Building Character or Complaining?

donkeyTheir greatest obstacle in the way of spiritual growth and transformed character

(J.R. Miller, “The Transfigured Life!” 1893)

Nothing helps more to develop the transfigured life in us, than work. Some people chafe because they have so much to do. Their days are filled from morning to night with dreary, monotonous task-work. With men it is the never-ending work of the farm, the office, the store, the shop, the mill. With women it is the thousand duties of the household, the care of the home, the tending of children, the weary chores of domestic life.

There are many people who think their greatest obstacle in the way of spiritual growth and transformed character–is in the drudgeries to which they are indentured by their condition. They imagine that if they could be freed from these and could have leisure for reading, for study, and for fellowship–then they would grow into far more radiant beauty of character.

But this is a mistaken impression. The only one perfect life the world has ever known, was not spent with a book–but with a hammer and a saw! The school of common taskwork, with its perpetual round of dreary duties–is the best place in the world in which to attain noble spiritual culture. There is no other way in which one’s life will be so surely, so quickly transfigured–as in the faithful, cheerful doing of every-day tasks.

We need to remember that this world is not so much a place for doing things–as for developing character.Household life is not primarily a sphere for good cooking, tidy keeping of rooms, thorough sweeping and dusting, careful nursing and training of children, hospitable entertainment of friends, and the thousand things that must be done each day; it is a sphere for transforming women’s souls into radiant beauty.

The shop, the mill, the factory, the store, the office, the farm–are not primarily places for making machines, selling goods, weaving cloths, building engines, and growing crops; they are, first of all, places for making men, building character, growing souls.

Right in the midst of what some people call drudgery–is the very best place to get the transformed, transfigured life! The doing of common tasks patiently, promptly, faithfully, cheerfully–makes the character beautiful and bright!

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We have just published J.R. Miller’s insightful short article, “The Transfigured Life!

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Stop Worrying About What Belongs To God

donkeys-heavy-load-696x362It is unwise to try to carry next week’s burdens today

(J.C. Pittman, 1917)

“Do not worry about anything–but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

There is no harm in looking ahead–but it is unwise to try to carry next week’s burdens today. There is nothing wrong in looking ahead, but needless worry in regard to the future, is not only useless but injurious–besides evidencing lack of implicit trust in our heavenly Father’s care for His redeemed people. Worry looks tremblingly ahead–but never accelerates, and always hinders the speed in life’s race.

Yet many drag through life weighted with all sorts of needless cares–and are never in their element unless looking for still more trouble. They are always watching for clouds–and are never content to bask in the sunshine.

Paul has a word concerning the sin of worrying. “Do not worry about anything.” The reason is because we are in God’s world, and He is able and willing to take care of all His people. “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.”

Never bear more than one kind of trouble at once.
Some people bear all three kinds of trouble at once:
all they have had,
all they have now, and
all they expect to have.

John Wesley said: “I dare not worry–any more than I dare curse and swear!”

Why Do Most People Believe in Works-Based Salvation?

dig-a-holeThe simple answer is that salvation by works seems right in the eyes of man. One of man’s basic desires is to be in control of his own destiny, and that includes his eternal destiny. Salvation by works appeals to man’s pride and his desire to be in control. Being saved by works appeals to that desire far more than the idea of being saved by faith alone. Also, man has an inherent sense of justice. Even the most ardent atheist believes in some type of justice and has a sense of right and wrong, even if he has no moral basis for making such judgments. Our inherent sense of right and wrong demands that if we are to be saved, our “good works” must outweigh our “bad works.” Therefore, it is natural that when man creates a religion it would involve some type of salvation by works.

Because salvation by works appeals to man’s sinful nature, it forms the basis of almost every religion except for biblical Christianity. Proverbs 14:12 tells us that “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Salvation by works seems right to men, which is why it is the predominantly held viewpoint. That is exactly why biblical Christianity is so different from all other religions—it is the only religion that teaches salvation is a gift of God and not of works. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9).

Another reason why salvation by works is the predominantly held viewpoint is that natural or unregenerate man does not fully understand the extent of his own sinfulness or of God’s holiness. Man’s heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9), and God is infinitely holy (Isaiah 6:3). The deceit of our hearts is the very thing that colors our perception of the extent of that deceit and is what prevents us from seeing our true state before a God whose holiness we are also unable to fully comprehend. But the truth remains that our sinfulness and God’s holiness combine to make our best efforts as “filthy rags” before a holy God (Isaiah 64:6; cf. 6:1–5).

The thought that man’s good works could ever balance out his bad works is a totally unbiblical concept. Not only that, but the Bible also teaches that God’s standard is nothing less than 100 percent perfection. If we stumble in keeping just one part of God’s righteous law, we are as guilty as if we had broken all of it (James 2:10). Therefore, there is no way we could ever be saved if salvation truly were dependent on works.

Another reason that salvation by works can creep into denominations that claim to be Christian or say they believe in the Bible is that they misunderstand passages like James 2:24: “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” Taken in the context of the entire passage (James 2:14–26), it becomes evident that James is not saying our works make us righteous before God; instead, he is making it clear that real saving faith is demonstrated by good works. The person who claims to be a Christian but lives in willful disobedience to Christ has a false or “dead” faith and is not saved. James is making a contrast between two different types of faith—truth faith that saves and false faith that is dead.

There are simply too many verses that teach that one is not saved by works for any Christian to believe otherwise. Titus 3:4–5 is one of many such passages: “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Good works do not contribute to salvation, but they will always be characteristic of one who has been born again. Good works are not the cause of salvation; they are the evidence of it.

While salvation by works might be the predominantly held viewpoint, it is not an accurate one biblically. The Bible contains abundant evidence of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8–9).

https://www.gotquestions.org/

The Darkness of God

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

“Your way is in the sea–and Your path is in the great waters. Your footsteps may not be known.” Psalm 77:19

The providences of God are often dark and mysterious. It is not easy to ascertain why the Lord acts as He does–or to find out the precise object which He has in view. He carries on His work according to His eternal and pre-ordained plan–and He accomplishes His purposes often by the most unlikely means. He works all things after the counsel of His own will–and He works leisurely, having no cause to hurry. We are naturally hasty, and want to know what God means at once. But He says, “Be still. Wait. Watch. Let patience have her perfect work.”

We may not be able to account for our trials, troubles, losses, and crosses–but all will be made plain by-and-by. “Jesus said to him: You do not understand now what I am doing–but you will understand later on.” John 13:7

We now know in part–but we shall soon know even as also we are known. And until then, we may well be patient–assured that God is acting wisely, lovingly, and is consulting our good in all that He does.

O wonder-working God, Your dealings with us are often dark, and difficult to be understood! Give us faith to believe Your promises–when we cannot understand Your providences. Let us be assured of Your love to us–when we cannot ascertain the design of Your dealings with us. Preserve us from a repining, complaining, and unbelieving spirit–and grant us grace that we may rest satisfied that You are acting rightly. May we learn, in whatever state we are–therewith to be content. With patience may we do and suffer Your will at present–being fully assured that all will be explained and opened up to us at length. O to be enabled . . .
to rest on Your covenant love,
to trust Your faithful promises, and
to commit all of our ways unto You!

“All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth–to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies!” Psalm 25:10

Can the Punishment Be Too Great?

Erta-ale_lac-de-lave_2001.jpgWhat punishment then can be too great–for so great an evil?

(Ralph Venning, “The Plague of Plagues!” 1669)

The worst on this side of Hell, is mercy–and the worst of and in Hell, is but justice!

Cain could say that his punishment was intolerable–but he could not say that it was unjust.
Though his punishment was greater than he could bear–yet it was not greater than he deserved.

Repeatedly, when the judgments of God are spoken of in Revelation, they are said always to be just and trueand righteous (Revelation 15:3; 16:7). Though God’s ways are unsearchable–yet they are true and just and righteous.

Death is but the due wages of sin (Romans 6:23). Therefore it is said, “Their damnation is just!” (Romans 3:8). Every sin has its just punishment (Hebrews 2:2).

Consider the nature of sin. It is Deicide–God-murder! Thus it is just for God to do with sinners, what they would unjustly do with Him. That is, take away from them all good and glory, displease and destroy them–because they would do so to Him.

If sin had accomplished its intention and desire–horror of horrors!–God would have been no more!

If we consider the person who is sinned against, and that the aim of sin is to ungod God–then what punishment can be thought bad enough?

Sin is an infinite evil. What punishment then can be too great–for so great an evil?

As none but infinite power can pardon sin–so none but infinite power can punish it sufficiently.

Just as sin’s aim is infinite–so is its desert. Therefore, though sin’s punishment is infinite–yet it is but just.
Seeing sin contains all evil–it is fitting that its punishment should be answerable and proportionate.

The Glittering Toys of Life

2014_Washington_Auto_Show_(12141232626)(Harriet Newell)

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13

We are pilgrims–we are strangers in a barren land. This world is not our portion–it is incapable of satisfying our desires. The glittering toys of life are not calculated to afford real enjoyment.

There is nothing in Heaven or earth that can delight our hearts and ease us of the heavy load of sin, but God.

Let us not be satisfied with the groveling pursuits of time–but let us look to the unchangeable Jehovah for a supply of His soul-refreshing grace.

How much has God done for us individually! He has made us partakers of His grace and redeemed us from eternal destruction. What shall we render to Him for this abundant mercy? O let our future lives evince gratitude–and let our praises unceasingly flow to His throne.

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul!” 1 Peter 2:11

Unless You Love Your Neighbor….

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I tell you, it’s impossible to be truly holy without total obedience to our Lord’s command to love one another. Jesus said, “The whole law is fulfilled in this – that you love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself” (see Matthew 22:37-40).

Indeed, God tests our love for him by the love we show to our Christian brothers and sisters. “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1 John 4:20).

~David Wilkerson

Have you been Re-decorated?

Great article.

ChurchSalt

What is it that happens when we respond to the call of Christ?  Is it an acceptance of His re-decorating ideas in relation to our lives?  Is it an enjoyable transition as He “fixes up the ol’ place” and replaces the more drab areas of our lives with excitement and fulfillment?  Or is it a complete tear down of our views, our values, our passion and our goals and, well…everything?  What happens when someone truly repents of their sin and trusts Christ’s work on the Cross to settle their debt before a just and Holy God?  When we become a Christian, is there just some new decorations added to our life, or are we completely torn down and rebuilt?

I thought it might be a good idea to take a short look at some Scriptures that describe the true Christian and explains exactly what happens:

“I will sprinkle clean water…

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