A heavenly standard

A heavenly standard for the regulation of all our conduct by A.W.Pink.

“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth. You shall MEDITATE on it day and night — so that you may be careful to DO everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8

“You shall MEDITATE on it day and night.” Only thus will its injunctions be fixed in the memory; only thus shall we be able to ascertain our duty; only thus shall we discern the rightful application of the Divine precepts to all the varied details of our daily lives.

The more I am regulated by the Divine Rule — the more I shall be preserved from the mistakes and follies which characterize those who follow a course of self-pleasing. But in order to do God’s commandments, I must be conversant with them; and in order to perceive their breadth and specific application unto any problem or decision confronting me, I must “meditate on it day and night.” Meditation stands to reading — as mastication does to eating. Spiritual prosperity eludes the slothful and careless.

“That you may be careful to DO everything written in it.” This must be the dominating motive and object. God’s Word is to be appropriated and masticated — fed and meditated upon — not for the purpose of understanding its prophecies, or obtaining an insight into its mysteries — but in order to learn God’s will for myself, and having learned it — to conform thereunto. God’s Word is given to us chiefly — not to gratify curiosity or to entertain our imagination — but as “a lamp to our feet — and a light unto our path” (Psalm 119:105) in this dark world. It is a Rule for us to walk by — it is a heavenly standard for the regulation of all our conduct. It points out the things to be avoided — the things which would harm us. It tells of the things to be followed and practiced — the things which are for our good and our peace. It contains not only good advice — but is clothed with Divine authority, commanding implicit and unqualified obedience.

[Forwarded from Shamim]

God’s Good Design

At Monyhull we ascribe to the FIEC statement on the role of women in ministry. This is summarised by the term complementarian as distinct from the egalitarian view. We respect but disagree with those Christians and churches who believe there are no scriptural differences in gender roles.  A small mid-week Focus Group has been meeting in recent weeks studying this subject using a great resource by Sharon James called God’s Design for Women.

One of our church members, Caroline Bell, who is preparing to serve in full-time Christian ministry overseas wrote the following review of a book we would recommend as a church if you want to read more deeply on the subject.

God’s Good Design

In this book Claire Smith explores 7 Bible passages which outline God’s design for women, particularly focusing on their roles within marriage and in the church. I found her style clear and methodical, as she outlined what each passage says and addressed common objections to a literal interpretation of them. She draws the conclusion that God’s design is for men and women to have complementarian roles (that men and women have equal value but different roles which complement each other). I appreciated how she recognises that this is counter-cultural and her honesty in sharing her journey of how she changed from an egalitarian (men and women don’t have different roles) understanding to a complentarian one. I thought this was a very accessible read, with a logical flow and helpful suggestions for application.

The personal attractions of Jesus

(By Octavius Winslow: 1808-1878)

“Yes, He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved — and this is my Friend!” Song of Songs 5:16

The personal attractions of Jesus are all inviting and irresistible!

  • His love wins us.
  • His glory charms us.
  • His beauty attracts us.
  • His sympathy soothes us.
  • His gentleness subdues us.
  • His faithfulness inspires us.
  • He is the “altogether lovely One!”
  • Jesus is all that is tender in love.
  • Jesus is all that is wise in counsel.
  • Jesus is all that is patient and kind.
  • Jesus is all that is faithful in friendship.
  • Jesus is all that is soothing and healing.
  • The heart of Jesus is ever loving towards His children.
  • The disposition of Jesus is ever kind towards His children.
  • The nature of Jesus is ever sympathizing towards His children.
  • Jesus is your Brother, your Friend, your Redeemer.
  • As your Brother — He knows the need of His brethren in adversity.
  • As your Friend — He shows Himself friendly.
  • As your Redeemer — He has redeemed your soul from sin and Hell.

Jesus has ascended up on high to take possession of Heaven on your behalf, and to prepare a place for you!

Upon His heart, He wears your name as a precious pearl in the priestly breastplate.

“He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.”

There is…

  • not a moment of your time,
  • nor an event of your life,
  • nor a circumstance of your daily history,
  • nor a mental or spiritual emotion of yours —

in which you are not borne upon the love, and remembered in the ceaseless intercession of Christ.

The Power of God

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the protestant reformation. In 1517 Martin Luther rediscovered the gospel of God’s grace in the book of Romans. With that discovery a reformation began in his own heart that quickly spread to the nations. Gospel truths that had long been forgotten or obscured were once again the cause of great joy and powerful change in people’s lives.

To mark this anniversary we will be taking a tour through the first seven chapters of Romans in an upcoming Sunday morning sermon series titled The Power of God. It will be more of a sprint than a marathon as we survey seven very rich and weighty chapters in seven sermons. To help us unpack and apply these chapters we will also be studying them in our home groups.

There are many excellent resources that we could turn to for help on Romans but I’d like to recommend two recent books that have been produced. The Good Book Company have published a devotional commentary called Romans For You by Tim Keller and there is an accompanying study guide called The Gift of God also by Keller. Lets pray that as we open up this part of God’s Word that lives will be transformed as minds are renewed (Rom 12:2).

Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward!

“Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward!” Job 5:7

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” John 16:33

“Through many hardships and tribulations, we must enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22

No one has ever lived, who has not had his times of discouragement, heaviness, sorrow and disappointment. Cares and afflictions come to all. Life has its adversities — it must needs have them.

Adversity, pain, sorrow, and disappointment — are the lathe upon which God shapes us. They are the grinding-wheel which grinds and smoothes us. They are the polishing-wheel which makes us shine. If we can never be happy until we are so situated that nothing exists which may tend to render us unhappy — then we shall have little happiness in life.

Happiness does not come from a life of ease and indolence. It is not the result of the absence of obstacles and difficulties. Happiness comes from triumphing over them. Therefore the song of true happiness, often arises from the soul which undergoes many adversities.

Dear soul, Jesus knows all about your troubles. He knows every heartache, every difficulty, everything you must overcome, everything you must bear. Trusting in His grace, relying upon His help — you shall soon find your heart filling again with melody, for the clouds will pass away! (Charles Naylor)

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away!” Revelation 21:4

Looking to Jesus

“Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity!” Psalm 119:37

Dear friends, do not gaze upon any sin…

for looking breeds longing,

and longing begets lusting,

and lusting brings sinning!

Keep your eyes right — and you may keep your heart right.

If that first woman had not looked upon the forbidden tree and seen “that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise,” she would not have plucked and eaten the forbidden fruit — and we would not have been the children of sin and sorrow!

O friends, if we begin to look upon iniquity, we shall almost certainly fall! There are some sins that we poor, frail creatures cannot endure to look at.

We are as moths near a burning candle — the only safety for us is to get out of the room and fly into the open air. But if we go near the candle — we shall certainly burn our wings and, perhaps, even destroy ourselves!

Just so, we must take care that we do not get used to sin. I believe that even the common reading in the newspapers of accounts of evil things is defiling to us. If we habitually read such things, we shall come, at last, to think less and less of the coarser forms of vice than we ought to do.

Nothing can keep us away from the fangs of sin, like falling into the embraces of Christ. Looking unto Jesus, is the great remedy against looking unto sin!

Turn away my eyes from vanity, my Lord, by filling them full with a vision of Yourself and holding me spellbound with that grandest spectacle that eyes of men, or angels, or even of God, Himself ever saw — the spectacle of God Incarnate bearing our sin in His own body on the Cross!

Keep your eyes fixed there — and all will be well.

(Charles Spurgeon: 1834–1892)

The Green-Eyed Monster

Yesterday morning we thought about the subtle sin of envy – that green-eyed monster, as Shakespeare called it. In his book Respectable Sins, Jerry Bridges warns that a competitive spirit can be a form of envy – an obsession with our own glory and reputation, a selfish need to be better than others. We should strive to be good stewards of what God gives us (1Pet4:10), and diligently do our best (2 Tim 2:15, 1 Cor 9:24) but our motive should be God’s glory not ours, serving others not beating them.

One of the ways we must guard ourselves against this is by watching how we communicate to others – are we stirring up envy and jealousy by boasting of our what we have or have done? Sometimes its not what we say but how we say it that tips it over into boastful envy-inducing language. Social media is a minefield for this sort of thing so we must be careful. It reminded me of a clip by Brian Regan that I shared on the blog some time ago. Envy is no laughing matter but I think humour can be used to make a serious point…

Do we love God’s Word?

“Your Word is completely pure, and Your servant loves it.” Psalm 119:140

Do we love the holiness of the Word? The Word is preached — to beat down sin, and advance holiness. Do we love it for its spirituality and purity?

Many love the Preached Word only for its eloquence and notion. They come to a sermon as to a performance (Ezekiel 33:31,32) or as to a garden to pick flowers — but not to have their lusts subdued or their hearts purified.

These are like a foolish woman who paints her face — but neglects her health!

Do we love the convictions of the Word? Do we love the Word when it comes home to our conscience and shoots its arrows of reproof at our sins? It is the minister’s duty sometimes to reprove. He who can speak smooth words in the pulpit — but does not know how to reprove, is like a sword with a fine handle, but without an edge!

“Rebuke them sharply!” (Titus 2:15).

Dip the nail in oil — reprove in love — but strike the nail home!

Now Christian, when the Word touches on your sin and says, “You are the man!” — do you love the reproof? Can you bless God that “the sword of the Spirit” has divided between you and your lusts? This is indeed a sign of grace, and shows that you are a lover of the Word. A corrupt heart loves the comforts of the Word — but not the reproofs:

“You hate the one who reproves — and despise him who tells the truth!” (Amos 5:10).

“Their eyes flash with fire!” Like venomous creatures that at the least touch, spit poison!

“When they heard these things, they were enraged in their hearts and gnashed their teeth at him!” (Acts 7:54).

When Stephen touched their sins — they were furious and could not endure it.

How shall we know that we love the reproofs of the Word? When we desire to sit under a heart-searching ministry. Who cares for medicines that will not work? A godly man does not choose to sit under a ministry that will not work upon his conscience. When we pray that the Word may meet with our sins. If there is any traitorous lust in our heart — we would have it found out, and executed! We do not want sin covered — but cured! When we can open our heart to the sword of the Word and say, “Lord, smite this sin!”

When we are thankful for a reproof.

“Let a righteous man strike me — it is a kindness; let him rebuke me — it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it.” (Psalm 141:5).

David was glad for a reproof.

Suppose a man were in the mouth of a lion, and another should shoot the lion and save the man — would he not be thankful? Just so, when we are in the mouth of sin, as of a lion, and the minister by a reproof shoots this sin to death — shall we not be thankful? A gracious soul rejoices, when the sharp lance of the Word has pierced his abscess of sin!

He wears a reproof like a jewel on his ear:

“Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.” (Proverbs 25:12).

To conclude, it is convicting preaching which must do the soul good. As a nipping frost prepares for the sweet flowers of spring — so a nipping reproof prepares the soul for comfort!

John MacDuff (1818-1895)

Persevering when there seem no results

This is my first blog for Monyhull and I hope I remember to write because it will give you some insight into the people and situations I work with. First of all I love being a missionary. In the midst of the difficulties and pain of seeing our teenagers reject the gospel and things not going the way I would like, the Lord keeps me going telling me ‘Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men’ Colossians 3:23 it’s when we do all for Him and not necessarily just for those who we are trying to help that we can keep going when there seem to be no results.

So let me just share briefly share with you a little about a family that I have mentioned on facebook – three brothers, well 4 but the youngest is doing well and not been on the street or out of school. Kevin 17, Pierre 16, Gabriel 15. I know these boys and their mother reasonably well having accompanied them for 3 years. I am closest to Pierre – he and even his mother call me his second mother which is a real privilege for me. When I came back from the UK in April 2O16 I started to visit this family again and soon tried to help them in various ways, one of them being buying sweets for the father to sell on the bus so they could have an income. He went out that afternoon to sell what I had bought for him and didn’t come home…he disappeared involving himself in drugs again, living on the street and then ending up in prison. None of these boys is studying so in June their mother, along with them and I went to try and find places in a school for them to study. I asked for much prayer for this on facebook. We went from pillar to post and they are still not studying but hopefully soon. I haven’t given up yet and next week I am going to take them along with their mother to the school where hopefully they have a place.

Let’s just keep praying.

These boys have been on and off the streets for a number of years and have an addiction to certain drugs. Pierre and Gabriel can’t read. Their mother is sometimes unhelpful but other times really wants the boys to study and is willing to sort things out – there is often the attitude here of ‘what’s the point, nothing goes right’ and I can understand it. Life for those who are poor is very hard. But we keep going, keep persevering when it seems there are no results. We keep praying for them and when I go there, share something from God’s word and pray with them. Please keep praying for this family with me and watch on facebook for news.

Thank you for partnering with me in this work. I love these teenagers and love even more speaking of my wonderful Lord to them. He has changed my life and can still change theirs.

Book Review – A time to care

I picked this book up at Word Alive this year, and have taken some time over my holiday to read it. Whilst both my parents are currently relatively well, I am aware that this may not always be the case, and I have found this book really helpful in thinking through some of the issues, both for my own situation, but also in considering others who may be facing this particular life challenge.

Emily Ackerman was a GP, and more recently has suffered chronic illness herself. Alongside this she has been faced with the challenge of caring for her own elderly parents, so she is well qualified to tackle the subject. However, she does not just draw from her own experience, but also from friends whose experiences cover a wide range of issues, recognising that no one situation is the same as another.

I found Emily’s approach refreshing, practical, Biblically based and eminently readable. She makes the point early in the book that this is a situation and challenge that the majority of us are likely to face, and yet there is very little preparation or training. At the end of the book she reminds us that as we have a God given duty and privilege of caring for our elderly parents, so as a church family we should also be caring for the elderly amongst us, and for those parent-carers who are part of our church.

Each chapter deals with a different aspect of parent-care, for example: “Some days I want to scream: Dealing with pressure”; “Why do I feel this way? Working with difficult emotions” and “But I’m so far away! Honouring from afar”. Each chapter ends with some questions to ask yourself to help apply the chapter to your own situation.

I found this book so very useful and would love to lend you my copy – however, I will be keeping it to dip back into it again….and again….and again, as and when I need to! But this is a book that I would recommend to any of us since at some time we are all likely to face this particular challenge in one way or another.