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What We Ought To Do

 

If I had entitled this article “What I ought to do” you might have thought, “If he knows what he ought to do why doesn’t he quit talking about it and just do it?” If I had written “you” instead, some might have decided to bypass this article altogether. But the title reads “we” because both of us need to pay attention to what the Holy Spirit says about our privileges and responsibilities. There are things we should be doing, or doing with greater zeal. So before you turn away, think of this article as a reminder to us both. Peter’s second letter had that character. He was deeply concerned that we not only gain access to the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, but that we have an abundant entrance into it. For that reason he says, “I will always be ready to remind you of these things even though you already know them… to stir you up by way of reminder… (that) you may be able to call these things to mind… stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder”, (2 Pet. 1:12-15; 3:1).

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Christian Fellowship – Words that Promote Fellowship

Then they that feared the Lord spoke often to one another; and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name” (Malachi 3:16)

Over four hundred years later the risen Christ asked two of His followers, “What manner of communications are these that you have?” (Luke 24:17). It is a question we sometimes need to ask ourselves. By offering hospitality, providing physical assistance and sharing financially, we show fellowship with other believers. Such things give evidence of the genuineness of our love and care. However it is only how we speak when with them that shows whether we know the joy to be found in conversational fellowship. That is the subject of this article.

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Some Thoughts on Congregational Singing

Some time ago I was asked to write an article about singing in the church. Before I do, let me quickly give you some personal background, so you will know from what perspective I am writing. I became Christian at age 19, and for the first 20 years after my salvation attended a lively non-denominational church, where I also functioned as piano/bass player, choir director, and where at times I would lead congregational singing. Most songs we sang were contemporary choruses, many of which contained much scripture. From there my family moved on to a more traditional church, where the majority of the songs consisted of hymns, many written during the 18th and 19thcenturies. Here I also directed a choir, and have been frequently involved in worship and song-leading.

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Consciences in Conflict

The Disney classic “Pinocchio” popularized the saying “Let your conscience be your guide.” In a previous article we cautioned against individuals thinking that because they have peace about acting in a certain way, it is something of which God approves. We saw that, in the Scriptures, the charge to “let the peace of God rule in your hearts” is addressed to a group and not just to one person. That begs a question: What then is the value of an individual’s conscience?

Conscience is the inner voice that approves or disapproves of what you have done or are thinking of doing; it is more like a judge than a guide. The verdicts it hands down can be accurate or misleading depending on how long ago it was calibrated or tuned.

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Misplaced Loves – 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Do we really love like we should? What and how we love tells what kind of people we are. According to our text, one of the signs of the last times is the manifestation of misplaced love. God created us with a capacity to know and love Him. That was soon perverted in Eden, as Genesis 3 and 4 record, and has only gotten worse in the ensuing ages. This sinful disposition, like a cancer, cannot become something good.

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The Soul’s Warning System – Our Conscience: Romans 2:14-15

Large commercial aircraft have what is known as “A ground proximity warning system” (GPWS) that warns the pilot the plane is getting near the ground or mountains. In the late 1980’s a Colombian based airline (Avianca) was flying through the night in Spain. Suddenly a computerized voice said “pull up, pull up.” The pilot apparently ignored the warning. So a second time the voice said“pull up.”Again the pilot ignored the warning and soon after the plane crashed into the hillside killing the pilot, co-pilot, all the crew and all the passengers. The GPWS had warned of danger.

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What is the meaning of the Heart in the Scriptures?

When David Livingston died on May 1, 1873 his heart was removed and buried in the African soil. He was so beloved that the Africans wanted his heart to remain in their land. His body was prepared and shipped back to England. There he was interned in Westminster Abbey.

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Epaphras, A Man of Prayer: Colossians 1:7-8, 4:12-13, Philemon 23

Real men of prayer are not often found, especially in this busy, fast-moving, “jetomic” age, which age an anonymous wit has summed up as follows: “Hurry, worry, and bury.” Yet, in every period of man’s hectic history, God has always had those who have spent much time in secret communion with Him, even to this very hour. Apart from such prayer warriors the Church of Jesus Christ would be virtually powerless. If we but knew what we owe as believers to the ceaseless intercession of our Great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, coupled with the faithful intercession of men and women of God, surely we would afresh be driven to our knees in true praise and thankfulness to our Lord, at the same time availing ourselves more often of the priceless privilege of prayer.

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Needed Negatives for the New Year

Many years ago there was a popular song which had as its main theme, “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.” Make no mistake about it, in true Christianity the accent is definitely on the positive, and this is where it belongs in the believer’s daily life, but the negative cannot be eliminated. It is part and parcel of God’s holy Word. For example, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is gloriously positive in the avalanche of truth it unfolds to the enlightened heart, yet the negative is by no means eliminated as highlighted by several practical exhortations in 4:17-32 (eg. “walk not as other Gentiles walk,” (vs. 17); “be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (vs. 26); “let him that stole steal no more” (vs. 28); “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth” (vs. 29;) “and grieve not the Holy Spirit” (vs. 30)

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Editorial: A Sober Read

Every Christian should read some Church history. The Pilgrim Church by E.H. Broadbent (available from Gospel Folio Press at www. gospelfolio.com) is a worthy choice of a book giving a good overview of the history of the church from the Day of Pentecost to the last century. At times the reading may be difficult as we are confronted with unfamiliar places and people, some with unpronounceable names, yet the cumulative effect of reading the entire history gives one a sober perspective on the church.

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