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Our Lord Jesus Christ loves you.
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 51 
 on: September 16, 2018, 08:40:50 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
Three Worldly Powers

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16)

This well-known passage identifies three fountainheads of ungodly power that will, if unchecked and unguarded, ensnare a believer into a sinful lifestyle.

Sensual power (lust of the flesh) is a body-oriented and emotion-driven reaction to fleshly appetites that can never please God (Romans 8:8) and is in constant warfare with the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:17). We are told to “flee” these “youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22) that are a “corruption” (2 Peter 1:4) of the “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) God-designed human body.

Visual power (lust of the eyes) is an intellect-oriented and imagination-driven stimulation of wishful thinking that will take control of behavior (Matthew 6:22-23) if not carefully curtailed (Job 31:1; 2 Peter 2:14). Although impacting men more than women, this kind of “lust” will “conceive” sin instead of merely reacting to it (James 1:13-15).

Personal power (the pride of life) is a self-oriented and ego-driven desire for dominance that has no ethic or limiting factor other than the praise of men, not God (John 12:43). Such pride, dominated by the “natural mind” (1 Corinthians 2:14) and a “deceitful” heart (Jeremiah 17:9), spirals into a self-love that twists and distorts human behavior into a litany of ungodliness that loves pleasure rather than God (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Giving in to these “worldly” powers may grant us pleasures for “a season” (Hebrews 11:25), but will surely make us an “enemy of God” (James 4:4). May our Lord Jesus grant that we stay armed against such “wiles” (Ephesians 6:11), covered and protected with the “whole armour of God” (Ephesians 6:13-17). HMM III

 52 
 on: September 15, 2018, 04:47:05 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
_______________________________________________
Two Minutes With The Bible
From The Berean Bible Society

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For Questions Or Comments:  berean@execpc.com
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Rejoice in Every Good Thing
by Pastor Kevin Sadler
 

“And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm…And He hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land…And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which Thou, O LORD, hast given me…And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee” (Deut. 26:8-11).

Deuteronomy 26 instructs Israel how, after they entered the Promised Land and conquered it, they were to bring the first fruits from their first harvest that they reaped from the land and to present it to the Lord in worship and thanksgiving (Deut. 26:1-2). Now this was told to Israel before they entered the land, but these instructions were given in full expectation that they would conquer and possess the land as God said they would (Deut. 6:1; 7:1-2). God is faithful, and when He makes a promise, it’s as good as done. Joshua wrote years later:

“And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which He sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein…There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass” (Josh. 21:43-45).

Having trusted Christ as our Savior, God says we’re heaven bound. One day when we stand in God’s heaven, dwelling in the presence of God, blessed and exalted in Christ, we’ll also say, “Not one thing failed of any good thing the Lord spoke unto us. All came to pass.” We should start thanking Him now for this by faith!

Out of thanksgiving, Israel was to bring the first and the best of their harvest in a basket to the priest at the tabernacle and then profess audibly, acknowledging God’s faithfulness to Israel in preserving them and bringing them to the land as He had promised (Deut. 26:1-4). They were to rehearse how God had heard their cries and prayers for help in Egypt and that He delivered them out of their hard bondage and affliction “with a mighty hand” (Deut. 26:5-8). God brought Israel out of Egypt by His faithfulness to them and then He would bring Israel in to the Promised Land by His faithfulness to them, giving them a wonderful land which would meet their every need (Deut. 26:9).

Israel was to acknowledge God’s goodness, mercy and working on her behalf. They were to remember how God provided for them, and to worship Him because of “the firstfruits of the land, which Thou, O Lord, hast given me,” and rejoicing “in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee” (Deut. 26:10-11).

These are good things to remember as we observe Thanksgiving. We have a deliverance to remember and thank God for, a deliverance from sin by the sacrifice of our Savior. Christ delivered us from the bondage of our sins with strength, “with an outstretched arm” on the Cross, and “with a mighty hand” that was pierced for our sins. God redeemed us and brought us out of the bondage of our sins, and He is faithful and He will bring us in to our hope of heaven one day. Like Israel of old, we should recognize how God has provided for us and has worked in our lives. We should praise Him together because of His goodness to us, thanking Him and rejoicing in “every good thing” which the Lord has given unto us.

 53 
 on: September 15, 2018, 04:44:49 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
__________________________________________
From Grace Gems - Free and Public Domain:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
FREE E-mail Subscription:
http://www.gracegems.org/
___________________________________________


One of the best tests of growth in grace

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 3:18

"Grow in grace"--not in one grace only, but in all the Christian graces.

Grow in the starting place of grace, faith. Believe the promises more firmly than you have before. Let faith increase in fullness, constancy and simplicity.

Grow also in love. Ask that your love may become extended, more intense, more practical, influencing every thought, word and deed.

Grow likewise in humility. Seek to lie very low, and know more of your own nothingness.

As you grow downward in humility, seek also to grow upward--having nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate fellowship with Jesus.

To know Him is "life eternal"--and to advance in the knowledge of Him is to increase in happiness. Whoever has sipped this wine will thirst for more; for although Christ satisfies--yet it is such a satisfaction that the appetite is not only satisfied, but invigorated.

If you know the love of Jesus--then will you pant after deeper draughts of His love.
If you do not desire to know Him better--then you do not love Him at all, for love always cries, "Nearer, nearer!"

Seek to know more of Him . . .
  in His divine and human natures,
  in His sin-atoning work,
  in His excruciating death for you,
  in His present glorious intercession,
  and in His future royal coming in glory!

Remain by the cross, and search the mystery of His wounds!

An increase of love for Jesus, and a more perfect apprehension of His love for us--is one of the best tests of growth in grace.

 54 
 on: September 15, 2018, 08:57:24 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
The Pragmatic Life

“And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.” (Luke 19:13)

This “parable of the pounds” indicated to His disciples that they should not wait idly for the second coming of Christ, thinking “that the kingdom of God should immediately appear” (Luke 19:11), but that they should stay busy, using whatever abilities and opportunities they had in the Lord’s service until His return. The word “occupy” is an unusual word, the Greek pragmatenomai, from which we derive our modern word “pragmatic,” meaning “practical,” and it only occurs this one time in the New Testament.

There is another related word, however, also occurring only one time, in 2 Timothy 2:4: “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” Here the word “affairs” is the Greek pragmateia, and Paul is cautioning those who would be “good soldiers of Jesus Christ” against becoming involved in the pragmatic affairs of civilian or business life, if they would really be pleasing to their commanding officer.

At first, there seems to be a contradiction. Jesus says to stay busy with the practical affairs of life until He returns. Paul says not to get involved with pragmatic things.

There is no real contradiction, of course, if motivation is considered. Whatever may be our vocation in life, as led by the Lord, we are to perform that job and all the other daily responsibilities of life diligently and faithfully, for His sake.

If we allow these things to become an end in themselves, however, or use them for other purposes than for His glory, then we have, indeed, become tangled up in the affairs of this life, and this displeases Him. He desires that we be diligent in whatever He has called us to do until He comes, but to be sure it is for Him, not for ourselves. HMM

 55 
 on: September 14, 2018, 05:32:50 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
__________________________________________
A Curious Meditation by James Smith
From Grace Gems - Free and Public Domain:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________


I am the subject of a threefold sanctification:
by the purpose of the Father,
by the blood of the Son, and
by the cleansing operations of the Holy Spirit.

I am a free man of three cities:
the present world,
the church below, and
the Jerusalem which is above.

I have been an eye-sore to three parties:
the devil,
the world, and
envious professors.

I shall have occupied three peculiar seats:
a dunghill by nature,
among the princes in the Church by grace, and
the throne of glory by special privilege.

I shall have three grand holidays:
one when the Holy Spirit sets my soul at liberty,
another when death sets me free from this mortal clay, and
and another when Jesus comes to be glorified in his saints.

I shall then have appeared in three different characters:
a vile rebel against God,
a supplicating sinner at mercy's footstool, and
a justified son of God before his throne.

I shall have had three fathers:
a human father,
the devil, and
Jehovah himself.

I shall have received three laws:
the law of nature,
the moral law of God, and
the law of the Spirit of life.

I shall have passed through three gates:
the gate of hope,
the gate into Christ's sheepfold, and
the gate of death.

I shall have walked in three ways:
the broad road of destruction,
the highway of holiness, and
Jesus Christ the only way to the Father.

I shall have conversed with three distinct classes of beings:
carnal men,
spiritual Christians, and
the Lord himself.

I shall have made three appearances:
once all black--like the devil,
then speckled--with nature and grace, and
then all pure--whiter than the driven snow!

I shall have undergone three momentous changes:
one at regeneration--when I passed from death unto life,
one at death--when my soul shall be admitted into Heaven, and
one at the resurrection--when my body shall be raised powerful, glorious, and immortal.

I view three things as pre-eminently excellent:
the fear of the Lord,
a sound judgment, and
Christ formed in the heart, as the hope of glory.

There are three things which I may covet:
the best gifts,
a contrite and humble spirit, and
to be filled with all the fullness of God.

There are three things which are removed from me:
the burden of sin,
the wrath of God, and
all condemnation.

There are three things which I do not know:
what is before me,
how God will provide for me, and
what I shall be.

There are three things which I do know:
that in my flesh dwells no good,
that though I was once blind, now I see, and
that I must needs die.

There are three things which are prepared for me:
a fountain to cleanse me,
a robe to adorn me, and
a mansion to receive me.

There are three things which await me:
a crown of righteousness,
a palm of victory, and
a throne of glory.

There are three things which shall be done for me:
God shall wipe away all tears from my eyes,
God shall remove all cause of pain and sorrow from my nature, and
the Lamb in the midst of the throne shall eternally satisfy me.

There are three things which shall never be known by me:
the frown of divine justice,
the curse of holy Jehovah, and
the power of God's anger.

There are three things which are hurtful to me:
carnal ease,
the flattery of professors, and
fullness of bread.

There are three things which benefit me:
temptation,
affliction, and
opposition.

There are three things which are pursued by me:
to know more of the Lord,
to live in peace with all men, and
thorough sanctification.

Satan tries to thwart me in three things:
by spoiling my comforts,
hindering my usefulness, and
seeking to devour my soul.

Satan has three things to expect:
to be disappointed of his prey,
to be judged by the saints, and
to be eternally punished for his wickedness.

There are three things which I would never trust:
my own heart,
an arm of flesh, and
my treacherous memory.

There are three subjects which I should never meddle with:
the fall of the angels,
the origin of moral evil, and
how God will justify himself.

There are three things which I cannot understand:
the nature of God,
the cause of my election, and
how divinity and humanity constitute one person.

There are three things which I should often think of:
what I have been,
what I now am, and
what I shall be.

A threefold freedom is granted me:
from the law of God,
from the reign of sin, and
to make use of, and enjoy the Lord Jesus.

I am an heir of three worlds:
the natural,
the spiritual, and
the eternal.

There are three things which will never grieve me:
that I have been poor in this world,
that I have preached the gospel fully, and
that I am related to Jesus Christ.

There are three things which comprise all I wish:
to know God, and glorify him,
to see Jesus, and be like him; and
to be united to the saints, and be eternally happy.

There are three things which shall never be heard by me:
Christ reproaching me,
God disowning me, and
the devils triumphing in my everlasting destruction.

There are three things which shall be eternally enjoyed by me:
the love of God,
the presence of Jesus, and
the company of the saints.

There are three things which will eternally delight me:
to be filled with holiness,
to be employed in praising Jehovah, and
to have gained a complete victory over all my foes.

There are three things which must come down:
the pride of men,
the devil's kingdom, and
the cause of error.

There are three things which will stand:
the house built on the Rock,
the purpose of God, and
the Messiah's kingdom.

There are three things which cannot be removed:
the church of God,
the covenant of grace, and
the kingdom we receive.

There are three things which will stand the fiery trial:
genuine faith,
the Word of God, and
a real Christian.

Lost sinners are like Satan in three things:
their nature,
their employment, and
their end.

Three things make Hell:
the wrath of God,
the stings of a guilty conscience, and
black despair.

Three things prove a man a Christian:
worshiping God in the spirit,
rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and
having no confidence in the flesh.

Three things are never satisfied:
a doubting Christian,
a worldly miser, and
the man of pleasure.

Christ fills three offices:
a prophet--for the ignorant,
a priest--for the guilty, and
a king--for the depraved.

Christ has been in three states:
ancient glory,
deep humiliation, and
merited dignity.

What more shall I say!

If you, reader, are a sincere Christian--do three things daily:
search God's Word,
be much at God's throne, and
be diligent in God's work.

If you are an unconverted sinner--do three things immediately:
believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
repent of every sin you have committed,
seek the witness and pledge of the Holy Spirit in your heart, so iniquity shall not be your ruin.

 56 
 on: September 14, 2018, 05:31:02 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
__________________________________________
A Curious Meditation by James Smith
From Grace Gems - Free and Public Domain:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________


A Curious Meditation

by James Smith, 1855

As I was walking out for exercise in the fields one morning, having been pleading with God to give me some profitable subject for meditation--I suddenly fell into this train of thought, which I afterwards wrote down; and, as it may interest and profit some, it is here inserted.

There are three things which I especially desire:
more communion with God,
more likeness to the Lord Jesus, and
more usefulness to his Church.

There are three things which I deprecate:
the withering of my gifts,
the decay of my graces, and
to become useless in the Lord's vineyard.

There are three things which I dread:
that I should become a proud professor,
that I should become a lukewarm Christian, and
that I should fall into the hands of man.

There are three things which I sometimes wish for (but which God will never grant me on earth):
to be totally free from sin,
to be delivered from a daily cross,
and to be always happy.

There are three things which I feel sure of:
hatred by the world,
opposition by hypocrites, and
love by spiritual believers.

There are three foes which always oppose me:
the world,
the flesh, and
the devil.

There are three friends which will always stand by me:
a peaceful conscience,
the bride of Jesus, and
the Lamb of God.

There are three deaths which have been experienced by me:
a death in sin,
a death to sin,
a death to the law of God.

There are three lives which shall be lived by me:
a temporal life,
a spiritual life, and
an eternal life.

There are three things which burden me:
a body of sin and death,
the opposition I meet with, and
my own ingratitude.

There are three things which support me:
the Father's love,
the Son's redemption, and
the Spirit's work.

There are three things which are a sore trial to me:
an irritable temper,
a flippant tongue, and
self-love.

There are three things which bring strong consolation to me:
the open fountain of Christ blood,
the promises of God, and
the Savior's free invitation.

There are three things which are especially dear to me:
the Word of God,
the throne of grace, and
the ordinances of the Lord's house.

There are three things lacking in me:
perfect penitence,
entire resignation, and
fervent love.

There are three books which are very useful to me:
the book of nature,
the book of Holy Scriptures, and
the book of my own experience.

There are three teachers which are employed to instruct me:
the Holy Spirit,
a special providence, and
the rod of God.

There are three things which are manifested in me:
the nature of sin,
the power of grace, and
the faithfulness of God.

There are three things which would be greatly useful to me:
more humility,
spiritual wisdom, and
enlightened zeal.

There are three things which characterize me:
weakness,
poverty, and
sinfulness.

Yet, there are three things which may be seen in me:
Christ's strength,
God's grace, and
the Spirit's holiness.

There are three things which are feared by me:
a stiff neck,
a hard heart, and
a presumptuous spirit.

There are three things which are matter of joy to me:
the conversion of sinners,
that my name is written in heaven, and
the glory to be given me at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

There are three things which must be renounced by me:
preconceived opinions,
worldly wisdom, and
natural religion.

There are three things which must be held fast by me:
the Word of truth,
my confidence in God, and
my profession of the gospel.

There are three things which are especially required of me:
to do justly,
to love mercy, and
to walk humbly with my God.

There are three things which are promised to me:
tribulation in the world,
sufficient strength in Jesus, and
eternal life at the end of my course.

There are three things which the Lord observes and approves in me:
the work of faith,
the labor of love, and
the patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a threefold deliverance which is effected for me:
from the dominion of sin,
from the present evil world, and
from my deserved doom.

There are three things which I would trample under foot:
unfounded prejudice,
vain distinctions, and
self-righteousness.

There are three things which I would aim at daily:
to exalt Christ,
to glorify God, and
to bring sinners to repentance.

There are three things which are still sure to me:
a rough road,
changing experiences, and
safety at last.

There are three things which are behind me:
a wicked life,
a broken law, and
the pit of destruction.

There are three things which are before me:
death,
perfect conformity to Jesus, and
eternal glory.

There are three things which are on my right hand:
Satan to resist me,
the Lord Jesus to save me, and
my own heart set on things above.

There are three things which are on my left hand:
the lust of the flesh,
the lust of the eye, and
the pride of life.

There are three things which I greatly admire:
the Savior's person,
the promises of God, and
the instruments he employs in carrying on his work.

There are three things which much please me:
the doctrines of the gospel,
the witness of the Spirit, and
the light of God's countenance.

There are three things which I delight in:
that Jehovah is my God,
the comfort he imparts to me, and
the riches of glory which are set before me.

There are three things which I hate:
the cant of hypocrites,
the flattery of friends, and
the pride of professors.

There are three things which are good for me:
to draw near to God,
to be afflicted, and
to sing praises unto the Lord.

There are three things which often disgust me:
Satan's temptations,
the powerful working of unbelief, and
the conduct of religious professors.

There are three things which are prescribed to me:
to believe in God,
to love the saints, and
to observe the Lord's ordinances.

There are three things which are too often neglected by me:
self-examination,
diligent reading of the Bible, and
secret prayer.

There are three things which are too deep for me to fully know:
the depravity of my heart,
the devices of Satan, and
the manner of the Spirit's working.

There are three things which I wish to leave with the Lord:
to choose my lot in life,
to fight my battles, and
to supply all my needs.

There are three things which I do not consider worth having:
a form of godliness, without the power,
a name to live, while dead, and
the commendation of the enemies of Christ.

There are three things in which I glory:
the cross of Christ,
my saving knowledge of God, and
the everlasting gospel.

There are three things which have been taken from me:
proud free will,
vain boasting, and
enmity to God.

There are three things which abide with me:
faith,
hope, and
charity.

I am made up of three men:
corruption--the old man,
grace--the new man, and
the body--the outward man.

I fill a threefold office:
a prophet in the Church of Christ,
a priest before the altar, and
a king anointed to reign with Christ.

I wear a threefold garment:
the righteousness of the Lord Jesus,
the graces of the Holy Spirit, and
the garment of humility.

I have been condemned in three courts--and yet justified in them all:
the court of conscience,
the Church of God, and
the court of God's justice.

I have been justified three times:
at the resurrection of Christ my substitute,
when faith received his righteousness, and
when good works justified my faith before the world.

 57 
 on: September 14, 2018, 05:25:46 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
__________________________________________
Paul's Seven Wishes by James Smith
From Grace Gems - Free and Public Domain:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________


Sixthly, "To be WITH Christ." (Philippians 1:23).

Paul dearly loved his work.

He was greatly attached to the church — which needed his presence, gifts, and labors.

He deeply sympathized with poor perishing sinners — who needed the gospel.

But such was his love to Jesus, that he felt himself in a great strait, "I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!" He says nothing about place, or employment, the absence of sorrow, or the possession of joy; his heart was fixed on the person of Christ.

To be with Christ — this was his desire.

To be with Christ anywhere — was enough.

To be with Christ forever — was a sufficient Heaven.

Paul had no idea of the soul sleeping, or of an intermediate state where Christ was not. His idea was, "Absent from the body — present with the Lord!" Therefore he was willing to lay down his body, to put off the tabernacle — if by doing so, he may be with Christ. To be with Christ, to him was far better than life with all its comforts. To be with Christ, to him was far better than the world with all its privileges and pleasures. To be with Christ! This is . . .
the flower of bliss,
the crown of glory,
the perfection of happiness.

To be with Christ! Paul could desire nothing beyond this!

My brother, can you sympathize with Paul here? Does not Jesus sometimes come to you? Are not his visits peculiarly sweet? Do you not, at such times — desire to be forever with him? Do you not? What! a Christian and a stranger to the visits of Jesus — or, enjoy the visits of Jesus, and not desire to be with him forever and altogether? How can one understand this? If one tastes of the grapes of Canaan — one wants to go and see the vineyards. If one obtains a pledge of the inheritance — one wants to go and take full and eternal possession of it.

My soul, you do at times long to depart and be with Jesus! Oh, that this were more frequently my sweet experience! All saints feel this, and, blessed be God, that promise extends to it, "The desire of the righteous shall be granted!" Paul's desire is now realized; and if we desire as he did — ours, too will be realized by and bye!

Seventhly, "To REJOICE in the Day of Christ." (Philippians 2:16) Paul was constantly looking forward to Christ's second coming, and pointing believers to it. He expected great things then, therefore he longed for it, rejoiced in anticipation of it, and prepared to enter into all its glories and joys.

The Day of Christ is that day specially set apart for his glory, when he will openly wed his church, crush under his feet Satan and all his foes, and appear in his own glory, and in his Father's glory too. Such a day has never yet been seen. Such another period, there never will be.

Paul's desire was to meet all his converts then, and present them to his glorious Master. "For what," said he, "is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?" "That you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life — in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing."

Jesus is coming to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all those who believe; and Paul desired to see all his children there, as mirrors to reflect the glory of Jesus, as monuments on which will be inscribed his triumphs. This would add to his joy. This would open sources of unutterable pleasure. This would produce exquisite delight. Happy Paul, the day of Christ will be a triumphant day for you! The coming of Jesus will be a glorious event to you!

Reader, what will it be to you? Do you expect the fulfillment of that sweet passage then — "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear — then you shall also appear with him in glory!"

My soul, I charge you so to live, so to labor, so to suffer, so to believe, and so to die — that you may rejoice in the day of Christ. Look forward to it, as to the day of jubilee, the year of release — and expect grace to be brought unto you at that appearing of Jesus Christ.

We have thus looked at Paul's seven wishes. He had others, no doubt; but these were his principal, his abiding ones. All of Paul's desires are gratified — but one.

Now he knows Christ, not in part — but even as also he is known.

He has won Christ, and possesses him as the prize of his high calling. There is no running, wrestling, or striving now. No, no, Christ is his — in the highest, in the fullest, in the most glorious sense of the term.

He has magnified Christ in his body, both in life and in death; and he now magnifies Christ in glory before thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers!

He is found in Christ. Death found him in Christ, and he said, "I am ready!" The ministering angel found him in Christ and conducted him up to the eternal throne, and there he is in Christ forever!

He is conformed to Christ in holiness, happiness, and glory — as concerning his soul, and will be in reference to his body "at the resurrection of the just."

He is with Christ.

With Christ, in the presence of his Father.

With Christ, in the mansion prepared for him in his Father's house.

With Christ, and with Christ forever!

But the last wish waits to be realized — and it will be soon. For "he who shall come, will come — and will not tarry!" "The Lord my God will come, and all the saints with him!"

The redemption of the body will soon take place — the redemption of the purchased possession will soon be realized; then . . .
the groans of creation will be silenced,
the prayers of the church will be ended,
the promises that refer to that glorious period will be fulfilled,
and the whole earth will be filled with his glory! Then the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea. All flesh will see the salvation of God. The glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together — for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it!

We must close our remarks. A man's state before God, may be known by the nature and character of the abiding desires of his soul. For if as Solomon said, "As he thinks in his heart — so is he;" so we may say, "as he desires in his heart — so is he."

If our desires meet and center in Christ — we must be true Christians. If to know Christ, to win Christ, to magnify Christ, to be found in Christ, to be conformed to Christ, to be with Christ, and rejoice in the day of Christ's second coming — are the desires of our souls — then we are as really Christians as Paul was!

Paul, you see, begins with Christ, goes on with Christ, and ends with Christ. Christ was his Alpha — and Christ was his Omega. Christ was the circle within which he moved, the center to which he constantly tended.

The grace of Christ converted him,
the preaching of Christ employed him,
the power of Christ sustained him, and
the glory promised by Christ attracted him.

Faith in Christ gave him peace,
love to Christ set him working,
zeal for Christ stimulated him to persevere, and
the hope of glory promised by Christ, prompted him to press forward with incessant ardor.

Is our religion, then, like Paul's? Is Christ . . .
our Alpha and Omega,
our first and last,
our center and circumference,
our all in all?

Would taking away Christ extinguish our light, destroy our life, and pass sentence of death on all our hopes and joys? If so — then all is well. All is right. As we have, therefore, received Christ Jesus the Lord — so let us walk in him, rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith as we have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Holy Spirit, glorify Jesus in us, by us, and through us, more and more every day!

"For to me, to live is Christ — and to die is gain!"

Christ is my all, my sure defense,
Nor shall my soul depart from thence:
He is my rock, my refuge too,
In spite of all my foes can do!

Christ is my all, and he will lead
My soul in pastures green to feed;
'Tis he supplies my every want,
And will all needful blessings grant.

Christ is my all — where should I go?
Without him I can nothing do;
Helpless and weak, a sinner great,
Yet in his righteousness complete!

 58 
 on: September 14, 2018, 05:24:30 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
__________________________________________
Paul's Seven Wishes by James Smith
From Grace Gems - Free and Public Domain:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________


Paul's Seven Wishes!

James Smith, 1856
 

Wishing is generally fruitless, and sometimes sinful. Resignation is generally better than wishing, and acquiescence in God's will, more so still. But it is natural to desire what we esteem to be good — and grace only regulates and sanctifies this exercise of nature. Desire is often the effect of knowledge — and it is the very soul of prayer. Whatever we have, there is much that we need, and, consequently, much that we must desire.

Paul desired seven things especially, and they all referred to Christ, and they are all named in his epistle to the Philippians, and I propose to glance at them. Let us compare our desires with his as we go on, and may the Holy Spirit bless our brief meditation on the subject.

First, he says, "that I may KNOW Him!" (Philippians 3:10.) Christ had appeared to Paul, he was revealed in him, and was constantly preached by him. Christ was . . .
the object of his trust,
the subject of his ministry,
and the joy of his heart.

But he knew that there was much in Christ with which he was unacquainted. He knew but in part. He desired, therefore, to know more of . . .
the glory of his person,
the riches of his grace,
the magnificence of his work,
the excellency of his natures,
the majesty of his kingdom!

Everything in Christ interested Paul. Creation was good — but to him, grace was better; but Christ was best of all. He was never wearied of thinking of Christ, speaking of Christ, or learning of Christ. He went on with his work, he went on his way, with the desire constantly rising in his heart, "That I may know Him!"

Beloved, how is it with you? Do you sympathize with Paul in this desire of his heart? Is it your daily wish, ardent desire, and constant aim — to know more of Jesus?

Throughout eternity we shall be learning Christ!

He is the lesson placed before us in the church on earth;
and he is the lesson placed before the church in Heaven.

Time is given us to learn Christ — and, blessed be God,
eternity will be given to us to learn Christ also.

Nothing endears eternity to me like this — it will be spent in learning, enjoying, and honoring Christ!

Secondly, he says, "That I may WIN Christ!" (Philippians 3:8.) He was not merely satisfied to know Christ, as the property of someone else; he wanted Christ as his own! He was not only willing to receive Christ as a free gift — but he would win Christ as a prize.

Was Christ to be run for — then he would run.

Was Christ to be wrestled for — then he would wrestle.

Were there any means by which Christ could be obtained, however painful, however costly, however difficult — then Paul would use them!

Did he believe? It was that he might win Christ.

Did he pray? It was that he might win Christ.

Did he preach? It was that he might win Christ.

Did he crucify the old man, mortify the flesh, beat his body and make it his slave? It was that he might win Christ.

Did he suffer the loss of all things, and count them but dung and dross? It was that he might win Christ.

Did he subject himself to stripes, imprisonment, hunger, cold, nakedness, and a martyr's death? It was that he might win Christ.

To possess Christ was his one object, his ruling desire!

Reader, is it your main object and desire?

Are you prepared to part with all for Christ?

Would you take Christ — in exchange for ease, reputation, wealth, labors, sufferings, yes, even death itself? Paul was; and if you are not, his estimates of Christ and yours cannot be the same.

My soul, I charge you — let this be your object, let this be your aim, always and everywhere: to "win Christ!"

Thirdly, "To MAGNIFY Christ!" Hence he says, "I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain!" (Philippians 1:20, 21)

Paul desired to exhibit and exalt Christ!

If he wrote — he wrote of Christ.

If he spoke — he spoke of Christ.

If he suffered — he suffered for Christ.

If he sorrowed — it was because professors dishonored Christ.

Christ was to him dearer than the apple of his eye — and more precious than all things in earth or Heaven! He would live — if he could honor Jesus; or he would die for him — if that would honor him more. He felt his obligation. He was inflamed with his love. He was a sacrifice on his altar. He was a vessel for his honor. He would go anywhere, he would do anything — if he might but honor Christ. Heartily he would say, "Let the name of Paul perish, if the name of Christ can be magnified thereby!"

To him Christ was, in fact, all and all. He died for Christ; the honor of Christ was the end for which he laid down his life.

My brother, how is it with you?

Does your heart cry, "Oh, that I could honor Christ!"

Does your life make this impression on others, "That man aims to honor Christ!"

Is it your daily cry and prayer, "Let Christ be magnified in me, by me, and through me — in life, in death, in time, and forever!"

Oh my soul, let it be my constant desire and prayer — that Jesus, my Jesus, may be magnified by me!

Fourthly, "To be FOUND IN Christ." (Philippians 3:9). Paul wished to be IN Christ. . .
as Noah was in the ark,
as the man-slayer was in his refuge,
as the jewel is in the cabinet,
and as Christ is in God.

The closest possible union, the nearest and dearest communion — was desired by him.

If he is accepted by God — then he desires to be accepted in the name of Jesus.

If he is justified — then he wishes it to be in the righteousness of Jesus.

If he is sanctified — then he would be so by the Spirit of Jesus.

He would have Paul to be 'nothing' — and Jesus to be 'all'.

In Christ, he knew he would be safe.

In Christ, he felt he would be happy.

In Christ, he was persuaded he would be satisfied.

Christ in Paul was his life.

Paul in Christ was his honor.

Friend, are you IN Christ? Is it your ambition to be found in Christ?

If death finds you — will it find you in Christ?

If justice finds you — will it find you in Christ?

If judgment finds you — will it find you in Christ?

In Christ — you will find God as a Father.

In Christ — you will meet all the saints as your brethren.

In Christ — you will find the angels ministering unto you.

In Christ — death has no sting.

In Christ — the grave has no terrors.

In Christ — the law has no claims upon you.

In Christ — there are no threatenings in God's Word against you.

In Christ — all the promises are confirmed to you.

How glorious to be in Christ! My soul, let this be your daily prayer, "That I may be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law — but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."

Fifthly, "To be CONFORMED to Christ." (Philippians 3:10). It was not enough to know Christ, to win Christ, to magnify Christ, or to be in Christ; Paul wishes to be LIKE Christ! He would . . .
breathe his spirit,
exhibit his temper,
copy his example, and
be just like Christ!

He desired to be . . .
like Christ in poverty,
like Christ in suffering,
like Christ in death itself.

Paul desired to be exactly like Jesus!

Meek — as Jesus was meek.

Patient — as Jesus was patient.

Loving — as Jesus was loving.

Useful — as Jesus was useful.

In every point resembling him!

What admiration of Christ is here!

What love to Christ!

What self-renunciation!

What power of grace!

What a wonderful transformation! How unlike Saul of Tarsus, the Pharisee of the Pharisees, the persecutor of the church, the blasphemer of the Nazarene! What could be more unlike?

Once he saw no beauty in Christ — now he sees nothing but beauty.

Once he could not bear the mention of his name — now he never seems happy, but when pronouncing it.

Once he was exceeding mad against him and his people — now his heartfelt abiding cry is, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings — becoming like him in his death!"

Dear reader, have you ever experienced any such change?

Are you panting, praying, striving to be like Jesus?

Are you willing to be anything that Jesus was — that you may be like him?

Are you willing to suffer even death — that you may be conformed to him?

My soul, this is a very high attainment — aspire to it! Seek grace day by day at the throne of grace — that you may so love, so admire, so adore the Savior — as to desire to be conformed to him in life, in death, and forever!

 59 
 on: September 14, 2018, 05:20:35 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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Can God Forget?
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 10:17).

We know that God forgives the sins of His people, but does He forget them? It would seem so. Our text suggests that He “will not remember” the sins committed against Him by His children (Isa. 43:25). Believers have always found a great deal of comfort in this blessed thought.

But then God calls upon us to likewise forgive others “even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32). Doesn’t this suggest that we too should forgive and forget? Perhaps you are thinking, “But Pastor, you don’t know what they did to me!” True, but was it more than what was done to God when men crucified His Son?

Remember, God’s vow to forgive and forget the sins of His people includes even the brutal murder of His only begotten Son. We are tempted to think, “Well, it’s easy for God to forget,” but such is not the case. God says of the sins of unbelievers that He “will NEVER forget ANY of their works” (Amos 8:7). How then can this God of “total recall” forget our sins? Does His memory have a convenient “on/off ” switch that makes it easy for Him to forgive and forget? If so, then we who do not have such a switch would have an excuse for forgiving but not forgetting. But if God has such a switch, would He not also have to erase His memory of Calvary, or else forever wonder why His Son had to die? But it cannot be that God could forget the Cross, for Revelation 5:6 joins John 20:27 to reveal that the Lord’s resurrection body will forever bear the scars of the Cross, making it impossible for God—or us—to ever forget His sacrifice for our sins.

What then is the answer to our question? Can God forget our sins? Perhaps the reader has noticed that we never read that God will forget the sins of His people, but rather that He “will not remember” them. By a deliberate act of His “will” He chooses to act toward us AS IF He has forgotten our sins, on the basis of the blood of the Cross. That’s how fully and completely He has forgiven our sins. And if we are to forgive others “as” God forgave us, then we too must choose to act toward others as if we have so fully forgiven their transgressions against us that we have forgotten them—also on the basis of Christ’s shed blood. This and this alone is complete forgiveness of others, and it is high spiritual ground indeed.

May God help us to live with a slate wiped clean of “all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking… with all malice” (Eph. 4:31).

 60 
 on: September 14, 2018, 05:19:15 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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Two Minutes With The Bible
From The Berean Bible Society

Free Email Subscription


For Questions Or Comments:  berean@execpc.com
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A Reason to Sing!
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


During their seventy years of captivity in Babylon, the people of Israel didn’t feel much like singing:

    “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.

    “We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.

    “For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

    “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” (Psa. 137:1-4).

We are told that the children of Israel were well known for their music, and we wouldn’t be surprised if this were so, for faith in our God has inspired countless great compositions down through the centuries. But when their captors demanded that they sing the songs that expressed the joy they felt in their God and their homeland, the sorrow they felt in their hearts would not allow these captives to give voice to such expressions while shackled with the chains of Babylonian bondage.

But if God’s people cannot sing outside of their Promised Land, how can Paul call on us to be “speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19)? How can we sing the Lord’s songs in the land made strange to us by the anti-God sentiment found all around us, and the iniquity upon iniquity that we see on every hand?

We believe it is because God has already “raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). Remember, we serve a God that “calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17). In that passage, God was able to call Abraham “the father of many” before he had any children. This is because God had promised to multiply his seed, and so in the mind of God he already had a multitude of descendants! In the same way, God can use the past tense in describing how we are already “glorified” (Rom. 8:30), and since the Lord has promised that we will one day “reign with Him” (II Tim. 2:12) from thrones on which we will sit together with Christ in heavenly places, in His mind it is as good as done, we are as good as there.

And if that’s not something worth singing about, I don’t know what is!

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