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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 Through Faith Supporter

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    Splendid sins!

    (Charles Spurgeon)

    "We know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but through faith in Jesus Christ!" Galatians 2:16

    See the uselessness of mere morality. Honesty, morality and such things may be very good among men. But all these things put together, without faith, do not please God.

    Without saving faith, all moral virtues are but splendid sins!

    You will as surely be lost if you trust to your good works, as if you had trusted to your sins!

    Trust Jesus, and you are saved.
    Trust self, and you are damned.

    Unbelief nullifies everything!
    It is the dead fly in the ointment!
    It is the poison in the pot!

    All the moral virtues,
    all the benevolence of philanthropy,
    all the kindness of unselfish charity,
    --give no title to Divine acceptance, for "without faith it is impossible to please God." Hebrews 11:6

    The cardinal error against which the gospel of Christ has to contend, is the tendency of the human heart to rely on salvation by its works, or morality, or virtues.

    The poor sinner trying to be saved by his morality or good works, is like a blind horse going round and round a mill, and never getting a step further, but only being whipped continually.

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    J.C. Ryle: "The holiest actions of the holiest saint that ever lived, are all more or less full of defects and imperfections. They are either wrong in their motive, or defective in their performance, and in themselves are nothing better than "splendid sins," deserving God's wrath and condemnation. To suppose that such actions can stand the severity of God's judgment, atone for sin, and merit Heaven--is simply absurd! The only righteousness in which we can appear before God, is the righteousness of another--even the perfect righteousness of our Substitute and Representative, Jesus Christ the Lord. His work, and not our work--is our only title to Heaven. This is a truth which we should be ready to die to maintain!"

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    Arthur Pink: "The Gospel addresses men as guilty, condemned, perishing criminals. It declares that the most chaste moralist is in the same terrible plight as is the most voluptuous profligate; and the zealous professor, with all his religious performances, is no better off than the most profane infidel! The Gospel contemplates every person as a fallen, polluted, Hell-deserving and helpless sinner. Salvation by Christ alone, is the sinner's only hope!"​
     
  2. nChrist

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    There lies the sweetness!

    (Charles Spurgeon)

    "My meditation of Him shall be sweet." Psalm 104:34

    "Of Him"--that is, of the Well-Beloved of the Father, of the Well-Beloved of my own soul--of Him who loved me, in whose blood I have washed my robes and made them white.

    It is meditation "of Him" that is sweet--not merely of doctrine about Him--but of Him, of Himself. Not merely of His offices, and His work, and all that concerns Him--but of His own dear Self! There lies the sweetness!

    The closer we come to His blessed Person, the more truly have we approached the very center of bliss!​
     
  3. nChrist

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    What a superlatively grand and consoling idea!

    (John Foster, 1888)

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

    What a superlatively grand and consoling idea, is that of DEATH! Without this wondrous hope of death--life would, to my view, darken into midnight melancholy! Oh! the expectation of living always on this sin-cursed earth, would be indeed a prospect of overwhelming despair!

    But thanks to God for that fatal decree which dooms us to die!
    Thanks to that gospel which opens up the vista of a glorious and endless life!
    And thanks, above all, to that Savior-Friend who has promised to conduct all the godly through the sacred trance of death--into scenes of Paradise and everlasting delight!

    "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord!" Revelation 14:13

    "You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand!" Psalm 16:11​
     
  4. nChrist

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    Their hearts were devoted to their idols!

    (Charles Spurgeon)

    "Son of man, these men have set up idols in their heart!" Ezekiel 14:3

    "Their hearts were devoted to their idols!" Ezekiel 20:16

    Whatever a man depends upon,
    whatever rules his mind,
    whatever governs his affections,
    whatever is the chief object of his delight
    --is his god.

    Man is such an idolater that, if he cannot idolize anything else--he will idolize himself, and bow down and worship himself!

    If you love anything better than God--you are idolaters.
    If there is anything you would not give up for God--it is your idol.
    If there is anything that you seek with greater fervor than God--that is your idol.

    True conversion is a turning from every idol!
    "They tell how you turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God!" 1 Thessalonians 1:9

    "Dear children, keep yourselves from idols!" 1 John 5:21
     
  5. nChrist

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    Our sins--His mercies!

    (Letters of John Newton)

    "Where sin abounded--grace did much more abound!" Romans 5:20

    March 18, 1767
    Dear friend,
    You have one hard lesson to learn, that is--the evil of your own heart. You know something of it, but it is needful that you should know more; for the more we know of ourselves--the more we shall prize and love Jesus and His wondrous salvation.
    The more you know Him--the better you will trust Him.
    The more you trust Him--the better you will love Him.
    The more you love Him--the better you will serve Him.
    This is God's way. He is teaching you these things, and I trust He will teach you to the end.

    Do not be surprised to find yourself to be poor, helpless, and vile. All whom God favors and teaches--will find themselves so. The more grace increases--the more we shall see in ourselves to abase us in our own eyes!

    I hope what you find in yourself by daily experience, will humble you--but not discourage you.
    For if our Physician is almighty--our disease cannot be desperate.
    Our sins are many--but His mercies are more.
    Our sins are great--but His righteousness is greater.
    When our sins prevail, remember that we have an Advocate with the Father, who is able to pity, to pardon, and to save to the uttermost!

    Think of the names and relations which Jesus bears to us. He calls Himself . . .
    our Savior,
    our Shepherd,
    our Friend,
    and our Husband!

    He has made known unto us . . .
    His wondrous love,
    His atoning sacrifice,
    His righteousness,
    His promises,
    His power, and
    His grace--and all for our encouragement!
    It is better to be admiring the compassion and fullness of grace which is in our Savior--than to dwell and pore too much upon our own poverty and vileness.

    Remember that He has loved you with an everlasting love--and therefore in loving-kindness has drawn you to Himself. He will surely accomplish that which He has begun. Nothing which can be named or thought of--shall ever be able to separate you from Him!
    This persuasion will give you strength for the battle!
    This is the shield which will quench the fiery darts of Satan!
    This is the helmet which the enemy cannot pierce!
    Be strong, therefore, not in yourself--but in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

    Remember, the growth of a believer is not like a mushroom--but like an oak, which increases slowly--but indeed surely. Many suns, showers, and frosts, pass upon it before it comes to perfection. And in winter, when it seems to be dead--it is gathering strength at the root. Be humble, watchful, and diligent in the means of grace; and endeavor to look through all, and fix your eye upon Jesus--and all shall be well. I commend you to the care of the good Shepherd and Guardian of your souls!
     
  6. nChrist

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    A saint abroad, and a devil at home!

    (Charles Spurgeon)

    The way in which a man lives in his home is vital. It will not do to be a saint abroad, and a devil at home! There are some of that kind. They are wonderfully sweet at church, but they are dreadfully sour to their wives and children. This will never do! Every genuine believer should say and mean it: "I will be careful to lead a blameless life . . . I will walk in my house with blameless heart." Psalm 101:2

    It is in the home that we get the truest proof of godliness.

    "What sort of a man is he?" said one to George Whitefield, and Whitefield answered, "I cannot say, for I have never lived with him."

    The best way to test what a man really is, is to live with him.

    "I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:1-2
     
  7. nChrist

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    Preach with your feet!

    (Charles Spurgeon)

    "Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us." 1 Peter 2:12

    It is well to preach as I do, with my lips. But you can all preach with your feet and by your lives--and that is the most effective preaching! The preaching of holy lives is living preaching! The most effective ministry from a pulpit is that which is supported by godliness from the pew! A holy life is a missionary enterprise.

    There are many more flies caught with honey than with vinegar. In the same way, there are many more sinners brought to Christ by joyful Christians than by doleful Christians!

    "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." 1 Peter 3:1-2

    "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven!" Matthew 5:16
     
  8. nChrist

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    That spiritual chemistry which turns all metals into gold!

    "But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night." Psalm 1:2


    William Bates: "Meditation is the serious exercise of the mind, whereby our thoughts are fixed on the observation of spiritual things, in order to practice them. Meditation is that spiritual chemistry which turns all metals into gold!"


    Arthur Pink: "Reader! You will derive far more benefit from a single verse of Scripture read slowly and prayerfully, and duly meditated upon--than you will from ten chapters read through hurriedly! Meditation is nearly a lost art. Lack of meditation is at the root of most of our spiritual troubles."


    Edmund Calamy: "The reason why all the sermons we hear do us no more good, is for lack of divine meditation. For it is with sermons as it is with food--it is not having food upon your table that will nourish you, but you must eat it. And you must not only eat it, but digest it--or else your food will do you no good.

    So it is with sermons: it is not hearing sermons that will do you good, but pondering in your hearts what you hear, and digesting them by meditation. One sermon well digested, well meditated upon--is better than twenty sermons without meditation! I am confident the great reason why we have so many hunger-starved Christians who are lean in grace and lean in practice, though they hear sermon upon sermon--is because they digest nothing. They never ponder and meditate upon what they hear!

    There are some men sick with a disease that makes them vomit up whatever they eat--the food never does them any good. So is the custom of many of you: you hear a sermon, you go away, and never think of it afterward. This is just like food that you vomit up! That is the reason why you are so lean in grace--though you are so fully fed with sermons!"
     
  9. nChrist

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    What a contrast!

    ("Every Day!" Author unknown, 1872)

    "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
    See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way!" Psalm 139:23, 24

    What a contrast there is between a man of this world--and a child of God!

    The one wishes to avoid the scrutiny of God--and the other desires and prays for it.

    The one loves sin, and cherishes it--the other abhors sin, and desires to be delivered from it.

    The one walks hand in hand with iniquity--the other grieves that he bears about with him a body of sin and death.

    It is the earnest desire of all who are born of God, and made partakers of the Divine nature--to be delivered from the power of sin that dwells in them. They would have no lust spared--and no corruption unmortified.

    Chosen by the Father in eternity past,
    redeemed by the precious blood of Christ and justified freely by His grace
    --they would also be sanctified by His Spirit.

    They would be holy as He is holy--and their desires will eventually be satisfied! He who has begun a good work in them, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. He will present them "faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy!"

    "Search me, O God, and try my thoughts,
    And make my heart sincere;
    Let sin have no dominion, Lord,
    And keep my conscience clear!

    "Make me to walk in Your commands,
    'Tis a delightful road;
    Nor let my head, or heart, or hands,
    Offend against my God!"

    "The desire of the righteous will be granted!" Proverbs 10:24
     
  10. nChrist

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    Do not reckon that God will give you a life without difficulty!

    (Charles Spurgeon)

    "Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward!" Job 5:7

    "How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble!" Job 14:1

    "My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak." Psalm 31:10

    "Many are the afflictions of the righteous" Psalm 34:19

    David did not expect to pass through life without experiencing difficulties. He had many severe trials. He expected to have troubles, and he certainly was not disappointed. Nor will you be.

    Do not reckon that God will give you a life without difficulty! Tell me, if you can, of any child of His who ever had such a portion? He had one Son without sin--but no son without sorrow. No, that Son who had no sin, was the Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief. So you must expect the Lord to deal with you as He does with the rest of His household.

    "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows." John 16:33

    "God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:10-11
     
  11. nChrist

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    Self-sins!

    "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves" 2 Timothy 3:1-2

    (A.W. Tozer)

    We all have a number of self-sins:
    self-righteousness,
    self-pity,
    self-confidence,
    self-sufficiency,
    self-admiration,
    self-worth,
    self-love and
    a host of others like them!
    These self-sins are not something we do, they are something we are--and therein lies both their subtlety and their power. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures, to come to our attention--until the light of God is focused upon them.

    The grosser manifestations of these sins--egotism, pride, arrogance, self-elevation, self-promotion--are strangely tolerated in Christian leaders, even in circles of impeccable orthodoxy! They are so much in evidence as actually, for many people, to become identified with the gospel. I trust that it is not a cynical observation to say that they appear these days to be a requisite for popularity in some sections of the visible Church.

    Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ--is currently so common as to excite little notice!

    "They do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely" Philippians 1:17
     
  12. nChrist

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    You must keep the circus going!

    (Ernest Reisinger)

    Whatever means you use to get people into the church, is precisely what you must use to keep them.

    If you get them with a 'religious circus' then you must keep the circus going--you must keep up the entertainment.

    If you get them with biblical preaching and teaching, then that will keep them and you will not need the entertainment.

    "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For 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 4:2-3
     
  13. nChrist

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    A statue of a stone lamb!

    (J.R. Miller)

    "Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us!" 1 Corinthians 5:7

    On a little church in Germany stands a statue of a stone lamb, which has an interesting history. When some workmen were engaged on the roof of the building, one of them fell to the ground. His companions hastened down, expecting to find him dead. They were amazed, however, to see him unhurt. A lamb had been grazing just where he struck the ground, and falling upon it, the little creature was crushed to death, while the man himself escaped injury. He was so grateful for this wonderful deliverance, that he had a statue of the lamb carved in stone, and placed on the building as a memorial. The lamb saved his life, by dying in his place.

    In the same way, every saved soul can point to the Lamb of God, and say, "I am saved--because Jesus died in my stead!"

    What memorial have we set up to witness to our gratitude and love?

    "The Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me!" Galatians 2:20

    "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain--to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!" Revelation 5:12
     
  14. nChrist

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    There would be a jubilee in Hell at the very thought of it!

    (Charles Spurgeon)

    In Hell, there is no hope.

    They have not even the hope of dying, or the hope of being annihilated.

    They are forever--forever--forever lost!

    On every chain in Hell, there is written, "forever!"

    In the fires, there blaze out the words, "forever!"

    Up above their heads, they read, "forever!"

    Their eyes are galled, and their hearts are pained with the thought that it is forever!

    Oh! if I could tell you tonight that Hell would one day be burned out, and that those who were lost might be saved--there would be a jubilee in Hell at the very thought of it! But it cannot be, for "They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever!" Revelation 20:10
     
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    The man who has God for his portion!

    (James Smith, "Gleams of Grace" 1860)

    "You are my portion, O LORD!" Psalm 119:57

    If God is my portion, then I ought to be content without any other portion. He is . . .
    enough in poverty,
    enough in persecution,
    enough in life,
    enough in death,
    enough for evermore!

    If God gives me Himself--then it is more than as if He had given me the whole world, or ten thousand worlds like this! O how happy was the apostle Paul, who knowing God to be his portion could say, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in need!" Philippians 4:11-12

    If God is my portion, I ought to be thankful. It is enough. There is no losing it. What dignity, what honor is conferred on the man who has God for his portion! I deserved to be stripped of everything, and to be turned out of God's presence eternally penniless, wretched, and miserable. But instead of this, God in His free grace, in His infinite mercy--gives me . . .
    a heavenly mansion,
    a glorious city,
    an eternal kingdom,
    more, He gives me Himself!
    God in all His glory, in all His grace--is mine!

    If God is my portion, then I ought to be living upon Him. If I live upon anything outside of God--then I live upon what is finite, and will change. But if I live upon God, I live upon the infinite, and upon what is unchangeable. As a believer, I should live befitting the dignity of my lofty character, position, and prospects. The man of fortune ought not to live like the pauper. Just so, the Christian ought to live above other men.

    If God is my portion, I ought to be making a proper use of it. I should set my portion over and against . . .
    all my pains and privations,
    all my griefs and grievances,
    all my sadnesses and sorrows.

    I should look above all my trials and troubles--and rejoice that throughout eternity, I shall have . . .
    eternal ease--instead of pain,
    eternal plenty--instead of privation,
    eternal joy--instead of grief,
    eternal gladness--instead of sadness,
    and eternal bliss--instead of sorrow!

    Beloved, is the Lord your portion? Are you living upon Him as such?

    But if God is not your portion--then what is?
    Where are your thoughts most?
    Where do your affections center?
    After what do you pursue?
    The world? It is a poor, fleeting, unsatisfying portion!
    It will be found insufficient, unsatisfactory, and perishing!

    Unless God is your portion, you will be . . .
    unsatisfied in life,
    wretched in death, and
    indescribably miserable to all eternity!

    "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!" Psalm 73:26
     
  16. nChrist

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    The Savior's abiding presence with His redeemed people!

    (J.R. Miller, "The Practical Value of a Promise")

    "O LORD, You have searched me and You know me.
    You know when I sit and when I rise;
    You perceive my thoughts from afar.
    You discern my going out and my lying down;
    You are familiar with all my ways!
    Before a word is on my tongue, You know it completely, O LORD!" Psalm 139:1-4

    Doctrines are not such cold, lifeless things as some would have us to believe. There is no doctrine of Scripture which is not fitted to affect the life of him who believes it. Consider the proper influence upon us, of the doctrine and promise of the Savior's abiding presence with His redeemed people. If we believe and always recollect that Christ is truly with us always--how will it affect us?

    For one thing it will make us very thoughtful and careful in all our words and acts. Christ is present in His holiness as well as in His love and tenderness. His pure eyes see all our life, and see into our hearts. He is ever beholding us--our real inner life.

    The thought of the Master's eye upon us should . . .
    make us holy,
    rebuke our sins, and
    hold us back from evil.

    We cannot do wicked things in the presence of even a pure and holy human friend. But could we be continually conscious of Christ's perpetual presence with us, of His eye ever resting upon us, then . . .
    Could we run into sin?
    Could we live carelessly?
    Could we trifle?
    Could we speak sharp, bitter, or unkind words?
    Could we do unholy, unlovely things?

    Surely the realizing of His perpetual abiding presence would make us live reverently, purely, lovingly--so as always to please and never to grieve Him.
     
  17. nChrist

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    Prayer is just talking to Jesus

    (J.R. Miller, "The Practical Value of a Promise")

    "The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.
    He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him;
    He hears their cry and saves them.
    The LORD watches over all who love Him." Psalm 145:18-20

    The firm believing of this promise will give new meaning and reality to prayer. Many people are perplexed at times, as they think about prayer. Is there really an ear to hear the words we speak when we bow in prayer? How can God hear us so far away? Then suppose ten thousand of God's children, in different parts of the world, are praying at the same moment--how can He hear them all, and disentangle the confusion of the words as they come up to Him, and distinguish the supplications of each?

    Who has not at times been puzzled and even perplexed by such questions? But the promise of Christ's abiding presence makes it all plain. He is not way off in any imagined central Heaven, up to which all prayers of earth must fly through the air before they can be heard or answered. He is close beside each one of us!

    We remember how it was when Jesus was on the earth in human form.
    The people came to Him with their needs and sorrows.
    Those who sinned came with their confessions, bathing His feet with their penitential tears.
    Those who were in trouble came with their burdens.

    That is what prayer is now, only now Christ can be with millions at the same moment of time, as He could not be when in the flesh.

    Prayer is just talking to Jesus . . .
    weeping at His dear feet, if we have sinned;
    leaning upon His bosom, if we are weary or in sorrow;
    breathing our heart's longings into His ear;
    telling Him our needs, whatever they may be.

    Does not the realization of this truth of the Lord's presence with us, take from prayer all its mystery?

    "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age!" Matthew 28:20
     
  18. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Through Faith Supporter

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    What shall we ask God to do?

    (J.R. Miller)

    "We do not know what we should pray for as we ought." Romans 8:26

    A minister sat with a father and mother by the bed of a child who was hovering between life and death. He was about to pray for the little sufferer, and turning to the parents he asked, "What shall we ask God to do?" After some moments the father answered, with deep emotion: "I would not dare to choose--leave it to God."

    Would it not be better always to leave the decision to God, letting Him choose what it is best for Him to do for us or to give to us? We are not in the world to always have ease and pleasure, to always succeed, to do great things--we are here to grow into strength and beauty of life and character, to accomplish the will of God, and to have that will wrought out in our own life. Ofttimes . . .
    the present must be sacrificed for the future,
    the earthly given up to gain the Heavenly, and
    pain endured for the sake of spiritual refining and enriching.
    Christ does not seek to take away the burden--rather, He would make us strong and brave to bear it.

    If we are willing to let God choose for us, and accept what He gives--we shall never fail to receive the best. Perhaps not what the world would call the best--but always God's best. We do not know what we should pray for as we ought, and we had better leave it to God.

    We should be content to leave the guidance and choices of our lives in His hands. Think how wise He is--knowing all things, knowing how to choose the best for us. Who does not know that this is better, safer, wiser than if we were to choose the way for ourselves?

    The truest prayer is often that in which we creep into the bosom of God and rest there in silence. We do not know what to ask, and we dare not say even a word, lest it might be the wrong word, hence we simply wait before God in quietness and confidence. We know that what is best--our Father will do, and we trust Him to do what He will.

    We are sure that God could relieve us of the things which are so hard for us to bear--could, if He desired to. This is God's world, and nothing can get out of His hands. All we have to do is to lay our need before the throne of mercy, and to let God answer us as He will.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    A beautiful story is told of a devout home in which were twin boys who were greatly beloved. In the absence of the father, both boys suddenly died. When the father returned, not knowing of the sorrow in his home, the mother met him at the door and said, "I have had a strange visitor since you went away."

    "Who was it?" asked the father, not suspecting her meaning.

    "Five years ago," his wife answered, "a friend lent me two precious jewels. Yesterday he came and asked me to return them to him. What shall I do?"

    "Are they his?" asked the father, not dreaming of her meaning.

    "Yes, they belong to him and were only lent to me."

    "If they are his, he must have them again, if he desires."

    Leading her husband to the boys' room, the wife drew down the sheet, uncovering the lovely forms, as white as marble. "These are my jewels," said the mother. "Five years ago God lent them to me, and yesterday He came and took them back again."

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    "Going a little farther, He fell with his face to the ground and prayed: My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will--but as You will." Matthew 26:39

    "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it--may Your will be done." Matthew 26:42

    "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
     
  19. nChrist

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    Market-Driven Christianity

    (Don Fortner)

    "Am I now trying to win the approval of men--or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men--I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10

    Religion in America is big business. Scads of money, powerful personalities, huge egos, and positions of prominence, influence, and recognition are at stake in the business of religion, just as they are in any other business. There was a time when the concern of churches and preachers in this country was the glory of God and the truth of God. Today, like any business, the concern is for success.

    Christianity today is market-driven. The goal of all marketing is to make both the buyer and the seller satisfied. Consequently, market-driven churches, in utter abandonment of God's glory and God's truth, in their insatiable quest for success and recognition--do whatever it takes to win customers and keep them.

    Be warned! False doctrine and worldliness always go hand in hand. Worldliness usually leads the way. The early modernists did not aim at destroying biblical Christianity. They simply tried to make Christianity palatable to an unbelieving world. It cannot be done. When Christianity becomes acceptable to unregenerate people--it has ceased to be Christianity!

    "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing!" 1 Corinthians 1:18
     
  20. nChrist

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    But there is a condition

    (J.R. Miller, "In All Your Ways!")

    "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

    We all need direction in our life paths.

    We turn to our friends for counsel, but human wisdom is inadequate. It is short-sighted and cannot certainly know what is best. It is ignorant and may mislead unwittingly. Wrong advice, though meant for good, has wrecked many a life destiny! Human guidance is not enough; we need something truer, wiser, safer--something infallible; and that is just what we have assured to us in this promise of divine direction.

    But there is a condition--we must acknowledge the Lord in all our ways. The "all" is emphatic. Most of us acknowledge the Lord in some of our ways. We turn to Him in the time of great trials, or in great and sore dangers. Even scoffers and atheists have been known, in the moment of peril, as in a storm at sea--to fall upon their knees and call upon God for help. The worst people, when alarming sickness is on them, or when death stares them in the face, want to take hold of the hand of God. There are none of us who do not at certain times crave divine direction and help.

    But the promise reads, "In all your ways"--that is the condition of the promised direction.

    We are very willing to acknowledge God while He directs us in the paths in which we are inclined to go--paths that are pleasant and agreeable to us. We can easily submit to the sweet will of God, when it is indeed sweet to our natural taste. But how is it when God directs us to go the way we do not want to go--to do the thing that is unpleasant, and will cause pain, or require sacrifice or loss?

    How is it when the voice of God, answering to our request . . .
    bids us to take the path which leads to a cross;
    bids us to turn away from the pleasant thing that we crave;
    bids us to give up the dear friendship, which is drawing us away from Him;
    bids us give into His hand, the child or loved one we so desire to keep with us?

    "In all your ways" means the hard ways--as well as the easy ways; the thorny path--as wall as the path of flowers. Yet we are continually coming to points at which we hesitate. We say: "In all but this, dear Lord--I can take Your way and do Your will." Still the answer comes, "In all My ways, My child."

    There must be no reserve, no withholding, no exception.

    The beloved sin must be given up--though it seems only a little one, though giving it up is like cutting off a right hand or plucking out a right eye.

    The hard path must be taken--though it leads among thorns that pierce the feet, over the sharp stones, and through fire and flood.

    The painful duty must be done--though it costs us popularity, ease, or position; though it leads to poverty, suffering, or homelessness.

    The bitter grief must be accepted--though it seems to take all, and leave nothing.
    It must be accepted sweetly, lovingly, cheerfully, with unquestioning surrender.

    The lesson is plain. Nothing must be withheld from God--whether it be in obedience, or in submission.

    The darling sin must be given up.

    The rough path must be walked over.

    That hard duty must be accepted.

    We must acknowledge the Lord in all our ways, if we would have Him direct our paths.
     
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