Grace Gems for JANUARY, 2017

Grace Gems for JANUARY, 2017

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This year I may be in Heaven!

(Octavius Winslow, "Morning Thoughts")

"You have not traveled this way before!" Joshua 3:4

How solemn is the reflection that each traveler to Zion is commencing a new and untrodden path!
New events in his history will transpire;
new scenes in the panorama of life will unfold;
new phases of character will develop;
new temptations will assail;
new duties will devolve;
new trials will be experienced;
new sorrows will be felt;
new friendships will be formed
new mercies will be bestowed.

How truly may it be said of the pilgrim journeying through the wilderness to his eternal home, as he stands upon the threshold of this untried period of his existence, pondering the unknown and uncertain future: "You have not traveled this way before!"

Reader! if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus, you will enter upon a new stage of your journey by a renewed surrender of yourself to the Lord. You will make the cross the starting-point of a fresh setting out in the Heavenly race.

Oh, to begin the year with a broken heart for sin, beneath the cross of Immanuel — looking through that cross to the heart of a loving, forgiving Father!

Do not be anxious about the future — all that future God has provided for:
  "All my times are in Your hands."
  "Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you."
  "Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain you."

Let it be a year of more spiritual advance: "Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward."
Forward in the path of duty;
forward in the path of suffering;
forward in the path of conflict;
forward in the path of labor; and
forward in the path to eternal rest and glory!

Soon will that rest be reached, and that glory appear! This new year may be the jubilee year of your soul — the year of your release. Oh spirit-stirring, ecstatic thought — this year I may be in Heaven!

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What the Church needs today!

(E.M. Bounds)

"They all joined together constantly in prayer" Acts 1:14

"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." Acts 2:42

The church is looking for better methods — God is looking for holier men.

What the Church needs today is not more or better machinery, not new organizations or more and novel methods — but men mighty in prayer.

The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods — but through men.
He does not come on machinery — but on men.
He does not anoint plans — but men, men of prayer.

Prayer is our most formidable weapon, the thing which makes all else we do efficient.

"The prayer meeting is the gauge of the Church's spiritual condition. You may always test your church's prosperity — by the number who assemble to pray!"
Charles Spurgeon

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Millions of millions of millions of millions of years!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"In Your presence is fullness of joy! At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore!" Psalm 16:11

A million million — what must that be? The human mind cannot grasp the meaning of such vast numbers — yet, when millions of millions of millions of millions of years have passed over the heads of Christ's saints in glory, this text will not be exhausted!

No, more — not one jot or tittle of it will be exhausted — and throughout eternity it will still be, "pleasures forevermore!"

Ah, my brethren, this prize is worth winning! Eternal life is worth having! And it shall be the portion of every true believer!

"Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world!" Matthew 25:34

"And so we will be with the Lord forever!" 1 Thessalonians 4:17

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Let me see your tongue!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart — and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks!" Luke 6:45

If your religion does not sweeten your tongue — it has done nothing for you.

If the doctor wants to know the state of your health, he says, "Let me see your tongue!"

There is no better test of the health of the soul, than to see what is on the tongue!
When it gets cankered with unkind words,
when it turns black with blasphemy,
when it is spotted with impurity —
there is something very bad inside the heart, you may be quite sure of that!

Let your lips be a fountain from which all streams that flow shall savor of grace and goodness.

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths — but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29

"Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place — but rather thanksgiving." Ephesians 5:4

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Our refuge and strength!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble." Psalm 46:1

 He is our refuge — let us hide in Him.

 He is our strength — let us array ourselves with Him.

 He is our help — let us lean upon Him.

 He is our ever-present help — let us rest in Him now.

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"For me to live is Christ!" Philippians 1:21

(Charles Spurgeon)

The believer did not always live to Christ. He began to do so when God the Holy Spirit convinced him of sin, and when by grace he was brought to see the dying Savior making a propitiation for his guilt. From the moment of the new and celestial birth, the man begins to live to Christ. Jesus is to believers the one Pearl of great price, for whom we are willing to part with all that we have. He has so completely won our love, that it beats alone for Him; to His glory we would live — and in defense of His gospel we would die; He is the pattern of our life, and the model after which we would sculpture our character.

Paul's words mean more than most men think; they imply that the aim and end of his life was Christ — nay, his life itself was Jesus. In the words of an ancient saint, he did eat, and drink, and sleep eternal life. Jesus was his very breath, the soul of his soul, the heart of his heart, the life of his life.

Can you say, as a professing Christian, that you live up to this idea? Can you honestly say that for you to live is Christ?

Your business — are you doing it for Christ? Is it not done for self-aggrandizement and for family advantage? Do you ask, "Is that a mean reason?" For the Christian it is. He professes to live for Christ; how can he live for another object without committing a spiritual adultery?

Many there are who carry out this principle in some measure; but who is there that dare say that he hath lived wholly for Christ as the apostle did? Yet, this alone is the true life of a Christian — its source, its sustenance, its fashion, its end, all gathered up in one word — Christ Jesus.

Lord, accept me; I here present myself, praying to live only in Thee and to Thee. Let me be as the bullock which stands between the plough and the altar, to work or to be sacrificed; and let my motto be, "Ready for either!"

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Almost saved!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Then Agrippa said to Paul: You almost persuade me to become a Christian." Acts 26:28

To be almost saved — is to be altogether lost!

There are many in Hell who once were almost saved — but who are now altogether damned!

Think of that, you who are not far from the Kingdom. It is being in the Kingdom that saves the soul — not being near the Kingdom.

"You are not far from the Kingdom of God." Mark 12:34

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Some thoughts on idolatry!

"These men have set up their idols in their hearts!" Ezekiel 14:3

"Their heart went after their idols!" Ezekiel 20:16

"We are all born idolaters!" Thomas Watson

"An idol is an idol — whether worshiped inwardly in heart, or adorned outwardly by the knee." J.C. Philpot

"Every one of us is, from his mother's womb, expert in inventing idols. Man's nature, so to speak, is a perpetual idol factory!" John Calvin

"An idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand." A.W. Tozer

"O wretched idol, MYSELF!"
Samuel Rutherford

"If we are indeed Christians — we have broken a great many idols. We have still some more to break — and we must keep the hammer going until they are all broken!" Charles Spurgeon

"This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!" Ezekiel 14:6

"Dear children, keep yourselves from idols!" 1 John 5:21

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David's experience!

(Charles Spurgeon)

Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD."

Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die." 2 Samuel 12:13-14

David's experience is very instructive to us. While it teaches us that God can and will forgive us, if we repent of our great and gross sins — yet it also teaches us that sin is an evil and a bitter thing; and that, though the guilt of it may be removed, the evil consequences of it will cling to us and be a subject of sorrow to us — until God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes!

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The smallest trifles are as much arranged by the God of Providence!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will." Ephesians 1:11

It is most important for us to learn that the smallest trifles are as much arranged by the God of Providence — as the most momentous events!

He who counts the stars — has also numbered the hairs of our heads!

Our lives and deaths are predestined — but so, also, are our sitting down and our rising up.

I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam, does not move an atom more or less than God wishes.

I believe that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its ordained orbit, as well as the sun in the heavens.

I believe that the chaff from the hand of the winnower — is as much steered by God, as the stars in their course.

The creeping of an aphid over the rosebush — is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence.

The fall of a leaf from a poplar tree — is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche!

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The Golden Key! The Golden Thread!

(Octavius Winslow)

Click to LISTEN to Audio while you read along with the quote below!

Jesus is the one great theme both of the Old Testament and the New. The whole Bible is designed to testify of Christ, "The Scriptures point to Me!" John 5:39

In Christ the Messiah, in Jesus the Savior, in the Son of God the Redeemer — all the truths of the Bible center.

To Him all the types and shadows point!

Of Him all the prophecies give witness!

All the glory of the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation — culminates at the cross of Christ!

The Bible would be an inexplicable mystery apart from Christ, who unfolds and explains it all.

He is the golden Key which unlocks the divine treasury of Scriptural revelation!

Until He is seen, the Bible is, in a sense — a great mystery. But when He is found, it is a glorious revelation.
Every mystery is opened,
every enigma is explained,
every discrepancy is harmonized, and
every truth and page, sentence and word — is quickened with a life and glowing with a light flowing down from the throne of the Eternal God.

Christ is the substance of the Gospel.
  All its divine doctrines,
  all its holy precepts,
  all its gracious instructions,
  all its precious promises,
  all its glorious hopes —  
meet, center, and fill up their entire compass in Jesus!

He is the Alpha and the Omega of the Bible — from the first verse in Genesis, to the last verse in Revelation.

Oh, study the Scriptures of truth with a view of learning Christ.

Do not study the Bible as a mere history.
Do not read it as a mere poem.
Do not search it as a book of science.
It is all that, but infinitely more.
The Bible is the Book of Jesus!
It is a Revelation of Christ!

Christ is the golden thread which runs through the whole!

Blessed Lord Jesus! I will read and study and dig into the Scriptures, to find and learn more of You!
You, Immanuel, are the fragrance of this divine box of precious ointment.
You are the beauteous gem sparkling in this divine cabinet.
You are the Tree of life planted in the center of this divine garden.
You are the Ocean whose stream quickens and nourishes all who draw water out of this divine well of salvation.
The Bible is all about You!

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Let us always think of the Holy Spirit with holy awe and reverence!

(Charles Spurgeon)

Let us always think of the Holy Spirit with holy awe and reverence, remembering that . . .
  it is the Spirit who quickens us,
  it is the Spirit who instructs us,
  it is the Spirit who sanctifies us,
  it is the Spirit who preserves us,
  it is the Spirit who makes us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light!
So unto the ever-blessed Spirit be glory and honor and praise, forever and ever!

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He loves us too well to promise that!

(J.C. Ryle)

an is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward." Job 5:7

"Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows." John 16:33

If we are true Christians, we must not expect everything smooth in our journey to Heaven. We must count it no strange thing, if we have to endure sicknesses, losses, bereavements, and disappointments, just like other men. Free pardon and full forgiveness, grace along the way, and glory at the end — all this our Savior has promised to give. But He has never promised that we shall have no affliction. He loves us too well to promise that!

By affliction He teaches us many precious lessons which without it we would never learn. By affliction He . . .
  shows us our emptiness and weakness,
  draws us to the throne of grace,
  purifies our affections,
  weans us from the world,
  and makes us long for Heaven.

In the resurrection morning, we shall all say, "It is good for me that I was afflicted." We shall thank God for every storm.

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The very place in which the wicked shall lodge!

(Thomas Brooks, "The Golden Key to Open Hidden Treasures")

"The wicked shall be turned into Hell." Psalm 9:17

That is, "The wicked shall certainly be turned into the nethermost Hell!" Yes, they shall forcibly be turned into the lowest and darkest place in Hell. God will, as it were, with both hands thrust them into Hell — into that prison of torment where divine justice eternally detains them.

Certainly, the very place in which the wicked shall lodge and be tormented to all eternity, namely — Hell, the bottomless pit, the dungeon of darkness, the lake of fire and brimstone, the fiery furnace — will extremely aggravate the dolefulness of their condition.

O sirs, were all the water in the sea ink, and every blade of grass a pen — all would be too short to delineate the nature of this dungeon, where all lost souls must lodge forever!

Where is the man who, to gain a world, would lodge one night in a room that is haunted with devils? Is it nothing to dwell in Hell with them forever?

"Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath!" 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
Oh, what infinite cause have we to exalt our dear Lord Jesus, who by the Hellish sorrows which He suffered for us, has freed us from the dreadful bondage of sin, Satan, and wrath that we lay under! Oh, prize that Jesus! Oh, exalt that Christ! Oh, extol that Savior, who has saved you from that eternal wrath!

"For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:9

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"Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God. You turn men back to dust, saying, 'Return to dust, O sons of men.' For a thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning — though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered. The length of our days is seventy years — or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away!" Psalm 90:1-6, 10

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A thousand years! This is a long stretch of time. How much may be crowded into it — the rise and fall of empires, the glory and obliteration of dynasties, the beginning and the end of elaborate systems of human philosophy, and countless events — all important to individuals, which elude the pens of historians. Yet this period is to the Lord as nothing, even as time already gone. If a thousand years are to God as a single night-watch — then what must be the life-time of the Eternal God! Charles Spurgeon

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Before the Eternal God, all the age of frail man is less than one ticking of a clock! Charles Spurgeon

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O think a little, how inconsiderable a thing is the longest life of man on earth — compared with an everlasting duration! The psalmist tells us, "You have made my days as an handbreadth, and my age — my life, my time on earth — is as nothing to You" — nothing, as compared with God's duration, which is without beginning or end!  John Shower

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This life, upon which everything depends — is very brief.
How solemn this is! In Scripture, time is compared to . . .
  a flower of the field;
  a watch in the night;
  a dream;
  a vapor.
William Jay

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How little a while we are to abide here on earth. After death we must abide forever in eternal bliss — or in eternal torments. We will either be with God in endless glory — or in everlasting fire with the devil and his demons! John Shower

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Eternity to the godly, is a day that has no sunset.
Eternity to the godless, is a night that has no sunrise. Thomas Watson

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O God, stamp eternity on my eyeballs! Jonathan Edwards

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O that the sinner would study this word — methinks it would startle him out of his dead sleep!
O that the gracious soul would study it — methinks it would revive him in his deepest agony! Richard Baxter

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The crosses and comforts of this present time would not make such an impression upon us as they do — if we did but believe the things of eternity as we ought. Matthew Henry

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We must not forget that the issues of eternity, are settled in time. Arthur Pink

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The great weight of eternity, hangs upon the small wire of time! Thomas Brooks

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A mistake about your soul, is a mistake for eternity! J.C. Ryle

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"So teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

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We waste far too much of our time upon trifles!

(Charles Spurgeon)

We waste far too much of our time upon trifles!

Time is short — and eternity is near!

"So teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom!" Psalm 90:12

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Oramuzes' happiness egg!

Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

"Whoever loves money — never has money enough; whoever loves wealth — is never satisfied with his income." Ecclesiastes 5:10

He who is not contented with a little — will never be satisfied with much. Money of itself, cannot satisfy any desire of nature.

A circle cannot fill a triangle — and no more can the whole world fill the heart of man. A man may as soon fill a chest with grace — as a heart with wealth. The soul of man may be busied about earthly things — but it can never be filled nor satisfied with earthly things. There is many a worldling who has enough of the world to sink him — who will never have enough of the world to satisfy him.

The more that money is increased — the more that the love of money is increased; and
the more that the love of money is increased — the more that the soul is unsatisfied.

It is only an infinite God, and an infinite good — which can fill and satisfy the precious and immortal soul of man.

The sum of all that the creatures amount to, according to Solomon's reckoning, is vanity and vexation of spirit. Vanity and vexation is the very quintessence of the creature, and all that can possibly be extracted out of it. Now if vanity can satisfy, or if vexation can give contentment — if you can gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles — then go on and dote upon the world still, and be always enamored with a shadow of perishing beauty.

Oramuzes the enchanter boasted that in his egg, all the happiness in the world was included; but being broken, there was nothing in it but wind and emptiness.

"When I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun!" Ecclesiastes 2:11

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Is Miss Much-Afraid here?

(Charles Spurgeon)

"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand!" John 10:11, 27-28

There is a day coming when all Christ's sheep shall pass again under the hand of Him that counts them — and in that day, not one of the whole redeemed flock shall be missing!

As the long roll of God's ransomed family is called, it shall be asked, "Is Little-Faith here?" And he will answer to his name not at all in the trembling way in which he used to speak when he was upon earth.

When it is asked, "Is Miss Much-Afraid here?" she will reply, in jubilant tones, "Glory be to God, I am here!"

No matter how weak and feeble you may be, if you are a child of God — you shall certainly be there and the inheritance shall assuredly be yours!

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation — will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!" Romans 8:38-39

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How would you judge the lawfulness or unlawfulness of any pleasure?

(Susanna Wesley)

"All things are lawful for me — but not all things are profitable.
 All things are lawful for me — but I will not be mastered by anything." 1 Corinthians 6:12

How would you judge the lawfulness or unlawfulness of any pleasure?

Use this rule: Whatever . . .
  weakens your reason,
  impairs the tenderness of your conscience,
  obscures your sense of God,
  takes off your relish for spiritual things —
that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may seem in itself.

By this test you may detect evil, no matter how subtly or how plausibly temptation may be presented to you.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do — do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

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The false doctrine of universal redemption!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep!" John 10:11

I would like to die talking of this blessed doctrine of substitutionary atonement and I intend, by divine grace, to live proclaiming it, for it is the keystone of the Gospel! Jesus Christ literally took upon Himself the transgression and iniquity of His people, and was made a curse for them, seeing that they had fallen under the wrath of God! For them, He has taken away the penalty and the curse due to sin.

The false doctrine of universal redemption — that Christ died for the damned in Hell and suffered the torment of those who afterwards are tormented forever — seems to me to be detestable, subversive of the whole Gospel, and destructive of the only pillar upon which our hopes can be built!

Christ stood in the place of His elect — for them He made a full atonement — for them He so suffered that not a sin of theirs shall ever be laid at their door. As the Father's love embraced them — so the death of His Son reconciled them.

We hold most firmly the doctrine of particular redemption — that Christ loved His Church, and gave Himself for it.

The only limit of the atonement is in its design — and that design was that Christ should give eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him.

"Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for her!" Ephesians 5:25

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The value of Christ!

(Charles Spurgeon)

Eternity alone can reveal the value of Christ!

By the miseries of the Hell from which He saves us — let us measure Him!

By the bliss of the Heaven to which He lifts us — let us estimate His worth!

By the depths of ignominy and shame into which He dived — let us appraise Him!

By the glories He relinquished and by the agonies He bore — let us attempt to form some faint idea of His value!

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Eloquent prayers

(Charles Spurgeon)

If the eloquence of our prayers mattered to God, then eloquence would be more valuable than grace — but it is not so.

Some of us may be able to express ourselves very fluently from the force of natural abilities — but it should always be an anxious question to us, whether our prayer is a prayer which God will receive.

We often pray best when we stammer and stutter — and we often pray worst when words flow articulately one after another! God is not moved by eloquent prayers — they are but empty noise to Him. He is only moved by sincere emotions which dwell in the innermost heart.

For a man to bend his knees and utter the hypocritical language of affection to God which he never feels in his heart — is little short of blaspheming God! We must have very light thoughts of God, when we try to deceive Him with such prayers as these!

I often say my prayers
But do I ever pray?
And do the wishes of my heart
Go with the words I say?

I may as well kneel down
And worship gods of stone,
As offer to the living God
A prayer of words alone.

For words without the heart
The Lord will never hear;
Nor will He to those lips attend
Whose prayers are not sincere.
   John Burton, 1803-1877

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Which is the best apple tree in the garden?

(Charles Spurgeon)

Ask the gardener which is the best apple tree in the garden — and he will tell you that it is not the one which has the best shape, but the one which yields the most fruit!

In the same way, he is not the best Christian who occupies the highest position, or who talks the most about divine things — but it is he whose life is most fruitful in good works to the glory of God!

"By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit — so you will be My disciples." John 15:8

"He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither." Psalm 1:3

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The most beautiful thing I ever heard of!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us — so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God!" 2 Corinthians 5:21

What could be better than the divine plan of substitutionary atonement? God must punish sin — He could not be God unless He did. It is a necessity of His nature, that He should hate sin with an infinite hatred, and must punish it!

Yet, as He had loved His people with an everlasting love, how could He better show His love to them and His hatred of sin — than by giving up His well-beloved Son to die instead of them! This seems to me to be the most beautiful thing I ever heard of — and it delights my soul to preach it!

"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, by becoming a curse for us!" Galatians 3:13

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Nothing worse can happen to a Church!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world — but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2

Someone was asking, the other day, how it was that the church, nowadays, was not so separate from the world as it used to be. One who heard the question suggested that, possibly, the world had grown better; but another more truly said that, probably, the church had grown worse.

There are some, in these apostate days, who think that the church cannot do better than to come down to the world to learn her ways, follow her maxims, and acquire her "culture." In fact, the notion is that the world is to be conquered by our conformity to it. This is as contrary to Scripture as the light is to the darkness!

Brethren, beloved in the Lord, you may depend upon it that nothing worse can happen to a Church, than to be conformed unto this world! Write "Ichabod!" upon her walls, then — for the sentence of destruction has gone out against her.

It will be an ill day for the church and the world when the proposed amalgamation shall be complete, and the sons of God and the daughters of men shall be as one — then shall another deluge of wrath be ushered in!

"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:17-18

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Hands up, everyone who has a Bible!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night!" Psalm 1:2

If I were to say, "Hands up, everyone who has a Bible!" — everybody's hands here would go up, as I suppose that nobody here is without a Bible.

But if I were to ask, "How many here, as a habit and a delight, meditate upon the Scriptures?" — I wonder how many hands would be raised? Well, I will not ask you that question, but let everybody ask it for himself and judge himself concerning it in the sight of God.

Lord, give us a Bible reading, Bible loving people!

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Westminster Larger Catechism:

Question 165: WHAT is Baptism?
Answer 165: Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein Christ hath ordained the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, to be a sign and seal . . .
  of ingrafting into himself,
  of remission of sins by his blood,
  and regeneration by his Spirit;
  of adoption, and
  resurrection unto everlasting life;
and whereby the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible church, and enter into an open and professed engagement to be wholly and only the Lord's.

Question 166: Unto WHOM is Baptism to be administered?
Answer 166: Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him, but infants descending from parents, either both, or but one of them, professing faith in Christ, and obedience to him, are in that respect within the covenant, and to be baptized.

I was sprinkled when I was a child!

(Charles Spurgeon)

Some tell us that in baptism, by which they mean infant sprinkling as a rule — they regenerate and make members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven!

But those who are sprinkled as infants are no better than other people! They grow up in just the same way as others. The whole ceremony is useless and worse than that, for it is clean contrary to the example and teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ! No aqueous applications, no outward ceremonies can ever affect the heart!

The fact is, baptismal regeneration is a lie — a wicked invention of Popery, without the slightest warrant in the Word of God! Not one has ever been born-again in baptism, nor ever can be!

We are told that infants can be regenerated by baptism — and we have seen these regenerated infants develop into what, to our minds, was nothing more than baptized heathen, washed to deeper stains!

I was sprinkled when I was a child — but I know that I was not thereby made a member of Christ, a child of God and an inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven! I know that nothing of the kind took place in me — but that, as soon as I could, I went into sin and continued in it!

I was not born-again, I am sure, until I was about fifteen years of age, when the Lord brought salvation to my soul through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit — and so I was enabled so trust in Jesus as my Savior.

Read the New Testament impartially — and you will always find that those who were baptized were believers.

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Oh, what a glorious truth is this!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"You are altogether beautiful, my love — there is no flaw in you!" Song of Songs 4:7

Although a poor tried child of God may feel the force of his inbred sin and have to continually struggle with it — and though he may, from day to day, be conscious of his many imperfections — yet before those eyes which see everything, there is no flaw to be seen upon the believer in Christ. I mean no flaw in this respect — that he can never be condemned or punished for his sin. His sin is finally and fully and forever pardoned!

Oh, what a glorious truth is this!

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With lowly reverence at the foot of the Cross

(Charles Spurgeon)

With lowly reverence at the foot of the Cross, bow down your soul and say, "My Lord, there is no difference between me and the greatest reprobate — but what Your grace has made! There is no difference between me and lost souls in Hell — except what Your infinite compassion has been pleased to make!"

"By the grace of God I am what I am!"
1 Corinthians 15:10

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A comfortable nest for us!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"I thought: Surely I shall die in my nest!" Job 29:18

God has never meant this world to be a comfortable nest for us. If we try to make it such for ourselves — He will plant thorns in it so that we may be compelled to mount and find our soul's true home somewhere else, in a higher and nobler sphere than this poor world can give!

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

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How cheerfully would they pass along the 'journey of life'

(James Smith, "Fellowship with God" 1849)

"Cast all your care on Him — because He cares about you!" 1 Peter 5:7

"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

Jehovah is deeply interested in the welfare of all His people! He has  . . .
  formed them for Himself,
  redeemed them by the blood of Immanuel, and
  new created them by the energy of the Comforter!

He is interested . . .
  in all their needs,
  in all their troubles,
  in all their trials,
  in all their persecutions,
  in all their temptations,
  in all their afflictions
  and in their death!

Yes, there is nothing belonging to a believer, but what Jehovah is concerned about:
  from their tiny trifles of today — to their ponderous concerns of eternity;
  from their feeble flutterings of anxiousness — to the redemption of their immortal soul!
All and everything that concerns them — their heavenly Father is interested in, and concerned about!

O if the Lord's family did but believe this, that the minutest thing that belongs to them, the least circumstance of their lives, and everything connected with that circumstance, is a matter of concern to Jehovah — how happy would they live, how cheerfully would they pass along the 'journey of life' and commit all to the keeping of their God!

The believer brings to the Lord his sins, trials, griefs, and woes — and the Lord bestows His pardon, riches, relief, and consolation!

Christian, what a thought is this!

"Cast your cares on the Lord — and He will sustain you!" Psalm 55:22