Daily Archives: August 14, 2020

August 14 Our Gigantic Secret

 

John 15:11

These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

The Bible shows that joy is present in all of the major events of the Christian life. There is joy in salvation, in baptism, when we read the Word of God, and in prayer. In fact, Christian joy is so unique that the Bible teaches us that it comes even at times of discouragement. Even when we are dying.

  1. K. Chesterton has written that “joy is the gigantic secret of the Christian.” I believe he’s right. This kind of joy is not known anyplace else in the world except in the life of a person who knows Jesus Christ in a personal way.

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). The center of joy for the Christian is Christ. The joy is Christ’s joy. It is simply the life of the Lord Jesus Christ being lived out in an individual. Christian joy is letting Christ live His life out through you so that what He is, you become. There are other kinds of joy found in other places in the world, but there is no place where you can find Christian joy except in Christ.[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 237). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

August 14th The D. L. Moody Year Book

 

And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.—Judges 7:7.

IT would be a good thing for the Church of God if all the fearful and faithless ones were to step to the rear, and let those who are full of faith and courage take their empty pitchers and go forward against the enemy. The little band of three hundred men who were left with Gideon routed the Midianites, but it was not their own might that gave them the victory. It was “the sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” If we go on in the Name of the Lord, and trusting to His might, we shall succeed.[1]

 

[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (p. 140). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

August 14, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

A Pure Heart

Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2:22)

This verse presents five characteristics of a pure heart, which itself is a fifth characteristic of an honorable vessel for the Lord. This verse is almost identical to the apostle’s admonition in his previous letter to Timothy: “Flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness” (1 Tim. 6:11).

The first attribute of a pure heart is negative, expressed here in the command to flee youthful lusts. Flee is from phuegō, from which “fugitive” is derived. The Greek verb is here a present imperative of command, indicating that fleeing is not optional but is to be persistent. That meaning is reflected in the term “fugitive,” which refers to a person who is continually on the run in order to escape capture. The faithful Christian is continually on the run, as it were, from the sinful passions that started when we were young.

Timothy was some thirty years younger than Paul when this letter was written. He therefore was relatively youthful and was still tempted by many sinful lusts that are characteristic of young people. These lusts involve much more than sinful sexual desire. They also include pride, craving for wealth and power, inordinate ambition, jealousy, envy, an argumentative and self-assertive spirit, and many other sinful lusts.

Timothy was timid and apparently sometimes embarrassed by his close association with the apostle Paul and the uncompromising gospel he proclaimed. He probably was fearful of persecution and may not have boldly confronted all those who compromised and misinterpreted God’s revealed truth. He seems to have been especially intimidated by older men in the church who resented his leadership (1 Tim. 4:12). Losing the battle to youthful lusts would not help him resolve the problem of leadership or effectively correct wrong doctrine and immoral practices but would aggravate the conflict. For his own sake and the sake of the church, he was to flee such temptations and inclinations.

The next four attributes of a pure heart are positive and comprehensive: righteousness, faith, love and peace. To pursue those virtues is the other side of fleeing youthful lusts. As with flee, the Greek verb translated pursue is an imperative. Paul is not making a suggestion.

A believer who does not run from sin and toward righteousness will be overtaken by sin. “When [an] unclean spirit goes out of a man,” Jesus said, “it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first” (Luke 11:24–26). The only way not to “be overcome by evil” is to “overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21). Understanding that truth, the psalmist wrote, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word” (Ps. 119:9). In whatever age the faithful live, the only infallible and effective guide to righteousness is God’s divine Word. Living a pure life does not involve following an esoteric system of ritual, having a mystical experience, achieving a special level of human wisdom, or making a decision to do so. But by faithfully pursuing and obeying the truth of Scripture, even the most unsophisticated child of God is able to successfully pursue the Lord’s righteousness.

The godly believer also will pursue … faith. In this context, pistis (faith) is better rendered “faithfulness,” as it is of God in Romans 3:3 and of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. The supreme purpose of a believer with a pure heart is to please and glorify God by pursuing integrity, loyalty, and trustworthiness. It was for lack of such “weightier provisions of the law—“justice and mercy and faithfulness”—that Jesus excoriated the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees (Matt. 23:23). The truly faithful Christian will be loyal to God, to God’s Word, to God’s work, and to God’s people.

He also will pursue … love, the first and foremost fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Of the several words in Greek that are translated love, agapē is the noblest, because it is the word of choice, not of feelings or sentiment, as fine as those sometimes may be. It is the love of the mind and the will, not of emotion or affection even of the highest sort. It is the love of conscious determination, not impulse. It is the love that focuses on the welfare of the one loved, not on self-gratification or self-fulfillment. Agapē love is not based on the attractiveness or worthiness of those who are loved, but on their needs, even when they are most unattractive and unworthy. It is selfless and self-giving.

Agapē love is used countless times of God Himself. It is that love which God the Father has for His own Son, Jesus Christ (John 17:26) and for those who belong to the Son by faith (John 14:21). It is the love which our gracious Lord has for even fallen, sinful mankind (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8). Agapē love is so characteristic of God that John twice tells us that He is love (1 John 4:8, 16).

The godly believer also will pursue … peace. Eirēnē (peace) is the word from which we get “serene” and “serenity.” In this context it does not refer to absence of warfare but to harmonious relationships, between men and God and between men and other men, especially between Christians. “If possible, so far as it depends on you,” Paul commands, “be at peace with all men” (Rom. 12:18).

Although the church at Ephesus was one of the most mature and faithful congregations mentioned in the New Testament, at the time Paul wrote his letters to Timothy it was experiencing serious internal conflict. Paul’s prediction to the elders of the church as they met on the beach near Miletus was already being fulfilled. “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you,” he warned, “not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29–30). Confronting all of that and maintaining peace requires a delicate balance.

Those who call on the Lord is a description of genuine Christians, referring specifically to their calling on the Lord for salvation—for His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness. To call on the Lord is the equivalent of placing saving faith in Him. “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him,” Paul assures believers in Rome. Quoting Joel 2:32, he then adds, “For ‘Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved’ ” (Rom. 10:12–13). The apostle opens his first letter to the church at Corinth with these words: “Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours” (1 Cor. 1:1–2, emphasis added).

But not everyone who calls on the Lord for salvation continues to faithfully serve and obey Him. From a pure heart therefore further identifies the godly believers who qualify as honorable vessels. The term pure comes from the same root word as “cleanses” in verse 21 and takes us back to where Paul’s thought began—to the truth that a clean vessel is a useful one. They continue to call on the Lord for guidance, strength, and wisdom in living for Him. The Christian with a pure heart diligently pursues the righteousness, faith, love, and peace mentioned in the first half of this verse. He is the “vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work” mentioned in the previous verse.[1]


22 Paul uses another ministry metaphor: whoever would be used by God must be “the Lord’s servant” (v. 24). The intensity of the apostle’s pleading with Timothy does not let up. Paul urges his foremost disciple to “flee” (pheugō, GK 5771) and “pursue” (diōkō, GK 1503; see comments at 1 Ti 6:11). Negatively, he must flee the “evil desires of youth” (lit., “youthful desires/passions,” neōterikas epithymias, GK 3754, 2123; cf. 3 Macc 4:8; Ignatius, Magn. 3.1], there being no equivalent for “evil” in the original; cf. Josephus, Ant. 16.11.8), in possible contrast with the earlier-mentioned Hymenaeus and Philetus (v. 17; cf. also 1 Ti 4:12). What Timothy must pursue is “righteousness” (moral uprightness), “faith” (trust in God), “love” (a charitable disposition toward others), and “peace” (harmony rather than argumentativeness) (see comments at 1 Ti 1:14).

Likely, the scope of the “youthful desires” Timothy must flee is considerably broader than sexual “lusts” (cf. NASB, “youthful lusts”). If the positive traits mentioned are any indication, Timothy is to shun all unrighteousness (i.e., any form of immorality, including sexual sins, 3:6, and the desire to get rich, 1 Ti 6:9), lack of faith (including self-reliance in conduct or teaching), lovelessness (and the selfishness that is characteristic of the false teachers), and restlessness (often characteristic of youth). Of course, it is not only the young who must flee “youthful desires” (cf. Quinn and Wacker, 696–97). In one word, Timothy is to train himself in “godliness” (eusebeia, 1 Ti 4:7–8). The quest for holiness need not be a lonely enterprise, as though believers ought to retreat to their closets and devote themselves to meditative exercises. Rather, holiness should be pursued in community: “along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (a partial allusion to Joel 2:32; cf. v. 19 above).[2]


22 Following the illustrative centerpiece of the passage, and in light of the call to conversion just sounded, the second set of three imperatives resumes direct instruction to Timothy. In rough parallel with the first half of the section, the three imperatives in this latter half will be supported with a sub-section of rationale (vv. 24–26).

As with the shift back to Timothy in 1 Tim 6:11 (see discussion), the transition here is made by insertion of a traditional teaching device, containing the first two of the imperatives, “flee/pursue.” The function of the pair is to contrast behavior to be shunned with behavior to be embraced. Timothy is to flee from “the evil desires of youth.”

While this forms a contrast with the “good works” referred to in v. 21, it is not entirely clear what range of behavior or attitudes is covered by “the evil desires of youth.” “Desires” may refer to neutral or even positive needs and longings in some contexts (cf. the verb in 1 Tim 3:1), but one development of the term that is prominent in the NT is its reference to negative or neutral desires which if not controlled become excessive and possibly harmful or evil impulses (see on 1 Tim 6:9). That is surely the case here, but the adjective “youthful” does not limit the scope of the content much. Although Timothy’s relative youthfulness is mentioned in 1 Tim 4:12, the reference here is almost certainly not to his own tendencies but to those evident in the church, and especially among the troublemakers. In general, the thought must be of those attitudes or impulses characteristic of youth, and the items to be pursued present a fitting opposite. The present context might imply a tendency to engage in arguments as a part of this “youthful” profile, or, on the basis of another development of the term and cognates, “cravings for innovation.” In any case, sexual lust does not seem to be the focus, and the plurality of the whole construction suggests a broad pattern of behavior, rather than a particular weakness. Various kinds of behavior characterized by impetuous or rash acts without thought to consequences could easily be in view; context suggests it would be those related to argument and abrupt innovation that are uppermost in mind.

The second imperative verb impels Timothy positively to “pursue” the alternative life of faith. This life is characterized by a list of four virtues (cf. 3:10–11; 1 Tim 4:12; 6:11). The first three of these, “righteousness, faith, love,” also occur in the list of 1 Tim 6:11 (see discussion and notes). “Uprightness” (dikaiosynē) was one of the cardinal virtues in Hellenistic thought. Its presentation here in a list of virtues is Greek in style, but its orientation in these letters is specifically grounded in the Christ-event (cf. Titus 2:12). Here it presents a contrast with its antonym adikia in v. 19.

The next two items, “faith” and “love,” occur together nine times in the lists of Christian qualities in the letters to coworkers. Again, while the list-form and some of the items included in the lists correspond to Greek ethical teaching, these two qualities are central to the understanding of authentic Christian existence expressed throughout Paul.139 Together they sum up the Christian life in terms of the “vertical” or mystical faith relationship with God and the “horizontal” or relational outworking of that faith in other-oriented service (see on 1 Tim 1:5).

The singular occurrence of the fourth element, “peace” (see on 1 Tim 1:2), in an ethical discourse seems to be conditioned by two factors in the immediate context. First, it is an attitude of quiet composure that would have a neutralizing effect upon the combative quarreling of the false teachers (vv. 14, 23–24). Second, it corresponds to the disposition of patience and kind concern (see below) that is intended to lead the opponent to repentance.

It becomes clear in the prepositional phrase that finishes the verse that the qualities listed are meant to typify authentic faith, and that “pursuit” of them is then to be understood as a standard. Believers are then depicted with two terms. First, the phrase “those who call upon the Lord,” which was adopted from the OT, is a frequent designation in the early church for God’s people. Here it resumes the theme initiated at 2:19; the phrase specifically describes Christians as those marked out by their confession of Christ as Lord (“Lord” = Jesus Christ). This identification of authentic believers is strengthened and more sharply focused in the phrase “out of a pure heart,” which views Christian existence from the perspective of the inward cleansing (“heart” = thoughts, emotions, consciousness, volition) associated with conversion (see on 1 Tim 1:5).[3]


2:22 / These two imperatives (flee and pursue), which are identical to those in 1 Timothy 6:11, are closely related to verses 19–21, which emphasize “turning away from wickedness” and “cleansing himself of these things.” But the negative imperative in this case is somewhat surprising in the context. Why here is Timothy told to flee the evil desires of youth?

The answer lies basically in the meaning of the word evil desires (epithymiai; cf. 1 Tim. 6:9; 2 Tim. 4:3) in these letters. Rather than “lusts,” it simply means desires, especially evil desires. Thus Paul is not so much speaking of sensual passions as he is those kinds of headstrong passions of youth, who sometimes love novelties, foolish discussions, and arguments that all too often lead to quarrels.

Instead of engaging in the pastimes of the false teachers, Timothy is to pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace. For these first three items see the discussion on 1 Timothy 6:11. Just as the final items on that list were especially relevant to the context, so here Timothy must also pursue … peace, as do all those who call upon the name of the Lord out of a pure heart (not, as gnb, “call out to the Lord for help”; cf. 1 Cor. 1:2). This last phrase is another idiom for God’s people in the ot (cf. 2:10; Titus 2:14); they are those who call upon the Lord, that is, worship Yahweh, the God of Israel, and none other. Along with the modifier out of a pure heart (cf. 1 Tim. 1:5; the same root as the verb “cleanse oneself” in v. 21), this designation sets off the true people of God (who pursue righteousness, etc.) from the false teachers, who do not truly know God (cf. Titus 1:16) but are ensnared by Satan. Perhaps, too, as with verse 19, it is a word of encouragement to Timothy by reminding him that not all “have bowed the knee to Baal.”[4]


2:22. So flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a clean heart.

Paul makes direct application of the previous metaphor to Timothy, instructing him what to flee from and what to run to. The one who seeks to cleanse himself from what is dishonourable (2:21) will first of all ‘flee from youthful passions’. ‘Youthful passions’ may mean either the sensual desires associated with youth, or the youthful infatuation with what is novel and innovative, or possibly even the angry passions and hotheadedness that often characterize youth (cf. 2:23–26)—or perhaps some combination of the three. In contrast, Timothy is to ‘pursue’ proper Christian virtues. The command to pursue ‘righteousness’, ‘faith’ and ‘love’ is almost identical to Paul’s instructions in 1 Timothy 6:11 (see discussion there). Here, however, Paul adds ‘peace’ to the list. This perfectly fits the context, which emphasizes the minister’s duty to be gentle and avoid quarrels, and to seek the peace and purity of the church. Paul concludes this verse by indicating that these instructions are not for Timothy alone—all ‘who call on the Lord from a clean heart’ will pursue these virtues. This final phrase also indicates that righteousness comes only from a transformed heart. God’s work in regeneration must precede any effort towards sanctification.

As in 1 Timothy, Timothy’s responsibility in regard to the false teachers means first of all a concern for his own personal spiritual health and godliness. Then it means combating the false teachers in a godly way. This is important for two reasons. First, personal holiness in life is essential for purity in doctrine. Secondly, a godly response to our enemies is impossible without proper training in personal holiness.[5]


22. Flee youthful desires. This is an inference from what goes before; for, after mentioning useless questions, and having been led by this circumstance to censure Hymenæus and Philetus, whose ambition and vain curiosity had led them away from the right faith, he again exhorts Timothy to keep at a distance from so dangerous a plague. And for this purpose he advises him to avoid “youthful desires.” By this term he does not mean either a propensity to uncleanness, or any of those licentious courses or sinful lusts in which young men frequently indulge, but any impetuous passions to which the excessive warmth of that age is prone. If some debate has arisen, young men more quickly grow warm, are more easily irritated, more frequently blunder through want of experience, and rush forward with greater confidence and rashness, than men of riper age. With good reason, therefore, does Paul advise Timothy, being a young man, to be strictly on his guard against the vices of youth, which otherwise might easily drive him to useless disputes.

But follow righteousness. He recommends the opposite feelings, that they may restrain his mind from breaking out into any youthful excesses; as if he had said, “These are the things to which thou oughtest to give thy whole attention, and thy whole exertions.” And first he mentions righteousness, that is, the right way of living; and afterwards he adds faith, and love, in which it principally consists. Peace is closely connected with the present subject; for they who delight in the questions which he forbids must be contentious and fond of debating.

With all that call on the Lord. Here, by a figure of speech, in which a part is taken for the whole, “calling on God” is taken generally for worship, if it be not thought preferable to refer it to profession. But this is the chief part of the worship of God, and for that reason “calling on God” often signifies the whole of religion or the worship of God. But when he bids him seek “peace with all that call upon the Lord,” it is doubtful whether, on the one hand, he holds out all believers as an example, as if he had said, that he ought to pursue this in common with all the true worshippers of God, or, on the other hand, he enjoins Timothy to cultivate peace with them. The latter meaning appears to be more suitable.[6]


22. This direct advice to Timothy is closely linked with the general principles stated in verses 20 and 21. There is an implied contrast with the pursuit of good works, as the sequence flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness The rsv translates the latter expression as ‘aim at righteousness’, i.e. set right actions as a goal for living. It need not be supposed that Timothy was beyond the age to need such advice, for as compared with Paul he was still at a stage when adverse influences might lead him astray. One suggestion is that the apostle is here thinking of such passions as impatience, love of dispute and novelties, ambition (Spicq). This is supported by the contrasted virtues to be pursued, righteousness, faith, love and peace, the first three of which have already been urged on Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:11. To live at peace along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart is an indispensable requisite of the Christian minister, as indeed of every Christian, although all too often ignored. The secret is to be found in the concluding words out of a pure heart (cf. 1 Tim. 1:5), for peace and purity are never far apart.[7]


Ver. 22. Flee youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace.

Flee the passions of youth:—Timothy was no longer a young man, but he was still in the strength of his manhood, when he might easily suffer from desires and passions which are comparatively venial in a youth. The juvenilia desideria, the immoderate hilarity, the irregular longings of the flesh and mind, the rashness of judgment, the self-indulgence, the love of admiration, which are weakness and failure of youth, not its beauty nor its charm. (H. R. Reynolds, D.D.)

The Christian young man:—To the word “lust” a specific meaning is now popularly attached, which we do not find in the original; the term there used being much more extensive, and, with the addition of the epithet, “youthful,” much more expressive. It signifies the inclination of the mind; and thus it includes what is evil in the spark as well as in the flame, in the blossom as well as in the fruit, in the deep, though still fountain, as well as in the rolling, turbid, and impetuous stream. And with good reason; for however small and obscure the beginning, the end may be most momentous, most irreparable. Hear it plainly stated: “Lust, when it hath conceived, bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Watch over inclination, lest it become desire; watch over desire, lest it become appetite; watch over appetite, lest it become passion; watch over passion, lest it become, in the evil and extreme sense, “lust.” And this applies equally to voluptuousness, ambition, covetousness, revenge, and all the characteristic vices of youth.

  1. And this is to be done by avoiding, as far as it be possible, the companionship of the ungodly. On this subject, indeed, the wise man, teaching from experience, is earnest even beyond his wont; counselling with an emphatic iteration: “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men; avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.” It is against the first step that young men should be exhorted especially to guard; to beware of the first act, against which conscience enters and records its solemn protest.
  2. While, however, you “flee youthful lusts” by avoiding companionship with the wicked, flee them also by cultivating companionship with the heart; and weigh well those associations, habits, and pursuits, which give a direction to the mind. Beware lest inclination assume the reins of action; beware lest interest or convenience usurp that supremacy over the purposes and the practices, which ought to be exercised only by conscience and by principle. Test all things by one standard; try all men by one rule; and let that be the Word of God. Whenever, therefore, in a judgment administered upon such principles, and directed to such an end, the bent of the mind and the will are found to be in any particular instance opposed to the great purpose, for which all who bear, by their own consent, the name of Christian, must for that very reason profess to live, it is clear that the course of life must be altered, the stream of thought and desire must be turned, the current must be made to flow in an opposite direction. And if this only be done as soon as the necessity is discerned, it will be done effectually, and it will be done comparatively without an effort.

III. Not only, however, are we exhorted in the text to “flee youthful lusts,” but to cultivate those Christian graces and dispositions, which can never appear to greater advantage than when they are associated with the natural transparency and ingenuousness of youth. 1. Follow, then, after righteousness. Give God what is His due; and you will never withhold from man what is his. 2. Follow not only after righteousness, but, as the apostle exhorts his son Timothy, after “faith.” Account, that as practical righteousness, the rendering of everything that is due to man, so faith is the expectation of all that is needful from God. 3. Next, you are exhorted to follow “charity” or love. Love is the essence of righteousness, for it is “the fulfilling of the law”; it is also the evidence of faith, for “faith worketh by love.” 4. Lastly, in the words of the apostle, “follow after peace.” This, indeed, is the subject of one of the most earnest petitions that ever fell from human lips: “Now the God of peace Himself give you peace always by all means.” Nor can the apostles of the Lord and Saviour better express the fervour of their love for the brethren than by the prayer that “grace, mercy, and peace may be multiplied to them through Jesus Christ.” Yes, peace is indeed an object worthy to be followed by man, a blessing worthy to be multiplied by God. Follow after peace, then, and ye will find it, in all its varieties of excellency and of loveliness. Peace of conscience; for your sins, however multiplied and aggravated, shall be made as though they had never been. Peace of mind; for “great peace have they that love Thy law, and nothing shall offend them.” Peace with man in life, for “the work of righteousness is peace”; and peace—the “peace that passeth understanding”—in death, for “mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace.” Now we have looked upon four objects of moral excellency and social usefulness, which the young Christian is to follow—righteousness, faith, charity, peace. Let us contrast these with four “youthful lusts,” desires, inclinations, or tendencies, call them which you will, from which he is to flee. The love of self, as opposed to righteousness; the pride of philosophical unbelief—unbelief that calls itself philosophical—as opposed to faith; covetousness, or the desire of accumulation, as opposed to charity; and the turbulence of mirth, revelry, and excess, as opposed to peace. (T. Dale, M.A.)

Admonitions to the young:

  1. Consider what you ought to avoid—“Flee youthful lusts.” The objects of abhorrence are distinctly specified in this short but impressive caution. No palliating epithets are employed to divest them of their disgusting qualities. They are not pleaded for by being called, as too many in modern times represent them “mere juvenile indiscretions,”—“youthful follies,” which maturer age will correct; but they are marked by a term, which at once describes and condemns them. Lust, in the language of Scripture, has an extensive latitude of meaning; it is applied to evil desire in general—the desire of what is in itself unlawful and forbidden, or the intemperate desire of what is in itself lawful and allowed. This explanation accords with the assertion of the apostle John in his first Epistle, in which he gives an accurate classification of evil desires: “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world.” The passions and appetites of our nature are powerful principles of action. Were they always subjected to the government of enlightened reason, they would become sources of innocent gratification; indulgence would leave no stain, and remembrance would awaken no remorse. But from their fatal predominance over the convictions of the understanding, and the remonstrances of conscience, what streams of sin and misery have inundated the world! To these, as their immediate sources, may be traced innumerable diseases which ruin the body, by causing its premature debility, and securing its inevitable destruction. But their direst evil is that they “war against the soul,” impair the mind, and pollute the heart. In order to render the impression more vivid, let us consider to what evil desires the young are peculiarly exposed; what are the unhallowed passions that require their utmost vigilance and opposition. 1. I would first exhort you, my young friends, to guard against the seductions of sensuality; against what are emphatically termed “fleshy lusts.” On no subject are the sacred writers more frequent, or more alarming in their denunciations than on this. Aware of the wide-spreading nature of the contagion, they continually remind us of its evil, and direct us to the means of counteracting and expelling it. 2. Beware of intemperance. By intemperance, I mean particularly the excessive indulgence of those appetites of our nature on which our existence depends. It is sometimes said that such indulgence, so basely irrational, places a man on a level with the brutes that perish. But it is insulting to brutes to make the comparison. The laws of animal instinct teach them moderation, and the dictates of universal conscience as well as the “grace of God,” should teach men, that “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, they should live soberly in this present evil world.” Intemperance is the baneful source of most destructive evils; it is the powerful stimulus to the commission of crimes, which men would shudder to perpetrate in the cool moments of sobriety. 3. Amongst the evil principles which the apostle warns us to avoid, may be included also high-mindedness, for immediately after the exhortation in the text, he says, “The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves.” And to enforce this impressive caution he predicts the approach of “perilous times,” when all the symptoms of unhallowed self-exaltation should be manifest in the prevailing characters of men. I have adopted a term of extensive application, because it includes the various modifications of pride, haughtiness, conceit, vanity, and ambition. It is worthy of your attentive regard that the admonition in the text is levelled at the very seat and principle of iniquity. The tyranny of the passions is enthroned on the heart; and it is from that interior dominion they must be expelled. The axe is therefore laid at the root of the tree, that all its branches and fruit may be destroyed. The apostle does not merely say, Flee evil habits, impure connections, and all the scenes of temptation, but he says what virtually includes all this, by denouncing their pernicious origin: “Flee youthful lusts”; let not the desire be indulged; “the thought of foolishness is sin.” As the venerable Elisha purified the waters of Jericho, by sprinkling salt on the fountain whence they flowed, so the apostle directs us to cleanse the springs of action; persuaded that they will send forth wholesome streams when healed from the contamination of sin.
  2. Our next general inquiry respects the opposite principles and tempers which ought to form the objects of your constant and unremitting pursuit. What should you follow? He was persuaded that in order to “abhor that which is evil,” we must “cleave to that which is good.” Let us attend to his wise and salutary directions. 1. Follow righteousness. This term frequently occurs in the sacred writings, with various, though connected acceptations. In its most important reference it is applied to that perfect “obedience even unto death,” by which our exalted Lord “magnified the law and made it honourable.” The Scriptures which so clearly reveal this righteousness as the exclusive basis of acceptance with God, announce the method of obtaining its blessings. “Not to him that worketh, but to him that believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” This righteousness, the possession of which justifies a sinner in the sight of God, will infallibly secure as its invariable consequence, an inherent rectitude of principle—that personal righteousness, “without which no man can see the Lord.” In conformity with this statement, I would earnestly exhort you, my young friends, to cultivate all the fruits of righteousness. Aim at the entire agreement of your spirit and actions with the unerring rule of righteousness, laid down in the sacred Word. There you behold its nature clearly defined, and its wide extent unfolded. It is not a variable, shifting principle, adapted to the changes of custom, and the fluctuations of caprice. Its nature and obligations are not dependent on views of expediency, which may happen to agree with its dictates to-day, and suggest an opposite rule of conduct to-morrow. Righteousness is the conformity of the heart and life to the immutable laws of equity which God has established; an equity, unbending in its decisions, and unalterable in its claims. 2. If you “follow righteousness,” your character will be adorned by fidelity. This I conceive is what the apostle meant by “faith”; and the word has precisely this rendering, in the Epistle to Titus, in which servants are exhorted to “show all good fidelity.” Fidelity is an important part of righteousness; it is one of the essential expressions of it, and all pretensions to rectitude without it are but as “tinkling cymbals and as sounding brass.” 3. With “righteousness and fidelity,” the apostle connects charity and peace. The principles and duties of justice are intimately blended with those of benevolence. The latter derive all their value and stability from the former, and give them in return “an ornament of grace—a crown of glory.” Charity, or love, is of essential importance to Christian character. It is often referred to as a decisive test of real religion. It is well described by the apostle Paul as the “bond of perfectness.” It unites and combines all the other graces, “fitly framing them together,” giving them beauty, proportion, and effect. The apostle Paul has presented a full-length portraiture of Charity. Are you surprised that peace should spring from that charity which “endureth all things”? This is its rational and invariable result. The peace which flows from believing, and which consists in reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ, will be connected with a pacific temper and disposition. These are the objects of pursuit exhibited to your attention, in the exhortation of the text. You are commanded to follow them, wherever they may lead you; to aim at attaining them, whatever they may cost you; and with unremitting diligence to persevere in the path which they have prescribed. With peculiar propriety has the apostle connected this wise direction with the preceding caution. Every disposition marked out as the object of pursuit, immediately tends to the subversion of those unhallowed desires which you are warned to avoid. You cannot indulge in one “youthful lust” but you violate the claims of “righteousness, faith, charity, and peace.” Let these holy principles exist, and you will be effectually armed against the enemies of your souls.

III. With whom should you associate? “With them that call on the Lord with a pure heart.” Religion does not extirpate the social affections of our nature; but it directs their exercise, and consecrates them supremely to the glory of God. The fellowship of a Christian Church is designed to bring them under the guidance of those laws which Christ has revealed in His Word, and to regulate all our voluntary associations. The influence of pernicious example is peculiarly felt in the circle of intimate friendship. There your opinions and practices receive their strongest confirmation; and your character and habits, if at first opposed to the prevailing complexion of those with whom you associate, will be almost imperceptibly changed. Consider the infinite importance of being now “numbered with the saints,” “on the Lord’s side,” that you may not be “gathered with sinners” at the day of final separation and unalterable decision! (Jos. Fletcher, M.A.)

Purity:—Antony William Boehme, a German divine, once preached from Exodus 20:14: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” A chevalier, who was one of his hearers, felt himself so much insulted that he challenged Boehme to fight a duel, because he thought his sermon designed entirely to offend him. Boehme accepted the challenge, and appeared in his robes; but instead of a pistol he had the Bible in his hand, and spoke to him in the following manner: “I am sorry you were so much offended when I preached against that destructive vice; at the time I did not even think of you. Here I appear with the sword of the Spirit, and if your conscience condemns you, I beseech you, for your own salvation, to repent of your sins and lead a new life. If you will, then fire at me immediately, for I would willingly lose my life if that might be the means of saving your soul!” The chevalier was so struck with this language that he embraced him and solicited his friendship. A bold man was this preacher, and reminds you of another bold man in English history, Hugh Latimer, Bishop of Worcester, who presented to Henry VIII. for a new year’s gift a New Testament, doubled down at the leaf where is written, “Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). God’s truth must be told, and not be kept back. The Seventh Commandment concerns our own and our neighbour’s chastity: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” It forbids all acts of uncleanness, with all those fleshly lusts which produce those acts and war against the soul; and all those practices which cherish and excite those fleshly lusts, as looking in order to lust, which Christ tells us is forbidden in this commandment (Matt. 5:28). The eyes, like Jacob’s cattle, too firmly fixed on beautiful objects, make the affections bring forth spotted fruit, and it is as easy to quench the fire of Etna as the thought fixed by lust. Lusting is often the result of looking, as in David, who saw Bathsheba bathing, and in Joseph’s mistress, who set her eyes upon Joseph. Lust is quicksighted. How much better Job, who would not look, lest he should think upon a maid! He had learned to keep in his eyes from roving to wanton prospects. Samson’s eyes were the first offenders that betrayed him to unlawful desire of carnal pleasure; therefore are his eyes first pulled out, and he led a blind captive to Gaza, where before he had with carnal appetite gazed on his Delilah. Among the things which in our baptismal vow we promised to renounce are the sinful lusts of the flesh. The text enforces that promise upon us. Carnal pleasures are the sins of youth; ambition and the love of power the sins of middle age: covetousness and carking cares the crimes of old age. “Flee fornication,” &c. (1 Cor. 6:18, 19). He that commits this sin sinneth against his own body; and inasmuch as his body was created for God’s Holy Spirit to dwell in, it is a defilement of the temple of God. This sin of fornication is, therefore, the more hateful, because by committing it a man sins both against himself, against his fellow-creature, and against his God. By indulging in this sin he debases his noblest faculties; he defiles and destroys God’s handiwork; he makes vile that which God made holy. By the just judgment of God all these irregular and sinful connections are married to death. Neither prostitutes, whoremongers, nor unclean persons of any description can live out half their days Parents! beware of the example of Eli! He was a good man himself, but his children were extremely wicked—he restrained them not. Parents! see that your children do not associate with corrupt companions—“Evil communications corrupt good manners.” Indulged children, like Dinah (Gen. 34), often become a grief and shame to their families. Her pretence was to see the daughters of the land, to see how they dressed, and how they danced, and what was fashionable amongst them; she went to see—she went to be seen too; she went to gain an acquaintance with those Canaanites, and to learn their way. See what came from Dinah’s roving! The beginning of sin is as the letting forth of water—“Give the water no passage, neither an unprotected daughter liberty to gad abroad” (Ecclus). Carefully avoid all occasions of sin and approaches to it. Parents! let your household arrangements be such as never to endanger your children’s purity of character; never let the blush of shame be needlessly raised on their cheeks. Whatever sacrifice it may cost you in other ways, do not put them in jeopardy by crowding your family into too small a space, thus rendering it impossible that a sense of decency and modesty should be preserved. It is a false and fatal economy that would tempt you to do this. Much depends on you, landlords, masters, employers of labour. But whatever may be done by parents or by masters, to you, young men and young women, we must mainly look. The celebrated John Newton, as the commander of a slave-ship, had a number of women under his absolute command, and knowing the danger of his situation on that account, he resolved to abstain from flesh in his food, and to drink nothing stronger than water during the voyage, that by abstemiousness he might subdue every improper emotion. Upon his setting sail, the sight of a certain point of land was the signal for his beginning a rule which he was enabled to keep. (R. A. Taylor, M.A.)

Helps against lusts:—1. Get a sound knowledge of them. 2. Mortify thy carnal members. 3. Labour for a broken heart. 4. Be diligent in thy calling. 5. Abandon lewd companions. 6. And strive to taste deeply of the water of life; favour the best things. (J. Barlow, D.D.)

Youthful lusts:—And thy lusts of youth are principally these: pride, idleness, pleasure, wantonness. To avoid these see thou—1. Set a watch over all thy external senses. In presence, view not, touch not. In absence, talk not, think not on wanton affections. 2. Sleep little, eat little, work much, pray much; for take away the fuel and the fire will be quenched. 3. When wandering cogitations or suggestions reflect on thy fancy, divert them the contrary way. Forget not this. 4. Attend to good counsel, and follow it; and see before thou purpose anything what the best men advise thee. (Ibid.)

A choice between the higher and lower life:—Thou hast a double nature. Choose between the worse and the better that is within thee. Thou hast it in thy power to become the slave of passion, the slave of luxury, the slave of sensual pleasure, the slave of corruption. Thou hast it in thy power to become the free master of thyself, to become the everlasting benefactor of thy country, and the unfailing champion of thy God. (Dean Stanley.)

Passions to be early checked:—There was once an old monk walking through the forest with a little scholar by his side. The old man suddenly stopped and pointed to four plants close at hand. The first was beginning to peep above the ground; the second had rooted itself pretty well into the earth; the third was a small shrub; whilst the fourth and last was a full-sized tree. Then the old monk said to his young companion: “Pull up the first.” The youth easily pulled it up with his fingers. “Now pull the second.” The youth obeyed, but not so easily. “And the third.” But the boy had to put forth all his strength, and to use both arms, before he succeeded in uprooting it. “And now,” said the master, “try your hand upon the fourth.” But lo! the trunk of the tall tree, grasped in the arms of the youth, scarcely shook its leaves, and the little fellow found it impossible to tear its roots from the earth. Then the wise old monk explained to his scholar the meaning of the four trials. “This, my son, is just what happens with our passions. When they are young and weak, one may, by a little watchfulness over self, and the help of a little self-denial, easily tear them up; but if we let them cast their roots deep down into our souls, then no human power can uproot them, the Almighty hand of the Creator alone can pluck them out. For this reason, watch well over the first movements of your soul, and study by acts of virtue to keep your passions well in check.”

The bloom of youthful purity:—There grows a bloom and beauty over the beauty of the plum and apricot, more exquisite than the fruit itself—a soft, delicate flush that overspreads its blushing cheek. Now, if you strike your hand over that, it is gone for ever, for it never grows but once. The flower that hangs in the morning impearled with dew, arrayed as a queenly woman never was arrayed with jewels; once shake it so that the beads roll off, and you may sprinkle water over it as you please, yet it can never be made again what it was when the dew fell silently on it from heaven. On a frosty morning you may see panes of glass covered with landscapes, mountains, lakes, and trees, blended in a beautiful fantastic picture. Now, lay your hand upon the glass, and by a scratch of your finger, or by the warmth of your palm, all the delicate tracery will be obliterated. So there is in youth a beauty and purity of character, which, when once touched and defiled, can never be restored—a fringe more delicate than frost-work, and which, when torn and broken, will never be reembroidered. He who has spotted and soiled his garments in youth, though he may seek to make them white again, can never wholly do it, even were he to wash them with his tears. When a young man leaves his father’s house with the blessing of a mother’s tears still wet upon his brow, if he once lose that early purity of character, it is a spot that he can never make whole again. Such is the consequence of crime. Its effects cannot be eradicated; it can only be forgiven.

Righteousness:—Let me exhort you to put on the righteousness of Christ Jesus, as by application, so in imitation. When thou art to deal with God, and to appeal in His court, see thou have this wedding garment: clothe thy nakedness with the mantle of Jesus; cover thy sinful person with no other robe; wear not linsey-woolsey; mix not thy pigeon feathers with this eagle’s plumes; blend not thy flash water with this fresh wine, lest thy nakedness appear, and death be found in the pot. But with him, who knew what he did (Phil. 3:8, 9), cast off thy rags, trample them under foot, and apparel thyself with the pure linen of Christ our Lord; for Solomon in all his royalty was not clothed like him, who hath put on Christ Jesus. (J. Barlow, D.D.)

Faith:—By faith the righteousness of Christ is unfolded, apprehended, put on. Knowledge, like the eye, may direct us unto the wedding garment. But faith, as the hand, must take hold of it, apparel ourselves with it. What if we be said to live by faith? so are we by our hands. Yet doth any man eat his fingers? No; it is by that which faith applieth; and the motion of the hand procureth and receiveth. (Ibid.)

Following peace:—For thy help take these directions:—1. Be at peace with God; for that will keep thy heart and mind in the acknowledgment and love of the truth (Phil. 4:7, 9). 2. Have peace with thyself. In all things be in subjection to the Spirit (James 3:14, 15). For if wars be in us, peace will not be without us (Gal. 6:16). 3. Depart with part of thine own rights; so did Abraham to Lot (Gen. 13:9). Christ paid tribute to preserve peace (Mat. 17, ult.). And for peace sake we should suffer wrong (1 Cor. 6:7). 4. Abandon self-love, and pray for peace. When men will have their own actions still go forward, without doubt, it is a work of the flesh (Gal. 6:13). For motives—1. Are we not the sons of God? and is not He the King of Peace? (1 Cor. 14:33). 2. Be we not subjects to Him who is the Prince of Peace? (Isa. 9:6). 3. Is not a Christian called to live in peace? (1 Cor 7:15). 4. And if we continue in peace, will not the God of love and peace be with us? (2 Cor. 13:11). (Ibid.)

Self-control inspired by the thought of God:—A heathen may herein teach multitudes of unconverted men and many professing Christians a lesson. We read of Cyrus, that when, after one of his victories, a captive of singular beauty, Panthea, the wife of Abradates, king of Susiana, was taken, he refused to see her, and entrusted her to the keeping of Araspes, giving him a very prudent admonition respecting his conduct, and was thus assured by him; “Fear nothing; I am sure of myself, and I will answer with my life that I shall do nothing contrary to my duty.” This young nobleman was notwithstanding overcome by her beauty, and in danger of basely violating his promise, had not Panthea given Cyrus intelligence of his baseness. Araspes, when cited to appear before his prince, was overwhelmed with shame and fear, and spoke of the control over his desires which he had when in Cyrus’ presence, and his weakness when left to himself (see “Rollin’s Ancient History,” bk. iv., ch. i., sec. iv). If the presence of a fellow-creature, however marked by purity and moderation, availed to curb the passions of a heathen, how much more should the recollection of a pure and holy God! And if love constrain not, the fear of His displeasure should lead us to beware of danger, and to guard our eyes and our hearts, lest we fall into temptation.

Avoiding danger:—Have you never heard the story of a lady who wanted a coachman? Two or three called to see her about the situation, and, in answer to her inquiries, the first applicant said, “Yes, madam, you could not have a better coachman than myself.” She replied, “How near do you think you could drive to danger without an accident?” “Madam, I could go within a yard of it, and yet you would be perfectly safe.” “Very well,” she said, “you will not suit me.” The second one had heard the question upon which the other had been rejected, and therefore he was ready with his answer, “Danger! madam, why I could drive within a hair’s breadth, and yet be perfectly safe.” “Then you will not suit me at all.” When number three came in, he was asked, “Are you a good driver?” “Well,” he replied, “I am careful and have never met with an accident.” “But how near do you think you could drive to danger?” “Madam,” he said, “that is a thing I never tried, I always drive as far away from danger as ever I can.” The lady at once replied, “You are the kind of coachman I want, and I will engage you at once.” Get such a coachman as that yourself, to guide your own heart, and lead your own character. Do not see how near you can go to sin, but see how far you can keep away from it. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Abstinence:—A friend who, in the opinion of all who knew him, was very unlikely to take stimulants to excess, and who had very little sympathy with teetotalism, told me the other day that he had given up wine. When I asked him his reason he gave me this suggestive reply: “Because I was beginning to like it and count on it.” It was the wise repression of incipient rebellion before it had asserted itself by overt act. (A. Rowland, LL.B.)

Taken unawares:—We have read that “a debtor seeing a bailiff in quest of him ran three miles to a boundary, beyond which he was safe.” The bailiff, seeming calmly to submit to his failure, stretched out his hand and said, “Well, let us part good friends, at any rate.” The debtor, off his guard, accepted the offered hand, whereupon the bailiff, with a desperate effort, pulled him across the line, and clapping him on the shoulder, said, “You are my prisoner.” So men may be overcome by the evil one when they least expect an assault from him, and think themselves most safe. (Sunday School Teacher.)

Self-control:—Bishop Ryle, in his “Young Men Exhorted,” makes some pungent remarks on this duty of self-control. “Resolve at once,” he writes, “by God’s help, to shun everything that may prove an occasion of sin. It is an excellent saying of good old Bishop Hall: ‘He that would be safe from the acts of evil must wisely avoid the occasions.’ Never hold a candle to the devil. He that would be safe must not come near the brink of danger. He must look upon his heart as a magazine of gunpowder, and be cautious not to handle one spark of temptation more than he can help. Where is the use of your praying, ‘Lead us not into temptation,’ unless you are yourselves careful not to run into it?” “Flee”:—Prayer is not enough. Many have prayed, and have not found it sufficient. Therefore the advice in the Bible is rational—Flee. The usual receipt for resisting sin is, Fight; but I venture to say the Bible and common sense recommend flight rather. There are many sins we must not even look at; to turn away and run is the only resource. The Bible says, “Flee youthful lusts,” and “Look not on the wine.” The brave thing, although it looks the cowardly, is to flee. But it is not into space we are to flee. We are to fly upward, to get into a higher mood, and breathe another atmosphere. (Prof. H. Drummond.)

Temptation’s deceits:—In the Fisheries Exhibition the nets were so beautifully hung and draped as to form graceful curtains. How many of Satan’s nets are made to appear charmingly attractive. (H. O. Mackey.)

The conquest of self:—The following epitaph was once placed over a soldier’s grave:—

“Here lies a soldier, whom all must applaud,

Who fought many battles at home and abroad;

But the hottest engagement he ever was in

Was the conquest of self in the battle of sin.”

 

The danger of success:—There is danger in success. St. Bernard astonished an immense congregation, intensely interested in his sermon, by suddenly exclaiming, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” He felt that the devil was tempting him to be proud of his eloquence, as though he would win souls by his own enticing words. And when Lacordaire had enthralled thousands by one of his Lenten sermons in Notre Dame, the young monk who went to summon him to the refectory, found him kneeling before a crucifix, with the tears on his cheeks, and inquired, “Oh, father, why are you so sad?” This was the answer, “My son, I am afraid of success.” Be not high-minded, but fear. (Dean Hole.)

Undiscovered character:—Every man has in himself a continent of undiscovered character. Happy is he who acts the Columbus to his own soul. (Sir J. Stephen.) Peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.—This last “peace” must be joined with the words immediately following: “With them that call on the Lord,” &c. The “peace” here signifies absence of contention; it is well paraphrased by, “that spiritual concord which unites together all who call upon and who love their Lord.” (H. D. M. Spence, M.A.)

The Christian young man:—It will be manifest, at the very first glance, that when the apostle expresses with whom his son Timothy should, he implies with what kind of persons he should not associate; with those who do not “call upon the Lord,” and with those who do indeed appear to call upon the Lord, but not “out of a pure heart.” First, the unbeliever, whether he be such in appearance, or only in practice; and next, the hypocrite, the formalist, the inconsistent, and the insincere. 1. Our first character is that of the avowed and unblushing sceptic; that of the man who contemptuously characterises religion as the business of women, the trade of preachers, and the toy of men; one who mistakes adroitness in contending against truth in argument, for capability of disproving it, and who is as much delighted with himself, when he has hurled a sarcasm or a sneer against the gospel or the Church, as if he had invented an objection which must tend to the overthrow of them both. This class of persons may be ordinarily identified by one generic feature; namely, that they assume everything, and demonstrate nothing. Avoid, then, as far as possible, all intercourse, all communion, with persons such as these. If they interrogate you, answer; but when you have answered, do not argue. 2. I shall next describe the character of the man whose infidelity is practical; who is only not an atheist because he is nothing; who does not avow or advocate false principles simply because he has no principles at all; and who remains just as indifferent to all that concerns his moral responsibility or his religious duty, as if indeed he were the base degraded thing, to which he endeavours to assimilate himself; as if in truth he were “the beast, whose spirit goeth downward to the earth”—not the rational, immortal, intelligible, accountable man, whose spirit, when dismissed from and disencumbered of its earthly tabernacle, must “return to God that gave it.” The root of the evil is, that so far as the interests of the soul are concerned, persons of this class do not think at all. From such, then, as we have now described, such as “separate themselves” from the assemblies of Christian worship, being “sensual, having not the Spirit”; such as do not “call upon the Lord” in the house of prayer, and therefore cannot be presumed to call upon Him in the closet—you ought to separate yourselves as far as possible, on no other ground than the simple knowledge of the fact. They are far more likely to injure you than you are likely to profit them; for they have an ally, an accomplice, in your own sinful nature. 3. There is yet another class of characters, from whom in following out the spirit of the text, we are constrained to counsel separation. It is the inconsistent, the undecided, the manifestly insincere; those who “call on the Lord,” but not “out of a pure heart”; those who observe proprieties, but who disregard principles; who conform to the ritual without imbibing the spirit of the Church; who profess with their lips that they know God, but in works do deny Him—disguising their practices by their profession, and masking their private vices by their public prayers. Those who “call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” But then understand what this means—the heart of such persons is not innately pure; it is not pure from the first. No, nor is it inherently pure by any natural constitution or organisation peculiar to itself. Nor is it independently pure—without the aids of Divine and spiritual operation, or by influence of its own. Nor is it invariably pure—pure without any apprehension of or capability of change. Its purity is derived and imparted from above; purity in the comparative sense, for all human purity is comparative; and produced by the action of the Spirit of God upon the heart. It is first the purposed, attempted, desired separation from all iniquity—because we “name the name of Christ”; the ceasing to regard it with the heart, as well as admit it knowingly into the life. It is next the fixed, settled, honest purpose, to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”; and to postpone all considerations of present pleasure, interest, or inclination to the “one thing” which is supremely “needful,” even to “win Christ and be found in Him.” Purity, indeed, is but another name for what is elsewhere called “singleness of heart”; that which St. Paul exemplified when he declared, “One thing I do; forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”; and what the Lord Himself delineated when He said, “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” I have already spoken to you about the prudence of avoiding companionship with the ungodly, but this example leads you one step beyond it—to the cultivation of fellowship with the pious. And for this reason: that every friendship, which is formed upon such principles and with such persons, is an additional barrier and defence against the encroachment or aggressions of the enemy. To form a new Christian connection or intimacy is like placing a new warrior within the citadel of the heart, a new sentinel upon the watch-tower, or, it may be, a new defender in the breach. (T. Dale, M.A.)[8]


2:22

NASB, NKJV

 

“Flee … pursue”

 

TEV

 

“Avoid … strive for”

 

NJB

 

“Turn away … concentrate on”

 

These are both PRESENT ACTIVE IMPERATIVES. Believers are to continue to exhibit God’s sanctification (cf. 1 Tim. 6:11).

© “from youthful lusts” Every stage of life has its unique temptations (cf. Eccl. 3:1–8; 11:10; 12:1–8).

© “righteousness, faith, love and peace” These are all characteristics of the triune God which need to be developed and exhibited in His people (cf. 1 Tim. 1:5, 14). For “righteousness” see Special Topic at Titus 2:13.

© “who call on the Lord from a pure heart” This is a PRESENT ACTIVE PARTICIPLE, which implies continuing action. In Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21 and Rom. 10:9–13 this phrase seems to imply an initial response, but in this context it refers to the maturing believers. Our purposeful and continuing association with mature believers is one secret of a faithful, joyful, and peaceful Christian life.[9]


22. The way to cleanse oneself is to become detached from that which is evil and attached to that which is good. Hence, Paul continues: But from the desires of youth flee away, and run after righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call upon the Lord out of pure hearts.

When Paul wrote these words, Timothy must have been 37–42 years of age (see on 1 Tim. 4:12). He was still rather young, especially in relation to the position of trust and responsibility which he occupied. So the apostle warns him against “the (or “those well-known,” note the article) desires of youth.” But just what does he mean?

The word desire that is used in the original, whether in a favorable or unfavorable sense, always indicates strong yearning. As the footnote indicates, it is used far more often in an unfavorable than in a favorable sense. In the present passage, it is definitely sinful desire that is meant (“From the desires of youth flee away”). Such sinful desires, as the footnote also proves, can be classified more or less after the manner of modern psychology (though here these yearnings would hardly be called sinful), as follows:

(1).        Pleasure, etc., the inordinate craving for the satisfaction of the physical appetites: the “lust” for food and drink, pleasure-madness, uncontrolled sexual desire (Rom. 1:24; Rev. 18:14, etc.)

(2).        Power, etc., the ungoverned passion to be Number 1, the lust to “shine” or be dominant. This results in envy, quarrelsomeness, etc. This sinful tendency is included prominently in such references as Gal. 5:16, 24; 2 Peter 2:10, 18; Jude 16, 18.

(3).        Possessions, etc., uncontrolled yearning for material possessions and for the “glory” that goes with them (see 1 Tim. 6:9 in its context).

Objectively speaking, Christ triumphed over the first when in the first temptation he said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:1–4); over the second, when in the second temptation he refused to cast himself down from the pinnacle of the temple (Matt. 4:5–7); and over the third, when in the third temptation he refused to receive as a gift out of Satan’s hand “the kingdoms of the world and their glory” (Matt. 4:8–10). As a result of his triumph he in a far more glorious sense received from his heavenly Father the very things with which the devil had tempted him. (In Christ’s case, however, the temptations were entirely objective; there were no subjective, sinful tendencies.)

Since these inordinate desires often assert themselves more turbulently in youth than in old age—as he grows older a Christian rises above them through the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit, bringing him gradually to spiritual maturity—, they are here fittingly called “the desires of youth” (literally, “the youthful desires”).

Two extremes should be avoided. First, it is wrong to construe the reference to be, either exclusively or predominantly, to uncontrolled sexual desire. Secondly, it is not necessary to exclude this evil entirely from view. The term, as here used, must probably be taken in its most general sense, as indicating any sinful yearning to which the soul of a young or relatively young person is exposed. If, within this general connotation, any element of special emphasis must be found, it should be derived from the context. In the present case there was, perhaps, the tendency of the younger man to be somewhat impatient with those who stood in the way. Timothy’s high moral character, coupled with his youthful years, might induce him to act somewhat inconsiderately toward those who were opposing the truth. A person of natural reserve, timidity, and general amiability, such as Timothy, can at times act rather impulsively when at last, contrary to his natural tendency, he is aroused to action. But whether or not in Paul’s mind there was any special reference to this particular danger of youth cannot now be determined. The sinful desires of youth may best be regarded in the most general sense, and thus as the antonyms of the virtues now mentioned: “righteousness, faith, love, and peace.”

Grammatically it is also possible to interpret Paul’s words as meaning no more than this: “Timothy, continue to do exactly as you have always been doing. Keep on in your present course, fleeing away from the desires of youth and pursuing righteousness, faith, love, peace,” etc. But, though the tense used in the original permits this interpretation, it does not require it. It is, moreover, in line with Paul’s very practical bent of mind to assume that these crisp commands bear some reference to reality, and were warnings that were actually needed, yes needed even by Timothy because of certain character-weaknesses, however unpronounced they may have been. In our desire to do full justice to the beauty of Timothy’s character, let us not equip him with wings!

Paul’s youthful associate, then, must constantly flee away from the sinful propensities of youth, and must cultivate the habit of running after the virtues that are here enumerated. Note the alliteration—“run after righteousness” (here as in 1 Tim. 6:11)—and the chiastic sentence-structure, with the vices and the virtues (the last one, “peace,” expanded into a compound phrase) at either end of the sentence; and the opposite actions—“flee away from,” “run after”—next to each other in the middle.

Since most of the concepts here mentioned have occurred before, the reader is referred to the more detailed explanation in 1 Tim. 4:12 and 1 Tim. 6:11. Briefly, then, what Paul has in mind may be paraphrased as follows:

From the sinful tendencies of youth flee away, and run after (steadily pursue) the following: a. that state of heart and mind which is in harmony with God’s law (“righteousness”); b. humble and dynamic confidence in God (“faith”); c. deep personal affection for the brothers, including in your benevolent interest even the enemies (“love”); and d. undisturbed, perfect understanding (“peace”) with all Christians (those who in prayer and praise “call upon” the Lord Jesus Christ—cf. Joel 2:32; Rom. 10:12; 1 Cor. 1:2—out of pure hearts). The “pure hearts” (the original has the singular where English prefers the plural) are the inner personalities of those who “stand aloof from unrighteousness” (verse 19) and “have effectively cleansed themselves” (verse 21).[10]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1995). 2 Timothy (pp. 92–95). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Köstenberger, A. (2006). 2 Timothy. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 583–584). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Towner, P. H. (2006). The Letters to Timothy and Titus (pp. 543–545). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Fee, G. D. (2011). 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus (pp. 263–264). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Barcley, W. B. (2005). A Study Commentary on 1 and 2 Timothy (pp. 260–261). Darlington, England; Webster, NY: Evangelical Press.

[6] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (pp. 231–232). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[7] Guthrie, D. (1990). Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 14, pp. 169–170). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[8] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: Second Timothy–Titus, Philemon (Vol. 1, pp. 219–227). New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company.

[9] Utley, R. J. (2000). Paul’s Fourth Missionary Journey: I Timothy, Titus, II Timothy (Vol. Volume 9, pp. 156–157). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

[10] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles (Vol. 4, pp. 271–274). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

August—14 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

 

The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is the word of faith which we preach, that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart, man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.—Romans 10:8–10.

My soul! behold the tenderness of God the Holy Ghost to his people, in order to prevent the possibility of error, in their knowledge and enjoyment of Christ. It is not difficult to attain a clear appprehension, whether a soul be in grace or not; for here the point is most plainly set forth: “The word is nigh thee.” What word? The word of faith. Christ in the word, Christ in the promise, Christ himself the salvation of the sinner. And when a poor sinner hath been led to see who Christ is, and what he hath wrought, what he hath done for sinners, and what he is to them, the infinite glories of his person, the infinite, completeness of his work, and the infinite suitableness of Jesus, in every possible way that a poor sinner can need, by way of justification before God, and acceptance with God, then these blessed truths are so sweetly brought home to the heart and conscience of the enlightened sinner, by God the Holy Ghost, that he rests upon Christ as one perfectly satisfied with Christ, and neither seeks nor desires any other. So that by the lively actings of faith, the soul beholds Christ in the word, and in the promise, and takes him with both into his very soul, until “Christ is” fully “formed there the hope of glory.” Hence both the outward confession of the mouth, and the inward enjoyment of the heart have a beautiful correspondence: the one speaks what the other feels; “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” My soul! is not this thy faith? And if so, what can dispossess thee of it? What shall stop thy joy or confidence in Jesus a single hour? If Jesus, the uncreated word, the promised word, the sum and substance of all the written word, be nigh thee, yea, in thy mouth and in thine heart, not only thine understanding knows Jesus, but thine heart lives upon Jesus; surely salvation is secure; yea, heaven itself is begun in the soul: for “this is life eternal, to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent!”[1]

 

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 241–242). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

August 14 Life-Changing Moments With God

 

The joy of the Lord is your strength.

Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For my Lord God has comforted us, His people, and He will have mercy on His afflicted. Lord God, You are my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for You, Lord, are my strength and my song; You also have become my salvation. You, Lord, are my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in You, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise You. My soul shall be joyful in You, my God; for You have clothed me with the garments of salvation, You have covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to You, Lord God. I rejoice in You, God, through my Lord Jesus Christ, through whom I have now received the reconciliation. I will joy in You, the God of my salvation.

All praise to You, almighty and merciful God. I do indeed find in You countless reasons for joy!

Nehemiah 8:10; Isaiah 49:13; Isaiah 12:2; Psalm 28:7; Isaiah 61:10; Romans 15:17; Romans 5:11; Habakkuk 3:18[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 245). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 14 Thoughts for the quiet hour

 

Leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps

1 Peter 2:21 (R.V.)

I have long since ceased to pray, “Lord Jesus, have compassion on a lost world!” I remember the day and the hour when I seemed to hear the Lord rebuking me for making such a prayer. He seemed to say to me, “I have had compassion upon a lost world, and now it is for you to have compassion.”

A. J. Gordon[1]

 

[1] Hardman, S. G., & Moody, D. L. (1997). Thoughts for the quiet hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing.

August 14 Close the Door

 

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.
(Philippians 3:13, TLB)

When a player begins to score, what does the opposing team do? They assign their best players to block him! The warfare over your life today is just an indication of your value to God. The attack you’re sustaining is because you have the ability to score! If your assignment is of God, you’ll attract attacks like a magnet!

Before Paul reached his destiny he wrote these words: “I have had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes, I have been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by the desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I have known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, been blasted by the cold, naked to the weather. And that is not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:23–26, TM). Now listen to what he says as he looks back, “Forgetting those things which are behind” (Philippians 3:13).

I doubt if Paul forgot anything. He could remember the names, the places, the faces, and even record it. But there’s a difference; Paul refused to let the hurts done to him affect his outlook or keep him from “finishing his course with joy.” Don’t let your past rob you of your future!

 

Let the past be the past. Yesterday ended last night at midnight. Close the door and move on with God.[1]

 

[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 226). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

August 14 Streams in the Desert

 

Thou couldst have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.” (John 19:11.)

NOTHING that is not God’s will can come into the life of one who trusts and obeys God. This fact is enough to make our life one of ceaseless thanksgiving and joy. For “God’s will is the one hopeful, glad, and glorious thing in the world”; and it is working in the omnipotence for us all the time, with nothing to prevent it if we are surrendered and believing.

One who was passing through deep waters of affliction wrote to a friend: “Is it not a glorious thing to know that, no difference how unjust a thing may be, or how absolutely it may seem to be from Satan, by the time it reaches us it is God’s will for us, and will work for good to us? For all things work together for good to us who love God. And even of the betrayal, Christ said, “The cup which my Father gave me, shall I not drink it?” We live charmed lives if we are living in the center of God’s will. All the attacks that Satan, through others’ sin, can hurl against us are not only powerless to harm us, but are turned into blessings on the way.—H. W. S.

In the center of the circle

Of the Will of God I stand:

There can come no second causes,

All must come from His dear hand.

All is well! for ’tis my Father

Who my life hath planned.

Shall I pass through waves of sorrow?

Then I know it will be best;

Though I cannot tell the reason,

I can trust, and so am blest.

God is Love, and God is faithful,

So in perfect Peace I rest.

With the shade and with the sunshine,

With the joy and with the pain,

Lord, I trust Thee! both are needed,

Each Thy wayward child to train,

Earthly loss, did we but know it,

Often means our heavenly gain.

I. G. W[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 238–239). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

Are evangelicals changing their minds about same-sex relationships? A surprising way to follow the example of Jesus – Denison Forum

Two reports caught my eye this week.

One: In 2007, 90 percent of evangelicals said their church forbid (63 percent) or strongly discouraged (27 percent) “homosexual behaviors.” In 2020, that figure has dropped to 65 percent (33.7 percent forbid, while 31.4 percent strongly discourage). 

Two: In 2008, 34.4 percent of evangelicals between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five supported same-sex marriage. In 2018, that figure had risen to 56.1 percent. 

Could this data be related? Are evangelical churches changing their position on same-sex marriage to align with and attract younger adults? Are younger evangelicals changing their position on same-sex marriage because their churches are? Or are both happening? 

When perception is reality 

For twenty centuries, orthodox Christians have known that the Bible forbids same-sex sexual relations. (For more, see my website paper, “What does the Bible say about homosexuality?”

However, as we noted yesterday, we currently live in a “post-truth” culture that is convinced perception is reality and truth is whatever you believe it to be. Tolerance is the cardinal value of our day, while intolerance is the cardinal sin. 

This insistence on relative truth and subjective morality directly contradicts the fact that all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16) through the work of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21) as unchanging truth (Matthew 24:35). Jesus was clear when he told his Father, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). 

Nonetheless, the “perception is reality” approach to truth is applied today to moral issues across the spectrum of life, from abortion to euthanasia. It flies in the face of logic (to claim there are no absolute truths is to make an absolute truth claim). And it is applied subjectively to behavior we wish to tolerate rather than objectively to all of life. (Otherwise, 9/11 would be Osama bin Laden’s “truth” and racial sin would be the racist’s “truth.”)

But there’s another dimension to the story, one that evangelicals who affirm biblical morality may not always consider. 

“Acceptances precedes obedience”

Dr. Preston Sprinkle, president of the Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender, notes that we are most likely to vilify the sins we are least likely to commit. He writes, “In many ways, Christians have treated LGBT+ people the same way the Pharisees treated tax collectors. And so Jesus’ approach to tax collectors gives us a good model for how we are to embody the gospel toward LGBT+ people.” 

How did our Lord treat them? His example shows us that, as Sprinkle notes, “acceptance doesn’t equal affirmation.” Rather, “acceptance precedes obedience.” 

Matthew and Zacchaeus were both tax collectors when Jesus called them. His acceptance of them did not imply affirmation of their sins. Rather, it led to a relationship that produced obedience and transformation in their lives. 

Sprinkle adds that even if we could convince people to live by biblical morality, “We’re saved by faith, not sexual purity” (his emphasis). Our job is to stand for biblical truth but to do so with biblical grace. 

Why we must not “self-censor our gospel witness” 

I am glad that two-thirds of evangelicals say their churches still affirm biblical morality with regard to same-sex marriage. I grieve for those churches who do not and wonder how many of their members are missing the truth they need on this and other crucial issues. 

For our sake and those we influence, we must not waver in our commitment to biblical truth. It has been noted that we don’t break the commands of God—we break ourselves on them. A man who jumps from the tenth story of a building doesn’t break the law of gravity—he illustrates it. 

Nor should we withdraw from the declaration of unpopular truth. As Janet Denison notes in her latest blog, “When the faithful self-censor our gospel witness, we give up the power to lead others to faith.” 

Here’s our best response: affirm and share biblical truth with biblical grace. “Speaking the truth in love” is our mandate and should be our mantra (Ephesians 4:15). People need to know what God says about sexuality and other areas of life, but they also need to know that we are sharing his truth out of gratitude for his grace. 

Why “grace is given” 

We are all broken sexually and in every other dimension of our lives. We were sinners when Jesus died for us (Romans 5:8) and we are still sinners today (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8, 10). We are all in need of Jesus’ acceptance and transformation. 

When we give others what we have received in a spirit of compassion and gratitude, we glorify our Lord and invite others to join his family. 

As St. Augustine noted, “Grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.” 

What grace will you pay forward today?

— Read on www.denisonforum.org/columns/daily-article/are-evangelicals-changing-their-minds-about-same-sex-relationships-a-surprising-way-to-follow-the-example-of-jesus/

Column: Joe and Kamala’s Fact-Mangling Debut | Newsbusters

The new Democratic ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris debuted in Delaware on August 12, followed by the typically frantic competition in partisan sugar-sculpting on cable “news.” But MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell took the saccharine prize by claiming that there was not a single false utterance in 35 minutes.

The energetic promoters of “independent fact-checkers” – who want “real-time” fact-checking for Trump — couldn’t muster any effort to evaluate this thunderclap of leftist rhetoric echoing in a nearly empty high-school gym. Let’s list a few fact-mangling whoppers. Start with Biden.

1. Trump/Pence gave us “four years of mismanagement and coddling of terrorists and thugs around the world.” Did Trump “coddle” Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS? No, he’s dead. Did Trump “coddle” Iranian terrorist Qasim Soleimani? He’s dead, too. Biden opposed taking down Osama bin Laden, so he should sit a spell.

2. Trump has no “plan” on the pandemic and “no real help for the states and local governments trying to fill the vacuum of leadership from the White House. No real help for children and educators, for small businesses and front line workers.” We didn’t allocate $3 trillion on mitigating the pandemic, aiding governments and businesses and vaccine development?

3. Trump was referring to neo-Nazis and racists when he said “there are very fine people on both sides” in the Charlottesville protests in 2017.  This is transparently false…and yet fact checkers like PolitiFact go limp and let Biden unspool this lie. Reporters at the time prodded Trump and he explicitly condemned the neo-Nazis and racists.

4. Trump is “on track to leave office with the worst jobs record of any American president in modern history.” In January, FactCheck.org reported “The economy added 6.7 million jobs, and unemployment fell to the lowest rate in half a century.” We’re now in a pandemic which shocked the economy, but it’s now recovering. Does anyone think if this happened under President Hillary, the “fact checkers” would let a Republican blame the Democrats for the economy?

5. Likewise, Kamala Harris said “The president’s mismanagement of the pandemic has plunged us into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.” And Trump “inherited the longest economic expansion in history…And then, like everything else he inherited, he ran it straight into the ground.” Did Democrats oppose the lockdown, kicking and screaming? Shouldn’t they share responsibility for it?

6. Harris insisted “After the most competitive primary in history, the country received a resounding message that Joe was the person to lead us forward.” That’s a joke. There were a huge number of candidates, but it didn’t end up competitive at all, in part because of the pandemic. It certainly didn’t match Obama vs. Clinton in 2008.

7. Harris said “I cannot wait for America to get to know my husband Doug and our amazing kids, Cole and Ella.” Our? Facebook labels claims like this as “Missing Context.” They’re Kamala’s stepkids from her 2014 marriage, and they’re now 24 and 18.

8. Speaking of terrible context, Harris tried to compare the coronavirus pandemic to the Ebola outbreak of 2014: “Barack Obama and Joe Biden did their job. Only two people in the United States died, two. That is what’s called leadership.” These are apples and oranges in epidemiology. Ebola is much deadlier to someone infected than the coronavirus. But the spread isn’t nearly the same, since you’re not infectious with Ebola until you have symptoms, and you’re quickly bedridden.

The nation’s most influential newspapers largely skipped over many of these troubling quotes in their accounts. Did that occur because they knew how unfactual these claims were?

Kamala Harris’ Wikipedia Page Scrubbed – Prosecutorial Record Wiped Out – DC Dirty Laundry

True to form – Democrats outright lie, scrub and revise history in order to trick the American people. It’s how they roll.

One person has made hundreds of edits to Kamala Harris’ page in just a few months.

An online battle has erupted over the Wikipedia page for Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., with a significant uptick in edits that reflects a pattern that’s been seen ahead of past vice-presidential announcements and led Wikipedia to put the page under “discretionary sanctions.”

The pattern of rewrites and revisionism was first reported by The Intercept. According to the revision history of the Harris article on Wikipedia, there have been 500 revisions to the page since May 9, most of which have been made by one highly prolific editor.

That editor first started significantly changing the article in April, making additions that led another editor to say on the Kamala Harris “talk” page, “[y]ou seem to have gone through a database of press releases from Harris’s office, cataloging every single one and adding it to the article. That is not how we write encyclopedic articles.”

Attempted Erasing of Kamala Harris’s Prosecutorial Record From Wikipedia

By Jeremy Frankel, Bongino, July 2020:

take our poll – story continues below

California Democrat Senator Kamala Harris, a former presidential rival to Joe Biden and now a possible Vice-Presidential pick, has an interesting past that may not play well with the party’s woke Leftist base.

Harris’s former career as a prosecutor and Attorney General of California included many controversial “tough-on-crime” incidents, and now they are being scrubbed from her Wikipedia page, as to not upset the Left’s voters. The Intercept reported that her decision to support Orange County prosecutors for “rampant misconduct” and her saying that “it is not progressive to be soft on crime” could turn off voters should she get on the national stage as the Vice-Presidential nominee.

According to the Intercept:

At least one highly dedicated Wikipedia user has been scrubbing controversial aspects of Harris’s “tough-on-crime” record from her Wikipedia page, her decision not to prosecute Steve Mnuchin for mortgage fraud-related crimes, her strong support of prosecutors in Orange County who engaged in rampant misconduct, and other tidbits — such as her previous assertion that “it is not progressive to be soft on crime” — that could prove unflattering to Harris as the public first gets to know her on the national stage. The edits, according to the page history, have elicited strong pushback from Wikipedia’s volunteer editor brigade, and have drawn the page into controversy, though it’s a fight the pro-Harris editor is currently winning.

The piece continues that on June 11, the Wikipedia user removed this section about the Orange County scandal, saying that they were proofreading for length:

Later that year, Harris appealed a judge’s order to take over the prosecution of a high-profile mass murder case and to eject all 250 prosecutors from the Orange County District Attorney’s office over allegations of misconduct by Republican D.A. Tony Rackauckas. Rackauckas was alleged to have illegally employed jailhouse informants and concealed evidence. Harris noted that it was unnecessary to ban all 250 prosecutors from working on the case, as only a few had been directly involved, later promising a narrower criminal investigation. The U.S. Department of Justice began an investigation into Rackauckas in December 2016, but he was not re-elected.

The Intercept also talks about how Harris’s first bid for public office running for San Francisco DA, where she lambasted her opponent, Terence Hallinan, for not being tough enough on crime:

In her first bid for public office, Harris embraced a “tough-on-crime” approach in the San Francisco district attorney race and unseated Terence Hallinan, who was considered one of the “most left-wing politicians in the country.” Under Hallinan, the district attorney’s office focused on rehabilitative justice initiatives instead of incarceration, which led to the lowest felony conviction rates of any county in California.

While campaigning in the Mission District, SF Weekly reported at the time, Harris slammed Hallinan for failing to prosecute anti-war protesters for property destruction. “It is not progressive to be soft on crime,” she said.

On June 8, the Wikipedia user removed this quote from the page, saying that the changes made were “minor edits for length.”

Kamala, in reality, is obviously on the hard Left, but it is still truly telling that they would seemingly rather people in power who would rather let criminals run wild than crack down on them.

Article posted with permission from Pamela Geller

— Read on dcdirtylaundry.com/kamala-harris-wikipedia-page-scrubbed-prosecutorial-record-wiped-out/

Lockdown Restrictions Are A Test To See How Much Tyranny Americans Will Accept | Zero Hedge

“I would never ask the majority of people to sacrifice their liberties for my personal comfort. Anyone who does is a coward…”

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

The pandemic lockdowns are a complicated issue, and that is absolutely deliberate. The point of 4th Generation psychological warfare is to present the target individual or population with a hard choice – a no-win scenario. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I often equate this to the key moves in a difficult chess game; your primary goal is to create a dual threat and force your opponent to sacrifice one piece over another in order to escape with the least amount of damage. Do this a few times and you have won the long game.

There are multiple aspects to the global pandemic which seem engineered to push our society to make “sacrificial decisions”. We can choose to sacrifice the lives of those that are susceptible to the virus, sacrifice our economy, or sacrifice many of our freedoms with the promise that the economy and lives will be protected. The easiest choice is always to give away a little more freedom. We’ll get it all back eventually…right?

Of course, we don’t actually get to “choose” anything when we play along with this game. 4th Gen warfare is meant to eventually take IT ALL from the target population while making people think it was their choice to give those things away.

To be clear, it’s not only the pandemic being exploited as leverage to conjure these situations. The leftist riots are another example of a bought and paid for crisis that is being used in an attempt to convince half of Americans that breaking constitutional principles and instituting unprecedented government power is somehow an acceptable sacrifice. The riots and the virus response work hand-in-hand; one is created to get leftists to demand totalitarianism in the name of public safety, the other is created to get conservatives to demand totalitarianism in the name of public safety.

The solution always ends up being totalitarian government.

There are those that would have you believe that this is the only way. The new propaganda meme out there is:

Silly libertarians live in a fantasy world where freedom is valued over security in times of crisis. We don’t have the luxury of freedom when communist terrorists/deadly virus threaten to destroy the fabric of our society…”

Sound familiar? Yes, this nonsense narrative is everywhere on forums and message boards these days, almost as if someone was paying people to inject it into everyday discussion. The problem is, I’ve seen this all before. Right after the events of 9/11, America went insane for at least a few years, hyperfocused on the threat of terrorists while ignoring the greater root danger of all powerful government. The number of constitutional protections being violated in the name of “beating the terrorists” was staggering, and the number of mostly conservative citizens cheering for this at the time was immense.

Today’s calls for overreaching government power in the name of “beating coronavirus” or “beating the extreme left” are no different. In the wake of widespread fear, people suffer from fits of temporary madness that allows them rationalize moral relativism and unnecessary sacrifices.

I’ve never really understood that aspect of behavior among certain groups. I’ve never been so fearful of losing my life that I was willing to hand over anything including my freedom and my future on the mere chance that I could stay alive just a little longer. But for some, that fear dominates their every waking moment.

To me, this would be a torturous and empty existence. What do these people have to live for anyway? Obviously they don’t care about their children because they are willing to give away their children’s future just so they can feel safer today. Do they have some kind of epic contribution for the good of humanity and they feel they must do anything to survive long enough to make it happen? Are they working on the cure for cancer or a path to world peace? I doubt it.

More likely they work in an office building or a McDonalds or teach kindergarten at a public school. They aren’t contributing all that much, but they are perfectly willing to trade their freedom and everyone’s freedom for a little more time on this Earth. I’ve seen 85-year-old men that can’t move around without a walker raging about people who “don’t wear masks” and how they should be “thrown in jail”.

Buddy, you have lived your life fully. You had your fun. Yet, you are still clinging so desperately to existence that you are demanding the draconian destruction of our society’s core principles just so you can eek out a couple more years of grumbling in misery and eating soft foods?

I’m not saying I contribute much more in comparison, but I also have no interest in controlling the destinies of other people. I’m just trying to live my life as free as possible while helping to ensure others can do the same. And if I die from a virus, then I die, but at least I never aided in the enslavement of future generations.  There are plenty of Americans of all ages that feel the same way as I do; but there are many others that seem to be missing that ability to control their fear.

The question I almost never see asked in the mainstream when it comes to the pandemic is this – Is it really all worth it?

Is it worth it to shut down large swaths of the US economy, threatening millions of jobs, sending millions of people into poverty, risking speedy financial collapse and degrading our fundamental freedoms just to save .03% of the population? What if it was 1% of the population? Would it be worth it then? What about 3%?

The reality is, it’s NEVER worth it.

Recently a voting member of the Federal Reserve, Neel Kashkari, argued that the US needs renewed hard lockdowns, meaning most Americans stay stuck at home for at least 6 weeks with little access to the economy. His rationale? The US savings rate has spiked, therefore more Americans are saving, therefore they can financially handle another lockdown.

Now, either Kashkari is very stupid or very evil. I’m going to go with evil. This is just more proof that supports my position that the Fed is a suicide bomber seeking the deliberate destruction of the US in the name of an ideological cult (globalism).

  • First, the savings rate does not necessarily represent the majority of Americans. The savings rate can increase dramatically due to a small subsection of the population, such as the upper middle class or the 1%, setting large amounts of money aside, yet the statistics treat this as if it represents the whole population. The Personal Savings Rate also includes stocks and bonds as “savings”, which helps to skew the numbers as well.

  • Secondly, with 30 million more Americans added to the unemployment rolls after the last lockdown, how can we take the recent increase in the savings rate seriously? How many average middle class or poverty stricken Americans are included in that stat?

  • Thirdly, even if the Fed stat was accurate and most Americans were saving more, how is this an excuse to enforce even harsher lockdowns? People generally save in order to prepare for the worst case scenario. So, because they are saving for the worst case scenario, Kashkari wants to punish them with the worst case scenario, thereby wiping out their savings? Again, he’s either stupid or evil; take your pick.

All no-win scenarios are constructed on lies and false narratives. They require you to believe certain fallacies before you can feel trapped by the decision that is imposed on you.

Kashkari will claim that his strategy will be better for the country in the long run, but he knows full well that the economy was crashing well before the coronavirus arrived on the scene. In fact, the Federal Reserve built the framework for the crash by addicting the system to easy debt through stimulus measures and low interest rates, then they took away the punch bowl triggering a bubble implosion, and now they are the world with punch until everyone drowns in the inflation.

The US economy was broken even without the pandemic lockdowns so there is no point in giving up your freedom or economic access to save the system.

Another lie is that we can somehow avoid or escape the virus. Eventually, almost everyone is going to get it, it’s just a matter of time.Hope that a working vaccine can be developed in less than a year is deluded, and given the terrible results of previous attempts by governments to rush vaccines into production, I think I would rather take my chances with Covid. Even medical tyrant Dr. Fauci himself admits that a vaccine will not be fully effective and that the virus may be around for many years to come.

So, why are we beating around the bush? Why are we shutting down the economy? Why are we giving up our everyday freedoms? Who are we saving? No one. The people that are going to die from coronavirus are going to die from it sooner or later. If we are going to get into a discussion on the so-called “greater good”, then let’s really be logical about it.  The decision is not all that hard when you set aside the propaganda and think about it.

Dragging the pandemic out over years with lockdowns hurts the majority of people. It expedites an economic crash that was already in motion and it will lead to massive poverty levels in the US as well as a supply chain breakdown. It may even lead to full-on collapse.

To be clear, I respect the private property rights of businesses that want customers to wear masks or take other precautions in their establishments.  I have the right to not shop at those businesses if I don’t like it.  The problems arise when government officials try to FORCE businesses to institute pandemic restrictions or to close down completely.  An even bigger problem arises when governments try to force pandemic restrictions onto individuals in their everyday lives.  This is simply unacceptable.

Government edicts forcing people to social distance or wear masks or deny them the right to free assembly, once instituted, will probably never go away. Once government has the power to dictate your movements and behavior as if your moment-by-moment decisions are a threat to “public health”, they have total power to do anything they wish.

Many of these orders are also being made at the executive level. No state governor, no mayor, no president has the right to unilaterally create laws and assert unchecked authority. It is the job of legislatures to pass laws that affect the common public, and often these laws must be voted on by the citizenry through ballot initiatives. The governor has no more power to force me to wear a mask than some lunatic leftist Karen on the street.

It’s not that I don’t care about the people that are susceptible to the virus, it’s just that I’m not willing to play a rigged game of sacrifice for those people. No, they aren’t worth it, and I include myself in that statement in the event that I am susceptible to the virus. Why should over 99% of people be treated like prisoners so less than 1% of the population can feel safer?  If you are really at risk then STAY HOME, shop online and let the rest of us get on with our lives.

I would never ask the majority of people to sacrifice their liberties for my personal comfort. Anyone who does is a coward.

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/political/lockdown-restrictions-are-test-see-how-much-tyranny-americans-will-accept

They Don’t Know It, But Most Americans Are Unitarian Universalists – Blog – Eternal Perspective Ministries

Note from Randy Alcorn: The modern you-can-have-it-all spirituality is a hodgepodge of biblical truth, undefined beliefs, and modern psychology. It’s a build-it-yourself spirituality that never condemns. Its advocates might speak often of a higher power, sometimes God, but seldom Jesus.

In 2002, Oprah Winfrey said, “Today, whatever it is you believe most deeply, now is the time to embrace it.”

Really? Even if you believe in genocide, terrorism, or child abuse? Even if what you believe is utterly false?

As I share in my book Truth, the universe is not a democracy. Truth is not a ballot measure. God does not consult us to determine right and wrong. It’s we who must go to revealed Scripture to find out what is true and what we should believe. This article by Jonathan Tjarks is a helpful reminder that most of the people around us embrace the idea of a build-it-yourself spirituality, though they likely don’t realize it. But such beliefs are ultimately hopeless and empty. So may we boldly share the good news about Jesus and the truth, grace, and hope He offers! 

Your Neighbor Is Probably a Unitarian Universalist

By Jonathan Tjarks

Most Americans are Unitarian Universalists. They just don’t know it. Only 0.3 percent of Americans identify as members of the denomination, but its belief system has come to define our culture. The central message of the UU church is that you can believe anything you want—except that there are objectively right and wrong beliefs. 

It’s an appealing message for a society that has lost its faith in God. But just because we no longer believe in a higher power doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Human beings have a Creator. Like any other crop or plant, we are meant to produce good fruit. There will be consequences if we produce bad fruit, even if we don’t want to admit it.

Consider the parable of the vineyard in Isaiah 5. 

Vines and Rights

In the first four chapters of Isaiah, the prophet lays out why the Assyrian army invading Judah was an instrument God was using to judge his people. The invasion had spiritual undertones: the Jewish people had walked away from their Creator and ignored his commands, and he was punishing them for their rebellion, just as he promised when he initially gave them the Promised Land.

It was a harsh punishment, which is why Isaiah made a point to remind his people about God’s goodness in spite of what was happening around them. To further illustrate that point, he introduces the parable of the vineyard. Like Jesus, Isaiah understood that people could see things clearer when a new context was put around a familiar story:

Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. (Isa. 5:1–2)

As Isaiah goes on to explain, Judah is the vineyard, the Promised Land is the fertile hill, and God is the one who planted it. The good grapes were righteousness; the bad fruit was sin. God’s creation had gone bad, so he was going to tear it up and start over: “And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down” (Isa. 5:4).

The key to understanding this parable is to look it at from the point of view of the vines. Why should they have to produce good fruit? Don’t they have the right to do what they want? Who is God to tell them what is or is not bad fruit?

America’s Religion

The answer to those questions is where Christianity conflicts with the way most Americans view the world. Our culture places a huge emphasis on independence. No one can tell us what to do or what to think. We determine the course of our lives. Anthony Kennedy, the recently retired Supreme Court justice, summed it up in one of his most famous opinions: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of the meaning of the universe and the mystery of human life.” 

For the most part, God agrees with Kennedy. We are free to believe anything we want about this world. The difference is God doesn’t leave open the question of what the right answer is.

It comes back to first principles. If the universe is the product of random chance, and humans are nothing more than self-aware animals with the same value as any other creature on earth, then there is no point to our brief existence other than what we make of it. Conversely, if the universe has a Creator, and human beings are formed in his image, then the point of our lives is to know and experience him. If you start with that belief, then good and evil are not things we can define for ourselves.

Later in Isaiah, the prophet pokes fun at the idea of created things questioning their Creator: 

“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’? Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?’”

Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him: “Ask me of things to come; will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands? I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.” (Isa. 45:9–12)

My Unitarian Universalist Childhood

Because my parents raised me in the UU church, I have lived both sides of this debate. The history of the church is fascinating. The Unitarians believed in the unity of God (i.e., not the Trinity; Jesus was just a human being) while the Universalists believed God would save all humanity regardless of whether they believed in Jesus. The two groups eventually merged into a religion whose primary tenet is that we are free to believe anything so long as our beliefs don’t harm anyone else. It is a church for people who want church without religion.

We took comparative religion classes in Sunday school. The New York Times was our Bible. This was our version of the Lord’s Prayer:

Love is the doctrine of our church.
The quest for truth is its sacrament.
And service is its prayer.
To dwell together in peace.
To seek knowledge in freedom.
To serve humanity in fellowship.
Thus do we declare.

The “quest for truth” is like the “pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence. The implication of searching for something is that you haven’t already found it. Just like the Founding Fathers couldn’t promise happiness to the citizens of their new nation, the UU church fathers didn’t promise truth to their parishioners.

Objectively Good (and Bad) Fruit

I didn’t remain in the UU church as an adult; in fact, only 12.5 percent of kids raised in the church end up staying. That’s because it’s already the default option in American life. Why go on Sundays if you live it 24/7?

The only way to actually leave is to opt out and join a different religion—one that gives answers about the world, and about your identity, that exist outside of yourself and what others think of you. In my experience, the most powerful part of becoming a Christian was learning that my identity comes God. I don’t have to impress anyone. I have value beyond my place in society. God loves me and died for me on the cross.

The flip side is that God decides what is right and wrong, not me. I don’t have all the answers. No Christian does. The choice everyone is given in this life is to either believe in an objective truth or go searching for a subjective one.

Just because you don’t believe in good and evil doesn’t mean they don’t exist. That’s what Isaiah was trying to tell God’s people. There is objectively good and bad fruit in this world—go to a supermarket if you don’t believe me. No sane person is going to plant a vineyard and live with bad fruit forever. It may seem cruel to the vines to tear them out of the ground, but it’s better for them. They were created for a reason, to bear a specific type of fruit. 

This is why the truth of the gospel is such good news for the UU world. We don’t have to come up with answers to life’s most difficult questions on our own, or wonder why they don’t actually satisfy us. There is a recipe out there for a fruitful life. It was given to us more than 2,000 years ago. 

This article is used with permission. A version of it first appeared on the author’s blog

Photo by Lukas Geck on Unsplash

— Read on www.epm.org/blog/2020/Aug/12/most-americans-unitarian-universalists

Friday Briefing August 14, 2020 – AlbertMohler.com

DOCUMENTATION AND ADDITIONAL READING
PART 1 (0:0 – 14:20): 
──────────────────
Is There Really Widespread Evangelical Support for Women Serving as Pastors? A Closer Look at Recent Research 

RELIGION NEWS SERVICE (RYAN BURGE)
Most Southern Baptist women would welcome a woman pastor. It’s unlikely to happen. 

CHRISTIANITY TODAY (RYAN BURGE)
Researcher: Most Evangelicals Support Women in Church Leadership 

PART 2 (14:21 – 19:50): 
──────────────────
Massive Challenges Facing Evangelicals: How Can We Reach the Lost and Our Own Children with the Gospel in a Secular Age? 

RELIGION NEWS SERVICE (RYAN BURGE)
On LGBT and women’s equality, stark statistical reality is coming for white evangelicals 

PART 3 (19:51 – 27:20): 
──────────────────
A Fractured Fairy Tale with Big Lessons for Today: Former King Juan Carlos I of Spain Flees Country 

Essentials for Growth in Godliness, Part 2 B | Grace to You: Radio Podcast

Christians are to live not only with uncompromising integrity, but to do so with joy. Discover how, today on Grace to You as John MacArthur looks at Paul’s epistle to the church at Philippi—in his series titled “Joy Rules.”

August 14, 2020 Morning Verse Of The Day

34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. The “brokenhearted” are those who have suffered affliction and who humble themselves before the Lord (Ps. 51:17). The terms “heart” and “spirit” are parallel and denote the human will and mind. To such persons God is very near (Deut. 4:7).[1]


Ver. 18.—The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. On the value in God’s sight of a broken and contrite heart, see Ps. 51:17; and on his mercy towards the truly contrite, see Ps. 147:3; Isa. 57:15; 69:2. He “is nigh” to such persons, he “dwells with” them, “looks to them,” “revives their heart,” “heals” them, “saves” them.[2]


18. Jehovah is nigh to those who are broken of heart. David here exemplifies and extends still more the preceding doctrine, that God is the deliverer of his people, even when they are brought very low, and when they are, as it were, half-dead. It is a very severe trial, when the grace of God is delayed, and all experience of it so far withdrawn, as that our spirits begin to fail; nay more, to say that God is nigh to the faithful, even when their hearts faint and fail them, and they are ready to die, is altogether incredible to human sense and reason. But by this means his power shines forth more clearly, when he raises us up again from the grave. Moreover, it is meet that the faithful should be thus utterly cast down and afflicted, that they may breathe again in God alone. From this we also learn, that nothing is more opposed to true patience than the loftiness of heart of which the Stoics boast; for we are not accounted truly humbled until true affliction of heart has abased us before God, so that, having prostrated ourselves in the dust before him, he may raise us up. It is a doctrine full of the sweetest consolation, that God departs not from us, even when we are overwhelmed by a succession of miseries, and, as it were, almost deprived of life.[3]


Ver. 18. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken, heart: and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.The broken heart and its Divine Restorer:

The Lord is nigh. Now to be nigh to one object is to be more or less distant from others. So is it with men, and human language is employed to represent what is here told us of God. He cannot really be far from any heart. But, in a very deep sense, He is nigh the broken heart—to help, to comfort, to save.

  1. Look at the broken heart and contrite spirit. “A broken heart,” a “crushed spirit,” what is it? The heart before us may be considered to be like a piece of fine mechanism disordered, or some work of art fractured—some work of art made of exquisitely delicate material, and of very fine workmanship; or like flesh when worn and bruised. We selfish men like to look on things that are pleasant, and we frequently turn our faces away from that which is unpleasant. You always find God’s face turned towards objects like unto these broken hearts and crushed spirits.
  2. Now to such a heart God is nigh, and such a spirit God seeks to save.
  3. He “is nigh” in knowledge, He knows all its history.
  4. In ministration. “He saveth such,” etc. When God heals the broken heart, it is none the worse for having been broken. An angel could not do this; God can, and does.

III. Learn the lessons of this truth.

  1. Do not morbidly crave for creature help and fellowship. You can do without them, for God Himself is nigh.
  2. Do not think, feel, or act as if He were far off. He has all along known how you would be placed, and He is nigh.
  3. Remember that the resources of God are available in the hour of greatest need.
  4. Do not despond or despair. You may be broken in heart, or crushed in spirit, without despondency, or despair, being elements of your sorrow; you may either cherish these feelings or fight against them. Now the feeblest fighting against them is victorious, if this struggle be carried on in the name of the Redeemer of men. If you find yourself sinking into some horrible pit of despondency and despair, it is your most sacred duty to cry importunately unto Him.
  5. Look a little further by the light of this text, and observe that a broken heart and a crushed spirit are named not as uncommon things. These are not uncommon things in human life; and you who are accustomed to look beyond surface, and beyond curtains, and draperies, and shams, and masks, know this as well as I.
  6. But look once more at the text, and mark, that God being nigh is mentioned as something ordinary. A broken heart is common—God’s saving is a common thing. Some of you need this text. You need it as a word of warning. You seem to have set yourselves in a kind of morbid obstinacy to cherish a broken heart and a crushed spirit. You seem to have determined to perpetuate your misery. Now this text tells you where to turn for help. You cannot find it apart from God. No man ever yet healed his own crushed spirit, never will. “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Your fellow-Christians, religious books, consolatory hymns—all these are good so long as they lead you to God, but if they come between you and the Great Helper, you are better without them. These books cannot do the work you require to be done for you. (Samuel Martin.)

A broken heart:

  1. This heart feels that it deserves to be broken, deeply humbled, yea, crushed with anguish. The source of its sorrow is conscious delinquency, undeniable guilt, the abuse of many a mercy, and a heedless indulgence in many an evil passion. The sorrow thus produced is oftentimes unspeakably severe. Poverty may depress, persecution may harass, disease may prostrate, and bereavement produce painful blanks in the domestic circle; but a sorrow, more intense than is felt in all these has a place in the broken heart.
  2. A broken heart is thankful that it has been broken. It feels that a power has been put forth upon it altogether foreign to itself, and apart from any means for this purpose that it could employ; and hence its adoring gratitude for the change effected.

III. A broken heart desires to be more and more broken. Washington Irving is represented to have said that “sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal, every other affliction to forget; but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open; this affliction we cherish, and brood over in solitude.” Such language is, no doubt, very beautiful, and touchingly expressed. But how did this amiable student of the common sympathies of humanity forget that broken heart, of deepest interest, which refuses to be divorced from its sorrow on account of sin?

  1. A broken heart surveys with amazement the innumerable mercies with which it is encompassed. These mercies are like the stars of heaven for multitude; and there stands in the midst of them the gift of God’s Son, like the king of day amid the lesser luminaries of the sky. What a mercy is the Word of God! It testifies of Christ, and brings life and immortality to light. What a mercy is a throne of grace! I have sins, and I can go there for pardon; I have a polluted nature, and can go there for purity; I have enemies, and can go there for help; for weakness I can go there for strength; and for sickness, I can go there for health.
  2. A broken heart is a tender heart—affectionate, forgiving, forbearing.
  3. A broken heart is an acquiescing heart.

VII. A broken heart triumphs in the assurance that all its sorrows shall issue in rivers of pleasure and a fulness of joy. Upon what does this assurance rest? It rests upon the fact of its own existence. Why has God broken this heart? That it may never be healed? No, no. Let us not, then, invest it with gloom, and sullenness, and sorrow. Let us invest it with joy. (Thomas Adam.)

A broken heart:

A gentleman, having broken his watch glass, entered a jeweller’s to have a new one fixed. When the watch was returned, he inquired how much they would allow for the broken pieces. On being told that broken things were of no value, he said, “I have a book at home that says something is no good till it is broken.” “That must be a strange kind of book,” said the jeweller. “Yes,” said the other, “ ‘A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.’ ” “I see you are talking religion,” was the reply. (Newton Jones.)

The obdurate heart softened:

Go into a cast-iron foundry and witness the extraordinary process by which fire conquers the solid metal, until it consents to be cast or stamped or rolled into the form which the artificer requires. This is a type of God’s moral foundry, when an obdurate heart is first so softened as to feel the truth, then to weep over sin, then to be ductile, then so flexible as to be formed into a shape that pleases the Lord Jesus Christ.[4]


18. “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart.” Near in friendship to accept and console. Broken hearts think God far away, when he is really most near to them; their eyes are holden so that they see not their best friend. Indeed, he is with them, and in them, but they know it not. They run hither and thither, seeking peace in their own works, or in experiences, or in proposals and resolutions, whereas the Lord is nigh them, and the simple act of faith will reveal him. “And saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” What a blessed token for good is a repentant, mourning heart! Just when the sinner condemns himself, the Lord graciously absolves him. If we chasten our own spirits the Lord will spare us. He never breaks with the rod of judgment those who are already sore with the rod of conviction. Salvation is linked with contrition.[5]


[1] Bullock, C. H. (2015). Psalms 1–72. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (Vol. 1, p. 256). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[2] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Psalms (Vol. 1, p. 256). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[3] Calvin, J., & Anderson, J. (2010). Commentary on the Book of Psalms (Vol. 1, pp. 571–572). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] Exell, J. S. (1909). The Biblical Illustrator: The Psalms (Vol. 2, pp. 187–188). New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company; Francis Griffiths.

[5] Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The treasury of David: Psalms 27-57 (Vol. 2, p. 126). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.

God Restored Sarah’s Faith. He Can Do the Same for You — Unlocking the Bible

The first thing to say about Sarah is that she was a godly woman. Twice in the New Testament she is commended. First, she is praised as a woman of faith (Heb. 11:11), and then Peter holds her up as a model for all Christian women (1 Pet. 3:5-6).

In Sarah, we have womanhood at its very best. But even this godly woman struggled with doubt and engaged in manipulation that brought pain into the lives of the people God had placed around her.

Sarah—wife to Abraham, mother to Isaac, beautiful model of faith to us—needed the grace of God in her fractured life, just as you and I need it in our lives, too.

Sarah’s Unbelief

The LORD said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him… Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years.  The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah… So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” (Gen. 18:10-12).

Sarah believed in God, but she did not exercise faith, at this point, in regard to His promise of a son. It is possible to trust God in regard to eternal salvation, but not to trust Him in regard to the particular trial that is going on in your life.

Sarah struggled with unbelief, and more than that, she tried to cover it up before the Lord, saying, “‘I did not laugh,’ for she was afraid” (Gen. 18:15).  Afraid of what?  Afraid, perhaps, of what was going on in her heart. She talked to God, but she knew that her prayer was just a pretense.

And God knew her cover-up—He sees all things.

Behind Sarah’s unbelief lay an extraordinary story of manipulation. Sarah wanted a child and was prepared to go to any lengths to get what she wanted. Abraham listened to the voice of Sarah: “Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children from her” (Gen. 16:2). Abraham’s union with Hagar led to the birth of Ishmael, and this already fractured family was now plunged into a web of conflicting loyalties and hidden resentments.

There are multiple ways a woman can use her power to get what she wants in ways that dishonor God and bring pain to everyone around her. That’s what Sarah was doing, and the result was that unbelief crept up on this godly woman.

But God knew her unbelief—nothing is ever hidden from Him.

Sarah struggled with unbelief because her eyes were fixed on Abraham and on herself. Abraham was nearly 100 years old, and Sarah was just ten years behind him. So the promise of God seemed impossible.

As long as you look at the weakness of your own faith, the difficulties and pressures of your own life, the problems with your spouse and your children, you will find yourself sliding into unbelief because there isn’t an answer there.

When God spoke to Sarah, He lifted her gaze up from the discouraging horizons of her own life and said, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Gen. 18:14). And she bore a son in her old age.

By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised (Heb. 11:11).

Sarah received the power to conceive because she “considered him faithful who had promised.” Sarah’s faith was restored through an encounter with God.

How is faith restored? Look to who God is, and listen to what He says.

Faith grows as you get your eyes off yourself and your problems, your limitations and your failures, and onto the living God, the LORD, for whom nothing is impossible.

Everything God has planned for your life will be accomplished. There will be twistings and turnings, disappointments and failures, but God’s purposes for you will be fulfilled.

Everything God has planned for your life will be accomplished.

Here you are single and longing to be married.
Everything God has planned for your life will be accomplished.

Here you are married and longing to have children.
Everything God has planned for your life will be accomplished.

Here you are married and wishing that your marriage was more than it is.
Everything God has planned for your life will be accomplished.

Here you are anxious for your children, wondering what their path will be. Everything God has planned for your life will be accomplished.

I’m not saying that everything you have planned for your life will be accomplished. God does not say that every purpose will be accomplished if your husband shapes up. God does not say every purpose will be accomplished if a child is born to you, or if your children turn out as you hoped, or if you finally meet that person of your dreams, or if you get out of that dead-end job.

No! God says,

He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

God will accomplish all of His purposes for your life. Period! Look to who God is. Listen to what God says. And your faith will be restored.

God was very gentle with Sarah. He’ll be gentle with you. He knows all about you already, so don’t be afraid to draw near to him today.

This article is an adaptation of Pastor Colin’s sermon, “The Perplexed Wife”, from his series, Faith for Fractured Families.

via God Restored Sarah’s Faith. He Can Do the Same for You — Unlocking the Bible