Why we Worship

PSALM 47

Clap your hands, all peoples!
  Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared,
  a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
  and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
  the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

God has gone up with a shout,
  the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
  Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
  sing praises with a psalm!

Why Sing?

God reigns over the nations;
  God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
  as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
  he is highly exalted!


Why Scripture?



 
Saints


Recent Posts

God? Who Needs Him?
May 31, 2013
Self-sufficient humanism. Paul saw it coming – “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

Imago Dei
September 12, 2012
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Why Can't I Pray?
August 18, 2012
The bible gives us several reasons, but according to Jeremy Taylor, a deceitful heart is at the root of prayerlessness.

It's Not Rocket Science
July 23, 2012
To keep in step with the Spirit should be our daily quest. And if we are successful at that, all of life falls into place.

Theological Steak
April 10, 2012
These words by P. T. Forsythe on the magnificence of Christ's work are to theology what Ruth's Chris is to a good steak.

Describing the Indescribable
February 11, 2012
What we have in Christ will take all eternity to describe. But for one segment of one sermon, a great preacher made a mighty attempt.

Making Sense Of It All
January 30, 2012
Where are things headed? Is there rhyme and reason to the endless cycle of summer, fall, winter and spring? Is there a plan in place, or is randomness the explanation?

Of Whom This World Was Not Worthy

July 20, 2009

In Hebrews 11, the reader is overwhelmed with a heritage of the faithful. They are many and varied. And history testifies that this glorious train of believers is ongoing, and magnificent. It will take all of history to tell the full story.


And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.

Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection.

Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword.

They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated - the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. Hebrews 11:32-38


The centuries since Hebrews 11 was written have added to this list, so that the chapter would be turned into its own volume.

Eusebius tells of Blandina, a slave girl in Lyon, France, who was tortured and killed for her faith in the summer of 177 AD. The Christians were prohibited from appearing in public places and increasingly subject to abuse and imprisonment, and many of them were slowly but surely arrested.

The process included being interragated in the forum by the provincial governor, and those who professed to being Christians were offered the chance to renounce their faith. If they did not, they were subjected to the most horrible tortures, and condemned to the beasts of the amphitheater, "being made all day long a spectacle to the world in place of the gladiatorial contest in its many forms." So wrote Eusebius.

Blandina, a slave girl, was the last to die. Hung from a post, she was exposed to wild animals, but they would not attack. Repeatedly tortured ("the heathen themselves admitted that never yet had they known a woman suffer so much or so long," she eventually was ensnared in a net and trampled beneath the feet of a bull.

Her body, and those of others who had been martyred, was left unburied, guarded by soldiers. After six days, the remains were burnt and the ashes cast into the Rhône.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11:39-40

Faith of our fathers, living still,
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whenever we hear that glorious Word!

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.








Micaiah and P. T. Forsythe

March 23, 2009

Sometimes as Christians we have to say things that no one wants to hear. And it is at times like that when our mettle is proved. Rarely are we warned ahead of time. Are we ready to stand? The proof is in the pudding.


Peter flunked his test miserably, though warned by Jesus himself. Innocently warming his hands on a cold winter night, a young girl got him to deny Christ. But he repented, was forgiven, and soared when tested from that time on. 

Remember Micaiah, that mysterious prophet who appears only once in the Old Testament? When the kingdom was divided between north and south, the king of Israel decided to retake some lost land, and see if he could get Jehoshapht, the southern king, to join forces.

Jehoshapht was leaning towards co-operating, but listened to his gut (the Holy Spirit??) suggesting that they should inquire of the Lord. Suddenly 400 of Israel's "finest" prophets stood in front of him, saying the politically correct thing that their boss, the king of Israel, wanted them to say.

"Go," they answered, "for the Lord will give it into the king's hand." 1 Kings 22:6

In a very telling response that called into question the godly character of the 400 prophets in front of him, Jehoshaphat asked, "Is there not a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?

Ouch. The king of the north responded, obviously irritated, "yeah, there is one fellow, but I don't like him. He never prophesies anything good about me, only bad. His name is Micaiah.

Jehoshaphat insisted, and the despised prophet was sent for. The messenger who was sent for him told him on the way, in effect, "Look, for once, just fit in. Everybody has already agreed that we should go and get the land back, and that victory is assured. Please, I'm begging you, for your own sake, go with the flow."

The scene that followed is both hilarious and stunning, climaxing with the high priest Kenaanah slapping Micaiah around. It turns into sort of a "Oh, yeah? We'll see!" senario. Micaiah refused to let the situation intimate him, and predicted disaster, refusing to wilt under pressure. He did God proud. And ignoring sound advice, the king of Israel died in battle.

At the turn of the 20th Century, P. T. Forsythe was a theologian and pastor in demand on both sides of the Atlantic. Over several decades of ministry he had "jettisoned much he had valued in scholarship and biblical criticism in order to safeguard passionately the very core of the Gospel - the holiness of God, the sin of man, and the supreme value of the cross."

(Extracted from Memoir by his daughter in THE WORK OF CHRIST. She saw her father as a modern day Amos, with a vision of the Cross.)

What Forsythe was attempting to passionately safeguard was the atoning work of the Cross. Recent scholarship had chipped away at the view that a holy God was reconciling a lost mankind to himself by pouring out his wrath on his Son, who had agreed to pay the penalty in our place. "Conventional wisdom"  determined that it was time to move on from such archaic beliefs.

In  1899, he gave an address at the second decennial International Congregations Council, on the theme of "The Evangelical Principle of Authority, and began with a shocker of a first sentence.

"The Cross is the final seat of authority, not only for the Church, but for all human society." This was his Micaiah moment. His daughter says that it created such a fervor the the vast audience was at first silent, but then almost spontaneously turned its long applause into the singing of the hymn (which Forsythe suggested) "In The Cross Of Christ I Glory."

Wouldn't you have loved to have been there? Surely all of heaven sang along. And if you listened closely, heaven's applause was mixed in with earthly applause, as the atoning work of our Gracious God was lifted up and exalted.

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.

When the woes of life o’ertake me,
Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me,
Lo! it glows with peace and joy.

When the sun of bliss is beaming
Light and love upon my way,
From the cross the radiance streaming
Adds more luster to the day.

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
By the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
Joys that through all time abide.

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.






Guys, A Potential Wife Is Watching
January 16, 2009
Remember how we used to ask that question, "If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you. In the case of John Paton's father James, his devotional life caught the attention of his eventual wife Mary.

Out With A Blaze Of Glory
November 19, 2008
Our culture sets 65 as the ideal time to quit working and just enjoy life. For the Christian, an eternal perspective places a different set of demands on us. The Lord's work is never done. What keeps us going?

The Best Sermon of the Last 200 Years
November 11, 2008
What if someone preached a sermon so powerful that it launched Protestant missions, and initiated the modern mission movement? What in the world did William Carey say that had such an impact?

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
November 3, 2008
One never knows what a day might hold. So to safely get through a day is a mercy of God, and He deserves our thanks. John Baillie gives us a helpful example from his prayer life.

A Voice Crying In The Wilderness
November 2, 2008
God has a standard that he requires of his creatures. And when we fall short of the mark, he anoints prophets to be his mouthpiece. So just where are today's prophets? And will we pay attention in time?

Speaking Of Saints....
October 8, 2008
The book of Hebrews lets us know that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. And that very fact should spur us on to greater faith and perseverance. What can be learned from those who ran well? How much time do you have?

Samuel Rutherford and Gratitude
September 27, 2008
Trials and testing can rob us of joy, and can turn us from contentment, and cause us to be disgruntled. Trust in God's sovereignty is key to spiritual health.

From The Mouth of St. Francis Of Assissi
September 26, 2008
Psalm 119 is a prayer, yes, but it is also a work of art. Occasionally, God anoints his servants to take us higher. Such is the following prayer of that great saint, Francis of Assissi.

And They All Lived Happily Ever After
July 11, 2008
The music swells, the couple embraces, THE END appear on the screen, and we go home smiling. Real life is murkier, and the Bible is no different, presenting real characters railing at God, or loving Him, or both. As to the final outcome - God only knows.

Comfort and the Plan of God
July 11, 2008
The kingdom of this world is becoming the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. But that battle is "no holds barred" - it's nasty, and believers can get caught up in some pretty uncomfortable moments in the process.

The Light That Surprised William Cowper
July 8, 2008
The Lord said to Moses, "Who gave man his mouth?...is it not I, the Lord?" William Cowper stuggled with mental illness all his life, yet even so his "thorn in the flesh" enriched the Church. Just how did this happen?

From The Heart of Augustine
July 7, 2008
My mouth will declare your praise. Psalm 51:15

John Newton's Advice on Public Prayer
July 5, 2008
Public prayer meetings have fallen on hard times. In Acts 1, the church joined together constantly in prayer. What did they know that we don't? May God call us back to our knees in this time of great need in the church.





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