Tag Archives: King Jesus

May we see our sins

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May we see our sins

(
Henry Law, “Family Prayers”)

O God the Holy Spirit, have mercy upon us miserable sinners. Move, we beseech You, in our disordered hearts. Remove the deformities of unruly desires and hateful lusts. Chase away the mists and darkness of unbelief. Brighten our inner man with the pure light of truth. Sow abundantly the seeds of righteousness. Make our souls fragrant as the garden of the Lord. Enrich them with every godly fruit. Beautify them with heavenly grace. Be our comforter, our guide, our light, our sanctification. 

Especially take of the things of Christ, and show them with enlarged power to our longing souls. May we daily learn more of His love, His grace, His tender compassion, His faithfulness, and His beauty. May we delight ourselves in Him with increased delight.¬†Lead us to the cross, and show us in His wounds–the hateful character of sin.¬†May we see our sins, as . . .¬†
  the nails which transfixed Him,
  the cords which bound Him,
  the sword which pierced Him,
  the thorns which tore Him,
  the taunts which stung Him. 

Help us to read in His cruel death, the reality and immensity of His love. 

Open to us the wondrous volumes of glorious truth in the cry,¬†“It is finished!”¬†
Our atonement is forever achieved, 
our debt is fully paid, 
all our guilt is washed away,
all our sins most righteously forgiven,
our souls saved,
Hell vanquished,
the devil crushed,
Heaven won, and 
eternity of glory our rightful home!

Holy Spirit, deepen in us these saving lessons. 
Write them with Your finger on the tablets of our hearts. 

May our walk be . . .
  sin-loathing,
  sin-fleeing,
  Christ-loving,
  God-fearing!

Believing that God rules all, that He governs wisely, that He brings good out of evil

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Believing that God rules all, that He governs wisely, that He brings good out of evil

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

The Christian does not merely hold this truth as a theory, but he knows it as a matter of fact. Everything has worked for good as yet. 

The poisonous drugs mixed in fit proportions, have worked the cure. 

The sharp cuts of the lancet, have cleansed out the infected flesh and facilitated the healing. 

In every event of your life, God has always worked out the most divinely blessed results.

Believing that God rules all, that He governs wisely, that He brings good out of evil–the believer’s heart is comforted, and he is enabled calmly to meet each trial as it comes. The believer can in the spirit of true resignation pray, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not mine! Send me what You will, my Father, so long as it comes from You!”

The diamonds of Heaven!

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The diamonds of Heaven!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

“Behold, he is praying!” Acts 9:11¬†

Prayers are instantly noticed in heaven. The moment Saul began to pray, the Lord heard him. Here is comfort for the distressed but praying soul. Oftentimes a poor broken-hearted one bends his knee, but can only utter his wailing in the language of sighs and tears; yet that groan has made all the harps of heaven thrill with music; that tear has been caught by God and treasured in the¬†lachrymatory of Heaven.¬†You have collected all my tears in Your bottle.”¬†This¬†implies that they are caught as they flow!¬†

The suppliant, who groans out his words, will be well understood by the Most High God. He may only look up with misty eye; but¬†prayer is the falling of a tear!¬†Tears are¬†the diamonds of Heaven!¬†Sighs¬†are a part of the music of Jehovah’s court, and are numbered with the most sublime strains which reach the majesty on high!

Do not think that your prayers, however weak or trembling, will be unregarded. Our God not only¬†hears¬†prayers, but also¬†loves¬†to hear them. “He does not forget the cry of the humble.”¬†

True, He does not regard proud looks and lofty words. 
He no concern for the pomp and pageantry of kings. 
He does not listen not to the swell of martial music. 
He does not regard the triumph and pride of man. 

But wherever there is a contrite heart full with sorrow, or a lip quivering with agony, or a deep groan, or a penitential sighŤĎČhe heart of Jehovah is open! He marks that prayer down in¬†the registry of His memory!¬†He puts our prayers, like rose leavesŚā≠etween the pages of His book of remembrance, and when the volume is opened at last there shall be a precious fragrance springing up therefrom!

There is one stable rock amidst the billows of the sea of life!

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There is one stable rock amidst the billows of the sea of life!

(Charles Spurgeon) 

“Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age!” Matthew 28:20¬†

It is well that there is One who is ever the same, and who is ever with us. It is well that¬†there is one stable rock amidst the billows of the sea of life. O my soul, do not set your affections upon rusting, moth-eaten, decaying treasures–but set your heart upon Him who abides forever faithful to you. Do not build your house upon the moving quicksands of a deceitful world–but found your hopes upon this rock, which, amid descending rain and roaring floods, shall stand immovably secure!

My soul, I charge you–lay up your¬†treasure¬†in the only secure cabinet; store your¬†jewels¬†where you can never lose them. Put your¬†all¬†in Christ; set . . .
  all your affections on His person,
  all your hope in His merit,
  all your trust in His efficacious blood,
  all your joy in His presence,
and so you may laugh at loss and defy difficulties. 

Remember that¬†all the flowers in the world’s garden wither and die–and the day is coming when nothing will be left but the black, cold earth.¬†Death’s black extinguisher¬†must soon put out your candle. Oh! how sweet to have¬†sunlight–when the¬†candle¬†is gone! The¬†dark flood¬†must soon roll between you and all you have!¬†

So wed your heart to Him who will never leave you. Trust yourself with Him who will go with you through the black and surging current of death’s stream, and who will land you safely on the celestial shore, and make you sit with Him in heavenly places forever!¬†

Go, sorrowing son of affliction–tell your secret troubles to the Friend who sticks closer than a brother. Trust all your concerns with Him . . .
  who never can be taken from you,
  who will never leave you, and
¬† who will never let you leave Him, even “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”¬†

“I am with you always,”¬†is enough for my soul to live upon–though all others forsake me!

“I‚Äôve never seen so clearly since going blind” 20 Years Of Sight-loss!

Me playing my Taylor K22ce at church and in front of a cross on the wall

Hi friends. As it is 20 years to the day since i went blind…I thought i’d share one of my older posts(yet updated) from 4 years ago when i was asked to share a little of what i went through when i lost my sight at 24.

I really hope that you’ll have the time to read it, and that it blesses you in some small way?! 

Here Goes…

I was asked by our Minister Nik if i would share my Testimony in the parade service. The theme was ‚ÄėFaith through Adversity‚Äô, Nik said “i can ask you some straight forward questions, it will only take about 5 minutes(or so we thought)‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúYeah, ok, if you think it will help?‚ÄĚ.

Sunday 8th May 2016…

Walking into the church building Sunday morning, it was quite full, as it was parade service, the scouts and other uniformed groups were there, but Nik found us seats at the front, then showed me up the steps and where i’d stand to speak, after testing the microphone i remembered the steps and sat back down. 

As i‚Äôm blind, i can‚Äôt use any notes, so i spent a little time trying to etch some answer headings into my mind, hoping i‚Äôd not veer too far off track. I then prayed that i‚Äôd use this time to Glorify Him, as i talked about the Truth that sets us free, and how i‚Äôm not ashamed of the Gospel, it‚Äôs the power of God unto Salvation to all who believe…please make it real(be careful praying this, lol).

It;s time…

Steve, we are looking at people who have showed faith in difficult circumstances and I have asked you to share some of your story with us.

Many people here, even those who have seen you around at various church events may not know that you are blind.

My Testimony…

Nik stood next to me at the microphone and started with the first 2 questions:

Have you always been blind? How and when did you loose your sight?

I explained i’d been fully sighted until i was 24, and after 2 brain haemorrhages(March РJuly 2000) that burst my optic nerve, i’m now registered blind and have Severe Hypertensive Retinopathy.

“How did that change your life?”

I said ‚ÄúI can only scratch the surface this morning, but if ever you see me walking around here or in town, please ask me anything. But now i’ll try and sketch you a quick picture and give you a flavour of what happened‚Ķ”

‚ÄúI went to the gym 6-7 days a week, played football most evenings and was quite violent, acting the tough guy. ¬†I wasn‚Äôt a Christian, i hadn‚Äôt been born again, or even been inside a church building‚Ķso‚ĶAs i stepped out of the eye consultants office after being told i‚Äôd be blind for the rest of my life, it was out of character but i collapsed on the floor sobbingg my eyes out. And as my crying out got a little too loud they pulled me into a small empty room‚Ķ.And this was the easy bit‚ÄĚ.

‚ÄúFollowing this was pure isolation… all my football mates left me, i lost my job, my car and ability to do anything…i lost everything, i was completely broken, and on top of that i was left to my acusing thoughts ‚ÄúNobody wants you, you‚Äôre useless now, unwanted, rejected, unloved and unlovable!!‚ÄĚ

Suddenly, as i was telling my story…

My mouth was silenced, an image of Jesus in Glory(Revelation 1) filled my mind, it was so clear(not blurred by my blindness) I could see His flaming eyes of judgment…then…the image changed, it was Jesus on the cross, now His eyes were filled with Mercy, Compassion & Grace, and while looking down straight at me he said “I did this for you, so that you can live. I…LOVE…YOU!!!

I started sobbing uncontrollably, and it took a couple of minutes for me to try and start talking again….but more sobbing…i was completely undone. But these tears were different!

I already knew He’d given His life so i could live. He’d come down so far¬†to save me it is immeasurable. His blood washed me clean, white as snow. He’s forgiven me all my sins, past, present and future, and there is no more condemnation for me, it is finished!

I‚Äôd been ¬†praying for so long for God to ‚ÄúBreak my heart for what broke His‚ÄĚ and sang the songs many times, but rarely had i caught a glimpse of the true cost of His Love, and His free gift of Grace to those who Repent and Believe in Him. I knew He wanted me to share the True Gospel to people listening(and now reading), as it alone is the only Hope. It is the Power of God unto Salvation for anyone that believes.

Still sobbing, i continued…

My every word was a different pitch but i said “My pit was so dark, my accusing thoughts were too heavy, and this led to a daily cycle of waking up and trying to kill myself…failing, which made me feel worse…then drinking so much i could drown them out for the rest of the day, until i woke the next day, then it started again. 

I didn‚Äôt have the strength to kill myself, and i didn‚Äôt have the strength to live…i was without God, and without Hope!

Nik, who‚Äôs hand was rested on my shoulder asked question 4 “I know you were deeply unhappy at the time, what changed that?”

The world followed it’s pattern and sent me to Counselling, then Psychotherapy & finally Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, they didn’t work, they all had no answer for me, they couldn’t reach far enough down to pull me out. I needed a Saviour, I needed the light of the Gospel! 

The Good News & Lovely Sarah

Meeting Sarah changed my life! I have no idea how she’s put up with me. She’s  been so patient and long suffering as i tried attacking her Faith and this Jesus! But she kept on loving me. Sarah always seemed to have a rock to stand on no matter how bad things got for her, and i was being dragged deeper into the sinking sand. She always had this Blessed Hope that i didn’t,

Jesus worked through Sarah to shine the light of the Gospel, the Good News i was dying for. 

Words failed me as i was trying to describe how much i love Sarah, so when my mind filled with thoughts of how far we’ve grown together in love…i broke down again. 

The sobbing was still making me pause every few words, but mentioned Jesus doesn’t want to see anyone perish, but he pursues you, He has come to seek and save that which is lost. He loves you and no matter how bad or hopeless you think you are, He’ll keep coming with His free gift of Salvation!

Nik asked Question 5 “some people would say that your life must be worse now, would you agree with them?”

I’d gone way over my time slot, and i was almost pulled away from the mic as i was so overwhelmed…BUT i knew these tears were not about me, or my losses. I had 1 focus and that was to share the Truth that sets us free. I had no feeling of sorrow or pain. I knew it must have seemed like this to the congregation, and i thought they’d stick me in a counselling room when i’d finished!

The Holy Spirit was filling me like never before, and made the Power of the Gospel so real to me i almost exploded.

I continued ‚ÄúI wouldn‚Äôt agree with anyone who thinks(or measures) life by how good our circumstances are. I‚Äôd lead them to 2 Corinthians 4 & 5 where it talks about living by Faith, not by Sight, and now that we are born again in the Spirit, we should walk by the Spirit. Not living for things that are seen which are temporary(like my sight loss), but living for the unseen which is Eternal‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúI used to hate this song, but now i‚Äôd play it every service if i could‚Ķhave you heard Amazing Grace, the Chris Tomlin version? If you pass me in the street you‚Äôll normally hear me singing or humming these words:”

“Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.¬†I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see. My chains are gone I’ve been set free. My God, my Saviour has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns. Unending love, amazing grace‚ÄĚ.

‚ÄúI‚Äôve never seen so clearly since going blind‚ÄĚ This is one of my fave sayings.¬†ūüėĬ†

Nik then walked me back to my seat next to Sarah. The church was completely silent, it had been silent since i first started sobbing. I could feel Sarah was upset as she didn‚Äôt react for a while, then she said ‚ÄúPeople kept on running up and passing me tissues‚ÄĚ. Nik sat down next to Sarah, and Sarah said ‚ÄúYou‚Äôre not borrowing him again to speak‚ÄĚ.¬†

After the service people came over and said they really connected with the things i said, although i think everyone thinks i’m back in dark depression again, lol.

He showed me the reality and Power of transformation in His Gospel, and how vital it is to share it, as Jesus is the  Way, the Truth and the Life and no-one gets to  the Father but by Him. He’s the forgiver of Sins, breaker of chains, and the only Salvation for Eternal Life in Heaven.

John 3:14-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but[a] have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 ‚ÄúHe who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.‚ÄĚ

I felt i needed to share this post to try and explain a little more of what was happening to me, and maybe reach out to someone who is struggling with the creeping death called Depression,or who is just simply lost and without God, and without Hope.

Related Post: My Full Testimony 

ūüôŹūüŹĽ We Come Together!

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We come on our own, we come together. We come with our excitement and with our lack of expectation. 
We come with our lamps burning brightly and with our lamps hidden. 
We come with our longing and with our pride. 
We come with our words and with our silence. 
We come with our music and with our resentments.
We come to you, God of truth, with our hands open 
and ask that you reach out to us afresh.

Lord forgive our hardness of heart

Forgive us for those times when we think we can do it without you

Forgive us for our coldness towards you and others

Melt the ice of our coldness and breathe your new life into us

Generous God,
we thank you that a small amount of salt 
can season a whole meal;
a small candle can light a whole room,
a small act of kindness inspire a whole life,
a small community transform a whole city,
a small prayer bring near a whole kingdom.
We thank you, Lord, we thank you.

Please show me the areas of my life which have become flavourless?!

Show me in what ways can I be salt in my world?

We pray, gracious God, for your Church throughout the world, for your Church in this nation, in this place, that we would be light bearers and truth bearers. May we shed the light of encouragement where there is disappointment; the light of integrity where there is corruption; the light of clarity where there is uncertainty; the light of challenge where there is complacency; the light of acceptance where there is rejection. And may we always walk and pray and serve in the light of humility and in the strength of your name, that others may see you in us and give you the glory.

We pray in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

May you be as salt where there is staleness;
light where there is darkness; 
truth where there is unbelief 
and love where there is great need. 
And may you know the blessing of God the Father,
Son and Holy Spirit, 
close to you each moment and each day.

The one indispensable book!

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The one indispensable book!

(Daniel March, 1870)

The Bible is the¬†oldest–and the¬†newest¬†of books.

The Bible surveys the whole field of¬†time–and it looks farthest into the infinite depths of¬†eternity.¬†

The Bible lends the most vivid and absorbing interest to the scenes and events of the¬†past–and it keeps us in the most active sympathy with the time in which we live.¬†

The Bible gives us the most reliable record of what¬†has¬†been–and it affords us our only means of knowing what is¬†yet¬†to be.¬†

The Bible is¬†holy¬†enough to denounce the very shadow and semblance of sin–and it is¬†merciful¬†enough to save the chief of sinners.¬†

The Bible is full of¬†God–and must therefore be read with a pure heart, or its true glory will not be seen.¬†
The Bible is full of¬†man–and must therefore always be interesting and instructive to all who would know themselves.

The Bible is the¬†plainest¬†of books–and yet it has¬†depths of wisdom¬†which no created mind can fathom.¬†

The Bible is set up as a beacon to show all wanderers the safe way–and yet its light shines forth from thick clouds of mystery, and from abysses of infinite darkness.¬†

The Bible describes all conditions of life–and it gives utterance to all desires and emotions of the soul.¬†

The Bible has a song of triumph for the¬†overcomer–and a wail of defeat for the¬†overcome.¬†

The Bible . . .
  sparkles with the fervor and gladness of youth,
  celebrates the strength and glory of manhood,
  bewails the sorrows and infirmities of old age. 

The Bible . . .
  exults in the mighty deeds of kings and conquerors, 
  sympathizes with the poor and lowly, 
  lifts up the fallen, 
  delivers the oppressed, and 
  breathes the blessing of peace upon the quiet homes of domestic life. 

The Bible describes with startling clearness . . .
  the seductions of temptation,
  the conflicts of doubt and
  the miseries of skepticism. 

The Bible . . .
  searches the secret chambers of the heart, 
  brings to light its purest love and its darkest hate, 
  reveals its highest joy and its deepest grief. 

The Bible compasses the utmost range of¬†thought¬†and¬†feeling¬†and¬†desire–and it sounds the utmost depth of¬†motive¬†and¬†characterand¬†passion.

Thus in the Bible, 
  God and man,
  earth and heaven,
¬† time and eternity–
speak with one voice and teach the same truth. 

The Bible sets forth the most spiritual and heavenly truths–in the lights and shadows of earthly scenes and human characters.¬†

Thus the Bible is the one indispensable book . . .
¬† for all ages–and all nations,
¬† for all classes of men–and all states of society,
¬† for all capacities of intellect–and all necessities of the soul!

They sing best in their cages!

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They sing best in their cages!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name!”¬† Psalm 33:21

Christians can rejoice even in the deepest distress. Although trouble may surround them, they still sing. Like many birds–they sing best in their cages!¬†

The¬†waves¬†may roll over them, but their souls soon rise to the surface and see the light of God’s countenance.¬†

In times of trouble, the presence of the Son of God in the fiery furnace with him fills his heart with joy.

He is sick and suffering, but Jesus visits him and makes his bed for him. 

He is¬†dying, but Jesus puts His arms around him and cries, “Fear not, beloved, to die is to be blessed–the waters of death have their fountainhead in Heaven. They are not bitter–they are as sweet as nectar, for they flow from the throne of God.”¬†

As the departing saint wades through the stream and the billows gather around him, the same voice sounds in his ears, “Fear not, I am with you! Be not dismayed, I am your God.”

As he nears the borders of the infinite unknown, Jesus says, “Fear not, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom!”

Thus strengthened and consoled, the believer is not afraid to die. No, he is even willing to depart, for since he has seen Jesus as the morning star, he longs to gaze upon Him as the sun in its strength. “I desire to depart and¬†be with Christ, which is better by far!” Philippians 1:23

Truly the presence of Jesus is all the Heaven we desire! 

What a compassionate, gracious arrangement!


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What a compassionate, gracious arrangement!

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

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

Why then, need I worry or tremble? That great, loving, powerful¬†hand¬†keeps all the events of my life sealed and secure within its almighty clasp! Only He, my Maker and my Master, can permit them to be revealed to me as His will for me.¬†What a compassionate, gracious arrangement!¬†How eminently fitted to fulfill that sweet promise of His Word, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You!” If we fully believed this, we would be absolutely devoid of the¬†worry¬†which corrodes and chafes the daily life of so many professing Christians.

“My times.” Not one or two¬†important¬†epochs of my history only–but¬†everything¬†that concerns me:
  joys that I had not expected,
  sorrows that must have crushed me, if they could have been anticipated, 
  sufferings which might have terrified me by their grimness, had I looked upon them,
  surprises which infinite love had prepared for me,
¬†¬†services¬†of which I could not have imagined myself capable–
all these lay in that mighty hand, as the purposes of God’s eternal will for me.¬†

But, as they have developed gradually and silently–how great has been the¬†love¬†which appeared enwrapping and enfolding each one!¬†
Has not the¬†grief¬†been measured–while the¬†gladness¬†has far more abounded?¬†
Have not the comforts and consolations–exceeded the crosses and afflictions?¬†
Have not all things been so arranged, and ordered, and undertaken, and worked out on our behalf–that we can but marvel at the goodness and wisdom of God, in meting out from that dear¬†hand¬†of His, all the “times” that have passed over us?

You agree with me in all this, do you not, dear reader? Then I beg you to apply it to your present circumstances, however dark or difficult they may be.¬†They have come directly from your Father’s hand to you, and they are His dear will for you!

A cross of their own choosing

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A cross of their own choosing

(Thomas Watson, “The Art of Divine Contentment“)

“I have learned to be content¬†whatever the circumstances. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have¬† a lot. In¬†any¬†and¬†all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content–whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.” Philippians 4:11-12

Paul knew how to manage in every state–he learned to be content whatever his circumstances.¬†
If he was in prosperity, he knew how to be thankful. 
If he was in adversity, he knew how to be patient. 
He was neither lifted up with¬†prosperity–nor cast down with¬†adversity.

A Christian should be content in¬†any¬†and¬†every¬†situation. Many are contented in¬†some¬†conditions–but not in¬†every¬†condition. They can be content in a wealthy state. When they have the streams of milk and honey–now they are content. But if the wind turns and is against them–now they are discontented. While they have a¬†silver crutch¬†to lean upon–they are contented; but if God breaks this crutch–now they are discontented.¬†

Many would be content with their affliction–if God would allow¬†them¬†to pick and choose. They could better endure sickness–than poverty; or bear loss of estate–than loss of children. If they might have¬†a cross of their own choosing, they would be content.¬†

But a contented Christian does not desire to choose his cross–but leaves God to choose for him. He is content both for the¬†kindof the afflictions, and the¬†duration¬†of the afflictions, which God gives him. A contented man says, “Let God apply¬†whatevermedicine¬†He pleases, and let it lie on as long as He desires. I know when it has done its cure, and eaten the¬†venom of sin¬†out of my heart–that God will take it away.”

A contented Christian, being sweetly captivated under the authority of the Word, desires to be wholly at God’s disposal, and cheerfully lives in whatever circumstances that God has placed him in. “I¬†delight¬†in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) He does not only¬†submit¬†to God’s dealings, but¬†rejoices¬†in them!

Our proper enjoyment of every earthly blessing

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Our proper enjoyment of every earthly blessing 

(Hannah More,¬† “The Love of God”)¬†

There are three requirements to our proper enjoyment 
of every earthly blessing
 which God bestows on us: 

  1. A thankful reflection on the goodness of the Giver. 

  2. A deep sense of the unworthiness of the receiver. 

  3. A sober recollection of the precarious tenure by which we hold it. 

The first would make us grateful, the second humble, the last moderate.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” James 1:17¬†

What is the best remedy against the fear of man?

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What is the best remedy against the fear of man?

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

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.¬†But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into Hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him!” Luke 12:4-5

One thing that demands our attention in these verses, is¬†Christ’s warning against the fear of man.¬†“Do not be afraid,” He says, “of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.”

But He not only tells us whom we ought¬†not¬†to fear–but of whom we¬†ought¬†to be afraid. “Fear Him,” Jesus says, “Fear Him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into Hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him!” The manner in which the lesson is conveyed is very striking and impressive. Twice over the exhortation is enforced. “Fear Him!” says our Lord. “Yes, I tell you, fear Him!”

The¬†fear of man¬†is one of the greatest obstacles which stand between the soul and Heaven. “What will others say of me? What will they think of me? What will others do to me?” How often these little questions have turned the balance against the soul, and kept men bound hand and foot by sin and the devil! Thousands would never hesitate a moment to storm a breach–who dare not face the laughter of relatives, neighbors and friends.

Now if the¬†fear of man¬†has such influence in these times–then how much greater must its influence have been in the days when our Lord was upon earth! If it is hard to follow Christ through ridicule and scornful words–then how much harder must it have been to follow Him through prisons, beatings, scourgings, and violent deaths! All these things our Lord Jesus knew well. No wonder that He cries,¬†“Do not be afraid!”

What is the best remedy against the fear of man?¬†How are we to overcome this powerful feeling, and break the¬†chains¬†which it throws around us? There is no remedy like that which our Lord recommends. We must supplant the fear of¬†man¬†by a higher and more powerful principle–the fear of¬†God. We must look away from those who can only hurt the body–to Him who has all dominion over the soul. We must turn our eyes from those who can only injure us in the life that now is–to Him who can condemn us to eternal misery in the life to come. Armed with this mighty principle, we shall not play the coward. Seeing Him that is invisible–we shall find the lesser fear melting away before the greater, and the weaker fear before the stronger.

“I fear God,” said Colonel Gardiner, “and therefore there is no one else that I need fear.” It was a noble saying of martyred Bishop Hooper, when a Roman Catholic urged him to save his life by recanting at the stake, “Life is sweet and death is bitter. But eternal life is more sweet–and eternal death is more bitter!”

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!

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!

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!

Why do we love Jesus?

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Why do we love Jesus? 

“We love Him, because He first loved us!” 1 John 4:19¬†

We love Him, because He “gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own!”¬†Titus 2:14¬†

We love Him, because we have life through His death, and forgiveness through His blood. 

We love Him, because¬†“though He was rich, yet for our sake He became poor, so that we through His poverty might become rich!” 2 Corinthians 8:9¬†

We love Him, because of the excellency of His person. We are filled with . . .
 a sense of His beauty,
 an admiration of His charms,
 a consciousness of His infinite perfections! 

We love Him, because¬†His greatness, goodness, and loveliness, in one resplendent ray–combine to enchant our soul until it is so ravished that it exclaims,¬†“Yes, He is altogether lovely!”¬†

We love Him, because His love binds our hearts with chains more soft than silk, and yet stronger than iron! 

“To you who believe, He is precious!”¬†1 Peter 2:7¬†

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

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.

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¬†

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.

Let us beware of the love of money!

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Let us beware of the love of money! 

(J.C. Ryle)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Arthur Pink)

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

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

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

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

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

The 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 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

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.

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¬†

If you saw Christ standing beside you all the time

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If you saw Christ standing beside you all the time

(J.R. Miller, “Intimate Letters on Personal Problems”)

Scripture says of Moses, that¬†“he endured as seeing Him who is invisible!”¬†Hebrews 11:27. That is, Moses always remembered that God was right beside him, his friend to¬†help¬†him–and this made him strong. He did not actually¬†see¬†God–but it was¬†as if¬†he saw Him. That is, he¬†realized the divine presence¬†in all of his life.

If you saw Christ standing beside you all the time–it would not be hard for you to keep sweet, or to keep control of your temper and speech.¬†

Well, Christ¬†IS¬†beside you–just as really as He was beside Mary when she sat at His feet in Bethany, or beside Peter and the other disciples as they walked together over the hills of Judea and Galilee. What you need, is to¬†realize this fact.¬†

We know that Jesus is present with us all the time, at every moment, by day or by night. He is closer than any human friend can be to us. Indeed, we are to¬†practice His presence–that is, we are to live all the time, as if we actually saw Him!

You must remember that Christ¬†is¬†always besides¬†you, not only to¬†see¬†you–but to¬†help¬†you, as your truest and best Friend!

The Bible is always a new book to those well acquainted with it!

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The Bible is always a new book to those well acquainted with it!

(Arthur Pink, “The Divine Inspiration of the Bible“)

Although one may know, word for word, the entire contents of some chapter of Scripture; and although he may have taken the time to thoughtfully ponder every sentence therein–yet, on every subsequent occasion, provided one comes to it again in the spirit of humble inquiry, each fresh reading will reveal new¬†gems¬†never seen there before and new¬†delights¬†will be experienced never met with previously. The most familiar passages will yield as much refreshment at the thousandth perusal–as they did at the first!¬†

The Bible has been likened to a fountain of living water–the fountain is ever the same, but the water is always fresh!

They seek to banish such a God from their thoughts!

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They seek to banish such a God from their thoughts!

(Arthur Pink)

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have need to use this prayer at all times!

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We have need to use this prayer at all times!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Do not forsake me, O Lord!
¬†O my God, do not be far from me!” Psalm 38:21¬†

We frequently pray that God would not forsake us in the hour of¬†trial¬†and¬†temptation–but we often forget that¬†we have need to use this prayer at all times!¬†There is no moment of our life, however holy, in which we can do without¬†His constant upholding. Whether in light or in darkness, in communion or in temptation–we alike need the prayer:¬†“Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, do not be far from me!”

We cannot do without continued aid from above. Let this be then, your daily prayer: 

¬† “Father! Do not forsake Your helpless¬†child, lest I fall by the hand of the enemy.¬†

   Shepherd! Do not forsake Your wayward lamb, lest I wander from the safety of the fold. 

   Great Gardener! Do not forsake Your frail plant, lest I wither and die. 

¬†¬† Do not forsake me in my¬†joys–lest they absorb my heart.

¬†¬† Do not forsake me in my¬†sorrows–lest I murmur against You.¬†

¬†¬† Do not forsake me–for without You I am as¬†weak¬†as water.¬†

¬†¬† Do not forsake me–for my¬†path¬†is dangerous and full of snares, and I cannot do without Your guidance.¬†

¬†¬† Do not be far from me, O Lord–for¬†trouble¬†is near, and no other can help me.¬†

   Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, do not be far from me!

¬†¬† Do not leave me or forsake me, O God my Savior–at any moment of my life!”

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

A crucified Savior will never be content to have a self-pleasing, self-indulging, worldly-minded people!

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A crucified Savior will never be content to have a self-pleasing, self-indulging, worldly-minded people!

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

“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it–but whoever loses his life for Me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world–and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” Luke 9:23-25¬†

We learn here, the absolute necessity of daily self-denial. Every day we ought . . .
  to crucify the flesh,
  to overcome the world,
  and to resist the devil. 

We ought to keep our bodies under control, and bring them into subjection. We ought to be on our guard, like soldiers in an enemy’s country. We ought to fight a daily battle–and war a daily warfare. The command of our Master is clear and plain, “If any man will come after Me–let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

Now what do we know of all this? Surely this is a question which ought to be asked. A little formal church-going, and a decent attendance at a place of worship–can never be the Christianity of which Christ speaks in this place.¬†

Where is our self-denial? 

Where is our daily carrying of the cross? 

Where is our following of Christ? 

Without a religion of this kind–we shall never be saved.¬†

A crucified Savior will never be content to have a self-pleasing, self-indulging, worldly-minded people!

No self-denial–no real grace!¬†

No cross–no crown!¬†

The infinite tenderness of Jesus!

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The infinite tenderness of Jesus!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep!” John 10:11¬†

“He will carry the lambs in His bosom, holding them close to His heart!” Isaiah 40:11

Who is He of whom such gracious words are spoken? He is the Good Shepherd. Why does He carry the lambs in His bosom? Because He has a tender heart, and any weakness in His redeemed children at once melts His heart. 

The sighs, the ignorance, the feebleness of the little ones of His flock draw forth His compassion. 

He is considerate of the weak of His flock. He purchased them with His blood, they are His property–He must and will care for those who cost Him so dear.¬†

He is responsible for each lamb, bound by covenant engagements not to lose one. They are all a part of His glory and reward. 

“He carries the lambs in His bosom!”

Here is boundless affection. Would He put them in His bosom if He did not love them so much? 

Here is tender nearness. So near are they, that they could not possibly be nearer. 

Here is¬†hallowed familiarity. There are precious ‘love passages’ between Christ and His weak ones.¬†

Here is¬†perfect safety. In His bosom, who can hurt them? None can snatch them away from His omnipotence! They can never perish–ever!¬†

Here is perfect rest and sweetest comfort. 

Surely we are not sufficiently sensible of the infinite tenderness of Jesus!

He will sustain you!

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He will sustain you!

(J.R. Miller)

“Cast your burden upon the Lord–and¬†He will¬†sustain¬†you.” Psalm 55:22

The promise is not that the Lord will¬†remove¬†the load we cast upon Him, nor that He will¬†carry¬†it for us–but that He will¬†sustain¬†us so that¬†we¬†may carry it.
He does not¬†free¬†us from the duty–but He¬†strengthens¬†us for it.
He does not¬†deliver¬†us from the conflict–but He enables us to¬†overcome.¬†
He does not withhold or withdraw the trial from us–but He helps us in trial to be submissive and victorious, and makes it a blessing to us.¬†
He does not mitigate the hardness or severity of our circumstances, taking away the difficult elements, removing the thorns, making life¬†easy¬†for us–but He puts Divine grace into our hearts, so that we can live sweetly in all the hard, adverse circumstances.

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

“I can do all things through Christ who¬†strengthens¬†me!” Philippians 4:13¬†

Jesus Christ is completely sufficient!

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Jesus Christ is completely sufficient!

“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and¬†you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power!” Colossians 2:9-10¬†

One of the great tenets of Scripture, is the claim that Jesus Christ is completely sufficient for all matters of life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4)! 

He is sufficient for:
  creation (Colossians 1:16-17)
  salvation (Hebrews 10:10-12)
  sanctification (Ephesians 5:26-27)
  and glorification (Romans 8:30). 

So pure is He, that there is no blemish, stain, spot of sin, defilement, deception, corruption, error, or imperfection in Him! (1 Peter 1:18-20)

So complete is He, that . . .
  there is no other God besides Him (Isaiah 45:5)
  He is the only begotten Son (John 1:14, John 1:18)
  all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Him (Colossians 2:3)
  the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Him (Colossians 2:9)
  He is heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2)
¬† He created all things–and all things were made¬†
      by Him, through Him, and for Him (Colossians 1:16)
  He upholds all things by the word of His power (Colossians 1:17, Hebrews 1:3)
  He is the firstborn of all creation (Colossians 1:15)
  He is the exact representation of God (Hebrews 1:3).

He has no beginning and no end (Revelation 1:17-18) 
He is the spotless Lamb of God (John 1:29)
He is our peace (Ephesians 2:14) 
He is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1) 
He is our life (Colossians 3:4) 
He is the living and true Way (John 14:6) 
He is the Root and Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star (Revelation 22:16) 
He is Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11) 
He is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2) 
He is Captain of our Salvation (Hebrews 2:10)  
He is the Elect One (Isaiah 42:1) 
He is the Apostle and High-Priest of our confession (Hebrews 3:1) 
He is the Righteous Servant (Isaiah 53:11).
He is the Lord Almighty (Malachi 3:17)
He is the Redeemer (Isaiah 41:14)
He is the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 54:5)
He is the God of the whole earth (Isaiah 54:5) 
He is the Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3) 
He is the Light of the world (John 9:5)
He is the Son of Man (Matthew 20:28) 
He is the true Vine (John 15:5)
He is the Bread of Life (John 6:48)
He is the Door to Heaven (John 10:7)
He is the Sovereign Lord (Philippians 2:10-13) 
He is Prophet, Priest and King (Hebrews 1:1-3) 
He is our Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4:9) 
He is our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6) 
He is the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, 
   the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) 
He is the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4) 
He is the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5)
He is the Rock of Salvation (Psalm 62:2)
He is the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:13)
He is the Counselor and Comforter (John 14:26)
He is the Messiah (John 4:25-26) and 
He is the great I AM (John 8:58)!

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

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

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

The best evidence of Christianity!

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The best evidence of Christianity! 

(Frederick Marsh)

Jesus is the chief among ten thousand–the altogether lovely One!

Christ is the Chiefest–or better than the best.¬†

His love is unknowable! Ephesians 3:19 

His riches are unsearchable! Ephesians 3:18 

His joy is unspeakable! 1 Peter 1:8 

His ways are untrackable! Romans 11:33 

His grace is inexhaustible! 2 Corinthians 9:8 

His peace is unfathomable! Philippians 4:7 

And He Himself is unsurpassable! Exodus 15:11 
 

His character was beautiful with holiness in every detail. Hebrews 7:26 

His love was pure and faithful in all its affection. John 13:1 

His service was true and beneficent in all its workings. Acts 10:38 

His words were tender and true in all their utterances. John 7:45 

His life was consistent in every department. Mark 7:37 

His aim was single and concentrated in glorifying God. John 17:4 

His mission was to benefit all who would trust Him, in dying a death which they deserved. 2 Corinthians 8:9 

Christ is Christianity–and¬†the best evidence of Christianity¬†is Christ!

“Yes, He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend!” Song of Songs 5:16¬†

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look up to your God, and say:

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

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

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

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