Posted by Gary on July 10, 2015
I am grateful to shepherd a church family that loves me and my family and that most of all prays for me. There is no greater privilege in all the world than to be a pastor as it has been said, “If you are called to preach the gospel, don’t stoop to be a king”. Any pastor who knows himself with any degree of honesty knows that he is not sufficient for what God has called him to do and be (2 Corinthians 2:16). Don’t take this as whining, but I will say also that God’s ministers are the special target of Satan. How well I know that it is only the grace of God that has kept me a pastor. We all need to be prayed for and that includes pastors, perhaps especially pastors.
Take a moment today and pray for your pastor would you? Pray that he would grow in his love for God. Pray that God would make real in his heart and mind the many truths that he knows in his head and preaches to his people. Pray that God would make him strong in the midst of temptations and discouragements. Pray that he would love his wife like Christ does the Church. Pray that he would take seriously his responsibility to love and lead his children to Christ. Pray that he would be courageous and bold. Pray that God’s priorities would be his priorities. Pray that God would bless his labors and that it would always be God’s glory that he seeks and not his own.
Here are some thoughts from Charles Spurgeon on the urgency of prayer for pastors:
“Brothers, pray for us!” (I Thessalonians 5:25)
Today I want to remind you about the importance of praying for your ministers. In the most earnest way that I can I ask every Christian household to grant this request of the Apostle Paul on behalf of every minister of the Gospel.
Brothers, the fact is that our work affects the eternal benefit or curse of many; the souls of men are our eternal business. A very heavy responsibility rests upon us, and we strive to be innocent of the blood of all men.
As officers in Christ’s army, we are the special point of attack of those who hate Christ. They watch for us to fall, and work to trip us up in any way they can. Our sacred calling requires us to endure certain temptations from which most are exempt. We see some go back into a life of sin, and we see millions dying without Christ. We long to be useful both to saints and sinners.
And so, we ask you, pray for us! Your spiritual blessings come from God, and not from us; and yet, how many times has He given those blessings through His ministers. In our behalf, please pray that we may be the humble jars of clay into which the Lord may put the treasure of the gospel. On behalf of all those who are called to minister the Gospel today, I ask You to “Pray for us.”
Posted by Gary on July 31, 2014
…if we love someone, but do not love God, we demand total perfection and righteousness from that person, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; yet we are demanding of a human being something which he or she cannot possibly give. There is only one Being who can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. (Oswald Chambers: My Utmost for His Highest July 30)
Posted by Gary on July 28, 2011
In my research about Glenn Beck and his “Restoring Courage” event I came across an article by Moshe Feiglin posted in the Jewish Press. It was very interesting to me that Mr. Feiglin, who is Jewish seems to get something that I am afraid many Christians do not. It may be that Mr. Feiglin is not aware that historic Christianity considers Mormonism a heresy and a cult but this aside, Feiglin understands that there is something underneath Glenn Beck’s support of Israel that must not be obscured by his good intentions.
Would that more Christians were as discerning and concerned about Glenn Beck’s religious doctrines but alas, we don’t seem to care. So what if Glenn Beck believes that God was once a man who became God, that Jesus is a lesser god and that we too can become gods, he’s a conservative and wants to restore America to 1776 or at least to 1952 and that’s all that matters.
Mr. Feiglin seems to be concerned that Glenn Beck would seek to turn Israel to Christianity. My concern is that Beck is not a Christian himself and would have us believe that who God is doesn’t ultimately matter as long as we accomplish certain earthly, moral causes. Glenn Beck teaches us that all faiths can truly claim to have God and call on him, this simply put is idolatry not truth.
Moshe Feiglin and I are from different faiths. The differences between our beliefs are uncompromisable and have eternal consequences. Yet, there is something we can both see, there is something underneath Glenn Beck’s moral activities that must not be ignored.
Here is an excerpt from Feiglin’s article:
WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by Gary on January 5, 2011
I read this tonight from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening. it was comforting to me and I hope it will be to one who may come across this post:
Pleasant it is to the believer to know that God’s eye is thus tenderly observant of that work of grace which He has begun. He never loses sight of the treasure which He has placed in our earthen vessels. Sometimes we cannot see the light, but God always sees the light, and that is much better than our seeing it. Better for the judge to see my innocence than for me to think I see it. It is very comfortable for me to know that I am one of God’s people—but whether I know it or not, if the Lord knows it, I am still safe. This is the foundation, “The Lord knoweth them that are His.”
You may be sighing and groaning because of inbred sin, and mourning over your darkness, yet the Lord sees “light” in your heart, for He has put it there, and all the cloudiness and gloom of your soul cannot conceal your light from His gracious eye. You may have sunk low in despondency, and even despair; but if your soul has any longing towards Christ, and if you are seeking to rest in His finished work, God sees the “light.” He not only sees it, but He also preserves it in you. “I, the Lord, do keep it.” This is a precious thought to those who, after anxious watching and guarding of themselves, feel their own powerlessness to do so. The light thus preserved by His grace, He will one day develop into the splendor of noonday, and the fullness of glory. The light within is the dawn of the eternal day. (Charles Spurgeon-Morning & Evening January 5 Evening Reading)
Posted by Gary on January 29, 2010
Titus 2:14 “who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
From J.C. Ryle’s sermon on zeal:
“Zeal in religion is a burning desire to please God, to do His will, and to advance His glory in the world in every possible way. It is a desire which no man feels by nature—which the Spirit puts into the heart of every believer when he is converted—but which some believers feel so much more strongly than others, that they alone deserve to be called zealous men.
This desire is so strong when it really reigns in a man, that it impels him to make any sacrifice—to go through any trouble, to deny himself to any amount—to suffer, to work, to labor, to toil—to spend himself and be spent, and even to die—if only he can please God and honor Christ.
A zealous man is pre-eminently a man of one thing. It is not enough to say that he is earnest, hearty, uncompromising, thorough-going, whole-hearted, fervent in spirit. He only sees one thing—he cares for one thing—he lives for one thing—he is swallowed up in one thing—and that one thing is to please God.
Whether he lives—or whether he dies; whether he has health—or whether he has sickness; whether he is rich—or whether he is poor; whether he pleases man—or whether he gives offence; whether he is thought wise—or whether he is thought foolish; whether he gets blame—or whether he gets praise; whether he gets honor—or whether he gets shame—for all this, the zealous man cares nothing at all. He burns for one thing, and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God’s glory. If he is consumed in the very burning, he is not worried—he is content.
—J.C. Ryle from “Be Zealous”
Sound like you?
Posted by Gary on November 13, 2009
With all our attention on the Swine Flu and the simple truth that one in four people will have cancer in their lifetime you would hope that we would all be doing some thinking.
The sad truth is that the fall of Adam has left us with hearts that by nature do not want to hear from God, to hear His word of warning of the judgment to come and even more sadly, unwilling to hear about His terms of peace through the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son, the Lord Jesus.
We can refuse to go to church, turn off the television or radio as one of God’s messengers preaches or avoid the Christian in our work place or neighborhood but there is one messenger that God has that cannot be denied or ignored, sickness.
God will have His hearing and while every illness is not the direct result of sin, every illness preaches a sermon…sooner or later you and I are going to die and stand before the judgment seat of the holy God who made us. Are we ready to meet Him? Are we forgiven or still in our sins?
J.C. Ryle in his sermon, Christ in the Sick Room holds before us nine lessons that sickness teaches us. Won’t you do your soul some good today and read them and think? Maybe you’ll be moved to get serious about things and read the whole sermon. Wouldn’t it be something if we turned off the television, hung up the phone and put down the worthless books that we seem to have time for that do no good for our souls to read something that bears a message for our good? If you are not sick now, you will be soon and some day not so long from now with an illness that two aspirin and a call to the doctor will not remove. Take some moments now for Bishop Ryle:
I do not say that sickness always does good. Alas! We ministers know to our sorrow that it frequently does no good at all. Too often we see men and women, after recovering from a long and dangerous illness, more hardened and irreligious than they were before. Too often they return to the world, if not to sin, with more eagerness and zest than ever; and the impressions made on their conscience in the hour of sickness are swept away like children’s writing on the sand of the sea-shore when the tide flows.
But I do say that sickness ought to do us good. And I do say that God sends it in order to do us good. It is a friendly letter from heaven. It is a knock at the door of conscience. It is the voice of the Savior asking to be let in. Happy is he who opens the letter and reads it, who hears the knock and opens the door, who welcomes Christ to the sick room. Come now, and let me plead with you a little about this, and show you a few of the lessons which He by sickness would teach us.
1. Sickness is meant to make us think—to remind us that we have a soul as well as a body—an immortal soul—a soul that will live forever in happiness or in misery—and that if this soul is not saved we had better never have been born.
2. Sickness is meant to teach us that there is a world beyond the grave—and that the world we now live in is only a training-place for another dwelling, where there will be no decay, no sorrow, no tears, no misery, and no sin.
3. Sickness is meant to make us look at our past lives honestly, fairly, and conscientiously. Am I ready for my great change if I should not get better? Do I repent truly of my sins? Are my sins forgiven and washed away in Christ’s blood? Am I prepared to meet God?
4. Sickness is meant to make us see the emptiness of the world and its utter inability to satisfy the highest and deepest needs of the soul.
5. Sickness is meant to send us to our Bibles. That blessed Book, in the days of health, is too often left on the shelf, becomes the safest place in which to put a bank-note, and is never opened from January to December. But sickness often brings it down from the shelf and throws new light on its pages.
WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by Gary on February 26, 2009
I regularly read from a book of quotations from Charles Spurgeon. I come back to this book over and over and am always challenged, encouraged and reminded of the hope of my calling. Here are few gems.
“My mother said to me once, after she had long prayed for me and had come to the conviction that I was hopeless, ‘My son, if at the last great day you are condemned, remember that your mother will say “Amen” to your condemnation.’ That stung me to the quick.”
“It is shocking to reflect that a change in the weather has more effect on some men’s lives than the dread alternative of heaven or hell.”
“When men talk of a little hell, it is because they think they have only a little sin, and they believe in a little Savior. But when you get a great sense of sin, you want a great Savior, and feel that if you don’t have Him, you will fall into a great destruction, and suffer a great punishment at the hands of the great God.”
Posted by Gary on January 17, 2009
Some thoughts from Pastor Charles Spurgeon on the fact that God chooses those who are saved…
John 15:16 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you."
“Whatever may be said about the doctrine of election, it is written in the Word of God as with an iron pen, and there is no getting rid of it. To me, it is one of the sweetest and most blessed truths in the whole of revelation, and those who are afraid of it are so because they do not understand it. If they could but know that the Lord had chosen them, it would make their hearts dance for joy.”
“Some say, ‘It is unfair for God to choose some and leave others’. Now I will ask you one question: Is there any of you here who wishes to be holy, who wishes to be born again, to leave off sin and walk in holiness? ‘Yes, there is,’ says someone. ‘I do!’ Then God has elected you.
But another says, ‘No, I don’t want to be holy; I don’t want to give up my lusts and my vices.’ Why should you grumble, then, that God has not elected you? For if you were elected, you would not like it according to your own confession.”
“I believe in divine election , because somebody must have the supreme will in this matter, and man’s will must not occupy the throne, but the will of God.”
“Is your heart resting upon Jesus Christ? Does it meditate upon divine things? Is your heart a humble heart? Are you constrained to ascribe all to sovereign grace? Do you desire holiness? Do you find your pleasure in it? Does your heart ascribe praises to God? Is it a grateful heart? And is it a heart that is wholly fixed upon God, desiring never to go astray? If it be, then you have the marks of election.”
Posted by Gary on July 26, 2007
I’m no deist. I’m a Christian who believes strongly in an active, loving God. Yet as C.S. Lewis insisted, Aslan is “not a tame lion.” God answered Job’s complaint of suffering not by denying it, but by His majesty and transcendence. God did not place us in a toy world, with all the sharp edges smoothed. Rather, along with the pleasant, He designed a world containing real physical danger: tigers with claws, and remarkable parasites with sophisticated molecular technology. We Christians should expect to suffer in this life and, much worse, to witness those dear to us suffer. Yet our faith assures us that through the mystery of suffering with Christ, God will draw out much good. (Biochemist Michael Behe, quoted from World Magazine July 21, 2007)
Posted by Gary on January 9, 2007
There is a great danger that accompanies the privilege of standing before people to preach and teach on a weekly basis. The pitfall I am referring to is pride, how great is our tendency to think highly of ourselves and to begin to think that we are something in and of ourselves. The pastor is a man who needs to keep a great watch over himself in regard to this matter. A microphone, multiple ears and compliments added to our sinful nature can have a disastrous effect. Thinking about these things brought to mind a series of quotes from Charles Spurgeon:
“Our God takes care always to have security that, if He works a great work by us, we shall not appropriate the glory of it to ourselves. He brings us down lower and lower in our own esteem…Some trumpets are so stuffed with self that God cannot blow through them.”
“You may rest quite certain that, if God honors any man in public, He takes him aside privately, and flogs him well, otherwise he would get elevated and proud, and God will not have that.”
“Many a man has been elevated until his brain has grown dizzy, and he has fallen to his destruction. He who is to made to stand securely in a high place has need to be put through sharp affliction. More men are destroyed by prosperity and success than by affliction and apparent failure.” (Quoted in Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism: The Battle for Gospel Preaching. Iain Murray p. 18).