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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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Fear of Silence

Everywhere they can be seen, heads bobbing, shoulders pointing, toes tapping, fingers drumming. They come in all sizes, shapes and styles. Male or female, young or old, they can be found almost anywhere, jogging in the park, sitting in the airport, on the way to school, or just gazing out there-somewhere. They have one thing in common, those little earphones, attached by an umbilical wire to a miniature tape recorder fastened to a belt or tucked in a pocket.

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A Letter to a Friend on the Subject of United Prayer

A Letter to a Friend on the Subject of United Prayer

I append this remarkable letter by CHM, written, probably between 1888-1892, to an unknown friend. It still communicates with freshness what had weight in his soul and brings again the appeal for the need of united prayer by all who love our Lord Jesus Christ and what belongs to Him. May the prayerful desires of this faithful servant of the Lord still speak to our consciences and stimulate the reader to similar expressions in their prayers.

Beloved in the Lord,
I have, for some time, been deeply exercised as to the condition of the whole church of God – the body of Christ; the beloved lambs and sheep of His flock, scattered through the various denominations and associations of Christendom, and the assemblies of those ostensibly gathered out to His blessed name. In a word, the low condition of things, on all hands; the little fruit in the gospel, and the excessive feebleness in collective and individual testimony for Christ. All this has weighed very heavily on my heart, before the Lord, in connexion with the fearful progress of infidelity, in all its phases, and the darkening influence of superstition; and I feel called to send forth an appeal to every child of God and servant of Christ, throughout the whole world, to unite in humbling ourselves before the Lord, in self-judgment, confession, supplication and intercession.

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Prerequisites To Worship

Worship is not some difficult, complex, sophisticated religious activity which is limited to a few elite saints. It is to be the portion of all believers. Worship is simply bowing before the Lord and expressing His worthiness to be worshipped. (Rev. 5:8). Now worship goes beyond the wonderful fact that Jesus died for us. While we should never forget this amazing fact, and the wonderful love of Christ, there is much more for which He can be worshipped.

Rather than being solely occupied with our blessings, we can think upon His beauties as seen through the eyes of the Father, to Whom He always brought delight. As the hymn writer has so nicely put it, “Loved with love which knows no measure, Save the Father’s love to Thee. All His joy, His rest, His pleasure – All His deep delight in Thee – Lord, Thy heart alone can measure what Thy Father found in Thee.” If we would see some of what the Father saw in Him, we will find ourselves at His feet, and we will be worshippers!

Worship has been called the Christian’s “highest occupation.” If this is true, and it is, then the Church is sadly failing to fulfill its highest calling. Much of what is called worship is not really worship at all. Listening to sermons and choirs falls far short of Biblical worship. Saints in many circles rarely, if ever, come together to simply be occupied with Christ and to exalt Him together.

Others come together specifically for this purpose, but often there is little worship. Many have given little thought to Christ during the week and the best they can muster is singing someone else’s thoughts penned in a hymn – this is not to say that singing hymns that honour and exalt the Lord are not worship, but they can become a substitute for real worship.

In the Bible there were two things that characterized those who were worshippers. It seems to be true of them, regardless of what dispensation they lived in. Perhaps we could view them as prerequisites to worship, and test our hearts accordingly as we come together to worship the Lord Jesus Christ.

The first thing that characterizes those saints in Scripture that worshipped was that they had a right view of the Lord. They understood to some degree, and were often overcome by, the majesty of His person, the greatness of His power, and the glory that is His. They never came into His presence in some casual way, but with great reverence – a reverence that is often missing in our casual day!

We see this in David’s prayer regarding the materials for the temple and the offering of the people. “Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our Father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the Heavens and in the earth is Thine; Thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and Thou art exalted as head above all.” (1 Chron. 29: 10-11)

Isaiah records, “…I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple… And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isa. 6:1-3)

Thomas uttered that short, but wonderful expression when he realized he was in the presence of the risen Christ, “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28) Scripture records many expressions which indicate that the worshippers had a right view of the Lord.

The second thing that characterized those who worshipped was that they had a right view of themselves. After expressing his worship, David asked, “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort?” (1 Chron. 29:14) Isaiah cries out, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” (Isa. 6:5) Seeing the Lord, John writes, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.” (Rev. 1:17)

Those who found themselves in the presence of the Lord were fully aware of the vast difference between the One they worshipped and the one worshipping. They were humbled to think that such creatures could be so privileged as to be in the presence of the Lord Himself. Are we aware of this great difference and the grace that has brought us to this place of acceptance and privilege? Do we with little thought of such things gather together to worship? If so, is it any wonder than we worship so little?

As accepted in Christ, we may come boldly into His presence (Eph. 1:6; Heb. 10:19), but this does not negate the need for a right view of the Lord, and a right view of ourselves as we come into His presence to worship.

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