Category Archives: Bits Of. . .

Bits Of Abraham Kuyper

Town Church by Jon Luty--Public Domain Pictures

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920), a Dutch theologian, statesman, journalist, and politician was prime minister of the Netherlands between 1901 and 1905.

In 1862, he became a Dutch Reformed Church minister. Inspired by the simple reformed faith of a farmer’s wife, he began to oppose  centralization in the church and the role of the King in that centralization. He became a proponent of separation of church and state because of those strongly held beliefs.

Here in North America, his political and theological views have  appreciably impacted the Reformed community. He is considered the father of Dutch Neo-Calvinism. Here are a few of his words:

In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, “That is mine!”

He is your friend who pushes you nearer to God.

It is not your idea, not your understanding, not your thinking, not your reasoning, not even your profession of faith, that here can quench the thirst. The home-sickness goes out after God Himself… it is not the name of God but God Himself whom your soul desires and cannot do without.

Whatever man may stand, whatever he may do, to whatever he may apply his hand – in agriculture, in commerce, and in industry, or his mind, in the world of art, and science – he is, in whatsoever it may be, constantly standing before the face of God. He is employed in the service of his God. He has strictly to obey his God. And above all, he has to aim at the glory of his God.

When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.

The “book of nature” must always be read in light of God’s special revelation, the Bible.

The curse should no longer rest upon the world itself, but upon that which is sinful in it, and instead of monastic flight from the world the duty is now emphasized of serving God in the world, in every position in life.

We can exert power for good, therefore, only if we are prepared to drum it into our heads that the church of Christ can never exert influence on civil society directly, only indirectly.

Original Content: Copyright© 2014 by Susan E. Johnson
All Rights Reserved

Bits Of A. J. Gossip

Desert Blooms by Andrew Schmidt

A.J. Gossip (1873-1954) was a minister in the Free Church of Scotland and Professor of Christian Ethics and Practical Theology at the University of Glasgow. Gossip’s passion was preaching practical applications of the Gospel–applications he had tried and tested through his own experiences, bringing comfort, strength, and hope to others who were hurting.

You will not stroll into Christlikeness with your hands in your pockets, shoving the door open with a careless shoulder. This is no hobby for one’s leisure moments, taken up at intervals when we have nothing much to do, and put down and forgotten when our life grows full and interesting… It takes all one’s strength, and all one’s heart, and all one’s mind, and all one’s soul, given freely and recklessly and without restraint.

At the very moment when the pulpit has fallen strangely silent about sin, fiction can talk of little except evil, not indeed viewed as sin, but apparently as the invariable ways of a peculiarly repulsive insect, which it can’t help, poor thing; and there is no manner of use expecting anything from it, except the nastiness natural to it.

Do you find life too difficult for you? So did we, but not now, with the amplitudes of grace there are for us in Jesus Christ, it grows satisfying and successful and exciting beyond measure, becomes another and a richer thing.

We can do nothing, we say sometimes, we can only pray. That, we feel, is a terribly precarious second-best. So long as we can fuss and work and rush about, so long as we can lend a hand, we have some hope; but if we have to fall back upon God — ah, then things must be critical indeed!

Christ holds that prayer is a tremendous power which achieves what, without it, was a sheer impossibility. And this amazing thing you can set into operation. And the fact that you are not so using it, and simply don’t believe in it and its efficiency and efficacy as our fathers did, and that so many nowadays agree with you, is certainly a major reason why the churches are so cold, and the promises seem so tardy of fulfillment.

 If we are whimpering, and sniveling, and begging to be spared the discipline of life that is sent to knock some smatterings of manhood into us, the answer to that prayer may never come at all. Thank God! If you are not bleating to get off, but asking to be given grace and strength to see this through with honour, “The very day” you pray that prayer, the answer always comes.

Do not burn false fire upon God’s altar; do not pose and pretend, either to Him or to yourself, in your religious exercises; do not say more than you mean, or use exaggerated language that goes beyond the facts, when speaking to Him whose word is truth.

You cannot escape Christ, do what You will. You reject His divinity, but, so doing, you have not evaded Him. If He is a man just like us, then obviously you must be a man like Him.

What exactly has Christ done for you? What is there in your life that needs Christ to explain it, and that, apart from Him, simply could not have been there at all? If there is nothing, then your religion is a sheer futility. But then that is your fault, not Jesus Christ’s.

Thanksgiving is the language of heaven, and we had better start to learn it if we are not to be mere dumb aliens there.

The core and essence of the Gospel is its tremendous and glorious revelation of how deadly is God’s hatred of sin, so that He cannot stand having it in the same universe as Himself, and will go any length, and will pay any price, and will make any sacrifice, to master and abolish it, is set upon so doing in our hearts, thank God, as elsewhere.

God has the right to be trusted; to be believed that He means what He says; and that His love is dependable.

Original Content: Copyright© 2014 by Susan E. Johnson
All Rights Reserved

More Bits Of A. B. Simpson

Quill Pen And Ink

Albert Benjamin Simpson (1843-1919) was born in Canada to Scottish parents. He became a Presbyterian minister and pastored several churches in Ontario before accepting the call to pastor the largest Presbyterian church in Louisville, KY.  During a revival meeting at that church, he experienced the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Author of 70 books on vibrant Christian living, he founded the The Christian and Missionary Alliance.  This was a man who had a heart for bringing the gospel to nations.

Difficulties and obstacles are God’s challenges to faith. When hindrances confront us in the path of duty, we are to recognize them as vessels for faith to fill with the fullness and all-sufficiency of Jesus.

God does not so much want us to do things as to let people see what He can do.

 I would rather play with forked lightning, or take in my hand living wires with their fiery current, than speak a reckless word against any servant of Christ, or idly repeat the slanderous darts which thousands of Christian are hurling on others.

As long as you want anything very much, especially more than you want God, it is an idol.

We must learn to live on the heavenly side and look at things from above. To contemplate all things as God sees them, as Christ beholds them, overcomes sin, defies Satan, dissolves perplexities, lifts us above trials, separates us from the world and conquers fear of death.

Holiness of heart and life. This is not the perfection of the human nature, but the holiness of the divine nature dwelling within.

We may not preach a crucified Saviour without being also crucified men and women. It is not enough to wear an ornamental cross as a pretty decoration. The cross that Paul speaks about was burned into his very flesh, was branded into his being, and only the Holy Spirit can burn the true cross into our innermost life.

One of the special marks of the Holy Ghost in the Apostolic Church was the spirit of boldness.

God is not looking for extraordinary characters as His instruments, but He is looking for humble instruments through whom He can be honored throughout the ages.

Often we want people to pray for us and help us, but we always defeat our object when we look too much to them and lean upon them. The true secret of union is for both to look upon God, and in the act of looking past themselves to Him they are unconsciously united.

There is no harm whatever in having money, houses, lands, friends and children if you do not value these things or ones for themselves.

Our God has boundless resources. The only limit is in us. Our asking, our thinking, our praying are too small. Our expectations are too limited.

There is no wonder more supernatural and divine in the life of a believer than the mystery and ministry of prayer…the hand of the child touching the arm of the Father and moving the wheel of the universe.

Like a chain which depends upon its weakest link, if God’s Word is not absolutely and completely true, it is too weak a cable to fix our anchorage and guarantee our eternal peace.

There are two ways of getting out of a trial. One is simply to try to get rid of the trial, and be thankful when it is over. The other is to recognize the trial as a challenge from God to claim a larger blessing than we have ever had, and to hail it with delight as an opportunity of obtaining a larger measure of divine grace.

You will have no test of faith that will not fit you to be a blessing if you are obedient to the Lord. I never had a trial but when I got out of the deep river I found some poor pilgrim on the bank that I was able to help by that very experience.

 

Original Content: Copyright© 2014 by Susan E. Johnson
All Rights Reserved

 

 

Bits Of A. B. Simpson

Last Light--Photobucket

Albert Benjamin Simpson (1843-1919) was born in Canada to Scottish parents. He became a Presbyterian minister and pastored several churches in Ontario before accepting the call to pastor the largest Presbyterian church in Louisville, KY.  During a revival meeting at that church, he experienced the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Author of 70 books on vibrant Christian living, he founded the The Christian and Missionary Alliance.  This was a man who had a heart for bringing the gospel to nations.

We begin life with the natural, next we come into the spiritual; but then, when we have truly received the kingdom of God and His righteousness, the natural is added to the spiritual, and we are able to receive the gifts of His providence and the blessings of life without becoming centered in them or allowing them to separate us from Him.

One touch of Christ is worth a lifetime of struggling.

We must never forget that Christ did not suffer just during His three years of public ministry or the last few days of His life when He was crucified. No, He suffered throughout His life on earth. He who was without sin lived daily with the corruption and sinfulness of lost humanity.

Christ is not a reservoir but a spring. His life is continual, active and ever passing on with an outflow as necessary as its inflow. If we do not perpetually draw the fresh supply from the living Fountain, we shall either grow stagnant or empty, It is, therefore, not so much a perpetual fullness as a perpetual filling.

Aggressive Christianity is the world’s greatest need.

Perils as well as privileges attend the higher Christian life. The nearer we come to God, the thicker the hosts of darkness in heavenly places.

The sanctified body is one whose hands are clean. The stain of dishonesty is not on them, the withering blight of ill-gotten gain has not blistered them, the mark of violence is not found upon them. They have been separated from every occupation that could displease God or injure a fellow-man.

God means every Christian to be effective, to make a difference in the actual records and results of Christian work. God put each of us here to be a power. There is not one of us but is an essential wheel of the machinery and can accomplish all that God calls us to.

The Christian that is bound by his own horizon, the church that lives simply for itself, is bound to die a spiritual death and sink into stagnancy and corruption. We never can thank God enough for giving us not only a whole Gospel to believe, but a whole world to give it to.

The chief danger of the Church today is that it is trying to get on the same side as the world, instead of turning the world upside down. Our Master expects us to accomplish results, even if they bring opposition and conflict. Anything is better than compromise, apathy, and paralysis. God, give to us an intense cry for the old-time power of the Gospel and the Holy Ghost!

When you become satisfied with God, however, everything else so loses its charm that He can give it to you without harm.

The human body has been called the microcosm of the universe, a little world of wonders and a monument of divine wisdom and power, sufficient to convince the most incredulous mind of the existence of the Great Designer.

God is preparing His heroes. And when the opportunity comes, He can fit them into their places in a moment. And the world will wonder where they came from.

Original Content: Copyright © 2014 Susan E. Johnson
All Rights Reserved

More Bits Of Andrew Murray

Pipe Organ In Church by Petr KratochvilAndrew Murray (1828-1917) was born in South Africa to missionary parents. Educated in Scotland, he returned to South Africa as a pastor and teacher. He was a prolific writer having authored over 240 books and was instrumental in the South African Revival of 1860. Below are just a few examples of his wisdom and evidence of his passionate faith.

“The greatest test of whether the holiness we profess to seek or to attain is truth and life will be whether it produces an increasing humility in us. In man, humility is the one thing needed to allow God’s holiness to dwell in him and shine through him. The chief mark of counterfeit holiness is lack of humility. The holiest will be the humblest.”

“God has no more precious gift to a church or an age than a man who lives as an embodiment of His will, and inspires those around him with the faith of what grace can do.”

“Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do.”

“Let us thank God heartily as often as we pray that we have His Spirit in us to teach us to pray. Thanksgiving will draw our hearts out to God and keep us engaged with Him; it will take our attention from ourselves and give the Spirit room in our hearts.”

“If the spiritual life be healthy, under the full power of the Holy Spirit, praying without ceasing will be natural.”

“We have within us a self that has its poison from Satan–from hell–and yet we cherish and nourish it. What do we not do to please self and nourish self–and we make the devil within us strong. . . Look at your own life. What are the works of hell? They are chiefly these three: self-will, self-trust, and self-exaltation.”

“Abide in Jesus, the sinless One – which means, give up all of self and its life, and dwell in God’s will and rest in His strength. This is what brings the power that does not commit sin.”

“Do not confound work and fruit. There may be a good deal of work for Christ that is not the fruit of the heavenly Vine.”

“The world asks, ‘What does a man own?’ Christ asks, ‘How does he use it?'”

“Just as water ever seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds you abased and empty, His glory and power flow in.”

Original Content: Copyright © 2014 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved

More Bits Of Matthew Henry

Casket With Jewelry by Larisa Koshkina--Public Domain Pictures

 

It’s been quite some time since I’ve done one of these “Bits Of” posts. I thought it time to rectify that.  Matthew Henry (1662-1714) is best known for his Exposition of the Old and New Testaments (1708–1710), an exhaustive verse by verse study of the Bible. His works, while exegetical in scope, were meant as a practical and devotional explanation of scripture. It is said that George Whitefield and Charles Spurgeon read through this work multiple times. Spurgeon stated, “Every minister ought to read it entirely and carefully through once at least.”

More pearls of wisdom from Matthew Henry:

“The joy of the Lord will arm us against the assaults of our spiritual enemies and put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks.”

“Cast not away your confidence because God defers his performances. That which does not come in your time, will be hastened in his time, which is always the more convenient season. God will work when he pleases, how he pleases, and by what means he pleases. He is not bound to keep our time, but he will perform his word, honour our faith, and reward them that diligently seek him.”

“The more we accommodate ourselves to plain things, and the less we indulge in those artificial delights which gratify pride and luxury, the nearer we approach to a state of innocency.”

“You have been used to take notice of the sayings of dying men. This is mine: that a life spent in the service of God, and communion with Him, is the most comfortable and pleasant life that anyone can live in this world.”

“What we count the ills of life are often blessings in disguise, resulting in good to us in the end. Though for the present not joyous but grievous, yet, if received in a right spirit, they work out fruits of righteousness for us at last.”

“Those who would bring great things to pass must rise early. Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty.”

“He whose head is in heaven need not fear to put his feet into the grave.”

“Nothing can make a man truly great but being truly good, and partaking of God’s holiness.”

“Peace is such a precious jewel that I would give anything for it but truth.”

“Though we cannot by our prayers give God any information, yet we must by our prayers give him honor.”

“We read of preaching the Word out of season, but we do not read of praying out of season, for that is never out of season.”

“While we are zealous for good works, let us be careful not to put them in the place of Christ’s righteousness, and not to advance anything which may betray others into so dreadful a delusion.”

“Whatever we have of this world in our hands, our care must be to keep it out of our hearts, lest it come between us and Christ.”

“No attribute of God is more dreadful to sinners than His holiness.”

“Those that go gold into the furnace will come out no worse.”

“All this and heaven too.”

 

Original Content: Copyright © 2014 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved

 

More Bits Of Oswald Chambers

Antique Compass--PhotobucketOswald Chambers, best known for his book, “My Utmost For His Highest,” left a spiritual legacy that continues to impact the Church today. Below are a few more examples of that legacy.

“The only right a Christian has is the right to give up his rights.”

“Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.”

“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.”

“Leave the broken, irreversible past in God’s hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.”

“Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love.”

“God has one destined end for mankind – holiness! His one aim is the production of saints. God is not an eternal blessing-machine for men. He did not come to save men out of pity. He came to save men because He had created them to be holy.”

“Obedience to the call of Christ nearly always costs everything to two people – the one who is called, and the one who loves that one.”

“All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them.”

“Wait on God and He will work, but don’t wait in spiritual sulks because you cannot see an inch in front of you! Are we detached enough from our spiritual hysterics to wait on God? To wait is not to sit with folded hands, but to learn to do what we are told.”

“We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; The Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.”

“Prayer does not equip us for greater works – prayer is the greater work.”

“All heaven is interested in the cross of Christ, all hell terribly afraid of it, while men are the only beings who more or less ignore its meaning.”

Original Content Copyright © 2013 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved