Women Embracing Faith

Thinking Through the Bible

Independence Day Memory July 2, 2010

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Remember our national anthem..”O Say, can  you see?”   I sang that every morning after our Bible reading and prayer in my Florida public school classroom until I graduated from high school.  Francis Scott Key wrote it during the war of 1812.  He also wrote this beautiful hymn:

“Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise Thee, For the bliss Thy love bestows,

For the pard’ning grace that saves me, And the peace that from it flows;

Help, O God, my weak endeavor; This dull soul to rapture raise;

Thou must light the flame, or never…  Can my love be warm’d to praise.

Praise, my soul the God that sought thee,  Wretched wand’rer far astray,

Found thee lost,  and kindly brought thee   From the paths of death away:

Praise, with love’s devoutest feeling,  Him who saw thy guilt-born fear.

And, the light of hope revealing, Bade the blood-stain’d cross appear.”

Oh my, Key was a Christian.  He could write about doctrinal matters, and love for God in the same poem.    I’m very thankful we had the freedom in our schools to know about him as I grew up.  Then, I heard this song when I was in my forties….Scroll categories to “Introductions” for names of others who could blend reformed Christian teachings with matters of the heart and life experiences. God Bless America.

 

April 27, 2010

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Reading ML-J

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This picture was taken sometime in the 80’s.  I loved those early years of reading Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.  You can google him and read his devotions.  These were my first two collies.  My children were in lower elementary school.  I still have this book, and think it’s about time I read it again.

 

This Year’s Introductions December 29, 2009

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Isn’t it nice to meet new people?  Since I live in “paradise,”  my circle of acquaintances is always in flux.  People come here from all over the world.  It enriches us; gives a new perspective.

This year I’ve  introduced you to four people who can help as you think about the meaning of scripture.  That done, you can then apply it readily to your own circumstances and also stir up your love for God (and other people!)  You’ll be amazed at how this way of reading the Bible lifts your heart and makes your life so much more enjoyable.  First, get what it says right, then get it meaning, then apply it to how you think, act, do.  Lastly, let that meaning roll around in your mind until your awe and love for God wells up.  Then your love for others will spill over.  It is mind first, then will, then emotions. Never in reverse, or worse yet, skip the mind part! These guys can help you do it.  I can too!

Walter Chantry–editor of  Banner of Truth Magazine and author of several books.  He is short and to the point.  Almost crisp.  He gives you sweeping views of biblical truth while applying it with piercing accuracy.  Look him up at http://www.banneroftruth.org      or     http://www.cvbbs.com

Roger Ellsworth–pastor of Parkview Church in Jackson, Tn.  He has written more than 30 books which in simple language explain and apply scriptures verse by verse.  His explanations make you think; his applications stir your emotions.  Find his books at rogerellsworth.com            or cvbbs.com.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones–pastor of Westminister Chapel in London 1939-1968.  His sermons continue to be published and will help you understand the particular context and general biblical principles behind that portion of scripture.  Reading him changed my world-view and my life.  Access him at www. ml-j.org    or    http://www.cvbbs.com.

Ernest C. Reisinger–my pastor and mentor.  He was on the governing board of  Banner of  Truth from 1968-1984.  His books are available at http://www.cvbbs.com.  I helped him edit some of  them.  His gift was in spotting the potential for trouble and exposing it without flinching.  http://www.cvbbs.com   or     http://www.founders.org    are the best places to find him.

Now here’s the rub.  Introductions can lead to no where.  Sometimes new people move here who have their nose up in the air, (intent on looking down it), ready to change everything about our community.  They don’t like the food; they have more money to spend than we do; they think we are stupid, lazy, and uneducated!  Ten winters are about as long as they stay around.  No one really lets them in.

Pastors Reisinger, Chantry, Lloyd-Jones, and Ellsworth are not like that.  They all have pastoral hearts.  Let them into your circle of  friends. They will enrich your spiritual life.

 

Praise to the King September 8, 2009

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The main point of Walter Chantry‘s book, Habbakuk, (cvbbs.org) is that we are to keep on praising God–even if what we are seeing is His justice on display as He disciplines the western church and punishes those who have rejected Him and His ways in our culture.  Praise is your key rather than fretting about what you fear is coming.  Europe and China and even Latin America may end up owning America….but you are to think like a Christian and watch in wonder as God displays His wrath (settled anger) against those who have opposed Him.  We are to stand amazed at His power yet expect His mercy within that anger against sin.  Habbakuk wrote a prayer for us all to sing (see the last chapter in the prophet’s book).  He learned to expect and look for mercy…”In wrath, remember mercy.”

God has a remnant who will keep on believing and will always see His mercy and deliverance.  A remnant is like a little bit of left-over cloth. ( I used to buy a remnant to sew a pillow or even a dress. )  The image is a little bit torn off the bolt.  That little bit is always shown mercy in the midst of God’s wrath toward others.  Look for His mercy to you and your children and grandchildren even as you watch current events wondering about their end and praising God for His sovernighty over the nations.  After all, He is our glorious King.

“O LORD, I have heard Your speech and was afraid;

O LORD, revive Your work in thye midst of the years!

In the midst of the years make it known:

In wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:1

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever –the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you orophans;…” John 14:16-18

 

Some Help For Troubling Times August 26, 2009

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Walter Chantry writes briefly and to the point. He is plain and simple. He is also serious. He edits BANNER OF TRUTH MAGAZINE and most of his books are published by BANNER OF TRUTH TRUST. I recently cleaned out my library and discovered that most of the books I treasure now were published by BANNER over the years. They are the ones I’m not willing to toss out as I downsize and simplify.

Another connection I have with Walter Chantry is his mentor, Ernie Reisinger. As my pastor, he encouraged me to teach and write. Ernie wrote the preface for my OLD PATHS FOR LITTLE FEET (carolbrandt.net) and gently led me into a reformed interpretation of the Bible. Ernie was largely responsible for BANNER OF TRUTH TRUST opening an American distribution center and office. And he was one of the founding leaders of the church where Chantry was pastor for 39 years.

HABAKKUK will help you get thru these demoralizing political times. I know many of you are anxious about these things as you raise your children or babysit your grandchildren. What will their future be like? Will America or England or Scotland or Western Civilization survive? Are we going to totally lose our culture and its Christian heritage?

“In the Scripture, God’s severe correction of his sons has even come during times when there lived saints with outstanding measures of grace. Yet he did not use their gifts to revive. As Habakkuk spoke of his dread of Babylon’s crushing blows to Judah, still to come, he was speaking of times in which not only he, but also Jeremiah, Daniel and Ezekiel lived. Yet their prayers and their faithful ministries were not employed in quickly accomplishing a revival that prevented severe chastisement.” (p. 42)

Go to http:cvbbs.com/inventory. This link to Cumberland Valley Bible Book Store will enable you to buy HABAKKUK for $6.95.

 

A Summer Read July 8, 2009

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As I’ve said before, I love the rhythm of slowing down for the summer months. It is so hot here from July to October that you’d better slow down! I’d like to introduce you to a good summer read and also to the publisher, Banner of Truth.

Walter Chantry has written a short book explaining three Psalms that point to Christ. The book is easy to read. His exposition is simple, direct, and applicable for both devotion and everyday life.

The three Psalms are Psalm 2, 110, and 45. They are all about the return of Jesus Christ as the conquering King. All nations will bow before Him. His judgment against all unbelievers will be sure and final.
(We hear Isaiah’s descriptions, and remember the historical events that pictured the fall of the nations.) Jesus comes, not only as King, but as the loving Bridegroom, to sweep the Bride off her feet and take her to live with Him forever. It is the ultimate summer romance! We, the Bride, are to be watching and waiting for our lover to come for us.

I hope you will enjoy this book and return to these three Psalms many times when there is winter in your soul.

Order Praises For the King of Kings at http://www.cvbbs.com or http://www.banneroftruth.org

 

Thought For the Day April 15, 2009

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“Lay all your loads and your weights by faith upon Christ.  Ease yourself, and let him bear all.  He can, he does, he will bear you.”

Samuel Rutherford to a friend (The Loveliness of Christ, (The Banner of Truth Trust, 2008), p. 20.

 

True Comfort and Hope March 31, 2009

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The following is March 31, 2009 “Daily Reading” from http://www.mlj-usa.org.
It is Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones speaking in 1942 about the power of the gospel in contrast to any other idea about life and its problems. He was living in London, preaching at Westminster Chapel. His wife and daughters had left the city for refuge and safety. The war with the Germans did not end until 1945.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith'” (Romans 1:16-17).

“The Gospel – still our only hope

We say [that the only hope for men is to believe the gospel of Christ] knowing full well all the talk about science and learning and culture. We say so knowing that, at the end of this war* the world, in exactly the same way as at the end of the last war, will announce with confidence its plans and schemes for a new world, without taking any account of what the gospel has to say. Why do we say so? For precisely the same reasons adduced by St Paul [Romans 1:16] … he is proud of the gospel because it is God’s way of salvation … At once we see that it possesses an authority which is quite unique. For all other ideas with respect to life and its problems are man-made. At their best and highest, they never get beyond the realm of speculation and supposition … The great minds and the profoundest thinkers … end by admitting that the ultimate problems of life are shrouded in mystery … The very fact that there are so many different and differing schools of thought bears eloquent testimony to this uncertainty and inability … But there was another fact … which proved how inadequate all the schools were finally. And that was the endless number of religions that were to be found … We see a perfect picture of this in Acts 17 as regards Athens. The same was true of Rome and all other great cities … Paul had something essentially different to offer and to preach. He knew of the other systems. But he also knew their limits and their inability to solve the problems. He could not make his boast in men and their systems. Before he could boast of a system it must have authority; it must have certainty. The gospel Paul preached was not speculation; it was a revelation from God Himself [Gal. 1: 11, 12]. There was no need to be ashamed of such a message. And it is precisely the same today.”

*Written in 1942.

“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians : 11-12).

“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him:
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles..
.” (Isaiah 42:1).

How is true comfort and hope experienced spiritually?

We look at our circumstances anxiously,and want some kind of relief immediately. That’s why chocolate, coffee, wine are so popular.

Of course, that’s not spiritual experience at all. Instead, we need to think about ourselves in relation to the good news of Christ Jesus. Do I see Him as Isaiah did 730 years before He lived? The Promised One. The Savior. Am I in the realm of Christ or living under the control of Satan, sin, and the law? (See Romans 6). Which is it? You are either under Jesus’s governing power or you are not. That is the first step. Where am I? Who am I? Think of yourself as having died to Adam and his consequences and having risen to a new life loving and serving God. Comfort and hope start with right thinking.

Instead of seeking immediate relief from your raw circumstances, remember who you are. “God has set his love upon me. The Lord is my shepherd. He creates and orders and controls the cosmos for my good and His glory. He has forgiven me. “(Psalm 23, Romans 8, Isaiah 44:21-22)

Ask for the Spirit to give you understanding. To see things from God’s perspective. And to give you comfort and hope. (See John 16 )

You cannot produce comfort or hope on your own. But, you can think like a Christian and wait on the Lord to mysteriously come along beside you, giving you comfort, hope, and even joy. All in the midst of your pain.

 

READING THRU ISAIAH March 17, 2009

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I hope you are still trying to read Isaiah. Don’t get bogged down and give up. Even reading one verse is better than just giving up. Think as you read. Look for biblical principles. Look for Jesus..

Isaiah 40 starts a whole new book. This was written by 701 BC. No one knows exactly when. But, the date is important because of all that was predicted and all that came true. My friend, Roger Ellsworth, calls chapters 40-67, “God’s Book of Comfort.” It certainly comforted the believing Judean exiles to Babylon after 586 BC and all the generations of believers since.

ISAIAH 40-43

Do you find yourself needing a little comfort now and then? How can we experience true spiritual comfort?

BACKGROUND
After promising to uphold and strengthen His people, making them strong like an eagle, God asks His people to think together with Him about who He is, who they are, and the circumstances they find themselves in. (Those circumstances were dire. Israel had been destroyed as a nation because of their becoming just like the nations around them–idolatrous and immoral. They were hauled off to North Eastern Turkey, and probably dispersed all over E. Europe and Russia, Judah had been ravaged and tormented for over a hundred years by repeated raids and taxes from Assyrian and Babylonian invaders. All this was joined with warnings to turn back to God from their idolatry and sinful lifestyle. Now they were in Iraq, exiled to live without being a nation or having their own religion, their temple destroyed, etc. This sounds very harsh to our 21st century ears, but it is nothing to the judgment of God described in chapter 34! This was corrective discipline, not judgment in the way unbelievers will be judged for their sins. After 70 years, Babylon was destroyed, invaded by Persia. The Persian king, Cyrus, not only allowed, but funded, a group of the exiles to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their nation and reestablish their religion. This took place around 500 BC).

These chapters are all about giving comfort to God’s people while they are in exile. Promises would be made specifically about Cyrus and Christ.
KEYS TO UNDERSTANDING MEANING:
Judah and Israel are tangible examples of God’s people. God does not change. His relationship with His people today is the same. The context is important. Servant can mean God’s corporate people or Christ, depending on the context. These chapters are focusing on God’s people as His servant.
THINK, REMEMBER, REASON
Idols would be challenged to put up or shut up! God asks them to think and remember some very important things:

God is all powerful, The most powerful being in existence (40)
He would strengthen them and undergird them and never leave them. (40:28-31)

He was the one who brought in invaders,(41:1-4) but they were responsible for becoming idolaters (41:5-7)

He has chosen, elected them, set His love upon them to be His friend and servant (41:8-10)

Their enemies would be destroyed (41:11-13); They would be made strong and nourished and watered (41-14-20)

WHAT HIS SERVANTS ARE TO DO; WHAT GOD WILL DO
Part of this reasoning process would be to remember and sing about the long-promised Redeemer, His justice and gentleness and righteousness. They are to give glory to God and tell the nations about Him (42:1-12.) And hear and see. God will act like a mighty man of war to straighten things out. He will be satisfied by Christ’s righteousness and will make his law very visible and honored (42:13-21). But, will His people hear? Will they realize their troubles result from their idolatry?(42:22-25) Will they tell of God’s character, power, and friendship? Will they praise Him and give Him all the glory? (43:10-12; 21)
WHERE IS THE COMFORT?
By remembering the promise of our Redeemer and God’s being satisfied by His righteousness as a cover for our sins. (Look to the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved!)

By remembering that God helped His people then, and will now.

By remembering the power God has to do that–can turn king’s minds, lay waste the most powerful and advanced nations.

By remembering the power of the Holy Spirit to bring revival and stir hearts to honor God and His law.

By remembering the love God has shown by choosing you to know and praise Him. This kind of thinking comforts and warms our hearts. Help each other to think like this! (44:21-23)

I hope this helps you keep on reading and thinking about Isaiah’s message to us, and to actually know what it is to experience comfort from our LORD. As Martyn Lloyd Jones reminds us in his “Daily Readings,” it all starts with right thinking. Thinking BEFORE experiencing. And R. C. Sproule of Ligonier Ministries would remind us of that same thing.

Grace and comfort to us all!