Hymns from the Past – John Newton Afflictions, Though They Seem Severe

1 Afflictions, though they seem severe,

In mercy oft are sent;

They stopped the prodigal’s career,

And forced him to repent;

Although he no relenting felt

Till he had spent his store;

His stubborn heart began to melt,

When famine pinched him sore.

2 “What have I gained by sin,” he said,

“But hunger, shame and fear?

My father’s house abounds in bread,

Whilst I am starving here.

I’ll go and tell him all I’ve done,

Fall down before his face;

Unworthy to be called his son,

I’ll seek a servant’s place”

3 His father saw him coming back,

He saw, and run, and smiled;

And threw his arms around the neck,

Of his rebellious child.

“Father, I’ve sinned–but O forgive!

I’ve heard enough” he said,

“Rejoice, my house, my son’s alive,

For whom I mourn’d as dead.

4 “Now let the fatted calf be slain,

And spread the news around;

My son was dead but lives again,

Was lost, but now is found.”

‘Tis thus the Lord his love reveals,

To call poor sinners home;

More than a father’s love he feels,

And welcomes all that come.

Friday Travels

Today, beloved brethren, we are driving the last 400 miles of our trip to the next assignment. As most of you know my husband is a traveling Respiratory Therapist, so we go where the hospitals need us. Each assignment can last anywhere from 8 weeks to 9 months. This time we’re heading to Colorado! It’s been a while since we’ve been in the mountains, although the badlands of North Dakota provided an excellent replacement.

This blog was never intended to be my outlet for the blessed life I live. However, every now and then I like to take a moment to invite you into closer fellowship with my family. When we are on the silent two lane highway I get to spend more time reading each of your blogs, and learning from the wisdom and knowledge you all have to offer. Every part of the busy life we live stops when the travel, there’s suddenly time to take it all in.

When we started traveling we were unsaved, and unsure of pretty much everything. Thankfully, due to the incomprehensible grace of God alone, in July 4th of 2015, waiting for corporate housing to come through, we repented of our sins in a hotel in Bismarck, put our faith in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation. Our journey from state to state hasn’t been nearly as exciting as our journey from grace to grace. Sanctification is one of God’s truly amazing graces He gives to His people. The evidence that you are truly saved is not just that you’ve been changed, but that you are continuing to be changed.

Dear friends, if you feel as though you’ve never experienced the new birth of the Christian faith, I implore you to work through your faith with fear and trembling. We must examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. Gods mercy and love are just as real as His hatred of sin, and just nature on judgement day. He is an infinite God, thus when we live a rebellious, law breaking life, sinning against Him, the punishment befitting that crime is infinite. Eternity is real, heaven and hell are real, let us not take lightly that which should concern us the greatest.

As always, my dear, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Thursday Book Review – Ignatius

A couple weeks ago we returned to the Patristic Fathers with a review of Polycarps writings. Both Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch (35-108) were disciples by the Apostle John. Through the original letters written we can see that Polycarp and Ignatius were friends.

When we consider that the earliest copy of Plato’s Tetralogies is over a thousand years past his life, it’s amazing to me that we have such a treasure trove of the early church writers. This is our history, brethren, and it’s a wonderful thing to have! The Epistle of Ignatius is a short, fantastic book for any believer who wants to look more into the early church. It’s in the public domain, so it’s available in a Kindle version, audio version, pdf version, and of course the good old fashion paper back.

I pray you’ll be blessed by this book, dear friends, as I was. And as always beloved brethren be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – Gods Not Perfect

Hello, beloved! I think I’ve previously discussed Gods sovereignty, but this is something I heard over the holiday and wanted to address. It’s the idea that Gods not sovereign because He listened to Abraham and Moses tell Him to change His plans.

There’s an easy answer to this, the obvious one that God already knew they would question Him. Some call these points in the Bible a test for Abraham and Moses, and for them it probably was. But for me, as a believer in shock that the God of the universe, who upholds all things, looked down on a wretched sinner like myself, and saved me, here in these two verses I see mercy.

Abraham questioned the Lord about whether or not He would destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if there were a certain amount of righteous people in it. Moses asked God not to destroy the Israelites after they made the golden caff. Both times, to those who want to believe God is fallible like man, it can appear that God took counsel from man and changed His mind. This contradicts so many scriptures that I could do a full two month series on just this subject. Instead I’ll just remind you, dear brethren, of the law of noncontradiction. If the scripture and your interpretation of it is in conflict the issue is with your interpretation not Gods Word.

How was this an act of mercy? God could have destroyed both Abraham and Moses on the spot for questioning Him. Instead He not only allowed them to live, He allowed them to speak. This is encouraging to me, as I never feel as though I have the right to come before the King of Kings throne. It’s always an honor and a privilege to talk to Him in prayer. Although what I deserve is eternal damnation, He has had mercy on me, a wretched sinner.

Beloved friends, I need not tell you that a God who is imperfect is not a god at all. If your god makes mistakes than he is not the God of the Bible. We love to make gods in our own imagine. But there is only one true, trustworthy, God! The rock of ages! And only this God can save. Work through your salvation through fear and trembling, examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. And as always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Wednesday Testimony – Leonard Ravenhill 

This short video below does an excellent job depicting Leonard Ravenhills conversion and life. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a conversion story in Ravenhills own words, if you know where one is I would be blessed to hear of it. I realize Ravenhill was an Armenian. I think perhaps it’s like the Armenian leaning brothers and sisters that love a good Spurgeon sermon, as a Calvinistic leaning believer I do love a good Ravenhill sermon. Am I the only one? As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Greg Bahnsen Explains Evolution

In this video, beloved, brother Greg Bahnsen (who has gone home to the Celestial City) gives the best explanation for the origins of evolution . I pray it will be as much of a blessing to you as it was to me. As always, dear brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Thursday Book Review – The Letter to the Philippians

Beloved, let’s go way back for this week and nexts weeks book review. There’s a particular joy I get from reading the writings of men who sat under Apostolic teaching. I’m not referring to the nonsense today from vain men who claim to be ‘Apostles’. As brother Justin Peters likes to say “that jobs been filled”. These men are the Patristic Fathers, Polycarp of Smyrna, in particular, is who I want to talk about today.

Polycarp (69 – 155) was disciples specifically by John. He was friends with Ignatius, whose work we’ll review next Thursday.

Throughout his letter multiple verses from the New Testament are quoted. In fact, it’s been said that you could reconstruct the entirety of the New Testament with the quotes in the Patristic writings. This is fantastic news for the believer who has been questioned on the validity of the Bible. It wasn’t put together hundreds of years after the fact by a counsel. It was widely spread throughout the body of believers, however later heresies would cause a counsel to gather and make clear their stance on what was canonical and what was not.

This letter from Polycarp is short, but a wonderful connection for Christians to their historical roots. Church history doesn’t die with John only to be reborn with Luther. True, converted, believers can be seen fighting heresies throughout history, often times being martyred for their defense of the Gospel. Polycarp, himself, was martyred for his faith.

Another important thing we see repeated in the Patristic writings is the historical form of church service. Polycarp gives brief descriptions of how they fellowshipped, as does Justin the Martyr . Although we have to remember that these writings are not Holy Spirit inspired, they are written by the brethren who came before us. They gave their lives for the truth, that we are saved by Gods grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. I recommend this book to all believers, and history lovers. It’s a great resource for homeschooling families as well. It’s in the public domain, so it can be read as a free pdf, audio book, or a fairly inexpensive kindle version. It would also make a wonderful gift this season for any of your Pastors.

Grace and peace to you, beloved brethren! As always, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.