Mordecai Monday’s: Persevering through Trials


Christianity teaches men to be joyful under troubles, such exercises are sent from God’s love, and trials in the way of duty will brighten our graces now, and our crown at last. Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience, and not passion, is set to work in us, give me a minute whatever is said or done, let patience have the saying and doing of it. When the work of patience is complete, it will furnish all that is necessary for our Christian race and warfare. We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it. And who does not want wisdom to guide him under trials, both in regulating his own spirit, and in managing his affairs? Here is something in answer to every discouraging turn of the mind, when we go to God under a sense of our own weakness and folly. If, after all, any should say, This may be the case with some, but I fear I shall not succeed, the promise is, To any that asketh, it shall be given. A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions. When our faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there will be unsteadiness in our words and actions. This may not always expose men to contempt in the world, but such ways cannot please God. No condition of life is such as to hinder rejoicing in God. Those of low degree may rejoice, if they are exalted to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of God, and the rich may rejoice in humbling providences, that lead to a humble and lowly disposition of mind. Worldly wealth is a withering thing. Then, let him that is rich rejoice in the grace of God, which makes and keeps him humble, and in the trials and exercises which teach him to seek happiness in and from God, not from perishing enjoyments.

Worldwide Wednesday’s: We must not judge Others.


Judge not, that ye be not judged. The words point to a tendency inherent in human nature, and are therefore universally applicable, but we must remember, a special bearing on the Jews. They, in the religious progress of mankind, took on themselves to judge other nations. All true teachers of Israel, even though they represented different aspects of the truth, felt the danger, and warned their countrymen against it. Paul (Romans 2:3, 1Corinthians 4:5) and James (James 4:11) alike, in this matter, echo the teaching of their Master. And the temptation still continues. In proportion as any nation, any church, any society, any individual man rises above the common forms of evil that surround them, they are disposed to sit in judgment on those who are still in the evil.


The question, how far we can obey the precept, is not without its difficulties. Must we not even as a matter of duty be judging others every day of our lives? The juryman giving his verdict, the master who discharges a dishonest servant, the bishop who puts in force the discipline of the church, are these acting against our Lord’s commands? And if not, where are we to draw the line? The answer to these questions is not found in the distinctions of a formal casuistry. We have rather to remember that our Lord here, as elsewhere, gives principles rather than rules, and embodies the principle in a rule which, because it cannot be kept in the letter, forces us back upon the spirit. What is forbidden is the censorious judging temper, eager to find faults and condemn men for them, suspicious of motives, let us say, for example, in controversy, and denouncing, the faintest shade of heresy. No mere rules can guide us as to the limits of our judgments. What we need is to have “our senses exercised to discern between good and evil,” to cultivate the sensitiveness of conscience and the clearness of self-knowledge. Briefly, we may say, Judge no man unless it be a duty to do so. As far as may be, judge the offence, and not the offender. Confine your judgment to the earthly side of faults, and leave their relation to God, to Him who sees the heart. Never judge at all without remembering your own sinfulness, and the ignorance and infirmities which may extenuate the sinfulness of others.

Sabbath Saturday’s: How does God want us to remember the 4th Commandment?


The first four of the ten commandments, commonly called the FIRST table, tell our duty to God. It was fit that those should be put first, because man had a Maker to love, before he had a neighbour to love. It cannot be expected that he should be true to his brother, who is second to his God. The first commandment concerns the object of worship, JEHOVAH, and him only. The worship of creatures is forbidden here. Whatever comes short of perfect love, gratitude, reverence, or worship, breaks this commandment. Whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God. The second commandment refers to the worship we are to render to the Lord our God. It is forbidden to make any image or picture of the Deity, in any form, or for any purpose, or to worship any creature, image, or picture. But the spiritual importance of this command extends much further. All kinds of superstition are here forbidden, and the using of mere human inventions in the worship of God.


The third commandment concerns the manner of worship, that it be with all possible reverence and seriousness. All false oaths are forbidden. All light appealing to God, all profane cursing, is a horrid breach of this command. It matters not whether the word of God, or sacred things, all such-like things break this commandment, and there is no profit, honour, or pleasure in them. The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. The form of the fourth commandment, Remember, shows that it was not now first given, but was known by the people before. One day in seven is to be kept holy. Six days are allotted to worldly business, but not so as to neglect the service of God, and the care of our souls. On those days we must do all our work, and leave none to be done on the sabbath day. Christ allowed works of necessity, charity, and piety, for the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath, Mr 2:27, but all works of luxury, vanity, or self-indulgence in any form, are forbidden. Trading, paying wages, settling accounts, writing letters of business, worldly studies, trifling visits, journeys, or light conversation, are not keeping this day holy to the Lord.


Sloth and indolence may be a carnal, but not a holy rest. The sabbath of the Lord should be a day of rest from worldly labour, and a rest in the service of God. The advantages from the keeping of this holy day, were it only to the health and happiness of mankind, with the time it affords for taking care of the soul, show the excellency of this commandment. The day is blessed, men are blessed by it, and in it. The blessing and direction to keep holy are not limited to the seventh day, but are spoken of the sabbath day.

Mordecai Mondays: Making a Decision


A double minded man, a man of two souls, or of a double heart, that speaks and asks with an heart, and an heart, as in Psalm 12:2 who halts between two opinions, and is at an uncertainty what to do or say, and is undetermined what to ask for, or who is not sincere and upright in his requests, who asks for one thing, and means another, and asks amiss, and with an ill design. Does not call upon God in truth, and in the sincerity of his soul, draws close to him with his mouth, and honours him with his lips, but his heart is far from him. This person is unstable in all his ways, he is confused in his mind, restless in his thoughts, unsettled in his designs and intentions, inconstant in his petitions, uncertain in his notions and opinion of things, and very variable in his actions, and especially in matters of religion, he is always changing, and never at a point, but at a continual uncertainty, both in a way of thinking and doing. He never continues long either in an opinion, or in a practice, but is ever shifting and moving.


Christianity teaches men to be joyful under troubles, such exercises are sent from God’s love, and trials in the way of duty will brighten our graces now, and our crown at last. Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience, and not passion, is set to work in us, whatever is said or done, let patience have the saying and doing of it. When the work of patience is complete, it will furnish all that is necessary for our Christian race and warfare. We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it. And who does not want wisdom to guide him under trials, both in regulating his own spirit, and in managing his affairs? Here is something in answer to every discouraging turn of the mind, when we go to God under a sense of our own weakness and folly. If, after all, any should say, This may be the case with some, but I fear I shall not succeed, the promise is, To any that asketh, it shall be given. A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions.

When our faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there will be unsteadiness in our words and actions. This may not always expose men to contempt in the world, but such ways cannot please God. No condition of life is such as to hinder rejoicing in God. Those of high degree may rejoice, if they are exalted to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of God, and the rich may rejoice in humbling providences, that lead to a humble disposition of mind. Worldly wealth is a withering thing. Then, let him that is rich rejoice in the grace of God, which makes and keeps him humble, and in the trials and exercises which teach him to seek happiness in and from God, not from perishing enjoyments.

Worldwide Wednesdays: Make a Definite Decision!


A double-minded man is a man who can be said to have two souls, whose heart is divided between God and the world, and is not simply given up to him, nor entirely confides in him for the direction, aid, and support which he stands in need of, is unstable in all his ways. Being without the true wisdom, he perpetually disagrees both with himself and others, and will be perpetually running into inconsistencies of conduct, while those imperfect impressions of religion which he feels serves a purpose to perplex and torment than to guide and confirm him in the right way. Christianity teaches men to be joyful under troubles, such exercises are sent from God’s love, and trials in the way of duty will brighten our graces now, and our crown in eternity. Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience, and not passion, is set to work in us, whatever is said or done, let patience have the saying and doing of it. When the work of patience is complete, it will furnish all that is necessary for our Christian race and warfare. We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it. And who does not want wisdom to guide him under trials, both in regulating his own spirit, and in managing his affairs? Here is something in answer to every discouraging turn of the mind, when we go to God under a sense of our own weakness and foolishness. If, after all, any should say, This may be the case with some, but I fear I shall not succeed, the promise is, To any that ask, it shall be given.
A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions. When our faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there will be unsteadiness in our words and actions. This may not always expose men to contempt in the world, but such ways cannot please God. No condition of life is such as to hinder rejoicing in God. Those of low degree may rejoice, if they are exalted to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of God, and the rich may rejoice in humbling providences, that lead to a humble and lowly disposition of mind. Worldly wealth is a withering thing. Knowing this is the case, let him that is rich rejoice in the grace of God, which makes and keeps him humble, and in the trials and exercises which teach him to seek happiness in and from God, not from perishing enjoyments. The word here used, A “double minded man”, occurs only here and in James 4: 8. It means, properly, one who has two souls, then one who is wavering or inconstant. It is applicable to a man who has no settled principles, who is controlled by passion, who is influenced by popular feeling, who is now inclined to one opinion or course of conduct, and now to another.
“Is unstable in all his ways”, That is, not merely in regard to prayer, the point that is really been discussed here, but in respect to everything. From the instability which the wavering must change in regard to prayer, the apostle takes care to make the general remark concerning such a man, that stability and firmness could be expected on no subject. The hesitancy which manifested on that one subject would extend to all, and we might expect to find such a man irresolute and undetermined in all things. This is always true. If we find a man who takes hold of the promises of God with firmness, who feels the deepest assurance when he prays that God will hear prayer, who always goes to him without hesitation in his perplexities and trials, never wavering, we shall find one who is firm in his principles, steady in his integrity, settled in his determinations, and steadfast in his plans of life, a man whose character we shall feel that we understand, and in whom we can confide.

Mordechai Mondays: Always Put Praise on His Holy Name!


All that is within me, bless the Lord, let all my thoughts and affections be engaged, united, and raised to in pitch for this work. Forget not all his benefits, and order to our duty, praising God for his mercies, it is necessary we should have a grateful remembrance of them. And we may be assured we do not forget them, here is what the psalmist was trying to get across, if we do not give sincere and hearty thanks for them, there is a possibility we could forget them. Who forgives all my iniquities, this is mentioned first, because, by the forgiving of sin, that which prevented our receiving good things is taken away, and we are restored to the favour of God, which ensures good things to us, and bestows them upon us. Who heals all thy diseases, spiritual diseases, the diseases of the soul. The corruption of nature is the sickness of the soul, it is its disorder, and threatens its death. This is cured by sanctification. In proportion as sin is mortified, the disease is healed. These two, forgiveness and holiness, go together, at least a degree of the latter always accompanies the former, if God take away the guilt of sin by forgiving mercy, he also breaks the power of it by renewing grace. Where Christ is made righteousness to any soul, he is also made sanctification to it in a great measure, for if any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.


By the forgiveness of sin that is taken away, which kept good things from us, we are restored to the favor of God, who bestows good things on us. Think about it, it was sin, and yet forgiven, how many the iniquities, yet all forgiven. God is still forgiving, as we are still sinning and repenting. The body finds the melancholy consequences of Adam’s offence, it is subject to many infirmities, and the soul also. Christ alone forgives all our sins, it is he alone who heals all our infirmities. And the person who finds his sin cured, has a well-grounded assurance that it is forgiven. When God, by the graces and comforts of his Spirit, recovers his people from their decays, and fills them with new life and joy, which is to them an earnest of eternal life and joy, they may then be said to return to the days of their youth, Job 33:25.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, the word “bless,” as applied to God, means to praise, implying always a strong affection for him as well as a sense of gratitude. As used with reference to people, the word implies a “wish” that they may be blessed or happy, accompanied often with a prayer that they may be so. The word “soul” here is equivalent to mind or heart, my mental and moral powers, as capable of understanding and appreciating his favors. The soul of man was “made” to praise and bless God, to enjoy his friendship, to delight in his favor, to contemplate his perfections. It can never be employed in a more appropriate or a more elevated act than when engaged in his praise.


And all that is within me, all my powers and faculties, all that can be employed in his praise, the heart, the will, the affections, the emotions. The idea is, that God is worthy of all the praise and adoration which the entire man can render. No one of his faculties or powers should be exempt from the duty and the privilege of praise. A Psalm of joyous praise, in which worshipers rise from a thankful acknowledgment of personal blessings to a lively celebration of God’s gracious attributes, as not only inherently worthy of praise, but as specially suited to man’s frailty. It concludes by invoking all creatures to unite in a song of worship.

Sabbath Saturday’s: God made the Sabbath on the seventh day, and it reminds us of our Creator’s desire for us to rest.

The most difficult portion of Scripture to study for most Christians is the Old Testament. Not only do we find the culture of the Ancient Near East foreign and the events unrelated to us, but when we do discover a biblical principle we are not sure that it applies to the New Testament saint, and if so, how.


The Fourth Commandment provides us with an excellent opportunity to sharpen our interpretive skills. The commandment is found early in the Pentateuch (the five books of the Bible written by Moses, the first five books of the Bible). Two related texts come before Exodus 20:8-11, but there are many Sabbath passages in the rest of the Old Testament and in the New. Because this passage comes so early in the Bible, we are able to learn how the later Old Testament writers interpreted and applied the Sabbath teaching of the Fourth Commandment. We then can turn to the New Testament, to see how the Pharisees misinterpreted and applied this commandment, and how our Lord corrected them. Finally, we can find the interpretation of the Sabbath as provided us by the teaching of the apostles and the Book of Hebrews. We have the privilege to look over the shoulder of the prophets, apostles, and even our Lord, to learn from them the way to interpret and apply the Old Testament Scriptures. This, my reader friend, is a rare privilege, which should make better Bible students of all of us.


And lest you think that all of my comments above are but a preparation for the study of an irrelevant text (where we learn a method, but get no message), I can assure you that the Fourth Commandment is related to more than the question of whether or not the State of Texas should repeal its “Blue Laws.” Surrounding the subject of the Sabbath are many differences of opinion, some of the strongest opinions are held by those who are Christians. There is one denomination (which some call a cult), the Seventh Day Adventists, who have chosen to hang their hat on this commandment as one of the touchstones of the faith. The principles we will discover from our study of the Sabbath will take us to where “the rubber meets the road”.

Worldwide Wednesday’s: A Reality Check

Laodicea was the last and worst of the seven churches of Asia. Here Jesus, styles himself, The Amen, one steady and unchangeable in all his purposes and promises. If religion is worth anything, it is worth every thing. Christ expects men should be in earnest. How many professors of gospel doctrine are neither hot nor cold, except as they are indifferent in needful matters, and hot and fiery in disputes about things of lesser moment. A severe punishment is threatened. They would give a false opinion of Christianity, as if it were an unholy religion, while others would conclude it could afford no real satisfaction, otherwise its professors would not have been heartless in it, or so ready to seek pleasure or happiness from the world. One cause of this indifference and inconsistency in religion is, self-conceit and self-delusion, Because thou sayest. What a difference between their thoughts of themselves, and the thoughts Christ had of them. How careful should we be not to cheat our owns souls. There will be many in hell, who once thought themselves far in the way to heaven. Let us beg of God that we may not be left to flatter and deceive ourselves. Professors grow proud, as they become carnal and formal. Their state was wretched in itself. They were poor, really poor, when they said and thought they were rich. They could not see their state, nor their way, nor their danger, yet they thought they saw it. They did not have that establishment garment of justification, nor sanctification: they were exposed to sin and shame, their rags that would defile them. They were naked, without house or harbour, for they were without God, in whom alone the soul of man can find rest and safety. Good counsel was given by Christ to this sinful people. Happy those who take his counsel, for all others must perish in their sins. Christ lets them know where they might have true riches, and how they might have them. Some things must be parted with, but nothing valuable, and it is only to make room for receiving true riches. Part with sin and self-confidence, that you may be filled with his hidden treasure. They must receive from Christ the white raiment he purchased and provided for them, his own imputed righteousness for justification, and the garments of holiness and sanctification. Let them give themselves up to his word and Spirit, and their eyes shall be opened to see their way and their end. Let us examine ourselves by the rule of his word, and pray earnestly for the teaching of his Holy Spirit, to take away our pride, prejudices, and worldly lusts. Sinners ought to take the rebukes of God’s word and rod, as tokens of his love to their souls. Christ stood without, knocking, by the dealings of his providence, the warnings and teaching of his word, and the influences of his Spirit. Christ still graciously, by his word and Spirit, comes to the door of the hearts of sinners. Those who open to him shall enjoy his presence. If what he finds would make but a poor feast, what he brings will supply a rich one. He will give fresh supplies of graces and comforts. In the conclusion is a promise to the overcoming believer. Christ himself had temptations and conflicts, he overcame them all, and was more than a conqueror. Those made like to Christ in his trials, shall be made like to him in glory. All is closed with the general demand of attention. And these counsels, while suited to the churches to which they were addressed, are deeply interesting to all men.

Mordechai Mondays: Mind God’s Business

­To abide in the faith of the gospel is not enough, we must abound in the work of faith. The rule according to which all ought to walk and act, is the commandments given by the Lord Jesus Christ. Sanctification, in the renewal of their souls under the influences of the Holy Spirit, and attention to appointed duties. In aspiring after this renewal of the soul unto holiness, restraint must be put upon the appetites and senses of the body, and on the thoughts and inclinations of the will, which lead to wrong uses of them. The Lord calls none into his family to live unholy lives, but that they may be taught and enabled to walk before him in holiness. Some make light of the precepts of holiness, because they hear them from men, but they are God’s commands, and to break them is to despise God.

Here the apostle reminds the Thessalonian believers that from his first coming among them he had exhorted them to conduct themselves in a holy manner, if they wished to please and continue in the favour of the living and true God, in whom they had believed; and that he had explained to them the nature of that holiness which is acceptable to God. And the same method of exhortation and instruction he undoubtedly followed in all other cities and countries.

This letter was written immediately on the arrival of Silas and Timothy in Corinth, and is all flushed with the gladness of relieved anxiety, and throbs with love. It gains in interest when we remember that, while writing it, the Apostle was in the thick of his conflict with the Corinthian synagogue. The thought of his Thessalonian converts came to him like pure, cool air to a heated brow.

The apparent want of connection in the counsels of the two last chapters is probably accounted for by supposing that he takes up, as they occurred to him, the points reported by the two messengers. But we may note that the plain duties lead to the lofty revelations of the rest of the context without any sense of a gap, just because to Paul the greatest truths had a bearing on the smallest duties, and the vision of future glory was meant to shape the homely details of present work.

The ancient world was honeycombed with schisms masked by political union. In the midst of a world of selfishness this new faith started up, and by some magic knit warring nationalities and hostile classes and wide diversities of culture and position into a strange whole, transcending all limits of race and language. The conception of brotherhood was new, and the realisation of it in Christian love was still more astonishing. The world wondered, you but to the Christians the new affection was, we might almost say, instinctive, so naturally and spontaneously did it fill their hearts.

Paul’s graceful way of enjoining it here is no mere pretty compliment. The Thessalonians did not need to be bidden to love the brethren, for such love was a part of their new life, and breathed into their hearts by God Himself. They were drawn together by common relation to Jesus, and driven together by common alienation from the world. Occasions of divergence had not yet risen. The world had not yet taken on a varnish of Christianity. The new bond was still strong in its newness. So, short as had been the time since Paul landed at Neapolis, the golden chain of love bound all the Macedonian Christians together, and all that Paul had to exhort was the strengthening of its links and their tightening.

The Ordinance of Creation

God’s Creation Takes Work (Genesis 1)

Creating a world is work. In Genesis 1 the power of God’s work is undeniable. God speaks worlds into existence, and step by step we see the primordial example of the right use of power. Note the order of creation. The first three of God’s creative acts separate the formless chaos into realms of heavens (or sky), water, and land. On day one, God creates light and separates it from darkness, forming day and night (Gen. 1:3-5). On day two, he separates the waters and creates the sky (Gen. 1:6-8). On the first part of day three, he separates dry land from the sea (Gen. 1:9-10). All are essential to the survival of what follows. Next, God begins filling the realms he has created. On the remainder of day three, he creates plant life (Gen. 1:11-13). On day four he creates the sun, moon, and stars (Gen. 1:14-19) in the sky. The terms “greater light” and “lesser light” are used rather than the names “sun” and “moon,” thus discouraging the worship of these created objects and reminding us that we are still in danger of worshiping the creation instead of the Creator. The lights are beautiful in themselves and also essential for plant life, with its need for sunshine, nighttime, and seasons. On day five, God fills the water and sky with fish and birds that could not have survived without the plant life created earlier (Gen. 1:20-23). Finally, on day six, he creates the animals (Gen. 1:24-25) and, the best of creation, humanity to populate the land (Gen. 1:26-31).[2]

In chapter 1, God accomplishes all his work by speaking. “God said…” and everything happened. This lets us know that God’s power is more than sufficient to create and maintain the creation. We need not worry that God is running out of gas or that the creation is in a precarious state of existence. God’s creation is robust, its existence secure. God does not need help from anyone or anything to create or maintain the world. No battle with the forces of chaos threatens to undo the creation. Later, when God chooses to share creative responsibility with human beings, we know that this is God’s choice, not a necessity. Whatever people may do to mar the creation or render the earth unfit for life’s fullness, God has infinitely greater power to redeem and restore.

The display of God’s infinite power in the text does not mean that God’s creation is not work, any more than writing a computer program or acting in a play is not work. If the transcendent majesty of God’s work in Genesis 1 nonetheless tempts us to think it is not actually work, Genesis 2 leaves us no doubt. God works immanently with his hands to sculpt human bodies (Gen. 2:7, 21), dig a garden (Gen. 2:8), plant an orchard (Gen. 2:9), and, a bit later tailor two “garments of skin” (Gen. 3:21). These are only the beginnings of God’s physical work in a Bible full of divine labor

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