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Grace Gems

Discussion in 'Daily Devotionals' started by nChrist, Oct 14, 2016.

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  1. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm Grace Gems Copyright Policy: We frequently get requests asking for permission to use literature from Grace Gems. Since everything on our website is public domain, there is no need to ask permission. We encourage others to use our literature in any way they desire. Forward it to others — add it to your website — put it in your church bulletins — make it into books or booklets for distribution. Also, feel free to add a "link" to http://www.gracegems.org/ on your website — there is no need to ask for permission.
     
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  2. nChrist

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    May you know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge!

    ("Every Day!" Author unknown, 1872)

    "May you know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge!" Ephesians 3:19

    Christ's love surpasses knowledge! Blessed fact! His love is so vast, so full, so free--that it cannot in its completeness be comprehended by finite minds. But enough of it may be known to satisfy our longing hearts, and to fill us with joy and peace.

    Let it be our constant desire to know and feel the Savior's love. Let us dwell with wonder and delight on that marvelous manifestation of it--the sin-atoning sacrifice of Himself for us! What love must that be, that led Him to die, even the death of the cross, for our sins! "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends"--but Jesus died for His enemies!

    Did He die for us as His enemies--then what is His love to us now that we are His friends? It is unutterable!

    May the Holy Spirit reveal Christ's love to us now in such measure as we may be able to understand and enjoy it; but the full disclosures of it await that period when we shall be with Him, and shall see Him as He is!

    "May you have the power to understand, as all God's people should--how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is!" Ephesians 3:18
     
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  3. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening!

    ("Every Day!" Author unknown, 1872)

    "Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening!" 1 Samuel 3:9

    Lord, I may not expect to hear You speak to me with an audible voice, as You spoke to Samuel; but by Your Word and by Your Spirit--You still speak to the hearts of Your people.

    O Lord, but speak thus unto me. Speak to my mind, my conscience, and my heart . . .
    words of instruction,
    words of warning,
    words of reproof,
    words of counsel,
    words of comfort--
    according as You, in Your infinite wisdom, see fit.

    Speak to me as my Savior--tell me of Your redeeming mercy.

    Speak to me as my Friend--draw near and commune with my heart.

    Speak to me as my Father--and tell me of Your care and constant love.

    When burdened with sin, say unto me, "I, even I, am He who blots out your sins as a cloud, and your transgressions as a thick cloud!"

    When struggling with inward corruption, say unto my soul, "I am your salvation!"

    When distressed in the hour of trial, say unto me, "Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you--I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

    In every time of need, say to my heart, "My grace is sufficient for you."

    "Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening!"
     
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  4. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    He will wipe every tear from their eyes!

    ("Every Day!" Author unknown, 1872)

    "He will wipe every tear from their eyes--and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever!" Revelation 21:4

    This is but a glimpse of the glorious state upon which all the people of God will hereafter enter! There will not only be the absence of all evil--there will be the eternal enjoyment of all good. There will be perpetual vigor, perfect purity, happy service, joyous praise, eternal friendship, holy communion, and unmingled and everlasting bliss!

    Suffering Christian, a few more pangs--and your last moment of anguish will be past!

    Bereaved one, in Heaven you will never wear the garments of sadness--you will never lose a friend!

    Sorrowing one, you will soon heave your last sigh, and have all tears wiped from your eyes!

    Weary one, your journey is almost ended. Soon you will cross the threshold of your Father's house, find yourself at home, and enter upon the enjoyment of your everlasting rest!

    "A few more storms shall beat
    On this wild rocky shore,
    Then we shall be where tempests cease,
    And surges swell no more.

    "A few more struggles here,
    A few more partings o'er,
    A few more toils, a few more tears,
    And we shall weep no more!"
     
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  5. nChrist

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    All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth

    ("Every Day!" Author unknown, 1872)

    "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, unto those who keep His covenant and His testimonies." Psalm 25:10

    The Lord's faithful ones keep His covenant--for He is their keeper. They keep His testimonies--for He puts His laws into their minds and writes them upon their hearts.

    By "the paths of the Lord"--we may understand the different ways He takes in His dealings with His people. Observe that "all" of them are declared to be mercy and truth towards them.

    While, commonly, the Lord comes to His people in the way of refreshment and comfort--He sometimes approaches them in clouds and darkness, and in storms of trial. By whatever way He comes--it is in faithfulness and love.

    But His people do not always see this, and at times their faith may be sharply tried to believe it--but it is nevertheless true.

    Though the Lord's dispensations change--He does not change.

    He is good when He gives--and He is equally good when He denies.

    He is faithful when He comforts--and He is just as faithful when He corrects.

    He is Love when He cheers--and He is Love when He chides.

    Believer, seek grace to trust in the Lord at all times, and to bless Him for crosses as well as for comforts.

    "When you can't trace His hand--trust His heart!"
     
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  6. nChrist

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    Certainly I will be with you!

    ("Every Day!" Author unknown, 1872)

    "Certainly I will be with you!" Exodus 3:12

    Then, Lord, I will go forward. I would not venture a step--if You did not accompany me; but if You are with me, then all is well.

    With You I will go forth to my daily business in the world--for You will keep me amidst its temptations and snares.

    With You I will labor in Your vineyard--for You will make Your strength perfect in my weakness.

    With You I will walk the thorny path of trial--for You will furnish me with shoes of iron and brass.

    With You I will enter the field of conflict--for You will teach my hands to war, and will cover my head in the day of battle.

    With You I will enter the chamber of pain and weakness--for You will make all my bed in my sickness.

    With You I will walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and will fear no evil--for Your rod and Your staff will comfort me.

    With You I will enter the waters of Jordan--for You will bear me through, and land me on the shore of the heavenly Canaan.

    "Surely I am with you always--even to the end of the age!" Matthew 28:20

    "I will never leave you or forsake you!" Hebrews 13:5
     
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  7. nChrist

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    God gives His people a taste of Heaven!

    (Thomas Brooks)

    God gives His people a taste of Heaven--that they may not faint.
    And He gives them but a taste . . .
    that they may be encouraged in their difficult journey,
    that they may long to be at Home,
    that they may keep humble,
    that they may sit loose from things below,
    that Heaven may be more sweet to them at last!

    "No eye has seen,
    no ear has heard, and
    no mind has imagined--
    what God has prepared for those who love Him!" 1 Corinthians 2:9
     
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  8. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    This is to follow the Lamb wherever He goes

    (William Dyer, "Follow the Lamb")

    "These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes!" Revelation 14:4

    A believer follows the Lamb TRULY, without hypocrisy. Many follow the Lamb, as beggars follow a rich man--only for his money. They prize the wages of religion--above the works of religion! "I tell you the truth, you are looking for Me . . . because you ate the loaves and had your fill!" John 6:26. Oh, beloved, God abhors a hypocrite more than a Sodomite! Hell is provided on purpose for hypocrites, "He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites--where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!" Matthew 24:51

    My beloved, following the Lamb fully, is to have the heart fixed and resolved for God. "My soul clings to You," says David in Psalm 63:8. "As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, O God. I thirst for God--for the living God!" Psalm 42:1-2

    A believer follows the Lamb CONSTANTLY, without apostasy. A true believer never stops following the Lamb.

    He does not follow the Lamb wherever He goes--who follows the Lamb earnestly for a while--but afterwards forsakes Him, when the storm arises! "Since he has no root--he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the Word--he quickly falls away!" Matthew 13:21

    He does not follow the Lamb wherever He goes, who follows the Lamb in some things--and the beast in other things! "They worshiped the Lord--but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought." 2 Kings 17:33

    He does not follow the Lamb wherever He goes--who follows the Lord in a dull heavy manner, and lukewarm temper. "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold--I am going to vomit you out of My mouth!" Revelation 3:15-16

    Oh! this is not following the Lamb!

    Those who follow the Lamb--abide in the Lamb, and cleave to the Lamb, and continue constantly in the Lamb's ways, unto the end of their days. "The righteous person will hold to his way!" Job 17:9. The righteous man follows the Lamb wherever He goes.

    This is to follow the Lamb wherever He goes:

    1. Speedily
    2. Sincerely
    3. Whole-heartedly
    4. Zealously
    5. Humbly
    6. Cheerfully
    7. Diligently
    8. Constantly
    9. Faithfully
    10. Supremely
     
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  9. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    Christianity to the average evangelical church member!

    (A.W. Tozer)

    Christianity to the average evangelical church member is simply an avenue to a good and pleasant time, with a little biblical devotional material thrown in for good measure!

    I hope I do not live to see the day when God has to turn from men and women who have heard His holy truth and have played with it, fooled with it and equated it with fun and entertainment and religious nonsense!

    The church has become a religious theater where amateur entertainers are paid to amuse those who attend.

    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!
     
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  10. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    God's palace!

    (Thomas Watson, "The Godly Man's Picture Drawn with a Scripture Pencil)

    "Your boasting is not good!" 1 Corinthians 5:6

    Pride is the greatest sacrilege--it robs God of His glory.

    What a horrid sin is pride! Chrysostom calls it "the mother of Hell." Pride encompasses all vice.

    Pride is a spiritual drunkenness--it flies up like wine into the brain and intoxicates it.

    Pride is idolatry--a proud man is a self-worshiper. How odious is this sin to God!
    "Everyone who is proud in heart, is an abomination to the Lord!" (Proverbs 16:5)
    "I hate pride and arrogance!" (Proverbs 8:13)

    Those who look at themselves in the magnifying mirror of self-love--appear better in their own eyes than they are. There is no idol like self--the proud man bows down to this idol.

    Many are proud of their riches. Their hearts swell with their estates. Pride is the rich man's cousin. "Your heart has become proud because of your wealth." (Ezekiel 28:5)

    Many are proud of their apparel. They dress in such fashions, as to make the devil fall in love with them! Painted faces, gaudy attire, naked breasts--what are these, but the banners which sinful pride displays?

    Many are proud of their beauty. The body is but dust and blood kneaded together. Solomon says, "Beauty is vain." (Proverbs 31:30) Yet some are so vain--as to be proud of vanity! Shall dust exalt itself?

    Many are proud of their gifts and abilities. These trappings and ornaments do not approve them in God's eyes. An angel is a creature of great abilities; but take away humility from an angel--and he is a devil! God loves a humble soul. It is not our high birth--but our humble hearts, which God delights in.

    Oh, let us search if there is any of this leaven of pride in us!

    Man is naturally a proud piece of flesh. This sin of pride runs in the blood. There are the seeds of this sin of pride in the best of Christians--but the godly do not allow themselves in it. They strive to kill this weed, by mortification.

    But certainly where this sin of pride reigns and prevails--it cannot stand with grace. You may as well call him who lacks wisdom, a prudent man; as him who lacks humility, a godly man. "Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5) Put humility on, as an embroidered robe. It is better to lack anything, rather than humility.

    The more value any man has, the more humble he is. Feathers fly up--but gold descends! The golden saint descends in humility.

    Look at a humble Savior--and let your plumes of pride fall off!

    A humble heart is God's palace! "For this is what the high and lofty One says; He who lives forever, whose name is holy--I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit." (Isaiah 57:15) A humble heart glories in this--that it is the presence chamber of the great and glorious King!
     
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  11. nChrist

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    Is it well with you?

    ("Every Day!" Author unknown, 1872)

    "Is it well with you?" 2 Kings 4:26

    This question is asked, not by intrusive inquisitiveness, but by friendly interest and kindness. Surely then the candid reader will give it that attention which its importance demands.

    It is well with all who are in Christ--whatever their outward circumstances may be.
    But it is ill with all who are out of Christ . . .
    however moral their character,
    however amiable their disposition, or
    however prosperous their earthly estate.

    In Christ--there is safety, life, and peace!
    Out of Him--there is darkness, danger, and death!

    Are you then in Christ? Have you entered Him as the Ark for your soul? Are you vitally united to the True Vine? If so, it is well with you--and you will surely bear some good fruit to the glory of Him who has loved us and given Himself for us.

    Believer in Jesus--is it well with you?
    Is your soul in health?
    Have you an appetite for spiritual food?
    Is Jesus growing increasingly precious?
    Do you find it good to draw near to God?
    Do you enjoy fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ?

    Afflicted Christian--is it well with you?
    Can you see your Father's hand in your trials?
    Can you trust His heart--when you cannot trace His hand?
    Can you say, "It is the Lord--let Him do what seems good to Him!"

    "We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
     
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  12. nChrist

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    How many vile weeds grow there!

    (Thomas Guthrie, 1803-1873)

    "Leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps." 1 Peter 2:21

    We should certainly attempt always . . .
    to follow Jesus,
    to walk as He walked,
    to speak as He spoke,
    to think as He thought, and
    to mold our whole conduct and life on the pattern that He has left us.
    Yet our best attempts will leave us more and more convinced that our only hope for redemption, salvation, and forgiveness, lies in the mercy of the Father, and the merits of the Son.

    Even after we have been made new creatures in Jesus Christ, the most that we can do--even with the aid of the Holy Spirit--is to creep along the path which the Savior walked, and leave the mark of our knees, where He left the prints of His feet.

    Christian, your corruptions have suffered a mortal wound--but they are not dead.

    Your affections rise upward to Heaven--yet how much are they held back by the things of earth.

    Though your heart turns to Christ, like the compass needle to the pole--how easily is it disturbed, how tremblingly it points to Him.

    Your spirit has wings--yet how short are its flights, and how often, like a half-fledged eaglet, has it to return to its nest on the Rock of Ages.

    Your soul is a garden where Christ delights to walk when the north and south winds blow, to inhale its spices--yet with many lovely flowers, how many vile weeds grow there!

    "Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him." Psalm 32:1-2
     
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  13. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    In wondrous contrast--and yet with consistent harmony!

    (Frederick Marsh)

    In the floral kingdom, the flowers have many hues. A number of different colored flowers in a bouquet will enhance the beauty of each other by their contrast.

    Just so, in the cross of Christ, the attributes of God are brought out in wondrous contrast--and yet with consistent harmony. There we see . . .
    His name glorified,
    His love manifested,
    His majesty upheld,
    His justice satisfied,
    His truth vindicated,
    His law magnified, and
    His righteousness displayed in the putting away of our sins!

    "He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." Romans 3:26

    "Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other!" Psalm 85:10
     
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  14. nChrist

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    GRACE!

    (John Mason's Spiritual Sayings)

    *The goodness of God satisfies our emptiness,
    the mercy of God satisfies our sinfulness, and
    the grace of God satisfies our unworthiness.


    *What sin is there, which grace cannot pardon?
    What heart is there, which grace cannot soften?
    What soul is there, which grace cannot save?


    *The more God's justice was magnified in His Son--
    the more was His grace magnified in the sinner.


    *God humbled His holy Son--to exalt His saving grace.


    *God's faithfulness performed what His grace promised.
    Grace drew the covenant--faithfulness keeps it.
    Grace called us--faithfulness will not cast us off.


    *Abusers of God's grace--are treasurers up of His wrath!


    *There is grace in the desire for grace
    --as there is sin in the desire for sin.


    *Though God in grace has done great things for you--yet consider what in justice He might have done to you.


    *While we carry a sense of grace in our conscience to comfort us
    --let us carry a sense of sin in our memory to humble us.


    *We can never thank God enough for His patience--which has kept us so long out of Hell;
    nor for His grace--which so earnestly invites us to Heaven.


    *All who are elect--are vessels of grace;
    all who are regenerate--are patterns of grace;
    all who are saved--are monuments of grace;
    all the work of Heaven--is to sing the loud praises of grace.


    *It melts the heart to think that God is as full of grace--as I am as full of sin!
    He is as free to forgive--as I am to offend.
    He has daily grace--for my daily sins.


    *The heart of man is such a barren soil that no good can grow--there unless almighty grace plants it.
    Grace is an immortal seed, cast into an immortal soil, which brings forth immortal fruit!
     
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    The harlot in your bosom!

    (Thomas Watson, "The Godly Man's Picture Drawn with a Scripture Pencil")

    "Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

    There is usually one sin that is the favorite--the sin which the heart is most fond of. A godly man will not indulge his darling sin: "I kept myself from my iniquity." (Psalm 18:23). "I will not indulge the sin to which the bias of my heart more naturally inclines."

    "Fight neither with small nor great--but only with the king." (1 Kings 22:31). A godly man fights this king sin. If we would have peace in our souls, we must maintain a war against our favorite sin, and never leave off until it is subdued.

    Question: How shall we know what our beloved sin is?

    Answer 1. The sin which a man does not love to have reproved--is the darling sin. Herod could not endure having his incest spoken against. If the prophet meddles with that sin--it shall cost him his head! "Do not touch my Herodias!" Men can be content to have other sins reproved--but if the minister puts his finger on the sore, and touches this sin--their hearts begin to burn in malice against him!

    Answer 2. The sin on which the thoughts run most--is the darling sin. Whichever way the thoughts go, the heart goes. He who is in love with a person cannot keep his thoughts off that person. Examine what sin runs most in your mind, what sin is first in your thoughts and greets you in the morning--that is your predominant sin.

    Answer 3. The sin which has most power over us, and most easily leads us captive--is the one beloved by the soul. There are some sins which a man can better resist. If they come for entertainment, he can more easily put them off. But the bosom sin comes as a suitor, and he cannot deny it--but is overcome by it. The young man in the Gospel had repulsed many sins--but there was one sin which soiled him, and that was covetousness.

    Mark what sin you are most readily led captive by--that is the harlot in your bosom! It is a sad thing that a man should be so bewitched by lust, that if it asks him to part with the Kingdom of Heaven--he must part with it, to gratify that lust!

    Answer 4. The sin which men most defend--is the beloved sin. He who has a jewel in his bosom, will defend it to his death. The sin we advocate and dispute for, is the besetting sin. The sin which we plead for, and perhaps wrest Scripture to justify it--that is the sin which lies nearest the heart.

    Answer 5. The sin which a man finds most difficulty in giving up--is the endeared sin. Of all his sons, Jacob found most difficulty in parting with Benjamin. So the sinner says, "This and that sin I have parted with--but must Benjamin go! Must I part with this delightful sin? That pierces my heart!" A man may allow some of his sins to be demolished--but when it comes to one sin--that is the taking of the castle; he will never agree to part with that! That is the master sin for sure.

    The besetting sin is, of all others, most dangerous. As Samson's strength lay in his hair--so the strength of sin lies in this beloved sin. This is like a poison striking the heart, which brings death.

    A godly man will lay the axe of repentance to this sin and hew it down! He will sacrifice this Isaac; he will pluck out this right eye--so that he may see better to go to Heaven.
     
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  16. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    Religion, if you please, is now big business!

    (A.W. Tozer)

    Religion, if you please, is now big business. A countless number of amusements flourish everywhere, paid for by the consecrated tithes of people who ought to know better.

    Christianity has seen a steady rise of religious entertainment as a source of mental pleasure. God's people have turned to the amusements of the world to try to squeeze a bit of juice out of them for the relief of their dry and joyless hearts.

    I want to tell you something. If I want to see a show--I know where I can see a good one put on by top flight actors who know what they are doing. If I want a show--I'll go down to a theater and see a show hot out of Hollywood by men and women who are artists in their field. I will not go to a church and see a lot of ham actors putting on a home talent show. And yet, that's where we are in evangelical circles. We've got more show in evangelical circles than anywhere else. I would not give a plug nickel for the whole business of it!

    The church is not a religious theater to provide a place for amateur entertainers to display their talents.
     
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  17. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    All that we can need for life or death, time or eternity!

    (James Smith, "The Wealthy Family!")

    "There is no lack to those who fear Him!" Psalm 34:9

    They are not truly wealthy--who appear to be so--or who boast of being so.

    The lost sinner must be poor. He has . . .
    no God to comfort him;
    no Savior to deliver him;
    no Guide to conduct him;
    no Advocate to plead for him;
    no inward peace to support him;
    no title to Heaven to encourage him.

    He is poor. He is in need. He will need . . .
    confidence and comfort in death;
    a wedding garment, in which to appear before God;
    and a comfortable home throughout eternity!

    Every lost sinner is indeed poor. His resources will soon be exhausted, and he will find himself "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!" He may have the appearance of prosperity--but not the reality. True riches belong to another family.

    The Lord's people all fear Him--that is, they fear to offend Him, and desire above all things to please Him. And though they may appear poor--they are really rich! God has provided all good things for them--and He gives all good things to them.

    They have a solid peace, flowing from a knowledge of acceptance with God, through the blood of Jesus.

    They have a joyful hope, which blooms with immortality.

    They are assured of strength equal to their day; and of sanctifying grace to make all their troubles work for their good.

    They are content with God's wise and holy appointments; and godliness with contentment is a good fortune.

    They acquiesce in the will of God; and are often filled with joy which flows from His presence.

    They obtain victory over the temptations which would ensnare them.

    They live above the world, which would allure and beguile them.

    They are sure of support in death.

    They look forward to a joyful resurrection.

    They rightly anticipate Heaven as their portion forever!

    There is no lack to them, for all that they can truly need, is promised--and every promise is confirmed by the blood of Jesus!

    Jehovah is theirs--along with all that He is, and has!

    His power is their support!

    His wisdom is their guide!

    His fullness is their fortune!

    His mercy is their friend!

    His love is their Heaven.

    "Happy are the people who are in such a case!" All the Lord's people are really in this case--and therefore they are all happy!

    Just think of having Almighty God for your present, constant, eternal Friend!

    Think of having the wealth of Deity to supply and satisfy you!

    And if you sincerely fear God--then this is the reality of your case!
    No truth is more clearly revealed in Scripture.
    No subject is more rich with consolation!

    Strength may be exhausted,
    health may decline,
    courage may fail,
    riches may flee,
    friends may forsake,
    enemies may increase,
    all circumstances may change for the worse--
    but "those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing!"

    Sweet promise of a faithful God!

    Here, pilgrim, is your staff--take it and travel home!

    Here, saint, is your cordial--drink and forget your misery!

    Here, believer, is your fortune--take it and live upon it, while a resident here below.

    Here, fearful soul, is your antidote--use it to dispel your fears and cheer your fainting heart!

    "The young lions may lack food and go hungry--but there is no lack to those who fear Him!"

    Here is wealth! Here is comfort!

    Here is all that we can need for life or death, time or eternity!
     
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  18. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    I sometimes imagine that I could make a perfect minister!

    (Letters of John Newton)

    "If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed." 1 Timothy 4:6

    In the measure of their ministerial abilities, and in the peculiar turn of their preaching, there is a great variety:
    some are best in alarming the careless;
    others are best in administering consolation to the wounded conscience;
    some are best for the establishment and confirmation of the Gospel doctrines;
    others are skillful in enforcing practical godliness; and
    others again, having been led through depths of temptation and spiritual distress, are best acquainted with the various workings of the heart, and know best how to speak a word in season to weary and exercised souls.

    In my mind, I sometimes imagine that I could make a perfect minister. I would take . . .
    the eloquence of Mr. A,
    the knowledge of Mr. B,
    the zeal of Mr. C, and
    the pastoral meekness, tenderness, and piety of Mr. D.
    Then, putting them all together into one man, I say to myself, "This would be a perfect minister!"

    Now there is One, who, if He chose it, could actually do this--but He never did. He has seen fit to do otherwise.

    The servants of Christ all preach the same truths; but the Holy Spirit, who furnishes them all for the work He appoints them to, distributes gifts to each one individually, according to His own will.


    "There is not a greater, or more pleasant variety of qualities, smells, and colors, among the herbs and flowers with which the earth is variegated and decked for the delight and service of men--than there is in the gifts and abilities of ministers for the use and service of the church." John Flavel


    "One minister can wield the sledge hammer--but could not heal a broken heart. If he were to attempt it, you would be reminded of an elephant trying to thread a needle. Such a man can reprove--but he cannot apply oil and wine to a bruised conscience. Why? Because God has not given to him the gift." Charles Spurgeon


    "There are some Boanerges, sons of thunder--alarming and thundering preachers.
    And others are Barnabases, sons of consolation--sweetly comforting preachers."
    James Durham
     
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  19. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    What is a successful ministry?

    (Don Fortner)

    "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." 1 Corinthians 4:2

    The desperate need of the hour is faithful men in the pulpits of our churches. We have an over-abundance of preachers. We do not need any more slick, polished, well-educated professionals in "the ministry". But we do, most desperately, need some faithful men--pastors after God's own heart, who feed His people with knowledge and understanding. Thank God, we have a few!

    In this day of big business religion, when churches are measured not by their orthodoxy, but by the opinions of men; when a preacher's success is measured not by his faithfulness, but by the number of names added to the church roll--it might be wise to consider what a successful ministry is according to the measure of Holy Scripture.

    According to the Word of God, those preachers and churches are successful who are faithful to the work to which God has called them. Never in the Old Testament or in the New was a prophet, apostle, or preacher measured by the opinions of men. God's servants never courted the favor of men, and were never favored by the majority of the people. The church of God has always been out of step with society. The servants of God have always been looked upon as peculiar, bigoted dogmatists, intolerant and incapable of compromise. But they were faithful--faithful to God, faithful to His truth, and faithful to the souls of men.

    Do not be so foolish as to measure God's work by man's yardstick. Do not measure the success or failure of preachers and churches by men, by numbers, or by popular opinion. The only measure of success for churches and preachers is faithfulness. Those who faithfully seek and promote the glory of God, who faithfully proclaim the truth of God, and who faithfully serve the eternal interests of immortal souls are successful. Those who are not are failures. The one will stand the fire of judgment. The other will not.

    The greatest blessing God can ever bestow upon any people in this world is to establish in their midst a faithful Gospel church with a faithful Gospel preacher as his messenger.

    "Tychicus . . . is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord." Colossians 4:7
     
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  20. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    Beautiful bubbles!

    (John Angell James, "Happiness")

    "Many are saying: Who can show us any good?" Psalm 4:6

    There is certainly some pleasure in the gratification of the appetites--in the enjoyment of health, friends, property, and fame. Even sinful objects have their pleasures! There could be no power in temptation--if sin yielded no enjoyment.

    But viewing man as a rational, moral, and immortal creature; as a sinner subject to the stings of a reproachful conscience, and under the displeasure of the God he has offended; as liable to all the vicissitudes of a tearful existence, and ever exposed to the fear and stroke of death--he needs something more for his happiness than can be found in the objects of this world. He has . . .
    needs which they cannot supply;
    cravings which they cannot satisfy;
    woes which they cannot alleviate;
    anxieties which they cannot dispel.

    For each one who is even tolerably successful in gaining felicity from visible objects--there are many who utterly fail. Their schemes are frustrated; their hopes perish; their air castles vanish as they journey on in life--and each ends a course of worldly-mindedness, by adding another to the millions of examples which had proved this present world to be vanity.

    In some cases, abundance and unobstructed enjoyment produce boredom. Tired of old pleasures, they look about for new ones, and plead the oft-repeated inquiry, "Who will show us anything good?" Novelty perhaps comes to the relief of their discontented, restless, and dissatisfied minds; but novelty itself soon grows old, and still something new is wanted. There remains an aching void within--a craving, hungry appetite for bliss--unsatisfied, unfed. They hunt for enjoyment . . .
    in endless parties of pleasure,
    in every place of amusement,
    in every scene of diversion;
    in the dance--and in the game;
    in the theater--and in the concert;
    and in the changes of foreign travel.
    But happiness, like a shadow ever flitting before them, and ever eluding their grasp, tantalizes them with its form, without yielding them its substance; and excites their hopes--only to disappoint them!

    What are all the pleasures of time and sense, all the objects of this visible world--but as the dropping of pebbles into a deep chasm, which, instead of filling it up, only tell him how deep it is--by awakening the dismal echoes of emptiness and desolation?

    Look at the worldling. Does he succeed in his quest for happiness? Is he satisfied? Let him possess all he seeks, all he wishes, all that earth can furnish. Let rank be added to wealth, and fame to both; let a constant round of fashionable amusements, festive scenes, and elegant parties, follow in endless succession, until his cup is full to overflowing. What does it all amount to? "All that my eyes desired, I did not deny them. I did not refuse myself any pleasure. When I considered all that I had accomplished and what I had labored to achieve--I found everything to be vanity and a pursuit of the wind! There was nothing to be gained under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 2)

    Have not multitudes since Solomon's time, made the same melancholy confession? Is it not a general admission, that the pleasure of worldly objects arises more from hope and anticipation--rather than possession? They are like beautiful bubbles, which, as they float, reflect the colors of the rainbow--but dissolve and vanish when grasped! Tell me, votaries of earthly good--have you realized what you expected? Are not the scenes of festivity and amusement resorted to, by many with aching hearts? Does not the smiling countenance often conceal a troubled heart? Is not the laugh resorted to--in order to suppress the sigh?

    Even if it were granted, that the possession of wealth, the gratifications of taste, and the indulgence of appetite, could give happiness in seasons of health and prosperity--they must inevitably fail in the day of sickness and adversity. If they were satisfying for a season--they are all fragile and uncertain! All the enjoyments of this life are like gathered flowers, which are no sooner plucked than they begin to lose their beauty and their fragrance while we look at them and smell them; and which, however mirthful and beautiful they appeared while they were growing--begin to wither as soon as they are in our hands!
     
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