Thursday, May 31, 2012


" The person who listens to every new opinion and covets the newest religious novelties is walking dangerously close to error. The "itching ears" Paul warns about commonly form a nasty scab of error, 2 Timothy 4:3. Tamar lost her virginity by being naive-- and chastity of mind is its soundness in the faith. Thus people compromise this soundness if they give themselves to every doctrine, which is preached.
We must first be hearers and then disciples. Curiosity concerning many sects and persuasions can make a person skeptical of settling on the truth. Augustine, for example, confessed that he had gone through so many delusions that the errors made him afraid of truth itself. If a person has too many experiences with quacks he will have a hard time trusting the skilled physician.
Humbly seek an established judgment of God. A traveler who is so sure he knows the way that he will not ask directions may be the first one to get lost. Watch out for pride-- no matter how confidently it soars now, you will later find it wrecked in the ditch of error. This is the destination God has made for pride, and it must keep His appointment.
Pride can make you a stranger to the throne of grace and turn humble praying for truth into ambitious arguments. So it is necessary for prideful men to be left to shame so when their understanding does return-- if God's mercy allows it-- they may "bless the Most High" the way Nebuchadnezzar did Daniel 4:34.
Guard this judgment deeply in your heart-- the God who gives an eye to see truth also gives a hand to hold it. What we have from God we cannot keep without Him. Cherish your closeness with Him or truth will not keep her intimacy with you very long. God is light, but you head for darkness as soon as pride suggests that you turn your back on Him.
Quoted material from, ”The Christian in Complete Armour Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare” by Gurnall and James S Bell.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


"You become followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost" 1 Thessalonians 1:6.
The more steady the glass of understanding is, where the light of truth is beamed upon our affections, the sooner they are set on fire: "Did not our heart burn within us, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" the disciples asked on the Emmaus Road Luke 24:32. No doubt they had already heard Christ preach what He was saying now, but they had never been so completely satisfied as when He opened their understanding and Scriptures together.
The sun sends influence and warmth into the earth even when the light does not shed visible beams upon it. But the Sun of righteousness gives His influence only where His light comes to spread truth into our understanding. And as a Christian abides under these wings, a kind of heart-quickening heat is kindled in his heart. While the Holy Spirit is a comforter, He is also a convincer: He comforts us by teaching us.
The eye directs the foot-- a man cannot walk safely unless he can see where he is going. Nor can he walk when the earth quakes under his feet. The principles we have in our understanding are the ground our behavior moves upon; if they shift, our actions will stagger too. It is as impossible for a shaking hand to write a straight line as it is for a faltering judgment to exhibit acceptable behavior. The apostle links steadfastness and immovableness with "abounding in the work of the Lord" 1 Corinthians 15:58.
The Gospel came to the Thessalonians "in much assurance"-- that is, in evidence of its truth1 Thessalonians 1:5.. And notice how it prevailed in their everyday lives: "Ye become followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost" (v. 6). They were assured that this doctrine was from God and that assurance carried them through times of affliction as well as rejoicing.”
Quoted material from, ”The Christian in Complete Armour Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare” by Gurnall and James S Bell.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Priestly Blessing

The LORD said that when the priests bestow the priestly blessing 
upon the children of Israel, "they shall invoke My name on the sons 
of Israel, and I then will bless them" (Numbers 6:27). In other words, 
when the priests pronounce the blessing over the children of Israel,
 God Himself steps in and offers His blessing.

The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you;
 The LORD lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)

The first line of the priestly blessing is asking God to bless and keep us; that is, to do good for us, protect us, sustain us, provide for us and rescue us from all evil and distress.
The second line of the priestly benediction asks God to shine His face upon us and to be gracious to us. Rashi explains the shining of God's face as a beaming, friendly expression. He paraphrases, "May God show you a smiling face." Idiomatically, the shining of God's face means that He is looking toward us, paying attention to us and taking note of us.
When we ask God to be gracious to us, we are asking Him to find favor in us. The Hebrew word (chanan, חנן) translated as "gracious" can also be translated as "favor." The same concept appears in the Apostolic Scriptures as "grace." Therefore, the priestly blessing is asking for God's forgiveness for sins and for relationship with Him.
The grace of Messiah is the experience of God's unmerited favor. Thanks to Messiah, who earned God's favor, we can be recipients of that favor. God freely forgives our sins and gives us the gift of salvation, eternal life and a share in the world to come "according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us" (Ephesians 1:7-8).
The priestly benediction saves the best for last: the blessing of peace. The shalom of God that the priestly benediction bestows encompasses the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional realms as well as our relationships with one another, our relationships with family, authorities, employers, employees, neighbors and, most important, our relationship with God. The priestly benediction asks God to smile at us and give us "the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension" (Philippians 4:7).


“Truth is loved and prized only by those who recognize it and know it personally.
Since Satan comes as a serpent concealed in false teachers and tries to deceive us with error for truth, every Christian needs an established judgment in the truths of Christ. The Bereans studied Scripture to satisfy their judgments concerning the doctrine Paul preached. They refused to believe anything he had said before they "searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so Acts 17:11. They took the preacher's doctrine straight to the written word and compared it to that; and the result was "therefore many of them believed" (v. 12). As the Bereans dared not believe before, they could not help but believe now.
Tertullian described the preaching of heretics like this: "They teach by persuading, and do not by teaching persuade." That is, they court the emotions of their hearers without convincing their judgment. For instance, it would be hard for and adulterer to convince his companion that her prostitution is lawful. Instead, he works another way: by romantic overtones and appeal to the flesh. The question of law is soon forgotten. Judgment is easily and quickly absorbed by burning lust.
Thus error, like a thief, comes in through the window; yet truth, like the owner of the house, enters at the door of understanding, and from there moves into the conscience, will, and affections. The man who finds and professes truth before he understands its excellency and beauty cannot fully appreciate the worth of its heavenly birth and descent. A prince traveling in disguise is not honored because people do not realize who he is. Truth is loved and prized only by those who recognize it and know it personally.
If we do not desire to know truth we have already rejected it. It is not hard to cheat a person out of truth if he does not know what he has. Truth and error are all the same to the ignorant man and so he calls everything truth.”
Quoted material from, ”The Christian in Complete Armour Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare” by Gurnall and James S Bell.

Monday, May 28, 2012


"Lately there has been much attention given to the small details of worship, but who is looking after the little child-- that is, the main duties of Christianity? Was there ever less love, compassion, self-denial or power of holiness than today? Unfortunately these cardinal duties, like the child, are in great danger of perishing in the fire of contention and division which a perverse zeal for lesser things has kindled among us.
Be especially careful to watch yourself in those areas where you know you are weak. The weakest part of the city needs the strongest guard; in our bodies, the most vulnerable parts are covered and kept the warmest. I would think it most unusual if the fabric of your grace was so consistently strong that you could find no weakness of any point.
Take my advice in the matter, and watch most carefully the area you find weakest. Is your head weak-- your judgment I mean? See to it that you do not keep company with those who drink only the strong wine of "seraphic notions" and high-flown opinions. Is your weakness in your passions? Watch over them, as one who dwells in a thatched-roof house is careful of every spark that flies out his chimney, for fear one should land on the thatch and set the whole house on fire. When our neighbor's house is ablaze, we throw water on our own roof, or cover it with a wet sheet. When flame breaks out at another's mouth, throw water on your own hot spirit to prevent a fire breaking out in you. You should always have available some cooling, wrath-quenching scriptures for just such a situation.
These preventive measures will enable you to secure your house against any attack by the devil. And when the enemy has been put down, you will still be "standing."
Quoted material from, ”The Christian in Complete Armour Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare” by Gurnall and James S Bell.