Written by Nathan Taylor.
Our Bible Study started over 4 years ago, when some neighbors approached us about starting a Bible study for the neighborhood. We liked the idea and decided to give it a shot. Someone recommended 1 John as a good book to start with and Pastor Ed recommended serving food, so we gave it a shot. 1 John was a difficult book to teach for a first time Bible study leader, but people kept coming back to get fed. Four years later, we are still going strong and have a mix of neighbors and church friends attending.
We meet at 6:00 PM on Monday nights for dinner at our house near Quebec and Florida in South East Denver. Around 7:00, the kids go upstairs or outside with a couple of the adults and the rest of us dig into the Word. We’ve studied 1 John, Romans, Ruth, a Billy Graham new believer’s series, and we are currently finishing up the Gospel of Luke. I think we will be studying Nehemiah next. We also have worship ever other week for 15 minutes before the kids head upstairs. It’s been a blessing to grow in relationship with each other as we share dinner, and grow in our relationship with Jesus as the Holy Spirit speaks through our conversations and discussions. All are welcome although Childcare is limited, so please call for more information and directions…
Nathan and Julie 303-946-1429
I wanted to share this very powerful little insight (from 1907) into the death of believers. We all have to deal with this at one point or another. I hope this encourages you when that day comes.
(Alexander Smellie, “The Secret Place” 1907)
“Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of His saints!” Psalm 116:15
To me death has its unlovely aspects. I may be ready by God’s grace to meet it–and yet I recoil instinctively from the act of dying.
It seems unnatural.
It is usually attended by pain and suffering.
It is a farewell to dear and beloved associations.
It is a going out into an untrodden land.
I cannot coax myself to love the dreadful experience. And therefore I am glad to think that there is another side to the matter, and that to my Lord, my death is precious. And why should it be so?
Let me consider the name by which He calls me, and I shall begin to understand. “His saints!” That is His title for His sons and daughters, among whom I have been enrolled.
The people of His own purchased possession.
The redeemed people whom He has set apart for Himself.
He owns them in virtue of the stupendous price which He paid for them.
He has been at infinite pains to redeem and save and cleanse them.
Nothing which concerns them appears indifferent to Him.
The death of the humblest of them, is of stupendous moment in His sight.
Let me reflect, too, that death is one of the means His grace and power employ to uplift and crown me. It looks as though I scarcely could know God thoroughly, or confide in Him completely–until I learn to lean upon Him . . .
when heart and flesh faint and fail,
when the long and close fellowship of body and soul is sundered,
and when I pass forth alone into the mystery of unseen eternity.
Then He becomes more indispensable than ever. Then my trust must be simple and absolute. Then, when lover and friend are put far away, I cling to Him and refuse to let Him go. Death teaches us this perfection of dependence.
And let me predict to myself the future to which death is the doorway. I can scarcely imagine it . . .
its spotless holiness,
its unfathomable bliss,
its endless pleasures,
its divine love. But He sees it clearly, and comprehends it in its breadth and length and depth and height. He is familiar . . .
with the flowers and fruits of His upper garden,
with the refreshment of the fourfold river,
with the music of the better country,
with the city’s foundations of gems, and its gates of pearl, and its streets of gold.
Is it a marvel that He should pronounce desirable and precious, that loosening and wrench from earth which liberates me for a Heaven like this?
When I think my Lord’s thoughts, I shall cease to be so afraid of death!
I wanted to share this devotion I read today. I pray that we all seek the Lord for a soft heart daily!
(Alexander Smellie, “The Secret Place” 1907)
“Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root!” Mark 4:5-6
Much is said about these stony-ground hearers of the Word, which is attractive and hopeful. I anticipate a true life, a brave witness, an abundant harvest. But suddenly comes the check, the change, the fall. And what was the problem? Ah! the heart was wrong, and therefore everything was wrong!
1. The heart was unbroken. The rock had never been penetrated at all, and the seed died soon on its hard and impervious surface.
I wonder whether the stubbornness and the stolidity of my heart have been shattered. Have I been melted . . .
into practical concern of soul,
into the sense of spiritual neediness,
into godly sorrow,
into contrite prayer?
There can be no new birth and no vital growth, until then!
After an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the lava covered the fields with an apparently invincible crust; but the peasants bored holes in it, and pierced to the ground below, and planted their vines–and in due season gathered the grapes. Has the lava-crust of my heart been divinely pierced and overcome?
2. And the heart was shallow and superficial. It had no depth. Immediately beneath the thin layer of top-soil, was that rebellious and intractable adamant; the seed had not a sufficient resting-place and home.
This is the fatal fault of very many. They do not stop to think about unseen, eternal, heavenly things. They do not take time to consider their own miserable state of soul, and the grace of Jesus Christ. They nod, and glance, and bustle by.
Again I ought to examine myself. I can be eager enough, and resolute enough, about earthly matters. But have I ever roused my very soul, have I ever set my face like a flint, to seek and find the Lord my Savior, my Righteousness, my Strength? There is no possibility of salvation for the superficial heart!
3. And the heart was dry. It had none of the moistening, subduing, fructifying influences of the Holy Spirit. If the showers descend upon the rocky soil, there is no loam to retain them and to derive a benefit from them.
Just so, does everything depend on the Spirit’s presence and work within me! Apart from His dews and gentle rains, I am helpless, hopeless, dead, damned. For until His almightiness renews me, until His waters slake and vivify my parched and thirsty being, until I receive the outpouring of the grace of God–I have no spiritual life.
Is it not a miserable heart, this heart of stone?
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh!” Ezekiel 36:26