Grace Gems for OCTOBER, 2019

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Pithy gems from Martyn Lloyd Jones

The Christian is not a good man.
He is a vile wretch who has been saved by the grace of God!

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The tragedy of sin is that it affects man in his highest faculties.
Sin causes us to become fools and behave in an irrational manner.
Modern man, far from being ruled by reason, is ruled by lust and passion.

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The more Christian a person is, the simpler will that person's life be.

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I'd rather hobble into Heaven, than run into Hell!

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God is nowhere more hidden, than in most churches!

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Pride is probably the deadliest and the most subtle of all sins, and it can assume many forms!

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The ultimate test of our spirituality, is the measure of our amazement at the grace of God.

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Grace is favor shown to people who do not deserve any favor at all.
We deserve nothing but Hell!
If you think you deserve Heaven—then you are not a Christian.

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Pithy gems from J.C. Ryle #2

Pride is the oldest and most common of sins.
Humility is the rarest and most beautiful of graces.

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Look to the cross, think of the cross, meditate on the cross—and then go and set your affections on the world if you can!

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A crucified Savior will never be content to have a self-pleasing, self-indulging, worldly-minded people!

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The Gospel was not meant merely to reside in our intellect, memories, and tongues—but to be seen in our lives.

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Happiness and contentment do not depend on outward circumstances—but on the state of the heart.

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Health is a good thing; but sickness is far better—if it leads us to God.

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Pithy gems from J.C. Ryle #3

The beginning of the way to Heaven—is to feel that we are on the way to Hell.

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There is a common, worldly kind of Christianity in this day, which many have, and think they have enough—a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, and requires no sacrifice—which costs nothing, and is worth nothing!

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Christian! Your trials, crosses and conflicts are all temporary.

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I am one of those old-fashioned ministers who believe the whole Bible and everything that it contains.

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There are no lessons so useful—as those learned in the school of affliction.

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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.

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Pithy gems from J.C. Ryle #4

Our Lord has . . .
  many weak children in His family,
  many dull pupils in His school,
  many raw soldiers in His army,
  many lame sheep in His flock.
Yet He bears with them all, and casts none away.
Happy is that Christian who has learned to do likewise with his brethren.

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A religion that costs nothing is worth nothing. A cheap Christianity, without a cross—will prove in the end to be a useless Christianity, without a crown.

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That preaching is sadly defective, which dwells exclusively on the mercies of God and the joys of Heaven—yet never sets forth the terrors of the Lord and the miseries of Hell.

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Sin forsaken—is one of the best evidences of sin forgiven.

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To be a Christian—it will cost a man his sins!

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There is no such thing as 'chance', 'luck', or 'accident' in the Christian journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God, who works all things together for the believer's eternal good.

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Pithy gems from Arthur Pink #3

God cannot change for the better, for He is already perfect.
And being perfect, He cannot change for the worse.

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Instead of a river, God often gives us a brook—which may be running today, and dried up tomorrow. Why? To teach us not to rest in our blessings—but in the blesser Himself.

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The measure of our love for others, can largely be determined by the frequency and earnestness of our prayers for them.

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True Christian liberty is not the power to live as we please—but to live as we ought.

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The god which the vast majority of professing Christians love, is looked upon very much like an indulgent old man, who himself has no relish for folly—but leniently winks at the indiscretions of youth.

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No sinner was ever saved by giving his heart to God.
We are not saved by our giving—but by God's giving.

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Busy yourselves about toys and trifles!

("Christ's Famous Titles!"
William Dyer, 1632-1696)

"Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life." John 6:27

Labor more for inward purity—than for outward felicity.

That man who is a laboring bee for earthly prosperity, will be but an idle drone for heavenly felicity.
Gold in your bags will make you greater—but it is grace in your heart that will make you holier.
He is a rich man who lives upon his wealth—but he is a righteous man who lives upon his faith!
A heavenly conversation, is better than any earthly possession.
It is a great mercy to have a portion in the world—but to have the world for a portion, is a great misery.

Our affections were made for things that are above us, and not for things that are below us. "If you have been raised to new life with Christ," What then? "Set your hearts on things above! Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things!" Colossians 3:1-2

But, alas! some men are so in love with their golden bags, that they will ride with all possible haste to Hell—if they are but paid well for their pains! They look upon gain as the highest good, and not upon godliness as the highest gain!
They mind the present world so much—as if it would never have an ending!
They mind the world to come so little—as if it would never have a beginning!
The perishing things of this world—are all the happiness of the men of this world!
Oh, what wretched worldlings!

They are diligent about what is temporal—but negligent about what is eternal!
They are careful about fleeting vanities—but slothful about durable excellencies!
They feast their bodies—but starve their souls!
They lay up treasures on earth—but none in Heaven!

"Why do you spend money on what is not food, and your wages on what does not satisfy?" Isaiah 55:2. He who knocks at the creature's door for true happiness—will find but an empty house kept there.

Oh, beloved, what is gold, compared to grace? What is earth, compared to Heaven? that you thus neglect the great things, the weighty things, the eternal things—and busy yourselves about toys and trifles! You have a crown to look after, a Heaven to look after, a kingdom to look after!

I beseech you, beloved, labor more for inward holiness—than for outward happiness!
Labor more for the seed of grace—than for the bag of gold!
Labor more for inward piety—than for outward plenty!
Labor more for a heavenly kingdom—than for an earthly possession!
The earth is a saint's passage—but Heaven is a saint's portion!

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Comfort, safety, strength, holiness!

(George Everard, "Talks about Home Life" 1878)

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are." Hebrews 4:15

There is no comfort, but in Christ's bosom.

There is no safety, but by Christ's side.

There is no strength, but in Christ's arm.

There is no holiness, but in Christ's footsteps.

Look up and see Christ, the merciful and gracious Savior, bending over you in most tender compassion.
He is very near to you. He marks . . .
  each sigh,
  each desire,
  each tear,
  each prayer.
He thinks upon and sympathizes with you.

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with  confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16

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Fear of God—or man?

(John Flavel)

The ungodly person fears man—not God.
"An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
 There is no fear of God before his eyes." Psalm 36:1

The strong Christian fears God—not man.
"Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him;
 he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." Job 2:3

The weak Christian fears man too much—and God too little.
"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." Ec. 12:13

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The Complaint!

(James Smith, 1864)

"O my God, my soul is cast down within me!" Psalm 42:6

And why are you cast down?

"My heart is burdened with a sense of my short-comings.
 Every holy duty I perform is so imperfect.
 Every good purpose I form is so soon frustrated.
 Every hope of seeing better days is so soon beclouded.
 My heart is so fearfully depraved.
 My life is so unlike the life of Jesus.
 My affections are so unholy.
 My prayers are so brief and heartless.
 My praises are so feeble and fitful.
 I do so little good.
 I live to so little purpose.
 My evidences are so dim.
 My prospects are so overcast.
 I am harassed sometimes with the fear of death.
 I cannot grasp the glories of Heaven.
 I am dissatisfied with the world—and yet glued to it!
 I hate sin—and yet fall into it!
 I am a riddle, a mystery, a mass of inconsistency!
 Is it, then, any wonder that I am cast down?"

No, if you look at yourself, and pore over the things you have named—then it is no wonder that you are cast down! They are enough to cast anyone down! But if you carry them to the throne of grace, if you there confess them before God, if you look to the mercy of Jesus—then, in spite of them, you will not long be cast down.

I know it is difficult to do this. There is a natural proneness to pore over such things. One feels at times a secret liking to indulge in self-pity.

But we must look away from self—for if we do not, we shall become anxious, doubting and downcast! We must run the race—not looking at our imperfections, short-comings, and failures—but looking unto Jesus. He knows what we are. He knew what we would be—before He called us by His grace; yes, before He shed His sin-atoning blood for us!
He loved us, as sinners.
He died for us, as sinners.
He called us, as sinners.
He saves us, as sinners.
He will have great glory by saving such great sinners. We cannot do anything to repay Him for His wondrous love. Salvation is by free grace—from first to last! Believe this, and it will raise up your drooping mind!

The life-boat of free grace has put you on board the vessel of salvation, and that will convey you safely to the port of glory! Do not look at your spiritual destitution, or feebleness, or incapacity, or imperfections—but trust in your Pilot, rely on your Captain, and expect His mercy and merit to land you safely in Heaven at last!

Regardless of any amount of spiritual progress, your dying prayer will still be, "God be merciful unto me—a sinner!"

Hope in God!
His mercy is great unto the Heavens,
His grace is as free as the air,
His love is as changeless as His nature,
His promise is as immutable as His love.

He will save you for His own sake, and present you before assembled worlds as a monument of His mercy, and a trophy of His grace!

"Why are you cast down, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
 Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and  my God!" Psalm 42:5

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The panacea for all the ills of life!

(James Smith, "The Spirit's Work in the Believer" 1861)

"The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace." Romans 8:6

Spirituality flows from the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit in the soul, who . . .
  kindles spiritual love,
  awakens spiritual desires, and
  produces spiritual devotion.

The Spirit's work in the believer consists:

1. In convincing us of sin, when we go astray from the right ways of the Lord.

2. In working repentance within us, and leading us to confess and mourn over our sins before God.

3. In opening up, and applying the Word of God, so that it . . .
  meets our case,
  feeds our faith,
  fires our love, and
  deepens our humility.

4. In exciting and drawing forth the soul in prayer, praise, and adoration at the throne of God—so that we sometimes . . .
  melt in contrition,
  are crumbled down in humiliation,
  and are almost dissolved in love.

5. In giving us soul-refreshing glimpses . . .
  of the glorious person of Jesus,
  of the everlasting covenant,
  and of eternal glory.

6. In melting us down in sincere gratitude before God, under a sense of His undeserved favor.

7. In removing all legal fears, and causing holy peace to flow through the soul like a river.

8. In melting us in meekness, and producing sweet submission to the sovereign will of God.

9. In sweetly soothing and consoling under trials and bereavements; and enabling us to look heavenward with hope and joy.

10. In giving us sweet intimations of the love of God to us, by holy discoveries of His grace.

11. In witnessing to our adoption, awakening the cry of "Abba, Father!" in our hearts, and enabling us to claim a filial relationship to God.

12. In drawing forth our souls in love to God—under an overcoming sense of His free and unparalleled love to us.

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The highest class in the school of Christ

(John Angell James, 1848)

"So that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Hebrews 6:12

By patience, we mean a quiet waiting, amidst sufferings and sorrows—for the heavenly kingdom. Patience is an uncomplaining willingness to remain any length of time, and amidst any tribulation, for eternal glory.

No circumstances of life—let the sufferer hear and drink in the soul-comforting thought—no circumstances of life seem to ripen the Christian so fast or so perfectly for Heaven—as the experience of sorrow and affliction. Oh! then let our comforts go, then let our eyes weep, then let our hearts bleed—if our Father is thus ripening us for everlasting fruition and inconceivable bliss!

"But patience must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:4

When we are enabled to exercise the grace of patience, we have reached the highest class in the school of Christ, have nothing more to learn upon earth, and are ready and fit to depart, and to be with Jesus—and have then obtained as much grace as can be possessed, short of glory itself!

Patience then, sufferer, patience! The first moment, and the first glance of Heaven will be an infinite recompense for all that you suffer—for all that you lose on earth! If every step on earth is a step of suffering—then let each be a step of patience!

Weep you may—murmur you must not.

Nature may pay the tribute of a groan—but grace must pay it with a smile.

The shower of your tears may fall—but the rays of the Sun of Righteousness must reflect the beauteous rainbow of the promise.

Christian, you make your way to glory along the path of patient resignation, which, if it is like the Valley of Weeping, and has its briars and its thorns—has also its refreshing rain-pools of heavenly consolation!

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Pithy gems from George Whitefield #2

Oh for a thousand lives to be spent in the service of Christ!

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Left to himself—man is half beast and half devil.

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God, give me a deep humility, a well-guided zeal, a burning love and a single eye!

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If one evil thought, if one evil word, if one evil action, deserves eternal damnation—then how many Hells do every one of us deserve, whose whole lives have been one continued rebellion against God!

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The reason why congregations have been so dead—is because they have dead men preaching to them. How can dead men beget living children?

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I expect perpetual conflicts and struggles in this life. I expect only a cross, while on this side of eternity.

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There are many who go on in a round of religious duties, who think that they will go to Heaven when they die. But if you examine them, though they have a Christ in their heads—they have no Christ in their hearts.

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Pithy gems from Thomas Watson #2

What fools are they who, for a drop of pleasure, drink a sea of wrath!

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Every time you draw your breath, you suck in mercy!

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We are more sure to arise out of our graves, than out of our beds.

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Read the Scripture, not only as a history, but as a love-letter sent to you from God!

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God would have us part with nothing for Him, but that which will damn us if we keep it! The only design He has for us is to make us holy.

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Death is the last and best physician. It cures all diseases and sins—the aching head and the unbelieving heart. Sin was the midwife which brought death into the world—and death shall be the grave to bury sin! O the privilege of a believer!

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There is more evil in a drop of sin—than in a sea of affliction!

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Knowledge without repentance—will be but a torch to light men to Hell.

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You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain!

(William S. Plumer, "The Ten Commandments")

A great design of true religion is to bring men to habitual reverence for God's divine majesty. The very moment men cease to treat God as holy—that moment their hearts and lives become polluted.

"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless, who takes His name in vain." Exodus 20:7

Anything relating to the true God—His being, His nature, His will, His works, His worship, His service, or His doctrine—pertains to God's name. This commandment extends to the state of men's thoughts and hearts—as well as to their speech.

To take God's name in vain, is to use it in any frivolous, false, inconsiderate, irreverent, or otherwise wicked manner. The scope of this commandment is to secure the holy and reverent use of all that by which God makes Himself known to His people; and so to guard His sacred name against all that is calculated to make it contemptible.

The manner of taking His name is to be grave, solemn, intelligent, thoughtful, sincere, and with godly fear.

"Our Father in Heaven, may Your name be honored as holy." Matthew 6:9

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Heed the rod, and the One who appointed it!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Heed the rod, and the One who appointed it!" Micah 6:9

God's most useful instrument is His rod of correction!

If we had no idols in children, friends, wealth or ourselves—we would not need half the trials we have! Foolish idols, make rods for foolish backs!

I bear a willing witness that I owe more to God's fire, and hammer, and file than to anything else. I sometimes question whether I have ever learned anything profitable, except through God's rod.

There are blessed and favored exceptions, but most of us need the rod, for we do not seem to learn obedience except through the chastening of the Lord!

Whatever God keeps away from His servants—He never keeps away the chastening rod from them! He had one Son without sin—but He never had one son without chastisement.

God's rod flogs His child not from Him, but to Him!

Christian, God's love to you is always the same. He cannot love you more, and He will not love you less! Never, when afflictions multiply, when terrors frighten, or when distresses abound—does God's love to you falter or flag. Let the rod fall ever so heavily upon you—the hand that moves, like the heart that prompts the stroke, is full of love! Whether He brings you down into the depths of misery, or lifts you up into the seventh Heaven of delight—His faithful love towards you never varies or fluctuates!

"Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
 But trust Him for His grace;
 Behind a frowning providence
 He hides a smiling face!"
William Cowper

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You are either in the Word—or in the world!

(Howard Hendricks)

You are either in the Word, and the Word is conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ—or you are in the world, and the world is squeezing you into its mold!

The first reason for studying Scripture is that it is a means of spiritual growth. There is no growth apart from the Word. It is God's primary tool to develop Christian character.

The Word of God is able to transform your life, but you must probe for its wisdom. You have to penetrate the surface with more than just a cursory glance.

The Bible was written not to satisfy your curiosity, but to conform you to Christ's image. Not to make you a smarter sinner, but to make you like the Savior. Not to fill your head with a collection of biblical facts, but to transform your life.

The will of God is found in the Word of God. The more a person grows, the more he begins to think instinctively and habitually from a divine perspective.

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Pithy gems from Spurgeon #4

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The most damning thing in the world
is self-righteousness!

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Many in the church are toiling like ants to gain this world's dross,
but are as idle as a butterfly in regard to divine things.

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There is no shelter from an angry God, but in the pierced hand of His dear Son!

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My longing is that the churches may be more holy.

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I grieve to see so much conformity to the world among Christians.
How many Christians follow the fashions of this wicked world.

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Time is flying! Men are dying! Hell is filling!

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I suppose if any man among us could see his own heart as it really is, he would be driven mad. The poet was right when he said, "God saves all beings but Himself, from that hideous sight—a human heart!"

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If you profess to know Christ, have nothing to do with a sinful world.
Shake off the viper into the fire, for it will poison you and destroy you!

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If you want to know what Heaven is, know what Christ is.
The way to spell Heaven is with those five letters that make up the word J E S U S.

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He who counts the stars and calls them by their names, is in no danger of forgetting His own redeemed children. He knows your case as thoroughly as if you were the only creature He ever made, or the only saint He ever loved!

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How then distinguish them?

(Thomas Guthrie, 1803-1873)

You may know a sheep from a swine, when both have fallen into the same mire—and are, in fact, so bemired, that neither by coat nor color can the one be distinguished from the other.

How then distinguish them? Nothing more easy!

The  sheep—a type of the godly—strives and struggles to get out of the muck.

But the swine, in circumstances agreeable to its nature, wallows in the filth.

"What the true proverb says has happened to them: The dog returns to its own vomit, and the swine, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire." 2 Peter 2:22

"By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire! Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." Matthew 7:16-20

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May we see our sins

Henry Law, "Family Prayers")

O God the Holy Spirit, have mercy upon us miserable sinners. Move, we beseech You, in our disordered hearts. Remove the deformities of unruly desires and hateful lusts. Chase away the mists and darkness of unbelief. Brighten our inner man with the pure light of truth. Sow abundantly the seeds of righteousness. Make our souls fragrant as the garden of the Lord. Enrich them with every godly fruit. Beautify them with heavenly grace. Be our comforter, our guide, our light, our sanctification.

Especially take of the things of Christ, and show them with enlarged power to our longing souls. May we daily learn more of His love, His grace, His tender compassion, His faithfulness, and His beauty. May we delight ourselves in Him with increased delight. Lead us to the cross, and show us in His wounds—the hateful character of sin. May we see our sins, as . . .
  the nails which transfixed Him,
  the cords which bound Him,
  the sword which pierced Him,
  the thorns which tore Him,
  the taunts which stung Him.

Help us to read in His cruel death, the reality and immensity of His love.

Open to us the wondrous volumes of glorious truth in the cry, "It is finished!"
Our atonement is forever achieved,
our debt is fully paid,
all our guilt is washed away,
all our sins most righteously forgiven,
our souls saved,
Hell vanquished,
the devil crushed,
Heaven won, and
eternity of glory our rightful home!

Holy Spirit, deepen in us these saving lessons.
Write them with Your finger on the tablets of our hearts.

May our walk be . . .

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Pithy gems on Pride & Humility

Pride is the root of every sin and evil.

Pride is the gate and the birth, and the curse, of Hell.

There is nothing so natural to man, nothing so insidious and hidden from our sight, nothing so deceitful and dangerous, as pride!

Humility is the most beautiful of all the Christian graces, as well as the most rare of all the Christian graces.

Humility is the only fitting response of the creature to its God.

Humility, the place of entire dependence on God, is the first duty and the highest virtue of the creature.

Humility is the cardinal virtue and distinguishing feature of the disciple of Jesus.

Meekness and lowliness of heart are the chief marks by which those who follow the meek and lowly Lamb of God are to be known.

Humility is the only root from which the graces can grow.

Humility is the most difficult of all virtues to achieve.
Nothing dies harder, than the desire to think well of oneself.

Humility is the only ladder to honor in God's kingdom.

True humility counts itself nothing, rejoices in becoming and being counted the least, and only seeks, like Jesus, to be the servant, the helper and comforter of others, even the lowest and unworthiest.

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You are the one who has done this!

("The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod" or, "The Silent Soul with Sovereign Antidotes" by Thomas Brooks, 1659)

"I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for You are the one who has done this!" Psalm 39:9

In the words you may observe three things:

   1. The person speaking, and that is, David. David a king, David a saint, David "a man after God's own heart," David a true believer. And here we are to look upon David, not as a king, but as a believer, as a man whose heart was right with God.

   2. The action and behavior of David under the hand of God, in these words, "I was silent; I would not open my mouth."

   3. The reason of this humble and sweet behavior of his, in these words, "for You are the one who has done this!"

The proposition is this: That it is the great duty and concern of gracious souls to be mute and silent under . . .
  the greatest afflictions,
  the saddest providences, and
  sharpest trials that they meet with in this world.

David's silence is an acknowledgment of God as the author of all the afflictions that come upon us. There is no sickness so little, but God has a finger in it; though it be but the aching of the little finger.

David looks through all secondary causes to the first cause, and is silent. He sees a hand of God in all, and so sits mute and quiet. The sight of God in an affliction is of an irresistible efficacy to silence the heart, and to stop the mouth of a godly man.

Men who don't see God in an affliction, are easily cast into a feverish fit, they will quickly be in a flame; and when their passions are up, and their hearts on fire, they will begin to be saucy, and make no bones of telling God to His teeth, that they do well to be angry. Such as will not acknowledge God to be the author of all their afflictions, will be ready enough to fall in with that mad principle of the Manichees, who maintained the devil to be the author of all calamities; as if there could be any evil or affliction in the city, and the Lord have no hand in it, Amos 3:6.

If God's hand be not seen in the affliction, the heart will do nothing but fret and rage under affliction.

Such as can see the ordering hand of God in all their afflictions, will, with David, lay their hands upon their mouths, when the rod of God is upon their backs!

They see that it was a Father that put those bitter cups in their hands; and love that laid those heavy crosses upon their shoulders; and grace that put those yokes around their necks—and this caused much quietness and calmness in their spirits.

When God's people are under the chastening rod, He makes by His Spirit and Word, such sweet music in their souls, as allays all tumultuous motions, passions, and perturbations.

"I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for You are the one who has done this!" Psalm 39:9

"It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him." 1 Samuel 3:18

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The delight which God has in His redeemed people!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"I will rejoice over them to do them good." Jeremiah 32:41

"As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so your God will rejoice over you!" Isaiah 62:5

The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you . . . He will rejoice over you with singing!" Zephaniah 3:17

How heart-cheering to the believer, is the delight which God has in His redeemed people!

We cannot see any reason in ourselves why the Lord should take pleasure in us. We cannot take delight in ourselves, for we often have to groan, being burdened; conscious of our sinfulness, and deploring our unfaithfulness.

And we fear that God's people cannot take much delight in us, for they must perceive so much of our imperfections and our follies, that they may rather lament our infirmities, than admire our graces.

But we love to dwell upon this transcendent truth, this glorious mystery—that as the bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so does the Lord rejoice over us!

We do not read anywhere that God delights in the cloud-capped mountains, or the sparkling stars—but we do read that His delights are with the sons of men.

We do not find it written that even angels give His soul delight; nor does He say, concerning cherubim and seraphim, "You shall be called Hephzibah, for the Lord delights in you"; but He does say all that to poor fallen creatures like ourselves, debased and depraved by sin—but redeemed and saved by His grace.

In what strong language He expresses His delight in His people! Who could have conceived of the eternal One as bursting forth into a song? Yet it is written, "He will take great delight in you . . . He will rejoice over you with singing!"

As He looked upon the world He had made, He said, "It is very good". But when He beheld those who are the purchase of Jesus' blood, His own chosen ones, it seemed as if the great heart of the Infinite could restrain itself no longer—but overflowed in divine exclamations of joy.

Should not we utter our grateful response to such a marvelous declaration of His love, and sing, "I will rejoice in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!"

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Pithy gems from J.C. Ryle #5

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The standard of the world, and the standard of the Lord Jesus—are indeed widely different. They are more than different—they are flatly contradictory one to the other. Never be satisfied with the world's standard of Christianity!

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Hell is truth known too late!

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That Bible is read best, which is practiced most!

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God's eternal election is the first link in that chain of a sinner's salvation, of which heavenly glory is the end!

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A tree may always be known by its fruit.
Just so, a true Christian may always be discovered by their habits, tastes and affections.

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To be a Christian, it will cost a man his love of ease!

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Pithy gems from Spurgeon #5

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Look to the cross, and hate your sin—for sin nailed your Well-Beloved to the accursed tree!

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The sympathy of Jesus is the next most precious thing to His sin-atoning sacrifice!

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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.

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The world does not read the Bible—the world reads Christians!

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A golden coffin will be a poor compensation for a damned soul!

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If you have lived like the wicked—then you will die like the wicked, and be damned like the wicked!

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He who counts the stars and calls them by their names, is in no danger of forgetting His own children! He knows your case as thoroughly as if you were the only creature He ever made, or the only saint He ever loved!

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Pithy gems from John Newton #5

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The babe of Bethlehem, the man who once hung dead and forsaken upon the cross—is now the Lord of glory!

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I have read of many wicked popes, but the worst pope I ever met with is pope self!

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Humility is the strength and ornament of every other grace, and the proper soil wherein they grow.

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To behold the glory and the love of Jesus, is the only effectual way to be conformed to His image.

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Resist every temptation to doubt Christ's love—as you would resist a temptation to adultery or murder!

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That monster SELF has as many heads as a Hydra—and as many lives as a cat!
(The Hydra was a serpentine mythological water monster with many heads.
For every head chopped off—the Hydra would re-grow a couple of new heads.)

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Pithy gems from Theodore Cuyler, 1822-1909

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Tears never yet saved a soul. Hell is full of weepers weeping over lost opportunities, perhaps over the rejection of an offered Savior.

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A sermon in shoes, is more eloquent than a sermon in words!

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The demand of the day is for a higher standard and style of Christian life. Every follower of Christ must represent His religion purely, loftily, impressively, before that multitude of Bible-readers whose only Bible is the Christian.

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

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Faith is trusting Jesus to lead us—and going where He leads.

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A new year is upon us—with new duties, new conflicts, new trials, and new opportunities. Start on the journey with Jesus—walk with Him, and work for Him. This year may be the last year of our lives! A happy year will it be to those who, through every path of trial, or up every hill of difficulty, or over every sunny height—march on in closest fellowship with Jesus!

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I have only one passion, and that is Jesus!

(J.R. Miller)

"Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts!" Ezekiel 14:3

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

We need to watch our heart-life, for it is in our thoughts, feelings, moods, tempers and affections—that departure from Christ begins.

We need to watch our inner spiritual state. The world may see no limit to our external zeal, our religious activity, our earnest promoting of the truth—and yet there may be not enough inner prayerfulness, love for Christ, tenderness of conscience, hunger for righteousness, or desire for holiness in our heart.

Is Christ more to you now, than He ever was before? Does His love draw you with an overwhelming sway? Can you say, with Zinzendorf, "I have only one passion, and that is Jesus!"

Is your heart right?

"You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind!"
Luke 10:27

"My son, give me your heart!" Proverbs 23:26

"Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life!" Proverbs 4:23

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Pastoral Exhortations

(Francis Grimke, 1850-1937)

No cowardly minister who is afraid to declare the whole Word of God lest he give offense, or interfere with his popularity—has any right in any Christian pulpit. He is simply a disgrace to it, and a stench in the nostrils of Jehovah!

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My constant prayer to God is that he would help me to preach . . .
  not great sermons, but helpful sermons;
  sermons that will appeal, not mainly to the intellect, but to the heart;
  sermons that will tend to strengthen and develop holiness within us, and inspire us with devout desires.

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No man's ministry is a failure, however meager the results, if he has been faithfully and earnestly preaching the gospel of the grace of God—holding up to dying, sinful men God's message of redeeming love. Such a ministry is not, could not be, a failure.

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The minister must be a man of prayer, and he must be a careful student of the Word of God. Without these two things, he may be able to preach interesting and eloquent sermons, but they will carry no saving weight with them. It is only as he lives in close vital communion with God, that he can hope to speak with convicting and converting power.

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One of the things we should be on our guard against, is the desire for praise—the wish to be complimented for our pulpit ministrations.

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Unless we are striving to be what we preach, we had better not preach at all.

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But a flea-bite!

(Thomas Brooks, "The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod" or, "The Silent Soul with Sovereign Antidotes" 1659)

"I am the man who has seen affliction!"
Lamentations 3:1

Christian! Your present afflictions are not great—if compared with the torments of many of the damned, who when they were it this world, never sinned at so high a rate as you have done! There are many now in Hell, who never sinned . . .
  against such clear light as you have done,
  nor against such special love as you have done,
  nor against such precious mercies as you have done!
Certainly there are many now a-roaring in everlasting burnings—who never sinned as you have done!

What are your present afflictions and troubles—compared to the torments of the damned, whose torments are . . .
  without intermission,
  without mitigation,
  and endless!
They have . . .
  weeping served for the first course,
  gnashing of teeth for the second course,
  the gnawing worm for the third course,
  and intolerable pain for the fourth course!

Yet the pain of the body is least part of their pain. The very soul of sorrow and pain—is the soul's sorrow and pain! The everlasting alienation from God is served for the fifth course!

Ah, Christian! how can you seriously think on these things and not lay your hand upon your mouth—even when you are under the greatest temporal sufferings? Your sins have been far greater than many of those who are now in Hell, and your great afflictions are but a flea-bite compared to theirs! Therefore hush your murmuring, and be silent before the Lord! "I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for You are the one who has done this!"
Psalm 39:9

Such is the splendor, the brightness, the glory, the happiness, and blessedness that are reserved for the saints in Heaven, that had I all the tongues of men on earth and all the excellencies of the angels in Heaven—yet I would not be able to conceive nor to express that vision of glory to you! That glory is inconceivable and inexpressible! It is best to be hastening there, that we may feel and enjoy that which we shall never be able to declare!

All the troubles, afflictions, and sorrows of this life, in comparison with eternal happiness and blessedness—are to be considered as nothing. They are but as a speck of sand—compared to the fathomless glories of Heaven!

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us!" Romans 8:18

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all!" 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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My Beloved is mine—and I am His!

(Thomas Doolittle, "Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!" 1693)

"My Beloved is mine—and I am His!" Song of Songs 2:16

In marital love, there is a mutual giving each to other. Just so in this holy spiritual love between Christ and the redeemed soul.

Christ gives Himself unto the soul, and says, "All that I am and all that I have are yours—My righteousness is yours, My merits are yours, and all My benefits shall be yours!"

So the soul in love with Christ, says, "Lord, I give myself to You! My mind shall be Yours, my will, my heart, my estate, my all shall be Yours—at Your command, at Your disposal!"

"My Beloved is mine—and I am His!" Song of Songs 2:16