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Storms

Storms

Storms at sea are never pleasant. Awesome, frightening, but hardly enjoyable. Yet the lessons learned in the storm can be of significant value for another day and another circumstance. Almost the whole chapter of Acts 27 is devoted to the events surrounding a storm. There are lessons we may learn from this storm. God knows that each of us at some time or other must pass through our own deep waters. It is not “If thou passest through the water,” it is “When…”

One lesson is that God allows His people to suffer alongside the ungodly in the circumstances of life. God’s servants were in that storm because the sailors would not believe the words of Paul. Many of the Lord’s people must suffer because of the attitude of those who will not believe. Salvation of the soul is no escape from the common trials of life…not yet. The fallacy of the false gospel that declares, “God wants you healthy and God wants you wealthy” has driven many a simple soul into despair when they suffer pain and poverty. If it was preached instead, “God wants you holy,” that would be in harmony with the Word.

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The Ministry Of Priests And Prophets

As we read through the Old Testament we discover that God used various channels through which he conveyed His mind to His people Israel, the most prominent of these channels being the priests and the prophets.

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The Blessed Secret: Philippians 4:11

I have learned the blessed secret

Of the soul that’s satisfied,

Since the Saviour dwells within me,

And in Him I now abide.

I have learned the joy of trusting

In the sureness of His Word,

Knowing that each promise spoken,

Will be honoured by my Lord.

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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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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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A Prayer for Spiritual Enlightenment: Ephesians 1:15-23

William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnate, was an art collector. It is said he was looking for a particular painting. He sent an agent to look for it in Europe but it could not be found. Sometime later, while going through a warehouse, a helper discovered it! He had the painting all the time and did not know it.

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God’s School: Paul’s 7 Revelations from the Lord

1. Conversion to Christ

In unbelief as the popular anti-Christ leader on a road near Damascus. What is revealed: Sees the Lord and He is Jesus! Results – Confesses Jesus as Lord and is filled with the Holy Spirit and baptized.  (Acts 9:2-6; 17-18)

2. General Sphere of Service

Praying in the temple in Jerusalem. What is revealed: Jewish rejection of the message of Christ – he was then to go far away to the Gentiles (nations). Results: Crowd cried “away with him”.  (Acts 22:17-22)

3. Deeper Understanding of God and Gospel

Most likely in Arabia or Tarsus (unseen years) – either in the body or out of it, but caught up into the 3rd heaven. What is revealed: Some things he couldn’t tell. Also he was given a revelation of the gospel of Christ whose terms of salvation is faith alone – and which matched the OT prophets. Results: Growth in the Lord’s grace. He was committed to stand for the one true gospel against any deviation by whomever.  (2 Cor. 12:1-4; Gal. 1:10-18; Acts 17:2, 3)

4. Specific Area of Service

On missions in Troas. What is revealed: The need in Philippi of those open to the gospel. Results: Saw that a need in the other places did not constitute a call and so obeyed and went to Philippi. He suffered but saw God’s hand in saving people and a church established.  (Acts 16: 6-12)

5. Encouragement to Be Fearless in Proclaiming Message

In Corinth where he was rejected in the synagogue and had to meet with believers in a house. It was at night in the middle of persecution and blessing. What is revealed: To press on boldly for he would not be hurt as God would be with him. Results: He believed and stayed and saw more people saved and a church started.  (Acts 18:4-11)

6. Encouragement that He Will Reach New Spheres of Service

At night in a castle in Jerusalem. He was a Roman prisoner because a mob was trying to pull him apart. What is revealed: To “be of good cheer” for he would indeed reach Rome as a witness for the Lord Jesus. Results: He reached Rome against all odds. As a prisoner in house custody he preached the gospel to all that came unto him and saw much fruit. Wrote instructive letters to the churches.  (Acts 23:10-11; 28:30-3; Phil. 4:22)

7. Word of Hope When All Hope Was Gone

A prisoner in a ship going to Italy – on the sea in a violent storm with reeling winds in darkness – no hope of being saved. What is revealed: God’s angel stood by him and assured him all would be saved and he would indeed reach Caesar. Results: He believed God and in the shipwreck all were saved and Paul reached Rome – just as God said!  (Acts 27:18-25)

It was Paul the apostle who wrote: “…God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” He also wrote: “the gospel which was preached of me is not after man … but by the revelation of Jesus Christ”. And he also wrote to the church: “…the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord”.

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The Sovereignty of God

The Sovereignty of God

The doctrine of the sovereignty of God is one of the weightiest and most important doctrines of Scripture. Although the word “sovereignty” is never used in the English Bible, other synonyms such as “majesty”, “almighty”, and “greatness” are used many times.  God’s sovereignty is expressed in one way or another on nearly every page of the Bible. In describing the sovereignty of God, it has been said, “God in His love wills what is best for us. In His wisdom He always knows what is best, and in His majesty He has the power to bring it about.” For some believers, the doctrine of the sovereignty of God is a difficult doctrine to embrace. They ask why did God give Peter 3,000 souls on the Day of Pentecost, while faithful Stephen recieved 3,000 stones?  It is in the difficult times of life that God tests our faith. Obeying God is worked out within well-defined boundaries of God’s Word, while trusting God is worked out in an arena that has no boundaries. This poses the question: How can we trust and love the sovereign God? Surely the answer lies in knowing the character, attributes, and doctrine of the sovereignty of God.

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Resting

 

Once my hands were always trying,

Trying hard to do my best;

Now my heart is sweetly trusting,

And my soul is all at rest.

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A Song of Compassion

With a soul blood bought and a heart aglow.

Redeemed of the Lord and free,

I ask as I pass down the busy street,

Is it only a crowd I see;

Do I lift my eyes with a careless gaze,

That pieces no deep down woe,

Have I naught to give to the teeming throng

Of the wealth of the love I know?

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