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December 28, 2014 Bulletin

A Thought for the New Year

In his first inaugural address (January 20, 1981) President Ronald Reagan referred to a statement taken from a young soldier’s diary. He said, “Martin Treptow left his job in a small town barber shop in 1917 to go to France with the famed Rainbow Division. There, on the western front, he was killed trying to carry a message between battalions under heavy artillery fire. We are told that on his body was found a diary. On the flyleaf under the heading, ‘My Pledge,’ he had written these words: ‘America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.’”

When I heard President Reagan recite that soldier’s pledge, my heart immediately cried out to God, “O Lord God, give me grace to serve the cause of Christ in my day and to my dying breath with such complete consecration, sacrificing, enduring, and cheerfully working and doing my utmost to carry the message of the Gospel to the ends of the earth, for the salvation of your elect, the building of your kingdom, and the glory of my Savior, as if the whole work depended upon me alone.”

Oh, may the God of all grace give us grace to so devote ourselves, in the totality of our lives, to him, for Christ’s sake!

—Don Fortner

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“The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.  He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.

Psalm 145:18-19

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WHO MAKES THE DIFFERENCE?

If there is one great battering ram to pride it is this, who makes you to differ from another?

Is there anything that you have that you did not receive? Do you have faith? Have you a new heart, a new nature? Do you have a heart that loves God, that bows and submits to and feels its need of Christ? A heart that loves the brethren? If you received these graces, and you received a new heart it is because of the Sovereign grace of Christ. We cannot glory in any grace, any love, any gift that we have, for we have them because of GRACE. Why would we be proud as if these things were of our own making? For who maketh thee to differ from another? Do you believe and have a knowledge of the Lord Jesus? How many in your family are with­out any knowledge of Him, or even an interest in Christ? How many of them are still steeped in their religious traditions and darkness? Who made you to differ?

In any direction you choose to look you see sin, drunkenness, profanity, immorality, homes and families destroyed, drugs in every community. Our prisons cannot hold the criminals of our society, superstition and religious easy-believes has multitudes in its clutches. But, who made thee to differ?

Let me ask you, are you better by nature than these? Were you more godly or better in hearing than these? The only difference between us and the vilest soul on earth and in hell is the Sovereign grace of God!

“Tis not that I did choose Thee,
For Lord, that could not be.
This heart would still refuse Thee
Hadst Thou not chosen me!”

—Donnie Bell

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          God apart from Christ is an angry, offended Sovereign. Unless we behold Him in and through Christ, the Mediator, the terrors of His majesty would overwhelm us. We dare not approach the Father except in Christ because of our sins. We first fasten our eyes upon Christ, THEN upon the Father. If Christ does not bear our guilt and reconcile us to God, WE PERISH! Before any man can think to stand before the face of God’s justice or be admitted to the secret chamber of God’s mercy or partake of the riches of His grace, he must look to the Mediator, Christ Jesus.

–Stephen Charnock

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THE KING’S HEART

The King‘s Heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. Proverbs 21:1

Every child of God knows that God is in control of all things, and that He works all things after the counsel of His own will, and causes all things to work together for good to the called according to His purpose (Eph. 1:11, Rom 8:28). To know these things is to also know that every man and woman’s heart including the (so called) most powerful of men (the king) is in the hand of the Lord God Almighty! But have you ever noticed what the king and every other man and woman’s heart is compared to? It is compared to water. As the rivers of water, God turns it whithersoever (however, whenever, to whomever) His good will is pleased to do so. The king’s heart and ours are as the rivers of water.

What are some things about water that we all understand? First it is unstable. It always flows downward and follows the path of least resistance. What a picture that is of our hearts. Our hearts being deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, always gravitate downwards taking the least path of resistance in sin and wickedness. That is the nature of our hearts unless God Almighty turns it! Water is inanimate, which simply means it does not have a will or a choice in anything. So it is with our dead cold hearts, unless God make it alive and willing to serve Him in the day of His power.
Water takes the shape of its environment. You pour it into a round bowl it takes the shape of round. You pour it into a square container and it becomes the square shape of the container. It is the same with a deceitful wicked heart. It conforms to the world and the things of it, always gravitating downward, always remaining unstable. The only hope the king’s heart has is the only hope that you and I have; that is God Almighty turns it according to His own Sovereign will.

In Joshua chapter three, the Israelites were crossing over the river Jordan into God’s land of promise. The priests carrying the “ark of the covenant” (a picture of Christ), stepped in the water and immediately the current and flow of the river Jordan not only stopped but turned back the other way. Who can change the river’s mighty flow in the midst of flood season? The same One that can turn the king’s heart and direct it as He pleases, GOD ALMIGHTY. Oh may God be pleased to change the direction and flow of our wicked hearts to serve, love, worship Him in whom we owe a debt that we can never pay.

—David Eddmenson