Sunday Hymns – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

1 Hark! the herald angels sing,

“Glory to the newborn King:

peace on earth, and mercy mild,

God and sinners reconciled!”

Joyful, all ye nations, rise,

join the triumph of the skies;

with th’angelic hosts proclaim,

“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Refrain:

Hark! the herald angels sing,

“Glory to the newborn King”

2 Christ, by highest heaven adored,

Christ, the everlasting Lord,

late in time behold him come,

offspring of the Virgin’s womb:

veiled in flesh the Godhead see;

hail th’incarnate Deity,

pleased with us in flesh to dwell,

Jesus, our Immanuel. [Refrain]

3 Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!

Hail the Sun of Righteousness!

Light and life to all he brings,

risen with healing in his wings.

Mild he lays his glory by,

born that we no more may die,

born to raise us from the earth,

born to give us second birth. [Refrain]

By Charles Wesley

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Wednesday Testimony- John Owens and the Country Preacher

Beloved, we all enjoy a good testimony, the kind that brings tears to our eyes as we see all the ways Gods grace can change a cold heart of stone. John Owens (1616-1683) conversion has a special kind of sweetness to it.

Owens, having achieved his Masters by the age of 19, is beyond a doubt one of the most intelligent men to lead Gods sheep. However, it was not until he was 26 that he had a moment where he felt assurance of his salvation. This is the main point I’d like to share with you all. Owens, the Puritan giant, was going to see a well known preacher with his cousin in 1642. That preacher was not there that morning, so a country preacher had been brought in. A no name. In fact, Owens never recalls that mans name. He did, however, recall that the message was on Matthew 8:26.

Owens was forever changed that morning as the faith he taught others became a reality in his own life. Assurance of salvation is a beautiful thing, it can carry you through the roughest seasons of your life. I want to encourage you today, beloved, that you can make a greater difference than you imagine. The man who changed Owens life was a country preacher with a tiny flock. He was faithful to Gods Word, and through his obedience God was able to use him. Often our weakness is Gods strength in this darkened world. Continue in obedience, dear brethren!

I have one last thought, beloved. Why do you have assurance? When I sin I often have the doubtful thoughts that my faith is false. Then I remember the chains of sin that have been broken. I was so held down by my wretched flesh before salvation that I rarely had a minutes rest. The night I cried out to God for forgiveness, that changed. I woke up the next day and everything was new. My friend, if you are still bound to the sin you love, please work through your salvation with fear and trembling. A true convert to Christianity can and will sin, but we hate that sin. It is vomit to us. The things we once hated, like fellowship, prayer, and Gods Word, we now love. If that’s not a reality in your life, please humble your heart and cry out to God.

My beloved brethren, I hope you are encouraged by the conversion of John Owens and the simple instrument God used in his life. As always, dearest friends, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – Just Another Deity

Beloved brethren, this Twisted Tuesday might be better known as twisting history rather then twisting scripture. Although the idea I want to address here is a clear attack on God’s sovereign Word, it’s definitely refuted by historical facts as well as Biblical truth and good old fashion logic. We’ll take it in three parts.

There is this idea, usually proliferated within the atheistic community, that Jesus Christ was just another deity of legend. That his virgin birth was just like other legends, where virgins give birth to gods. Many will even claim that Jesus never lived, that he’s a myth. They’ll list all the legends and false gods with stories that are similar to Christ’s. Ordinarily these lists are filled with factual errors, and I know there are scholars out there who have done a tremendous job detailing those. I’m just going to write a basic overview to encourage you, beloved, in case you come across this attack.

Let’s deal with the Biblical truth first, as everything else makes more since when looked at through the lens of truth. Most of you know I am a young earth creationist, which means I believe in a literal 6 day creation somewhere from 6 thousand to 10 thousand years ago. I take what the Bible says very seriously, and believe when God says there was a morning and an evening on day one that He means just that. We don’t suggest that Israelites walked around Jericho for thousands of years, we know the word day means day. Those are the same Hebrew words, which means to twist Genesis to mean large periods of time, we would have to twist a lot of other portions of Gods Word just to be consistent. That’s a different Twisted Tuesday, sorry friends, all that is to say that I believe ‘In the beginning’ was the actual beginning.

Why is that important? In the garden, when Adam and Eve fell, God laid out His plan for a virgin birth. When God said ‘her seed’ He was letting them know He wouldn’t be a man born with an earthly father. This means that from the very start of humanity stories of a virgin birth would have been told, passed down, and yes eventually made their way into varies cultures after Babel.

Historically, the idea that Jesus was just a legend is laughable. There’s more evidence for Christ living than the Caesar who ruled while Christ died on the cross for our sins. The fact that Jesus of Nazareth really lived the life the Bible depicts is verified by all respected secular historians. I think this twist in history was really just a lie started and spread by folks who hate God, and don’t want to do their research. They want Christ to not exist, they see the light He brought into the world, but love the darkness more.

The last thing I want to say is that logic can really clear many twists up, whether they be in scripture or in history. Logically, the first lesson the first parents on earth would have taught their kiddos is that they were disobedient and all mankind fell. They would have told their children of Gods plan, of the seed of the woman that will bruise the head of the serpent. They would have told their kids and so forth and so on. We can follow the line of the Godly men and women who kept the truth, and we can see historically the ones who took that truth and twisted.

The most important thing, dear ones, for you to take from this post is that the issue for the nonbelievers is not whether or not Christ lived. It’s not whether or not Christ was the only virgin birth ‘legend’. The issue is that they love their sin, and they don’t want to be accountable to God. It’s so easy to get caught up in endless arguments with atheists about these types of things, I know, it happens to me all the time, but it’s important that we bring it back to the Gospel. If we can remember what it was like before we were saved by the grace of God, we might be able to look at the lost as they truly are, blind. I pray for you all, I hope that you will all be encouraged and emboldened today to share the Gospel with the lost. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

The Difference

We live in a culture, beloved, where being different is celebrated, so long as you’re not set apart for God. In the West, at least, we see that if you are a young woman who wants to grow out their armpit hair and dye it lime green, your congratulated on being so bold. However, if you are a young lady who wants to wait until their wedding day for your first kiss, and dress moderately, no one is going to celebrate you, you weirdo! Yes, it’s a strange world we live in, where Godliness is cultish behavior and green armpit hair is where it’s at.

Should we really expect anything different? No. Not according to the Bible. We’re told very specifically that we will be hated by the world. This week I have been explaining to a greater degree the reason why I write what I write about on different days. At the beginning of this blog Friday’s use to be about Young Earth Creation. I needed a day for just my thoughts, and so I made some changes. Now Fridays are here to highlight the difference, to encourage the body of Christ to be set apart.

Is there a difference in you? Are you any different from the unsaved relative or friend you spend time with? If you were in court, charged with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict? What about your church? Is it any different than a rock concert followed by a self help speech?

God’s masterful design is that His people would be a set apart people. Salt and light. Wise as a serpent, gentle as a dove. In this way we show that there is a great God, and one way to the Father, through the Son. What glorifies God more than a changed heart, and life? It only cost God a week to create the entire universe. On the other hand, it cost Him His only begotten Son to reconcile lost, and fallen, people.

If you are reading this and you see no difference in yourself and the unsaved please work through your salvation with fear and trembling. If you are reading this and you think you are different because of all the hard work you’ve put into your religion please work through your salvation with fear and trembling. If you are reading this and you’ve never been reborn in Christ, cry out to God for today is the day for salvation. Repent of your sins and put your faith in Christ alone. If you have any questions about salvation please feel free to ask.

If you are reading this and you know that you are different, set apart, reborn a new creature in Christ, by the grace of God alone, give God the glory! And as always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Wednesday Testimony – John Mark

Beloved, in continuing my week of grounding this blog again, I want to discuss an amazing Biblical testimony that is a prime example of what Wednesday Testimony is supposed to be about. John Mark was a missionary with Paul and Barnabas. You’ve all read, I’m sure, how he chickened out and went back home. This led Paul and Barnabas to split later, when Barnabas wanted to give John Mark another chance and Paul thought it was a bad idea.

There’s so much here, what a rich text we have! Many get discouraged when believers argue or separate. It took several years, and a good deal of time spent with Peter, before Paul and John Mark were reunited in fellowship. There’s going to be times when we disagree, and those disagreements might lead us in different paths. Like Wesley and Whitfield, Paul and Barnabas continued their work, the disunity with one another didn’t mean one had to back down while the other succeeded. I think there’s an important example there, when we find ourselves at a crossroad with a true believer.

We also see in John Mark a clear picture of redemption. He would go on to such boldness as to write one of the four Gospels. We know from early church literature that the Gospel of Mark was written by John Mark based on Peters first hand witness. We’ve all had that moment when we know we need to stand firm, we know we need to witness, we know we need to do the right thing and we falter. It feels like we’ve let down the triune Godhead. We can sit with or head in our hands and consider all Gods done for us, salvation, sanctification, justification, purification…all of the ‘ications’. There’s no doubt that God is good, merciful, gracious, just, loving, righteous, and perfect in all His ways. There’s also no doubting that we are not. The only good thing in me is Christ, all I can boast of is His grace.

Wednesday Testimony is grounded in this truth, that God saves imperfect people. Imperfect people like John Mark can fail miserably and still be used mightily by the God of Strength. I’ve never, and will never, write a testimony of a perfect man. Only one has ever lived, and He didn’t need salvation, He is salvation, He is the truth, the life, and the way. When we hear about these men who were weak, wretched vessels in the hands of the Almighty God, I pray we all find encouragement. When we put our faith in Christ alone, by the grace of God we are saved, and become the weak, wretched vessels God will use today.

I had a difficult time last week, a believer I respected lied to me. It was heart wrenching. They are an imperfect vessel, and so am I. When I place myself in the correct perspective I can look on God’s holiness, and rather than anger or offense feel sorrow for the person who faltered in temptation. I can give grace, because I have received so much grace. This is not to say that we accept sin, or make excuses for sinful behavior, but that we lovingly pray for the believers who have given into the temptation we all feel from time to time. Many of you have been believers far longer than I have, and I welcome your advice on how you handle situations where another believer has lied to you, or hurt you. As Brother Washer likes to say “many of you have forgotten more about the Bible than I’ll ever learn.”

As I continue to get grounded again this week, I look to the elders of the body of Christ. You are blessings to me, and to know you are there and I have the ability to ask, to learn from, to sit at the feet of your wisdom and glen from what you write, is something I ceaselessly thank God for. I pray God uses Wednesday Testimonies to encourage and edify you, dear friends. And as always, my most beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – Getting Grounded Again

Hello beloved brethren! My how I missed you all during this past week. Ordinarily when we travel I can find pockets of internet here and there, along with a little down time, to read your posts and write a little myself. This time was a little different and I found myself in some challenging situations. I’ll tell you a little more about those difficulties in later posts. Right now, my desire is to reintroduce the point and purpose behind our twisted Tuesday’s.

I had a conversation with a very sweet little girl a while back, while she was making bracelets with Kayliegh. She started explaining to us how when you die you get wings and become an angel. I know this young lady, and her family, to be church goers. How did such an unbiblical teaching make its way into her thought process?

What does is this have to do with Twisted Tuesdays? In my own little homeschooling world communicating with others is limited. I witness when I can, I discuss issues of the Word when they come up, but mostly my days consist of math, history, science, reading and writing, Bible study, repeat. Vacations have a way of throwing us off kilter. They give us an opportunity to spend more time with the lost. There are so many errant views of Christ, it’s enough to make your head spin. My nightly readings with Kayliegh are currently in 1 John. All throughout the epistles we see that there were many false doctrines already rearing their ugly heads.

I was reminded why I had such zeal to write on the scriptures that were twisted so often, when I saw the lost holding confidently to a false christ that can not save. They have false hope. They have created a god in their own image. They are following doctrines of demons. I had a chill as I listened to someone explain the terror they felt over reading ‘Lord, Lord’ And He answers ‘Turn from me workers of iniquity, I never knew you.’

That’s it! That’s why I started writing to begin with. To give God the glory, to encourage and edify the body of Christ, and to speak truth into darkness. There’s enough misconceptions, and false doctrines, to fill a thousand blogs for all eternity, and new ones pop up daily. I’m clearly not the best person to be writing against these falsehoods, many others can and do present a case far better than I’m capable. I’m not being self loathing, just honest. I needed to have my mind renewed, my zeal fired up, to recall that we all have a purpose in the body of Christ. John Owen was one of the most intelligent men to ever preach. John Bunyan, Owens good friend, was a tinker…one of the least educated men to preach. Owens loved to come and listen to Bunyan preach. God used both those men at the exact same time.

Several weeks ago I read a blog by someone thinking about throwing in the towel, calling it quits to their blog. The things they said stuck with me, it can be very discouraging to write about God. It can be discouraging to get into endless debates with the lost who see the light but love the darkness. It can be discouraging when believers disagree with one another. After all, it was over disagreements on doctrine that got Bunyan thrown into jail for 12 years. How many anabaptists were drowned simply because they were using believers baptism?

So long as we live in a fallen world there will be plenty of reasons to be discouraged. But cheer up! Christ has overcome the world! I was having a particularly difficult morning when one of you sent me that very encouraging comment! What a difference it made to my day, when a dear sister decided to put aside whatever she was doing, and encourage me. Let us not grow weary of doing good, dear friends. Be like that kind sister, displaying the love of Christ in her attitude toward me.

This is the reason for twisted Tuesday, to tear down every high and lofty thought that sets itself up against the truth. All for the glory of God, Who is worthy…truly worthy…of all praise and honor and glory! Sing praises to this thrice holy God we serve! I hope you can have patience with me this week, beloved, as I get grounded again in the reasons why I write what I write. And as always, dear brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

That’s Not the Answer

Happy Friday beloved! Today I want to talk about the kind of nonsense the world throws around as answers to problems. Right now, as many of you know, we’re still in North Dakota. We usually try to head south for the winter, and north for the summer. I’m ordinarily not fond of the cold, and with my husbands back and leg in its current state (multiple fractures, herniated disk, and a pinched sciatica) the cold is not his friend either.

However, I’ve been absolutely fascinated by the reactions many here have to the sun going down so early. It starts setting around 5, and is totally dark by 5:30. It rises late as well, so there’s less time to enjoy the sun. They call it ‘seasonal depression’ and there’s all sorts of answers for it. None of them are The Answer.

Next week, here in America, it will be Black Friday. A day when people trample one another, push, shove, or pepper spray their way to what they want. It’s become a spectacle of adults behaving worse than most school yard hooligans. There’s all sort of answers for it, but none of them are The Answer.

What is the answer to societies ills? Jesus Christ is the answer, He is the way and the truth and the life. Dear friends, this world will never be fixed until Christ reigns! This is why the social gospel fails, no amount of social justice will answer the problems of this world, it’s fallen. The only way we can help the lost is to share the Gospel with them. Be salt, and light, brethren.

We can not continue to repeat the lies of this fallen world, none of its answers can save. We have a wonderful opportunity this season to share The Answer. I know that evangelizing can be very intimidating, I’m going to add a link to some teaching that has been very helpful to me this past week. As always, beloved, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved!