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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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    The Bible is always a new book to those well acquainted with it!

    (Arthur Pink, "The Divine Inspiration of the Bible")

    Although one may know, word for word, the entire contents of some chapter of Scripture; and although he may have taken the time to thoughtfully ponder every sentence therein--yet, on every subsequent occasion, provided one comes to it again in the spirit of humble inquiry, each fresh reading will reveal new gems never seen there before and new delights will be experienced never met with previously. The most familiar passages will yield as much refreshment at the thousandth perusal--as they did at the first!

    The Bible has been likened to a fountain of living water--the fountain is ever the same, but the water is always fresh!

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    "The Bible is always a new book to those well acquainted with it!" Robert Chapman

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    "A humble and prayerful spirit will find a thousand things in the Bible--which the proud, self-conceited student will utterly fail to discern!" J.C. Ryle
     
  2. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    It cleaves to us like our skin!

    (J.C. Ryle)

    "An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest." Luke 9:46
    "Then He said to them: He who is least among you all--he is the greatest." Luke 9:48

    As astonishing as it may seem, this little company of fishermen and publicans was not beyond the plague of a self-seeking and prideful spirit. Such is the heart of man. There is something very instructive in this fact. It ought to sink down deeply into the heart of every Christian reader.

    Of all sins, there is none against which we have such need to watch and pray, as pride.
    It is a pestilence that walks in darkness--and a sickness that destroys at noon-day.

    No sin is so deeply rooted in our nature as pride! It cleaves to us like our skin! Its roots never entirely die--they are ready, at any moment, to spring up, and exhibit a most pernicious vitality.

    No sin is so senseless and deceitful as pride. It can wear the garb of humility itself. It can lurk in the hearts of the ignorant, the ungifted, and the poor--as well as in the minds of the great, the learned, and the rich.

    Of all creatures, none has so little right to be proud as man--and of all men, none ought to be so humble as the Christian!

    Is it really true that we confess ourselves to be "miserable sinners," and daily debtors to mercy and grace? Are we the followers of Jesus, who was "meek and lowly of heart," and "made Himself nothing" for our sakes? Then let that same mind be in us, which was in Christ Jesus. Let us lay aside all proud thoughts and self-conceit. In lowliness of mind, let us esteem others better than ourselves. Let us be ready, on all occasions, to take the lowest place. And let the words of our Savior ring in our ears continually, "He who is least among you all--he is the greatest."

    Let a prayer for humility form part of our daily supplications.
     
  3. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    What a pavilion of comfort is this!

    (Octavius Winslow)

    "As the Father has loved Me--so have I loved you!" John 15:9

    Believer, you have a home in the heart of Jesus! What a pavilion of comfort is this--the love of Christ! To know that the affections of Jesus embrace and entwine around us, to be assured that He loves us each one as though we were the only one whom He loved--what a privilege and a bliss!

    And yet so it is, Jesus loves you, cares for you, watches over and sympathizes with you--as if you were the only one whom He loved. "He loved me--and gave Himself for me!" Seek this individual consciousness of Christ's love, and you will be supremely happy!
     
  4. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    At the feet of Jesus!

    (J.R. Miller, "At the Feet of Jesus" 1891)

    As we know Martha wherever we see her--by her diligent, eager serving; so we know Mary by her posture at the feet of Jesus. Only three times she is seen in the Gospel story--and each time she is at her usual place.

    First, we find her sitting at Christ's feet as a learner, eagerly listening to His words. "She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet, and listened to His teaching." Luke 10:39

    At the feet of Jesus is the place of discipleship, where one learns the lessons the Master has to teach, where one's soul receives the blessings He has to give.

    Every believer should learn the lesson that there can be no beautiful Christian character for him, no sweet influence pouring out from his life, no blessed ministry giving comfort and joy to others--unless he first sits at Christ's feet as a learner. He must receive--before he can give. This is a vital principle in Christian life. We can give out to others--only what God has first given to us.

    You see a beautiful rose bathed in the summer sunshine and pouring forth its sweetness. "I would have my life like the rose!" you say. Yes, but where did the rose get its loveliness and its fragrance? Down out of the sky, did it not? It looked up and opened its heart--and the sun poured his warm beams into the flower's bosom. Out of the air at night came the gentle dew and crept into the flower's folds, and the beauty burst out and the sweetness flowed forth.

    Would you have your life like the rose? You must commune with Christ. Your heart must receive the warmth of His love. You must take His words into your soul. He must fill you with His own blessed life. All you can bring to Christ is your own emptiness--the emptiness of penitence, of humility, of a thirsty soul.

    A poet speaks of Mary's eyes as "homes of silent prayer." Her eyes of prayer told of a great heart-hunger. She did not talk in Christ's presence. She had nothing to say. She wanted Him to speak to her. And any word He spoke went down deep into her heart and became a blessing there, pouring its sweet influence through all her life.

    Here we get the first lesson from Mary. You must sit at Christ's feet as a learner, as a receiver. Let Him teach you. Let Him pour His own life and love into your heart.

    The first thing is, not what you shall do for Christ--but what Christ shall do for you; not what you shall give to Him--but what you shall receive from Him. Keep all the windows of your soul open toward Him, that the light from His face may shine into the very depths of your being. Take His words into your heart and ponder them with love and prayer--until they fill you with their own life and spirit.

    Says Henry Drummond: "Ten minutes spent in Christ's presence every day, yes, two minutes, if it is face to face and heart to heart--will make all things different. Throughout the whole day, your actions, down to the last detail, will do homage to that early vision."
     
  5. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    Sola Scriptura!

    (J.C. Ryle)

    Next to praying, there is nothing so important in practical religion as Bible-reading.
    By reading that Book, we may learn . . .
    what to believe,
    what to be,
    what to do,
    how to live with comfort,
    and how to die in peace.

    The Bible alone is "able to make a man wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 3:15. It alone can . . .
    show you the way which leads to Heaven,
    teach you everything you need to know,
    point out everything you need to believe,
    and explain everything you need to do.

    It alone can show you . . .
    what you are--a sinner,
    what God is--perfectly holy,
    the great giver of pardon, peace, and grace--Jesus Christ.

    The Bible applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit, is the grand instrument by which souls are converted to God. In this way the Bible has worked moral miracles by thousands! It has made . . .
    drunkards become sober,
    immoral people become pure,
    thieves become honest, and
    violent people become meek!

    The Bible has wholly altered the course of men's lives!
    It has caused their old things to pass away--and made all their ways new.
    It has taught worldly people--to seek first the kingdom of God.
    It has taught lovers of pleasure--to become lovers of God.
    It has changed the stream of men's affections--to run upwards instead of running downwards.
    It has made men think of Heaven--instead of always thinking of earth.

    The Bible can enable a man . . .
    to bear afflictions without murmuring, and say, "It is well."
    to look down into the grave, and say, "I fear no evil."
    to think on judgment and eternity, and not feel afraid.

    Is a man drowsy in soul? The Bible can awaken him.

    Is he mourning? The Bible can comfort him.

    Is he erring? The Bible can restore him.

    Is he weak? The Bible can strengthen him.

    Is he in company? The Bible can keep him from evil.

    Is he alone? The Bible can talk with him. (Proverbs 6:22)

    All this the Bible can do for all believers;
    for the least--as well as the greatest;
    for the richest--as well as the poorest.
    It has done it for thousands already--and is doing it for thousands every day!

    It is in Scripture alone that infallibility resides. It is not in the Church. It is not in the Councils. It is not in ministers. It is only in the written Word.

    All other books in the world, however good and useful in their way--are more or less defective. The more you look at them--the more you see their defects and blemishes. The Bible alone is absolutely perfect. From beginning to end, it is "the Word of God."

    A man must make the Bible alone his rule. He must receive nothing, and believe nothing, which is not according to the Word. He must try all religious teaching by one simple test: Does it square with the Bible? What do the Scriptures say?
    The only question is: Is the thing said Scriptural?
    If it is--then it ought to be received and believed.
    If it is not--then it ought to be refused and cast aside.

    The churches which are most flourishing at this day, are churches which honor the Bible.
    The nations which enjoy most moral light, are nations in which the Bible is most treasured.
    The godliest families are Bible-reading families.
    The holiest men and women are Bible-reading people.
    These are simple facts which cannot be denied.

    Every one who cares for his soul ought . . .
    to treasure the Bible highly,
    to study it regularly, and
    to make himself thoroughly acquainted with its contents.
     
  6. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    Dear friends, why do you make your house like Hell?

    ("Pleasant Readings for the Home" Author unknown)

    A traveler one day called at a cottage to ask for a drink of water. Entering, he found the parents cursing and quarreling, with the children trembling and crouched in a corner. Wherever he looked, he saw only marks of degradation and misery. Greeting the family, he asked them, "Dear friends, why do you make your house like Hell?"

    "Ah, Sir," said the man, "you don't know the life and trials of a poor man! Do what I can--everything goes wrong!"

    The stranger drank the water, and then said softly (as he noticed a Bible in a dark and dusty corner), "Dear friends, I know what would help you, if you could find it. There is a treasure concealed in your house--search for it."

    And so he left them.

    At first the cottagers thought it a jest, but, after a while they began to reflect. The whole family tried to find the "treasure"--but in vain. Increasing poverty brought only more quarrels, discontent, and strife.

    One day, as the woman was thinking upon the stranger's words--her eye fell on the old Bible. It had been a gift from her mother, but since her death long ago--it had been unheeded and unused.

    A strange foreboding seized her mind. Could the stranger have meant the Bible? She took it from the shelf, opened it, and found the verse inscribed on the title-page, in her mother's handwriting, "The law of your mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver." It cut her to the heart. "Ah!" thought she, "this is the treasure which we have been seeking!" How her tears fell fast upon the pages!

    From that time she read the Bible every day, and taught the children to pray--but without her husband's knowledge. One day he came home, as usual, quarrelsome and in a rage. Instead of meeting his angry words with angry replies--she spoke to him kindly and with gentleness. "Husband," said she, "we have sinned grievously. We have ourselves to blame for all this misery, and we must now lead a different life."

    He looked amazed. "What are you talking about?" was his exclamation.

    She brought the old Bible, and, sobbing, cried, "Here is the treasure. See, I have found it!"

    The husband's heart was moved. She read to him of the Lord Jesus, and of His love. She continued to read the Scriptures daily, as she sat with the children around her, thoughtful and attentive.

    So time went on.

    It was a year later that the stranger returned that way. Seeing the cottage, he remembered the circumstances of his visit, and thought he would call and see this family again. He did so, but he would scarcely have known the place--it was so clean, so neat, so well ordered. He opened the door, and at first thought he was mistaken, for the family came to meet him so kindly, with the peace of God beaming upon their faces.

    "How are you, my friends?" said he.

    Then they recognized the stranger--and for some time they could not speak. "Thanks, thanks, dear Sir--we have found the treasure which you spoke of! Now the blessing of God dwells in our house--and His peace in our hearts!"

    So they said--and their entire condition, and the happy faces of their children, declared the same more plainly!
     
  7. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    Jesus never gave any money!

    (J.R. Miller, "Woman's Ministry")

    Many shrink from ministering to the poor, because they have no money to give. But money alone is the poorest alms ever bestowed! There are gifts which every true Christian, however poor, has to bestow--which are infinitely better than money.

    The apostles gave no money. They had no silver nor gold to bestow.

    Jesus never gave any money! We never read of Him giving a mite to any who were poor or in distress. And yet no man was ever such a lavish giver of beneficence as He. What Christ gave was loving service, pity, sympathy, compassion, tears and personal help.

    These are the coins that the Christian should chiefly give. They are coins that bear the stamp of Heaven. The image and superscription of Jesus, our great King, are upon them. They were minted in Heaven! They are better than gold--for money is a poor thing to give, without love. "If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames--but have not love, I gain nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:3

    Money will neither . . .
    comfort the sad,
    nor cheer the lonely,
    nor lift up the fallen,
    nor strengthen the faint,
    nor support the tempted,
    nor heal the broken-hearted,
    nor soothe weariness,
    nor wipe away tears.

    Love-gifts are what the poor, suffering, and sorrowing most need.
    And these heavenly coins, the poorest Christian may scatter!

    Jesus asked nothing nobler on earth than this--and He has made these lowly ministries forever glorious and divine.

    Let Christians go out into the world, and repeat everywhere the tender, beautiful, helpful ministry of Jesus--and they will do more to bless the world, than if they opened a mine of wealth and made thousands rich!
     
  8. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    Unbelief is not simply an infirmity of fallen human nature

    (Arthur Pink)

    "The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony God has given about His Son." 1 John 5:10

    Unbelief is not simply an infirmity of fallen human nature, it is a heinous crime against God! Scripture everywhere attributes it to . . .
    love of sin,
    obstinacy of will,
    hardness of heart.

    Unbelief has its root in a depraved nature--in a mind which is enmity against God.

    "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." John 3:36
     
  9. 357magnum

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    You hold me by my right hand!

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

    "Nevertheless I am continually with You--You hold me by my right hand.
    You will guide me with Your counsel--and afterward receive me to glory!" Psalm 73:23-24

    Continually with the Lord! O what a privilege!
    Held fast by my right hand! O what a blessing!
    Yet, this privilege and this blessing, have all the saints.

    Tonight, while I sleep--tonight, while all is dark about me--tonight, while dangers may fly thick around me--my God will be with me, and I shall be with my God. Never did a tender mother watch beside the couch of her sick and dying child with such love, solicitude, and tenderness--as my God will watch by my bedside tonight. Never did a kind father hold the right hand of his timid or feeble son with such care and sympathy--as my God holds me by my right hand. Well, therefore, may I . . .
    give myself up to His guidance,
    feel safe in His keeping, and
    anticipate my entrance into His glory.

    Blessed Lord, I love you, I adore you tonight for Your constant presence with me, and Your watchful care over me. You hold my right hand at this moment--O help me to realize it! And teach me by Your persuasive influence, to yield myself constantly to you.

    Here, Lord, I put myself into Your hand anew. I no longer wish to choose my own way, but with all my heart say, "You will guide me with Your counsel--and afterward receive me to glory!"

    O my Father, guide me through all the trials and temptations that lie in my path. Guide me through all the snares and dangers found in my way. Guide me into truth and holiness, and fill me with Your joy and peace. Guide, O guide me every step of my journey--and safely across the Jordan of death. Then receive me into Your glorious presence, where I shall see Jesus, and enjoy Your love, and rejoice in Your favor forever!

    "Nevertheless I am continually with You--You hold me by my right hand.
    You will guide me with Your counsel--and afterward receive me to glory!" Psalm 73:23-24
     
  10. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    In love He blessed us with all spiritual blessings!

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

    "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." Ephesians 1:3

    God's love to us is infinite. He considers nothing too good or too great to confer upon His redeemed children. Having chosen us in His Son, that we may be holy and blameless before Him--in love He blessed us with all spiritual blessings. He gave us . . .
    grace in Jesus,
    grace before the foundation of the world,
    grace for all time,
    grace for all trials,
    grace to be given to us as our circumstances may require.

    In going to the throne of grace, therefore--we simply go to receive what our heavenly Father has stored up in Jesus for us. What sweet encouragement is this! Well may the apostle say, "Therefore let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

    Blessed Lord, we thank You, we praise You, we bless Your glorious name--that You have chosen us and put us into Christ, made provision for us in Christ, and will make us perfectly holy through Christ. Teach us to come with boldness and confidence to Your throne, that we may obtain for our use, all that You have treasured up for us in Jesus. O give us . . .
    more faith in Christ,
    more humility when at your throne,
    more zeal for Your glory when in the world,
    more love to You and Your people; and
    teach us to eat, drink, dress, and do everything to Your glory!

    O to be thoroughly Christ-like! O to reflect the glory of God on all around us! O to live and act as on the confines of eternity, as if always impressed with this fact, "I shall soon be in Heaven!" Gracious Savior, raise me above this world, fix my affections on Yourself, fill me with Your Spirit, and enable me to lie down tonight with the assurance that all spiritual blessings are mine!
     
  11. 357magnum

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    The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible!

    (J.C. Ryle)

    On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
    Jesus answered him, "What is written in the Law? What do you read there?" Luke 10:25-26

    Notice in this passage, the high honor which our Lord Jesus Christ places on the Bible. He refers the lawyer at once to the Scriptures, as the only rule of faith and practice. He does not say in reply to his question, "What does the Jewish Church say about eternal life? What do the Scribes, and Pharisees, and priests think? What is taught on the subject in the traditions of the elders?"

    He takes a far simpler and more direct course. He sends his questioner at once to the writings of the Old Testament, "What is written in the Law? What do you read there?"

    Let the principle contained in these words, be one of the foundation principles of our Christianity. Let the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, be the rule of our faith and practice. Holding this principle, we travel upon the king's highway. The road may sometimes seem narrow, and our faith may be severely tried--but we shall not be allowed greatly to err. Departing from this principle, we enter on a pathless wilderness. There is no telling what we may be led to believe or do. Forever let us bear this in mind. Here let us cast anchor. Here let us abide.

    It matters nothing who says a thing in religion--whether an ancient father, or a modern bishop, or a learned theologian.

    Is it in the Bible? Can it be proved by the Bible? If not, then it is not to be believed.

    It matters nothing how beautiful and clever sermons or religious books may appear. Are they in the smallest degree contrary to Scripture? If they are, they are rubbish and poison, and guides of no value!

    What does the Scripture say? This is the only rule, and measure, and gauge of religious truth. "To the law and to the testimony," says Isaiah, "if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:20
     
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    Quicken our poor, cold, lifeless souls!

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

    "My soul cleaves unto the dust--quicken me according to Your Word!" Psalm 119:25

    What powerful attractions the present world has! How prone we are . . .
    to sink down to its level,
    to become attached to its customs,
    and to cleave to its vanities!
    Yet, at the best, it is but dust. There is nothing in the world to satisfy or suit an immortal mind.

    Jesus died for us--to deliver us from this present evil world. The Holy Spirit urges us to rise above it, and offers us His divine and all-sufficient aid. He will not force, but only attract or draw. Alas! that we should . . .
    slight His intimations,
    disregard His exhortations,
    and grieve His loving heart!

    We are not of the world--and yet how worldly we are! We are born from above--but yet how earthly we remain! Our souls go out after things that are carnal, drossy, dusty, contemptible--to the neglect of things that are spiritual, pure, holy, and invaluable.

    Heavenly Father, we confess our folly, we deplore our ingratitude, we condemn our conduct. We feel weak and feeble when we attempt to burst our bonds, and mount upwards to Your throne. O quicken, quicken us! By the power of Your Holy Spirit, and by bringing home Your inspired Word--quicken our poor, cold, lifeless souls!

    Have You not promised to be as the dew unto Your people, coming down graciously, gradually, and gently upon them--in order to revive their graces, quicken their devotions, and cause them to grow up into Christ? O come down upon our dry and thirsty souls as the dew--or fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants.

    Quicken us--and so will we mount up to Your throne, and do Your righteous will. Quicken us--and so Jesus will be precious to us, and the work of the Lord will be pleasant to us.
     
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    Rich to all eternity!

    (Charles Spurgeon)

    No matter what your wealth, if you have not Christ--you are miserably poor. "The rich man also died and was buried. In Hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him: Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire!" Luke 16:22-24

    But with Christ--you are rich to all eternity! "We have a priceless inheritance--an inheritance that is kept in Heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay!" 1 Peter 1:4
     
  14. 357magnum

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    The flowers in the Lord's garden are not all precisely alike

    (J.C. Ryle)

    "She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said.
    But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made." Luke 10:39-40

    Let us observe how different the characters and personalities of true Christians may be! The two sisters of whom we read in this passage were faithful disciples. Both had believed. Both had been converted. Both had honored Christ, when few gave Him honor. Both loved Jesus--and Jesus loved both of them. Yet they were evidently women of very different turn of mind.

    Martha was active, stirring, and impulsive, feeling strongly, and speaking out all she felt.
    Mary was quiet, still, and contemplative, feeling deeply, but saying less than she felt.

    Martha, when Jesus came to her house, busied herself with preparing a suitable refreshment.
    Mary's first thought was to sit at His feet and hear His word.
    Grace reigned in both hearts, but each showed the effects of grace at different times, and in different ways.

    We shall find it very useful to remember this lesson.

    We must not expect all believers in Christ to be exactly like one another! We must not set down others as having no grace, because their experience does not entirely tally with our own.

    The sheep in the Lord's flock have each their own peculiarities.

    The flowers in the Lord's garden are not all precisely alike.

    All true Christians agree in the principal things of religion.
    All feel their sins.
    All trust in Christ.
    All repent.
    All are led by one Spirit.
    All are holy.

    But in minor matters, they often differ widely. Let not one despise another on this account. There will be Marthas and there will be Marys in the Church until the Lord comes again!
     
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    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    Lest we awake to find that we are paupers forevermore!

    (J.C. Ryle)

    "Only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42

    We should observe what a high commendation our Lord Jesus Christ pronounced on Mary's choice. There was a deep meaning in these words. They were spoken not only for Mary's sake, but for the sake of all Christ's believing people in every part of the world. They were meant to encourage all true Christians . . .
    to be single-eyed and whole-hearted,
    to follow the Lord fully,
    to walk closely with God,
    to make soul-business immeasurably their first business, and
    to think comparatively little of the things of this fleeting world.

    The true Christian's portion is the grace of God. It is the only good thing which is substantial, satisfying, real, and lasting. The grace of God is . . .
    better in sickness--and better in health,
    better in youth--and better in old age,
    better in adversity--and better in prosperity,
    better in life--and better in death,
    better in time--and better in eternity.
    No circumstance and no position can be imagined, in which it is not better for man to have the grace of God.

    The true Christian's possession shall never be taken from him.
    He alone, of all mankind, shall never be stripped of his inheritance.
    Kings must one day leave their palaces.
    Rich men must one day leave their money and lands--they only hold them until they die.

    But the poorest saint on earth has a treasure of which he will never be deprived. The grace of God, and the favor of Christ--are riches which no man can take from him. They will go with him to the grave when he dies. They will rise with him in the resurrection morning, and be his to all eternity!

    What do we know of this "better part" which Mary chose? Have we chosen it for ourselves? Can we say with truth that it is ours? Let us never rest until we can. Let us choose life, while Christ offers it to us without money and without price. Let us seek treasure in Heaven--lest we awake to find that we are paupers forevermore!
     
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    The Almighty paid no attention to him, of course

    (A.T. Pierson)

    Some time ago, an infidel got up in the presence of some atheistic companions, and defied the God of heaven to show Himself in battle. He swung his sword to and fro, and challenged the Almighty to meet him in single combat.

    The Almighty paid no attention to him, of course--but He just commissioned a little gnat, so small that it could scarcely be seen, to lodge in his windpipe and choke him to death!

    "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, their deeds are vile." Psalm 14:1
     
  17. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    I would recommend all parents to get this kind of Bible

    (J.R. Miller)

    "Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path!" Psalm 119:105

    In many houses you will see beautiful Bibles bound handsomely in morocco leather, with gilt edges, and full of bright pictures. I love to see a beautiful Bible in a home--especially if it is not kept too clean and unsoiled. But the most beautiful form in which a household Bible can be bound, is in the holy life of godly parents. There is no tinted, gold-edged paper so lovely--as the pages God gives us on which to write our daily record.

    The precepts and lessons of the inspired Word sound very sweetly when read out of a richly-covered volume--but they sound far more sweetly, when the child can spell them out of the parent's daily life.

    It is well for a parent to read to his child from the inspired page about the beauty of holiness; but it is better still when the child can see that beauty shining out transfigured in every feature of his parent's character.

    It is well for him to read of the patience, gentleness, meekness, forbearance, and love of Christ; but it is better when he exemplifies all of these traits.

    It is well for him to teach the child what the Bible says about lying, profanity, intemperance, and all sins; it is better when his life proclaims all these lessons.

    No family Bible is so well printed and bound, as the one that is printed on the heart, and bound up in the life of a godly parent. I would recommend all parents to get this kind of Bible--and to keep the dust off it always by constant use. This is the best kind for a lamp to the children's feet.

    A beautiful Christian life is a living epistle written by the hand of God--which the youngest child can read before it has learned to spell out the shortest words of the language. It is a sermon that preaches Christ all day long--seven days in the week!

    There is no heresy so dangerous to childhood--as heresies lived in the home!
     
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    Our dim eyes cannot read the dark pages!

    (J.R. Miller)

    "You do not know now what I am doing--but later you will understand." John 13:7

    Peter could not understand why Jesus should so condescend as to wash his feet. It perplexed and puzzled him, and he shrank from submitting to it. Jesus said, "You do not know now what I am doing--but later you will understand." And so it proved. There came days afterwards when he understood it all, when he knew why his Master had done it--and when he truly saw beauty, wisdom, love, richest instruction, and divine necessity in it.

    And the same principle applies all through our life. There are many things in the providence of God which at the time appear dark and obscure--but which the future makes clear and plain. The Lord lays us aside in the midst of our usefulness, He desolates our homes, He breaks our harp-strings, He pours bitterness into our cups of sweetness. Our lives are full of strange, perplexing things--and we do not know what they mean.

    Our dim eyes cannot read the dark pages.
    Our dull ears cannot hear the voice of love which speaks out to us from every adverse circumstance.
    Our heavy hearts cannot perceive the love which throbs with full pulse in every darksome event.

    But there will come a day when every dark page in our life's history shall be explained--when all the tangle and confusion shall be unraveled, and the web shall lie before us woven through unto the end, warp and woof, with threads of gold and silver.

    This word of Christ is the key to all the dark and strange providences in the life of every believer: "You do not know now what I am doing--but later you will understand."

    One reason for the present obscurity--is our ignorance, or limited knowledge. We know now, only in part. We see now, only through a glass darkly. We are all scholars in God's school. The lessons set for us seem at first like the pages of an unknown language. We cannot pronounce the words. We cannot understand their meaning. They confuse and perplex us. We see no wisdom, no beauty, no love in them.

    But the passing years bring riper wisdom and fuller knowledge. We shall then be able to read them off with ease. Then we shall see that every line held a golden lesson for our hearts--that every dark providence in our lives was one of God's precious love-thoughts written out for us--and the whole page will glow with divine beauty!

    Only fuller knowledge is needed to explain to us much of the mystery of our lives. In the cloudless light and perfect revelation of Heaven--every shadow of mystery will vanish, and the strangest providences will seem as plain and easy as childhood's first lessons are to ripened and cultured manhood.

    Another reason why many of the Lord's ways seem so strange to us, is because we see them only in their incompleteness. We must wait until they are finished, before we can fully understand what God is doing.

    The work of sanctification is the process of painting the features of spiritual and divine beauty on human souls. And in this process, the Divine Artist oftentimes employs trials as His instruments. He first seems to destroy--but tribulation works patience. Many a man learns submission--when the Father's hand rests so heavily upon him, that he cannot rise.

    Many a feature of beauty in the soul--is brought out in the darkness of affliction. The process seems to be destructive--but afterwards it yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness. Not at the time--but afterwards. When God finishes His work--then it is beautiful and very good.

    In the bitterness of his soul Jacob cried out, "All these things are against me!" But these things were not against him--God had not yet finished His work. The final result had not yet been wrought out. All things seemed against him--but he lived to praise the Lord for all the strange providences which appeared so cruel at that hour. These were but the crude blocks out of which God was building up a beautiful home for his old age, and with which He was laying the foundation of future greatness and glory for his family. They were links in a golden chain of blessing.

    So it ever is, "You do not know now what I am doing--but later you will understand." Wait until God has completed His work--and then all shall be well. You may see it even on the earth. Before you close your eyes in death--you may see the good brought out of the seeming evil of your life. But if not, if you die with the mystery still unsolved--then one moment in Heaven will explain all! Then you shall see all things completed. You shall see the web out of the loom--all its beautiful figures perfect, not one thread dropped or tangled. You shall see the temple finished--every block in its place, and the whole adorned with glory. You shall see the picture when the artist has put the last touches to it--and when it appears no more marred and spoiled, as you thought it would be by so much trial--but perfect and beautiful, bearing the likeness of Christ in every feature.

    Then you shall see all the dark providences of your life carried out to their final result. You shall see . . .
    both the discipline--and its blessing;
    both the affliction--and its rich fruits;
    both the furnace-fires--and the brilliant gold!
     
  19. 357magnum

    357magnum AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Supporter

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    The glittering toys of life!

    (Harriet Newell)

    "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." Hebrews 11:13

    We are pilgrims--we are strangers in a barren land. This world is not our portion--it is incapable of satisfying our desires. The glittering toys of life are not calculated to afford real enjoyment.

    There is nothing in Heaven or earth that can delight our hearts and ease us of the heavy load of sin, but God.

    Let us not be satisfied with the groveling pursuits of time--but let us look to the unchangeable Jehovah for a supply of His soul-refreshing grace.

    How much has God done for us individually! He has made us partakers of His grace and redeemed us from eternal destruction. What shall we render to Him for this abundant mercy? O let our future lives evince gratitude--and let our praises unceasingly flow to His throne.

    "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul!" 1 Peter 2:11
     
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    What punishment then can be too great--for so great an evil?

    (Ralph Venning, "The Plague of Plagues!" 1669)

    The worst on this side of Hell, is mercy--and the worst of and in Hell, is but justice!

    Cain could say that his punishment was intolerable--but he could not say that it was unjust.
    Though his punishment was greater than he could bear--yet it was not greater than he deserved.

    Repeatedly, when the judgments of God are spoken of in Revelation, they are said always to be just and true and righteous (Revelation 15:3; 16:7). Though God's ways are unsearchable--yet they are true and just and righteous.

    Death is but the due wages of sin (Romans 6:23). Therefore it is said, "Their damnation is just!" (Romans 3:8.). Every sin has its just punishment (Hebrews 2:2).

    Consider the nature of sin. It is Deicide--God-murder! Thus it is just for God to do with sinners, what they would unjustly do with Him. That is, take away from them all good and glory, displease and destroy them--because they would do so to Him.

    If sin had accomplished its intention and desire--horror of horrors!--God would have been no more!

    If we consider the person who is sinned against, and that the aim of sin is to ungod God--then what punishment can be thought bad enough?

    Sin is an infinite evil. What punishment then can be too great--for so great an evil?

    As none but infinite power can pardon sin--so none but infinite power can punish it sufficiently.

    Just as sin's aim is infinite--so is its desert. Therefore, though sin's punishment is infinite--yet it is but just.
    Seeing sin contains all evil--it is fitting that its punishment should be answerable and proportionate.
     
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