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December 11, 2017, 04:09:48 PM

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Our Lord Jesus Christ loves you.
277964 Posts in 26514 Topics by 3790 Members
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airIam2worship
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Early In The Morning I Will Praise The Lord


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« Reply #330 on: October 05, 2007, 04:09:11 PM »

July 27

Luke 16:2931. Abraham's reply to the rich man.

It is natural to suppose that the sight of a departed spirit would awaken a thoughtless soul. The rich man imagined that his brethren would turn from sin if Lazarus were to appear to them in the midst of their luxury and their gaiety, and to say, "I am the beggar that once languished at the gate—I am now an inhabitant of heaven—I partake of the immortal feast—I sit with the saints, and behold the face of God—I have seen your brother—he is not with us—I heard a doleful cry—it was his voice—he was burning in the flames of hell—he entreated that I might moisten his tongue with the tip of my finger, but the request could not be granted. He has remembered you. He once lived (as you do now) a worldly, thoughtless life—he knows how your lives will end—he dreads lest you should join him in the place of torment."

The rich man supposed that such a warning voice would alarm his brethren, stop them in their sinful career, and turn them to God. But the Lord has not appointed this mode of dealing with men. He might have made the departed, the ministers of the living. Every dead relative might have appeared again; the happy ones to tell of their happiness; the miserable ones to tell of their misery. But God devised another method. He spoke to holy men of old, and taught them to write the words he dictated. He appointed living men to speak of those holy words to their fellow-creatures. This is God's method. Thousands and tens of thousands have been saved by these means. They have believed the written message, and the living preacher, and have fled from the threatened wrath. God continues to pursue this plan of dealing with men. He requires us to believe what we do not see, only because HE says it. The Lord Jesus well knew that if he had appeared to his enemies when he rose again from the dead, he would not have overcome their enmity; therefore he did not appear to them. He appeared to his friends for their comfort, but not to his enemies for their conversion.

The Lord's method must be the most excellent way. If we would save the souls of men, we must let them hear the word of God, which he spoke by Moses, by the prophets, by his own Son, and by his apostles. That word has awakened whole families, who were as thoughtless as the rich man's brothers, and has saved them from the place of torment. Every soul that reaches the abode of bliss, will trace his coming there to his having heard the word of God. Some will speak of one part of that blessed word, and some will speak of another, and all will bless the Holy Spirit who opened their hearts to receive the truth. We shall not need the Bible in heaven, because we shall be with Him who wrote it; but surely it will not be forgotten there. Neither will it be forgotten in hell. It will add to the fierceness of the flames to remember the slighted warnings, the despised promises, the rejected invitations of the word of God.

 
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airIam2worship
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« Reply #331 on: October 05, 2007, 04:10:27 PM »

July 28

Luke 17:1-4. Christ teaches the forgiveness of injuries.

When Jesus was alone with his disciples, he dwelt upon those topics that were the most necessary for them to understand. All who believe in the Savior must listen with particular interest to these conversations.

Believers now, like the first disciples, are "compassed with infirmity." The instructions that suited the little flock who surrounded the Lord when he was on earth, will suit the larger flock that wait at his feet now he is enthroned in the heavens.

On this occasion the Savior warned his disciples against two things—committing offences, and indulging an unforgiving spirit.

The "offences" spoken of are stumbling-blocks laid in the way of weak believers. Those who are strong in faith must be careful not to injure the weak in faith, even as the elder children in a family must carefully avoid hurting the tender frames of the younger children. A considerate youth would refrain from performing some feats that he could with safety perform, if he thought that his little brothers might be tempted to imitate his example, and to endanger their limbs or their lives. Believers strong in faith ought to act in the same way, and to refrain even from enjoying lawful privileges, sooner than endanger their weak brethren. In Rom. 14 the apostle Paul points out very clearly this duty.

But if it be a grievous sin to wound a weak believer through carelessness, how dreadful a crime it must be to injure him willfully! No true believer would commit this sin. It would be better to be cast into the sea, (as criminals often are in the East,) than to be guilty of it. To persuade a child of God to act against his conscience, and to break his Father's law, is to commit a worse sin than murder. If you were to induce a person to leap from a high window, you might be the occasion of the destruction of his body, but if you were to tempt him to break the Sabbath, to tell a lie, to join in profane discourse, you would endanger his soul. God indeed could preserve the body from being dashed to pieces, and the soul from being lost, but the person who deceived would be as guilty as if the worst consequences had followed. How watchful we ought to be over our behavior to the children of God, lest we injure those whom God guards with such tender care!

There is another sin that we must strive against, if we desire to please God. It is an unforgiving spirit. The family of God upon earth are so full of defects, that they often annoy each other. If we were surrounded by angels, we should have no temptations to anger. But is there one of us who can say, "I act like an angel to those around me?" Is it not true that we are constantly exercising the patience of our companions? Does it become us to be slow to forgive? When we are conscious that we have wounded another, each of us should say, "I repent;" and when another says to us, "I repent," each of us should reply, "I forgive." But if our brother forget his duty, and omit to acknowledge his fault, we ought not to be rigorous in demanding the confession. Were he to make it, we should find it more easy to forgive; but if he withhold it, we have the opportunity of showing a higher degree of grace by forgiving, notwithstanding his omission. In most differences, however, both parties have something to confess and something to forgive. Mutual concessions and mutual forgiveness are generally needed. He who first says, "I repent," acts the most Christian part; for he shows that he has already forgiven the trespasses of his brother. Had not Jesus forgiven us before any of us said, "I repent," we never should have felt even the desire to obtain his forgiveness. It was the thought that He loved us before we loved him that melted our hearts, and made us feel truly penitent for our sins.

 
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« Reply #332 on: October 05, 2007, 04:11:45 PM »

July 29

Luke 17:5-10. The disciples pray for more faith.

Why did the disciples offer up the prayer, "Increase our faith?" Had their Lord just revealed some mystery that it was difficult to believe? No—but he had just enjoined a duty that it was difficult to practice. That duty was, "Forgiving often-repeated trespasses." Whoever has been deeply or often injured, and has endeavored freely to forgive, knows that the wicked heart rises up against the righteous deed—and that the struggle is sharp between the sense of injury and of duty. In vain the person offended reasons with himself, and urges himself to the performance of the command; his unwilling soul hangs back, and refuses to obey. What is the only remedy against this inward repugnance? Faith. Had we more faith, we should run, where now we cannot walk. The disciples felt their need of faith, and they applied to him who alone can bestow it. Jesus is the author of faith.

Though some prophets have been enabled to bestow temporal benefits, none have ever had the power to confer spiritual good. No mere man was ever known to give repentance, or to strengthen faith. But the Son of God can do all things. If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of him and it shall be given him—if any man lack faith, let him ask and it also shall be given. Have we any excuse for saying, "I cannot do what my Lord commands?" Do we find it difficult to forgive repeated injuries, or great injuries, or (which is harder still) to forgive trespasses still unconfessed, there is power in Christ to enable us to overcome these mountains.

And when we have succeeded in conquering the deep-rooted sins of our hearts, what ought to be our feeling then? Our Savior teaches us what it ought to be. When we have done all that was commanded, we must say, "We are unprofitable servants—we have done that which was our duty to do." But we have never done all, or half, or a hundredth part of the things that were commanded us. We are not only unprofitable, but we are provoking and guilty servants. Had we not the God of all patience for our master, we should have been dismissed long ago from his service. But instead of dismissing us, he treats us in the most generous manner. His yoke is easy and his burden is light, while his reward is a weight of glory. He is so infinitely gracious, that after having borne with our imperfect services, he has promised to say to each who sincerely loves him, "Well done, good and faithful servant—enter into the joy of your Lord."

The thought of receiving such commendation ought to humble us more than the severest reproof. It will humble those who shall receive it. Every one of them will cast his crown of life at the feet of Him who bestowed it, and say, "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power." (Rev. 4:11.)

 
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« Reply #333 on: October 05, 2007, 04:13:13 PM »

July 30

Luke 9:51-56. James and John betray a revengeful spirit.

And was it the gentle apostle John who proposed to consume the Samaritans with fire? Yes, it was even that apostle whom Jesus loved; that apostle who leaned on his bosom at supper, who stood by his cross, and who became a son to the Messiah's bereaved mother. Yes, even John once indulged a proud, passionate, and revengeful spirit. When the Samaritan villagers refused to receive the Lord, the apostles James and John thought that they showed a holy zeal in desiring to revenge the insult. How easy it is to deceive ourselves respecting the motives of our actions! Party spirit often appears like holy zeal; but it is of an opposite nature, and comes from a different place.

The Lord felt compassion for these ignorant Samaritans. They refused to receive him into their houses; but had they known who he was, and what he could bestow, they would have asked of him, and he would have received them into everlasting habitations. But they knew him not; they looked upon him as their enemy, because he belonged to the Jewish nation.

The sin of the well-instructed apostles James and John was much greater than the sin of the ignorant Samaritans. When Moses and Aaron once said to the Israelites, "Must we fetch water for you rebels!" the Lord was so much displeased with the passionate speech, that he permitted neither of these eminent saints to enter the promised land. Yet was not the spirit of the brothers James and John like the spirit of Moses and Aaron on that occasion? The two leaders of Israel would have permitted the thirsty host to languish for lack of water; the two apostles were anxious to consume the Samaritan villagers with fire.

There was once another prophet who indulged the same wrong spirit. Jonah desired the destruction of Nineveh. God expostulated with the prophet upon his cruelty in wishing so large a city, containing so many little children, to be destroyed.

God loves better to hear his people intercede for perishing sinners, (as Abraham did for Sodom,) than to hear them plead for their destruction. It better becomes a creature, who deserves himself to be consumed, and who has been snatched by the arm of divine mercy as a brand from the burning—it better becomes such a one to ask mercy for his fellow-sinners, than to invoke vengeance. When Elijah called down fire from heaven to consume the captains that the king had sent to take him, he spoke in the power of God's Spirit, and not after his own will. When Elisha turned and cursed the children of Bethel, he acted by the direction of God. When David in his psalms denounces dreadful curses upon the wicked, he speaks in the person of Christ, and foretells the sentence which the Lord will pronounce upon His own enemies at the last day. There is not a word in the Bible, from the beginning to the end, to sanction a revengeful spirit. But nothing can show the hatefulness of such a spirit so clearly as the example of Christ. Even when nailed upon the cross, he prayed for his murderers, saying, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Do not we feel ashamed of the harshness and heat of our own spirits? Are we not too soon provoked, and too slowly pacified? All who know their own hearts lament that they have not yet attained to that charity which bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. But let us not be discouraged. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit may sanctify our hearts, and subdue those proud tempers and angry feelings that disturb our peace, dishonor our profession, and displease our Savior.

 
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« Reply #334 on: October 05, 2007, 04:16:48 PM »

July 31

Luke 9:57 to end. Christ replies to three people.

Would not each of us like to know what the Savior would have "said to us had we lived upon earth at the time that he honored it with his bodily presence? We have just read of three people who had interviews with him, each of whom received an answer suited to his real character. The first and the last of these three offered to follow Jesus; the second was called to follow him. It is natural for us to suppose that those who offered to become his disciples were more attached to him than the man who did not offer himself, but who only received a call. Yet it is evident from the Lord's replies to each that he was most approved whom we might deem least earnest.

The first of the three appears to have mistaken the nature of the Lord's service. He said, "I will follow you wherever you go." But was he prepared to follow him to prison and to death? It appears from the Lord's answer that he was not. Jesus replied—"Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests—but the Son of man has not where to lay his head." By this answer the Savior seemed to say, "If you desire a life of ease, you must not follow me; for I have no retreat from the malice of my foes." Had the man truly loved him, he would not have been deterred by any dangers from following his steps. As no further mention is made of this man, it is most probable that he was discouraged by the reply he received.

Those who cannot read the heart might have thought that the man who said, "Permit me first to go and bury my father," was unwilling to follow Jesus. But the Lord judged differently. He saw in the man the spirit that he approved. It was not unwillingness to obey his call, but a sense of duty to an aged, and perhaps a deceased parent, that prompted the request. The Lord replied, "Let the dead bury their dead." It is probable that this man had relations who were dead in sins. The Lord appointed that they should bury the dead father, and that the living son should preach the kingdom of God. He was not dead—he was made alive by the Spirit of God. Christ does not say to every one, "Preach the kingdom of God;" but when he does call a man by his Spirit to the holy ministry, every hindrance to his obedience to the call must be laid aside. Many who have gone forth as missionaries to heathen lands, have broken the dearest ties in order to pursue their sacred work! Some have left widowed mothers, others have sacrificed their brightest earthly hopes, rather than disobey the command, "Preach the kingdom of God."

The last of the three resembled the first in one respect. Like him he offered to follow Jesus. He resembled the second in another respect. Like him he asked permission to delay his coming for a little while; but the reason he gave was different. He wished to bid fare well to those at home in his house. Was this request wrong? Did not Elisha once make a similar request when called by Elijah? It is evident that in this case the motive was wrong. The Lord's answer showed that this man, like the first, was not prepared for the service he offered to engage in. His heart still clung to his earthly interests, and was not devoted to Christ. Therefore the Lord compared him to one, who, holding the handle of the plough, instead of fixing his eye upon the furrow before him that he may make it straight, turns his head round, and gazes on the scenes behind. Such a man, he declared, was not fit for the kingdom of God.

The first and last of the three appear to have been unsound at heart. The first was eager to set out, because he knew not the nature of the service; the last was unwilling to set out immediately, because he loved too well his earthly portion.

Let us examine our own hearts, to see whether we resemble any one of these three men! Perhaps we are eager, like the first, to undertake some Christian work. But are we prepared for sufferings, and persecution, and poverty? Or our case may resemble that of the last. We may intend some day to become devoted Christians, while we feel so much engrossed by our earthly enjoyments that we are continually putting off the time for beginning to lead a new life. The Lord Jesus knows our most secret feelings. It is useless to attempt to deceive him—if we do not really love him, and think it a privilege to serve him, he will not accept our services. If, like the second character, we really long to do something for his cause, but are hindered by other pressing duties, the way shall be made clear; a door shall be opened, difficulties shall be removed, and the desire of our hearts shall be granted.


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