Monday, May 31, 2010

Daniel Rowland (1713-1790)

It is generally agreed that the two most prominent leaders of the 18th century revival in Wales were Howell Harris and Daniel Rowland. They had much in common. They were about the same age; the Lord called them both from darkness to light in the same year (1735); they had a common friend in the minister Griffith Jones, Daniel having been called by grace under his ministry and Howell having worked for him in connection with his Charity Schools; both Harris and Rowland were called to the work of the ministry early in life and were both preaching not long after they were twenty-one.

In other ways they differed. Howell, as a great evangelist, travelled far and wide in Wales and England, while Daniel's ministry was confined to Wales, and that largely in the area around Llangeitho in Cardiganshire, between Tregaron and Lampeter. They had also another feature in common; neither of them ever had a university education, yet Daniel was ordained as a curate in the Church of England and Howell was a staunch supporter of that Church all his life. It was to Daniel that Howell looked as the minister who, under the hand of God, was the means of bringing him into fuller revelation of the Lord Jesus to his soul. Yet in later life, they had a grievous separation of over ten years when Howell became involved in error and Daniel had to write against his friend, though the friendship was healed before Howell's death in 1773, and Daniel lived on to a good old age, dying in 1790 at the age of seventy-seven.

But if they were thus connected, history will ever link their names and the church of God will ever associate them as the two Welsh leaders of the Great Revival of the 18th century, and in this work their talents were dovetailed: Harris the zealous evangelist and organiser of the Societies, and Daniel the stable minister and theologian of the Revival who, while he itinerated little, led the flock of God committed to his charge and was used of the Lord to the salvation of many thousands, and the sending forth of many ministers over the fifty-five years of his ministry. Daniel had been born at Llancwnlle in 1713, and was the second son of the Rev. Daniel Rowland, Rector of Llangeitho. Nothing is known of the first twenty years of his life, except that his father was fifty-four when he was born, and died in 1731 when Daniel was eighteen years old. The boy's education was at Hereford Grammar School, and the fact that he did not go to university could possibly be connected with the death of his father. The next fact that is known about him is that he was ordained in London in 1733 at the early age of twenty, and returned to Wales to become curate to his elder brother, John, who had succeeded his father, and held the three adjacent parishes at Llangeitho, Llancwnlle, and Llandewibrefi.

For two years after his return, Daniel gave no evidence of any fitness to be a minister. He was first brought into concern when hearing the godly minister Griffith Jones preach at Llandewibrefi in 1735. This brought a complete change into Daniel's life and ministry. He was now twenty-two and married. He began to preach as a man who knew the reality of sin and death, heaven and hell. It was said in his early ministry he preached the law, and that crowds who flocked to hear him were brought under deep conviction of sin. It was in this period, in February 1738, that Howell Harris heard him preach from Proverbs 8, which was made such a blessing to him. William Williams refers to another change which took place in his ministry, when he writes:
''After preaching for some years the stormy law and wounding very many, his tone changed; he proclaimed full, complete, perfect salvation through the Messiah's death on Calvary. Henceforth the power of his sweet doctrines nurtured faith by revealing the Mediator, God and Man, as the foundation of free salvation; the One who freely redeemed by His precious blood; and all the treasures of heaven for a poor believer.'
Now people came to hear him from all parts, and many were brought under deep conviction. As many as two thousand at a time were in his congregation. Writing of these occasions, he said,
'There is such power as I have never felt before, given me in preaching and administering the Lord's Supper. The Lord comes down among us in such a manner as words can give no idea of. Though I have, to prevent nature mixing with the work, openly discountenanced all crying out, yet such is the light, view, and power God gives very many in the Ordinance, that they cannot possibly help crying out, praising and adoring Jesus, being quite swallowed up in God; and thus I was obliged to leave my whole congregation, being many hundreds, in a flame . . . this is our condition generally every Sabbath.'
People came from as many as eight counties to hear him, and he found it impossible to confine his labours to his own parish. The circumstances which first led him to preach out of his own neighbourhood are of considerable interest. A farmer's wife from a little hamlet called Ystradffin in Carmarthenshire, a place about twenty miles to the east of Llangeitho across very open and rough country, came to see her sister who lived near Llangeitho. Having heard strange rumours about the oddities of Daniel Rowland's ministry, she went out of curiosity to hear him, and not in vain. Returning home she visited her sister, who was surprised to see her again on the following Sunday. When asked the reason for this second visit, she said that it was something that had stuck in her mind all the week, of the previous Sunday's sermon, and never left her night or day. She came again and again every Sunday, over the rough and mountainous road. After six months, she felt a strong desire to ask Daniel Rowland to come and preach at Ystradffin, and going up to him said, 'Sir, if what you say to us is true, there are many in my neighbourhood in a most dangerous condition, going fast to eternal misery. For the sake of their souls, come over, sir, to preach to them.' Her request took Rowland by surprise, but without a moment's hesitation, he said, 'Yes, I will come, if you can get the clergyman's permission.' This she obtained, and according to his promise, he went over and preached at Ystradffin. His first sermon was wonderfully blessed, and not less than thirty persons were converted that day, many of whom afterwards came regularly to hear him at Llangeitho. From this time onward he never hesitated to preach outside his own parish, wherever a door was opened to him, though such action often annoyed other clergymen, and offended the Bishop of St. David's. In 1741, the Bishop established a curacy at Ystradffin, which effectively stopped Rowland from preaching there, as he always had to obtain permission of local clergy, or else preach in the open air.

At no period, however, of his ministry or life, does he appear to have travelled to the same extent as many of his contemporaries, especially such a contemporary as George Whitefield. He rightly judged that hearers of the gospel needed to be built up as well as awakened, and for this work, he was peculiarly well qualified. Whatever, therefore, he did on weekdays, the Sunday generally found him at Llangeitho. Equally remarkable were the events which led to his first preaching in the open air. After his conversion, he had felt great anxiety about the spiritual condition of his former companions in sin. They disliked searching sermons, and refused to come to church at all, and their custom was to go on Sunday to a suitable place on one of the hills above Llangeitho, and there amuse themselves with sports and games. Rowland tried all means to stop this desecration of the Lord's Day, and failed, until at last he determined to meet them on their own ground. He therefore went, and suddenly breaking into a ring as a cock-fight was going on, addressed them powerfully and boldly about the sinfulness of their conduct. The effect was so great that not a tongue opposed him: Sabbath desecration stopped, and for the rest of his life, Rowland never hesitated when occasion required him to preach in the open air.

The work which he did as he travelled round preaching beyond the confines of his parish was carefully followed up, and not allowed to fall to the ground. No one understood better than he did that souls required feeding after they had been awakened. Aided, therefore, by such men as Howell Harris, he established a regular system of societies throughout Wales, through which he managed to keep up a constant communication with all who had been blessed under the ministry, and also to provide an assembly of true believers locally within the framework of the Church of England, many of whose ministers were ungodly men. These societies were all connected with one great Association which met four times a year, and of which he was generally the moderator. This Association was the founder organisation of Welsh Calvinistic Methodism, which finally separated from the Church of England to form a separate denomination in 1811. But long before this, Rowland had been driven to leave the Church of England. His elder brother John had died in 1760, by which time Daniel had been Curate at Llangeitho for twenty-seven years. Instead of appointing him to the living, the Bishop of St. David's took the extraordinary step of giving it to his twenty-seven year old son John, and thus the father became curate to his own son. Finally, in 1763, after many warnings, the Bishop revoked Daniel Rowland's licence to preach, because he would not promise to stop preaching outside of his own parish. The Methodists had already built a chapel at Llangeitho in 1760, and this was replaced by a new building in 1764. Here he continued to preach, and Howell Harris reckoned that in 1763 as many as ten thousand were coming to hear him at Llangeitho. It was under Rowland's ministry in 1773 that Thomas Charles of Bala was converted, the minister associated with Mary Jones and the founding of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

No longer persecuted by bishops and clergymen, he continued preaching in Llangeitho for twenty-seven years, 'in great quietness, undiminished popularity and immense usefulness until he died at length in Llangeitho Rectory on the 16th October, 1790 at the ripe old age of seventy-seven' (J. C. Ryle). He had been a pillar of orthodoxy in his life, resisting his closest friend, Howell Harris, between 1752 and 1763 (when the latter became involved with Moravian errors), and carrying on the work when Harris died in 1773. All agreed that his ministry was most exceedingly blessed, though little can be fully realised of its power, since only a few of his sermons survive, not more than eight, and these have been translated from Welsh. Yet the results of his fifty years' ministry were to turn Wales from being a godless principality to a country renowned for the truth.

- J. R. Broome

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Thirty Point Sermon

That is what the apostle Paul gives in Romans 12, in a span of thirteen verses. If the list Paul gives her, which is like shots out of a machine gun, if it were a yes or no quiz, I wonder what grade I would make? I wonder how I'm doing?

Can you picture the apostle meeting with one of the churches he cared for, and as he stood there, he begins to rattle off these admonitions, just as he gives them here in Romans 12?

1. Let love be genuine - vs 9

2. Hate what is evil - vs 9

3. Hold fast to what is good - vs 9

4. Love one another with brotherly affection - vs 10

5. Outdo one another in showing honor - vs 10

6. Do not be slothful in zeal - vs 11

7. Be fervent in spirit - vs 11

8. Serve the Lord - vs 11

9. Rejoice in hope - vs 12

10. Be patient in tribulation - vs 12

11. Be constant in prayer - vs 12

12. Contribute to the needs of the saints - vs 13

13. Seek to show hospitality - vs 13

14. Bless those who persecute you - vs 14

15. Do not curse them - vs 14

16. Rejoice with those who rejoice - vs 15

17. Weep with those who weep - vs 15

18. Live in harmony with one another - vs 16

19. Do not be prideful - vs 16

20. Associate with the lowly - vs 16

21. Never be conceited - vs 16

22. Repay no one evil for evil - vs 17

23. Give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all - vs 17

24. As much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people - vs 18

25. Never get revenge toward someone.

26. Leave all vengeance to God - vs 19

27. If your enemy is hungry, feed him - vs. 20

28. If he is thirsty, give him a drink - vs. 20

29. Do not be overcome by evil - vs. 21

30. Overcome evil with good - vs. 21

So, how are we doing these days in living out these realities? It doesn't matter a whole lot if you understand every truth in Romans 1-11 accurately, if it has not led to do what these verses admonish us to do. The things Paul admonishes believers with here-- these are the big stuff; what difference does it make if we think we are clear in understanding predestination, Romans 7, or eschatology, if our lives are not being conformed to these thirty realities Paul gives here? It matters not if I understand truth if I am not applying it and walking in it.

So, in light of Paul's thirty point sermon, how are we doing daily?

- Mack Tomlinson

On the Road to Eternity

"For I know that You will bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living." - Job 30:23

If you are in Christ, you may well bear your trials, for death will put an end to all your troubles. If a man on a journey is not well accommodated where he lodges only for a night, he will not trouble himself much about the matter because he is not staying there; it certainly is not his home.

So we are on the road to eternity. Let it not distress us that we meet with some hardships in the "inn of this world". Worry not, if it is not as well with you as it is with some others. One man travels with an expensive car, another with a lesser; but either of them will serve the same purpose. It is of no great concern which is yours; both will be laid aside when you come to your journey's end.

The Christian, indeed, is on a well-spent journey into eternity, leaving this world -- all of it -- behind forever.

- Thomas Boston

Friday, May 28, 2010

Spurgeon's Prayer for Missions

Awake, Thou Spirit, who of old,
Didst fire the watchman of the church's youth;
Who faced the foe, unshrinking bold,
Who witnessed day and night the eternal truth,
Whose voices through the world are ringing still
And bringing hosts to know and do Thy will.

Oh, that Thy fire were kindled soon,
That swift from land to land its flames might leap,
Lord, give us but this priceless boon
Of faithful servants, fit for Thee to reap the harvest of the soul,
Look down and view how great the harvest, yet few the laborers.

Oh, haste to help, ere we are lost,
Send forth evangelists in spirit strong,
Armed with Thy Word, a dauntless host,
Bold to attack the rule of ancient wrong
And let them all the earth for Thee reclaim,
To be Thy kingdom and to know Thy name.

- C. H. Spurgeon

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"We Believe and are Sure . . ."

"You have the words of eternal life, and we believe and are sure that you are the Holy One of God." -- John 6:68-69

Here we have both faith and assurance. Many a doubting heart desires both, when in fact, they have both.


1) The nature of this faith and assurance. "We believe and are sure." Of what? That our names are written in heaven or that we are the elect of God? No. Peter says to the Lord, "We believe and are sure that Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, and that Thou hast the words of eternal life."

The disciples believed this and were sure of it. We too must have this foundation. But is this faith and assurance? We may not be sure about much else, but if we believe these truths and are sure of them, then we have a sufficient foundation to build on. It is foundational to the experiential reality of faith and to the feeling or sensibility of assurance. How we should bless the Spirit of God for revealing Christ in His Word, and revealing Him in our hearts according to the Word.

2) It was for a lack of this faith and assurance that "many disciples went back and walked no more with Him." v. 66

It is by believing and being sure that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and that He has the words of eternal life that causes any sinner to follow Him, to cleave to Him, to call upon Him, to hope in Him and to expect all salvation from Him.

This may seem like little faith and low-rate assurance, yet the Lord honors it. He pronounces Peter blessed for it in Matthew 16:17. Peter doesn't say, "I believe and am sure that I am a child of God and that my sins are forgiven. But he says, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Matthew 16:16

If you really believe these truths and are sure of them, then you have a revelation from God (Matt. 16:17), even while you are doubting. Our very salvation depends on these truths and all our comfort results from the belief and the assurance of it.

"We believe and are sure."

- John Green

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Hymn Calling Us to Stop and Rest Awhile

Come Ye Yourselves Apart

Come ye yourselves apart and rest awhile;
Weary, I know it, of the press and throng,
Wipe from your brow the sweat and dust of toil,
And in My quiet strength again be strong.
Come ye aside from all the world holds dear,
For converse which the world has never known,
Alone with Me and with My Father here,
With Me and with My Father not alone.
Come, tell Me all that ye have said and done,
Your victories and failures, hopes and fears.
I know how hardly souls are wooed and won:
My choicest wreaths are always wet with tears.
Come ye and rest: the journey is too great,
And ye will faint beside the way and sink:
The Bread of Life is here for you to eat,
And here for you the Wine of Love to drink.
Then, fresh from converse with your Lord, return
And work till daylight softens into evening;
The brief hours are not lost in which ye learn
More of your Master and His rest in Heaven.

- Edward Bickersteth, Jr

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Hymn on Prayer

Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,
Uttered or unexpressed;
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.
Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
The falling of a tear
The upward glancing of an eye,
When none but God is near.
Prayer is the simplest form of speech
That infant lips can try;
Prayer, the sublimest strains
That reach The Majesty on high.
Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath,
The Christian’s native air,
His watchword at the gates of death;
He enters Heav’n with prayer.
Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice,
Returning from his ways,
While angels in their songs rejoice
And cry, “Behold, he prays!”
The saints in prayer appear as one
In word, in deed, and mind,
While with the Father and the Son
Sweet fellowship they find.
No prayer is made by man alone
The Holy Spirit pleads,
And Jesus, on th’eternal throne,
For sinners intercedes.
O Thou by Whom we come to God,
The Life, the Truth, the Way,
The path of prayer Thyself hast trod:
Lord, teach us how to pray.

- Written in 1818 by James Montgomery

Sunday, May 23, 2010

When Have I Ever Prayed This?-- "Oh, Lord, let him smite me."

"Let a righteous man strike me and it is a kindness; let him rebuke me and it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it." - Psalm 141:5

Who ever prays like that? Who ever prays such a thing? "Lord, let there be a godly person who will strike me and rebuke me; what a kindness and mercy that would be; please do it Lord, send them soon."

I can't say I've prayed that in a while. At least, not in that way.

What is David getting at, and what is he wanting in this prayer? He is wanting God's work in his soul to come unconditionally, no matter what it takes. He wants to grow, to mature, to go deeper, to be changed, to be helped and taught; he wants this sanctifying reality so much in his life that he goes to the extreme of saying, "Even if it means a righteous person really laying it on me to the point of it hurting-- if this will bring change in me, if it will be used to teach me, if it will sanctify me and help me, then I want it."

We usually want our growth within our comfort zone. We want to grow, but not at any cost. We want comfortable growth, easy growth, growth without people getting too close to us, without being rebuked, corrected, chastened, and challenged. We want to know God, but without the harder aspects it sometimes requires.

But the fact is, we can't have it both ways. We must have a heart like David's that says, "Lord, whatever it takes to work Your work in me, I want it; if it means a person working me over with correction and rebuke, then so be it; I would rather have Your grace working in me to bring about change with painful means than to be without the correction and go unchanged. Sanctification through smiting is much better than continuation in carnal comfort.
"Lord, send the godly ones to me with the hard stuff-- it will be a kindness, it will be like oil on my head."

- Mack Tomlinson

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"I Love You More"

This is an encouraging testimony from our friend, recently widowed, Elizabeth McElroy, about God's faithfulness and loving encouragement.

Kent and I had a wonderful saying. It was a saying that perhaps some of you use to show your love for another. He or I would say to each other, “Love You,” as we exited the house, called each other on the phone, or when we left each other, of course always knowing we would be back together soon. It was our way of empowering each other towards good days, because we had the sense of knowing we would be back together at home or wherever we would meet. (NEVER TAKE THAT FOR GRANTED!!!!!) After one of us would say, “Love You,” the other one would turn right back around and say, “I love you more.” Then we started saying, “I love you more than all the mores in the whole universe,” and silly things like that, things that made us laugh, and sometimes split our sides.

Today as I left Union Station (a historical place) in KC, I noticed quite a large amount of the pavement was made up of bricks that had been laid.
In front of the station there are around 300 parking places, all marked with a number at the end. On the pavement there’s a number and above it are the names of people who clearly were remembered for being privileged or frequent travelers at the station!

As I looked at the bricks and was reading the names, there in the paving was a brick that said, “Love you more.” I saw it, couldn’t believe my eyes and then started walking away. But, the words drew me back to the brick again. Right then and there I knew there was no coincidence about this. It was one of the only bricks that did not have a name or something about the person on it. It was as if God was letting me know Kent knows I am OK, and He was letting me know Kent is doing just fine! It was God’s amazing gift to me today, just when I needed it, not a minute sooner, not a minute later. It was as if I was being told, now that all things had become quiet and I was listening, that God could speak.

Taste and see, God is so good, I ran to Him and He covered me!!

- Elizabeth McElroy

Jesus Shall be Satisfied

"He shall see His seed, He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied." Isaiah 53:10-11

Jesus is now exalted to His throne in the highest heavens; and from there He takes a wide survey of the universe. He looks down upon our world and beholds kings in their grandeur, victorious generals with all their power, nobles and great men in all their pomp. But these are not the objects that please His eyes."He shall see His seed!" He sees one here and another there, bought with His blood, and born of His Spirit; and this is the most delightful sight our world can afford Him. Some of them may be oppressed with poverty, covered with rags or with famine; they may make no great figure in mortal eyes; but He loves to look at them! He esteems them as His children, and the fruits of His dying pangs!

The happiness of His exalted state consists, in a great degree, in the pleasure of seeing the designs of His death accomplished in the conversion and salvation of sinners!

His eyes are graciously fixed upon all of us today! And if there is one of His spiritual seed among us, He can distinguish them in the crowd. He sees you drinking in His Words with eager ears! He sees you at His table commemorating His love! He sees your hearts breaking with repentant sorrows, and melting at His cross!

But these are not the only children whom He delights to view; they are not all in such an abject, imperfect state. No! He sees a glorious company of them around His throne in heaven, arrived to maturity, enjoying their inheritance, and resembling their divine Parent!

How does His benevolent heart rejoice to look over the immense plains of heaven and see them all peopled with His seed! When He takes a view of this numerous offspring, sprung from His blood, and when He looks down to our world and sees so many infants in grace, gradually advancing to their adult age; when He sees some, perhaps every hour since He died upon Calvary, entering the gates of heaven, having finished their course of education upon earth; I say, when this prospect appears to Him on every hand, how does He rejoice!

"He shall see of the travail of His soul--and shall be satisfied!" If you put the sentiments of His benevolent heart into language, I think He would say, "Since My death has been so fruitful of such a glorious posterity, I am well satisfied. I desire no other reward for all My agonies for them. If this end is but answered--I am fully satisfied by My hanging on the tree for them!"

Suppose that He should this day appear to you in that suffering form--sweating great drops of blood, accused, insulted, bruised, scourged, nailed upon the cross! And suppose He should turn to you with a countenance full of love and pity, and drenched with blood and tears, and address you in such moving language as this:
"See, sinners--see what I suffer for you! See at what a dear rate I purchase your salvation! See how I love you! And now I have only this to ask of you in return: that you would forsake those murderous sins which thus torment Me; that you would love and serve Me; and receive that salvation which I am now purchasing with the blood of My heart! This I ask, with all the importunity of My last breath, of My bleeding wounds, and My expiring groans. Grant Me but this--and I am well satisfied! I shall think of all My sufferings as well bestowed."

Must not your heart melt away within you to hear such language as this? See the strength of the love of Jesus! If you are but saved, He does not begrudge His blood and life for you! Your salvation makes amends for all His sufferings! This He accounts His greatest joy, a joy more than equivalent to all the pains He endured for you! He has full satisfaction for all the sorrows you have caused Him!

But alas! for the person who is not saved, they will perish forever under the weight of His righteous vengeance, and He will rejoice over their damnation. He will glorify Himself in their destruction. The flames of hell will burn dreadfully bright when He will please Himself in the execution of His justice upon them.

"He shall see His seed! He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied!" Isaiah 53:10-11

- Samuel Davies

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thoughts on Plodding On as an Unknown Christian

In our church prayer meeting just last night, we were praying about the fact that it is not in the great exciting moments of conferences or big events in which the Christian faith is truly lived out, but rather in the daily grind, the mundane, the regular routine of getting up in the morning, saying, "In the name of Jesus, left leg, get out of bed! Right leg, you too!", then doing every day the simple, unexciting things you have been given to do-- dressing and going to work, seeing the same people every day in the same location within the same walls, and doing it over and over again. It's in changing diapers for the pleasure and honor of Christ. Or taking care of your home, your family, your health, your normal and routine life-- doing the little things faithfully and well. Living with regular and real faithfulness in your local church, loving the brethren and walking with them. It's not in attending conferences or doing something exciting, but in living out a normal life where you have been put, and doing that with joy and contentment--that is what glorifies Jesus Christ the most. God's glory will be seen the most through me when I get past thinking I might be a John Piper one day and just be me to the fullest extent. My impact will not be in my changing a nation single-handedly, but in living as a real Christian in front of my wife and children.

Is there exciting emotion in rising at 4:00 or 5:00 am and driving in the dark morning hours to a factory or on a freeway to a building to do menial tasks that no one seems to appreciate or notice? The fact is, most all of us will never be known for anything other than this-- what kind of person were we? what kind of life did we truly live day in and day out? were we faithful, kind, genuine, trustworthy, committed, dependable, real, and humble? Is fame or faithfulness more attractive to me?

I thought about a certain famous actor and how many people would probably choose to spend a day with that person if they could choose only one. Simply because they are famous. Then I thought about that same actor and remembered that they primary thing about his private life is that he is totally committed to a religious cult that deceives millions of people. So why would anyone in their right mind choose such a person as their number one pick? Simply because they're famous, no other reason.

The problem is this-- we still have in our minds a wrong view of true greatness. It is not the Brad Pitts, Tom Cruises, Oprahs, Joel Osteens, and Katie Courics of this world that have true greatness.

Its the mother no one knows about who really cares for here children month after month and gives the strength of her years to raising them.

Its the father who goes to work every day in a place no one has heard of and earns a living to provide.

Its a teacher who prepares lesson plans regularly to teach and impact 20 kids, helping them to go to college, and living like the Saviour before their watching eyes.

Its the faithful deacon who does the many unseen things every week to serve the saints month after month and year after year, and in doing so, he is serving the Saviour and storing up riches in a heavenly kingdom.

Its the loving and committed pastor who prepares and preaches to ten or twenty people and sees it just as important as preaching to two thousand, because he does it for the eternal welfare of their souls and he does it unto Christ. He will never be on tv and doesn't want to be. He's not building a big kingdom and doesn't want to.

These are the real heroes, the really great ones.

Kevin DeYoung has hit the nail on the head when he says:

"Until we are content with being one of the million nameless, faceless church members and not the next globe-trotting rock star, we aren’t ready to be a part of the church. In the grand scheme of things, most of us are going to be more of an Ampliatus (Rom. 16:8 or Phlegon (v. 14) than an apostle Paul. And maybe that’s why so many Christians are getting tired of the church. We haven’t learned how to be part of the crowd. We haven’t learned to be ordinary. Our jobs are often mundane. Our devotional times often seem like a waste. Church services are often forgettable. That’s life. We drive to the same places, go through the same routines with the kids, buy the same groceries at the store, and share a bed with the same person every night. Church is often the same too — same doctrines, same basic order of worship, same preacher, same people. But in all the smallness and sameness, God works — like the smallest seed in the garden growing to unbelievable heights, like beloved Tychicus, that faithful minister, delivering the mail and apostolic greetings (Eph. 6:21). Life is usually pretty ordinary, just like following Jesus most days. Daily discipleship is not a new revolution each morning or an agent of global transformation every evening; it’s a long obedience in the same direction.
It’s possible the church needs to change. Certainly in some areas it does. But it’s also possible we’ve changed — and not for the better. It’s possible we no longer find joy in so great a salvation. It’s possible that our boredom has less to do with the church, its doctrines, or its poor leadership and more to do with our unwillingness to tolerate imperfection in others and our own coldness to the same old message about Christ’s death and resurrection. It’s possible we talk a lot about authentic community, but we aren’t willing to live in it."
I am thinking now of two men who I respect as much as any people I have ever known. One is a retired teach who has lived the Christian life in a deep, consistent, and rich way while teaching school daily for probably forty years. He has never really traveled that much, is not known outside the sphere of his own circle, has never written a book or been interviewed, and has never been on the conference circuit as a speaker. Yet his life has been a powerful force in the lives of many other Christians. Just because of the way he has lived his life while simply plodding on. His life has shown that the kingdom of God is not in words, but in power and in living it out quietly and irresistibly.
The other man was a simple, faith-filled preacher. He usually preached in churches of 100 or less, often in churches that had less than 30 people in them. He was never known outside his own little circle of churches and friendships. He never wrote a book and did not read many books outside the Bible. But he read the Bible through probably over 100 times in his lifetime. He prayed hours daily. He loved others and lived a simple, yet amazing life of faith, and saw God do amazing things that few get to see. The famous preachers today would never have heard his name. Yet he out-shined and out-lived them all. Just because he plodded on, not desiring to be somebody, but desiring to know Someone and truly live for Him.
It's those guys who I want to be like. There really is something to be said for plodding on in an unseen way, to the glory of God. The glory is not in being known or doing something "great" for which you will be remembered. The glory is in living for Jesus daily, consistently and to just keep plodding on, even if no one ever knows who you are.

- Mack Tomlinson

When David was Hurting- Part 2

When people find that they really want to be truthful or have to be truthful, they often preface their words with such phrases as "Well, to be totally honest . . " or "To tell you the truth . . . " or "Quite honestly . . . " or "Well, candidly, just between you and I . . . "

I believe it is just such an attitude that David, when he was hurting, brought to God in prayer. He didn't play religious games; he didn't try to impress God with somehow praying acceptable prayers; he became very real, very honest, and very transparent.

Hear again are some other honest words and confessions in the Psalms:

My eye is wasted from grief - 31:9

I have been forgotten like one who has died - 31:12

I hear the whispering of many - 31:13

They scheme together against me - 31:13

They plot to take my life - 31:13

Let me not be put to shame - 31:17

Day and night Your hand was heavy upon me - 32:4

My strength is dried up - 32:4

It's one thing to read David writing such things, but we must remember that he was actually saying these words out loud to God in prayer. When are we this honest with God and with ourselves?

Picture a lady who has a skin problem. She calls a friend in another city who is a determatologist just to get advice. "Describe to me your situation with your skin." 'Well, I've always had fair skin and I really want it to be better; I wash my face well every night and I like how it feels; I think it might be better now, but I just want it to improve and any imperfections be gone."

Then there's another lady. She calls the friend, who then asks, "What's the problem with your skin?" "Well, there is acne that has developed on my forehead for some reason; there is also extra dry and flaky skin all over both cheeks; then I have ugly wrinkles developing around my mouth, and also my nose develops redness and is extra tender most of the time."

Of these two, which one is going to get any real help from the expert? Only the second one. She was fully and specifically honest.

How will we get the kind of help from God's grace through prayer if we don't pray as David did?

If we are anything in prayer, let's be honest with the Lord Jesus when we pray. Let's tell the Father exactly what we are feeling and experiencing.

How about beginning in prayer by saying, "Lord, I'm here, and to be totally honest, . . . "

Full honesty and unlimited expression in prayer are the means to freedom, release, peace, help, a new and right perspective, and fresh faith & hope. Why did David always going on with God? Why was he able to always worship as he did? Why did he fully become the man he was? Because his heart was honest with God and he expressed it freely.

- Mack Tomlinson

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Justice and Mercy

"Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other!" Psalm 85:10

The salvation of sinners by the substitutionary death of Christ gives the brightest display of the perfections of God, and particularly of those which belong to Him as the Supreme Ruler of the moral world.

Justice and mercy, duly tempered and exercised with wisdom, is a summary of those virtues which belong to a good ruler. Now these are most illustriously displayed in a happy union in Christ crucified.

Justice shines brighter in the cross than if every sin had been punished upon offenders without any mercy! Mercy shines brighter in the cross than if every sin had been pardoned, and every sinner made happy without any execution of justice.

Mercy appears in turning the divine heart with such a strong propensity upon the salvation of sinners! Justice appears in that when the heart of God was so much set upon it, yet He would not save them without a complete satisfaction to His justice.

Mercy appears in providing such a Savior! Justice appears in inflicting the punishment due to sin upon Him, without abatement; though He loved Him more than the whole universe of creatures!

Mercy appears in transferring the guilt from the sinner upon the Surety, and accepting a vicarious satisfaction! Justice appears in exacting the satisfaction, and not passing by sin, when it was imputed to the darling Son of God.

Mercy appears in pardoning and saving guilty sinners! Justice appears in punishing their sin!

Mercy appears in justifying them though destitute of all personal merit and righteousness! Justice appears in justifying them only and entirely on account of the merit and righteousness of Christ!

Mercy appears in providing a Savior of such infinite dignity! Justice appears in refusing satisfaction from an inferior person!

Mercy appears in forgiving sin! Justice appears in not forgiving so much as one sin without a sufficient atonement!

Mercy, rich, free mercy--towards the sinner! Justice, strict, inexorable justice--towards the Surety!

In short, mercy and justice, as it were, walk hand in hand through every step of this amazing scheme of salvation by the substitutionary atonement of Christ!

God pardons and saves the sinner and yet condemns and punishes his sin!

Though innumerable multitudes of rebels are pardoned, yet not one of them is pardoned until their rebellion is punished according to its demerit in the person of the Surety!

The precept of the divine law, which they had broken was perfectly obeyed. The penalty which they had incurred was fully endured and paid, indeed not by themselves, but by their divine substitute. Hence the divine law is magnified, and made honorable, and the rights of government are preserved sacred and inviolable, and yet the sinful rebels are set free, and advanced to the highest honors and blessedness!

God brings the greatest good out of the greatest evil!

God pardons and saves the sinner and yet condemns and punishes his sin!

God gives the brightest display of His justice in the freest exercise of His mercy!

God gives the richest discovery of His mercy in the most rigorous execution of His justice!

God magnifies His law in justifying those who had broken it!

God reveals the utmost hatred against sin in showing the highest love to the sinner!

What an astonishing God-like scheme is this! What a stupendous display of the infinite wisdom of God!

- Samuel Davies

Sin's Great Exposure - The Cross of Christ

"Christ died for the ungodly!" Romans 5:6

In the cross of Christ, God's hatred to sin is manifested in the most striking light! The evil of sin is exposed in the most dreadful colors! Now it appears, that such is the divine hatred against all sin, that God can by no means forgive sin, without punishment; and that all the infinite benevolence of His nature towards His creatures cannot prevail upon Him to pardon the least sin without an adequate satisfaction.

Nay, now it appears that when so malignant and abominable a thing is but imputed to His dear Son, His co-equal, His darling, His favorite, that even He could not escape unpunished, but was made a monument of vindictive justice, to all worlds!

What can more strongly expose the evil of sin than the cross of Christ? Sin is such an intolerably malignant and abominable thing, that even a God of infinite mercy and grace--cannot let the least instance of it pass unpunished!

It was not a small thing that could arm God's justice against the Son of His love. Though He was perfectly innocent in Himself, yet when He was made sin for us, God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up unto death--the shameful, tormenting, and accursed death of the cross!

Who is it that hangs there, writhing in the agonies of death, His hands and feet pierced with nails, His side with a spear, His face bruised with blows, and drenched with tears and blood, His heart melting like wax, His whole frame racked and disjointed; forsaken by His friends, and even by His Father, tempted by devils, and insulted by men? Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture? It is Jesus, the eternal Word of God, His Elect, in whom His soul delights, His beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased!

And what has He done? He did no wickedness; He knew no sin, but was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. And WHY then, all these dreadful sufferings from heaven, earth, and hell? Why, He only stood in the law-place of sinners; He only received their sin by imputation. And you see what it has brought upon Him! You see how low it has reduced Him! What a horrid evil must that be which has such tremendous consequences, even upon the Darling of heaven!

Oh! what still more dreadful havoc would sin have made if it had been punished upon the sinner himself in his own person! Surely all the various miseries which have been inflicted upon our guilty world in all ages, and even all the punishments of hell do not so loudly proclaim the terrible desert and malignity of sin as the cross of Christ!

The infinite malignity of sin, and God's hatred to it, appear nowhere in so striking and dreadful a light as in the cross of Christ! Let a reasonable creature take but one serious view of that cross, and surely he must ever after tremble at the thought of the least sin!

- Samuel Davies

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Covenant Love

In the New Covenant, love for Christ and love for the brethren are inseparable. It is impossible to separate love for Christ from love for the brethren. But more than that: how much we love Christ can be measured by how much we love and serve other believers. How committed we are to serving Christ can be accurately gauged by how much we are committed to serving other believers in His Name.

John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

Acts 9:4b ...Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

Matt 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

1 John 4:20-21 If a man says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

- Kevin Williams

When David was Hurting- Part 1

How often and how deeply David was hurting, almost constantly in varying degrees and through various circumstances. At times it was because of enemies in fast pursuit, breathing down his neck to kill him. At other times, his hurt was from the rage of guilt and misery of conscience hounding him because of grievous sins. His hurting at times was the result of betrayal from either a son, a trusted solider or betrayal from his own heart, which produced the deepest emotional sorrow imaginable.

At the heart of his hurts, one thing set David apart from most of us--he was remarkable in his response to the hurts in his life, remarkable specifically in how much he would become transparent before God in specifically telling the Lord what he was feeling and what he was thinking. He did not hold it inside, letting it boil under the surface, only to explode later. He did not generally let it fester and build like an infected boil that finally has to be lanced. He did not keep it penned up quietly withheld like a damn holding back water, only for the damn to finally break.

No, David let it out. He let it out through the means of expression in prayer. He told God how he felt truly. He told the Lord how he felt fully. The Psalms are often expressions of this particularly. David expressed just exactly how he was hurting. It is amazing just to read each Psalm in search of what David exactly said to God about what he felt when he was really needy. Just a few examples:

I have many enemies- Ps. 3:1

I cried aloud 3:4

I was in distress 4:1

Consider my groaning 5:1

I am languishing 6:2

My bones are troubled 6:2

Soul is greatly troubled 6:3

I’m weary from my groaning 6:6

I flood my bed with tears 6:6

See my affliction 9:13

There's sorrow in my heart all day 13:2

I find no rest 22:2

I am lonely and afflicted 25:16

The troubles of my heart are enlarged 25:17

I cried to you for help 30:2

I plead for mercy 30:8

Rescue me speedily 31:2

You have seen my affliction 31:7

You have seen the distress of my soul 31:7

Look at the openness of expression and the extent of blatant, honest verbal communication there. As it dawns on me how blatantly honest David is with God about how he feels, it reveals a big gap between David and me. I ask myself, "Do I express to the Lord in prayer what I am feeling to the degree David did?" The answer is usually "no, I don't." I wonder why? Why do I not get as transparent and expressively free to be as open as he did?

I then realize that, to the degree that I become like David in this area, to that degree will I make headway in prayer, in freedom, in intimacy with God, and in knowing the joy of the Lord. When I am hurting, do I do what David did? I ought to go there, but only religious inhibitions or unbelief will hinder me from doing so. I must make myself, force myself out of my comfort zone of carnal personality and do this. It's a spiritual discipline. I must grow into doing what David did when hurting, if I too want to become more of a man after God's own heart. That IS how he became a man after God's own heart.

Like William Wallace in Brave Heart, when I am on the torture table of life feeling my own agonies, can I bring myself to scream to Him, "Freedom! Freedom!"

There was another one who later came in the lineage of David, one of whom it was written, "Who in the days of his flesh, offered up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to Him, who was able to save him through death." Jesus, our sympathizing Man, also did what his forefather David did--He cried out with all his might when he was hurting.

Oh, to be like David, oh, to be like Thee, blessed Redeemer.

- Mack Tomlinson

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Man's Conscience

"They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing or excusing them." Romans 2:15

The principal means which God uses in conversion is that of our conscience; and indeed without this, all the rest are in vain. Outward afflictions are of service only as they tend to awaken the conscience from its lethargy to a faithful discharge of its duty. It is conscience which makes the sinner sensible of his misery and scourges him. The lashes of a guilty conscience are intolerable and some under them have chosen suicide rather than life.

Conscience is a serpent in the sinner's breast, which bites and gnaws his heart and he can no more avoid it than he can fly from himself!

If a person has never been tortured with its remorse, they not congratulate themselves or think it good, for they are not innocent! Their conscience will not always sleep! It will not always lie torpid and inactive, like a snake benumbed with cold in their breast!

It will awaken them either to their conversion or condemnation!

Either the fire of God's wrath flaming from His law will enliven the conscience in this world to sting the unconverted person with medicinal anguish; or the unquenchable fire of His vengeance in the lake of fire and brimstone will thaw it into life and then it will horribly rage in their breast, and diffuse its tormenting poison through their whole frame! And then it will become a never-dying worm, and prey upon their hearts forever!

- Samuel Davies

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Being a Christian

"The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch." Acts 11:26

We call ourselves Christians, but do we really understand the meaning and sacred import of that name? Do we really know what it is to be Christians indeed? Are we in reality what we are in name? Certainly it is time for us to consider the matter!

What is it to be a Christian?

To be a Christian, in the popular and fashionable sense, is no really difficult or excellent thing. It is to be baptized, to profess the Christian faith; to believe, like our neighbors, that Christ is the Messiah, and to attend church once a week. In this sense, a man may be a 'Christian' and yet be habitually careless about eternal things. He may be a 'Christian' and yet fall short of the morality of many of the heathen. He may be a 'Christian' and yet a drunkard, a swearer, or a slave to some vice or other. He may be a 'Christian' and yet a willful, impenitent offender against God and man.

But is this to be a 'real Christian' in the original and proper sense of the word? No! that is something of a very different and superior kind.

To be a Christian indeed is to be like to Christ, from whom the name is taken!

To be a Christian indeed is to be a follower and imitator of Christ!

To be a Christian indeed is to have Christ's spirit and temper; and to live as He lived in the world!

In short, to be a Christian is to have our sentiments, our character and our practice, formed upon the sacred model of the gospel.

- Samuel Davies

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Missions in Western Zambia: A Report from one of the Heartcry Missionaries

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. . .He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.'
Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

(Phil. 4:13; 2 Cor. 12:9)

Dear family and friends,

Can you believe it? Last week we celebrated our 1 year anniversary in Africa! It has been a year full of lessons in faith, humility, endurance, unconditional love, and team unity. I am convinced that this past year was mostly about God working in His missionaries so that He could someday work through His missionaries. Now here's my greatest act of faith - to look back on all my pride, selfishness, unbelief, failure, weakness, whining, and apparent lack of "progress" in the work over the past year, and truly believe that God is smiling. He is. I have a perfect High Priest who intercedes for me, and the Father does not look past His Son to frown at me. Isn't that great? Excuse me while I jump up and down and shout for joy! And if the Father is pleased with this pathetic missionary, guess how He feels about you?

By grace, I can testify to evidence of Christ's work in us. We just returned from another trip to the bush - a guy's trip to put the finishing touches on a functional water system for our land. The trip was full of unpleasant surprises, difficult challenges, and disappointment. When compared with one year ago, however, I can see in us an increased experience of peace, joy, and trust. We have pleaded with God that we not just grow numb to the difficulties of life in Africa, but instead, that we would endure with genuine joy. I believe that He will continue doing that supernatural work in us.

In the past month, we have seen some historic achievements in our construction work. In imitation of the Patriarchs, who dug wells in the land that God had promised them, we have pressed on to bring water from the river to our camp structure. God has sent some remarkable and perfectly timed help for the last two steps.

First was a visit from 2 dear South African friends from Cape Town, Pieterfrancois and Frans. Both men had a unique role to play. Frans is an electrician, and when he planned the trip to come see us, he had no idea that we would be wiring the solar panels and water pump. In two days, we had the solar array assembled and set in concrete, panels mounted and wired, pump placed in the river and wired, and water line run to the hilltop. When water came out of that pipe on top of the hill, our shouts of joy startled some poor children walking down the road hundreds of yards away!

As a side note, because of receding flood waters, we've had to wade chest-deep into the Zambezi 3 times to move the pump. The pump cannot be permanently placed until the low-flow period of September. Since most of the small islands in the river are covered by flood waters, the crocs are pushed to the river banks, making this the most dangerous time of year to be wading overflow areas near the river's edge. Praise the Lord for His protection! We really are trying not to cross the line into testing the Lord our God.

Back to the visit from Cape Town. . .we also watched Christ do the unexpected through Pieterfrancois. Pieter has been friends with Dominic for many years, and he came to Zambia with a strong passion to pursue his friend. He was perfectly gifted to play the role of mediator, and I am happy to report that there has been sweet reconciliation in our relationship with Dominic. Please pray that the Lord will work more than remorse and good intentions in Dom, but bring about genuine repentance and the obedience of faith. The Spirit has also gifted Pieter with brilliant insights into the church, and he graciously mixed penetrating questions with helpful ideas.

The next step in our water system was the placement of two 5000 liter water tanks on top of our hill. Each tank is over 6 feet tall and 6 feet in diameter. Without a trailer, we were faced with the perplexing problem of transporting them to the bush. A man in our church in Livingstone has a large flatbed truck and is currently out of work. He volunteered his truck and drove the tanks to our land. Six men carried each tank to the hilltop, and the job was finished far more easily than we had feared. In 2 more days, the tanks were connected to the line from the river and the line to the camp pavilion. There were more shouts of rejoicing when we turned on the outside tap at the pavilion and water flowed. I think our Lozi crew was even more excited than we were. Vincent said, "Praise to God! No more trips to the river to fill buckets. The crocs will see us no more!"

Our first build team from the U.S. arrives Wednesday, and within the next 2 weeks we hope to have working toilets and showers in the pavilion. Then at last it will be adequate for extended stays in the bush while we finish the bathrooms and kitchens. Maybe we'll complete our 3-month construction project in 10 months. I wonder how long the houses will take . . . .

In my last update, I expressed sorrow over the lack of comprehension of the Gospel in our study group. This month I have a glimmer of hope to report. Our last stay in Livingstone caused us to miss two Sundays in the village. We assigned Vincent and Joseph to teach on the stories of the Passover and the bronze serpent. Their assignment was to show how the stories pointed to Christ. On the first Sunday, a woman was killed by a croc in a neighboring village, and Bible study was canceled to search for the body and comfort the grieving husband. (This woman had probably attended our preaching visits to that village, tho I don't know for sure. The husband always attended. Another sober reminder of the uncertainty of this life, the finality of eternity, and the urgency of our ministry.)

The next Sunday, Vincent taught on the bronze serpent. Without any coaching, he asked the group what the story reminded them of. Vincent's sister answered, "It reminds me of Jesus dying for our sins." Then Vincent, without our help, actually made the connection with John 3, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness . . ."! Finally, there are signs that some are "getting it." Oh, how I long for the day when we can live with them and be the body of Christ among them, day in and day out. If occasional teaching yields a little fruit, what will a consistent daily example produce?

Please pray for us....
...that we will never forget the lessons of this past year.
...that the Lord will prosper our construction efforts.
...that the Lord will provide a reliable and skilled interpreter for our teaching ministry.
...that the Lord would be pleased to call many sons and daughters to glory from Western Zambia.

By His grace and power,

- Sean Reece
HeartCry Missionary Society

Sunday, May 9, 2010

From Wales to America- Part 2

Edward Jones: A Tireless Worker

Edward Jones was a Welshman who laid the foundations of the Calvinistic Methodist Church in Ohio in the 1830's and 40's. He had been licensed to preach before leaving Wales for America, but had not been ordained, according to their church custom. After immigrating to America, he was ordained on June 12, 1833, to labor among the Calvinistic Methodists in Ohio. A very well educated man, he founded a private school in Cincinnati and taught for many years, as well as organizing a number of churches in the area in those years.

Jones had strong gifts and creativity which included inventing a shorthand writing system, which he then taught to students.

Jones made long and extensive trips throughout Ohio between 1832 and 1840, traveling hundreds and hundreds of miles, much of the time on foot, to help organize churches, and to strengthen the work of Zion across the state among the Calvinistic Methodists.

On one such trip, he walked from Cincinnati to Palmyra in Portage County, in the northeast part of the state, to organize and give leadership to the Palmyra church. It was on this trip that he faced severe difficulties. A severe thunder storm came upon him, with both rain and strong winds. With no homes in sight, he had nowhere to take shelter. The road was hardly more than a small path through the woods. Jones had to remove his shoes, for fear of losing them in the mud and wet clay. He walked onward barefoot through the dark hours of evening in the heavy rains, his only light being the flashes of lightning that would give him direction.

After walking several hours, he saw a light from a house, where he was graciously received and welcomed for the night. Exhausted with bleeding feet, he fell into bed for the night. It was not until three days later that he could wear his shoes and continue on his trip in the interests of the establishment of the churches and the advance of the gospel in Ohio.

On one trip in March, 1836, Jones, traveling with Edward Blunt, took a boat from Cincinnati to Portsmouth, and then walked through the woods to the Centerville area in Gallia County. Darkness came upon them and they were lost in a wilderness area. "Mr. Jones, we'll be devoured before morning," Blunt told Jones; "Oh, no," said Jones, "God can keep us in the forest, just as He did Daniel and the three lads in Babylon; if He has work for us to do, we'll be protected."

The morning dawned, and they continued on safely. About nine o'clock that morning, they reached the house of Tom Alban, the first Welsh home that they came to. Then they proceeded to visit another Welsh immigrant and a believer, Daniel Edwards. Upon arriving, they discovered a prayer meeting had been planned for ten o'clock. Because of the arrival of Jones and and Blunt, the prayer meeting was changed to a preaching service also. Jones had been there before, in November of the previous year, and was there for two Sundays. On that trip, he had walked at least 300 miles in the work of the gospel.

Edward Jones was the pastor of the Cincinnati church for eighteen years, from 1832 until 1850. One of the features of the Calvinistic Methodists during these years were their practice of the gymanva, which were preaching festivals where churches would come together for several days of preaching, communion, and fellowship. Jones worked diligently to organize the gymanvas widely. It was a commitment to the preaching of the gospel and the truth, to the need of true Christian fellowship among all those who held to the truth in sincerity, and to maintaining and increasing a spreading witness of the gospel all over Ohio.

As a result, there were gospel churches planted and the truth of Jesus Christ spread widely in Ohio in the mid-nineteenth century, largely as the result of God blessing the labors and diligent work of Edward Jones. He was probably never known outside of his own circles during his life, but he was known to the Lord of the Harvest as a faithful and persevering servant of Christ.

- Mack Tomlinson

The Only Needed Book

"I have put my hope in Your Word." - Psalm 119:81

So long as there are tears and sorrows, broken hearts and crushed hopes, human failures and lives burdened and bowed down, and spirits sad and despairing-- just that long will the Bible be a needed book. It is full of inspiration, light, help and strength for earth's weary ones.

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.

The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.

The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.

The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.

They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold.

They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.

By them is Your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward."

Psalm 19:7-11

- J. R. Miller

Friday, May 7, 2010

The World vs. Christ Jesus

The spirit of the world is hatred; that of Christ is love: the spirit of the world is vexation; that of Christ is pleasure: the spirit of the world is sorrow; that of Christ is joy: the spirit of the world is evil, and that of Christ is good: the spirit of the world will never satisfy us, but Christ’s Spirit is all satisfaction: the spirit of the world is misery, but that of Christ is ease.

In one word, the spirit of the world has nothing lasting, but Christ is durable, and will last through an eternity of ages. The Spirit of Christ will remove every difficulty, satisfy every doubt, and be a means of bringing you to Himself, to live with Him forever and ever.

- C. H. Spurgeon

Be Careful How You Walk

"Be very careful, then, how you walk!" Ephesians 5:15

To honor Jesus in your thoughts, words, and every action should be your constant aim.

You are in an enemy's land; surrounded by temptations; and have a heart that can be deceived.

This present world is not your home! Satan's family are not to be your intimate friends. Riches, honors, or pleasure are not to be your objects of pursuit. You are walking in the midst of snares and traps! Be watchful, prayerful, depending upon Jesus, and cultivating fellowship with Him.

Keep your eyes on Jesus as your example! Walk by His Word as your rule. Do not be venturesome or presumptuous, but avoid the very appearance of evil. Never leave the Lord's ways to join the world's vanities or to please a carnal lust. Keep close to Jesus and follow on to know the Lord. Walk as a beloved child, who going home to his loving Father's house! "Be very careful, then, how you walk!"

- James Smith

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

From Wales to America - Pt. 1

William Rowlands: Welsh Missionary to America

William Rowlands is a name that is unknown to American Christians. This Welshman arrived in America in 1836, to become the pastor of the first Calvinistic Methodist Church in New York City. The church was small, less than one hundred members, but with the arrival of Rowlands, it was the beginning of a new work of God.

While James Owens was rightly called the originator and initiator of Calvinistic Methodism in America, Rowlands was probably its most outstanding figure and its spiritual father. A preacher of exceptional ability, wherever he went, large numbers of people came to hear the gospel because of his eloquence and passion. A keen student of human nature, Dr. Rowlands had a tremendous capacity for hard work in both physical and spiritual matters. He traveled thousands of miles for the gospel in the interest of the work when travel was difficult, whether in stagecoaches, on horseback, or even on foot, to organize and to bring support of the churches.

Rowlands, while pastoring one of the local churches in New York, was also the editor of an evangelical magazine entitled The Friend, which he edited and published for thirty years. Rowlands lived until 1866, a man with many spiritual giftings and abilities, none of which he "stored away in a napkin", but instead freely used them fully in the interests of the kingdom of God. He was a Welshman who, loving his homeland, came to America to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ. This he did until his dying day.

to be continued...

- Mack Tomlinson

A Ravenhill Regret

If I had spent more time alone with God rather than preaching and planning how I was going to change the world, I would be a very different man.

- Leonard Ravenhill

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Ministry of Angels

We do not think enough of these heveanly beings, yet they are all ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who are heirs of salvation. Like Elijah's servant, if your eyes were opened, you would see the mountain full of horses of fire and chariots of fire round about the servants of God. Let us learn from our Master to reckon upon forces invisible....There is no need to pluck out the sword with which to cut off men's ears, for infinitely better agencies will work for us. Have faith in God, and all things shall work for your good. The angels of God think it an honor and a delight to protect the least of His children. Our Lord said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?" Matthew 26: 52-53

"Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?" Hebrews 1:14

- C. H. Spurgeon

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cast All Your Care on Him

"Casting all your care upon Him--because He cares for you!" 1 Peter 5:7

The Lord knows all His people--all their needs, and all their trials. He thinks upon them to bless, deliver and supply them. He keeps His eye upon them in all places, at all times, and under all circumstances. He has them in His hand and will not loosen His hold.

He looks upon them always as His own 'treasured possession', the objects of His eternal love, the purchase of His Son's blood, and the temple of His Holy Spirit. They are precious in His sight!

He knows they are weak and fearful and that they have many enemies. He teaches them to cast themselves and all their cares into His hands! And He has given them His promise that He will care for them.

It is a Father's care which He exercises. It is a wise, holy, tender, and constant care. Therefore, all will be well with you--only trust Him.

Believe that He cares for you this day. Carry all your concerns to Him in the arms of faith! Leave all with Him, persuaded that He will manage all by His infinite wisdom, and bring all to a good outcome by His omnipotent power.

Cast all your cares upon Him--as fast as they come in.

Do not worry about anything.

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will support you! He will never allow the righteous to be shaken!" Psalm 55:22

- James Smith

Teach Me Your Way

"I will instruct you." Psalm 32:8

At best we know but little--and we are slow to learn. But the Lord has promised to instruct us. The Lord's teaching always produces humility, self-loathing, confidence in God, zeal for His glory, and devotes the heart to His glory!

The Lord's teaching always brings us to the feet of Jesus, and delivers us from the present evil world.

Under Divine instruction we learn the true nature of sin, the vanity of the world, the emptiness of creatures, and the fullness and preciousness of Christ!

Is God willing to instruct us? Then let us be early and often at His throne of grace, praying, as the Psalmist did, "Show me Your ways, O LORD, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me--for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:4-5. Then shall we exclaim, as Elihu did, "God is exalted in His power. Who is a teacher like Him!" Job 36:22

The Lord will teach us to profit, and sanctify us through the truth He imparts. Christ is our great lesson, and to know Him rightly is life, peace and joy!

Is Jesus your Teacher? Then sit at His feet, treasure up His Words, and show forth His praise!

He says, "Learn of Me." Learn to know Him, love Him, obey Him, and live upon Him!

"Teach me Your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path!" Psalm 27:11

- James Smith