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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

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 

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!

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