Daily Archives: June 14, 2020

Praise Him Even Now

The Outspoken TULIP

All of us would probably like a refund for the year 2020. To the naked eye, there’s little reason to praise the Lord. The anger and frustration swells both because of COVID-19 and the murder of George Floyd, not to mention the anarchy generated by demands to defund and/or abolish the police.

It’s a sad, heartbreaking time.

Yet God hasn’t abandoned His creation. He may be judging it by giving us over to our rebellion against His Word — indeed, I personally believe that to be the case. It may be difficult to adopt the so-called new normal that government leaders will impose on us. But all the negativity we currently experience has no power to stand against the goodness and sovereignty of our God and King.

A day approaches when Christ will return to establish His kingdom. At that time, He will eradicate every disease and will govern the…

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Sunday Martyr moment: Germanicus and Polycarp

The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata*

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. According to this summary from Christian Book Summaries,

Writing in the mid-1500s, John Foxe was living in the midst of intense religious persecution at the hands of the dominant Roman Catholic Church. In graphic detail, he offers accounts of Christians being martyred for their belief in Jesus Christ, describing how God gave them extraordinary courage and stamina to endure unthinkable torture.

From the same link, the book’s purpose was fourfold:

  • Showcase the courage of true believers who have willingly taken a stand for Jesus Christ throughout the ages, even if it meant death,
  • Demonstrate the grace of God in the lives of those martyred for their faith,
  • Expose the ruthlessness of religious and political leaders as they sought to suppress those with differing beliefs,
  • Celebrate the courage of those who risked their lives to translate the Bible into the common language of…

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June 14 Life-Changing Moments With God

 

As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.

Lord God, what a privilege to enter the fellowship of Your Son’s sufferings. I rejoice to the extent that I partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, I may also be glad with exceeding joy. For if I died with Him, I shall also live with Him. If a child, then an heir—Your heir, Lord God, and a joint heir with Christ, if indeed I suffer with Him, that I may also be glorified with Him.

Lord God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of Your counsel, You confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, I might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before me. My Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and You, my God and Father, who have loved me and given me everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort my heart and establish me in every good word and work.

May I welcome participation in Jesus’ sufferings, Lord God, and joyfully anticipate the glory to come.

2 Corinthians 1:5; Philippians 3:10; 1 Peter 4:13; 2 Timothy 2:11; Romans 8:17; Hebrews 6:17–18; 2 Thessalonians 2:16–17[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 181). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

June 14 Streams in the Desert

 

I have prayed that your own faith may not fail.” (Luke 22:32.)

CHRISTIAN, take good care of thy faith, for recollect that faith is the only means whereby thou canst obtain blessings. Prayer cannot draw down answers from God’s throne except it be the earnest prayer of the man who believes.

Faith is the telegraphic wire which links earth to Heaven, on which God’s messages of love fly so fast that before we call He answers, and while we are yet speaking He hears us. But if that telegraphic wire of faith be snapped, how can we obtain the promise?

Am I in trouble? I can obtain help for trouble by faith. Am I beaten about by the enemy? My soul on her dear Refuge leans by faith.

But take faith away, then in vain I call to God. There is no other road betwixt my soul and Heaven. Blockade the road, and how can I communicate with the Great King?

Faith links me with Divinity. Faith clothes me with the power of Jehovah. Faith insures every attribute of God in my defense. It helps me to defy the hosts of hell. It makes me march triumphant over the necks of my enemies. But without faith how can I receive anything from the Lord?

Oh, then, Christian, watch well thy faith. “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”

C. H. Spurgeon.

We boast of being so practical a people that we want to have a surer thing than faith. But did not Paul say that the promise was by FAITH that it might be SURE? (Romans 4:16.)—Dan Crawford.

Faith honors God; God honors faith.[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 177–178). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

EChurch@Wartburg: 06/13/2020: Wade Burleson: From Religious Consumer to Kingdom Protector — The Wartburg Watch

 

Morning prayer for 440 AD link

O Lord, direct our steps this day into the way of peace,
and strengthen our hearts to obey your commandments.
May the Dayspring visit us from on high,
and give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
that they may adore you for your mercy, follow you for your truth,
desire you for your sweetness, for you are the blessed Lord God of Earth, now and forever.
Amen.

 

A Prayer Attributed to St. Francis link

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

 

Prayer by (Ambrose of Milan, c 339-397 link

O Lord, who hast mercy upon all, take away from me my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit.
Take away from me the heart of stone,
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore thee,
a heart to delight in thee,
to follow and to enjoy thee,
for Christ’s sake.
Amen

Acts 2:42-47 NIV

They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship,
to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.
All the believers were together and had everything in common.
They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.
They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.
And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

An ancient folk blessing link

May there always be
work for your hands to do.

May your purse always
carry a shilling or two.

May the sun always
play on your window pane.

May a rainbow chase after
each spot of rain.

May the hand of a friend
always be near you.

May God fill your heart with
gladness and cheer you.

Amen

via EChurch@Wartburg: 06/13/2020: Wade Burleson: From Religious Consumer to Kingdom Protector —

Internet Church Service – June 14, 2020; The real battles we face are Spiritual and there is a Divine Purpose behind every battle. — God’s Gift of Eternal Life Blog

Please join us as we fellowship in the Word of God, listen to
Christian Music, Pray in Christ’s Name, and Praise the Lord
in our Hearts and Minds.

ALL ARE WELCOME

 

35971062575_649f5d6517_o
from – Romans 8:38-39

 

Hymn #1

 

 
Hymn #2

Preparing yourself for the study of God’s Word

Before we begin, if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ (that is— you have trusted in Him for eternal life), it is important to prepare yourself to take-in God’s Word or participating in a Communion Service, so take a moment to name, cite or acknowledge your sins privately directly to God the Father. This will assure that you are in fellowship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit’s convicting ministry, also called the convincing ministry will then be able to teach you as the Holy Spirit is the real teacher and the pastor’s message is the vehicle the Holy Spirit uses to convince you what you are learning is true or not.
1 John 1:9, says—“If we confess [simply name, cite or acknowledge to God the Father] our sins [known sins], He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins [known sins] and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness [all unknown and forgotten sins];” NKJV (New King James Version); we call this REBOUND, read the full doctrine as to “why” we need to use 1 John 1:9 to grow spiritually. REBOUND
If you have never personally believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior (that is, believed in Him for eternal life), the issue for you is not to name your sins to God; the issue for you is to believe by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life and you will be saved the very second you believe in Him:
John 6:47 says: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me [Jesus Christ] has everlasting life.” NKJV
Notice again what John 6:47 says, “he who believes in Me[Jesus Christ] has everlasting life.” It doesn’t say, “will have”; it says, “has.” Therefore, the very moment you believe Jesus Christ’s promise of everlasting life, you have it (it’s really just that simple), and it can never be lost or taken away from you (John 10:28-29). Furthermore, the gift of everlasting life (also called eternal life in scripture) is available to every human being; there are absolutely no exceptions.
John 3:14-18 says: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” NKJV
Let us now bow our hearts and take a moment to prepare for learning God’s Word, if there is any known sin in your life, this is the time to just cite it privately to God the Father with your thoughts directed towards Him. With your head bowed and your eyes closed, you have total privacy in your mind and soul:
Romans12.2
Our Pastor-Teacher is:
This ministry is non-denominational and is dedicated to
teaching the Word of God from the original languages and
making it available at no charge throughout the world.
Sermon
NOTES
Unlike the bible study, these notes are not just for reading without watching the video. These notes are more designed to follow along during the sermon and to bring up the “hover pop-up scripture references” (some websites may require to left click the link, if that doesn’t work then look them up in your Bible) when the Pastor asks everyone to turn to that passage in their bibles.

Sermon: The real battles we face are Spiritual
and there is a Divine Purpose behind every battle.
Even though our Lord was about to face death, He lived by principle, no matter what He faced.

Col 3:2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

1Jo 2:15 Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Psa 30:5 “For His anger [Lord’s indignation] is but for a moment, His favor [grace] is for a lifetime; Therefore, weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy or inner happiness comes in the morning.”

We all must go through the “Night Seasons” or the “Times of Adversity and Pressure,” so that our spiritual life can be free from stress and jealousy and bitterness; etc.

Most of you will be able to handle whatever you need to honor and respect God, the Father (Author), God the Son (Executor) and God the Holy Spirit (Revealer) for the human race..

The “Unity” that exists becomes our strength and our power as we are also trying to fulfill the plans and the desires that our Lord has created just for us.

The real battles we face are not of the flesh but rather the battles are from the Spirit and the flesh and there is a “Divine Purpose” behind every thought, every word, and every action.

Circumcision was to the early Church what water baptism is for the church today.

The Hebrew Jews in the early Church were condemning gentiles for not keeping the Mosaic Law and they would also continue rejecting the grace of God and the word of God.

The Apostle Paul was told by God the Holy Spirit that the grace of God and the Word of God must be magnified.

You can’t just pick and choose one doctrine over another and then study what you want instead of what you need.

“severed” = Aorist-Active-Indicative of the Greek verb ekpipto; which means to drop, to fall away, to cut off the flesh, to circumcise, or to become inefficient.

Dan 7:25 that he [the false prophet] will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One.

Matt 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Gal 6:9 And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.

Heb 12:3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.

Mutilate is used by the Apostle Paul as a manifestation of divine sarcasm.

All of these principles concerning the “Old Sin Nature” and the “New Nature,” are very active in the life’s of God’s people and God’s desires, especially for those members of the human race or true humanity.

There are hardly any doctrinal ministries in this client Nation, USA, that are continually progressing but instead they are regressing and fallen back into the vomit of the Cosmic System.

Let’s get ready for our Lord to come back and face any trials, heartaches, tribulations; etc.

No matter what believers go through, the Lord desires to turn the curse into a blessing.

Therefore, even though our Lord was about to face death, He realized the principle that David also faced in Psa 30:5 “His anger [the Divine Indignation of our Lord] is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime;

Psa 30:5b Weeping may last for the night [that is the night seasons or the difficult times], But a shout of joy or inner happiness comes in the morning.”

Isa 30:18 The Lord longs to be gracious to you or is tapping His foot as it were, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.

The Lord is waiting for you to come back to Him because He desires to be gracious to you and to have compassion on you so that you will come back to Him, if you need to.

“The Twelve,” = it does not mean that all the 12 apostles were present at the time but the phrase, “The Twelve” is actually one of the titles for the Apostles.

“What is difference between a disciple and an Apostle?”

An apostle is sent to deliver or spread their teachings and their message that they were gifted to present to the early Church.

The word “apostle” has two meanings, the larger meaning of a messenger and the narrow meaning to denote the twelve people directly linked to the Lord Jesus Christ.

All apostles were disciples but all disciples are not apostles.

These women were responsible for supporting financially TLJC and the men who were under His authority.

Seven demons had indwelt her body and there are some who assume from this fact that she was an adulterous woman but there is no proof of that whatsoever.

She constantly remained with the women who followed TLJC and His disciples and who served them with the necessities of life.

The Lord and His disciples needed money for food, shelter, and clothing and these women were used by God to fulfill that need.

None of the disciples worked, they had to leave their homes for three years and so God used women such as Mary Magdalene, Joanna the wife of Chuza and Susanna.

They are over-looked by many because of their secondary roles……but there are no secondary roles with God.

Mark 9:41 “For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

There have been many women throughout the Church-age who because of them doctrine was taught in powerful ways.

They were responsible for doctrinal pastor-teachers being able to do their job without having to be distracted.

Mary Magdalene was permitted to give her entire treasure to the Lord.

Mary Magdalene witnessed most of the events surrounding the crucifixion while all the apostles with the exception of John ran away and forsook TLJC.

She was also present at the mock trial of the Lord; she heard Pontius Pilate pronounce the death sentence; and she saw the Lord s beaten and humiliated by the crowd.

She was also one of the women who stood near the Lord during the crucifixion to try to comfort Him.

She was the first one who witnessed the resurrection of TLJC and she was sent by Him to tell the others, John 20:11 18.

The point is, here is a woman who put all the apostles to shame when it came to being faithful to TLJC and believing His words!

The definition of madam is a respectful title for a woman, or a woman who runs a house of prostitution or a woman who is running a brothel where prostitutes work for money.

We have seen other women mentioned who were faithful to our Lord and His ministry namely, Mary, the mother of the apostle John, Joanna, the wife of Chuza the steward, and Susanna.

The world generally looks in a mocking way at such quiet service behind the scenes.

God’s scale of values is given in Matt 25:21 “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master.”

Zec 4:10 “Do not despise the day of small things?”

John 15 — the “vine” metaphor portrays the humanity of Jesus Christ living in the Predesigned Plan of God for His life during the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.

It is the Vine which is the basis for the production of “Divine Good” or “fruit bearing.”

The vine metaphor emphasizes the fact that all precedence and all production of divine good in the Church-age comes from the Vine, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Fruit from the branch is a metaphor for the Church-age believer who is willing to go through whatever he or she has to go through to produce the fruit of the Vine.

No fruit (or divine production) can be any better than the vine that produces it.

Because of positional sanctification (union with Christ) and the grace provision of the filling of the Spirit, it is possible for the believer to produce divine good which glorifies God.

“in Me” = a reference to the believer in union with Christ.

Because we are in Him or in union with Christ, we share some of His fantastic blessings, such as:

1. Eternal Life, 1Jo5:11-12

2. Perfect Righteousness, 2Co 5:21.

3. Election, Eph 1:4.

4. Destiny, Eph 1:5.

5. Sonship, 2Ti 2:1.

6. Heirship, Rom 8:16-17.

7. Sanctification, 1Co 1:2.

8. Priesthood, Heb 10:10-14.

9. Royalty (kingship), 2Pe 1:11.

So, we are the branches in union with the Vine, Jesus Christ.

And, there are two categories of branches found in this passage:

The first category of branches are called Dead Branches representing dead works or production skills minus the spiritual skills.

The second category are Live Branches representing divine good, with spiritual skills as the basis for production skills.

And again, another principle, The branch in Christ that does not bear fruit represents the believer who does not produce Divine Good but instead, they produce “dead branches” or “human good.”

Dead works do not bear fruit and are punishable by divine discipline because of the believer rejecting God’s grace and knowledge.

1, The law of volitional responsibility, which produces a tremendous amount of self-induced misery.

2. The law of volitional responsibility.

3. Divine discipline.

Pruning is to trim a tree, shrub, or bush by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth.

Pruning in the spiritual realm can refer to undeserved suffering or suffering for blessings by removing certain things in our Life for our own benefit.

Pruning is necessary for properly redistributing the “energy” for production.

The branch that bears fruit must be pruned occasionally so that the spiritual skills will increase and maximize = suffering for blessing.

Principle: Just as God provides divine discipline and punitive action for the one who bears no fruit, He also provides suffering for blessing for the fruit bearer.

The personal pronoun for you, humeis is in the plural, so we would say what our Texas friends would probably say, “Ya’ll Clean!”

He is going to teach them that you can be clean, saved, and still not produce fruit.

Luk 23:43, our Lord said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Isa 43:25 “I, even I, am the One who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.”

Phil 3:13b…..but one thing I concentrate upon: constantly forgetting the things that lie behind and pursuing vigorously to what lies ahead,

“Abide in Me” = a command that indicates that this is an experience after salvation and not a reference to positional sanctification.

“Abide in Me” is a command to remain in fellowship with God through the use of 1Jo 1:9 in order that divine good may be produced in our lives.

When the branch is commanded to “abide in Christ, the believer is being commanded to enter into experiential sanctification through the filling of the Holy Spirit.

The phrase “I in you” is a mandate for the believer to learn and metabolize Bible doctrine (when we have doctrine, the “mind of Christ,” in our souls, Christ abides in us).

The Vine has provided for us the precedent, the pattern, and the information necessary to produce divine good.

We cannot produce fruit apart from the function of spiritual skills–the filling of the Spirit; perception, metabolization, and application of doctrine; and execution of the predesigned plan of God.

The “Vine and Branch” metaphor is repeated.

Our Lord is the Vine; we are the branches.

Abiding in Christ is the filling of the Spirit.

Christ “in us” is a result of cognition of Bible doctrine.

Hymn #3
The following link is to a good-news message describing how one can receive eternal life:
Ticket to Heaven, it was written for anyone not absolutely certain about of their eternal future.

via Internet Church Service – June 14, 2020; The real battles we face are Spiritual and there is a Divine Purpose behind every battle. — God’s Gift of Eternal Life Blog

SSB Sunday Gathering – June 14, 2020 — Spiritual Sounding Board

 

Scripture is taken from the Book of Common Prayer, Readings for Ordinary Time Year 2 and may be found here.

Psalm 93

The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength; indeed, the world is established, firm and secure. Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity.

The seas have lifted up, Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea — the Lord on high is mighty.

Your statutes, Lord, stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days.

Acts 13: 1 – 12

Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.

They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”

Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

Luke 12: 41 – 48

Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

“The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

***

***

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.

via SSB Sunday Gathering – June 14, 2020 — Spiritual Sounding Board

June 14, 2020 Morning Verse Of The Day

13:15 land … forever. See 12:1 and note. The promises of land were fulfilled several times but never consummated. God fulfilled the promise through Joshua (Josh. 21:43–45), but not completely (Josh. 13:1–7); even more so through David and Solomon (1 Kin. 4:20–25; Neh. 9:8), but still not completely (Ps. 95:11; Heb. 4:6–8; 11:39, 40). As Israel’s Exodus from Egypt through the Passover (Ex. 12:1) is a type of the church’s exodus from the condemned world through Christ (1 Cor. 5:7; 10:1–4), so also old Israel’s life in the land is a type of New Israel’s life in Christ. Both are a gift (15:7, 18; Deut. 1:8; Rom. 6:23), and are received by faith (Num. 14:26–44; Josh. 7 and John 3:16). Both uniquely possess the blessed presence, life, and rest of God (Ex. 23:20–31; Deut. 11:12; 12:9, 10; 28:1–14; John 1:51; 14:9; Matt. 11:28), and demand persevering faith (Deut. 28:15–19; Heb. 6). The land promises are consummated forever in the new heaven and new earth (Heb. 11:39, 40; Rev. 21:1–22:6).[1]

[1] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 32). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

Sunday, June 14 – The greatest of all friendships — Reformed Perspective

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24

Scripture reading: Proverbs 13:20John 15:9-17, and 1 Corinthians 15:33

As we gather for worship today, in whatever fashion we are able to, we bask in the glory of knowing that Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, is our Lord and Saviour! He has redeemed us with His blood and purchased us for Himself, and we are eternally His! (John 10:28-30). Jesus is our Lord, but He’s also the greatest friend the Christian has! He is the fulfillment of Proverbs 18:24b, “…but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”! But how often do we use Jesus as the barometer for gauging the friends we make?

Proverbs 18:24a says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly,” and this is very true! But this verse could also be rendered, “A man who has friends may come to ruin.” The idea being that not all friends are proper friends, for some can have bad influences on us affecting our behavior, our words and our choices. As Paul says, “Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Proverbs 13:20 adds, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.”

But John 15:9-17 teaches, Jesus is the greatest friend because of His sacrificial love for us! He laid down His life for our salvation and because of His saving work, He calls us “friends.” What a blessing! Thus, out of this saving relationship, we can have the kind of friendships that will encourage us in our walk with God and in our Sunday worship!

Suggestions for prayer

Pray for wisdom when it comes to your friendships. Pray that you would choose your friends according to God’s Word rather than according to your sinful desires.

Rev. Ancel Merwin is the minister of Immanuel United Reformed Church in Listowel, Ontario. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

via Sunday, June 14 – The greatest of all friendships — Reformed Perspective

Decided Ungodliness — Christian Research Network

3 O Lord, do not Your eyes look for truth? You have smitten them, But they did not weaken; You have consumed them, But they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; They have refused to repent. Jeremiah 5:3 (NASB) 

Obstinate refusal to bow the knee to the Lordship of Christ is not always apparent or observable in professing Christians….

Unlike men such as the late George Carlin, their rebellion is often shrouded in ceremonies, religiosity, morality, good works, and the like. They may have been convicted to repent, but instead of doing so they remain turned from God as they pursue their own way of placating their conscience. This is attempting to be a Christian on ones own terms.

George Carlin was among those who honestly declared that they will never quit their sinful ways. However, there are other people who have promised to repent, but have not done so. Others, such as formatlists, mere professors, and hypocrites, have a form of godliness, but it is only a show. Therefore, there are people who have heard the truth, have heard the Gospel, yet they refuse to repent. Even though this may disturb us, we must come to grips with the fact that there will be untold numbers of people who will not repent and be saved.  View article →

via Decided Ungodliness — Christian Research Network

Drawing from the Source – In Touch – June 13/14 — Christianity.com

I want to challenge you this week, when something threatens to steal your contentment, choose to draw from God.

Drawing from the Source

Jeremiah 2:13

For us as believers, contentment should be governed by inner attitude and the decisions we make rather than by external circumstances. Because Paul had learned this secret, he was able to experience joy and peace in any kind of situation–whether he was surrounded by friends or isolated in a Roman prison; whether he had plenty or was in great need.

The apostle understood what it meant to live in Christ and to have Christ living in him (John 15:1-9Gal. 5:22-23). He had made a simple but profound faith decision to draw his life from the Lord and, as a result, had the calm assurance that what he possessed inside could never be stolen. He was confident in his identity as a child of the Almighty, with full access to the abundant life Jesus offers.

I want to challenge you–this week, when something threatens to steal your contentment, choose to draw from God; decide to stop drawing from other sources and trying to be in control. When you find yourself becoming flustered, anxious, or angry, stop and say, “Lord, You are my source, and I draw from You the capacity to be kind. I draw from You the forgiveness I need to extend right now. I draw from You the love I need to express.” This decision is a matter of simple trust.

Watch and see how God will quiet your spirit and provide confidence when you draw only from Him as your source. You’ll be surprised at your own attitude: when you respond from within–rather than from the flesh–Jesus will give you the ability to respond as He would.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

And Listen to Dr. Charles Stanley at OnePlace.com!

via Drawing from the Source – In Touch – June 13/14 — Christianity.com

No More Fears — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” 1 John 4:18 ( KJV).

If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room,” declared Robert Murray McCheyne, “I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me: ‘He ever liveth to make intercession.’”

Is there some fear in your life over which you do not have victory? Whether it is great or small, you can gain victory over that fear through claiming, by faith, God’s supernatural love for yourself and for others, for “perfect love casts out fear.

That promise makes it imperative that you and I claim God’s agape, the supernatural love described in 1 Corinthians 13, love for God, for our neighbors, for ourselves and for our enemies – for all men. As we do this, we can begin to practice that perfect love, showing it to our families and to friends and neighbors.

No fear is too small for Christ to handle, and certainly none is too large. Remember, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7, (KJV). If fear does not come from God, then we must reject that spirit of fear as coming from the enemy of men’s souls.

Fear of the future is a large fear for many people, but sometimes the seemingly small fears – of crowds, of heights, whatever – can cause more distress than greater fears. It is in these instances that God demonstrates His faithfulness to fill our hearts with His love and to cast out fear.

Faith is the most effective foe of fear, and “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 1:6-12 (see below)

ACTION POINT: Today I will recognize any kind of fear in my life for what it is: an attempt of the enemy to sabotage my effectiveness as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. By faith I will claim God’s supernatural love for myself and others, and thereby gain victory over fear. As I pray for myself, I shall pray for others also who experience the same devastating results of fear.

By Dr. Bill Bright
Used by Permission

Not Ashamed of the Gospel

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher [a]of the Gentiles. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/bill-bright_no-more-fears/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/

via No More Fears — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

Take the Leap — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

My son posted a video of his two buddies and him bungee jumping. The song ‘Let it Go‘ played as I watched the first young man being harnessed in and clasped to the long, elastic rope. The employee carefully checked the straps and guided the friend through the gate to the launch pad. The jumper shifted his weight and swallowed hard as he inched closer to the edge. He surveyed the deep canyon below, looked at the camera, and then said to the attendant, “Will you, will you push me?” The reply: “No, you have to jump.

My son’s friend had safety-sealed gear secured around his middle, the company possessed a solid reputation and a group of friends cheered in support. Perhaps it was the survival instinct within that rendered him pale! As I watched the video, I imagined that span between his feet leaving the platform and the point of rebound. A leap of faith never looked more tangible!

Over and over, I am led to the precipice of uncertainty or change and given the option to jump, by faith, into a vast unknown. Sometimes the free-fall is terrifying. But the adrenaline rush of living by faith is balanced by the solid foundation of God’s unchanging nature and promises.

Lord, please remind me daily to walk in the confidence that you are my constant guide and protection. Amen.

Thought: Take time to review the ways God has protected and guided you through difficult times and thank Him, in advance, for how He will continue to do so in the future.

By Shelaine Strom
Used by Permission

Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/sherlaine-strom_take-the-leap/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/

via Take the Leap — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

There is a Hope… | Truth For Life Programs

Illness, economic uncertainty, personal tragedy—all remind us that our world is irreparably broken. Christians have hope, though! Hear about God’s wonderful plan to redeem creation when you listen to Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.

Listen…

Source: There is a Hope…

Christians Should NOT Align Themselves with Militant Leftist Hate Groups — CultureWatch

Yes we are to seek justice, but not by aligning themselves with violent, radical mobs:

I have written before about some of the radical left groups making the headlines of late, including Antifa and Black Lives Matter. I have sought to show how dangerous they are and how those who favour freedom, democracy and the rule of law should steer well clear of them. See these pieces for example: billmuehlenberg.com/2020/06/02/who-is-behind-the-american-rioting/

And this: billmuehlenberg.com/2020/06/09/the-truth-matters-about-black-lives-matter/

But regrettably far too many woke Christians who seem to have replaced the Gospel of Mark with the Gospel of Marx are utterly clueless about these militant groups – either that, or they fully approve of these activist mobs. That is bad news either way.

Examples of this are sadly all around us. Let me mention just two of them. How many folks – including how many clueless Christians – have gotten into the practice of kneeling before the militants in some foolish act of identification and submission?

Um, the Christian bows only to one man: King Jesus, and no one else. Believers should know this of course. Consider just two famous stories from the Old Testament and one from the New. Let me just present them without any commentary:

Esther 3:2-5 And all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage. Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you transgress the king’s command?” And when they spoke to him day after day and he would not listen to them, they told Haman, in order to see whether Mordecai’s words would stand, for he had told them that he was a Jew. And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was filled with fury.

Daniel 3:10-12 “You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Acts 14:14-18 When Paul and Barnabas heard this, they ran among the people. They tore their clothes and cried out, “Why are you doing this? We are only men with feelings like yours. We preach the Good News that you should turn from these empty things to the living God. He made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. Long ago He allowed all people to live the way they wanted to. Even then God did not leave you without something to see of Him. He did good. He gave you rain from heaven and much food. He made you happy.” Even with these words it was hard for Paul and Barnabas to keep the people from burning cattle in an act of worship to them.

Another example of this madness is how one American evangelical magazine, Christianity Today, proved once again how far it has been moving leftwards over the years. Now it is saying that we must give reparations to blacks: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/june-web-only/justice-too-long-delayed.html

I have already made the case for not going down this path: billmuehlenberg.com/2019/06/15/reparations-for-slavery-social-and-political-considerations/

And here: billmuehlenberg.com/2019/06/15/reparations-for-slavery-biblical-and-theological-considerations/

Time for some Christian resistance

While far too many Christians have hopped on board the revolutionary leftist bandwagon, thankfully not everyone has. There have been a number of excellent rebuttals to this, both quite recently, and from some years ago. They are worth drawing your attention to and quoting from. Four brand new pieces are these:

Natasha Crain speaks about “5 Ways Christians are Getting Swept into a Secular Worldview in This Cultural Moment”. They are:

-We’re too quickly jumping on social bandwagons hitched to secularism.
-We’re conflating empathy with agreement on action.
-We’re being shamed into accepting secular definitions of love.
-We’re unknowingly getting caught up in Critical Theory.
-We’re neglecting opportunities to demonstrate how a secular worldview fails.

She concludes:

The desire for justice is a beautiful thing, and is rooted in the reality that our God is a just God. But we can go about seeking justice in some very ungodly ways. As Christians, we must always check our responses to culture to make sure the secular worldview hasn’t crept into our own. When we don’t, culture will influence the church more than the church will influence culture. christianmomthoughts.com/5-ways-christians-are-getting-swept-into-a-secular-worldview-in-this-cultural-moment/

Sarah St. Onge examines in some detail the very worrying beliefs and practices of BLM, and concludes with these words:

While I understand the desire to promote a consistent life ethic as a Christian, doing so by supporting Black Lives Matters, rather than supporting black people whose lives matter, would be as valueless as joining the ranks of the same leftists we’ve seen on stage for the last 60 years. This is nothing new, and it’s not compatible with Christianity.

Co-opting our goodwill to promote a political agenda regularly happens on both sides of the aisle. This time, the leftist Black Lives Matter controls the narrative. Opinions will shift, and maybe a conservative movement will take the stage next. Whichever way the pendulum swings, protecting the timeless lessons that teach us how to love our neighbor should remain the highest priority of Christians, not irresponsible hashtag activism. thefederalist.com/2020/06/12/why-supporting-black-lives-matter-is-anti-christian-and-anti-life/

Next, Carmen Schober tells us to start thinking Christianly here:

I’m disappointed to see so many deceived Christians, but I’m not terribly surprised. For too long, the modern Church has rejected intellectualism and commitment to scripture in favor of feelings and personal experience. Believers parroting popular talking points about poorly theorized concepts of “fragility” or “privilege” is the inevitable result.

For decades, American Christians have been told to simply be kind and win people over with vague, doughy niceness because anything more severe might offend someone. Such poor instruction has created a weak-willed Church full of people who have no idea what it means to truly be virtuous. Instead, they only know how to virtue signal and avoid discomfort. There are many reasons why this is dangerous (for both believers and those they hope to influence). stream.org/the-road-to-hell-is-paved-with-virtue-signaling/

Finally, Everett Piper has just penned a terrific piece urging evangelicals to stop pandering to the militant BLM:

Dear woke evangelical pastors, What in the world is wrong with you? Why in God’s name would you stand in solidarity with an organization that seeks the destruction of Christianity? You are supposed to believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the evangel, and it’s good news. You are supposed to believe in sola Scriptura and the inerrancy of the Word. You are supposed to believe in personal sin, personal confession, personal repentance and personal holiness. What happened to you? When did you lose your conviction? When were you given over to a reprobate mind? When did your heart of flesh become a heart of stone? When did you lose your soul?

He continues:

Have you not taken the time to do a 30-second Google search of the mission statement of the organization with which you now align? … And they are rabidly anti-Semitic and pro-abortion to boot! Have you not read this stuff? And if you have, do you not care? How can you stand with an organization that mocks God, denies the Bible, belittles men, demeans women and subjugates generations of black children to the dysfunction of fatherless families?

You claim to be Christian leaders, but you stand in solidarity with a group that promotes anger and revenge, one that calls for revolution rather than repentance, one that waves a banner of pride rather than penitence, one that foments resentment and laughs at forgiveness. How can you be so blind? Have you not read your own Bibles?

The broken ideas of BLM are not godly, and they are not Christian, and any pastor suggesting otherwise diminishes the imago Dei to little more than a hyphenated construct of division rather than unity. Your cooperation in the lie of intersectionality and racial conflict is sin, pure and simple.

Why aren’t you telling your followers that to be a Christian is to be born again, not born that way, that we have died to self, that we are new creations, that we are neither “Jew nor Greek,” and that we are all one Body in Christ? Why aren’t you preaching that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God — not just whites and not just blacks — but all? Why aren’t you telling people that the only solution to this mess is personal repentance rather than casting blame? Why aren’t you preaching confession rather than conflict? m.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/jun/13/evangelical-pastors-pander-to-radical-black-lives-/

Two older pieces that are still invaluable to this discussion come from Michael Brown and Jonathon Van Maren. As Brown wrote four years ago:

This movement opposes the very structure which is most under attack in black America today — namely, the nuclear family — also failing to mention “fathers” by name (note the references to mothers, parents, and children, but not fathers). What kind of social madness is this?

Other guiding principles include being Queer Affirming, under which heading it is affirmed that, “… When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking …” There is also the call to be Transgender Affirming, where it is explained that, “… We are committed to being self-reflexive and doing the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk ….”

Is this really a movement that can represent African-Americans nationwide? I think not. That’s why it’s essential for those who really want to address questions of social injustice — be it the effects of the Democrat-led welfare system or apparent disparities in prison sentences or other apparent injustices — to distance themselves from the Black Lives Matter movement and take a reasoned stand for righteousness. stream.org/separating-the-value-of-black-lives-from-the-black-lives-matter-movement/

And Van Maren, also writing in 2016, says this:

Black Lives Matter is not the answer to the problem of historical racism and present racial turmoil. Many well-meaning Christians have decided to support the movement, because on the surface of it, who can disagree? Of course black lives matter, and of course we should say so. That statement, when rendered in lowercase letters, is utterly uncontroversial.

He looks closely at their written statements and concludes:

To sum up, Black Lives Matter seems to believe that the answers to the problems faced by the black community include embracing transgenderism, attacking the already weakened-family structure (and thus eliminating the safest place for children to be nurtured and loved), and “freeing” the black community from the “tight grip” of “heteronormative thinking,” which presumably led to the oppressive family structure and the transphobic cis-supremacy in the first place. It’s also ironic to note that in all of their Guiding Principles, they do not even mention the opposition to law enforcement that characterizes so much of their protests and public rhetoric. Apparently the heteronormative family poses an even greater danger to black families than purported institutionalized racism does.

Others have written extensively on the racial politics of Black Lives Matter, the possibility that their rhetoric has led to the shooting of police officers, and the violence that so often accompanies their public actions. I wish to avoid attempting to analyze such things, and state that regardless of whether or not Black Lives Matter is guilty of such things, Christians cannot support them. Their guiding principles enshrine a blunt repudiation of biblical sexuality, a declaration of war on the family structure, and the not-so-subtle insinuation that communities are more responsible for their children than parents are. America is in need of racial reconciliation, and there are very real issues that Christians must grapple with. But Black Lives Matter is not the solution. They are part of the problem. http://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/why-christians-cannot-support-black-lives-matters

If you have time, please read all six of the articles I link to above. Yes, Christians should be concerned about justice and fairness. But they are NOT to be jumping in bed with ungodly radical left hate groups.

via Christians Should NOT Align Themselves with Militant Leftist Hate Groups — CultureWatch

June 14 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

June 14.—Morning. [Or November 25.]
“Shouldest thou help the ungodly?”

2 Chronicles 19:1–2

AND Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem. (Very special had been his deliverance from death; let us hope that he felt deeply grateful for it. He had by his own folly put himself into harm’s way, and it was great mercy which rescued him from peril. We find, however, that he did not go unrebuked.)

And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord.

Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God. (The father had rebuked Asa, and had been roughly used for so doing, but this did not prevent the son from doing his duty. He spake very plainly and personally to Jehoshaphat, and did not hesitate to deliver to him the solemn threatening of the Lord: nor was his message a fruitless one, for the king saw his sin, and set about doing all the good he could, as a token of his hearty repentance.)

And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beer-sheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the Lord God of their fathers.

When we turn to God ourselves, we cannot do better than use all our influence to convert others.

And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city,

And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment.

Wherefore now let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.

In all our dealings we are bound to be strictly just, and never should we allow ourselves to be perverted by the threats or smiles of any man. Our heavenly Father is righteous, and so should all his children be. It is not only judges who may be bribed, but servants may be bribed to allow tradesmen to rob their masters; masters may be tempted to be unjust to servants; and children may be led to be untruthful in their statements by gifts and threats. Such things must not be, or we shall grieve the Holy Spirit of God.

¶ Moreover in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Levites, and of the priests, and of the chief of the fathers of Israel, for the judgment of the Lord, and for controversies, when they returned to Jerusalem.

This was to be a central court of judicature where hard cases would be decided. What a blessing is it that in the New Jerusalem we have one who is called Wonderful Counsellor, and no case is too hard for him.

And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart.

10 And what cause soever shall come to you of your brethren that dwell in their cities, between blood and blood, between law and commandment, statutes and judgments, ye shall even warn them that they trespass not against the Lord, and so wrath come upon you, and upon your brethren: this do, and ye shall not trespass. (Very needful is it even now to exhort one another to do the right whether we offend or please. Disciples of Jesus should be strictly upright: if honour be banished from all the rest of the world, it should still dwell in the bosom of believers.)

11 And, behold, Amariah the chief priest is over you in all matters of the Lord; and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, for all the king’s matters: also the Levites shall be officers before you. Deal courageously, and the Lord shall be with the good. (Let this be our motto in all our dealings. He who acts uprightly has never any cause to fear, for God is with him. Children, learn this line by heart, “Deal courageously, and the Lord shall be with the good.”)

I send the joys of earth away,

Away, ye tempters of the mind;

False as the smooth deceitful sea,

And empty as the whistling wind.

Lord, I adore thy matchless grace,

That warn’d me of that dark abyss,

That drew me from those treacherous seas,

And bade me seek superior bliss.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (p. 349). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

June 14 The Poor Man’s Morning Portion

14.—Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?—Song 8:5.

Who is it that asketh this question, my soul? Is it the holy angels, astonished, as well they may, at the gracious condescension of thy Jesus in the grace and favour he hath bestowed upon thee? Or is it the world at large, looking on with amazement at the love of Jesus to his chosen? Is it the Jewish church, amazed that Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of God’s promise in Christ? Or above all, is it Jesus himself, not because he knoweth not the grace he hath bestowed, but because he admireth the grace he hath given; and as he did the Centurion’s faith, which he himself was the author of, he looketh upon it with pleasure? And art thou, my soul, come up from the wilderness of nature, a dry, barren land, where no water of Life is; from the wilderness of the world, and from all the unsatisfying and empty pursuits of it? Art thou leaning upon thy Jesus, cleaving to him, hanging upon him, strengthening thyself upon him, determining, like another Ruth concerning Naomi, where Jesus goeth thou wilt go, and where he lodgeth thou wilt lodge? Is this thy conduct; and dost thou rest the whole stress of thy present and everlasting happiness upon his glorious person and righteousness? if so, angels may well look on, and cry out, Who is this to whom the Father of all mercies hath been so gracious; to whom Jesus hath manifested his love otherwise than he doth to the world; and on whom the Spirit hath shed his blessed influence to make thee willing in the day of his power? Yes! precious Jesus! I would come up from every thing near and dear in this wilderness state, forget mine own people, and my father’s house; I would lean wholly upon thy glorious Person, for my acceptance before God; lean wholly upon thy righteousness, as all-sufficient for my justification; I would lean upon thy fulness, day by day, for the supply of all grace here; and I would lean solely upon the divine efficacy and blessedness of thy blood, to cleanse my soul for everlasting fitness for happiness hereafter. Witness for me, ye angels of light, that this is my beloved, on whom I lean and in whom I trust, and desire to be found, for time and for eternity. Amen.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Morning Portion (pp. 165–166). New York; Pittsburg: Robert Carter.