Grace Gems for NOVEMBER, 2022

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Should it be according to your mind?

(James Smith, "Important Questions!" 1858)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"Should it be according to your mind?" Job 34:33

We are prone . . .
  to be fretful,
  to complain of the dispensations of Divine Providence,
  and to reflect harshly upon the Lord's dealings with us.

We want our own way.

We wish to carve for ourselves.

We would be treated as God's favorites.

We want our ease, and prosperity, and pleasure, consulted in all things. And . .  .
  if this does not appear to be done,
  if our wills are crossed,
  if our schemes are frustrated,
  if our purposes are broken off
--then we stumble, think ourselves badly treated, and look for everybody to sympathize with us.

Under these circumstances, God comes to us as we sit among our broken cisterns, surrounded by our dethroned idols, and puts this question to us: "Should it be according to your mind?"

  Are you wiser than God?

    Are you kinder than God?

      Are you holier than God?

    Are you more just than God?

  Are you better informed than God?

May not your mind be dark, or selfish, or foolish?

Should it then be according to your mind?

Should you reign--or God?

Remember that . . .
  God acts in the highest wisdom,
  His motives are grace and justice,
  and all His purposes are worthy of Himself.

The least the Christian can do is to submit, and to prefer God's perfect wisdom, ways, and works--to his own. Seeing God has so arranged all events, that all things must work together for the good of His people--they, at least, should daily say, "Father, may Your will be done!"

O my soul, seek grace from God, not only to submit and be resigned to the dispensations of Divine Providence, but to acquiesce in them, and be pleased with the whole of them! Your good is consulted; your best interests are secured. Soon, very soon, it will be seen that infinite wisdom and mercy, grace and goodness--have marked out every step of your road!

"Jesus replied: You do not understand what I am now doing, but someday you will." John 13:7

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Toys! Sports and games for children!

(Charles Spurgeon, "The Spur")  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent Me.
 Night is coming, when no one can work." John 9:4

Some men are spending their time in making money. That is the main object of their lives. They would be as usefully employed probably if they spent all their lives in collecting pins or cherry stones!

Whether a man lives to accumulate gold coins or rusty nails--his life will be equally groveling, and end in the same disappointment.

Money-making, or fame-making, or power-getting--are mere toys, mere sports and games for children!

I once heard of a clergyman who often went hunting, and when he was reproved, he replied that he never went hunting when he was on duty. But he was asked, "When is a clergyman off duty?" And so with the Christian, when is he off duty? He ought to be always about his Father's business, ready for anything and everything that may glorify God.

We have a high calling of God in Christ Jesus, and this must have the supremacy!
Poor or rich, healthy or sick,
honored or disgraced
--we must glorify God.
This is necessity. All else may be--this must be!

Our time in which to serve the Lord on earth is very short. If we would glorify God, we must do it now.

We resolve, sternly resolve, and desperately determine, that we will not throw away our lives on trifling objects; but by us God's work must and shall be done; each man will do his own share, God helping him.

May the ever blessed Holy Spirit give us power and grace to turn our resolves into acts.

"As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent Me.
 Night is coming, when no one can work." John 9:4

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You fools, when will you be wise?

(James Smith, "Important Questions!" 1858)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"You fools, when will you be wise?" Psalm 94:8

The Scripture stigmatizes the lost sinner as a fool.
  He may be rich,
  he may be learned,
  he may fill an honorable station in the world,
but so long as he neglects the one thing needful, he is called a fool.

Wisdom consists in fixing upon a worthy end, and pursuing it in the most prudent and judicious way.

A wise man . . .
  thinks of his immortal soul, and seeks its salvation above everything else,
  thinks of the wrath of God, and endeavors by all means to escape it,
  thinks of a crown of glory, and sets his heart upon obtaining it,
  sees that glorifying God is his highest honor, and secures his greatest happiness, and therefore he makes that the grand end of his life.

But the multitude, alas! the multitude overlook, or despise, or treat these things with contempt! They live . . .
  as if self-gratification were the end of their creation,
  as if earth were their eternal dwelling-place, and
  as if glorifying God were no business of theirs!

If we were to judge them by their conduct, we would be ready to conclude . . .
  that they had no souls to be saved or lost,
  that there was no Hell to escape,
  that there was no Heaven to obtain,
  that there was no crown of glory to be won,
  that there was no crown of shame to be avoided.
Surely the Scriptures are right in designating such men fools--for fools, the greatest fools, they must be!

Should the eye of a worldly man or woman light upon this page, God asks you the question, "When will you be wise?"
When will you begin to seek the kingdom of God, and His righteousness?
When will you come to Jesus, and be saved from wrath by Him?
When will you begin to lay up for yourself treasure in heaven?
When will you prepare for death, judgment, and eternity?

"If only they were wise and would understand this, and discern what their end will be!" Deuteronomy 32:29

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See the cause of my happiness!

(James Smith, "My Savior!" 1860)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

My soul, meditate for a few moments on what Jesus is to you, and what Jesus has done for you. Look back and glance at the circumstances in which He found you, and the deliverance which He wrought for you.

1. The CIRCUMSTANCES in which Jesus found you.

Jesus found me out of the way. God by His law had marked out a way in which His creatures should walk, its character was holiness, and its end His glory. But all we like sheep had gone astray, we had turned every one to his own way. We were in the path of death and destruction, and on the way to Hell!

We were not only out of the way, but we were enslaved.
We were . . .
  slaves of sin,
  the drudges of the world, and
  led captive by the Devil at his will.

We were diseased, as well as enslaved.
We were leprous from head to foot.
We had the plague of the heart!
The whole head was sick, and the whole heart was faint.

We were imprisoned, as well as diseased. We were shut up in unbelief and sin. Our cell was cold and damp, dark and narrow, and our imprisonment was not merely for a few years, it was forever!

We were dead, though still conscious, and to some things alive. Dead in trespasses and sins!

In this state we were, and we loved it well.
We neither desired, nor sought deliverance.
Left to ourselves . . .

  we would have wandered on in darkness, until we had perished in our sins;
  we would have continued the slaves of sin and Satan forever;
  our disease would have preyed upon our vitals to all eternity;
  our prison walls would have enclosed us still;
  we would have remained dead in sin,
  we would have suffered all the pangs of damnation forever!

2. The DELIVERANCE which Jesus wrought for you. Jesus saved me!

He saved me from the roaring lion, who goes about seeking to devour me!

He saved me from my raging lusts, so that sin shall not have dominion over me!

He saved me from righteous wrath, and I, being justified by His blood, shall be saved from wrath through Him!

He saved me from death, the 'king of terrors,' depriving the monster of his sting, and giving me the victory over him!

He has also saved me from the flaming furnace of Hell, from that lake of fire, and those floods of flame in which the lost must welter forever!

See the cause of my happiness,
I have a Savior!

A Savior who is divine.
A Savior who has ever loved me.
A Savior who lived, labored, and died for me.
A Savior who pleads for me before the throne of His Father.
A Savior who is in His Father's house, preparing a place for me.
A Savior who will soon come and receive me to Himself, that so I may be forever with Him!
Yes, I have a Savior, one who . . .
  watches over me,
  walks through the wilderness with me,
  and rejoices to do me good.

Reader, have you a Savior?
Can you use these two precious words, "My Savior"?
Have you realized that you were lost?
Have you fled to His cross?
Have you fallen into His arms?
Have you been cleansed by His blood, and clothed in His righteousness?
Do you possess His Holy Spirit?

Make sure work, O make sure work!
Eternity is just at hand!
Death is coming!
Judgment follows!
And then, an eternity of happiness or woe!
Your eternal all depends on having Jesus for your Savior!
No one can save you but Jesus.
No one can . . .
  support you in sickness,
  comfort you in death, or
  give you victory over the grave, but Jesus!

Titus 3:4-5, "When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy!"

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(James Smith, "Looking Upon the Pierced One!" 1860)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed!" Isaiah 53:5

If we would enjoy peace, grow in grace, and walk with God--there is one object on which the eye of the mind should be constantly fixed. Therefore it is written, as the language of our crucified Lord, "They shall look upon Me whom they have pierced!" Zechariah 12:10

Pierced! WHO pierced Him?

WE did, and pierced Him to the heart! Nor were we satisfied with piercing Him once, for we have pierced Him often, and pierced Him through and through!
Our unbelief pierces Him;
our ingratitude pierces Him;
the coldness of our love pierces Him;
our forgetfulness pierces Him;
our preferring the world to Him pierces Him;
our disobedience to His Word pierces Him;
and our doubting of His love pierces Him!

It was WE who pierced Him on Calvary!
We put the nails and the hammer into the hands of the executioners!
We put the spear into the hand of the Roman soldier!
Yes, it was we who . . .
  gathered the thorns,
  picked out the sharpest,
  formed them into a mock crown,
  thrust it on His head, and
  with the staff beat the thorns into His temples!

See, see, there He hangs!
Pierced in His head, hands, feet, and side, pierced for us, pierced by us!

Look, my soul, at the pierced One!

God's holy Son hangs on that cross!

O my soul, look at Jesus!
He is your Substitute.
He is there for you!
He is suffering death for you!
He is bearing the desert of your sins in His body on the tree!
He is enduring your curse, being made accursed for you!

He is revealing . . .
  what is in man's nature,
  what is in God's heart, and
  what He is willing to do and suffer, rather than I should perish!

Yes, Jesus is there for me!
He represents my person!
He answers for my crimes!
He dies in my stead!

O Savior, was ever any love, was ever any agony, was ever any death--like Yours!

Look, my soul, look to Jesus, the pierced One!

Look, and mourn, because your sins degraded, disgraced, and put Him to grief!

Look, and rejoice, for you shall have . . .
  dignity, by His degradation,
  honor, by His disgrace, and
  life, by His death!

Look, and be sorry that you have ever sinned, and so caused Jesus to suffer!
Look, and rejoice that you shall live forever to glorify and praise His name!

O my soul, Jesus was wounded for your transgressions, and bruised for your iniquities!
His blood has made your peace with God,
His righteousness gives you a title to eternal life,
and His death delivers you from dying!

I fix my eye intently on Jesus on the Hill Calvary and marking all His tears, wounds, and agonies--I feel that I was the cause of all. I myself did it! Yes, I MYSELF . . .
  bruised Him,
  scourged Him,
  spit on Him,
  crowned Him with thorns,
  smote Him with the fist, and
  nailed Him to the cursed tree!
I inflicted it all!

Yet, O wonder of wonders! I derive pardon, holiness, and eternal life from it!

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I am dying!

(James Smith, "Joseph's Dying Words" 1860)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

The words of the dying are often striking and impressive. We remember them, and derive benefit from them. This has always been the case, especially with the saints of God.

The words of the patriarch Joseph to his brethren when he was dying, are so peaceful, so prophetic, so encouraging, that I feel inclined to meditate on them a little. His sun was going down in a calm clear sky. All behind was mercy, all before was glory. His brethren are gathered around him to see him depart, and he said, "I am dying. But God shall surely visit you, and bring you out of this land, unto the land which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." Genesis 50:24

"I am dying."
Death is always solemn.
It generally awakens painful reflections.
It is often attended with the sweetest joys.

"I am dying," that is, I am about to leave . . .
  the wilderness, for the promised land;
  the strange country, for my pleasant home;
  the field of conflict, for the abode of peace!

"I am dying," that is, I will soon . . .
  heave my last sigh,
  utter my last groan,
  feel my last pain,
  taste the cup of sorrow for the last time!

"I am dying," that is, I am about . . .
  to depart to be with Christ,
  to enjoy the glorious presence of God,
  and to be one with all the glorified forever!

"I am dying," that is, I will soon bid an eternal farewell . . .
  to all my doubts and fears,
  to all my sins and sorrows,
  to all my foes and follies, and
  enter into peace, safety, and perfect holiness!

To me, as a believer in Jesus . . .
  death has no sting,
  the grave has no terrors,
  eternity awakens no alarms!

My sins are pardoned, for His name's sake,
my soul is justified, by His blood, and
my person is in eternal union with His.

To die is gain!

To die is to be perfectly holy and happy!

To die is simply to go home to my Father's house, to inherit and inhabit the place that Jesus has prepared for me!

"I am dying." Shall I regret it? Shall I dread it?
Oh, no! May the Lord give me grace, to hail my dying day with pleasure, and to rejoice in the thought of being absent from the body, and present with the Lord!

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He is dull, heavy, lumpy--all but dead!

(Charles Spurgeon Play Audio!  Download Audio

"Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity;
 and quicken me in Your way."
Psalm 119:37

"Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity."
There are diverse kinds of vanity:
  the cap and bells of the fool,
  the mirth of the world,
  the dance and the cup of the dissolute.

All these we know to be vanities--they wear their proper name and title upon their forefront. Far more treacherous, are those equally vain things: the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches. A man may follow vanity as truly in his business, as in the theater! If he is spending his life in amassing wealth--he passes his days in a vain show. Unless we follow Christ, and make our God the great object of life--we only differ in appearance, from the most frivolous. It is clear that there is much need of the first prayer of our text.

"Quicken me in Your way."
The Psalmist confesses that he is dull, heavy, lumpy--all but dead! Perhaps, dear reader, you feel the same. We are so sluggish that the best motives cannot quicken us, apart from the Lord Himself.

What! will not Hell quicken me?
Shall I think of sinners perishing, and yet not be awakened?

Will not Heaven quicken me?
Can I think of the glory that awaits the righteous, and yet be cold?

Will not death quicken me?
Can I think of dying, and standing before my God--and yet be slothful in my Master's service?

Will not Christ's love constrain me?
Can I think of His dear wounds, can I sit at the foot of His cross--and not be stirred with fervency and zeal? It seems so! No mere consideration can quicken us to zeal--but God Himself must do it; hence the cry, "Quicken me!"

The Psalmist breathes out his whole soul in vehement pleadings, his body and his soul unite in prayer.
"Turn away my eyes!" says the body.
"Quicken me!" cries the soul.

This is a fit prayer for every day. O Lord, hear it in my case this day.

Those ghastly corpses might well have affrighted Rizpah!

(Charles Spurgeon Play Audio!  Download Audio

"Then Rizpah, the mother of two of the men, spread sackcloth on a rock and stayed there the entire harvest season. She prevented vultures from tearing at their bodies during the day, and stopped wild animals from eating them at night." 2 Samuel 21:10

If the love of a woman to her slain sons could make her prolong her mournful vigil for so long a period, shall we be weary of considering the sufferings of our blessed Lord? She drove away the vultures, and shall not we chase away those worldly and sinful thoughts which defile our minds? Away, you evil birds! Leave the sacrifice alone!

Rizpah bore the scorching heat of summer, the night dews and the rains, unsheltered and alone. Sleep was chased from her weeping eyes, for her heart was too full for slumber. Behold how she loved her children! Shall Rizpah thus endure, and shall we give up at the first little inconvenience or trial? Are we such cowards, that we cannot bear to suffer with our Lord? She even chased away the wild beasts, with courage unusual in her gender; and will not we be ready to encounter every foe for Jesus' sake?

Her children were slain by other hands than hers, and yet she wept and watched. What ought we to do, who by our sins, have crucified our Lord! Our obligations are boundless, our love should be fervent, and our repentance thorough!

Those ghastly corpses might well have affrighted Rizpah! But in our Lord, at whose cross-foot we are sitting--there is nothing revolting, but everything attractive! Never was living beauty so enchanting, as a dying Savior! To abide by His cross, will be our solace.

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WHY does He love me?

(James Smith, "Loved and Blessed" 1860)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

To love, and be loved--is real happiness. Our highest honor and our sweetest happiness below, is to be beloved of God. For if God loves us, He will withhold no truly good thing from us.

"I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them!" Hosea 14:4

What will God do for His people? He will love them freely!

He will prefer you to all others, setting His eye and His heart upon you.

He will take you into fellowship--the nearest, dearest, sweetest fellowship with Himself.

He will make you happy with the persuasion of the facts . . .
  that He has loved you with an everlasting love,
  that He delights in His love to you, and
  that He will forever love you freely!

O blessed state, that the great, the infinite, the holy Lord God--will love a worm like me . . .
  preferring me even to the angels;
  indulging me with the freest, sweetest fellowship with Himself;
  and sweetly persuading my soul of His eternal love to me!

WHY does He love me? Just because He will. The cause, the reason, is to be found in His loving heart, and sovereign will alone. Not because I am good, or amiable, or can repay His love--for He loves freely, and fixes His love on the most unlikely and unworthy objects!

How precious the Lord's people are to Him:
  notwithstanding all their unworthiness and sinfulness,
  notwithstanding all their departures from Him, and unkindness to Him.
There is nothing on earth, or in heaven, except His only begotten Son, that is as precious to the heart of God, as His people are!

God's love is always free and unchangeable. Everything outside of God will change, but His love is immutable!

"Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you!" Jeremiah 31:3

Lord, help me to believe the love which You have for me, and to love You in return! O shed abroad Your sweet love in my heart, and fill that heart with glowing love to You!

Ephesians 3:18-19, "May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should--how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is! May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully!"

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(Charles Spurgeon, "His Name, Wonderful!")  Play Audio!  Download Audio

Once upon a time, there came to my house one of a black and stern aspect. He smote the door; I tried to bolt it to hold it fast. He smote again and again, till at last he entered, and with a rough voice he summoned me before him; and he said, "I have a message from God for you! You are condemned on account of your sins!"

I looked at him with astonishment; I asked him his name.

He said, "My name is the Law."

And I fell at his feet as one that was dead.

As I lay there, he smote me.

He smote me till every rib seemed as if it must break. My heart was melted like wax within me. I seemed to be stretched upon a rack--to be pinched with hot irons--to be beaten with whips of burning wire!

An extreme misery dwelt and reigned in my heart.

I dared not lift up my eyes, but I thought within myself, "There may be hope, there may be mercy for me. Perhaps the God whom I have offended may accept my tears and my promises of amendment, and I may live."

But when that thought crossed my mind, heavier were the blows and more poignant my sufferings than before, till hope entirely failed me, and I had nothing wherein to trust.

Darkness black and dense gathered round me.

I heard a voice as it were, of rushing to and fro, and of wailing and gnashing of teeth. I said within my soul, "I am cast out from God's sight, I am utterly abhorred of God! He has trampled me in the mire of the streets in His anger."

And there came one by, of sorrowful but of loving aspect, and He stooped over me, and He said, "Awake you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light."

I arose in astonishment, and He took me, and He led me to a place where stood a cross, and He seemed to vanish from my sight.

But He appeared again, hanging there.

I looked upon Him as He bled upon that tree.

His eyes darted a glance of love unutterable into my spirit, and in a moment, looking at Him:
  the bruises that my soul had suffered were healed;
  the gaping wounds were cured;
  the broken bones rejoiced;
  the rags that had covered me were all removed;
  my spirit was as white as the spotless snow;
  I had melody within my spirit,
for I was saved, washed, cleansed, forgiven--through Him who hung upon the tree!

Oh, how astonished was I, that I should be pardoned!

It was not the pardon that I wondered at so much; the wonder was that it should come to ME!

I wondered that He should be able to pardon such sins as mine; such crimes, so numerous and so black!

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Perhaps He will smite you!

(Charles Spurgeon)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

So you should realize that, "Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you to help you." Deuteronomy 8:5 

I can truly say of everything I have ever tasted in this world of God's mercy, (and my path has been remarkably strewn with divine loving-kindness), I feel more grateful to God for the bodily pain I have suffered, and for all the trials of diverse sorts I have endured--than I do for anything else.

I am sure I have derived:
  more real benefit,
  and permanent strength,
  and growth in grace,
  and every precious thing,
from the furnace of suffering, than I have ever derived from prosperity.

I know not how to quite express my meaning, but even depression of spirit and deep sadness have a particular charm within them, which laughter in vain may emulate.

"It is good for me that I have been afflicted!" Psalm 119:71

Ponder and consider the much gratitude you owe to God for His chastening rod. Dwell much in your heart upon what God evidently regards as one of His distinguishing blessings. Do not lightly pass over what God would have you consider. Count the cross and the rod to be doubly worthy of your deepest thought.

"Hear the rod, and Him who has appointed it." Micah 6:9

Remember that whenever you are chastened, you are not chastened as a slave master smites his victim, nor as a judge orders the criminal to be lashed; but as a man chastens his son--so are you chastened.

Your chastisement is a sign of sonship; it is a token of love! It is intended for your good.

Accept it, therefore, in the spirit of sonship, and "Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, neither faint when you are corrected by Him."

It is the Lord your God who chastens you!

If He were not your God, He might let you alone!

If He had not chosen you to be His own, He would not take such care of you!

If He had not given Himself to be your treasure, He might not be so diligent in weaning you from all other treasures!

But because you are His, He will withdraw your love away from this poor world.

Perhaps He will take one child after another from you, that all the love that was lavished on the children might flow towards Himself.

Perhaps He will leave you a widow, that the love that ran in the channel of a husband may run altogether to Himself.

Perhaps He will take away your riches, that the consolation you derived from them may be all derived from Him.

Perhaps He will smite you
, and then lay you on His own bosom, faint and helpless--that you may derive a strength and a joy from close and near fellowship with Himself, which you would never have had if it had not been that these other joys were removed.

Bless God for your chastenings!

Let the sweetest note of your music be to Him who, as a loving father, chastens His children for their good.

So you should realize that, "Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you to help you." Deuteronomy 8:5

"For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son He receives." Hebrews 12:6

"I have refined you in the furnace of suffering." Isaiah 48:10  

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How long will you love vanity?

(James Smith, "Important Questions" 1858)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"How long will you love vanity?" Psalm 4:2

Vanity represents the light, changeable, carnal, and fading things of time. Upon these things, the natural heart is set; around them, the unsanctified affections gather. What a vanity it is to prefer . . .
  human friendship, to divine friendship;
  earthly riches, to Heavenly riches;
  carnal honors, to spiritual honors; and
  the pleasures of a day, to the joys of eternity!

Vanity appears in the intoxicating cup, the mirthful and costly attire, and trifling with God. Surely every worldly man walks in a vain show, like an actor on the stage--and displays the most consummate folly!

Reader! are you in love with vanity? Do you love that which leads from God, keeps Him out of the thoughts, and binds you down to earth? This is vanity! How long will you love it? You have been doing so for years, though warned, convinced, and having promised to reform. You are doing so now, though . . .
   mortality is at work within you,  
   death is very near you,
   Hell is open before you, and
   eternity is within a step of you!

You love vanity, when you may . . .
   obtain divine mercy,
   enjoy peace with God,
   receive sanctifying grace,
  and walk in the way to Heaven.

"How long will you love vanity?" Until . . .
   some sudden stroke takes you away,
   or some affliction puts you beyond the reach of mercy,
   or God's Spirit ceases to strive with you,
   or Satan fills your heart as he did the heart of Judas,
   or God laughs at your calamity?

How long? God your Creator would ask you. "Why will you die?"

Will you carefully consider this question, and give the Lord an answer?
Will you tell Him why you prefer . . .
   eternal death, to eternal life;
   sin, to holiness;
   and Satan, to Himself?

"They who observe lying vanities, forsake their own mercy!" Jonah 2:8

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Imitate the loving Jesus!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Christ's People, Imitators of Him")  Play Audio!  Download Audio

Let us ever imitate the loving Jesus.

The child comes to Him; He takes it on His knee, saying, "Let the little children come unto Me, and forbid them not."

A widow has just lost her only son; He weeps at the coffin, and with a word restores life to the dead man.

He sees a paralytic, a leper, or a man long confined to his bed; He speaks, they rise and are healed.

He lived for others, not for Himself. His constant labors were without any motive, except the good of those who lived in the world.

And to crown all, you know the mighty sacrifice He made, when He condescended to lay down His life for man when on the tree, quivering with agony, and hanging in the utmost extremity of suffering--He submitted to die for our sakes, that we might be saved!

Behold in Christ, 'love consolidated'. He was one mighty pillar of benevolence!

Christ is love!

Oh, you Christians, you should be loving also. Let your love and your beneficence beam out on all men!

Each in your proper sphere--speak kind words, do kind actions. Live out Christ again in the "kindness of your life". If there is one virtue which most commends Christians, it is that of kindness; it is to love the people of God, to love the church, to love the world, to love all.

But how many have we in our churches of crab-tree Christians, who have mixed such a vast amount of vinegar, and such a tremendous quantity of gall in their constitutions, that they can scarcely speak one good word to you. They imagine it impossible to defend religion except by passionate ebullitions.

They cannot speak for their dishonored Master without being angry with their opponent; and if anything is awry, whether it be in the house, the church, or anywhere else--they conceive it to be their duty to set their faces like flint, and to defy everybody.

They are like isolated icebergs; no one cares to go near them. They float about on the sea of forgetfulness, until at last they are melted and gone. And though, good souls, we shall be happy enough to meet them in Heaven, we are very glad to get rid of them from the earth! They were always so unamiable in disposition, that we would rather live an eternity with them in Heaven, than five minutes on earth.

Don't you be like this, my brethren. Imitate Christ in your loving spirits. Speak kindly, act kindly, and do kindly--that men may say of you, "He has been with Jesus!"

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Subdued by sovereign love!

(Charles Spurgeon)  Play Audio!  Download

"All whom the Father gives Me, shall come to Me." John 6:37

Christ's declaration involves the doctrine of election--there are some whom the Father gave to Christ.

Christ's declaration involves the doctrine of effectual calling--these who are given, must and shall come. However stoutly they may set themselves against it, yet they shall be brought out of the darkness of sin, into God's marvelous light.

Christ's declaration teaches us the indispensable necessity of faith--for even those who are given to Christ are not saved unless they come to Jesus. Even they must come, for there is no other way to Heaven but by the door, Christ Jesus. All whom the Father gives to our Redeemer, must come to Him. Therefore none can come to Heaven, unless they first come to Christ.

Oh! the power and majesty which rest in the words "shall come." He does not say that they have power to come, nor they may come if they wish--but they "shall come."

The Lord Jesus does by His messengers, His Word, and His Spirit--sweetly and graciously compel men to come in, that they may eat of His marriage supper. And this He does, not by any violation of the free agency of man, but by the power of His grace. Jehovah Jesus knows how, by irresistible arguments addressed to the understanding, by mighty reasons appealing to the affections, and by the mysterious influence of His Holy Spirit operating upon all the powers and passions of the soul--so to subdue the whole man, that whereas he was once rebellious, he now yields cheerfully to His government, subdued by sovereign love!

But how shall those whom God has chosen be known? By this result, that they do willingly and joyfully receive Christ, and come to Him with simple and sincere faith, resting upon Him as all their salvation and all their desire.

Reader, have you thus come to Jesus?

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Reader, are you a Christian?

(James Smith, "Good seed for the Lord's field!" 1856)  Play Audio!  Download

Are you a Christian?

This is a very important inquiry, because many profess to be so, who are not so in reality. And yet no one can be saved, unless he is a Christian.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature:
  he is convinced of sin, and mourns over it;
  he hates sin, and departs from it;
  he reads the Word of God, and loves it;
  he hears the gospel of Christ, and believes it.

He becomes a disciple of Christ . . .
  learning His doctrines,
  trusting His promises,
  and doing His will.

He receives the Spirit of Christ, which is a spirit of meekness, love and holiness.

He would rather suffer for Christ, than sin against Christ! He . . .
  loves the person of Christ,
  imitates the example of Christ, and
  observes the ordinances of Christ.

He commits his soul into the hands of Jesus . . .
  to be pardoned through His blood,
  to be justified by His righteousness,
  to be sanctified by His Spirit,
  to be preserved by His power,
  to be used for His glory, and
  to be presented faultless by Him to the Father at last.

He looks for the second coming of Christ with joy, because then he will be like Him, for he will see Him as He is!

Such is a Christian, according to the New Testament.

Reader, are you a Christian?

Can you live without prayer?

Can you be happy without Christ?

Can you neglect or despise the Word of God?

If so, then you are not a Christian!

Every Christian finds . . .
  prayer to be the breath of his soul,
  Christ to be the food of his soul,
  the Bible to be the comfort of his soul, and
  the Lord's people to be the beloved companions of his soul.

Examine yourself, for thousands bear the Christian name, who know nothing of Christian experience. Multitudes live and die under a delusion, and will say to Jesus at last, "Lord, Lord, we were Christians!" Then He will say unto them, "I never knew you! Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!" This will be dreadful, most dreadful!

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The only true delight!

(Charles Spurgeon, "A Bundle of Myrrh")  Play Audio!  Download

Christ Jesus is unutterably precious to believers!

Nothing gives the believer so much joy as fellowship with Christ.

The Christian has joy as other men have in the 'common mercies' of life. For him, there are charms in music, excellence in painting, and beauty in sculpture. For him, the hills have sermons of majesty, the rocks hymns of sublimity, and the valleys lessons of love. He can look upon all things with an eye as clear and joyous as another man's; he can be glad both in God's gifts and God's works. He is not dead to the happiness of his home; around his hearth he finds happy relationships, without which life would be dreary indeed. His children fill his home with glee, his wife is his solace and delight, his friends are his comfort and refreshment. He accepts the comforts which soul and body can yield him, according as God sees it wise to afford them unto him.

But he will tell you that in all these separately, yes and in all of them added together--he does not find such substantial delight as he does in the person of his Lord Jesus.

In our esteem, the 'joys of earth' are little better than husks for swine, compared with Jesus the heavenly manna.

I would rather have one mouthful of Christ's love, and a sip of His fellowship, than a whole world full of carnal delights.

What is the chaff, compared to the wheat?
What is the sparkling paste, compared to the true diamond?
What is a dream, compared to the glorious reality?
What is time's mirth in its best form, compared to our Lord Jesus in his most despised estate?

No spring yields such sweet water as that well of God which was digged with the soldier's spear!

As for the house of feasting, the joy of harvest, the mirth of marriage, the sports of youth, the recreations of maturer age--they are all as the small dust of the balance, compared with the joy of Immanuel our best beloved.

As the Preacher said, so say we: "I said of laughter, It is mad! And of mirth, What is it?" "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!"

All earthly bliss is of the earth, earthy. But the comforts of Christ's presence are like Himself, heavenly.

We can review our communion with Jesus, and find no regrets of emptiness therein; there are no dregs in this wine; no dead flies in this ointment.

The joy of the Lord is solid and enduring. Vanity has not looked upon it, but discretion and prudence testify that it abides the test of years, and is in time and in eternity worthy to be called, "the only true delight!"

"Yes, He is very precious to you who believe!" 1 Peter 2:7

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My nature is the same as in the harlot, the drunkard, the murderer!

(James Smith, "Mary; Or The Power of Penitence" 1856)  Play Audio!  Download

"If this man were a prophet, He would know who is touching Him and what kind of woman she is, that she is a sinner!" Luke 7:39

This woman was a sinner, an open sinner. One who had violated the laws of decency, as well as the law of God. She is condemned and despised. Many are more ready to condemn, than to pity; to despise, than to endeavor to reclaim.

We forget when we look at the profane, that we have the same seeds of profanity in our hearts! We forget that evil human nature is essentially the same in all. We forget that education, circumstances, providence, or the grace of God--make the only difference between us and the vilest man that ever lived!

We are all one man's sons. We were hewn out of the same rock, we were dug out of the same pit. My nature is the same as in the harlot, the drunkard, the murderer; and if left to myself, I would have been as depraved as they are! Humbling consideration this!

While I condemn sin, let me ever pity the sinner. While I mourn over the fallen, let me ask the question so well put by the apostle, "For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have, that you did not receive?" 1 Corinthians 4:7

Am I vile? Let me take the blame and the shame to myself.

Am I saved and holy? Let sovereign grace have all the glory and praise!

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

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We do not want this man to rule over us!

(Charles Simeon Play Audio!  Download

"We do not want this man to rule over us!" Luke 19:14

"'You cannot serve God and money!'  
The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed Him."
   Luke 16:13-14

The unsaved view the gospel as:
    too humiliating in its doctrines,
    and too strict in its precepts.

They are filled with pride, and are unwilling to embrace any sentiment that tends to abase them.

They are also full of worldly and carnal lusts, which they cannot endure to have mortified and subdued.

In short, their desires and their passions are altogether adverse to the Gospel; so that, when the Word is preached to them, they instantly set themselves against it!

"Bring here these enemies of Mine, who did not want Me to rule over them--and slaughter them in My presence!" Luke 19:27

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A shelf in my head!

(Charles Spurgeon Play Audio!  Download

Before I knew the gospel I gathered up a heterogeneous mass of all kinds of knowledge from here, there, and everywhere: a bit of chemistry, a bit of botany, a bit of astronomy, and a bit of this, that, and the other. I put them altogether, in one great confused chaos.

When I learned the gospel, I got a shelf in my head to put everything in its place, just where it should be.

It seemed to me as if, when I had discovered Christ and Him crucified--I had got the center of the system, so that I could see every other science revolving around in order.

From the earth, you know, the planets appear to move in a very irregular manner--some are progressive, retrograde, stationary, etc. But if you could get upon the sun, you would see them marching round in their constant, uniform, circular motion.

Likewise with human knowledge. Begin with any other science you like, and truth will seem to be amiss. But if you begin with the science of Christ crucified--you will begin with the sun, and you will see every other science moving around it in complete harmony. The greatest mind in the world will be gained, by beginning at the right end.

The old saying is, "Go from nature, up to nature's God." But it is hard work going up hill. The best thing is to go from nature's God, down to nature. If you once get to nature's God, and believe Him and love Him--it is surprising how easy it is to hear music in the waves, and songs in the wild whisperings of the winds; to see God everywhere--in the stones, in the rocks, in the rippling brooks; and to hear Him everywhere--in the lowing of cattle, in the rolling of thunder, and in the fury of tempests.

Get Christ first, put Him in the right place; and you will find Him to be the wisdom of God in your own experience.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Was Moses a wise man--or a fool?

(James SmithPlay Audio!  Download

"Moses chose to suffer affliction along with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time." Hebrews 11:25

The choice is done. Moses is determined. He has counted the cost:
  instead of honor, shame;
  instead of praise, blame;
  instead of respect, contempt;
  instead of plenty, poverty;
  instead of a princely portion, a slave's lot.

Was this wise? Was Moses a wise man--or a fool? What do you think of Moses--was he right, or wrong? But if Moses was right, as I suppose you will admit, allow me to ask: Have you acted rightly? Have you made the same choice?

Have you looked at the world at its best, and at true religion at its worst; and have you seriously, deliberately, and prayerfully decided to renounce the world, and embrace the despised religion of Christ, with all the scorn, contempt, and sufferings to which it may expose you?

Moses made his choice between the children of God and their sufferings--and the Egyptians and their pleasures. And you must make your choice between . . .
  Christ, or the world;
  holiness, or sin;
  the narrow path to Heaven, or the broad road to Hell.

"Choose this day whom you will serve!"

A master you must have--and it must be either Satan, or Christ.
you must--and your service must be either sin, or righteousness.

Look, then at the world--at its honors, wealth, and pleasures;
look also at the church--at its poverty, contempt, and sufferings.

Look at Hell--with its bitter reflections, deep sorrows, and indescribable torments;
look also at Heaven--with its sweet thoughts, pure enjoyments, and endless felicity.

Now make your choice!

Do you choose the world and its pleasures now, along with Hell and its horrors forever?

Do you chose rather to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time, than to serve and suffer with the people of God, though you know your end will be as bitter as wormwood, and as dreadful as the just wrath of a holy and unchangeable God could make it?
If Moses was wise, then what can you be, but a fool?
And your foolishness now, will increase your anguish and agony to all eternity!

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The Robe!

(Charles Spurgeon, "The Treasure of Grace")  Play Audio!  Download

"Remove the filthy garments from him . . . See, I have caused your wickedness to be taken away from you, and I will clothe and beautify you with rich robes [of forgiveness]." Amplified Bible

God's children are wrapped around with a robe--a seamless robe which earth and Heaven could not buy the like of if it, were it once lost.

For texture, it excels the fine linen of the merchants; for whiteness, it is purer than the driven snow.

No looms on earth could make it, but Jesus spent his life to make my robe of righteousness!

There was a drop of blood in every throw of the shuttle, and every thread was made of His own heart's agonies!

It is a robe that is divine, complete--a better robe than Adam wore in the perfection of Eden. Adam had but a human righteousness though a perfect one; but we have a divinely perfect righteousness.

Strangely, my soul, are you arrayed, for your Savior's garment is on you--the royal robe of David is wrapped about His Jonathan.

Look at God's people as they are clothed also in the garments of 'sanctification'.

Was there ever such a robe as jeweled as that?
Every day he arrays the lowliest of His people as though it were a wedding day. He arrays them as a bride adorns herself with jewels. He will have them dressed in gold of Ophir.

What riches of grace then must there be in God, who thus clothes His children!

"He has clothed me with garments of salvation, and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness!" Isaiah 61:10

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Reader, let me ask you a very important question

(James Smith, "Is It Possible?" 1856)  Play Audio!  Download

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matthew 7:13-14

Reader, let me ask you a very important question. I do so in love. It is a solemn and plain question, but do not be offended at its plainness. Receive it, consider it, and reflect upon it:
"Do you believe it is possible, that you may go to Hell?"

That many go to Hell, cannot be doubted.
That Hell is a dreadful place, cannot be questioned.
That many are now on the road to Hell, is as clear as daylight.
That few are sufficiently concerned to escape from Hell, is very evident.

Do you believe it is possible, that you may go to Hell? You, who, perhaps never entertain a thought of doing so? The very supposition is alarming, is it not? But may not any sinner go to Hell? And are not you a sinner? If any sinner may go to Hell, and you are a sinner--why then, may not you go there?

What if you should?

Yet, it is not only possible, but certain that you shall go to Hell, unless you experience a very great change. For "unless a man is born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
How many go on as careless, as thoughtless, as indifferent about their souls--as if they thought it was impossible for them to go to Hell.

There is John Jones, the weaver. He has read the New Testament, he has heard the gospel, he knows that he has an immortal soul. But he never prays, he very often spends his Saturday nights at the ale-house, and he lies late in bed on Sunday mornings. Week after week he goes on like this. He has no care for his own soul, or the souls of his wife and children. He knows that he must die. He professes to believe in Heaven and Hell, but he acts just as though he never thought for one moment, that it was possible for him to go to Hell. Indeed, he troubles himself so little about God, or his soul, or eternity, that it appears that the thought has never entered into his head!

Roger Thomas
, the blacksmith, knows all the news of the village. He talks much. He reads some. He swears often. He loves his pipe and his beer. He goes to church now and then on Sunday; but if you mark his conduct, listen to his conversation, and notice his spirit--you will be led to conclude that he never asks himself the question, "Is it possible for me to be sent to Hell?" No, no! He has too good an opinion of himself to even suppose such a thing. He has no idea that God would ever treat him so harshly as that. What, send him to Hell? If so, what would become of most of the people in the parish! "No, no, God is merciful," says he. He intends to repent by and bye. When he comes to his death-bed, then he will pray, read his Bible, and make his peace with God. Thus he . . .
  flatters his own pride,
  deceives his own soul,
  and secures his own damnation!

Reader! Do you believe it possible that you may go to Hell?

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord!' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.
Many will say to Me on that day: 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'
Then I will tell them plainly: 'I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!'" Matthew 7:21-23

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Eternal, Absolute Predestination!

(Charles Spurgeon, "The Incarnation and Birth of Christ")  Play Audio!  Download

Ephesians 1:11-12, "In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory."

Oh! we love the sublime doctrine of eternal absolute predestination!

Some have doubted whether predestination is consistent with the free agency of man.

We believe that man does as he pleases, yet notwithstanding he always does as God decrees.

Man does as he wills; but God makes him do as He wills, too.

No, not only is the will of man under the absolute predestination of Jehovah; but all things, great or little, are of Him.

There is nothing great or little, which is not from Him.

The summer dust moves in its orbit, guided by the same hand which rolls the stars along!

The dewdrops trickle on the rose leaf, as God bids them.

Yes, the sear leaves of the forest, when hurled along by the tempest--have their allotted position where they shall fall, nor can they go beyond it.

In the great, and in the little--there is God working all things according to the counsel of His own will.

And though man seeks to go against his Maker, yet he cannot.

Everything is ordained by God!

Unto Him . . .
  who guides the stars and sparrows,
  who rules planets and yet moves atoms,
  who speaks thunders and yet whispers zephyrs
--unto Him be glory!

Ephesians 1:11-12, "In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory."

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He will guide us to the end of the journey!

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings for the Lord's Household") Play Audio!  Download

"He will be our guide, even unto death!" Psalm 48:14

What a precious assurance is this!

Our God is our guide! He . . .
  led us out of the world at first,
  directed us to the cross, and
  conducted us into the path of holiness.

He has led us through all our past difficulties and trials. He leads us by the hand at present, and He will never give up His charge, for He will be our guide even unto death. He will . . .
  choose our way;
  lead us in the paths of righteousness;
  kindly converse with us along the road;
  point out the snares and dangers in our path;
  keep us by His power through faith unto salvation,
  and will patiently bear with us unto the end!

He may . . .

  hide His face,
  refuse communion,
  withhold comforts,
  smite us for our follies, and
  teach us our dependence on Himself by painful experience;
but He will never forsake us, or give us up!

He will guide us to the end of the journey, and will go with us through the last dark valley!

He will not only lead us to the heavenly kingdom, but put us in possession of it!
This He has promised, and He will faithfully perform it.

Beloved, it is our Father's good pleasure to give us the kingdom!
He will guide us now, and by and by receive us to glory!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Angels damned! Men saved!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Election and Holiness")  Play Audio!  Download

God has chosen to Himself a people whom no man can number, out of the children of Adam--out of the fallen and apostate race who sprang from the loins of a rebellious man. Now, this is a wonder of wonders, when we come to consider that the Heaven, even the Heaven of heavens, is the Lord's.

If God must have a chosen race, why did He not select one from the majestic orders of angels, or from the flaming cherubim and seraphim who stand around His throne? Why was not Gabriel fixed upon? Why was he not so constituted that from his loins there might spring a mighty race of angels, and why were not these chosen by God from before the foundations of the world!

What could there be in man--a creature lower than the angels, that God should select him rather than the angelic spirits?
Why were not the cherubim and seraphim given to Christ?
Why did He not assume angels' nature, and take them into union with Himself? An angelic body might be more in keeping with the person of Deity, than a body of weak and suffering flesh and blood. There were something congruous if He had said unto the angels: "You shall be My sons."

But, no! though all these were His own--He passes by the hierarchy of angels, and stoops to man! He takes up an apostate worm, and says unto him, "You shall be My son!" and to myriads of the same race He cries, "you shall be My sons and daughters, by a covenant forever."

"But," says one, "It seems that God intended to choose a fallen people that He might in them show forth His grace. Now, the angels of course would be unsuitable for this, since they have not fallen." I reply, there ARE angels that have fallen; there were angels that kept not their first estate, but fell from their dignity. And how is it that these are consigned to blackness of darkness for ever? Answer me, you that deny God's sovereignty, and hate His election: how is it that angels are condemned to everlasting fire--while to you, the children of Adam, the gospel of Christ is freely preached?

The only answer that can possibly be given is this: God wills to do it. He has a right to do as He pleases with His own mercy. Romans 9:15, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy; and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion."

Angels deserve no mercy--neither do we deserve mercy. Nevertheless, He gave it to us, and He denied it them. They are bound in chains, reserved for everlasting fire to the last great day--but we are saved.

Why, if there were any reason to move God in His creatures, He would certainly have chosen devils rather than men. Had the angels been reclaimed, they could have glorified God more than we; they could have sang His praises louder than we can, clogged as we are with flesh and blood. But passing by the greater, He chose the lesser, that He might show forth His sovereignty, which is the brightest jewel in the crown of His divinity!

Our Arminian antagonists always leave the fallen angels out of the question, for it is not convenient to them to recollect this ancient instance of election. They call it unjust, that God should choose one man and not another. By what reasoning can this be unjust, when they will admit that it was righteous enough in God to choose one race--the race of men; and leave another race--the race of angels, to be sunk into misery on account of sin?

Brethren, let us be done with arraigning God at our poor fallible judgment seat! God is good and does righteousness. Whatever He does we may know to be right, whether we can see the righteousness or not.

God's Election is marvelous indeed! God had unlimited power in creation. Now, if He willed to make a people who would be His favorites, who would be united to the person of His Son, and who would reign with Him--why did He not make a new race?

When Adam sinned, it would have been easy enough to strike the earth out of existence. He had but to speak and this round earth would have been dissolved, as the bubble dies into the wave that bears it.

There would have been no trace of Adam's sin left; the whole might have died away and have been forgotten forever!

But no! Instead of making a new people--a pure people who could not sin; instead of taking to Himself creatures that were pure, unsullied, without spot--He takes a depraved and fallen people and lifts these up, and that, too, by costly means--by the death of His own Son, and by the work of His own Spirit; that these must be the jewels in His crown to reflect His glory for ever!

Oh, singular choice! Oh, inexplicable Election! My soul is lost in your depths, and I can only pause and cry: "Oh, the goodness, oh the mercy, oh the sovereignty of God's grace!"

Now, when you think that God has chosen YOU, you may well pause and say in the language of that hymn,
"Pause, my soul! adore, and wonder!
 Ask: O why such love to ME?"

Kings passed by, and beggars chosen!
Wise men left, but fools made to know the wonders of His redeeming love!
Publicans and harlots sweetly compelled to come to the feast of mercy; while proud religious people are allowed to trust in their own righteousness, and perish in their vain boastings!

God's choice will ever seem in the eyes of unrenewed men, to be a very strange one. He has passed over those whom we would have selected; and He has chosen those who thought themselves the least likely ever to taste of His grace!

Before your sovereignty I bow, great God, and acknowledge that You do as you wish, and that You give no account of Your matters.

"Our God is in Heaven; He does whatever He pleases!" Psalm 115:3 

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Take out every stain!

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings for the Lord's Household") Play Audio!  Download

"Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!"
Psalm 51:2

Sin is spiritual filthiness.

Sin . . .
  defiles the conscience,
  corrupts the imagination,
  depraves the heart,
  perverts the will, 
  pollutes the mind,
  sets the tongue on fire by hell,
  stains the life, and
  renders the man totally and eternally unfit for Heaven!

It is God's work to cleanse a sinner. No one else can. The sinner cannot cleanse himself, he is without the means, the will, or the power! But God in mercy does, and He does it . . .
  by His Son, atoning;
  by His Spirit, renewing;
  by His Providence, working;
  and by His Truth, purifying.

The passage contains the believer's prayer: 
  "Wash me."
  "Wash me thoroughly."
  It is from "my iniquity, my sin."

Wash me, for . . .
  I have discovered my filthiness;
  I loathe myself on account of it;
  and I long to be delivered from it!

Wash me thoroughly:
  take out every stain,
  erase every impression,
  make me whiter than snow!

Sin always pollutes and defiles. A believer cannot rest in pollution, and therefore prays, "Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~

You keep track of all my sorrows!

(Charles SimeonPlay Audio!  Download

The LORD is close to all who call on Him; yes, to all who call on Him in truth." Psalm 145:18

God is as much concerned about every one of His redeemed people, as though there were only that one in the whole universe!

"You keep track of all my sorrows! You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book!" Psalm 56:8

"The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry for help!" Psalm 34:15

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The Spirit's work in salvation

(Charles SpurgeonPlay Audio!  Download

"When the Spirit comes, He will convict the world
  of its sin,
  and of God's righteousness,
  and of the coming judgment." John 16:8

The Holy Spirit lays bare his heart, lets him see the loathsome cancer that is there eating away his life, uncovers to him all the blackness and defilement of that sink of Hell--the human heart!

And then the man stands aghast, "I never thought I was like this! Oh! those sins I thought were little, have swelled to an immense stature. What I thought was a mole-hill, has grown into a mountain; it was a hyssop on the wall before, but now it has become a cedar of Lebanon."

Then the man says to himself, "Oh, I will try to reform; I will do enough good deeds to wash these black deeds out."

Then the Holy Spirit comes and shows him that he cannot do this, takes away all his 'fancied' power and strength; so that the man falls down on his knees in agony and cries, "Oh! once I thought I could save myself by my good works, but now I find that:
  Could my tears forever flow,
  Could my zeal no respite know,
  All for sin could not atone,
  You must save, and You alone!"

Then his heart sinks, and the man is ready to despair. He says, "I can never be saved. Nothing can save me."

Then the Holy Spirit comes and shows the sinner the cross of Christ, gives him eyes anointed with heavenly eye-salve, and says, "Look to yonder cross! That Man died to save sinners! You feel you are a sinner; He died to save you."

And then the Holy Spirit enables the heart to believe, and come to Christ.

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Carry your troubled heart to Jesus

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings for the Lord's Household") Play Audio!  Download

"I am troubled!"
Psalm 38:6

This is very often the case with the believer; he is seldom long without something to trouble him. He has . . .
  so much sin within him,
  so many foes without him, and
  such unexpected and difficult things in his path
--that he is often agitated and distressed.

Where he looked for comfort, he finds sorrow;
where he expected help, he finds hindrance;
where he promised himself pleasure, he experiences pain.

He is wearied: 
  weary of himself,
  weary of sin,
  weary of the world,
  weary of the carnal state of the church.

But what a mercy it is for the troubled Christian, that his Lord has experienced trouble as well as himself; so that He can sympathize with him. Jesus once said, "Now My soul is deeply troubled!" He has a fellow-feeling with us in all our troubles; and will first sanctify them, and then safely bring us out of them.

Beloved, are you troubled today?

Carry your troubled heart to Jesus, pour it out before Him.
He can calm it, soothe it, and give it cheering repose.
Take it to Jesus, to sanctify it for you.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Idiots catching flies!

(Charles SpurgeonPlay Audio!  Download

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

"What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Mark 8:36

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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