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The Puritans exemplified maturity; we don’t. Spiritual warfare made the Puritans what they were. They accepted conflict as their calling, seeing themselves as their Lord’s soldier-pilgrims…not expecting to be able to advance a single step without opposition of one sort or another…Today, however, Christians in the West are found on the whole to be passionless, passive and one fears, prayerless. Cultivating an ethos that encloses personal piety in a pietistic cocoon, they leave public affairs to go their own way and neither expect nor, for the most part, seek influence beyond their own Christian circle…[but] the Puritans labored for a holy England and New England – sensing that where privilege is neglected and unfaithfulness reigns, national judgment threatens.

(J.I. Packer)

We desperately need to recover the Puritan ideal and vision of applying the Bible to every area of life.

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A Modest Proposal


Near the end of one year and the beginning of another, I make a modest plea to anyone who will listen: Read the Bible from beginning to end this coming year.

You’ll learn, ask questions, wonder, think deeply, laugh, cry, and more other things than I can name. Most importantly, you’ll get to know God better and you’ll grow spiritually. It won’t be easy. You’ll be tempted to quit more than once, but resist it! You’ll be glad you did. As has been said, the Bible is like a body of water that a child can wade in and in which an elephant can drown.

Ligonier Ministries has a list of Bible reading plans from which to choose. Look them over and go with the one that you think would work for you. Then get started!

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers. (Ps. 1:1-3)

Don’t let your Bible look like the one in the picture!


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Throughout this Advent season, when we sang Christmas carols (or should I say if we sang them) in corporate worship services, all but one or two of them had new arrangements. The same lyrics, for the most part, but not the same music. I need to say that we attended more than one church, too.

There is something comforting and familiar about carols sung to their traditional tunes. For many of us, they’ve become so familiar we can sing them from memory – at least the first verse! The well-trod trail of carols makes worship of God-incarnate Jesus Christ easier and, in many cases, more meaningful.

Some of the newer arrangements are good, but my concern is that we’re losing something by leaving the familiar and traditional behind. We’re losing a common hymnal, so to speak, a communal act – something we do (and sing) together. I could be wrong, but not singing from the same page doesn’t bode well.

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Happy Thanksgiving!


Psalm 100

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.

Give thanks for everything the Lord has given you.

Give thanks for everything He has not given you.

Most importantly, remember to Whom you are giving thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Stephen Nichols, President of Reformation Bible College, asks and answers the question “What is Reformation Day?” October 31st, 1517 was a day that changed the entire world. You can read his article here, and I strongly recommend you do.

Have a happy Reformation Day!

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Idyllic rural landscape in golden light

Christian, are you thinking about “throwing in the towel”?

Things haven’t gone the way you thought they would. You can’t seem to discern what God  is doing in your life. Your heartfelt prayers are rarely answered with a “yes,” but far more often with a “no” or a “wait.” You wonder if it’s all worth it. You may even think you’d be better off without it – you “tried Jesus” and it just didn’t work.

Don’t! Pick yourself up, shake it off, and remember the words of Peter in John 6:66-69: As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”

Where else can we, or would we, go? To whom would we go? The Lord Jesus Christ is the only One who can save, sanctify, and keep us. Without Him, we have nothing. There is nowhere else to go.

Stay with Him even if you don’t understand; even if your image of your life is different from His; and even if you think you’re His forgotten child.

Honestly, what’s the alternative?

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The Whole Christ, by Sinclair Ferguson, is a very good book but a very hard one to read. I don’t mean it has too many big and hard words, although it does have some. I mean that I had to read through it slowly and carefully, giving quite a bit of thought to what Ferguson presented. In some areas, you could say the grass got pretty deep and just as thick. Having said that, I recommend it but with a caveat: it will challenge you.

Ferguson uses the “Marrow Controversy” of eighteenth century churchmen to bring to light the battle between legalism, antinomianism, and having assurance of faith. All three of these issues exist in the church today. We still debate the relationship between grace and law in the life of a Christian and the church. Does being saved by grace remove the need to be obedient to God’s Law as revealed in His Word? Does repentance occur prior to faith or is it a result of faith? Ferguson delves into these issues (and more) and maintains that legalism and antinomianism (a rejection of God’s law in the life of the church and believer) are actually very similar in their foundations, and not polar opposites. This point was extremely helpful to me.

Some books should be read once and put back on the shelf. Other books, like The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, & Gospel Assurance–Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters, should be read and then read again. It will give you a greater, and growing, understanding of your faith and your assurance.

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