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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Favorite Pastor Quotes 9

Favorite Pastor Quotes 9

Reader! have you enjoyed the presence of Jesus today? 

(James Smith, "A Help to Devotion")

"Abide with us--for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." Luke 24:29

The presence of Jesus, is the life and the joy of the saints. When we enjoy it--we dread the thought of losing it; and when we have lost it--we cannot rest until we have regained it. That is a gloomy day--in which the presence of Jesus is not enjoyed; and that is a dreary night--when Jesus is absent from us.

Reader! have you enjoyed the presence of Jesus today? 
Has He communed with your spirit, thereby . . .
  strengthening your faith,
  exciting your hope, and
  deepening your comfort?

If so, I know that your prayer tonight will be, "Abide with me! Yes, precious Lord Jesus, we do beseech You to visit us, converse with us, open up the Scriptures to us, and abide with us. Let us feast our eyes on Your glory--and our hearts on Your grace. With You, we can feel at home--we can be happy anywhere. Without You, we cannot rest, we cannot feel satisfied, we cannot enjoy repose--let us have whatever we may. You have won our heart's love--You have made yourself the center and source of our comfort. Come, then, and abide with us this evening--and then a blessed evening it will be. Your presence will free us from all our cares, and raise us above all our troubles. Your presence will feast us, refresh us, and make us satisfied with our lot, be it what it may!"


The Last Change!

Francis Bourdillon
1 Corinthians 15:50-58.
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery — we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed! In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed! For this corruptible must put on incorruption — and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality — then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory!' O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord — knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
Our bodies are poor weak things — subject to aches and pains, to sickness and death. Even the strongest become weak in time, and those who have enjoyed almost continual good health — feel at length, the coming on of old age. Up to a certain point in life we generally get stronger and stronger; but after we have passed that point — we begin to go downhill, as they say. The change may be slow, and we may still have but little illness or weakness to complain of — yet a change there is — year after year we are growing older and weaker.
In fact, our bodies wear out. They are not made, in their present state, to last forever. They are made to die — and they do die.. Doubtless our aches and pains, our declining strength and activity, and our increasing infirmities as we grow older — are meant to remind us that we shall not live always, and that we are to die. If men always continued in full health and strength until their last moment — how few would think of death!
True, some are cut off in their prime, with no sickness or decay — but that is not the common course. "Flesh and blood," therefore — that is, our present bodies, "cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption."
The kingdom of God is forever — but we could not live forever as we are now in these corruptible bodies. There is no corruption or decay there — but we are subject to both at present.
Yet we are to live forever. Every true believer is to inherit the kingdom of God and to be where his Savior is. Not only our souls are to be with Christ, but our bodies also. At the great day of resurrection — soul and body, which were parted by death, will be joined together again and will live forever in Heaven.
How can this be? We are to be changed. Whether we die or not — we are to be changed. But are not all to die? No, for some will be alive when Christ comes — and they will never die. "We shall not all sleep." But they will be living with bodies like ours, subject to sickness, death, and decay — and so they must be changed. "We shall not all sleep — but we shall all be changed."
All will be changed, those who shall have died and those who shall be alive at His second coming — the living and the dead alike. This change will not be a gradual change like other changes in the body; but, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet." The mighty power of God will work it, without the use of means, in a moment of time! He once said, "Let there be light — and there was light" (Genesis 1:3). Then He shall but will that we shall be changed — and we shall be changed.
"The dead shall be raised incorruptible." They will be raised first. Though all will take place in a moment — yet we read elsewhere that "the dead in Christ shall rise first" (1 Thessalonians 4:16). All the dead in Christ, all who shall ever have died in the Lord — all will rise then. Those who shall have passed away ages and ages ago and whose very names shall have perished from the earth; and those who shall have breathed their last but just before the coming of the Lord and whose bodies shall yet perhaps be unburied; those who died on a peaceful death-bed surrounded by weeping friends; the Christian soldier who fell in battle; the believing sailor who found a grave in the great deep and whose sorrowing friends at home never knew where or when he died; and the martyr who died the noblest death of all, freely giving up his life for the sake of Him who died upon the cross — in one moment they, and all the rest of the dead in Christ, will rise from the dead!
But not as they died. They will rise incorruptible. They did not die so. The body perhaps, was sore wasted by disease. Long sickness and grievous pain had worn it down. Every morning they said, "He cannot last through the day" — and every evening they thought, "He cannot see another sunrise." They looked on the poor wasted form — they saw the signs of suffering in the face — they heard the labored breathing, and they said it would be happy when God would release him from his poor suffering body.
And God did release him. He died and was buried. The grave closed over him, and the body went to corruption. And now he rises again — Oh, how different now from then! The wasted frame is young again. All trace of suffering is gone. He will never more suffer. Sickness and death have passed away. He has now an incorruptible body. He is to live forever — without pain or sickness. He will never grow old — his strength will never decline. He is to be with Jesus where He is — in the Father's house, with full power to enjoy His presence, to serve Him without weariness, to live and praise and rejoice forever!
The living will be changed in like manner — those who shall be alive when Christ comes. In a moment, the change will pass over them — and they too will have incorruptible bodies! No longer will they subject to weakness, sickness, or death! They are made fit to be forever in Heaven. Thus it will but make little difference whether we die before the coming of Christ — or whether He comes in our lifetime — if only we are in Him by faith.
For all such will be brought together when He comes, and all will live together in that happy and holy place which He has gone to prepare for them — and all alike will have renewed incorruptible bodies. Some will have passed through death and some not — but all will be happy and holy with Christ forever! When once He comes — there will be no more sorrow, nor suffering, nor death.
Well may we say, "Thanks be to God!" — for all of this is His free gift.
"Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ." We never could have won it for ourselves. Jesus Christ won it for us. He died for us and rose again. He triumphed over death and the grave. We owe all to Him. We have no more need we fear death — if only we are His.
"The sting of death is sin — and the strength of sin is the law." But He has made atonement for our sins, and has fulfilled the law for us, and so the sting of death is gone. We call it death — but death without a sting is not death — but rather a sleep, a falling asleep in Jesus, to awake to a joyful resurrection!
"We shall not all sleep," he says. But we must cleave to Christ — we must be "steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord". We are not to be idle, because it is all a free gift. We are not to be slothful, because the great work of salvation has been done for us. We are to be watching, praying, striving and serving. All our safety and all our happiness, is to keep close to our Savior in heart and life, with an unshaken trust in Him, and with a loving and earnest desire to do His will.
We may not be able to do Him much active service. We may be humble in station, poor in circumstances, weak in health. We may even be shut up within the walls of a sick-room or laid on a bed of suffering — yet even there, we may love and serve our Lord. And nothing that we do for Him, in sickness or in health — no striving, watching, or praying; no giving up of our own will to His; no work of faith and labor of love will be in vain. He will bless us in it. He will be with us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will keep us to the end.

"In due time we shall reap — if we faint not!" Galatians 6:9

Saturday, March 10, 2018

God's Reasonable Demands

God's Reasonable Demands

From God's point of view, every demand He makes of us is completely logical. Only from our fallen human point of view is it utterly unreasonable.

What does God demand of us?

In the final verse of Matthew 5, Jesus says, "You shall be perfect..." Reading that, we may get a little hot under the collar and ask, "How perfect?"

Jesus answers, "...just as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48). In other words, when you are as perfect as the Father in heaven, you are okay. When others can look at you and actually see what God is like, you are all right.

Any complaints? Is there any reason why a God who created us in His own perfect, absolute likeness and image should not have the right to expect anything less than perfection from you and me? Is there any logical reason why He should not demand that?

None whatsoever!!

Such a demand seems unreasonable to fallen man only because in the divine logic there is a hidden factor which is absent in the human reason of a fallen race. That hidden factor, in all its sublime simplicity is God Himself. He so engineered us that presence of the Creator within the creature is indispensable to our humanity.

When God made you and me, His intention was that we in normality would be distinguishable from the animal kingdom by a quality of life and behavior that would allow for absolutely no possible explanation but God within us

God's written Word fully establishes this standard of behavior. At Mount Sinai, God gave Moses that which we call the Ten Commandments, or the moral law. What is the substance of this moral law?

Well, among other things, "Do not lie." You might respond, "Why not lie" Sometimes lying gets me our of trouble. Was God's law given simply to make my life difficult?"

No, the law was given simply that you and I might know what the Holy God demands from the human begins He created to advertise His Deity. So when the law states, "Do not lie," God is simply saying, "You were made to reflect My glory as God, and I am NOT a liar."

When God's law says, "Do not steal," He is telling us, "I created you in My image so that all creation can look at you and know what God is like, and I am NOT a thief."

His law states, "Do not commit adultery." He is simply saying, "You are a creature to whom I have given a body to express the fact that your physical and visible form is inhabited and governed by the God who is Spirit and invisible. I designed it this way so that everyone, by looking at your behavior, will know how I Myself behave, and I am NOT an adulterer; I do not indulge in promiscuous sex."

Now that is the law. It simply represents the minimal demands of a holy God, who has the absolute right to make those demands of those He created for the very purpose of revealing His character.

These demands and the  kind of life they reflect are called in Scripture "the righteousness of God" (Romans 3:21-22; 10:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21), for it is the action of God Himself. There is no other righteousness on our part that God recognizes - only His Own.

"God is light and in Him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5)

~W. Ian Thomas~

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Favorite Pastor Quotes 7

Favorite Pastor Quotes 7

The Requirements of Servanthood

When Jesus left His home in heaven, He didn't come to earth to be a superstar. He came to serve. As His disciples, we've been left here on earth to follow His example and serve a lost and hurting world. The story of Zacchaeus shows us some Christlike qualities that we need to develop in order to serve as the Lord did.
Awareness: Although surrounded by a crowd, Jesus stopped and took notice of one particular man perched in a tree. Zacchaeus was hated and rejected because he was a tax collector. Although he was rich, there was something missing in his life, and Christ recognized his need. There are people all around us "hanging in trees"--needy, empty, and searching for hope. But too often, we're preoccupied with our activities and don't even notice them.
Availability: Jesus was heading to Jerusalem to carry out the most important act in human history: our redemption. Yet He stopped to have a meal with a spiritually needy man. What could be so important that it keeps you too busy to give others what they need most--your time?
Acceptance: Although Zacchaeus was a notorious sinner, Jesus didn't say, "Clean up your act, and then I'll come to your house." We're called, not to fix people but to share the transforming gospel of Christ.
How are you doing at serving those around you? Maybe it's time to slow down and open your spiritual eyes to see all the needy people. God places opportunities all around us, but if we're not attentive, we'll miss them. Sometimes you just have to look up to see who’s in the tree.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Today's ReadingEzra 6John 21

Today's Thoughts: More Than Imaginable

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. >John 21:25

Verse 25 is the last verse in the Gospel of John, and what a great way to end this wonderful book. John is basically saying that it would be impossible to record every single one of the "things" that Jesus did while here on earth. John only knew Jesus for three years! My mind struggles to comprehend such amazing works but my heart rejoices in knowing that Jesus is that awesome. Jesus spent three years in full-time ministry, and from studying the Gospels, it is clear that He was all about His Father's business. Jesus spent His time doing the things He was sent to do. Jesus is our only true example of living a life sold out to God. Everything He did had one main purpose: to glorify His Father. One cannot glorify God and live a selfish life at the same time.
Often people will ask us questions that involve God's will for their lives; they want to know how to be used by God, they want to make sure that they are doing His will and pleasing Him. How can they be sure they are doing all God wants? We hear these questions and concerns frequently from people who truly desire to fulfill the calling God has on their lives. Many times, however, people are looking for a more awe-inspiring, spiritual answer than we can give. The answers are all in the Bible. God's Word is our living handbook for how to please God and live for Him. Once we learn of His ways, then we begin to learn how to apply His ways to our lives. Just studying the Gospel of John gives us more revelations of who Jesus is and what He did than we can even fully grasp. The world could not contain the books it would take to write everything down. Think about the magnitude of that statement.
For us today, there are a couple of things we need to take from this verse. First and foremost, we must know that Jesus was and is God. He was not just a good man who had a powerful ministry. No man could do what He did. Only God could do miracles beyond what the world could even record. Secondly, for us to do the things God has called us to while here on earth, we must learn from our Teacher. Jesus demonstrated for us how to live a life completely sold out to God. And He has given us His Holy Spirit to teach, lead and guide us today to live a life pleasing to God and in the center of His will. Start reading the Gospel of John today and commit to reading it from beginning to end. You will begin to get a greater understanding of what verse 25 is really saying. Pray that you fall in love with the Lord Jesus and that you glorify His name with your life.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Becoming a Person of Mercy

Luke 6:38 tells us,

"Give, and it will be given to you:  good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.  For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."

It is not unusual to hear this verse used in connection with giving money to the Lord's work.  And while there is a principle concerning money embedded in this verse, Jesus was not talking about giving an offering when He made this statement.  That was not the subject under discussion.
In order to understand what He was really talking about, you need to read verses 35-37,

"But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.  For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.  Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.  Judge not, and you shall not be judged.  Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven."

Jesus wanted to impress on us this truth:  If you give forgiveness, and you give love, and you give mercy, they come back to you in good measure, pressed down, shaken together. 

He wanted us to understand that by the same measure you and I give these things, it will come back to us.  But if you and I measure out judgment and condemnation, guess what gets measured back to us?
Make a commitment today to become a person of mercy, not seeking anything in return.  Become known as someone who reflects our God of mercy to a broken and needy world. 

~Bayless Conley~

Psalm 76:3
There brake He the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle.
Our Redeemer's glorious cry of "It is finished," was the death-knell of all the adversaries of His people, the breaking of "the and the battle." Behold the hero of Golgotha using His cross as an anvil, and His woes as a hammer, dashing to shivers bundle after bundle of our sins, those poisoned "arrows of the bow"; trampling on every indictment, and destroying every accusation. What glorious blows the mighty Breaker gives with a hammer far more ponderous than the fabled weapon of Thor! How the diabolical darts fly to fragments, and the infernal bucklers are broken like potters' vessels! Behold, He draws from its sheath of hellish workmanship the dread sword of Satanic power! He snaps it across His knee, as a man breaks the dry wood of a fagot, and casts it into the fire. Beloved, no sin of a believer can now be an arrow mortally to wound him, no condemnation can now be a sword to kill him, for the punishment of our sin was borne by Christ, a full atonement was made for all our iniquities by our blessed Substitute and Surety. Who now accuseth? Who now condemneth? Christ hath died, yea rather, hath risen again. Jesus has emptied the quivers of hell, has quenched every fiery dart, and broken off the head of every arrow of wrath; the ground is strewn with the splinters and relics of the weapons of hell's warfare, which are only visible to us to remind us of our former danger, and of our great deliverance. Sin hath no more dominion over us. Jesus has made an end of it, and put it away for ever. O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end. Talk ye of all the wondrous works of the Lord, ye who make mention of His name, keep not silence, neither by day, nor when the sun goeth to his rest. Bless the Lord, O my soul.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Favorite Pastor Quotes 6

Favorite Pastor Quotes 6

It is unwise to try to carry next week's burdens today

(J.C. Pittman)

"Do not worry about anything--but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 

There is no harm in looking ahead--but it is unwise to try to carry next week's burdens today. There is nothing wrong in looking ahead, but needless worry in regard to the future, is not only useless but injurious--besides evidencing lack of implicit trust in our heavenly Father's care for His redeemed people. Worry looks tremblingly ahead--but never accelerates, and always hinders the speed in life's race.

Yet many drag through life weighted with all sorts of needless cares--and are never in their element unless looking for still more trouble. They are always watching for clouds--and are never content to bask in the sunshine.

Paul has a word concerning the sin of worrying. "Do not worry about anything." The reason is because we are in God's world, and He is able and willing to take care of all His people. "We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." 

Never bear more than one kind of trouble at once. 
Some people bear all three kinds of trouble at once:
  all they have had,
  all they have now, and
  all they expect to have.

John Wesley said: "I dare not worry--any more than I dare curse and swear!"


What punishment then can be too great--for so great an evil?

(Ralph Venning, "The Plague of Plagues!")

The worst on this side of Hell, is mercy--and the worst of and in Hell, is but justice!

Cain could say that his punishment was intolerable--but he could not say that it was unjust
Though his punishment was greater than he could bear--yet it was not greater than he deserved

Repeatedly, when the judgments of God are spoken of in Revelation, they are said always to be just and true and righteous (Revelation 15:3; 16:7). Though God's ways are unsearchable--yet they are true and just and righteous. 

Death is but the due wages of sin (Romans 6:23). Therefore it is said, "Their damnation is just!" (Romans 3:8). Every sin has its just punishment (Hebrews 2:2).

Consider the nature of sin. It is Deicide--God-murder! Thus it is just for God to do with sinners, what they would unjustly do with Him. That is, take away from them all good and glory, displease and destroy them--because they would do so to Him. 
If sin had accomplished its intention and desire--horror of horrors!--God would have been no more!

If we consider the person who is sinned against, and that the aim of sin is to ungod God--then what punishment can be thought bad enough? 

Sin is an infinite evil. What punishment then can be too great--for so great an evil?

As none but infinite power can pardon sin--so none but infinite power can punish it sufficiently.

Just as sin's aim is infinite--so is its desert. Therefore, though sin's punishment is infinite--yet it is but just. 
Seeing sin contains all evil--it is fitting that its punishment should be answerable and proportionate.


The glittering toys of life!(Harriet Newell)

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." Hebrews 11:13 

We are pilgrims--we are strangers in a barren land. This world is not our portion--it is incapable of satisfying our desires. The glittering toys of life are not calculated to afford real enjoyment.

There is nothing in Heaven or earth that can delight our hearts and ease us of the heavy load of sin, but God.

Let us not be satisfied with the groveling pursuits of time--but let us look to the unchangeable Jehovah for a supply of His soul-refreshing grace. 

How much has God done for us individually! He has made us partakers of His grace and redeemed us from eternal destruction. What shall we render to Him for this abundant mercy? O let our future lives evince gratitude--and let our praises unceasingly flow to His throne.

"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul!" 1 Peter 2:11


Our dim eyes cannot read the dark pages!(J.R. Miller)

"You do not know now what I am doing--but later you will understand." John 13:7

Peter could not understand why Jesus should so condescend as to wash his feet. It perplexed and puzzled him, and he shrank from submitting to it. Jesus said, "You do not know now what I am doing--but later you will understand." And so it proved. There came days afterwards when he understood it all, when he knew why his Master had done it--and when he truly saw beauty, wisdom, love, richest instruction, and divine necessity in it.

And the same principle applies all through our life. There are many things in the providence of God which at the time appear dark and obscure--but which the future makes clear and plain. The Lord lays us aside in the midst of our usefulness, He desolates our homes, He breaks our harp-strings, He pours bitterness into our cups of sweetness. Our lives are full of strange, perplexing things--and we do not know what they mean.

Our dim eyes cannot read the dark pages.
Our dull ears cannot hear the voice of love which speaks out to us from every adverse circumstance.
Our heavy hearts cannot perceive the love which throbs with full pulse in every darksome event.

But there will come a day when every dark page in our life's history shall be explained--when all the tangle and confusion shall be unraveled, and the web shall lie before us woven through unto the end, warp and woof, with threads of gold and silver.
This word of Christ is the key to all the dark and strange providences in the life of every believer: "You do not know now what I am doing--but later you will understand."

One reason for the present obscurity--is our ignorance, or limited knowledge. We know now, only in part. We see now, only through a glass darkly. We are all scholars in God's school. The lessons set for us seem at first like the pages of an unknown language. We cannot pronounce the words. We cannot understand their meaning. They confuse and perplex us. We see no wisdom, no beauty, no love in them.

But the passing years bring riper wisdom and fuller knowledge. We shall then be able to read them off with ease. Then we shall see that every line held a golden lesson for our hearts--that every dark providence in our lives was one of God's precious love-thoughts written out for us--and the whole page will glow with divine beauty!

Only fuller knowledge is needed to explain to us much of the mystery of our lives. In the cloudless light and perfect revelation of Heaven--every shadow of mystery will vanish, and the strangest providences will seem as plain and easy as childhood's first lessons are to ripened and cultured manhood.

Another reason why many of the Lord's ways seem so strange to us, is because we see them only in their incompleteness. We must wait until they are finished, before we can fully understand what God is doing.

The work of sanctification is the process of painting the features of spiritual and divine beauty on human souls. And in this process, the Divine Artist oftentimes employs trials as His instruments. He first seems to destroy--but tribulation works patience. Many a man learns submission--when the Father's hand rests so heavily upon him, that he cannot rise.

Many a feature of beauty in the soul--is brought out in the darkness of affliction. The process seems to be destructive--but afterwardsit yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness. Not at the time--but afterwards. When God finishes His work--then it is beautiful and very good.

In the bitterness of his soul Jacob cried out, "All these things are against me!" But these things were not against him--God had not yet finished His work. The final result had not yet been wrought out. All things seemed against him--but he lived to praise the Lord for all the strange providences which appeared so cruel at that hour. These were but the crude blocks out of which God was building up a beautiful home for his old age, and with which He was laying the foundation of future greatness and glory for his family. They were links in a golden chain of blessing.

So it ever is, "You do not know now what I am doing--but later you will understand." Wait until God has completed His work--and then all shall be well. You may see it even on the earth. Before you close your eyes in death--you may see the good brought out of the seeming evil of your life. But if not, if you die with the mystery still unsolved--then one moment in Heaven will explain all! Then you shall see all things completed. You shall see the web out of the loom--all its beautiful figures perfect, not one thread dropped or tangled. You shall see the temple finished--every block in its place, and the whole adorned with glory. You shall see the picture when the artist has put the last touches to it--and when it appears no more marred and spoiled, as you thought it would be by so much trial--but perfect and beautiful, bearing the likeness of Christ in every feature.

Then you shall see all the dark providences of your life carried out to their final result. You shall see . . .
  both the discipline--and its blessing;
  both the affliction--and its rich fruits;
  both the furnace-fires--and the brilliant gold!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Favorite Pastor Poems

Favorite Pastor Poems

Love's Immensity

O past and gone!
How great is God! how small am I!
A mote in the illimitable sky,
Amidst the glory deep, and wide, and high
Of Heaven's unclouded sun.
There to forget myself for evermore;
Lost, swallowed up in Love's immensity,
The sea that knows no sounding, and no shore,
God only there, not I.

More near than I unto myself can be,
Art Thou to me;
So have I lost myself in finding Thee,
Have lost myself for ever, O my Sun!
The boundless Heaven of Thine eternal love
Around me, and beneath me, and above,
In glory of that golden day
The former things are passed away -
I, past and gone.

~Gerhard Tersteegen~

The Rest of Faith

All Must Be Well!

Through the love of God our Saviour,
All will be well;
Free and changeless is His favor,
All, all is well;
Precious is the blood that heal'd us,
Perfect is the grace that seal'd us,
Strong the hand stretch'd out to shield us,
All must be well.

Though we pass through tribulation,
All will be well;
Ours is such a full salvation,
All, all is well;
Happy,still in God confiding,
Fruitful, if in Christ abiding,
Holy, through the Spirit's guiding,
All must be well.

We expect a bright tomorrow,
All will be well;
Faith can sing, through days of sorrow,
All, all is well;
On our Father's love relying,
Jesus ev'ry need supplying,
Or in living or in dying,
All must be well.

~Mary Bowley Peters~

Sweet the Moments, Rich In Blessing

Sweet the moments, rich in blessing,
Which before the Cross I spend;
Life and health and peace possessing
From the sinner's dying Friend.

Truly blessed is this station,
Low before His Cross to lie,
While I see divine compassion
Beaming in His languid eye.

Love and grief my heart dividing,
With my tears His feet I'll bathe;
Constant still in faith abiding,
Life deriving from His death.

For thy sorrows we adore Thee
For the griefs that wrought our peace
Gracious Saviour! we implore Thee,
In our hearts Thy love increase.

~Walter Shelly~ 

Would Jesus Have the Sinner Die?

Would Jesus have the sinner die?
Why hangs He then on yonder tree?
What means that strange expiring cry?
Sinners, He prays for you and me;
Forgive them, Father, O forgive!
They know not that by Me they live.

Jesus descended from above,
Our loss of Eden to retrieve,
Great God of universal love,
If all the world through Thee may live,
In us a quick'ning spirit be,
And witness Thou hast died for me.

Thou loving, all-atoning Lamb,
Thee, by Thy painful agony,
Thy bloody sweat, Thy grief and shame,
Thy Cross and passion on the tree,
Thy precious death and life I pray,
Take all, take all my sins away.

O let Thy love my heart constrain,
Thy love, for every sinner free,
That every fallen son of man
May taste the grace that found out me;
That all mankind with me may prove
Thy sov'reign, everlasting love.

~Charles Wesley~

He Dies! The Friend of Sinner Dies!

He dies! the Friend of sinners dies!
Lo! Salem's daughters weep around;
A soleman darkness veils the skies,
A sudden trembling shakes the ground;
Come, saints, and drop a tear or two
For Him who groan'd beneath your load;
He shed a thousand drops for you,
A thousand drops of richer blood.

Here's love and grief beyond degree;
The Lord of glory dies for man!
But lo! what sudden joys we see:
Jesus, the dead, revives again.
The rising God forsakes the tomb;
In vain the tomb forbids His rise;
Cherubic legions guard Him home,
And shout Him welcome to the skies.

Break off your tears, ye saints and tell
How high your great Deliv'rer reigns;
Sing how He spoil'd the hosts of hell,
And led the monster death in chains:
Say, Live forever, wondrous King!
Born to redeem, and strong to save;
Then ask the monster, Where's thy sting?
And, Where's thy vict'ry, boasting grave?

~Isaac Watts~

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Favorite Pastor Quotes 4

Favorite Pastor Quotes 4

We dwell within the palm of God's hand!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"My times are in Your hand!" Psalm 31:15

Not only are we, ourselves, in the hand of the Lord--but all that surrounds us is in His hand! Our times make up a kind of atmosphere of existence--and all of this is under His divine arrangement.

We dwell within the palm of God's hand!
 We are absolutely at His disposal--and all our circumstances are arranged by Him in all their details. We are comforted to have it so!

When one knows that his times are in God's hands--he would not change places with a king! No, nor even with an angel!


Forward, and Not Back
J. R. Miller
It is a good thing always to face forward. Even nature shows that men's eyes were designed to always look forward—for no man has eyes in the back of his head, as all men certainly would have—if it had been intended that they should spend much time in looking backward. We like to have Bible authority for our rules in life, and there is a very plain word of Scripture which says, "Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you!" Proverbs 4:25
There is also a striking scriptural illustration in the greatest of the apostles, who crystallized the central principle of his active life in the remarkable words, "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are ahead, I press toward the mark!" The picture is of a man running in a race. He sees only one thing—the goal yonder. He does not trouble himself to look back to see how far he has come—or how far the other runners are behind him; he does not even look to the right hand or to the left—to catch glimpses of his friends who are watching him and cheering him. His eyes look right on to the goal, while he bends every energy to the race.
That is the picture which Paul drew of himself as a man, as a Christian; he forgot his past—and lived only for his future. We must remember, too, that he was an old man when he wrote these words. Looking at him, we would say there was but little before him now to live for—but a little margin of life left to him. The young look forward naturally, because everything is before them—the long, bright future years, seem to stretch out for them almost inimitably; they live altogether in hope, and as yet have no memories to draw their eyes and their hearts backward and to chain their lives to the past. But old people, who have spent most of their allotted years and have but a small and fast-crumbling edge of life remaining, are much prone to live almost entirely in the past. The richest treasures of their hearts are there, left behind and passed by, and so their eyes and their thoughts are drawn backward, rather than forward.
Here, however, was one old man who cared nothing for what was past, and who lived altogether in hope, pressing on with quenchless enthusiasm into the future. What was gone was nothing to him—in comparison with what was yet to come. The best things in his life were still to be won; his noblest achievements were yet to be wrought; his soul was still full of unrealized visions—which would yet be realized. His eye pierced death's veil, for to him life meant immortality, and earth's horizon was not its boundary.
The last glimpse we have of this old man—he is about going forth from his Roman, dungeon to martyrdom—but he is still reaching forth and pressing on into the Eternal Before. His keen eye is fixed on a glory which other men could not see, as with exultation he cried, "The time of my departure is at hand. . . . Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown!"
There is something very sublime in such a life, and it ought to have its inspirations for us. We ought to train ourselves to live by the same rule. There is a tremendous waste in human energy and in all life's powers—resulting from the habit of ever turning to look backward. While we stand thus, with arms folded, peering back into the mists and the shadows of the dead past—the great, resistless, never-resting tides of life are sweeping on, and we are simply left behind. And few things are sadder than this—men with their powers yet at their best, left behind in the race, and left alone—because they stop and stand and look backward—instead of keeping their eyes to the front and bravely pressing on to the things ahead!
It is every way better to look forward—than to look back. The life—follows the eye; we live—as we look. But what is there ever behind us to live for? There is no work to do; no tasks wait there for accomplishment; no opportunities for helpfulness or usefulness lie in the past. Opportunities, when once they have passed by, never linger—that tardy laggards may yet come up and seize them; passed once, they are gone forever!
We cannot impress ourselves in any way upon the past; the records which are written all over the pages of yesterday, were made when yesterday was the living present. We cannot make any change on the past; we can undo nothing there, correct nothing, erase nothing.
We may get a measure of inspiration from other men's past—as we study their biographies and their achievements and grasp the secrets of their power.
"Lives of great men all remind us
 We can make our lives sublime,
 And, departing, leave behind us
 Footprints on the sands of time."
Then, we may get something, too, from our own past—in the lessons of experience which we have learned. He certainly lives very heedlessly, whose days yield no wisdom. Yesterday's mistakes and failures, should make the way plainer and straighter today. Past sorrows, too, should enrich our lives. All one's past is in the life of each new day—all its spirit, all its lessons, all its accumulated wisdom, all its power—lives in each present moment. Yet this benefit that comes from the things that are behind, avails only when it becomes impulse and energy to send us forward the more resistlessly and wisdom to guide us the more safely.
Therefore we should never waste a moment in looking back at our past attainments. Yet there are people who, especially in their later years, do little else. They are accomplished egotists—yet they never have anything but very old heroisms and achievements to talk about. They are talkative enough concerning the great things they have done—but it was always a long time ago, that they did them. All the grand and noble things in their life—are little more than past traditions. Their religious experiences, also, are of old date, and they seem never to have any new ones. Their testimonies and their prayers in the conference-meeting are quite like the tunes of street-organs—the same always every time you hear them; they never get a new tune, not even a new and revised edition of the old one. With mechanical invariableness and endless repetition, they relate the same experiences year after year. They can tell a great deal about what they felt, and what they did—a long time ago—but not a word about what they felt and what they did yesterday.
The utter inadequacy and the unworthiness of such living, are apparent at a glance. No past glory avails, for this living present. The radiance of last night, will not make the stars brilliant tonight; the beauty of last summer's flowers, will not do for the flowers of this summer; the industry of early manhood, will not achieve results in mid-life or in old age; the heroism of yesterday, will win no laurels for the brow today. What does it matter—that one did great things some time in the past? The question is—What is he doing now?
Suppose a man had ecstatic religious experiences ten or twenty years ago; ought he not to have had still more ecstatic experiences every year since? Suppose a man did a noble thing twenty-five years ago; why should he still sound the praises of that one lone deed after so long a lapse of time? Ought he not to have done just as noble things all along his life—as he did that particular day a quarter-century ago?
The ideal life, is one that does its best every day—and sees ever in tomorrow, an opportunity for something better than today. It is sad when any one has to look back for his best achievements and his highest attainments. However lofty the plane reached, the face should still be turned forward—and the heart should still be reaching onward for its best.
The true life has its image in the tree which drops its ripe fruits in the autumn and forgets them, leaving them to be food for the hungry; while it straightway begins to prepare for another year's fruits. What an abnormal thing it would be, for an apple tree to bear one abundant crop—and then never again produce anything each year, but a few scattered apples hanging lonesome on the wide-spreading branches, while the tree continued to glory year after year in its superb yield of long ago!
Is such a life any more fitting for an immortal man—than for a soulless fruit tree? Immortality should never content itself, with any past. Not back—but forward, always should our eyes be bent. The years should be ladder-steps upward, each lifting us higher. Even death should not intercept the onward look, for surely the best things are never on this side—but always on beyond death's mists. Death is not a wall cutting off the path and ending all progress: it is a gate—an open gate—through which the life sweeps on through eternity! Progress, therefore, is endless, and the goal is ever unreached!
Even the mistakes and the sins of the past—should not draw our eyes back. Sins should instantly be confessed, repented of and forsaken—and that should be the end of them! To brood over them—does no good; we can never undo them, and no tears can obliterate the fact of their commission. The way to show true sorrow for wrong-doing, is not to sit in sackcloth and ashes weeping over the ruin wrought—but to pour all the energy of our regret, into new obedience and better service! We cannot change the past—but the future, we can yet make beautiful, if we will. It would be sad if in weeping over the sins of yesterday, we should lose today also! Not an instant, therefore, should be wasted in unavailing regret when we have failed; the only thing to do with mistakes—is not to repeat them; while, at the same time, we set about striving to get some gain or blessing from them.

Defeats in life should never detain us long, since only faith and courage are needed to change them into real victories. For, after all, it is character we are building in this world; and if we use every experience to promote our growth, to make us better; if we emerge from it stronger, braver, truer, nobler—we have lost nothing—but have been the gainer. In reverses and misfortunes, then, we have but to keep our eyes fixed on Christ, caring only that no harm comes to our soul from the loss or the trial; and thus we shall be victorious. If we stop and look back with despairing heart, at the wreck of our hopes and plans—our defeat will be real and humiliating! Like Lot's wife, we shall be buried beneath the encrusting salt! But if we resolutely turn away from the failure or the ruin—and press on to brighter things—things that cannot perish—we shall get victory and win blessedness and eternal gain!

Look forward—and not back! Live to make tomorrow beautiful, not to stain yesterday with tears of regret and grief.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Favorite Pastor Quotes 3

Favorite Pastor Quotes 3

The jewelry of the Bible!

(Octavius Winslow, "The Preciousness of the Divine Promises") 

"God has given us His very great and precious promises!" 2 Peter 1:4The promises of God are the jewelry of the Bible! 
Every page of the sacred volume is rich and sparkling with these divine assurances of Jehovah's love, faithfulness, and power towards His people. 

Upon no spot in this wilderness world can the Christian plant his foot, strange and untrodden though that path may be--but a gem from this casket meets his eye, the sight of which inspires his heart with confidence, his spirit with comfort, his soul with hope! 

Imagine what would have been the condition of God's children apart from the divine promises of which the blessed volume is so full. What must have been the desolateness, the sadness, and the sinking--did we not have the divine assurances of God's Word to rely on; by which we are . . .
  guided in our march heavenward, 
  upheld in weakness, 
  cheered in depression, and
  conducted step by step to final blessedness. 

The promises are comprehensive in their character, and adapted to all the varied circumstances of our individual history. Child of God, you cannot conceive of . . .
  any condition in which you may be placed,
  any circumstance by which you may be surrounded,
  any sorrow by which you may be depressed,
  any perils that may confront you,
  any darkness that may overshadow you,
  or any needs that you may have--
in which you may not find some precious promises of His blessed Word which meet your case! 

The promises of Scripture are exceedingly precious, because they are all signed and sealed with the heart's blood of Jesus! They are the throbbings of the infinite love of Jesus! The promises are but echoes of His heart sounding from each page of the sacred volume! 

If you are sin-burdened or sorrow-stricken--just stretch forth your hand and receive these precious jewels as they flow out from the open casket of God's Word!

The promises have stanched may a bleeding wound. 

The promises have dried many a falling tear. 

The promises have calmed many a disturbed mind. 

The promises have guided feet through many a labyrinth.

The promises have shed light on many a lonely path. 

The promises, like voices of music, have broken sweetly on many a dreary night of weeping and woe. 

We have these rich clusters of precious promises bending down from the Tree of Life! 
We may pluck them at all times, in all seasons, and under all circumstances!

I always carry an oil can in my pocket!

(J.R. Miller, "Intimate Letters on Personal Problems" 1914)

There is a good illustration in one of Dr. Parkhurst's books. He tells of a workman who was in a trolley-car one day. As the door was opened and shut, it squeaked. The workman quietly got up and, taking a little can from his pocket, dropped some oil upon the offending spot, saying as he sat down, "I always carry an oil can in my pocket, for there are so many squeaky things in this world which a little oil will help."
Dr. Parkhurst applies this to life, saying that love is a lubricant with which we can soften or prevent a great many unpleasant frictions with others--if we always have love and will speak the gentle word, the soft word, the kindly word, at the right time. I used the illustration recently in my church in a sermon, and suggested to the people that they all carry oil cans, thus trying to make the world a little sweeter place to live in.
"I am not writing you a new command, but one we have had from the beginning--that we love one another." 2 John 1:5
"The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:14
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you--so you must love one another." John 13:34

How shall I follow in His steps?

(Alexander Smellie, "The Secret Place")

"Leaving an example for you to follow in His steps." 1 Peter 2:21

How shall I follow in His steps?

The first requisite is a personal relationship to Him. I cannot wear the loveliness of Jesus--until I drink deep of the forgiveness of Jesus. From the Cross where He has saved me--I set out on the pilgrim-road of imitation.
It is necessary, also, that love for Him leaps and flames in my soul. No amount of intellectual comprehension is enough. The heart must enthrone Him, must adore Him, must turn to Him with the invitableness and the trust of the sunflower turning to the sun. I can only resemble Him, if my affection for Him is profound, controlling, and pervasive.
And there must be intimacy with my Lord. I am to share His thoughts, His temper, His motives, His decisions.
I must dwell much with Himself in prayer.
I must often meditate on the story of His life and death.
These are some of the modes in which I shall touch and grasp and imitate the grace and the wisdom and the loveliness and thegentleness and the splendor of Jesus Christ.
"Whoever says he abides in Him, ought to walk and conduct himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted Himself." 1 John 2:6 (Amplified Bible)