The Grace of Contentment

Have I learned? Learned to be content with whatsoever may be my lot?

The answer to this pointed, definitely personal question the word of God in this passage would elicit from our hearts.

Let us not overlook two features of the text. First, it is a personal profession. Second, it speaks of contentment as a lesson that must be learned. As a personal confession it purposes to have a place in our own hearts and upon our own lips, so that we have really not heard the word of God until we, you and I can repeat it after the apostle with personal application: I have learned to be content with whatsoever may be my state.

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September 15, 2019 Standard Bearer preview article

The covenant and Dordt: Election, the foundation

The doctrine of election is the foundation of the Reformed truth of salvation by grace alone. The first head of the Canons of Dordt establishes the doctrine of double predestination in answer to the first point of the Remonstrants. The Arminians placed this doctrine first in their five objections (remonstrances), knowing that if they could successfully change the Reformed teaching of election to a conditional election, the rest of their teaching (errors) would follow logically. If election (and therefore, salvation) depended on man’s choosing it, then Christ died for all to make that choice a possibility, and fallen man is not dead, and grace is resistible, and perseverance unto eternal life depends on man.

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A book for supporters of Christian schools

As a new school year begins, it is good to meditate on the reason for Christian education. We make sacrifices to support Christian schools, but why?

Reformed Education lays out the “why”—God’s covenant of grace with believers and their children. This book also reminds us what Christian instruction looks like: lessons based on scripture and the creeds, and a biblical perspective on culture in every subject. Other topics include the qualifications and calling of the Christian school teacher and the goal of education.

You will be encouraged if this is your first time reading this book or if you are picking it up again to re-read. The sacrifices we make for our children’s education have priceless benefits.

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The Pilgrim’s Goal

For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”—Hebrews 13:14

Christian, press on!

At the end of your way, there is a city to come—the city that has foundations, prepared for you from before the foundations of the world by your God.

It is your goal.

Until it is reached and you have entered through its pearly gates, you may not, you cannot, you must not tarry. Onward you must go; ever onward you must press, never once tarrying or abiding, never fearfully or hesitantly clinging to the things you might meet on your pilgrim’s journey.

Does not the pilgrim dwell in a tent?

He has no city.

In a city one abides, digs foundations, builds firmly to erect a lasting and permanent dwelling place, a continuing home. There are the ties that bind, the treasures one loves, the joys one seeks. There is one’s life. In a tent, however, one tarries but for a night, to rest and recuperate, in order to pull up the stakes at daybreak and press forward and travel onward until the final goal is reached.

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Dating Differently chapter preview: Who's the One?

In many ways this chapter gets right to the heart of Christian dating. What I write here is devoted to helping answer the question, “Whom should I be dating? What do I look for in a boyfriend or girlfriend?” Once you’ve answered the questions raised in the previous chapter—Why do you want to date? Are you ready to date?—then you’re ready to ask yourself the next question: “Who’s the one?”


I’m not sure it’s possible to overstate the importance of this question and its answer. What makes marriage the most important decision you might ever make is that you are going to be living with that person for the rest of your life. You’d better be quite sure before you enter into the lifelong bond of marriage that you know exactly the kind of person you are marrying.

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September 1, 2019 Standard Bearer preview article

Evil things are happening in homes and families in our land. Daily media reports are sometimes shocking, even unimaginable. There is the shameful abuse of women and children, sexual sins, sometimes committed by fathers violating their own children. We read of the most horrible atrocities imaginable, such as parents murdering their own children, and children their own parents. Even natural affection in the home seems in some cases to be utterly absent. All of these things are clear evidences that we are living in the last days, days of increasing wickedness in the world in which we live. May the Lord in His great mercy preserve us in this evil world, for sometimes these sins come close to us, and we know we are capable of committing them.

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Afraid of the Gospel (3)

Seeds germinate.

Such is the process of life.

And if you do not root up or choke that which sprouts forth from the seed, the plant will soon come to that degree of growth that you can distinguish the plant from other types of plants.

You plant your flower seeds, and they grow. But in the soil are also the seeds of several obnoxious plants, the seeds of weeds. They also germinate. And as both that which your flower seeds send forth grows and that which these seeds of the not-wanted plants send forth grows, you are for a brief period of time at a loss to decide which must be uprooted.

So it is with the seed of the truth and the seed of the lie.

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Further Critique of Graham's Teachings

The reader will remember that some months ago [Issue 3, 11/1/1965] I criticized an essay by Dr. Billy Graham on "The New Birth." This essay was published by Christianity Today as one of a series of essays on "Fundamentals of Faith." But the essay itself was excerpted from Dr. Graham's recent book, "World Aflame." 

Partly through some correspondence with a Calvinist friend in England who was also interested in this book of Graham, and partly, I suppose, out of a certain innate curiosity and desire "to see for myself", I purchased the book. I wanted to see whether the entire book was like the sample given in the essay on "The New Birth." 

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Our newest bible story book is now available for purchase!

JEHOVAH'S MIGHTY ACTS

Bible Stories by Nathan J. Langerak
Illustrated by Michael Welply

NOW AVAILABLE!

Stories of salvation and might: The creation of the world, God’s word to Adam and Eve after the fall, the worldwide flood, God raising up Moses to deliver Israel from Egypt, God’s provision of manna in the wilderness, and the Jews’ return home after seventy years of captivity—these are all saving acts of Jehovah towards his covenant people in the Old Testament. And they all show one of God’s most important perfections: though his people often sin against him and are unfaithful, God is always faithful to his covenant promises he makes with his people in Jesus Christ.

The first book in the Tell His Wonders series of Bible stories, the stories and accompanying illustrations in Jehovah’s Mighty Acts are a tool for parents of the church to use in the instruction of their children about the theme and truth of Jehovah’s mighty acts of salvation in the Old Testament, mighty acts which pointed to the mightiest act of all—salvation in Jesus Christ.

96 pages
hardcover
Retail: $24.95
Book club: $21.21
(NOTE: This book is being sent automatically to book club members. A notice had gone out prior to this book's release about the option of opting out of receiving this title).
_______________________
 
NATHAN J. LANGERAK is a minster in the Protestant Reformed Churches of America. He is the author of Walking in the Way of Love, a two-volume commentary on the book of 1 Corinthians. He and his wife and their six children live in Crete, Illinois.

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Thankfulness

Our communion form delineates the walk of gratitude of the Christian as the laying aside unfeignedly of all enmity, hatred, and envy and a firm resolution to walk in true love and peace with the neighbor. Such conduct evidences true thankfulness to God because it is only the regenerated child of God who can and will do these things and in the practice of them he is deeply conscious that "by the grace of God I am what I am and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain" (1 Cor. 15:10). Human nature cannot and will not submit to God's ordinance of love for "the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7). All the works of the flesh are characterized by "enmity, hatred, and envy", the very things which the child of God strives by grace to put off. Thankfulness, which is the fruit of regeneration, springs to manifestation in a life of uprightness before God. 

The essence of that life is love and in the concrete manifestation of the love of God in our walk therefore lies the proof that we are born of God and are made partakers of his communion and that of his saints. In the living experience of that love lies the conscious enjoyment of all the blessings of salvation while the absence of that love creates total spiritual vacuum in the consciousness of man. 

It is not particularly striking then that the word of God in countless places emphasizes the importance of love in the conversation of the saints. Jesus tells us that it constitutes the core of the entire law of God in that well known summary: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and the great commandment; and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt. 22:37–40).

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