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A Plea For Concerted Prayer Against Political Correctness

Yesterday in the UK a story hit the headlines – a leading high street pharmaceutical company, Boots, became the center of a political storm and a media feeding frenzy.

In brief the story went something like this. Following recent legalization of the ‘morning after pill’, Boots, when approached, refused to lower the price of the abortion procuring agent, Levonelle.

Without commenting one way or other on potential commercial motives, Boots, it seems, then issued a press statement indicating their reluctance to offend public sensibilities by encouraging irresponsible use of this drug.

Pressure was brought to bear on main UK pharmaceutical retailers by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. As a result, two other leading stores, Tesco and Superdrug, were happy to lower their prices to make the medication more freely available. All was being done, we are told, in the name of female freedom (with no consideration for the life drowned in UK latrines, and flushed away by Levonelle).

Subsequently, tension was ramped up by a number of Labour Members of the UK Parliament. They had signed, and then made public, a petition that called on Boots Chemists to reconsider their decision. Journalists then got hold of the ‘story’, and, having ‘catastrophized the trivial’, it […]

What Matters Most – Seeking God’s Glory

Over the last week or two, I’ve been taking some time out to study John’s Gospel in more depth. My particular concern and focus has been to get a better handle on the relationship that exists between Jesus and the Father.

This morning I was looking at John Chapter 7.10-24. This section narrates the doctrinal head-to-head between Jesus and the Jews, both the masses and their masters. The debate took place in the precincts of the Temple. Christ had come in cognito, resisting the pressure of his relatives. Now, constrained by the duties of His office, He stands in God’s House to declare divine doctrine in order to decimate human tradition.

What is apparent, throughout this account, is the commitment of the Son to the glory of His Father. This, in fact, is the thing, above all, that distinguishes Jesus Christ clearly from His Judean teachers and hearers. The central section of the passage is found in the statement recounted by John in Chapter 7 Verse 18:

“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is true, and no unrighteousness is in him” (NKJV).

This portion of the 4th Gospel raises […]

Do you Refresh the Hearts of the Saints?

“You have often refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

So Paul wrote to his good friend Philemon, as he thanked God for his love for all the saints. The church at Colosse met in Philemon and Apphia’s home, and it’s not hard to imagine what life must have been like for the household. No doubt every day there was constant coming and going of visitors in and out of the house. There was a guest room for visitors (Phm 22) which was probably well used. Apphia must surely have cooked many meals for guests. When you arrived at Philemon’s home you were always sure of a warm welcome – you never felt like you were intruding – they were the sort of people who were always pleased to see you and who were genuinely delighted to have people stay. Can’t you just picture Philemon and Apphia sitting with people far into the night, giving comfort and counsel, praying with them, refreshing them in the depths of their souls. This word ‘refresh’ is used elsewhere in Greek of soldiers resting. What a beautiful image of Philemon’s ministry: to battle-weary believers worn out from fighting against temptation or persecution or false teaching or […]

Some Encouragments To Frequent Prayer

Out walking our beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog this evening on a lovely summer’s evening.

Here are some thoughts from a conversation that I had with my wife, on the stroll, as to reasons we should delight to pray often.

First God’s Open Access Policy. Round the clock, day and night, the Father’s door is open to hear His children’s prayers.

Second Our Great High Priest. Christ is engaged in continual everlasting intercession for His people in order that their persons and prayers may find acceptance with the Father – Hebrew 4.14-16.

Third Believers Sin Frequently. More than we know, we are in constant need of ongoing confession, cleansing of conscience, and assurance of pardon, so keeping our list short and confession up to date is best – 1 John 1.5-10.

Fourth Saints Need Much Grace. To keep our vows, fulfill our duties, know God’s will, meditate on truth, enjoy Christian fellowship, cherish our relationships, obey the commandments with joy, thanksgiving, devotion, sacrifice and kindness requires more faith than we have and more grace than we seek.

Fifth Prayer Lists Are Long. Luther did not always pray 3 hours a day. Sometimes, he said, that his dog was keener on eating dinner than his master was eager […]

Bursting the Myth of the Christian Bubble…(or at least poking a few needed holes in it)

I’m in the midst of one of my favorite times of the year.  I have the privilege every summer of serving as a teacher, and this year as the onsite director, of our denomination’s “Theological Foundations for Youth” program.  This program of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America brings rising high school seniors from all over the country to the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh to deepen their walk with Christ and their understanding of the reason Christ raised up this particular branch of his church.  Through intense classes, times of singing, prayer, and service to local congregations, and lots of time for students to ask and gain godly insight regarding their soul’s deepest and sometimes darkest doubts and questions, this three week program is really something special.  But some would say it’s not about reality at all.

Comfort for Cross-Bearing. Calvin on the Intercession of the Spirit – A Few Notes On Romans 8.26-27

1. Activity – the Spirit Himself does not actually intercede for us: this rather is Paul’s way of expressing that God, by His Spirit, moves us to prayer.
2. Reason – this work takes place in us because our minds are so disturbed by our trials, that we do not know how to frame our thoughts properly; anyway, all prayer, is Spirit-generated prayer, without whose help, we could not pray properly from the heart. “Our thoughts nevertheless continue oppressed with darkness, until the Spirit guides them by His light.”
3. Manner – God, “…by the secret impulse of His Spirit, knocks at our door, and thus opens for himself our hearts,” in order that we might formulate each and every syllable of the proper language of prayer. “He also affects our heart in such a way, that these desires by their fervency penetrate into heaven itself.”
4. Comfort – the fact that we even have this prayer stirred up by God, is a sign of celestial favor already shining forth, if, even though, for a time, our prayers go unanswered.
5. Effect – we are taught by the Spirit how to pray and what to ask for in our prayers.
6. Grace – we thus […]

A Call To Closeness

O Soul Are You Weary And Troubled

Perhaps like me, at this time in the year, you’re getting rather jaded. Rest and relaxation is usually ‘what the doctor ordered’. Even more important you need to recharge your batteries and get spiritually refreshed. So, as I blog tonight, I want to encourage you not just to take a time out, but to spend more time with God, to draw closer in your walk.

A Prompt to Closeness

As providence would have it, I’ve just been asked this week to write a short series of four articles on prayer. This is one occasion when I can honestly ask ‘Why me?’. It is true that a closer walk with God has been on my heart for years. Yes it’s been my deep desire for months to devote myself to prayer. I suspect many of us feel mere novices in prayer. I trust that this series will not go directly from head to pen but, en route, will traverse the deep wells of my soul!

Finally Unpacking Book Boxes

About the middle of the week I finally got around to putting up more shelves and unpacking long-boxed books. We moved in the Fall and I’m down to the final thousand […]

Holy Hatred of Sin

I’ve been reflecting a little recently on a question that is generated by Q.87 in the Westminster Shorter Catechism on ‘Repentance unto life’: what is it that produces a healthy holy hatred of sin?

“Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavour after, new obedience.”

I’d like to put the question out there to see what answers people come up with – I’m sure some have read quite widely on the matter and will have well-considered answers.

Up to this point I’ve just jotted down a few answers: here’s what I’ve come up with in the brief time I’ve given to the answer.

1. The Holy Scriptures.

We learn about the hatefulness of sin in all its prevalence, deception, consequences, ugliness, impurity, rebellion and godlessness from many examples that are given in the bible. There are many clear doctrinal statements for example the catalogue of sins in the Psalms and the catena of Old Testament quotations in Romans 3 which help us see sin for […]

Prayer that Cheers

Introduction
Do you feel down in the dumps? Do you struggle with yourself? Does life ever overwhelm you? Has your faith become a drudgery? Are the storms of life upsetting? Is your service for Christ costly? If you take advice from James you’ll certainly get help.

Context
The theme that runs through James is ‘You need a faith that works!’ He’s given some spiritual litmus to see how faith is firing: like how you handle treasures, endure trials and control tongues. His closing comments focus on the need for fervent prayer. To have a faith that works you’ll be often on your knees.

Text
Chapter 5.13 is where I want to take your heart. “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.” Don’t think prayer a chore! God gives it for your cheer. Prayer brings some cheer in your tears. Prayer adds more cheer by your songs.

Subjects of Cheering Prayer
James gives no exemptions. Anyone is all-inclusive. All believers are beneficiaries in the bending of their knees. Husbands, wives, elders, deacons, men, women, parents, children, young, old, princes, citizens may receive this cheering help. Did my list exclude you? Cheer up Christ includes you!

Examples of Cheering Prayer
The apostle stops […]

A Movie

Movie recommendations are fickle. Not only do interests vary, but so do consciences. So if you do not want to have your emotions pulled in painful directions, and if you harbor concerns about the content, which isn’t disqualifying in my mind, then save yourself a few dollars and do not stream this movie.

But if you do want to feel the heart-breaking pain of a child lost in Calcutta, as well as the emotional struggles that typically attend adoption, then the powerful film, Lion, is a perfect fit.

It is a story rooted in truth. It is a story that will make you cry. And it is a story that will make you want to help. Thankfully, there are ways to help. But I leave that for you to consider after watching it.

I do not want to say much more, as it is best to go into movies knowing as little as possible.

So again, the movie is Lion. It has an 8.1 on IMDB and an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes.