Saturday, January 26, 2013


(I wanted to give you another wonderful message from my good friend, W. F. Bell. Hope you like it).

After our Lord had healed the paralytic, and forgiven him, “Immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.”  Then, we have this unusual verse: “And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen STRANGE THINGS today” (Luke 5:25-26).  The people (rightly so) were filled with amazement, astonishment, and were awestruck by this healing, stating that they had seen “strange” or “incredible” things!

We live in a “strange” day, and often ourselves hear and see “strange things.”  Let’s look at some things that maybe we forget are “strange,” which include:
(1)  The GOSPEL is indeed strange to many people.
What the “gospel” actually is cannot be defined by many.  Simply put, it is: God justifies sinners through Christ’s redemption (Romans 3:24; 4:5).  How can this be?  The answer lies in “propitiation,” the appeasing of God’s wrath by the death of Christ.  The root word for “gospel” simply means “glad tidings,” and indeed free and full justification is good news, and this is what we are commanded to proclaim (Isaiah 40:9; 52:7).   God Himself is glorified in the gospel, and He reveals His sovereignty therein.   Again, here is the plainly-worded gospel: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15).  Also, Matthew 1:21; Luke 19:10; Romans 6:23.  Christ came to die for His people only, and has saved every single one of them in His vicarious death, burial, and glorious resurrection (I Corinthians 15:1-4).  Is this strange to you?  The average person could never define justification, redemption, propitiation, vicarious, or even gospel.

(2) The GOD OF THE BIBLE is strange to many, even to the professing Church.
The true God has become “a stranger in the land” (Jeremiah 14:8).  Even Paul said the ancient Greeks did not know this living God, but said, “For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.  Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:23).  God’s glorious attributes of sovereignty, absolute holiness, holy wrath, justice, goodness, truth, mercy, grace, love, and longsuffering, etc., need to be constantly taught, because people are still “ignorant” of who God really is (and we are all spiritually ignorant of God in our fallen nature).  Sadly, many preachers and Bible teachers have failed in this.  This is easily proved by observing the infidelity of our schools, colleges, universities, the media, our Christ-less homes, and often even Bible-denying churches. How we need a spiritual awakening in our unholy land.                                              

(3) The hiding of GOD’S FACE is strange. Strangely, the true God does often “hide” Himself (Isaiah 45:15).  The Psalmist questions God as to “why” He seems to be standing “afar off,” and “hiding” Himself “in times of trouble” (Psalm 10:1).  But, and note this carefully, the infinite God is not obligated to reveal Himself to us.  He is righteous in letting us go on in our sins, never quickening us to spiritual life, or converting us to Christ.  Salvation from sin lies totally within the discriminating grace of God.  If He is not pleased to reveal to us that we are sinners, needing Christ, we will definitely perish, and God’s great wrath will forever be satisfied.   Our Lord Jesus Christ even thanks His Father for this, clearly saying, “I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.  Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight” (Matthew 11:25-26).   And even after we are born again, God may at times be pleased to “hide His face” from us, giving us no light or the comfort of His presence, as He chastens us (Lamentations 3:7-9; Hebrews 12:11).

(4)  We live in a strange, GODLESS world.
Our society is so sick; words fail to accurately describe the horrific condition.  Look for yourself at what we do in America now:

We exploit the poor, and call it the lottery.
We reward our laziness, calling it welfare.
We kill our unborn, and call it choice.
We abuse power, and call it politics.

We pollute the land with profanity and pornography, calling it freedom of expression.
We ridicule the values of our forefathers, calling it enlightenment.
We “call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).
How strange AND UNGODLY is our modern society!

A teenager has written this about our strange time:
Now I sit me down in school,
Where praying is against the rule.
For this great nation under God,
Finds mention of Him very odd.

If Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow,
Becomes a Federal matter now.

We can get our condoms & birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires, & totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed –
No word of God must reach this crowd!

“The hearts of the children of men are subject, not only to God’s view, but to His judgment. ‘The LORD trieth the hearts’ (Proverbs 17:3).  He searches whether they are standard or no, and those that are, He refines and makes them purer (Jeremiah 17:10).  God tries the heart by affliction (Psalm 66:10-11), and often chooses His people in that furnace (Isaiah 48:10), and makes them choice.  Men may try their silver and gold, but they have no way of trying one another’s hearts.  God only does that, who is both the Searcher and the Sovereign of the heart” (Matthew Henry). 

Published by Charles Woodruff- email:

Sunday, January 13, 2013


(W.F. Bell has been my friend for about 40 years. He is a diligent and trustworthy preacher of the gospel. You that follow these blogs know that I put a lot of stuff by him here. This is because he always give us some light. This article he wrote sometime around our recent election is no exception. Here is some truth to ponder and heed. Please read it and comment if you like. We know that we must trust, and call on God, our only hope. Let's get serious about serving Him. May He help us. Amen!).

"For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs" (Habakkuk 1:6).  "I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction, and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble" (Habakkuk 3:7).

Ancient Israel was chastised by the hand of Jehovah for their departure from Him.  "Chaldeans" were no problem for the great Jehovah to raise up as an instrument of His displeasure.  Many throughout history have found themselves on the losing end when contending with "the Mighty God of Jacob."  Numerous have been the nations, like Israel, whom the Lord put in "affliction" and were made to "tremble."  America is learning that lesson well in our day, though we may not say so or believe it.

Many try to tell us what we need in America to correct our problems.  Most of these miss the mark, not dealing with the root problem, which is sin.  But who wants to hear this?  Our nation becoming "socialized" may be chastisement upon us to wake us up!  For sure, beloved, Mr. Romney is not the answer!  No politician is!  No political party is!  Let's get some things straight: abortions will never be stopped short of a heaven-sent awakening, no matter who is in the White House!  All of our complaining about "the economy" is worthless in light of our awful sins!  But Obama-bashing is not the answer.  The answer to our dilemma is nothing but the mercy of God upon us!  Mercy is needed to "spare" us!  Grace must be "bestowed" upon us, or we will never repent!  Our spoiled American people need stripping of our luxurious living and self-confidence.  We are lazy to the core and have been lulled to sleep on government handouts.  A divine hand is chastising us, and only a divine hand can awaken us.  Why all these debates? 

The Lord Jesus Christ is still our hope, and only the way of the cross leads home!  The answer is that simple, but who has an ear to hear?  "And some said, What will this babbler say?  Others said, He seems to be a setter forth of strange gods, because he preached unto them JESUS and the RESURRECTION" (Acts 17:18).  Our message is just as "strange" as was Paul's.
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Thursday, January 03, 2013


(The year before his death in 1892 Charles Spurgeon delivered an address at the Pastor’s College Conference entitled: The Greatest Fight in the World. It was enthusiastically received by a great assembly of hearers and at the close of the meeting urgent requests were made for its publication. This received wide acclaim, being translated into other languages and passing through several editions in English. After Spurgeon's death a Christian friend arranged that a copy of the book should be sent to every minister in England. That particular edition was entitled, C. H. Spurgeon's Final Manifesto, an apt title for one of Spurgeon's last works, since it reflects the convictions of a lifetime concerning the great central issues of the Faith. The following are excerpts from the last chapter on Our Strength.)
Our Strength
 “Granted that we preach the Word alone; granted that we are surrounded by a model church, which, alas, is not always the case; but, granted that it is so, OUR STRENGTH is the next consideration. This must come from THE SPIRIT OF GOD. We believe in the Holy Ghost, and in our absolute dependence upon him. We believe; but do we believe practically? Brethren, as to ourselves and our own work, do we believe in the Holy Ghost? Do we believe because we habitually prove the truth of the doctrine? We must depend upon the Spirit in our preparations. Is this the fact with us all? Are you in the habit of working your way into the meaning of texts by the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Every man that goes to the land of heavenly knowledge must work his passage thither; but he must work out his passage in the strength of the Holy Spirit, or he will arrive at some island in the sea of fancy, and never set his foot upon the sacred shores of the truth.”

“We cannot succeed in supplication except the Holy Ghost helpeth our infirmities, for true prayer is “praying in the Holy Ghost.” The Spirit makes an atmosphere around every living prayer, and within that circle prayer lives and prevails; outside of it prayer is a dead formality. As to ourselves, then, in our study, in prayer, in thought, in word, and in deed, we must depend upon the Holy Ghost.”

“In the pulpit do we really and truly rest upon the aid of the Spirit? I do not censure any brother for his mode of preaching, but I must confess that it seems very odd to me when a brother prays that the Holy Ghost may help him in preaching, and then I see him put his hand behind him and draw a manuscript out of his pocket, so fashioned that he can place it in the middle of his Bible, and read from it without being suspected of doing so. These precautions for ensuring secrecy look as though the man was a little ashamed of his paper; but I think he should be far more ashamed of his precautions. Does he expect the Spirit of God to bless him while he is practicing a trick? And how can He help him when he reads out of a paper from which anyone else might read without the Spirit’s aid? What has the Holy Ghost to do with the business? Truly, he may have had something to do with the manuscript in the composing of it, but in the pulpit his aid is superfluous. The truer thing would be to thank the Holy Spirit for assistance rendered, and ask that what he has enabled us to get into our pockets may now enter the people’s hearts. Still, if the Holy Ghost should have anything to say to the people that is not in the paper, how can he say it by us? He seems to me to be very effectually blocked as to freshness of utterance by that method of ministry. Still, it is not for me to censure, although I may quietly plead for liberty in prophesying, and room for the Lord to give us in the same hour what we shall speak.”

“Remember, again, that he will never encourage idleness. The Holy Ghost will not come to rescue us from the consequences of willful neglect of the Word of God and study. If we allow ourselves to go up and down all the week doing nothing, we may not climb the pulpit stairs and dream that the Lord will be there and then tell us what to speak. If help were promised to such, then the lazier the man the better the sermon. If the Holy Spirit worked only by impromptu speakers, the less we read our Bibles and the less we meditated on them the better. If it be wrong to quote from books, "attention to reading" should not have been commanded. All this is obviously absurd, and not one of you will fall into such a delusion. We are bound to be much in meditation, and give ourselves wholly to the Word of God and prayer, and when we have minded these things we may look for the Spirit's approbation and co-operation. We ought to prepare the sermon as if all depended upon us, and then we are to trust the Spirit of God knowing that all depends upon Him. The Holy Ghost sends no one into the harvest to sleep among the sheaves, but to bear the burden and heat of the day. We may well pray God to send more "labourers" into the vineyard; for the Spirit will be with the strength of labourers, but he will not be the friend of loiterers.”

Recollect, again, that the Holy Ghost will not bless us in order to sustain our pride. Is it not possible that we may be wishing for a great blessing that we may be thought great men? This will hinder our success: the string of the bow is out of order and the arrow will turn aside. What does God do with men that are proud? Does he exalt them? I trow not (i.e., think not), Herod made an eloquent oration, and he put on a dazzling silver robe which glistened in the sun, and when the people saw his vestments and listened to his charming voice, they cried, "It is the voice of a god, and not of a man"; but the Lord smote him, and he was eaten of worms. Worms have a prescriptive right to proud flesh; and when we get very mighty and very big, the worms expect to make a meal of us. "Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall." Keep humble if you would have the Spirit of God with you. The Holy Ghost takes no pleasure in the inflated oratory of the proud; how can he? Would you have him sanction bombast? "Walk humbly with thy God", O preacher! for thou canst not walk with him in any other fashion; and if thou walk not with him, thy walking will be vain.”(most emphasis mine, cw)

(I have just finished reading The Greatest Fight in the World in the Evangelical Press edition from 1980 and I was greatly blessed as I so often am reading Spurgeon. I have quoted small excerpts, but the entire book is only 64 pages and may be ordered from Pilgrim Publications. Here is a link to order it: Should you desire just to read it online, here is a link to the Spurgeon Archive. Be blessed!)

 It is easier to preach ten sermons than it is to live one” (unknown author).

Civility or Grace
“Civility does but wash a man, grace changes him…Civility is but strewing flowers on a dead corpse. A man may be wonderfully moralised, yet but a tame devil.”
Thomas Watson, The Beatitudes

Gospel Warning
This is a warning I hope we all take to heart. As people of The Word, we have to ask ourselves how we can really expect to improve on a perfect model.  Cautiously I will say that some new ways of applying the unchanging biblical principles are fine...we need to be able to communicate with 21st Century culture, but we must not abandon the heart of the Gospel and basics of authentic discipleship in the process. Charles Woodruff