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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Just so you know

Posted by Gary on November 23, 2010

imageThanksgiving is almost upon us and I wonder how many of us know about the pilgrims who came to the new world and eventually celebrated the first Thanksgiving?

In particular, how many know of the faith and Godliness of the pilgrims and what brought them here?

When we speak of our country’s origins we seem determined to go back to 1776 and no further but this is a tragic mistake. Then there are history’s revisionists would have us believe that the freedom of religion that the pilgrims sought in the new world was the freedom for people to worship whatever god or gods their hearts and minds might imagine. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Will we let the pilgrims speak for themselves? They will tell us why they came in the Compact they drafted upon their arrival:

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

You need to read-John Bunyan’s Holy War

Posted by Gary on December 18, 2008

The <span class="highlight">Holy</span> <span class="highlight">War</span>

I have found another treasure. I have related in other posts how God brought John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” into my life and has used it to help me more than any other book except the Bible.

Having read Pilgrim’s Progress, I later came across another of Bunyan’s books entitled, “The Holy War”. It is another allegory, meaning that it is a story with people, places and events that all signify something spiritual. A person’s name for example will teach you something, like “Hopeful” or the town named, “Vanity Fair” from Pilgrim’s Progress.

I have had the Holy War for some time and even started it a few years ago. I thought it was pretty good but found I could put it down which I could not do with Pilgrim’s Progress.

I recently found myself in need to decide about something to read to my children (having recently finished “Little Pilgrim’s Progress”). I thought I might try the Holy War but wondered about the antiquated English. I knew I would have to “translate” on the fly and wondered if the story would hold their interest.

The story is about a great king named “Shaddai” (Genesis 17:1-Shaddai meaning “Almighty”). Shaddai builds a city which He names, “Mansoul”. The town of Mansoul is approached by an enemy of the King’s named “Diablous” who entices the town to surrender itself to him. Diablous lies about the great king Shaddai and makes many promises to the people of the town, primarily that they will be able to govern themselves and choose their own life as opposed to being under the restrictive, oppressive rules (so he lied and said) of King Shaddai.

The story tells of King Shaddai’s determination to take back his beloved town of Mansoul. The town of Mansoul has five gates one for example is the Eye Gate, another the Ear Gate (you can ponder the importance of these). Under Shaddai the town was governed by powerful leaders like Mr. Understanding and Mr. Conscience but now these men are given to the influence and power of Diablous.

The King sends threats of war to retake the town. His threats (and offers of mercy) are extended through Captain Conviction and Captain Execution. But the townspeople refuse to listen (Diablous all the while stirring them up in their resistance against King Shaddai).

Eventually King Shaddai decides to send His Son, Prince Emmanuel to wage war and win back the town of Mansoul.

My friends, there is much more to say. I will post further on some particulars but I will stop now and urge you to read the Holy War. You can read it online here or buy it here for an amazing $4.99 (How is it that true treasure in Christian books can be bought for nothing and are found in bargain bins? I’m glad in one way but it is tragic revealer of where we are when gems are sold for pennies and heresy and trash are given the prominent place in our Christian bookstores and their prices would lead us to think that something very faithful and helpful is contained within).

I don’t know what you’re reading right now but I would suggest that the next book you read be the Holy War. You will need to take your time. You will have to do some God guided thinking or you will miss much of the treasure, stop and consider every name and every event carefully. I guarantee you that a humble, determined reading of this book will be food for your soul.

(I will relate that recently my in-laws were with us for a visit and one evening I was reading aloud to my children and my father-in-law idled over to the living room listening. He eventually sat down next to me to listen. When I stated at a certain point that I was going to stop for the night my children moaned in unhappiness and asked for more. My father-in-law then sincerely said, “Yes, read some more” and I did).

What about this debt (part 2)-Sin our worst debt

Posted by Gary on October 2, 2008

I cannot more highly recommend that you make time to read "The Lord’s Prayer" by Thomas Watson. If you recognize that your soul needs food (meat and not milk) you can do no better outside Scripture itself. Don’t be intimidated by the fact that Watson is a puritan, he is very readable. By the way, you can read the Lord’s Prayer online at CCEL (note that links to navigate through the book by petition are in the left column).

I have been struck (and would like to strike you also) with the fact that obedience is something we owe to God. I know we don’t like the idea of a God who says we owe Him something but He has said it and we may deny it (as many are) but we do so to our destruction in this life and damnation in the next.

To not obey God is to be in debt to Him and how thankful we should be that He is a God who will forgive those who are indebted to Him and has taught us to pray to Him for this forgiveness "Forgive us our debts…"  Watson lists five reasons why sin is the worst debt (excerpted):

In what sense is sin the worst debt?

(1) Because we have nothing to pay. If we could pay the debt, what need to pray, ‘forgive us’? We cannot say, as he in the gospel, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all;’ we can pay neither principal nor interest. Adam made us all bankrupts… We have nothing to pay; all our duties are mixed with sin, and so we cannot pay God in current coin.

(2) Sin is the worst debt, because it is against an infinite majesty. An offence against the person of a king, is crimen laesae majestatis [the crime of high treason], it enhances and aggravates the crime. Sin wrongs God, and so is an infinite offence…The sinner would not only unthrone God, but ungod him, which makes the debt infinite.

(3) Sin is the worst debt, because it is not a single, but a multiplied debt. Forgive us ‘our debts;’ we have debt upon debt… We may as well reckon all the drops in the sea, as reckon all our spiritual debts; we cannot tell how much we owe. A man may know his other debts, but he cannot number his spiritual debts. Every vain thought is a sin. ‘The thought of foolishness is sin.’ Proverbs 24: 9. And what swarms of vain thoughts have we! The first rising of corruption, though it never blossom into outward act, is a sin; then, ‘who can understand his errors?’ We do not know how much we owe to God.

(4) Sin is the worst debt; because it is an inexcusable debt in two respects; (a)There is no denying the debt. Other debts men may deny. If the money be not paid before witnesses, or if the creditor lose the bond, the debtor may say he owes him nothing; but there is no denying the debt of sin. If we say we have no sin, God can prove the debt. ‘I will set [thy sins] in order before thine eyes.’ Psalm 50: 21. God writes down our debts in his book of remembrance, and his book, and the book of conscience exactly agree: so that the debt cannot be denied.

(b) There is no shifting off the debt. Other debts may be shifted off. We may get friends to pay them, but neither man nor angel can pay this debt for us. If all the angels in heaven should make a purse, they cannot pay one of our debts. In other debts men may get a protection, so that none can touch their persons, or sue them for it; but who shall give us a protection from God’s justice? ‘There is none that can deliver out of thine hand.’ Job 10: 7. Indeed, the Pope pretends that his pardon shall be men’s protection, and God’s justice shall not sue them: but that is a forgery, and cannot be pleaded at God’s tribunal. Other debts, if the debtor dies in prison, cannot be recovered: death frees him from debt; but if we die in debt to God, he knows how to recover it. As long as we have souls to distrain on, God will not lose his debt. Not the death of the debtor, but the death of the *Surety, pays a sinner’s debt. In other debts men may flee from their creditor, leave their country, and go into foreign parts, and the creditor cannot find them; but we cannot flee from God. He knows where to find all his debtors. ‘Whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy right hand shall hold me.’ Psalm 139: 7, 9, 10.

*Surety-one who makes good the debt of another

(5) Sin is the worst debt, because it carries men, in case of non-payment, to a worse prison than any upon earth, even to a fiery prison; and the sinner is laid in worse chains, chains of darkness, where he is bound under wrath for ever.

Thomas Watson on the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer

May God grant us to understand and acknowledge the truth that we do not exist for ourselves but for Him. That He made us to honor Him through our lives and that we "owe it" to God to live obediently. May He grant us to see our great debt to Him that we may seek His forgiveness. God’s Son Jesus, stepped in and paid our debt and because of Him we can pray, "Forgive us our debts…".

What about this debt?

Posted by Gary on September 29, 2008

The whole world is watching the United States to see what will happen concerning our financial woes. At the heart of our financial problem is the fact that many people cannot pay what they owe. Lending institutions have loaned money that they will not receive back, debts are owed but are not paid. The debt of credit was incurred but payment is not being made.

In all our fear of bankruptcy it is apparent that we do not see that we are already bankrupt spiritually and in our relationship with God. We are so worried about our money and lives in this world that we do not see that we are spiritual paupers and have no hope for the world to come which will last forever.  The riches of this world are all we are concerned about, do we not know about being rich toward God?:

Luke 12:16-21 "And He told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man was very productive. "And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ "Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. ‘And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."’ "But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ "So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

I recently pulled from one of my shelves Thomas Watson on "The Lord’s Prayer’. I was thinking about my need of forgiveness and turned to Watson’s thoughts on the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, "Forgive us our debts". Many of us may be more familiar with "forgive us our trespasses" though the words may be different, the meaning is not.

Watson powerfully and faithfully holds forth the Biblical truth that sin is a debt:

"Why is sin called a debt? Because it fitly resembles it. (1) A debt arises upon non-payment of money, or the not paying that which is one’s due. We owe to God exact obedience, and not paying what is due, we are in debt. (2) In case of non-payment, the debtor goes to prison; so, by our sin, we become guilty, and are exposed to God’s curse of damnation. Though He grants a sinner a reprieve for a time, yet he remains bound to eternal death if the debt be not forgiven." (Watson, "The Lord’s Prayer" commenting on the fifth petition)

Truth be known, we think God and His universe revolve around us. Do any of us really think that we "owe" God obedience? Do we view our sin as our refusal to pay Him the obedience He claims is His rightful due? We can’t stand a God like this (and therefore can’t stand the One, true, God). The God we believe in revolves around us, we feel He owes us quite a bit and most of all, He doesn’t demand obedience. Insistence on obedience we say isn’t loving, it is harshness, it is the thing that fathers (whom we have rejected) insist on. The God most believe in is a god who wants nothing more than for you and me to be happy and happy for us of course is doing whatever comes to our minds or stimulates our emotions and body.

America, we have a debt that we are not even thinking about and the consequences of not paying it are incalculably worse than the collapse of wall street or even a depression. Do you believe you owe God obedience? If so, you know you are in debt. What will you do?

Colossians 2:13-14 "When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."