This is our journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matthew 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

Category: Christian (Page 1 of 16)

David’s Digest: Ungodliness When God Is Not Our Chiefest Good, Part 2

Jude 4 - "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."

Puritan Thomas Manton in his excellent commentary on Jude discusses from this verse “ungodly men”, and how men show their ungodliness.

You can review part 1 here.

In the section below, he continues with his premise that God will be acknowledged as the chiefest good, and then lists more ways we can be ungodly regarding this.

You can listen to this part of verse 4 here:

or download it:

Download

The entire book is available here on Monergism’s site, and this part starts on PDF page 173…

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:

Thomas Manton – Jude Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Secondly, God will be acknowledged as the chiefest good, and so we are guilty of ungodliness:—

1. If we do not often think of him. [from Part 1]

2. If we do not delight in communion with him, we do not honour him as the chiefest good. [from Part 1]

3. If we do not fear to offend him.

God will be served with every affection. Love is of use in the spiritual life, and so is fear: 2 Cor. vii. 1, ‘Perfecting holiness in the fear of God,’ Love sweetens duties, and fear makes us watchful against sin: love is the doing grace, Gal. v. 6, and fear is the conserving grace, Jer. xxxii. 40.

We have cause to walk in God’s ways, because we are always under his eye. Love is necessary, that we may keep God always in our hearts; and fear, that we may keep him always in our eye: both of them are of great use; but fear we now speak of, which is the true internal root of all obedience and worship, Eccles. xii. 13.

When there is such a settled disposition of heart as that we dare not grieve him nor affront him to his face—as Ahasuerus said, ‘Will he force the queen before my face?’—God is much honoured. But now when we are secure and careless, and forget God, and can sin freely in thought and foully in act without remorse, it is ungodliness.

Fear is a grace of continual use: we cannot be always praising God, worshipping God, and employed in acts of special communion with him, yet we must be always fearing God: ‘Be thou in the fear of God all the day long,’ Prov. xxiii. 17; and elsewhere, ‘Blessed is he that feareth always,’ Prov. xxviii. 14.

A man hath done with his devotion in the morning, but he has not done with God; we should think of him, and remember that his eye is upon us, all the day long: we must rise in the fear of God, walk in the fear of God, trade, eat, drink in the fear of God, Jude 12.

Some graces are as the lungs, never out of use and exercise. More especially must fear be active when temptations and corruptions arise; we must argue as Joseph, Gen. xxxix. 9.

4. If we do not care to please him.

An ungodly man thinks of nothing less than pleasing God; he neither cares to know his ways, nor to walk in them; they are ‘willingly ignorant,’ 2 Peter iii, 5. They do not search, that they may not practice, and so err not in mind, but heart: ‘We desire not the knowledge of thy ways,’ Job xxi. 14. They have not a mind to know that which they have not a mind to do, as those that would sleep shut the curtains to keep out the light.

A godly man is always approving what is the will of God, Rom. xii. 2, and Eph. v. 10-17; he practices what he knows, and is still searching that he may know more, as willing always to be more useful for God. What have I to do more?

May God grant us to always fear Him and obey Him, and endeavor to live to please Him and practice what He has graciously granted we know about Him.

— David

David’s Digest: Ungodliness When God Is Not Our Chiefest Good, Part 1

Jude 4 - "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."

Puritan Thomas Manton in his excellent commentary on Jude discusses from this verse “ungodly men”, and how men show their ungodliness.

In the section below, his premise is God will be acknowledged as the chiefest good, and then ways we can be ungodly regarding this.

You can listen to this part of verse 4 here:

or download it:

Download

The entire book is available here on Monergism’s site, and this section starts on PDF page 171 near the bottom…

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:

Thomas Manton – Jude Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Secondly, God will be acknowledged as the chiefest good, and so we are guilty of ungodliness:—

1. If we do not often think of him.

If we did not want [lack] hearts, we cannot want [lack] objects to put us in mind of God. οὐ μακρὰν, ‘he is not far from every one of us,’ Acts xvii. 27. But though God be not far from us, yet we are far from God. He that is everywhere is seldom found in our hearts. We are not so near to ourselves as God is near to us.

Who can keep his breath in his body for a minute if God were not there? He is within us and round about us in the effects of his power and goodness, but we are at too great a distance from him in our mind and affections.

How many trifles occupy our minds! But the Lord can seldom find any room there: ‘God is not in all their thoughts,’ Ps. x. 4.

Yea, when thoughts of God rush into our minds, they are like unwelcome guests— we wish to be rid of them. Wicked men abhor their own thoughts of God, because the more they think of God the more they tremble, as the devils do. Therefore the apostle says, ‘They like not to retain God in their knowledge.’ Rom. i.

This is far from the temper of God’s children. David says, Ps. civ. 34, ‘My meditation of him shall be sweet.’ It is the spiritual feast and entertainment of a gracious soul to think of God. None deserves our thoughts more than he, and we cannot put them to better use.

He thought of us before the world was, and still ‘great is the multitude of his thoughts to us-ward.’ Therefore it is vile ingratitude not to think of him again. When we hate a person we cannot endure to look upon him, and the hatred of the mind is showed by the aversation [being averse to] and turning away of the thoughts.

2. If we do not delight in communion with him, we do not honour him as the chiefest good.

Friends love to be often in one another’s company, and certainly ‘it is good to draw nigh to God,’ to preserve an acquaintance between him and us.

He hath appointed his ordinances, the word and prayer, which are as it were a dialogue and interchangeable discourse between God and the creature. In the word he speaks to us, and in prayer we speak unto him. He conveys his mind in the word, and we ask his grace in prayer. In prayer we make the request, and in the word we have God’s answer.

Well, then, when men neglect public or private prayer, or opportunities of hearing, they are guilty of ungodliness. So far they break off communion with God, especially if they neglect prayer, which is a duty to be done at all times—a sweet diversion which the soul enjoys with God in private, a duty which answers to the daily sacrifice.

Therefore the neglect of prayer is made to be a branch of atheism, Ps. xiv. 3, 4. When men are loath to come into God’s presence, out of a love to ease and carnal pleasures, and care not if God and they grow strange, or seldom hear from one another, it is a great evil. Our comfort and peace depends much upon frequent access to God.

So when family worship, when that is neglected, God is not honoured as the chiefest good: the heathens are described to be ‘the families that call not on God’s name,’ Jer. x. 25. In many places from one end of the week to the other there is no prayer and worship in the family, and so the house, which should be a church, is made a stye. Not a swine about their houses but is attended morning and evening, and yet they can find no time for the solemn invocation of the name of God. What are they better than heathens?

May God grant us to always have Him in our thoughts and to desire to and indeed spend time with Him.

Continue to Part 2!

— David

David’s Digest: Trying to Explain in Simple Details the Gospel Message

I thought to myself, if I was going to try to sit down and explain the Gospel to someone, what would I say?

And so, I thought here I might try to do that in as simple and straightforward terms as best I could, hopefully with God’s help, in my own words (I have found people don’t like to hear “Oh, read this” and be given something written by someone else), trying to give context to biblical or commonly-used phrases, especially to someone who might not have any knowledge or familiarity with the Bible, and trying to go through it all step by step and paint the picture of the reality of the situation.

I pray maybe God will use it in some way as a means to the glory of His name in the bringing someone home to Him.

— David

We’ll start with the premise that there is a God, and there is only one (which, actually, there can only be by definition, for God to be God). The Bible says the heavens declare His glory, and it also says that we are responsible for seeing Him in the creation around us.

By definition, God must be infinite in everything He is — infinitely powerful, infinitely holy and pure, etc.

Also, it seems to me we can look around at His creation and realize He is good, and gracious, in having sunshine, water, food for us, etc.

And, everything is completely ordered — the sun always comes up, the years always pass the same way, etc.

Now, God created all the creatures as well. We see in the animals and insects, and how they behave, and they have programmed in an instinct that drives them in those behaviors. Bees do bee things (very amazing things too if you study them!), goats do goat things, cows cow things, etc.

Now, when God created man, He did a little something different — He created mankind to also have rational thought (things like the ability to wonder or ask why), and most importantly, to have fellowship with the Creator, and even understand that! The animals don’t have that. He also stamped on the first people His image of goodness, and love, and holiness, and the like — similar in nature although not in quantity (His is infinite and ours finite). Man had a sort of his own “instinct” to love God, and be and do good, and to choose these things.

Now, with God being infinitely majestic, and the creator of man, He also has a right over His creation. If you create a vase, you have right to it as to how to create it and what it’s used for, because you made it. Well, God has that right and is thus authority over man, and all creation.

Now, an authority requires fidelity to them. And how is fidelity shown, even in our versions of authority, with kings and the like? The king sets rules, and his subjects follow the rules. And breaking a rule of the king or any authority requires a penalty. We see that in our own justice system.

So, God set a rule for the first people to follow. And it was a relatively easy one — it was a “don’t do” something. All that had to be done was do nothing, which is theoretically easier than performing some action. And it could have been an action like “run a mile in 10 seconds”, which would have been impossible for man to keep, so His rule was very fair.

But, the first people didn’t keep the rule. And so God became the offended party in the relationship with man. And this offense must be an infinite one because it was against an infinite Being. And there were some extraordinarily bad results.

Man incurred the guilt of breaking the rule and incurred the penalty, and also became dirty and diseased in his being, the Bible likening it to leprosy.

And there was a complete breach in the relationship between God and man. Because man was now not holy any more, and now filthy, God, who is perfectly holy, could no longer have man in His presence.

And because the offense was infinite, the penalty must be an infinite one as well, and so it was a just sentence (ie. it served justice) that an eternal punishment sentence was placed on man.

And man lost that stamp of God’s image on him, God’s love and goodness, etc. was now dead and gone. With that God-imaged instinct of love and goodness gone, and man having acted in rebellion, man now has an “instinct” that is only to choose to *not* follow God’s rules, which is also called sin. Now, man as a sinner does what sinners do — they sin, like the bee does bee things, and the goat goat things. They are by nature constantly in rebellion to God, the Bible even saying at enmity (actively opposed and even hostile) with God. And, all people are now born only with this instinct, and that is passed on from generation to generation.

And because of that, and because the offense was infinite, there’s no way for man to pay the penalty, because he is finite.

Man now when born faces an eternal punishment and eternal separation from his loving Creator.

However, it doesn’t end there. God in His mercy has provided a remedy, which has to provide for several things: forgiveness for all of the sin, a cleansing from the disease and dirtiness of sin, and a pure holiness restored to a person. Only if these are done, can God be in relationship with anyone again.

But how can this be done, if man cannot do it? Well, the plan was to have a Mediator — one who could represent the two parties, and one who could pay an infinite price for the penalty, one who could cleanse from the disease of sin, and one who could provide a perfect holiness to people. And this could only be done by a mediator who is both God and man. God’s Son, Jesus, who is God Himself, although a different “person” in the Godhead (which is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit — all God, but separate persons) — God’s Son added to Himself the substance of a man — the Holy Spirit created an embryo in a woman named Mary, and Jesus was born into this world, undefiled from the passing along of the sin instinct because not pro-created. He was God and now man as well. This allowed Him to represent both parties in the breach.

And so His purpose as the Mediator, also known as the Christ who was to make up this breach, was to pay the penalty, do the cleansing, and provide the perfect holiness.

First, Jesus would need to keep all of God’s rules perfectly throughout His entire life, doing what the first people did not do, otherwise, any punishment given to Him would be for His own sin, and then He could never take away anyone else’s sin penalty, or bring any cleansing or holiness.

Then, Christ Jesus paid the penalty and did the cleansing when He died on a Roman cross, shedding His blood. The Bible says only blood will cleanse from sin, and He shed His blood. And while on the cross, all the sins of His people were transferred in a legal sense to His account, as if He had committed all the sins, not that He had, but God looked at Him as if He had, and therefore could justly condemn Jesus for those sins. And so, He endured the eternal and infinite anger, wrath and punishment for all the sins of His people. Only an infinite Being could endure that infinite punishment, and He did.

And with the penalty now paid for, and the blood shed for the cleansing from sin, the last thing that remained was the holiness for His people. So, in the same way that His people’s sins were transferred to His account on the cross, Christ’s perfect keeping of God’s rules are transferred onto their account, as if they had kept them, even though they had not.

Also, Christ Jesus was raised from the dead, which shows the Father accepted His payment of the penalty for His people, and as a first-example of them being raised from the dead to be with Him one day.

And now God and man could once again be in fellowship!

And further, He takes those for whom Christ died and actually adopts them into His family! As far as God is concerned, they are actually in His personal family, and adopted brothers and sisters of Jesus Himself! Amazing!

And He has graciously granted a record of all this in the Bible, so we could know anything about Him, our situation, and His great remedy!

Now, things have to happen to a person individually for them specifically to be able to be in fellowship with God again. That sin-only instinct that rules in all people has to be handled. What God does is He puts in a new “instinct”, like in the original people, which is a stamp again of His image — an instinct of love and goodness, etc. And that instinct is put in place in overthrow of the sin instinct, where a person is not bound to only sin anymore, freeing them from that bondage. They can now follow God’s rules, and they actually have a desire to do so — to choose these things. And while a person before could do what looked like good things, they could not be motivated out of godly love or goodness, because that kind of love only comes from God (ie. it’s His love) and was no longer there, but now they can actually love and do good that is motivated by a God-like character. This implanting of new instinct done by the Holy Spirit is called being given a new “heart” (which is the seat of all of our motivations), or called being “born again”.

Now, while a person like this has a new instinct that is in charge, during this lifetime, they still carry around that sin instinct. The Bible calls it carrying around a body of death, which I understand was an old form of punishment where a person had a dead body tied to them and they had to literally carry it around while it rotted. A born-again person still has that instinct, but it doesn’t rule, and that godly instinct, especially over time, out of love to God, more and more will hate that bad instinct, and look forward to a day when it will be gone.

And this only happens after death. And when someone dies, they either die under the eternal penalty of God and with only a sin instinct, or free from the penalty with the godly instinct. And then everyone will be judged by God. And either Jesus Christ paid the penalty for the person, and provided the cleansing and holiness for a person, or He didn’t, and then that person will have to face everything Jesus did by themselves, for all eternity.

And what motivated God to do all this, when He wasn’t under any obligation to do any of it? Love. The Bible says God is love, and He has shown it in this process, part of which is sending His beloved, only Son. Think about that as a father, or if you have a loving father or mother — think about how difficult it would be to send your son to not only die, but that so you could pour out an infinite anger and punishment on that son, even to the point where on the cross there was a brief separation of Jesus and the manifestation or His sense of the Father’s love (they couldn’t be actually separated because Jesus was still God as well, which means that kind of separation can never happen, but He sensed it as man). But, what great love of the Father to do this! And then the great love of Christ Himself in willingly doing all of these things, including enduring the wrath of the One He loved dearly and has been with from all eternity past! And then the great love of the Holy Spirit to bring all of these things about and apply them and nurture God’s people as they live out their new lives here!

So, how does a person participate in all this. The first step is understanding that you are indeed a sinner, and that you can do nothing about it yourself. And then, coming to the only One who can apply this work of new birth to your heart, and asking that He will, and that He will forgive and cleanse you from your sins, and give you that new heart, and with that grant that you hate and turn from your sin in a desire to follow His rules and commands in obedience, and that He would grant you that same love that He showed in providing this great scenario of being saved from sin and punishment and filth and restoration to fellowship with Him.

And He promises those who come to Him these ways in sincerity He will not cast away. He says seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.

If you have never done this before, we pray this day, that He will call you to this, even this day. We are not guaranteed our next heartbeat, and once we die, the whole thing will have been decided. We pray you might come to Him this day, and seek and knock, and we pray He grant you this new life, and a love for Him, and a desire to be with such a loving Creator and God and Savior forever!

Amen!

Marriage Marker: The Score After a Score

…Or in other words, The “Story” after “20 Years” 😀

20 years ago, God granted me to be able to have Sue as my wife. I mentioned it at 15 years, and it’s been even more confirmed over the last 5, but besides having been given God-fearing parents, she is the best temporal gift I’ve received from Him. I am blessed to have been given a godly, God-fearing wife.

And since this is my blog post, I get to highlight her, even though she’ll be embarrassed. 😀

Why do I say she’s godly? Because the Bible describes her:

Ephesians 5:22 – “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

1 Peter 3:1-6:

1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

(No, she doesn’t call me “lord”, but she does sometimes reply “Yes sir” when I ask her to do something, something I have not asked her to do. )

1 Timothy 2:9-10:

9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

1 Corinthians 11:5 – “But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

Exodus 20:8 – “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

— and she endeavors to keep the whole day, as it states —

…all which show obedience to God, and God says:

1 John 2:3-5:

3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

and

1 John 5:3: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

and

John 14:21 – “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

And then there is this:

James 1:27 – “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Sue has been literally fulfilling this on and off for a year and a half or more with an elderly lady who has had no one else, who lives quite a few miles outside of town the opposite direction from us. May the Lord reward her for her faithfulness and service to Him in helping her.

Also, this is Sue:

  • She is the most considerate person I know
  • She is almost always cheerful
  • Life in the temporals out here is quite difficult, and she almost never complains

And after all those characteristics, Sue would be the first to attribute them all only to God’s gift of graces to her.

While not absolutely perfect yet, she’s perfect for me — a help meet made for me (Gen 2:18). I try to make sure to thank the Lord for her every day. She is truly a “good gift” and “perfect gift” “from above” that has come “down from the Father of lights”.

And I try to make sure to pray for her every day. I’ve asked God if I could have one request, beyond that He glorify Himself through us, it would be that He would grant Sue His eternal presence one day and that He would guide me to guide her to that end. I believe this is the best thing I could ever hope for her and the best thing to be used for with her.

God has also granted we be of like mind, especially in the things of Him, including endeavoring to make Him the center of our household.

Even on our wedding day, we tried to focus much on Him. Our theme verse was that James 1:17 verse in the image above, and the following picture is from the video, so it’s a little grainy, but this is the “gift” table, where we had gifts of Bibles and AW Pink’s “The Attributes of God” for our guests to take. Most of all of them were gone by the end. We pray the Lord used or would even today use them to the benefit of those who took them:

The Lord in His wisdom never granted us children. We don’t know why for sure (we can certainly imagine and understand as chastisements for sins past), but interestingly, we were asked on our wedding day after the ceremony what we would say to them. Here’s our answer, which I believe we would still say today:

Finally, I thought we’d share with you a few moments from the ceremony: Besides the Bibles and books, we wanted to try to make sure to share the gospel message with our guests. The following is a video of that part, and the text is included here, below the video. I’d probably say a few things a little differently now, but it still seems to bring forth the gospel message.

We pray even now that maybe God has or would water that seed planted 20 years ago to bring someone to Him, or that He might do so now to a reader or watcher/listener:

Before we begin the actual joining of these two in holy matrimony, Sue and Dave asked if I would share some things that they would like said from them to you ….. which is this:

It really is beautiful here – the flowers and all of their colors and aromas, the trees and their shade – the beauty of creation.  Or the stars at night – the infinite number of shimmering lights in the sky.  Such beauty; such magnitude; such magnificence.  One could wonder how all of this could have happened; perhaps that even God does exist to have all of this and the universe about us.  Well, Sue and Dave would like to suggest that indeed God did create these wonders – a gracious, loving, perfect and holy God.  How great are the works of His creation!

But amidst all of this beauty and splendor, there is a problem.  Back a long time ago imperfection entered the creation through the rebellion of His creation, namely man.  And unfortunately, this rebellion has carried through to man today.  No doubt we can all imagine that somewhere along our lives we have done something wrong – a little lie, some unnecessary anger.  We all have sinned at some point, which is disobedience to God.  But, you see, God is a holy and perfect God of whom there could be no disobedience allowed because of His perfection and holiness.  And sadly, disobedience demands judgment and condemnation from a perfect God.  And someday, there will be an eternal judgment.

And possibly about now you might be asking, Sue and Dave, why on this joyous occasion are you talking about eternal judgment and condemnation?  Ah, but, you see, that’s not the end of the story.  It doesn’t have to end there.  And this is where there is great joy and great hope!  God sent His Son Jesus, who was and is also perfect, to take the punishment that is due us – He died on a Roman cross as that punishment!  We don’t have to face God one day because of our sin!  We can be free from that judgment forever — truly an eternal joy!  But only Jesus, being perfect where we are not, is the one who takes that place for us in front of God — we must realize that He is the only One who can do that.  And why it’s appropriate today is that, while what we have around us here today in nature is only temporary, the Bible likens eternity with God free from judgment as a great wedding feast, where Jesus is the groom and those saved are His bride!  Certainly a joyous and wonderful occasion!

So, Sue and Dave would like to call you to that – that you ask Jesus to give you an understanding of these things and the desire to turn from sin.  That as you celebrate with them today, and experience the beauty of this place, that you would also ponder on these eternal things as well.

Let’s pray for a moment, if you would please.  Father, we ask that you would speak to each of our hearts today as we celebrate something here in the temporal world that foreshadows the great eternal celebration with you.  We ask that you would reveal who you are to each of us, that we all would see you in your creation, that you would give us the gifts of belief, faith and repentance.  We thank you for your graces and mercies, and we ask those for each of us here as well.  We thank you again, and pray these things  for the glory of your name.  Amen.

May we always be thankful, and may God always glorify Himself through us in some way. We’re thankful for the time He has graciously granted us together so far! 😀

— David

David’s Digest: Do We Indeed Love God?, Part 2

Jude 2 - "Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied."

Continuing from Part 1, Puritan Thomas Manton, from his Jude commentary, in helping us examine if we truly love God, notes the evidences when this is true of someone (which implies they must exist), and then offers some helps to increase it.

Again, you can listen to this part verse 2 here:

or download it:

Download

The entire book is available here on Monergism’s site, and this section starts on PDF page 103 near the bottom…

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:

Thomas Manton – Jude Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

  1. This love must be demonstrated by solid effects, such as are:

    [1.] A hatred of sin: Ps. xcvii. 10, ‘Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.’ With love to the chiefest good, there will be a hatred of the chiefest evil. Friends have common loves, as I said, and common aversations [things we should be averse to]. Upon every carnal motion does your heart recoil upon you, and say, ‘How can I do this wickedness, and sin against God?’ Gen. xxxix. 9; or else, ‘Is this thy kindness to thy friend?’ or ‘after such a deliverance as this,’ &c., Ezra ix. 13. Love to God will be interposing and crossing every carnal motion.

    [2.] By a delight in obedience: 1 John v. 3, ‘This is love, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not grievous.’ Nothing is difficult and tedious to him that has any affection to his work. As the prophet cured the bitterness of the wild gourds by casting in meal, so mingle but a little love with your work, and the bitterness is gone. Shechem yielded to be circumcised for Dinah’s sake, because he loved her; and Jacob endured his seven years’ service for Rachel’s sake: so will love make us obey God cheerfully in things contrary to our natural inclination. Love and labour are often coupled in scripture, 1 Thes. i. 3; Heb. vi. 10; and those that left their first works had lost their first love, Rev. ii. 4, 5.

    [3.] Delight in God’s presence, and grief for his absence; or a holy sensibleness both of his accesses and recesses, to and from the soul. Can a man love God, and be content without him? If you lose but a ring which you affect, how are you troubled till it be found again! ‘Ye have taken away my gods (saith he), and do you ask, What aileth thee?’ Judges xviii. 24. So when God is withdrawn, all visits of love and influences of grace are suspended, and they have no communion with him in their duties, should they not mourn? See Mat. ix. 15. Is spiritual love without all kind of passion? or are they Christians that are stupid [like being in a stupor] and insensate [lacking sensibility], and never take notice of God’s coming and going?

These are the evidences. I shall only now suggest two helps to keep up
and increase this love to God, and I have done with this argument.

  1. Prize nothing that comes from God unless you can see his love in it. God gives many gifts to wicked men, but he doth not give them his love. The possession of all things will do us no good unless we have God himself; other mercies may be salted with a curse. God’s children are not satisfied till they can see him and enjoy him in every comfort and mercy. Esau was reconciled to Jacob, and therefore Jacob saith, Gen. xxxiii. 10, ‘I have seen thy face as the face of God.’ It was a token and pledge of the gracious face of God smiling on him. Hezekiah was delivered out of a sickness, and then he doth not say, Thou hast delivered me from the grave; but, ‘Thou hast loved me from the grave,’ Isa. xxxviii. 17.

  2. Prize nothing that you return to God unless there be love in it. We accept a small gift where the party loves, and otherwise the greatest is refused: ‘If I give my body to be burned, and have not love,’ etc., 1 Cor. xiii. 3. Love is an act of grace by itself; other duties are not acts of grace unless they come from love; as alms, fasting, prayer, martyrdom, etc., they are all nothing; οὔδεν εἶμι (says the apostle), ‘I am’ not only little, but ‘nothing.’ On the other side, small things are made great by love; as a cup of cold water, a poor woman’s mite, they are accepted as coming from love.

May we seek from God, and may He grant us, that we hate sin, delight in obedience to Him, delight in His presence, prize nothing but what comes from Him, and may all these be out of love for Him above all things!

— David

David’s Digest: Do We Indeed Love God?, Part 1

Jude 2 - "Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied."

Man’s heart is the director of our minds, wills, and emotions. It’s the seat from which all the issues from within us bend.

But in our natural state, it has the worst problem:

Jeremiah 17:9 - "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

This deceit can cause us to think we love God but perhaps actually don’t. There will be evidences.

And so we are commanded to be on the watch, because of how central the heart is:

Proverbs 4:23 - "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

Puritan Thomas Manton helps us examine if we really love God, and begins in this part with the heart. It comes from his excellent commentary on the Epistle of Jude.

You can listen to this part verse 2 here:

or download it:

Download

The entire book is available here on Monergism’s site, and this section starts on PDF page 101 near the bottom…

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:

Thomas Manton – Jude Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Use. Well, then, saints mind your work. Do you indeed love God? Christ puts Peter to the question thrice, John xxi. A deceitful heart is apt to abuse you. Ask again and again, Do I indeed love God? Evidences are these:-

  1. If you love God, he will be loved alone; those that do not give all to God, give nothing; he will have the whole heart. If there were another God, we might have some excuse for our reservations; but since there is but one God, he must have all, for he doth not love in mates.

    When the harbingers [who go a day’s journey before the king to make accommodations] take up a house for a prince, they turn out all; none must remain there, that there may be room for his greatness. So all must avoid, that God may have the sole possession of our hearts.

    The devil, that has no right to anything, would have a part, for by that means he knows the whole will fall to him; conscience will not let him have all, and therefore he would have a part to keep possession: as Pharaoh stood hucking [haggling] with Moses and Aaron; if not the Israelites, then their little ones; if not their little ones, then their herds; if not their herds, then their flocks: but Moses tells him there was not a hoof to be left.

    So Satan, if he cannot have the outward man, yet he would have the heart; if there be not room enough in the heart for every lust [generally, any corrupt desire], then he craves indulgence in some things that are less odious and distasteful; if conscience will not allow drunkenness, yet a little worldliness is pleaded for as no great matter.

    But the love of God cannot be in that heart where the world reigns. Dagon and the ark could not abide in the same temple; neither can the heart be divided between God and mammon.

    All men must have some religion to mask their pleasures and carnal practices, that they may be favourable to their lusts [corrupt desires] and interests with less remorse; and usually they order the matter so, that Christ shall have their consciences, and the world their hearts and affections.

    But, alas! they do not consider that God is jealous of a rival; when he comes into the heart, he will have the room empty. It is true, we may love other things in subordination to God, but not in competition with God; that is, when we love God and other things for God’s sake, in God and for God.

    When a commander hath taken a strong castle, and placed a garrison in it, he suffers [allows] none to enter but those of his own side, keeping the gate shut to his enemies. So we must open the heart to none but God, and those that are of God’s party and side, keeping the gate shut to others. We may love the creatures [anything created] as they are of God’s side, as they draw our hearts more to God, or engage us to be more cheerful in service, or give us greater advantages of doing good.

    Of what party are they? Bring nothing into your heart, and allow nothing there, that is contrary to God. When Sarah saw Ishmael scoffing at Isaac, she thrust him out of doors. So when riches, and honour, and the love of the world upbraid you with your love to God, as if you were a fool to stand so nicely upon terms of conscience, etc., when they encroach and allow Christ no room but in the conscience, it is time to thrust them out of doors, that the Lord alone may have the preeminence in our souls.

May God grant us diligence in keeping our hearts, and may we seek His help and power in this important work!

Continue on to part 2

— David

Facebook 23

1 Facebook is my shepherd; I shall not want[1].

2 It maketh me to “lie”[2] in red/green/blue[3] pastures: it leadeth me to post still pictures.

3 It distracteth my soul: it leadeth me in the paths of pretentiousness for its name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of the Internet, I will fear not God, for it is with me; its “Likes” and “Shares” they comfort me.

5 It preparest a table of venomous speech before me in the presence of mine enemies; it anointest my head with “Friends”[4]; my “Followers” runneth over.

6 Surely witty-quips and memes shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of Facebook for ever.

  • [1]: Lack
  • [2]: As in not truth, some intentionally, in the putting forth of a persona that is not really themself, but in the end, the real person cannot be actually put forth or known truly via this medium
  • [3]: Color model for computers
  • [4]: How do Facebook “Friends” compare to these?

    Exodus 33:11 – “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

    James 2:23 – “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

    Proverbs 18:24 – “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

I believe social media isn’t social — it’s a fake replacement for it. More lies, along the same vein as “oh, all these modern conveniences will give you more time in your life”, when they required dad to get a factory job away from the family all day, and mom eventually at her job, and the children raised by society’s school system, all instead of dad being right there, hands on, to raise his boys in how to provide for a family, and mom doing the same in how to take care of one, being much more present to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

And I think you can see how far has this type of lie has taken us: I think you can see it when a family is sitting at a table for a meal with everyone fiddling with their individual devices, like they and the rest aren’t even there.

And the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44).

And what about family worship, something that was most likely at least known about, if not actively participated in, in Christian families not too long ago?

I could lament some more but will stop for now. And I understand the irony that this will be posted on social media by us (near hypocrisy?), but even Christ visited and helped those outside of those to whom He was originally sent; see the Canaanite women in Matthew 15:21-29. And I understand that it can be beneficial to have important information available quickly, or that it’s nice to share some pictures with your family, but I believe there is a larger issue at play, that even goes to what is important to people in their hearts and how much time is spent not in prayer, or Bible study, or keeping our conversation [behavior] in heaven, or renewing our minds:

Philippians 3:20 – “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Romans 12:2 – “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Anyway, I came across a version of Psalm 23 for TV someone had done, and after briefly glancing at it, wondered if I could do something similar for something I am extraordinarily not fond of, not just because, but hopefully to bring forth a point of view, FWIW.

May God help us to redeem the time, for the days (by themselves, without us doing anything) are evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:8,13:

8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity [emptiness; want of substance to satisfy desire; uncertainty; inanity].

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

— David

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