Leave Us Alone!

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(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

Sinners do not like to retain God in their knowledge–because He is omniscient and omnipresent. In consequence of His possessing these attributes, He is a constant witness of their motives and conduct, and is perfectly acquainted with their hearts. This must render the thoughts of His holiness still more disagreeable to a sinner–for what can be more unpleasant to him, than the constant presence and inspection of a holy being . . .
whom he cannot deceive,
from whose keen, searching gaze he cannot for a moment hide,
to whom darkness and light are alike open, and
who views his conduct with the utmost displeasure and abhorrence?

Even the presence of our fellow creatures is disagreeable, when we wish to indulge any sinful propensity which they will disapprove. How exceedingly irksome, then, must the constant presence of a holy, heart-searching God be to a sinner! No wonder, then, that sinners banish a knowledge of Him from their minds, as the easiest method of freeing themselves from the restraint imposed by His presence.

“They say to God: Leave us alone! We do not desire to know Your ways! Job 21:14

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When Christians Suffer

Phantombild Paulus von Tarsus
Facial composite of the Apostle Paul by experts of LKA NRW, Germany

(Francis Bourdillon, “Affliction, Light and Short!” 1864)

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment–is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we do not look at the things which are seen–but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary–but the things which are not seen are eternal!” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Few people will call their present affliction light–and few are disposed to call it short. For while it lasts, it seems hard to bear–and a time of suffering generally appears long. Yet the apostle Paul writes thus about his affliction: “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment.”

Paul’s afflictions were not, in themselves, light–few men have gone through more hardships and trials than he did. Nor were they, in themselves, short–for wherever he went he found them; they continued, more or less, to the end of his life.

It was only when he compared his present affliction with the glory that was so soon to follow–that it seemed to him light and short. Then he could say, “Our light affliction, which is but for amoment.”

We must always try to look at our afflictions in this way. If we look at them alone–they will be enough to overwhelm us! But if we think also, and even more, of the eternal rest and happinessand glory which lie ahead of us–then our view of our present afflictions will be greatly changed.

“True,” we shall feel, “true, my sorrows are many; my sickness is sore; my pain is great; long have I lain upon a bed of suffering. Yet before me lies a home of perfect rest, where pain and sickness and sorrow cannot come. My Savior has promised it to me and has gone before to prepare it for me. In a little while, I shall be there!”

With thoughts such as these, the suffering Christian should comfort himself–and thus weighpresent affliction against future glory. For what are all things here below, but short? Joys and sorrows, health and sickness, affliction and prosperity–all the things that pain and that please, “the things which are seen”–all these things are but for a time.

Whereas “the things which are not seen are eternal.” What we hope for, what Christ has purchasedfor us and gone before to prepare for us–that is forever! Our pains and sorrows will soon end–but our pleasures will never end! Our affliction is but for a little while–but our comforts, our Savior’s presence, our Heavenly home, will be ours always!

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away–yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day!” 2 Corinthians 4:16

   ~  ~  ~  ~

You may want to read the whole of Bourdillon’s uplifting 2 page article, “Affliction, Light and Short!

Contriving Methods of Amusing Themselves

HaendelConcerning the performing of ‘Handel’s Messiah’ John Newton wrote:

How shall we view the people of our times? I see the great mass of people involved in one common charge of high treason against the omnipotent God! They are already in a state of guilt–but have not yet been brought to their trial. The evidence against them is so plain, strong and pointed, that there is not the least doubt of their guilt being fully proved–and that nothing but a free pardon from God can preserve them from their deserved eternal punishment!

In this situation, it would seem in their best interest to avail themselves of every expedient in their power for obtaining God’s mercy. But they are entirely heedless of their imminent danger, and are wholly taken up with contriving methods of amusing themselves–that they may pass away their short time on earth with as much levity as possible!

Among other resources, they call in the assistance of music–and they are particularly pleased with the performing of ‘Handel’s Messiah’. They choose to make . . .
the solemnities of their impending judgment,
the character of their Judge,
the methods of His procedure, and
the dreadful punishment to which they are exposed
–the themes of their musical entertainment!

And, as if they were quite unconcerned in their upcoming judgment–their attention is chiefly fixed upon theskill of the composer, in adapting the style of his music to the very solemn subjects with which they are trifling!

The offended King, however, unasked by them, and out of His great mercy and compassion towards those who have no pity for themselves–sends them a gracious message. He assures them that He is unwilling that they should eternally perish; and that He requires, yes, He entreats them to submit to Him! He points out a way in which He offers them a free and a full pardon!

But, instead of taking a single step towards a compliance with His undeserved and gracious offer–they set His message to music! And this, together with a description of their present hopeless state, and of the fearful doom awaiting them if they continue obstinate–is sung for their entertainment, and accompanied with every kind of music!

Surely, if such a case as I have supposed could be found in real life, though I might admire the musical taste of these people–I would certainly commiserate their stupidity and hardness of heart!

Does God Hate the Sin Yet love the Sinner?

300px-Temptation_Adam_EvaIt has been said that God hates sin, but He loves the sinner. Is this true? 

(Charles Naylor)

What is God’s attitude toward unregenerate man?

It has been said that God hates sin, but He loves the sinner. Is this true? 

Let us hear the voice of inspiration:

“You hate all workers of iniquity . . . The Lord abhors murderers and deceitful men” (Psalm 5:5, 6).
Does that express an attitude of affection on God’s part?

Again, we read, “The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence, His soulhates. On the wicked He will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot!” (Psalm 11:5-6).

“Because they did all these things, I abhorred them!” (Leviticus 20:23).

“I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you.” (Leviticus 26:30).

“And when the LORD saw it, He abhorred them!” (Deuteronomy 32:19).

We read further, “God is angry with the wicked every day!” (Psalm 7:11).

“The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished!” Proverbs 16:5

God is not so meek and indulgent that nothing will arouse His indignation. He hates all that is sinful. He could not love righteousness, without hating iniquity. He could not love the righteous, without hating the wicked. To love both, would be to abolish all moral distinctions. Of the impenitent sinner it is said, “The wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). It is only sin that renders him hateful, but man is responsible for his state of sinfulness and chooses evil; therefore to deal with the sin, God must deal with the man.

Not only does God hate man’s sin, every sinful word, thought, and deed–but He also hates every evildesire.

The natural man loves evil. That love of evil, which is a part of his nature–God abhors. All desire that runs out after impurity or for that which is unholy–merits and excites God’s indignation and abhorrence. Every evil ambition that arises in his soul, repels God. Every evil disposition, every evil feeling, hatred, envy, malice, revenge, selfishness, pride, jealousy, deceit, hypocrisy, and all the long catalog of evil things, of which man’s heart is the source–are obnoxious to God. All tendency to oppose the will of God, all rebellion at His providences–can only excite hatred in God.

God can love only what is what is pure and holy. All else He hates, and must hate with all the strength of His righteous character!

For the record, it was Mahatma Gandhi who coined the quote: “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner”. Obviously if Ghandi read the Bible he would have understood the plight of the sinner and how he angered a holy God on a daily basis.

Is The Young Man Safe?

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(James Smith)

“Is the young man Absalom safe?” 2 Samuel 18:29

Young men are exposed to dangers–the greatest dangers. They are in danger of falling . . .
into sin,
into infidelity,
and into Hell!

Their danger arises . . .
from their corrupt passions–which are apt to be fierce and fiery;
from their inexperience–the path of life is new and strange to them;
from false friends–who feed their vanity, and gratify their lusts;
from wicked associates–which are often fascinating, and always injurious;
from Satan the seducer–who watches them, lays in wait for them, and seeks their destruction.

In a wicked world like this,
with deceitful hearts like ours, and
with such evil influences acting upon us,
we are all in danger–but the young especially, and young men most of all.

Is the young man safe?

Absalom was not safe, nor are many young men now.
If they are mirthful, vain, or foolish;
if they are selfish, conceited, or covetous;
if they are careless, reckless, or indifferent
–then they are not, they cannot be safe!

There is no real safety, but in vital union with Christ. Until a young man is . . .
convinced of sin,
sensible of his danger,
and embraces Christ–
we cannot pronounce him safe.

The shipwrecked sailor is not safe until he is picked up by the life-boat, or otherwise conveyed on shore. Just so, the lost sinner is not safe as he is floating on the treacherous waters of this world, until the life-boat of free grace picks him up, and brings him to Christ as the harbor of safety!

A Little Cooler Perhaps

Take Me There(Charles Spurgeon)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3

You moral and upright people without Christ–you are as surely lost as the despicable reprobate!

You chaste and respectable people without Christ–you will be as surely damned as the vile prostitute who walks the streets at midnight!

“Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish!” Luke 13:3

Thomas Brooks had this sarcastic comment to say about the moral rogue.

“This is all the comfort that can be given to a moral man–that he shall have “a cooler Hell” than others.”

The Throne of Grace

download(“Every Day!” Author unknown, 1872)

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace–that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

We might have been summoned to appear before the throne of Divine Justice–and then every mouth would be stopped, and all would stand guilty before God.

But behold! We are invited to come to the throne of grace! And for what purpose? That we might obtain mercy, that we might receive a free pardon–complete forgiveness of all our sins! And not only this, but that we might “find grace to help in time of need.”

The throne of grace is never vacant. The gracious King ever sits there in all His power and in all His willingness, to bless His redeemed people.

The throne of grace is always accessible. Not once a year merely, nor once a week, nor once a day, may we approach it–but at all times, and under all circumstances.

Oh, what a privilege, my soul, is this! To be permitted, nay, invited and welcomed–to come to the throne of grace whenever you are in want, and for whatever you need! May I come as I have often come before–only more reverently, more trustfully, with larger desires and fuller expectation.

Declare His Glory

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“Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.  Psalm 96:3  …we are to employ all proper means for making known the Saviour.  One of these methods is by writing.  His glory and his wonders are the same (John 2:11).  His divinity, incarnation, birth, life, miracles, teachings, example, death, resurrection, ascension, session at God’s right hand and coming to judgment, are his wonders and his glory too.”  –William S. Plumer “Psalms” p. 878

https://stilltheyspeak.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/declare-his-glory/

God Uses Evil?

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Originally posted on August 12th, 2017

In 1 Kings 22:19-23, there is a troubling passage in which we are told that God used a lying spirit to deceive Ahab. Does God really use evil, lying spirits to do His bidding? Why would God do such a thing? To find the answer to this question, we need to learn a little background about King Ahab, and also understand something about the sovereignty of God.

King Ahab was the son of Omri, and he reigned over Israel in Samaria for 22 years (1 Kings 16:29). Continuing the example of his father, Ahab did evil in the sight of God by worshiping Baal and “did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel that were before him” (1 Kings 16:33). Ahab again and again proved he was bent on evil, evidenced by his continued refusal to listen to the prophet Elijah’s warnings. Ahab accused Elijah of troubling Israel by the drought, but Elijah declared that it was Ahab’s own sin that caused the troubles for the nation (1 Kings 18:18). Since Ahab had declared war on God by killing His prophets (v. 13), God then brought the war to Ahab in the form of a contest (1 Kings 18:19-40) between the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal on one side, and Elijah on the other. When God miraculously verified Elijah’s status as His true prophet, Ahab should have repented, but he remained in his sinful rebellion, fueled by the wicked anger of his wife, Jezebel.

In many subsequent incidents, God again showed His power and mercy to Ahab, but the king refused to submit and obey Him. Finally Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, came to visit him and Ahab persuaded him to join in battle to take Ramoth-Gilead from the Syrians. Wisely, Jehoshaphat insisted that they seek God’s will in the matter, so Ahab brought 400 false prophets together, who all assured him that God would give them victory (1 Kings 22:6). Jehoshaphat recognized their falsehood and asked whether a true prophet of God could be summoned. Ahab acknowledged that Micaiah was a true prophet, but he hated him, because “he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad” (1 Kings 22:8).

Micaiah was brought before the kings and delivered God’s final warning to Ahab. He said that if they went to war, they would be defeated and left without a king. Ahab replied, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?” (1 Kings 22:18). Ahab was again rejecting the clear warning from God, and choosing a path of wicked rebellion. In response to Ahab’s constant choice of sin, God revealed some of the inner workings of the spiritual world.

God had already pronounced a death sentence upon Ahab (1 Kings 20:42, 21:19), but had given him opportunity to repent of his wickedness. With this final rejection of God’s counsel, God determined to carry out the death sentence. Since Ahab continued to prefer the lies of his false prophets over the truth given by God’s prophets, God chose to use the false prophets to carry out His plan. When God asked for volunteers to “entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there” (1 Kings 22:20), a spirit (fallen angel/demon) said he would be a lying spirit in the mouth of the prophets. God gave the spirit permission to proceed, and Ahab received the message he desired.

God chose to use a lying spirit because Ahab rejected God’s rebukes and warnings all through his life and the cup of God’s wrath was full. Since God is sovereign over all of creation, He is not restricted in what or whom He can use to accomplish His holy purposes. All of creation is under His authority, and He chooses to use people and spirits, both good and evil, to bring His divine plans to pass and bring glory to Himself. “He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:35). In the case of Ahab, God chose to using a lying spirit to accomplish His perfect and righteous plan (Psalm 18:30). The lying spirit will receive its punishment just as Ahab did, and those who repent of their sins will receive forgiveness just like Ahab could have. The real question is, “Will I respond to God’s warnings with faith and obedience, or will I reject His counsel and be rejected by Him?”