Tag Archives: Christian Love

Let us ever wear the garment of . . .

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Let us ever wear the garment of . . .

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

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

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

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

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


He shall save His people from their sins!

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He shall save His people from their sins!

(Frank Hall)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Our dim eyes cannot read the dark pages!

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Our dim eyes cannot read the dark pages!

(J.R. Miller)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These predominant sins!

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These predominant sins!

(J.A. James, 1785-1859)

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

(John Newton)

“Looking unto Jesus!”¬†Hebrews 12:2

Look unto the Lord Jesus Christ!

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

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

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

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

Holiness

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Holiness

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

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

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

Holiness is the work of the Spirit in our sanctification. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Not our home

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Not our home 

(David Harsha, “Immanuel’s Land”)¬†

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

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

Our path is rough, but the Savior sustains us. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Though we mourn, we must not murmur

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

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

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

(Frank Hall)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Frank Hall)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a pillow on which to rest your aching head

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What a pillow on which to rest your aching head 

(John MacDuff) 

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

“If need be!”¬†Three gracious words!¬†

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

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

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

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

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

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

No burden too heavy will be laid on him. 

No sacrifice too great will be exacted from him. 

God will temper the wind to the shorn lamb. 

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

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

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

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

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

Broken people!

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Broken people! 

(Don Fortner)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why me, Lord?

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Why me, Lord? 

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

“By the grace of God I am what I am!”

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

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

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

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


#28 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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

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

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

 

CONCLUSION 

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

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

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

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

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

#27 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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

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

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

Riches and Poverty!

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Riches and Poverty! 

(J.C. Ryle, “Riches and Poverty!“)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


#26 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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

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

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

The plague of unsatisfiedness

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The plague of unsatisfiedness

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

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

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

Covetousness makes the soul¬†earthly–which should be¬†celestial.¬†

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No sin lays men under greater woes! 

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


#25 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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

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

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

Murder all his hearers at once!

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Murder all his hearers at once!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#24 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


#23 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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

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

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

The dregs of old age!

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The dregs of old age!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


#22 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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

#22. Does not Jesus DESERVE your love? 

Do you not owe it to Him? 

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

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

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

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

The beauty and glory of a Christian!

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The beauty and glory of a Christian!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tears have a voice!

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Tears have a voice!

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

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

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

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

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

#20 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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

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

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

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

 

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

(R.C. Sproul, “The Holiness of God”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


#19 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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

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

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

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

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

(Charles Spurgeon) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


#18 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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

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

 

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

Walk in the Spirit!

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Walk in the Spirit!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


#17 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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

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

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

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

The Weaver!

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The Weaver!

(J.R. Miller)

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

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

The Weaver! 
(Author unknown)

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

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

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

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

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

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


#16 ‚úě 28 Motives to Love Jesus!

Red Love logo with reflection 

28 Motives to Love Jesus!

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

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

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

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

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

(J.C. Ryle, “Heirs of God” 1878)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe!

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The ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe!

(John Piper)

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

Sin is . . .

  the glory of God not honored,

    the holiness of God not reverenced,

     the greatness of God not admired,

      the power of God not praised,

       the truth of God not sought,

        the wisdom of God not esteemed,

          the beauty of God not treasured,

            the goodness of God not savored,

              the faithfulness of God not trusted,

           the commandments of God not obeyed,

        the justice of God not respected,

      the wrath of God not feared,

    the grace of God not cherished,

  the presence of God not prized,

the person of God not loved.

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


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