Tag Archives: Christianity

Eloquent prayers

Grace logo

Eloquent prayers

(Charles Spurgeon)

If the¬†eloquence¬†of our prayers mattered to God, then eloquence would be more valuable than grace–but it is not so.¬†

Some of us may be able to express ourselves very fluently from the force of natural abilities–but it should always be an anxious question to us, whether our prayer is a prayer which God will receive.

We often pray best when we stammer and stutter–and we often pray worst when words flow articulately one after another! God is not moved by¬†eloquent prayers–they are but¬†empty noise¬†to Him. He is only moved by sincere emotions which dwell in the innermost heart.¬†

For a man to bend his knees and utter the¬†hypocritical language of affection¬†to God which he never feels in his heart–is little short of blaspheming God! We must have very light thoughts of God, when we try to deceive Him with such prayers as these!

I often say my prayers
But do I ever pray?
And do the wishes of my heart
Go with the words I say?

I may as well kneel down
And worship gods of stone,
As offer to the living God
A prayer of words alone.

For words without the heart
The Lord will never hear;
Nor will He to those lips attend
Whose prayers are not sincere.
   John Burton, 1803-1877

I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God!

Grace logo

I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God!” Psalm 90:1-2¬†

The Christian knows no change with regard to God. 

He himself may be rich today–and poor tomorrow,¬†
he may be sickly today–and well tomorrow,¬†
he may be in happiness today–tomorrow he may be distressed;
but there is never any change with regard to his relationship to God.

If He loved me yesterday–then He loves me today. My unmoving mansion of rest, is my blessed Lord.

Let prospects be ruined,
let hopes be blasted,
let joy be withered,
let mildews destroy everything–
I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is “my strong habitation where unto I can continually resort.”¬†I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.

“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength!” Habakkuk 3:17-19

The family disease!

Grace logo

The family disease!

(J.C. Ryle)

“He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves, that they were righteous.” Luke 18:9¬†

The sin which our Lord here denounces, is “self-righteousness.”

We are all naturally self-righteous. It is¬†the family disease¬†of all the children of Adam. From the highest to the lowest–we think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. We secretly flatter ourselves that we are not as bad as some, and that we have something to¬†merit¬†the favor of God.

We forget the plain testimony of Scripture:
¬† “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.”
¬† “What is man, that he could be pure; or one born of woman, that he could be righteous?”
¬† “There is no one righteous, not even one!”

The true cure for self-righteousness, is self-knowledge.¬†Once let the eyes of our understanding be opened by the Spirit–and we shall talk no more of our own goodness. Once let us see what sin there is in our own hearts, and what the holy law of God requires–and self-conceit will die. We shall lay our hand on our mouths, and cry with the leper,¬†“Unclean, unclean!”¬†Leviticus¬† 13:45

“I have not come to call the righteous, but¬†sinners¬†to repentance.” Luke 5:32

Christ died for the¬†ungodly!”¬†Romans 5:6

We would be forever contented with the garlic and flesh-pots of Egypt!

Grace logo

We would be forever contented with the garlic and flesh-pots of Egypt!

(Thomas Case, “The Rod and the Word, A Treatise on Afflictions” 1653)

One lesson which God teaches us in the school of affliction, is how to prize and long for Heaven. In our prosperity, “when we wash our steps in butter, and the rock pours us out rivers of oil” (Job 29:6)–we could sit down with the present world, and say, “It is good for us to be here; let us build dwellings here.”

While¬†life¬†is sweet–then¬†death¬†is bitter.¬†

Heaven itself is no enticement–while the world gives us her alluring baits.¬†

But when poverty and imprisonment, reproach and persecution, sickness and sore diseases–pinch and vex our hearts with a variety of afflictions–then we are not so fond of the creature, and are pleased to parley with¬†death, and take¬†Heaven¬†into our consideration.

God by putting us into the school of affliction, takes off our hearts by degrees from this present world, and makes us look homeward. Being burdened, we groan–and with the dove we return to the ark, when the world is sinking round about us.¬†

We would be forever contented with the garlic and flesh-pots of Egypt
–if God did not set cruel taskmasters over us to double our burdens. And when God thus lessens our esteem of the world–He reveals to us the excellency of heavenly comforts, and draws out the desires of the soul to Himself:¬†
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:1-2
“Even so, come Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20

Afflictions make Heaven appear as Heaven indeed! 

To the weary, Heaven is rest; 
to the banished, it is home; 
to the scorned and reproached, it is glory;
to the captive, it is liberty; 
to the soldier, it is victory;
to the hungry, it is hidden manna; 
to the thirsty, it is the fountain of life; 
to the grieved, it is fullness of joy; and 
to the mourner, it is pleasures forevermore. 
In a word, to those who have lain upon the dunghill of affliction, and walked in holiness–Heaven is the throne on which they shall sit and reign with Christ forever and ever!

Rich in meditation–rich in grace!

Grace logo

Rich in meditation–rich in grace!

(Thomas Case, “The Rod and the Word, A Treatise on Afflictions” 1653)

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he¬†meditates¬†day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2¬†

Take heed of feeding your heart’s corruption with thoughts of the sweetness that is in sin.

Take heed also, of starving grace by withdrawing from it suitable nourishment. 

Meditate much upon . . .
  the sinfulness of sin, 
  the vanity of the creature, 
  the fullness of Christ, 
  the exquisiteness of His sufferings, 
  the finality of the judgment, 
  the torments of Hell, 
  the joys of Heaven, 
  the infinite perfections of the divine nature, 
  and the solemnity of eternity!

Rich in meditation–rich in grace!

“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth;¬†meditate¬†on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8¬†

They hope that they shall not have two Hells!

Grace logo

They hope that they shall not have two Hells! 

(Thomas Case, “The Rod and the Word, A Treatise on Afflictions” 1653)

Because men suffer in this world–they assume they shall be freed from sufferings in the world to come.¬†
Because they have a Hell here–they imagine that they shall escape Hell hereafter.¬†

They hope that they shall not have two Hells! 

Poor, deluded soul! You may and must have two Hells. Cain, and Judas, and millions of reprobate men and women, have two Hells–one in this life, in torments of body–and another in the life to come, in unquenchable fire.¬†

You may have a prison on earth–and a dungeon in Hell.¬†
You may now lack a crumb of bread–and hereafter lack a drop of water.¬†
You may now be the reproach of men–and hereafter the scorn of God Himself.¬†

Affliction alone is not enough to evidence a man to be a saved man.¬†Blows may sooner break the neck, than the heart!¬†Afflictions are in themselves, the fruit of divine wrath–and therefore cannot possibly of themselves make the least argument of God’s love to the soul.¬†

God forbid that a man should take that for his security from Hell–which may be but the foretaste of Hell! Present afflictions, may be the pledge of endless misery.

In many cases it is to be feared that the cup of affliction, is a vial of wrath–and that the plagues of this life, are but some drops of that coming storm of fire and brimstone, wherein impenitent sinners shall be scorched and tormented forever!

His discipline is sharp–but the end is sweet!

Grace logo

His discipline is sharp–but the end is sweet!¬†

(Thomas Case, “The Rod and the Word, A Treatise on Afflictions” 1653)

“No chastening 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 12:11

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

God will rather fetch blood–than lose one of His sons!¬†

See and admire the wisdom, power and goodness of God–who can make His people better by their sufferings!

Behold, I show you a gospel mystery! God can . . .
  extract gold, out of clay;
  draw the richest wine, out of gall and wormwood; 
  turn the greatest misery of the body, into the greatest good of the soul; 
  turn the chastening itself, into a blessing; 
  make the withered rod of affliction, to bud into a harvest of righteousness and peace!

The almond tree is said to be made fruitful by¬†driving nails¬†into it, thereby letting out a noxious gum which hinders its fruitfulness. In the same way, God never intends more good to his children, than when He seems to deal most severely with them!¬†His discipline is sharp–but the end is sweet!¬†

O that the children of God in affliction, or entering upon sufferings–would sit down and dwell upon the¬†fruit¬†and¬†advantage¬†which God knows how to bring out of all their sorrows.¬†

Blessed¬†is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” Job 5:17¬†

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your Word.” Psalm 119:67¬†

“It was¬†good¬†for me to be afflicted, so that I might learn Your decrees.” Psalm 119:71

At the cross!

Grace logo

At the cross!

(Charles Spurgeon)

The cross, that deepest revelation of the glory of God–is the great weapon which breaks down the heart’s defenses! It is especially the love of Jesus¬† shown in the cross, which turns and transforms the hearts of sinners.¬†

In the horrifying torture and crucifixion of Jesus, we see the highest proof of the highest love. His bleeding, makes our hearts bleed. His shame, makes us ashamed. In the cross we see the divine disgust at sin, which makes sin appalling in our eyes as well. But further, through the cross we see a love so unfathomable, that it pierces our apathy and overwhelms our desires for earthly trinkets.

At the cross . . .
  our pride and sinfulness are mortified,
  our self-deifying efforts are destroyed,
  our wandering hearts are exposed,
  the beauty of Christ in His humility and holiness are held before us, 
  and the glory of God shines brightest in all its transforming power.

The atoning work of Jesus is the great gun of our battery. The cross is the mighty battering-ram with which to break in pieces the bronze gates of human prejudices and the iron bars of sinful obstinacy!

Clear views of Christ’s priestly office and intercession

Grace logo

Clear views of Christ’s priestly office and intercession

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

“But I have¬†prayed¬†for you Simon, that your faith may not fail.” Luke 22:32¬†

We see in this verse–one great secret of a believer’s perseverance in the faith.¬†
It was owing to Christ’s intercession–that Peter did not entirely fall away.

The continued existence of grace in a believer’s heart, is a great standing miracle. His enemies are so mighty–and his strength is so small; the world is so full of snares–and his heart is so weak; that it seems at first sight impossible for him to reach Heaven.¬†

The passage before us explains his safety. He has a mighty Friend at the right hand of God, who ever lives to make intercession for him. There is a watchful Advocate, who is daily pleading for him–seeing all his daily necessities, and obtaining daily supplies of mercy and grace for his soul. His grace never altogether dies–because Christ always lives to intercede for him! (Hebrews 7:25.)

If we are true Christians, we shall find it essential to our comfort in religion–to have¬†clear views of Christ’s priestly office and intercession. Christ lives–and therefore our faith shall not fail. Let us beware of regarding Jesus only as one who¬†died¬†for us. Let us never forget that He is¬†alive¬†for evermore. Paul bids us to especially remember that He is risen again, and is at the right hand of God, and also makes intercession for us. Romans 8:34
 
The work that He does for His people, is not yet over. He is still appearing in the presence of God for them, and doing for their souls, what He did for Peter. His present life for them–is just as important as His death on the cross eighteen hundred years ago! Christ lives–and therefore true Christians “shall live also.”

The greatest sinner that you know!

Grace logo

The greatest sinner that you know!

(William Law, “A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life“)

“This is a true saying, and worthy of all acceptance:¬†‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’–and¬†I am the worst of them all.” 1 Timothy 1:15¬†

You may truly look upon¬†yourself¬†to be¬†the greatest sinner that you know¬†in the world. For though you may know many people to be guilty of some gross sins with which you cannot charge yourself–yet you may justly condemn yourself as the greatest sinner that you know, because you know more of the folly of your own heart, than you do of other people’s hearts. You can charge yourself with various sins, that only you know of yourself, and cannot be sure that others are guilty of them.¬†

So that as you know more of the folly, the degradation, the pride, the deceitfulness and vileness of your own heart, than you do of any one’s else–so you have just reason to consider yourself as¬†the greatest sinner that you know; because you know more of the greatness of your own sins, than you do of other people’s sins.¬†

God Almighty knows greater sinners than you are; because He sees and knows the circumstances of all men’s sins.¬†But your own heart, if it is faithful to you, can discover no guilt so great as your own.

Perhaps that person who appears so odious in your eyes, would have been much better than you are–had he been altogether in your circumstances, and received all the same favors and graces from God that you have. And therefore¬†the greatest sinner that you know, must be yourself.

This is a very humbling thought. 

A serious and frequent reflection upon this will mightily tend to . . .
  humble us in our own eyes, 
  make us very sensible of the greatness of our own guilt, 
  and very tender in censuring and condemning other people.

This alone is the vexed soul’s refuge!

Grace logo

This alone is the vexed soul’s refuge!

(Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889)

“In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge!” Colossians 2:3

The one true¬†resting-place where doubt and weariness, the stings of a pricking conscience, and the longings of an unsatisfied soul would all be quieted–is Christ Himself!
 
Not the church, but Christ. 

Not doctrine, but Christ. 

Not religious forms and ceremonies, but Christ. 

Christ the God-man . . .
  giving His life for ours,
  sealing the everlasting covenant, and
  making peace for us through the blood of His cross!

Christ the divine storehouse of all light and truth, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! 

Christ the infinite vessel–the enlightener, the teacher, the quickener, the comforter–so that out of His fullness we may receive grace upon grace.

This,¬†this alone is the vexed soul’s refuge, its¬†rock¬†to build on, its¬†home¬†to abide in–until the great tempter is bound and every conflict ended in victory.

The chain of redeeming love now holds them!

Grace logo

The chain of redeeming love now holds them! 

(Henry Law)

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were¬†redeemed¬†from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect!” 1 Peter 1:18-19¬†

Your¬†time¬†is redeemed–use it as a consecrated talent in His cause.¬†

Your¬†minds¬†are redeemed–employ them to learn His truth, and to meditate on His ways.¬†

Your¬†eyes¬†are redeemed–let them not look on vanity; close them on all sights of folly and evil.¬†

Your¬†feet¬†are redeemed–let them trample on the world and climb the upward hill of Zion and bear you onward in the mark of Christian zeal.¬†

Your¬†tongues¬†are redeemed–let them only sound His praise, and testify of His love, and call sinners to His cross.¬†

Your¬†hearts¬†are redeemed–let them love Him wholly, and have no place for rivals.

A redeemed flock should live in redemption’s pastures. The Redeemer’s freedmen should evidence, that they are called to holy liberty, and that their holy liberty is holy service. The chain of¬†sin¬†is broken–and¬†the chain of redeeming love¬†now holds them!

Let us abhor the very idea of play-acting and mask-wearing in our Christianity!

Grace logo

Let us abhor the very idea of play-acting and mask-wearing in our Christianity!

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

Let us observe how abominable¬†hypocrisy¬†is in the eyes of Christ. We are told that in the presence of all the people, Jesus said unto His disciples, “Beware of the teachers of the law! They like to walk around in flowing robes–and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues, and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses–and¬†pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public.” Luke 20:46-47

This was a bold and remarkable warning. It was a public denunciation, we must remember, of men who were the recognized teachers of the Jewish people. 

No sin seems to be regarded by Christ as more wicked, than hypocrisy. None certainly drew forth from His lips such frequent, strong and withering condemnation, during the whole course of His ministry. 

He was ever full of mercy and compassion for the chief of sinners. “Fury was not in Him” when He saw Zacchaeus; the penitent thief; Matthew the tax-collector; Saul the persecutor; and the sinful woman in Simon’s house.¬†

But when He saw Scribes and Pharisees wearing a¬†mere cloak of religion, and pretending to great outward sanctity, while their hearts were full of wickedness–His righteous soul seems to have been full of indignation. Eight times in one chapter (Matthew 23) we find Him saying,¬†“Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees! You hypocrites!”

Whatever else we are in religion–let us be true. However feeble our faith, and hope, and love, and obedience may be–let us see to it that they are real, genuine, and sincere.¬†Let us abhor the very idea of play-acting and mask-wearing in our Christianity. At any rate, let us be genuine.¬†

The¬†hypocrite¬†will have the lowest place in Hell! “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape the damnation of Hell?” Matthew 23:33

The conflagration of the world!

Grace logo

The conflagration of the world!

(Samuel Davies, “The Universal Judgment!“)

“The present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare!” 2 Peter 3:7, 10¬†

The¬†present¬†state is but the¬†infancy¬†of the world. All the events of time, even those which make such great noise to us, and determine the fate of kingdoms‚ÄĒare but as the¬†trivial games of little children. But if we look forward and trace events to maturity, we meet with vast, significant and majestic events! To one of those scenes I would direct your attention this day; I mean the solemn, tremendous, and glorious scene of the¬†universal judgment!

You have sometimes seen a stately building in ruins; come now, and view the ruins of a demolished world! Come now, and view the whole universe severely laboring and agonizing in her last convulsions, and her well-ordered system dissolved! 

You have heard of earthquakes here and there which have laid huge cities in ruins; come now, and feel the tremors and convulsions of the whole globe, which blend cities and countries, oceans and continents, mountains, plains and valleys‚ÄĒin one giant heap!

You have a thousand times beheld the moon walking in brightness, and the sun shining in its strength; come now, look and see the sun turned into darkness, and the moon into blood! 

It is our lot to live in an age of war, blood, and slaughter; an age in which our attention is engaged by the dubious fate of kingdoms. Draw off your thoughts from these trifling objects for an hour, and fix them on more solemn and vital objects. Come view this dread scene!
“The world alarmed, both earth and heaven o’erthrown,¬†
¬†And gasping nature’s last tremendous groan;¬†
¬†Death’s ancient scepter broke, the teeming tomb,
¬†The Righteous Judge, and man’s eternal doom!”

Let us now enter upon the majestic scene! But alas! what¬†images¬†shall I use to represent it? Nothing that we have ever¬†seen, nothing that we have ever¬†heard, nothing that has ever happened on the¬†stage of time‚ÄĒcan furnish us with proper illustrations. All here is low and groveling‚ÄĒwhen compared with the grand phenomena of that day!

We are so accustomed to trifling earthly objects, that it is impossible that we should ever raise our thoughts to a suitable pitch of elevation. But before long, we shall be¬†amazed spectators¬†of these majestic wonders‚ÄĒand our¬†eyes¬†and our¬†ears¬†will be our instructors!¬†

But it is now necessary we should have such ideas of them‚ÄĒas may affect our hearts, and prepare us for them. Let us therefore present to our view, those representations which divine revelation‚ÄĒour only guide in this case‚ÄĒgive us . . .
of the person of the Judge, and the manner of His appearance; 
of the resurrection of the dead, and the transformation of the living; 
of the universal gathering of all men before the supreme tribunal; 
of their separation to the right and left hand of the Judge, according to their characters; 
of the judicial process itself; 
of the decisive sentence; 
of its execution, 
and of the conflagration of the world!


You will soon end your tedious, tiresome journey!

Grace logo

You will soon end your tedious, tiresome journey!

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

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they confessed that they were¬†strangers¬†and¬†pilgrims¬†on the earth!” Hebrews 11:13

Every believer is a¬†pilgrim. He is traveling to his Father’s house! He is presently a¬†stranger¬†in a strange land, surrounded by temptations, trials, and foes. His¬†journey¬†lies through a great and terrible wilderness. Therefore he must not expect a very¬†smooth path, or many comfortable accommodations. He will have much to grieve and distress him. His heart will be often burdened with grief, and filled with sorrow ‚ÄĒ tears are common to the Christian. He feels the¬†unsuitableness¬†of the things of time to his spirit, profession, and aim. And therefore he confesses, “I am a stranger and a pilgrim¬†‚ÄĒ as all my fathers were!” Psalm 39:12

Weariness¬†and¬†painfulness¬†are his portion now ‚ÄĒ but a¬†rest¬†remains for him! It is a¬†glorious¬†rest. It embraces and includes all that the believer has prayed for ‚ÄĒ or can desire!¬†
It waits for him at the end of his journey, 
it was prepared for him from the foundation of the world, 
it is now promised to him in the faithful word, and 
it will be bestowed upon him when he has fought the good fight, and finished his course.

Everything at present may appear gloomy and distressing; but ahead of you, believer, everything is glorious, magnificent, and blessed! Press on then ‚ÄĒ fight the good fight of faith. Travel on in the strength of Jesus!¬†You are going home¬†‚ÄĒ and you have a glorious home to go to!¬†

The minute after you have entered your rest ‚ÄĒ you will forget all the¬†fatigue, all the¬†dangers, and all the¬†difficulties¬†of the way! You will perhaps be filled with wonder, that you should ever have allowed such¬†trifles¬†to vex you, or such little trials to discourage you ‚ÄĒ with such a glorious end before you.¬†

Fellow-pilgrim, expect trouble ‚ÄĒ but also expect mercy to help you in time of need! Expect to feel your circumstances to be trying ‚ÄĒ but also expect your Savior’s strength to be perfected in your weakness!¬†You will soon end your tedious, tiresome journey¬†‚ÄĒ and enter into the joy of your Lord!

Never forget you are now a¬†pilgrim¬†‚ÄĒ a¬†stranger¬†‚ÄĒ only a¬†sojourner¬†here in this poor world. Here you have no continuing city ‚ÄĒ but you seek for one to come.¬†

Nothing can make this poor world your rest ‚ÄĒ it will always be a¬†wilderness¬†to you. Be content then, to¬†wait until you get home!¬†There you shall enjoy ‚ÄĒ and always enjoy, all your desires! There will not be one unfulfilled want, wish, or desire there! All will be satisfied ‚ÄĒ all will be full. In a little while ‚ÄĒ you will see the portal of your Father’s house, and hear Him say, “Come in, you who are blessed of the Lord, tarry no longer outside!¬†Come, dwell forever with Me!”

In that hand which was once nailed to the cross for your redemption!

Grace logo

In that hand which was once nailed to the cross for your redemption!

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

“The Lord¬†disciplines¬†those He¬†loves, and He¬†punishes¬†every one He accepts as a son.” Hebrews 12:6¬†

Afflicted Christian, you are perhaps tempted to think that God cannot love you ‚ÄĒ or He would not so deeply try you. But the reverse is the case ‚ÄĒ if He did¬†not¬†love you, He might perhaps refuse to try you. But because He loves you, and is a Father to you ‚ÄĒ therefore He corrects you.¬†

All of the Lord’s children need correction!¬†Many of them will not grow without very severe discipline ‚ÄĒ consequently your heavenly Father says, “I will¬†melt¬†them, and¬†try¬†them.” “I will turn My hand upon you ‚ÄĒ and will purge away your dross.”

Look to the generations of old, and see if the Lord’s people in every age have not been¬†an afflicted people.¬†Look at Job, at the prophets, at Lazarus; God tenderly loved them ‚ÄĒ and yet how¬†severely¬†He tried them. He has commanded an earthly parent to chasten his son, and not to let his soul spare for his crying ‚ÄĒ and by this rule He also proceeds. He¬†chastens¬†us ‚ÄĒ that He may not¬†destroy¬†us. There is¬†infinite mercy¬†in your present trial ‚ÄĒ as dreadful as it may appear to you. There was an¬†absolute necessity¬†for it ‚ÄĒ for He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve His redeemed children.

He takes pleasure in the spiritual prosperity of His people ‚ÄĒ and therefore He uses¬†means¬†to promote it. He has received you as a son, and He is now . . .
  using His paternal authority; 
  manifesting His infinite wisdom; 
  fulfilling His gracious covenant; 
  making good His precious promises; 
  and displaying His unutterable love!

Every one who is . . .
  adopted into His family; 
  quickened by His grace; 
¬† and united to Jesus ‚ÄĒ¬†
is made to pass under¬†the rod,¬†and prove the truth of the Scripture which says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous ‚ÄĒ but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”¬†

He chastens you, not for His own pleasure or gratification, but for your profit ‚ÄĒ that you might be a partaker of His holiness. What a¬†gracious design¬†is this ‚ÄĒ every way worthy of God. It affords full proof of His infinite wisdom, care, and love!

Think within yourself:
I could not do without this affliction;
it is sent in love; 
it is intended to do me good; 
it is a proof that I am a child of God
¬†‚ÄĒ and you will then think rightly.¬†

Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, by thinking that you could have done as well without it; or that there was no necessity for it. Depend upon it, you must either be . . .
¬† pained ‚ÄĒ or ruined;¬†
¬† tried ‚ÄĒ or injured;¬†
¬† corrected ‚ÄĒ or lost.¬†

Do not¬†faint¬†when the Lord rebukes you. He has promised you, that as your¬†day¬†is ‚ÄĒ so shall your¬†strength¬†be. He says to you, “Do not fear ‚ÄĒ for I am with you; do not be afraid ‚ÄĒ for I am your God. I will¬†strengthen¬†you; I will¬†help¬†you; I will¬†uphold¬†you with My righteous right hand!” Isaiah 41:10. Precious promise of a faithful God! He made it in love. He has not forgotten it ‚ÄĒ no, He intends to make it good. Yes, He is now making it good to you ‚ÄĒ as tried and afflicted as you are.¬†

The rod which afflicts you, is in the hand of Jesus!¬†In that hand which was once nailed to the cross for your redemption!¬†In the hand of that¬†Friend¬†who¬†loves¬†at all times; and who is a¬†Brother¬†born for adversity. Will Jesus who suffered, bled, and died to redeem you ‚ÄĒ ever¬†hurt¬†you? Surely not! His heart is too tender! His love is too great! “He will not break the bruised reed ‚ÄĒ and He will not quench the smoking flax!” He will bind up the broken heart, and comfort the sorrowful spirit.¬†

You say, “He is sorely trying me!” True ‚ÄĒ but He is only making you fit to partake of the inheritance of the saints in light. They are . . .
  loving strokes, 
  valuable trials, 
  blessed afflictions!
As¬†sharp¬†they may be ‚ÄĒ¬†short¬†they must be.¬†

Humble yourself then under the mighty hand of God; 
mourn before Him; 
surrender all to Him;
plead with Him; 
justify Him ‚ÄĒ and . . .
   the rod will soon fall from His hand, 
   the scourging will soon be over, and 
   peaceable fruits of righteousness will make their appearance. 

Look up to your God, and say:

Submissive to Your will, my God, 
I all to you resign;
I bow before Your chastening rod, 
And mourn, but not repine!

Why should my foolish heart complain,
When wisdom, truth, and love,
Direct the stroke, inflict the pain,
And point to joys above?

How short are all my sufferings here!
How needful every cross! 
Away then, my unbelieving fear,
Nor call my gain, my loss.

They must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction!

Grace logo

They must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Before I was afflicted I went astray ‚ÄĒ but now I obey Your Word.” Psalm 119:67¬†

“It was good for me to be afflicted ‚ÄĒ so that I might learn Your decrees.” Psalm 119:71

Most of the great truths of God have to be learned through trials! They must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction, otherwise we shall not truly receive them.

“I know, O Lord, that Your laws are righteous ‚ÄĒ and in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” Psalm 119:75¬†

“God disciplines us for our good ‚ÄĒ that we may share in His holiness!” Hebrews 12:10¬†

What is man ‚ÄĒ that You are mindful of him?

Grace logo

What is man ‚ÄĒ that You are mindful of him?

(Hugh Brown, “Altogether Lovely!” 1897)

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

What is man? 

Where did he come from? 

Where does his pathway lead? 

Man¬†was¬†once¬†the crowning piece of God’s workmanship, made in His own image, and given dominion over the works of His hands!

Alas! We now only know man . . .
¬† in his¬†fallen¬†state ‚ÄĒ not as God created him,¬†
  with the crown fallen from his head, 
  as a rebel against his Maker, 
  as the slave of sin, 
  as a willing subject of Satan, 
  in his weakness,
  compassed with infirmity,
  the prey of many diseases, 
¬† as “of few days, and full of trouble,”¬†
  as a bearer of burdens,
  with a heritage of sorrow!

So fearfully and wonderfully is man made ‚ÄĒ¬†¬†
¬† so great ‚ÄĒ and yet so little;¬†
¬† so noble ‚ÄĒ yet so base;¬†
¬† a feeble spark of life ‚ÄĒ yet having an eternal destiny!¬†

We now only know man . . .
  in his sinfulness, 
¬† with a “heart deceitful above all things ‚ÄĒ and desperately wicked,”¬†
  torn by conflicting passions, 
  in the vile bondage of iniquity,
  sin reigning within and without, 
  proud, 
  arrogant,
  self-seeking,
  vain,
  making the earth a habitation of cruelty!

For though sometimes in his youth, life may seem bright while he eagerly hunts after pleasure ‚ÄĒ how soon the¬†flowers fade, the¬†bubble bursts¬†‚ÄĒ and he is left with emptiness in his heart and learns by sad experience the truth of God‚Äôs Word:¬†“Truly, every man at his best estate is altogether vanity!”¬†

“How long will you love vanity?”

Grace logo

How long will you love vanity?” Psalm 4:2

Vanity represents the light, changeable, carnal, and fading things of time. Upon these things, the natural heart is set; around them, the unsanctified affections gather. What a vanity it is to prefer . . . 
¬† human friendship ‚ÄĒ to divine friendship,¬†
¬† earthly riches ‚ÄĒ to Heavenly riches,¬†
¬† carnal honors ‚ÄĒ to spiritual honors, and¬†
¬† the pleasures of a day ‚ÄĒ to the joys of eternity!

Vanity appears in the intoxicating cup, the mirthful and costly attire, and trifling with God. Surely every worldly man walks in a vain show, like an¬†actor¬†on the stage ‚ÄĒ and displays the most consummate folly!¬†

Reader! are you in love with vanity? Do you love that which leads from God, keeps Him out of the thoughts, and binds you down to earth? This is vanity! How long will you love it? You have been doing so for years ‚ÄĒ though warned, convinced, and having promised to reform. You are doing so now, though . . .
   mortality is at work within you,   
   death is very near you, 
   Hell is open before you, and 
   eternity is within a step of you!

You love vanity, when you may . . .
   obtain divine mercy, 
   enjoy peace with God, 
   receive sanctifying grace, and 
   walk in the way to Heaven. 

“How long will you love vanity?”¬†Until . . .¬†
   some sudden stroke takes you away; 
   or some affliction puts you beyond the reach of mercy;
¬†¬† or God’s Spirit ceases to strive with you;¬†
   or Satan fills your heart as he did the heart of Judas; 
   or God laughs at your calamity? 

How long? God your Creator would ask you.¬†“Why will you die?”¬†

Will you carefully consider this question, and give the Lord an answer? Will you tell Him why you prefer . . .
¬†¬† eternal death ‚ÄĒ to eternal life,¬†
¬†¬† sin ‚ÄĒ to holiness, and¬†
¬†¬† Satan ‚ÄĒ to Himself?

“They who observe lying vanities, forsake their own mercy!” Jonah 2:8

Where shall you find a rock?

Grace logo

Where shall you find a rock? 

(Samuel Davies, “Jesus Christ, the Only Foundation” 1757)

“The present¬†heavens¬†and¬†earth¬†are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men! The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The¬†heavens¬†will disappear with a roar; the¬†elements¬†will be destroyed by fire, and the¬†earth¬†and everything in it will be burned up!” 2 Peter 3:7, 10

The fiery deluge of divine vengeance, which has been gathering and swelling for thousands of years; but has been, as it were, restrained and kept within bounds by¬†divine patience‚ÄĒshall then rise so high as to burst through all restraints, and overwhelm the guilty globe, and turn it into a universal ocean of liquid fire! This resistless torrent shall sweep away all the¬†refuges of lies, and those who trusted in them‚ÄĒinto the gulf of remediless destruction!

Well my friends, where shall we find a¬†support¬†to bear us up in this tremendous day? Where shall we find a¬†rock¬†to build upon, that we may be able to stand the shock, and remain safe and unmoved‚ÄĒin the wreck of dissolving worlds? What can¬†uphold¬†us‚ÄĒwhen this¬†vast machine of our world, formed with so much skill and strength by the hands of a¬†divine Architect, shall be broken up and fall to pieces?

Now, now is the time for us to find the refuge; it will be too late when all created supports are swept away, and this solid globe itself is dissolved beneath our feet into a sea of fire!

And where will you look? Where will you turn? This¬†earth,¬†and all its riches, honors, and pleasures‚ÄĒwill prove to be but a¬†quicksand¬†in that day! Your¬†friends¬†and¬†relations, were they ever so great or powerful‚ÄĒcan¬†then¬†afford you no support! Therefore, think‚ÄĒwhere shall you find a¬†rock¬†on which you may build a happiness that will stand the shock in that dreadful day?

Everything else besides Christ . . .
  is sliding sand,
  is yielding air,
  is a breaking bubble! 

In that dread day . . .
¬†¬†wealth‚ÄĒwill prove to be a vain shadow,¬†
¬†¬†honor‚ÄĒwill prove to be an empty breath,¬†
¬†¬†pleasure‚ÄĒwill prove to be a delusive dream,¬†
¬†¬†your own righteousness‚ÄĒwill prove to be a spider’s web!
If we rely on these, disappointment and doom are inevitable!

Nothing but Christ, nothing but Christ, can stably support us in that dread day! “He alone is my rock¬†and my salvation; He is my fortress‚ÄĒI will never be shaken!” Psalm 62:2

His righteousness¬†is infinitely perfect, equal to the highest demands of the divine law‚ÄĒand therefore a firm, immovable ground of trust. We may safely venture¬†the weight of our eternal all‚ÄĒupon this rock! It will stand forever, without giving way under the heaviest pressure; without being broken by the most violent shock. Let thousands, let millions, with¬†all the mountainous weight of guilt¬†upon them, build upon this foundation, and they shall never be moved!

The firm foundations, the stately columns, the majestic buildings of Nineveh, Babylon and Persia, and all the magnificent structures of antiquity, though formed of the most durable stone, and promising immortality‚ÄĒare now shattered into ten thousand fragments, or lying in ruinous heaps!¬†

But here in Christ‚ÄĒis¬†a foundation for immortal souls‚ÄĒa foundation that will remain the same to all eternity! His¬†righteousness¬†is an everlasting righteousness, His¬†strength¬†an everlasting strength, and Himself the everlasting Father. He ever lives forever to make intercession for His people, and therefore he is able to save to the uttermost, to the uttermost point of duration‚ÄĒall who come unto God by Him!

Millions and millions¬†of depraved, wretched, ruined creatures, have always found Him perfectly¬†able, and as perfectly¬†willing‚ÄĒ
  to expiate the most enormous guilt;
  to deliver from the most inveterate corruptions;
  and to save to the very uttermost! 

Ten thousand times ten thousand, have built their hopes upon this¬†rock‚ÄĒand it has never failed so much as one of them! Manasseh, Paul, and Mary Magdalen, and thousands more atrocious sinners‚ÄĒhave ventured upon this¬†all-sufficient rock¬†with all their¬†load of sin¬†upon them, and found it able to sustain them!

Your conscience will not always sleep!

Grace logo

Your conscience will not always sleep! 

(Samuel Davies, “Divine Mercy to Mourning Penitents“)

“They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their¬†consciences¬†also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.” Romans 2:15

The principal means which God uses in conversion, is that of conscience; and indeed without this, all the rest are in vain. Outward afflictions are of service‚ÄĒonly as they tend to awaken the conscience from its lethargy to a faithful discharge of its duty. It is conscience which makes the sinner sensible of his misery and scourges him. The¬†lashes of a guilty conscience¬†are intolerable; and some under them have chosen strangling and suicide, rather than life.

Conscience is a serpent in his breast, which bites and gnaws his heart; and he can no more avoid it, than he can fly from himself! 

Let not such of you as have never been tortured with its remorse, congratulate yourselves upon your happiness, for you are not innocents! Your conscience will not always sleep! It will not always lie torpid and inactive, like a snake benumbed with cold, in your breast! 

It will¬†awaken¬†you either to your conversion‚ÄĒor condemnation!

Either the fire of God’s wrath flaming from His law will enliven it in this world‚ÄĒto sting you with¬†medicinal¬†anguish; or the unquenchable fire of His vengeance in the lake of fire and brimstone will thaw it into life‚ÄĒand then it will horribly rage in your breast, and diffuse its tormenting poison through your whole frame! And then it will become a¬†never-dying worm, and prey upon your hearts forever!

He cannot love you more!

Grace logo

He cannot love you more!

(James Smith, “The Pastor’s Morning Visit”)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

The Lord cares for His children!
 
He knows our¬†needs‚ÄĒand has promised to supply them.¬†
He knows our¬†foes‚ÄĒand will deliver us from them.¬†
He knows our¬†fears‚ÄĒand will make us ashamed of them.¬†

All creatures and things are in His hand, and at His disposal; all circumstances are under His absolute control. He . . . 
  directs the angel,
  feeds the sparrow,
  curbs the devil, and
  manages the tempest! 

He is your Father‚ÄĒand His love to you is infinite. You are His delight‚ÄĒHis dear child. Will He neglect you? Impossible! Cast then your cares upon Him. Tell out all your desires, fears, and troubles to Him; let Him know everything; keep nothing back. And then in the confidence of faith, expect Him to fulfill His Word, and act a Parent’s part.

Bless Him for all He has given, for all He has promised. Plead with Him for all you may need. But never for one moment, or under any circumstances, distrust Him! He cannot love you more! He is your ever present help. He will rejoice over you to do you good, with His whole heart, and with His whole soul.

“Cast all your care upon Him, because He cares about you!” 1 Peter 5:7

As long as preachers allow their sermons to be dictated by public sentiment or the worldly desires of their hearers!

Grace logo

As long as preachers allow their sermons to be dictated by public sentiment or the worldly desires of their hearers!

(Charles Naylor)

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” John 17:16¬†

“As Christ is, so are we in this world” 1 John 4:17

A Christian is one who is Christlike in character, in desire, and in deportment. No other has any right to bear Christ’s name. Yet there are a multitude of people who call themselves Christians, who bear no resemblance to Christ in their lives.¬†

One of the most pitiable things that we can behold, is one who professes to be a citizen of the kingdom of God–and yet lives like a citizen of the kingdom of Satan. The¬†worldly professor¬†fills his days with folly–but his cup of joy is always bitter at the last. He gathers up the “fool’s gold” that glitters in earthly things. He lives after the flesh and after the world. He goes with the crowd. He misses all the blessedness of righteousness, and, worst of all, he misses Heaven at the last. “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” James 4:4

Those who still love the pride and vanity of the world, those who are absorbed in its frivolities, those who covet its gold and its honors, those who love its applause–these are those who are of the world.¬†

Those hypocritical professors who bear Christ’s name, but will not obey Him–dishonor Him, and by their example influence others to do the same, how shall they escape the damnation of Hell? If there is one thing that God hates above all else, it is a proud and worldly heart! Such a heart can never be a reverential heart. Its religion is but hypocrisy. It is only a sham. It has no reality. It is only a cloak of respectability, while the heart is full of corruption.

The Christian life is, and ever will be, a life of separation from sin and pride and worldliness. If you are not willing to be thus separated, then you should have common honesty enough not to profess to be what you very well know that you are not. If you are going to be a Christian in name, then be one in reality.

Your¬†character, not your¬†profession, will be what will matter in the final judgment. “God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality–He will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil–there will be wrath and anger.” Romans 2:6-8

If all preachers had honesty enough and courage enough to preach the truth–then the tide of worldliness that is overwhelming such a multitude of souls and sweeping them into perdition, would be somewhat stayed.¬†As long as preachers allow their sermons to be dictated by public sentiment or the worldly desires of their hearers–they will cater to fashions, and souls by the million will drift on into Hell. Oh, what a reaping such preachers will have at the judgment! The full measure of God’s wrath will fall on those preachers who fail to be true to souls and to God, in preaching those truths the Bible clearly teaches against sin and worldliness.¬†

Our thorn!

Grace logo

Our thorn!

(J. R. Miller, “The Blossoming of Our Thorns” 1905)

“To keep me from getting puffed up, I was¬†given¬†a¬†thorn¬†in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud.” 2 Corinthians 12:7

We do not know how much of Paul’s rich, beautiful life, and his noble work for his Master ‚ÄĒ he owed to¬†his thorn. Just so, we do not know how much we are indebted to our¬†sufferings¬†and¬†sorrows. Our richest lessons ‚ÄĒ are the fruit of pain, of weakness, of sorrow.

There is not one of us who has not his own thorn. With one it may be a bodily infirmity or weakness. With another it is some disfigurement which cannot be removed. It may be some difficulty in circumstances, something which makes it hard to live beautifully. 

The Master told Paul that his thorn was¬†necessary¬†to him ‚ÄĒ to save him from becoming proud. We may think of¬†our thorn, too ‚ÄĒ as something we¬†need. Instead of allowing it to irritate us or to spoil our life ‚ÄĒ its mission is to make us sweet, patient, loving. Many people beseech the Lord to take away their thorn. Yet it may be, that the prayer¬†is¬†not answered,¬†will¬†not be answered,¬†should¬†not be answered. It may be, that the thorn is¬†necessary¬†to keep them humble at God’s feet.

God sends some of our best blessings to us in our thorns, and it will be a sad thing if we thrust them away and miss them.

The time has come for my departure!

Grace logo

The time has come for my departure!

(James Smith, “The Better Land”)

The time has come for my departure!¬†I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day!” 2 Timothy 4:6-8¬†

Aged believer, the time of your departure will soon come! Do not let your mind be troubled as to . . .
  where you shall die,
  when you shall die,
  or how you shall die!
These are all minor matters ‚ÄĒ and ought not to affect you.¬†

Simply look at¬†death¬†as Jesus did: “Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world ‚ÄĒ and¬†go to His Father!”¬†John 13:1¬†

Why should you regret to leave a poor world like this ‚ÄĒ where sin, sorrow, pain, grief, disappointment, and anxiety meet you at every turn? Why should you be reluctant to go HOME ‚ÄĒ to go to your Father?¬†
Do you not want to see His face? 
Do you not want to enjoy His company? 
Do you not want to be perfectly happy in His presence?

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

He will sustain you!

Grace logo

He will sustain you!

(J.R. Miller)

“Cast your burden upon the Lord ‚ÄĒ and¬†He will¬†sustain¬†you.” Psalm 55:22

The promise is not that the Lord will¬†remove¬†the load we cast upon Him, nor that He will¬†carry¬†it for us ‚ÄĒ but that He will¬†sustain¬†us so that¬†we¬†may carry it.
He does not¬†free¬†us from the duty ‚ÄĒ but He¬†strengthens¬†us for it.
He does not¬†deliver¬†us from the conflict ‚ÄĒ but He enables us to¬†overcome.¬†
He does not withhold or withdraw the trial from us ‚ÄĒ but He helps us in trial to be submissive and victorious, and makes it a blessing to us.¬†
He does not mitigate the hardness or severity of our circumstances, taking away the difficult elements, removing the thorns, making life¬†easy¬†for us ‚ÄĒ but He puts Divine grace into our hearts, so that we can live sweetly in all the hard, adverse circumstances.

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

“I can do all things through Christ who¬†strengthens¬†me!” Philippians 4:13


True comfort!

Grace logo

True  comfort! 
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon, “Concerning the Consolations of God” Job 15:11.¬†

Christian, are you hoping to find true comfort in the world? Will you be happy if you manage to get that position? if you pass that examination? if you save so much money? I beseech you, do not play the fool; there is no consolation in all this. 

There is no satisfaction to be found in the greatest worldly success; millionaires, statesmen, and princes all dissatisfied. The richest men have often been the most miserable, and those who have succeeded best in rising to places of honor have been worn out in the pursuit, and disgusted with the prize. 

Wealth brings care, honor earns envy, position entails toil, and rank has its annoyances. 

One of our richest men once said, “I suppose you imagine I am happy, because I am rich. Why, a dozen times in a year, and oftener, some fellow threatens to shoot me if I do not give him what he wants. Do you suppose that this makes me a happy man?”¬†

Believe me, the world is as barren of joy as the Sahara. 

Vain is the hope of finding a spring of consolation in anything beneath the moon. 

Seek the kingdom of God, and his righteousness. 
  

The religion of JOY

Grace logo

The religion of JOY 
(Octavius Winslow, “The Sympathy of Christ”)¬†
The religion of Christ is the religion of JOY. Christ came to take away our sins, to roll off our curse, to unbind our chains, to open our prison house, to cancel our debt; in a word, to give us the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Is  not this joy? Where can we find a joy so real, so deep, so pure, so lasting? There is every element of joy; deep, ecstatic, satisfying, sanctifying joy in the gospel of Christ. The believer in Jesus is essentially a happy man. The child of God is, from necessity, a joyful man. His sins are forgiven, his soul is justified, his person is adopted, his trials are blessings, his conflicts are victories, his death is immortality, his future is a heaven of inconceivable, unthought of, untold, and endless blessedness. With such a God, such a Savior, and such a hope, is he not, ought he not, to be a joyful man? 
  

Fly to the Word of God!

Grace logo

Fly to the Word of God! 
(from “The Preciousness of God’s Word” by Octavius Winslow)¬†

As a system of ‘consolation’ Christianity has no equal. No other religion in the wide world touches the hidden springs of the soul, or reaches the lowest depths of human sorrow, but the religion of Christ.¬†

When your hearts have been overwhelmed, when adversity has wrapped you within its gloomy pall, when the broken billows of grief have swollen and surged around your soul, how have you fled to the Scriptures of truth for succor and support, for guidance and comfort! Nor have you repaired to them in vain. “The God of all comfort” is He who speaks in this Word, and there is no word of comfort like that which He speaks.¬†

The adaptation of His truth to the varied, the peculiar and personal trials and sorrows of His Church, is one of the strongest proofs of its divinity. Take to the Word of God whatever sorrow you may, go with whatever mental beclouding, with whatever spirit sadness, with whatever heart grief; whatever be its character, its complexion, its depth unsurpassed in the history of human sorrow, there is consolation and support in the Word of God for your 
mind. 

God will not leave you in trouble, but will sustain you in it, will bring you out of, and sanctify you by it, to the endless glory and praise of His great and precious name! 

Christian mourner, let me once more direct your eye too dimmed perhaps by tears to behold this divine source of true, unfailing comfort. God’s Word is the book of the afflicted. Written to unfold the wondrous history of the “Man of Sorrows,” it would seem to have been equally written for you, 0 child of grief! God speaks to your sad and sorrowing heart from every page of this sacred volume, with words of comfort, loving, gentle, and persuasive as a mother’s. “As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you.”¬†

The Bible is the opening of the heart of God. It is God’s heart unveiled, each throb inviting the mourner, the poor in spirit, the widow, the fatherless, the bereaved, the persecuted, the sufferer, yes, every child of affliction and grief to the asylum and sympathy, the protection and soothing of His heart. Oh, thank God for the comfort and consolation of the Scripture! Open it with what sorrow and burden and perplexity you may, be it the guilt of sin, the pressure of trial, or the corrodings of sorrow, it speaks to the heart such words of comfort as God only could speak.¬†

Have you ever borne your grief to God’s Word, especially to the experimental Psalms of David, and not felt that it was written for that particular sorrow? You have found your grief more accurately portrayed, your state of mind more truly described, and your case more exactly and fully met, probably in a single history, chapter, or verse, than in all the human treatises that the pen of man ever wrote.¬†

Fly to the Word of God, then, in every sorrow! You will know more of the mind and heart of God than you, perhaps, ever learned in all the schools before. Draw, then, O child of sorrow, your consolation from God’s Word. Oh, clasp this precious Word of comfort to your sorrowful heart, and exclaim, “It is mine! The Jesus of whom it speaks is mine, the salvation it reveals is mine, the promises it contains are mine, the heaven it unveils is mine, and all the consolation, comfort, and sympathy which wells up from these hidden springs, is MINE.”¬†
  

WE NEED REVIVAL

Grace logo

WE NEED REVIVAL
 . . . when we do not love Him as we once did.

 . . . when earthly interests and occupations are
      more important to us than eternal ones.

 . . . when we would rather watch TV and read secular
      books and magazines than read the Bible and pray.

 . . . when church dinners are better attended than prayer meetings.

 . . . when concerts draw bigger crowds than prayer meetings.

 . . . when we have little or no desire for prayer.

 . . . when we would rather make money than give money.

 . . . when we put people into leadership positions in our
      churches who do not meet scriptural qualifications.

 . . . when our Christianity is joyless and passionless.

 . . . when we know truth in our heads that we are not
      practicing in our lives.

 . . . when we make little effort to witness to the lost.

 . . . when we have time for sports, recreation, and
      entertainment, but not for Bible study and prayer.

 . . . when we do not tremble at the Word of God.

 . . . when preaching lacks conviction, confrontation,
      and divine fire and anointing.

 . . . when we seldom think thoughts of eternity.

 . . . when God’s people are more concerned about their
       jobs and their careers, than about the Kingdom
      of Christ and the salvation of the lost.

 . . . when God’s people get together with other believers
      and the conversation is primarily about the
      news, weather, and sports, rather than the Lord.

¬†. . . when church services are predictable and “business as usual.”

 . . . when believers can be at odds with each other and
      not feel compelled to pursue reconciliation.

 . . . when Christian husbands and wives are not praying together.

 . . . when our marriages are co-existing rather than
      full of the love of Christ.

 . . . when our children are growing up to adopt worldly
      values, secular philosophies, and ungodly lifestyles.

 . . . when we are more concerned about our children’s
      education and their athletic activities than about
      the condition of their souls.

 . . . when sin in the church is pushed under the carpet.

 . . . when known sin is not dealt with through the biblical
      process of discipline and restoration.

¬†. . . when we tolerate “little” sins of gossip,
      a critical spirit, and lack of love.

 . . . when we will watch things on television and movies that are not holy.

 . . . when our singing is half-hearted and our worship lifeless.

 . . . when our prayers are empty words designed to impress others.

 . . . when our prayers lack fervency.

 . . . when our hearts are cold and our eyes are dry.

 . . . when we aren’t seeing regular evidence of
      the supernatural power of God.

 . . . when we have ceased to weep and mourn and
       grieve over our own sin and the sin of others.

 . . . when we are content to live with explainable,
      ordinary Christianity and church services.

 . . . when we are bored with worship.

 . . . when people have to be entertained to be drawn to church.

 . . . when our music and dress become patterned after the world.

 . . . when we start fitting into and adapting to the world,
      rather than calling the world to adapt to God’s
      standards of holiness.

 . . . when we don’t long for the company and fellowship of God’s people.

 . . . when people have to be begged to give and to serve in the church.

 . . . when our giving is measured and calculated,
      rather than extravagant and sacrificial.

 . . . when we aren’t seeing lost people drawn to Jesus on a regular basis.

 . . . when we aren’t exercising faith and believing God for the impossible.

 . . . when we are more concerned about what others
      think about us than what God thinks about us.

 . . . when we are unmoved by the thought of neighbors,
      business associates, and acquaintances who are
      lost and without Christ.

 . . . when the lost world around us doesn’t know or care that we exist.

 . . . when we are making little or no difference in the secular world around us.

 . . . when the fire has gone out in our hearts, our marriages, and the church.

 . . . when we are blind to the extent of our need and don’t think we need revival.
The above article was by N. L. DeMoss

Believers err in many things, fall

Grace logo

Believers err in many things, fall
in many ways, and sin is mixed with
all they do; but in the tenor of their
lives all believers are faithful, seeking
the will and glory of God in all things
and above all things.
As we become increasingly aware of our
personal sinfulness and corruption, as
we are humbled by the depravity of our
hearts,  nothing is more comforting,
cheerful, and reassuring to God’s  saints,
than the knowledge of the fact that in
the eyes of Christ  we stand perfect in the
beauty of his righteousness, the beauty
 which he has put upon us.
     -Don Fortner

The Trojan horse

Grace logo

The Trojan horse

(Thomas Watson, “The Lord’s Prayer“)

“Deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:13

In this petition, we pray to be delivered from the 
evil of our heart, that it may not entice us to sin. 

The heart is the poisoned fountain, from whence 
all actual sins flow. “For¬†from within, out of the heart¬†
of man
, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, 
murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, 
sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.”¬†
Mark 7:21-22. 

The cause of all evil lies in a man’s own bosom‚ÄĒall¬†
sin begins at the heart. Lust is first conceived in the 
heart‚ÄĒand then it is midwifed into the world. Whence¬†
comes rash anger? The heart sets the tongue on fire. 
The heart is the shop where all sin is contrived and 
hammered out. 


The heart is¬†the greatest seducer¬†“Each one is¬†
tempted when he is carried away and enticed by 
his own lust.” James 1:14.¬†The devil could not hurt¬†
us‚ÄĒif our own hearts did not give consent.
 All that 
he can do is to lay the bait‚ÄĒbut it is our fault to¬†
swallow it! How needful, therefore, is this prayer,
“Deliver us from the evil of our hearts!”

It was Augustine’s prayer, “Lord, deliver me from¬†
that evil man‚ÄĒmyself!”

Beware of the¬†bosom traitor‚ÄĒthe flesh. The heart¬†
of a man is¬†the Trojan horse‚ÄĒout of which comes¬†
a whole army of lusts! O let us pray to be delivered 
from the lusts and deceits of our own heart! 

Aqueous Fluid to an Infant’s Brow!

Grace logo

Aqueous Fluid to an Infant’s Brow!
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
¬†¬†¬† “UNPURCHASABLE LOVE”

The most unpopular truth in the world is this sentence which
fell from the lips of Christ–¬†¬† “You must be born again.”

Consequently, there are all sorts of inventions to remove the
truth out of those words. “Oh, yes!” say some, “you must be born
again, but that means the application of aqueous fluid to an
¬† infant’s brow.”

As God is true, that teaching is a lie; there is no grain or
shade of truth within it. No operation that can be performed
by man can ever regenerate the soul.  It is the work alone of
God the Holy Spirit, who creates us anew in Christ Jesus.

Men do not like that truth.

Spiritual Truth Still Displeases the Natural Man.

Taken from GraceGems

Bliss Beyond What the Angels Know

Bliss Beyond What the Angels Know
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“Love’s Vigilance Rewarded”

Why me Lord?

Words cannot express the joy of heart which I feel in knowing that
Jesus is with me, and that he has loved me with an everlasting love.

I shall never understand, even in heaven, Why
the Lord Jesus Should Ever Have Loved Me.

There is no love like it-  Why Was it Fixed Upon Me?

Have you never felt that you could go in, like David, and sit before the
Lord, and say, “Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that
you have brought me here?”

Yet wonderful as it is, it is true; Jesus Loves His Believing People,
loves them now at this very moment. Do you not rejoice in it?

I assure you that, in the least drop of the love of Christ when it is
consciously realized, there is more sweetness than there would be
in all heaven without it.

Talk of bursting barns, overflowing wine-vats, and riches
treasured up-  these give but a poor solace to the heart.

But the Love of Jesus, this Is Another Word for Heaven.
It is a marvel that even while we are here below we should be
permitted to enjoy a Bliss Beyond What the Angels Know!

Taken from GraceGems

NEVER!

NEVER! 
The following is by J. C. Ryle 

“I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you.”¬† Hebrews 13:5¬†

Let every believer grasp these words 
and store them up in his heart. 

Keep them ready, and have them fresh in your memory; 
  you will need them one day. 

The Philistines will be upon you, 
the hand of sickness will lay you low, 
the king of terrors will draw near, 
the valley of the shadow of death 
 will open up before your eyes. 

Then comes the hour when you will find nothing so 
comforting as a text like this, nothing so cheering 
as a real sense of God’s companionship.¬†

Stick to that word, “never”.¬†
It is worth its weight in gold. 
Cling to it as a drowning man clings to a rope. 
Grasp it firmly, as a soldier attacked on all sides grasps 
his sword. God has said, and He will stand to it, 
¬† “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”¬†

NEVER! Though YOUR HEART be often faint, and you are sick 
of self, and your many failures and infirmities overwhelm you- 
even then the promise will not fail. 

NEVER! Though THE DEVIL whispers, “I shall have you at last;¬†
yet a little time and your faith will fail, and you will be mine.”¬†
Even then the Word of God will stand. 

NEVER! When the cold chill of DEATH is creeping over you, 
and friends can do no more, and you are starting on that 
journey from which there is no return- 
even then Christ will not forsake you. 

NEVER! When the day of JUDGMENT comes, and the books are 
opened, and the dead are rising from their graves, and eternity 
is beginning- even then the promise will bear all your weight; 
Christ will not leave His hold on your soul. 

Oh believing reader, trust in the Lord for ever, 
for He says, “I will never leave you.”¬†

Lean back all your weight upon Him, do not be afraid. 
Glory in His promise. 
Rejoice in the strength of your consolation. 

You may say boldly, “The Lord is my Helper, I will not fear.”¬†

Taken from GraceGems

What a Sight!

What a Sight! 
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,¬†
¬†¬† “LOVE’S LOGIC”¬†

O the beauty of the person of Jesus, when seen with 
the eye of faith by the illumination of the Holy Spirit! 

As the light of the morning, when the sun arises, “as a¬†
morning without clouds,” is our Well-Beloved unto us.¬†

The sight of the burning bush made Moses put off his shoes, but 
the transporting vision of Jesus makes us put off all the world! 

When once He is seen we can discern no beauties 
  in all other creatures in the universe. 

He, like the sun, has absorbed all other 
glories into his own excessive brightness. 

This is the pomegranate which love feeds upon, 
  the flagon wherewith it is comforted. 

A sight of Jesus causes such union of heart with him, 
such goings’ out of the affections after him,¬†
and such meltings of the spirit towards him, 
that its expressions often appear to carnal men to 
be extravagant and forced; when they are nothing but 
the free, unstudied, and honest effusions of its love. 

Carnal men are themselves ignorant of the divine passion of love 
to Jesus, and therefore the language of the enraptured heart is 
unintelligible to them. They are poor translators of love’s 
celestial tongue who think it to be at all allied with the amorous 
superfluities uttered by carnal passions. Jesus is the only one 
upon whom the loving believer has fixed his eye, and in his converse 
with his Lord he will often express himself in language which is 
meant only for his Master’s ear, and which worldlings would utterly 
scorn could they but listen to it. The pious feelings at which 
they jeer, are as much beyond their highest thoughts as the 
‘sonnets of angels’ excel the ‘gruntings of swine’.¬†

Taken from GraceGems

Building The Muscle Of Faith!

Two dumbbells made of fruitFor the past 6 months I’ve started training in the gym! I know it was a surprise for me too. lol. ūüė̬†

It came about when our friends Ben & Rosie had their latest son Leoin August 2017.  and while Sarah & i were visiting Rosie in hospital, Rosie mentioned that her son Vini(16 already) was going to the local Gym but needed some encouragement?!

Sarah quickly said ‚ÄúSteve knows loads about training at the gym and it would be great for Steve to get training again‚ÄĚ. I said ‚ÄúErm, i havn‚Äôt trained for over 20 years‚Ķ..And i could see back then. I‚Äôve tried Gyms since, but they are simply not accessible for me‚ÄĚ. My avoidance tactic didn‚Äôt work, lol.¬†

A huge, huge huge Thank you to Vini‚Ķ. ūüė̬†

I was excited about the prospect of training again as my blindness kills my mobility and i lose hope of exercise etc. But after meeting Vini at the Gym, i realised that there were quite a few machines i could do, i can’t see the dumbbell sizes(or even the dumbbells for that matter) but it doesn’t matter much as Vini sorts all of that out. But unfortunately i still have to lift them on my own!

 It is really, really hard work. Every time I train I leave the gym completely exhausted and feeling very sore the next few days. Nothing beats when you begin to feel good after a workout and to see improvements every time you go. Being able to lift heavier, for longer and knowing your body is beginning to adjust and change according to your routine. 

The Christian Walk With God Is a little Like Training At The Gym…

The beginner gym goer is like the newly saved christian who has to build up their relationship with Jesus and become more familiar with the word of God slowly and consistently.

Iron Sharpens Iron…

The beginner needs to be discipled and encouraged along their journey, and not keep looking to the mature ones and comparing themselves to them. You are now born again, like a new born babe. The fruit tree starts out as a seed so pride has to be beaten down like a baddie in a film that doesn’t want to die! Yes by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body.

After the gym our bodies create muscle that wasn’t their before, it uses the energy and protein that our body stores and consumes through the food we eat. Like a muscle our faith can turn into something that it wasn’t before. If we feed it with the word of God, with prayer and fellowship with other christians we can have a stronger faith day by day.

Muscle fibres are being torn and broken down in the gym so they need repaired this causes pain for a few days after.

Sometimes growing in our faith and relationship with Jesus can be sore and uncomfortable as we will have to go through situations and rise up to challenges that seem difficult emotionally and physically but every time after this our faith will seem stronger than it was before if we keep being led by the Holy Spirit and not our fleshly desires.

So next time you‚Äôre at the gym, exercising, preparing healthy food or out for a walk etc, make sure to remember to schedule in your daily ‚Äėtraining‚Äô time with God and get building that ‚Äėmuscle‚Äô of faith.

ūüôŹ Prayer 4 2day‚Ķ..

Lord, I ask that you would bring me the wisdom, motivation, and ability to properly exercise my body. Stir me up to train all for the glory of God!

In Jesus name, Amen!

Religious entertainment!

Religious entertainment!

(A.W. Tozer)

A great company of evangelical churches have already gone over into the area of religious entertainment, so that many churches are tramping on the doorstep of the theater!

The tragic results of this spirit are all about us:
shallow lives,
hollow religious philosophies,
the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings,
the glorification of men,
trust in religious externalities,
quasi-religious fellowships,
salesmanship methods,
the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit.

These and such as these, are the symptoms of an evil disease–a deep and serious malady of the soul.

Religious entertainment has so corrupted the Church, that millions don’t know that it’s a heresy. Millions of evangelicals throughout the world have devoted themselves to religious entertainment. They don’t know that it’s as much heresy, as the “counting of beads” or the “splashing of holy water” or something else. To expose this, of course, raises a storm of angry protest among the people.

Isn’t there a difference between worship and entertainment?

The church that can’t worship, must be entertained. And men who can’t lead a church to worship, must provide the entertainment. That is why we have the great evangelical heresy here today–the heresy of religious entertainment!

From such love ‚ÄĒ may I ever be delivered!

From such love ‚ÄĒ may I ever be delivered!

(J.C. Ryle, “Christian Love” 1878)

Christian love does not consist in approving everybody’s religious opinions. Here is another most serious and growing delusion. There are many who pride themselves on never pronouncing others mistaken ‚ÄĒ whatever views they may hold. Your neighbor may be an Atheist, or a Buddhist, or a Roman Catholic, or a Mormonite, a Deist, or a Skeptic, a mere Formalist, or a thorough Antinomian. But the “love” of many says that you have no right to think him wrong! “If he is sincere ‚ÄĒ then it is uncharitable to think unfavorably of his spiritual condition!”

From such love ‚ÄĒ may I ever be delivered!

At this rate, the Apostles were wrong in going out to preach to the Gentiles!

At this rate, there is no use in missions!

At this rate, we had better close our Bibles, and shut up our churches!

At this rate, everybody is right ‚ÄĒ and nobody is wrong!

At this rate, everybody is going to Heaven ‚ÄĒ and nobody is going to Hell!

Such love is a monstrous caricature! To say that all are equally right in their opinions ‚ÄĒ though their opinions flatly contradict one another; to say that all are equally in the way to Heaven ‚ÄĒ though their doctrinal sentiments are as opposite as black and white ‚ÄĒ this is not Scriptural love. Love like this pours contempt on the Bible, and talks as if God had not given us a written standard of truth. Love like this, confuses all our notions of Heaven, and would fill it with a discordant inharmonious rabble.

True love does not think everybody right in doctrine. True love cries, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world!” 1 John 4:1. “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching ‚ÄĒ do not take him into your house or welcome him!” 2 John 1:10

The God of contemporary Christianity!

The God of contemporary Christianity!

(A.W. Tozer)

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

The God of contemporary Christianity is only slightly superior to the pagan gods of ancient Greece and Rome–if indeed He is not actually inferior to them, in that He is weak and helpless–while they at least had some imagined power.

Among the sins to which the human heart is prone, hardly any other is more hateful to God than idolatry; for idolatry is at bottom a libel on His character. The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is–in itself a monstrous sin–and substitutes for the true God, one made after its own likeness. Always this god will conform to the image of the one who created it–and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges.

The essence of idolatry, is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow–they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God–and acts as if they were true.

If we insist upon trying to imagine Him–we end with an idol, made not with hands but with thoughts. And an idol of the mind, is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand!

Before a Christian Church goes into a decline, there must first be a corrupting of her Scriptural thoughts of God. She simply gives a wrong answer to the question, “What is God like?”–and goes downhill from there. Though she may continue to cling to a sound nominal creed–her practical working creed has become false. The masses of her adherents come to believe that God is different from what He actually is–and that is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind!

The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God, until it is once more worthy of Him–and of her!

One year nearer to Heaven–or nearer to Hell!

(Arthur Pink, “Studies in the Scriptures” January, 1926)

Another year has passed away–gone into eternity with all its sad and glad records.

Sad, because of our sins and our failures–all of which have been observed and recorded by the All-seeing eye!
Sad, because numbers who “did run well”–do so no longer.

Glad, because of the “goodness and mercy” which have surely followed us day by day.
Glad, because . . .
weak ones have been strengthened,
sorrowing ones have been comforted, and
hungry ones have been fed with the Bread of Life.

How is it with you–progression or regression?

One thing is certain–January, 1926 finds you one year nearer to Heaven–or nearer to Hell!

Reader! You have entered this New Year, either accepted in God’s Beloved–or under God’s holy wrath! How unspeakably solemn are the alternatives!

To any unsaved reader who scans these lines, we would say: You have commenced this year on earth–and you may end it in Hell, where a ray of hope never enters. “Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace. Thereby good will come to you.” Job 22:21

To the Christian–not to the professing one, but the the genuine believer–we would say: What a bright hope is yours! How precious is the thought, that before 1926 ends, you may be “forever with the Lord!” The bud of promise–may burst into the full fruit of unspeakable bliss! The springtime of faith and hope–may give place to the unending summertime of blessedness and eternal glory.

Since this is the case, let us be reminded of our solemn responsibility at the dawn of another year . . .
to yield ourselves afresh to God,
to seek His face with full purpose of heart,
to supplicate Him for new supplies of grace–
that we may serve Him as never before!

“The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Romans 13:11-12

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

She left her heart behind her!

“Remember Lot’s wife!” Luke 17:32

We should observe in these verses–what a solemn warning our Lord gives us against unsound profession.

Lot’s wife went far in religious profession. She was the wife of a “righteous man.” She was connected through him with Abraham, the father of the faithful. She fled with her husband from Sodom, in the day when he escaped for his life by God’s command.

But Lot’s wife was not really like her husband. Though she fled with him–she left her heart behind her! She willfully disobeyed the strict injunction which the angel had laid upon her. She looked back towards Sodom–and was at once struck dead! She was turned into a pillar of salt, and perished in her sins! Remember her–says our Lord, “Remember Lot’s wife!”

Lot’s wife is meant to be a beacon and a warning to all professing Christians. It may be feared that many will be found like her, in the day of Christ’s second coming. There are many in the present day, who go a certain length in religion. They speak the “language of Canaan.” They use all the outward ordinances of religion. But all this time, their souls are not right in the sight of God. The world is in their hearts–and their hearts are in the world. And by and bye, in the day of sifting–their unsoundness will be exposed. Their Christianity will prove rotten at the core! The case of Lot’s wife will not stand alone.

Let us remember Lot’s wife, and resolve to be real in our religion. Let us never rest until we have the true grace of God in our hearts–and have no desire to look back to the world.

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

There has been too much trifling with Jehovah!

There has been too much trifling with Jehovah!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer is a precious privilege to be enjoyed

Prayer is a precious privilege to be enjoyed

(Octavius Winslow, “Evening Thoughts”)

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

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

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

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

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

Cease to pray, and . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

O may we be given grace . . .

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

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

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

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

Nothing Could Be More Arrogant

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

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

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

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

(J.C. Ryle, 1884)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love Joy Balance

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go. -Rumi

A New Life

Thoughts On Lessons Learned

Perfect Chaos

God's Perfect Purpose in a Chaotic World

TESSEROLOGY

A MOSAIC OF BITS AND PIECES ON TRAVEL, LIFE AND TIMES

Tri Fatherhood

The gentle art of balancing marriage, parenting, and triathlon

paytej

Let's seek the truth. Let's share in Christ.

take a walk

when Jesus meets me in the park

PASSIONATE CREATIVE CHRISTIAN

inspirationalmindsurges

Paul's Redemption

My recovery from obesity and mental illness

%d bloggers like this: