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The Gold of Affliction

Suppose that a loving father in some high room, throws down a bag of gold to his child, and it falls on the child's head causing injury. While the child is feeling the pain, he is impatient and troubled; while he looks only at the leather bag he is not thankful; but when he looks into the bag, and sees what a great deal of gold his father has given him, then he speaks well of his father, notwithstanding the injury to his head. Affliction is a bag of gold given to the people of God; though it seems from outside like a bad leather bag, yet there is gold within it. As long as we simply stare at the bag, or focus only on the suffering, we are not thankful, we do not praise the Lord, but are much discouraged; but if we would look into the bag, and count our gold, then we would have comfort, and not be discouraged. I tell you from the Lord, there is gold within; look in this bag, the bag of affliction; count over all the gold which the Lord has given you in this affliction, and then you
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Preaching to the Conscience

Preaching to the conscience means something concrete. It means explaining the listeners’  obligations to God, their failure to meet those obligations, their impotence to make up for that failure, the eternal consequences of that failure, and God’s astounding grace offered to all who will humble themselves, repent, and believe the good news.  In other words, preaching to the conscience is provocative. It seeks to disturb the comfortable and to comfort the disturbed…. The great obstacle to this kind of preaching is when  the conscience is awakened, people react. The humble repent, rejoice, and enter God’s kingdom. The proud become angry: “Who are you to tell me I am a sinner?” or “This is not the God I learned about in Sunday school.”  Men dominated by the fear of man will not preach to the conscience. If you’re seeking a reward from men as you preach the gospel, you may get it, but that’s all—you won’t get anything from God.  The world needs pastors who fear God, love sinners, and under

The Slavery of Prosperity

I read a story this morning about a businessman who was behind fake bombs planted at Grays’ Inn in London's legal district to intimidate lawyers who work for the National Crime Agency (NCA).    He wanted to frighten them after the NCA conducted legal proceedings against him and his wife, which resulted in £1m of assets being recovered. The court heard he was upset at the prospect of losing his stately home, Embley Manor in Romsey, Hampshire.  The man’s case is another example of how our slavery to prosperity leads us to offer more sinful sacrifices to keep it. In his case it has cost him physical freedom. Materialism is a loveless uncaring god.  Now, if we are true followers of Christ, we know that Christ is infinitely better. Yet, how we also still give in so easily to the pursuit of the slavery of prosperity! I recently came across a statement by Paul David Tripp (PDT) that helpfully discusses this issue:  Why are we so busy? There may be many answers to that question, but let m

Workers for Your Joy (A Review)

Workers for your Joy (WFYJ) is about what Christ calls leaders in his church to be and do, particularly the teaching office in the church (i.e. pastor or elder).  It presents a biblical vision of leadership by going through the fifteen qualifications of elders listed 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. The central question Mathis is basically asking is – how should we pastor or lead the church in light of these qualifications? The target audience of the book seems to be those who are in the early stages of pastoral ministry. The book was part of the seminary syllabus at Bethlehem. However, the author does explicitly state that the book is also meant to be of use to church members in considering what Christ expects of leadership in the local church.   Mathis has written this book because he believes leadership has fallen on hard times. The church in the west and the society around us has become increasingly discontent with being led due to the high-profile cases that have sprung about leadership.

Beware of False Hope

There are ships lying quietly in Liverpool and London docks, about to sail for every part of the globe. They all look equally trustworthy, so long as they are in harbour; they have all equally good names, and are equally well-rigged and painted: but they are not all equally well-found and equally safe. Once let them put to sea, and meet with rough weather, and the difference between the sound and unsound ships will soon appear. Many a ship which looked well in dock has proved not sea-worthy when she got into deep water, and has gone down at last with all hands on board! Just so it is with many a false hope. It has failed completely, when most wanted: it has broken down at last, and ruined its possessor's soul. You will soon have to put to sea. I say again, beware of mistakes. J C RYLE  (Source : Old Paths) 

Today I Learned

Lord Chesterfeld wandered into a chapel once when George Whitefield was preaching. He sat in the pew that belonged to Lady Huntingdon, listening intensely. The preacher was comparing an ignorant sinner to a blind beggar on a dangerous road. His little dog gets away from him when skirting the edge of a precipice, and the old man is left to explore the path with his iron-shod staff. On the very edge of the cliff his stick slips through his fingers, and falls away down the abyss. All unconscious, its helpless owner stoops down to regain it, and stumbling forward. At this moment Chesterfilef, who had been listening with breathless alarm to this description of the blind man's movements, jumped up from his seat shouting, “Good God! he is gone!", trying to prevent the catastrophe.

The Witness of Character

Though religion, in its ordinary mode of exhibition, commands but little respect, when it rises to the sublime, and is perceived to colour and pervade the whole character, it rarely fails to draw forth the homage of mankind. The most hardened ungodliness, and daring immorality, will find it difficult to despise the man who manifestly appears to walk with God, whose whole system of life is evidently influenced and directed by the power of the world to come. The ridicule cast on religious characters, is not always directed towards their religion, but more often perhaps to the little it performs, contrasted with the loftiness of its pretensions; a ridicule which derives its force from the very sublimity of the principles which the profession of piety assume.  ROBERT HALL