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1. The Spirit awakens a person’s heart.

2. The Spirit teaches a person’s mind.

3. The Spirit leads to the Word.

4. The Spirit convinces of sin.

5. The Spirit draws to Christ.

6. The Spirit sanctifies.

7. The Spirit makes a person spiritually minded.

8. The Spirit produces inward conflict.

9. The Spirit makes a person love the brethren.

10. The Spirit teaches a person to pray.

These are the great marks of the Holy Spirit’s presence. Put the question to your conscience and ask: Has the Spirit done anything of this kind for your soul?

~ J.C. Ryle

HT: JC Ryles Quotes

 

 “Make Your way straight before my face.”

Psalm 5:8

Dear Father, this cry is going up to You this morning, from many a tried and perplexed soul, who is fearing to “wander in the wilderness, in a pathless wasteland.” Will You graciously bend down Your ear, and listen to their prayer, and grant the desired direction and guidance?

“Make Your way straight.” Dear Lord, it is not that Your ways are ever crooked or deviating, but that my eyes are bent on seeing pleasant little bypaths, where the road is not so rough, or the walking so toilsome–as on the King’s highway! My way looks so enticing, so easy, so agreeable to the flesh. Your way means self-denial, taking up the cross, and the relinquishment of much that my carnal heart desires.

Now, dear Lord, hear my cry, “Make Your way straight before my face!” Compel me, by the power of Your love and Your example–to go in the narrowroad! “Hedge up my way with thorns”–rather than that I should take a step out of the way which You have laid down for me.

What if, sometimes, there are mists and fogs so thick that I cannot see the path? ‘Tis enough that You hold my hand, and guide me in the darkness; for walking with You in the gloom–is far sweeter and safer than walking alone in the sunlight!

Dear Lord, give me grace to trust You wholly, whatever may befall; yielding myself up to Your leading, and leaning hard on You when “dangers are in the path.” Your way for me has been marked out from all eternity, and it leads directly to Yourself and home! Help me to keep my eyes fixed on the joy that is set before me, and deliver me from the very faintest desire to turn aside, and linger in the flowery meadows which have so often lured the feet of poor pilgrims into danger and distress!

Father, You have said, “My ways are not your ways, neither are My thoughts your thoughts.” True, dear Lord; but then You can uplift my thoughts to Yours, and exalt my ways until they reach the mountain-top of obedience to Your blessed will. Work this miracle for me this day, O Lord; use thatsweet compulsion which will delight my heart, while it directs my steps! Make me to run in the way of Your commandments, and I shall run gladly, with the blessed certainty that I shall reach the goal at last! Have You not given me a monitor within, which strikes a gentle warning note, when my feet turn but an instant from the straight way?

But, best of all, dearest Lord, may You Yourself come with me along life’s road, today and every day! Let the abiding of my soul in You be so real and constant, so true and tender–that I may always be aware of Your sweet presence, and never take a single step, apart from Your supporting and delivering hand!

~Susannah Spurgeon, “Free Grace and Dying Love!”

HT: Grace Gems

 

 

 

 

How willing are we to give up material things — even things we feel are necessary, not merely ornamental — in order to give a good witness to others, to support the Lord’s work, to demonstrate to Him that we desire to please Him in all things?  For effective witnessing, can we afford the appearance of self-indulgence?  I think of the Scripture that tells us to abstain from even the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22) and this is meant so as not to weaken our witness to others.
–The Berean Call

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”  
-Philippians 3:8

 

“Redeeming the time.”
Colossians 4:5

“That you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way.”
Colossians 1:10

 

Thief 1. One of the greatest time-wasting sins, consists of idleness or sloth.

Thief 2. The next thief or time-waster, is excess of sleep.

Thief 3. Another time-waster, is an inordinate adorning of the body.

Thief 4. Another time-wasting thief, is unnecessary pomp and extravagance in household furniture and domestic entertainments.

Thief 5. Another time-wasting sin, is needless feastingsgluttony, and drinking.

Thief 6. Another time-waster, is idle talk.

Thief 7. Another thief which would steal your time, is vain and sinful company.

Thief 8. Another notorious time-wasting thief, is needless, inordinate sports and games–which are masked with the deceitful title of recreations.

Thief 9. Another time-wasting thief, is excess of worldly cares and business.

Thief 10. Another time-waster, is vain, ungoverned and sinful thoughts.

Thief 11. Another dangerous time-wasting sin, is the reading of worthless books, plays, romances, and novels. And also unprofitable studies, undertaken but for pride and vain-glory, or the pleasing of a carnal or curious mind.

Thief 12. But the master-thief that robs men of their time, is an unsanctified, ungodly heart; for this loses time, whatever men are doing–because they never intend to do anything for the glory of God.

 

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do–do it all for the glory of God!
1 Corinthians 10:31

 

~~Richard Baxter

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HT: Grace Gems

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excellent thoughts to ponder today.  I plan to include this in our family devotions, as well, to encourage my children to consider this question for themselves…often.

“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…”
Philippians 2:12

Are we converted ourselves? This is the one point to which our attention ought to be directed. Our experience may not tally with that of other believers. But that is not the question. Do we feel sin, hate it, and flee from it? Do we love Christ, and rest solely on Him for salvation? Are we bringing forth fruits of the Spirit in righteousness and true holiness? If these things are so we may thank God, and take courage. {emphasis mine}

~ J.C. Ryle

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: John, volume 1, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1987], 242, 243. {John 4:31-42}

HT: J.C. Ryle Quotes

from J.C. Ryle’s Old Paths “Forgiveness”
HT: Eric

1)  Forgiven souls HATE SIN. They can enter most fully into the words of our Communion Service, “The remembrance of sin is grievous unto them, and the burden of it is intolerable.” It is the serpent which bit them—how should they not shrink from it with horror? It is the poison which brought them to the brink of eternal death—how should they not loathe it with a godly disgust? It is the Egyptian enemy which kept them in hard bondage—how should not the very memory of it be bitter to their hearts? It is the disease of which they carry the marks and scars about them, and from which they have scarcely recovered—well may they dread it, flee from it, and long to be delivered altogether from its power! If you and sin are friends, you and God are not yet reconciled. You are not fit for heaven; for one main part of heaven’s excellence is the absence of all sin.

2)  Forgiven souls LOVE CHRIST. This is that one thing they can say, if they dare say nothing else—they do love Christ. His person, His offices, His work, His name, His cross, His blood, His words, His example, His ordinances—all, all are precious to forgiven souls. The ministry which exalts Him most, is that which they enjoy most. The books which are most full of Him, are most pleasant to their minds. The people on earth they feel most drawn to, are those in whom they see something of Christ. He is their Redeemer, their Shepherd, their Physician, their King, their strong Deliverer, their gracious Guide, their hope, their joy, their All. Were it not for Him they would be of all people most miserable.

3)  Forgiven souls are HUMBLE. They cannot forget that they owe all they have and hope for to free grace, and this keeps them lowly. They are brands plucked from the fire—debtors who could not pay for themselves—captives who must have remained in prison forever—but for undeserved mercy—wandering sheep who were ready to perish when the Shepherd found them! What right then have they to be proud? I do not deny that there are proud saints. But this I do say—they are of all God’s creatures the most inconsistent, and of all God’s children the most likely to stumble and pierce themselves with many sorrows. We have nothing we can call our own–but sin and weakness. Surely there is no garment that befits us so well, as humility.

4)  Forgiven souls are HOLY. Their chief desire is to please Him who has saved them, to do His will, to glorify Him in body and in Spirit, which are His. “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits?” (Ps. 116:12), is a leading principle in a pardoned heart. It was the remembrance of Jesus showing mercy that made Paul in labors so abundant, and in doing good so unwearied. If anyone points out to me believers who are in a carnal, slothful state of soul, I reply in the words of Peter, “They have forgotten they were purged from their old sins.” (2 Pet. 1:9.)

But if you show me a man deliberately living an unholy and licentious life, and yet boasting that his sins are forgiven, I answer, “He is under a ruinous delusion, and is not forgiven at all.” I would not believe he is forgiven if an angel from heaven affirmed it, and I charge you not to believe it too. Pardon of sin and love of sin are like oil and water—they will never go together. All who are washed in the blood of Christ, are also sanctified by the Spirit of Christ.

5)  Forgiven souls are FORGIVING. They do as they have been done by. They look over the offenses of their brethren. They endeavor to “walk in love, as Christ loved them, and gave Himself for them.” (Eph. 5:2.) They remember how God for Christ’s sake forgave them, and endeavor to do the same towards their fellow-creatures. Has He forgiven them pounds, and shall they not forgive a few pence? Doubtless in this, as in everything else, they come short—but this is their desire and their aim. A spiteful, quarrelsome Christian is a scandal to his profession. Forgiveness is the way by which every saved soul enters heaven. Forgiveness is the eternal subject of song with all the redeemed who inhabit heaven. Surely an unforgiving soul in heaven would find his heart completely out of tune. Surely we know nothing of Christ’s love to us but the name of it, if we do not love our brethren.

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Let it be a settled resolution with us to “keep our hearts with all diligence,” all the days of our lives. (Prov. 4:23.) Even after renewal they are weak. Even after putting on the new man they are deceitful. Let us never forget that our chief danger is from within. The world and the devil combined, cannot do us so much harm as our own hearts will, if we do not watch and pray. Happy is he who remembers daily the words of Solomon, “One who trusts in himself is a fool.” (Prov. 28:26.)

~J. C. Ryle
Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Matthew, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1986], 178, 179.

 

HT:  J. C. Ryle Quotes

 

 

 

 

For the LORD shall rise up as [in] Mount Perazim he shall be wroth as [in] the valley of Gibeon that he may do his work his strange work and bring to pass his act his strange act.
Isaiah 28:21

The judgment work of Christ is not an easy work to speak on because, you see, even Isaiah in Isaiah 28:21 calls it God’s quote “strange work,” because to Isaiah it seems to be so contrary to the greatest attribute of God which is His love, the supreme quality of His nature. But you see, God must be a God of judgment because He loves. You see, He loves so much that the day is coming when He’s going to protect those who are the objects of His love from evil forever. And the only way He can do it is to destroy evil, you see? So even that is an act of love…to protect and preserve the full manifestation of His love to His people forever. And so He will come in judgment to destroy sinners and sin. (emphasis added)

~John MacArthur
The Saga of Two Conquerers, Part 2
(~from the commentary on Zechariah 9:9-17)


“Of all the sins into which men can fall, none seem so exceedingly sinful as false profession and hypocrisy. At all events, none have drawn from our Lord’s mouth such strong language, and such heavy denunciations. It is bad enough to be led away captive by open sin, and to serve diverse lusts and pleasures. But it is even worse to pretend to have a religion, while in reality we serve the world. Let us beware of falling into this abominable sin. Whatever we do in religion, let us never wear a cloak. Let us be real, honest, thorough, and sincere in our Christianity. We cannot deceive an all-seeing God.”

~ J.C. Ryle

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Mark, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1985], 267, 268.

HT: J. C. Ryle Quotes

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The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world. His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are so few who share his inner experiences he is forced to walk alone.

The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord Himself suffered in the same way.

The man [or woman] who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual inner experience will not find many who understand him. He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation of being dull and over-serious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and society widens.

He searches for friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none he, like Mary of old, keeps these things in his heart.

It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else.”

A.W. Tozer
Man-The Dwelling Place of God
Ch. 39: “The Saint Must Walk Alone”

HT: Crossroads

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