Grace Gems for NOVEMBER 2019

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He was the only innocent man ever to be punished by God!

(R.C. Sproul, "The Holiness of God")

A god who is all love, all grace, all mercy—but no sovereignty, no justice, no holiness, and no wrath—is an idol!

The most violent expression of God's wrath and justice is seen in the Cross. If ever a person had room to complain for injustice it was Jesus. He was the only innocent man ever to be punished by God!

If we stagger at the wrath of God, then let us stagger at the Cross. Here is where our astonishment should be focused.

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

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

"He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!" Philippians 2:8

"He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree!" 1 Peter 2:24

"Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God!" 1 Peter 3:18 

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Oh, be ravished with this!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"That the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You have loved Me!" John 17:23

Can you believe it . . .
  that you should be the object of God's delight,
  that you should be the object of the Father's love as truly as Christ is!

See the amazing sacrifice which the Father made in giving Jesus to us.

Think what it cost Him to tear His Well-Beloved from His bosom and send Him down below to be despised and rejected.

Think what it cost Him to nail Jesus up to yonder cross, and then forsake Him and hide His face from Him, because He had laid all our sins upon Him.

Oh, the love He must have had to us, thus to have made His best Beloved to become a curse for us, as it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree!"

I want you to get this truth right into your souls, dear friends.
Do not hold it as a dry doctrine, but let it penetrate your heart.

Oh, when the river of God's great love to us came rolling in like a mighty torrent, what a sea of love was there! Now we are borne onward forever by the mighty sweep of infinite love into an everlasting blessedness which tongues and lips can never fully set forth!

Oh, be ravished with this!
Be in ecstasy at love so amazing, so divine! The Father loves you even as He loves His Son! After the same manner and sort, He loves all His redeemed people.

Can you believe it!

Oh, if the love of Jesus once enters into a man's soul . . .
   it will forever transform him,
   it will sway him with the noblest passions,
   it will make him a zealot for Christ,
   it will cast out his pride and selfishness,
   it will change him into the image of Christ, and
   fit him to dwell in Heaven where love is eternally perfected.

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You will have a much lower opinion of yourself!

(John Newton)

Depend upon it—if you walk closely with God for forty years, at the end of that time you will have a much lower opinion of yourself than you have now!

You will understand something of . . .
  Abraham's feeling when he says, "I am dust and ashes!"
  Jacob's feeling when he says, "I am unworthy of the least of all Your mercies!"
  Job's feeling when he says, "Behold! I am vile!"
  Paul's feeling when he says, "I am the chief of sinners!"

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The diamond rivet!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"The Lord will give grace AND glory!" Psalm 84:11

Jehovah is bounteous in His nature—to give is His delight. His gifts are precious beyond measure, and are as freely given as the light of the sun!

He freely gives grace in all its forms, to all His people:
  saving grace,
  comforting grace,
  preserving grace,
  sanctifying grace,
  directing grace,
  instructing grace,
  assisting grace!

He gives grace . . .

He doubly enhances the value of His grace, by the manner of its bestowal. He generously pours grace into their souls without ceasing—and He always will do so, whatever may occur.
may befall—but the Lord will give grace.
may come to us—but grace will surely be afforded.
must come—but grace will light a candle at the darkest hour.

Reader, how blessed it is as years roll along, to enjoy such an unfading promise as this, "The Lord will give grace!"

The little conjunction "and" in this verse is the diamond rivet binding the present with the future! Grace and glory always go together. God has married them, and none can divorce them! The Lord will never deny a soul eternal glory, to whom He has freely given His saving grace. Indeed, glory is nothing more than grace in full bloom; grace like autumn fruit—mellow and perfected.

How soon we may have glory—none can tell. It may be that before this month has run out, we shall see the Celestial City. But be the interval longer or shorter, we shall be glorified before long. The Lord will surely give glory to all His chosen ones:
  the glory of Heaven,
  the glory of eternity,
  the glory of Jesus!

Oh, rare promise of a faithful God! Two golden links of one celestial chain! Whoever has grace—shall surely gain glory!

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The most potent force for the product
ion of virtue!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"The HOPE which is reserved for you in Heaven." Colossians 1:5

Our hope in Christ for the future, is the mainspring and the mainstay of our joy here on earth.
It will animate our hearts to think often of Heaven, for all that we can desire is promised there.

Here on earth we are weary and toil-worn. Yonder is the land of rest, where the sweat of labor shall no more bedew the worker's brow, and fatigue shall be forever banished. To those who are weary and woe-worn, the word "rest" is full of Heaven.

We are always in the field of battle. We are so tempted within, and so molested by foes without—that we have little or no peace! But in Heaven we shall enjoy the victory, when the banner shall be waved aloft in triumph, and the sword shall be forever sheathed, and we shall hear our Captain say, "Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord!"

We have suffered bereavement after bereavement—but we are going to the land of the immortal, where graves are unknown things.

Here on earth, sin is a constant grief to us—but there we shall be perfectly holy, for nothing which defiles shall enter into that pure kingdom! Hemlock does not spring up in the furrows of celestial fields.

Oh! is it not joy, that we are not to be in a state of banishment forever—that we are not to dwell eternally in this wilderness, but shall soon inherit everlasting glory!

Nevertheless let it never be said of us, that we are dreaming about the future—and forgetting the present. Let the future sanctify the present to highest uses. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the hope of Heaven is the most potent force for the production of virtue! It is a fountain of joyous effort—it is the cornerstone of cheerful holiness.

The man who has this hope in Jesus goes about his work with vigor, for the joy of the Lord is his strength. He fights against temptation with ardor, for the hope of the next world repels the fiery darts of the adversary. He can labor without present reward, "for here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come!" Hebrews 13:1

"The hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time!" Titus 1:2

"While we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!" Titus 2:13

"Having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:7

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You are greatly loved!

"A man greatly loved by God." Daniel 10:11

Child of God, do you hesitate to appropriate this title? Ah! has your unbelief made you forget that you are greatly loved by God?

Must you not have been greatly loved—to have been bought with the precious blood of Christ? When God smote His only begotten Son for you—what was this but being greatly loved by Him? You lived in sin and rioted in it—must you not have been greatly loved for God to have borne so patiently with you? You were called by grace and led to the Savior, and made a child of God and an heir of Heaven! All this proves, does it not—a very great and super-abounding love for you?

Since that time, whether your path has been rough with troubles, or smooth with mercies—it has been full of proofs that you are greatly loved by God. If the Lord has chastened you—yet it was not in anger. If He has made you poor—yet you have been made rich in grace. The more unworthy you feel yourself to be—the more evidence you have that nothing but unspeakable divine love could have led the Lord Jesus to save such a soul as yours! The more demerit you feel—the clearer is the display of the abounding love of God, in having chosen you, and called you, and made you an heir of everlasting bliss!

Now, if there is such great love from God to us—let us live in the influence and sweetness of it, and use the privilege of our exalted position as God's redeemed children. Do not let us approach our Lord as though we were strangers, or as though He were unwilling to hear us—for we are greatly cherished by our compassionate Father!

"He who spared not His own Son—but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Come boldly, O believer, for despite the whisperings of Satan and the doubtings of your own heart—you are greatly loved! Meditate on the exceeding vastness and faithfulness of Christ's matchless love to you!

"May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully!" Ephesians 3:19

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Some things to meditate on daily

(Richard Sibbes)

Some things to meditate on daily:

1. The greatness and goodness of Almighty God and His love to us in Christ.

2. The uncertainty of our lives, and the certainty of death.

3. The last and strict day of account.

4. The joys of Heaven and the torments of Hell.

5. The vanity of all earthly things.

6. That sin is not so sweet in the committing of it, as it is bitter in the reckoning of it.

7. That there is more mercy in Christ, than sin in us.

8. That poverty and affliction take away the fuel that feeds pride.

9. That it is better to go afflicted to Heaven, than merry to Hell.

10. That those who desire to be happy in Heaven, must first be holy on earth!

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Pastoral admonitions

"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

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"A preacher's life should be a commentary of his doctrine;
 his practice should be a counterpart of his sermons.
 Heavenly doctrines should always be adorned with a heavenly life." Thomas Brooks

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"We preach to people who must live forever . . .
   in Heaven, or Hell;
   with God, or devils;
   in an eternity of joy, or of torment!"
Thomas Doolittle

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"Watch your life and doctrine closely." 1 Timothy 4:16

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"An over-attachment to human learning has been the very bane of vital, spiritual, experimental godliness!" John Newton

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"The chief means for attaining wisdom and suitable gifts and graces for the Christian ministry, are the Holy Scriptures and prayer." John Newton

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"A man cannot be a faithful minister, until he preaches Christ for Christ's sake—until he gives up striving to attract people to himself, and seeks only to attract them to Christ!" Robert Murray M'Cheyne

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"There is not a sermon which is heard, but it sets us nearer to Heaven or Hell!" John Preston

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"The preaching of the Word is that lattice where Jesus looks forth and shows Himself to His saints." Thomas Watson

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"Preaching is that ordinance of God, sanctified for the begetting of faith, for the opening of the understanding, and for the drawing of the will and affections to Christ." Richard Sibbes


"Sound doctrine and holy living are the marks of true pastors." J.C. Ryle

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"The lives of ministers oftentimes convince more strongly than their words.
 Their tongues may persuade, but their lives command!" Thomas Brooks

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"Preaching that costs nothing, accomplishes nothing." J.H. Jowett

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The sum of all progress in spiritual life is

(Thomas Moor)

The sum of all progress in spiritual life is
. . .
  more of Christ in the mind, to better know Him; 
  more of Christ in the heart, to better love Him, and to be more influenced by Him;
  more of Christ in the life, to better serve Him.

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On whom do you trust?

(Charles Spurgeon)

"On whom do you trust?" Isaiah 36:5

Reader, this is an important question. Listen to the Christian's answer, and see if it is yours.

"On whom do you trust?"

"I trust," says the Christian, "in the triune God of Scripture!"

I trust the Father, believing that He has chosen me from before the foundation of the world. I trust Him to provide for me in His providence, to teach me, to guide me, to correct me if need be, and to bring me home to His own house where the many mansions are!

I trust the Son. The man Christ Jesus—is also the true God. I trust in Him as my Redeemer—to take away all my sins by His atoning sacrifice, and to adorn me with His perfect righteousness. I trust Him to be my Intercessor, to present my prayers and desires before His Father's throne. I trust Him to be my Advocate at the last great day, to plead my cause, and to justify me. I trust Him . . .
  for what He is,
  for what He has done, and
  for what He has promised yet to do!

I trust the Holy Spirit. He has begun to save me from my inbred sins; I trust Him to finally drive them all out. I trust Him . . .
  to curb my debased temperament,
  to subdue my stubborn will,
  to enlighten my darkened understanding,
  to check my evil passions,
  to comfort my despondency,
  to help my spiritual weakness,
  to provide my spiritual nourishment,
  to reign in me as my loving King,
  to sanctify me wholly, and then
  to take me up to dwell forever in glory!

Oh, blessed trust! To trust Him . . .
   whose power will never be exhausted,
   whose love will never wane,
   whose kindness will never change,
   whose faithfulness will never fail,
   whose wisdom will never be confounded, and
   whose perfect goodness can never know a diminution!

Happy are you, reader, if this trust is yours! So trusting, you shall enjoy sweet peace now, and glory hereafter! The foundation of your trust shall never be removed!

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Nevertheless I am continually with You!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.
 Nevertheless I am continually with You!" Psalm 73:22-23

"Nevertheless"—as if notwithstanding all the foolishness and ignorance that David had just been confessing to God—not one atom the less was it true and certain that David was saved and accepted, and that the blessing of being constantly in God's presence was undoubtedly his. Fully conscious of his own lost estate and of the deceitfulness and vileness of his nature—yet by a glorious outburst of faith, he sings, "Nevertheless I am continually with You!"

Believer, endeavor in like spirit to say, "Nevertheless, since I belong to Christ, I am continually with God!"

I am continually upon His mind—He is always thinking of me for my good.

I am continually before His eye—the eye of the Lord never sleeps but is perpetually watching over my welfare.

I am continually in His hand—so that none will be able to pluck me out from it.

I am continually on His heart—worn there as a memorial, even as the high priest bore the names of the twelve tribes upon His heart forever.

"You always think of me, O God. You are always making providence work for my good. You have set me as a signet upon Your arm. Your love is as strong as death—many waters cannot quench it, neither can the floods drown it. You see me in Christ, and though in myself I am despised—You behold me as wearing Christ's garments of salvation and washed in His blood; and thus I stand accepted in Your presence. I am thus continually in Your favor. I am continually with You!"

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The more a Christian is tried

(Thomas Brooks, 1608-1680)

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

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

By trials, God makes sin more hateful and the world less delightful.

God had but one Son without corruption—but He had none without afflictions!

By trials the Lord will make His people more and more conformable to the image of His Son.

Christ was much tried—He was often in the school of affliction; and the more a Christian is tried, the more into the likeness of Christ he will be transformed. The most afflicted Christians do most resemble Christ in meekness, lowliness, holiness, heavenliness, etc. The image of Christ is most fairly stamped upon afflicted souls.

Tried souls are much in looking up to Jesus—and every gracious look upon Christ changes the soul more and more into the image of Christ. Afflicted souls experience much of the comforts of Christ, and the more they experience the sweet of the comforts of Christ—the more they grow up into the likeness of Christ.

Afflictions are the tools by which the Father does more and more carve, form, and fashion His precious saints into the similitude and likeness of His dearest Son.

"I know, O LORD, that Your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
 May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to your servant." Psalm 119:75-76

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An application to divine wealth, and a confession of personal inadequacy

(Charles Spurgeon)

"In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help!" Psalm 18:6

"Hear my prayer, O Lord, listen to my cry for help!" Psalm 39:12 

The act of prayer teaches us our unworthiness, which is a very beneficial lesson for such proud beings as we are. If God gave us favors without constraining us to pray for them, we would never know how poor we are. But a true prayer is . . .
  an inventory of our needs,
  a catalogue of our necessities,
  a revealing of our hidden poverty.

Prayer is both an application to divine wealth, and a confession of personal inadequacy.

The most healthy state of a Christian is to be always . . .
  empty in self, and constantly depending upon the Lord for supplies;
  poor in self, and rich in Jesus;
  weak as water personally, but mighty through God to do great exploits.

Hence prayer, while it adores God, it lays the creature where he should be—in the very dust!

Prayer in itself, apart from the answer which it brings, is a great benefit to the Christian. As the runner gains strength for the race by daily exercise, so for the great race of life we acquire energy by the hallowed labor of prayer.

Prayer plumes the wings of God's young eaglets—that they may learn to mount above the clouds.
Prayer sends God's warriors forth to combat—with their sinews braced and their muscles firm.

Prayer . . .
  girds human weakness with divine strength,
  turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and
  gives the peace of God to troubled believers.

We have no idea what prayer can do!

We thank you great God, for the throne of grace, a choice proof of your marvelous loving-kindness. Help us to use it aright throughout this day!

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Colossians 4:2

"Let us therefore 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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Too choice a flower to grow in nature's garden!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Godly sorrow works repentance."
2 Corinthians 7:10

Genuine mourning for sin is the work of the Spirit of God. Repentance is too choice a flower to grow in nature's garden. Pearls grow naturally in oysters—but penitence never shows itself in sinners, unless divine grace works it in them. If you have one particle of real hatred for sin—then God must have given it to you, for human nature's thorns never produced a single fig! "That which is born of the flesh is flesh!"

True repentance has a distinct reference to the Savior. When we repent of sin, we must have one eye upon sin, and another upon the cross. It will be better still, if we fix both our eyes upon Christ, and see our transgressions only in the light of His dying love.

True sorrow for sin is eminently practical. No man may say he hates sin, if he lives in it. Repentance makes us see the evil of sin, not merely as a theory, but experimentally—just as a burnt child dreads the fire! We shall be as much afraid of sin, as a man who has lately been robbed is afraid of the thief upon the highway. And we shall shun sin, shun it in everything—not in great things only, but in little things, as men shun little vipers as well as great ones.

True mourning for sin will make us very jealous over our tongue, lest we should say a wrong word. We shall also be very watchful over our daily actions, lest in anything we offend God.

Each night we shall close the day with painful confessions of shortcomings—and each morning awaken with anxious prayers, that this day God would hold us up, that we may not sin against Him.

Sincere repentance is continual. Believers repent until their dying day. This sorrow for sin is not intermittent. Every other sorrow yields to time—but this dear sorrow grows with our growth. It is so sweet a bitter, that we thank God we are permitted to enjoy it until we enter our eternal rest!

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An ounce of heart-knowledge, is worth a ton of head-learning!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"I consider everything a loss, compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." Philippians 3:8

Saving knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I must know Him experimentally in my own soul.

Saving knowledge of Christ will be an intelligent knowledge. I must know Him, not as I imagine Him to be, but as the Word reveals Him to be. I must know His natures, divine and human. I must know His offices, His attributes and His works. I must meditate upon Him until I am "able to comprehend how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is."

Saving knowledge of Christ will be an affectionate knowledge of Him. Indeed, if I know Him at all, I must love Him. An ounce of heart-knowledge, is worth a ton of head-learning!

Saving knowledge of Christ will be a satisfying knowledge. When I know my Savior, my mind and heart will be full to the brim—I shall feel that I have that which my spirit pants after. "No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again!"

Saving knowledge of Christ will be an ever-expanding knowledge. The more I know of my Beloved, the more I shall want to know. The higher I climb, the loftier will be the summits which invite my eager footsteps. As I get the more, I shall want the more. Like the miser's treasure, my gold will make me covet more.

To conclude, saving knowledge of Christ Jesus will be the most blessed knowledge. In fact, it will be so elevating, that sometimes it will completely bear me up above all trials, and doubts and sorrows! And it will, while I enjoy it, lift me above troubles—for it will fling about me the blessedness of the ever-living Savior, and gird me with the golden belt of His eternal joy.

Come, my soul, sit at Jesus' feet and learn of Him all this day!

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know . . .
  the hope to which He has called you,
  the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and
  His incomparably great power for us who believe!" Ephesians 1:17-19

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And will you murmur?

(Thomas Brooks, 1608-1680)

How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, who murmur against Me?
 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against Me." Numbers 14:27

Is not Christ your treasure?

Is not Heaven your inheritance
—and will you murmur?

Have you not much in hand, and more in hope?
Have you not much in possession, but much more reserved in Heaven
—and will you murmur?

Has not God given you . . .

  a changed heart, 
  a renewed nature, 
  a sanctified soul
—and will you murmur?

Has He not given you . . .

  Himself to satisfy you,
  His Son to save you,
  His Spirit to lead you,
  His grace to adorn you,
  His covenant to assure you,
  His mercy to pardon you,
  His righteousness to clothe you
—and will you murmur?

Has He not made you . . .

  a friend,
  a son,
  a brother,
  a bride,
  an heir
—and will you murmur?

When you were dead, did not He quicken you?
When you were lost, did not He find you?
When you were wounded, did not He heal you?
When you were falling, did not He support you?
When you were down, did not He raise you?
When you were staggering, did not He establish you?
When you were erring, did not He correct you?
When you were tempted, did not He support you?
When you went in dangers, did not He deliver you?
you are so highly exalted above millions in the world
—and will you murmur?

Murmuring suits none so badly as saints.

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Spurgeon Gems on Death and Dying

"The day of death is better than the day of birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart." Ecclesiastes 7:1-2

The sight of a funeral is a very healthful thing for the soul.

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It is very wise to talk about our death. The shroud, the grave, the shovel may teach us more of true wisdom than all the learned heads that ever pondered vain philosophy, or all the lips that ever uttered earth-born science! "The heart of the wise is in the house of mourningbut the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure." Ecclesiastes 7:4 

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We are all like trees marked for the woodsman's ax. The fall of one should remind us that for everyone, whether as great as the cedar, or as lowly as the fir tree, the appointed hour is stealing on apace.

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We talk of death too lightly. It is solemn work to the best of men. I can assure you that it is no child's play to die. May we regard death as the most weighty of all events, and be sobered by its approach.

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The young may die.
The old must die.

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There is no pain in death, the pain is in life.
When a man dies, there is an end of life's pain.
Death is the pain-killer, not the pain-maker.

It is not a loss to die—it is a lasting, perpetual gain.

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I never yet heard regrets from dying men that they had done too much for Christ, or lived too earnestly for him.

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To be prepared to die, is to be prepared to live.

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Where death leaves you, judgment will find you, and eternity will keep you!
He who does not prepare for death, is more than an ordinary fool—he is a madman!
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The Lord will give dying grace in dying moments.

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Let us learn to hold loosely our dearest friends. Let us love them, but let us always learn to love them as dying things.

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We go through the dark valley of death—and emerge into the light of eternity.
We do not die—but only sleep to wake in eternity!

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God has fixed the hour of our death.
It can neither be postponed by skill of physician, nor hastened by malice of foe.

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Time, how short!
Death, how brief!
Eternity, how long!
Immortality, how endless!

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There is an essential difference between the death of the godly and the death of the ungodly. Death comes to the ungodly man as a penal infliction—but to the righteous as a summons to his Father's palace! To the sinner death is an execution—to the saint death is casting aside of 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 eternal glory!

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Oh, if we could not die, it would be indeed horrible!
Who wants to be chained to this poor life for a century or longer?
It is the very joy of this earthly life, to think that it will come to an end.

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Death is the physician that eases all pain!

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Death is no punishment to the believer—it is the gate of endless joy!
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"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!" Philippians 1:21, 23

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Is your calling thus holy, high, heavenly?

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Those He predestined, He also CALLED." Romans 8:30

In 2 Timothy 1:9 are these words, "He has saved us, and called us with a holy calling." As He who has called you is holy—so must you be holy. If you are living in sin—you are not called by God. But if you are truly Christ's, you can say, "Nothing pains me so much as my sin! I desire to be rid of it! Lord, help me to be holy." Is this the panting of your heart? Is this the tenor of your life towards obeying His divine will?

In Philippians 3:14, we are told of "the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Is your calling a high calling? Has it ennobled your heart, and set it upon heavenly things? Has it elevated your hopes, your tastes, your desires? Has it upraised the constant tenor of your life, so that you spend it for His glory?

Another test we find in Hebrews 3:1, "Partakers of the heavenly calling." If man alone calls you, then you are uncalled by God. A heavenly calling is both a calling from heaven—as well as to heaven. Unless you are a stranger here on earth, and are purposely journeying towards your heavenly home—then you have not been called with a heavenly calling. For those who have been called by God declare that they are looking for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God, and that they themselves are strangers and pilgrims upon the earth.

Is your calling thus holy, high, heavenly?
Then, beloved, you have been called by God, for such is the calling with which God always calls His redeemed people.

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Soon I must go down that road from which I will never return!


"Soon I must go down that road from which I will never return!" Job 16:22

An approaching journey lies before me. I have to pass from time, to eternity; from this world, to the next. And the time of my departure, although to me uncertain, cannot be very far distant. A few years—perhaps a few days, will close my stay on earth!

It is an unavoidable journey. I must go. There is no choice. Willing or unwilling, when God's summons for me arrives—I shall have to set off.

It is an unknown journey, I have never taken it before. I have no practical acquaintance with the road, the mode of transit, the dangers or the discomforts which await me. And there is no one who can clearly explain them to me. Those of my friends who have traveled that way have never come back to relate their experience.

It is a solitary journey. I must accomplish it alone. The most beloved of my present companions cannot accompany me. They may think of me, feel for me, pray for me—but they cannot be with me. We must separate; they to remain behind, and I go forward.

It is a momentous journey. For at its termination, I enter upon my everlasting destiny! It will convey me either to the mansions of happiness—or to the abodes of misery! The narrow boundary between the present and the future state once crossed—there will be no possibility of change. "He who is unjust—let him be unjust still; and he who is righteous—let him be righteous still." Revelation 22:11

It is a final journey. "Soon I must go down that road from which I will never return." My pilgrimage will be forever ended. It will be my last journey. And if I am a Christian, how welcome is this fact! I shall be done forever with sin and sorrow. Eternal felicity will be mine—perfect holiness, and perfect happiness. This journey leads me . . .
  to my beloved Savior,
  to my Father's house,
  to my everlasting rest!

Then I will not shrink from its approach, nor complain of its accompaniments. It may be linked with much that is painful and unpleasant—but it is my way HOME! Therefore, although life has many ties and many joys, I feel an earnest desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better than being here. "For this is not my resting place, because it is polluted—it is ruined beyond all remedy!" Micah 2:10

Death is a solemn journey—but it is a safe journey to Christ's people. He will not only receive and welcome them at its close—but He will be with them as they are passing through it. Oh, it will not be lonely with Him! And He is a guide who is well acquainted with the way, for He has trodden it Himself. He went for the purpose of smoothing its difficulties, clearing its dangers, dispersing its terrors—and He fully accomplished His purpose. Therefore when I walk through the dark valley, I will fear no evil; for you, O Jesus, will be with me, and Your rod and Your staff shall comfort me!

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Pithy gems from Martyn Lloyd Jones #3

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To divorce forgiveness of sins from the actual living of the Christian life, is nothing but rank heresy!

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Christians are generally at their best, when they are in the furnace of affliction.

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If you are not holy, you are not a Christian.
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There are no shortcuts in the Christian life—no simple remedies.

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Nothing we do in the Christian life is harder than prayer.

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Intellectual pride is the last citadel of self.

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We have come to realize that a man can be educated and cultured, and still be a beast!

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The biggest hoax in the world for the last 150 years, has been the theory of evolution!

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The natural man is always looking at himself and admiring himself.

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I would rather make bricks without straw—than try to live the Sermon on the Mount in my own strength.

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No difficulty in believing the gospel is intellectual—it is always moral.

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The whole trouble in life, is ultimately a concern about self.

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A man is not a Christian unless he can say with Paul, "I am what I am by the grace of God!"

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Many who go to the psychiatrist are like the woman in the Gospels—they are nothing bettered, but rather grow worse!

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There is little difference between a ladies fashion parade, and a dog show!

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By definition, a Christian should be an enigma to every person who is not a Christian.

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Wherever, therefore, you shall flee—there He is!

(Herman Bavinck)

"The lamp of the Lord searches the spirit of a man; it searches out his inmost being!" Proverbs 20:27

"O Lord, You have searched me and You know me.
 You know when I sit and when I rise;
 You perceive my thoughts from afar.
 You discern my going out and my lying down;
 You are familiar with all my ways.
 Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O Lord.
 You hem me in—behind and before;
 You have laid Your hand upon me." Psalm 139:1-5

When you wish to do something evil, you retire from the public into your house where no one may see you.

From those places of your house which are open and visible to the eyes of others, you remove yourself into your room.

Even in your room you fear some witness from another quarter, so you retire into your heart, and there you meditate on evil.

But God is more inward than your heart! Wherever, therefore, you shall flee—there He is!

There is no place at all where you may flee from Him!

"Where can I go from Your Spirit?
 Where can I flee from Your presence?
 If I go up to the heavens, You are there.
 If I make my bed in the depths, You are there.
 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
 if I settle on the far side of the sea—
 even there Your right hand will lay hold of me!" Psalm 139:7-10

"There is no darkness, no deep darkness, where evildoers can hide themselves!" Job 34:22

"Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?" declares the LORD.
"Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:24

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account!" Hebrews 4:13

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Pithy gems from Adrian Rogers #2

Have you ever wondered what a church full of Pharisees would be like?
  1. They would all attend every service.
  2. They would all tithe.
  3. They would all work in the church.
  4. They would all go to Hell!

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The man molds the idol, and then the idol molds the man!

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Justice is God giving us what we deserve.
Mercy is God not giving us what we deserve.
Grace is God giving us what we don't deserve.

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God only wants for us what we would want for ourselves—if we were wise enough to know what is best for us.

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Character is what we are in the dark.

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The grace of God . . .
  will exalt a person, without inflating him;
  and will humble a person, without debasing him.

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Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.

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Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.

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Holiness is not the way to Christ.
Christ is the way to holiness.

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Is what I am living for—worth Christ's dying for?

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Go back to Calvary!

(Arthur Pink, 1886-1952)

"When we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly." Romans 5:6

Christ did not die in order to make God love us, but because He did love His people.

The cruel cross is the supreme demonstration of Divine love.

Christian reader, whenever you are tempted to doubt the love of God for you, go back to Calvary!

"God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!" Romans 5:8

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And thus the churches were filled with unregenerate members!

(Arthur Pink, 1886-1952)

Many of the pulpiteers of the past fifty years acted as though the first and last object of their calling was the salvation of souls, everything being made to bend to that aim. In consequence, the feeding of the sheep, the maintaining of Scriptural discipline in the church, and the inculcation of practical piety, was crowded out; and only too often all sorts of worldly devices and fleshly methods were employed under the plea that the end justified the means; and thus the churches were filled with unregenerate members!

In reality, such men defeated their own aim. The hard heart must be ploughed and harrowed before it can be receptive to the gospel seed. Doctrinal instruction must be given on the character of God, the requirements of His Law, the nature and heinousness of sin—if a foundation is to be laid for true evangelism. It is useless to preach Christ unto souls, until they see and feel their desperate need of Him!

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Thanksgiving is never out of season!

(James Smith)

"In everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus!" 1 Thessalonians 5:18

we enjoy should be viewed as coming from the gracious and liberal hand of our sovereign God.

All was forfeited by our sin.

All that we receive is by His grace.

The providence that supplies us—is the wisdom, benevolence, and power of God in operation for us—as expressive of His infinite love and unmerited grace!

Our talents to provide supplies,
our opportunities to obtain them,
and our abilities to enjoy them,
—are alike from the Lord.

Every mercy increases our obligation and deepens our debt to free grace!

Thanksgiving is never out of season
, for we have always much to be grateful for.

We must view all things as . . .
  arranged by His wisdom,
  dependent on His will,
  sanctified by His blessing,
  according with His promises,
  and flowing from His love!

"In everything give thanks!"
1 Thessalonians 5:18

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O, give thanks to the Lord!

James Smith, "Sunny Subjects for All Seasons" 1858)

"O, give
thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercy endures forever!" 1 Chronicles 16:34

O, give thanks to the Lord
, Christian, for He has not dealt with you after your sins, nor rewarded you according to your iniquities! He has . . .
  pardoned your sins,
  justified your soul,
  renewed your nature, and
  given you a title to everlasting life!

He has thus . . .
  prevented your eternal ruin,
  borne with your faults and follies,
  supplied all your needs,
  guided your steps, and
  promised to conduct you to glory!
His mercy has been ever great toward you!

"O, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever!" Psalm 107:1

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The Lord is My Shepherd!

(J.R. Miller, 1905)

"The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need!" Psalm 23:1

"He will feed His flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in His arms, holding them close to His heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young!" Isaiah 40:11

The shepherd is a favorite Scriptural picture of the divine love and care. In the Old Testament, the twenty-third Psalm gathers the whole wonderful truth in exquisite lines which are dear to young and old wherever the Bible is known. Then in the New Testament, when our Lord would give His friends the sweetest revealings of His heart toward them, and tell them what they are to Him and what He would be to them, He says, "I am the Good Shepherd."

The Hebrew shepherd lives with his sheep. If they are out in the storm—he is with them. If they are exposed to danger—so is he. Just so, Christ lives with His redeemed people. He enters into closest relations with them.

The shepherd knows his sheep. He has a name for each one and calls them all by their names. Just so, Christ knows each one of His friends—He has intimate personal knowledge of each one. He knows the best in us—and also the worst. He knows our faults, our sins, our wanderings. Yet, knowing us as we are—He loves us still and never wearies of us!

The shepherd is most gentle with his sheep. He does not drive them—but goes before them and leads them. When they need rest on the way—he makes them lie down, and chooses for their resting-place, not the dusty road—but green pastures. He is especially kind to the lambs, carrying them in His arms, holding them close to His heart. All this is an exquisite picture of the gentleness of our Good Shepherd in His care of His sheep. Whatever the need is, there is something in the heart of Christ which meets its craving and supplies its lack!

The shepherd defends his flock in all danger. Often he had to risk his own safety, even his life, in protecting his sheep. Just so, the Good Shepherd gives His life for His sheep!

Christ's sheep are absolutely safe in His keeping. "I give unto them eternal life," He said; "and they will never perish—ever! No one can snatch them out of My hand!"

Then at last, He will bring His own all safely home, "and they shall become one flock, with one Shepherd!"

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Pithy gems from J.R. Miller

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We should sweetly acquiesce in God's will, in faith that whatever He permits in our life is right and best for us.

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The goal of Christian life is not to avoid troubles, disappointments, sorrows and injuries—but in all these experiences, to keep free from sin and stain.

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Love is the law of Christian life. We cannot be Christlike unless we love. But oh! love is tremendously costly sometimes!

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Ten minutes spent every morning with Christ—yes, even three minutes, if they are spent really with Him—change everything for the day!

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Christian! Christ is your truest and best friend. Prayer is simply your little talk with Christ, as you would sit down with any dear, tender, close and trusted human friend for a little talk.

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The sweetest life is the one which nestles the most quietly and unquestioningly in the bosom of Jesus.

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Jesus does not require anything more than a child-like trust in Him as Savior, Master and Friend—and the devotion of the life to Him.

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The mercy of God is infinite! He is infinitely patient with our weaknesses, our infirmities, our faults and failures.

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Spurgeon gems on trials and afflictions

(Charles Spurgeon)

"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as a son." Hebrews 12:5-6

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"God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness!" Hebrews 12:10

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God's fixed purpose is not the destruction, but the instruction of His people.

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Divine wisdom hangs up the thermometer at the furnace mouth, and carefully regulates the heat!

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Our lusts are cords. Fiery trials are sent to burn and consume them.

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None of us can come to the highest maturity without enduring the summer heat of trials.

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I would not wish for any man a long time of sickness and pain; but a twist now and then one might almost ask for him. A sick wife, a newly-made grave, poverty, slander, sinking of spirit, might teach lessons nowhere else to be learned so well. Trials drive us to the realities of religion.

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Paul, who had more to suffer than we have, called his afflictions light, and yet we often consider ours to be heavy. Surely something must be amiss with the weights!

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We never have yet experienced a trouble which might not have been worse.

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Perhaps we are tried just now, in order to drive us nearer to Jesus.
Blessed be any wind that blows us into the port of our Savior's love!

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Troubled one, you may go to your heavenly Father about anything, about everything.
Our place of comfort is the bosom of the Savior.

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If God sent us trials such as we would wish for, they would be no trials at all.
"Any cross but the one I have!" cried one. Surely it would not be a cross if you had the choosing of it, for it is the essence of a cross that it should run counter to our likings.

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The best remedy for affliction is submitting to providence.
What can't be cured, must be endured.

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Our sorrows are all, like ourselves, mortal. There are no immortal sorrows for immortal saints.

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Great hearts can only be made by great troubles.
Mighty prayer has often been produced by mighty trial.

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Blessed sickness, which make us seek the beloved Physician.

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"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11