A. W. Pink – The Afflictions of the Godly


For the past few years, we have endeavored to help some of God’s unestablished children by devoting one article annually (under this title) to the particular end of resolving their uncertainty. In order that they may recognize their spiritual portrait, we seek to describe one or other of those features of the regenerate which the Holy Spirit has drawn in the Scriptures. So far from despising those who are deeply exercised as to their actual state, refusing to “give themselves the benefit of the doubt,” we admire their caution.

God has exhorted His people to “make their calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10), and one of the ways we may set about doing so is to prayerfully and humbly compare our hearts and lives — with those marks of grace, or fruits of the Spirit, which are delineated in the Bible. God’s Word is likened unto a “mirror” in which we may behold ourselves (James 1:23-24) and perceive what we are by nature — and what we have been made by grace. May each of us be granted eyes to see ourselves as that divine Mirror represents us.

“Before I was afflicted I went astray — but now have I kept your word.”

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn your statutes.”

“I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right, and that you in faithfulness have afflicted me.” (Psalm 119:67, 71, 75).

We link these three verses together because they treat of the same subject, namely the attitude of the heart of one who had been afflicted by God. Each of them breathes the language of a gracious soul, and not that of a natural man. Each of them acknowledges the beneficial effects of sanctified trials. Each of them evidences a humble heart, for so far from murmuring at God’s dispensations — unpleasant though they be to flesh and blood — there is a grateful acknowledgment of their benevolent design. Each of them is a confession made not while smarting under the rod — but after it has done its appointed work.

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John Piper – Men, Love and Lead Your Wives

Husbands, your wife is not your cook, maid, or personal babysitter. She is your wife, an heir of this world, and a future queen of the universe. In this message, Pastor John explains what it takes for a husband to lead his wife in a way that honors her and honors God.

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Michael Boling – The Thorny Issue of Voting in 2016


Note: I am purposefully leaving the names of political candidates out of this post, but it should be rather clear whom I am addressing. Additionally, this post represents my personal opinions and they do not necessarily represent those of individuals or blogs to which I contribute material. So with that bit of introduction out of the way…

It is rather an understatement to suggest we are in one of the most intriguing political seasons in recent memory. The two major political candidates for the Presidency of the United States are arguably the most polarizing figures at least in American politics many have every experienced. After a hard fought primary process that resulted in perhaps a surprise candidate for the Republican Party and an expected candidate for the Democratic Party, we are left with two major candidates and the usual third-party options from which to choose the next leader of our country.

Watching the comments concerning a particular nominee has been quite interesting. Some seem to feel this candidate is a complete moral failure and should be shunned. They are doing all they can to convince people to go the route of not voting for that individual with a clever hashtag to boot. Others, while recognizing the plethora of moral issues with this particular candidate, nevertheless will cast their vote under the belief the only other option is far more vile. In the muddy middle are those who believe sitting this voting season out or pulling the lever for a third party candidate is the only true option. I understand and appreciate the various pro and con arguments that have been presented to date.

To varying degrees, those who maintain support for a particular candidate are viewed by some evangelicals and bloggers as people with no true biblical conscience. How can one vote for a person with so many moral failures? On the other hand, some evangelical leaders have presented a clear case why a vote for that particular choice is important citing issues such as the Supreme Court, second amendment rights, and to some extent, a firm knowledge of what the opposing candidate will do based on that person’s track record and the planks of that political party if granted the keys to the Oval Office.

I never write about politics mostly because it can be so toxic. I spend most of my posts trying to dig down to the core issues of life. It is not that I am not vested or interested in the political process. I just recognize that political solutions are merely Band-Aids (if that) to the festering sores of life that only God can truly heal. True healing to the world’s problems can only come through a relationship with God and a life driven to loving God and our neighbor as Scripture outlines. A political candidate is and will never be a savior for mankind. Jesus is the Savior. Anyone who looks to a politician to save them will always be disappointed.

With that said, I do recognize the importance of one’s vote. While Jesus is the only Savior and the true answer for the issues that vex us as individuals, a nation, and the world, our elected leaders do have an impact on life. We are commanded to let our light shine and to not hide it under a bushel. Part of letting your light shine is being involved in the running of the affairs of the nation. Moreover, an element of that involvement is how your vote is cast.

There is no doubt all the candidates running for president are wretched sinners. That is a simple fact of the human condition. It seems this year, the stakes are much higher and the choices less than desirable. To be quite honest, it seems I have held my nose for one reason or another when pulling the lever (well actually when coloring the bubble) for a candidate. I recognize their moral failures and the fact that much of what they have promised will never take place in the manner they outlined. In large part that is the nature of politics – making promises you never will keep to gain an office with a great deal of power. I am not blind to such realities. Politicians continue to disappoint, but my hope is never rooted in a person to save me or my country. I have hope they will do good for the people that elected them, but I know that reality is often just a faint glimmer of hope. Politics is a game, one of politicians forgetting what their ultimate job is all about and instead desiring glory and fame to maintain and to expand their political power base. Nothing new there as that has been the nature of politics for centuries.

In a perfect world, we would have candidates with sound godly morals who desired only the best for the people they serve. Since we do not live in a perfect world, the individuals who run for office do not meet fully meet that standard. It seems the higher up the political ladder one climbs, the less moral substance they have to offer. Maybe that is just what happens when people seek positions of power. As the old saying goes, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely”. We seem to be dealing with an array of candidates who fit that description perfectly.

What is one to do? When I look at a candidate, I understand based on historical precedent that when I look back at their time in office, I will more often than not be disappointed. Again, this seems to be the nature of politics in my lifetime, namely piles of empty promises with steady fast march towards the support of depravity. Our choices this year present some hard choices to make. Certainly one candidate has not taken moral fiber with breakfast over the years. At the same time, one can suggest that individual has made enough of a case on enough issues outside of the personal moral foibles to garner a vote. The other major candidate represents a party that makes it quite clear where they stand on marriage, abortion, and a plethora of other social and world issues. Furthermore as recent events have made clear, this candidate has their own share of problems with moral choices. As always, there are third party candidates that seem to be attractive to some, but their own political platforms are littered with questionable stances on social, national, and global issues.

Tough choices. Do we overlook character and just go with party platforms? I affirm that character is a huge consideration. We cannot place a vote for a politician who lacks any element of sound moral character. I hate to say it but if we applied that across the board, we would never vote for anyone running for office as they are all failures in that regard. Maybe at the local or state level we could find some morally upright candidates, but at the national level, let’s just say the pickings are slim if there are any at all.

In my humble opinion, we do not have the best crop of candidates from which to choose. With that said, that seems to have been the case since I have been able to vote starting with the choice between George H. W. Bush, Ross Perot, and Bill Clinton, to the more recent choice between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Not stellar choices mind you, but I ended up pulling the lever for someone in my belief represented the best potential to achieve some level of positive impact on the country. That is about all one can do when voting.

Some may suggest voting for a particular candidate is a vote merely out of fear. Perhaps that is true. I do fear the idea of a party being in power who embraces gay marriage, who declares and allows people who feel getting an abortion was a wise choice because having a baby was an inconvenience, and who find religious liberty a thing to be done away with (except of course for their God hating agenda). If someone does not fear this then they need to evaluate their understanding of what is at stake. I also see a vote for a Presidential candidate as something more than voting for a single person. I have to consider the individuals that person will put around them, those who will have a voice and tremendous influence on the making of policy. I have to consider things such as appointments to the Supreme Court, especially in a day and age when laws and social issues of great importance are being decided in that venue. I have already mentioned issues of gay marriage and abortion as important factors.

It is based on these and many considerations that a no vote or a vote for a third-party candidate does not rise to the level of something I can consider as a viable option. I have gone the no-vote route in the past so for the record, that is something I do consider. I know many will disagree and will vehemently argue I have gone to the “dark side”. The alternative is too unpalatable and not voting or choosing parties that have their own questionable stances on issues is also not an option.

There is still a little over three months until the election. Something may take place or come to light that will change my position. I will continue to watch what transpires and will continue to pray about how to cast my vote. As things stand now, can I make this vote with a clear conscience? Based on the landscape of where things stand now, my answer is yes. I might end up on the outside of the evangelical playpen along with other evangelical leaders and friends, but I am just being honest about where I land at this point in the process. Again, things may change as we approach 8 November 2016.

Let us all do our diligence as voters while recognizing that ultimately, God is and forever will be in control regardless of who ends up being triumphant this political season. In an age of stormy politics and less than desirable choices for leaders, it is comforting we can rest in the arms of a loving almighty God who will one day return to fix this broken world. Come quickly Lord.

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Thomas Brooks – Unmortified Lust!


It is not your strongest resolutions or purposes, without the grace of the Spirit, which can overmaster a lust. A soul-sore will continue to run —though we resolve and say it shall not. It was the blood of the sacrifice, and the oil, which cleansed the leper in the law. And by them is meant the blood of Christ and the grace of His Spirit. Lev. 14:14-16. It was a touch of Christ’s garment which cured the woman of her bloody issue.

Your strongest resolutions or purposes may hide a sin, but cannot quench it. They may cover a sin, but cannot cut off a sin. A black patch may cover a sore—but it does not cure it! Neither is it the papists’ purgatories, watchings, whippings, nor the kissing of the statue of St. Francis, or licking of lepers’ sores—which will cleanse the fretting leprosy of sin!

In the strength of Christ, and in the power of the Spirit —set soundly upon the mortifying of every lust! Oh, hug none, indulge none—but resolvedly set upon the ruin of every lust!

One leak in a ship will sink it!

One stab strikes Goliad just as dead—as twenty-three did Caesar!

One Delilah may do Samson as much mischief as all the Philistines!

One broken wheel spoils the whole clock!

One vein bleeding will let out all the vitals!

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J. C. Ryle – Christian Love


“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love!” 1 Corinthians 13:13

“The end of the commandment is love.” 1 Timothy 1:5

Love is rightly called “the Queen of Christian graces.” It is a grace which all people profess to admire. It seems a plain practical thing which everybody can understand. It is none of “those troublesome doctrinal points” about which Christians are disagreed. Thousands, I suspect, would not be ashamed to tell you that they knew nothing about justification or regeneration, about the work of Christ or the Holy Spirit. But nobody, I believe, would like to say that he knew nothing about “love!” If men possess nothing else in religion, they always flatter themselves that they possess “love.”

A few plain thoughts about love may not be without use. There are false notions abroad about it which require to be dispelled. There are mistakes about it which require to be rectified. In my admiration of love, I yield to none. But I am bold to say that in many minds, the whole subject seems completely misunderstood.

I. Let me show, firstly, the place which the Bible gives to love.

II. Let me show, secondly, what the love of the Bible really is.

III. Let me show, thirdly, where true love comes from.

IV. Let me show, lastly, why love is “the greatest” of the graces.

I ask the best attention of my readers to the subject. My heart’s desire and prayer to God is, that the growth of love may be promoted in this sin-burdened world. In nothing does the fallen condition of man show itself so strongly, as in the scarcity of Christian love. There is little faith on earth, little hope, little knowledge of Divine things. But nothing, after all, is so scarce as real love!

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J. C. Ryle – The Great Separation!


“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanse His threshing floor. He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire!” Matthew 3:12

Wheat or chaff? You see my question — for whom do you think it is meant? Is it for corn merchants and farmers only, and for none else? If you think so, then you are much mistaken. It is meant for every man, woman, and child in the world. And among others, it is meant for you.

The question is drawn from the verse of Scripture which is now before your eyes. The words of that verse were spoken by John the Baptist. They are a prophecy about our Lord Jesus Christ, and a prophecy which has not yet been fulfilled. They are a prophecy which we shall all see fulfilled one day, and God alone knows how soon.

Reader, I invite you this day to consider the great truths which this verse contains. I invite you to listen to me, while I unfold them and set them before you in order. Who knows but this text may prove a word in season to your soul! Who knows but my question may help to make this day the happiest day in your life! Listen, before you begin once more your appointed path of duty. Listen, before you start once more on some round of business. Listen, before you plunge once more into some course of useless idleness and folly. Listen to one who loves your soul, and would sincerely help to save it, or draw it nearer to Christ. Who knows what a day may bring forth! Who can tell whether you will live to see tomorrow! Be still, and listen to me a few minutes, while I show you something out of the Word of God.

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A. W. Pink – The Doctrine of Assurance

Doctrine of Assurance


By way of introduction and in order to acquaint the reader with the particular angle or viewpoint from which we now approach our present theme, let it be pointed out that changing conditions in Christendom call for an ever-varying emphasis on different aspects of Divine Truth. Did space allow, and were the writer fully equipped for such a task, it would be both interesting and instructive to give in detail the history of the preaching of Assurance throughout this dispensation. Instead, we can barely outline it. At different periods the true servants of God have had to face widely different situations, and meet errors of varied character. This has called for a campaign of offense and defense adapted to the exegencies of many situations. The weapons suited to one conflict were quite useless for another; fresh ones needing to be constantly drawn from the armory of Scripture.

At the close of that lengthy period known as “the dark ages,” (though throughout it God never left Himself without a clear witness), when the Lord caused a good of light to break forth upon Christendom, the Reformers were faced by the hoary errors of Romanism, among which was her insistence that none could be positively assured of his Salvation till the hour of death was reached. This caused Luther and his contemporaries to deliver a positive message, seeking to stimulate confidence toward God and the laying hold of His sure promises. Yet it has to be acknowledged that there were times when their zeal carried them too far, leading to a position which could not be successfully defended from the Scriptures. Many of the Reformers insisted that assurance was an essential element in saving faith itself, and that unless a person knew he was “accepted in the Beloved,” he was yet in his sins. Thus, in the revolt from Romanism, the Protestant pendulum swung too far to the opposite side.

In the great mercy of God the balance of Truth was restored in the days of the Puritans. The principal doctrine which Luther and his fellows had emphasized so forcibly was justification by faith alone. But at the close of the 16th Century and in the early part of the 17th, such men as Perkins, Gattaker, Rollock, etc., made prominent the collateral doctrine of sanctification by the Spirit. For the next 50 years the Church on earth was blest with many men “mighty in the Scriptures,” deeply taught of God, enabled by Him to maintain a well-rounded ministry. Such men as Goodwin, Owen, Charnock, Flavel. Sibbes, etc., though living in troublous times and suffering fierce persecution, taught the Word more helpfully (in our judgment) and were more used of God than any since the days of the Apostles to the present hour.

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Jaquelle Crowe – 5 Reasons Why Teenagers Need Theology


The world can be really confusing for teenagers. We’re coming of age in a shifting moral landscape, where the most pressing challenges and culture’s loudest critics are ever changing and perpetually conflicting. We see scandals and soundbytes, terrorism and Trump, new sexual ethics and harsh racial tensions, and we wonder, “How am I supposed to think about all this?”

Secular society throws its own answers our way, but they’re never compatible with a Christian worldview.

I see a better tool to meet the questions of Christ-following teenagers like me: theology.

Why Theology for Teens?

I’m pretty sure you know what theology is. But sometimes people have such nuanced and experiential conceptions of what a word means that they obscure its plain definition. I want you to know I’m talking about the plainest definition of theology there is: the study of God.

As a Jesus-following teenager, I believe studying God’s character is what teenagers need in order to face our terribly complicated world. It’s what will give us lasting hope to face our future with a firm commitment to God’s truth.

Let me explain how theology answers our biggest questions and meets our greatest needs. Of course, this is only the briefest beginning, but it gets us started.

1. Studying God’s justice equips us to do what’s right.

In God’s Word we discover that God hates evil (Zech. 8:16–17) and loves truth. He cares about the oppressed and outcast, and he values all life.

Knowing this gives teenagers the drive to care about justice too. It pushes us to stand up for the oppressed and voiceless, and speak out against the injustice we see. It shows us the importance of submitting to God-given authorities—our parents, pastors, teachers, and government. And it fuels our obedience to God’s Word as the ultimate standard of justice.

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Scott Slayton – Eight Passages Every Christian Should Memorize


Though I didn’t come to faith in Christ until I was in college, I grew up going to church multiple times a week. One of the things that stands out from the Sunday School teachers I had and conversations I overheard was the amount of Scripture many of these faithful Christians had memorized. As I started out in my Christian life I didn’t see the importance of Scripture memory and therefore didn’t learn many basic passages of Scripture Christians need to know. It took a few years after becoming a believer to realize I didn’t know many of the passages of Scripture more mature believers referred to most often.

The Psalmist said , “Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Memorizing and meditating on God’s word provides fuel for our growth as Christians. Sometimes when we face discouragement or temptation we remember a word we have memorized and it is exactly what we need in that moment to encourage us or give us strength. In evangelistic conversations or times when you are discipling another believer you often don’t have time to flip around and try to find a passage of Scripture. When you have devoted yourself to scripture memory, you already have it and are able to speak it as part of normal conversation.

Many believers don’t know where to start when they are memorizing the Bible, so here are eight passages that are central to understanding the message of the Bible and the basics of the Christian life. While there are many more Bible verses to memorize, these eight provide a great starting point.

The Ten Commandments

For most of my childhood I saw plaques of the Ten Commandments on people’s walls next to their pictures of Jesus and Bear Bryant. The plaque always looked the same. They had to tablets on each side and the commandments were listed with Roman numerals. When we turn to Exodus 20:1-17 in our Bibles though we don’t see the commandments listed in this way. They begin with a word about God’s redemptive act of rescuing them from slavery in Egypt and then tells them what it looks like to live as his people in the world. Memorizing the Ten Commandments will remind us of our need for the grace found in Jesus Christ and give us guidance for living the Christian life.

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J. C. Ryle – The Seeds of Every Sin are Latent in Our Hearts


Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for You!”

Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for Me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times!” John 13:37-38

These verses show us how much self-ignorance there may be in the heart of a true believer. We see Peter declaring that he was ready to lay down his life for his Master. We see his Master telling Peter that he would deny Him three times. And we all know how the matter ended. The Master was right — and Peter was wrong.

Let it be a settled principle in our religion, that there is an amount of weakness in all our hearts of which we have no adequate conception, and that we never know how far we might fall if we were tempted. We imagine sometimes, like Peter, that there are some wicked things which we could not possibly do. We look pitifully upon others who fall, and please ourselves in the thought that we would not have done so.

We know nothing at all. The seeds of every sin are latent in our hearts, even when renewed, and they only need occasion, or carelessness and the withdrawal of God’s grace for a season — to put forth an abundant crop. Like Peter, we may think we can do wonders for Christ — and like Peter, we may learn by bitter experience that we have no power and strength at all.

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