Converts

And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
– Acts 2:47

The Church, itself, cannot avoid adding some who should not be received. With the greatest possible care and prudence we shall still make mistakes, And some are thus added whom the Lord never added to the Church. You have heard Mr. Hill’s story of meeting a man in the street one night, who hiccupped up to him and said, “How do you do, Mr. Hill? I am one of your converts.” “Yes,” said Rowland, “I should say you are, but you are none of God’s, or else you would not be drunk.” Converts of that sort are far too numerous. Converts of the preacher, converts of friends, or converts of a certain fashion of making profession—but not true-born children of the Lord.

– Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Additions to the Church, 1874

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No secular and Sacred

A spiritually vigorous saint never believes that his circumstances simply happen at random, nor does he ever think of his life as being divided into the secular and the sacred. He sees every situation in which he finds himself as the means of obtaining a greater knowledge of Jesus Christ, and he has an attitude of unrestrained abandon and total surrender about him.

– Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (from July 11th reading)

Published in: on May 21, 2017 at 12:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Will of God

The doing of God’s will is always a great thing—whether it is something that affects the welfare of a nation, or something that concerns only the good or the comfort of the lowliest of Christ’s little ones.

There is a legend of an angel who was sent to earth to keep a king from sinning; and also to help a little struggling ant home with its burden. Both tasks were alike noble, because both were God’s will.

In a great painting by one of the masters—there is a kitchen in which angels are doing their work. One is putting the kettle on the fire, one is lifting a pail of water, one is reaching up after a plate. These angels appear just as heavenly in this lowly work—as if they were doing Divine errands around God’s throne!

We need to learn the lesson: that anything that is God’s will—is great; and that whatever is not God’s will—is unworthy and ignoble, though it be to sway a scepter over a nation, or being the world’s idol. Many of us have to spend most of our life—in what seems ‘drudgery’. Perhaps we think it is unworthy of us. We feel that we are capable of greater things, and should not be required to spend our time in matters so trivial, perhaps so menial. But if it is God’s will that we are doing, our drudgery, as it appears to God’s eyes, is as radiant as angel’s ministry!

– Source unknown

The Nature of Grace

But by the grace of God I am what I am. – 1 Corinthians 15:10

1. Grace is God acting freely, according to His own nature as Love; with no promises or
obligations to fulfill; and acting of course, righteously—in view of the cross.

2. Grace, therefore, is uncaused in the recipient: its cause lies wholly in
the GIVER, in GOD.

3. Grace, also is sovereign. Not having debts to pay, or fulfilled conditions on man’s
part to wait for, it can act toward whom, and how, it pleases. It can, and does, often,
place the worst deservers in the highest favors.

4. Grace cannot act where there is either desert or ability: Grace does not help–it
is absolute, it does all.

5. There being no cause in the creature why Grace should be shown, the creature must be brought off from trying to give cause to God for His Grace.

6. The discovery by the creature that he is truly the object of Divine grace, works the utmost humility: for the receiver of grace is brought to know his own absolute unworthiness, and his complete inability to attain worthiness: yet he finds himself blessed,—on another principle, outside of himself!

7. Therefore, flesh has no place in the plan of Grace. This is the great reason why Grace is hated by the proud natural mind of man. But for this very reason, the true believer rejoices!! For he knows that “in him, that is, in his flesh, is no good thing”; and yet he finds God glad to bless him, just as he is!

– William Newell, Romans, Verse by Verse

Published in: on April 25, 2017 at 12:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Place of Humiliation

If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. —Mark 9:22

After every time of exaltation, we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they really are, where it is neither beautiful, poetic, nor thrilling. The height of the mountaintop is measured by the dismal drudgery of the valley, but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. We see His glory on the mountain, but we never live for His glory there. It is in the place of humiliation that we find our true worth to God— that is where our faithfulness is revealed. Most of us can do things if we are always at some heroic level of intensity, simply because of the natural selfishness of our own hearts. But God wants us to be at the drab everyday level, where we live in the valley according to our personal relationship with Him. Peter thought it would be a wonderful thing for them to remain on the mountain, but Jesus Christ took the disciples down from the mountain and into the valley, where the true meaning of the vision was explained (see Mark 9:5-6, Mark 9:14-23).

“If you can do anything….” It takes the valley of humiliation to remove the skepticism from us. Look back at your own experience and you will find that until you learned who Jesus really was, you were a skillful skeptic about His power. When you were on the mountaintop you could believe anything, but what about when you were faced with the facts of the valley? You may be able to give a testimony regarding your sanctification, but what about the thing that is a humiliation to you right now? The last time you were on the mountain with God, you saw that all the power in heaven and on earth belonged to Jesus— will you be skeptical now, simply because you are in the valley of humiliation?

– Oswald Chambers, 1874-1917, My Utmost for His Highest (October 2)

Quiet Time with God

A quiet hour spent alone with God at the beginning of the day, is the best beginning for the toils and cares of the day. A brief season of prayer, looking to God for wisdom and grace and strength, and seeking the assistance of the Holy Spirit–helps us to carry our religion into all of the events of the day. It brings joy and peace within the heart.

And as we place all our concerns in the care and keeping of the Lord, faithfully striving to do His will–we have a joyful trust that however dark or discouraging events may appear–our Father’s hand is guiding everything, and will give the wisest direction to all our toils. – Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” – Psalm 5:3

Some professors of religion are like the catbird!

There are very many things that may choke out love in the home. One of these is the lack of kindness. If you have grown less kind in your feelings, in your actions, and in your words–then love cannot thrive. Kindness is one of the best fertilizers for love.

There are so many people who have two sets of tones in which to speak–and two sets of manners in which they act. They have their company manners–and their family manners. When they have company–then the voice is soft and pleasant, and the manners are agreeable and kindly. They treat their friends with the greatest consideration; but as soon as their friends are gone, the pleasant voice changes into crossness or harshness and fault-finding–and the pleasantness of manner disappears! In how many homes is this true!

The greater consideration, the greater kindness–is due the home folks. Otherwise, love cannot flourish. If you wish to have love for your home folks–then you must show them the consideration that is due them.

Some professors of religion are like the catbird! When it is away from its nest–then it is one of the sweetest of the northern warblers; but when it is close to its nest–then you will hear only a harsh, discordant note. It has no sweetness in its voice while at its nest.

In the same way, some people reserve all their kindness, tenderness, and sweetness–for those outside the family circle. Is it any wonder that love dies in such a home?

“Love must be without hypocrisy.” Romans 12:9

Charles Naylor, How to Fertilize Love, 1920

 

Published in: on March 19, 2017 at 7:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The fruits and effects He produces

“When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment.” (John 16:8)

Where the Holy Spirit is, there will always be deep conviction of sin–and true repentance for it. It is His special office to convict of sin.

He shows the exceeding holiness of God.

He teaches the exceeding corruption and infirmity of our nature.

He strips us of our blind self-righteousness.

He opens our eyes to our awful guilt, folly and danger.

He fills the heart with sorrow, contrition, and abhorrence for sin–as the abominable thing which God hates.

He who knows nothing of all this, and saunters carelessly through life, thoughtless about sin, and indifferent and unconcerned about his soul–is a dead man before God! He has not the Holy Spirit.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in a man’s heart can only be known by the fruits and effects He produces. Mysterious and invisible to mortal eye as His operations are–they always lead to certain visible and tangible results.

Just as you know there is life in a tree by its sap, buds, leaves and fruits–just so you may know the Spirit to be in a man’s heart by the influence He exercises over his thoughts, affections, opinions, habits, and life. I lay this down broadly and unhesitatingly. I see it clearly marked out in our Lord Jesus Christ’s words, “Every tree is known by his own fruit.” Luke 6:44

– J.C. Ryle, 1816-1900, The Holy Spirit

He lived poor and died poor

“Jesus replied—Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20

Jesus does not say, Kings have palaces—but I have none. Nor does He say that rich men have houses and lands and mansions to entertain their followers—but I have none; but, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but I have no place to lay My head.”

Your outward condition is not worse than Christ’s was, when He was in the world. Christ’s condition was low, yes, very low and humble in this world. He was born in a stable, lived on the charity of others, and did not have enough money to pay His taxes. The great Architect of the world had no place to lay His head—but emptied Himself of all, and became poor to make us rich, not in goods—but in grace; not in worldly wealth—but in the treasures of the eternal world. He lived poor and died poor.

Are you houseless, are you penniless, are you poor, and low, and base in this world? So was Christ! Remember “the servant is not greater than his Lord!”

It is unfitting to see the Head all begored with blood and crowned with thorns—and the members to be decked with roses and jewels, and to smell of rich spices, and perfumes!

Are you in a worse condition than Christ was, in this world? Oh no, no! Why then do you murmur and complain? Why do you say there is no sorrow like your sorrow, nor any suffering compared to your suffering? O sirs! it is honor enough for the disciples of Christ to fare as Christ fared in this world. Why should the servant be in a better condition than His Lord? Did you but seriously and frequently meditate and ponder upon the poverty and low estate of Christ while He was in this world, your hearts would be more calm and quiet under all their crosses and losses!

Thomas Brooks, London’s Lamentations, 1670

I Never Knew You

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. – Mt. 7:23

I never knew you. That is, I never approved, loved, or regarded you as my friends. This proves that, with all their pretensions, they had never been true followers of Christ. Jesus will not then say to false prophets and false professors of religion, that he had once known them, and then rejected them; that they had been once Christians and then had fallen away; that they had been pardoned, and then had apostatized; but that he had never known them.

— THEY HAD NEVER BEEN TRUE CHRISTIANS.

Whatever might have been their pretended joys, their raptures, their hopes, their self-confidence, their visions, their zeal, they had never been regarded by the Savior as his true friends. I know not a more decided proof that Christians do not fall away from grace than this text. It settles the question; and proves that whatever else such men had, they never had any true religion.

– Albert Barnes, 1872-1951, Barnes Notes