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Blowing a Fuse Over “Faith”

Oh, the Irony!

Image of a woman shocked by an exposed cable Does your “fuse” get blown, too? Not a little modern teaching on faith seeks to “electrify,” but winds up being simply “shocking.” Let us point you to something that's far more “grounded”! 1

Irony is something I’ve learned to savor, even if it is somewhat bittersweet at times. Consider this unexpected reaction from a reader…

Twice a week on our ministry’s Facebook page, we share a link to “things old and new” on our website. Usually on Thursdays we share a hymn or devotional poem; on Mondays we share a link to a Bible-teaching article (or, once a month, our current newsletter). The response has been encouraging and the “Likes” for the page have grown. (By the way, have you “liked” our page on Facebook yet?) So far, so good, but…

For the last five weeks or so, we’ve been sharing chapters from Percy Gutteridge’s classic, foundation-laying book Faith Is Substance. Most folks who’ve taken the time to read it have found it liberating and enlightening. But one commenter really “gave us an earful,” lumping us together with “freaks” who are pushing semi- [continue reading…]

All Praise to Him Who Reigns Above

(also known as
Blessèd Be the Name)

William Clark
(1854-1925)
chorus by
Ralph Hudson
(1843-1901)

All praise to him who reigns above
In majesty supreme,
Who gave Himself for man to die,
That He might man redeem!

Chorus:
Blessed be the name, blessed be the name,
Blessed be the name of the Lord [continue reading…]

St. Patrick’s Breastplate

Patrick
(Fifth Century a.d.)
English rendered by
Cecil Frances Alexander
(1818-1895)

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.… take unto you the whole armour of god…

Ephesians 6:11,13

But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God… by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left…

2 Corinthians 6:4-7

…let us put on the armour of light.… put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Romans 13:12,14


I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever,
By pow’r of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from [continue reading…]

What Happens When God Answers Prayer?

Fruit, More Fruit, Much Fruit in Guatemala

Grape cluster photo courtesy of Jassy Onyae on Unsplash (https://unsplash.com/@jassyonyae).Fruit, more fruit, much fruit1

Have you noticed what happens when God answers prayer? Answered prayers generate the need for more prayer! This is part of God’s design for us to grow in our fruitfulness, responsibility, and Christlikeness. It moves us along the “fruitfulness spectrum” that Jesus laid out for us: First “fruit” (John 15:2b), then “more fruit” (John 15:2c), and finally “much fruit” (John 15:5,8). And notice how this “fruit” passage intersects with prayer — “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” (John 15:7-8).

When what we pray in Jesus’ name receives an answer from the Father, we aren’t allowed to pause too long and [continue reading…]

Thou Shepherd of Israel, and Mine

Charles Wesley
(1707-1788)

Psalm 23

Thou Shepherd of Israel, and mine,
The joy and desire of my heart,
For closer communion I pine,
I long to reside where Thou art.

The pasture I languish to find,
Where all, who their Shepherd obey,
Are fed, on Thy bosom reclined,
And screened from the heat of the day.

Ah! show me that happiest place, [continue reading…]

The Love of God

Frederick Lehman
(1868-1953)
adapted from the work of
Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai
(11th Century a.d.)

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, [continue reading…]

O Sweet Will of God!

George D. Watson
(1845-1923)

O! sweet will of God, thou hast girded me round,
Like the deep moving currents that girdle the sea;
With omnipotent love is my poor nature bound,
And this bondage of love sets me perfectly free.

For years my will wrestled with vague discontent
That like a sad angel o’ershadowed my way;
God’s light in my soul oft with darkness was blent,
And my heart ever longed for an unclouded day.

My wild will was captured, [continue reading…]

The “Judicial Adventures” of Paul the Apostle

Copyright © 1994, 2019

by
Jim Kerwin

A Look at Roman Law in Acts

“Moving in a Roman World”

The student of the New Testament is con­stant­ly made aware that he is moving in a Roman world,”2 and awareness of the Roman en­vi­ron­ment is the first step toward un­der­stand­ing its significance and influence on the second volume of Luke’s magnum opus and on the life of Paul. By providing the serious Bible student a primer of [continue reading…]

Join the Tugboat Fleet

Looking Back at a Carrier — and Its Tugboats!

I’m reminded of a special “cruise” we took in 2008, right after my first missions trip to Guatemala. We were guests of Petty Officer Bruce Wasson (now pastor of Morningstar Church in Scottsville, Virginia) on a “Family and Friends Day” aboard his ship, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman. What a privilege to be out to sea, out of sight of land, on the deck as jet fighters were launched and recovered, to see one of these “birds” [continue reading…]

A New Year Prayer

John Wright Follette
(1884-1966)

O Lord, I pray that through this coming year
Our fellowship may deep and richer be;
That I may recognize Thy presence near,
And turn as to a friend, my Lord, to Thee.

Walk with me, then, and guide me with Thy eye –
I dare not trust myself to move one pace.
I know not what ahead of me may lie [continue reading…]

God’s Hour

John Wright Follette
(1884-1966)

O Holy night, borne to us on the wings of time,
From out the dark recesses of eternity,
God’s hour, the promise of eternal life and light,
A gleaming jewel rests within thy dark embrace.
O holy hour, the miracle of God is thine,
He clothes Himself with [continue reading…]

Country X – Christmas in July

Rough Times in Country ‘X’

Pastor holding commentary and Bible dictionaryLeaders who couldn’t attend
the April gathering also received
their Bible dictionary
and one-volume commentaries.

It’s nearly Christmas! And I want to give thanks, to the Lord and to you, for the “Christmas in July” which a group of forty pastors in… well, let's call it “Country ‘X’” in Latin America… experienced this year. I’d like to keep them out of the limelight for security reasons, “just in case.” (But you can read more about their national situation in recent news, as well the murder of a pastor and [continue reading…]

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Charles Wesley
(1707-1788)

“…the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts.

Malachi 3:1

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Revelation 22:20

Come, Thou long-expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people [continue reading…]

The Original Aromas of Christmas

Copyright © 2018

by
Jim Kerwin

Burning frankincense, image used under license from https://www.123rf.com/profile_fotomemAll our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to Thee, our heavenly King!
1

Your dieting resolve may be challenged as I enumerate the following list: pumpkin pie, gingerbread, Christmas cookies, roasted turkey and stuffing, eggnog, hot apple cider with cinnamon. Those are all holiday edibles, but I mention them not so much for their waistline-destroying properties as for their aromas. I can quickly add to the list of Christmas aromas from non-edible sources: the fragrance of a fresh pine tree, wreaths of pine branches, and seasoned oak burning in the fireplace. I would even add the tantalizing scent of “chestnuts roasting on a open fire,” but then we’d probably be back to derailing ongoing diets.

Those of you outside North America no doubt have your own aromatic reminiscences of Christmas. In any case, if you’re like me, you have a sort of mental database of aromas, of scents, of fragrances that you associate with Christmas. In fact, if one of those aromas registers on your nostrils, it may trigger events from your childhood, or certain Christmases that were special, or maybe certain Christmases that were difficult. I can’t think of another holiday that has such fragrant associations.

Decades ago, over the Christmas holiday I was on a short-term missions trip to India. On Christmas morning I arose before dawn to [continue reading…]