Back, then Forward

Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. (Ezekiel 16:60)

Notwithstanding our sins, the Lord is still faithful in His love to us. He looks back. See how He remembers those early days of ours when He took us into covenant with Himself, and we gave ourselves over to Him. Happy days those! The Lord does not twit us with them and charge us with being insincere. No, He looks rather to His covenant with us than to our covenant with Him. There was no hypocrisy in that sacred compact, on His part, at any rate. How gracious is the Lord thus to look back in love!

He looks forward also. He is resolved that the covenant shall not fail. If we do not stand to it, He does. He solemnly declares, “I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.” He has no mind to draw back from His promises. Blessed be His name, He sees the sacred seal, “the blood of the everlasting covenant,” and He remembers our Surety, in whom He ratified that covenant, even His own dear Son; and therefore He rests in His covenant engagements. “He abideth faithful; he cannot deny himself.”

O Lord, lay this precious word upon my heart and help me to feed upon it all this day! – C.H. Spurgeon from Faith’s Checkbook

The Great God

Destroy in me every lofty thought,
Break pride to pieces and scatter it to the winds,
Annihilate each clinging shred of self-righteousness,
Implant in me true lowliness of spirit,
Abase me to self-loathing and self-abhorrence,
Open in me a fount of penitential tears,
Break me, then bind me up;
Thus will my heart be a prepared dwelling for my God;
             Then can the Father take up his abode in me,
             Then can the blessed Jesus come with healing in his touch,
             Then can the Holy Spirit descend in sanctifying grace;
O Holy Trinity, three Persons and one God,
             inhabit me, a temple consecrated to thy glory.
When thou art present, evil cannot abide;
In thy fellowship is fullness of joy,
Beneath thy smile is peace of conscience,
By thy side no fears disturb,
                   no apprehensions banish rest of mind,
With thee my heart shall bloom with fragrance;
Make me meet, through repentance, for thine indwelling.
Nothing exceeds thy power,
Nothing is too great for thee to do,
Nothing too good for thee to give,
             Infinite is thy might, boundless thy love,
             limitless thy grace, glorious thy saving name.
Let angels sing for sinners repenting, prodigals restored,
             backsliders reclaimed, Satan’s captives released,
             blind eyes opened, broken hearts bound up,
             the despondent cheered, the self-righteous stripped,
             the formalist driven from a refuge of lies,
             the ignorant enlightened,
             and saints built up in their holy faith.

I ask great things of a great God.

From The Valley of Vision – A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions

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Charles Spurgeon Quote

“It is not possible that the man who denies the deity of Christ can be a Christian. He deliberately refuses the only way of escape from the wrath to come.”

“Depend on it, my hearer, you never will go to heaven unless you are prepared to worship Jesus Christ as God.”

The Price of Vision

The Price of Vision

by Mike Ratliff

Without a doubt the believer whom God uses will not be understood by most professing believers. The sword of truth divides. It does bring together those who love the truth and seek only their Lord’s will, but it will divide those from them who do not love the truth unconditionally. The visible church is being eaten alive by lies that are believed by people who would prefer to have their own version of the truth instead of the pure unadulterated truth from God’s Word. The person proclaiming these truths will not be popular. Instead, the wrath of our enemy will come against him or her who will use those who appear godly, but who are tools of deceit whom he wields to cause despair and confusion. This person will find out that not every “Christian” wants to hear the truth. Instead they want what tickles the ears and conforms to their own version of it. Those who dedicate themselves to putting God first in all things, even over what they want, will pay a high price, but it is these Believers God will use to soften and harden hearts.

The following devotional by Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest is highly recommended. I pray that by reading and meditating on the truths in it you will be blessed.

The Price of Vision

By Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord . . . -Isaiah 6:1

Our soul’s personal history with God is often an account of the death of our heroes. Over and over again God has to remove our friends to put Himself in their place, and that is when we falter, fail, and become discouraged. Let me think about this personally- when the person died who represented for me all that God was, did I give up on everything in life? Did I become ill or disheartened? Or did I do as Isaiah did and see the Lord?

My vision of God is dependent upon the condition of my character. My character determines whether or not truth can even be revealed to me. Before I can say, “I saw the Lord,” there must be something in my character that conforms to the likeness of God. Until I am born again and really begin to see the kingdom of God, I only see from the perspective of my own biases. What I need is God’s surgical procedure- His use of external circumstances to bring about internal purification.

Your priorities must be God first, God second, and God third, until your life is continually face to face with God and no one else is taken into account whatsoever. Your prayer will then be, “In all the world there is no one but You, dear God; there is no one but You.”

Keep paying the price. Let God see that you are willing to live up to the vision.

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Are There Two Gospels in the New Testament?

Our enemy has many strongholds that he is using right now to keep the vast majority of professing Christians in spiritual blindness to the truth. I heard a sermon a few years ago by John Piper about theology through the ages. Piper contended that even those great theologians that God used powerfully in the Reformation had blind spots in certain areas. If that be so then how about today? I contend that that will be even more so in our climate of Spiritual Deception in the 21st Century.

A hermeneutic is simply a “filter” that theologians use to interpret scripture based upon certain “doctrines.” That definition is probably a little over simplistic, but it does convey what happens when men use extra-biblical techniques to apply against God’s Word that are the basis for all of their Biblical doctrines. One such “filter” that, I believe, when taken to extremes, that is quite damaging to the Body of Christ because it is used by our enemy as a stronghold from which he has the “authority” to blind people to the truth, is Dispensationalism. This “authority” is given to him by the very people who are blinded. When they seek a Biblical understanding that, for whatever reason, is not with pure (not to seek God and His glory alone) motives, they are entering the realm of idolatry where spiritual blindness and spiritual stupor awaits unless they are very careful always seeking God’s will and direction in their lives. However, if their motives are impure will they be doing that?

What is Dispensationalism? Here is the definition from John MacArthur’s book The Gospel According to the Apostles. This definition is found in Appendix Two on page 203.

Dispensationalism is a system of biblical interpretation that sees a distinction between God’s program for Israel and His dealings with the church.

He goes on to say that he learned his theology from men who taught him to be a Dispensationalist. Today as I was researching this piece I ran across this article by Nathan Pitchford entitled: Are there Two Gospels in the New Testament? I pray that God will speak to your heart as you read it and that we will all come to His throne of Grace with penitent hearts seeking only His truth from His Word to be applied to our hearts and lives according to His will. Soli Deo Gloria.

The Essence of the Saint’s Perseverance

by Charles Spurgeon

“And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”-John 10:28

The Christian should never think or speak lightly of unbelief. For a child of God to mistrust His love, His truth, His faithfulness, must be greatly displeasing to Him. How can we ever grieve Him by doubting His upholding grace? Christian! it is contrary to every promise of God’s precious Word that thou shouldst ever be forgotten or left to perish. If it could be so, how could He be true who has said, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I never forget thee.” What were the value of that promise-“The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.”

Where were the truth of Christ’s words-“I give unto My sheep eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.” Where were the doctrines of grace? They would be all disproved if one child of God should perish. Where were the veracity of God, His honour, His power, His grace, His covenant, His oath, if any of those for whom Christ has died, and who have put their trust in Him, should nevertheless be cast away? Banish those unbelieving fears which so dishonour God. Arise, shake thyself from the dust, and put on thy beautiful garments. Remember it is sinful to doubt His Word wherein He has promised thee that thou shalt never perish. Let the eternal life within thee express itself in confident rejoicing.

“The gospel bears my spirit up:
A faithful and unchanging God
Lays the foundation for my hope,
In oaths, and promises, and blood.”

Discernment: Thinking God’s Thoughts after Him

By Sinclair Ferguson

Someone I knew recently expressed an opinion that surprised and in some ways disappointed me. I said to myself, “I thought he would have more discernment than that.”

The experience caused me to reflect on the importance of discernment, and the lack of it in our world. People do not see issues clearly and are easily misled because they do not think biblically. But, sadly, one cannot help reflecting on how true that is of ourselves, in the church community too. Continue reading