Tag Archives: Christianity

The sin before us is a very old one!

Grace logoThe sin before us is a very old one!

(J.C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858)

“Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them.” Luke 22:24¬†

We see in¬†this passage how firmly¬†pride¬†and¬†love of preeminence¬†can stick to the hearts of Christian men. The strife was one which had been rebuked by our Lord on a former occasion. The Lord’s Supper which the disciples had just been receiving, and the circumstances under which they were assembled–made the strife particularly inappropriate.¬†

And yet at this very season, the last quiet time they could spend with their Master before His death–this little flock begins to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest!¬†

Such is the heart of man–ever weak, ever prideful, ever ready, even at its best times, to turn aside to what is evil!

The sin before us is a very old one. Ambition, self-esteem, and self-conceit–lie deep at the bottom of all men’s hearts, and often in the hearts where they are least suspected! Thousands imagine that they are humble, who cannot bear to see an equal more honored and favored than themselves. Few indeed can be found who rejoice heartily in another’s promotion over themselves.

If we make any profession of serving Christ, then let us live on our guard against this great evil. The harm that it has done to the Church of Christ, is far beyond calculation. Let us learn to take pleasure in the prosperity of others, and to be content with the lowest place for ourselves. The rule given to the Philippians should be often before our eyes, “In lowliness of mind–let each esteem others better than themselves.” The example of John the Baptist is a bright instance of the spirit at which we should aim. He said of our Lord, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”¬†

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

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

(Arthur Pink, 1886-1952)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you feel your tongue itch to talk nonsense!

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If you feel your tongue itch to talk nonsense!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pride cannot live beneath the cross!

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Pride cannot live beneath the cross!

(Charles Spurgeon) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

He who trifles with it is a fool!

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He who trifles with it is a fool!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To every¬†sense–death is revolting!

To every¬†social affection–death is harrowing!

To¬†reason–death is perplexing!

To everything but saving faith–death is overwhelming!

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

One continued dream and delusion!

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One continued dream and delusion!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(William Booth, 1829-1916)

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

Experimental conformity to the image of Christ

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Experimental conformity to the image of Christ

(Arthur Pink)

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

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

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

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

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

God would be voted out of the world!

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God would be voted out of the world!

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

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

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

“Haters of God.” Romans 1:30

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

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

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

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

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

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

The secret desire of every unconverted heart!

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The secret desire of every unconverted heart!

(Robert Murray M’Cheyne, 1813-1843)

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

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

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

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

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

Do not pay too dear for a feast for worms!

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Do not pay too dear for a feast for worms!

(Richard Baxter, “Directions against Gluttony“)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Don Fortner)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They seek to banish such a God from their thoughts!

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They seek to banish such a God from their thoughts!

(Arthur Pink)

You have done these things, and I kept silent.¬†You thought that I was just like you!¬†But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face.” Psalm 50:21

The only God against whom the natural man is not at enmity–is one of his own imagination! The deity whom he professes to worship, is not the living God–for He is truth and faithfulness,¬†holiness¬†and¬†justice, as well as being gracious and merciful.

It is a god of their own devising–and not the God of Holy Writ, whom the ungodly believe in!¬†

“They say: How can God know? Does the Most High even know what is happening?” Psalm 73:11
They would strip Deity of His omniscience if they could! 
The wicked wish that there might be . . .
  no Witness of their sins,
  no Searcher of their hearts,
  no Judge of their deeds!
They seek to banish such a God from their thoughts!

What a proof that “the carnal mind is enmity against God!”¬†

Such is the portion awaiting the lost: 
  eternal separation from the fountain of all goodness; 
  everlasting punishment; 
  torment of soul and body; 
  endless existence in the Lake of Fire;
  forever locked up with demons and the vilest of the vile; 
  every ray of hope excluded; and
  utterly crushed and overwhelmed by the wrath of a sin-avenging God!
“Consider this, you who forget God–or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue!” Psalm 50:22

The line between the Church and the world seems completely effaced and forgotten!

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The line between the Church and the world seems completely effaced and forgotten!

(J.C. Ryle, 1884)

“For if the trumpet makes an¬†uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?” 1 Corinthians 14:8¬†

We need a more certain sound about personal holiness. I fear that the standard of holy living is lower just now than it has been for many years. Professing Christians seem unable to realize that there is anything inconsistent in ball-going, theater-going, gambling, card-playing, excessive dressing, novel-reading, and an incessant round of gaiety and amusements! 

The line between the Church and the world seems completely effaced and forgotten!

A crucified life of self-denial and close walking with God, a life of real devotedness and zeal for holy living–is hardly ever to be seen!¬†

Yet surely our Lord meant something when He spoke of “taking up the cross!”¬†

Surely Paul meant something when he said, 
¬† “Come out from among them and be separate!”¬†
¬† “Be not conformed to this world!”¬†
¬† “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord!”¬†

If Christ returns the second time in this generation, we shall find His words about the days of Noah and Lot fully verified. Those days are upon us!

“Just as it was in the days of¬†Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all!”
“It was the same in the days of¬†Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all!” Luke 17:26-29¬†

“Ask for the¬†old paths, where the good way is–and walk in it. Then you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16

His mercy is a boundless, fathomless, endless ocean!

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His mercy is a boundless, fathomless, endless ocean!

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

“You, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive–and abundant in mercy to all who call upon You.” Psalm 86:5¬†

What a beautiful representation of God is this! How comforting, at the close of another day’s cares and troubles, sorrows and sins–to be reminded that our “God is good,” and especially that He is “ready to forgive”–ready to pardon all the faults and follies of this day–ready to pass them by, and still treat me as His beloved child!

He only requires me to confess and be sorry for my sins–and in a moment, all is forgiven, all is forgotten, and forgotten forever!¬†

Then He is “abundant in mercy.” The¬†fountain of His mercy¬†has not yet run dry. Run dry! It is not in the least diminished!¬†His mercy is a boundless, fathomless, endless ocean!

God has plenty of mercy for miserable sinners . . .
  mercy to pardon them,
  mercy to purify them,
  mercy to comfort them,
¬† mercy to¬†save¬†them–
mercy for all who call upon Him!

O my soul, take home tonight this lovely representation of your God, and believing that He is good, ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy–go to Him, call upon Him, and plead with Him. Then you may obtain mercy, and find grace to help you in every time of need.¬†

Good and gracious God, I adore You for Your goodness; I bless You that You are ready to forgive; I rejoice that You are abundant in mercy. And now, O Lord, glorify Your mercy in me–show Your readiness to forgive, in me! Let my heart be eased of every sorrow–and let my conscience be cleansed from every sin! Let me lie down to rest tonight guiltless–rejoicing in the glorious fact that You have blotted out my sins as a cloud, and my transgressions as a thick cloud, and are now at eternal peace with me!

 

We need to be on our guard against Solomonian religion!

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We need to be on our guard against Solomonian religion!

(J.R. Miller)

“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his¬†heart¬†was not fully devoted to the Lord his God.” 1 Kings 11:4¬†

The trouble was all in Solomon’s heart! It is the heart which needs watching and keeping with all diligence. The heart must be wholly devoted in its aim and motive, to God and His service.

Solomon had a corner in his heart for the Lord–and then other corners for the gods of all the other nations. The Savior’s words are: “You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

We need to be on our guard against Solomonian religion!¬†There is plenty of it these days. It abhors the preaching of the stern truths of God’s Word about sin and punishment, and about holiness.¬†It sends well-near everybody to Heaven–and regards Hell as a mere fable!¬†It calls holy Christians “puritanic” or “strait-laced.” It calls great sins “escapades,” and finds no use for such psalms as the fifty-first.

It is not hard to see in this verse, however–which of the two kinds of religion pleases God best, and which leads to the best end.

What a farce it all is!

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What a farce it all is!

(Arthur Pink)

The vast majority of the churches are in a sorry state! Those that are out-and-out worldly are at their wits end to invent new devices for drawing a crowd. Others which still preserve an outward form of godliness often provide nothing substantial for the soul; there is little ministering of Christ to the heart, and little preaching of sound doctrine without which souls cannot be built up and established in the faith.

The great majority of the pastors summon to their aid some professional speaker, who puts on a high-pressure campaign and secures sufficient new ‘converts’ to take the place of those who have ‘lapsed’ since he was last with them.

What a farce it all is!

Why are those blessed, who hear and obey the Word of God?

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Why are those blessed, who hear and obey the Word of God?

(Francis Bourdillon, “Short Sermons for Family Reading” 1881)

“Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:28¬†

The Word must be obeyed–as well as heard. We must not hear it carelessly. Nor must we be hearers only, forgetting it as soon as heard. We are to guard it and keep it–to treasure it in our hearts as a precious possession. We are to believe it and to follow it–then the full blessing will be ours.

Why are those blessed, who hear and obey the Word of God?

1. Because the Word of God tells us of the¬†Savior, speaks pardon and peace, and opens to us God’s wondrous way of saving sinners. This can be said of no other book, and no other thing. The¬†works¬†of God in nature tell us much–but they do not tell us this. Many books of man are written on these subjects–but they are but man’s books after all.¬†

2. They are blessed also, because the Word of God is a¬†sure guide. It is a difficult path through the wilderness of this world. Many hindrances and perplexities meet us–and many different rules are offered for our guidance: fashion, custom, prudence, man’s opinion, etc. But the Word of God is the only¬†sure¬†guide. A simple, humble, earnest following of this guide–is the wisest, happiest, safest course! The poorest and most unlearned who through grace take this course–have more security for going right than the greatest and wisest who follow any other path. Therefore they are blessed who hear and keep the word of God–because they have a sure guide through life.

3. The word of God also¬†comforts¬†in trouble, and therefore they are blessed who hear it and keep it. This world has its sorrows as well as its difficulties–sorrows many and great; but the word of God has comfort for all of life’s sorrows. It is full of comfort. It has promises and declarations of God’s love. It contains examples of mourners whom He has comforted–and these in great number and variety. There is no kind of trouble for which some suitable comfort may not be found in the Bible. In time of deep sorrow–a comfort and consolation are found in the Word of God which are sought in vain in other books. It is the best of all books for those in trouble.

Universal nonsense!

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Universal nonsense!

“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the¬†sheep.” John 10:11

“You are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save¬†His people¬†from their sins.” Matthew 1:21¬†

Where does the Word of God proclaim . . .
¬† an¬†atonement¬†that doesn’t atone,¬†
¬† a¬†redemption¬†that doesn’t redeem,¬†
¬† a¬†deliverance¬†that doesn’t deliver,¬†
¬† a¬†ransom¬†that doesn’t set free,¬†
¬† a¬†Savior¬†who doesn’t save?¬†

Nowhere!

Universal redemption is no redemption at all!

Universal redemption is universal nonsense!

“Christ loved¬†the church¬†and gave Himself up for her” Ephesians 5:25

“I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved¬†me¬†and gave Himself for¬†me!” Galatians 2:20

All life’s tangles!

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All life’s tangles!

(J.R. Miller)

“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¬†

Our affairs are forever getting tangled, like threads in a child’s hands–and we cannot straighten out the tangles ourselves! We cannot see how anything beautiful or good can come out of our poor living, or our feeble striving.

Our days are full of disappointments, and our night’s rest is broken by anxieties. Yet it is the Christian’s privilege to commit¬†all life’s tangles¬†into the hands of Jesus Christ. He can take our broken things–and build them up into beauty!

One of the finest windows in a great cathedral is said to have been made out of the¬†fragments of broken glass¬†which the workmen had thrown away as worthless. A skillful hand gathered them up–and wrought them into lovely form.

In the same way, Jesus Christ can take . . .
  our failures,
  our mistakes,
  our follies,
  our broken fragments of life,
¬† and even our sins–
and make them into beautiful life and character!

“Commit your way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:5

Overcoming the world!

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Overcoming the world!

(Arthur Pink, “Faith as an Overcomer“)

“For everyone who has been¬†born of God¬†overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our¬†faith.” 1 John 5:4

One of the fruits of the new birth, is a faith which not only enables its possessor to overcome the sensual and sinful customs, and the carnal maxims and policies by which the profane world is regulated–but also the lying delusions and errors by which the¬†professing¬†world is fatally deceived.

The only thing which will or can “overcome the world” is a God-given–but self-exercised faith.

Faith overcomes the world¬†firstly, by receiving into the heart God’s infallible testimony of the world. He declares that “the world” is a corrupt, evanescent, hostile thing, which shall soon be destroyed by Him. His Holy Word teaches that the world is “evil” (Galatians 1:4); that “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father–but is of the world” (1 John 2:16); that “the whole world lies in wickedness” (1 John 5:19) and shall yet be “burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). As faith accepts God’s verdict of the world, the mind is spiritually enlightened; and its possessor views it as¬†a worthless, dangerous,¬†and¬†detestable thing!

Faith overcomes the world¬†secondly, by obeying the Divine commands concerning it. God has bidden us, “Do not be conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2); “Do not love the world, nor the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:15); and warns us that “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world, becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4). By heeding the Divine precepts, its¬†magic spell¬†over the heart is broken.

Faith overcomes the world¬†thirdly, by occupying the soul with more glorious, soul-delighting and satisfying objects. The more the¬†substance¬†of spiritual realities engages the heart–the less hold will the¬†shadows¬†of the world have upon it. “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10).

Faith overcomes the world¬†fourthly, by drawing out the heart unto Christ. As it was by fleeing to Him for refuge, that the soul was¬†first¬†delivered from the power and thraldom of this world–so it is¬†throughout¬†the Christian life. The more we cultivate real communion with Christ–the less attraction will the¬†baubles of this world¬†have for us! The strength of temptation lies entirely in the bent of our affections, “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). While Christ is beheld as “the chief among ten thousand” (Song 5:10) and as “altogether lovely” (Song 5:16) –the things which charm the poor worldling, will repel us.

The world gains the victory over the unregenerate by captivating their affections and capturing their wills. But the Christian overcomes the world, because his affections are set upon Christ and his will is yielded to Him.

Here–then, we have a sure criterion by which we may determine our¬†Christian progress¬†or¬†spiritual growth. If the things of this world have a decreasing power over me–then my faith is becoming stronger. If I am holding more lightly the things most prized by the ungodly–then I must be increasing in an experimental and soul-satisfying knowledge of Christ. If I am less cast down when some of the riches and comforts of this world are taken from me–then that is evidence they have less hold upon me.¬†

Go dogs, and eat the garbage!

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Go dogs, and eat the garbage! 

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.
 For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?
 Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?
 What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? 
Therefore come out from them and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18¬†

I believe that one reason why the church at this present moment has so little influence over the world, is because the world has so much influence over the church! Nowadays, we hear mere professors pleading that they may do this, and do that–that they may live like worldlings. My sad answer to them, when they crave this liberty is, “Do it if you dare. It may not cost you much hurt, for you are so bad already. Your worldly cravings show how rotten your hearts are! If you are hungering after such dog’s food–go dogs, and eat the garbage!

Worldly amusements are fit food for pretenders and hypocrites. 

If you were God’s children, you would loathe the thought of the world’s evil joys. Your question would not be, “How far may we be like the world?” but your cry would be, “How can we get away from the world? How can we come out of it?”

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

A crucified Savior will never be content to have a self-pleasing, self-indulging, worldly-minded people!

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A crucified Savior will never be content to have a self-pleasing, self-indulging, worldly-minded people!

(J.C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858)

“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it–but whoever loses his life for Me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world–and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” Luke 9:23-25¬†

We learn here, the absolute necessity of daily self-denial. Every day we ought . . .
  to crucify the flesh,
  to overcome the world,
  and to resist the devil. 

We ought to keep our bodies under control, and bring them into subjection. We ought to be on our guard, like soldiers in an enemy’s country. We ought to fight a daily battle–and war a daily warfare. The command of our Master is clear and plain, “If any man will come after Me–let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

Now what do we know of all this? Surely this is a question which ought to be asked. A little formal church-going, and a decent attendance at a place of worship–can never be the Christianity of which Christ speaks in this place.¬†

Where is our self-denial? 

Where is our daily carrying of the cross? 

Where is our following of Christ? 

Without a religion of this kind–we shall never be saved.¬†

A crucified Savior will never be content to have a self-pleasing, self-indulging, worldly-minded people!

No self-denial–no real grace!¬†

No cross–no crown!¬†

The infinite tenderness of Jesus!

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The infinite tenderness of Jesus!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep!” John 10:11¬†

“He will carry the lambs in His bosom, holding them close to His heart!” Isaiah 40:11

Who is He of whom such gracious words are spoken? He is the Good Shepherd. Why does He carry the lambs in His bosom? Because He has a tender heart, and any weakness in His redeemed children at once melts His heart. 

The sighs, the ignorance, the feebleness of the little ones of His flock draw forth His compassion. 

He is considerate of the weak of His flock. He purchased them with His blood, they are His property–He must and will care for those who cost Him so dear.¬†

He is responsible for each lamb, bound by covenant engagements not to lose one. They are all a part of His glory and reward. 

“He carries the lambs in His bosom!”

Here is boundless affection. Would He put them in His bosom if He did not love them so much? 

Here is tender nearness. So near are they, that they could not possibly be nearer. 

Here is¬†hallowed familiarity. There are precious ‘love passages’ between Christ and His weak ones.¬†

Here is¬†perfect safety. In His bosom, who can hurt them? None can snatch them away from His omnipotence! They can never perish–ever!¬†

Here is perfect rest and sweetest comfort. 

Surely we are not sufficiently sensible of the infinite tenderness of Jesus!

Unless our study of Scripture . . .

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Unless our study of Scripture . . .

“He who says he abides in Him, ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” 1 John 2:6

(Arthur Pink)

Unless our study of Scripture¬†is conforming us, both inwardly and outwardly, to the image of Christ–it profits us not!

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


Your daughter is dead!

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Your daughter is dead!

(J.C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858)

“While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. ‘Your daughter is dead!‘ he said.” Luke 8:49¬†

Let us notice in this verse–how¬†universal¬†is the dominion which¬†death¬†holds over mankind. We see death coming to a rich man’s house, and tearing from him¬†the desire of his eyes¬†with a stroke!¬†

Such tidings as these, are¬†the bitterest cups¬†which we have to drink in this world. Nothing cuts so deeply into man’s heart–as to part with beloved ones, and lay them in the grave. Few griefs are so crushing and heavy–as the grief of a parent over the death of an only child.

Death is indeed a cruel enemy! He makes no distinction in his attacks. He comes to the rich man’s mansion–as well as to the poor man’s cottage. He does not spare the young, the strong, and the beautiful–any more than the old, the infirm, and the grey-haired. Not all the gold of Australia, nor all the skill of doctors–can keep the hand of death from our bodies, in the day of his power. When the appointed hour comes, and God permits him to smite–then our worldly schemes must be broken off, and our¬†darlings¬†must be taken away and buried out of our sight.

These thoughts are melancholy, and few like to hear of them. The subject of death is one that men shut their eyes at, and refuse to look at.¬†“All men think all men mortal, but themselves!”¬†But why should we treat this great reality in this way? Why should we not rather look the subject of death in the face, in order that¬†when our turn comes–we may be prepared to die?¬†

Death will come to our houses, whether we like it or not. Death will take each of us away–despite our dislike to hearing about it. Surely it is the part of a wise man to get ready for this great change.¬†

Why should we not be ready? There is one who can deliver us from the fear of death. Christ has overcome death, and “brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” He who believes on Him, has everlasting life. Though he dies–yet shall he live.

Let us believe in the Lord Jesus–and then death will lose his sting. We shall then be able to say with Paul,¬†“To me, to die is gain!”Philippians 1:21

Think of all the hard things there are in your life

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Think of all the hard things there are in your life

(Susannah Spurgeon, “Words of Cheer and Comfort for Sick and Sorrowful Souls!” 1898)

“Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm.¬†There is nothing too hard for You!”¬†Jeremiah 32:17

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: I am the LORD, the God of all mankind.¬†Is anything too hard for Me?”¬†Jeremiah 32:26-27

Dear reader, your difficulties and trials may not be similar to those of “the weeping prophet”–but they are very¬†real, and seemingly¬†insurmountable¬†to you. It is a fact that, of yourself, you can neither¬†overcome¬†nor¬†endure¬†them. So I want to remind you that the Lord’s hand is not shortened–that what was true of His power in Jeremiah’s time, is as certainly true today. Whatever present¬†hardship¬†may press upon you, or whatever¬†burden¬†may be weighing you down–you, yes,¬†you¬†may look up to Him with confident faith, and say,¬†“There is nothing too hard for You!”

Oh, the blessed peace which such an assurance brings! I do not know what your particular¬†sorrow¬†or¬†hardship¬†may be–but I do know that, whatever its nature–cruel, or bitter, or hopeless–it is as “nothing” to Him! He is able to deliver you–as easily as you can call upon Him for support and help.¬†

Now, dear friend, think of all the hard things there are in your life: 
  poor circumstances,
  difficult duties,
  grievous pains,
  sore struggles,
  bitter disappointments,
  harsh words,
  sinful thoughts,
  a hard heart of your own,
  a hard heart in others. 
Gather all these, and many more together, and pile them one on another until you have¬†one great mountain of afflictions–and your God still calmly asks the question:¬†“Is there anything too hard for Me?”

When our hearts are¬†weary¬†of life’s cares and crosses, when our¬†courage¬†flags because of our helplessness, and we cry out with the patriarch,¬†“All these things are against me!”–then what a support and stronghold is the fact that our God has all power in heaven and on earth!¬†There is nothing too¬†mighty¬†for Him to manage–there is nothing too¬†insignificant¬†to escape His notice!Jeremiah’s faith . . .
  sees no obstacles, 
  stumbles at no hindrances,
  faints under no burden,
  shrinks from no responsibilities
–because he realizes the¬†sublime Omnipotence¬†of God, and fortifies himself by calling to remembrance His “outstretched arm” in the¬†creation¬†of the heavens and the earth. Cannot¬†we¬†do likewise?

I took up a book in a leisure moment the other day, opened it carelessly, and this is what I read: “It is a scientifically proved fact, that this great globe on which we live, spins around on its axis at the rate of a thousand miles an hour, and propels through space in its orbit at a speed immensely greater!”¬†

The thought of this, seemed almost to take away my breath! Was I calmly and constantly living in¬†the swirl of such a stupendous miracle¬†as this? Then surely I could say, “Ah, Lord God! there is nothing too hard for You! My little troubles and afflictions–howsmall¬†they must be to You! Yet with what tender compassion, do You stoop from guiding the worlds in their courses–to support and comfort the hearts of those who fear You!”

Never let us give up in despair, while we have¬†such a God¬†to trust in. If there is a great¬†mountain of sorrow or difficulty¬†in your way, dear friend–do not be cast down by the darkness of its shadow. Your God can either make a way for you¬†through¬†it–or He can guide you¬†around¬†it–or, just as easily, He can¬†carry you right over it!¬†There is nothing too hard for Him! Expect Him to make the crooked things straight, and to bring the high things low. And while you keep humbly at His feet, He will work wondrously, and you shall see His salvation!

No sin can be little!

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No sin can be little!

(John Bunyan)

No sin can be little, because it is committed against the great God of heaven and earth. 

To commit little sins–the sinner must find a little god!¬†

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the¬†forgiveness¬†of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace!” Ephesians 1:7

“The blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from¬†all¬†sin.” 1 John 1:7

The characteristics of the modern Christian pulpit!

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The characteristics of the modern Christian pulpit!

(J.C. Ryle)

John¬†said to the crowds coming out to be baptized 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)

The sword of God’s truth!

Grace logoThe sword of God’s truth!
 
(Arthur Pink, “Faithfulness”)
 
“Their speech is filled with flattery.”¬†Psalm 5:9
 
This is the identifying mark of the “hireling,” the false pastor. He aims at pleasing his hearers, making them feel satisfied with themselves, ever patting them on the back.¬†
 
“But he who has My Word–let him speak My Word faithfully” (Jeremiah 23:28)–no matter how unpalatable it may be to the flesh, how much of a weariness to those who wish to have their ears tickled with novelties, or how loud the outcry against it is!¬†
 
Ministerial faithfulness includes . . .
  loyalty to his Master, 
  devotion to His interests, 
  steadfast adherence to the preaching of His Word,
  dispensing the truth unto those whose souls are committed to Him,
  not mixing it with his speculations, much less substituting false doctrine.

A far higher motive than the pleasing of his hearers must actuate and regulate ministerial service. 

Faithful preaching¬†will render the minister unpopular, and will¬†empty¬†churches–not¬†fill them!
 
“Then you will know the¬†truth–and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) Souls are¬†caught fast in the meshes of Satan’s lies–and nothing but¬†the sword of God’s truth¬†can cut them free!¬†
 
“A faithful man–who can find?” (Proverbs 20:6).¬†Why is this?¬†Because it is the part of fallen human nature to take the line of least resistance, and choose the path easiest to the flesh. But remember, my reader, whoever you are, that, “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord–but those who deal faithfully are His delight.” (Proverbs 12:22)
 
“Be faithful unto death–and I will give you a crown of life!” (Revelation 2:10)

Wise counsel for Preachers

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Wise counsel for Preachers

The year was 1768. A twenty-eight year old preacher by the name of¬†Augustus Toplady, who wrote many of our best hymns, including “Rock of Ages”, spent the afternoon in London with Mr. Brewer–an older, veteran Gospel preacher, whom he greatly admired and from whom he learned much. This is what Mr. Brewer said to the young Toplady, as Toplady later recorded in his diary:¬†

“I cannot conclude without reminding you, my young brother, of some things that may be of use to you in the course of your ministry:

    1. Preach Christ crucified, and dwell chiefly on the blessings resulting from His righteousness, atonement, and intercession.

¬†¬†¬† 2.¬†Avoid all¬†needless controversies¬†in the pulpit–except it be when your subject necessarily requires it; or when the truths of God are likely to suffer by your silence.

¬†¬†¬† 3.¬†When you ascend the pulpit, leave your¬†learning¬†behind you. Endeavor to preach more to the¬†hearts¬†of your people–than to their¬†heads.

¬†¬†¬† 4.¬†Do not affect too much¬†oratory. Seek rather to¬†profit¬†your hearers–than to be¬†admired¬†by them.”

Christian ministers would do well to print out these four simple principles, tuck them in their Bibles, are refer to them every time they preach!

How kind and merciful Christ is to dull and slow believers

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How kind and merciful Christ is to dull and slow believers

(J.C. Ryle)

“Then He said to Thomas:¬†Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”¬†John 20:27¬†

We should mark in this verse,¬†how kind and merciful Christ is to dull and slow believers.¬†Nowhere, perhaps, in all the four Gospels, do we find this part of our Lord’s character so beautifully illustrated as in the story before our eyes.

It is hard to imagine anything more tiresome and provoking than the conduct of¬†Thomas, when even the testimony of ten faithful brethren had no effect on him, and he doggedly declared, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side–I will not believe!”¬†John 20:25

But it is impossible to imagine anything more patient and compassionate, than our Lord’s treatment of this weak disciple. He does not reject him, or dismiss him, or excommunicate him. He comes again at the end of a week, and apparently for the special benefit of¬†Thomas. He deals with him according to his weakness, like a gentle nurse dealing with a froward child, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side.” If nothing but the plainest, coarsest, most material evidence could satisfy him–even that evidence was supplied. Surely this was a¬†love¬†that surpasses knowledge, and a¬†patience¬†that passes understanding.

A passage of Scripture like this, we need not doubt, was written for the special comfort of all true believers. The Holy Spirit knew well that the¬†dull, and the¬†slow, and the¬†stupid, and the¬†doubting–are by far the commonest type of disciples in this evil world. The Holy Spirit has taken care to supply abundant evidence that Jesus is rich in patience as well as compassion, and that He bears with the infirmities of all His people.¬†

Let us take care that we drink into our Lord’s spirit, and copy His example. Let us never set down men as godless, because their faith is feeble and their love is cold. Let us remember the case of¬†Thomas–and be very compassionate and of tender mercy.¬†

Our Lord has . . .
  many weak children in His family,
  many dull pupils in His school,
  many raw soldiers in His army,
  many lame sheep in His flock.
Yet He bears with them all, and casts none away. 

Happy is that Christian who has learned to deal likewise with his brethren. There are many in the Church, who, like Thomas, are dull and slow–but for all that, like Thomas, are real and true believers.

Home, sweet home! There is no place like home!

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Home, sweet home! There is no place like home!

(James Smith, “Rills from the Rock of Ages”, 1860)

“These all died in faith . . . they confessed that they were¬†strangers¬†and¬†pilgrims¬†on the earth” Hebrews 11:13

The day of life with them is ended. Its duties are ended. Its responsibilities are past. Its hours are fled away.

What a trying day some of them had! How stormy. How sultry. How often overcast. How gloomy. But it is now past–and past forever!¬†The toils of the wilderness are over!¬†They had much to afflict and pain them . . .¬†
  a difficult and dangerous journey,
  a long wearisome march,
  many a heavy cross to carry,
  many a stubborn foe to face,
  many a painful doubt,
  numerous gloomy fears.

But now the¬†wilderness¬†is all behind them! The¬†afflictions¬†of the pilgrimage¬†are terminated. Those sufferings were sharp, and some of them continued long. Many of them were endured in secret, without sympathy and without relief. They were¬†soul¬†sorrows, agony of¬†mind–as well as sharp pains of¬†body. But however multiplied, however severe, however protracted those sorrows–they are past and gone, never, never to return!

The sweetest repose is now enjoyed. The poor¬†tabernacle¬†has been taken down, and is laid in a quiet resting-place until the resurrection morning. The¬†soul¬†is gone to be with Jesus. It has traveled through the rough path of life–and is now in God’s presence, where there is fullness of joy, and pleasures for evermore!

As Christians, we are going to the same place. The¬†graves¬†will soon be ready for our bodies–and the¬†mansions of glory¬†for our souls.¬†We are going home!¬†Home to our Father’s house! Home where our¬†hearts¬†have long been. Home where all our¬†prayers¬†will be answered, and all our best¬†desires¬†will be gratified. “Home, sweet home! There is no place like home!”¬†Especially our home!¬†Aparadise¬†without a tempting serpent! A paradise where all are holy, all are safe, all are happy. Those pure and perpetual joys, which are at God’s right hand, await us! We¬†taste¬†them now and are delighted with a¬†sip–but there we shall soon drink¬†full draughts¬†of eternal glory, eternal joy, and eternal blessedness!

Amidst present toils and trials, dangers and distresses–when wearied, way-worn, and tempted to fret–remember that you will soon be HOME! Think, think, O my soul, of an eternity of enjoyment–when the sufferings of time are ended!¬†

“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away!” Revelation 21:3-4¬†

(Please forward this uplifting post to all of your Christian friends who are going through times of affliction.)

What are you doing with your time?

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What are you doing with your time?

(J.R. Miller)

“Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of the time” Ephesians 5:15-16¬†

Our¬†days, as God gives them to us–are like beautiful summer fields.¬†
The hours are like trees with their rich fruit, or vines with their blossoms of purple clusters. 
The minutes are like blooming flowers, or stalks of wheat with their golden grains. 

Oh the endless, blessed possibilities of our¬†days¬†and¬†hours¬†and¬†minutes–as they come to us from God’s hands!¬†

But what did you do with yesterday? How does the little acre of that one day look to you now? 

What are you doing with your time?¬†Every moment God gives you, has in it a possibility of beauty or usefulness–as well as something to be accounted for.¬†

Are you using your time for God?

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

Jeremy Taylor: “God has given to man a short time here upon earth, and yet upon this short time eternity depends!”

Ryle: “No time is so well spent in every day–as that which we spend upon our knees.”

Spurgeon: “Time is short. Eternity is long. It is only reasonable that this short life be lived in the light of eternity!”

“So teach¬†us¬†to number our days–that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12¬†

Better to rot in prison!

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Better to rot in prison!

(J.R. Miller, “Practical Lessons from the Story of¬†Joseph“)

“How can I do this great wickedness–and sin against God!” Genesis 39:9

“After hearing his wife’s story, Potiphar was furious! He took Joseph and threw him into the prison!” Genesis 39:19-20

Sometimes it costs very dearly to be true to God. Joseph lay now in a dungeon. But his¬†loss¬†through doing right, was nothing in comparison with what he would have lost–had he done the wickedness to which he was tempted. His prison gloom, deep as it was–was as noonday, compared with what would have been the¬†darkness of his soul¬†under the blight of evil, and the bitterness of remorse. The¬†chains¬†that hung upon him in his dungeon, were but like¬†feathers–in comparison with the¬†heavy chains¬†which would have bound his¬†soul, had he yielded to the temptation. Though in a prison, his feet hurt by the fetters–he was a free man because his¬†conscience¬†was free and his¬†heart¬†was pure!¬†

No fear of consequences should ever drive us to do a wrong thing. 

It is better to suffer any loss, any cost, any sacrifice–than be eaten up by remorse!¬†

Better be hurled down from a high place for doing right–than win worldly honor by doing wrong.¬†

Better lose our right hand–than lose our purity of soul.¬†

Better to rot in prison–than to sin against God!

It was the prayer of a young queen, which she wrote with a diamond point on her castle window,¬†“Keep me¬†pure–make others¬†great.”¬†That is the lesson of Joseph’s victory over temptation: dishonor, loss, dungeon, death–anything before sin!

Prepare to meet the monster!

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Prepare to meet the monster! 

(David Harsha) 

This young lady had been confined to a bed of severe suffering for one year. At last her soul was ripened for glory. The time came that she must die, and her death-bed was a scene of triumph. Christ was very precious to her, and His love was wonderfully manifested to her soul. She often exclaimed, “My Beloved is mine, and I am His.”¬†

The following are among her last words: 

To her distant¬†brother¬†she thus dictated a letter: “Dear brother, I know not whether I shall meet you again on earth; but I hope to meet you in Heaven, where we shall be forever singing the praises of God; where the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, shall feed us, and lead us unto living fountains of waters, and where God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes.”¬†

To her¬†father, who said to her, “I fear I must lose you.” She replied, “Your loss will be my gain! I have a building from God, a house, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” And again when he said, “I think you will fall asleep in Jesus;” she responded, “It will be a happy change!”¬†

She exclaimed in a transport of joy, “Oh! I would not give up Christ for all the world!”¬†

Her earthly course being nearly finished, she opened her eyes, which were soon to be closed in death, and in the language of strong, unshaken faith, exclaimed with Job, “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!”¬†

Her faith remained firm unto the end, and her hope and confidence unshaken to the last. Her sky was clear and serene, her mind calm and composed–and thus she fell asleep in Jesus and entered into the joy of her Lord.¬†

A few days before this young lady died, she requested the following lines to be read at her funeral. 

To my young companions:

“My youthful mates, both small and great,¬†
  Stand here, and you shall see, 
  An awful sight, which is a type 
  Of what you soon will be! 

“I used to appear once fresh and fair¬†
  Among the youthful crowd; 
  But now behold me dead and cold, 
  Wrapped in a sable shroud! 

“My cheeks once red, like roses spread,¬†
  My sparkling eyes so gay; 
¬† But now you see how ’tis with me,¬†
  A lifeless lump of clay! 

“When you are dressed in all your best,¬†
¬† In ‘fashion’ so complete,¬†
  You soon must be, as you see me, 
  Wrapped in a shrouding sheet! 

“Ah, youth beware, and do¬†prepare¬†
  To meet the monster
, death! 
  For he may come when you are young, 
  And steal away your breath! 

“When you unto your frolics go,¬†
  Remember what I say; 
  In short time, though in your prime, 
  You may be called away! 

“Now I am gone, I can’t return;¬†
¬† No more of me you’ll see;¬†
  But it is true that all of you, 
  Must shortly follow me! 

“When you unto my grave do go,¬†
  That gloomy place to see, 
  I say to you who stand and view, 
¬† Prepare to follow me!”

What an awful thing it is to die without salvation by Christ, without a saving interest in him; and yet millions live without God, and without hope in the world. And millions more die in the same awful condition, and plunge into a dark and miserable eternity!

“Let me die like the righteous–let my life end like theirs!” Numbers 23:10

The Christian is not a good man

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The Christian is not a good man

(Martyn Lloyd Jones)

The Christian is not a good man. 

He is a vile wretch who has been save by the grace of God!

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still¬†powerless, Christ died for the¬†ungodly.” Romans 5:6¬†

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still¬†sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8¬†

“When we were¬†God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son” Romans 5:10¬†

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save¬†sinners–of whom I am the¬†worst!” 1 Timothy 1:15¬†

A beloved child–watched over, cared for, supplied and defended!

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A beloved child–watched over, cared for, supplied and defended!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“The Lord takes pleasure in His people!” Psalm 149:4¬†

How comprehensive is the love of Jesus! There is no part of His people’s interests that He does not consider; and there is nothing that concerns their welfare, which is not important to Him. Not merely does He think of you, believer, as an¬†immortal¬†being–but as a¬†mortal¬†being, also. Do not deny it or doubt it: “The very¬†hairs¬†of your head are all numbered.” “The¬†steps¬†of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delights in His way.” Believer, rest assured that the heart of Jesus cares about your common affairs.

The breadth of His tender love is such that you may resort to Him in all matters; for as a father pities his children, so does He pity you. Oh, what a heart is His–which comprehends all the diverse and innumerable concerns of all His redeemed people!

Do you think that you can measure the love of Christ? Think of what His love has brought you–justification, adoption, sanctification and eternal life! The riches of His goodness are unsearchable–you shall never be able to¬†count¬†them out or even¬†conceive¬†of them all. Oh, the breadth of the love of Christ! You are no desolate wanderer, but¬†a beloved child–watched over, cared for, supplied and defended¬†by your Lord!

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book!” Psalm 56:8¬†

They are all gone!

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They are all gone! 

(Charles Spurgeon)

“If you, O Lord, should keep a record of our sins–Lord, who could stand before You?” Psalm 130:3¬†

“I–yes, I alone–will blot out your sins for My own sake, and will never remember them again!” Isaiah 43:25¬†

“You will tread our sins underfoot, and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea!” Micah 7:19¬†

All our transgressions are swept away at once, carried off as by a flood! They are so completely removed from us–that no guilty trace of them remains!¬†They are all gone!¬†

Oh, believers, think of this, for it is no little thing. 
Sins against a holy God, 
sins against His loving Son, 
sins against the Gospel–as well as against the Law,¬†
sins against man–as well as against God,¬†
sins of the body–as well as sins of the mind,¬†
sins as numerous as the sands on the seashore, and as great as the sea itself
–all, all are removed from us–as far as the east is from the west!

All this evil was rolled into one great mass and laid upon Jesus!¬†Having borne it all, He has made an end of it forever. When the Lord forgave us, He forgave us the whole debt. He did not take the bill and say, “I strike out¬†this¬†item, and¬†that¬†item”–but the pen went through it all:¬†Paid in full!¬†

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth–so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him.
¬†As far as the east is from the west–so far has He removed our transgressions from us!” Psalm 103:11-12

“My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
 My sin, not in part but the whole,
 Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
¬†Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”
   
Horatio Spafford

Oh! look before you, and see where it leads!

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Oh! look before you, and see where it leads!

(Samuel Davies, “Saints Saved with Difficulty; and the Certain Perdition of the Wicked”)

“Enter through the¬†narrow¬†gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But¬†small¬†is the gate and¬†narrow¬†the road that leads to life, and only a¬†few¬†find it!” Matthew 7:13-14

This, my friends, and this alone–is the way of salvation. Is this the way in which¬†you¬†are walking? Or is it the smooth, easy downward road to destruction? You may slide along that without exertion or difficulty, like a dead fish floating with the stream; but¬†oh! look before you, and see where it leads!¬†

Most people . . .
  form some easy system of religion,
  from their own vain imaginations,
  suited to their depraved taste,
  indulgent to their sloth and carnality, 
¬† and favorable to their lusts–
and this they call ‘Christianity’!¬†

But this is not the religion of the Bible! This is not the¬†way to life¬†laid out by God in His Word–but it is¬†the smooth downward road to destruction!

Not one grain too much!

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Not one grain too much!

(Henry Ward Beecher, 1813-1887)

“Endure suffering as discipline;¬†God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?” Hebrews 12:7¬†

Affliction comes to us all: 
¬† not to make us sad–but sober;¬†
¬†¬†not to make us sorry–but to make us wise;¬†
¬†¬†not to impoverish us–but to enrich us!

We are always in the¬†furnace–or on the¬†anvil.
By trials, God is shaping us for nobler things.

Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things!

No physician ever weighed out medicine to his patients with half so much care and exactness, as God weighs out every trial to His children. Not one grain too much, does He ever permit to be put in the scale! 

The troubles and worries of life may be as stumbling blocks in our way–or we may make them stepping-stones to a nobler character and to Heaven.¬†

“Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:10-11¬†

Its tones fall like soothing music on the quivering heart!

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Its tones fall like soothing music on the quivering heart!

(J.R. Miller)

“His disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it–and went and told Jesus.” Matthew 14:12

When one dies in our home, and our hearts are breaking–we should go and tell Jesus. It will do us good to tell Him.

We may not care to tell our trouble to any human friend. Some sorrows are too sacred to be unveiled to any eyes. 

But we need never shrink from telling Jesus. He can understand our grief, for He knows all human pain; not alone as God–but as man, for He experienced all sorrow. He will treat our sorrow, too, with most delicate gentleness.

The very words which others speak to comfort us–often fall with crude impact upon our bruised heart and give fresh pain. The gentlest touch of a human hand, often hurts where it is meant to help. But the¬†voice¬†of Jesus is so gentle that¬†its tones fall like soothing music on the quivering heart, and the¬†hand¬†of Jesus is so skillful that its touch gives healing.

We need never fear to tell Jesus of our sorrow. He is the truest Comforter, and the wisest Healer of hurt hearts.

Worse than Hell!

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Worse than Hell! 

(Thomas Watson, “Religion Our True Interest”)

Sin is the only evil thing–it is the evil of evils!

Sin is the poison which the old serpent spat into our virgin nature! 

In sin there is both pollution and enmity. Sin is compared to a “thick cloud” (Isaiah 44:22), which not only hides the light of God’s face–but brings down showers of His wrath!¬†

Sin is¬†worse¬†than all evils. There is more evil in a¬†drop¬†of sin–than in a¬†sea¬†of affliction!

Sin is the¬†cause¬†of all evil. Out of this viperous womb of sin, come “evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.”

Sin is the quintessence of evil. 

Sin puts a sting into death (1 Corinthians 15:56). 

Sin is¬†worse than Hell!¬†Hell is a burden only to the sinner–but sin is a burden to God! Amos 2:13

A New Year’s Resolution

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A 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 a humble sense of my own unworthiness, weakness, folly, and infirmity–together with a humble dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ for both righteousness and strength.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

“Remember that your life is short, your duties are many, your assistance is great, and your reward is sure. Therefore faint not, persevere in ways of holiness–and Heaven shall make amends for all!”¬†Thomas Brooks

A New Year’s Address

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A New Year’s Address

James Smith, New Park Street Church, London, 1849


“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever!”¬†
Hebrews 13:8

Everything around us is changing and fast passing away! Nothing appears settled or secure! The old year has fled and has told its tale; a new year begins today and will introduce mercies and trials, comforts and distresses, darkness and light. Who can tell what is folded up in the bosom of this year? 

Could we look through the coming hours, days, weeks, and months of this year; could we count the head-aches and the¬†heart-acheswhich await us; the¬†disappointments¬†we shall meet, the¬†vexations¬†we shall experience, the¬†distresses¬†we must pass through‚ÄĒour hearts would perhaps be wrung with anguish, and our minds be clouded with gloom! But these are¬†wisely concealed¬†from our view, and whatever may be our anticipations or forebodings, the Lord meets us on the threshold of this year and assures us that¬†“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever!”¬†This is our encouragement, beloved friends.

God himself in pity and compassion gives us this sweet, cheering, and animating assurance. Could Jesus change, then we might sink into gloom, despondency, and despair! Creatures¬†may¬†change, and¬†do¬†change for the worse instead of the better‚ÄĒbut Jesus is the same. It is impossible that he should be better‚ÄĒfor he is altogether perfect. And being perfect‚ÄĒhe can never change for the worse. He embodies everything that is amiable, glorious, and inviting in¬†deity; and everything that is excellent, admirable, and sweet in¬†humanity. He blends the¬†attributes of God‚ÄĒand the¬†perfections of man¬†in his sacred character. He is at once our Brother‚ÄĒand our God; our Maker‚ÄĒand our Fellow; our Lord‚ÄĒand our Husband. O admirable mystery! O encouraging connection! O delightful truth!

Brethren, what have the Lord’s people found Jesus to be in bygone days? That, all that‚ÄĒis Jesus NOW. Yes, this new year’s morning he has all that love, kindness, tenderness, pity, compassion, verity, and majesty‚ÄĒwhich his people in every age have proved him to possess. He who¬†sympathized¬†with the widow of Nain, who had¬†compassion¬†on the hungry multitude, and¬†wept¬†with the sisters of departed Lazarus‚ÄĒis just the same now‚ÄĒas then. He has the same nature, the same heart, and the same fellow feeling.¬†

True we have not the same¬†visible¬†expressions of his tenderness and pity‚ÄĒbut they are nevertheless real; he is the same today as he was yesterday, and will be the same forever. We have the same Jesus to deal with‚ÄĒas had the Syrophenician woman, the¬†adulteress¬†at Jacob’s well, or the¬†thief¬†upon the cross. He is deeply interested in our welfare, lovingly concerned to do us good, and ready to help us in every time of trouble.¬†

His¬†ear¬†is at every believer’s heart‚ÄĒlistening to the voice of his sighs, groans, and desires.¬†

His eye is observant of the Christian’s goings, and marks every step he takes.¬†

His hand is stretched out to help him in every time of trial, or circumstance of difficulty. 

His affections yearn over him with indescribable affection and pity in every affliction or trouble. 

He loves us dearly. 

He knows our frame. 

He considers our circumstances. 

He pities our weaknesses. 

He watches our movements. 

He orders our steps. 

He instructs our minds. 

He subdues our sins. 

He frustrates our enemies. 

He will never for one moment leave us, nor on any account forsake us!

No, he will never turn away from doing of us good‚ÄĒbut will rejoice over us to do us good with his whole heart, and with his whole soul. Jesus is the same. He is one with us, has suffered like us, and knows by experience what our temptations, trials, and distresses are! He is no stranger to a troubled heart, a pained body, or the distress occasioned by the loss of the divine presence, he has passed through the whole. Therefore my poor, tried, tempted, and distressed brother, or sister in the Lord, learn to look to Jesus‚ÄĒas Jesus‚ÄĒas one touched with the feeling of your infirmities. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are!”

We are apt to think the¬†Lord¬†changes‚ÄĒwhen his¬†dispensations¬†change. But no! The change of his dispensations proceeds from the immutability of his purpose respecting us, and his love to us. He is determined to bless us indeed, and this being the case‚ÄĒhe must empty us from vessel to vessel, and¬†change his dealings¬†according to the state of our hearts, our enemies, or our temptations. Our immutable Jesus always pursues one steady¬†course, and has one gracious¬†design¬†towards us‚ÄĒall must work to produce our sanctification, and eternal salvation.¬†

The Lord Jesus will not¬†indulge¬†us‚ÄĒwhen indulgence will harm us. He will only¬†correct¬†us‚ÄĒwhen correction will do us good. His infinite¬†wisdom¬†devises our way, and inconceivable¬†love¬†directs our steps. Creatures, providences, experiences may change‚ÄĒbut Jesus is the same!

His heart is as tender, 
His eye is as penetrating, 
His ear is as attentive, 
His arm is as powerful, 
His presence is as near, 
His name is as sweet, 
His blood is as efficacious, 
His righteousness is as glorious, 
His promises are as certain, 
His oath is as sure, 
His throne is as accessible, 
His love is as great, 
His concern for us is as deep, 
His intercession is as prevalent 
‚ÄĒas it ever was! And will be so through every week, day, hour‚ÄĒyes,¬†minute¬†of the present year! May we always keep this in remembrance!

Beloved, you must¬†trust¬†no one,¬†depend¬†on no one,¬†look¬†to no source either for peace, comfort, or supply, through this year‚ÄĒbut Jesus! He is willing and waiting to supply all your needs, according to his glorious riches! Soul needs, body needs, family needs, church needs; needs in sickness, needs in health; needs at home, needs abroad; needs while living, needs when dying‚ÄĒJesus¬†can,¬†will, yes¬†wishes¬†to supply them all.¬†

He will keep his seat on the¬†throne of grace¬†throughout the whole of the year! You will never find him absent for any one moment, or so engaged‚ÄĒthat he cannot attend to you. He will always be pleased to see you come, and will at all times consider your case. But you must go to him¬†first‚ÄĒbe sure you remember this, for he has a jealous eye!¬†
You must go to him alone, 
you must go to him for all, 
you must go to him frequently, 
you must go to him perseveringly,
and as sure as his name is¬†Jesus‚ÄĒyou shall not go in vain!

I proclaim to you in my Master’s name, that he has everything you can need for body or soul‚ÄĒfor time or eternity! And as his herald I cry, “Ho! everyone who thirsts, and whenever you thirst‚ÄĒcome to the waters, come buy and eat! Yes, come, buy wine and milk‚ÄĒwithout money and without cost!”¬†

I have a complaint against some‚ÄĒthat they have not come¬†often¬†enough; and against others‚ÄĒthat they have gone to some other market! But let me interrogate you a little:¬†
Did ever my Master frown you away? 
Did you ever find him lacking in kindness, pity, or love? 
Did you ever need any blessing which was not to be found in his fullness, or to be had at his throne?
Did you ever do better, or so well anywhere else? 
You must all to a man say,¬†No!¬†Why then do you¬†forsake¬†the fountain of living waters? Why do you¬†wander¬†upon every mountain and hill‚ÄĒand forget your true resting place? Jesus addresses you through me, and says, “O my people, what have I done unto you? Wherein have I wearied you? Testify against me!”

None have come too frequent; no‚ÄĒnor ever will. Come, then, and receive, and so glorify Jesus.

But I must draw to a conclusion, there are seven things I wish you may all more fully EXPERIENCE this year:

His Spirit working in your hearts, 
His blood speaking in your consciences, 
His power subduing your corruptions, 
His blessing resting upon your souls, 
His presence cheering your way, 
His righteousness covering your sins, 
His peace keeping your hearts and minds. 

There are seven things I wish you may know it is your privilege to HAVE this year: 
a name in his book, 
a sight of his covenant, 
a tear in his bottle, 
a place in his heart, 
a title to his fullness, 
a right to his promises, and 
an interest in his prayers.

There are seven things I wish you may DO this year:
weep at his cross, 
wrestle at his throne, 
cleave to his truth, 
walk in his ways, 
aim at his honor, 
comfort his people, and 
spread his fame in every direction.

There are seven things which I wish you may ENJOY this year:
the light of his countenance, 
the power of his love,
the hope of his calling, 
the blessings of his chosen, 
contentment under all dispensations, 
liberty in performing his commands,
and victory over every foe. 

There are seven things from which I hope you may be PRESERVED from, this year:
a hard heart, 
a seared conscience, 
a Laodicean state, 
a proud look, 
an unforgiving spirit, 
an envious eye, and 
from distrusting God. 

And now, brethren, Jesus can¬†give¬†all that I wish you to¬†experience, to¬†know, to¬†enjoy!¬†And he can¬†preserve¬†you from all I wish you to be¬†kept from. But he says, “I will be¬†inquired¬†of, by the house of Israel, to do it for them.” You must ask, seek, knock, plead, wrestle, and agonize at his throne‚ÄĒfor he loves a determined, importunate, perservering beggar; as is evident from Luke 11:1-14; 18:1-9.¬†

“May the Lord bless you
 and protect you.
 May the Lord smile on you
 and be gracious to you.
 May the Lord show you his favor
¬†and give you his peace.”
    Numbers 6:24-26

The devil’s chessboard!

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The devil’s chessboard!

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

“So that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes!” 2 Corinthians 2:11¬†

“Be watchful;¬†the world is¬†the devil’s chessboard!¬†You can hardly move backward or forward, but he is ready to attack you with some temptation!”

Those who play at the game of chess know that great caution is needed. Your opponent is working toward a design of which you know nothing; and while you imagine that you are doing exceedingly well, he is entrapping you!

The game of life
, as against Satan, is one in which . . .
  his maneuvers and artifice, 
  his long practice and stratagems,
  his superior skill and deceptiveness,
¬† and his unscrupulous schemes–
give him an immense advantage over our poor self-conceited folly!

Lord, help us! You know our adversary; be pleased to deliver us out of his hand.

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes!” Ephesians 6:11

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