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Thoughts and Meditations

January 2007 Archive

Personal comments made by David F. Reagan unless otherwise stated

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January 31, 2007

Affliction Seeks Good Students – “If you would not have affliction visit you twice, listen at once to what it teaches.” –by James Burgh (1714-1775), a Scottish author. Read Psalm 94:12-13; 119:71; Micah 6:9; 1Corinthians 11:32; Hebrews 12:11.

Topic: Chastisement, Affliction, Spiritual Growth 

Foreknowledge and Necessity – “God’s foreknowledge that his law would not be observed, lays no blame upon him. Though the foreknowledge of God be infallible, yet it doth not necessitate the creature in acting. It was certain from eternity, that Adam would fall, that men would do such and such actions, that Judas would betray our Saviour; God foreknew all those things from eternity; but, it is as certain that this foreknowledge did not necessitate the will of Adam, or any other branch of his posterity, in the doing those actions that were so foreseen by God; they voluntarily run into such courses, not by any impulsion. God’s knowledge was not suspended between certainty and uncertainty; he certainly foreknew that his law would be broken by Adam; he foreknew it in his decree in not hindering him, by giving Adam the efficacious grace which would infallibly have prevented it; yet Adam did freely break this law, and never imagined that the foreknowledge of God did necessitate him to it.” –from Existence and Attributes of God: Volume 2 by Stephen Charnock (p.145). Read Acts 15:28; 1Peter 1:2. 

Topics: Foreknowledge, Predestination, Free Will


January 30, 2007

Islamic Extremism in England – Melanie Phillips, in Londonistan (p.4), describes the kinds of Islamic extremism that has come into Great Britain: “There are two separate but intimately related strands of extremism in Britain. One has arisen from the influx of foreign radicals from North Africa and the Middle East, who arrived in large numbers during the 1980’s and 1990’s. The other—along with some converts to Islam from the wider British community—has developed from the radicalization of Britain’s own Muslims, who first started arriving during the 1970’s and 1980’s from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kashmir. As a result of these twin developments, London has become, over the past two decades, the world’s principal center for Islamism outside the Middle East and Afghanistan. 

“Islamism is the term given to the extreme form of politicized Islam that has become dominant in much of the Muslim world and is the ideological source for global Islamic terrorism. It derives from a number of radical organizations that were founded in the early part of the last century, which all believe that Islam is in a state of war with both the West and the insufficiently pious Muslims around the world.” Read Isaiah 10:5-6; Jeremiah 5:15-16; 25:9; Habakkuk 1:6. See how often God raises up a nation that does not know Him in order to bring judgment on those who knew the Lord but turned away from Him. 

Topics: Islam, Radical Islam, Judgment, Britain 

Persecuting Baptists in Colonial New England – “It is worth noting the progressive influence of persecution on the early Baptists of New England. The imprisonment [in 1651] of Clarke, Holmes, and Crandall (along with the public whipping of Holmes) prompted Dunster’s courage to make a stand for believer’s baptism. [Henry Dunster was the first president of Harvard College.] His suffering, in turn, influenced Thomas Goold and others to form the First Baptist Church of Boston, which appointed one of its members, William Screven, to organize and lead a Baptist church in Kittery, Maine. Because of persecution in Maine, Screven led his congregation to immigrate south, where sometime before 1693 they organized the earliest Baptist church in the south—what would become the First Baptist Church of Charleston, South Carolina. Out of that church, in turn, came leaders like Richard Furman and others, whose widespread influence can hardly be overestimated. All of that can be traced to the courage and conviction of early Baptist leaders such as John Clarke and Henry Dunster, who offered their whole minds and hearts to God.” –from The Forgotten Heritage by Thomas R. McKibbens, Jr. (p.115). Read John 15:20; Acts 8:1; 11:19; 2Thessalonians 1:4. 

Topics: Persecution, Colonial Baptists, Henry Dunster, John Clarke, Harvard, William Screven, Richard Furman, Church Planting


January 29, 2007

Origin of Primitive Baptists – Primitive Baptist churches “trace their beginnings as a distinct Baptist subdenomination from that period in the 1820’s and 1830’s when debate erupted over Baptist missions. The more strongly Calvinist Baptist theologians of those decades looked askance at the relatively new emphasis upon evangelism and missions, believing that human efforts to ‘win souls’ ran contrary to established positions on predestination and unconditional election. If God had predestined the circumstances of each person’s life and had from the beginning of time ‘elected’ those who were to be the chosen people, then is was exceedingly arrogant for anyone to presume power to win new members to that elected body. 

“Influenced by the antimission writings and preachings of ministers such as John Taylor and Daniel Parker, the ‘Hard Shells’ or ‘Primitives’ opposed mission boards and missionary societies—and, by extension, Sunday schools, revivals, and other forms of evangelism and church outreach. Human effort to win souls through any of these non-biblically-sanctioned practices was viewed as improper, because God alone had the right to do such work.” –from Giving Glory to God in Appalachia by Howard Dorgan (p.8-9). Read Luke 14:23; Romans 15:20; 2Corinthians 10:16. 

Topics: Baptists, History of Baptists, Primitive Baptists, Predestination, Election, Missions, Opposition to Missions, Daniel Parker 

Consecrated Ground – “When Abraham Lincoln delivered his address at the dedication of the battlefield cemetery in Gettysburg, November 19, 1863, he said: ‘We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives… But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract… It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work… to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us.’ 

“We speak of Christian consecration. ‘But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground’ of our already redeemed lives. In His laid-down life the Crucified has already ‘consecrated it (us) far above our poor power to add or detract.’ Let us fix our eyes upon Christ. We have already been fastened to the Crucified. Let us believe that if we be dead with Him we shall also live with Him [Romans 6:8].” –from Born Crucified by L. E. Maxwell (p.43-44). Read Romans 6:3-6; Galatians 2:20. 

Topics: Sanctification, Consecration, Surrender, Union with Christ


January 26, 2007

From Rock Bands to the Dance Rave – “John Schlitt, a member of Petra, one of the first commercially successful Christian rock bands, talks about the evolution of rock as an acceptable genre in Christian circles: ‘As far as the doubting Thomases are concerned they are always going to hate anything that is contemporary that gets past the church doors. The difference now is there aren’t as many of them that are opposed to rock. They have listened to rock music and can see how it is going to work.’ 

“The same rationale lies behind the argument that Christians should come to accept the dance rave, the latest Christian music craze. A rave is an all-night dance party featuring non-stop techno-dance music, psychedelic lighting and what most mothers would still call ‘dirty dancing’ – as well as, at least in the secular version, the widespread use of a drug called ecstasy. Many Christian parents and pastors alike wonder whether this can actually be used for God, given the fact that it directly mimics the secular culture. D. J. Casey of the Dance Chapel says, ‘I think it’s the same sort of thing the Christian rock scene went through when it first started. People were asking if there was really a place for Christian rock because of all the negative connotations surrounding rock music. Now Christian rock bands are commonplace.’” –from Can We Rock the Gospel? by John Blanchard and Dan Lucarini (p.18-19). Read Romans 12:2; 2Corinthians 6:14-17; Ephesians 2:2; 1John 2:15. 

Topics: CCM, Rock Music, Dancing, Worldliness 

Scripture Preserved From Fables – “It has been rightly pointed out that Scripture itself uses popular expressions in regard to astronomical, geological, and other scientific matters, even as do most of our modern scholars in everyday intercourse [for instance, ‘the sun rises’ – Genesis 19:23]. And it must be expressly said that the inspiration of the Spirit preserved the Biblical writers from declaring as true anything, historical or scientific, that in fact are false. [compare this with the early Christian non-biblical book of First Clement which accepts the myth of the phoenix as fact.] Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians [Acts 7:22]. What preserved him so that when writing the Pentateuch he did not accept the ancient Egyptian chronology, which later Manetho laid down definitely in his writings, and which began 30,000 years before Christ? 

“What influenced Daniel, who was skilled in Chaldean science [Daniel 1:4], to shut his ears to the monstrous Chaldean fables as to the creation of the world? Paul was acquainted with the best science of the time. Why do we find nothing in his speeches or letters similar to Augustine’s scornful rejection of the teaching that there are Antipodes or to the opinion of Ambrose, that the sun draws water up to itself that it may thereby cool and refresh itself from its extraordinary heat?” –from From Eternity to Eternity by Erich Sauer (p.106). 

Topics: Science, Creation, Inspiration, Fables


January 25, 2007

Professor Affliction – Affliction “is as our preacher and tutor – ‘Hear ye the rod’ (Micah 6:9). Luther said that he could never rightly understand some of the Psalms, till he was in affliction. Affliction teaches what sin is. In the word preached, we hear what a dreadful thing sin is, that it is both defiling and damning, but we fear it no more than a painted lion; therefore God lets loose affliction, and then we feel sin bitter in the fruit of it. A sick-bed often teaches more than a sermon. We can best see the ugly visage of sin in the glass of affliction. 

“Affliction teaches us to know ourselves. In prosperity we are for the most part strangers to ourselves. God makes us know affliction, that we may better know ourselves. We see that corruption in our hearts in the time of affliction, which we would not believe was there. Water in the glass looks clear, but set it on the fire, and the scum boils up. In prosperity a man seems to be humble and thankful, the water looks clear; but set this man a little on the fire of affliction, and the scum boils up—much impatience and unbelief appear. ‘Oh,’ says a Christian, ‘I never thought I had such a bad heart, as now I see I have; I never thought my corruptions had been so strong, and my graces so weak.’” –from All Things For Good by Thomas Watson (p.27-28). Read Job 5:17; Haggai 1:5-7; Revelation 3:19. 

Topics: Affliction, Chastisement, Trials 

Thanks for All Things – “I often picture Paul in jail expressing his thanks to God [Acts 16:25] and God’s responding to Paul. Paul was so in love with the Lord—so sensitive to what God wanted. He pleased God by being so thankful for even the little things. Paul would say thank you to the Lord for being all He was to Paul. Do you ever wonder why Paul was so motivated and thankful all the time? It has to do with his humility before God. He honestly believed that he deserved nothing and, therefore, anything was a blessing. Our problem many times is that we think we deserve so much…

“Solomon asks the question, ‘What is thy beloved more than another beloved?’ (Song of Solomon 5:9). Paul knew the answer and lived the answer to the full. Paul found himself with new liberty (Galatians 5:1, 13); new life (Colossians 3:3; 1:27); new law (Romans 7:23-25); new light (1Corinthians 4:5); new laughter (Philippians 3:1); new motivation for labor (1Corinthians 15:58); new leader (Colossians 1:18); new lips (Colossians 3:8, 17); new loss (Philippians 3:7-8, He lost what he didn’t need to gain—what was indispensable.); new look (2Corinthians 4:18); new love (2Corinthians 5:14); and he certainly got a new lord (Philippians 3:8). He spent the rest of his life saying, ‘Thank You, Lord!’” –from The God You Can Know by Dan DeHaan (p.112-113). 

Topics: Thanksgiving, Humility


January 24, 2007

Use of the Term, Elder – In 1860, David Benedict wrote of his observations as a Baptist preacher in 50 Years Among the Baptists (p.166-167): “The term ‘elder,’ as a proper distinction for our ministers of all grades, old or young, in my early day, was, and indeed from time immemorial it has been, the usual title for them. Office instead of age has always been intended by it. But there has been a great change in this respect among the more fashionable class of Baptists in many parts of the country, where the term reverend has taken the place of the old and favorite cognomen above referred to. Still, in the country parts of the older States, and in nearly all the newer regions, the people still distinguish as formerly their spiritual guides.” Read Acts 14:23; 1Timothy 5:17; 1Peter 5:1. 

Topics: Elders, Reverend, Baptists. 

Images and Pictures of Jesus – John Owen, in The Glory of Christ (p.175-176), deals with the present glory of Christ and our inability to look on Him in His glory. He then continues: “How much more abominable is the folly of men who would represent the Lord Christ, in his present glory, by pictures and images of him? When they have done their utmost with their burnished glass and gildings, an eye of flesh cannot behold it, but, if it be guided by reason, see it contemptible and foolish. But the true glory of Christ neither inward nor outward sight can bear the rays in this life. 

“The dispensation which we are meet for is only that of his presence with us by the Spirit. We know him now no more after the flesh (2Corinthians 5:16). We are advanced above that way and means of the knowledge of him by the fleshly, carnal ordinances of the Old Testament. And we know him not, according unto that bodily presence of his, which his disciples enjoyed in the days of his flesh. We have attained somewhat above that also. For such was the nature of his ministry here on earth, that there could not be the promised dispensation of the Spirit until that was finished. 

“Therefore, he tells his disciples that ‘It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you’ (John 16:7). Hereon they had a clearer view of the glory of Christ than they could have had by beholding him in the flesh. This is our spiritual posture and condition. We are past the knowledge of him according to the flesh; we cannot attain nor receive the sight of him in glory; but ‘the life which I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20). 

Topics: Images, Idolatry, Pictures of Jesus, Holy Spirit


January 23, 2007

Suffering Still in Store – The martyrdom of the Anabaptist George Blaurock in 1525 is worthy of consideration. “Blaurock had been a monk, but he had renounced the religion of ritual for one of reality. He became closely related in the ministry of Conrad Grebel and Felix Manz, and following their deaths he became a leader among the Swiss Anabaptists, until he was burned at the stake in Claussen. His martyrdom was called for because ‘…he had forsaken his office as a priest, which he had formerly exercised in popery; that he disregarded infant baptism, and taught people a new baptism; that he rejected the Mass; that he likewise rejected the confession of the priests as founded by them, and that the mother of Christ is not to be invoked or worshipped… On the place of execution he earnestly spoke to the people, and pointed them to the Scriptures.’ 

“In his death, Blaurock exemplified the truth set forth in one of his hymns. He had written: ‘Blessed are those in all tribulation who cling to Christ to the end.’ Because of his zeal, he became known by the brethren as the second Paul, and historians have referred to him often as ‘the Hercules of the Anabaptists.’… Blaurock’s great hymn is thrilling indeed, for he wrote:

            As he himself our sufferings bore

            When hanging on the accursed tree

            So there is suffering still in store

            O pious heart, for you and me.”

--from This Day in Baptist History III by David L. Cummins (p.35-36). Read Acts 5:41; 14:22; Philippians 1:29. 

Topics: Suffering, Martyrdom, Anabaptists, Hymnody 

Determination of Charles Spurgeon – “Because of Spurgeon’s determination, in June of 1856 the church appointed a building committee. Biographer Lorimer stated that ‘at their first private meeting Spurgeon exclaimed, “I hear some of you are doubtful; if so go through that door and stay there.” At a later meeting he repeated the statement. Twelve went out. Said he, “Any more?” Three more departed, and with seven he marched to victory.’ That account may be apocryphal, yet he once said, ‘Lead me not into temptation means to me, bring me not into a committee.’ All this speaks of the determination, if not the often accused brashness, of the twenty-one-year-old preacher.

“But could such an undertaking be realized? Charles said, ‘It is the glory of Omnipotence to work by improbabilities.’ He declared, ‘I like to see a man trying to do the impossible. Any fool can do what he can do.’ His gardener one day said to son Thomas, ‘SPURGEON! Ah, there was no humbug about him!’” –from Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers by Lewis Drummond (p.336). Read Joshua 1:9; Jeremiah 1:7-8. 

Topics: Leadership, Committees, Building Programs


January 22, 2007

New Testament Quotations of the Old – “The fact that the writers of the New Testament when quoting the Old Testament do not always repeat verbally the Hebrew text is not at all to be regarded as inexactness or as a refutation of the inspired character of Holy Scripture. For the proper and uniform Author of the whole Bible is the Holy Spirit. Now an author has the right to repeat his own statements in freer form, without being compelled to retain their exact wording. Moreover he has the right to make a statement which may follow closely the contents of a former statement but which, to suit some new situation, contains variations. Now when quoting the Old Testament Christ and the Holy Spirit were taking words out of His own Book (1Peter 1:11; 2Peter 1:21; Hebrews 3:7).” –from From Eternity to Eternity by Erich Sauer (p.104). 

Topics: Inspiration, Holy Spirit, Bible Quotations 

Blessing of the Intercession of Christ – “Christ is in heaven, as Aaron with his golden plate upon his forehead, and his precious incense; and He prays for all believers as well as He did for the apostles. ‘Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me’ (John 17:20). When a Christian is weak, and can hardly pray for himself, Jesus Christ is praying for him; and He prays for three things.

·         “First, that the saints may be kept from sin (John 17:15). ‘I pray…that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.’ We live in the world as in a pest-house; Christ prays that His saints may not be infected with the contagious evil of the times.

·         Second, for His people’s progress in holiness. ‘Sanctify them’ (John 17:17). Let them have constant supplies of the Spirit, and be anointed with fresh oil.

·         Third, for their glorification. ‘Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am’ (John 17:24). Christ is not content till the saints are in His arms. This prayer, which He made on earth, is the copy and pattern of His prayer in heaven. What a comfort is this; when Satan is tempting, Christ is praying.

--from All Things For Good by Thomas Watson (p.22-23). 

Topics: Intercession, Priesthood of Christ, Prayer


January 19, 2007

Negative Side of Supporting Nationals – In recent years, much of the energy of missions has shifted away from sending missionaries to the financial support of national preachers. They already know the language and culture and those in third world countries can be supported for a fraction of the cost of a Western missionary. However, there are some honest questions as to the long-term results of directly supporting national missionaries. Some have complained that these preachers often lack a world vision. “Alex Araujo, a former executive with Partners International and a native of Brazil, also sounds a reluctant note of caution concerning his non-Western missions brethren even while he cheers them on. ‘Beware of glorious portrayals of the emerging non-Western missions movement,’ he says, ‘Though highly welcome and deserving credit and encouragement, [it] is a mixed bag of good and bad, success and tragedy, and should not be idealized… 

“Many missionaries and agency executives are careful to distinguish between financially supporting overseas missionaries and supporting church workers. Supporting missionaries is necessary, because these workers go where there are no churches that could pay them. Supporting church workers is another matter, for at least one study, done in Indonesia, indicates that churches generally grow better and have fewer problems if they pay their own pastors.” Another missionary leader “notes that while most of the people his agency works with are of high caliber, ‘Frequently we have found that people we thought were of high caliber and commitment have turned out to see the ministry as their job which puts food on their table.’ 

“Even the well-intentioned giver faces subtle dangers. Roger Hedlund, a missionary with CB International in Madras, India, states, ‘Americans are especially vulnerable to an appeal that says, “Give us your dollars, but not your sons and daughters.” If we do that, missionary vision will die within a generation, and the dollars will also (eventually) stop.’ Lewis Codington agrees, saying, ‘I believe that one of my greatest contributions as a missionary is the privilege of challenging people back home in the USA to become involved more in missions.’” –from Missions in the Third Millennium by Stan Guthrie (p.14-16). Read Romans 10:14-15; 2Corinthians 10:16. 

Topics: Missions, Nationals, Missionary Support

Finding the Light Burden – “We have worn ourselves out serving the One who said, ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ [Matthew 11:30] The Christian life is not that complicated. Let us find the balance and then get on with it. Peter’s statement in Luke 5 is classic. ‘Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing’ (Luke 5:5). We should know by now that anything that begins with ‘we’ will end with ‘nothing.’” –from The God You Can Know by Dan DeHaan (p.116). 

Topics: Sanctification, Balance, Surrender


January 18, 2007

Longest Sentence in the Bible – “Ephesians stretches from eternity to eternity. Chapter 1 contains the longest sentence in the Bible. Ephesians 1:3-14 has no period. The passage contains 273 words in the English Bible, although grammarians tell us that a sentence more than 30 words long is not good grammar. But where would you put a period? You see, Paul knew his position in Christ. He knew what he had in Christ and what a difference that made in his daily walk. He loved to flaunt the riches he had in Christ. That is why he tells us in Ephesians 6 to ‘stand’ when we are face to face with spiritual warfare. We are already rich. Stand, therefore, on those riches. Don’t just appreciate them. Appropriate them!” –from The God You Can Know by Dan DeHaan (p.106). 

Topics: Word of God, Grammar, Union with Christ 

Brothers and Sisters – Around 1860, David Benedict reported: “In my early days, among by far the largest portion of the Baptists, the terms ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ were in common use in the every-day conversation of this people, when speaking to or of each other. This language was so familiar with them that they employed it in all places and before all people, in the market places, in public conveyances, on the highways, and wherever they had occasion to speak to, or of each other. In this respect the Baptists and Methodists were much alike in their fraternal language with reference to each other. And what is said of former times may also be affirmed of this time, among a very large portion of the great Baptist family. A great change has, indeed, taken place in this business in some locations, where much less of this old-fashioned familiarity of speech is heard than formerly; and this change is the most apparent in the older and more populous parts of the country, where forms and fashions have produced such a worldly conformity on the part of the Baptists, that their language relative to church associates is as cold and formal as that of worldly people.” –from 50 Years Among the Baptists (p.165-166). Read 1Corinthians 7:15; Ephesians 3:15; 1Timothy 5:1-2; James 2:15. 

Topics: Titles, Fellowship, Family of God


January 17, 2007

Gospel Travels – “Not far from the central area of the German city of Hanover is a Baptist church that houses a Spanish-speaking congregation under the pastoral care of Jose Antonio Gonzalez. Like many young people from Spain in the 1960’s, Jose Antonio left his beautiful town in Galacia and emigrated to Germany in search of a job. There he was befriended by Mrs. Pinto, a Bolivian lady whose family had also gone to Germany in search of economic security. She not only provided Jose Antonio with good spiced soups but also insisted on sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and praying for him. 

“As a nominal Catholic, Jose Antonio had never thought that this story, part of the folksong heritage of his native Spain, could have any relevance for an aspiring student of industrial design. Eventually the story of Jesus started to make sense to Jose Antonio, and he became a Christian believer. What he could not have dreamed was that he could eventually discern a call to the ministry and, after seminary training, became a pastor and preacher. I do not know how the gospel crossed seas to reach Mrs. Pinto in distant Bolivia, the heart of South America, but I am thrilled by the fact that when this simple Bolivian migrant housewife crossed the sea to go to Germany she became a missionary.” –from The New Global Mission by Samuel Escobar (p.11). Read Acts 8:4; 11:19. 

Topics: Church Planting, Missions, Witnessing 

Strong Leadership of Spurgeon – Charles Spurgeon did not take a soft approach to leadership in his church. When he “found a member of the congregation who differed from the church’s basic doctrinal stance and practice, he would simply say to that person, ‘Please withdraw from the church.’ He did not mind rebuking others when the occasion called for it. Once he told a man his conscience must be new for he never seemed to use it. He settled matters on a word. He once declared publicly, ‘I am the captain of this vessel. If there should be a Jonah in this ship, I shall in as efficient a spirit as possible pitch him out. I shall not think that because Jonah is there I ought to leave, but I will stand by the ship in all weather as well as in sunshine.’” –from Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers by Lewis Drummond (p.336). Read 1Timothy 3:4-5; Hebrews 13:17; 1Peter 5:1-2. 

Topics: Pastor, Leadership, Rebuke


January 16, 2007

Fruit of Prayer on the Mission Field in India – In 1852, the Baptist missionary Lyman Jewett and his wife visited Ongole, India. “Before leaving the place, they climbed a slope which overlooked the village and prayed that God would send a missionary to Ongole and the region. Several years later, in September of 1866, the Baptist missionary John E. Clough in answer to the Jewett’s prayer, “relocated in Ongole, and a modern miracle of missions began! On January 1, 1867, he organized a church with eight members, and by the end of 1879, that church had grown to 13,016 members with forty-six national preachers and thirty assistants… 

“Clough’s methods were biblical and saturated in prayer. Tent meetings of evangelism were held, the nationals were trained, and a circuit was established which contained more than eighty villages forty miles around Ongole. As the work grew, other missionaries were sent… These men and their wives were of great assistance to Clough. 

“The next three years were a time of trial, for the area was hit with a year of famine, a year of Cholera, and still another year of famine. During these years, the government came to the aid of the perishing people by employing them in digging canals for the development of the country. Clough took contracts for this work and organized the people. He paid good wages to the starving nationals, and while they labored for their bread, his national preachers gave forth the gospel. ‘Many asked for baptism, but he refused to baptize any while the famine lasted lest they should profess Christianity from wrong motives. When the three years of pestilence and famine were over, he offered baptism to all true believers. July 3, 1878, two thousand, two hundred and twenty-two were immersed upon their profession of faith.’ From June 16 to July 31, 1878, eight thousand six hundred and ninety-one had been immersed upon their profession of faith! What caused such results? Surely God answered the prayers of the Jewetts, and a mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God brought souls to Christ. Our missionaries around the world still need prayer partners in our day!” –from This Day in Baptist History (p.272-273). Read Acts 4:4; 19:10, 20. 

Topics: Missions, Revival, Evangelism, Prayer

Baptize the Pocketbook – “R. E. Neighbor tells the account that when he was in the baptistry with a railway engineer ready to proceed with the baptismal service, his candidate whispered: ‘Wait! I forgot something. I want to return to the robing room, and get my pocketbook and let you baptize it with me!’ Oh, would that all of us gave God our pocketbook, for God says, ‘Them that honor me I will honor’ (1Samuel 2:30). Besides, it is the Lord that enables all of us to work and gain wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18).” –from The Seven Laws of the Harvest by John W. Lawrence (p.79). 

Topics: Baptism, Money, Greed


January 15, 2007

Inspiration of Words; Not Just Thoughts – “In reference to the inspiration of the Bible the foregoing means that if the thoughts are inspired then must the words also be so. Without inspiration of its words the thoughts of the Bible would be without distinct form. A certain change (variation) of the words always includes a more or less definite change of the thoughts. Now it is exactly the delicacies and shades and stresses which quite often constitute the special beauties of the words of the Bible. Luther justly said that ‘Christ did not say of His thoughts but of His words that they are spirit and life’ (John 6:63), and J. A. Bengal declares that ‘All the words which they should speak and write were prescribed exactly to the prophets… with the ideas God at the same time gave them the words.’ The Prince of preachers, Spurgeon, said: ‘We contend for every word of the Bible and believe in the verbal, literal inspiration of Holy Scripture. Indeed, we believe there can be no other kind of inspiration. If the words are taken from us, the exact meaning is of itself lost.’ As Monod said: ‘The Bible is heaven in words.’” –from From Eternity to Eternity by Erich Sauer (p.103). 

Topics: Inspiration, Bible 

Communion of the Saints – “We ‘are helpers of your joy’ (2Corinthians 2:14). One Christian conversing with another is a means to confirm him. As the stones in an arch help to strengthen one another, one Christian by imparting his experience, heats and quickens another. ‘And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works’ (Hebrews 10:24). How does grace flourish by holy conference! A Christian by good discourse drops that oil upon another, which makes the lamp of his faith burn brighter.” –from All Things For Good by Thomas Watson (p.22). 

Topics: Comfort, Fellowship, Communion


January 11, 2007

Blinded by the Light – “Should the Lord Jesus appear now to any of us in his majesty and glory, it would not be unto our edification nor consolation. For we are not meet nor able, by the power of any light or grace that we have received or can receive, to bear the immediate appearance and representation of them. His beloved apostle John had leaned on his bosom probably many a time in his life, in the intimate familiarities of love; but when he afterwards appeared unto him in his glory, he fell at ‘his feet as dead’ (Revelation 1:17). And when he appeared unto Paul, all the account he could give thereof, was, ‘that he saw a light from heaven above the brightness of the sun,’ whereon he and all that were with him, ‘fell to the ground’ (Acts 26:13-14). And this was one reason why in the days of his ministry here on earth, his glory was veiled with the infirmities of the flesh, and all sorts of sufferings, as we have before related. The church in this life is no way meet, by the grace which it can be made partaker of, to converse with him in the immediate manifestations of his glory.” –from The Glory of Christ by John Owen (p.174-175). 

Topics: Glory, Glory of Christ 

Paul’s Prayer for Every Christian – “Ephesians 1:18-19 give us Paul’s prayer for every Christian, which is consistent throughout his epistles. He always prays that the church will know her position in Christ and the riches obtained through that position. Paul prays that believers will be enlightened: ‘The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;’ he prays that the church will be encouraged: ‘that ye may know what is the hope of his calling;’ he prays that the church will be enriched: ‘what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints;’ and he prays they will be empowered: ‘And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe.’” –from The God You Can Know by Dan DeHaan (p.106). 

Topics: Prayer, Spiritual Power, Position in Christ


January 10, 2007

Influence of John Locke – Much has been made of the influence of the philosopher John Locke on the founding fathers of America. However, it seems that his influence has been overemphasized. “Professor Donald Lutz counted 3,154 citations in the writings of the founders; of these, nearly 1,100 references (34 percent) are to the Bible, and about 300 each to Montesquieu and Blackstone, followed at a considerable distance by Locke and Hume and Plutarch. No American edition of Locke was available until the nineteenth century, but copies printed in England were available in many law offices and church studies… 

“Scholars of a secularizing bent rightly point to Lockean phrases and turns of argument in Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, but fail to note the older influence of other authors and, particularly, the Bible. Before Locke was even born, the Pilgrims believed in the consent of the governed, social compacts, the dignity of every child of God, and political equality. As Professor Lutz writes: ‘That all men are created equal is a position central to Locke’s writing, but for a repetitious insistence upon the point, it is to Sidney we should turn. However, the sentiments, ideas, and commitments found in Locke and Sidney existed also in American colonial writing long before these two English theorists published their great works.’ 

“Before Sidney and Locke, Americans had fashioned a political doctrine from the Hebrew Bible, and had acquired historically unparalleled practice in the arts of self-government. It is less true to say that America was Lockean, Lutz writes, than that Locke was American.” –from On Two Wings by Michael Novak (p.6-7). Read Deuteronomy 4:8; Psalm 119:128. 

Topics: John Locke, Bible Quotations, Founding Fathers, American Revolution 

No Debt For God’s House – “‘We will not go into debt for this house of God. I decline to preach in the place until it is paid for.’ With these words [Charles] Spurgeon set the pattern for the building of the expansive Metropolitan Tabernacle. He said he would never open the new tabernacle if any debt remained; he declared to do so would make him ‘a guilty sneaking sinner.’ He intended to be faithful to his convictions and to his ministry. ‘Faithful’ does describe the man.” –from Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers by Lewis Drummond (p.335). Read Proverbs 22:7; Romans 13:8. 

Topics: Debt, Church Building, Charles Spurgeon, Leadership


January 9, 2007

Thoughts of Christ – Of his meditation on Jesus Christ, the colonial preacher Cotton Mather wrote: “The thoughts of Christ have become exceedingly frequent with me; I meditate on His glorious Person, as the eternal and the incarnate Son of God: and I behold the infinite God as coming to me, and meeting with me in this blessed meditation. I fly to Him on multitudes of occasions every day, and am impatient if many minutes have passed without some recourse to Him. Every now and then I rebuke myself for having been so long without any thoughts of my Saviour; how can I bear to keep at such a distance from Him? I then look up to Him, and say—Oh, my Saviour, draw near unto me! Oh, come to dwell in my soul, and help me to cherish some thoughts wherein I shall enjoy You; and upon this I set myself to think of what He has done, is doing, and what He will do, for me: I find the subject inexhaustible; and after I have been thus employed in the day, I fall asleep at night in the midst of some meditation on the glory of my Saviour; so I fall asleep in Jesus, and when I awake in the night, I do on my bed seek Him whom my soul loves. On awaking, the desires of my soul still carry me to Him who was last in my thoughts when I fell asleep.” –quoted in The Fullness of Christ by Octavius Winslow (p.45-46). Read Matthew 11:29; Ephesians 4:20; Philippians 1:21. 

Topics: Union with Christ, Meditation, Sanctification 

Dedicating Babies – “John Leland, in his Virginia Chronicle, in 1790, informs us that the dry christening ceremony prevailed to some extent in the Old Dominion at that time. This unusual rite among the Baptists, which long since went out of use, was founded on the incident of parents bringing little children to Christ to bless them, and was thus performed: as soon as circumstances would permit, after the birth of a child, the mother carried it to meeting, when the minister either took it in his arms, or laid his hands on it, thanked God for his mercy, and invoked a blessing on the little one, in a public manner. At the same time the child received its name. This rite, by those who practiced it, was called devoting children to God, while outsiders, as they saw no water connected with it, called it a dry christening.” –from 50 Years Among the Baptists by David Benedict (p.163-164) written in 1860. Read 1Samuel 1:24; Luke 18:15-16. 

Topics: Children, Baptist Traditions


January 8, 2007

Fighting From Victory – “We must see once for all how completely Christ has conquered. Not till then can we experience a joyful life of victory. We do not need to torment ourselves to effect our own salvation. We do not fight for victory but from victory. The pre-requisite for victory already exists. The Commander-in-chief has triumphed. Full salvation is now available in Him. ‘Jesus saves me now.’ In particular our eyes must be open to the high standing in grace which we have received in Christ. We are chosen, sanctified, beloved (Colossians 3:12). We are a temple of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:21-22; 1Corinthians 6:19). We are sons of the Most High (Galatians 4:6-7). Christ, the Firstborn, is not ashamed to call us His brethren (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 2:11). 

“This knowledge of the high standing in grace does not make us self-secured and self-contented, nor high-minded and satisfied, but rather grateful of heart, and therefore devoted and dedicated to God, always supposing that it is a truly spiritual knowledge that is inwrought and interpenetrated by the Spirit. But in whom this view of the freely granted fullness of grace is lacking there will never be joy in his salvation. He toils in his own strength, experiences defeat after defeat, perhaps at length gives up the fight, and in practice sin carries off the victory. Therefore is a Spirit-wrought view of full salvation in Christ a pre-requisite for all true practical experiences of salvation.” –from From Eternity to Eternity by Erich Sauer (p.62). 

Topics: Victory, Grace, Union with Christ 

Conduit of Electricity – “On January 21, 1930, a historic radio broadcast was scheduled. King George was to address the opening session of the London Arms Conference, and for the first time the whole world was to be brought within the sound of the king’s voice. But this country almost missed it. A few minutes before the speech, a member of the control room staff at CBS tripped over the wire and broke it. The connection was severed. 

“Then Harold Vidian, chief control operator, grasped one of the broken wires in one hand and the other wire in his other hand, restoring the circuit. Two hundred fifty volts of electricity shot through his arms and coursed through his body, but he held on and the king’s message was delivered to his country. That is a good image of what happens in the act of preaching. The one who would speak the Word of a wholly other God had better be prepared for a life-threatening jolt: the intersection between eternity and time, transcendence and immanence, heaven and earth, is a perilous place. May God deliver us from preachers insensible of the dangers.” –from The Trivialization of God by Donald W. McCullough (p.127). Read 1Kings 19:11-12; Hebrews 10:31. 

Topics: Power of God, Preaching


January 5, 2007

Judgment of Sin in the Believer – God will sometimes punish sin more severely “in this life in his own people, than in others. Upon Jonah’s disobedience a storm pursues him and a whale devours him, while the profane world lived in their lusts without control. Moses, for one act of unbelief, is excluded from Canaan, when greater sinners attained that happiness. It is not a light punishment, but a vengeance he takes on their inventions (Psalm 99:8), to manifest that he hates sin as sin, and not because the worst persons commit it. Perhaps, had a profane man touched the ark, the hand of God had not so suddenly reached him; but when Uzzah, a man zealous for him, as may be supposed by his care for the support of the tottering ark, would step out of his place, he strikes him down for this disobedient action, by the side of the ark, which he would indirectly (as not being a Levite) sustain (2Samuel 6:7). 

“Nor did our Saviour so sharply reprove the Pharisees, and turn so short from them as he did from Peter, when he gave a carnal advice, and contrary to that wherein was to be the greatest manifestation of God’s holiness, that is, the death of Christ (Matthew 16:23). He calls him Satan, a name sharper than the title of the devil’s children wherewith he marked the Pharisees, and given (besides him) to none but Judas, who made a profession of love to him, and was outwardly ranked in the number of his disciples. A gardener hates a weed the more for being in the bed with the most precious flowers.” –from Existence and Attributes of God: Volume 2 by Stephen Charnock (p.120-121). 

Topics: Judgment, Chastisement, Accountability 

Why We Ask For Forgiveness – “When I am in meetings I often ask how many people believe that God has forgiven them of all their sins. The Christians all raise their hands. I go on to ask if they believe that God has even forgiven the sins they have not committed yet? They agree. Well, if God has forgiven the sins I have not even committed, then why ask forgiveness? You see, there is no such thing as unforgiven sin in the life of a Christian. All sins are forgiven—past, present, and future. Then, I repeat, why ask forgiveness? The answer is to have your joy restored. A close study of 1John 1 and Psalm 51 will reveal that we are to ask forgiveness in order to have our joy made full. 

“Our sins cannot change our relationship. ‘As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions’ (Psalm 103:12). Notice the statement is ‘as far as the east is from the west,’ not ‘the north from the south.’ The latter are fixed points even though they are far away. The former are infinite directions. ‘I will not remember your sins’ (Isaiah 43:25). ‘Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven’ (Psalm 32:1). I believe that the highest judge in the universe is God. If God has forgiven me, then the only reason I could believe that I was not clean would be if I have a higher authority than God. I must humble myself to receive that forgiveness.” –from The God You Can Know by Dan DeHaan (p.102). 

Topics: Forgiveness, Prayer


January 4, 2007

Jewish Contribution to Civilization – On February 16, 1809, John Adams wrote: “I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. If I were an atheist of the other sect, who believe or pretend to believe that all is ordered by chance, I should believe that chance had ordered the Jews to preserve and propagate to all mankind the doctrine of a supreme, intelligent, wise, almighty sovereign of the universe, which I believe to be the great essential principle of all morality, and consequently of all civilization.” –from On Two Wings by Michael Novak (opening pages). Read Genesis 12:2-3; Romans 3:1-2; 9:4-5. 

Topics: History, Jewish Civilization, Abrahamic Blessing 

Meditate Much Upon Christ – “Meditate much upon Christ.—You will find this habit an effectual antidote to those vain, carnal, earthly thoughts, which, alas, obtrude themselves so frequently and so powerfully upon the believing mind. Let the mind be preoccupied and solely with Jesus, and the world and the creature and sin will find no play. Oh, it is a sweet theme of meditation—Jesus! You are in mental converse with One who has access to the innermost recess of your soul, the most sacred cloister of your heart; who is in communion with the most delicate shade of thought, with the finest tone of feeling, and who knows you, can understand you, and feel for you as no other being in the universe can. 

“Do not deem this mental meditation unattainable, this spiritual concentration of the soul on Christ in meditation so high that you cannot attain unto it. What others have experienced you may experience. Cultivate this devout meditation upon Christ. Meditate upon His person, study His work, muse upon His love. Endeavor to blend Him with your thoughts, to entwine Him with your affections, to associate Him with your daily life of service and of suffering. Such an effort to think of Christ will soon bring down to your soul the dear Object of your thoughts, for He regards them who only think upon His name; and while you are musing upon His person, the fire of His love will burn within your heart.” –from The Fullness of Christ by Octavius Winslow (p.44-45). Read Psalm 63:6; 104:34; Matthew 11:29. 

Topics: Meditation, Union with Christ, Sanctification


January 3, 2007

Scab to be Contended Against – Early American prejudice against the Baptist can be seen in this quote from Urian Oakes, president of Harvard College, in 1672: “Anabaptism we shall find hath ever been look at by the Godly Leaders of this people as a Scab to be contended against.” –from The Forgotten Heritage by Thomas R. McKibbens, Jr. (p.105). Read Matthew 24:9; John 16:2; Acts 5:40-41. 

Topics: Baptists, Anabaptists, Persecution 

Laying on of Hands – Baptists of the past had practices that are not common today, but neither are they the practices of different modern groups. Take, for instance, the laying on of hands. In 1860, David Benedict wrote Fifty Years Among the Baptists and in it described the practices of the Baptists of his youth. Benedict wrote: “The laying on of hands, as a religious rite, as far as I can learn, has always been practiced in the same manner. The candidates for church membership, after being baptized, as a final act of admission come forward to the minister, the same as those who receive the right hand of fellowship; and the minister, instead of taking them by the hand, puts his hands on their heads and prays, and then their initiation is completed.” Read 1Timothy 4:14; Hebrews 6:1. 

Topics: Laying on of Hands, Church Membership


January 2, 2007

Quit Yourselves Like Men – Lewis Drummond in Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers (p.335) quotes the following poem by John Bunyan to introduce a chapter on the faithfulness of Spurgeon.

            The trials that those men do meet withal

            That are obedient to the heavenly call

Are manifold and suited to the flesh,

And come, and come, and come again afresh;

That now, or sometime else, we by them may

Be taken, overcome, and cast away.

O let the pilgrims, let the pilgrims, then,

Be vigilant, and quit themselves like men.

Read Proverbs 28:20; Matthew 25:21; 1Corinthians 4:2. 

Topics: Faithfulness, Trials 

Could Not Stand the Shock – “Perhaps you heard about the man who was in the hospital suffering from a bad heart attack when his family received word that he had fallen heir to a million dollars. Fearing that the news might be too much of a shock to the man, they asked his pastor to give him the information very gently. The pastor decided to approach him like this: ‘What would you do if you inherited the sum of a million dollars?’ ‘Why,’ he replied, ‘I’d give half of it to the church.’ The pastor dropped dead.” –from The Seven Laws of the Harvest by John W. Lawrence (p.73). Read Proverbs 23:4; 1Timothy 6:10. 

Topics: Riches, Greed




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