Tag Archives: New year quotes

The life-boat of free grace!

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The life-boat of free grace!

(James Smith, “The Complaint!” 1864)

“I am cast down!”

And why are you cast down?

“My heart is burdened with a sense of my short-comings! Every duty I perform is so imperfect. Every purpose I form is so soon frustrated. Every hope of seeing better days is so soon beclouded.

My heart is so fearfully depraved. 
My life is so unlike the life of Jesus. 
My temper is so unholy. 
My prayers are so brief and heartless. 
My praises are so feeble and fitful. 
I do so little good. 
I live to so little purpose. 
My evidences are so dim. 
My prospects are so overcast. 
I am harassed sometimes with the fear of death. 
I cannot realize the glories of Heaven. 
I am dissatisfied with the world ‚ÄĒ and yet glued to it!¬†
I hate sin ‚ÄĒ and yet fall into it!¬†
I am a riddle, a mystery, a mass of inconsistency! 
Is it, then, any wonder that I am cast down?”

No, if you look at yourself, and pore over the things you have named ‚ÄĒ then it is no wonder that you are cast down! They are enough to cast anyone down! But if you carry them to the throne of grace, if you there confess them before God, if you look to Jesus to save you from them ‚ÄĒ then, in spite of them ‚ÄĒ you will not long be cast down.

I know it is difficult to do this. There is a natural proneness to pore over such things. One feels at times a secret liking to indulge in gloomy thoughts.

But we must look away from self ‚ÄĒ for if we do not, we shall become anxious, doubting and gloomy! We must run the race, not looking at our imperfections, short-comings, and failures ‚ÄĒ but looking unto Jesus. He knows what we are. He knew what we would be ‚ÄĒ before He called us by His grace; yes, before He shed His blood for us!

He loved us, as sinners. 
He died for us, as sinners. 
He called us, as sinners.

He saves us, as sinners. He will have all the glory of saving us, and He will get great glory by doing so, because we are such great sinners; and do not, cannot, do anything to repay Him for His wondrous love! Salvation is by free grace ‚ÄĒ from first to last! Believe this, and it will raise up your drooping mind!

The life-boat of free grace has put you on board the vessel of salvation, and that will convey you safely to the port of glory! Do not look at your spiritual destitution, or feebleness, or incapacity, or imperfections ‚ÄĒ but trust in your Pilot, rely on your Captain, and expect His mercy and merit to land you safe in Heaven at last!

As imperfect as you now are, and as imperfect you will be ‚ÄĒ your dying prayer will still be, “God be merciful unto me ‚ÄĒ a sinner!”

Hope in God!
His mercy is great unto the heavens, 
His grace is as free as the air, 
His love is as changeless as His nature,
His promise is as immutable as His love.

Hope in God, for you shall yet praise Him. He will save you for His own sake, and present you before assembled worlds as a monument of His mercy, and a trophy of His grace!

 

We must hew our Agags to pieces!

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We must hew our Agags to pieces!

(J. R. Miller, “Miller’s Year Book–a Year’s Daily Readings”)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†Download audio

(You will find it helpful to listen to the audio above, as you read the text below.)


“Since he had no sword, he ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill the giant and cut off his head!” 1 Samuel 17:50-51

If he had not cut off the giant’s head–the old Philistine champion would have gotten up by and by, and walked away; for he was only¬†stunned, not¬†killed, by the stone. David made¬†sure work¬†of his victory!

A great many of¬†our attacks upon sin¬†in our own hearts, and in the world–only¬†stun, and do not¬†kill¬†the evil. We walk away, thinking we have done a fine thing. But shortly, we meet the ‘old giant’ again, stalking abroad as before! He soon recovers from our blow, and we have to fight the battle over; and perhaps we fight it again in the same¬†halfhearted¬†way–and thus on and on, to the end of our life!

Most of us have had just such experience as this with our own evil lusts and passions. We overcome them very often and think each time that we are through with them, but soon again they are as active as ever.

We need to learn a lesson from David and finish our victories by cutting off the head of every giant we strike down!

There is no other way of killing sins!

The¬†life¬†is in the¬†head, and the head must be struck off–or the enemy will be facing us again in a day or two, with but a¬†scar¬†on his forehead!

The only way to get a real victory over vices is to decapitate them! Bruises and wounds are not enough. There must be thorough work done, in the name of the Lord. Half-way measures will not avail.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5¬†

“Samuel¬†hewed Agag to pieces¬†before the Lord.” 1 Samuel 15:33¬†

Like Samuel, we must hew our Agags to pieces! 

 

The Lord is my Shepherd!

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The Lord is my Shepherd!

(J.R. Miller¬†“Bethlehem to Olivet” 1905)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†Download audio

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“The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need!”¬†
Psalm 23:1

The¬†shepherd¬†is a favorite Scriptural picture of the¬†divine love and care. In the Old Testament, the¬†twenty-third Psalm¬†gathers the whole wonderful truth in exquisite lines, which are dear to young and old wherever the Bible is known. Then in the New Testament, when our Lord would give His friends the sweetest revealings of His heart toward them, and tell them what they are to Him, and what He would be to them–He says,¬†I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”¬†John 10:11¬†

The Hebrew shepherd¬†lives¬†with his sheep. If they are out in the storm–he is with them. If they are exposed to danger–so is he.¬†
Just so, Christ lives with His people. He enters into closest relations with them.

The shepherd knows his sheep. He has a name for each one and calls them all by their names. 
Just so, Christ knows each one of His friends, and has intimate personal knowledge of each one. He knows the best in us–and also the worst. He knows our faults, our sins, our wanderings. Yet, knowing us as we are–He loves us still and never wearies of us!

The shepherd is most¬†gentle¬†with his sheep. He does not¬†drive¬†them–but goes before them and¬†leads¬†them. When they need rest on the way–he¬†makes¬†them lie down, and chooses for their resting-place, not the dusty road–but¬†green pastures. He is especially kind to the¬†lambs, gathers them in his arms and carries them in his bosom.¬†
All this is an exquisite picture of the¬†gentleness of our Good Shepherd in His care of His sheep.¬†He is thoughtful toward the weak. He loves the¬†lambs¬†and makes room for them in His bosom. Whatever the need is, there is something in the heart of Christ which meets its craving and supplies its lack! “He will feed His flock like a shepherd.¬†He will carry the¬†lambs¬†in his arms,holding them close to His heart.¬†He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.”¬†Isaiah 40:11

The shepherd defends his flock in all danger. Often he had to risk his own safety, even his life, in protecting his sheep. 
Just so, the Good Shepherd gives His¬†life–for His sheep!

Christ’s sheep are absolutely¬†safe¬†in His keeping. “I give unto them eternal life,” He said; “and they will never perish–ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand!” Then at last, He will bring His own all¬†safely home, “and they shall become one flock–with one Shepherd!”

 

 

How can we learn contentment?

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How can we learn contentment? 

(J.R. Miller, “The Hidden Life” 1895)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†¬†Download audio

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

How can we learn contentment? 

One step toward contentment, is patient submission to unavoidable ills and hardships. No earthly lot is perfect. No mortal ever yet in this world, has found a set of circumstances without some drawback. There are . . .
  trials which we cannot change into blessings,
  burdens which we cannot lay down,
  crosses which we must continue to carry,
  thorns in the flesh which must remain with their rankling pain.
When we have such trials, why should we not sweetly accept them as part of¬†God’s best way¬†with us?¬†

Discontent never made . . .
  a rough path smoother,
  a heavy burden lighter,
  a bitter cup less bitter,
  a dark way brighter,
  a sore sorrow less sore. 
It only makes matters worse! 

One who accepts with patience, that which he cannot change–has learned one secret of victorious living.

Another part of the lesson, is that we can learn to¬†moderate our desires. “Having food and clothing,” says Paul again, “let us be content with these.” Very much of our discontent arises from envy of those who seem to be more favored than ourselves. Many people lose most of the comfort out of their own lot–in coveting the finer, more luxurious things which some neighbor has. Yet if they knew the whole story of the life they envy for its greater prosperity, they probably would not exchange for it their own lowlier life with its more humble circumstances. Or if they could make the exchange, it is not likely they would find half so much real happiness in the other position, as they would have enjoyed in their own.¬†

Contentment does not dwell so often in¬†palaces–as in the homes of the¬†humble. The¬†tall peaks¬†rise higher and are more conspicuous–but the winds smite them more fiercely than they do the¬†quiet valleys. And surely, the lot in life which God makes for us, is always the¬†best¬†which could be made for us for the time. He knows better than we do, what our true needs are.¬†

The real¬†cause¬†of our¬†discontent¬†is not in our¬†circumstances; if it were, a change of circumstances might cure it. It is in¬†ourselves, and wherever we go–we shall carry our¬†discontent heart¬†with us. The only¬†cure¬†which will affect anything, must be the curing of the¬†fever of discontent¬†in us.

A fine secret of contentment, lies in¬†finding and extracting all the pleasure we can get from the things we have–the common, everyday things; while we enter upon no mad, vain chase after¬†impossible dreams. In whatever state we are in, we may find therein enough for our needs.

No earthly misfortune can touch the wealth which a Christian holds in the divine promises and hopes. Just in the measure, therefore, in which we¬†learn to live for spiritual and unseen eternal realities–do we find contentment amid earth’s trials and losses. If we would live to please God, to build up Christlike character in ourselves, and to lay up treasure in Heaven–we shall not depend for happiness, on the way things go with us here on earth, nor on the measure of temporal goods we have. The earthly desires are crowded out by the higher and spiritual desires. We can do without¬†childhood’s toys–when we have¬†manhood’s¬†better possessions. We desire the¬†toys of this world¬†less, as we get more of God and Heaven into our hearts.

Paul knew this secret. He cheerfully gave up all that this world had for him. Money had no power over him. He knew how to live in¬†plenty; but he did not fret when¬†poverty¬†came instead. He was content in any trial, because earth meant so little–and Christ meant so much to him. He did not¬†need¬†the things he did not have. He was not made poor by the things he lost. He was not vexed by the sufferings he had to endure–because the sources of his life were in Heaven and could not be touched by earthly experiences of pain or loss.

These are hints of the way we may learn to be content in whatever circumstances. Surely the lesson is worth learning! One year of sweet contentment, amid earth’s troublous scenes–is better than a whole lifetime of vexed, restless discontent! The lesson¬†can¬†be learned, too, by anyone who is truly Christ’s disciple; for did not the Master say, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you.”

The artist painted¬†life¬†as a dark, storm-swept sea, covered with wrecks. Then out of the midst of the wild waves, he made to rise a great rock, in a cleft of which, high up, amid herbage and flowers–he painted a dove sitting quietly on her nest. It is a picture of Christian peace in the midst of this world’s strifes and storms. In the cleft of the Rock, is the home of contentment.

What does our church need?

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What does our church need?

(James Smith, “Good seed for the Lord’s field!” 1856)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†¬†Download audio

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“Our gospel came to you not simply with words–but also with¬†power, with the¬†Holy Spirit¬†and with¬†deep conviction.” 1 Thessalonians 1:5

“We have,” said one pastor, “the gospel regularly preached, the prayer meetings are continued, the church is in peace–but very few souls are converted to God!¬†What does our church need?

It needs the¬†presence¬†and¬†power¬†of the Holy Spirit! For unless the Holy Spirit works–your minister may preach, your church may meet–but no real good will be done! God’s work is carried on, not by might nor by power–but by the Spirit of the Lord Almighty. It is the Spirit who must . . .
   open the heart, 
   quicken the soul, and 
   sanctify the person!

And if the Spirit works–then the feeblest ministry is efficient, and the smallest church prospers!

All the¬†success¬†that followed the preaching of Peter and the labors of Paul, was from the Holy Spirit. Therefore Paul says, “God¬†gave the increase.”¬†Then¬†the church felt her¬†need¬†of the Spirit; she realized her¬†dependence¬†on that divine Agent; she prayed with faith, fervor, and importunity for the blessing; and God answered her prayers, and filled His servants with the Holy Spirit and with power!

But now-a-days,¬†we merely¬†talk¬†of the Spirit–rather than feel our need!¬†
We boast of our¬†instruments–rather than realize our dependence on the Almighty Agent!

 

The unchangeable method of God!

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The unchangeable method of God!

(Matthew Mead, “The Almost Christian” 1661)

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“I have not come to call the¬†righteous, but¬†sinners¬†to repentance.” Luke 5:32

That is, such as see themselves as sinners, and thereby in a lost condition. 
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the¬†lost.” Luke 19:10

God will have the soul truly sensible of the¬†bitterness of sin–before it shall taste the¬†sweetness of mercy. The¬†plough of conviction¬†must go deep, and make deep furrows in the heart, before God will sow the precious¬†seed of grace¬†there–so that it may have depth of earth to grow in.¬†

This is¬†the unchangeable method of God¬†in bestowing grace–to begin with¬†conviction of sin.¬†
¬† First to show man his¬†sin–then his Savior;¬†
¬† first his¬†danger–then his Redeemer;¬†
¬† first his¬†wound–then his cure;¬†
¬† first his¬†own¬†vileness–then Christ’s righteousness.¬†

The sinner must see the worthlessness and vileness of his¬†own¬†righteousness–before he can be saved by¬†Christ’s¬†righteousness. The Israelites are first stung with the¬†fiery¬†serpents–and then the¬†brazen¬†serpent is set up to heal them.¬†

We must see the¬†leprosy¬†of our righteousness, and be brought to cry out,¬†“Unclean, unclean!”¬†We must mourn for Him whom we have pierced–and then He sets open for us “a fountain to cleanse us from all sin and impurity.” Zechariah 12:10, 13:1.

Be convinced of the¬†evil¬†of sin–the¬†filthy¬†and¬†heinous¬†nature of it.¬†
Sin is the greatest evil in the world:
  it wrongs God;
  it wounds Christ;
  it grieves the Holy Spirit;
  it damns a precious soul.
All other evils cannot be compared with this. Though to DO sin is the worst work–yet to SEE sin is the best sight! Sin discovered in its vileness–makes Christ to be desired in His fullness!

Alas! it is Christ’s infinite¬†righteousness¬†which must atone for our sins–for it is an infinite God whom we have sinned against!¬†

If ever your¬†sin is pardoned–it is Christ’s infinite¬†mercy¬†which must pardon it!¬†

If ever you are¬†reconciled to God–it is Christ’s infinite¬†merit¬†which must do it!¬†

If ever your¬†heart is changed–it is Christ’s infinite¬†power¬†which must effect it!¬†

If ever your¬†soul escapes Hell, and is saved at last–it is Christ’s infinite¬†grace¬†which must save it!

True excellency!

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True excellency!

(Jonathan Edwards)  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

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Worldly men imagine that there is true excellency and true happiness in those things which they are pursuing. They think that if they could but obtain them, that they would be happy. But when they obtain them, and cannot find happiness–then they look for happiness in something else, and are still upon the futile pursuit.

There is a transcendent glory, and an ineffable sweetness in Christ.

Jesus Christ has true excellency, and so great an excellency that when you come to truly see Him, you look no further, but your mind rests there.

You see that you had been pursuing shadows, but now you have found the substance.

You realize that you had been seeking happiness in the stream, but now you have found the ocean.

The excellency of Christ is an object adequate to the natural cravings of the soul, and is sufficient to fill its capacity.

Christ has an infinite excellency, such as the mind desires, in which it can find no bounds.
The more the mind contemplates Him, the more excellent does He appear.

Each new discovery of Christ makes His beauty appear more ravishing, and the mind can see no end to His excellency. There is room enough for the mind to go deeper and deeper, and never come to the bottom.

Christ’s excellency is always fresh and new, and will as much delight us after we have beheld Him a thousand or ten thousand years–as when we have seen Him the first moment.

The soul is exceedingly ravished when it first looks on the beauty of Christ. It is never weary of Him.

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

“Put the beauty of ten thousand worlds of paradises, like the Garden of Eden in one; put all trees, all flowers, all fragrances, all colors, all tastes, all joys, all loveliness, all sweetness in one. O what a lovely and excellent thing would that be! And yet it would be less compared to our dearest well-beloved Christ–than one drop of rain compared to the whole seas, rivers, and lakes of ten thousand earths.”¬†Samuel Rutherford

 

A glance into heavenly bliss!

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A glance into heavenly bliss!

(“Solitude Sweetened” by¬†James Meikle, 1730-1799)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†¬†Download audio

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O Eternity! All at once I find myself in an unbounded flood of bliss, a spacious sea of glory–lost in wonder amidst ineffable delights, and transported with the raptures of seraphic harmony! While all His saints rejoice in His excellent glory–what ardor glows in every soul, and what rapture swells in every song! O the wondrous displays of His perfections, the manifestations of His goodness, the outlettings of His love!

Here we received out of His fullness–grace upon grace, and glory upon glory.¬†
Our heavenly possession is worthy of our liberal Giver. We have . . .
  a kingdom which cannot be moved,
  an undefiled inheritance, which does not fade away,
  a city with foundations, whose builder and maker is God,
  garments of glory,
  a crown of righteousness and eternal life,
  the tree of life to feed upon,
  the fountain of life to drink of, 
  the garden of God to walk in,
  life above the reach of death,
  health secured from sickness, 
  eternal pleasure without pain! 

Our bodies are immortal, 
our souls are immaculate, 
our senses are sanctified, 
our conceptions are spiritualized, 
our faculties are enlarged, and 
our whole soul is glorious! 

Our past bliss is with us in the sweet remembrance, 
our present bliss enchants us in the enjoyment, and
our future bliss is present with us in the full assurance of our eternal felicity. 

Thus we are forever blessed to the highest degree. We are . . .
  above all fear,
  beyond anxiety and doubt,
  and fixed above all change!

Our service is sincere, 
our adorations are ardent, 
our knowledge is profound and satisfying. 

Rapture rushes in at every part!

Our eyes are ravished with seeing the King in His beauty;
our ears are ravished with hearing the songs of the inner temple;
our nostrils are ravished with the fragrance of the Rose of Sharon, the plant of renown; 
our feet are ravished with standing in His holy place; 
our hands are ravished with handling of the word of life; and 
our¬†mouths¬†are ravished¬†with the wine of our Beloved, which goes down sweetly–causing our souls to shout aloud, and our lips to sing and never cease.¬†

Our experience of His fullness, our vision of His perfections and glory–constitute our most exalted bliss, and are the heaven of heavens!

O what torrents of eternal love teem from the glorious throne into our souls! 

O the pleasure that is in His presence! 

O the exuberant rivers of joy that flow at His right hand! 

O love! never to be forgotten–which has brought me safely through so many winding labyrinths and crooked paths, in sight of so many enemies–in spite of . . .¬†
  a tempting devil, 
  the accusations of my sins,
  the rebellion of my lusts, 
  the carnality of my affections, and
¬† the weakness of all my graces–
to dwell at last forever in heavenly bliss!

O eternity! Once the comfort of our longing expectations–now the transport of our enlarged souls! For we are . . .
  forever with the Lord,
  beholding His unclouded face,
  wearing His divine name,
  drinking at the streams of His pleasures,
  eating of His hidden manna,
  sitting beneath the Tree of Life,
  basking under the beams of the Sun of Righteousness,
  singing hallelujahs to Him who loved us, who washed us from our sins in His blood, and brought us here to be with Him forever!

O state of complete happiness and consummate bliss!

Your everlasting treasure, and your unchangeable Friend!

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Your everlasting treasure, and your unchangeable Friend!

(George Everard, “Up High!” 1884)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†¬†Download audio

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“Thus says the Lord:
  Let not a wise man glory in his wisdom,
  and let not the mighty man glory in his might,
  let not a rich man glory in his riches. 
But let him who glories, glory in this–that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises loving-kindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things!”¬†Jeremiah 9:23-24

Glory in Christ–and in Him alone!¬†

Glory in Him as your Faithful Shepherd, who will care for you, and guard you, and restore you, and keep you even to the end. 

Glory in Him as your Unfailing Physician, who will heal your soul-wounds, and bind up the bleeding, broken heart. 

Glory in Him as your Great High Priest, who ever lives to plead your cause before the Throne of grace. 

Glory in Him as your Omnipotent King, who reigns over the events of Providence, and will make all things work together for your eternal good. 

Glory in Him as your Mighty Redeemer, who will deliver you from every enemy, and make you conqueror over sin, death and Hell. 

Glory in Him as your¬†Everlasting Portion, remembering that when all else shall take wings and flee away–when the home is broken up, and dear ones die, and means grow less, and health decays, yes, when everything on earth fails you–He will beyour everlasting treasure, and your unchangeable Friend!

And let this glorying be seen by your¬†entire resignation to His will–and by choosing His path rather than your own.

“Not I, but Christ!”¬†Lord, choose for me,¬†
 And make me love what pleases Thee. 

“Not I, but Christ!”¬†His will be done,¬†
 And mine with His be merged in one. 

Myself no longer would I see, 
But Jesus crucified for me. 

His eye to guide, His voice to cheer, 
His mighty arm forever near. 

“Not I, but Christ!”¬†Lord, let this be¬†
 A motto throughout life for me!

 

Altogether lovely!

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Altogether lovely!

(“Solitude Sweetened” by James Meikle, 1730-1799)¬†¬†LISTEN to audio!¬†¬†Download audio

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

Why does the world reject the wondrous Savior? Why do they abhor Him who is altogether lovely, and hate Him who is the best Friend of sinners? 

O men of the world! what good can you desire which is not in Christ? The excellencies of earth are but His footstool; the excellencies of Heaven are but His throne! How excellent, then, must He Himself be! 

His treasures are infinite–and open for you!¬†

In Jesus are . . .
¬†¬†riches–if you are poor;¬†
¬†¬†honor–if you are despised;¬†
¬†¬†friendship–if you are forsaken;
¬†¬†help–if you are injured;
¬†¬†mercy–if you are miserable;
¬†¬†joy–if you are disconsolate;¬†
¬†¬†protection–if you are in danger;
¬†¬†deliverance–if you are a captive;
¬†¬†life–if you are mortal; and
¬†¬†all things–if you have nothing at all.¬†

Time and eternity are His–and He can give you all the glorious things of eternity!

Moreover, He can deliver you . . .
  from all your fears;
¬† from¬†sin–the worst of all evils;
¬† from¬†self–the most hurtful of all companions;
¬† from¬†death–the most dreadful of all changes;
¬† from¬†Satan— the most subtle of all enemies;
¬† from¬†Hell–the most horrible of all prisons; and
¬† from¬†wrath–the most horrifying doom of all sinners!

Now, where will you find such a one as Jesus? 

Why, then, refuse life, and seek after death and damnation?

All Heaven is enamored with His beauty!

The longer we look on ‘created gaieties’, the leaner and less lovely they grow; so that, by the time we have viewed them forty, fifty, or sixty years–we see nothing but¬†vanity¬†in the creature! But when ten thousand ages are employed in beholding the perfection and beauty of Jesus, He still appears¬†more and more lovely–even¬†altogether lovely!

Alas! I can say nothing of His true excellencies! They overwhelm my laboring thought, and are too vast for my feeble conception to bring forth!

The greatness of the sin of gluttony!

ūü§Ē My Thoughts…

Wow, this post hit me hard this morning!! I know all about this struggle and these words really humble me to my knees! ūüôŹ¬†

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The greatness of the sin of gluttony!

(Richard Baxter, “Directions against Gluttony”)

1. Gluttony is a sin exceedingly contrary to the love of God–it is idolatry!¬†
What an odious, swinish, damning sin it is–for a man’s heart to be set upon his belly!

2. Gluttony is self-murder! Though it does not kill suddenly–it kills surely!

3. Gluttony is a deadly enemy to the mind, and to all the noble employments of reason.

4. Gluttony dulls the body as well as the mind. It makes men heavy, and drowsy and slothful.

5. Gluttony is the immediate effect of a carnal mind, and of the damnable sin of flesh-pleasing. 

6. Gluttony is the breeder and feeder of all other lusts.

7. Gluttony is a base and beastly kind of sin.

8. Gluttony is a wasteful consumer and devourer of the creatures of God.

9. Gluttony is a most unthankful sin–it takes God’s mercies, and spews them as it were in His face!

10. Gluttony is a sin which turns your own mercies, and wealth, and food–into your snare and deadly ruin. You please your throat–and poison your soul!

11. Gluttony is a thief that robs you of your estates, and devours that which is given you for better uses, and for which you must give account to God.

12. Gluttony is a sin so much the greater–by how much the more delight you have in the committing of it. The sweetest, most voluntary and beloved sin–is the greatest sin. Few sins are more pleasant and beloved than gluttony.

13. Gluttony is the greater sin, because it is so frequently committed. Men live in it as their daily practice and delight. They live for it, and make it the end of other sins. Being turned into beasts–they live like beasts continually!

The more I see of Jesus

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The more I see of Jesus

(Mary Winslow)  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

(You will find it helpful to listen to the audio above, as you read the text below.)

“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 and 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!

 

The God of contemporary Christianity!

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The God of contemporary Christianity!

(A.W. Tozer)  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

(You will find it helpful to listen to the audio above, as you read the text below.)

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

The God of contemporary Christianity¬†is only slightly superior to the pagan gods of ancient Greece and Rome–if indeed He is not actually inferior to them, in that He is weak and helpless–while they at least had some¬†imagined¬†power.

Among the sins to which the human heart is prone
, hardly any other is more hateful to God than idolatry; for idolatry is at bottom a libel on His character.¬†The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is–in itself a monstrous sin; and substitutes for the true God, one made after its own likeness. Always this god will conform to the image of the one who created it–and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges.

The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow–they are themselves idolatrous.¬†The idolater simply imagines things about God–and acts as if they were true.

If we insist upon trying to imagine Him–we end with an idol, made not with¬†hands¬†but with¬†thoughts. And an idol of the¬†mind, is as offensive to God as an idol of the¬†hand!

Before a Christian Church goes into a decline, there must first be a corrupting of her Scriptural thoughts of God. She simply gives a wrong answer to the question,¬†“What is God like?”–and goes downhill from there. Though she may continue to cling to a sound¬†nominal¬†creed–her practical working creed has become false.¬†The masses of her adherents come to believe that God is different from what He actually is–and that is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind!

The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God, until it is once more worthy of Him–and of her!

There are ‘Jebusites’ in every Christian heart!

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There are ‘Jebusites’ in every Christian heart!

(J. R. Miller, “Miller’s Year Book–a Year’s Daily Readings”)

“The king and his men marched to Jerusalem, to¬†fight¬†against the¬†Jebusites¬†who inhabited the land.” 2 Samuel 5:6

The Jebusites still held a¬†stronghold¬†in the heart of the country, never having been dislodged. Just so,¬†there are ‘Jebusites’ in every Christian heart!

In every heart, there are little ‘Jebusite strongholds’, which it seems impossible for us to conquer. Sometimes it is a¬†secret sin¬†which lives on, unconquered, amid the general holiness of a life. Sometimes it is a remnant of the old nature–such as pride, worldliness, selfishness, lust, or bitterness. There are many other such¬†citadels of evil, which rear their proud towers and defy conquest.

“We all have our faults!” we say, and under this¬†cloak¬†we manage to tuck away a large number of¬†dear idols¬†that we do not want to give up!

We ought to give attention to¬†these unsubdued parts of our life–that every thought, feeling, and temper may be brought into subjection to Christ. It is perilous to leave even one such¬†unconquered stronghold¬†in our heart!

“If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of Hell!” Matthew 18:9¬†

“For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the evil deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:13¬†

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.” Colossians 3:5-7¬†

 

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This precept is very extensive and important

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This precept is very extensive and important

(John Newton)

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . .” Romans 12:2

This precept is very extensive and important. As believers, we are strangers and pilgrims upon earth. Heaven is our country–and the Lord is our King. We are to be known as His subjects–and therefore it is His pleasure that we do not speak the language or adopt the customs, of the land in which we sojourn.

We must not conform to the¬†spirit¬†of the world. As members of society, we have a part to act in it, in common with others. But though our business is the same–our¬†principles¬†and¬†ends¬†are to be entirely different!¬†

We must not conform to the¬†maxims¬†of the world. The world in various instances calls evil, good–and good, evil. But we have recourse to the law and to the testimony, and are to judge of things by the unerring Word of God–uninfluenced by the determination of the¬†great¬†or the¬†many.

We must not conform to the world in their¬†amusements¬†and¬†diversions. We are to mix with the world, only so far as our necessary and providential connections engage us–so far as we have a reasonable expectation of doing or getting good, and no farther.¬†

“What fellowship has light with darkness, or what concord has Christ with Belial?” What call can a believer have into those places and companies . . .
  where everything tends to promote a spirit of dissipation;
  where the fear of God has no place;
  where things are purposely disposed to inflame or indulge corrupt and sinful appetites and passions, and to banish all serious thoughts of God and ourselves? 

If it is our duty  . . .
  to redeem time,
  to walk with God,
  to do all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
  to follow the example which He set for us when He was upon the earth, 
  and to work out our salvation with fear and trembling
–then it must of course be our duty to avoid a conformity with the world in those vain and sensual diversions, which stand in as direct contradiction to a spiritual frame of mind, as darkness to light.

 

The only weapon to fight sin with!

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The only weapon to fight sin with!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors¬†through Him¬†who loved us.” Romans 8:37

We go to Christ for forgiveness, and then too often look to our own strength to fight our sins. Paul thus rebukes us, “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” Galatians 3:3

Take your sins to Christ’s cross, for the old man can only be crucified there.¬†The only weapon to fight sin with, is the spear which pierced the side of Jesus!

To give an illustration: you want to overcome an¬†angry temper–how do you go to work? It is very possible you have never tried the right way of going to Jesus with it. How did I get salvation? I came to Jesus just as I was, and I trusted Him to save me. I must kill my angry temper in the same way! I must go to the cross with it, and say to Jesus, “Lord, I trust You to deliver me from it.” This is the only way to give it a death-blow.

Are you¬†covetous?¬†Do you feel the¬†world¬†entangle you? You may struggle against this evil as long as you please–but you will never be delivered from it in any way but by the blood of Jesus. Take it to Christ. Tell Him: “Lord, Your name is Jesus, for You save Your people from their sins. Lord, this is one of my sins–save me from it!”

Ordinances are nothing, without Christ as a means of mortification. Your prayers, and your repentances, and your tears–the whole of them put together, are worth nothing apart from Him. “None but Jesus can do helpless¬†sinners¬†good;” or helpless¬†saints¬†either. You must be conquerors through Him who has loved you, if conquerors at all.

 

Why are we here? What is our purpose?

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Why are we here? What is our purpose?

(Frank Hall)

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“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1¬†

Before there was a Milky Way–there was God!¬†
Before there were galaxies, solar systems, constellations, and nebulae–there was God!¬†
Before Mercury, Venus, and Mars were plugged into their sockets–there was God!¬†
Before Polaris was fastened above the North Pole–there was God!¬†
Before Orion the hunter had a belt, and Saturn had its rings–there was God;¬†all alone, perfect and content, glorious in His solitary existence as the eternal I AM!¬†

Before there was a sun, a moon, or an earth; 
before there was grass to clothe the field, and flowers to adorn it; 
before the mountains were brought forth, and the sea filled the depths; 
before the eagle soared through the sky, and the fish swam through the sea; 
before angels, devils, and men had their being–there was God alone!¬†

If we would understand things aright, we must not begin with¬†man, but with¬†God, for He is the beginning of all things. To begin with man is folly, for man is but a creature–a production of the Creator. We must back up and begin where the Bible begins, with God!¬†

God’s people know, and have always known what continues to baffle the minds of the scholars and scientists of our day, that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Through faith, God’s people understand the mystery of creation.¬†

I ask you,¬†Why are we here? What is our purpose?¬†What is God’s purpose?”¬†Can we even know the answer to these questions? Indeed we can.¬†¬†

The twenty four elders seated around God’s throne in Heaven give us the answer in Revelation 4:10-11, “The twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:¬†You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and¬†for Your pleasure¬†they exist and were created!”

You, me, angels, animals, plants, rocks, and all other things, exist and were created for one reason–the pleasure of the Creator.¬†We were created according to His will and purpose, for His pleasure and glory.¬†¬†

God did not create the Heaven and the earth arbitrarily. He created them to be the stage upon which He would perform His eternal purpose of grace, and reveal all the wonders of His goodness and mercy toward His elect. It is upon the stage of time, that God displays His eternal purpose and shows forth His glory in the salvation of chosen sinners. He created this world for the salvation of His people, that they would be recovered from their sin by His almighty grace.

“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying:¬†My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure!”¬†Isaiah 46:9-10

Paul’s three-word description of what sin does to all people

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Paul’s three-word description of what sin does to all people

“People will be lovers of themselves” 2 Timothy 3:2

¬†¬† It’s the inescapable, destructive commitment of every person that was ever born. It marches down a pathway of separation from God and our ultimate doom. None of us successfully avoid it. We see it in others and it bothers us, but somehow we are blind to it in ourselves. It shapes what we think, desire, say, and do. It shapes our unwritten law for the people we live with and a host of unrealistic expectations for the situations we live in. It explains why we are so often irritated and impatient. It describes why some of us are perennially unhappy and some of us trudge through life depressed. It causes us to want what we will never, ever have and to demand what we do not deserve. It puts us at odds with one another and in endless fights with God. It is one of the deep diseases of our sin nature and a core reason for the birth of Jesus.

¬†¬† Paul says that Jesus came so “that those who live might no longer live for themselves” (2 Corinthians 5:14‚Äď15). Consider¬†Paul’s three-word description of what sin does to all people:¬†“live for themselves.”¬†That’s what we all do from the first moment of our lives. We all demand to be in the center of our world. We all tend to be too focused on what we want, on what we think we need, and on our feelings. We all want our own way, and we want people to stay out of our way. We all want to be sovereign over our lives and to write our own rules. We demand to be served, indulged, agreed with, accepted, and respected. In our self-centeredness, we convince ourselves that our wants are our needs, and when we do, we judge the love of God and others by their willingness to deliver them. When we are angry, it’s seldom because the people around us have broken God’s law; most often we are angry because people have broken the law of our happiness. Because we live for our happiness, happiness always eludes us–because every fulfilled desire is followed by yet another desire.

[Taken from “Come Let Us Adore Him” by Paul David Tripp, 2017, pp. 82-82. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,¬†www.crossway.org.]

 

Drinking bitter cups!

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Drinking bitter cups!

(Octavius Winslow) 

“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¬†

Oh truth most divine! 

Oh words most consolatory! 

All things under the government of an infinitely great, all wise, righteous, and beneficent God, work together for good. 

What that good may be, the shape it may assume, the complexion it may wear, the end to which it may be subservient–we cannot tell.¬†

To our dim view it may appear an evil, but to God’s far seeing eye it is a positive good.¬†

His glory secured by it, and His end accomplished–we are sure it must be good.¬†

How many whose eye traces this page, it may be whose tears bedew it, whose sighs breathe over it, whose prayers hallow it, may be wading in¬†deep waters, may be¬†drinking bitter cups, and are ready to exclaim, “All these things are¬†against¬†me!”¬†

Oh no, beloved of God, all these things are for you! 

“The Lord sits upon the¬†flood.”¬†
“The voice of the Lord is upon the¬†waters.”¬†
“He makes the¬†clouds¬†His chariot.”¬†

Be not then afraid. 

Calmly stay your faith on this divinely assured truth, that “all things work together for good to those who love God.”¬†

Will it not be a good, if your present adversity results . . .  
  in the dethronement of some worshiped idol; 
  in the endearing of Christ to your soul; 
¬† in the closer conformity of your mind to God’s image;¬†
  in the purification of your heart; 
  in your more thorough fitness for Heaven; 
¬† in a revival of God’s work within you;¬†
  in stirring you up to more prayer? 

Oh yes! good, real good, permanent good must result from all the Divine dispensations in your history.

Bitter repentance¬†shall end in the experienced sweetness of Christ’s love.¬†

The festering wound shall but elicit the healing balm. 

The overpowering burden shall but bring you to the tranquil rest. 

The¬†storm¬†shall but quicken your footsteps to the ‘hiding place’.¬†

In a little while, oh, how soon! you shall pass away from earth to heaven, and in its clearer, serener light shall read the truth, often read with tears before, “All things work together for good to those who love God.”

Where is there a more sinful spot to be found upon our guilty globe?

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“When disaster comes to a city‚ÄĒhas not the LORD caused it?” Amos 3:6

It concerns us all to seriously reflect upon our own sins, and the sins of our land‚ÄĒwhich have brought these calamities upon us.

We and our countrymen are sinners, aggravated sinners! God proclaims that we are such‚ÄĒby His judgments now upon us: by withering fields and scanty harvests, by the sound of the trumpet and the alarm of war!

O my country, is not your wickedness great, and your iniquities infinite? Where is there a more sinful spot to be found upon our guilty globe? Pass over the land, take a survey of the inhabitants, inspect into their conduct‚ÄĒand what do you see? What do you hear?

You see the gigantic forms of vice bidding defiance to the God of heaven‚ÄĒwhile true religion and virtue are forced to retire, to avoid public contempt and insult!

You see herds of drunkards swilling down their cups, and drowning all morality within them!

You hear the swearer venting his fury against God‚ÄĒtrifling with that Name which prostrate angels adore, and imprecating that damnation, under which the hardiest devil in hell trembles and groans!

You see avarice hoarding up her useless treasures, dishonest craft planning her schemes of unlawful gain, and oppression unmercifully grinding the face of the poor!

You see prodigality squandering her stores! You see luxury spreading her table!

You see vanity laughing aloud and dissolving in empty, unthinking mirth; regardless of God, of time and eternity!

You see sensuality wallowing in carnal pleasures, and aspiring, with perverted ambition‚ÄĒto sink as low as her four-footed brethren in the stalls!

You see cards more in use than the Bible; the backgammon table more frequented than the table of the Lord; novels and romances more read‚ÄĒthan the history of the blessed Jesus!

You see trifling, and even evil diversions and amusements, become a gigantic business! The outcome of a horse-race is more anxiously attended to‚ÄĒthan the concerns of eternity!

And where these grosser forms of vice do not shock your senses‚ÄĒyou often meet with the appearances of a more refined impiety, which is equally dangerous!

You hear the conversation of reasonable creatures, of candidates for eternity‚ÄĒ engrossed by trifles, or vainly wasted on the affairs of time! These are their important subjects of conversation, even at the threshold of the house of God!

You see swarms of prayerless families all over our land! You see ignorant, wicked children, unrestrained and untaught by those to whom God and nature have entrusted their souls!

You see the holy religion of Jesus‚ÄĒabused, neglected, disobeyed, and dishonored by its professors!

You see crowds of professed believers, who are in reality, practical atheists! These nominal Christians are really unholy heathens! They are abandoned slaves of sin‚ÄĒwho yet pretend to be the servants of the holy Jesus!

You see multitudes lying in a deep sleep in sin all around us! You see them eager in the pursuits of the vanities of time‚ÄĒbut stupidly unconcerned about the important realities of the eternal world just before them! So few are concerned what shall become of them‚ÄĒwhen all their connections with earth and flesh must be broken, and they must take their flight into strange, unknown regions! So few lamenting their sins! So few crying for mercy and a new heart! So few flying to Jesus!

(Samuel Davies, “The Justice of God‚ÄĒand the Sins of Our Country” 1755)

As we launch out into another year

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As we launch out into another year

(Arthur Pink, “New Year’s Comfort” 1943)

The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you!¬†He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid–do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

As we launch out into another year, there is little visible prospect of a smooth and pleasant voyage. To the natural eye, the clouds are dark and fierce storms seem imminent. The very uncertainty of what the morrow may bring forth, fills many with uneasiness and trepidation.

But how different should be the state of God’s children!¬†An¬†all-sufficient Object¬†is presented to the eyes of their faith, from which unbelief derives no comfort. The poor¬†worldling¬†is concerned with¬†what¬†lies before him–but it is the blessed privilege of the¬†believer¬†to be occupied with¬†Who¬†goes before him–the One who is his Captain, his Guide, his Forerunner.¬†“The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you!”¬†What a difference that makes! O that writer and reader may be enabled to lay hold of this grand Truth as we enter another period of time, and keep it steadily in mind throughout the coming days!¬†¬†¬†

“Do not be afraid–for I have ransomed you.
¬†I have called you by name–you are Mine!
¬†When you go through deep waters–I will be with you.
¬†When you go through rivers of difficulty–you will not drown.
¬†When you walk through the fire of oppression–you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
¬†For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior!” Isaiah 43:1-3

Prayer For 2015

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Lord, I want to know You more. Deep within my soul I want to know You. In the name of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I ask that You would stir up this desire I have to be intimate with You. I depend on You today, and every day this year, to reveal Yourself to me in any way that You choose.

Holy Spirit, please take the powerful, unchanging truths of Scripture and make them alive in fresh new ways each day of this coming year.

Heavenly Father, I praise You that You have given me the Living Word ‚Äď Your words ‚Äď through which I can hear from You and experience You. When it comes to my Bible, focus my heart on my relationship with You moment by moment, rather than my reading habits over the course of a year.

I ask in Jesus name, Amen.


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