He Works in His Time

Clock_Tower_Milky_wayWhat He has purposed in eternity past–He works in time

(James Smith, “The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion” 1859)

“Remember the former things, those of long ago. I am God, and there is no other. I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times–what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please!” Isaiah 46:9-10

Thus the Lord speaks–and thus the Lord acts.

What He has purposed in eternity past–He works in time. Then the plan was drawn–and then the provision was made. God’s purposes cannot fail, nor shall His work ever be left unfinished. What He has promised to us–He will give to us; and the work He has commenced in us–He will complete. Whatever concerns our salvation–He will perfect, according as it is written, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son . . . And those He predestined–He also called; those He called–He also justified; those He justified–He also glorified!” Romans 8:28-30

This is God’s plan–commenced, carried on, and completed by Himself–to the praise of the glory of His grace!

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God’s Jewels!

Diamonds(Thomas Watson, “Religion Our True Interest“)

“They will be Mine!” says the Lord Almighty, “in the day when I make up My jewels!” Malachi 3:17

God’s people are His jewels–His own special treasure!

In what sense are the saints, God’s jewels?

Jewels are precious things; the Hebrew word for jewels signifies a treasure. A treasure is made up of costly things–gold, and diamonds and rubies. Such a precious treasure, are the saints to God.

They are jewels for their sparkling quality. Their holiness shines and sparkles in God’s eyes! (Song of Solomon 4:9), “You have ravished My heart, with one glance of your eyes!” That is, with one of your graces.

The godly are jewels for their scarcity. Diamonds are not common. Just so, the godly are scarce and rare. There are but few of these to be found. There are many false professors (as there are many plastic diamonds)–but few true Christians. Among the millions in Rome, there were but few senators. Just so, among the swarms of people in the world–there are but few true believers.

The godly are jewels for their price. Queen Cleopatra had two jewels which were worth half the price of a kingdom. Thus the saints are jewels, for their value. God esteems them at a high rate; He parted with His best jewel for them–Christ’s precious blood was shed to ransom these jewels!

The saints are jewels for their adorning quality. Jewels adorn those who wear them. The saints are jewels which adorn the world. Their piety mixed with prudence honors the gospel. Hypocrites eclipse true religion and make it badly spoken of. The saints as jewels, render it illustrious by their sanctity.

God the Father has chosen these jewels, and set them apart for Himself!

Christ has bought these jewels with His blood!

The Holy Spirit has sanctified them. When they were a lump of sin–He made them into His jewels! He will string these pearls together–and put them into His celestial cabinet!

Bless God who has wrought such a change in you! From lumps of dirt and sin–He has made you into His jewels!

Delivered From Many Troubles

Brúará_(up)_from_the_bridge._(4558928178)

“Seldom do troubles come alone, and as seldom are God’s deliverances from one trouble only. Often does God draw his loved ones out of many waters. He can save from a world of troubles as easily as from one. Nor does our inability to help ourselves make the displays of God’s power less but more illustrious. Whether he saves by means, or without means, or contrary to means, he is still our deliverer.”  –William S. Plumer “Psalms” p. 249

https://stilltheyspeak.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/many-waters/

Gospel Driven Assurance

by  of doncurrinministries.org on October 13, 2017

Contrary to what some have taught, full assurance is possible in this life for every believer because Jesus Christ has secured their justification by His finished work. Assurance of salvation is resting in Christ’s finished work. If we look to ourselves, we will never have a well-grounded hope of eternal life.

Good Soldiers Are Not Made In Parlors

Austro-Hungarian_mountain_corps

“To what great straits even good men are often brought. The sorrows of death and of hell, the floods of ungodly men and the snares of death surround and beset them. In this way they are disciplined and made courageous. Good soldiers are not made in parlors. The fearful strife of the battle-field is necessary to show who is calm and valorous. It is no small mercy that God lets us triumph in many a conflict before the last great battle is fought.” –William S. Plumer “Psalms” p. 248

https://stilltheyspeak.wordpress.com/2017/10/13/good-soldiers-are-not-made-in-parlors/

True Christianity

RotaryDialWallPhoneCandleJC Ryle

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain!” Philippians 1:21 

True Christianity is not merely the believing a certain set of theological propositions.

It is to live in daily personal communication with an actual living person–Jesus the Son of God!

“The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me!” Galatians 2:20 

Unless…

Magnifying_glass_on_antique_tableUnless our study of Scripture . . .

“He who says he abides in Him, ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” 1 John 2:6

(Arthur Pink)

Unless our study of Scripture is conforming us, both inwardly and outwardly, to the image of Christ–it profits us not!

“Leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21

The Sick Room, Part 2

800px-Sofia_Kovalevskaya_grave(J.C. Ryle)

“In those days King Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death! The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said: ‘This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.’ Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, ‘Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly.” Isaiah 38:1-3

I ask you to learn from this chapter, that sickness is not an unmixed evil.

That King Hezekiah received spiritual benefit from his illness–I think there can be no doubt. The good man saw things in his sickness, which he had never seen clearly and fully in the days of health.

I do not say that sickness always does good. Alas! We ministers know to our sorrow, that it frequently does no good at all. Too often we see men and women, after recovering from a long and dangerous illness–more hardened and impious than they were before. Too often they return to the world, if not to overt sin–with more eagerness and zest than ever. The impressions made on their conscience in the hour of sickness, are swept away like children’s writing on the sand of the sea-shore when the tide flows in.

But I do say that sickness ought to do us good. And I do say that God sends it in order to do us good. Affliction is a friendly letter from Heaven. It is a knock at the door of conscience. It is the voice of the Savior knocking at the heart’s door. Happy is he who opens the letter and reads it, who hears the knock and opens the door, who welcomes Christ to the sick room. Come now, and let me show you a few of the lessons which He by sickness would teach us.

1. Sickness is meant to make us think–to remind us that we have a soul as well as a body–an immortal soul–a soul that will live forever in happiness or in misery–and that if this soul is not saved, we had better never have been born.

2. Sickness is meant to teach us that there is a world beyond the grave–and that the world we now live in is only a training-place for another dwelling, where there will be no decay, no sorrow, no tears, no misery, and no sin.

3. Sickness is meant to make us look at our past lives honestly, fairly, and conscientiously.
Am I ready for my great change–if I should not get better?
Do I truly repent of my sins?
Are my sins forgiven and washed away in Christ’s blood?
Am I prepared to meet God?

4. Sickness is meant to make us see the emptiness of the world and its utter inability to satisfy the highest and deepest needs of the soul.

5. Sickness is meant to send us to our Bibles–that blessed Book, which in the days of health is too often left on the shelf, and is never opened from January to December. But sickness often brings it down from the shelf and throws new light on its pages.

6. Sickness is meant to make us pray. Too many, I fear, never pray at all, or they only rattle over a few hurried words morning and evening without thinking what they do. But prayer often becomes a reality–when the valley of the shadow of death is in sight!

7. Sickness is meant to make us repent and break off our sins. If we will not hear the voice of mercies–then God sometimes makes us “hear the rod.”

8. Sickness is meant to draw us to Christ. Naturally we do not see the full value of the blessed Savior. We secretly imagine that our prayers, good deeds, and sacrament-receiving will save our souls. But when flesh begins to fail–then the absolute necessity of a Redeemer, a Mediator, and an Advocate with the Father, stands out before men’s eyes like fire, and makes them understand those words, “Simply to Your cross I cling!” as they never did before. Sickness has done this for many–they have found Christ in the sick room.

9. Last, but not least, sickness is meant to make us feeling and sympathizing towards others. By nature we are all far below our blessed Master’s example–who had not only a hand to help all, but a heart to feel for all. None, I suspect, are so unable to sympathize–as those who have never had trouble themselves. And none are so able to sympathize–as those who have drunk most deeply the cup of pain and sorrow.

Brethren, when your time comes to be ill, I beseech you not to forget what the illness means. Beware of fretting and murmuring and complaining, and giving way to an impatient spirit. Regard your sickness as . . .
a blessing in disguise;
a good–and not an evil;
a friend–and not an enemy.

No doubt we would all prefer to learn spiritual lessons in the school of ease–and not under the rod. But rest assured that God knows better than we do, how to teach us. The light of the last day will show you that there was a meaning and a “needs-be” in all your bodily ailments. The lessons that we learn on a sick-bed, when we are shut out from the world–are often lessons which we would never learn elsewhere. Settle it down in your minds, that, however much you may dislike it–sickness is not an unmixed evil.

Praising God

“Many a prayer is hindered because while it supplicates blessings, it fails to adore God for what he is and to thank him for what he has already done.  Morison: ‘What honor has been put upon prayer and praise in every age! They have been as a mystic ladder between heaven and earth, upon which the angels of mercy have been ascending and descending.’ Luther: ‘One cannot believe what a powerful assistance such praise of God is in pressing danger. For the moment thou wilt begin to praise God, the evil also will begin to abate, the consoled heart will grow, and then will follow the calling upon God with confidence.” –William S. Plumer “Psalms” p. 248

https://stilltheyspeak.wordpress.com/2017/10/10/praise/

Read God’s Word With Reverence

Bibbia_con_rosaNever let us read any portion of God’s Word without looking up for divine teaching!

(James Smith, “The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion” 1859)

“Open my eyes–that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law.” Psalm 119:18

God’s Book is a book of wonders! It is a wonderful record . . .
of God’s power in creation,
of His wisdom in providence,
and of His grace in redemption.

It has the stamp of infinity upon it. We cannot penetrate its heights, fathom its depths, or traverse its lengths and breadths–but as we are taught of God. The Holy Spirit, who composed it and inspired holy men to write it, must unfold and reveal it to our minds–or we shall never . . .
see its glory,
be impressed with its majesty,
or rejoice in its divine truths.

Never let us read any portion of God’s Word without looking up for divine teaching. Never let us imagine that we know all that is contained in any one verse of God’s blessed Book–for there is a fullness in the holy Scriptures not to be found anywhere else.

Oh, ever blessed Spirit of God, who has given us Your holy Word to . . .
instruct our intellects,
sanctify our hearts, and
regulate our lives–we beseech You to . . .
enlighten our minds to understand it,
open our hearts to receive it,
give us faith to believe it, and
enable us to reduce it to practice in our every-day life!

O may we be given grace . . .
understand the sublime doctrines,
believe the precious promises, and 
  practice the holy precepts of Your blessed Word!
Lord, unveil to us the types, unfold to us the prophecies–and apply to our hearts, the consolatory portions of the sacred Scriptures. May we hide the Word in our hearts, that we may not sin against You. O to catch the meaning, taste the sweetness, and feel the power–of Your holy truth! O Lord, open our eyes, and unfold the truth to us this night! O Lord, soften our hearts, and bring home Your Word with power!

“Then He opened their understanding–that they might understand the Scriptures.” Luke 24:45

“Behold, God is exalted in His power! Who is a teacher like Him?” Job 36:22

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