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nChrist
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« on: July 14, 2005, 04:46:18 PM »

(My Note:  If you are lost, stop and read this series of posts. JESUS is calling you and wants to be your Lord and Saviour forever. If you are a Christian who has become cold or one who is no longer living a life of VICTORY IN JESUS, stop and read this series of posts.)

July 14

The Road to Emmaus - Page 1
By George H. Morrison


Two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus— Luk_24:13

The Most Memorable Appearance of the Risen Christ

Of all the appearances of the risen Christ, none has a stronger hold upon Christendom than the one along the road to Emmaus. It has brought light to many darkened hearts, and comfort to innumerable souls. Christ revealed Himself to Mary in the garden, and that will always be precious to the Church. He revealed Himself to the eleven, and to Thomas, and to Peter and John beside the sea of Galilee. But this meeting on the Emmaus road, with its revelation of the living Savior, is engraven on the universal heart.

Who these two were we cannot tell. We know nothing about them except the name of one of them. And we are not at liberty to associate that name Cleophas with the Klopas who is mentioned in the Gospels. That they were not of the eleven disciples is certain, for it was to the eleven that they hurried with their news. They were clearly on intimate terms with the apostles, for they knew where they lodged when they went straight to them. But beyond that we know nothing of the men, neither their story in the days before the cross, nor yet their service in the coming years when the Holy Ghost was given at Pentecost. They were in no sense distinguished persons. They were not outstanding in their zeal or love. They occupied no place of proud preeminence among those who had been followers of the Lord. And I take it as characteristic of the Lord that in the glory of His resurrection life He gave Himself with such fulness of disclosure to those unknown and undistinguished men. It reminds one vividly of that earlier hour when He had talked with the woman of Samaria. She too was nameless, and utterly obscure, yet with her He lingered in the richest converse. And now the cross has come, and He has died and risen, yet being risen He is still unchanged, for He still reveals Himself to lowly hearts. Here is the Savior for the common man. Here is the Lord who does not spurn the humble. Here is the Master of all those obscure lives that are yet precious in the sight of heaven. Had these two travelers been John and Peter, we might have hesitated to take home their rich experience, but being what they were, they are our brothers.

The Two Travelers Were without Hope

First then let us try to understand the state of mind of these two travelers. And in the first place this is notable, that these two travelers had lost their hopes. There was a time, not so long ago, when their hopes had been burning brightly like a star. They trusted this was He who should redeem Israel—that was the glowing conviction of their hearts. And as they followed Jesus in His public ministry, and saw His miracles, and heard His words, brighter and even brighter grew the hope that this was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Even the cross itself had not dispelled their hopes, for they remembered that He had talked of that. They remembered that He had said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." But now the third day's sun was near to setting, and darkness was soon to fall upon the world, and a great darkness, heavier than sunset, was beginning to cast its shadow on their hearts. It was true that some women had come hurrying in, bearing the tidings that the tomb was empty. But it was one thing to be told the tomb was empty, and quite another to believe that Christ was risen. And even the women had confessed, when questioned, that they had not seen the Lord Himself, but only an empty grave, and the stone rolled away, and certain mysterious shapes they took for angels. Clearly, then, their Master had not risen. He was still sleeping somewhere beneath the Syrian sky. They would never see Him again, nor hear His words, nor follow Him through any village street. And so that evening, journeying to Emmaus, they were men convinced that they had lost their Lord, and having lost Him they had lost their hopes. Are there any today who are like these men? Any who have lost their hope in Christ? Any to whom Christ was very real once, and who now have a "name to live and yet are dead"? My brother and sister, if that be your condition—if once you had a hope that now is dimmed—you are like these two journeying to Emmaus.

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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2005, 04:48:14 PM »

The Road to Emmaus - Page 2
By George H. Morrison


They Were without Joy

Then in the next place this is notable, that these two travelers had lost their gladness. "What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another," said Jesus to them, "as ye walk and are sad?" Sometimes, as we pass along the streets, we meet a face of unutterable sadness. Sorrow is stamped on every lineament of it, all the more tragic because a smile is there. And when we see it, amid the crowd of faces that bear no trace of any great experience, it haunts us so that is it long ere we forget it. Now that is what our Lord seems to have noticed, graven deep upon the faces of these travelers. "What are ye talking about," He said to them, "as ye walk together and are sad?" The utter absence of joy upon their faces—the look of melancholy and of sorrow—touched at once His tender loving heart. And can you wonder that their looks were sad, when all that brightened life for them was gone? A hopeless heart may be a very brave heart, but I never heard that it was a merry heart. So these two disciples, having lost their hopes, had lost that gladness which is the child of hope, and as they walked together they were sad.

So long as Jesus Christ had been alive, there had been a great gladness in their hearts. Only to see Him had been like music to them, as it always is with anyone we love. That they had had their troubles just like other people, is only to say that they were human. Perhaps they were farmers struggling with short harvests, or fishermen who had often toiled and had caught nothing. But this was certain, that in Jesus' company their deepest experience was a great gladness, a joy that they never could quite fathom, and yet which they knew to be intensely real. Always in His society there was delight. There was a feeling of peace and of security. When He was with them all their care and worry took to itself wings and fled away. But now their Lord has passed beyond their ken, and it was like the passing of the sunshine for them, and as they walked together they were sad. Now sadness is of many kinds. There is the sadness which the exile feels when he is far away from home and kindred, and when in the thronging of the crowd around him he catches no glimpse of a familiar face. There is the sadness which the aged feel, when they remember happy days now gone forever; and there is the sadness of the open grave. All these are elements of our mortality, but there is a spiritual sadness different from these, and the cause of it is an absent Lord. When in prayer the heavens seem as brass, when the Bible loses its fragrance and its dew, when spiritual books begin to pall on us, when the services of the House of God become a weariness, then is the heart of the true disciple sad. Then does one feel as if Jesus had not risen, and as if all one's hopes in Him had been a mockery. Then do men cry the exceeding bitter cry, "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him." And should there be any of God's children who are suffering from such spiritual desertion, I beg of them to remember that their frame of heart is like that of the two journeying to Emmaus.

They Were Not without Desire

But there is one thing more that is notable, and it is this, that these two had lost none of their desire. They had lost their hope and they had lost their gladness, but they had lost none of their desire. That afternoon, walking to Emmaus, their talk was all of the Lord Jesus Christ. And from a hint in the original, we learn that their talk was animated, intense, and eager. They were talking loudly, as Orientals do, and the words were being flung one to the other, for out of the fulness of the heart the mouth was speaking. Someone has said, and there is truth in it, that our friends are never really ours till we have lost them. Only then, undimmed and unobscured, does the vision of them arise within our hearts. And as it is with those whom we have loved, and who have left us and passed into the shadow, so was it with these disciples and their Lord. They never understood how much they needed Him until the day when they thought that He was gone. They never understood how much they loved Him, till the shadow of parting had fallen on their love. But now they knew it, and so, that dreary day, their talk as they journeyed was all of Jesus Christ, and the deepest desire of their hearts was this: Oh that I knew where I might find Him! Are there any reading these words who in the secret of their souls are saying that? Careless and prayerless, backsliding and worldly, are you coming to feel you cannot live without Him? If so—if as the hart for the water-brooks, unsatisfied, you thirst for the living God—remember you have a kinship with these two.

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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2005, 04:50:07 PM »

The Road to Emmaus - Page 3
By George H. Morrison


Christ Showed Them the Supreme Necessity of His Death

In the first place, then, and passing by minor matters, He showed them the supreme necessity of His death. "Ought not Christ," He said, "to have suffered these things, that so He might enter into glory?" We may take it for certain that these two disciples had never really grasped the need that Christ should die. They had shared in the common hope that He would reign, and it was a throne they were dreaming of and not a cross. If any dark surmising had arisen in them, stirred by the mysterious words of Jesus, they had crushed them as something too terrible to contemplate. That He whom they loved should die a felon's death was something too awful to believe. And when it happened—there, before their eyes—it seemed a hideous and irreparable calamity. It was as if there had been some mistake in heaven; as if the will of the Eternal had been battled; as if powers were abroad defying the Messiah, and hurrying His triumph into tragedy. And then Christ met them, and spoke about His death, and they learned that the crucifixion was no accident. It was no longer the greatest of calamities; it became the greatest of necessities. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things? And they saw its moral and spiritual grandeur; and it dawned upon them that the cross they loathed was something more wonderful than any crown. It was then that their hearts began to burn within them, and the light to break upon their darkened souls. And everything looked different to them now when they saw the meaning of the death of Jesus. And I venture to say that it is always so with hearts that are hungering for the living God—the primary step towards fellowship and peace is to come face to face with the death of Jesus Christ. That I am a sinner and cannot save myself—that God has provided an all-sufficient Savior—that He has died for me, and that I die in Him, and through His death I can reach up to heaven again—all this, so simple that a child can grasp it, and yet so deep that angels cannot fathom it, is the basis of our peace with God. Think not to comprehend all that it means. The deepest we can never comprehend. Call it a substitution if you will—call it an atonement, call it anything. The vital thing is not what you may call it; the vital thing is to grasp it and to feel it, and feeling it to find that in the blood of Christ there is peace of conscience and fellowship with God.

Christ Opened Their Eyes and Hearts to the Scriptures

Then the next step our Savior took was to lead them back to the Word of God again. "Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." We know from the Gospels how Christ had loved the Scripture in the days of His ministry before the cross. We know how He used it when He was tempted, and how He preached from it in the synagogue of Nazareth. And it is a sign to us that He is still the same, though He has passed into the resurrection glory, that He still goes back to the old familiar Scripture which He had learned beside His mother's knee. It is a singular thing that, after He was risen, Christ is never mentioned to have appeared to His mother even once. The name of Mary is never mentioned once in the forty days of our Savior's resurrection. But I sometimes think that when she heard these two rehearsing all that He had taught them from the Scripture, she would have her own sweet secret memories of the old home, and would be quietly certain she was not forgotten. Had these two travelers, then, been neglecting their Bibles? I do not think that that is the least likely. Probably they knew Moses and the prophets far better than any of us. But I want you to think what Scripture must have meant to them in all manner of unexpected depth and fulness, when the Interpreter of it was the Lord Jesus Christ. You and I may have listened to some saintly preacher drawing out the inner meaning of God's Word. And as we did so, our hearts burned within us, and we saw what we had never seen before. And if that be so with an erring, sinful minister, I want you to try to think what it must have been when the risen Son of God handled the Scripture, and showed these two the meaning of it all. Once again they heard of the Paschal Lamb, and of the Brazen Serpent in the wilderness, and of the smitten shepherd in Zechariah, and of the suffering servant in Isaiah. But hearing it all interpreted by Christ, the Bible became a living book to them, and in the hour when it became a living book, they found that Christ Himself was by their side. Once more do I venture to suggest that it is always so in the experience of the soul. One of the surest signs that Christ is nigh is when He makes the Bible live again. It is a living Christ who makes a living Scripture, and when He is going to reveal Himself to us, passages that we have known since we were children begin once more to live and burn for us. If Christ be absent, then all the lore of ages will never make the Word a living book. If Christ be dead for us, in heart and conscience, then is the Bible always a dead book. But when old texts take a strange grip of us, when they haunt us through the market and the street, when we cannot silence some gracious invitation, when we cannot shake off some oracle of warning, when promises come like music to our ear in days of despondency or hours of peril, when some great text that we have long ignored reaches out its loving hands to us, I say that when that happens to a man, the risen Savior is not far away. That was what the two disciples found. The Bible became a living book to them. And their hearts burned within them as they heard again the echo of the old familiar passages. And it all meant that He whom they thought vanished was not vanished but at their very side, though their eyes were holden, and they did not know Him.

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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2005, 04:52:06 PM »

The Road to Emmaus - Page 4
By George H. Morrison


Christ Revealed Himself in the Breaking of the Bread

And then He revealed Himself in the breaking of the bread, and it seems like an anti-climax, does it not? After all this marshaled preparation, shall we not look for something far more glorious? We shall have some vision that will strike the sense? We shall have some flash of glory on the eye? "And He revealed Himself in the breaking of the bread." It was in no sense a sacramental meal, as we use that word sacrament in our theology. It was a frugal supper in a village home of two tired travelers, and another. Yet it was then—in the breaking of the bread, and not in any vision of resurrection splendor—that they knew that their companion was the Lord. How that discovery flashed upon their hearts, the Bible, so wonderful in its silences, does not tell. It may have been the quiet air of majesty with which He took at once the place of host, when they had invited Him in to be their guest. It may have been the familiar word of blessing that awakened sweet memories of Galilean days. Or it may have been that as He put forth His hand after the blessing to take the bread and break it, they saw that it was a hand which had been pierced. However it was, whether by word or hand, they felt irresistibly that this was He. Some little action, some dear familiar trait, told them in a flash this was the Christ. Not in some vision of resurrection glory, but in some characteristic movement of the fingers, maybe, they recognized that they found their Lord. In daily life we are always meeting that—the revelation of the insignificant. A certain trick of speech—a tone, a look—and someone whom we have lost is at our side again. And so when a man has spiritually lost his Savior, and is being restored to the joy of his first love, it is often so that the Lord reveals Himself. Our commonest mercies come to gleam on us as the most wonderful of all created things. Our sicknesses, our trials, our disappointments, are all transfigured with a Father's love. Until at last though we have seen no vision, and have only had common meals and common mercies, we too are thrilled and say, "It is the Lord." When that deep certainty once fills a man it seems as if nothing else could ever matter. When that deep certainty once fills a man, in a real sense for him to live is Christ. When that deep certainty once fills a man, he will hurry like these two disciples to Jerusalem, and tell out, though he may not say a word, that he has seen the Lord.

_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2005, 10:26:39 PM »

July 18

The Ascension - by George H. Morrison

Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have .... And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?— Luk_24:39-41

Why Forty Resurrection Days?

Ten appearances of the risen Lord are recorded in the New Testament, and of these no fewer than five occurred on the day of resurrection. Of the ten appearances Luke narrates three—(1) that to the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luk_24:13-35); (2) that to the ten apostles and others (Luk_24:36-49); (3) that on the occasion of the Ascension (Luk_24:50-51), separated by an interval of days from the preceding one, though we might not gather that from a hasty reading of the chapter. Let us remember, too, that from resurrection to ascension there elapsed a period of forty days, and let us recall how often a like period had figured in the story of the Bible. For forty days Moses was on the Mount, preparing for his deliverance of the law. For forty days Elijah was in the wilderness before he came forth for his great work in Israel. For forty days Jesus Himself was in the desert, at the beginning of His public ministry. May it not be that these forty resurrection days were a preface to that glorious ministry in heaven, which Jesus is to carry on forevermore?

They Believed Not for Joy

The disciples then were gathered together, probably in that very upper chamber which was now hallowed with all manner of blessed memory, when Jesus (though the doors were shut for fear of the Jews) appeared in their midst and said, "Peace be unto you." One marks the suddenness of Christ's procedure now. He had suddenly left the two disciples at Emmaus. He suddenly stands amid the ten disciples here. In the action and movement of the risen Jesus there is an unexpected and arresting swiftness that we do not find in the days before the cross. The disciples were scared (for the Greek word means that). It was Jesus, but so altered that He seemed a spirit. And once again we can do nothing but marvel at the timely and wise compassion of the Lord. He did not rebuke them—He knew that they were dust. He bade them touch Him and look at His hands and feet, and handle Him. It was only to a worshipping and adoring Mary that He could say, "Touch me not (thy faith hath made thee whole), for I ascend unto the Father." They touched Him, and never forgot that touch. One touch of a hand will alter a life sometimes. I think that John was living this hour again when long years afterwards he began his priceless letter by speaking of what our hands have handled of the Word of Life (1Jo_1:1). Then a great joy, like a tide, swept over them. And they could not believe, they were so glad. Not long ago Christ found them sleeping for sorrow (Luk_22:45), and now He found them disbelieving for joy. Do not forget, then, that joy can hinder faith. It may be as great a foe to faith as sorrow sometimes is. There was no door to shut or open here, as there was with little Rhoda in the Acts; yet when Rhoda opened not the gate for gladness (Act_12:14), she was like the ten, who believed not for joy.                      

That One Hour

But Jesus is very tender with such unbelief, for it is as if the sunshine (and not sin) were blinding men. He called for food, and they gave Him a piece of fish. Jerusalem was always well supplied with that. And I dare say the two who had walked with Him to Emmaus, thought He would break it, and suddenly disappear. But "God fulfills Himself in many ways," and Christ had other purposes to serve. He took it, and did eat before them. Who of them now could say this was a spirit? Once many had believed (on the hillside) when Christ made others eat. Now they believed because He Himself ate. Then Jesus led them into the heart of Scripture. He went back to the law and the prophets and the psalms. He read that old story in the light of all that happened till their hearts burned and glowed at the interpretation. Can you wonder that in the Book of Acts the disciples should be so mighty in the Word? A single hour will sometimes teach us more than the dull strivings of half a score of years. And in that one hour, in the upper chamber with Christ, Scripture became a new book to the disciples. Never forget how earnestly and constantly our Lord appealed to the testimony of the Word. Jesus dwelt deep in history and Psalm and prophecy. There never was such a student of the Scripture. He used it as His weapon in the desert. He confuted His enemies with their own sacred books. He found His solace in it. He read His mission there. He went back to its deep words when hanging on Calvary. He taught it more urgently than ever when He rose. The Bible was full of authority and power for a Savior who had risen from the dead.

A Fitting Departure

Then when the forty days were over, and the closing counsels and commissions had been given, Christ led His disciples through the streets of Jerusalem, and over Kedron, and past the shadows of Gethsemane. I think the little company were all silent; their hearts were too full of memories for speech. Then they passed out to the upland ground near Bethany, and Jesus lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And while He blessed them, a cloud gathered, and parted them, and Jesus was carried up into heaven. How simple and how reserved is the whole scene! There is no chariot of fire; no sound of music. It was a fitting departure of One who would not strive nor cry, and who had come down on the mown grass gently as the rain. And did the disciples sorrow or lament? They returned to Jerusalem with great joy (Luk_24:52). Christ had not left them; He would be with them still. Their Lord and they would never be parted again. A little before, they could not believe for joy. Now they were joyful just because they believed.

_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________
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« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2005, 04:29:42 AM »

July 22

The Best Wine Last (Please Read) - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now—- Joh_2:10

With God, the Best Is at the End

Into the story of this memorable marriage I do not propose to go. Rather, I wish to base what I may have to say on this remark of the ruler of the feast. Why, do you think, did this saying so impress John that it lingered ineffaceable in his memory? Was it merely because of the pleasure it evoked to hear his Master's handiwork so praised? I think there was a deeper reason. John was by nature an idealist, loving to find the abstract in the concrete. In the particular instance of the moment, he was quick to see the universal law. And it flashed on John, hearing this chairman speak, that he was speaking more wisely than he knew and uttering a truth that had far wider range than the miracle at that wedding of Cana. Was it not true of many an earthly pageant that the best wine was given at the beginning? Was it not true wherever Christ was active that the best wine was kept until the end? In other words, take man apart from God and always it is the worse which follows; but take God in any of His thousand energies, and always the best is kept until the end.

Without God the Last Is the Worse

It is on these two truths I wish to speak. And first on the sadder and more somber of them. Think, then, for a moment of life itself, unsustained by the hope we have in God. Now I am not a pessimist as you all know; nor am I given to painting dark or depressing pictures; yet the fact is too plain to be gainsaid—afterward that which is worse. First comes childhood with its joy and wonder and with its world compact of mystery and charm. Then follows youth with its ideal and vision; then opening manhood with its glowing hopes. And the world is still a very noble place, and the gates of the prison house have not yet closed, and the body, whether for toil or joy, is still a subtle and a powerful instrument. Then come the heat and battle of middle age, and the weakness and the weariness of age, and the years when men say, "I have no pleasure in them," and when all the daughters of music are brought low; and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail, and they who were strong men once shall bow themselves. Is this the gallant youth of long ago, this bent and tottering and palsied form? Are these the eyes that once were bright with love? Is that the brain that was so clear and keen?

Last scene of all

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Afterward That Which Is Worse

Or think again of life's relationships on which the blessing of God is never sought. When character is unchastened and unpurified, how often do the years bring disappointment! Think of the tie of fatherhood and sonship. To the little child the father is a hero. No pictured saint wears such a golden halo as does the father in his children's eyes. His character is flawless and complete above all question and all criticism; it is the image in the childish mirror of the dim and shadowy character of God. Happy the child who, when its eyes are opened, still finds a character that it can reverence! But if the father is living without God, who is swifter to see it than the growing boy? And all that revelation of unworthiness, with occasional glimpses of what is darker still, makes the cup bitter which was once so sweet. And then the words were spoken at a marriage. Are they never true of that most sacred tie? Are there no wives or husbands who are whispering, "Afterwards that which is worse"? They remember a day when life was full of courtesy and of little attentions that were better than gold and of a charity that suffered long and of a kindness that was the breath of heaven. Where has it fled to, that kindness of the morning? Who set by the hearth these irritable, tempers? Is that cold voice the voice that was so tender in the gentle and sweet days of long ago? Unguarded by the consciousness of God, unchastened by the discipline of watchfulness, unwatered by the kindly dew of prayer, unhelped by the strength made perfect in our weakness; how many homes there are that know too well—afterward that which is worse.

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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2005, 04:32:32 AM »

The Best Wine Last (Please Read) - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Sin Gives the Best in the Beginning

Once more you will think how true this is of sin. It is indeed the masterpiece of evil. It is the token and the triumph of all sin that it always gives the best wine at the start. That is why men of open and generous natures are often those most bitterly assailed. They do not calculate nor look ahead nor reckon seriously with the morrow. And sin is so fair and pleasant at the outset and hides its afterward with such consummate mastery that the reckless heart becomes an easy prey. Do you not think, now, if all the miseries of drunkenness were to meet a man upon the verge of drinking—do you not think he would cry out for help and turn from his accursed vice and flee? But drunkenness does not begin like that. It begins in the social hour and happy comradeship, and only afterwards there are the blighted prospects and the shattered body and the ruined home. Let any young man see what I as a minister have seen of the worse-than-death that follows social sin, and he will fall on his knees in prayer to God for strength to keep himself unspotted from the world. But sin is cunning and conceals all that; it sets on the table a delicious vintage; and only afterwards—but always afterwards—that which is worse.

Sin Conceals the Worse

And I cannot leave this darker side of things without asking, must all that stop at death? I wish most passionately I could believe it did; but I see no reasonable ground for that assurance. You tell me that you don't believe in hell. If you take hell to be a red devil with a fork, I don't believe in it either. But I believe in law; I believe in immortality; I believe in the momentum of a life. And if the momentum of a life be downward, and be unchecked by the strong arm of God, how can we hope that it will be arrested by the frail and yielding harrier of the grave? I hesitate to dwell upon that thought. All I wish to say to you is this. If sin conceals the worse behind tomorrow, may it not conceal the worse behind the grave? Sum up the issues of sin that you have known; the bitterness, the tears, the vain regret; think of its darkened homes, its blighted lives, its wreckage everywhere of broken hearts; then go, and as you gaze into a lost eternity, say, "Afterwards, that which is worse."

The Progress of God's Creation

But now I turn, and I do so very gladly, to the energies and activities of God. Wherever God in Christ is working, the best wine is kept until the end.

Think first for a moment of creation. There was a time, not so long ago, when religion trembled at the assault of science. It seemed as if science, flushed with her many victories and pressing forward to universal conquest, might drive from the field, in ignominious rout, many of the truths of revelation. One hears a great deal less of that today. The combatants have been laying down their arms. They have been learning that the field of battle was divinely meant to be a field of brotherhood. And nowhere have they better learned that lesson than in regard to the method of creation, for Scripture and science are agreed in this, that the best wine was kept until the end. First there was chaos and the formless deep; then light, and the ingathering of the waters. Then the first dawn of life in lowliest form, followed by bird and beast. And always the path was upward, from dull and shapeless horror, to what was better, richer, and more beautiful. And then at last, not at the first, came man, capable of communion with his Maker; greater, by that spark of God within him, than sun and moon and all the host of heaven. And it is in man, so noble though so fallen, so touched with heaven although so soiled with hell, that we discover it is the way of God to keep the best wine until the end.

=========================See Page 3
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« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2005, 04:35:41 AM »

The Best Wine Last (Please Read) - Page 3
by George H. Morrison


God's Revelation Is Progressive

The same is true in the sphere of revelation, the revelation of the divine to man. Not all at once, in sudden burst of glory, did God reveal Himself to human hearts. We speak of revelation as progressive. That is a truth which we insist on now. Only as men are able to receive it will God reveal the riches of His grace. And so from age to age men were led on from the first flush and crimson of the dawn to the perfect radiance of Him who said, "I am the light of the world." Have you ever wondered why God delayed His coming, why the wheels of His chariot tarried for so long? Compared with all the ages of mankind, it is but a little while since Christ was here. But this is the meaning of that long delay, that the God of creation and of grace is one, and that in both activities alike, He keeps the best wine until the last. You remember how the writer to the Hebrews puts it, "God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son" (Heb_1:1-2). Precious are the promises of the Old Testament. Precious are the teachings of the prophets. Precious is every gleam that was vouchsafed to the waiting heart of patriarch and psalmist. But it is when we turn to Christ, the Son of God, the way, the truth, the life, the resurrection, that we cry with the ruler of the feast at Cana, "Thou hast kept the best wine until now."

Calvary Was the Best at the Last

I think, too, we may apply this thought to the life of the incarnate Lord Himself. It was all blessed, yet it was most blessed, not in its beginning but its end. I turn to the manger-cradle by the inn when I wish to fathom His humiliation. I turn to His words and to His perfect life when I wish to know the Fatherhood of God. But when I realize I am a sinner and that my deepest need is pardon and release, then it is "Rock of ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee." Not on the teaching of Christ is the church built, although that teaching shall never pass away. Not on the example of Christ is the church built, though that example be its spur and goal. The church of God is built upon redemption, on pardon and peace that have been won through death; and that is why Christendom has looked to Calvary and said, "Thou hast kept the best wine until now." If the Sermon on the Mount were the whole Gospel, I confess that I could hardly understand it. It is so unlike all that we know of God to give all that is best at the beginning. But if the Sermon on the Mount be but a step in the ladder that leads upward to the cross, then, in the life and death of Jesus, I am in touch with the ways of the divine. It is that fact—the fact of a redemption—that fills and floods the apostolic page. It is that fact that has made the cross the universal symbol of the Gospel. "And he took the cup .... and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Mat_26:27-28). Ah yes, Thou hast kept the best wine until now.

The Path of the Just Shines More and More

Lastly, and in a word or two, is not this true also of our Christian calling? The path of the just is as the shining light which shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Not all at once does Christ reveal Himself when we go forward determined to be His. And the old life still struggles for the mastery, and we are in heaviness through manifold temptations. But the difference between Christ and the devil is just this, that the devil's tomorrow is worse than his today; but the morrow of Christ, for every man who trusts Him, is always brighter and better than His yesterday. Every act of obedience that we do gives us a new vision of His love. Sorrow and trial reveal His might of sympathy as the darkness of the night reveals the stars. And when at last the wrestling is over, and like tired children we lie down to sleep, and when we waken and behold His face in the land where there is no more weariness, I think we shall look back upon it all and find new meaning in every hour of it; but I think also we shall cry adoringly, "Thou hast kept the best wine until now."

_______________________

By George H. Morrison
_______________________
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2005, 04:55:14 AM »

Brothers and Sisters,

I loved this beautiful message. It touched my heart, and I must say

AMEN!!

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable GIFT, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour Forever!

For the lost reading this message, please stop and read it again!

Love In Christ,
Tom

Ephesians 2:1 ASV  And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins,

Ephesians 2:2 ASV  wherein ye once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience;

Ephesians 2:3 ASV  among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest:--

Ephesians 2:4 ASV  but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Ephesians 2:5 ASV  even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved),

Ephesians 2:6 ASV  and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus:

Ephesians 2:7 ASV  that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus:

Ephesians 2:8 ASV  for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

Ephesians 2:9 ASV  not of works, that no man should glory.

Ephesians 2:10 ASV  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2005, 06:38:54 AM »

Amen.
I tend to forget that the best will come, and it was good to be reminded of it. I have been having a really hard month, and needed this.
Thanx
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And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned [certain] days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven. Neh1:4
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2005, 01:09:15 PM »

Amen.
I tend to forget that the best will come, and it was good to be reminded of it. I have been having a really hard month, and needed this.
Thanx

ForHisGlory,

I will be praying for you. I'm positive that many Christians around the world are having times of trial. I firmly believe these times of trial can and should bring us closer to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I pray that is exactly what happens in your time of trial.

Love In Christ,
Tom

1 John 5:4-5 ASV  For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith.  And who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2005, 12:56:01 AM »

From The American Tract Society
Labeled Free Distribution

Christ is Alive

CHRIST IS ALIVE...

I have found that one can tell how a person values life by his estimation of death. I once talked with a man who had never given serious thought to death until it was discovered that he had cancer. “Immediately my entire world changed” he said. “The things I valued most are worthless, and the things that I thought were of little value are now the most important things in the world to me.”

GETTING READY FOR ETERNITY

Physical life is a possession that we all cling to, and yet we know we must all sooner or later bow to death. It enters the home of the rich as boldly as it enters the apartment in the projects. It brings down the final curtain as swiftly on the famous as it does on the unknown. Before this year ends many people reading this message will keep their appointment with death.

There are many who say “I believe in life after death, but I’m not concerned about crossing that bridge until I get to it.” How strange that people should spend years preparing for retirement and not take so much as five minutes to prepare to meet God.

Another attitude toward death is this: “I stand with Christ, the Lord of life and death, and rest my case in His hands.” David said “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me” (Psalm 23:4). The Apostle Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Both men were looking ahead to death with calm assurance. They knew that this life was only a dressing room for eternity.

Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25). Death need not be a bitter end...it can be a bright dawning.

ASSURANCE IN LIFE...AND DEATH

Christ is alive! And because He is alive, that makes all the difference in the world. In His resurrection evil has been defeated, love has conquered hate, death has lost its sting, and Satan has been defeated. Christ on the cross—He declared that the full penalty for sin has been paid. And one day all of creation will burst forth into a new song.

Christ is alive! The early Christians proclaimed that truth. They believed that the same power that raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will work in and through us to rescue us from our doubts, our darkness, our failure, and even our death.

As we look at the world today we cannot help but be disturbed by what is happening. But the resurrection of Christ tells us as His followers that we need not press the panic button. It is true that we are concerned and burdened and it is certain we are going to die, but we do not cry in terror as others do.

The day before John Huss, a 15th century martyr condemned for his faith in Christ, was to be burned at the stake, he wrote, “I write this in prison and in chains, expecting tomorrow to receive the sentence of death—full of hope in God that I shall not swerve from the truth.”

Is this hope and peace and joy yours? Can you face death with a smile, with full confidence that you are going into the presence of Christ? You can have this hope if you are willing to turn from sin and trust Christ. You can do it now. “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Billy Graham

Copyright 2005 - American Tract Society

--------------------

My Notes:  

First:  I give thanks that JESUS is LORD over my life.

Second:  I give thanks that the American Tract Society and other sweet Christian groups distribute material like this.

Third:

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable GIFT, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour Forever!
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« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2005, 01:03:08 AM »

From The American Tract Society
Labeled Free Distribution

Connecting with the Divine - Page 1

The following is an opportunity to look into the major world faith systems... Hinduism, New Age, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity. Included is a brief description of each, their distinguishing characteristics, and what a person can gain from each. The author then presents for your consideration the ways in which Christianity differs from these other world faiths. (Each of these religions has extremists with differing beliefs. The description given here focuses on the heart of that religion.)

Hinduism

Most Hindus worship a multitude of gods and goddesses, some 300,000 of them. These various gods all converge into a universal spirit called the Ultimate Reality or Brahman. Brahman is not a god, but more of a term for ultimate oneness.

Hindus see their position in this present life as based on their actions in a previous life. If their behavior before was evil, they might experience tremendous hardships in this life. A Hindu's goal is to become free from the law of karma...to be free from continuous reincarnations.

New Age

New Age promotes the development of the person's own power or divinity. When referring to God, a follower of New Age is not talking about the transcendent, personal God who created the universe, but is referring to a higher consciousness within themselves.. A person in New Age would see themselves as God, the cosmos, the universe. Everything that the person sees, hears, feels or imagines is to be considered divine.

Highly eclectic, New Age presents itself as a collection of ancient spiritual traditions. It acknowledges many gods and goddesses, as in Hinduism. The Earth is viewed as the source of all spirituality and has its own intelligence, emotions and deity. But superseding all is self, the originator, controller and god of all. There is no reality outside of what the person determines.

Buddhism

Buddhists do not worship any gods or God. People outside of Buddhism often think that Buddhists worship the Buddha. However, Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) never claimed to be divine, and Buddhists reject the notion of any supernatural power. The universe operates by natural law. Life is seen as consisting of pain: pain in birth, sickness, death and continuous sorrow and despair. Most Buddhists believe a person has hundreds or thousands of reincarnations, all bringing misery. And it is the desire for happiness that causes a person's reincarnation. Therefore, the goal of a Buddhist is to purify one's heart and to let go of all desires. A person must abandon all sensuous pleasures, all evil, all joy and all sorrow.

Islam

Muslims believe there is the one almighty God, named Allah, who is infinitely superior to and transcendent from humankind. Allah is viewed as the creator of the universe and the source of all good and all evil. Everything that happens is Allah's will. He is a powerful and strict judge, who will be merciful toward followers depending on the sufficiency of their life's good works and religious devotion. A follower's relationship with Allah is as a servant to Allah.

Though a Muslim honors several prophets, Muhammad is considered the last prophet, and his words and lifestyle are that person's authority. To be a Muslim, one has to follow five religious duties:

I. Repeat a creed about Allah and Muhammad;

II. Recite certain prayers in Arabic five times a day;

III. Give to the needy;

IV. One month each year, fast from food, drink, sex and smoking from sunrise to sunset;

V. Make a pilgrimage once in one's lifetime to worship at a shrine in Mecca.

At death—based on one's faithfulness to these duties —a Muslim hopes to enter Paradise. If not, they will be eternally punished in hell.

====================See Page 2
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« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2005, 01:04:37 AM »

From The American Tract Society
Labeled Free Distribution

Connecting with the Divine - Page 2

Christianity

Christians believe in a loving God who has revealed himself and can be personally known in this life. In Christianity the person's focus is not on religious rituals or performing good works, but on enjoying the relationship with God that he intended and growing to know him better.

Faith in Jesus Christ himself, not just in his teachings, is how the Christian experiences joy and a meaningful life. In his life on earth, Jesus did not identify himself as a prophet pointing to God or as a teacher of enlightenment. Rather, Jesus claimed to be God in human form. He performed miracles, forgave people of their sin and said that anyone who believed in him would have eternal life. He made statements like, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness...."1

Christians regard the Bible as God's written message to humankind. In addition to its being a historical record of Jesus' life and miracles, the Bible reveals God's personality, his love and truth, and how one can have a relationship with him.

Christians confidently turn to a wise and powerful God who genuinely loves them. They believe God answers prayer and that life takes on meaning as they live to honor him.

Is there a difference?

In looking at these major belief systems and their views of God, we find tremendous diversity:

    * Hindus 300,000 gods
    * Buddhists no deity
    * New Age they are God
    * Muslims powerful but detached God
    * Christians God is loving and approachable

The world's major religions are each unique. Yet only one affirms that there is a personal God who wants us to know him.

In Hinduism a person is on their own trying to gain release from karma. In New Age a person is working at their own divinity. In Buddhism it is an individual quest at being free from desire. And in Islam, the individual follows religious laws for the sake of paradise after death. In Christianity, you see a personal relationship with a personal God - a relationship that carries over into the next life.

Salvation

We all are aware of our faults, our sins. God loves us but hates our sin, and he has said that the consequence for our sin is separation from him. But God provided a way for us to be forgiven and to know him. Jesus, the Son of God in human form, took our sin on himself by suffering on a cross and dying in our place. The Bible says, "By this we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." 2

God is offering us complete forgiveness because of Jesus' death for us. This means forgiveness for all our sins...past, present and future. "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him."3

Christianity does not require a commitment to a method of self-improvement, meditation, good works or even the Ten Commandments.

Our hope is not in following laws or standards, but in knowing a Savior who fully accepts us. We don't earn our place in heaven by religious efforts or good deeds. He has provided the way for us. Heaven is free.

Would you like to be totally forgiven and come to know God's love for you? It is as simple as praying: "God, please forgive me and come into my heart right now. Thank you, Jesus, for dying for my sins. Thank you for coming into my life as you said you would."

(Endnotes) 1John 8:12 21 John 3:16 31 John 4:9 (NIV)

Article adapted from www.everystudent.com

Copyright 2005 - American Tract Society

_________________________________

My Note:  I give thanks that this beautiful tract is freely distributed by the American Tract Society.
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« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2005, 01:16:23 AM »

From The American Tract Society
Labeled Free Distribution

Father's Love Letter - Page 1

Father's Love Letter An Intimate Message from God to You

The words you are about to read are true.
They will change your life if you let them.
For they come from the heart of God.
He loves you.
He is the Father you have been looking for all your life.
He longs for you to come to Him.

This is His love letter to you.

My Child,
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who donÕt know me. John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect Father. Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son, Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7
I have always been Father and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is: will you be my child? John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

====================See Page 2
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