Tag Archives: Food 42day

If you want to see a man worked up until the Satanic is clearly uppermost!

Grace logo

If you want to see a man worked up until the Satanic is clearly uppermost!

(Charles Spurgeon)

I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.” Galatians 1:11¬†

We are sure that the Gospel we have preached is not¬†according to¬†men–because it is¬†opposed, even to this day. If anything is hated bitterly, it is the out-and-out Gospel of the grace of God, especially if that hateful word,¬†“Sovereignty”¬†is mentioned with it!

Dare to say, “He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy–and He will have compassion on whom He will have compassion,” and furious critics will revile you without stint!¬†

The modern religionist not only hates the doctrine of Sovereign grace, but he raves and rages at the mention of it! He would sooner hear you blaspheme, than preach . . .
  Election by the Father,
  Atonement by the Son, or 
  Regeneration by the Spirit! 
If you want to see a man worked up until the Satanic is clearly uppermost–let modern religionists hear you preach a Free-Grace sermon!¬†

A Gospel which is according to men, will be welcomed by men–but it needs a Divine operation upon the heart and mind, to make a man willing to receive this distasteful gospel of the grace of God into his utmost soul!

” . . . the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify¬†the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24


Character

Grace logo

Character 

(John MacDuff)

Character is the product of daily, hourly actions, words and thoughts: 
  daily forgiveness, 
  daily unselfishness, 
  daily kindnesses, 
  daily sympathies, 
  daily charities, 
  daily sacrifices for the good of others, 
  daily struggles against temptation, 
  daily submissiveness under trial. 
It is these, like the blending of colors in a picture–which constitute¬†a person’s character.


We so imperfectly read the engravings of His heart!

Grace logo

We so imperfectly read the engravings of His heart!

(Octavius Winslow)

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

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

It is because we have such shallow views of God’s¬†love–that we have such defective views of God’s¬†dealings. We blindly interpret the symbols of His¬†providence–because¬†we so imperfectly read the engravings of His heart.

“When we can’t trace His hand–we must trust His heart!”

We must test all our pleasures and amusements by this rule:

Grace logo

We must test all our pleasures and amusements by this rule:

(J.R. Miller)

“Lovers of¬†pleasure–rather than lovers of God; having a form of godliness–but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:4-5¬†

Is the¬†love of pleasure and amusement¬†growing on you–gaining the power and authority over you?¬†

Is it dulling the keenness of your zest for spiritual pleasures? 

Is it making Bible study, prayer, communion with Christ, and meditation upon holy themes–less sweet enjoyments than they once were?¬†

Is it making your hunger and thirst for righteousness and for God–less intense?¬†

Is it interfering with the comfort and blessing which you used to find in church services, or in Christ’s work?¬†

If so, there is only one thing to do–hurry . . .
  to return to God,
  to abandon the pleasure or amusement which is imperiling your soul, and
  to find in Christ, the joy which the world cannot give, and which never harms any aspect of life. 

We must test all our pleasures and amusements by this rule: Are they helping us to grow into Christ-likeness and spiritual beauty?

“All things are lawful–but not all things are¬†profitable. All things are lawful–but not all things¬†edify.” 1 Corinthians 10:23¬†

If God is our Father

Grace logo

If God is our Father

(James Smith, “The Children’s Privileges!”)

“You are sons of the living God!” Hosea 1:10

To have God for our Father, is the greatest honor conceivable–and it is an infinite source of comfort and joy!¬†

If God is our FatherHe will love¬†us with a strong and tender love!¬†He may try us and hide His face from us, to correct us for our follies–but He will still love us. Nothing shall separate His child from His love, or sever the bond which unites us to Himself.¬†

If God is our Father–He will bear with our numerous and painful infirmities.¬†Because we are His¬†children–He will put the best construction upon everything. For, “Like as a Father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who love Him. He knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust.” He will accept our imperfect services, because we are but¬†children. He knows our weakness, ignorance, and failings; and He also knows our desire to please Him. And when we can only¬†desire–He accepts the will for the deed.

If God is our Father–He will provide for and take care of usmaking¬†provision¬†for us on earth, while He reserves our¬†portion¬†for Heaven. Will an earthly father leave his child to lack–while he has plenty, and can supply him with the greatest ease? He will not! Neither will our Heavenly Father; but He will supply all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus!

If God is our Father–He will also protect us from all evilsspiritual and temporal.¬†
Sin 
shall not have dominion over us, 
Satan 
shall not overcome us, 
the world shall not destroy us
–for God will protect us!
He will keep us by His power, through faith unto salvation.

If God is our Father–He will reveal His mind and will to us for our comfort and salvation. He may hide the mysteries of the kingdom from the wise and prudent–but He will reveal them unto His babes. (Matthew 11:25) He will send the Comforter, even the Spirit of truth, who will guide us into all truth.¬†

If God is our Father–He will give us freedom of access into His presence with confidence–so that we may carry all our sins, sorrows, troubles, and temptations to Him, and lay them at His feet; feeling that we have to do with a Father–one who loves us, pities us, and delights to bless us!

If God is our Father–He will make all things work together for our good.¬†
Good¬†things–such as mercies, blessings, and comforts.¬†
Bad¬†things–such as sickness, poverty, reproach, persecution, bereavements, death.
ALL shall work our good, and issue in our eternal welfare. 

If we are children of God–we are heirs of every promise in His Book, and joint-heirs with Jesus Himself!¬†He will give us a Father’s blessing–a blessing worthy of His greatness, majesty, and glory. And He will keep us safe in every danger, and from every foe; so that we shall never perish–but possess and enjoy eternal life.

‘I will be a Father to you,¬†and you will be My sons and daughters,’¬†says the¬†Lord Almighty.”¬†2 Corinthians 6:18


Christ, the example of ministers

Grace logo

Christ, the example of ministers

(Jonathan Edwards)

It is not only our great duty, but will be our greatest honor, to imitate Christ, and do the work that He has done–and so act as co-workers with Him.¬†

The ministers of Christ should be persons of the same spirit that their Lord was of–the same spirit of humility and lowliness of heart; for the servant is not greater than his Lord.¬†

They should be of the same spirit of heavenly-mindedness, and contempt of the glory, wealth, and pleasures of this world. 

They should be of the same spirit of devotion and fervent love to God. 

They should follow the example of His prayerfulness; of whom we read from time to time of His retiring from the world, away from the noise and applause of the multitudes, into mountains and solitary places, for secret prayer, and holy converse with His Father. 

Ministers should be persons . . .
  of the same quiet, lamb-like spirit that Christ was of; 
¬† of the same spirit of submission to God’s will, and patience under afflictions, and meekness towards men;¬†
  of the same calmness and composure of spirit under reproaches and sufferings from the malignity of evil men;
  of the same spirit of forgiveness of injuries; 
  of the same spirit of charity, of fervent love and extensive benevolence; 
  of the same disposition to pity the miserable, and to weep with those who weep; 
  of the same spirit of . . .
    condescension to the poor and lowly, 
    tenderness and gentleness toward the weak, 
    and great and sincere love to enemies. 

They should also be of the same spirit of zeal, diligence, and self-denial for the glory of God, and advancement for his kingdom, and for the good of mankind; for which things sake Christ went though the greatest labors, and endured the most extreme sufferings. 

And in order to our imitating Christ in the work of the ministry, in any tolerable degree–we should not have our¬†hearts weighed down, and¬†time filled up¬†with worldly affections, cares, and pursuits.

The duties of a minister that have been recommended, are absolutely inconsistent with a mind much taken up with worldly profit, glory, amusements and entertainments.


The breakdown and breakup of “Civilization”

Grace logo

The breakdown and breakup of “Civilization”

(Arthur Pink, “The Destruction of Dagon” 1943)

The “march of progress”¬†from 1920 onwards, was, if measured by the standards of righteousness and decency, steadily¬†downwards. Those with the least sense of decency were determined to drag the whole generation down into the gutter. An orgy of licentiousness was widely entered into. Night-clubs were multiplied, gambling spread like wild fire, and debauchery abounded on every side. The beaches lowered their bathing restrictions–and¬†modesty¬†became a thing of the past. Youth was allowed to have its fling, unrestrained.¬†

The¬†novels¬†and¬†magazines¬†of the last decade have been filled with obscenities and blasphemies. A friend of ours in the publishing business recently wrote to us, “Today we have shops stacked with books which, had they been published when we were boys–the authors and publishers would have been put in jail!” Censorship has long since been reduced to a farce. The great majority of our children have had their ideas formed by the pictures they saw at the “movies” and the debasing productions of a degenerate press. As a recent writer has said, “The best-sellers of today, are often books whose¬†morals¬†are of the barnyard, whose¬†language¬†is of the sewer and whose¬†ethics¬†are of the pit!”

The breakdown and breakup of “Civilization”¬†appears in such things as the decay of the sanctity of marriage–as evidenced by the multiplication of divorces, and the abandonment of large numbers of babies; juvenile delinquency and immorality among the young; the vandalism which is now so rife; such widespread pilfering–and the flimsy efforts of the authorities to deal with such evils! Thousands of culprits who ought to be sent to prison, are given nominal fines. Law and order is almost reduced to a farce!

No matter in which direction we turn, it is the¬†ugly¬†and the¬†vulgar–which is preferred to the beautiful and refined. What a commentary on our so-called “progress.”

Someone has said, “The¬†popular taste¬†is a good index to the health of society.” Apply that dictum to our own times, and it will quickly appear how the moral health of society has declined.

We¬†do¬†what we do–because we¬†are¬†what we are. There is always a rigid consistency between¬†character¬†and¬†conduct. The thin coating of “civilized” varnish has worn off–and twentieth-century¬†character¬†stands exposed.

Editor’s note:¬†One can only imagine what Mr. Pink would write if he were alive today!

Look unto Jesus in the Scriptures

Grace logo

Look unto Jesus in the Scriptures

(Theodore Monod, “Looking Unto Jesus!” 1874)
 
“Looking unto Jesus!”¬†Hebrews 12:2¬†
 
Only three words, but in these three words is the whole secret of spiritual life. 
 
Look unto Jesus in the Scriptures, to learn there . . .
  who He is,
  what He has done,
  what He gives,
  what He desires.

Looking unto Jesus in the Scriptures, we find . . .
¬† in His character–our pattern;
¬† in His teachings–our instruction;
¬† in His precepts–our law;
¬† in His promises–our support;
¬† in His person and in His work–a full satisfaction provided for every need of our souls.¬†

“You study the Scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same Scriptures that testify about Me!” John 5:39

Oh! the bitter pain and sorrow,
That a time could ever be, 
When I proudly said to Jesus, 
All¬†for self–and¬†none¬†for Thee!”

Yet He found me; I beheld Him, 
Bleeding on the accursed tree; 
And my wistful heart said faintly, 
Some¬†for self–and¬†some¬†for Thee.”¬†

Day by day His tender mercy, 
Healing, helping, full and free,
Brought me lower, while I whispered, 
Less¬†for self–and¬†more¬†for Thee.”¬†

Higher than the highest heavens, 
Deeper than the deepest sea; 
Lord, Thy love at last has conquered, 
None¬†for self–and¬†all¬†for Thee!”


Should it be according to your mind?

Grace logo

Should it be according to your mind? 

(James Smith, “Important Questions!” 1858)

Should it be according to¬†your¬†mind?” Job 34:33

We are prone to be fretful, to complain of the dispensations of Divine Providence, and to reflect harshly upon the Lord’s dealings with us.

We want our own way.

We wish to carve for ourselves.

We would be treated as God’s favorites.

We want our ease, and prosperity, and pleasure, consulted in all things. And if this does not appear to be done–if our¬†wills¬†are crossed, if our¬†schemes¬†are frustrated, if our¬†purposes¬†are broken off–then we stumble, think ourselves badly treated, and look for everybody to sympathize with us.

Under these circumstances, God comes to us–as we sit among our broken cisterns, surrounded by our dethroned idols–and puts this question to us: “Should it be according to¬†your¬†mind?”

  Are you wiser than God?

    Are you kinder than God?

      Are you holier than God?

    Are you more just than God?

  Are you better informed than God?

May not your mind be dark, or selfish, or foolish?

Should it then be according to your mind?

Should you¬†reign–or God?

Remember that . . .
  God acts in the highest wisdom,
  His motives are grace and justice,
  and all His purposes are worthy of Himself.

The least the Christian can do is to submit–and to prefer God’s perfect wisdom, ways, and works–to his own. Seeing God has so arranged all events, that all things must work together for the good of His people–they, at least, should daily say, “Father, may¬†Your¬†will be done!”

O my soul, seek grace from God, not only to submit and be resigned to the dispensations of Divine Providence–but to¬†acquiesce¬†in them, and be¬†pleased¬†with the whole of them! Your good is consulted–your best interests are secured. Soon, very soon, it will be seen that infinite wisdom and mercy, grace and goodness, have marked out¬†every step¬†of your road!

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

There is no sweeter pillow than providence!

Grace logo

There is no sweeter pillow than providence! 

(Charles Spurgeon, “Israel at the Red Sea”)

How sweet is providence to a child of God, when he can reflect upon it!

He can look out into this world, and say, “However great my troubles, they are not so great as my Father’s power. However difficult may be my circumstances, yet all things are working together for my good.”

He who holds up yonder unpillared arch of the starry heavens–can also support my soul without a single apparent prop.

He who guides the stars in the well-ordered courses, even when they seem to move in hazy dances–surely He can overrule my trials in such a way that out of confusion He will bring order; and from seeming evil, produce lasting good.

He who bridles the storm, and puts the bit in the mouth of the tempest–surely He can restrain my trial, and keep my sorrows in subjection.

I need not fear . . .
  while the lightnings are in His hands,
  and the thunders sleep within His lips;
  while the oceans gurgle from His fist,
  and the clouds are in the hollow of His hands;
  while the rivers are turned by His foot,
  and while He digs the channels of the sea.

Surely, He whose might gives wings to the angels, can furnish a worm with strength. 
Surely, He who guides a cherub, will not be overcome by the trials of a speck like myself.

He who makes the most ponderous orb roll in dignity, and keeps its predestined orbit–can make a little atom like myself move in my proper course, and conduct me as He pleases.

Christian!¬†there is no sweeter pillow than providence!¬†And when providence seems adverse, believe it still, and lay it under your head. For depend upon it–there is comfort in its bosom.

There is hope for you, child of God! The great trouble which is to come in your way in your pilgrimage, is planned by divine love–the same love which shall interpose as your protector.

At the cross!

Grace logo

At the cross!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

The most excellent study for expanding the soul!

Grace logo

The most excellent study for expanding the soul!

(Charles Spurgeon, “The Immutability of God!“)

The proper study of God’s elect, is God. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God–is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father! There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so¬†vast–that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so¬†deep–that our pride is drowned in its infinity!¬†

Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-contentment, and go our way with the thought,¬†“Behold I am wise!”¬†But when we come to this master-science, finding that our¬†plumb-line¬†cannot sound its depth, and that our¬†eagle eye¬†cannot see its height–we turn away with the¬†thought¬†that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild donkey’s colt; and with the solemn¬†exclamation, “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing!” No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God.¬†

The most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and Him crucified–and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing will so magnify the whole soul of man–as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. While¬†humbling¬†and¬†expanding, this subject is eminently¬†consolatory.¬†

Oh, there is in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound! 
In musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief. 
In the influence of the Holy Spirit, there is a balsam for every sore. 

Would you lose your sorrows? 
Would you drown your cares? 
Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea!¬†
Be lost in His immensity–and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated.¬†

I know nothing which can . . .
  so comfort the soul; 
  so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow;
¬† so speak peace to the winds of trial–
as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead!

He does whatever pleases Him!

Grace logo

He does whatever pleases Him!

(The sermons of Matthew Mead, 1629-1699)

“I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. The LORD does whatever pleases Him–in the¬†heavens¬†and on the¬†earth, in the¬†seas¬†and all their depths. He makes¬†clouds¬†rise from the ends of the earth; He sends¬†lightning¬†with the¬†rain¬†and brings out the¬†wind¬†from His storehouses!” Psalm 135:5-7¬†

Every creature is God’s subject, and even the devils themselves are at His beck.¬†

It is so with the most inanimate beings. God bids the¬†winds¬†be silent and the¬†seas¬†be still–and how readily they obey His voice!¬†

If God calls for a¬†famine¬†on a sinning nation–then how suddenly does the earth become iron and the heavens brass!¬†

Flies and lice shall infest thrones and kingdoms, if armed with a commission from Almighty God. “All are Your servants!” Psalm 119:91¬†

What the centurion said of his soldiers and servants–is much more true of God:¬†
“I say to this one,¬†‘Go,’¬†and he goes;
¬†and to another,¬†‘Come,’¬†and he comes;¬†and
¬†to my servant,¬†‘Do this,’¬†and he does it.” Matthew 8:9

God has a power and dominion over all of His creatures, and a sovereign right to dispose of them at His own pleasure. 

Sometimes He governs things according to the course of second causes. Sometimes He governs them in an extraordinary way–above or beyond nature. As when He made, “the¬†sun¬†to stand still in Gibeon, and the¬†moon¬†in the valley of Aijalon.” Joshua 10:12¬†

At the word of God, the sea divides for Israel to pass over on dry land. 

He makes the earth open to swallow up Korah and his companions. 

He shuts the mouth of hungry lions! Daniel 6:22

He commands the fiery furnace not to burn! Daniel 3:25 

The angels, those inhabitants of the glorious world–do His commandments, hearkening to the voice of His word.¬†

All the creatures in Heaven and earth are controlled by His sovereign power! Psalm 135:6 says, “Whatever the Lord pleased, that he did in the Heaven and earth, in the sea and all deep places.”¬†

It is so with all sicknesses, trials, and diseases. Matthew 8:8 

God’s sovereign will and power governs all.

No creature can evade the power of His dominion, for all are at His command! 

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

It is but a little sin!

Grace logo

It is but a little sin!

(Thomas Brooks, “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices!“)

“So that Satan will not outsmart us–for we are familiar with his evil schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:11

“Ah!” says Satan, “It is but a little sin–a little pride, a little worldliness, a little lust, etc. You may commit it without any danger to your soul. It is but a little one; you may commit it, and yet your soul shall live.”

Consider, that there is great danger, yes, many times most danger–in the smallest sins.¬†
“A little leaven leavens the whole lump!” 1 Corinthians 5:6¬†
If the serpent sneaks in his head–he will draw in his whole body after him.¬†

Greater sins sooner startle the soul, and awaken and rouse up the soul to repentance, than lesser sins do. Little sins often slide into the soul, and breed, and work secretly and indiscernibly in the soul, until they come to be so strong, as to trample upon the soul, and to cut the throat of the soul!

Many are eternally undone by the ‘little sins’, as they call them, that are nourished in their own bosoms.¬†

A little hole in the ship, sinks it. 

A small breach in a dyke, carries away all before it. 

A little stab at the heart, kills a man. 

A little sin, without a great deal of mercy, will damn a man!

Well, when you are suffering the punishment of this sin in hell!

Grace logo

Well, when you are suffering the punishment of this sin in hell!

(Samuel Davies, “The Nature and Danger of Making Light of Christ and Salvation”)

“But they made light of it.”¬†Matthew 22:5

Consider what those things are, which engross your affections, and which tempt you to neglect Christ and your salvation.

Have you found a better friend than Christ, or a more substantial and lasting happiness than His eternal salvation? 

Oh! what¬†trifles¬†and¬†vanities, what¬†dreams¬†and¬†shadows¬†are men pursuing‚ÄĒwhile they neglect the important realities of the eternal world!¬†

If crowns and kingdoms, if all the riches, glories, and pleasures of this present world were ensured to you‚ÄĒas a reward for making light of Christ, you would even then make the most foolish bargain possible; for what are these in the grand scale‚ÄĒwhen compared to eternal joy, or eternal misery! “What is a man profited, if he shall gain even the whole world, and lose his own soul!”¬†

But you cannot realistically hope for the ten thousandth part of these worldly trifles! And will you cast away your souls for such a pittance? 

Alas! what does the richest, the highest, the most voluptuous sinner do‚ÄĒbut lay up¬†treasures of wrath¬†against the day of wrath! Oh how will the unhappy creatures torture themselves forever with the most cutting reflections, for selling their Savior and their souls‚ÄĒfor such trifles! Let your sins and earthly enjoyments save you then, if they can! Then go and cry to the¬†gods¬†you have chosen; let them deliver you in the day of your damnation!¬†

The time is hastening on, when you will not think so lightly of Christ and salvation. Oh, sirs, when God shall commission¬†DEATH¬†to tear your guilty souls out of your bodies, when devils shall drag you away to the place of torment, when you find yourselves condemned to everlasting fire by that Savior whom you now neglect‚ÄĒwhat would you then give for a Savior!¬†

When you see that the¬†world¬†has deserted you, that your¬†companions¬†in sin have deceived both themselves and you, and all your¬†merry days¬†are over forever‚ÄĒwould you not¬†then¬†give ten thousand worlds for Christ!!

And now, dear immortal souls! Whenever you spend another prayerless, thoughtless day; whenever you give yourselves up to sinful pleasures, or an over-eager pursuit of the world‚ÄĒmay your conscience become your preacher, and sting you with these solemn truths!¬†

I cannot but fear, after all, that some of you, as usual, will continue careless and impenitent. Well, when you are suffering the punishment of this sin in hell, remember that you were warned, and acquit me from being accessory to your eternal ruin!

And when we all appear before the supreme Judge, and I am called to give an account of my ministry: when I am asked, “Did you warn these creatures of their danger? Did you lay before them their guilt in making light of these things?” You will hear me answer, “Yes, Lord, I warned them in the best manner I could‚ÄĒbut they would not believe me; they would not regard what I said!”¬†

Oh sirs, must I give in this accusation against any of¬†you? No, rather have mercy on yourselves‚ÄĒthat I may give an account of you with joy, and not with grief!

The greatest sinner that you know!

Grace logo

The greatest sinner that you know!

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a very humbling thought. 

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

This alone is the vexed soul’s refuge!

Grace logo

This alone is the vexed soul’s refuge!

(Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889)

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

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

Not doctrine, but Christ. 

Not religious forms and ceremonies, but Christ. 

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

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

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

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

I cannot think little of sin, when . . .

Grace logo

I cannot think little of sin, when . . .

(J.C. Ryle)

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”¬†Matthew 27:46

Would I know how exceedingly sinful and abominable sin is in the sight of God? Where shall I see sin most fully brought out? 

Shall I turn to the history of the flood, and read how sin drowned the world? 

Shall I go to the shore of the Dead Sea, and mark what sin brought on Sodom and Gomorrah? 

No! I can find a clearer proof still! I look at the cross of Christ!

There I see that sin is so filthy and damnable, that nothing but the blood of God’s own Son can wash it away!¬†

There I see that sin has so separated me from my holy Maker, that all the angels in Heaven could never have made peace between us. Nothing could reconcile us, short of the death of Christ. 

If I listened to the wretched talk of proud people, I might sometimes imagine that sin was not so very sinful! But I cannot think little of sin, when I look at the cross of Christ! 

“A bleeding Savior I have viewed–and now I hate my sin!”¬†John Newton

I am fast borne along the stream of time!

Grace logo

I am fast borne along the stream of time! 

(John MacDuff, “Evening Incense” 1856)

“It is appointed unto all once to die–and after death, the judgment!” Hebrews 9:27

O my Father, You are daily loading me with Your benefits–giving me unnumbered causes for gratitude¬†and thankfulness. No earthly friend could have loved and cared for me like You. Oh may the life You are thus preserving by Your unceasing bounty–be unreservedly dedicated to Your praise.

O my Father, keep me mindful that I am soon to be done with this fleeting world; that¬†I am fast borne along the stream of time–to the ocean of endless futurity!

May I be living in a constant state of preparedness for that solemn hour when small and great shall stand before You, and the booksshall be opened. Train me for eternity! Let me not be frittering away these fleeting, but precious moments. Impress on me the solemn conviction . . .
¬† that as men¬†live–so do men¬†die;¬†
¬† that as¬†death¬†leaves me–so¬†judgment¬†will find me;
¬† and that as¬†judgment¬†finds me–so¬†eternity¬†will keep me.

Oh let death leave me¬†falling asleep in Jesus, united to Him by a living faith–so that judgment may find me seated at His right hand, listening to the joyous welcome, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!”

Blessed Jesus, all my hope of a glorious resurrection centers in You. I look to You as the strong tower which cannot be shaken. I flee anew to the holy sanctuary of Your covenant love. Sheltered there, amid a dissolving earth, and burning worlds–I shall be able joyfully to utter the challenge, “Who shall separate me from the love of Christ?”

Keep me from all negligence and unwatchfulness. Trim my flickering lamp. Let me live with Your Judgment-throne in view. May I ever remember–that I must soon give an¬†account¬†of myself to You, the infallible searcher of all hearts. May I feel that all the talents and means which You have given me–are¬†trusts¬†to be laid out for You. When you come to demand a reckoning, may I not be among the number of those who have hidden their talent in the earth, and have the¬†cheerless retrospect of a misspent life.

May every providential voice sound loud in my ears, “Arise and depart–for this is not your rest, because it is defiled–it is ruined, beyond all remedy!”

Make me more heavenly-minded. Give me more of a¬†pilgrim¬†attitude–and a pilgrim spirit. May I ever feel that¬†my true home¬†is above–and that I am here on earth, but a wayfarer and sojourner, as all my fathers were. May I attain, as I advance nearer to Heaven, the blessed habit of a holy life, declaring plainly that I am seeking a heavenly home.¬†

I delight often to anticipate that happy time, when I shall¬†suffer¬†no more–and¬†sin¬†no more!

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

A golden master-key!

Grace logo

A golden master-key! 
 
(Charles Spurgeon)

The Lord opened Lydia’s heart¬†to respond to what Paul was saying.” Acts 16:14

God’s saving grace will not be baffled.¬†
 
He frequently begins with the¬†silver key¬†of a mother’s tearful prayers and a father’s tender counsels.¬†
 
In turn, He uses the church-keys of His ordinances and His ministers, and these are often found to move the bolt. 
 
But if they fail, He thrusts in the iron key of trouble and affliction which has been known to succeed after all others have failed. 
 
He has, however, a golden master-key, which excels all others. It is the operation of His own most gracious Spirit, by which entrance is effected into hearts which seemed shut up forever.
 
Wonderful is the patience and long-suffering of the Lord, or He would long since have left hardened and careless sinners to themselves. He is importunate, whether we are so or not. We take pains to resist His heavenly grace, but He abides faithful to His own name of love.
 
O Lord, we bless You that You have opened our hearts, and we ask You now that You have entered, to abide in our souls forever, as a king in his own palace!

God deals mysteriously with me!

Grace logo

God deals mysteriously with me!

(Alexander Smellie, “The Secret Place” 1907)

“Your path led through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters–though Your footprints were not seen!”¬†Psalm 77:19¬†

Just so, God deals mysteriously with me. His footsteps, His judgments, His methods, are often untrackable, like the untried sea. What though I cannot comprehend all His winding mazes? It is enough that He comprehends. I rest in His wise-heartedness and love.

I know that if He surrounds me with¬†change, He gives me a hold on what is permanent and stable. Every breath of wind, every passing shadow, every ray of sun, alters the sea. And, meanwhile, by God’s will, nothing in my life continues unchangeable. The very mutableness of things, drives me into closer communion with Himself. Standing on the Rock of Ages, I am rooted in an element that is indestructible.

I know that if He permits me to be assailed by storm, He can keep my heart in peace. It is His decree that I am driven hither and thither over moonless waters by contrary winds. But the certainty is mine, that He makes all things to work together for my good. 

He is my holy Father, my unerring Father, my Father of immeasurable grace. He makes no mistakes now, and, by and by He will bring me to His house not made with hands, where I will sing with everlasting joy!

Trust His heart–even when you can’t trace His hand!

Grace logo

Trust His¬†heart–even when you can’t trace His¬†hand!

(John MacDuff, “The Promised Land!” 1859)

“And He¬†led¬†them forth by the¬†right¬†way–that they might go to a city of habitation.” Psalm 107:7

God’s¬†thoughts¬†are not as our thoughts–neither are His¬†ways¬†as our ways! This truth is strikingly exemplified in the¬†manner¬†in which He led the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land.¬†We¬†would have chosen the way that was¬†nearest¬†and¬†most direct–but God decided otherwise. He led them round about through the wilderness, and that for the space of forty years! And not merely was it the most¬†distant¬†way–but it was the most¬†dangerous¬†way as well. It was a land of¬†deserts¬†and of¬†pits–a land of¬†drought¬†and¬†death–a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt.¬†

But, as strange as it appeared, we are fully justified in saying that it was wisely arranged. 
Their long detainments;
their tiresome and circuitous wanderings;
their fierce conflicts with the Moabites and the Amalekites;
the bitter waters which they had to drink; and
the fiery serpents with which they were stung–
all fulfilled the high purposes of Him who is excellent in counsel, as well as wonderful in working. However contrary¬†His¬†way might have been to¬†theirs–yet “He led them forth by the¬†right¬†way, that they might go to a city of habitation.”

His dealings with His people now¬†are still as unusual, and as much opposed to all¬†their¬†preconceived plans–as were His dealings with the Israelites! He has crossed their own schemes, and thwarted their most fondly-cherished purposes! He always effects His own ends–in His own way!

Christian, what is your duty?

It is to cherish high thoughts of God in all His inscrutable dealings towards you. 

It is to¬†trust His¬†heart–even when you can’t trace His¬†hand; believing that “all the¬†paths¬†of the Lord are mercy and truth, unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.”¬†

It is to follow His¬†guidance¬†continually; for as He led His people of old with “the cloud by day, the pillared fire by night”–so He has promised to direct all¬†your steps, and preserve all¬†your¬†goings.

It is to wait His time; for although the way may appear long¬†and tedious–yet remember,¬†“all is well, that ends well.”¬†And what¬†will the end be? “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads! They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away!”

A book full of Christ!

Grace logo

A book full of Christ!

(J.C. Ryle)

“Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Luke 24:44¬†

We have probably little idea how much deep truth is contained in the book of Psalms. No part of the Bible perhaps is better known in the letter–and none so little understood in the spirit. We err greatly if we suppose that it is nothing but a record of David’s feelings, of David’s experience, David’s praises, and David’s prayers. The hand that held the pen was generally David’s. But the subject matter was often something far deeper and higher than the history of the son of Jesse.¬†

The book of Psalms, in a word, is a book full of Christ:
  Christ in humiliation,
  Christ suffering,
  Christ dying,
  Christ rising again,
  Christ coming the second time,
  Christ reigning over all. 

Both of Christ’s advents are here: His coming in suffering to bear the¬†cross–and His second coming in power to wear the¬†crown.¬†

Both of Christ’s kingdoms are here–His kingdom of¬†grace, during which the elect are gathered–and His kingdom of glory, when every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord.¬†

Let us always read the Psalms with a peculiar reverence. Let us say to ourselves as we read, “A greater than David is here!”

The chain of redeeming love now holds them!

Grace logo

The chain of redeeming love now holds them! 

(Henry Law)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gather your manna fresh every morning!

Grace logo

Gather your manna fresh every morning!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Oh, how I love Your law! I meditate on it all day long!”¬†Psalm 119:97

The Bible in the pulpit, must never supersede the Bible at home. Let us read our Bibles in private more, and with more pains and diligence. 

There is less private Bible reading than there was fifty years ago. I never would have believed that so many men and women would have been tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, some falling into skepticism, some rushing into the wildest and narrowest fanaticism, and some going over to the Roman church. With many, there was a habit developed of lazy, superficial and careless reading of God’s Word.¬†¬†¬†

Read the Bible daily. Make it part of your everyday business to read and meditate on some portion of God’s Word.¬†Gather your manna fresh every morning!¬†Choose your own seasons and hours. Do not scramble over and hurry your reading. Give your Bible the best, and not the worst, part of your time. But whatever plan you pursue, let it be a rule of your life to visit the throne of grace and the Bible every day.

Next to praying there is nothing so important in practical religion as Bible reading. By reading that Book we may learn . . .
  what to believe,
  what to be, 
  what to do,
  how to live with comfort,
  and how to die in peace.

Happy is that man who possesses a Bible!

Happier still is he who reads it!

Happiest of all is he who not only reads it, but obeys it, and makes it the rule of his faith and practice!

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness–that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

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

Grace logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The conflagration of the world!

Grace logo

The conflagration of the world!

(Samuel Davies, “The Universal Judgment!“)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


You will soon end your tedious, tiresome journey!

Grace logo

You will soon end your tedious, tiresome journey!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grace logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look up to your God, and say:

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

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

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

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

Grace logo

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

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grace logo

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

(Hugh Brown, “Altogether Lovely!” 1897)

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

What is man? 

Where did he come from? 

Where does his pathway lead? 

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

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

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

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

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

The annals of hell‚ÄĒor the biography of devils!

Grace logo

The annals of hell‚ÄĒor the biography of devils!

(Samuel Davies, “The Universal Judgment!”)

Though we are too apt to think that we are not accountable for our¬†words‚ÄĒHe who is to be our Judge, has plainly told us that “for¬†every careless word¬†which men speak, they shall give an account in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36

“For God will bring every deed¬†into judgment, including¬†every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:14

What astonishing discoveries will this trial of every hidden thing make! 

On the one hand‚ÄĒwhat¬†noble dispositions¬†which never shone in full beauty to mortal eyes! What¬†generous purposes¬†crushed in embryo for lack of power to execute them! What¬†pious and noble actions¬†concealed under the veil of modesty, or misconstrued by ignorance and prejudice! What¬†affectionate aspirations, what¬†devout exercises of heart, which lay open only to the¬†eyes of Omniscience, are now brought to full light, and receive the approbation of the Supreme Judge before the assembled universe”!

But on the other hand‚ÄĒwhat works of¬†shame¬†and¬†darkness¬†are then revealed! What hidden things of dishonesty! What dire secrets of treachery, hypocrisy, lewdness, and various forms of wickedness‚ÄĒall artfully and industriously concealed from human sight! What horrid exploits of sin now burst to light in all their hellish colors‚ÄĒto the confusion of the guilty, and the astonishment and horror of the universe!

Surely the¬†history of mankind¬†must then appear like¬†the annals of hell‚ÄĒor the biography of devils!¬†Then the¬†mask of deceit¬†will be torn off‚ÄĒand men¬†will appear in their true characters. Their hearts will be, as it were, turned outwards‚ÄĒand all their¬†secrets¬†exposed to full view!

The design of this judicial inquiry will not be to inform the omniscient Judge‚ÄĒbut to convince all worlds of the justice of His proceedings. And this design renders it necessary that all these ‘secret things’ should be laid open to their sight, that they may see the grounds upon which He passes sentence.

Does not the prospect of such a ‘revealing’ fill some of you with horror? For many of your actions, and especially of your¬†thoughts‚ÄĒwill not bear the light. How would it confound you, if all your secret thoughts were now all published, even in the small circle of your friends! How then, can you bear to have them all fully exposed before God, angels, and the universe! Will it not confound you with shame, and make you¬†objects of everlasting contempt¬†to all worlds!

A most influential sermon!

Grace logo

A most influential sermon!

(James Smith, “Good News for All” 1860)

“You, however, know all about my teaching,¬†my way of life,
 and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my
¬†patience, my love, and my endurance.” 2 Timothy 3:10¬†

A holy life is a most influential sermon!

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

See the cause of my happiness

Grace logo

See the cause of my happiness

(James Smith, “My Savior!” 1860)

My soul, meditate for a few moments on what Jesus¬†is¬†to you, and what Jesus has¬†done¬†for you. Look back and glance at the¬†circumstances¬†in which He found you ‚ÄĒ and the¬†deliverance¬†which He wrought for you.

1. The¬†circumstances¬†in which Jesus found you.¬†Jesus found me¬†out of the way. God by His law had marked out a way in which His creatures should walk ‚ÄĒ its character was holiness, and its end His glory. But all we like sheep had gone astray, we had turned every one to his own way. We were in the path of death and destruction, and on the way to Hell.¬†

We were not only out of the way ‚ÄĒ but we were¬†enslaved. We were . . .
  slaves of sin,
  the drudges of the world, and
  led captive by the Devil at his will. 

We were¬†diseased¬†‚ÄĒ as well as enslaved. We were¬†leprous¬†from head to foot. We had the¬†plague of the heart!¬†The whole head was sick, and the whole heart was faint.¬†

We were¬†imprisoned, as well as diseased. We were shut up in unbelief and sin. Our cell was cold and damp, dark and narrow ‚ÄĒ and our imprisonment was not merely for a few years ‚ÄĒ it was forever!¬†

We were dead, though still conscious, and to some things alive. Dead in trespasses and sins. 

In this state we were ‚ÄĒ and we loved it well. We neither desired, nor sought deliverance.¬†Left to ourselves¬†. . .
  we would have wandered on in darkness, until we had perished in our sins; 
  we would have continued the slaves of sin and Satan forever;
  our disease would have preyed upon our vitals to all eternity; 
  our prison walls would have enclosed us still; 
  we would have remained dead in sin, 
  we would have suffered all the pangs of damnation forever!

2. The deliverance which Jesus wrought for you. Jesus saved me!

He saved me from the roaring lion, who goes about seeking to devour me!

He saved me from my raging lusts, so that sin shall not have dominion over me!

He saved me from righteous wrath, and I, being justified by His blood, shall be saved from wrath through Him!

He saved me from¬†death, the ‘king of terrors,’ depriving the¬†monster¬†of his sting, and giving me the victory over him!

He has also saved me from the¬†flaming furnace of Hell¬†‚ÄĒ from that lake of fire, and those¬†floods of flame¬†in which the lost must welter forever!

See the cause of my happiness¬†‚ÄĒ¬†
I have a Savior! 

A Savior who is divine. 
A Savior who has ever loved me. 
A Savior who lived, labored, and died for me. 
A Savior who pleads for me before the throne of His Father. 
A Savior who is in His Father’s house, preparing a place for me.¬†
A Savior who will soon come and receive me to Himself, that so I may be forever with Him! Yes, I have a Savior ‚ÄĒ one who . . .
  watches over me, 
  walks through the wilderness with me, 
  and rejoices to do me good.

Reader, have you a Savior? 
Can you use these two precious words,¬†“My Savior”?¬†
Have you realized that you were lost? 
Have you fled to His cross? 
Have you fallen into His arms? 
Have you been cleansed by His blood, and clothed in His righteousness? 
Do you possess His Holy Spirit? 

Make sure work, O make sure work!
Eternity is just at hand!
Death is coming!
Judgment follows!
And then ‚ÄĒ an¬†eternity of happiness or woe!
Your eternal all depends on having Jesus for your Savior!
No one can save you but Jesus. 
No one can . . .
  support you in sickness,
  comfort you in death, or
¬† give you victory over the grave ‚ÄĒ but Jesus!

“How long will you love vanity?”

Grace logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where shall you find a rock?

Grace logo

Where shall you find a rock? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carry all your concerns to Him‚ÄĒin the arms of faith!

Grace logo

Carry all your concerns to Him‚ÄĒin the¬†arms of faith!

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

“Casting all your care upon Him‚ÄĒbecause¬†He cares for you!” 1 Peter 5:7

The Lord¬†knows¬†all His people‚ÄĒall their needs, and all their trials.

He¬†thinks¬†upon them‚ÄĒto bless, deliver and supply them.¬†

He keeps His¬†eye¬†upon them‚ÄĒin all places, at all times, and under all circumstances.

He has them in His¬†hand‚ÄĒand will not loosen His hold.

He looks upon them always as His own ‘treasured possession’ . . .
  the objects of His eternal love,
¬† the purchase of His Son’s blood,
  the temples of His Holy Spirit.

They are precious in His sight! 

He knows they are¬†weak¬†and¬†fearful‚ÄĒand that they have many¬†enemies. He teaches them to cast themselves and all their cares into His hands! And He has given them His promise‚ÄĒthat He¬†will¬†care for them.

It is a¬†Father’s care¬†which He exercises. It is a wise, holy, tender, and constant care. Therefore all will be well with you‚ÄĒonly trust Him.

Believe that He cares for you this day.¬†Carry all your concerns to Him‚ÄĒin the¬†arms of faith!¬†Leave¬†all¬†with Him, persuaded that He will manage all by His infinite wisdom, and bring all to a good outcome by His omnipotent power.

Cast all your cares upon Him‚ÄĒas fast as they come in.¬†

Do not worry about anything. 

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will support you! He will never allow the righteous to be shaken!” Psalm 55:22

Should it be according to your mind?

Grace logo

Should it be according to your mind?

(James Smith, “Important Questions!” 1858)

Should it be according to¬†your¬†mind?” Job 34:33

We are prone to be fretful, to complain of the dispensations of Divine Providence, and to reflect harshly upon the Lord’s dealings with us.

We want our own way.

We wish to carve for ourselves.

We would be treated as God’s favorites.

We want our ease, and prosperity, and pleasure, consulted in all things. And if this does not appear to be done ‚ÄĒ if our¬†wills¬†are crossed, if our¬†schemes¬†are frustrated, if our¬†purposes¬†are broken off ‚ÄĒ then we stumble, think ourselves badly treated, and look for everybody to sympathize with us.

Under these circumstances, God comes to us ‚ÄĒ as we sit among our broken cisterns, surrounded by our dethroned idols ‚ÄĒ and puts this question to us: “Should it be according to¬†your¬†mind?”

Are you wiser than God?

Are you kinder than God?

Are you holier than God?

Are you more just than God?

Are you better informed than God?

May not your mind be dark, or selfish, or foolish?

Should it then be according to your mind?

Should you¬†reign¬†‚ÄĒ or God?

Remember that God acts in the highest wisdom; His motives are grace and justice; and all His purposes are worthy of Himself.

The least the Christian can do is to submit ‚ÄĒ and to prefer God’s wisdom, way, and work ‚ÄĒ to his own. Seeing God has so arranged all events, that all things must work together for the good of His people ‚ÄĒ they, at least, should daily say, “Father, may¬†Your¬†will be done!”

O my soul, seek grace from God, not only to submit and be resigned to the dispensations of Divine Providence ‚ÄĒ but to¬†acquiesce¬†in them, and be¬†pleased¬†with the whole of them! Your good is consulted ‚ÄĒ your best interests are secured; and soon, very soon, it will be seen that infinite wisdom and mercy, grace and goodness, have marked out¬†every step¬†of your road!

“Jesus replied: You do not understand what I am¬†now¬†doing ‚ÄĒ but someday you will.” John 13:7

Your conscience will not always sleep!

Grace logo

Your conscience will not always sleep! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?

Grace logo

Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?

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

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

In¬†the cross of Christ‚ÄĒGod’s hatred to sin¬†is manifested in the most striking light! 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‚ÄĒwithout an adequate satisfaction.

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‚ÄĒthat even He could not escape unpunished‚ÄĒbut was made a¬†monument of vindictive justice, to all worlds!¬†

What can more strongly expose the evil of sin
‚ÄĒthan the cross of Christ?¬†
Sin is such an intolerably malignant and abominable thing, that even a God of infinite mercy and grace‚ÄĒcannot let the least instance of it pass unpunished!

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

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

WHO is it that hangs there writhing in the agonies of death
‚ÄĒHis hands and feet pierced with nails, His side with a spear, His face bruised with blows, and 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; His Elect, in whom His soul delights; His beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased!

And WHAT has He done?¬†He did no wickedness; He knew no sin‚ÄĒbut 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‚ÄĒwhich 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‚ÄĒdo not so loudly proclaim the terrible desert and malignity of sin‚ÄĒas the cross of Christ!

The infinite malignity of sin, and God’s hatred to it, appear nowhere in so striking and dreadful a light‚ÄĒas 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!¬†

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The unsearchable riches of Christ!

Grace logo

The unsearchable riches of Christ!

(Samuel Davies)

The unsearchable riches of Christ!” Ephesians 3:8

Consider what rich blessings Christ has purchased for His people; purchased not with corruptible things such as silver and gold‚ÄĒbut with His own precious blood! The¬†purchase price¬†recommends and endears the blessings, though they are so great in themselves, as to need no such recommendation! What can be greater or more suitable blessings to hell-bound sinners, than . . .
  pardon for the guilty,
  redemption for slaves,
  righteousness and justification for the condemned,
  sanctification for the unholy,
  rest for the weary,
  comfort for mourners,
  the favor of God for rebels and exiles,
  strength for the impotent,
  protection for the helpless, and 
  everlasting happiness for the heirs of hell! 
And, to sum up all‚ÄĒgrace¬†and¬†glory, and¬†every good thing, and¬†all the unsearchable riches of Christ‚ÄĒfor the wretched and miserable; for the poor, the blind, and naked!

These are blessings indeed, and, in comparison with them‚ÄĒall the riches of the world are impoverished, and vanish to nothing!

He cannot love you more!

Grace logo

He cannot love you more!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grace logo

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

(Mabel Hale, “Beautiful Girlhood” 1922)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grace logo

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

(Charles Naylor)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indelible impressions!

Grace logo

Indelible impressions!

(William Bacon Stevens, “Parental Responsibility“)

We aid and abet the spiritual death of our children, by our irreligious example ‚ÄĒ both in doing that which is positively wrong, and in neglecting to do what is as positively required. As young as our child is ‚ÄĒ it has learned to join together¬†precept¬†and¬†practice. And if we are professors of religion, our child has put along side of this profession ‚ÄĒ our daily walk and conversation, and is perpetually drawing inferences from the one to the other, either for, or against, the truth which we profess.

Uncurbed tempers, ill-governed passions;
unbridled tongues, uncharitable words;
lack of meekness, and gentleness, and truth; 
lack of sobriety of mind, and kindliness of heart; 
the absence of that strict conscientiousness which should mark all our actions;
neglect of the Bible and of prayer; 
disregard of the means of grace;
irrepressible worldliness, in ever dwelling upon¬†“What shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and with what shall we be clothed?”
¬†‚ÄĒ are leaving¬†indelible impressions¬†upon the minds of our offspring! So that,¬†copying our habits of thought, speech, and action¬†‚ÄĒ our child’s¬†character¬†in its essential characteristics, may be formed for eternity; before its mind is able to receive the¬†precepts¬†which perhaps we occasionally teach.

Like a concealed worm at the root of a flower

Grace logo

Like a concealed worm at the root of a flower

(John Angell James)

It may be that your hindrances to a more rapid 
growth in grace, arise from some specific cause, 
some sin indulged, some corruption cherished. Is 
there not some sacrifice which you are unwilling 
to make, or something which you are unwilling to 
surrender? You must give up the forbidden thing, 
or your growth in grace is impossible! That one sin 
will, like a concealed worm at the root of a 
flower
–eat out the very life of your piety, and¬†
cause it to droop, wither, and decay.

Carnal, careless, and covetous

Grace logo

Carnal, careless, and covetous

One must judge of his own state by the fruit he bears.
When our fruit is unto holiness, we know that the end
shall be everlasting life. Everyone who hopes that he is
converted to God, should examine himself and prove his
own fruit. In judging of piety, there is no substitute for
a holy life. We are Christ’s disciples‚ÄĒif we do whatever
He commands us. We are the servants of the wicked
one‚ÄĒif we do the works of the flesh. We may boast of
discoveries, of raptures, and ecstasies‚ÄĒbut all is in vain
if a consistent life is not the result. A godly life is the
infallible evidence of conversion.

Many professors of religion are carnal, careless, 
and covetous
. In them no change of life appears 
to prove a change of heart. They are much like their 
worldly neighbors, except that they attend church. 
They are spots and blemishes in Christian feasts. 
They are a grief and a shame to godly people. The 
church has their names, but the world has their 
hearts. The number of such is painfully large.

Christian liberty


Grace logoChristian liberty

(J.R. Miller)

We should keep watch over our words and deeds, not only in their intent and purpose ‚ÄĒ but also in¬†their possible influence over others. There may be¬†liberties¬†which lead to no danger for us ‚ÄĒ but which to others with less stable character, and less wholesome environments ‚ÄĒ would be full of peril. It is part of our duty to think of these¬†weaker¬†ones, and of the influence of our example upon them. We may not do anything in our liberty, which might possibly¬†harm¬†others. We must be willing to sacrifice our liberty ‚ÄĒ if by its exercise, we endanger another’s soul. This is the teaching of holy Scripture:

“Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may¬†edify¬†another.” Romans 14:19¬†

“Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to¬†stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.” Romans 14:20-21¬†

“Be careful, however, that the¬†exercise of your freedom¬†does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their¬†weak conscience ‚ÄĒ¬†you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.” 1 Corinthians 8:9-13¬†

“All things are¬†lawful¬†for me, but not all things are¬†helpful;¬†all things are lawful for me, but not all things¬†edify. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

Mother, don’t you love me?


Grace logoMother, don’t you love me?

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

“I have¬†seen¬†his ways ‚ÄĒ and will¬†heal¬†him!” Isaiah 57:18

Here is one of the¬†blessedly incomprehensible paradoxes¬†of God’s love and mercy, which startles us by its excess of compassionate grace: “I have¬†seen¬†his ways, and . . .” ‚ÄĒ one would have thought that the next sentence must be, “I will¬†punish¬†him,” or at least, “I will¬†rebuke¬†him!” But, instead of wrath ‚ÄĒ here is pardon! Pity makes room for love; and in the place of bitterness, the Lord gives a blessing! “I have¬†seen¬†his ways ‚ÄĒ and will¬†heal¬†him!”

O wanderer, will not these tender words cause you to return to your Lord? 
O stony heart ‚ÄĒ will you not break at so loving a touch as this?¬†
O cold and half-dead soul ‚ÄĒ will not such a Divine cordial revive you?

“I have seen his ways.”¬†What¬†“ways” has God seen in you? Have they not been “wicked,” “crooked,” “perverse,” “your¬†own¬†ways” ‚ÄĒ “the ways of¬†death?” Have you not turned aside from the path of life, and refused to walk “in all His way,” and chosen “a stubborn way” for yourself?

Our heart must give a sad assent to all these charges. As we bow humbly before Him, and say, “You are acquainted with all my ways” ‚ÄĒ we feel that such knowledge of us on His part, intensifies our wonder and gratitude at the loving compassion with which He regards us!

When I was a little child, and had been troublesome to my mother ‚ÄĒ her reproof or punishment would often be followed by my trembling question, “Mother, don’t you love me?” And my mother’s reply invariably was, “Yes, I do love you; but I do not love your naughty ways!” Poor mother! Doubtless I tried her very much, and this was the best that¬†grieved parental love¬†could say. But our heavenly Father has sweeter, choicer words than these, for His erring children.

His love is¬†Divine, so He says, “I have¬†seen¬†his ways ‚ÄĒ and will¬†heal¬†him!” O sweet pitifulness of our God! O inexplicable tenderness! O love surpassing all earth’s loveliest affection! Do not our hard hearts yield under the power of such compassion as this?

God knows all our wickedness, He has seen all our waywardness; yet His purpose towards us is one of healing and pardon ‚ÄĒ and not of anger and estrangement.

As I learn more of God, I get so sick of my sin ‚ÄĒ indwelling-sin, heart-sin, that my soul welcomes this Word of the Lord, as a condemned prisoner embraces a pardon, or as a drowning man clutches the life-buoy thrown out for his rescue. To be healed of the disease which wastes us, to be delivered from the deadness and indifference which enchain us, to have a perfect heart with the Lord our God, and to walk before Him in a perfect way ‚ÄĒ this, I take it, is the¬†blessed prospect¬†held out by this promise. Who will claim its fulfillment at once? Who will take our gracious God at His Word, and believingly receive the¬†priceless blessing¬†which His love offers?

O blessed Lord, Your forbearance with us in the past, has been a miracle of mercy! You have seen so much in us which Your soul has abhorred ‚ÄĒ and yet You come now with this gift of healing in Your hands, which means not only pardon ‚ÄĒ but the power to be holy.

Lord, we lift up our empty, beseeching hands ‚ÄĒ to Your full ones. Our own ways have led us farther and farther from You; now let Your forgiving, healing love draw us so close to You, that we can never again be among those “who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness.”

The master-key which fits the locks!

Grace logo

The master-key which fits the locks!

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

“The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but¬†because the LORD loved you!” Deuteronomy 7:7-8¬†

My gracious God, there is a honeycomb of delight and sweetness in these words! Will You put the rod of faith into my hand, this morning, and enable me to dip the end thereof into this rich provision, that my soul may eat and be satisfied, and that the eyes of my understanding may be enlightened?

“Because the Lord loved you!”¬†
This is His great “reason” for all of God’s dealings with His redeemed people. It is a full and convincing answer to all the doubts and questionings with which Satan can perplex and distress the Lord’s timid ones. The enemy of souls has, alas! a powerful confederate in the wicked unbelief which lurks within us; but they will both be vanquished when we have learned to use this weapon of war against them.

Come, my heart, try its blessed force and quality at this moment! The foe says, “Why does God send you affliction, and sorrow, and suffering ‚ÄĒ when those who do not fear His Name have continual quietness and abounding prosperity?”

If you can boldly answer,¬†“It is because the Lord loves me!”¬†then you will have given him such a¬†sword-thrust¬†as will free you, for a time, at least, from his cunning devices and fierce onslaughts.

Or, look at the text as a¬†shaft of sunlight, piercing through a chink in the shuttered window of some dark experience. Bring your fears and forebodings out of their dusky corners, and place them within the radiance of this light of love ‚ÄĒ you will be amazed to see them transformed into confident trusts ‚ÄĒ your doubts will vanish as if they had never been, and the evil and bitter things of life will all be transformed into blessings in a moment.¬†

“Because the Lord loved you!”¬†is¬†the master-key which fits the locks¬†of the hardest question, and opens the mysteries of the deepest problem! It is a¬†charm¬†of wondrous efficacy, and every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ may not only rejoice in its possession ‚ÄĒ but use it constantly to obtain all the desire of his heart in spiritual things.

What ails you, poor soul?
¬†Is it loss of health, or friends, or means? Has God taken from you some dearly-loved one, and left you alone on this sad earth? Is He trying and proving you, by many and varied tests and troubles, “to know what was in your heart”? Whatever may be your immediate and peculiar sorrow, if you have grace and faith enough to say,¬†“This is because the Lord loves me!”¬†‚ÄĒ then I dare to promise you that all the bitterness of the affliction will melt away ‚ÄĒ and the¬†peace of God¬†will fill you with a sweet contentment which surpasses understanding. No distress can withstand such Divine solace, no anguish can refuse the relief of this¬†balm of Gilead. If all that happens to you can be traced directly or indirectly to the hand of your loving Lord ‚ÄĒ then how gladly should you bear life’s burdens, and how perfect should be the rest in which heart and mind should dwell!

O gracious Master, looking back over the years that are gone ‚ÄĒ the interminglings of grief and gladness, pass before my eyes as the clouds sail by on an April day. And though the memories of¬†great affliction¬†and¬†sore bereavement¬†cast deep shadows across the scene, and seem for a time to blot out all the brightness ‚ÄĒ yet, above and beyond those changeful skies ‚ÄĒ the sun has never ceased shining, and darkness as well as day has proclaimed the¬†immutability of Your love. When the ears of my soul are attuned to catch the soft whisper of Your voice, I hear You saying: “All this, My child, was because I loved you! Left to yourself; you would have destroyed yourself; but in Me was your help found. All the¬†tribulations¬†you have endured, were but¬†My servants¬†to whom I entrusted the necessary discipline of your earthly life. Do not forget those words of Mine:¬†As many as I love ‚ÄĒ I rebuke and chasten!”

A New Life

Thoughts On Lessons Learned

Perfect Chaos

God's Perfect Purpose in a Chaotic World

TESSEROLOGY

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

Tri Fatherhood

The gentle art of balancing marriage, parenting, and triathlon

paytej

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

take a walk

when Jesus meets me in the park

PASSIONATE CREATIVE CHRISTIAN

inspirationalmindsurges

Paul's Redemption

My recovery from obesity and mental illness

Real Christianity

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)

%d bloggers like this: