Thursday Book Review – The Life and Diary of David Brainerd

#davidbrainerd #puritans #jonathanedwards

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Beloved the day is finally here, I get to review one of the most impactful books I’ve read since becoming a believer. The Life and Diary of David Brainerd (published in 1749 by Jonathan Edwards) is one of those books that stays with you. After reading it myself I’m now reading it with Kayliegh, and have ordered copies as gifts for Christmas.

Brainerd (1718-1747) was a Puritan missionary to the Native Americans. He kept a daily journal of his spiritual progress. Many of his entries are heart wrenching, as he describes the struggles we have day to day in our walk with Christ. Brainerd often expresses his desire to be with the Lord. A beautiful prayer God answered, as he went home at the young age of 29.

His writing is very honest, and he is upfront with his struggles in prayer. I’m often tempted to be more enthusiastic in my description of my walk for the encouragement of others. It actually can just heap burdens on brothers and sisters, when we are dishonest about our own trials. It gives them the idea that perfect is possible, just not for them. Often times the most encouraging thing we can do is be truthful. I found Brainerd’s truthfulness very encouraging, as I read his words that reflected my own thoughts I wouldn’t dare voice. Some days my prayer is dull and lifeless, and it does feel like God has left me. Other days my prayer can be filled with sweetness.

I heard Puritans once described as the Redwood trees of the Christian forest. I think that’s a fair assessment, as they often stand tall in their love, obedience and devotion to God. Brainerd is most certainly one of those Redwood trees. We have visited the Redwood forest in our travels, as we walked through a trail of trees so tall you couldn’t see the tops, everything was silent and still. That was one place where Gods creation doesn’t whisper, it sings of His majesty. In the same way, Brainerd’s diary and all he accomplished in his life doesn’t whisper of Gods power to change mans cold heart of stone, it sings of a new creature in Christ, glory to God!

The Life and Diary of David Brainerd is a book I would recommend to every believer, young and old, particularly those who have a love for Puritan writings. I would also suggest this as a gift this Christmas for anyone you know who is considering going into the missions field, is already in the missions field, is an elder, or a pastor. This book is in the public domain, although there does not seem to be a free audio version just yet, you can download the free pdf. Or you can get a Kindle version for less than a dollar. And of course the paperback or hardback copies are available.

I pray this book will bless you, friends. There are so many books that have short daily encouragements or commentaries, however I think an entry or two of this book would be far more helpful. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

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.

Intelligent Design – The Miracle of Life Part IX

Hello again, beloved friends! We are finally getting to focus on human eyes in our series on the Miracle of Life. As promised, although late in its arrival, is the 8th month of pregnancy, and 9th part of this series. By this month the baby will have developed enough to have all five senses active. Isn’t this amazing, dear brethren? We’ve gone from a few cells trying desperately not let the mothers immune system take it out, to a four pound miracle, that can see, hear, feel, taste, and smell. Each of these developments has been a complex creation from microscopic changes in cells.

Throughout the series I haven’t focused on the eyes. Somethings are best left until the end. There’s a reason for this, as in the 8th month we see the tiny human made in the image of God is having a major increase in brain development. Scientists still don’t fully understand the brain, in all its complexity. They do know that during the 8th month the brain tissue begins to form little grooves. So when you’re baby hears your voice they’ll remember that sound. When they see lights turned on in the morning, through your tummy, they’ll remember that sight.

The development of sight has taken this tiny miracle six months of hard work. It’s no wonder the eyes take so long to develop, they truly are a masterpiece of design. The retinas, themselves, have 10 millions photoreceptor cells for picking up light, which is then converted to electrical signals sent to the brain. Now we see that electrical connection once more.

As you can see in that short clip, there’s a lot that goes into sight. Ironically eyes have been used in past years as an example of a ‘mistake’ in design by evolutionists. If God is so smart why didn’t He make them a different way? I can’t even imagine the amount of arrogance it takes to assume you know better than an all knowing God. However, as it turns out, the more we learn about our eyes the more we see the intelligence in their design.

For the miracle of life, the ability of a baby to have eyes created through the microscopic mechanics we’ve discussed previously, is absolutely miraculous. When we look into the eyes of a newborn baby we see beauty, and sweetness. What we should really do is praise the great God who crafted those eyes to fulfill an important purpose.

Sight is often compared to spiritual awareness in the Bible. The Jewish people of Christ’s time who rejected Him were said to have a veil over their eyes, like the veil Moses wore. Christ came as light unto the world, but man loved the darkness rather than the light. Just as precious as our physical sight is the light we see in Christ when we come to salvation through the grace of God, putting our faith in Christ alone. Friend, if you’ve been blind to Christ’s salvation, open your eyes! You and I have broken the law written by God, born as we are into a sin nature. We may be able to see with the intelligently designed eyes God created in us, but we are born blind to spiritual matters. We sin against a thrice holy God, and will one day be held accountable to Him on Judgement day. Repent of your sins, cry out to God for forgiveness and salvation. Don’t know where to start? John is a great place!

To my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray God will continue to grow you in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Christ Jesus. As always, dear ones, 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.

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!

Wednesday Testimony- David Brainerd

The following excerpt is from the Life and Diary of David Brainerd, which I hope to review for you tomorrow, beloved. This is the testimony of how one lost wretch, working day and night to earn his salvation, was found by the grace of the sovereign God.

“I knew that I never had seen before any thing comparable to it for excellency and beauty; it was widely different from all the conceptions that ever I had of God, or things divine. I had no particular apprehension of any one person in the Trinity, either the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost; but it appeared to be divine glory. My soul rejoiced with joy unspeakable, to see such a God, such a glorious Divine Being; and I was inwardly pleased and satisfied that he should be God over all for ever and ever. My soul was so captivated and delighted with the excellency, loveliness, greatness, and other perfections of God, that I was even swallowed up in him; at least to that degree, that I had no thought (as I remember) at first about my own salvation, and scarce reflected there was such a creature as myself.

Thus God, I trust, brought me to a hearty disposition to exalt him, and set him on the throne, and principally and ultimately to aim at his honor and glory, as King of the universe. I continued in this state of inward joy, peace, and astonishment, till near dark, without any sensible abatement; and then began to think and examine what I had seen; and felt sweetly composed in my mind all the evening following. I felt myself in a new world, and every thing about me appeared with a different aspect from what it was wont to do. At this time, the way of salvation opened to me with such infinite wisdom, suitableness, and excellency, that I wondered I should ever think of any other way of salvation; was amazed that I had not dropped my own contrivances, and complied with this lovely, blessed, and excellent way before.If I could have been saved by my own duties, or any other way that I had formerly contrived, my whole soul would now have refused it. I wondered that all the world did not see and comply with this way of salvation, entirely by the righteousness of Christ.

David Brainerd’s testimony is one that is very similar to many of ours, dear friends. Once we knew there was certainly a God, and that we would be held accountable to Him on judgment day, we set forth in attempting to earn His forgiveness. I confess I did a very bad job of this, before getting saved. It was laughable to have assumed the little effort I put into it would have saved me. Then again, it’s laughable to think any effort can save. Brethren, we all now know and see, owing to the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, that salvation can come only by grace alone. We are not saved by merit, good works, obedience to the law, speaking in tongues, or sacraments. We are saved by faith in Christ Jesus, because of the grace of a just and loving God.

Friend, if your reading this and have never experienced what Brainerd described, I implore you to work through your salvation through fear and trembling. Today is the day of salvation! We have sinned against an infinite God, thus our due judgment is infinite. The Good News of the Gospel is that God became man, lived a sinless life, died in our place, had the wrath of God poured out on Himself, rose from the dead for our justification, and is now making intercession for us in heaven. Repent of your sins, place your trust in Christ alone, flee from the wrath to come.

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