Tag Archives: Christianity

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Heritage

Sarah  i playing at church

This weeks “Photo Challenge” left me with so many options i didn’t know where to start! 

The photo above is one of Sarah & i’s favourites and is on our side-board. I thought…..”Heritage” – It has the church building which was built way before our time. “Heritage” – The guitar i’m playing(and not worthy of holding, never mind owning) was built by a fantastic Luthier. “Heritage” – And more important than all of this is the Holy Covenant of Marriage that glues Sarah and i together in the power of His promises! 

I could go on & on…..But i’ll stop here and go and check out your posts on the challenge! 🙂 

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

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

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

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.”

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!

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

The Dirty Lane!

The dirty lane!

(Thomas Brooks, “Words of Counsel to a Dear Dying Friend”)

“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

Look upon your dying day as a gainful day. There is no gain compared to that which comes in by death. A Christian gets more by death, than he does by life. To be in Christ is very good–but to be with Christ is best of all, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!” Philippians 1:23. It was a mighty blessing for Christ to be with Paul on earth–but it was the top of blessings for Paul to be with Christ in Heaven! Seriously consider these things:

By death you shall gain incomparable crowns!

A crown of life, Revelation 2:10, James 1:12.
A crown of righteousness, 2 Timothy 4:8.
An incorruptible crown, 1 Corinthians 9:24-25.
A crown of glory, 1 Peter 5:4.

There are no crowns compared to these crowns!

By death you shall gain a glorious kingdom! “It is your Father’s pleasure to give you a kingdom!” We must put off their rags of mortality–that we may put on our robes of glory! There is no entering into paradise–but under the flaming sword of this angel, death–who stands at the gate.

Death is the dirty lane through which the saint passes . . .

to a kingdom,
to a great kingdom,
to a glorious kingdom,
to a peaceful kingdom,
to an unshaken kingdom,
to a durable kingdom,
to a lasting kingdom, yes,
to an everlasting kingdom!

Death is the dark, short way, through which the saints pass to the marriage-supper of the Lamb!

If this is happiness—then give me misery!

“If this is happiness—then give me misery!”

(Thomas Sherman)

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen, and lived in luxury every day.” Luke 16:19

How apt are many at the sight of a rich worldling—to envy him for what he has. But, for my part, I rather pity him for what he lacks!

He has a talent—but it lacks improvement;
he has a lamp—but it lacks oil;
he has a soul—but it lacks grace;
he has the creature—but he lacks the Creator;
he has a mansion—but he lacks heaven.

In his life, he floats upon a torrent of vanity—which rolls along into an ocean of vexation!

And after death, it will be said of him, “Take this unprofitable servant, bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness! Consign his soul to the eternal lake of fire and brimstone!”

Where now is the object of your envy?

It is not his gold that can then rescue him,
nor his mansion that can then satisfy him,
nor his friends that can then comfort him.

Therefore, if he is worth the envying—then who can be worth the pitying?

If this is happiness—then give me misery!

Lord, rather make me poor with a holy heart—than rich with an evil heart of unbelief!

“Have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue—because I am in agony in this fire!” Luke 16:24

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment—but the righteous to eternal life!” Matthew 25:46

Godly Parents Cannot Convert Their Children

Godly parents cannot convert their children

(Mary Winslow, Life in Jesus“)

“We were born with an evil nature, and we were under God’s wrath.” Ephesians 2:3

“You must be born again.” John 3:7

Godly parents cannot convert their children. God alone can do this. But they can lead them to Jesus, and bring them up in the fear of the Lord. And when they have done this, they have done all they can do; for the Holy Spirit alone can change the heart. They must be born again. Christ has said it. It is not a change of sentiment, nor an outward reformation of life; it is a new heart implanted by the Holy Spirit.

“They are reborn! This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan—this rebirth comes from God.” John 1:13

“The Profit of Godliness in the Life to Come”)

“The Profit of Godliness in the Life to Come”)

(Charles Spurgeon)

“But godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8

How many live for that poor body of theirs which so soon must moulder back to the dust!

To dress,
to adorn themselves,
to catch the glance of the admirer’s eye,
to satisfy public taste,
to follow fashion,

surely an object in life more frivolous never engrossed an immortal soul!

It seems as strange as if an angel should be gathering daisies, or blowing soap bubbles!

An immortal spirit living . . .

to dress the body,
to paint the face,
to dye the hair,
to display a ribbon,
to show off a pin —
is this the pursuit of an immortal being?

Yet tens of thousands live for little else!

As for earth’s most lovely ones — how do time, and death, and the worm together, make havoc of them!

Take up yonder skull, just upturned by the sexton’s careless spade, and take it to the yonder beauty, and tell her, though she paint an inch thick — to this complexion she must come at last! All her dressing shall end in a shroud — and all her makeup and her dainty ornaments shall only make her the sweeter morsel for the worm!

Beloved friends, there is another life beyond this fleeting existence! Why then, do you waste your time and degrade your souls with these frivolities?

Grow old sweetly and beautifully

Grow old sweetly and beautifully

(J. R. Miller, “Devotional Hours with the Bible” 1908)

It takes a great deal of grace to grow old sweetly and beautifully. It is not possible to carry the alertness and energy of young manhood, into advanced years. Yet if we live wisely and rightly all our lives—old age ought to be the best of life. We certainly ought to make it beautiful and godly, for our life is not finished until we come to its very last day.

We ought to be wiser when we are old—than ever we have been in any former years. We ought to have learned by experience. We ought to be better in every way—with more of God’s peace in our hearts, with more gentleness and patience. We ought to have learned self-control, and to be better able to rule our own spirit. We ought to have more love, more joy, more thoughtfulness, to be more considerate, to have more humility.

Old age never should be the dregs of the years, the mere cinder of a burnt-out life. One may not have the vigor and strenuousness of the mid-years—but one should be every way truer, richer-hearted, holier. If the outward man has grown weaker and feebler—the inner man should have grown stronger and Christlier.

Father and mother, if I am damned — it is by copying the example you placed before me!

Father and mother, if I am damned — it is by copying the example you placed before me!

(Archibald Brown, “Do Not Sin Against the Child!” 1870)

“Do not sin against the child!” Genesis 42:22

One way of sinning against a child is by bad example. The characters of the parents are carefully watched and imitated by their children.

You profess, dear friend, to be a Christian, and your child knows you are a member of this church. He has seen you partake of the Lord’s supper — and then, when you have gone home, he has in a moment detected the discrepancy between your behavior at church — and your daily life at home. The angry temper — the selfish spirit — the worldly conversation — all these have been so many sins against the child! By some evil example seen by them in early life, an impression may be made upon their souls, the effects of which will remain to their dying day — and beyond!

Oh, how dreadful the thought, that by our own hypocritical lives we may be sinning against the little darlings we often feel we could die for. God forbid, that at the last great day, any of our children should turn to us with blanched cheek and say, “Father and mother, if I am damned — it is by copying the example you placed before me!”

You may also sin against the child by neglecting the means of its salvation. Do you have to confess before the Lord, that the eternal interests of your children find but a small space in your PRAYERS? O do not sin so against the child — he is worth praying for!

What are you DOING to try and bring them to Jesus? Do you ever, with the tear in your eye, tell them of the love of Jesus? Have you ever tried to show them their need of a Savior, and pointed them to Him who said, “Let the little children to come to Me?”

These are solemn questions, for I say to you dear parents in all love and from the very depths of my heart, “If you neglect the means for bringing your little ones to Christ, you are sinning against the child — and his blood will be required of you!” “If you do not teach them — the devil will.”

O friends, it is a crying shame, that in our prayer meetings there are to be found men who pray as if they were dying to see the world converted — and yet never pray for their own children! It is a sad, sad fact that there are many who seem wondrously in earnest about the conversion of strangers — who yet let their own children go to Hell without a warning or entreaty!

Jelly-Fish Christianity

Jelly-Fish Christianity 

(J.C. Ryle)

The consequences of this widespread dislike to distinct biblical doctrine are very serious. Whether we like it or not, it is an epidemic which is doing great harm, and especially among young people. It creates, fosters, and keeps up an immense amount of instability in religion. It produces what I must venture to call, if I may coin the phrase, a ‘jelly-fish’ Christianity in the land — that is, a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or power.

A jelly-fish, as everyone who has been much by the seaside knows, is a pretty and graceful object when it floats in the sea, contracting and expanding like a little delicate transparent umbrella. Yet the same jelly-fish, when cast on the shore, is a mere helpless lump, without capacity for movement, self-defense, or self-preservation.

Alas! it is a vivid type of much of the religion of this day, of which the leading principle is, ‘No dogma, no distinct beliefs, no doctrine.’ We have hundreds of ministers who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity! They have no definite opinions; they are so afraid of ‘extreme views,’ that they have no views at all. We have thousands of sermons preached every year, which are without an edge or a point or a corner — they are as smooth as marble balls, awakening no sinner, and edifying no saint!

We have legions of young men annually turned out from our universities, armed with a few scraps of second-hand philosophy, who think it a mark of cleverness and intellect to have no decided opinions about anything in religion — and to be utterly unable to make up their minds as to what is Christian truth. Their only creed, is a kind of ‘nothingism.’ They are sure and positive about nothing!

And last, and worst of all, we have myriads of respectable church-going people, who have no distinct and definite views about any point in theology. They cannot discern things that differ, any more than color-blind people can distinguish colors. They think . . .

everybody is right — and nobody is wrong,
everything is true — and nothing is false,
all sermons are good — and none are bad,
every clergyman is sound — and no clergyman unsound.

They are ‘tossed to and fro, like children, by every wind of doctrine;’ often carried away by some new excitement and sensational movement; ever ready for new things, because they have no firm grasp on the old; and utterly unable to ‘render a reason of the hope that is in them.’

All this, and much more, is the result of that effeminate dread of distinct doctrine which has been so strongly developed, and has laid such hold on many pastors in these days.

I turn from the picture I have exhibited with a sorrowful heart. I grant it is a gloomy one; but I am afraid it is only too accurate and true. Let us not deceive ourselves. Distinct and definitive doctrine is at a premium just now. Instability and unsettled notions are the natural result, and meet us in every direction.

Cleverness and earnestness are the favorite idols of the age!

What a man says matters nothing — however strange and heterogeneous are the opinions he expresses! If he is only brilliant and ‘earnest’ — he cannot be wrong! Never was it so important for believers to hold sound systematic views of truth, and for ministers to ‘enunciate doctrine’ very clearly and distinctly in their teaching.

MURDERED

MURDERED!

(From Spurgeon’s autobiography)

There was a day, as I took my walks abroad, when I came by a spot forever engraved upon my memory, for there I saw this Friend, my best, my only Friend . . . MURDERED!

I stooped down in sad affright, and looked at Him. I saw that His hands had been pierced with rough iron nails, and His feet had been torn in the same way. There was misery in His dead countenance so terrible that I scarcely dared to look upon it. His body was emaciated with hunger, His back was red with bloody scourges, and His brow had a circle of wounds about it–clearly could one see that these had been pierced by thorns.

I shuddered, for I had known this Friend full well. He never had a fault–He was the purest of the pure, the holiest of the holy.

Who could have injured Him?

For He never injured any man–all His life long He “went about doing good.” He had healed the sick, He had fed the hungry, He had raised the dead–for which of these works did they kill Him? He had never breathed out anything else but love–and as I looked into the poor sorrowful face, so full of agony, and yet so full of love–I wondered who could have been a wretch so vile as to pierce hands like His. I said within myself, “Where can these traitors live? Who are these that could have smitten such a One as this?”

Had they murdered an oppressor–we might have forgiven them; had they slain one who had indulged in vice or villainy–it might have been his desert; had it been a murderer and a rebel, or one who had committed sedition–we would have said, “Bury his corpse–justice has at last given him his due!”

But when You were slain, my best, my only-beloved–where did the traitors hide? Let me seize them, and they shall be put to death! If there are torments that I can devise–surely they shall endure them all. Oh! what jealousy–what revenge I felt! If I might but find these murderers, what I would do to them!

And as I looked upon that corpse, I heard a footstep, and wondered where it was. I listened, and I clearly perceived that the murderer was close at hand! It was dark, and I groped about to find him. I found that, somehow or other, wherever I put out my hand, I could not meet with him, for he was NEARER to me than my hand would go.

At last I put my hand upon my bosom. “I have you now!” said I–for lo, he was in my own heart–the murderer was hiding within my own bosom, dwelling in the recesses of my inmost soul!

Ah! then I wept indeed, that I, in the very presence of my murdered Master, should be harboring the murderer! I felt myself most guilty while I bowed over His corpse, and sang that plaintive hymn,

“Twas you, MY SINS, my cruel sins,
His chief tormentors were!
Each of my sins became a nail,
and unbelief the spear!”

Amid the rabble which hounded the Redeemer to His doom, there were some gracious souls whose bitter anguish sought vent in wailing and lamentations–fit music to accompany that march of woe.

When my soul can, in imagination, see the Savior bearing His cross to Calvary, she joins the godly women, and weeps with them; for, indeed, there is true cause for grief–cause lying deeper than those mourning women thought. They bewailed innocence maltreated, goodness persecuted, love bleeding, meekness about to die–but my heart has a deeper and more bitter cause to mourn.

MY SINS were the scourges which lacerated those blessed shoulders, and crowned those bleeding brows with thorns! My sins cried, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” and laid the cross upon His gracious shoulders.

His being led forth to die is sorrow enough for one eternity–but MY having been His murderer, is more, infinitely more grief than one poor fountain of tears can express.

If Christ has died for me, as ungodly as I am, without strength as I am–then I cannot live in sin any longer, but must arouse myself to love and serve Him who has redeemed me.

I cannot trifle with the evil which slew my best Friend.

I must be holy for His sake.

How can I live in sin–when He has died to save me from it?

A Holy New Year’s Resolution!

A Holy New Year’s Resolution!

(Matthew Henry)

“My times are in Your hand!” Psalm 31:15

Firmly believing that my times are in God’s hand, I here submit myself and all my affairs for the ensuing year, to the wise and gracious disposal of God’s divine providence. Whether God appoints for me . . . .

health — or sickness,
peace — or trouble,
comforts — or crosses,
life — or death

— may His holy will be done!

All my time, strength, and service, I devote to the honor of the Lord Jesus — and even my common actions. It is my earnest expectation, hope, and desire, my constant aim and endeavor — that Jesus Christ may be magnified in me.

In everything I have to do — my entire dependence is upon Jesus Christ for strength. And whatever I do in word or deed, I desire to do all in His name, to make Him my Alpha and Omega. I have all from Him — and I would use all for Him.

If this should prove a year of affliction, a sorrowful year to me — I will fetch all my supports and comforts from the Lord Jesus and stay myself upon Him, His everlasting consolations, and the good hope I have in Him through grace.

And if it should be my dying year — then my times are in the hand of the Lord Jesus. And with a humble reliance upon His mediation, I would venture into the eternal world looking for the blessed hope. Dying as well as living — Jesus Christ will, I trust, be gain and advantage to me.

Oh, that the grace of God may be sufficient for me, to keep me always in a humble sense of my own unworthiness, weakness, folly, and infirmity — together with a humble dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ for daily grace and strength.

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #25 ~ Christ’s Pursuit

“Christianity does not begin with our pursuit of Christ, but with Christ’s pursuit of us. Christianity does not start with an invitation we offer to Jesus, but with an invitation Jesus offers to us.”

David Platt, Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live.

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #22 ~ Represent The King

We represent the King. We are His chosen ambassadors, doing His business “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). Then let’s represent Him this season! People are wide-open to the gospel these days. Forget about trying to impress others by what you buy. Spend more time imparting what you already possess.

Chuck Swindoll

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #19 ~ The Advent Virus

The Advent Virus

Anonymous via email

WARNING……WARNING: ADVENT VIRUS

Be on the alert for symptoms of inner Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:

  1. A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
  2. An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
  3. A loss of interest in judging other people.
  4. A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  5. A loss of interest in conflict.
  6. A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
  7. Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  8. Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
  9. Frequent attacks of smiling.
  10. An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
  11. An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

Please send this warning out to all your friends. This virus can and has affected many systems. Some systems have been completely cleaned out because of it.

The God of mercy…Or… a God who is at our mercy

“As theologian David F. Wells states so powerfully, We have turned to a God that we can use rather than a God we must obey; we have turned to a God who will fulfill our needs rather than to a God before whom we must surrender our rights to ourselves. He is a God for us and for our satisfaction, and we have come to assume that it must be so in the church as well. And so we transform the God of mercy into a God who is at our mercy. We imagine that he is benign, that he will acquiesce as we toy with his reality and co-opt him in the promotion of our ventures and careers.”

R. Albert Mohler Jr., The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters

One of a preacher’s first duties!

One of a preacher’s first duties!

“A man cannot be a faithful minister, until he preaches Christ for Christ’s sake — until he gives up striving to attract people to himself, and seeks only to attract them to Christ!” ~ Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“To efface one’s self is one of a preacher’s first duties!

Man-Made Ministers!

🤔My Thoughts… 

Wow…Spurgeon, the prince of preachers really doesn’t mess about!

Man-made ministers!

From Spurgeon’s, “The Two Effects of the Gospel”

The ministry has been very often degraded into a ‘trade’.

They are ‘selected by man’, they are crammed with literature; they are educated up to a certain point; they are turned out ready dressed; and persons call them ‘ministers’.

I wish them all God-speed, every one of them; for as good Joseph Irons used to say, “God be with many of them, if it be only to make them hold their tongues.”

Man-made ministers are of no use in this world, and the sooner we get rid of them the better.

We might as well sing Mother Goose rhymes!

We might as well sing Mother Goose rhymes!

“My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine; For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.”

We sing that — but we might as well sing Mother Goose rhymes, because we do not mean what we are singing!

If God Almighty compelled us to be entirely 100 percent honest, we simply could not sing the the average hymn — because their words would not be true of us!

“All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

I surrender all,
I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.”

(A.W. Tozer)

🤔My Thoughts…

This morning after reading this quote, i thought about our popular and modern “Worship” songs, and how a lot of them are about our feelings, our happiness and what God can do for us. Rather than elevating His Holy name as we sing His Glory and Praise as we are lost in Wonder!

Funny Isn’t It?

Funny Isn’t It?

Funny how a $100 “looks” so big when you take it to church,
but so small when you take it to the mall.

Funny how long it takes to serve God for an hour,
but how quickly a team plays 60 minutes of basketball.

Funny how long a couple of hours spent at church are,
but how short they are when watching a movie.

Funny how we can’t think of anything to say when we pray, but
don’t have difficulty thinking of things to talk about to a friend.

Funny how we get thrilled when a baseball game goes into extra innings,
but we complain when a sermon is longer than the regular time.

Funny how hard it is to read a chapter in the bible,
but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a best selling novel.

Funny how people want to get a front seat at any game or concert,
but scramble to get a back seat at church services.

Funny how we need 2 or 3 weeks advance notice to fit a church
event into our schedule, but can adjust our schedule for other
events at the last moment.

Funny how hard it is for people to learn a simple gospel well
enough to tell others, but how simple it is for the same people
to understand and repeat gossip.

Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven provided they do not
have to believe, or to think, or to say, or do anything.

Funny how you can send a thousand ‘jokes’ through e-mail and
they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages
regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.

Funny Isn’t It?

Are you laughing?
Are you thinking?

What Is Love?

What is love?

LOVE IS… being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger.

LOVE IS… actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise.

LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.

LOVE IS… being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.

LOVE IS… being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.

LOVE IS… a making a daily commitment to admit your sin, weakness, and failure and to resist the temptation to offer an excuse or shift the blame.

LOVE IS… being willing, when confronted by another, to examine your heart rather than rising to your defense or shifting the focus.

LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to grow in love so that the love you offer to another is increasingly selfless, mature, and patient.

LOVE IS… being unwilling to do what is wrong when you have been wronged, but looking for concrete and specific ways to overcome evil with good.

LOVE IS… being a good student of another, looking for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs so that in some way you can remove the burden, support them as they carry it, or encourage them along the way.

LOVE IS… being willing to invest the time necessary to discuss, examine, and understand the relational problems you face, staying on task until the problem is removed or you have agreed upon a strategy of response.

LOVE IS… being willing to always ask for forgiveness and always being committed to grant forgiveness when it is requested.

LOVE IS… recognizing the high value of trust in a relationship and being faithful to your promises and true to your word.

LOVE IS… speaking kindly and gently, even in moments of disagreement, refusing to attack the other person’s character or assault their intelligence.

LOVE IS… being unwilling to flatter, lie, manipulate, or deceive in any way in order to coerce the other person into giving you what you want or doing something your way.

LOVE IS… the willingness to have less free time, less sleep, and a busier schedule in order to be faithful to what God has called you to be and to do as a spouse, parent, neighbor, etc.

LOVE IS… a commitment to say no to selfish instincts and to do everything that is within your ability to promote real unity, functional understanding, and active love in your relationships.

LOVE IS… staying faithful to your commitment to treat another with appreciation, respect, and grace, even in moments when the other person doesn’t seem deserving or is unwilling to reciprocate.

LOVE IS… the willingness to make regular and costly sacrifices for the sake of a relationship without asking for anything in return or using your sacrifices to place the other person in your debt.

LOVE IS… being unwilling to make any personal decision or choice that would harm a relationship, hurt the other person, or weaken the bond of trust between you.

LOVE IS… refusing to be self-focused or demanding, but instead looking for specific ways to serve, support, and encourage, even when you are busy or tired.

LOVE IS… daily admitting to yourself, the other person, and God that you are unable to be driven by a cruciform love without God’s protecting, providing, forgiving, rescuing, and delivering grace.

[By Paul Tripp.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails!” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

The evangelistic methods of our present golden-calf Christianity!

 The evangelistic methods of our present golden-calf Christianity!

Any objection to the evangelistic methods of our present golden-calf Christianity, is met with the triumphant reply, “But we are winning the lost!”

And what are you winning them to?

To true discipleship?
To cross-carrying?
To self-denial?
To separation from the world?
To crucifixion of the flesh?
To holy living?
To nobility of character?
To a despising of the world’s treasures?
To total committal to Christ?

Of course, the answer to all these questions is NO!

(A.W. Tozer)

 

Such weather vane preachers are worthless!

Such weather vane preachers are worthless!

A weather vane preacher is any preacher who changes what he preaches or how he preaches when the wind changes direction. The preacher who alters his message or his method because of the ever-changing advice, counsel, and opinions of men is not a leader, but a follower. Such weather vane preachers are worthless! They only do harm to the souls of men, and they need not preach at all. True, gospel preachers are pillars in the church of God — not puppets in the hands of men.

“On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.” 1 Thessalonians 2:4

“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

(Frank Hall)

The “Hell Fire Club”

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The “Hell Fire Club”

“Means for Restoring the Banished” )

Mr. Thorpe was a member of an ‘infidel’ club. In those days infidelity was more blasphemous than now. This infidel society took the name of the “Hell Fire Club”. Among their amusements was that of holding imitations of religious services, and exhibiting mimicries of popular ministers.

Thorpe went to hear George Whitfield preach, that he might caricature him before his profane associates. He listened to Whitfield so carefully that he caught his tones and his manner, and somewhat of his doctrines.

When the “Hell Fire Club” met to see his caricature of Whitfield, Thorpe opened the Bible that he might take a text to preach from it after the manner of Whitfield. His eye fell on the passage, “Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” As he spoke upon that text he was carried beyond himself, lost all thought of mockery, spoke as one in earnest, and was the means of his own conversion!

He was carried by the force of truth beyond his own intention, like one who would play in a river, and is swept away by its current.

Even the scoffer may be reached by the arrows of truth! Scripture has often been the sole means in the hands of its divine Author of converting the soul.

“For the Word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.” Hebrews 4:12

“After his amazing conversion, Thorpe became a noted preacher of the gospel.” 

(edited from Spurgeon’s sermon, #950 

A truly thoughtful person.

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Some people seem to have a genius for making others miserable! They are continually touching sensitive hearts, so as to cause pain. They are always saying things which sting and irritate. If you have any bodily defect, they never see you without in some crude way, making you conscious of it. If any relative or friend of yours has done some dishonorable thing, they seem to take a cruel delight in constantly referring to it when speaking with you. They lack all delicacy of feeling, having no eye for the sensitive things in others, which demand gentleness of treatment.

Thoughtfulness is the reverse of all this. It simply does not do the things which thoughtlessness does. It avoids the painful subject. It never alludes to a man’s clubfoot or humpback, nor ever casts an eye at the defect, nor does anything to direct attention to it or to make the man conscious of it. It respects your sorrow–and refrains from harshly touching your wound. It has the utmost kindliness of feeling and expression. A truly thoughtful person, is one who never needlessly gives pain to another.

Thoughtfulness does not merely keep one from doing thoughtless things; it also leads to continued acts of kindness and good will. It ever watches for opportunities to give pleasure and happiness. It does not wait to be asked for sympathy or help–but has eyes of its own, and sees every need, and supplies it unsolicited. When a friend is in sorrow, the thoughtful man is ready with his offer of comfort. He does not come the next day, when the need is past–but is prompt with his kindness, when kindness means something.

Thoughtfulness is always doing little kindnesses. It has an instinct for seeing the little things that need to be done, and then for doing them!

There are some rare Christians who seem born for thoughtfulness. They have a genius for sympathy. Instinctively they seem to understand the experiences of pain in others, and from their heart, there flows a blessing of tenderness which is full of healing. This is the highest and holiest ministry of love. It is not softness nor weakness; it is strength–but strength enriched by divine gentleness.

Thoughtfulness is one of the truest and best tests of a noble Christian character. It is love working in all delicate ways. It is unselfishness which forgets self, and thinks only of others. It is love which demands not to be served, to be honored, to be helped–but thinks continually of serving and honoring others. He who has a truly gentle heart, cannot but be thoughtful. Love is always thoughtful.

(J. R. Miller, “The Grace of Thoughtfulness” 1896)

Where is there a more sinful spot to be found upon our guilty globe?

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“When disaster comes to a city—has not the LORD caused it?” Amos 3:6

It concerns us all to seriously reflect upon our own sins, and the sins of our land—which have brought these calamities upon us.

We and our countrymen are sinners, aggravated sinners! God proclaims that we are such—by His judgments now upon us: by withering fields and scanty harvests, by the sound of the trumpet and the alarm of war!

O my country, is not your wickedness great, and your iniquities infinite? Where is there a more sinful spot to be found upon our guilty globe? Pass over the land, take a survey of the inhabitants, inspect into their conduct—and what do you see? What do you hear?

You see the gigantic forms of vice bidding defiance to the God of heaven—while true religion and virtue are forced to retire, to avoid public contempt and insult!

You see herds of drunkards swilling down their cups, and drowning all morality within them!

You hear the swearer venting his fury against God—trifling with that Name which prostrate angels adore, and imprecating that damnation, under which the hardiest devil in hell trembles and groans!

You see avarice hoarding up her useless treasures, dishonest craft planning her schemes of unlawful gain, and oppression unmercifully grinding the face of the poor!

You see prodigality squandering her stores! You see luxury spreading her table!

You see vanity laughing aloud and dissolving in empty, unthinking mirth; regardless of God, of time and eternity!

You see sensuality wallowing in carnal pleasures, and aspiring, with perverted ambition—to sink as low as her four-footed brethren in the stalls!

You see cards more in use than the Bible; the backgammon table more frequented than the table of the Lord; novels and romances more read—than the history of the blessed Jesus!

You see trifling, and even evil diversions and amusements, become a gigantic business! The outcome of a horse-race is more anxiously attended to—than the concerns of eternity!

And where these grosser forms of vice do not shock your senses—you often meet with the appearances of a more refined impiety, which is equally dangerous!

You hear the conversation of reasonable creatures, of candidates for eternity— engrossed by trifles, or vainly wasted on the affairs of time! These are their important subjects of conversation, even at the threshold of the house of God!

You see swarms of prayerless families all over our land! You see ignorant, wicked children, unrestrained and untaught by those to whom God and nature have entrusted their souls!

You see the holy religion of Jesus—abused, neglected, disobeyed, and dishonored by its professors!

You see crowds of professed believers, who are in reality, practical atheists! These nominal Christians are really unholy heathens! They are abandoned slaves of sin—who yet pretend to be the servants of the holy Jesus!

You see multitudes lying in a deep sleep in sin all around us! You see them eager in the pursuits of the vanities of time—but stupidly unconcerned about the important realities of the eternal world just before them! So few are concerned what shall become of them—when all their connections with earth and flesh must be broken, and they must take their flight into strange, unknown regions! So few lamenting their sins! So few crying for mercy and a new heart! So few flying to Jesus!

(Samuel Davies, “The Justice of God—and the Sins of Our Country” 1755)

The characteristics of the modern Christian pulpit!

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“John said to the crowds coming out to be baptised by him: You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath! Produce fruit in keeping with repentance!” Luke 3:7-8

Well would it be for the Church of Christ, if it possessed more plain-speaking ministers like John the Baptist.

A morbid dislike to strong language;
an excessive fear of giving offence;
a constant flinching from directness and plain speaking;

are, unhappily, too much the characteristics of the modern Christian pulpit!

Uncharitable language is no doubt always to be deprecated. But there is no ‘charity’ in flattering unconverted people — by abstaining from any mention of their vices, or in applying smooth names to their damnable sins!

There are two texts which are too much forgotten by Christian preachers. In one it is written, “Woe unto you — when all men shall speak well of you!” (Luke 6:26)

In the other it is written, “Obviously, I’m not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people — I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:10)

(J.C. Ryle)

When I grumble about the weather

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“The Lord has heard all your grumblings against Him!” Exodus 16:8

Does God really hear every discontented word which I ever speak?

Does He hear when I grumble about the weather . . .
about the hard winter,
about the late spring,
about the dry summer,
about the wet harvest?

Does He hear when I grumble . . .
about the frosts,
about the drought,
about the high winds,
about the storms?

Does He hear when I grumble . . .
about my circumstances,
about the hardness of my lot,
about my losses and disappointments?

If we could get into our heart, and keep there continually, the consciousness that God hears every word we speak—would we murmur and complain so much as we now do?

We are careful never to speak words which would give pain to the hearts of those we love. Are we as careful not to say anything that will grieve our heavenly Father?

“I tell you this—that you must give an account on judgment day of every idle word you speak!” Matthew 12:36

“He who complains of the weather—complains of the God who ordains the weather!” William Law

(J. R. Miller, “Miller’s Year Book—a Year’s Daily Readings”)

A bad book is a big thief!

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A bad book is a big thief! For it robs a man of his time, and of his good principles. Many young people have been ruined by the vile literature which is now so common. A German writer says, “Such books rob the public of time, money, and the attention which ought properly to belong to good literature with noble aims. Of bad books, we can never read too little; of the good books, never too much.”

Books should conduce to one of these four ends:

for wisdom,
for piety,
for delight, or
for usefulness.

(Charles Spurgeon)

True beauty is not of the face…but of the soul!

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“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears the LORD shall be praised!” Proverbs 31:30

Every girl is a lover of beauty. Beautiful homes, beautiful furnishings, beautiful flowers, beautiful clothes, beautiful faces — anything wherein beauty is found, there will be found girls to admire it. From the time her little hands can reach up, and her baby lips can lisp the words, she is admiring “pretty things.” And when a little of that beauty is her own — her pleasure is unbounded.

Every girl longs to be beautiful. There is in woman a nature, as deep as humanity, which compels her to strive for good looks. There is no more forlorn sorrow for a young girl, than for her to be convinced that she is hopelessly ugly and undesirable. Oh, the bitter tears that have been shed over freckles, or a rough and pimply skin — and the energy that has been expended in painting and powdering and waving and curling herself into beauty!

A desire to be beautiful is not unwomanly. But, mark it: true beauty is not of the face — but of the soul! There is a beauty so deep and lasting, that it will shine out of the homeliest face and make it lovely! This is the beauty to be first sought and admired. It is a quality of the mind and heart — and is manifested in word and deed.

A happy heart,
a smiling face,
loving words and deeds, and
a desire to be of service —
will make any girl beautiful!

A beautiful soul shining out of a homely face — is far more attractive than a beautiful face out of which looks a soul full of selfishness and pride!

Let your chief charm be of heart and mind — not of face and form. Seek the true beauty which lasts even into old age!

Solomon, in one of his wise sayings, expressed plainly the evil that comes to a woman who is beautiful of face, but lacks the true beauty of soul: “Like a gold ring in a swine’s snout — is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion!” Proverbs 11:22. As the swine would plunge the golden jewel into the filth and the mire as he dug in the dirt — so will a pretty woman who is not godly, drag her beauty down to the very lowest.

There are many peculiar temptations to those who are only lovely of face. Without true beauty of soul — a pretty face is a dangerous gift!

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight!” 1 Peter 3:3-4

(Mabel Hale, “Beautiful Girlhood” 1922)

A Bag, a Book, and a Bottle!

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God takes great care to comfort His people in their many trials and sorrows in this world. One of the goals which He commands His preachers to have, is the comfort of His people. He says, “Comfort, comfort My people.” Here are three things described in the Word of God that should be of great comfort to every believer.

1. God has made A BAG FOR OUR SINS. Job said, “My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and you sew up my iniquity.” In ancient times when men died at sea, their bodies were placed in a weighted bag which was sewn together and sealed. Then they were cast into the depths of the sea.

That is what God has done with our sins. They are cast “into the depths of the sea.” When Christ died for our sins which were imputed to Him, He put them all away. They were buried in the sea of God’s infinite forgiveness, put away never to be brought up again. God almighty will never charge us with sin, impute sin to us, remember our sins against us, or treat us any less graciously because of our sin. That is the forgiveness of God! “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

2. The Lord has written A BOOK FOR OUR NAMES. Take heart child of God. Your name is written in the book of God! Before the worlds were made, the Lord God inscribed the names of His elect in the Lamb’s book of life. In that book God has recorded, not only the names of the chosen heirs of Heaven, but also all things pertaining to them. The Lamb’s book of life is the book of God’s eternal purpose of grace, predestination, and election. The fact that our names are written in that book means that our salvation is a matter of absolute certainty, and that all things work together for our good by God’s arrangement to secure our predestined end, which is perfect conformity to Christ. When our Lord says, “Rejoice because your names are written in Heaven,” He is telling us that we have nothing to fear. All is well with those whose names are written in Heaven.

3. Moreover, the Lord God keeps A BOTTLE FOR OUR TEARS. “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” It was customary at ancient Egyptian funerals for mourners to have a small cloth or sponge to wipe away their tears. Then they were squeezed into a small vial, a tear bottle, and placed in the tomb with the dead, symbolizing the care the mourners had for the one who had died. Even so, the Lord our God, our heavenly Father, our almighty Savior, and our holy Comforter tenderly cares for us. We are the very apple of His eye.

The Lord our God has . . .
put our sins in a bag and buried them,
written our names in a book to remember them, and
placed our tears in a bottle to show His tender care for us.

Could anything be more comforting in this world of sin, sorrow, and death?

(Don Fortner)

God’s Workmanship!

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“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

There is an infinite difference between the materials that men employ to construct and compose their masterpieces — and the materials that God uses to create sinners anew in Christ Jesus. Men work with the best of materials to showcase their talents, but God works with the worst — to showcase His power, wisdom, and skill.

The most gifted sculptors carve their creations out of the finest pieces of ivory, marble, and jade. The best jewelers seek only the finest gold and silver to form their bracelets and rings — they utilize only the most desirable gems to adorn their jewelry; rubies of the highest grade, diamonds of most exquisite clarity, and emeralds of impeccable luster. Da Vinci painted on a clean canvas with fresh paint when he painted the Mona Lisa. Beethoven and Bach chose blank sheets of clean white paper upon which to compose their symphonies.

But God is not like men. His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. God employs, not the best, not the finest, not the most appealing of materials when creating His masterpieces — but the worst! He uses what no one else wants. He uses the offscouring of humanity — to display His handiwork and magnify His grace. God constructs His masterpiece, not from a perfectly shaped piece of ivory — but from a deformed, twisted, marred chunk of hard rough stone that has no attraction.

God has purposed to conform His redeemed people into the pristine image of His darling Son. While keeping His eye fixed upon His Son, using the chisel of His grace — God sculpts rebel sinners into the likeness of Christ!

God paints, not on a clean white canvas — but on a canvas that has been . . .
stained with sin,
spotted with corruption, and
bespattered with the filth of the fall.
As the perfect Painter, God looks to Christ His Model, and, with the brush of omnipotent mercy in His ever steady hand of sovereign power — He begins to paint His children, one by one, into the family portrait; tracing every line with divine precision, filling in every grace with unfailing accuracy, accentuating every corner of their character with a whole array of heavenly hues:

blues of faith and surrender,
violets of honesty and godly fear,
greens of tenderness and gratitude,
reds of love and compassion,
yellows of patience and perseverance —
painting them all in the similitude of Christ His beloved Son!

God does not compose His symphony on a blank piece of sheet music. Rather, He blots out the discordant notes of sin, rebellion, and impurity — and with the permanent ink of immutable grace, He rewrites the sorrowful sonnet of sin, transforming it into the song of salvation, inscribing on our hearts the heavenly notes of free forgiveness, eternal life, and everlasting righteousness through Christ our Savior! With heavenly wisdom and unseen skill, God makes the sad song of human misery — into a glorious gospel melody, a tune that sounds best when played on the broken instruments of contrite hearts!

Our God has . . . .

done the unthinkable,
saved the unsavable,
fixed the unfixable!

He has created a masterpiece using a rotting chunk of fallen humanity as His workpiece! What a wonder! By the grace and power of God, “The king’s daughter is all glorious within!”

When God’s work is all done,
when His poem is finished,
when His symphony composed,
and His masterpiece complete —
He will present us to Himself holy and without blemish, “a glorious church, having no spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing!”

God’s work of grace in us begins in regeneration and conversion. It continues until the day when our salvation is consummated in resurrection glory, when we will be perfectly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ!

“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son!” Romans 8:29

(Frank Hall)

Losses, crosses, disappointments and bereavements.

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“Unto you therefore who believe — He is precious!” 1 Peter 2:7

Christ is especially precious to believers — when the emptiness of the world is discovered. The soul having tried the world, has found it . . .

false and fickle,
an empty cistern,
a dry well,
a cloud without water,
only vanity and vexation of spirit!

The Christian has experienced that . . .
the world’s pleasures — end in pain,
its honors — end in disgrace,
and its wealth — ends in absolute poverty.

Now turning from the world, to Jesus — it finds . . .

solid happiness,
substantial pleasure,
full supplies.

It obtains . . .
a deep and lasting peace which passes all understanding,
unsearchable riches in Christ, and
honors which will never pass away.

O how precious is Jesus, when this world appears to be a valley of tears! Almost everything earthly is at times calculated to . . .

cause sorrow,
fill us with sadness,
and draw forth tears.
Losses, crosses, disappointments and bereavements — all conspire to make us sad. Earth is to us a Valley of Achor — the place of trouble and sorrow.

Now turning to Jesus, we find a friend who loves at all times, and a brother born for adversity.
He makes up for every loss,
He sanctifies every disappointment,
and He fills for us every relation.

His presence is . . .

like a flowing spring — in a dreary desert,
like a cheering fire — on a piercing winter’s night,
and like a happy home — to the exhausted traveler.

O how precious is Jesus now!

(James Smith, “Christ Precious!” 1861)

Preach till our tongues rot

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“The gospel is preached in the ears of all men; it only comes with power to some. The power that is in the gospel does not lie in the eloquence of the preacher otherwise men would be converters of souls. Nor does it lie in the preacher’s learning; otherwise it could consists of the wisdom of men. We might preach till our tongues rotted, till we should exhaust our lungs and die, but never a soul would be converted unless there were mysterious power going with it – the Holy Ghost changing the will of man. O Sirs! We might as well preach to stone walls as preach to humanity unless the Holy Ghost be with the word, to give it power to convert the soul.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Pride & Humility

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A vile, creeping, serpentine thing…

From Spurgeon’s sermon, “Pride and Humility”

There is no sin into which the heart of man so easily falls as
pride, and yet there is no vice which is more frequently, more
emphatically, and more eloquently condemned in Scripture!

There is no trap into which we poor silly birds so easily fly.

There is no pitfall into which, like foolish beasts of the earth,
we so continually run, as the sin of pride!

Pride is the worst monstrosity of all the monstrous things
in creation; it has nothing lovely in it.

Pride, the first-born son of hell, is indeed like its parent-
all unclean and vile, and in it there is no beauty.

Consider your origin; look back to the hole of the pit where
you were digged. Consider what you would have been, even
now, if it were not for Divine grace.

Consider that among the damned, there are none that would
have been more damned than yourself, if grace had not kept you
from destruction. Let this consideration humble you,
that you have nothing whereon to ground your pride.

Oh! man, hate pride, flee from it, abhor it,
do not let it dwell with you!

If you want to have a madman in your heart, embrace
pride, for you shall never find one more mad than he.

Pride has ten thousand shapes; it is not always that
stiff and starched gentleman that you picture it.

Pride is a vile, creeping, insinuating thing,
that will twist itself like a serpent into our hearts.

It will talk of humility, and prate about being dust and ashes.
I have known men talk about their corruption most marvelously,
pretending to be all humility, while at the same time they were the
proudest wretches that could be found this side the gulf of
separation.

Oh! my friends, you cannot tell how many shapes pride will
assume; look sharply at yourself, or you will be deceived by it,
and when you think you are entertaining angels, you will find you
have been receiving devils unawares.

 

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