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The Christian Message

“The Christian message is not an inclusive message that embraces all religions; it’s not a message that there are many paths to the same place. The Christian message is summed up in the brave words of Peter before the Sanhedrin: “Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11–12).”

Michael Youssef, Jesus, Jihad and Peace: What Bible Prophecy Says About World Events Today

Weekly Photo Challenge: Heritage

Sarah  i playing at church

This weeks “Photo Challenge” left me with so many options i didn’t know where to start! 

The photo above is one of Sarah & i’s favourites and is on our side-board. I thought…..”Heritage” – It has the church building which was built way before our time. “Heritage” – The guitar i’m playing(and not worthy of holding, never mind owning) was built by a fantastic Luthier. “Heritage” – And more important than all of this is the Holy Covenant of Marriage that glues Sarah and i together in the power of His promises! 

I could go on & on…..But i’ll stop here and go and check out your posts on the challenge! 🙂 

Not Sometimes, But Always

Amen!

-Word- pictures by DLink

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God hates gossip.  He wants our speech to be pleasing to Him-and He certainly does not consider idle talk or mean-spirited words pleasant (Col. 3:8).  Sadly, gossip is practiced so freely that even some believers participate and try to justify their chatter.  But hearsay has no place in a Christian’s life.

Romans 1 contains one of the Bible’s lists of sins.  The book’s author-the apostle Paul-is reminding believers that God has revealed Himself to all mankind.  Those who reject Him and chase after idols are turned over to their evil worship and the immoral practices that go with serving self (vv. 24-25).  Gossip appears in the middle of the list; God despises it because malicious talk destroys lives whether the stories are true or false.  The person who is targeted by the rumor often loses the respect of those who listen to it.  Hurt feelings may not be the only…

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Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!

Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!

(J.C. Ryle, 1816-1900)

“Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!” Hebrews 13:9

Many things combine to make the present inroad of false doctrine peculiarly dangerous.

There is an undeniable zeal in some of the teachers of error–and their ‘earnestness’ makes many think they must be right.

There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge–and many imagine that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe guides.

There is a general tendency to free thought in these latter days–many like to prove their independence of judgment, by believing novelties.

There is a wide-spread desire to appear tolerant and liberal-minded–many seem half ashamed of saying that anybody can be in the wrong.

There is a quantity of half-truth taught by the modern false teachers–they are incessantly using Scriptural terms and phrases in an unscriptural sense.

There is a morbid craving in the public mind for the more sensational and showy–men are impatient of inward, invisible heart-work.

There is a silly readiness in every direction to believe everybody who talks cleverly and earnestly–and a determination to forget that Satan is often “transformed into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

There is a wide-spread ‘gullibility’ among professing Christians–every heretic who tells his story plausibly, is sure to be believed. Anyone who questions him, is called a bigot and a narrow-minded man.

All these things are peculiar symptoms of our times. I defy any observing man to deny them. They tend to make the assaults of false doctrine in our day peculiarly dangerous. They make it more than ever needful to cry aloud, “Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!”

An ignorant laity will always be the bane of a Church! A Bible-reading laity may save a Church from ruin.

Let us read the Bible regularly, daily, and with fervent prayer, and become familiar with its contents.

Let us receive nothing, believe nothing, follow nothing–which is not in the Bible, nor can be proved by the Bible.

Let our rule of faith, our touchstone of all teaching–be the written Word of God!

“To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word–it is because there is no light in them!” Isaiah 8:20

Becoming Whole

😀

-Word- pictures by DLink

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Romans 8:33-39

Modern society has many “solutions” for unhappiness.  For example, a lot of people turn to prestige, love, or various substances to counteract emotional emptiness, but the happiness these things offer soon drains out again.  Only God’s transforming power can change someone with a broken spirit into a content Christ follower who understands his or her value.

To find wholeness, a person must start by receiving Jesus Christ as Savior-the sin that stands between him and God has to be removed.  Then, with the Holy Spirit’s strength, he will be able to find the courage to confront past disappointments, hurts, and sins that may have contributed to his feeling unworthy of the Lord’s love.

Someone with a sense of wholeness feels satisfied with life.  He knows he is loved, which leads to a good self-image and the ability to love others.  Hardship is inevitable in this world, but it…

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The Ineffable Mysteries Of A Surprise Visit!

Day 1: Wow…..What a fantastic surprise 3 day visit by my Brother Paul! 😀

The Intricate Plan…..

I really had no idea that Ben(Brother in Christ) and Sarah(my lovely Wife) had planned this visit by my Brother Paul since November!! 

“Paul had bariatric surgery(Sleeve gastrectomy) a year ago after spending 4 weeks in hospital and has progressed so much, he spent most of the past 5 years housebound and is starting to rebuild his life. i’m really proud of him. He has lost around 24 stone(150kg) since the start of this gruelling fight. And for his first trip out of Derby, he wanted to come and see Epsom. I’m so pleased he did as i can only imagine how much of a big deal this is for him!”

The Almost Upset…..

Ben had organised to meet me at my fave restaurant “Sicily” at 2pm, and as i got into town early i decided to take a detour and get more steps towards my Fitbit daily step goal. Little did i know my Brother was standing outside the train station waiting for Ben to pick him up to surprise me at Sicily. 😀 

Paul said “I was standing outside the station just looking around, and suddenly he saw me walking up the other side of the road” “No way, what’s he doing here?….He’s not going to cross over as he is on his way to Sicily” Then just as he said it i was crossing the road towards him. He knows i can’t see enough to recognise anyone even if they are stood next to me. But he panicked and hid behind the nearest object and took a photo as he thought i’d figured out his plan, lol. 😀 

A photo of me crossing road to train station while talking on the phone wearing a black hoody, black shorts and black and white trainers

⬆ Me on the phone to Sarah, crossing the road while Paul takes a stealth photo! ⬆ 

The Surprise Meet…..

Sicily Logo

Front

As i arrived at Sicily i received the usual warm welcome from Grace and was seated at the table. I was thinking through some Bible verses as i expected a deep theological discussion on doctrines etc…..But as Ben arrived he was with his Wife Rosie and son Raffy. I was just getting up to move to a larger table when a FaceTime call came in from my brother Paul!

I usually switch to the back camera(as i can’t see the screen anyway) and try and show Paul around my current location and as i was in Sicily i thought he’d like to have a look. I first pointed it at Raffy and he was giggling into the camera. Then i wanted him to meet Grace and as i was about to point my phone at her…..”ey up bro” I heard in my right ear, i turned and there was my brother Paul standing right next to me!! 😀 

After what seemed like minutes, my mind was just racing “How did he get here? Derby is over 150 miles away! I thought trains were too much for him right now? Did Ben pick him up?  How is this possible?” i finally gave up and gave him a huge hug, i was stunned! Mission Accomplished Bro! 😀

We had a great time catching up on his adventure over a fantastic meal. 😀

Day 2: Epsom, Boyce Avenue & Celebration BBQ @ “Bens’ Burgers”…..

Epsom…..

We first met Paul in town as we wanted to show him around Epsom, we knew this wouldn’t take long as it’s only a small town, lol. Paul bought a souvenir in the shape of a Raiders cap and we had a great time exploring Epsom.

Boyce Avenue…..

Boyce Avenue are Paul’s favourite band. Their music has helped him through a lot of dark times. So when he said he’d love to see them in concert and mentioned they were playing at the Royal Albert Hall in November 2017, i just had to book tickets for Paul, Me & Sarah! 😀 

Since i knew he like them, and he loves singing…..i’d learnt a few songs on guitar so that if i was ever in the same room as Paul with my guitar, it would be fantastic to play together. And since we’d finished in town and was back home…..That time was now. lol And after this very special moment which i’ll always remember, it was time for Ben to pick us up

Celebration BBQ…..

Ben not only prepared the food, cooked the food…..He even picked us up and drove us to his home! Thank you so much Ben! 😀

Ben went all out for this celebration and cooked Steak, Chicken burger, Lamb Kofte & a lovely salad. Wow Thanks again Ben! 😀

Paul  Vini sat at the table waiting for the BBQ

⬆ Paul & Vini ⬆  

Vini playing football with his brother Raffy whilst holding an ice-cream

⬆ Vini & Raffy playing football with ice-creams. ⬆  

Zea and Raffy playing football

⬆ Luzia showing her skills and having lots of fun with Raffy! ⬆ 

 Rosie  Raffy

 ⬆ Bens Wife Rosie with son Raffy ⬆  

After filling up on all the amazing food, football and chasing Raffy we all headed inside for a rest! 🤣 

Vini Me Raffy  Paul sat on Ben's sofa sticking our thumbs up!

⬆ From Left: Vini, Me, Raffy & Paul ⬆  

Zea Rosie  Sarah

From Left: Luzia, Rosie & Sarah ⬆  

Football on Epsom Downs…..

Now it was time for Ben to try out his new 7 seater, he had never filled all 7 seats before so here goes!!!! 

Yay! We are all in! 🤣  

Full Car

⬆ From Left: Ben, Rosie, Vini, Sarah, Raffy(hidden), Me, Luzia & Paul ⬆  

As it was an open field, i had lots of room and could move around with a little more confidence knowing i wouldn’t hit anything, lol.

Raffy Me Paul  Ben

⬆ Raffy, Me, Paul & Ben ⬆   

Raffy  Vini

⬆ Raffy showing Vini some skills ⬆   

Me Paul  Raffy

⬆ Me, Raffy & Paul ⬆   

Me  Raffy Football

⬆ Me & Raffy ⬆ 

Me  Raffy Football tackle

 ⬆ Raffy with a crunching challenge! ⬆ 

Paul was loving the view right across London and could see Wembley Stadium all lit up too! We had a great evening and we were all tired from running around! 

Day 3: The Cricketers…..

For a nice farewell, we treated Paul to a beautiful roast dinner at the fantastic Cricketers Inn. What a lovely view for a nice warm roast dinner, and of course it has to have a homemade Yorkshire Pudding! 😀 

The cricketers1

The Cricketers(one of my older photos) it wasn’t snowing, lol. ⬆  

 Me  Paul at Epsom Station

⬆ Me & Paul outside Epsom Train Station ⬆ 

Wow…..It was a fantastic few days and i’m so proud of how well Paul is doing. I still can’t believe i’d see him down here so soon! His surprise was overwhelming at times….. And since he arrived home safely…..he’s told me that he’s planned to visit agin in August! Yay! 😀 

I hope you enjoyed Pauls visit too? And i’m pleased you got to meet my fantastic Brother! 

An arm that can never be broken!

An arm that can never be broken!

(J. R. Miller, “A Life of Character”)

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms!” Deuteronomy 33:27

The picture suggested, is that of a little child, lying in the strong arms of a father who is able to withstand all storms and dangers.

At the two extremes of life, childhood and old age–this promise comes with special assurance.

“He shall gather the lambs in His arms, and carry them in His bosom” (Isaiah 40:11), is a word for the children.

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He; I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you!” (Isaiah 46:4), brings its blessed comfort to the aged.

The thought of God’s embracing arms is very suggestive. What does an arm represent? What is the thought suggested by the arm of God enfolded around His child?

One suggestion, is protection. As a father puts his arm about his child when it is in danger–so God protects His children. Life is full of peril. There are temptations on every hand! Enemies lurk in every shadow–enemies strong and swift! Yet we are assured that nothing can separate us from the love of God. “Underneath are the everlasting arms!”

Another thought, is affection. The father’s arm drawn around a child–is a token of love. The child is held in the father’s bosom, near his heart. The shepherd carries the lambs in his bosom. John lay on Jesus’ bosom. The mother holds the child in her bosom, because she loves it. This picture of God embracing His children in His arms–tells of His love for them–His love is tender, close, intimate.

Another thought suggested by an arm, is strength. The arm is a symbol of strength. His arm is omnipotence. “In the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:4). His is an arm that can never be broken! Out of this clasp–we can never be taken. “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish–ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand!” (John 10:28)

Another suggestion is endurance. The arms of God are “everlasting.” Human arms grow weary even in love’s embrace; they cannot forever press the child to the bosom. Soon they lie folded in death.

A husband stood by the coffin of his beloved wife after only one short year of wedded happiness. The clasp of that love was very sweet–but how brief a time it lasted, and how desolate was the life that had lost the precious companionship!

A little baby two weeks old–was left motherless. The mother clasped the child to her bosom and drew her feeble arms about it in one loving embrace; the little one will never more have a mother’s arm around it.

So pathetic is human life with–its broken affections, its little moments of love, its embraces that are torn away in one hour. But these arms of God–are everlasting arms! They shall never unclasp!

There is another important suggestion in the word “underneath.” Not only do the arms of God embrace His child–but they are underneath–always underneath! That means that we can never sink–for these arms will ever be beneath us!

Sometimes we say the waters of trouble are very deep–like great floods they roll over us. But still and forever, underneath the deepest floods–are these everlasting arms! We cannot sink below them–or out of their clasp!

And when death comes, and every earthly thing is gone from beneath us, and we sink away into what seems darkness–out of all human love, out of warmth and gladness and life–into the gloom and strange mystery of death–still it will only be–into the everlasting arms!

This view of God’s divine care is full of inspiration and comfort. We are not saving ourselves. A strong One, the mighty God–holds us in His omnipotent clasp! We are not tossed like a leaf on life’s wild sea–driven at the mercy of wind and wave. We are in divine keeping. Our security does not depend upon our own feeble, wavering faith–but upon the omnipotence, the love, and the faithfulness of the unchanging, the eternal God!

No power in the universe can snatch us out of His hands! Neither death nor life, nor things present, nor things to come–can separate us from His everlasting arms!

Of First Importance: The Priority of the Cross and the Empty Tomb

Amen…..another fantastic post by Peter! 😀

Already Not Yet

r-albert-mohler-jr-baptistsAl Mohler:

The Christian faith is not a mere collection of doctrines — a bag of truths. Christianity is a comprehensive truth claim that encompasses every aspect of revealed doctrine, but is centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And, as the apostolic preaching makes clear, the gospel is the priority.

The Apostle Paul affirms this priority when he writes to the Christians in Corinth. In the opening verses of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul sets out his case:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was…

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🎶 Happy Birthday To Me & Sarah! 🎶

Hi all Just wanted to share with you a few things Sarah & i got up to one our Birthday’s. Sarah’s Birthday is 4 days before mine, so we enjoyed celebrating with the help of loved ones. 😀

As Sarah has another “Charcot Foot” and is wearing an air-cast again, we knew it would be difficult getting around but you can’t keep Sarah down that easy! 😀

Sarah’s Musical Nails…..

Sarah s Musical Birthday Nails

⬆ Sarah’s Musical Nails ⬆ 

First things first….Sarah went to have her nails done. lol 😀   

Monday…..Duet Philharmonic Orchestra – Royal Festival Hall…..

On Monday…..Me, Sarah & Vini went to see the extremely talented “Duet Philharmonic Orchestra”. 

Duet Philharmonic Orchestra  Royal Festival Hall

Tuesday…..Littlehampton…..

On Tuesday(Sarah’s Birthday)…..our loving sister in Christ Sara treated us to a day-trip to Littlehampton so Sarah could have her Birthday doughnuts while listening to the sound of the sea. 

Sarah  Sara at Little Hampton

⬆ Sarah & Sara at Little Hampton Sea Front ⬆ 

Sara certainly wasn’t ready for what happened next. lol 😀  

Sarah, Sara & the doughnuts…… 

Sarah Sara  the doughnut 1

⬆ Sara & Sarah happy to have got their hands on birthday doughnuts! ⬆ 

Sarah Sara and the doughtnut 2

⬆ Sara can’t believe Sarah would take a bite out of her doughnut! ⬆ 

Sarah Sara  the doughtnut 3

⬆ Sara still in shock that Sarah would bite a chunk out of her doughnut! ⬆  

Me  Sarah at Little Hampton

⬆ Me and my lovely Wife Sarah at Little Hampton Sea Front ⬆ 

We had a fantastic time and it was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for enjoying a tray of chips with salt & vinegar on the beach! 😀

Evening surprise meal…..

I invited lots of our church friends for an italian Birthday surprise meal for Sarah. It was a lovely evening and was enjoyed by all.  

Sarah Birthday cakes with Rosie

⬆ Sarah & Rosie with 3 Birthday cakes! ⬆ 

 Wednesday…..Church Youth Group Bowling Evening…..

I started helping out at the church youth group 6 months ago and i’ve been so surprised with their desire for God and to know more about Him. It’s been an amazing 6 months of Theology and sharing, praying and growing deeper in our Faith.  

At the end of this term they organised a evening of Bowling and sharing a meal together which i was really looking forward to as i’ve not been bowling in over 15 years! 😀

Church Youth Group

⬆ From Left: Rachel, Tom, Jane, Sarah, Vini, Joe and Me ⬆  

Sarah Bowling

⬆ Sarah Bowling ⬆ 

Me Bowling

⬆ Me Bowling ⬆ 

As i couldn’t see the ball, the lane or the skittles…..Sarah and the youth were fantastic guides and assistants so i could be(and feel) included in this fun evening! 

After bowling we went for a lovely italian meal. 

Church Youth Club  Prezzo Restaurant

⬆ From Left: Lucas, Vini, Jane, Me, Tom, Sarah, Rachel & Joe ⬆ 

Friday…..Phil’s Guitar Lodge & the fantastic music evening…..

Sarah’s Dad and 2 of her brothers came down for a 3 day visit and as they love playing music i asked Phil(guitarist i Worship with at church) if we could jam in his fantastic music lodge?! 😀 

Phil on the left jammin with Sarah s Dad Steve on the right

⬆ Phil(left) playing the blues with Sarah’s Dad Steve ⬆  

Sarah sitting on the floor on the left with Marshall(centre) on a leather sofa and Hope leaning in from the right

⬆ Sarah(left), Marshall & Hope ⬆  

Alfie on the left playing a start with Sarah's Dad(Steve) singing into a mic on the right

⬆ Alfie(left playing and Sarah’s Dad Steve singing ⬆ 

Phil stood playing bass in the centre in front of lots of guitar aps with Sarah's Dad playing guitar on the right hand side of the image

⬆ Phil jammin’ with Sarah’s Dad ⬆  

Me playing a 5 string bass while ooking towards the camera

⬆ Me playing Phil’s 5 string monster bass guitar ⬆ 

Wow, as i’d never played bass before Phil let me loose on his bass guitar. I never knew just how much fun it would be, what a Birthday treat! 😀 

Saturday…..My Birthday BBQ…..

Wow, what a week so far! Sarah’s Dad & 2 brothers had to get back to Doncaster, while Phil picked us up to go to Ben’s home where he was making my fave “Keebies”(don’t know the spelling) which are Brazilian lamb koftes, Mmmmmm. It was another great day with the church family and i got to eat(and share) my Fallout 4 birthday cake from my lovely Wife Sarah!! 😀 

Me  holding my Fallout 4 Birthday Cake⬆ Me and my Fallout 4 cake ⬆ 

Thank You!!!!!

I just want to say an enormous thanks to everyone involved in making a truly memorable birthday celebration for Sarah & i! 😀 

If any of you are reading this…..you really don’t know how much your love and kindness means to us, it moves us very deeply, thank you!!

Spirit is thicker than blood…..

Matthew 12:49-50 Amplified Bible (AMP)

And stretching out His hand toward His disciples [and all His other followers], He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven [by believing in Me, and following Me] is My brother and sister and mother.”

Admire The God Of Free Grace

Admire The God Of Free Grace

(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

“Look to the rock from whence you were hewn, and to the pit from whence you were dug!” Isaiah 51:1

It is profitable for the children of God often to . . .reflect on what they formerly were, meditate on their once wretched and helpless condition, look to the rock whence they were hewn, and to the pit whence they were dug.

Look back, then, Christians, to the time when you were . . .

the enemies of God,
the despisers of His Son,
the willing slaves of the father of lies,
and children of disobedience!

Look back to the time when . . .

your hearts were as hard as the nether millstone;
your understandings were darkened;
you were alienated from the life of God;
your wills were stubborn, perverse and rebellious;
your affections were madly bent on the pleasures of sin;
every imagination of the thoughts of your heart were only evil, and continually evil!

Look back with shame and self-abhorrence to the time when you . . .

lived without God in the world,
drank in iniquity like water,
served various lusts and vanities,
fulfilled the sinful desires of the flesh and mind,
cast God’s holy law behind your backs,
stifled the remonstrances of conscience,
quenched the influences of the Spirit,
neglected the Holy Scriptures, and
mocked God with pretended worship, while your hearts were far from Him.

A rebel against God,
a resister of the Spirit,
a slave of Satan,
a child of wrath,
an heir of Hell

such, O Christian, was once your character!
Nothing was then before you, but a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation!

Admire the God of free grace–who save you from such a dreadful plight!

10 Things You Should Know about the Resurrection

Already Not Yet

Resurrection-of-Christ-713x509

By Adrian Warnock, author of Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything.

1. The resurrection is the core of the Christian message and should never be neglected or assumed.

Sometimes today, when we hear the gospel preached, the focus is on the cross. The resurrection is often ignored, assumed, or mentioned only in passing. In contrast, the preaching recorded in the book of Acts emphasized the resurrection of Jesus, and barely mentioned his death. The apostles were preoccupied with the resurrection and emphasized it much more than the cross.

Sadly, the church only seems to get excited about the resurrection once a year at Easter time. In reality, every Sunday should be Resurrection Sunday. The reason why the early church began to meet on the first day of the week was to celebrate Jesus’s defeat of death. Imagine what church would be like if we consciously gathered

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O Lord, There Is None Like You!

When that monster of a man hung!

(James Smith, “The Believer’s Companion in Seasons of Affliction and Trouble” 1842)

“O Lord, there is none like You!” 1 Chronicles 17:20

Truly, our God is without a parallel!

He could dash His enemies to Hell with one word, and drive them to despair. But instead of this, He constantly provides for them–and many of them are fed by Him with the richest blessings of His providence. He . . .

spreads their tables,
supplies their needs, and
pours His favors upon them abundantly–though they . . .
blaspheme His name,
despise the mention of His grace, and
bid Him to depart from them, in disdain!

He preserves them from a variety of dangers, which would otherwise hurry them out of time into eternity.

He bears with them from day to day, and does not allow their wickedness to arouse His ire, to their immediate destruction. Who, besides Jehovah, would thus feed, preserve, warn, and bear with such obstinate, careless, provoking wretches? Surely none!

“What base rebellious wretches they;
And God as strangely kind!”

When, in His own time, any of His enemies are brought to discover their wickedness, feel their danger, desire to escape their deserved doom, and apply to Him–He freely pardons them, and forgets all their past unkindness!

When that monster of a man hung by the side of Jesus on the cross, mocking His dying agonies, reviling His dear name, and endeavoring to add to His tremendous sorrows–Jesus was as silent as one who heard not, as patient as one who felt not, and as kind as one who had been treated with all possible respect! For, no sooner does the bold blasphemer cry, “Lord remember me!” than Jesus answers, “Today you shall be with Me in paradise!”

And can you, O my Savior, freely and fully pardon such a wretch as that? Can you take him in Your arms, to paradise? Can you forget his scarlet crimes, the insults he offered, and the daring wickedness manifested by him but a few minutes before? “O Lord, there is none like You!”

The vile thief enters Heaven, to . . .
the astonishment of angels,
the confusion of devils,
the wonder of glorified saints, and
the honor of the dear, dear Redeemer!

Jesus not only fully pardons the penitent–but He cordially accepts him! He receives him as one of the dear objects of His love, and says to each and every one such, “I have blotted out your sins as a cloud, and your iniquities as a thick cloud!”

He kindly visits them, as though they had never acted unkindly toward Him; and constantly blesses them with spiritual, holy, and eternal blessings. He . . .

clothes them with the garments of His righteousness,
beautifies them with the graces of His Spirit,
comforts them with the promises of His love,
acknowledges them at His throne of grace,
defends them against their cruel and malicious foes,
tenderly expostulates with them when they wander from Him,
mercifully warns them of their dangers and foes,
kindly exhorts them to cleave close to Himself,
wisely corrects them when they wickedly stray, and
will crown them with glory at the end of their race!

And what returns does He frequently get for His kindness and love? Alas! alas! Too often, ingratitude, rebellion, hardness of heart, alienation of affection, forgetfulness of His mercies, and following after other lovers rather than Himself!

“O Lord, there is none like You!” 1 Chronicles 17:20

Dear wife, farewell!

Dear wife, farewell!

(An excerpt from a letter by Christopher Love, to his wife, on the morning of his execution)

My most gracious beloved,
I am now going from a prison to a palace! I have finished my work. I am now to receive my wages. I am going to Heaven! Rejoice in my joy. The joy of the Lord is my strength. O, let it be yours also!

Dear wife, farewell! I will call you wife no more! I shall see your face no more! Yet I am not much troubled–for now I am going to meet the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom I shall be eternally married!

Your dying, yet most affectionate friend until death,
Christopher Love
August 22, 1651, the day of my glorification!

Are You Hungry?

Are you hungry?

from Spurgeon’s sermon, “BREAD FOR THE HUNGRY”

We should come to hear the Word, like baby birds in the nest— when the mother-bird comes with the worm, they are all stretching their necks to see which one shall get the food, for they are all hungry and want it.

And so should hearers be ready to get hold of the Word, not wanting that we should force it down their throats, but waiting there, opening their mouths wide that they may be filled, receiving the Word in the love of it, taking in the Word as the thirsty earth drinks in the rain of heaven.

Hungry souls love the Word.

Perhaps the ‘speaker’ may not always put it as they may like to hear it, but as long as it is God’s Word, it is enough for them.

They are like people who are sitting at the reading of a will— the lawyer may have a squeaking voice, perhaps, or he mispronounces the words, but what does that matter? They are listening to see what is left to them.

So is it with God’s people. It is not the preacher, but the ‘preacher’s God’ that these hungry ones look to.

Why, if you were very poor, and some benevolent neighbor should send you a loaf of bread by a man who had a club foot, you would not look at the foot, you would look at the bread.

And so is it with the hearers of the Word– they know if they wait until they get a perfect preacher, they will get no preacher at all, but they are willing to take the man, imperfections and all, provided he brings the Master’s bread.

And though he be but a lad, and can bring but a few barley loaves and fishes, yet since the Master multiplies the provision, there is enough for all, and they feed to the full. 

The Life-Boat Of Free Grace!

The life-boat of free grace!

(James Smith, “The Complaint!” 1864)

“I am cast down!”

And why are you cast down?

“My heart is burdened with a sense of my short-comings! Every duty I perform is so imperfect. Every purpose I form is so soon frustrated. Every hope of seeing better days is so soon beclouded.

My heart is so fearfully depraved.
My life is so unlike the life of Jesus.
My temper is so unholy.
My prayers are so brief and heartless.
My praises are so feeble and fitful.
I do so little good.
I live to so little purpose.
My evidences are so dim.
My prospects are so overcast.
I am harassed sometimes with the fear of death.
I cannot realize the glories of Heaven.
I am dissatisfied with the world — and yet glued to it!
I hate sin — and yet fall into it!
I am a riddle, a mystery, a mass of inconsistency!
Is it, then, any wonder that I am cast down?”

No, if you look at yourself, and pore over the things you have named — then it is no wonder that you are cast down! They are enough to cast anyone down! But if you carry them to the throne of grace, if you there confess them before God, if you look to Jesus to save you from them — then, in spite of them — you will not long be cast down.

I know it is difficult to do this. There is a natural proneness to pore over such things. One feels at times a secret liking to indulge in gloomy thoughts.

But we must look away from self — for if we do not, we shall become anxious, doubting and gloomy! We must run the race, not looking at our imperfections, short-comings, and failures — but looking unto Jesus. He knows what we are. He knew what we would be — before He called us by His grace; yes, before He shed His blood for us!

He loved us, as sinners.
He died for us, as sinners.
He called us, as sinners.

He saves us, as sinners. He will have all the glory of saving us, and He will get great glory by doing so, because we are such great sinners; and do not, cannot, do anything to repay Him for His wondrous love! Salvation is by free grace — from first to last! Believe this, and it will raise up your drooping mind!

The life-boat of free grace has put you on board the vessel of salvation, and that will convey you safely to the port of glory! Do not look at your spiritual destitution, or feebleness, or incapacity, or imperfections — but trust in your Pilot, rely on your Captain, and expect His mercy and merit to land you safe in Heaven at last!

As imperfect as you now are, and as imperfect you will be — your dying prayer will still be, “God be merciful unto me — a sinner!”

Hope in God!
His mercy is great unto the heavens,
His grace is as free as the air,
His love is as changeless as His nature,
His promise is as immutable as His love.

Hope in God, for you shall yet praise Him. He will save you for His own sake, and present you before assembled worlds as a monument of His mercy, and a trophy of His grace!

Unseen

Amen! Such Wisdom shining through a beautiful photo! 😀

-Word- pictures by DLink

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Have you ever visited the Grand Canyon?  Standing on the rim, peering down into that immense chasm with its vast width and dizzying depths, it’s easy to be awestruck.  There’s an overwhelming sense of majesty and downright terror that we feel while standing on the edge-especially if we’re afraid of heights.  The fear of God is like that.  It isn’t an unhealthy fear, but an overwhelming sense of sheer greatness of God himself.

Touring the Grand Canyon doesn’t diminish our sense of awe; it increases it.  In the same way, having a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ doesn’t lessen our fear of God; it enhances it.

The angels in heaven are in God’s direct presence, and their song reflects their worship,  “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

Familiarity with the Lord never…

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Deceitful & Desperately Wicked!

Deceitful & desperately wicked!

(William S. Plumer, “Sinners Saved by Unmerited Kindness”)

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is DECEITFUL. Man is the only creature on earth that seems to practice self-deception. That we should sometimes deceive others, is proof of our depravity; but that we should spend our lives in self-deception, is truly astonishing! Men of the fewest virtues, commonly have the highest thoughts of themselves. How strange and yet how common, that he whose heart has deceived him a thousand times–should yet confide in it as if it had always been honest!

The human heart deceives every being but one. It would deceive Him–if He were not omniscient. None but God knows all the depths of iniquity and duplicity within us.

Though the language of the Bible is strong, it is just. God declares, and every Christian knows by sad experience–that his heart is deceitful above all things. A perfect knowledge of the treachery of our hearts, is possessed by none but God.

The heart is also VILE. It is “desperately wicked.”
It loves vanity, and folly and sin.
It hates holiness, and truth and divine restraints.

It is . . .
a sink of iniquity,
a pool of pestilential waters,
a cage of unclean birds, and
a sepulcher full of dead men’s bones!
It is torn by wild, fierce, unhallowed passions.
It rejects good–and chooses evil.
It is wholly corrupt.
It is full of evil.
There is no soundness in it.

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” Matthew 15:19

“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool!” Proverbs 28:26

Suck The Honey Out Of It!

Suck the honey out of it!

Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Minstrel”

It is wonderful the effect of a single verse of Scripture when the Spirit of God applies it to the soul.

What power would come upon the soul, if we would grasp a single line of Scripture and suck the honey out of it till our soul is filled with sweetness.

Bible reading…

Bible reading…

by Thomas Brooks–

“Remember that it is not hasty reading, but serious meditation on holy and heavenly truths, that makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul.

It is not the mere touching of the flower by the bee that gathers honey, but her abiding for a time on the flower that draws out the sweet.

It is not he that reads most, but he that meditates most, that will prove to be the choicest, sweetest, wisest, and strongest Christian.”

Read Your Bible!

Read Your Bible

by Spurgeon

You know more about your ledgers than your Bible; you know more about your magazines and novels than what God has written; many of you will read a novel from the beginning to the end, and what have you got? A mouthful of foam when you are done. But you cannot re ad the Bible; that solid, lasting, substantial, and satisfying food goes uneaten, locked up in the cupboard of neglect; while anything that a man writes, a best seller of the day, is greedily devoured.

“I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.”
Job 23:12

Slighted, disobeyed, and dishonored by His creatures on earth!

Slighted, disobeyed, and dishonored by His creatures on earth!

(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

I look up to Heaven and there see the blessed and only Potentate, the Creator and Upholder of all things, the infinite and eternal Sovereign of the universe–governing His vast kingdom with uncontrollable power, in a manner perfectly wise and holy and just and good. In this Being, I see my Creator, my Preserver, my unwearied Benefactor–to whom I am indebted for everything which I possess.

And what does this Being see–what has He seen, in me? He sees a frail worm of the dust, who is of yesterday and knows nothing, who cannot take a single step without making mistakes, who is wholly incompetent to guide himself, and who, by his own folly, is self-destroyed. He has seen this frail, blind, erring worm, presumptuously daring to criticize and censure His proceedings, attempting to interfere in His government of the universe; and trying to set up his own perverse will against the will of his Creator, his Sovereign, and his God; his own ignorance–against divine omniscience, and his own folly–against infinite wisdom.

Should an angel who knew nothing of our characters, but who had heard of the blessings which God has bestowed on us, visit this world–would he not expect to find every part of it resounding with the praises of God and His love? Would he not expect to hear old and young, parents and children–all blessing God for the glad tidings of the gospel?

How, then, would he be grieved and disappointed! How astonished would he be to find that Being whom he had ever heard praised in the most rapturous strains by all the bright armies of Heaven–slighted, disobeyed, and dishonored by His creatures on earth!

O, then, let us strive to wipe away this foul stain–this disgrace to our race and our world.

Let not this world be the only place, except Hell–where God is not praised.

Let us not be the only creatures, except devils–who refuse to praise Him!

We’re A Million, Billion Miles Away From New Testament Christianity!

I went to a church not along ago — they got thirty acres. So what are their plans with it? They want their own football field and tennis courts. Dear God, do we go to church to learn to play tennis? God help the preachers!

We have such an accommodating Christianity today.

The best title of the professing church of God today, in my judgment, is “Unbelieving Believers.” There’s cancer in the church tonight!

At this grim hour, the world sleeps in the darkness — and the Church sleeps in the light.

You’ll never get me to believe that the church today believes in Hell.

We’re a million, billion miles away from New Testament Christianity!

I doubt if 5% of professing Christians in America are born again!

Entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy. The more joy you have in the Lord, the less entertainment you need.

Is the world crucified to you — or does it fascinate you?

The apostles had no gold, but lots of glory. We have lots of gold, but no glory.
The book of Acts shows us the church before it became fat and short of breath by prosperity!

Who or what takes priority over God in our lives?

Where, oh, where are the eternity-conscious believers?

Where are the souls white-hot for God because they fear His holy name and presence and so live with eternity’s values in view?

There’s no cost of being a Christian!

I’d rather have ten people who want God — than 10,000 people who want to play church!

(Leonard Ravenhill)

The Power In The Scriptures

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

R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord

Monsters Of Cruelty!

Monsters of cruelty!

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

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

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

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

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

Why I Believe the Old Book

Why I Believe the Old Book

Charles Naylor, 1920

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bible is the most loved of all books.

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

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

The Bible is the most hated of all books.

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

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

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

The Bible has withstood all assaults.

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

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

The Bible tells me of myself.

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

The Bible is the book of conscience.

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

The Bible gives comfort and hope.

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

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

The Bible is the book of the dying.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who Can Find A Virtuous Woman?

Who can find a virtuous woman?

(Matthew Henry)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Dirty Lane!

The dirty lane!

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

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

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

By death you shall gain incomparable crowns!

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

There are no crowns compared to these crowns!

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

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

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

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

If this is happiness—then give me misery!

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

(Thomas Sherman)

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

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

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

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

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

Where now is the object of your envy?

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

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

If this is happiness—then give me misery!

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

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

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

He Will Sustain You!

He will sustain you!

(J.R. Miller)

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

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

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

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

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

Godly Parents Cannot Convert Their Children

Godly parents cannot convert their children

(Mary Winslow, Life in Jesus“)

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

“You must be born again.” John 3:7

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

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

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

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

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

An immortal spirit living . . .

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

Yet tens of thousands live for little else!

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

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

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

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

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

Charles Spurgeon

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

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

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

But they will still continue their fruitless search.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grow old sweetly and beautifully

Grow old sweetly and beautifully

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

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

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

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

The Unfaithful Preacher

The unfaithful preacher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Caged Lion

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

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

That irresponsible, amusement-mad paganized pseudo-religion!

That irresponsible, amusement-mad paganized pseudo-religion!

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

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

(A.W. Tozer)

Jelly-Fish Christianity

Jelly-Fish Christianity 

(J.C. Ryle)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cleverness and earnestness are the favorite idols of the age!

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

Their photograph flatters them!

Their photograph flatters them!

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

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

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

the man whom the neighbors see,

the man whom one’s family sees,

the man whom the person himself sees,

and the man whom God sees.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MURDERED

MURDERED!

(From Spurgeon’s autobiography)

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

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

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

Who could have injured Him?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I must be holy for His sake.

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

Who is he?

Amen! 😀

-Word- pictures by DLink

img_2942

How happy is the man

who does not follow the advice

of the wicked,

or take the path of sinners,

or join a group of mockers!

Instead, his delight

is in the Lord’s instruction,

and he meditates on it

day and night.

Psalm 1:1-2

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