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Showing posts from April, 2010

A Donkey, Old Clothes and Broken Trees

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It was Palm Sunday. A donkey had been enlisted. Jubilant people were waving palm branches and singing. Some might have remembered Zechariah's prophecy. In olden times the Hebrews had seen royalty on such a mount. The Roman occupiers found it laughable.

Hear some of Campbell Morgan's comments on Luke 19:

A procession of old clothes and broken trees! The patrician Roman would have called it distinctly plebeian, and so have dismissed it as unimportant. Jesus came to teach men that the plebeian is the patrician in the Kingdom of God.

And then I watch the entry from the standpoint of the Hebrew rulers, and I do not think their attitude was that of contempt for it. I think rather that they were strangely perturbed. They knew enough of their Scriptures to remember certain things like those I read from Zechariah; they knew some popular movement was on foot; they were afraid they were losing their authority, and they were making up their mind that before the week was over, they would deal…

Unprofitable Servants

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(Taken from The Gospel of Luke by G. Campbell Morgan and comments on Luke 17)

He knew that if men have faith as a grain of mustard seed, that if they have the faith which can remove mountains, there is a danger of pride.

Therefore He said:

"When ye shall have done all the things that are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants.”

This He introduced by a parable of contrast. He said:

"Whom is there of you, having a servant -and the word is doulos, it is a slave-" having a slave plowing or keeping sheep, that will say unto him, when he is come in from the field, Come straightway and sit down to meat," and I will wait on you.

Won't he rather say, Get ready for me, and when I have eaten, then you may eat?

"Doth he thank the servant because he did the things that were commanded?”

With that little parable in mind, let us go back for a moment in Luke's Gospel. In chapter twelve, we read,

"Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps burning; and be ye y…

Violent Entrance

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(Taken from The Gospel of Luke by G. Campbell Morgan)

"That which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God." Luke 16:15

What did He mean by "that which is exalted among men"? In psalm forty-nine we have light on this. It deals with the subject of life conditioned by the passion for wealth. It is well worth careful study. In the course of it the psalmist says of the rich man:

"Though while he lived he blessed his soul (And men praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself), He shall go to the generation of his fathers."

Carefully observe that parenthetical line.

"Men praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.”

That is as true today as ever. We still praise men whom we call successful because they have done good to themselves in heaping up riches. Men will always praise their fellowmen for astute cleverness in amassing money.

Then, in a statement startling for its vivid scorn, He revealed God's attitude to this kind of thing as He said…

What Man Desiring to Build...?

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In Luke 14 Jesus spoke of a man desiring to build and a king desiring to wage war. He likened those situations of counting the cost to that serious deliberation to be undertaken by prospective disciples to His cause. Were they prepared to give up all to follow?

G. Campbell Morgan in his exposition says the following:

When Charles Haddon Spurgeon issued a magazine, he called it, The Sword and Trowel. What made Spurgeon call the magazine that? He selected the title from the story of Nehemiah. But no one supposes that he named a Christian magazine because of the story only, save as he recognized its profounder significance. Nehemiah, and the men who built the walls of the city did so with the sword in one hand, and the trowel in the other. Thus our Lord's illustrations harmonized with the revealed activities of God.

Look again at that interested crowd, attracted, inclined towards Him. He turned and gave them the terms of discipleship, and I believe that He saw on the faces of that crowd…

Little Flock

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(Taken from the exposition of Luke 12:29-34 by G. Campbell Morgan)

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.”

Observe an interesting and vital connection here. Seek ye the Kingdom. It is your Father's pleasure to give you the Kingdom. He will give US what we seek. He will give us all the benefits of the Kingdom, if the passion of our heart is that of seeking it; that Kingdom which His wisdom governs, His power sustains, His love encompasses.

What a comprehensive and revealing word of Jesus this is;

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.”

Supposing, for the sake of argument, a purely and merely literary critic came across that sentence in some new brochure, I can imagine such a critic saying, The person who wrote this, or said this, broke down in his figures of speech. He begins,

"Fear not, little flock."

That is the figure of the shepherd and his sheep. Then He said,

Take Now Thy Son...

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“My Lord God, is that you,
This strange thing must I do;
In taking my dear son unto Moriah,
To have him harshly bound
And flung upon the ground,
A sacrifice consumed with holy fire?”

“Yes friend, that was my voice.
I’m giving you the choice
To render all according to my will.
The child you had from me,
And now I plan to see
If you intend to trust my wisdom still.”

We know the glad outcome,
Young Isaac rescued from
His father’s hand poised high with gleaming blade.
An angel halts the knife:
“Take not the young lad’s life.
Your precious faith in God has been displayed.”

And do we all not yearn
In each our ways to earn
The thrilling blessing of the Lord’s “well done”?
Who knows what test will try
Our mettle bye and bye,
In giving up a treasure, dream or son?

For no delight on earth
May jeopardize the worth
Of growing in the Lord’s love, hour by hour.
Perhaps He may require
That loved thing for the fire,
To give it back in resurrection power.

Mountains Will Fall...

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(Today's entry from Come Ye Apart by J. R. Miller)

Promises and Prophecies

“Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

Matthew 5:18

Christ referred here primarily to the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament. There are thousands of blossoms on the trees in the spring-time that never become fruits; but there are no lost blossoms on the Old Testament tree. The exact fulfillment of prophecy is an irrefutable evidence of Christianity. But the assurance of these words refers also to every promise of the Scripture. Not the smallest of these shall ever fail any one who trusts them. “No word He hath spoken shall ever be broken.” Every pledge God has made He will surely keep. Whenever we find a divine word we may lay hold of it with perfect confidence, and know that we are clinging to a rock that never can be shaken. “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, ne…

Having All We Need?

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This morning at church we were visited by missionary-evangelist Chuck Price of Durham Region, ON. His message was on the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and was intended to kick off a special Missions Conference.

The Commission is bracketed by two statements "All power is given unto me...Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." At the heart of it "Go ye".

He also drew our attention to Jesus' charge in Acts one, "ye shall be witnesses unto me". The emphasis was on being not doing, on exercising the mandate of a believer in one's ordinary travels, pursuits and encounters. Not to wait necessarily for the magical "prang" of ministry delegation in an official capacity. Just to get at it as we have been commanded.

This infers a specific command and calling to the individual; a burden that constrains him in particular; spoken from the heart of Jesus and accepted by the believer through no small portion of trial, ex…

Thrust Out a Little

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(Taken from Through the Bible Day by Day by F. B. Meyer)

New Catchers of Men - This was not their first call, recorded in John 1: 35-42, but another which preceded their appointment to the apostolate.

The Lord always supersedes us. He superseded Peter in his command of the boat, which he had navigated since he was a lad. There is always a testing-point for the soul. Will you surrender the command and let Christ be captain? If so, in the teeth of great difficulties-for fish are not caught generally in the glare of day-he will fill your boat to the water's edge. He does beyond all we asked or thought.

Christ will be in no man's debt. If you lend him your boat, he will return it filled with silver fish. The boats were filled; the upper room was filled with the Holy Spirit; and all Martha's hospitality was well repaid when Lazarus was raised.

At the day of Pentecost, when Peter's net landed 3000 souls, was not our Lord's promise fulfilled? "Thrust out a little" i…

Peter's Reservation

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(Taken from The Gospel of Luke by G. Campbell Morgan)

"Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

What did he (Simon Peter) mean? He meant, Oh, give me up; You called me some weeks ago to follow Thee, and I am back at this business of fishing; give me up, depart from me; I am a sinful man. That was his confession of wrong in going back to fishing. I am a sinful man, O Lord, depart, give me up. You saw me over a year ago, and looked into my eyes, and told me I should be Rock. I have been back home in between, and I have been going on with my fishing, because YOU did not ask me to give it up; but a few weeks ago, You asked me, and I did it; and here I am again, I am back; there is no Rock in me; give me up; I am a sinful man.

Now what did Jesus say? Oh, the infinite music of it. He first said, "Fear not." He said it to that man, that elemental man, great emotional soul; the man who did not seem to have strength to arrive anywhere; and He said it to him, conscious of his…

One Beautiful Sentence

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1 Peter 1:

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

5Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Note: Thanks for that Pete. I do not believe that I can find anywhere else in the Bible a single sentence packed with as much joy and promise.

Ears to Hear

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What should a congregation be hearing when a preacher uses the following text?

Malachi 1:

6 "A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the LORD Almighty. "It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name.
"But you ask, 'How have we shown contempt for your name?'

7 "You place defiled food on my altar.
"But you ask, 'How have we defiled you?'
"By saying that the LORD's table is contemptible. 8 When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the LORD Almighty.

9 "Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?"-says the LORD Almighty.

10 "Oh, that one of you would shut the …

Mercy-Seat

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(Today's entry in Our Daily Homily by F. B. Meyer)

A mercy-seat of pure gold - Exodus 37:6

THIS was the Propitiatory. Beneath it lay the tables of the law, which even Moses had broken, almost as soon as they came into his hands, but which had been renewed. Concealing and covering them lay this golden lid, encrusted with the blood which successive generations of priests sprinkled there on the Great Day of Atonement.

There can be no doubt that this golden slab sets forth our Saviour's obedience unto death. God set Him forth to be "the Propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."

Our Lord's obedience is priceless in the Divine esteem. - What pure gold is among metals, that is His advent to do God's will, in comparison with all other endeavors to do it. It takes the first place, and is of peerless beauty and excellence. "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered."

His obedie…

Restless for the Team

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Sunday mornings come and go. People smile, say hello and wish each other God speed. Consider a word of exhortation or remembrance. Sing some praise choruses which honour and celebrate our Lord. Get the kids in front of some other adults telling them Jesus is wonderful. Jesus is involved.

But I am dissatisfied. Not as a consumer. It is not about personal satiation. I have a Bible. I have a prayer corner. My wife is a woman of faith and fellow traveler. We have a few friends who will consider the Lord with us over the phone, or at a coffee shop or house gathering. We have some glorious worship music. We share our faith and confidence when opportunities arise.

BUT there is this command of scripture to assemble, to worship and to come into agreement. There is a team requirement. Therefore we seek out and lend support to a local assembly. Its good points? A heart and agenda for missions. Jubilant praise. A "full gospel" tradition. Frequent salvation invitations. Meals and support …

He Takes the Poorest Stuff

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Transforming Power


“Simon he surnamed Peter.”

Mark 3:16


In a gallery in Europe are shown, side by side, the first and the last works of a great artist. The first is very rude and most faulty; the last is a masterpiece. The contrast shows the results of long culture and practice.

These two names are like those two pictures. “Simon” shows us the rude fisherman of Galilee, with all his rashness, his ignorance, his imperfectness. “Peter” shows us the apostle of the Acts and the Epistles, the rock firm and secure, the man of great power, before whose Spirit-filled eloquence thousands of proud hearts bow, swayed like the trees of the forest before the tempest; the gentle, tender soul whose words fall like a benediction; the noble martyr witnessing to the death for his Lord. Study the two pictures together to see what grace can do for a man.

It is not hard to take roses, lilies, fuchsias, and all the rarest flowers, and with them make forms of exquisite beauty; but to take weeds, dead grasses, d…

Why Weepest Thou?

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Mary Magdalene had come to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus. It was Sunday morning. She had no idea how she was going to get the stone door opened. She had no idea how to handle her grief. She only knew that she must make the closest connection possible to the Master, for only there might she find some peace, some comfort, some idea for the future.

This was the little woman out of whom Jesus had cast several demons. We do not know what they were. We cannot be certain that she had once been a woman of gross immorality. No matter, through Jesus she had heard and had believed that she was a new creature by faith.

But the stone door is rolled away. The tomb is empty! The Master has been taken.

And Mary weeps. For disappointed hope. For the cowardice of His followers. For the jealousy and envy and pride which had been shown by the fellowship right up to the end. For the hypocrisy and heartlessness of the religion of her age. For the unstoppable oppression of the contemporary powers. For t…

A Cold Spring Field

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Yesterday was an exceptional day. Hilary and I were driving through the Woodstock area to London. Our purpose was to pick up my mother, age 83, from a rehabilitative hospital and to move her to a retirement home to be re-united with my father, age 87. The two have had a very trying month following a serious fall in their home. It appears to family that their days in the old homestead are ended. This brings on a mixture of emotions, but ultimately relief.

I expected that the day would be bitter-sweet, and my wife noted that "emotionally I seemed close to the surface." I told her my thoughts as above and the other issue which had been weighing heavily on each of us for weeks - the prospect of revival for the Christian Church and for our assembly in particular.

Perhaps it has been apparent lately in this blog that I am looking beyond pleasant program in our gatherings to an encounter with the power and cleansing and commissioning of God. In my estimation we must break from the in…

Believers' Meetings

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Recently in preparing for a message, I pulled out an old book long forgotten. It is entitled "Understanding the Anointing" (1983) by Kenneth Hagin Sr.

Early in our experiences in faith we had been fascinated by the "homey" presentation of raw faith and spiritual giftings which he delivered. The part of this book which I found particularly interesting came from a short period of years when Hagin pastored a church. He went on to decades of evangelism, healing by faith and running a Bible school.

Hagin decided to leave the pablum teaching and evangelistic format to evening services designed to appeal to the unchurched with no assurance of a work of Christ in their lives.

The morning service, and there was only one of them per morning, took as much time as the people felt God was portioning. The format was very spontaneous with ample opportunity for personal testimonies and Bible reading (as opposed to sermonizing). Additionally the people would have extensive corporate p…

Revive Us Again

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(Taken from The Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon)

Psalm 85:6,7

Wilt thou not revive us again? Hope here grows almost confident. She feels sure that the Lord will return in all his power to save. We are dead or dying, faint and feeble, God alone can revive us, he has in other times refreshed his people, he is still the same, he will repeat his love. Will he not? Why should he not? We appeal to him --

Wilt thou not? That thy people may rejoice in thee. Thou lovest to see thy children happy with that best of happiness which centres in thyself, therefore revive us, for revival will bring us the utmost joy. The words before us teach us that gratitude has an eye to the giver, even beyond the gift -- thy people may rejoice in thee. Those who were revived would rejoice not only in the new life but in the Lord who was the author of it. Joy in the Lord is the ripest fruit of grace, all revivals and renewals lead up to it. By our possession of it we may estimate our spiritual condition, it is …

Blow Upon Your Own Coal

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(Another letter by Samuel Rutherford)

XXIV. To WILLIAM LIVINGSTONE

Probably one of his Anwoth parishioners.

MY VERY DEAR BROTHER, -- I rejoice to hear that Christ has run away with your young love, and that ye are so early in the morning matched with such a Lord; for a young man is often a dressed lodging for the devil to dwell in. Be humble and thankful for grace; and weigh it not so much by weight, as if it be true. Christ will not cast water on your smoking coal; He never yet put out a dim candle that was lighted at the Sun of Righteousness. I recommend to you prayer and watching over the sins of your youth; for I know that missive letters go between the devil and young blood. Satan has a friend at court in the heart of youth; and there pride, luxury, lust, revenge, forgetfulness of God, are hired as his agents. Happy is your soul if Christ man the house, and take the keys Himself, and command all, as it suiteth Him full well to rule wherever He is. Keep Christ, and entertain Him well…

M'Cheyne from 1840

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Hosea 14:
8 a. O Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols?

Last night I was reading from an old sermon given by Robert Murray M'Cheyne. It was intended as a closing sermon after celebration of communion. The parishioners were reminded of the public confession of the lordship of Jesus which had just been accomplished in the taking of the elements.

No other issue was to capture their allegiance. No idol. Not money, or popularity, or unequal pairing in marriage, or public amusements, or inappropriate friends, or illicit pursuits, or fear of man, or business success, or higher education. Many items on the list were obvious.

But then he mentioned one which came initially as a surprise - our own sanctification. Oh yes, we can be so impressed with our own change of lifestyle, our holy exercises, our seamless church attendance, our reformed tongues, our list of prohibited worldly activities, that we put our sanctified selves on the throne and see Jesus only as an accommodation party. Pride…