The Proper Use of All Our Gifts – J. Calvin

The proper use, then, of all the good gifts we have received is the free and generous sharing of those gifts with others. No more certain principle nor more effective exhortation for keeping that rule is imaginable than this: Scripture teaches us that all the gifts we utilize are given to us by God. And they are given along with this law of our faith – that they be put to use for the good of our neighbors.

But Scripture goes even further than this when it compares us and the gifts we’ve been given to the members of a human body. No member of the body exits to serve itself, nor does each member exist merely for its own private use. Rather, it puts its abilities to use for the other members of the body. Nor does any member of the body alone receive any advantage from itself outside of that which belongs to the entire body. Whatever, therefore, a godly man is able to do, he should do it for his brothers. He should consider his own interests only insofar as he sets his mind on the general edification of the whole church.

Let this, then, be our rule for kindness and benevolence: We are merely stewards of whatever gifts God has given us in order to help our neighbors. We must give an account of our stewardship, and right stewardship is that which is fueled by the rule of love. Consequently, we must not merely join zeal for the good of others with concern for our own well-being, but we must submit concern for our own well-being to the good of others.

Little-book-christian-life-calvinTaken from the fresh translation and edition of John Calvin’s short work on the Christian life,  A Little Book on the Christian Life (Reformation Trust, 2017). This is taken from the end of chapter 2, “Self-Denial in the Christian Life”, pp.36-38.

The age of applied technology: “…before long you are in bondage to it.” – B. Catton

The trouble with that kind of advance is that there is no end to it. [Catton is writing about how the Indians turned away from the “advances” copper was sure to bring to their lives after its discovery in Northern Michigan.] Development becomes compulsive. It is never possible to call a halt. Once you take the first step you have committed yourself to the last, some day, even if the last step goes straight off the edge of a precipice. It is fairly easy for man to assert his mastery over his earthy environment, but once he has asserted that mastery he has to go on exercising it no matter where the exercise takes him. The age of applied technology has one terrible aspect – each new technique has to be exploited to its absolute limit, until man becomes the victim of his own skills. The conquest of nature cannot end in a negotiated peace. Invent a simple device like the automobile, to get you from here to there more quickly than you could go without it; before long you are in bondage to it, so that you build your cities and shape your countryside and reorder your entire life in the light of what will be good for the machine instead of what will be good for you. Detroit has shown us how that works. (pp.5-6)

waiting-train-catton-1987Taken from Bruce Catton’s first essay “View from the Frontier” in the book Waiting for the Morning Train: An American Boyhood (Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press, 1987). This is the author who is a noted Civil War scholar, author of A Stillness at Appomattox and This Hallowed Ground, and who at age 70 wrote this book (Waiting for the Morning Train) on his childhood life in Benzie County, Michigan. I recently discovered this title in a thrift store and started reading it. It is a good read on life in the northern part of our great state!

You may be interested to know these facts about the little town of Benzonia where Catton grew up and the Protestant influences that surrounded him, as told by his son William in the “Foreword”:

Benzonia, in short, was always heavily church- and school-oriented, and the upbringing that my father and his contemporaries underwent reflected this. The upbringing included large doses of strict Protestant orthodoxy, but with Dad only select portions of this took; the values instilled by Benzonia that remained a vital part of his adult life were those of a kind of stock Victorian humanism; God-fearing, to be sure, but with emphasis upon virtues like courage, fortitude, duty, hard work, belief in education, faith in progress. The progress that mattered was spiritual and moral, not material (xiii-xiv).

These Protestant influences, including many biblical allusions, are evident in Catton’s writings.

I found Catton’s comments on the “bondage” of technology quite revealing, given that he was speaking at the time of the automobile and the life-changes it brought to the  American way. Imagine what he would say about the technology of today and our bondage to it.

The Last Printer on Printers Row | Chicago magazine

Chicago was once the publishing capital of the country. If it wasn’t for a single beer in 1982, there wouldn’t be any namesake businesses in this South Loop district anymore.

This interesting story caught my eye when it first appeared in one of my book publishing news emails back in September of this year. That’s because I knew Chicago’s history as the publishing center of the U.S. a 100 years ago (Yes, not New York, but Chicago), and because I had attended a couple of times the Printers Row Book Festival, held annually out in the streets where the printers operated.

But I didn’t realize how deep the demise of the industry was, though I should have guessed it. While many of the major printers moved out, one company held on. Here is that story. I quote the first few paragraphs; the rest may be found at the link below.

A century ago, Chicago was the publishing capital of the country. It all started when the man who changed the printing industry forever—Ottmar Merganthaler, the German inventor of the Linotype machine—moved here in 1886 and set up shop a few blocks from Dearborn Station, at the intersection of Polk and Dearborn. Over the next 30 years, the neighborhood went from vice district to Printers Row, home of book publishers like M.A. Donohue & Co., magazine and catalog printers like R.R. Donnelley and Sons, and even mapmakers like Rand McNally.

Today, you can still see the legacy of these paper giants in the neighborhood’s architecture—narrow blocks and wide windows for maximum sunlight, books hidden in the ornamentation of early Chicago School skyscrapers, and terra cotta murals depicting the history of the printing press. But after printing technology changed in the 1950s, and sprawling factory floors were needed to house automated press machines, all of the printers fled Printers Row for the suburbs.

Well, all except for one. And if it wasn’t for a single beer in 1982, they would have left, too.

Source: The Last Printer on Printers Row | Chicago magazine | Politics & City Life September 2017

Published in: on November 17, 2017 at 12:16 PM  Leave a Comment  

Prof. D. Engelsma to be interviewed again TODAY from 4-6 p.m. ET – “Gospel Truth of Justification” Book – Part 2

You may recall that back on Sept.1 of this year Chris Arnzen of “Iron Sharpens Iron” interviewed Prof. David Engelsma (emeritus professor, PRC Seminary) about his newest book, Gospel Truth of Justification (RFPA, 2017).

TODAY, Thursday, Nov.16, from 4-6 p.m. ET Chris will conduct interview #2 on this significant book. Chris is an engaging interviewer and his program is widely listened to. You are encouraged to listen in by following the link below, as found in the RFPA’s blog post earlier today.

When the program is completed, Chris is gracious enough to send out an mp3 recording of it too, so that you may listen again or for the first time. Watch for that in the next few days.

TODAY! Radio Interview with Professor David J. Engelsma on Gospel Truth of Justification

Today from 4-6 pm EST, Prof. David J. Engelsma will be interviewed by Christopher Amzen on his radio program “Iron Sharpens Iron.”

The subject will be his recent book, Gospel Truth of Justification. Visit www.ironsharpensironradio.com and click on live stream to tune in and listen from any device. The program can also be listened to by phone (563)999-9206, following the prompts and press #3 for Christian Radio.      

Be sure to tune in later today. You don’t want to miss it!

___________________________

The following is taken from the “About” page on the “Iron Sharpens Iron” website.

If you’re weary of the typical fluffy Christian radio broadcasts, you’ll find Iron Sharpens Iron addresses a multitude of topics from a distinctly Reformed Christian worldview. Chris Arnzen asks the right questions, presents guests who have the answers, and continually challenges Christians to apply their faith to every aspect of their lives.

LIVE BROADCAST
Published in: on November 16, 2017 at 2:27 PM  Leave a Comment  

Word Wednesday: Effect and Affect

effect-affectLet’s do a Word Wednesday feature this week, and use one of the GrammarBook.com’s recent featured lesson on the proper use of “effect” and “affect.”

This is one of those combinations that often give readers and writers trouble. This short and succinct lesson will help you to keep them straight.

Effect vs. Affect

Knowing whether to use effect or affect may not qualify you as a genius, but you will be demonstrating an understanding about a grammar issue most people find perplexing. We trust that the strategies offered here will clear up any confusion you have had.

Rule: Use the verb effect when you mean “bring about” or “brought about,” “cause” or “caused.”
Example: He effected a commotion in the crowd.
Meaning: He caused a commotion in the crowd.
Example: She effected a change in procedure.
Meaning: She brought about a change in procedure.

Rule: Use the noun effect when you mean “result.”
Example: What effect did that speech have?

Rule: Use the verb affect when you mean “to influence” rather than “to cause.”
Example: How do the budget cuts affect your staffing?

Rule: Affect is also used as a noun to mean “emotional expression.”
Example: She showed little affect when told she had won the lottery.

Published in: on November 15, 2017 at 10:35 PM  Leave a Comment  

Recent Additions to the PRC Seminary Library (3rd Quarter 2017)

SemLibrary2In October of this year I submitted the following list of books to the Theological School Committee of the PRC Seminary. It is a list of significant books obtained and processed for the third quarter of this year, covering July to Sept. Not intended to be exhaustive but selective, the list highlights some of the more important additions to our library.

The list also is sent, of course, to our faculty and students, so that they can have an idea of what is being added for their benefit. I trust the list will serve to benefit you readers too. Not simply so you can see how your monies are being spent, but also so that you may find something to use and read for your personal growth.

I divide the list into the following categories to help organize the books. The somewhat unique formatting follows the way the books are catalogued in the program I use (Resourcemate).

Happy browsing!

Biblical studies/ Commentaries/ theology

  • Focus on the Bible Series: Job: The Mystery of Suffering and God’s Sovereignty / Richard P. Belcher, Jr. — 1st-pb. — Fearne, Ross-shire, GB : Christian Focus, 2017.
  • God’s Word for YouJohn 1-12 for You / Josh. Moody; Andreas J. Kostenberger. — 1st-hc. — England: Good Book Company, 2017.
  • Mentor Commentary: Psalms: Volume 1 – Psalms 1 – 72 & Volume 2 – Psalms 73 – 150/ Allan M. Harman – Fearn, Ross-shire, GB: Mentor (Christian Focus), 2011.
  • Teach the Text Commentary SeriesEcclesiastes and Song Of Songs / Edward M. Curtis. — 1st – hc. — Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2013.
  • Reformation Commentary on Scripture, OT & NT (IVP) – I Corinthians /S. Manetsch
  • Welwyn Commentary: The Book of Psalms: From Suffering to Glory; Volume 1: Psalms 1 – 72 – The Servant-King / Philip Eveson. EP BOOKS, 2014.

Individual Titles

  • Justified by Faith: Study Outlines on Romans / Johannes Francke — 1st-pb. — London, Ontario: Inter League Publication Board, 1991.
  • Seeking the Face of God: Nine Reflections on the Psalms / David Martyn Lloyd-Jones; Christopher Catherwood. — 1st U.S.-pb. – Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2005.
  • A History of the Bible as Literature: Volume 1: From Antiquity to 1700 / David. Norton — 1st-hc. — Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993 [Letis collection]
  • A History of the Bible as Literature: Volume 2: From 1700 to the Present Day / David. Norton — 1st-hc. — Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993 [Letis].
  • The History of the Higher Criticism of the New Testament: Being the History of the Process Whereby the Word of God Has Won the Right To Be Understood / Henry S. Nash, 1854-1912. ; Shailer Mathews. — 2nd-hc. —  New York: Macmillan, 1906 [Letis collection]
  • The Old Testament Explained and Applied. / Gareth. Crossley — 1st – reprint – hc. — Webster, NY: Evangelical Press, 2002.
  • The Christ of Wisdom: A Redemptive-Historical Exploration of the Wisdom Books of the Old Testament / O. Palmer. Robertson; Walter C. Kaiser. — 1st-pb. — Phillipsburg, N J: P & R Publishing, 2017.
  • Knowing God in the Last Days: Commentary on 2 Peter / Mark H. Hoeksema. — 1st-hc. — Jenison, MI : Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2017.
  • Divine Sabbath Work / Michael H. Burer; Richard S. Hess — 1st-hc. — Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2012 (Bulletin For Biblical Research Supplements) vol. 5
  • What Christians Believe About the Bible / Donald K. McKim. — 1st-pb. – Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1985.
  • Scribes, Scrolls, and Scripture : A Student’s Guide to New Testament Textual Criticism / J. Harold (Jacob Harold) Greenlee, 1918-. — 1st – pb. — Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1985.
  • Stump Kingdom : Isaiah 6 – 12 / Dale R. Davis. — 1st-pb. — Fearn, Ross-shire, GB: Christian Focus Publications.

Church History/Biography

  • Rebel in the Ranks: Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the Conflicts That Continue to Shape Our World / Brad S. Gregory, 1963-. — 1st-hc. — San Francisco, CA: HarperOne, 2017.
  • The Ninety-Five Theses in Their Theological Significance / Benjamin B. Warfield, 1851-1921. — Solid Ground Christian Books, 2017. (Solid Ground Reformation 500 Title)
  • Maarten Luther: Doctor Der Heilige Schrift, Reformator Der Kerk. / Willem J. Kooiman, 1903-1968 — 2nd-hc. — Amsterdam : W. ten Have, 1948
  • Luther and His Katie / Dolina. MacCuish. — reprint-pb. — Fearn, Ross-shire, GB: Christian Focus, c1983.
  • Remembering the Reformation: An Inquiry into the Meanings of Protestantism / Thomas Albert Howard, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2016.
  • Introducing Tyndale: An Extract from Tyndale’s “An Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue” / William Tyndale, d. 1536; John Piper; Robert J. Sheehan — 1st-pb. — Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2017.
  • Ulrich Von Hutten and the German Reformation / Hajo Holborn, 1902-1969. ; Roland H. Bainton, trans. — 1st Harper ed. – pb. — New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1937.
  • The Counter-Reformation / Arthur G. Dickens — 1st – pb. — London: Thames & Hudson, 1968 [Letis collection]
  • The Catholic Reformation / Michael A. Mullett — 1st-pb. — London: Routledge, 1999.
  • The Counter-Reformation, 1500-1600 / B. J. Kidd — 1st-hc. — London : Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1933 [Letis collection]
  • The Censorship of the Church of Rome and Its Influence upon the Production and Distribution of Literature: A Study of the History of the Prohibitory and Expurgatory Indexes, Together with Some Consideration of the Effects of Protestant Censorship and of Censorship by the State / George H. Putnam, 1844-1930 — 1st-hc. — New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1906 (2 vols) [Letis collection]
  • Papist Pamphleteers: The Allen – Persons Party and The Political Thought of the Counter – Reformation in England, 1572-1615. / Thomas H. Clancy — 1st-hc. – Chicago, IL : Loyola University Press, 1964.
  • Inquisition and Society in Spain in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries / Henry. Kamen. Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 1985 [Letis collection]
  • Robert Bellarmine: Saint and Scholar / James Brodrick, 1891-1973. — 1st-hc. — Westminister, MD: The Newman Press, 1961 [Letis collection]
  • How the Pope Became Infallible: Pius IX and the Politics of Persuasion / August Hasler; Peter Heinegg, transl. — 1st-hc — Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1981 [Letis collection]
  • The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church / Malachi. Martin. — 1st-hc. — New York: Putnam, 1981 [Letis collection]
  • Revivalism and Separatism in New England, 1740-1800: Strict Congregationalists and Separate Baptists in the Great Awakening / C. C. Goen — 1st-hc. — New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press, 1962.
  • Church History: An Introduction to Research Methods and Resources / James E. Bradley; Richard A. Muller — 2nd-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2016.
  • Frisians to America, 1880-1914: With the Baggage of the Fatherland / Annemieke Galema — 1st-pb. — Groningen, the Netherlands: REGIO-Project Uitgevers, 1996.
  • Lives of the Fathers: Sketches of Church History in Biography / Frederic W. Farrar, 1831-1903 — 1st- hc — Edinburgh: A. & C. Black, 1889 (2 vols.) [Letis collection]
  • The Medieval Church: From the Dawn of the Middle Ages to the Eve of the Reformation / Carl A. Volz. — 1st-pb. – Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1997.

Creeds/Confessions/History of

  • Only by True Faith: An Explanation of the Heidelberg Catechism – Book 1 – Lord’s Days 1-24 / Arthur Van Delden — 2nd-pb. — Kelmscott, Australia: Pro Ecclesia, 2000. And Book 2, Lord’s Days 25-52

Dogmatics/Theology/Historical Theology

  • Thomas Aquinas and John Gerhard. / Robert P. Scharlemann; David. Horne. — 1st-hc. — New Haven: Yale University Press, 1964 (Yale Publications in Religion), vol.7 [Letis collection]
  • The Papacy in the Modern World, 1914-1978 / J. Derek. Holmes; John T. Ellis. — 1st-hc. — New York: Crossroad, 1981 [Letis collection]
  • Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief / Bruce. Milne; James I. Packer — 3rd-pb. — Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009.
  • Three Central Issues in Contemporary Dispensationalism: A Comparison of Traditional and Progressive Views / Herbert W. Bateman; Elliott E. Johnson; Darrell L. Bock; Herbert W. Bateman — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1999.
  • Jerome Zanchi (1516-90) and the Analysis of Reformed Scholastic Christology / Stefan Lindholm — 1st-hc. — Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016 (Reformed Historical Theology), vol. 37
  • Hand in Hand: The Beauty of God’s Sovereignty and Meaningful Human Choice / Randy C. Alcorn. — 1st-pb. — Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2014.
  • All That Is in God: Evangelical Theology and the Challenge of Classical Christian Theism / James E. Dolezal; Richard A. Muller — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2017.
  • Christ and Covenant Theology: Essays on Election, Republication, and the Covenants / Cornelis P. Venema; Sinclair B. Ferguson — 1st-pb. — Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2017.
  • Confessing the Impassible God: The Biblical, Classical, and Confessional Doctrine of Divine Impassibility / Ronald S. Baines; Richard C. Barcellos; James T. Butler; Ronald S. Baines — 1st-pb. — Palmdale, CA: RBAP, 2015.
  • The Anatomy of Arminianisme: or the Opening of the Controversies Lately Handled in the Low-Countryes, Concerning the Doctrine of Providence, of Predestination, of the Death of Christ, of Nature and Grace / Peter Moulin, 1568–1658. — Bound Photocopy. — London: Nathaniel Newbery, 1620.
  • On the Body of the Lord / Magnus Albertus, Saint, 1193?-1280; Albert M. Surmanski, transl.; Gregory F. LaNave — 1st-hc. — Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2017 (Fathers Of The Church – Mediaeval Continuation), v.17
  • Predestination / Howard G. Hageman, 1921-1992. — 1st-hc. — Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1963.
  • Dispensationalism in America: Its Rise And Development / C. Norman Kraus; Lefferts A. Loetscher, 1904-1981. — 1st-hc. — Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1958.
  • Naming the Antichrist: The History of an American Obsession / Robert C. Fuller, 1952-. — 1st-pb. — New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • Jerome, Greek Scholarship, and the Hebrew Bible: A Study of the Quaestiones Hebraicae In Genesim / Adam. Kamesar — 1st-hc. — Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1993 (Oxford Classical Monographs) [Letis collection]
  • Cornerstones of Salvation: Foundations and Debates in the Reformed Tradition / Lee Gatiss — 1st-pb. — Welwyn Garden City, UK: Evangelical Press, 2017.
  • Particular Redemption: The End and Design of the Death of Christ / John Hurrion, c.1675 – 1731; Iain Hamish Murray; John Elias — 1st-pb. — Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2017.

Philosophy/Logic/Ethics

  • A Spiritual House: Reflections on Some Current Ethical Issues / W. Pouwelse — 1st-pb. — Winnipeg: Premier Publishing, 1986.
  • Like Living Stones: Reflections on Some Current Ethical Issues / W. Pouwelse — 1st-reprint-pb. — Winnipeg: Premier Publishing, 1985.

Practical Theology/Missions

  • The Apostolic Preaching and Its Developments: Three Lectures with an Appendix on Eschatology and History / Charles H. Dodd, 1884-1973. — 1st-reprint-hc. — London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1936.
  • Fulfilling the Great Commission: Papers Read at the 1992 Westminster Conference / Jean-Marc Berthoud; Paul Cook; David Kingdon — 1st-pb. — London: The Westminster Conference, 1992.
  • Counsel to Gospel Ministers: Letters on Preaching, Exemplary Behavior, and the Pastoral Call / John (Haddington) Brown, 1722-1787; Joel R. Beeke; Randall J. Pederson — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2017.
  • The Beauty and Glory of the Christian Worldview / Joel R. Beeke; Thomas Derek W. H.; Michael Barrett — 1st-hc. — Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2017.
  • Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage: Critical Questions and Answers / Jim. Newheiser; Edward T. Welch. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2017.
  • Messages of the Word: Sermons by Ministers of the Reformed Church in America / James F. Zwemer; John W. Beardslee; Ame. Vennema; James F. Zwemer — 1st-hc. — Holland, MI: Holland Printing Co., 1912.
  • Love One Another, My Friends: St. Augustine’s Homilies on the First Letter of John: An Abridged English Version / Saint Augustine , Bishop of Hippo; John. Leinenweber — 1st-hc. — San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1989.
  • Making All Things New: Restoring Joy to the Sexually Broken / David Powlison — 1st – pb. – Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017.
  • How to Preach and Teach the Old Testament for All Its Worth / Christopher J. H. Wright — 1st – pb. — Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016.
  • Glorious Remembrance: The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper as Administered in the Liturgy of the Reformed Churches / Ray B. Lanning — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI : Reformation Heritage Books, 2017.

Misc. (Science, Family, Education, etc.)

  • A History of Classical Scholarship: From the Sixth Century B.C. to the End of the Middle Ages / Sir John Edwin. Sandys — 3rd – hc. — Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1921 (3 vols., covering all periods of history) [Letis collection]
  • History of Classical Scholarship from 1300-1850 / Rudolph. Pfeiffer — 1st-reprint-hc. — Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976 [Letis collection]
  • The American Intellectual Tradition: Volume I, 1630 – 1865 and Volume II: 1865 to the Present / David A. Hollinger; Charles Capper — 1st-pb. — New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.
  • The Bible and Christian Education: Papers Delivered at the Educational Convention of the National Union of Christian Schools, 1925 / J. Althuis; G.W. Hylkema; H. Van Zyl — 1st-pb. — National Union of Christian Schools, 1925.
  • Acts of Synod of the Christian Reformed Church: 2017 / Christian Reformed Church in North America; Steven R. Timmermans — 2017-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI: Board of Publications of the Christian Reformed Church, 2017.
  • Godliness and Good Learning: Four Studies on a Victorian Ideal. / David Newsome; James Prince Lee, 1804-1869; David Cannadine — 1st-pb. — London: Cassell, 1961.

Periodicals (Old & New)

  • 9Marks Journal (Calvinistic Baptist)
Published in: on November 14, 2017 at 10:49 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Christian’s Helmet: The Hope of Salvation

SpiritualWarfare-Borgman&VenturaTonight we gathered again with some fellow believers from Faith PRC for our Sunday night discussion group. This Fall we are continuing our study of spiritual warfare using the book Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical & Balanced Perspective by Brian Borgman & Rob Ventura (RHB, 2014).

Tonight we discussed Chapter 9 , “The Helmet of Salvation,” based on Eph.6:17, with its parallel passage in 1 Thess.5:8, where the additional element of hope is included. Toward the end of the chapter the authors stress this aspect of the Christian’s saving hope as our helmet that protects our minds as we battle Satan and his hosts in this world. Here are a few of those thoughts – for your benefit too.

We can infer from his mention of hope the idea that despite all the trials and hardships we face in our battles with Satan, we will not always be combatants in this war. There is a coming day of triumph. Before long, fellow Christian, we will be in glory! Before long, we will be with Jesus! Before long, Satan and his minions will be vanquished foes, and we will be worshiping and serving our God without opposition – days without end!

What great joy and confidence these facts should impart to us in the midst of difficulty. the devil may sorely try us at present, but soon, in Immanuel’s land, he will be banished! Though at times it seems as though the enemy gets the upper hand in our lives, his day is coming (Matt.25:41; Rev.20:10), and so is ours (Matt.25:34)!

…Christian, let these wonderful thoughts fill your mind and think on them often. Just as the helmet protected the head of the ancient soldier and gave him confidence in confrontation, so also this firm assurance of your final and complete salvation protects you under the relentless blows of your spiritual adversary.

Daily meditate on the eternal glory with Jesus that awaits you. Regularly dwell on the reality that a day is coming when you will have no more struggles at all! Let these thoughts constantly fill your mind. As they do, you will be comforted and confident in the present struggle. as these truths saturate your thinking, you will be sustained, strengthened, and steadfast in the battle. Believer, in light of such things, never take off this spiritual helmet. Let it always be part of your daily protective covering. As [William] Gurnall says, ‘Take it so as never to lay it down until God takes off this helmet to put a crown of glory in its place.’ [Kindle ed.]

Save

Labor for the Rest – H. Hoeksema

Yea, let us labor.

Oh, to be sure, the realization of that rest is certain and depends not on our labor, but solely on the amazing toil of the restgiver, who shed his lifeblood for us. Never vainly and proudly imagine that your labor adds at all to his merit and to the infinite value of his toil.

But has it not been given us in the cause of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to battle and to suffer with him?

Is it not his own good pleasure that for a short time we should be in the world to the praise of his glory?

The way to the final rest for all the children of God must be a way of struggle and labor, of toil even unto death.

It cannot be otherwise.

For as we enter into God’s rest by faith and partake of his liberty, we become estranged from the world, cease from its evil works, and are children of light. These things are inseparably connected. No one is able to profess that he has entered into God’s rest unless he is also actually translated out of darkness into God’s marvelous light and begins to show forth the praises of him who called him. For no one can serve two masters, God and mammon, and no one can consistently seek two cities, the earthly and the heavenly. If we have become partakers of the rest of God in Christ Jesus and have been made citizens of the heavenly city, we have also become strangers in the world and condemn its evil works. For that reason the prince of this world and all his host are opposed to us. They will impede our progress to the heavenly city. They will attempt to seduce us from the way. And they are powerful masters of many means. Now they sow doubt and unbelief by vain philosophy; now they blind the eyes and captivate the heart by the glitters of treasures and the attraction of pleasures; now they intimidate by threats and menaces of sufferings and persecutions.

And a powerful ally they have in our own evil hearts, so easily induced to believe the lie, to seek the pleasures and avoid the sufferings and persecutions of the world.

Let us labor, therefore, to enter into that rest.

Let us diligently endeavor, let us put forth all our effort, let us faithfully struggle, that we may attain to the heavenly city.

How necessary is the admonition!

PeaceForTheTroubledHeartHHTaken from the meditation of Herman Hoeksema, “Labor for the Rest” based on Heb.4:11, originally written for the Standard Bearer, then republished in Peace for the Troubled Heart, edited by David J. Engelsma (Reformed Free Publishing Association – rfpa.org, 2010), pp.251-52.

Covenant Connections for “the Young and the Restless”

United to one body with one Head, it is our differences from each other that give each part of the body what it needs.  The younger need the older. Wealthier believers needs the gifts of poorer members. Rather than feed a comfortable narcissism, we need to be enriched by the insights, fellowship, and correction of brothers and sisters from ethnic, political, and economic backgrounds different from our own. The church is not a circle of friends, but the family of God. The covenant of grace connects generations, rooting them in that worshiping community with the ‘cloud of witnesses’ in heaven as well as here and now (Heb.12:1).

Yet today the market has become the new Pharoah who defies God’s order to let his people go so that they may worship him in the desert at his mountain. ‘Divide and conquer’ is the logic of this new lord. By separating the generations into niche markets, the powers and principalities of this present evil age pick at the covenantal fabric of God’s new society. Satan works tirelessly to create gaps between generations in the church – gaps that the fathers and mothers cannot reach across to pass the baton. Someone wisely said, ‘The church is always one generation away from apostasy.’

Continuity is the covenantal approach to generations; novelty is the decree of our age.

ordinary-MHorton-2014Taken from chapter three, “The Young and the Restless,” of Michael Horton’s Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World (Zondervan, 2014, p.53) where Horton addresses the contemporary church’s false and dangerous attempt to focus on the youth in her worship and ministry. As he shows, God’s covenant of grace – its  doctrine and practice – is the perfect answer to this error.

“A shelf in my head.” C. H. Spurgeon

spurgeon_sm1I appreciated this recent devotional that appeared on Grace Gems (October 15, 2017). Taken from Charles H. Spurgeon’s popular devotional book Morning by Morning, it shows the importance of Christ for all of our knowledge and understanding. It is my hope that it profits you as well.

A shelf in my head!

(Charles Spurgeon)

Before I knew the gospel I gathered up a heterogeneous mass of all kinds of knowledge from here, there, and everywhere–a bit of chemistry, a bit of botany, a bit of astronomy, and a bit of this, that, and the other. I put them altogether, in one great confused chaos.

When I learned the gospel, I got a shelf in my head to put everything in its place, just where it should be.

It seemed to me as if, when I had discovered Christ and Him crucified, I had got the center of the system, so that I could see every other science revolving around in order.

From the earth, you know, the planets appear to move in a very irregular manner–some are progressive, retrograde, stationary, etc. But if you could get upon the sun, you would see them marching round in their constant, uniform, circular motion.

Likewise with human knowledge. Begin with any other science you like–and truth will seem to be amiss. But if you begin with the science of Christ crucified, you will begin with the sun–and you will see every other science moving around it in complete harmony.

The old saying is, “Go from nature–up to nature’s God.” But it is hard work going up hill. The best thing is to go from nature’s God–down to nature. If you once get to nature’s God, and believe Him and love Him–it is surprising how easy it is to hear music in the waves, and songs in the wild whisperings of the winds; to see God everywhere, in the stones, in the rocks, in the rippling brooks; and to hear Him everywhere, in the lowing of cattle, in the rolling of thunder, and in the fury of tempests.

Get Christ first, put Him in the right place–and you will find Him to be the wisdom of God in your own experience.