Tag Archives: Church Quotes

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

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

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

One blessing after another!

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One blessing after another!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“From the fullness of His grace we have all received¬†one blessing after another!¬†John 1:16¬†

Our Lord Jesus is ever giving–and does not for a solitary instant withdraw His hand.¬†
As long as there is a vessel of grace not yet full to the brim–the oil shall not be stopped.¬†

He is a sun ever-shining. 
He is manna always falling round the camp. 
He is a rock in the desert, ever sending out streams of life from His smitten side. 
The rain of His grace is always dropping. 
The river of His bounty is ever-flowing. 
The well-spring of His love is constantly overflowing. 

As our King can never die–so His grace can never fail.¬†

Daily we pluck His fruit, and daily His branches bend down to our hand with a fresh store of mercy. 

Who has ever returned from His door, unblessed?
Who has ever risen from His table, unsatisfied? 
Who has ever come from His bosom, un-imparadised? 
His mercies are new every morning–and fresh every evening.¬†

Who can know the number of His benefits, or recount His infinite bounties? 

Every sand which drops from the glass of time–is but the tardy follower of a myriad of mercies. The wings of our hours are covered with the silver of His kindness, and with the yellow gold of His affection. The¬†river of time¬†bears from the¬†mountains of eternity–the¬†golden sands of His favor.¬†

Who can count the¬†dust of the benefits¬†which He bestows on His redeemed people, or number of His mercies towards us? How shall my soul extol Him–who daily loads us with benefits, and who crowns us with loving-kindness?¬†

O that my praise could be as ceaseless as His bounty! O miserable tongue, how can you be silent? 

“Praise the Lord, O my soul!¬†Do not forget all of¬†His¬†benefits!”¬†Psalm 103:2¬†

With God for your portion!

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With God for your portion!

(Charles Spurgeon)

You are my portion, O Lord.” Psalm 119:57¬†

Look at your possessions, O believer–and compare your portion with the lot of your fellow men.¬†

Some of them have their portion in the field; they are rich, and their harvests yield them a golden increase. But what are harvests compared with your God, who is the God of harvests? What are bursting granaries compared with Him, who is the heavenly Gardener, and feeds you with the bread of heaven? 

Some have their portion in the city; their¬†wealth¬†is abundant, and flows to them in constant streams, until they become a very reservoir of gold. But what is¬†gold¬†compared with your¬†God?¬†You could not live on it; your spiritual life could not be sustained by it. Put gold on a troubled conscience–and could it allay its pangs? Apply it to a desponding heart–and see if it could relieve a solitary groan, or give one grief the less? But you have God, and in Him you have more than gold or riches ever could buy!¬†

Some have their portion in that which most men love–applause and¬†fame. But ask yourself: Is not your God more to you than that? What if a myriad trumpets should be loud in your applause–would this prepare you to pass the Jordan of death, or cheer you in prospect of the final judgment? No! there are griefs in life which fame and wealth cannot alleviate; and there is the deep need of a dying hour, for which no riches can provide.¬†

But when you have God for your portion, you have more than all else put together. 
In Him every need is met, whether in life or in death. 
With God for your portion you are rich indeed, for He will . . .
  supply your real needs,
  comfort your desponding heart,
  assuage your deepest grief,
  guide your steps wisely, 
  be with you in the dark valley of death,
and then take you home to Heaven, to enjoy Him as your portion forever! 

“My flesh and my heart may fail,¬†but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!”¬†Psalm 73:26¬†

Let us beware of the love of money!

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Let us beware of the love of money! 

(J.C. Ryle)

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21¬†

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God!” Mark 10:25¬†

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10¬†

Let us beware of the love of money! It is possible to use money well, and do good with it. But for each one who makes a right use of money, there are thousands who make a wrong use of it, and do harm both to themselves and others. 

Let the worldly man, if he will, make an idol of money, and count him happiest who has most of it. 

But let the Christian, who professes to have “treasure in Heaven,” set his face like a flint against the spirit of the world in this matter. Let him not worship gold. He is not the best man in God’s eyes who has most money, but he who has most grace and likeness to Jesus.

“Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.” Proverbs 30:8¬†

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said: Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5¬†

We need the teaching of the Great Expositor!

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We need the teaching of the Great Expositor!

(“Every Day!” Author unknown, 1872)

“Lead me in Your truth–and teach me!” Psalm 25:5

What a mercy it is, in the midst of prevailing errors, to possess the truth of God–the sure word of His testimony–the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. May we read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the truth–that we may find it profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and instruction in righteousness.¬†

Too frequently the Word of God is read with little profit, because it is read with little prayer. We need Divine illumination! We need the teaching of the Great Expositor, in order rightly to understand the Word of God, and to receive it in the love of it. 

May the prayer of the psalmist be my prayer: “Lead me in Your truth–and teach me!”¬†

Lead me into the¬†knowledge¬†and¬†experience¬†of it–let it dwell in my heart, and influence my life.¬†

Lead me into the¬†enjoyment¬†of it–may I find Your Word, and eat it; may it be sweet to my taste, yes, sweeter than honey–than honey from the comb.¬†

And lead me into the¬†practice¬†of it–may my ways be directed to keep Your statutes, and may I be a living epistle, read and known by all men.

May Your Word come to me with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction!

“When He, the Spirit of truth, comes–He will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13¬†

He who trifles with it is a fool!

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He who trifles with it is a fool!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To every¬†sense–death is revolting!

To every¬†social affection–death is harrowing!

To¬†reason–death is perplexing!

To everything but saving faith–death is overwhelming!

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

The more I see of Jesus

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The more I see of Jesus

(Mary Winslow)

“My ears had¬†heard¬†of You, but now my eyes have¬†seen¬†You! Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6¬†

The more I see of Jesus, the more He opens to me His loving heart–the deeper is my sorrow for sin. I lie down in the dust at His feet closer than ever I did before. I can truly say I abhor myself in dust and ashes before Him. My heart seems ready to melt into contrition in view of the ten thousand thousand sins, willful and aggravating–that I have committed against Him who loved me with an everlasting love, and with loving kindness drew me to Himself.¬†

So eternal and deep, so sovereign and boundless is the love of Jesus, that angels cannot fathom it! He is nothing but sincere, constant, and unabating love–to the weakest, the most unworthy of all His little flock.¬†

I feel such a weariness of this world that nothing here gives me anything more than a momentary, passing pleasure–and it is gone at a glance.

Oh, to have such a Friend as Jesus, who feels all our sorrows, carries all our burdens, and has promised to bring us safely through this trying world, and place us at last at His own right hand, where neither sickness nor sorrow shall ever come!

Oh for Heaven! Nothing else will satisfy my longing soul, but the sight of Him it loves.

Jesus is all in all to me, and He will be all in all through eternity!

Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name! 

   ~  ~  ~  ~ 

For those who desire additional devotional reading, here is an uplifting short article by¬†J.R. Miller, “Heavenly Worship”¬†

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

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

(William Booth, 1829-1916)

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

We have seen such a tragic repetition of it in our own days

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We have seen such a tragic repetition of it in our own days

(Arthur Pink)

“With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves to their own destruction!” Hosea 8:4¬†

Sad indeed is the above passage–and the more so, because¬†we have seen such a tragic repetition of it in our own days.¬†

Oh what earthly-mindedness, what indulging of the flesh, what sinful extravagance–are now seen among professing Christians today!

How practical godliness has waned; 
how the denying of self has disappeared; 
how covetousness, pleasure and worldliness now possess the great majority of those calling themselves the people of God. 

Yet as great as the sin of the people is–far greater is that of most of the preachers, who, instead of warning, admonishing, rebuking, and setting before their people an example of sobriety and contentment–criminally remain silent upon the crying sins of their hearers, while they themselves encourage the reckless indulgence of worldly lusts.

The worldling’s Bible!

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The worldling’s Bible!

(Charles Spurgeon)

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16¬†

The worldling’s Bible¬†is the Christian. He never reads the Book–but he reads the disciple of Christ, and he judges the Christian religion by the lives of its professors!¬†

The world does not read the Bible–the world reads Christians!

“For it is God’s will that by doing good, you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men!” 1 Peter 2:15¬†

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:1-2

God would be voted out of the world!

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God would be voted out of the world!

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

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

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

“Haters of God.” Romans 1:30

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do not pay too dear for a feast for worms!

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Do not pay too dear for a feast for worms!

(Richard Baxter, “Directions against Gluttony“)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sympathy of Christ!

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The Sympathy of Christ!

(Francis Bourdillon)

“We do not have a high priest who is unable to¬†sympathize¬†with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are” Hebrews 4:15

In all our infirmities and troubles of every kind–in pain and sickness, in poverty and need, in anxiety and grief–Jesus has a sympathetic heart for us. Is not this comforting? Does it not cheer us in a time of suffering, when some kind friend comes in and sits down beside us and shows most plainly that though he is unable to help us, he does sincerely feel for us? How much more cheering it is to know that Jesus in Heaven sympathizes with us in all our troubles here below! Does not this thought, this blessed truth–take the edge off the sharpest suffering, and lift us for the time above our sorrows?¬†

Jesus Christ Himself was afflicted when He was on earth. He is called a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. No sorrows were ever equal to His. We know that He was tired and hungry and sad. He was besides, the poorest of the poor–He had nowhere to lay His head. He led what would be called a very hard life.¬†

Our greatest sufferings are light when compared with His. He had some afflictions which we cannot fully understand, as when He prayed in the garden, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me!” And as when He cried upon the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!”¬†¬†

He can sympathize with the poor–because He was poor Himself.¬†
He can sympathize with the sad–because He was a man of sorrows.¬†
He can sympathize with all who suffer–because His own sufferings were so many and so great.¬†

He was tempted; He was tried; He was afflicted; He went through what we have to go through–and much more. In this very world in which we live now–He lived and suffered; and therefore He can and does sympathize with His suffering people.¬†

“He was despised and rejected by men–a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces–He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows–yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace, was upon Him–and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3-5

Wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!

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Wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!

(Francis Bourdillon, 1864)

There is One who knows just what we are. The Lord Jesus Christ says, “I know your works!” His eye is always upon us. He knows us exactly as we are–each one of us. Mere profession does not deceive Him. Mere head knowledge does not pass with Him for repentance, faith, and holiness. He knows our hearts–and He knows our lives.¬†

The mockery of an empty profession, 
the mere pretense of a religion that is all in the head or on the lips, 
the unhumbled heart, 
the coldness, the hardness, the lack of faith and gratitude and love
–He knows them all!

“You do not realize that you are¬†wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!” Revelation 3:17

The very first lesson we must learn–is what we¬†are.¬†

What are we, then? Just what the Laodiceans were, but did not know themselves to be: “Wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!”¬†

What–all¬†of us?¬†
Yes–all¬†of us!

We are “wretched,” for we are in great misery and danger–and all the more wretched because we do not know it.¬†

We are “miserable,” worthy to be pitied, even while we flatter ourselves that all is well with us, for we are but deceiving ourselves.

We are “poor,” for we have no spiritual wealth–no supply whatever for the needs of our souls.

We are “blind,” ignorant of our own hearts–ignorant of God–ignorant of truth and of the way of life.¬†

We are “naked,” with no righteousness of our own in which we can appear–no covering, no defense, no refuge.

We are all this–and, worst of all,¬†we do not know it!¬†If we knew it and bewailed it–then our case would not be so bad. In other words, if we knew ourselves to be sinners–then it might be hoped that we would seek the Savior of sinners. But we shall never seek Him–until we feel our¬†need¬†of Him!

Because the Lord loves you

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Because the Lord loves you

(Letters of John Newton)

“For the Lord disciplines the one He¬†loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6¬†

“Those whom I¬†love¬†I rebuke and discipline.” Revelation 3:19¬†

My Dear Friend,
Because the Lord loves you–He appoints trials for you. Like most effectual medicines, they are neither pleasant to the taste nor in their operation, when first taken–but afterwards they yield a harvest of righteousness and peace. He sends them not for His own pleasure, but for our profit.¬†

He could relieve you in a moment, but He does not. The plain inference is, that it is good, it is best for us to be afflicted!

I have had my trials, and I can from experience bear testimony to His all-sufficiency and faithfulness. 

He does all things well. How can He who is infinitely wise and good, do otherwise?

“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those He¬†loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:11-12¬†

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!

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Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!

(Octavius Winslow)

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith!”

We cannot keep our eyes too exclusively or too intently fixed on Jesus. 

All salvation is in Him. 
All salvation proceeds from Him. 
All salvation leads to Him. 
And for the assurance and comfort of our salvation, we are to repose believingly and entirely on Him. 

Christ must be all! 
Christ the beginning, 
Christ the center, 
Christ the end. 

Oh sweet truth to you who are sensible of your poverty, vileness, and insufficiency, and of the ten thousand flaws and failures of which, perhaps, no one is cognizant but God and your own soul! 

Oh the blessedness–to turn from self, and rest in Christ:¬†
  a full Christ, 
  a loving Christ, 
  a tender Christ, 
whose heart’s love never chills,¬†
from whose eye darts no reproof, 
from whose lips breathes no sentence of condemnation! 

“He whose daily life is a fixing his eyes on Jesus, has heaven on his way to heaven!”¬†Henry Law

“And when Christ, who is your life, appears–then you also will appear with Him in glory!” Colossians 3:4¬†

Here we see what is in every human heart by nature!

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Here we see what is in every human heart by nature!

(Don Fortner)

“What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked.¬†
They shouted back,¬†“Crucify Him!”¬†Matthew 27:22¬†

Oh, what a revelation of man the cross is! 
Man hating God, and hating Him most when God displayed His love most fully. 
Man acting like the devil, taking Satan’s side against God!¬†

Yes, the cross was a public declaration of man’s hatred for God and His Son.¬†

The cross is proud man spitting in God’s face and saying, “I am holy. I need no Savior. To Hell with God and His Son!”¬†

Our Savior asked,¬†“What do you think you of Christ?”¬†
Man’s answer was,¬†“Crucify Him!”¬†

Man’s heart, his hands, his tongue all combine to scream out hatred for God and His Son.¬†

Calvary’s hill displays man’s utter hatred for God!

How deep, bitter, universal, and vile is the hatred of the human heart for God! Oh, how fallen man hates God! 

The arrest, the scourging, the mockery, the spitting, the smiting, the cries, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”, the wagging the heads, the cruel nails, the thieves’ railing–everything was but¬†the outpouring of man’s utter hatred for God.¬†

Here we see what is in every human heart by nature!

Man declared his heart, in the crucifixion of God’s darling Son.

God seems to have said, “Vent the feelings of your heart.” And he did, taking God by the throat, as it were, man snatched the only begotten Son from His Father’s heart and crucified Him with hellish delight.

Reckoning the death of the cross the worst of all deaths, man said, “This is the best way to show my contempt for God. This is exactly what I think of the Son of God!” Thus, the enmity of the natural heart speaks out, and man not only confesses publicly that he is a hater of God, but he takes pains to show the intensity of his hatred.¬†

The cross interprets what is in man’s heart.¬†

The cross rips the mask of pretended religion off of the face of our race. 

The cross of Christ exhibits man’s heart as a cesspool overflowing with the malignity of Hell.¬†

Brethren, we have two faults

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Brethren, we have two faults

(Charles Spurgeon)

Brethren, we have two faults
: 

   1. We do not think God to be as great as He is. (His transcendence)
   2. We do not think God can be as little as He can be. (His immanence)

We err on both sides. We neither know the height of His glory–nor the depth of His grace!

He who counts the brilliant¬†stars–also numbers the very¬†hairs¬†of our head!¬†
He never fails to hear the heart-lispings of His redeemed people.

I dare say that we think that we magnify Him, but in reality we belittle Him with our highest thoughts.

When the bird of thought was let go!

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When the bird of thought was let go!

(A.W. Tozer)

Anyone who wishes to check on his true spiritual condition may do so, by noting what his voluntary thoughts have been over the last hours or days. 
What has he thought about, when free to think of whatever he pleased? 
Toward what has his inner heart turned, when it was free to turn wherever it desired?

When the¬†bird of thought¬†was let go, did it fly out like the¬†raven¬†to settle upon floating carcasses–or did it like the¬†dove¬†circle and return again to the ark of God?¬†

Such a test is easy to run, and if we are honest with ourselves–we can discover not only what we¬†are, but what we are going tobecome. We will soon be the sum of our voluntary thoughts!

Hang this question up in your houses!

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Hang this question up in your houses!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Whoever claims to live in Him, must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6¬†

Hang this question up in your houses,¬†“What would Jesus do?”¬†

And then think of another,¬†“How would Jesus do it?”¬†

For¬†what¬†Jesus would do, and¬†how¬†He would do it–will always stand as the best guide to us.

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

A statue of a stone lamb!

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A statue of a stone lamb!

(J.R. Miller)

“Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us!” 1 Corinthians 5:7¬†

On a little church in Germany stands a statue of a stone lamb, which has an interesting history. When some workmen were engaged on the roof of the building, one of them fell to the ground. His companions hastened down, expecting to find him dead. They were amazed, however, to see him unhurt. A lamb had been grazing just where he struck the ground, and falling upon it, the little creature was crushed to death, while the man himself escaped injury. He was so grateful for this wonderful deliverance, that he had a statue of the lamb carved in stone, and placed on the building as a memorial. The lamb saved his life, by dying in his place. 
 
In the same way, every saved soul can point to the Lamb of God, and say, “I am saved–because Jesus died in my stead!”¬†

What memorial have we set up to witness to our gratitude and love? 

“The Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me!” Galatians 2:20¬†

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain–to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:12¬†

You must keep the circus going!

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You must keep the circus going! 

(Ernest Reisinger)

Whatever means you use to get people into the church, is precisely what you must use to keep them.

If you get them with a ‘religious circus’ then¬†you must keep the circus going–you must keep up the entertainment.

If you get them with biblical preaching and teaching, then that will keep them and you will not need the entertainment. 

“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.” 2 Timothy 4:2-3¬†

A hazardous game!

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A hazardous game!

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

“Avoid every kind of evil!” 1 Thessalonians 5:22¬†

“If we play around the viper’s hole–it no wonder that we are bitten!”

An old proverb advises us not to play with sharp-edged tools, lest we cut our fingers. 

It is a sin to trifle with sin! If we must play, we had better find harmless toys! 

That evil which caused Christ a bloody death, is no fit theme for any man’s sport.¬†

Playing with wickedness is a hazardous game! Sooner or later, we will pluck the lion of sin by the beard, and we shall be torn in pieces! 

This is true of indulgence in strong drink: “Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!¬†In the end it bites like a snake, and poisons like a viper!”¬†

This is equally true of all other forms of evil, especially of the lusts of the flesh. Lewd words, soon lead to foul deeds. Yet such is the folly of men, that they run dreadful risks in sheer wantonness, as though vipers and cobras were fine playmates, and devils were merry-makers!

“Keep your servant from¬†deliberate sins!¬†Do not let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.” Psalm 19:13

Do not judge a minister . . .

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Do not judge a minister . . .

(Thomas Brooks, “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ!“)

“If you point these things out to the brethren, you will be¬†a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the¬†truths¬†of the faith and of the¬†good teaching¬†that you have followed.” 1 Timothy 4:6¬†

It is sad to see how many preachers in our days make it their business to enrich men’s¬†heads¬†with lofty, empty, airy notions–instead of enriching their¬†souls¬†with holy truths.¬†

Fix yourself under that man’s ministry who makes it his business, his work–to enrich the soul, to win the soul, and to build up the soul; not to tickle the ear, or please the fancy. This age is full of such light, vain souls–who dislike everything but what is empty and airy.

Do not judge a minister . . .
  by his voice, nor
  by the multitude who follow him, nor
  by his affected tone, nor
  by his rhetoric and flashes of wit;
but by the holiness, heavenliness, and spiritualness of his teaching! 
Many ministers are like empty orators, who have a¬†flood¬†of words–but a¬†drop¬†of matter!

Some preachers affect rhetorical strains; they seek abstrusities and love to hover and soar aloft in dark and cloudy expressions, and so shoot their arrows over their hearers’ heads–instead of bettering their hearers’ hearts.¬†

Mirthful things in a sermon are only for men to gaze upon and admire. 

He is the best preacher, not who tickles the ear–but who breaks the heart!


“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power!” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

A diligent pupil in the College of Contentment

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A diligent pupil in the College of Contentment 

(Charles Spurgeon)

“I have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be¬†content.” Philippians 4:11¬†

These words show us that contentment is not a¬†natural propensity¬†of man. Grumbling, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man–as weeds are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and weeds; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth. Just so, we need not teach men to¬†complain; they complain fast enough without any education.¬†

“Ill weeds grow quickly.” But the precious¬†things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have¬†wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want¬†flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener’s care.¬†

Now,¬†contentment¬†is one of the¬†flowers of Heaven, and if we would have it–then it must be cultivated, as it will not grow in us by nature. It is the new nature alone which can produce contentment–and even then we must be especially careful and watchful, that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us.¬†

Paul says, “I have learned… to be content;” as much as to say, that he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mastery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, “I have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be content,” he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave–a poor prisoner shut up in Nero’s dungeon at Rome.

We might well be willing to endure Paul’s infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him–if we too might by any means attain unto his high degree of contentment. Do not indulge the notion that you can learn contentment without discipline. It is not an ability that may be exercised naturally–but a grace to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be–and continue¬†a diligent pupil in the College of Contentment.

The blessed man!

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The blessed man!

(James Smith, “Comfort for Christians!”)

Blessed¬†is the man You¬†chasten, O Lord–the man You¬†teach¬†from Your law!” Psalm 94:12¬†¬†¬†
    
The chastenings of the Lord¬†often appear severe–but they are¬†merciful. They . . .
  correct our follies,
  subdue our proud wills, and
  soften and humble our hard hearts before Him.

When God¬†chastens–He¬†teaches. The¬†lessons¬†are found in His Word–but we never learn many of them, until we go through the¬†furnace of affliction!¬†We often learn more truth from one short, sharp affliction–than we do from many books and sermons!

In affliction, God teaches us . . .
  our own emptiness and vanity,
  our dependence on Himself, and
  the insufficiency of all our earthly things! 

In affliction, God . . .
  endears the Lord Jesus and His great salvation to us;
  shows us the value of the provision of grace;
  makes our consciences tender and honest; 
  qualifies us for usefulness on earth; and
  fits us for the enjoyment of Himself in Heaven.

We¬†need¬†chastening. If we do not receive it–we become . . .
  carnal and worldly,
  light and trifling,
  unsavory and useless in both the world and the church! 

It is a blessed thing to be chastened of the Lord, especially when the rod teaches us such important and invaluable lessons! Chastened Christians are generally the most useful and attractive Christians. 

“Heed the¬†rod–and the One who appointed it!” Micah 6:9¬†
Chastened Christian! Seek grace . . .
  to bear the rod, 
  to bless the rod, and 
  to kiss the hand that holds the rod!

Blessed¬†is the man whom God¬†corrects–so do not despise¬†the chastening of the Almighty!” Job 5:17

O for a spirit of habitual prayer!

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O for a spirit of habitual prayer!

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

“But I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress–and He hears my voice!” Psalm 55:16-17¬†

The well taught Christian carries everything to God–and in so doing, obtains relief, enjoys peace, and grows in grace.¬†
For all that we¬†need–we should call upon God.¬†
And from all that we¬†fear–we should flee unto God.¬†

At the close of every day, it is our mercy to call upon the Lord.
We must make confession of sin–and obtain pardon.¬†
We must carry to Him our burdens–and obtain relief.¬†
We must tell out before Him our needs–and obtain a supply.

Oh, how precious it is to go to the Lord at the close of each day, and tell Him all that has . . .
  vexed us,
  grieved us,
  cast us down, or
  disquieted our spirits! 

And how blessed to go to him each morning, and seek grace to live holily and happily through the day! 

Nor is it less blessed to have a few minutes with God at¬†noon–breaking, as it were, the day in two, and keeping short accounts with God.¬†

O for a spirit of habitual prayer
, that at evening, and at morning, and at noon–we may pray, and cry aloud to God!¬†

If we were more with the Lord in prayer, we would have . . .
  more strength to carry our crosses,
  more patience to bear our troubles,
¬† and more¬†comfort¬†amidst life’s sorrows.¬†

Holy Spirit, take up your residence in my heart as a Spirit of prayer, and lead me daily, hourly, yes, very often–to the mercy-seat. Let me find the hours of prayer to be precious seasons. And especially at eventide, when worn and exhausted with the toils and troubles of the day–let me find sweet solace and refreshment in pouring out my soul unto God.¬†

Precious Lord Jesus, draw our souls to You evening by evening, and lead us into the presence of Your Father, that we may have sweet and hallowed fellowship with God! Let our devotions ascend as sweet incense to God.


They seek to banish such a God from their thoughts!

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They seek to banish such a God from their thoughts!

(Arthur Pink)

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

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

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

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

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

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

His mercy is a boundless, fathomless, endless ocean!

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His mercy is a boundless, fathomless, endless ocean!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

We need to be on our guard against Solomonian religion!

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We need to be on our guard against Solomonian religion!

(J.R. Miller)

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

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

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

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

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

What a farce it all is!

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What a farce it all is!

(Arthur Pink)

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

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

What a farce it all is!

What is most needed today!

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What is most needed today!

(Arthur Pink)

It is my deepening conviction that what is most needed today is a wide proclamation of those Scripture truths which are the least acceptable to the flesh.

What is needed today, is a scriptural setting forth of the character of God:
   His absolute sovereignty,
   His ineffable holiness,
   His inflexible justice,
   His unchanging veracity.

What is needed today, is a scriptural setting forth of the condition of the natural man:
   his total depravity,
   his spiritual insensibility,
   his inveterate hostility to God,
¬†¬† the fact that he is “condemned already,” and
   that the wrath of a sin-hating God is even now abiding upon him!

What is needed today,¬†is a scriptural setting forth of the¬†alarming danger which sinners are in–the indescribably awful doom which awaits them; and the fact that if they follow their present course only a little further, they shall most certainly suffer the due penalty of their iniquities!

What is needed today, is a scriptural setting forth of the nature of that dreadful punishment which awaits the lost:
   the dreadfulness of it,
   the hopelessness of it,
   the unendurableness of it,
   and the endlessness of it! 

All life’s tangles!

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All life’s tangles!

(J.R. Miller)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overcoming the world!

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Overcoming the world!

(Arthur Pink, “Faith as an Overcomer“)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go dogs, and eat the garbage!

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Go dogs, and eat the garbage! 

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

Worldly amusements are fit food for pretenders and hypocrites. 

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

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

This good, old couple!

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This good, old couple!

(J.R. Miller)

“They were both¬†righteous before God–walking in all the¬†commandments¬†and ordinances of the Lord.” Luke 1:6

It is a beautiful thing which we read of¬†this good, old couple, Zacharias and Elisabeth–that they were righteous¬†before God. Some people¬†appear to men¬†to be righteous–who before God have no such record.¬†

Real character is what our hearts are–our hearts make us. We ought not to be satisfied only doing well, the things which¬†men¬†can see. We ought to work and live ever for¬†God’s eye.¬†

Sometimes we say that it is does not matter how we do certain things, because nobody will see them. But we should remember thatGod¬†will see them–and surely we should never do careless, faulty work for His eye.

The word “commandments” suggests that the holiness of these people was of a very¬†practical¬†kind.¬†

Some people’s religion is chiefly¬†emotional. They¬†talk¬†about loving God–but they pay little heed to His commandments.¬†

God is pleased with ardent devotions, but He wants us to prove our religion by obedience–doing the things which He gives us to do.

Harder to tame than wild beasts!

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Harder to tame than wild beasts!

(J.R. Miller)

“The¬†tongue¬†has the power of life and death!” Proverbs 18:21¬†

“The¬†tongue¬†also is a fire, a¬†world of evil¬†among the parts of the body. It¬†corrupts¬†the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by Hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man–but no man can tame the tongue.¬†It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison!”¬†James 3:6-8¬†

The tongue is a very¬†troublesome¬†member! It is a very¬†important¬†member, however–and with it we can do great good.

Our words, if they are true and loving–carry blessings wherever they are heard. But the tongue is hard to control. When we have really gotten our tongue under control–we are almost perfect. One who can govern his speech–can govern every other part of his life.

A¬†small bit¬†keeps a spirited horse in check–and a¬†little rudder¬†turns a great ship in its course. Just so the tongue, though so small a member, controls the whole life!¬†

The tongue is¬†harder to tame than wild beasts!¬†There has been but one Man who never spoke foolishly, rashly, bitterly. Jesus never did–His words were always pure, sweet, helpful, and inspiring.

We ought to set ourselves the task of¬†mastering our tongues–for then we can do untold good with them. Only Christ can help us to do it. He mastered everything–demons, diseases, winds, waves, death itself. He alone can help us to master the most unruly tongue!

Shall we refuse to give unto God’s children this valuable bread, merely because dogs snap at it!

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Shall we refuse to give unto God’s children this valuable bread, merely because dogs snap at it!

(Arthur Pink)

“Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad–in order that God’s purpose in¬†election¬†might stand: not by works but by him who calls–she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” Romans 9:10-13

We ask the reader–ought not the doctrine of¬†election¬†to be plainly and freely proclaimed?¬†

If God’s Word is full of it,¬†
if the gospel cannot be Scripturally preached without it, 
if the grace of God cannot be maintained when it is suppressed,
if the proclamation of it abases man into the dust, 
if it is a divinely appointed means of faith, 
if it is a powerful incentive unto the promotion of holiness, 
if it stirs up the spirit of praise in the soul, 
if it establishes the Christian in his eternal security, 
if it is such a source of stability to the child of God, 
if it supplies encouragement to praying souls,
if it works in us a sweet submission to the divine will–
then¬†shall we refuse to give unto God’s children this valuable bread, merely because dogs snap at it!
 
Shall we withhold from the¬†sheep¬†this vital ingredient of their food–simply because the¬†goats¬†cannot digest it!

Alas, how cold are our hearts, how trifling are our thoughts, how small is our zeal and love!

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Alas, how cold are our hearts, how trifling are our thoughts, how small is our zeal and love! 

(Francis Bourdillon, “We Need Stirring Up!” 1864)

“For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to¬†stir you up¬†by reminding you!” 2 Peter 1:12-13¬†

We need stirring up–not so much to be taught something new, as to be stirred up as to what we have learned already.¬†

Most of us have long ago been taught the facts and doctrines of the gospel. Probably we know them well. Perhaps we are even firmly “established in the present truth.” We have learned of¬†Heaven¬†and¬†Hell¬†and¬†eternity. We have been taught our lost estate as sinners, and that Jesus died for sinners–that His precious blood has atoned for sin, that He has opened the way for us to the throne of grace and to acceptance with God. We have heard of¬†death¬†and of¬†judgment–and of the uncertainty of life and the shortness of time. We have been told . . .
¬† of Satan’s devices,
  of the value of prayer,
  of the mercy and love of God in Christ,
  and of the work of the Spirit.

What is our spiritual state, after so much teaching?¬†Alas, how cold are our hearts, how trifling are our thoughts, how small is our zeal and love!¬†How little we have of deep sorrow for sin–and how little sincere faith in Jesus! Where are the fruits of the Spirit in us? Where is . . .
  that deep concern,
  that earnest desire,
  that prayerfulness,
  that watchfulness,
  that warmth of feeling,
¬† that pressing toward the mark–
which might be expected in those who have learned such things?

We need stirring up! 

We should stir ourselves up by the Word of God. 
Let us apply it to ourselves and take it as if addressed to us.
Let us not listen to it or read it carelessly–but as¬†the message of God to us!¬†
Let us not be¬†hearers¬†only–but¬†doers¬†of the Word . . .
¬† receiving it as God’s message,
  pondering it in our minds,
  applying it to ourselves,
  believing it, and
  striving to live by it!

Let us also pray for the¬†quickening influence of God’s Holy Spirit. This alone can really . . .
  stir the depths of our hearts,
  rouse us from spiritual sloth and 
  give us new earnestness and zeal!

Nothing more quickly or truly indicates an irreverent and undevout mind!

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Nothing more quickly or truly indicates an irreverent and undevout mind!

(Octavius Winslow)

“Our Father in Heaven, may Your name be kept holy.” Matthew 6:9

Nothing more quickly or truly indicates an irreverent and undevout mind, than¬†levity on sacred subjects. The individual who can provoke a smile, or indulge in a cleverness, or shape a witticism–at the expense of what is divine and sacred–is blasphemous indeed! He who can treat in a light manner any religious subject, who can turn the Bible into a jest-book, and intersperse secular conversation with religious phraseology or Scripture language in sport–will the great God hold such an irreverent and profane mind guiltless?

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain–for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain!” Exodus 20:7


Fanning the inextinguishable fire, and sharpening the tooth of the immortal worm!

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Fanning the inextinguishable fire, and sharpening the tooth of the immortal worm! 

(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

If you would learn the full extent of that wretchedness which sin produces--then you must follow it into the eternal world, and descend into those regions where peace and hope never come. There behold sin tyrannizing over its wretched victims with uncontrollable fury–fanning the inextinguishable fire, and sharpening the tooth of the immortal worm!

See angels and archangels, thrones and dominions, principalities and powers–stripped of all their original glory and beauty–bound in eternal chains, and burning with rage and malice against that Being in whose presence they once rejoiced, and whose praises they once sang!

See multitudes of the human race, in unutterable agonies of anguish and despair–cursing the Giver and Prolonger of their existence, and vainly wishing for annihilation to put an end to their miseries.¬†

Follow them through the long, long ages of eternity–and see them sinking deeper and deeper in the bottomless abyss of ruin! View them perpetually blaspheming God because of their plagues, and receiving the punishment of these blasphemies in continued additions to their wretchedness.¬†

Such are the wages of sin–such the doom of the finally impenitent!

From these depths of anguish and despair–look¬†up¬†to the mansions of the blessed, and see to what a height of glory and felicity, the grace of God will raise every sinner who repents. See those who are thus favored in unutterable ecstasies of joy, love, and praise–beholding God face to face, reflecting His perfect image, shining with a splendor like that of their glorious Redeemer, and¬†bathing in those rivers of pleasure¬†which flow forever at God’s right hand!¬†

Do you ask why He is angry?

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Do you ask why He is angry? 

I answer:

He is angry to see rational, immortal and accountable beings–spending twenty, forty, or sixty years in trifling and sin; serving numerous idols, lusts, and vanities, and living as if death were an eternal sleep!¬†

He is angry to see you forgetting your Maker in childhood, in youth, in manhood–and making no returns for all His benefits.

He is angry to see you casting off His fear and rebelling against Him–who has nourished and sustained you.¬†

He is angry to see you laying up treasures on earth–and not in Heaven.¬†

He is angry to see you seeking everything in preference to the one thing needful.

He is angry to see you loving the praise of men more than the praise of God; and fearing those who can only kill the body, more than Him who has power to cast both soul and body into Hell.

He is angry to see that you disregard alike His threatenings and His promises, His judgments and His mercies. 

He is angry that you bury in the earth the talents He has given you, and bring forth no fruit to His glory. 

He is angry that you neglect His Word and His Son, and perish in impenitency and unbelief.

These are sins of which every person, in an unconverted state, is guilty. And for these things God is angry–daily¬†angry,¬†greatlyand¬†justly¬†angry! And unless His anger is speedily appeased, it will most certainly prove your everlasting destruction!

He will sustain you!

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He will sustain you!

(J.R. Miller)

“Cast your burden upon the Lord–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–but that He will¬†sustain¬†us so that¬†we¬†may carry it.
He does not¬†free¬†us from the duty–but He¬†strengthens¬†us for it.
He does not¬†deliver¬†us from the conflict–but He enables us to¬†overcome.¬†
He does not withhold or withdraw the trial from us–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–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¬†

A clean path to Hell!

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A clean path to Hell!

(Charles Spurgeon)

Unbelief will destroy the best of us!

Faith will save the worst of us!

There is¬†a clean path to Hell–as well as a dirty one.¬†

You will be lost if you trust to your good works–as surely as if you trusted in your sins.¬†

There is a road to perdition along the ‘highway of morality’–as surely as down the ‘slough of vice’!¬†

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us!” Titus 3:5¬†

God washes and scours, trains and nurtures them!

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God washes and scours, trains and nurtures them!

(The Preacher’s Book)

Frankincense, when it is put into the¬†fire–gives off the greater perfume.¬†

Spice, if it is¬†pounded¬†and¬†beaten–smells the sweeter.¬†

The earth, when it is torn up with the¬†plough–becomes more fruitful.¬†

The seed in the ground, after¬†frost¬†and¬†snow¬†and¬†winter storms–grows the thicker.

The nearer the vine is¬†pruned¬†to the stock–the larger grapes it yields.

The grape, when it is most¬†pressed¬†and¬†beaten–makes the sweetest wine.

Linen, when it is¬†washed¬†and¬†wrung¬†and¬†beaten–is so made fairer and whiter.¬†

In the same way, the children of God receive great benefit by affliction–for by it¬†God washes and scours, trains and nurtures them.

“Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit!”¬†John 15:2¬†

Self-sins!

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Self-sins!

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be¬†lovers of themselves” 2 Timothy 3:1-2¬†

(A.W. Tozer)

We all have a number of self-sins:
  self-righteousness,
  self-pity,
  self-confidence,
  self-sufficiency,
  self-admiration,
  self-worth,
  self-love and 
  a host of others like them!
These self-sins are not something we¬†do, they are something we¬†are–and therein lies both their subtlety and their power. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures, to come to our attention–until the light of God is focused upon them.¬†

The grosser manifestations of these sins–egotism, pride, arrogance, self-elevation, self-promotion–are strangely tolerated in¬†Christian leaders, even in circles of impeccable orthodoxy! They are so much in evidence as actually, for many people, to become identified with the gospel. I trust that it is not a cynical observation to say that they appear these days to be a¬†requisite for popularity¬†in some sections of the¬† visible Church.¬†

Promoting¬†self¬†under the guise of promoting¬†Christ–is currently so common as to excite little notice!¬†

“They do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely” Philippians 1:17¬†

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

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

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

If you admit a pig into your parlor among your friends

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If you admit a pig into your parlor among your friends

(John Newton’s Letters)

“Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful–but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life!” Revelation 21:27

If we do not exactly know the¬†particulars¬†of what Heaven is–then we know to a certainty what it is¬†not. We are sure that it is not like earth–there are no ale-houses, gambling parlors, or theaters there.

How then could those whose hearts are set upon these things–possibly be happy even in Heaven, where they would be separated forever from all that they love?¬†Heaven must be a Hell¬†to an unhumbled, unsanctified sinner–even if he could be admitted there. The company, the employments, the enjoyments–are of the same kind with what he despised on earth.¬†If you admit a pig into your parlor among your friends–he would find no pleasure there. He would rather be in the sty, or wallowing in the mire in a ditch!¬†

Well, such were some of us–yes, such were¬†all¬†of us once! And you, my dear friends, though you were not¬†vile profligates¬†like me–you were carelessly swimming down the stream of the world, and, when upon the edge of the whirlpool which would have eternally swallowed you up–He snatched you with a strong hand, set your feet upon a rock, established your goings, and has put a new song in your mouth!¬†

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


WHY?

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WHY? 

(Horatius Bonar)  

“Do not love the world or anything in the world.”¬†1 John 2:15¬†

WHY?

1. Because the gain of it, is the loss of the soul–Matthew 16:25-26.¬†
  
2. Because its friendship is enmity to God–James 4:4.¬†
  
3. Because it did not know Christ–John 1:10; 17:25.¬†
  
4. Because it hates Christ–John 7:7; 15:18.¬†
  
5. Because the Holy Spirit has forbidden us–1 John 2:15.¬†
  
6. Because Christ did not pray for it–John 17:9.¬†
  
7. Because Christ’s people do not belong to it–John 17:16.¬†
  
8. Because its Prince is Satan–John 13:31; 16:11.¬†
  
9. Because Christ’s kingdom is not of it–John 18:36.¬†
  
10. Because its wisdom is foolishness–1 Corinthians 1:20.¬†
  
11. Because Christ does not belong to it–John 8:23.¬†
  
12. Because it is condemned–1 Corinthians 11:32.¬†
  
13. Because it is passing away–1 Corinthians 7:31.¬†
  
14. Because it slew Christ–James 5:6; Matthew 21:39.¬†
  
15. Because it is crucified to us–Galatians 6:14.¬†
  
16. Because we are crucified to it–Galatians 6:14.¬†
  
17. Because it is the seat of wickedness–2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 5:19.¬†
  
18. Because its god is the evil one–2 Corinthians 4:4.¬†

Nothing worse can happen to a Church!

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Nothing worse can happen to a Church!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Do not¬†conform¬†any longer to the pattern of this world–but be¬†transformed¬†by the renewing of your mind.”¬†Romans 12:2

Someone was asking, the other day, how it was that the church, nowadays, was not so separate from the world as it used to be. One who heard the question suggested that, possibly, the world had grown better; but another more truly said that, probably, the church had grown worse.

There are some, in these apostate days, who think that the church cannot do better than to come down to the world to learn her ways, follow her maxims, and acquire her “culture.” In fact, the notion is that the world is to be conquered by our¬†conformity¬†to it. This is as contrary to Scripture as the light is to the darkness!

Brethren, beloved in the Lord, you may depend upon it that¬†nothing worse can happen to a Church, than to be conformed unto this world! Write “Ichabod!” upon her walls, then–for the sentence of destruction has gone out against her.¬†

It will be an ill day for the church and the world when the proposed amalgamation shall be complete, and the sons of God and the daughters of men shall be as one–then shall another deluge of wrath be ushered in!

“Therefore come out from them and be¬†separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18

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