This is David & Susan Sifford's journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matt 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 14)

David’s Digest: Of Being Christ’s Servant

Jude 1 - "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:"

Jude here calls himself a servant of Christ. And I think most who claim Christ’s name themselves would call themselves the same.

But what does being a servant of Christ look like?

Puritan Thomas Manton explores this briefly near the beginning of his excellent commentary on the Epistle of Jude, which we present to you below.

You can listen to all of verse 1 here:

or download it:

Download

The entire book is available here on Monergism’s site, and this section starts on PDF page 5 near the bottom…

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

Thomas Manton – Jude Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Verse 1. — Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

Obs. 2. Observe, again, his relation to Christ is expressed by service; as he describes himself to be James’s brother, so Christ’s servant; by that means he was entitled to Christ; if we would be Christ’s we must do his will: our relation arises from service, John xii. 26. Therefore I shall here take occasion to show you what it is to be Christ’s servants.

(1.) Whoever is Christ’s servant must resign and give up himself wholly to the will of Christ; for he that is Christ’s servant, he is so by covenant and consecration. We are indeed Christ’s by all kind of rights and titles; ‘he made us, and not we ourselves;’ no creature is of itself, and therefore it is not its own, but another’s. It is God’s prerogative alone to love Himself and seek Himself, because He alone is without obligation and dependence; but we owe ourselves to Him, and therefore cannot without robbery call ourselves our own. Your tongues are not your own to speak what you please, Ps. xii. 4, nor your hearts your own to think what you please, nor your hands your own to do what you please; by virtue of your creation you are another’s, and are bound to live and act for another, according to His will, for his glory.

But this is not all; by redemption you are Christ’s: ‘Ye are bought with a price,’ 1 Cor. vi. 20, as the redeemed are bound to serve Him that ransomed them. If a man had bought another out of captivity, or he had sold himself, all his strength or service belonged to the buyer. Christ has bought us from the worst slavery, and with the greatest price; no thraldom so bad as bondage to sin and Satan, no prison so black as hell; and certainly Christ’s blood is better than a little money. So that to live as if we were at our own disposal is to defraud Christ of his purchase.

Thus we are Christ’s by creation and redemption; but now, if we would be his servants, we must be His by voluntary contract and spiritual resignation: ‘Yield up yourselves,’ etc., Rom. vi. 13. Christ loves to have his right and title established by our own consent. We take Christ for lord and master, and give up ourselves to Him, that we may be no longer at our own disposal, and therefore it is not only robbery, but treachery and breach of covenant to seek ourselves in anything. This resignation must be made out of a sense of Christ’s love to us in his death and sufferings: 2 Cor. v. 15, Christ died, ‘that they which live should not henceforth live to themselves, but unto him that died for them.’ We enter upon other services out of hopes, but we enter upon Christ’s service out of thankfulness.

Again, this resignation must be universal, without reservation of any part. You must have no other master but God: Mat. vi. 24, ‘Ye cannot serve two masters, ye cannot serve God and mammon.’ Usually men divide themselves between God and the world; they would give their consciences to Christ, and their hearts to mammon. The devil pleads for a part, for by that means he knows that the whole [all of the person] will fall to his share; therefore all, the whole man, in vow, purpose, and resolution, must be given up to God.

(2.) Having given up yourselves to God’s service, you must walk as his servants; that is, not as you list [want/desire], but as the Master pleases. The angels are God’s ministers, ‘doing his pleasure,’ Ps. ciii. 21. A servant has no will of his own, but has given up his liberty to the directions and commands of another; therefore, if you be God’s servants, you must earnestly desire the knowledge of his will, and readily comply with it; you must not do things as they please self and flesh, but as they please God. David begs for knowledge as God’s servant: Ps. cxix. 125, ‘I am thy servant, grant me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.’ A faithful servant would not willingly offend his master, and therefore would fain [gladly] know what is His will. They plead with God, and search themselves, Rom. xii. 2, and all to know His pleasure; and not only to know it, but to do it, otherwise they are worthy of many stripes by Christ’s own sentence.

The master’s will should be motive enough, 1 Thes. iv. 3, v. 13; 1 Peter ii. 15. If God will have it so, if Jesus Christ will have it so, it is enough to a faithful servant. The very signification of God’s will carries with it reason enough to enforce the practice of it.

Yea, you must equally comply with every will of God, not only with the easy and pleasant ways of obedience, but such as cross lusts [generally any corrupt desires of the heart] and interests. When two men go together, a man cannot tell whom the servant follows till they part. When God and our lusts or our interests command contrary things, then you are put to the trial whether you are God’s servants.

May we seek God for, and may He grant us, this desire to know and do His will, in every area of our lives, recognizing that we are not our own at all, by creation and by the redemption found in His blessed Son Christ Jesus….and may we truly say, our Lord!

— David

David’s Digest: Of Christian Patience

James 5:7 - "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain."

What does godly patience look like?

In Puritan Thomas Manton’s work “A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes, on the Epistle of James”, he examines this closer in looking at the beginning of the above verse.

You can listen to all of verse 15 here:

or download it:

Download

The entire book is available here: https://ia800904.us.archive.org/2/items/apracticalcomme01mantgoog/apracticalcomme01mantgoog.pdf#page=405, and this section starts on PDF page 405 (in the print, page 3860), or you can get it in other formats here

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

Thomas Manton – James Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Verse 7. — Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord: behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and the latter rain.

He now diverts from the rich oppressors, unto the poor faithful brethren that were oppressed. By the illative particle “therefore” we may see the former paragraph was for their sakes. The rich men shall be punished for their wickedness and oppression ; therefore, be you patient.

Be patient, therefore, brethren, [Greek word]. The word is put for long-suffering, and so usually translated, which is a further degree of patience; for patience is a sense of afflictions without murmuring, and of injuries without revenge. Now, long-suffering is patience extended, and lengthened out to that which our apostle calls its perfect work. Observe:

Obs. It is the duty of the children of God to be patient under their sufferings, though they be long and sharp. It is easier in a calm and sedate condition to discourse of patience, than to exercise it in time of trial. Philosophers have discoursed of it, and commended it ; but Christians themselves have staggered, when they have been exercised with a sharp sense of evils.

When God gives up his people to the lust [generally, any corrupt desire of the heart] of adversaries, then it is sad, and we are apt to murmur; and yet the apostle says, we should suffer with a long patience. I shall spare motives, and a little show you what Christian patience is.

It differs from security and stoical insensibleness [just ignoring it, burying the emotions, etc.]; there can be no patience where there is no sense of evil [of our own sin, temptations to sin under difficulties, etc.]. Christianity does not abrogate affections, but regulate them. Carnal men put off [for later] that which they cannot put away, and are not patient but stupid [like being in a stupor] and careless. There are other remedies in Christianity than quenching our sorrows in the wine [literal and metaphorical] of pleasures.

Again, it differs from moral patience, which is nothing but a yielding to necessity [they go with it because they cannot do anything about it], and is usually accompanied with vain [useless] thoughts (Jer. iv. 14), and carnal workings of spirit. When God lays on crosses, men please themselves with suppositions of worldly profit, and how their present condition may conduce to secular advancement; as when God takes away wife or children, men do not think of submission to the hand of God, but the capacity of augmenting their worldly estate, &c.

In short. Christian patience supposes a sense of evil, and then in the formality of it, it is a submission of the whole soul to the will of God. Wherein observe,

(1.) The nature; it is a submission of the whole soul. The judgment subscribes, “Good is the word of the Lord,” &c. (Isa. xxxix. 9.) Though it were to him a terrible word, yet the submission of a sanctified judgment can call it good. Then the will accepts, “If they shall accept the punishment” (Lev. xxvi. 4) ; that is, take it kindly from God that it is no worse. Then the affections are restrained, and anger and sorrow brought under the commands of the word. Then the tongue is bridled, lest discontent plash [splash] over; Aaron held his peace, (Lev. x. 3).

(2.) Consider the grounds and proper considerations upon which all this is carried on. Usually there is such a progress as this in the spiritual discourse:

(1st.) The soul sees God in it : “I was dumb, and opened not my mouth, because thou didst it” (Psa. xxxix. 9).

(2nd.) It sees God acting with sovereignty : “None can say unto him; What dost thou?” (Job. ix. 12.) And elsewhere, “He giveth no account of his matters.”

(3rd.) Lest this should make the heart storm [with fury], it sees sovereignty modified and mitigated in the dispensation of it with several attributes:

  • With justice:

    (Deut. xxvii. 26), When every curse was pronounced, they were to say Amen that if it come to pass ; Amen is but a righteous dispensation.

  • With mercy:

    “Thou hast punished us less than we deserved” (Esra. ix. 13). They were afflicted, they might have been destroyed; they were in Babylon, they might have been in hell.

  • With faithfulness:

    They look upon afflictions as federal dispensations, as appendages of the covenant of grace; “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might keep thy statutes” (Psa. cxix. 71). When they are threshed, it is but to lose their stalks and husks ; God’s faithfulness would not suffer [allow] them to want [want] such a sweet help.

  • With wisdom:

    God is a God of judgment (Isa, xxx. 18) ; it is meant in his dispensations. Let God alone, he is too just to do us wrong, and too kind and wise to do us harm.

May God grant us a desire for this patience, may we seek Him daily for it, and may He graciously grant us it so we can live properly as unto Him!

— David

David’s Digest: Do We Have Our Own Gourd?

Jonah 4:5-11:

5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.

6 And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.

7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.

8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

10 Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

As I read this recently, something struck me: This temporary thing made Jonah “exceeding glad.” Is there something in my life that I think is missing that would make me “exceeding glad”? Or rather what came to mind personally, is there something in my life that I wish wasn’t, and that being gone would make me “exceeding glad”?

Do I have my own form of “Jonah’s Gourd”?

Do we truly trust God in His providences in our lives, especially in the difficult times of trial and affliction? Do we do well to be angry at God for them, or the lack of something we think we should have?

Or better, do we thank the Lord for these things, or the lack of something we think we should have, in our lives, as the guiding hand of a loving Father?

1 Thess 5:18 – “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Heb 12:8 – “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

And then, what does the Bible say should make us “exceeding glad”?

First and foremost, the Lord Himself:

Psalm 21:6 – “For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.

But further, not only thankful for His afflicting hand but:

Matt 5:11-12 – “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

1 Pet 4:12-13 – “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

And so, there we have it…it’s the trial and afflictions themselves that are to make us “exceeding glad”, not some temporal thing in our lives, or difficulties being removed. In fact, removing them might not only be evidence of losing the loving chastisement of a Father that makes us better followers of Him, but also the losing of the thing itself in which we are to be exceeding glad!

May the Lord Christ Himself be our greatest joy! And then, may His trials and afflictions, in the not having things we think we want, or the not removing of things we want removed, make us exceeding glad, and always thankful!

— David

David’s Digest: A Mark of a True Child of God

While reading through Matthew 5 recently, something stuck out to me more this time.

Verse 9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

Only Christ can make peace between God and us, but, as Puritan commentator John Gill suggests, this is:

between men and men; and such are they, who are of peaceable dispositions themselves; live peaceably with all men, and with one another, as their relation obliges to, and their mutual comfort requires; and with the men of the world; and who are ready, willing, and very serviceable, in composing differences, and making peace between their fellow creatures and fellow Christians.

And if we are peacemakers, that doesn’t merit our being God’s children: the merit to be adopted into God’s family is only through Christ.

But is there more?

Continuing in Matthew 5, specifically verses 43 to 48, I’ll go through them here with some formatting to add a little emphasis:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you:

  • Love your enemies
  • Bless them that curse you
  • Do good to them that hate you
  • And pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

But, why?

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven!

Wow! Only God adopting us into His family actually makes us His children, but we evidence we are truly His children when we do these things. How is this so?

For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

So, we’re to do something similar, by loving, blessing, doing good and praying for those who hate us and despitefully use us. This is just as God brings the sun to shine and rain to fall on the ungodly.

And here’s more for the argument:

For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Even the ungodly do good to their friends, so if that’s all we do, how are we any different from the ungodly?

And the final statement:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

We cannot be “perfect” as God is in degree, but “perfect” here is in likeness, or “as close to God in this characteristic as possible”.

Children are reflections of their parents, and so to be that Christian reflection of God, and thus show we are a child of His, we must do these good things (praying for, doing good, etc.) to those who treat us very poorly!

I would suggest, too, that the vice-versa is implied: if we are not willing to do, or are indifferent about, these things, that it is quite possible that evidences we might not be God’s children, regardless of what we might say. I believe we must seriously consider this.

Now, all this is an impossible order under our own spiritual strength, but:

Philippians 4:11-13 – “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

And after all, shouldn’t we imitate our Lord Christ Jesus as well?

Romans 5:6-8 – “6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

and

Luke 23:34 – “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

Christ died for the ungodly, for sinners, and He prayed for those involved with killing Him, also showing, I would offer, an example of being a child of His Father.

Let us earnestly and slowly consider the marks and required actions of a true child of God one more time:

  • Love your enemies
  • Bless them that curse you
  • Do good to them that hate you
  • And pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

May we ask God for, and may He grant us, the desires, and these graces themselves, to be like Him, to all of those around us, even those who might abuse or wrong us, going even farther than just not retaliating, in Christian love, motivated by love to Him!

— David

David’s Digest: What Does It Mean to Submit All Our Actions to God’s Will?

James 4:15 – “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

At what depth should our wills in the actions of our lives be submitted to our God if we claim Him to be so? What does it mean to truly submit our lives in what we do to Him?

Puritan Thomas Manton in his superb work “A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes, on the Epistle of James” takes a deep and detailed look into what it means to submit the actions of our lives to God.

You can listen to all of verse 15 here:

 


or download it:
Download

 

The entire book is available here: https://ia800904.us.archive.org/2/items/apracticalcomme01mantgoog/apracticalcomme01mantgoog.pdf#page=375, and this section starts on PDF page 379 (in the print, page 360), or you can get it in other formats here

…or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Manton – James Commentary

From Thomas Manton:

Verse 15. – For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

Observation. All our undertakings must be referred to the will of God; not only sacred, but civil actions. Our journeys must not be undertaken without asking his leave; as Jacob, “O Lord God of Abraham thy servant, send me good speed this day” (Gen. xxviii. 20, and xxiv. 12). No wonder, if this be neglected, that you meet with so many cross accidents; they do not come from your hard luck, but your profane neglect.

But what is it to submit all our actions to the will of God? I answer,

1. To measure all our actions by his revealed will [the Bible], that is the rule of duty. We can look for no blessing but upon those ways that suit with it. There must be a submission to his secret will, but first a conformity to his revealed will. Lust [generally, any corrupt desire of the heart] has its wills (Eph. ii. 2); but we are to serve the will of God till we fall asleep (Acts xiii 36).

2. We must the more comfortably undertake any action, when we see God in it. Acts xvi. 10, he gathered that God had called him to Macedonia: so, when we see God in the sweet means and course of his providence, or by inward instinct guiding and leading us, we may with more encouragement walk in the way that he hath opened to us.

3. When in our desires and requests we do not [try to] bind [constrain] the counsels of God; [we should say] “Not my will, but thine be done” (Matt. xxvi. 39). In temporal things we must submit to God’s will both for the mercy, the means, and time of attainment. Creatures that cannot ascribe to themselves, must not prescribe to God, and give laws to Providence, but must be content to want [lack], or have, as the Lord pleases. If any thing succeed not well, the Lord would not [wills it not to be]; that is enough to silence all discontents [discontentment].

4. We must constantly ask his leave in prayer, as before was urged.

5. We must still reserve the power of God’s providence. If the Lord will. If the Lord permit: God would not have us too carnally confident; it is good to inure the soul to changes. Two things we should often consider to this purpose, and they are both in the text:

(1st.) The sovereignty and dominion of Providence: the Lord can blast your enterprise, though managed with never so much wisdom and contrivance [of our own]; he can nip it in the bud, or check it in the very article of execution: and I have observed, that usually God is very tender of his honour in this point, and usually frustrates proud men that boast of what they will do, and conceive unlimited purposes, without any thought of the check they may receive in Providence.

It is a flower of the imperial crown of heaven, and the bridle that God hath upon the reasonable creature, to dispose of the success of human affairs; therefore herein God will be acknowledged: “A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps” (Prov. xvi. 9). Man designs, but the execution depends wholly upon God’s will and providence.

In peremptory resolutions there is a contest between us and Heaven about will and power; therefore, in such cases, the answer of Providence is more express and decisive to the creature’s loss, that God may be acknowledged as Lord of success, and the first mover in all means and causes, without whom they have no force and efficacy.

(2nd.) Consider the frailty and uncertainty of your own lives. Our being is as uncertain as the events of Providence. If we live, and God will, are the exceptions of the text, and do imply that there must be a sensible impression of our own frailty, as well as of the sovereignty of Providence, that the heart may the better submit to God. It is said, “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth, in that very day his thoughts perish” (Psa. cxlvi. 4).

Frail men are full of thoughts and projects; this they will do, and that they will do; go to such a city, promote their interests by such an alliance, gain so much by such a purchase; and then they will raise up some stately fabric which shall continue their name and memory to succeeding generations, and all this because they do not mind the earth which they carry about them, and how soon the hand of Providence is able to crumble it into dust. Certainly man will never be wise, till he is able to number his days, and does sufficiently possess his soul of the uncertainty of his abode in the world (Psa. xc. 12).

Observation. We shall live, and do this or that. Mark! it is not enough that God suffer [allow] us to live, but he must also by the same will suffer [allow] us to do or act. The point is, that God’s will concurs not only to our lives, but actions. We may live, and yet not be able to do any thing for the promotion of our designs: for, if God suspend his concurrence, the creatures cannot act, at least not with any towardliness and success, which quite crosses the doctrine of the heathen philosophers. Seneca said, “That we live, it is by the benefit of the gods; that we live well, it is of ourselves.” So Tully: “This is the judgment of all men, that prosperity is to be sought of God, but wisdom to be gotten by ourselves.”

But in the Scriptures we are taught otherwise, not only to seek success of God, but direction; he gives abilities to perform, and a blessing when the action is finished.

  • Without the efficacious [effective], as well as permissive will of God, we can do nothing; he must give us life, and all things necessary to action.
  • We must not only look up to him as the author of the success, but the director of the actions.
  • It is by his conduct and blessing that all things come to pass.
  • Our very counsels and wills are subject to the Divine government, and he can turn them as it pleaseth him (Prov. xxi. 1);

and therefore we must not only commit our ways to his providence, but commend our hearts to the tuition of his Spirit. In short, all things are done by bis will, and must be ascribed to his praise.

May God grant that we indeed see our frailty, His greatness, His supremacy in all things, His worthiness to be submitted to, His lovingkindness in His dealings with us, and may He grant that we be full of thankfulness at all times, especially if by His graces and mercies we have the Lord Christ Jesus as our own!

— David

Susan’s Musin’s – It Is Even a Vapour

James 4:14 – “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Dave and I recently attended the funeral of a sweet sweet lady from our church who had died suddenly. She was only 69 but had been in ill health for many years and lived in a local nursing home for a good part of the last decade or so. She had faithfully attended the church we now go to but, due to the Covid-19 restrictions, she was only able to get back out to church in the past several months. But we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her before God called her home, and we all truly miss her.

A dear man from our church faithfully picked her up and drove her each Saturday morning for prayer meeting and Lord’s Day for morning services. She required oxygen, I am assuming 24/7, and was really tuckered out just from walking on her walker about 40 feet from the car door to the front door of the home church. She never complained about her health and didn’t seem that worried about it but was always sweet and mild. One morning, we were told, after breakfast the nursing home attendant rolled her back into her room and left for a few minutes. When she returned, Betty’s body was slumped over and her spirit was now with Jesus. God had said “it’s time” and she was gone in an instant.

Our pastor preached a wonderful sermon at her small funeral, but one thing that he mentioned really resonated with me. Paraphrasing, he said how just yesterday we were all 18 and how fast time has flown and we are now so much older. It’s so true. A younger person just cannot relate to that statement because they haven’t lived much of their life yet (assuming a normal life span, Lord willing). But those of us who are now in our 50’s, 60’s and beyond nod our heads, look at each other smiling and say “It’s so true!”

Betty had been in and out of the hospital with different ailments and every so often Pastor would request prayer for Betty because she was “in the hospital again”. But she had such a peace about it. You could see that her treasures weren’t in good health, or riches or anything but knowing Christ and trusting in Him. To speak frankly, her health had deteriorated to the point where her quality of life had shrunk to a very small sphere. But she put us all to shame determined to be worshipping God if she could possibly get to church and prayer meetings. Her sacrifice of worship was kind of a modern day widow’s mite, if that makes sense. She gave everything she had in her extreme fragility and weakness to get to church and worship God while so many these days use flimsy excuses in exchange for something they would rather do.

Here is Pastor’s sermon at Betty’s funeral, well worth the few minutes to listen to, IMO:

Dave and I started eating turkey bacon a couple years ago when I went on a leaky gut healing program (I highly recommend it, by the way. It changed my life). Anyway, many times when I am cooking the bacon, I look at the four pieces in order in the pan and it reminds me of how short life is:

Frying Bacon in a Pan

Each piece cooks differently and I pull the fully cooked pieces from the top, move all the pieces up, and replace with new pieces on the bottom. The top ones have been through the cooking process and are somewhat dark and bubbly, maybe a little burnt, charred and beat up if I kept them in too long, but they are the ones ready to be taken from the pan first. The piece next down is a little less cooked, and not burned yet, and so on. As we grow up, sometimes there are four, even five, generations alive at the same time, but great-grandma and grandpa die not long into the lives of the great-grandchildren. Then next up are the grandparents, then mom and dad, and then, all of a sudden, we are next in line to be taken from the frying pan of this earth. Where did the time go????!!!!

As we have all seen or experienced, sometimes God, in His sovereignty, takes a young one first, or a parent or sibling first. That’s His business and not ours to understand. But Pastor’s funeral sermon brought something forth to me that I needed to be reminded of. It’s not how long we live, but how we are spending our time here on earth. Am I wasting a lot of time I should be redeeming? (and here’s Part 2) Do I really believe to live is Christ and to die is gain? (Phil 1:21) Am I immersed in the means of grace I’ve been given (Bible, prayer, worshipping with God’s people, etc.), focused on learning more about Christ, or something that is fleeting or the flavor of the day in any given area of life? As Pastor said, our time here on earth determines our eternity. Our eternity! The glories of being in Heaven with Christ will never, ever, end, and the unthinkable torments of being in hell completely separated from God will never, ever end. May God grant each of us to pause and take some serious time to let that sink in.

I just wanted to pass along what has been pressing on my heart and am taking a new inventory of my priorities in life. God is shakin’ them up, and I’m thankful. May Christ draw each of us to Himself and give us a fresh desire for Him in light of eternity.

Susan

(For more on James 4:14, you can listen to what Puritan Thomas Manton has to say regarding it on our James Commentary audio book page, or you can listen below following:

 


or download it.)
Download

 

Latest Completed Reading: Richard Sibbes’ “Bowels Opened”

I’ve continued to work on other readings of Christian books or treatises I’ve found very spiritually beneficial, all of which you can find here.

And we just finished our latest: Richard Sibbes’ “Bowels Opened”, his exposition on Song of Solomon 4:16-6:3 (I believe “bowels” are like bowels of love, or bowels of mercy).

The Song of Solomon is most often considered to be a revelation of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church (including each individual member). To me, it’s extraordinarily beautiful, and I believe should be studied thoroughly.

In Sibbes’ writing, he takes you through some of the descriptions of Christ from His spouse, and vice-versa, and a time where she slumbers while He knocks, and some of the repercussions and recovery.

Again to me, this book of the Bible is such a glorious picture of the excellencies of Christ, and an amazing discovery of the intimacy between Christ and the Church, and each Christian.

We pray this might be a blessing to you!

(Note that at the above link, you can listen to each sermon in line, download each, or download all of them in a .zip file.)

May Christ Jesus be magnified and glorified through His word!

— David

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