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nChrist
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« Reply #4710 on: December 16, 2019, 04:26:49 PM »

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From Grace Gems - Free and Public Domain:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
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What a believer would do, if he could!

(Thomas Moor, "Counsels and Thoughts for the Spiritual Life of Believers" 1881)

"The flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, so that you cannot do the things that you want to do." Galatians 5:17

"You cannot do the things that you want to do" is indeed often a true testimony as regards the experience of the believer.

He would follow Christ in heart and life--but, alas, he sees how little there is of Christ in either heart or life.

He would be spiritually-minded in all things--but often finds that he has been guided by worldly policy and worldly influences, rather than by spiritual principle.

He would be meek and lowly in heart--but he has cause for sorrow that pride of heart is so often and so quickly manifested.

He would sincerely pray--but often finds that he knows not what to ask, and cannot pray as he ought.

He knows that the reading of God's Word should always be a pleasure to him--but he often finds that Scripture reading is rather a task than otherwise.

He would be gentle and easily entreated--yet sometimes he stands upon his rights with a sternness and stubbornness which is not of the Spirit.

He would always please Christ--but, alas, he sees how often his motive has rather been self-pleasing, or the pleasing of his fellows.

He would have more firmness in holy desires--but he sees how faint, even at the best, are those desires.

He would have his mind often engaged with spiritual things--but finds how much more readily it runs after things that are trifling and profitless.

He would have a more determined will against the seducing influences around him--yet too often his will plays the coward when most needed to be firm and decided.

He would be thankful to God for the many and great things He has done for him and given him--but sometimes he forgets all, in regret for the loss or refusal of some one thing which his Heavenly Father has in love denied him.

This is a very sad and very humbling exhibition of a believer. It is, however, too often a true one, as many a child of God will sorrowfully testify, who truly knows the evil of his own heart.

"You cannot do the things that you want to do." This, however, is not written to make us satisfied with such a state of things, but rather to show us that the life of the believer is one of much conflict amidst many opposing influences, and that we have no sufficient strength of our own to overcome them. Also, to teach us to walk with more watchfulness, humility, and self-distrust, and to go more constantly and earnestly to our Heavenly Father, seeking for the increased assistance of the Holy Spirit, that we may thereby live a life of faith in the Lord Jesus, who alone can enable us to war a good warfare, and continually overcome every evil.

It is by thus showing us what we are, in our sinfulness and our need--that the Holy Spirit brings us more lowly and willingly to the Lord Jesus to find our all in Him.
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« Reply #4711 on: December 17, 2019, 02:49:34 PM »

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All things, the bitter and the sweet

(Thomas Moor, "Counsels and Thoughts for the Spiritual Life of Believers" 1881)

"We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Infinite wisdom, as well as infinite love, guides the Lord Jesus in all His doings. Thus it is He sees it best for His own glory and our good, that His doings should at times be contrary to our own desires for ourselves. All things, the bitter and the sweet, are from the hands of Him who makes all work together for our good.

All the trials and afflictions the believer meets with in this life, are for the promotion of . . .
  our growth in grace,
  the true knowledge of self,
  love to Christ, and
  faith in our covenant God and Father.

Christ's rough-hewn diamonds are precious to Him, but it is His polished ones that shine the brightest, and most reflect His holy image, and have the most conspicuous place among His jewels. Though the process of polishing is often painful to the flesh and trying to the spirit--yet the result is worth it all, for that result is "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!"
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« Reply #4712 on: December 18, 2019, 07:50:23 AM »

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http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
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The consciousness of all our infirmities, our inward lusts, and our utter helplessness

(Thomas Moor, "Counsels and Thoughts for the Spiritual Life of Believers" 1881)

The Christian life is one of continual conflict from its commencement to its close. There is no hope whatever that it can be otherwise. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and never can be anything else but flesh. It continually wars against the spirit--so that oftentimes, as the Apostle says, "When I would do good, evil is present with me."

This was Paul's own experience to the end of life, for never did he find any good thing in himself, that is, in his flesh. The flesh never changes for the better. Our only expectation and our encouragement is that through the grace of our Lord Jesus, with watchfulness and prayerfulness, it will be kept under control, and that the spiritual nature will increase in vigor daily.

The consciousness of all our infirmities, our inward lusts, and our utter helplessness--but makes the Lord Jesus more precious! The very lusts we abhor, do serve our best interests when they cause us to look more to Him. Thus they are among the all things that work for our good, by keeping us in our proper place and exalting the Lord.
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« Reply #4713 on: December 21, 2019, 03:22:13 PM »

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Regeneration, repentance, faith, conversion

(Thomas Moor, "Counsels and Thoughts for the Spiritual Life of Believers" 1882)

The Holy Spirit quickens the sinner with new spiritual life. He is thus born again. It is a work complete at once, and one in which the sinner is completely passive.
This is regeneration.

The sinner knows not that he is born again, but by the results which are manifested in the mind, heart and life.

His MIND is enlightened. He becomes deeply conscious of his personal relationship to God's holiness, to eternity, and to the judgment to come. These are to him realities such as they had never been before. He sees himself to be guilty before God, and deserving of eternal condemnation.
This is repentance.

His HEART becomes restless in consequence of his change of mind. He is weary and burdened under a consciousness of guilt. He looks to Jesus dying on the cross as the sinner's substitute. He trusts in Him as his only hope of salvation, and thus with the heart he believes and is saved.
This is faith.

His LIFE is now changed. The mind and heart being thus affected, the whole current of his outer life is altered. The man turns from the ways of sin and turns to God. He becomes a true disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus.
This is conversion.

In other words:

I. REGENERATION is the impartation of a new nature, and is in Scripture termed "being born again." It is an instantaneous work of the Holy Spirit, complete at once, though capable of increase in vigor and manifestation.

II. REPENTANCE is a change of mind about our relationship to God, whereby we become conscious that however moral or religious we may have been--we are really without God, and without hope in the world. We deeply sense that we are guilty before God and deserving eternal condemnation.

III. FAITH is the trust of the heart in Christ crucified, as the way of deliverance from guilt and deserved condemnation.

IV. CONVERSION is the change of the outward life. Having received Christ as his Savior, the believer now serves and follows Him as his Lord and Master.
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« Reply #4714 on: December 21, 2019, 03:23:52 PM »

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The deeper the work of grace

(Thomas Moor, "Counsels and Thoughts for the Spiritual Life of Believers" 1882)

It is the characteristic of a growing state of grace not to see its growth, but to see more clearly its shortcomings.

The nearer the light, the more visible are the imperfections.

In the same way, the deeper the work of grace, the more opposition will it usually encounter in the heart; and the inward evil will generally become more vividly realized by the believer.

The more we have of each grace, the more clearly shall we discern its opposite within:

The more we have of humility, the more shall we know and mourn over our pride.

The more we have of patience, the more shall we know and mourn over our impatience.

The more we have of faith, the more shall we know and mourn over our unbelief.

The more we have of conformity to the image of Christ, the more shall we know and mourn over our lack of conformity to Him.

The more we have of self-denial, the more shall we know and mourn over our selfishness.

The more we have of love to Christ, the more shall we know and mourn over our lack of love to Him.

Thus each grace becomes a light to show us how much of the contrary we have by nature.

Indeed, by this means we grow in grace, because thus we more fully know our great need of the Lord Jesus, and are led to look more humbly, confidently, and helplessly to Him, to whom we can never look in vain. Nothing draws so abundantly from His fullness, as a helpless trusting heart.
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« Reply #4715 on: December 21, 2019, 03:25:39 PM »

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Three rules for a happy marriage

(J.C. Ryle, "The Gospel of Mark" 1857)

Of all relationships of life, none ought to be regarded with such reverence and none taken in hand so cautiously, as the relationship of husband and wife.

In no relationship is so much earthly happiness to be found, if it is entered upon discreetly, advisedly, and in the fear of God. In none is so much misery seen to follow, if it is taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, wantonly, and without thought.

From no step in life does so much benefit come to the soul, if people marry "in the Lord." From none does the soul take so much harm, if imagination, passion, or any mere worldly motive is the only cause which produce the union.

There is, unhappily, only too much necessity for impressing these truths upon people. It is a mournful fact, that few steps in life are generally taken with so much levity, self-will, and forgetfulness of God, as marriage. Few are the young couples who think of inviting Christ to their wedding!

It is a mournful fact that unhappy marriages are one great cause of the misery and sorrow of which there is so much in the world. People find out too late that they have made a mistake, and go in bitterness all their days.

Happy are they, who in the matter of marriage observe three rules:

The first is to marry only in the Lord, and after prayer for God's approval and blessing.

The second is not to expect too much from their partners, and to remember that marriage is, after all, the union of two sinners, and not of two angels.

The third rule is to strive first and foremost for one another's sanctification. The more holy married people are, the happier they are.
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« Reply #4716 on: December 22, 2019, 01:02:18 PM »

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The eminent prayerfulness of Jesus

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and spent all night in prayer to God." Luke 6:12

If ever one might have lived without prayer, it was our spotless, perfect Lord--and yet none was ever so much in supplication as He! Such was His love to His Father, that He loved much to be in communion with Him! Such was His love for His people, that He desired to be much in intercession for them.

The fact of the eminent prayerfulness of Jesus is a lesson for us--He has given us an example that we may follow in His steps.

The time He chose was admirable:
  it was the hour of silence, when the crowd would not disturb Him;
  it was the time of inaction, when all but Himself had ceased to labor;
  and the season when slumber made men forget their woes, and cease their applications to Him for relief. While others found rest in sleep, He refreshed Himself with prayer.

The place was also well selected. He was alone where none would intrude, where none could observe--thus was He free from Pharisaic ostentation and vulgar interruption. Those dark and silent hills were a fit oratory for the Son of God. Heaven and earth in midnight stillness heard the groans and sighs of the mysterious Being in whom both worlds were blended.

The continuance of His pleadings is remarkable:
  the long watches were not too long;
  the cold wind did not chill His devotions;
  the grim darkness did not darken His faith, or loneliness check His importunity.
We cannot watch with Him one hour, but He watched for us whole nights!

The occasion for this prayer is notable. It was after His enemies had been enraged at Him, that prayer was His refuge and solace. It was before He sent forth the twelve apostles--that prayer was the gate of His enterprise, the herald of His new work. Should we not learn from Jesus to resort to special prayer when we are under peculiar trials, or contemplate fresh endeavors for the Master's glory?

Lord Jesus, teach us to pray!
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« Reply #4717 on: December 24, 2019, 01:09:51 PM »

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http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
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Folly duped the whole race!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the Flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark. They knew nothing about what would happen until the Flood came and swept them all away! That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man!" Matthew 24:37-39

Universal was the doom--none escaped!

The rich and poor,
the learned and the illiterate,
the admired and the abhorred,
the religious and the profane,
the old and the young--
all sank in one common ruin!

Some had doubtless ridiculed Noah--where were their merry jests now? Others counted him mad for his zeal--where were their boastings and hard speeches now? The carper who criticized old Noah's work--is drowned in the same sea which covers his sneering companions. Those who spoke patronizingly of Noah's fidelity to his convictions--but did not share in them, have sunk to rise no more! And the workers who were paid to help build the wondrous ark, are all lost also.

The flood swept them all away, and made no single exception!

Just so, final destruction is sure to every person outside of Christ! No rank, possession or character, shall suffice to save a single soul who has not savingly believed in the Lord Jesus. My soul, behold this wide-spread judgment and tremble at it.

How astonishing was the general apathy! They were all eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage--until the dreadful morning dawned. There was not one wise man upon earth, outside of the ark. Folly duped the whole race, folly as to self-preservation--the most foolish of all follies. Folly in doubting the most true God--the most malignant of fooleries!

Strange, my soul, is it not? All men are negligent of their souls until saving grace gives them reason, then they leave their madness and act like rational beings, but not until then.

All who in the ark were safe--no ruin entered there. All in Jesus are safe. My soul, are you in Him?
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« Reply #4718 on: December 26, 2019, 01:49:25 PM »

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http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
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Petty wars over abstruse points and unimportant questions

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Avoid foolish questions." Titus 3:9

Our days are few, and are far better spent in devoting ourselves to good works, than in disputing over matters which are, at best, of minor importance. Incessant discussion of subjects of no practical value, do a world of mischief. Our churches suffer much from petty wars over abstruse points and unimportant questions. After everything has been said that can be said--neither party is any the wiser! Therefore, the discussion no more promotes knowledge, than love! It is foolish to sow in so barren a field.

Questions upon . . .
  points wherein Scripture is silent;
  mysteries which belong to God alone;
  prophecies of doubtful interpretation;
  modes of observing mere human ceremonies
--are all foolish! Wise men will avoid them!

Our business is neither to ask nor answer foolish questions--but to avoid them altogether! If we observe the apostle's precept to be careful to devote ourselves to good works--we shall find ourselves far too much occupied with profitable business, to take much interest in unworthy, contentious, and needless strivings!

There are, however, some questions which are the reverse of foolish--which we must not avoid, but fairly and honestly answer, such as these:
  Am I growing in grace and Christ-likeness?
  Does my life adorn the doctrine of my Savior?
  What more can I do for Jesus?
Such inquiries as these, urgently demand our attention!

If we have been at all given to arguing and disputing, let us now turn to a service so much more profitable. Let us endeavor to lead others, both by our precept and example, to "avoid foolish questions."

"Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels." 2 Timothy 2:23

"Be careful to devote yourself to good works." Titus 3:8
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« Reply #4719 on: December 27, 2019, 11:40:58 AM »

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http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
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O the depths!

(Charles Spurgeon, "The Treasury of David")

"O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep!" Psalm 92:5

Man is superficial, God is inscrutable.
Man is shallow, God is deep.

"O LORD, how great are Your works!"
The Psalmist is lost in wonder. He utters an exclamation of amazement. How vast! How stupendous are the doings of Jehovah! All the creations of the Infinite One are great for number, extent, and glory, and design!

"Your thoughts are very deep!"
The Lord's thoughts and plans are as marvelous as His works.

His designs are as profound, as His doings are vast.

Creation is immeasurable, and the wisdom displayed in it unsearchable.
Providence is inexhaustible, and the divine decrees which originate it are inscrutable.
Redemption is grand beyond conception, and the thoughts of love which planned it are infinite.

Dive as we may, we shall never fathom the mysterious plan, or exhaust the boundless wisdom of the all-comprehending mind of the Lord. We can only stand by the fathomless sea of divine wisdom, and exclaim with holy awe, "O the depths!"

"O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep!"
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« Reply #4720 on: December 28, 2019, 02:38:35 PM »

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Just what is best for you!

(Thomas Moor, "Counsels and Thoughts for the Spiritual Life of Believers" 1882)

Remember that among your chief thoughts of the Lord Jesus, this one must ever have a prominent place: that He is ever looking down upon you and watching you with tenderest love, and ordering all things for your eternal good.

Sometimes it is spiritual medicine, at other times it is spiritual nourishment--but at all times it is spiritual good and just what is best for you! He sees and knows beyond anyone else what is best for you in each circumstance of each moment. So, always when you think of Him, think of Him as thus looking down upon you and ever caring for you.

Often the Lord, in His discipline of love, not only withholds what the heart longs for, but gives what the heart shrinks from naturally. If this is not patiently received at His hands, the discipline is of no avail and the Lord has to begin the discipline again, and sometimes again and again, but all in love--that the believer may at last leave it to Him to give, or take away, or withhold, even as He pleases.

To enjoy rest in the Lord Jesus in every providence however trying--each trying providence should be interpreted in strict accordance with His covenant love and faithfulness. To the believer, He is all love. His providences never contradict this--however unpleasing, undesirable, or disappointing they may be.

The Lord Jesus by affliction calls His people to draw still nearer to Himself in daily fellowship, in secret and personal communion, so that, having become the still deeper necessity of their souls, He may still more become their fullness of life, and peace, and joy.

With believers who are often in much affliction, the question should not be, "Why am I thus afflicted by Him more than many are who appear to be always well?" But rather, "Why am I so loved by Him more than many are; I who deserve this love no more than they do!"

The Lord Jesus wants the believer to look to Him as his all--both in providence and grace, in temporal things and in spiritual.

Affliction, pain, and trial, are not evil things. Nothing is evil but sin!
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« Reply #4721 on: January 01, 2020, 02:38:27 PM »

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http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
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One of the sure results of living by faith

(Thomas Moor, "Counsels and Thoughts for the Spiritual Life of Believers" 1882)

One of the sure results of living by faith, is to bring everything in the daily life, and every thought of the heart, into subjection to the Lord Jesus, and to have no will but His.

Walking with Christ, you are sure to walk in the path of safety and blessing. What if the way is sometimes marked with rough and thorny places? What if the difficulties and perplexities are many and unexpected? Looking unto Jesus, they will be but His opportunity to prove to you more vividly and fully--what a ready helper, and what a faithful and ever-present friend you have in Him.

All that the Lord Jesus does in relation to you, is prompted by His special individual love for you.
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« Reply #4722 on: January 01, 2020, 02:47:35 PM »

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The gentleness of Jesus in His dealings with us every step of the way

(Thomas Moor, "Counsels and Thoughts for the Spiritual Life of Believers" 1882)

"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

His hand is a gentle one, though it be a mighty one--for to us, it is the once pierced hand of Jesus. The gentleness of Jesus is as much a feature of His character as His love. It is because He loves so much, that He is so gentle in His dealings with His people. No mother can lead her darling child so gently, or watch its path so carefully, or stoop to do such lowly acts for its well-being--as our Jesus leads, and watches over, and works for His people.

Adversity often finds rough voices and unfriendly conduct where least expected, but it always meets with gentleness in Jesus. Those whose eyes are often blinded by affliction's tears--best know how gently the gentle hand of the Lord Jesus can wipe sorrow's tears away. More glorious is omnipotence in wiping those tears away, than in the creation of a universe!

It is the glory of omnipotence to be gentle.
It is the sweetness of majesty to condescend.
It is the beauty of love to walk in lowliness and uplift the fallen.

Hearts wounded by disappointed hopes, by misplaced confidence, by harsh treatment--ever meet with sweet solace and soothing consolation in the gentleness of Jesus.

When the believer's feet have slipped and he has fallen into sin, fellow-Christians may speak harshly, and upbraid and condemn--but the returning wanderer always meets with gentleness in Jesus. Love never hesitates, and can never stoop too low to multiply the comforts and the joys of the beloved one.

Psalm 18:35, "Your gentleness has made me great," for it has raised me up from sin and shame, from sorrow and despair.

How low our Jesus stooped--let Bethlehem, and Gethsemane, and Calvary tell.

He still stoops low, for He comes down to our lowly walk and our little needs to be our daily companion, and to multiply our daily blessings. And when our lowly walk on earth is over, and from the light of glory we contemplate the path of our earthly pilgrimage--among the many manifestations of love then made clear, will be seen the gentleness of Jesus in His dealings with us every step of the way.
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« Reply #4723 on: January 01, 2020, 02:49:36 PM »

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http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
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Disagreement with the path, is disagreement with Him who ordained it

(Thomas Moor, "Counsels and Thoughts for the Spiritual Life of Believers" 1882)

"Be content with such things as you have, for He has said: I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

The Lord Jesus never leaves His people. Whether they realize His presence or not, it does not alter the fact, for He is ever with them as their loving and sympathizing friend and helper--true God, yet always true man.

"I will never leave you"--there is the assurance of His gracious presence.

"Nor will I ever forsake you"--there is the assurance of His watchful care and changeless love.

It is possible for a person to have much of the company of one by whom he is forsaken in heart affection. The Lord Jesus does not deal thus with His people. His language means, "My presence shall ever go with you, My heart shall ever be towards you, and My hand shall ever hold you." There is nothing in the darkest and most trying path in which a believer can possibly be placed, that need prevent him constantly realizing the presence and love of His Lord, and quietly resting in Him.

Fully, however, to realize the Lord's presence and love, and quietly rest in Him, there must not only be looking up, and trusting, and waiting--but the heart must also be content with the providential path below.

If a believer would walk in loving fellowship with the Lord Jesus when in the path of trial--there must be a quiet, contented, patient abiding in that path where the Lord has placed him; for there, and there alone, will the Lord Jesus meet with him. Disagreement with the path, is disagreement with Him who ordained it.

There should be not only abiding with the Lord as the source of rest and comfort, but abiding in the path as the way of His appointment in love. The lack of this patient abiding is the reason why so many believers have such a joyless, anxious, troubled, barren experience. "Be content with such things as you have, for He has said: I will never leave you nor will I ever forsake you."
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« Reply #4724 on: January 02, 2020, 01:27:29 PM »

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Nevertheless I am continually with You!

(Thomas Moor, "Counsels and Thoughts for the Spiritual Life of Believers" 1882)

"Nevertheless I am continually with You! You hold me by my right hand." Psalm 73:23
 
This is the utterance of a faith which triumphs over contradictory circumstances and contradictory experiences.

Believer in Jesus, bear in mind that this "nevertheless" stands firm for you also, whatever may be the "although" of adverse circumstances and experiences you put before it.

Because of the covenant faithfulness of Him in whose hand of grace and love you are, you can truly say:

  "Although I am weak and helpless, nevertheless I am continually with You."

  "Although I am vile and undeserving, nevertheless I am continually with You."

  "Although I am so foolish and prone to wander, nevertheless I am continually with You."

  "Although trials and afflictions beset me, nevertheless I am continually with You."

  "Although all forsake me, nevertheless I am continually with You."

  "Although I cannot realize Your presence, nevertheless I am continually with You."

Thus, whatever may be your "although," let the "nevertheless" of your faith always triumph, for . . .
  the grasp of Christ's hand never slackens,
  the power of Christ's arm never fails,
  the love of Christ's heart never changes.
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