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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Classic Christian Authors # 1

Classic Christian Authors # 1

The world, so fair, so fascinating!(Hetty Bowman, "Life, Its Duties and Discipline")

It is possible that these words may meet the eye of some whose hearts are still set on the world, and the things of the world. 

Firm are the meshes in which the world entangles the heedless footstep!

Potent is the spell which the world weaves around the thoughtless and unwary! 

The mazes of pleasure firmly enslave the soul!

The world, so fair, so fascinating! How shall it be given up? How shall the fingers be unclasped from that bright cup which seems so full of happiness? 

Says the worldling, "Surely the sacrifice need not be made yet! The world and its pleasures need not yet be exchanged for the cross of self-denial and sacrifice! Not yet! Not yet!"

But listen, dear reader, and if the words seem harsh--remember that they are the words of Him whose heart yearns with tenderness, pity, and compassion for the lost and the perishing: 
  "No man can serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and Money." Matthew 6:24 
  "If any man loves the world--the love of the Father is not in him." 
  "Friendship with the world is enmity with God." 

What shall we say to these things? Shall we, speak peace to you--when there is no peace? Shall we flatter you with the hope that all may yet be well? Shall we point you to a crown of unfading glory--while your heart still rebels against the light and easy yoke of the Crucified One? Nay! 

Rather would we remind you of the solemn warning, that "The end of these things is death!" A day will come when your eye will grow dim, and the death-damp gather on your brow, and your feet enter the dark valley. Where, then, will be your hope? Where, then, will be your refuge? 

And when that day has passed, and another, yet more terrible, has dawned--when the eternal throne shall be set, and the books opened, and the dead, small and great, stand before God--then where will you conceal yourself, that you will not hear the awful sentence, "Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into everlasting fire!"

It is because we would save you from such a fearful doom--a doom which, as surely as the Word of God is true, will overtake all, however naturally amiable and cordial they may be, yet reject the Savior's offered mercy--that we would earnestly entreat you in Christ's stead, "Be reconciled to God!"


Jesus, a Friend!
Author unknown

"There is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:23
Who do you think this Friend is? JESUS! You are right. I was sure you could not hesitate a moment — it is indeed the man Christ Jesus. "There is no other name under Heaven given among men," to which this character so properly belongs. Men of high degree are vanity, and men of low degree are a lie, and men of every degree are broken reeds — there is no dependence upon any of them. They speak fair, and for a little carry it fair — but they fail at last. Either through fickleness or frailty, from insincerity or inability — they fail us when most we need their help. Not so our "elder brother," our Divine friend — He is Christ Jesus, the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Say now, Christian, could I have mentioned one with whom you would rather wish to spend an hour? To you, I know He is precious — at all times precious.
Jesus Christ is the most ancient friend — this is a circumstance which should greatly endear Him to us. "Your own friend, and your father's friend, forsake you not;" intimating that such a person — one who had been a fast friend to our family for a great number of years — is to be highly valued.
And herein Christ infinitely excels the oldest friend we have. Hear what He says of Himself, "When he appointed the foundations of the earth, then I was by him, as one brought up with him; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men." Here was unselfish and unparalleled friendship!
Under the Old Testament we see Him frequently appearing as the "Angel of the Lord," and the "Angel of the Covenant" — with messages of love to His people. But nothing can express it so emphatically as His own word. "In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them. In His love and in His pity, He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old." Isaiah 63:9
If a perfect stranger were to come to us in our distress, and offer to relieve us, we would hardly know how to trust him. "How do I know who or what he is? Perhaps he only mocks my woe. If he does as he says, I shall thank him; but I am afraid to believe it until I see it."
Now, with respect to Christ, this objection is removed. He is no stranger — He is one that we have been long acquainted with — He has been a friend to the family as far back as we can remember, and further too. "We have heard with our ears, and our fathers have told us," how kind He was to them; and we have had a thousand proofs of His kindness to us. And shall I distrust Him now? No! Though my present trial is very heavy, and such as I never experienced before — I can trust Him. "I remember the days of old, the years of the right hand of the Most High," and have not the least doubt that He who has been my father's friend, and my own friend for so many years — will continue to be a friend to me, as often and as long as I shall need Him.
Jesus Christ is an affectionate friend. We often meet with people who make great professions of kindness and respect; nothing but "my dear friend," at every word; and "how glad they would be to serve us." While at the same time we have reason to think they have not merely no real regard — but an actual dislike, and would, underhand, rather do us an unkindness!
But Jesus is not one of these. Never was deceit found in His mouth. Whenever He makes professions of love — His heart and hand go along with them. Try Him in those things which are the usual expressions of regard between one friend and another — and you will see how in all things Christ has the pre-eminence.
For example — hearty friends mutually sympathize with one another, and take part in one another's joys and griefs. Christ does so, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need!" Hebrews 4:15-16
Hearty friends love one another's company — and take every opportunity of being together; and when obliged to separate — they contrive to meet again as soon as possible. Christ does just so. He "walks among the golden candlesticks," and "loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob."
Hearty friends seek one another's interest. Do a kindness to one — and the other esteems it as done to himself. Do an injury to one — and the other resents it as done to himself. Christ felt the rage of Saul against the Church, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
Hearty friends freely unbosom themselves to one another. And they are mindful of one another, though absent. In all these, and many other ways, Jesus shows Himself a most tender and affectionate friend.
Jesus Christ is a faithful friend. There are some who would be thought very good friends — as they do nothing but flatter us, and commend everything we say and do — though it is never so wrong; and humor us in all our follies and vices. But there is no friendship in all of this. It is sometimes very hard to act thefaithful part, on the one side — or to bear a faithful part on the other.
But Christ is a faithful friend. "As many as I love — I rebuke and chasten."
Jesus Christ is a powerful friend. We may have many sincere friends — and yet be never the better for them. They may wish us well — but that may be all they can do. They may be poor and feeble, and need help themselves. But if we have a friend as rich as he is kind — then we think ourselves well off — and if ever we come to be in straits, we know where to go for a supply.
And who is so rich as Christ? He is appointed heir of all things. "It has pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell."
He is a constant friend. "Having loved his own who were in the world — he loved them to the end!" This is not always the case with human friendships. Sometimes a trifle shall dissolve them. Those who have been hearty friends for years may become bitter enemies to one another.
But where Christ once fixes His love — He never takes it away! His affection does not change with our condition. He never looks shy upon us because we are poor and in distress.
Christ's friendship not only extends itself through all the changes of life — but also through death and eternity. Earthly friends, let them stick never so close — must part at death. If they accompany us to the brink of the grave, there they take their leave, and bid us a long farewell. But Christ is a friend who will stick closest — when all earthly comforts drop off!
If we have such a friend as Jesus — let us show ourselves grateful and affectionate towards Him. He sympathizes with us in all our griefs and joys. Do we so with Him? Do we prefer Him above our chief earthly joy?
"I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine!" Song of Songs 6:3
"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior!" Isaiah 43:1-3
"Whom have I in Heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!" Psalm 73:25-26
"Unto you therefore who believe — He is precious!" 1 Peter 2:7

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Excerpts From the Fountain of Life

Excerpts From the Fountain of Life # 2

O Wretched Idol

O that dreadful idol - myself!

We have need to be redeemed from ourselves, as much as from the devil and the world!

I would like to make a sweet bargain, and shuffle out self, and substitute Christ my Lord in place of myself! Not I, but Christ! Not my will, but Christ's! Not my ease, not my lusts, not my home - but Christ, Christ!

O wretched idol, myself! When shall I see you wholly cast out, and Christ wholly put in your place?

The Knife that Stabbed Christ to the Heart!

"They will look at Me, whom they have pierced. Then they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son, and they will cry bitterly for Him as one cries for a firstborn son" (Zechariah 12:10).

Do you complain of the hardness of your hearts, and lack of love to Christ? Behold Him dying for your sins! Such a sight, (if any in the world will do it) will melt your hard hearts.

It is reported of Johannes Milieus, that he was never observed to speak of Christ and His sufferings, but his eyes would drop tears.

Are you too little touched and unaffected with the evil of sin? Look at the Cross of Christ, and see what efficacy there is in it to make sin forever bitter as death to your soul.

Suppose your own father had been stabbed to the heart with a certain knife, and his blood were still upon it. Would you delight to see, or endure to use that knife any more?

Sin is the knife that stabbed Christ to the heart!

Sin shed His blood!

If God Should Damn You for All Eternity

If the death of Christ was that which satisfied God for all the sins of the elect, then certainly there is an infinite evil in sin, since it cannot be expiated but by an infinite satisfaction. Fools make a mock at sin, and there are but few people who are duly sensible of, and affected with - the evil of sin.

If God Should damn you for all Eternity, your eternal sufferings could not pay for the evil that is in one vain thought! Perhaps you think that this is harsh and severe - that God should hold His creatures under everlasting sufferings for sin. But when you have well considered, that the One against whom you sin, is the infinite blessed God; and that sin is an infinite evil committed against Him;and when you consider how God dealt with the angels that fell, for one sin - you will alter your minds about it. 

O the depth of the evil of sin! If ever you will see how dreadful and horrid an evil, sin is, you must measure it either by the infinite holiness and excellency of God, who is wronged by it; or by the infinite sufferings of Christ, who died to pay its penalty; and they you will have deeper apprehensions of the evil of sin.

Its Ensnaring Beauty

"The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).

Jesus did not come to amass earthly treasures, but to bestow heavenly ones. His great and heavenly soul neglected and despised those things, that too many of His own people too much admire and live for. He spent not an anxious thought about those things that eat up thousands of our thoughts.

Indeed He came to be humbled, and to teach men by His example the vanity of this world, and pour contempt upon its ensnaring beauty.

Cain's Club!

The greatest innocence and piety cannot exempt from persecution and injury. Who more innocent than Christ? And who more persecuted? The world is the world still. "I have given them your Word, and the world has hated them." The world lies in wait as a thief for those who carry this treasure. Persecution follows piety - as the shadow does the body. "All who will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution." Whoever resolves to live holy - must never expect to live quietly.

All who will live godly, manifest holiness in their lives, will gall the consciences of the ungodly. Holiness enrages them,for there is an enmity and antipathy between them! This enmity runs in the blood; and it is transmitted with it from generation to generation. "Just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh, persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now." So it was, and so still it is. Cain's Club is still carried up and down crimsoned with the blood of Abel!"

O that your spirits, as well as your conditions, may better harmonize with Christ. He suffered meekly, quietly, and self-denyingly. Be like Him. Let it not be said of you, as it is of the hypocrite - that he is like flint, which seems cold; but if you strike him, he is all fiery.

To do well, and suffer ill, is Christlike.

Holy Father, Keep Them In Your Name

"I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in Your Name" (John 17:11).

The world is a sinful, infecting and disturbing place; it lies in wickedness. It is a hard thing for such poor, weak, imperfect creatures to escape the pollutions of it. And if they do, yet they cannot escape the troubles, persecutions, and strong oppositions of it. Seeing therefore I must leave Your own dear children, as well as Mine, in the midst of a sinful, troublesome, dangerous world, where they can neither move backward nor forward, without danger of sin or ruin; O, since the case stands so, look after them, provide for them, and take special care of them all. Holy Father, consider who they are - and where I leave them. They are Your children - left in a strange country. They are Your soldiers - in the enemies grounds. They are Your sheep - in the midst of wolves. They are Your precious treasure - among thieves. "And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in Your name" (John 17:11).

Cursed Sin!

O how inflexible and severe is the justice of God! What, no abatement? no sparing mercy? No, not even to His own Son!

Cultivate a deep indignation against sin.

Oh cursed sin! It was you who slew my dear Lord! For your sake He underwent all this! If your vileness had not been so great, His sufferings had not been so many. Cursed sin! You were the knife which stabbed Him! You the sword which pierced Him! 

Empty Titles

"Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey - either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?"

It is but a mockery to give Christ the empty titles of "Lord" and "King" - while you give your real service to sin and satan. What is this but to be like the Jews - to bow the knee to Him, and say, "Hail Master!" and crucify Him? Here is honey in the tongue- and poison in the heart!

~John Flavel~

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Excerpts From the Fountain of Life

Excerpts From the Fountain of Life

When Most Lame and Defective in Themselves

Happy were it,k if puzzled and perplexed Christians would turn their eyes from the defects that are in their obedience, to the fullness and completeness of Christ's obedience; and see themselves complete in Him, when most lame and defective in themselves.

By the Hand of His Own Father!

To wrath, to the wrath of an infinite God without mixture - to the very torments of hell was Christ delivered - and that by the hand of His own Father! Surely then, that love is fathomless, which made the Father of mercies deliver His only Son to such miseries for us sinners!

The Most Precious Thing in Heaven or Earth

In giving Christ to die for poor sinners, God gave the richest jewel in His cabinet; a mercy of the greatest worth, and most inestimable value.

Heaven itself is not so valuable and precious as Christ is! Ten thousand thousand worlds - as many worlds as angels can number, would not outweigh Christ's love, excellency and sweetness! O what a lovely One! What an excellent, beautiful, ravishing One - is Christ!

Put the beauty of ten thousand paradises,like the garden of Eden, into one; put all flowers, all smells, all colors, all tastes, all joys, all sweetness, all loveliness and dearest well beloved Christ - than one drop of rain to all the seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains of ten thousand earths!

Now, for God to bestow the mercy of mercies, the most precious thing in heaven or earth, upon poor sinners; and, as great, as lovely, as excellent as His Son was - what kind of love is this!

Stupefying, Damning, Intoxicating!

Imagine the self-revenges, the self-torments, which the damned suffer for their folly; and what a value they would set upon one offer of salvation.

It is astonishing, that you should despise a mercy in which your own souls are so dearly, so deeply, so everlastingly concerned, as they are in this gift of God.

Oh, what a monster are you, to cast your soul away thus!

What! will you slight your own souls? Don't you care whether they are saved, or whether they are damned? Have you imagined a tolerable hell? Is it easy to perish?

Have you not only turned God's enemies, but your own too? Oh see what monsters, sin can turn people into!

Oh the stupefying, damning, intoxicating power of sin!

Christ Is So In Love With Holiness,

that at the price of His blood, He will buy it for us!

See the greatness and dreadfulness of that breach which sin made between God and us. No less a sacrifice than Christ Himself must make atonement. Judge of the greatness of the wound which sin made, by the magnitude of the remedy which Christ made.

All our repentance, could we shed as many tears for sin, as there have fallen drops of rain since the creation, could not have atoned for our sin!

A Double Spot

"A lamb without blemish or spot" (1 Peter 1:19)

Every other man has a double spot on him: the heart-spot,and the life-spot; the spot of original sin, and the spots of actual sin.

But Christ was without either - His life was spotless and pure. "He did no iniquity." And though tempted to sin, yet He was never defiled in heart or practice.

Yours! Mine!

Lord, the condemnation was Yours, that the justification might be mine!

The agony was Yours, that the victory might be mine!

The pain was Yours,and the ease mine!

The stripes were Yours, and the healing balm issuing from them mine!

The vinegar and gall were Yours, that the honey and sweet might be mine!

The curse was Yours, that the blessing might be mine!

The crown of thorns was Yours, that the crown of glory might be mine!

The death was Yours, the life purchased by it mine!

You paid the price, that I might enjoy the inheritance!

~John Flavel~

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Favorite Pastor Quotes 10

Favorite Pastor Quotes 10

What a Heaven!

(J. A. James, "The Practical Believer Delineated")

Heaven will consist of . . .
  the moral perfection of the soul,
  perfect knowledge,
  perfect holiness,
  perfect love,
  perfect likeness to Christ,
  perfection of the body in . . .
      glory, and
  the presence of God in the full manifestation of His glory,
  the beatific vision of Christ,
  the fellowship of angels and all the redeemed,
  the joint worship of the heavenly multitudes,
  the perfect service of Christ, without . . .
      imperfection, or
  complete freedom from . . .

Such is the substance of heavenly felicity. Take
any one of them by itself--and each is a Heaven!
Add them altogether--and what a Heaven! 

How pure! How elevated! How felicitous!


Go to Him in your emptiness, and receive daily out of His fullness!

(Ashton Oxenden, "The Christian Life")

"As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord--so walk in Him!" Colossians 2:6

We are apt to think that all we need is to look to Christ as our Sin-bearer; and that, having once gone to Him in faith, and obtained forgiveness, the work is done. But the believer now needs the same Savior who pardoned him--to be ever with him, to help him on his way, and to keep his soul alive. He must ever run his Christian race, 'looking unto Jesus.' He must 'come out of the wilderness, leaning on his Beloved.' In himself, the believer is powerless. Christ is both the Life and Strength of the renewed soul.

The believer needs daily strength. He cannot fight by his own power. He cannot even walk alone. If he hopes to resist temptation, and to lead a holy life of service to his heavenly Master--if he wants boldly to come out from the world, and to stand forth as a decided follower of Christ--he must look to Jesus for daily grace to strengthen him.

It is living upon Christ, which alone can make us growing, thriving, vigorous Christians!

To be ever looking to Christ for grace, to be constantly stretching out the hand and heart to Christ for help, to be daily feeding upon Him--this is the secret of all our spiritual life, and of all our spiritual well-being.

Never suppose that you can become strong enough to do without Christ. Never imagine that you can reach such a point, that you are anything more than a poor, helpless being. As you humbled yourself beneath His cross at the first--so continue to feel your place to be in the dust before Him, your righteousness to be as filthy rags, your strength as utter weakness!

Go to Him in your emptiness, and receive daily out of His fullness!

The Bible!(author unknown)

"And we also thank God continually because, when you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the Word of God, which is at work in you who believe!" 1 Thessalonians 2:13

The Bible contains . . .
  the mind of God,
  the state of man,
  the way of salvation,
  the doom of sinners, and
  the happiness of believers.

Its doctrines are holy,
its precepts are binding,
its histories are true, and
its decisions are immutable.

Read it to be wise,
believe it to be safe,
and practice it to be holy.

The Bible contains . . .
  light to direct you,
  food to support you,
  and comfort to cheer you.

It is . . .
  the traveler's map,
  the pilgrim's staff,
  the pilot's compass,
  the soldier's sword and
  the Christian's charter.

Here too, Heaven is opened--and the gates of Hell are disclosed.

Christ is its grand subject,
our good is its design, and
the glory of God is its end.

The Bible should . . .
  fill the memory,
  rule the heart
  and guide the feet.

Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully.

The Scripture is . . .
  a mine of wealth,
  a paradise of glory,
  and a river of pleasure!

It . . .
  is given to you in life,
  will be opened at the judgment,
  and be remembered forever.

The Bible . . .
  involves the highest responsibility,
  rewards the greatest labor, and
  will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents!

"Forever, O LORDYour Word is settled in Heaven!" Psalm 119:89 

The varied and rich profusion with which God had clothed His world!

(Thomas Guthrie)

As we looked down on the pleasant scene, we were astonished at the varied and rich profusion with which God had clothed His world.

Nature, like Joseph, was dressed in a coat of many colors--gray, black and yellow lichens clad the rock.

The glossy ivy, like an ambitious child, had planted its foot on the crag, and, hanging on by a thousand arms, had climbed to its stormy summit.

Mosses, of hues surpassing all the colors of the loom, spread an elastic carpet around the gushing fountain.

The wild thyme lent a bed to the weary, and its perfume to the air.

Heaths opened their blushing bosoms to the bee.

The primrose, modesty shrinking from observation, looked out from its leafy shade.

At the foot of the weathered stone, the fern raised its plumes, and on its summit the foxglove rang his beautiful bells; while the birch bent to kiss the stream, as it ran away laughing to hide itself in the lake below, or stretched out her arms to embrace the mountain ash and evergreen pine.

By a very slight exercise of imagination, in such a scene one could see Nature engaged in her adorations, and hear her singing, "The earth is full of the glory of God! How manifold are Your works, O Lord God Almighty! In wisdom You have made them all."

Insects--as well as angels,
the flowers that spangle the meadow--as well as the stars that spangle the sky,
the lamp of the glowworm--as well as the light of the sun,
the lark that sings in the air--and the seraph that is singing in Heaven,
the thunders that rend the clouds--or the trumpet that shall rend the tomb
--these and all things else, reveal God's attributes and proclaim His praise!

"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!" Psalm 150:6

I would not live here always!

(Thomas Guthrie)

"Arise and depart; for this is not your rest--because it is polluted!" Micah 2:10

In his best hours, home, his own sinless home--a home with his Father above that starry sky--will be the wish of every Christian. He looks around him--the world is full of suffering; he is distressed by its sorrows, and vexed with its sins. He looks within him--he finds much in his own corruptions to grieve for. In the language of a heart repelled, grieved, vexed--he often turns his eye upward, saying, "I would not live here always!" (Job 7:16)
  Not for all the gold of the world's mines;
  not for all the pearls of her seas;
  not for all the pleasures of her flashing, frothy cup;
  not for all the crowns of her kingdoms--
would I live here always! Like a bird about to migrate to those sunny lands where no winter sheds her snows, or strips the grove, or binds the dancing streams--the Christian will often in spirit be pruning his wing for the hour of his flight to glory!

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

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~