Grace Gems for JULY 2018

Christ takes the garbage!

(Charles Spurgeon, "The Meek and Lowly One")

Jewelers can only prepare and polish the choicest diamonds.
But Jesus Christ polishes a common pebble, and makes a jewel of it!

Jewelers make their precious treasures, out of precious materials.
Christ makes His precious things, out of dross!

He always begins with bad material. Christ takes . . .
  the despicable,
  the vilest,
  the scum,
  the off-scouring,
  the filth,
  the garbage of the world,
and out of such stuff and matter as that, He builds up a holy temple, and gathers to Himself trophies for His honor and praise!

"Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
And that is what some of you were! But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

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The choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian!

Thomas Manton: "What is the reason that there is so much preaching, and so little practice? For lack of meditation. The end of study is information—and the end of meditation is practice, or kindling of the affections. The end of study is to hoard up truth. The end of meditation to lay it forth in holy conduct. To hear sermons and not to meditate upon them, is unfruitful. We may hear and hear, but it is like putting a thing into a bag with holes!"

Thomas Brooks: "It is not the bee's touching of the flower which gathers honey, but her abiding for a time upon the flower which draws out the sweet. Just so, it is not he who reads most, but he who meditates most—who will prove to be the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian!"

William Bridge: "Meditation will keep your hearts and souls from sinful thoughts. When the vessel is full, you can put in no more. If the heart is full of sinful thoughts—then there is no room for holy and heavenly thoughts. If the heart is full of holy and heavenly thoughts by meditation—then there is no room for evil and sinful thoughts."

William Plumer: "Without meditation grace never thrives, prayer is languid, praise is dull, and religious duties are unprofitable. It is easier to hear a year of sermons—than to spend an hour in close, devout, profitable thoughts on divine things."

George Muller: "It often astonishes me that I did not see the importance of meditation upon Scripture earlier in my Christian life. We must consider what we read, ponder over it, and apply it to our hearts. The most important thing I do, is to read the Word of God and to meditate on it. Thus my heart might is comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved and instructed."

Thomas Watson: "The reason we come away so cold from reading the Word, is because we do not warm ourselves at the fire of meditation. Without meditation, the truths which we know will never affect our hearts. As a hammer drives a nail to the head, so meditation drives a truth to the heart. Read before you meditate. Reading furnishes with matter—it is the oil which feeds the lamp of meditation. Be sure your meditations are founded upon Scripture. Reading without meditation is barren and unfruitful; meditation without reading is dangerous."

Charles Spurgeon: "Some people like to read so many chapters every day. I would not dissuade them from the practice, but I would rather let my soul soak in half a dozen verses all day, than rinse my hand in several chapters. Oh, to be bathed in a text of Scripture, and to let it be sucked up into your very soul, till it saturates your heart! Set your heart upon God's Word! Let your whole nature be plunged into it as a cloth into a dye!"

William Bridge:
"By meditation, your knowledge is raised.
 By meditation, your memory is strengthened.
 By meditation, your hearts are warmed.  
 By meditation, you will be freed from sinful thoughts.
 By meditation, your hearts will be tuned to every duty.   By meditation, you will grow in grace.
 By meditation, you will fill up all the chinks and crevices of your lives, and know how to spend your spare time profitably.
 By meditation, you will draw good out of evil.
 By meditation, you will converse with God, and enjoy God."

Philip Henry: "It is easier to walk six miles to hear a sermon, than to spend one quarter of an hour in meditating upon it when I come home."

Arthur Pink: "Meditation upon the Word of God is one of the most important of all the means of grace and growth in spirituality, yes there can be no true progress in vital and practical godliness without it. Meditation on Divine things is not optional but obligatory, for it is something which God has commanded us to attend unto."

   "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." Joshua 1:8

   "But his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and on His Law he meditates day and night." Psalm 1:2

   "I meditate on Your precepts, and consider Your ways." Psalm 119:15

   "Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long." Psalm 119:97

   "My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on Your promises." Psalm 119:148

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There is room for you there amid the countless ones who fly to it for consolation, safety, and repose!

(Octavius Winslow)

"This was the one who had reclined on Jesus' bosom at the supper . . . " John 21:20

The bosom of Jesus still pillows the head of the weary, loving disciple of the Lord. There is no real rest for the soul, but in Jesus.

Where should the Christ-loved, the Christ-loving disciple lean, with his sins and sorrows, with his weariness and want—but upon the bosom of his Lord? It is the place of repose, of faith, and of love.

There is room for you there amid the countless ones who fly to it for consolation, safety, and repose! Go and lean with your burden, your grief, and your sin—where the beloved disciple reclined; and you shall realize the blessedness of the oneness, confidence, and affection which exist between Jesus and all the disciples whom He loves.

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Let all God's people look upon death through Scripture spectacles!

(A Funeral Sermon for Mr. Christopher Love on the following Sabbath-Day after he was executed. By Mr. Edmund Calamy, London, August 24, 1651)

"Our friend Lazarus sleeps." John 11:11
"And when Stephen had said this, he fell asleep." Acts 7:60

Let me beseech the people of God, that they would look upon death, not as it is presented unto us in nature's looking-glass, but as it is set down in a Scripture-dress. Nature presents death in a very terrible manner—and it is true, death is very terrible to a man outside of Christ. But to you who are in Christ, the sting of death is taken away—and death is nothing else but a quiet and placid sleep, a putting off of our clothes, and a going to bed until we awake in the morning of the resurrection.

Death to a child of God is nothing else but a putting off of his earthly tabernacle.

It is but a going from an earthly prison, into an heavenly palace.

Death is the letting of the soul out of prison, as a bird out of the cage, that it may flee to Heaven.

Death is change from a temporary Hell, to an eternal Heaven!

Death is not the death of the man, but the death of his sins.

It is the end of the pilgrim's journey—and the seaman's haven.

Death is being absent from the body, and being present with the Lord.

Let all God's people look upon death through Scripture spectacles, and consider it as it is sweetly represented in this text! A child of God should be as willing to die as to put off his clothes—because death is nothing else to him but a sleep.

Death is a departure from earth's misery—to the everlasting happiness of Heaven!

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." Psalm 116:15

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Clear views of Christ's priestly office and intercession

(J.C. Ryle, "The Gospel of Luke" 1858)

"But I have prayed for you Simon, that your faith may not fail." Luke 22:32

We see in this verse—one great secret of a believer's perseverance in the faith.
It was owing to Christ's intercession—that Peter did not entirely fall away.

The continued existence of grace in a believer's heart, is a great standing miracle. His enemies are so mighty—and his strength is so small; the world is so full of snares—and his heart is so weak; that it seems at first sight impossible for him to reach Heaven.

The passage before us explains his safety. He has a mighty Friend at the right hand of God, who ever lives to make intercession for him. There is a watchful Advocate, who is daily pleading for him—seeing all his daily necessities, and obtaining daily supplies of mercy and grace for his soul. His grace never altogether dies—because Christ always lives to intercede for him! (Hebrews 7:25.)

If we are true Christians, we shall find it essential to our comfort in religion—to have clear views of Christ's priestly office and intercession. Christ lives—and therefore our faith shall not fail. Let us beware of regarding Jesus only as one who died for us. Let us never forget that He is alive for evermore. Paul bids us to especially remember that He is risen again, and is at the right hand of God, and also makes intercession for us. Romans 8:34
The work that He does for His people, is not yet over. He is still appearing in the presence of God for them, and doing for their souls, what He did for Peter. His present life for them—is just as important as His death on the cross eighteen hundred years ago! Christ lives—and therefore true Christians "shall live also."

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The difference between the godly and the ungodly

(James Meikle, "The Traveler" June 14, 1758)

There is a wide difference in both principle and practice, between the the godly and the ungodly.

The affections of the godly are spiritually refined—and their desires are exalted.
The inclinations of the ungodly are corrupt—and their desires are groveling.

Sin has but a tottering standing, and a momentary abode—in the godly.
But sin has fixed its throne, and taken up its eternal residence—in the ungodly.

In the godly, grace and sin struggle for sovereignty.
In the ungodly, sin domineers and there is no struggle.

The godly is deeply concerned about world to come.
The ungodly has no concern about eternal realities.

The speech of the godly is seasoned with grace.
The discourse of the ungodly is insipid and vain.

The godly has his hope fixed on God.
The ungodly has no fear of God before his eyes.

The godly use the world without abusing it.
The ungodly, in using the world, abuse both themselves and it.

The godly sees God in his daily life, and rejoices in Him with his whole heart.
The ungodly says in his practice: "There is no God!" and wishes in his heart that there were no God.

The godly adores the Creator above all else.
The ungodly worships the 'creature' more than the Creator.

The godly uses God's name with profoundest reverence, and departs from iniquity.
The ungodly profanes God's name with impudence, and adds iniquity to sin.

The godly redeems his time.
The ungodly trifles away his time.

The godly studies his duty in obedience to all God's precepts.
The ungodly shakes himself loose from every command of God.

The godly forgives his foes.
The ungodly lays a snare for his foes.

The godly commits it to God to avenge wrongs done to him.
The ungodly, fiery and tumultuous—seeks revenge.

The godly loves purity in all things.
The ungodly wallows in impurity.

The godly is content with his condition.
The ungodly covets all the day long.

The godly is pure in heart.
The heart of the ungodly is like a cage full of unclean birds.

The godly walks at liberty in the ways of God.
The ungodly is the servant and slave of sin.

The Holy Spirit rules in the heart of the godly.
Satan rules in the heart of the ungodly.

The godly has his citizenship in Heaven.
The ungodly has his citizenship in Hell.

As there is such a wide difference in their principles and practices—so also, in their eternal destinies.
God is faithful—He has promised felicity to the pious, and threatened vengeance to the wicked.
"The wicked is thrust out in his wickedness; but the righteous has hope in his death." Proverbs 14:32

The godly are under the blessing of God's love.
The ungodly are under the curse of God's justice.

The godly with joy, draw water out of the wells of salvation.
The ungodly shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty.

To the godly, pertain all the exceeding great and precious promises.
To the ungodly, pertain all the threatenings of God.

Heaven shall be the palace of the godly!
Hell shall be the prison of the ungodly!

While the godly shall dwell through eternity with God,
the ungodly shall be driven away into everlasting darkness!

Thus, the righteous and wicked are separated in their life, and divided in their death. They are divided . . .
  in their principles,
  in their practices,
  in their choices,
  in their joys,
  in their thoughts,
  in their company,
  in their speech,
  in their fears,
  in their expectations,
  in their death, and
  through eternity itself!

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You have a heart fit to do the deed!

(J.C. Ryle, "The Gospel of Luke" 1858)

"But they kept shouting: Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" Luke 23:21

Let us often pray that we may thoroughly understand the sinfulness of man's heart.

Christ is never fully valued—until sin is clearly seen.

We must know the depth and malignity of our disease—in order to appreciate the great Physician.

Few of us, it may be feared, have the least conception of the strength and virulence of the spiritual disease with which we are born! Few entirely realize that "the carnal mind is enmity against God," and that unconverted human nature, if it had the power—would cast its Maker down from His throne and crucify Him!

The behavior of the Jews before us—is only a picture of what every natural man would do to God, if he only could!

"If the bosom of God were within the reach of men, it would be stabbed a million of times in one moment! If the bosom of God were now within your reach, and one blow would rid the universe of God—you have a heart fit to do the deed!" Robert Murray M'Cheyne

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Bring nothing but your sins and miseries!

(Thomas Wilcox)

"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith." Philippians 3:8-9

When you come to Christ—you must leave behind you:
  all your own righteousness,
  all your own holiness,
  all your own sanctification,
  all your own duties,
  all your own tears,
  all your own repentings, etc.
Oh, this is hard!

You must bring nothing but your sins and miseries to Him. Otherwise, Christ is not fit for you—nor you for Christ!

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What are the marks of a true shepherd?

(Arthur Pink, 1939)

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

How diligently should those who think of entering the ministry, scrutinize their motives; for thousands have abused this Divine institution through love of ease, desire for authority and fame, or love of money—and brought upon themselves "greater condemnation" (James 3:1). Thousands have invaded the pastoral office in an unauthorized manner—to fleece sheep rather than feed them—robbing Christ of His honor and starving His people.

Solemn beyond words is it to observe how sternly our Lord denounced these false shepherds of His day. (Matthew 23). As Ryle rightly said, "Nothing seemed so offensive to Christ as a false shepherd. Nothing ought to be so much feared by the Church, and be so plainly rebuked, opposed and exposed."

What are the marks of a true shepherd?
How are God's people to identify those called and qualified by Him to minister unto His people?

First, the genuine pastor has the doctrine of Christ on his LIPS. The ministers of the new covenant are described as those who had "renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness." Christendom today is infested with men who are full of deceit and hypocrisy, trimming their sails according to whatever direction the breeze of public opinion is blowing.

"We have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God." (2 Corinthians 4:2). The true servant of Christ holds back nothing which is profitable, no matter how unpalatable it may be unto his hearers. He is one who magnifies not himself, nor his denomination, but Christ—His wondrous Person, His atoning blood, His exacting claims.

Second, the genuine pastor has the Spirit of Christ in his HEART. It is the Spirit who opens to him the mysteries of the Gospel, so that he is "the faithful and wise servant" (Matthew 24:45). It is the Spirit of Christ who gives him a love for His sheep, so that it is his greatest delight to lead them into the green pastures of His Word. It is the Spirit of Christ who enables him to use "great boldness of speech" (2 Corinthians 3:12), so that he shuns not to declare all the counsel of God. It is the Spirit of Christ who makes him to be "prepared in season and out of season; to correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2). It is the Spirit of Christ who gives efficacy to his ministry, making it fruitful according to the sovereign pleasure of God.

Third, the genuine pastor has the example of Christ in his LIFE, which is a conforming of him to the image of his Master. It is true, sadly true, that there is not one of them who does not fall far short both of the inward and outward image of Christ. Yet there are some faint tracings of His image visible in all His true servants. The image of Christ is seen in their words, spirit, and actions; otherwise we have no warrant to receive them as God's servants.

Find a man (no easy task today!) who has . . .
   the doctrine of Christ on his lips,
   the Spirit of Christ in his heart,
   the example of Christ in his life,
and you find one of His genuine ministers. All others are but thieves and robbers!

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Idiots catching flies!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless!" Ecclesiastes 1:2

Most people are not seeking to escape from the wrath to come—they are busy in worldly things while Hell is near them. They are like idiots catching flies on board a ship which is in the very act of sinking! We see them busy adorning their bodies, when their soul is in ruin. They are like a man painting the front door, when the house is in flames!

Men are in a restless pursuit after satisfaction in earthly things.
They will hunt the phantom of wealth,
they will travel the pathways of fame,
they will dig into the mines of knowledge,
they will exhaust themselves in the deceitful delights of sin.
Finding them all to be vanity and emptiness, they will become very perplexed and disappointed. But they still continue their fruitless search. Though wearied, they still stagger forward under the influence of spiritual madness, and though there is no result to be reached except that of everlasting disappointment—yet they press forward with much ardor.

Living for today is enough for them—that they are still alive, that they possess present comforts and present enjoyments—this contents the many.

As for the future, they say, "Let it take care of itself."

As for eternity, they leave others to care for its realities; the present life is enough for them.

Their motto is, "Let us feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!"

They have no forethought for their eternal state—the present hour absorbs them.

Carnal minds pursue earth's vanities with all their might; and when they are wearied in their pursuit they but change their direction, and continue the idle chase. They turn to another and another of earth's broken cisterns, hoping to find water where not a drop was ever discovered yet!

"Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

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The ant's nest!

(Thomas Boston, "Human Nature in its Fourfold State")

"The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked! Who really knows how bad it is?" Jeremiah 17:9

Never did any sin appear in the life of the vilest wretch who ever lived—but look into your own corrupt nature, and there you may see the seed and root that sin—and every other sin! There is atheism, idolatry, blasphemy, murder, adultery, and whatever is vile—in your heart! Possibly none of these are apparent to you; but there is more in that unfathomable depth of wickedness than you know.

Your corrupt heart is like an ant's nest, which, while the stone lies on it, none of them appear. But take off the stone, and stir them up but with a straw—and you will see what a swarm is there, and how lively they are! Just such a sight would your heart afford you—did the Lord but withdraw the restraint He has upon it—and allow Satan to stir it up by temptation!

Christian! the remembrance of what you are by nature, should keep you humble.

"For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly." Mark 7:21, 22

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Satan's workshop!

J.A. James, speaking of the power of the press in 1848)

"So that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes." 2 Corinthians 2:11

The press has a great power for evil. Infidel and immoral writers are pouring forth a deluge of skepticism and vice, which are depositing a poisonous and toxic slime over the minds of the people.

Let it be imagined, if imagined it can be, what must be the state of multitudes in this country, when millions of pestiferous publications are annually going out among the masses of our population. Let the minds of all Christian people dwell upon . . .
  the insult offered to God,
  the ruin brought upon souls,
  the injury done to morals, and
  the mischief perpetrated in the nation,
by such a state of things!

These ungodly publications originate from Satan's workshop, and reflect the scenes of that dreadful laboratory of mental poison! These authors, printers, publishers, booksellers, vendors, by myriads, are all busy and indefatigable—to do what?
To destroy the Bible,
to corrupt the mind,
to pull down the cross,
to dethrone God,
to subvert true religion,
to turn man into a speaking brute,
to overturn all morality,
to poison the springs of domestic happiness,
to dissolve the ties of social order,
to involve our country in ruin!

Satan, and all his emissaries upon earth, are in earnest in ruining men's souls!

We have an evil to contend with—
  so gigantic in its strength,
  so diffused in its influence all around us,
  so infectious and malignant in its effects!

The enemy is coming in like a flood!

Infidelity and immorality are invading us!

The alarm bell must be rung!

(Editor's note. In 1848 when J.A. James wrote this  article, the press was the only media available. What  would he say today, with the deluge ungodly media from
Satan's workshop pouring into Christian homes and minds!)

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The eternal duration of Hell's torments!

(Matthew Mead, "The Eternal Duration of Hell's Torments" 1629-1699)

"It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!" Hebrews 10:31

How can it be consistent with the justice and righteousness of God . . .
  to punish temporal sinning, with everlasting suffering;
  to inflict eternal vengeance, for momentary offences;
  to cast a sinner into unending misery, for committing a few sins here which quickly have an end?

This has made some conclude against the eternal duration of Hell's torments—as if God were so merciful that He would not let the unrepentant lie under His wrath forever. But I answer this with the Apostle, "Is God unjust in bringing His wrath on us? Certainly not!" (Romans 3:5-6). God is holy, just, and righteous—even when He punishes momentary offences with everlasting torments. And this will appear, by considering the following:

It is necessary for the governing of the world, that the penalty should be so stated. It is necessary for the preserving the authority of God's law in its full force and vigor, and to render it more solemn and dreadful. The design of God is to have the punishment so great as to check all the temptations to sin which a man can have. There is in man since the fall, such a propensity to sensual things, that, without this fear of Hell, nothing is able to keep it down. Fleshly lusts are so pleasing to corrupt nature, that they need to be checked with the severest threatenings. Therefore, God has told us beforehand, "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient!" Ephesians 5:6

God wisely balances the sinner's delights with the fear of punishment, that by setting eternal pains against momentary pleasures, we may the better escape temptation. The pleasures of sin, which are but for a season—entail on us torments which are eternal!

God has wisely left to our own choice whether we will have the passing pleasures of sin here on earth—or those eternal pleasures which come hereafter. Things at hand will far more prevail than things to come, if those eternal things are not considerably greater. Here on earth the pain is short, and so is the pleasure—but in the eternal world both the pain and the pleasure are eternal. In the wisdom of God, those who work out their salvation with fear and trembling here, should have pleasures at the right hand of God for evermore—and those who will have their sinful pleasures here, should have everlasting misery in the eternal world.

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The Word of God

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

"Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors." Psalm 119:24

"I delight in Your commands because I love them." Psalm 119:47

"The law from Your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold." Psalm 119:72

The Word of God is:
  a light to our path,
  the key of the kingdom of Heaven,
  our comfort in affliction,
  our shield and sword against Satan,
  the school of all wisdom,
  the mirror in which we behold God's face, and
  the only food and nourishment for our souls!
(Preface to the Geneva Bible)

"Oh, how I love Your law! I meditate on it all day long." Psalm 119:97

"Truly, I love Your commands more than gold, even the finest gold." Psalm 119:127

"I obey Your statutes, for I love them greatly." Psalm 119:167

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This God is our God forever and ever!

("Every Day!" Author unknown, 1872)

"This God is our God forever and ever! He will be our Guide even unto death!" Psalm 48:14

Those who have fled for refuge to the hope set before them in the gospel, all who are living a life of faith—are privileged to say of the Lord, "This God is our God forever and ever!"

Believers are privileged to say that the God who has all power in Heaven and earth, whose understanding is infinite, who is good, and who does good continually: "This God is our God forever and ever!"

Believers are privileged to say the God of holiness, righteousness, and justice; the God of mercy, truth, and grace; the "just God and the Savior": "This God is our God forever and ever!"

Believers are privileged to say the God whose name and whose nature is love, and who has manifested His love toward us in sending His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him: "This God is our God forever and ever!"

Believers are privileged to say the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort; the Refuge of the oppressed, the Helper of the helpless, the Hope of the hopeless, and the Savior of the lost: "This God is our God forever and ever!"

Believers are privileged to say the Source of every good and perfect gift; the promise-keeping God: "This God is our God"—and always will be; for He never leaves nor forsakes His redeemed people. "He will be our Guide even unto death," and our portion forever and ever!

"This God is the God we adore;
 Our faithful, unchangeable Friend;
 Whose love is as great as His power.
 And knows neither measure nor end!"

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Christ, who is our life

(Charles Spurgeon)

"When Christ, who is our life, appears—then you also will appear with Him in glory!" Colossians 3:4

Paul's marvelously rich expression indicates that Christ is the source of our life. "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins!" Ephesians 2:1. That same voice which brought Lazarus out of the tomb, raised us to newness of life.

Christ is now the substance of our spiritual life. It is by His life that we live. He is in us, the hope glory, the spring of our actions, the central thought which moves every other thought.

Christ is the sustenance of our life. What can the Christian feed upon but Jesus? O wayworn pilgrims in this wilderness of sin—you never get a morsel to satisfy the hunger of your spirits, unless you find it in Him!

Christ is the solace of our life. All our true joys come from Him. In times of trouble, His presence is our consolation. There is nothing worth living for but Him. His loving-kindness is better than life!

Christ is the object of our life. As speeds the ship towards the port—so the believer hastens towards the haven of his Savior's bosom. As the arrow flies to its goal—so the Christian flies towards fellowship with Christ Jesus.

Christ is the exemplar of our life. If we live in near fellowship with the Lord Jesus, then we shall grow like Him. We shall set Him before us as our Divine copy, and we shall seek to tread in His footsteps. "Whoever claims to live in Him, must walk as Jesus did." 1 John 2:6 

Oh! how safe, how honored, how happy is the Christian—since Christ is our life!

"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain!" Philippians 1:21

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Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!

(Octavius Winslow)

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith!"

We cannot keep our eyes too exclusively or too intently fixed on Jesus.

All salvation is in Him.
All salvation proceeds from Him.
All salvation leads to Him.
And for the assurance and comfort of our salvation, we are to repose believingly and entirely on Him.

Christ must be all!
Christ the beginning,
Christ the center,
Christ the end.

Oh sweet truth to you who are sensible of your poverty, vileness, and insufficiency, and of the ten thousand flaws and failures of which, perhaps, no one is cognizant but God and your own soul!

Oh the blessedness—to turn from self, and rest in Christ:
  a full Christ,
  a loving Christ,
  a tender Christ,
whose heart's love never chills,
from whose eye darts no reproof,
from whose lips breathes no sentence of condemnation!

"He whose daily life is a fixing his eyes on Jesus, has heaven on his way to heaven!" Henry Law

"And when Christ, who is your life, appears—then you also will appear with Him in glory!" Colossians 3:4

   ~  ~  ~  ~

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

(Matthew Mead, "Falling into the Hands of the Living God!" 1629-1699)

"It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!"
Hebrews 10:31

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God, because, as He is the all-knowing and Almighty God—so He is the just and righteous God; and will be so forever, for He is the living God. His righteousness and justice are everlasting—and this makes Hell so dreadful.

As it is the great comfort of believers to have such a Mediator and Surety, such a high priest to live forever to make intercession for them—so this is the great misery of lost sinners: to fall into the hands of that God, who ever lives to avenge Himself on their unbelief and rebellion. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God . . .
  who knows all their sins,
  who is so holy—that He must punish them,
  who is so powerful—that He can punish them,
  who is so just—that He does punish all impenitent sinners forever!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Looking at the world through the cross!

(Octavius Winslow)

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." Galatians 6:14

Jesus could accomplish man's redemption in no other way than by crucifixion. He must die—and die the death of the cruel cross.

What light and glory beam around the cross!

Of what prodigies of grace, is it the instrument,
of what glorious truths, is it the symbol,
of what mighty transforming power, is it the source!

Around the cross gathers all the light of the Old Testament economy:
  it explains every symbol,
  it substantiates every shadow,
  it solves every mystery,
  it fulfills every type,
  it confirms every prophecy,
of that dispensation which had eternally remained unmeaning and inexplicable, but for the death of the Son of God upon the cross.

Not the past only—but all future splendor gathers around the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. It assures us of the ultimate reign of the Savior, and tells of the reward which shall spring from His sufferings. And while its one arm points to the divine counsels of eternity past—with the other it points to the future triumph and glory of Christ's kingdom in the eternity to come! Such is the lowly yet sublime, the weak yet mighty instrument, by which the sinner is saved and God eternally glorified.

The cross of Christ is . . .
  the grand consummation of all preceding dispensations of God to men;
  the meritorious procuring cause of all spiritual blessings to our fallen race;
  the scene of Christ's splendid victories over all His enemies and ours;
  the most powerful incentive to all evangelical holiness;
  the instrument which is to subjugate the world to the supremacy of Jesus;
  the source of all true peace, joy and hope;
  the tree beneath whose shadow all sin expires, all grace lives.

The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!
What a holy thrill these words produce in the heart of those who love the Savior!
How significant is their meaning, how precious is their influence!

Marvelous and irresistible, is the power of the cross! The cross of Christ has . . .
  subdued many a rebellious will;
  broken many a marble heart;
  laid low many a vaunting foe;
  overcome and triumphed, when all other instruments have failed;
  transformed the lion like heart of man, into the lamb like heart of Christ!

When lifted up in its own bare simplicity and inimitable grandeur—the cross of Christ has won and attracted millions to its faith, admiration, and love!

What a marvelous power does this cross of Jesus possess! It changes the Christian's entire judgment of the world. Looking at the world through the cross—his opinion is totally revolutionized.
He sees the world as it really is—a sinful, empty, vain thing.
He learns its iniquity, in that it crucified the Lord of life and glory.
His expectations from the world, and his love to the world, are transformed.
He has found another object of love—the Savior whom the world cast out and slew.
His love to the world is destroyed by that power which alone could destroy it—the crucifying power of the cross.

It is the cross which eclipses, in the view of the true believer, the glory and attraction of every other object.

What is the weapon by which faith combats with, and overcomes the world? What but the cross of Jesus!

Just as the natural eye, gazing for a while upon the sun, is blinded for the moment to all other objects by its overpowering effulgence; so to the believer, concentrating his mind upon the glory of the crucified Savior, studying closely the wonders of grace and love and truth meeting in the cross—the world with all its attraction fades into the full darkness of an eclipse.

Christ and His cross infinitely better than the world and its trinkets!

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." Galatians 6:14

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Infinite has become an infant!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Christ's Incarnation, the Foundation of Christianity")

"Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!" Philippians 2:8

How surprised the angels must have been when they were first informed that Jesus Christ, the Prince of Life, intended to shroud Himself in clay, and become a human babe, and live and die upon the earth! We don't know how the information was first communicated to the angels; but when the rumor began to circulate among the shining hosts—we may imagine what strange astonishment there was in their lofty minds!

What! was it true that He whose crown was all bejeweled with stars, would lay that crown aside? What! was it certain that He, about whose shoulders was cast the purple robe of universal sovereignty—would become a man, dressed in a peasant's garment? Could it be true that He who was eternal and immortal, would one day be nailed to a cruel cross!

How their wonderment must have increased as the details of the Savior's earthly life and death were made known to them. Well might they desire to "look into" these things, which were so surprising and mysterious to them.

And when He descended from on high they looked upon Him in rapturous amazement—wondering how it could be that He "who was rich—for our sakes became poor."

Do you see Him as, on that day of Heaven's eclipse, He did, as it were, ungird Himself of His majesty? Can you conceive the increasing wonder of the heavenly hosts when the great deed was actually done—when they saw His priceless tiara taken off, when they watched Him unbind His belt of stars, and cast away His sandals of gold?

Can you conceive what must have been the astonishment of the angels when He said to them, "I do not disdain the womb of the virgin; I am going down to earth to become a man!"

O angels, be lost in astonishment, as you see that the Infinite has become an infant!

He, upon whose shoulders the universe hangs—hangs at His mother's bosom!

He, who created all things by the word of His power, and who bears up the pillars of all creation—has now become so weak that He must be carried in the arms of a woman!

Wonder, you angels who knew Him in His riches—while you behold Him in His poverty!

Is He not just the Savior that we need? God and yet man in one adorable person!
He is able to sympathize because He is man—and He is able to save because He is God!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Your Almighty Friend!

(Octavius Winslow, "Christ, the Mighty God")

"He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!" Isaiah 9:6

Because Jesus is the almighty God, His people have an almighty burden-bearer.

We are a burdened people. Every believer carries a burden peculiar to himself.

What is your burden, O believer?
Is it indwelling sin?
Is it some natural infirmity of the body?
Is it a constitutional weakness?
Is it some domestic trial?
Is it a personal or relative trial?
Is it a state of poverty?
Is it the decay of health?
Is it soul anxiety?
Is it mental despondency?

It is well that you are sensible of the pressure, that you feel your weakness and insufficiency, and that you are brought to the end of all your own power. Now turn to your Almighty Friend, who is the Creator of the ends of the earth, even the everlasting God, who does not faint, neither is weary. Come, oppressed and burdened believer, ready to give up all and sink—behold Jesus, the Almighty God, omnipotent to transfer your burden to Himself, and give you rest!

How precious is the promise addressed to you! "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint!" Isaiah 40:29-31

Oh, what strength there is in Jesus for the weak, and faint and drooping of His flock!

You are ready to succumb to your foes, and you think that the battle of faith is lost. Cheer up! Jesus, your Savior, friend, and brother, is "the Almighty God," and will perfect His strength in your weakness. He . . .
 sustains our infirmities,
 bears our burdens,
 supplies our needs, and
 encircles us with the shield of His Almightiness!

What a Divine spring of consolation and strength to the tired and afflicted saint, is the Almightiness of Jesus. Your sorrow is too deep, your affliction is too heavy, your difficulty is too great for any human to resolve. It distances in its intensity and magnitude, the sympathy and the power of man.

Come, you . . .
  who are tempest-tossed and not comforted;
  whose spirit is wounded,
  whose heart is broken,
  whose mind is bowed down to the dust—
and hide within Christ's sheltering Almightiness!

Jesus is equal to your condition.
His strength is almighty!
His love is almighty!
His grace is almighty!
His sympathy is almighty!
His arm is almighty!
His resources are infinite, fathomless, measureless!

Almighty to rescue, He is also your Brother and Friend to sympathize. And while His Divine arm encircles, upholds, and keeps you—His human soul, touched with the feeling of your infirmities, yearns over you with all the deep intensity of its compassionate tenderness.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Ten Technological Traps

(Joshua Engelsma, 2017, used with permission)

We live in a time of great technological advancement. Companies are constantly churning out new products that are hailed as smarter, more advanced, and more innovative. And in many ways we have made ourselves dependent on technology with our smartphones, tablets, and computers, too name just a few.

There is nothing inherently sinful in these things. In fact, they can be powerful tools for good in the service of God and his church, and therefore we can use them with a good conscience before God. "For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer" (1 Timothy 4:4-5).

That being said, we ought to recognize that there are many dangers that these wonders of the technological age present. These dangers ought to make us careful in our use of these good gifts.

What follows are a list of ten such dangers, "traps" of technology:

1) We can waste an unbelievable amount of time using technology. How many hours are wasted staring at the TV, pursuing pointless information on the internet, looking at pictures on Instagram, and posting on Facebook? Too many, making this one of the top traps of technology.

2) Technology makes it relatively easy to sin. This is not to say that the same sins weren't found fifty years ago, for they certainly were. But with technology there are more opportunities to sin and sinful things are more readily accessible. As a wise saint said to me recently, "When I was younger, you had to work pretty hard to get in trouble and access sinful things. Now you can get it in a few seconds on your phone."

3) We can very easily become discontent through our use of technology. One area of discontentment is with the technology itself. We are dissatisfied with the smartphone or computer that we have and are always looking for something newer, better, and faster. It becomes an idol in our life. Another area of discontentment is with the things that we view through technology. Seeing the glamorous life of this athlete/actress/friend, I become discontented with my seemingly boring life.

4) Technology is often the means by which we backbite and slander. One wrong move and soon the news spreads like wildfire across the gossip channels of text messaging and social media.

5) Through our use of technology we often give a poor witness to the world of our faith. We post pictures of some ungodly musician's concert we attended. We "like" this popular drama on TV. We let everyone know how excited we are about the release of the latest Hollywood movie.

6) It is very easy through technology to fall into the trap of unreality. We see pictures of the expensive vacations and fun activities that others are doing, and think that their life must be perfect. Young people might give the impression that anyone who's anything is hanging out on Friday night, so that the one left at home feels left out and friendless.

7) In the age of instant information, it seems as if younger generations are losing the ability to read, write, listen, and think critically and deeply.

8) Our use of technology can weaken our ability to converse and thus hurt our relationships to others. It seems pretty common to go into a restaurant and see a husband and wife sitting across from one another, both staring at their phones. It seems pretty common to try and have a conversation with a teenager while their face is buried in their phone.

9) There is the danger with technology of over-sharing information. I'm all for getting to know other people better and sharing their joys and sorrows. But I don't need to know what you just ate for breakfast. I don't need to know a disagreement that you had with your spouse. I don't need to know that you're angry at your coworkers. I don't need to know (usually) that you're having an all-around bad day.

10) One of the dangers of technology is that we are able to retreat into a world without any accountability. When we are at work, we have the accountability of employers and employees. When we are at home, we have the accountability of spouses, parents, children, siblings. When we are at school, we have the accountability of teachers and classmates. But with technology we can often enter a world with little or no accountability. We can say things that we wouldn't ordinarily say. We can sneak off to our bedroom and watch all sorts of vile things. And if anyone looks over our shoulder or asks to see our device, we hide behind the vault-door of passwords.

"Turn my eyes away from worthless things!" Psalm 119:37

"If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into Hell!" Matthew 5:29

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The way to escape from the power of sin!

(Charles Spurgeon, "The Way" #942)

The great object of a penitent soul is to get away from the tyranny and slavery of evil habits and of corrupt desires.

The saints in glory overcame through the blood of the Lamb—and there is no other way of overcoming. The precious blood of atonement wherever sprinkled, kills sin; and he who lives in the full belief of it will be purified from sinful habits.

It is living under a sense of divine love as manifest in Christ; it is living with the full conviction of pardon through the blood, which brings to us freedom from the reigning power of sin.

There is no way to get the likeness of Christ, except by learning of His love. You imitate Christ, and so become like Him. You commune with Christ—and as you talk with Him, His character sacredly operates upon yourself, and you are changed from glory to glory, as by the image of the Lord.

Christ is the way to escape from the power of sin! The moment we forget Christ, and then seek after personal sanctification—we are trying to get to our journey's end by declining to tread the road to it.

It is impossible to grow in grace, except by abiding evermore at the foot of the cross.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

His master-purpose!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Christ's Incarnation, the Foundation of Christianity")

Let us gather with grateful boldness around the infant in the manger, and behold our God! "You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins!" Matthew 1:21

The great object of our Lord's coming here was not to live, but to die.

He appeared, not so much to subdue sin by His teaching, or to manifest goodness, or to perfect an example for us to imitate—but "to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."

The modern teachers of error would thrust the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus into the background—but our Lord placed it in the forefront. He came to take away our sins. Do not think of Jesus without remembering the design of His coming.

We preach Christ—so do a great many more. But, "we preach Christ crucified!" 1 Corinthians 1:23. We preach, concerning our Lord—His cross, His blood, His death! Upon the blood of His cross we lay great stress, extolling much "the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners," by putting away their sin "by the sacrifice of Himself."

We will not deny, or conceal, or depreciate His master-purpose—lest we be found guilty of trampling upon His blood, and treating it as an unholy thing.

"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst!" 1 Timothy 1:15

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Who but Christ?

(Charles Spurgeon, "Our Glorious Transforming")

Think of GOD a moment. Your thoughts cannot reach Him. He is infinitely pure—the heavens are not clean in His sight. He even charges His holy angels with folly!
That is one side of the picture.
Now look at YOURSELF—a worm that has rebelled against its Creator, loathsome with sin, defiled through and through!
When I see a beggar and a prince stand together, I see a distance—but ah! it is but an inch compared with the infinite leagues of distance in character and nature between God and the fallen man.
Who but Christ could have lifted us up from so low an estate, to so high a condition; from fellowship with devils, unto communion with Jehovah Himself?
The distance was inconceivable. We are lost in wonder at the greatness of the love that made it all to vanish.

"Behold, how great a love the Father has bestowed on us—that we should be called children of God!" 1 John 3:1

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Oh! Wonder of wonders!

(Charles Spurgeon, "His Name, Wonderful")    

"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given. The government will be upon His shoulder—and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!" Isaiah 9:6

Oh! what is that I see?

Oh! world of wonders—what is that I see?

The Eternal of ages, whose hair is white like wool, as white as snow—becomes an infant!

Can it be?

You angels, are you not astonished?

He becomes an infant, hangs at a virgin's bosom, and draws his nourishment from the woman!

Oh! Wonder of wonders!

Manger of Bethlehem, you have miracles poured into you.

This is a sight which surpasses all others!

Talk of the sun, moon, and stars; consider the heavens, the work of God s fingers, the moon and the stars that He has ordained—but all the wonders of the universe shrink into nothing, when we come to the mystery of the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ!

I do believe that the very angels have never wondered but once, and that has been incessantly ever since they first beheld it! They never cease to tell the astonishing story, and to tell it with increasing astonishment too—that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born of a Virgin, and became a man!

Is He not rightly called Wonderful?

Infinite—and an infant!

Eternal—and yet born of a woman!

Almighty—and yet hanging on a woman's bosom!

Supporting the universe—and yet needing to be carried in a mother s arms!

King of angels—and yet the carpenter's despised son!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The malady—the misery—the shame of our whole race!

(Henry Law, "The Sin Offering")

"He must bring to the Lord a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed."
Leviticus 4:3


The sound is brief—but it presents a dark abyss of thought.
No mind can trace its birth—no eye can see its death.
Before the worlds it scaled the heavens, and dragged angels down.
In life's first dawn it entered Eden and slew innocence.
It ends not with the end of time.
It ever rolls on in its ever-deepening course.

Reader, think much of sin!

It is earth's death-blow.
It marred the beauty of a beauteous world, and stripped it of its lovely robe.
It caused the soil to harden, and the leaves to wither and decay.
It turned fertility into weeds, and armed the brier with its bristling thorns.
It made the clouds to blacken, and the storm to rage.
It raised the tempest's roar, and plumed the lightning with its forked wings.
It placed its foot upon a perfect workmanship, and left it a disordered wreck!

Reader, think much of sin!

It is man's ruin.
Its most tremendous blight fell on our inner life.
It drove the soul from peaceful fellowship with God.
It changed the loving child into a hardened rebel.
It robbed the mind of light.
It rendered reason a bewildered maze.
It made the heart . . .
  a nest of unclean birds;
  a spring of impure streams;
  a whirlpool of tumultuous passions;
  a hot-bed of ungodly lusts;
  a den of God-defying schemes!

It is the malady—the misery—the shame of our whole race!
It is the spring of every tear!
Each sigh which rends the bosom;
each frown which ploughs the brow;
each pain which racks the limbs—are cradled in its arms.

It is the mother of that mighty monster
It digs each grave in every grave-yard.
Each widow and each orphan tastes its gall.
It fills each hospital with the sick.
It strews the battlefield with the slain.
It is the core in every grief.
It is the worm which gnaws the root of peace.

Reader, think much of sin!

Its terrible destructions do not die in the grave.
There is a region where its full-blown torments reign.
It built the prison-house of Hell.
It kindled quenchless flames.
It forged the chains which bind lost sinners to their burning beds.
It sharpened the undying sting of an upbraiding conscience.
It arms the jailer—Satan, with his scourge.
It bars the hopeless in that outer darkness, where . . .
  weeping ever weeps,
  and wailing ever wails,
  and teeth forever gnash,
  and all is woe, which knows neither respite nor end.

Reader, think much of sin!

It works this bitter and eternal anguish, because God's curse attends it.
It raised a rebel-hand against His will.
It dared to violate His holy law.
It strove to lay His honor in the dust.
It trampled on the statute-book of heaven.
Therefore God's anger fiercely burns against it.
Hence every misery follows in its succession.
He must be wretched, who has God against him!

Reader, here is a picture in which all horrors meet!
Regard it with an earnest eye.
No fiction colors it.
No power can over-paint the terrible reality.
No artist's skill can represent a flame.
The dreadful truth exceeds description.
The lost writhe out eternity in fully learning the deserts of sin!

Reader, receive the soul-reviving voice: Though sin is death, the sinner need not die.
There is a fortress of escape.
There is a remedy to heal these wounds.
What though your sins are as countless as the sands? They all may disappear.
What though the dye of each sin is double crimson? Each may be washed away.
The filth may all be cleansed.
The debts may be wiped out.
The soul may meet Jehovah's eye without one stain.
There is a way, by which the vilest may stand pure.
God's love decreed a plan.
He willed a ransom, and His Son achieved it.

Let us draw nearer to the amazing sight!

Each sin must bear its merited load of woe.
Each curse must be endured.
Each violation of the holy law must drink the dregs of condemnation.

Jesus comes forth to help!
The guiltless One takes the guilty place.
The God-man represents His chosen flock.
He stands as their complete sin-offering.
He pays in anguish and in blood, their every due.
Their wrath is endured.
Their penalties are paid.
Their sufferings are suffered.
Their agonies are agonized.
The saving work requires infinity of woe. Infinity of woe is borne by Him.
His Deity enables—His manhood qualifies.
Thus their sin is fully punished—thus the redeemed are fully saved!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Do we have any evidence that we really intend to go there?

(John Owen)

We all profess that we are bound for Heaven, immortality and glory. But do we have any evidence that we really intend to go there—if all our thoughts are consumed about the trifles of this world, which we must leave behind us—and have only occasional thoughts of things above?

"If then you were raised with Christ—seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above—not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears—then you also will appear with Him in glory!" Colossians 3:1-4

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The funeral of all his sorrows!
(Charles Spurgeon)

"They will go away to eternal punishment—but the righteous to eternal life." Matthew 25:46

There is an essential difference between the decease of the godly—and the death of the ungodly.

Death comes to the ungodly man, as a punishment.
Death comes to the righteous, as a summons to his Father's palace!

To the lost sinner, death is an execution.
To the saint, death is an undressing from his sins and infirmities!

Death to the wicked, is the King of terrors.
Death to the saint, is the end of terrors and the commencement of glory!

"The day of one's death is better than the day of one's birth!" King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 7:1)

"We spend our years with sighing—for life is a valley of tears.
 Yet for the Christian, death is the funeral of all his sorrows!" Thomas Watson

"Death is only a grim porter to admit us into a stately palace." Richard Sibbes

"He who rides to be crowned, will not be much bothered with a rainy day." John Trapp

"Let your hope of Heaven, master your fear of death!" William Gurnall

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

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Imitate the pearl oyster!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Love's Labors")

"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Colossians 3:13

I wish, brothers and sisters, that we could all imitate the pearl oyster. A hurtful particle intrudes itself into its shell, and this vexes and grieves it. The oyster cannot reject the evil—but it 'covers' it with a precious substance extracted out of its own life, by which it turns the intruder into a pearl!

Oh, that we could do so with the provocations we receive from our fellow Christians—so that pearls of patience, gentleness, and forgiveness might be bred within us, by that which otherwise would have harmed us!

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Would any do this but a madman?

(David Clarkson, "Hypocritical Religion" 1622-1686)

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day: 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them: 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" Matthew 7:21-23

Many professors cannot judge of the face of their soul—whether the features of Heaven or Hell are on it. They dislike looking in the mirror of the Word—lest the visage of their soul, truly represented, should trouble them.

Satan blinds one eye, self-love closes the other, and the deceitfulness of sin seals both! It is no wonder that they imagine themselves on the way to Heaven, when they are on the high road to Hell.

When the blind leads the blind, you know what the outcome will be! It is no wonder that they think they shall be safe ashore in Heaven and their feet near the very banks of happiness—at that very moment they are falling into the bottomless pit!

Most professors simply assume that they shall go to Heaven—when, alas, they have no ground for such an assumption, but what Satan suggests, or their own deceitful hearts prompt them. And thus they hang the whole weight of eternity upon a cobweb! Thus, they pin the everlasting concerns of their souls upon a shadow, as though it would hang there safe enough, where it can have no hold at all.

Would any do this but a madman? What! Trust without verifying, in a matter of eternal consequence to body and soul?

Many promise themselves Heaven—when nothing but Hell is reserved for them!