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The happiness of Heaven!

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The happiness of Heaven!

(Thomas Sherman, “Divine Breathings; Or, a Pious Soul Thirsting after Christ”)
“No¬†eye¬†has seen,¬†
 no ear has heard, 
 no mind has conceived,
¬†what God has prepared for those who love Him!” 1 Corinthians 2:9

The vessel of our soul is too capacious to be filled with all the pleasures and delights the world put together. But hereafter, our pleasures and delights shall be too great for the most capacious vessel to hold! Our glory shall be so great, that power as well as goodness, shall be given by God Himself to renew and enlarge these vessels, that they may be capable of receiving and retaining that glory. Strength and love shall go forth together, to prepare and elevate our dispositions, that they may be suitable for such a transcendent and exalted state!

At present, we are too weak to bear such a weight of glory; therefore God will immortalize us, that we may be able to sustain it! And because our eternal joys cannot fully enter into us while in this world, we shall fully enter into them in heaven. 

What fool would place only a few drops of carnal pleasures into so large a vessel as the soul; and neglect the spring, or rather the ocean of unspeakable bliss, and everlasting glory!

O my soul, what a glorious day is coming, when the¬†vessels¬†of mercy shall be cast into the¬†ocean¬†of mercy, and be filled to the very brim with¬†divine¬†mercy! Then the soul that is love-sick for Jesus–shall lie in the bosom of divine love, and forever be satisfied with unfathomable love! Then the children of God shall have a full fruition of God, and be forever satisfied with the presence of God! The joy of His glorious presence, the fullness of His joy, the¬†sweetness¬†of this fullness, the eternity of this sweetness–the heart of man can never adequately comprehend.¬†

Lord, let the glory which you have prepared for me, turn my soul from the vanities of earth!

“You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand!” Psalm 16:11

Such a god should be derided!

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Such a god should be derided!

(William S. Plumer, “A Treatise on Providence” 1865)
The unrenewed heart is atheistic in its inclinations.

“They say: The Lord doesn’t see it. The God of Jacob¬†doesn’t pay attention.” Psalm 94:7″The wicked say to themselves: ‘God isn’t watching!¬†He will never notice!’
¬†Arise, O Lord! Punish the wicked, O God!”¬†Psalm 10:11-12

Nothing more derogatory to the character of God can possibly be said, than that He does not rule the world. 

God¬†reigns¬†is a logical conclusion from God¬†is. To deny God’s¬†providence¬†is as atheistic as to deny His existence! A god, who neither sees, nor hears, nor knows, nor cares, nor helps, nor saves–is a vanity, and can never claim homage from intelligent men.¬†Such a god should be derided, not worshiped! He might suit the mythology of Paganism, or meet the demands of an infidel heart–but could never command the allegiance, or win the confidence of an enlightened and pious man!¬†

The world may as well be without a god–as have one who is incompetent to rule it, or, who, wrapping Himself in a mantle of careless indifference, abandons creation to the governance of puny mortals, to the rule of devils, or to the sway of¬†blind chance!¬†Such conduct may well comport with the character of false gods–but is wholly abhorrent to the nature of Jehovah! God’s tender mercies are over all His works. His kingdom rules over all!

“Our God is in Heaven and does¬†whatever He pleases!” Psalm 115:3¬†

“For I know that the Lord is great; our Lord is greater than all gods. The Lord does¬†whatever He pleases¬†in Heaven and on earth, in the seas and all the depths!” Psalm 135:5-6″Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns!”¬†Revelation 19:6

The result has been . . .

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The result has been . . .

(Arthur Pink, “An Exposition of the Gospel of John”)
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first.¬†If you¬†belonged¬†to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you¬†out¬†of the world.¬†That is why the world hates you!”¬†John 15:18-19¬†

“Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you!” 1 John 3:13¬†

The professing Church has boasted that it would convert the world. To accomplish this aim, it has sought to “popularize” religion. Innumerable devices have been employed¬†to attract the ungodly–many of which even a sense of propriety should have suppressed!¬†

The result has been that the world has converted the professing Church! 

But notwithstanding this, it still remains true that the world hates the true followers of the Lamb. And nowhere is this more plainly evident, than in those who belong to what we may term the religious world!

If you resolve that by Divine grace you will live godly in Christ Jesus, then know that persecution must be your portion. And that persecution will come upon you not from atheists and infidels, but from those bearing the name of Christians. It will issue from those who still keep up a form (or semblance) of godliness, but who are strangers to its living power. It will come to you from empty professors whose compromising ways are condemned by your refusal to conform thereto; whose worldliness and carnality is rebuked by your spirituality. 

Remember, it was the religious leaders who hounded the Savior to His death!

¬†“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus¬†will¬†be persecuted!” 2 Timothy 3:12¬†

But he was a leper!

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But he was a leper!

(Arthur Pink, “Gleanings from Elisha”)
“Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a¬†great man¬†. . .¬†but he was a leper!” 2 Kings 5:1¬†

Naaman was a great man . . . but he was a leper! He was the victim of a loathsome and incurable disease. He was a pitiful and repulsive object, with no prospect whatever of any improvement in his condition.

Yes, my reader, the highly-privileged and honored Naaman was a leper–and as such he portrays what you are and what I am by nature. God’s Word does not¬†flatter¬†man. It lays him in the dust, which is one reason why it is so unpalatable to the great majority of people. It is the Word of truth, and therefore instead of painting flattering pictures of human nature–it represents things as they actually are.
 
Instead of¬†lauding¬†man–it¬†abases¬†him.

Instead of speaking of the dignity and nobility of human nature, it declares it to be leprous–sinful, corrupt, depraved, defiled!

Instead of eulogizing human progress–it insists that “every man at his best state is altogether vanity!” (Psalm 39:5)

And when the Holy Scriptures define man’s attitude toward, and relationship with God–they insist that “There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God” (Romans 3:10-11). They declare that we are His¬†enemies¬†by our wicked works (Colossians 1:21), and that consequently we are under the condemnation and curse of God’s law, and that His holy wrath abides on us! (John 3:36)

The Word of truth declares that by nature¬†all of us are spiritual lepers–foul and filthy, unfit for the divine presence, “being alienated from the life of God.” (Ephesians 4:18)¬†

You may occupy a good position in this world, even an eminent station in the affairs of this life. You may have made good in your vocation, and wrought praiseworthy achievements by human standards. You may be honorable in the sight of your fellows–but¬†how do you appear in the eyes of God?¬†You are a leper–one whom His law pronounces unclean, one who is utterly unfit for His holy presence! As it was with Naaman, so it is with you:¬†“He was a great man–but a leper!”

We would not be faithful to our calling were we to glide over that in God’s Word which is distasteful to proud flesh and blood. Nor would we be faithful to our readers if we glossed over their frightful and fatal natural condition. It is in their souls’ interests that they should face this humiliating and unpleasant fact: that in God’s sight, they are spiritual lepers!

But we must¬†personalize¬†it. Have¬†you, my reader, realized this fact in your own case? Have you seen yourself as you are in God’s sight? Are you aware that your soul is suffering from a disease that neither you nor any human being can cure? It is so, whether you realize it or not. The Scriptures declare that from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head, there is no soundness in you. Yes, that in the sight of the holy God, you are a mass of “wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores!” (Isaiah 1:6) Only as you penitently accept that divine verdict, is there any hope for you.

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save¬†sinners!” 1 Timothy 1:15

Two Filthy Rooms!

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Two Filthy Rooms!

(Arthur Pink)
“And when the Spirit comes, He will convict the world of sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.” John 16:8

One of the principle things which distinguishes a regenerate person from an unregenerate one, may be likened unto two filthy rooms:

In one room, the blinds are raised and the sunlight streams in, exposing the filth all around. 

In the other room, the blinds are lowered, and one walking through the room would be unable to discern its real condition.

Thus it is in the case of one who has been renewed by the Spirit: his eyes have been opened to see the awful filthwhich lurks in every corner of his heart.

But in the case of the unregenerate, though they have occasional twinges of conscience when they act wrongfully, they are very largely ignorant of the awful fact that they are a complete mass of corruption in the pure eyes of the thrice holy God.

Abraham acknowledged,¬†“I am dust and ashes!”¬†Genesis 18:27

Job said of himself, “I am vile!” Job 40:4

David admitted, “I am a worm!” Psalm 22:6

Isaiah confessed, “Woe is me! I am ruined!” Isaiah 6:5

Peter affirmed, “I am a sinful man, O Lord!” Luke 5:8

Paul considered himself, “The chief of sinners!” 1 Timothy 1:15

Lost

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LOST!

(Arthur Pink, 1951)
“But if our gospel is hid–it is hid to those who are¬†LOST!¬†The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers!” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4¬†

What multitudes of people there are who have no concern over, in fact, no consciousness of, their woeful condition! While they do not regard themselves as perfect, yet they are not aware that there is anything seriously wrong with them. They are respectable people, law-abiding citizens, and nothing particular ever troubles their conscience. They consider that they are certainly no worse than their religious neighbors, and though they scarcely ever read the Bible or enter a church, they fully expect to go to Heaven when they die. 

Some of them will indeed admit that they are sinners, but imagine that their good works far outnumber their bad ones. Some of them were sprinkled as infants, attended a Sunday school class as children, said their prayers each night, and later joined the church. Nevertheless, to this moment, they have never realized that they are the enemies of God, an abomination in the eyes of His holiness, and that Hell is their just desert! They see no beauty or glory in the Gospel, no suitableness in it unto their case–and therefore do they despise and reject it.

Though Satan rules in their hearts and lives (Ephesians 2:2), yet it is by their own free consent. They voluntarily obey him and submit to his will. His dominion over them is maintained by . . .
  keeping their minds in darkness,
  deceiving and deluding them,
  blinding them by pride, prejudice, and the workings of their own corruptions. 

Nowhere but in the Scriptures, can we learn what is the real condition of the natural man. There his case is diagnosed with unerring precision by the divine Physician. Many are the terms used therein by the Holy Spirit to describe the solemn and direful state to which the fall has reduced every descendant of Adam; and among them probably none is more pointed and awesome than is the term LOST! How dismal is its sound! How much is summed up in that single word! It signifies . . .
  that the natural man is in a sinful, wretched, and perilous state, 
  that he is far astray from God,
  that he has willfully and wantonly forsaken the path of duty. 

Lost! A traveler from time to eternity, treading the road that leads to certain and everlasting destruction! 

Lost! A creature who has forfeited the approbation and favor of his Maker, and is now an outcast from Him!

Lost! One who has squandered his substance in riotous living, and is now a spiritual bankrupt and pauper. He is out of the way of eternal peace and blessing, and utterly incapable of finding his way back to it! 

Fearful beyond words, is the condition of fallen man. His case is as hopeless as that of a dying person whose disease is incurable. A lost¬†child¬†is a pitiful object–but what mind can estimate, or pen depict, the tragedy of a lost¬†soul?¬†Lost now, lost¬†forever–unless a sovereign God intervenes and performs a miracle of mercy for its recovery!¬†

Man is lost positively, in that he is not what he should be. He is . . .
  a defiled creature,
  a guilty criminal, 
  a child of disobedience!

Lost¬†judicially, under the curse of God’s broken Law, sentenced to death, “condemned already” (John 3:18), the wrath of God now abiding on him! (John 3:36)

Lost¬†meritoriously, for his transgressions deserve eternal death, which is the wages of sin–and fully has he earned them.¬†

Lost¬†experientially¬†in point of¬†ability¬†or¬†power¬†to recover himself, he is “not subject to the law of God, neither indeed¬†can¬†he be” (Romans 8:7). The moral impotency of man is such that he is utterly incapable of performing a single spiritual act: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good, who are accustomed to doing evil! (Jeremiah 13:23)

None will know how utterly man is lost, until they experience God’s wrath in Hell, and can then measure the fearful distance they have departed from Him!

Thus man is lost in every way, and in every sense! 
Federally, by the imputation to him of the guilt of his representative’s offence.¬†
Effectually, by the transmission of a corrupt nature from his parents. 
Actually, by his own evil conduct, “you have destroyed yourself” (Hosea 13:9).¬†
Practically, by the forming of evil habits, so that now he is “held with the cords of his sins” (Proverbs 5:22).¬†

Lost to God, for He has no love, no service, no glory from the unregenerate; so that they deprive Him of the honor of their creation. 

Man is lost to himself . . .
  to all reason and rational inducements, 
  to right conceptions and perceptions, 
¬† to every consideration of God’s claims upon him.¬†

Lost to all sense of shame for his horrible condition in the eyes of the Holy One. 

So lost as to have “delight in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:12).¬†

Lost to piety and true happiness. 

Out of the way of holiness, peace, and security. 

Lost in sin, in ignorance, and error. 

Lost¬†irretrievably, like a sheep that wanders farther and farther astray, until it perishes. Man is utterly unable to find his way back to God, for he is in total darkness–a wanderer in a pathless desert, perishing in a howling wilderness. What makes man’s case yet worse, is that¬†he has no desire to be recovered!¬†He has perversely set himself up to be his own master, and stubbornly determines to please himself and carve out his own career.¬†

Rather than return unto God, the unregenerate would take any road which leads farther away from Him. They resent His expostulations and resist the strivings of His Spirit. If not with their lips, with their hearts, they say unto God: “Depart from us, for we have no desire to know Your ways!” (Job 21:14). Yes, they would much prefer to be annihilated than yet meet God face to face, and have to give an account of themselves to Him (Romans 14:12). They hate His holiness and dread His justice, while despising His goodness and abusing His mercies!¬†

An unerring chart by which to steer through the dangerous sea of life!

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An unerring chart by which to steer through the dangerous sea of life!

(Arthur Pink, “The Attributes of God“)

God has placed His Word in our hands for an intensely practical purpose; namely, to direct our walk and to regulate our deportment. The primary purpose for which God gave the Scriptures, is to make a practicaluse of them–ordering the details of our lives by its rules and regulations.

“Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105. The metaphor used here is taken from a man walking along a dangerous road on a dark night, in urgent need of a lantern to show him where to walk safely and comfortably, to avoid injury and destruction. 

God, in His infinite condescension and transcendent grace, has given us His Word for this very purpose, so that we need not stumble along blindly, ignorant of what pleases or displeases Him–but that we might know His mind. That divine Word is not given to us simply for information, but . . .
  to regulate our conduct,
  to enlighten our minds,
  and to mold our hearts.

The Word supplies us with an unerring chart by which to steer through the dangerous sea of life. If we sincerely and diligently follow, it will deliver us from disastrous rocks and submerged reefs; and direct us safely to the heavenly harbor. That Word has all the instructions we need for every problem, and every trouble we may be called upon to face. That Word has been given to us “that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:17. How thankful we should be, that God has favored us with such a Word!

This world is a dark place, and it is only as we take heed to the Word, to the light God has given us–that we shall be able to perceive and avoid “the broad road which leads to destruction,” and discern the narrow way which alone “leads unto eternal life.”

Our first duty, and our first aim, must be to take up the Scriptures to ascertain what is God’s revealed will for us–what are the paths He forbids us to walk, what are the ways pleasing in His sight.

The Scriptures are not given us, primarily for our intellectual gratification, nor for emotional admiration, but for life’s regulation. Nor are the precepts and commands, the warnings and encouragements contained therein, simply for our information. They are to be reduced to practice; they require unqualified obedience. He who treasures the divine precepts in his heart, and diligently seeks to walk by their rule, will escape those evils which destroy his fellows.

Thus the great business of the Christian is to regulate his life by, and conform his conduct to–the precepts of the written Word, and the example left us by the Incarnate Word. As he does so, and in proportion as he does so, he is . . . 
  emancipated from the darkness of his natural mind,
  freed from the follies of his corrupt heart,
  delivered from the mad course of this world,
  and escapes the snares of the devil.

Correcting in love–not smiting in wrath!

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Correcting in love–not smiting in wrath!

(Arthur Pink, “Comfort for Christians“)

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“Whom the Lord loves, He chastens.” Hebrews 12:6

The Father’s wise and loving discipline is in view here.

It is of first importance that we learn to draw a sharp distinction between Divine punishment and Divine chastisement. The distinction is very simple, yet is it often lost sight of. 

God’s people can never by any possibility be punished for their sins, for God has already punished them at the Cross. The Lord Jesus, our Blessed Substitute, suffered the full penalty of all our guilt; hence it is written “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” Neither the justice nor the love of God, will permit Him to again exact payment of what Christ discharged to the full. The difference between punishment and chastisement lies not in the nature of the sufferings of the afflicted. There is a threefold distinction between the two: 

First, the character in which God acts. In the former, God acts as Judge; in the latter, as Father. Sentence of punishment is the act of a judge–a penal sentence passed on those charged with guilt. Punishment can never fall upon the child of God in this judicial sense, because his guilt was all transferred to Christ, “Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree.”

But while the believer’s sins cannot be punished, while the Christian cannot be condemned (Romans 8:3)–yet he may be chastised. The Christian occupies an entirely different position from the non-Christian; he is a member of the Family of God. The relationship which now exists between him and God is that of parent and child; and as a son he must be disciplined for wrongdoing. Folly is bound up in the hearts of all God’s children, and the rod is necessary to rebuke, to subdue, to humble.

The second distinction between Divine punishment and Divine chastisement lies in the recipients of each.

The objects of the former are His enemies
The subjects of the latter are His children

As the Judge of all the earth, God will yet take vengeance on all His foes. 
As the Father of His family, God maintains discipline over all His children. 

The one is judicial; the other parental.

A third distinction is seen in the design of each.

The one is retributive–the other remedial. 

The one flows from His anger–the other from His love. 

Divine punishment is never sent for the good of unrepentant sinners–but for the honoring of God’s law and the vindicating of His government. 
But Divine chastisement is sent for the well-being of His children: “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness.” (Hebrews 12:10)

When the believer is smarting under the rod let him not say, “God is now punishing me for my sins!” That can never be! That is most dishonoring to the blood of Christ. God is correcting you in love–not smiting in wrath! 

Chastisement proceeds from God’s goodness and faithfulness, and is one of the greatest blessings for which we have to thank Him. Chastisement evidences our Divine sonship. It is designed for our good, to promote our highest interests. Look beyond the rod–to the all-wise hand which wields it!

Some of the saintliest of God’s people, some of the most obedient of His children–have been, and are the greatest sufferers. 

Oftentimes, God’s chastenings are corrective. They are sent to empty us of self-sufficiency and self-righteousness. They are given to discover to us hidden transgressions, and to teach us the plague of our own hearts. 

Or again, chastisements are sent to strengthen our faith, to raise us to higher levels of experience, to bring us into a condition of usefulness. 

Still again, Divine chastisement is sent as a preventative, to keep under pride, to save us from being unduly elated over success in God’s service. 

Remember, your afflictions are among the “all things” which work together for good. Learn, then, to look upon trials as proofs of God’s love–purgingpruning, and purifying you.

What is most needed today

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(Arthur Pink, “Eternal Punishment”)

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It is my deepening conviction that what is most needed today, is a wide proclamation of those truths which are the least acceptable to the flesh.

What is needed today, is a scriptural setting forth of the character of God:
His absolute sovereignty,
His ineffable holiness,
His inflexible justice,
His unchanging veracity.

What is needed today, is a scriptural setting forth of the condition of the natural man:
his total depravity,
his spiritual insensibility,
his inveterate hostility to God,
the fact that he is “condemned already” and that
the wrath of a sin-hating God is even now abiding upon him!

What is needed today, is a scriptural setting forth of the alarming danger which sinners are in; the indescribably awful doom which awaits them; the fact that if they follow their present course only a little further–they shall most certainly suffer the due penalty of their iniquities!

What is needed today, is a scriptural setting forth of the nature of that dreadful punishment which awaits the lost:
the awfulness of it,
the hopelessness of it,
the unendurableness of it,
the endlessness of it!
Excepting the Cross of Christ, nothing else so manifests the heinousness of sin–as the doctrine of eternal punishment.

It is just because these truths have been withheld so much from public ministry to the saints–that we now find so many backboneless, sentimental, lop-sided Christians in our assemblies!

A clearer vision of the awe-inspiring attributes of God, would banish much of our levity and irreverence.

A better understanding of our depravity by nature, would humble us and make us see our deep need of using the appointed means of grace.

A facing of the alarming danger of the lost sinner, would cause us to “consider our ways” and make us more diligent to make our “calling and election sure.”

A realization of the unspeakable misery which awaits the lost (and which each of us has fully merited) would immeasurably deepen our gratitude, and bring us to thank God more fervently–that we have been snatched as brands from the burning, and delivered from the wrath to come! It would also make us far more earnest in our prayers, as we supplicate God on behalf of the unsaved.

Where are you going?

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(Charles Orr, “How to Live a Holy Life”)

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We have only one life to live–only one! Think of this for a moment. 

Here we are in this world of time, making the journey of life. Each day we are farther from the cradle, and nearer to the grave! Solemn thought!

See the mighty concourse of human lives; hear their heavy tread in their onward march. 
Some are just beginning life’s journey, 
some are midway up the hill, 
some have reached the top, and 
some are midway down the western slope. 

But where are we all going? 

Listen, and you will hear but one answer, “Eternity!” Beyond the fading, dying gleams of the sunset of life–lies a boundless, endless ocean called Eternity! There, you and I are daily traveling.

Time is like a great wheel going its round. On and on it goes. Some are stepping on, and some are stepping off. But where are these latter stepping? Into eternity! 

See that old man with bent form, snow-white locks, and tottering steps–his has been a long round, but he has reached his end at last. 

See the middle-aged man–his round has not been so long, but he must also step off. 

See the youth–he has been on only a little while, but he is brought to the stepping-off place. He thought his round would be much longer. He supposed that he was just getting started–when that icy hand was laid upon him and the usher said, “Come, you have made your round, and you must go!” 

The infant that gave its first faint cry this morning, may utter its last feeble wail tonight!

And thus they go. But where? Oh, where? ETERNITY!

If you were to start today and ask each person you met the question, “Where are you going?” and, if possible, you were to travel the world over and ask each one of earth’s inhabitants–there could be but one correct answer, “Eternity!”

“Oh, eternity, Long eternity! 
 Hear the solemn footsteps of eternity!”

Only one life to live! Only one life–and then we must face vast, endless eternity! We shall pass along the pathway of life but once. Every step we take, is a step that can never be taken again. 

This world is not a play-ground–or a place to trifle with time
Life is not given us to squander nor fritter away. 
To trifle away time, is indeed, to be the greatest of spendthrifts. 
If you squander a dollar, you may regain it; but a moment wasted, can never be regained. God gives us all the time we need to accomplish all that He purposes us to accomplish–but He does not give us one moment to trifle away.

We have only one life to live–only one!”So teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 

The miserable dregs of self!

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(J.C. Philpot, “Meditations on Matters of Christian Faith & Experience”)

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“To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He  has made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6

We are ever looking for something in self to make ourselves acceptable to God. 
We are often sadly cast down and discouraged when we cannot find in ourselves . . .
  that holiness,
  that obedience,
  that calm submission to the will of God,
  that serenity of soul,
  that spirituality and heavenly-mindedness, 
which we believe to be acceptable in His sight. 

Our crooked tempers,
our fretful, peevish minds,
our rebellious thoughts,
our coldness and barrenness,
our alienation from good,
our headlong proneness to evil,
with the daily feeling that we get no better, but rather worse, 
make us think that God views us just as we view ourselves. And this brings on great darkness of mind and bondage of spirit, and we seem to lose sight of our acceptance in Christ, and get into the miserable dregs of self–almost ready to quarrel with God because we are so vile, and only get worse as we get older.

Now the more we get into these dregs of self, and the more we keep looking at the dreadful scenes of wreck and ruin which our heart presents to daily view–the farther do we get from the grace of the gospel, and the more do we lose sight of the only ground of our acceptance with God. It is “in the Beloved” that we are accepted, and not for any . . .
  good works,
  good words,
  good thoughts,
  good hearts, or
  good intentions of our own.

If our acceptance with God depended on anything in ourselves, we would have to believe we might be children of God today, and children of the devil tomorrow.

What, then, is to keep us from sinking altogether into despair, without hope or help? Why, a knowledge of our acceptance in the Beloved, independent of everything in us, good or bad. 

“You are complete in Him!” Colossians 2:10

“Their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17

“He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy.” Titus 3:5

Even your own relatives think¬†you are almost insane!

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(J.C. Philpot, “The Abiding Comforter” 1858)

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“The Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.” John 14:17

The world–that is, the world dead in sin, and the world dead in profession, men destitute of the life and power of God–must have something that it can see. And, as heavenly things can only be seen by heavenly eyes, they cannot receive the things which are invisible.

Now this explains why a religion that presents itself with a degree of beauty and grandeur to the natural eye, will always be received by the world; while a . . .
  spiritual,
  internal,
  heartfelt and
  experimental 
religion will always be rejected.

The world can receive a religion that consists of . . .
  forms, 
  rites, and 
  ceremonies. 
These are things seen.

Beautiful buildings,
painted windows,
pealing organs,
melodious choirs,
the pomp and parade of an earthly priesthood,
and a whole apparatus of ‘religious ceremony’, 
carry with them something that the natural eye can see and admire. The world receives all this ‘external religion’ because it is suitable to the natural mind and intelligible to their reasoning faculties.

But the . . .
  quiet, 
  inward, 
  experimental, 
  divine religion,
which presents no attractions to the outward eye, but is wrought in the heart by a divine operation–the world cannot receive this, because it presents nothing that the natural eye can rest upon with pleasure, or is adapted to gratify their general idea of what religion is or should be.

Do not marvel then, that worldly professors despise a religion wrought in the soul by the power of God. Do not be surprised if even your own relatives think you are almost insane, when you speak of the consolations of the Spirit, or of the teachings of God in your soul. They cannot receive these things, for they have no experience of them; and being such as are altogether opposed to the carnal mind, they reject them with enmity and scorn.

My grace is sufficient for you!

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(J.C. Philpot, “Strength Made Perfect in Weakness”)


My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in your weakness.”¬† 2 Corinthians 12:9

Not your strength, 
not your wisdom, 
not your prayers, 
not your experience; 
but¬†“My grace”–My free, My matchless grace:
  independent of all works and efforts,
  independent of everything in the creature,
  flowing wholly and solely, fully and freely, out of the bosom of Jesus to . . .
    the needy,
    the guilty,
    the destitute,
    the undone.

You who are tried in worldly circumstances, who have to endure the hard lot of¬†poverty–“My grace is sufficient for you.”¬†

You who are¬†tempted, day by day, to say or do that which conscience testifies against–“My grace is sufficient for you.”¬†

You who are harassed with¬†family troubles¬†and afflictions, and are often drawn aside into peevishness and fretfulness–“My grace is sufficient for you.”¬†

Our weakness, helplessness, and inability are the very things which draw forth the power, the strength, and the grace of Jesus!

Believer, your case is never beyond the reach of the words–“My grace is sufficient for you!”

The free, the matchless, sovereign grace of God, is sufficient for all His people–in whatever state, or stage, or trouble, or difficulty they may be in!

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

Why does God afflict us? 

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Why does God afflict us? 

(Ashton Oxenden, “The Blessings and Trials of Sickness” 1863)

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“Affliction does not come forth from the dust, neither does trouble spring forth out of the ground!” Job 5:6 

“Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good.” Deuteronomy 8:5

“I know, O Lord, that Your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness You have afflicted me!” Psalm 119:75

“As many as I love, rebuke and discipline!” Revelation 3:19 

“For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6 

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

Dear Reader, 
I have come into your sick-room, as it were, and wish to tell you a few things for your comfort and profit.

God has seen fit to stop you in the midst of your busy life, and to lay you aside for a while. It is not by chance that His afflicting hand has fallen upon you. It is not at random that He has chastened you. It may seem to be a mere accident that you are afflicted, and not another. But no; God has done it purposely! 

Learn this then–that your present sickness or affliction is from God. It is His doing. He it is, who has brought this present chastisement upon you. Not even a sparrow falls to the ground without our heavenly Father’s ordering, and He prizes His redeemed children more than many sparrows.

Sickness usually comes as a messenger of divine love–it is sent to be a blessing, and may be made, by God’s grace, a very great blessing to the soul. God afflicts His children, because He desires to do them some great good. 

The gardener cuts and prunes his tree, to make it grow better, and bear more precious fruit. In the same way, God often uses His sharp knife for some gracious purpose. 

The wise and loving father thwarts his child, and sometimes scourges it, for its good. Just so, God uses His chastening rod for the very same reason. 

The skillful physician prescribes nauseous medicines to restore his patient’s health. In the same way, God makes us take His bitter medicines, though at the time they are very distasteful to us.

Why does God afflict us? 

Because He loves us, and wishes to make us holy as He is holy, and happy as He is happy. For, as it has been well said, “Fiery trials make golden Christians!” 

God had one Son without sin–but He never had any son without sorrow.

God chastens purposely and lovingly. Affliction comes from Him; and He afflicts, not as a stern Judge, but as a Father and a Friend!

Before then you go a step further, ask God to convince you of this precious truth: “It is my Father who corrects me–even He who loves me! I will receive this chastisement then from Him, and remember that it is a loving hand that smites. I will kiss the very rod that scourges me. Father, not my will, but may Your will be done!”

A true Christian will receive affliction with submission. It is his Father’s doing, and therefore he quietly submits. It comes from Him, and must therefore be well. He feels that there is a needs-be for it. What a sweet pillow is this, on which to rest his weary head!

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

I will rejoice in Your salvation!

I will rejoice in Your salvation!

(William Nicholson, 1862)

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I will rejoice in Your salvation!” Psalm 9:14

The minds of the wicked find joy from the most¬†trivial¬†causes–causes which the Spirit of God has taught the Christian to estimate as mere “vanity and vexation of spirit.” To the enlightened mind, the pursuits of this world, and the possessions of the most wealthy, dwindle into insignificance when compared with the value of the soul and its great salvation. If a sinner finds cause for joy in his career of¬†iniquity, the end of which is damnation–then surely the believer has¬†an unfailing source of joy and consolation in God’s salvation!

No one can rejoice in salvation, unless he understands it. There will be a knowledge . . . 
of the¬†necessity¬†of salvation, arising from the conviction of one’s fallen, guilty, and condemned state before God;¬†
of the accomplishment of salvation, by the atoning death, resurrection, and intercession of Jesus Christ, 1 Timothy 1:15; 
that when received, salvation will grant . . . 
  pardon to the guilty, 
  justification to the condemned, 
  liberty to the spiritual captive, 
  health to the spiritually sick, 
  sight to the spiritually blind, and, in short, 
¬† “all spiritual blessings¬†in heavenly places in Christ Jesus!”

No one can ever rejoice in salvation, unless he has felt his need of it. The Spirit has opened the eyes of his understanding, and revealed to him his great guilt and need of the Savior. He now knows the plague of his own heart. He now feels his utter helplessness, and perceives the adaptation of the Savior to his state as a perishing sinner.

True salvation always¬†produces joy¬†and rejoicing!¬†“I will rejoice in Your salvation.”
The sick person rejoices when his disease departs, when the bloom of health again mantles his cheek, etc. 
The debtor rejoices when his debts are discharged, etc. 
The culprit rejoices when reprieved, when he hears the opening of the doors of his prison-house. 
And shall not the penitent and believing sinner rejoice? He is saved! Saved from . . .
  the guilt of sin, 
  the condemnation of sin,
  the dominion of sin,
  the power of death, 
  the dominion of the grave, and 
  the vengeance of everlasting fire!

This joy springs from the realization of divine mercy, through the sin-atoning death of Christ. This rejoicing is over . . .
  an infinite soul, 
  redeemed by an infinite price, 
¬†¬†from¬†an infinite damnation–
to infinite joys, realized first here, and then to be realized fully in an infinite Heaven. 

What a possession! What a prospect!¬†“I will rejoice in Your salvation!”¬†

1. The believer rejoices in the¬†origin¬†of salvation. It is the result of distinguishing grace–the sovereign goodness and unmerited compassion and favor of God. Man . . .
  did not deserve it,
  had no equitable title to it,
  never solicited it. 
God beheld him as an outcast, pitied him, and condescended to save him! 

2. The believer rejoices in the¬†procuring¬†of salvation. When he sees his Redeemer in the garden and on the cross, he weeps–but they are¬†tears of joy.¬†There he sees Christ’s astonishing love. There he sees Him bearing his sins and dying in his stead, etc.

3. The believer rejoices in the glorious properties of salvation . . . 
  the freeness of it, requiring no qualifications nor conditions,
  the purity of it, unto holiness,
  the power of it, saving him from the guilt, dominion, and pollution of sin,
  the extensiveness of it, investing him with every spiritual blessing,
¬† the¬†certainty¬†of it, assuring the soul, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish–ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:28¬†

4. The believer rejoices in the prospective consummation of salvation in Heaven. He anticipates with joy . . .
  the full harvest,
  the fruition of hope, and
  the vision of glory in which faith shall be lost. 

“You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand!” Psalm 16:11¬†

People with sore and bruised hearts

People with sore and bruised hearts

(J.R. Miller, “Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ” 1890)

“When¬†a woman who had lived a sinful life¬†in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume . . .” Luke 7:37¬†

It is wonderful how genuine goodness draws to itself:
  the unfortunate, 
  the troubled,
  the friendless, 
  the outcast,
  the fallen. 

Wherever Jesus went, these classes always found Him out and gathered about Him. It was because He was the true, unselfish friend of all men. They found¬†sympathy¬†in Him. He would¬†listen¬†to their story. Though He was the sinless One, there was yet no air of, “I am holier than you” about Him. He was just as gentle to an outcast sinner, as to a religious Nicodemus. No matter who reached out a hand for help, He was ready to grasp it. One of the truest things ever said of Jesus, was the prophetic word concerning him,¬†“He shall not break a bruised reed!”¬†He always dealt most gently with¬†sore spirits¬†and with¬†bruised hearts!

Those who want to be useful in this world, must have the same qualities as Jesus. There is a kind of false “holiness” which draws nobody to itself–but rather repels. Genuine holiness, however, wins its way everywhere into men’s hearts. The secret of it all is in living¬†“not to be served–but to serve;”¬†in considering one’s self not too good to serve the most unworthy of God’s creatures. If we live in this world to¬†be¬†served, we shall be of no use to anyone. But if we live to minister to others, yearning to be of service to everyone we meet–then our life will be of great worth. The¬†hungry-hearted¬†and the¬†soul-needy¬†will be drawn to us, and God will love to put work into our hands.

We need, too, to train ourselves to¬†exceeding gentleness¬†in dealing with human souls in their spiritual crises. Many earnest people, in the excess of their zeal–do incalculable harm to those whom they greatly desire to help.¬†People with sore and bruised hearts, usually need loving sympathy and strong, kindly friendship–much more than they need a lecture in theology!

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28¬†




Dead Fish Go With The Flow!

Adapted From Calvin Schlabach

‚ÄúBE DIFFERENT! Don‚Äôt go with the flow!‚ÄĚ we are urged. ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt follow the crowd! Even a dead fish can float downstream.‚ÄĚ It does not take any effort or work on the part of a fish to go with the flow and drift downstEven a dead fish can float. Only a living and healthy fish can swim against the current and travel upstream. In the same way, any weak Christian can live like the world; it takes a vital, healthy faith to enable someone to stand on their convictions, firm against the tide of opinion and the example of unbelievers. 

Perhaps we can carry the analogy a bit further. With the polluted condition of many of our modern streams and rivers, it is not only dead fish that float downstream. Trash, industrial waste, and pollutants of one kind or another floats downstream. A fish that travels in that direction finds itself swimming in increasingly fouled and filthy waters. The purest, cleanest waters are found farther upstream nearer the source, where people rarely go. What kind of water would you rather swim in? What kind of life would you rather have? Pure waters are reached only by swimming against the current! 

Obviously, we do not want to be one of those wimpy, weak-willed, dead-fish Christians; yet it is so easy to go with the flow and follow the crowd. If we carelessly live like everyone else, we will find ourselves surrounded by the pollution of sin. Is there any way out of this mess? What does it take for us to be able to swim against the current and move farther upstream? I suggest that we need to concentrate on five main points. 

Convictions 

We will have to know what we believe and then hold to it strongly, for, as it has often been said, those who stand for nothing will fall for anything. We are given the teachings of the apostles and prophets so that we may ‚Äúno longer be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine‚ÄĚ (Ephesians 4:14). We must read our Bibles, accept the principles we find there as our standard of conduct, and then stand firmly on scriptural convictions! How rare it is to see that today! Most of us are so caught up in feelings and tradition, we do not allow truth to shine through. 

Courage 

The unbelievers will not make it to heaven: ‚ÄúBut for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death‚ÄĚ (Revelation 21:8). When they see that God‚Äôs way will require them to leave the false security of doing what all the rest of the world is doing and strike out on their own, their hearts will fail them. Rather than standing against the crowd with the courage of convictions (Romans 8:31), they take the easy way out, turning back to the world, to sin and condemnation. Joshua said, ‚ÄúBe strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go‚ÄĚ (1:9).

Strength 

We must have power and might to stand firmly against the flood of evil that would swiftly sweep us downstream to our destruction. Paul said, ‚ÄúBe on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong‚ÄĚ (1 Corinthians 16:13). We could not successfully withstand temptation and sin that threatens our spiritual well-being by ourselves. Therefore, we are called to ‚Äúbe strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might‚ÄĚ (Ephesians 6:10). Fortified with power that comes only from God (Ephesians 3:16), we can say with Paul, ‚ÄúI can do all things through Him who strengthens me‚ÄĚ (Philippians 4:13). 

Endurance 

For most of us, the Christian race is not a brief sprint to the finish line, but rather it is a long, grueling marathon. Listen to the words of the Hebrew writer, ‚ÄúYou have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised … ‚ÄėMy righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him‚Äô‚ÄĚ (10:36, 38). It is so sad to see those who have started on the Christian way later give up, forfeiting the race. They did not have the the long-distance endurance to run the race through to the end. Therefore, ‚Äúlet us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus‚ÄĚ (Hebrews 12:1-2). 

Heavenly Goals 

The reason we want to travel upstream is because we are seeking something better and higher than the careless world around us. We are not trying to be different from the world just for the sake of being different. We are different because we are pursuing different goals. We have to keep these goals continually before us. Paul said, ‚ÄúKeep seeking the things above, where Christ is … Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth‚ÄĚ (Colossians 3:1-2). Raise your sights! Don‚Äôt follow the foolish crowd!






One of the finest things in a complete Christian character

One of the finest things in a complete Christian character

(J.R. Miller, “Learning to Be Thoughtful” 1898)

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One of the finest things in a complete Christian character
, is thoughtfulness. It gives awondrous charm to a life. It makes one a blessing wherever he goes. It tempers all his conduct, softening all natural harshness into gentleness, and giving a spirit of kindliness to his every word and act, and to all his bearing.

A thoughtful person does not have to be asked to¬†help¬†others–he helps, as it were, instinctively. He is ever ready . . .¬†
  to do the obliging thing, 
  to say the encouraging word, 
  to show an interest in the life of others, 
  to perform those countless little kindnesses which so brighten the common pathway. 

In much home-life, there is a lack of thoughtfulness shown. Not always is the speech gentle–sometimes it is sharp and bitter, even rude. Without being aware of it, many of us are miserably selfish in our life among others. We practically forget that there are any other people, or that we ought to make any sacrifices, or practice any self-denials, for their sake.¬†

Thoughtfulness will seek always to say kindly words, never words that will give pain–but ever those that will give pleasure. We have no right, for the sake of saying a bright thing, to let loose a shaft, however polished, that will make a loving heart bleed!

We all know in our own experience, the value of sincere and Christly¬†thoughtfulness. We do not like to come in contact with thoughtless people. We know well how it hurts and how unbeautiful, how unchristian, it seems when we see it in another–and when¬†our¬†heart is the one that suffers from its harsh, rude impact. We all long for thoughtfulness in others; our hearts hunger and thirst for it. It is bread and wine to us.

What we long for in others in their relation to us, we should be ready to give to them. What in others hurts us, gives us pain–we ought to avoid in our contact with others.¬†Thoughtfulness is one of the finest, ripest fruits of Christian love–and all who would be like the Master must seek to learn this lesson and wear this grace.

It is not your¬†work¬†that He wants most–it is you!

It is not your work that He wants most–it is you!

(J.R. Miller, “The Glory of the Commonplace”)

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“Arise, My darling, My beautiful one, and come with Me!” Song of Songs 2:10 

“He said to them: Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place” Mark 6:31 

G. Campbell Morgan tells of a friend of his who had a little daughter that he dearly loved. They were great friends, the father and daughter, and were always together. But there seemed to come an estrangement on the child’s part. The father could not get her company as formerly. She seemed to shun him. If he wanted her to walk with him, she always had something else to do. The father was grieved and could not understand what the trouble was. 

His birthday came and in the morning his daughter came to his room, her face radiant with love, and handed him a present. Opening the parcel, he found a pair of exquisitely made slippers.

The father said, “My child, it was very good of you to buy me such lovely slippers.” 

“O father,” she said, “I did not buy them–I made them for you!”

Looking at her he said, “I think I understand now, what long has been a mystery to me. Is this what you have been doing for the last three months?”

“Yes,” she said, “but how did you know how long I have been at work on them?” 

He said, “Because for three months I have missed your company and your love. I have wanted you with me–but you have been too busy. These are beautiful slippers–but next time buy your present, and let me have you all the days. I would rather have my child herself, than anything she could make for me.”

Just so, we are in danger of being so busy in the Lord’s work that we cannot be enough with the Lord in love’s fellowship. He may say to us, “I like your works, your toils, your service–but I miss the loveyou gave Me at first.” 

There is real danger that we get so busy in striving to be active Christians, so absorbed in our tasks and duties, our efforts to bring others into the church–that Christ Himself shall be less loved, and shall miss our communing with Him. 

Loyalty to Christ means first of all devotion. Has Christ really the highest place in your heart? It is not your work that He wants most–it is you! It is beautiful to do things for Him, it is still more beautiful to make a home for Him in your heart. 

A young man, at great cost, brought from many countries the most beautiful materials he could find, and built an exquisite little chapel as a memorial to his dead wife. Only a few men could do anything so rare, so lovely. But the poorest of us can enthrone Jesus in our hearts–making a little sanctuary in our hearts for Him.

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love!” Revelation 2:4

Cut it off!

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Cut it off!

(J.R. Miller, “Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ” 1890)

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“If your hand or your foot causes you to sin,¬†cut it off¬†and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled–than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire!” Matthew 18:8

Our life is so full of temptation and peril, that even its best things may become stumbling-blocks. Our very qualities of strength, may become fatal forces driving us to eternal ruin. 

Human beauty
¬†is a blessing from God–and yet beauty has proved a snare to many a woman, drawing her away from God.¬†

Ability to make money¬†is a perilous gift,¬†which has led many a man to spiritual ruin. It is better to altogether throw away the money-making ability, and go poor through life with the talent wasted and shriveled, and reach Heaven–than to exercise the ability and grow rich, and be lost forever! These are illustrations of our Lord’s meaning when He speaks of ‘cutting off’ the hand or the foot which causes us to sin.

The appetites, desires, and affections–are part of the glory of humanity; and yet, when they are¬†unbridled,¬†they have whirled many a noble life to eternal destruction!

A steam-boat came into port which had long been out on the sea. An accident had happened which caused delay. The¬†coal¬†gave out; then all that would burn–cargo, stores, furniture–had to be burned up, in order to bring the vessel home. At last she gained the shore,¬†but stripped of everything of value. Yet it was better to burn up all her cargo and stores,¬†than perish at sea.

Just so, some men can get to Heaven, only by sacrificing every earthly pleasure and crucifying every sinful desire; but who will say that the prize is not worth the sacrifice? 
The hand would be better chopped off
, than steal or strike down another. 
The foot would be better cut off
, than carry one into crime or sin. 
The eye would be better plucked-out
, than by its lustful gazing set the soul on fire. 
A man on a wrecked vessel had better¬†throw his bags of gold into the sea¬†and have his life saved–than hold on to the gold and sink into the waves!

 

You shall love him!

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You shall love him!

(J. R. Miller, “Loving Your Neighbor”)

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“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”¬†Mark 12:31

What is it to love our neighbor? It is the loving that is hard. We could do almost anything else, short of loving unpleasant neighbors.

But¬†love¬†is the word–and no¬†revised version¬†changes it. No matter how disagreeable, unlovely, unworthy, our neighbors may be–still the commandment persistently and relentlessly says to us, “You shall love him!

Our neighbors are around us all the time, needing our love. Indeed, they touch our lives so continually, that we must¬†guard¬†our every look, word, and act–lest we hurt some sensitive spirit.¬†

Some people seem to forget that other people have feelings. They are constantly saying words and doing things which give pain. True love is thoughtful. We ought to train our hearts to the most delicate sense of kindness, that we may never, even jokingly, give pain to any other human being.

Our neighbors have¬†hearts, and we owe to every one of them–the¬†beggar¬†we meet on the street, thedegraded wretch¬†we find crawling in the mire of sin’s debasement, the¬†enemy¬†who flings his insults in our face–to every one, we owe the love that is thoughtful, gentle, and gives no hurt.

Our love ought also to be¬†patient. Our neighbor will have his faults. But we are taught to bear with one another’s infirmities.¬†

If we knew the story of men’s lives, the¬†hidden burdens¬†they are often carrying, the¬†unhealed woundsin their heart–we would have most gentle patience with them.¬†Life is hard for most people, certainly hard enough without our adding to its burdens–by our criticisms, our jeering and contempt, and our lack of love.

From The Archives: Draftin’

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¬†My Thoughts ūüí≠¬†

is your heart causing a¬†‚Äėdraft’ over people?
Are you the ice cold draft that puts a chill into people even before you meet? If someone were to say your name does it make them sigh and say “Oh no I haven’t got the energy.” Or does your name bring a smile to their face as they can’t wait to meet up again.¬†
 
Or…Are you a draft project?
Not quite finished or ready to be published yet, a broken toy forgotten on a shelf complaining because you feel your days are over. Are you sat waiting to bury your dead? waiting for your inheritance which you think will heal you. Then, and only then you decide to let Jesus walk alongside you…But NEVER in front!
 
Or…Do you create a backdraft?
Are you opening doors you know you shouldn’t be opening? Are you letting the flames consume you and pollute your mind??
 
Or‚Ķare you draftin’?¬†
Are you letting Jesus lead?¬†Are you following really close behind as he pulls you along, while leaving you with the energy to help others and become your own draft?¬†ūüôŹ¬†ūüėĬ†

A great and noble army of holy women

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A great and noble army of holy women

(J.R. Miller, “Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ” 1890)¬†

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“And many¬†women¬†were there beholding from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee,¬†ministering¬†unto Him” Matthew 27:55

These were the¬†earliest¬†of¬†a great and noble army of holy women–attached to Christ by deep, personal love, following and ministering unto Him.¬†

In all the ages since,¬†Christian women¬†have shown similar¬†devotion¬†and¬†constancy¬†to Christ–and similar heroic love in¬†serving¬†Him. The record of¬†women’s ministry to Christ, is one of the brightest in all the world’s history!

Women owe an incalculable debt to Christ. He has lifted them up from base thraldom and from degradation. Women have always been grateful too, and have served Christ with great devotion. 

Women are found in every¬†sickroom, bending over the sufferer with unwearying solicitude, with matchless tenderness ministering to bodily comfort, and pouring the warmth of affection upon feverish spirits. They are found in the wards of hospitals, and upon battlefields, moving like¬†God’s angels¬†in blessed, loving ministry.

Faithful Christian mothers are following the Master and doing work which will shine forever in glorious luster! 

Faithful¬†Christian Sunday school teachers¬†are doing quiet service in lowly paths–which in God’s sight, is nobler than that of many of earth’s famous ones!

Everywhere, too, there is an¬†open field¬†for woman’s ministry. Christ is no longer here in¬†person¬†to be served, as He was served by these women who followed Him from Galilee; but¬†in His needy and suffering followers, He is ever present; and whoever will, may minister unto Him! For He said that in doing acts of kindness to the least of His people, we do them unto Him.

Much practical teaching is in this picture, which is here held up before every woman, inspiring her to wholeheartedly follow Christ. 

Why do so many young Christian girls choose a life . . .
  of idleness,
  of love of pleasure,
  of aimless, purposeless existence,
¬† of mere dressing, promenading, and trifling–
when such a life of glorious service is open to them?

 

The goal of living in this world

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The goal of living in this world

(J.R. Miller, “Things That Endure”)

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

The goal of living in this world, is ever to grow into more and more radiant and lovely Christ-like character–whatever our¬†conditions¬†or¬†experiences¬†may be.

We cannot escape¬†temptations–but we are so to meet them and pass through them, as not to be hurt by them; to come out of them with new strength and new radiancy of soul.¬†

We cannot escape¬†trials¬†and¬†difficulties–but we are to live victoriously, never defeated, always overcoming.¬†

We cannot find a path in which no¬†sorrow¬†shall come into our lives–but we are to live through the experience of sorrow, without being hurt by it.

Many people receive harm from the¬†fires¬†which pass over them. Many fall in¬†temptation¬†and lie in dust and defeat, not rising again. Many are soured and embittered by the¬†difficulties, the¬†irritations, the¬†frictions, the¬†cares¬†of life. But the problem of Christian living, is to keep a sweet Christ-like spirit amid all that might embitter us–to pass through the¬†fires, and not have the flames kindle upon us.

We live in the midst of the countless dangers through which we must pass in this world. Danger lurks in every shadow, and hides in every patch of sunshine. There are tempters all around us. Only by committing our lives day by day into the hands of Christ, can we be kept in safety amid the perils of this world. He is able to keep us from falling, to guard us from stumbling, and to set us before His presence without blemish, in exceeding joy!

 

ūüė≤ Wow…Look What The Blind Sightseers Have Just Found??

Please click this logo to view the ablenet website

ablenet

Our Mission…

Our mission is quite simple: we want to get more disabled and visually impaired people enjoying new, fun and exhilarating activities. We want to help people with disabilities feel confident that they can enjoy the same activities and life experiences as someone without a disability.

 Hi readers!

Just guess how excited i am right now?? ūü§£

I have just stumbled onto the ablenet website and found this…?

Please click the Lamborghini Giado to view the ablenet facebook page

⇧ All images supplied by the ablenet facebook page ⇧ 

Are you ready for the drive of your life for an astonishing 6 miles each per Supercar? 

If you love supercars and are visually impaired, our ‘3 Supercar Blind Driving Experience Super Thrill’ is an experience you won’t find anywhere else. It is the best way to get to you in your favourite supercars and experience the peed, and thrill, of a high-performance beast.

Yes, it is true. Whatever your level of visual impairment, you can drive a Supercar with Ablenet. All of the cars are automatic and a super skilled instructor will guide you around the track whilst having access to a footbrake should it be necessary.

So, whether it’s a Lamborghini, Ferrari F430 spider, Aston Martin DB9, Audi R8, Nissan GTR or Porsche 911/997, we put you with the largest fleet of cars in the UK for you to choose from. The hardest part is choosing…

The great benefit to driving on a race circuit is feeling the pure power of an awesome car. You will be with a professional instructor who will teach you the art of driving.

The experience also includes a thrilling hot lap ride when the race driver will show you what a performance car can do around the circuit. Typically in a BMW M3 V8 saloon car or Vauxhall VXV8, both with 3 passengers.

Since going blind at 25 (21 years ago) i‚Äôve been waiting for someone to give the blind a truly accessible experience like the ones ablenet offer! I‚Äôve always said ‚Äúi can still drive‚ĶI just can‚Äôt see where i‚Äôm going‚ÄĚ. ūü§£¬†
 
I’ve always loved cars as when i was fully sighted i worked in a bodyshop as a panel beater and used to customise cars etc…Even my own! My dad, uncles and my cousins have always been mechanics in the motor trade so i’ve grown up with cars too. So when i stumbled onto their website, i just exploded with passion to drive a supercar or 3, lol! 
 
Sorry for sounding like a group b rally car ‚Äútoo much raw power with little containment‚Ä̂ĶBut getting involved and trying out all of the experiences on the ablenet website is like a dream come true for me. ūüėÄ ¬†¬†
 
Other¬†experiences for the visually impaired by ablenet…
Flying a plane, diving with sharks, shooting, archery,¬†skiing, indoor sky diving and much more‚ĶWow i think me and Sarah are going to have some fearful fun!¬†ūü§£ūüí™ūüŹľ¬†ūüė®¬†

Joy

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“Joy is a choice. It’s a matter of attitude that stems from one’s confidence in God- that He is at work, that He is in full control, that He is in the midst of whatever has happened, is happening and will happen. Either we fix our minds on that and determine to laugh again, or we wail and whine our way through life. We determine which way we will go.” –¬†Chuck Swindoll

Will worrying make matters any better?

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Will worrying make matters any better?

(J.R. Miller, “Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ” 1890)

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

“Who of you by¬†worrying, can add a single cubit to his height?” Matthew 6:27¬†

So it is¬†useless¬†to worry! A short person cannot, by any amount of anxiety, make himself an inch taller. Why, therefore, should he waste his energy and fret his life away–in wishing he were taller?¬†

One worries because he is too short–another because he is too tall;¬†
one worries because he too lean–another because he is too heavy;¬†
one worries because he has a lame foot–another because he has a mole on his face.¬†
No amount of fretting will change any of these things!

People worry, too, over their circumstances. They are poor, and have to work hard. They have troubles, losses, and disappointments which come through causes entirely beyond their own control. They find difficulties in their environment which they cannot surmount. There are hard conditions in their lot which they cannot change.

Now why should they worry about these things? Will worrying make matters any better? Will discontent . . .
  cure the blind eye, or 
  remove the ugly mole, or
  give health to the infirm body? 

Will chafing make . . .
  the hard work, lighter; 
  or the burdens, easier; 
  or the troubles, fewer? 

Will anxiety . . .
  keep the winter away, or
  keep the storm from rising, or
  put coal in the cellar, or 
  put bread in the pantry, or 
  get clothes for the children? 

Even human reason shows¬†the¬†uselessness¬†of worrying, since it helps nothing, and only wastes one’s strength and unfits one for doing one’s best!

The Christian gospel goes farther, and says that even the hard things and the obstacles–are¬†blessings, if we meet them in the right spirit. They are stepping-stones lifting our feet upward–disciplinary experiences in which we grow.¬†

So we learn that we should quietly, and with faith in God’s Providence, accept life as it comes to us–fretting at nothing, yet changing hard conditions to easier ones if we can. And if we cannot, then we must use them as means for growth and advancement.

¬†“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’¬†¬†For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.¬†¬†But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”¬†Matthew 6:31-33

From The Archives: The Finish Line

Hi all‚ĶThis is my first post from my ‚ÄėFrom The Archives‚Äô series, i hope you enjoy reading some of the¬†classics, lol?! ūüėĬ†

The Finish Line…

As a blind gamer, i was excited to be recommended(by my brother) a brand new racing game called ‚ÄúProject Cars‚ÄĚ for the PS4. I‚Äôm able to attempt to play a few racing games, If they include Grand Prix tracks, i can often remember each corner from my sighted gaming days, playing F1 97 etc.¬†

When i sat down to play for 15 minutes last night, i was surprised to be taught a lesson on being over zealous, while lacking wisdom! ūüôā

A close up photo of the amazing Ford Capri Touring Car

‚áß Screenshot of my 1980 Capri (Group 5 ‚Äď Team Zakspeed) ‚á߬†

I chose the rather extreme Capri to drive and chose a familiar track. After leaving the pits i span off on nearly every corner as my tyres were cold and not up to race temperatures. An influx of thoughts filled my mind,….

Over Zealous…

It reminded me of when i first became a Christian and first had revelation of the Truth when reading the Bible. I couldn’t believe what i was reading, and how it described me…yes me! I then did what normally happens, and become over zealous like a screaming twin turbo engine and had to tell everyone, and point out the right and wrongs with everything and everyone around me! 

I was making a lot of noise and using a lot of power and energy,  but was lacking something vital, i failed to slowly warm up the tyres of Godly Wisdom!

As we mature, and grow in step with the Holy Spirit, we are given all we need to finish the race. And when we get the balance right, we can stay on track until the end, and if our tyres stay hot, even the storms won‚Äôt be able to slow us down! ūüôā

Making Doughnuts…

photo of a racing sierra cosworth with smoking tyres doing doughnuts at Donington race track

⇧ Screenshot of my 1988 Sierra RS500 Cosworth (Group A) ⇧ 

After selecting ‚ÄúDonington‚ÄĚ, my home town track in Derby, i decided to take the Sierra Cosworth for a ride. I stopped to make some doughnuts, and thought ‚ÄúHere we go again, all that power and energy‚Ķand i‚Äôm just going round in circles‚ÄĚ.

ūüôŹ¬†I want to thank God for not leaving us in the pits! But instead He¬†empowers ¬†instructs and steers us towards the finish line!¬†ūüėĬ†

These are the idols of the heart!

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These are the idols of the heart! 

(John Angell James, “Spiritual Idolatry“)

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The first commandment of the decalogue says, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” The meaning of this precept, which is the foundation of all religion, is not merely that we shall not acknowledge any other God besides Jehovah–but also that we shall¬†treat¬†Him as God! That is, we . . .
  must love Him with all our hearts,
  serve Him with all our lives, and
  depend upon Him for our supreme felicity. 

It is obvious that whatever we love most, and are most anxious to retain and please–whatever it is we depend most upon for happiness and help–whatever has most of our hearts–that is in effect, our God! It does not matter whether it is friends, possessions, desires–or our own selves!¬†

These are the idols of the heart! 

SELF is the great idol which is the rival of God, and which divides with Him the worship of the human race. It is surprising and affecting to think how much SELF enters into almost all we do. Besides the grosser form of self-righteousness, which leads many unconverted people actually to depend upon their own doings for acceptance with God; how much of . . .
  self-seeking,
  self-valuing,
  self-admiration,
  self-dependence,
there is in many converted ones! 
How covertly do some seek their own praise in what they professedly do for God, and their fellow-creatures! How eager are they for the admiration and applause of their fellow-creatures! How much of self, yet how little suspected by themselves–is seen by One who knows them better than they know themselves, at the bottom of their most splendid services, donations, and most costly sacrifices!

In how many ways does self steal away the heart from God! How subtle are its workings, how concealed its movements, yet how extensive is its influence. How SELF . . .
  perverts our motives,
  lowers our aims,
  corrupts our affections, and
  taints our best actions!

How much incense is burned–and how many sacrifices are offered on the altar of this idol!¬†

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols!” 1 John 5:21

 


A lamp for my feet!

Grace logoA lamp for my feet!

(J.R. Miller)  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

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

“Your Word is¬†a lamp for my feet¬†and a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105

God’s Word is represented as¬†a lamp for the feet.¬†

It is a “lamp”–not a blazing sun, nor even a lighthouse–but a plain, common lamp or lantern which one can carry about in the hand.¬†

It is a lamp “for the feet,” not throwing its beams afar, not illumining a hemisphere–but shining only on the one little bit of road on which the pilgrim’s feet are walking.

The law of divine guidance is,¬†“Step by step”. One who carries a lantern on a country-road at night, sees only¬†one step¬†before him. If he takes that step, he carries his lantern forward, and thus makes another step plain. At length he reaches his destination in safety, without once stepping into darkness. The whole way has been made light for him, though only a¬†single step¬†of it at a time. This illustrates the usual method of¬†God’s guidance.

If this is the way God guides, it ought never to be hard for us to find¬†our duty. It never lies far away, inaccessible to us–but is always near. It never lies out of our sight, in the darkness, for God never puts our duty where we cannot see it. The thing that we think may be our duty, but which is still lying in obscurity and uncertainty–is not our duty yet, whatever it may be a little farther on.¬†The duty for the very moment is always clear, and that is as far as we need concern ourselves; for when we do the little that is clear, we will carry the light on, and it will shine on the next moment’s step.

Jesus said, “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness.” Prompt, unquestioning, undoubting following of Christ–takes all the perplexity out of Christian life and gives unbroken peace. There never is a moment without its duty; and if we are living near to Christ and following Him closely, we shall never be left in ignorance of what He wants us to do.

Our daily prayer should be, “Direct my¬†footsteps¬†according to Your Word; let no sin rule over me.” Psalm 119:133

We should learn a lesson from the old heathen artist!

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We should learn a lesson from the old heathen artist!

(J.R. Miller, “Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ” 1890)

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

“In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah . . . and his wife Elizabeth . . . Both of them were upright¬†in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.” Luke 1:5-6

This is a beautiful thing which God said of them. Yet, after all, that is the test which every life must endure. It is not enough to have¬†human¬†commendation. The question is: How do we stand before God? How does our life appear to¬†Him?¬†It does not matter how¬†men¬†praise and commend us, if¬†God¬†seesthat we are living wrong. The Pharisees were righteous before¬†men;¬†but if you would see how they stood in¬†God’s eye, read the twenty-third chapter of Matthew: “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to Hell!” (verse 33)

We are in¬†reality, just what we are¬†before Godnothing less, nothing more!¬†The question we should always ask ourselves is,¬†“What does¬†God¬†think of me?” If we would meet His approval, we must first have our hearts right–and then we must be blameless and upright in every part of our life.

One of the old heathen artists was chiseling the back part of his marble statue with great pains. “Why do you carve the tresses on back of the head of your statue so carefully?” asked one; “it will stand high in its niche against the wall, and no one will ever see its¬†back.”¬†“The gods will see it!”¬†was the reply.

We should learn a lesson from the old heathen artist!¬†We should do our work just as honestly, where it will be covered up and never seen by human eyes–as where it is to be open to the scrutiny of the world. For God will see it!¬†We should live just as purely and beautifully in secret,¬†as in the glare of the world’s gaze!¬†

There really is no such thing as¬†secrecy¬†in this world. We¬†imagine¬†that no eye is looking, when we are not in the presence of¬†men. But really,¬†we always have a spectator–we are living all our life in the presence God Himself! We should train ourselves, therefore, to live for the Divine eye in all that we do–that our life may stand the Divine inspection, and that we may have the approval and commendation of God Himself!

“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

 

The God of the broken-hearted

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The God of the broken-hearted

(J.R. Miller, “The Beatitude for the Unsuccessful” 1892)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†¬†Download audio

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

“The Lord is near the broken-hearted.” Psalm 34:18

The God of the Bible is the God of the broken-hearted. 

The world cares little for the broken hearts. Indeed, people oftentimes break hearts by their cruelty, their falseness, their injustice, their coldness–and then move on as heedlessly as if they had trodden only on a worm! But God cares. Broken-heartedness attracts Him. The plaint of grief on earth, draws Him down from heaven.

Physicians in their rounds do not stop at the homes of the¬†well, but of the¬†sick. So it is with God in His movements through this world. It is not to the whole and the well–but to the wounded and stricken, that He comes with sweetest tenderness! Jesus said of His mission: “He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted.” Isaiah 61:1

We look upon¬†trouble¬†as misfortune. We say that the life is being destroyed, which is passing through¬†adversity. But the truth which we find in the Bible, does not so represent¬†suffering. God is a repairer and restorer of the hurt and ruined life. He takes the bruised reed, and by His gentle skill makes it whole again, until it grows into fairest beauty. The love, pity, and grace of God, minister sweet blessing of comfort and healing–to restore the broken and wounded hearts of His people.

Much of the most beautiful life in this world, comes out of sorrow. As “fair flowers bloom upon rough stalks,” so many of the fairest flowers of human life grow upon the¬†rough stalks of suffering. We see that those who in heaven wear the whitest robes, and sing the loudest songs of victory–are those who have come out of¬†great tribulation. Heaven’s highest places are filling, not from earth’s homes of glad festivity and tearless joy–but from its chambers of pain; its valleys of struggle where the battle is hard; and its scenes of sorrow, where pale cheeks are wet with tears, and where hearts are broken. The God of the Bible is the God of the¬†bowed down–whom He¬†lifts up¬†into His strength.

God is the God of those who¬†fail. Not that He loves those who stumble and fall, better than those who walk erect without stumbling; but He helps them more. The weak believers get more of His grace, than those who are strong believers. There is a special divine promise which says, “My divine power is made perfect in weakness.” When we are conscious of our¬†own¬†insufficiency–then we are ready to receive of the¬†divine¬†sufficiency. Thus our very weakness is an element of strength. Our weakness is an empty cup, which God fills with His own strength.

You may think that your weakness unfits you for noble, strong, beautiful living–or for sweet, gentle, helpful serving. You wish you could get clear of it. It seems to burden you–an ugly spiritual deformity. But really it is something which, if you give it to Christ–He can transform into a blessing, a source of His power. The friend by your side, whom you envy because he seems so much stronger than you are–does not get so much of Christ’s strength as you do. You are weaker than him–but your weakness draws to you¬†divine¬†power and makes you strong.

“He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

Our words and deeds are irrevocable

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Our words and deeds are irrevocable

(J.R. Miller, “Devotional Hours with the Bible”)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†¬†Download audio

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


“But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for¬†every careless word¬†they have spoken!” Matthew 12:36¬†

We cannot recall any¬†word¬†we have spoken. It may be a¬†false¬†word or an¬†unkind¬†word–a word which will blast and burn! Instantly after it has been spoken, we may wish it back and may rush after it and try to stop it–but there is no power in the world that can¬†unsay¬†the hurtful word, or blot it out of our life!

It is just so with our acts. A moment after we have done a wicked thing, we may bitterly repent it. We may be willing to give all we have in the world to undo it, to make it as though it never had been. But in vain. A deed done takes its place in the universe as a fact, and never can be recalled. 

We should be sure¬†before¬†we speak¬†a word or do¬†an act that it is right, that we shall never desire to have it recalled–for when once we have opened our lips, or lifted our hand, there will be no¬†unsaying¬†or¬†undoing¬†possible.

Our¬†words¬†and¬†deeds¬†are irrevocable. We cannot recall anything we have done, neither can we change it. But by other words and deeds, we may in some measure¬†modify¬†the effect of that which we cannot blot out. Paul could not undo his persecutions of Christians–but by a life to devotion to Christ’s cause–he could in a sense make reparation for the terrible harm he had done.¬†

Just so, we cannot undo the¬†wrong things¬†we have done–but we should strive to set in motion other influences which may at least compensate in some sense for the harm they have wrought. We cannot unsay the sharp word which wounds our friend’s heart–but we can by kindness and loyal devotion, yet bring good and blessing to his life.

Something to ponder
“There is no surer characteristic of a sincere lover of Christ, than a habitual desire to be like Christ, and an ardent zeal to promote His glory!” Archibald Alexander, 1772-1851

Do we love the Word?

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Do we love the Word?

(Thomas Watson, 1620-1686, “The Godly Man’s Picture Drawn with a Scripture Pencil“)

A godly man is a lover of the Word of God. Christ is the fountain of living water, the Word is the golden pipe through which it runs! 

A godly man diligently¬†reads¬†the Word of God. The noble Bereans “searched the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11). Apollos was mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:24). The Word is the field where the Pearl of Great Price is hidden. How we should dig for this pearl! A godly man’s heart is the library to hold the Word of God; it dwells richly in him (Colossians 3:16). By diligent conversing with Scripture, we may¬†carry a Bible in our heads!

A godly man frequently¬†meditates¬†on the Word of God. “Oh, how I love your law!¬†I¬†meditate¬†on it all day long.” (Psalm 119:97). A pious soul meditates on the truth and holiness of the Word. He not only has a few transient thoughts, but leaves his mind¬†steeping in the Scripture. By meditation, he sucks honey from this sweet flower, and ruminates on holy truths in his mind.

A godly man¬†delights¬†in the Word of God. It is his recreation. “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s¬†delight” (Jeremiah 15:16). Never did a man take such delight in a dish that he loved, as the prophet did in the Word. And indeed, how can a saint choose but take great pleasure in the Word? All of his eternal hopes are contained in it. Does not a son take pleasure in reading his father’s will and testament, in which he bequeaths his estate to him? “I¬†delight¬†in your commands¬†because I love them!¬†(Psalm 119:47)¬†

A godly man¬†hides¬†the Word of God. “Your word have I¬†hidden¬†in my heart” (Psalm 119:11)–as one hides a treasure so that it should not be stolen. The Word is the jewel; the heart is the cabinet where it must be locked up. Many hide the Word in their memory–but not in their heart. And why would David enclose the Word in his heart? “That I might be kept from sinning against You.” As a man would carry an antidote about him when he comes near an infected place, so a godly man carries the Word in his heart as a spiritual antidote to preserve him from the infection of sin. Why have so many been poisoned with error, others with moral vice–but because they have not hidden the Word as a holy antidote in their heart!

Do we love the Word? 
When we need direction, do we consult this sacred oracle? 
When we find¬†corruptions¬†strong, do we make use of this “sword of the Spirit” to hew them down?¬†
When we are disconsolate, do we go to this bottle of the water of life for comfort? 
Then we are lovers of the Word! 

“I¬†love¬†your commands¬†more than gold, more than pure gold!”¬†(Psalm 119:127)

 

I belong to the church; I suppose I am a Christian

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I belong to the church; I suppose I am a Christian

(J.C. Ryle, “Are You Born Again?“)

Are¬†you¬†born again? This is one of life’s most important questions. Jesus Christ said, “Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God!” John 3:3

It is not enough to reply, “I belong to the church; I suppose I am a Christian.” Thousands of¬†nominal¬†Christians show none of the signs of being born again which the Scriptures have given us in the First Epistle of John.

“No one who is born of God will¬†continue¬†to sin” 1 John 3:9¬†

“We know that anyone born of God does not¬†continue¬†to sin” 1 John 5:18

A person who has been born again, or regenerated, does not habitually commit sin. He no longer sins with his heart and will and whole inclination. There was probably a time when he did not think about whether his actions were sinful or not, and he did not always feel grieved after doing evil. There was no quarrel between him and sin; they were friends. But the true Christian . . .
  hates sin, 
  flees from sin, 
  fights against sin,
  considers sin his greatest plague,
¬† resents the burden of sin’s presence,
¬† mourns when he falls under sin’s influence,¬†
  and longs to be completely delivered from sin. 

Sin no longer pleases him, nor is it even a matter of indifference to him; it has become the horrible thing which he hates. However, he cannot eliminate its presence within him.

If he said that he had no sin, he would be lying, 1 John 1:8. But he can say that he¬†hates¬†sin, and that the great desire of his soul is not to commit sin at all. He cannot prevent bad thoughts from entering his mind, or shortcomings, omissions, and defects from appearing in both his words and his actions. He knows that “we all stumble in many ways,” James 3:2. But he can truly say in the sight of God, that these things cause him grief and sorrow, and that his whole nature does not consent to them. What would the apostle say about you? Are¬†you¬†born again?

“No one who lives in Him¬†keeps on¬†sinning. No one who¬†continues¬†to sin has either seen Him or known Him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous.” 1 John 3:6-7¬†

 

A poor shoemaker in his dreary little shop

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A poor shoemaker in his dreary little shop

(J.R. Miller, “The Wider Life” 1908)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†¬†Download audio

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


“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though¬†outwardly¬†we are wasting away, yet¬†inwardly¬†we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

“For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die!” 1 Corinthians 15:53

The lesson of the imperishable life, has a special application to those who suffer from sickness or from any bodily affliction. It will help us to endure physical sufferings quietly and unmurmuringly, if we will remember that it is only the outward man that can be touched and affected by these experiences, and that the inward man may not only be kept unharmed, but may be growing all the while in beauty and strength, being spiritually renewed through pain and suffering.

A poor shoemaker in his dreary little shop¬†in a great city, one day noticed that there was one little place in his dark room, from which he could get a view of green fields, blue skies and faraway hills. He wisely set up his bench at that point, so that at any moment he could lift his eyes from his dull work–and have a glimpse of the great, beautiful world outside.¬†

Just so, from the darkest sick-room, and from the midst of the keenest sufferings, there is always a point from which we can see the face of Christ and have a glimpse of the glory of Heaven. If only we will find this place and get this vision, it will make it easy to endure even the greatest suffering.

“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down–when we die and leave these bodies–we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God Himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-2

Sickness is discouraging and is hard to bear. But we should remember that the doing of the will of God is always the noblest, holiest thing we can do any hour–however hard it may be for us. If we are called to suffer, let us suffer patiently and sweetly. Under all our sharp trials, let us keep the peace of God in our hearts. The¬†outward¬†man may indeed decay, but the¬†inward¬†man will be renewed day by day.

 

They play with fire, and wonder why they are burned!

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They play with fire, and wonder why they are burned!

(J.R. Miller, “The Way of Safety“, 1912)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†¬†Download audio

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

“Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from¬†presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” Psalm 19:12, 13

Here the Psalmist prays to be kept from committing presumptuous sins. He knows the danger there is in such sins, and so pleads to be held back from them–that is, from willful, conscious, high-handed sins.

Mark the teaching, too, that these presumptuous sins spring out of the minute hidden faults. From hidden, obscure, undiscovered faults–come presumptuous sins.¬†

A slight¬†moral weakness–grows into an evil tendency;¬†
and the¬†evil tendency¬†indulged–develops into a loathsome vice;¬†
and the¬†loathsome vice–ripens into a¬†presumptuous sin!¬†

We need to guard against carelessness concerning ‘little sins’.¬†
The hidden fault lurking in the nature, may grow into a presumptuous sin!

¬†¬† Sow a¬†thought–and you will reap an act;¬†
¬†¬† sow an¬†act–and you will reap a habit;¬†
¬†¬† sow a¬†habit–and you will reap a character;¬†
¬†¬† sow a¬†character–and you will reap a¬†destiny!

The course of sin is terrible! The little beginnings of sin, grow into appalling consequences! Be afraid of little sins and temptations.

There are some people who are always¬†courting danger. Sin seems to have a¬†fascinationfor them. One of the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer is, “Lead us not into temptation.” To expose ourselves needlessly to temptation, is presumption! Yet there are many who do this.¬†They play with fire, and wonder why they are burned!¬†They¬†dally with ‘little sins’, and end in¬†shameful degradation¬†at the last! They pay the penalty in moral and spiritual ruin.¬†

It is never safe to make pets of tigers!

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It is never safe to make pets of tigers! 

(J.R. Miller, “The Story of Cain and Abel” 1908)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†¬†Download audio

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

 

“Cain was very¬†angry, and his face was downcast.” Genesis 4:5¬†

“Cain attacked his brother Abel and¬†killed¬†him!” Genesis 4:8

See here, the¬†fearful growth of the evil¬†feeling¬†in Cain’s heart. It was only a¬†thought¬†at first, but it was admitted into the heart and cherished there. Then it¬†grew¬†until it caused a terrible crime! We learn here, the danger of cherishing even the smallest beginning of bitterness; we do not know to what it will grow!¬†

Some people think lightly of bad temper, laughing at it as a mere harmless weakness.
But it is a perilous mood to indulge, and we do not know to what it may lead.

“Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you!” In His reproof of Cain, the Lord likens his sin to¬†a wild beast lying in hiding by his door, ready to leap on him and devour him. This is true of all¬†sin¬†which is cherished in the heart. It may long lie quiet and seem harmless, but it is only¬†a wild beast sleeping!

There is a story of a man who took a young tiger and resolved to make a pet of it. It moved about his house like a kitten and grew up fond and gentle. For a long time its savage, blood-thirsty nature seemed changed into gentleness, and the creature was quiet and harmless. 

But one day the man was playing with his ‘pet’, when by accident his hand was scratched and the beast tasted blood. That one taste, aroused all the¬†fierce tiger nature, and the ferocious animal flew on his master and tore him to pieces!

So it is, with the passions and lusts of the old nature, which are only petted and tamed and allowed to reside in the heart. They will crouch at the door in treacherous lurking, and in some unguarded hour they will rise up in all their old ferocity! 

It is never safe to make pets of tigers! 

It is never safe to make pets of little sins!

We never know what sin may grow into–if we let it abide in our heart!¬†

“Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him!” That is what came of the passion of¬†envy¬†in Cain’s heart! It was left unrebuked, unrepented of, uncrushed–and in time it grew to fearful strength. Then in an evil moment, its¬†tiger nature¬†asserted itself!

We never know to what dreadful stature, a little sin may grow!

 

Secrets Of Joy!

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‚ÄúIt is supposed by some that religion makes people solemn, takes the sunshine out of their life, the joy out of their heart, the song out of their mouth. But the reverse of this is the truth. No other one in the world has such secrets of joy as has the Christian. Christ teaches his followers to rejoice. He bids them rejoice even in sorrow and trial.‚Ä̬†
‚Äē¬†J.R. Miller

‚̧ԳŹLove At First Sight…Village – 17 Years On!!!

Red Love logo with reflection

¬†Today i‚Äôm celebrating a brobdingnagian 17 years since i met my lovely wife Sarah at ‚ÄúSight Village, Birmingham, UK‚ÄĚ ūüôĆ ¬†

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, Mmmm, Awww and fantastic‚ĶIt 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 tries to check 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. ‚̧ԳŹūüí™ūüŹľ ūüėĬ†

Our 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 ⇧ 

Me  Sarah at the river Arno

 ⇧ 2014 ⇧ 

Me on the left in my bright orange shirt hugging Sarah on the right with the beautiful panorama of volcanic hills and blue sea behind us

 ⇧ 2015 ⇧ 

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 ⇧ 2016 ⇧ 

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Me  Sarah

 ⇧ 2017 ⇧ 

Sarah as my Backpack

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 ⇧ 2018 ⇧ 

Sarah & i infront of the yellow 1961 Uniog

1 Me and Sarah gugging at room 112

 ⇧ 2019 ⇧  

1 Sarah snow walk

Me Winners Trophy

 

2020 ⇧ 

1 Sarah Doughnut

Me Engand Shirt

21 ⇧ 

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.

God-pardoned, God-reconciled, Sin-delivered, God-arrayed, Heaven-entitled souls!

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God-pardoned, God-reconciled, Sin-delivered, God-arrayed, Heaven-entitled souls!

(Archibald Brown, “What Christ Has Done for Me!” 1872)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†¬†Download audio

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


“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul!” Psalm 66:16

No one word¬†can fully express all that God has done for my soul, though in general it may be described as¬†saved.¬†Saved!¬†Ah, that is a grand word worthy of being written in letters of gold!¬†A saved soul¬†includes many things–I can only mention them:

1. A saved soul is a God-pardoned soul. All its sins are forgiven, and its iniquities are drowned in that deluge of pardoning love that rises high above the topmost peaks of all its mountain sins!

2. A saved soul is¬†a God-reconciled soul. Once at enmity, God and the sinner are now at peace. All differences are at an end. The¬†prodigal sinner¬†has been embraced and kissed by the father. The¬†rebel¬†has thrown down his weapons, and bent his knee to the Monarch–and the Monarch has raised him up, and with a smile of love, has put him among His children. If I may so express it,¬†God and the sinner have met and shaken hands beneath the shadow of the cross!¬†They are at at-one-ment there.

3. A saved soul is also¬†a sin-delivered soul. This is something more than pardon, or reconciliation. It is a higher blessing.¬†Pardon¬†remits the¬†punishment¬†of sin, but leaves the¬†guilt¬†of sin. But¬†justification¬†acquits the person of every charge. Believer, your sins are not merely forgiven–but they are done away with, put out of sight, removed from you as far as the remotest east is from the extreme west! In the eye of God, you are as guiltless as His spotless Son! “You are altogether beautiful, My love; there is no flaw in you!” Song of Songs 4:7¬†

4. A saved soul is also¬†a God-arrayed soul. This is higher still. The former blessing was a negation of guilt, this is a possession of righteousness. A righteousness, mark you, that is not capable of improvement, but a righteousness that is superlative in its quality–it is the righteousness of God Himself! A saved soul, even to the omniscient eye of Deity, is not only without spot or wrinkle or any such thing–but it is altogether lovely and glorious, robed in the splendor of “Jehovah Tsidkenu”–“The Lord our Righteousness!”

5. A saved soul is a Heaven-entitled soul. This crowns all. Not merely am I delivered from Hell, but in my hand is placed a title-deed to eternal glory! This is no fiction or flight of imagination, but a blessed fact. Possessed by every saint, is a title to Heaven that God Himself will declare to be valid to all eternity. 

Now believer, if all these things are included in what God has done for our souls, then did I not say rightly that many words were necessary to describe the work? Let us then, as¬†God-pardoned, God-reconciled, Sin-delivered, God-arrayed, Heaven-entitled souls–call on all, far and near, to come and listen to our joyous tale.

God looks upon His redeemed people as the masterpieces of His love and power; and He will before assembled worlds exhibit us as the grandest trophies Heaven contains!

‚̧ԳŹ Yay…It’s Our 14th Wedding Anniversary! ‚̧ԳŹ “Sunny Hunny”

1 sarah i wedding day

Hi all! Each time our wedding anniversary comes round, i can‚Äôt believe how much our marriage has grown more and more fruitful. Our love keeps blossoming through every season and i thank God for Sarah.! ‚̧ԳŹ

Sunny Hunny‚Ķ‚ėÄÔłŹ ūüôƬ†

For our 14th wedding anniversary we decided to visit Hunstanton, Norfolk, and stay over for one night in the Golden Lion hotel. This was ‚ÄėThe Blind Sightseers‚Äô first trip away from home since Jan 2020 so we were ready, lol.¬†

As you may know Hunstanton is where we had our honeymoon (and then 5 consecutive anniversaries) in the Old Lighthouse, so we were interested to see if anything had changed?! 

After leaving home at 7am we knew it was going to be a long day, especially after a 5 hour journey‚ĶA taxi, train, underground train, another train and a bus we arrived at Hunstanton a little past lunchtime! ūüí™ūüŹľ¬†

NO WAY THE DOUGHNUT VAN IS STILL HERE!!! 

1 Sarah Doughnut

DING‚ĶDING‚ĶDING‚ĶBOOM!!!¬†ūüė謆

The sound of the ‚ÄėBlind Sightseers Gastronomic Leaderboard Bell‚Äô exploded as we quickly devoured the doughnut.¬†

We managed to get 1 each of the consistently perfect doughnuts‚ĶAnd it was even the same lady who‚Äôd served us 14 years ago on our honeymoon! ūüė≤ As we walked up to the van she said ‚ÄúYour usual?‚ÄĚ ūü§£

After eating the best doughnuts in the world we started our walk around Hunstanton. We only walked about 200 yards when we found??? ūü§Ē¬†

Willy The Wash Monster L.A.R.C. XV…

This beast is a 1967 Landing and Recovery Craft and is¬†ex USA Army and used in Vietnam. It now gives sea tours in Hunstanton Norfolk and is classed as a ferry‚ĶOh and it‚Äôs also¬†powered by 2 Cummins 920 V8 engines! ūüí™ūüŹľ ūüėÄ

We had been on this beast years ago and knew it went up to the lighthouse and back…And since we can’t go on a cruise ship, this was the nearest thing, lol.  

1 lighthouse

⇧ View of the lighthouse from the wash monster ⇧  

¬†The boat ride didn‚Äôt disappoint and shortly after we needed to check into the hotel. There was only 1 room left and it was at the rear of the hotel‚ĶBut the shower was hot and powerful (rips the skin off) so all was well, lol! ūü§£

Now i‚Äôd dropped off my heavy backpack it was time to explore to see if anything had changed?! No‚ĶIt was all exactly as it was 14 years ago, the only thing (our fave shop) Surface had closed. This was our place to buy surfer clothes each year‚ĶWell i say we, Sarah used to but i was always too big‚ĶBut i‚Äôd lost 5 stone now so was looking forwards to finally buying a top‚ĶOh well, lol! ūü§£ ¬†

After a long day of walking around the place about 5 times, drinking coffee, eating chips, doughnuts and scones we were sipping a glass of red wine and watching the sun set over Hunstanton.

sunset looking out over the beach and the breakers

The walking…

I have no idea how we managed it as Hunstanton is a very small town…But we’d managed to walk around 10 miles over the afternoon and evening! This was a blessing after what we’d eaten on our mini holiday…Now it’s time to rest after a full day as we only have the morning to go!

The next day…

After a small breakfast we were excited to go for another walk. As it was also early there was hardly anybody else around…And as this walkway is one of my fave places to walk in the world (empty and very wide), it was a good start to the day. 

IMG 3637

¬†As i was walking up and down on my own unaided and free, it felt fantastic to just pretend i could see where i‚Äôm going for a while, lol! ūü§£

The funny face???

Not sure what i‚Äôd just heard (maybe you could leave me a funny comment with your suggestions) but i just had to give you a comedy moment! ūü§£ ¬†¬†

IMG 3667

¬†Ooohhh a helter skelter…

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¬†More walking…¬†

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¬†Wow i think Sarah is going to bless us with one of her stupendous panoramas…

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¬†The chips…

DING‚ĶDING‚ĶDING‚ĶBOOM! ūüė謆

Now these are the best chips anywhere on earth! Seriously i‚Äôm not using any hyperbole. It really is a good job i don‚Äôt live here as these chips are dangerous! ūü§£¬†

1 Me and chips

 After another coffee and a quick walk around some souvenir shops, it was time to say goodbye to Hunstanton and catch the coast hopper bus. Wow what a ride, time has just flown by on this short 14th wedding anniversary holiday.

Striving to be a Godly husband…

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

I strive daily to love Sarah biblically and extravagantly, but to love her biblically i always first ask ‚ÄúWhat is God‚Äôs love for us like?‚Ä̬†

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..

‚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 years on this Brobdingnagian adventure!

Sarah & i in Love Heart

The rose taught me a lesson

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The rose taught me a lesson

(J.R. Miller, “Miller’s Year Book–a Year’s Daily Readings”)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†¬†Download audio

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


“Turn my eyes from looking at what is¬†worthless.” Psalm 119:37¬†

We must be always¬†turning–if we would keep our life true and according to God’s commandments.¬†

There are some¬†flowers¬†which always turn toward the¬†sun. There was¬†a little potted rose-bush¬†in a sick-room which I visited. It sat by the window. One day I noticed that the one rose on the bush was looking toward the light. I referred to it, and the sick woman said that her daughter had turned the rose around several times toward the darkness of the room–but that each time the little flower had twisted itself back, until again its face was toward the¬†light. It would not look into the¬†darkness.

The rose taught me a lesson: never to allow myself to look toward any evil, but instantly to turn from it. Not a moment should we permit our eyes to be inclined toward anything sinful. To yield to one moment’s sinful act, is to defile the soul. One of the main messages of the Bible is, “Turn from the wrong, the base, the crude, the unworthy–to the right, the pure, the noble, the godlike!” We should not allow even an unholy thought to stay a moment in our mind–but should turn from its very first suggestion, with face fully toward Christ, the Holy One.

“I will set before my eyes no¬†vile¬†thing!” Psalm 101:3

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy,¬†think about such things!”Philippians 4:8

 

Our thorn!

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Our thorn!

(J.R. Miller, “The Building of Character” 1894)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†¬†Download audio

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

“Lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a¬†thorn¬†in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” 2 Corinthians 12:7

Paul tells us that his “thorn” was given to him–to keep him humble, and save him from spiritual peril. Without it, he would have been exalted above measure and would have lost his spirituality. We do not know how much of his deep insight into the things of God, and his power in service for his Master–Paul owed to¬†this torturing “thorn”.¬†It seemed to hinder him, and it caused him incessant suffering–but it detained him in the¬†low valley of humility, made him ever conscious of his own weakness and insufficiency, and thus kept him near to Christ whose home is with the humble.

There are few people who have not some “thorn” rankling in their flesh:¬†
in one it is an infirmity of speech; 
in another an infirmity of sight; 
in another an infirmity of hearing. 

Or it may be lameness; 
or a slow but incurable disease; 
or constitutional timidity, 
or excessive nervousness; 
or a disfiguring bodily deformity; 
or an infirmity of temper. 

Or it may be in one’s home–which is cold, unloving, and uncongenial;
or it may be some moral failure; 
or it may be a bitter personal disappointment through untrue friendship or unrequited love. 

Who has not his thorn?

We should never forget that in one sense, our¬†thorn¬†is a “messenger of¬†Satan,” who desires by it:
  to hurt our life,
  to mar our peace,
  to spoil the divine beauty in us, and
  to break our communion with Christ. 

On the other hand, however,¬†Christ¬†Himself has a loving design in our “thorn.” He wants it to be a blessing to us. He would have it keep us humble–and save us from becoming vain. Or He means it to soften our hearts–and make us more gentle. He would have¬†the uncongenial things in our environment¬†to discipline us into heavenly-mindedness, give us greater self-control, and help us to keep our hearts loving and sweet–amid harshness and unlovingness. He would have¬†our pain¬†teach us endurance and patience; and our¬†sorrow¬†and¬†loss¬†teach us faith.

Thus,¬†our¬†thorn¬†may either be a choice¬†blessing¬†to us–or it may do us irreparable¬†harm.¬†

If we allow it to fret us; if we chafe, resist, and complain; if we lose faith and lose heart–it will spoil our life!¬†

But if we accept it in the faith that¬†in its ugly burden–it has a blessing for us; if we endure it patiently, submissively, unmurmuringly; if we seek grace to keep our heart gentle and true amid all the trial, temptation, and suffering it causes–it will work good for us; and out of¬†its bitterness–will come sweet fruit!

He had to ‘learn the lesson’ just as we do!

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He had to ‘learn the lesson’ just as we do!

(J.R. Miller, “The Wider Life” 1908)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†¬†Download audio

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


“I have¬†learned¬†to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have¬†learned¬†the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in need.” Philippians 4:11-12

Life is a ‘school’. All its¬†experiences¬†are ‘lessons’.

We are all in ‘Christ’s school’–and He is always ‘educating’ us.¬†

Disciples¬†are ‘learners’ and all true Christians are disciples.¬†
We enter the lowest grade when we begin to be Christians. 
We have everything to learn. 
Each new experience, is a new lesson set for us by the great Teacher.

The business of¬†noble Christian living, is¬†learning. We know nothing when we begin. Learning is not confined to what we get from reading books.¬†All of life¬†is a school. ‘Christ’s books’ are ever being put into our hands, and ‘lessons’ are set for us continually.

Paul tells us of one of the¬†lessons¬†he had learned in the ‘school of experience’. “I have learned,” he said, “the secret of being content in any and every situation.” We are glad to know that Paul had to¬†learn¬†to be contented. We are apt to think that such a man as he was, did not have to¬†learn to live¬†as we common people do; that he always knew, for instance, how to be contented. Here, however, we have the confession that¬†he had to ‘learn the lesson’ just as we do. He did not always know ‘the secret of contentment’. He was well on in years when he said this, from which we conclude that it took him a¬†long time¬†to learn the lesson–and that it was not¬†easy¬†for him to do it.¬†Christ’s school is not easy.

Sorrow¬†is a choice lesson in Christ’s school. Sorrow is not an¬†accident¬†breaking into our life, without meaning or purpose. God could prevent the coming of the sorrow, if He so desired. He has all power, and nothing can touch the life of any of His children–unless He is willing. Since we know that God loves us and yet permits us to suffer–we may be quite sure that there is a blessing, something good, in whatever it is that brings us pain or sorrow.

We shrink from¬†pain. We would run away from¬†afflictions. We would refuse to accept¬†sorrow. But there are things worth suffering for–things dearer than¬†ease¬†and¬†pleasure. We learn lessons in pain, which repay a thousand times the cost of our tears!

The Bible tells us that God preserves the tears of His children, putting them in His tear-bottle. Tears are sacred to God, because of the blessings that come through them, to His children. In Heaven, we will look back on our lives of pain and sorrow on the earth, and will find that our best lessons have come through our tears!

All the¬†Christian graces¬†have to be learned in ‘Christ’s school’. There Paul had learned contentment. He never would have learned it, however, if he had had only¬†pleasure¬†and¬†ease¬†all his life. Contentment comes from learning to do without things, which we once supposed to be¬†essential to our comfort. Paul had learned contentment through finding such fullness of blessing in Christ–that he did not need the ‘secondary things’ any more.

Perhaps¬†we¬†would succeed better in learning this same grace–if we had fewer of life’s comforts, if sometimes we had experience of¬†need. The continuity of blessings that flow like a river into our lives, gives us no opportunity to¬†learn contentment.¬†

When sufferings come into our life . . . 
  disagreeable things, instead of pleasant things; 
  hunger and poverty, instead of plenty; 
  rough ways, instead of flower-strewn paths; 
God is teaching us the ‘lesson of contentment’, so that we can say at length, that we have¬†learned the secret of being content!

 

The life-boat of free grace!

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The life-boat of free grace!

(James Smith, “The Complaint!” 1864)

“I am cast down!”

And why are you cast down?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

We must hew our Agags to pieces!

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We must hew our Agags to pieces!

(J. R. Miller, “Miller’s Year Book–a Year’s Daily Readings”)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†Download audio

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


“Since he had no sword, he ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill the giant and cut off his head!” 1 Samuel 17:50-51

If he had not cut off the giant’s head–the old Philistine champion would have gotten up by and by, and walked away; for he was only¬†stunned, not¬†killed, by the stone. David made¬†sure work¬†of his victory!

A great many of¬†our attacks upon sin¬†in our own hearts, and in the world–only¬†stun, and do not¬†kill¬†the evil. We walk away, thinking we have done a fine thing. But shortly, we meet the ‘old giant’ again, stalking abroad as before! He soon recovers from our blow, and we have to fight the battle over; and perhaps we fight it again in the same¬†halfhearted¬†way–and thus on and on, to the end of our life!

Most of us have had just such experience as this with our own evil lusts and passions. We overcome them very often and think each time that we are through with them, but soon again they are as active as ever.

We need to learn a lesson from David and finish our victories by cutting off the head of every giant we strike down!

There is no other way of killing sins!

The¬†life¬†is in the¬†head, and the head must be struck off–or the enemy will be facing us again in a day or two, with but a¬†scar¬†on his forehead!

The only way to get a real victory over vices is to decapitate them! Bruises and wounds are not enough. There must be thorough work done, in the name of the Lord. Half-way measures will not avail.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5¬†

“Samuel¬†hewed Agag to pieces¬†before the Lord.” 1 Samuel 15:33¬†

Like Samuel, we must hew our Agags to pieces! 

 

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