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Grace Gems

Discussion in 'Daily Devotionals' started by 357magnum, Oct 14, 2016.

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  1. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    They seek to banish such a God from their thoughts!

    (Arthur Pink)

    "You have done these things, and I kept silent. You thought that I was just like you! But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face." Psalm 50:21

    The only God against whom the natural man is not at enmity--is one of his own imagination! The deity whom he professes to worship, is not the living God--for He is truth and faithfulness, holiness and justice, as well as being gracious and merciful.

    It is a god of their own devising--and not the God of Holy Writ, whom the ungodly believe in!

    "They say: How can God know? Does the Most High even know what is happening?" Psalm 73:11
    They would strip Deity of His omniscience if they could!
    The wicked wish that there might be . . .
    no Witness of their sins,
    no Searcher of their hearts,
    no Judge of their deeds!
    They seek to banish such a God from their thoughts!

    What a proof that "the carnal mind is enmity against God!"

    Such is the portion awaiting the lost:
    eternal separation from the fountain of all goodness;
    everlasting punishment;
    torment of soul and body;
    endless existence in the Lake of Fire;
    forever locked up with demons and the vilest of the vile;
    every ray of hope excluded; and
    utterly crushed and overwhelmed by the wrath of a sin-avenging God!
    "Consider this, you who forget God--or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue!" Psalm 50:22
     
  2. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    Never let us read any portion of God's Word without looking up for divine teaching!

    (James Smith, "The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion" 1859)

    "Open my eyes--that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law." Psalm 119:18

    God's Book is a book of wonders! It is a wonderful record . . .
    of God's power in creation,
    of His wisdom in providence,
    and of His grace in redemption.

    It has the stamp of infinity upon it. We cannot penetrate its heights, fathom its depths, or traverse its lengths and breadths--but as we are taught of God. The Holy Spirit, who composed it and inspired holy men to write it, must unfold and reveal it to our minds--or we shall never . . .
    see its glory,
    be impressed with its majesty,
    or rejoice in its divine truths.

    Never let us read any portion of God's Word without looking up for divine teaching. Never let us imagine that we know all that is contained in any one verse of God's blessed Book--for there is a fullness in the holy Scriptures not to be found anywhere else.

    Oh, ever blessed Spirit of God, who has given us Your holy Word to . . .
    instruct our intellects,
    sanctify our hearts, and
    regulate our lives--we beseech You to . . .
    enlighten our minds to understand it,
    open our hearts to receive it,
    give us faith to believe it, and
    enable us to reduce it to practice in our every-day life!

    O may we be given grace . . .
    understand the sublime doctrines,
    believe the precious promises, and
    practice the holy precepts of Your blessed Word!
    Lord, unveil to us the types, unfold to us the prophecies--and apply to our hearts, the consolatory portions of the sacred Scriptures. May we hide the Word in our hearts, that we may not sin against You. O to catch the meaning, taste the sweetness, and feel the power--of Your holy truth! O Lord, open our eyes, and unfold the truth to us this night! O Lord, soften our hearts, and bring home Your Word with power!

    "Then He opened their understanding--that they might understand the Scriptures." Luke 24:45

    "Behold, God is exalted in His power! Who is a teacher like Him?" Job 36:22
     
  3. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    Consider carefully how you listen!

    (J.C. Ryle)

    "Consider carefully how you listen!" Luke 8:18

    We learn from this verse, the great importance of right hearing. The words of our Lord Jesus Christ ought to impress that lesson deeply on our hearts. He says, "Consider carefully how you listen!"

    The degree of benefit which men receive from all the means of grace--depends entirely on the way in which they use them.

    Private PRAYER lies at the very foundation of religion--yet the mere formal repetition of a set of words, when "the heart is far away"--does good to no man's soul.

    Reading the BIBLE is essential to the attainment of sound Christian knowledge--yet the mere formal reading of so many chapters as a task and duty, with out a humble desire to be taught of God, is little better than a waste of time.

    Just as it is with praying and Bible reading--so it is with LISTENING. It is not enough that we go to Church and hear sermons. We may do so for fifty years, and be nothing bettered, but rather worse! "Consider carefully," says our Lord, "how you listen!"

    Would anyone know how to listen aright? Then let him lay to heart three simple rules:

    For one thing, we must listen with FAITH, believing implicitly that every Word of God is true, and shall stand. The Word in old time did not profit the Jews, "not being mixed with faith in those who heard it." Hebrews 4:2

    For another thing, we must listen with REVERENCE--remembering constantly that the Bible is the book of God. This was the habit of the Thessalonians. They received Paul's message, "not as the word of men--but the Word of God." 1 Thessalonians 2:13

    Above all, we must listen with PRAYER--praying for God's blessing before the sermon is preached, and praying for God's blessing again when the sermon is over. Here lies the grand defect of the hearing of many. They ask no blessing--and so they receive none. The sermon passes through their minds like water through a leaky vessel, and leaves nothing behind.

    Let us bear these rules in mind every Sunday morning, before we go to hear the Word of God preached. Let as not rush into God's presence careless, reckless, and unprepared--as if it did not matter how we listened. Let us carry with us faith, reverence, and prayer. If these three are our companions--then we shall listen with profit, and return with praise!
     
  4. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    Jellyfish Christianity

    (J.C. Ryle, "The Importance of Dogma" 1900)

    Eighteen centuries ago the apostle Paul forewarned us, "The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear!" 2 Timothy 4:3

    The natural man hates the Gospel and all its distinctive doctrines--and delights in any vain excuse for refusing it.

    The plain truth is, that the root of the whole evil lies in the fallen nature of man, and his deeply-seated unbelief in God's infallible Word. I suspect we have no idea how little saving faith there is on earth, and how few people entirely believe Bible truths.

    One man is proud--he dislikes the distinctive doctrines of Christianity, because they leave him no room to boast.

    Another is lazy and indolent--he dislikes distinctive doctrine, because it summons him to troublesome thought, and self-inquiry, and mental self-exertion.

    Another is grossly ignorant--he imagines that all distinctive doctrine is a mere matter of words and names, and that it does not matter a jot what we believe.

    Another is thoroughly worldly--he shrinks from distinctive doctrine, because it condemns his darling world.

    But in one form or another, I am satisfied that "original sin" is the cause of all the mischief. And the whole result is, that vast numbers of men greedily swallow down the seemingly new idea that doctrine is of no great importance. It supplies a convenient excuse for their sins.

    The consequences of this widespread dislike to doctrine are very serious in the present day. Whether we like to allow it or not, it is an epidemic which is doing great harm. It creates, fosters, and keeps up an immense amount of instability in religion. It produces what I must venture to call, if I may coin the phrase, a jellyfish Christianity in the churches--that is, a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or power.

    A jellyfish, as everyone knows who has been much by the sea-side, is a pretty and graceful object when it floats in the sea, contracting and expanding like a little, delicate, transparent umbrella. Yet the same jellyfish, when cast on the shore--is a mere helpless lump, without capacity for movement, self-defense, or self-preservation.

    Alas! It is a vivid type of much of the religion of this day, of which the leading principle is, "No dogma, no distinct tenets, no positive doctrine."

    We have hundreds of jellyfish clergymen, who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity. They have no definite opinions--they belong to no school or party. They are so afraid of "extreme views"--that they have no views at all.

    We have thousands of jellyfish sermons preached every year--sermons without an edge or a point. They are as smooth as billiard balls--awakening no sinner, and edifying no saint.

    We have legions of jellyfish young men annually turned out from our seminaries, armed with a few scraps of second-hand philosophy, who think it a mark of cleverness and intellect to have no decided opinions about anything in religion, and to be utterly unable to make up their minds as to what Christian truth is. Their proud hearts are not satisfied with truths which satisfied the godly of former years. Their only creed is a kind of "Anythingism." They believe everything--and are sure and positive about nothing!

    And last, and worst of all, we have myriads of jellyfish worshipers--respectable church-going people, who have no distinct and definite views about any point in theology. They cannot discern things that differ, any more than color-blind people can distinguish colors! They think that . . .
    everybody is right--and nobody is wrong,
    everything is true--and nothing is false,
    all sermons are good--and none are bad,
    every minister is sound--and none are unsound.
    They are "tossed to and fro, like children, by every wind of doctrine!" They are often carried away by any new excitement and sensational movement. They are ever ready for new things, because they have no firm grasp on the old Scripture truths.
     
  5. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    The only true reformer of mankind!

    (J.C. Ryle)

    Political and social reforms labor in vain--because they ignore the fall of Adam and original sin. These are great stubborn facts, which ruin all their calculations. Without acknowledging the reality and consequences of sin--the great problems of human nature can never be solved.

    How much we ought to hate sin, and to make the checking of sin the first object in our efforts to do good! How much we ought to long and strive to promote the progress of the Gospel of Christ! This, after all, is the only true reformer of mankind. Just in proportion as men are brought under the influence of the despised old Gospel--will be the increase of peace on earth and goodwill among men.

    The more Christ is known and loved, and the more the Bible is read--the more will the inhabitants of the earth love one another. The more grace reigns over hearts and lives--the less hatred and violence will there be in the world. If pure and undefiled religion prevailed everywhere--then such plagues and pests and nuisances as quarreling, robbing, murder, drunkenness, immorality, swindling, gambling, idleness, lying, and cheating would be comparatively unknown. Most of the prisons and workhouses would soon be shut. Lawyers and policemen would have little to do. Taxes would be cut in half.

    He is the truest friend to human happiness--who does the most to spread the knowledge of Christ and evangelize the world!
     
  6. 357magnum

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    Unless our study of Scripture . . .

    "He who says he abides in Him, ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked." 1 John 2:6

    (Arthur Pink)

    Unless our study of Scripture is conforming us, both inwardly and outwardly, to the image of Christ--it profits us not!

    "Leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps." 1 Peter 2:21
     
  7. 357magnum

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    True Christianity!

    (J.C. Ryle)

    "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain!" Philippians 1:21

    True Christianity is not merely the believing a certain set of theological propositions.

    It is to live in daily personal communication with an actual living person--Jesus the Son of God!

    "The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me!" Galatians 2:20
     
  8. 357magnum

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    What He has purposed in eternity past--He works in time

    (James Smith, "The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion" 1859)

    "Remember the former things, those of long ago. I am God, and there is no other. I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times--what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please!" Isaiah 46:9-10

    Thus the Lord speaks--and thus the Lord acts.

    What He has purposed in eternity past--He works in time. Then the plan was drawn--and then the provision was made. God's purposes cannot fail, nor shall His work ever be left unfinished. What He has promised to us--He will give to us; and the work He has commenced in us--He will complete. Whatever concerns our salvation--He will perfect, according as it is written, "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. For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son . . . And those He predestined--He also called; those He called--He also justified; those He justified--He also glorified!" Romans 8:28-30

    This is God's plan--commenced, carried on, and completed by Himself--to the praise of the glory of His grace!
     
  9. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    A respectable old book, containing a great deal of truth--but truth mixed up with error and fables!

    (J.C. Ryle, 1884)

    "For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?" 1 Corinthians 14:8

    "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work!" 2 Timothy 3:16-17

    We need a more certain sound about the inspiration, sufficiency, and supremacy of Holy Scripture.

    There is a growing inclination to depreciate the blessed volume--as a respectable old book, containing a great deal of truth, but truth mixed up with error and fables.

    There is a hasty readiness to assume that whenever the conclusions of so-called science conflict with the Bible--that the Bible must be wrong and science right, it being coolly forgotten that perhaps we do not rightly interpret the Book.

    Away with all this!

    Let us boldly place the Bible on the pedestal where our forefathers placed it, and maintain, like them, that, however imperfectly we may understand it, the old Book is perfect, and is an infallible rule of faith and practice!

    "Ask for the old paths, where the good way is--and walk in it. Then you will find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16
     
  10. 357magnum

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    A shelf in my head!

    (Charles Spurgeon)

    Before I knew the gospel I gathered up a heterogeneous mass of all kinds of knowledge from here, there, and everywhere--a bit of chemistry, a bit of botany, a bit of astronomy, and a bit of this, that, and the other. I put them altogether, in one great confused chaos.

    When I learned the gospel, I got a shelf in my head to put everything in its place, just where it should be.

    It seemed to me as if, when I had discovered Christ and Him crucified, I had got the center of the system, so that I could see every other science revolving around in order.

    From the earth, you know, the planets appear to move in a very irregular manner--some are progressive, retrograde, stationary, etc. But if you could get upon the sun, you would see them marching round in their constant, uniform, circular motion.

    Likewise with human knowledge. Begin with any other science you like--and truth will seem to be amiss. But if you begin with the science of Christ crucified, you will begin with the sun--and you will see every other science moving around it in complete harmony.

    The old saying is, "Go from nature--up to nature's God." But it is hard work going up hill. The best thing is to go from nature's God--down to nature. If you once get to nature's God, and believe Him and love Him--it is surprising how easy it is to hear music in the waves, and songs in the wild whisperings of the winds; to see God everywhere, in the stones, in the rocks, in the rippling brooks; and to hear Him everywhere, in the lowing of cattle, in the rolling of thunder, and in the fury of tempests.

    Get Christ first, put Him in the right place--and you will find Him to be the wisdom of God in your own experience.
     
  11. 357magnum

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    God's jewels!

    (Thomas Watson, "Religion Our True Interest")

    "They will be Mine!" says the Lord Almighty, "in the day when I make up My jewels!" Malachi 3:17

    God's people are His jewels--His own special treasure!

    In what sense are the saints, God's jewels?

    Jewels are precious things; the Hebrew word for jewels signifies a treasure. A treasure is made up of costly things--gold, and diamonds and rubies. Such a precious treasure, are the saints to God.

    They are jewels for their sparkling quality. Their holiness shines and sparkles in God's eyes! (Song of Solomon 4:9), "You have ravished My heart, with one glance of your eyes!" That is, with one of your graces.

    The godly are jewels for their scarcity. Diamonds are not common. Just so, the godly are scarce and rare. There are but few of these to be found. There are many false professors (as there are many plastic diamonds)--but few true Christians. Among the millions in Rome, there were but few senators. Just so, among the swarms of people in the world--there are but few true believers.

    The godly are jewels for their price. Queen Cleopatra had two jewels which were worth half the price of a kingdom. Thus the saints are jewels, for their value. God esteems them at a high rate; He parted with His best jewel for them--Christ's precious blood was shed to ransom these jewels!

    The saints are jewels for their adorning quality. Jewels adorn those who wear them. The saints are jewels which adorn the world. Their piety mixed with prudence honors the gospel. Hypocrites eclipse true religion and make it badly spoken of. The saints as jewels, render it illustrious by their sanctity.

    God the Father has chosen these jewels, and set them apart for Himself!

    Christ has bought these jewels with His blood!

    The Holy Spirit has sanctified them. When they were a lump of sin--He made them into His jewels! He will string these pearls together--and put them into His celestial cabinet!

    Bless God who has wrought such a change in you! From lumps of dirt and sin--He has made you into His jewels!
     
  12. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    Old fossils unsuited to the present times!

    (J.C. Ryle, 1884)

    "For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?" 1 Corinthians 14:8

    We need a more certain sound about the work and offices of our Lord Jesus Christ. Men nowadays will dwell exclusively on His prophetic office, the beauty of His personal character, the splendid example of His kindness, patience, condescension, purity, and self-denial. All this, however true, is only half the truth--and by far the least important half too.

    The main thing about Christ, of which this age never hears enough, is . . .
    the atonement He made by His death,
    His vicarious sacrifice on the Cross,
    the redemption He obtained for man by His blood,
    His victory over the grave by His resurrection,
    His active life of intercession at God's right hand,
    and the absolute necessity of simple faith in Him.

    These blessed truths are seldom made enough of in this day. They are either judiciously dropped as offensive--or coolly left in the background as old fossils unsuited to the present times! If there is not a vast amount of veiled heresy around us, I am greatly mistaken.

    "Ask for the old paths, where the good way is--and walk in it. Then you will find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16
     
  13. 357magnum

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    The person and work of the Holy Spirit

    (J.C. Ryle, 1884)

    "For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?" 1 Corinthians 14:8

    We need a more certain sound about the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

    There is a great quantity of teaching, I am afraid, in which there is no place left for the Third Person of the Trinity. His presence in the hearts of professing Christians is taken for granted. They think that they possess Him as a matter of course--because they are baptized, or because they belong to the Church, or because they are communicants! In short, many would say, like the Ephesians of old, "We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit!" Acts 19:2

    But surely this is not Apostolic teaching. People need to be told now as much as they were told eighteen centuries ago, that the fruits of the Spirit are the only evidence of having the Spirit, and that those fruits must be seen--that we must be . . .
    born of the Spirit,
    led by the Spirit,
    sanctified by the Spirit, and
    experience the operations of the Spirit.

    "If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ--he does not belong to Christ." Romans 8:9

    There is far more heresy concerning the Holy Spirit in the present time, than most people suppose.

    "Ask for the old paths, where the good way is--and walk in it. Then you will find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16
     
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    Some of the preachers say that there is no Hell!

    (J.C. Ryle, 1884)

    "For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?" 1 Corinthians 14:8

    We need a more certain sound about the state of man after death. There is a growing disposition in this day to give up the old doctrine of the judgment of the wicked, and the eternal misery of all who die impenitent and unbelieving. Men are gradually being indoctrinated with the notion that there is hope for all beyond the grave, and that at any rate there is nothing to fear, and no punishment after death, no matter how we live or die.

    I regard such teaching as most mischievous and likely to promote carelessness and immorality! Yet in hundreds of pulpits the subject is either carefully avoided, or else handled in a most unsatisfactory manner.

    Let us beware of being wise above that which is written, and of ignoring, shirking, or strangling plain texts of Scripture.

    I cannot feel surprised when I am told that abandoned women in the streets of London have been heard to say, "Come along! Who's afraid? Some of the preachers say that there is no Hell."

    "Ask for the old paths, where the good way is--and walk in it. Then you will find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16
     
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    Nestle in our Savior's arms!

    (J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

    "He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in His arms," Mark 9:36

    This picture of "Jesus with the little one in His arms" is very beautiful. In all the Bible there is scarcely another picture which so well represents the attitude both of the saved soul and of the Savior--in all Christian life.

    Jesus takes the child in His arms--there is love, tenderness and protection.

    The bosom is the place of warmth, of affection, of intimacy, of confidence.

    The encircling arms--imply safety, support and shelter.

    Jesus lifted up the child and held it in His arms--just so does He carry His people through this wilderness world! He does not merely tell them what path to travel--but He takes them on His shoulders, carrying not only their burdens--but themselves! Thus He bears them on through life and through death--to Heaven, where they shall forever be with Him!

    Then look at the picture the other way--the child in the Savior's arms. The child's attitude speaks of trust, confidence, repose, peace, love, joy--just the feelings which belong to the true Christian. What a place the bosom of Christ is--in danger, in storm, in sorrow, in death! Shall we not likewise learn--to nestle in our Savior's arms in all our troublesome experiences?
     
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    Our merciful, compassionate Christ!

    (J.C. Ryle)

    "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus!" Philippians 1:6

    Let us take comfort in the thought that the Lord Jesus does not cast off His believing people because of failures and imperfections. He knows what they are.

    He takes them, as the husband takes the wife--with all their blemishes and defects; and once joined to Him by faith, He will never leave them. He is a merciful and compassionate High-priest. It is His glory to pass over the transgressions of His people, and to cover their many sins.

    He knew what they were before conversion--wicked, guilty, and defiled; yet He loved them. He knows what they will be after conversion--weak, erring, and frail; yet He loves them. He has undertaken to save them, notwithstanding all their shortcomings--and what He has undertaken, He will perform.

    "My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish--ever! No one can snatch them out of My hand." John 10:27-28
     
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    O for a spirit of habitual prayer!

    (James Smith, "The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion" 1859)

    "But I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress--and He hears my voice!" Psalm 55:16-17

    The well taught Christian carries everything to God--and in so doing, obtains relief, enjoys peace, and grows in grace.
    For all that we need--we should call upon God.
    And from all that we fear--we should flee unto God.

    At the close of every day, it is our mercy to call upon the Lord.
    We must make confession of sin--and obtain pardon.
    We must carry to Him our burdens--and obtain relief.
    We must tell out before Him our needs--and obtain a supply.

    Oh, how precious it is to go to the Lord at the close of each day, and tell Him all that has . . .
    vexed us,
    grieved us,
    cast us down, or
    disquieted our spirits!

    And how blessed to go to him each morning, and seek grace to live holily and happily through the day!

    Nor is it less blessed to have a few minutes with God at noon--breaking, as it were, the day in two, and keeping short accounts with God.

    O for a spirit of habitual prayer, that at evening, and at morning, and at noon--we may pray, and cry aloud to God!

    If we were more with the Lord in prayer, we would have . . .
    more strength to carry our crosses,
    more patience to bear our troubles,
    and more comfort amidst life's sorrows.

    Holy Spirit, take up your residence in my heart as a Spirit of prayer, and lead me daily, hourly, yes, very often--to the mercy-seat. Let me find the hours of prayer to be precious seasons. And especially at eventide, when worn and exhausted with the toils and troubles of the day--let me find sweet solace and refreshment in pouring out my soul unto God.

    Precious Lord Jesus, draw our souls to You evening by evening, and lead us into the presence of Your Father, that we may have sweet and hallowed fellowship with God! Let our devotions ascend as sweet incense to God.
     
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    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    In that moment we would fall into mischief and misery, if not into Hell!

    (James Smith, "The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion" 1859)

    "I have gone astray like a lost sheep--seek Your servant" Psalm 119:176

    However far the Lord's people may wander from Him, they cannot forget His word or His gracious dealings with them. They remember the years of His leading and sustaining.

    Like sheep--every one of us have a propensity to wander. We need keeping every moment. If it were possible for the Lord to take His eyes off of us but for one moment--in that moment we would fall into mischief and misery, if not into Hell. But the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.

    My soul, have you wandered from the Lord? Have you wandered from the green pastures of His Word? Have you wandered from the Church, which is His fold? Have you wandered from His throne of grace--or from His nail-pierced side? If so,
    your graces will wither,
    your comforts will die, and
    your profession will become a mere form.

    Cry to the great Shepherd, cry mightily to Jesus, "Seek Your servant!" Blessed be His holy name--He will go out into the wilderness in search of every one of His lost sheep--and He will never return until He finds and restores it.

    Jesus, Shepherd of my soul--seek me, and bring me back from all my wanderings. Let me feed and be bound with Your flock. Let me hear Your sweet voice calling me by name, and leading me home. May I never enjoy rest, but at Your side; nor feel at home, but with Your flock and family.

    Tonight, O Savior, draw me near to Yourself. Soothe my perturbed spirit with the communications of Your grace and truth--and let me lie down conscious of my saving interest in You, of Your love to me, and of my safety through You. Nearer to You, O Jesus--draw me still nearer to You!

    "My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish--ever! No one can snatch them out of My hand." John 10:27-28
     
  19. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    Divine punishment--or divine chastisement?

    (Arthur Pink)

    There is a threefold distinction between divine punishment--and divine chastisement.

    The first lies in the character in which God acts.
    In the former, God acts as Judge.
    In the latter, God acts as Father.

    The second distinction lies in the recipients of each.
    The objects of the former, are His enemies.
    The objects of the latter, are His children.

    A third distinction is seen in the design of each.
    The one is retributive--the other remedial.
    The one flows from His anger--the other flows from His love.
     
  20. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    All these things shall have no place in Heaven!

    (J.C. Ryle, "Shall We Know One Another in Heaven?" 1870)

    I pity that man who never thinks about Heaven. I mean by "Heaven" the future dwelling-place of all true Christians, when the dead are raised, and the world has passed away. Cold and unfeeling must that heart be, which never gives a thought to that dwelling-place! Dull and earthly must that mind be, which never considers Heaven.

    We may die any day. "In the midst of life, we are in death." We must all die sooner or later. The youngest, the fairest, the strongest, the cleverest--all must go down one day before the scythe of the King of Terrors. This world shall not go on for ever as it does now. Its affairs shall at last be wound up.

    Now, what will Heaven be like? The question, no doubt, is a deep one, but there is nothing presumptuous in looking at it. The man who is about to sail for Australia or New Zealand as a settler, is naturally anxious to know something about his future home, its climate, its employments, its inhabitants, its ways, and its customs. All of these are subjects of deep interest to him.

    In the same way, you are leaving the land of your nativity--and you are going to spend the rest of your life in a new world. It would be strange indeed if you did not desire information about your new abode.

    Now surely, if we hope to dwell for ever in that "better country, even a heavenly one"--then we ought to seek all the knowledge we can get about it. Before we go to our eternal home--we should try to become acquainted with it.

    Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.
    All who are found there, will be of one mind and of one experience:
    chosen by the same Father,
    washed in the same blood of atonement,
    and renewed by the same Spirit.

    Universal and perfect holiness, love, and knowledge--will be the eternal law of the kingdom.

    Heaven is the eternal presence of everything that can make a saint happy--and the eternal absence of everything that can cause sorrow. Sickness, and pain, and disease, and death, and wickedness, and poverty, and labor, and money, and care, and ignorance, and misunderstanding, and slander, and lying, and quarrels, and envies, and bad tempers, and infidelity, and superstition, and heresy, and schism, and wars, and fightings, and bloodshed, and murders, and law-suits--all, all these things shall have no place in Heaven! On earth, in this present time, they may live and flourish. In Heaven even their footprints shall not be known.

    "Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes!" Revelation 7:16-17
     
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