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Paul’s three-word description of what sin does to all people

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Paul’s three-word description of what sin does to all people

“People will be lovers of themselves” 2 Timothy 3:2

   It’s the inescapable, destructive commitment of every person that was ever born. It marches down a pathway of separation from God and our ultimate doom. None of us successfully avoid it. We see it in others and it bothers us, but somehow we are blind to it in ourselves. It shapes what we think, desire, say, and do. It shapes our unwritten law for the people we live with and a host of unrealistic expectations for the situations we live in. It explains why we are so often irritated and impatient. It describes why some of us are perennially unhappy and some of us trudge through life depressed. It causes us to want what we will never, ever have and to demand what we do not deserve. It puts us at odds with one another and in endless fights with God. It is one of the deep diseases of our sin nature and a core reason for the birth of Jesus.

   Paul says that Jesus came so “that those who live might no longer live for themselves” (2 Corinthians 5:14–15). Consider Paul’s three-word description of what sin does to all people“live for themselves.” That’s what we all do from the first moment of our lives. We all demand to be in the center of our world. We all tend to be too focused on what we want, on what we think we need, and on our feelings. We all want our own way, and we want people to stay out of our way. We all want to be sovereign over our lives and to write our own rules. We demand to be served, indulged, agreed with, accepted, and respected. In our self-centeredness, we convince ourselves that our wants are our needs, and when we do, we judge the love of God and others by their willingness to deliver them. When we are angry, it’s seldom because the people around us have broken God’s law; most often we are angry because people have broken the law of our happiness. Because we live for our happiness, happiness always eludes us–because every fulfilled desire is followed by yet another desire.

[Taken from “Come Let Us Adore Him” by Paul David Tripp, 2017, pp. 82-82. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.]

 

Drinking bitter cups!

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Drinking bitter cups!

(Octavius Winslow

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 

Oh truth most divine! 

Oh words most consolatory! 

All things under the government of an infinitely great, all wise, righteous, and beneficent God, work together for good. 

What that good may be, the shape it may assume, the complexion it may wear, the end to which it may be subservient–we cannot tell. 

To our dim view it may appear an evil, but to God’s far seeing eye it is a positive good. 

His glory secured by it, and His end accomplished–we are sure it must be good. 

How many whose eye traces this page, it may be whose tears bedew it, whose sighs breathe over it, whose prayers hallow it, may be wading in deep waters, may be drinking bitter cups, and are ready to exclaim, “All these things are against me!” 

Oh no, beloved of God, all these things are for you! 

“The Lord sits upon the flood.” 
“The voice of the Lord is upon the waters.” 
“He makes the clouds His chariot.” 

Be not then afraid. 

Calmly stay your faith on this divinely assured truth, that “all things work together for good to those who love God.” 

Will it not be a good, if your present adversity results . . .  
  in the dethronement of some worshiped idol; 
  in the endearing of Christ to your soul; 
  in the closer conformity of your mind to God’s image; 
  in the purification of your heart; 
  in your more thorough fitness for Heaven; 
  in a revival of God’s work within you; 
  in stirring you up to more prayer? 

Oh yes! good, real good, permanent good must result from all the Divine dispensations in your history.

Bitter repentance shall end in the experienced sweetness of Christ’s love. 

The festering wound shall but elicit the healing balm. 

The overpowering burden shall but bring you to the tranquil rest. 

The storm shall but quicken your footsteps to the ‘hiding place’. 

In a little while, oh, how soon! you shall pass away from earth to heaven, and in its clearer, serener light shall read the truth, often read with tears before, “All things work together for good to those who love God.”

Where is there a more sinful spot to be found upon our guilty globe?

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“When disaster comes to a city—has not the LORD caused it?” Amos 3:6

It concerns us all to seriously reflect upon our own sins, and the sins of our land—which have brought these calamities upon us.

We and our countrymen are sinners, aggravated sinners! God proclaims that we are such—by His judgments now upon us: by withering fields and scanty harvests, by the sound of the trumpet and the alarm of war!

O my country, is not your wickedness great, and your iniquities infinite? Where is there a more sinful spot to be found upon our guilty globe? Pass over the land, take a survey of the inhabitants, inspect into their conduct—and what do you see? What do you hear?

You see the gigantic forms of vice bidding defiance to the God of heaven—while true religion and virtue are forced to retire, to avoid public contempt and insult!

You see herds of drunkards swilling down their cups, and drowning all morality within them!

You hear the swearer venting his fury against God—trifling with that Name which prostrate angels adore, and imprecating that damnation, under which the hardiest devil in hell trembles and groans!

You see avarice hoarding up her useless treasures, dishonest craft planning her schemes of unlawful gain, and oppression unmercifully grinding the face of the poor!

You see prodigality squandering her stores! You see luxury spreading her table!

You see vanity laughing aloud and dissolving in empty, unthinking mirth; regardless of God, of time and eternity!

You see sensuality wallowing in carnal pleasures, and aspiring, with perverted ambition—to sink as low as her four-footed brethren in the stalls!

You see cards more in use than the Bible; the backgammon table more frequented than the table of the Lord; novels and romances more read—than the history of the blessed Jesus!

You see trifling, and even evil diversions and amusements, become a gigantic business! The outcome of a horse-race is more anxiously attended to—than the concerns of eternity!

And where these grosser forms of vice do not shock your senses—you often meet with the appearances of a more refined impiety, which is equally dangerous!

You hear the conversation of reasonable creatures, of candidates for eternity— engrossed by trifles, or vainly wasted on the affairs of time! These are their important subjects of conversation, even at the threshold of the house of God!

You see swarms of prayerless families all over our land! You see ignorant, wicked children, unrestrained and untaught by those to whom God and nature have entrusted their souls!

You see the holy religion of Jesus—abused, neglected, disobeyed, and dishonored by its professors!

You see crowds of professed believers, who are in reality, practical atheists! These nominal Christians are really unholy heathens! They are abandoned slaves of sin—who yet pretend to be the servants of the holy Jesus!

You see multitudes lying in a deep sleep in sin all around us! You see them eager in the pursuits of the vanities of time—but stupidly unconcerned about the important realities of the eternal world just before them! So few are concerned what shall become of them—when all their connections with earth and flesh must be broken, and they must take their flight into strange, unknown regions! So few lamenting their sins! So few crying for mercy and a new heart! So few flying to Jesus!

(Samuel Davies, “The Justice of God—and the Sins of Our Country” 1755)

🙏 Hope: My Testimony By Steve

The sermon of your life in tough times ministers to people more powerfully than the most eloquent speaker.

Bill Bright 

Me  Sarah playing in Church

 Please click the photo above to read “MY Testimony”.

Hi all, after reading and updating “My Testimony” this morning…I realised i hadn’t shared it for years on here! I know lots of you have read it and left me some proper humbling comments that have just left me in tears(including this morning after i went through a lot of them again).  

If someone like me can be transformed by the reality and power of the Gospel, i know i need to share and make as many people aware of this amazing news of hope…As Jesus is the  Way, the Truth and the Life and no-one gets to  the Father but by Him. He’s the forgiver of Sins, breaker of chains, and the only Salvation! 🙏 😀 

With all of the personal stories, news reports of suicide and “Blue Monday” coming up next week…I just wanted to remind people that Jesus has the “Good News”. I know this as it has happened to me and i want to share it with everyone! 😀 

☀️ #1 Escape Lockdown 2021 With The Blind Sightseers: Nearly 80 Posts! ☀️ 😀

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Here goes…As we are all locked down in England…Sarah & i probably won’t be going on holiday this year…I’ll be sharing a post everyday (nearly 80 days of travels) on my other blog REBUS PHOTOGRAPHY. So you can join us on our  monumental adventure. This new endeavour is going to bring back some amazing memories for me and Sarah, and i hope it brings lots of smiles, laughter and interest during your 2021 new year lockdown, as we look back on the places we have been so blessed to visit. 😀 

Please come and join us on our other blog REBUS PHOTOGRAPHY, where we’ll be posting nearly 80 days of fun, photos and lots of unmissable situations! 😀 ☀️ 

As we launch out into another year

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As we launch out into another year

(Arthur Pink, “New Year’s Comfort” 1943)

The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you! He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid–do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

As we launch out into another year, there is little visible prospect of a smooth and pleasant voyage. To the natural eye, the clouds are dark and fierce storms seem imminent. The very uncertainty of what the morrow may bring forth, fills many with uneasiness and trepidation.

But how different should be the state of God’s children! An all-sufficient Object is presented to the eyes of their faith, from which unbelief derives no comfort. The poor worldling is concerned with what lies before him–but it is the blessed privilege of the believer to be occupied with Who goes before him–the One who is his Captain, his Guide, his Forerunner. “The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you!” What a difference that makes! O that writer and reader may be enabled to lay hold of this grand Truth as we enter another period of time, and keep it steadily in mind throughout the coming days!   

“Do not be afraid–for I have ransomed you.
 I have called you by name–you are Mine!
 When you go through deep waters–I will be with you.
 When you go through rivers of difficulty–you will not drown.
 When you walk through the fire of oppression–you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
 For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior!” Isaiah 43:1-3

🎄 #23 The Glorious Incarnation ~ Meaning Of Christmas

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

John PiperThe Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

 

🎄 #21 The Glorious Incarnation ~ Message Of Hope

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

John PiperThe Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

 

🎄 #20 The Glorious Incarnation ~ Theology

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

Dietrich BonhoefferGod Is In the Manger

 

🎄 #19 The Glorious Incarnation ~ The Advent Virus

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 The Advent Virus

Anonymous via email

WARNING……WARNING: ADVENT VIRUS

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

Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:

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

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

 

🎄 #18 The Glorious Incarnation ~ Humility

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

[Handel H. Brown]

 

🎄 #16 The Glorious Incarnation ~ Full Of Wonder

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

Dietrich BonhoefferGod Is In the Manger

 

🎄 #15 The Glorious Incarnation ~ A Giving Love

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

John PiperThe Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

 

🎄 #13 The Glorious Incarnation ~ Take Time

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 Take Time to be Aware

Edward HaysA Pilgrim’s Almanac, p. 196

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

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

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

 

🎄 #12 The Glorious Incarnation ~ Mission Of God

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

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

 

🎄 #11 The Glorious Incarnation ~ Indestructible Joy

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

John PiperThe Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

 

🎄 #10 The Glorious Incarnation ~ Divine Love

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 “We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us.4 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Coming of Jesus in Our Midst”

Dietrich BonhoefferGod Is In the Manger

 

🎄 #8 The Glorious Incarnation ~ Greedy Eyes

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 “Waiting is an art that our impatient age has forgotten. It wants to break open the ripe fruit when it has hardly finished planting the shoot. But all too often the greedy eyes are only deceived; the fruit that seemed so precious is still green on the inside, and disrespected hands ungratefully toss aside what has so disappointed them.”

Dietrich BonhoefferGod Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas

 

🎄 #6 The Glorious Incarnation ~ Glad Tidings

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 Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people; for there is born to you this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. In these words you clearly see that he is born for us. He does not simply say, Christ is born, but to you is born; neither does he say, I bring glad tidings, but to you I bring glad tidings of great joy. Furthermore, this joy was not to remain in Christ, but it shall be to all people.

Sermons of Martin Luther

 

🎄 #5The Glorious Incarnation ~ His Wonders

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 Only the humble believe him and rejoice that God is so free and so marvelous that he does wonders where people despair, that he takes what is little and lowly and makes it marvelous. And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly…. God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.

Dietrich BonhoefferGod Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas

🎄 #4 The Glorious Incarnation ~ God With Us

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 If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: “God with us.” We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ. The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!

John MacArthur

 

🎄 #3 The Glorious Incarnation ~ King Of Angels

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Infinite, and an infant. Eternal, and yet born of a woman. Almighty, and yet hanging on a woman’s breast. Supporting a universe, and yet needing to be carried in a mother’s arms. King of angels, and yet the reputed son of Joseph. Heir of all things, and yet the carpenter’s despised son.

Charles Spurgeon

 

🎄 #2 The Glorious Incarnation ~ Alpha & Omega

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This baffles all our comprehension!

“So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us.” John 1:14

What a transition!

What a stoop for that Infinite Being who proclaimed Himself the Alpha and the Omega; for “The Ancient of days” to assume the nature and take the form of a cradled infant, sleeping on a virgin mother’s breast!

We have no plumb line to sound the depths of that humiliation. We have no arithmetic by which it can be submitted to any process of calculation.

If we can entertain for a moment the shocking supposition of the loftiest created spirit in heaven abjuring his angel nature, and becoming an insect or a worm; we can, in some feeble degree, estimate the descent involved in the transformation.

But, for the Illimitable, Everlasting Jehovah, Himself to become incarnate . . .

the Creator, to take the nature of the created; the Infinite, to be joined with the finite; Deity, to be linked with dust; this baffles all our comprehension!

(John MacDuff, “Clefts of the Rock” 1874)

 

🎄 #1 The Glorious Incarnation ~ Your Gift

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Heavenly Father, We think we are ready for Christmas …Not because we have read the pages of the Bible, but because we have read our credit card statements, And they say that we have left no stone unturned, and no gift unbought, if still unpaid for. We stand ready to stagger under the weight of Christmas, To eat and drink far too much, To party with the best of them, And to worry all the time that we’ve forgotten something. And we’ll do it all, not always because we want to, but because everyone else is doing it, and we’ll go along for the ride.

Somewhere in all of this, Father, please feel free to stop us. Any place, any time, just stop us in our tracks. Stop us, grab our attention, and then place your gift in our hands where we can see it, And in our hearts where we can feel it. The gift of knowing that, a little over two thousand years ago, you stepped into the history of this world and placed yourself in a manger in a dirty backstreet stable, And called yourself a Christ-Child. It was then that we could see you and understand you as we had never been able to do before: As Creator, as Spirit, and as a man who would walk unerringly towards a Cross.

Everything else, all the food, the fun, the partying, none of it matters, and none of it has any point at all, unless we grasp this simple, beautiful gift and press it close to our hearts and keep it there…..….. that we live with you, that we are one with you, Our Lord Immanuel.

What else is there to say?

Except thank you, Amen.

Let us ever wear the garment of . . .

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Let us ever wear the garment of . . .

(John Fawcett, “An Essay on Anger” 1824)

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14

Let us be very assiduous to cultivate . . .
  the Christian virtues of kindness and forgiveness,
  a ready and hearty submission to the Word of God, 
  and a cheerful resignation to His all-wise providence.

Let us be modest, humble, and lowly in our behavior towards men. Let us ever wear the garment of humility, and the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. This will be more to the honor of our divine Savior and more to the credit of our holy religion, than the most exact orthodoxy.

If we are wholly destitute of a true Christian temperament, the mind that was in Christ Jesus–then we are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity. It matters not to what sect of Christians we professedly adhere. If pride, anger, wrath, and malice reign in our hearts and govern our lives–then all our religion is hypocrisy!


He shall save His people from their sins!

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He shall save His people from their sins!

(Frank Hall)

“You shall call His name JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins!” Matthew 1:21

Glorious Jesus, Your name is . . .
  the cure for sin-sick hearts,
  the resting place for the weary pilgrims of Zion,
  heavenly manna for every true Israelite wandering through this barren wilderness of darkness and sin. 

This name, “which is above every name” . . .
  calms the troubled sea within,
  sweetens every bitter trial, 
  illuminates every sad and lonesome path,
  dispels the darkness of doubt and despair,
  and soothes the trembling heart
–of every redeemed child of God.

This precious verse teaches us that Jesus Christ cannot fail to save His people from their sins. He established perfect righteousness for them by His obedience unto death, and obtained eternal redemption for them with His own precious blood. When He shouted from the cross, “It is finished” . . .
  salvation was finished,
  God’s holiness was appeased,
  satisfaction for sin was made,
  and judgment was over
–for all the people of God.

God did not send His Son into this world to save all men from their sins; rather, He sent His Son into this wicked world to save “His people” from their sins.  

God’s salvation, in its entirety, is for His elect people, who are identified in the Scriptures as “the people of God.” All that the Lord Jesus did, does, and will do–is, has always been, and will always be for His chosen people. He came into this world, was born of a virgin, lived under the law, was in all points tempted like as we are, and perfectly obeyed the will of God in all things for one reason–that He might save His elect people with an everlasting salvation. He loved them, chose them, and gave Himself for them–them, and only them.

He was born for His people. 
He kept the law for His people. 
He suffered for His people. 
He was made sin for His people. 
He died for His people. 
He arose from the dead for His people. 
He ascended into glory for His people. 
He rules all things for His people. 
He intercedes for His people. 
He is coming again for His people.

Listen to the reverberation of God’s distinguishing grace as the apostle Paul sounds the gospel trumpet: “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her . . . to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless!” Ephesians 5:25-27


Our dim eyes cannot read the dark pages!

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Our dim eyes cannot read the dark pages!

(J.R. Miller)

“You do not know now what I am doing–but later you will understand.” John 13:7 

Peter could not understand why Jesus should so condescend as to wash his feet. It perplexed and puzzled him, and he shrank from submitting to it. Jesus said, “You do not know now what I am doing–but later you will understand.” And so it proved. There came days afterwards when he understood it all, when he knew why his Master had done it–and when he truly saw beauty, wisdom, love, richest instruction, and divine necessity in it.

And the same principle applies all through our life. There are many things in the providence of God which at the time appear dark and obscure–but which the future makes clear and plain. The Lord lays us aside in the midst of our usefulness, He desolates our homes, He breaks our harp-strings, He pours bitterness into our cups of sweetness. Our lives are full of strange, perplexing things–and we do not know what they mean. 

Our dim eyes cannot read the dark pages
Our dull ears cannot hear the voice of love which speaks out to us from every adverse circumstance. 
Our heavy hearts cannot perceive the love which throbs with full pulse in every darksome event.

But there will come a day when every dark page in our life’s history shall be explained–when all the tangle and confusion shall be unraveled, and the web shall lie before us woven through unto the end, warp and woof, with threads of gold and silver. 

This word of Christ is the key to all the dark and strange providences in the life of every believer: “You do not know now what I am doing–but later you will understand.” 

One reason for the present obscurity–is our ignorance, or limited knowledge. We know now, only in part. We see now, only through a glass darkly. We are all scholars in God’s school. The lessons set for us seem at first like the pages of an unknown language. We cannot pronounce the words. We cannot understand their meaning. They confuse and perplex us. We see no wisdom, no beauty, no love in them. 

But the passing years bring riper wisdom and fuller knowledge. We shall then be able to read them off with ease. Then we shall see that every line held a golden lesson for our hearts–that every dark providence in our lives was one of God’s precious love-thoughts written out for us–and the whole page will glow with divine beauty! 

Only fuller knowledge is needed to explain to us much of the mystery of our lives. In the cloudless light and perfect revelation of Heaven–every shadow of mystery will vanish, and the strangest providences will seem as plain and easy as childhood’s first lessons are to ripened and cultured manhood.

Another reason why many of the Lord’s ways seem so strange to us, is because we see them only in their incompleteness. We must wait until they are finished, before we can fully understand what God is doing. 

The work of sanctification is the process of painting the features of spiritual and divine beauty on human souls. And in this process, the Divine Artist oftentimes employs trials as His instruments. He first seems to destroy–but tribulation works patience. Many a man learns submission–when the Father’s hand rests so heavily upon him, that he cannot rise. 

Many a feature of beauty in the soul–is brought out in the darkness of affliction. The process seems to be destructive–but afterwards it yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness. Not at the time–but afterwards. When God finishes His work–then it is beautiful and very good.

In the bitterness of his soul Jacob cried out, “All these things are against me!” But these things were not against him–God had not yet finished His work. The final result had not yet been wrought out. All things seemed against him–but he lived to praise the Lord for all the strange providences which appeared so cruel at that hour. These were but the crude blocks out of which God was building up a beautiful home for his old age, and with which He was laying the foundation of future greatness and glory for his family. They were links in a golden chain of blessing.

So it ever is, “You do not know now what I am doing–but later you will understand.” Wait until God has completed His work–and then all shall be well. You may see it even on the earth. Before you close your eyes in death–you may see the good brought out of the seeming evil of your life. But if not, if you die with the mystery still unsolved–then one moment in Heaven will explain all! Then you shall see all things completed. You shall see the web out of the loom–all its beautiful figures perfect, not one thread dropped or tangled. You shall see the temple finished–every block in its place, and the whole adorned with glory. You shall see the picture when the artist has put the last touches to it–and when it appears no more marred and spoiled, as you thought it would be by so much trial–but perfect and beautiful, bearing the likeness of Christ in every feature. 

Then you shall see all the dark providences of your life carried out to their final result. You shall see . . .
  both the discipline–and its blessing;
  both the affliction–and its rich fruits;
  both the furnace-fires–and the brilliant gold!

These predominant sins!

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These predominant sins!

(J.A. James, 1785-1859)

Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” Hebrews 12:1 

Almost all of us have ‘favorite pet sins’–which there is not ordinarily that concern and labor for putting them away, which there should be. They are indulged, instead of being resisted. Thus they gain strength by such indulgence, and most sadly disfigure our character and disturb our spiritual peace!

Prosperity, like sunshine upon weeds, often causes them to grow rapidly! And then God in great faithfulness, love and mercy sends adversity, like frost, to kill them. Upon a bed of sickness, and in other severe trials–they are often remembered, understood, and seen in all their sinfulness. They are then lamented, confessed, and mortified. 

Nothing can be a darker sign than for a professor’s conscience to be so dull and drowsy during a time of trial, as to leave him unadmonished respecting these predominant sins

It is sometimes a blessed fruit of tribulation, that these predominant sins have been weakened, if not eradicated. It is worth any amount of suffering to secure this result. Happy is the Christian who comes out of the furnace, with his dross removed by the fire! No matter what he has lost–he has gained freedom from these inward enemies of his peace and purity. 

We have just published J.A. James’ uplifting short article, “White Robes and Palms!


The duty, the privilege, the safety, the unspeakable happiness!

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The duty, the privilege, the safety, the unspeakable happiness!

(John Newton)

“Looking unto Jesus!” Hebrews 12:2

Look unto the Lord Jesus Christ!

Look unto Him as He hung exposed, wounded, bleeding, dead, and forsaken upon the cross! 

Look unto Him again as He now reigns in glory, possessed of all power in Heaven and in earth, with thousands of thousands of saints and angels worshiping Him! And then compare . . .
  your sins–with His blood,
  your needs–with His fullness,
  your unbelief–with His faithfulness,
  your weakness–with His strength,
  your inconstancy–with His everlasting love!
If the Lord opens the eyes of your understanding, you would be astonished at the comparison!

“Looking unto Jesus” is the duty, the privilege, the safety, the unspeakable happiness, of a believer–are all comprised in that one sentence!

It is by looking to Jesus, that the believer is enlightened and strengthened, and grows in grace and sanctification.

Holiness

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Holiness

(John Angell James, “The True Christian” 1846)

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

Holiness is a very comprehensive word, and expresses a state of mind and conduct that includes many things. 

Holiness is the work of the Spirit in our sanctification. 

Holiness is the fruit of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Holiness is the operation of the new nature, which we receive in regeneration. 

Holiness may be viewed in various aspects, according to the different objects to which it relates. 

Toward God, holiness is . . .
  supreme love;
  delight in His moral character;
  submission to His will;
  obedience to His commands;
  zeal for His cause;
  seeking of His glory. 

Toward Christ, holiness is . . .
  a conformity to His example,
  imbibing His spirit.

Toward man, holiness is . . .
  charity,
  integrity,
  truth,
  mercy. 

Toward sin, holiness is a hatred of all iniquity, a tender conscience easily wounded by little sins, and scrupulously avoiding them; together with a laborious, painful, self-denying, mortification of all the known corruptions of our heart.

Toward self, holiness is . . .
  the control of our fleshly appetites;
  the eradication of our pride;
  the mortification of our selfishness. 

Toward divine things in general, holiness is . . .
  spirituality of mind, 
  the habitual current of godly thought,
  godly affections flowing through the soul.

And, toward the objects of the unseen world, holiness is heavenly-mindedness, a turning away from things seen and temporal, to things unseen and eternal. 

Oh, what a word is holiness! 
How much does it comprehend! 
How little is it understood, and how much less is it practiced!


Not our home

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Not our home 

(David Harsha, “Immanuel’s Land”) 

“For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in Heaven, which is yet to come!” Hebrews 13:14 

We are strangers and pilgrims on the earth. This present world is not our home. We are coming up from the wilderness with our faces Zionward; we are traveling to the Celestial City! 

Our path is rough, but the Savior sustains us. 

Our pilgrimage lies through a wilderness, but faith cheers us with a view of the glorious rest of the redeemed in our Father’s house, in mansions of blessedness! 

Let this consideration animate us amid the conflicts of life. In a little while we shall obtain a joyous entrance into the glorious rest above. The storms of life’s ocean will soon carry us into the haven of peace, where there is no trouble.

The language of Scripture is, “Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place, because it is defiled, it is ruined beyond all remedy!” Micah 2:10

Your Savior, pilgrim Christian, has prepared for you a nobler rest than this polluted world! 

In our Father’s house are many spacious mansions, where your happy spirit, after tasting the bitter cup of life’s sorrow, shall rest in eternal blessedness! 

“For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in Heaven, which is yet to come!” Hebrews 13:14 

“We would rather be absent from the body, and at home with the Lord!” 2 Corinthians 5:8 

Though we mourn, we must not murmur

Grace logo Though we mourn, we must not murmur
(John Angell James, “Sorrow for the Death of Friends”)
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of the Lord! Job 1:21
“See, I am the only God. There are no others. I kill, and I make alive. I wound, and I heal, and no one can rescue you from My power.” Deuteronomy 32:39
When a holy and beloved object of our affection is removed by death, we ought to sorrow–humanity demands it, and Christianity, in the person of the weeping Jesus, allows it. The man without a tear, is a savage or a stoic–but not a Christian.
God intends when He bestows His gifts, that they should be received with smiles of gratitude; and when He recalls them, that they should be surrendered with “drops of sacred grief.” Sorrow is an affection implanted by the Creator in the soul for wise and beneficent purposes; and it ought not to be ruthlessly torn up by the roots, but directed in its exercise by reason and piety. 
The work of grace, though it is above nature–is not against it. The man who tells me not to weep at the grave–insults me, mocks me and wishes to degrade me! Tears are the silent, pure, sincere testimony of my heart to the excellence of the gift He gave in mercy; and in mercy, no doubt, as well as judgment, He has recalled.
But then, though we mourn, we must not murmur. We may sorrow, but not with the violent and uncontrolled grief of the heathen who have no hope. Our sorrow may flow as deep as we like–but noiseless and still in the channels of submission. 
It must be a sorrow so quiet as to hear all the words of consolation which our Heavenly Father utters amidst the gentle strokes of His rod.
It must be a sorrow so reverential as to adore Him for the exercise of His prerogative in taking away what and whom He pleases. 
It must be a sorrow so composed as to prepare us for doing His will, as well as bearing it. 
It must be a sorrow so meek and gentle as to justify Him in all His dispensations. 
It must be a sorrow so confiding as to be assured that there is as much love in taking the mercy away, as there was in bestowing it. 
It must be a sorrow so grateful as to be thankful for the mercies left, as well as afflicted for the mercies lost.
It must be a sorrow so trustful as to look forward to the future with hope.
It must be a sorrow so patient as to bear all the aggravations that accompany or follow the bereavement, with unruffled acquiescence. 
It must be a sorrow so holy as to lift the prayer of faith for divine grace to sanctify the stroke. 
It must be a sorrow so lasting as to preserve through all the coming years of life, the benefit of that event, which, in one solemn moment, changed the whole aspect of our earthly existence.

God’s all wise, gracious, and adorable providence!

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God’s all wise, gracious, and adorable providence!

(Frank Hall)

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!” Romans 8:28

We often find ourselves in . . . 
  trying circumstances,
  inexplicable difficulties,
  and perplexing situations. 
Experience teaches us daily that life is filled, not with joy and happiness only–but with troubles, heartache, and pain. We prove the words of brother Job every single day of our lives, that, “Man who is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble!” 

Is there consolation to be had in such times of trouble? Indeed there is! If there is a verse of Scripture that ministers comfort to my doubting fearful heart, it is the verse before us. Romans 8:28 is . . .
  help for the helpless,
  comfort for those in trouble, and
  a beacon of light that guides believers on the tumultuous sea of life. 

My beloved brothers and sisters in trouble and strife–all remains well with our souls.
  Not only has the Father elected us unto salvation, 
  not only has the Son redeemed us from our sins, 
  not only has the Spirit regenerated us and given us spiritual life, 
but God our Father works all things together for our eternal good! God is our Father, and our God is on His throne ruling all things for the glory of His name, and the everlasting salvation of our immortal souls! 

Who knows? Paul begins this comforting verse with two precious words, “WE know!”  
  The people of God know, 
  believers know, 
  the redeemed of the Lord know, 
  those who are “the called according to God’s purpose” know. 
This is knowledge that only the saints of God have. 
They know, not with a bare theoretical head knowledge–but by faith rooted in their hearts. 
They know because God has taught them this knowledge effectually by His Spirit and grace. 
They know because they believe His infallible Word of truth. 
They know in such a way as to find solace and comfort in what He has revealed. 

God’s people are here identified by two distinct characteristics:
  they love God, and 
  they are called according to His purpose. 

1. All of God’s people love God! They love His glorious person and rejoice in all of His perfections as God:
  His righteousness,
  His immutability,
  His holiness,
  His sovereignty,
  His wisdom,
  His power,
  His love,
  His grace. 
They love . . . .
  His will, 
  His Word, 
  His ways, 
  His gospel, 
  His Son, 
  His Spirit, 
  His purpose, 
  His providence, 
  and His people. 
God’s people love God–and all that pertains to God. 

2. All of God’s people are “called according to His purpose!” They are a particular, distinct, special people, here named the “called.” They have been graciously and effectually called in grace, by God’s Spirit through the gospel–not according to their works, merit, or choice–but according to God’s eternal purpose which He purposed in Himself before the foundation of the world.   

All things do not work together for the good of ALL men–but for God’s people alone, because their God providentially rules over all things for their eternal good and salvation. God rules . . .
  all things,
  all men,
  all angels,
  all demons,
  all circumstances,
  all events,
  in every place,
  at all times–
and He does so for the good of His people! 

What do we know? “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!” Things may appear to be against us, but it only seems that way. We should not judge God’s purpose by His providence–but His providence by His purpose. If we judge using the former method, we are sure to misjudge and we will never have peace in this life. 

All pleasures, joys, and delights are certainly ruled by our God–but that’s only half of His rule. He rules all evil–as well as all good
All death, 
all opposition, 
all sickness,
every disaster, 
every problem, 
all our pain, and
all our sorrow–
are sovereignly ruled, governed, ordered, and controlled by our God–to bring about eternal good for our souls. God does not tells us how He does this–only that He does. 

Whatever my God brings to pass in time, is the outworking of His purpose of grace–and it’s for my good, whether it be in my little sphere of existence, or in the universe at large. 

Oh God help me to believe Your Word! Teach me not only to submit to your providential rule–but to rejoice and rest in it! Set a watch upon my mouth, that I murmur not!  Arrest my heart by your grace, and give me peace! Keep me from sinning with my lips and complaining against Your all wise, gracious, and adorable providence, for it is good! 

God controls and directs all things with . . .
  infinite power,
  absolute sovereignty, and
  unfailing wisdom and grace!
Nothing can . . . 
  hinder Him from doing His will,
  keep Him from having His way, or
  stop Him from accomplishing His purpose. 

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!” Romans 8:28

My New Blog “FitBlitz” Please Like & Follow!! 💪🏼 😀

Hey friends! I’ve been a little quiet on here for the last couple of months, as i’ve been losing weight, eating healthy and exercising…And i wanted to start a new blog to share all of my adventures in the health & fitness area without bombarding you with too many topics on here! OOooo you can follow my advent walking challenge over there too!

As a blindman, please could you check it out for me to see if i’ve missed anything, need to change anything please give me some suggestions. Oh you could even like, comment and say hi which would be fantastic! 😀

Please click the photo below to visit my brand new blog….

The FitBlitz About speed…

Me portrait Jamaica 2

I want to stop digging my grave with my own knife and fork…🍽

Hi, i’m Steve. 

People who already know me (from my other blogs) know I’ve been struggling to beat all kinds of obstacles since I was registered blind 20 years ago, at age 24….. BUT now it’s time to face my nemesis… Health & Fitness and it’s many enemies – overeating, obesity, excuses not to exercise and many more…

This year (2020) I finally said “enough is enough” and I’m arming myself with the knowledge about the right nutrition, exercise and learning how, as a blind man, I can break free from what feels like inescapable immobility – So that I’m ready to stand up and fight back for my health…AND i’ve never felt better and more energised …..despite being on beta-blockers that slow me down but help keep my blood pressure low enough not to cause more health problems and further sight loss.I know from personal experience that any “diet” is often short lived. I’ve always enjoyed eating super processed, high calorie  foods and my love of burgers, bacon, kebabs and pizza is well known amongst my friends and family …this has continued and my seemingly endless attempts at dieting over the numerous years I’ve tried and failed to lose weight, have resulted in me often putting on more weight than I lost…Read more

Who am I that God should be so mindful of me?

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Who am I that God should be so mindful of me?

(Frank Hall)

“What is man that You are mindful of him?” Psalm 8:4

What is man that God should even look in his direction? Who am I that the infinite, glorious, triune God should glance my way–much less be mindful of me?

Beloved in Christ, understand that your God is without a doubt ever-mindful of you. He has . . .
  numbered every hair on your precious head,
  appointed the bounds of your habitation, and
  determined the very second of your death. 

He . . .
  bottles your every tear,
  knows your every sorrow, 
  records your every work, and 
  remembers every cup of cold water given in His name. He is deeply concerned for your immortal soul, has purposed to do you good, and has staked His glory on your everlasting salvation. Your God is more mindful of you, your soul, your life, and your welfare than you will ever understand in this life. 

In the light of such staggering knowledge–who God is, and what you are–do you not ask yourself in utter astonishment, “Who am I that God should be so mindful of me?” 

As mere creatures such a thought is beyond profound, but as guilty sinners the thought surpasses the unthinkable! 

“Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated!” Romans 9:13 

God loved Jacob, and hated Esau. Who am I that I should be identified with the former, and not the latter? Christ died for His elect and put away their sins forever by the sacrifice of Himself–and the rest of humanity He leaves to themselves. 

Who am I that my name should be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from the foundation of the world? The Sovereign dispenser of all grace and all blessedness has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardens. Who am I that I should be a vessel of honor prepared for glory, and not a vessel of wrath fitted for destruction? 

Who are we, brothers and sisters, that we should . . .
  partake of the boundless provision of grace in Christ,
  be redeemed, justified, and forgiven,
  should live forever with Him in glory? 

Who are we that the incomprehensibly glorious God would be so mindful of us, that He not only took on our nature, but . . .
 lived a perfect life for us, that we could never live, 
 died a sin-atoning death for us, that we could never die, and 
 satisfied a Law for us, that we could never satisfy? 

“By the grace of God I am what I am!” 1 Corinthians 15:10 

The only difference between a saved sinner and a lost sinner–is the difference that God makes by His distinguishing grace! It is not our decisions, lives, prayers, or works that make the difference, but God and God alone.

Though all who read these lines deserve to be in Hell for their sin–God has been pleased to save some freely by His grace. Though all are equally sinful, equally guilty, and equally deserving of everlasting torment–God has been pleased to save some for no other reason than His own glory.

What a pillow on which to rest your aching head

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What a pillow on which to rest your aching head 

(John MacDuff

“Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through many trials.” 1 Peter 1:6 

“If need be!” Three gracious words! 

Not one of all my tears has been shed for nothing!

Not one stroke of the rod has been unneeded, or that might have been spared! 

Your heavenly Father loves you too much, and too tenderly, to bestow harsher correction than your case requires! 

Is it loss of health, or loss of wealth, or loss of beloved friends
Be still! there was a needs be! 

We are no judges of what that “needs be” is. Often through aching hearts we are forced to exclaim, “Your judgments are a great deep!” 

But God here pledges Himself that there will not be one unnecessary thorn in the believer’s crown of suffering!

No burden too heavy will be laid on him. 

No sacrifice too great will be exacted from him. 

God will temper the wind to the shorn lamb. 

Whenever the “need be” has accomplished its end, then . . . 
  the rod is removed; 
  the chastisement is suspended; 
  the furnace is quenched. 

“If need be!” Oh! what a pillow on which to rest your aching head–that there is not a drop in all your bitter cup but what a God of love saw to be absolutely necessary! 

Trust His loving heart–even though you cannot trace His mysterious hand!

Do not be too curious to prying into the “Why it is?” or “How it is?” 
But satisfied that “So it is,” and, therefore, that all must be well.

“What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” John 13:7  

Broken people!

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Broken people! 

(Don Fortner)

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You will find it helpful to listen to the audio above, as you READ the text below. 

“The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” Psalm 34:18

broken heart, a contrite spirit, and a subdued will are rare things, especially in this age in which men everywhere are taught to demand their rights; and the church has become a place where man is exalted and enshrined as though he were God. Self-esteem, self-worth, and self-promotion are the cry of the day. Every man does that which is right in his own eyes. All men by nature are exceedingly proud, selfish people.

Preachers today, knowing man’s natural pride, have capitalized upon it. They have developed a flesh-pleasing theology of pride. Our forefathers exalted the dignity, the majesty, and the supremacy of the eternal God. But the smooth-tongued preachers of deceit in our day have set themselves to exalt the dignity, majesty, and supremacy of puny man! It seems that religion today is dedicated not to the honor of God, but to the honor of man. Its purpose is to make man feel good about himself. Therefore we hear little about . . .
  brokenness of heart, 
  contrition of the soul, and
  the subduing of man’s will.

The Lord God declares, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at My Word!” (Isaiah 66:2). God will have broken hearts with which to build His kingdom. Sooner or later, the Lord God will bring us to nothingness before His presence. God’s people, all of God’s people are a broken people.

No man has ever experienced the grace of God in salvation, until his heart is thoroughly broken before the holy Lord God, revealed in the crucified Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. If ever a man finds out:
  who he is,
  who God is,
  who the Lord Jesus Christ is,
  and what He has done for sinners
–he will be a broken man!

When Job saw himself in the presence of his three miserable friends, he vindicated himself. But when he stood in the presence of God, he was a broken man; and he spoke as a broken man. He saw himself in all the hideousness of his sin; and he saw God in all the holiness of His glorious majesty. Then he said, “Behold I am vile! I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes!” There is no pride and egotism here, no haughtiness, no self-vindication. Once Job had seen the Lord–he was broken, he loathed himself and blamed himself. Once Job saw the Lord–he honored God and vindicated Him. The truly broken heart will always vindicate God, no matter the cost.

This brokenness can be produced in proud, stubborn, sinful men and women–only by the saving revelation of Christ in our hearts. Brokenness is found at the cross–only at the cross. Have you been to the cross? Have you had the crucified Christ revealed in your heart? Has your heart been broken by the knowledge of the Lord? O Lord, evermore break our hearts before You!

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:17

Why me, Lord?

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Why me, Lord? 

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

“By the grace of God I am what I am!”

Oh, what was I, that God should set His love upon me before time; and in time to call me to the saving knowledge of His Son, whom to know aright is life eternal? Why me, Lord? 

And what am I even now, since I have felt something of the power of His precious gospel? Why me, Lord? 

What was I, what am I–that I should be eternally chosen and effectually called and perfectly accepted in the Beloved? Not unto me, in the least, not unto me, but unto Your sovereign grace be all the praise!

“Oh, help me to ascribe to You the glory due to Your great name; for I am surrounded, I am loaded with Your benefits. All Your dealings with me show forth Your loving-kindness. In temporals, as well as spirituals, I am singularly favored. Oh, let me never be allowed to rob You of Your glory, but help me to give it all where it is due, in life and death and to all eternity–to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.” 


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