy of Google earth.

Nils house

STONEHOUSE Hotel.

7/4/17 Today an early start to travel to the Filipino equivalent of Glenarrif waterfalls.

 

Priority Prayers

What are the greatest needs in the world today?

earth

For the church:

  • Labourers for the harvest field—Reformed ministers, elders and deacons, the former trained and sent by overseeing congregations/synod and the latter volunteering to move or raised up locally.
  • Supporting churches with prayer, oversight and finance.
  • Reformation in all departing churches.
  • Prayer, practical and financial support for the persecuted and starving.

For the world:

  • The gospel proclaimed personally, through Scripture distribution or through electronic means to make disciples of all peoples.
  • Conversion of men and women in power
  • Righteous laws
  • Acceptance of true asylum seekers and refugees.
  • The destruction of radical Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Communism and apostate Christianity.
  • The salvation of all the elect including among cults and all groups above.

Let me entertain you!

en
verb
verb: entertain; 3rd person present: entertains; past tense: entertained; past participle: entertained; gerund or present participle: entertaining
  1. 1.
    provide (someone) with amusement or enjoyment.
    “a tremendous game that thoroughly entertained the crowd”
    synonyms: amuse, divert, distract, delight, please, charm, cheer, beguile, interest, fascinate, enthral, engage, involve, occupy, absorb, immerse, engross, preoccupy, hold the attention of

    “he wrote his first stories to entertain his children”
    antonyms: bore
    • receive (someone) as a guest and provide them with food and drink.
      “a private dining room where members could entertain groups of friends”
      synonyms: receive, play host/hostess to, show hospitality to, invite to a meal/party, invite (round/over), ask (round/over), have (round/over), give someone a meal, throw a party for; More

      dine, wine and dine, feast, cater for, serve, feed, treat, welcome, host, fete
      “he often entertains foreign visitors at home”
      receive guests, have guests, play host/hostess, provide hospitality, have people round/over, have company, hold/throw a party, keep open house, have a dinner/lunch party
      “I expect you entertain a lot”
  2. 2.
    give attention or consideration to (an idea or feeling).
    “Washington entertained little hope of an early improvement in relations”
    synonyms: consider, give consideration to, take into consideration, think about, contemplate, give thought to, bear in mind; More

Entering Sabbath Rest

This is keeping the fourth commandment which we do because we love God.

Young Calvinists

The Lord’s Day is the New Testament fulfillment of the Old Testament Sabbath, the day of rest that God instituted at the close of the creation week. On this day God calls His people to rest; not merely to rest physically (though that is part of it), but to rest spiritually. This spiritual rest is an important dimension of our worship on the Lord’s Day. For that reason, we do well to think about Sabbath rest as we prepare ourselves for worship tomorrow.

The true idea of Sabbath rest is lost in much of the church today. On the one side, there are those who have taken the liberty to transform the Sabbath into a day for themselves. Rather than faithfully attend the corporate worship of the church, they are very willing to substitute “family time” or some other activity in place of church. That can be a temptation…

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