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Some benefits of sickness and affliction

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Some benefits of sickness and affliction

(J.C. Ryle)

Sickness helps . . .
  to remind men of death,
  to make men think seriously of God, and their souls, and the world to come,
¬† to soften men’s hearts, and teach them wisdom,¬†
  to abase and humble us, 
¬† to try men’s religion, of what sort it is.

The¬†storms of winter¬†often bring out the defects in a man’s dwelling. In the same way, sickness often exposes the gracelessness of a man’s soul. Surely anything that makes us find out the real character of our faith, is a good thing.

Sicknesses, losses, crosses, anxieties and disappointments–seem absolutely needful to keep us humble, watchful and spiritual-minded. They are as needful as the pruning knife to the vine; and the refiner’s furnace to the gold.

There is no commentary that opens up the Bible, so much as sickness and sorrow!

There are no lessons so useful–as those learned in the¬†school of affliction.¬†

By affliction, God . . .
  shows us our emptiness and weakness, 
  draws us to the throne of grace, 
  purifies our affections, 
  weans us from the world, 
  and makes us long for Heaven!

He is a bad preacher!

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He is a bad preacher!

(Charles Spurgeon) 

“Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.” Joel 1:3¬†

In this simple way, by God’s grace, a living testimony for truth is always to be kept alive in the land. The beloved of the Lord are to hand down their witness for the gospel to their heirs, and these again to their next descendants.¬†

This is our¬†first¬†duty–we are to begin at the¬†family hearth.¬†He is a bad preacher, who does not commence his ministry¬†at home. The heathen are to be sought by all means, and the highways and hedges are to be searched–but¬†home¬†has a prior claim, and woe unto those who reverse the order of the Lord’s arrangements.¬†

To teach our children is a¬†personal¬†duty. We cannot delegate it to Sunday School Teachers, or to the church. These can¬†assist¬†us–but cannot¬†relieve¬†us from the sacred obligation. Mothers and fathers must, like Abraham, command their households in the fear of God, and talk with their offspring concerning the wondrous works of the Most High God.¬†

Parental teaching is a¬†natural¬†duty. Who is so fit to look to after child’s well-being, as those who are the authors of his actual being? To neglect the instruction of our offspring is worse than brutish!¬†

Family instruction is necessary for the nation, for the family itself, and for the church of God. By a thousand plots, atheism is covertly advancing in our land, and one of the most effectual means for resisting its inroads is left almost neglected, namely, the instruction of children in the faith. Would that parents would awaken to a sense of the importance of this matter. 

It is a¬†pleasant¬†duty to talk of Jesus to our sons and daughters, and the more so because it has often proved to be an¬†accepted¬†work, for God has often saved the children through the parents’ prayers and admonitions.¬†

May every house into which this counsel shall come, honor the Lord in this matter and receive His smile!

“These commandments that I give to you today are to be upon your hearts.¬†Impress them on your children.¬†Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates!”¬†Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the¬†training¬†and¬†instruction¬†of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4¬†

‚̧ԳŹLove At First Sight…Village – 15 Years On!!!

¬†This week i‚Äôm celebrating 15 years since i met my lovely wife Sarah at ‚ÄúSight Village, Birmingham, UK‚Ä̬†

This is a major Sight Village show in Birmingham which is held in July each year. Exhibitors throughout the world take part and welcome many thousands of visitors, including people who are blind or partially sighted, professionals, business people and family members.

I was there (from Derby) working for a charity called LOOK and Sarah was there (from Surrey) working for RNIB. She came to my table as she had a magazine which she had just published an article about LOOK and wanted to show me. Sarah opened the magazine and said here are the pictures and the article, i said ‚ÄúWow, fantastic, it all looks great‚ÄĚ which made Sarah quite proud of her work. I then said while laughing ‚Äúyou know i didn‚Äôt see any of what you‚Äôve just shown me, as i‚Äôm blind!‚ÄĚ. Then as always, a brief pause as Sarah checks out my eyes to see if i‚Äôm joking, then Sarah laughed and said ‚ÄúNo way, me too!‚ÄĚ. We both approach blindness in a similar way and love blossomed from that point. ūüôā

Photos Throughout The Years….

Sarah  i 2005

 ⇧ 2005 ⇧ 

Sarah  i 2006

Me Sarah  Bruce 2006

 ⇧ 2006 ⇧ 

Sarah  I Wedding photo

 ⇧ 2007 ⇧ 

Me Sarah  Bruce 2009

⇧ 2008 ⇧ 

Sarah  i 2009

⇧ 2009 ⇧   

Valentines heart

 ⇧ 2010 ⇧ 

Steve sarah at friday street1

⇧ 2011 ⇧  

Sarah  i 2012

Me  Sarah in Church

 ⇧ 2012 ⇧  

Sarah  i holding hands 2014

 ⇧ 2013 ⇧ 

Sarah & i stood in front of the barbados sunset

IMG 3598

MIL 6290

Me  Sarah

ūüďĖ Bible Verse

Ephesians 5:25 Easy-to-Read Version

Husbands, love your wives the same as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.

ūü§Ē My Thoughts…¬†

This is one of my favourite Bible verses that i try desperately  each day to live up to. As soon as i first read this verse it convicted me straight away and i knew i wanted to be a husband like that!

ūüôŹ Prayer

Holy Spirit, thanks for being a constant guiding presence in my life. Give me the faith to take practical and radical action to keep in step with You, so that You can love my spouse through me in a way that will sustain a fun, loving & trusting relationship. Amen.

When the Father of Lies enters the pulpit with a Bible under his arm!

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When the Father of Lies enters the pulpit with a Bible under his arm!

(Arthur Pink, 1886-1952)

The success of a counterfeiter depends largely upon how closely the counterfeit resembles the genuine article. 

Heresy is not so much the total denial of the truth, as a perversion of it. That is why a half-lie is always more dangerous than a complete repudiation. 

Hence when the Father of Lies enters the pulpit with a Bible under his arm it is not his custom to flatly deny the fundamental truths of Christianity; rather he tacitly acknowledges them, and then proceeds to give an erroneous interpretation and a false application.

False prophets are to be found in the circles of the most orthodox, and they pretend to have a fervent love for souls–yet they fatally delude multitudes concerning the way of salvation! These¬†pulpit hucksters¬†have wantonly lowered the standard of divine holiness and so adulterated the Gospel, in order to make it palatable to the carnal mind.

Any preacher . . .
¬† who adulterates God’s Word,
  who denies repentance to be a condition of salvation,
  who assures the giddy and godless that they are loved by God,
  who declares that saving faith is nothing more mental assent
–is a false prophet, and should be shunned as a deadly plague!

It is only those who truly love Christ who are fitted to minister to His flock! 
The work is so laborious, 
the appreciation is often so small, 
the response is so discouraging, 
the criticisms are so harsh, 
the attacks of Satan are so fierce,
that only the “love of Christ”–His love for us and our love for Him–can “constrain” to such work.¬†

“Hirelings” will feed the goats–but only those who love Christ can feed His sheep!

Christian Love Part 3 Of 4 By J. C. Ryle

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III. Let me show, thirdly–where¬†the love of the Bible comes from.

Love, such as I have described, is certainly not¬†natural¬†to man. Naturally, we are all more or less selfish, envious, ill-tempered, spiteful, ill-natured, and unkind! We have only to observe children, when left to themselves, to see the proof of this. Let boys and girls grow up without proper training and education–and you will not see one of them possessing Christian love! Mark how some of them think first of themselves, and their own comfort and advantage! Mark how others are full of pride, passion, and evil tempers! How can we account for it? There is but one reply. The¬†natural heart¬†knows nothing of true love.

Christian love will never be found except in a heart prepared by the Holy Spirit. It is a tender plant, and will never grow except in one soil. You may as well expect grapes on thorns, or figs on thistles–as look for love when the heart is not right.

The heart in which love grows, is a heart changed, renewed, and transformed by the Holy Spirit. The image and likeness of God, which Adam lost at the fall, has been restored to it, however feeble and imperfect the restoration may appear. It is a “partaker of the Divine nature,” by union with Christ and sonship to God; and one of the first features of that nature is¬†love. (2 Peter I. 4.)

Such a heart is deeply convinced of¬†sin–hates it, flees from it, and fights with it from day to day. And one of the prime motions of sin which it daily labors to overcome, is¬†selfishness¬†and¬†lack of love.

Such a heart is deeply sensible of its¬†mighty debt to our Lord Jesus Christ. It feels continually that it owes to Him who died for us on the cross, all its present comfort, hope, and peace. How can it show forth its gratitude? What can it render to its Redeemer? If it can do nothing else, it strives to be like Him, to drink into His spirit, to walk in His footsteps, and, like Him–to be full of love. “The love of Christ shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit” is the surest¬†fountain¬†of Christian love. Love will produce love.

I ask my reader’s special attention to this point. It is one of great importance in the present day. There are many who profess to admire love–while they care nothing about¬†vital Christianity. They like some of the¬†fruits¬†and results of the Gospel–but not the¬†root¬†from which these fruits alone can grow, or the doctrines with which they are inseparably connected.

Hundreds will praise love–who hate to be told of man’s corruption, of the blood of Christ, and of the inward work of the Holy Spirit. Many a parent would like his children to grow up unselfish and good tempered–who would not be much pleased if conversion, and repentance, and faith, were pressed home on their attention.

Now I desire to protest against this notion, that you can have the¬†fruits¬†of Christianity, without the¬†roots–that you can produce Christian tempers, without teaching Christian doctrines–that you can have love which will wear and endure, without grace in the heart.

I grant, most freely, that every now and then one sees a person who seems very charitable and amiable, without any distinctive Christian religion. But such cases are so rare and remarkable, that, like¬†exceptions–they only prove the truth of the general rule. And often, too often, it may be feared in such cases the love is only¬†apparent, and in private it completely fails. I firmly believe, as a general rule, you will not find such love as the Bible describes, except in the¬†soil¬†of a heart thoroughly imbued with Bible religion. Holy¬†practice¬†will not flourish without sound¬†doctrine. What God has joined together, it is useless to expect to have separate.

The delusion which I am trying to combat, is helped forward to a most mischievous degree by the vast majority of novels, romances, and tales of fiction. Who does not know that the heroes and heroines of these works are constantly described as patterns of perfection? They are always doing the right thing, saying the right thing, and showing the right temper! They are always kind, and amiable, and unselfish, and forgiving! And yet you never hear a word about their religion! In short, to judge by the generality of works of fiction, it is possible to have . . . 
excellent practical religion–without doctrine,¬†
the¬†fruits¬†of the Spirit–without the¬†grace¬†of the Spirit,¬†
and the¬†mind¬†of Christ–without¬†union¬†with Christ!

Here, in short, is the great danger of reading most novels, romances, and works of fiction. The greater part of them give a false or incorrect view of human nature. They paint their model men and women as they¬†ought¬†to be, and not as they¬†really are. The readers of such writings get their minds filled with wrong conceptions of what the world is. Their notions of mankind become¬†visionary¬†and¬†unreal. They are constantly looking for men and women such as they never meet–and expecting what they never find.

Let me entreat my readers, once for all, to draw their ideas of human nature from the Bible, and not from novels. Settle it down in your mind, that there cannot be true love without a heart renewed by grace. A certain degree of kindness, courtesy, amiability, good nature–may undoubtedly be seen in many who have no vital religion. But the glorious plant of¬†Bible love, in all its fullness and perfection, will never be found without union with Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Teach this to your children, if you have any. Hold it up in schools, if you are connected with any. Lift up love. Make much of love. Give place to none in exalting the grace of kindness, love, good nature, unselfishness, good temper.¬†

But never, never forget, that there is but one¬†school¬†in which these things can be thoroughly learned–and that is the school of Christ. Real love comes down from above. True love is the¬†fruit of the Spirit. He who would have it–must sit at Christ’s feet, and learn of Him.

Christian Love Part 2 Of 4 By J. C. Ryle

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II. Let me show, secondly, WHAT the love of the Bible really is.

I think it of great importance to have clear views on this point. It is precisely here that mistakes about love begin. Thousands delude themselves with the idea that they have “love,” when they have not, from downright ignorance of Scripture. Their love is not the love described in the Bible.

(a) The love of the Bible does not consist in¬†giving to the poor.¬†It is a common delusion to suppose that it does. Yet Paul tells us plainly, that a man may “bestow all his goods to feed the poor “(1 Corinthians 13:8)–and not have love! That a charitable man will “remember the poor,” there can be no question. (Galatians 2:10.) That he will do all he can to assist them, relieve them, and lighten their burdens–I do not for a moment deny. All I say is, that this does not make up “love.” It is easy to spend a fortune in giving away money, and soup, and milk, and and bread, and coals, and blankets, and clothing–and yet to be utterly destitute of Bible love!

(b) The love of the Bible does not consist in never disapproving anybody’s conduct.¬†Here is another very common delusion! Thousands pride themselves on never¬†condemning¬†others, or calling them¬†wrong, whatever they may do. They convert the precept of our Lord, “do not judge,” into an excuse for having no unfavorable opinion at all of anybody! They pervert His prohibition of¬†rash¬†and¬†censorious¬†judgments, into a prohibition of¬†all¬†judgment whatever.¬†

Your neighbor may be a drunkard, a liar, and a violent man. Never mind! “It is not love,” they tell you, “to pronounce him, wrong!” You are to believe that he has a¬†good heart at the bottom!¬†This idea of love is, unhappily, a very common one. It is full of mischief. To¬†throw a veil over sin, and to refuse to call things by their right names, to talk of “hearts” being good, when “lives” are flatly wrong, to shut our eyes against wickedness, and say smooth things of immorality–this is not Scriptural love!

(c) The love of the Bible does not consist in never¬†disapproving anybody’s religious opinions.¬†Here is another most serious and growing delusion. There are many who pride themselves on never pronouncing others mistaken, whatever views they may hold. Your neighbor may be an Atheist, or a Buddhist, or a Roman Catholic, or a Mormonite, a Deist, or a Skeptic, a mere Formalist, or a thorough Antinomian. But the “love” of many says that you have no right to think him wrong! “If he is sincere, it is uncharitable to think unfavorably of his spiritual condition!”

From such love–may I ever be delivered!

At this rate, the Apostles were wrong in going out to preach to the Gentiles!

At this rate, there is no use in missions!

At this rate, we had better close our Bibles, and shut up our churches!

At this rate, everybody is right–and nobody is wrong!

At this rate, everybody is going to Heaven–and nobody is going to Hell!¬†

Such¬†love¬†is a monstrous caricature! To say that all are equally right in their opinions–though their opinions flatly contradict one another; to say that all are equally in the way to Heaven–though their doctrinal sentiments are as opposite as black and white–this is not Scriptural love. Love like this, pours contempt on the Bible, and talks as if God had not given us a written standard of truth. Love like this, confuses all our notions of Heaven, and would fill it with a discordant inharmonious rabble. True love does not think everybody right in doctrine. True love cries, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world!” 1 John 4:1. “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him!” 2 John 1:10¬†

I leave the negative side of the question here. I have dwelt upon it at some length because of the days in which we live and the strange notions which abound. Let me now turn to the positive side. Having shown what love is not, let me now show what it is.

Christian love is that “love,” which Paul places first among those fruits which the Spirit causes to be brought forth in the heart of a believer. “The fruit of the Spirit is love.” (Galatians 5:22.)¬†

Love to God, such as Adam had before the fall, is its first feature. He who has love, desires to love God with heart, and soul and mind, and strength. 

Love to man is its second feature. He who has Christian love, desires to love his neighbor as himself.

Christian love will show itself in a believer’s¬†doings. It will make him ready to do kind acts to everyone within his reach, “both to their bodies and souls. It will not let him be content with soft words and kind wishes. It will make him diligent in doing all that lies in his power to lessen the sorrow and increase the happiness of others. Like his Master, he will care more for ministering than for being ministered to, and will look for nothing in return. Like his Master’s great apostle, he will very willingly “spend and be spent” for others, even though they repay him with hatred, and not with love. True love does not want¬†wages. Its work is its reward.¬†

Christian love will show itself in a believer’s¬†readiness to bear evil¬†as well as to do good. It will make him . . .
patient under provocation, 
forgiving when injured, 
meek when unjustly attacked, 
quiet when slandered. 

It will make him bear much and forbear much, put up with much and look over much, submit often and deny himself often–all for the sake of peace. It will make him put a strong¬†bit¬†on his temper, and a strong¬†bridle¬†on his tongue.

True love is not always asking, “What are¬†my¬†rights? Am¬†I¬†treated as I deserve?” but, “How can I best promote peace? How can I do that which is most edifying to others?”

Christian love will show itself in the general spirit and demeanor of a believer. It will make him kind, unselfish, good-natured, good-tempered, and considerate for others. It will make him gentle, affable, and courteous, in all the daily relations of private life. It will make him thoughtful for others’ comfort, tender for others’ feelings, and more anxious to give pleasure than to receive.¬†

True love never¬†envies¬†others when they prosper, nor rejoices in the calamities of others when they are in trouble. At all times, it will believe, and hope, and try to put a good construction on others’ actions. And even at the worst, it will be full of pity, mercy, and compassion.

Would we like to know where the¬†true Pattern¬†of love like this can be found? We have only to look at the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, as described in the Gospels, and we shall see it perfectly exemplified. Love shone forth in all His¬†doings. His¬†daily life¬†was an incessant “going about” doing good. Love shone forth in all His¬†bearing. He was continually hated, persecuted, slandered, misrepresented. But He patiently endured it all. No angry word ever fell from His lips. No ill-temper ever appeared in His demeanor. “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.” (1 Peter 2:23.) Love shone forth in all His¬†spirit¬†anddeportment. The¬†law of kindness¬†was ever on His lips. Among weak and ignorant disciples, among sick and sorrowful petitioners for help and relief, among publicans and sinners, among Pharisees and Sadducees–He was always one and the same–kind and patient to all.

And yet, be it remembered, our blessed Master never¬†flattered sinners,¬†or¬†connived at sin. He never shrank from¬†exposing wickedness¬†in its true colors, or from rebuking those who would cleave to it. He never hesitated to¬†denounce false doctrine, by whoever it might be held, or to exhibit¬†false practice¬†in its true colors, and the certain end to which it tends. He called things by their right names. He spoke as freely of Hell and the fire that is never quenched, as of Heaven and the kingdom of glory. He has left on record an everlasting proof that perfect love does not require us to approve everybody’s life or opinions, and that it is quite possible to condemn false doctrine and wicked practice–and yet to be full of love at the same time.

I have now set before my readers the true nature of Christian love. I have given a slight and very brief account of what it is not, and what it is. I cannot pass on without suggesting two practical thoughts, which press home on my mind with weighty force, and I hope may press home on others.

Think, for a moment, how deplorably little love there is upon earth!¬†How w conspicuous is the absence of true love among professing Christians! I speak not of¬†heathen¬†now, I speak of professing Christians! What angry tempers, what passions, what selfishness, what bitter tongues–are to be found in private families! What strifes, what quarrels, what spitefulness, what malice, what revenge, what envy between neighbors and fellow-parishioners! What jealousies and contentions between Churchmen and Dissenters, Calvinists and Arminians, High Churchmen and Low Churchmen! “Where is love?” we may well ask, “Where is love? Where is the mind of Christ?”–when we look at the spirit which reigns in the world. No wonder that Christ’s cause stands still, and infidelity abounds–when men’s hearts know so little of love! Surely, we may well say, “When the Son of man comes, shall He find¬†love¬†upon earth?”

Think, for another thing, what a happy world this would be–if there was more love.¬†It is the lack of love which causes half the misery which there is upon earth. Sickness, and death, and poverty, will not account for more than half the sorrows. The rest come from ill- temper, ill-nature, strifes, quarrels, lawsuits, malice, envy, revenge, frauds, violence, wars, and the like. It would be one great step towards doubling the happiness of mankind, and halving their sorrows–if all men and women were full of Scriptural love.

Christian Love Part 1 Of 4 By J. C. Ryle

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“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the¬†greatest¬†of these is love!” 1 Corinthians 13:13

“The end of the commandment is love.” 1 Timothy 1:5¬†

Love is rightly called “the Queen of Christian graces.” It is a grace which all people profess to admire. It seems a plain practical thing which everybody can understand. It is none of “those troublesome doctrinal points” about which Christians are disagreed. Thousands, I suspect, would not be ashamed to tell you that they knew nothing about justification or regeneration, about the work of Christ or the Holy Spirit. But nobody, I believe, would like to say that he knew nothing about “love!” If men possess nothing else in religion, they always flatter themselves that they possess “love.”

A few plain thoughts about love may not be without use. There are false notions abroad about it which require to be dispelled. There are mistakes about it which require to be rectified. In my admiration of love, I yield to none. But I am bold to say that in many minds, the whole subject seems completely misunderstood.

I. Let me show, firstly, the place which the Bible gives to love.

II. Let me show, secondly, what the love of the Bible really is.

III. Let me show, thirdly, where true love comes from.

IV. Let me show, lastly, why love is “the greatest” of the graces.

I ask the best attention of my readers to the subject. My heart’s desire and prayer to God is, that the growth of love may be promoted in this sin-burdened world. In nothing does the fallen condition of man show itself so strongly, as in the¬†scarcity of Christian love. There is little¬†faith¬†on earth, little¬†hope, little¬†knowledge¬†of Divine things. But nothing, after all, is so¬†scarce¬†as real love!
 

I. Let me show the PLACE which the Bible gives to love.

I begin with this point in order to establish the¬†immense practical importance¬†of my subject. I do not forget that there are many high-flying Christians in this present day, who almost refuse to look at anything¬†practical¬†in Christianity. They can talk of nothing but two or three favorite doctrines. Now I want to remind my readers that the Bible contains much about¬†practice¬†as well as about¬†doctrine, and that one thing to which it attaches great weight, is “love.”

I turn to the New Testament, and ask men to observe what it says about love. In all religious inquiries there is nothing like letting the Scripture speak for itself. There is no surer way of finding out truth, than the old way of¬†turning to plain texts. Texts were our Lord’s¬†weapons, both in answering Satan, and in arguing with the Jews. Texts are the¬†guides¬†we must never be ashamed to refer to in the present day. “What do the Scriptures say? What is written? How do you read?”

Let us hear what Paul says to the Corinthians: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love–I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love–I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love–I gain nothing!” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3¬†

Let us hear what Paul says to the Colossians: “Above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness.” (Colossians 3:14.)

Let us hear what Paul says to Timothy: “The end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart” (1 Timothy 1:5.)

Let us hear what Peter says: “Above all things, have fervent love among yourselves: for love shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8.)

Let us hear what our Lord Jesus Christ Himself says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34, 35.)¬†

Above all, let us read our Lord’s account of the last judgment, and mark that lack of love will condemn millions. “Then He will say to those on the left: Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in; I was naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not take care of Me.” (Matthew 25:41-43.)

Let us hear what Paul says to the Romans: “Owe no man anything–but to love another: for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:9.)

Let us hear what Paul says to the Ephesians: “Walk is love, as Christ also has loved us.” (Ephesians 5:2.)

Let us hear what John says: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7, 8.)

I shall make¬†no comment¬†upon these texts. I think it better to place them before my readers in their¬†naked simplicity, and to let them speak for themselves. If anyone is disposed to think the subject of this paper a matter of light importance, I will only ask him to look at these texts, and to think again. He who would take down “love” from the high and holy place which it occupies in the Bible, and treat it as a matter of¬†secondary¬†consequence, must settle his account with God’s Word. I certainly shall not waste time in arguing with him.

To my own mind, the evidence of these texts appears clear, plain, and incontrovertible. They show the¬†immense importance¬†of love, as one of the “things that accompany salvation.” They prove that it has a right to demand the serious attention of all who call themselves Christians, and that those who despise the subject are only exposing their own ignorance of Scripture.

If you feel your tongue itch to talk nonsense!

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If you feel your tongue itch to talk nonsense!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“To the Law and to the Testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20¬†

Take care never to impute the vain follies of your imagination to the Holy Spirit. I have seen the Spirit of God shamefully dishonored by people–I hope they were insane–who have said that they have had this and that¬†revealed¬†to them.¬†

For some years there has not been a single week in which I have not been pestered with the¬†revelations¬†of hypocrites or maniacs. Semi-lunatics are very fond of coming with¬†“messages from the Lord”¬†to me. It may spare them some trouble if I tell them once for all that¬†I will have none of their stupid messages!

Never think that events are¬†revealed¬†to you by God–or you may come to be like those idiots who dare impute their blatant follies to the Holy Spirit.¬†If you feel your tongue itch to talk nonsense–then trace it to the devil, and not to the Spirit of God!

Whatever is to be revealed by the Spirit to any of us, is in the Word of God already. He adds nothing to the Bible, and never will. Let people who have¬†revelations¬†of this, that, and the other thing–go to bed, and wake up in their senses. I only wish they would follow Scripture and¬†no longer insult the Holy Spirit by laying their nonsense at His door!

“A prophet who presumes to speak in My name anything I have not commanded him to say . . . must be put to death!” Deuteronomy 18:20¬†

“The prophets are prophesying lies in My name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and¬†the delusions of their own minds!”¬†Jeremiah 14:14¬†

“Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: Hear the Word of the LORD!” Ezekiel 13:2

Yay…It’s Our 12th Wedding Anniversary!

There is no more lovely, friendly or charming relationship, communion or company, than a good marriage. – Martin Luther

Sarah i wedding photo

⇧ Sarah & i ⇧ 

Each time our wedding anniversary comes round, i can’t believe how much our marriage has grown more and more fruitful. Our love keeps blossoming through every season and i thank God for Sarah.!

My heart overflows with love for her, she encourages, inspires and loves me in spite of all my faults, She is the sunshine that warms me along my journey. I really don’t have enough words to fully express how blessed i am to have my best friend as my wife to cherish and share every moment of this amazing life.

This is the chorus for the song i wrote for Sarah….

You’re the love I thought I’d never find,
Your smile is like the warm sunshine,
As our souls, slowly entwine!
You light the heavens in my mind!

God’s Word…..

Husbands, you must love your wives so deeply, purely, and sacrificially that we can understand it only when we compare it to the love that Jesus Christ has for His bride, the church..

‚ÄúYour love delights me, my treasure, my bride. Your love is better than wine, your perfume more fragrant than spices.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒSong of Solomon 4:10

‚ÄúKiss me and kiss me again, for your love is sweeter than wine.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒSong of Solomon 1:2

‚ÄúYou have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes, with a single jewel of your necklace.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒSong of Solomon 4:9

‚ÄúLove is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails‚Ķ‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ1 Corinthians 13:4‚Äď8

I thank God for sustaining our marriage in Purity and Truth. And look forwards to more of this Brobdingnagian adventure!

That dead man or dead woman

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That dead man or dead woman

(Thomas Brooks, “A Believer’s Last Day, His Best Day”)

“What the wicked dreads will overtake him;
¬†what the righteous desire will be granted.” Proverbs 10:24¬†

“The desire of the righteous ends only in good,
¬†but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.” Proverbs 11:23¬†

We should lament over that dead man or dead woman . . .
  whom Hell harbors,
  whom the devil devours,
  whom divine justice torments!

But let us rejoice over those departed believers whom Christ embosoms, and whom all the court of Heaven comes forth to welcome!

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

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints!” Psalm 116:15

Pride cannot live beneath the cross!

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Pride cannot live beneath the cross!

(Charles Spurgeon) 

“He humbled Himself.” Philippians 2:8¬†

Jesus is the great teacher of lowliness of heart. We need daily to learn of Him. 

See the Master taking a basin and towel to wash His disciples feet! 
Follower of Christ, will you not humble yourself?
See Him as¬†the Servant of servants–and surely you cannot be proud!¬†

Surely this sentence is the¬†compendium of His biography: “He humbled Himself!”¬†

While on earth, He was always stripping off first one robe of honor and then another–until He was fastened to the bloody tree. And there He emptied out His inmost self, pouring out His life-blood, giving up¬†His all¬†for us–until they laid Him penniless in a borrowed grave!

How low was our dear Redeemer brought! How then can we be proud? 

Stand at the foot of the cruel cross, and count the¬†purple drops¬†by which you have been cleansed of your infinite sins! See the thorn-crown; mark His scourged shoulders, still gushing with encrimsoned rills. See His hands and feet given up to the rough iron, and His whole self to mockery and scorn. See the bitterness, and the pangs, and the throes of inward grief, showing themselves in His outward frame. Hear the horrid shriek:¬†“My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me!”¬†

If you do not lie prostrate on the ground before that cross–you have never seen it!¬†
If you are not humbled in the presence of the dying Jesus–you do not know Him.¬†

You were¬†so lost¬†that nothing could save you–but the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son.¬†
Think of that, and as Jesus stooped for you–bow yourself in lowliness at His feet.¬†

A sense¬†of Christ’s amazing love to us–has a greater tendency to humble us than even a consciousness of our own guilt!¬†

May the Lord bring us in contemplation, to Calvary–and then we will no longer think of ourselves with pompous pride. We shall then take the humble place of one who loves much, because much has been forgiven.¬†Pride cannot live beneath the cross!¬†Let us sit there and learn our lesson–and then rise and carry it into practice.

Some annoying interruption!

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Some annoying interruption! 

(Hannah More, “Practical Piety”)¬†

We must trace the hand of our Heavenly Father in those daily little disappointments and the hourly vexations which occur even in the most prosperous circumstances, and which are inseparable from the condition of fallen humanity. 

We must trace that same beneficent hand, secretly at work for our purification and our correction in the imperfections and unpleasantness of those around us, and in those interruptions which break in upon our favorite engagements. 

We are perhaps too much addicted to our innocent delights, or we are too fond of our leisure. A check then becomes necessary, but it is given in a most imperceptible way. The hand that gives it is unseen and unsuspected–yet¬†it is the same gracious hand which directs the more important events of life!¬†

Some annoying interruption breaks in on our projected privacy, and calls us to a sacrifice of our inclination and to a renunciation of our own will. 

Let us cheerfully bear and diligently receive these smaller trials which God prepares for us. Submission . . . 
  to a cross which He inflicts,
  to a disappointment which He sends,
  to a contradiction of our self love which He appoints, 
is a far better exercise than great penances of our own choosing. 

Perpetual conquests over impatience, ill temper and self will, indicate a better spirit than any self imposed mortifications. 

By these incessant tests of our temper, God cultivates the more difficult virtues of . . . 
  humility, 
  submission,
  and patience. 

Far from a world of grief and sin–with God eternally shut in!

Grace logoFar from a world of grief and sin–with God eternally shut in!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Those He¬†predestined, He also called;
 and those He called, He also justified;
¬†and those He¬†justified, He also¬†glorified!” Romans 8:30¬†

Here is a precious truth for you, believer. You may be poor, or in suffering, or unknown–but for your encouragement take a review of your “calling” and the consequences that flow from it, and especially that blessed result here spoken of.¬†

As surely as you are God’s child today–so surely shall all your trials soon be at an end, and you shall be rich to all intents of bliss! Wait awhile, and your weary head shall wear the crown of glory, and your work-worn hands shall grasp the palm-branch of victory.¬†

Do not lament your troubles–but rather rejoice that before long you will be where “there shall be neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.” The chariots of fire are at your door, and a moment will suffice to bear you to the glorified. The everlasting song is almost on your lips. The portals of Heaven stand open for you.¬†

Do not think that you can fail of entering into eternal rest. 
If He has effectually called you–then nothing can divide you from His love.¬†
Trials and troubles cannot sever the bond;
the fire of persecution cannot burn the link; 
the hammer of Hell cannot break the chain. 
You are eternally secure! 

That voice which effectually called you to Jesus at first–shall call you yet again from earth to Heaven, from death’s dark gloom toimmortality’s unuttered splendors!¬†Rest assured, the heart of Him who has predestined, called and justified you–beats with infinite love towards you! You shall soon be with the glorified, where your everlasting portion is. You are only waiting here to be made fit for your Celestial inheritance, and that done, the wings of angels shall waft you far away to the mount of peace, and joy, and blessedness, where, “Far from a world of grief and sin–with God eternally shut in,” you shall rest forever and ever!

Afterwards!

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Afterwards!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“No chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless,¬†afterwards¬†it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”¬†Hebrews 12:11¬†

How happy are tried Christians, afterwards. There is no calm more deep than that which follows a storm. Who has not rejoiced in clear shinings after rain? Victorious banquets are for well-exercised soldiers. 

After killing the lion–we eat the honey;¬†
after climbing the Hill Difficulty–we sit down in the arbor to rest;
after traversing the Valley of Humiliation, after fighting with Apollyon, the shining one appears, with the healing branch from the tree of life. 

Our sorrows, like the passing keels of the vessels upon the sea, leave a silver line of holy light behind them “afterwards.” It is peace, sweet, deep peace–which follows the horrible turmoil which once reigned in our tormented, guilty souls.

See, then, the happy estate of a Christian! He has his¬†best things last, and he therefore in this world receives his¬†worst things first. But even his worst things are “afterwards” good things–harsh ploughings–yielding joyful harvests. Even now . . .¬†
  he grows rich by his losses,
  he rises by his falls,
  he lives by dying, and
  he becomes full by being emptied. 

If, then, his grievous afflictions yield him so much peaceable fruit in this life–what shall be the full vintage of joy “afterwards” in Heaven? If his dark¬†nights¬†are as bright as the world’s days–what shall his¬†days¬†be? If even his starlight is more splendid than the sun–what must his sunlight be? If he can sing in a dungeon–how sweetly will he sing in Heaven! If he can praise the Lord in the fires–how will he extol Him before the eternal throne! If evil is good to him now–what will the overflowing goodness of God be to him then?¬†

Oh, blessed “afterwards!” Who would not be a Christian? Who would not bear the present¬†cross–for the¬†crown¬†which comes afterwards?¬†

One blessing after another!

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One blessing after another!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“From the fullness of His grace we have all received¬†one blessing after another!¬†John 1:16¬†

Our Lord Jesus is ever giving–and does not for a solitary instant withdraw His hand.¬†
As long as there is a vessel of grace not yet full to the brim–the oil shall not be stopped.¬†

He is a sun ever-shining. 
He is manna always falling round the camp. 
He is a rock in the desert, ever sending out streams of life from His smitten side. 
The rain of His grace is always dropping. 
The river of His bounty is ever-flowing. 
The well-spring of His love is constantly overflowing. 

As our King can never die–so His grace can never fail.¬†

Daily we pluck His fruit, and daily His branches bend down to our hand with a fresh store of mercy. 

Who has ever returned from His door, unblessed?
Who has ever risen from His table, unsatisfied? 
Who has ever come from His bosom, un-imparadised? 
His mercies are new every morning–and fresh every evening.¬†

Who can know the number of His benefits, or recount His infinite bounties? 

Every sand which drops from the glass of time–is but the tardy follower of a myriad of mercies. The wings of our hours are covered with the silver of His kindness, and with the yellow gold of His affection. The¬†river of time¬†bears from the¬†mountains of eternity–the¬†golden sands of His favor.¬†

Who can count the¬†dust of the benefits¬†which He bestows on His redeemed people, or number of His mercies towards us? How shall my soul extol Him–who daily loads us with benefits, and who crowns us with loving-kindness?¬†

O that my praise could be as ceaseless as His bounty! O miserable tongue, how can you be silent? 

“Praise the Lord, O my soul!¬†Do not forget all of¬†His¬†benefits!”¬†Psalm 103:2¬†

With God for your portion!

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With God for your portion!

(Charles Spurgeon)

You are my portion, O Lord.” Psalm 119:57¬†

Look at your possessions, O believer–and compare your portion with the lot of your fellow men.¬†

Some of them have their portion in the field; they are rich, and their harvests yield them a golden increase. But what are harvests compared with your God, who is the God of harvests? What are bursting granaries compared with Him, who is the heavenly Gardener, and feeds you with the bread of heaven? 

Some have their portion in the city; their¬†wealth¬†is abundant, and flows to them in constant streams, until they become a very reservoir of gold. But what is¬†gold¬†compared with your¬†God?¬†You could not live on it; your spiritual life could not be sustained by it. Put gold on a troubled conscience–and could it allay its pangs? Apply it to a desponding heart–and see if it could relieve a solitary groan, or give one grief the less? But you have God, and in Him you have more than gold or riches ever could buy!¬†

Some have their portion in that which most men love–applause and¬†fame. But ask yourself: Is not your God more to you than that? What if a myriad trumpets should be loud in your applause–would this prepare you to pass the Jordan of death, or cheer you in prospect of the final judgment? No! there are griefs in life which fame and wealth cannot alleviate; and there is the deep need of a dying hour, for which no riches can provide.¬†

But when you have God for your portion, you have more than all else put together. 
In Him every need is met, whether in life or in death. 
With God for your portion you are rich indeed, for He will . . .
  supply your real needs,
  comfort your desponding heart,
  assuage your deepest grief,
  guide your steps wisely, 
  be with you in the dark valley of death,
and then take you home to Heaven, to enjoy Him as your portion forever! 

“My flesh and my heart may fail,¬†but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!”¬†Psalm 73:26¬†

A holy man!

Grace logoA holy man!

(J.C. Ryle)

Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of . . .
¬† agreeing with God’s judgment,
  hating what He hates,
  loving what He loves, and
  measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. 

A holy man will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ. He will not only live a life of faith in Him and draw from Him all his daily peace and strength, but he will also labor to have the mind that was in Him and to be conformed to His image!

It opens the eye of the mind!

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It opens the eye of the mind!

(Joseph Alleine, “An Alarm to the Unconverted” 1671)

Conversion is a deep work, a heart work.

It makes a new man in a new world! 

It extends to the whole man–to the mind, to the affections, to the motions of the whole life.

Conversion turns the balance of the judgment, so that God and His glory outweigh all carnal and worldly interests.

It opens the eye of the mind, and makes the scales of its native ignorance fall off, and turns men from darkness to light. 

The man who before saw no danger in his¬†condition, now concludes himself lost and forever undone–except renewed by divine grace.¬†

He who formerly thought there was little hurt in sin, now comes to see it to be the chief of evils! He sees the stupidity, the deformity and the filthiness of sin; so that he is affrighted by it, loathes it, dreads it, flees from it, and even abhors himself for it! Romans 7:15; Job 42:6; Ezekiel 36:31

He who could see little sin in himself, and could find no matter for confession–now sees the rottenness of his heart and the desperate and deep pollution of his whole nature. He cries,¬†“Unclean! Unclean! Lord, purge me with hyssop, wash me thoroughly, create in me a clean heart!”¬†He sees himself altogether filthy, corrupt in both root and branch. He writes ‘unclean’ upon all his supposed virtues and good works. He discovers the filthy corners that he was never aware of, and sees the blasphemy, and murder, and adultery that is in his heart, of which before he was ignorant.¬†

His hatred boils and his anger burns against sin. He has no patience with himself; he calls himself ‘fool’ and ‘beast’; and thinks any name too good for himself, when his indignation is stirred up against sin. He could once wallow in it with much pleasure; now he loathes the thought of returning to it as much as of licking up the filthiest vomit!

Hitherto he saw no form nor loveliness in Christ, no beauty that he should desire Him; but now he finds that Jesus is the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of great price for which he is willing to sell all to obtain.

Let us beware of the love of money!

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Let us beware of the love of money! 

(J.C. Ryle)

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21¬†

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God!” Mark 10:25¬†

“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 6:10¬†

Let us beware of the love of money! It is possible to use money well, and do good with it. But for each one who makes a right use of money, there are thousands who make a wrong use of it, and do harm both to themselves and others. 

Let the worldly man, if he will, make an idol of money, and count him happiest who has most of it. 

But let the Christian, who professes to have “treasure in Heaven,” set his face like a flint against the spirit of the world in this matter. Let him not worship gold. He is not the best man in God’s eyes who has most money, but he who has most grace and likeness to Jesus.

“Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.” Proverbs 30:8¬†

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said: Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5¬†

We need the teaching of the Great Expositor!

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We need the teaching of the Great Expositor!

(“Every Day!” Author unknown, 1872)

“Lead me in Your truth–and teach me!” Psalm 25:5

What a mercy it is, in the midst of prevailing errors, to possess the truth of God–the sure word of His testimony–the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. May we read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the truth–that we may find it profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and instruction in righteousness.¬†

Too frequently the Word of God is read with little profit, because it is read with little prayer. We need Divine illumination! We need the teaching of the Great Expositor, in order rightly to understand the Word of God, and to receive it in the love of it. 

May the prayer of the psalmist be my prayer: “Lead me in Your truth–and teach me!”¬†

Lead me into the¬†knowledge¬†and¬†experience¬†of it–let it dwell in my heart, and influence my life.¬†

Lead me into the¬†enjoyment¬†of it–may I find Your Word, and eat it; may it be sweet to my taste, yes, sweeter than honey–than honey from the comb.¬†

And lead me into the¬†practice¬†of it–may my ways be directed to keep Your statutes, and may I be a living epistle, read and known by all men.

May Your Word come to me with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction!

“When He, the Spirit of truth, comes–He will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13¬†

A comfort to the believer, and a terror to the unbeliever!

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A comfort to the believer, and a terror to the unbeliever!

(R.C. Sproul)

“His eyes are on the ways of men; He sees their every step!” Job 34:21¬†

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” Proverbs 15:3¬†

“Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the LORD. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” Jeremiah 23:24¬†

The doctrine of¬†God’s omnipresence¬†appropriately fills us with¬†awe.¬†

In addition, the doctrine also proves to be¬†comforting. We can always be certain of God’s undivided attention. We don’t ever need to stand in line or make an appointment to be with God. When we are in God’s presence, He is not preoccupied with events on the other side of the world.

The doctrine is, of course, not at all comforting to the unbeliever. There is no place to hide from God! There is no corner of the universe where God is not. The wicked in Hell are not separated from God–only from His benevolence. His wrath is with them constantly.

For the unbeliever, the doctrine highlights the fact that people cannot hide from God. Their sins are done in God’s presence. Like Adam, they seek to hide. However, there is no corner of the universe that God’s gaze, either in love or wrath, fails to reach.

God’s omnipresence is¬†a comfort to the believer, and a terror to the unbeliever!

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13

It is unwise to try to carry next week’s burdens today

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It is unwise to try to carry next week’s burdens today

(J.C. Pittman, 1917)

“Do not worry about anything–but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7¬†

There is no harm in looking ahead–but¬†it is unwise to try to carry next week’s burdens today. There is nothing wrong in looking ahead, but¬†needless worry¬†in regard to the future, is not only¬†useless¬†but¬†injurious–besides evidencing lack of implicit trust in our heavenly Father’s care for His redeemed people. Worry looks tremblingly ahead–but never accelerates, and always hinders the speed in life’s race.

Yet many drag through life weighted with all sorts of¬†needless cares–and are never in their element unless looking for still more trouble. They are always watching for¬†clouds–and are never content to bask in the sunshine.

Paul has a word concerning the sin of worrying. “Do not worry about anything.” The reason is because we are in God’s world, and He is able and willing to take care of all His people. “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.”¬†

Never bear more than one kind of trouble at once. 
Some people bear all three kinds of trouble at once:
  all they have had,
  all they have now, and
  all they expect to have.

John Wesley said:¬†“I dare not worry–any more than I dare curse and swear!”

He who trifles with it is a fool!

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He who trifles with it is a fool!

(J.A. James, “The Practical Believer Delineated“)

“Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life!” Psalm 39:4¬†

If the man who¬†trembles¬†at death is a coward–then¬†he who¬†trifles¬†with it is a fool!¬†
There is a thousand times more rationality in the trembler–than in the trifler!¬†

There is a phenomenon in the rational world well worthy of consideration, inquiry and solution–the strange and fatal insensibility of men to the grand fact that they are mortal! Since it is infallibly certain that they must and will die, and since death is so solemn an event–how does it happen that so few ever seriously think of it or really prepare for it?¬†

One would think that so grand and solemn a fact as death, especially viewed in connection with the events which are to immediately follow it–Heaven, Hell and eternity–along with the¬†uncertainty¬†how soon it may be realized–might operate with an unlimited and altogether overpowering influence upon men’s minds and hearts!

But men wish to forget death–and alas, too often succeed in accomplishing¬†this fatal oblivion!¬†Yet we can scarcely wonder at this, when we consider what their spiritual condition is–and what death is!¬†

It is the¬†commonness¬†of death, which deprives it of its extreme dreadfulness. If death happened in our world only once in a century, it would be felt like the shock of an earthquake–and would hush the inhabitants of earth into a breathless silence, while the echoes of the knell of the departed soul were reverberating around the globe!

Death is . . .
  the moment of destiny;
  the seal of eternity;
  the cessation of probation;
  the commencement of retribution and judgment! 

The accompaniments of death are solemn, and so are the consequences! 

To every¬†sense–death is revolting!

To every¬†social affection–death is harrowing!

To¬†reason–death is perplexing!

To everything but saving faith–death is overwhelming!

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom!” Psalm 90:12¬†

The more I see of Jesus

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The more I see of Jesus

(Mary Winslow)

“My ears had¬†heard¬†of You, but now my eyes have¬†seen¬†You! Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6¬†

The more I see of Jesus, the more He opens to me His loving heart–the deeper is my sorrow for sin. I lie down in the dust at His feet closer than ever I did before. I can truly say I abhor myself in dust and ashes before Him. My heart seems ready to melt into contrition in view of the ten thousand thousand sins, willful and aggravating–that I have committed against Him who loved me with an everlasting love, and with loving kindness drew me to Himself.¬†

So eternal and deep, so sovereign and boundless is the love of Jesus, that angels cannot fathom it! He is nothing but sincere, constant, and unabating love–to the weakest, the most unworthy of all His little flock.¬†

I feel such a weariness of this world that nothing here gives me anything more than a momentary, passing pleasure–and it is gone at a glance.

Oh, to have such a Friend as Jesus, who feels all our sorrows, carries all our burdens, and has promised to bring us safely through this trying world, and place us at last at His own right hand, where neither sickness nor sorrow shall ever come!

Oh for Heaven! Nothing else will satisfy my longing soul, but the sight of Him it loves.

Jesus is all in all to me, and He will be all in all through eternity!

Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name! 

   ~  ~  ~  ~ 

For those who desire additional devotional reading, here is an uplifting short article by¬†J.R. Miller, “Heavenly Worship”¬†

One continued dream and delusion!

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One continued dream and delusion!

(Thomas Boston, “Human Nature in its Fourfold State“)

“There is no one who understands.” Romans 3:11

“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

“They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.” Ephesians 4:18

The natural man’s apprehension of divine things is corrupt. The¬†understanding, that leading faculty, is despoiled of its primitive glory, and covered over with confusion.¬†

Tell them how they may advance their worldly wealth, or how they may gratify their lusts–and they will quickly understand these things. But it is very hard to make them know how their souls may be saved, or how their hearts may find rest in Christ. They are very¬†stupid and unteachable¬†in the matters of God. What woeful delusions prevail over them! Do we not often see those, who in other things are the wisest of men–yet are notorious fools with respect to their soul’s eternal interests?¬†

Many who are eagle-eyed in the¬†trifles of time–yet are like owls and bats in the light of¬†eternal realities. Nay, truly, the life of every natural man is but¬†one continued dream and delusion, out of which he never awakes, until either, by a divine light darted from Heaven into his soul, he comes to himself–or, in Hell he lifts up his eyes in torment!

Sin has closed the windows of the soul, and darkness covers the whole. The prince of darkness reigns there, and nothing but the works of darkness are framed there. We are born spiritually blind–and cannot be restored without a miracle of grace!

“For though your hearts were once full of¬†darkness, now you are full of¬†light¬†from the Lord!” Ephesians 5:8

The chief dangers which will confront the church in the coming century!

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The chief dangers which will confront the church in the coming century!

(William Booth, 1829-1916)

The chief dangers which will confront the church in the coming century will be . . .
  religion without the Holy Spirit,
  Christianity without Christ,
  forgiveness without repentance,
  salvation without regeneration,
  Heaven without Hell. 

We have seen such a tragic repetition of it in our own days

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We have seen such a tragic repetition of it in our own days

(Arthur Pink)

“With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves to their own destruction!” Hosea 8:4¬†

Sad indeed is the above passage–and the more so, because¬†we have seen such a tragic repetition of it in our own days.¬†

Oh what earthly-mindedness, what indulging of the flesh, what sinful extravagance–are now seen among professing Christians today!

How practical godliness has waned; 
how the denying of self has disappeared; 
how covetousness, pleasure and worldliness now possess the great majority of those calling themselves the people of God. 

Yet as great as the sin of the people is–far greater is that of most of the preachers, who, instead of warning, admonishing, rebuking, and setting before their people an example of sobriety and contentment–criminally remain silent upon the crying sins of their hearers, while they themselves encourage the reckless indulgence of worldly lusts.

The humble Christian

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The humble Christian 

(John Newton)

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

The humble Christian¬†will not be easily angered–nor will he be dogmatic and judgmental.¬†

He will be compassionate and tender towards the infirmities of his fellow-sinners; knowing, that, if there is any difference between himself and others–it is grace of God that has made it.¬†He knows that he has the seeds of every evil in his own heart!

Also, under all trials and afflictions, the humble Christian will look to the hand of the Lord, and lay his mouth in the dust–acknowledging that he suffers much less than his iniquities have deserved.¬†

These are some of the advantages and good fruits which the Lord enables us to obtain from that bitter root, indwelling sin.

Experimental conformity to the image of Christ

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Experimental conformity to the image of Christ

(Arthur Pink)

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word–that you may¬†grow¬†thereby” 1 Peter 2:2

It behooves each one of us to honestly and diligently examine himself, so as to discover whether or not we are growing in grace. 

We are not to be content with an increase of¬†mere head-knowledge of Scripture. What we need to be most concerned about is our¬†practical growth–our¬†experimental conformity to the image of Christ.¬†

One point at which we may test ourselves is:¬†“Does my reading and study of God’s Word make me less worldly?”

“But¬†grow¬†in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18¬†

The object of God’s tender, perfect and ceaseless care!

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The object of God’s tender, perfect and ceaseless care!

(James Smith, “Divine Care!” 1865)

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

Our¬†cares¬†must be cast upon our God, or they will prove a burden too heavy for us–they will depress, bewilder, and make us wretched!¬†

WHO is it that cares for us? 

It is the¬†Lord Almighty–the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy!¬†
It is He whom the angels obey, the seraphim adore, and all creation glorifies! 
It is the Lord–who is so¬†great, that we have no adequate conception of His greatness!¬†
It is He who is so¬†good–that it is impossible fully to set forth His goodness!¬†
It is He who is so¬†glorious–that no sinner can see His face and live!¬†
It is He who created all things with His Word!
It is He who governs all things by His wisdom!
It is He who upholds all things by His power! 
It is He whose resources are infinite!
It is He whose compassion is exquisite!
It is He whose patience is without limit! 

But though He is so exalted, so happy, and so unspeakably great–He cares for you!

He cares for you–as base as you are.¬†
He cares for you–as sinful as you are.¬†
He cares for you–as depressed and discouraged as you are.¬†

HE cares for YOU!

May I pass through the present world under the impression, “I am¬†the object of God’s tender, perfect and ceaseless care!

“Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22¬†

The worldling’s Bible!

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The worldling’s Bible!

(Charles Spurgeon)

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16¬†

The worldling’s Bible¬†is the Christian. He never reads the Book–but he reads the disciple of Christ, and he judges the Christian religion by the lives of its professors!¬†

The world does not read the Bible–the world reads Christians!

“For it is God’s will that by doing good, you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men!” 1 Peter 2:15¬†

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:1-2

God would be voted out of the world!

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God would be voted out of the world!

(Thomas Boston, “Human Nature in its Fourfold State“)

“The world . . . hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.” John 7:7¬†

“They have hated both Me and my Father!” John 15:24¬†
“They hated Me without a cause!” John 15:25¬†

“Haters of God.” Romans 1:30

“Crucify Him!”¬†they shouted.¬†
“Why? What crime has He committed?” asked Pilate.
¬†But they shouted all the louder,¬†“Crucify Him!”¬†Mark 15:13-14

Men set up for themselves an¬†idol¬†of their own imagination, instead of the true God–and then fall down and worship it.

Every natural man is an enemy to God–as He is revealed in His Word. The infinitely holy, just, powerful, and true God–is not the God whom he loves, but¬†the God whom he loathes!¬†The Pagans finding that they could not be like God in¬†holiness, made their gods like themselves in filthiness; and thereby they show what sort of a¬†god¬†the natural man would have. God is holy and just; can an unholy creature love His unspotted holiness?¬†

There is not a man, who is wedded to his lusts, as all the unregenerate are–but would desire to blot out¬†the God of justice. Can the malefactor love his condemning judge? Can a heinous sinner love a just and holy God? No, he cannot!

Men naturally would rather have a¬†blind idol–than the all-seeing God! They no more love the all-seeing, everywhere present God–than the thief loves to have the judge witness to his evil crimes. If it could be carried by votes,¬†God would be voted out of the world; for the language of the carnal heart is, “Leave us alone! We have no desire to know Your ways!” Job 21:14

“The carnal mind is a mass of downright, undiluted enmity to the Most High God. Such a mind is opposed, not merely to the¬†thingsof God, the¬†laws¬†of God, and the¬†truth¬†of God–but to God Himself!” Spurgeon

The secret desire of every unconverted heart!

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The secret desire of every unconverted heart!

(Robert Murray M’Cheyne, 1813-1843)

“The fool says in his heart,¬†‘There is no God!’¬†They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.” Psalm 53:1¬†

It is in his heart that he says this. This is the secret desire of every unconverted heart. If the bosom of God were within the reach of men, it would be stabbed a million times in one moment!

When God was manifest in the flesh, He was altogether lovely. He did no sin, and went about continually doing good. Yet they they mocked Him and spat upon Him and crucified Him on the accursed tree! Unconverted men would do the same with God again–if they could.¬†

Learn the fearful depravity of your heart. I venture to say that there is not an unconverted man present, who has the most distant idea of the monstrous wickedness that is now within his bosom. When you are in Hell, it will break out unrestrained. 

Yes, you have a heart that would kill God if you could. If the bosom of God were nor within your reach, and one blow would rid the universe of Him–you have a heart fit to do the heinous deed!¬†

Do not pay too dear for a feast for worms!

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Do not pay too dear for a feast for worms!

(Richard Baxter, “Directions against Gluttony“)

“Dust you are, and to dust you will return!” Genesis 3:19¬†

“Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both.” Job 21:26¬†

“When You take away their breath, they die and return to the dust!” Psalm 104:29¬†

“All come from dust, and to dust all return!” Ecclesiastes 3:20¬†

Remember what your body is, and what it will shortly be, and how loathsome and vile it will be in the grave. And then think how far such a body should be pampered and pleased–and at what a price.¬†Do not pay too dear for a feast for worms!¬†Look into the grave, and see what the end of all of all your pleasant foods and drinks is; of all your dainty and costly fare. You may see there the skulls cast up, and the ugly hole of that mouth which devoured so many sweet, delicious morsels–but there is none of the pleasure of it now left!

Oh astonishing folly! that men can so easily, so eagerly, so obstinately, waste their estates, and neglect their souls, and displease their God, and in effect even sell their hopes of Heaven–for so small and sordid a delight, as the pleasing of such a piece of flesh, which must shortly have so vile an end!

Was it worth so much care, and toil, and cost, and the casting away of your salvation–to pamper that body a little while, which must shortly be such a loathsome carcass? Methinks one sight of a skull or a grave, would make you look upon gluttony and luxury as madness.

The case will be altered with you when all your wealth and friends cannot keep your pampered carcass from corruption, nor procure your soul a comfort equal to a drop of water to cool your tongue, tormented in the flames of God’s displeasure! Then all the comfort you can procure from God and conscience will be but this sad memento, “Remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony!” Luke 16:25¬†

The Sympathy of Christ!

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The Sympathy of Christ!

(Francis Bourdillon)

“We do not have a high priest who is unable to¬†sympathize¬†with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are” Hebrews 4:15

In all our infirmities and troubles of every kind–in pain and sickness, in poverty and need, in anxiety and grief–Jesus has a sympathetic heart for us. Is not this comforting? Does it not cheer us in a time of suffering, when some kind friend comes in and sits down beside us and shows most plainly that though he is unable to help us, he does sincerely feel for us? How much more cheering it is to know that Jesus in Heaven sympathizes with us in all our troubles here below! Does not this thought, this blessed truth–take the edge off the sharpest suffering, and lift us for the time above our sorrows?¬†

Jesus Christ Himself was afflicted when He was on earth. He is called a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. No sorrows were ever equal to His. We know that He was tired and hungry and sad. He was besides, the poorest of the poor–He had nowhere to lay His head. He led what would be called a very hard life.¬†

Our greatest sufferings are light when compared with His. He had some afflictions which we cannot fully understand, as when He prayed in the garden, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me!” And as when He cried upon the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!”¬†¬†

He can sympathize with the poor–because He was poor Himself.¬†
He can sympathize with the sad–because He was a man of sorrows.¬†
He can sympathize with all who suffer–because His own sufferings were so many and so great.¬†

He was tempted; He was tried; He was afflicted; He went through what we have to go through–and much more. In this very world in which we live now–He lived and suffered; and therefore He can and does sympathize with His suffering people.¬†

“He was despised and rejected by men–a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces–He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows–yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace, was upon Him–and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3-5

Our clumsy hands!

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Our clumsy hands!

(J.R. Miller)

“I do not practice what I want to do–but I do what I hate!” Romans 7:15¬†

Think of the brokenness, the incompleteness, the littleness–of these lives of ours!¬†

We get¬†glimpses¬†of beauty in character–which we are not able to attain!¬†
We have spiritual¬†longings–which seem to us too great ever to come true.¬†
We¬†dream¬†of things we want to do–but when we try to work them out,¬†our clumsy hands¬†cannot put them into realizations!¬†

We have glimmerings of a¬†love¬†that is very rich and tender, without a trace of selfishness, without envy or jealousy, without resentment–a love which does not seek its own, nor is not provoked, and bears all things. We get the vision from the life of Christ Himself. We say, “I will learn that lesson of love–I will be like that!”¬†But we fail.

We strive to be sweet-spirited, unselfish, thoughtful, kind–but we must wet our pillow with tears at the close of¬†our marred days, because we cannot be what we strive to be! We have glimpses of an inner peace which is very beautiful. We strive after it strive with intense effort–but do not reach it!

So it is in all our living. Life is ever something too large for us. We attain only¬†fragments¬†of living. Yet take heart, “The¬†desire¬†of the righteous shall be granted!” Proverbs 10:24

“We know that when He appears–we shall be like Him!” 1 John 3:2

For a rational man to be so attached to a bubble, is a most irrational thing!

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For a rational man to be so attached to a bubble, is a most irrational thing!

(Don Fortner)

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15¬†

Worldliness is an undue attachment to this world. It is living for this world–its riches, its honor, its joys and its cares. It is living by the¬†principles¬†of this world: greed, covetousness, deceit and lust.

Nothing is more dangerous to the souls of men–than the love of the world.¬†
Nothing more effectually chokes out the influence of the gospel in a man’s heart–than the cares of this world.¬†
Nothing is more difficult to avoid–than an undue attachment to this world.¬†

Therefore, John sets these four words up as a beacon. They stand in blazing letters to warn us of great danger: “LOVE NOT THE WORLD!”

Beloved, this world and all that it offers, is no more than a¬†bubble¬†that soon must burst! Your money, your farms, your houses, your influence, your families–everything here is temporary. It will all vanish away!¬†

We laugh at the small child who cries when the bubbles he is playing with burst. But, for a rational man to be so attached to a bubble, is a most irrational thing!

What fools they are who love and seek this world! I cannot warn you enough of the danger of worldliness–of loving, seeking, and living for this world!

Are you God’s child? Are you risen with Christ? Do you live in the hope of eternal glory?¬†

Then count this world to be a dead thing. 
Live no longer for this world. 
Set your heart on things above. 
Live above this pile of rubbish that must soon burn. 
Live to do the will of God, seek the glory of Christ, further the gospel of the grace of God, and serve the people of God. Quit seeking those things for which unbelieving men live, and seek those things which are above–life, immortality, and glory.

Wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!

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Wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!

(Francis Bourdillon, 1864)

There is One who knows just what we are. The Lord Jesus Christ says, “I know your works!” His eye is always upon us. He knows us exactly as we are–each one of us. Mere profession does not deceive Him. Mere head knowledge does not pass with Him for repentance, faith, and holiness. He knows our hearts–and He knows our lives.¬†

The mockery of an empty profession, 
the mere pretense of a religion that is all in the head or on the lips, 
the unhumbled heart, 
the coldness, the hardness, the lack of faith and gratitude and love
–He knows them all!

“You do not realize that you are¬†wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!” Revelation 3:17

The very first lesson we must learn–is what we¬†are.¬†

What are we, then? Just what the Laodiceans were, but did not know themselves to be: “Wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!”¬†

What–all¬†of us?¬†
Yes–all¬†of us!

We are “wretched,” for we are in great misery and danger–and all the more wretched because we do not know it.¬†

We are “miserable,” worthy to be pitied, even while we flatter ourselves that all is well with us, for we are but deceiving ourselves.

We are “poor,” for we have no spiritual wealth–no supply whatever for the needs of our souls.

We are “blind,” ignorant of our own hearts–ignorant of God–ignorant of truth and of the way of life.¬†

We are “naked,” with no righteousness of our own in which we can appear–no covering, no defense, no refuge.

We are all this–and, worst of all,¬†we do not know it!¬†If we knew it and bewailed it–then our case would not be so bad. In other words, if we knew ourselves to be sinners–then it might be hoped that we would seek the Savior of sinners. But we shall never seek Him–until we feel our¬†need¬†of Him!

Because the Lord loves you

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Because the Lord loves you

(Letters of John Newton)

“For the Lord disciplines the one He¬†loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6¬†

“Those whom I¬†love¬†I rebuke and discipline.” Revelation 3:19¬†

My Dear Friend,
Because the Lord loves you–He appoints trials for you. Like most effectual medicines, they are neither pleasant to the taste nor in their operation, when first taken–but afterwards they yield a harvest of righteousness and peace. He sends them not for His own pleasure, but for our profit.¬†

He could relieve you in a moment, but He does not. The plain inference is, that it is good, it is best for us to be afflicted!

I have had my trials, and I can from experience bear testimony to His all-sufficiency and faithfulness. 

He does all things well. How can He who is infinitely wise and good, do otherwise?

“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those He¬†loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:11-12¬†

Later you will understand

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Later you will understand

(Charles Naylor, “When Adversity Comes” 1944)

“You do not realize¬†now¬†what I am doing, but¬†later you will understand.” John 13:7¬†

A few years ago a young preacher came to me and told me his troubles. He was passing through a time of darkness that he could not understand. Several months ago he called upon me again, and in the course of our conversation he referred to the time of trouble through which he had passed. He said, “Those things that I could not understand at that time, have taught me lessons which have prepared me to help many souls as I never could have, had I not had those severe trials.”¬†

Yes, things look different now.¬†He can now see God’s hand in it. He can see that those difficult things were a blessing to his own soul and to the souls of others. He can see that he had been in¬†God’s school of adversity¬†and knew it not. He thought these things were destructive to him, but when he looked back upon them with clear vision and a knowledge of God’s purpose–he saw real blessing in them. He saw them as manifestations of the wisdom and kindness of God, and he thanked God for those things which had been bitter and hard to bear.

Are you passing through difficult things which you cannot now understand? 

Does it look as if these things are ruining you? 

Just trust God and be patient. Out of your¬†night of bitterness, out of your darkness and woe–will come strength of character, a blessed realization of God’s faithfulness, and a knowledge of Him and yourself which can come to you in no other way. You will look back in time to come, and thank God for His wise care and tender love for you which brought you to these things, and realize that it was His hand leading you to better and richer things beyond.

My last words shall be

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My last words shall be

(William Grimshaw)

When I come to die, I shall have my greatest grief and my greatest joy.

My greatest¬†grief–that I have done so little for Jesus.

My greatest¬†joy–that Jesus has done so much for me!¬†

My last words shall be: “Here goes an unprofitable servant!”

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!

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Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!

(Octavius Winslow)

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith!”

We cannot keep our eyes too exclusively or too intently fixed on Jesus. 

All salvation is in Him. 
All salvation proceeds from Him. 
All salvation leads to Him. 
And for the assurance and comfort of our salvation, we are to repose believingly and entirely on Him. 

Christ must be all! 
Christ the beginning, 
Christ the center, 
Christ the end. 

Oh sweet truth to you who are sensible of your poverty, vileness, and insufficiency, and of the ten thousand flaws and failures of which, perhaps, no one is cognizant but God and your own soul! 

Oh the blessedness–to turn from self, and rest in Christ:¬†
  a full Christ, 
  a loving Christ, 
  a tender Christ, 
whose heart’s love never chills,¬†
from whose eye darts no reproof, 
from whose lips breathes no sentence of condemnation! 

“He whose daily life is a fixing his eyes on Jesus, has heaven on his way to heaven!”¬†Henry Law

“And when Christ, who is your life, appears–then you also will appear with Him in glory!” Colossians 3:4¬†

Here we see what is in every human heart by nature!

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Here we see what is in every human heart by nature!

(Don Fortner)

“What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked.¬†
They shouted back,¬†“Crucify Him!”¬†Matthew 27:22¬†

Oh, what a revelation of man the cross is! 
Man hating God, and hating Him most when God displayed His love most fully. 
Man acting like the devil, taking Satan’s side against God!¬†

Yes, the cross was a public declaration of man’s hatred for God and His Son.¬†

The cross is proud man spitting in God’s face and saying, “I am holy. I need no Savior. To Hell with God and His Son!”¬†

Our Savior asked,¬†“What do you think you of Christ?”¬†
Man’s answer was,¬†“Crucify Him!”¬†

Man’s heart, his hands, his tongue all combine to scream out hatred for God and His Son.¬†

Calvary’s hill displays man’s utter hatred for God!

How deep, bitter, universal, and vile is the hatred of the human heart for God! Oh, how fallen man hates God! 

The arrest, the scourging, the mockery, the spitting, the smiting, the cries, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”, the wagging the heads, the cruel nails, the thieves’ railing–everything was but¬†the outpouring of man’s utter hatred for God.¬†

Here we see what is in every human heart by nature!

Man declared his heart, in the crucifixion of God’s darling Son.

God seems to have said, “Vent the feelings of your heart.” And he did, taking God by the throat, as it were, man snatched the only begotten Son from His Father’s heart and crucified Him with hellish delight.

Reckoning the death of the cross the worst of all deaths, man said, “This is the best way to show my contempt for God. This is exactly what I think of the Son of God!” Thus, the enmity of the natural heart speaks out, and man not only confesses publicly that he is a hater of God, but he takes pains to show the intensity of his hatred.¬†

The cross interprets what is in man’s heart.¬†

The cross rips the mask of pretended religion off of the face of our race. 

The cross of Christ exhibits man’s heart as a cesspool overflowing with the malignity of Hell.¬†

Brethren, we have two faults

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Brethren, we have two faults

(Charles Spurgeon)

Brethren, we have two faults
: 

   1. We do not think God to be as great as He is. (His transcendence)
   2. We do not think God can be as little as He can be. (His immanence)

We err on both sides. We neither know the height of His glory–nor the depth of His grace!

He who counts the brilliant¬†stars–also numbers the very¬†hairs¬†of our head!¬†
He never fails to hear the heart-lispings of His redeemed people.

I dare say that we think that we magnify Him, but in reality we belittle Him with our highest thoughts.

When the bird of thought was let go!

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When the bird of thought was let go!

(A.W. Tozer)

Anyone who wishes to check on his true spiritual condition may do so, by noting what his voluntary thoughts have been over the last hours or days. 
What has he thought about, when free to think of whatever he pleased? 
Toward what has his inner heart turned, when it was free to turn wherever it desired?

When the¬†bird of thought¬†was let go, did it fly out like the¬†raven¬†to settle upon floating carcasses–or did it like the¬†dove¬†circle and return again to the ark of God?¬†

Such a test is easy to run, and if we are honest with ourselves–we can discover not only what we¬†are, but what we are going tobecome. We will soon be the sum of our voluntary thoughts!

Hang this question up in your houses!

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Hang this question up in your houses!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Whoever claims to live in Him, must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6¬†

Hang this question up in your houses,¬†“What would Jesus do?”¬†

And then think of another,¬†“How would Jesus do it?”¬†

For¬†what¬†Jesus would do, and¬†how¬†He would do it–will always stand as the best guide to us.

“Leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21¬†

A statue of a stone lamb!

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A statue of a stone lamb!

(J.R. Miller)

“Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us!” 1 Corinthians 5:7¬†

On a little church in Germany stands a statue of a stone lamb, which has an interesting history. When some workmen were engaged on the roof of the building, one of them fell to the ground. His companions hastened down, expecting to find him dead. They were amazed, however, to see him unhurt. A lamb had been grazing just where he struck the ground, and falling upon it, the little creature was crushed to death, while the man himself escaped injury. He was so grateful for this wonderful deliverance, that he had a statue of the lamb carved in stone, and placed on the building as a memorial. The lamb saved his life, by dying in his place. 
 
In the same way, every saved soul can point to the Lamb of God, and say, “I am saved–because Jesus died in my stead!”¬†

What memorial have we set up to witness to our gratitude and love? 

“The Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me!” Galatians 2:20¬†

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain–to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:12¬†

You must keep the circus going!

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You must keep the circus going! 

(Ernest Reisinger)

Whatever means you use to get people into the church, is precisely what you must use to keep them.

If you get them with a ‘religious circus’ then¬†you must keep the circus going–you must keep up the entertainment.

If you get them with biblical preaching and teaching, then that will keep them and you will not need the entertainment. 

“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:2-3¬†

If you saw Christ standing beside you all the time

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If you saw Christ standing beside you all the time

(J.R. Miller, “Intimate Letters on Personal Problems”)

Scripture says of Moses, that¬†“he endured as seeing Him who is invisible!”¬†Hebrews 11:27. That is, Moses always remembered that God was right beside him, his friend to¬†help¬†him–and this made him strong. He did not actually¬†see¬†God–but it was¬†as if¬†he saw Him. That is, he¬†realized the divine presence¬†in all of his life.

If you saw Christ standing beside you all the time–it would not be hard for you to keep sweet, or to keep control of your temper and speech.¬†

Well, Christ¬†IS¬†beside you–just as really as He was beside Mary when she sat at His feet in Bethany, or beside Peter and the other disciples as they walked together over the hills of Judea and Galilee. What you need, is to¬†realize this fact.¬†

We know that Jesus is present with us all the time, at every moment, by day or by night. He is closer than any human friend can be to us. Indeed, we are to¬†practice His presence–that is, we are to live all the time, as if we actually saw Him!

You must remember that Christ¬†is¬†always besides¬†you, not only to¬†see¬†you–but to¬†help¬†you, as your truest and best Friend!

A hazardous game!

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A hazardous game!

(Charles Spurgeon, “Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden” 1883)¬†

“Avoid every kind of evil!” 1 Thessalonians 5:22¬†

“If we play around the viper’s hole–it no wonder that we are bitten!”

An old proverb advises us not to play with sharp-edged tools, lest we cut our fingers. 

It is a sin to trifle with sin! If we must play, we had better find harmless toys! 

That evil which caused Christ a bloody death, is no fit theme for any man’s sport.¬†

Playing with wickedness is a hazardous game! Sooner or later, we will pluck the lion of sin by the beard, and we shall be torn in pieces! 

This is true of indulgence in strong drink: “Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!¬†In the end it bites like a snake, and poisons like a viper!”¬†

This is equally true of all other forms of evil, especially of the lusts of the flesh. Lewd words, soon lead to foul deeds. Yet such is the folly of men, that they run dreadful risks in sheer wantonness, as though vipers and cobras were fine playmates, and devils were merry-makers!

“Keep your servant from¬†deliberate sins!¬†Do not let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.” Psalm 19:13

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