Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Latest Completed Reading: Charles Spurgeon's "All of Grace"

You may know we've been recording our reading of Christian writings we find beneficial, all of which you can find here.

And we just finished our latest: Charles Spurgeon's "All of Grace"

It has a wonderful Gospel message, and encouragement for sinners to come to Christ, and not let anything get in the way of that. He weaves the doctrines of grace with a Gospel call nicely, walking that line between God's sovereignty and man's responsibility.

The entire reading is available now at the link above, where you can listen to them individually and also download all the files in a zip file.

Our prayer for all of these readings is that someone more inclined to listen than read would be able to participate in these means of grace, and that the Lord would bless them to the listener's heart and life.

-- David

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

David's Digest: The Carnal Life

James 4:13 - "Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money."

Where are our hearts truly? With God or the things of the world?
Luke 12:34 - "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Puritan Thomas Manton in his excellent work "A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes, on the Epistle of James" discusses the life of carnal persons and the things important to them.

How do we compare?

You can listen to all of verse 13 here:


or download it:
Download


The entire book is available here: https://ia800904.us.archive.org/2/items/apracticalcomme01mantgoog/apracticalcomme01mantgoog.pdf#page=375, and this section starts on PDF page 375 (in the print, page 356), or you can get it in other formats here...

...or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Manton - James Commentary


From Thomas Manton:

Verse 13. - Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money."


Ye that say, "To-day or to-morrow we will go into such a city, etc." By an imitation he recites the speeches or thoughts of the Jewish factors or merchants: Now we will go to Alexandria, or to Damascus, or to Antioch, which were the places of their usual traffic [for business]. Observe hence,


Obs 1. That carnal hearts are all for carnal projects. Thoughts are the purest offspring of the soul, and do discover the temper of it. Men are according to their devices; see Isa. xxxii. 6, 7: "Liberal men devise liberal things." Carnal men are projecting how to spend their days and months in buying and selling, and getting gain. The fool in the Gospel is thinking of enlarging his barns, and plucking down his houses, and building greater (Luke xi. 17, 18): this engrosses all his thoughts.

One apostle describes such men thus, "Minding earthly things" (Phil. iii. 19). Another thus, "Having a heart exercised with covetous practices" (2 Pet. ii. 14); that is, with earnest contrivances how to promote their gain and earthly aims.

A gracious heart is for gracious projects, how they shall be more thankful (Psa. cxvi. 12), how more holy, more useful for God, more fruitful in every good work; "what they shall do to inherit eternal life." Oh! consider, this is the better care, that more suits with the end [purpose] of our creation and the nature of our spirits. We were sent into the world, not to grow great and pompous, but to enrich our souls with spiritual excellencies, etc.


Obs 2. Again you may observe, that carnal men send out their thoughts to forestall and fore-enjoy their contentments ere [before] they obtain them. [ie. looking forward to expected events and enjoyments with excitement] It is usual with men to feed themselves with the pleasure of their hopes. Sisera's mother's ladies looked through the lattice, pleasing themselves in the thought of a triumphant return (Judg. v.).

Thoughts are the spies and messengers of the soul; hope sends them out after the thing expected, and love after the thing beloved. When a thing is strongly expected, the thoughts are wont [often] to spend themselves in creating images and suppositions of the happiness of enjoyment. If a poor man were adopted into the succession of a crown, he would please himself in the supposition of the future honour and pleasure of the kingly state. Godly men, that are called to be co-heirs with Christ, are wont [often] to pre-occupy the bliss of their future estate, and so do in a manner feel what they do but expect.

So also do carnal men charm their souls with whispers of vanity, and feed themselves with the pleasant anticipation of that carnal delight which they look for: as young heirs spend upon their hopes, and riot away their estate ere [before] they possess it.

Well then, look to it; it is a sure note of fleshliness, when the world runs so often in your thoughts, and you are always deflowering [corrupting] carnal contentments [in this case I believe lawful ones] by these anticipations of lust [generally, any corrupt desire in the heart] and sin; and you have nothing to live upon, or to entertain your spirit withal, but these suppositions of gain and pomp, and the reversion [future possession] of some outward enjoyment.


Obs 3. Again, you may observe their confidence of future events. "We will go, and continue there a year," etc. Note from that, that carnal affections are usually accompanied with, certainly much encouraged by, carnal confidence. They are doubly confident: of the success of their endeavours. "We will get gain"; of the continuance of their lives, "We will continue there a year." Lust [corrupt desires] cannot be nourished without a presumption of success.

When men multiply endeavours, they liittle think of God, or of the changes of providence. [If they were to], It is [or would be] enough to undo [sadly, to them, take away from them their] lust [corrupt desire] to suppose [that] a disappointment [might happen].

Besides, when there is such a presence of means [wealth, prosperity], we ascribe little to the highest cause [God and His providence, how He causes things to happen in our lives]. First the world steals away our affections, and then it intercepts our trust: there is not only adultery in it (James iv. 4), but idolatry (Eph. v. 5). It is not only our darling, but our god; and that is the reason why worldly men are always represented as men of a secure presumption; as, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; eat, drink, and be merry" (Luke xii 9). "I shall die in my nest, and multiply my days as the sand" (Job xxix. 18). So in that apocryphal passage, "I have found rest, and will eat continually of my goods, and yet he knoweth not what time shall come upon him" (Ecclus. xi. 19). They think now they have enough to secure them against all chances [happenstances].

Well then, look to your confidence and trust: when you are getting an estate, is your expectation founded in faith, or lust [corrupt desire]? When you have gotten an estate, where lies the assurance of your contentment, in the promises or your outward welfare?


Obs 4. Again, from that to-day or to-morrow, and we will tarry there a year. Carnal men are not only confident of present, but future welfare; which argues a heart stupidly [insensibly, like in a stupor] secure, and utterly insensible of the changes of Providence: "To-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundantly" (Isa. Ivi. 12): "Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever" (Psa. xlix. 11).

Men love to enjoy their carnal comforts without interruption, thought of death, or change. Every day is as a new life, and brings sufficient care with it; we need not look out for so long time. But worldly men in their cares do not only provide for the morrow, but the next year, in their possessions; do not only please themselves in their present happiness, but will not so much as suppose a change.


May God grant the things of the world be seen as the vain things they are. May our hearts be with spiritual things and all our desires be toward Christ Jesus, being in union with Him, loving Him, adoring Him, and worshipping Him in our hearts, minds, words and actions!
1 John 2:15 - "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

Psalm 27:4 - "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple."

-- David

Monday, May 17, 2021

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: 2021 Chick Hatching #2

Once again, one of our hens got broody this 2021, and after tucking her away in the brooder barn, she hatched out a bunch -- not even sure how many...maybe at least 9, and I believe they all have made it so far!

Here are a couple of pictures of them all:
2nd Hatching of 2021 Chicks
More of 2nd Hatching of 2021 Chicks

And here's their video:



We once again thank the Lord for His gracious provisions in granting this next set of 2021 chicks! We are thankful the eggs can go to help others!

-- David

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: 1st Chick Hatching of 2021

That time of year rolled around again this 2021, hens getting broody, and some of ours don't always get broody in the barn or chicken tractor...

One of our hens didn't come back to roost one night. I think it was the next evening, I thought I'd go see if I could somehow find her out in the woods somewhere, which is where I hoped she was vs. having been eated by a predator. I circled around the back side and west areas behind our house. I headed down one direction, and saw what I thought was a plastic bag in a thicket of weeds with no leaves because it was still winter-ish, and I thought, no way was that the hen. But, lo and behold, it surely ended up being her! An amazing gift from God to find her back there, somewhere I would not usually look!

When we tried to get her, she ran off, but we were able to track her down, and so we took her and her eggs and put them in the brooder barn, and God graciously granted I believe it was 5 chicks, and all 5 are still going today, although sadly, it appears one is having a problem with its foot -- she's walking on it crimped backwards...don't know if it's an injury or a disorder. But, we pray the Lord might grant it healing.

Here are a couple of pictures of them all:
1st Hatching of 2021 Chicks
More of 1st Hatching of 2021 Chicks

And here's their video:



As always, we are very thankful to the Lord for these new provisions, and we pray they benefit His people in some way!

-- David

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

David's Digest: Can We Offer Up Our Issac?

James 2:21 - "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

Abraham's Issac was his only son -- the son of the promise, and yet God would have Abraham offer Isaac as a literal sacrifice on an alter. I would assume this caused Abraham at least a little angst of heart and mind. However, he was quickly obedient.

What has God required of us that causes us pause by way of reason or feelings? How are we to approach obedience to God? Are we willing to offer up our "Issacs"?

Puritan Thomas Manton in his most excellent work "A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes, on the Epistle of James" applies Abraham's experience in a practical way to our lives in this verse.

You can listen to all of verse 21 here:


or download it:
Download


The entire book is available here: https://ia800904.us.archive.org/2/items/apracticalcomme01mantgoog/apracticalcomme01mantgoog.pdf#page=246, and this section starts on PDF page 246 (in the print, page 227), or you can get it in other formats here...

...or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Manton - James Commentary


From Thomas Manton:

Verse 21. - Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?


Obs 4. From that Offered Isaac upon the altar He brings this as the great argument of the truth of Abraham's faith. It is not for faith to produce every action, unless it produce such actions as Abraham's. Such as will engage you to self-denial, are troublesome to the flesh. David scorned such service as [that] cost nothing. There -- where we must deny our own reason, affections, interest -- that is an action fit to try a believer.

Let us see what is observable in this action of Abraham, that we may go and do likewise.

(1.) Observe the greatness of the temptation. It was to offer his own son, the son of his love, his only son, a son longed for, and obtained when 'his body was dead', and 'Sarah's womb dead'; nay, 'the son of the promise'. Had he been to contend only with natural affection, it had been much -- descensive love [I believe, love of a descendant, like a child] is always vehement; but for love to Isaac there were special endearing reasons and arguments.

But Abraham was not only to conflict with natured affection, but reason; not only with reason, but faith. He was, as it were, to execute all his hopes; and all this was to be done by himself; with his own hand he was at one stroke to cut off all his comforts. The execution of such a sentence was as harsh and bitter to flesh and blood, as to be his own executioner.

Oh! go and shame yourselves without, you that can so little deny yourselves for God, that attempt duties only when they are easy and obvious, never care to recover them out of the hands of difficulty and inconvenience. Public duties, if well done, are usually against carnal interests; private duties against carnal affections. Can you give up all that is near and dear to you? Can you offer up your Isaac? your ease and pleasure, for private duties? your interests, for public? Every action is not a trial of faith, but such as engages to self-denial.

(2.) Consider the readiness of his obedience. As Abraham is the pattern of believing, so of obeying. He received the promises, as a figure of our faith; he offered up his son, as a figure of our obedience (Heb. xi. 17).

(1st.) He obeyed readily and willingly: 'Abraham rose early in the morning' (Gen. xxii. 3). In such a service some would have delayed all the time they could; but he is up early. Usually we straiten [confine, make narrow] duty, rather than straiten ourselves: we are not about that work early.

(2nd.) Resolutely: he concealed it from his wife, servants, from Isaac himself, that so he might not be diverted from his pious purpose. Oh! who is now so wise to order the circumstances of a duty, that he may not be hindered in it?

(3rd.) He denied carnal reason. In difficult cases we seek to elude the command; dispute how we shall shift it off, not how we shall obey it. If we had been put upon such a trial, we would question the vision, or seek some other meaning; perhaps offer the image of Isaac, or some youngling of the flock, and call it Isaac; as now we often pervert a command by distinctions, and invent shifts to cheat our souls into a neglect of duty; as the heathens, when their gods called for a man, they offered a candle; or as Hercules offered up a painted man instead of a living.

But Abraham does not so, though he had a fair occasion; for he was divided between believing the promise and obeying the command. God tried him in his faith; his faith was to conflict with his natural reason, as well as his obedience with his natural affection. But he 'accounted that God was able to raise him from the dead' (Heb. xi. 19), and he reconciled the commandment with the promise. How easily could we have slipped out at this door, and disobey out of pretences and reasons of religion! But Abraham offered Isaac.


May God grant us to be able to see the "Isaacs" in our lives that we might not be willing to easily let go of;

... may we not lessen duty because it goes against carnal selves in some way;

... may He grant us the faith and trust in Him to not hold on to any things of this temporal world;

... may we see ourselves only as stewards of anything we have, with God as the actual owner of them;

... may we cheerfully and obediently surrender and submit ourselves to whatever His pleasure is in the retrieving of these things from us at any moment, even those things most dear to us and least pleasing to our carnal selves;

... and may the Lord grant that He be our only portion, now and always!

Psa 16:5- "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot."

Psa 119:57 - "Thou art my portion, O Lord: I have said that I would keep thy words."

Psa 73:25-26 - "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

-- David

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Critter Corner: Where's the Belf-ry?

Well, we had an uninvited guest flying around in our house the other night. At first, I thought it was a barn swallow, which we commonly have around the house here, since they build nests on the porch rafters. But as it flew by me at around eye level, I wondered....and sure enough, when it landed up on the wall, it sure looked like what I had now suspected it was...a bat! We figure it must have tailgaited when one of us came in from outside.

Hm, what to do. So, I went and got a fish net we have (which, by the way, works great for swooping up runaway chickens! :D ), set up the ladder, and with a piece of cardboard, rounded up the bat, and then took him outside and let it go.

Here's a little video of the event! To me, it looked like a flying mouse. The cats were sure interested in it, although I assume they thought it was a bird:



I don't know what grief it could have caused us or the cats in the house, but we thank the Lord we were able to scoop it up and out.

-- David

P.S. If you don't understand the reference in the title of this blog post, a long time ago there was a TV commerical for a fast-food burger joint where an elderly lady was complaining of the competitor's hamburger size compared to the bun, asking "Where's the beef?" :D

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

David's Digest: You Must Deny Yourself

Matthew 16:24 - "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

By nature, we are all self-centered. Every sin has some idolatry in it, where we are self-gods (ie. God said to do or not do something, and in a certain way, and we say, "No, I know better", which is defacto saying we will not have God be our God, but ourselves). The original sin was to be God (while the temptation was to "be as gods", Gen 3:5, in the end, since only one God can exist at a time by definition, the reality was that they wanted to be God).

According to the above verse, we are required to deny ourselves to be a disciple of Christ. Then, it seems it would follow that we really cannot be good Christians with each other without it either, which makes sense from experience as well.

Along the lines with how important I believe Jonathan Edwards' Charity and Its Fruits as sort of being part of "Christianity 101", that every person claiming the name of Christ should attend to, I believe Thomas Manton's A Treatise of Self-Denial is right up there along with it.
And so, to help make it available in audio format for those who might rather listen than read, I recently finished recording the entire treatise, which you can access as one of our Readings pages here:

A Treatise of Self-Denial

And if you want to read it, you can find it here: https://www.monergism.com/treatise-self-denial-free-ebook

I cannot emphasize how important I believe Mr. Manton's exposé is. We hope you'll take the time to go through it, and may God guide your studies.

-- David