Grace Gems for OCTOBER 2011


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Away with such an old-time Christianity!

(Charles Orr)

Satan has robed a harlot, named her 'Christianity' and succeeded in imposing her upon many. They are fondling with her. She indulges them in sensuality, while encouraging them to hope for a blissful immortality. The kings of the earth have committed fornication with her. They are reveling, feasting and banqueting with her crazed by her seductive charms. She has neither purity, peace, nor power. Her robes are defiled by sin. She scoffs at pure Christianity, and calls her old-fashioned.

This strange young woman is using every device to allure souls into her wanton chamber. She is most subtle of heart. She "flatters with her words. In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night she walks in the streets, and lies wait at every corner, that she might catch and kiss him who is void of understanding." With a beguiling, impudent face, she says to him: "I have peace offerings with me; I have decked my bed with tapestry and fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come let us take our fill of love until the morning; let us enjoy each other's caresses."

Such is the mirthful, shallow, frivolous Christianity of the popular present day religions! The generality of professors (we speak in love) desire a Christianity which will go with them to the halls of pleasure; which will dine with them at their rich banquets; which will smile on them as they walk in the ways of sin and worldliness calming their fears with her flattering words of 'peace, peace'.

Primitive Christianity, they consider, was good enough for primitive days but she would be a horrid old maid in these days of progress. In this fast-moving age, the Christianity that crowned the life of Christ and the holy apostles, is altogether too antiquated.
She drew men from the world;
she crucified their lusts;
she taught them to practice self-denial;
she brought them in humility to her feet;
she led them in the paths of virtue and holiness;
she upbraided them for sin, and told them of the vengeance and wrath of God against every evil.

The Christian world today, in general, is saying, "Away with such an old-time Christianity! She has no charms for us! She is too common and plain too grave and sober! We will not walk with her! Give us the mirthful and dashing young harlot that we may walk with her amid the pleasures of the world, and with her gratify our lusts! She never chides us for sin, nor troubles us about the anger of God nor the torments of Hell. She invites us into her bosom and gives us a sweet opiate drink of 'stolen waters', and bids us take our fill of love.

We desire to tear off the sacrilegious robes of the harlot of false Christianity and expose her shame to the gaze of every honest soul.

Dear reader, "Do not go after her! Do not let your heart incline to her ways! Do not go astray in her paths. For she has cast down many wounded yes, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to Hell, going down to the chambers of death!"

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The darling child whom we love so much, lies dead in our arms!

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

"Then He got into the boat and His disciples followed Him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat!" Matthew 8:23-24

Had the disciples put out to sea without Christ's bidding they would not have had the same reason to expect His protection and deliverance.

The lesson we learn here is, that storms may arise, even when we are in the plain line of Christian duty. We should not be discouraged by the difficulty or trouble which comes and conclude that we are in the wrong path.

We see, also, that Christ's presence with His disciples, does not keep the storms away. There are no promises in the Bible that Christian people shall not have trials. The Gospel builds no high walls around us to break the force of the stormy winds. Troubles come to the Christian just as surely as to the worldly man.

There are the storms of temptation these sweep down with sudden and terrific power from the cold mountains of this world! Then, there are storms of sickness, of disappointment and adversity, of sorrow which make the waves and billows to roll over the soul.

On the Sea or Galilee, travelers say that a boat will be gliding along smoothly over the glassy surface, unbroken by a ripple when suddenly, without a moment's warning a tempest will sweep down, and almost instantly, the boat will be tossed upon the angry waves.

Just so, do many of life's storms come. Great troubles come when we least expect them. We may be at peace in a happy home. At an hour when we think all is calm, without warning the darling child whom we love so much, lies dead in our arms! The friend we trusted, and who we thought would never fail us proves false! The hopes cherished for years wither in our hands, like flowers when the frost comes!

The storms of life are nearly all sudden surprises. They do not hang out danger-signals days before, to warn us. The only way to be ready for them is to have Jesus with us in our boat.

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With the eye of tenderest love!

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

"He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them." Mark 6:48

Jesus always sees our toils and distresses in this world. We do not see Him and sometimes we think that He has forgotten us; but that is never true. He never forgets us, nor is He indifferent for a moment.

On the heights, while the battle was in progress, stood a group of men watching the struggling armies on the plain below. In this group was the American general Sheridan, who watched the mighty strife with the keen eye of a soldier. King William was also there; but his interest was different from Sheridan's. His son was in the thick of the fight and he watched the battle with the eye of a father, as well as of a king.

Just so, Christ looks down upon our struggles in this world. He sees us straining and toiling; He beholds all our battles and strifes. He sees us in the waves and in the storm. He sees us, not merely with the eye of the calm spectator but with the eye of tenderest love!

This is a great thought! If we can only get it into our hearts it will give us wondrous courage in the hour of toil, sorrow, or struggle. Jesus knows . . .
  when the battle is hard,
  when the night is dark,
  when the temptation is more than we can bear.

The winds were against His disciples even though Christ sent them out to sea. We learn here, that even when we are doing the things God which has bidden us do we may encounter great opposition and difficulty. We may even be beaten back, and find the trial too great for our strength. Many of the Lord's disciples have to make their voyage over very stormy seas on their way to glory. For some, duty is often very hard. Indeed, a true, noble, courageous, holy life must always exist in the face of opposition and contrary winds.

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There are few things at which people enact greater farces!

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

"Then Jesus said to His disciples: If anyone would come after Me he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me!" Matthew 16:24

There are few things at which people enact greater farces than in their feeble and foolish efforts at self-denial. Very few seem to have the remotest conception of what self-denial is!

One does without meat on Fridays, eating fish instead and thinks that he has denied himself in a most commendable way.

Another gives up candy or a certain amusement for forty days in Lent and is proud of over his great self-denial.

Others make themselves miserable in various ways: inflicting pain, making useless and uncalled-for sacrifices as if God were somehow pleased when they suffer!

But none of these things constitute self-denial. There is no merit or virtue in . . .
  giving up anything,
  suffering any loss or pain, or
  making any sacrifice merely for its own sake.

True self-denial
is the renouncing of SELF and the yielding of the whole life to the will of Christ. It is SELF coming down from the heart's throne, laying crown and scepter at the Master's feet and thenceforth submitting the whole life to His sway.

True self-denial
is living not to please ourselves, not to advance our own personal interests but to please our Lord and do His work. It is denying ourselves anything which is sinful in His sight. It is the glad making of any sacrifice which loyalty to Him requires. It is the giving up of any pleasure or comfort for the good of others which the living out of His gospel may demand. The essential thing is that SELF gives way altogether to CHRIST as the purpose and end of life.

True self-denial, like all other traits of Christlikeness, is unconscious of itself. We deny ourselves when we follow Christ with joy and gladness, through cost and danger and suffering wherever He leads!

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He does not come in the sunshine only!

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

"When they saw Him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking He was a ghost. They were all terrified when they saw Him!" Mark 6:49-50

It seems strange to us, that the disciples would ever have been afraid of their own Master. They had been in great distress all through the night just because He was not with them. There was nothing they had desired so much all through those long dark hours as that Jesus would come to them. Yet now, when He did come they were in terror at the sight of Him. It was because they did not know that it was Jesus as His very unusual presence so affrighted them.

It is ofttimes just so with us. We are in some need or danger, and Jesus does not come to us. We call upon Him, and most earnestly desire His coming; yet He does not come. At length He comes, but often it is not as we had expected in lovely visage and gentle deportment but in the form of terror! It is in some great trial that He comes. Death enters our door and carries away a loved one. Or we experience some loss or some misfortune at least it seems to us, loss or misfortune. We cry out in terror! We do not know that it is Jesus, veiled in the dark robe, who has come! We do not know that this is the answer to our prayer for His presence and His help. We are affrighted at the unusual form that moves over the waters in the dark night. We think it is new danger when really it is the very divine love and divine help for which we have been longing and pleading!

We ought to learn that Jesus is in every providence that comes to us. He does not come in the sunshine only; quite as frequently it is in the dark night that He draws near. It is our duty as Christians to train ourselves to see Christ in every event. Then, whether it is sorrow or joy which knocks at our door we shall give it loving welcome, knowing that Jesus Himself is veiled in whatever form it is, that He enters. Then we shall find, that when we welcome Him in the somber garments of affliction He will always have a rich blessing for our lives!

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Nestle in our Savior's arms!

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

"He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in His arms," Mark 9:36

This picture of "Jesus with the little one in His arms" is very beautiful. In all the Bible there is scarcely another picture which so well represents the attitude both of the soul and of the Savior in salvation, and in all Christian life.

Jesus takes the child in His arms
there is love, tenderness and protection.

The bosom is the place of warmth, of affection, of intimacy, of confidence.

The encircling arms imply safety, support and shelter.

Jesus lifted up the child and held it in His arms just so does He carry His people through this wilderness world! He does not merely tell them what path to travel but He takes them on His shoulders, carrying not only their burdens but themselves! Thus He bears them on through life and through death to Heaven, where they shall forever be with Him!

Then look at the picture the other way the child in the Savior's arms. The child's attitude speaks of trust, confidence, repose, peace, love, joy just the feelings which belong to the true Christian. What a place the bosom of Christ is in danger, in storm, in sorrow, in death! Shall we not likewise learn to nestle in our Savior's arms in all our troublesome experiences?

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Flying through the air with an angel-escort!

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

"The beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom." Luke 16:22

Nothing is said about his funeral. Of course, if he had one it was only a pauper's funeral. Earth had no honor for the beggar, no splendid coffin, no flowers. But the angels came and were his bearers and escort to glory!

Notice also, that nothing is said about what became of his body. The body is of little matter, for the man himself was no longer in that old, worn-out, battered frame. He was soon far away in the realm of eternal glory! When his body was dropped into the ground the beggar, the real man, was carried away to Heaven! We see him there, no longer a beggar but enjoying eternal blessedness.

There is still another thought here. We dread death. It seems like the end of existence. But really, to the Christian death is only a fleeting incident in his life. It is just a moment's passage through an experience which we never can understand; and then eternal glory!

One minute, this poor beggar lies at the rich man's gate despised, suffering, and starving!
The next moment, a strange sensation passes over him, and all is confusion.
And then he awakes flying through the air with an angel-escort!
And in a moment he is inside the celestial city, to dwell forever with the Lord!
There is no break in his life.

Death came also to the rich man. His riches could not save him from death. No doubt he had a splendid funeral. There would be a long procession, many mourners, a luxurious coffin, and every show of honor.

But who would not rather have the beggar's escort after death than the finest funeral earth ever gave to a mortal?

There have been funerals of rich men at which there was genuine sorrow, where those who had been blessed by their benevolence came and wept by their coffins. But in this rich man's case, there were no sincere mourners, for the man had allowed the needy to lie hungry at his gates! He had lived for himself only and no one really missed him when he was gone. "The rich man also died and was buried. In Hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus in his bosom!" Luke 16:22-23

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Every cent!

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

"What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:26

That is putting the case in its most favorable light! The whole world is the largest possible gain. But suppose a man does gain the whole world
  it cannot keep him from trouble;
  it cannot give him peace of conscience;
  it cannot comfort him in sorrow;
  it cannot make a soft pillow for him when he is dying;
  it cannot purchase Heaven for him when he is gone!
All that he can do with the world, after he has it is to keep it for a short time until he dies! He cannot carry any part of it with him into eternity!

"How much did he leave?" asked one, referring to a millionaire who had just died. "Every cent!" was the reply. He left all. So it is easy to see that there is no profit but rather a fearful and eternal loss, in gaining even all the world at the price of one's soul.

Then, think for how much smaller price than 'the whole world' which many people sell their souls for!
Some sell their soul for a few hours' guilty pleasure!
Some sell their soul for a political office!
Some sell their soul for filthy lucre!
Some sell their soul for honor which fades in a day.
They are selling their souls also in many other ways for pitiable trifles.
Like Esau, they are bartering their heavenly birthright for a bowl of stew!

What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Ah! that's the trouble. When the soul is lost there is no way of recovering it. When we have made our choice, and lived our life, whether right or wrong there is no possibility of changing the results! Life is given to us only once; and if we live it wrongly, there is no chance to live it over again. A lost soul cannot be gotten back; it is irretrievably lost!

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Leaning on Jesus

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

"One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was leaning on Jesus' bosom." John 13:23

We are not told the name of this disciple but we know him by his place and posture. What were the traits in John's character which made him the beloved disciple? One was his humility; another was his love artists always paint his face in features of gentleness and affectionateness. Another of his winning traits was his trust. He never seems to have doubted.

When was it, that he reclined on Jesus' bosom? It was in a time of great darkness. The Master was about to go away, and all the hopes of the disciples were being destroyed. But where was John in that darkness? Leaning on Jesus' bosom! Just so, sorrow, instead of driving us into despair should drive us nearer to Christ to His bosom!

Where was it, that John learned? On Jesus' bosom!
Not merely on His arm the place of strength;
nor upon His shoulder the place of upholding;
but on His bosom which is the place of love and tenderness.
It is a great thing to know that divine omnipotence is underneath us in all our weakness; but mere omnipotence is cold. How much better it is when omnipotence has the heart of love within it.

But what did John do? He leaned. He rested his weight on the omnipotent love of his Lord. Christ wants all His friends to lean upon Him. He wants to carry our burdens for us He wants us to lay all our sins and all our cares upon Him; but more than this ourselves! He wants to bear us as well as our burdens.

"Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?" Song of Songs 8:5

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A great and noble army of holy women

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

"And many women were there beholding from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto Him" Matthew 27:55

These were the earliest of a great and noble army of holy women attached to Christ by deep, personal love following and ministering unto Him. In all the ages since, Christian women have shown similar devotion and constancy to Christ and similar heroic love in serving Him. The record of women's ministry to Christ, is one of the brightest in all the world's history!

Women owe an incalculable debt to Christ. He has lifted them up from base thraldom, and from degradation. Women have always been grateful too, and have served Christ with great devotion.

Women are found in every sickroom, bending over the sufferer with unwearying solicitude, with matchless tenderness ministering to bodily comfort, and pouring the warmth of affection upon feverish spirits. They are found in the wards of hospitals, and upon battlefields, moving like God's angels in blessed, loving ministry.

Faithful Christian mothers are following the Master and doing work which will shine forever in glorious luster!

Faithful Christian Sunday school teachers are doing quiet service in lowly paths which in God's sight, is nobler than that of many of earth's famous ones!

Everywhere, too, there is an open field for woman's ministry. Christ is no longer here in person to be served as He was served by these women who followed Him from Galilee; but in His needy and suffering followers He is ever present; and whoever will, may minister unto Him! For He said that in doing acts of kindness to the least of His people we do them unto Him.

Much practical teaching is in this picture, which is here held up before every woman, inspiring her to wholeheartedly follow Christ.

Why do so many young Christian girls choose a life . . .
  of idleness,
  of love of pleasure,
  of aimless, purposeless existence,
  of mere dressing, promenading, and trifling
when such a life of glorious service is open to them?

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We may be doing Satan's work!

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

"Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him: Oh no, Lord! This will never happen to You! But He turned and told Peter: Get behind Me, Satan!" Matthew 16:22-23

It was Peter's love for Christ which made him so rebel at the thought of such a dire fate for Him. In his love he sought to hold the Master back from so throwing away His life. But in doing this, he was acting the part of Satan in seeking to tempt Jesus away from His great work of atonement. This way of the cross was not an accident; it was the way marked out for Christ; to swerve from it, would be to fail in His mission.

Our best friends may become our tempters in the same way. In their love for us they may seek to keep us from entering paths of duty which will lead us to great sacrifice. Mothers may seek to restrain their children from going to foreign mission fields. Any of us, in the warmth of our affection for our friends, may seek to dissuade them from perilous or costly service which it may be their duty to undertake. We need to guard ourselves at this point.

The path of true success does not always lie along the sunny hillside! Sometimes it goes down into the dark valley of self-sacrifice! And if we try to hinder any from entering upon hard duties, urging them to choose easier ways we may be doing Satan's work! We may be plucking the crown from the brow of our friend by holding back his feet from the way of the cross.

We all need to guard, too, against the counsels of friends who would restrain us from costly or perilous service. In matters of duty we must know only one guide, and follow the call of only one voice.

We are not put in this world to have a pleasant and easy time! We are not put here to consult our own inclinations at all. We are here to go where Christ leads; to follow Him to sacrifice and to death if He leads us in these paths. We dare not allow ourselves to be turned aside by any tenderness of human love. It is the way of duty, however hard, that takes us home to Heavenly glory!

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The key to many of the painful or mysterious providences of our lives

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

"You do not realize now what I am doing but afterward you will understand." John 13:7

Like many of Christ's other words this saying of His has a much wider application than its primary reference to Peter's perplexity. It furnishes the key to many of the painful or mysterious providences of our lives. We do not understand them at the time. We do not see how they can have any blessing in them for us. They seem altogether dark. But we have no right to judge of our Master's work in us, or with us until it is finished. "You do not realize now what I am doing." How could we be expected to understand all of the Master's transcendent thoughts and plans?

Yet this is not the end. "Afterward you will understand." This mystery is to be explained. This perplexity is to be resolved into the clearness of noonday. You do not understand now because you cannot yet see the end you cannot perceive the blessing and the beauty. The Master Himself knows just what He is going to bring out of each of His mysterious works and therefore He is not perplexed.

Jesus assures us that, "Afterward you will understand." We shall see the tangles resolving into lovely grace and beauty!

What is the lesson? That we should always trust God's heart when we cannot understand His hand. No doubt, divine love and infinite wisdom has planned all His ways with us. No doubt, there is blessing in the outcome, as it lies now in God's mind. No doubt, we shall see the blessing, too, afterward!

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My way    Your way

(Susannah Spurgeon, "Free Grace and Dying Love!")

"Make Your way straight before my face." Psalm 5:8

Dear Father, this cry is going up to You this morning, from many a tried and perplexed soul, who is fearing to "wander in the wilderness, in a pathless wasteland." Will You graciously bend down Your ear, and listen to their prayer, and grant the desired direction and guidance?

"Make Your way straight." Dear Lord, it is not that Your ways are ever crooked or deviating, but that my eyes are bent on seeing pleasant little bypaths, where the road is not so rough, or the walking so toilsome as on the King's highway! My way looks so enticing, so easy, so agreeable to the flesh. Your way means self-denial, taking up the cross, and the relinquishment of much that my carnal heart desires.

Now, dear Lord, hear my cry, "Make Your way straight before my face!" Compel me, by the power of Your love and Your example to go in the narrow road! "Hedge up my way with thorns" rather than that I should take a step out of the way which You have laid down for me.

What if, sometimes, there are mists and fogs so thick that I cannot see the path? 'Tis enough that You hold my hand, and guide me in the darkness; for walking with You in the gloom is far sweeter and safer than walking alone in the sunlight!

Dear Lord, give me grace to trust You wholly, whatever may befall; yielding myself up to Your leading, and leaning hard on You when "dangers are in the path." Your way for me has been marked out from all eternity, and it leads directly to Yourself and home! Help me to keep my eyes fixed on the joy that is set before me, and deliver me from the very faintest desire to turn aside, and linger in the flowery meadows which have so often lured the feet of poor pilgrims into danger and distress!

Father, You have said, "My ways are not your ways, neither are My thoughts your thoughts." True, dear Lord; but then You can uplift my thoughts to Yours, and exalt my ways until they reach the mountain-top of obedience to Your blessed will. Work this miracle for me this day, O Lord; use that sweet compulsion which will delight my heart, while it directs my steps! Make me to run in the way of Your commandments, and I shall run gladly, with the blessed certainty that I shall reach the goal at last! Have You not given me a monitor within, which strikes a gentle warning note, when my feet turn but an instant from the straight way?

But, best of all, dearest Lord, may You Yourself come with me along life's road, today and every day! Let the abiding of my soul in You be so real and constant, so true and tender that I may always be aware of Your sweet presence, and never take a single step, apart from Your supporting and delivering hand!

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Surely there was no more royal moment in all of Christ's life!

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

"Today you shall be with Me in paradise!" Luke 23:43

This was the second saying of the Savior on the cross. Something touched the heart of one of the robbers may it not have been the Savior's prayer for His murderers? He became penitent in his dying hour, and cried to Jesus for mercy: "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." Quickly from the lips of the dying Redeemer, came the gracious response, "Today you shall be with Me in paradise!" The words are full of meaning, of which only broken hints can here be given.

Though in the agony of death Himself Jesus could yet give life to a dead soul. Though draining the dregs of the cup of woe He could give a cup of blessedness to a penitent sinner. Though His hand was nailed to the cross it yet carried the key of paradise, and opened the gate to allow a repentant soul to enter. Surely there was no more royal moment in all of Christ's life, than this!

The promise itself, tells us what death is for the believer. "Today you shall be with Me!" There is no long, dark passage, therefore, through which the freed soul must go to reach blessedness. There is no "purgatory" in which it must punished for its sins for many years before it can enter Heaven. At once, the redeemed spirit goes into the presence of Christ!

Paul teaches us the same truth when he describes death as departing to be with Christ; and says that to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord. That same day, said Jesus this penitent thief would be in paradise! We ought not then, to be afraid to die if we are Christ's redeemed and holy ones.

The words tell us also, what Heaven's blessedness really consists of. "You shall be with Me." Being with Christ is glory! No sweeter, more blessed Heaven can be conceived of!

We know but little about Heaven as a place where it is, what it is like; but this much we know that there, we shall be with Christ! Is not that enough to know?

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Dear unsaved friend,
Could you please read the following carefully, and then sign it if you agree to it.
 

I am resolved to persevere in sin, and follow the maxims and customs of those around me though it costs me the loss of my soul, and exposes me to everlasting damnation.

I am resolved to reject the Son of God I will not embrace Him as my Savior, or have Him reign over me. I am resolved that I will not accept the pardon which God presents to me in the gospel, though it cost Jesus His life to procure it and I know I must eternally perish without it. I am determined not to submit to God's way of salvation, and I consent to be lost forever! I have made up my mind, that I will never consent to receive a free salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ I will not have it!

I am resolved . . .
to reject God's message,
to dare His justice,
to defy His power,
to refuse His mercy,
to brave His threatened wrath, and
to harden myself against all His invitations, expostulations, exhortations, and promises!

I am resolved that I will not . . .
bow to His authority,
yield to His entreaties,
believe on His Son,
repent of my sins,
love His name,
or obey His precepts!

I am determined that there shall never be joy in Heaven among the angels of God on account of my conversion.

I will never . . .
desert the ranks of Satan,
give up my sinful practices,
ask for mercy at God's hands,
or take up my cross and follow Christ!

I am resolved . . .
to keep on in my old wicked course,
to persevere in my present sinful path,
to associate with my carnal companions
and if it secures my eternal damnation then let it do so!

I will not receive salvation on God's terms,
I will not stoop to be saved by grace alone,
I will not take the yoke of Christ upon me, and engage to be His subject and servant even though Heaven and all the glories of eternity would be secured by it.

If I cannot escape the wrath of God but by faith, repentance, and holiness why, I am determined go to Hell, for I am resolved not to yield to any such terms!

It is of no use for the preacher to spend His breath upon me! My mind is made up, I will be my own master, I will take my own course! No one has any right to interfere with me for I shall injure no one but myself!

I have no objection to going to church, or to attending to some religious forms but to give my heart to God, to be crucified to the present world, and to make God's glory the end of life will never do for me; therefore I gladly take the consequences.

If this is required of those who would be true Christians then you must stop urging me for I will not yield! You must stop all attempts to convert me, for my mind is made up! I have heard hundreds of sermons, I have read the Bible myself but I have hardened myself against the whole, and I am not going to yield now!

Tell me no more of the Savior's love,
tell me no more of the pleasures of holiness,
tell me no more of the terrors of death,
tell me no more of the dreadful judgment,
tell me no more of the joys of Heaven,
tell me no more of the agonies of Hell
for you will never induce me to yield myself unto God, and seek the salvation of my soul. For my mind is made up, and my daily conduct is enough to convince you of it, if anything would. I am resolved not to yield let the consequences be what they may!

I will go on just as I have done!

I will not be Christ's servant!

I will not be God's child!

I will obey only Satan!

I will follow the course of this evil world!

I will serve my lusts and pleasures!

In proof thereof, witness my signature, ____________.

 

Will you now sign your name?

Will you now solemnly put your seal to this statement?

Why are you so afraid?

Do not your actions speak louder than your words? Is not your daily practice stronger proof than just putting your name to a statement once? If you do not say the above in words yet if you do so in your actions then where is the difference? Does not God read the language of your life? If you say it in your daily practice then why not boldly take the pen and openly sign your name?

Soon the judgment shall be set, and the books shall be opened and your criminality and folly shall be published before assembled worlds!

Well, will you sign the above? Why not? Is it true of you or is it not?
(by James Smith)

 

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Where are you going?

(James Orr, "How to Live a Holy Life")

We have only one life to live only one. Think of this for a moment.

Here we are in this world of time, making the journey of life. Each day we are farther from the cradle and nearer to the grave! Solemn thought! See the mighty concourse of human lives; hear their heavy tread in their onward march. Some are just beginning life's journey; some are midway up the hill, some have reached the top, and some are midway down the western slope. But where are we all going? Listen, and you will hear but one answer, "Eternity!" Beyond the fading, dying gleams of the sunset of life lies a boundless, endless ocean called Eternity! There, you and I are daily traveling.

Time is like a great wheel going its round. On and on it goes. Some are stepping on and some are stepping off. But where are these latter stepping? Into eternity! See that old man with bent form, snow-white locks, and tottering steps. His has been a long round, but he has reached his end at last. See the middle-aged man. His round has not been so long, but he must also step off. See the youth. He has been on only a little while but he is brought to the stepping-off place. He thought his round would be much longer. He supposed that he was just getting started when that icy hand was laid upon him and the usher said, "Come, you have made your round, and you must go!" The infant that gave its first faint cry this morning may utter its last feeble wail tonight. And thus they go. But where? Oh, where? Eternity!

If you were to start today and ask each person you met the question, "Where are you going?" and, if possible, you were to travel the world over and ask each one of earth's inhabitants there could be but one answer, "Eternity!"

"Oh, eternity, Long eternity!
Hear the solemn footsteps of eternity!"

Only one life to live! Only one life and then we must face vast, endless eternity! We shall pass along the pathway of life but once. Every step we take is a step that can never be taken again.

This world is not a play-ground or a place to trifle with time. Life is not given us to squander nor fritter away. To trifle away time, is indeed, to be the greatest of spendthrifts. If you squander a dollar you may regain it; but a moment wasted can never be regained. God gives us all the time we need to accomplish all that He purposes us to accomplish but He does not give us one moment to trifle away.

We have only one life to live only one.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The threatenings of God!

(James Smith, "The Threatenings of God")

"What will you say when He punishes you?" Jeremiah 13:21

God has threatened to punish lost sinners every sinner who lives and dies in unbelief.
His threatenings are written in His Word that we may read them;
they are published by His ministers that we may hear them;
they are often repeated that we may not forget them;
some of them are fulfilled in this world that we may believe and fear them.

No unbelieving, impenitent, careless sinner shall escape! The whole of the wicked shall be turned into Hell and all the nations that forget God.

Every one will be punished . . .
  justly in exact proportion to the nature and number of his sins;
  universally in every part of body and soul;
  fearfully without any mixture of mercy;
  eternally without cessation or end!

The threatenings of God are backed and sustained . . .
  by His omnipotent power;
  by His unchangeable purpose;
  by His impartial justice;
  by His inflexible holiness;
  and by His solemn oath.
They cannot be more sure nor can they be more dreadful.
Lost sinner, they are all pointed at you! They speak . . .
  of snares,
  of fire and brimstone,
  of a never-dying worm,
  of a lake of fire,
  of blackness and darkness,
  of gnashing of teeth,
  of eternal separation from God, and
  a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire, that will consume the enemies of God! Hebrews 10:27

Punishment is in store for you! You are warned of it, and invited to escape from it! But if you do not, then "What will you say when He punishes you?"

Can you say that you did not believe that God would be true to His Word? This would be to insult Him to His face, and to tell Him plainly that you thought Him to be a liar!

There is but one alternative; you must make up your mind to suffer the torments of quenchless flames forever or flee to the Lord Jesus Christ for life and salvation! He is the only way of escape there is salvation in no other.
There is pardon in His blood.
There is mercy at His throne.
There is pity in His heart.
There is veracity in His Word.
There is hope for you.

Flee to Him and you are safe!
Reject Him, persevere in sin, prefer the world and you must forever . . .
  be lashed by an accusing conscience,
  be tormented by a cruel and remorseless devil,
  be punished by a just and holy God, and
  condemn yourself throughout eternity!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

O hard heart, O blind eyes, O poor dull sluggish soul!

(Susannah Spurgeon, "Free Grace and Dying Love!")

"Not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:10

As the precious balm of Gilead these blessed words came into my dull and aching heart this morning. Dear Lord, I thank You for them; You have taken them from Your own Book, and spoken them to me with Your living, loving voice and they have quickened me to love You!

With shame and sorrow, I had brought to You my hard and insensible heart. I could only groan out my utter lack both of faith and feeling before You. The very desire to love You seemed to lie fettered and powerless within me; only an occasional struggle revealing its bare existence. Then, Lord, while I knelt in Your presence, with bowed head and troubled spirit tears and sighs my only prayers You whispered those sweet words in my ear, and they brought light and liberty to my captive soul! Blessed be Your dear Name for this glorious deliverance!

It is not my poor, cold, half-hearted love which is to satisfy and comfort me; but Your love great, and full, and free, and as eternal as Yourself! Surely, I had known this before, Lord; but I had shut myself up in unbelief until, in Your sweet mercy You spoke the Word which released me from my bonds, opened my prison doors, and led me out into the sunshine of true peace in believing!

"Not that we loved God!" Ah, dearest Lord, You know how deeply, sadly true this was of me and how I mourn over the years spent without love to You, and at a distance from You! O hard heart, O blind eyes, O poor dull sluggish soul which could see no beauty in the One who is "altogether lovely!"

"But that He loved us!" Here is . . .
  a blessed contrast,
  the antidote for sin's sting,
  light after darkness,
  hope after despair,
  life after death!

Lord, my soul flings itself on this glorious fact, this saving truth as a drowning man seizes upon a life-belt thrown to him in the surging sea! If You do not love me and save me I must perish forever! But there is no question of sinking when Jesus saves; no fear of losing life when He loves.

O my Lord, how I thank You for this precious Word upon which You have caused me to hope! Now, all the day long, my heart shall sing over the safety and blessedness of being freely loved instead of fretting about the sad lack of my poor love to You.

"Not that we loved God" is darkness, and bitterness, and eternal destruction!

"But that He loved us!"
is light and pardon, peace and everlasting life!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Be sure to shut the door!

(Charles Orr, "How to Live a Holy Life")

"But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret." Matthew 6:6

It is as impossible to live and prosper spiritually without prayer as it is to live and prosper physically without food. Those who enjoy a close walk with God and have power with Him are those who pray. Natural abilities and intellect can never supply any lack in spirituality. Unless you are spiritual you are of but little use to God; and to be spiritual you must live much in prayer.

It is not those who are on their knees the oftenest or the longest who do the most praying. Some may pray more real prayer in one hour than others in two or three hours. Too many people leave the door open. Prayer that feeds the soul, must be offered with the door shut. "But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret."

God is in secret. He is hidden from the world. You can never reach God in your prayers unless you shut out the world. Shutting the door means something more than closing the door of your literal closet. People may enter the literal closet and close the door and yet have the world in their hearts and thoughts! Such have not closed the door, in the true sense.

Even in the public assembly you must enter your closet when you pray, and shut the door or your prayers avail not with God. You must talk from your heart to the heart of God.

There is a blessing in such praying; there is a joy that cannot be told. Such prayer feeds the soul upon the divine life, and lifts us into realms of holiness and happiness. Thank God for the sweet privilege of secret communion with Him.

O beloved, when you pray, enter into your closet and be sure to shut the door!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The sweetest and most sacred spot on earth!

(Charles Orr, "Christianity in Home Life")

Nowhere is Christianity more beautifully displayed, than in the home. It changes the home of wickedness, strife, and contention into a peaceful and delightful Eden. It converts the home of the wicked into a palace. It drives away discontentment, uneasiness, fear, and darkness and showers contentment, peace, and sunlight into every heart.

Christianity in home life
makes all . . .
  love and kindness between brothers and sisters;
  love and dutifulness between parents and children;
  love, peace, harmony, honesty, and faithfulness between husband and wife.

Christianity makes a home a Heaven! A Christian home where all is love and tenderness and devotion is the sweetest and most sacred spot on earth! A home where Christianity is crowned a queen in every heart is an Eden. The heart of God is filled with delight as He looks down upon such a home! His presence dwells there, and causes this home to be a beautiful oasis in this wilderness world of sin.

Alas, that such homes are so few! Sin destroys the happiness of man, and makes many a home a hotbed of contention, strife, and confusion!

When the husband and wife are kind, loving, and gentle toward each other; when she in her weakness feels her dependence upon him, and lovingly, trustingly looks unto him as her defense; and he in his strength and delight enfolds her in his strong arms of protection with a feeling of responsibility to nourish and cherish her then they can testify, that they have a Heaven in their home!

Unless we have attained unto such a life we have not attained to Bible Christianity, nor to domestic joy and happiness.

  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The seven-headed monster!

(Charles Orr, "Helps To Holy Living")

"If anyone would come after Me he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me!" Matthew 16:24


If you want that peace which comes from God, if you want that fullness of joy that Christ gives be sure that the seven-headed monster of self-love, has every head beheaded!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

We are all writing a book!

(Charles Orr, "Divine Realities")

"The dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works!" Revelation 20:12

Every person has their book. You have yours and I have mine. In our text, we are told that we are going to be judged out of the books, according to our works. We are all writing a book! We are writing in our own book. I cannot write in yours nor you in mine.

You are responsible for what is in your book. You are writing out your own record every moment! What you think, what you say, and what you do are all being recorded. There will be no false entries in your book. The record is self recording. Every deed records itself.

"You must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak!" Matthew 12:36. If you do not want an idle word recorded against you then do not speak it!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

It will be hard to remove the scar!

(Charles Orr, "Divine Realities")

"Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity!" 1 Timothy 4:12

It is a serious thing to live!

The book of our life is not the making of our own character and destiny only but it is also helping to make that of others.

There is a wondrous power in personal influence. Your life is helping to mold some other life and often the one that is dearest to you. What we are goes to help make another what they are. What we are engraves itself upon the life of our friend or family. The conduct of the parents is being written in the lives of the children!

We are either contributing to the world's good or evil. An evil man is a dangerous man for he influences others.

We have no right to live as we please. Our children, our friend, our neighbor has a right to demand a holy life from us for their own sake.

The child has a right to say, "Father, for my sake I demand that you to live a pure life." It is a wicked thing to start a child wrong in life by our unholy conduct!

It is not an easy thing to heal the wound which our wrong conduct has made in the life of another. We may, by repentance and begging forgiveness, heal the wound but it will be hard to remove the scar!

By God's grace you can make your future record clean and pure. Will you do it?

"And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind." Titus 2:7

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Bottled in Heaven!

(Charles Orr, "Incense from Golden Vials")

"The Lord has heard the voice of my weeping!" Psalm 6:8. There is a prayer of tears. What speaks more loudly to our hearts, than tears?

Israel's sweet psalm-singer once said when in earnest, tearful prayer, "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle! You have recorded each one in your book!" Psalm 56:8. Tears add much to the fragrance of prayer. The tears which are set flowing by the emotions of the heart are bottled in Heaven and written in God's book!

O dear praying saint, pray on! Never will one tear be lost! It is too precious! Diamonds and pearls are mere trifles compared with your tears! Never a word of your prayer, however feeble it may seem to be will fail to reach the ear of God! Amid the many prayers that are ascending to the throne of grace from this lower world, and amid the noise of angels' shouts and songs He will catch the sweet strain of your feeble heart-cry, and record it in Heaven! The perfume of a prayer is never lost!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

His yearning heart awaits you!

(Charles Orr, "Incense from Golden Vials")

"He delights in the prayers of the upright!" Proverbs 15:8

If we comprehend the love that God has for communion with His redeemed children, if we conceived the intense desire that He has for us to come to Him we would not be so neglectful of prayer. Surely, too, our hearts would thrill with joy if we, by the eye of faith could see with what eagerness and delight He receives us, when we do come to Him in prayer.

It is the Bridegroom going out to meet His bride love is beating in His heart! In His love, He gave His life for you and now you have stepped aside from the world for a time, purposely to be alone with Him in some secluded place, and there talk with Him and pillow your head upon His bosom. It is His joy. His yearning heart awaits you!

God rejoices to have us seek Him in the solitary place, that the soul may be freed from the entanglements of material things and be enabled to soar aloft on the wings of holy prayer into the embrace of its Beloved!

"O My dove in the clefts of the Rock . . . show Me your face, let Me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely!" Song of Songs 2:14

Will you go?

Alas! the world engages you, and gives you no time to be alone with God!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Devilanity!

(Charles Orr)

Christian character is the same whether it is in Christians or in Christ. The character of the Savior is also the character of those in whom He dwells. Their nature is the same, and henceforth their character and behavior are the same. This is what is meant when it is said: "We should walk even as He walked."

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man abides in Me and I in him he will bear much fruit." John 15:5

Christ is the vine; Christians are the branches. The vine and the branches are of the same nature. The branches retain life by abiding in the vine. Those who abide in Christ walk (or live) even as Christ walked (or lived). That is, the vine and the branches bear the same kind of fruit! This is the teaching of true Christianity.

Anything bearing fruit contrary to Gospel truth, or Christ's example is not Christianity but is devilanity! "You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father will you do;" or sinful fruit you will bear.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

You are trespassing on forbidden ground!


(Charles Orr, "Divine Realities")

"Whatever is not of faith is sin!" Romans 14:23

This is one of Paul's hard sayings. While these words were spoken with reference to the eating of foods they contains a principle which covers the whole of the Christian life. This is an excellent direction for holy living. It means that if you engage in anything which cannot be done with implicit faith and confidence in God it is sin!

In the building and furnishing of your home; in the buying of any merchandise; in the clothing and feeding of your body; in your conversations, recreations, amusements, entertainments, and social gatherings if there is not innocent, child-like, heart-felt faith in Christ then you are trespassing on forbidden ground!

All must be surrendered to God. There is to be no wishing for this or that. There are to be no choosings of what we shall do, or what we shall have nor any self-seeking, self-love, or self-desire.

"Whatever is not of faith is sin!"

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

He must set our barley field on fire!


(Charles Orr, "Incense from Golden Vials")

God designs every earthly loss to prove a heavenly gain to you.

Trials are good, in that they drive us to the Lord in earnest prayer. It is trials, which cause us to cling to the promises. Trials serve a very important part in keeping the Christian heavenly and holy. Ofttimes, God would have us to see more of His love, tenderness, and beauty, and come nearer to Him. Sometimes, the only way whereby He can get us to do these things is to let some trial come upon us!

When Absalom was conspiring to dethrone his father David, the ambitious son asked Joab, captain of the king's army, to come and confer. At first Joab refused but Absalom devised a plan whereby he could get the old warrior to meet him. Joab's barley field being near Absalom's, the conspirator sent his servants to set fire to Joab's barley and thus drew Joab out to him.

In like manner, the Lord must sometimes do something painful to us in order to get us to come nearer to Him. He must set our barley field on fire, so to speak.

Our affections may be taking hold on some earthly idol so that for our safety, God must set this idol on fire! The eye may become too attracted by something of the world. That object grows as a thick mist between us and God, so that we can no longer see Him. Seeing our danger, the Lord in His faithfulness to us sets fire to that object, and by the light of that fire we can see our way back to God!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A beauteous grace!

(Charles Orr)
 

"The fruit of the Spirit is . . . gentleness" Galatians 5:22-23

GENTLENESS is one of the fruits of the Spirit. If we have the Spirit of Christ we bear this fruit. "Well," says one, "in my very make-up I am rough, harsh, and severe." If so, you need to be made anew. When God finds a man who is rough, harsh, and severe in his make-up He will, as the man yields to the operation of the Holy Spirit make him mild, gentle, and peaceful.
 

People go to a hospital and by an operation, have abscesses and tumors removed from the internal parts. Just so, God, by a blessed, wonderful, and successful operation of the Holy Spirit will take that roughness, harshness, and severity out of your nature and instill mildness, tenderness, softness, and gentleness instead. Harshness and roughness are a corruption that God, in His gracious plan of salvation is pleased to remove. As the Holy Spirit works in you that which is pleasing in God's sight He will make you gentle.

What is gentleness? It is humility, softness, mildness and meekness. It is the opposite of harshness, roughness, severeness etc. It is sweetness of disposition, mildness of temper, softness of manner, kindness, tenderness, etc. Those who are of a gentle disposition act and speak without harshness. They are not morose, sour, crabbed, and wavering but are smooth, mild, and steadfast. Good manners are intimately connected with gentleness, and good manners are no dishonor to Christianity. The apostle Paul by way of testimony said to the Thessalonian saints, "We were gentle among you like a mother caring for her little children." 1 Thessalonians 2:7. Such was his manner. As a kind mother is to a delicate child so was he to those whom he loved.

Vastly different was he then from what he was when he was persecuting and destroying the church of God! He had been changed by grace. He exhorts pastors to "be gentle unto all men" (2 Timothy 2:24) and to be "gentle, showing all meekness unto all men" (Titus 3:2). David, in his sublime tribute of praise to God in 2 Samuel 22:36 says, "Your gentleness has made me great."

Would you, my reader, like to be more gentle in your manner? Are you too harsh and rough? Are you, if a parent as gentle to your children as you should be, at all times? Husband, are you as kind and gentle toward your wife as you should be? Do you believe that you come up to the Bible measure in this particular? Or do you have impatient feelings and act in a hasty, abrupt manner towards them? If you meet with something quite provoking from your wife or the children do you keep as mild and sweet as you know you should?
 

Now, I hope you will examine closely. I do not mean to condemn you; I want to help you. There are many professing saints today, who are not nearly as gentle as they should be. Why not be in earnest, and seek God for help, and make improvement? Why go along with crossness, and coldness and snappishness in your life? Be gentle toward all.

Gentleness is a beauteous grace. Her excellence is great. By culture, this grace is capable of much improvement. Too few saints experience it to the extent that they should. I beseech you by the gentleness of Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:1) to be in earnest and improve upon your gentleness. Never allow a frown or a scowl to settle for a moment upon your brow! It will leave its mark, if you do so. Learn to be gentle especially in your home.

"Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart." Matthew 11:29

"Be completely humble and gentle." Ephesians 4:2

"Let your gentleness be evident to all." Philippians 4:5

"But you, man of God . . . pursue . . . gentleness." 1 Timothy 6:11 

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12