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“Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.”
“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.”
“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.”
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!”
~Annie J. Flint, 1919
HT: Grace Gems
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us! God is love.”
(1 John 4:16)
The sweeter the truth–the more backward we often are to receive and believe it. Therefore it must be presented to us again and again. What is more pleasant, than the fact that “God is love”?
Yet so quickly we doubt it, or forget it, or fail to realize it. Therefore the Gospel presents it to us again and again, and in almost every possible form. Twice within the scope of a few verses, John tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8,16).
Belief in this portrayal of God lies at the root of our holiness, happiness, and peace. To the extent that we believe that “God is love”–we will . . .
consecrate ourselves to His service,
enjoy peace in our consciences,
and be happy in His ways.
God loves us, and therefore He planned our salvation, sending His one and only Son to take away our sins by the sacrifice of Himself. He also sent His Holy Spirit to teach us our need of Christ and lead us to Him. And, finally, He has put His blessed Word in our hands so that through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures, we might have hope.
God loves us–and therefore He . . .
strips us, and
He will not let us live satisfied without Himself.
God is love–therefore He has provided an atonement for all our sins. His justice is satisfied, and Heaven is prepared for us!
Yes, though we were sinners by nature, and deeply feel it–though we are not all that we wish to be, and deeply deplore it–yet God loves us!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, who in His love and in His pity has redeemed me!
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins!”
(1 John 4:10)
~James Smith, “Comfort for Christians!”
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 . . .
obey Him, and
O Jesus! manifest Yourself to me; draw me to Your feet, and keep me there!
~James Smith, ‘The Pastor’s Morning Visit’
HT: Grace Gems
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!
~Ruth Bryan, ‘Gleanings from the Inner Life”
HT: Grace Gems
~J.A. James, “The Duties of Parents” 1828
On parents it depends in a great measure, what their children are to be . . .
happy–or miserable in themselves,
a comfort–or a curse to their relationships,
an ornament–or a deformity to society,
a seraph–or a fiend in eternity!
It is indeed a fearsome thing to be a parent, and is enough to awaken the anxious, trembling inquiry in every parent’s heart: “Lord, who is sufficient for these things?”
A graceless parent is a most dreadful character! Oh! to see the father and mother of an expanding family, with a crowd of young immortals growing up around them–and teaching worldliness to their offspring, and leading them to perdition by the power of their own example!
A sheep leading her lambs into a den of hungry tigers, would be a shocking sight! But to see parents conducting their children to the bottomless pit–is most horrible!!
HT: Grace Gems
Meditating on the glorious truths in this song, especially the stanza that says, ‘When through grace in Christ our trust is, justice smiles and asks no more.’
“They are not of the world–even as I am not of the world.”
O my God, I desire to come into Your gracious presence. May the incense-offering of gratitude and thanksgiving ascend from a grateful heart. How manifold are the proofs I have to recount of kindness on Your part! How deep the ingratitude I have to mourn on my own! My sins have reached unto the clouds–they are more in number than the sands of the sea! You are of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. I cannot evade Your righteous scrutiny–all things are naked and open unto the eyes of Him with whom I have to do!
Lord, I mourn the debasing influence of earthly things–the fascinating power of a present evil world. How inclined I am to conform to its evil maxims and unholy practices! How often I am found among those who “mind earthly things”–my soul cleaving to the dust, instead of soaring upwards to Yourself, my sole satisfying portion!
O Lord, it is my earnest prayer that You would wean me from the world. Keep me from over-anxiety about the things that are seen–from being over-careful and troubled about earth’s “many things”–to the exclusion of the one thing needful!
Break every alluring worldly spell!
Disenchant temporal things of their false and delusive charm!
By all the beneficial discipline of Your providence–disengage me from what is fleeting, uncertain, transient, perishable; and unite me to the things which cannot be shaken–but which remain forever! May my heart be more in Heaven–imbibing more of the pilgrim spirit. May I declare plainly that I seek a better country.
May I be driven nearer and closer to Him who is the true refuge and portion and Savior of His people. I rejoice to think that He has . . .
a balm for every wound,
a comfort for every bosom,
a solace for every tear!
May it be mine to go up through this ‘wilderness world’–leaning on His loving and omnipotent arm!
John MacDuff, “Evening Incense” 1856
HT: Grace Gems
“Make Your way straight before my face.”
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
From JMac’s teaching on Ephesians 1:3…
We go to God and we say Oh God, I need more love, I just want You to give me more love. And the Bible already says “That the love of God is shed abroad in your heart.” You say Oh, don't need that. Lord, what I need is peace, I'm so distressed. And Jesus said when He left: “My peace I leave with you not as the world giveth give I unto you, never let your heart be troubled.” Oh I got that too? Right Well, what I need is I need joy, I'm unhappy. No, read John 15, He said that He was going to leave His joy in us that our joy might be, what? Full. Oh, I don't need that either? No. Oh, I know what I need, I need strength. No. You can already do all things through Christ who already strengthens you. You see, we spend a lot of time asking for what we've got. You say Well, What am I supposed to ask for? James said ~ ask for wisdom and wisdom is the sense not to ask for what you've got. You see, God has already dispensed to us all spiritual blessing. All blessing connected to the Spirit. And people say Well, have you received the second blessing? I always say Yes. And the 5,000th too all when I received Christ I received how many? All spiritual blessings.
I have all that I need. Praise God!
We sang this during worship yesterday. I’ve been humming it all day, so I thought I’d share it.