Christians Should Be Ready To Suffer

September 21, 2010 at 9:01 am | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall

Genuine readiness to suffer thins out the number of true Christians from the ranks of professing believer; it eliminates those whose walk goes no further than a cheap profession. A person who looks into the crowded sanctuaries Christendom today and finds multitudes who flock after the Word might wonder why ministers say this company of Christians is such a small one, and he might think that they who say such things cannot see the forest for the trees. This very situation made one of the disciples question Christ: “Lord, are there few that be saved?”(Luke 13:23). At that time Christ “went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem” (v. 22). When His followers saw Christ preaching so freely in every town, and people thronging after Him with expressions of hope, it seemed almost incredible to think that only a few of the them would be saved.

Now mark how our Savior solved this riddle: “And He said unto them, Strive to enter in at the straight gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (v. 24). Christ said His disciples were measuring by a wrong rule. “If following after sermons and testimonies and excitement were enough to save, heaven would already be full,” He was saying. But do not sift the pure from the impure by such a coarse sieve. “Strive to enter – fight and wrestle, risk life and limb rather than fall short of heaven.” “For many shall seek, but shall not be able,” – that is, they are looking for a cheap religion through an easy profession.

Almost anyone is willing to walk through heaven’s door if he never has to risk his pride in public or hazard his everyday interests by any inconvenience or opposition of the world. But “they shall not be able” to enter because their hearts are not willing to strive unto blood. If we take the standard to be striving, not merely seeking, then the number of Christian soldiers will shrink, like Gideon’s army, to a little troop. – Taken from The Christian in Complete Armour, September 20. Edited by James S. Bell, Jr. Moody Publishers Edition, 1994.

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Don’t Give the Devil a Foothold – William Gurnall

May 24, 2010 at 9:51 am | Posted in Devotional, Quotes, Spiritual Warfare | Leave a comment
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I came upon The Christian In Complete Armour by William Gurnall at the end of last year. The subtitle, Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare also caught my attention. Many years ago one of the first sermons I preached was from Ephesians 6:10-20 on the armor of God. Not counting individual sermons, I have also preached through the entire book of Ephesians as a series. I have a number of good commentaries on Ephesians and books on spiritual warfare. But I’m usually up to adding another one.

This book is meant to be read daily as part of a Christian’s devotional or quiet time. Or personal study time for those who prefer that time. That is how we are using it. I am one who believes that a growing Christian will make time daily to be get to know God better and to pray. To me it is not about being motivated by guilt but by love. It is not about how one feels but about one’s self-discipline.  Enough preaching from me; let me step aside and let William Gurnall speak.

DON’T GIVE THE DEVIL A FOOTHOLD

Satan is an encroaching enemy. Therefore, you must resist him constantly. “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath,” warns the apostle; “neither give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27). A soldier assigned to guard duty on the outskirts of a city must keep watch as faithfully as the king’s personal bodyguard, or the enemy will break through the outer limits and thereby gain access to the heart of the town.

If you yield to temptation along the perimeter of your heart, you give the devil a foothold from which to create havoc in your inner spirit. For example, you may become angry and thoughtlessly spew out some bitter words. At the very moment this unholy language spills from your mouth, the devil finds the floodgates open and enters. Then come gushing forth such things as you never dreamed of saying! He is a cunning opponent and will not easily relinquish any ground he gains. The safest strategy, the, is to give him no ground at all from which to work. If you so much as hesitate as you walk by the door where sin dwells, you give Satan more time to entice you to enter. Then you are on his territory.

Who will stop by a tavern to enjoy the company of drunkards, or frequent places of sin, and yet pretend he does not intend to partake? Who will prostitute his eyes to unchaste objects, and yet remain chaste? Who will lend his ears to any corrupt doctrine of the times, and yet be sound in the faith? Such a person is under a strong delusion. If a man is not strong enough to resist Satan in a lesser thing, how can he believe he will be able to repel a greater temptation? You say you cannot avoid being surrounded by deep waters of temptation, yet you think you have the strength to hold your head above water? The give careful thought to some practical advice: It is far easier, when in the ship, to keep from falling overboard than, when in the sea, to get safely into the ship again. (reading for May 22)

Those are still strong and good words for today. I don’t know when they were first written but I do know that Gurnall lived from 1616-1679. There was a strong Puritan influence in his life and he gave himself to pastoring. One has to wonder what he would think of the times and temptations we face today. Maybe he would have the same advice today as he did then. I recommend this book to purchase and use.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; JOHN 15:7

Daily Strength for the Battle

April 27, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Book Reviews, Devotional | Leave a comment
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Just posted a new book review/recommendation on Daily Strength for the Battle by Chaplain Scott McChrystal. Chaplain McChyrstal is a retired Colonel who served with the United States Army for 31 years.

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