Reading God’s Providence Backwards (2) – S.Ferguson

In the thirty-sixth chapter of his book In Christ Alone, Sinclair Ferguson has a wonderful piece on the providence of God (go here for the first post on this).

His starting point is his contact with an long-time Christian friend, for whom God’s providence had led in ways of affliction and pain after an auto accident, and Ferguson’s own struggle to understand God’s ways with this godly man who had had such an influence on him in his youth.

The Mystery of Providence (Puritan Paperbacks)

It is at this point that Ferguson introduces what he calls “Flavel’s Law”, named after the Puritan who wrote a significant book on the providence of God. He pulls a quote from Flavel that goes like this: “The providence of God is like Hebrew words – it can only be read backwards.”

I plan to pull a few quotations from this chapter so that we may all benefit from Ferguson’s thoughts on this “law” concerning God’s providence. I believe that Ferguson’s thoughts will resonate with all of us as believers.

Here is the next part of this chapter from which I quote:

One great reason for this principle [that is, that God’s providence is best read “backward”] is to teach us to ‘Trust in the LORD with all [our] heart, and lean not on [our] own understanding’ (Prov.3:5). So perverse are we that we would use our knowledge of God’s will to substitute for actual daily personal trust in the Lord Himself.

Flavel’s Law… has widespread relevance for Christian living, but is particularly important in four ways:

The Big Decisions

It is true of the big decisions of life. God does guide His people, leading them in the right paths (Ps.23:3). It is a great thing to come to a major decision with the assurance that it is His will. But we would be mistaken to imagine that we therefore know in detail the reasons behind His plan.

Many Christians have discovered that obedience to what they believed to be God’s will led to great personal difficulties. When this happens to us, it is only later that we discover God’s purpose in leading us to a new orientation or situation may have been very different from the extrapolation we made from the first points we saw on the divine graph of or lives.

The Tests

It is true of the tests of life. We struggle to endure them for what they are in themselves. Afterward, we are relieved to have them at our back.

But in fact, earlier testing is often designed to strengthen us for later trials. Only when we have been brought through the later ones do the earlier ones more fully ‘make sense.’

The Thanatologist – J.Eppinga

Cabbages&KingsBookFor our “Word Wednesday” selection this week we turn to a chapter (originally an article The Banner) in the second collection of Rev.Jacob Eppinga’s writings for the Banner rubric “Of Cabbages and Kings”, found in the book More Cabbages and Kings.

At the end of the day I have been reading through these clever and interesting little glimpses of church and ministry life, and came on chapter 20 titled “The Thanatologist” last night. That word comes from two Greek words meaning “death” (thanatos) and “study of” (logos), so you can guess what a “thanatologist” does. That’s right, he studies death and dying.

In this piece Eppinga, a former CRC minister, reflects on his years of ministering to the dying and conducting funerals. As always, he has some fine thoughts, including these closing ones:

Another impression that has come home to me repeatedly is the completely unmasked backruptcy of unbelief in the presence of a lifeless human form. In the last few years, a rash of articles have appeared in various publications and journals dealing with the phenomenon of death. An ancient king decreed that the subject was never to be mentioned in his presence.

Today sees an opposite impulse. Modern intelligence is minded to concentrate its full light on the valley of the shadow. Studies entitled ‘on Death and Dying,’ ‘The Power to Die,’ and others, set forth by experts who call themselves thanatologists do have some insights.

In sum, however, their words and thoughts are as empty as tombs and cemeteries on resurrection day. Arnold Toynbee, a giant in the field of history, having authored the renowned twelve-volume Study of History, and whole library shelf of other books, is pure drivel on the subject of man’s last breath. It makes me weep.

My thanatologist is Saint Paul! I can practically quote his I Corinthians 15 from memory. If he is wrong, then, as he says, ‘we are of all men most miserable.’

But he is right. Praise the Lord (p.112)!

Reading God’s Providence Backwards – S.Ferguson

In the thirty-sixth chapter of his book In Christ Alone, Sinclair Ferguson has a wonderful piece on the providence of God.

His starting point is the sight of and conversation with an old Christian friend, for whom God’s providence had led in ways of affliction and pain after an auto accident, and his own struggle (that is, Ferguson’s) to understand God’s ways with this godly man who had had such an influence on him in his youth.

The Mystery of Providence (Puritan Paperbacks)

It is at this point that Ferguson introduces what he calls “Flavel’s Law”, named after the Puritan who wrote a significant book on the providence of God. He pulls a quote from Flavel that goes like this: “The providence of God is like Hebrew words – it can only be read backwards.”

I plan to pull a few quotations from this chapter so that we may all benefit from Ferguson’s thoughts on this “law” concerning God’s providence. I believe that Ferguson’s thoughts will resonate with all of us as believers.

This is from the opening part of the chapter:

Of this [his friend’s sufferings] and other experiences in life, I have sometimes thought, ‘It just does not seem to make sense.’

At such times, Flavel’s words have often comforted me and helped me to readjust my myopic spiritual perspective. They have reminded me to fix my mind and heart on God’s wise, gracious, and sovereign rule, and on the assurance that He works everything together for His children’s good, so that I do not inquire too proudly into why I cannot understand His sovereign purposes.

Of course, one occasionally meets Christians for whom the Lord’s purposes are ‘all sewn up.’ They convey an attitude of knowing exactly what He is doing and why He is doing it. Such comprehensive wisdom is difficult to dislodge, but it is often the precocious wisdom of the immature Christian who has not yet learned that while ‘those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children,’ there are also hidden and secret things that ‘belong to the LORD our God’ (Deut.29:29).

God’s ways and thoughts are not ours. We never have them ‘taped.’ As William Cowper knew well, God ‘plants his footsteps in the sea.’ We can no more read in detail God’s secret purposes for our individual lives than we can see footsteps in water or understand Hebrew if we try to read it from left to right. To imagine we can is to suffer from a form of spiritual dyslexia (Kindle ed.).

Related to this (and providentially, I might say!), the “Grace Gems” devotional for today came into my email box as I was preparing this, and it contains an edifying series of “choice quotes” on God’s providence and our afflictions. I add that to this post for your edification too:

“Affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble spring from the ground!” Job 5:6

“Affliction does not rise out of the dust or come to men by chance; but it is the Lord who sends it, and we should own and reverence His hand in it!” (Thomas Boston)

“Those who dive into the sea of affliction, bring up rare pearls!” (Charles Spurgeon)

“The furnace of affliction is a good place for you, Christian; it benefits you; it helps you to become more like Christ, and it is fitting you for Heaven!” (Charles Spurgeon)

“Most of the grand truths of God have to be learned by trouble; they must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction, otherwise we shall not truly receive them.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“There is no attribute of God more comforting to His children than the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles–they believe that Sovereignty hasordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“Afflictions tend to wean us from the world–and to fix our affections on things above.” (John Angell James)

“Poverty and affliction take away the fuel that feeds pride!” (Richard Sibbes)

“The winter prepares the earth for the spring; so do sanctified afflictions prepare the soul for glory.” (Richard Sibbes)

“When I am in the cellar of affliction, I look for the Lord’s choicest wines.” (Samuel Rutherford)

“Whoever brings an affliction, it is God who sends it. It is one heart-quieting consideration in all the afflictions that befall us–that God has a special hand in them: “The Almighty has afflicted me!” Ruth 1:21. Instruments can no more stir until God gives them a commission–than the axe can cut of itself without a hand. Job eyed God in his affliction; therefore, as Augustine observes, Job does not say, “The Lord gave, and the devil took away,” but “the Lord has taken away.” (Thomas Watson)

“Afflictions add to the saints glory. The more the diamond is cut, the more it sparkles; the heavier the saints cross is, the heavier will be their crown.” (Thomas Watson)

Rest Indeed – R.C. Sproul Jr.

Rest Indeed by R.C. Sproul Jr. | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

TT - Feb 2015As we close out this busy week of labor and anticipate our risen Lord’s day of rest tomorrow, R.C.Sproul, Jr. reminds us in the above-linked article from this month’s Tabletalk (on the theme of “Labor and Rest”) that our rest is not only related to our labor but also to the great battle in which we are engaged as God’s soldiers from day to day.

It is good to also be reminded of this spiritual aspect of our labor in this life, so that we may also be refreshed in the knowledge of our Lord’s victory over our spiritual foes. I appreciated what “R.C.” writes here, and I pray it is an encouragement to you too as we get ready to rest in our Savior.

Find the full article at the link above; here is a part of it (keep in mind he takes his thoughts from Psalm 23):

When we turn the Sabbath into a set of rules of what we are allowed and forbidden to do, I fear we miss the whole spirit of the day. The rest to which we are called is less resting from our day-to-day jobs than it is rest from the battle. We are able to rest because we know He has already won. Sabbath is the good cheer to which we are called, knowing He has already overcome the world (John 16:33).

When we enter more fully into our rest, when we sit at His table, untouchable, victorious, are we not overcome with joy? Is it not true that our heads are anointed with oil, that our cups runneth over? Like soldiers who come home for rest and relaxation, we soldiers of the King are invited to go home, so that when we return to battle, we know where we are going. We drink deeply of His goodness so that we know that His goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives. We go back into the battle knowing, having been to and tasted the end of all things, that we will indeed dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

This is rest indeed because for six days a week we are at war indeed. The great irony, however, is that the more we rest, the more we battle. For it is our worship, our rest, our joy, and our peace that are the very weapons of our warfare. By joy, towers are toppled. By peace, ramparts are ruined. By singing forth the glory of His name, by heralding His glory, walls come tumbling down. We fight in peace because the war has already been won. We die in war because the peace has already been won. This is His kingdom that we seek.

Daniels in Babylon – Facing Evil (again) in 2015

StandardBearerWriting the editorial for the January 1, 2015 issue of The Standard Bearer, Rev.K.Koole ends his “Year in Review, AD 2014″ article with these comforting and challenging thoughts:

The handwriting is on the wall [The editor is referencing the increasing intolerance of Christianity and growing persecution of Christians throughout the world, including here in the U.S.].

But let us not forget that what was written on Babylon’s wall was written by the finger of God and foretold the Christ’s coming in judgment on Babylon, that great representative of antichrist’s kingdom in the OT age.

Another great event not foreseen by men.

Babylon, to fall in one day?

Impossible!

And yet it occurred.

And that according to Biblical prophecy.

And Babylon’s fall meant the time for God’s church to return to the promised land had come, there to await the coming Messiah.

Christ’s church delivered and full victory at hand.

Let us as saints and churches not be afraid to stand as Daniels in this present evil age

2014. Year of our Lord. As will be 2015 and those following.

As evil grows, and with it the world’s enmity against the Christian faith, let us not be intimidated, but continue to bear witness to The Truth in love, a love for Christ and what is really true love for our fellow man.

The gospel of this Jesus of Nazareth, God’s Christ, remains this old world’s only hope.

If you are interested in subscribing to this solid Reformed semi-monthly magazine, visit the “SB” website for more information, including a special introductory rate.

The Days of the Years of Our Life – Rev.G.Vos

Vos, GerritFor many years, as many of you know, Rev.Gerrit Vos penned meditations for the Standard Bearer. He was gifted with a unique style of writing that matched the purpose and meaning of a meditation. His writings put the Word of God not merely right in front of you but made it penetrate your soul.

This week, while looking for a few fitting end-of-year meditations to post on the PRC website, I found this one, based on Psalm 90:10 and written for the January 1, 1963 “SB”. The full text of “The Days of the Years of Our Life” may be found both here and here.

I pull a section out of it here for your profit, encouraging you to read all of it sometime before the end of 2014. It will be good for you soul. It was for mine.

And the deepest reason why our days, our best days, are labor and sorrow is this: the wrath of God.

The Lord God walks among us and cuts off the stream of time allotted, and says at every sickbed which turns into a deathbed: Return, ye children of men! Return to destruction!

God carries our days away as with a flood. Our days are consumed by His anger, and by His wrath our days are troubles. In fact, all our days are passed away in Thy wrath, the days wherein Thou hast afflicted us.

Here we stand at the end of another year that was given to us, but the end of that year says: it is soon cut off and we fly away!

Yes, we soon fly away like iron to the magnet. And the MAGNET here is God! The moment we die we see God, the living God.

You see, He gathers us in, both the good and the bad. No one ever escapes from this ingathering.

And when the last man is gathered in at the end of the ages, the books shall be opened, and the dead, both small and great shall be judged according to what is written in those books.

And let me tell you right here that if there were no Jesus, all of us would be cast into everlasting hell.

Even God’s people, with all their good works, would be lost if it were not for Jesus.

In order to know that, look at your good works. Go ahead, look at them.

If you look long enough, with the spectacles of the Word of God on your nose, and the Spirit of truth in your heart, you will blush. You never did a good work that was absolutely perfect. Besides, also look at all the filth and corruption you are, spoke, did and thought. Oh yes, you will blush alright.

Listen to Moses, he will tell us: “Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance.”

Yes, it grows very still in the waning hours of the last evening of nineteen hundred and sixty-two.

You know, I think that a very good prayer in that last night would be: O God, be merciful to me, the sinner!

Antiques and Our Heritage (5): The Idea of an Abiding City

Five weeks ago we began to quote from a selection by John J. Timmerman, former English professor at Calvin College, found in a collection of his writings titled Markings on a Long Journey (Baker, 1982). It is an article he originally wrote for The Banner in September of 1972, and includes his thoughts on some things “old, precious, and beautiful” in the Reformed tradition.

Markings on long journey-TimmermanThe first one is the “antithesis”; the second one is “a sense of sin”; and the third one is “the priority of the sermon in our Sunday services”; the fourth one is “the importance of Christian education.” And now the final one Timmerman mentions is “the idea of an abiding city”. In other words, the Christian’s real hope.

I will let him explain it. Then we should dwell on it. Maybe especially as we end another week and look forward to our foretaste of our everlasting rest tomorrow.

The port Sandburg once said, when he was young and didn’t know any better and before he had written six fat volumes on Lincoln, that the ‘past is a bucket of ashes.’ When the past is over it is finished. burnt out – ashes to blow with the winds to anywhere. All the past is done, including human life. But the Christian believes that the past in the deepest spiritual sense is the beginning and determines the future.

I was poignantly reminded of this when I visited the country graveyard where my grandfather is buried/ There was a remarkable difference in the gravestones. The newer ones bore merely a name and a date, a terse statement of transitory existence now finished. But the older graves had upon their frail and fading headstones a constantly recurring text in a language I heard so often in boyhood: ‘Selig sind die Toten, die in dem Herron sterben’ (Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord), and I thought, ‘This is it,’ a trust that defies the last humiliation with infinite hope; on the eroding stones covering remorseless decay were words of profound promise. The later graves in Gray’s words ‘Implore the passing tribute of a sigh,’ but the earlier ones gave rise to a thrill of hope and meaning and victory in the face of apparently utter defeat.

What will be the witness of your gravestone and mine? The “passing tribute of a sigh”, or ” a trust that defies the last humiliation with infinite hope”?

Yet, this is first, is it not? What is the confession of our heart, mouth, and life right now?

Guido de Bres’ Love Letter to His Wife – April 1567

Guido deBresBy special request we start this Wednesday with the love letter Guido deBres, best known for his authorship of the Belgic Confession (1561) and subsequent martyrdom for the Reformed faith (1567).

The letter has been re-translated by Rev.Wes Bredenhof (source below – then see his note) and is reproduced here from the blog “Underdog Theology” (May 5, 2011). I hope it is a source of inspiration, peace, and comfort to you as it has been to many. Especially to us believing husbands and fathers.

The quotation below includes the two paragraph introduction from the writer of the “UT” blog.

Knowing of his impending martyrdom, de Brès wrote a letter to his wife that I can only describe as probably the best love letter that I’ve ever read: God-glorifying, God-dependent, full of faith and assurance, full of Scriptural truths, and expressing the kind of selfless love that a husband must have for his wife (in imitation of Christ’s love for His Bride, the Church).

I was greatly moved by the part wherein de Brès makes his final exhortations to his wife concerning her own welfare and the welfare of their children, reminding her to continue in her godly routine and even giving her permission to remarry if she found herself lacking the means to support the family (although only to a godly man, of course).

Reproduced below is Guido de Brès’ letter to his wife, dated April 12, 1567. He was hung on May 31, 1567.

“The grace and mercy of our good God and heavenly Father, and the love of His Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, be with you, my dearly beloved.

Catherine Ramon, my dear and beloved wife and sister in our Lord Jesus Christ: your anguish and sadness disturbs somewhat my joy and the happiness of my heart, so I am writing this for the consolation of both of us, and especially for your consolation, since you have always loved me with an ardent affection, and because it pleases the Lord to separate us from each other. I feel your sorrow over this separation more keenly than mine. I pray you not to be troubled too much over this, for fear of offending God. You knew when you married me that you were taking a mortal husband, who was uncertain of life, and yet it has pleased God to permit us to live together for seven years, giving us five children. If the Lord had wished us to live together longer, he would have provided the way. But it did not please him to do this and may his will be done.

Now remember that I did not fall into the hands of my enemies by mere chance, but through the providence of my God who controls and governs all things, the least as well as the greatest. This is shown by the words of Christ, “Be not afraid. Your very hairs are numbered. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And not one of them shall fall to the ground without the will of your Father. Then fear nothing. You are more excellent than many sparrows.” These words of divine wisdom say that God knows the number of my hairs. How then can harm come to me without the command and providence of God? It could not happen, unless one should say that God is no longer God. This is why the Prophet says that there is no affliction in the city that the Lord has not willed.

Many saintly persons who were before us consoled themselves in their afflictions and tribulations with this doctrine. Joseph, having been sold by his brothers and taken into Egypt, says, “You did a wicked deed, but God has turned it to your good. God sent me into Egypt before you for your profit.” (Genesis 50). David also experienced this when Shimei cursed him. So too in the case of Job and many others.

And that is why the Evangelists write so carefully of the sufferings and of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, adding, “And this was done that that which was written of Him might be accomplished.” The same should be said of all the members of Christ.

It is very true that human reason rebels against this doctrine and resists it as much as possible and I have very strongly experienced this myself. When I was arrested, I would say to myself, “So many of us should not have traveled together. We were betrayed by this one or that one. We ought not to have been arrested.” With such thoughts I became overwhelmed, until my spirits were raised by meditation on the providence of God. Then my heart began to feel a great repose. I began then to say, “My God, you have caused me to be born in the time you have ordained. During all the time of my life you have kept me and preserved me from great dangers and you have delivered me from them all – and if at present my hour has come in which I will pass from this life to you, may your will be done. I cannot escape from your hands. And if I could, I would not, since it is happiness for me to conform to your will.” These thoughts made my heart cheerful again.

And I pray you, my dear and faithful companion, to join me in thanking God for what he has done. For he does nothing that is not just and very equitable, and you should believe that it is for my good and for my peace. You have seen and felt my labours, cross, persecutions, and afflictions which I have endured, and have even had a part in them when you accompanied me in my travels during the time of my exile. Now my God has extended his hand to receive me into his blessed kingdom. I shall see it before you and when it shall please the Lord, you will follow me. This separation is not for all time. The Lord will receive you also to join us together again in our head, Jesus Christ.

This is not the place of our habitation – that is in heaven. This is only the place of our journey. That is why we long for our true country, which is heaven. We desire to be received in the home of our Heavenly Father, to see our Brother, Head, and Saviour Jesus Christ, to see the noble company of the patriarchs, prophets, apostles and many thousands of martyrs, into whose company I hope to be received when I have finished the course of my work which I received from my Lord Jesus Christ.

I pray you, my dearly beloved, to console yourself with meditation on these things. Consider the honour that God has done you, in giving you a husband who was not only a minister of the Son of God, but so esteemed of God that he allowed him to have the crown of martyrs. It is an honour the like of which God has never even given to the angels.

I am happy; my heart is light and it lacks nothing in my afflictions. I am so filled with the abundance of the richness of my God that I have enough for me and all those to whom I can speak. So I pray my God that he will continue his kindness to me, his prisoner. The One in whom I have trusted will do it, for I have found by experience that he will never leave those who have trusted in him. I would never have thought that God would have been so kind to such a poor creature as I. I feel the faithfulness of my Lord Jesus Christ.

I am practicing now what I have preached to others. And I must confess that when I preached I would speak about the things I am actually experiencing as a blind man speaks of colour. Since I was taken prisoner I have profited more and learned more than during all the rest of my life. I am in a very good school: the Holy Spirit inspires me continually and teaches me how to use the weapons in this combat. On the other side is Satan, the adversary of all children of God. He is like a boisterous, roaring lion. He constantly surrounds me and seeks to wound me. But he who has said, “Fear not, for I have overcome the world,” makes me victorious. And already I see that the Lord puts Satan under my feet and I feel the power of God perfected in my weakness.

Our Lord permits me on the one hand to feel my weakness and my smallness, that I am but a small vessel on the earth, very fragile, to the end that he would humble me, so that all the glory of the victory may be given to him. On the other hand, he fortifies me and consoles me in an unbelievable way. I have more comfort than the enemies of the gospel. I eat, drink and rest better than they do. I am held in a very strong prison, very bleak, obscure and dark. The prison is known by the obscure name “Brunain.” The air is poor and it stinks. On my feet and hands I have irons, big and heavy. They are a continual hell, hollowing my limbs up to my poor bones. The chief constable comes to look at my irons two or three times a day, fearing that I will escape. There are three guards of forty men before the door of the prison.

I have also the visits of Monsieur de Hamaide. He comes to see me, to console me, and to exhort me to patience, as he says. However, he comes after dinner, after he has wine in the head and a full stomach. You can imagine what these consolations are. He threatens me and says to me that if I would show any intention of escaping he would have me chained by the neck, the body and legs, so that I could not move a finger; and he says many other things in this order. But for all that, my God does not take away his promises, consoling my heart, giving me very much contentment.

Since such things have happened, my dear sister and faithful wife, I implore you to find comfort from the Lord in your afflictions and to place your troubles with him. He is the husband of believing widows and the father of poor orphans. He will never leave you – of that I can assure you. Conduct yourself as a Christian woman, faithful in the fear of God, as you always have been, honouring by your good life and conversation the doctrine of the Son of God, which your husband has preached.

As you have always loved me with great affection, I pray that you will continue this love toward our little children, instructing them in the knowledge of the true God and of his Son Jesus Christ. Be their father and their mother, and take care that they use honestly the little that God has given you. If God does you the favour to permit you to live in widowhood with our children after my death, that will be well. If you cannot, and the means are lacking, then go to some good man, faithful and fearing God. And when I can, I shall write to our friends to watch over you. I think that they will not let you want for anything. Take up your regular routine after the Lord has taken me. You have our daughter Sarah who will soon be grown. She will be your companion and help you in your troubles. She will console you in your tribulations and the Lord will always be with you. Greet our good friends in my name, and let them pray to God for me, that he may give me strength, speech, and the wisdom and ability to uphold the truth of the Son of God to the end and to the last breath of my life.

Farewell, Catherine, my dearly beloved. I pray my God that he will comfort you and give you contentment in his good will. I hope that God has given me the grace to write for your benefit, in such a way that you may be consoled in this poor world. Keep my letter for a remembrance of me. It is badly written, but it is what I am able to do, and not what I wish to do. Commend me to my good mother. I hope to write some consolation to her, if it pleases God. Greet also my good sister. May she take her affliction to God. Grace be with you.

At the prison, April 12, 1567.

Your faithful husband, Guy de Brès, minister of the Word of God at Valenciennes, and presently prisoner for the Son of God at the aforesaid place.”

Source: “A Reformation Martyr Comforts His Wife” by W.L. Bredenhof

*P.S. For a recent lecture on Guido de Bres by Rev.R.Kleyn (pastor of Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA), visit this page on the PRC website. Or on his own church’s Sermonaudio page.

Which Way to Father’s House?

John 14-2A few meditation thoughts today on our Father’s day of rest, as we hear the call to worship Him in His house of praise and prayer, and in that way experience a foretaste of the everlasting rest of His heavenly house.

Father’s house!

Brother, does the way lead thither?

It does not if you care not for Father, for perfected communion with him is the essence of the joy of the house of many mansions. And why, pray, should you care to enter into Father’s house above if you care not for his communion here? It does not if you care not for our oldest brother, for his love is the unity of ours. And why, pray, should you desire to be with him in glory there if you care not to be with him in suffering here? It does not if you love not the brethren, for the house of many mansions is the realization of the perfect brotherhood of the sons of God. And why, pray, should you prize the company of those in the heavenly home whom you despise and fill with reproach here? It does not if you love the darkness rather than light, for Father’s house is light. And how, pray, could you a child of darkness, be or even desire to be in that eternal light-sphere of Father’s house above?

Brother, does the way lead thither?

Does the kindly light of Father’s house beckon you from the distance at the end of life’s path?

Why care, then, if the road be rugged and steep? Why complain if suffering is our lot for a while? Why be discouraged if the battle rages fiercely? Why fear if the night grows dark and the storms of life howl about our heads?

Oh, why art thou cast down, my soul?

Yonder is the light, sparkling kindly through the black of night. It is the light of Father’s house, gleaming and glimmering and glittering, now shining brightly in the still night, now growing faint through the mist of my earthly way, but shining still and assuring me of heavenly rest in Father’s warm embrace and of untold joy in eternal mansions.

Hope in God, for I shall yet praise him!

In his eternal home.

Father’s house!

Communion_with_God-HHTaken from the meditation “Father’s House” (based on John 14:2) in the collection of meditations Communion With God by Herman Hoeksema, edited by David J. Engelsma (RFPA, 2011), 35-36.

New Hope Heralds CD – 2014 Season

HH2014CS-frontIn the past week the new Hope Heralds 2014 season CD was released, with Hope Heralds members being the first to receive it. My wife and I had it playing already in our car this past weekend, and I must say – with some bias – it is spectacular! We had a wonderful collection of songs again this year – from familiar psalms and hymns to some old and new “classics”.

 

For those unfamiliar with the Hope Heralds, the group is a men’s chorus made up mostly of Protestant Reformed brothers who enjoy singing together. Our season is typically from May to September, withe the summer months spent ministering God’s Word through song

The theme of this year’s CD is taken from one of the  songs – “By Mercy Made Holy” (“Let It Be Said of Us”). I have scanned the cover and back, so that you may see the title and the song selections (click on the images to enlarge).

HH2014CD-back

If you would like to obtain a copy (a bargain at $10!), you may do so through the Hope Heralds’ Facebook page (linked above), or by contacting Dan Van Dyke (director) or Karen Daling (accompanist) at Heritage Christian School. There are also copies at HCS and at the PRC Seminary, if you wish to stop by and pick one up. ‘Tis the season of giving – why not purchase one for a friend or family member as well?

No, I do not receive any royalties for this promotion. I just love spreading news of good music. Buy one, and you will understand why. :)

*P.S. If you wish to watch and listen to a preview of the professionally-recorded CD (from our live concert in September), visit Nick Kleyn’s YouTube channel.

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