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☀️ Sunflower Challenge Update: And The Winner Is…??? 🌻

Yay! My lovely wife Sarah smashed the challenge!! 💪🏼 A huge thanks to all of you guys who sponsored, encouraged and followed the process of this great challenge to help people power up to prevent cancer…Thank you! 😀 🌻 ☀️

☀️ Sunshine & Sunflowers 🌻

🌻 The first sunflower to bloom in our challenge was Steve’s ‘brobdingnagian’Steves sunflower

🌻 But Steves sunflower certainly wasn’t the tallest and didn’t reach the required 2.6m 😭

🌻 BoB, Musical joy, Liz, Audrey2, Ben turbo and Southern Palms all raced past… and all reached over 2.6m 💪🏼 

Sarahs winning sunflowers

🌻 Our good friend Dora visited and we took the chance to get a proper measurement for the sunflowers in your challenge… so that we could let you know the winner. ….which was Liz (Sponsored by Ruth Penny to encourage her friend ‘Liz’ who is going through cancer treatment at the moment). What a great result

Dora measuring sunflowers

🌻 Liz not only reached 2.6m first but grew to a stunning height of 3.35m…. closely followed by Audrey2 who reached 3.2m and BoB, who reached 3.15m

🌻 The sunflower that didn’t grow tall but had an amazing 15 sunflower heads on the one plant was ‘Weed’…

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Repent

Amen! 🙏

The Fathers Feet

Repent defined is to feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin. The word repentance in the Bible literally means“the act of changing one’s mind.” True biblical repentance goes beyond remorse, regret, or feeling bad about one’s sin. It involves more than merely turning away from sin.

Acts 3:19 NASB

Thereforerepent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order thattimes of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord

Matthew 3:2 NASB

Repent, forthe kingdom of heavenis at hand.

Luke 5:31-32

31And Jesus answered and said to them,“It isnot those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.32I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Heavenly Father,

You are so good. I cannot say enough how wonderful You are and how much I love you. Thank…

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Ten Reasons to Read the Bible Every Day

Amen! 🙏

Already Not Yet

John Piper:

I have never met a mature, fruitful, strong, spiritually discerning Christian who is not full of Scripture, devoted to regular meditation on Scripture, and given to storing it in the heart through Bible memorization —and that’s not a coincidence. So, what I want to do is persuade our new believing friend that it is absolutely essential, after coming to faith in Christ, to be radically, deeply, experientially devoted — unshakably, unwaveringly persuaded — that reading and meditating on and understanding and memorizing and enjoying the Scriptures is absolutely essential for the Christian life, which would include being in the word every day with the aim that we will meet God there and, little by little, the glory of his truth will fill and transform our lives.

And that may seem obvious to them or to others, but it isn’t obvious, because I know fairly well-along Christians who…

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Living Sanely in a Topsy-Turvey World

Amen! 🙏

New Creations Ministries

What a topsy-turvey world we’re living in – Lord, please come soon! Right is wrong and worshipping rebellion is king. If Christians defend Truth, professing “wait that’s against God’s Word!” we are vilified. Therefore the majority remain silent and fearful. Isn’t silence compliance? We allow that unknowing frog in the frying pan to get cooked without even realizing the frog is us.

“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)

Even if I knew I could riot and break into an establishment, snatch money, merchandise, destroying and taking someone livelihood and get away with it, I wouldn’t! Have you noticed some condone this? People resort to crime and the police are supposed to be the bad guys? All of them??? (Isn’t that the definition of prejudice which the lawbreakers profess to hate?)

I don’t care what someone looks…

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Sons of the Night, Sons of the Day

Amen! 🙏

-Word- pictures by DLink

1 Thes 5;7

Unbelievers are in darkness, engulfed in mental, moral, and spiritual darkness because of sin and unbelief.


1 Thes 5;5a

Believers live in a completely different sphere of life than those who remain in darkness.  Because believers have been delivered from the domain of darkness, they are taken out of the night of sin and ignorance and put into the light of God and under the control of the truth.  Because Christians are in the light, they should not sleep in spiritual indifference and comfort, but be alert to the spiritual issues around them.

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for 1 Thessalonians 5:4,5,6.

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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.” 


“The Spring Keeper”

Amen. “One wouldn’t throw trash on the floor of Jerusalem’s temple – so why do we trash our earthly one?” 🙏

New Creations Ministries

Last Sunday, our pastor included a wonderful illustration which I also found epitomizes our relationship between Christianity and nutrition.

The illustration by the late chaplain of the US Senate, Peter Marshall, was entitled, “The Keeper of the Spring.” Perhaps you’ve heard it before. Here’s the Cliff note version of it:

“It seems a spring at the top of an Austrian mountain provided water to a charming, picturesque village down below. The village council hardly saw the keeper and began questioning why they were paying for a service when they never saw the benefit. So they fired the Spring Keeper.

As time went on, leaves and debris began to clog the source of the well. Then downstream, leaves, twigs and debris muddied the water. It smelled and tasted badly. Tourists stopped coming, restaurants served less tasty food and the town lost its beauty and charm.

Finally the council realized its mistake…

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#28 ✞ 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#28. Will not love to Jesus best help us to PERSEVERE in the Christian race?           

When trials, suffering and persecution come, only those who truly love Jesus will be able to endure.

 

CONCLUSION 

What shall I say to advance Jesus in your esteem, that you might love Him? Is He not a comprehensive good? Is He not eminently all? There is no goodness in the creature, but it is formally, or virtually, in Jesus. 

Is there wisdom in the creature? There is more in Jesus. 
Is there beauty or power in the creature? There is much more in Jesus. 

“For it pleased the Father, that in Him should all fullness dwell.” Jesus is “full of grace and truth.” This is the One whom I beg you to love. This is He who is altogether lovely and desirable

Consider now, I plead with you–can you ever imagine a better offer than Jesus? Can you find a better match for your soul? Can you say all this, or any one of all these things–concerning the objects you have loved previous to Jesus?

Oh then say, “I never understood the loveliness of Christ before this! How has sin fooled me! How has the world bewitched me! How has my foolish wicked heart deceived me–that I have lavished my love upon the creature and sin–when there was a Christ to love! Such a Christ to love! Such a good as is not to be found in all the world! Now He alone shall have my heart, my love–my all!”

The Holiness of God

Amen! 🙏 😀

Already Not Yet

alpamayo-peru-worlds-most-beautiful-mountainSam Storms:

What does it mean to say that God is holy? Most people think of moral rectitude or righteousness or goodness, and that is certainly true. To be holy is to be characterized by purity and blamelessness and integrity, both in terms of one’s essence and one’s activity. In this sense, God’s holiness and his righteousness are somewhat synonymous. He is described in the OT as “too pure to behold evil” and intolerant of evil (Hab. 1:12-13). But this is only a secondary way in which God is said to be holy. We need to understand the primary thrust of the word.

  1. The Biblical evidence

God is regularly identified in Scripture as “the Holy One“. See Job 6:10Isa. 40:2543:15Ezek. 39:7Hosea 11:9Hab. 1:123:3. He is also called “the Holy One of…

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#27 ✞ 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#27. Is not love to Jesus the best help against the TEMPTATIONS of Satan?         

Is not Satan your enemy? Is not your heart sometimes anxious to yield to him? But love to Jesus would garrison your hearts, fortify your souls, and make you courageous and resolute against all the batteries of Satan and the assaults of sin. It would make you watchful against the allurements and amusements of the world, so that you would say, “Shall I offend my dearest Lord? Shall I displease Him who has done me such good, such everlasting good? Oh! how can I do this great evil, and sin against Him whom I love!” Do you not find that love forbids, and exceedingly restrains–from grieving, offending or wronging the one whom you entirely love? 

Riches and Poverty!

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Riches and Poverty! 

(J.C. Ryle, “Riches and Poverty!“)

Many in every age have disturbed society by stirring up the poor against the rich. But so long as the world is under the present order of things, universal equality cannot be attained.

So long as . . .
  some are wise, and some are foolish;
  some are strong, and some are weak;
  some are healthy, and some are diseased;
so long as children reap the fruit of their parent’s misconduct;
so long as sun, and rain, and heat, and cold, and wind, and waves, and drought, and blight, and storm, and tempest are beyond man’s control–so long will there be inequality in this world.

Take all the property in England by force this day, and divide it equally among the inhabitants. Give every person over twenty years old an equal portion. Let all share alike, and begin the world over again. Do this, and see where you would be at the end of fifty years. You would just have come round to the point where you began! You would just find things as unequal as before!

   Some would have worked–and some would have been lazy;
   some would have been always careless–and some always scheming;
   some would have sold–and others would have bought;
   some would have wasted–and others would have saved.
And the end would be that some would be rich–and others would be poor.

We might as well say . . .
  that all people ought to be of the same height, weight, strength, and cleverness;
  or that all oak trees ought to be of the same shape and size;
  or that all blades of grass ought to be of the same length
–as that all people were meant to be equal.

Settle it in your mind that the main cause of all the suffering you see around you, is sin. Sin is the grand cause . . .
  of the enormous luxury of the rich–and the painful degradation of the poor;
  of the heartless selfishness of the highest classes–and the helpless poverty of the lowest.

Sin must be first cast out of the world;
the hearts of all people must be renewed and sanctified;
the devil must be bound;
the Prince of Peace must come down and take His great power and reign
–all this must be before there ever can be universal happiness, or the gulf be filled up which now divides the rich and poor.

Beware of expecting a millennium to be brought about . . .
  by any method of government,
  by any system of education,
  or by any political party.

Labor to do good to all men; pity your poorer brethren, and help every reasonable endeavor to raise them from their low estate. Do not slacken your hand from any endeavor . . .
  to increase knowledge, 
  to promote morality,
  to improve the temporal condition of the poor.

But never, never forget . . .
  that you live in a fallen world,
  that sin is all around you,
  and that the devil is abroad.


#26 ✞ 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#26. Is not love to Jesus the most universally NECESSARY love?        

One man loves one thing, and a second another, and a third another. But there is no necessity that all men should love any one thing–except for Jesus, and things pertaining to our having and enjoying Him. Love to Jesus is absolutely necessary for poor and rich, for great and small, for noble and low-born, for learned and unlearned, for slave and free. 

A Faithful Influence

Amen! 🙏

-Word- pictures by DLink

2 Corin 2;15

Wherever God’s servant is faithful and is an influence for the gospel, God is pleased.  There is a twofold effect of gospel preaching.  To some, the message brings eternal life and ultimate glorification.  To others, it is a stumbling stone of offense that brings eternal death.

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for 2 Corinthians 2:15,16.

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The plague of unsatisfiedness

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The plague of unsatisfiedness

(Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness“, 1662)

“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of covetousness; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15 

Covetousness is . . . 
  a very great and grievous sin;
  a mother sin;
  a breeding sin; 
  a sin which has all sin in its womb; 
  a very vile and heinous sin;
  the root of all evil.

Covetousness makes the soul earthly–which should be celestial. 

Covetousness is an evil which subjects men to the basest and vilest evils. 

Covetousness makes a man a fool! “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” Luke 12:20

Covetousness robs a man of all true peace, comfort, contentment and quiet. 

Covetousness brings men into snares which drown their souls in perdition.

Covetousness renders men unsatisfied under all their outward enjoyments. Though a covetous wretch has enough to sink him–yet he can never have enough to satisfy him. First he wishes for a bag full, and then a chest full, and then a room full, and then a house full, etc. 

The plague of unsatisfiedness–is the great plague which covetous men are under. Certainly you shall as soon fill a triangle with a circle, and a chest with grace–as you shall be able to fill and satisfy a covetous mind with money. 

A covetous man is like a swine–which is good for nothing while it lives. 
The horse is good to carry, 
the ox is good to draw, 
the sheep is good for cloth, 
the cow is good to give milk, 
and the dog is good to guard the house–
but the hog is good for nothing while he lives! 
Just so, a covetous man is only serviceable when he is dead. That scripture often proves true, “the riches of a sinner are laid up for the just.” Job 27:17 

No sin lays men under greater woes! 

“People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs!” 1 Timothy 6:9-10 


#25 ✞ 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#25. Is not love to Jesus the most PROFITABLE love?      

“What is a man profited, if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” By loving Jesus you shall have such a gain that no man can value, that no mind can estimate, that no mathematician, by all his numbers and figures, can compute–even . . .  pardon of innumerable sins,   the favor of an infinite and holy God,   deliverance from inconceivable torments,   possession of endless bliss, and   more than I, or any man, can describe or comprehend! 

Murder all his hearers at once!

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Murder all his hearers at once!

(Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness“, 1662)

“The leaders of the people have led them down the path of destruction!” Isaiah 9:16

Take heed of settling yourselves under an unholy minister–of one whose life gives the lie to his doctrine. An unholy preacher is the greatest destroyer of the souls of men! He who preaches well, but lives bad–does what he can, to murder all his hearers at once! There is no greater bar to holiness, than ministers’ unholy lives. An unholy life mars the soundest and the sweetest doctrine. The sins of teachers are the teachers of sins! 

An unholy minister is the greatest pest, the worst plague, and the greatest mischief–that can be to a people; for his enormities, his wickednesses, will have the strongest influences upon the souls and lives of men–to make them eternally miserable. His falls will be the fall and ruin of many; for people are prone to . . .
  live more by examples–than by precepts;
  mind more what the minister does–than what he says;
  eye more how he walks–than how he talks

Let a minister be ever so learned, solid, quaint, elegant, zealous, judicious, sententious, etc.–yet if he is carnal, covetous, worldly, vain, and loose in his life and walk, his hearers will rather slight and abhor the holy things of God.

When the preacher departs out of the way of holiness, the people will quickly wander from all that is good. He whose life is not a standing reproof to sin–will, by his life, encourage sinners more and more in a way of sin. There is nothing which keeps men so off from the love of holiness, and from the pursuing after holiness–than the unholy lives of their ministers.

“Watch your life and doctrine closely.” 1 Timothy 4:16

“Set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good.” Titus 2:7

#24 ✞ 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#24. You should never have any cause or reason to be ashamed to love Jesus.    

Is not the time coming, and the day hastening, when . . .  covetous men shall be ashamed of loving the world,   and voluptuous men ashamed of loving their pleasures,   and ambitious men ashamed of loving their honors? For is it not a horrid shame, that a rational creature should be so debased as to love sin which is most loathsome, and not to love Jesus who is most lovely? That he should love deformity, and not beauty?

Oh shame, shame! It is a shame that sin should have such esteem, and Jesus such great contempt put upon Him. But shame shall before long confound these now shameless wretches, when they shall cry out, “We are ashamed that we loved filthy lucre, and not Jesus–that we loved houses, lands, lusts, and not Jesus. This is the confusion of our faces, and shame covers us–that we should be so foolish, and so blind, that we had not sense, nor reason, to distinguish between sin, which is the greatest and most odious evil–and Jesus who is the greatest and most lovely good.” 

But the time will never come, the day will never be–that a gracious soul shall be ashamed of his sincere love to Jesus Christ. 

Repentance: the Lost Doctrine of the Twenty-First Century

Amen! 🙏

Already Not Yet

UPDATE_Repentance_620Grant Castleberry:

When I came to Capital Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina in August of last year as its senior pastor, the elders and I thought it would be best to begin my ministry in the church with a series of eight evangelistic messages. The evangelistic sermons I preached focused on the “new life” in Christ that is offered to us in the gospel. Sermon topics specifically covered the essence of lostness, the gravity of our sin, Christ’s work on the cross, the necessity of the new birth, and justification by faith alone.

After these messages were preached last fall, I came across a William Booth quote that shook me. He said, “The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.” The phrase “forgiveness without repentance” particularly convicted…

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These Gergesites had rather lose Christ, than lose their porkers!

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These Gergesites had rather lose Christ, than lose their porkers!

(Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness“, 1662)
 

“When they saw Him, they pleaded with Him to leave their region.” Matthew 8:34

A man bewitched with the world will prefer the most base and contemptible things before the Lord Jesus Christ. He will, with the Gergesenes, prefer his swine before a Savior, Matthew 8:28-34. 

When they saw what a sad market their hogs were brought to, they desired Christ to depart out of their country. These Gergesites had rather lose Christ, than lose their porkers! They had rather that the devil should possess their souls–than that Jesus should drown their pigs. They prefer their swine, before their salvation!

They present a wretched petition for their own damnation; they pleaded with Him to leave their region. Though there is no misery, no plague, no curse, no wrath, no Hell–compared to Christ’s departure from a people; yet men bewitched with the world will desire this. “When they saw Him, they pleaded with Him to leave their region.” Matthew 8:34


#23 ✞ 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#23. Is it not great condescension in Jesus, that He will so kindly accept your love?  

Shall one so great, accept of the love of one so inferior? Shall one so holy, accept the love of one that is so sinful? Shall one so glorious, accept the love of one so vile? Do great men value the love of beggars? Do princes value the love of peasants? Would a man of noble birth and wealth, marry a diseased and deformed woman clothed in rags? 
I think, considering who Jesus is, and who you are–that you should say, “If Jesus will allow me, I will love Him.” Allow you! Not only so, but He gives you a command to love Him, and that upon pain and peril of everlasting damnation! 

The dregs of old age!

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The dregs of old age!

(Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness“, 1662) 

“Let me die the death of the righteous, and may my end be like theirs!” Numbers 23:10

Many desire to repent when old age comes, when . . .
  their wits are cracked,
  their souls distracted,
  their senses stupefied,
  their hearts bewildered,
  their minds darkened and
  their bodies diseased and distempered.

Oh, then they think that they will be able to leap into Heaven, with a “Lord have mercy upon me” in their mouths. Even though they have lived like devils–yet they hope they shall die like saints!

Do you think, O vain man–that after you have spent your  time, and wasted your strength, and exhausted your energies in the work of Satan, and in the service of your lusts–that God will receive you to His grace and favor? If you do thus flatter yourself–it is ten thousand to one that you will deceive yourself! Though true repentance is never too late–yet late repentance is seldom true.Ah, how many millions are now in Hell–who have thought, and resolved, and said that they would repent hereafter–but that hereafter never came! 

You say “Tomorrow, tomorrow I will repent,” when you know not what a tomorrow will bring forth. Alas! how many thousand ways may death surprise you before tomorrow comes! Though there is but one way to come into the world–yet there are a thousand thousand ways to be sent out of the world. Oh, the diseases, the hazards, the dangers, the accidents, the deaths–which daily, which hourly attend the life of man!

Ah friends! it is a dangerous thing to make repentance to be the task of old age. 
The longer any man defers his repentance, the more difficult it will be for him to repent:
  his heart will every day grow more and more hard, 
  and his will more and more perverse, 
  and his judgment more and more corrupted, 
  and his affections more and more disordered, 
  and his conscience more and more benumbed or enraged, 
  and his whole life more and more defiled and debauched.

Friends, do not deceive yourselves! Old age is but a tottering and sinking foundation for you to build your eternal hopes and happiness upon–your eternal making or marring upon! Are the dog-days of old age–are the trembling hands, the wrinkled face, the failing eyes, the gasping lungs, the fainting heart, the feeble knees, and the broken down legs–are these a sacrifice worthy of a majestic God? Is a body full of sores, aches, and diseases–and a soul full of sin–an offering worthy of a holy God? Surely not! 

Oh, what madness, what wickedness is this: to serve Satan, your lusts, and this world with full dishes–and to put off God with scraps! To serve Satan, your lusts, and this world in the flower, in the prime and primrose of your days–and to put off God with the dregs of old age! Oh, do not let Satan deceive you, do not let your own hearts delude you!


#22 ✞ 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#22. Does not Jesus DESERVE your love? 

Do you not owe it to Him? 

Is it not due to Him by virtue of creation? Did not He give your being to you?

By virtue of preservation, has not Jesus kept you out of the grave and Hell until this day? Justice would have hewn you down, and wrath would have condemned you long ago. And who has procured a pardon for you but Christ? That you are on this side the torments of the damned, not beyond praying, and hearing, and hoping–is all through Christ’s securing for you longer time. Except by virtue of Jesus’ provision for you, you would not have had a rag for your back, nor a morsel for your mouth, nor sleep for your eyes.

By virtue of redemption, when you were worse than nothing–did not He lay down His soul, His life, His blood, as a ransom price for you?

If your love is due to Him in so many ways, what injustice will it be for you to deny Jesus that which is His due? Are you not careful to give to everyone what you owe them? And does it not ease your mind, that though you are not rich, yet you have given every one his due? Do you not work, and care, and save to give to all what you owe them–and shall Jesus be the only one to whom you will be unjust? If you have not enough to satisfy all your creditors, yet if there is one whom you love and bear more respect unto–how sure you will be to repay that one first. You should say, “Though I cannot do as much as I would like, yet Jesus shall not be a loser by me. He shall have my heart and love!”

Two Ways

Amen! 🙏 😀

-Word- pictures by DLink

Matthew 7;13

Christ is drawing the line as clearly as possible between the way that leads to destruction and the way which leads to life.

The wide gate includes all religions of works and self-righteousness, with no single way, but it leads to hell, not heaven.

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Matthew 7:13-29.


Matthew 7;14

Christ continually emphasized the difficulty of following Him (Matthew 10:38; 16:24,25; John 15:18,19; 16:1-3).  The narrow gate is by faith, only through Christ, constricted and precise.

Salvation is by grace alone, but is not easy.  It calls for knowledge of the truth, repentance, submission to Christ as Lord, and a willingness to obey His will and Word.

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Matthew 7:13, 14.

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The beauty and glory of a Christian!

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The beauty and glory of a Christian!

(Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness“, 1662) 

Holiness will render you most beautiful and amiable. As holiness is the beauty of God, and the beauty of angels–so it is the beauty and glory of a Christian also. Holiness casts such a beauty upon man, as makes him very amiable and desirable. 

The redness of the rose, the whiteness of the lily, and all the beauties of the natural universe–are but deformities compared to that beauty which holiness puts upon us. If all natural beauty were contracted into one beauty–yet it would be but an obscure and an unlovely beauty, compared to that beauty which holiness puts upon us!

Holiness is lovely, yes–loveliness itself. Purity is a Christian’s splendor and glory. There is no beauty compared to that of sanctity; nothing beautifies and bespangles a man like holiness. 

Holiness is so attractive and so lovely a thing–that it draws all eyes and hearts to an admiration of it. Holiness is so great a beauty–that it puts a beauty upon all other excellencies in a man. That holiness is a very beautiful thing, and that it makes all those beautiful who have it–is a truth that no devil can deny! 

“Demetrius,” says Plutarch, “was so lovely of face, that no painter was able to draw him.” Just so, holiness puts so rare a beauty upon man–that no painter under heaven is able to draw him! 

Scipio Africanus was so lovely a person, that the Spaniards stood amazed at his loveliness. Holiness puts such a loveliness, and such an amiableness upon a person–that many admire it, and stand amazed at it. 

O sirs, as ever you would be amiable and desirable–be holy! 

As ever you would be attractive and lovely–be holy! 

As ever you would outshine the sun in splendor and glory–labor to be holy!

Many have ventured their names, their estates, their liberties, their lives, yes, their very souls–to enjoy a lovely Bathsheba, an attractive Helena, a beautiful Diana, a lovely Cleopatra, etc.–whose beauties have been but clay, well-colored. Oh, how much more, then, should you be provoked to labor and venture your all for holiness–which will imprint upon you that most excellent and most exquisite beauty; which will go to the grave and to glory with you; yes, which will render you not only amiable and excellent in the eyes of men–but also lovely and lovely in the eyes of God!

Unholy souls are . . .
  foul souls,
  ugly souls,
  deformed souls,
  withered souls,
  wrinkled souls,
  altogether unlovely souls.


Tears have a voice!

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Tears have a voice!

(Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness”, 1662)

“The Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.” Psalm 6:8

Tears have a voice. God has an eye upon a man’s tears, as well as upon his prayers. Penitent tears are divine ambassadors, which never return from the throne of grace without answers of grace. Peter said nothing, but went out and wept bitterly–and obtained mercy. Tears are a kind of silent prayers, which will at last prevail for mercy. 

A sinner’s face never shines so beautiful, as when it is bedewed with penitential tears.

“I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears!” Isaiah 38:5

#20 ✞ 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#20. To truly love YOURSELVES, you must love Jesus supremely. 

 Does that man truly love himself, who does not regard the salvation of his soul–who ruins himself, and damns himself, and shuts himself out of Heaven? Does that man truly love himself, who exposes himself to the wrath of God, to the damnation of Hell, and to banishment from the glorious presence of the blessed God? All these things a man brings upon himself for lack of love to Jesus. If then you desire to truly love yourself, you must love Jesus supremely.

He was the only innocent man ever to be punished by God!

 

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He was the only innocent man ever to be punished by God!

(R.C. Sproul, “The Holiness of God”)

A god who is all love, all grace, all mercy–but no sovereignty, no justice, no holiness, and no wrath–is an idol!

The most violent expression of God’s wrath and justice is seen in the Cross. If ever a person had room to complain for injustice it was Jesus. He was the only innocent man ever to be punished by God! 

If we stagger at the wrath of God, then let us stagger at the Cross. Here is where our astonishment should be focused.

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God!” 2 Corinthians 5:21 

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us!” Galatians 3:13 

“He humbled Himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:8 

“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree!” 1 Peter 2:24

“Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God!” 1 Peter 3:18 

 


#19 ✞ 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#19. Will you love worldly things, which you might easily love too much–and not Jesus whom you can never love too much? 

 You might love your riches, your relations, your pleasures, yourself, your liberty and your life too much. In these things your love might easily be too much and transgress the lawful bounds. And indeed, so much love as you give to these things, more than to Jesus–is too much love. But if you were able to bear it, and could you love Jesus with as much love as all the angels in Heaven love Him–it would not be too much love for Him. Many have complained they loved Christ too little, but no one ever said that Jesus had too much of their love. God blames you, and your conscience accuses you–for your inordinate love to things on earth. But neither God nor conscience will condemn you for the highest degrees of love to Jesus.

How wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is!

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How wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is!

(Charles Spurgeon

“May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should–how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is! May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.” Ephesians 3:18-19 

The love of Christ in its sweetness, its fullness, its greatness, its faithfulness–surpasses all human comprehension. Where shall language be found–which could describe His matchless, His unparalleled love towards His redeemed people? It is so vast and boundless that, as the swallow but skims the water, and dives not into its depths–so all descriptions of Jesus but touch the surface, while immeasurable depths lie beneath. Well might the poet say, “O love–you fathomless abyss!” for this love of Christ is indeed measureless and fathomless; none can attain unto it!

Before we can have any right idea of the love of Jesus, we must understand His previous glory in His height of majesty–and His humiliation upon the earth in all its depths of shame. 

But who can fathom the majesty and glory of Christ, when . . . 
  He was enthroned in the highest heavens;
  He was very God of very God;
  He made the heavens and all the hosts thereof;
  His own almighty arm upheld the spheres;
  the full chorus of the hallelujahs of the universe unceasingly flowed to the foot of His throne;
  He reigned supreme above all His creatures, as God over all, blessed forever! 
Who can fathom His height of glory then? 

And who, on the other hand, can fathom how low He descended
To become a man was something–to be a man of sorrows was far more. 
To bleed, and die, and suffer–these were much for Him who was the Son of God; but to suffer such unparalleled agony, to endure a death of shame and desertion by His Father–this is a depth of condescending love which the most inspired mind must utterly fail to penetrate! 

Herein is love! and truly it is love that surpasses knowledge!

O let His love for such unworthy sinners as us, fill our hearts with adoring gratitude. 


#18 ✞ 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#18. Can you do anything less than love Jesus–and can you do anything more? 

 

Jesus has done such great things for you, is it not a small thing that Jesus should have your love in return? If Jesus had asked you to lay down your life for Him, had He called you to give your bodies to be burned for Him–would you not have done it? How much more when He says, “just let your hearts but burn in love unto Me”–when that burning will not be painful, but delightful! 
When Naaman came to the prophet to be cleansed of his leprosy, being directed to go and wash in the Jordan that he should be clean–in anger he went away. But his servant came to Him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather, then, when He says unto you–wash, and be clean?” In the same way, if Jesus had required some great thing, that you might escape great torments, and be partaker of His great salvation–would you not have gladly done it? How much rather, then, when He says, “Love Me, and be saved?”
When you have received a great kindness from a friend whom you cannot repay, do you not say, “I cannot do less than love him”. Yet this small thing of loving Jesus is of greater value to Him than all else. You pray to Him, but to love Him is better. A heart full of love means more to Jesus than a thousand prayers full of the most eloquent expressions, without love. You study His Word, but to love Him is better. You might suffer for Him, but to love to Him is better. Should you give all your goods to the poor, and your body to the fire for Him–yet to give your heart and to love Him is still better. And, indeed, except all the former things proceed from love and are accompanied with love–they are not pleasing to Jesus.

Walk in the Spirit!

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Walk in the Spirit!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18 

Walk in the Spirit (let your steps be guided by the Spirit,) and you will not gratify the evil desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16

Rich would the blessings of this day be, if we were filled with the Holy Spirit. The consequences of this sacred filling of the soul, would be impossible to overestimate. Life, comfort, light, purity, power, peace; and many other precious blessings are inseparable from the Spirit’s gracious presence.

As sacred oil–He anoints the head of the believer, sets him apart to the priesthood of saints, and gives him grace to execute his duties aright. 

As the only truly purifying water–He cleanses us from the power of sin and sanctifies us unto holiness, working in us to will and to do of the Lord’s good pleasure. 

As the holy light–He reveals the Lord Jesus to us, and guides us in the way of righteousness. Enlightened by His pure celestial ray, we are no longer walk in darkness–but in the light of Scripture truth. 

As purifying fire–He both purges us from dross, and sets our consecrated nature ablaze. He is the sacrificial flame by which we are enabled to offer our whole souls as a living sacrifice unto God. 

As heavenly dew–He removes our barrenness and nourishes our lives. O that He would drop from above upon us at this early hour! Such morning dew would be a sweet commencement for the day. 

As the heavenly Dove, with wings of peaceful love–He broods over the souls of believers; and as a Comforter He dispels the cares and doubts which mar the peace of His beloved ones. He descends upon His chosen people, and bears witness to their sonship by working in them a filial spirit by which they cry Abba, Father! 

As the wind–He brings the breath of spiritual life to men. He performs the quickening operations by which the spiritual creation is animated and sustained. 

O that we might feel the Spirit’s presence and influence this day and every day! 


#17 ✞ 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#17. Is it not the WISEST CHOICE to love Jesus, and not the things of this world? 

Everyone loves something. And do those act as rational creatures, as men endued with reason–who do not love Jesus, but give their affections to the world and sin? They love that which cannot love them back, nor satisfy them, and which they must soon part with. “He who loves silver shall never be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This is also meaningless.” “Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.” “We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out.”

Might you not be rich today, and poor tomorrow? Healthy today, and sick tomorrow? In honor today, and in disgrace tomorrow? Was it not so with Haman? 
When you have riches and love them, you are not sure to keep them. Will you set your eyes, your heart and your love, “upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings, and fly away as an eagle towards heaven.” Death carries the lovers of this world far away–far from the things they love. The pleasures of sin, and also the profits of the world, are but for a season; and when the season is over, they are gone! But Jesus will never leave you, nor ever forsake you! 

The Weaver!

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The Weaver!

(J.R. Miller)

The life that is given up to God in true devotion, need fear nothing. We may have our sorrows, our disappointments, our losses, but all of our life is in the hands of God–and no real harm can come to us. In all the events and experiences of our most difficult days–God is developing our graces and character!

Very beautiful is the figure of the loom. God is the Weaver. He has before Him the pattern into which He would fashion our lives. Some threads are white, some are dark–but the great Weaver will blend them so that the finished work will be beautiful. 

The Weaver! 
(Author unknown)

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Ofttimes He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper
And I the under-side.

Not til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.

“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 


#16 ✞ 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

#16. Is not love to Jesus the most ENDURING love?

It is a love that shall never end. Before long, everyone will be done loving this world–even those who love it most and have their hearts most set upon it. Those who now have their hearts full of earth, shall soon have their mouths full of earth, when their bodies lie rotting in the earth–then they will be done loving it. Death, which ends their life in this world–shall end their love to this world!
But you, the true lover of Jesus, shall never be done loving Him. It is sweet to love Jesus, but this makes it even more sweet–to think you shall ALWAYS love Him–love Him in life, love Him in death and love Him after death. Oh blessed love that shall never be lost, but last forever!
What can those who never loved Jesus in this world, love in the next world? What can damned souls in Hell love? 
Can they love God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, angels or believers? No! their hatred to all these is, and shall be, more deeply rooted in them than it ever was while upon earth. 
Can they love their location in Hell? No, they will wish they never had come there. 
Can they love the pains of Hell? No, they grieve and groan under these torments, and are weary to bear them.
Can they love the devils in Hell? No, they curse them for tempting them to the sin which brought them to their place in Hell. 
Can they love their companions in Hell? No, they are an aggravation of one another’s misery.
Can they love their sin in Hell? Alas! all that was pleasurable in sin is gone, and only the pain and sting of sin remain. 
Can they love their being in Hell? They had rather die than live, and cease to be at all–than to continue to be in Hell.
Oh loathsome place, where there is, and can be, no love!
Oh! how lovely is Heaven to us! Where love reigns and where love lives! Our life shall be forever a life of love! 
Dear Lord! save me from Hell, because in Hell there is no love to You, nor to anything that is good. Sweet Savior! lead me in the way to Heaven, and bring me there, where love to You shall live and last forever!

The road by which the Spirit leads God’s children!

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The road by which the Spirit leads God’s children!

(J.C. Ryle, “Heirs of God” 1878)

“As many as are led by the Spirit of God–they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14

All true Christians are under the leading and teaching of a power which is Almighty, though unseen–even the power of the Holy Spirit. They no longer turn to their own way, and walk in the light of their own eyes, and follow their own natural heart’s desire. The Spirit leads them. The Spirit guides them. There is a movement in their hearts, lives, and affections, which they feel–though they may not be able to explain; and a movement which is always more or less in the same direction.

They are all led . . .
  away from sin, 
  away from self-righteousness, 
  away from the world!

This is the road by which the Spirit leads God’s children
Those whom God adopts as His children–He teaches and trains
He shows them their own hearts. 
He makes them weary of their own ways. 

They are all led to Christ
They are all led to the Bible
They are all led to prayer
They are all led to holiness
This is the beaten path along which the Spirit makes them to travel.
Those whom God adopts–He always sanctifies. 
He makes sin very bitter to them. 
He makes holiness very sweet.

When they are taken into the wilderness, and taught to see their own emptiness–it is the leading of the Spirit. 

It is He who leads them to Mount Sinai, and first shows them the law–that their hearts may be broken. 

It is He who leads them to Mount Calvary, and shows them the cross–that their hearts may be bound up and healed.

It is He who leads them to Mount Pisgah, and gives them distinct views of the promised land–that their hearts may be cheered. 

Each and all of God’s children is the subject of these leadings. 
Each and all is led by the right way, to bring him to a city of habitation.

Settle this down in your heart, and do not let it go: the children of God are a people “led by the Spirit of God,” and always led more or less in the same way. Their experience will tally wonderfully when they compare notes in Heaven.

“I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.” Proverbs 4:11 

“In your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed.
 In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling.” Exodus 15:13 

The ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe!

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The ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe!

(John Piper)

What makes sin sin is not first that it hurts people, but that it blasphemes God. 
This is the ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe.

Sin is . . .

  the glory of God not honored,

    the holiness of God not reverenced,

     the greatness of God not admired,

      the power of God not praised,

       the truth of God not sought,

        the wisdom of God not esteemed,

          the beauty of God not treasured,

            the goodness of God not savored,

              the faithfulness of God not trusted,

           the commandments of God not obeyed,

        the justice of God not respected,

      the wrath of God not feared,

    the grace of God not cherished,

  the presence of God not prized,

the person of God not loved.

The infinite, all-glorious Creator of the universe, by whom and for whom all things exist (Romans 11:36)–who holds every person’s life in being at every moment (Acts 17:25)–is disregarded, disbelieved, disobeyed, and dishonored by everybody in the world. That is the ultimate outrage of the universe.


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