Worship

Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Christmas After Christmas

Sunday Considerations: Christmas After Christmas

What becomes of Christmas, when the day is gone? It is the gladdest day of the year. It is celebrated in all Christian lands. The churches observe it, sometimes with great pomp and splendor, with stately music and elaborate ceremonial, sometimes in simple, homely worship. It is kept in homes, with happy greetings and good wishes, and universal giving of gifts. Everyone, even the miser, grows generous at the Christmas time. Men who are ordinarily cold and unmoved toward human need, wax warm-hearted in these glad days. People everywhere rise to a high tide of kindly feeling. There is scarcely …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: After Church

All of us must go out from the sweet services of the Sunday—into a week of very real and very commonplace life. We must mingle with people who are not angels. We must pass through experiences that will naturally worry and vex us. Those about us, either wittingly or unwittingly, annoy and try us. We must mingle with those who do not love Christ. We all meet many troubles and worries in ordinary week-day life. There are continual irritations and annoyances. The problem is to live a beautiful Christian life—in the face of all these hindrances! How can we get …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: True Love

Sunday Considerations: True Love

Love is an affection of the soul, not a contract: it cannot rise from a mere agreement, nor is it so to be gained. It is spontaneous in its origin and impulse; and true love is its own satisfaction. It has its reward; but that reward is the object beloved. For whatever you seem to love, if it is on account of something else, what you do really love is that something else, not the apparent object of desire. St Paul did not preach the Gospel that he might earn his bread; he ate that he might be strengthened for …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Suffering Christian

Sunday Considerations: Suffering Christian

Suffering Christian! Jesus is at your side, witnessing your sufferings. He sympathizes with you in your sorrows, and will do you good by every pain. He is always present with His people — for He has promised that He will never leave them nor forsake them. He is especially present with them when they are suffering trials. It is our responsibility to accept by faith that He is with us, and to commune with Him for the good of our souls. But when we are in great pain or extreme weakness, we are apt to forget, or at least we …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Craving Beauty

The beauties of this world whisper to our souls that there is someone ultimate. But the ultimate is never found in the wonderland of creation. We keep looking and longing for the beauty behind the beauty, the One who will satisfy the cravings of our soul. This explains why the drug addict keeps shooting up and the porn addict keeps looking and the materialist keeps buying and the thrill-seeker keeps jumping. On the other side of one thrill is the constant need for another. C. S. Lewis wrote, “We are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: My Precious Savior

Sunday Considerations: My Precious Savior

Oh, my precious Savior What a blessed thing it is that we are not to live here always, that our existence is not bounded by this lower sphere! Holy Father, may our hearts, while aching, praise You that Your chastenings but wean us from this sinful and disappointing world, and fill our minds with holy joy, and longing hope for the blessed heaven to come. Oh, may Your love more completely fill these truant hearts! May Your ceaseless affection, changeless ever, when we wander, link our souls in closer union with You. Oh, my precious Savior, may that look of …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: The Only Hope

Sunday Considerations: The Only Hope

Christ and him crucified, is the only hope of the sinner. Here is the only substantial, permanent foundation of all our hopes. “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” A crucified Christ is the only hope of the world. In vain do we hope for salvation from any other source. “Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel.” The Lord alone is the salvation and strength of his people. The Christian boldly exclaims, …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Be Holy

When God then directs us in the Bible, “Be holy, for I am holy”; when we are exhorted to “follow holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord”; when we are expressly told “God has not called us unto uncleanness–but unto holiness”–we are to know that by these words, God calls us unto godliness, or God-likeness, to be like God in all those moral qualities wherein we can walk in His ways, and copy His acts, and manifest His spirit. In the language of the Psalmist, it is setting the Lord always before us, just as the artist always …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Self Examination

Queries for Self Examination by John Angell James Do you regularly attend the public ordinances of religion, and feel the inward power of godliness while observing its outward forms? Do you attend the week-day services, and if not, is it from the lack of opportunity—or inclination? Are you more indifferent to the ordinances of religion now, than you were formerly? Do you keep up family devotion daily and seriously? And in addition to this, are you in the habit of solemnly and anxiously instructing your children in the principles of true religion? Do you set apart a portion of each …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Hillary Replaces Jesus and President Obama Is Inserted Into a Hymn

Hillary Replaces Jesus and President Obama Is Inserted Into a Hymn

Voices from the Heart, a women’s alternative chorus, recently changed the words for a Christian hymn replacing Jesus’ name with Hillary Clinton’s. According to a Facebook post, they sang this alternative hymn to about 1,200 people. I would understand if this were a Weird Al Yankovic tune – there would have been some creativity and humor. But these women were serious! Yep, this chorus took the African-American hymn Woke Up this Mornin’ which is about Jesus and made it about Hillary. This alternative hymn certainly comes across as Hillary worship. I wish I were surprised, but I’m not. People have been worshiping …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Obey in Christ

How Can I Obey in Christ?—Faith Further, we must seek to know how, through Christ, we can walk in line with the gospel and render the obedience of faith. No obedience apart from faith is true obedience, and only by walking in line with the truth of the gospel do we perform the obedience of faith (Rom. 1:5, 16:26). Not only are we declared righteous by faith alone (justification), but we also grow in likeness to Christ by faith alone (sanctification). Thus, what every person needs from Scripture, believer and unbeliever, is the gospel. We cannot claim any of the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Speak Peaceably

Sunday Considerations: Speak Peaceably

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. John 14:27 (HCSB) Another thing to be done in fulfillment of our duty is, to speak peaceably. The peace of neighborhoods is often destroyed by words. “Grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1. “For lack of wood a fire goes out. Without gossip, a quarrel dies down. As coals are to hot embers, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindling strife.” Proverbs 26:20, 21. “The words of …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Enemies of the Christian

Sunday Considerations: Enemies of the Christian

The enemies of the Christian have been commonly divided into three classes—the world, the flesh, and the devil. But though these may be conceived of, and spoken of separately, they resist the Christian soldier by their combined powers. The devil is the agent; the world furnishes the bait or the object of temptation; and the flesh, or our own corrupt nature, is the subject on which the temptation operates. Sometimes, indeed, Satan injects his fiery darts, enkindled in hell, to frighten the timid soul and drive it to despair; but in this he often overshoots his mark, and drives the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Under New Management

Sunday Considerations: Under New Management

God identifies all believers with Christ, not in some mystical or theoretical way, but by changing our legal relationships. Before our conversion, we were obligated to obey the sinful impulses of our fallen nature. Even when we became tired of sin and resolved to change, the most we could do was rearrange our lives, but we could not change on the inside. God has done what we could not do. He has given us a new nature, and the personal presence and power of the Holy Spirit so we can say no to our old nature. To picture what God …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: The Mind of Jesus

Sunday Considerations: The Mind of Jesus

 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” Philippians 2:5 “Arm yourselves likewise with the same mind” 1 Peter 4:1 THE MIND OF JESUS! What a study is this! To attain a dim reflection of it, is the ambition of angel — higher they cannot soar. “To be conformed to the image of His Son!” — this is the design of God in the predestination of His people from all eternity. “We shall be like Him!” — this is the Bible picture of heaven! In a former little volume, we pondered some of the gracious Words …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Beatitude for Sorrow

Sunday Considerations: Beatitude for Sorrow

A great preacher has said, “It is worth our thought how small that audience must be that would assemble, life through, to listen to a gospel that said nothing to sufferers, nothing to sorrow.” An old theological professor said to his students, “Never go through a service without some word, in sermon or prayer, for the troubled; for in every congregation there will be at least one heart hungering for comfort.” The gospel is for all experiences. The religion of Christ is for our times of gladness—as well as for our days of trouble. It is not merely a lamp to shine in our dark nights. We never …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Fear and Worship

Sunday Considerations: Fear and Worship

Fear God Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words. (Ecclesiastes 5:1-3 ESV) Meditate on the above verses as you prepare for corporate worship this …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: As Little Children

Sunday Considerations: As Little Children

“I assure you,” He said, “unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3 (HCSB) When our Lord says, we must be converted and become as little children, I suppose he means also, that we must be sensible of our weakness, comparatively speaking, as a little child. Every one looks upon a little child, as a poor weak creature; as one that ought to go to school and learn some new lesson every day; and as simple and artless; one without guile, having not learned the abominable art, called dissimulation. Now in all these …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: After the Sermon

Sunday Considerations: After the Sermon

Fellow Christians, what will we do with sermon(s) we hear it this Sunday? What will we do with the sermon once we get home? On Monday morning? Below are some thoughts from Charles Spurgeon on “after the sermon.” Many think it is all right with them, when it is all wrong with them. They always hear the Gospel—how can they be castaways? They sit under a thoroughly evangelical Divine—how can they be reprobates? They know what is what—they will not consent to hear false doctrine—they have a discriminating faculty and will not abide unorthodox teaching. I am very glad they will not, but …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Glorious Resurrection

Sunday Considerations: Glorious Resurrection

Previously, I shared some pre-Christian Good Friday thoughts. My aim was to encourage people this Easter weekend to consider the sins – their sins – that put Jesus on the cross.  For further consideration this Easter, below are some insights from Charles Spurgeon on Jesus’ resurrection. His resurrection is glorious in its effects. He was “delivered for our offenses,” but, “He was raised again for our justification.” In death He discharged our debt. In Resurrection He exhibited the receipt of all our liabilities! He was Surety for us and, therefore, He smarted and went down to the prison of the grave. But by …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Christian Behavior

Sunday Considerations: Christian Behavior

Christ is risen, and we have risen with Him and sit at the right hand of the Father with Him in spirit— and one of these days with a human body. In the meantime, we’re to act as if we are up there in heaven, but a little bit different. A farm boy comes to the city and acts different because he belongs on the farm. The city boy goes to the country and acts different because he belongs in the city. The man who has not been on a farm walks around gingerly, trying to keep out of the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: What Will You Do with Jesus?

Sunday Considerations: What Will You Do with Jesus?

What Will You Do with Jesus? by A.B. Simpson, 1891. Jesus is standing in Pilate’s hall, Friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all; Hearken! what meaneth the sudden call? What will you do with Jesus? What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be; Some day your heart will be asking, “What will He do with me?” Jesus is standing on trial still, You can be false to Him if you will, You can be faithful through good or ill: What will you do with Jesus? Will you evade Him as Pilate tried? Or will you choose Him, whate’er betide? Vainly …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Losing the Wonder

Sunday Considerations: Losing the Wonder

There are some Christians, and even preachers, who have lost the wonder of the Christian Life. They pray prayers that have no meaning and preach sermons that have no passion. The salt has lost its savor and it’s good for nothing but to be trodden underfoot; insipid, flat, tasteless (Matt. 5: 13). There ought to be something about our Christianity to smack the lips over. There ought to be a taste and a zest and a relish. I’ve seen more cheerful faces on iodine bottles than I’ve seen on some saints over America. Where is the blessedness I knew when …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Everlastingness

Sunday Considerations: Everlastingness

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,and the Word was God. John 1:1 (HCSB) Every religion in the world had a beginning. You can trace it starting with its founder. All these religions have a beginning and they all have an ending. Christianity is different. Where does Christianity start? It has no beginning and it has no end. The human heart wants that which had no beginning and never can have any ending—namely, the Word, which was with the Father in the beginning; the Word, which was God; and the Word, which is God. Oh, how wonderful …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: A Good Tree

Sunday Considerations: A Good Tree

Trees are beautiful objects. If we had never seen this part of the creation before, we would be filled with admiration at the sight. A stately oak or cedar is really a majestic object. It stands firmly by its own strength. It raises its head towards the heavens, and spreads out its arms on every side; and when verdant, affords a canopy and grateful shade to the weary traveler, and a secure habitation for the birds of the air. Trees are the handsomest ornaments of gardens and pleasure-grounds. Eden itself, without trees, would have been shorn of its glory. But …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Cultivate Joy

Sunday Considerations: Cultivate Joy

There is an obligation upon a Christian to be happy. Let me say it again—there is a responsibility laid upon a Christian to be cheerful! It is not merely an invitation, but it is a command—“Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous.” “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice.” Gloomy Christians who do not resist despondency and strive against it, but who go about as if midnight had taken up its abode in their eyes and an everlasting frost had settled on their souls are not obeying the commands of God! The command to rejoice …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Peace of God

Sunday Considerations: Peace of God

There are three words, pregnant with precious and important meaning, commonly used by the apostles in their salutations and benedictions, GRACE, MERCY, and PEACE. These words include everything which man needs or can desire. Peace is the legacy which Christ gave to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” And after his resurrection, the first time he met with his disciples when assembled together, he said, “Peace be unto you.” He gives peace not as the world gives. He is the PRINCE OF PEACE, and his gospel is the “gospel of peace.” It is …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for This Adorable Little Girl Will Challenge You To Memorize Scripture!

This Adorable Little Girl Will Challenge You To Memorize Scripture!

But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” ~Matthew 21:15-16 (ESV) Memorizing Scripture can be difficult. It takes time and effort.But so does anything that’s worthwhile. Does this adorable girl’s Scripture memorization challenge you to memorize Scripture? Here I blog… Mark

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Watch and Pray

Sunday Considerations: Watch and Pray

“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” Mark 14:38 As Christ is the church’s friend—so Satan is the church’s enemy: her greatest enemy, her cruelest enemy, her worst enemy, her continual enemy. He makes war against all who keep the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, Revelation 12:17. The devil envies our happiness, and seeks our ruin: 1. By tempting of us, 1 Corinthians 7:5. 2. By persecuting of us, Revelation 2:10. 3. By accusing of us, Revelation 12:10. 4. By hindering of us, 1 Thess. 2:18. 5. By deceiving of us, 2 Corinthians 11:3. “Stay …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Joy to Every Believer

Sunday Considerations: Joy to Every Believer

Once more, there is joy to every Believer when he remembers that, as Christ said, “It is finished,” every guarantee was given of the eternal salvation of all the redeemed. It appears to me that if Christ finished the work for us, He will finish the work in us. If He has undertaken so supreme a labor as the redemption of our souls by blood and that is finished, then the great, but yet minor labor of renewing our natures and transforming us even unto perfection, shall be finished, too! If, when we were sinners, Christ loved us so as to …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for David Platt on Sports and Idolatry

David Platt on Sports and Idolatry

I get what Platt is saying. I wish we (yes, me) would be more excited about our Sunday times of worship and fellowship. I wish we Christians would learn how to relay the excitement about our weekend fellowship just as we would after seeing the latest box office hit. Anyway… Your thoughts? Here I blog… Mark

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: The Soul Needs Spiritual Rest

Sunday Considerations: The Soul Needs Spiritual Rest

The soul needs spiritual rest: “The shadow of a great rock” in this “weary land.” It has tried many plans of worldly greatness — and found them vain! It has traversed many ways of promised pleasure — and found them painful! It has sought out many inventions to hold it up in the day of its prosperity — and found them “miserable comforters all.” It is the peculiar office of the Holy Spirit, to cause men to perceive the weariness and burdensomeness of sin. For so accustomed are we to sin, so infatuated with it, so blinded by nature to its evils and its sorrows — that unless made to …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Satan’s Subtle Devices

Sunday Considerations: Satan’s Subtle Devices

My fellow Christians, as you prepare for Sunday worship, consider the following words from William Tiptaft (1803 – 1864) on Satan’s subtle devices in light of your love for Jesus Christ. Satan is a very subtle enemy, and never spreads his snare in your sight. I hope you will not be induced to value any knowledge which does not cause you to love Christ more, and to live more decidedly as a member of His kingdom. Satan does not care how much knowledge you have in your head, so long as he can keep possession of the citadel of your …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Suffering Together

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.  (1 Corinthians 12:26, ESV) We American Christians are not necessarily good at suffering though we are particularly gifted at celebrating the good in our lives. We have certainly not suffered the way the early church did nor as some Christians across the world in countries were Christianity is not welcomed. However, when we do suffer in various ways, we must do so together in as much as we rejoice together. But in order to suffer together as the church we must be together. In 1 Cor. …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Fellowship in the Light

6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7, ESV) Most of us Christians, on a normal Sunday morning, wake up, get ready, and go to corporate worship. Or, as we say, we go to church on Sunday. Not only do we worship together, but we fellowship together. How do we think about and prepare for that fellowship? …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Impelled by Love

Impelled by Love, Follow Jesus The followers of Plato, Aristotle, or Bacon, are not supposed to be influenced by any personal attachment to those philosophers. But the followers of Jesus are not merely admirers of His teaching, but lovers of Himself. Christianity is not a creed, but a devotion; not a mere approval of a theology, but intense affection for Christ. The assent of the intellect may suffice for the adoption of an intellectual system; but much more is required to secure a persevering course of sacrifice and toil. There must be heart impulses, as well as logical convictions. The …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: A Pilgrim

When we look at the brevity and vanity of human life, we may well exclaim, in the beautiful and touching reflection of Edmund Burke, “What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue!” And in the similar impressive language of Patrick Henry, “l am but a poor worm of the dust, as fleeting and unsubstantial as the shadow of the cloud that flies over the fields, and is remembered no more!” Or we may rather open the pages of Holy Writ, and say, with the wisest of men, “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity;” and with other inspired penmen, “As …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Of Pleasure

“I said of laughter: It is madness! And of mirth: What does it accomplish?” Ecclesiastes 2:2 Of natural gifts none is more rare than cheerfulness; that elasticity of mind, and buoyancy of spirit; that even temper, and sunshine disposition — which cheers the man himself, and all who know him. Cheerfulness, gilded with grace, and sanctified — savors most largely of the mind of Christ. It speaks . . of peace with God, of resignation to His will, and freedom from sordid appetites and cares. Who would reprove the beaming smile; or, in due season, the hearty laugh? In youth, especially, …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: God’s Indescribable Gift

God’s Indescribable Gift If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. —Romans 5:10–11 How do we practically receive reconciliation and exult in God? One answer is: do it through Jesus Christ. Which means, at least in part, make the portrait of Jesus in the Bible—the work and the words of Jesus portrayed in the New Testament—the essential content …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Life and Death at Christmas

LIFE AND DEATH AT CHRISTMAS “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” — John 10:10 As I was about to begin this devotional, I received word that Marion Newstrum had just died. She and her husband Elmer have been part of Bethlehem longer than most of our members have been alive. Marion was 87. They had been married 64 years. When I spoke to Elmer and told him I wanted him to be strong in the Lord and not give up on life, he said, “He has …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Bethlehem’s Star

BETHLEHEM’S SUPERNATURAL STAR “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” —Matthew 2:2 Over and over the Bible baffles our curiosity about just how certain things happened. How did this “star” get the magi from the east to Jerusalem? It does not say that it led them or went before them. It only says they saw a star in the east (verse 2), and came to Jerusalem. And how did that star go before them in the little five-mile walk from Jerusalem to Bethlehem …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Cannot Be Numbered

“That which is lacking, cannot be numbered.” Ecclesiastes 1:15 How simple is the truth here spoken, yet how deep! Of wounded hearts, of withered hopes it speaks — of losses, trials, and sorrows; some lighter, some more serious; yet in them all, the truth is still the same. Your favorite flower droops and dies; some keepsake gift is lost; some cherished member of the family has died. How often it rends the heart — it always costs a pang — to count one’s treasures over, and to find one lacking! Objects may still be found to fill the vacant place. But …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Cannot Be Made Straight

“That which is crooked, cannot be made straight.” Ecclesiastes 1:15 Do what you may, crosses are crosses still. No are of man’s device can make the crooked, straight. The train, or ship, which bears some dear friend away; the quiet sea, after a night of shipwreck; the rain that robs you of a holiday; the broken pieces of some favorite vase — all say the same, “The crooked must be crooked, do what you will.” Oh, there is anguish in the thought, as disappointment, stealing over the mind, throws its dark shadows on the brow — that nothing can be …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Never Satisfied

“The eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing.”  Ecclesiastes 1:8 The senses are but servants to the soul. The soul desires to look — and sets the eye to see. The soul desires to hear — and sets the ear to hearken. The soul is never wearied. It listens to sweet music, and lingers, longing still for more. When had the soul enough of a sweet flower? When was it ever filled to overflowing with viewing the masterpieces of nature? Nothing on earth can satisfy the soul! It leaves its pleasures, with a craving for more. It …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Full of Labor

“All things are full of labor.” Ecclesiastes 1:8 Reader, how many things remind you what you are — a fallen creature! Not least of these, the toil and trouble of this changing world. The sun and moon, and planets in their course — the restless wind — the ever-flowing, never-tarrying river — are pictures of the ceaseless toil of man. (verse 4-7.) The hum of cities; the labor of the field; the crowded factory; the cottage loom; the bread you eat; the clothes you wear; the house you live in; the fire on your hearth — all speak of labor! How …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Vexation of Spirit

“All is vexation of spirit!” Ecclesiastes 1:14 Who has not felt vexation? Who knows not what it means? The infant in its cradle, the schoolboy at his play; youth in all its freshness, manhood in its prime, and especially old age — all, all have felt vexation! My soul, you know it well! Your sins, your fallen nature, your infirmities — all lay you open to vexation. How easily irritated you get! How quick to feel offenses! How swift to gather sorrows to yourself through your excess of sensitivity! Often have you murmured at your lot, rising in mutiny against …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Vanity of Vanities

“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” Ecclesiastes 1:2 My soul, why seek your happiness below — here in this fallen world, where “all is vanity?” Often have you tried it, anxious still to find someearthly good. As often you have found Solomon, the Preacher, right, that “all is vanity.” The worldling, too, can say that all is vanity — and yet pursues it still. Be it not so with you! Let all that is empty here on earth, lead you to what alone will satisfy — -the grace of God, the love of God, the Lamb of God; to “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Sermon All Week

“Why do you go to hear that minister preach? He is not a brilliant preacher.” “Very true,” was the sensible reply; “I know that his pulpit performances are not brilliant—but his life is a sermon to me all the week.” With a minister, as much as with the private Christian, character is of the greatest import. More than one pulpit orator has destroyed the effect of his discourses by his self-seeking egotism, or his unscrupulous practices, or his overbearing temper, or some other very unchristian trait. On the other hand, a full one-half of the power of some eminent pastors lies in their pure, unblemished piety. Everybody trusts them. …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Honey from Heaven

The most growing Christian never outgrows his Bible; in that exhaustless jewel mine, every stroke of the hammer reveals new nuggets of gold and fresh diamonds. Even as a mental discipline, there is no book like God’s book. Nothing else so sinews up the intellect, so clarifies the perception, so enlarges the views, so purifies the taste, so quickens the imagination, so strengthens the understanding, and so educates the whole man. The humblest day laborer who saturates his mind with this celestial schoolbook becomes a superior man to his comrades—not merely a purer man—but a clearer-headed man. It was the feeding on …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Precious Faith

Sunday Considerations: Precious Faith

There is a legend that a traveler over the desert who was nearly perishing with hunger, came upon the spot where a company had lately encamped. Searching about for some article of food, he found a small bag which he hoped might be a bag of dates. Opening it, he discovered that it contained shells and silver coins. Throwing it down, in bitter disappointment, he exclaimed, “Alas! it is nothing but money!” A single date or a fig would have been worth more to him—than than a chest-full of gold. There is a time coming to all of us when …keep reading »

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Sunday Considerations: Waiting on God

“Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint!” Isaiah 40:31. It is very easy to misunderstand this word “wait,” and regard it as meaning inactive passivity. There is a vast deal of nerve in the original Hebrew; it signifies to be strong enough to hold out. It expresses a solid endurability such as belongs to a stiff piece of oak, which never bends and never breaks under heavy pressure. The word signifies patience—as opposed to worry and …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: So Little Joy

Sunday Considerations: So Little Joy

I shall now inquire into the reasons why so little of this joy is experienced by the majority of Christian professors. I assume that the multitude have far less than they might or should have. Look at the prosperous among them, and whence does their joy arise? From their religion? Or from their good spirits, their health, their family, their fiends, their success, and home enjoyment? Look at the afflicted—how oppressed with care; how tortured with anxiety; how overwhelmed with sorrow; how cheerless for the present, and how hopeless for the future, do they seem to be! How few appear …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Grace is Everything

Sunday Considerations: Grace is Everything

But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will. (Acts 15:11, ESV) Did you ever hear of a martyr dying in the triumphs of self-righteousness, giving glory to human nature, lauding his own ability, extolling his own works? All those faithful witnesses held one doctrine, namely—that works avail nothing, and grace is everything. Hear blessed old Tyndall: “If you would obtain heaven by the merits and deservings of your own works, you wrong and shame the blood of Christ. Faith alone justifies. In believing we receive the Spirit of God, …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Loving Christ’s People

Sunday Considerations: Loving Christ’s People

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. (1 John 3:14, ESV) So, Brothers and Sisters, if we can say that we love God’s people, as God’s people, because they are God’s people, that is a mark that we have passed from death unto life! Do you love them for Christ’s sake? Do you say to yourself, “That is one of Christ’s people. That is one who bears Christ’s Cross. That is one of the children of God and, therefore, I love him and take …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Praying in the Spirit

Sunday Considerations: Praying in the Spirit

Praying in the Holy Spirit is praying in fervency. Cold prayers, my Brothers and Sisters, ask the Lord not to hear them! Those who do not plead with fervency, plead not at all. As well speak of lukewarm fire as of lukewarm prayer! It is essential that it be red hot. Real prayer is burnt as with hot iron into a man’s soul, and then comes forth from the man’s soul like coals of juniper which have a most vehement heat. Such prayers none but the Holy Spirit can give. I have heard from this spot prayers which I never …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Superficial Religion

Sunday Considerations: Superficial Religion

How many are there who never put their trust in Him who was slain for the sons of men? They love a superficial religion, but when a man talks deeper than that, they set it down for cant! You may love all that is external about religion, just as you may love a man for his clothes—caring nothing for the man, himself. If so, I know you are one of those who reject the Gospel. You will hear me preach. And while I speak about the externals, you will hear me with attention. And while I plead for morality and …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Remember and Rejoice

Sunday Considerations: Remember and Rejoice

Believer, the hour is fresh in our memory when the divorce was signed between ourselves and our lusts. We can rejoice that we have now dissolved our league with hell. But, oh, how much we owe to sovereign grace! for we had never left the garlic and fleshpots of Egypt if the Passover had not been slain for us. Our inward man rejoiceth greatly at the recollection of the hour which proclaimed eternal war between “the new creature in Christ Jesus” and the sin which reigneth unto death. It was a night to be remembered: we crossed the Rubicon—peace was …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Thoughts of Home

Sunday Considerations: Thoughts of Home

Thoughts of Home by Anna Shipton O Lord, ’twas Thine to labor and wear the thorns for me; Thou sharest all my sorrows; Thou knowest what ’twill be To see the Father’s glory, to hear Thy welcome there, Where never cross or burden remains for us to bear.   I seem to pace the glittering street, and hear the harps of gold, The echo of the new song that never groweth old; I hear Thy praise, Lord Jesus, my Life, my Lord, my King, Until my worn heart pineth the strains of heaven to sing.   Safe in the better …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Faith Then Love

Sunday Considerations: Faith Then Love

Does the condition of loving others mean that before we can claim a promise of future grace, we must already be what the promise is designed to help us become—namely, a radical, risk-taking person of love? Must we perform, before faith, what faith is meant to perform? The answer is no. The reason is that faith toward God and love toward man are not coordinate conditions; they do not arise side by side in the heart. Faith arises first and begets love. This is clear from Galatians 5:6: “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: By Him

Sunday Considerations: By Him

By Him creation consists. “For by him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created by him and for him” (Col. 1:16). How many Christians ever think of Christ as the One “by whom all things are created,” as Colossians puts it; “by whom all things were made: as John puts it; “by whom God made the worlds,” as Hebrews put it? Why did God make the universe, anyway? He made it that one day Christ might be …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Glory Seen

Sunday Considerations: Glory Seen

In the Old Testament, God displayed his glory in typical, visual form as an awe-inspiring expanse of bright light (the shekinah, as later Judaism called it). This was the sign of his beneficent presence in both the tabernacle and the temple (Exodus 40:34; 1 Kings 8:10ff.). The essential and abiding revelation of God’s glory, however, was given by his great acts of merited judgment and unmerited love, and in his “name”—which was no mere label, as our names are, but a disclosure of God’s nature and character. Jehovah (Yahweh, as modern scholars render it) means “I am (and will be) …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: An Easy Hell

Sunday Considerations: An Easy Hell

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13, ESV) Whatever affliction or trouble a child of God meets with—it is all the hell he shall ever have! Whatever eclipse may be upon his name or estate—it is a little cloud which will soon be …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Trials

Sunday Considerations: Trials

RESIGNATION IN TRIAL “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” “Yet I want Your will to be done — not Mine!” — Luke 22:42. Where was there ever resignation like this? The life of Jesus was one long martyrdom. From Bethlehem’s manger to Calvary’s cross, there was scarcely one break in the clouds; these gathered more darkly and ominously around Him — until they burst over His devoted head as He uttered His expiring cry! Yet throughout this pilgrimage of sorrow — no murmuring accent escaped His lips. The most suffering of all suffering lives …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Renewal of Heart

Sunday Considerations: Renewal of Heart

FOR RENEWAL OF HEART “In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You — and wait in expectation.” “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” — Psalm 51:10 Almighty God, who has mercifully preserved me during the unconscious hours of slumber, I desire to dedicate my waking moments and thoughts to You. Pre-occupy my mind with hallowed and heavenly things. May I be enabled throughout this day, by the help of Your Holy Spirit, to exclude all that is vain and frivolous and …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Fatherhood of God

Sunday Considerations: Fatherhood of God

God brings before us the truths of his kingdom; we cannot see their beauty, we cannot appreciate them; we seem to be as if we were totally demented ignorant, unstable, weary, and apt to slide. But, thanks be unto God, we are his children still! And if there be anything worse that can happen to a father than his child becoming a lunatic or an idiot, it is when he grows up to be wicked. It is well said, “Children are doubtful blessings.” I remember to have heard one say, and, as I thought, not very kindly, to a mother …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Sea of Sins

Sunday Considerations: Sea of Sins

He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19, ESV) Another striking metaphor expressing the completeness of God’s forgiveness occurs in Micah 7:19. There the prophet Micah said of God, “You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” When I was a naval officer I had an experience where equipment was lost in the depths of the sea through a small boat accident. I know what it is to drag grappling hooks across the …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: The Shepherd

Sunday Considerations: The Shepherd

“The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need!” Psalm 23:1 The shepherd is a favorite Scriptural picture of the divine love and care. In the Old Testament, the twenty-third Psalm gathers the whole wonderful truth in exquisite lines, which are dear to young and old wherever the Bible is known. Then in the New Testament, when our Lord would give His friends the sweetest revealings of His heart toward them, and tell them what they are to Him and what He would be to them—He says, “I am the Good Shepherd.” The Hebrew shepherd lives with his sheep. …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Memorial Day 2013

Sunday Considerations: Memorial Day 2013

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend here in the United States. Memorial Day, originally named Decoration Day, is a day of rightful remembrance of all who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Many churches will pause Sunday morning to recognize those who have and who are currently serving in one of the branches of America’s Military. I’ve struggled over the years of how much patriotism is implanted into some worship services this time of year. The church gathers to worship God not man’s achievements and service to each other. However, many Christians have served in this country’s Armed …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: The Only Message

Sunday Considerations: The Only Message

In Acts 1:10–11 we read: “Two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” If you think that Jesus finished when He died and was buried, listen to the message of Luke, listen to this treatise written to Theophilus—it is written to you. He will come again, even as He went. He will return, in bodily, visible fashion, riding the clouds of …keep reading »

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Thumbnail image for Sunday Considerations: Priority of the Gospel

Sunday Considerations: Priority of the Gospel

The gospel is the good news of how God reconciles his rebellious image-bearers to himself by the death and resurrection of his Son. This good news properly entails transformed living that touches all our horizontal relationships, but which is never reducible to horizontal relationships. The proclamation of this gospel that has freed us and prepared us to meet our Maker is our joyous privilege and solemn responsibility. When the discharge of this mission is met with God’s blessing, it produces men and women who are ready for both this life and the next. Thus Christian mission can never be reduced …keep reading »

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