Tuesday, June 14, 2016

.....The blood of Christ is so precious, that it is fully sufficient to pay the debt you have contracted, and perfectly to vindicate the divine Majesty from all the dishonour cast upon it, by those many great sins of yours that have been mentioned.  It was as great, and indeed a much greater thing, for Christ to die, than it would have been for you and all mankind to have burnt in hell to all eternity.  Of such dignity and excellency is Christ in the eyes of God, that, seeing he has suffered so much for poor sinners, God is willing to be at peace with them, however vile and unworthy they have been, and on how many accounts soever the punishment would be just.  So that you need not be at all discouraged from seeking mercy, for there is enough in Christ.                                     
                                                                                                                            Jonathan Edwards

Monday, June 13, 2016

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.  Psalms 121:3-4

     A poor woman, as the Eastern story has it, came to the Sultan one day, and asked compensation for the loss of some property.
     “How did you lose it?” said the monarch.
     “I fell asleep,” was the reply, “and a robber entered my dwelling.”
     “Why did you fall asleep?”
     “I fell asleep because I believed that you were awake.”
     The Sultan was so much delighted with the answer of the woman, that he ordered her loss to be made up.  But what is true, only by a legal fiction, of human governments, that they never sleep, is true in the most absolute sense with reference to the divine government.  We can sleep in safety because our God is ever awake.  We are safe because he never slumbers.  Jacob had a beautiful picture of the ceaseless care of Divine Providence on the night when he fled from his father’s house.  The lonely traveller slept on the ground, with the stones for his pillow, and the sky for his canopy.  He had a wondrous vision of a ladder stretching from earth to heaven, and on which angels were seen ascending and descending.  And he heard Jehovah saying to him, “Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest.”
                                                                                                                              N. McMichael

Sunday, June 12, 2016

     An accumulation of seemingly failed prayers and fastings are never things to delightfully look back upon.....
     Neither delightful to the memory are the thoughts of failed hopes and dreams.....
     But manifestations of God's gentleness in the midst of a Christian's crisis, will forever and forever be a theme of rejoicing to the Lord above.
     When I look back upon the dates of September 1 and 2, in which all my hopes, dreams, prayers and fastings seemed to have merged into one gigantic mess of emptiness, I am left with nothing but tears.
     But when I look back upon the date of September 3, I am left with tears of utter amazement at my first-hand experience of God's gentleness.
     So, what brought about such a failure of prayers and fastings?
     What were my failed hopes and dreams?
     And what were the manifestations of God's gentleness in my particular situation?
     First thing, though it was a righteous cause, I should never have given a prayer hearing God a deadline of September 1 to answer my spiritual intercessions.  And I naturally assumed that all my prayers and fastings were my contributions to the spiritual battle at hand.
     Secondly, I should have spiritually yielded up to God all my hopes and dreams of marriage.
     And thirdly, I should have realized that an emotional battle when intertwined with spiritual intercessions generally NEVER, NEVER ends out well!
     No wonder I was headed for both a spiritual and emotional disaster!
     But where was God in all of this?
     Yes, where was God during months of much intercession?
     And yes, why wasn't God granting my natural desire for marriage?
     Thus while I was experiencing much emotional and spiritual pain during the months leading to the first few days in September, it didn't seem as if I was experiencing much comfort from God.
     But despite MY failings and MY feelings, God WAS there.....

     .....when I drew comfort from the words of Christian contemporary music, it was because of His leading.....
     .....and what is more.....
     .....when the words from the Christian band "Harvest" were as morsels of food to my starving soul, it was because God was going to ultimately use their music in my life in a mighty way on September 3.

     Thus it was so quietly, oh so quietly, that the gentleness of God was all along being interwoven in my life during the months leading up to those September dates!
     Yet when September 1 passed me by with no evidence of God's having answered any of my months of intercessions and fastings, it seemed as if God had left me empty handed.
     However, I had the music of the Christian band named "Harvest" to help sustain my soul.
     But then on the evening of September 2, after having a frank conversation which resulted in the total destruction of my hopes and dreams of marriage, I was utterly devastated!
     In fact in just 2 days it seemed as if all my hopes, dreams, prayers and fastings had gone through a tremendous fire and I was left alone to be surrounded by ashes.
     So late at night on September 2, in a distressed frame of mind with both soul and now heart broken, I went to sleep listening to a local Christian radio station.
     But God really hadn't left me empty handed.  What is more, God really did care about my broken soul and heart!
     And so about 4 a.m. on September 3, I began to experience the gentleness of God.....
     And the first manifestation started so.....so.....gently:

     .....there were no visions.....
     .....there were no dreams.....
     .....I simply just woke up.....

     The second manifestation of God's gentleness was equally as gentle as the first, but it revealed the wonderfulness of His timing:

     .....When I awoke, I didn’t just simply awake.  I woke just at the time the radio station was playing a song by "Harvest".....
     .....and as my soul clung to the song's words which I had just heard for the very first time, I got up and recorded the following in my diary:

            "It is 4:00 a.m. and I just woke up hearing
            a beautiful song being sung by the group    
            Harvest.....After work tonight, I'll go out
            and try to see if I can find the words to
            that song."

     The third manifestation of God's gentleness then came to me as I prepared for work in the form of jogging my memory of  three things that had recently happened:

     .....He allowed me to remember a rare work related meeting that had occurred about a week earlier.....
     .....He then allowed me to remember that the meeting had not been held at work but at a distant location and that the meeting had been held on the floor above the city's main library.....

     .....And then, yes, then He allowed me to remember that after the meeting had ended I had briefly looked in the songbook section of the library and had checked out one book which contained a lot of contemporary Christian songs.

     And so it was that:

     .....in the midst of having both a wounded soul and breaking heart.....
     .....in the midst of feeling unloved.....
     .....in the midst of knowing that I wouldn't have anything to do after work on a particularly hard Friday except to go out and look for an unknown song sung by my favorite group......
     .....and knowing in my heart I would NEVER FIND THAT SONG.....

     In the midst of all of this thinking, I had the impression that I should look in the songbook I had checked out from the library to see if the song was there. 

     And so it was that about 6 a.m. on September 3, right before I left home to go to work, that the total manifestation of God's gentleness came into focus as I realized that God had already answered a prayer I hadn't even voiced:

     .....for the song God had arranged to be playing at 4 a.m. on the radio station at the exact time He had me wake up was already in my possession because of earlier work related events which He also had arranged! 

     Praise His Holy name!
                                                                                                                                           M. Robbins

Saturday, June 11, 2016

     In consideration of the great and manifold advantages resulting from an humble and heedful observation of providence, I cannot but judge it the concernment of Christians that have time and ability for such a work to keep written memorials, or journals of providences by them for their own and others use and benefit.  For want of collecting and communicating such observations, not only ourselves, but the church of God is damnified and impoverished.
     .....I am not for posting up all that a Christian knows or meets with in his experience.....but yet there is a prudent, humble and seasonable communication of our experiences and observations of providence, which is exceeding benefical both to ourselves and our brethren.
     If Christians in reading the scriptures would judiciously collect and record the providences they meet with there, and (if destitute of other helps) but add those that have fallen out in their own time and experience; O what a precious treasure would these make!  How would it antidote their souls against the spreading atheism of these days, and satisfy them beyond what many other arguments can do, that The Lord he is God, the Lord he is God.....
     .....Providence carries our lives, liberties, and concernments in its hand every moment.  Your bread is in its cup-board, your money in its purse, your safety in its enfolding arms: and sure it is the least part of what you owe, to record the favours you receive at his hands.  More particularly,

1.  Trust not your slippery memories with such a multitude of remarkable passages of providence as you have met, and shall meet with in your way to heaven.....Written memorials secure us against that hazard; and besides, make them useful to others when we are gone.  So that you carry not away all your treasure to heaven with you, but leave these choice legacies to your surviving friends.  Certainly it were not so great a loss to lose your silver, your goods and chatties, as it is to lose your experiences which God hath, this way, given you in this world.

2.  Take heed of clasping up those rich treasures in a book, and thinking it enough to have noted them there; but have frequent recourse to them, as oft as new wants, fears, or difficulties arise and assault you.  Now, it is seasonable to consider and reflect, Was I never so distressed before?  Is this the first plunge that ever befel me?  "Let me consider the days of old, the years of ancient times," as Asaph did, Psalms 77:5.

3.  Lastly, beware of slighting former straits and dangers in comparison with present ones.  That which is next us, always appears greatest to us: and as time removes us farther and farther from our former mercies or dangers, so they lessen in our eyes, just as the land from which they sail doth to seamen.  Know that your dangers have been as great, and your fears no less formerly than now.  Make it as much your business to preserve the sense and value, as the memory of former providences, and the fruit will be sweet to you.
                                                                                                                                           John Flavel

Friday, June 10, 2016

They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.  Psalms 125:1

They can never be removed from the Lord, though they may be removed from his house and ordinances, as sometimes David was; and from his gracious presence, and sensible communion with him; and out of the world by death: yet never from his heart’s love, nor out of the covenant of his grace, which is sure and everlasting; nor out of his family, into which they are taken; nor from the Lord Jesus Christ, nor out of his hands and arms, nor from off his heart; nor from off him, as the foundation on which they are laid; nor out of a state of grace, either regeneration or justification; but such abide in the love of God, in the covenant of his grace, in the hands of his Son, in the grace wherein they stand, and in the house of God for evermore.
                                                                                                                                                John Gill  

Thursday, June 9, 2016

.....the Lord cherisheth you - He gives you His name to bear as your honour, and His very heart to dwell in as the home of your soul.  He gives you the right of constant access, the right of continual dwelling in His presence.  He makes you partaker of His very nature, joining you unto Himself, not only in a perpetual covenant, but as “one spirit” with Him, and these wants are each and all foreseen and provided for, and supplied with untiring love.  He knows in an instant when you are weary to ailing, whether in body or spirit, and knows how to speak the right word for either, speaking verily to your heart, - knows, too, when to be silent for a little while.  His cherishing goes on night and day, - just as much in the dark as in the light, and will go on, faithfully, ceaselessly, all through your life-long need of it, unto the end; and there is no shadowing whisper to fall upon this life-long manifestation of love, no such word as “till death us do part.”  No absence of your Lord shall deprive you of it; and all that death can do is to take away the last veil, that you may see face to face, and know even as you are known.  His care over you will then be exchanged for perfect joy over you.  “He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied.”                     
                                                                                                                         Frances Ridley Havergal  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

     All things!  God the Father is ready to save you (Isa. 38:20).  Jesus Christ is ready to receive you (John 6:37).  The Holy Spirit is ready to dwell in you (Romans 8:9).  Are you ready?

     All things.  The “great salvation” is ready for you (Heb. 2:3).  The full atonement is made for you (Romans 5:11).  The eternal redemption is obtained for you (Heb. 9:12).  Are you ready?

     All things.  The cleansing fountain is opened for you (Zech. 13:1).  The robe of righteousness is wrought for you (Romans 3:2).  The way into the holiest is consecrated for (Romans 3:2).  The way into the holiest is consecrated for you (Heb. 10:19-20).  Are you ready?

     All things.  All things that pertain unto life and godliness are given you by His Divine power (1 Timothy 4:8).  Exceeding great and precious promises are given you (2 Peter 1:3-4).  The supply of all your need is guaranteed to you (Philippians 4:19).  Strength and guidance, teaching and keeping, are provided for you.  Even the good works in which you shall walk are prepared for you (Ephesians 2:10).  A Father's love and care and a Saviour's gift of peace are waiting for you.  The feast is spread for you (Isaiah 25:6).  All these things are ready for you (Matthew 22:4).  Are you ready for them?              
                                                                                                                       Frances Ridley Havergal      

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Have you been "born again"?  If you have, you belong to Christ; but without the new birth you cannot be His.  In whom do you trust?  For those who believe in Jesus are the sons of God.  Whose work are you doing?  You are sure to serve your master, for he whom you serve is thereby owned to be your lord.  What company do you keep?  If you belong to Jesus, you will fraternize with those who wear the livery of the cross.  "Birds of a feather flock together."  What is your conversation?  Is it heavenly, or is it earthly?  What have you learned of your master? - for servants learn much from their masters to whom they are apprenticed.  If you have served your time with Jesus, it will be said of you, as it was of Peter and John, "They took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus." 
                                                                                                                                        C. H. Spurgeon   

Monday, June 6, 2016

     King Henry the Fourth asked the Duke of Alva if he had observed the great eclipse of the sun which had lately happened.
     “No,” said the duke; “I have so much to do on earth, that I have no leisure to look up to heaven.”
     Ah, that this were not true of professors in these days!  It is sad to think how their hearts and time are so taken up with earthly things, that they have no leisure to look after Christ and the things that belong to their everlasting peace.
                                                                                                                                          Thomas Brooks

Sunday, June 5, 2016

And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.  Psalms 143:2

A servant is one who obeys the will of another.....There were these four ways in which one might come to be a servant, by birth, by purchase, by conquest, and by voluntary engagement.  Some were servants in one of the ways, and some in another.  There were servants who were born in the master’s house, servants who were bought with the master’s money, servants who were the captives of his sword and bow, and servants who had freely engaged themselves to do his work.... In the case of the believer there is something that is peculiar and remarkable.  He is God’s servant by birth.  But he is more.....he is God’s servant by purchase.  And that is not all: he is God’s servant by conquest.  Yes, and by voluntary engagement too.  He is the servant of God, not in some one of the four ways, but in all of them together.                                                                                                                                                               Andrew Gray   

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The natural mind is ever prone to reason, when we ought to believe; to be at work, when we ought to be quiet; to go our own way, when we ought steadily to walk on in God’s ways, however trying to nature......And how does it work, when we thus anticipate God, by going our own way?  We bring, in many instances, guilt on our conscience; but if not, we certainly weaken faith, instead of increasing it; and each time we work thus a deliverance of our own, we find it more and more difficult to trust in God, till at last we give way entirely to our natural fallen reason, and unbelief prevails.  How different if one is enabled to wait God’s own time, and to look alone to him for help and deliverance!  When at last help comes, after many seasons of prayer it may be, and after much exercise of faith and patience it may be, how sweet it is, and what a present recompense does the soul at once receive for trusting in God, and waiting patiently for his deliverance!  Dear Christian reader, if you have never walked in this path of obedience before, do so now, and you will then know experimentally the sweetness of the joy which results from it.
                                                                                                                                    George Mueller

Friday, June 3, 2016

They shall go hindmost with their standards.  Numbers 2:31

The camp of Dan brought up the rear when the armies of Israel were on the march.  The Danites occupied the hindmost place; but what mattered the position, since they were as truly part of the host as were the foremost tribes?  They followed the same fiery cloudy pillar; they ate of the same manna, drank of the same spiritual rock, and journeyed to the same inheritance.  Come, my heart, cheer up, though last and least; it is thy privilege to be in the army, and to fare as they fare who lead the van.  Some one must be hindmost in honor and esteem; some one must do menial work for Jesus, and why should not I?  In a poor village, among an ignorant peasantry, or in a back street among degraded sinners, I will work on, and "go hindmost with my standard."  The Danites occupied a very useful place.  Stragglers have to be picked up upon the march, and lost property has to be gathered from the field.  Fiery spirits may dash forward over untrodden paths to learn fresh truth, and win more souls to Jesus; but some of a more conservative spirit may be well engaged in reminding the Church of her ancient faith, and restoring her fainting sons.  Every position has its duties, and the slowly moving children of God will find their peculiar state, one in which they may be eminently a blessing to the whole host.  The rear guard is a place of danger.  There are foes behind us as well as before us.  Attacks may come from any quarter.  We read that Amalek fell upon Israel, and slew some of the hindmost of them.  The experienced Christian will find much work for his weapons in aiding those poor doubting, desponding, wavering souls, who are hindmost in faith, knowledge, and joy.  These must not be left unaided, and therefore be it the business of well-taught saints to bear their standards among the hindmost.  My soul, do thou tenderly watch to help the hindmost this day.
                                                                                                                                   C. H. Spurgeon

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Why should I fear the darkest hour,
Or tremble at the tempter's power?
Jesus vouchsafes to be my tower.

Though hot the fight, why quit the field,
Why must I either flee or yield,
Since Jesus is my mighty shield?

When creature-comforts fade and die,
Worldlings may weep, but why should I?
Jesus still lives, and still is nigh.

Though all the flocks and herds were dead,
My soul a famine need not dread,
For Jesus is my living bread.

I know not what may soon betide,
Or how my wants shall be supplied;
But Jesus knows, and will provide.

Though sin would fill me with distress,
The throne of grace I dare address,
For Jesus is my righteousness.

Though faint my prayers, and cold my love,
My steadfast hope shall not remove
While Jesus intercedes above.

Against me earth and hell combine,
But on my side is power divine;
Jesus is all, and He is mine.
                         John Newton

From a Letter by John Newton dated September of 1776 To a Nobleman

My Lord,
.....He cannot be an unaffected spectator of national sins, nor without apprehension of their deserved consequences; he feels, and almost trembles for others; but he himself dwells under the shadow of the Almighty, in a sanctuary that cannot be forced; and, therefore, should he see the earth shaken, and the mountains cast into the midst of the sea, his heart would not be greatly moved, for God is his refuge,—the Lord reigns!  He sees his Saviour's hand directing every dark appearance, and overruling all to the accomplishment of his own great purposes: this satisfies him; and though the winds and waves should be high, he can venture his own little bark in the storm, for he has an infallible and almighty pilot on board with him.  And indeed, why should he fear when he has nothing to lose?  His best concerns are safe; and other things he holds as gifts from his Lord, to whose call he is ready to resign them in whatever way he pleases; well knowing that creatures and instruments cannot of themselves touch a hair of his head without the Lord's permission, and that if he does permit them, it must be for the best.....
                                                                                                                                  John Newton

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

     Poems/hymns often record the happiness and sorrows of individuals.  However in the 1800’s Anne Ross Cousin, who was a hymnwriter, was so inspired by the life of Samuel Rutherford that she composed a 19 stanza poem regarding his struggles.  The poem later was shortened to just a few stanzas and is still found in hymnbooks.
     The following is from the book The Story of the Hymns and Tunes by Theron Brown and Hezekiah Butterworth.

     This hymn is biographical, but not autobiographical.  Like the discourses in Herodotus and Plutarch, it is the voice of the dead speaking through the sympathetic genius of the living after long generations.  The strong, stern Calvinist of 1636 in Aberdeen was not a poet, but he bequeathed his spirit and life to the verse of a poet of 1845 in Melrose.  Anne Ross Cousin read his two hundred and twenty letters written during a two years' captivity for his fidelity to the purer faith, and studied his whole history and experience till her soul took his soul's place and felt what he felt.  Her poem of nineteen stanzas (152 lines) is the voice of Rutherford the Covenanter, with the prolixity of his manner and age sweetened by his triumphant piety, and that is why it belongs with the Hymns of Great Witnesses......
     Samuel Rutherford was born in Nisbet Parish, Scotland, in 1600.  His settled ministry was at Anworth, in Galloway—1630-1651—with a break between 1636 and 1638, when Charles I, angered by his anti-prelatical writings, silenced and banished him.   Shut up in Aberdeen, but allowed, like Paul in Rome, to live "in his own hired house" and write letters, he poured out his heart's love in Epistles to his Anworth flock and to the Non-conformists of Scotland.  When his countrymen rose against the attempted imposition of a new holy Romish service-book on their churches, he escaped to his people, and soon after appeared in Edinburgh and signed the covenant with the assembled ministers.  Thirteen years later, after Cromwell's death and the accession of Charles II, the wrath of the prelates fell on him at St. Andrews, where the Presbytery had made him rector of the college.  The King's decree indicted him for treason, stripped him of all his offices, and would have forced him to the block had he not been stricken with his last sickness.  When the officers came to take him he said, "I am summoned before a higher Judge and Judicatory, and I am behooved to attend them."  He died soon after, in the year 1661.

NOTE:  In 1644, Samuel Rutherford wrote the book, LEX REX (Law is King or the Law and the Prince). This book argued for limited government, and limitations on the current idea of the Divine Right of Kings.  However in 1660 when Charles II was declared King, the book was officially burned and in the fall of 1660 Samuel Rutherford found himself confined to his house and facing a charge of high treason before Parliament.  But early in 1661 a serious illness intervened which resulted in the writing of his last will on March 8.  His death on March 29, 1661, took him forever away from banishment, hardships, etc., and brought him at last to Heaven and his Immanuel's land.

Below is the poem in its complete form:

The sands of time are sinking, the dawn of Heaven breaks;
The summer morn I’ve sighed for—the fair, sweet morn awakes:
Dark, dark hath been the midnight, but dayspring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

O Christ, He is the fountain, the deep, sweet well of love!
The streams of earth I’ve tasted more deep I’ll drink above:
There to an ocean fullness His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

Oh! Well it is forever, Oh! well forevermore,
My nest hung in no forest of all this death doomed shore:
Yea, let the vain world vanish, as from the ship the strand,
While glory—glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

There the Red Rose of Sharon unfolds its heartsome bloom
And fills the air of heaven with ravishing perfume:
Oh! To behold it blossom, while by its fragrance fanned
Where glory—glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

The King there in His beauty, without a veil is seen:
It were a well spent journey, though seven deaths lay between:
The Lamb with His fair army, doth on Mount Zion stand,
And glory—glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

Oft in yon sea beat prison My Lord and I held tryst,
For Anwoth was not heaven, and preaching was not Christ:
And aye, my murkiest storm cloud was by a rainbow spanned,
Caught from the glory dwelling in Immanuel’s land.

But that He built a Heaven of His surpassing love,
A little new Jerusalem, like to the one above,
“Lord take me over the water” hath been my loud demand,
Take me to my love’s own country, unto Immanuel’s land.

But flowers need nights cool darkness, the moonlight and the dew;
So Christ, from one who loved it, His shining oft withdrew:
And then, for cause of absence my troubled soul I scanned
But glory shadeless shineth in Immanuel’s land.

The little birds of Anwoth, I used to count them blessed,
Now, beside happier altars I go to build my nest:
Over these there broods no silence, no graves around them stand,
For glory, deathless, dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

Fair Anwoth by the Solway, to me thou still art dear,
Even from the verge of heaven, I drop for thee a tear.
Oh! If one soul from Anwoth meet me at God’s right hand,
My heaven will be two heavens, in Immanuel’s land.

I’ve wrestled on towards Heaven, against storm and wind and tide,
Now, like a weary traveler that leaneth on his guide,
Amid the shades of evening, while sinks life’s lingering sand,
I hail the glory dawning from Immanuel’s land.

Deep waters crossed life’s pathway, the hedge of thorns was sharp;
Now, these lie all behind me Oh! for a well tuned harp!
Oh! To join hallelujah with yon triumphant band,
Who sing where glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

With mercy and with judgment my web of time He wove,
And aye, the dews of sorrow were lustered with His love;
I’ll bless the hand that guided, I’ll bless the heart that planned
When throned where glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

Soon shall the cup of glory wash down earth’s bitterest woes,
Soon shall the desert briar break into Eden’s rose;
The curse shall change to blessing the name on earth that’s banned
Be graven on the white stone in Immanuel’s land.

O I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved’s mine!
He brings a poor vile sinner into His “house of wine.”
I stand upon His merit—I know no other stand,
Not even where glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

I shall sleep sound in Jesus, filled with His likeness rise,
To love and to adore Him, to see Him with these eyes:
’Tween me and resurrection but Paradise doth stand;
Then—then for glory dwelling in Immanuel’s land.

The Bride eyes not her garment, but her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory but on my King of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth but on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel’s land.

I have borne scorn and hatred, I have borne wrong and shame,
Earth’s proud ones have reproached me for Christ’s thrice blessed Name:
Where God His seal set fairest they’ve stamped the foulest brand,
But judgment shines like noonday in Immanuel’s land.

They’ve summoned me before them, but there I may not come,
My Lord says “Come up hither,” My Lord says “Welcome home!”
My King, at His white throne, my presence doth command
Where glory—glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.
                                                 Anne R. Cousin

Below is how the song frequently is found in hymnbooks:

        The sands of time are sinking,
        The dawn of heaven breaks;
        The summer morn I've sighed for -
        The fair, sweet morn awakes:
        Dark, dark had been the midnight,
        But dayspring is at hand,
        And glory, glory dwelleth
        In Emmanuel's land.

        The King there in His beauty,
        Without a veil is seen:
        It were a well-spent journey,
        Though seven deaths lay between:
        The Lamb with His fair army,
        Doth on Mount Zion stand,
        And glory, glory dwelleth
        In Emmanuel's land.

        O Christ, He is the fountain,
        The deep, sweet well of love!
        The streams on earth I've tasted
        More deep I'll drink above:
        There to an ocean fullness
        His mercy doth expand,
        And glory, glory dwelleth
        In Emmanuel's land.

        The Bride eyes not her garment,
        But her dear Bridegroom's face;
        I will not gaze at glory
        But on my King of grace.
        Not at the crown He giveth
        But on His pierced hand;
        The Lamb is all the glory
        Of Emmanuel's land.

        O I am my Beloved's
        And my Beloved is mine!
        He brings a poor vile sinner
        Into His house of wine.
        I stand upon His merit -
        I know no other stand,
        Not e'en where glory dwelleth
        In Emmanuel's land.
                                                   Anne R. Cousin

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

When Israel through the desert pass'd,
A fiery pillar went before
To guide them through the dreary waste,
And lessen the fatigues they bore.

Such is thy glorious word, O God!
'Tis for our light and guidance given;
It sheds a lustre all abroad,
And points the path to bliss and heaven:

It fills the soul with sweet delight,
And quickens its inactive powers;
It sets our wandering footsteps right,
Displays thy love, and kindles ours:

It fills the soul with sweet delight,
And quickens its inactive powers;
It sets our wandering footsteps right,
Displays thy love, and kindles ours:

Its promises rejoice our hearts;
Its doctrines are divinely true;
Knowledge and pleasure it imparts;
It comforts and instructs us too.

Ye favor'd lands who have this word,—
Ye saints who feel its saving power,—
Unite your tongues to praise the Lord,
And his distinguish'd grace adore.

I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.  Psalms 130:5

.....There is not a single crisis occurring in the entire history of the Church of God, not a single difficulty in the entire path of any individual believer, from beginning to end, which has not been perfectly provided for in the Bible.  We have all we want in that blessed volume, and hence we should be ever seeking:  to make ourselves more and more acquainted with what that volume contains, so as to be "thoroughly furnished" for whatever may arise, whether it be a temptation of the devil, an allurement of the world,  or a lust of the flesh; or, on the other hand, for equipment for that path of good works which God has afore prepared that we should walk in it.....
.....we do not sufficiently use the precious Word of God in this way; we quote it, at times, more for victory over the enemy than for power and authority for our own souls.  Thus it loses its power in our hearts.  We want to use the Word as a hungry man uses bread, or as a mariner uses his chart and his compass; it is that on which we live, and by which we move and act and think and speak.  Such it really is, and the more fully we prove it to be all this to us, the more we shall know of its infinite preciousness.  Who is it that knows most of the real value of bread?  Is it a chemist?  No; but a hungry man.  A chemist may analyze it, and discuss its component parts, but a hungry man proves its worth.  Who knows most of the real value of a chart? is it the teacher of navigation?  No; but the mariner as he sails along an unknown and dangerous coast.
     These are but feeble figures to illustrate what the Word of God is to the true Christian.  He cannot do without it.  It is absolutely indispensable, in every relationship of life and in every sphere of action.  His hidden life is fed and sustained by it; his practical life is guided by it.  In all the scenes and circumstances of his personal and domestic history, in the privacy of his closet, in the bosom of his family, in the management of his affairs, he is cast upon the Word of God for guidance and counsel.
     And it never fails those who simply cleave to it.....
                                                                                                                                       C. H. Mackintosh

Monday, May 30, 2016

Be not righteous overmuch, neither make thyself over-wise:  why shouldest thou destroy thyself?        Ecclesiastes 7:16

.....They are not the words of Solomon himself, but the words of an infidel speaking to him, whom he introduces in several parts of this book; for Solomon had been shewing the misfortunes which attended the truly good, as in the verse before our text.
     Upon this the infidel says, "Be not righteous over-much, neither be thou over-wise:  why shouldst thou destroy thyself?" i. e.  Why shouldst thou bring these misfortunes upon thyself, by being over-strict?  Be not righteous over-much; eat, drink, and be merry, live as the world lives, and then you will avoid those misfortunes which may attend you, by being righteous over-much.....
.....Do play-houses, horse-racing, balls and assemblies tend to promote the glory of GOD?  Would you be willing to have your soul demanded of you, while you are at one of those places?  Many of these are, (I must speak, I cannot forbear to speak against these entertainments; come what will, I shall declare against them) many, I say, of these are kept up by public authority:  the play-houses are supported by a public fund, and our newspapers are full of horse-races all through the kingdom:  these things are sinful; indeed they are exceeding sinful.  What good can come from a horse-race; from abusing GOD  Almighty's creatures, and putting them to that use he never designed for them:  the play-houses, are they not nurseries of debauchery in the age? and the supporters and patrons of them, are encouragers and promoters of all the evil that is done by them; they are the bane of the age, and will be the destruction of those who frequent them.  Is it not high time for the true ministers of JESUS CHRIST, who have been partakers of the heavenly gift, to lift up their voices as a trumpet, and cry aloud against these diversions of the age?  Are they not earthly, sensual, devilish?  If you have tasted of the love of GOD, and have felt his power upon your souls, you would no more go to a play, than you would run your head into a furnace.
     And what occasions these places to be so much frequented, is the clergy's making no scruple to be at these polite places:  they frequent play-houses, they go to horse races, they go to balls and assemblies, they frequent taverns, and follow all the entertainments that the age affords; and yet these are the persons who should advise their hearers to refrain from them; but instead thereof, they encourage them by their example.  Persons are too apt to rely upon, and believe their pastors, rather than the scriptures; they think that there is no crime in going to plays or horse-races, to balls and assemblies; for if there were, they think those persons, who are their ministers, would not frequent them:  but, my dear brethren, observe they always go disguised, the ministers are afraid of being seen in their gowns and cassocks; the reason thereof is plain, their consciences inform them, that it is not an example fit for the ministers of the gospel to set; thus, they are the means of giving that offence to the people of GOD, which I would not for ten thousand worlds:  they lay a stumbling-block in the way of their weak brethren, which they will not remove, though it is a stumbling-block of offence.  "Woe unto the world because of offences, but woe unto that man by whom the offence cometh."  The polite gentlemen of the age, spend their time in following these diversions, because the love of GOD is not in their hearts; they are void of CHRIST, and destitute of the Spirit of GOD; and not being acquainted with the delight there is in GOD and his ways, being strangers to these things, they run to the devil for diversions, and are pleased and delighted with the silly ones he shews them.....
.....I do not mind his despising my youth, and calling me novice and enthusiastic, I forgive him from my very heart:  but when he reflects on my Master; when he speaks against my Redeemer; when JESUS CHRIST is spoken against, I must speak, (I must speak indeed, or I should burst:) when he gives liberty to persons to take a cheerful glass and alleges CHRIST for an example, as in the marriage-feast, saying "CHRIST turned water into ''wine,'' when it is plain there had been more drank than was necessary before, what is this, but to charge CHRIST with encouraging drunkenness?  It is true, the Governor says, "Every man in the beginning sets forth good wine, and when men have well drank, that which is worse; but thou, hast kept the good wine until now:"  but it does not at all follow, that it was not necessary, or that there had been sufficient quantity before:  I would not speak thus slightingly of one of my Master's miracles, for the whole world.  And we may observe, that as CHRIST chiefly visited poor people they might not have wherewithal to buy a sufficient quantity of wine or having more guests than were expected, the wine was expended sooner than they thought; then the Mother of JESUS tells him, "They have no wine;"  he answers, 'Woman, what have I to do with thee?  My hour is not yet come.'  After this he commanded them to fill the water-pots with water, and they filled them to the brim, and this water he turned into wine:  now it does not at all follow, that there was more drank than was necessary; neither would the LORD JESUS CHRIST have continued in the house if there had.  But we have an excellent lesson to learn from this miracle:  by the water-pots being empty, we may understand, the heart of man being by nature destitute of his grace, his speaking and commanding to fill them, shews, that when CHRIST speaks, the heart that was empty of grace before, shall be filled; and the water-pots being filled to the brim, shews, that CHRIST will fill believers hearts brim full of the Holy Ghost:  and from the Governor's observing, that the last wine was the best, learn, that a believer's best comforts, shall be the last and greatest, for they shall come with the greatest power upon the soul, and continue longest there:  this, this my dear brethren, is the lesson we may learn from this miracle.                     
                                                                                George Whitefield 
                                                                                 from the sermon “The Folly and Danger of being not   
                                                                                               righteous enough.”  

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Men honor fame,
Men honor wealth,
For the world does think
That honor comes
From having both of these.

But the honor that’s worth the having,
Comes from God, Himself,
To those who love His Son,
In the form of grace and glory,
In the form of glory and grace.
                        M. Robbins

     Throughout the ages, mankind seems to have had an endless desire to be “greatly honored.”
     Yet, as Christians, we shouldn’t strive for the world’s various temporal “honors;” neither are we to be horrified by fleeting “honors” obtained by dishonorable methods.
     But we are to be aware of the wiles of Satan, our enemy.  Yet, he is more knowledgeable of our inward nature then we are of his tactical wiles.  Thus, Satan has become very adept at using the human desire for “honor” to his advantage and to our disadvantage.
     Sometimes Satan brazenly tries to go directly against God’s plans for the ages by using an individual’s personal desire for “honor.”  We find an example of this in the chapters of Numbers 22-24, where Satan attempts to destroy the children of Israel by way of a pagan’s lust for “honor.”
     Of course it all started when Balak, king of the Moabites, wanted his enemies, the children of Israel, to be cursed.  Now Balak didn’t have the satanic power to curse, so he promised to promote “unto great honor” Balaam, a pagan prophet, if Balaam would curse the twelve tribes of Israel.
     However, Balak’s plans and Balaam’s ambitions were foiled when, instead of a satanic curse, God commanded Balaam to give a blessing.
      Balak then angrily, but truthfully, exclaims to Balaam in Numbers 24:11: “I thought to promote thee unto great honor; but, lo, the LORD hath kept thee back from honour.”
     It is that 11th verse of Numbers 24, which was spoken by the pagan king, that Satan often deceitfully uses in a Christian’s life to disrupt the sweet, trustful communion a Christian has with his blessed Heavenly Father.  This Satan does by maliciously sowing seeds of distrust of our Father’s love, His care, His guidance, His wisdom, etc., and those seeds are planted right at the doorsteps of our heart, mind, and soul!
     Actually the fact that the Devil tried to get Jesus to sin by quoting parts of Psalms 91:11-12 after Christ’s fast of 40 days in the wilderness, should serve as a warning that Satan will try anything!  Yes, Satan will try anything, even the usage of the Holy Word, to cause us to sin or be disturbed in spirit!
     So be very careful, dear Christian, of Satan’s sly usage of the words:  “the LORD hath kept thee back from honor,” because Satan will deceptively twist the meaning of that verse by using our innocent longing for the world’s “honors” to bring about in our life less reliance upon God or discontentment with God, Himself. 
     And let us be cognizant of the fact that the world’s admiration and adulation are not suitable for individuals whose sins have been forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ.
     Therefore, let us no longer aspire to obtain worldly “honors;” for even if the world could “honor” one individual with the entire accumulated wealth and possessions of all the centuries, that would be insignificant to what each Christian “honorably” possesses through the grace of God.
     Rather, may the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit and the attentive reading of the Scriptures enlighten us of the numerous “honors” God has granted to those who have placed their trust in the name of Christ.
     So, let us shout, “Hallelujah!  Christ has washed away our sins!”
     So, let us sing, “Hallelujah!  God has made us to be heirs!”
     However, though we are the honored recipients of God’s mercy and His grace, it’s entirely about Him and Him alone.
     So, let us kneel in adoration!  Let us kneel in humbleness!
     And let our hearts in reverence, repeat the words of Paul: 
                   “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible,
                    the only wise God, be honour and glory
                    for ever and ever.”      1 Timothy 1:17
                                                                                          M. Robbins

Saturday, May 28, 2016

          Sowing the seed by the daylight fair,
          Sowing the seed by the noonday glare,
          Sowing the seed by the fading light,
          Sowing the seed in the solemn night:
          O what shall the harvest be?
          O what shall the harvest be?

          Sowing the seed by the wayside high,
          Sowing the seed on the rocks to die.
          Sowing the seed where the thorns will spoil,
          Sowing the seed in the fertile soil:
          O what shall the harvest be?
          O what shall the harvest be?

          Sowing the seed of a lingering pain,
          Sowing the seed of a maddened brain,
          Sowing the seed of a tarnished name,
          Sowing the seed of eternal shame;
          O! what shall the harvest be?
          O! what shall the harvest be?

          Sowing the seed with an aching heart,
          Sowing the seed while the teardrops start,
          Sowing in hope till the reapers come
          Gladly to gather the harvest home.
          O what shall the harvest be?
          O what shall the harvest be?

          Sown in the darkness or sown in the light,
          Sown in our weakness or sown in our might,
          Gathered in time or eternity,
          Sure, ah, sure will the harvest be.
                                                Emily S. Oakley

     I wish people would get the distinction, that one class of hymns are to teach, and the other, such as “Praise God From Whom all Blessings Flows” and “Jesus, Lover of My Soul,” are hymns in which the whole congregation can join in praising God.  But for one man to sit here and try to praise God for this whole audience, would be a strange performance.  Perhaps, many wonder why I have sung alone to praise God.  It is because I thought that, by these sweet Gospel hymns, I might reach some heart in the great congregations.  I thank God that he has blessed his message, as sung in these great congregations.  God has been blessing the message when it has been sung alone.  For instance this hymn, “What Shall the Harvest Be?” there is no praise in that. 
     Not long since, in a meeting that we were holding, a man came staggering through the door and was directed into the gallery of the building-there were galleries in the building where we were holding our meetings; and he staggered down through the aisle, until he came to a seat near one of the large posts that held up the building; and his testimony afterwards was, that while he was sitting there in a drunken stupor—he just wandered in off the street, a poor man lost through strong drink—he leaned his head up against the post.
     And when the people came in with their happy faces and joyful looks, he said, “This is no place for me, I will go; I have no friends or home, or friends to help me; I will go.” 
     And he attempted to get up and go out of the building.  But just then the little hymn, “What Shall the Harvest Be?” was given out from the pulpit, and the first strain of the hymn caught the attention of that poor man and he sat down, as he says in his testimony; and when it came to that verse, which said: “Sowing the seed of a tarnished name, Sowing the seed of eternal shame,” he said, that line went as a dagger through his heart.
     He said, “That is me; that is what I have been doing, sowing the ‘seed of a tarnished name;’ my name is gone, and I am ‘sowing the seed of eternal shame.’”
     God sent those lines down into the heart of that poor man, and he got up at the conclusion of the hymn and wandered out into the dark streets of the city.    
     And, as his testimony goes, he went to a saloon to try if he could drown the thought of those lines from his heart; and as he says, “I went to a bar, I attempted to drink, I could see written on the walls of that barroom, ‘What Shall the Harvest Be?’”  And he went to his home that night; and as he lay upon his bed in his room he could see in the darkness and gloom of that room, on the walls that sentence, “What Shall the Harvest Be?”  It stayed in the man’s heart; it brought him back to the meeting; in the course of three or four days, he found his way to the inquiry room, and there a man of God met him, prayed with him, led him in the right way; and this day he is a bright and shining light, in yonder city.
     He came to me one day, just before I came from the city in which he is in, and he read me a letter.  He said, “Here is a letter I want to show you from my little girl.  My wife and I have been separated; for eight years I haven’t seen them; but my little girl writes me this letter.  They heard the Lord had found me in this great city.”  Then he went on to read the letter, and the tears rolled down the strong man’s cheeks.  He said, “My wife has never ceased to pray for me, and this dear little girl of mine, she says, ‘Papa, I knew that you would come back to us some time; I knew that the Lord would find you, for I have been praying for you all these years.’”  And as the tears rolled down the man’s cheeks he said, “I thank God that Jesus has found me!”
     Jesus used that little hymn to find him yonder, in that great congregation; and I bless God that he is finding souls here.  I get testimonials almost every day from some poor soul who has received the message of God’s love through these little Gospel hymns; and therefore I want the Christians to have faith that God can bless this way of delivering his message of love; and then we will all join more heartily in the days to come in singing the story of his love.
     Oh, how we might go to the bed-ridden and outcast in this great city and sing a song for Jesus Christ!   If you cannot go to preach to them, what a blessing would accompany the singing of one of these sweet Gospel hymns to those who don’t come to these meetings at all.  May God give us hearts thus to do.  If we cannot preach, let us go and sing for Jesus Christ.  He has given thousands of you voices, better voices than mine or those upon the platform, so that you can go and carry this message of his love.  How many we have known to have been won to his love, and to the home above.  May God bless this little word exhorting in this direction, and give us an understanding of the mission there is in singing these Gospel truths alone.             
                                                                                                        address by Mr. Sankey on Praise

Friday, May 27, 2016

After this manner therefore pray ye:  Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.  Matthew 6:9-13

    1.  All that we desire and pray for, in behalf of ourselves and others, must be subordinate to this end.  All these things must be asked, that by the accomplishment of them God may be brought more in request in the world.  See all the other petitions in this prayer, how they are suited to this end in scripture.  When we say, “Thy kingdom come,” what do we beg that for, but ultimately the glory of God? Phil. 2:10-11, “God hath given him a name which is above every name, that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  When we say, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” it is still to the glory of God:  Mat. 5:16, “That our good works may still shine forth before men here upon earth, that they may glorify our Father which is in heaven.”  When we ask our daily bread, and provisions for the present life, it is still that he may be glorified in our comfortable use of the creature:  1 Cor. 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”  When we ask for the remission of sins, it is that God may be glorified in Christ:  Rom. 3:25-26, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, that he may be just,” etc.  When we beg freedom from temptation, it is that we may not dishonor God:  Prov. 30:9, “Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”  Still that God may be glorified in every condition.  When we ask deliverance from evil:  Ps. 1:15, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”  So that the glory of God, in all requests that we make to him, like oil, still swims on the top, and must be the end of all the rest; for other things are but means in subordination to it.
     2.  It notes that our chiefest care and affection should be carried out to the glory of God when we pray.  We should rather forget our-selves than forget God.  God must be remembered in the first place.  There is nothing more precious than God himself, therefore nothing should be more dear to us than his glory.  This is the great difference between the upright and the hypocrite:  the hypocrite never seeks God but when his necessities do require it, not in and for himself; but when the upright come to seek God, it is for God in the first place—their main care is about God's concernments rather than their own.  Though they seek their own happiness in him, and they are allowed so to do; yet it is mainly God’s glory which they seek, not their own interests and concernments.  See that:  Ps. 115:1, “Not unto us, not unto us, Lord, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.”  This is not a doxology, or form of thanksgiving, but a prayer.  Not for our safety or welfare, so much as for thy glory, be pleased to deliver us.  Not to satisfy our revenge upon our adversaries; not for the establishment of our own interest; but for the glory of thy grace and truth do we seek thine aid, that thou mayest be known to be a God keeping covenant; for mercy and truth are the two pillars of that covenant.  It is a great dishonoring of God when anything is sought from him more than himself, or not for himself.  Saith Austin, it is but a carnal affection in prayer when men seek self more than God.  Self and God are the two things that come in competition.  Now there are several sorts of self; there is carnal self, natural self, and glorified self  above all these God must have the pre-eminence.....
                                                                    Thomas Manton

Thursday, May 26, 2016

       By faith in Christ I walk with God,
       With heaven, my journey's end, in view;
       Supported by His staff and rod,
       My road is safe and pleasant too.

       I travel through a desert wide,
       Where many round me blindly stray:
       But He vouchsafes to be my guide,
       And will not let me miss my way.

       Though snares and dangers throng my path,
       And earth and hell my course withstand,
       I triumph over all by faith,
       Guarded by His almighty hand.

       The wilderness affords no food,
       But God for my support prepares;
       Provides me every needful good,
       And frees my soul from wants and cares.

       With Him sweet converse maintain,
       Great as He is, I dare be free;
       I tell Him all my grief and pain,
       And He reveals His love to me.

       Some cordial from His word He brings,
       Whene'er my feeble spirit faints;
       At once my soul revives and sings,
       And yields no more to sad complaints.

       I pity all that worldlings talk
       Of pleasures that will quickly end:
       Be this my choice, O Lord, to walk
       With Thee, my Guide, my Guard, my Friend.
                                  John Newton

Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world.....Gal 1:4

.....Were the sky always without a cloud, and the ocean without a ripple, the believer would not know so well the God with whom he has to do; for, alas! we know how prone the heart is to mistake the peace of circumstances for the peace of God.  When everything is going on smoothly and pleasantly, - our property safe, our business prosperous, our children and servants carrying themselves agreeably, our residence comfortable, our health excellent, - everything, in short, just to our mind, how apt we are to mistake the peace which reposes upon such circumstances, for that peace which flows from the realized presence of Christ.  The Lord knows this; and therefore He comes in, in one way or another, and stirs up the nest, that is, if we are found nestling in circumstances, instead of in Himself......
     .....it is better to be poor with Christ, than rich without Him.....How many, in order to avoid the trial and exercise connected with God's path, have slipped aside into the current of this present evil world, and thereby brought leanness and barrenness, heaviness and gloom, into their souls!  It may be they have, to use the common expression, "made money," increased their store, obtained the world's favor, been "entreated well" by its Pharaohs, gotten a name and a position amongst men; but are these a proper equivalent for joy in God, communion, liberty of heart, a pure, uncondemning conscience, a thankful, worshiping spirit, vigorous testimony, and effectual service?  Alas! for the man that can think so.  And yet all the above comparable blessings have been often sold for a little ease, a little influence, a little money.
     Christian reader, let us watch against the tendency to slip aside from the narrow, yet safe, the sometimes-rough, yet always-pleasant, path of simple, whole-hearted obedience.  Let us keep guard - jealous, careful guard - over "faith and a pure conscience," for which nothing can compensate.  Should trial come, let us, instead of turning aside into Egypt, wait on God; and thus the trial, instead of proving an occasion of stumbling, will prove an opportunity for obedience.  Let us, when tempted to slip into the course of the world, remember Him "who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father." (Gal. 1:4.)  If such was His love for us, and such His sense of the true character of this present world, that He gave Himself in order to deliver us from it, shall we deny Him by plunging again into that from which His cross has forever delivered us?.....
                                                                                                                                 C. H. Mackintosh

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power  Psalms 145:11

“They shall speak of the glory of thy, kingdom,” etc.  The glory of a kingdom is synonymous with its power.  The power of a kingdom consists in the number of its subjects, and the sufficiency of its revenues to maintain them.  Now, the glory, or the power of God’s kingdom, may be inferred from the difference between it and that of man.  There are four points of difference.  First, the kings of this world have but few subjects, with but little wealth, not more than the population and riches of one kingdom, or one province, while God reigns over all angels, all men, all demons; and all wealth on land, in the sea, or in the air, belongs to him.  There is another difference, that while the kings of this world rule their subjects, they are still ruled by them, they are dependent on them, could do nothing without them; and, however abundant their revenues may be, they are generally in want, nay, even in debt, and, consequently, always calling for fresh tributes and taxes; but God, while he governs all, is subject to none, because he needs nobody’s help or assistance.  Instead of being in want, he abounds in everything, because he could, in one moment, bring from nothing much more than he now beholds or enjoys.  The third difference is a consequence of the second, while the kings of this world seem so to enjoy their honours and dignities, they are, at the same time, suffering acutely from interior fears, doubts, and cares, which have some times been so burdensome, as to cause them to abdicate altogether.  God never suffers such pressure, is subject to no fear, no misgivings, but reigns absolutely in perfect tranquillity.  The fourth difference, an essential one, is, that the kings of the world reign but for a time; but God reigneth for ever.               
                                                                                                                                   Robert Bellarmine     

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We lift our voice to Thee in prayer; also, for all our dear ones.  Lord bless the sick and make them well as soon as it is right they should be.  Sanctify to them all they have to bear.  There are also dear friends who are very weak; some that are very trembling.  God bless them.  While the tent is being taken down may the inhabitant within look on with calm joy, for we shall by-and-by "be clothed upon with our house that is from heaven."  Lord help us to sit very loose by all these things here below.  May we live here like strangers and make the world not a house but an inn, in which we sup and lodge, expecting to be on our journey tomorrow.
                                                                                                                                       C. H. Spurgeon    

Monday, May 23, 2016

.....The apostle Paul did willingly forego those things that were in themselves lawful, for the furtherance of the interests of religion and the good of men..... So it was lawful for the apostle to take the other course of life, as in eating and drinking, and freely using all kinds of wholesome food.....But he forbore those things, because he supposed that in his circumstances, and in the circumstances of the Church of Christ in that day, he could more advance the interests of religion and the good of men without them.  For the gospel's sake, and for the good of men, he was willing to forego all the outward advantages he could derive from them.  1 Cor. 8:13. "Wherefore if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no meat while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."  He would not only avoid those things that were useless in themselves, but those also that gave any occasion to sin, or which led or exposed either himself or others to sin.  Then it follows in the next chapter....”Have we not power to eat and to drink?”.....Let this induce such persons to consider themselves, whether they act altogether as become Christians, who look upon it as a sufficient excuse for all the liberties they take, that the things in which they allow themselves, are in themselves lawful, that they are nowhere forbidden, though they cannot deny but that considered in their circumstances, they are of ill tendency, and expose them to temptation, and really tend to wound the credit and interest of religion, and to be a stumbling block to others, or as the apostle expresses it, tend to cause others to offend.  But they uphold themselves with this, that the things which they practice are not absolutely unlawful in themselves, and therefore they will not hearken to any counsels to avoid them.  They think with themselves that it is unreasonable they should be tied up so strictly; that they may not take one and another liberty, and must be so stiff and precise above others.  But why did not the apostle talk after their manner?  Why did not he
say within himself, it is unreasonable that I should deny myself lawful meat and drink merely to comply with the consciences of a few weak persons, that are unreasonable in their scruples?.....But the apostle was of another spirit.  What he aimed at was by any means to promote the interest of religion, and the good of the church.  And he had rather forego all the common comforts and enjoyments of life, than that religion should suffer.
                                                                                                                                    Jonathan Edwards 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good.  Romans 2:10

1.  There is Light in this pleasure.
.....the peace of a godly man, is a peace that arises from light; when he sees things most as they are, then he has most peace; and the distress and trouble which he sometimes feels, arise from clouds and darkness.....

2.  There is Rest in this pleasure.
.....But the pleasures of the godly afford rest in the enjoyment, and rest and sweetness in the reflection; it oftentimes calms and refreshes the soul to look on past comforts.....

3.  There is Life in it.
.....The pleasures of the wicked are poison to the soul, they tend to enfeeble it, to consume it; and kill it.  But the pleasures of the godly feed the soul, and do not consume it; they strengthen, and do not weaken it; they exalt, and do not debase it; they enrich, and do not impoverish it.....

4.  There is Substance in it.
.....Worldly pleasures are easily overthrown.....But the joys of the saints are such as the changes of time cannot overthrow.....

5.  There is Holiness in it.
.....these pleasures make the soul more excellent, and more divine, as well as more happy.....

6.  There is sometimes Glory in it.
.....God sometimes unvails his face, and lets in light more plentifully.  This is a delight and joy, the excellency, and sweetness, and admirableness of which cannot be expressed.

It is a kind of glory that fills the soul.  So excellent is its nature, that the sweetest earthly delight vanishes into nothing, and appears as base and vile as dross and dirt, or as the mere mire of the street.  It is bright above all that is earthly, as the sun is brighter than the glowworm.....
                                                                                                                               Jonathan Edwards  

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.  Psalms 124:8

The Romans in a great distress were put so hard to it, that they were fain to take the weapons out of the temples of their gods to fight with them; and so they overcame.  And this ought to be the course of every good Christian, in times of public distress, to fly to the weapons of the church, prayers and tears.  The Spartan's walls were their spears, the Christian's walls are his prayers.  His help standeth in the name of the Lord who hath made both heaven and earth.             
                                                                                                                                    Edmund Calamy

Friday, May 20, 2016

For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.  I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.  Psalms 84:10

Another sign of God’s children is, to delight to be much in God’s presence.  Children are to be in the presence of their father; where the King is, there is the court; where the presence of God is, there is heaven.  God is in a special manner present in his ordinances, they are the Ark of his presence.  Now, if we are his children, we love to be much in holy duties.  In the use of ordinances we draw near to God, we come into our Father’s presence; in prayer we have secret conference with God; the soul while it is praying, is as it were parlying with God.  In the word we hear God speaking from heaven to us; and how doth every child of God delight to hear his Father’s voice!  In the sacrament God kisseth his children with the kisses of his lips; he gives them a smile of his face, and a privy-seal of his love: oh, it is good to draw near to God.  It is sweet being in his presence: every true child of God saith, “A day in thy courts is better than a thousand!”
                                                                                                                                   Thomas Watson 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.  Psalms 84:2

Every amiableness is not so great to make a longing, nor every longing so great to make a fainting; nor every fainting so great, to make the soul to faint; Oh, then, consider how great this amiableness is, which makes my soul not only to long, but to faint with longing!  And blame me not for fainting, as though it were my own fault for not restraining my longing; for seeing his Tabernacles are of infinite amiableness, they must needs work in me an infinite delighting, and that delighting an infinite longing; and what restraint can there be of that which is infinite?  No, alas, my fainting is but answerable to my longing, and my longing but answerable to the amiableness.  If I had the offer made me, which was made to Christ, to enjoy all the kingdoms of the earth, but with condition to want the Courts of the Lord; this want would bring to my soul a greater grief than that enjoying would give it contentment: for seeing his Tabernacles are so amiable, where He is Lord of Hosts, how amiable must they needs be, where he is Prince of Peace? and Prince of Peace he is in his Courts, though in his camp he be Lord of Hosts.
                                                                                                                                    Sir Richard Baker    

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

And is it so-I shall be like Thy Son?
Is this the grace which He for me has won?
Father of glory, (thought beyond all thought!)
In glory, to His own blest likeness brought!

Oh, Jesus, Lord, who loved me like to Thee?
Fruit of Thy work, with Thee, too, there to see
Thy glory, Lord, while endless ages roll,
Myself the prize and travail of Thy soul.

Yet it must be:  Thy love had not its rest
Were Thy redeemed not with Thee fully blest,
That love that gives not as the world, but shares
All it possesses with its loved co-heirs.

Nor I alone; Thy loved ones, all complete
In glory, round Thee there with joy shall meet,-
All like Thee, for Thy glory like Thee, Lord,
Object supreme of all, by all adored.
                  J. N. Darby

"Joint heirs with Christ."  Romans 8:17

The boundless realms of His Father's universe are Christ's by prescriptive right.  As "heir of all things," He is the sole proprietor of the vast creation of God, and He has admitted us to claim the whole as ours, by virtue of that deed of joint-heirship which the Lord hath ratified with His chosen people.  The golden streets of paradise, the pearly gates, the river of life, the transcendent bliss, and the unutterable glory, are, by our blessed Lord, made over to us for our ever-lasting possession.  All that He has He shares with His people.  The crown royal He has placed upon the head of His Church, appointing her a kingdom, and calling her sons a royal priesthood, a generation of priests and kings.  He uncrowned Himself that we might have a coronation of glory; He would not sit upon His own throne until He had procured a place upon it for all who overcome by His blood.  Crown the head, and the whole body shares the honor.  Behold here the reward of every Christian conqueror!  Christ's throne, crown, sceptre, palace, treasure, robes, heritage, are yours.  Far superior to the jealousy, selfishness, and greed, which admit of no participation of their advantages, Christ deems His happiness completed by His people sharing it.  "The glory which thou gavest Me have I given them."  "These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."  The smiles of His Father are all the sweeter to Him, because His people share them.  The honors of His kingdom are more pleasing, because His people appear with Him in glory.  More valuable to Him are His conquests, since they have taught His people to overcome.  He delights in His throne, because on it there is a place for them.  He rejoices in His royal robes, since over them His skirts are spread.  He delights the more in His joy, because He calls them to enter into it.
                                                                                                                                     C. H. Spurgeon