Following Elijah’s stunning victory over the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18, he turns his attention to drought that continued to linger over the land. Back in 1 Kings 17, Elijah had announced a drought on the land because of the apostasy of the people. They had backed into Baalism and paganism. And their failure to remain faithful to the Lord carried the judgment of God removing his word from the people, signified by the lack of rain or dew. This was also a polemic against Baal, the storm god. The Baal cycle would be broken and the LORD would show himself to be God.
"With which person in the Bible do you most identify?" This is a question I have often asked others in the church over the years. Most of us lack even enough self-awareness to able to answer the question. Others among us have a propensity to appeal to the best characters in Scripture.
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:4
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure….
The Puritans spoke, wrote, and preached about the importance of frequent, regular, godly actions, which they termed habits, holy works, labors, duties, heavenly services, or holy efforts. They believed that habits were critical for spiritual maturity. But what did they consider “spiritual maturity,” and how do habits help to that end?
The wonder of God’s mercy is cause for worshiping Him, working for His glory, and witnessing about His great name. In the midst of hardship, it is sometimes difficult to see God’s mercy. However, if we will look for it, we will, by God’s grace, see it. We see an example of this in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which he wrote from prison.
If anything gives us the opportunity to be unfaithful to God it is trials. In the midst of suffering we are often tempted to doubt God’s faithfulness and friendship, goodness and grace, and power and promises. We sometimes wonder if we will make it, how we will make it, or why God is doing this to us. We often turn to other things for security, especially when things seem utterly out of control. We are tempted to stop praying, thinking it’s no use, even wondering if God hears us, or cares about our trials. But turning away from God in the midst of trials is the worst thing to do.
Hilda – The Abbess of Whitby
The name of Hilda of Whitby is almost legendary in English history. She ran two abbeys, educated some of the finest minds in England (including five bishops), discovered and sponsored the first English poet, and convened the crucial Synod of Whitby. Her authority and accomplishments are especially impressive when we think that Christianity was still quite new in England.
Hilda’s Early Life
Ellen Ranyard and Her Team of Bible Women
In 1826, 16-year-old Ellen Henrietta White and her family attended a Bible meeting about 14 miles east of her London home. There, she met a girl her age, Elizabeth Saunders, who seemed disconsolate at the departure of her best friend. Deeply concerned, Ellen’s mother volunteered to take Elizabeth to their home for a few days. The change of scenery might do her good, she thought.
Naturally, Ellen and Elizabeth began talking about their interests.
Recently, Christians have agonized over accounts of false devotion to talented but corrupt church leaders. In outwardly successful churches and ministries, leaders have covered up sin, blamed victims, and blocked investigations to protect gifted but fatally flawed pastors and their ministries. To correct our mistakes and restore our integrity, we need the whole of Scripture, including a minor but revealing episode in the life of David that can help us distinguish between wise service to God from foolish service to men.
Command these things
1 Timothy 4:11: “Command and teach these things.”
1 Timothy 5:7: “Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach.”
1 Timothy 6:3: “Teach and urge these duties.”
In Edith Wharton’s, The Age of Innocence, Newland Archer, the young man set in the ways of old New York, has a conversation with Countess Ellen Olenska, who has recently returned from Europe after leaving her wealthy husband for his many affairs. Olenska doesn’t fit into old New York for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is, she is unfamiliar with the customs of her new environment.
The Federal Vision speaks a lot about the objectivity of the covenant. What does that mean? Doug Wilson puts it somewhat crassly when he says, “It can be photographed and fingerprinted.” For Wilson, the fingerprint is baptism. Baptism, though an external sign, is like that of circumcision. It demonstrates membership. Now, the question everyone ought to be asking is the obvious. Is baptism the access point? Is it what is required for membership?
It is often the case that a minister only begins to really appreciate the value of his books when the time comes for him to part with them. Sometimes it happens when he runs out of space on his shelves and he is forced to thin them out. Or it may be when it comes to his retirement and he is downsizing his house and there simply isn’t the same amount of space in his new accommodation. Either way, he finds himself struggling to decide which ones to keep and which to let go. It begins to dawn on him that these volumes mean more to him than he may have previously realised.
The first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism has resonated with generations of people familiar with it.
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
The Alliance is privileged to add Hear the Word of God, featuring the teaching ministry of Rev. Eric Alexander, to the Alliance Podcast Network. Known for his Christ-centered, spirit-filled preaching, Eric will be familiar to many Alliance members and long-time attendees of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology.
What if worship style were more than a matter of personal taste? In Trembling Joy, Pastor Ryan Speck answers that question by turning to the Scriptures, showing how God's definition and description of worship should impact our own.
It was 8 a.m. on a Saturday in Southern California while I was settling to watch my four-and-a-half-year-old son play basketball when I received a call from a sister in the Lord, Anne, dying in Minnesota.
We never met, but similar difficult providences had connected us for counsel and we became fast friends. She quickly embraced me and my family with a motherly care that felt like she had been waving with a smile from across our cul-de-sac for decades.
“I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means!” – Romans 11:1
The Sum of Saving Knowledge
2,000 Years of Christ’s Power: Volume 5