Tag Archives: GraceGems

The happiness of Heaven!

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The happiness of Heaven!

(Thomas Sherman, “Divine Breathings; Or, a Pious Soul Thirsting after Christ”)
“No¬†eye¬†has seen,¬†
 no ear has heard, 
 no mind has conceived,
¬†what God has prepared for those who love Him!” 1 Corinthians 2:9

The vessel of our soul is too capacious to be filled with all the pleasures and delights the world put together. But hereafter, our pleasures and delights shall be too great for the most capacious vessel to hold! Our glory shall be so great, that power as well as goodness, shall be given by God Himself to renew and enlarge these vessels, that they may be capable of receiving and retaining that glory. Strength and love shall go forth together, to prepare and elevate our dispositions, that they may be suitable for such a transcendent and exalted state!

At present, we are too weak to bear such a weight of glory; therefore God will immortalize us, that we may be able to sustain it! And because our eternal joys cannot fully enter into us while in this world, we shall fully enter into them in heaven. 

What fool would place only a few drops of carnal pleasures into so large a vessel as the soul; and neglect the spring, or rather the ocean of unspeakable bliss, and everlasting glory!

O my soul, what a glorious day is coming, when the¬†vessels¬†of mercy shall be cast into the¬†ocean¬†of mercy, and be filled to the very brim with¬†divine¬†mercy! Then the soul that is love-sick for Jesus–shall lie in the bosom of divine love, and forever be satisfied with unfathomable love! Then the children of God shall have a full fruition of God, and be forever satisfied with the presence of God! The joy of His glorious presence, the fullness of His joy, the¬†sweetness¬†of this fullness, the eternity of this sweetness–the heart of man can never adequately comprehend.¬†

Lord, let the glory which you have prepared for me, turn my soul from the vanities of earth!

“You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand!” Psalm 16:11

Such a god should be derided!

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Such a god should be derided!

(William S. Plumer, “A Treatise on Providence” 1865)
The unrenewed heart is atheistic in its inclinations.

“They say: The Lord doesn’t see it. The God of Jacob¬†doesn’t pay attention.” Psalm 94:7″The wicked say to themselves: ‘God isn’t watching!¬†He will never notice!’
¬†Arise, O Lord! Punish the wicked, O God!”¬†Psalm 10:11-12

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

God¬†reigns¬†is a logical conclusion from God¬†is. To deny God’s¬†providence¬†is as atheistic as to deny His existence! A god, who neither sees, nor hears, nor knows, nor cares, nor helps, nor saves–is a vanity, and can never claim homage from intelligent men.¬†Such a god should be derided, not worshiped! He might suit the mythology of Paganism, or meet the demands of an infidel heart–but could never command the allegiance, or win the confidence of an enlightened and pious man!¬†

The world may as well be without a god–as have one who is incompetent to rule it, or, who, wrapping Himself in a mantle of careless indifference, abandons creation to the governance of puny mortals, to the rule of devils, or to the sway of¬†blind chance!¬†Such conduct may well comport with the character of false gods–but is wholly abhorrent to the nature of Jehovah! God’s tender mercies are over all His works. His kingdom rules over all!

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

“For I know that the Lord is great; our Lord is greater than all gods. The Lord does¬†whatever He pleases¬†in Heaven and on earth, in the seas and all the depths!” Psalm 135:5-6″Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns!”¬†Revelation 19:6

The result has been . . .

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The result has been . . .

(Arthur Pink, “An Exposition of the Gospel of John”)
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first.¬†If you¬†belonged¬†to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you¬†out¬†of the world.¬†That is why the world hates you!”¬†John 15:18-19¬†

“Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you!” 1 John 3:13¬†

The professing Church has boasted that it would convert the world. To accomplish this aim, it has sought to “popularize” religion. Innumerable devices have been employed¬†to attract the ungodly–many of which even a sense of propriety should have suppressed!¬†

The result has been that the world has converted the professing Church! 

But notwithstanding this, it still remains true that the world hates the true followers of the Lamb. And nowhere is this more plainly evident, than in those who belong to what we may term the religious world!

If you resolve that by Divine grace you will live godly in Christ Jesus, then know that persecution must be your portion. And that persecution will come upon you not from atheists and infidels, but from those bearing the name of Christians. It will issue from those who still keep up a form (or semblance) of godliness, but who are strangers to its living power. It will come to you from empty professors whose compromising ways are condemned by your refusal to conform thereto; whose worldliness and carnality is rebuked by your spirituality. 

Remember, it was the religious leaders who hounded the Savior to His death!

¬†“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus¬†will¬†be persecuted!” 2 Timothy 3:12¬†

But he was a leper!

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But he was a leper!

(Arthur Pink, “Gleanings from Elisha”)
“Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a¬†great man¬†. . .¬†but he was a leper!” 2 Kings 5:1¬†

Naaman was a great man . . . but he was a leper! He was the victim of a loathsome and incurable disease. He was a pitiful and repulsive object, with no prospect whatever of any improvement in his condition.

Yes, my reader, the highly-privileged and honored Naaman was a leper–and as such he portrays what you are and what I am by nature. God’s Word does not¬†flatter¬†man. It lays him in the dust, which is one reason why it is so unpalatable to the great majority of people. It is the Word of truth, and therefore instead of painting flattering pictures of human nature–it represents things as they actually are.
 
Instead of¬†lauding¬†man–it¬†abases¬†him.

Instead of speaking of the dignity and nobility of human nature, it declares it to be leprous–sinful, corrupt, depraved, defiled!

Instead of eulogizing human progress–it insists that “every man at his best state is altogether vanity!” (Psalm 39:5)

And when the Holy Scriptures define man’s attitude toward, and relationship with God–they insist that “There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God” (Romans 3:10-11). They declare that we are His¬†enemies¬†by our wicked works (Colossians 1:21), and that consequently we are under the condemnation and curse of God’s law, and that His holy wrath abides on us! (John 3:36)

The Word of truth declares that by nature¬†all of us are spiritual lepers–foul and filthy, unfit for the divine presence, “being alienated from the life of God.” (Ephesians 4:18)¬†

You may occupy a good position in this world, even an eminent station in the affairs of this life. You may have made good in your vocation, and wrought praiseworthy achievements by human standards. You may be honorable in the sight of your fellows–but¬†how do you appear in the eyes of God?¬†You are a leper–one whom His law pronounces unclean, one who is utterly unfit for His holy presence! As it was with Naaman, so it is with you:¬†“He was a great man–but a leper!”

We would not be faithful to our calling were we to glide over that in God’s Word which is distasteful to proud flesh and blood. Nor would we be faithful to our readers if we glossed over their frightful and fatal natural condition. It is in their souls’ interests that they should face this humiliating and unpleasant fact: that in God’s sight, they are spiritual lepers!

But we must¬†personalize¬†it. Have¬†you, my reader, realized this fact in your own case? Have you seen yourself as you are in God’s sight? Are you aware that your soul is suffering from a disease that neither you nor any human being can cure? It is so, whether you realize it or not. The Scriptures declare that from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head, there is no soundness in you. Yes, that in the sight of the holy God, you are a mass of “wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores!” (Isaiah 1:6) Only as you penitently accept that divine verdict, is there any hope for you.

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save¬†sinners!” 1 Timothy 1:15

Two Filthy Rooms!

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Two Filthy Rooms!

(Arthur Pink)
“And when the Spirit comes, He will convict the world of sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.” John 16:8

One of the principle things which distinguishes a regenerate person from an unregenerate one, may be likened unto two filthy rooms:

In one room, the blinds are raised and the sunlight streams in, exposing the filth all around. 

In the other room, the blinds are lowered, and one walking through the room would be unable to discern its real condition.

Thus it is in the case of one who has been renewed by the Spirit: his eyes have been opened to see the awful filthwhich lurks in every corner of his heart.

But in the case of the unregenerate, though they have occasional twinges of conscience when they act wrongfully, they are very largely ignorant of the awful fact that they are a complete mass of corruption in the pure eyes of the thrice holy God.

Abraham acknowledged,¬†“I am dust and ashes!”¬†Genesis 18:27

Job said of himself, “I am vile!” Job 40:4

David admitted, “I am a worm!” Psalm 22:6

Isaiah confessed, “Woe is me! I am ruined!” Isaiah 6:5

Peter affirmed, “I am a sinful man, O Lord!” Luke 5:8

Paul considered himself, “The chief of sinners!” 1 Timothy 1:15

Lost

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LOST!

(Arthur Pink, 1951)
“But if our gospel is hid–it is hid to those who are¬†LOST!¬†The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers!” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4¬†

What multitudes of people there are who have no concern over, in fact, no consciousness of, their woeful condition! While they do not regard themselves as perfect, yet they are not aware that there is anything seriously wrong with them. They are respectable people, law-abiding citizens, and nothing particular ever troubles their conscience. They consider that they are certainly no worse than their religious neighbors, and though they scarcely ever read the Bible or enter a church, they fully expect to go to Heaven when they die. 

Some of them will indeed admit that they are sinners, but imagine that their good works far outnumber their bad ones. Some of them were sprinkled as infants, attended a Sunday school class as children, said their prayers each night, and later joined the church. Nevertheless, to this moment, they have never realized that they are the enemies of God, an abomination in the eyes of His holiness, and that Hell is their just desert! They see no beauty or glory in the Gospel, no suitableness in it unto their case–and therefore do they despise and reject it.

Though Satan rules in their hearts and lives (Ephesians 2:2), yet it is by their own free consent. They voluntarily obey him and submit to his will. His dominion over them is maintained by . . .
  keeping their minds in darkness,
  deceiving and deluding them,
  blinding them by pride, prejudice, and the workings of their own corruptions. 

Nowhere but in the Scriptures, can we learn what is the real condition of the natural man. There his case is diagnosed with unerring precision by the divine Physician. Many are the terms used therein by the Holy Spirit to describe the solemn and direful state to which the fall has reduced every descendant of Adam; and among them probably none is more pointed and awesome than is the term LOST! How dismal is its sound! How much is summed up in that single word! It signifies . . .
  that the natural man is in a sinful, wretched, and perilous state, 
  that he is far astray from God,
  that he has willfully and wantonly forsaken the path of duty. 

Lost! A traveler from time to eternity, treading the road that leads to certain and everlasting destruction! 

Lost! A creature who has forfeited the approbation and favor of his Maker, and is now an outcast from Him!

Lost! One who has squandered his substance in riotous living, and is now a spiritual bankrupt and pauper. He is out of the way of eternal peace and blessing, and utterly incapable of finding his way back to it! 

Fearful beyond words, is the condition of fallen man. His case is as hopeless as that of a dying person whose disease is incurable. A lost¬†child¬†is a pitiful object–but what mind can estimate, or pen depict, the tragedy of a lost¬†soul?¬†Lost now, lost¬†forever–unless a sovereign God intervenes and performs a miracle of mercy for its recovery!¬†

Man is lost positively, in that he is not what he should be. He is . . .
  a defiled creature,
  a guilty criminal, 
  a child of disobedience!

Lost¬†judicially, under the curse of God’s broken Law, sentenced to death, “condemned already” (John 3:18), the wrath of God now abiding on him! (John 3:36)

Lost¬†meritoriously, for his transgressions deserve eternal death, which is the wages of sin–and fully has he earned them.¬†

Lost¬†experientially¬†in point of¬†ability¬†or¬†power¬†to recover himself, he is “not subject to the law of God, neither indeed¬†can¬†he be” (Romans 8:7). The moral impotency of man is such that he is utterly incapable of performing a single spiritual act: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good, who are accustomed to doing evil! (Jeremiah 13:23)

None will know how utterly man is lost, until they experience God’s wrath in Hell, and can then measure the fearful distance they have departed from Him!

Thus man is lost in every way, and in every sense! 
Federally, by the imputation to him of the guilt of his representative’s offence.¬†
Effectually, by the transmission of a corrupt nature from his parents. 
Actually, by his own evil conduct, “you have destroyed yourself” (Hosea 13:9).¬†
Practically, by the forming of evil habits, so that now he is “held with the cords of his sins” (Proverbs 5:22).¬†

Lost to God, for He has no love, no service, no glory from the unregenerate; so that they deprive Him of the honor of their creation. 

Man is lost to himself . . .
  to all reason and rational inducements, 
  to right conceptions and perceptions, 
¬† to every consideration of God’s claims upon him.¬†

Lost to all sense of shame for his horrible condition in the eyes of the Holy One. 

So lost as to have “delight in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:12).¬†

Lost to piety and true happiness. 

Out of the way of holiness, peace, and security. 

Lost in sin, in ignorance, and error. 

Lost¬†irretrievably, like a sheep that wanders farther and farther astray, until it perishes. Man is utterly unable to find his way back to God, for he is in total darkness–a wanderer in a pathless desert, perishing in a howling wilderness. What makes man’s case yet worse, is that¬†he has no desire to be recovered!¬†He has perversely set himself up to be his own master, and stubbornly determines to please himself and carve out his own career.¬†

Rather than return unto God, the unregenerate would take any road which leads farther away from Him. They resent His expostulations and resist the strivings of His Spirit. If not with their lips, with their hearts, they say unto God: “Depart from us, for we have no desire to know Your ways!” (Job 21:14). Yes, they would much prefer to be annihilated than yet meet God face to face, and have to give an account of themselves to Him (Romans 14:12). They hate His holiness and dread His justice, while despising His goodness and abusing His mercies!¬†

An unerring chart by which to steer through the dangerous sea of life!

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An unerring chart by which to steer through the dangerous sea of life!

(Arthur Pink, “The Attributes of God“)

God has placed His Word in our hands for an intensely practical purpose; namely, to direct our walk and to regulate our deportment. The primary purpose for which God gave the Scriptures, is to make a practicaluse of them–ordering the details of our lives by its rules and regulations.

“Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105. The metaphor used here is taken from a man walking along a dangerous road on a dark night, in urgent need of a lantern to show him where to walk safely and comfortably, to avoid injury and destruction. 

God, in His infinite condescension and transcendent grace, has given us His Word for this very purpose, so that we need not stumble along blindly, ignorant of what pleases or displeases Him–but that we might know His mind. That divine Word is not given to us simply for information, but . . .
  to regulate our conduct,
  to enlighten our minds,
  and to mold our hearts.

The Word supplies us with an unerring chart by which to steer through the dangerous sea of life. If we sincerely and diligently follow, it will deliver us from disastrous rocks and submerged reefs; and direct us safely to the heavenly harbor. That Word has all the instructions we need for every problem, and every trouble we may be called upon to face. That Word has been given to us “that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:17. How thankful we should be, that God has favored us with such a Word!

This world is a dark place, and it is only as we take heed to the Word, to the light God has given us–that we shall be able to perceive and avoid “the broad road which leads to destruction,” and discern the narrow way which alone “leads unto eternal life.”

Our first duty, and our first aim, must be to take up the Scriptures to ascertain what is God’s revealed will for us–what are the paths He forbids us to walk, what are the ways pleasing in His sight.

The Scriptures are not given us, primarily for our intellectual gratification, nor for emotional admiration, but for life’s regulation. Nor are the precepts and commands, the warnings and encouragements contained therein, simply for our information. They are to be reduced to practice; they require unqualified obedience. He who treasures the divine precepts in his heart, and diligently seeks to walk by their rule, will escape those evils which destroy his fellows.

Thus the great business of the Christian is to regulate his life by, and conform his conduct to–the precepts of the written Word, and the example left us by the Incarnate Word. As he does so, and in proportion as he does so, he is . . . 
  emancipated from the darkness of his natural mind,
  freed from the follies of his corrupt heart,
  delivered from the mad course of this world,
  and escapes the snares of the devil.

Correcting in love–not smiting in wrath!

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Correcting in love–not smiting in wrath!

(Arthur Pink, “Comfort for Christians“)

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“Whom the Lord loves, He chastens.” Hebrews 12:6

The Father’s wise and loving discipline is in view here.

It is of first importance that we learn to draw a sharp distinction between Divine punishment and Divine chastisement. The distinction is very simple, yet is it often lost sight of. 

God’s people can never by any possibility be punished for their sins, for God has already punished them at the Cross. The Lord Jesus, our Blessed Substitute, suffered the full penalty of all our guilt; hence it is written “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” Neither the justice nor the love of God, will permit Him to again exact payment of what Christ discharged to the full. The difference between punishment and chastisement lies not in the nature of the sufferings of the afflicted. There is a threefold distinction between the two: 

First, the character in which God acts. In the former, God acts as Judge; in the latter, as Father. Sentence of punishment is the act of a judge–a penal sentence passed on those charged with guilt. Punishment can never fall upon the child of God in this judicial sense, because his guilt was all transferred to Christ, “Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree.”

But while the believer’s sins cannot be punished, while the Christian cannot be condemned (Romans 8:3)–yet he may be chastised. The Christian occupies an entirely different position from the non-Christian; he is a member of the Family of God. The relationship which now exists between him and God is that of parent and child; and as a son he must be disciplined for wrongdoing. Folly is bound up in the hearts of all God’s children, and the rod is necessary to rebuke, to subdue, to humble.

The second distinction between Divine punishment and Divine chastisement lies in the recipients of each.

The objects of the former are His enemies
The subjects of the latter are His children

As the Judge of all the earth, God will yet take vengeance on all His foes. 
As the Father of His family, God maintains discipline over all His children. 

The one is judicial; the other parental.

A third distinction is seen in the design of each.

The one is retributive–the other remedial. 

The one flows from His anger–the other from His love. 

Divine punishment is never sent for the good of unrepentant sinners–but for the honoring of God’s law and the vindicating of His government. 
But Divine chastisement is sent for the well-being of His children: “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness.” (Hebrews 12:10)

When the believer is smarting under the rod let him not say, “God is now punishing me for my sins!” That can never be! That is most dishonoring to the blood of Christ. God is correcting you in love–not smiting in wrath! 

Chastisement proceeds from God’s goodness and faithfulness, and is one of the greatest blessings for which we have to thank Him. Chastisement evidences our Divine sonship. It is designed for our good, to promote our highest interests. Look beyond the rod–to the all-wise hand which wields it!

Some of the saintliest of God’s people, some of the most obedient of His children–have been, and are the greatest sufferers. 

Oftentimes, God’s chastenings are corrective. They are sent to empty us of self-sufficiency and self-righteousness. They are given to discover to us hidden transgressions, and to teach us the plague of our own hearts. 

Or again, chastisements are sent to strengthen our faith, to raise us to higher levels of experience, to bring us into a condition of usefulness. 

Still again, Divine chastisement is sent as a preventative, to keep under pride, to save us from being unduly elated over success in God’s service. 

Remember, your afflictions are among the “all things” which work together for good. Learn, then, to look upon trials as proofs of God’s love–purgingpruning, and purifying you.

What is most needed today

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(Arthur Pink, “Eternal Punishment”)

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

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

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

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

What is needed today, is a scriptural setting forth of the nature of that dreadful punishment which awaits the lost:
the awfulness of it,
the hopelessness of it,
the unendurableness of it,
the endlessness of it!
Excepting the Cross of Christ, nothing else so manifests the heinousness of sin–as the doctrine of eternal punishment.

It is just because these truths have been withheld so much from public ministry to the saints–that we now find so many backboneless, sentimental, lop-sided Christians in our assemblies!

A clearer vision of the awe-inspiring attributes of God, would banish much of our levity and irreverence.

A better understanding of our depravity by nature, would humble us and make us see our deep need of using the appointed means of grace.

A facing of the alarming danger of the lost sinner, would cause us to “consider our ways” and make us more diligent to make our “calling and election sure.”

A realization of the unspeakable misery which awaits the lost (and which each of us has fully merited) would immeasurably deepen our gratitude, and bring us to thank God more fervently–that we have been snatched as brands from the burning, and delivered from the wrath to come! It would also make us far more earnest in our prayers, as we supplicate God on behalf of the unsaved.

Where are you going?

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(Charles Orr, “How to Live a Holy Life”)

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We have only one life to live–only one! Think of this for a moment. 

Here we are in this world of time, making the journey of life. Each day we are farther from the cradle, and nearer to the grave! Solemn thought!

See the mighty concourse of human lives; hear their heavy tread in their onward march. 
Some are just beginning life’s journey, 
some are midway up the hill, 
some have reached the top, and 
some are midway down the western slope. 

But where are we all going? 

Listen, and you will hear but one answer, “Eternity!” Beyond the fading, dying gleams of the sunset of life–lies a boundless, endless ocean called Eternity! There, you and I are daily traveling.

Time is like a great wheel going its round. On and on it goes. Some are stepping on, and some are stepping off. But where are these latter stepping? Into eternity! 

See that old man with bent form, snow-white locks, and tottering steps–his has been a long round, but he has reached his end at last. 

See the middle-aged man–his round has not been so long, but he must also step off. 

See the youth–he has been on only a little while, but he is brought to the stepping-off place. He thought his round would be much longer. He supposed that he was just getting started–when that icy hand was laid upon him and the usher said, “Come, you have made your round, and you must go!” 

The infant that gave its first faint cry this morning, may utter its last feeble wail tonight!

And thus they go. But where? Oh, where? ETERNITY!

If you were to start today and ask each person you met the question, “Where are you going?” and, if possible, you were to travel the world over and ask each one of earth’s inhabitants–there could be but one correct answer, “Eternity!”

“Oh, eternity, Long eternity! 
 Hear the solemn footsteps of eternity!”

Only one life to live! Only one life–and then we must face vast, endless eternity! We shall pass along the pathway of life but once. Every step we take, is a step that can never be taken again. 

This world is not a play-ground–or a place to trifle with time
Life is not given us to squander nor fritter away. 
To trifle away time, is indeed, to be the greatest of spendthrifts. 
If you squander a dollar, you may regain it; but a moment wasted, can never be regained. God gives us all the time we need to accomplish all that He purposes us to accomplish–but He does not give us one moment to trifle away.

We have only one life to live–only one!”So teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 

The miserable dregs of self!

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(J.C. Philpot, “Meditations on Matters of Christian Faith & Experience”)

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“To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He  has made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6

We are ever looking for something in self to make ourselves acceptable to God. 
We are often sadly cast down and discouraged when we cannot find in ourselves . . .
  that holiness,
  that obedience,
  that calm submission to the will of God,
  that serenity of soul,
  that spirituality and heavenly-mindedness, 
which we believe to be acceptable in His sight. 

Our crooked tempers,
our fretful, peevish minds,
our rebellious thoughts,
our coldness and barrenness,
our alienation from good,
our headlong proneness to evil,
with the daily feeling that we get no better, but rather worse, 
make us think that God views us just as we view ourselves. And this brings on great darkness of mind and bondage of spirit, and we seem to lose sight of our acceptance in Christ, and get into the miserable dregs of self–almost ready to quarrel with God because we are so vile, and only get worse as we get older.

Now the more we get into these dregs of self, and the more we keep looking at the dreadful scenes of wreck and ruin which our heart presents to daily view–the farther do we get from the grace of the gospel, and the more do we lose sight of the only ground of our acceptance with God. It is “in the Beloved” that we are accepted, and not for any . . .
  good works,
  good words,
  good thoughts,
  good hearts, or
  good intentions of our own.

If our acceptance with God depended on anything in ourselves, we would have to believe we might be children of God today, and children of the devil tomorrow.

What, then, is to keep us from sinking altogether into despair, without hope or help? Why, a knowledge of our acceptance in the Beloved, independent of everything in us, good or bad. 

“You are complete in Him!” Colossians 2:10

“Their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17

“He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy.” Titus 3:5

Even your own relatives think¬†you are almost insane!

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(J.C. Philpot, “The Abiding Comforter” 1858)

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“The Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.” John 14:17

The world–that is, the world dead in sin, and the world dead in profession, men destitute of the life and power of God–must have something that it can see. And, as heavenly things can only be seen by heavenly eyes, they cannot receive the things which are invisible.

Now this explains why a religion that presents itself with a degree of beauty and grandeur to the natural eye, will always be received by the world; while a . . .
  spiritual,
  internal,
  heartfelt and
  experimental 
religion will always be rejected.

The world can receive a religion that consists of . . .
  forms, 
  rites, and 
  ceremonies. 
These are things seen.

Beautiful buildings,
painted windows,
pealing organs,
melodious choirs,
the pomp and parade of an earthly priesthood,
and a whole apparatus of ‘religious ceremony’, 
carry with them something that the natural eye can see and admire. The world receives all this ‘external religion’ because it is suitable to the natural mind and intelligible to their reasoning faculties.

But the . . .
  quiet, 
  inward, 
  experimental, 
  divine religion,
which presents no attractions to the outward eye, but is wrought in the heart by a divine operation–the world cannot receive this, because it presents nothing that the natural eye can rest upon with pleasure, or is adapted to gratify their general idea of what religion is or should be.

Do not marvel then, that worldly professors despise a religion wrought in the soul by the power of God. Do not be surprised if even your own relatives think you are almost insane, when you speak of the consolations of the Spirit, or of the teachings of God in your soul. They cannot receive these things, for they have no experience of them; and being such as are altogether opposed to the carnal mind, they reject them with enmity and scorn.

My grace is sufficient for you!

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(J.C. Philpot, “Strength Made Perfect in Weakness”)


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

Not your strength, 
not your wisdom, 
not your prayers, 
not your experience; 
but¬†“My grace”–My free, My matchless grace:
  independent of all works and efforts,
  independent of everything in the creature,
  flowing wholly and solely, fully and freely, out of the bosom of Jesus to . . .
    the needy,
    the guilty,
    the destitute,
    the undone.

You who are tried in worldly circumstances, who have to endure the hard lot of¬†poverty–“My grace is sufficient for you.”¬†

You who are¬†tempted, day by day, to say or do that which conscience testifies against–“My grace is sufficient for you.”¬†

You who are harassed with¬†family troubles¬†and afflictions, and are often drawn aside into peevishness and fretfulness–“My grace is sufficient for you.”¬†

Our weakness, helplessness, and inability are the very things which draw forth the power, the strength, and the grace of Jesus!

Believer, your case is never beyond the reach of the words–“My grace is sufficient for you!”

The free, the matchless, sovereign grace of God, is sufficient for all His people–in whatever state, or stage, or trouble, or difficulty they may be in!

My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Why does God afflict us? 

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Why does God afflict us? 

(Ashton Oxenden, “The Blessings and Trials of Sickness” 1863)

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“Affliction does not come forth from the dust, neither does trouble spring forth out of the ground!” Job 5:6 

“Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good.” Deuteronomy 8:5

“I know, O Lord, that Your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness You have afflicted me!” Psalm 119:75

“As many as I love, rebuke and discipline!” Revelation 3:19 

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

“I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for You are the one who has done this!” Psalm 39:9 
 

Dear Reader, 
I have come into your sick-room, as it were, and wish to tell you a few things for your comfort and profit.

God has seen fit to stop you in the midst of your busy life, and to lay you aside for a while. It is not by chance that His afflicting hand has fallen upon you. It is not at random that He has chastened you. It may seem to be a mere accident that you are afflicted, and not another. But no; God has done it purposely! 

Learn this then–that your present sickness or affliction is from God. It is His doing. He it is, who has brought this present chastisement upon you. Not even a sparrow falls to the ground without our heavenly Father’s ordering, and He prizes His redeemed children more than many sparrows.

Sickness usually comes as a messenger of divine love–it is sent to be a blessing, and may be made, by God’s grace, a very great blessing to the soul. God afflicts His children, because He desires to do them some great good. 

The gardener cuts and prunes his tree, to make it grow better, and bear more precious fruit. In the same way, God often uses His sharp knife for some gracious purpose. 

The wise and loving father thwarts his child, and sometimes scourges it, for its good. Just so, God uses His chastening rod for the very same reason. 

The skillful physician prescribes nauseous medicines to restore his patient’s health. In the same way, God makes us take His bitter medicines, though at the time they are very distasteful to us.

Why does God afflict us? 

Because He loves us, and wishes to make us holy as He is holy, and happy as He is happy. For, as it has been well said, “Fiery trials make golden Christians!” 

God had one Son without sin–but He never had any son without sorrow.

God chastens purposely and lovingly. Affliction comes from Him; and He afflicts, not as a stern Judge, but as a Father and a Friend!

Before then you go a step further, ask God to convince you of this precious truth: “It is my Father who corrects me–even He who loves me! I will receive this chastisement then from Him, and remember that it is a loving hand that smites. I will kiss the very rod that scourges me. Father, not my will, but may Your will be done!”

A true Christian will receive affliction with submission. It is his Father’s doing, and therefore he quietly submits. It comes from Him, and must therefore be well. He feels that there is a needs-be for it. What a sweet pillow is this, on which to rest his weary head!

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

I will rejoice in Your salvation!

I will rejoice in Your salvation!

(William Nicholson, 1862)

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I will rejoice in Your salvation!” Psalm 9:14

The minds of the wicked find joy from the most¬†trivial¬†causes–causes which the Spirit of God has taught the Christian to estimate as mere “vanity and vexation of spirit.” To the enlightened mind, the pursuits of this world, and the possessions of the most wealthy, dwindle into insignificance when compared with the value of the soul and its great salvation. If a sinner finds cause for joy in his career of¬†iniquity, the end of which is damnation–then surely the believer has¬†an unfailing source of joy and consolation in God’s salvation!

No one can rejoice in salvation, unless he understands it. There will be a knowledge . . . 
of the¬†necessity¬†of salvation, arising from the conviction of one’s fallen, guilty, and condemned state before God;¬†
of the accomplishment of salvation, by the atoning death, resurrection, and intercession of Jesus Christ, 1 Timothy 1:15; 
that when received, salvation will grant . . . 
  pardon to the guilty, 
  justification to the condemned, 
  liberty to the spiritual captive, 
  health to the spiritually sick, 
  sight to the spiritually blind, and, in short, 
¬† “all spiritual blessings¬†in heavenly places in Christ Jesus!”

No one can ever rejoice in salvation, unless he has felt his need of it. The Spirit has opened the eyes of his understanding, and revealed to him his great guilt and need of the Savior. He now knows the plague of his own heart. He now feels his utter helplessness, and perceives the adaptation of the Savior to his state as a perishing sinner.

True salvation always¬†produces joy¬†and rejoicing!¬†“I will rejoice in Your salvation.”
The sick person rejoices when his disease departs, when the bloom of health again mantles his cheek, etc. 
The debtor rejoices when his debts are discharged, etc. 
The culprit rejoices when reprieved, when he hears the opening of the doors of his prison-house. 
And shall not the penitent and believing sinner rejoice? He is saved! Saved from . . .
  the guilt of sin, 
  the condemnation of sin,
  the dominion of sin,
  the power of death, 
  the dominion of the grave, and 
  the vengeance of everlasting fire!

This joy springs from the realization of divine mercy, through the sin-atoning death of Christ. This rejoicing is over . . .
  an infinite soul, 
  redeemed by an infinite price, 
¬†¬†from¬†an infinite damnation–
to infinite joys, realized first here, and then to be realized fully in an infinite Heaven. 

What a possession! What a prospect!¬†“I will rejoice in Your salvation!”¬†

1. The believer rejoices in the¬†origin¬†of salvation. It is the result of distinguishing grace–the sovereign goodness and unmerited compassion and favor of God. Man . . .
  did not deserve it,
  had no equitable title to it,
  never solicited it. 
God beheld him as an outcast, pitied him, and condescended to save him! 

2. The believer rejoices in the¬†procuring¬†of salvation. When he sees his Redeemer in the garden and on the cross, he weeps–but they are¬†tears of joy.¬†There he sees Christ’s astonishing love. There he sees Him bearing his sins and dying in his stead, etc.

3. The believer rejoices in the glorious properties of salvation . . . 
  the freeness of it, requiring no qualifications nor conditions,
  the purity of it, unto holiness,
  the power of it, saving him from the guilt, dominion, and pollution of sin,
  the extensiveness of it, investing him with every spiritual blessing,
¬† the¬†certainty¬†of it, assuring the soul, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish–ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:28¬†

4. The believer rejoices in the prospective consummation of salvation in Heaven. He anticipates with joy . . .
  the full harvest,
  the fruition of hope, and
  the vision of glory in which faith shall be lost. 

“You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand!” Psalm 16:11¬†

People with sore and bruised hearts

People with sore and bruised hearts

(J.R. Miller, “Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ” 1890)

“When¬†a woman who had lived a sinful life¬†in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume . . .” Luke 7:37¬†

It is wonderful how genuine goodness draws to itself:
  the unfortunate, 
  the troubled,
  the friendless, 
  the outcast,
  the fallen. 

Wherever Jesus went, these classes always found Him out and gathered about Him. It was because He was the true, unselfish friend of all men. They found¬†sympathy¬†in Him. He would¬†listen¬†to their story. Though He was the sinless One, there was yet no air of, “I am holier than you” about Him. He was just as gentle to an outcast sinner, as to a religious Nicodemus. No matter who reached out a hand for help, He was ready to grasp it. One of the truest things ever said of Jesus, was the prophetic word concerning him,¬†“He shall not break a bruised reed!”¬†He always dealt most gently with¬†sore spirits¬†and with¬†bruised hearts!

Those who want to be useful in this world, must have the same qualities as Jesus. There is a kind of false “holiness” which draws nobody to itself–but rather repels. Genuine holiness, however, wins its way everywhere into men’s hearts. The secret of it all is in living¬†“not to be served–but to serve;”¬†in considering one’s self not too good to serve the most unworthy of God’s creatures. If we live in this world to¬†be¬†served, we shall be of no use to anyone. But if we live to minister to others, yearning to be of service to everyone we meet–then our life will be of great worth. The¬†hungry-hearted¬†and the¬†soul-needy¬†will be drawn to us, and God will love to put work into our hands.

We need, too, to train ourselves to¬†exceeding gentleness¬†in dealing with human souls in their spiritual crises. Many earnest people, in the excess of their zeal–do incalculable harm to those whom they greatly desire to help.¬†People with sore and bruised hearts, usually need loving sympathy and strong, kindly friendship–much more than they need a lecture in theology!

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28¬†




Dead Fish Go With The Flow!

Adapted From Calvin Schlabach

‚ÄúBE DIFFERENT! Don‚Äôt go with the flow!‚ÄĚ we are urged. ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt follow the crowd! Even a dead fish can float downstream.‚ÄĚ It does not take any effort or work on the part of a fish to go with the flow and drift downstEven a dead fish can float. Only a living and healthy fish can swim against the current and travel upstream. In the same way, any weak Christian can live like the world; it takes a vital, healthy faith to enable someone to stand on their convictions, firm against the tide of opinion and the example of unbelievers. 

Perhaps we can carry the analogy a bit further. With the polluted condition of many of our modern streams and rivers, it is not only dead fish that float downstream. Trash, industrial waste, and pollutants of one kind or another floats downstream. A fish that travels in that direction finds itself swimming in increasingly fouled and filthy waters. The purest, cleanest waters are found farther upstream nearer the source, where people rarely go. What kind of water would you rather swim in? What kind of life would you rather have? Pure waters are reached only by swimming against the current! 

Obviously, we do not want to be one of those wimpy, weak-willed, dead-fish Christians; yet it is so easy to go with the flow and follow the crowd. If we carelessly live like everyone else, we will find ourselves surrounded by the pollution of sin. Is there any way out of this mess? What does it take for us to be able to swim against the current and move farther upstream? I suggest that we need to concentrate on five main points. 

Convictions 

We will have to know what we believe and then hold to it strongly, for, as it has often been said, those who stand for nothing will fall for anything. We are given the teachings of the apostles and prophets so that we may ‚Äúno longer be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine‚ÄĚ (Ephesians 4:14). We must read our Bibles, accept the principles we find there as our standard of conduct, and then stand firmly on scriptural convictions! How rare it is to see that today! Most of us are so caught up in feelings and tradition, we do not allow truth to shine through. 

Courage 

The unbelievers will not make it to heaven: ‚ÄúBut for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death‚ÄĚ (Revelation 21:8). When they see that God‚Äôs way will require them to leave the false security of doing what all the rest of the world is doing and strike out on their own, their hearts will fail them. Rather than standing against the crowd with the courage of convictions (Romans 8:31), they take the easy way out, turning back to the world, to sin and condemnation. Joshua said, ‚ÄúBe strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go‚ÄĚ (1:9).

Strength 

We must have power and might to stand firmly against the flood of evil that would swiftly sweep us downstream to our destruction. Paul said, ‚ÄúBe on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong‚ÄĚ (1 Corinthians 16:13). We could not successfully withstand temptation and sin that threatens our spiritual well-being by ourselves. Therefore, we are called to ‚Äúbe strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might‚ÄĚ (Ephesians 6:10). Fortified with power that comes only from God (Ephesians 3:16), we can say with Paul, ‚ÄúI can do all things through Him who strengthens me‚ÄĚ (Philippians 4:13). 

Endurance 

For most of us, the Christian race is not a brief sprint to the finish line, but rather it is a long, grueling marathon. Listen to the words of the Hebrew writer, ‚ÄúYou have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised … ‚ÄėMy righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him‚Äô‚ÄĚ (10:36, 38). It is so sad to see those who have started on the Christian way later give up, forfeiting the race. They did not have the the long-distance endurance to run the race through to the end. Therefore, ‚Äúlet us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus‚ÄĚ (Hebrews 12:1-2). 

Heavenly Goals 

The reason we want to travel upstream is because we are seeking something better and higher than the careless world around us. We are not trying to be different from the world just for the sake of being different. We are different because we are pursuing different goals. We have to keep these goals continually before us. Paul said, ‚ÄúKeep seeking the things above, where Christ is … Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth‚ÄĚ (Colossians 3:1-2). Raise your sights! Don‚Äôt follow the foolish crowd!






One of the finest things in a complete Christian character

One of the finest things in a complete Christian character

(J.R. Miller, “Learning to Be Thoughtful” 1898)

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One of the finest things in a complete Christian character
, is thoughtfulness. It gives awondrous charm to a life. It makes one a blessing wherever he goes. It tempers all his conduct, softening all natural harshness into gentleness, and giving a spirit of kindliness to his every word and act, and to all his bearing.

A thoughtful person does not have to be asked to¬†help¬†others–he helps, as it were, instinctively. He is ever ready . . .¬†
  to do the obliging thing, 
  to say the encouraging word, 
  to show an interest in the life of others, 
  to perform those countless little kindnesses which so brighten the common pathway. 

In much home-life, there is a lack of thoughtfulness shown. Not always is the speech gentle–sometimes it is sharp and bitter, even rude. Without being aware of it, many of us are miserably selfish in our life among others. We practically forget that there are any other people, or that we ought to make any sacrifices, or practice any self-denials, for their sake.¬†

Thoughtfulness will seek always to say kindly words, never words that will give pain–but ever those that will give pleasure. We have no right, for the sake of saying a bright thing, to let loose a shaft, however polished, that will make a loving heart bleed!

We all know in our own experience, the value of sincere and Christly¬†thoughtfulness. We do not like to come in contact with thoughtless people. We know well how it hurts and how unbeautiful, how unchristian, it seems when we see it in another–and when¬†our¬†heart is the one that suffers from its harsh, rude impact. We all long for thoughtfulness in others; our hearts hunger and thirst for it. It is bread and wine to us.

What we long for in others in their relation to us, we should be ready to give to them. What in others hurts us, gives us pain–we ought to avoid in our contact with others.¬†Thoughtfulness is one of the finest, ripest fruits of Christian love–and all who would be like the Master must seek to learn this lesson and wear this grace.

It is not your¬†work¬†that He wants most–it is you!

It is not your work that He wants most–it is you!

(J.R. Miller, “The Glory of the Commonplace”)

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“Arise, My darling, My beautiful one, and come with Me!” Song of Songs 2:10 

“He said to them: Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place” Mark 6:31 

G. Campbell Morgan tells of a friend of his who had a little daughter that he dearly loved. They were great friends, the father and daughter, and were always together. But there seemed to come an estrangement on the child’s part. The father could not get her company as formerly. She seemed to shun him. If he wanted her to walk with him, she always had something else to do. The father was grieved and could not understand what the trouble was. 

His birthday came and in the morning his daughter came to his room, her face radiant with love, and handed him a present. Opening the parcel, he found a pair of exquisitely made slippers.

The father said, “My child, it was very good of you to buy me such lovely slippers.” 

“O father,” she said, “I did not buy them–I made them for you!”

Looking at her he said, “I think I understand now, what long has been a mystery to me. Is this what you have been doing for the last three months?”

“Yes,” she said, “but how did you know how long I have been at work on them?” 

He said, “Because for three months I have missed your company and your love. I have wanted you with me–but you have been too busy. These are beautiful slippers–but next time buy your present, and let me have you all the days. I would rather have my child herself, than anything she could make for me.”

Just so, we are in danger of being so busy in the Lord’s work that we cannot be enough with the Lord in love’s fellowship. He may say to us, “I like your works, your toils, your service–but I miss the loveyou gave Me at first.” 

There is real danger that we get so busy in striving to be active Christians, so absorbed in our tasks and duties, our efforts to bring others into the church–that Christ Himself shall be less loved, and shall miss our communing with Him. 

Loyalty to Christ means first of all devotion. Has Christ really the highest place in your heart? It is not your work that He wants most–it is you! It is beautiful to do things for Him, it is still more beautiful to make a home for Him in your heart. 

A young man, at great cost, brought from many countries the most beautiful materials he could find, and built an exquisite little chapel as a memorial to his dead wife. Only a few men could do anything so rare, so lovely. But the poorest of us can enthrone Jesus in our hearts–making a little sanctuary in our hearts for Him.

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love!” Revelation 2:4

On our learning this lesson depends our comforting walk heavenward

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On our learning this lesson depends our comforting walk heavenward

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

When the Holy Spirit takes of the things of Christ and preaches them to the heart–oh, what a sweet peace follows! For the believer then finds himself saved from all the miseries of sin, and entitled to all the blessings of eternal glory.

Being thus persuaded of his safety by believing in the sin-atoning blood of our Great High Priest, the Holy Spirit then teaches him¬†how to live upon Christ, and how to make use of Christ’s fullness.¬†

On our learning this lesson depends our comforting walk heavenward. For Christ does not give us a stock of grace and expect us to improve it by being faithful to grace given. No, no, that is not His way. Our souls must depend upon Him, just as our bodies do upon the elements of this world. Every moment we must live by faith upon His fullness, and be every moment receiving out of it grace upon grace. 

And this is our happiness–to have all in Christ!

A beggar in myself, but rich with unsearchable eternal riches in Him. 

Ignorant still in myself, but led and taught by His unerring wisdom. 

A sinner still, but saved by His blood and righteousness. 

Weak and helpless still, but kept by His Almighty love.

Nothing but sorrow in myself, nothing but joy in Him. 

Oh, this is a blessed life!
 

No tongue can tell what a Heaven it is, thus to live by faith upon the Son of God. Thanks be to Him, that I do know a little of it. Surely I could not have thought, some years ago, that there was such a Heaven upon earth as I now find. May you find it more and more! Sweet Jesus keep you, my dear friend! 

Yours, 
William Romaine

God’s jewels are often found buried in the worst filth!

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God’s jewels¬†are often found buried in the¬†worst filth!

(James Smith, “Exhortation and Encouragement” 1859)

“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision:¬†Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.¬†For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because¬†I have many people in this city.”¬†Acts 18:9-10¬†

What kind of a city was it?
Corinth was one of the most worldly and immoral cities of the east. Here was the temple of Venus, with its degrading and disgraceful services.

What kind of people were they?
“Do you not know that the¬†wicked¬†will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the¬†sexually immoral¬†nor¬†idolaters¬†nor¬†adulterers¬†nor¬†male prostitutes¬†nor¬†homosexual offenders¬†nor¬†thieves¬†nor the¬†greedy¬†nor¬†drunkards¬†nor¬†slanderers¬†norswindlers¬†will inherit the kingdom of God.¬†And that is what some of you were!¬†But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God!” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.¬†
This is the apostle’s own reply to the question.

Observe: 

¬† 1.¬†The Lord’s people are often found in the most unlikely¬†places!¬†Who would have expected to find God’s chosen people–a¬†multitude¬†of them–in a place so foul, so polluted, so degraded, as Corinth?¬†
God’s jewels
 are often found buried in the worst filth!

¬†¬†¬†2.¬†The Lord chooses the most unlikely¬†people!¬†Who would ever have thought that the Lord would have chosen the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers–to be saved? But He did!¬†
God’s people
 are picked off the foulest dunghills!


O the wonders of sovereign grace!

From such folly deliver us, O Lord!

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From such folly deliver us, O Lord!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“I¬†meditate¬†on Your precepts¬†and consider Your ways.”¬†Psalm 119:15¬†

There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We would be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering spiritual strength for labor in His service through meditation on His Word. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment for our souls out of them.

Truth is something like the cluster of the vine: if we would have wine from it, we must bruise it–we must press and squeeze it many times. The bruiser’s feet must come down repeatedly upon the grapes, or else the juice will not flow and much of the precious liquid will be wasted.¬†

So we must, by meditation, tread the clusters of truth, if we would get the wine of consolation therefrom.

Our bodies are not supported by merely taking food into the mouth, but the process which really supplies the muscles, and the nerves, and the sinews, and the bones–is the process of¬†digestion. It is by digestion that the food becomes assimilated with the inner life.¬†

In the same way, our souls are not nourished merely by listening awhile to this, and then to that, and then to the other part of divine truth. Hearing, reading, marking, and learning, all require inward digesting to complete their usefulness–and the inward digesting of the truth lies for the most part in¬†meditating¬†upon it.

Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? 
Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word.¬†

They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; 
they would have the grain, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; 
the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; 
the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. 
From such folly deliver us, O Lord!

May this be our daily resolve, “I will¬†meditate¬†in your precepts.”

“But his delight is in the law of the¬†LORD,¬†and on His law he¬†meditates¬†day and night.”¬†Psalm 1:2¬†

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

“I have more insight than all my teachers, for I¬†meditate¬†on Your statutes.” Psalm 119:99

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

A rare creature!

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A rare creature! 

(Charles Spurgeon) 

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me¬†faithful, appointing me to His service.” 1 Timothy 1:12¬†

A faithful preacher is a rare creature; and, like a diamond, as precious as he is rare!

If you always enjoy his sermons, that minister is not a faithful steward. He who gives out nothing but sweets is not acting wisely.

It is the duty of the Christian pastor, if he would make full proof of his ministry to warn men of the results of sin to tell them that there is a judgment that for every idle word they speak they will have to account. 

Some preachers do not preach of eternal wrath and its terrors. This is cruel, for they ruin souls by hiding from them their ruin! 

The object of all true preaching is the heart. Godly ministers aim at divorcing the heart from sin, and wedding it to Christ. 

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

He can extract pleasure out of pain!

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He can extract pleasure out of pain!

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

Dear friend,
He loves you more than you can possibly love yourself; and He will send you nothing but what is for your real and best interest, and He will let you find it so. His love is almighty, and it is unchangeable. What can He not do, what will He not do, when His heart is set upon blessing His people!

He does all things well! Yes, He intends to do better for you, far better than you can even imagine! 

It is a common thing with Him to bring spiritual good out of temporal evil. He can extract pleasure out of pain! Yes, He can enrich by impoverishing; and turn losses into gain. To you it is now given, as a matter of His choice favor, not only to believe on Him, but also to be conformed to Him by bearing His cross. This He is aiming at. 

His Providence is wisely designed and sovereignly sent for our good!

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His Providence is wisely designed and sovereignly sent for our good!

(Don Fortner)

As a wise, skilled pharmacist mixes medicine–so our heavenly Father wisely mixes exactly the right measure of bitter things and sweet, to do us good.¬†

Too much joy would intoxicate us. 
Too much misery would drive us to despair. 

Too much sorrow would crush us. 
Too much suffering would break our spirits. 

Too much pleasure would ruin us. 
Too much defeat would discourage us. 

Too much success would puff us up.
Too much failure would keep us from doing anything. 

Too much criticism would harden us. 
Too much praise would exalt us. 

Our great God knows exactly what we need. 

His Providence is wisely designed and sovereignly sent for our good!

Let God send and do whatever He wills–by His grace, if we are His, we will face it, bow to it, accept it, and give thanks for it. God’s Providence is always executed in the ‘wisest manner’ possible. We are often unable to see and understand the reasons and causes for specific events in our lives, in the lives of others, or in the history of the world. But our lack of understanding does not prevent us from believing God.

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

O, give thanks to the Lord!

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O, give thanks to the Lord! 

(James Smith, “Sunny Subjects for All Seasons” 1858)

“O, give¬†thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercy endures forever!” 1 Chronicles 16:34¬†

O, give thanks to the Lord, Christian, for He has not dealt with you after your sins, nor rewarded you according to your iniquities! He has . . .
  pardoned your sins,
  justified your soul,
  renewed your nature, and
  given you a title to everlasting life!

He has thus . . .
  prevented your eternal ruin,
  borne with your faults and follies,
  supplied all your needs,
  guided your steps, and
  promised to conduct you to glory!
His mercy has been ever great toward you!

“O, give thanks to the¬†LORD, for He is good!¬†For His mercy endures forever!”¬†Psalm 107:1

Thus He will make the soul enamored with Jesus!

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Thus He will make the soul enamored with Jesus!

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

“When the¬†Comforter¬†comes . . . He will testify about Me.” John 15:26¬†

He shall testify to My person as self-existent Jehovah.

He shall bear witness to My work as the perfect sin-atoner. 

He shall testify of My grace, how free it is, how full it is. 

He shall enable the sinner, any poor wretch, however vile in his own eyes–to trust his soul into the hands of Jesus. And having enabled the sinner to do this, then He will testify of Jesus, that He has received him, that he is safe in the arms and may be happy in the enjoyment of Jesus’ love.¬†

Thus He will make the soul enamored with Jesus! There will appear such consummate beauty, such infinite loveliness in His precious person, as will eclipse the glory of all other lovers. There will appear such true happiness in fellowship with Him, as will quite dethrone all former idols.

And when the foolish heart would depart, the¬†Comforter¬†will not let it. Then will He testify of Jesus, “To whom would you go? Who has eternal life to give, but Him? Turn, turn again to your rest, oh my soul.”¬†

If the soul is mourning; He will testify of the joy that is in Jesus. 

If the soul is burdened; “Cast the burden,” He says, “on your Lord Jesus.”¬†

If the soul has lost any creature comfort; “Let it go,” He says, “Jesus is still your salvation and your great reward.”¬†

If the soul is grieved with indwelling sin; “It is pardoned,” He says, “you are free from the curse of sin.”¬†

Whatever the needs of the believer are, the Spirit’s office is to testify of Jesus: “Jesus is what you need–and you have Him freely.”¬†

The¬†Comforter¬†will keep you by His almighty power, until He brings you to the Heaven of heavens–the sight and enjoyment of dear Jesus, eternally dear and lovely Jesus!¬†

He puts a finger upon the scar!

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He puts a finger upon the scar!

(Thomas Watson)

“Our¬†Father¬†in Heaven.” Matthew 6:9

Since God is our Father–He will take notice of the least good He sees in His children.¬†

If there is but a¬†sigh for sin–He hears it.¬†
“My groaning is not hidden from You.” Psalm 38:9¬†

If there is but a¬†penitential tear¬†which comes out of the eye–He sees it.¬†
“I have seen your tears.” Isaiah 38:5¬†

If there is but a¬†good intention–He takes notice of it.¬†
“Since it was your¬†desire¬†to build a temple for My name, you have done well to have this desire.” 1 Kings 8:18

God takes notice of the¬†least spark of grace¬†in His children. “Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.” 1 Peter 3:6. The Holy Spirit does not mention Sara’s unbelief, or laughing at the promise.¬†He puts a finger upon the scar–and only takes notice of the good that was in her.

More, that good which the saints scarcely take notice of in themselves, God in a special manner observes. “I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink. Then the righteous will answer Him–Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?” They as it were, overlooked and disclaimed their own works of charity! But Christ takes notice of them, “I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat.” Matthew 25

What comfort is this! God spies the least good in His children! 
He can see a grain of corn, hidden under much chaff. 
He can see a little grace, hidden under much corruption!

Those¬†duties¬†which we ourselves censure–He will crown. When a child of God looks over his best duties, he sees so much sin cleaving to them that he is confounded. “Lord,” he says, “there is more¬†sulphur¬†than¬†incense, in my prayers.”¬†

But for your comfort, if God is your Father, He will crown those duties which you yourselves censure. He sees there is sincerity in the hearts of His children. Though there may be many defects in the services of His children, He will not cast away their offering.

An earthly father kindly receives a letter from his young child–though there are blots and bad spelling in it.¬†What blottings are there in our holy things!¬†Yet our Father in Heaven accepts them. “It is my child!”¬†God says,¬†“I will look upon him, through Christ–with a merciful eye!”

This is mercy!

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This is mercy!

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to Heaven, but was beating his chest, saying: God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” Luke 18:13

“He redeems your life from destruction; He crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies!” Psalm 103:4¬†
My dear friend,What thanks ought we to give to our gracious Lord for all of His mercies to us! 
I can look back upon every part of my life, and upon it all I can write, “This is mercy!”¬†
Oh, it is all, from first to last, to those who are chosen and called and believe and live by faith in the Son of God, MERCY–from everlasting to everlasting! Mercy before time, mercy in time, mercy beyond time!
Where is the fountainhead, the spring of this mercy? What gives rise to it? Nothing but the sovereign grace and free love of the purpose and heart of God Himself. 
But on whom do the streams of this fountain flow with their quickening, comforting, sanctifying, glorifying streams? 
On the miserable sinner, and none else; for none else are the objects of mercy. On such as you and me! Mercy has made a rich provision . . .  to supply all our needs,  to pardon all our sins,  to save us from all punishment,  to entitle us to all glory!
“I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever!” Psalm 89:1¬†
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” Romans 12:1¬†

There are more lies told at funerals!

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There are more lies told at funerals!

(Curtis Knapp, 2012)

Have you ever noticed that no matter how wicked a person was in his life, he becomes a saint at his funeral?

In reality, he was a bad father, but at his funeral he becomes a great father in the eulogy given by his estranged children. In reality, he was a bad husband, but suddenly, he is a great husband. In reality he was a very bad person, but suddenly everyone talks about what a good person he was.

He was never in church, but suddenly he is a great Christian man. The minister strains awkwardly to speak glowingly about the man he didn’t know and hardly ever saw. In life, he was primarily noted for his wicked works, but suddenly upon his death he is known as a man of many good works.

In short, they lie! There are more lies told at funerals than perhaps at any other occasion, and that’s the way people want it. If the minister did anything other than lie, the family and friends would be outraged!

God is the only one worthy of a eulogy at a funeral, but no one offers a eulogy to God. Instead, they offer lying eulogies for the sinner who is most likely in Hell at that moment. Think about that. The sinner has already arrived at his permanent dwelling place in Hell. He is weeping and gnashing his teeth and writhing in agony in the flames. He is begging for just one drop of cool water for his tongue, but receives no mercy.

God is not impressed with this wicked man. God sees no good in him.

The inhabitants of Hell are not impressed with him. They don’t care about the time he helped an old lady across the street, and the time he gave money to a charitable organization. They don’t think he is or ever was a good person. They don’t like him and want nothing to do with him.

And yet at this very moment, on earth, in a church or funeral home somewhere–the man’s family and the minister are talking about what a wonderful person he was and how he has gone to a better place!

Have you ever noticed how no one goes to Hell–at least no one you know? When have you been at a funeral at which the minister and family did not conspire together to convince themselves and everyone else that the departed sinner was in Heaven?

Jesus taught us that the road to Heaven was narrow, and said that few find it. Conversely, He taught that the road to destruction was broad, and that many were on it. Yet, according to our funerals, Jesus was wrong. No one is in Hell–everyone is in Heaven! Have you ever noticed that all you have to do to get to Heaven is to die? Instead of believing in justification by faith alone, most people believe in justification by death alone. Death is all that is necessary to be transformed miraculously from a depraved wretch into a shining angel.

Why do we do this? Why do we lie? Ministers often do it because they are afraid not to. Many lie because they are false prophets who deceive people, and a funeral is the perfect opportunity to say “Peace, peace!” when there is no peace.

Some family members lie because they are grasping for some piece of comfort in their loss. But consider: Is grasping at a lie truly comforting?

I suspect that most people play this game of falsehood for selfish reasons. If they eulogize the deceased, then they will also feel better about the state of their own souls. If the departed sinner went to Heaven–then they will surely go to Heaven when they die as well. If everyone is a good person and going to Heaven–then we don’t have to worry about our own spiritual condition.

We hate death. We hate to be reminded of our weakness and our fleeting time here. We don’t like to think about what happens after death. We don’t want to consider that there might be a Hell, and we certainly don’t want to hear that most people go there. We don’t want to ponder those realities, but funerals force us to do so. So we fight back against death and reality by laboring hard to convince ourselves that everyone who dies goes to Heaven.

What does it accomplish? Nothing!
Is God deceived? No!
Will our lies change God’s mind? No!
Will our lies get us to Heaven? No!

I am not saying that I think ministers should stand up at funerals and declare with certainty that the departed person is in Hell. But, when the person’s life gives us little confidence that he or she is in Heaven, it would be far better to remain silent about the eternal destiny of the lost one than to boldly declare that the person is in Heaven. Oh for some honesty in our days!

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

Tis but a taste!

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Tis but a taste!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“A pledge of our¬†inheritance.” Ephesians 1:14

Oh! what enlightenment, what joys, what consolation, what delight of heart–is experienced by that man who has learned to feed on Jesus, and on Jesus alone.¬†

Yet the realization which we have of Christ’s preciousness is, in this life, imperfect at the best. As an old writer says, “Tis but a taste!” We have but tasted “that the Lord is gracious,” but we do not yet know¬†how¬†good and gracious He is. We know somewhat of His sweetness, and this makes us long for more.¬†We have enjoyed the first fruits–and they have set us hungering and thirsting for the fullness of the heavenly vintage.¬†Here on earth, we are like Israel in the wilderness, who had but one cluster from Eshcol–there we shall be in the vineyard!

We are but beginners now in spiritual education; for although we have learned the first¬†letters¬†of the alphabet, we cannot read¬†words¬†yet, much less can we put¬†sentences¬†together. As one says, “He who has been in heaven but five minutes–knows more than all the theologians on earth combined!”

We have many ungratified spiritual desires at present–but soon every wish shall be satisfied; and all our powers shall find the sweetest employment in that eternal world of joy.

O Christian, within a very little time you shall be rid of all your trials and your troubles. 
Your eyes which are now suffused with tears, shall weep no longer.
You shall gaze in ineffable rapture upon the splendor of Him who sits on His glorious throne. 
Nay, more–you shall sit¬†with Him¬†upon His throne!¬†

The triumph of His glory shall be shared by you! His crown, His joy, His paradise–these shall be yours!¬†
You shall be co-heir with Him who is the heir of all things! 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an¬†inheritance¬†that can never perish, spoil or fade–reserved in Heaven for you!” 1 Peter 1:3-4¬†

I need to be daily kept!

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I need to be daily kept!

(James Smith’s¬†autobiography,¬†“Marvelous Mercy!”¬†1862)

The following in an excerpt from the diary of James Smith:

April 16, 1854. 
During the past week I have had one of the most severe asthmatic attacks I ever experienced. How painful to labor and gasp for breath, as I then did. How different the things of time appear under such circumstances! How soon one feels willing to spread the wings and fly away. May I daily live under the impression I then felt. 

How I long . . .
  for closer communion with God, 
  to feel more of the sweet power of piety in my own heart, 
  to walk with God in confidence, 
  to lean upon Him, 
  to cast every care upon Him, 
  to leave everything with Him, 
  to aim always, and in everything to glorify Him, 
¬† to walk through the world as if one was walking straight home to God–to dwell with and to enjoy Him forever!

Yet I feel that¬†I need to be daily¬†kept–to have the Lord’s¬†eye¬†constantly upon me, and His everlasting¬†arms¬†always beneath me!¬†

“Hold me up–and I shall be safe!”¬†Psalm 119:117

The worst part of you!

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The worst part of you!

(Daniel de Superville, 1657‚Äď1728)

People often say,¬†“I have my faults, but at the bottom I have a good heart.”

A good heart! Alas! it is this that deceives you, for your heart is the worst part of you!

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked!
¬†Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9¬†

The politicians, the philosophers, the sages of the world, are all shams!
What have they done toward the cure of the human heart?

Blessed be God! We recover more by the second Adam, than we lost by the first!

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean;
 I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.
 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
 I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
¬†I will put My Spirit in you and cause you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws.”¬†
    Ezekiel 36:25-27 

Let this comfort you:

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Let this comfort you:

(Letters of John Newton)

“My times are in Your hands!” Psalm 31:15¬†

What a mercy it is that all our concerns are in sure hands! Not a hair of our heads can fall to the ground, but by the appointment of Him who orders and marshals the stars and calls them all by their names!

Diseases and sicknesses are¬†His messengers, and, when they have answered His end–then He will recall them. But on many accounts there is a¬†need be¬†that we should sometimes be in heaviness for a season. O may we learn to take up the cross, and to kiss the rod of affliction. We need to look through all¬†second causes–to Him who appoints and over-rules, and without whose permission, not a hair of our heads shall fall to the ground.¬†

The Lord has promised to direct, moderate, sanctify, and relieve every trial of every kind. I long to have a more entire submission to His will, and a more steadfast confidence in His Word–to trust Him and wait on Him–to see His hand, and praise His name, in every circumstance of life, great and small.

Is¬†sickness¬†your present cross? It can come no sooner, nor fall heavier, than He bids it. And when His end is answered, and His hour comes to give relief–then sickness departs at His word. The cure becomes easy then, even where it seemed desperate before.¬†

Our comforts are never safer than when we can fully trust the Lord to do with them, and with us–as He sees fit. He will not willingly or unnecessarily grieve His redeemed children. When His arm seems lifted up to strike them–how often does He put it into their hearts to run toward Him and humble themselves before Him, and thus prevent the blow!

We shall have cause to be thankful for all our afflictions–if the Lord is pleased to employ them as means to make us more humble and broken-hearted, and to wean our hearts from this vain world.

Sickness often gives us a sensible proof of the vanity of everything earthly. May the Lord sanctify our sicknesses and pains, to quicken our desires for that better world, when pain shall be no more!

Let this comfort you: that Jesus is the Great Physician! 

“Great crowds came to Him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at His feet; and He healed them!” Matthew 15:30¬†

The throne of grace

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The throne of grace

(Henry Law, “Family Prayers”)

Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, Heaven and earth are full of Your glory! Blessing and honor and glory and power be to You, O Father of mercies, O God of all grace and love.

We thank You, that, as vile and sin-soiled as we are–we may come into Your immediate presence, and hold this converse with You, and commune with You concerning all our¬†concerns, all our¬†sins, and¬†fears,¬†and¬†hopes¬†and¬†desires.¬†

We are astonished that we, poor sinners on earth, may speak directly to You–our great¬†and glorious God, on Your throne in the Heaven of heavens! How wondrous the thought that¬†our poor breathings¬†may fly on the¬†wings of faith, and have instant access to the ears of Your grace!¬†

We thank You that, in the multitude of Your tender mercies and the riches of Your pitiful compassion, You have been pleased to erect this throne of grace before which we now most humbly bow. We bless You that here, free grace reigns. We bless You that, at all times and in all places, we have open access to You through the blood of Your dear Son. 

We bless You that the veil is open, and that in His great name we may ever approach and find You . . .
  ready to hear,  
  waiting to be gracious, 
  arrayed in smiles of love,  
  bidding us to touch the scepter of Your sovereign mercy,  
  inviting us to pour out every need and desire of our hearts,  
  and promising to give more than we can ask or think.

Grant, oh grant, that we may be wholly consecrated to You. May we, in spirit, soar far above earth. May our hearts be fast barred against admission of worldly thoughts or cares. Send Your peace, passing all understanding, as a flood into our anxious minds.  May our meditations of You be sweet. May we drink deeply of the refreshing streams proceeding out of Your throne. May we feast on the heaven-sent manna of Your precious Word, and thus gather strength for the upward race.

Hear us, answer us, bless us we pray. All we ask is in Jesus’ name, and for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

“Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 ¬†

The supplies of His grace and mercy are unexhausted and exhaustless!

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The supplies of His grace and mercy are unexhausted and exhaustless!

(Thomas Guthrie, 1803-1873)

“Fear the¬†LORD, you His saints,¬†for those who fear Him lack nothing.”¬†Psalm 34:9

Myriads of leaves clothe the forest, 
myriads of flowers bespangle the meadow, 
myriads of insects dance in the sunbeams, 
myriads of birds sing in the woodlands, 
myriads of fish swim in stream and ocean, 
myriads of¬†stars¬†glitter in the nightly sky–
and every leaf is as perfect in form, 
every flower is as beautiful in colors, 
every living creature is fashioned with such skill, and 
every burning star is guided through space with as much care–
as if it engrossed the entire attention of God, and there was not another but itself within the bounds of His universe!

The number of objects our hearts can hold, or our arms embrace, or our eyes watch–is limited; confined within a narrow range–they are¬†small¬†at the largest, and¬†few¬†at the most.¬†

It is not so with Him who is mighty to save, abundant in goodness and truth. The supplies of His grace and mercy are unexhausted and exhaustless! Their type shines in that SUN which for six thousand years has shed its light . . .
  on seas and continents,
  on crowded cities and lonely solitudes,
  on burning deserts and fields of ice,
  on palaces and cottages,
  on ragged beggars and sceptered kings,
  on all countries and classes of men.
And with fires fed we know not how, the sun shines today as bright as ever–his eye not dim, nor his natural strength abated!

And as this is but an image, and a faint image, of God–then well may his servant assure us, that there shall be no lack to those who fear Him. None–neither for the body nor the soul; neither for time nor eternity!

“My God will meet all your needs according to¬†His glorious riches¬†in Christ Jesus!”¬†Philippians 4:19¬†

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the¬†riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us¬†with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:7-8¬†

“In the coming ages He might show the¬†incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus!” Ephesians 2:7¬†

Look up today, O parched plant!

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Look up today, O parched plant!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“I will send down showers in season; there will be¬†showers of blessing.” Ezekiel 34:26

Here is¬†sovereign¬†grace, “I¬†will send down showers.” Is this not sovereign, divine mercy–for who can say, “I¬†will send down showers,” except God? There is only one voice which can speak to the clouds, and bid them beget the rain. “Who sends down the¬†rain¬†upon the earth? Who scatters the¬†showers¬†upon the green herb? Do not I, the Lord?”¬†
Grace is the gift of God–and is not to be created by man.¬†

It is also¬†needed¬†grace. What would the ground do without showers? You may break the clods, you may sow your seeds–but what can you do without the rain? As absolutely needful is the¬†divine¬†blessing. In vain you labor, until God bestows the plenteous shower, and sends salvation down.¬†

Then, it is¬†plenteous¬†grace. “I will send down¬†showers.” It does not say, “I will send them¬†drops,” but “showers.” So it is with grace. If God gives a blessing, He usually gives it in such a measure that there is not room enough to receive it. Plenteous grace! Ah! we need plenteous grace . . .
  to keep us humble,
  to make us prayerful,
  to make us holy, 
  to make us zealous,
  to preserve us through this life,
  and at last to land us in Heaven! 
We cannot do without saturating showers of grace. 

Again, it is¬†seasonable¬†grace. “I will send down showers¬†in season.”¬†
What is your season this morning? 
Is it the season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. 
Is it a season of great heaviness and black clouds? Then that is the season for showers. 
“As your days–so shall your strength be.”¬†

And here is a¬†varied¬†grace. “I will give you showers¬†of blessing.” The word is in the plural. All kinds of blessings God will send. All God’s blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If He gives¬†converting¬†grace–He will also give¬†comforting¬†grace. He will send “showers of blessing.”¬†

Look up today, O parched plant, and open your leaves and flowers for a heavenly watering! 

What trash does it appear!

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What trash does it appear! 

(Mary Winslow) 

“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever!” 1 John 2:17¬†

What a brittle thing is all the glory, wealth, and honor of this vain world! How empty, and what trash does it appear! And yet men sell their souls to grasp it, and at last pass away from it and find it all a phantom. How unceasing is Satan in forever bringing it before our eyes, in some form or other! What is all the pomp and wealth and rank of this poor fleeting world, in contrast with the glory that shall soon be revealed in all those who love His appearing?

“The spirit of the world is eating out the very heart and life of true godliness!”¬†George Everard

Refined worldliness¬†is the present snare of the Church of God!”¬†Horatius Bonar

“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¬†

Discontent!

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Discontent!

(Arthur Pink, “Comfort for Christians”)

“I have learned to be¬†content¬†whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11¬†

Contentment¬†is the being satisfied with the sovereign dispensations of God’s providence. It is the opposite of murmuring, which is the spirit of rebellion–the¬†clay¬†saying to the¬†Potter, “Why have You made me thus?” Instead of complaining at his lot–a contented man is thankful that his condition and circumstances are no worse than they are.¬†

Discontent!¬†Was there ever a time when there was so much discontent and restlessness in the world, as there is today? We very much doubt it. Despite our boasted progress, the vast increase of wealth, the time and money expended daily in pleasure–discontent is everywhere! No class is exempt. Everything is in a state of flux, and almost everybody is dissatisfied. Many even among God’s own people are affected with the evil spirit of this age.

Contentment!¬†Is such a thing realizable, or is it nothing more than a beautiful ideal, a mere dream of the poet? Is it attainable on earth, or is it restricted to the inhabitants of Heaven? If feasible here and now–may it be retained, or are a few brief moments or hours of contentment the most that we may expect in this life?

The force of Paul’s statement will be better appreciated, if his condition and circumstances at the time he made it, are kept in mind. When the apostle wrote the words, he was not luxuriating in a special suite in the Emperor’s palace–but was in prison “in chains”. The contentment which Paul enjoyed, was not the result of congenial and comfortable surroundings. Most people suppose that contentment is impossible, unless one can have the desires of the carnal heart gratified. A prison is the last place to which they would go, if they were seeking a contented man. This much, then, is clear–contentment comes from within and not without; it must be sought from God, not in creature comforts.

Now, there is a vast difference between precept and practice, between the ideal and the realization. But in the case of Paul, contentment was an actual experience! It was something he had learned in the school of Christian experience.

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

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