Unsung Heroes of the Church

Ruling elders are among the greatest unsung heroes of the church...These men are often passed over on pastoral appreciation day, are often not as highly esteemed as the teaching elders in the church and are sometimes viewed with an envious eye by others in the congregation who wish to have a place of prominence. However, a local church will almost never rise higher in spiritual maturity and diligence than the level set by its ruling elders.

Every week, important church related matters come streaming into the inbox of my email account. Many of those matters also make their way into the inboxes of our elders. On many occasions, one of our ruling elders (i.e. a lay elder who was elected by the congregation to volunteer his time in the service of the church) offers thoughtful analysis, objective input or a willingness to take the lead in a response to whatever need has surfaced.

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Christward Collective is a conversation of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Christward Collective and the mission of the Alliance.

Tuesday: The Shining Face of God

Theme: God’s Shining Countenance upon Us

This week’s lessons teach us of God’s gracious intention to call a people for himself from every nation, and of our great privilege and responsibility to make the gospel of Christ known to them.

Scripture: Psalm 67:1-7

When a section of a psalm begins and ends with a similar verse, phrase or emphasis, scholars call it an inclusio. This is a literary device that sets the included subject matter apart and gives it emphasis. We have two such "inclusions" in this psalm, one within another. The second, middle, stanza is set apart in this way and is the clearest example because it begins and ends with the same verse: "May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you" (vv. 3, 5). The less apparent example is the psalm itself which begins and ends with the prayer that God might bless Israel and that the God of Israel might be known and feared among the Gentiles (vv. 1, 7).

Think and Act Biblically from James Boice is a devotional of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Think and Act Biblically and the mission of the Alliance.

Monday: The Shining Face of God

Theme: A Missionary Psalm

This week’s lessons teach us of God’s gracious intention to call a people for himself from every nation, and of our great privilege and responsibility to make the gospel of Christ known to them.

Scripture: Psalm 67:1-7

Some of the Bible's psalms are popular, so popular that whenever psalms are mentioned they come immediately to mind, like Psalm 23: "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing" (v. 1), or Psalm 14: "The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’ (v. 1). Psalm 67 is not one of them. It is not a well-known psalm. Most of the commentators seem to share this opinion since they deal with it in such brief compass, a page or two perhaps, usually not more.

Think and Act Biblically from James Boice is a devotional of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Think and Act Biblically and the mission of the Alliance.

Friday: A Praise Psalm of Thanksgiving

Theme: The Individual before God

From this week’s lessons we see that Psalm 66 tells us to praise the Lord and gives us an example of one who is doing just that.

Scripture: Psalm 66:1-20

In the final two stanzas of the psalm (vv. 13-15 and 16-20) the joyful tumultuous praise of the nations, including the praise of Israel, fades away and the individual psalmist himself remains standing on the stage. Then he speaks two times, first to God, then a second time to anyone who may be listening.

In the final two stanzas of the psalm (vv. 13-15 and 16-20) the joyful tumultuous praise of the nations, including the praise of Israel, fades away and the individual psalmist himself remains standing on the stage. Then he speaks two times, first to God, then a second time to anyone who may be listening.

Think and Act Biblically from James Boice is a devotional of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Think and Act Biblically and the mission of the Alliance.

Thursday: A Praise Psalm of Thanksgiving

Theme: Reasons to Praise God

From this week’s lessons we see that Psalm 66 tells us to praise the Lord and gives us an example of one who is doing just that.

Scripture: Psalm 66:1-20

This brings us to the second major section of the psalm in which the specific nation of Israel is invited to praise God (vv. 8-12). The world should "shout with joy to God” and "sing to the glory of his name." But it usually does not, simply because it is not aware of the many great blessings for which it should be thankful. Even an official Thanksgiving holiday does not make it thankful. It is different for the people of God, since they have come to know God and are aware of the way he has kept them and blessed them even in the most difficult times.

Think and Act Biblically from James Boice is a devotional of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Think and Act Biblically and the mission of the Alliance.

Wednesday: A Praise Psalm of Thanksgiving

Theme: Singing and Praise

From this week’s lessons we see that Psalm 66 tells us to praise the Lord and gives us an example of one who is doing just that.

Scripture: Psalm 66:1-20

Pursuing an entirely different line of thought at this point, it is also worth reflecting on what the opening verses of this psalm say about singing, praise and thanksgiving, and about their relationships.

Pursuing an entirely different line of thought at this point, it is also worth reflecting on what the opening verses of this psalm say about singing, praise and thanksgiving, and about their relationships.

Think and Act Biblically from James Boice is a devotional of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Think and Act Biblically and the mission of the Alliance.

Tuesday: A Praise Psalm of Thanksgiving

Theme: The Right Kind of Universalism

From this week’s lessons we see that Psalm 66 tells us to praise the Lord and gives us an example of one who is doing just that.

Scripture: Psalm 66:1-20

Most Bible students know that later in its history, after the Babylonian captivity, the nation of Israel became religiously exclusive. The masses of Jews looked down on Gentiles, who were thought of as being excluded from any relationship to the true God, and deservedly so. It is somewhat surprising therefore to find many times a considerably broader and inclusive view in the psalms.

Think and Act Biblically from James Boice is a devotional of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Think and Act Biblically and the mission of the Alliance.

Our Cross

All trials are occasions for the exercise of faith, especially in times when we struggle to understand God’s providence. It is during those dark days that we are called to believe in God’s Word, whether preached, read, or given at the Lord’s Table. It is typically in the midst of our trials that we are driven to prayer. Those moments of need bring out our utter dependence upon God in a way that self-made crosses cannot. Our Father does not give us more than we can bear, but the cross that our Father gives us is sufficient to train us and to conform us to the image of His Son.

As Christians who have fixed our hope on the appearing of our Lord Jesus, we have been called to follow in the footsteps of our Lord. Thus, the call of discipleship is a central theme of the Christian life and this calling is intimately connected to our sanctification. Jesus Himself gives an important prerequisite for anyone who claims to be His disciple.

“If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Luke 9:23

and again:

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is member supported and operates only by your faithful support. Thank you.

Christward Collective is a conversation of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Christward Collective and the mission of the Alliance.

Monday: A Praise Psalm of Thanksgiving

Theme: Overlapping Movements

From this week’s lessons we see that Psalm 66 tells us to praise the Lord and gives us an example of one who is doing just that.

Scripture: Psalm 66:1-20

There is a link between the last verse of Psalm 65 and the first two verses of Psalm 66, which is probably why Psalm 66 is placed where it is in the Psalter. The last verse of Psalm 65 was about the meadows and valleys of the land, and it is said of them that “they shout for joy and sing.” The first verses of Psalm 66 call for this same response from the entire earth, that is, from human beings: “Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing to the glory of his name.”

Think and Act Biblically from James Boice is a devotional of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Think and Act Biblically and the mission of the Alliance.

Friday: All Good Gifts from Our Good God

Theme: Praise the Lord!

In this week’s lessons we focus on the gracious power of God seen in the wonders of creation and in the bounty of his provision.

Scripture: Psalm 65:1-13

We come then to the stanza for which the two preceding sections have prepared us. It is about the people's harvest, and it tells us that the God who is gracious to his people and all-powerful in effecting his purposes, has shown both his grace and his power in blessing the harvest and the land.

We come then to the stanza for which the two preceding sections have prepared us. It is about the people's harvest, and it tells us that the God who is gracious to his people and all-powerful in effecting his purposes, has shown both his grace and his power in blessing the harvest and the land.

Think and Act Biblically from James Boice is a devotional of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Think and Act Biblically and the mission of the Alliance.

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