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You are stewards here. God has committed unto you your mind, your heart, your physical skills. Your spiritual gifts, preaching, teaching, helps, administration, exhortation, the gift of giving, the gift of showing mercy. These are all spiritual gifts and every Christian has them and they are your stewardship. Are you a faithful person in distributing that stewardship to the rest of the family of God? Or do you live in isolation. Are you using your ministries? Are you using your gifts, your abilities? Are you responsible in the areas of fellowship, to care and to pray and to edify and exhort and to challenge each other and to reprove each other and to restore each other? Are you fulfilling these things? This is your stewardship. And that’s why in 1 Peter Chapter 4 and verse 10, Peter says “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” God graciously has given you gifts. He wants them managed properly for the benefit of the unity of the body.” ~ John MacArthur, ‘The Mystery Revealed’, Ephesians 3: 1-4

from Charles Spurgeon~

As precious liquors are best kept in clean vessels–so sound doctrine is best kept in a pure heart and life. Who, indeed, would knowingly pour a choice wine into a tainted cask? It would be foolish to do so.

When we hear of men living in sin, and yet claiming to be children of God–we are disgusted with their pretenses, but we are not deceived by their professions.

In the same manner, we care little for those who are orthodox Christians in creed–if it is clear that they are heterodox in life. He who believes the truth–should himself be true. How can we expect others to receive our religion–if it leaves us foul, false, malicious, and selfish?

We sicken at the sight of a dirty dish, and refuse even good food when it is placed thereon. So pure and holy is the doctrine of the cross, that . . .
he who hears it aright, will have his ears cleansed,
he who believes it aright, will have his heart purged, and
he who preaches it aright, will have his tongue purified.
Woe unto that man who brings reproach upon the gospel–by an unholy life!

Lord, evermore make us pure vessels fit for Your own use, and then fill us with the pure wine of the grapes of sound doctrine and wholesome instruction. Do not allow us to be such “foul cups”–as to be only fit for the wine of Sodom!

“For the grace of God . . . teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires–and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” Titus 2:12

HT: Grace Gems

The special privilege God meant as a tool for witness, they [the Israelite’s]  were to be a channel and you know what happened don’t you? Instead of them seeing themselves as a witness, instead of them seeing the difference as a way to reach people, instead of them standing up and saying, I’m different and consequently the world is going to say what’s the difference and I can tell them that God has made me different. Instead of that it became an excuse for carnal, selfish, self-glorification and pride.

It can happen with us too. We’re to be different aren’t we? We’re to be completely different than the rest of the world. We’re to walk a different walk, talk a different talk, think a different way. Read later in Ephesians and you’ll find out we are to walk not as the Gentiles walked, not as the heathen walk in the vanity of their mind. We are to walk in love. We are to walk in light. We are to walk in wisdom. We
are to walk in the spirit. Our conversation, our manner of life, our walk is to be totally different than the rest of the world. And that it is to be different because want them to take note of us. First of all, and secondly, God wants to keep us separated so different that we can’t mingle with them. It’s the same two things again. And hopefully the world will see the difference and we’ll say to them it’s Jesus Christ
that made the difference and here’s how He can make a difference in your life. And that’s exactly what Israel should have done. Instead of doing that, Israel became proud, loved the difference, celebrated the difference, became proud about the difference, and elevated themselves as if they were better than everybody else.

And I hate to think about it, but I think it’s even possible that that’s happening in Christianity or could happen. Where Christianity forms some sort of an elite that think they’re better than everybody else. And instead of really being a channel to reach the world, we become an isolated little group of people with our own little lingo and our own little deal and our own little code and our own little bumper stickers and our own little radio stations and TV stations and our own books and our own everything, and it’s us for, no more, shut the door, you know. ~ John McArthur, teaching on Ephesians 2: 11-12

“Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.”
Job 5:7

“Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.”
Job 14:1-2

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.”
John 16:33

God has not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God has not promised, sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

God has not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He has not told us, we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

God has not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river, turbid and deep.

But God has promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love!

“God will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever!”
Revelation 21:4

~Annie J. Flint, 1919

HT: Grace Gems

“And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching.”
“But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part” Luke 10:39, 42

Let not the many trifles of time affect, distract, and bewilder you; but let the one thing needful be the constant object of pursuit and desire.  Live at the feet of Jesus–and you are safe.

Seek, above all things, to enjoy Jesus–and you will be happy.

Aim in all things to glorify Jesus–and you will be holy.

Look daily for the coming of Jesus–and you will be consistent.

Seek to  . . .
know Him,
love Him,
believe Him,
obey Him, and
enjoy Him!

O Jesus! manifest Yourself to me; draw me to Your feet, and keep me there!

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~James Smith, ‘The Pastor’s Morning Visit’

HT: Grace Gems

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It is astonishing that such a worm should be 
so favored with discoveries of His beauty–whom 
glorified saints and angels gaze with ineffable
delight. But, after all, I know not a thousandth
part of what He is, and what I have in Him. 

Surely Christ is all! 

How little, how verily nothing, am I.

Oh! that my lips, my life, and every action– 
might speak His praise and glorify His name, 
who is a Heaven to me! 

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~Ruth Bryan, ‘Gleanings from the Inner Life”

HT: Grace Gems

In this three part series by Dr. Paul M. Elliott, we learn specific details of our new life as adopted sons of God.

Part 1 ~ What does it mean to be adopted by God? 

“Adoption is a legal act of God on our behalf, in the same way as justification. Justification is legal language in Scripture. We stand before the judgment bar of God as hopeless sinners, condemned to death, with nothing to offer for our own redemption. But Christ comes and stands before His Father at the judgment bar, and offers His perfect righteousness – His full atonement for our sins and His perfect keeping of God’s law – as our substitute. And so God the Father declares us not guilty. “

Read the full article here.

Part 2 ~ New Privileges, New Relationships, New Responsibilities.

” Because of what Christ has done, God the condemning Judge is now God our loving Father. […]  …[B]ecause of adoption we have a new relationship with God the Son. Not only is He our Savior, the One who paid for our justification, but He is now also our Brother.  […] The Holy Spirit indwells every believer. He comes and brings us to spiritual life by the work of calling us and regenerating us, and He takes up residence within us.”

Read the full article here.

Part 3 ~ New Citizenship, New Bodies, A Secure Inheritance.

“The father’s property was his by right of adoption. And that is true for us. We have an inheritance. Our inheritance is our Father’s property — all the riches that are in Christ Jesus. The spiritual riches of life in Him now, and the riches of the new heavens and new earth in the life to come. “

Read the full article here.

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Dr. Paul M. Elliott is founder and president of Teaching The Word Ministries.

(Theodore Cuyler)

“As your days–so shall your strength be.”
Deuteronomy 33:25

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

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each
day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:34

HT: Grace Gems

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