Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Father

My Father!
Jeremiah 3:4

This is a child's cry!
It is full of meaning.
It is full of love.
It is full of comfort.

It is a title which the Lord loves to hear us use!

Lord, give us the Spirit of adoption this morning,
and let us see and feel, that we are Your children!

To whom will you repair in trouble?
To whom will you look in difficulty?
To whom will you cry in danger?
From whom will you ask when in need?
Surely I hear you say, "My Father!"

Who speaks to you in the Bible?
Who tries you by His providence?
Who chastens you with His rod?
Who purifies and cleanses you?
Who humbles and reproves you?
Again you will say, "My Father!"

Who supports the world?
Who controls the nations?
Who chains up Satan?
Who comforts the believer?
Who pardons the backslider?
Again you reply, "My Father!"

Then I exhort you to . . .
  trust your Father's Word,
  abide in your Father's house,
  expect from your Father's hand,
  and say in every trial:
"I will arise and go to my Father!"

~James Smith

Sunday, February 12, 2012

God's Love Letter

O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
Psalm 119:97

The Scripture is God's love-letter to men. Here the
lamb may wade—and here the elephant may swim!

The blessed Scriptures are of infinite worth
and value! Here you may find . . .
    a remedy for every disease,
    a balm for every wound,
    a plaster for every sore,
    milk for babes,
    meat for strong men,
    comfort for the afflicted,
    support for the tempted,
    solace for the distressed,
    ease for the wearied,
    a staff to support the feeble,
    a sword to defend the weak.

The holy Scriptures are . . .
    the map of God's mercy—and man's misery,
    the touchstone of truth,
    the shop of remedies against all maladies,
    the hammer of vices,
    the treasury of virtues,
    the exposer of all sensual and worldly vanities,
    the balance of equity,
    the most perfect rule of all justice and honesty.
Ah, friends, no book befits your hands like the Bible!

The Bible is the best preacher. This book,
this preacher will preach to you . . .
    in your shops,
    in your chambers,
    in your closets,
    yes, in your own bosoms!
This book will preach to you at home and abroad;
it will preach to you in all companies; and it will
preach to you in all conditions.

By this book you shall be saved—or
By this book you shall be damned!
By this book you must live.
By this book you must die.
By this book you shall be judged in the great day!

Oh, therefore . . .
    love this book above all other books,
    prize this book above all other books,
    read this book before all other books,
    study this book more than all other books!

For he who reads much—and understands nothing,
is like him who hunts much—and catches nothing.
 ~Thomas Brooks, The Crown and Glory of Christianity, 1662

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Bread Of Life

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
2 Timothy 3:16

The Bible was "given by inspiration of God."  In this respect, it is utterly unlike all other writings.  God taught the writers of it what to say.  God put into their minds thoughts and ideas.  God guided their pens in setting down those thoughts and ideas. When you read it, you are not reading the self-taught compositions of poor imperfect men like yourself, but the words of the eternal God.  When you hear it, you are not listening to the erring opinions of short-lived mortals, but to the unchanging mind of the King of kings.   

The men who were employed to compose the Bible, spoke not of themselves. They "spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21)  All other books in the world, however good and useful in their way, are more or less defective.  The more you look at them--the more you see their defects and blemishes.  The Bible alone is absolutely perfect. From beginning to end, it is "the Word of God."

The man who has the Bible, and the Holy Spirit in his heart has everything which is absolutely needful to make him spiritually wise and mature.  He needs no priest to break the bread of life for him.  He needs no ancient traditions, no writings of the Fathers, no voice of the Church to guide him into all truth.  He has the well of truth open before him and what more can he want?   

Yes! though he is shut up alone in a prison, or cast on a desert island, though he never see a church, or minister, or sacrament again--if he has but the Bible, he has got the infallible guide, and needs no other.  If he has but the will to read that Bible rightly, it will certainly teach him the road that leads to Heaven.  It is here alone that infallibility resides.  It is not in any church.  It is not in the Councils.  It is not in ministers.  It is only in the written Word.

~ J.C. Ryle

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Never! Never!

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
1 Cor. 2:10

There is no darkness which God's own Spirit cannot scatter, no difficulty which He cannot remove, no portion of the word which He cannot explain.  All that is necessary to your salvation is revealed in the word, all that can be known of Jesus is there discovered; and all this the blessed Spirit stands prepared to make known to you.  He it is who leads you to Jesus; Jesus lifts the veil and reveals the Father; and the Father, when revealed, appears full of love, mercy, and forgiveness, to the poor returning prodigal, who, in penitence and lowliness, seeks an asylum in His heart.  

And, Oh!  How ready is the Spirit to instruct you! Such love and grace has He in His heart, the Heavenly Dove seems ever poised upon the wing, ready to fly to that soul who but sighs for His inward teaching.  Does He see one oppressed with a sense of guilt, He hastens to apply the atoning blood of Jesus.  Does He mark one weary with his fruitless toil?  He seals the promise of the Savior on the heart, "Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Does He observe one combating with temptation, tormented with fear, harassed with doubts, struggling with infirmity, halting through weakness?  Oh, how ready is He to show that soul where its great strength, and comfort, and grace lie—even in the fullness of a most loving, precious, and all-sufficient Savior!  

Oh, then, in the name of Jesus, seek this glorious gift of God.  Seek Him as a life-giving Spirit, as making Jesus known to you—as leading you into the deep things of God's word—as deeply sanctifying you—as imparting to you the love, confidence, and consolation of an adopted child—as comforting you in every sorrow—as strengthening the divine life in your soul—as being to you the earnest and the seal of eternal glory.

Let it be your encouragement to remember that God knows His own work in your heart; and not only does He know, but He acknowledges it; and not only does He acknowledge, but He delights in it. Your faith may be feeble, your strength small, your grace but little, your knowledge limited, your experience defective; yet, if by the Eternal Spirit you have been led out of yourself, to take refuge in Christ, you are one over whom God rejoices with joy.  Beauteous to His eye, and dear to His heart, is that mark of holiness in your soul.  What is it but the product of His own power, the germ of His own grace, the fruit of His own Spirit, the outline of His own image?  Will He, then, despise, overlook, or turn His back upon it?  

Never!  Never!  

Have you been made willing in the day of His power?  Have you laid upon His altar the richest and the best of the sacrifice?  Oh, honored servant you!  Oh, rich, costly, and acceptable offering!  Your God delights in it; yes, delights in you!  Ask, and you shall receive a fuller teaching and anointing of the Holy Spirit.  Possessing Him, your path to glory will grow brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.  "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him!"

~Octavius Winslow

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Father's Care

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

1 Peter 5:7

The Lord knows all His people — all their needs, and all their trials.

He thinks upon them — to bless, deliver and supply them.

He keeps His eye upon them — in all places, at all times, and under all circumstances.

He has them in His hand — and will not loosen His hold.

He looks upon them always as His own 'treasured possession' . . .
   the objects of His eternal love,
   the purchase of His Son's blood,
   the temples of His Holy Spirit.

They are precious in His sight! 

He knows they are weak and fearful and that they have many enemies.  He teaches them to cast themselves and all their cares into His hands!  And He has given them His promise — that He will care for them.

It is a Father's care which He exercises. It is a wise, holy, tender, and constant care.  Therefore all will be well with you — only trust Him.

Believe that He cares for you this day. Carry all your concerns to Him — in the arms of faith! Leave all with Him, persuaded that He will manage all by His infinite wisdom, and bring all to a good outcome by His omnipotent power.

Cast all your cares upon Him — as fast as they come in. 

Do not worry about anything. 

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.  (Psalm 55:22)

~James Smith, selected from "The Pastor's Morning Visit""  

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Wisdom of God

Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
Psalm 147:5

How baffling often are God's dispensations!  The more we attempt to fathom their mystery, the more we are driven to rest in the best earthly solution, "Thy judgments are a great deep!"  But where sense says, "all these things are against me," faith has a different verdict, "all things are work together for good to them that love God!"  This is the province of faith, confidingly to lean on the arm of God, and to say, "The Lord is righteous in all His ways."

We speak of God "foreseeing," but the past, present, and future are with Him all alike.  He sees the end from the beginning. We can discern but a short way, and that, through an imperfect and distorted medium.  In a piece of earthly mechanism we seldom can discover beauty in the uncompleted structure.  The mightiest works of science, while in progress — often appear a chaos of confusion.  It is only when finished that we can admire the relation and adjustment of every part to the whole.  So also with the mechanism of God's administration.  At present, how much mystery! But, when in the light of eternity we come to contemplate the completion of the mighty plan, how shall we be brought to own and exclaim, "The works of the Lord are great!"

Believer, are the dealings of your God at present displaying a mysterious aspect to you?  Are you about to enter some dark cloud, exclaiming, "Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself?"  Do you fear to enter the cloud?  Take courage!  It will be with you as with the disciples on their Mount of Transfiguration; unexpected glimpses of heavenly glory.  Unlooked-for tokens of the Savior's presence and love await you!   

If your Lord leads you into the cloud, follow Him.  If He "constrains you to get into the ship," obey Him.  The cloud will burst in blessings.  Though it may be over a stormy sea, the ship will conduct you to a quiet haven at last.  It is only the surface of the ocean that is rough.  All beneath is a deep calm; and in every threatening wave there is a "needs-be!" Oh!  Trust Him, who is emphatically "The Wisdom of God."  He is your Counselor — combining the infinite knowledge of God with the experience and sympathy of man.  He is pledged to use the discipline most wisely suited for each believer's case.

Under the blessed persuasion, that a day of disclosures is at hand, when, "in thy light shall we see light," I will trust the divine wisdom which I cannot fathom; and repeat, as the shadows of evening gather around me, until the night of earth's ignorance vanishes before the breaking of an eternal day, "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety." (Psalm 4:8)

~John MacDuff