January 18, 2019

Jonathan Edwards’ Resolution (1722-1723)

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards (1722-1723)

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

Jonathan Edwards

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.

3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can. [Read more…]

Questions to Ask While Reading Scripture

The following is taken from the excellent book, Welcome to the Story: Reading, Loving and Living God’s Word by Stephen J. Nichols

The purpose of reading the Bible is not to find self-fulfillment, although sometimes that’s an easy trap to fall into. There are some questions we can ask ourselves as we read Scripture to make sure we are reading for the right reasons:

  • What does this passage teach about God?
  • What attributes are on display?
  • What work is God doing?
  • How does the biblical author point us to God in this text?
  • Even though God may not be explicitly mentioned in this text, how is he at work in what is happening? How is he directing “behind the scenes?”
  • How does this passage either reveal or reflect the glory of God?

In addition to these information-gathering questions, we can also ask some application-oriented questions:

  • Does this passage offer any models of those who miss the point by not seeing God at work and by not focusing on his glory?
  • Does this passage offer any models of those who get the point?
  • What can I learn from these negative and positive models?
  • What does this text teach me about my own pursuits and agendas?
  • What selfish ambitions and pursuits do I need to repent of in light of what I just read in God’s Word?
  • What have I learned from this text that helps me keep God and his glory at the center of my life?

In short, we need to read the Bible with it’s grand mission in mind: God and his glory. It is only by living for his glory that we find what is best for us.

Learn more about Welcome to the Story.

If God is all powerful, then why does he allow suffering?

“Keep in mind that from a biblical perspective, suffering is intrinsically related to the fallenness of this world. There was no suffering prior to sin. The Scriptures  teach that suffering in this world is part of the complex of God’s judgment on the world. You are asking, How can a righteous judge allow a criminal to suffer? How can a just judge allow a violent offender to be punished? The question we should ask is, How can a just judge not allow punishment for those who have committed acts of violence or crimes of any sort? Behind that question always stands the holiness of God and his perfect righteousness. Our understanding of God is rooted and grounded in the teaching of Scripture that he is the just Judge. The Judge of all of the earth always does right.

In the ninth chapter of John, the Pharisees say to Jesus, “Why was this man born blind? Was it because of his sin or the sins of his parents?” Jesus said, “Neither one.” We can’t come to the conclusion that an individual’s suffering in this world is in direct proportion to that individual’s sin. That was what Job’s friends did when they came to him and tormented him by saying, “Boy, Job, you’re really suffering a lot. This must be an indication that you’re the most miserable sinner of all.” But the Bible says that we can’t use such a formula. The fact is, if there were no sin in the world, there would be no suffering. God allows suffering as part of his judgment, but he also uses it for our redemption—to shape our character and build up our faith.”  ~ R.C. Sproul

J.C. Ryle on Unbelief

J.C.Ryle

Who can tell the misery that unbelief has brought on the world? Unbelief made Eve eat the forbidden fruit – she doubted the truth of God’s word: “You will surely die.” Unbelief made the old world reject Noah’s warning, and so perish in their sin. Unbelief kept Israel in the wilderness – it was the barricade that kept them from entering the Promised Land. Unbelief made the Jews crucify the Lord of glory – they did not believe the voice of Moses and the prophets, even though they were read to them every day. And unbelief is the reigning sin of man’s heart down to this very hour – unbelief in God’s promises – unbelief in God’s wrath and discipline – unbelief in our own sinfulness – unbelief in our own danger – unbelief in everything that runs counter to the pride and worldliness of our evil hearts. -J.C. Ryle

Seven Tactics of Temptation by Sam Storms

Hey everyone, I found this quote from Sam Storms on ways Satan tempts us. I thought it would be really helpful for us to know when we are most vulnerable so we can “stand firm against the wiles of the devil” (Eph 6:11).

Seven Tactics of Temptation:

  1. Satan especially likes to tempt us when our faith is fresh, i.e., when the Christian is only recently converted and thus less prepared to know how to resist his seductive suggestions.
  2. Satan especially likes to tempt us when our faith feels strongest, i.e., when we think we are invulnerable to sin. If we are convinced that we have it under control, we become less diligent.
  3. Satan especially likes to tempt us when we are in an alien environment.
  4. Satan also likes to tempt us when our faith is being tested in the fires of affliction. When we are tired, burnt out, persecuted, feeling excluded and ignored, Satan makes his play. His most common tactic is to suggest that God isn’t fair, that he is treating us unjustly, from which platform Satan then launches his seductive appeal that we need no longer obey.
  5. Satan especially likes to tempt us immediately following both spiritual highs and spiritual lows. Periods of emotional elation and physical prosperity can sometimes lead to complacency, pride, and a false sense of security. When they do, we’re easy targets for the enemy’s arrows.
  6. Perhaps Satan’s most effective tactic in tempting us is to put his thoughts into our minds and then blame us for having them.
  7. A related tactic of temptation is for him to launch his accusations as if they were from the Holy Spirit. In other words, he couches his terms and chooses his opportunities in such a way that we might easily mistake his voice for that of God.
    -Sam Storms

Recommended Reading on Temptation:
Temptation: Resisted and Repulsed by John Owen
Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ by Russell Moore

Sermon excert from The Subjection of All Things Under the Feet of Jesus by J.C. Philpot

Here is an encouraging quote I found for when we are going through trials and hardships to remember that God is still in control and orchestrates everything in our lives!

J. C. Philpot

There may be circumstances in your earthly lot which at this moment are peculiarly trying. You look around and wonder how this or that circumstance will terminate. At present it looks very dark – clouds and mists hang over it, and you fear lest these clouds may break, not in showers upon your head, but burst forth in the lightning flash and the thunder stroke! But all things are put in subjection under Christ’s feet! That which you dread cannot take place except by His sovereign will – nor can it move any further except by His supreme disposal. Then make yourself quiet. He will not allow you to be harmed. That frowning providence shall only execute His sovereign purposes, and it shall be among those all things which, according to His promise, shall work together for your good. None of our trials come upon us by chance! They are all appointed in weight and measure – are all designed to fulfill a certain end. And however painful they may at present be, yet they are intended for your good.  When the trial comes upon you, what a help it would be for you if you could view it thus, “This trial is sent for my good. It does not spring out of the dust. The Lord Himself is the supreme disposer of it. It is very painful to bear; but let me believe that He has appointed me this peculiar trial, along with every other circumstance. He will bring about His own will therein, and either remove the trial, or give me patience under it, and submission to it.” -J.C. Philpot

Life in Christ by Lydia Brownback

Hey everyone, I was looking at the blog The Purple Cellar by Lydia Brownback and read this wonderful post. It is convicting and encouraging for me and I hope this is an encouragement to you as well.

Lydia Brownback

Do you know what it means to be “in Christ”?
You haven’t quite grasped it if things go wrong and the first thing you do is anxiously try to dig up some unconfessed sin as the reason.

You haven’t quite grasped it if you miss your quiet time one morning and think you’ll be thrown off course all day as a result.

You haven’t quite grasped it if you think you have to reach some spiritual peak before God will give you a husband or fix your marriage or save your children or give you a job.

You haven’t quite grasped it if you don’t really understand Jesus’ invitation: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt 11:28–30).

Why is this so hard for us—even as Christians—to grasp? It’s hard in part because Satan doesn’t want us to grasp it. It’s also hard because we are natural legalists at heart. We don’t want the yoke of Christ; we like finding our own way. We naturally bend toward self-righteousness rather than Christ-righteousness. [Read more…]

Priority of the Christian Life

Hey everyone! I wanted to write and talk about God being the first priority in your life; particularly in the lives of young adults.  It seems to me that many of us, myself included, often go through our daily routines of going to school, doing homework, maybe working or playing sports, but we who claim to be Christians spend little time in the Word and in prayer.  Instead we just tack God on as something  we do on Sundays and Wednesdays. Our Christianity should not be something we just do on Sundays and Wednesdays but a constant orientation around God and living out our lives in everything we do to His glory. Having a relationship with Christ is not something exclusively for adults but for every believer of any age. To have a vital relationship with him you must spend time in the Bible and in prayer. The Bible is where we learn everything we can ever know about Jesus.  Many young people do not think God can use them because of their age and inexperience, but God can, will, and does use anyone  who is walking with God and has a desire to bring God glory.  The goal of the Christian life should be as Matthew 6:33 says “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…” Young people need to realize that our priorities are not our friends, school, sports, etc., but God who has redeemed us. I hope this is an encouragement to you to live your life for God because he is all in that is worth living for!

Related Reading for Young Adults

 

A People Near Unto Him, Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Psalm 148:14  A people near unto him.
The dispensation of the old covenant was that of distance. When God appeared even to His servant Moses, He said, “Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet”; and when He manifested Himself upon Mount Sinai, to His own chosen and separated people, one of the first commands was, “Thou shalt set bounds about the mount.” Both in the sacred worship of the tabernacle and the temple, the thought of distance was always prominent. The mass of the people did not even enter the outer court. Into the inner court none but the priests might dare to intrude; while into the innermost place, or the holy of holies, the high priest entered but once in the year. It was as if the Lord in those early ages would teach man that sin was so utterly loathsome to Him, that He must treat men as lepers put without the camp; and when He came nearest to them, He yet made them feel the width of the separation between a holy God and an impure sinner. When the gospel came, we were placed on quite another footing. The word “Go” was exchanged for “Come”; distance was made to give place to nearness, and we who aforetime were afar off, were made nigh by the blood of Jesus Christ. Incarnate Deity has no wall of fire about it. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” is the joyful proclamation of God as He appears in human flesh. Not now does He teach the leper his leprosy by setting him at a distance, but by Himself suffering the penalty of His defilement. What a state of safety and privilege is this nearness to God through Jesus! Do you know it by experience? If you know it, are you living in the power of it? Marvellous is this nearness, yet it is to be followed by a dispensation of greater nearness still, when it shall be said, “The tabernacle of God is with men, and He doth dwell among them.” Hasten it, O Lord.

Related Books

Click to view at WTSbooks

Click to view at WTSbooks

Click to view at WTSbooks

Six Steps to Knowing God’s Will

Need God's Direction

Hey everyone! Check out these six steps to knowing God’s will. I found this while looking at my Dad website that has hundreds and hundreds or articles of anything you could think of! Check it out at: http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/.  I hope this post is beneficial to you!

  1. Begin by prayer for wisdom. Do not doubt that God has a wise course of action for you and will make it known.
  2. Intentionally seek God’s face even more than His answers. “In Your light we see light” (Psalm 36:9).
  3. Seek to be willing to take any course that God would have for you. Be thorough in your work on yourself. Often people miss God’s will because they are not fully willing to be submissive to God whatever He leads them to do.
  4. Carefully seek to discover if there are any directives already given in Scripture which could guide you. Are there illustrations, commands, principles, which speak to this issue? Meditate on these and see if Scripture promotes or rules out any action you are considering. Try to find not only what God permits and does not permit, but what God likes, what is dear to His heart. Go directly to any passage which deals with the general subject to see if there is help to be found which you had not discovered before. Always read the Bible in context.
  5. List each possible course of action, and in a prayerful frame of mind write out what are the pros and cons of each option. Put these options before the lens of Scripture one by one to see if God has spoken on these issues in some way. You will find more being said about most issues than you might first believe.
  6. When helpful, seek objective counsel from godly and wise men or women you can trust.
  7. Finally, examine your will again. If you are willing to do anything God might direct and that is certain in your mind, then you are free to pursue what God may be placing in your thinking related to the issue. Is there a long-term righteous desire in you?
  8. Now, act in faith. If God in His perfect cadence intervenes so as to cause everything to turn again, this is His business. For your part, you are required to take action along the lines of the wisest choice you can biblically make. Rejoice and do God’s will!-Jim Elliff, Led by the Spirit