“If you will consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land.”

— Isaiah 1:18-20

This is not a law word. God is not saying, “If you consent to the Law and obey it in all its particulars, then you will eat the best of the land.”

No, when you read the verse in context you see that it is a Gospel word. If you will consent to the simple truths of the Gospel; if you will simply obey its simple way of salvation and sanctification; if you will simply come to Christ and abide in Him and His grace, then your sins will become like wool, and then you will indeed eat the Best of the Land–the bread, oil, wine and honey hidden in the Land Above, lodged deep within the heart of Him who is seated there as King.

This very day, may you consent, obey, and eat until you’re filled!

Many a wise man, saturated in the Scriptures of God, has come to see that all creation is a school, and each and every kind of experience a classroom therein. Certainly this is the message of John Newton in his letter to Mrs. Dawson, formerly Miss Flower, but now married and nursing a newborn child.

Reading it, I took special pleasure in the way Newton’s experience as a parent becomes a window through which he beholds winsome glimpses of the heart of Father God. I am much in need of such glimpses, for truly, the essence of my spiritual warfare–and the key to any victory I may be able to achieve–lies in knowing more and more truly the character “the one with whom we have to do.”

In this excerpt, Newton makes Him manifest. I am grateful for it.


I join with you in praising the Lord for his goodness. I understand the little stranger is to be called Jane, a name to which I am partial for the sake of some who bear it. If she is spared to you, I trust your best endeavors to teach her the good ways of the Lord will not be wanting, and you will find that while a child, and even an infant, she will be a teacher to you.

You will be often reminded of that text, “Like as a father (or a mother) pitieth a child, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.” And when you are forced to overrule the inclinations of the child whom you love and wish to gratify; when she cries because she cannot have what you know would be hurtful to her; and when a regard for her health constrains you to give her some salutary pains . . . then you will be led to notice the true cause of many of your own disappointments and trials.

Should you see her sometimes misconstrue your tenderness and think you unkind–even though you have given her a thousand daily proofs of your love and care–because you cannot comply with her wishes at every point, you will see in her too much of my own picture, and something of your own.

On the other hand, the pleasure you will find in her affection and obedience; the readiness with which you will forgive her faults when she is sensible of them; and how much more you are disposed to caress her than to frown upon her . . . these feelings will lead your thoughts to our heavenly Father, who delights in our prosperity, and who does not willingly afflict us or permit us to be in heaviness without a need-be for it.

Thus, while we are in the Lord’s school, and desiring to be taught by him, we may always be learning, even though we should not be favored with the public preaching of the gospel. Yes, an attention to the Bible will enable us to derive profitable instruction from children, servants, friends, enemies, comforts, and crosses . . . from all we see, hear or meet with in the daily course of life.


Reflections on God’s Guidance from the Book of Acts 

In his letter to the Roman Christians, the apostle Paul declares, “As many as are led by the Spirit, these are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). What a thought! Can it really be that part of our inheritance in Christ is to be guided by the Spirit of God in all our decisions, just as the Lord Jesus was? Paul certainly seemed to think so! Moreover, as we read through the book of Acts, we find that for the early Church this was indeed the case: In manifold ways, God graciously guided His people in the fulfillment of their mission, and in so doing provided helpful instructions and examples for us to follow.

The purpose of this essay is to spotlight the main ways in which God guides his New Covenant children, and to illustrate them from the Book of Acts. May this brief meditation enrich your confidence for walking with him! You can access it here. 

“For you did not again receive the spirit of bondage to fear, 

but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!'”

Romans 8:15

Though I’ve read this verse hundreds of times, I never really noticed the astonishingly weighty contrast it invites us to contemplate.

For consider:

According to Paul, prior to our new birth, we were in the flesh, under the Law, under sin, under condemnation, under wrath, in peril of hell, and—for all of these reasons and more—in bondage to fear.

Now, however, we are in the Spirit, under Christ, under righteousness, under acquittal, under love, in (confident) hope of eternal life—and for all of these reasons and more—liberated into a spirit of sonship. As newborn babes we have been delivered, once and for all, into the strong, loving, eternally trustworthy arms of Father God.

Now here’s my confession: Though I’ve walked with the Triune God for nearly 40 years, I feel I have only begun to emerge from the thicket of my many fears, and out into the wide-open field of my heavenly Father’s fervent, immutable, and altogether committed covenant love for me, his chosen child.

And since we are all cut from the same cloth, I suspect many of you can say the same.

So then, let us pray: Pray that the Lord Jesus will open our eyes to the Father’s eternal love for us; that he will deliver us from our tendency to walk before Him as though we were still in the flesh, under the Law, under condemnation, under wrath, and on a tightrope over the fires of hell.

In other words, let us pray that we may learn to cry “Abba, Father” as never before, having seen Abba, Father as never before!

For when we do, our love for Him will be perfected, and we will never again walk “in bondage to fear.”



 To the seven churches . . . from Jesus Christ, the Faithful Witness . . .

(Revelation 1:5)

Once upon a time there was a mouse named Chicory Cheese. No one in his large family was very famous, except, perhaps, his uncle Chucky, who owned a big string of pizza parlors. But I can tell you this: Chicory was famous in heaven. Whenever the High King sent Chicory Cheese on a mission, all the holy angels quickly gathered round to watch!

One winter’s evening quite close to Christmas, Chicory was walking home after a hard day’s work. On his right, he passed Grandpa Adam’s field. Once again he paused to gaze at the old dead oak, standing all alone in the middle of the barren expanse. The sight of it always made him sad. Years back, Chicory’s uncle Isaiah, the village schoolteacher, had taken a hundred baby mice to play in that field. They never returned. It was the greatest mystery—and the greatest sorrow—in all Hickoryville.

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