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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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    No dirty dogs shall ever trample upon that golden pavement!

    (Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

    Throughout the Scriptures unholy people are branded, to their everlasting contempt--with the worst appellations. They are the most dangerous, and the most harmful beings in the world, and therefore are emblemized . . .
    by lions--for they are cruel, Psalm 22:21;
    by bears--for they are savage, Isaiah 11:7;
    by dragons--for they are hideous, Ezekiel 29:3;
    by wolves--for they are ravenous, Ezekiel 22:27;
    by dogs--for they are snarling, Revelation 22:15;
    by vipers and scorpions--for they are stinging, Matthew 12:34, Ezekiel 2:6;
    by spiders and cockatrices--for they are poisoning, Isaiah 59:5;
    by swine--for they are intemperate, Matthew 7:6.

    Remember this: that all these stinging expressions and appellations which disgrace and vilify unholy people, were inspired by the Holy Spirit and published in His holy Word.

    The glutton is depicted as a swine;
    the fraudulent person is depicted as a fox;
    the lustful person is depicted as a goat;
    the backbiter is depicted as a barking cur;
    the slanderer is depicted as an asp;
    the oppressor is depicted as a wolf;
    the persecutor is depicted as a tiger;
    the seducer is depicted as a serpent.

    Do you think that God admit such vermin as unholy people are--to eternally inhabit His holy Heaven? Surely not! God has long since resolved upon it--that no unclean beasts shall enter into Heaven--that no dirty dogs shall ever trample upon that golden pavement! Certainly God will not allow such beasts and toads and snakes and serpents--to forever live with Him! Heaven is a too holy place to admit such vermin to inhabit!

    "Nothing impure will ever enter it." Revelation 21:27

    "Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood." Revelation 22:15

    All in Heaven are holy: the angels holy, the saints are holy--and the Lord Himself above all is most glorious in holiness.

    Now certainly it would be a Hell to these holy ones to have unholy wretches to be their eternal companions! When the holy angels fell from their holiness--Heaven was so holy that it spewed them out! Certainly there will be no room in Heaven for such filthy beasts as unholy people are! 'Jerusalem above' is too glorious a habitation for beasts--or for men of beastly spirits, or beastly principles, or beastly practices. The city of the great God was never built for beasts. A wilderness and not a paradise--is fittest for beasts.
     
  2. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Through Faith Supporter

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    How wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is!

    (Charles Spurgeon)

    "May you have the power to understand, as all God's people should--how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is! May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully." Ephesians 3:18-19

    The love of Christ in its sweetness, its fullness, its greatness, its faithfulness--surpasses all human comprehension. Where shall language be found--which could describe His matchless, His unparalleled love towards His redeemed people? It is so vast and boundless that, as the swallow but skims the water, and dives not into its depths--so all descriptions of Jesus but touch the surface, while immeasurable depths lie beneath. Well might the poet say, "O love--you fathomless abyss!" for this love of Christ is indeed measureless and fathomless; none can attain unto it!

    Before we can have any right idea of the love of Jesus, we must understand His previous glory in His height of majesty--and His humiliation upon the earth in all its depths of shame.

    But who can fathom the majesty and glory of Christ, when . . .
    He was enthroned in the highest heavens;
    He was very God of very God;
    He made the heavens and all the hosts thereof;
    His own almighty arm upheld the spheres;
    the full chorus of the hallelujahs of the universe unceasingly flowed to the foot of His throne;
    He reigned supreme above all His creatures, as God over all, blessed forever!
    Who can fathom His height of glory then?

    And who, on the other hand, can fathom how low He descended?
    To become a man was something--to be a man of sorrows was far more.
    To bleed, and die, and suffer--these were much for Him who was the Son of God; but to suffer such unparalleled agony, to endure a death of shame and desertion by His Father--this is a depth of condescending love which the most inspired mind must utterly fail to penetrate!

    Herein is love! and truly it is love that surpasses knowledge!

    O let His love for such unworthy sinners as us, fill our hearts with adoring gratitude.
     
  3. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Through Faith Supporter

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    The picture of agonizing love!

    (Charles Spurgeon)

    "Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him scourged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head. They clothed Him in a purple robe and went up to Him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck Him in the face!" John 19:1-3

    Pilate delivered our Lord to the lictors to be scourged. The Roman scourging was a most dreadful instrument of torture. It was made of the sinews of oxen, and sharp bones were inter-twisted among the sinews; so that every time the lash came down--these pieces of bone inflicted fearful laceration, and tore off some flesh from the victim. The Savior was, no doubt, bound to the pillar, and thus beaten. He had been beaten before, but this scourging of the Roman lictors was probably the most severe of His flagellations.

    "With His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

    My soul, stand here and weep over His poor stricken body. Believer in Jesus, can you gaze upon Him without tears, as He stands before you--the picture of agonizing love? He is at once as white as the lily for innocence, and as red as the rose with the crimson of His own blood. As we feel the sure and blessed healing which His stripes have wrought in us--does not our heart melt at once with love and grief? If ever we have loved our Lord Jesus--surely we must feel that affection glowing now within our bosoms.

    "See how the patient Jesus stands,
    Insulted in His lowest case!
    Sinners have bound the Almighty's hands,
    And spit in their Creator's face!

    "With thorns His temples gored and gashed
    Send streams of blood from every part.
    His back's with knotted scourges lashed,
    But sharper scourges tear His heart!"

    We would sincerely go to our chambers and weep. But since our business calls us away this morning, we will first ask our Beloved to print the image of His bleeding self upon the tablets of our hearts all the day; and at nightfall we will return to commune with Him, and sorrow that our sin should have cost Him so dear!
     
  4. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Through Faith Supporter

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    An outlet and an inlet!

    (Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

    "Death has been swallowed up in victory!" 1 Corinthians 15:54

    DEATH is an outlet and an inlet to a holy man.

    Death is an eternal outlet . . .
    to all his sins,
    to all his sorrows,
    to all his shame,
    to all his sufferings,
    to all his afflictions,
    to all his temptations,
    to all his oppressions,
    to all his confusions,
    and to all his vexations.

    Death is an eternal inlet into . . .
    the clear, full, and constant enjoyment of God,
    the sweetest pleasures,
    the purest joys,
    the highest delights,
    the strongest comforts, and
    the most satisfying contentments.

    Death is the funeral of all a holy man's sins and miseries, and
    the perfection of all his joys, graces, and spiritual excellencies.

    Death is not the death of the man--but the death of his sin.

    Death is a Christian's discharge from all trouble and misery!

    Death came in by sin--and sin goes out by death.

    Death cures all diseases--the aching head and the unbelieving heart; the diseased body and the defiled soul. Death will cure the holy man of all natural and spiritual distempers.

    Death is God's gentle usher to conduct us to Heaven!

    Death to a holy man, is nothing but the changing of . . .
    his grace--into glory,
    his faith--into vision,
    his hope--into fruition, and
    his love--into eternal rapture!

    Oh, who would not go through death . . .
    to Heaven!
    to eternal life!
    to immortality and glory!

    Death, to a Christian, is . . .
    a welcome guest,
    a happy friend,
    a joyful messenger!

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

    "I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far." Philippians 1:23
     
  5. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Through Faith Supporter

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    Glued to their lusts!

    (Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

    Sinners' hearts are so glued to their lusts, that they will rather part with their nearest, dearest, and choicest enjoyments--than part with their sins! Yes, they will rather part with God, Christ, and all the glory of Heaven--than they will part with some darling lust!

    "When He comes, He will convict the world about sin." John 16:8
    The first work of the Spirit upon the soul, is to make a man . . .
    look upon sin as an enemy,
    deal with sin as an enemy,
    loathe sin as an enemy,
    fear sin as an enemy, and
    fight against sin as an enemy.

    Of all the vile things in the world, sin is the most defiling thing.
    Sin makes us red with guilt, and black with filth.

    Inward corruptions grieve the gracious soul.
    "Oh," says the gracious soul, "that I were but rid of . . .
    this proud heart,
    this hard heart,
    this unbelieving heart,
    this filthy heart,
    this rebellious heart,
    this earthly heart of mine!"

    The Christian has a sincere willingness to be rid of all sin.
    The enmity which grace works in the heart, is against all sin:
    profitable sins,
    pleasurable sins,
    secret sins,
    disgracing sins,
    darling sins,
    small sins,
    great sins.

    It is certain that sin is more afflictive to a gracious soul, than all the losses, crosses, troubles, and trials that he meets with in the world.

    True grace would not have one Canaanite left in the holy land.
    He would have every Egyptian drowned in the red sea of Christ's blood!
    "I hate every false way." Psalm 139:24

    Saving grace makes a man as willing to leave his beloved lusts,
    as a slave is willing to leave his chains,
    or a prisoner longs to leave his dungeon,
    or a beggar desires to leave his rags.

    A sincere heart had much rather be rid of his sins, than of his sufferings.
    Yes, he would rather be rid the least sins, than of the greatest sufferings.
     
  6. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Through Faith Supporter

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    Devils in their homes!

    (Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

    A true Christian will endeavor to obey God in home duties. He will not only attend church, and pray, and read Scripture, and meditate, and fast--but he will labor to be godly in domestic relationships.

    Remember this forever: What a man is at home--that he is in reality before God. Many make a great profession, and have great abilities and gifts, and can discourse well on any pious subject--whose homes are not little Heavens, but little Hells! Some are very much like . . .
    angels in public,
    saints in the church, and
    devils in their homes!

    Domestic graces and duties better demonstrate true piety and godliness, than public or general duties do. For pride, reputation, love of praise, and a hundred other carnal ulterior motives--may cause a man to shine in the general duties of religion. But it argues both heart-sincerity and strength of grace, to be diligent and conscientious in the discharge of domestic duties.

    This is the true reason why the apostles in their epistles so frequently, so earnestly, and so strongly, by variety of motives--press Christians to the performance of their home duties.

    "Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
    Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
    Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." Colossians 3:20
     
  7. nChrist

    nChrist AKA: Tom - Saved By Grace Through Faith Supporter

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    A worm, a gnat, a fly, a hair, a raisin, a skin of a grape

    (Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

    "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth!" Proverbs 27:1

    Who can sum up . . .
    the many possible deaths which are still lurking in his own body;
    or the innumerable hosts of external dangers which beleaguer him on every side;
    or the invisible arrows which fly about his ears continually!

    Who can tell how soon he may have his mortal wound given him by one or another of them? Now, how sad would it be for a man to have a summons to appear before God in that eternal world, before his heart and life are savingly changed!

    The life of a man is but a shadow, a span, a vapor, a flower, etc.

    Though there is but one way to come into the world--yet there are thousands of ways to be sent out of the world!

    We carry about in our bodies the material for a thousand deaths--and may die a thousand different ways in several hours. As many senses, as many members, nay, as many pores as there are in the body--so many windows there are for death to enter in at!

    Death needs not spend all his arrows upon us. A worm, a gnat, a fly, a hair, a raisin, a skin of a grape, the stumbling of a horse, the trip of a foot, the pick of a pin, the cutting of a fingernail, the cutting out of a corn; all these have been to others, and any of them may be to us--the means of our death within the space of a few days; nay, of a few hours; nay, of a few moments!

    Yet I am sure that the worst of deaths, shall but translate true believers . . .
    from earth--to Heaven,
    from a wilderness--to a paradise,
    from misery--to glory, and
    from mixed and mutable enjoyments--to the pure and everlasting enjoyments of God!

    To a believer, "The day of death better than the day of birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart." Ecclesiastes 7:1-2
     
  8. nChrist

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    Other men's sins!

    (Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

    By other men's sins, a holy man is put in mind of the badness of his own heart.

    Bernard makes mention of an old man, who, when he saw any man sin, lamented and wept for him. Being asked why he grieved so, for other men's sins, answered, "He fell today--and I may fall tomorrow!"

    The falls of others puts a holy man in mind of the roots of sinfulness which are in himself. Other men's actual sins are as so many looking-glasses, through which a holy man comes to see the manifold seeds of sin which are in his own heart--and such a sight as this cannot but humble him.

    A holy heart knows that the best way to keep himself pure from other men's sins, is to mourn for other men's sins. He who makes conscience of weeping over other men's sins--will rarely be defiled with other men's sins.

    A holy heart looks upon other men's sins as their bonds and chains--and this makes him mourn. Ah, how can tears but trickle down a Christian's cheeks, when he sees multitudes fast bound with the cords of their iniquity, trooping to Hell? Who can look upon a lost sinner as a bound prisoner to the prince of darkness--and not bemoan him?

    If holy people thus mourn for the wickedness of others, then certainly those who take pleasure in the wickedness of others--who laugh and joy, who can make a sport of other men's sins--are rather monsters than men! There are none so nearly allied to Satan as these--nor any so resemble Satan as much as these! (The devil always joys most--when sinners sin most!) To applaud them, and take pleasure in those who take pleasure in sin--is the highest degree of ungodliness!
     
  9. nChrist

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    The separated life!

    (Charles Spurgeon)

    "Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.
    Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
    For here we have no continuing city, but we are seeking the city which is to come."
    Hebrews 13:12-14

    Jesus, bearing His cross, went forth to suffer outside the gate.

    The Christian's reason for leaving the camp of the world's sin and the world's religion, is not because he loves to be singular--but because Jesus did so, and the disciple must follow his Master. Christ was "not of the world"--His life and His teachings were a constant protest against conformity with the world. Never was there such overflowing affection for men as you find in Him; but still He was "separate from sinners."

    In like manner, Christ's people must "go forth unto Him." They must take their position "outside the camp," as witness-bearers for the truth. They must be prepared to tread the straight and narrow path. They must have bold, unflinching, lion-like hearts, loving Christ first, and His truth next--and Christ and His truth beyond all the world!

    Jesus would have His people "go forth to Him, outside the camp" for their own sanctification. You cannot grow in grace to any high degree--while you are conformed to the world. The life of separation may be a path of sorrow--but it is the highway of safety. And though the separated life may cost you many pangs, and make every day a battle--yet it is a happy life after all. No joy can excel that of the soldier of Christ; Jesus reveals Himself so graciously, and gives such sweet refreshment, that the warrior feels more calm and peace in his daily strife--than others in their hours of rest!

    The highway of holiness is the highway of sweet communion with Jesus. It is thus we shall hope to win the crown, if we are enabled by divine grace faithfully to follow Christ "outside the camp."

    The cross of separation--will be followed by the crown of glory!

    A moment's shame--will be well recompensed by eternal honor when we are "forever with the Lord!"
     
  10. nChrist

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    Kisses!

    (Charles Spurgeon)

    "Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth!" Song of Solomon 1:2

    Let us seek the same desires after our Lord, as those which glowed in the heart of the elect spouse.

    How bold is her love! See how she leaps at once to Him--there are no prefatory words; she does not even mention His name; she is in the heart of her theme at once, for she speaks of Him who was the only "Him" in the world to her!

    It was much condescension which permitted the weeping penitent to anoint His feet with spikenard.
    It was rich love which allowed the gentle Mary to sit at His feet and learn of Him.
    But here love--strong, fervent love, aspires to higher tokens of regard and more intimate fellowship.

    Esther trembled in the presence of king Ahasuerus; but here the spouse in joyful liberty of perfect love, knows no fear. If we have received the same loving spirit--we also may ask the like kisses.

    By "kisses" we suppose to be intended those varied manifestations of affection by which the believer is made to enjoy the love of Jesus.

    The kiss of reconciliation we enjoyed at our conversion, and it was as sweet as honey dropping from the comb.

    The kiss of acceptance is still warm on our brow, as we know that He has accepted us through His rich grace.

    The kiss of daily communion is that which we pant after to be repeated day after day
    --until it is changed into the kiss of reception, which removes the soul from earth,
    and the kiss of consummation which fills it with the joy of Heaven!

    Faith is the road--but communion with Jesus is the well from which the pilgrim drinks.

    O Lover of our souls, do not be distant to us.
    Let the lips of Your blessing--meet the lips of our asking!
    Let the lips of Your fullness--touch the lips of our need, and straightway the kiss will be effected!
     
  11. nChrist

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    The diamond in that ring!

    (Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

    The whole of Scripture is but one entire love-letter, all written in golden letters, dispatched from the Lord Christ to His beloved spouse on earth. In it, there is so much to be read of . . .
    the love of Christ,
    the heart of Christ,
    the kindness of Christ,
    the grace of Christ, and
    the glory of Christ,
    that a holy heart cannot but love, and embrace, and endeavor to conform to every line.

    The whole Word of God is a field--and Christ is the treasure which is hidden in that field!

    The whole Word of God is a ring of gold--and Christ is the diamond in that ring!

    "The Scriptures point to Me!" John 5:39
     
  12. nChrist

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    Murderer!

    (Charles Spurgeon)

    "A great multitude of the people followed Him, including women who mourned and wailed for Him." Luke 23:27

    Amid the rabble crowd which hounded the Redeemer to His doom, there were some gracious souls whose bitter anguish sought vent in wailing and lamentations--fit music to accompany that march of woe!

    When my soul can, in imagination, see the Savior bearing His cross to Calvary--she joins the godly women and weeps with them; for, indeed, there is true cause for my grief--cause lying deeper than those mourning women thought. They bewailed . . .
    innocence--maltreated,
    goodness--persecuted,
    love--bleeding,
    meekness--dying!

    But my heart has a deeper and more bitter cause to mourn--MY SINS were the scourges which lacerated those blessed shoulders, and crowned that bleeding brow with thorns!

    My sins cried, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" and laid the cross upon His gracious shoulders! His being led forth to die, is sorrow enough for one eternity; but MY having been His murderer--is more, infinitely more grief, than one poor fountain of tears can express! Those women who loved and wept--could not have had greater reasons for love and grief, than my poor heart has!

    The widow of Nain saw her son restored--but I myself have been raised to newness of life!
    Peter's mother-in-law was cured of the fever--but I myself have been cured of the plague of sin!
    Mary Magdalene had seven devils cast out of her--but a whole legion of devils were cast out of me!
    Mary and Martha were favored with visits from Jesus--but He dwells with me!

    I am not behind these holy women in debt to Jesus--let me not be behind them in gratitude or sorrow.


    "Love and grief my heart dividing,
    With my tears His feet I'll lave;
    Constant still in heart abiding,
    Weep for Him who died to save!"


    "He was pierced for our transgressions,
    He was crushed for our iniquities;
    the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him,
    and by His wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5


    Infinite grief! amazing woe!
    Behold my bleeding Lord!
    Hell and the Jews conspired His death,
    And used the Roman sword.

    O, the sharp pangs of smarting pain
    My dear Redeemer bore,
    When knotty whips and ragged thorns
    His sacred body tore!

    But knotty whips and ragged thorns
    In vain do I accuse;
    In vain I blame the Roman bands,
    And the more spiteful Jews.

    'Twere you, my sins, my cruel sins,
    His chief tormentors were;
    Each of my crimes became a nail,
    And unbelief the spear!

    'Twere you that pulled the vengeance down
    Upon His guiltless head;
    Break, break, my heart! O burst, mine eyes!
    And let my sorrows bleed.

    Strike, mighty grace, my flinty soul,
    Till melting waters flow,
    And deep repentance drowns my eyes,
    In sincere and bitter woe!
    Isaac Watts, 1674-1748
     
  13. nChrist

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    Then the scum appears!

    (Thomas Brooks, "The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod" or, "The Silent Soul with Sovereign Antidotes" 1659)

    "I have tried you in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10

    Few Christians see themselves and understand themselves rightfully.
    By trials, God reveals much of a man's sinful self to his pious self.

    When the fire is put under the pot--then the scum appears!
    Just so, when God tries a poor soul, Oh! how does . . .
    the scum of pride,
    the scum of murmuring,
    the scum of distrust,
    the scum of impatience,
    the scum of worldliness,
    the scum of carnality,
    the scum of foolishness,
    the scum of willfulness
    --reveal itself in the heart of the poor creature!

    Trials are God's looking-glass, in which His people see their own faults. Oh! . . .
    that looseness,
    that vileness,
    that wretchedness,
    that sink of filthiness,
    that gulf of wickedness,
    which trials show to be in their hearts!

    "When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold!" Job 23:10

    "Trials make the promise sweet,
    Trials give new life to prayer;
    Trials bring me to His feet,
    Lay me low, and keep me there!"
     
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    Take both sorrow and sin to the same place!

    (Charles Spurgeon)

    "Look upon my affliction and my pain--and forgive all my sins." Psalm 25:18

    It is well for us when prayers about our sorrows are linked with pleas concerning our sins--when, being under God's hand, we are not wholly taken up with our pain--but remember our offences against God.

    It is well, also, to take both sorrow and sin to the same place.
    It was to God that David carried his sorrow--it was to God that David confessed his sins.

    We must take our sorrows to God. Even your little sorrows you may roll upon God--for He counts the hairs of your head. You may also may commit your great sorrows to Him--for He holds the ocean in the hollow of His hand. Go to Him, whatever your present trouble may be--and you shall find Him both able and willing to support you.

    But we must also take our sins to God. We must carry them to the cross, that the blood may fall upon them to purge away their guilt, and to destroy their defiling power.

    The special lesson of the text is this--that we are to go to the Lord with sorrows and with sins in the right frame of heart.
    Note that all David asks concerning his sorrow is, "Look upon my affliction and my pain."
    But the next petition is vastly more express, definite, decided, and plain, "Forgive all my sins!"

    Many sufferers would have put it, "Remove my affliction and my pain--and look at my sins."

    But David does not say so. He cries, "Lord, as for my affliction and my pain, I will not dictate to Your wisdom. Lord, look at them--I will leave them to You to do as You think best. I would be glad to have my pain removed--but do as You will. But as for my sins, Lord, I must have them forgiven! I cannot endure to lie under their defiling power for a moment!"

    A Christian counts his sorrow lighter in the scale, than his sin. He can bear that his troubles should continue--but he cannot support the burden of his transgressions.
     
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    All the Hell that you shall ever have!

    ("The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod" or, "The Silent Soul with Sovereign Antidotes" by Thomas Brooks, 1659)

    Consider Christian, that all your . . .
    trials and troubles,
    calamities and miseries,
    crosses and losses,
    which you meet with in this world--is all the Hell that you shall ever have!

    Here and now, you have your Hell.
    Hereafter, you shall have your Heaven!

    This present life is the worst of your condition--the best is yet to come!

    Lazarus had his Hell first--and his Heaven last.
    Dives had his Heaven first--and his Hell at last.

    You have all your pangs, and pains, and throes here--that ever you shall have!
    Your ease, and rest, and pleasure--is yet to come.

    Here you have all your bitters--your sweets are yet to come!

    Here you have your sorrows--your joys are yet to come.

    Here you have all your winter nights--your summer days are yet to come!

    Here you have your evil things--your good things are yet to come.

    Death will put an end to all your sins, and to all your sufferings!

    Death will be an inlet to those joys, delights, and comforts--which shall never have an end!

    Who can seriously meditate upon this, and not be silent under God's most smarting rod?
     
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    Everything on this side Hell is mercy!

    ("The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod" or, "The Silent Soul with Sovereign Antidotes" by Thomas Brooks, 1659)

    "I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for You are the one who has done this!" Psalm 39:9

    Oh! labor every day to be more humble and more low and little in your own eyes. "Who am I," says the humble soul--"to complain of trials. I am not worthy of the least mercy, I deserve not a crumb of mercy, I have forfeited every mercy!"

    It is only pride that puts men upon complaining and contending with God.

    A humble soul will lie quiet at the foot of God; it will be contented with bare necessities. A dinner of green herbs is relished to the humble man's palate; whereas a stalled ox is but a coarse dish to a proud man's stomach.

    A humble heart looks upon . . .
    small mercies as great mercies;
    and great afflictions as small afflictions;
    and small afflictions as no afflictions;
    and therefore sits mute and quiet under all.

    Do but keep humble, and you will keep silent before the Lord.

    Pride kicks, and grumbles, and frets--but a humble man has still his hand upon his mouth. Everything on this side Hell is mercy--much mercy, rich mercy to a humble soul; and therefore he remains mute under God's smarting rod.


    John Berridge: "The heaviest afflictions on this side Hell--are less, far less than my iniquities have deserved! Oh, boundless grace! The chastening rod of a reconciled Father, might have been the flaming sword of an avenging Judge! I might now have been weeping and wailing with devils and damned spirits in Hell! I will bear the indignation of the Lord--because I have sinned against Him. It is of His mercy alone, that I am not consumed!"


    Ruth Bryan: "Seek a resigned, submissive will--it will greatly lighten every outward cross. Murmuring thoughts ill become worms who deserve the lowest Hell; everything on this side Hell is more than we deserve."
     
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    The birthmarks of a true child of God

    (Al Martin)

    "How may I be certain that I am saved?"

    To live and to die believing a wrong answer has horrific and irreversible consequences!

    The Spirit of God guided John to write his first epistle in order to help professing Christians give the right answer to this all-important question (1 John 5:13). John describes the convictions and patterns of life that are true of every one who has been born of the Holy Spirit and united to Jesus Christ. I have designated these as "the birthmarks of a true child of God." John identifies at least five such birthmarks. It is important to note that John uses present-tense verbs, indicating a pattern of ongoing action and conviction.

    (1) Faith in the Christ of Scripture. We read in 5:1 that "everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God." This birthmark is also emphasized in 1 John 5:6; 1 John 2:18-19; 1 John 2:23-25; 1 John 4:2-3; and 1 John 5:10.

    (2) Pursuit of a life of Christlike holiness and personal righteousness. In 1 John 2:29, John writes, "If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him." This birthmark is further insisted upon in 1 John 1:5-7; 1 John 2:6; 1 John 3:2-3; 3:4-10; and 1 John 5:18-19.

    (3) Pursuit of a life of obedience to God's commandments. John's words in 2:3-5 affirm this birthmark with unmistakable clarity: "By this we know that we have come to know him if we keep his commandments. Whoever says 'I know him' but does not keep his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him." See also 1 John 2:17; 1 John 3:24; and 1 John 5:3.

    (4) A life of brotherly love. John writes in 1 John 3:14: "We know we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and . . . no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." This statement is buttressed by similar assertions in 1 John 2:8-10; 1 John 3:11; 1 John 4:7-8; 1 John 4:12; 1 John 4:20-21; and 1 John 5:1.

    (5) An experience of the manifold ministries of the Holy Spirit. In 1 John 2:20, John asserts that true children of God will remain in fellowship with the church and the Apostolic truth present in the church because they have been anointed by the Holy One. Other aspects of the Spirit's ministry to everyone who has been born again are found in 1 John 2:27; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:8; and 1 John 4:13.

    The things John has written in order that we may "know that we have eternal life" must never be looked upon as the basis upon which we possess eternal life (1 John 5:13). John has clearly asserted that "whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:12). These various "birthmarks" are the inevitable and necessary evidences that we "have the Son," but they are not the Son who is our righteousness Himself. Nevertheless, without these birthmarks, our claim to know that we are saved is utterly without a biblical foundation.
     
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    We see hands, and feet and side--all distilling crimson streams of precious blood

    (Charles Spurgeon)

    "The precious blood of Christ!" 1 Peter 1:19

    Standing at the foot of the cross, we see hands, and feet and side--all distilling crimson streams of precious blood.

    It is precious because of its redeeming and atoning efficacy. By it . . .
    the sins of Christ's people are atoned for;
    they are redeemed from under the law;
    they are reconciled to God, made one with Him.

    Christ's blood is also precious in its cleansing power. It "cleanses from all sin." "Though your sins be as scarlet--they shall be as white as snow!" Through Jesus' blood, there is not a spot left upon any believer--no wrinkle nor any such thing remains. O precious blood, which makes us clean, removing the stains of abundant iniquity, and permitting us to stand accepted in the Beloved, notwithstanding the many ways in which we have rebelled against our God.

    The blood of Christ is likewise precious in its preserving power. We are safe from the destroying angel under the sprinkled blood. Remember it is God's seeing the blood--which is the true reason for our being spared. Here is comfort for us when our eye of faith is dim, for God's eye is still the same.

    The blood of Christ is precious also in its sanctifying influence. The same blood which justifies by taking away sin, does in its after-action, quicken the new nature and leads it onward to subdue sin and to follow out the commands of God. There is no motive for holiness so great--as that which streams from the veins of Jesus!

    And precious, unspeakably precious, is this blood--because it has an overcoming power. It is written, "They overcame through the blood of the Lamb." How could they do otherwise? He who fights with the precious blood of Jesus--fights with a weapon which cannot know defeat.

    The precious blood of Jesus!
    Sin dies at its presence.
    Death ceases to be death.
    Heaven's gates are opened.

    The precious blood of Jesus! We shall march on, conquering and to conquer, so long as we can trust its power!
     
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    Marthas and Marys

    (J. C. Ryle, Mary & Martha, Luke 10:38-42)

    Observe how different the characters and personalities of true Christians may be. The two sisters of whom we read in this passage were both 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 character!

    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, rejoiced to see Him, and busied herself with preparing suitable refreshment.
    Mary, also, rejoiced to see Him, but her first thought was to sit at His feet and hear His word.

    Grace reigned in both hearts--but each showed the effects of grace in different ways.

    We shall find it very useful to ourselves 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 servants of God agree in the principal things of religion.
    All are led by one Spirit.
    All feel their sins, and all trust in Christ.
    All repent, all believe, and all are holy.
    But in minor matters, they often differ widely.

    Let no 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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    A self-loather

    (Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

    "They will loathe themselves for the evil they have done and for all their detestable practices." Ezekiel 6:9

    True repentance is a daily turning of the soul further and further from sin--and a daily turning of the soul nearer and nearer to God and holiness.

    True repentance includes . . .
    a true sense of sin,
    a deep sorrow for sin,
    a hearty loathing of sin, and
    a holy shame and blushing for sin.

    A true repenter strives for . . .
    a clean head, and a clean heart;
    a clean lip, and a clean life.

    To repent is for a man to loathe himself, as well as his sin.

    Is this easy for man, who is so great a self-lover, and so great a self-exalter, and so great a self-admirer--to become a self-loather? To repent is to cross sinful self, and to walk contrary to sinful self.

    True repentance lies in a daily dying unto sin, and in a daily living unto Him who lives forever.

    "Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices." Ezekiel 36:31
     
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