The Almighty Has Afflicted Me!

800px-UrakamiTenshudoJan1946(Thomas Watson)

“The Almighty has afflicted me!” Ruth 1:21

“The cup which My Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:11

All the injuries and unkind treatments we meet with from others, do not come to us by chance, but are ordained by the all-wise God for our good.

Many are like the foolish cur that snarls at the stick, never looking to the hand that swung it. If we looked higher than instruments, our hearts would grow meek and calm. Instruments can no more stir until God gives them a commission–than the ax can cut by itself without a hand. David looked beyond Shimei’s rage: “Let him curse, for the Lord has bidden him!” 2 Samuel 16:11

What wisdom for Christians–to see the hand of God in all the barbarisms and incivilities of men! Job eyed God in his affliction, and that meekened his spirit: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised!” Job 1:21. He does not say, The Chaldeans have taken away–but “The Lord has taken away.”

Whoever brings an affliction, it is God who sends it.

“God has sovereign right to dispose of us as He pleases. We ought to acquiesce in all that God does with us and to us.” William Carey

“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other!” Ecclesiastes 7:14

“Shall we poor worms give laws to our supreme Lord and Governor, and oblige Him always to bless and favor us, and never to afflict us?” Matthew Poole

“What? Should we accept only good things from the hand of God, and never anything bad?” Job 2:10

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Prettying Up a Rotten Corpse

102000000000241364_1920x1080.jpg(Thomas Watson, “The Beatitudes” 1660)

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8

External morality is not heart-purity. A person may be clothed with great moral virtues, such as justice, charity, prudence, and temperance–and yet go to Hell.

We must not rest in mere outward morality.
A swine may be washed–yet be a swine still. 
Morality 
does but wash a man–grace changes him.
Morality may shine in the eyes of the world–but it differs as much from purity, as a pebble differs from a diamond!

Morality is but strewing flowers on a dead corpse!

A man who is but highly moral–is but a tame devil! 

How many have made ‘morality’ their savior!
Morality will damn–as well as vice!
A boat may be sunk with gold–as well as with dung!

The moral person, though he will not commit gross sins–yet he is not sensible of heart sins. He is not troubled for unbelief, hardness of heart, vanity of thoughts. He abhors gross-sins–not gospel-sins.

The snake has a fine appearance–but has a deadly sting! Just so, the moral man is fair to look on–but has a secret antipathy against the holy ways of God.

Morality is not to be rested in. The heart must be pure.
God would have Aaron wash the inner parts of the sacrifice. Leviticus 9:14
Morality does but wash the outside–the inside must be washed.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8

In EVERYTHING Give Thanks

Thanksgiving-Brownscombe.jpg(Thomas Watson, “All Things for Good”)

“We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

See what cause the saints have to be frequent in the work of thanksgiving! In this, Christians are defective; though they are much in supplication–yet they are little in thanksgiving. The apostle says. “In everything give thanks! 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Why so? Because God makes everything work together for our good.

We thank the physician, though he gives us a bitter medicine which makes us nauseated–because it is to make us well. We thank any man who does us a good turn; and shall we not be thankful to God–who makeseverything work for good to us?

God loves a thankful Christian! Job thanked God when He took all away: “The Lord has taken away–blessed be the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21. Many will thank God when He gives; Job thanks Him when He takes away, because he knew that God would work good out of it.

We read of saints with harps in their hands–an emblem of praise. Revelation 14:2. Yet we meet many Christians who have tears in their eyes, and complaints in their mouths! But there are few with their harps in their hands–who praise God in affliction.

To be thankful in affliction–is a work peculiar to a saint.
Every bird can sing in spring–but few birds will sing in the dead of winter!
Everyone, almost, can be thankful in prosperity–but a true saint can be thankful in adversity!

Well may we, in the worst that befalls us, have a psalm of thankfulness–because God works all things together for our good. Oh, be much in giving thanks to God!

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And did the Holy and the Just,
The Sovereign of the skies,
Stoop down to wretchedness and dust,
That guilty worms might rise?

Yes, the Redeemer left His throne,
His radiant throne on high,
(Surprising mercy! love unknown!)
To suffer, bleed, and die!

He took the dying traitor’s place,
And suffered in his stead;
For man (O miracle of grace!)
For man, the Savior bled!

Dear Lord, what heavenly wonders dwell
In Your atoning blood!
By this are sinners snatched from Hell,
And rebels brought to God!

What glad return can I impart
For favors so divine?
O take my all, this worthless heart,
And make it wholly Thine!

Anne Steele, 1859

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You may want to read William Nicholson’s short article, “Thanksgiving“.

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!

The Good Shepherd

The_Lord_is_my_Good_Shepherd(Thomas Watson, “The Good Shepherd”)

“I am the Good Shepherd–I know My sheep!” John 10:14
Christ knows all of His sheep.
His knowing His sheep–is His loving them. This is a great consolation.

He knows every one of their names.
“He calls His own sheep by name.” John 10:3

He knows all the sighs and groans they make.
“My groaning is not hidden from You.” Psalm 38:9

Christ knows every tear they shed.
“I have seen your tears!” 2 Kings 20:5
He bottles their tears as precious wine! “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” Psalm 56:8

He knows all their sufferings.
“I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.” Exodus 3:9
“The Lord saw the bitter suffering of everyone in Israel.” 2 Kings 14:26

Christ knows all their good works–all their works of piety and charity.
“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance.” Revelation 2:2

“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep!” John 10:11

“He will place the sheep at His right hand–and the goats at His left. Then the King will say to those on the right: Come, you who are blessed by My Father–inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!” Matthew 25:33-34

What a comfort is this!

Desiring God!

994055_460505827400596_2076042595_n-001(Thomas Watson, “The Lord’s Prayer”)

“Whom have I in Heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You!” Psalm 73:25

We may know the kingdom of grace is set up in our hearts–by having true desires after God. By the beating of this pulse–we conclude there is life.

A true desire after God is sincere. We desire God for Himself, for His intrinsic excellencies. The savor of the ointment of Christ’s graces draws the virgins’ desires after Him. Canticles 1:3. A true saint desires Him not only for what God has–but for what He is; not only for His rewards–but for His holiness. No hypocrite can thus desire God. He may desire God for His jewels–but not for His beauty!

A true desire after God is insatiable. It cannot be satisfied without God; let the world heap her honors and riches–they will not satisfy. No flowers or music will content him who is thirsty. Just so, nothing will quench the soul’s thirst–but the blood of Christ! He faints away, his heart breaks with longing for God. Psalm 84:2; Psalm 119:20

A true desire after God is active. It flourishes into endeavor. “With my soul have I desired you in the night–yes, with my spirit within me will I seek You early.” Isaiah 26:9. A soul that desires aright says, “I must have Christ! I must have grace! I must have Heaven, though I take it by storm!”

A true desire after God is supreme. We desire Christ, not only more than the world–but more than Heaven! “Whom have I in Heaven but You?” Psalm 73:25. Heaven itself would not satisfy–without Christ. Christ is the diamond in the ring of glory!

A true desire after God is increasing. A little of God will not satisfy–but the pious soul desires still more. A drop of water is not enough for the thirsty traveler. Though a Christian is thankful for the least degree of grace–yet he is not satisfied with the greatest degree of grace. He still thirsts for more of Christ, and His Spirit. A saint would have more knowledge, more sanctity, more of Christ’s presence. A glimpse of Christ through the lattice of an ordinance is sweet; but the soul will never stop longing–until it sees Him face to face! It desires to have grace perfected in glory! It desires to be wholly plunged into the sweetness of God. We would be swallowed up in God, and be forever bathing ourselves in those perfumed waters of pleasure which run at His right hand!

Surely this sincere desire after God is a blessed sign that the kingdom of grace has come into our hearts. The beating of this pulse shows life! Desires for God–are from God. If iron moves upwards contrary to its nature–it is a sign some magnet has been drawing it. Just so, if the soul moves towards God in sincere desires–it is a sign the magnet of the Spirit has been drawing it!

“He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him.” Psalm 145:19

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