Archive for December, 2006

My Times are in Thy Hand

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

We read in Psalm 31, verse 15:

My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.

Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon upon this verse, which you may read here. Following is a small excerpt from the sermon which I found especially encouraging today:

How often we meet with people who are staggered by slander! It is impossible to stop malicious tongues. They wound, and even slay, the characters of the godly. The tried one cries, “I cannot bear it: I shall give all up.” Why? Why yield to mere talk? Even these cruel tongues are in God’s hand. Can you not brave their attacks? They cannot utter a single whisper more than God permits. Go on thy way, O righteous man, and let false tongues pour forth their poison as they will. “Every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.” If my times are in God’s hand, no man can do me harm unless God permit. Though my soul is among lions, yet no lion can bite me while Jehovah’s angel is my guard.

This feeling, that our interests are safe in the highest keeping, breeds an independent spirit. It prevents cringing before the great, and flattering the strong. At the same time, it removes all tendency to envy; so that you do not wish for the prosperity of the wicked, nor fret yourself because of evil-doers. When one knows that his times are in God’s hand, he would not change places with a king; nay, nor with an angel.

(Sermon No. 2205)
Delivered on Lord’s-Day Morning, May 17th, 1891, by
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

Rejoice and Hope in the Lord

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. – Psalm 31:23,24

Ministers and Elders Must Have a Good Report of the Church and the World

Monday, December 25th, 2006

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:1-7) (Emphasis added)

There are some who insist that ministers and elders are not subject to “the court of public opinion.” The Bible tells us, however, that the elders must be blameless, not only before the church, but also before “them which are without”, society in general. It is not scandalous to make known the words and deeds of elders. The Christian church is not a secret society whose leaders must be sheltered from the public eye. Matters of doctrine, subordinate standards, and church business such as excommunications – All of these ecclesiastical matters are public, and should be able to sustain public scrutiny.

Matthew Henry, in his Commentary on the above verses, writes:

II. In order to the discharge of this office, the doing of this work, the workman must be qualified.

1. A minister must be blameless, he must not lie under any scandal; he must give as little occasion for blame as can be, because this would be a prejudice to his ministry and would reflect reproach upon his office. (Emphasis added.)

2. He must be the husband of one wife; not having given a bill of divorce to one, and then taken another, or not having many wives at once, as at that time was too common both among Jews and Gentiles, especially among the Gentiles.

3. He must be vigilant and watchful against Satan, that subtle enemy; he must watch over himself, and the souls of those who are committed to his charge, of whom having taken the oversight, he must improve all opportunities of doing them good. A minister ought to be vigilant, because our adversary the devil goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, 1 Pt. 5:8.

4. He must be sober, temperate, moderate in all his actions, and in the use of all creature-comforts. Sobriety and watchfulness are often in scripture put together, because they mutually befriend one another: Be sober, be vigilant.

5. He must be of good behaviour, composed and solid, and not light, vain, and frothy.

6. He must be given to hospitality, open-handed to strangers, and ready to entertain them according to his ability, as one who does not set his heart upon the wealth of the world and who is a true lover of his brethren.

7. Apt to teach. Therefore this is a preaching bishop whom Paul describes, one who is both able and willing to communicate to others the knowledge which God has given him, one who is fit to teach and ready to take all opportunities of giving instructions, who is himself well instructed in the things of the kingdom of heaven, and is communicative of what he knows to others.

8. No drunkard: Not given to wine. The priests were not to drink wine when they went in to minister (Lev. 10:8, 9), lest they should drink and pervert the law.

9. No striker; one who is not quarrelsome, nor apt to use violence to any, but does every thing with mildness, love, and gentleness. The servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle towards all, etc., 2 Tim. 2:24.

10. One who is not greedy of filthy lucre, who does not make his ministry to truckle to any secular design or interest, who uses no mean, base, sordid ways of getting money, who is dead to the wealth of this world, lives above it, and makes it appear he is so.

11. He must be patient, and not a brawler, of a mild disposition. Christ, the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls, is so. Not apt to be angry or quarrelsome; as not a striker with his hands, so not a brawler with his tongue; for how shall men teach others to govern their tongues who do not make conscience of keeping them under good government themselves?

12. Not covetous. Covetousness is bad in any, but it is worst in a minister, whose calling leads him to converse so much with another world.

13. He must be one who keeps his family in good order: That rules well his own house, that he may set a good example to other masters of families to do so too, and that he may thereby give a proof of his ability to take care of the church of God: For, if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God. Observe, The families of ministers ought to be examples of good to all others families. Ministers must have their children in subjection; then it is the duty of ministers’ children to submit to the instructions that are given them.—With all gravity. The best way to keep inferiors in subjection, is to be grave with them. Not having his children in subjection with all austerity, but with all gravity.

14. He must not be a novice, not one newly brought to the Christian religion, or not one who is but meanly instructed in it, who knows no more of religion than the surface of it, for such a one is apt to be lifted up with pride: the more ignorant men are the more proud they are: Lest, being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil. The devils fell through pride, which is a good reason why we should take heed of pride, because it is a sin that turned angels into devils.

15. He must be of good reputation among his neighbours, and under no reproach from former conversation; for the devil will make use of that to ensnare others, and work in them an aversion to the doctrine of Christ preached by those who have not had a good report. (Emphasis added.)


Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.”

“Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.”

I don’t know who is responsible for these quotes, but I liked them. The first quote reminds me of the Scripture verses:

Godliness with contentment is great gain.

For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. – 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Another quote which goes along with the theme of contentment is from Augustine, Bishop of Hippo from 396 to 430 AD:

Better to have fewer wants than greater riches to supply increasing wants.

Unbiblical Excommunications

Monday, December 18th, 2006

The three men who style themselves “The extraordinary Session of the Reformed Presbytery of North America (General Meeting)”, are Greg Price of Albany, New York, Greg Barrow of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and Lyndon Dohms, also of Edmonton, Alberta. They claim to be the only faithful elders in North America.

In speaking of themselves and their group, these three elders use the following descriptive words:

  • Faithful Church
  • True Presbyterian government
  • Lawful Church Court

They claim that it is Christ Himself who has placed them in authority, citing 1 Corinthians 12:28:

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

However, the truth that God gives elders to His church to govern His people does not mean that God placed Greg Price, Greg Barrow and Lyndon Dohms in authority, or that He endorses their rule in a group they call the only faithful church.

In the Bible we also read many warnings about false leaders. One such warning is found in Matthew 7:15-20:

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

One “fruit” of the elderships of Greg Price, Greg Barrow and Lyndon Dohms is a large number of excommunications. In the course of their joint elderships, they have excommunicated or claim as “self-excommunicated” MOST of the people who placed themselves under their oversight. Almost all of the people whom they claim to have lawfully excommunicated were:

  • Orthodox in doctrine
  • Godly in life

The current (November 5, 2006) rash of excommunications stems from a refusal of brethren to take an oath imposed by these men. Now, in order to be a faithful member of “Christ’s Church”, one must swear an oath that the writings of these three men are faithful subordinate standards of “the Church.”

By imposing this oath upon brethren who:

· held to their previously stated terms of communion

· are orthodox in doctrine

· and are godly in life

Greg Price, Greg Barrow and Lyndon Dohms reveal themselves to be oppressive, self-made rulers over the flock. They seek to terrorize true Christians with threats of excommunication. They seek to destroy the good names of godly men and women. They epitomize the SCHISMATIC spirit they claim to hate by unnecessarily dividing the people of God from one another.

Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;

Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:

Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.

We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. (3 John 5-10)

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. (Proverbs 29:2)

These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:16-19) (Emphasis added.)

Many brethren have sought to reason Biblically with these men, but evidently to no avail. We therefore await God’s further dealings with them:

He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. (Proverbs 29:1)

A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape. (Proverbs 19:5)

He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD. (Proverbs 17:15)

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

The Lord will argue the cause of His slandered, suffering people at the hands of these self-appointed, persecuting elders. May God have mercy upon their souls, and not destroy them utterly.

Whose Mouths Must Be Stopped

Monday, December 18th, 2006

Titus 1:10,11: For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

These unruly and vain talkers and deceivers are working within the Christian church. This is evident from the instructions the Apostle Paul gives to Titus in this epistle:

  1. Ordain elders in every city, who are blameless in life and sound in doctrine (verses 5 through 9).
  2. It is primarily these godly elders in the Christian churches who are given the duty to exhort and to convince these unruly and vain talkers and deceivers of their errors.
  3. Elders reprove within Christ’s church. This is where the vain talkers are doing their mischief, subverting whole households.

What are some warning signs of unruly and vain talkers in the Christian church?

  1. They do not hold fast the faithful word. They do not hold fast to sound doctrine. (verse 9) Instead they have some new thing, some complicated thing, or some secret thing to teach.
  2. Their talk is unruly (verse 10). These false teachers may claim much authority for themselves, but do not personally submit to authority.
  3. Their talk is vain (verse 10). The teaching of those whose mouths must be stopped does not lead to true godliness and sanctification of those who listen to their teaching. To the contrary, these teachers will substitute their invented standards for the commandments of God. (Titus 1:14 – . . . Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.)
  4. Their sinful lives show them to be deceivers. (Titus 1:16 – They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.) Christ says that we shall know such men by their fruits.

We bemoan the fact that such false and wicked teachers exist in the professing Christian church. It is not enough to simply lament this fact, but it is a duty also, in our places and callings, to strive against such false ministers and elders: whose mouths must be stopped (verse 11). May God enable His true ministers and elders to be valiant for truth, and to stop the mouths of those who seek to subvert the faith of God’s people.

An Experiment in Publishing from Word Directly to the Blog

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006

It worked! Philip installed a Beta version of Microsoft Vista on my “compulator”. Using Vista and Office 2007, I can type a Word document, insert clip art, etc. and then tell it to publish directly to my blog. Fun!

A Fun Link

Saturday, December 2nd, 2006

I came across this fun name search while reading Willena’s blog:
Logo There are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

According to this search, there is no one else in the U.S. with the last name “Taron”, but I know I have in-laws. 😛 There are “0” people with the last names “Tarruhn” and “Tarun” as well. Both are earlier spellings of “Taron”, which is a surname of possibly Polish/Russian/German background.

However, there are 545,943 people in the U.S. with the first name “Joyce”, which is statistically the 96th most popular first name (tied with 2 other first names).

More folks in the U.S. have my maiden name, “Schmitz”:

There are 20,998 people in the U.S. with the last name “Schmitz”. Statistically it is the 1,664th most popular last name (tied with 279 other last names!)
Logo There are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?