Tag Archives: Faith

Let us ever wear the garment of . . .

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Let us ever wear the garment of . . .

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

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

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

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

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


He shall save His people from their sins!

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He shall save His people from their sins!

(Frank Hall)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Our dim eyes cannot read the dark pages!

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Our dim eyes cannot read the dark pages!

(J.R. Miller)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These predominant sins!

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These predominant sins!

(J.A. James, 1785-1859)

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

(John Newton)

“Looking unto Jesus!”¬†Hebrews 12:2

Look unto the Lord Jesus Christ!

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

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

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

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

Holiness

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Holiness

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

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

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

Holiness is the work of the Spirit in our sanctification. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Not our home

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Not our home 

(David Harsha, “Immanuel’s Land”)¬†

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

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

Our path is rough, but the Savior sustains us. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Though we mourn, we must not murmur

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

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

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

(Frank Hall)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Frank Hall)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a pillow on which to rest your aching head

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What a pillow on which to rest your aching head 

(John MacDuff) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No burden too heavy will be laid on him. 

No sacrifice too great will be exacted from him. 

God will temper the wind to the shorn lamb. 

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

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

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

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

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

Broken people!

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Broken people! 

(Don Fortner)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why me, Lord?

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Why me, Lord? 

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

“By the grace of God I am what I am!”

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

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

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

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


Riches and Poverty!

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Riches and Poverty! 

(J.C. Ryle, “Riches and Poverty!“)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The plague of unsatisfiedness

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The plague of unsatisfiedness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No sin lays men under greater woes! 

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


Murder all his hearers at once!

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Murder all his hearers at once!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The dregs of old age!

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The dregs of old age!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The beauty and glory of a Christian!

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The beauty and glory of a Christian!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tears have a voice!

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Tears have a voice!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

(R.C. Sproul, “The Holiness of God”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

(Charles Spurgeon) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Walk in the Spirit!

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Walk in the Spirit!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Weaver!

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The Weaver!

(J.R. Miller)

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

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

The Weaver! 
(Author unknown)

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

(J.C. Ryle, “Heirs of God” 1878)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe!

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The ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe!

(John Piper)

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

Sin is . . .

  the glory of God not honored,

    the holiness of God not reverenced,

     the greatness of God not admired,

      the power of God not praised,

       the truth of God not sought,

        the wisdom of God not esteemed,

          the beauty of God not treasured,

            the goodness of God not savored,

              the faithfulness of God not trusted,

           the commandments of God not obeyed,

        the justice of God not respected,

      the wrath of God not feared,

    the grace of God not cherished,

  the presence of God not prized,

the person of God not loved.

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


The sum of my complaints amounts to this!

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The sum of my complaints amounts to this!

(Letters of John Newton)

“Oh, what a wretched man I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” Romans 7:24¬†

I see much daily cause for humiliation–whether I look backward or inward.¬†The sum of my complaints amounts to this–that I am a sick sinner, diseased in every part. I am burdened with a body of sin and death.¬†

But I have a little book, which I am enabled to believe is the sure Word of God. The doctrines and promises I meet with in it, which we call¬†the gospel, exactly suit my needs–and the temper and conduct it is designed to form, agrees with my leading desires.¬†

I was once far otherwise minded, and would doubtless have remained so–had not almighty power and sovereign mercy softened my heart. I would therefore praise Him for what he has done, and wait upon Him to do more, for I can do nothing for myself. In the mean time, instead of complaining–I would try to be thankful.¬†

If He has begun a good work, I dare not indulge a doubt of His carrying it on to completion. If He who is¬†the infallible Physician¬†has undertaken my case–I shall not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord!


Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?

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Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?

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(Samuel Davies, “The Preaching of Christ Crucified, the Means of Salvation”)

“Christ died for the ungodly!” Romans 5:6

In¬†the cross of Christ,¬†God’s hatred to sin¬†is manifested in the most striking light–and¬†the evil of sin¬†is exposed in the most dreadful colors! Now it appears, that such is the divine hatred against all sin, that God can by no means forgive sin, without punishment; and that all the infinite benevolence of His nature towards His creatures cannot prevail upon Him to pardon the least sin–without an adequate atonement.

Nay, now it appears that when so malignant and abominable a thing is but imputed to His dear Son, His co-equal, His darling, His favorite–that even He could not escape unpunished, but was made a¬†monument of vindictive justice¬†to all worlds!¬†

What can more strongly expose the evil of sin–than the cross of Christ?¬†Sin is such an intolerably malignant and abominable thing, that even a God of infinite mercy and grace cannot let the least instance of it pass unpunished!

It was not a small thing which could arm God’s justice against the Son of His love. Though He was perfectly innocent in Himself–yet when He was made sin for us–God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up unto death–the shameful, tormenting, and accursed death of the cross!

Go, you fools, who make a mock at sin! 
Go and learn its malignity and demerit–at the cross of Jesus!¬†

WHO is it that hangs there writhing in the agonies of death
 . . .
  His hands and feet pierced with nails,
  His side gashed with a spear,
  His face bruised with blows, 
  drenched with tears and blood,
  His heart melting like wax,
  His whole frame racked and disjointed,
  forsaken by His friends, and even by His Father,
  tempted by devils, 
  and insulted by men? 
Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?
 It is . . .
  Jesus, the eternal Word of God,
¬† God’s Elect, in whom His soul delights,
¬† God’s beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased!

And¬†WHAT¬†has He done?¬†He did no wickedness; He knew no sin–but was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.¬†

And WHY then, all these dreadful sufferings from Heaven, earth, and Hell? 
Why, He only stood in the law-place of sinners–He only received their sin by imputation.¬†
And you see what it has brought upon Him! 
You see how low it has reduced Him! 
What a horrid evil must that be–which has such tremendous consequences, even upon the Darling of Heaven!

Oh! what still more dreadful havoc would SIN have made, if it had been punished upon the sinner himself in his own person! Surely all the various miseries which have been inflicted upon our guilty world in all ages, and even all the punishments of Hell–do not so loudly proclaim the terrible¬†desert¬†and¬†malignity¬†of sin, as the cross of Christ!

The infinite malignity of sin and God’s hatred to it, appear nowhere in so striking and dreadful a light–as in the cross of Christ! Let a reasonable creature take but one serious view of that cross–and surely he must ever after tremble at the thought of the least sin!

An imaginary Christ will not bring a real salvation

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An imaginary Christ will not bring a real salvation

(J.I. Packer, “The Puritan View of Preaching the Gospel”)

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

If we do not preach about¬†sin¬†and God’s judgment on it, we cannot present Christ as Savior from sin and the wrath of God. And if we are silent about these things, and preach a Christ who saves only from the sorrows of this world–then we are not preaching the Christ of the Bible. We are, in effect bearing false witness, preaching a false Christ, and our message is another gospel. Such preaching may soothe some, but it will help nobody; for a Christ who is not seen and sought as a Savior from sin, will not be found to save from anything else.

An imaginary Christ will not bring a real salvation
; and a half-truth presented as the whole truth is a complete untruth.


He that has learned to feel his sins, and to trust Christ as his Savior, has learned the two hardest and greatest lessons in Christianity.

“He was delivered over to death for our¬†sins¬†and was raised to life for our justification.” Romans 4:25¬†

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

I desire that this may be the text at my funeral:

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I desire that this may be the text at my funeral:

The Aged Christian’s Final Farewell to the World and its Vanities” John Whitson, 1558-1629)

I desire that this may be the text at my funeral:¬†Psalm 42:2, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.¬†When can I go and meet with God?”¬†

Oh! when shall I ascend to the eternal throne of blessedness, where no comforts are lacking? 

When shall I be covered with the glorious robe of immortality, and shine in the brightness of my Redeemer’s innocence?¬†

When shall I behold the lovely face of my Lord and dwell in the courts of His holy temple, where . . .
  all tears shall be wiped away from my eyes,
  all sorrows removed from my heart,
  and all sins and spots are done away? 

Where I shall exchange the dross of this world, for true and durable riches! 

Where, instead of these¬†earthly riches¬†which moth and rust corrupt–I shall enjoy the heavenly riches of perfect peace and good conscience, never to be lost!¬†

Instead of these false and flattering honors, I shall enjoy everlasting glory, and be admitted into the fellowship of my Redeemer to reign with Him in His glorious kingdom! 

Instead of vain and momentary pleasures, I shall be filled with fullness of joy and be ravished with those delights which neither eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive! 

Instead of this dark and cloudy knowledge, I shall have my heart enlightened with the beams of the true light! 

Instead of this feeble strength, I shall be endowed with the might of angels! 

Instead of this transitory health, I shall enjoy a powerful and immortal vigor! 

Instead of this¬†fading beauty, I shall be adorned with the loveliness of Christ’s spouse!¬†

Instead of long life, I shall be crowned with life eternal! 

We shall sing, Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God almighty! Heaven and Earth are full of your glory. Glory be to You, O Lord, most High.

And now, as the deer pants for the water-brooks, so longs my soul after You, O God! 
O that I had wings like a dove, that I might fly away and be at rest!
For whom have I in Heaven but You–and who is there upon earth that I desire but You?¬†
My heart and my strength fail me, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever!

Depths, heights, lengths and breadths of loveliness!

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Depths, heights, lengths and breadths of loveliness!

(Cornelius Tyree, “The Glorious Sufficiency of Christ!” 1879)

The more we love Him, the more lovely He will become to us.

We soon exhaust the most excellent characters of earth. But in the character of our blessed Redeemer there are¬†depths, heights, lengths and breadths of loveliness¬†that we can never exhaust through time or eternity. After, in Heaven, we shall have seen the King in His beauty as many millions of years as there are grains of dust in our globe–there will still be in Him an infinitude of unrevealed beauties to transport our ever expanding souls.

“He is fairer than the children of men,” and infinitely more lovely than all the holy angels, comprising in Himself all the graces of time and all the perfections of eternity.¬†

“He is the chief among ten thousand! Yes, He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend!” As every ray of light in the natural world may be traced up in converging rays to the sun–so every trait of moral loveliness found in good men and angels is but a feeble ray from Him, the sun of the moral universe.¬†

The school of spiritual knowledge

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The school of spiritual knowledge

(Octavius Winslow, “Trial, A Help Heavenward“)

The school of trial is the school of spiritual knowledge. 

“Blessed is the man whom You¬†chasten, O Lord; and¬†teach¬†out of Your law.”¬†
Oh yes, in severe trials we learn more of . . .
¬† God’s¬†power¬†to support us,¬†
  His wisdom to guide us, 
  His love to comfort us, 
  in a degree we could not have learned but in the way of trial!

In affliction, we grow in a knowledge of¬†ourselves, learning more of our superficial attainments, shallow experience, and limited grace. We learn, too, more of our weakness, emptiness, and vileness–the plough-share of trial penetrating deep into the heart and turning up its veiled iniquity. And oh, how does this deeper self-knowledge lay us low, humble and abase us. And when our self-sufficiency and our self-seeking and our self-glorying is thus mowed down–then the showers of the Savior’s grace descend “as rain upon the mown grass,” and so we advance in knowledge and holiness heavenward.¬†

Trial, too, increases our acquaintance with Christ. We know more of the Lord Jesus through one sanctified affliction, than by all the treatises the human pen ever wrote! Christ is only savingly known, as He is known personally and experimentally. 
Books cannot teach Him, 
sermons cannot teach Him, 
lectures cannot teach Him. 
They may aid our information and correct our views–but to know Him as He is, and as we ought, we must have¬†personal dealings¬†with Him.¬†

Our sins must bring us to His sin-atoning blood, 
our condemnation must bring us to His righteousness, 
our corruptions must bring us to His grace, 
our needs must bring us to His fullness, 
our weakness must bring us to His strength, 
our sorrow must bring us to His sympathy, and
His own loveliness and love must attract us to Himself. 

And oh, in one hour, in a single transaction, in a lone sorrow, which has brought us to Jesus–who can estimate how rapidly and to what an extent we have grown in a knowledge of His person and work, His character and love?¬†

Oh yes, times of trial are times of growth in experimental knowledge. We see God and Jesus and truth from new standpoints, and in a different light; and we thank the Lord for the storm which dispelled the mist which hid all this glory, unveiling so lovely a landscape and so serene a sky to our view. 

I have seen more of my own vileness, 
and known more of Jesus, 
and have penetrated deeper into the heart of God, 
and have a clearer understanding of revealed truth, 
and have learned more of the mysteries of the divine life
–on this bed of sickness, in this time of bereaved sorrow, in this dark cloud that has overshadowed me–than in all my life before!¬†

A corrupt heart was the source of all!

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A corrupt heart was the source of all!

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

We have seen what man¬†was¬†as God made him–a lovely and happy creature.

Let us view him now as he has unmade himself–we shall see him a sinful and a miserable creature. This is the sad state we are brought into by the fall. Man’s nature is now wholly corrupted. There is a sad alteration–an astonishing overturning in the nature of man. Where, at first, there was nothing evil–now there is nothing good.

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that¬†every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5

All our wicked practices are here traced to the fountain and spring-head–a corrupt heart was the source of all.¬†

The¬†soul, which was made upright in all its faculties–is now wholly disordered.¬†

The¬†heart, which originally was made according to God’s own heart–is now the reverse of it . . .
 a forge of evil imaginations,
 a sink of inordinate affections,
 and a storehouse of all impiety! Mark 7:21, 22 

Behold the heart of the natural man, as it is opened in our text: 

The mind is defiled.

The thoughts of the heart are evil.

The will and affections are defiled. 

The imagination of the thoughts of the heart, that is, whatever the heart frames within itself by thinking, such as judgment, choice, purposes, devices, desires, every inward motion–is evil. Yes, and¬†every¬†imagination–every frame of his thoughts, is evil continually.¬†

But is there not, at least, a mixture of good in them? No, they are only evil. Whatever changes may be found in them, are only from evil to evil; for the imagination of the heart, or frame of thoughts in natural men, is evil continually. Not one holy thought can ever be produced by an unholy heart.

O, what a vile heart is this! 

O, what a corrupt nature is this! 

What can that heart be, whereof every imagination, every set of thoughts–is only evil, and that continually!¬†

Surely that corruption is ingrained in our hearts, interwoven with our very natures, has sunk deep into our souls, and will never be cured but by a miracle of grace. Now such is man’s heart, such is his nature–until regenerating grace changes it!

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances!” Ezekiel 36:26-27¬†

All the jewels in the Savior’s crown are without a single flaw!

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All the jewels in the Savior’s crown are without a single flaw!¬†

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away, and will present you¬†faultless¬†with great joy into His glorious presence!” Jude 1:24¬†

Revolve in your mind that wondrous word “faultless”! We are far off from it now; but as our Lord never stops short of perfection in His work of redeeming love, every saved sinner shall be¬†without blemish¬†one day. The Savior who will keep His people to the end, will also present them at last to Himself as “a glorious Church,¬†without spot or wrinkle¬†or any such thing–but holy and without blemish!”

All the jewels in the Savior’s crown are without a single flaw!¬†

But how will Jesus make us faultless? He will wash us from our sins in His own blood, until we are as white and lovely as God’s purest angel! We shall be clothed in His perfect righteousness, which makes the saint who wears it truly faultless, perfect in the sight of God.

Also, the work of the Holy Spirit within us will be altogether complete. He will make us so perfectly holy, that we shall have no lingering tendency to sin. We shall be as holy as God is holy, and we shall dwell in His presence forever! 

“You are¬†altogether beautiful, My beloved–there is¬†no spot¬†in you!” Song of Songs 4:7

Sin gone, 
Satan shut out,
temptation past forever, 
and ourselves “faultless” before God
–this will be Heaven indeed!

Unto you who believe–He is precious!

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Unto you who believe–He is precious!

(Author unknown, 1872)

Unto you who believe–He is precious!” 1 Peter 2:7

It is to unbelievers only, that Christ is “as a root out of a dry ground”–having no form nor loveliness.¬†

To those who know Him, and put their trust in Him–He is the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely! To those who believe, He is precious . . .
  in all the offices He sustains,
  in all the relations He bears,
  as their atoning Sacrifice, 
  as the Lord their righteousness, 
  as the source of their spiritual life,
  as their Teacher,
  as their Example, 
  and as their Guide. 

O my soul, is Jesus precious to you? 

Do you realize something of His worth? 

Is He your Refuge, your Hiding-place? 

Are you sheltered in Him? 

Is He your Shepherd, your Guardian, your Friend? 

Do you feel that, whatever you are called to part with–you cannot part with Christ?¬†

Do you feel that that He is your Savior, your Life, your All? 

Oh, then cleave to Him, serve Him earnestly, and live to His glory! 

And know to your comfort, that as unworthy and sinful as you are–you are precious to Him. He bought you with His precious blood, He claims you as His own, and He will treasure you among His jewels when He comes to gather them up!

“Yes, Christ is precious to my soul,
 My transport and my trust;
 Jewels to Him are gaudy toys,
¬†And gold is sordid dust!”

Such a god should be derided, not worshiped!

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Such a god should be derided, not worshiped!

(William S. Plumer, “Providence Asserted” 1856)

“Our God is in Heaven;¬†He does whatever pleases Him!”¬†Psalm 115:3¬†

“The Lord does whatever pleases Him, throughout all Heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths.” Psalm 135:6

To deny God’s¬†providence¬†is as atheistic as to deny His existence.¬†

Nothing more derogatory to the character of God can possibly be said, than that He does not rule His world.

The world may as well be without a God, as have one who is incompetent to rule it. 

A God, who neither sees, nor hears, nor knows, nor cares, nor helps, nor saves–is a vanity, and can never claim homage from intelligent men.¬†Such a god should be derided, not worshiped!

“The Lord reigns,¬†let the nations tremble!”¬†Psalm 99:1¬†

“Hallelujah!¬†For our Lord God Almighty reigns!”¬†Revelation 19:6¬†

Calvary’s stupendous scene!

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Calvary’s stupendous scene!¬†

(Henry Law, “Family Prayers”)

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins!” 1 John 4:9-10¬†

Holy Father, 
The heavens, the earth, and all that are therein, proclaim Your wondrous goodness. But Your love shines forth in surpassing luster at¬†Calvary’s stupendous scene!¬†At the cross we see Your heavenly grace removing the tremendous load of our iniquities from us–and¬†heaping them all on Your beloved Son!¬†We see Him standing as a transgressor in our place.¬†
We see Him, who knew no sin–made sin for us.¬†
We see Him, the all-holy One–accounted as a curse!¬†
We see Your justice leading the spotless Lamb to the slaughter, and rigorously demanding the full payment for all our sin-debt!

Your avenging sword enters into His very heart! 

The stream of sin-atoning blood flows! 

Full recompense is meted out!

Divine Justice can ask no more. 

Charges against us are all obliterated. 

The debt-book is cancelled. 
If our sins are searched for, they cannot now be found!

The¬†spotless Lamb¬†is devoted to all anguish–that we may be inheritors of all joy.¬†

He is cast off from You–that we may be brought near to You.¬†

He is treated as Your enemy–that we may be welcomed as Your friends.¬†

He is deserted by You–that we may be received to Your everlasting favor.¬†

He is surrendered to Hell’s worst–that we may attain Heaven’s best.¬†

He is stripped–that we may be clothed.¬†

He is wounded–that we may be healed.¬†

He thirsts–that we may drink of the water of life.¬†

He is in darkness–that we may rejoice in the glories of eternal day.¬†

He weeps–that all tears may be forever wiped from our eyes.¬†

He groans–that we may sing an endless song.¬†

He endures all pain–that we may rejoice in unfading health.¬†

He wears a crown of thorns–that we may receive a crown of glory.¬†

He bows His head in death–that we may lift up our head in Heaven.¬†

He bears earth’s reproach–that we may receive Heaven’s welcome.¬†

He is tormented–that we may be comforted.¬†

He is made all shame–that we may inherit all glory.¬†

His eyes are dark in death–that our eyes may gaze on unclouded brightness.¬†

He dies–that we may escape the second death, and live forevermore.¬†

O gracious Father, thus You spared not Your only begotten Son–that You may spare us!¬†

All our sins are cast behind Your back–all are¬†buried in the ocean of reconciling blood!¬†

We can only fall low and cry, “We adore You for the gift of Your Son as our substitute; for the death of Your Son as our ransom!”


Blessed Jesus, we have been standing beneath Your cross. 
The sight constrains us to the deepest humility. 
Our vile iniquity–is the cause of Your shame!¬†
We cannot fathom the sins which plunged You into such depths of unutterable woe! 
We cannot estimate the burden of wrath which thus crushed You. 
We cannot deny that the sins which stain us are evils of infinite malignity, since nothing but Your blood could wash away their guilty stains! As transgressors, we abhor ourselves before You.

While we humbly gaze–may we anxiously ponder,¬†“Why, blessed Jesus–why did You thus die?”¬†

May His precious answer sound through every part of our hearts and souls, 
“I die–that you may not die.¬†
¬†I lay down My life–to purchase your life.¬†
¬†I present Myself as a sin-offering to–expiate all your sins.¬†
¬†My blood thus streams–to wash out all your guilt.¬†
¬†The fountain is thus opened in My side–to cleanse you from all impurity.¬†
 I thus endure your curse.
 I thus pay your debt. 
 I thus rescue you from all condemnation. 
¬†I thus satisfy divine justice for you!”

How then distinguish them?

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How then distinguish them? 

(Thomas Guthrie, 1803-1873)

You may know a¬†sheep¬†from a¬†swine, when both have fallen into the same mire–and are, in fact, so bemired, that neither by coat nor color can the one be distinguished from the other.¬†

How then distinguish them? Nothing more easy! 

The¬†¬†sheep–a type of the godly–strives and struggles to¬†get out¬†of the muck.

But the swine, in circumstances agreeable to its nature, wallows in the filth. 

“What the true proverb says has happened to them: The dog returns to its own vomit, and¬†the swine, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”¬†2 Peter 2:22

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?¬†Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.¬†A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.¬†Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire!¬†Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”¬†Matthew 7:16-20¬†

What are the marks of a true shepherd?

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What are the marks of a true shepherd?

(Arthur Pink, 1939)

“Be an¬†example¬†to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your¬†faith, and your purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

How diligently should those¬†who think of entering the ministry, scrutinize their¬†motives; for thousands have abused this Divine institution through love of ease, desire for authority and fame, or love of money–and brought upon themselves “greater condemnation” (James 3:1). Thousands have invaded the pastoral office in an unauthorized manner–to¬†fleece¬†sheep rather than¬†feed¬†them–robbing Christ of His honor and starving His people.¬†

Solemn beyond words is it to observe how sternly our Lord denounced these false shepherds of His day. (Matthew 23). As Ryle rightly said, “Nothing seemed so offensive to Christ as a false shepherd. Nothing ought to be so much feared by the Church, and be so plainly rebuked, opposed and exposed.”

What are the marks of a true shepherd?¬†How are God’s people to identify those called and qualified by Him to minister unto His people?¬†

First, the genuine pastor has¬†the doctrine of Christ on his LIPS. The ministers of the new covenant are described as those who had “renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness.” Christendom today is infested with men who are full of deceit and hypocrisy, trimming their sails according to whatever direction the¬†breeze of public opinion¬†is blowing.¬†

“We have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2). The true servant of Christ holds back nothing which is profitable, no matter how unpalatable it may be unto his hearers. He is one who magnifies not himself, nor his denomination, but Christ–His wondrous Person, His atoning blood, His exacting claims.¬†

Second, the genuine pastor has¬†the Spirit of Christ in his HEART. It is the Spirit who opens to him the mysteries of the Gospel, so that he is “the faithful and wise servant” (Matthew 24:45). It is the Spirit of Christ who gives him a love for His sheep, so that it is his greatest delight to lead them into the green pastures of His Word. It is the Spirit of Christ who enables him to use “great boldness of speech” (2 Corinthians 3:12), so that he shuns not to declare all the counsel of God. It is the Spirit of Christ who makes him to be “prepared in season and out of season; to correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2). It is the Spirit of Christ who gives efficacy to his ministry, making it fruitful according to the sovereign pleasure of God.¬†

Third, the genuine pastor has¬†the example of Christ in his LIFE, which is a conforming of him to the image of his Master. It is true, sadly true, that there is not one of them who does not fall far short both of the inward and outward image of Christ. Yet there are some faint tracings of His image visible in all His true servants. The image of Christ is seen in their words, spirit, and actions; otherwise we have no warrant to receive them as God’s servants.

Find a man (no easy task today!) who has . . .
   the doctrine of Christ on his lips,
   the Spirit of Christ in his heart,
   the example of Christ in his life,
and you find one of His genuine ministers. All others are but thieves and robbers!

We do not know what we might have been!

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We do not know what we might have been!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“God is our refuge and strength–a very present help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1

We do not know what we might have been–if God’s gracious protection had not been like a wall of fire around us, as it still is–for the Lord continues to deliver all who put their trust in Him.¬†

Believe with unquestioning confidence that God is delivering you even now. You know that He¬†has¬†delivered you–be just as sure that He will continue to help you in every time of trouble.

“I am locked in a prison of despair!” Yes, but your Lord has a key that can open the door and let you out.¬†

“I am in great poverty!” another says. But He knows all about it, and He is going to supply all your needs.¬†

Yet another says, “But I am fainting!” God is near, ready to revive and encourage your fainting soul.

Perhaps a person says, “I find faith for the past and the ultimate future quite easy, but I don’t have enough faith for the present.” We sometimes forget that God is “a very¬†present¬†help in times of trouble,” but it is true.¬†

There may be many trials before you, but there is an abundance of mercy ready to meet those trials. There may be troubles that you do not know yet, as well as repetitions of those you have experienced. But the Lord will give you strength and will continue to deliver you.

As the eyes gradually fail, and the limbs grow weak, and the¬†infirmities of old age¬†creep over us–we are likely to be distressed, but our Lord will not forsake us.¬†

When severe¬†sickness¬†invades our earthly bodies and our pains multiply and intensify–we wonder how we will endure.

As we consider our¬†death–we wonder how we will be able to bear our last hours.¬†

Be encouraged: He who¬†has¬†delivered and¬†does¬†deliver–will¬†continue¬†to deliver.¬†
Even as the trial comes, the Lord will show you a way of escape.

He¬†has¬†delivered you–give Him your gratitude.¬†
He¬†is¬†delivering you–give Him your confidence.¬†
He¬†will¬†deliver you–begin now to praise Him for mercies that He has yet to show you, and for grace that you have not yet experienced but that He will grant you in the future.

“He¬†has¬†delivered us from such a deadly peril–and He¬†will¬†deliver us!” 2 Corinthians 1:10¬†

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