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They must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction!

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They must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Before I was afflicted I went astray ‚ÄĒ but now I obey Your Word.” Psalm 119:67¬†

“It was good for me to be afflicted ‚ÄĒ so that I might learn Your decrees.” Psalm 119:71

Most of the great truths of God have to be learned through trials! They must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction, otherwise we shall not truly receive them.

“I know, O Lord, that Your laws are righteous ‚ÄĒ and in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” Psalm 119:75¬†

“God disciplines us for our good ‚ÄĒ that we may share in His holiness!” Hebrews 12:10¬†

What is man ‚ÄĒ that You are mindful of him?

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What is man ‚ÄĒ that You are mindful of him?

(Hugh Brown, “Altogether Lovely!” 1897)

What is man ‚ÄĒ that You are mindful of him?” Psalm 8:4¬†

What is man? 

Where did he come from? 

Where does his pathway lead? 

Man¬†was¬†once¬†the crowning piece of God’s workmanship, made in His own image, and given dominion over the works of His hands!

Alas! We now only know man . . .
¬† in his¬†fallen¬†state ‚ÄĒ not as God created him,¬†
  with the crown fallen from his head, 
  as a rebel against his Maker, 
  as the slave of sin, 
  as a willing subject of Satan, 
  in his weakness,
  compassed with infirmity,
  the prey of many diseases, 
¬† as “of few days, and full of trouble,”¬†
  as a bearer of burdens,
  with a heritage of sorrow!

So fearfully and wonderfully is man made ‚ÄĒ¬†¬†
¬† so great ‚ÄĒ and yet so little;¬†
¬† so noble ‚ÄĒ yet so base;¬†
¬† a feeble spark of life ‚ÄĒ yet having an eternal destiny!¬†

We now only know man . . .
  in his sinfulness, 
¬† with a “heart deceitful above all things ‚ÄĒ and desperately wicked,”¬†
  torn by conflicting passions, 
  in the vile bondage of iniquity,
  sin reigning within and without, 
  proud, 
  arrogant,
  self-seeking,
  vain,
  making the earth a habitation of cruelty!

For though sometimes in his youth, life may seem bright while he eagerly hunts after pleasure ‚ÄĒ how soon the¬†flowers fade, the¬†bubble bursts¬†‚ÄĒ and he is left with emptiness in his heart and learns by sad experience the truth of God‚Äôs Word:¬†“Truly, every man at his best estate is altogether vanity!”¬†

The annals of hell‚ÄĒor the biography of devils!

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The annals of hell‚ÄĒor the biography of devils!

(Samuel Davies, “The Universal Judgment!”)

Though we are too apt to think that we are not accountable for our¬†words‚ÄĒHe who is to be our Judge, has plainly told us that “for¬†every careless word¬†which men speak, they shall give an account in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36

“For God will bring every deed¬†into judgment, including¬†every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:14

What astonishing discoveries will this trial of every hidden thing make! 

On the one hand‚ÄĒwhat¬†noble dispositions¬†which never shone in full beauty to mortal eyes! What¬†generous purposes¬†crushed in embryo for lack of power to execute them! What¬†pious and noble actions¬†concealed under the veil of modesty, or misconstrued by ignorance and prejudice! What¬†affectionate aspirations, what¬†devout exercises of heart, which lay open only to the¬†eyes of Omniscience, are now brought to full light, and receive the approbation of the Supreme Judge before the assembled universe”!

But on the other hand‚ÄĒwhat works of¬†shame¬†and¬†darkness¬†are then revealed! What hidden things of dishonesty! What dire secrets of treachery, hypocrisy, lewdness, and various forms of wickedness‚ÄĒall artfully and industriously concealed from human sight! What horrid exploits of sin now burst to light in all their hellish colors‚ÄĒto the confusion of the guilty, and the astonishment and horror of the universe!

Surely the¬†history of mankind¬†must then appear like¬†the annals of hell‚ÄĒor the biography of devils!¬†Then the¬†mask of deceit¬†will be torn off‚ÄĒand men¬†will appear in their true characters. Their hearts will be, as it were, turned outwards‚ÄĒand all their¬†secrets¬†exposed to full view!

The design of this judicial inquiry will not be to inform the omniscient Judge‚ÄĒbut to convince all worlds of the justice of His proceedings. And this design renders it necessary that all these ‘secret things’ should be laid open to their sight, that they may see the grounds upon which He passes sentence.

Does not the prospect of such a ‘revealing’ fill some of you with horror? For many of your actions, and especially of your¬†thoughts‚ÄĒwill not bear the light. How would it confound you, if all your secret thoughts were now all published, even in the small circle of your friends! How then, can you bear to have them all fully exposed before God, angels, and the universe! Will it not confound you with shame, and make you¬†objects of everlasting contempt¬†to all worlds!

A most influential sermon!

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A most influential sermon!

(James Smith, “Good News for All” 1860)

“You, however, know all about my teaching,¬†my way of life,
 and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my
¬†patience, my love, and my endurance.” 2 Timothy 3:10¬†

A holy life is a most influential sermon!

“You ought to live holy and godly lives!” 2 Peter 3:11

See the cause of my happiness

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See the cause of my happiness

(James Smith, “My Savior!” 1860)

My soul, meditate for a few moments on what Jesus¬†is¬†to you, and what Jesus has¬†done¬†for you. Look back and glance at the¬†circumstances¬†in which He found you ‚ÄĒ and the¬†deliverance¬†which He wrought for you.

1. The¬†circumstances¬†in which Jesus found you.¬†Jesus found me¬†out of the way. God by His law had marked out a way in which His creatures should walk ‚ÄĒ its character was holiness, and its end His glory. But all we like sheep had gone astray, we had turned every one to his own way. We were in the path of death and destruction, and on the way to Hell.¬†

We were not only out of the way ‚ÄĒ but we were¬†enslaved. We were . . .
  slaves of sin,
  the drudges of the world, and
  led captive by the Devil at his will. 

We were¬†diseased¬†‚ÄĒ as well as enslaved. We were¬†leprous¬†from head to foot. We had the¬†plague of the heart!¬†The whole head was sick, and the whole heart was faint.¬†

We were¬†imprisoned, as well as diseased. We were shut up in unbelief and sin. Our cell was cold and damp, dark and narrow ‚ÄĒ and our imprisonment was not merely for a few years ‚ÄĒ it was forever!¬†

We were dead, though still conscious, and to some things alive. Dead in trespasses and sins. 

In this state we were ‚ÄĒ and we loved it well. We neither desired, nor sought deliverance.¬†Left to ourselves¬†. . .
  we would have wandered on in darkness, until we had perished in our sins; 
  we would have continued the slaves of sin and Satan forever;
  our disease would have preyed upon our vitals to all eternity; 
  our prison walls would have enclosed us still; 
  we would have remained dead in sin, 
  we would have suffered all the pangs of damnation forever!

2. The deliverance which Jesus wrought for you. Jesus saved me!

He saved me from the roaring lion, who goes about seeking to devour me!

He saved me from my raging lusts, so that sin shall not have dominion over me!

He saved me from righteous wrath, and I, being justified by His blood, shall be saved from wrath through Him!

He saved me from¬†death, the ‘king of terrors,’ depriving the¬†monster¬†of his sting, and giving me the victory over him!

He has also saved me from the¬†flaming furnace of Hell¬†‚ÄĒ from that lake of fire, and those¬†floods of flame¬†in which the lost must welter forever!

See the cause of my happiness¬†‚ÄĒ¬†
I have a Savior! 

A Savior who is divine. 
A Savior who has ever loved me. 
A Savior who lived, labored, and died for me. 
A Savior who pleads for me before the throne of His Father. 
A Savior who is in His Father’s house, preparing a place for me.¬†
A Savior who will soon come and receive me to Himself, that so I may be forever with Him! Yes, I have a Savior ‚ÄĒ one who . . .
  watches over me, 
  walks through the wilderness with me, 
  and rejoices to do me good.

Reader, have you a Savior? 
Can you use these two precious words,¬†“My Savior”?¬†
Have you realized that you were lost? 
Have you fled to His cross? 
Have you fallen into His arms? 
Have you been cleansed by His blood, and clothed in His righteousness? 
Do you possess His Holy Spirit? 

Make sure work, O make sure work!
Eternity is just at hand!
Death is coming!
Judgment follows!
And then ‚ÄĒ an¬†eternity of happiness or woe!
Your eternal all depends on having Jesus for your Savior!
No one can save you but Jesus. 
No one can . . .
  support you in sickness,
  comfort you in death, or
¬† give you victory over the grave ‚ÄĒ but Jesus!

“How long will you love vanity?”

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How long will you love vanity?” Psalm 4:2

Vanity represents the light, changeable, carnal, and fading things of time. Upon these things, the natural heart is set; around them, the unsanctified affections gather. What a vanity it is to prefer . . . 
¬† human friendship ‚ÄĒ to divine friendship,¬†
¬† earthly riches ‚ÄĒ to Heavenly riches,¬†
¬† carnal honors ‚ÄĒ to spiritual honors, and¬†
¬† the pleasures of a day ‚ÄĒ to the joys of eternity!

Vanity appears in the intoxicating cup, the mirthful and costly attire, and trifling with God. Surely every worldly man walks in a vain show, like an¬†actor¬†on the stage ‚ÄĒ and displays the most consummate folly!¬†

Reader! are you in love with vanity? Do you love that which leads from God, keeps Him out of the thoughts, and binds you down to earth? This is vanity! How long will you love it? You have been doing so for years ‚ÄĒ though warned, convinced, and having promised to reform. You are doing so now, though . . .
   mortality is at work within you,   
   death is very near you, 
   Hell is open before you, and 
   eternity is within a step of you!

You love vanity, when you may . . .
   obtain divine mercy, 
   enjoy peace with God, 
   receive sanctifying grace, and 
   walk in the way to Heaven. 

“How long will you love vanity?”¬†Until . . .¬†
   some sudden stroke takes you away; 
   or some affliction puts you beyond the reach of mercy;
¬†¬† or God’s Spirit ceases to strive with you;¬†
   or Satan fills your heart as he did the heart of Judas; 
   or God laughs at your calamity? 

How long? God your Creator would ask you.¬†“Why will you die?”¬†

Will you carefully consider this question, and give the Lord an answer? Will you tell Him why you prefer . . .
¬†¬† eternal death ‚ÄĒ to eternal life,¬†
¬†¬† sin ‚ÄĒ to holiness, and¬†
¬†¬† Satan ‚ÄĒ to Himself?

“They who observe lying vanities, forsake their own mercy!” Jonah 2:8

If you dare!

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If you dare!

(Samuel Davies, “The Universal Judgment!“)

“Then I saw¬†a great white throne‚ÄĒand HIM who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened¬† . . . If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life‚ÄĒhe was thrown into the lake of fire!” Revelation 20:11, 12, 15

What an astonishing scene is this! The stable earth and sky cannot bear the majesty and terror of His look; they fly away affrighted! This is the Judge before whom we must stand; and this is the manner of His appearance!

But is this the¬†babe of Bethlehem‚ÄĒwho lay and wept in the manger?¬†

Is this the supposed son of the carpenter, the despised Galilean? 

Is this the man of sorrows? 

Is this He who was . . .
  arrested, 
  condemned, 
  buffeted, 
  spit upon,  
  crowned with thorns, 
  executed as a slave and a criminal, upon the cross? 

Yes, it is Him! The very same Jesus of Nazareth! 

But oh how changed! How deservedly exalted! Heaven and earth flee before Him! 

Now let his enemies appear and show their contempt and malignity!

Now,¬†Pilate‚ÄĒcondemn the King of the Jews as a usurper!

Now, you¬†Jews, raise the clamor,¬†“Crucify Him, crucify Him!”¬†Now bow the knee in scorn, spit in His face, and buffet Him! Now tell the¬†scourged impostor¬†that He must die!

Now despise His grace, 
now laugh at His threatenings, and 
now make light of His displeasure‚ÄĒif you dare!

Ah! now their courage fails, and terror surrounds them! Now they try to hide in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. Now they call to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from¬†the wrath of the Lamb!¬†For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

But, alas! That LAMB who once bled as a sacrifice for sin‚ÄĒnow appears in all the terrors of a LION! Oh! could they hide themselves in the bottom of the ocean, or in some rock that bears the weight of the mountains‚ÄĒhow happy would they think themselves!

You are walking in the midst of snares and traps!

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You are walking in the midst of snares and traps!

(James Smith, “The Pastor’s Morning Visit”)

“Be very careful, then, how you walk!”¬†Ephesians 5:15

To honor Jesus in your thoughts, words, and every action‚ÄĒshould be your constant aim.

You are in an enemy’s land; surrounded by temptations; and have a heart that is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked!¬†

This present world is not your home!¬†Satan’s family¬†are not to be your intimate friends. Riches, honors, or pleasure‚ÄĒare not to be your objects of pursuit.¬†You are walking in the midst of snares and traps!¬†Be watchful, prayerful, depending upon Jesus, and cultivating fellowship with Him.

O keep your eye on Jesus, as your example! Walk by His Word‚ÄĒas your rule. Do not be venturesome or presumptuous, but avoid the very appearance of evil. Never leave the Lord’s ways‚ÄĒto join the world’s vanities or to please a carnal lust. Keep close to Jesus‚ÄĒand follow on to know the Lord.¬†

Walk as a beloved child, who going home to his loving Father’s house!¬†“Be very careful, then, how you walk!”

Where shall you find a rock?

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Where shall you find a rock? 

(Samuel Davies, “Jesus Christ, the Only Foundation” 1757)

“The present¬†heavens¬†and¬†earth¬†are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men! The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The¬†heavens¬†will disappear with a roar; the¬†elements¬†will be destroyed by fire, and the¬†earth¬†and everything in it will be burned up!” 2 Peter 3:7, 10

The fiery deluge of divine vengeance, which has been gathering and swelling for thousands of years; but has been, as it were, restrained and kept within bounds by¬†divine patience‚ÄĒshall then rise so high as to burst through all restraints, and overwhelm the guilty globe, and turn it into a universal ocean of liquid fire! This resistless torrent shall sweep away all the¬†refuges of lies, and those who trusted in them‚ÄĒinto the gulf of remediless destruction!

Well my friends, where shall we find a¬†support¬†to bear us up in this tremendous day? Where shall we find a¬†rock¬†to build upon, that we may be able to stand the shock, and remain safe and unmoved‚ÄĒin the wreck of dissolving worlds? What can¬†uphold¬†us‚ÄĒwhen this¬†vast machine of our world, formed with so much skill and strength by the hands of a¬†divine Architect, shall be broken up and fall to pieces?

Now, now is the time for us to find the refuge; it will be too late when all created supports are swept away, and this solid globe itself is dissolved beneath our feet into a sea of fire!

And where will you look? Where will you turn? This¬†earth,¬†and all its riches, honors, and pleasures‚ÄĒwill prove to be but a¬†quicksand¬†in that day! Your¬†friends¬†and¬†relations, were they ever so great or powerful‚ÄĒcan¬†then¬†afford you no support! Therefore, think‚ÄĒwhere shall you find a¬†rock¬†on which you may build a happiness that will stand the shock in that dreadful day?

Everything else besides Christ . . .
  is sliding sand,
  is yielding air,
  is a breaking bubble! 

In that dread day . . .
¬†¬†wealth‚ÄĒwill prove to be a vain shadow,¬†
¬†¬†honor‚ÄĒwill prove to be an empty breath,¬†
¬†¬†pleasure‚ÄĒwill prove to be a delusive dream,¬†
¬†¬†your own righteousness‚ÄĒwill prove to be a spider’s web!
If we rely on these, disappointment and doom are inevitable!

Nothing but Christ, nothing but Christ, can stably support us in that dread day! “He alone is my rock¬†and my salvation; He is my fortress‚ÄĒI will never be shaken!” Psalm 62:2

His righteousness¬†is infinitely perfect, equal to the highest demands of the divine law‚ÄĒand therefore a firm, immovable ground of trust. We may safely venture¬†the weight of our eternal all‚ÄĒupon this rock! It will stand forever, without giving way under the heaviest pressure; without being broken by the most violent shock. Let thousands, let millions, with¬†all the mountainous weight of guilt¬†upon them, build upon this foundation, and they shall never be moved!

The firm foundations, the stately columns, the majestic buildings of Nineveh, Babylon and Persia, and all the magnificent structures of antiquity, though formed of the most durable stone, and promising immortality‚ÄĒare now shattered into ten thousand fragments, or lying in ruinous heaps!¬†

But here in Christ‚ÄĒis¬†a foundation for immortal souls‚ÄĒa foundation that will remain the same to all eternity! His¬†righteousness¬†is an everlasting righteousness, His¬†strength¬†an everlasting strength, and Himself the everlasting Father. He ever lives forever to make intercession for His people, and therefore he is able to save to the uttermost, to the uttermost point of duration‚ÄĒall who come unto God by Him!

Millions and millions¬†of depraved, wretched, ruined creatures, have always found Him perfectly¬†able, and as perfectly¬†willing‚ÄĒ
  to expiate the most enormous guilt;
  to deliver from the most inveterate corruptions;
  and to save to the very uttermost! 

Ten thousand times ten thousand, have built their hopes upon this¬†rock‚ÄĒand it has never failed so much as one of them! Manasseh, Paul, and Mary Magdalen, and thousands more atrocious sinners‚ÄĒhave ventured upon this¬†all-sufficient rock¬†with all their¬†load of sin¬†upon them, and found it able to sustain them!

Carry all your concerns to Him‚ÄĒin the arms of faith!

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Carry all your concerns to Him‚ÄĒin the¬†arms of faith!

(James Smith, “The Pastor’s Morning Visit”)

“Casting all your care upon Him‚ÄĒbecause¬†He cares for you!” 1 Peter 5:7

The Lord¬†knows¬†all His people‚ÄĒall their needs, and all their trials.

He¬†thinks¬†upon them‚ÄĒto bless, deliver and supply them.¬†

He keeps His¬†eye¬†upon them‚ÄĒin all places, at all times, and under all circumstances.

He has them in His¬†hand‚ÄĒand will not loosen His hold.

He looks upon them always as His own ‘treasured possession’ . . .
  the objects of His eternal love,
¬† the purchase of His Son’s blood,
  the temples of His Holy Spirit.

They are precious in His sight! 

He knows they are¬†weak¬†and¬†fearful‚ÄĒand that they have many¬†enemies. He teaches them to cast themselves and all their cares into His hands! And He has given them His promise‚ÄĒthat He¬†will¬†care for them.

It is a¬†Father’s care¬†which He exercises. It is a wise, holy, tender, and constant care. Therefore all will be well with you‚ÄĒonly trust Him.

Believe that He cares for you this day.¬†Carry all your concerns to Him‚ÄĒin the¬†arms of faith!¬†Leave¬†all¬†with Him, persuaded that He will manage all by His infinite wisdom, and bring all to a good outcome by His omnipotent power.

Cast all your cares upon Him‚ÄĒas fast as they come in.¬†

Do not worry about anything. 

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will support you! He will never allow the righteous to be shaken!” Psalm 55:22

Yay….11th Wedding Anniversary & The Marriage Altar‚ÄĒand After

Yay…..It’s Our 11th Wedding anniversary!!

Hi all…..Today is a really long post as it’s a special day for Sarah & i. I really hope you read through to the end and be blessed! 

Ephesians 5:25-27 The Voice (VOICE)

Husbands, you must love your wives so deeply, purely, and sacrificially that we can understand it only when we compare it to the love the Anointed One has for His bride, the church. We know He gave Himself up completely to make her His own, washing her clean of all her impurity with water and the powerful presence of His word. He has given Himself so that He can present the church as His radiant bride, unstained, unwrinkled, and unblemished‚ÄĒcompletely free from all impurity‚ÄĒholy and innocent before Him.

My Thoughts…

Each time our wedding anniversary comes round, i can‚Äôt believe how much our marriage has grown more and more fruitful. Our love keeps blossoming through every season and i thank God for Sarah who is not only my best friend, but my amazing wife! ūüôā¬†

I thank God for sustaining our marriage in Purity and Truth. 

I thank God for not leaving us alone to figure out what to do, but for giving us, teaching, correction, training and a perfect Holy example to follow through the Holy Spirit…to reflect the personal and intimate union between Christ and His Church. The mystery of marriage is its reflection of the oneness of Christ, the Husband, and His Church, the Bride of Christ.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Amplified Bible

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].

Love never fails…

Sarah i wedding photo

Sarah on wedding day png1

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The Marriage Altar‚ÄĒand After

J. R. Miller, 1880

preparations are all at last made. The bridal dress is completed. The day has been fixed. The invitations have been sent out. The hour comes. Two young hearts are throbbing with love and joy. A brilliant company, music, flowers, a solemn hush‚ÄĒas the happy pair approach the altar, the repetition of the sacred words of the marriage ceremony, the clasping of hands, the mutual covenants and promises, the giving and receiving of the ring, the final “Whom God has joined together‚ÄĒlet not man put asunder,” the prayer and blessing‚ÄĒand the¬†twain are one flesh. There are tears and congratulations, hurried good-byes, and a new bark puts out upon the sea, freighted with high hopes. God grant it may never be¬†dashed upon any hidden rock¬†and wrecked!

Marriage is very like the bringing together of two instruments of music. The first thing, is to get them keyed to the same pitch. Before a concert begins you hear the musicians striking chords and keying their instruments, until at length they all perfectly accord. Then they come out and play some rare piece of music, without a discord or a jar in any of its parts.

No two lives, however thorough their former acquaintance may have been, however long they may have moved together in society or mingled in the closer and more intimate relations of a ripening friendship, ever find themselves¬†perfectly in harmony¬†on their marriage-day. It is only when that¬†mysterious blending¬†begins after marriage, which no language can explain‚ÄĒthat each finds so much in the other that was never discovered before. There are¬†beauties¬†and¬†excellences¬†that were never disclosed, even to¬†love’s partial eye, in all the days of familiar intimacy. There are¬†peculiarities¬†and¬†blemishes¬†which were never seen to exist‚ÄĒuntil they began to make themselves manifest within the veil of the matrimonial temple. There are¬†incompatibilities¬†that were never dreamed of‚ÄĒuntil they were revealed in the abrasions of domestic life. There are¬†faults¬†which neither even suspected, in the temper and habits of the other!

Before marriage young people are on their good behavior. They do not¬†exhibit their infirmities.¬†Selfishness¬†is hidden under garments of courtesy and gallantry. Each forgets¬†SELF‚ÄĒin romantic devotion to the other. The voice is softened and made tender, and even tremulous, by¬†love. The music flows with a holy rhythm mellowed by affection’s gentleness. Everything that would make an unfavorable impression, is scrupulously put under lock and key. So there is harmony of no ordinary sweetness made by the two young lives, unvexed by one discordant note.

Marriage is a¬†great mystery. “The¬†twain¬†shall be¬†one¬†flesh” is no mere figure of speech. Years of closest, most familiar, most unrestrained intimacy, bring lives very close together‚ÄĒbut there is still a¬†separating wall¬†which marriage breaks down. The two lives become one. Each opens every nook, every chamber, every cranny, to the other. There is a mutual interflow, life pouring into life.

There may have been no intention on the part of either, to deceive the other in the smallest matter, or to cloak the smallest infirmity. But the disclosure could not, in the very nature of things, have been any more perfect. Each stood in the porch of a house, or at the most sat in its parlor, never entering any of the inner rooms. Now the whole house is thrown open, and many hitherto unsuspected things are seen!

Too often the¬†restraint¬†seems to fall off, when the¬†matrimonial chain¬†is riveted. No effort is longer made to curb the bad tempers and evil propensities. The delicate robe of politeness is torn away, and many a rudeness appears. It seems to be considered no longer necessary, to continue the old thoughtfulness.¬†Selfishness¬†begins to assert itself. The¬†sweet amenities¬†of the wooing-days are laid aside‚ÄĒand the result is unhappiness! Many a young bride cries herself sick half a dozen times, before she has been a month a bride, and wishes she were back in the bright, happy home of her youth! Oftentimes both the newly-wedded pair become discouraged, and think in their hearts that they have made a mistake!

And yet there is really no reason for discouragement. The marriage may yet be made happy. There is need only for large and wise patience. The two lives require only to be brought into harmony, and¬†love’s sweetest music¬†will flow from two hearts in tender unison. But there are several rules which must always be remembered and observed.

Why, for instance, should either party, after the wedding-day, cease to observe all the sweet courtesies, little refinements and charming amenities of the courtship-days? Why should a man be¬†polite¬†all day to everyone he meets‚ÄĒeven to the porter in his store, and the bootblack or newsboy on the street‚ÄĒand then less polite to her who meets him at his door with yearning heart hungry for expressions of love? If things have gone wrong with him all day, why should he carry his gloom to his home to darken the joy of his wife’s tender heart? Or why should the woman who used to be all smiles and beauty and adornment and perfume when her lover came, meet her husband now with disheveled hair, soiled dress, slovenly manner and¬†face all frowns? Why should there not be a resolute continuance of the old politeness and mutual desire to please‚ÄĒwhich made the wooing-days so sunny?

Then love must be lifted up out of the realm of the¬†passions¬†and¬†senses‚ÄĒand be spiritualized. There should be converse on the¬†higher themes¬†of life. Many people are¬†wedded¬†only at one or two points. Their natures know but the lower forms of pleasure and fellowship. They never commune on any topic, but the most earthy. Their¬†intellectual¬†parts have no fellowship. They never read nor converse together on elevated themes. There is no commingling of mind with mind; they are dead to each other, in that higher region.¬†

Then still fewer are¬†wedded¬†in their highest, their spiritual natures. The number is small, of those who commune together concerning the things of God, the soul’s holiest interests and the realities of eternity. No marriage is complete‚ÄĒwhich does not unite and blend the wedded lives at every point. Husband and wife should be wedded along their whole nature.

This implies that they should read and study together, having the same line of thought, helping each other toward higher mental culture. It implies also that they should worship together, communing with one another upon the holiest themes of life and hope. Together they should bow in prayer, and together work in anticipation of the same blessed home beyond this life of toil and care. I can conceive of no true and perfect marriage, whose deepest joy does not lie forward in the life to come.

Perfect¬†mutual confidence¬†is an element of every complete marriage. Husband and wife should¬†live but one life, sharing all of each other’s cares, joys, sorrows and hopes. There should not be a corner in the nature and occupation of either‚ÄĒwhich is not open to the other. The moment a man has to begin to shut his wife out from any¬†chapters of his daily life¬†he is in peril; and in like manner her whole life should be open to him. There should be a flowing together of heart and soul in close communion and perfect confidence. No discord can end in harm‚ÄĒwhile there is such mutual inter-sphering of lives and such inter-flowing of souls.

Once more, no third party should ever be taken into this holy of holies. No matter who it is‚ÄĒthe sweetest, gentlest, dearest, wisest mother; the purest, truest, tenderest sister; the best, the loyalest friend‚ÄĒno one but¬†God¬†should ever be permitted to know anything of the secret, sacred married life, that they twain are living. This is one of those relations with which no stranger, though he be the closest bosom friend, should intermeddle. Any¬†alien touch¬†is sure to leave a blight.

There are certain¬†influences¬†that bring out all the warmth and tenderness needed to make any marriage very happy. When one is sick, how gentle and thoughtful it makes the other! Not a want or wish is left unsupplied. All the heart’s affections‚ÄĒlong slumbering, perhaps‚ÄĒare awakened and become intent on most kindly ministry. No service is thought a hardship now, or done with any show of reluctance. There is not a breath or look of impatience. Love flows out in¬†tone¬†and¬†look¬†and¬†word¬†and¬†act. There is an¬†inexpressible tenderness¬†in all the bearing. Even the coldest natures become gentle in the sick-room, and the rudest, harshest manners become soft and warm at the¬†touch of suffering¬†in the beloved one.¬†

Or let death come to either, and what an awakening there is of all that is holiest and tenderest and sweetest in the heart of the other! If the dead could be recalled and the wedded life resumed, would it not be a thousand times more loving than ever it was before? Would there be any more the old¬†impatience, the old¬†selfishness? Would there not be the fullest sympathy, the largest forbearance, the warmest outflow of the heart’s most kindly feelings?

And why may not married life be lived day by day, under the power of this wondrous influence? Why wait for¬†suffering¬†in the one we love‚ÄĒto¬†thaw out the heart’s tenderness, to melt the icy chill of neglect and indifference, and to produce in us the summer fruits of affection? Why wait for¬†death¬†to come‚ÄĒto reveal the beauty of the plain life that moves by our side, and disclose the value of the blessings it enfolds for us? Why should we only learn to appreciate and prize love’s splendors and its sweetness‚ÄĒas it vanishes out of our sight?¬†

Why should the¬†empty chair‚ÄĒbe the first revealer of the real worth of those who have walked so close to us? Why should sorrow over our loss‚ÄĒbe the first influence to draw from our hearts, the tenderness and the wealth of kindly ministries that lie pent up in them all the while? Surely, wedded life should call out all that is richest, truest, tenderest, most inspiring and most helpful in the life of each. This is the¬†true ideal¬†of Christian marriage. Its love is to be like that of Christ and his Church. It should not wait for the¬†agony of suffering¬†or the¬†pang of separation¬†to draw out its tenderness‚ÄĒbut should fill all its days and nights with¬†unvexed sweetness!

There are many such marriages. Few more beautiful pictures of wedded love were ever unveiled, than that which was lived out in the home of Charles Kingsley. His wife closes her loving memoir with these words, “The outside world must judge him as an author, a preacher, a member of society‚ÄĒbut those only who lived with him in the intimacy of every-day life at home‚ÄĒcan tell what he was as a man. Over the real romance of his life, and over the tenderest, loveliest passages in his private letters‚ÄĒa veil must be thrown‚ÄĒbut it will not be lifting it too far to say that if in the highest, closest of earthly relationships, a love that never failed‚ÄĒpure, patient, passionate‚ÄĒfor thirty-six years‚ÄĒa love which never stooped from its own lofty level‚ÄĒto a hasty word, an impatient gesture or a selfish act, in sickness or in health, in sunshine or in storm, by day or by night, could prove that the age of chivalry has not passed away forever‚ÄĒthen Charles Kingsley fulfilled the ideal of a ‘most true and perfect knight’ to the one woman blessed with that love in time, and to eternity. To eternity, for such love is eternal, and he is not dead. He himself, the man, the lover, husband, father, friend‚ÄĒhe still lives in God, who is not the God of the dead‚ÄĒbut of the living.”¬†

And why should, not every marriage in Christ, realize all that lies in this picture? It is possible, and yet only noble manhood and womanhood, with truest views of marriage and inspired by the holiest love, can realize it.

Sarah & i in Love Heart

Should it be according to your mind?

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Should it be according to your mind?

(James Smith, “Important Questions!” 1858)

Should it be according to¬†your¬†mind?” Job 34:33

We are prone to be fretful, to complain of the dispensations of Divine Providence, and to reflect harshly upon the Lord’s dealings with us.

We want our own way.

We wish to carve for ourselves.

We would be treated as God’s favorites.

We want our ease, and prosperity, and pleasure, consulted in all things. And if this does not appear to be done ‚ÄĒ if our¬†wills¬†are crossed, if our¬†schemes¬†are frustrated, if our¬†purposes¬†are broken off ‚ÄĒ then we stumble, think ourselves badly treated, and look for everybody to sympathize with us.

Under these circumstances, God comes to us ‚ÄĒ as we sit among our broken cisterns, surrounded by our dethroned idols ‚ÄĒ and puts this question to us: “Should it be according to¬†your¬†mind?”

Are you wiser than God?

Are you kinder than God?

Are you holier than God?

Are you more just than God?

Are you better informed than God?

May not your mind be dark, or selfish, or foolish?

Should it then be according to your mind?

Should you¬†reign¬†‚ÄĒ or God?

Remember that God acts in the highest wisdom; His motives are grace and justice; and all His purposes are worthy of Himself.

The least the Christian can do is to submit ‚ÄĒ and to prefer God’s wisdom, way, and work ‚ÄĒ to his own. Seeing God has so arranged all events, that all things must work together for the good of His people ‚ÄĒ they, at least, should daily say, “Father, may¬†Your¬†will be done!”

O my soul, seek grace from God, not only to submit and be resigned to the dispensations of Divine Providence ‚ÄĒ but to¬†acquiesce¬†in them, and be¬†pleased¬†with the whole of them! Your good is consulted ‚ÄĒ your best interests are secured; and soon, very soon, it will be seen that infinite wisdom and mercy, grace and goodness, have marked out¬†every step¬†of your road!

“Jesus replied: You do not understand what I am¬†now¬†doing ‚ÄĒ but someday you will.” John 13:7

Your conscience will not always sleep!

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Your conscience will not always sleep! 

(Samuel Davies, “Divine Mercy to Mourning Penitents“)

“They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their¬†consciences¬†also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.” Romans 2:15

The principal means which God uses in conversion, is that of conscience; and indeed without this, all the rest are in vain. Outward afflictions are of service‚ÄĒonly as they tend to awaken the conscience from its lethargy to a faithful discharge of its duty. It is conscience which makes the sinner sensible of his misery and scourges him. The¬†lashes of a guilty conscience¬†are intolerable; and some under them have chosen strangling and suicide, rather than life.

Conscience is a serpent in his breast, which bites and gnaws his heart; and he can no more avoid it, than he can fly from himself! 

Let not such of you as have never been tortured with its remorse, congratulate yourselves upon your happiness, for you are not innocents! Your conscience will not always sleep! It will not always lie torpid and inactive, like a snake benumbed with cold, in your breast! 

It will¬†awaken¬†you either to your conversion‚ÄĒor condemnation!

Either the fire of God’s wrath flaming from His law will enliven it in this world‚ÄĒto sting you with¬†medicinal¬†anguish; or the unquenchable fire of His vengeance in the lake of fire and brimstone will thaw it into life‚ÄĒand then it will horribly rage in your breast, and diffuse its tormenting poison through your whole frame! And then it will become a¬†never-dying worm, and prey upon your hearts forever!

Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?

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Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?

(Samuel Davies, “The Preaching of Christ Crucified, the Means of Salvation”)

“Christ died for the ungodly!” Romans 5:6

In¬†the cross of Christ‚ÄĒGod’s hatred to sin¬†is manifested in the most striking light! The evil of sin is exposed in the most dreadful colors! Now it appears, that such is the divine hatred against all sin, that God can by no means forgive sin, without punishment; and that all the infinite benevolence of His nature towards His creatures cannot prevail upon Him to pardon the least sin‚ÄĒwithout an adequate satisfaction.

Nay, now it appears that when so malignant and abominable a thing is but imputed to His dear Son, His co-equal, His darling, His favorite‚ÄĒthat even He could not escape unpunished‚ÄĒbut was made a¬†monument of vindictive justice, to all worlds!¬†

What can more strongly expose the evil of sin
‚ÄĒthan the cross of Christ?¬†
Sin is such an intolerably malignant and abominable thing, that even a God of infinite mercy and grace‚ÄĒcannot let the least instance of it pass unpunished!

It was not a small thing that could arm God’s justice against the Son of His love. Though He was perfectly innocent in Himself‚ÄĒyet when He was made sin for us‚ÄĒGod spared not His own Son‚ÄĒbut delivered Him up unto death‚ÄĒthe shameful, tormenting, and accursed death of the cross!

Go, you fools, who make a mock at sin! Go and learn its malignity and demerit‚ÄĒat the cross of Jesus!¬†

WHO is it that hangs there writhing in the agonies of death
‚ÄĒHis hands and feet pierced with nails, His side with a spear, His face bruised with blows, and drenched with tears and blood, His heart melting like wax, His whole frame racked and disjointed; forsaken by His friends, and even by His Father; tempted by devils, and insulted by men?¬†Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?¬†It is Jesus, the eternal Word of God; His Elect, in whom His soul delights; His beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased!

And WHAT has He done?¬†He did no wickedness; He knew no sin‚ÄĒbut was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. And WHY then, all these dreadful sufferings from heaven, earth, and hell? Why, He only stood in the law-place of sinners; He only received their sin by imputation. And you see what it has brought upon Him! You see how low it has reduced Him! What a horrid evil must that be‚ÄĒwhich has such tremendous consequences, even upon the Darling of heaven!

Oh! what still more dreadful havoc would SIN have made, if it had been punished upon the sinner himself in his own person! Surely all the various miseries which have been inflicted upon our guilty world in all ages, and even all the punishments of hell‚ÄĒdo not so loudly proclaim the terrible desert and malignity of sin‚ÄĒas the cross of Christ!

The infinite malignity of sin, and God’s hatred to it, appear nowhere in so striking and dreadful a light‚ÄĒas in the cross of Christ! Let a reasonable creature take but one serious view of that cross, and surely he must ever after tremble at the thought of the least sin!¬†

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The unsearchable riches of Christ!

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The unsearchable riches of Christ!

(Samuel Davies)

The unsearchable riches of Christ!” Ephesians 3:8

Consider what rich blessings Christ has purchased for His people; purchased not with corruptible things such as silver and gold‚ÄĒbut with His own precious blood! The¬†purchase price¬†recommends and endears the blessings, though they are so great in themselves, as to need no such recommendation! What can be greater or more suitable blessings to hell-bound sinners, than . . .
  pardon for the guilty,
  redemption for slaves,
  righteousness and justification for the condemned,
  sanctification for the unholy,
  rest for the weary,
  comfort for mourners,
  the favor of God for rebels and exiles,
  strength for the impotent,
  protection for the helpless, and 
  everlasting happiness for the heirs of hell! 
And, to sum up all‚ÄĒgrace¬†and¬†glory, and¬†every good thing, and¬†all the unsearchable riches of Christ‚ÄĒfor the wretched and miserable; for the poor, the blind, and naked!

These are blessings indeed, and, in comparison with them‚ÄĒall the riches of the world are impoverished, and vanish to nothing!

He cannot love you more!

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He cannot love you more!

(James Smith, “The Pastor’s Morning Visit”)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

The Lord cares for His children!
 
He knows our¬†needs‚ÄĒand has promised to supply them.¬†
He knows our¬†foes‚ÄĒand will deliver us from them.¬†
He knows our¬†fears‚ÄĒand will make us ashamed of them.¬†

All creatures and things are in His hand, and at His disposal; all circumstances are under His absolute control. He . . . 
  directs the angel,
  feeds the sparrow,
  curbs the devil, and
  manages the tempest! 

He is your Father‚ÄĒand His love to you is infinite. You are His delight‚ÄĒHis dear child. Will He neglect you? Impossible! Cast then your cares upon Him. Tell out all your desires, fears, and troubles to Him; let Him know everything; keep nothing back. And then in the confidence of faith, expect Him to fulfill His Word, and act a Parent’s part.

Bless Him for all He has given, for all He has promised. Plead with Him for all you may need. But never for one moment, or under any circumstances, distrust Him! He cannot love you more! He is your ever present help. He will rejoice over you to do you good, with His whole heart, and with His whole soul.

“Cast all your care upon Him, because He cares about you!” 1 Peter 5:7

True beauty is not of the face–but of the soul!

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True beauty is not of the face–but of the soul!

(Mabel Hale, “Beautiful Girlhood” 1922)

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears the LORD shall be praised!” Proverbs 31:30¬†

Every girl is a lover of beauty.¬†Beautiful homes, beautiful furnishings, beautiful flowers, beautiful clothes, beautiful faces–anything wherein beauty is found, there will be found girls to admire it. From the time her little hands can reach up, and her baby lips can lisp the words, she is admiring “pretty things.” And when a little of that beauty is her own–her pleasure is unbounded.

Every girl longs to be beautiful.
¬†There is in woman a nature, as deep as humanity, which compels her to strive for good looks. There is no more forlorn sorrow for a young girl, than for her to be convinced that¬†she is hopelessly ugly and undesirable. Oh, the bitter tears that have been shed over¬†freckles, or¬†blemishedskin–and the energy that has been expended in¬†painting¬†and¬†powdering¬†and¬†waving¬†and¬†curling¬†herself into beauty!

A desire to be beautiful is not unwomanly. But, mark it:¬†true beauty is not of the face–but of the soul!¬†There is a beauty so¬†deep¬†and¬†lasting, that it will shine out of the homeliest face and make it lovely! This is the beauty to be first sought and admired. It is a quality of the¬†mind¬†and¬†heart–and is manifested in¬†word¬†and¬†deed.¬†

A happy heart, 
a smiling face, 
loving words and deeds, and 
a desire to be of service–
will make any girl beautiful!

A beautiful soul shining out of a homely face–is far more attractive than a beautiful face out of which looks a soul full of selfishness and pride!

Let your chief¬†charm¬†be of heart and mind–not of face and form.¬†
Seek the true beauty which lasts even into old age!

Solomon, in one of his wise sayings, plainly expressed the evil that comes to a woman who is beautiful of face, but lacks the true beauty of soul: “Like¬†a gold ring in a swine’s snout–is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion!” Proverbs 11:22. As the swine would plunge the golden jewel into the filth and the mire as he dug in the dirt–so will a pretty woman who is not godly, drag her beauty down to the very lowest.¬†

There are many peculiar temptations to those who are¬†only¬†lovely of face.¬†Without true beauty of soul–a pretty face is a dangerous gift!

Your beauty¬†should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight!” 1 Peter 3:3-4

As long as preachers allow their sermons to be dictated by public sentiment or the worldly desires of their hearers!

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As long as preachers allow their sermons to be dictated by public sentiment or the worldly desires of their hearers!

(Charles Naylor)

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” John 17:16¬†

“As Christ is, so are we in this world” 1 John 4:17

A Christian is one who is Christlike in character, in desire, and in deportment. No other has any right to bear Christ’s name. Yet there are a multitude of people who call themselves Christians, who bear no resemblance to Christ in their lives.¬†

One of the most pitiable things that we can behold, is one who professes to be a citizen of the kingdom of God–and yet lives like a citizen of the kingdom of Satan. The¬†worldly professor¬†fills his days with folly–but his cup of joy is always bitter at the last. He gathers up the “fool’s gold” that glitters in earthly things. He lives after the flesh and after the world. He goes with the crowd. He misses all the blessedness of righteousness, and, worst of all, he misses Heaven at the last. “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” James 4:4

Those who still love the pride and vanity of the world, those who are absorbed in its frivolities, those who covet its gold and its honors, those who love its applause–these are those who are of the world.¬†

Those hypocritical professors who bear Christ’s name, but will not obey Him–dishonor Him, and by their example influence others to do the same, how shall they escape the damnation of Hell? If there is one thing that God hates above all else, it is a proud and worldly heart! Such a heart can never be a reverential heart. Its religion is but hypocrisy. It is only a sham. It has no reality. It is only a cloak of respectability, while the heart is full of corruption.

The Christian life is, and ever will be, a life of separation from sin and pride and worldliness. If you are not willing to be thus separated, then you should have common honesty enough not to profess to be what you very well know that you are not. If you are going to be a Christian in name, then be one in reality.

Your¬†character, not your¬†profession, will be what will matter in the final judgment. “God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality–He will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil–there will be wrath and anger.” Romans 2:6-8

If all preachers had honesty enough and courage enough to preach the truth–then the tide of worldliness that is overwhelming such a multitude of souls and sweeping them into perdition, would be somewhat stayed.¬†As long as preachers allow their sermons to be dictated by public sentiment or the worldly desires of their hearers–they will cater to fashions, and souls by the million will drift on into Hell. Oh, what a reaping such preachers will have at the judgment! The full measure of God’s wrath will fall on those preachers who fail to be true to souls and to God, in preaching those truths the Bible clearly teaches against sin and worldliness.¬†

A lamp for my feet

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A lamp for my feet

(Thomas Watson, “Body of Divinity“)

“Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may
¬†live¬†according to Your truth!” Psalm 86:11


Let us lead Scripture lives. Oh that the Bible might 
be seen printed in our lives! Obedience is an excellent 
way of commenting upon the Bible. Let the Word be 
the sun-dial by which you set your life. What are we 
the better for having the Scripture, if we do not direct 
all our speech and actions according to it? What is a 
carpenter the better for his rule about him, if he sticks 
it at his back, and never makes use of it for measuring 
and squaring his work? So, what are we the better for 
the rule of the Word, if we do not make use of it, and 
regulate our lives by it? How many swerve and deviate 
from the rule! 

“Your Word is¬†a lamp for my feet¬†and a light for my¬†
path.” Psalm 119:105. It is not only a light to our eyes¬†
to mend our sight‚ÄĒbut to our feet to mend our walk.¬†
Oh, let us lead Bible lives!

Indelible impressions!

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Indelible impressions!

(William Bacon Stevens, “Parental Responsibility“)

We aid and abet the spiritual death of our children, by our irreligious example ‚ÄĒ both in doing that which is positively wrong, and in neglecting to do what is as positively required. As young as our child is ‚ÄĒ it has learned to join together¬†precept¬†and¬†practice. And if we are professors of religion, our child has put along side of this profession ‚ÄĒ our daily walk and conversation, and is perpetually drawing inferences from the one to the other, either for, or against, the truth which we profess.

Uncurbed tempers, ill-governed passions;
unbridled tongues, uncharitable words;
lack of meekness, and gentleness, and truth; 
lack of sobriety of mind, and kindliness of heart; 
the absence of that strict conscientiousness which should mark all our actions;
neglect of the Bible and of prayer; 
disregard of the means of grace;
irrepressible worldliness, in ever dwelling upon¬†“What shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and with what shall we be clothed?”
¬†‚ÄĒ are leaving¬†indelible impressions¬†upon the minds of our offspring! So that,¬†copying our habits of thought, speech, and action¬†‚ÄĒ our child’s¬†character¬†in its essential characteristics, may be formed for eternity; before its mind is able to receive the¬†precepts¬†which perhaps we occasionally teach.

Like a concealed worm at the root of a flower

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Like a concealed worm at the root of a flower

(John Angell James)

It may be that your hindrances to a more rapid 
growth in grace, arise from some specific cause, 
some sin indulged, some corruption cherished. Is 
there not some sacrifice which you are unwilling 
to make, or something which you are unwilling to 
surrender? You must give up the forbidden thing, 
or your growth in grace is impossible! That one sin 
will, like a concealed worm at the root of a 
flower
–eat out the very life of your piety, and¬†
cause it to droop, wither, and decay.

Carnal, careless, and covetous

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Carnal, careless, and covetous

One must judge of his own state by the fruit he bears.
When our fruit is unto holiness, we know that the end
shall be everlasting life. Everyone who hopes that he is
converted to God, should examine himself and prove his
own fruit. In judging of piety, there is no substitute for
a holy life. We are Christ’s disciples‚ÄĒif we do whatever
He commands us. We are the servants of the wicked
one‚ÄĒif we do the works of the flesh. We may boast of
discoveries, of raptures, and ecstasies‚ÄĒbut all is in vain
if a consistent life is not the result. A godly life is the
infallible evidence of conversion.

Many professors of religion are carnal, careless, 
and covetous
. In them no change of life appears 
to prove a change of heart. They are much like their 
worldly neighbors, except that they attend church. 
They are spots and blemishes in Christian feasts. 
They are a grief and a shame to godly people. The 
church has their names, but the world has their 
hearts. The number of such is painfully large.

Christian liberty


Grace logoChristian liberty

(J.R. Miller)

We should keep watch over our words and deeds, not only in their intent and purpose ‚ÄĒ but also in¬†their possible influence over others. There may be¬†liberties¬†which lead to no danger for us ‚ÄĒ but which to others with less stable character, and less wholesome environments ‚ÄĒ would be full of peril. It is part of our duty to think of these¬†weaker¬†ones, and of the influence of our example upon them. We may not do anything in our liberty, which might possibly¬†harm¬†others. We must be willing to sacrifice our liberty ‚ÄĒ if by its exercise, we endanger another’s soul. This is the teaching of holy Scripture:

“Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may¬†edify¬†another.” Romans 14:19¬†

“Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to¬†stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.” Romans 14:20-21¬†

“Be careful, however, that the¬†exercise of your freedom¬†does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their¬†weak conscience ‚ÄĒ¬†you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.” 1 Corinthians 8:9-13¬†

“All things are¬†lawful¬†for me, but not all things are¬†helpful;¬†all things are lawful for me, but not all things¬†edify. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

Mother, don’t you love me?


Grace logoMother, don’t you love me?

(Susannah Spurgeon, “Words of Cheer and Comfort for Sick and Sorrowful Souls!” 1898)

“I have¬†seen¬†his ways ‚ÄĒ and will¬†heal¬†him!” Isaiah 57:18

Here is one of the¬†blessedly incomprehensible paradoxes¬†of God’s love and mercy, which startles us by its excess of compassionate grace: “I have¬†seen¬†his ways, and . . .” ‚ÄĒ one would have thought that the next sentence must be, “I will¬†punish¬†him,” or at least, “I will¬†rebuke¬†him!” But, instead of wrath ‚ÄĒ here is pardon! Pity makes room for love; and in the place of bitterness, the Lord gives a blessing! “I have¬†seen¬†his ways ‚ÄĒ and will¬†heal¬†him!”

O wanderer, will not these tender words cause you to return to your Lord? 
O stony heart ‚ÄĒ will you not break at so loving a touch as this?¬†
O cold and half-dead soul ‚ÄĒ will not such a Divine cordial revive you?

“I have seen his ways.”¬†What¬†“ways” has God seen in you? Have they not been “wicked,” “crooked,” “perverse,” “your¬†own¬†ways” ‚ÄĒ “the ways of¬†death?” Have you not turned aside from the path of life, and refused to walk “in all His way,” and chosen “a stubborn way” for yourself?

Our heart must give a sad assent to all these charges. As we bow humbly before Him, and say, “You are acquainted with all my ways” ‚ÄĒ we feel that such knowledge of us on His part, intensifies our wonder and gratitude at the loving compassion with which He regards us!

When I was a little child, and had been troublesome to my mother ‚ÄĒ her reproof or punishment would often be followed by my trembling question, “Mother, don’t you love me?” And my mother’s reply invariably was, “Yes, I do love you; but I do not love your naughty ways!” Poor mother! Doubtless I tried her very much, and this was the best that¬†grieved parental love¬†could say. But our heavenly Father has sweeter, choicer words than these, for His erring children.

His love is¬†Divine, so He says, “I have¬†seen¬†his ways ‚ÄĒ and will¬†heal¬†him!” O sweet pitifulness of our God! O inexplicable tenderness! O love surpassing all earth’s loveliest affection! Do not our hard hearts yield under the power of such compassion as this?

God knows all our wickedness, He has seen all our waywardness; yet His purpose towards us is one of healing and pardon ‚ÄĒ and not of anger and estrangement.

As I learn more of God, I get so sick of my sin ‚ÄĒ indwelling-sin, heart-sin, that my soul welcomes this Word of the Lord, as a condemned prisoner embraces a pardon, or as a drowning man clutches the life-buoy thrown out for his rescue. To be healed of the disease which wastes us, to be delivered from the deadness and indifference which enchain us, to have a perfect heart with the Lord our God, and to walk before Him in a perfect way ‚ÄĒ this, I take it, is the¬†blessed prospect¬†held out by this promise. Who will claim its fulfillment at once? Who will take our gracious God at His Word, and believingly receive the¬†priceless blessing¬†which His love offers?

O blessed Lord, Your forbearance with us in the past, has been a miracle of mercy! You have seen so much in us which Your soul has abhorred ‚ÄĒ and yet You come now with this gift of healing in Your hands, which means not only pardon ‚ÄĒ but the power to be holy.

Lord, we lift up our empty, beseeching hands ‚ÄĒ to Your full ones. Our own ways have led us farther and farther from You; now let Your forgiving, healing love draw us so close to You, that we can never again be among those “who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness.”

The master-key which fits the locks!

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The master-key which fits the locks!

(Susannah Spurgeon,¬†“Words of Cheer and Comfort for Sick and Sorrowful Souls!”¬†1898)

“The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but¬†because the LORD loved you!” Deuteronomy 7:7-8¬†

My gracious God, there is a honeycomb of delight and sweetness in these words! Will You put the rod of faith into my hand, this morning, and enable me to dip the end thereof into this rich provision, that my soul may eat and be satisfied, and that the eyes of my understanding may be enlightened?

“Because the Lord loved you!”¬†
This is His great “reason” for all of God’s dealings with His redeemed people. It is a full and convincing answer to all the doubts and questionings with which Satan can perplex and distress the Lord’s timid ones. The enemy of souls has, alas! a powerful confederate in the wicked unbelief which lurks within us; but they will both be vanquished when we have learned to use this weapon of war against them.

Come, my heart, try its blessed force and quality at this moment! The foe says, “Why does God send you affliction, and sorrow, and suffering ‚ÄĒ when those who do not fear His Name have continual quietness and abounding prosperity?”

If you can boldly answer,¬†“It is because the Lord loves me!”¬†then you will have given him such a¬†sword-thrust¬†as will free you, for a time, at least, from his cunning devices and fierce onslaughts.

Or, look at the text as a¬†shaft of sunlight, piercing through a chink in the shuttered window of some dark experience. Bring your fears and forebodings out of their dusky corners, and place them within the radiance of this light of love ‚ÄĒ you will be amazed to see them transformed into confident trusts ‚ÄĒ your doubts will vanish as if they had never been, and the evil and bitter things of life will all be transformed into blessings in a moment.¬†

“Because the Lord loved you!”¬†is¬†the master-key which fits the locks¬†of the hardest question, and opens the mysteries of the deepest problem! It is a¬†charm¬†of wondrous efficacy, and every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ may not only rejoice in its possession ‚ÄĒ but use it constantly to obtain all the desire of his heart in spiritual things.

What ails you, poor soul?
¬†Is it loss of health, or friends, or means? Has God taken from you some dearly-loved one, and left you alone on this sad earth? Is He trying and proving you, by many and varied tests and troubles, “to know what was in your heart”? Whatever may be your immediate and peculiar sorrow, if you have grace and faith enough to say,¬†“This is because the Lord loves me!”¬†‚ÄĒ then I dare to promise you that all the bitterness of the affliction will melt away ‚ÄĒ and the¬†peace of God¬†will fill you with a sweet contentment which surpasses understanding. No distress can withstand such Divine solace, no anguish can refuse the relief of this¬†balm of Gilead. If all that happens to you can be traced directly or indirectly to the hand of your loving Lord ‚ÄĒ then how gladly should you bear life’s burdens, and how perfect should be the rest in which heart and mind should dwell!

O gracious Master, looking back over the years that are gone ‚ÄĒ the interminglings of grief and gladness, pass before my eyes as the clouds sail by on an April day. And though the memories of¬†great affliction¬†and¬†sore bereavement¬†cast deep shadows across the scene, and seem for a time to blot out all the brightness ‚ÄĒ yet, above and beyond those changeful skies ‚ÄĒ the sun has never ceased shining, and darkness as well as day has proclaimed the¬†immutability of Your love. When the ears of my soul are attuned to catch the soft whisper of Your voice, I hear You saying: “All this, My child, was because I loved you! Left to yourself; you would have destroyed yourself; but in Me was your help found. All the¬†tribulations¬†you have endured, were but¬†My servants¬†to whom I entrusted the necessary discipline of your earthly life. Do not forget those words of Mine:¬†As many as I love ‚ÄĒ I rebuke and chasten!”

What a compassionate, gracious arrangement!

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What a compassionate, gracious arrangement!

(Susannah Spurgeon,¬†“Words of Cheer and Comfort for Sick and Sorrowful Souls!”¬†1898)

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

Why then, need I worry or tremble? That great, loving, powerful¬†hand¬†keeps all the events of my life sealed and secure within its almighty clasp! And only He, my Maker and my Master, can permit them to be revealed to me as His will for me.¬†What a compassionate, gracious arrangement!¬†How eminently fitted to fulfill that sweet promise of His Word, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You!” If we fully believed this, we would be absolutely devoid of the¬†worry¬†which corrodes and chafes the daily life of so many professing Christians.

“My times.” Not one or two¬†important¬†epochs of my history only ‚ÄĒ but¬†everything¬†that concerns me:
  joys that I had not expected,
  sorrows that must have crushed me, if they could have been anticipated, 
  sufferings which might have terrified me by their grimness, had I looked upon them,
  surprises which infinite love had prepared for me,
  services of which I could not have imagined myself capable
¬†‚ÄĒ all these lay in that mighty hand ‚ÄĒ as the purposes of God’s eternal will for me.¬†

But, as they have developed gradually and silently ‚ÄĒ how great has been the¬†love¬†which appeared enwrapping and enfolding each one!¬†
Has not the grief been measured ‚ÄĒ while the gladness has far more abounded?¬†
Have not the comforts and consolations ‚ÄĒ exceeded the crosses and afflictions?¬†
Have not all things been so arranged, and ordered, and undertaken, and worked out on our behalf ‚ÄĒ that we can but marvel at the goodness and wisdom of God, in meting out from that dear¬†hand¬†of His, all the “times” that have passed over us?

You agree with me in all this, do you not, dear reader? Then, I beg you, apply it to your present circumstances, however dark or difficult they may be. They have come directly from your Father’s hand to you, and they are His dear will for you!

Soul-Comfort

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Soul-Comfort

(Susannah Spurgeon,¬†“Words of Cheer and Comfort for Sick and Sorrowful Souls!”¬†1898)

“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me ‚ÄĒ Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19¬†

“Your comforts delight my soul!” Blessed Lord, how sweet is this text in my mouth! The taste of it is “like wafers made with honey.” It is both food and drink to my heart, for every word has joy and refreshing in it; so that, like the “best wine” of the Canticles, it “goes down sweetly.”¬†

The first of Your comforts, gracious God, is this ‚ÄĒ that You have said unto my soul, “I am your salvation!” He¬†saves¬†us, not because of any merit in us, or any deservings of our own; but because sovereign grace¬†chose¬†us, and Divine compassion¬†redeemed¬†us. And when we were afar off, infinite pity brought us back, and made us near by the precious blood of Christ. This may well comfort our hearts ‚ÄĒ coming as it does directly from “our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace!” A saved and pardoned sinner can truly say,¬†“Your comforts delight my soul!”

The next thought is that, having¬†saved¬†us ‚ÄĒ He¬†keeps¬†us. “We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” Comparatively few Christians put¬†God’s keeping power¬†fully to the test. If we would trust Him for the¬†keeping, as we do for the¬†saving¬†‚ÄĒ our lives would be far holier and happier than they are. “I will keep it every moment,” is one of those grandly unlimited promises which most of us are afraid of; and we store them away in the background because we dare not believe them, and bring them out into the light of our¬†daily practice.¬†O foolish and unbelieving hearts, how much of soul-delighting comfort do we thus miss!

Then comes another thought ‚ÄĒ He¬†cares¬†for us. Dear friends, if you are His, you know the exceeding comfort of¬†casting all your care upon Him¬†‚ÄĒ and being quite sure that He will “undertake” for you. Have we not often come to Him oppressed and burdened with an¬†intolerable weight of anxiety and distress¬†‚ÄĒ and been enabled to roll the whole mass of it on Him, leaving it all at His feet, and returning to our work with a lightened and restful heart? Some of us have had burdens and sorrows, which would have crushed the very life out of us ‚ÄĒ if we had not been enabled to look up and say, “You, O Lord, have helped and comforted me!” Yes, truly, God’s care for us is one of the sweetest comforts of our mortal life!

Closely linked with this, is the thought that He¬†knows¬†all about us. Our enemies ‚ÄĒ sometimes, even our friends ‚ÄĒ misunderstand and malign us; they misconstrue our words and actions, and impute to us motives which never actuated us. But our God knows the¬†thoughts¬†and¬†intents¬†of our heart, and never makes a mistake in the judgment He passes on us. The comfort of this knowledge on the Lord’s part, to those who are “suffering wrongfully,” is inexpressibly precious. They can lift up their heads with joy, and say, “The Lord is good. He knows those who trust in Him.” I have known this comfort to so delight my soul, that trials and temptations had no power to vex or annoy it, for my soul was hidden “secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.”

Lastly (though there are many, many more), one of the multitude of thoughts which stand out prominently from the rest, as a comfort which delights the soul ‚ÄĒ is that He¬†loves¬†us. This truth has been running through the fields of previous thought, as a silver streamlet glides through the meadows ‚ÄĒ here, it would deepen and expand to a broad and fathomless ocean, had I the power to speak of its height, and depth, and length, and breadth, and to tell of the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge! But my pen utterly fails here. You who love Him, and know that He loves you ‚ÄĒ must each one say to himself what that “comfort of His love” is to your own heart. This will be a better commentary than any I can offer.¬†

And, if some poor distressed soul is mourning the loss of the sweet consolation which Christ’s love alone can give ‚ÄĒ let him call to remembrance a tenderly precious promise which the Lord put into the lips of the prophet Isaiah, “I have seen his ways ‚ÄĒ but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him!” Isaiah 57:18¬†

Our thorn!

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Our thorn!

(J. R. Miller, “The Blossoming of Our Thorns” 1905)

“To keep me from getting puffed up, I was¬†given¬†a¬†thorn¬†in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud.” 2 Corinthians 12:7

We do not know how much of Paul’s rich, beautiful life, and his noble work for his Master ‚ÄĒ he owed to¬†his thorn. Just so, we do not know how much we are indebted to our¬†sufferings¬†and¬†sorrows. Our richest lessons ‚ÄĒ are the fruit of pain, of weakness, of sorrow.

There is not one of us who has not his own thorn. With one it may be a bodily infirmity or weakness. With another it is some disfigurement which cannot be removed. It may be some difficulty in circumstances, something which makes it hard to live beautifully. 

The Master told Paul that his thorn was¬†necessary¬†to him ‚ÄĒ to save him from becoming proud. We may think of¬†our thorn, too ‚ÄĒ as something we¬†need. Instead of allowing it to irritate us or to spoil our life ‚ÄĒ its mission is to make us sweet, patient, loving. Many people beseech the Lord to take away their thorn. Yet it may be, that the prayer¬†is¬†not answered,¬†will¬†not be answered,¬†should¬†not be answered. It may be, that the thorn is¬†necessary¬†to keep them humble at God’s feet.

God sends some of our best blessings to us in our thorns, and it will be a sad thing if we thrust them away and miss them.

The time has come for my departure!

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The time has come for my departure!

(James Smith, “The Better Land”)

The time has come for my departure!¬†I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day!” 2 Timothy 4:6-8¬†

Aged believer, the time of your departure will soon come! Do not let your mind be troubled as to . . .
  where you shall die,
  when you shall die,
  or how you shall die!
These are all minor matters ‚ÄĒ and ought not to affect you.¬†

Simply look at¬†death¬†as Jesus did: “Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world ‚ÄĒ and¬†go to His Father!”¬†John 13:1¬†

Why should you regret to leave a poor world like this ‚ÄĒ where sin, sorrow, pain, grief, disappointment, and anxiety meet you at every turn? Why should you be reluctant to go HOME ‚ÄĒ to go to your Father?¬†
Do you not want to see His face? 
Do you not want to enjoy His company? 
Do you not want to be perfectly happy in His presence?

I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!” Philippians 1:23¬†

He will sustain you!

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He will sustain you!

(J.R. Miller)

“Cast your burden upon the Lord ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ but that He will¬†sustain¬†us so that¬†we¬†may carry it.
He does not¬†free¬†us from the duty ‚ÄĒ but He¬†strengthens¬†us for it.
He does not¬†deliver¬†us from the conflict ‚ÄĒ but He enables us to¬†overcome.¬†
He does not withhold or withdraw the trial from us ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ 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


The fruits and effects He produces

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The fruits and effects He produces

(J.C. Ryle, “The Holy Spirit“)

“When He comes, He will convict the world about¬†sin, righteousness, and judgment.” (John 16:8)

Where the Holy Spirit is, there will always be deep conviction of sin ‚ÄĒ and true repentance for it. It is His special office to convict of sin.¬†

He shows the exceeding holiness of God. 

He teaches the exceeding corruption and infirmity of our nature. 

He strips us of our blind self-righteousness. 

He opens our eyes to our awful guilt, folly and danger. 

He fills the heart with sorrow, contrition, and abhorrence for sin ‚ÄĒ as the abominable thing which God hates.¬†

He who knows nothing of all this, and saunters carelessly through life, thoughtless about sin, and indifferent and unconcerned about his soul ‚ÄĒ is a dead man before God! He has not the Holy Spirit.¬†

The presence of the Holy Spirit in a man’s heart can only be known by¬†the fruits and effects He produces. Mysterious and invisible to mortal eye as His operations are ‚ÄĒ they always lead to certain visible and tangible results.

Just as you know there is life in a tree by its sap, buds, leaves and fruits ‚ÄĒ just so you may know the Spirit to be in a man’s heart by the influence He exercises over his thoughts, affections, opinions, habits, and life. I lay this down broadly and unhesitatingly. I see it clearly marked out in our Lord Jesus Christ’s words, “Every tree is known by his own fruit.” Luke 6:44


Desiring God!

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Desiring God!

(Thomas Watson, “The Lord’s Prayer”)

“Whom have I in Heaven but You?¬†And earth has nothing I¬†desire¬†besides You!”¬†Psalm 73:25¬†

We may know the kingdom of grace is set up in our hearts ‚ÄĒ by having¬†true desires after God.¬†By the beating of this¬†pulse¬†‚ÄĒ we conclude there is¬†life.¬†

A true desire after God is¬†sincere. We desire God for Himself, for His intrinsic excellencies. The savor of the ointment of¬†Christ’s gracesdraws the virgins’ desires after Him. Canticles 1:3. A true saint desires Him not only for what God¬†has¬†‚ÄĒ but for what He¬†is; not only for His¬†rewards¬†‚ÄĒ but for His¬†holiness.¬†No hypocrite can thus desire God. He may desire God for His¬†jewels¬†‚ÄĒ but not for His¬†beauty!

A true desire after God is¬†insatiable. It cannot be satisfied without God; let the world heap her honors and riches ‚ÄĒ they will not satisfy. No¬†flowers¬†or¬†music¬†will content him who is¬†thirsty. Just so,¬†nothing will quench the soul’s thirst ‚ÄĒ but the blood of Christ!¬†He faints away, his heart breaks with longing for God. Psalm 84:2; Psalm 119:20

A true desire after God is¬†active. It flourishes into¬†endeavor. “With my soul have I desired you in the night ‚ÄĒ yes, with my spirit within me will I seek You early.” Isaiah 26:9. A soul that desires aright says, “I must have¬†Christ!¬†I must have¬†grace!¬†I must have¬†Heaven, though I take it by storm!”

A true desire after God is¬†supreme. We desire Christ, not only more than the¬†world¬†‚ÄĒ but more than¬†Heaven!¬†“Whom have I in Heaven but You?” Psalm 73:25. Heaven itself would not satisfy ‚ÄĒ without Christ. Christ is¬†the diamond in the ring of glory!¬†

A true desire after God is¬†increasing. A¬†little¬†of God will not satisfy ‚ÄĒ but the pious soul desires still more. A¬†drop¬†of water is not enough for the thirsty traveler. Though a Christian is¬†thankful¬†for the least degree of grace ‚ÄĒ yet he is not¬†satisfied¬†with the greatest degree of grace. He still thirsts for more of Christ, and His Spirit. A saint would have more knowledge, more sanctity, more of Christ’s presence. A¬†glimpse¬†of Christ through the lattice of an ordinance is sweet; but the soul will never stop longing ‚ÄĒ until it sees Him face to face! It desires to have¬†grace¬†perfected in¬†glory!¬†It desires to be wholly plunged into the sweetness of God. We would be swallowed up in God, and be forever bathing ourselves in those perfumed waters of pleasure which run at His right hand!

Surely this sincere desire after God is a blessed sign that the kingdom of grace has come into our hearts. The beating of this pulse shows life! Desires¬†for¬†God ‚ÄĒ are¬†from¬†God. If iron moves upwards contrary to its nature ‚ÄĒ it is a sign some magnet has been drawing it. Just so, if the soul moves towards God in sincere desires ‚ÄĒ it is a sign the¬†magnet of the Spirit¬†has been drawing it!

“He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him.”¬†Psalm 145:19


Father knows best!

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Father knows best!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away ‚ÄĒ may the name of the LORD be praised!” Job 1:21

“Shall we accept good from God ‚ÄĒ and not trouble?” Job 2:10¬†
 

Let the Lord do as He wills to us! He will never be unkind to us! He has always been our friend ‚ÄĒ He will never be our foe!¬†

He will never put us into the¬†furnace¬†‚ÄĒ unless He means to purge the¬†dross¬†out of us. Nor will there be one degree more heat in that furnace than is absolutely necessary ‚ÄĒ there will always be¬†mercy¬†to balance the¬†misery¬†‚ÄĒ and strength supplied to support the burden to be borne.
 

Oh, children of God, your¬†Father knows best!¬†Leave everything in His hands and be at peace ‚ÄĒ for all is well.
 

“I was silent; I would not open my mouth ‚ÄĒ for You are the one who has done this!” Psalm 39:9¬†
 

“He is the LORD; let him do what is good in His eyes!” 1 Samuel 3:18¬†

“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,¬†and there are no grapes on the vines;¬†even though the olive crop fails,¬†and the fields lie empty and barren;¬†even though the flocks die in the fields,¬†and the cattle barns are empty¬†‚ÄĒ yet I will rejoice in the¬†LORD!¬†I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” Habakkuk 3:17-18¬†

This city was a moral cesspool, a sink of pollution, filled with all corruption, and reeking with vileness!

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This city was a moral cesspool, a sink of pollution, filled with all corruption, and reeking with vileness!

(Charles Naylor, “In Christ, and in Ephesus” 1920)

To the¬†saints¬†in Ephesus ‚ÄĒ the¬†faithful¬†in Christ Jesus”¬†Ephesians 1:1¬†

Ephesus was one of the great centers of paganism. It was adorned with costly and magnificent heathen temples. It was rich and voluptuous. Both private and public life were utterly corrupt. Even the religious practices of the Ephesians were unspeakably vile.¬†This city was a moral cesspool, a sink of pollution, filled with all corruption, and reeking with vileness!¬†It was a second Sodom. Vice stalked abroad everywhere ‚ÄĒ and was honored and worshiped.

We might therefore well say, “Can any good thing come out of Ephesus? Can Christianity flourish in such surroundings?”¬†

Yes! There were¬†saints¬†in Ephesus ‚ÄĒ and¬†faithful¬†ones, too. They were such in their lives and characters as to win the commendation of that great apostle to the Gentiles. Out of that obnoxious cesspool of iniquity, were growing the pure white lilies of Christian character! That is the glory of Christianity and of Christ. Those who were now Christians were not superior to the other Ephesians ‚ÄĒ they were not by nature different. In fact, Paul tells them that they had been the children of wrath, even as the others ‚ÄĒ and that they had been such by nature. What a triumph of divine grace, which raised these people up out of such unspeakable filth ‚ÄĒ and made them¬†faithful saints!¬†And yet that is the power of our great Christ!

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8


This is too much!

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This is too much!

(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

Only to be permitted to contemplate such a being as Jehovah . . .
¬† to ponder goodness, holiness, justice, mercy, patience and sovereignty ‚ÄĒ personified and condensed;
  to ponder them united with eternity, infinite power, unerring wisdom, omnipresence, and all sufficiency;
¬† to ponder all these natural and moral perfections indissolubly united and blended in sweet harmony ‚ÄĒ in one pure, spiritual being, and that being placed on the throne of the universe
¬†‚ÄĒ to ponder this would be happiness enough to fill the mind of any creature in existence!¬†

But in addition to this, 
  to have this ineffable Being for my God, my portion, my all; 
¬† to be permitted to say, “This God is¬†my¬†God forever and ever!”¬†
  to have His resplendent countenance smile upon me;
  to be encircled in His everlasting arms of power and faithfulness and love;
¬† to hear His voice saying to¬†me, “I am yours ‚ÄĒ and you are Mine! Nothing shall ever pluck you from My hands, or separate you from My love ‚ÄĒ but you shall be with Me where I am, behold My glory, and live to reign with Me forever and ever!”¬†

This is too much!¬†It is honor, it is glory ‚ÄĒ it is happiness too overwhelming, too transporting for mortal minds to conceive, or for mortal frames to support!

Who are you, O man, to talk back to God?

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Who are you, O man, to talk back to God?

(Thomas Watson, “Body of Divinity“)

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I
 will have compassion on whom I have compassion.
¬†It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or
¬†effort, but on God’s mercy.” Romans 9:15-16

God has a sovereign right and authority over man. 
He can do with His creatures as He pleases. Who shall 
dispute with God? Who shall ask Him a reason of His 
doings? “Who are you, O man, to talk back to¬†
God?
 Shall what is formed say to him who formed 
it‚ÄĒWhy did you make me like this?” Romans 9:20

“Our God is in heaven and does whatever He pleases.”
 Psalm 115:3 

“The Lord does whatever He pleases in heaven and
¬†on earth, in the seas and all the depths.” Psalm 135:6

God sits as judge in the highest court, and is not bound 
to give a reason for His proceedings. “He puts down one,¬†
and raises up another.” He has¬†salvation¬†and¬†damnation¬†
in His power. He has the key of justice in His hand, to 
lock up whomever he will, in the fiery prison of hell! And 
He has the¬†key of mercy¬†in His hand, to open heaven’s¬†
gate to whomever He pleases! The name engraved upon 
His vesture is, “King of kings, and Lord of lords!” He sits¬†
Lord paramount, and who can call Him to account? The 
world is¬†God’s house, and shall not He do what He
desires in His own house? 

“My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please!”
     Isaiah 46:10

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns!”
     Revelation 19:6

A sleeping lion

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A sleeping lion

(Thomas Watson, “Body of Divinity“)

“Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why¬†
do the treacherous live at ease?” Jeremiah 12:1

Such as are highest in sin‚ÄĒare often highest in¬†
prosperity. This has led many to question God’s¬†
justice. Diogenes, seeing a thief live on affluently, 
said, “Surely God has cast off the government of¬†
the world, and does not care how things go on 
here below.”

How can it be consistent with¬†God’s justice,¬†
that the wicked should prosper in the world?

If God lets men prosper a while in their sin‚ÄĒHis¬†
vial of wrath is all this while filling; His sword is 
all this time sharpening. Though God may forbear 
with men a while‚ÄĒyet long forbearance is not
forgiveness. The longer God is in taking His blow, 
the heavier it will be at last! As long as there is 
eternity, God has time enough to reckon with 
His enemies!

God’s justice may be as¬†a sleeping lion‚ÄĒbut the¬†
lion will awake at last, and roar upon the sinner!

“Yes, Lord God Almighty, Your punishments are
¬†true and just.” Revelation 16:7

Sacrilege!

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Sacrilege! 
(by Octavius Winslow) 

Cultivate a profound reverence for God’s Word. Nothing is more grievous to the Holy Spirit than a trifling with revelation. The words of Scripture are divinely inspired. “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”¬†

Beware of referring to it with levity. To adopt the words of Scripture irreverently, or to employ its phraseology flippantly, is to cast discredit upon inspiration, to press it into the service of the flesh, and to make the Word of God the jest book of the profane. This is awful trifling with the thoughts and words of the Holy Spirit! 

Stand in awe of this Holy Book! 

God says, “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at My Word.” Isaiah 66:2¬†

“Then all who trembled at the Words of the God of Israel…” Ezra 9:4¬†

“We will follow the advice given by you and by the others who respect the commands of our God…” Ezra 10:3¬†

“My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of Your laws.”¬†¬† Psalm 119:120¬†

“My heart stands in awe of Your Word.” Psalm 119:161¬†

(Editor’s note: How very sad is it that many professing Christians use the holy Word of God to amuse others with ‘bible jokes’ and in other trifling and irreverent ways. Much of today’s pseudo Christian music, movies and children’s literature use the Word of God in a flippant manner, if not in a downright profane and sacrilegious way.)¬†
  

The Preciousness of God’s Children

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The Preciousness of God’s Children¬†
(“The Preciousness of God’s Children” Octavius Winslow)¬†

Oh, how precious to Jesus is 
  your tear of godly sorrow; 
  your touch of trembling faith; 
  your look of lowly love; 
  your offering of sincere gratitude; 
  your yearning and longing of holy desire! 

So precious to Jesus are you, that 
  His ear is attentive to your faintest cry; 
  His thoughts are never withdrawn from you for a moment; 
  His hand is ever extended to support you. 

You are so precious to Jesus that 
  He sits at the fountain of grace to supply all your need; 
  He bows His shoulder to your heaviest burden; 
  He unveils His heart to your deepest sorrow. 

O believer, do not live without a deep, constant 
realization of your preciousness to Jesus; and 
the depth, tenderness, and constancy of the 
love He bears towards you.  Let your faith grasp 
it, amid the varied phases and changes of your 
Christian course, and it will be as a sweet flowing 
stream gliding and sparkling by your side all 
through the sandy desert, imparting swiftness 
to your feet in travel, strength to your hand in 
labor, nerve to your arm in battle; soothing, 
reviving, and refreshing your spirit when sad, 
faint, and drooping by the way. 

Be assured of your personal place in His 
affections, and your home and sanctuary in 
His heart, and no act of obedience, of love, 
or of service on your part, will be too costly. 

Your love to Him will be the reflection of His 
love to you, proportioned in its degree and 
intensity to the vividness with which His love 
is seen and realized. 

Reader, let your eye see His beauty! 

Bow your heart before His cross! 

Fall at His feet! 

Crown Him Lord and Sovereign of your soul! 

True comfort!

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True  comfort! 
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Concerning the Consolations of God” Job 15:11.¬†

Christian, are you hoping to find true comfort in the world? Will you be happy if you manage to get that position? if you pass that examination? if you save so much money? I beseech you, do not play the fool; there is no consolation in all this. 

There is no satisfaction to be found in the greatest worldly success; millionaires, statesmen, and princes all dissatisfied. The richest men have often been the most miserable, and those who have succeeded best in rising to places of honor have been worn out in the pursuit, and disgusted with the prize. 

Wealth brings care, honor earns envy, position entails toil, and rank has its annoyances. 

One of our richest men once said, “I suppose you imagine I am happy, because I am rich. Why, a dozen times in a year, and oftener, some fellow threatens to shoot me if I do not give him what he wants. Do you suppose that this makes me a happy man?”¬†

Believe me, the world is as barren of joy as the Sahara. 

Vain is the hope of finding a spring of consolation in anything beneath the moon. 

Seek the kingdom of God, and his righteousness. 
  

The religion of JOY

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The religion of JOY 
(Octavius Winslow, “The Sympathy of Christ”)¬†
The religion of Christ is the religion of JOY. Christ came to take away our sins, to roll off our curse, to unbind our chains, to open our prison house, to cancel our debt; in a word, to give us the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Is  not this joy? Where can we find a joy so real, so deep, so pure, so lasting? There is every element of joy; deep, ecstatic, satisfying, sanctifying joy in the gospel of Christ. The believer in Jesus is essentially a happy man. The child of God is, from necessity, a joyful man. His sins are forgiven, his soul is justified, his person is adopted, his trials are blessings, his conflicts are victories, his death is immortality, his future is a heaven of inconceivable, unthought of, untold, and endless blessedness. With such a God, such a Savior, and such a hope, is he not, ought he not, to be a joyful man? 
  

“Little children, abide in him.”

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Little children, abide in him.”¬†
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Preparation¬†
¬†for the Coming of the Lord.” #2105. 1 John 2:28.¬†

Just as little children are in daily dependence 
on their parents, Christians depend upon the 
Lord’s care.¬†

Why, beloved, the Lord has to nurse you! He 
feeds you with the unadulterated milk of the 
Word; he comforts you as a mother does her 
child; he carries you in his bosom, he bears 
you all your days. 

Your new life is as yet weak and struggling; 
do not carry it into the cold atmosphere of 
distance from Jesus. 

Little children, since you derive all from Jesus, 
abide in him. To go elsewhere will be to wander 
into a howling wilderness. The world is empty; 
only Christ has fullness. Away from Jesus you 
will be as a child deserted by its mother, left 
to pine, and starve, and die; or as a little lamb 
on the hillside without a shepherd, tracked by 
the wolf, whose teeth will soon extract its 
heart’s blood.¬†

Abide, O child, with your mother! 

Abide, O lamb, with your shepherd! 

Cling to the Lord Jesus in your feebleness, 
in your fickleness, in your nothingness; and 
abidingly take him to be everything to you. 

Spiritual Joy!

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Spiritual  Joy! 
 (by Octavius Winslow) 

Spiritual joy is a holy, sensitive plant. 
It shrinks from the rude, ungentle touch; 
from every influence uncongenial with its 
heaven born nature. Watch it with sleepless 
vigilance; shield it with every hallowed defense. 

There are many hostile influences to which 
it is exposed, any one of which will seriously 
injure it. Temptation courted, sin tampered 
with, worldliness indulged, the creature 
idolized, means of grace slighted, Christ 
undervalued. 

Any one of these things will dampen your joy, 
and cause it to shrink, and compel it to retire. 

But nothing will sooner or more effectually 
do this than looking away from the Object 
and Source of joy, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

There is everything in Christ to make you a 
joyful Christian. There is all redundance of 
grace to subdue your corruptions, an 
overflowing sympathy to soothe your sorrows, 
a sovereign efficacy in His blood to cleanse 
your guilt, infinite resources to meet all your 
needs, His ever encircling presence around 
your path, His ceaseless intercession on your 
behalf in heaven. His loving attention of all 
you feel, and fear, and need. 

  Oh, is this not enough to make your heart a 
constant sunshine, and your life a pleasant psalm? 

Fly to the Word of God!

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Fly to the Word of God! 
(from “The Preciousness of God’s Word” by Octavius Winslow)¬†

As a system of ‘consolation’ Christianity has no equal. No other religion in the wide world touches the hidden springs of the soul, or reaches the lowest depths of human sorrow, but the religion of Christ.¬†

When your hearts have been overwhelmed, when adversity has wrapped you within its gloomy pall, when the broken billows of grief have swollen and surged around your soul, how have you fled to the Scriptures of truth for succor and support, for guidance and comfort! Nor have you repaired to them in vain. “The God of all comfort” is He who speaks in this Word, and there is no word of comfort like that which He speaks.¬†

The adaptation of His truth to the varied, the peculiar and personal trials and sorrows of His Church, is one of the strongest proofs of its divinity. Take to the Word of God whatever sorrow you may, go with whatever mental beclouding, with whatever spirit sadness, with whatever heart grief; whatever be its character, its complexion, its depth unsurpassed in the history of human sorrow, there is consolation and support in the Word of God for your 
mind. 

God will not leave you in trouble, but will sustain you in it, will bring you out of, and sanctify you by it, to the endless glory and praise of His great and precious name! 

Christian mourner, let me once more direct your eye too dimmed perhaps by tears to behold this divine source of true, unfailing comfort. God’s Word is the book of the afflicted. Written to unfold the wondrous history of the “Man of Sorrows,” it would seem to have been equally written for you, 0 child of grief! God speaks to your sad and sorrowing heart from every page of this sacred volume, with words of comfort, loving, gentle, and persuasive as a mother’s. “As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you.”¬†

The Bible is the opening of the heart of God. It is God’s heart unveiled, each throb inviting the mourner, the poor in spirit, the widow, the fatherless, the bereaved, the persecuted, the sufferer, yes, every child of affliction and grief to the asylum and sympathy, the protection and soothing of His heart. Oh, thank God for the comfort and consolation of the Scripture! Open it with what sorrow and burden and perplexity you may, be it the guilt of sin, the pressure of trial, or the corrodings of sorrow, it speaks to the heart such words of comfort as God only could speak.¬†

Have you ever borne your grief to God’s Word, especially to the experimental Psalms of David, and not felt that it was written for that particular sorrow? You have found your grief more accurately portrayed, your state of mind more truly described, and your case more exactly and fully met, probably in a single history, chapter, or verse, than in all the human treatises that the pen of man ever wrote.¬†

Fly to the Word of God, then, in every sorrow! You will know more of the mind and heart of God than you, perhaps, ever learned in all the schools before. Draw, then, O child of sorrow, your consolation from God’s Word. Oh, clasp this precious Word of comfort to your sorrowful heart, and exclaim, “It is mine! The Jesus of whom it speaks is mine, the salvation it reveals is mine, the promises it contains are mine, the heaven it unveils is mine, and all the consolation, comfort, and sympathy which wells up from these hidden springs, is MINE.”¬†
  

He was infinitely happy and glorious without us!

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He was infinitely happy and glorious without us! 

(James Smith, “The Pastor’s Evening Visit”)

“Christ, who loved us!”¬†Romans 8:37

No condition can possibly be more dreary‚ÄĒthan to feel that no one¬†loves¬†or¬†cares¬†for us!

There is something peculiarly sweet and pleasant‚ÄĒin being the¬†object of another’s love. Even the love of a¬†poor child¬†is sweet. But to be loved by one who is most wealthy, most exalted in station, and most honorable in character‚ÄĒmust be peculiarly delightful!

How, then, should we rejoice; how happy should we be‚ÄĒwho are¬†loved by the Lord Jesus!¬†Especially when we consider:¬†
on the one hand:
  how despicable,
  how poor,
  how worthless, and
  how unlovely WE are! 
And, on the other hand:
  how glorious,
  how wealthy,
  how worthy,
  how lovely JESUS is! 

To be¬†loved by Jesus‚ÄĒis to be preferred before the possession of a world!

Think of . . .
  the glory of His person,
  the vastness of His possessions,
  the number of His angelic attendants,
  the unlimited sovereignty which He exercises, 
  and the excellent character He bears!

Also bear in mind‚ÄĒthat¬†He knew what loving us would¬†cost¬†Him‚ÄĒhow He would be treated by us and by others‚ÄĒfor our sakes!¬†

Yet He fixed His love upon US! 

He loved US‚ÄĒjust because He would!

He passed by¬†others¬†more dignified in nature, more exalted in station‚ÄĒbut He chose US!

He did not, could not, NEED us‚ÄĒfor¬†He was infinitely happy and glorious without us!¬†

Yet He loved us! 

He still loves us!

My Father’s eye!

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My Father’s eye!

(James Smith, “The Pastor’s Evening Visit”)

“Your Father‚ÄĒwho¬†sees¬†in secret.” Matthew 6:6

Can anyone hide himself from the Lord in secret places? 

Can I, under any circumstances, escape His notice? 

Impossible! 

The¬†eye of God¬†has been fixed upon me every second of this day; it is now at this moment fixed fully upon me. But it is¬†my Father’s eye!¬†My Father sees in secret!¬†

He sees my¬†needs‚ÄĒand my¬†woes.¬†

He sees every secret working of my foes‚ÄĒand will save me from them.¬†
He sees every secret influence which is likely to injure me‚ÄĒand will prevent it.¬†

He sees . . .
  the secret workings of my heart,
  my hidden thoughts,
  my unuttered desires,
  my soul conflicts,
  my private temptations. 

But He sees also my secret sins!
Every evil thought, 
every improper action, 
every unfitting¬†word‚ÄĒ
passes under His eye!

Solemn consideration this!

May it make me cautious. May it preserve me. . . 
  from yielding to temptation,
  from nourishing sinful thoughts, and
  from acting inconsistent with my profession. 

My heavenly Father sees me! 

He sees me at this moment!

He sees me every moment!

He sees my most secret motives, thoughts, and purposes!

He who thus sees me‚ÄĒhates every sin with an infinite hatred!


If you meet that poor wretch who thrust his spear into My side!

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If you meet that poor wretch who thrust his spear into My side!

(Benjamin Grosvenor, “The Temper of Jesus Christ towards His Enemies, and His Grace to the Chief of Sinners”)

“Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations,¬†beginning at Jerusalem.”¬†Luke 24:47

It is very affecting that the¬†first offers of grace¬†should be made to those who, of all people in the world‚ÄĒhad done it the most harm! One would rather have expected the apostles should have received another kind of charge, and that Christ¬†should¬†have said, “Let repentance and forgiveness of sins be preached‚ÄĒbut do NOT carry it to Jerusalem, that wicked city, that has been the slaughter-house of my prophets, whom I have often sent. Last of all, I myself, the Son, came‚ÄĒand with wicked hands, they have crucified and murdered Me! They may do the same to you! Do¬†not¬†let the gospel enter those wicked gates, through which they led Me, its Author, to crucifixion!”

But Christ singles out exactly these‚ÄĒto make¬†monuments of His mercy, and commands the first offer of eternal life to be made to them! As if our Lord had said: “Lest the poor house of Israel should think themselves abandoned to eternal despair‚ÄĒas cruel and vile as they have been‚ÄĒgo, make the first offer of grace to them! Let those who spilled My blood‚ÄĒbe welcome to its healing virtue. Tell them that there is repentance and forgiveness,¬†even for them!”
“Nay,¬†if you meet that poor wretch who thrust his spear into My side, tell him that there is another way, a better way of coming to My heart‚ÄĒeven My heart’s love! Tell him, that if he will repent, and look upon Me whom he has pierced, and will mourn‚ÄĒthen I will cherish him in that very bosom which he has wounded! Tell him that he shall find the blood which he has shed‚ÄĒto be an ample atonement for the sin of shedding it! And tell him from Me, that he will put Me to more pain and displeasure by refusing this offer of My blood‚ÄĒthan when he first drew it forth!”

For I have not come to call the righteous, but¬†sinners¬†to repentance!” Matthew 9:13

Why Christ offends men

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Why Christ offends men
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“Unbelievers stumbling; Believers rejoicing”

There are some who stumble at Christ because of his holiness.

He is too strict for them; they would like to be Christians,
but they cannot renounce their sensual pleasures; they
would like to be washed in his blood, but they desire still
to roll in the mire of sin.

Willing enough the mass of men would be to receive Christ,
if, after receiving him, they might continue in their drunkenness,
their wantonness, and self-indulgence. But Christ lays the axe
at the root of the tree; he tells them that these things must be
given up, for “because of these things the wrath of God comes
upon the children of disobedience,‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúwithout holiness no
man can see the Lord.‚ÄĚ

Human nature kicks at this.

“What! May I not enjoy one darling lust? May I not indulge
myself at least now and then in these things? Must I altogether
forsake my old habits and my old ways? Must I be made a
new creature in Christ Jesus?‚ÄĚ

These are terms too hard, conditions too severe, and so the
human heart goes back to the flesh pots of Egypt, and clings
to the garlic and the onions of the old estate of bondage, and
will not be set free even though a greater than Moses lifts up
the rod to part the sea, and promises to give to them a Canaan
flowing with milk and honey.

Christ offends men because his gospel is intolerant of sin.

“Spiritual Leadership is not won by

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Spiritual Leadership is not won by
promotion, but by prayers and tears.

It is attained by much heart-searching
and humbling before God; by
self-surrender, a courageous sacrifice
of every idol, a bold uncompromising,
and uncomplaining embracing of the
cross, and by an eternal, unfaltering
looking unto Jesus crucified.

This is a great price, but it must be
unflinchingly paid by him who would
be a real spiritual leader of men, a
leader whose power is recognized
and felt in heaven, on earth and in
hell.”¬†¬†¬† -Samuel Brengle

WE NEED REVIVAL

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WE NEED REVIVAL
 . . . when we do not love Him as we once did.

 . . . when earthly interests and occupations are
      more important to us than eternal ones.

 . . . when we would rather watch TV and read secular
      books and magazines than read the Bible and pray.

 . . . when church dinners are better attended than prayer meetings.

 . . . when concerts draw bigger crowds than prayer meetings.

 . . . when we have little or no desire for prayer.

 . . . when we would rather make money than give money.

 . . . when we put people into leadership positions in our
      churches who do not meet scriptural qualifications.

 . . . when our Christianity is joyless and passionless.

 . . . when we know truth in our heads that we are not
      practicing in our lives.

 . . . when we make little effort to witness to the lost.

 . . . when we have time for sports, recreation, and
      entertainment, but not for Bible study and prayer.

 . . . when we do not tremble at the Word of God.

 . . . when preaching lacks conviction, confrontation,
      and divine fire and anointing.

 . . . when we seldom think thoughts of eternity.

 . . . when God’s people are more concerned about their
       jobs and their careers, than about the Kingdom
      of Christ and the salvation of the lost.

 . . . when God’s people get together with other believers
      and the conversation is primarily about the
      news, weather, and sports, rather than the Lord.

¬†. . . when church services are predictable and “business as usual.”

 . . . when believers can be at odds with each other and
      not feel compelled to pursue reconciliation.

 . . . when Christian husbands and wives are not praying together.

 . . . when our marriages are co-existing rather than
      full of the love of Christ.

 . . . when our children are growing up to adopt worldly
      values, secular philosophies, and ungodly lifestyles.

 . . . when we are more concerned about our children’s
      education and their athletic activities than about
      the condition of their souls.

 . . . when sin in the church is pushed under the carpet.

 . . . when known sin is not dealt with through the biblical
      process of discipline and restoration.

¬†. . . when we tolerate “little” sins of gossip,
      a critical spirit, and lack of love.

 . . . when we will watch things on television and movies that are not holy.

 . . . when our singing is half-hearted and our worship lifeless.

 . . . when our prayers are empty words designed to impress others.

 . . . when our prayers lack fervency.

 . . . when our hearts are cold and our eyes are dry.

 . . . when we aren’t seeing regular evidence of
      the supernatural power of God.

 . . . when we have ceased to weep and mourn and
       grieve over our own sin and the sin of others.

 . . . when we are content to live with explainable,
      ordinary Christianity and church services.

 . . . when we are bored with worship.

 . . . when people have to be entertained to be drawn to church.

 . . . when our music and dress become patterned after the world.

 . . . when we start fitting into and adapting to the world,
      rather than calling the world to adapt to God’s
      standards of holiness.

 . . . when we don’t long for the company and fellowship of God’s people.

 . . . when people have to be begged to give and to serve in the church.

 . . . when our giving is measured and calculated,
      rather than extravagant and sacrificial.

 . . . when we aren’t seeing lost people drawn to Jesus on a regular basis.

 . . . when we aren’t exercising faith and believing God for the impossible.

 . . . when we are more concerned about what others
      think about us than what God thinks about us.

 . . . when we are unmoved by the thought of neighbors,
      business associates, and acquaintances who are
      lost and without Christ.

 . . . when the lost world around us doesn’t know or care that we exist.

 . . . when we are making little or no difference in the secular world around us.

 . . . when the fire has gone out in our hearts, our marriages, and the church.

 . . . when we are blind to the extent of our need and don’t think we need revival.
The above article was by N. L. DeMoss

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