The Breath of Life

God has no need to breathe but breath represents God’s life. Without his breath, no life.

Young Calvinists

Psalm 33:6 “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.”

Are you breathing?

Of course you are; if not, you wouldn’t be conscious for long or even alive, much less reading this article. But how often do you think about the slow, regular breaths that keep you alive every minute of every day? To become more aware, let’s try something: Take a deep breath and hold it.

keep holding…

keep holding…

Are you starting to feel like something’s missing?

Your chest is probably feeling heavy. You might feel a sense of panic twirling in your stomach, and pretty soon your brain will be screaming for air. If you don’t relent, dark edges may start to creep into the edges of your vision. Before you pass out, breathe!

It’s amazing how we can be reduced to an…

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You did not choose me — I chose you.

New LRF Blog Post


The God Who Chooses

Posted: 08 Feb 2017 07:40 AM PST

The God Who Chooses

Part of God’s eternal purpose is election or predestination. We know what election is—it is a choice. In election, however, we mean God’s choice. Specifically, we mean God’s choice concerning salvation. Even more specifically, we mean God’s choice of whom He will save.

There are some who think that God has chosen to save everybody. Their argument is that God wants everyone to be in heaven, but He leaves it up to individual people to decide whether they want to be in heaven with God or not. Often salvation is described as an offer—God wants to give you salvation, but you have to be willing to accept it. Some portray Jesus as “knocking on the door of your heart,” hoping that you will invite Him into your life.

The Bible does not teach that. In fact, such a portrayal is very dishonouring to God. We have already seen that God is almighty, sovereign and majestic in His holiness. Does a beggar knocking on hearts sound like God? Would the God who is independent be reduced to depending on His creatures in such a way? In fact, Scripture says, “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Romans 9:16). If salvation depends on the freewill of humans, then God depends on the freewill of humans. Then humans—not God—are sovereign. God forbid!

The Bible teaches that before the world was created—in His eternal decree—God made a choice. First, He chose Jesus Christ to be the Saviour. Second, in that decree, He gave a certain, definite, limited number of humans to Jesus Christ. Third, He sent Jesus Christ into the world to save those humans—and only them—from their sins. Jesus explains: “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which He hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39). Jesus did not come to try to save as many as possible, and then fail in the attempt. Jesus came to save a definite number—as many as the Father had given to Him—and them He actually saves. Not one of them shall be lost. Is that not good news?

Paul writes, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4).

Predestination is not a horrible teaching. It is God’s eternal choice of His people in love.

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Rev. Martyn McGeown

Joseph

Every time I read Genesis 45 tears well up in my eyes. The story evokes so much pathos. Joseph, the long-lost eleventh son of Jacob having been sold as a slave by his jealous brothers has risen to be prime minister of Egypt.

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He has given his brothers a taste of injustice by returning their food money in their sacks and planting his silver cup in Benjamin’s. He has been testing their characters by demanding a hostage when they return home and now for the last time, having sent his steward to apprehend them, he finally cannot control himself any longer in their presence and leaves the room to weep returning to reveal his identity with much weeping and embracing.

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Although not a type of Christ there are many parallels in the two lives:

  • He is betrayed by jealous brethren (Christ and the Jews).
  • He is sold for twenty pieces of silver (Christ was sold for thirty)
  • He is unjustly bound and imprisoned
  • God is manifestly with him throughout (Chapter 39 x4)
  • Having suffered he is exalted to very high station
  • He forgives his brethren
  • He believes in the absolute sovereignty of God
  • He is a saviour to his family
  • He forgave them their sin against him

He is a godly example and man of faith (Hebrews 11:22), is there any wonder I named my son after him?

The Eternally Active God

New LRF* Blog Post


The Eternally Active God

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 10:06 AM PST

God is the eternally active and living God. Never is God idle. Never is God bored. Never is God lonely or unfulfilled. Eternally within His own being, God has planned and purposed all things. We call God’s eternal plan His “counsel.” “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18). “Being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11).

God is perfectly free. He depends on no one. Therefore, He depends on no one when He determines His eternal counsel. No one gives Him advice—nor does He seek advice—in determining what He should do. Since God’s counsel is eternal, no one was there, no creature, neither man nor angel, to give Him advice, or to give input into His counsel. God could choose to create or not to create, and having decided to create, He could create whatever pleased Him in any way it pleased Him. “But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased” (Psalm 115:3).

God’s counsel is unchangeable. Never does God change His mind. And nothing happens in history to force Him to change His mind. From our perspective, God might sometimes seem to change, but in reality He has purposed all things from eternity. God’s counsel includes all things—every event, every person, every activity. Nothing is outside of the scope of God’s decree. The rise and fall of nations, the birth, death (and every detail of life) of every individual, and even the fall of a sparrow are included.

The doctrine of God’s sovereign counsel is a terror to the wicked. Try as they might, they cannot overthrow the God who sits on the throne. God laughs at their puny efforts to thwart His purposes (Psalm 2:4). Evil men are but instruments in His hand to fulfill His will, whether they know it and acknowledge it or not. However, the same teaching is of great comfort to God’s children: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Conversely God works all things to the destruction of the reprobate wicked (Psalm 73 and 69:22-15)—JK

It is a wonderful truth that all things are under God’s control and power, that all things serve God’s glory, and that all things serve the salvation of God’s people. There is no greater comfort and assurance than that!

Fear for the Future

 

If you are like me you constantly need reassurance that you have no need to fear. In fact you are commanded 75 times in Scripture to “fear not!” Rev. John Heys wrote about this in the Standard Bearer in 1970.

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“..the thought of death gives us fear and many an anxious moment.”  But, “Let the eye of faith be fixed on Christ, and our fear will not be one of terror and fright but of reverence and awe, ” and I would add COMFORT. “Death does not seem such a terrible woe to the believer, because he sees it as his servant instead of his enemy…And he fears God rather than death which God controls so perfectly.”…”And if (God’s) mercy is ALWAYS upon us (Psalm 103:17) and was upon us from everlasting and will be everlastingly, what can or will harm us?” The Lord is constantly with us his people, ready and willing to meet every need. We have covenant fellowship with him. He is in us and we in him. NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

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Full article

Comfort in death

Limerick Reformed Fellowship

Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name (Psalm 96:8)

www.limerickreformed.com

Live Broadcast: http://mixlr.com/limerickreformed/

Lord’s Day 1st January 2017

Order of Service

Missionary-Pastor Martyn McGeown

 

 

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Evening worship – 5.30pm

Our Confession of Life After Death

Scripture Reading: Psalm 16:1-11

Text:  Heidelberg Catechism, LD 22, Q&A 57

  1. Temporary Separation
  2. Immediate Joy

III. Future Glory

Psalms: 73:23-28; 107:16-21; 16:1-5; 16:6-11

 

Quotes to Consider

Calvin: “Though many talk much of God’s providence, and profess to believe that he exercises a special guardianship over his own children, few are found actually willing to entrust their safety to him” (Commentary on the Psalms, vol. 2, p. 477).

 

  1. H. Spurgeon: “This is noble encouragement to all the saints; die they must, but rise they shall, and though in their case they shall see corruption, yet they shall rise to everlasting life. Christ’s resurrection is the cause, the earnest, the guarantee, and the emblem of the rising of all his people. Let them, therefore, go to their graves as to their beds, resting their flesh among the clods as they now do upon their couches” (Treasury of David, vol. 1, p. 197).

 

Spurgeon: “Trapp’s note on the heavenly verse which closes the Psalm is a sweet morsel, which may serve for a contemplation, and yield a foretaste of our inheritance. He writes, ‘Here is as much said as can be, but words are too weak to utter it. For quality there is in heaven joy and pleasures; for quantity, a fullness, a torrent whereat they drink without let or loathing; for constancy, it is at God’s right hand, who is stronger than all, neither can any take us out of his hand; it is a constant happiness without intermission: and for perpetuity it is for evermore. Heaven’s joys are without measure, mixture, or end'” (ibid, p. 197).

 

Edward Willan: “‘In thy presence is the fullness of joy;’ and herein consists the consummation of felicity; for what does any man here present wish for more than joy? And what measure of joy can any man wish for more than fullness of joy? And what kind of fullness would any man wish for rather than this fullness? And where would any man wish to enjoy this fullness of joy rather than in the presence of God, which is the ever-flowing and the over-flowing fountain of joy? And when would any man wish for this enjoyment of the fullness of joy in the very fountain of joy rather than presently, constantly, and incessantly? Now all these desirables are encircled within the compass of the first remarkable, to make up the consummation of true felicity. ‘In thy presence is fullness of joy’” (quoted in ibid, p. 211).

 

John Cragg: “This then may serve for a ground of comfort to every soul distressed with the tedious bitterness of this life; for short sorrow here, we shall have eternal joy; for a little hunger, an eternal banquet; for light sickness and affliction, everlasting health and salvation; for a little imprisonment, endless liberty; for disgrace, glory. Instead of the wicked who oppress and afflict them, they shall have the angels and saints to comfort and solace them, instead of Satan to torment and tempt them, they shall have Jesus to ravish and affect them. Joseph’s prison shall be turned into a palace; Daniel’s lions’ den into the presence of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah; the three children’s hot fiery furnace, into the new Jerusalem of pure gold; David’s Gath, into the tabernacle of the living God” (quoted in ibid, p. 212).

 

Zacharias Ursinus: “Flesh and blood being mortal and corrupt, as it now is, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Therefore flesh and blood, simply such, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. But this does not legitimately follow. Hence flesh and blood, understanding by this, that which is sinful, and corrupt, cannot inherit the kingdom of God; but as glorified and immortal it shall obtain an entrance there. The Apostle expressly teaches this when he says, ‘It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.’ … The apostle means by a spiritual body, not that which is changed into the Spirit, or which is in all its properties equal to the Spirit, but that which is ruled by the Spirit of God, which is immortal and free from all misery, adorned with heavenly splendour, glory, activity, strength and holiness. So he also calls a natural body, not that which is changed into the soul, or which is equal to it in all its properties, but that which in this mortal state is quickened, controlled, and directed by the soul. That this is the meaning of what Paul calls a spiritual body, is proven. 1. Because he says it is raised a spiritual body, but a spirit is no body. 2. He also adds, ‘this corruptible (body) must put on incorruption'” (Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, pp. 315-316).

 

 

Heidelberg Catechism, LD 22

Q 57.  What comfort doth the “resurrection of the body” afford thee?
 A.  That not only my soul after this life shall be immediately taken up to Christ its Head; but also, that this my body, being raised by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul, and made like unto the glorious body of Christ.

You meant evil, God meant good.

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” We must bear in mind that one of the greatest glories of God’s power and infinite wisdom is that sin and evil, Satan and hell, are made to serve his purpose.” (Homer Hoeksema in Unfolding Covenant History vol. 3, 106).

Joseph is a key example. Sold into slavery by his brothers who would later bow before him and be saved by his wisdom and industry. As he himself testified, “You thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”(Gen.50:20)

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Similarly, but in a much more important way, God used the evil Sanhedrin, Jewish rabble, Roman soldiers and Judas under Satan to crucify Christ who by his death would redeem his elect church from the beginning to the end of the world.

Good works prepared for us.

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Herman Hoeksema: “We must remember that the church is not a mere number of saved believers: it is a grand whole, it is a body, a unity. And the purpose of the whole is that they may show forth the glory of God in Christ. This one theme all the saints sing and develop in their good works, each in his own position and performing his own part. And the great Artist ordained and prepared all the several parts of this glorious theme for every one of the saints, just as He by grace prepares for them all the parts they are to perform. He created us in Christ Jesus exactly unto those good works which He prepared for us, that we might walk in them (The Triple Knowledge, vol. 3, pp. 105-106).

Ephesians 2:10.

The Books

 

The books were opened and all men were judged according to what was written in the books (Revelation 20:12-13). What are the various books mentioned in Revelation and other Scriptures?

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The first mention of a book is Genesis 5:1 where Moses is commanded to keep a record of the genealogy of the first generations of mankind. To this was added all the books of the law or covenant, the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible). To this was added the writings, or poetry books and the books of the prophets to comprise all the Old Testament. The whole of this book testifies of Christ to come (Psalm 40:7, Heb.10:7). In many places where prophets or an apostle are required to write, read, assimilate and preach this word we are to believe these are parts of inspired Scripture e.g. Jer.15:16, Ezek. 2:8,3:1, Rev.1:11, 10:2, 9-10. After the coming of Christ and the apostles, the New Testament, gospels and epistles, including Revelation, all of which are the inspired word of God and infallible, were added to the Old to comprise the whole Bible. This is God’s book in which we learn of all the other books! It is the canon of Scripture, now fixed (Rev.22:18-19). It is real, we can handle it and read it (in several thousand languages) and be blessed by so doing (Rev.1:3), it has power to save and harden (Heb.4, Is. 6:9-10, II Cor.2:16).

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The book mentioned in Revelation 5:1,3, 5ff is the book of God’s eternal decree which only Christ is fit to open and execute. This “book” is in the mind of the eternal, unchanging God and determines all that has or will ever happen in this universe.

The books (Rev.20:12-13, 15) out of which all men will be judged are a record of all the thoughts, words and actions of all men who have ever lived down to the minutest detail which will be opened on the last day and which will determine the eternal destiny of all men (Matt.12:36, 25:31-46, II Cor.5:10, Rom 14:12). Daniel knew of them (Dan.7:10). Think of them this way. God’s mind and memory are infinite and contain, like the greatest computer ever made, a full record of everything that has come to pass, inevitably because he also decreed it before time began!

The key book as far as Christian believers are concerned is the Lamb’s book of life. This book, kept invisibly in the mind of God, which is also eternal, contains a record of all the elect (Dan.12:1, Phil.4:3, Rev.13;8, 20:15, 21:27). This book cannot be added to or subtracted from (Ex.32:33), to be “blotted out “of it means to have never been in it! It also determines who will not follow Antichrist.

It is noteworthy that on the last day there is a separation of sheep (elect) from goats (reprobate) even before the books are opened and this separation has already occurred at death when each goes to his own place, either to be with Christ in heaven or the place of the dead and damned in hell (John 3:18, Luke 16:23). The final judgment after the general resurrection then determines the eternal destiny of everyone, the sheep having done good works to prove their election, and the goats having done wickedly, especially to God’s people, to cement their damnation. Christ also teaches there will be degrees of reward and punishment in his own words and the epistles (Matt.5:12, Luke 12:48, James 3:1) the rewards include various crowns (I Cor.9:25, Phil.4:1, II Tim.4:8, Rev.2:10, I Peter 5:4, Rev.3:11). All believers who are justified both in this life and the next, stand un-condemned because of Christ, it only remains for them to lay up treasure in heaven as both they and the wicked fill up their cup of suffering or iniquity as the case may be. We can be assured of this, the “judge of all the earth shall do right” (Gen 18:25).