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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Every True Citizen Of Heaven !- and Others


Every true citizen of Heaven!

(Francis Bourdillon)

"They admitted that they were strangers and pilgrims on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them!" Hebrews 11:13-16

Every true citizen of Heaven not only has his home in Heaven, but his heart is there too. Not only does he look forward to dwelling there hereafter--but even now he seeks to be holy and heavenly in life and character. Thus he is known by all that he does and says--to be one who belongs to Heaven, and that more and more, as he gets nearer to his eternal home.

Those who live the life of faith, and love their Savior, and strive to serve God--are different in their whole conduct from men of the world. It is plain that they are not of this world. Their life shows it. Their citizenship is in Heaven.

There ought to be no mistaking a citizen of Heaven. But, alas! There is too much of worldliness and carelessness even in those who are in the narrow way. Too often it would be hard to know them as travelers towards Zion, seeking the heavenly country. 

What! Shall those who are to live forever with God--have so little fellowship with Him now? Shall those whose treasure is in Heaven, where no rust nor moth can corrupt--care so much for the perishing things of this world? Shall those for whom Jesus has gone to prepare a place--fret against the little hardships and discomforts along the way? Thus the Christian should often remind himself of the heavenly home to which he belongs. It would help him to be heavenly in heart and life.

"Our citizenship is in Heaven--and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ!" Philippians 3:19-20 

We look for Jesus--we expect Him--we are waiting for Him. He said that He would return, and told us to watch for His coming. He has told us to be ready, so that when He comes, we may receive Him with joy.

This is the position of the Christian on earth--waiting for his Lord and Savior!

We do not know when He will come, and we do not know how He will come. He may come while yet we are living--or we may die before His coming; no one knows. 

To be thus looking for the coming of the Lord . . .
  must have a great effect on a man's character and life,
  must keep him from living in sin or in carelessness,
  must make him watchful, diligent, and in earnest,
  must tend greatly to a spiritual mind,
  must lead him to draw off his affections from the world--and to fix them upon eternal realities!

Thinking of Him, 
looking for Him, 
wishing for Him, 
doing His will, 
engaged in His work--
this is what Jesus would have us to do and be. 
Lord, make us so more and more!

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The Father's Chastening
Francis Bourdillon

HEBREWS 12:5-11.
"And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: 'My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you — because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he scourges everyone he accepts as a son.'
Endure hardship as discipline — God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while, as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees."

We are apt to forget — just when we ought most to remember. While all is well with us — then we can take a right view of trial; but when the trial comes, this is not so easy. At such a time, pain and grief seem often to swallow up all other feelings — and the sense of God's love and mercy is lost.

We are reminded here who it is that sends trouble, and why He sends it. It comes from God — as a fatherly chastisement. It is not mere purposeless trouble — it is trouble sent with an object; and that object is our good. It is "the Lord's discipline." When God thus chastens us — He deals with us as His children. If He did not chasten us — we would be without one proof that we are His children. For as every wise earthly parent disciplines his child when necessary, so does our Heavenly Father discipline those whom He loves and scourges every son whom He receives. Unbroken prosperity, with no check or drawback, is no proof of God's favor.

But our Heavenly Father is not like an earthly parent. He is . . .
wiser than the wisest,
kinder than the kindest,
better than the best!

When we were children, we were disciplined by our parents, and we submitted to their discipline. Yet perhaps they were not always perfectly right in what they did to us. They might sometimes be mistaken in their judgment, or misled by anger. They might occasionally punish us more from feeling angry with us — than from a calm and loving desire for our good. If we submitted to them thus, and rightly too — then how much more should we meekly submit to our Heavenly Father when He chastises us! He . . .
never chastises us amiss,
never fails to love us, and
never afflicts us but in wisdom and kindness.
He knows exactly what kind and what measure of discipline we need — and deals with us accordingly.
A weak, though loving, earthly parent might spare for his child's crying — but our heavenly Father is too wise and too faithful to do so.
One earthly parent more firm in character, but lacking in tenderness — might deal too harshly or continue the punishment too long — but our heavenly Father loves too well for that. In perfect wisdom and perfect love, with unfaltering firmness, yet with tenderest compassion — our Father in Heaven disciplines His children.

Let us not despise His discipline. Let us not make light of it, thinking much perhaps of the affliction itself — but little of Him who sends it. Let us not harden their hearts against it, or refuse to see His hand in it, or look upon it only as a misfortune that has befallen us. Let us receive it as His discipline — in meekness, prayer, and faith.

Let us not faint, when disciplined by Him. Let not our spirit fail. Let us not despond. It is He who is dealing with us. He will not let the discipline be too sharp — or the trial too heavy or too long. He will send with it comfort, grace, and support. Even while smiting — He will heal. Even in the act of rebuking and chastising — He will show some tokens of His mercy and love.

Yet we cannot love the sore trial for its own sake. Pain, sickness and loss are not good in themselves. We must feel them to be afflictions. "No chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous." It could not answer its purpose, if it were otherwise. There must be pain — that there may be profit. And the very trial that will try us most — our Father will appoint for us; another's trial would do us no good.
But we are to look beyond the present. "Nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto those who are exercised thereby." When the pain is over — then the benefit will remain. When the chastening hand is withdrawn — then the blessing of its touch will still be felt. This will be the case with all sanctified affliction — and we are to strive to realize it, even while the affliction is upon us.

Can we not trust our Father?
 Can we not feel sure that all will be well — because He Himself is dealing with us? In our prosperity, we have often prayed that He would order all our concerns and guide us and bless us and send us all that should be for our good. And what is He doing now, in this time of affliction? Just answering our prayers and doing what we besought Him to do! Shall we complain because He is answering us in a way which we did not expect? Did we not beg Him to deal with us in His own wise way? Did we not often acknowledge our own ignorance and blindness? Let us believe that He heard us — and is answering us. Let us accept His answer, His dealing, His chastisement — in humble faith, nay with thankfulness to Him for His goodness.

Is this hard? His grace is sufficient for us. He can bring us even to this, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" Even an apostle could do nothing without Him.

Look within. Examine your heart and life. See if you can find no cause for this discipline . . .
no fault that needed correction,
no evil habit,
no love of the world,
no backsliding in heart,
no pride or carelessness or self-indulgence.
Humble yourself before God and ask Him, by His Holy Spirit, to give you a deeper knowledge of yourself, and to bring you to true contrition of heart. And pray that you may be enabled more to look to God as your father in Christ Jesus — and to realize that you are His child.

"My son!" says the Lord by His apostle. Strive to take to yourself the comfort of that title — and to hear God speaking to you as His child. "Whom the Lord loves, He disciplines." Try to believe that He loves you — and therefore chastises you.

Put away all hard thoughts of God. Have only humble, submissive, trustful, loving thoughts. Think of your Father as near to you now, as dealing with you in a special way — and cast yourself upon His mercy and love in Christ Jesus.

Then, "the peaceable fruits of righteousness" will surely follow; and even now much quiet peace, the peace of God, will be given in the midst of trouble!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hold Your Hand In This Fire! and Others


Hold your hand in this fire!

(Ralph Venning, "The Plague of Plagues!")

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

Take heed of what men call secret sins. There are only too many who continue in wickedness, because as they think, no one knows how wicked they are. They are drunkards--but it is in the night. They are immoral--but it is in the dark. Their mystery of iniquity trades in the works of darkness and in the dark. Indeed, if men could sin and no eye see them--then they might sin securely; but this is a falsehood as well as a mistake.

Once a young maiden was tempted to be unchaste. The person who solicited her, promised to do great things for her if she would yield.

"I will," he said, "do anything for you!"

"Will you?" she said, "then hold your hand in this fire!"

"Oh, that is unreasonable!" he answered.

"But," she replied, "it is much more unreasonable that I should burn forever in Hell for your sake! Who would venture his soul to eternal torment--to gratify his own or another's pleasure and lust?"

We cannot escape God's sight--any more than we can escape His judgment. He sees us, though like Adam and Eve we cover ourselves with fig-leaves. And He will one day call to us, as He did to them, "Sinner--where are you?"

You cannot flee from His presence. You may more easily hide from yourselves--than from God.

I hope you will say, for I am sure you will see cause to do so, "How shall I do this wickedness--and sin against God!"
"Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him? Do not I fill heaven and earth?" Jeremiah23:2
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They were once like us--sorrowing, suffering, sinning!


"Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!" Very wonderful have His dealings been with me, since the day when He took me by the hand to bring me out of Egypt.
We have nothing that we can properly call our own--but sin and misery!
I wish to be more thankful for what the Lord has been to me--but I long to rise a step higher still, to be enabled to contemplate His character, as displayed by the cross of Christ, so that I may continually admire and adore Him for what He is in Himself. He would have been great and glorious, wise, powerful, holy, and gracious--though I had never been brought into existence, or had been left to eternally perish in my sin as I deserved.
The redeemed before the throne--look how they shine! Hark how they sing! They were not always as they are now. They were once like us--sorrowing, suffering, sinning! But He has washed them from their sins in His own blood--and wiped away their tears with His own nail-pierced hands!
"All glory to Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding His blood for us! All glory and power to Him forever and ever! Amen." Revelation 1:5-6 
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You will see the reason

(Edward Payson,)

"What I am doing you do not understand now--but afterward you will understand!" John 13:7

Above all, I would say to the Christian: Never distrust the kindness, the love, the wisdom and faithfulness of your Savior--but confide in Him who has promised that all things shall work together for your good. Though you may not now know what He is doing--you shall know hereafterYou will see the reason for . . .
  all the trials and temptations,
  all the dark and comfortless hours,
  all the distressing doubts and fears,
  all the long and tedious conflicts with which you are now exercised.
You will be convinced that not a sigh, not a tear, not a single uneasy thought was ever allotted to you--without some wise and gracious design.

Say not, then, like Jacob of old, "All these things are against me!"
Say not, like David, "I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul!"
For all these things are for your good--and you shall never perish, neither shall any pluck you out of Christ's hand!

Why should you, who are sons of the King of Heaven--be lean and discontented from day to day? Remember that you are the heir of God and joint heir with Christ--of an incorruptible, eternal, and unfading inheritance!

Go to Jesus, the compassionate Savior of sinners, who heals the broken in heart, who gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart. Go, I say, to Him!
Tell Him all your griefs and sorrows!
Tell Him that your souls cleave to the dust!
Tell Him that iniquities, doubts, and fears prevail against you!
Tell Him that you are poor and miserable and wretched and blind and naked.

Go to His mercy-seat, where He sits as a merciful High Priest. Go and embrace His feet, lay open your whole hearts--and you will find Him infinitely more gracious than you can conceive; infinitely more willing to grant your requests, than you are to make them. He is love itself--it is His very nature to pity.

Have you a hard heart? Carry it to Him--and He will soften it.

Have you a blind mind? Carry it to Him--and He will enlighten it.

Are you oppressed with a load of guilt? Carry it to Him--and He will remove it.

Are you defiled and polluted? He will wash you in His own blood.

Have you backslidden? "Turn unto Me," says He, "O backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings."

How great are the privileges which result from an ability to say, "Christ is mine!" 
If Christ is yours--then all that He possesses is yours!
  His power is yours--to defend you!
  His wisdom and knowledge are yours--to guide you!
  His righteousness is yours--to justify you!
  His Spirit and grace are yours--to sanctify you!
  His Heaven is yours--to receive you!

You will never live happily or usefully--until you can feel that Christ, and all that He possesses, are yours--and learn to come and take them as your own!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Power of God's Grace - And Others

The Power of God's Grace


Grace is one of God's most amazing gifts. It provides us with everything we need to live in perfect freedom: pardon for our sins, healing for our hearts, the companionship of God's indwelling Holy Spirit, and access to freely cultivate our relationship with Him. We work, worship, and enjoy life surrounded by His unconditional love. His grace upholds us, fills us, and sustains us.
Since we are forgiven people, the Lord responds to us not as enemies but as His dearly loved children (Rom. 8:15; Eph. 5:1). He hears our prayers, speaks to us, and acts on our behalf.
The knowledge that we live under the covering of God's grace gives us...
  • Security about our position. No one can snatch us out of His hand (John 10:28).
  • Boldness to live for Christ. Nothing anyone does or says can shake our confidence in who the Lord is or who we are in Him.
  • Peace for today because we can fully trust in His sovereignty. The Lord is carrying out His perfect will--and we can be sure that nothing is able to thwart His plans when we cooperate with Him.
  • Hope for the future. This life is just the beginning. One day we'll see Jesus face to face, be perfected as the individuals He created us to be, and live with Him in our true home forever.
The Lord is committed to transforming each of us according to His special plan for our lives. Even His correction is an expression of His loving favor (Heb. 12:10). When we falter or fail, we can rest assured that His amazing grace hems us in and always offers us redemption.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~
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We are all living monuments of God's goodness and patience! 

(Ralph Venning, "The Plague of Plagues!")

"The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease--for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning! Great is Your faithfulness!" Lamentations 3:22-23

If sin is so exceedingly sinful--so contrary to, and displeasing to God--then surely . . .
  His patience is exceedingly great,
  His goodness is exceedingly rich, and
  His long-suffering is exceedingly marvelous
--even such as to cause astonishment!

We are all living monuments of God's goodness and patience! 
It is of the Lord's mercies that all of us are not altogether and utterly consumed--and that in eternal Hell!

Such is . . .
  the power of His patience,
  the infiniteness of His mercy and compassion,
  and the riches of His unsearchable grace!

Consider the multitude of sinners in the world. If it were only one or two sinners--then they might be winked at and passed by. But all the world lies in wickedness (1 John 5:19). There is none righteous--no, not one! If there had been only ten righteous ones--then God would have spared Sodom, although ten thousand sinners might be there. Yet there is not a single man to be found who does not sin. All have sinned--and that continually. What grace, then--what patience is this!

Consider the multitude of sins committed by every sinner. Every sinner commits innumerable sins! If all men had sinned only once--it would have mitigated the matter. Sin, however, has grown up with men. Not a single good thought is to be found in their hearts! (Genesis 6:5) Sin grows up faster than men do--they are old in sin, when still young in years. They are adding iniquity to iniquity, and drawing sin on with cords and ropes, committing it with both hands greedily, as if they could not sin enough! They dare God Himself to judge them. They drink down iniquity like water, as if it was their element andnourishment and pleasure also. Yet, behold, how miraculously patient is God!

God sees sin--He is sensible of it and angered about it--for it grieves and vexes Him. God is able to avenge Himself whenever He pleases--yet He forbears with sinners. Be astonished at it!

It is a wonder that men are spared so long--especially if we consider how quickly God cast the angelsthat sinned down to Hell!

O the wonder of sovereign grace!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Give the Devil and Sin An Inch!

Give the devil and sin an inch!

(Ralph Venning, "The Plague of Plagues!")

Beware of such sins as the world calls little sins! They say: "What harm is there in an innocent lie?" Alas, what a contradiction this is! Can a lie be innocent? One says, "Oh, it is only a trick of youth!" Yes, but it is such a trick as may cost you going to Hell! Another "deceives his neighbor and says: I am only joking!" Proverbs 26:19. Yes, but he who sins in jest or makes a jest of sin--may be damned in earnest!

Consider that no sin against a great God, can be strictly a little sin--though compared with a greater one, it may be. But however little it is--to account it so, makes it greater.

The nature of the greater sin is in the least sin. A spark of fire, or a drop of poison--have the nature of much more sin.
God has severely punished sins that have been looked upon as little sins, indeed, some of them well-meant sins--as when Uzzah took hold of the Ark when the cart shook (2 Samuel 6:6,7). When men onlylooked into the Ark--it cost them dearly! "The LORD killed seventy men from Beth-shemesh because they looked into the Ark of the LORD!" (1 Samuel 6:19). Gathering a few sticks on the Sabbath was severely punished! (Numbers 15:32-36).
These seem to be small matters--but in sin, we must not consider so much what is forbidden--as why it is forbidden, and who forbids it.

Besides, a little sin makes way for a greater sin--just as a little boy-thief entering a house, makes way for a man-thief to enter.

It is hard to sin once and only once--to commit one little sin and only one. Give the devil and sin an inch--and they will take a mile! Vain babbling increases to more ungodliness. A little leak in a ship, may by degrees fill it with water and sink it. The Devil does not much care by what sins we go to Hell, whether small--or great; whether by religious formality--or open immorality.

If a man makes no conscience of little sins, to which the temptations can be only little--then how little conscience is he likely to make of great sins, to which there are greater temptations?

If Judas betrays his Lord for thirty pieces of silver--then what would he not do for more?

Beware then of little sins!
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The time is short--our obligations are unspeakably great--and Heaven will make amends for all!

(John Newton's Letters)

"Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows." John 16:33 

Every step we take, brings us nearer to our Father's house! We shall soon be at Home--where the wicked cannot trouble, and where the weary are at rest. 

How wisely the Lord varies His dispensations! 

They are not all painful--lest we should be too much cast down.

Nor are they all pleasant--lest we should forget what and where we are. 

Nor do our troubles come all at once. They are parceled out at different intervals, that one wound may be well healed before another is inflicted. 

The Lord has wise reasons for all that He does--and we shall, before long, know them more clearly. In short, He does all things well! May we even now be thankful and yield a sweet submission to His holy will. He has a sovereign right to dispose of us as He pleases--and He has promised that He shall work all together for our good. 

He has promised us peace in Himself--but in the world, He bids us to expect many trials and sorrows. The same or equal or greater afflictions--are common to all His people. We would never say, "This is too hard!" if we considered that we are sinners, and therefore always suffer less than we deserve. 

The time is short--our obligations are unspeakably great--and Heaven will make amends for all! Surely then we should cheerfully, yes thankfully, take up our crosses, and follow our Lord--since we are assured that if we suffer with Him and for Him, we shall also reign with Him. Time flies apace, and past troubles will return no more. Every pulse we feel, beats a sharp moment of the pain away--and the last stroke will soon come. Then sorrow and sighing shall flee away--and joy and gladness shall come forth to conduct us Home! That time will come--yes, it is drawing nearer every hour!

Friday, August 4, 2017

We Would Never Commit A Sin!

We would never commit a sin!

(Charles Spurgeon, "How God Condemned Sin") 

Such are the assemblage of graces found only in Jesus, each sparkling with peerless luster, and all blending with such exquisite gracefulness--that we are at once moved with awe and touched with love as we contemplate Him.

Such majesty--and yet such meekness in His demeanor.

Such solemnity--and yet such tenderness in His speech.

So impartial in judgment--and yet so forgiving in temper.

So full of zeal--and yet so equally full of patience.

So keen to detect malice--and yet so slow to resent it.

Such a wise mentor--and yet such a gentle sympathizing friend.

Jesus was perfectly . . .
   innocent,
   harmless,
   gentle,
   meek,
   loving,
   tender.

All His words were love.

All His actions were kindness.

We would never commit a sin, if we would but first say to ourselves, "Would Jesus have done this?"
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The Infinite has become an infant!

(Charles Spurgeon, "The Condescension of Christ!")

"Even angels long to look into these things!" 1 Peter 1:12
Oh, how surprised angels were, when they were first informed that Jesus Christ, the Prince of Light and Majesty, intended to shroud Himself in clay and become a babe, and live and die! We do not know how it was first mentioned to the angels--but when the rumor first began to get afloat among the sacred hosts, you may imagine what strange wonderment there was.
What! Was it true that He whose crown was all bedecked with stars, would lay that crown aside?
What! Was it certain that He about whose shoulders was cast the government of the universe, would become a man dressed in a peasants garment?
Could it be true that He who was everlasting and immortal, would one day be nailed to a cross?
And when He descended from on high, they followed Him; for Jesus was "seen by angels," and seen in a special sense, for they looked upon Him in rapturous amazement, wondering what it all could mean.
Oh, can you conceive the yet increasing wonder of the heavenly hosts when He put aside His majesty--when they saw the tiara taken off, when they saw Him unbind His belt of stars, and cast away His sandals of gold?
Can you conceive it, when He said to them: "I do not disdain the womb of the virgin--I am going down to earth to become a man!"
And now wonder, you angels, the Infinite has become an infant!
He, upon whose shoulders the universe hangs--hangs at His mothers bosom!
He who created all things, and bears up the pillars of creation--has now become so weak that He must be carried by a woman!
And oh, wonder, you angels who knew Him in His riches, while you admire His poverty!
Where does the new-born King sleep? Had He the best room in Caesar's palace? Has a cradle of gold been prepared for Him, and pillows of down, on which to rest His head? No! Where the ox fed, in the dilapidated stable, in the feeding trough--there the Savior lies, swathed in the swaddling bands of the children of poverty!
See Him who made the worlds--handle the hammer and the nails, assisting Joseph in the trade of a carpenter!
Mark Him who has put the stars on high, and made them glisten in the night; mark Him without one star of glory upon His brow--a simple child, as other children.
Let us leave the scenes of His childhood and His earlier life. See Him when He becomes a man--as for His food, He oftentimes hungered; and always was dependent upon the charity of others for the relief of His needs!
He who scattered the harvest over the broad acres of the world--at times had nothing to stop the pangs of His hunger!
He who dug the springs of the ocean--sat upon a well and said to a Samaritan woman, "Give me a drink!"
He rode in no chariot, but He walked His weary way, foot-sore, over the flints of Galilee!
He had no where to lay His head. He looked upon the fox as it hurried to its burrow, and the fowl as it went to its resting-place, and He said, "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests--but I have nowhere to lay my head."
He who had once been waited on by angels--becomes the servant of servants, takes a towel, girds Himself, and washes His disciples' feet!
He who was once honored with the hallelujahs of ages--is now spit upon and despised!
Oh, there are no words to picture the humiliation of Christ! What leagues of distance between Him that once sat upon the throne--and Him that died upon the cross! Oh, who can tell the mighty chasm between yon heights of glory--and the cross of deepest woe!
Trace Him, Christian. Follow Him all His journey through. Begin with Him in the wilderness of temptation, see Him fasting there, and hungering with the wild beasts around Him. Trace Him along His weary way, as the Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief. He is the byword of the drunkard, He is the song of the scorner, and He is hooted at by the malicious--see Him as they point their finger at Him, and call Him a "drunken man and wine-bibber!"
Follow Him along His 'Via Dolorosa', until at last you meet Him among the olive groves of Gethsemane--see Him sweating great drops of blood!
Follow Him to the pavement of Gabbatha--see Him pouring out rivers of gore beneath the cruel whips of Roman soldiers!
With weeping eye follow Him to the cross of Calvary, see Him nailed there!
Mark His poverty--so poor that His unpillowed head is girt with thorns in death!
Oh, Son of Man, I know not which to admire most--Your height of glory--or Your depths of misery!
If I had a tale to tell you this day of some king, who, out of love to some fair maiden, left his kingdom and became a peasant like herself--you would stand and wonder, and would listen to the charming tale. But when I tell of God concealing His dignity to become our Savior--our hearts are scarcely touched!
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich!" 2 Corinthians 8:9

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 28

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 28

The Word of God has in it an efficacy which no other book in the world has! 

(J.R. Miller)

"From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable fordoctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness--that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:15-17 

It is a great thing to be brought up on the Holy Scriptures. No other book can do for a life, what the Bible can do. It is able to make one wise in the best way--for salvation through faith in Jesus.

The Word of God has in it an efficacy which no other book in the world has! 

It is profitable for doctrine--instructing in holy things, the things of God and eternal life. 

It is profitable for reproof--convicting us of sin and declaring God's judgment against evil. 

It is profitable for correction--not only showing us our faults, but leading us away from them, freeing our lives from errors and making straight what was crooked. 

It is profitable for instruction in righteousness--telling us how God would have us live, what qualities of character He would have us attain.

One who is trained under the tuition of the Scriptures will come to be a complete Christian, furnished for usefulness and prepared for doing whatever good work he may be called to do.

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A Servant's Rewards


In His grace, God freely gives salvation to those who believe in Jesus. We cannot earn this gift, nor do we deserve it. Our Father does notice our good works, though. And He promises to reward us according to what we have done for Him.
True service occurs when we allow the Lord to work through us for His glory and honor. True ministry occurs when divine resources meet human need through loving channels.
Revelation 22:12 encourages us, "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done." Whether large or small, all service done in Jesus' name will be blessed. We must be careful, though, that our actions are for Christ's glory. If motives are self-serving, the only benefit we receive is the praise (if any) that we hear from people in this life. And we know that men's approval is not satisfying or lasting.
While some rewards will be given in heaven, other blessings can be experienced now. For example, we know great joy when we allow God to bless others through us. And there is deep satisfaction in realizing that we are pleasing Christ. In addition,there's a profound sense of fulfillment when we lead a person to Jesus and teach him how to walk by faith.
Serving others is both a great benefit and a responsibility for Christians. We should prayerfully consider our motives to make sure that our goal is to glorify Christ. Only then will we receive God's full blessings--rewards given not only in eternity but on earth as well.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~
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BIBLE MEDITATION:
 “. . . for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
There are many people who think they are wealthy who are not. Many of us may remember the television series “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Some thought it should have been called “Lifestyles of the Rich and Foolish.”

When is a rich man poor? When he tries to find satisfaction in his money. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, said, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

A man of modest income said to a man who was very rich, “I have more than you have.”  The rich man said, “How is that so?”  He answered, “Because I have all I want, and you don’t.”

ACTION POINT:
When you set your goal to be wealthy, then money becomes your master rather than your servant. What is your goal with your finances?

~Adrian Rogers~

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 27

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 27


Everything is against me!


"Their father Jacob said to them: You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more--and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!" Genesis 42:36
Those circumstances, which to the dim eye of Jacob's faith wore a hue so somber--were at that very moment developing and perfecting the events which were to shed around the evening of his life, the halo of a glorious and cloudless sunset! God was working all things together for his good!
Just so, troubled soul, the "much tribulation" will soon be over--and as you enter the "kingdom of God" you shall then see, no longer "through a glass darkly" but in the unshadowed sunlight of the Divine presence, that "all things" did  indeed "work together" for your personal and eternal good!
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Getting Even

Charles Naylor
 
"I'll get even with that fellow if it takes ten years!" Thus declared a man about another who had wronged him, as his eyes flashed with anger and his teeth set firmly with resolve. In his heart he determined to do his enemy as great an injury as his enemy had done him. "Get even," I thought; "what does it mean to get even?" Then appeared before my mind's eye, a view of the various classes of humanity, each person in the scale of morality where his life had placed him. I saw the Christian on God's plane of holiness and truth. Far below him stood the moral though unchristian man. And down, down, step by step, my mental eye beheld man to the lowest depth of moral degradation.
Vile and wrong deeds always degrade man to a lower state. Every evil deed, word, or thought lowers us in moral being. If someone has done evil toward us, he has lowered himself by that act; and for us to decide to "get even" by a similar act toward him is for us to decide that we will lower ourselves to his level. To "get even" means to get on the same level. It means to abase and degrade ourselves. If we "get even," we are as bad as he, and worthy that others look upon us with the same feelings with which we regard him.
If you want to get even with anyone, do not choose someone below you — but someone above you in moral attainments, and labor to attain to his height, instead of the other's depths. This will ennoble you, make you better, and be worthy of a rational being.
The principle of revenge has no part in Christianity. God refuses to let us avenge ourselves, no matter what the provocation nor how good the opportunity for vengeance. He says, "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:17-21). "Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else." (1 Thessalonians 5:15).
When one who is a Christian so far forgets what is right that he stoops to take vengeance — he is then upon the level of the sinner who did him evil, and is himself a sinner, and is fallen from his high position to the level of sin! God forbids us to threaten to "get even" with anyone. "Say not, I will do so to him as he has done to me — I will render to the man according to his work" (Proverbs 24:29).
The spirit of Christianity is to render good for evil, blessing for cursing, and love for hatred. The blood of Christ will wash away the "get even" disposition from us; and until we are thus cleansed, let us not presume to call ourselves by that holy name of Him who "did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly." Good is stronger than evil. Evil used against evil, only begets more evil; but we may "overcome evil with good."
I once asked a man why he did not become a Christian. He replied that there were so many in his business who were trying to get the financial advantage of him, that he could not do right — but must do the same with them or he could not "keep even."
But let us see what it really means to be "even." If a man lies about me, and to get even I lie about him — then we are even. He is a liar and I am a liar — both on the same plane. He is going to the judgment to give account for his lie, and so am I for mine — we are even again. If he does not repent — he will go to Hell for lying; and if I do not repent — I shall go, too. Yes, we may get even — but I would rather not be so.
If a man tricks me out of ten dollars, to get even I must watch my chance to do likewise to him. If I do not try to trick him to get even, he may have more money in his pocket than I; but if I turn the matter over for settlement to Him who said, "Vengeance is mine — I will repay," when the final account is rendered, I shall be ten dollars or more ahead.
Let us not endeavor to be "even" with our enemies by taking vengeance — but let us do right and win them to the gospel by overcoming evil with good.
Let us get even by raising others up — instead of lowering ourselves to their sinful level. Be a blessing to all. Set a right example.