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Immanuel’s Land!

Immanuel’s Land!

(Gene Fedele,

What can be more delightful for the weary pilgrim who is hastening to his heavenly mansion, than to meditate on the unspeakable wonders of his future home beyond the skies? There is much of Immanuel’s Land to engage our hearts in sacred contemplation, even while we sojourn and toil in this world as strangers and pilgrims.

Heaven is the most cheering and attractive occupation to which we may set our hearts. Yet I wonder why many of us fail to avail ourselves of the enjoyment and spiritual strength afforded in such a holy pursuit.

Could it be that the allurements of the world keep us from recognizing how near we are to the unseen, supernatural, and eternal state? Instead of dwelling on the glorious world to come — do we focus on the mere momentary pleasures of time? We do well to examine ourselves, with judgment day honesty, that we may check the affections of our heart.

It is the influence of the future heavenly realities exercised in our hearts and lives, which gives vitality and beauty to our religion. It reveals genuine piety, as our aim is in contrast to the passing pleasures of this fleeting earth. It affords light along the path of life’s dark trials, and points to the realms of bliss, where there shall be no more tears, and sorrow is banished forevermore!

The glorious rest that remains for our earth wearied souls;
the sweet consolation of the redeemed in glory;
the unending fellowship of that precious society of saints;
the incalculable riches laid up in store for us to receive on that glorious day
— are all facets of Immanuel’s Land, that we might set an adoring eye towards the one object of our affections, Christ Jesus our Lord!

Let us, therefore, ‘set our affections on things above’ and fix our hearts steadfastly upon the heavenly joys and glory of Immanuel’s Land!

When Jesus says “I Love You”

When Jesus says “I Love You”

Article by Greg Morse

Often, those who have injured us the most have been love’s greatest spokesmen.

The unfaithful husband sang, “My bride, my jewel, I love you!” — only to kiss her cheek and depart to his mistress’s bed. A seemingly faithful friend swore, “Brother, I love you!” — only to leave the dagger in your back after his embrace. The co-dependent mother muttered, “It’s only because I love you my child!” as she devoured him like a black widow.

So we may conclude that talk is cheap. The inflation of pretty words and Hallmark sentiments bankrupt the three little words that should be most precious: I love you. In the midst of profuse pleasantries and sweet nothings, how can we — as a friend asked me the other day — trust these words when they come from our Savior’s lips?

A Love from Greater Heights

The answer I wish I had ready for my friend is this: Jesus professes his love from greater heights. Your Romeo may have sung up to you in your tower only to leave the next morning. Your father may have professed his love to you as he tucked you into bed, only to back down the driveway and never return. Your companion may have strode side-by-side with you, laughing with what seemed to be love’s affection, only to travel on and leave you behind. But Jesus does not proclaim his love from below your castle, beside your bed, or while walking alongside you. He declares it from above:

The Savior who loves you says so from above you,
From high on a hill and hung up on a tree.
The Savior who loves you cries so from above you,
His blood paints a picture of love you can see.
Jesus did not whisper he loves you over a candle-lit dinner. He did not tell you he loves you in a penthouse suite. He did not send a card and flowers from heaven. He did not write you a poem in the clouds. He came down to be crucified. He says that he loves you as your sin hammers nails through his hands and hangs him up on a cross. He did not simply say that he loved you, he died to display that he loved you in the most powerful way imaginable: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

So how can you know that Jesus really loves you? How can you really believe that his love will not leave like others who abandoned you? Look to the place where God manifests his love for sinners. Each wound, each affliction, each nail flashes love’s lightning. Every thorn endured in his brow, every claw withstood on his back, every tolerated mock to his misery thunders behind his words of love. He did not give us a red rose; he spilled his crimson blood to prove his profession.

Where He Proved His Love

Don’t let experience steal your great Ruby. Do not let sinners, who vampired love of its blood, keep you from Jesus’s love evidenced by his blood. Jesus is not your ex-boyfriend. He is not your absent mother or abusive father. He is not Judas Iscariot — who came as a friend but kissed as an enemy. Jesus is not like them — nor is he like us. He received the betrayer’s kiss — our kiss — and embraced those cursed nails — our nails.

And he suffered more than nails. He was forsaken by his Father as he bore our sin. He cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Mere men could not inflict this pain. Bring on a thousand bloody crosses before this. Bring on ten thousand thorny crowns and scourging whips before this. Jesus, forsaken by the world, forsaken by his people, forsaken by his disciples, is now forsaken by his Father.

Now consider: Did he writhe in agony on a cross, lay down his life, drink your cup of judgment just to abandon you later like sinners have done in your past? Did he cross the desert of wrath, slay the great dragon, and win his bride, with intentions to eventually divorce her?

Oh How He Loves

We dishonor him by looking at the cross and seeing an unfaithful human love. Others may have abandoned you; he did not. Others may have broken promises; he does not. Others’ love expired or were broken in death; his will not.

Lost soul, return home to God’s love. Beloved saint, warm yourself by the flames of this love.

The Savior built an everlasting memorial of love in his death atop a hill. From these heights, he proved his trustworthiness. He exalted his word of love by lifting up his mangled body. His word stands as far beyond questioning as his body now stands beyond the reach of Roman spears.

He is infinitely trustworthy — even with our love.

The only effectual reformer of the world!

The only effectual reformer of the world!

(Samuel Davies, “Serious Reflections on WAR” 1757)

“When He comes—He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment!” John 16:8

The Holy Spirit is the only effectual reformer of the world! If He is absent—

legislators may make laws against crime;
philosophers may reason against vice;
ministers may preach against sin;
conscience may remonstrate against evil;
the divine law may prescribe, and threaten hell;
the gospel may invite and allure to heaven;

but all will be in vain!

The strongest arguments, the most melting entreaties, the most alarming denunciations from God and man, enforced with the highest authority, or the most compassionate tears—all will have no effect—all will not effectually reclaim one sinner, nor gain one sincere convert to righteousness!

Paul, Apollos, and Peter, with all their apostolic abilities, can do nothing, without the Holy Spirit.

Paul may plant the seed—and Apollos may water it; but God alone can make it grow! “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything—but only God, who makes things grow!” 1 Corinthians 3:6, 7.

Never will peace and harmony be established in this jangling world—until this Divine Agent takes the work in hand.

It is He alone—who can melt down the obstinate hearts of men into love and peace!

It is He alone—who can soften their rugged and savage tempers, and transform them into mutual benevolence!

It is He alone—who can quench those lusts that set the world on fire, and implant the opposite virtues and graces. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, are mentioned by Paul, as the fruit of the Spirit, because the Spirit alone is the author of them. And if these dispositions were predominant in the world—what a serene, calm, peaceful region would it be, undisturbed with the hurricanes of human passions!

Oh, how much do we need the influence of the blessed Spirit . . .

to break the heart of stone,
to enlighten the dark mind, and
to comfort the desponding soul!

Death, to the believer!

Death, to the believer!

(Mary Winslow)

“I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!” Philippians 1:23 

Death, to the believer, is but passing out of a world of sorrow and of sin — and entering upon a world of indescribable glory!

If we lived more in anticipation of the happiness that waits us — earth would have less hold on our hearts’ best affections.  “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ — set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above — not on earthly things!” Colossians 3:1-2

There has been too much trifling with Jehovah!

There has been too much trifling with Jehovah!

(Archibald Brown, “Amen, O Lord!” 1894)

“Then I answered and said: Amen, O Lord!” Jeremiah 11:5 [Or, So be it, O Lord.]

Perhaps there is a secret contention going on between you and God. God has spoken to you — but thus far there has not been Jeremiah’s response of ‘Amen, O Lord.’

Here you have the one response which a man of God must ever make to the words of God. When God says anything to him, there is nothing left for him but to bow the head and say, ‘Amen, O Lord — so be it!’

This response is the only one that suits a creature’s lip.
When God speaks — there is nothing left for man but to hear.
When God decrees — there is nothing for man to do but acquiesce.
When Jehovah gives a command — what is there left for His creature to do but obey?
Any other word than ‘Amen’ springs from rebellion. Any other response to the word of Jehovah, simply tells of a heart that wars with God.

It is not for men to judge God’s words, far less to amend them. If it pleases Jehovah to say anything, no matter how stern, how dreadful, or how searching — there is only one position for man: that is to bow his head and say, ‘Amen, O Lord.’

‘Oh,’ says one, in the proud spirit of our times, ‘you are making a bold bid for your God this morning.’

I am. The sovereignty of God needs to be brought to the front. There has been too much trifling with Jehovah! Man needs to have the peacock’s feathers plucked out of his cap, and be taught that he is a poor little nothing, and that for God to speak to him at all is infinite condescension, and that for him to say anything else than ‘Amen’ is boundless impudence!

If God condescends to utter a command, am I to go and judge whether the Lord has a right to say it? Shall I take the word of Jehovah my Maker and weigh it in my scales — and bring up his thoughts to the paltry bar of my fallen reason — and enter my protest unless I can see a good reason for God speaking as He does?

When God promulgates a decree, He does not send it to man to be revised.

His claim is this, “I am Jehovah. I, the Lord, speak that which is right, and let man say: Amen, O Lord.”

We are living in the days of the deification of humanity. We hear so much about ‘the glory of humanity’, and ‘the triumphs of humanity’ — that God has become little better than a very inferior deity who runs after man and tips His cap to him.

This is not the picture which God’s Book gives. God’s claim is this, “I am the Lord, and you are but the creatures of My hand. The brightest of My angels are but sparks struck off from the anvil of My creative omnipotence. When I speak, let men and angels be silent; or, if they must speak, let them say: Amen, O Lord!” This is the only response that suits a creature’s lip.

If you can conceive of a being who is . . .

infinitely wise,
all-powerful,
infinitely righteous,
absolutely holy,
inflexibly just,
and all gathered up into boundless love — that is God.

If such a One speaks — then what is there left for me but to say, ‘Amen’? I am stark, raving mad, if I dare question the utterance of Infinite Wisdom. I am unutterably vile, if I can dare to criticize the utterance of Absolute Love. Idiocy must have taken hold of my brain and, alas! of my heart, if I would amend anything which His infinite holiness has declared. The very nature and character of God declare that the only response for man when God speaks, is ‘Amen, O Lord.’

Oh, for that grand attitude of resignation and submission to God, that bows before every word of God — whether it be a silver note of mercy from Heaven, or a thunder-clap of denunciation!

Prayer is a precious privilege to be enjoyed

Prayer is a precious privilege to be enjoyed

(Octavius Winslow, “Evening Thoughts”)

What! Is it no privilege to have a door of access ever open to God? Is it no privilege when the burden crushes, to cast it upon One who has promised to sustain?

When the corruptions of an unsanctified nature are strong, and temptations thicken–is prayer no privilege then?

And when perplexed to know the path of duty, and longing to walk complete in all the will of God, and, as a child, fearing to offend a loving Father–is it then no privilege to have a throne of grace, an open door of hope?

When the world is slowly stealing upon the heart; or when that heart is wounded through the unkindness of friends; or is bleeding under severe bereavement–is it then no privilege to go and tell Jesus?

Say, you poor, you needy, you tried, you tempted souls! Say, if prayer is not the most precious and splendid privilege this side heaven!

Cease to pray, and . . .

your grace withers,
your vigor decays,
your comfort dies.

“Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace for help in time of need.” Heb. 4:16

Luther’s puppy?

Luther’s puppy?

When Luther’s puppy happened to be at the table, he looked for a morsel from his master, and watched with open mouth and motionless eyes. Luther said, “Oh, if I could only pray the way this dog watches the meat! All his thoughts are concentrated on the piece of meat. Otherwise he has no thought, wish, or hope.”

The masses demand that which will soothe them in their sins and amuse them while they journey down the Broad Road!

The masses demand that which will soothe them in their sins and amuse them while they journey down the Broad Road!

(Arthur Pink, 1886-1952)

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths!” 2 Timothy 4:1-4

That time has arrived! Church-goers today will not endure sound doctrine. Those who . . .

preach the total depravity of man,
insist upon the imperative necessity of the new birth,
set forth the inflexible righteousness and holiness of God, and
warn against the eternal and conscious torment awaiting every rejecter of Christ,
find it almost impossible to obtain a hearing. Such preachers are regarded as puritanic pessimists, and are not wanted.

In these degenerate times, the masses demand that which will soothe them in their sins and amuse them while they journey down the Broad Road! The multitude is affected with itching ears which crave novelty and that which is sensational. They have ears which wish to be tickled, ears which eagerly drink in the songs of professional and unsaved soloists and choristers, ears which are well pleased with the vulgar slang of our modern evangelists!

The things which are now done in so many churches — the socials, the fund-raisers, the bazaars, the concerts, the moving picture shows and other forms of entertainment — what are these but idolatrous commercialization of these houses of prayer! No wonder that such places are devoid of spirituality and strangers to the power of God. The Lord will not tolerate an unholy mixture of worldly things with spiritual.

“Get these things out of here! Stop turning My Father’s house into a marketplace!” John 2:16

The transforming power of the Spirit!

The transforming power of the Spirit!

(J. C. Ryle, “The Lord’s Garden”)

“To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.” Romans 1:7

Believers are separated from the world by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit calls them out from the world, and separates them as effectually as if a wall were built between them and it. He puts in them . . .

new hearts,
new minds,
new tastes,
new desires,
new sorrows,
new joys,
new wishes,
new pleasures,
new longings.

He gives them . . .

new eyes,
new ears,
new affections,
new opinions.

He makes them new creatures. They are born again–and with a new birth they begin a new existence. Mighty indeed is the transforming power of the Spirit!

How precious!

How precious!

(From Octavius Winslow’s, “The Fresh Oil”)

Oh, there is more real value in one ray of the Spirit’s light, beaming in upon a man’s soul, than in all the teaching which books can ever impart!

What tongue is sufficiently gifted to describe how precious is the gift of the Holy Spirit?

How precious is his indwelling;

an ever ascending,
heaven panting,
God thirsting,
Christ desiring Spirit!

How precious are all the revelations he makes of Christ!

How precious are….

the consolations he brings,
the promises he seals,
the teachings he imparts;
all the emotions he awakens,
the holy breathings he inspires, and
the affections he creates.

How precious are those graces in the soul of which he is the Author; the faith that leads to a precious Savior, the love that rises to a gracious God, and the holy affections which flow forth to all the saints!

The fruits and effects He produces

The fruits and effects He produces

(J.C. Ryle, “The Holy Spirit”)

“When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment.” (John 16:8)

Where the Holy Spirit is, there will always be deep conviction of sin — and true repentance for it. It is His special office to convict of sin.

He shows the exceeding holiness of God.

He teaches the exceeding corruption and infirmity of our nature.

He strips us of our blind self-righteousness.

He opens our eyes to our awful guilt, folly and danger.

He fills the heart with sorrow, contrition, and abhorrence for sin — as the abominable thing which God hates.

He who knows nothing of all this, and saunters carelessly through life, thoughtless about sin, and indifferent and unconcerned about his soul — is a dead man before God! He has not the Holy Spirit.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in a man’s heart can only be known by the fruits and effects He produces. Mysterious and invisible to mortal eye as His operations are — they always lead to certain visible and tangible results.

Just as you know there is life in a tree by its sap, buds, leaves and fruits — just so you may know the Spirit to be in a man’s heart by the influence He exercises over his thoughts, affections, opinions, habits, and life. I lay this down broadly and unhesitatingly. I see it clearly marked out in our Lord Jesus Christ’s words,

“Every tree is known by his own fruit.” Luke 6:44

Murder all his hearers at once!

Murder all his hearers at once!

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

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

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

An unholy minister is the greatest pest, the worst plague, and the greatest mischief—that can be to a people; for his enormities, his wickednesses, will have the strongest influences upon the souls and lives of men—to make them eternally miserable. 

His falls will be the fall and ruin of many; for people are prone to . . .

live more by examples—than by precepts;
mind more what the minister does—than what he says;
eye more how he walks—than how he talks.

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

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

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

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

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

Let me tell you, the Devil has his ministers!

Let me tell you, the Devil has his ministers!

(Thomas Watson, “Dearly Beloved” 1662)

Take heed whom you listen to! It is our dear Savior’s counsel, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing — but inwardly are ravening wolves!” Matthew 7:15.

Let me tell you, the Devil has his ministers — as well as Christ! There are some, who by the subtlety of their wit, have learned the art of mixing error with truth, and to give poison in a golden cup!

Take heed WHO you hear, and HOW you hear. Be like those noble Bereans, who searched the Scriptures daily, to see whether the things that they taught, were true or not. Acts 17:11.

Your ears must not be like sponges which suck in puddle-water, as well as wine. But your ears must be like a winnowing fan, which fans out the chaff — but retains the pure wheat. You must be like those in the parable, who gathered the good fish — but cast the bad away. Matthew 13:48.

The saints are called virgins for their wisdom — they will not let everyone defile their souls with error! They have both a judicious ear, and a critical palate — which can distinguish between truth and error; and discern a difference between God’s pure food, and the devil’s cooking!

Never let us read any portion of God’s Word without looking up for divine teaching!

Never let us read any portion of God’s Word without looking up for divine teaching!

(James Smith, “The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion” 1859)

“Open my eyes–that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law.” Psalm 119:18

God’s Book is a book of wonders! It is a wonderful record . . .

of God’s power in creation,
of His wisdom in providence,
and of His grace in redemption.

It has the stamp of infinity upon it. We cannot penetrate its heights, fathom its depths, or traverse its lengths and breadths–but as we are taught of God. The Holy Spirit, who composed it and inspired holy men to write it, must unfold and reveal it to our minds–or we shall never . . .

see its glory,
be impressed with its majesty,
or rejoice in its divine truths.

Never let us read any portion of God’s Word without looking up for divine teaching. Never let us imagine that we know all that is contained in any one verse of God’s blessed Book–for there is a fullness in the holy Scriptures not to be found anywhere else.

Oh, ever blessed Spirit of God, who has given us Your holy Word to . . .

instruct our intellects,
sanctify our hearts, and
regulate our lives–we beseech You to . . .
enlighten our minds to understand it,
open our hearts to receive it,
give us faith to believe it, and
enable us to reduce it to practice in our every-day life!

O may we be given grace . . .

understand the sublime doctrines,
believe the precious promises, and
practice the holy precepts of Your blessed Word!

Lord, unveil to us the types, unfold to us the prophecies–and apply to our hearts, the consolatory portions of the sacred Scriptures. May we hide the Word in our hearts, that we may not sin against You. O to catch the meaning, taste the sweetness, and feel the power–of Your holy truth! O Lord, open our eyes, and unfold the truth to us this night! O Lord, soften our hearts, and bring home Your Word with power!

“Then He opened their understanding–that they might understand the Scriptures.” Luke 24:45

“Behold, God is exalted in His power! Who is a teacher like Him?” Job 36:22

Nothing Could Be More Arrogant

“It is fashionable in some academic circles to exercise scholarly criticism of the Bible. In so doing, scholars place themselves above the Bible and seek to correct it. If indeed the Bible is the Word of God, nothing could be more arrogant. It is God who corrects us; we don’t correct Him. We do not stand over God but under Him.”

R.C. Sproul, Five Things Every Christian Needs to Grow

Everybody is going to be saved–and nobody is going to be lost!

Everybody is going to be saved–and nobody is going to be lost!

(J.C. Ryle, 1884)

One great danger of the church today, consists in the rise and progress of a spirit of indifference to all doctrines and opinions in religion. A wave of latitudinarianism about theology, appears to be passing over the land. The minds of many seem utterly incapable of discerning any difference between . . .

one belief–and another belief,
one creed–and another creed,
one tenet–and another tenet,
one opinion–and another opinion,
one thought–and another thought,
however diverse and mutually contrary they may be!
Everything is true–and nothing is false.
Everything is right–and nothing is wrong.
Everything is good–and nothing is bad–if only it comes to us under the garb and name of religion. Most think that it is kind and liberal, to maintain that we have no right to think that anyone is wrong, who is in earnest about his creed.

We are not allowed to ask what is God’s truth–but what is liberal, and generous, and charitable.

Most professing Christians make cleverness and earnestness the only tests of orthodoxy in religion. Thousands nowadays seem utterly unable to distinguish things that differ. If a preacher is only clever and eloquent and earnest–they think that he is all right, however strange and heterodox his sermons may be.

Popery–or Protestantism,
an atonement–or no atonement,
a personal Holy Spirit–or no Holy Spirit,
future punishment–or no future punishment

–they swallow all! Carried away by an imagined liberality and charity, they seem to regard doctrine as a matter of no importance, and to think that everybody is going to be saved–and nobody is going to be lost! They dislike distinctness, and think that all decided views are very wrong!

These people live in a kind of mist or fog! They see nothing clearly, and do not know what they believe. They have not made up their minds about any great point in the Gospel, and seem content to be honorary members of all schools of thought. For their lives–they could not tell you what they think is truth about . . .

forgiveness of sins,
or justification,
or regeneration,
or sanctification,
or saving faith,
or conversion,
or inspiration,
or the future state.

They are eaten up with a morbid dread of doctrine. And so they live on undecided, and too often undecided they drift down to the grave, on the broad way which leads to eternal destruction.

They are content to shovel aside all disputed points as rubbish, and will tell you, “I do not pretend to understand doctrine. I dare say that it is all the same in the long run.” They are for a general policy of universal toleration and forbearance of every doctrine. Every school of false teaching, however extreme, is to be tolerated. They desire the Church to be a kind of Noah’s Ark, within which every kind of opinion and creed shall dwell safely and undisturbed, and the only terms of admittance are a willingness to come inside, and let your neighbor alone. Nothing is too absurd to concede and allow into the church, in the present mania for complete freedom of thought, and absolute liberty of opinion.

The explanation of this boneless, nerveless condition of soul, is perhaps not difficult to find. The heart of man is naturally in the dark about religion–has no intuitive sense of truth–and really needs divine instruction and illumination. Besides this, the natural heart in most men hates exertion in religion. Above all, the natural heart generally likes the praise of others, shrinks from collision, and loves to be thought charitable and liberal. The whole result is that a kind of broad religious anythingism just suits an immense number of professors.

Ignorance, I am compelled to say, is one of the grand dangers of professors of religion in the present day.

Who does not know that such people swarm and abound everywhere? And who does not know that anyone who denounces this state of things, and insists that we should be loyal to Scripture truth–is regarded as a narrow, bigoted, intolerant person, quite unsuited to our times?

When there is no creed or standard of doctrine, there can be no church, but a Babel. Let me venture to advise all true Christians to never to be ashamed of holding Evangelical views. Those views, I am quite aware, are not fashionable nowadays. They are ridiculed as old-fashioned, narrow, defective, and out of date–and those who hold them, are regarded as illiberal, impracticable old fossils!

What the final result of the present state of things will be, I do not pretend to predict.

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

Tears Of Repentance

Tears Of Repentance

(Charles Spurgeon)

“As she stood behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them!” Luke 7:38

O that our eyes were as ready with tears of repentance as were hers! O that our hearts were as full of love as hers and our hands as ready to serve the forgiving Lord!

If she has exceeded some of us in the heinousness of her sin–yet she has exceeded all of us in the fervency of her affection!

Serving with ulterior motives…

Serving with ulterior motives…

by F. B. Meyer

How many of us, who are engaged in the Lord’s holy service, are secretly cherishing some proud aspiration of excelling other men, of making a name for ourselves, of securing money or fame!

We will use the pulpit as a pedestal for the adulation of the world, and the cross for a post on which to hang garlands to our own glory.

How often do we preach sermons, or make addresses, and attend meetings, with no other thought than to secure the recognition and praise of those to whom we ‘minister’.

All of this must be laid aside. We must have no selfish, prideful ulterior motives to serve Christ.

Perfect Peace

Perfect peace

(Charles Spurgeon, “Gleanings among the Sheaves”)

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Unless the heart is kept quiet and peaceable—the life will not be happy. If calm does not reign over that inner lake within the soul which feeds the rivers of our life—the rivers themselves will always be in storm. Our outward acts will always manifest that they were born in tempests—by being tempestuous themselves.

We all desire to lead a peaceful and joyous life; the bright eye and the elastic foot are things which each of us desire; to carry about a contented mind is that to which most people are continually aspiring. Let us remember that the only way to keep our life peaceful and happy—is to keep the heart at rest—for come poverty, come wealth, come honor, come shame, come plenty, or come scarcity—if the heart is quiet, there will be peace and happiness manifested in the life!

But no matter how bright the sun shines outside—if the heart is troubled—the whole life must be troubled too!

“You will keep in perfect peace—all whose thoughts are fixed on You—because he trusts in You!” Isaiah 26:3

I Bequeath My Pastor’s Soul To The Devil!

I bequeath my pastor’s soul to the devil!

(Thomas Brooks, “A Word in Season to Suffering Saints”)

“Covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5

Covetousness is explicit idolatry.

Covetousness is the darling sin of our nation.

Covetousness being idolatry–is highly provoking to God.

This leprosy has infected all sorts and ranks of men.

Whatever a man loves most and best–that is his god. The covetous man looks upon the riches of the world as his Heaven–his happiness–his great ALL.

His heart is most upon the world,
his thoughts are most upon the world,
his affections are most upon the world,
his discourse is most about the world.

He who has his mind taken up with the world, and chiefly delighted with the world’s music–he has also his tongue tuned to the same key, and takes his joy and comfort in speaking of the world and worldly things. If the world is in the heart–it will break out at the lips. A worldly-minded man speaks mostly of worldly things. “They are of the world, therefore they speak of the world,” John 4:5. The love of this world oils the tongue for worldly discourses, and makes men . . .

forget God,
neglect Christ,
despise holiness,
forfeit Heaven.

Ah! the time, the thoughts, the strength, the efforts–which are spent upon the world, and the things of the world–while sinners’ souls lie a-bleeding, and eternity is hastening upon them!

I have read of a greedy banker, who was always best when he was most in talking of money and the world. Being near his death, he was much pressed to make his WILL. Finally he dictates:

First, I bequeath my own soul to the devil–for being so greedy for the muck of this world!

Secondly, I bequeath my wife’s soul to the devil–for persuading me to this worldly course of life.

Thirdly, I bequeath my pastor’s soul to the devil–because he did not show me the danger I lived in, nor reprove me for it!

“People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction!” 1 Timothy 6:9

Hold your hand in this fire!

Hold your hand in this fire!

(Ralph Venning, “The Plague of Plagues!” 1669)

“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

Take heed of what men call secret sins. There are only too many who continue in wickedness, because as they think, no one knows how wicked they are. They are drunkards–but it is in the night. They are immoral–but it is in the dark. Their mystery of iniquity trades in the works of darkness and in the dark. Indeed, if men could sin and no eye see them–then they might sin securely; but this is a falsehood as well as a mistake.

Once a young maiden was tempted to be unchaste. The person who solicited her, promised to do great things for her if she would yield.

“I will,” he said, “do anything for you!”

“Will you?” she said, “then hold your hand in this fire!”

“Oh, that is unreasonable!” he answered.

“But,” she replied, “it is much more unreasonable that I should burn forever in Hell for your sake! Who would venture his soul to eternal torment–to gratify his own or another’s pleasure and lust?”

We cannot escape God’s sight–any more than we can escape His judgment. He sees us, though like Adam and Eve we cover ourselves with fig-leaves. And He will one day call to us, as He did to them, “Sinner–where are you?”

You cannot flee from His presence. You may more easily hide from yourselves–than from God.

I hope you will say, for I am sure you will see cause to do so, “How shall I do this wickedness–and sin against God!”

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

A Challenge For The Pastors!

A Challenge For The Pastors!

Spurgeon, “Come from the four winds, O breath!”

If the Holy Spirit does not come, and give spiritual life, we may preach until we have not another breath left, but we shall not raise from the tomb of sin even the soul of a little child, or bring a single sinner to the feet of Christ.

Look sir, you may study your sermon; you may examine the original of your text; you may critically follow it out in all its bearings; you may go and preach it with great correctness of expression; but you cannot quicken a soul by that sermon.

You may go up into your pulpit; you may illustrate, explain, and enforce the truth; with mighty rhetoric you may charm your hearers; you may hold them spellbound; but no eloquence of yours can raise the dead.

Another voice than yours must be heard!

Other power than that of your thought or persuasion must be brought into the work, or it will not be done.

You may organize your societies, you may have excellent methods, you may diligently pursue this course and that; but when you have done all, nothing comes of it if the effort stands by itself.

Only as the Spirit of God shall bless men by you, shall they receive a blessing through you.

Whatever your ability or experience, it is the Spirit of God, who must bless your labour.

We are nothing; you are nothing.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts,” is a message that should make us lie in the dust, and utterly despair of doing anything in and of ourselves, seeing that all the power is of God alone.

It will do us good to be very empty, to be very weak, to be very distrustful of self, and so to go about out Master’s work. 

Worse Than Devilish!

Worse than devilish!

(Ralph Venning, “The Plague of Plagues!” 1669)

“Fools mock at sin!” Proverbs 14:9 

Those who mock at sin, are worse than fools and madmen!

Tell them, as Lot told his sons-in-law of the danger and judgments which hang over their head–and, as with Lot, you seem to them as one who jokes. Genesis 19:14. They laugh at it, as if God were not in earnest when He threatens sinners–and as if those who preach against sin were deranged. 

“To do evil, is like sport to a fool!” Proverbs 10:23.

There are some who sport themselves on their way to Hell–as if sin were but a recreation! What fools are they–who laugh at their own folly and destruction! It is a devilish nature in us, to mock at the calamity of others–but to laugh at our own calamity, seems to be worse than devilish!

There are many, too many, who mourn under affliction–yet laugh over their sins! They sigh and weep when they feel any burden on their body–but make merry at that which destroys their soul! Can anything be more mad than this–to laugh, mock and make sport at that which eternally wrongs and damns their own souls!

The wicked laugh over their sin now. But if they do not repent–then they will weep forever in Hell over it!

We are all living monuments of God’s goodness and patience!

We are all living monuments of God’s goodness and patience!

(Ralph Venning, “The Plague of Plagues!” 1669)

“The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease–for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning! Great is Your faithfulness!” Lamentations 3:22-23

If sin is so exceedingly sinful–so contrary to, and displeasing to God–then surely . . .

His patience is exceedingly great,
His goodness is exceedingly rich, and
His long-suffering is exceedingly marvelous
–even such as to cause astonishment!

We are all living monuments of God’s goodness and patience! It is of the Lord’s mercies that all of us are not altogether and utterly consumed–and that in eternal Hell!

Such is . . .

the power of His patience,
the infiniteness of His mercy and compassion,
and the riches of His unsearchable grace!

Consider the multitude of sinners in the world. If it were only one or two sinners–then they might be winked at and passed by. But all the world lies in wickedness (1 John 5:19). There is none righteous–no, not one! If there had been only ten righteous ones–then God would have spared Sodom, although ten thousand sinners might be there. Yet there is not a single man to be found who does not sin. All have sinned–and that continually. What grace, then–what patience is this!

Consider the multitude of sins committed by every sinner. Every sinner commits innumerable sins! If all men had sinned only once–it would have mitigated the matter. Sin, however, has grown up with men. Not a single good thought is to be found in their hearts! (Genesis 6:5) Sin grows up faster than men do–they are old in sin, when still young in years. They are adding iniquity to iniquity, and drawing sin on with cords and ropes, committing it with both hands greedily, as if they could not sin enough! They dare God Himself to judge them. They drink down iniquity like water, as if it was their element and nourishment and pleasure also. Yet, behold, how miraculously patient is God!

God sees sin–He is sensible of it and angered about it–for it grieves and vexes Him. God is able to avenge Himself whenever He pleases–yet He forbears with sinners. Be astonished at it!

It is a wonder that men are spared so long–especially if we consider how quickly God cast the angels that sinned down to Hell!

O the wonder of sovereign grace!

Dead Fish Go With The Flow!

Dead Fish Go With The Flow!

Adapted From Calvin Schlabach

“BE DIFFERENT! Don’t go with the flow!” we are urged. “Don’t follow the crowd! Even a dead fish can float downstream.” 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 “no longer be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine” (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: “But 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” (Revelation 21:8). When they see that God’s 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, “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go” (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, “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (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 “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). Fortified with power that comes only from God (Ephesians 3:16), we can say with Paul, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (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, “You have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised … ‘My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him’” (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, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus” (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, “Keep seeking the things above, where Christ is … Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). Raise your sights! Don’t follow the foolish crowd!

You will never come to the bottom of these depths!

You will never come to the bottom of these depths!

(Robert Murray M’Cheyne)

“Yes, He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved–and this is my Friend!” Song of Songs 5:16

Learn much of the Lord Jesus. For every look at yourself–take ten looks at Christ!

Such infinite majesty, and yet such meekness and grace–and all for sinners, even the chief!

Unfathomable oceans of grace are in Christ for you. Dive and dive again–you will never come to the bottom of these depths! Yes, He is altogether lovely!

Live much in His smiles–bask in His beams. Feel His all-seeing eye settled on you in love, and repose in His almighty arms!

Live near to Him–and all worldly things will appear little to you in comparison.

“Lord, make me as holy as a pardoned sinner can be!”

When will it be my time to be eaten?

When will it be my time to be eaten?

(Charles Spurgeon)

All men persist in thinking all men mortal, but themselves.

If there were a great monster in our city, which ate ten of the inhabitants alive every day–we would be dreadfully miserable, especially if we never knew when it would be our turn to be devoured!

If we were certain that it would eat all in our city by-and-bye, but would only eat ten in a day–we would all tremble as we passed by the huge monster’s den, and say, “When will it be my time to be eaten?” This would cast a dark cloud over the whole metropolis, blacker than its usual fog.

But here is a monster, DEATH, which devours its hundreds at its meal. With its iron tongue, the funeral knell keeps crying out for more! Its greedy and insatiable throat is never filled–its teeth are never blunted–and its ravenous hunger is never satisfied.

And though it will be our turn by-and-bye to be devoured of this great monster–yet how little do we think about it!

All men persist in thinking all men mortal, but themselves.

Seeing that we deserve nothing–we should be content with, and thankful for anything!

Seeing that we deserve nothing–we should be content with, and thankful for anything!

(Ralph Venning, “The Plague of Plagues!” 1669)

It has been every man’s lot to come into and go out of this world naked–to show that he has no right to anything, but lives on the alms of God’s charity and grace. All that we have or hold between our birth and death–is the mere gift of God.

God might choose whether He would allow us anything or not; and when He has given–He may take back again, and none of us has cause to say anything but what Job said:

“Naked I came into the world–and naked I shall return. The Lord has given–and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21

All that we have, our food and clothing and belongings–are only lent to us. Therefore, seeing that we deserve nothing–we should be content with, and thankful for anything.

“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” 1 Timothy 6:7-8

The Christian Message

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

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

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

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

(J.C. Ryle, 1816-1900)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An arm that can never be broken!

An arm that can never be broken!

(J. R. Miller, “A Life of Character”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Admire The God Of Free Grace

Admire The God Of Free Grace

(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

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

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

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

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

Look back to the time when . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

O Lord, There Is None Like You!

When that monster of a man hung!

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

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

Truly, our God is without a parallel!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear wife, farewell!

Dear wife, farewell!

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

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

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

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

Are You Hungry?

Are you hungry?

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

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

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

Hungry souls love the Word.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Life-Boat Of Free Grace!

The life-boat of free grace!

(James Smith, “The Complaint!” 1864)

“I am cast down!”

And why are you cast down?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deceitful & Desperately Wicked!

Deceitful & desperately wicked!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suck The Honey Out Of It!

Suck the honey out of it!

Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Minstrel”

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

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

Bible reading…

Bible reading…

by Thomas Brooks–

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

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

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

Read Your Bible!

Read Your Bible

by Spurgeon

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

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

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

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

(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have such an accommodating Christianity today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who or what takes priority over God in our lives?

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

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

There’s no cost of being a Christian!

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

(Leonard Ravenhill)

The Power In The Scriptures

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

R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord

Paul's Redemption

My recovery from obesity and mental illness

Real Christianity

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)

Voyages Of Mine

Travels, Photography, Lifestyle and Reviews from Knoxville, TN

This, that and the other thing

Looking at life through writing and photography

Cee's Photography

Learning and teaching the art of composition.

A DEVOTED LIFE

Practical Daily Devotions for the Real World

Travelling with Lyn

My experiences in Italy and the world

The Isaiah 53:5 Project

Life: the time God gives you to determine how you spend eternity

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