Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Story Behind The Hymn: What a Friend We Have in Jesus

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Lyrics by Joseph Scriven 
Born: September 10, 1819,  Dublin, Ireland
Died:  August 10, 1886,  Port Hope, Canada 
Education:  Trinity College Dublin 

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
 Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
 Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
 Take it to the Lord in prayer;
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Mrs. Vera Pink – the Editor’s Wife

"I like those words,  ‘Our life is like the weaver’s web’ for it is so true to life.    We only see the wrong side of the fabric now,  for the Weaver has not finished his work.   But in the Day to come, where we shall see it from his side, then we shall behold the beauty of his work and not the knots and ends which our sins and failures have caused.”   - Vera E. Pink,  in a letter to a friend  1
It's been said   “Behind every great man there stands a great woman”  and this was certainly true  of  the humble and dedicated writer  Arthur W. Pink.    This unique man who was theologically out of sync with many of  his contemporaries,  lived most of his life in obscurity.    He embraced the writings of the  long forgotten Puritans and the  Doctrines of Grace in an era when most  of  the Evangelical church was Arminian.  Though he has been criticized for his isolationism and lack of formal education,  his writings were appreciated and came highly recommended by men  such as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.    
Arthur Pink was born in 1886 in  Nottingham, England,  and later  came  to America to attend Moody Bible Institute.    His stint at   college  lasted just  6 weeks  before he felt he was wasting his time and decided to  enter the ministry.    His first charge was in Colorado and  from there he  preached  in California and  England and pastored churches  in  South Carolina, rural Kentucky,  and later in Australia.    
 It was during his brief pastorate in Kentucky  that  God answered his prayer  for “a godly and spiritual wife”2   by giving him Vera,  a 22 year old  “slightly-built, vivacious Christian, who spoke with a rich  for her Kentucky drawl.”
 Vera Ethel Russell was born on January 8, 1893 to George and Lizzie (Lewis) 
Russell  in Allen Co. Kentucky.    Arthur and Vera were married on November 1, 
1916 in  Scottsville, KY.  

The  inspirational  biography  “The Life of Arthur W. Pink”  by  Iain Murray tells us,  “Next to his own conversion Vera was to be the greatest blessing in Arthur Pink’s life.”4       And that she was.   Vera  became accustomed to  frequent moves as  Mr. Pink  never settled  into a long term pastorate.      Though  he  preached throughout the US,  Canada, Australia, and the UK,   his  ministry was  primarily  through his  writings  of the  Studies in the Scriptures.    This was a monthly periodical   Mr. Pink  wrote and Vera  helped produce   which was  sent out to  a relatively small number of  subscribers around the world from 1922-1953.       
The Pinks  moved to Hove, England in  1936  and after giving up  hope of any future public speaking ministries  they  continued the Studies,  never missing even one month’s publication.    When WWII broke out   they stayed as long as they could in Hove but continual air raids and bombings forced them to move to the quiet  seaside village of Stornoway, Scotland  where they continued  their  work and peacefully  lived out the rest of their days. 
The Pinks never  fit in with the Gaelic speaking churches at Stornoway  so  they  kept to themselves most of the time  and observed the Sabbath at home.    They were  what we would call today  minimalists,  living  humbly and  free from the trappings of materialism.     They never owned a car and  usually rented  small apartments that were  often  no more than two rooms.     Arthur  put in long hours  at his writing desk while Vera,  in addition to helping her husband,   grew  gardens,  did her own canning and baking and  was so  frugal that she  never wasted so much as a “turnip top”.    
Vera rarely spoke of her contribution to  her husband’s  ministry  but wrote in a letter to a friend,   
“No one realizes the hours and hours of hard brain work entailed in composing and going over and over the ground to make sure no error is printed to lead some sheep astray from the green pastures.   Then the proof reading—one man’s job—apart from the composing.   Last but not least, the correspondence to care for.  So you see Mr. Pink does really three men’s work.   For that reason I do all I can in the way of book-keeping, typing and addressing the envelopes to help him”5 
Mrs. Pink's  part in  the  ministry was no small  task because  by 1946  her husband  had written  more than 7,000  pages  of studies  and   20,000 letters of correspondence to his subscribers!     These many letters of correspondence are evidence of the pastoral heart that he had,  despite his rather unorthodox approach to ministry.    Pink freely admitted that without Vera he would have been overwhelmed and probably would not have accomplished all that he did with his writing ministry.     
 Together,  Arthur and Vera  faithfully produced  the  Studies  right up  until the  end of his life.   Mr. Pink  suffered  with  a form of painful anemia causing his death and  entered into the joy of his Master  on  July 15, 1952 at the age of 66.    Vera told the sad news to his subscribers,   who  affectionately knew him as  The Editor,  in the September issue  article entitled  “The Late Editor’s Last Days”.  
“...One night in May he had a seizure which lasted several minutes.  After it passed he said, ‘I shall soon be home in glory, I cannot go soon enough.   “Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name”.  I am so happy, I feel like singing through that psalm’.   He observed I was weeping and asked, ‘My dear, why do you weep?   You should be rejoicing that I shall be soon be home.’   I told him I was weeping for myself at being left behind.   I knew it was good for  him but I dreaded the separation.   He gently said, ‘The Lord has been so wondrously good to us all these years and brought us safely through until now.    He will not desert you in your hour of greatest need.  Only trust him with all your heart.   He will not fail you.’”.6    
Vera  tells of  her beloved husband’s last words which were, 
“‘The Scriptures explain themselves’,  showing us what his mind was on.  So having finished his course, and completed his work, he has gone to be with him whom he loved and served for so many years. “Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together’”7  
Though her deep bereavement caused  her to become ill for a time Vera  never ceased praising the Lord for His goodness to her.     She suffered a stroke while working on  the remaining issues  Mr. Pink  had completed before his death but with the help of friends she was able to publish them.     Vera  lived ten years beyond her husband and was a joy and blessing to all who knew her in Stornoway.    On  July 17,1962 at the age of 69 Vera E. Pink went home to be with her Lord. 
Arthur Pink  had often been  discouraged by the relatively little interest in his published works  yet they  pressed on,  praying  that God would enlarge their borders  and that He would do so even after they were gone from this earth.     In their final years the Pinks   began to see a greater interest in their work from pastors,  which greatly encouraged their hearts.    
 It is wonderful to see how God has answered  their prayers as the fruit of  their labor continues to multiply in this generation.    The Weaver has indeed woven  a beautiful tapestry from the lives of these two  faithful  servants of Christ.    Vera Pink's life stands as  an example for women today of   what the Lord  had in mind when He said,
“It is not good that the man should be alone;
I will make him a helper fit for him.” 
Genesis 2:18

 1) The Life of Arthur W. Pink by Iain H.  Murray Revised and Enlarged Edition;  Banner of Truth Trust;  2004; pg. 237
2) ibid p g 34
3) ibid, pg 35
4) ibid 37
5) ibid pg 241
6) ibid 273
7) ibid 276  
Additional resources: 
Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954
*An earlier edition of this article  is  available in Portuguese as an eBook  courtesy of  O Estandarte de CristoVera Pink, a eEposa do Editor, por Diane Bucknell

Monday, July 16, 2018

A Case for Civil Disobedience

  “But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live.”  Exodus 1:17

Most Christians here in the US have never faced legal consequences for following their religious convictions,  but  I think we all know that could change in the not so distant future.   Steven Ingino recently posed the question Would Jesus Bake a Cake? and gave three reason why he believes  Christ would not have baked that wedding cake.  On another note,  if  spanking your child were to become illegal would it violate the Scripture’s command not to "spare the rod" of correction?  If so, should we disobey it?   Tim Challies gave what I thought was a very good answer.  Use the Rod, Lose the Child?     
Although Paul writes “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God" (Rom. 13:1), the Scriptures also give several examples of civil disobedience that God blessed. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery

Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery (a Cappella)
Doxology Vocal Ensemble - Southern Seminary

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Why We Write

“I have not studied in this that you read to show my skill, but to declare the truth, not to set forth myself, but the Glory of God”.  Anne Bradstreet

It has been my joy and privilege for nearly a decade to get to know personally a number of reformed women bloggers.   Some have quit blogging, others are still at it.    We have communicated by email, instant messaging, texts, phone calls, Skype, Facetime, hand written letters, and in a few blessed instances, in person.    We come from several countries, have diverse backgrounds, and each of us has our own writing style and areas of interest we enjoy writing about.   
The common bond in this uncommon community is our mutual love for Jesus Christ and a desire to encourage women to deeply consider the “prophetic word made more sure”.   We share a special unity with one another because we are all part of God’s family.    

Friday, July 13, 2018

12 Steps to a Happy Marriage

"There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship,  communion, or company than a good marriage." Martin Luther 
Today Robert and I are celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary.  We were married on Friday the 13th  and this is only the 7th time our anniversary has fallen on a Friday.   I thought it would be fitting to post this piece I wrote for Out of the Ordinary  a couple of years ago.
Since there are no perfect people, there are no perfect marriages.   But God has been gracious to us and here’s some things we've learned along the way.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Encouraging Mothers of Prodigals

  “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father
 as well as the soul of the son is Mine..” Ezekiel 18:4

Few things are more heartbreaking to a Christian mother than having her adult child reject the Gospel.   Some of the most godly parents I know have grown children who have rejected the faith and have adopted lifestyles or beliefs  contrary to Scripture.   Invariably parents are left wondering what in the world went wrong.     
History speaks often about this.  Absalom rebelled against his father David, a man after God’s own heart.   Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew and married two Hittite women in violation of God’s commands (Gen. 24:3).   And Adam and Eve had the perfect parent and still rebelled, causing the fall of the entire human race.