Bulletin Edition April 2021

“I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight.” Isaiah 42:16


What is the mind of man–of any man–of your mind, my mind, under affliction? Let him be tried with pain of body, poverty of circumstances, sickness in his family, guilt of conscience, hard bondage in his own soul, without any beam of divine light upon his path, and what is he? A murmuring, rebellious wretch, without a grain of resignation, without a particle of contentment or submission to the will of God.

But let the glory of the Lord be revealed; let him have a view by faith of a suffering Jesus; let some ray of light shine upon his path; let there be some breaking in of the exceeding weight of glory that is to be manifested at Christ’s appearing; where are all his crooked things now? All made straight. But how? By his crooked will–crooked because it did not lie level with the Lord’s–being made to harmonize with the promise and precept, the footsteps and example of the blessed Jesus. The crook is not taken out of the lot, but straightened in the lot; the cross is not removed from the shoulder, but strength–that strength which is “made perfect in weakness”–is given to bear it. So it was with Christ himself in the garden and on the cross; so it is with the believing followers of the crucified One.


John 1:6

Don Fortner

Of this you may be sure – When God intends to bless his people and bestow his grace upon them, he will send a man as his messenger to them. The man whom God sends has a message from God, which he must deliver. The Lord will supply his messenger with all the gifts and graces necessary for his work, and his gifts will make room for him. If a man is sent of God, the Holy Spirit of God upon that man will make him effectual and irrepressible in his work. He cannot and will not be stopped until his work is done.

                But of this you may also be sure – Such a man will not be popular among the Lord’s enemies. If God is using a man, Satan will oppose him. He will have an abundance of enemies who watch him, looking for an excuse to slander him. Any flaw of character, any slight mistake, any weakness they will exalt and magnify, in an attempt to make God’s servant appear as some hideous monster. His words will be misinterpreted, his actions will be misunderstood, and his motives will be misrepresented. And those self-righteous men who oppose him will do so in the name of the Lord, with pretentious piety and humility. John the Baptist, our Lord Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul, and all their successors have been the objects of scorn among religious people. But the man sent from God will remain firm, faithfully executing his work, even unto death.

Man-made ministers!

From Spurgeon’s, “The Two Effects of the Gospel”

The ministry has been very often degraded into a ‘trade’.

They are ‘selected by man’, they are crammed with literature;

they are educated up to a certain point; they are turned out

ready dressed; and persons call them ‘ministers’.

I wish them all God-speed, every one of them; for as

good Joseph Irons used to say, “God be with many of them,

if it be only to make them hold their tongues.”

Man-made ministers are of no use in this world,

and the sooner we get rid of them the better.

“Through the tender mercies of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high has visited us.” Luke 1:78


By “day-spring” is meant the day-dawn, the herald of the rising sun, the change from darkness to light, the first approach of morn, in a word, the spring of the day. But what is this “day-spring” spiritually? It is the intimation of the rising of the Sun of righteousness. It is not the same thing as the Sun of righteousness; but it is the herald of his approach; the beams which the rising sun casts upon the benighted world, announcing the coming of Jesus, “the King in his beauty.”

This expression was singularly applicable in the mouth of Zacharias. The Lord of life and glory had not then appeared; he was still in the womb of the Virgin Mary. But his forerunner, John, had appeared as the precursor, the herald of his approach, and was sent to announce that the Sun of righteousness was about to arise. “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light” (John 1:6-8). All nations at that time lay in darkness. “Darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people.” But when the Lord of life and glory was about to appear upon earth, when he had already taken the body which was prepared for him, the very flesh and blood of the children, which he was to offer as a propitiation for sin, “the dayspring from on high” had begun to dawn. God’s mercy, in the face of his dear Son, was just visiting the benighted world.

But there is another, an experimental meaning, connected with these words. “The day-spring from on high” is not to be confined to the approach of the Son of God in the flesh; but it may be extended to signify the appearance of the Son of God in the heart. I cannot be benefited by the appearing of Jesus in the flesh eighteen hundred years ago, unless he comes and dwells in my soul. “The day-spring from on high” which visited the benighted Jewish church will not profit us except that same day-spring visits our benighted heart. “The day-spring from on high” is the manifestation of God’s mercy in the face of the Savior. And when this “day-spring from on high” visits the soul, it is the first intimation, the dawning rays of the Sun of righteousness in the heart.

What is a successful ministry?

(Don Fortner)

“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2

The desperate need of the hour is faithful men in the pulpits of our churches. We have an over-abundance of preachers. We do not need any more slick, polished, well-educated professionals in “the ministry”. But we do, most desperately, need some faithful men — pastors after God’s own heart, who feed His people with knowledge and understanding. Thank God, we have a few!

In this day of big business religion, when churches are measured not by their orthodoxy, but by the opinions of men; when a preacher’s success is measured not by his faithfulness, but by the number of names added to the church roll — it might be wise to consider what a successful ministry is according to the measure of Holy Scripture.

According to the Word of God, those preachers and churches are successful who are faithful to the work to which God has called them. Never in the Old Testament or in the New was a prophet, apostle, or preacher measured by the opinions of men. God’s servants never courted the favor of men, and were never favored by the majority of the people. The church of God has always been out of step with society. The servants of God have always been looked upon as peculiar, bigoted dogmatists, intolerant and incapable of compromise. But they were faithful — faithful to God, faithful to His truth, and faithful to the souls of men.

Do not be so foolish as to measure God’s work by man’s yardstick. Do not measure the success or failure of preachers and churches by men, by numbers, or by popular opinion. The only measure of success for churches and preachers is faithfulness. Those who faithfully seek and promote the glory of God, who faithfully proclaim the truth of God, and who faithfully serve the eternal interests of immortal souls are successful. Those who are not are failures. The one will stand the fire of judgment. The other will not.

The greatest blessing God can ever bestow upon any people in this world is to establish in their midst a faithful Gospel church with a faithful Gospel preacher as his messenger.

“Tychicus . . . is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.” Colossians 4:7

More scarce and precious than a bar of gold!

(adapted from Octavius Winslow’s, “The Redeemer,

the Revelation of the Father’s Glory” October, 1844)

“The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign Lord,

“when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine

of bread or water but of hearing the words of the Lord.”

  Amos 8:11

Already has this famine of the true word of God commenced!

How few, forming their ministry upon the apostolic

model, can affirm with Paul, “My speech and my

preaching are not with enticing words of man’s wisdom,

but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power!”

How few, disdaining artificial embellishment, and

scorning the applause of men won by a vain show

of intellect and eloquence, preach that simple truth

of which Jesus is the Author, the Substance, the

Glory, the Power, and the End; purely, boldly,

faithfully, affectionately, uncompromisingly!

How few who honestly and heartily desire to lift up

their Lord and Master; themselves lost behind the

glory of His person and the splendors of His cross!

How sadly, how painfully, is the Lord Jesus Christ

kept in the background! How is His glory obscured,

His beauty veiled, His honor withheld!

“The time will come, when a faithful minister

 of the Gospel will be more scarce and precious

 than a bar of gold!”  John Owen

“The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign Lord,

“when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine

of bread or water but of hearing the words of the Lord.”

  Amos 8:11

“Preaching peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all).” Acts 10:36.

Octavius Winslow

LET us turn our attention to the subject-matter of our Lord’s address to the weary. What does He speak to them? Some would reply, the law. No; but the law of God never spoke a word of comfort to the weary. It was not designed for such. Its very nature forbids it. It can anathematize, alarm, and wound; but not a solitary word of consolation and soothing can it address to a soul weary and heavy-laden with sorrow and with guilt. But it is the glorious gospel of the blessed God that the Lord Jesus speaks to His weary ones. It was designed and framed especially for them. Its very nature fits it for such. Every word is an echo of the love of God’s heart. Every sentence is fraught with grace, mercy, and truth. The word which Jesus speaks is just the word the weary want. It unfolds a free pardon, complete acceptance, perfect reconciliation with God, and all-sufficient grace to perfect this work in holiness. It bids me as a sinner approach just as I am; my poverty, my vileness, my guilt, my utter destitution forming no just hindrances to my salvation, because His atoning work has made it a righteous thing in God to justify the guilty, and a gracious act in Jesus to save the lost. Yes, He condescends to assure me in that word of a free-grace gospel, which He speaks with a tongue so eloquent, that I honor Him in accepting His proffered boon, and that I glorify Him by trusting my soul into His Almighty hands.

The Lord Jesus speaks at the present time to the weary. We need constantly to bear in mind the immutability of our Lord; that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.” That all that He ever has been—and oh! what has He not been!—He is at this moment. What countless numbers are now bathing their souls in the bliss of heaven, whose tears were once dried, whose fears were once quelled, whose burden was once removed, by those precious words spoken in season—”Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”! Oh could they, bending now from their thrones, but speak to us, they would testify what substance, what reality, what sweetness, what power, and what charm they once found in them; and they would bid every weary spirit, every weeping penitent, every tried saint, believe and press the promise to their heart. But a dearer, a lovelier, and a better than they bids you receive it. Jesus Himself speaks to you: “Come unto me—and I will give you rest.” All that He was in their happy experience, He will be in yours. The grace that made them what they once were, and what they now are, is sufficient for you. Go, and lay your weariness on Christ. Ask not, “Will He bear my burden.” He bears every burden brought to Him. Not one poor weary, heavy-laden sinner does He turn away. You are perhaps a mourning penitent—He will receive you. You are perhaps a vile outcast—He will welcome you. He says He will, and He cannot deny Himself; it is impossible that He should lie.

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