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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