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nChrist
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« Reply #345 on: April 25, 2009, 04:18:34 AM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


April 30

"Although my house do not be so with God; yet he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow."  2 Samuel 23:5

GOD sometimes comforts the cast-down, by bringing them to rest in the fullness and stability of the covenant. David was a man of great grace, a man after God's own heart, and yet he was deeply tried. The greater the amount of precious ore which the refiner places in his furnace, the severer the test to which he subjects it. This may explain what, perhaps, to some minds is a mystery in the Divine conduct-why the most distinguished saints have ever been the most tried saints. But see how God comforted David, in the deepest trial which could wring a believing parent's heart. He had arranged, as he thought, for the best welfare of his family. God steps in, and disarranges all.

 Incest, treason, murder are crimes which find an entrance within his domestic circle. His children make themselves vile, and he could not restrain them. What a cloud was now resting upon his tabernacle! How bitter were the waters he was now drinking! But see how God comforted him.

"Although my house do not be so with God; yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure; for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although He makes it (his house) not to grow."

Believer, this covenant is equally yours. You have the same individual interest in it that David had. The "sure mercies" of the true David are yours, as they were those of "the sweet Psalmist of Israel." In the midst of domestic trial-family changes-thwarted designs-blighted hopes, God has made with you in the hands of Jesus, its Surety and Mediator, "an everlasting covenant." In it your whole history is recorded by Him who knows the end from the beginning. All the events of your life, all the steps of your journey, all your sorrows and your comforts, all your needs and your supplies, are ordained in that covenant which is "ordered in all things." While mutability is a constituent element of everything temporal-"passing away" written upon life's loveliest landscape, and upon the heart's dearest treasure-this, and this alone, remains sure and unchangeable. Let, then, the covenant be your comfort and your stay, your sheet-anchor in the storm, the bow in your cloud, upon which God invites you to fix your believing eyes; yes, all your salvation and all your desire, though He makes not domestic comfort to grow.
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nChrist
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« Reply #346 on: May 04, 2009, 08:31:20 PM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


May 1

"For he is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us." Ephesians 2:14
 
BEHIND this wall Jesus did once stand, and although thus partially obscured, yet to those who had faith to see Him, dwelling though they were in the twilight of the Gospel, He manifested Himself as the true Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of His people. "Abraham rejoiced to see my day," says Jesus, "and he saw it, and was glad." But this wall no longer stands. The shadows are fled, the darkness is dispersed, and the true light now shines. Beware of those teachers who would rebuild this wall; and who by their superstitious practices, and legal representations of the Gospel, do in effect rebuild it. Remember that "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes."

It is behind "our wall" that Jesus stands-the wall which we, the new covenant saints, erect. Many are the separating influences between Christ and His people; many are the walls which we, alas! allow to intervene, behind which we cause Him to stand. What are the infidelity, I had almost said atheism, the carnality, the coldness, the many sins of our hearts, but so many obstructions to Christ's full and frequent manifestations of Himself to our souls? But were we to specify one obstruction in particular, we would mention unbelief as the great separating wall between Christ and His people. This was the wall which obscured from the view of Thomas his risen Lord. And while the little Church was jubilant in the new life and joy with which their living Savior inspired them, he alone lingered in doubt and sadness, amid the shadows of the tomb. "Except I thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe." Nothing more effectually separates us from, or rather obscures our view of, Christ than the sin of unbelief. Not fully crediting His word-not simply and implicitly relying upon His work-not trusting His faithfulness and love-not receiving Him wholly and following Him fully-only believing and receiving half that He says and commands-not fixing the eye upon Jesus as risen and alive, as ascended and enthroned, leaving all fullness, all power, all love. Oh this unbelief is a dead, towering wall between our Beloved and our souls!

And yet does He stand behind it? Does it not compel Him to depart and leave us forever? Ah no! He is there! Oh wondrous grace, matchless love, infinite patience! Wearied with forbearing, and yet there! Doubted, distrusted, grieved, and yet standing there-His locks wet with the dew of the night-waiting to be gracious, longing to manifest Himself. Nothing has prevailed to compel Him to withdraw. When our coldness might have prevailed, when our fleshliness might have prevailed, when our neglect, ingratitude, and backslidings might have prevailed, never has He entirely and forever withdrawn. His post is to watch with a sleepless eye of love the purchase of His dying agonies, and to guard His "vineyard of red wine night and day, lest any hurt it." Who can adequately picture the solicitude, the tenderness, the jealousy, with which the Son of God keeps His especial treasure? And whatever would force Him to retire-whether it be the coldness that congeals, or the fierce flame that would consume-yet such is His deathless love for His people, "He withdraws not His eyes front the righteous" for one moment. There stands the "Friend that sticks closer than a brother," waiting to beam upon them a glance of His love-enkindled eye, and to manifest Himself to them as He does not unto the world, even from behind our wall.
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« Reply #347 on: May 04, 2009, 08:33:23 PM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


May 2

"That God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11

God's dealings with His people in seasons of bodily sickness have this for their ultimate and great end-"the glory of God." How illustrious was the glory brought to Jesus by the sickness and death of Lazarus! Shall we contemplate it for a moment? Let us go, then, in hallowed imagination, and stand-not by the sick bed, for the mortal struggle was now over-but by the grave of Lazarus. What a halo surrounds it! It scarcely seems like the place of the dead, for Essential Life is present, and the grave is preparing at His command to yield back its prey. Wrapped in His winding-sheet, reposing in the stillness of death, lay one whom Jesus loved. "Groaning in His spirit, and troubled," He approached the spot. Behold the sensibility of the Divine Redeemer! "Jesus wept." How truly human does He appear! How like the Elder Brother! Never more so than now. Philosophy may scorn to betray emotion, and human genius might deem it beneath its dignity to weep. But the philosophy and the genius of Jesus were Divine, and imparted a dignity and a sacredness to the sensibility and benevolence of His humanity: and if it be true that by genius a tear is crystallized and exhibited to the admiration of future ages, surely the tears of sympathy and love which Jesus dropped over the new-made grave of Lazarus, will thrill the holy heart with feeling to the remotest period of time, and perpetuate their wonder through eternity. Bereaved mourner! cease not to weep! Stifle not your emotions, impede not the flow of your tears. They well up from the fountain of feeling placed in your bosom by the Son of God Himself; who, as if longing to experience the luxury of human sensibility, bowed His Deity to your nature-and wept. This only would I say, let your tears fall like the dew of heaven-gentle, noiseless, chastened; or rather, like the tears of Jesus-meek, resigned, submissive.

But not illustrious does appear His humanity only. Behold, on this occasion, how His Deity shone forth resplendent and overpowering. He who had just wept, and while yet the tear-drops lingered in His eye, with a voice of conscious, God-like power, which showed how completely Essential Life held death within its grasp, exclaimed, "Lazarus, come forth! And he that was dead came forth." Behold the spectacle, you condemners of His Divine nature-you who would pluck the diadem from His brow, and force us by your soulless, lifeless creed to a reliance upon a created Redeemer-gaze upon the wondrous scene! See the Savior bathed in human sensibility like a man-behold Him summon back the dead to life like a God! Never did the glory of His complex person-the Son of man, the Son of God-burst forth with more overpowering effulgence than at this moment. Who will deny that the sickness and death of Lazarus brought glory to the Deity of the Savior?

But what was true of this servant of Christ is also true of all the sick whom Jesus loves-their sickness is for His glory. Trace it in the origin of your sickness. It came not by accident nor by chance-words which should never find a place in the Christian vocabulary of a child of God. It was God who stretched you on that bed of languishing. By the arrangement of your heavenly Father, those circumstances transpired which resulted in your present painful visitation. You have been looking alone at second causes-I do not say that they are to be entirely excluded in attempting to unravel the mystery of the Divine procedure, for they often develop links in the chain of God's providence most harmonious and instructive-but there is such a thing as resting in second causes, and not using them rather as steps in the ladder which conducts us up to God Himself, as the first great cause of all the circumstances of our history, from our cradle to our grave. Oh how is the Lord glorified when the sinking patient whom He loves traces the mysterious and strange event which, arresting him in the midst of health and usefulness, has severed him from active life, from domestic duties, and public engagements, imprisoning him in that lone chamber of sickness and solitude, the prey of disease, and perhaps the destined victim of death-to the infinite, infallible, unerring wisdom of the Son of God!
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« Reply #348 on: May 04, 2009, 08:34:49 PM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


May 3

"The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!"
Lamentations 5:16


MAN, in his original constitution, was a glorious temple. Two facts will prove it. First, he was like God in his moral image; and second, God dwelt in him. He was in every respect worthy of such a resident. He was the holy temple of a holy God. Not a flaw was there. The entire man was holy. There was perfect knowledge in the judgment, perfect holiness in the will, and perfect love in the heart. "Holiness to the Lord" was the inscription written on every window and every door, yes, on every part of this temple. A beautiful structure was man in his original state! Well did the mighty Architect, as He gazed upon His work, pronounce it "very good."

But, behold what sin has done! Man has lost his original resemblance to God. It is true, he yet retains his spiritual, intelligent, and immortal nature; these he can never lose. But his moral likeness to God-his knowledge, purity, justice, truth, and benignity, these glorious lineaments are blotted from his soul; and darkness, impurity, desolation, and death reign there. With the obliteration of his moral resemblance, the soul has lost all love to God. More than this; there is not only the absence of love, but there is positive enmity. "The carnal mind is enmity against God," that enmity showing itself in a thousand ways; principally in its seeking to dethrone God. From his affections he has dethroned Him. To eject Him from the throne of His moral government in the universe is the great and constant aim of the carnal mind. If not so, why this perpetual war against God-against His being, His law, His will, His supreme authority to govern and reign? Why this refusal to acknowledge and obey Him? "Who is the Lord God, that I should obey Him?" Oh! there is no mystery in the case. Man has revolted from God, and having thrown off all allegiance to Him as his sovereign, he seeks to be a god to himself. Self is to him what Jehovah once was-the object of supreme delight. Having cast out God, he moves in a circle of which he himself is the center-all he does is from self, and for self. From this all the lines diverge, and to this they all again return. It needs not the argument or the illustration of a moment to show that this being the moral destitution of man, God has ceased to dwell in him. The temple polluted, defaced, and destroyed, the Divine resident has gone; and the heart, once so sweet a home of Deity, is now the dwelling-place of all sin. Another occupant has taken possession of the ruin; like ancient Babylon, it has become the den of every ravenous beast, a habitation of dragons, the impure abode of every foul, malignant passion. Reader, it is as impossible that God can make your bosom His dwelling-place, while every thought, and feeling, and passion is up in arms against Him, as it would be for Christ to dwell with Belial, or light to commingle with darkness. You must be renewed in the spirit of your mind. You must be born again.
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nChrist
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« Reply #349 on: May 04, 2009, 08:36:21 PM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


May 4

"O Israel, you have destroyed yourself; but in me is your help." Hosea 13:9

IT was God's eternal and gracious purpose to restore this temple. Satan had despoiled His work-sin had marred His image-but both usurpers He would eject, and the ruin of both He would repair. Oh, what mercy, infinite, eternal, and free, was this, that set him upon a work so glorious! What could have moved Him but His own love, what could have contrived the plan but His own wisdom, and what could have executed it but His own power? In this restoration, man was no auxiliary. He could be none. His destruction was his own, his recovery was God's. He ruined himself, that ruin he could not himself repair. It was a work as far surpassing all finite power, as it was first to speak it out of nothing! Yes, the work of restoration is a greater achievement of power than was the work of creation. To repair the temple when ruined was more glorious than to create it out of nothing. In one day He made man; He was four thousand years in redeeming man. It cost Him nothing to create a soul; it cost Him His dear Son to save it. And who can estimate that cost? He met with no opposition in creating man; in re-creating him, Satan, the world, yes, man himself, is against him.

We have said that it was God's gracious and eternal purpose to restore this ruined temple. The first step which He took in accomplishing this great work was his assumption of our nature, as though He Himself would be the model from which the new temple should be formed. This was one of the profoundest acts of God's wisdom, one of the greatest demonstrations of His love. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (marg. tabernacled among us). His human body the temple; His Godhead the indwelling Deity. Was ever a temple so glorious as this? "Immanuel, God with us." "God manifest in the flesh." Oh awful mystery! what imagination can conceive, what mind can fathom it? We can but stand upon the shore of this vast ocean of wisdom and love, and exclaim, "Oh the depth!" "Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh." This was the first step towards His work of replenishing the earth with spiritual temples, to be filled now and eternally with the Divine presence and glory. The entire success and glory of His undertaking rested here. This was the foundation of the structure. He could only obey the law as He was "made of a woman;" He could only "redeem those who were under the law," as He was God in our nature. The absolute necessity, then, of His Godhead will instantly appear. Had the basis of the great work He was about to achieve been laid in any other doctrine-anything inferior, and of course less infinite, less holy, less dignified-had the foundation been laid in mere creature excellence, however exalted that excellence might be-there could have been neither strength, permanency, nor glory in the temple. It would have fallen before the first storm of temptation, and fearful would have been its destruction. God well knew at what cost the work of redemption would be achieved. He knew what His violated law demanded-what his inflexible justice required-and through what costly channel His love must flow; therefore "He laid help upon one that was mighty,"-yes, "mighty to save." And what was the secret of His might?-His absolute Deity. Take a lower view than this, and you reduce the work of Christ to nothing-you tear the soul from the body, pluck the sun from the firmament, wrench the key-stone from the arch, and the foundation from the building. But look at His work through His Godhead, and oh, how vast, how costly;' how glorious does it appear! what a basis for a poor sinner to build upon! what a resting-place for the weary soul! what faith, hope, and assurance does it inspire! how perfect the obedience, how infinitely efficacious the blood, and prevalent the intercession-all derived from the Godhead of Jesus! Glorious temple were You, blessed Son of God!
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« Reply #350 on: May 04, 2009, 08:37:50 PM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


May 5

"Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. But he spoke of the temple of his body." John 2:19; John 2:21.

THIS temple was to be destroyed. Jesus must die! This was the second step in the accomplishment of the great work. Thus did He announce the fact to the obtuse and incredulous Jews "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." His death was as necessary to the satisfaction of justice, as His life of obedience had been to the fulfilling of the law. As the substitute of His people, He must yield up His life; as the Surety of the covenant, He must completely surrender Himself into the hands of Divine justice; as the Testator of His own will, there must of necessity be His death, otherwise the testament would have been of no force at all while He lived. There was no possible avenue for His escape, even had He sought it. He, or His people, must die. He must taste the bitterness of the death that was temporal, or His elect must have tasted of the bitterness of the death that was eternal. Oh yes, Jesus wished to die. Never for one moment did He really shrink from the combat. He well knew the conditions upon which He had entered into a covenant engagement in behalf of His people. He knew that the price of their pardon was His own blood, that His death was their life, and that His gloomy path through the grave was their bright passage to eternal glory. Knowing all this, and with the awful scene of Calvary full in view-the cross, the sufferings of the body, the deathly sorrow of the soul-He yet panted for the arrival of the moment that was to finish the work His Father had given Him to do.

Dear reader, how ready was Jesus thus to die! Where this eagerness? It sprang from His great love to sinners. Oh, this was it! We must go down to the secret depth of His love, if we would solve the mystery of His willingness to die. "God commends His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Thus was the "temple of His body" destroyed, that "through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage." See, dear reader, the source of your free pardon, the ground of your humble trust, the secret of your "strong consolation." It is all involved in the death of Jesus. You cannot ask too much, you cannot expect too much, you cannot repose too much at the foot of the cross. All is mercy here-all is love-all is peace. Sin cannot condemn, Satan cannot tempt, the world cannot allure, conscience cannot accuse; "there is no condemnation" to a poor soul that shelters itself beneath the cross of Jesus. Here every dark cloud withdraws, and all is sunny-here every tear is dried, but that of joy, and every voice is hushed, but that of praise.
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« Reply #351 on: May 08, 2009, 02:53:31 PM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


May 6

"And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God has fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he has raised up Jesus again." Acts 13:32; Acts 13:33

GREAT stress is laid upon the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ in the word. And the child of God may be but imperfectly aware, what an essential pillar it is to his hope, and how sanctifying and comforting the blessings are that spring from its full belief. The resurrection of Jesus is the great seal to the character and perfection of His work. Yes, His work, touching its saving effects, had been nothing apart from this Divine attestation. His perfect keeping of the law, and His suffering unto death, were but parts of the vast plan, and, taken separately and distinctly, were not capable of perfecting the salvation of the Church. The apostle so reasons. "If Christ do not be risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ; whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ do not be raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." A moment's reflection will justify the conclusions which the apostle deduces from the supposition that Christ had not risen.

 Our dear Lord endured the "curse of the law;" a part of that curse was death-death legal, death temporal, death eternal. He was "made a curse or us," and died. So long as He remained imprisoned in the grave, "death had dominion over Him." It had been in vain that we had looked to His obedience and sufferings for the proof of the all-sufficiency and acceptableness of His satisfaction, so long as the iron scepter of the king of terrors held Him in subjection. Oh what a momentous period were the three days that intervened between the giving up of the spirit upon the cross, and the bursting of the tomb-the salvation of the whole Church hung upon it-all who had already "fallen asleep" in Him, and all whom it was the purpose of God yet to call, were deeply interested in this one fact. But, on the third day, the destroyed temple was raised again-death had no more dominion over Him-his sting was extracted, his scepter was broken, the curse was rolled away, and the redemption of the Church was complete. "He was delivered for our offences, and rose again for our justification."

Through the incarnation, obedience, death, and resurrection of Christ, a way was opened, by which God could again dwell with man-yes, resume His abode in the very temple that sin had destroyed, and show forth the riches and glory of His grace far more illustriously than when this temple stood in its original perfection and grandeur. Here was the foundation of every successive temple that grace was about to raise. "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." On the dignity of His person, His finished righteousness, His perfect atonement, His all-sufficient grace, and His inviolable faithfulness, believers, "as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house," for the everlasting indwelling of God the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #352 on: May 08, 2009, 02:55:31 PM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


May 7

"And they come unto you as the people comes, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear your words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their covetousness." Ezekiel 33:31

FEW, save those who have been taught of the Spirit, and who have accustomed themselves to analyze closely the evidences of true conversion, are aware how far an individual may go, not merely in an outward reformation of character, and an external union to Christ, but in a strong resemblance to the positive and manifest evidences of the new birth, without the actual possession of a single one. In the exception that we make, we refer to a knowledge of the truth that is not saving in its effects, is not influential in its character, and which has its place in the judgment only, assented to, approved of, and even ably and successfully vindicated; while the soul, the seat of life-the will, the instrument of holiness-and the heart, the home of love, are all unrenewed by the Holy Spirit.

Beloved reader, you cannot be too distinctly nor too earnestly informed, that there is a great difference in Divine knowledge. There is a knowledge of the truth, in the attainment of which a man may labor diligently, and in the possession of which he may look like a believer; but which may not come under that denomination of a knowledge of Christ, in allusion to which our dear Lord in His memorable prayer uses these words, "This is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." The fatal error to which you are exposed is-oh that you may have escaped it!-the substituting a knowledge of Divine truth in the judgment, for the quickening grace of God in the heart. It is surprising how far an outwardly moral individual may go in Divine attainments-spiritual knowledge-eminent gifts-and even great usefulness; and yet retain the carnal mind, the rebellious will, the unhumbled and unbroken heart. If the volume of Divine truth had not informed us of this, and supplied us with some striking cases in proof, we should be perpetually beguiled into the belief that a head filled with rational, speculative, theoretical truth, must necessarily be connected with some degree of Divine grace in the affections. But not so. Balaam's knowledge of Divine things was deep; he could ask counsel of God, and prophesy of Christ, but where is the undoubted evidence that he "knew the grace of God in truth?" Saul prophesied, had "another spirit" given him, and asked counsel of God; but Saul's heart was unchanged by the Holy Spirit. Herod sent for John, "heard him gladly, and did many things," and yet his heart and his life were strangers to holiness. Addressing the Pharisees, the apostle employs this striking language, "Behold, you are called a Jew, and rest in the law, and make your boast of God, and know His will, and approve the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law:" and yet deep hypocrisy was their crying sin. Oh let no man be so deceived as to substitute knowledge for grace. Better that his knowledge of the truth should be limited to its mere elements, its first principles, and yet with it be enabled to say, "Behold, I am vile," but "He has loved me, and given Himself for me," than to possess "all knowledge," and live and die destitute of the renewing grace of God upon the heart.
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« Reply #353 on: May 08, 2009, 02:57:08 PM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


May 8

"The Lord tries the righteous." Psalms 11:5

THE furnace works wonders for a believer. Oh that he should ever wish to be exempt from it! Indeed, it may be remarked, that real grace is inseparable from a state of trial. Where there is real faith, the Lord will try it. Where there is the true ore, the Refiner will prove it in the furnace. There is not a grace of the Spirit, but, more or less, and at one time or another, Jesus tries that grace. "The Lord tries the righteous." He tries their principles-tries their graces-tries their obedience-proves His own work-brings out the new man in all its muscular fullness-develops the nature and character of His work-and shows it to be His mighty product, and in all respects worthy of Himself. Much then as we would wish at times exemption from a state of trial, anxious for the more smooth and easy path, yet, if we are really born of God, and His grace has truly made us one of His family, like them, we have been "chosen in the furnace of affliction," and with them in the furnace, we are brought into the possession of some of the most costly blessings of our lives.

Real grace, then, is tried grace. And mark how, in the process of its trial, the blessed and Eternal Spirit more deeply seals the believer. The hour of affliction is the hour of softening. Job bore this testimony, "He makes my heart soft." The hardness of the heart yields-the callousness of the spirit gives way-the affections become tender-conscience is more susceptible. It is the season of holy abstraction, meditation, and prayer-of withdrawment from the world and from creature delights, while the soul is more closely shut in with God. The heart, now emptied, humbled, and softened, is prepared for the seal of the Spirit; and what an impression is then made-what discoveries of God's love to the soul-what enlarged views of the personal glory of Christ-of the infinite perfection of His work-of the preciousness of the atoning sacrifice-of the hatefulness of sin, and of the beauty of holiness! His own personal interest in this great work of Christ is made more clear and certain to his soul. The Spirit bears a fresh witness to his acceptance, and seals him anew with the adopting love of God. It was the Psalmist's wisdom to acknowledge, "It is good for one that I have been afflicted."
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« Reply #354 on: May 08, 2009, 02:59:22 PM »

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Evening Thoughts
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Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
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May 9

"The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of
God." Romans 8:16


THREE important things are involved in these words-first, the Witness-then that with which He witnesses-and lastly, the great truth to which He witnesses. First, "the Spirit itself bears witness." The great business of making known to a poor sinner his acquittal in the high court of heaven, and his adoption into the King's family, is entrusted to no inferior agent. No angel is commissioned to bear the tidings, no mortal man may disclose the secret. None but God the Holy Spirit Himself. "The Spirit itself" He that rests short of this testimony wrongs his own soul. Dear reader, be satisfied with no witness to your "calling and election" but this. Human testimony is feeble here. Your minister, your friend, schooled as they may be in the evidences of experimental godliness, cannot assure your spirit that you are "born of God." God the Eternal Spirit alone can do this. He only is competent-He only can fathom the "deep things of God,"-He only can rightly discern between His own work and its counterfeit, between grace and nature -He only can make known the secret of the Lord to those who fear Him; all other testimony to your sonship is uncertain, and may fearfully and fatally deceive. "It is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth." Again and yet again would we solemnly repeat it-take nothing for granted touching your personal interest in Christ-rest not satisfied with the testimony of your own spirit, or with that of the holiest saint on earth; seek nothing short of "the Spirit itself." This only will do for a dying hour.

The second thing to be observed in the declaration is-that with which He witnesses-"the Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit." It is a personal testimony-not borne to others, but to ourselves-"with our spirit." The adoption of the believer into the family of God is so great a privilege, involving blessings so immense, for beings so sinful and in all respects unworthy, that, did not their heavenly Father assure them by His own immediate testimony of its truth, no other witness would suffice to remove their doubts and quiet their fears, and satisfy them as to their real sonship. The Eternal Spirit of God descends and enters their hearts, as a witness to their adoption. He firsts renews our spirit-applies the atoning blood to the conscience-works faith in the heart-enlightens the understanding-and thus prepares the believing soul for the revelation and assurance of this great and glorious truth-his adoption into the family of God. As it is "with our spirit" the Holy Spirit witnesses, it is necessary that, in order to perfect agreement and harmony, he who has the witness within himself should first be a repenting and believing sinner. He who says that he has this witness, but who still remains "dead in sins,"-a stranger to faith in the Lord Jesus-to the renewings of the Holy Spirit-in a word, who is not born of God-is wrapping himself up in an awful deception. The witness we plead for is the holy testimony, in concurrence with a holy gospel, by a holy Spirit, to a holy man, and concerning a holy truth. There can be no discrepancy, no want of harmony, between the witness of the Spirit and the word of God. He witnesses according to, and in agreement with, the truth. Vague and fanciful impressions, visions, and voices, received and rested upon as evidences of salvation, are fearful delusions. Nothing is to be viewed as an evidence of our Divine sonship which does not square and harmonize with the revealed word of God. We must have a "Thus says the Lord," for every step we take in believing that we are the children of God. Let it be remembered, then, that the Spirit bears His testimony to believers. His first step is to work repentance and faith in the heart; then follows the sealing and witnessing operation. "In whom also, after that you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise."

The last particular is the great truth to which He testifies, "that we are the children of God." The Spirit is emphatically spoken of as a Spirit of adoption. "For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." And again, "And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Now it is the peculiar office of the Spirit to witness to the adoption of the believer. Look at the blessed fact to which He testifies-not that we are the enemies, the aliens, the strangers, the slaves, but that we are "the children of God." High and holy privilege!

"The children of God!" Chosen from all eternity-"having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,"-all their iniquities laid on Jesus, their blessed Surety, justified by the "Lord our righteousness,"-called by the effectual operation of the Eternal Spirit-inhabited, sanctified, sealed by God the Holy Spirit. Oh exalted state! oh holy privilege! oh happy people! Pressing on, it may be, through strong corruptions, deep trials, clinging infirmities, fiery temptations, sore discouragements, dark providences, and often the hidings of a Father's countenance, and yet "the children of God" now, and soon to be glorified hereafter.
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« Reply #355 on: May 08, 2009, 03:01:19 PM »

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Evening Thoughts
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Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
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May 10

"By terrible things in righteousness will you answer us, O God of our salvation." Psalms 65:5.


DEEPER experience of the truth of God is frequently the result of sore but sanctified trial. A believer knows but imperfectly what he is in himself, or what the truth of God is to him, until placed in circumstances favorable to the development of both. The Lord will have His people, and especially the ministers of His gospel, experimentally acquainted with His truth. They shall not testify of an unknown, unfelt, and unexperienced Savior. They shall be enabled to say, "That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life, declare we unto you." And more valuable and precious is one grain of the truth of God experienced in the heart than the whole system occupying a place only in the judgment. To deepen, then, their knowledge of the truth-to ground and settle them in it-to bring it out in all its practical power, a good, a covenant God often places His children in sore trial and temptation. It is in the storm and the hurricane, amid rocks and shoals, that the mariner becomes practically acquainted with his science. All that he knew before He launched his vessel on the ocean, or encountered the storm, was but the theory of the school; but a single tempest, one escape from shipwreck, has imparted more experimental knowledge than years of mere theoretical toil. So learns the believer. Oh, how theoretical and defective his views of Divine truth-how little his knowledge of his own heart-his deep corruptions, perfect weakness, little faith-how imperfect his acquaintance with Jesus-His fullness, preciousness, all-sufficiency, sympathy, until the hand of God falls upon him!-and when, like Job, messenger after messenger has brought the tidings of blasted gourds, of broken cisterns-when brought down and laid low, like him they are constrained to confess, "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye sees You. Why I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

Welcome whatever makes you more acquainted with God; despise nothing that will deepen your intimacy with God in Christ. Welcome the cross-it may be heavy; welcome the cup-it may be bitter; welcome the chastening-it may be severe; welcome the wound-it may be deep; oh! welcome to your heart whatever increases your knowledge of God; receive it as a boon sent to you from your Father; receive it as a heaven-sent message to your soul. And hearken to the voice that is in that rod: "My child, I want you to know me better; for in knowing me better you will love me better, and in loving me better you will serve me better. I send this chastening, this loss, this cross, only to draw you closer and closer to my embrace-only to bring you nearer and nearer to me." Welcome, then, whatever brings you into closer transaction, communion, and fellowship with your heavenly Father.
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« Reply #356 on: May 24, 2009, 06:21:15 PM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


May 11
"The Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit." John 14:26

IN no one aspect does the happy tendency and, we may add, the indispensable necessity of the discipline of the covenant more manifestly appear, than that through this channel mainly is the believer brought into communion with, and into enjoyment of, the tenderness and sympathy of the Spirit. The wisdom, the faithfulness, and the power of the Spirit, the soul has been brought to acknowledge and experience in conversion; but to know the Spirit as a Comforter, to experience His tenderness and sympathy, His kindness and gentleness, we must be placed in those peculiar circumstances that call it into exercise. In a word, we must know what sorrow is, to know what comfort is: and to know what true comfort is, we must receive it from the blessed and Eternal Spirit, the Comforter of the Church.

The God and Father of His people foreknew all their circumstances. He knew that He had chosen them in the furnace of affliction, that this was the peculiar path in which they should all walk. As He foreknew, so He also fore- arranged for all those circumstances. In the eternal purposes of His wisdom, grace, and love, He went before His Church, planning its history, allotting its path, and providing for every possible position in which it could be placed; so that we cannot imagine an exigency, a trial, a difficulty, or a conflict, but is amply provided for in the covenant of grace. Such is the wisdom and such the goodness of God towards His covenant family!

The great provision for the suffering state of the believer is the Holy Spirit-the special, the personal, and abiding Comforter of the Church. It was to this truth our dear Lord directed the sorrowing hearts of His disciples, when, on the eve of His return to His kingdom, He was about to withdraw from them His bodily presence. His mission on earth was fulfilled, His work was done, and He was about to return to His Father and to their Father, to His God and to their God. The prospect of separation absorbed them in grief. Thus did Jesus mark, and thus too He consoled it. "But now I go my way to Him that sent me; and none of You asks me, Where go you? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell You the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you." Mark the circumstances of the disciples; it was a season of deep sorrow. Then observe, how Jesus mitigated that sorrow, and chased away the dark cloud of their grief, by the promise of the Spirit as a Comforter-assuring those who the presence and abiding of the Spirit as a Comforter would more than recompense the loss of His bodily presence. What the Spirit then was to the sorrowing disciples, He has been in every successive age, is at the present moment, and will continue to be to the end of time-the personal and abiding Comforter of the afflicted family of God.
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« Reply #357 on: May 24, 2009, 06:22:45 PM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
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Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


May 12
"Christ, who is our life." Colossians 3:4

THE renewed man is a living soul, in consequence of his union with the life of Christ. We too little trace the life which is in us to the life which is in Jesus. The Spirit Himself could not be our life apart from our union to Christ. It is not so much the work of the Spirit to give us life, as to quicken in us the life of Christ. The apostle thus briefly but emphatically states it-"Christ, who is our life." Hence we see the relation and the fitness of the second Adam to the Church of God. In consequence of our federal union to the first Adam, we became the subjects of death-he being emphatically our death. And in consequence of our covenant union to the second Adam, we become the subjects of life-He being emphatically "our life." Hence it is said, "The second Adam is a quickening spirit."

The headship of Christ, in reference to the life of His people, is written as with the point of a diamond in the following passages:-"In Him was life;"

"The Son quickens whom He will:" "The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear shall lave;" "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live;" "He that eats me, even he shall live by me." Now this life that is in Christ becomes the life of the believer in consequence of his union with Christ. "You are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God;" "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me." And what is the crowning act of Christ as the life of His people? What but His resurrection from the dead? "We are risen with Christ;" "You are also risen with Him;" "That I may know the power of His resurrection." This doctrine of the Lord's resurrection is the pivot upon which the whole system of Christianity hinges. He is risen, and in virtue of this, His people are partakers of a resurrection- life to eternal glory. It is utterly impossible that they can perish, for they have already the resurrection-life in their souls. Their own resurrection to everlasting life is pledged, secured, antedated, in consequence of the risen Christ being in them the hope of glory. Thus is Christ the life of His people. He is the life of their pardon-all their iniquities are put away by His blood. He is the life of their Justification-His righteousness gives them acceptance with God. He is the life of their sanctification-His grace subdues the power of the sins, the guilt of which His blood removes. He is the life of their joys, of their hopes, of their ordinances; the life of everything that makes this life sweet, and the life to come glorious.
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« Reply #358 on: May 24, 2009, 06:24:14 PM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
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Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


May 13
"Because I live, you shall live also." John 14:19

THE divine life of a believer, from its very necessity, is deathless. The life of Adam was never so secure, even when he lifted his noble brow in spotlessness to God. The new life is more secure in a state of imperfection, than his was in a state of innocence. He stood in his own righteousness, upheld by his own power, and yet He fell. But we are more secure, because we stand in the righteousness, and are kept by the power, of God. His life was hidden in himself; our life is hidden in Christ, and is as secure in Christ as Christ's is in God. It is truly remarked by Charnock, that "Adam had no reserve of nature to supply nature upon any defect;" but out of Christ's fullness we receive grace upon grace. How much more ready are we to complain against this small measure of grace, than to praise God for the weakest grace, and to thank him for an inexhaustible source, on which we may at all times fall back. The believer ever has a reserve of grace. His resources may often be exhausted, but he has a stock in Christ's hand, and which, for the wisest end, is kept solely in Christ's hands, upon which he is privileged at any moment to draw. Well is it that that supply of grace is not all in our own hands, else it would soon be wasted; and well is it that it is not in angels' hands, else they would soon be weary with our continual coming. But the covenant was made with Christ, He being the Mediator as well as the Surety; and in Him it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell. Thus, in His hands the Father has entrusted the keeping of His weakest child-even your soul, beloved, though you are the weakest of the weak. An infant as much belongs to the family as the most matured member. Its place in the parent's heart is as strong, and its claim upon its share of the patrimony is as valid. So is it with the feeblest child of God.

And most faithfully does our Lord Jesus discharge His office. Is the Church a garden? Jesus repairs early to the vineyard, to see "whether the tender grapes appear, and the pomegranates bud." Is it a flock? Jesus "feeds His flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs with His arm, and carries them in His bosom." Can any imagery more affectingly set forth the tenderness not towards weak grace-the weak lamb carried, not on the shoulders, not in the arms, but in the bosom of the Shepherd? Yes, there is one image, the most expressive and tender in the universe of imagery-a mother's love for her infant. Does God compare His love to this? Hearken words: "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet will I not forget you." Oh that you would, in the simplicity of faith, press this precious truth to your trembling, doubting, fearful heart. Nothing does the Holy Spirit seem to take such pains in comforting and strengthening, as real grace in its greatest weakness. Would He indulge our weak faith? Oh no! But while He would have us sue for the highest degrees, He would yet watch over the lowest degree of grace in the soul.
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« Reply #359 on: May 24, 2009, 06:25:48 PM »

_______________________________
Evening Thoughts
or
Daily Walking With God
by Octavius Winslow ( 1808 - 1878 )
Free From Grace Gems
http://www.gracegems.org/
_______________________________


May 14
"Why gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:13

ALL things and all events point us to, and are leading us towards, eternity. Oh how we absorb in our present sufferings and light afflictions the thought of the coming death-the coming grave-the coming judgment-the coming heaven-the coming hell! Our sojourn here is but brief. We flit away like the shadow across the sun-dial. We weep today, we are wept for to- morrow. Today we are toiling, and fighting, and suffering; and anon, if believers in Jesus, we are with Him, and "are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel."

Christ will soon appear in the clouds of heaven. "The coming of the Lord draws near." "The Lord is at hand." Let us hew out no more cisterns off earthly good; but following the stream of the Lord's love-deepening and widening as it ascends-let us rise to the fountain-head in glory; having our conversation in heaven, and our affections on things above, where Christ sits-and from where He will come again-at the right hand of God. "Drink, yes, drink abundantly, O beloved," of this river, is your Lord's loving invitation. You cannot take to it too many vessels, nor vessels too empty. The precious "fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem," is "for sin and uncleanness." Then, as sinners, plunge into it, "wash and be clean." Think not that you are alone in your grief, as cisterns of creature-good thus broken. A "cloud of witnesses" surrounds you, all testifying that the fled joy of earth gives place to the full and permanent bliss of heaven; that Jesus now turns His people's sorrow into joy, by the sustaining power of faith and the sweet discoveries of love; and that He will perfect that joy when He brings them to drink of the "pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb."
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