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Jesus Christ loves you.
276532 Posts in 26174 Topics by 3790 Members
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 91 
 on: March 05, 2017, 04:10:31 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
___________________________________________

Desiring God!

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"Whom have I in Heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You!" Psalm 73:25

We may know the kingdom of grace is set up in our hearts--by having true desires after God. By the beating of this pulse--we conclude there is life.

A true desire after God is sincere. We desire God for Himself, for His intrinsic excellencies. The savor of the ointment of Christ's graces draws the virgins' desires after Him. Canticles 1:3. A true saint desires Him not only for what God has--but for what He is; not only for His rewards--but for His holiness. No hypocrite can thus desire God. He may desire God for His jewels--but not for His beauty!

A true desire after God is insatiable. It cannot be satisfied without God; let the world heap her honors and riches--they will not satisfy. No flowers or music will content him who is thirsty. Just so, nothing will quench the soul's thirst--but the blood of Christ! He faints away, his heart breaks with longing for God. Psalm 84:2; Psalm 119:20

A true desire after God is active. It flourishes into endeavor. "With my soul have I desired you in the night--yes, with my spirit within me will I seek You early." Isaiah 26:9. A soul that desires aright says, "I must have Christ! I must have grace! I must have Heaven, though I take it by storm!"

A true desire after God is supreme. We desire Christ, not only more than the world--but more than Heaven! "Whom have I in Heaven but You?" Psalm 73:25. Heaven itself would not satisfy--without Christ. Christ is the diamond in the ring of glory!

A true desire after God is increasing. A little of God will not satisfy--but the pious soul desires still more. A drop of water is not enough for the thirsty traveler. Though a Christian is thankful for the least degree of grace--yet he is not satisfied with the greatest degree of grace. He still thirsts for more of Christ, and His Spirit. A saint would have more knowledge, more sanctity, more of Christ's presence. A glimpse of Christ through the lattice of an ordinance is sweet; but the soul will never stop longing--until it sees Him face to face! It desires to have grace perfected in glory! It desires to be wholly plunged into the sweetness of God. We would be swallowed up in God, and be forever bathing ourselves in those perfumed waters of pleasure which run at His right hand!

Surely this sincere desire after God is a blessed sign that the kingdom of grace has come into our hearts. The beating of this pulse shows life! Desires for God--are from God. If iron moves upwards contrary to its nature--it is a sign some magnet has been drawing it. Just so, if the soul moves towards God in sincere desires--it is a sign the magnet of the Spirit has been drawing it!

"He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him." Psalm 145:19

 92 
 on: March 05, 2017, 04:05:52 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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Precious Heritage
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


The book, We Americans, published by the National Geographic Society in 1976, depicts a family of eight early settlers, four of whom are holding Bibles in their hands. The caption opens with the words: “Book of books, the Bible, was the end and means of the education of early Americans.”

This is confirmed by the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which declares that “The New England Primer… for 150 years widely used as a textbook, was largely composed of Scriptural and doctrinal material. Catechisms were taught in the public schools and prayer was offered twice a day” (EB under School and Curriculum in the United States).

This does not mean that all our Revolutionary forefathers were saved, or regenerated by personal faith in Christ, but the evidence is abundant that they were, as a whole, God-fearing men, and this was bound to have a significant effect on their thinking and their conduct. And, indeed, there were among them many born-again believers.

Revolutionary times conjure up in our minds such pictures as Washington praying earnestly at Valley Forge, the members of Congress kneeling together in prayer for divine guidance, and the precepts of Scripture being pressed home again and again by those high in government, while the citizens in general trembled at God’s Word.

It goes without saying that our nation plays a strategic role in the affairs of the world. Our influence is great. However, America will not again exert the right kind of influence in the world until the Church of Christ recovers from her spiritual illness and our national leaders and the populace once more become at least God-fearing. The fear of God does not in itself save from sin’s penalty, but it is the first step toward salvation. Moreover, God’s Word declares:

    “By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil” (Prov. 16:6).

 93 
 on: March 05, 2017, 09:25:03 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
The Unmuzzled Ox

“Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.” (Deuteronomy 25:4)
 
This Mosaic regulation would seem rather insignificant except that it is quoted twice in the New Testament. “For it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?” (1 Corinthians 9:9-10). Yes, but that is not the main purpose behind this law. “Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.” This application is drawn in verse 14: “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” That is, supporting financially those who devote full time to God’s work is not “charitable giving” but compensation for services, with the pay to be provided by those who receive the benefit of their labors.
 
This is even more clear in the second reference: “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward” (1 Timothy 5:17-18), the latter part quoting words of Christ (Luke 10:7). Incidentally, note that both New Testament and Old Testament Scriptures are considered divinely inspired and authoritative on any subject with which they deal.
 
The subject here is just compensation for those who devote their time, training, and abilities to the work of the Word, under the call and leading of God, as recognized by the people of God. This seemingly insignificant principle, if faithfully obeyed, would greatly enlarge the effectiveness and outreach of the Christian witness in the world. HMM

 94 
 on: March 04, 2017, 04:41:11 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
In Christ, and in Ephesus
From Timeless Grace Gems
Charles Naylor, 1920



        Paul addressed his Ephesian epistle, "To the saints who are at Ephesus — the faithful in Christ Jesus." The people addressed were in Ephesus — and they were likewise in Christ. What did it mean to be in Ephesus?

        Ephesus was one of the great centers of paganism. It was adorned with costly and magnificent heathen temples. It was rich and voluptuous. Both private and public life were utterly corrupt. Even the religious practices of the Ephesians were unspeakably vile. This city was a moral cesspool, a sink of pollution, filled with all corruption, and reeking with vileness! It was a second Sodom. Vice stalked abroad everywhere — and was honored and worshiped.

        We might therefore well say, "Can any good thing come out of Ephesus? Can Christianity flourish in such surroundings?"

        Yes! There were saints in Ephesus — and faithful ones, too. They were such in their lives and characters as to win the commendation of that great apostle to the Gentiles. Out of that obnoxious cesspool of iniquity, were growing the pure white lilies of Christian character! That is the glory of Christianity and of Christ. Those who were now Christians were not superior to the other Ephesians — they were not by nature different. In fact, Paul tells them that they had been the children of wrath, even as the others — and that they had been such by nature. What a triumph of divine grace, which raised these people up out of such unspeakable filth — and made them faithful saints! And yet that is the power of our great Christ! "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord." Ephesians 5:8

        Some people look around at the present condition of things in this world, at sin abounding on every hand, and say, "There is no use for me to try to be a Christian or to be different from the others." There are many who look at things in this way. They think it useless to try to be righteous under present conditions.

        Once while walking down the street of a certain city, I came upon a policeman standing on the street-corner. I engaged him in conversation, which I quickly turned into religious channels, and began inquiring about his own state before God. He said to me in a hopeless voice, "Oh, there is no use talking — there is no chance for a policeman." I tried to tell him of the power of God and of what salvation would do for him. But it seemed as an idle tale to him, and he could only reply, "There is no hope for a policeman."

        There are many other people today in various situations who say, "There is no hope for me. There is no use for me to try." Those Ephesians might have talked the same way. They had just as much reason to do so as any one else. Probably some of them did talk like that before God saved them — who can tell? There were a great many, however, who turned from idols to serve the true and living God, received Christ into their hearts, and found the power of salvation in the gospel. They found power in the blood of Christ to cleanse them from their impurities, and not only so, but also to raise them so far from the mire of sin and wickedness abounding around them — as to keep them faithful in Christ Jesus while still dwelling in Ephesus.

        It is not so much a change of environment that people need — as a change of heart and of character. Diamonds are often found embedded in volcanic mud; mud surrounds them on every side, and yet they have lain there for centuries and are still diamonds. What is the secret of it? Why have they not become contaminated? It is because the mud never entered the diamond; and that was the reason that the Ephesian saints could be faithful and still live in Ephesus. They were left amidst the foul mud of corruption — but the mud was taken out of them, and the grace of Christ kept it from getting back in again.

        We cannot get away from the mud and defilement of sin in this world. Sin will ever be all about us. Its stench will be in our nostrils from day to day. Our eyes will be offended by it, and our ears will be shocked. But so long as we keep it all on the outside — we can be saints and faithful in Christ Jesus.

        We are told that one of the chief things for us to do, is to keep ourselves "unspotted from the world." Philippians 2:15 says, "That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world." Again Paul says, "Neither be partakers of other men's sins — keep yourself pure" (1 Timothy 5:22). We are not only to keep free from committing any sins of our own, but also to avoid partaking of the sins of others. That is very important.

        Now, we live, as it were, in Ephesus. There is sin abounding all around us. God wants us so to abhor the sins of others that we shall not follow them, nor find pleasure in those who do sinful things.

        We must keep ourselves separate from sin. We cannot help being in Ephesus. We must live in this corrupt and sinful world. So the important thing is that we attend to keeping ourselves in Christ — unspotted from the world. If the Ephesians could do this, so can we. But to do it, we must walk uprightly. We must not stoop down into the mire of sin, but keep ourselves erect, and keep our spiritual nostrils above the poisonous gases of sin.

        Lot was a man of God. He dwelt in Sodom, and we are told that his righteous soul was vexed from day to day because of the wicked conduct of the Sodomites. But he kept himself clean — he had no part with them — he hated their sins.

        When we reach a place where we do not hate sin, where we can see it and hear and know of it and find no vexation in our souls, when it causes us no uneasiness, and we have no particular repugnance for it — then it is time that we awake. We are commanded to abhor that which is evil, and it is only by so doing and by keeping ourselves clean from it, that we can be safe in Christ Jesus and dwell in this wicked world.

        There was a bit of Heaven, in every Christian heart in Ephesus. That bit of Heaven was just as pure as the celestial realms above. We too have that heavenly element in our hearts; and in that transplanted bit of God's holiness, will flourish all the plants of righteousness which bloom in the courts eternal. But we must guard these plants by keeping the gates of our hearts closed night and day against evil. Only thus can we keep pure and acceptable to God. This we can do and be holy and faithful in the worst "Ephesus" that exists today, if it be our lot to abide there.

 95 
 on: March 04, 2017, 04:39:42 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
___________________________________________

Father knows best!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away--may the name of the LORD be praised!" Job 1:21

"Shall we accept good from God--and not trouble?" Job 2:10

Let the Lord do as He wills to us! He will never be unkind to us! He has always been our friend--He will never be our foe!

He will never put us into the furnace--unless He means to purge the dross out of us. Nor will there be one degree more heat in that furnace than is absolutely necessary--there will always be mercy to balance the misery--and strength supplied to support the burden to be borne.

Oh, children of God, your Father knows best! Leave everything in His hands and be at peace--for all is well.

"I was silent; I would not open my mouth--for You are the one who has done this!" Psalm 39:9

"He is the LORD; let him do what is good in His eyes!" 1 Samuel 3:18

"Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty--yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!" Habakkuk 3:17-18

 96 
 on: March 04, 2017, 04:38:28 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
___________________________________________

This city was a moral cesspool, a sink of pollution, filled with all corruption, and reeking with vileness!

(Charles Naylor, "In Christ, and in Ephesus" 1920)

"To the saints in Ephesus--the faithful in Christ Jesus" Ephesians 1:1

Ephesus was one of the great centers of paganism. It was adorned with costly and magnificent heathen temples. It was rich and voluptuous. Both private and public life were utterly corrupt. Even the religious practices of the Ephesians were unspeakably vile. This city was a moral cesspool, a sink of pollution, filled with all corruption, and reeking with vileness! It was a second Sodom. Vice stalked abroad everywhere--and was honored and worshiped.

We might therefore well say, "Can any good thing come out of Ephesus? Can Christianity flourish in such surroundings?"

Yes! There were saints in Ephesus--and faithful ones, too. They were such in their lives and characters as to win the commendation of that great apostle to the Gentiles. Out of that obnoxious cesspool of iniquity, were growing the pure white lilies of Christian character! That is the glory of Christianity and of Christ. Those who were now Christians were not superior to the other Ephesians--they were not by nature different. In fact, Paul tells them that they had been the children of wrath, even as the others--and that they had been such by nature. What a triumph of divine grace, which raised these people up out of such unspeakable filth--and made them faithful saints! And yet that is the power of our great Christ!

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord." Ephesians 5:8

 97 
 on: March 04, 2017, 04:36:57 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 general cause of all suffering!

(James Buchanan, "Improvement of Affliction" 1840)

"In the day of prosperity be happy--but in the day of adversity CONSIDER: God has made the one as well as the other." Ecclesiastes 7:14

In the day of adversity, you should consider the causes and occasions of suffering in general--and especially, inquire into the causes and occasions of your own affliction at the present time.

As to the general cause of all suffering--it is sin, and nothing else than sin. But for this accursed thing, there would be . . .
  no affliction in the world,
  no painful disease,
  no abject poverty,
  no hostile violence,
  no death, and
  no damnation.
All suffering proceeds from one general cause--namely, our inherent and actual sinfulness in the sight of God!

Sin is the root of all bitterness--and it is no wonder that its fruits are bitter. Rest assured, that God has not allowed so much suffering to prevail in the world from mere indifference to its welfare, or from any disposition to cruelty. No! "God is love"--and your happiness is dearer to Him than any other object--His own glory excepted.

All suffering is designed to mark His holy displeasure against sin, and to vindicate the honor of that Law which God, as the righteous moral Governor of the world, has prescribed for the regulation of our hearts and lives.

When viewed in this light, the sufferings which prevail to such a melancholy extent in the world--are fitted to deepen our conviction of the odious nature of sin. For when we reflect, on the one hand, on the infinite love of God, and His delight in the happiness of His creatures; and consider, on the other hand, how that, notwithstanding this love--God has permitted, nay, appointed so many evils to befall us--Oh! are we not sensible that sin, which is the cause of all suffering, must be, in His estimation, a most offensive and loathsome thing!

 98 
 on: March 04, 2017, 04:32:43 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 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” (II Tim. 2:3,4).

In the soldier it is courage and self-discipline that are important. It has been well said that the measure of a good soldier is not how much he can “give,” but how much he can “take,” how much he can endure — how much it takes to make him give up.

It is a sad fact that many of God’s people simply do not want to be soldiers. They are sure that the battle for the truth can be won by “love.” They decline to obey God’s specific order to “fight the good fight of the faith” (I Tim. 6:12). Some even find fault with those who do stand as soldiers for Christ and wield the Sword of the Spirit in defense of the truth.

But if God does not wish us to be soldiers in the fight of the faith, why did He command us to be such in the first place, and why, in Ephesians 6:10-20, does He urge us to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might,” instructing us to “Put on the whole armour of God,” naming each piece separately, so that not one might be missing? Why does He bid us to “take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God”?

Does He mean that we should put our sword in the scabbard and go on dress parade, to show what fine soldiers we are? No! We are to wield the Sword of the Spirit, “standing against the wiles of the devil”, and to keep standing until, “having done all,” we are still found “standing.”

Four times in this passage the word “stand” is used, and God has provided a complete armour so that we may be enabled to stand.

But there is more. A “good soldier,” says the Apostle, is careful not to “entangle himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (Verse 4).

What a lesson! Should not we, who have been bought with the precious blood of Christ, be “good soldiers” for His sake, single-minded, and disentangled from the affairs of this life?

 99 
 on: March 04, 2017, 04:29:40 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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Hidden Treasure
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “In Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).

Everyone knows that when God told Solomon He would give him whatever he asked (II Chron. 1:7), Israel’s king asked for “wisdom and knowledge” (v. 10). However, in the parallel passage in I Kings 3, this account says that Solomon asked God for “an understanding heart to judge Thy people” (v. 9). Far from a contradiction, the variance in these parallel accounts is God’s way of giving us a fuller understanding of that for which Solomon asked, and a definition of wisdom and knowledge. Anyone possessing these two virtues would by definition have an understanding heart to judge or rule God’s people. When Solomon was given this, he became a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, “in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” i.e., an understanding heart rich in its ability to judge God’s people.

But those who acknowledge the Mystery that Paul mentions in the previous verse (Col. 2:2) know that God has an earthly people (Israel) and a heavenly people (the Body of Christ). It was “the glory of God” that He was able to “conceal” the Mystery for 4,000 years (Prov. 25:2) in the “unsearchable” heart of the King of kings, “the heaven for height, and the earth for depth” (v. 3). Thus Paul speaks of “the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God,” and declares “how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out” (Rom. 11:33) when he says he wants us to understand the mystery of Israel’s blindness (v. 25), and how God’s plan to rule His earthly people would undergo a postponement that has now lasted 2,000 years. But when he speaks of the Mystery in Ephesians 3, he prays that we might understand the “depth and height” of it (v. 18.). That is, he is praying that we might also understand that God has a plan to rule His heavenly people, the Body of Christ (v. 1-17), in “the heaven for height.”

Thus in God’s plan to rule His people Israel on earth we find some of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and in His plan to rule His heavenly people, the Body of Christ, in the heavens, we also find some of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, but unless we acknowledge both we do not understand “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” that are hid in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 100 
 on: March 04, 2017, 04:26:40 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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The Kaiser's Surprise
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


In his comments on Isaiah 57, Dr. Harry Ironside shares this story:

Years ago, before the First World War, Professor Stroeter, a well-known prophetic teacher in Germany, used to go through the country giving lectures, and using charts to unfold the dispensations. His lectures attracted the attention of the German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm, who in spite of his many idiosyncrasies, was quite a Bible student, and used to preach in the palace chapel on many occasions.

The Kaiser invited Professor Stroeter to his palace to give him an idea of what he was lecturing upon. The professor was taken into the library and spread a roll of his charts out on the table. The Kaiser followed him as he pointed out various things in the dispensations until the Second Coming of the Lord. After a lengthy conversation the Kaiser said, “Do I understand you aright? Do you mean to say that Jesus Christ is coming back literally, and that when He returns all the kingdoms of the world are going to be destroyed and He will set up His kingdom on the ruins of them all?”

And Professor Stroeter said, “Exactly, your Majesty….”

“Oh, no,” said the Kaiser, “I can’t have that! Why that would interfere with all my plans!”

We don’t know if Professor Stroeter understood the dispensations well enough to have expressed to the Kaiser that the coming of our Lord to rapture His church must come before the wrath of the Tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ (I Thes. 1:10; 5:9). Regardless, what a frank admission from a man who professed to be a student and teacher of the Word of God!

How about you, dear reader? If you are not saved, you will be left behind when the Body of Christ is “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air (I Thes. 4:17). While we believers will “ever be with the Lord” in heaven, the seven years of Great Tribulation that will follow on earth will surely interfere with all that you have planned. Why not trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior by believing that His death, burial and resurrection paid for all of your sins. Then you too can look forward to being a part of all that the Lord has planned for His saints.

But we close by asking Christians if the Rapture will interfere with your plans, or be the triumph of His grace in your life? When John Wesley was asked what he would do the following day if he knew the Lord were coming, he replied that he would rise at his usual hour, spend time in his regularly scheduled morning devotions, and arrive promptly at his first speaking engagement of the day. In other words, he wouldn’t have to change a thing in his life to prepare for the coming of the Lord. May this be true of us too!

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