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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.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 26

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 26


The first lesson in the school of tribulation!

(Walter Purton, "Lessons of Peace in the School of Affliction")

"Affliction does not come forth from the dust--neither does trouble spring out of the ground." Job 5:6

Why has this trial come? How ought I to regard affliction? These questions are natural in seasons of suffering. Pain and sorrow make us ask in earnest, the why and the wherefore of what befalls us. And so the soul finds a time of trial, to be a time of education.

The first lesson in the school of tribulation, is that affliction is the visitation of God. "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21 

Nothing in any man's life comes to him by "chance." All things, both small and great, are under the control of God. He foresees, and limits, and disposes. What is sometimes called "good fortune"--comes not by accident; neither does trouble spring out of the ground. 

Am I healthy and prosperous? It is the will of God. 
Am I suffering in body or in mind? It is the Lord--let Him do what seems good unto Him. This is the only answer that can be given to the weak and sorely tempted ones, whom one trial after another afflict with increasing sorrows, "So it pleases God! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right!"

To the believer, Providence is not merely general and universal, but particular and personal"Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered!" Matthew 10:30. The believer looks to his own particular afflictions, as the dispensations of Divine Providence. To myself, affliction comes as the special visitation of God; and, looking above second causes, the word of trust from my soul should go forth, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."

Affliction must not therefore be received as a burden, laid on by a blind and cruel fate--it is given by my wise and loving Father! Nor must I regard it as a "misfortune"--as an unmixed evil, which comes by chance, and is to be received with unconcern. Affliction does not come forth from the dust--it is from God. It is sent in mercy and wisdom--yes, and in power. "For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole." Job 5:18. His visitation is rich in lessons of comfort, of strength and of peace--for all things work together for good to His obedient children. Yes, ALL things!

"O Lord my God, bless this trial which You have sent. Teach me to feel that Your hand is laid upon me. Help me to know that You are speaking unto my soul. May I look on affliction as Your Fatherly visitation--a token of Your love, and wisdom, and power.

"Almighty Father, You have told me that all things are under Your control--not a sparrow falls to the ground unnoticed. Lord, teach me to believe in Your love for me. Oh, help me to feel Your wise guidance and control! Aid me to see that this affliction is sent for my good. O my God, increase my faith. Remove from me doubts and carnal-mindedness. May Your Spirit cleanse and sanctify my soul. Teach me to humbly submit to Your will. By patience and faith may I please You, submitting to sufferings because You send them for my good.

"Teach me that pain and sorrow are Your heavenly messengers. Enlighten my eyes, that so I may say of affliction--it is Your doing. To me, have You sent this. Not by chance, but in wisdom, and with loving purpose it has come. Oh, Lord, do with me what seems good to You. Help me to feel that my lot is wisely ordained. If it is in accordance with Your holy and blessed will--then remove this trial. But if You see fit still to afflict me--then teach me truly to pray, "May Your will be done!" Hear me, O God, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

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That irresponsible, amusement-mad paganized pseudo-religion!

(A.W. Tozer)



In many churches, Christianity has been watered down until the solution is so weak . . .
  that if it were poison--it would not hurt anyone;
  and if it were medicine--it would not cure anyone!

We must have a new reformation! There must come a violent break with that irresponsible, amusement-mad paganized pseudo-religion which passes today for the faith of Christ and which is being spread all over the world by unspiritual men employing unscriptural methods to achieve their unspiritual ends!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 25

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 25



The best evidence of Christianity!

(Frederick Marsh)

Jesus is the chief among ten thousand--the altogether lovely One!
Christ is the Chiefest--or better than the best.

His love is unknowable! Ephesians 3:19 
His riches are unsearchable! Ephesians 3:18

His joy is unspeakable! 1 Peter 1:8

His ways are untrackable! Romans 11:33

His grace is inexhaustible! 2 Corinthians 9:8

His peace is unfathomable! Philippians 4:7

And He Himself is unsurpassable! Exodus 15:11
 
His character was beautiful with holiness in every detail. Hebrews 7:26
His love was pure and faithful in all its affection. John 13:1

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

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

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

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

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

Christ is Christianity--and the best evidence of Christianity is Christ!

"Yes, He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend!" Song of Songs 5:16
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"A right and true relationship to the Lord is a basis upon which there is absolute confidence, assurance, and hope when our purposes or expectations are shattered."
-
T. Austin-Sparks~
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Slighted, disobeyed, and dishonored by His creatures on earth!

(Edward Payson)

I look up to Heaven and there see the blessed and only Potentate, the Creator and Upholder of all things, the infinite and eternal Sovereign of the universe--governing His vast kingdom with uncontrollable power, in a manner perfectly wise and holy and just and good. In this Being, I see myCreator, my Preserver, my unwearied Benefactor--to whom I am indebted for everything which I possess.

And what does this Being see--what has He seen, in me? He sees a frail worm of the dust, who is of yesterday and knows nothing, who cannot take a single step without making mistakes, who is wholly incompetent to guide himself, and who, by his own folly, is self-destroyed. He has seen this frail, blind, erring worm, presumptuously daring to criticize and censure His proceedings, attempting to interfere in His government of the universe; and trying to set up his own perverse will against the will of his Creator, his Sovereign, and his God; his own ignorance--against divine omniscience, and his own folly--against infinite wisdom.

Should an angel who knew nothing of our characters, but who had heard of the blessings which God has bestowed on us, visit this world--would he not expect to find every part of it resounding with the praises of God and His love? Would he not expect to hear old and young, parents and children--all blessing God for the glad tidings of the gospel?

How, then, would he be grieved and disappointed! How astonished would he be to find that Being whom he had ever heard praised in the most rapturous strains by all the bright armies of Heaven--slighted, disobeyed, and dishonored by His creatures on earth!

O, then, let us strive to wipe away this foul stain--this disgrace to our race and our world.

Let not this world be the only place, except Hell--where God is not praised.

Let us not be the only creatures, except devils--who refuse to praise Him!




Friday, July 7, 2017

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 24

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 24



The crosses we make!

(J.R. Miller)

"Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine." Luke 22:42 

cross is composed of two pieces of wood. The shorter piece represents your will--and the longer piece represents God's will. Lay the two pieces side by side--and there is no cross; but lay the shorter pieceacross the longer one--and you have a cross.

Just so, whenever our will falls across God's will--there is a cross in our life. We make a cross for ourselves . . .
  every time we do not accept Christ's way,
  every time we murmur at anything He sends,
  every time we will not do what He commands.

But when we quietly accept what He gives, when we yield in sweet acquiescence to His will, though it shatters our fairest hopes, when we let our will lie alongside His--there are no crosses in our life, and we have found the peace of Christ. 

"My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it--may Your will be done." Matthew 26:42 

"I delight to do Your will, O my God!" Psalm 40:8

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He has a perfect knowledge of all His subjects!

(William Dyer, "Christ's Famous Titles")

Oh, brethren, earthly kings and princes do not know all their subjects; nay, they know very few. Alas! they do not know a quarter of them! They are not acquainted with all the troubles, and needs, and miseries that their poor subjects lie under.

The Lord Jesus infinitely excels all other kings--in that He has a perfect knowledge of all His subjects! He knows them all by name. He knows . . .
  all their thoughts,
  all their needs,
  all their ways,
  all their conditions.

So say I to you, brethren, Your King knows . . .
  all your necessities,

  all your sufferings,
  all your troubles,
  all your fears!

Yes, and "My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus!" Philippians 4:19. Oh, this is a sweet Scripture!

Oh, poor souls, Christ knows everything about you! This is our great happiness, that we have a King who knows us so well. Oh, here is the excellency of our King!
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The Lord thinks as much of one of His people--as if there were nobody else for Him to think upon!

Poor needy one, the Lord thinks upon you as intensely as if you were the only being now existing!

The Lord has such an infinite capacity, that each one of us may be the center of God's thoughts--and yet He will not be forgetting any other beloved one!

The Lord's tenderness and His care for His people, baffle all our thoughts and expectations!

"Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you!" 1 Peter 5:7

~Charles Spurgeon~

Sunday, July 2, 2017

In Adam Or In Christ # 23-2

In Adam Or In Christ # 23-2

Two Births

Two men representing two so utterly and completely different realms and natures as to make communion between them completely impossible. Well, two men, that is what is set forth, and we must be very frank about this. Let us recognize it and always present it to men and never try to come out on their ground and take up their position, hoping to win them to ours or to Christ's. It will not work! We have got to stand on Christ's ground and say, "You must be born again before you can make a start, before there can be the first glimmer of light or life so far as heaven is concerned." So that the two men, as these words make clear, represent two births: "That which is born of the flesh", as the Lord Jesus puts it to Nicodemus, "is flesh,and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" - two distinctly different births. The birth of Adam is birth after the flesh. The birth of Christ is that which is born of the Spirit. "You must be born anew."

Two Heredities

Then by the different births there will surely be the two heredities - that which the New Testament calls "the old man" and that which is called "the new man". We know quite well that we have got our old man heredity; we have got the Adam heredity. We are not only in Adam by birth, but Adam is in us by birth. When the people of Israel were in Egypt, they were in Egypt, and then God got them out of Egypt, but for forty years it was quite clear that Egypt was not out of them. That was the trouble; for forty years in the wilderness the Egypt in them was being dealt with. Their hearts were always linked with Egypt. The one thing which became so manifestly necessary was that Egypt in the heart and got to be supplanted by the Land of Promise, and those people who did not have the land in their heart perished in the wilderness generation, in whose heart the land was, went in and possessed. We are in Adam,but Adam is in us too. We have got heredity from Adam and we know it quite well, but then there is this other side.

When we are in Christ, when we are born again of the Spirit, then we have got the new heredity. We inherit what is in Christ. Peter speaks of our becoming "partakers of the divine nature." There is implanted in us at new birth the heredity of the Lord Jesus Christ. We inherit something by birth from Him, and it is in that which is in Christ as in us that is the hope of everything. As Paul puts it - "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). Now not only in Christ, but Christ in us by new birth, so that it is not only that we have come into the realm of Christianity, a sphere called "Christ", but there have come into us the mighty energies of Christ's own life and Christ's own disposition and nature to grow. Just as what is born in the bone comes out sooner of later in nature, and all our natural lives are but the gradual unfolding of what is in us by nature, and the older we get, the more conscious we are of how like certain people who went before us we are, how many more traces of our forebears we are able to discover, so it is in Christ. As we go on, if we really do go on in Christ, what we have inherited from Him grows and becomes more and more manifest.

Two Courses

Then - two courses. There is the course of Adam and the course of Christ. The course of Adam is called, or termed, here - 'the earthy'. Since Adam sinned and fell, his course has been entirely earthy. Everything down here - all his interests, all his vision, all his energies, down here and of this earth, earthy. Paul speaks of that, as you notice in the passage in 1 Cor. 15. "The first man is of the earth, earthy... As we have borne the image of the earthy". I like the way it is put. The Holy Spirit knows what He is doing when He uses words. He could easily have used there 'earthly', but here it is 'earthy'. You may think there is very little difference. If you say 'earthly', that means that you belong to a certain realm and your association is with that realm. But if you say 'earthy' it means you are of the very nature of that realm, and there is quite a difference. You may be in the world so far as your physical being is concerned, but it is not at all necessary for you to be one with the world in your nature and disposition. The Lord Jesus said, 'They are in the world, but they are not of the world', and 'earthy' means that we are not only earthbound, but we partake of something that is called 'earth', a nature, and our course is that - an earthy course - and thee is no open heaven for us.

But then there is the course of Christ, and you know how always in connection with Christ, it is the word 'heavenly'. "Ye are from beneath; I am from above" (John 8:23). "I came down from heaven..." (John 6:38). The heavenly Man, the last Adam, is the Lord from heaven, and the course of Christ means that our course is a heavenly course, our interests are heavenly, our resources are heavenly, our goal is heavenly, our labors are heavenly. Ours is heavenly life in nature, substance and strength. "If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is... your life is hid with Christ in God" (Col. 3:1,3). The course of Christ is a heavenly course.

Do not forget that the one object of the great enemy, satan, is to bring about a link between the children of God and that which is earthy. He has tried and succeeded with the Church almost as a whole for centuries, making it something earthy,something down here, belonging here, whereas in its beginnings it was entirely and only heavenly - very simple. Its meeting places were very simple indeed. There was nothing here in this earth and world to gain in favor, reputation or recognition, but its life was heavenly. The only thing it had down here was a testimony, and that was a testimony to a heavenly, reigning Christ. satan has triumphed tremendously in making the Church something earthy, and he is always trying to do that with you and me to get a link between us and what is here and rob us of our essentially heavenly life. If he cannot do it one way, he will seek to do it in another. Unconsciously, imperceptibly, the thing works until our hearts have been drawn away from the heavenly Lord and got an interest in what is here.

Two Destinies

Then finally, two destinies. In Adam - judgment unto condemnation. That is the destiny for the Adam race, for the Adam life - condemnation, judgment, death, eternal death. The other destiny, in Christ, a glorious destiny, eternal life, eternal honor and glory.

You see how very briefly I am speaking of these things,but here is the great divide in every respect.

The Way Out of Adam Into Christ

Now, how out of one into the other? How out of Adam into Christ? How from the old birth to the new birth? How from the old man heredity into the new man heredity? How away from that old earth course to the new heavenly course? How from the destiny of judgment and death to the destiny of life and glory? How? Well, these Scriptures make it perfectly clear.How out of Adam? You never struggle out of Adam into Christ. You can never, by any will-power, get out of Adam into Christ. If you will is stronger than the will of satan, then you might manage it, but all who have attempted it have found that it does not happen. satan is far too clever and far too powerful, and he does not let his own go easily. How then?

There is only one way. God has found a way and God has appointed a way. How can I get out of Adam? Well, die - that is all. If I die, well, that is the end of that. Out of Adam, only by death. Into Christ - how? By resurrection. So we are represented as having died in Christ. How can we die? We cannot commit suicide, we cannot kill ourselves, we cannot bring an end to this miserable Adam relationship of life by any means of our own. God has provided a way, and He has made His Son our representative, to die a mighty, inclusive death as our death. He has died as us in the eyes of God, and the death of Christ is a mighty thing. It is made an effective thing by the Holy Spirit. So then, what we have  to do is to see, firstly, Christ as our representative dying in our place as us. Then, by faith, to accept Him and His death as our own and regard ourselves as having died in Christ, and then, by the same faith in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, see that He is raised for us and as us for our justification, and we in faith take Him as the risen Lord, as our new life, to be in us the new life. We died in Him, we are raised in Him, and we count on the Holy Spirit to make that good.

Then the Lord says, 'Here is a way in which I designed that you should testify to all seen and unseen intelligences to the position which you have taken. Here is water, here is a grave. Step down into it, and in doing so, declare on earth and before heaven and before hell, that in Christ's death you have died, and that is the end of Adam and all that belongs to Adam. In Christ you live again, but no longer to Adam. "Henceforth unto Him" and all that He represents. That is your way of making a declaration, and the Lord sets His seal to that testimony. This does not do the thing but it does provide a way of our testifying thereto and God has ordained it.

That is all very elementary, but it is very important that we should be very clear on things that are clear, and that we should put things in their place and see that here are distinctly different realms an relationships set apart by God, our of all fellowship with one another, and we are in the one or we are in the other, and we can never be in both at the same time. We are in Adam or we are in Christ. If we are in Adam, we are not in Christ. If we are in Christ, we are not in Adam; Christ is our life. I hope that you have made that distinction and taken up divine ground.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(The End)

I do this every once in awhile. This is the official stance of the T. Austin-Sparks Foundation: 

In keeping with T. Austin-Sparks wishes that what was freely received should be freely given and not sold for profit, and that his messages be reproduced word for word, we ask if you choose to share these messages with others, to please respect his wishes and offer them freely - free of any changes, free of any charge except necessary distribution costs, and with this statement included.

[Over the years we have used T. Austin-Sparks messages in the hopes that his Spirit-given knowledge will benefit all who read them. Praise God, Austin-Sparks had a beautiful knowledge of spiritual things. When he died in 1976 he left a bountiful supply of his writings which we are truly appreciative of. When we found Austin-Sparks writings we knew that, after much prayer to the Lord as to  how He wanted us to proceed, we had to share them with the readers of these blogs. For some reason I always say "we" but in reality, these blogs were started and are managed solely by me. I guess I rather want to leave "me" out and say "we". "We" sounds better to "me"! since I do hate to call attention to myself! In any event, I truly hope and pray that our readers are greatly helped by Austin-Sparks writings. He gives us lots to think about and much spiritual help.]

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

In Adam or In Christ # 23-1

In Adam or In Christ # 23-1

Reading: Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49; Colossians 2:11-13, 3:1-3.

These passages bring before us several quite precise things. They bring to us a series of couplets, or two things.

Two Men

Firstly, they present two men, Adam and Christ, and set them forth as two racial men, that is, two men who are the heads and the inclusive representatives of two different races, and they make it perfectly clear that it is impossible to be in both of those men at the same time, or belong to both of those races. If you are alive in Adam, you are dead to Christ. If you are alive in Christ, you are dead to Adam. These two, therefore, set forth no smaller, no lesser fact than that of life and death, and those two thing are set far apart, for it is a very different thing indeed to be alive in the divine sense from being dead in the divine sense.

Two men - and the Word of God says that we are in the one or the other. By nature we cannot help ourselves, we have no choice. We are born in, and of, Adam. He is our natural head, the progenitor of our natural race and order. We are in him by nature and we cannot help ourselves. And yet God has made provision for us to get out of Adam, that we should no longer be in Adam but that we should be in Christ. He says, "In Adam all die" or "all are dead." Death reigns over the whole Adam race. In Christ all are alive, for Chris is alive, and lives in the full divine sense. But the question arises, how can we get out of Adam into Christ? And that is the point upon which we are going to focus our whole meditation presently when we have just gone over the other truths that arise in these Scriptures.

There are two men, to begin with, and they are utterly apart. They have no fellowship, no relatedness, no communion, nothing in common. Adam and Christ are two distinct types and belong to two distinctly different worlds and realms, and, out of Christ, we are in Adam. In Adam we are out of Christ. In Christ we are no longer in Adam. That is what this Scripture makes perfectly clear and it is as well that we are perfectly clear ourselves about it. There is a very great deal going on nowadays which seems to try to bridge that gap, somehow to get across it, to make it less different and distinct than it is. You find people going to work to try and get others into Christ by going out on their ground, taking up their ground and trying to meet them on their own ground, and that is a very common phrase - 'to meet people on their own ground' - but it is a fatal mistake when you are seeking to bring people onto Christ's ground. We often hear of things being done and methods being adopted to try and win over to Christ by going over to the people concerned or the people in view. For instance, take the student class. To win the students, you must go on students' ground and take up an intellectual position and deal with them along an intellectual line. That is taking natural ground, and it never really results in a real definite position in Christ. And in many other ways, this kind of thing is done.

Now, the Lord Jesus knew quite well, if anyone knew at all, that this sort of thing cannot work. There came to Him one who is a good type - Nicodemus. Nicodemus was firstly a religious man naturally, then no doubt an educated man, and then a man of social position and influence, a man who had many things on his own side of nature which in themselves gave him a standing and made him something. He came to the Lord Jesus and started to talk on his own line, in his own way, "We know that thou art a teacher come from God." 'Stop, Nicodemus, you cannot go any further. If you have come to get help from Me, I cannot help you until you come onto My ground. You are in one realm, I am in another. You belong to one man; I am another Man altogether. I cannot come out along your line, Nicodemus, if you are going to have anything at all from Me, you must be born anew, you must be born from above. You must come onto My ground, off your own ground. I cannot meet you there.' He stopped the whole thing at once, and put the issue - 'We are two different men. You belong to one race, I belong to another. You belong to one world, I belong to another. There are many good things about you as to your world, but in My world they do not count.' You have got to get out of one into the other and recognize that nothing of that which is in Adam is of avail when it comes to salvation. No, there is a big gap between and nothing can bridge that gap. You have got to come off that ground onto the other before there can be a start made in really understanding the things of Christ.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 23-2 - Two Births