Ethan’s Aphorisms

“Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight…”
(Proverbs 4:1)

Rather than my usual “devotional” writing this week, I thought I’d share some of the little proverbs that I’ve been jotting down as they come to me in my study time.  I call them: Ethan’s Aphorisms.

  • A pastor should never complain about his congregation.  All their faults and failures may be precisely what God is using in his sanctification.
  • A congregation should never complain about their pastor.  All his faults and failures may be precisely what God is using in their sanctification.
  • Those who leave a church because they don’t get along with the congregation or the pastor eventually find their problems follow them.
  • Rather than complain about something, pray for something.
  • Love covers a multitude of sin. (Okay, that’s not mine, but it is still good.)
  • The lack of prayer reveals a lack of faith.
  • The desire to pray is prayer itself.
  • Distractions in prayer may be promptings to pray.
  • The one who is most ready to live in Heaven is best suited to serve on earth.
  • What you believe has tremendous effect on how you live.
  • How you live ultimately reveals what you believe.
  • If you don’t know what you believe, you don’t really don’t believe it.
  • If you don’t read the Bible, you are likely not living according to the Bible.
  • A husband who will not put his wife before himself will not put Christ before himself.
  • A wife who will not submit to her husband will not submit to Christ.
  • Your child’s relationship with you is a good indication of your relationship with God.
  • A Christian’s trials are never the wrath of a judging God.  Christ has borne that wrath.  A Christian’s trials are the fruitful discipline of our loving Father.
  • That which you cannot live without has become a god to you.
  • Your sin is great.  God’s grace is greater.
  • It is never too late to repent.
  • Lost people do lost things.
  • If you are not aware of a sin from which you need to repent, you aren’t paying close enough attention.
  • The sin you despise in others is usually also found in you.
  • The more time you spend in the presence of Christ, the more you will begin to live like Him.
  • You are either connected to that which brings you life or that that which brings you death.
  • Even just a little sin, a little disobedience, a little death is too much.
  • You are either growing closer to God or further from Him.
  • Those who say they can worship God just as well while alone in nature as they can while with a congregation don’t understand what it means to worship God.
  • What you get out of worship matters far less than what you give in worship.
  • The most important thing about you is not what you do, what you’ve done, what you have, or who you know.  The most important thing about you is that you are loved by God and called His child.


Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet and A Light Unto My Path

R. M. M’Cheyne

When Israel knew not where to go
God made the fiery pillar glow;
By night, by day, above the camp
It led the way—their guiding lamp:
Such is Thy holy Word to me
In day of dark perplexity.
When devious paths before me spread,
And all invite my foot to tread,
I hear Thy voice behind me say—
“Believing soul, this is the way;
Walk thou in it.” O gentle Dove,
How much thy holy law I love!
My lamp and light
In the dark night.

When Paul amid the seas seemed lost,
By Adrian billows wildly tossed,
When neither sun nor star appeared,
And every wave its white head reared
Above the ship, beside his bed
An angel stood, and “Fear not” said.
Such is Thy holy Word to me
When tossed upon affliction’s sea:
When floods come in unto my soul
And the deep waters o’er me roll,
With angel voice Thy Word draws near
And says, “Tis I” why shouldst thou fear?
Through troubles great my saints must go
Into their rest, where neither woe
Nor sin can come; where every tear
From off the cheek shall disappear,
Wiped by God’s hand. “O gentle Dove”
Thy holy law how much I love?
My lamp and light
In the dark night.

When holy Stephen dauntless stood
Before the Jews, who sought his blood,
With angel face he looked on high,
And wondering through the parted sky
Saw Jesus risen from His throne
To claim the martyr as His own.
Angelic peace that sight bestowed,
With holy joy his bosom glowed;
And while the murderous stones they hurled,
His heaven–wrapt soul sought younder world
Of rest. “My spirit, Saviour, keep,”
He cried, he kneeled, he fell asleep.
Such be Thy holy Word to me
In hour of life’s extremity!
Although no more the murdering hand
Is raised within our peaceful land—
The church has rest, and I may ne’er
Be called the martyr’s crown to wear:
Yet still, in whatsoever form
Death comes to me—in midnight storm
Whelming my bark, or in my nest
Gently dismissing me to rest—
O grant me in thy Word to see
A risen Saviour beckoning me.
No evil then my heart shall fear
In the dark valley. Thou art near!
My trembling soul and Thou, my God
Alone are there; Thy staff and rod
Shall comfort me. O gentle Dove.
How much Thy holy law I love!
My lamp and light
In the dark night.