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Monday, February 19, 2018

Pray for your pastor…

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.”

The Peter in me

Posted by Gary on March 29, 2012

Matthew 26:56 “Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.”

Peter’s three-time denial of Jesus is as well known as any event in the Bible save the crucifixion and resurrection itself. To be fair to Peter you will note from the passage above that all the disciples forsook Jesus and fled. We tend to rake Peter over the coals for his unfaithfulness and not without justification. Though all the disciples said they would die for Jesus, Peter did distinguish himself and say that even if the rest of them would cave in, he never would:

Matthew 26:33-35 But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” All the disciples said the same thing too.”

Christian, certainly you know that there are many times that you and I are like Peter right? There are times when you and I don’t want others to know that we are one His disciples right? Let me guess, you never do this right? Have there been times when you have had opportunity to speak about Jesus and for Him and you did not for fear of what someone would think about you? Have there been times when Christ’s truth needed to be declared and you kept silent because you  were afraid of others? Are you as willing to have others know you are Christ’s as you are to have them know who your favorite sports team is or who your favorite singer is? Do you declare Him like you do the Yankees, Phillies, Bono or Elvis?

If we are honest we will acknowledge freely that there is much of Peter in us. Let us remember though, that after Pentecost and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Peter and the other Apostles were very different men, bold, brave and faithful. May God by His Spirit make us like them.

Please take a moment to read these thoughts from Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” that I came across this week. They will humble you and challenge you: WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

A shot across the bow

Posted by Gary on December 19, 2011

Proverbs 27:23 “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.”

After coming home last night from evening service and a full day of instructing others in the Word and things of God, I read my devotional for the evening. Some sobering moments as I felt reminded by God that those who call others to examine themselves must be careful to do the same. Is all well between God and you? By His standards? Take some moments now to look to Him, confess any sin you are conscious of and seek His grace to remain on the narrow way. May God give us His grace and keep us in His grace that we will be able to stand before the Son of Man on that last and Great Day:

Luke 21:34-36 ” But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

“Every wise merchant will occasionally hold a stock-taking, when he will cast up his accounts, examine what he has on hand, and ascertain decisively whether his trade is prosperous or declining. Every man who is wise in the kingdom of heaven, will cry, “Search me, O God, and try me”; and he will frequently set apart special seasons for self-examination, to discover whether things are right between God and his soul.

The God whom we worship is a great heart-searcher; and of old His servants knew Him as “the Lord which searches the heart and tries the reins of the children of men.” Let me stir you up in his name to make diligent search and solemn trial of your state, lest you come short of the promised rest. That which every wise man does, that which God himself does with us all, I exhort you to do with yourself this evening.

Let the oldest saint look well to the fundamentals of his piety, for grey heads may cover black hearts: and let not the young professor despise the word of warning, for the greenness of youth may be joined to the rottenness of hypocrisy. Every now and then a cedar falls into our midst. The enemy still continues to sow tares among the wheat.

It is not my aim to introduce doubts and fears into your mind; no, verily, but I shall hope the rather that the rough wind of self-examination may help to drive them away. It is not security, but carnal security, which we would kill; not confidence, but fleshly confidence, which we would overthrow; not peace, but false peace, which we would destroy. By the precious blood of Christ, which was not shed to make you a hypocrite, but that sincere souls might show forth his praise, I beseech you, search and look, lest at the last it be said of you, “Mene, Mene, Tekel: thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.”

(Charles Spurgeon: Morning and Evening December 18 evening reading)

Both!-Ending the dispute between God’s sovereignty and man’s will

Posted by Gary on August 18, 2011

Acts 4:27-28 “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.”

Revelation 2:23  “…and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.”

I have had many discussions and debates with people concerning the issue of God’s sovereignty/predestination and man’s will. The great majority of people seem determined to have one of these prevail at the expense of the other. So which is it? Does God predestine events or do things happen because people make choices according to their wills? Yes!

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Our peace found in the sovereignty and providence of God

Posted by Gary on August 11, 2011

Psalm 103:19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.”

We willingly attribute good, wonderful and large events to the providence of God. But what about hard things? Small things? Are there things outside of God’s control? If there are, let’s eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

My great peace and the real peace of all Christians is in God’s sovereignty and providence. The planets, stars, demons, angels, nations, oceans, people, animals, powers, governments, weather, specks of dust, hairs on the head, all things, are in His sovereign hand and are directed by Him. Do you believe it? I pity you if you don’t. If you do, rest in God’s control of the universe and your life.

We frequently hear persons say of a pleasant or a great event, “What a providence!” while they are silent as to anything which appears less important, or has an unpleasant savor. But, my brethren, the place of the gorse bush on the hill is as fixed as the station of a king, and the dust which is raised by a chariot-wheel is as surely steered by providence as the planet in its orbit. There is as much providence in the creeping of an insect upon a rose leaf as in the marching of an army to ravage a continent. Everything, the most minute as well as the most magnificent, is ordered by the Lord who has prepared his throne in the heavens, whose kingdom ruleth over all. (Charles Spurgeon from the sermon: “Providence As Seen in the Book of Esther”)

God knows those who are seeking Him

Posted by Gary on June 23, 2011

I listened to the sermon “The Bold Prophecy” by Charles Spurgeon the other day and found in it a tremendous encouragement to call on God. Often the devil and our own unbelief discourage us from calling on God. We often think He does not hear, that our feeble seeking is not enough and is in vain. How good to know that God knows those who are seeking Him, more importantly, He knows them that He is drawing to Himself.

Do not be despairing but call on God…

“Do any seek Him?—He says, “I am sought.” Do any find Him?—he says, “I am found.” Is there any preaching of the Gospel?—the Lord declares, “I said, Behold Me, behold Me.” God takes note of it all! Not a prayer is breathed, nor a sigh heaved, nor a note of praise uttered from the heart, but what the Omniscient Lord has noted every thought.

Those eyes which behold microscopic life in the lowest depths of the sea and trace the flight of the condor in its utmost height, spy out the most sorrowful anguish of seeking souls and observes the most elevated joy of souls that find their God! Grace in its beginnings,its growth, its declining, its increasing and its struggles is always under the Divine observation.

At this moment, God’s Omnipresent heart beats in sympathy with all our hearts if we are seeking His love. You have not to advise Him that you are seeking—He perceives your secret thoughts and meets you in your return to Him. “Behold he prays” is God’s immediate expression concerning you if you begin to pray at this hour! If you dart a glance of faith to the Lord Jesus, He will at once yield to you and say, “I am found.” The Lord’s eyes are on the heart which feels His Grace.” Charles Spurgeon from “The Bold Prophecy”

What a salvation!

Posted by Gary on February 15, 2011

“There is therefore now no condemnation.” –Romans 8:1

Come, my soul, think of this. Believing in Jesus, you are actually and effectually cleared from guilt; you are led out of your prison. You are no more in fetters as a bond-slave; you are delivered now from the bondage of the law; you are freed from sin, and can walk at large as a freeman, your Savior’s blood has procured your full discharge. You have a right now to approach your Father’s throne. No flames of vengeance are there to scare you now; no fiery sword; justice cannot smite the innocent. Your disabilities are taken away: you were once unable to see your Father’s face: you can see it now. You could not speak with Him: but now you have access with boldness. Once there was a fear of hell upon you; but you have no fear of it now, for how can there be punishment for the guiltless?

He who believes is not condemned, and cannot be punished. .. All the blessings which you would have had if you had kept the law, and more, are yours, because Christ has kept it for you. All the love and the acceptance which perfect obedience could have obtained of God, belong to you, because Christ was perfectly obedient on your behalf, and has imputed all His merits to your account, that you might be exceedingly rich through Him, who for your sake became exceeding poor. Oh! How great the debt of love and gratitude you owe to your Savior!- Charles Spurgeon

Rest for the conscience

Posted by Gary on February 5, 2011

“But suppose the conscience becomes restless, what are we to do with it? Brothers and Sisters, there is no purging the conscience from dead works except by drawing near to Christ, again! Have any of you Christian people slipped with your feet? Have you dishonored the sacred name you bear? Be ashamed and be confused. Who among us has not much to make him ashamed?

But remember that the Christ who invites the erring sinner before conversion, invites the erring Believer after conversion. Come, all you that labor within your spirits and are heavy laden under a sense of your imperfections—come to Christ, again, today! Where you once found rest in the atoning Sacrifice, you shall find it again!

…You with your intellectual brilliance, come to my Lord, today, and see Him on the tree, and look your doubts away! You with the troubled conscience because of your unworthy walk, come to the Fountain and be washed anew—and let your conscience find rest.”—Charles Spurgeon from “The Christ Given Rest”

Fervency and concentration in prayer

Posted by Gary on January 18, 2011

As a shadow has no power because there is no substance in it, even so that prayer, in which a man’s proper self is not thoroughly present in agonizing earnestness and vehement desire, is utterly ineffectual, for it lacks that which would give it force. “Fervent prayer,” says an old divine, “like a cannon planted at the gates of heaven, makes them fly open.”

The common fault with the most of us is our readiness to yield to distractions. Our thoughts go roving hither and thither, and we make little progress towards our desired end. Like quicksilver our mind will not hold together, but rolls off this way and that. How great an evil this is! It injures us, and what is worse, it insults our God. What should we think of a petitioner, if, while having an audience with a prince, he should be playing with a feather or catching a fly? (Charles Spurgeon: Morning and Evening-January 15 evening)

Need some good news?

Posted by Gary on September 16, 2010

I hope you are reading Charles Spurgeon’s devotional “Morning and Evening”. If you aren’t you are depriving your soul food, help and strength. It is available along with a daily reading from “Faith’s Checkbook” online free here.

I read this the other evening and was comforted by it knowing that I am a sinner. Do you know that you are? Are you concerned about your standing with God? Do you ever wonder if God will receive you because of your sin? Read on.

Luke 15:2 “This Man receives sinners.”

Observe the condescension of this fact. This Man, who towers above all other men, holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners—this Man receives sinners. This Man, who is no other than the eternal God, before whom angels veil their faces—this Man receives sinners. It needs an angel’s tongue to describe such a mighty stoop of love. That any of us should be willing to seek after the lost is nothing wonderful—they are of our own race; but that He, the offended God, against whom the transgression has been committed, should take upon himself the form of a servant, and bear the sin of many, and should then be willing to receive the vilest of the vile, this is marvelous.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »