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31 July, 2014

The Hearing and Doing of The Word of God-Part 2/2

Luke 6:39-49

J. R. Miller

"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers." This is very clear in the matter of trees. Nature never deviates from her fixed laws. No one expects to gather grapes off a bramble bush; nor does one ever find thorns growing on an apple tree. Every tree bears its own kind of fruit. The same is true of life. A bad heart does not make a good character; nor does it produce acts of beauty and holiness. It is a law of life that "as a man thinks in his heart—so is he."

We have it all here in the following verse. "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart—his mouth speaks." The thoughts make the life. The temple rose in silence on Mount Moriah; no noise of hammer or ax being heard in the building all the time it was in rising, because down in the quarries under the hill, and in the shops in the valley, every stone and every piece of timber was shaped and fitted perfectly, before it was brought to be laid in its place.

Our hearts are the quarries and the workshops, and our thoughts are the blocks of stone and the pieces of timber which are prepared and are then brought up and laid in silence upon the temple-wall of our character. Think beautiful thoughts—and your life will be beautiful. Cherish holy impulses, unselfish feelings, gentle desires—and your conduct will show beauty, purity, and gentleness to all who see you.

The picture upon the canvas if first a dream, a thought in the artist's mind. Just so, all the lovely things we do have their birth in lovely thoughts within us. On the other hand, think unholy thoughts—and your life will be unholy; think impure thoughts—and your character will be stained and blotched; think bitter, unkind thoughts—and your life will be full of unkindness, resentment, and bitterness. No wonder that we are told in the Bible to "keep our heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life!" If we would be godly and live well, we must have our heart renewed by God's grace. If Christ lives in us, then all will be well.

"Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" Confession of Christ is a good thing—but unless the life corresponds, it is only a mockery! It is not enough to honor Christ before men, praying to Him and ascribing power and glory to Him. Jesus tells us that those alone shall enter heaven—who on earth obey the will of the Father who is in heaven. Every confession of Christ—must be confirmed and approved by obedience and holiness.

"Simply to Your cross I cling" is not all of the gospel of salvation; it is only half of it. No one is really clinging to the cross—who is not at the same time faithfully following Christ and doing whatever He commands. We never can enter heaven—unless heaven has first entered our heart. We shall do God's will in heaven when we get there; but we must learn to do it here on earth—or we never shall get there.

"I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice, is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete." All turns on the doing—or not doing of Christ's words. Both the men hear the words of Christ—but one of them obeys, and thus builds upon the rock-foundation. The other hears—but does not obey, and builds upon the sand.

Both men built houses which were probably very much alike, so far as the appearance was concerned. But there were two kinds of ground in that vicinity. There was a wide valley which was dry and pleasant in the summer, when the men were looking for building sites. Then there were high, rocky bluffs. One man decided to build in the valley. It would cost less. The digging was easy, for the ground was soft. Then it was more convenient, for the bluffs were hard to reach. The other man looked farther ahead, and decided to build on high ground. It would cost far more—but it would be more safe. So the two homes went up at the same time, only the one in the valley was finished long before the other. At last the two families had settled in the two residences and were happy.

But one night there was a storm. The rain poured down in torrents, and floods swept down off the mountain. The house that was built in the valley was carried away with its dwellers. The house on the bluff was unharmed.

The illustration explains itself. He who has built in the valley is the man who has only professions—but has really never given his life to Christ, nor built on Him as a foundation. The man who built on the rock is the man who has true faith in Christ, confirmed by living obedience. The storms that burst—are earth's trials, and the tempest of death and judgment. The mere professor of religion, not a possessor, is swept away in these storms; for he has only sand under him. He who is truly in Christ is secure; for no storm can reach the shelter of Christ's love. It is a terrible thing to cherish a false hope of salvation throughout life, only to find in the end—that one has built upon the sand!

30 July, 2014

The Hearing and Doing of The Word of God

Luke 6:39-49

J. R. Miller

The Sermon on the Mount tells us the kind of people Christians should be. The Beatitudes
with which it opens, show us pictures of the character that is like God.

There is a legend which says that when Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden, an angel broke the gates into pieces, and the fragments flew all over the earth. The gems and precious stones which are picked up now in different parts of the world are these fragments of the paradise gates. It is only a fanciful legend—but it is true that in the Beatitudes, the Commandments, and other divine revealings of heavenly character we have fragments of the image of God which was on the man's soul at the beginning—but which was shattered when man fell. The Sermon on the Mount is full of these gleaming fragments. We should study them to learn God's thought for our lives. Some of these shining words we have in our present study.

The Master said, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye—and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" Luke 6:41. It is strange, how blind we can be to our own faults and blemishes; and how clearly at the same time we can see those of other people! A man can see a very small speck of dust in his neighbor's eye, while he is entirely unaware of the plank in his own eye. We would say that a plank in a man's eye would so blind him that he could not see the mote in his brother's eye. As Jesus expresses it, however, the man with the plank is the very one who sees the mote—and thinks himself competent to pull it out!

So it is in the common life. No man is so keen in seeing faults in another—as he who has some great fault of his own. A vain man—is the first to detect indications of vanity in another. A bad-tempered person—is most apt to be censorious toward another who displays irritability. One with a sharp, uncontrolled tongue—has the least patience with another whose speech is full of poisoned arrows. A selfish man—discovers little motes of selfishness in his neighbor. Rude people—are the first to be hurt by rudeness in others. If we are quick to perceive blemishes and faults in others—the probability is that we have similar and perhaps far greater faults in ourselves! This truth ought to make us exceedingly careful in our judgment, and modest in our expression of censure.

"How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye?" We do not know through what experiences our brother has passed, to receive the hurts and scars on his life which seems so ugly, so disfiguring, in our eyes. It would scarcely be in good taste for a dainty civilian, at the end of a day of battle, to criticize the soiled and torn garments and blood-stained face of the soldier just out of the struggle. We do not know through what fierce battles our brother has fought, when we look critically upon his character and note peculiarities which offend us. The marks which we call faults—may be but the scars received in life's hard battles, marks of honor, decorations of bravery and loyalty—if we only knew it.

If we knew the real cause of all that seems unlovely in those we meet, we would have more patience with them. "But is it not a kindness to a friend—to take the mote out of his eye?" someone asks. "If we meet a neighbor with a cinder in his eye, would it not be a brotherly thing to stop and take it out for him? Even if we have whole lump of coal in our eye at the same time, would it not be a kindly act for us to desire to relive our suffering fellow-man? Then it is not just as true a kindness, to want to cure another's fault, even though we have the same fault in more aggravated form in ourselves?"

If we did it in the right spirit—it would be. But the trouble is, that we are not apt to look at our neighbor's faults in this loving and sympathetic way. It is the self-righteous spirit that our Lord is here condemning. A man holds up his hands in horror at the speck he has found in his neighbor's character; and his neighbor sees in him—an immensely magnified form of the same speck! Will the neighbor be likely to be greatly benefitted by the rebuke he receives in these circumstances? Suppose a bad-tempered man lectures you on the sin of giving way to temper; or a dishonest man lectures you on some apparent lack of honesty; or a liar lectures you on the wickedness of falsehood; or a rude-mannered man lectures you on some little discourtesy of yours; or a hypocrite lectures you on insincerity; what good will such lectures do you, even admitting that you are conscious of the faults? "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye!" Luke 6:42

29 July, 2014


BY: Horatius Bonar (1808—1889)

First let's me say Hi and how much I missed you guys the past few weeks!

I finally got my Laptop back last night. through this ordeal I learned to trust Him with the small things of my life, I learned to exercise patience and I also found out how important this ministry is to me because I missed you guys my FaceBook and Blogs Christian family tremendously. TOGETHER, we are His Church and we are being prepared as His bride. Oh! what a day that will be!

I will take the time tonight to like all those pages invitations as I go through my emails. Thank you for being so patient with me.
I love you guys with the Agape love of God!


"These are those who follow the Lamb wherever He goes."—Revelation 14:4.

"Follow me!"—John 11:22.

"Leaving us an example, that we should follow His steps."—2 Peter 2:21.

"I Paul myself beseech you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ."—2 Corinthians 10:1.
These four passages point more or less to our responsibility for a holy life—and to Christ as the true model of that life. We are redeemed—that we may be holy. We are freely pardoned—that we may be holy. We look to Jesus—that we may be holy. We are filled with the Spirit—that we may be holy. The true religious life rises out of redemption—and is a copy of Christ's walk on earth. Beholding Him—we are changed into His image, from glory to glory.

The first of these passages refers specially to the future honor of the saints. Their peculiar privilege is to be attendance on the Lamb—'forever with the Lord;' forever beholding His face; forever waiting on Him, sharing His fellowship, doing His will, enjoying His blessedness, when day has broken, and the shadows fled away. They are to be to the Lamb in His exaltation, what the twelve disciples were in His humiliation—'followers'—though in a far higher sense than was known in the days of His flesh. Yet we may use this verse to point out Christ—as our present leader and example. We follow Him here in suffering and service—as we shall follow Him hereafter in glory and in joy!

Christ was our substitute when He was here on earth—we are His representatives now that He is absent. We are to be 'lights in the world,' as He was. For this end we are to 'follow His steps,' live as He lived, love as He loved, speak as He spoke. He is our pattern and model. Shine as He shone! He was the 'Israelite indeed,' the true Nathanael, in whom was no deceit. He was the true Nazarite. Let us be Nazarites as He was—consecrated to God, and separate from the world. Look up, Christian, look up! Not Babylon; but Jerusalem, is your hope and your home. Thus Peter points to Christ as our 'example,' remembering perhaps His last words to himself, 'Follow me.'

The third of these passages connects together the suffering and the example. In it Peter places both before us at once, that we may have our eye on both, not separating the blood from the holiness, yet keeping both distinct, the former as the fountainhead of the latter. Jesus by His blood 'washes,' 'sanctifies', 'justifies' (Romans 5:9; 1 Corinthians 6:11). And while doing so, presents Himself as our model—the true doer of the Father's will.

Let us note Peter's words more at length. Christ for us, or Christ our substitute—that is the first thing. Christ in us, or Christ our life—that is the next. Christ before us, or Christ our model—that is the next. These three great truths make up a large portion of Christianity.
We look to Christ for salvation, and we obtain it as surely and simply as Israel obtained healing by looking at the brazen serpent. We look to Christ for conformity to His likeness—and we are changed into His likeness as we gaze upon Him!

The model or pattern is a COMPLETE one. Others models have only one feature of beauty, and are imperfect. Christ is perfect. Every feature is there; every line is there. We are to grow like it; to be imitators of Christ. We are to copy Him. In copying a man, there is danger of producing a stiff, second-hand, second-rate resemblance. Not so in copying Christ. He is the divine model. It is God's purpose and desire that we copy Him. He is gone to heaven, but has left this pattern as a legacy.

A Christian, then, is a copy of Christ. His inner and outer man are to be copies of Christ. It is Christ's footsteps he is to walk in. It is Christ's image that he is to reflect. It is not Paul, nor Peter, nor Luther, nor Calvin, nor Rutherford that he is to copy—but Christ Himself. Other models may illustrate this, and so help in the imitation of Christ; but only as doing this are they useful; otherwise they are dangerous.

10 July, 2014

Consider Jesus–In the Exercise of Praise

Octavius Winslow

"I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises." –Hebrews 2:12

These are the words of Jesus quoted by the apostle from a prophetical psalm concerning Him. We have considered Him as teaching us by His example to pray; it may promote our personal holiness by considering Him as teaching us to PRAISE. Praise is an element of the gospel. It entered essentially, if not prominently, into our Lord's personal life. "A man of sorrow," though He was--oftener seen to weep than to smile--yet there were moments when gleams of joy shone upon His soul, and strains of praise breathed from His lips.

Our Lord was of a THANKFUL spirit, and a thankful spirit is a praiseful spirit. How often the words were on His lips, "I thank You, O Father." He thanked God for the sovereignty of His grace for manifesting Himself to His disciples, for the food He was about to distribute, and over the grave of the friend He was about to raise from the dead. In all things Jesus was of a thankful, and therefore of a praiseful spirit.

And so, my soul, should you be! You have everything to praise God for. For the GLORIOUS GOSPEL of the blessed God; which, in the blessed announcements it makes of full pardon, of free justification, of gracious adoption, of present grace and future glory--is praise, all praise, eternal praise. There is not one announcement in the gospel to dishearten or repel a poor, penitent sinner. To such it is a 'joyful sound' without one jarring note, a salvation without a condition, a righteousness without a work, a pardon without money, a heaven without human merit or purchase--all the free gift of God's most free and unmerited grace. Is not this sufficient to awaken the deepest gratitude and the loudest praise in your soul?

And, O my soul! what shall be said of the praise due from you for the GIFT OF JESUS? Can you think of Him for a moment, and not feel your whole soul thrilling with thanksgiving and tremulous with praise? Oh, praise God for Jesus--for such a divine yet such a human Savior--for such a life, for such a death, for such a righteousness, and for such an Atonement as His. Is there no deep response of your heart to the thankful, praiseful words of the apostle--"Thanks be unto God, for His unspeakable gift?" Oh, praise Him for such a lovely and loving, for such a gracious and precious Savior, but for whom, you had been lost forever!

And have you not reason to praise God for YOUR CONVERSION? Oh, what a wonder of sovereign grace that ever you were brought out of nature's darkness into God's marvelous light! That, ever divine power drew you, and divine love chose you, and divine blood cleansed you, and a divine righteousness was imputed to you! That, ever you did hear the voice of Jesus, when lying in your blood, cast out to the loathing of yourself, saying to you, "Live!" And that then He washed you, and clothed you, and decked you with ornaments, and put a fair chain on your neck, a crown and a mitre on your head, and you became lovely through His loveliness put upon you--a king and a priest unto God! Praise, oh, praise Him loudly for that happy day when, having betrothed you in eternity, He savingly drew you to Himself, and you became His. Can you recall the memory of that blissful hour, and not make the desert ring with your loudest, sweetest praise?

"Oh! to grace, how great a debtor!"

My soul! seek from God the spirit of thankfulness, and cultivate habitually the grace of praise. It is a soul-purifying and a God-glorifying grace. It keeps the heart in perpetual bloom, and converts the life into a daily psalm! Praise God for all--praise Him for the blessings--of His providence, for the barrel of meal and for the cruse of oil that have not failed, for the providence that brightens, for the sorrow that shades, for the mercy that smiles, and for the judgment that frowns--for God's love breathing through all. Thus shall you be learning to sing the 'new song,' and to unite in the never ending music of heaven, where–
"Praise shall employ our noblest powers,
While immortality endures."

09 July, 2014

Why are you cast down, O my soul? - Puritan Philpot

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
"Why are you cast down, O my soul?

Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for
I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God."
Psalm 42:11

Do you forget, O soul, that the way to heaven
is a very strait and narrow path; too narrow for
you to carry your sins in it with you?

God sees it good that you should be cast down.
You were getting very proud, O soul.
The world had gotten hold of your heart.
You were seeking great things for yourself.
You were secretly roving away from the Lord.
You were too much lifted up in SELF.

The Lord has sent you these trials and difficulties
and allowed these temptations to fall upon you,
to bring you down from your state of false security.

There is reason therefore, even to praise God
for being cast down, and for being so disturbed.

How this opens up parts of God's Word which
you never read before with any feeling.

How it gives you sympathy and communion
with the tried and troubled children of God.

How it weans and separates you from dead professors.
How it brings you in heart and affection,
out of the world that lies in wickedness.

And how it engages your thoughts, time after time,
upon the solemn matters of eternity; instead of being
a prey to every idle thought and imagination; and
tossed up and down upon a sea of vanity and folly.

But, above all, when there is a sweet response from
the Lord, and the power of divine things is inwardly
felt, in enabling us to hope in God, and to praise His
blessed name; then we see the benefit of being cast
down and so repeatedly and continually disturbed.

"Why are you cast down, O my soul?

 Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for
I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God."
Psalm 42:11

07 July, 2014

Psalm 67-Each Verse Explained by Puritan Henry Law

Psalm 67

A hymn here meets us earnest in prayer, bright in prospects, shining in prophecies, glorious in anticipations. Hope gazes with delight on the fullness of the Gentiles—on the consequent ingathering of the Jews, and all the glories of the second Advent. May we here find a subject for our supplications—a theme for rejoicing hope!

1-2. "God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us. That Your way may be known upon earth, Your saving health among all nations."

We rightly use the promises of God when we turn them into earnest prayer. We cannot doubt that we pursue a track which leads to all riches of fulfillment, when our lips plead that God would do unto us according to His word. Often are we assured that God is rich in mercy unto His people, and that His blessing is their promised heritage. How earnestly, then, and joyfully may we put God in remembrance, and plead with Him to be merciful unto us, and to bless us, and to lift up upon us the light of His countenance, and to cause the shining of His smile to beam around us.

But such prayer should not be limited to our own joys only. It should enfold in its embrace the whole family of man. Our supplications should beseech Him to look beyond our own needs, and to make known throughout the world His purpose, His will, His grace, His love, His design in sending Jesus to assume our flesh, His covenant of everlasting peace in Him. But such prayer lacks the essence of sincerity if it evaporates in word only, and makes no effort to secure fulfillment. How vain to pray and not to labor in the missionary cause!

3-4. "Let the people praise You, O God; let all the people praise You. O let the nations be glad, and sing for joy; for You shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth."

What a glorious prospect here rises to our view! What joy and gladness animate the scene! What sound prevails? It is the praises of our God. Where issue forth these precious notes? Not from one heart only; not from one family only, but from all who throng the earth. From every climate, from every nation, from all who breathe the breath of life, adoration is uplifted. "Let the people praise You, O God, let all the people praise You." How earnestly should we pray, 'Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, and establish this reign of universal gladness. For then shall all nations sing for joy.'

How abundant will be the cause of this thanksgiving. The blessed Jesus shall sit upon the throne of His kingdom. His happy subjects shall adore Him as King of kings and Lord of lords. His rule shall be righteousness. The laws of His empire shall be perfect holiness. Sin, with all its miseries, shall be cast out. Its hideous features shall be no more seen. Nothing shall appear which shall mar the happiness of all the rejoicing subjects. The tabernacle of God shall be with them. The purposes of redeeming love shall be fully manifested. A righteous King shall govern righteous subjects. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly."

5-7. "Let the people praise You, O God; let all the people praise You. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him."

Again and again shall prayer ascend for the ingathering of the Gentiles into the fold of Christ. The blessing is promised, and no rest should be given until the happy consummation comes, and the fullness of these new subjects shall be as life from the dead to the expectant world. Then, as when renewed fertility crowns the surface of the earth with goodness, so every token of joy and blessedness shall be seen throughout the world's length and breadth. "God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him." Who can conceive the blessings which Christ Jesus bestows on His ransomed heritage? How can we adequately love and bless and praise and adore Him! Let us go forth in faith, and ponder the coming wonders of His reign. Let our lips often cry, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly."

06 July, 2014

Thank You to My Faithful Pilgrims Companions

Most of you who are used to my posts know that not only God has given this kind of ministry to me, but He is using the ministry to teach me, communicate with me and help me grow. I always love that about God. He has a way of killing 100 birds with the same stone, so to speak.

Also, when I write something on Social media that offends some, to the point where they feel so offended that the only reaction is to “unlike and/or unfriend my pages, I always worry for a little while. I do not worry because they do not like me that would be foolish simply because Christ is crazy about me so I am in good company, and also I serve only one Master. Therefore, I will stand in the truth, no matter what it takes, even if everyone left me. As the matter of fact, if your Christian ministry is not offending people to the point where they want to leave you or write you nasty emails, then you are not representing the real Christ, real Gospel and the real Truth of Christ. You might actually be a people pleaser and your ministry is more about you instead of Christ. So, I am okay with them “ unfriend me”.

The reason I worry as I mentioned above, is that I feel the need to hear from God so that I can be sure it is not a lack of love on my part that cause them to not want me. Because if it is a lack of love, then it would also be offensive to God, which would mean I am not in His will. So this week I could tell some of my postings hit some nerves. But God has awesomely taught me the difference between those who stayed and those who left. I will not share all of what He taught me because this would make a long post. Suffice to say, He put gladness in my heart and taught me to rejoice with Him that all those that are with me are part of the journey heavenward. It was such a beautiful revelation about you my community on Facebook, Blogs and Twitter. But more than that, the beauty of the revelation came when He showed me that we were all together in Him making up His Church. Our level did not matter, what mattered was that all of us have the same goal in Him.

I have to tell you that I am so amazed at how many times God talked to me about my internet family, He cares so much and He is teaching me how to view you guys in my life.  Amazingly, this ministry is taking a life on its own, in my life.  A lot of us truly underestimate our internet ministry and how God can unite all of us even through the wires.

Okay, enough for this lesson I learned.

This Friday when I posted about my dreadful situation, after I published the post, I was in tears because of the pain of my situation. I think, since I made the decision to wait for Him no matter how bad the outcome was, my pain was about coming to terms with it all, and finding the way to make my mind and God’s word match what I know about God so that everything could be in harmony. Because as long as there is no inward harmony with how to move forward with God, we feel scattered, we panic and we cannot apply the word of God in our lives, as we should.

So, after a little while I was able to find harmony within because I came to term with the fact that, even if I was to get caught through this oncoming train that I could see with my spirit, it was going to be well with my soul.  Then, the aftermath was going to be God’s business. That’s all I needed to do in order to come to terms with my situation. So God did not change my situation, but He gave me strength to go through it in a way that honors Him. Since Friday night, God has been ministering to my soul and it is good to be where I am with Him.

I decided to share because I KNOW too well, how much God is using my social media and blog ministries to teach me about myself and help me grow spiritually day by day. I smiled because I realized how God in His power can use the internet and social media ministries to minister to us. Because I used the internet for His glory, even in my isolation, I am never alone. God is using you guys and me to sharpen each other.

Then, I suddenly felt sad, because I know, not all of us understand the power of those things available to us and we feel the need to follow in the footsteps of unbelievers with our Facebook pages and Blogs. Yet, they could  be so much more powerful than that when used for God’s purpose. Please understand that I am not judging, I am sharing so you too can know the power that I am experiencing daily through my savior and redeemer.

Yes, sometimes I have to write or post about things that concerned true Christianity, the way God taught me about it. He gave me the zeal, the knowledge and the experience that I have acquired through Him, always at my own expenses. But, when I do write a quote, a verse or about a subject that I know God wants me to, if it appears to you so offensive to the point where you want nothing to do with me, it is simply because your heart is not truly sold on Christ. You want Him in your life because of what He can do for you. When you read me, what I share with you in agape love, offends you, rocks your boat and most of all, somehow touches your conscious and causes you to be uneasy, hence it is easier for you to click the “unlike “ button

So I thank all of you for who you are in Him and for taking this journey with me. We live in a world where everyone is so busy, so, those who takes the time to read me, are truly appreciated in my heart. Know that I do not take you for granted. When we meet in heaven, nothing will be hidden, so, you will know that I truly meant what I said about my appreciation and you being in my heart.

I love you all and thank you for being my “FAITHFUL PILGRIMS COMPANIONS”

05 July, 2014

Love To God—Meaning Characteristics and Proof

by Puritans James Smith, 1858
"I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy." Psalm 116:1
Real religion is always experimental — and experimental religion is always practical. As it is the work of God in the soul of man — it always leads back to its Author, and up to its source. As it flows from the love of God — it manifests itself by love to God; and we have just as much real religion — as we have love to God. Love is the one thing necessary to harmonize and make happy the whole of God's intelligent creation. Love rules in heaven — and consequently all is harmony and happiness there. Love is not to be found in hell — and consequently there is neither harmony nor happiness there. Love is imperfect on earth — and therefore harmony is not perfect, nor is happiness complete. 
To produce love, and so to restore the church to harmony and happiness, is God's great design in the covenant of grace: and all he does for us, or works within us — is intended to produce love. David could now say, "I love the Lord;" and he could give a good reason for loving him too, "for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy." We also love the Lord: not perfectly — as we should; not unfailingly — as we would; yet we love the Lord, and therefore we appropriate and employ David's words.

Let us notice —  First, The Profession.

"I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy;" not simply for what he is in himself — but also for what he has done for me.
David loved God — therefore he knew him. We can love the unseen — but we cannot love the unknown. To draw forth our love to him, God has manifested his attributes; revealed his disposition; and has made a full unveiling of himself in the person of his Son. God is love. God is gracious. God is merciful. God sympathizes with man; desires to be re-united to man, and to pour the fullness of his blessing into the heart of man.
When we see what God is in Jesus, what God is to us, what God is willing to do for us, what God desires to confer on us — then we love him!
David loved God — for he needed him. He saw that God was necessary to him. He had needs which God alone could supply, aspirations which God alone could satisfy, and capacity which God alone could fill.
Just so, we come into circumstances in which God alone can reach us, help us, deliver us, and satisfy us. And we are brought into these circumstances, in order to teach us that God is necessary to us. We cannot be what we ought; we cannot do what is required; we cannot enjoy what we wish — without God! 
David loved God, therefore he had applied to him. 
 Real religion consists very much in personal application to God — for what he only can do, for what he only can give. David had applied to him for deliverance from deep sorrow, terrible fears, and alarming dangers. He was driven by necessity, and he was impelled by a principle within.
Just so with ourselves — guilt drove us to him for a pardon, the sorrows of death drove us to him for peace, and the pains of hell drove us to him for salvation. We were obliged to apply — or perish. We did apply, and not in vain.
David loved God — for he was regarded by him. "He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy." God always hears the cry of need from his redeemed children; he always attends to their appeal of misery. 
Just so, we cried — and he heard us; we called — and he answered us; we entreated — and he appeared for us. He brought us up out of the horrible pit, he delivered us from the proud waters that went over our souls, he rescued us from the hand of him that was stronger than we!
His eye was upon us in trouble,
his ear was open to listen to us in distress,
his arm was made bare to deliver us in danger,
and his hand was opened to supply us in need!
Therefore we love the Lord.
David found God to be true to his word, faithful to his promise, full of condescension and infinite love. And so have we! We took his word upon credit at first — but we have proved it to be true since. We believed him to be faithful once — but we know him to be so now. We had heard of his condescension and love in days past — but we have realized it in many instances since then. 
Yes, we love the Lord — and this proves that we know him, need him, have applied to him, and have been regarded by him. We love the Lord, for we have found him to be true and faithful, full of condescension and infinite love! 

Second, the Characteristics of True Love.

True Christian love is grateful love. We love him — because he first loved us. The loving Christian is always grateful. Where there is much love — there is much gratitude. When filled with love — we praise God for every drop, for every crumb. Our smallest mercies appear large, and God gets thanks then — for that which is scarcely acknowledged at another time. 
True Christian love fixes upon God as its supreme object. It loves others subordinately; but in its powerful exercises it passes by, and ascends above all others, and centers in God alone. It looks around earth, it ascends to heaven, and gazing upon all there, exclaims, "Whom have I in heaven but you, and there is none upon earth that I desire beside you!" 
True Christian love is sincere. It hates pretense, it abhors a sham, it inspires the heart, it influences the whole man, it regulates the life, it owns God everywhere, it aims at God's glory always. The loving Christian is what he professes to be, for he will never profess to be what he is not. 
True Christian love is growing. We grow in the grace of love, as we do in every other grace. When we first loved the Lord, we imagined that we could not love him more; but our love has become more deep, more genuine since then. The excitement has passed away — but the everyday life now proves that we love the Lord. As vegetation grows as light increases, as the body progresses unto perfection; so love, that fruit of the Spirit, grows and will grow until it becomes the all-pervading principle, the ruling power that regulates the whole man. 
True spiritual love is always grateful; it makes God its supreme object, it is sincere, and increases more and more until it sits sovereign upon the throne of the inner man. 

Third, the Proofs That We Love the Lord. 

We prove our love by our praise. We must commend the beloved object. As we love to think of him and desire to look upon him, so we love to speak of him. Love God, and not speak of him! Impossible. Love Jesus, and not commend him! How can that be? We must thank him for his condescension in noticing us, for his love in saving us, for his mercy in listening to us, for his power in delivering us, for his infinite kindness in promising that we shall see him and be with him forever. Praise him! O yes, with the heart, with the lip, with the life — shall we praise God if we love him! 
We prove our love by our sympathy with him. We love what he loves, and we hate what he hates. We aim at what he aims, and seek what he seeks. If he is dishonored, we grieve. If he is glorified, we rejoice, If his work goes on, we are happy. If his cause is under cloud, we are sorrowful. We love to think as God thinks, to speak as God speaks, to act as God acts. Our hearts and our desires center in him, our joys and our sorrows are regulated by him; and our highest object is to honor him to the utmost, and induce others to do so too. 
We prove our love by our confidence. We can trust him. We can rely upon him. We can confide in him. To him we commit our souls. With him we entrust our all. We take his word. We expect his blessing. We cast our cares on him. Just in proportion to our love to God — will be the strength of our confidence in God; and in proportion to our confidence in God — is our love to God. 
We prove our love by our submission to him. Love always submits to the loved one; and if persuaded that he has strength of mind, firmness of purpose, decision of character, sufficient resources, and depth of affection — it leaves everything to him. Now this is the case with our God; and therefore if we have right views of God, and real love to God, we shall say, "Let God reign, let him do what seems good to him." And at the worst, with Aaron, true love will hold its peace. Rebellion, repining, and complaining — show lack of love; for deep and pure love is a certain cure for all these evils. 
We prove our love by our activity. You cannot keep true love still. It is always thinking, purposing, planning, and acting — to please and gratify the loved one. How active was Paul — and why? "The love of Christ constrains us!" said he. Oh, if we had much love — we would need little exhortationonly direction. We would seldom need reproof, except it were for excessive exertion. Heaven is all activity, activity for God, and that just because heaven is full of love. 
We prove our love by our liberality. Love will give anything, it will give all to its object. Jesus did so, and loving believers do so too. What can we withhold from him who has our heart? If our love was but pure, powerful, and rightly directed — we would not be reluctant to give — but ready to bestow, and slow to hoard for ourselves. 
Let us, then, examine. Do I love the Lord? Do I praise him, sympathize with him, place confidence in him, bow with submission to him, actively employ my talents for him, and liberally contribute of my substance to his cause? In proportion to our love — will be the power we display in these particulars. O infinitely loving and lovely One; fill, O fill us with love to your ever-blessed and adorable self! 
Love is FROM God alone. It is a grace he confers, a work he produces, and a fruit of his Spirit in our hearts. "The fruit of the Spirit is love." No love — no Spirit of God. Little love — little of the Spirit of God. No love — no saving religion. Little love — little religion, little of God. 
Love is LIKE God. "God is love, and he who dwells in love, dwells in God, and God dwells in him." The principal feature of God's image, as drawn by the Holy Spirit on the heart, is love. We resemble God just in proportion to our love — and only in proportion to our love. 
Love is FOR God. God claims it. He says, "Love me." He created us to love him, he redeemed us to love him, he asks us to love him. There is nothing that he prizes — so much as our love. 
Love, if true, always has God, God in Christ, for its OBJECT. It will not rest short of him. It will not be satisfied without him. 
Love LEADS to God. Coming from God — it always leads back to its source. It leads the thoughts, the desires, the aims, the affections, the whole man — to God. It will never allow us to find satisfaction in anyone, or in anything — but God. Like the eagle, it loves to mount on high — and soar far above other birds. Like our own lark, the higher it mounts — the sweeter it sings. 
Spiritual love, therefore, is only satisfied with God. Nor will it let its possessor rest satisfied with anything less than exact likeness to God, and the full enjoyment of God. Love will ultimately be perfected in the presence and glory of God. It will be always panting, praying, and striving — until it enjoys full perfection in God's glorious kingdom. The language of this love is, "As for me, I will behold your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with your likeness!" 
Reader, do you love God? You did not once. You do not now as you would, if you do love at all. Oh, to love God; for love is holiness, love is happiness, love is true devotion, love is heaven! "This is the love of God;" or this proves that ours is really love to God, 
"This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 1 John 5:3 that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous."
Do not I love you, dearest Lord?
Behold my heart, and see,
And turn each cursed idol out
That dares to rival Thee!
You know I love Thee, dearest Lord;
But O! I long to soar,
Far from this sphere of mortal joys,
And learn to love Thee more!

04 July, 2014

When You Are Hemmed In On Every Sides By Life Circumstances!

You know, my life seems to be an endless invitation for hardships to come and surround me. For some reasons I am constantly facing hopeless circumstances. Often I feel like I am hemmed in by God on all sides.  I guarantee you that I do not go out of my ways to get in trouble with God. If I want to be honest with all of you, I would have to confess that sometimes I ask myself if Christianity is all in my imagination because my heart, common sense, and wisdom cannot comprehend how is it, a God that is called a “God of love” would allow so much to come into one’s life and for so long. So, the only logical conclusion is “the whole Christianity thing is a hoax”

But, I thank my God that those moments when my strength fails to carry me through, I can find refuge and comfort in knowing:

1)                 He will carry me through
2)                 My common sense and finite understanding will never take me to the heights He has in mind for me.
3)                 Christianity is truly a sacrificial life to the highest degree.
4)                Because I am not privy to God’s higher purpose, my part in all this is to endure my lot with my mouth shut and my heart opened wide to take it in, according to His will.
5)                 Christ never misled His true followers and never promised a bed of roses down here on earth.
6)                 For all I know, my endurance of it all could be something between God and Satan, like in Job’s situation. So, not trusting Him all the way, no matter how painful and lengthy of a process I am in, could be causing God to lose face vis a vis Satan.
7)                 Through watching my painful life unfolding, I can see God’s hand on me, taking me back to the God that I know, the invisible God that I have seen with my heart and soul. He does that to reassure my soul and alleviate the pain. So, today, the Spirit told me “have you noticed how life got more difficult for Jesus?  Think about His pain to leave heaven behind! The pain of being dependent on earthly parents to care for Him as in infant! The humiliation of being obedient as a child and earthly parents! Think about what it must have been like for Him living over thirty years in obscurity amongst his brothers and sisters in His households!”

Then, the Spirit continued by saying “think about how bad and painful things got for Him when He reached the culminating point of His ministry, did things get easier? No, because every day was a test, a trial, opportunity for more shame, more persecution, less acceptance of Him and who He was in me? ‘WHY SHOULD YOUR LIFE BE DIFFERENT?’”

I also learned something else. Often times when we are going through hardships and life is tossing us like a ping pong ball, it is hard to put our hands on who to grab onto through the Bible’s heroes. If you are like me, you try to find whether Paul life would do better or Abraham, or David, or Joseph etc. But, the Spirit said to me the closer you get to me and the deeper this life in me, the more you need to let go of your role models and grab onto Christ.

Perhaps you are not like me and this is my own weakness that God has to deal with. But I knew He had put His fingers on one of my weaknesses that needed to change. This weakness of mine is that I am constantly seeking to model myself after one of those heroes of the Bible like Abraham, David, the Apostles etc. I am always trying to find out how one of them would handle the situation that I am in, so that I can walk with God. Understand that I aim to please Him. But, secretly in my heart, I am hoping that He would apply their timeline to my hardship so that I could see an end to it. I also try to convince myself why my timeline should be much less, because I am not in their league. Cultivating this kind of frame of mind causes me to always expect to be free as soon as possible, because I put in my time.

God made it clear to me that it was not up to me to hang onto those heroes and expect the outcome to turn good for me, like He did for them. i.e, everything was restored to Job, David received his crown, Joseph got his days in the sun, etc. He basically told me that it was not my business how and when He decide this awful life I have been living most of my Christian life with Him.

He taught me, as you and I grow spiritually, we reach a time where it is not enough to model after Paul or Joseph, or Abraham. The only source of hope, faith, trust and the only one who can write the ending of our circumstances, is Him and that should be sufficient for me. “LOOK ONTO ME”

This lesson happened early this morning as I woke up kind of nostalgic and with such a mood to meditate on Him before I do anything else. So, I started reading my devotion books and I was surprised to see Oswald Chamber’s devotion. I could not help smiling because I realized once again His sense of humor and His way of making provision for the hour, will always get me.

The lesson I learned today, even though my situation seems desperate and painful, and even though I need God to come to my rescue today, right now and even though He remains silent. I cannot fret.