I am currently enjoying a new book called Forgotten Spurgeon. The book is a biography of Charles H. Spurgeon's more unpopular or untold side. It covers topics such as his struggles in ministry and some facts that most people did not know about him. One thing remains constant: Spurgeon was a devoted man of God. One of the things that marked me is when I read of Spurgeon's more difficult years in his early 20's. He is referred to, today, as the "prince of preachers" and the one brilliant yet simple mind every evangelist wants to identify with. However, back then, newspapers would write about him as a being a prideful man, parading around on a stage shouting out and boasting about his intimacy with God that others did not have. In fact, Spurgeon saw the evangelical name being soiled by back slidden traditionalists who seemed to be biblical on the outside, but were dead on the inside, and spoke agains such people. How crushing it must have been for him to hear or read such things about himself. Little did most people know how he trembled when he preached. He used to say: "If the church should not pray for my preaching, I dare not preach at all." Do I have this trembling as he did? Not nearly as much. God, search my heart. Reveal to me my sin.
I've recently been blessed with the opportunity to go to a conference based on the concept of the five Solas in my home town, called Sola2011. There were many amazing preachers from around the world there speaking on a variety of subjects. One sermon in particular was brought Daniel Mattioli, a pastor from France. It was about how little time we use for Christ. He suggested that if we all pitched in and actually acted like a true family no one in the church would ever go un-cared for. Our church has a usual attendance of about 200. If each one of us took the time to call 1 person in the church who is feeling down and lonely, and talk for 45 mins every week, this person would not feel lonely for long. How I need to learn to spend GOD's time wisely!
As I study the Bible and Christian history, I find myself loving doctrine more and more. Being able to properly articulate my faith helps a lot when discussing and witnessing to non-believers about the gospel. If we are unable to properly defend and explain doctrines like "the divinity of Christ", "The trinity" and "Justification by faith", how are we to explain it to others? This task of wrestling with some doctrines can be quite a workout, though well worth it in building up a strong faith. Above all I try to seek God's guidance and ask Him to teach me His ways. Even though some some doctrines are way above my understanding.
Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
"Psa 86:11 Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. "
Spurgeon on Doctrine:"Hold fast the form of sound words," (that is what the apostle Paul commanded Timothy) because error in doctrine almost inevitably leads to error in practice. When a man believes wrongly, he will soon act wrongly. Faith has a great influence on our conduct. As a man's faith, so is he. If you begin to [hold to] erroneous doctrines, they soon have an effect on your practice. Keep fast to the bulwarks of your fathers' faith. If you do not, the enemy will make sad havoc with you. "Hold fast the form of sound words which was delivered unto you."
I find it sometimes amazing how small we make our God. We lack faith when bad situations come and tend to cry out to God with "Why?" as though we have anything to say to God. We think we can tell Him that He shouldn't put us in any situation that is uncomfortable to us. Or perhaps we think "If You are in control why are You letting this happen?" Or worse still we think "He must not have meant this to happen to me so he must not be in TOTAL control". In thinking these things we are saying God it not completely in control. I am currently reading A.W.Pink's book called "The sovereignty God". His reminder of how God is in absolute control over everything was very reassuring to me. Oh how I need to be constantly reminded of this. Thank You God for being so much bigger than I make You out to be sometimes. Forgive me for my little faith.
"The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. His government is exercised over inanimte matter, over the brute beasts, over the children of men, over angels good and evil, and over Satan himself. No revolving of a world, no shining of a star, no storm, no movement of a creature, no actions of men, no errands of angels, no deeds of the Devil--nothing in all the vast universe can come to pass otherwise than God has eternally purposed. Here is a foundation for faith. Here is a resting place for the intellect. Here is an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast. It is not blind fate, unbridled evil, man or Devil, but the Lord almighty who is ruling the world, ruling it according to his own good pleasure and for His own eternal glory."
A.W.Pink "The Sovereignty Of God"
Timothy has taught me a great deal this past week. Considering his self sacrificing attitude and perseverance for the gospel has led me to re-evaluate what really matters in my life. What are my priorities? Time itself is that one thing that can slip away so easily without notice. May I use my time wisely for Christ.
2 Timothy 2:4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
As a big fan of my friend Charles Spurgeon I would like to share what I read today in my Morning Evening devotional. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to be regular in reading but has a tight schedule. There is nothing like being reminded not to be part of the world over and over again. I will resist the urge to underline some parts of it... this time.
"Only ye shall not go very far away." Exodus 8:28 - This is a crafty word from the lip of the arch-tyrant Pharaoh. If the poor bondaged Israelites must need go out of Egypt, then he bargains with them that it shall not be very far away; not too far for them to escape the terror of his arms, and the observation of his spies. After the same fashion, the world loves not the non-conformity of nonconformists, or the dissidence of dissents, it would have us be more charitable and not carry matters with too severe a hand. Death to the world, and burial with Christ, are experiences which carnal minds treat with ridicule, and hence the ordinance which sets them forth is almost universally neglected, and even condemned. Worldly wisdom recommends the path of compromise, and talks of "moderation." According to this carnal policy, purity is admitted to be very desirable, but we are warned against being too precise; truth is of course to be followed, but error is not to be severely denounced. "Yes," says the world, "be spiritually minded by all means, but do not deny yourself a little enjoyment in society, an occasional ball, and a Christmas visit to a theatre. What's the good of crying down a thing when it is so fashionable, and everybody does it?" Multitudes of professing-believers yield to this cunning advice, to their own eternal ruin.
If we would follow the Lord wholly, we must go right away into the wilderness of separation, and leave the Egypt of the carnal world behind us. We must leave its maxims, its pleasures, and its religion too, and go far away to the place where the Lord calls his sanctified ones. When the town is on fire, our house cannot be too far from the flames. When the plague is abroad, a man cannot be too far from its haunts. The further from a viper the better, and the further from worldly conformity the better. To all true believers let the trumpet-call be sounded, "Come ye out from among them, be ye separate."
Charles .H. Spurgeon