Monday, February 29, 2016

From a Letter by John Newton dated November 23, 1774 to a Mr. B

My Dear Sir,
.....My body, as I said, is, through mercy, free from considerable ailments, but I have a soul that requires surgeon's work continually;—there is some tumour to be discussed or laid open, some dislocation to be reduced, some fracture to be healed, almost daily.  It is my great mercy, that one who is infallible in skill, who exercises incessant care and boundless compassion towards all his patients, has undertaken my case; and, complicated as it is, I dare not doubt his making a perfect cure.  Yet, alas! I too often discover such impatience, distrust, and complaining when under his hand—am so apt to find fault with the instruments he is pleased to make use of—so ready to think the salutary wounds he makes unnecessary, or too large; in a word, I show such a promptness to control, were I able, or to direct his operations, that, were not his patience beyond expression, he would, before now, have given me up.  I am persuaded, no money would induce Mr.--to attend upon a patient who should act towards him as I have towards my best Physician.  Sometimes I indulge a hope that I am growing wiser, and think surely, after such innumerable proofs as I have had that he does all things well, I shall now be satisfied to leave myself quietly and without reserve to his disposal.  A thousand such surrenders I have made, and a thousand times I have interpretatively retracted them.  Yet still he is gracious.  O, how shall I praise him at last!.....   
                                                                                                                                              John Newton

Sunday, February 28, 2016

From a Letter by John Newton dated April 20, 1774

My Lord,
.....Methinks the poets can have but cold comfort, when they invoke a fabled muse; but we have a warrant, a right to look up for the influence of the Holy Spirit, who ordains strength for us, and has promised to work in us.  What a comfort, what an honour is this, that worms have liberty to look up to God! and that he, the high and holy One who inhabiteth eternity, is pleased to look down upon us, to maintain our peace, to supply our wants, to guide us with his eye, and to inspire us with wisdom and grace suitable to our occasions!  They who profess to know something of this intercourse, and to depend upon it, are by the world accounted enthusiasts, who know not what they mean, or perhaps hypocrites, who pretend to what they have not, in order to cover some base designs.  But we have reason to bear their reproaches with patience.....Well, then, may the believer say, Let them laugh, let them rage, let them, if they please, point at me for a fool as I walk the streets; if I do but take up the Bible, or run over in my mind the inventory of the blessings with which the Lord has enriched me, I have sufficient amends.  Jesus is mine; in him I have wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,—an interest in all the promises and in all the perfections of God; he will guide me by his counsel, support me by his power, comfort me with his presence, while I am here; and afterwards, when flesh and heart fail, he will receive me to his glory.
     Let them say what they will, they shall not dispute or laugh us out of our spiritual senses.  If all the blindmen in the kingdom should endeavour to bear me down, that the sun is not bright, or that the rainbow has no colours, I would still believe my own eyes.  I have seen them both, they have not.  I cannot prove to their satisfaction what I assert, because they are destitute of sight, the necessary medium; yet their exceptions produce no uncertainty in my mind; they would not, they could not, hesitate a moment, if they were not blind.....             
                                                                                                                                            John Newton

Saturday, February 27, 2016

.....Could a true Israelite ever tire of hearing of what the Lord had done for him, in Egypt, in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness?  Never!  Such themes would be ever fresh, ever welcome to his heart.  And just so with the Christian.  Can he ever tire of the cross and all the grand and glorious realities that cluster around it?  Can he ever tire of Christ, His peerless glories and unsearchable riches, His Person, His work, His offices?  Never!  No, never, throughout the bright ages of eternity.  Does he crave anything new?  Can science improve upon Christ? can human learning add aught to the great mystery of godliness, which has for its foundation God manifest in the flesh, and for its top-stone a Man glorified in heaven? can we ever get beyond this?  No, reader, we could not if we would, and we would not if we could.
     And even were we, for a moment, to take a lower range, and look at the works of God in creation; do we ever tire of the sun?  He is not new; he has been pouring his beams upon this world for well-nigh six thousand years, and yet those beams are as fresh and as welcome today as they were when first created.  Do we ever tire of the sea?  It is not new; its tide has been ebbing and flowing for nearly six thousand years, but its waves are as fresh and as welcome on our shores as ever.  True, the sun is often too dazzling to man's feeble vision, and the sea often swallows up, in a moment, man's boasted works; but yet the sun and the sea never lose their power, their freshness, their charm.  Do we ever tire of the dew-drops that fall in refreshing virtue upon our gardens and fields? do we ever tire of the perfume that emanates from our hedge-rows? do we ever tire of the notes of the nightingale and the thrush?  And what are all these when compared with the glories which cluster around the Person and the cross of Christ? what are they when put in contrast with the grand realities of that eternity which is before us?
                                                                                                                                     C. H. Mackintosh

Friday, February 26, 2016

.....the measure of real spiritual power-power to surmount difficulties--power to overcome the world--power to get on--power to possess ourselves of all that God has bestowed upon us,--the measure of this power is simply the measure in which God’s Word is mixed with faith.  That Word is settled forever in heaven; and if it is fixed in our hearts by faith, there is a divine link connecting us with heaven and all that belongs to it; and in proportion as our hearts are thus livingly linked with heaven and the Christ who is there, shall we be practically separated from this present world, and lifted above its influence.  Faith takes possession of all that God has given.  It enters into that within the vail; it endures as seeing Him who is invisible; it occupies itself with the unseen and eternal, not with the seen and the temporal.  Men think possession sure; faith knows nothing sure but God and His Word.  Faith takes God’s Word and locks it up in the very innermost chamber of the heart, and there it remains as hid treasure--the only thing that deserves to be called treasure.  The happy possessor of this treasure is rendered thoroughly independent of the world.  He may be poor as regards the riches of this perishing scene; but if only he is rich in faith, he is the possessor of untold wealth--”durable riches and righteousness” --- ”the unsearchable riches of Christ.”
.....If you will only take God at His word--only believe what He says because He says it--for this is faith--then verily you have this treasure, which renders its possessor entirely independent of this scene where men live only by the sight of their eyes.  The men of this world speak of “the positive” and “the real,” meaning thereby what they can see and experience; in other words, the things of time and sense--the tangible--the palpable.  Faith knows nothing positive, nothing real, but the word of the living God.
                                                                                                                                    C. H. Mackintosh

Thursday, February 25, 2016

You came to me, God,
in my darkness,
but not in bodily form;
then upon my soul,
You wrote a verse;
now glory fills my soul!
You came to me, God,
in my trials,
yet, not in bodily form;
then upon my soul,
You wrote Your Word;
now glory fills my soul!

You came to me, God,
in my sorrow,
though not in bodily form;
then upon my soul,
You wrote a verse;
now glory fills my soul!

You came to me, God,
by Your verses;
Alleluia! praise Your name!
And upon my soul
You’ve written Your love;
now glory fills my soul!
                       M. Robbins

My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.  Psalms 119:81

     We know that the Bible states in 2 Tim 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
     But did you know that God often brings into a Christian’s life a Bible verse that ultimately has such a special significance between God and the Christian that it might later in time be called a “love” verse?
     Yes, through ways which are only known to God, the Lord Almighty can take a single Bible verse and use that verse to mightily reveal Himself to a Christian.   
     Also through means which only God can bring about, the Great I AM can take just one verse from His Word and make that single verse a vital part of a Christian’s life and memory!
     However that type of verse often comes to the Christian’s soul during times of great anguish, loss, trials or when the Christian seems to be almost fainting in prayer.  Consequently because it frequently comes at such a great cost to the believer, the verse seems to have been “written” upon the soul.
     Yet, a “written” verse upon the soul isn’t natural.  So how can a verse that has been “written” upon a soul bear any resemblance of being loveable?  Surely it can’t be termed a “love” verse!
     Ah, dear Christian, His ways are generally not the same as ours.
     His way is that from our great anguish God’s glory shines from a Bible verse.
     His way is that from our loss comes a special “union” with God via a verse.
     His way is that from our trials comes a type of deep, unforgettable communication of God unto the Christian, His child, through a Scripture verse.  In fact so special does the verse become to the Christian, it is if God, Himself, by way of a verse, had taken on sinews and flesh.
     And because it is all of God, there is a special holy glory in the “writing.”
     Consequently for the rest of the Christian’s earthly pilgrimage, contact with such a verse will trigger an immediate memory of how and when God revealed Himself through a verse!
     That is why such a verse can be called a “love” verse. 
     Oh! the “writing!”
     Oh! the glory!
     May His name be praised today!
                                                                                                                                              M. Robbins

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

.....I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.....Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.                             
                                                                                                                      Exodus 15:1-18 Exodus 15, we do not find a single note about self, its doings, its sayings, its feelings, or its fruits.  It is all about Jehovah from beginning to end.  It begins with, "I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea."  This is a specimen of the entire song.  It is a simple record of the attributes and actings of Jehovah.  In chap. 14 the hearts of the people had, as it were, been pent up, by the excessive pressure of their circumstances; but in chapter 15 the pressure is removed and their hearts find full vent in a sweet song of praise.  Self is forgotten.  Circumstances are lost sight of.  One object, and but one, fills their vision, and that object is the Lord Himself in His character and ways.  They were able to say, "Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work; I will triumph in the works of thy hands." (Ps. xcii. 4.)  This is true worship.  It is when poor worthless self, with all its belongings, is lost sight of, and Christ alone fills the heart, that we present proper worship.  There is no need for the efforts of a fleshly pietism to awaken in the soul feelings of devotion.  Nor is there any demand whatever for the adventitious appliances of religion, so called, to kindle in the soul the flame of acceptable worship.  Oh! no; let but the heart be occupied with the Person of Christ, and "songs of praise" will be the natural result.  It is impossible for the eye to rest on Him and the spirit not be bowed in holy worship.  If we contemplate the worship of the hosts which surround the throne of God and the Lamb, we shall find that it is ever evoked by the presentation of some special feature of divine excellence or divine acting.  Thus should it be with the Church on earth; and when it is not so, it is because we allow things to intrude upon us which have no place in the regions of unclouded light and unalloyed blessedness.  In all true worship, God Himself is at once the object of worship, the subject of worship, and the power of worship.
     Hence, Exodus 15 is a fine specimen of a song of praise.  It is the language of a redeemed people celebrating the worthy praise of Him who had redeemed them.  "The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God and I will exalt him.  The Lord is a man of war, the Lord is his name,.....thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.....who is like unto thee, Lord, among the gods?  Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?.....Thou, in thy mercy, hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.....The Lord shall reign for ever and ever."  How comprehensive is the range of this song!  It begins with redemption and ends with the glory. It begins with the cross and ends with the kingdom.  It is like a beauteous rainbow, of which one end dips in "the sufferings" and the other in "the glory which should follow."  It is all about Jehovah.  It is an outpouring of soul produced by a view of God and His gracious and glorious actings.
                                                                                                                                C. H. Mackintosh

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Power of Grace

Happy the birth where grace presides,
To form the future life!
In wisdom’s path the soul she guides,
Remote from noise and strife.

Since I have known the Saviour’s name,
And what for me He bore;
No more I toil for empty fame,
I thirst for gold no more.

Placed by His hand in this retreat,
I make His love my theme;
And see that all the world calls great,
Is but a waking dream.

Since He has rank’d my worthless name
Amongst his favour’d few,
Let the mad world who scoff at them,
Revile and hate me too.

O Thou, whose voice the dead can raise,
And soften hearts of stone,
And teach the dumb to sing Thy praise,
This work is all Thine own!

Thy wondering saints rejoice to see
A wretch like me restored;
And point, and say, “How changed is he
Who once defied the Lord!”

Grace bid me live, and taught my tongue
To aim at notes divine;
And grace accepts my feeble song—
The glory, Lord, be Thine!
                                           John Newton

From a letter by John Newton to a Miss P---- dated August 17, 1767

.....It is storied of Pompey, that when his friends would have dissuaded him from putting to sea in a storm, he answered, "It is necessary for me to sail, but it is not necessary for me to live!"  O pompous speech in Pompey's sense!  He was full of the idea of his own importance, and would rather have died than have taken a step beneath his supposed dignity.  But it may be accommodated with propriety to a believer's case.  It becomes us to say, It is not necessary for me to be rich, or what the world accounts wise; to be healthy, or admired by fellow-worms; to pass through life in a state of prosperity and outward comfort;—these things may be, or they may be otherwise, as the Lord in his wisdom shall appoint; but it is necessary for me to be humble and spiritual, to seek communion with God, to adorn my profession of the gospel, and to yield submissively to his disposal, in whatever way, whether of service or suffering, he shall be pleased to call me to glorify him in the world.  It is not necessary for me to live long, but highly expedient that whilst I do live I should live to him.  Here, then, I would bound my desires; and here, having his word both for my rule and my warrant, I am secured from asking amiss.  Let me have his presence and his Spirit, wisdom to know my calling, and opportunities and faithfulness to improve them; and as to the rest, Lord, help me to say,  "What thou wilt, when thou wilt, and how thou wilt."
                                                                                                                                               John Newton

Monday, February 22, 2016

Let us trust him in the darkness,
Just the same as in the light,
Trust our Father's loving kindness,
And his everlasting might:
Trust the faithful words of promise,
Stars upon the midnight sky,
For some gleams of brightness ever
Greet the hearts that look on high.

Let us trust him in the darkness,
Just the same as in the light;
Let us walk by faith, rejoicing,
When we cannot walk by sight;
For we know his glory shineth,
Just beyond the cloudy veil;
Oh, the precious love of Jesus,
Light that never shall grow pale.

Let us trust him in the darkness,
Just the same as in the light,
Since his tender arms enfold us,
Why should any fear affright?
For the eyes that never slumber
Watch us thro' the shadows dim,
Tho' all else in gloom is shrouded,
Joy and gladness stream from him.

Let us trust him in the darkness,
Just the same as in the light,
For he leads us to the country
Where there never falls a night;
Leads us on by ways we know not,
'Tis enough he sees and knows,
There we’ll praise his name in rapture,
Where eternal noonday glows.

Trusting in the darkness, trusting in the light,
Singing in the sunshine, singing in the night;
Driving back the shadows, far away they roll,
Soon will the morning break on the soul.
                                                     E. E. Hewitt

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  Isaiah 55:8

    Are your trials getting worse?  Have you experienced an apparent defeat in this world’s arena?  Are you now at the date of your eviction notice?  Has illness seemingly entered your life for what appears to be forever?
     And what is worse, have you been seeking God’s ear and all seems to be just silence on His end because He hasn’t done what you think He should have done?
     Then, dear Christian, go unto your place of prayer!
     Yes, while your heart and soul seem to be breaking, “acknowledge” to God that you know your past, present and future have carefully been crafted by Him because He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
      Yes, even while your heart and soul seem to be breaking, “allow” God to be who He is--your Father, Lord, and your great I AM.  And keep in mind Isaiah 55:8:  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.”
     And then.....even then.....though your heart and soul still seem to be breaking, “adore” the One who is your Lord and God!
     For the One who has loved you with an everlasting love IS working on your behalf despite the appearance of your circumstances.
     Dear child of God, when a shrub is pruned to obtain better growth or fruit, the plant doesn’t understand “why.”  So, when you undergo tough times and don’t understand “why,” you must believe that God knows what He is doing and allowing.   
     You’ll have all eternity to be in awe of what He has done on your behalf!
     But it is your privilege today to trustfully rest in His love!
                                                                                                                                               M. Robbins

Sunday, February 21, 2016

And can it be, that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour's Blood!
Died He for me? who caused His pain!
For me? who him to Death pursued!
Amazing Love! how can it be
That Thou, my GOD shouldst die for me?

'Tis mystery all! the Immortal dies!
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the first-born Seraph tries
To sound the Depths of Love Divine.
'Tis mercy all! let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father's Throne above,
(So free, so infinite His Grace!)
Emptied himself of all but Love,
And bled for Adam's helpless race:
'Tis Mercy all, immense and free!
For O my GOD! it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature's night:
Thine eye diffused a quick'ning ray;
I woke; the dungeon flamed with Light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward Voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the Atoning Blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven:
I feel the Life His Wounds impart;
I feel my SAVIOUR in my Heart.

No Condemnation now I dread,
JESUS, and all in Him, is mine:
Alive in Him, my Living Head,
And clothed in Righteousness Divine,
Bold I approach the Eternal Throne,
And claim the Crown, thro' CHRIST, my own.
                                                Charles Wesley

.....he hath made us accepted in the beloved.  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace  Eph 1:6-7

There was a sweet savor in His active life by which He honored the law of God, and made every precept to glitter like a precious jewel in the pure setting of His own person.  Such, too, was his passive obedience, when He endured, with unmurmuring submission, hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness, and at length sweat great drops of blood in Gethsemane, gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked out the hair, and was fastened to the cruel wood, that He might suffer the wrath of God in our behalf.  These two things are sweet before the Most High; and for the sake of His doing and His dying, His substitutionary sufferings and His vicarious obedience, the Lord our God accepts us.  What a preciousness must there be in Him to overcome our want of preciousness!  What a sweet savor to put away our ill savor!  What a cleansing power in His blood to take away sin such as ours! and what glory in His righteousness to make such unacceptable creatures to be accepted in the Beloved!  Mark, believer, how sure and unchanging must be our acceptance, since it is in Him!  Take care that you never doubt your acceptance in Jesus.  You cannot be accepted without Christ; but when you have received His merit, you cannot be unaccepted.  Notwithstanding all your doubts, and fears, and sins, Jehovah's gracious eye never looks upon you in anger; though He sees sin in you, in yourself, yet when He looks at you through Christ, He sees no sin.  You are always accepted in Christ, are always blessed and dear to the Father's heart.  Therefore lift up a song, and as you see the smoking incense of the merit of the Saviour coming up, this evening, before the sapphire throne, let the incense of your praise go up also.    
                                                                                                                                        C. H. Spurgeon  

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Jesus is our Shepherd,
  Wiping ev’ry tear;
Folded in His bosom,
  What have we to fear?
Only let us follow
  Whither He doth lead,
To the thirsty desert,
  Or the dewy mead.

Jesus is our Shepherd:
  Well we know His voice-
How its gentlest whisper
  Makes our heart rejoice;
Even when He chideth,
  Tender is His tone:
None but He shall guide us;
  We are His alone.

Jesus is our Shepherd,
  For the sheep He bled;
Ev’ry lamb is sprinkled
  With the blood He shed;
Then on each He setteth
  His own secret sign,-
“They that have My Spirit,”
  “These,” saith He, “are Mine.”

Jesus is our Shepherd;
  Guarded by His arm,
Though the wolves may raven,
  None can do us harm;
Though we tread death’s valley,
  Dark with fearful gloom,
We will fear no evil,-
  Victors o’er the tomb.
               Hugh Stowell

Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not.  O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.  Lam 3:57-58

Behold, how independent of outward circumstances the Holy Ghost can make the Christian!  What a bright light may shine within us when it is all dark without!  How firm, how happy, how calm, how peaceful we may be, when the world shakes to and fro, and the pillars of the earth are removed!  Even death itself, with all its terrible influences, has no power to suspend the music of a Christian's heart, but rather makes that music become more sweet, more clear, more heavenly, till the last kind act which death can do is to let the earthly strain melt into the heavenly chorus, the temporal joy into the eternal bliss!  Let us have confidence, then, in the blessed Spirit's power to comfort us.  Dear reader, are you looking forward to poverty?  Fear not; the divine Spirit can give you, in your want, a greater plenty than the rich have in their abundance.  You know not what joys may be stored up for you in the cottage around which grace will plant the roses of content.  Are you conscious of a growing failure of your bodily powers?  Do you expect to suffer long nights of languishing and days of pain?  Oh, be not sad!  That bed may become a throne to you.  You little know how every pang that shoots through your body may be a refining fire to consume your dross—a beam of glory to light up the secret parts of your soul.  Are the eyes growing dim?  Jesus will be your light.  Do the ears fail you?  Jesus' name will be your soul's best music, and His person your dear delight.  Socrates used to say, "Philosophers can be happy without music;" and Christians can be happier than philosophers when all outward causes of rejoicing are withdrawn.  In thee, my God, my heart shall triumph, come what may of ills without!  By thy power, blessed Spirit, my heart shall be exceeding glad, though all things should fail me here below.
                                                                                                                                         C. H. Spurgeon

Friday, February 19, 2016

         A Lion, though by nature wild,
         The art of man can tame;
         He stands before his keeper, mild,
         And gentle as a lamb.

         He watches, with submissive eye,
         The hand that gives him food,
         As if he meant to testify
         A sense of gratitude.

         But man himself, who thus subdues
         The fiercest beasts of prey,
         A nature more unfeeling shows,
         And far more fierce than they.

         Alike in vain, of grace that saves,
         Or threatening law, he hears;
         The savage scorns, blasphemes, and raves,
         But neither loves nor fears.

         O Savior! how Thy wondrous power
         By angels is proclaimed!
         When in Thine own appointed hour
         They see this lion tamed!

         The love Thy bleeding cross displays,
         The hardest heart subdues!
         Here furious lions, while they gaze,
         Their rage and fierceness lose.

         Yet we are but renewed in part
         The lion still remains;
         Lord, drive him wholly from my heart,
         Or keep him fast in chains.
                                                   John Newton

From a Letter by John Newton dated June 17, 1778  to the Rev. Mr. B.

My Dear Friend, 
 .....Last week we had a lion in town.  I went to see him.  He was wonderfully tame; as familiar with his keeper, as docile and obedient as a spaniel.  Yet the man told me he had his surly fits, when they durst not touch him.  No looking-glass could express my face more justly than this lion did my heart.  I could trace every feature: as wild and fierce by nature; yea much more so: but grace has in some measure tamed me.  I know and love my Keeper, and sometimes watch his looks that I may learn his will.  But, oh!  I have my surly fits too; seasons when I relapse into the savage again, as though I had forgotten all.
                                                                                                                                    John Newton

Thursday, February 18, 2016

From a Letter by John Newton dated August 19, 1779 to the Rev. Mr. B.

My Dear Friend, 
.....I have been troubled of late with the rheumatism in my left arm.  Mine is a sinful, vile body, and it is a mercy that any part of it is free from pain.  It is virtually the seat and subject of all diseases; but the Lord holds them like wild beasts in a chain, under a strong restraint: were that restraint taken off, they would rush upon their prey from every quarter, and seize upon every limb, member, joint, and nerve at once.  Yet, though I am a sinner, and though my whole texture is so frail and exposed, I have enjoyed for a number of years an almost perfect exemption both from pain and sickness.  This is wonderful indeed, even in my own eyes.

But my soul is far from being in a healthy state.  There I have laboured, and still labour, under a complication of diseases; and but for the care and skill of an infallible Physician, I must have died the death long ago.  At this very moment my soul is feverish, dropsical, paralytic.  I feel a loss of appetite, a disinclination both to food and to medicine; so that I am alive by miracle; yet I trust I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord.  When I faint, he revives me again.  I am sure he is able, and I trust he has promised to heal me; but how inveterate must my disease be, that is not yet subdued, even under his management.

Well, my friend, there is a land where the inhabitants shall no more say, "I am sick."  Then my eyes will not be dim, nor my ear heavy, nor my heart hard

        One sight of Jesus as he is
        Will strike all sin for ever dead   

Blessed be his name for this glorious hope!  May it cheer us under all our present uneasy feelings, and reconcile us to every cross.  The way must be right, however rough, that leads to such a glorious end.

O for more of that gracious influence, which in a moment can make the wilderness-soul rejoice and blossom like the rose!  I want something which neither critics nor commentators can help me to.  The Scripture itself, whether I read it in Hebrew, Greek, French, or English, is a sealed book in all languages unless the Spirit of the Lord is present to expound and apply.  Pray for me.  No prayer seems more suitable to me than that of the Psalmist: "Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name."
                                                                                                                                      John Newton

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A letter from John Newton

Dear Madam,
     What a poor, uncertain dying world is this!  What a wilderness in itself!  How dark, how desolate, without the light of the gospel and the knowledge of Jesus!.....
     It is a great mercy to be undeceived in time; and though our gay dreams are at an end, and we awake to everything that is disgustful and dismaying, yet we see a highway through the wilderness, a powerful guard, an infallible guide at hand to conduct us through; and we can discern beyond the limits of the wilderness a better land, where we shall be at rest and at home.  What will the difficulties we meet by the way then signify?  The remembrance of them will only remain to heighten our sense of the love, care, and power of our Saviour and leader.  O, how shall we then admire, adore, and praise him, when he shall condescend to unfold to us the beauty, propriety, and harmony of the whole train of his dispensations towards us, and give us a clear retrospect of all the way, and all the turns of our pilgrimage! 
     In the meanwhile, the best method of adorning our profession, and of enjoying peace in our souls, is simply to trust him, and absolutely to commit ourselves and our all to his management.  By casting our burdens upon him, our spirits become light and cheerful; we are freed from a thousand anxieties and inquietudes, which are wearisome to our minds, and which, with respect to events, are needless for us, yea, useless.  But though it may be easy to speak of this trust, and it appears to our judgment perfectly right and reasonable, the actual attainment is a great thing; and especially, so to trust the Lord, not by fits and starts, surrendering one day and retracting the next, but to abide by our surrender, and go habitually trusting through all the changes we meet, knowing that his love, purpose, and promise, are unchangeable.  Some little fainting, perhaps, none are freed from; but I believe a power of trusting the Lord in good measure at all times, and living quietly under the shadow of his wing, is what the promise warrants us to expect, if we seek it by diligent prayer; if not all at once, yet by a gradual increase.  May it be your experience and mine.        
                                                                                                                                          John Newton


From a Letter by John Newton dated July 15, 1777 To the Rev. Dr.-

My Dear Sir,
.....Thus we are apt perversely to reason: he guides and guards me through life; he gives me new mercies, and new proofs of his power and care every day; and therefore when I come to die he will forsake me, and let me be the sport of winds and waves!  Indeed the Lord does not deserve such hard thoughts at our hands as we are prone to form of him.  But notwithstanding we make such returns, he is and will be gracious, and shame us out of our unkind, ungrateful, unbelieving fears at last.  If, after my repeated kind reception at your house, I should always be teasing Mrs.­­­---with suspicions of her good-will, and should tell everybody I saw, that I verily believed, the next time I went to see her she would shut the door in my face and refuse me admittance, would she not be grieved, offended, and affronted?  Would she not think, What reason can he assign for this treatment?  He knows I did every thing in my power to assure him of a welcome, and told him so over and over again.  Does he count me a deceiver?  Yes, he does: I see his friendship is not worth preserving; so farewell.  I will seek friends among such as believe my words and actions.  Well, my dear madam, I am clear I always believed you; I make no doubt but you will treat me kindly next time, as you did the last.  But pray, is not the Lord as worthy of being trusted as yourself; and are not his invitations and promises as hearty and as honest as yours?  Let us therefore beware of giving way to such thoughts of him as we could hardly forgive in our dearest friends, if they should harbour the like of us.
                                                                                                                                            John Newton

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

excerpts from a letter by John Newton-July 31, 1773

Dear Sir,
     I received your sorrowful epistle yesterday, and, in order to encourage you to write, I answer it to-day.
     The ship was safe when Christ was in her, though he was really asleep.  At present I can tell you good news, though you know it; he is wide awake, and his eyes are in every place.....However, the ark is fixed upon an immovable foundation; and if we think we see it totter, it is owing to a swimming in our heads.  Seriously, the times look dark and stormy, and call for much circumspection and prayer; but let us not forget that we have an infallible pilot, and that the power, and wisdom, and honour of God, are embarked with us.
     At Venice they have a fine vessel, called the Bucentaur, in which, on a certain day of the year, the Doge and nobles embark, and go a little way to sea, to repeat the foolish ceremony of marriage between the Republic and the Adriatic.....when they say a gold ring is very gravely thrown overboard.  Upon this occasion, I have been told, when the honour and government of Venice are shipped on board the Bucentaur, the pilot is obliged by his office to take an oath that he will bring the vessel safely back again, in defiance of wind and weather.  Vain mortals!  If this be true, what an instance of God's long-suffering is it, that they have never yet sunk as lead in the mighty waters!  But my story will probably remind you that Jesus has actually entered into such an engagement in behalf of his church.  And well he may, for both wind and weather are at his command; and he can turn the storm into a calm in a moment.  We may therefore safely and confidently leave the government upon his shoulders.  Duty is our part, the care is his......
                                                                                                                                              John Newton

Monday, February 15, 2016

He will not forsake you
Whose glories shine afar;
He who feeds the raven,
And numbers ev’ry star,
Will not let His children
One hour forgotten be;
Trust the heav’nly Father,
Trust Him who cares for thee.

He will not forsake you,
The children of the King,
Made in His own likeness,
His saving grace to sing;
Bought with blood so precious,
Redeemed at such a cost,
He will not forget you,
His word cannot be lost.

He will not forsake you;
Oh let the message ring,
Bright or stormy weather
’Twill hope and gladness bring;
Let us sweetly trust Him,
Rejoicing in His love,
Till we better praise Him
In that bright home above.


Trust Him, trust Him,
Whatever may betide;
He who clothes the lilies
Is ever at your side;
Trust Him, trust Him
Whose glories shine afar;
He will not forsake you
Who numbers ev’ry star.
                E. E. Hewitt were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot....I Peter 1:18-19

What a howling wilderness is this world without our Lord!  If once He hideth Himself from us, withered are the flowers of our garden; our pleasant fruits decay; the birds suspend their songs, and a tempest overturns our hopes.  All earth’s candles cannot make daylight if the Sun of Righteousness be eclipsed.  He is the soul of our soul, the light of our light, the life of our life.  Dear reader, what wouldst thou do in the world without Him, in the midst of its temptations and its cares?  What wouldst thou do in the morning without Him, when thou wakest up and lookest forward to the day’s battle?  What wouldst thou do at night, when thou comest home jaded and weary, if there were no door of fellowship between thee and Christ?  Blessed be His name, He will not suffer us to try our lot without Him, for Jesus never forsakes His own.  Yet, let the thought of what life would be without Him, enhance His preciousness.
                                                                                                                                          C. H. Spurgeon

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Bride of the Lamb, awake! awake!
  Why sleep for sorrow now?
The hope of glory, Christ is thine,-
  A child of glory thou.

Thy spirit, through the lonely night,
  From earthly joy apart,
Hath sigh’d for one that’s far away,-
  The Bridegroom of thy heart.

But lo, the night is waning fast,
  The breaking morn is near;
And Jesus comes, with voice of love,
  Thy drooping heart to cheer.

He comes-for, oh! His yearning heart
  No more can bear delay-
To scenes of full unmingled joy,
  To call His bride away.

This earth, the scene of all His woe,-
  A homeless wild to thee,-
Full soon upon His heav’nly throne
  Its rightful King shall see.

Thou, too, shalt reign-He will not wear
  His crown of joy alone!
And earth His royal Bride shall see
  Beside Him on the throne.

Then weep no more! ‘tis all thine own-
  His crown, His joy divine,
And sweeter far than all beside,
  He, He Himself, is thine.
                                 Sir Edward Denny

...and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  1 Thes 4:17

     Who hasn’t heard or read a fantasy story about some handsome prince who falls in love with a poor beautiful maiden.  Of course they marry and the poor but beautiful maiden lives happily ever after with the future king.
     Though fairy tales are fantasy we, as common folks, long for the things which belonging to royalty would bring!  And how our hearts long for that happy ever after!
      But dear Christian, forget about fantasy and look upon what is your reality.   
     As a Christian, you are loved with “an everlasting love” and you were loved so much that Christ was not willing that you should take the penalty of your own sins and so He died in your place on Calvary.
     You, who were nothing, have forever the protection, care, and attention of the One who is King of kings and who is omnipotent, omniscient, and by whom “all things were made.”       
     Seemingly bad things will come your way which may affect your health, finances, and relationships.  And at times you may be very frightened by the harshness and brutality of this world.
     But, dear Christian, earth is not your home - it is a wilderness.  But it is in this wilderness that you will have an opportunity to know and learn of Christ in a way than you’ll never have in Heaven. 
     So, dear Christian, lean on His word for guidance and strength.  Trust in Him for the provisions of life.  Talk to Him often during the day - giving to Him the cares of your way.  And look for Him.....yes, even longing for Him......remembering always that Christ’s love towards you is such He won’t be satisfied for you to be forever here in this wilderness called “earth.”    
     And though there seems to be endless years of delay, there will come a day in which you will be starting your “forever” with the One whose love is best!
     That, dear Christian, is your reality and never ending joy!
                                                                                                                                              M. Robbins

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Thro’ eternal ages let his praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to him eternally by love’s strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
Listening ev’ry moment to the Spirit’s call,
Resting in my Savior, as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.
                                               R. Kelso Carter

And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.  1 Jn 2:25

     God’s promises are the peculiar treasure of believers:  the substance of faith's heritage lies in them.  All the promises of our covenant God are ours to have and to hold as our personal possession.  By faith we receive and embrace them, and they constitute our true riches.  We have certain most precious things in actual enjoyment at this present; but the capital of our wealth, the bulk of our estate lies in the promise of our God.  That which we have in hand is only the earnest penny of the immeasurable wage of grace which is to be paid to us in due time.
     The Lord graciously gives us even now all things necessary for this life and godliness; but his choicest blessings are held in reserve for time to come.  Grace given to us from day to day is our spending money for traveling expenses on the road home; but it is not our estate.  Providential supplies are rations on the march, but not the ultimate feast of love.  We may miss these wayside meals, but we are bound for The Supper of The Lamb.  Thieves may rob us of our ready cash; but our peculiar treasure is hid with Christ in God beyond all fear of loss.  The hand which bled to make this treasure ours is keeping it for us.......
     It is as though a man should have in his hand a fair copy of his title-deeds, and should delight himself in reading it until by some mischance his copy is stolen or mislaid.  The loss of his writings is not the loss of his rights.  His comfortable reading of the title-deed is suspended, but his claim to his property is not shaken.  The covenant promise is entailed upon every joint-heir with Christ, and there is no such thing as the breaking of this entail.  Many an event may tend to shake the believer's sense of security, but "the promise is sure to all the seed."  Our greatest possession lies not in any present comfort or confidence which we receive from the promise, but in the promise itself, and in the glorious heritage which it secures to us.  Our inheritance lies not on this side of the Jordan.......
     Faith obliterates time, annihilates distance, and brings future things at once into its possession.  The Lord has not as yet given us to join the hallelujahs of heaven:  we have not yet passed through the gates of pearl, nor have we trodden the streets of transparent gold; but the promise of such felicity lights up the gloom of our affliction, and yields us immediate foretastes of glory.  We triumph by faith before our hands actually grasp the palm.  We reign with Christ by faith before our heads are encircled with our unfading coronets.......
                                                                                                                                       C. H. Spurgeon 

Friday, February 12, 2016

        Jesus, I have need of Thee,
        Need that Thou with me abide;
        Need of Thee each day and hour,
        As my guard and as my guide!

        Jesus, I have need of Thee,
        When my wayward feet would stray;
        Need that, in Thy gentleness,
        Thou shouldst keep them in the way!

        Jesus, I have need of Thee,
        In the time of doubt and fear;
        Need to feel, whate’er may come,
        That Thou wilt my spirit cheer!

        Jesus, I have need of Thee,
        And Thy precious promises;
        Need of Thee to strengthen me,
        For my strength but weakness is!

        Jesus, I have need of Thee,
        When my heart is sorely tried;
        Need to feel Thy presence near,
        Whatsoever be denied!

        Need of Thee, need of Thee,
        Jesus, I have need of Thee.
        Need of Thee each day and hour,
        Jesus, I have need of Thee!
                                                       E. R. Latta

Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.  Psalms 116:7

The dove found no rest out of the ark, and therefore returned to it; and my soul has learned yet more fully than ever, this day, that there is no satisfaction to be found in earthly things-God alone can give rest to my spirit.  As to my business, my possessions, my family, my attainments, these are all well enough on their way, but they cannot fulfil the desires of my immortal nature.  “Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.”  It was at the still hour, when the gates of the day were closing, that with weary wing the dove came back to her master:  O Lord, enable me this evening thus to return to Jesus.  She could not endure to spend a night hovering over the restless waste, nor can I bear to be even for another hour away from Jesus, the rest of my heart, the house of my spirit.  She did not merely alight upon the roof of the ark, she “came in to him;” even so would my longing spirit look into the secret of the Lord, pierce to the interior of truth, enter into that which is within the veil, and reach to my Beloved in very deed.
                                                                                                                                        C. H. Spurgeon

Thursday, February 11, 2016

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

In every condition-in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad; on the land, on the sea-
“As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply,
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

“E’en down to old age all my people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in my bosom be borne.

“The soul that on Jesus still leans for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!”
                               George Keith

I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.  Isa 27:31

     When the Lord himself speaks in his own proper person rather than through a prophet, the word has a peculiar weight to believing minds.  It is Jehovah himself who is the keeper of his own vineyard; he does not trust it to any other, but he makes it his own personal care.  Are they not well kept whom God himself keeps?
     We are to receive gracious watering, not only every day and every hour, "but every moment."  How we ought to grow!  How fresh and fruitful every plant should be!  What rich clusters the vines should bear!
     But disturbers come; little foxes and the boar.  Therefore, the Lord himself is our guardian, and that at all hours, both "night and day."  What, then, can harm us?  Why are we afraid?  He tends, he waters, he guards; what more do we need?
     Twice in this verse the Lord says, "I will."  What truth, what power, what love, what immutability we find in the great "I will" of Jehovah!  Who can resist his will?  If he says "I will," what room is there for doubt?  With an "I will" of God we can face all the hosts of sin, death, and hell.  O Lord, since thou sayest, "I will keep thee," I reply, "I will praise thee!"  
                                                                                                                                       C. H. Spurgeon  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

       How condescending and how kind
       Was God’s eternal Son!
       Our misery reached His heavenly mind,
       And pity brought Him down.

       When justice by our sins provoked,
       Drew forth its dreadful sword,
       He gave His soul up to the stroke,
       Without a murmuring word.

       He sank beneath our heavy woes,
       To raise us to His throne:
       There’s ne’er a gift His hand bestows
       But cost His heart a groan.

       This was compassion like a God,
       That though the Savior knew
       The price of pardon was His blood,
       His pity ne’er withdrew.

       Now, though He reigns exalted high,
       His love is still as great:
       Well He remembers Calvary,
       Nor let His saints forget.

       Here let our hearts begin to melt,
       While we His death record,
       And, with our joy for pardoned guilt,
       Mourn that we pierced the Lord.
                                                   Isaac Watts

Tell me the old, old story
  Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory,
  Of Jesus and His love.
Tell me the story simply,
  As to a little child,
For I am weak and weary,
  And helpless and defiled.

Tell me the story slowly,
  That I may take it in-
That wonderful Redemption
  God’s remedy for sin!
Tell me the story often,
  For I forget so soon!
The “early dew” of morning
  Has passed away at noon!

Tell me the story softly,
  With earnest tones, and grave;
Remember!  I’m the sinner
  Whom Jesus came to save.
Tell me that story always,
  If you would really be,
In any time of trouble,
  A comforter to me.

Tell me the same old story,
  When you have cause to fear
That this world’s empty glory
  Is costing me too dear.
Yes, and when that world’s glory
  Is drawing on my soul,
Tell me the old, old story:
  “Christ Jesus makes thee whole.”

Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Of Jesus and His love.
            Katherine Hankey

How sweet the old, old gospel,
The message, “Look and live!”
The right to call him Father, God
Has said He’d freely give.

There is no condemnation
To children of the Lord;
Their refuge is His holy name,
Their merit is His blood.

And when we reach the glory,
Thro’ riches of His grace,
We shall be wholly like our Lord
When we behold His face.

“As many as received Him,
As many as believed Him,
To them He gave the power
To become the sons of God;”
As many as receive Him,
As many as believe Him,
Have now a full redemption
Thro’ the Savior’s precious blood.
                   Mrs. C. D. Martin

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.  Rev 1:5-6

     What, then, is the doctrine set forth in the laying on of hands?  It is this: Christ was "made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." - (2 Cor 5:21).  He took our position with all its consequences, in order that we might get His position with all its consequences.  He was treated as sin upon the cross, that we might be treated as righteousness in the presence of Infinite Holiness.  He was cast out of God's presence because He had sin on Him by imputa-tion, that we might be received into God's house and into His bosom because we have a perfect righteousness by imputation.  He had to endure the hiding of God's countenance, that we might bask in the light of that countenance.  He had to pass through three hours' darkness, that we might walk in ever-lasting light.  He was forsaken of God for a time, that we might enjoy His presence forever.  All that was due to us as ruined sinners was laid upon Him, in order that all that was due to Him as the Accomplisher of redemption might be ours.  There was every thing against Him when He hung upon the cursed tree, in order that there might be nothing against us.  He was identified with us in the reality of death and judgment, in order that we might be identified with Him in the reality of life and righteousness.  He drank the cup of wrath-the cup of trembling, that we might drink the cup of salvation-the cup of infinite favor.  He was treated according to our deserts, that we might be treated according to His.                        
                                                                                                                                       C. H. Mackintosh

Monday, February 8, 2016

I will give thee for a covenant of the people-Isaiah xlix. 8

Jesus Christ is Himself the sum and substance of the covenant, and as one of its gifts He is the property of every believer.  Believer, canst thou estimate what thou hast gotten in Christ?  "In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."  Consider that word "God" and its infinity, and then meditate upon "perfect man" and all his beauty; for all that Christ, as God and man, ever had, or can have, is thine-out of pure free favor, passed over to thee to be thine entailed property forever.  Our blessed Jesus, as God, is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent.  Will it not console you to know that all these great and glorious attributes are altogether yours?  Has He power?  That power is yours to support and strengthen you, to overcome your enemies, and to preserve you even to the end.  Has He love?  Well, there is not a drop of love in His heart which is not yours.  You may dive into the immense ocean of His love, and you may say of it all, "It is mine."  Hath He justice?  It may seem a stern attribute, but even that is yours; for He will, by His justice, see to it, that all which is promised to you in the covenant of grace, shall be most certainly secured to you.  And all that He has as perfect man is yours.  As a perfect man the Father's delight was upon Him.  He stood accepted by the Most High.  O believer, God's acceptance of Christ is thine acceptance; for knowest thou not that the love which the Father set on a perfect Christ, He sets on thee now?  For all that Christ did is thine.  That perfect righteousness which Jesus wrought out, when through His stainless life He kept the law and made it honorable, is thine, and is imputed to thee.  Christ is in the covenant.
                                                                                                                                           C. H. Spurgeon

Sunday, February 7, 2016

I could not do without thee,
O Savior of the lost,
Whose precious blood redeemed me
At such tremendous cost;
Thy righteousness, thy pardon,
Thy sacrifice, must be
My only hope and comfort,
My glory and my plea.

I could not do without thee,
I cannot stand alone;
I have no strength or goodness,
No wisdom of my own;
But thou, beloved Savior,
Art all in all to me,
And weakness will be power,
If leaning hard on thee.

I could not do without thee,
For years are fleeting fast,
And soon in solemn silence,
The river must be passed;
But thou wilt never leave me,
And, tho’ the waves run high,
I know thou wilt be near me
And whisper, “It is I.”
                       Frances Ridley Havergal

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.  Heb 9:28

     Salvation is the work of God.  It is He alone who quickens the soul "dead in trespasses and sins," and it is He also who maintains the soul in its spiritual life.  He is both "Alpha and Omega."  "Salvation is of the Lord."  If I am prayerful, God makes me prayerful; if I have graces, they are God's gift to me; if I hold on in a consistent life, it is because He upholds me with His hand.  I do nothing whatever towards my own preservation, except what God himself first does in me.  Whatever I have, all my goodness, is of the Lord alone.  Wherein I sin, that is my own; but wherein I act rightly, that is of God, wholly and completely.  If I have repulsed a spiritual enemy, the Lord's strength nerved my arm.  Do I live before men a consecrated life?  It is not I, but Christ who liveth in me.  Am I sanctified?  I did not cleanse myself:  God's Holy Spirit sanctifies me.  Am I weaned from the world?  I am weaned by God's chastisements sanctified-to my good.  Do I grow in knowledge?  The great Instructor teaches me.  All my jewels were fashioned by heavenly art.  I find in God all that I want; but I find in myself nothing but sin and misery.  "He only is my rock and my salvation."  Do I feed on the Word?  That Word would be no food for me unless the Lord made it food for my soul, and helped me to feed upon it.  Do I live on the manna which comes down from heaven?  What is that manna but Jesus Christ himself incarnate, whose body and whose blood I eat and drink?  Am I continually receiving fresh increase of strength?  Where do I gather my might?  My help cometh from heaven's hills:  without Jesus I can do nothing.  As a branch cannot bring forth fruit except it abide in the vine, no more can I, except I abide in Him.  What Jonah learned in the great deep, let me learn this morning in my closet; "Salvation is of the Lord."                                            
                                                                                                                                      C. H. Spurgeon

Saturday, February 6, 2016

My God, my Portion, and my Love,
My everlasting All,
I’ve none but thee in heaven above,
Or on this earthly ball.

What empty things are all the skies,
And this interior clod!
There’s nothing here deserves my joys,
There’s nothing like my God.

To thee I owe my wealth, and friends,
And health, and safe abode:
Thanks to thy name for meaner things;
But they are not my God.

How vain a toy is glittering wealth,
If once compared to thee!
Or what’s my safety, or my health,
Or all my friends to me?

Were I possessor of the earth,
And called the stars my own,
Without thy graces and thyself,
I were a wretch undone.

Let others stretch their arms like seas
And grasp in all the shore;
Grant me the visits of thy grace,
And I desire no more.
                         Isaac Watts

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal  Matt 6:20

     I remember when I went to California just to try and get a few souls saved on the Pacific coast, I went into a school there and asked, "Have you got some one who can write a plain hand?"
     Well, we got up the blackboard, and the lesson upon it proved to be the very text we have to-night.  "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." 
     And I said, "Suppose we write upon that board some of the earthly treasures?  And we will begin with gold."  The teacher readily put down gold, and they all comprehended it, for all had run to that country in the hope of finding it.
     "Well, we will put down houses next, and then land.  Next we will put down fast horses."  They all understood what fast horses were—they knew a good deal more about fast horses than they knew about the kingdom of God.  Some of them, I think, actually made fast horses serve as Gods.
     "Next we will put down tobacco."
     The teacher seemed to shrink at this.  "Put it down," said I, "many a man thinks more of tobacco than he does of God."
     "Well, then, we will put down rum."  He objected to this—didn't like to put it down at all.  "Down with it."  Many a man will sell his reputation, will sell his home, his wife, his children, everything he has, for rum.  It is the God of some men.  Many here in Chicago will sell their present and then eternal welfare for it.  "Put it down," and down it went.
     "Now," said I, "suppose we put down some of the heavenly treasures."
     "Put down Jesus to head the list, then Heaven, then River of Life, then Crown of Glory," and went on till the column was filled, and then just drew a line and showed the heavenly and the earthly things in contrast.
     My friends, they could not stand comparison.  If a man just does that, he cannot but see the superiority of the heavenly over the earthly treasures. 
     Well, it turned out that the teacher was not a Christian.  He had gone to California on the usual hunt—gold; and when he saw the two columns placed side by side, the excellence of the one over the other was irresistible, and he was the first soul God gave me on that Pacific coast.  He accepted Christ, and that man came to the station when I was coming away and blessed me for coming to that place.    
                                                                                                                                           D. L. Moody

Friday, February 5, 2016

When you receive no answer to prayer,
Never lose faith nor yield to despair;
Give unto Jesus your burden of care,
Keep on believing in the promises of God.

Doubt not the Lord when tempted and tried;
Worlds pass away, His Word shall abide!
He is almighty, in Him you may hide,
Keep on believing in the promises of God.

Tho’ you should walk in darkness awhile,
Over the thorns for many a mile,
Watch for the dawning, and sing with a smile,
Keep on believing in the promises of God.

Keep on believing, keep on believing,
Keep on believing in the promises of God;
Tho’ delay may long endure,
Yet the answer will be sure:
Keep on believing in the promises of God.
                                         Mrs. Frank A. Breck

     Sometimes a Christian prays for years before seeing the desire of the heart and soul - as in the case of Hannah.  She prayed for years before her son Samuel was born (I Samuel Chapter 1).
     At other times a Christian prays and doesn’t get what is wanted but is granted something else from God - as in the case of Paul.  He prayed 3 times for his thorn in the flesh to be taken away and then God said “My grace is sufficient for thee:  for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (II Corinthians Chapter 12:7-9).
     And then there are times when a Christian desires something and God DOES grant the item but in a different and in a much larger capacity.  King David wanted to build a permanent house for the ark of the LORD, but God promised David that one of David’s sons would build Him a house - “He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever” (II Samuel Chapter 7:13).
     But when a Christian is praying for the salvation of someone, it is very hard to accept an answer of what seems to be “wait.”  During such times, however, God often brings much comfort through a single Bible verse.
     Personally speaking.....during an off-and-on period of praying/fasting for an individual’s salvation, a verse became very dear to me - “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” - Luke 18:1.
     In fact whenever Luke 18:1 occurred in a devotional or on a calendar, my spirit seemed to revive and seemed to express many thanksgivings to God.  But what I couldn’t seem to understand was why salvation hadn’t occurred.  Wasn’t praying for someone to be saved AND their being saved of utmost importance?
     Finally on Saturday, December 13, 1994 when I WAS about to faint in prayer, God revealed Luke 18:1 to me in a great big majestic gentle way as was recorded in my diary:

     Very blue today.   And even though today’s verse in the devotional book Utmost for His Highest is Luke 18:1 and the verse tomorrow in “Our Daily Bread” is the same, at about 5:30 pm in the midst of cleaning the house, I still asked God if He would bring that verse in some way or other to me today. 
     After turning on the cassette tape player to listen to some music, I then thought God would surely use a radio sermon to bring Luke 18:1 to the cassette player was turned off and the radio was turned on.
     (And God did answer this evening’s strange petition but in a way very precious to my soul.) 
     Not long after I had prayed, my friend Amber called on the telephone.  (She had tried to call me last night, but I was at a women’s church Christmas party.)  She was perplexed about the verse for December 8 in the devotional book Whispers of His Power by Amy Carmichael.  At my request, Amber read aloud the devotional for 12/8  & 12/9.  However, nothing on 12/9 seemed to go with 12/8.
     So I asked Amber to read the verse for 12/7.  Guess what verse was used for December 7 in the devotional book and in which Amber read aloud to me?  Luke 18:1 - “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

     So whoever you are, praying Christian, don’t faint in your prayers, but keep yourself from known sin and allow God to majestically reveal Himself in relationship to His will towards your deepest prayer requests.
                                                                                                                                               M. Robbins    

Thursday, February 4, 2016 ye of all his wondrous works.  Psalms 105:2

Men love to speak of marvels, and others are generally glad to hear of surprising things; surely the believer in the living God has before him the most amazing series of wonders ever heard of or imagined, his themes are inexhaustible and they are such as should hold men spellbound.  We ought to have more of this "talk":  no one would be blamed as a Mr. Talkative if this were his constant theme.  Talk ye, all of you:  you all know something by experience of the marvellous loving kindness of the Lord -- "talk ye."  In this way, by all dwelling on this blessed subject, "all" his wondrous works will be published.  One cannot do it, nor ten thousand times ten thousand, but if all speak to the Lord's honour, they will at least come nearer to accomplishing the deed.  We ought to have a wide range when conversing upon the Lord's doings, and should not shut our eyes to any part of them.  Talk ye of his wondrous works in creation and in grace, in judgment and in mercy, in providential interpositions and in spiritual comforting; leave out none, or it will be to your damage.  Obedience to this verse will give every sanctified tongue some work to do:  the trained musicians can sing, and the commoner voices can talk, and in both ways the Lord will receive a measure of the thanks due to him, and his deeds will be made known among the people.
                                                                                                                                          C. H. Spurgeon