Thanksgiving to God

Thanksgiving to God

John Wesley was about 21 years of age when he went to Oxford University. He came from a Christian, home, and he was gifted with a keen mind and good looks. Yet in those days he was a bit snobbish and sarcastic.

One night, however, something happened that set in motion a change in Wesley’s heart. While speaking with a porter, he discovered that the poor fellow had only one coat and lived in such impoverished conditions that he didn’t’ even have a bed. Yet he was an unusually happy person, filled with gratitude to God. Wesley, being immature, thoughtlessly joked about the man’s misfortunes. “And what else do you thank God for?” he said with a touch of sarcasm.

The porter smiled, and in the spirit of meekness replied with joy: “I thank Him that He has given me my life and being, a heart to love Him, and above all a constant desire to serve Him!” Deeply moved, Wesley recognised that this man knew the meaning of true thankfulness.

Many years later, in 1791, John Wesley lay on his deathbed at the age of 88. Those who gathered around him realised how well he had learned the lesson of praising God in every circumstance. Despite Wesley’s extreme weakness, he began singing the hymn, “I’ll praise My Maker While I’ve Breath.”


Why does the church usually gather on Sunday mornings and evenings? The Westminster Confession of Faith teaches that we assemble in order to conduct religious worship. (WCF 21).

It is usual in Presbyterian circles to refer to what we do as the public worship of the church. Worship is an interesting word. It comes from an Old english word, weorth, meaning ‘worth’ In its earliest form, weorthscipe (worth-ship) meant showing honour and respect to something or someone of worth. It is a very good translation for biblicall worship. According to the scriptures we worship God because He is worth to be praised and served. Th Lord Jesus, in His discourse with the Samaritan woman, stated that God is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23).

At the very heart of true worship is the right attitude toward God. In one of the first uses of the Hebrew word worship (shachah) found in the O.T. Abraham’s servant bow3ed before the LORD God of Israel and worshipped Him for answering his prayer. Abraham’s servant had prayer for God’s guidance in seeking a wife for Isaac (Gen. 24).  His worship was a spontaneous act obeisance to the Almighty God.

True worship requires a saving relationship with God and necessitates a heart that is truly grateful to Him for all His mercies. Why do Christians assembly on the Lord’s Day and on other religious occasions? They do so to worship and glorify God and also to be encouraged and built up in their Christian faith. According to the Apostle Paul one of the main purposes of regularly meeting in the church assembly is so that one might be edified. See 1Cor.14).

When we come to worship we should worship the triune God and give Him all the praise and glory. The singing of Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is among the important elements of worship, along with prayer, Bible Reading, preaching and the sacraments. I am pleased that we now have a new hymnal that will provide a wider range of Christian hymns for the worship of God and by which we may be encouraged and built up in our faith. Rev. Paul Seiler

Psalm 23 in Action

Psalm 23 in Action

The Scottish Covenanters were committed Presbyterians who played an important part in the history of Scotland during the 17th Century.

They were deeply concerned about the moves of the English Kings to impose Anglican forms of worship on the scots.

They took the view that Christ alone is to be obeyed when it came to worship. Many Covenanters gave their lives in their utter commitment to worship God as God’s word commands. In the time of the Scottish Covenanters a group of children was ordered to be shot.

 A little girl of eight looked up into the  face of one of the soldier., and said: “Sodger man, will ye let me take my wee brither by the hand and die that way?” “Bonny Whigs ye are,” cried Westerha, “to die without a prayer.” “If it please ye, sir,” said the little girl, “me and Alec canna pray, but we can sing ‘The Lord’s my shepherd.’ My mother learned it us afore she haed awa.”

Then all the bairns stood up, and from their lips rose the quavering strains: “The Lord’s my shepherd I’ll not want.” As they sang, trooper after trooper turned away, man after man fell out, and the tears rained down their cheeks.

At last even Westerha turned and rode away, for the victory was to the bairns through the singing of the twenty-third Psalm.

Various Thoughts on Unity in the Church

Various Thoughts on Unity in the Church

Mark Twain used to say he put a dog and a cat in a cage together as an experiment, see to if they could get along. They did, so he put a bird, pig and goat. They, too, got
along fine after a few adjustments. Then he put in a Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist; soon there was not a living thing left. (Phillip Yancey, What’s so Amazing About Grace, Zondervan, 1997, p33)
The German philosopher Schopenhauer compared the human race to a bunch of porcupines huddling together on a cold winter’s night. He said, “The colder it gets outside, the more we huddle together for warmth; but the closer we get to one another, the more we hurt one another with our sharp quills. And in the lonely night of earth’s winter eventually we begin to drift apart and wander out on our own and freeze to death in our loneliness. “Christ has given us an alternative – to forgive each other for the pokes we receive. That allows us to stay together and stay warm. (Wayne Brouwer, Holland, Michigan, quoted in Leadership, p. 68.)
There are those in the church who believe that church union is the way God’s kingdom will advance in the world. They believe that Christianity would be greatly advanced if all Christian denominations could come together in a union. Such people fail to understand there is a difference between union and unity. Two cats tied by their tails and thrown over a clothesline may be in union, but they do not have unity.

ESV Psalm 133:1-3 Look how good and how pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil on the head, descendingto the beard-even to Aaron beard – and flowing down to the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon falling on Zion’s mountains. For there the Lord commanded his blessing- life everlasting.
Esv John 17:11 (Jesus praying to His Father.)  I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by your Name, the Name that you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

When Adam fell

When Adam fell

Adam’s first estate was a state of perfect knowledge, wisdom and understanding. It was a perfect state of holiness, righteousness and happiness. There was nothing within him, but what was desirable and delectable; there was nothing without him, but what was amiable and commendable; nor was there anything around him, but what was serviceable and comfortable.
Adam, in his innocent estate, was . . .
the epitome of wisdom and knowledge,
the image of God,
the delight of heaven,
the glory of the creation,
the world’s great master,
the Lord’s great darling.

But when Adam fell—we fell.
When he lost all—we lost all.
There are five things we lost in our fall:
1. Our holy image—and so became vile;
2. Our divine sonship—and so became children of Satan;
3. Our friendship with God—and so became His enemies;
4. Our communion with God—and so became strangers;
5. Our happiness—and so became miserable.

Sin and death came into the world by Adam’s fall.

“For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17

O sirs! what a wonder is this—that the great God, who was so transcendently dishonoured, despised, provoked, incensed, and injured by poor base sinners; should so freely, so readily, so graciously, condescend to vile forlorn sinners—as to own them, as to love them, and as to enter into a covenant of grace and mercy with them! This may well be the wonder of angels, and the astonishment of men!
From Paradise Opened. By Thomas Brooks, 1675.

English Standard Version

In the book of Job we read that man is born to trouble as sparks fly upward (Job 5:7) If we have lived in this world for any length of time we will know from personal experience just how true these words are to life in this fallen world.

We need to understand that every problem and troubling situation confronting believers in this life is allowed by God for some wise and good purpose. God uses all our trials and troubles to increase our faith and to make us more like Jesus.

If you feel that your troubles are more than you can bear remember that God tells us in his word that He will never subject us to any trial without also giving us the ability to overcome it (1 Cor. 10:13)

God has placed us on a path of victory and He has promised us that there is nothing in heaven or earth that can separate us from His love (Rom. 8:35-39)

When the storms of darkness surround us He is not asleep, He is able to still the storm and bring us through safely. We are reminded in God’s word that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of evil (Eph. 6:12).

Our spiritual eyes need to be open to see the spiritual battle that is raging around us. Let us recognise that greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

You may be feeling weary and completely overwhelmed but the Bible tells us that God is close to the broken-hearted and he is near to us in all our trials. He does not abandon us to the storms of life, but is with us in all our trials and will bring us safely home to glory.

Peter 5:10 (ESV) And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Message of Billy Graham: A Wonderful Hope

One of the bonuses of being a Christian is the wonderful hope that extends beyond the grave into the glory of God’s tomorrow. I have talked to doctors and nurses who have held the hands of dying people, and they say there is as much difference between the death of a Christian and of a non- Christian as there is between Heaven and hell. The death of the righteous is not to be feared- it is not to be shunned. It is the shadowed threshold to the palace of God. No wonder Balaam said, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my end be like his!” ( Numbers 23:10) Let’s notice some of the statements in the Bible about the death of a Christian, as distinguished from the death of a sinner who refuses or neglects to believe in Jesus Christ.
First, to the Christian, death is said in the Bible to be a coronation. The picture here is that of a regal prince who, after his struggles and conquests in an alien land, comes to his native country and court to be crowned and honoured for his deeds. The Bible says we are pilgrims and strangers in a foreign land. This world is not our home; our citizenship is in Heaven. To those who are faithful, Christ will give a crown of life. Paul said, “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8) When D.L. Moody was dying, he looked up to Heaven and said, “Earth is receding; Heaven is opening. This is my coronation day.” Yes, death is the Christian’s coronation, the end of conflict and the beginning of glory and triumph in Heaven.
Second, the Bible speaks of the death of a Christian as a rest from labour. The Bible says, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…..they may rest from their labours.”(Revelation 14:13) It is as if the Lord of the harvest says to the weary labourer, “You have been faithful in your task, come and sit in the sheltered porch of my palace and rest from your labours-enter now into the joy of your Lord.”

Third, the Bible speaks of death as a departure. When Paul approached the valley of the shadow of death, he did not shudder with fear; rather, he announced with a note of triumph, “The time of my departure is at hand.” (2 Timothy4:6) The word departure literally means “to pull up anchor and to set sail.” Everything that happens prior to death is a preparation for the journey. Death marks the beginning, not the end. It is a solemn, dramatic step in our journey to God. Believers know, as did Paul, that “He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day”(2 Timothy 1:12) The Christian says “goodbye”, but only until the day breaks and the shadows flee.
Fourth, the Bible speaks of the death of a Christian as a transition. Paul wrote,” For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)
Death to the Christian is the exchanging of a tent for a building. Here we are as pilgrims or refugees, living in a frail flimsy home- subject to disease, pain and peril. But at death, we exchange this crumbling disintegrating tent for a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. The wandering wayfarers come to their own at death and are given the title to a mansion that will never deteriorate or crumble.

Justification By Faith Alone

Justification by Faith Alone

Is justification a process or is it instantaneous? The Apostle Paul answers that question plainly and clearly. He wrote “Therefore having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1).

Paul could never have written this if justification is a process. The moment we believe in Jesus Christ we are declared by God to be in a right relationship with Himself in view of our connection to His son. Someone may ask: if I am justified by God on the basis of what Jesus has done for me, is it possible to lose this justification by falling into some sin?

The Biblical answer is plain and clear – Paul says that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1) Let us then consider a good illustration of this wonderful truth – that no condemnation can ever come upon those justified by the work of Christ.

There was a man in England who put his Rolls-Royce on a boat and went across to the continent to go on a holiday. While he was driving around Europe, something went wrong with the motor in his car. He cabled the Rolls-Royce people back in England and asked, “I’m having trouble with my car; what do you suggest I do?”

Well, the Rolls-Royce people flew a mechanic over! The mechanic repaired the car and flew back to England and left the man to continue his holiday. As you can imagine, the fellow was wondering, “How much is this going to cost me?” So when he got back to England, he wrote the company a letter and asked how much he owed them. He received a letter from the office that read: “Dear sir: There is no record anywhere in our files that anything ever went wrong with a Rolls-Royce.”

Justification is like that! God keeps no record of the sins of those who are in Christ. All our sins are washed away in His precious blood.

A Praying Mother

One outstanding example of a praying person is Monica, who was the mother of Augustine of Hippo. Hippo was a city in North Africa. Today North Africa is predominantly lslamic, but in Augustine’s day, (13 November 354 AD -28 August430 AD) it was an important centre of Christianity.

Augustine is considered as one of the greatest leaders of the early church. By secular writers he is considered as one of the pillars of Western civilization. His writings on Christian doctrine have had a profound impact on the shape of the theology of the church. He was an exceedingly clever person, whose insights into biblical interpretation were nothing short of astounding. He is still considered one of the most influential and most important early theologians of the church. You might see him often referred to if you read anything about Christianity in magazines and books. You will usually see his name credited. Among his many writings is a book called, “Confessions,” which was the testimony of his conversion. His book “Confessions” makes interesting reading! He was the young man who prayed “Lord, make me chaste {sexually pure} – but not yet!”

ln his younger days he lived an immoral and godless life. His great intellectual abilities provided him with a good income as a professor of Rhetoric in the city of Milan. He lived in relative luxury and enjoyed a life of sin. However, he was blessed with a praying mother. His mother, Monica, was a committed Christian who never stopped praying for the salvation of her son. God saw the many tears she shed out of concern over the wicked life her son was living and He heard her many earnest prayers on behalf of her wayward son. One afternoon while Augustine aged 32 years, was sitting in a garden he overheard some children singing ‘Take up and read! Take up and read!’ He became inwardly convinced by the Spirit that he should take up the scroll of the New Testament that he had with him. He began reading the 13th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans. He was deeply convicted of his sin and came to faith in Jesus Christ. He turned away from his life of sin and became deeply devoted to God. He became a most zealous exponent of grace and stood firmly for orthodox Christianity against many errors circulating in his day. He finally settled in the North Africa city of Hippo, where he became bishop. His conversion highlights the importance of praying for the conversion of our family members and for others. Let us follow in the footsteps of Monica in earnest prayer for the salvation of our loved ones, who are unconverted.

The Good News of Jesus, The Saviour of Mankind


Most of you would probably be familiar with the usual explanation of the meaning of the word gospel. It is commonly asserted that the Greek word translated gospel in English (euangelion) can be translated as good news. That is certainly a reasonably translation but it is not entirely adequate. The Greek word gospel, which is used 76 times in the New Testament, is not exclusively a biblical word but was in use in the Greek language in the first century A.D. ln classical Greek this word was commonly used to denote a message of victory or some other message of great importance. The most famous pre-Christian use of the word is found in the Priene lnscription. This is a calendar (presently kept in the Berlin Museum) that has an inscription regarding the birthday of Augustus Caesar. It reads as follows:

The Priene lnscription (9 B.C.) lt seemed good to the Greeks of Asia, in the opinion of the high priest Apollonius of Menophilus Azanitus: ‘Since Providence, which has ordered all things and is deeply interested in our life, has set in most perfect order by giving us Augustus, whom she filled with virtue that he might benefit humankind, sending him as a saviour both for us and for our descendants, that he might end war and arrange all things, and since he, Caesar, by his appearance…. surpassing all previous benefactors, and not even leaving to posterity any hope of surpassing what he has done, and since the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings (euangelion) for the world that came by reason of him..’

It will be observed that the good news about Caesar Augustus is that he was considered to be a saviour and a god, whose coming to power in Rome was ordered by providence and the benefit of humankind. He was seen as someone whose rise to power in Rome was good tidings for all people since through him would come hope and peace. By all accounts Caesar Augustus was a very great leader, but he certainly was not a god and did not save Rome from its final destruction in the fifth century A.D. However, in his day a genuine Saviour of humankind was born, whose kingdom lasts forever. There is a far better message than the Priene lnscription, delivered to certain shepherds minding sheep in the hills of Bethlehem of Judea in the 14n year of Caesar Augustus. They were told of the birth of a Saviour, who is the promised Messiah of O.T revelation. He is a true Saviour and truly God, who came to bring forgiveness to all who believe in Him and the hope of a better kingdom in which there is perfect peace free from sin and death, and endless joy in the presence of God.

Guilty Before the Law


In one of his sermons, the preacher, AC Dixon, told of an incident that took place in Brooklyn, N.Y. USA.

A detective who had been looking for a local citizen finally tracked him down in a drugstore. As the man began to make his purchase, the officer laid his hand on the citizen’s shoulder and said, ‘You’re under arrest come with me!” Stunned, the man demanded, “What did I do?”

The detective calmly replied, “You know what you did. You escaped from the Albany penitentiary several years ago. ‘You went west, got married, and then came back here to live. We’ve been watching for you since you returned.” Quietly the man admitted, “That’s true, but I was sure you’d never find me. Before you take me in, could we stop by my house so I can talk to my family?” The officer agreed. When they got to his home, the man looked at his wife and asked, “Haven’t I been a kind husband and a good father? Haven’t I worked hard to make a living?”

His wife answered, “Of course you have, but why are you asking me these questions?”

Her husband then proceeded to explain what had happened and that he was now under arrest. He apparently had hoped that his record as an exemplary husband and father would impress the officer. He may well have been an exemplary husband, but that did not change the fact that he was an escaped criminal. Though he was ‘right’ with his family, he was all wrong with the state of New York.

We may well be exemplary citizens and we may well live an upright life, but we are all felons in God’s sight We have all broken God’s law and fallen short of His glory. We all stand guilty before God, and our only hope is not to hope that our good deeds will cancel out our sins. There is only one thing that can wash away our sins, nothing but the blood of Jesus. lt is only through faith In Jesus Christ, that we can be acquitted of our sins.