To Ponder:

“In describing the Christian’s love toward his brother, the Bible uses such expressions as “Love one another deeply, from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22) and “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love” (Romans 12:10). Other translations choose such words as fervently, fondly, and affectionately in the same passages to describe the love Christians ought to have for one another. Three different writers use the expression “brotherly love” or “love as brothers,” all indicating that Christian love is to be characterized by an affection that family members have—or ought to have—for one another (see Hebrews 13:1 and 1 Peter 3:8). All of these passages from the Bible indicate that our emotions are involved. We are to reach out and embrace our brother with a deep fervency of spirit, in our hearts if not in actuality. Obviously, such a fervency of spirit cannot substitute for loving actions, but surely it should accompany them. We dare not settle for less.”

Bridges, Jerry. The Practice of Godliness: Godliness has value for all things (pp. 209-210). 

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To Ponder:

“Calvin’s motto well sums up the piety with which he lived: ‘I offer thee my heart, Lord, promptly and sincerely.’ This is the desire of all who are truly pious. However, this desire can be realized only through communion with Christ and participation in Him, for outside of Christ even the most religious person lives for himself. Only in Christ can the pious live as willing servants of their Lord, faithful soldiers of their Commander, and obedient children of their Father” — Joel R. Beeke, Living for God’s Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism (Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2008), 175.

“To know and believe the truth respecting God, to love, trust, fear, believe, obey God, to submit to and worship Him, to seek and find happiness in Him, to be conformed to Him, to maintain fellowship with Him, supremely to desire His approval, and steadily to seek the promotion of His glory, habitually to think of Him, and to look on everything in its connection with Him, —all this is included in godliness.” – John Brown

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To Ponder:

In what ways should we be temperate (self-controlled) with respect to the gifts of this life? John Brown mentions 6 occasions for temperance. He says,

  1. He is temperate in his desires of earthly enjoyments as such. Because they are “earthly,” he does not set his affections on them.
  2. Therefore, he is temperate in his pursuit of them; he does not labor so much for the meat that perishes, as for that which endures unto eternal life.” They do not control his time, do not rob him of time better devoted to necessary things.
  3. He is temperate in his attachment to them, while he enjoys them; he does not say, “Soul, take thine ease; eat, drink, and be merry; thou halt goods laid up for many years.”
  4. He is temperate in his regrets when he is deprived of them ; he does not feel as if he had lost his all, or say, “My gods are taken from me, and what have I more?”
  5. He does not allow his natural desire of such things to interfere with his convictions and his obligations. He keeps the body, and all the desires connected with things seen and temporal, in subjection.
  6. The world has not dominion over him: he is master of himself; and, being possessed of a far better inheritance than it can give him, he does not expect or seek on earth real, perfect happiness, which he believes to be in heaven and secured for him there.
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To Ponder:

“Here the Apostle Peter is exhorting the people to whom he was writing to do the very selfsame thing which the Apostle Paul has in mind at the end of this Epistle to the Ephesians. ‘And beside this,’ says Peter, ‘giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue.’ But before we come to look at this in detail I want to emphasize once more the element of our activity. We must get a firm hold of this principle. We cannot hope to advance until we see this clearly. Peter does not say, ‘Hand it over to the Lord; you have nothing to do. Trust to Him, leave it to Him, He will do it for you’. What he says is, ‘Giving all diligence’. It is an exhortation to us. We have to give the matter ‘all attention’, we have to be constantly at it, we have to apply ourselves to it, to add virtue to virtue (vv. 5, 6, 7). It is not going to be added for us; we have to do it. As a man cannot be strong by merely sitting down and reading books about exercises, so the Christian will never be strong until he does what Peter bids him. He has to do this thing, it is his activity, and it is done as he becomes strong and powerful and mighty in the Lord.” David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Christian Soldier: An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10–20 (Edinburgh; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1977), 96–97.

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To Ponder:

“Let us look at the biblical understanding of faith as consisting of three aspects. Faith, the faith that saves, consists of three essential components which are related to one another like the three stories of a building, with the third story resting on the second, and the second resting on the first. The first floor is known in Latin as “notitia.” It is the knowledge of the facts, the data, if you will, of the faith. You can’t have faith in something when you have no knowledge of it, but correct awareness of true facts is not saving faith. The second floor  in our faith building is “assensus,” or “assent” to the truth. We hear something from someone whose authority we accept and we believe it is true and may even be quite affected by it. Many people will argue that this is all that tis necessary for saving faith, but we are convinced by the apostle James that even the devils have that kind of belief, it even makes them tremble in fear, yet they are not saved. No, from the clear evidence of scripture, “faith” which goes only so far comes short of the faith that saves. A third floor of faith, arising out of the second is “fiducia,” or “trusting.”  “ By this faith,” our Confession rightly says, “a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God Himself speaking therein; (John 4:42, 1 Thess. 2:13, 1 John 5:10, Acts 24:14) and acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, (Rom. 16:26) trembling at the threatenings, (Isa. 66:2) and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come. (Heb. 11:13, 1 Tim. 4:8).  But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace. (John 1:12, Acts 16:31, Gal. 2:20, Acts 15:11)”  Let us prayerfully commit ourselves to learning more about Jesus, believing His word, embracing His promises, and trusting our all to Him, because He is worthy.” Pastor Rick Daniels

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To Ponder:

A New Year’s Resolution “My times are in Your hand!” Psalm 31:15. Firmly believing that my times are in God’s hand, I here submit myself and all my affairs for the ensuing year, to the wise and gracious disposal of God’s divine providence. Whether God appoints for me health or sickness, peace or trouble, comforts or crosses, life or death–may His holy will be done! All my time, strength, and service, I devote to the honor of the Lord Jesus–and even my common actions. It is my earnest expectation, hope, and desire, my constant aim and endeavor–that Jesus Christ may be magnified in me. In everything I have to do–my entire dependence is upon Jesus Christ for strength. And whatever I do in word or deed, I desire to do all in His name, to make Him my Alpha and Omega. I have all from Him–and I would use all for Him. If this should prove a year of affliction, a sorrowful year to me–I will fetch all my supports and comforts from the Lord Jesus and stay myself upon Him, His everlasting consolations, and the good hope I have in Him through grace. And if it should be my dying year–then my times are in the hand of the Lord Jesus. And with a humble reliance upon His mediation, I would venture into the eternal world looking for the blessed hope. Dying as well as living–Jesus Christ will, I trust, be gain and advantage to me. Oh, that the grace of God may be sufficient for me, to keep me always a humble sense of my own unworthiness, weakness, folly, and infirmity–together with a humble dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ for both righteousness and strength. (Matthew Henry)

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To Ponder:

Closing Comment: His Heaven mine–my Hell His!

It is astonishing that I should so be one with Christ, that all that He is becomes mine, and all that I am becomes His!

His glory mine–my humiliation His!

His righteousness mine–my guilt His!
His joy mine–my sorrow His!
His riches mine–my poverty His!
His life mine–my death His! 
His Heaven mine–my Hell His!

The daily walk of faith, is a continuous development of the wonders of this wondrous truth.

That in traveling to Him empty–I should return from Him full.

That in going to Him weak–I should come away from Him strong.

That in bending my steps to Him in all darkness, perplexity, and grief–I should retrace them in all light, and joy, and gladness. (Octavius Winslow)

 

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