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

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Emptied of earth I fain would be,
Of sin, of self, of all but thee;
Reserv'd for Christ that bled and died—
Surrender'd to the Crucified!

Sequester'd from the noise and strife,
The lust, the pomp, and pride of life;
Prepar'd for heaven, my noblest care,—
And have my conversation there.

Nothing, save Jesus, would I know!
My friend, and my companion thou:
Lord, take my heart—assert thy right,
And put all other loves to flight.

Each idol tread beneath thy feet,
And to thyself the conquest get:
Let sin no more oppose my Lord,
Slain by thy Spirit's two-edg'd sword.

Constrain my soul thy sway to own:
Self-will, self-righteousness, dethrone:
Let Dagon fall before thy face,—
The ark remaining in its place.

Detach from sublunary joys
One that would only hear thy voice,
Thy beauty see, thy grace admire,
Nor glow but with celestial fire.

Larger communion let me prove
With thee, blest object of my love;
But, oh! for this no power have I;
My strength is at thy feet to lie.
              Augustus M. Toplady

And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not.....Jeremiah 45:5

.....The differences of high and low, rich and poor, are only calculated for the present world, and cannot outlive time.  The grave takes away the civil differences; skulls wear no wreaths and marks of honour; the small and great are there; the servant is free from his master.  So at the day of judgment I saw the dead, both great and small, stand before the Lord.  None can be exempt from standing before the bar of Christ.  When the civil difference ceases, the moral takes place; the distinction then is, good and bad, not great and small.  Then you will see that there is no birth like that to be born again of the Spirit, no tenure like an interest in the covenant, no estate like the inheritance of the saints, no magistracy like that whereby we sit at Christ's right hand judging angels and men.  How will the faces of great men gather blackness, who now flourish in the pomp and splendor of an outward estate, but then shall become the scorn of God, and of saints and angels and these holy ones shall come forth and say, "Lo, this is the man who made not God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness!"  Wealth and power are of no use in that day, unless it be to aggravate and increase the judgment.  Many who are now so despicable and obscure that they are lost in the tale and count of the world, shall then be taken into the arms of Christ; he will not be ashamed to confess them before men and before his Father—"Father, this is one of mine."  So also in heaven there are none poor; all the vessels of glory are filled up.  If there is any difference in degree, the foundation of it is laid in grace, not in greatness.  Greatness hath nothing greater than a heart to be willing, and a power to be able, to do good.  Then it is a fair resemblance of that perfection which is in God, who differs from man in nothing so much as in the eternity of his being, the infiniteness of his power, and the unweariedness of his love and goodness.  It is a fond ambition of men to sever these things.  We all affect to be great, but not good; and would be as gods, not in holiness, but in power.  Nothing has cost the creature dearer:  it turned angels into devils, and Adam out of Paradise.  You will bear with my plainness and freedom—other addresses would neither be comely in me nor pleasing to you.  Our work is not to flatter greatness.....
                                                                                         written by Thomas Manton to Colonel Popham

Monday, May 16, 2016

Praise waits for Thee in Zion; all tribes shall worship there
And pay their vows before Thee, O God Who hearest prayer.
Our sins rise up against us, prevailing day by day,
But Thou wilt show us mercy and take their guilt away.

How blest the ones Thou callest and bringest near to Thee,
That in Thy courts forever their dwelling place may be;
They shall within Thy temple be satisfied with grace,
And filled with all the goodness of Thy most holy place.

O God of our salvation, since Thou dost love the right,
Thou wilt an answer send us in wondrous deeds of might.
In all earth’s habitations, on all the boundless sea,
We find no sure reliance, no peace, apart from Thee.

Thy might sets fast the mountains; strength girds Thee evermore
To calm the raging peoples and still the ocean’s roar.
Thy majesty and greatness are through all lands confessed,
And joy on earth Thou sendest afar from east to west.
                                                           Lowell Mason

THE MOST HIGH A PRAYER-HEARING GOD.  Psalm XLV. 2.  O thou that hearest Prayer.*

.....Herein the Most High God is distinguished from false gods.  The true God is the only one of this character, there is no other of whom it may be said, that he heareth prayer.....
.....he exercises his own wisdom as to the time and manner of answering prayer.  Some of God's people are sometimes ready to think, that he doth not hear their prayers, because he doth not answer them at the times when they expected; when, indeed, God doth hear them, and will answer them, in the time and way to to which his own wisdom directs.  The business of prayer is not to direct God, who is infinitely wise and needs not any of our directions; who knows what is best for us ten thousand times better than we, and know? what time and what way are best.  It is fit that he should answer prayer, and, as an infinitely wise God, in the exercise of his own wisdom, and not ours.  God will deal as a father with us, in answering our requests.  But a child is not to expect that the father's wisdom be subject to his; nor ought he to desire it, but should esteem it a privilege, that the parent will provide for him according to his own wisdom.
     As to particular temporal blessings, for which we pray, it is no argument that he is not a prayer-hearing God, because he bestows them not upon us:  for it may be that God sees the things for which we pray not to be best for us.  If so, it would be no mercy in him to bestow them upon us, but a judgment.  Such things, therefore, ought always to be asked with submission to the divine will.  God can answer prayer, though he bestow not the very thing for which we pray.  He can sometimes better answer the lawful desires and good end we have in prayer another way.  If our end be our own good and happiness, God can, perhaps, better answer that end in bestowing something else than in the bestowment of that very thing which we ask.  And if the main good we aim at in our prayer be attained, our prayer is answered, though not in the bestowment of the individual thing which we sought.  And so that may still be true which was before asserted, that God always hears the prayer of FAITH.  God never once failed of hearing a sincere and believing prayer; and those promises forever hold good, "Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you; for every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.".....                                             
                                                                                                                                       Jonathan Edwards

*excerpts from a sermon dated January 8, 1735-6.  Preached on a fast appointed on the account of an epidemical sickness, at the eastward (of Boston).

Sunday, May 15, 2016

.....he exhorteth all men to place confidence upon God, partly because God is able to give deliverance, as a place of refuge; and partly because men whether great or small, few or many, cannot but deceive, and disappoint the man that trusteth in them.  Whence  learn,  1. The duty of the comforted and victorious believers, is to communicate the fruit of their experience, for strengthening their brethren, and edification of others, as their calling permitteth them, as David doth here:  Trust in him at all times, ye people.  2. Whatsoever condition, how hardsoever, we fall into; the grace of God, and grounds of confidence in God must not be lost, but always made use of; Trust in him at all times.  3. As a guilty conscience, heavy trouble, misbelief and suspicion of God’s good will, do lock up the heart in sorrow:  so any measure of faith in God, going to him by prayer, doth ease the heart and layeth the burden of grief down before the Lord; ye people pour out your heart before him:  God is a refuge to us.  4. The way to place our confidence in God, is to lift our confidence off the creatures, and in special off men of superior or inferior ranks:  and the way to lift our confidence off the creature, is to consider the inability of men to help us, except God make them do it; and that without God they are nothing worth to us:  men of low degree are vanity.  5. Whosoever do trust on men higher or lower, are sure to be deceived of their expectation, and of whatsoever man’s help can promise:  and if we will not be deceived, the voice of God, and experience of his Saints may give us certainty of the truth of the doctrine; for out of experience David saith, Surely men of low degree are vanity, etc.  6. Carnal confidence is not only unable to help a man, when he hath most need, but also bringeth damage unto him, and makes him to find God in his jealousies an adversary and just Judge to plague and to curse him; and so if the matter be well weighed, creature-help, and creature-comfort, when it is relied upon, is worse then no help; Being laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter then vanity.
                                                                                                                                          David Dickson

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.  Psalms 62:8

The word  “pour” plainly signifies that the heart is full of grief, and almost afraid to empty itself before the Lord.  What does he say to you?  “Come and pour out all your trouble before me.”  He is never weary with hearing the complaints of his people; therefore you should go and keep nothing back; tell him everything that hurts you, and pour “all your complaints into his merciful bosom.”  That is a precious word:  “Pour out your heart before him.”  Make him your counsellor and friend; you cannot please him better than when your hearts rely wholly upon him.  You may tell him, if you please, you have been so foolish as to look to this friend and the other for relief, and found none; and you now come to him, who commands you, to “pour out your heart before him.”          
                                                                                                                                             John Berridge 

Friday, May 13, 2016

         Our yet unfinished story
         Is tending all to this:
         To God the greatest glory,
         To us the greatest bliss,
         Our plans may be disjointed,
         But we may calmly rest:
         What God has once appointed
         Is better than our best.

         We cannot see before us,
         But our all-seeing Friend
         Is always watching o'er us,
         And knows the very end;
         And when amid our blindness
         His disappointments fall,
         We trust his loving-kindness
         Whose wisdom sends them all.

         They are the purple fringes
         That hide his glorious feet;
         They are the fire-wrought hinges
         Where truth and mercy meet;
         By them the golden portal
         Of Providence shall ope,
         And lift to praise immortal
         The songs of faith and hope.
              Frances Ridley Havergal

....that the works of God should be made manifest in him.  John 9:3

     This hymn was written by Miss Frances Ridley Havergal.  It does not appear in any one of her volumes, so far as we can find.  It is contained in the American Selections from her Poems.  It may have been issued upon a slip like many others of hers.  The suggestion of life as an "unfinished story," the chapters of which we must wait to read, is one that most believers would do well to heed.  One incident in our Lord's history (John 9:1-3) gives a pathetic illustration for our need just here: "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.  And his disciples asked him, saying Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?  Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parent: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."
     What strange revelations there will be by and by when "the golden portal of Providence shall ope!"  The Psalmist once says: "In thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them."  When those pages are unsealed it will be suddenly made known why the seven hundred Benjaminites were made left-handed, and why Bartimaeus was born blind; why Mephibosheth was crippled by a stumbling nurse, and why the widow at Shunem lost her husband.  All the great, melancholy, heart-rending mysteries of pain and trouble, humiliation and hindrance, will go to show that "what God has once appointed is better than our best."
                                                                                        From Annotations Upon Popular Hymns
                                                                                             compiled by Charles Seymour Robinson, D.D.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.   Zech 9:9

     The narrowness and littleness of the mind of fallen man are sufficiently conspicuous in the idea he forms of magnificence and grandeur.  The pageantry and parade of a Roman triumph, or of an eastern monarch, as described in history, exhibit him to us in what he himself accounts his best estate.  If you suppose him seated in an imperial carriage, arrayed in splendid apparel, wearing a crown or tiara ornamented with jewels, preceded and followed by a long train of guards and attendants, surrounded by the unmeaning acclamations of ignorant multitudes, you see the poor worm at the summit of his happiness.  He has no conception of any thing greater than this.  And the spectators are generally of the same mind.  They admire, and they envy, his lot; and there is hardly a person in the crowds around him, but would be very glad to take his place, were it practicable.....
     How different was Messiah's entry into Jerusalem foretold in this prophecy, the accomplishment of which we read in the evangelists!  And how differently was he affected by the objects around him!  He poured contempt upon the phantom of human glory.  This King of kings and Lord of lords was meek and lowly, riding upon an ass's colt,  Luke 19:3-38.  And though a secret divine influence constrained the multitude to acknowledge his character, and, with some accommodation to the customs of the times, to strew their garments in the way, as they proclaimed the King who came in the name of Jehovah; yet he appeared unmoved by their applause.....
.....In the course of his ministry he appeared and was treated as a poor man, he had no certain dwelling-place, he submitted to receive supplies for his support from the contributions of a few of his followers, for the most of them were poor like himself.  And though he wrought many wonderful works for the relief of the necessitous and miserable, he admitted no alteration in his own external state, but was content to be poor and despised, for our sakes, to the end of his life.  I think the only occasion on which he permitted a public acknowledgment of his person and character, was when he fulfilled this prophecy.  And still he was the same meek and lowly Saviour.  As his kingdom was not of this world, neither were there any marks of human grandeur in his procession.  He approached Jerusalem, attended, indeed, by a concourse of people, but riding upon an ass, and weeping for his enemies.....
                                                                                                                                               John Newton

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.  Zech 9:9

.....Men have written “Harmonies of the Gospels”; but God has given us a Harmony of the Old and New Testament.  The passage referred to is in Zechariah 9:9.  It represents Zion’s King as meek and lowly even in the hour of his triumphant entrance into his metropolis, riding, not upon a war-horse, but upon a young ass, whereon no man had sat.  He had before said of himself, “I am meek and lowly in heart,” and now he gives one more proof of the truth of his own words; and, at the same time, of the fulfilment of prophecy: “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass.”  He did not, like Solomon, fetch horses out of Egypt to minister to his pride; but he who was greater than Solomon was content with a colt the foal of an ass, and even that humble creature was borrowed, for he had none of his own.  The tenderness of Jesus comes out in the fact of his having the ass brought with her foal that they might not be parted.  He was, as a King, all gentleness and mercy: his grandeur involved no pain, even for the meanest living thing.  How blessed is it for us to be ruled by such a King!.....
.....When men previously had tried to take Jesus by force, to make him a king in earthly fashion, he withdrew himself from them but the hour for his public entry into Jerusalem had arrived, and he therefore allowed his disciples to set him upon the lowly beast that was to carry him into the city.  Gladly they put the Lord in the place of honour, and joyfully they walked at his side.
.....The crowd was in a state of great excitement, and came marching along with Jesus in high enthusiasm. Carpeting the road, they spread their garments in the way; and as if this were not enough, others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.  Our first parents, in their shame, made clothes of the leaves of trees; but now both clothes and leaves are at the feet of man’s Redeemer.  John says that the people “took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him......”
.....Oh, that our teeming populations knew as much of Jesus as the multitudes of Jerusalem knew!  And yet it may be that, if they did, they might act as basely as did these sinners of Jerusalem, when their Hosannas were so soon changed into cruel cries of “Away with him! Crucify him!”.....
                                                                                                                                          C. H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Child of God, look past the pain;
look past sin’s dreadful stain;
precious promises are yours,
through the blood of  Christ the Door.

Child of God, look past the strife;
look past the storms of life;
Christ to you has pledged His love;
you shall dwell with Him above.

Child of God, look on His Word;
look on the Words you’ve heard;
every single phrase is true;
every promise He will do.

Read God’s Holy Word!
Let your soul be stirred!
Every promise He will do!
Believe God's Word is true!
               M. Robbins
               sung to tune of
               “Jesus Paid it All”

.....and Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good.....   Gen 32:12 

.....The attribute of God's faithfulness is a splendid horn of the altar to lay hold upon; but the promise, which has in it the attribute and something more, is a yet mightier holdfast-"Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good." And has He said, and shall He not do it?  "Let God be true, and every man a liar."  Shall not He be true? Shall He not keep His word?  Shall not every word that cometh out of His lips stand fast and be fulfilled? Solomon, at the opening of the temple, used this same mighty plea.  He pleaded with God to remember the word which He had  spoken to his father David, and to bless that place.  When a man gives a promissory note, his honor is engaged; he signs his hand, and he must discharge it when the due time comes, or else he loses credit.  It shall never be said that God dishonors His bills.  The credit of the Most High never was impeached, and never shall be.  He is punctual to the moment: He never is before His time, but He never is behind it.  Search God's word through, and compare it with the experience of God's people, and you shall find the two tally from the first to the last.  Many a hoary patriarch has said with Joshua, "Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass."  If you have a divine promise, you need not plead it with an "if," you may urge it with certainty.  The Lord meant to fulfill the promise, or He would not have given it.  God does not give His words merely to quiet us, and to keep us hopeful for a while, with the intention of putting us off at last; but when He speaks, it is because He means to do as He has said. 
                                                                                                                                        C. H. Spurgeon

Monday, May 9, 2016

Oh, to be nothing, nothing;
Only to lie at His feet,
A broken and emptied vessel,
For the Master's use made meet.
Emptied that He might fill me
As forth to His service I go;
Broken, that so unhindered,
His life through me might flow.

Oh, to be nothing, nothing,
Only as led by His hand;
A messenger at His gateway,
Only waiting for His command,
Only an instrument ready
His praises to sound at His will,
Willing, should He not require me,
In silence to wait on Him still.

Oh, to be nothing, nothing,
Painful the humbling may be,
Yet low in the dust I’d lay me
That the world might my Saviour see.
Rather be nothing, nothing,
To Him let our voices be raised,
He is the Fountain of blessing,
He only is meet to be praised.

Oh, to be nothing, nothing,
Only to lie at His feet,
A broken and emptied vessel,
For the Master's use made meet.            
                                       G. M. Taylor

"Before honor is humility."  Proverbs 15:33

Humiliation of soul always brings a positive blessing with it.  If we empty our hearts of self, God will fill them with His love.  He who desires close communion with Christ, should remember the word of the Lord, "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word."  Stoop if you would climb to heaven.  Do we not say of  Jesus, "He descended that He might ascend?" so must you. You must grow downwards, that you may grow upwards; for the sweetest fellowship with heaven is to be had by humble souls, and by them alone.  God will deny no blessing to a thoroughly humbled spirit.  "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," with all its riches and treasures.  The whole exchequer of God shall be made over by deed of gift to the soul which is humble enough to be able to receive it without growing proud because of it.  God blesses us all up to the full measure and extremity of what it is safe for Him to do.  If you do not get a blessing, it is because it is not safe for you to have one.  If our heavenly Father were to let your unhumbled spirit win a victory in His holy war, you would pilfer the crown for yourself, and meeting with a fresh enemy you would fall a victim; so that you are kept low for your own safety.  When a man is sincerely humble, and never ventures to touch so much as a grain of the praise, there is scarcely any limit to what God will do for him.  Humility makes us ready to be blessed by the God of all grace, and fits us to deal efficiently with our fellow-men.  True humility is a flower which will adorn any garden.  This is a sauce with which you may season every dish of life, and you will find an improvement in every case.  Whether it be prayer or praise, whether it be work or suffering, the genuine salt of humility cannot be used in excess.
                                                                                                                                         C. H. Spurgeon

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Holy Father, thou hast taught me
I should live to thee alone;
Year by year thy hand hath brought me
On through dangers oft unknown;
When I wandered, thou hast found me,
When I doubted, sent me light;
Still thine arm has been around me,
All my paths were in thy sight.

In the world will foes assail me,
Craftier, stronger far than I;
And the strife may never fail me,
Well I know, before I die.
Therefore, Lord, I come, believing
Thou canst give the power I need;
Through the prayer of faith receiving
Strength-the Spirit's strength, indeed.

I would trust in thy protecting,
Wholly rest upon thine arm;
Follow wholly thy directing,
Thou, mine only guard from harm!
Keep me from mine own undoing,
Help me turn to thee when tried,
Still my footsteps, Father, viewing,
Keep me ever at thy side.
                      J. M. Neale

God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.  Psalms 62:11

Believe the mighty power of God.  Consider:

(1.)  It is difficult to believe his power.  But how can that be?  Is not this a piece of natural divinity, that God is almighty?  What need is there, then, to press people to believe it?  Great need; because this is the great thing we are apt to question in cases of difficulty.  Else, why do we pray with cheerfulness when we see great probability of a thing, but faint in prayer when it is otherwise?  And why do we cry out, in sad times, “Oh, we shall never see good days again?”

(2.)  The firm belief of God’s power is of great concern and moment in religion.  Faith is never quite laid by till the soul questions the power of God.  “Oh, he cannot pardon, he cannot save!”  When it cometh to this, the soul is no longer able to hold out.  So that the life and vigour of faith is very much concerned in the belief of God’s power.  It is, indeed, one of the first steps to all religion.  Therefore it is put in the front of our creed:  “I believe in God, the Father ALMIGHTY;” and he that believes that first article will the more easily believe all the rest.

(3.)  God is much displeased, even with his own children, when his power is questioned by them.  For this God takes up Moses short:  “Is the Lord’s hand waxed short?” (Numbers 11:23); as if he had said: ”What, Moses, dost thou think that my power is exhausted or weakened?  What an unworthy conceit is this!”  For this also Christ rebuked Martha very sharply:  “Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” John 11:40.  Yea, God is so tender of the glory of his power, and he hath sharply chastened his dear children when their faith staggered in this matter; as we see in Zacharias, who, for questioning the power of God, was immediately stricken dumb upon the place.  Well, then, let it be your great care to have your faith confirmed in the belief of God’s almighty power.  For this end, ponder the verbal declarations made of it in the Holy Scriptures; consider and improve the manifestations he hath given of it, both in your own and former times; and pray much that God would strengthen and increase your faith.
                                                                                                                                        William Wisheart

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Like Noah's weary dove,
That soar'd the earth around,
But not a resting place above
The cheerless waters found;

O cease, my wandering soul,
On restless wings to roam;
All the wide world, to either pole,
Has not for thee a home.

Behold the Ark of God,
Behold the open door;
Hasten to gain that dear abode,
And rove, my soul, no more.

There, safe thou shalt abide,
There, sweet shall be thy rest,
And every longing satisfied,
With full salvation blest.

And, when the waves of ire
Again the earth shall fill,
The Ark shall ride the sea of fire,
Then rest on Sion's hill.
      William Augustus Muhlenberg

And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.  Gen 8:7-9

     "And it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:  and he sent forth a raven, which went forth, to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth."  The unclean bird made its escape, and found, no doubt, a resting-place on some floating carcass.  It sought not the ark again.  Not so the dove, "She found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto
him into the ark - and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark:  and the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf, plucked off."  Sweet emblem of the renewed mind, which, amid the surrounding desolation, seeks and finds its rest and portion in Christ; and not only so, but also lays hold of the earnest of the inheritance, and furnishes the blessed proof that judgment has passed away, and that a renewed earth is coming fully into view.  The carnal mind, on the contrary, can rest in anything and everything but Christ.  It can feed upon all uncleanness.  "The olive leaf" has no attraction for it.  It can find all it needs in a scene of death, and hence is not occupied with the thought of a new world and its glories; but the heart that is taught and exercised by the Spirit of God, can only rest and rejoice in that in which He rests and rejoices.  It rests in the Ark of His salvation "until the times of the restitution of all things."  May it be thus with you and me, beloved reader, may Jesus be the abiding rest and portion of our hearts, that so we may not seek them in a world which is under the judgment of God.  The dove went back to Noah, and waited for his time of rest:  and we should ever find our place with Christ, until the time of His exaltation and glory in the ages to come.  "He that shall come will come, and will not tarry."  All we want, as to this, is a little patience.  May God direct our hearts into His love, and into "the patience of Christ."                                           
                                                                                                                                       C. H. Mackintosh

Friday, May 6, 2016

.....the lot of the righteous.....Ps 125:3

There is a fourfold lot belonging to the faithful. 

1.  The lot of the saints is the sufferings of the saints.  “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution:” 2 Tim. 3:12. 

2.  The lot of the saints is also that light and happiness they have in this world.  The lot is “fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage:” Ps. 16:6.  When David sat at the sheepfold, which was his lot, he was thus prepared for the kingdom of Israel which was given him by lot from God.

3.  But more specially faith, grace, and sanctification; which give them just right and title to the inheritance of glory.  Heaven is theirs now; though not in possession, yet in succession.  They have the earnest of it; let them grow up to stature and perfection, and take it.

4.  Lastly, they have the lot of heaven.  Hell is the lot of the wicked: “Behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not.  This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us;” Isa. 17:14.  Therefore it is said of Judas, that he went “to his own place:” Acts 1:25.  “Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup:” Ps. 11:6.  But the lot of the righteous is faith, and the end of their faith the salvation of their souls.  God gives them heaven, not for any foreseen worthiness in the receivers, for no worthiness of our own can make us our father’s heirs; but for his own mercy and favour in Christ, preparing heaven for us, and us for heaven.  So that upon his decree it is allotted to us; and unless heaven could lose God, we cannot lose heaven......
                                                                                                                                       Thomas Adams