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 1 
 on: Today at 04:43:26 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
The Early Prayer
From Timeless Grace Gems
Francis Bourdillon, 1881



"And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark — He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed." Mark 1:35

When the Son of God became man — He took upon Him our nature in all its parts, except its sinfulness. As man He had needs to be supplied, bodily weakness to be strengthened, and sorrows under which He stood in need of comfort. When we consider this, we are not surprised to find Him praying. We know that He often prayed. On some occasions the very words He used are told to us. On other occasions, we only know that He prayed. But this is quite certain — that prayer was His constant habit.

Jesus is our example. We are not only to look to Him as our Savior, who by His death made atonement for our sins — but we are also to follow Him in His life as our pattern. We are to strive to be like Him. We ought to love — as He loved, to be kind — as He was kind, and holy — as He was holy. Like Him, we are to forgive those who have injured us, and to go about doing good. And here we have another point in which to follow Him: we ought to take Him as our example in praying.

The vast difference between Him and us, does but make His example in this point the more forcible. For if He prayed, who had no sins to be forgiven — then how should we pray, over whom not a day passes that does not leave behind it some stain of sin which nothing but His precious blood can wash away, and who in our utter weakness, stand in constant need of guidance, grace, and strength!

Let us see, therefore, what our Lord's example here teaches us. We may notice three things about His prayer:

1. It was private prayer;
2. It was morning prayer; and
3. It was prayer in spite of hindrances.

In all these respects, we may learn from His example.


1. This was private prayer.

"And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark — He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed." On most other occasions when He wished to be apart from the multitude, He took some of His disciples as His companions — but here He chose to be quite alone. While they were still sleeping — He went out by Himself to pray.

In the same way, we ought every day to have some time alone with God. Our Lord taught us this when He said, "When you pray, go into your room shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret." He here teaches us the same, by His example. There, with no human eye upon us, we can pray freely and tell to our Father our most secret feelings, and confess to Him our inmost faults and lay before Him every trouble and anxiety.

Nothing can supply the place of private prayer. Public worship and family prayer have each their special uses, but they must not be made an excuse for the neglect of prayer alone with God. Never omit this. Let it be a daily habit. The soul cannot prosper without secret prayer. Growing cold or careless in secret prayer, will surely lead to a general declension in spiritual things.

2. This prayer of our Lord was morning prayer. It was thus that He began the day. Nay, His prayer was before daybreak. "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark." Thus should we begin every day — giving our freshest and earliest thoughts to God, and seeking His help before the difficulties of the day begin. The mercies of the night should not be allowed to fade away from the mind without thanksgiving, or to be lost in the new mercies which every day brings. Thanksgiving and prayer should be the first work of each day.

We know not what a day may bring forth. Every day brings with it its own duties, difficulties, and temptations. Oftentimes most unexpected things arise. The post brings some news by which our mind is filled with anxiety. Someone comes to see us, whose visit changes the whole tone of our feelings. A sudden trial of temper, an unlooked-for temptation to sin — may arise at any moment. It often happens that, when we have risen all bright and cheerful, before an hour has gone by, something has happened which has ruffled our spirit and cast a cloud over our day. It is well to be prepared for all, by prayer. He who has passed the first portion of the day alone with God, comes down to the cares and duties of life like a soldier going into battle with his armor on; while he who begins the day without prayer, is like one defenseless and unarmed.

If we do not secure the first of the day for prayer — then we may find no time for it until the day is gone. Other things will fill the mind; the bustle of the world will be around us; and even if time for prayer is not lacking — we shall have lost the still morning hour, when the thoughts are most fresh and clear. Before the world fills the heart — be with God in secret prayer.

3. It was prayer in spite of hindrances. Have you hindrances? So had our blessed Lord. But He prayed in spite of hindrances. He led a busy life. Not busy, as the lives of many are — in the pursuit of gain or of any selfish object. He was busy in doing good. Just before the text we read, "That evening at sundown they brought to Him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And He healed many who were sick various diseases, and cast out many demons." It was thus that a day of toil was closed.

Nor was this an unusual day with Him. Such was His life — an active, laborious life; a life spent much in public. He was generally surrounded by a crowd, and His disciples were almost always with Him. As far as we can judge, He had little time to Himself. After such a day, He must have wanted rest. Sleep was welcome to our Lord, when weary in body and weary in mind — as welcome as it is to us. He needed rest, but He wanted prayer more. So He did not give many hours to sleep, but long before daybreak, He arose to pray.

How does this shame our sloth! How ready are we to make excuses to ourselves for a hurried morning prayer, or perhaps for no prayer at all! How small a hindrance is allowed to stand in the way!

Not that there are not real hindrances with some. Those of us who live an easy and regular life, have indeed no hindrance that may not easily be overcome. But it is not so with all. The laboring man, the poor mother of a large young family, the servant in a busy household — indeed, all who have to rise early and to work hard, have a real hindrance — yet not a hindrance which may not be overcome. Jesus overcame the hindrances that lay in His way — let His followers set themselves to do the same.

You may lead a busy life — yet you must find time to pray. Your daily work may begin early — yet let your secret prayer be earlier still. If you cannot find a place to be alone before you leave your home — yet let your heart be alone with God. Give Him your first thoughts. Do not fear to kneel down before others. Perhaps as you go to your work, you may find a further time for solitary prayer. The busy mother may secure a few quiet moments before her household work begins. The servant may rise a few minutes earlier to secure the most precious time of all the day. He who has ordered our lot — has placed none of us in such circumstances that we cannot pray. It is His will that we should pray, and He will help us to overcome every hindrance. We may pray — if only we sincerely desire to pray.

Yes, it is the will that is chiefly lacking. It is not strange that it should be so, with those who have never known the worth of prayer, and whose prayers have never been anything better than a heartless form. But it is strange that they who have experienced the comfort and blessing of prayer — should yet be slothful in praying.

Yet so it is. Often have we prayed and received a gracious answer; often have we been comforted, helped, strengthened in answer to prayer — yet still how backward we are to pray! How much we need to be stirred up and quickened in the work!

As you love your Savior and desire His grace and blessing — then follow His example in prayer. If you would have your days peaceful and happy — then begin each day with prayer. If you would meet the temptations and difficulties of each day aright, if you would not sink under its burden of cares, if you would maintain throughout the day a spiritual frame and enjoy holy and happy thoughts — then let prayer be your earliest work. Whatever other times and ways of prayer you may have — pray in private, pray in the morning, and let no hindrance keep you from it!

 2 
 on: Today at 04:41:41 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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Resurrection Power
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


How comes this flower to bloom so fair,
With loveliest fragrance to fill the air?
A short time ago the seed lay dead,
The cold, wintry ground its desolate bed.

But now, behold, from the dampened earth,
Without a sound to betray its birth,
This thing of beauty has blossomed and grown
To possess a loveliness all its own.

And as we view it, standing there
With a majesty quite beyond compare,
A mighty conviction grips the heart:
This beautiful flow’r has a counterpart.

Our Savior once suffered and died for sin.
Though no one so righteous as He had been.
It seemed that the devil had sealed His doom
As they buried His body in Joseph’s tomb.

But what is this wonder that greets our eyes
As the rays of the third morning’s sun arise?
Behold, He is risen! The grave could not hold
The Author of Life; the Anointed of God!

And now the dead who have trusted in His name,
Though sleeping in Jesus, will rise again
With bodies more glorious than this flower
–Sown in weakness, but raised in power!

C.R.S.

 3 
 on: Today at 04:40:08 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

The grace of God exempts no one from trouble!

(J.C. Ryle, "The Gospel of Luke" 1858)

"And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years." Luke 1:6-7

Let us mark in this passage, the heavy trial which God was pleased to lay on Zachariah and Elizabeth. We are told that they had no child. The full force of these words can hardly be understood by a modern Christian. To an ancient Jew, they would convey the idea of a very weighty affliction. To be childless, was one of the bitterest of sorrows. (1 Samuel 1:10)

The grace of God exempts no one from trouble! As righteous as this holy priest and his wife were--they had a "crook in their lot." (Ecclesiastes 7:13)

Let us remember this, if we serve Christ--and let us not count trials as strange things. Let us rather believe that a hand of perfect wisdom is measuring out all our portion; and that when God chastises us--it is to make us "partakers of His holiness." (Hebrews 12:10)

If afflictions drive us nearer to Christ, the Bible, and prayer--then they are positive blessings. We may not think so now. But we shall think so, when we wake up in the eternal world.

 4 
 on: Today at 09:52:10 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
Called Before Birth

“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him.” (Galatians 1:15-16)
 
There is great mystery here. Paul was the human writer of much of the New Testament, yet he also claimed divine inspiration. “I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12).
 
It was only a short time before, however, that Paul had been bitterly opposing that gospel. “Beyond measure,” he said, “I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it” (Galatians 1:13). Eventually, he was converted and began to preach “the faith which once he destroyed” (Galatians 1:23). Yet, during all his years of fighting God’s truth, he had already been separated unto God and called by His grace even before he was born, as our text reveals. His teachers in the synagogue, his studies under Gamaliel, and even his anti-Christian crusades were all being orchestrated by God to develop Paul into the unique person he would be, the great Christian whom God could use to write much of His own written Word. Paul’s epistles were thus truly his epistles, derived from his own experience, research, study, reasoning, and concerns. At the same time, they came out as God’s Word, inspired by the Holy Spirit, free from error and perfectly conveyed from God to man, because God had Himself ordained and planned all Paul’s experiences and abilities and had implanted all these concerns in his heart.
 
And so it was with all the human writers of the Bible. God’s Word (like Christ Himself) is both human and divine, yet meeting all our needs. This is mysterious indeed, but well within the capabilities of our omnipotent and gracious Creator. HMM

 5 
 on: November 23, 2017, 05:04:21 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
Thanksgiving
From Timeless Grace Gems
William Nicholson, 1862


        Thank God for enlightening and quickening you. When you sat in the region and shadow of death — the dayspring from on high visited you. When you had no more thought for God than a dead man, then he "made you alive in Christ!" Ephesians 2:1.

        Thank God for pardoning and justifying you.

        Thank God for adopting love. "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty!" 2 Corinthians 6:18

        Thank God for sanctification; for "though you lay among the pots, you are like a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold."

        Thank him for growth in grace. "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree, and grow like the cedar in Lebanon."

        Thank him for the hope of perfection; knowing that "he who has begun the good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

        Thank him for supporting grace in the prospect of death, for the promise of his presence then to enable you to conquer — for the hope of a glorious resurrection, and admission to immortal bliss!


        II. The Manner of Offering Thanks to God.

        1. Thanksgiving may be mental — as when we indulge admiring, adoring, and affectionate thoughts of God, or meditate upon his graciousness with pleasure and delight.

        2. Thanksgiving may be vocal. "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth may be compelled to speak." In private — in the family — in the house of God.

        3. Thanksgiving must be with reverence. It is praise to the Great I Am — to God, who is a Spirit, pure, infinite, Nehemiah 9:5; Psalm 91:1, 2; 95:1-3.

        4. Thanksgiving must be with humility — as unworthy recipients, acknowledging the salvation of God. As prodigals, returned outcasts, miserable sinners — confessing salvation to be all of grace.

        5. Thanksgiving must be practical. This is called a "showing forth the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light." Tell others what he has done for you. Go, spread his truth — advance his cause. The people upon whom Christ wrought miracles did this. Paul, the persecutor, after his conversion, did this.

        6. Thanksgiving must be ardent. The greatness of the blessings, demands fervent thanks. Life from the dead — translation from Satan's kingdom into the kingdom of God's dear Son — deliverance from perdition to the hope of Heaven, etc. Psalm 71:8; 138:1, 2.


        III. Enforce the Duty of Thanks to God.

        1. Thanksgiving is the command of God. It was so under the Levitical economy, Leviticus 7:12; much more so under the Gospel dispensation; 1 Corinthians 9:11; Philippians 4:6:Colossians 2:7.

        2. Thanksgiving is a striking evidence of spiritual vitality. It indicates sensibility — experience — love to God.

        3. Thanksgiving is delightful. Psalm 33:1; 147:1. Delightful to feel — beautiful to behold.

        Sweet is the work, my God, my King,

        To praise Your name, give thanks and sing,

        To show your love by morning light,

        And talk of all your truth at night.

        4. Thanksgiving is acceptable to God, and honors him. Psalm 50:23; 2 Corinthians 4:15. God neither needs our services nor our songs — as he is all perfection, and an everlasting harmony to himself, without the feeble notes that we can raise. Yet through Christ, he is well pleased with our imperfect praises. Where he has given his grace, the grateful heart is an instrument of music to him; and he loves it to be kept in tune, and to sound forth his praises.

        5. Thanksgiving is the precursor of praise to be offered in the celestial temple! Thanksgiving is the practice-time, the rehearsal for the grand chorus of all the redeemed in Heaven! We are tuning our hearts here for perfect praise there!

        "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: 'Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.' All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!" Revelation 7:9-12

        When the Church militant shall be joined to the Church triumphant — O what voices, what songs of melody, what rapturous joys, will then be heard in Heaven to all eternity, when Christ shall lead the worship, and the praises that have been growing for thousands of years, shall burst forth, and be diffused abroad, and all creation echo to the song, "Glory to God in the highest!" This is what the saints are waiting for; that which they ardently believe and hope they shall realize!

 6 
 on: November 23, 2017, 05:03:25 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
Thanksgiving
From Timeless Grace Gems
William Nicholson, 1862



        "Offer unto God thanksgiving!" Psalm 50:14

        In the beginning of the Psalm, the Divine majesty and glory are exhibited. So glorious a Being is worthy of the highest homage, and the most ardent praise. But he will not be mocked with mere formal services. Sacrifices the most costly and splendid; offerings the most munificent and pompous, presented to him without the heart — are an abomination in his sight. A charge of formality is brought against the Jews, "I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens — for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it!" Psalm 50:9-12

        In all praise, in all worship, the heart is demanded.


        I. The Mercies of God Demand Thanksgiving.

        Thanksgiving is a part of Divine worship, which consists of acknowledging him as the Source of all good, and rendering grateful homage to the power, wisdom, and goodness of God on that account.

        1. Offer unto God, thanksgiving for TEMPORAL blessings.

        (1.) Thank him for your existence. You are fearfully and wonderfully made! You are made for a noble purpose — for your own personal happiness and dignity here and in eternity, to the glory of God the Father.

        (2.) Thank him for your preservation. God has preserved you . . .
        in health,
        from sickness,
        from death,
        from evil courses,
        from damning crimes, degradation, and ruin.

        (3.) Thank him for the blessing of reason. What a calamity is the suspension of the soul's faculties! The man sinks below the level of the beasts — and becomes more helpless and miserable than those who are guided by the instincts of their nature!

        See that man, once the learned philosopher, or the honorable statesman, or the eloquent advocate, or the brave general, or the clever theologian! O see him bereft of his reason, his faculties spoiled of their beauty, and the intellectual machinery of the soul in ruins! Hear the clanking of his chains, the hysteric laugh, the frantic cry, or the heavy groan — and then offer to God thanks for the blessing of reason!

        (4.) Thank God for deliverances. You may have been sick and near unto death — but He has raised you up. You have been exposed to the deadly temptations and snares of the wicked one — yet God has delivered you. Had the temptation succeeded, what would you have been now? What would you have suffered? Then offer to God thanksgiving.

        (5.) Thank God for Civil and Religious privileges. What blessings are here. "He has not dealt so with every nation." Compare our civil government with the despotic governments of the earth, forbidding the liberty of the press, and, in some cases, even the liberty of speech! Here, in our sea-girt island, we can worship God according to the dictates of our consciences, safe in our own homes. Go, while your tongue is free, and offer unto God thanksgiving.

        (6.) Be thankful, too, for peace. Contemplate a field of battle and of bloody war. Listen to the noise of drums and trumpets, the clashing of swords, and the rattle of armor — listen to the groans of the wounded and the dying. See the garments rolled in blood! Mark those widows — those orphans — those desolated fields and homes! See the expenditure of so much treasure — vast national financial burdens — and learn from hence to value peace, and offer thanksgiving to the God of peace.

        2. Offer unto God, thanksgiving for the GOSPEL dispensation and all its privileges.

        (1.) Thank God for the mission of Christ to this world. The gospel is . . .
        the source of all true happiness,
        the grand remedy for man's woes,
        the life of the world,
        the salvation from perdition, and
        the mighty lever that exalts to Heaven.

        (2.) Thank God that you are born in a land of Gospel light. Millions in benighted lands are worshiping idols, sticks and stones, reptiles, and devils! Think of . . .
        their loathsome impurities,
        their dreadful sufferings and painful rites,
        their tragic destiny, perishing without vision.

        Offer to the God of light, thanksgiving.

        (3.) Offer praise to God for Gospel ordinances and privileges. The Sabbath-day is appointed for sublime and merciful purposes; it is a day on which the richest blessings are received — a day of delicious enjoyment — a day which is the epitome of Heaven.

        Then you have the preaching of the Gospel, and the ordinance of the Lord's Supper. By the first, God immediately addresses sinful men, graciously offering terms of reconciliation. In the second, he allows his people to have intimate fellowship with himself, and cheers their hearts by the whispers of his unchanging love.

        3. Offer unto God, thanksgiving for your personal interest in spiritual blessings.

        Thank God for your conversion. What were you more than others, that he should have chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth?

 7 
 on: November 23, 2017, 04:59:50 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
The Repentance of Judas
From Timeless Grace Gems
Francis Bourdillon, 1881



        "When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders.
        "I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood."
        "What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility."
        So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself." Matthew 27:3-5


        We read of two kinds of sorrow for sin: godly sorrow and the sorrow of the world. We are told that godly sorrow, "produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly sorrow produces death" (2 Corinthians 7:10). Now it is said here that Judas "repented" — but it is plain that his repentance was not repentance unto salvation (indeed the word in the original is quite different), but on the contrary — it was the sorrow of the world. It was sorrow, not so much for sin — as for the consequences of sin; for it was only when he saw that Jesus was condemned that he repented. And it worked death in his case. A bitter remorse took hold of him — an insupportable load of despair pressed upon his mind. Yet this did not lead him to God — but rather drove him to destruction. His heart was still unchanged. "He departed, and he went and hanged himself."

        An unchanged heart often feels remorse — but it never feels godly sorrow. A great crime weighing on the conscience has often clouded all the after life of the criminal, and has sometimes driven him to give himself up to justice. And many have passed a sad old age — by reason of youth wasted, the best years of life misspent, opportunities gone forever, and perhaps the consequences of sin still felt in ruined health and blighted prospects. All this may be — and yet no godly sorrow, no true repentance, no change of heart.

        True repentance is the gift of God, and comes only when the heart is changed by grace. Then is there a true sorrow for sin itself. Then the sinner comes to Christ. Then does he draw near to God. With trembling step perhaps and downcast look, like the publican in the temple — yet still he draws near. For godly sorrow leads to God — while the sorrow of the world only drives the heart from Him.

        If repentance is the gift of God, then we may pray for it. Jesus Christ is exalted "as Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins" (Acts 5:31) — true repentance, a change of heart. We may seek this precious gift therefore from Him. How earnestly should we seek it! Some say, "I cannot go to Jesus until I repent." Nay, rather, you cannot repent until you go to Jesus. If repentance is His to give — then how can we have it but by going to Him for it?

        Now observe how little help this miserable man got from his companions in sin. They proved but false friends in the hour of need. But a little while ago Judas and the chief priests and elders were plotting together with one object. Their motives, indeed, were different: his motive was mere gain; their motive was the destruction of Jesus. But they were joining together for one end; they were partners and associates. One might have thought them fast friends.

        A few hours only have passed, and see them now. In his deep remorse and despair, Judas comes to the chief priests and elders. "I have sinned," says he, "by betraying innocent blood!" How do his partners receive him? They have no word of pity for him in his misery — no help, no comfort, no sympathy. Though every tone and look must have spoken the anguish of his heart — Judas meets with nothing but hard-hearted indifference and mocking scorn. "What is that to us? You have done our work, and we have paid the price — the business is finished. Your sorrow and His innocence — what do they matter to us? What is that to us? See to it yourself."

        Ah, there is nothing sure in a friendship or companionship based on sinful, or even on mere worldly principles.

        How often in trials at law, do we read of companions in crime betraying one another! Sometimes in order to save themselves, but quite as often from the hope of reward.

        How often do old companions, friends as they called themselves — fail in the hour of need! They seemed firm friends indeed. They were blessing companions, perhaps. They laughed, they sang, they drank. Many a merry evening did they pass together.

        But let one of their number be brought into trouble — and how often do such friends as these forsake him entirely! Some fever seizes him perhaps, some contagious fever — and they flee from his house as from the plague! Or he comes to poverty and want; he can no longer feast them; he stands in need of the very necessities of life. Often in such a case, he seeks help in vain from these old friends.

        Did not the prodigal find it so? Though there was a mighty famine in the land — yet all were not brought to destitution, for we know that there was one citizen of that country who still kept his property, and if one, there were probably more. Yet "no one gave him anything." Of all those with whom he had wasted his substance with riotous living — there was not one to help him in his need.

        How different is true Christian friendship. It is based on the love of God. It is kind, generous, unselfish. It leads men to regard one another as brethren — brethren in the Lord. Even where this bond is lacking on one side, the Christian himself is kind and loving to all. Often, when one who has kept company with the worldly and ungodly and shunned, and even scoffed at the servants of God, is brought into some sore trouble — he finds at last who are his true friends. While old companions come not near him — he finds at his bedside some kind Christian person, whom once perhaps he disliked and despised, and hears from his lips the words of truth and of prayer and receives from his hand those comforts which the sick man needs.

        Seek such friends. Be such friends. We should all be helpers to one another — helping each other with kindness, with comfort, with sympathy, with gifts. We should be companions, not in sin, not in folly; at times, it may be, in tribulation; but always in godliness, fellow-travelers towards the heavenly city, cheering one another along the way.

 8 
 on: November 23, 2017, 04:56:00 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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Why Not a Wall?
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries…” (Ezra 3:3).

At first glance, this verse doesn’t seem to make much sense.  Back in Ezra’s day, a city’s walls were its main line of defense.  The citizens of Jericho felt very secure within the confines of the massive wall that surrounded them.  So here, if fear had fallen upon the Jews because of the enemies that surrounded them, why would they build an altar, and not a wall?

Well, as you may know, at one time Jerusalem had a wall, but when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Israel, his armies “brake down the wall of Jerusalem” (II Chron. 36:19).  And the people of Israel knew why God had allowed this to happen.  He had warned them,

    “…if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God…a nation of fierce countenance…shall besiege thee…until thy high and fenced walls come down…” (Deut. 28:15,50,52).

So God’s people knew that, if they continued in sin, the strongest of walls could not protect them.  But they also knew that if they hearkened unto the voice of the Lord, He would protect them.  And now that God had allowed them to return to the land after their captivity in Babylon, hearkening to the voice of the Lord included building this altar so that they could keep the Law by observing the feast of tabernacles with a burnt offering (Ezra 3:4 cf. Lev. 23:34-36).

In the coming kingdom of heaven on earth, when God’s people will be filled with the Spirit and caused to hearken to His voice (Ezek. 36:27), God has promised them that He will be “a wall of fire round about” them (Zech. 2:5).  In that day, “salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks” (Isa. 26:1).  That’s part of what will make it heaven on earth!

But here we have a dispensational difference.  Your salvation is no defense against earthly enemies.  You are not in the kingdom of heaven on earth, and you are not under the Law that promised Israel that God would protect them if they were good.  As a responsible member of the Body of Christ, you need to take whatever precautions necessary to protect yourself from wicked men.

We once knew a teenage girl who would go out jogging at night, assuring her mother that “the Lord will protect me.”  She had obviously been listening to preachers who had applied the promises of the Law or the promises of the kingdom to us.  While what she said sounds very spiritual, please don’t follow her example!  This is one area where a failure to rightly divide the Word of truth could cost you your life.

 9 
 on: November 23, 2017, 04:53:40 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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Heaven Is Better Than This
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


A large percentage of the people of the world wake up every morning with some kind of ache or pain. If you are one of the many victims, with some infirmity of the flesh, perhaps you will agree with the little chorus which says: “Heaven is better than this.”

The Scriptures tell us that “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Rom. 8:22). Note the expression: “the whole creation.” This takes in the whole world; no one is excluded. Indeed, the very next verse goes on to say to Christian believers:

    “And not only they, but ourselves also… even we ourselves groan within ourselves… waiting for… the redemption of our body.”

No doubt many of us feel like crying out with the Psalmist David, “Look upon mine affliction and my pain” (Psa. 25:18.). In spite of all sorrow, trouble and pain which the child of God must endure, however, he can be assured with the Apostle Paul that: “our light affliction, which is but for a moment [comparatively], worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Cor. 4:17). When we go to be with the Lord we will no longer be living in “this earthly tabernacle,” but will have “a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (II Cor. 5:1). Paul even adds that as Christians we earnestly desire “to be clothed upon with our house [our new body] which is from heaven” (II Cor. 5:2).

Finally, St. Paul declared that “to depart, and to be with Christ… is far better” (Phil. 1:23); far better, not only than all earth’s sorrow and trouble and pain, but far better even than earth’s greatest joys and its dearest treasures. How wonderful it is to know that “Christ died for our sins,” to have a light beyond the grave, a hope beyond the tomb! Surely “heaven is better than this!”

 10 
 on: November 23, 2017, 04:51:25 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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From Grace Gems:
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In everything give thanks!

(Thomas Watson, "All Things for Good")

"We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

See what cause the saints have to be frequent in the work of thanksgiving! In this, Christians are defective; though they are much in supplication--yet they are little in thanksgiving. The apostle says. "In everything give thanks!" 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Why so? Because God makes everything work together for our good.

We thank the physician, though he gives us a bitter medicine which makes us nauseated--because it is to make us well. We thank any man who does us a good turn; and shall we not be thankful to God--who makes everything work for good to us?

God loves a thankful Christian! Job thanked God when He took all away: "The Lord has taken away--blessed be the name of the Lord!" Job 1:21. Many will thank God when He gives; Job thanks Him when He takes away, because he knew that God would work good out of it.

We read of saints with harps in their hands--an emblem of praise. Revelation 14:2. Yet we meet many Christians who have tears in their eyes, and complaints in their mouths! But there are few with their harps in their hands--who praise God in affliction.

To be thankful in affliction--is a work peculiar to a saint.
Every bird can sing in spring--but few birds will sing in the dead of winter!
Everyone, almost, can be thankful in prosperity--but a true saint can be thankful in adversity!

Well may we, in the worst that befalls us, have a psalm of thankfulness--because God works all things together for our good. Oh, be much in giving thanks to God!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

    And did the Holy and the Just,
    The Sovereign of the skies,
    Stoop down to wretchedness and dust,
    That guilty worms might rise?

    Yes, the Redeemer left His throne,
    His radiant throne on high,
    (Surprising mercy! love unknown!)
    To suffer, bleed, and die!

    He took the dying traitor's place,
    And suffered in his stead;
    For man (O miracle of grace!)
    For man, the Savior bled!

    Dear Lord, what heavenly wonders dwell
    In Your atoning blood!
    By this are sinners snatched from Hell,
    And rebels brought to God!

    What glad return can I impart
    For favors so divine?
    O take my all, this worthless heart,
    And make it wholly Thine!
       Anne Steele, 1859

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