Grace Gems for APRIL 2012


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Godly sorrow

(Thomas Sherman, "Aids to the Divine Life A Series of Practical Christian Contemplations" 1680)

"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." 2 Corinthians 7:10

As sin is the greatest evil so sorrow for sin is the greatest sorrow.

Godly sorrow in a saint is the greatest sorrow, being that which flows from faith, whereby we see sin to be the greatest evil as exemplified in the crucified Savior!

True repentance is a continual work. So long as we have sin to repent of so long we must be repenting of sin.

The believer's sorrow for sin becomes more evangelical than formerly; for whereas, before there was much of self-love, and fear of wrath and Hell in his mourning; now, having a clear view of the love of God in pardoning him, and of the distinguishing grace and favor of God extended to him he comes to mourn, loathe, and abase himself more deeply than before, and to melt with filial sorrow before the Lord that he should act so unworthily and unthankfully towards such a gracious, tender, and loving Father. "Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done you will remember and be ashamed." Ezekiel 16:63

The believer's hatred of sin becomes more refined.
He hates sin on account of its defiling nature as well as its damning nature!
He hates sin for the evil that is IN it as well as for the evil that comes BY it!
He hates sin not only because it is ruinous but because it is wicked!

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Faith does not only justify but sanctify

(Thomas Watson, "The Christian's Charter")

"Having purified their hearts by faith." Acts 15:9

Faith is a heart-purifying grace. Faith is a virgin grace, of a pure and heavenly nature. Faith is in the soul, as medicine in the body, which works out the disease. Faith works out pride, self-love, and hypocrisy.

Faith consecrates the heart. That which was before the devil's thoroughfare is now made into God's enclosure.

Faith is a heavenly plant, which will not grow in an impure soil.

Faith does not only justify but sanctify
. He who before was under the power of some debasing corruption as soon as faith is wrought, there is a sacred virtue coming from Christ, for the enervating and weakening of that sin. The woman who did but touch the hem of Christ's garment, felt virtue coming out of Him. The touch of faith has a healing power! Faith casts the devil out of the castle of the heart. This is "the faith of God's elect."

You who say you believe has your faith removed the mountain of sin, and cast it into the sea? What! a believer and yet a worldling! Shame! Either leave your sins or leave your profession! Faith and the love of sin can no more exist together, than light and darkness!

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You have a whore's forehead!

(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

"You have a whore's forehead you refuse to be
 ashamed!" Jeremiah 3:3

Most sinners in these days have brows of brass, and
whores' foreheads which cannot blush. They are
so far from being ashamed of their sins, that they
think it a shame and disgrace not to sin, not to swear,
and whore, and curse, and be drunk! Yes, there are
many who are so far from being ashamed of their
abominations that they even glory in them. They
flaunt their sins as Sodom, and make a sport of
sinning!

"Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No,
 they have no shame at all; they do not even know
 how to blush!" Jeremiah 6:15

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Ah, the sharpest thorns are unseen by mortal eyes!

(The following in an excerpt from the diary of James Smith)

 "Oh, what wretched man I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death!" Romans 7:24


My journey lies along a thorny road and yet few see the thorns but myself! Ah, the sharpest thorns are unseen by mortal eyes!

God knows, that I do wish, and long, and pray, and strive to be what His Word requires me to be. But I am continually baffled, frustrated in my designs, and beaten back! And if at any time, I seem to feel that I am progressing, and yield myself unto God I am sure to be overtaken with some trial, and am made to feel my own weakness and vileness more than ever!

The carnal desires of the flesh work and often very powerfully. Old sinful propensities, which appeared to be subdued, if not destroyed revive and appear as lively as ever!

I revive and then sink down into the same carnal state again! I turn forwards and then backwards, without progress or improvement.

What a mercy that grace is free, and that salvation is wholly of grace! Upon this principle, I will arrive at Heaven, but on no other. May I be privileged to stand among God's little ones before His throne, and eternally lift up my voice in honor of His precious name!

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You have a whore's forehead!

(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

"You have a whore's forehead you refuse to be
 ashamed!" Jeremiah 3:3

Most sinners in these days have brows of brass, and
whores' foreheads which cannot blush. They are
so far from being ashamed of their sins, that they
think it a shame and disgrace not to sin, not to swear,
and whore, and curse, and be drunk! Yes, there are
many who are so far from being ashamed of their
abominations that they even glory in them. They
flaunt their sins as Sodom, and make a sport of
sinning!

"Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No,
 they have no shame at all; they do not even know
 how to blush!" Jeremiah 6:15

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Ah, the sharpest thorns are unseen by mortal eyes!

(The following in an excerpt from the diary of James Smith)

 "Oh, what wretched man I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death!" Romans 7:24


My journey lies along a thorny road and yet few see the thorns but myself! Ah, the sharpest thorns are unseen by mortal eyes!

God knows, that I do wish, and long, and pray, and strive to be what His Word requires me to be. But I am continually baffled, frustrated in my designs, and beaten back! And if at any time, I seem to feel that I am progressing, and yield myself unto God I am sure to be overtaken with some trial, and am made to feel my own weakness and vileness more than ever!

The carnal desires of the flesh work and often very powerfully. Old sinful propensities, which appeared to be subdued, if not destroyed revive and appear as lively as ever!

I revive and then sink down into the same carnal state again! I turn forwards and then backwards, without progress or improvement.

What a mercy that grace is free, and that salvation is wholly of grace! Upon this principle, I will arrive at Heaven, but on no other. May I be privileged to stand among God's little ones before His throne, and eternally lift up my voice in honor of His precious name!

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God's servants do not promote themselves

(Don Fortner)

"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." 2 Corinthians 4:5

No work is so great, no labor is so noble, no burden is so heavy, no honor is so humbling as preaching the gospel of the grace of God to eternity bound sinners!

Let every man called of God to preach the Gospel, disentangle himself from the affairs of this world with determined consecration to Christ and His Gospel and His Church, addicting himself to prayer, study and preaching.

God's servants do not promote themselves
, their ministry, or their church. They promote Christ, His Gospel, and His Kingdom. The man who promotes himself serves no one but himself!

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It would be a kind of Heaven to the damned!

(Richard Baxter, "The Saints Everlasting Rest")

"Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!" Matthew 25:41

Alas! what heart can now possibly conceive, or what tongue express the pains of those souls who are under the wrath of God!

Is it an intolerable thing to burn part of your body by holding it in the fire? What, then, will it be to suffer ten thousand times more, forever in Hell!

As the joys of Heaven are beyond our conception so are the pains of Hell. Everlasting torment is inconceivable torment.

It would be a kind of Heaven to the damned had they but hope of eventually escaping.

O happy souls in Hell should they but escape after millions of ages!

But this word 'eternal', contains the perfection of their torment!

O that the sinner would study this word; methinks it would startle him out of his dead sleep!

FOREVER is an intolerable thought!
  
"And these shall go away into eternal punishment!" Matthew 25:46

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The sins of God's people!


(
Thomas Vincent, "God's Terrible Voice in the City" 1667. Thomas Vincent, himself a witness of the 'Great Fire of London' in 1666, writes to explain why this severe divine judgment fell upon the godly, as well as on the wicked.)

"The Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son." Hebrews 12:6

If these judgments have fallen upon God's people we must know that they have their sins, which have deserved them. Possibly some have begun to comply with the wicked in their wicked ways. It may be, that they had . . .
  grown more loose in their walking,
  and formal in the service of God,
  and their hearts more set on the world.

The sins of God's people have more heinous aggravations than the sins of the wicked, being committed against . . .
  clearer light,
  dearer love,
  sweeter mercies, and
  stronger obligations;
and therefore provoke God the more to wrath. Hence He threatens His own people, especially, to punish them when they transgress, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth and therefore I will punish you for your iniquities." Amos 3:2

Besides, God's people have need of awakening judgments . . .
  to arouse them,
  to humble them for sin, and
  to loosen and wean them from the world!
It is in love and faithfulness, that God inflicts such judgments upon them.

"Before I was afflicted I went astray but now I obey Your Word." Psalm 119:67

"It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees." Psalm 119:71

"I know, O Lord, that Your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness You have afflicted me." Psalm 119:75

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It is not better preaching!

(J. C. Ryle)

"When the Spirit of truth comes He will guide you into all truth." John 16:13

Does anyone of us desire to help the Church of Christ? Then let him pray for a great outpouring of the Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can . . .
  give edge to sermons,
  and point to advice,
  and power to rebukes,
  and can cast down the high walls of sinful hearts!

It is not better preaching, and finer writing that is needed in this day but more of the presence of the Holy Spirit!

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Sufficient to each day

(Theodore Cuyler)

"As your days so shall your strength be."
    Deuteronomy 33:25

Sufficient to each day are the duties to be
done and the trials to be endured. God never
built a Christian strong enough to carry today's
duties and tomorrow's anxieties piled on the
top of them!

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
 for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each
 day has enough trouble of its own."
   Matthew 6:34

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The making of a beautiful and happy home!

(J.R. Miller)

A true home
is one of the most sacred of places. It is a sanctuary into which men flee from the world's perils and alarms. It is a resting-place to which, at close of day the weary retire to gather new strength for the battle and toils of tomorrow. It is the place . . .
  where love learns its lessons,
  where life is schooled into discipline and strength,
  where character is molded.

Few things we can do in this world are so well worth doing as the making of a beautiful and happy home! He who does this builds a sanctuary for God, and opens a fountain of blessing for men.

Far more than we know do the strength and beauty of our lives, depend upon the home in which we dwell. He who goes forth in the morning from a happy, loving, prayerful home into the world's strife, temptation, struggle, and duty is strongly inspired for noble and victorious living.

The children who are brought up in a true home go out trained and equipped for life's battles and tasks carrying a secret of strength in their hearts, which will make them brave and loyal to God, and will keep them pure in the world's severest temptations!

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A heaven of comfort in this world of sorrow!

(
William Mason, "A Spiritual Treasury for the Children of God")

You worldlings disdain us but we pity you!

As you are now so once were we.


Far too long we enjoyed your carnal gratifications, and feasted on your vain delights. We confess it and grieve for it. Now we have found Jesus! We have another and a better life. We have divine pleasures, spiritual joys from Christ, and sweet communion with Him! We anxiously wait for future glory. We enjoy a heaven of comfort, in this world of sorrow!

He who walks most by faith, will be the happiest, and most comfortable Christian. He who lives nearest to Christ in faith will follow Him closest in love. Consequently, he will keep at the greatest distance from the world's vain pleasures, and the carnal delights of the flesh.

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The school of Heaven!

(Octavius Winslow, "Evening Thoughts")

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we
 are filled with joy. Those who sow in tears, will
 reap with songs of joy
."  Psalm 126:3, 5

We can praise God for trials!

We can thank God for sorrows!

These have been to us, though a painful yet
a much needed and a most blessed school.

The 'wilderness' has been a heavenly place on earth . . .
  the lessons which we have been taught,
  the truths which we have learned,
  the preciousness of Jesus which we have experienced,
  the love of God which we have felt,
  the sweetness in prayer which we have tasted,
  and the fitness for labor which we have derived,
all, all testify, as with one voice to the unutterably
precious blessings that flow through the channel of
sacred and sanctified sorrow.

Dear reader, as painful and sad as may be the path
you now are treading fear not; the outcome will
be most glorious. The seed you are sowing in tears,
shall yield you a golden harvest of joy!

Adversity is the school of Heaven!

And in Heaven . . . .
  where no sorrow chafes,
  where no tears flow,
  where no blight withers,
  where no disappointment sickens, and
  where no sad change chills, wounds, and slays,
the sweetest praises will be awakened by the
recollection of the sanctified sorrows of earth!

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The presence of a compassionate God!

(Brooks, "A Word in Season to Suffering Saints")

"His compassions never fail!" Lamentations 3:22

Each believer has the presence of . . .
  a God of mercy,
  a God of tenderness,
  a God of compassion.

Mercy is as essential to God as light is to the sun,
or as heat is to the fire. He delights in mercy. Patience,
and mildness, and mercy, and compassion, and peace
  are the fruits of His heart. God's compassions are . . .
  fatherly compassions, Psalm 103:13;
  motherly compassions, Isaiah 49:15;
  brotherly compassions, Hebrews 2:12;
  friendly compassions, Canticles 5:1-2.

Oh, how sweet must the presence of a God of mercy, a
God of compassion be to the saints in a day of trouble!
The presence of a compassionate friend in a day of distress
is very desirable and comfortable; what then is the
presence of a compassionate God!

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Especially beautified


(William Plumer, "Vital Godliness: A Treatise
 on Experimental and Practical Piety" 1864)

"Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility." 1 Peter 5:5

Humility is lowliness of mind the opposite of pride and
arrogance. It belongs to the essence of experimental
religion. A humble spirit is the opposite of a lofty one.
True humility is an inward grace based on a view of our
own guilt, weakness, vileness, and ignorance as
compared with the infinite excellence and glory of God.

Humility is one of the most lovely of all the traits of a
child of God. It is opposed to all ostentation. It hides
the other graces of the Christian from the gaze of
self-admiration. Its aim is not to be thought humble,
but to be humble. The godly man loves to lie low and
cares not to have it known.

Humility will not disfigure, but adorn you. As Rebecca
was not the less lovely, but the more so, when she took
a veil and covered her beauty and all her jewels; so the
child of God is especially beautified when arrayed in
humbleness of mind.

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Each one had six wings!


(J.R. Miller, "Devotional Hours with the Bible")

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above Him were seraphim, each one had six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying." Isaiah 6:1-2

There is something unusual and very impressive in the description of the seraphim in this vision. "Each one had six wings!" Wings are for flight it is the mission of angelic beings to fly on God's errands. The six wings would seem to signify special readiness to do God's will. But they suggest here, more than their normal use to fly.

The modern Christian would probably use them all for flying and would be intensely active. We live in an age when everything inspires to activity. We are apt to run, perhaps too greatly, with our 'wings'.

But we should notice that two of the seraphim's wings were used in covering his face when before God teaching reverence. Two of them also were used in covering his feet humility. The other two were used in flying activity. Reverence and humility are quite as important qualities in God's service, as activity!

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My portion!


(James Smith, "The Believer's Companion in Seasons of Affliction and Trouble" 1842)

"You are my portion, O Lord!" Psalm 119:57

This is the language of every Christian's heart and life! The generality of the Lord's family are poor in this world they have no portion of an earthly kind. He who has God for His portion must not expect much besides. The Lord is enough to make them happy in the absence of all things besides; but nothing can make the spiritual mind happy in His absence.

He is the sun which enlightens, enlivens, and quickens them!
He is the shield which guards, protects, and preserves them!
He is the bread which sustains, strengthens, and revives them!
He is all they want and without Him they have nothing.

They are often surprised when Providence strips them, and they are left as Job was naked, friendless, poor, and destitute. But this is just the Lord bringing them to the test. They had said, "You are my portion, O Lord!" Whereas it is now evident that they reckoned those things of which God has stripped them as a part of their portion. They considered them as necessary; whereas, however much they may add to our outward comfort, they are not absolutely essential to our well-being.

The Lord is an all-sufficient portion; he who possesses the Lord, may say as Jacob to Esau, "Take the present, my brother seeing I have all things."

The Lord is an all-comprehensive portion; all things are in Him, from Him, by Him, and for Him.
While He is rich how can we be poor?
While He is able how can we be left to want?
While He is love how can we be miserable?

Is God your portion? If so, your light afflictions are but for a moment; and they will work out for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

All your trials are mercies!

Every cross is a real blessing!

God is dealing with you as with a child which He loves tenderly. He is now, in this affliction, doing you good with His whole heart, and with His whole soul. Oh, believe that God, your God, is love! He . . .
  declares it in His word,
  proves it in all His dealings, and
  will fully reveal it to your soul's eternal satisfaction in Heaven!

Take up your home then in your God; make Him . . .
  the subject of your meditation,
  the center of your joy,
  the object of your love,
  your soul-satisfying portion!
So shall you sing at the last, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!" Psalm 73:26

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Live much in Heaven

(Mary Winslow, "Life in Jesus")

"Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated
 at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above,
 not on earthly things." Colossians 3:1-2


Live much in Heaven and earth will grow less attractive.

Jesus, You are my chief joy, my life, my all. Without You
this world would be wretchedness itself. Keep, oh keep me
near Yourself, nearer, nearer still; and allow no earthly
idol to occupy Your place in my heart.

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Following Christ!

(J.C. Ryle)

"If anyone would come after Me he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me!" Luke 9:23

O that Christians, the very best of them, were not so slack in following Christ!

Some stop to trifle with the perishable things of earth.

Some stop to pick up the gaudy, scentless flowers by the wayside.

Some stop to sleep, forgetting that this is not our rest it is cursed ground.

Some stop to pick holes and find fault with their fellow-travelers.

Few of Christ's sheep hold on their way as steadily as they might. But still, compared with the world they are following Jesus Christ. Oh that they would only remember, that those who follow Him most fully shall follow Him most comfortably!

They are following Christ, and they know where they are going. And even in the dark river, in the valley of the shadow of death they feel a confidence that their Shepherd will be with them, and that His rod and His staff will comfort them. They would all tell you that they are poor wandering sheep, ashamed of the little fruit they bear. But still, as weak as they are, they are determined to follow on to the end, and to say, "None but Christ in life and in death, in time and in eternity!"

"Leaving you an example so that you should follow in His steps!" 1 Peter 2:21

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Weary mariner on life's tempestuous ocean

(David Harsha)

"My child, don't ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don't be discouraged when He corrects you. For the Lord corrects those He loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights." Proverbs 3:11-12

To the children of God, afflictions are sent in mercy.

They are directed by love.

They are designed . . .
  to unite us more closely to the Savior,
  to mortify indwelling sin,
  to purify our hearts,
  to wean us from earth,
  to elevate our affections to that blessed world where there shall be no more pain.

Every breeze of earthly sorrow is only wafting us to those high and heavenly abodes, where temporal ills are forever unknown.

"The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble." Psalm 9:9

Oh, then, when ready to sink under the accumulated ills of life, let us come to the Savior in the time of trouble.

Our help is from Him.

He is our defense.

He will not allow our foot to be moved.

He will keep our souls in safety.

His eye will ever watch over us.

He will preserve us from all evil.

"For You are my hiding place;
 You protect me from trouble.
 You surround me with songs of victory."
     Psalm 32:7

Weary mariner on life's tempestuous ocean, when afflictions cloud your sky, and billows roar around you cling to the Savior in grateful, confiding love.

Amid all your difficulties and dangers, He will whisper consolation to you, and support your fainting soul with the richest consolation and the choicest promises. You will then be enabled to bear the trials of life with composure, knowing that, like the Captain of our salvation, you must also be made perfect through suffering; and that these light and momentary afflictions are working for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!

You will then experience the sweetness of the divine promises, and in the midst of outward trouble, enjoy inward peace.

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life!" Psalm 138:7 

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I would soon fall into gross sins!

(The following in an excerpt from the diary of James Smith)

"The deceitfulness of sin!" Hebrews 3:13

September, 1850.
I have been the subject of very powerful temptations, and have reason to mourn, that though kept from outward sin I have felt my heart going out after secret evil. I as much need keeping now as at any former period of my life! The flesh is so powerful, that if God were to withdraw His hand I would soon fall into gross sins!

How difficult it is to reconcile what I feel, with a 'growth in grace,' or with anything like a deep work of inward sanctification. Sin seems to lose all its deformity at such times, and appears to be a mere trifling act. O the self-deluding power of sin!

If any of God's people ought to be humble I ought to; and to lie lower before God than any of them. Still, pride works mightily in me. I strive to do good, my heart is set upon it and yet at present, I seem to make very little progress.

"Hold me up and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117

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Conducting their children to the bottomless pit!

(J.A. James, "The Duties of Parents" 1828)

On parents it depends in a great measure, what their children are to be . . .
  happy or miserable in themselves,
  a comfort or a curse to their relationships,
  an ornament or a deformity to society,
  a seraph or a fiend in eternity!

It is indeed a fearsome thing to be a parent, and is enough to awaken the anxious, trembling inquiry in every parent's heart: "Lord, who is sufficient for these things?"

A graceless parent is a most dreadful character! Oh! to see the father and mother of an expanding family, with a crowd of young immortals growing up around them and teaching worldliness to their offspring, and leading them to perdition by the power of their own example!

A sheep leading her lambs into a den of hungry tigers, would be a shocking sight! But to see parents conducting their children to the bottomless pit is most horrible!!

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Will worrying make matters any better?

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

"Who of you by worrying, can add a single cubit to his height?" Matthew 6:27

So it is useless to worry! A short person cannot, by any amount of anxiety, make himself an inch taller. Why, therefore, should he waste his energy and fret his life away in wishing he were taller?

One worries because he is too short another because he is too tall;
one worries because he too lean another because he is too heavy;
one worries because he has a lame foot another because he has a mole on his face.
No amount of fretting will change any of these things!

People worry, too, over their circumstances. They are poor, and have to work hard. They have troubles, losses, and disappointments which come through causes entirely beyond their own control. They find difficulties in their environment which they cannot surmount. There are hard conditions in their lot which they cannot change.

Now why should they worry about these things? Will worrying make matters any better? Will discontent . . .
  cure the blind eye, or
  remove the ugly mole, or
  give health to the infirm body?

Will chafing make . . .
  the hard work, lighter;
  or the burdens, easier;
  or the troubles, fewer?

Will anxiety . . .
  keep the winter away, or
  keep the storm from rising, or
  put coal in the cellar, or
  put bread in the pantry, or
  get clothes for the children?

Even human reason shows the uselessness of worrying, since it helps nothing, and only wastes one's strength and unfits one for doing one's best!

The Christian gospel goes farther, and says that even the hard things and the obstacles, are blessings if we meet them in the right spirit. They are stepping-stones lifting our feet upward disciplinary experiences in which we grow.

So we learn that we should quietly, and with faith in God's Providence, accept life as it comes to us fretting at nothing, yet changing hard conditions to easier ones if we can. And if we cannot then we must use them as means for growth and advancement.

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All the children of God have a cross to carry

(J.C. Ryle)

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

All the children of God have a cross to carry
. They have trials, troubles, and afflictions to go through for the Gospel's sake. They have . . .
  trials from the world,
  trials from the flesh,
  trials from the devil.

They have trials from relations and friends hard words, hard conduct, and hard judgment.

They have trials in the matter of character slander, misrepresentation, mockery, suggestion of false motives all these often rain thick upon them.

They have trials from their own hearts.

They have each generally their own thorn in the flesh, which is their worst foe.

This is the experience of the children of God. Some of them suffer more and some less. Some of them suffer in one way and some in another. God measures out their portions like a wise physician, and cannot err. But never, I believe, was there one child of God, who reached Heaven without a cross!

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Growth in grace
 

(Archibald Alexander, "Growth in Grace" 1844)

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen." 2 Peter 3:18

Growth in grace is evidenced by a more habitual vigilance against besetting sins and temptations, and by greater self-denial in regard to personal indulgence. A growing conscientiousness in regard to what may be called minor Christian duties is also a good sign. (The counterfeit of this is an over-scrupulous conscience, which sometimes haggles at the most innocent gratifications, and has led some to hesitate about taking their daily food.)

Increasing spiritual-mindedness is a sure evidence of progress in piety; and this will always be accompanied by increasing deadness to the world.

Continued aspirations for God, indicate the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, by whose agency all progress in sanctification is made.

Increasing solicitude for the salvation of men, sorrow on account of their sinful and miserable condition, and a disposition tenderly to warn sinners of their danger evince a growing state of piety.

It is also a strong evidence of growth in grace, when you can bear injuries and provocations with meekness, and when you can from the heart desire the temporal and eternal welfare of your bitterest enemies.

An entire and confident reliance on the promises and providence of God, however dark may be your horizon, or however many difficulties environ you is a sign that you have learned to live by faith.

Humble contentment with your condition
, though it is one of poverty and obscurity shows that you have profited by sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Diligence in the duties of our secular calling, with a view to the glory of God, is an evidence not to be despised.

Indeed, there is no surer standard of spiritual growth than a habit of aiming at the glory of God in everything.

Increasing love to the brethren is a sure sign of growth; for as brotherly love is a proof of the existence of grace, so is the exercise of such love a proof of vigor in the divine life.

A victory over besetting sins by which the person was frequently led away shows an increased vigor in grace.


Sometimes the children of God grow faster when in the fiery furnace than elsewhere. As metals are purified by being cast into the fire so saints have their dross consumed and their graces brightened by being cast into the furnace of affliction.

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Do not be anxious about anything!

(James Smith, "Daily Food for the Lord's Flock!" 1848)

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God!" Philippians 4:6

Prayer is . . .
  always seasonable,
  always necessary,
  and always profitable!

We should do with our cares as we do with our sins carry them to Jesus, and cast them on Him.

In every place the throne of grace is near at all times God is accessible to us. Every trouble furnishes us with a message to Him!

"Cast all your care upon Him, for He ever cares for you!" 1 Peter 5:7