No Yeast with the Bread of Life!

1Cor5-7

And God also directed  that his people, including every one of his children among them, had to begin to wash away every bit of their yeast with all of its stimulus, excitement, excessive agitation, and sense of amounting to something. Then by God’s design, emptied, deflated, and humbled, they would have to eat the bread of their own misery for a very long time. After that, he would bring the Bread of Life to their lips. This is the bread from heaven that needs no added, unholy, or artificial ingredient.

Now do you understand what the apostle means when he says, ‘Our Passover has been sacrificed for us, so wash away the old yeast and celebrate the feast with unleavened bread of sincerity and truth’?

Do you understand this? Will you act accordingly?

For the Lord our God will not allow his holy Christian faith to be abused by a kind of yeast that is really good for nothing but continues to work and ferment in the dough when it only gives the appearance of being good. God regards Christ as too sacred for anything like that! No, in you that dough needs to be better dough that rises on its own, without outside agitation, and produces bread that can truly feed you.

That’s how it has to be in your life. Every morning and evening your soul has to have a healthy slice of the Bread of Life, properly prepared and without any deceptive ingredients. What you pick up with your hands and what crosses your lips has to be prepared and made with complete integrity and absolute truth. It has to be bread like it’s supposed to be!

But this can’t happen with and for you as long as your soul only wants to go halfway. Not if one time you have a piece of Christ’s bread of life, baked with healthy wheat, and the next time you take a slice of leavened bread baked according to your own recipe.

It’s all about him as the Bread of Life. Nothing else!

The soul that it’s intended to nourish can never tolerate as much as a single grain of such yeast mixed in with what it eats. Only such bread can feed you. Otherwise all of its nourishing power will be of no benefit to you.

For the Bread of Life to nourish your soul, the last bit of bad yeast has to be washed out of it.

honey from the rock-ak-2018Taken from the new translation by James A. De Jong of Abraham Kuyper’s Honey from the Rock (Lexham Press, 2018), pp.219-221.

This particular meditation (#69 of Volume 1) is titled “Wash Away the Old Yeast” and is based on 1 Corinthians 5:7 (cf. above).

Strategy from the Abyss: Frustrate Christian Fellowship

TT-Sept-2019You should be aware that many of our frontal attacks against the church and Christians have proven unsuccessful. It seems that for every Christian we eliminate, more rise in his place. It is as if their blood is like a seed—producing more every time one dies. Thus, it can be wise for us to pursue a more indirect, but often more successful, plan of attack. Rather than fighting against them, we ought to get them to fight against each other.

We know that the Enemy has said that the strength of the church would be their love for and unity with each other. Therefore, if we encourage them to undermine that love and unity, we can weaken and even render impotent the testimony of the church. In other words, we must frustrate their fellowship. Here are some techniques that have often proven successful in achieving that goal.

First, encourage each one to put himself first, at the expense of others. Encourage each member to look to his own interest, with no regard for the interest of others. Yes, in the beginning, they had all things in common, and they sought to outdo one another in showing honor. But that was a different time. Remind them that that was then, this is now. Today, convince them that self-preservation is the first and greatest endeavor.

Second, encourage them to forgive but never forget. If you can get them to hold grudges, not only will you be able to reassure them that they will never be hurt or offended again, but more importantly, you will in the process weaken and undermine their genuine fellowship with one another. Remind them that God may cover their sin, but they don’t have to cover the sins of others, regardless of what the Enemy says.

Third, encourage them to draw attention to the faults of others, even under the guise of sharing prayer requests. When someone fails, make sure others are quickly made aware of it. Rather than speaking words that build each other up, encourage them to speak slanderously and divisively to one another, thus making fellowship uncomfortable and unwanted. Remind them how delicious gossip is. Remind them, “Gossip is good.”

This assignment will not be easy. Christians have been clearly instructed by the Enemy in how they should relate to one another. In fact, there are nearly fifty New Testament references to “each other” or “one another.” These include the oft-repeated command from the Enemy Himself to “love one another.” Consequently, you may not prevent them from hearing these words, but you might be able to prevent them from believing this teaching. And if you can distract them from believing our Enemy’s words here, their fellowship will suffer, and you will have made your job easier by getting them to do it for you.

Drawn from the September 2019 issue of Tabletalk, which carries a theme as relevant as ever: “A Field Guide from the Abyss” with the subtitle, “A Training Manual for Demons.” This particular aspect of the devil’s manual is titled “Frustrate Fellowship,” that is, Christian fellowship in the church. I trust you see the relevance of this particular “plan of attack” by the real enemy (his and their Enemy is our Forever Friend! Never forget His absolute sovereignty and total dominion – and His perfect victory! Yes, the Lion of Judah is greater – infinitely so! – than the prowling lion of the abyss.).

Water for the Thirsty

sb-logo-rfpaFrom the September 15, 2019 issue of the Standard Bearer comes these precious, sovereign grace gospel thoughts from the meditation by Rev. James Slopsema based on Isaiah 55:1, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”

Isaiah is speaking about those that thirst for the waters of salvation. We all have need of the waters of salvation. In Adam we all fell so that we are hopelessly lost in sin, headed for eternal destruction. Without the water of salvation in Jesus Christ we will most certainly perish. However, many do not see their need for this water, do not thirst for it and, in fact, despise it. This fact is evident from Isaiah’s rebuke to Judah immediately after the call to the thirsty to come to the water of life. “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?” (Isaiah 55:2) Here Isaiah expands on the idea of water to include also the bread of life. In Judah there were those that labored for and spent their money not in the pursuit of the water and bread of life but on that which satisfied not, namely, the pleasures of this world. This is due to the depravity of sin. It blinds a person to his real needs.

One thirsts for the water of salvation only when God works faith in the heart of a person. Faith gives one eyes to see the reality of sin and the need for the water of salvation. In that faith one also thirsts for these waters.

But those that thirst for the waters of salvation have no money to buy it. Those that bought water from the vendors in Bible lands needed money. The vendors were in business to make money. Without money you could not have their water. But we have no money to purchase the water of salvation. In our fallen state we are spiritually bankrupt and are not capable to purchasing the water of salvation. Neither our money nor our works are sufficient to purchase the water of salvation. Nor are we deserving of it anyway. We deserve to perish in our sin. Those that have the thirst of faith see this clearly. Many think they can earn or merit the salvation of God by their works and efforts. Others think they are deserving of the water of God’s salvation because of their birth, their baptism, or membership in the church. But those that have faith see that they have nothing with which to purchase the water of salvation. They thirst for it. But they are deeply aware that they can bring nothing to God to purchase it.

The call of God!

The Lord calls to these thirsty, bankrupt souls to come anyway to buy water without price.

To buy something without money or price means to receive it free.

Certainly the waters of salvation have a price. In fact, the price is very high. The price of the waters of salvation is twofold. There must be a bearing away of the terrible wrath of God against sin. And there must be a perfect obedience rendered to God that meets His approval. Since we are not able to pay this price, God did it for His people in Jesus Christ. He caused Jesus Christ to bear away the full penalty of sin all His life long but especially at the cross. And during it all Jesus walked in the perfect obedience we did not and could not. In this way God has purchased and secured the waters of salvation for His elect people.

And He freely gives this precious water to His people. He calls out to His people in their thirst to come to Him to receive the waters of salvation freely, without money and without price. This is a call to acknowledge one’s sin and need for the waters of salvation. It is a call to acknowledge that one has nothing with which to pay. It is a call to seek the waters of salvation only on the basis of the perfect work of Jesus Christ.

This is God’s call to all who are thirsty. And this call is effective. It is by this call that God creates faith and thirst in the hearts and lives of His people. And it is by this call that He also brings the thirsty believer to the waters of salvation that are Jesus Christ. And as they come in faith to Him, the Lord gives freely of the waters of salvation. Freely He forgives all their sins. Graciously He strengthens them to turn from sin to the living God in loving obedience. Tenderly He cares for and preserves them as they pass through the valley of the shadow of death. Most amazingly He draws near to them in His loving friendship and fellowship.

Ho, every one that thirsteth!

Come ye to the waters!

You have no money? Come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price! God has already secured it for you in Jesus Christ!

For more information on this Reformed periodical, visit the link at the beginning of this post.

New and Notable Books for September – Tim Challies

I received this Challies.com note at the beginning of this month, but it is certainly not too late to call attention to the “new and notable” Christian books pastor/author/reviewer Tim Challies highlights for September.

I give his first three and let you follow the link below to the others on this list. Looks like many of these are worth pursuing if they interest you. And, yes, I have not forgotten my promise to return to the newly published review books I have received this summer also. Stay tuned!

Friend-ish: Reclaiming Real Friendship in a Culture of Confusion by Kelly Needham. “Bible teacher Kelly Needham debunks our world’s constricted, small view of friendship and casts a richer, more life-giving, biblical vision for friendship as God meant it to be. As the family unit grows more unstable and the average age of marriage increases, a shift is taking place in our culture: for many people, friends now play the role of family. And just as with family relationships, our friendships often don’t turn out quite as we envisioned or hoped, and we wonder, Is there a better way to do this? In Friend-ish, Kelly Needham takes a close look at what Scripture says about friendship. She reveals the distorted view most of us have of it and recasts a glorious vision for a Christian understanding. By teaching us how to recognize symptoms of idolatry and dependency, she equips us to understand and address the problems that arise in friendship–from neediness to discord and even sexual temptation. With hard-fought wisdom, a clear view of Scripture, and been-there perspective, Needham reorients us toward the purposeful, loving relationships we all crave that ultimately bring us closer to God.” (Get it at Amazon)

The Gospel-Centered Life in the Bible by New Growth Press. The Gospel-Centered Life in the Bible is a new series of study guides intended primarily for small-group use. It has launched with two volumes: Jonah: Grace for Sinners and Saints by Iain Duguid and Ruth: Redemption for the Broken by Jared Wilson. The volumes “can be adapted for one-to-one discipleship, small group, or large group settings. The comprehensive leader’s guides are included in the text, making it an easy-to-follow structure to engage men and women.” I believe they are part of the wider and growing collection of “Gospel-Centered” resources produced by New Growth Press, which also includes two Gospel-Centered Life volumes for teens and young adults: Exodus and Mark. (Jonah (Amazon, WTS) and Ruth (Amazon, WTS))

The Whole Armor of God: How Christ’s Victory Strengthens Us for Spiritual Warfare by Iain Duguid. Speaking of Iain Duguid, here’s another new book with his name on the cover. “The Christian life is a battle. We are in a daily struggle against the world, sin, and Satan. But God didn’t leave us to fend for ourselves. He gave us his own armor–armor that Jesus has already worn on our behalf all the way to the cross. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is now at work inside of us. This book unpacks each of the pieces of spiritual armor Paul describes in Ephesians 6, inviting us to take up the armor each day, all while resting in the finished victory of Christ and the assurance that our strength for the battle comes from him.” (Get it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Source: 10+ New and Notable Books for September – Tim Challies

Branch Rickey and the Jackie Robinson Story

RickieRobinson

This is a January morning in 1943 and Wesley Branch Rickey is standing outside his house at 34 Greenway South in Forest Hills Gardens, Queens, New York City. …Rickey’s face shows eagerness and excitement even after all his years in baseball. He has asked God for help and believes that is exactly what is happening now.

…He waits in cold, fresh air for his ride to downtown Brooklyn, where he runs the Dodgers baseball team. [Yes, that now LA Dodgers team!] While this does not sound so vital, especially in time of war, today he is doing the work of the Lord with all his heart and mind and these large, gnarled hands he waves. He is going to a crucial meeting with the banker who holds the mortgage on the Dodgers baseball team.

Rickey carries with him a Midwestern Christian religious fervor as strong as a wheat crop, and a political faith in anything Republican. Already he is a familiar figure at his new church in Queens, the Church in the Gardens…. On Sundays, Branch Rickey brought with him to church a prayer book and a background of Methodist studies from Ohio Wesleyan University, and sometimes he delivered the sermon. In one, he announced he was here to run the Brooklyn Dodgers and to serve the God to whom they prayed, and the Lord’s work called for him to bring the first black player into major league baseball.

You held the American heart in your hand when you attempted to change anything in baseball. If a black was involved, the cardiograms showed an ice storm.

…In no calling, craft, profession trade, or occupation was color in American accepted. The annals of the purported greats how that everyone was paralyzed with the national disease: color fear.

But here on this street corner stands Branch Rickey, a lone white man with a fierce belief that it is the deepest sin against God to hold color against a person. On this day he means to change baseball and America, too. The National Pastime, the game that teaches sportsmanship to children, must shake with shame, Rickey thought. Until this morning in Forest Hills, there has been no white person willing to take on the issue. That is fine with Rickey. He feels that he is at bat with two outs and a 3-2 pitch coming. He is the last man up, sure he will get a hit.

Taken from the first chapter in the powerful story of this professing Christian and his singular goal to integrate baseball with black players. The book is Branch Rickey: A Life by Jimmy Breslin, and it is my second baseball read this summer (another of those thrift store finds that turns out to be a gem!). The pages quoted here are 5-7.

Branch-Rickey-Breslin

Branch Rickey is the one who introduced the great Jackie Robinson to the major leagues, finally breaking a barrier that opened the door for many other great players. Many may forget the Christian background to the story (Robinson was also a professing Christian), but Breslin tells it straight. You may also be interested to know that when he was a player, Rickey himself refused to play on Sunday, keeping a promise to his godly mother. Yet, sadly, he broke it later as a manager.

“What I Need Is a Deadline” (for Reading)

Choosing my next book sometimes feels like a complicated dance. With so many books to read, how can I possibly decide what to read? What to read now? What to read next? There are many factors to juggle, but I’ll tell you this: I agree with Duke Ellington, the jazz great who famously quipped, ‘I don’t need time. What I need is a deadline.’

A deadline – apologies to my library patron friend – isn’t an obstacle to my reading life. (My fines might tell a different story, but never mind those.) In the face of overwhelming options, a deadline clarifies what I want to read right now.  It focuses my attention on what I want to happen next. Just like a journalist who lives and dies by their deadline, a reading deadline ensures my books get read sooner, not later.

I often tell myself I’ll get around to reading a certain book one day. But good intentions are worth only so much, and sometimes one day never comes. A good deadline forces me to ask myself if I’m ready to read it right now. (If I’m not, does it even belong on my To Be Read list?)

…It hurts my children’s feelings not to read what they want me to read, and so I do, on deadline. Duke Ellington understands: ‘Without a deadline, baby, I wouldn’t do nothing.’ Without a deadline, Duke, I wouldn’t do nothing – but I wouldn’t read as much either. And, baby, I love to read.

rather-be-reading-bogel-2018Taken from a good summer read I recently bought at Baker Book House. In I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life, lifetime reader Anne Bogel reflects on the paradoxes of readers and bibliophiles like herself. The chapters are short and packed with great insights and encouragements about the literary life – the highs and lows, the tears and triumphs of reading.

The above quotation is taken from chapter 12, “What I Need Is a Deadline” (pp.80-85).

Published in: on September 16, 2019 at 10:26 PM  Leave a Comment  

Saved by Grace: Regeneration

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

In the third place, regeneration is that change in man which empowers him to see and to seek the kingdom of God. It is not the same as conversion, and it must not be confused with it. In conversion man is active: he begins to use the power and faculties which are given him in regeneration. He becomes conscious of the new life. He repents, confesses, turns about, hungers and thirsts after the bread and water of life, believes and embraces Christ and all His benefits, flees from sin and pursues after the good. But this is not the new birth itself, but it is the activity of the spiritually newborn babe. When a child is born, it is active: it cries and moves and kicks and seeks mother’s breast and takes nourishment. But the faculties and powers to do all these things that child received in its conception and birth. The same is true of the reborn sinner. He is a newborn babe in a spiritual sense. He must be born again before he can act. He must have eyes before he can see, ears before he can hear, a spiritual faculty before he can discern, a new will before he can long for and accept the things of the kingdom of God. He must have the power of faith before he can believe, the gift of repentance before he can repent; and the love of God must be spread abroad in his heart before he can respond in love. This power is instilled into the heart of the sinner in the new birth, or regeneration. In regeneration God, by the efficacy of the Spirit, “opens the closed, and softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised, infuses new qualities into the will, which though heretofore dead, he quickens; from being evil, disobedient, and refractory, he renders it good, obedient, and pliable; actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.” (Canons of Dordrecht, III, IV, 11) By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that, (that is, that power of faith), not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

…Fourthly, in view of all that has been said about the new birth, it should be perfectly evident that it is a sovereign work of God pure and simple, a work in which the sinner himself has no part whatever, in which he does not in any sense cooperate with God, but in which man is wholly passive. It is important that this be emphasized in order to maintain the truth of salvation by grace only. All the more important this is, in view of the fact that in our day this truth is usually distorted and misrepresented. Those who insist on presenting salvation as contingent upon man’s will do not know what to make of this new birth, though they often speak of it. Rebirth as a new creation, or as resurrection from the dead, has no place in their conception of salvation. Hence, they make of regeneration something which depends upon the will of the sinner. If man will only accept Christ, he will be regenerated. They offer to the sinner regeneration! They plead with him and beg him to be regenerated! But this is absurd. As well might a man go to the cemetery and beg the dead to come out of their graves! For no more than Adam cooperated in his own creation, and no more than Lazarus cooperated in his own resurrection, no more does the sinner cooperate with God in his own regeneration. It is a work of God alone, without our help. For “this is the regeneration so highly celebrated in Scripture, and denominated a new creation: a resurrection from the dead, a making alive, which God works in us without our aid. But this is in no wise effected merely by the external preaching of the gospel, by moral suasion, or such a mode of operation, that after God has performed his part, it still remains in the power of man to be regenerated or not, to be converted or to continue unconverted; but it is evidently a supernatural work, most powerful, and at the same time most delightful, astonishing, mysterious, and ineffable; not inferior in efficacy to creation, or the resurrection from the dead.” (Canons of Dordrecht III, IV, 12)

wonderofgrace-hhTaken from chapter 5, “Regenerated by Grace,” in The Wonder of Grace by Herman Hoeksema (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1944), pp.42-49. This work has now been republished by the Reformed Free Publishing Association.

How to Read Long and Difficult Books | The Art of Manliness

This encouraging post on AOM appeared last week (Sept.3) and has good practical advice for men on how to read those “long and difficult books.”

Perhaps you have never tackled such a book, but you have looked at a classic or a biography you really wanted to read but were intimidated by its size and length. Read and follow the pointers this man gives you and you will understand that it is possible for you to get that “big read” in. Soon it will be Fall and then Winter and your nights will be freer; so set yourself a goal and then set some time aside for feeding your mind and your soul. That truly is manly.

Here is the writer’s introduction and then two of his practical pointers. For the rest, visit the link below.

Before the last year or so, I would have probably counted myself in that camp. I had tried to read Washington: A Life and gave up after a few hundred pages. I’d tried Moby-Dick and met a similar fate. The allure of a big, meaty book was great, and yet I couldn’t find the stamina to actually finish many.

So what was it that finally put me over the top and allowed me to get all the way through these hefty tomes? (And then to keep going too!) At the time, I wasn’t quite sure why. I figured it was some combination of having a plan and finally having the gumption to just keep flipping the pages. But after thinking about it, I realized that there was some innate method to how I was accomplishing it. There’s no need to be intimidated by old books, long books, or just plain hard to read books. It really is a skill to be learned in our Smartphone Age.

Here’s how I did it (and continue to do it), and how you can too.

2. Set a small amount of time or pages per day that you’ll read.

One of the keys in achieving that plan is giving yourself a micro-goal. My plan to read 44+ presidential biographies (some of which are multi-volume) gives me helpful direction, but it’s too distant an end goal to sustain my motivation from day to day. Even focusing on simply finishing the next book in the sequence is tough, when that book is massive — presidents’ lives are often very well explored and documented.

So I go even smaller and set myself very attainable reading goals. I often flip through the book first to get a sense of how long chapters are; with Washington: A Life I set out to read a single chapter a day. With chapters averaging just 10-20 pages, this was totally doable. For books that have longer chapters (like Caro’s LBJ series), I’ll set a time-based goal, usually 30 minutes a day.

Working from home, and not having a commute or anyone to disturb my lunch hour, I perhaps have more spare time to read than others. If you’re really cramped, give it just 10-15 minutes per day. You’ll get through those long and hard books far quicker than you’d expect, and when time and energy allow, you’ll often willingly do more than what you’ve allotted.

4. Get an edition that you like.

This can make a surprisingly big difference in your reading experience. Reading can be a far more kinetic activity than you’d think. The weight of the book, the styling of the font and the design of the text, even the cover art — if a book is nice to look at and easy to hold, you’re more likely to pick it up.

Tangible and tactile, and free from the distractions built into my phone, I prefer paper copies for most of my reading, and often hardcovers specifically. Paperbacks are more portable, but the text is often a little harder to read with darker, smaller font size and tighter margins. And while I enjoy used bookstores as much as anyone else, I don’t like reading copies that have any notes or underlining in them already. It’s too distracting. So I always make sure to get a clean copy.

When it comes to classic literature, you often have a ton of choices. Old versions are sometimes fun to have, but often harder to read, with small margins and overly dark text. I also like explanatory endnotes and lengthy introductions, which older versions almost always lack. Penguin Classics is the gold standard in my opinion. I have a few handfuls of those black paperback covers staring at me from my shelves. If I’m really feeling like I want a hardcover for whatever reason, I also really like the Everyman’s Library editions.

Source: How to Read Long and Difficult Books | The Art of Manliness

Published in: on September 12, 2019 at 10:44 PM  Comments (1)  

A Field Guide from the Abyss | September 2019 Tabletalk

The September 2019 issue of Tabletalk carries a theme as relevant as ever: “A Field Guide from the Abyss” with the subtitle, “A Training Manual for Demons.” You may recognize that as a take-off from C.S. Lewis’ class work The Screwtape Letters, and indeed that is the idea, as Tabletalk also did a few years back.

Editor Burk Parsons explains the purpose behind publication of this fictional “training manual for demons”:

In C.S. Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters, a senior demon, Screwtape, composes letters to his trainee, Wormwood, and advises and directs him in a number of ways to achieve Satan’s evil ends. Reflecting on writing these letters, Lewis said, “Though I had never written anything more easily, I never wrote with less enjoyment.” In the spirit of Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, we offer here “A Field Guide from the Abyss,” a fictional manual for destroying the church. The field guide takes the form of an instructional booklet for demons who need a crash course in basic strategy for their evil ends to be realized.

The primary goal of this guide is to help Christians “escape the snare of the devil” (2 Tim. 2:26) and to become more keenly aware of our enemy’s deceitful scheme—to destroy our Lord’s church. By God’s grace, knowing the devil’s strategies will help us to be neither “outwitted by Satan” nor “ignorant of his designs” (2 Cor. 2:11). Instead, we will be more “watchful” as he “prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8) and will remember that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

I have begun reading the 16 sections of demonic counsel, and they are powerful and practical in learning the ways of our spiritual enemy. Tonight I choose the one  “Wear Down Worship” by Christ Larson. But you ought also read “Wreck the Word of God” (by Steven Lawson) this week sometime.

Here is a portion of Larson’s article, especially powerful in light of our Lord’s Day yesterday:

There is nothing more terrifying for us than the Enemy’s people gathered together worshiping Him. They’ll hear their King’s proclamations, have their consciences washed clean, and gain new strength. These weekly assemblies are the source of much of our shuddering. Adding insult to injury, they call it the “Lord’s Day” and meet on the first day of their week, celebrating our greatest loss when the sinless One was resurrected from the dead.

Aim to have Christians skip Sunday worship. Let them think worship is optional and not an actual summons to meet with the Sovereign. Keep them up late on Saturday nights. Harass them on Sunday morning with every worldly care, distract them with recreation or politics, or misdirect them by having them think their digital devices can substitute for gathering with real flesh and blood. In fact, replace their pastor with a remote somebody they listen to without knowing him in the flesh.

Cause them to lose their focus when they gather to worship the Enemy. Have them think about how the worship service made them feel rather than about what is pleasing to the Enemy. Let them think worship is boring, and let them lose their sense of reverence. Let them mistake fickle emotions for the Holy Spirit.

If these fools cannot be kept away from gathering, they can surely be led to worship half-heartedly. When the preacher preaches, get their thoughts wandering. When they sing, let them think about themselves and not what they are affirming with the others. When they pray, whisper their to-do list. When they take the Lord’s Supper, let them only remember a past event or think some magic is taking place.

Deploy these strategies to weaken your prey, and in so doing you will help blunt the greatest weapons wielded by the Enemy’s people.

Follow the link below to find other useful articles in fighting off the “wiles of the devil.”

Source: The Snare of the Devil | Tabletalk

Receiving the Engrafted Word with Meekness

James 1:21 – Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

…We are therefore to receive into our hearts the preaching as the powerful word of Christ. We are to receive it by being swift to hear and slow to wrath. And we are to receive it as the word, ‘which is able to save [our] souls.’

The figure breaks down here. The soil where the seed is lodged and receives the rain and sunshine is passive. The soil of our hearts is passive in the initial work of God when he implants the seed of regeneration, but our hearts are then made active. The responsibility is ours to see to it that that seed grows, and we fulfill our responsibility when we receive that word.

The reception of the implanted word is not a work we perform by our own strength and ability, for it always remains true that God works in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Phil.2:13). Nevertheless, God works his salvation in us consciously, and we have our calling in that work.

We are to receive that word with meekness. …The Christian virtue of meekness is the way in which we are to receive the word implanted in our hearts in regeneration. Meekness is much the same as humility. It is the gift of grace given to elect by which they submit themselves entirely to the preached word by confessing their unworthiness, acknowledging their total dependence on Christ and his grace, and realizing with profound awareness their total need for the word of Christ to live a life pleasing to him.

faithmadeperfect-hhanko-2015Quoted from Herman Hanko’s commentary on James 1:21, Faith Made Perfect (RFPA, 2015), pp.66-67.