Honeyed poison

July 28, 2008

(Thomas Brooks, “London’s Lamentations” 1670)

O Sirs! in the grave it is all the same–to one who has
had all, and to another who has had nothing. What folly
is it to lay up goods for many years, when we cannot lay
up one day for the enjoyment of our goods! Christ, who
never miscalled any, calls him “fool!” who had much of
the world in his hands–but nothing of God in his heart.

All this whole world is not proportionate to the precious
soul. All the riches of the Indies cannot pacify conscience,
nor secure eternity, nor prevent death, nor bring you off
victorious in the day of judgment. Therefore be contented
with a little.

All the good things of this world, are but cold comforts.
They cannot stretch to eternity, they will not go with us
into the eternal world. Therefore why should the lack of
such things either trouble our thoughts–or break our

The whole world is but . . .
paradise for fools;
a beautiful but deceitful harlot;
a dreamed sweetness;
a very ocean of gall.
There is nothing to be found in it, which has not mutability
and uncertainty, vanity and vexation stamped upon it. And
therefore he cannot be truly happy who enjoys it; nor can
he be miserable who lacks it. And why then should not he be
contented–who has but a little of it? The greatest outward
happiness is but honeyed poison; and therefore do not
mutter or murmur because you have but little of the world.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be
content with what you have
, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5

the altar

July 26, 2008

The following from Desiring God blog…

I was studying Psalm 43 with a friend in Urdu the other day. We came to where it says in English, “I will go to the altar of God.”

As I read along in Urdu, I did not know the word for “altar,” so I asked my friend what it was. He didn’t know how to translate the word into English, but he gave the following English description: “It is God’s bloody place, where the throats of the animals are slit for sacrifice.”

Of course. It’s an altar.

Sometimes I think of an altar as the carpeted stairs and dais at the front of the church meetinghouse. But it’s not. It is a bloody place—a place of sacrifice and death.

I need to remember that.

Play it Again

July 24, 2008

- By Ray Comfort

Nathan’s heart went out to King David. The king had made some bad decisions. Even though he wasn’t actually aware of it, he had messed up, and God wanted to help him. David had had an affair, and then he tried to remedy the problem himself. What had happened was unfortunate, and the prophet saw his job as one who was there to help bring some sort of healing to the situation.

He began his message by gently explaining to the king the good news that there was something missing from his life. That missing piece was “real and lasting peace,” or as someone once put it, there was a “God-shaped vacuum” in his heart. It was the good news that God had a wonderful plan for the king’s life, and that He wanted him to experience that plan.

What the prophet was steering towards was a moment of “decision.” Would the king respond to this incredible offer that God had made him, or would he reject it?

To help the king, Nathan psychologically prepared him by telling him what he was going to do. He had said that in a few moments he would want him to respond by coming forward. The prophet had learned that this would help the king move closer to the decision he needed to make.

To help further, Nathan had David and the guards that stood around his throne, close their eyes. This would help to make sure that the king felt a little less self-conscious about his decision when he did come forward.

David, like King Saul, had a personal musician close by, so as Nathan continued to speak, he nodded to the musician to begin to play some appropriate music. Even though the song was very moving, there was no movement from David. Nathan nodded to the skilled performer to play the tune again and then again as he pleaded with David to respond.

To help him further, the prophet let him know that if he did come he had prearranged with one of the king’s guards to come forward with him–to stand alongside him in support.

Still the king didn’t make a move. Nathan gently reminded him that no one was watching him, and that every eye was closed. He again spoke of the incredible offer God had made to him.

Suddenly, it seemed that David was convinced about this new life that could be his, if he would just respond. He began to move slowly forward, and as he did, one of the closest guards gently took him by the arm and walked with him.

It was a very emotional moment. It was so touching that the rest of the guards couldn’t contain themselves. They burst into joyful applause. David smiled slightly at their gesture of support. The guards smiled. So did Nathan. There was great joy. This was what it was all about . . .

Not quite. God hadn’t instructed Nathan to talk to the king about a “God-shaped vacuum in his heart,” or to talk about real peace, or of improving his life. He was there to reprove a devious murderer who had despised God’s commandment and committed adultery with another man’s wife. As a married man, the king had burned in lust after another woman, and knowing that she herself was married, he had illicit sexual intercourse with her, caused her to become pregnant with his child, and then as if that wasn’t bad enough, he had her loving and faithful husband murdered, and married her himself. He had carefully covered his terrible sin, but as far as God was concerned, his wicked hands were dripping with innocent blood.

What an awful betrayal it would have been if the prophet had reduced the king’s horrible crimes against a holy God to insignificance, by talking to him about a new and better life that could be his.

But Nathan didn’t pervert the message. He told the king about a man who stole another man’s pet lamb and slaughtered it, and when David became indignant, he said, “You are that man!” Then he said, “Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord!” and when David cried, “I have sinned,” Nathan then gave him the good news of God’s mercy and grace.

There was no mention of a vacuum in the heart, no music to stir the emotions, no deceptive psychological manipulation, no closing of the eyes to make things easier. David was a devious law-breaker. He was a conniving criminal. He was a man who had deliberately violated the moral Law, but God was willing to show him mercy.

It was the king’s breach of God’s Law that shaped the prophet’s message, and it’s the sinner’s breach of that same Law that should shape our message. We too have the same commission–to “reprove and rebuke” those who have despised God. We are to preach the Word, be in season and out of season, and to “reprove, rebuke and exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). In the sight of God every sinner is a devious criminal, but neither the Church nor the world will see that as being true without the Law to show sin as being “exceedingly sinful” (see Romans 7:7-13).

The sinner enthrones himself as a king, enrobed in the filthy garments of self-righteousness. He commits adultery in his lust-filled heart. His throat is an open sepulcher. His mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. There is no fear of God before his eyes. He lies, steals, blasphemes and hides murder in his heart–and in doing so he sins against a holy God and stores up His wrath. He has a desperately wicked heart, and a multitude of sins which he thinks his Creator doesn’t see. The Bible tells us that God is filled with indignation and wrath, and promises that He will bring tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that does evil (see Romans 2:5-9).

We have such a wicked heart, without the light of the Law we reduce sin to insignificance and trivialize the claims of the Divine Prosecution. The modern message is a betrayal of our commission, and a victory for the enemy. Like the Pharisees, contemporary preachers prefer their traditions to the truth of God’s Word. They cling to the security blanket of closed eyes, emotional music, psychological manipulation, misguidedly pleading with wicked criminals about the promise of a wonderful new life in Christ.

Such folly is perhaps the greatest deception of the last days. It is to do the work of the enemy, by planting tares alongside the wheat. An unbiblical Law-less gospel will almost certainly produce lawless converts–”workers of iniquity” who the Bible warns will be cast out of the gates of Heaven into the waiting jaws of Hell (see Matthew 7:21-24).

A forsaking of biblical evangelism has left our churches looking and acting just like the world. This has happened because our pulpits have reduced the glorious gospel of God’s grace to a 30-minute low budget infomercial, peddling the Word of God as a competing product for life enhancement.

If you have been trusted with a pulpit, or if you are someone who cares about the lost, please stop this insanity. Don’t think of the use of the Law as a “method,” or look for “results” as a legitimate criterion to measure its worth. Our churches are filled with misleading “results.” The impressive numbers are the product of unbiblical methods. The use of the Law brings the knowledge of sin… Jesus and Paul used it, (see Luke 10:17, Romans 2:20-24). Ask the question “Is this principle biblical?” and if it is, instigate it, and then leave the numbers game up to God.

Adapted from, The Way of the Master (Bridge Logos Publishers).


July 22, 2008

“The world should realize with increased clearness that Evangelicalism stands or falls with Calvinism.”

- B.B. Warfield (1851-1921)

“You may look down with contempt on some who do not know as much as you, and yet they may have twice your holiness and be doing more service to God.”

- C.H. Spurgeon

“A man’s ‘free’-will cannot cure him even of the tooth ache, or of a sore finger; and yet he madly thinks it is in its power to cure his soul.”

“All the disputes between us and the Arminians may be reduced to these two questions:

1. Is God dependent on man, or is man dependent on God?

2. Is man a debtor to God or God a debtor to man?”

- Augustus Toplady (1740-1778)

“My advice to young Calvinists is to learn your theology from the historic mainstream Calvinist authors, not from blogs and discussion forums on the internet.”

- Phil Johnson

Today we are too much about what we do and not what we are.

-Paul Washer

“The doctrine of justification itself, as preached by an Arminian, is nothing but the doctrine of salvation by works…

I do not serve the god of the Arminians at all; I have nothing to do with him, and I do not bow down before the Baal they have set up; he is not my God, nor shall he ever be; I fear him not, nor tremble at his presence…The God that saith today and denieth tomorrow, that justifieth today and condemns the next…is no relation to my God in the least degree. He may be a relation of Ashtaroth or Baal, but Jehovah never was or can be his name.”

- C.H. Spurgeon

“The choices are not between Calvinism and Arminianism; it’s between Calvinism and universalism. Arminianism is a self-contradictory mess that can never defend itself.”

- James White

“We only use the term “Calvinism” for shortness. That doctrine which is called “Calvinism” did not spring from Calvin; we believe that it sprang from the great founder of all truth. Perhaps Calvin himself derived it mainly from the writings of Augustine. Augustine obtained his views, without doubt, through the Spirit of God, from the diligent study of the writings of Paul, and Paul received them of the Holy Ghost, from Jesus Christ, the great founder of the Christian dispensation. We use the term then, not because we impute any extraordinary importance to Calvin’s having taught these doctrines. We would be just as wiling to call them by any other name, if we could find one which would be better understood, and which on the whole would be as consistent with fact.”

- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Everybody is wanting to do something when we ought to be wanting to be something.”

- Paul Washer

July 20, 2008

God’s will controls the smallest matters, and
takes into account the smallest events in each
life. A Spanish proverb says, “A leaf does not
stir on the tree–without the will of God.” God’s
hand is in every event. We talk of the the laws
of nature
–but what is nature? It is not something
independent of God. The laws of nature are simply
God’s laws
. Nothing takes place that is contrary
to the divine will. Nothing–no storm, no earthquake,
no cyclone, no tidal wave–ever gets out of God’s

This world is not controlled by chance, nor by any
blind fate
–but by Him who loved us so much, that
He gave His son to die for us.

Self Deception

July 17, 2008

As I look around you, though there be full many who can read their title clear to mansions in the skies, yet along these pews what a considerable proportion there is of my hearers who are only deceiving their own selves! Well, sinners, I will make the road to Hell as hard for you as I can. If you will be lost, I will put up many a chain and many a bar, and shut many a gate across your way. If you will listen to my voice, God helping me, you shall find it a hard way — that way of transgressors; you shall find it a hard thing to run counter to the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ.

July 6, 2008

“You have nothing to do but to win souls; therefore spend and be spent in this work.”

Christ is precious to those who believe. They desire to have more and more daily acquaintance with Him, and to grow in the sweet and powerful experience of communion with Him. Let us suppose the true Christian, in his retired moments, addressing God in such manner as the following:

‘You O God are unchangeable in Your nature, glorious in Your essence, wonderful in Your perfections, wise in Your counsels, and holy in all Your works. It is my greatest good and highest happiness–to enjoy Your favor, and to behold Your glory. Permit me to say, with Your servant Moses, I beseech You, show me Your glory! Show me the glory of Your wisdom, Your holiness, Your power, Your grace, and Your mercy in Christ Jesus. This will give me a distaste for the gaudy vanities of the present world. I shall then look with indifference on all that, after which the covetous are eagerly panting. I shall then pity the ambitious, in their restless solicitude to make themselves great, and to obtain the veneration of their fellow worms. Your Divine beauty and infinite loveliness, as displayed in the glorious Mediator, will captivate my desires, inflame my love, and excite my joy and delight!

“A more intimate view of Your holiness will embitter every sin, and lead me, in deepest humiliation, to abhor myself, and repent as in dust and ashes. Give me such a sense of Your majesty–as may dispose my heart to reverence You supremely. Afford me such discoveries of Your omnipotence, Your love, and Your goodness–as may support my fainting heart under the toils of this warfare, and all the afflictions attending this state of mortality. Let the impressions which Your adorable perfections make upon me, be deep and powerful, so as to transform my soul into Your own amiable and holy likeness. Thus by beholding Your glory–may I be changed into Your image.

“It is habitual, and not transient communion with Jesus, the Lord of glory, which alone will satisfy my desires, and produce those happy effects which I seek–of nearer conformity to Him in knowledge, righteousness and true holiness. Communion with Christ will tend to–refine my understanding, rectify my soul, and purify my heart! Grant me, O Author of all good, by frequent converse with You, to have my affections spiritualized, that I may look with indifference on all other objects, and have my mind set on things above–not on earthly things. In fellowship with You, I shall find a source of delights, infinitely superior to anything that this world can afford. For Your loving-kindness is better than life itself. You are the inexhaustible treasury of blessedness. O Lord God Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in You!”