Tag Archives: GraceGems

Engaged in the most menial part of the Lord’s work

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Engaged in the most menial part of the Lord’s work

(Charles Spurgeon)

“These were¬†potters, and those who dwelt among¬†plants¬†and¬†hedges. They lived there in the service of the King.” 1 Chronicles 4:23¬†

Potters¬†were not the very highest grade of workers–but “the King” needed potters, and therefore they were in royal service, although the material upon which they worked was nothing but clay. We, too, may be¬†engaged in the most menial part of the Lord’s work–but it is a great privilege to do anything for “the King”.

The text tells us of those who dwelt among¬†plants¬†and¬†hedges, having rough hedging and ditching work to do. They may have desired to live in the city, amid its life, society, and refinement–but they kept their appointed places, for they also were doing the King’s work. In the same way, the place of our habitation is fixed by God, and we are not to remove from it out of whim and caprice–but seek to serve the Lord in it, by being a blessing to those among whom we reside.¬†

These potters and gardeners had royal company, for they “lived there in the service of the King.” Just so, no lawful place, or gracious occupation, however lowly, can debar us from communion with our divine Lord. In visiting hovels, swarming lodging-houses, workhouses, or jails–we may go with the King. In all¬†works of faith¬†we may count upon Jesus’ fellowship. It is when we are in His work, that we may reckon upon His smile.¬†

You unknown workers who are occupied for your Lord amid the dirt and wretchedness of the lowest of the low–be of good cheer, for . . .
  precious jewels have been found in such lowly places,
  earthen pots have been filled with heavenly treasure, and
  noxious weeds have been transformed into precious flowers! 

Dwell with the King doing His work–and when He writes His chronicles, your name shall be recorded!

Nothing in this world is more beautiful

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Nothing in this world is more beautiful

(J.R. Miller)

A¬†ship¬†is made to go in the water, and no matter how deep the sea nor how wild the tempest–all goes well as long as the water does not get into the ship. The problem of managing a ship, is not to keep the ship out of the water–but to¬†keep the water out of the ship!

In this sinful world, we cannot avoid all¬†cares¬†and¬†trials¬†and¬†temptations.¬†The goal of of true Christian living is to keep these cares and trials and temptations from getting into our souls. Some people let all their frets and worries at once into their hearts–and they soon live out their lives in sourness, irritability, and discontent. They become thus miserable themselves–and they make all around them miserable. They cast, not cooling, healthful, refreshing shade on others–but melancholy, darksome, chilling shadows.¬†

Learn to keep your cares in your hands–and out of your hearts.¬†Nothing in this world is more beautiful¬†than a Christian life with many trials and cares–yet remaining ever peaceful and joyous amid them all. This is the real goal of noble Christian living.

You are greatly loved!

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You are greatly loved!

“A man greatly loved by God.” Daniel 10:11¬†

Child of God, do you hesitate to appropriate this title? Ah! has your unbelief made you forget that you are greatly loved by God? 

Must you not have been greatly loved–to have been bought with the precious blood of Christ? When God smote His only begotten Son for you–what was this but being greatly loved by Him? You lived in sin and rioted in it–must you not have been greatly loved for God to have borne so patiently with you? You were called by grace and led to the Savior, and made a child of God and an heir of¬†Heaven! All this proves, does it not–a very great and super-abounding love for you?¬†

Since that time, whether your path has been¬†rough with troubles, or¬†smooth with mercies–it has been full of proofs that you are greatly loved by God. If the Lord has¬†chastened¬†you–yet it was not in anger. If He has made you¬†poor–yet you have been¬†maderich in grace. The more unworthy you feel yourself to be–the more evidence you have that nothing but unspeakable divine love could have led the Lord Jesus to save such a soul as yours! The more demerit you feel–the clearer is the display of the abounding love of God, in having chosen you, and called you, and made you an heir of everlasting bliss!

Now, if there is such great love from God to us–let us live in the influence and sweetness of it, and use the privilege of our exalted position as God’s redeemed children. Do not let us approach our Lord as though we were¬†strangers, or as though He were¬†unwilling¬†to hear us–for we are greatly cherished by our compassionate Father!

“He who spared not His own Son–but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Come boldly, O believer, for despite the whisperings of Satan and the doubtings of your own heart–you are greatly loved!¬†Meditate on the exceeding vastness and faithfulness of Christ’s matchless love to you!

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully!”¬†Ephesians 3:19¬†

In love He blessed us with all spiritual blessings!

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In love He blessed us with all spiritual blessings!

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

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3

God’s love to us is infinite. He considers nothing too good or too great to confer upon His redeemed children. Having chosen us in His Son, that we may be holy and blameless before Him–in love He blessed us with all spiritual blessings. He gave us . . .
  grace in Jesus,
  grace before the foundation of the world, 
  grace for all time, 
  grace for all trials,
  grace to be given to us as our circumstances may require. 

In going to the throne of grace, therefore–we simply go to receive what our heavenly Father has stored up in Jesus for us. What sweet encouragement is this! Well may the apostle say, “Therefore let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find¬†grace¬†to help in time of need.”¬†

Blessed Lord, we thank You, we praise You, we bless Your glorious name–that You have chosen us and put us into Christ, made provision for us in Christ, and will make us perfectly holy through Christ. Teach us to come with boldness and confidence to Your throne, that we may obtain for our use, all that You have treasured up for us in Jesus. O give us . . .
  more faith in Christ,
  more humility when at your throne,
  more zeal for Your glory when in the world, 
  more love to You and Your people; and 
teach us to eat, drink, dress, and do everything to Your glory! 

O to be thoroughly Christ-like! O to reflect the glory of God on all around us! O to live and act as on the confines of eternity, as if always impressed with this fact,¬†“I shall soon be in Heaven!”¬†Gracious Savior, raise me above this world, fix my affections on Yourself, fill me with Your Spirit, and enable me to lie down tonight with the assurance that all spiritual blessings are mine!

You are either in the Word–or in the world!

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You are either in the Word–or in the world!

(Howard Hendricks)

You are either in the¬†Word,¬†and the Word is conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ–or you are in the¬†world,¬†and the world is squeezing you into its mold!

The first reason for studying Scripture is that it is a means of spiritual growth. There is no growth apart from the Word. It is God’s primary tool to develop Christian character.

The Word of God is able to transform your life, but you must probe for its wisdom. You have to penetrate the surface with more than just a cursory glance.

The Bible was written not to satisfy your curiosity, but to conform you to Christ’s image. Not to make you a smarter sinner, but to make you like the Savior. Not to fill your head with a collection of biblical facts, but to transform your life.

The will of God is found in the Word of God. The more a person grows, the more he begins to think instinctively and habitually from a divine perspective.


The panacea for all the ills of life!

Grace logoThe panacea for all the ills of life!

(James Smith, “The Spirit’s Work in the Believer” 1861)

“The mind of sinful man is death, but¬†the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

Spirituality flows from the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit in the soul, who . . .
  kindles spiritual love, 
  awakens spiritual desires, and 
  produces spiritual devotion. 

The Spirit’s work in the believer¬†consists:

1. In convincing us of sin, when we go astray from the right ways of the Lord.

2. In working repentance within us, and leading us to confess and mourn over our sins before God.

3. In opening up, and applying the Word of God, so that it . . .
  meets our case,
  feeds our faith,
  fires our love, and
  deepens our humility.

4. In exciting and drawing forth the soul in¬†prayer, praise, and adoration at the throne of God–so that we sometimes . . .
  melt in contrition,
  are crumbled down in humiliation,
  and are almost dissolved in love.

5. In giving us soul-refreshing glimpses . . .
  of the glorious person of Jesus,
  of the everlasting covenant,
  and of eternal glory.

6. In melting us down in sincere gratitude before God, under a sense of His undeserved favor.

7. In removing all legal fears, and causing holy peace to flow through the soul like a river.

8. In melting us in meekness, and producing sweet submission to the sovereign will of God.

9. In sweetly soothing and consoling under trials and bereavements; and enabling us to look heavenward with hope and joy.

10. In giving us sweet intimations of the love of God to us, by holy discoveries of His grace.

11. In witnessing to our¬†adoption, awakening the cry of¬†“Abba, Father!”¬†in our hearts, and enabling us to claim a filial relationship to God.

12. In drawing forth our souls in¬†love to God–under an overcoming sense of His free and unparalleled love to us.

13. In enabling us to¬†mount upward¬†as on the wings of an eagle, and to¬†run¬†with pleasure and delight in God’s holy ways.

15. In quickening us to rejoice in the Lord, when all things around are calculated to fill us with despondency and gloom.

16. In producing¬†perseverance¬†in our souls, and enabling us to look away from the things which are seen and temporal–and to look to unseen and eternal realities.

The Spirit works within the Christian, teaching him daily to make use of Christ as the panacea for all the ills of life!

In all these things, and many more–the work of the Spirit in the experience of the believer appears.

Reader, do you know anything of these things in your own experience? 
Is the Spirit daily working in your heart, and do you pay attention to . . .
  the lessons He teaches,
  the impressions He makes, and
  the direction in which He points?

O for more of the Spirit’s work within us–that we may live to the praise and glory of Him who loved us, and died to redeem us from sin, death and Hell!

Holy Spirit, work in us more and more–teaching us Your truth, and conforming us to Christ! O for more of Your power, love, and holiness!

Busy yourselves about toys and trifles!


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Busy yourselves about toys and trifles!


(“Christ’s Famous Titles!”¬†
William Dyer, 1632-1696)

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life.” John 6:27

Labor more for inward purity–than for outward felicity.¬†

That man who is a laboring bee for earthly prosperity, will be but an idle drone for heavenly felicity. 
Gold in your bags will make you greater–but it is grace in your heart that will make you holier.¬†
He is a rich man who lives upon his wealth–but he is a righteous man who lives upon his faith!¬†
A heavenly conversation, is better than any earthly possession.
It is a great mercy to have a portion in the world–but to have the world for a portion, is a great misery.¬†

Our affections were made for things that are above us, and not for things that are below us. “If you have been raised to new life with Christ,” What then? “Set your¬†hearts¬†on things above! Set your¬†minds¬†on things above, not on earthly things!” Colossians 3:1-2

But, alas! some men are so in love with their golden bags, that they will ride with all possible haste to Hell–if they are but paid well for their pains! They look upon¬†gain¬†as the highest good, and not upon¬†godliness¬†as the highest gain!¬†
They mind the¬†present¬†world so much–as if it would never have an ending!¬†
They mind the world¬†to come¬†so little–as if it would never have a beginning!¬†
The perishing things of this world–are all the happiness of the men of this world!¬†
Oh, what wretched worldlings!
 

They are diligent about what is temporal–but negligent about what is eternal!¬†
They are careful about fleeting vanities–but slothful about durable excellencies!¬†
They feast their bodies–but starve their souls!¬†
They lay up treasures on earth–but none in Heaven!¬†

“Why do you spend money on what is not food, and your wages on what does not satisfy?” Isaiah 55:2. He who knocks at the¬†creature’s door¬†for true happiness–will find but an empty house kept there.¬†

Oh, beloved, what is gold, compared to grace? What is earth, compared to Heaven? that you thus neglect the great things, the weighty things, the eternal things–and¬†busy yourselves about toys and trifles!¬†You have a¬†crown¬†to look after, a¬†Heaven¬†to look after, a¬†kingdom¬†to look after!

I beseech you, beloved, labor more for inward holiness–than for outward happiness!¬†
Labor more for the seed of grace–than for the bag of gold!
Labor more for inward piety–than for outward plenty!
Labor more for a heavenly kingdom–than for an earthly possession!¬†
The earth is a saint’s¬†passage–but Heaven is a saint’s¬†portion!

It is not a loss to die!

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It is not a loss to die!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“The day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth!”¬†Ecclesiastes 7:1¬†

“I do not want to live forever.”¬†Job 7:16¬†


It is the very joy of this earthly life, to think that it will come to an end.


The best moment of a Christian’s life is his last one, for then he is nearest Heaven.¬†


The only people for whom I have felt any envy have been dying Christians.

 
It is not a loss to die–it is a lasting, perpetual gain.


“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21¬†


“My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better!” Philippians 1:23¬†

The sin before us is a very old one!

Grace logoThe sin before us is a very old one!

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

“Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them.” Luke 22:24¬†

We see in¬†this passage how firmly¬†pride¬†and¬†love of preeminence¬†can stick to the hearts of Christian men. The strife was one which had been rebuked by our Lord on a former occasion. The Lord’s Supper which the disciples had just been receiving, and the circumstances under which they were assembled–made the strife particularly inappropriate.¬†

And yet at this very season, the last quiet time they could spend with their Master before His death–this little flock begins to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest!¬†

Such is the heart of man–ever weak, ever prideful, ever ready, even at its best times, to turn aside to what is evil!

The sin before us is a very old one. Ambition, self-esteem, and self-conceit–lie deep at the bottom of all men’s hearts, and often in the hearts where they are least suspected! Thousands imagine that they are humble, who cannot bear to see an equal more honored and favored than themselves. Few indeed can be found who rejoice heartily in another’s promotion over themselves.

If we make any profession of serving Christ, then let us live on our guard against this great evil. The harm that it has done to the Church of Christ, is far beyond calculation. Let us learn to take pleasure in the prosperity of others, and to be content with the lowest place for ourselves. The rule given to the Philippians should be often before our eyes, “In lowliness of mind–let each esteem others better than themselves.” The example of John the Baptist is a bright instance of the spirit at which we should aim. He said of our Lord, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”¬†

Christian, think about this!

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Christian, think about this! 

(Richard Baxter)

“Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us!”¬†Ephesians 5:2¬†

Is it a small thing in your eyes to be loved by God–to be the son, the spouse, the beloved, the delight of the King of glory?

Christian, think about this!¬†You will be eternally embraced in the arms of the love which was from everlasting, and will extend to everlasting–of the love which brought the Son of God’s love . . .¬†
  from Heaven to earth,
  from earth to the cross,
  from the cross to the grave,
¬† from the grave to glory–
that love which was weary, hungry, tempted, scorned, scourged, buffeted, spat upon, crucified, pierced–which fasted, prayed, healed, wept, sweated, bled, died.¬†That love will eternally embrace you!

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

It is your duty to assure him that he is not saved

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It is your duty to assure him that he is not saved

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Not everyone who¬†says¬†to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’¬†will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only he who¬†does the will¬†of My Father who is in Heaven.” Matthew 7:21¬†

“I will tell them plainly: I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!” Matthew 7:23¬†

If a professed convert distinctly and deliberately declares that he knows the Lord’s will, but does not mean to¬†obey¬†it–then you are not to pamper his presumption, but¬†it is your duty to assure him that he is not saved.¬†

Do not suppose that the Gospel is magnified or God glorified, by going to religious worldlings and telling them that they are saved–while they are still wedded to their idols, and their hearts are still in love with sin. If I do so, I . . .
  tell them a lie,
  pervert the Gospel,
  insult Christ, and
  turn the grace of God into a license for sin!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Some benefits of sickness and affliction

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Some benefits of sickness and affliction

(J.C. Ryle)

Sickness helps . . .
  to remind men of death,
  to make men think seriously of God, and their souls, and the world to come,
¬† to soften men’s hearts, and teach them wisdom,¬†
  to abase and humble us, 
¬† to try men’s religion, of what sort it is.

The¬†storms of winter¬†often bring out the defects in a man’s dwelling. In the same way, sickness often exposes the gracelessness of a man’s soul. Surely anything that makes us find out the real character of our faith, is a good thing.

Sicknesses, losses, crosses, anxieties and disappointments–seem absolutely needful to keep us humble, watchful and spiritual-minded. They are as needful as the pruning knife to the vine; and the refiner’s furnace to the gold.

There is no commentary that opens up the Bible, so much as sickness and sorrow!

There are no lessons so useful–as those learned in the¬†school of affliction.¬†

By affliction, God . . .
  shows us our emptiness and weakness, 
  draws us to the throne of grace, 
  purifies our affections, 
  weans us from the world, 
  and makes us long for Heaven!

Christian Love Part 4 Of 4 By J. C. Ryle

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IV. Let me show, lastly–why¬†love is called the “greatest” of the graces.

The words of Paul, on this subject, are distinct and unmistakable. He winds up his wonderful chapter on love in the following manner: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the¬†greatest¬†of these is love!” 1 Corinthians 13:13¬†

This expression is very remarkable. Of all the writers in the New Testament, none, certainly, exalts “faith” so highly as Paul. The Epistles to the Romans and Galatians abound in sentences showing its vast importance. By faith, the sinner lays hold on Christ and is saved. Through faith, we are justified, and have peace with God. Yet here the same Paul speaks of something which is even¬†greater than faith!¬†He puts before us the three leading Christian graces, and pronounces the following judgment on them, “The greatest is love!” Such a¬†sentence¬†from such a¬†writer¬†demands special attention. What are we to understand, when we hear of love being greater than faith and hope?

We are not to suppose, for a moment, that love can¬†atone¬†for our sins, or make our¬†peace¬†with God. Nothing can do that for us, but the blood of Christ; and nothing can give us a saving interest in Christ’s blood, but faith. It is Scriptural ignorance not to know this. The office of justifying and joining the soul to Christ, belongs to¬†faith alone. Our love, and all our other graces, are all more or less imperfect, and could not stand the severity of God’s judgment. When we have done all–we are “unprofitable servants.” (Luke 17:10.)

We are not to suppose that Christian love can exist independently of faith. Paul did not intend to set up one grace in¬†rivalry¬†to the other. He did not mean that one man might have faith, another hope, and another love–and that the best of these, was the man who had love.¬†The three graces are inseparably joined together.¬†Where there is faith, there will always be love; and where there is love, there will be faith. Sun and light, fire and heat, ice and cold, are not more intimately united than faith and love!

The reasons why love is called the greatest of the three graces, appear to me plain and simple. Let me show what they are.

(a)¬†Love is called the greatest of graces, because it is the one in which there is some¬†likeness between the believer and his God. God has no need of faith. He is dependent on no one. There is none superior to Him in whom He must trust. God has no need of hope. To Him all things are certain, whether past, present, or to come. But “God is love” and the more love His people have–the more similar they are to their Father in Heaven.

(b)¬†Love, for another thing, is called the greatest of the graces, because it is most¬†useful to others. Faith and hope, beyond doubt, however precious, have special reference to a believer’s own private individual benefit.¬†Faith¬†unites the soul to Christ, brings peace with God, and opens the way to Heaven.¬†Hope¬†fills the soul with cheerful expectation of things to come, and, amid the many discouragements of things seen, comforts with visions of the things unseen.¬†

But¬†love¬†is pre-eminently the grace which makes a man useful. It is the¬†spring¬†of good works and kindnesses. It is the¬†root¬†of missions, schools, and hospitals. Love made apostles spend and be spent for souls. Love raises up workers for Christ, and keeps them working. Love smooths quarrels, and stops strife–and in this sense, “covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8.) Love adorns Christianity, and recommends it to the world. A man may have real faith, and feel it–and yet his faith may be invisible to others. But a man’s love cannot be hidden.

(c)¬†Love, in the last place, is the greatest of the graces, because it is the one which¬†endures the longest. In fact, it will never die.¬†Faith¬†will one day be swallowed up in sight–and¬†hope¬†in certainty. Their office will be useless in the morning of the resurrection; and, like old almanacs, they will be laid aside. But love will live on through the endless ages of eternity! Heaven will be the abode of love. The inhabitants of Heaven will be full of love. One¬†common feeling¬†will be in all their hearts, and that will be¬†love.

I leave this part of my subject here, and pass on to a¬†CONCLUSION. On each of the three points of comparison I have just named, between love and the other graces, it would be easy to enlarge. But time and space both forbid me to do so. If I have said enough to guard men against mistakes about the¬†right meaning, of the¬†greatness¬†of love–I am content. Love, be it ever remembered, cannot justify and put away our sins. It is neither Christ, nor faith.¬†
But love makes us somewhat like God. 
Love is of mighty use to the world. 
Love will live and flourish when faith’s work is done.¬†
Surely, in these points of view–love well deserves the crown!

(1) And now let me ask every one into whose hands this paper may come a simple question. Let me press home on your conscience the whole subject of this paper. Do you know anything of the grace of which I have been speaking? Do you have Christian love?

The strong language of the Apostle Paul must surely convince you that the inquiry is not one that ought to be lightly put aside. The grace, without which that holy man could say, “I am nothing,” the grace which the Lord Jesus says expressly is the great mark of being His disciple–such a grace as this, demands the serious consideration of every one who is in earnest about the salvation of his soul. It should set him thinking, “How does this affect me? Do I have Christian love?”

You have some¬†knowledge, it may be, of religion. You know the difference between true and false doctrine. You can, perhaps, even quote texts, and defend the opinions you hold. But, remember the knowledge which is barren of practical results in life and temper–is a useless possession! The words of the Apostle are very plain: “If I can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge–but have not love, I am nothing!” (1 Corinthians 13:3.)

You think you have¬†faith, perhaps. You trust you are one of God’s elect, and rest in that. But surely you should remember that there is a faith of¬†devils, which is utterly unprofitable–and that the faith of God’s elect is a “faith which works by love.” It was when Paul remembered the “love” of the Thessalonians, as well as their faith and hope, that he said, “I know your election of God.” (1 Thessalonians 1:4.)

Look at your own¬†daily life, both at home and abroad, and consider what place Christian love has in it. What is your temper? What are your ways of¬†behaving¬†toward all around you in your own family? What is your manner of¬†speaking, especially in seasons of vexation and provocation? Where is your good-nature, your courtesy, your patience, your meekness, your gentleness, your forbearance? Where are your¬†practical actions of love¬†in your dealing with others? What do you know of the mind of Him who “went about doing good”–who loved all, though specially His disciples–who returned good for evil, and kindness for hatred, and had a heart wide enough to feel for all?

What would you do in Heaven, I wonder, if you got there without love? What comfort could you have in an abode where love was the law, and selfishness and ill-nature completely shut out? Alas! I fear that Heaven would be no place for an uncharitable and ill-tempered man! A little boy said, “If¬†grandfather¬†goes to Heaven–I hope my brother and I will not go there.” “Why do you say that?” he was asked. He replied, “If he sees us there, I am sure he will say, as he does now–‘What are these boys doing here? Get them get out of the way!’ He does not like to see us on earth, and I suppose he would not like to see us in Heaven!”

Give yourself no rest, until you know something by experience of real Christian love. Go and learn of Him who is meek and lowly of heart, and ask Him to teach you how to love. Ask the Lord Jesus to put His Spirit within you, to take away the old heart, to give you a new nature, to make you know something of His mind. Cry to Him night and day for grace, and give Him no rest until you feel something of what I have been describing in this paper. Happy indeed will your life be, when you really understand “walking in love.”

(2) But I do not forget that I am writing to some who are not ignorant of the love of Scripture, and who long to feel more of it every year. I will give you two simple words of exhortation. They are these:

Practice love diligently.¬†It is one of those graces, above all, which¬†grow¬†by constant¬†exercise. Strive more and more to carry it into every little detail of daily life. Watch over your own tongue and temper throughout every hour of the day, and especially in your dealings with children and spouse. Remember the character of the excellent woman: “In her tongue is the¬†law of kindness.” (Proverbs 31:26.)¬†

Remember the words of Paul: “Let ALL your things be done with love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14.) Love should be seen in¬†little¬†things, as well as in great ones.¬†

Remember, not least, the words of Peter: “Have fervent love among yourselves;” not a love which just keeps alight, but a burning shining fire, which all around can see! (1 Peter 4:8.) It may cost pains and trouble to keep these things in mind. There may be little encouragement from the example of others. But persevere. Love like this brings its own reward!

Finally,¬†teach love to others. Press it continually on your¬†children. Tell them the great duty of kindness, helpfulness, and considerateness, one for another. Remind them constantly that kindness, good nature, and good temper, are among the first¬†evidences¬†which Christ requires in children. If they cannot know much, or explain doctrines–they can understand love. A child’s religion is worth very little if it only consists in repeating texts and hymns. As useful as they are, they are often . . .
learned without thought, 
remembered without feeling, 
repeated without consideration of their meaning, 
and forgotten when childhood is gone!

By all means let children be taught texts and hymns; but let not such teaching be made¬†everything¬†in their religion. Teach them to keep their tempers, to be kind one to another, to be unselfish, good-natured, obliging, patient, gentle, forgiving. Tell them never to forget to their dying day, if they live as long as Methuselah, that¬†without love, the Holy Spirit says, “we are nothing.” Tell them “above all things–to put on love, which is the bond of perfectness.” (Colos. 3:14.)

Christian Love Part 3 Of 4 By J. C. Ryle

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III. Let me show, thirdly–where¬†the love of the Bible comes from.

Love, such as I have described, is certainly not¬†natural¬†to man. Naturally, we are all more or less selfish, envious, ill-tempered, spiteful, ill-natured, and unkind! We have only to observe children, when left to themselves, to see the proof of this. Let boys and girls grow up without proper training and education–and you will not see one of them possessing Christian love! Mark how some of them think first of themselves, and their own comfort and advantage! Mark how others are full of pride, passion, and evil tempers! How can we account for it? There is but one reply. The¬†natural heart¬†knows nothing of true love.

Christian love will never be found except in a heart prepared by the Holy Spirit. It is a tender plant, and will never grow except in one soil. You may as well expect grapes on thorns, or figs on thistles–as look for love when the heart is not right.

The heart in which love grows, is a heart changed, renewed, and transformed by the Holy Spirit. The image and likeness of God, which Adam lost at the fall, has been restored to it, however feeble and imperfect the restoration may appear. It is a “partaker of the Divine nature,” by union with Christ and sonship to God; and one of the first features of that nature is¬†love. (2 Peter I. 4.)

Such a heart is deeply convinced of¬†sin–hates it, flees from it, and fights with it from day to day. And one of the prime motions of sin which it daily labors to overcome, is¬†selfishness¬†and¬†lack of love.

Such a heart is deeply sensible of its¬†mighty debt to our Lord Jesus Christ. It feels continually that it owes to Him who died for us on the cross, all its present comfort, hope, and peace. How can it show forth its gratitude? What can it render to its Redeemer? If it can do nothing else, it strives to be like Him, to drink into His spirit, to walk in His footsteps, and, like Him–to be full of love. “The love of Christ shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit” is the surest¬†fountain¬†of Christian love. Love will produce love.

I ask my reader’s special attention to this point. It is one of great importance in the present day. There are many who profess to admire love–while they care nothing about¬†vital Christianity. They like some of the¬†fruits¬†and results of the Gospel–but not the¬†root¬†from which these fruits alone can grow, or the doctrines with which they are inseparably connected.

Hundreds will praise love–who hate to be told of man’s corruption, of the blood of Christ, and of the inward work of the Holy Spirit. Many a parent would like his children to grow up unselfish and good tempered–who would not be much pleased if conversion, and repentance, and faith, were pressed home on their attention.

Now I desire to protest against this notion, that you can have the¬†fruits¬†of Christianity, without the¬†roots–that you can produce Christian tempers, without teaching Christian doctrines–that you can have love which will wear and endure, without grace in the heart.

I grant, most freely, that every now and then one sees a person who seems very charitable and amiable, without any distinctive Christian religion. But such cases are so rare and remarkable, that, like¬†exceptions–they only prove the truth of the general rule. And often, too often, it may be feared in such cases the love is only¬†apparent, and in private it completely fails. I firmly believe, as a general rule, you will not find such love as the Bible describes, except in the¬†soil¬†of a heart thoroughly imbued with Bible religion. Holy¬†practice¬†will not flourish without sound¬†doctrine. What God has joined together, it is useless to expect to have separate.

The delusion which I am trying to combat, is helped forward to a most mischievous degree by the vast majority of novels, romances, and tales of fiction. Who does not know that the heroes and heroines of these works are constantly described as patterns of perfection? They are always doing the right thing, saying the right thing, and showing the right temper! They are always kind, and amiable, and unselfish, and forgiving! And yet you never hear a word about their religion! In short, to judge by the generality of works of fiction, it is possible to have . . . 
excellent practical religion–without doctrine,¬†
the¬†fruits¬†of the Spirit–without the¬†grace¬†of the Spirit,¬†
and the¬†mind¬†of Christ–without¬†union¬†with Christ!

Here, in short, is the great danger of reading most novels, romances, and works of fiction. The greater part of them give a false or incorrect view of human nature. They paint their model men and women as they¬†ought¬†to be, and not as they¬†really are. The readers of such writings get their minds filled with wrong conceptions of what the world is. Their notions of mankind become¬†visionary¬†and¬†unreal. They are constantly looking for men and women such as they never meet–and expecting what they never find.

Let me entreat my readers, once for all, to draw their ideas of human nature from the Bible, and not from novels. Settle it down in your mind, that there cannot be true love without a heart renewed by grace. A certain degree of kindness, courtesy, amiability, good nature–may undoubtedly be seen in many who have no vital religion. But the glorious plant of¬†Bible love, in all its fullness and perfection, will never be found without union with Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Teach this to your children, if you have any. Hold it up in schools, if you are connected with any. Lift up love. Make much of love. Give place to none in exalting the grace of kindness, love, good nature, unselfishness, good temper.¬†

But never, never forget, that there is but one¬†school¬†in which these things can be thoroughly learned–and that is the school of Christ. Real love comes down from above. True love is the¬†fruit of the Spirit. He who would have it–must sit at Christ’s feet, and learn of Him.

Christian Love Part 2 Of 4 By J. C. Ryle

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II. Let me show, secondly, WHAT the love of the Bible really is.

I think it of great importance to have clear views on this point. It is precisely here that mistakes about love begin. Thousands delude themselves with the idea that they have “love,” when they have not, from downright ignorance of Scripture. Their love is not the love described in the Bible.

(a) The love of the Bible does not consist in¬†giving to the poor.¬†It is a common delusion to suppose that it does. Yet Paul tells us plainly, that a man may “bestow all his goods to feed the poor “(1 Corinthians 13:8)–and not have love! That a charitable man will “remember the poor,” there can be no question. (Galatians 2:10.) That he will do all he can to assist them, relieve them, and lighten their burdens–I do not for a moment deny. All I say is, that this does not make up “love.” It is easy to spend a fortune in giving away money, and soup, and milk, and and bread, and coals, and blankets, and clothing–and yet to be utterly destitute of Bible love!

(b) The love of the Bible does not consist in never disapproving anybody’s conduct.¬†Here is another very common delusion! Thousands pride themselves on never¬†condemning¬†others, or calling them¬†wrong, whatever they may do. They convert the precept of our Lord, “do not judge,” into an excuse for having no unfavorable opinion at all of anybody! They pervert His prohibition of¬†rash¬†and¬†censorious¬†judgments, into a prohibition of¬†all¬†judgment whatever.¬†

Your neighbor may be a drunkard, a liar, and a violent man. Never mind! “It is not love,” they tell you, “to pronounce him, wrong!” You are to believe that he has a¬†good heart at the bottom!¬†This idea of love is, unhappily, a very common one. It is full of mischief. To¬†throw a veil over sin, and to refuse to call things by their right names, to talk of “hearts” being good, when “lives” are flatly wrong, to shut our eyes against wickedness, and say smooth things of immorality–this is not Scriptural love!

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

From such love–may I ever be delivered!

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

At this rate, there is no use in missions!

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

At this rate, everybody is right–and nobody is wrong!

At this rate, everybody is going to Heaven–and nobody is going to Hell!¬†

Such¬†love¬†is a monstrous caricature! To say that all are equally right in their opinions–though their opinions flatly contradict one another; to say that all are equally in the way to Heaven–though their doctrinal sentiments are as opposite as black and white–this is not Scriptural love. Love like this, pours contempt on the Bible, and talks as if God had not given us a written standard of truth. Love like this, confuses all our notions of Heaven, and would fill it with a discordant inharmonious rabble. True love does not think everybody right in doctrine. True love cries, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world!” 1 John 4:1. “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him!” 2 John 1:10¬†

I leave the negative side of the question here. I have dwelt upon it at some length because of the days in which we live and the strange notions which abound. Let me now turn to the positive side. Having shown what love is not, let me now show what it is.

Christian love is that “love,” which Paul places first among those fruits which the Spirit causes to be brought forth in the heart of a believer. “The fruit of the Spirit is love.” (Galatians 5:22.)¬†

Love to God, such as Adam had before the fall, is its first feature. He who has love, desires to love God with heart, and soul and mind, and strength. 

Love to man is its second feature. He who has Christian love, desires to love his neighbor as himself.

Christian love will show itself in a believer’s¬†doings. It will make him ready to do kind acts to everyone within his reach, “both to their bodies and souls. It will not let him be content with soft words and kind wishes. It will make him diligent in doing all that lies in his power to lessen the sorrow and increase the happiness of others. Like his Master, he will care more for ministering than for being ministered to, and will look for nothing in return. Like his Master’s great apostle, he will very willingly “spend and be spent” for others, even though they repay him with hatred, and not with love. True love does not want¬†wages. Its work is its reward.¬†

Christian love will show itself in a believer’s¬†readiness to bear evil¬†as well as to do good. It will make him . . .
patient under provocation, 
forgiving when injured, 
meek when unjustly attacked, 
quiet when slandered. 

It will make him bear much and forbear much, put up with much and look over much, submit often and deny himself often–all for the sake of peace. It will make him put a strong¬†bit¬†on his temper, and a strong¬†bridle¬†on his tongue.

True love is not always asking, “What are¬†my¬†rights? Am¬†I¬†treated as I deserve?” but, “How can I best promote peace? How can I do that which is most edifying to others?”

Christian love will show itself in the general spirit and demeanor of a believer. It will make him kind, unselfish, good-natured, good-tempered, and considerate for others. It will make him gentle, affable, and courteous, in all the daily relations of private life. It will make him thoughtful for others’ comfort, tender for others’ feelings, and more anxious to give pleasure than to receive.¬†

True love never¬†envies¬†others when they prosper, nor rejoices in the calamities of others when they are in trouble. At all times, it will believe, and hope, and try to put a good construction on others’ actions. And even at the worst, it will be full of pity, mercy, and compassion.

Would we like to know where the¬†true Pattern¬†of love like this can be found? We have only to look at the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, as described in the Gospels, and we shall see it perfectly exemplified. Love shone forth in all His¬†doings. His¬†daily life¬†was an incessant “going about” doing good. Love shone forth in all His¬†bearing. He was continually hated, persecuted, slandered, misrepresented. But He patiently endured it all. No angry word ever fell from His lips. No ill-temper ever appeared in His demeanor. “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.” (1 Peter 2:23.) Love shone forth in all His¬†spirit¬†anddeportment. The¬†law of kindness¬†was ever on His lips. Among weak and ignorant disciples, among sick and sorrowful petitioners for help and relief, among publicans and sinners, among Pharisees and Sadducees–He was always one and the same–kind and patient to all.

And yet, be it remembered, our blessed Master never¬†flattered sinners,¬†or¬†connived at sin. He never shrank from¬†exposing wickedness¬†in its true colors, or from rebuking those who would cleave to it. He never hesitated to¬†denounce false doctrine, by whoever it might be held, or to exhibit¬†false practice¬†in its true colors, and the certain end to which it tends. He called things by their right names. He spoke as freely of Hell and the fire that is never quenched, as of Heaven and the kingdom of glory. He has left on record an everlasting proof that perfect love does not require us to approve everybody’s life or opinions, and that it is quite possible to condemn false doctrine and wicked practice–and yet to be full of love at the same time.

I have now set before my readers the true nature of Christian love. I have given a slight and very brief account of what it is not, and what it is. I cannot pass on without suggesting two practical thoughts, which press home on my mind with weighty force, and I hope may press home on others.

Think, for a moment, how deplorably little love there is upon earth!¬†How w conspicuous is the absence of true love among professing Christians! I speak not of¬†heathen¬†now, I speak of professing Christians! What angry tempers, what passions, what selfishness, what bitter tongues–are to be found in private families! What strifes, what quarrels, what spitefulness, what malice, what revenge, what envy between neighbors and fellow-parishioners! What jealousies and contentions between Churchmen and Dissenters, Calvinists and Arminians, High Churchmen and Low Churchmen! “Where is love?” we may well ask, “Where is love? Where is the mind of Christ?”–when we look at the spirit which reigns in the world. No wonder that Christ’s cause stands still, and infidelity abounds–when men’s hearts know so little of love! Surely, we may well say, “When the Son of man comes, shall He find¬†love¬†upon earth?”

Think, for another thing, what a happy world this would be–if there was more love.¬†It is the lack of love which causes half the misery which there is upon earth. Sickness, and death, and poverty, will not account for more than half the sorrows. The rest come from ill- temper, ill-nature, strifes, quarrels, lawsuits, malice, envy, revenge, frauds, violence, wars, and the like. It would be one great step towards doubling the happiness of mankind, and halving their sorrows–if all men and women were full of Scriptural love.

That dead man or dead woman

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That dead man or dead woman

(Thomas Brooks, “A Believer’s Last Day, His Best Day”)

“What the wicked dreads will overtake him;
¬†what the righteous desire will be granted.” Proverbs 10:24¬†

“The desire of the righteous ends only in good,
¬†but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.” Proverbs 11:23¬†

We should lament over that dead man or dead woman . . .
  whom Hell harbors,
  whom the devil devours,
  whom divine justice torments!

But let us rejoice over those departed believers whom Christ embosoms, and whom all the court of Heaven comes forth to welcome!

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

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints!” Psalm 116:15

Pride cannot live beneath the cross!

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Pride cannot live beneath the cross!

(Charles Spurgeon) 

“He humbled Himself.” Philippians 2:8¬†

Jesus is the great teacher of lowliness of heart. We need daily to learn of Him. 

See the Master taking a basin and towel to wash His disciples feet! 
Follower of Christ, will you not humble yourself?
See Him as¬†the Servant of servants–and surely you cannot be proud!¬†

Surely this sentence is the¬†compendium of His biography: “He humbled Himself!”¬†

While on earth, He was always stripping off first one robe of honor and then another–until He was fastened to the bloody tree. And there He emptied out His inmost self, pouring out His life-blood, giving up¬†His all¬†for us–until they laid Him penniless in a borrowed grave!

How low was our dear Redeemer brought! How then can we be proud? 

Stand at the foot of the cruel cross, and count the¬†purple drops¬†by which you have been cleansed of your infinite sins! See the thorn-crown; mark His scourged shoulders, still gushing with encrimsoned rills. See His hands and feet given up to the rough iron, and His whole self to mockery and scorn. See the bitterness, and the pangs, and the throes of inward grief, showing themselves in His outward frame. Hear the horrid shriek:¬†“My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me!”¬†

If you do not lie prostrate on the ground before that cross–you have never seen it!¬†
If you are not humbled in the presence of the dying Jesus–you do not know Him.¬†

You were¬†so lost¬†that nothing could save you–but the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son.¬†
Think of that, and as Jesus stooped for you–bow yourself in lowliness at His feet.¬†

A sense¬†of Christ’s amazing love to us–has a greater tendency to humble us than even a consciousness of our own guilt!¬†

May the Lord bring us in contemplation, to Calvary–and then we will no longer think of ourselves with pompous pride. We shall then take the humble place of one who loves much, because much has been forgiven.¬†Pride cannot live beneath the cross!¬†Let us sit there and learn our lesson–and then rise and carry it into practice.

Some annoying interruption!

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Some annoying interruption! 

(Hannah More, “Practical Piety”)¬†

We must trace the hand of our Heavenly Father in those daily little disappointments and the hourly vexations which occur even in the most prosperous circumstances, and which are inseparable from the condition of fallen humanity. 

We must trace that same beneficent hand, secretly at work for our purification and our correction in the imperfections and unpleasantness of those around us, and in those interruptions which break in upon our favorite engagements. 

We are perhaps too much addicted to our innocent delights, or we are too fond of our leisure. A check then becomes necessary, but it is given in a most imperceptible way. The hand that gives it is unseen and unsuspected–yet¬†it is the same gracious hand which directs the more important events of life!¬†

Some annoying interruption breaks in on our projected privacy, and calls us to a sacrifice of our inclination and to a renunciation of our own will. 

Let us cheerfully bear and diligently receive these smaller trials which God prepares for us. Submission . . . 
  to a cross which He inflicts,
  to a disappointment which He sends,
  to a contradiction of our self love which He appoints, 
is a far better exercise than great penances of our own choosing. 

Perpetual conquests over impatience, ill temper and self will, indicate a better spirit than any self imposed mortifications. 

By these incessant tests of our temper, God cultivates the more difficult virtues of . . . 
  humility, 
  submission,
  and patience. 

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

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(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afterwards!

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Afterwards!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“No chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless,¬†afterwards¬†it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”¬†Hebrews 12:11¬†

How happy are tried Christians, afterwards. There is no calm more deep than that which follows a storm. Who has not rejoiced in clear shinings after rain? Victorious banquets are for well-exercised soldiers. 

After killing the lion–we eat the honey;¬†
after climbing the Hill Difficulty–we sit down in the arbor to rest;
after traversing the Valley of Humiliation, after fighting with Apollyon, the shining one appears, with the healing branch from the tree of life. 

Our sorrows, like the passing keels of the vessels upon the sea, leave a silver line of holy light behind them “afterwards.” It is peace, sweet, deep peace–which follows the horrible turmoil which once reigned in our tormented, guilty souls.

See, then, the happy estate of a Christian! He has his¬†best things last, and he therefore in this world receives his¬†worst things first. But even his worst things are “afterwards” good things–harsh ploughings–yielding joyful harvests. Even now . . .¬†
  he grows rich by his losses,
  he rises by his falls,
  he lives by dying, and
  he becomes full by being emptied. 

If, then, his grievous afflictions yield him so much peaceable fruit in this life–what shall be the full vintage of joy “afterwards” in Heaven? If his dark¬†nights¬†are as bright as the world’s days–what shall his¬†days¬†be? If even his starlight is more splendid than the sun–what must his sunlight be? If he can sing in a dungeon–how sweetly will he sing in Heaven! If he can praise the Lord in the fires–how will he extol Him before the eternal throne! If evil is good to him now–what will the overflowing goodness of God be to him then?¬†

Oh, blessed “afterwards!” Who would not be a Christian? Who would not bear the present¬†cross–for the¬†crown¬†which comes afterwards?¬†

One blessing after another!

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One blessing after another!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With God for your portion!

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With God for your portion!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A holy man!

Grace logoA holy man!

(J.C. Ryle)

Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of . . .
¬† agreeing with God’s judgment,
  hating what He hates,
  loving what He loves, and
  measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. 

A holy man will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ. He will not only live a life of faith in Him and draw from Him all his daily peace and strength, but he will also labor to have the mind that was in Him and to be conformed to His image!

It opens the eye of the mind!

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It opens the eye of the mind!

(Joseph Alleine, “An Alarm to the Unconverted” 1671)

Conversion is a deep work, a heart work.

It makes a new man in a new world! 

It extends to the whole man–to the mind, to the affections, to the motions of the whole life.

Conversion turns the balance of the judgment, so that God and His glory outweigh all carnal and worldly interests.

It opens the eye of the mind, and makes the scales of its native ignorance fall off, and turns men from darkness to light. 

The man who before saw no danger in his¬†condition, now concludes himself lost and forever undone–except renewed by divine grace.¬†

He who formerly thought there was little hurt in sin, now comes to see it to be the chief of evils! He sees the stupidity, the deformity and the filthiness of sin; so that he is affrighted by it, loathes it, dreads it, flees from it, and even abhors himself for it! Romans 7:15; Job 42:6; Ezekiel 36:31

He who could see little sin in himself, and could find no matter for confession–now sees the rottenness of his heart and the desperate and deep pollution of his whole nature. He cries,¬†“Unclean! Unclean! Lord, purge me with hyssop, wash me thoroughly, create in me a clean heart!”¬†He sees himself altogether filthy, corrupt in both root and branch. He writes ‘unclean’ upon all his supposed virtues and good works. He discovers the filthy corners that he was never aware of, and sees the blasphemy, and murder, and adultery that is in his heart, of which before he was ignorant.¬†

His hatred boils and his anger burns against sin. He has no patience with himself; he calls himself ‘fool’ and ‘beast’; and thinks any name too good for himself, when his indignation is stirred up against sin. He could once wallow in it with much pleasure; now he loathes the thought of returning to it as much as of licking up the filthiest vomit!

Hitherto he saw no form nor loveliness in Christ, no beauty that he should desire Him; but now he finds that Jesus is the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of great price for which he is willing to sell all to obtain.

We need the teaching of the Great Expositor!

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We need the teaching of the Great Expositor!

(“Every Day!” Author unknown, 1872)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A comfort to the believer, and a terror to the unbeliever!

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A comfort to the believer, and a terror to the unbeliever!

(R.C. Sproul)

“His eyes are on the ways of men; He sees their every step!” Job 34:21¬†

“The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” Proverbs 15:3¬†

“Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the LORD. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” Jeremiah 23:24¬†

The doctrine of¬†God’s omnipresence¬†appropriately fills us with¬†awe.¬†

In addition, the doctrine also proves to be¬†comforting. We can always be certain of God’s undivided attention. We don’t ever need to stand in line or make an appointment to be with God. When we are in God’s presence, He is not preoccupied with events on the other side of the world.

The doctrine is, of course, not at all comforting to the unbeliever. There is no place to hide from God! There is no corner of the universe where God is not. The wicked in Hell are not separated from God–only from His benevolence. His wrath is with them constantly.

For the unbeliever, the doctrine highlights the fact that people cannot hide from God. Their sins are done in God’s presence. Like Adam, they seek to hide. However, there is no corner of the universe that God’s gaze, either in love or wrath, fails to reach.

God’s omnipresence is¬†a comfort to the believer, and a terror to the unbeliever!

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13

It is unwise to try to carry next week’s burdens today

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It is unwise to try to carry next week’s burdens today

(J.C. Pittman, 1917)

“Do not worry about anything–but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7¬†

There is no harm in looking ahead–but¬†it is unwise to try to carry next week’s burdens today. There is nothing wrong in looking ahead, but¬†needless worry¬†in regard to the future, is not only¬†useless¬†but¬†injurious–besides evidencing lack of implicit trust in our heavenly Father’s care for His redeemed people. Worry looks tremblingly ahead–but never accelerates, and always hinders the speed in life’s race.

Yet many drag through life weighted with all sorts of¬†needless cares–and are never in their element unless looking for still more trouble. They are always watching for¬†clouds–and are never content to bask in the sunshine.

Paul has a word concerning the sin of worrying. “Do not worry about anything.” The reason is because we are in God’s world, and He is able and willing to take care of all His people. “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.”¬†

Never bear more than one kind of trouble at once. 
Some people bear all three kinds of trouble at once:
  all they have had,
  all they have now, and
  all they expect to have.

John Wesley said:¬†“I dare not worry–any more than I dare curse and swear!”

The more I see of Jesus

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The more I see of Jesus

(Mary Winslow)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   ~  ~  ~  ~ 

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

One continued dream and delusion!

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One continued dream and delusion!

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

“There is no one who understands.” Romans 3:11

“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

“They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.” Ephesians 4:18

The natural man’s apprehension of divine things is corrupt. The¬†understanding, that leading faculty, is despoiled of its primitive glory, and covered over with confusion.¬†

Tell them how they may advance their worldly wealth, or how they may gratify their lusts–and they will quickly understand these things. But it is very hard to make them know how their souls may be saved, or how their hearts may find rest in Christ. They are very¬†stupid and unteachable¬†in the matters of God. What woeful delusions prevail over them! Do we not often see those, who in other things are the wisest of men–yet are notorious fools with respect to their soul’s eternal interests?¬†

Many who are eagle-eyed in the¬†trifles of time–yet are like owls and bats in the light of¬†eternal realities. Nay, truly, the life of every natural man is but¬†one continued dream and delusion, out of which he never awakes, until either, by a divine light darted from Heaven into his soul, he comes to himself–or, in Hell he lifts up his eyes in torment!

Sin has closed the windows of the soul, and darkness covers the whole. The prince of darkness reigns there, and nothing but the works of darkness are framed there. We are born spiritually blind–and cannot be restored without a miracle of grace!

“For though your hearts were once full of¬†darkness, now you are full of¬†light¬†from the Lord!” Ephesians 5:8

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

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

(William Booth, 1829-1916)

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

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

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

(Arthur Pink)

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

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

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

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

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

Experimental conformity to the image of Christ

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Experimental conformity to the image of Christ

(Arthur Pink)

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word–that you may¬†grow¬†thereby” 1 Peter 2:2

It behooves each one of us to honestly and diligently examine himself, so as to discover whether or not we are growing in grace. 

We are not to be content with an increase of¬†mere head-knowledge of Scripture. What we need to be most concerned about is our¬†practical growth–our¬†experimental conformity to the image of Christ.¬†

One point at which we may test ourselves is:¬†“Does my reading and study of God’s Word make me less worldly?”

“But¬†grow¬†in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18¬†

The object of God’s tender, perfect and ceaseless care!

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The object of God’s tender, perfect and ceaseless care!

(James Smith, “Divine Care!” 1865)

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

Our¬†cares¬†must be cast upon our God, or they will prove a burden too heavy for us–they will depress, bewilder, and make us wretched!¬†

WHO is it that cares for us? 

It is the¬†Lord Almighty–the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy!¬†
It is He whom the angels obey, the seraphim adore, and all creation glorifies! 
It is the Lord–who is so¬†great, that we have no adequate conception of His greatness!¬†
It is He who is so¬†good–that it is impossible fully to set forth His goodness!¬†
It is He who is so¬†glorious–that no sinner can see His face and live!¬†
It is He who created all things with His Word!
It is He who governs all things by His wisdom!
It is He who upholds all things by His power! 
It is He whose resources are infinite!
It is He whose compassion is exquisite!
It is He whose patience is without limit! 

But though He is so exalted, so happy, and so unspeakably great–He cares for you!

He cares for you–as base as you are.¬†
He cares for you–as sinful as you are.¬†
He cares for you–as depressed and discouraged as you are.¬†

HE cares for YOU!

May I pass through the present world under the impression, “I am¬†the object of God’s tender, perfect and ceaseless care!

“Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22¬†

The worldling’s Bible!

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The worldling’s Bible!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

God would be voted out of the world!

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God would be voted out of the world!

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

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

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

“Haters of God.” Romans 1:30

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

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

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

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

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

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

The secret desire of every unconverted heart!

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The secret desire of every unconverted heart!

(Robert Murray M’Cheyne, 1813-1843)

“The fool says in his heart,¬†‘There is no God!’¬†They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.” Psalm 53:1¬†

It is in his heart that he says this. This is the secret desire of every unconverted heart. If the bosom of God were within the reach of men, it would be stabbed a million times in one moment!

When God was manifest in the flesh, He was altogether lovely. He did no sin, and went about continually doing good. Yet they they mocked Him and spat upon Him and crucified Him on the accursed tree! Unconverted men would do the same with God again–if they could.¬†

Learn the fearful depravity of your heart. I venture to say that there is not an unconverted man present, who has the most distant idea of the monstrous wickedness that is now within his bosom. When you are in Hell, it will break out unrestrained. 

Yes, you have a heart that would kill God if you could. If the bosom of God were nor within your reach, and one blow would rid the universe of Him–you have a heart fit to do the heinous deed!¬†

Do not pay too dear for a feast for worms!

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Do not pay too dear for a feast for worms!

(Richard Baxter, “Directions against Gluttony“)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sympathy of Christ!

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The Sympathy of Christ!

(Francis Bourdillon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our clumsy hands!

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Our clumsy hands!

(J.R. Miller)

“I do not practice what I want to do–but I do what I hate!” Romans 7:15¬†

Think of the brokenness, the incompleteness, the littleness–of these lives of ours!¬†

We get¬†glimpses¬†of beauty in character–which we are not able to attain!¬†
We have spiritual¬†longings–which seem to us too great ever to come true.¬†
We¬†dream¬†of things we want to do–but when we try to work them out,¬†our clumsy hands¬†cannot put them into realizations!¬†

We have glimmerings of a¬†love¬†that is very rich and tender, without a trace of selfishness, without envy or jealousy, without resentment–a love which does not seek its own, nor is not provoked, and bears all things. We get the vision from the life of Christ Himself. We say, “I will learn that lesson of love–I will be like that!”¬†But we fail.

We strive to be sweet-spirited, unselfish, thoughtful, kind–but we must wet our pillow with tears at the close of¬†our marred days, because we cannot be what we strive to be! We have glimpses of an inner peace which is very beautiful. We strive after it strive with intense effort–but do not reach it!

So it is in all our living. Life is ever something too large for us. We attain only¬†fragments¬†of living. Yet take heart, “The¬†desire¬†of the righteous shall be granted!” Proverbs 10:24

“We know that when He appears–we shall be like Him!” 1 John 3:2

For a rational man to be so attached to a bubble, is a most irrational thing!

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For a rational man to be so attached to a bubble, is a most irrational thing!

(Don Fortner)

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15¬†

Worldliness is an undue attachment to this world. It is living for this world–its riches, its honor, its joys and its cares. It is living by the¬†principles¬†of this world: greed, covetousness, deceit and lust.

Nothing is more dangerous to the souls of men–than the love of the world.¬†
Nothing more effectually chokes out the influence of the gospel in a man’s heart–than the cares of this world.¬†
Nothing is more difficult to avoid–than an undue attachment to this world.¬†

Therefore, John sets these four words up as a beacon. They stand in blazing letters to warn us of great danger: “LOVE NOT THE WORLD!”

Beloved, this world and all that it offers, is no more than a¬†bubble¬†that soon must burst! Your money, your farms, your houses, your influence, your families–everything here is temporary. It will all vanish away!¬†

We laugh at the small child who cries when the bubbles he is playing with burst. But, for a rational man to be so attached to a bubble, is a most irrational thing!

What fools they are who love and seek this world! I cannot warn you enough of the danger of worldliness–of loving, seeking, and living for this world!

Are you God’s child? Are you risen with Christ? Do you live in the hope of eternal glory?¬†

Then count this world to be a dead thing. 
Live no longer for this world. 
Set your heart on things above. 
Live above this pile of rubbish that must soon burn. 
Live to do the will of God, seek the glory of Christ, further the gospel of the grace of God, and serve the people of God. Quit seeking those things for which unbelieving men live, and seek those things which are above–life, immortality, and glory.

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

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

(Francis Bourdillon, 1864)

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

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

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

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

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

What–all¬†of us?¬†
Yes–all¬†of us!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because the Lord loves you

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Because the Lord loves you

(Letters of John Newton)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Later you will understand

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Later you will understand

(Charles Naylor, “When Adversity Comes” 1944)

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

A few years ago a young preacher came to me and told me his troubles. He was passing through a time of darkness that he could not understand. Several months ago he called upon me again, and in the course of our conversation he referred to the time of trouble through which he had passed. He said, “Those things that I could not understand at that time, have taught me lessons which have prepared me to help many souls as I never could have, had I not had those severe trials.”¬†

Yes, things look different now.¬†He can now see God’s hand in it. He can see that those difficult things were a blessing to his own soul and to the souls of others. He can see that he had been in¬†God’s school of adversity¬†and knew it not. He thought these things were destructive to him, but when he looked back upon them with clear vision and a knowledge of God’s purpose–he saw real blessing in them. He saw them as manifestations of the wisdom and kindness of God, and he thanked God for those things which had been bitter and hard to bear.

Are you passing through difficult things which you cannot now understand? 

Does it look as if these things are ruining you? 

Just trust God and be patient. Out of your¬†night of bitterness, out of your darkness and woe–will come strength of character, a blessed realization of God’s faithfulness, and a knowledge of Him and yourself which can come to you in no other way. You will look back in time to come, and thank God for His wise care and tender love for you which brought you to these things, and realize that it was His hand leading you to better and richer things beyond.

My last words shall be

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My last words shall be

(William Grimshaw)

When I come to die, I shall have my greatest grief and my greatest joy.

My greatest¬†grief–that I have done so little for Jesus.

My greatest¬†joy–that Jesus has done so much for me!¬†

My last words shall be: “Here goes an unprofitable servant!”

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!

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Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!

(Octavius Winslow)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brethren, we have two faults

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Brethren, we have two faults

(Charles Spurgeon)

Brethren, we have two faults
: 

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

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

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

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

When the bird of thought was let go!

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When the bird of thought was let go!

(A.W. Tozer)

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

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

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

Hang this question up in your houses!

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Hang this question up in your houses!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

A statue of a stone lamb!

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A statue of a stone lamb!

(J.R. Miller)

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

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

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

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

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

You must keep the circus going!

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You must keep the circus going! 

(Ernest Reisinger)

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

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

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

“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:2-3¬†

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