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nChrist
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« on: May 25, 2008, 10:12:23 AM »

May 20

" I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore." Revelation 1:18

Let the Christian reader fully believe this one truth- that Jesus is alive again, and it will afford to his soul greater confirmation of the veracity of God's character, of the truth of His word, and of the perfection and all-sufficiency of Christ's work, than all other truths beside. Is Jesus alive at the right hand of God?- then the debt is paid, and justice is satisfied. Is Jesus alive at the right hand of God?- then the Father is well pleased in the work of His Son, and He "rests in His love, and rejoices over His Church with singing." Is Jesus alive?- then every promise shall be fulfilled, and all the blessings of the everlasting covenant shall be freely bestowed, and I, a poor worthless sinner, yet resting upon His atoning work, shall live also. May the Holy Spirit lead you into the full belief- the belief of the heart as of the judgment- of this glorious truth. It is the keystone of the temple; press it as you will, the more you lean upon it, the stronger you will find it- the more you rest upon it, the firmer will grow your hope. Only receive it in simple faith; Jesus is alive- alive for you- all you need in this valley of tears is here; all your temporal mercies are secured to you here; all your spiritual blessings are laid up for you here. Such is the great charter, such the immense untold blessings it contains, that, come how you will, come when you will, and "ask what you will, it shall be granted to you by the Father," because Jesus is at His right hand. Well may we take up the dauntless challenge of the apostle, "Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died; yes, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us." Your salvation is complete, your heaven secure, and all victory, happiness, and glory bound up in this one great fact. Then may we not again exclaim with Paul, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which, according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."   

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Morning Thoughts
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by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )

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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2008, 10:14:40 AM »

May 21

" Is there no balm in Gilead? is there no physician there?" Jeremiah 8:22

There is! The physician is Jesus, the balm is His own most precious blood. He binds up the broken heart, He heals the wounded spirit. All the skill, all the efficacy, all the tenderness and crucial sympathy needed for the office meet and center in Him in the highest degree. Here then, disconsolate soul, bring your wounded heart. Bring it simply to Jesus. One touch of His hand will heal the wound. One whisper of His voice will hush the tempest. One drop of His blood will remove the guilt. Nothing but a faith's application to Him will do for your soul now. Your case is beyond the skill of all other physicians. Your wound is too deep for all other remedies. It is a question of life and death, heaven or hell. It is an emergency, a crisis, a turning point with you. Oh, how solemn, how eventful is this moment! Eternity seems suspended upon it. All the intelligences of the universe, good spirits and bad, seem gazing upon it with intense interest. Decide the question, by closing in immediately with Jesus. Submit to God. All things are ready. The blood is shed, the righteousness is finished, the feast is prepared, God stands ready to pardon, yes, He advances to meet you, His returning child, to fall upon your neck and embrace you, with the assurance of His full and free forgiveness. Let not the simplicity of the remedy keep you back. Many stumble at this. It is but a look of faith: "Look unto me, and be saved." It is but a touch, even though with a palsied hand "And as many as touched him were made whole." It is but a believing the broad declaration, "that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." You are not called to believe that He came to save you; but that He saves sinners. Then if you inquire, "But will He save me? How do I know that if I come I shall meet a welcome?" Our reply is, only test Him. Settle not down with the conviction that you are too far gone, too vile, too guilty, too unworthy, until you have gone and tried Him. You know not how you wound Him, how you dishonor Him, and grieve the Spirit, by yielding to a doubt, yes, the shadow of a doubt, as to the willingness and the ability of Jesus to save you, until you have gone to Him believingly, and put His readiness and His skill to the t.

Do not let the freeness of the remedy keep you away. This, too, is a stumbling-block to many. Its very freeness holds them back. But it is "without money, and without price." The simple meaning of this is, no worthiness on the part of the applicant, no merit of the creature, no tears, no convictions, no faith, is the ground on which the healing is bestowed. Oh no! It is all of grace- all of God's free gift, irrespective of any worth or worthiness in man. Your strong motive to come to Christ is your very sinfulness. The reason why you go to Him is that your heart is broken, and that He only, can bind it up; your spirit is wounded, and that He only can heal it; your conscience is burdened, and that He only can lighten it; your soul is lost, and that He only, can save it. And that is all you need to recommend you. It is enough for Christ that you are covered with guilt; that you have no plea that springs from yourself; that you have no money to bring in your hand, but have spent your all upon physicians, yet instead of getting better you only grow worse; that you have wasted your substance in riotous living, and now are insolvent; and that you really feel a drawing towards Him, a longing for Him- that you ask, you seek, you crave, you earnestly implore His compassion- that is enough for Him. His heart yearns, His love is moved, His hand is stretched out- come and welcome to Jesus, come.   


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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2008, 10:17:19 AM »

May 22

" Bear you one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2

Thank God for an errand to Him. It may be you have felt no heart to pray for yourself- you have been sensible of no peculiar drawings to the throne for your own soul, but you halt gone in behalf of another; the burden, the trial, the affliction, or the immediate need of some member of God's family has pressed upon you, and you have taken his case to the Lord: you have borne him in your arms to the throne of grace, and, while interceding for your brother, the Lord has met you, and blessed your own soul. Perhaps you halt gone and prayed for the Church, for the peace of Jerusalem, for the prosperity of Zion, that the Lord would build up her waste places, and make her a joy and a praise in the whole earth- perhaps it has been to pray for your minister, that the Lord would teach him more deeply and experimentally, and anoint him more plenteously with the rich anointing and unction of the Holy Spirit- perhaps it has been to pray for Christian missions, and for laborious and self-denying missionaries, that the Lord would make them eminently successful in diffusing the knowledge of a precious Savior, and in calling in His people: and thus, while for others you have been besieging the throne of grace, and pouring out your heart before the Lord, the Lord Himself has drawn near to your own soul, and you have been made to experience the blessing that is ever the attendant and the reward of intercessory prayer. Then let every event, every circumstance, every providence be a voice urging you to prayer. If you have no needs, others have- take them to the Lord. If you are borne down by no cross, smitten by no affliction, or suffering from no need, others are- for them go and plead with your heavenly Father, and the petitions you send up to the mercy-seat on their behalf may return into your own bosom freighted with rich covenant blessings. The falls, the weaknesses, the declensions of others make them grounds for prayer. Thus, and thus only, can you expect to grow in grace, and grace to grow in you.   


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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2008, 10:19:00 AM »

May 23

" Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." Ephesians 6:16

Few of the children of God are ignorant, more or less, of Satan's devices. But few are exempt from the "fiery darts " of the adversary; our Lord Himself was not. Many, peculiar, and great are their temptations. They are often those which touch the very vitals of the gospel, which go to undermine the believer's faith in the fundamentals of Christianity, and which affect his own personal interest in the covenant of grace. Satan is the sworn enemy of the believer- his constant, unwearied foe. There is, too, a subtlety, a malignity, which does not mark not the other and numerous enemies of the soul. The Holy Spirit speaks of the "depths of Satan." There are "depths" in his malice, in his subtlety, in his sagacity, which many of the beloved of the Lord are made in some degree to fathom. The Lord may allow them to go down into those "depths," just to convince those who are there are depths in His wisdom, love, power, and grace, which can out-fathom the "depths of Satan." But what are some of the devices of the wicked one? What are some of his fiery darts? Sometimes he fills the mind of the believer with the most blasphemous and atheistical thoughts, threatening the utter destruction of his peace and confidence. Sometimes he takes advantage of periods of weakness, trial, and perplexity to stir up the corruptions of his nature, bringing the soul back as into captivity to the law of sin and death. Sometimes he suggests unbelieving doubts respecting his adoption, beguiling him into the belief that his professed conversion is all a delusion, that his religion is all hypocrisy, and that what he had thought was the work of grace is but the work of nature. But by far the greatest and most general controversy which Satan has with the saint of God is, to lead him to doubt the ability and the willingness of Christ to save a poor sinner. The anchor of his soul removed from this truth he is driven out upon a rough sea of doubt and anguish, and is at the mercy of every wind of doctrine and every billow of unbelief that may assail his storm-tossed bark. But in the midst of it all, where does the comfort and the victory of the tempted believer come from? From the promise which assures him that "when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him." And what is the standard which the Spirit, the Comforter, lifts up to stem this flood? A dying, risen, ascended, exalted, and ever-living Savior. This is the standard that strikes terror into the foe; this is the gate that shuts out the flood. So the disciples proved. This is their testimony: "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Your name." Immanuel is that name which puts to flight every spiritual foe. And the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, leads the tempted soul to this name, to shelter itself beneath it, to plead it with God, and to battle with it against the enemy. Dear reader, are you a target against which the fiery darts of the devil are leveled? Are you sorely tempted? Do not be astonished as though some strange thing had happened unto you. The holiest of God's saints have suffered as you are now suffering; yes, even your blessed Lord, your Master, your Pattern, your Example, and He in whose name you shall be more than conqueror; was once assailed as you are, and by the same enemy. And let the reflection console you, that temptations only leave the traces of guilt upon the conscience, and are only regarded as sins by God, as they are yielded to. The mere suggestion of the adversary, the mere presentation of a temptation, is no sin, so long as, in the strength that is in Christ Jesus, the believer firmly and resolutely resists it. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Jesus has already fought and conquered for you. He knew well what the conflict with Satan was. And He remembers, too, what it is. Lift up your head, dear tempted soul! You shall obtain the victory. The seed of the woman has bruised the serpent's head; yes, has crushed him, never to obtain his supremacy over you again. He may harass, annoy, and distress you; but pluck you from the hollow of the hand that was pierced for you, he never can.   


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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2008, 10:20:55 AM »

May 24

" Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." John 8:58

Dear reader, what a wondrous declaration is this! What a glorious and precious truth does it involve! Are you a believer in Jesus? Is He all your salvation, your acceptance, your hope, and desire? Then cast the anchor of your faith deeply, firmly here; you shall find it an eternal rock. Weak faith you may have, and doubtful faith numbers have; but here is the ground of faith, respecting which there can be neither weakness nor doubt. Is it an Almighty Savior that you need? Behold Him! "Before Abraham was, I am." Oh, what a foundation for a poor sinful worm of the dust to build upon! What a stable truth for faith in its weakest form to deal with- to have a glorious incarnate 'I Am' for an atoning sacrifice- an 'I Am' for a Redeemer- an 'I Am' for a Surety- an 'I Am' as a Day's-man between God and the soul- an 'I Am' as an Advocate, an unceasing Intercessor at the court of heaven, pleading each moment His own atoning merits- an 'I Am' as the center in whom all the promises are "yes and amen"- an 'I Am' as a "Brother born for adversity"- an 'I Am' as "a very present help in trouble"! This is the answer which faith receives to its trembling and anxious interrogatories. To each and all touching His faithfulness, His tenderness, His long-suffering, His fulness, and His all-sufficiency, Jesus answers, "I Am." "Enough, Lord," replies the believer, "on this I can live, on this I can die."


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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2008, 10:22:33 AM »

May 25

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

There is an idea fatal to all true sanctification, which some believers, especially those who are young in experience, are prone to entertain- that nothing is to be done in the soul after a man has believed, that the work of conversion having taken place, all is accomplished. So far from this being the case, he has but just entered upon the work of sanctification- just started in the race, just buckled on the armor. The conflict can hardly be said to have begun in conversion; and, therefore, to rest composed with the idea that the soul has nothing more to do than to accept of Christ as his salvation- that there are no corruptions to subdue- no sinful habits to cut off no long-existing and deeply imbedded sins to mortify, root and branch- and no high and yet higher degrees in holiness to attain, is to form a most contracted view of the Christian life- such a view as, if persisted in, must necessarily prove detrimental to the spiritual advance of the believer. The work of sanctification, beloved, is a great and a daily work. It commences at the very moment of our translation into the kingdom of Christ on earth, and ceases not until the moment of our translation into the kingdom of God in heaven. The notion, so fondly cherished by some, of perfect sinlessness here, is as fatal to true sanctification as it is contrary to God's word. They know but little of their own heart, who do not know that sin, in the language of Owen, "not only still abides in us, but is still acting, still laboring to bring forth the deeds of the flesh;"- who do not know that in their "flesh there dwells no good thing," that "that which is born of the flesh is flesh," and will retain its fleshly nature and propensities to the very last. Let us not exult "as though we had already attained, or were already perfect,"- let us not be "ignorant of Satan's devices," one of which is to build us up in the belief that, in the present life, a man may cease from the work of mortification. The Lord keep the reader from cherishing so erroneous an idea. The work of sanctification is the work of a man's life. "When sin lets us alone (as has been remarked), we may let sin alone." But when is the day, yes, when is the hour, that sin does not strive for the mastery, and in which the believer can say he has completely slain his enemy? He may "through the Spirit, mortify the deeds of the body," and if he does, "he shall live;" but, as the heart is the natural and luxuriant soil of every noxious weed of sin, and as another springs up as soon as one is cut down, yes, as the same root appears again above the surface, with new life and vigor, it requires a ceaseless care and vigilance, a perpetual mortification of sin in the body, until we throw off this cumbrous clay, and go where sin is known no more.   


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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2008, 10:24:12 AM »

May 26

" For all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." 2 Corinthians 1:20

It pleased a gracious and sin-pardoning God to meet our guilty and conscience-stricken parents, immediately after the fall, with the comforting and gracious promise that the "seed of the woman"- His eternal Son, the everlasting Mediator- should "bruise the serpent's head." On this divine assurance of recovering and saving mercy they rested. Believing in this, as they doubtless did, they were saved, "the first fruits unto God and the Lamb." They rested, let it be emphatically spoken, not upon the bare letter of the promise, but upon its substance; not merely, upon the grace promised; but upon the truth of God in the promise. The bare letter of a promise is no resting-place for a believing soul; it can convey no solid consolation and support. Thus far, and no further, did the Jews get, to whom pertained the promises. This is all that they saw in the types and promises which set forth "God's unspeakable gift." They rested in the mere letter. They saw not Christ in them; and, seeing not Christ to be their substance and glory, to them "the promises of God were made of none effect." Now God has fulfilled His ancient promise. The word He spoke to Adam, He has made good to the letter to us, His posterity. It is true, the vision of grace and glory seemed for a while to tarry, but it tarried only for its appointed time. It is true, the vista was long and dreary, through which patriarchs, seers, and prophets beheld it. The star of hope was often scarcely seen in the dim distance, and frequently seemed for a moment entirely quenched in darkness. Time rolled heavily along- a period of four thousand years elapsed; but, true to His word, faithful to His promise, "when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Oh, how gloriously did the truth of Jehovah shine in the person of the babe of Bethlehem! How did it gather brightness as the holy child Jesus increased in stature and in favor with God and man! And to what meridian splendor did it blaze forth, when on Calvary it united with holiness and justice, in finishing the great work of the Church's redemption! Then was it that "mercy and truth met together, righteousness and peace kissed each other." Jesus is the grand evidence that God is true. Faith needs, faith asks no more. Here, as on a stable foundation, it rests. Its eye ever "looking unto Jesus," it can thread its way- often sunless and starless- through a dreary, and an intricate wilderness. It can travel through trials, endure temptations, bow meekly to disappointments, bear up under cross providences, and sustain the shock of fearful conflicts, trusting in the God of the covenant, resting on His promise and oath, and implicitly believing His word, because it sees in Jesus an ever-living witness that God is true.   


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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2008, 10:25:36 AM »

May 27

" He is faithful that promised." Hebrews 10:23


O you of doubting and fearful heart! looking at the waves rolling at your feet, and well near sinking beneath their swellings, exclaiming, "Will the Lord cast off forever? and will He be favorable no more? Is His mercy clean gone forever? Does His promise fail for evermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? has He in anger shut up His tender mercies?" Behold the glory of God's truth beaming in the face of Jesus Christ, and doubt no more. So long as Jesus lives- lives as your Advocate, as your High Priest, as your Representative in the court of heaven, all is yours which the covenant promises, and which His mediation secures. "The promises of God are all yes and Amen in Christ Jesus." Never will he break His oath, or falsify His word, or alter the thing that has gone out of His mouth. "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away." God says it, and let faith believe it because He says it. So essential is it to your comfort, that I would repeat the caution- in all your dealings with the Divine promises, avoid a Jewish faith. Do not so much look at the grace of the promise, or at the thing promised- precious as both are- as at God in the promise. The promise is the heart of your Father speaking; it is the faithfulness of your Father performing. Rest then not in the blessing promised, but in the veracity of Him who promises it, and then shall your faith have confidence towards God.   


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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2008, 10:27:30 AM »

May 28

" Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

A believer's experience of the truth of God is no mere fancy. However severely experimental godliness may have been stigmatized by an unrenewed world, as the offspring of a morbid imagination, the product of an enthusiastic mind, "he that believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself," that he has yielded the consent of his judgment and his affections to no "cunningly-devised fable." A sense of sin- brokenness and contrition before God- faith in the atoning blood of Christ- a sweet consciousness of pardon, acceptance, adoption, and joy in the Holy Spirit, are no mere hallucinations of a disordered mind. To read one's pardon, fully, fairly written out- to look up to God as one accepted, adopted, to feel the spirit going out to Him in filial love and confidence, breathing its tender and endearing epithet, "Abba, Father,"- to refer every trial, cross, and dispensation of His providence to His tender and unchangeable love- to have one's will, naturally so rebellious and perverse, completely absorbed in His- to be as a weaned child, simply and unreservedly yielded up to His disposal, and to live in the patient waiting for the glory that is to be revealed- oh, this is reality, sweet, blessed, solemn reality! Holy and happy is that man whose heart is not a stranger to these truths.   


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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2008, 10:29:57 AM »

May 29

" Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompense of reward." Hebrews 10:35 

There is nothing essentially omnipotent in any single grace of the Spirit; to suppose this would be to deify that grace: although regeneration is a spiritual work, and all the graces implanted in the soul are the product of the Spirit, and must necessarily be in their nature spiritual and indestructible, yet they may so decline in their power, become so enfeebled and impaired in their vigor and tendency, as to be classed among the "things that are ready to die." It is preeminently so with faith; perhaps there is no part of the Spirit's work more constantly and severely assailed, and consequently more exposed to declension, than this. Shall we look at the examples in God's word? We cite the case of Abraham, the father of the faithful; beholding him, at God's command, binding his son upon the altar, and raising the knife for the sacrifice, we unhesitatingly exclaim- "Surely never was faith like this! Here is faith of a giant character; faith, whose sinews no trial scan ever relax, whose luster no temptation can ever dim." And yet, tracing the history of the patriarch still further, we find that very giant faith now trembling and yielding under a trial far less acute and severe; he, who could surrender the life of his promised son- that son through whose lineal descent Jesus was to come- into the hands of God, could not intrust that same God with his own. We look at Job: in the commencement of his deep trial we find him justifying God; messenger follows messenger, with tidings of yet deeper woe, but not a murmur is breathed; and as the cup, now full to the brim, is placed to his lips, how sweetly sounds the voice of holy resignation," The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." "In all this did not Job sin with his lips:" and yet the very faith, which thus bowed in meekness to the rod, so declined as to lead him to curse the day of his birth! We see David, whose faith could at one time lead him out to battle with Goliath, now fleeing from a shadow, and exclaiming- "I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul." And mark how the energy of Peter's faith declined, who at one period could walk boldly upon the tempestuous sea, and yet at another could deny his Lord, panic-struck at the voice of a little maid. Who will say that the faith of the holiest man of God may not at one time greatly and sadly decline?

But we need not travel out of ourselves for the evidence and the illustration of this affecting truth: let every believer turn in upon himself. What, reader, is the real state of your faith? is it as lively, vigorous, and active as it was when you first believed? Has it undergone no declension? Is the object of faith as glorious in your eye as He then was? Are you not now looking at second causes in God's dealings with you, instead of lifting your eye and fixing it on Him alone? What is your faith in prayer?- do you come boldly to the throne of grace, asking, nothing doubting? Do you take all your trials, your needs, your infirmities, to God? What is your realization of eternal things- is faith here in constant, holy exercise? Are you living as a pilgrim and a sojourner, "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God," than float along on the summer sea of this world's enjoyments? What is the crucifying power of your faith?- does it deaden you to sin, and wean you from the world, and constrain you to walk humbly with God, and near to Jesus? And when the Lord brings the cross, and says, "Bear this for Me," does your faith promptly and cheerfully acquiesce, "any cross, any suffering, any sacrifice for You, dear Lord"? Thus may you test the nature and the degree of your faith; bring it to the touch-stone of God's truth, and ascertain what its character is, and how it has suffered declension.   


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« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2008, 10:31:30 AM »

May 30

" Whom the Lord loves he corrects; even as a father the son in whom he delights." Proverbs 3:12

Hard and harsh thoughts of God will be the effect of wrong interpretations of His dealings: if for one moment we remove the eye from off the heart of God in the hour and depth of our trial, we are prepared to give heed to every dark suggestion of the adversary; that moment we look at the dispensation with a different mind, and to God with an altered affection; we view the chastisement as the effect of displeasure, and the covenant God who sent it, as unkind, unloving, and severe. But let faith's eagle-eye pierce the clouds and darkness that surround the throne, and behold the heart of God as still love, all love, and nothing but love, to His afflicted, bereaved, and sorrow-stricken child; and in a moment every murmur will be hushed, every rebellious feeling will be still, and every unkind thought will be laid in the dust; and, "He has done all things, well- in love and faithfulness has He afflicted me," will be the only sounds uttered by the lips. If then, beloved, you would have your heart always fixed on God, its affections flowing in one unbroken current towards Him, interpret every dispensation that He sends in the light of His love; never allow yourself to be betrayed into the belief that any other feeling prompts the discipline; do not give place to the suggestion for one moment- banish it from the threshold of your mind the moment it seeks an entrance. And let this be the reflection that hushes and soothes you to repose, even as an infant upon its mother's breast: "My God is love! my Father is unchangeable tenderness and truth! He has done it, and it is well done."   


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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2008, 11:14:39 AM »

May 31

" My people are bent to backsliding from me." Hosea 11:7

The divine life has its dwelling-place in a fallen, fleshly nature. It is encompassed by all the corruptions, weaknesses, infirmities, and assaults of the flesh; there is not a moment that it is not exposed to assaults from within; there is not a natural faculty of the mind, or throb of the heart, that is favorable to its prosperity, but all are contrary to its nature, and hostile to its advance. As there is nothing internal that is favorable to a state of grace, so there is nothing external that assists it forward. It has its many and violent enemies: Satan is ever on the watch to assault it, the world is ever presenting itself in some new form of fascination and power to weaken it- a thousand temptations are perpetually striving to ensnare it; thus its internal and external enemies are leagued against it. Is it then any wonder that faith should sometimes tremble, that grace should sometimes decline, and that the pulse of the divine life should often beat faintly and feebly?

The saints in every age have felt and lamented this. Hence the prayer of David, which is the prayer of all true believers: "Hold me up, and I shall be safe;" implying the greatest weakness in himself, and his perpetual exposure to the greatest falls: "Hold me up, for only as I am upheld by You am I safe." Again he prays "Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me;" implying that a believer, left to the tendencies of his fallen nature, might become a prey to the worst sins. In addressing himself to the converted Hebrews, the apostle seizes the occasion thus to exhort them: "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." "In departing,"- implying a constant tendency to depart from God. And what does God Himself say of His people? "My people are bent on backsliding from me." And again, "Why is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding?" Yes, it is a perpetual proneness to declension. The sun rises but to set, the clock is wound up but to run down; and not more natural is it for them thus to obey the laws that govern them, than for the heart of a child of God to follow the promptings of its corrupt and wayward nature.

 
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« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2008, 03:18:43 PM »

June 1

" And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity." Isaiah 33:24

Let the Christian invalid be cheered with the prospect of before long arriving at this land of light and love, of rest and holiness. The moment the spirit is "absent from the body, and present with, the Lord," it treads those balmy shores, where health breathes in the air, flows in the waters, and sparkles in the sunbeams. There is no sickness in heaven, for "the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity;" and this accounts for the absence of all physical malady. There is no sickness in heaven, because there is no sin. But the more full enjoyment of this blessing is reserved for the new earth, upon which the "holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband," will dwell. Then it is that "God shall wipe away all tears front their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Christian sufferer! you are nearing this land- a few more days of languishing and pain, a few more nights of weary wakefulness, and you are there! Don't you see, through the chinks of the "earthly house of this tabernacle," "a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens"? Don't you see the "city which has foundations, whose maker and builder is God"? It has "no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine on it: for the glory of God does enlighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. . . The gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there is no night there." Soon you will exchange this hospital for your Father's house, and as you cross the threshold, the last pang is inflicted, the last sigh is heaved, and the last tear is brushed from your eye. Then, at the resurrection of the just, comes the new body. "It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." All this blessedness and glory Jesus has procured for you. All this blessedness and glory awaits you; and into its full possession and experience Jesus will soon bring you. Animated with such a prospect, and cheered with such a hope, patiently endure the prolonged sickness, the protracted suffering, exclaiming in the spirit and language of Jesus, "O my Father, if this cup may not pass from me, except I drink it, Your will be done!"   

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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2008, 01:04:41 AM »

June 2

" I have prayed for YOU". Luke 22:32

We must not overlook the individuality of our Lord's intercession. As if forgetting for that moment the whole Church, and regarding Peter as representing in his person each tempted believer, Jesus makes him the especial object of His prayer. How much comfort do we lose in overlooking this truth - in not more distinctly recognizing the personal interest which each believer has in the love of Christ! "My grace is sufficient for you;" "I have prayed for you," are the gracious words with which Jesus would meet each individual case. Think not then, O believer, that you are alone, unloved, uncared for, unthought of - Jesus bears you upon His heart; and if loved, and cared for, and remembered by Him, you can afford to part with some creature stream, however loved and valued that stream may be. Keep your eye intently fixed upon your Lord's intercession.

We too much lose ourselves in the crowd, and merge ourselves in the mass. We forget alike our individual interest in the covenant, and our personal obligation to glorify God in our different walks of life. But it is the especial privilege of the believer to concentrate upon himself, as in focal power, every thought and affection of God, just as the eye of a well-executed portrait may be said to fasten itself exclusively upon each individual in the room. "I have prayed for you." O cheering declaration! Christian reader, lose not sight of it. Come and lay your hand of faith upon the covenant of grace, and say, "the fulness of the covenant is mine." Lay your hand upon the covenant of God, and say, "the God of the covenant is mine; Jesus, its Mediator, is my Savior. He obeyed, suffered, bled, and expired, all for me. 'He has loved me, and has given Himself for me.' Lord! do you think of me? does my case come up before Your notice? do You bear my burden upon Your arm, my sorrow upon Your heart, my name upon Your lips; and do You pray for my poor, assaulted, and trembling faith? Yes, Lord, You do. I believe it, because You have said it, and press the precious truth, so rich in consolation, to my trembling, grateful heart."   

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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2008, 01:06:16 AM »

June 3

" I have prayed for you that your faith fail not." Luke 22:32

The Lord as its Shepherd goes before His flock. He precedes it every step, not only to map its path, but also to provide for all the circumstances, the most trivial and minute, of its history. To Him nothing can be unforeseen, from Him nothing can be concealed. No event can surprise Him, no contingency can thwart Him, no difficulty can embarrass Him. The entire history of the individual saint of God, from his earliest to his latest breath, is written in His book, when as yet it had no existence, as minutely and as accurately as though it were a record of the past. In anticipation of each developed circumstance, of each temptation and trial, difficulty and need, Jesus prays for His people "I have prayed." It would seem as if the sorrow had reached His heart before it touched our own; as if the assault had fallen upon Him before it fell upon us; and that, knowing what would transpire, seeing in what critical and painful circumstances His child would be placed, He anticipates his case by especial intercession on his behalf: "I have prayed for you."

Can the mind of the tried believer repose upon a truth more sustaining and soothing than this? It had been a glorious unfolding of the love of Jesus, to know that when the sifting came, when faith was actually tried, that then Jesus prayed for the sufferer. But to be assured that before a dart was winged, or a shock was felt, or even a suspicion was awakened that the tempter was approaching, and that danger was near, Jesus, robed in His priestly garments, and bearing the golden censer in His hand, had entered within the veil to make especial intercession for that trial of faith - oh, it is a view of His love, which to the mind of the tempted believer would seem to overtop and outshine all others!

And for what does Jesus pray? That the temptation might not come? that faith may not be tried? Oh no! He does not ask the Father in behalf of His people, for their entire exemption from temptation and trial. Full well does He know that if conformed to Him, their Head, they must through much tribulation enter the kingdom. Pure and sinless though He was, needing no sifting and no refining, He yet passed through each process as if there were in Him the chaff to scatter, and the alloy to consume. How much more needful does Jesus see that His people, in whom there is such an admixture of the precious with the vile, so much indwelling sin, so much powerful corruption perpetually seeking to destroy indwelling grace, should not be exempted from the process which, painful though it be, is absolutely needful and eternally good! But Jesus prays that in the actual trial of faith it might not fail. Now, why, is it, O believing soul, that your tried faith has not failed? Why, have you passed through the sifting with not one precious grain fallen to the ground? Because your great High Priest prayed for you before the trial, and prayed for you in the trial, and has not ceased to pray for you since the trial. All upholding grace, all restraining grace, all restoring grace, all establishing grace, has been meted out to you through the channel of your Lord's perpetual and ever-prevalent intercession. Oh, how should this truth endear the Savior to your heart! With what holy contrition should it fill your spirit, and with what sweet affection should it constrain your soul to a simple and an unreserved surrender to God!   

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