Think On These Things

Great is the Lord

 

“But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, “Great is Artemis [Diana] of the Ephesians!” –Acts 19:34

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” –Psalm 145:3

Reading: Acts 19:23-41; Psalm 145

In the large theater of Ephesus, the devotees of Diana…confessed with one voice, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” The cries of their loyalty expressed the esteem that many had in that day for the crude goddess whose worship centered in the magnificent temple that was one of the seven wonders of the world. If insistent and emphatic affirmation could establish falsehood as true, the cries of faith that were uttered in the theater of Ephesus should have established forever the excellence and magnificence of Diana.

The centuries have passed, however, and the worshipers of Diana have gone; the great city of Ephesus has fallen into ruins; the temple of Diana has been destroyed, and now a stagnant frog pond is found at its site. Today, instead of cries of devotion to Diana one hears the croaking of thousands of frogs.

Ephesus is dead and Diana is dead. With other discredited and abandoned deities of antiquity, Diana has perished—and her followers have been replaced by frogs in a stagnant pond. But the Gospel that Paul preached in Ephesus is not dead and will not die. And the God to whom Paul testified in Ephesus still lives and reigns and will live and reign forever. For He is the One who alone is great and is greatly to be praised, and whose greatness is unsearchable.

 

 

 

Sufficient Unto the Day

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” –Matthew 6:34

We face the duties, the privileges, the problems, perhaps even the serious troubles, of another day…. Some of the troubles we fear may never actually occur; some of them may be much easier than we expected: but today they all nevertheless may seem real enough and threatening enough. In fact, we at times may become so disturbed and weakened by anxious thoughts about the future that we are unable to meet the problems of the  present with our full strength.

We should, of course, take prudent thought for the morrow and make reasonable and conscientious preparation for it. But we are not to be anxious about it. We are not to ruin the present day or lessen our ability to cope with its problems by worrying about what may or may not happen on the coming days. Our lives, our days, our future, are in the hands of our powerful and loving Father in heaven. The grace of our Lord is sufficient for each day as it comes. We must learn to live one day at a time as unto Him…. In the strength that God gives us now, let us strive to glorify Him every moment of this day.

 

Skilton, John H. Think on These Things: Bible Truths for Faith and Life. Philadelphia: Skilton House – Sowers, 1986.

Be Thankful Unto Him and Bless His Name

Some thoughts for Sunday, the Lord’s Day.

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Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! (Psalm 100:4)

Let us enter the house of the Lord today with thanksgiving. In the words of the psalmist, we will “forget not all His benefits.” Has He not forgiven all our iniquities; has He not many a time healed our diseases? Has He not redeemed our life from destruction and crowned us with loving-kindness and tender mercies? Has He not satisfied us with good things? Truly His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children’s children. We have seen the goodness of our God in the land of the living. We have tasted and seen that the Lord our God is good. With thanksgiving and with joy, we, the redeemed of the Lord, can enter into His gates and proceed into His courts with praise.

We do not, therefore, come to the service of worship in a lifeless, formal, and simply routine way. We do not enter the house of God as mere spectators at a performance. We come with an eagerness to unite with our fellow believers in heartfelt worship. We truly love Him who first loved us. We wish to tell Him so in our hymns and our prayers. We earnestly desire to learn more about Him, to hear His Word read and proclaimed, and to receive His blessing. In all things we wish to glorify and enjoy Him whose name alone is excellent and who is God, even our own God.

 

Skilton, John H. Think on These Things: Bible Truths for Faith and Life. Philadelphia: Skilton House – Sowers, 1986.

Preface

Below is the preface of Dr. John Skilton’s book, “Think On These Things” (Sowers, 1986).  Stay tuned for additional posts as we use Dr. Skilton’s reflections to encourage us to think on what is true, pure, and lovely (Philippians 4:8).

I have taken the liberty to change the Scripture quotations to use the English Standard Version (ESV).

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An attempt has been made in this little book to set forth very briefly one or two of the chief truths taught or suggested by certain texts of Scripture.  In these meditations, purposely made short, there is no detailed interpretation or full treatment of the teaching of any Bible passage.  It is hoped, however, that the central truths of the Bible, which are emphasized in these meditations, will influence and control the thoughts of the reader long after he has read the few words that introduce them.

The answers for the problems that confront us daily can be found only in the truths revealed by God in His written Word, the Bible.  Limited, finite, and sinful men without God’s Word cannot speak with the knowledge, the wisdom, and the authority that is needed.  Only the infinite Being who has created the universe and rules over it, whose knowledge is unlimited and whose sovereignty is universal, can answer the questions about life and death that men are constantly asking.  The meditations in this book may encourage the reader to direct his thoughts to the revelation that God has given in the Scriptures, to “think on these things” day and night and year after year.

Constant reflection on the truths of the Word of God is needed today.  We are constantly being exposed to things that are untrue and impure, some of them so depraved that it is shameful even to speak of them.  If we are not vigilant, we will be led into thinking excessively about them.  We must resist the overexposure of our minds to these befouling influences around us.  But we must do more than merely fight a defensive battle, just waiting for the enemy to attack and then seeking to repel him.  We must be positive and aggressive in our stance and strategy.  We must with determination concentrate on the things that are true, pure, and virtuous.  We must give our minds and our thoughts to these things.  As Paul has said, “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

…The author’s prayer accompanying this book is that God, who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, will fulfill the exceeding great and precious promises of His Word in the lives of all who think on these things.

Thanks are expressed to The Presbyterian Guardian, the Reformed Fellowship, Inc. (publisher of The Outlook, formerly Torch and Trumpet), and to the Zondervan Publishing House for permission to use in this book previously published articles and meditations by the author.