The Power In The Scriptures

“I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.”

R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord

Monsters Of Cruelty!

Monsters of cruelty!

(“Solitude Sweetened” by James Meikle, 1730-1799)

Now that I am a father, and know the affection of a parent–would I not defend from every danger–would I not bestow every truly good thing–would I not implore every blessing–on my tender children? Would I not nourish their infant state–correct and educate their childhood–inspect, reprove, and admonish them in youth? Would I allow the dear little creatures–to play with sharp pointed knives–to frolic on the brink of a rapid torrent–or dance around a pit’s mouth? Would I permit them to eat deadly berries–or to put a cup of poison to their tender lips? However indulgent, would I allow them to disobey my commands? And if they labored under any disease which threatened their precious life, what pains or expenses would I spare to procure them relief? If assured that a physician lived somewhere, who could heal them without fail–would I not send to the uttermost corner of the land? would I not travel to the ends of earth?

But, hear me, O parents! If our concern for our children ends only with their bodies–we are monsters of cruelty! Would we pluck them from fire and water–and yet permit them to plunge into the fire of hell, and lie under the billows of Jehovah’s wrath? Will we snatch from them sword, pistol or knife–and allow them to wound themselves to the very soul, with sin? Will we chastise their disobedience to us–and wink at their spitting in the very face of God, by open acts of sin? Are we fond to have them educated and well-bred–and yet let them live in the neglect of prayer, which is the highest disrespect that can be put on the Author of our being?

In a word, is this the sum of our kindness, is this the height of our concern for our dear children–to see them happy in time, flourishing in the affairs of this life–though they end up being miserable beyond description through eternity itself? Will their bodily pain excite our sympathy, and will we do all in our power to have their diseases healed–and yet have no concern that their souls pine under sin, and they suffer all the pangs of hell? Will we not bring them in our prayers, to the Physician of souls, to the Savior of sinners?

I have but one request for all of my children, and that is–that they may fear and serve God here–and enjoy him forever! No matter though they sweat for their daily bread–only let them feed on the hidden manna! Let them toil and spin for their apparel–but let them be covered in Christ’s righteousness! How would I count my house renowned, and my family ennobled, if there sprang from it–not wealthy princes or kings, (let potsherds of the earth strive for such earthly vanities)–but pillars for the temple of God in glory–who shall dwell in the presence of the King of kings–when time is no more!

Why I Believe the Old Book

Why I Believe the Old Book

Charles Naylor, 1920

Do I believe the old Book? Do I really believe it? My heart answers that I do. The deepest consciousness of my soul testifies that it is true. I will tell you some of the reasons why I believe it.

The Bible is the oldest, and still the newest, of books.

God’s book written in the rocks is old, exceedingly old — but God’s book the Bible reaches back still farther. It goes back not only to the “beginning” of this terrestrial world, but into eternity. From past eternity, its majestic sweep covers the whole range of being and reaches into the future eternity. It is, in fact, the book of eternity, and within its folds lie the grandeur and sublimity of the great unknown future.

It never gets out-of-date. Other books have their run of popularity and are forgotten — but the Bible never grows old. No matter how familiar we become with it, it is ever new. To the Christian, it never grows stale — but is always fresh and always satisfying. It ever reveals new depths that we fail to fathom, new heights that we cannot scale, and new beauties that enrapture our vision.

We read it over and over, and repeatedly we see new jewels sparkling within its pages — jewels that delight the eye and reflect the mind of God. From it, refreshing waters break out where we least expect them — and our souls are refreshed like a thirsty man who suddenly finds water on the desert. We may have read a text a thousand times — yet when we look at it again it opens up and presents to us a vista of marvelous truth of which we were before entirely unconscious.

What other book can do these things? When we read a book written by man, however interesting it may be, it soon loses its interest and its charm. We do not find new beauties in it as we do in the Bible. Its treasures are soon exhausted — but the Bible is ever new!

I do not believe that the Bible is man’s book nor that it could be man’s book. Its depths are too deep to come from the heart or mind of man; its heights are too great for him to reach; and its wisdom is more than human. It can only be divine.

The Bible is the most loved of all books.

Wherever the Bible goes, people learn to love and to treasure it above all other books combined. It is the one book that people love — it is the treasure that people hold fast even at the risk of their lives. In past ages when wicked rulers tried to keep it from the people, they could not. At the peril of their lives, people would have it. They underwent dangers and tortures, and shrank not from anything — that they might possess this wonderful book. It is not for what it claims to be — though it claims much — nor for what men claim for it — but for what it is to the individual himself that it is so dearly loved. There is that in the Bible which endears itself to the human heart — and no other book has that quality. Other books are enjoyed and admired and praised and valued — but the Bible, in this respect, stands in a class by itself.

The educated and the ignorant, the high and the low, all races in all climates, when they learn to truly know the Bible, and when they submit themselves to the God of the Bible — learn to love it and to delight in it and are enriched and blessed by it; and because I too feel this deep love in my heart for the old Book, I believe it. I believe that, in some way — it was made for me by One who knew my needs, and that it corresponds to the very essence of my inner self. I could not love it as I do, if it were not God’s book and if it were not true.

The Bible is the most hated of all books.

Not only is it the best-loved book, but it is also the most-hated book. No other book has had so many, nor such bitter enemies. I suppose more books have been written against the Bible than against all other books combined! Men do not hate Shakespeare nor Milton nor Longfellow; they do not hate works on science nor philosophy; they do not hate books of travel or adventure or fiction; they do not hate the other sacred books of the world; they hate only the Bible!

Why this hatred? It can be only because they find in the Bible something that they find nowhere else. What they find there is a true picture of themselves — and the picture is not pleasant to look upon. So they turn away their faces and will have nothing to do with it except to vilify and condemn it. They deliberately misrepresent it and write falsehoods about it. They satirize and ridicule it, using all sorts of weapons and all sorts of methods to combat it, and for only the one reason — that its truth pricks them in their consciences, and they can by no other means escape from it!

It is judged by a standard far more stringent than any other book. No critic would think of treating any other book as he treats the Bible, nor of requiring of any other book what he requires of the Bible. The more men hate God — the more they hate his Word. This has a deep, underlying reason — that the Bible is God’s book, and that in it there is so much of God himself.

The Bible has withstood all assaults.

But though so bitterly assailed through all the ages — the Bible has withstood the assaults of all its enemies and stands victorious still! The Greek philosophers, with all their skill, were vanquished. The greatest intellects of modern times, find themselves baffled before it. The sharpest arrows that unbelief could forge, have not pierced it. The assaults made upon it — have resulted only in the destruction of the weapons used. All through the ages countless theories — religious, philosophic, scientific, or other — have been used against the Bible, only to fall in ruins at last before it and to be rejected even by those who once advocated them.

The Bible endures an amount of criticism that no other book could endure — and instead of being destroyed, it is only brightened and made better known. Could any error endure what the Bible has endured, and live? It is the law of nature that error is self-destructive — but that truth cannot be destroyed; and according to this law, the Bible must be true because of its indestructibility.

The Bible tells me of myself.

My deepest emotions and longings, my highest thoughts and hopes, are mirrored there — and the more settled inner workings of conscience are there recorded. It speaks to me of my secret ambitions, of my dearest hopes, of my fears, of the love that burns within me. My desires are pictured in the Book — just as I find them working in my heart. Whatever picture it draws of the human soul — I find within myself; and whatever I find within myself — I find within its pages; and thus I know that it is true. No man can know me as the Bible knows me — nor picture out my inner self as the Bible pictures me. And since no work of man could correspond with my inner self as the Bible corresponds with me — I know that it did not come from man.

The Bible is the book of conscience.

It is as a mirror into which every man, when he looks, sees himself! It speaks to his conscience, not as a man speaks — yet with a potency unknown to any other book. It is preeminently the book of the conscience. Other books appeal to men’s consciences — but not with the appeal of this book. Other books mirror men — but not like the Bible. In the silent watches of the night, in the lonely depths of the forest, upon the expanse of the sea, or wherever man may be — how frequently is it the case that this book speaks into his conscience in a silent yet thundering voice — and before it, he is awed and silenced and oftentimes terror-stricken. It speaks to the conscience as only God can speak — and therefore it must be God’s book.

The Bible gives comfort and hope.

To what book do those in sorrow turn? To Voltaire? to Ingersoll? to any other skeptic? Do they turn to science or philosophy or poetry or fiction? There is but one book which is the book of comfort. The sad and desolate heart turns to its pages — and as it reads, the consolation of the Holy Spirit, which fills the book, comes into that heart, and it is comforted. It is as the balm of Gilead. It is as a letter from home to the forlorn wanderer. It is as a mother’s voice to the child. Friends may speak words to comfort us — but they cannot comfort us as does the Book. Its words seem to enter into our innermost sorrows with a healing touch. God is the God of all comfort, and it is the comforting God in this comforting book who comforts the soul.

It is also the book of hope. Sometimes man despairs, and he looks here and there for hope, finding none — but there is one book in which hope may always be found. It always has something to offer him to inspire hope with new courage. Therefore it is the hope of the hopeless. In the troubled soul, it brings a calm — brightening dull eyes and causing them to look beyond. It lifts up the bowed head, strengthens the feeble knees, renews the courage, and takes the sadness out of the voice. It is therefore truly the book of hope!

The Bible is the book of the dying.

A soldier, desperately wounded, lay in a trench. The shells were bursting around him; the bullets and shrapnel were whistling through the air; the roar of the guns shook the ground. He was going down into the valley of the shadow of death. Knowing that he must pass over to the other side, he reached into his pocket with his little remaining strength and pulled out his New Testament. Handing it to a comrade he said, “Read to me.” His comrade opened the book and began to read, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God — trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” A smile overspread the face of the dying soldier as he listened to the words amid that solemn and terrible scene. He closed his eyes and lay quite still smiling, then he murmured, “It is well.” And with a smile still upon his face, he passed across to the other side of the river of death.

For what book do the dying call? For just any book? What words do they wish to hear in the final hour? There is but one book for that hour. There is but one book which can throw light into that shadowy valley. That is the Bible. It is the book of the living and of the dying — the book of the sorrowing and of the hopeless. It is just such a book as the loving Father would give to the children whom he loves! It meets their needs in all the details of their lives as only God could meet it — and therefore I can only believe that it is the book of God.

The Bible contains the only answer to the enigma of life.

The “why” of life is found nowhere else. Other books tell us many truths about life — yet its depths and meaning find expression and answer in only one book. The Scripture interprets life; and he who reads the interpretation, knows that it is true because it is the story of himself, and in himself is the witness of its truth. Men have sought everywhere for the secret of life and the things that pertain thereto — but everywhere, except in the Bible — they find only darkness and obscurity and uncertainty. The Bible, however, speaks in no uncertain terms. It speaks the language of him who alone knows the only answer to the enigma of life. If we reject its voice — then we are left in a tangled maze, out of which we cannot find our way.

The Bible outlives all its critics — and is triumphant, when they are long forgotten. It has many times been pronounced dead, but still it lives. It has been called foolish — but its power is not dissipated. It has seen all antagonistic theories of the past, one by one, destroyed and rejected — but it still stands in spite of the critics, in spite of its enemies! Those who anchor their faith upon it — need not fear what voice is raised against it. Neither need they fear what weapons are brought to bear upon it — for it is truth, and those who fight against it fight against God and are themselves ruined!

The Bible is adapted to all people of every race and climate, to the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant. Of no other book, can this be said. It is the Book of books — the book of God! In it God speaks! My inmost heart knows that it is the voice of my Beloved, and leaps for joy!

Who Can Find A Virtuous Woman?

Who can find a virtuous woman?

(Matthew Henry)

“Who can find a virtuous woman? Her price is far above rubies!” Proverbs 31:10

The description of the virtuous woman given in Proverbs 31, is designed to show what kind of wives godly women should make — and what wives godly men should choose.

A virtuous woman is very assiduous to recommend herself to her husband’s esteem and affection. She conducts herself so that he may repose an entire confidence in her. She shows her love to him, not by a foolish fondness — but by prudent endearments, accommodating herself to his temperament.

A virtuous woman is one who takes pains in her duties. She hates to sit idle and do nothing. Though she may not need to work for her bread, yet she will not eat the bread of idleness.

A virtuous woman takes care of her family and all the affairs of it, not meddling in the concerns of other people’s houses, as she thinks it enough for her to look well to her own affairs.

A virtuous woman is charitable to the poor. She often serves the poor with her own hand, and she does it freely, cheerfully, and very liberally.

A virtuous woman is discreet and obliging in all her discourse — not talkative, censorious, nor peevish. When she does speak, it is with a great deal of prudence and very much to the purpose. The law of love and kindness is written in her heart — and it shows itself in her tongue!

A virtuous woman has a firmness and constancy of mind, to bear up under the many crosses and disappointments which even the wise and godly must expect to meet with in this poor world.

That which completes and crowns her character, is that she fears the Lord. With all these good qualities, she does not lack that one thing needful — she is truly pious. In all she does, she is guided and governed by Christian principles, and a regard to God.

In the day of death, it will be a pleasure for her to think that she has lived to some good purpose. True virtue will have its praise — both from God and man.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised!” Proverbs 31:30

The Dirty Lane!

The dirty lane!

(Thomas Brooks, “Words of Counsel to a Dear Dying Friend”)

“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

Look upon your dying day as a gainful day. There is no gain compared to that which comes in by death. A Christian gets more by death, than he does by life. To be in Christ is very good–but to be with Christ is best of all, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!” Philippians 1:23. It was a mighty blessing for Christ to be with Paul on earth–but it was the top of blessings for Paul to be with Christ in Heaven! Seriously consider these things:

By death you shall gain incomparable crowns!

A crown of life, Revelation 2:10, James 1:12.
A crown of righteousness, 2 Timothy 4:8.
An incorruptible crown, 1 Corinthians 9:24-25.
A crown of glory, 1 Peter 5:4.

There are no crowns compared to these crowns!

By death you shall gain a glorious kingdom! “It is your Father’s pleasure to give you a kingdom!” We must put off their rags of mortality–that we may put on our robes of glory! There is no entering into paradise–but under the flaming sword of this angel, death–who stands at the gate.

Death is the dirty lane through which the saint passes . . .

to a kingdom,
to a great kingdom,
to a glorious kingdom,
to a peaceful kingdom,
to an unshaken kingdom,
to a durable kingdom,
to a lasting kingdom, yes,
to an everlasting kingdom!

Death is the dark, short way, through which the saints pass to the marriage-supper of the Lamb!

If this is happiness—then give me misery!

“If this is happiness—then give me misery!”

(Thomas Sherman)

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen, and lived in luxury every day.” Luke 16:19

How apt are many at the sight of a rich worldling—to envy him for what he has. But, for my part, I rather pity him for what he lacks!

He has a talent—but it lacks improvement;
he has a lamp—but it lacks oil;
he has a soul—but it lacks grace;
he has the creature—but he lacks the Creator;
he has a mansion—but he lacks heaven.

In his life, he floats upon a torrent of vanity—which rolls along into an ocean of vexation!

And after death, it will be said of him, “Take this unprofitable servant, bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness! Consign his soul to the eternal lake of fire and brimstone!”

Where now is the object of your envy?

It is not his gold that can then rescue him,
nor his mansion that can then satisfy him,
nor his friends that can then comfort him.

Therefore, if he is worth the envying—then who can be worth the pitying?

If this is happiness—then give me misery!

Lord, rather make me poor with a holy heart—than rich with an evil heart of unbelief!

“Have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue—because I am in agony in this fire!” Luke 16:24

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment—but the righteous to eternal life!” Matthew 25:46

He Will Sustain You!

He will sustain you!

(J.R. Miller)

“Cast your burden upon the Lord–and He will sustain you.” Psalm 55:22

The promise is not that the Lord will remove the load we cast upon Him, nor that He will carry it for us–but that He will sustain us so that we may carry it. 

He does not free us from the duty–but He strengthens us for it.
He does not deliver us from the conflict–but He enables us to overcome.
He does not withhold or withdraw the trial from us–but He helps us in trial to be submissive and victorious, and makes it a blessing to us.
He does not mitigate the hardness or severity of our circumstances, taking away the difficult elements, removing the thorns, making life easy for us–but He puts Divine grace into our hearts, so that we can live sweetly in all the hard, adverse circumstances.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13

Godly Parents Cannot Convert Their Children

Godly parents cannot convert their children

(Mary Winslow, Life in Jesus“)

“We were born with an evil nature, and we were under God’s wrath.” Ephesians 2:3

“You must be born again.” John 3:7

Godly parents cannot convert their children. God alone can do this. But they can lead them to Jesus, and bring them up in the fear of the Lord. And when they have done this, they have done all they can do; for the Holy Spirit alone can change the heart. They must be born again. Christ has said it. It is not a change of sentiment, nor an outward reformation of life; it is a new heart implanted by the Holy Spirit.

“They are reborn! This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan—this rebirth comes from God.” John 1:13

“The Profit of Godliness in the Life to Come”)

“The Profit of Godliness in the Life to Come”)

(Charles Spurgeon)

“But godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8

How many live for that poor body of theirs which so soon must moulder back to the dust!

To dress,
to adorn themselves,
to catch the glance of the admirer’s eye,
to satisfy public taste,
to follow fashion,

surely an object in life more frivolous never engrossed an immortal soul!

It seems as strange as if an angel should be gathering daisies, or blowing soap bubbles!

An immortal spirit living . . .

to dress the body,
to paint the face,
to dye the hair,
to display a ribbon,
to show off a pin —
is this the pursuit of an immortal being?

Yet tens of thousands live for little else!

As for earth’s most lovely ones — how do time, and death, and the worm together, make havoc of them!

Take up yonder skull, just upturned by the sexton’s careless spade, and take it to the yonder beauty, and tell her, though she paint an inch thick — to this complexion she must come at last! All her dressing shall end in a shroud — and all her makeup and her dainty ornaments shall only make her the sweeter morsel for the worm!

Beloved friends, there is another life beyond this fleeting existence! Why then, do you waste your time and degrade your souls with these frivolities?

“Hope, Yet No Hope. No Hope, Yet Hope”

“Hope, Yet No Hope. No Hope, Yet Hope”

Charles Spurgeon

Most people are not seeking to escape from the wrath to come, they are busy in worldly things while hell is near them. They are like idiots catching flies on board a ship which is in the very act of sinking!

We see many people busy about their bodies, decorating themselves, when their soul is in ruin. They are like a man painting the front door, when the house is in flames! Men are in a restless pursuit after satisfaction in earthly things.

They will hunt the purlieus of wealth, they will travel the pathways of fame, they will dig into the mines of knowledge, they will exhaust themselves in the deceitful delights of sin, and, finding them all to be vanity and emptiness, they will become very perplexed and disappointed.

But they will still continue their fruitless search.

Though wearied, they still stagger forward under the influence of spiritual madness, and though there is no result to be reached except that of everlasting disappointment, yet they press forward with much ardor.

Living for today is enough for them– that they are still alive, that they possess present comforts and present enjoyments, this contents the many.

As for the future, they say, “Let it take care of itself.”

As for eternity, they leave others to care for its realities; the present life is enough for them.

Their motto is, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

They have no forethought for their eternal state; the present hour absorbs them.

Carnal minds pursue with all their might earth’s vanities, and when they are wearied in their pursuit they but change their direction, and continue the idle chase.

They turn to another and another of earth’s broken cisterns, hoping to find water where not a drop was ever discovered yet.

Grow old sweetly and beautifully

Grow old sweetly and beautifully

(J. R. Miller, “Devotional Hours with the Bible” 1908)

It takes a great deal of grace to grow old sweetly and beautifully. It is not possible to carry the alertness and energy of young manhood, into advanced years. Yet if we live wisely and rightly all our lives—old age ought to be the best of life. We certainly ought to make it beautiful and godly, for our life is not finished until we come to its very last day.

We ought to be wiser when we are old—than ever we have been in any former years. We ought to have learned by experience. We ought to be better in every way—with more of God’s peace in our hearts, with more gentleness and patience. We ought to have learned self-control, and to be better able to rule our own spirit. We ought to have more love, more joy, more thoughtfulness, to be more considerate, to have more humility.

Old age never should be the dregs of the years, the mere cinder of a burnt-out life. One may not have the vigor and strenuousness of the mid-years—but one should be every way truer, richer-hearted, holier. If the outward man has grown weaker and feebler—the inner man should have grown stronger and Christlier.

Telling The Truth

“In this age, telling the truth is tough business and not for the fainthearted.”

R. Albert Mohler Jr.

The Unfaithful Preacher

The unfaithful preacher

(David Porter, “The Nature and Power of Truth“)

Ministers of the gospel hold a place of immense responsibility to God and the souls of men. If they suppress the truth as it is in Jesus, for fear of offending their hearers; if they substitute laxness of principle, for the doctrines of the cross; dry external morality for practical godliness–they do it at an awful peril. They are not placed on Jerusalem’s wall to amuse the multitude with a mock religion in human attire. They are not sent forth to fabricate new theories, or gloss the truth, to render it less offensive to the carnal heart. For no such end was the Christian ministry instituted. The gospel heralds are not at liberty thus to aspire. They are ambassadors from God to deliver His message in its true spirit and genuine simplicity. If they depart from this, through cowardice or thirst for popular applause, they are no longer ambassadors of Christ–but traitors to His cause. And can there be a higher crime committed against the Supreme Majesty, than coming out under a cloak of friendship for Christ–and then aiming destruction at His throne? Verily God will not hold them guiltless. Such treachery will not escape with impunity!

And with what face will the unfaithful preacher meet his hearers at the judgment bar? He had taught his hearers–but had taught them to disbelieve. He had confirmed them in their guilt–by refusing to expose it. He had blinded their eyes about God–by keeping His character out of sight. He had feasted their pride–when they needed humbling. He had pleased their fancies–at the expense of their souls. He had inflated them with expectations of heaven–when on the brink of destruction; and closed their eyes, giving them God-speed with a lie in their right hand! And how is he to settle this account on the day of final reckoning! How is he to clear himself from the blood of souls!

With what will he frame his plea in self-defense, against his flock thus accusing and upbraiding him? “We were your flock–and you were our shepherd. With you were the treasures of knowledge and truth. And why did you withhold from us the message you were sent to deliver? We are undone forever through your unfaithfulness. You never taught us the character of our Judge–nor the truth of his Word. The doctrines you taught us to despise–we find to be the truth of God. You allowed us to sport with His sovereignty and decrees, and in this, you did awfully deceive us. You reproved us politely for disgraceful crimes, but never described to us the sin of our nature. When we were sometimes alarmed at our state and prospects, you hushed our fears by crying, ‘peace, peace’, whereas God had said, there is no peace to the wicked!” How overwhelmed with guilt and horror, will such preachers be with their deceived hearers–on the great day of account!

Father and mother, if I am damned — it is by copying the example you placed before me!

Father and mother, if I am damned — it is by copying the example you placed before me!

(Archibald Brown, “Do Not Sin Against the Child!” 1870)

“Do not sin against the child!” Genesis 42:22

One way of sinning against a child is by bad example. The characters of the parents are carefully watched and imitated by their children.

You profess, dear friend, to be a Christian, and your child knows you are a member of this church. He has seen you partake of the Lord’s supper — and then, when you have gone home, he has in a moment detected the discrepancy between your behavior at church — and your daily life at home. The angry temper — the selfish spirit — the worldly conversation — all these have been so many sins against the child! By some evil example seen by them in early life, an impression may be made upon their souls, the effects of which will remain to their dying day — and beyond!

Oh, how dreadful the thought, that by our own hypocritical lives we may be sinning against the little darlings we often feel we could die for. God forbid, that at the last great day, any of our children should turn to us with blanched cheek and say, “Father and mother, if I am damned — it is by copying the example you placed before me!”

You may also sin against the child by neglecting the means of its salvation. Do you have to confess before the Lord, that the eternal interests of your children find but a small space in your PRAYERS? O do not sin so against the child — he is worth praying for!

What are you DOING to try and bring them to Jesus? Do you ever, with the tear in your eye, tell them of the love of Jesus? Have you ever tried to show them their need of a Savior, and pointed them to Him who said, “Let the little children to come to Me?”

These are solemn questions, for I say to you dear parents in all love and from the very depths of my heart, “If you neglect the means for bringing your little ones to Christ, you are sinning against the child — and his blood will be required of you!” “If you do not teach them — the devil will.”

O friends, it is a crying shame, that in our prayer meetings there are to be found men who pray as if they were dying to see the world converted — and yet never pray for their own children! It is a sad, sad fact that there are many who seem wondrously in earnest about the conversion of strangers — who yet let their own children go to Hell without a warning or entreaty!

A Caged Lion

“The gospel is like a caged lion,’ said the great baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon. ‘It does not need to be defended, it simply needs to be let out of it’s cage’ Today, the cage is our accommodation to the secular/sacred split that reduces Christianity to a matter of personal belief. To unlock the cage, we need to become utterly convinced that, as Francis Schaeffer said, Christianity is not merely religious truth, it is total truth- truth about the whole of reality.”

Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity

Jesus Says…..

“In a world where everything revolves around yourself—protect yourself, promote yourself, comfort yourself, and take care of yourself—Jesus says, “Crucify yourself.”

David Platt

That irresponsible, amusement-mad paganized pseudo-religion!

That irresponsible, amusement-mad paganized pseudo-religion!

In many churches, Christianity has been watered down until the solution is so weak . . .
that if it were poison–it would not hurt anyone; and if it were medicine–it would not cure anyone!

We must have a new reformation! There must come a violent break with that irresponsible, amusement-mad paganized pseudo-religion which passes today for the faith of Christ and which is being spread all over the world by unspiritual men employing unscriptural methods to achieve their unspiritual ends!

(A.W. Tozer)

Jelly-Fish Christianity

Jelly-Fish Christianity 

(J.C. Ryle)

The consequences of this widespread dislike to distinct biblical doctrine are very serious. Whether we like it or not, it is an epidemic which is doing great harm, and especially among young people. It creates, fosters, and keeps up an immense amount of instability in religion. It produces what I must venture to call, if I may coin the phrase, a ‘jelly-fish’ Christianity in the land — that is, a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or power.

A jelly-fish, as everyone who has been much by the seaside knows, is a pretty and graceful object when it floats in the sea, contracting and expanding like a little delicate transparent umbrella. Yet the same jelly-fish, when cast on the shore, is a mere helpless lump, without capacity for movement, self-defense, or self-preservation.

Alas! it is a vivid type of much of the religion of this day, of which the leading principle is, ‘No dogma, no distinct beliefs, no doctrine.’ We have hundreds of ministers who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity! They have no definite opinions; they are so afraid of ‘extreme views,’ that they have no views at all. We have thousands of sermons preached every year, which are without an edge or a point or a corner — they are as smooth as marble balls, awakening no sinner, and edifying no saint!

We have legions of young men annually turned out from our universities, armed with a few scraps of second-hand philosophy, who think it a mark of cleverness and intellect to have no decided opinions about anything in religion — and to be utterly unable to make up their minds as to what is Christian truth. Their only creed, is a kind of ‘nothingism.’ They are sure and positive about nothing!

And last, and worst of all, we have myriads of respectable church-going people, who have no distinct and definite views about any point in theology. They cannot discern things that differ, any more than color-blind people can distinguish colors. They think . . .

everybody is right — and nobody is wrong,
everything is true — and nothing is false,
all sermons are good — and none are bad,
every clergyman is sound — and no clergyman unsound.

They are ‘tossed to and fro, like children, by every wind of doctrine;’ often carried away by some new excitement and sensational movement; ever ready for new things, because they have no firm grasp on the old; and utterly unable to ‘render a reason of the hope that is in them.’

All this, and much more, is the result of that effeminate dread of distinct doctrine which has been so strongly developed, and has laid such hold on many pastors in these days.

I turn from the picture I have exhibited with a sorrowful heart. I grant it is a gloomy one; but I am afraid it is only too accurate and true. Let us not deceive ourselves. Distinct and definitive doctrine is at a premium just now. Instability and unsettled notions are the natural result, and meet us in every direction.

Cleverness and earnestness are the favorite idols of the age!

What a man says matters nothing — however strange and heterogeneous are the opinions he expresses! If he is only brilliant and ‘earnest’ — he cannot be wrong! Never was it so important for believers to hold sound systematic views of truth, and for ministers to ‘enunciate doctrine’ very clearly and distinctly in their teaching.

Their photograph flatters them!

Their photograph flatters them!

(J. R. Miller, “What God Thinks of Us” 1909)

One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves, is what God thinks of us.

One has pointed out that in every man, there are four different men:

the man whom the neighbors see,

the man whom one’s family sees,

the man whom the person himself sees,

and the man whom God sees.

The community knows us only in a general way, superficially. What people think of us, we sometimes call ‘reputation’—what we are reputed to be. It is a composite made up of all that people know about us, gathered from our conduct, our acts, our dispositions, our words, the impressions of ourselves we give to others.

The knowledge the community has of a man, is only superficial. It is evident that the world’s opinion about people is not infallible, is not complete, is not final.

A person may be better than his reputation; his external manner may do him injustice. Some men, by reason of their shyness, their awkwardness, or some limitation in power of expression, fail to appear at their true value. The world knows only a man’s outward life, and there may be good things in him which it does not know.

Then some people, on the other hand, are worse than their reputation. Their photograph flatters them! What they pretend to be—exceeds the reality. They practice tricks which give a glamour to their lives, so that they pass in public for more than they are. They wear veils, which hide defects and faults in them, and thus they seem better than they are.

Hence we cannot accept the judgment of the community, regarding anyone—as absolutely true, fair, and final.

But there is another man in us—the man GOD sees. And this is most important of all. We do not even know all the secret things of our own hearts. There is an Eye that sees deeper than ours! It is pleasant to have people commend us, when we have tried to do our duty. It gives us great joy to have the approval of our own hearts. But if we do not have the commendation of the Master, human praise and self-approval amount to nothing! “What does God think of me?” is always the final question.

Men are cruel. They judge often harshly. They know only part of the truth concerning us. They are not patient with our infirmities. But we are safe in the hands of God. He knows the worst in us—but He also knows the best. We may trust our lives, therefore, to God’s judgment, even if they are full of defects and flaws. He knows all, and will bring to light all the hidden things.

MURDERED

MURDERED!

(From Spurgeon’s autobiography)

There was a day, as I took my walks abroad, when I came by a spot forever engraved upon my memory, for there I saw this Friend, my best, my only Friend . . . MURDERED!

I stooped down in sad affright, and looked at Him. I saw that His hands had been pierced with rough iron nails, and His feet had been torn in the same way. There was misery in His dead countenance so terrible that I scarcely dared to look upon it. His body was emaciated with hunger, His back was red with bloody scourges, and His brow had a circle of wounds about it–clearly could one see that these had been pierced by thorns.

I shuddered, for I had known this Friend full well. He never had a fault–He was the purest of the pure, the holiest of the holy.

Who could have injured Him?

For He never injured any man–all His life long He “went about doing good.” He had healed the sick, He had fed the hungry, He had raised the dead–for which of these works did they kill Him? He had never breathed out anything else but love–and as I looked into the poor sorrowful face, so full of agony, and yet so full of love–I wondered who could have been a wretch so vile as to pierce hands like His. I said within myself, “Where can these traitors live? Who are these that could have smitten such a One as this?”

Had they murdered an oppressor–we might have forgiven them; had they slain one who had indulged in vice or villainy–it might have been his desert; had it been a murderer and a rebel, or one who had committed sedition–we would have said, “Bury his corpse–justice has at last given him his due!”

But when You were slain, my best, my only-beloved–where did the traitors hide? Let me seize them, and they shall be put to death! If there are torments that I can devise–surely they shall endure them all. Oh! what jealousy–what revenge I felt! If I might but find these murderers, what I would do to them!

And as I looked upon that corpse, I heard a footstep, and wondered where it was. I listened, and I clearly perceived that the murderer was close at hand! It was dark, and I groped about to find him. I found that, somehow or other, wherever I put out my hand, I could not meet with him, for he was NEARER to me than my hand would go.

At last I put my hand upon my bosom. “I have you now!” said I–for lo, he was in my own heart–the murderer was hiding within my own bosom, dwelling in the recesses of my inmost soul!

Ah! then I wept indeed, that I, in the very presence of my murdered Master, should be harboring the murderer! I felt myself most guilty while I bowed over His corpse, and sang that plaintive hymn,

“Twas you, MY SINS, my cruel sins,
His chief tormentors were!
Each of my sins became a nail,
and unbelief the spear!”

Amid the rabble which hounded the Redeemer to His doom, there were some gracious souls whose bitter anguish sought vent in wailing and lamentations–fit music to accompany that march of woe.

When my soul can, in imagination, see the Savior bearing His cross to Calvary, she joins the godly women, and weeps with them; for, indeed, there is true cause for grief–cause lying deeper than those mourning women thought. They bewailed innocence maltreated, goodness persecuted, love bleeding, meekness about to die–but my heart has a deeper and more bitter cause to mourn.

MY SINS were the scourges which lacerated those blessed shoulders, and crowned those bleeding brows with thorns! My sins cried, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” and laid the cross upon His gracious shoulders.

His being led forth to die is sorrow enough for one eternity–but MY having been His murderer, is more, infinitely more grief than one poor fountain of tears can express.

If Christ has died for me, as ungodly as I am, without strength as I am–then I cannot live in sin any longer, but must arouse myself to love and serve Him who has redeemed me.

I cannot trifle with the evil which slew my best Friend.

I must be holy for His sake.

How can I live in sin–when He has died to save me from it?

Who is he?

Amen! 😀

-Word- pictures by DLink

img_2942

How happy is the man

who does not follow the advice

of the wicked,

or take the path of sinners,

or join a group of mockers!

Instead, his delight

is in the Lord’s instruction,

and he meditates on it

day and night.

Psalm 1:1-2

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Let me see your tongue!

Let me see your tongue!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart–and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks!” Luke 6:45

If your religion does not sweeten your tongue–it has done nothing for you.

If the doctor wants to know the state of your health, he says, “Let me see your tongue!”

There is no better test of the health of the soul, than to see what is on the tongue!

When it gets cankered with unkind words,
when it turns black with blasphemy,
when it is spotted with impurity–
there is something very bad inside the heart, you may be quite sure of that!

Let your lips be a fountain from which all streams that flow shall savor of grace and goodness.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths–but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

“Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place–but rather thanksgiving.” Ephesians 5:4

A Holy New Year’s Resolution!

A Holy New Year’s Resolution!

(Matthew Henry)

“My times are in Your hand!” Psalm 31:15

Firmly believing that my times are in God’s hand, I here submit myself and all my affairs for the ensuing year, to the wise and gracious disposal of God’s divine providence. Whether God appoints for me . . . .

health — or sickness,
peace — or trouble,
comforts — or crosses,
life — or death

— may His holy will be done!

All my time, strength, and service, I devote to the honor of the Lord Jesus — and even my common actions. It is my earnest expectation, hope, and desire, my constant aim and endeavor — that Jesus Christ may be magnified in me.

In everything I have to do — my entire dependence is upon Jesus Christ for strength. And whatever I do in word or deed, I desire to do all in His name, to make Him my Alpha and Omega. I have all from Him — and I would use all for Him.

If this should prove a year of affliction, a sorrowful year to me — I will fetch all my supports and comforts from the Lord Jesus and stay myself upon Him, His everlasting consolations, and the good hope I have in Him through grace.

And if it should be my dying year — then my times are in the hand of the Lord Jesus. And with a humble reliance upon His mediation, I would venture into the eternal world looking for the blessed hope. Dying as well as living — Jesus Christ will, I trust, be gain and advantage to me.

Oh, that the grace of God may be sufficient for me, to keep me always in a humble sense of my own unworthiness, weakness, folly, and infirmity — together with a humble dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ for daily grace and strength.

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #25 ~ Christ’s Pursuit

“Christianity does not begin with our pursuit of Christ, but with Christ’s pursuit of us. Christianity does not start with an invitation we offer to Jesus, but with an invitation Jesus offers to us.”

David Platt, Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live.

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #24 ~ Hope For All That Is Coming

“Christmas split history. Foretastes of the future abound. Drink deeply on what he achieved for us. And be filled with hope for all that is coming.”

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #23 ~ Meaning Of Christmas

“This is the meaning of Christmas. Oh, that God would waken your heart to your deep need for mercy as a sinner! And then ravish your heart with a great Savior, Jesus Christ. And then release your tongue to praise him and your hands to make his mercy shine in yours.”

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #22 ~ Represent The King

We represent the King. We are His chosen ambassadors, doing His business “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). Then let’s represent Him this season! People are wide-open to the gospel these days. Forget about trying to impress others by what you buy. Spend more time imparting what you already possess.

Chuck Swindoll

The Audacity

“God beckons storm clouds and they come. He tells the wind to blow and the rain to fall, and they obey immediately. He speaks to the mountains, ‘You go there,’ and He says to the seas, ‘You stop here, and they do it. Everything in all creation responds in obedience to the Creator…until we get to you and me. We have the audacity to look God in the face and say, ‘No.”

David Platt, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #21 ~ Message Of Hope

“Thus says the Lord: the meaning of Christmas is that what is good and precious in your life need never be lost, and what is evil and undesirable in your life can be changed. The fears that the few good things that make you happy are slipping through your fingers, and the frustrations that the bad things you hate about yourself or your situation can’t be changed—these fears and these frustrations are what Christmas came to destroy. It is God’s message of hope this Advent that what is good need never be lost and what is bad can be changed.”

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

Angry With God!

Angry with God!

(James Smith)

“The Lord asked: Have you any right to be angry?” Jonah 4:4

Jonah quarreled with his God. And who has not? We may not speak as plainly as he did—but we have been in the same sullen temper, and manifested the same morose spirit.

Very few are well satisfied with the Lord’s plans. Fewer still are always pleased with the Lord’s works. How many quarrel with His sovereignty! What hard things have been spoken against it! How many complain of His providence—and think it unwise, unkind, and almost unjust!

Beloved, we are often angry with God!

This temper shows itself . . .
in fretfulness,
in complaining,
in sullen gloom.

“Have you any right to be angry?”

Angry with your Father . . .
whose wisdom is infinite,
whose love is as constant as the day, and
who constantly showers His blessings upon you!

Angry with your God, who has . . .
pardoned all your heinous sins,
provided for your innumerable needs,
blessed you with countless spiritual blessings!

Surely it is a sin, a grievous sin, not to be pleased . . .
with all that He does,
with all that He has provided,
and with all that He requires.

“Have you any right to be angry?”

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #20 ~ Theology

“No priest, no theologian stood at the manger of Bethlehem. And yet all Christian theology has its origin in the wonder of all wonders: that God became human. Holy theology arises from knees bent before the mystery of the divine child in the stable. Without the holy night, there is no theology. “God is revealed in flesh,” the God-human Jesus Christ — that is the holy mystery that theology came into being to protect and preserve. How we fail to understand when we think that the task of theology is to solve the mystery of God, to drag it down to the flat, ordinary wisdom of human experience and reason! Its sole office is to preserve the miracle as miracle, to comprehend, defend, and glorify God’s mystery precisely as mystery. This and nothing else, therefore, is what the early church meant when, with never flagging zeal, it dealt with the mystery of the Trinity and the person of Jesus Christ…. If Christmas time cannot ignite within us again something like a love for holy theology, so that we—captured and compelled by the wonder of the manger of the son of God—must reverently reflect on the mysteries of God, then it must be that the glow of the divine mysteries has also been extinguished in our heart and has died out.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is In the Manger

Can You Hear The Dogs Of Hell?

Are we Christians–or are we worldlings? ~ Horatius Bonar 

We would soon hear all the dogs of Hell baying with all their might against us! ~ Charles Spurgeon)

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19

There would be much more persecution than there is–if there were more real Christians. But we have become so like the world, that the world does not hate us as it once did. If we would be more holy, more true, more Christ-like, more godly–we would soon hear all the dogs of Hell baying with all their might against us!

Remember, my brethren, whoever you may be, that if there is no distinction between you and the world around you–then you may be certain that you are of the world. For, there must always be some marks in the children of God to distinguish them from the ungodly. There is a something in them which is not to be found in the best worldling–something which is not to be discovered in the most admirable carnal man. A something in their character which can be readily perceived and which marks them as belonging to another and higher race, the twice-born, the elect of God, eternally chosen by Him–and, therefore, made to be choice ones through the effectual working of His grace.

“I have given them Your word and the world has hated them–for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” John 17:14

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #19 ~ The Advent Virus

The Advent Virus

Anonymous via email

WARNING……WARNING: ADVENT VIRUS

Be on the alert for symptoms of inner Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:

  1. A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
  2. An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
  3. A loss of interest in judging other people.
  4. A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  5. A loss of interest in conflict.
  6. A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
  7. Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  8. Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
  9. Frequent attacks of smiling.
  10. An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
  11. An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

Please send this warning out to all your friends. This virus can and has affected many systems. Some systems have been completely cleaned out because of it.

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #18 ~ Humility

“He [Jesus] was born in a barn to show what God thinks of human pride, of human ambition, of human loftiness, of human hardness…of those who turn to religion only because of what they think it can do for them…of those who always insist on having a place at the high table and are miserable when others are put before them…of those personal jealousies and those family feuds that mar the fellowship with God.”

[Handel H. Brown]

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation # 17 ~ God Can Be Trusted

“Christ came to prove that God tells the truth, that God keeps his promises. Christmas means that God can be trusted.”

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

A Perfect Rest!

A Perfect Rest!

“There remains, therefore, a rest for the people of God!” Hebrews 4:9

There is present rest in Christ for the weary and heavy laden, who truly come to Him–for He is faithful who has promised, and He has said to such, “I will give you rest! Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart–and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30 

There is present rest for the tried believer in the bosom of his heavenly Father. Amidst the anxieties and turmoils of life–how good it is, my soul, to return unto your rest in Him who has dealt so bountifully with you! 

But yet there remains a rest to the people of God–a perfect rest . . .  from the burden of guilt,  from spiritual conflict,  from the temptations of the evil one, and   from all the sorrowing and sighing of this valley of tears!

There is in the future a perfect repose of soul, abiding tranquility–and unbroken, eternal rest. Not a rest of inaction, but a rest in happy, unwearied service–and in the enjoyment of the perfect love of God. 

My soul, trustfully anticipate the rest that awaits you in the home of the redeemed, in the place that Jesus is preparing for His redeemed people!

“Return to your rest, O my soul–for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you!” Psalm 116:7 

“There shall I bathe my weary soul In seas of heavenly rest; And not a wave of trouble roll Across my peaceful breast!”

Treasure

Amen! 😀

-Word- pictures by DLink

This Book, to me, is literally like finding a chest full of precious gems, every day.  It contains endless wisdom, that we desperately need.  Today the theme for Developing Your Eye is Treasure.  I know you can’t see it with your physical sense of sight, however this photo is that of a mountain of precious jewels, gold, and silver-the value of which cannot be calculated.

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🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #16 ~ Full Of Wonder

“To those who recognize in Jesus the wonder of the Son of God, every one of his words and deeds becomes a wonder; they find in him the last, most profound, most helpful counsel for all needs and questions. Yes, before the child can open his lips, he is full of wonder and full of counsel. Go to the child in the manger. Believe him to be the Son of God, and you will find in him wonder upon wonder, counsel upon counsel.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is In the Manger

What Dignity!

What Dignity!

Spurgeon, “The Sons of God

Consider, I beg you, what a dignity God has conferred upon you by making you his son.

The tall archangel before the throne is not called God’s son–he is one of the most favored of his servants, but not God’s child.

I tell you, you ‘impoverished’ brother in Christ, there is a dignity about you that even angels may well envy. You in your poverty are as a sparkling jewel in the darkness of the mine.

You in the midst of your ‘sickness and infirmity’ are girt about with robes of glory, which make the spirits in heaven look down upon the earth with awe.

You move about this world as a prince among the crowd!

The blood of heaven runs in your veins! You are one of the blood royal of eternity–a son of God, descendant of the King of kings!

The “illuminated” Bible?

The “illuminated” Bible?

You may read the Bible continuously and yet never learn anything by it, unless it is illuminated by the Spirit.

Then the words shine forth like stars. Then the book seems made of gold leaf; every single letter glitters like a diamond.

Oh! it is a blessed thing to read an “illuminated Bible”lit up by the radiance of the Holy Spirit.

Have you read the Bible, and yet have your eyes been unenlightened? Go and say, “O Lord, illuminate it; shine upon it; for I cannot read it to profit, unless You enlighten me.”

Blind men may read the Bible with their fingers, but blind souls cannot.

We need a light to read the Bible by; there is no reading it in the dark.

by Spurgeon

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #15 ~ A Giving Love

“That’s the kind of love the Father has. It is a giving love. It gives his most precious treasure—his Son. Meditate on that this Advent. It was a very costly love. A very powerful love. A very rugged, painful love. The meaning of Christmas is the celebration of this love. “God so loved . . .” And wonder of wonders, God gives this costly love to an undeserving world of sinners, like us.”

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #14 ~ Christmas Gift

“Say to the next generation again and again: God is truthful; God keeps his word; God does not lie; God can be trusted! That’s one blessing of Advent. Receive it as a wonderful Christmas gift, and give it to as many people as you can.”

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

Live To Preach Christ

🤔My Thoughts… 

After just finishing my audiobook of “The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield” by Steven .J. Lawson i stumbled on this quote. I had a little chuckle too as i’m currently in a “Methodist” church and it seems to be drifting far away from Biblical preaching like this.

“There are Lutherans and Wesleyans in the present day, but there are no Whitefieldites. No! The great evangelist of last century was a simple, guileless man, who lived for one thing only, and that was to preach Christ.”

J.C. Ryle, Christian Leaders Of The 18th Century

We Want…

“We want character but without unyielding conviction; we want strong morality, but without the emotional burden of guilt or shame; we want virtue but without particular moral justifications that invariably offend; we want good without having to name evil; we want decency without the moral authority to insist upon it; we want moral community without any limitations to personal freedom. In short, we want what we cannot have on the terms that we want it.”

R. Albert Mohler Jr., The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters

Seven breathtaking privileges of being a child of God

Already Not Yet

tim_keller_tgc11Tim Keller:

Feeling weary today? Distant from God? Anxious? Uncertain? In this article Tim Keller warms our hearts with seven breathtaking privileges of being a child of God set out by Paul in Romans 8:14-17:

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

1. Security

We are not to fear, but enjoy sonship (v 15a). An employee or a servant basically obeys out of fear of punishment, loss of job, etc. But a…

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🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #13 ~ Take Time

Take Time to be Aware

Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac, p. 196

“Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present.

“An old abbot was fond of saying, ‘The devil is always the most active on the highest feast days.’

“The supreme trick of Old Scratch is to have us so busy decorating, preparing food, practicing music and cleaning in preparation for the feast of Christmas that we actually miss the coming of Christ. Hurt feelings, anger, impatience, injured egos—the list of clouds that busyness creates to blind us to the birth can be long, but it is familiar to us all.”

The Habit of Encouraging Others

The Habit of Encouraging Others

J.R. Miller

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory!” 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12

In one of her books Miss Mulock tells of a gentleman and a lady walking one day in a lumber-yard beside a dirty, foul-smelling river. The lady said, “How good these pine boards smell!” “Pine boards!” sniffed her companion. “Just smell this foul river!” “No, thank you,” the lady replied, “I prefer to smell the pine boards.” She was wiser than he.

It is far better for us to find the sweetness that is in the air, than the foulness. It is far better to talk to others of the smell of pine boards, than of the heavy odors of stagnant rivers.

Yet too many people seem ever to have an instinct for the unpleasant things. They never see the beauty — but they always find the disagreeable. They have no eye for the roses — but they are sure to find even the smallest thorn. They never discuss the good qualities in those about them — but they instantly detect the faults.

It is a far nobler thing when one has learned to find the things that are lovely and good and true in those about one — and to be blind to the blemishes and defects. It is a pitiful waste of time and strength for one engaged in Christian work, for example, to do nothing but look for mistakes or imperfections in that which others are doing. It is far wiser to devote one’s life and energy to doing good in a positive way.

We do not have to answer for other people’s mistakes. We are not set to be judges of other people’s motives. The only true Christian course is to do our own part as well as we possibly can, having charity meanwhile for all about us who are engaged in the work of our common Master.

It shows a very narrow spirit to have nothing but evil to say of those who are working alongside of us in the same vineyard. Very likely they are quite as holy as we are, and are doing their work quite as well as we are doing ours. But if they are not, our sin in watching them with unkindly eye is worse than any ordinary mistake in their service could be.

We are told that once the disciples criticized very sharply another friend of their Master’s, calling her way of working a wasteful way. But we should not forget that it was Judas who led in this criticism and faultfinding, and that Jesus severely rebuked the censorious spirit in his disciples and spoke in warmest defense of the gentle woman who had done what she could.

We should train ourselves, therefore, to the utmost patience with those who work beside us in the service of the same Master. We should seek to encourage them in every possible way. There may be faults in their method — but, if so, the Master will look after these, and certainly it is no part of our duty to judge, to find fault, to condemn.

We are likely to overlook the unlovingness of this spirit of criticism and fault-finding. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another,” said the Master himself. Love implies not only patience with the infirmities of others — but also readiness to help them and to work with them in all kindly, sympathetic ways. Love sends us forth to be helpers of each other — not hinderers; encouragers — not discouragers.

It is very easy for us to go forth any day and make life harder for every person we meet. We do this when we assume a superior air, when we relate ourselves to others only as a critic, a fault-finder.

The worst of all heresies is the heresy of unlovingness. We understand the spirit of the gospel of Christ only when we get its thoughtfulness, forbearance, gentleness, into our life. We begin to be like Christ, only when in us is born the desire to be of use to everyone we meet. Many people go among others, however, bearing the name of Christ — yet lacking the spirit of Christ. Instead of making life easier for those among whom they mingle — they make it harder! They say discouraging things. Even when they imagine they are giving comfort — they are only adding to the burden of sorrow.

Some good people go into sick rooms, with true sympathy in their heart and desire to do good — but only add to the pain of those they would help.

Job’s three friends, the suffering and bereft man found to be “miserable comforters.” Scarcely any better comforters are many of those who come to people in these days as messengers of consolation. They go over all the sorrow, opening the wounds afresh — instead of saying cheerful, uplifting, inspiring things which would have made the sad hearts braver and stronger.

Shall we not train ourselves to speak only kindly words, to say only encouraging things, to give only cheer? It is a great thing to live so that everyone who meets us shall be a little happier, with a little more courage for life’s struggles, and with new hope in the heart. Words of encouragement and good cheer are better than angels’ visits to those to whom they are spoken.

Thackeray tells of an English nobleman who always carried his pocket full of acorns as he walked over his estate, and whenever he found a bare spot he would plant one of these. So should we carry with us ever a heart full of loving thoughts and impulses, and whenever we find a life that is sad, discouraged, or defeated — we should drop a seed of kindness which by and by will grow into something beautiful.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #12 ~ Mission Of God

“Advent is a season for thinking about the mission of God to seek and to save lost people from the wrath to come. God raised him from the dead, “Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10). It’s a season for cherishing and worshiping this characteristic of God—that he is a searching and saving God, that he is a God on a mission, that he is not aloof or passive or indecisive. He is never in the maintenance mode, coasting or drifting. He is sending, pursuing, searching, saving. That’s the meaning of Advent.”

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #11 ~ Indestructible Joy

“He may be doing it for you in this Advent season—graciously and tenderly frustrating you with life that is not centered on Christ and filling you with longings and desires that can’t find their satisfaction in what this world offers, but only in the God-man. What a Christmas gift that might be! Let all your frustrations with this world throw you onto the Word of God. It will become sweet—like walking into paradise.”

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

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