March 24

  On this day (March 24) 1809 Grover Comstock was born in Rochester, New York. Although he was the son of a Baptist preacher, he was not converted until after he had become a successful lawyer. In 1831 a blessed rival swept through Rochester and Comstock along with many others, including a few lawyers, were born again. Almost immediately Bro. Comstock became burdened for the lost heathen. While in school, preparing for missionary service he met his future wife, a woman also dedicated to the mission field. Comstock was ordained in Rochester on March 12, 1834, and shortly after that the couple sailed for Burma with their eyes set on a place called Arracan. Upon their arrival in Moulmein, Burma, they were unable to proceed to their intended destination, so they launched into the work at Kyouk Phyoo and then Ramree, preaching and printing gospel tracts. As children were born into the family, the Comstocks determined that it would be necessary to send them home for their education. It was, of course an extremely difficult decision. When Dr. Eugenio Kincaid was set to furlough back to the States, he took with him the two eldest Comstock children. He described the parting as exceedingly emotional, and the last thing he remembered of Bro. Comstock, with tears streaming down his face, were the words, “Remember, Brother Kincaid, six men for Arracan,” meaning, ” we need six more missionaries for Arracan.” When Kincaid’s ship was off Shady Hook, April 28, 1843, back in Burma, Sister Comstock, aged 31, died. Almost one year to the day, Bro. Comstock, aged 35 also died. Soon...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 20:9

  In asking the Lord for a text for this evening, I kept coming back to verse 9. But this lends itself to a gospel message more fitting for a Sunday morning, and you are all familiar with the gospel. So let’s approach this a little differently. Let’s pretend that I have written a gospel tract, and I am asking you to proofread and improve it. It is a small tri-fold designed to whet the appetite – not to thoroughly explain all the nuances of salvation. Some people need a full broadside with the gospel, while others can endure only drips and drops. This is for the second group. It is printed on glossy white paper, with an interesting illustration and information about our church. The title quotes this verse – “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” Turning the page you find a reference to Matthew 23 where the Lord Jesus addresses a crowd of people. His theme is the self-righteousness of the Pharisees. Matthew 23:25 – “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” The principle is obvious – if the inside of anything – including a human being – is filthy, then it doesn’t matter in what condition the outside appears to be – the thing is dirty. If the heart is wicked, then the...

The Blessing of the Peculiar People – I Peter 2:9-10

  In my last 2 messages, I have been trying to consider some of the blessed privileges we have as Christians. Peter first mentions unbelievers – the “disobedient” – and then compares them to God’s people. “But YE are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” One of our great privileges is that we have been made priests after the order of Christ our Melchisedec. Which means that we don’t need other priests of any kind – Catholic, Jewish, or whatever. We may come “boldly to the throne of grace to may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” We may open the scriptures to hear the voice of God without the necessary intervention of any other man. We can offer the sweet incense of prayer – and even the thank offerings of our grateful hearts. The only priest above us is our Great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, “who has passed into the heavens, making intercession for us.” Another of the blessings to which Peter refers is that we are part of a ROYAL priesthood. Not only are we priests under Christ, but we are kingly priests as is He. Whereas we grew up slaves to the world, the flesh and the devil, we have, in Christ, been given authority over our hearts...

March 17

Jacob Dirks and his two adult sons, Andrew and Jan, became believers in the Lord Jesus Christ through the work of Anabaptist ministers. Mrs. Dirks and the other children remained Roman Catholics. When Jacob heard that an arrest warrant had been written against him, he fled from Utrecht to the larger city of Antwerp, hoping to spare his wife any further grief. But the magistrates took possession of most of the family possessions and she later died in poverty. The authorities eventually discovered Jacob and two of his sons, one whom was by this time engaged to be married. They were condemned to death. On this day (March 17) in 1568 the three were paraded through the city before the eyes of thousands, including the bride-to-be and some of the younger children of the family. One son ran up to his father and threw himself around his neck, weeping in sorrow, but he was torn away, thrown to the ground and trampled by the crowd. At the place of execution, Jacob asked, “How is it with you, my dear sons?” They answered, “All is well, dear father.” At that point the executioner mercifully strangled the men before lighting the fagots to burn their bodies. Those hating the truth in Holland during the sixteenth century had no respect for age or sex. It is said that thousands of Anabaptists were martyred in various ways – many in the same fashion as Jacob Dirks and his...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 20:1

  Yesterday morning I was sitting at my desk with my Bible still unopened, but ready to look at Proverbs for a devotional for this evening when my phone rang. I picked it up and found that it was Sister Sharon Richardson calling from Lewiston. After the usual greetings she, said that the preacher of the church where she attends had a message last Sunday on the “Marriage in Cana” in which he said that Jesus made wine for the wedding guests. Sharon couldn’t believe that Christ would make something alcoholic. Perhaps I need to point out that Sister Richardson hates any references to Greek and Hebrew. To her, the King James Bible is printed in gold letters. So in other words, she was stuck with “wine.” And in truth so are we. Anyway, I explained my position on the subject, and she seemed somewhat mollified. After we hung up, I opened my Bible to the next verse in our on-going study. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” I didn’t have to pray about a theme for today; the Lord slapped me in the face with it. I begin by saying it is a difficult thing to absolutely condemn the drinking of wine, using only the Bible. Nevertheless that is what I will try to do this evening. It is difficult, but not impossible, especially when speaking to people who are the children of God. Drinking wine does not appear to be explicitly condemned in God’s Word, and in fact it seems to be encouraged under certain very special...

The Blessing of being a King – I Peter 2:6-11

  Paul mentioned to the Corinthians “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” God has not enabled any of the Apostles to perfectly reveal all the blessings contained in salvation. There has not been a prophet or poet authorized to explain what eternity with God will be like. There are no Biblical similes with which to whet our appetites for our future state in God’s holy abode. In fact it is difficult to understand even what we currently possess by God’s grace. Do you fully understand what Peter tells us? “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.” This evening I’d like to return to one of these Christian offices, even though I’ll not be able to explain all that it entails. Every Christian is a king, or if you like, we are kings and queens. We are not just princes and princesses. Even though nearly every little girl dreams of being a princess, Christian ladies are more than that. We are not mere mayors, governors, councilmen, and prime ministers. The Bible says that we are kings as well as the priests which we considered last week. Christian, you are a king or a queen. Revelation 5 is the chapter which precedes the Tribulation – you could say that it is the introductory chapter. Please turn to Revelation 5:1 – “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with...

March 10

Balthazar Hubmaer was born in Bavaria in 1480. He studied the doctrines of the Protestants, embracing the views of Luther, pastoring a Lutheran church and becoming a good friend and associate of Ulrich Zwingli. However he expected the Reformation to return to Biblical truth, and when that did not occur he embraced Anabaptism. He formed a Baptist church and immersed more than a hundred of his former church members, drawing the wrath of both Protestants and Catholics. Both Hubmaer and his wife were arrested and jailed separately. The dungeon cells in which they were kept were dark, cold and full of disease. Balthazar’s health deteriorated. He pleaded with his old friend Zwingli for assistance but was refused. After some time, the only hope he had was in death or recantation. Torture on the rack and with other means were applied. In his weakened condition, and fearing the worst for his wife, he agreed to meet Zwingli’s demands. Balthazar Hubmaer was taken into the city cathedral and placed on the raised pulpit before a huge congregation. Swaying back and forth in weakness, he began to read his letter of recantation, but then he stopped. As if miraculously empowered by God, he raised himself to his full height, and he filled the cathedral with the shout, “Infant baptism is not of God, and men must be baptized by faith in Christ.” The huge crowd exploded, both with curses and some praise. Hubmaer was dragged back to prison where he once again wrote out a clear and Biblical confession of faith. On this day (March 10) 1528 Pastor Hubmaer was led to...

Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 19:22-29

  There were no verses at the end of this chapter which jumped out and demanded “preach me!” There are no verses of deep theological significance. They are all typically practical in Solomon’s style. One verse would make a good evangelistic text, but that would be better for a Sunday morning than a Wednesday evening. But rather than just skip right over into chapter 20, I’ve decided to offer a few comments on each of the remaining verses. I pray that they will be a blessing to us – and instructive as they remind us of obvious truth. “The desire of a man is his kindness: and a poor man is better than a liar.” Gill suggests that there are two ways to understand the first half of this statement. He says that “HIS kindness” refers to the Lord – The desire of a man is to receive God’s kindness. But not even Gill was excited about that interpretation. When looking for an antecedent for the pronoun, we can’t find the Lord in the context. Second, the desire of the average man usually has nothing to do with God – it is more secular. And third, wouldn’t the Holy Spirit first speak about God’s grace or mercy before His kindness? This isn’t talking about God’s kindness, but the kindness of certain kinds of people. But then again, we have problems. Grammatically, this doesn’t make much sense. The best solution comes by starting at the end and working forward. A man who refuses to cheat or lie, is better than the average rich man. It is better to earn respect...

One Christian’s Opinion of Zionism – Psalm 137:1-6

  I was recently handed a tract and asked to give my opinion about it. I was told to be frank and honest in my assessment – which I always try to be anyway. But my instructions included not pulling my punches or holding back – which sometimes I do. The tract dealt with a subject I’ve never explicitly addressed, and because of this I feel led of the Lord to offer my opinion publically. But I have to admit that this isn’t something I have studied for months and months. I don’t have a seasoned opinion, based on reading several books and hearing a dozen sermons by men who I consider to be expert in the subject. In other words, this will be a pretty simple answer, and with more study my opinions might change slightly some day. But the original challenge was – “What do you think about this tract?” And so I am going to begin where I am right now – with the knowledge I have at the moment. The article is entitled “Zionism: What it is and what it is not.” It is published by Ariel Ministries, one of the Messianic Jewish organizations in the world today. Their leadership and teachers appear to be entirely Jewish – that might bother some people, but not me. Their doctrinal statement, published on the internet, includes some pretty good stuff, but mixed with some of the common precepts of Protestantism. For example, they believe, as we do about the Triune God, with the full and absolute deity of Christ Jesus. They believe in the fall of man...

The Blessings of the Priesthood – I Peter 2:1-10

  There are two kinds of people in this world. You could describe them as “the dead” and “the living” – those spiritually quickened and those dead in their trespasses and sins. If we wanted, we could spend the next ten minutes applying different labels to those two groups. And that could be profitable – time well spent. Peter hints of those two kinds of people in this scripture. He says, “Christ Jesus is Sion’s chief corner-stone.” To some people – to you believers – He is precious. But to the disobedient – those who are unbelievers – He is a rock of offense, a stumbling block. You saints were once NOT the people of God, but now you ARE, because He has showered His mercy upon you. More than fifty years ago, the Saviour graciously placed me among God’s people. And I can say with all honesty, that I have been blessed throughout my life. The only changes in my life that I would make, if I could, would all be relatively minor. Today, I would rather be what and who I am than to possess the wealth of Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. I am satisfied to be on my way to Heaven and not to be headed toward the White House or Buckingham Palace. I prefer to have my name known in heaven, than to be on the lips of all the evening newscasters. Having said that, I will point out that it is easy to say such things, because it appears to be impossible for me to ever become that rich, that powerful or that...