Saturday, November 12, 2011

The only refuge in sorrow

From Grace Gems:

Treasures from J.R. Miller
1840 — 1912

The only refuge in sorrow

"Being in anguish — He prayed more fervently." Luke 22:44

We see the Master at prayer in Gethsemane. It was here that He prepared for His Cross. We should notice that His refuge in His exceeding sorrow — was prayer; and that, as the sorrow deepened — the refuge still was prayer. Prayer is the only refuge in sorrow. The lesson from the garden prayer is that we should take all the hard things, the anguishes, the insufferable pains, the bitter griefs of our lives — to God in prayer. We may be sure, too, that God will answer. If He does not relieve us of the suffering, He will strengthen us so that we can keep it, and still go on trusting and singing.

"Do not worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Friday, November 11, 2011

O royal privilege, inestimable blessing, to be under the care of heaven, and tutelage of God!

(from Grace Gems)

 Solitude Sweetened                           Affliction the lot of saints below

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

While I am mortal, I must taste of the waters of Mara; drink of the cup of adversity; and swim the tempestuous ocean. It is the perfection of angels, that they could never experience the pain of mental disquiet, or the pangs of anguish. And it is the happiness of departed saints, to obtain joy for mourning, a crown for crosses; and to forget their misery, if not wholly, yet to remember it as waters, once swelled to a dreadful flood—but which now have forever flown away. It is, then the misery of the sons of men, only while here, to be, as it were, a mark set up for the arrows of tribulation, and to be engaged in constant war, and in perpetual broils. But it is the privileges of the Christian soldier to wear the shield of faith, with which he shall be able to quench the fiery darts of Satan, and to ward off the sling-stones of tribulation which pelt him from every quarter. How, then, may I triumph under all my afflictions? Consider,
1. Afflictions come from God, whatever, be the instrument. "You have chastised me, and I was chastised—you have afflicted me in faithfulness."
2. Afflictions are sent out of love. "Whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives."
3. Afflictions are for my good. "Our human fathers punished us for a short time, as it seemed right to them; but God does it for our own good, so that we may share his holiness."
4. Afflictions are for the exercise of grace, even of that noble grace of faith. "When I am afraid, I will trust in you;" here faith is improved by affliction. "Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing." "And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope does not disappoint, because God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
5. Afflictions are noble antidotes against, and preservatives from sin. "Before I was afflicted, I strayed—but now I keep your word."
6. Afflictions assimilate the saints to their glorious Head, their sympathizing and feeling High Priest, who was "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." Yes, in the work of redemption, "the Captain of their salvation was made perfect through sufferings."
7. Afflictions give a general disgust of all created things, and prove the creature to be subject to vanity; hence, says one much tempered in affliction, "I have seen an end of all perfection."
8. Afflictions teach humanity and sympathy to fellow-creatures in the same circumstances. Israel, from their being strangers, were to know the heart of a stranger, and deal kindly with him; and in this men ought to imitate him, "who suffered being tempted, that he might know how to support those who are tempted, and be a merciful High Priest to his people."
9. Afflictions make very humble, and break the haughty mind and bring down the lofty thought. "I shall go softly all my years, in the bitterness of my soul; my soul is as a weaned child." And God has this in view by them—to hide pride from man.
10. Afflictions make the man rightly exercised therein, to know himself, and think on his former ways; to resort often to the throne of grace, go often to God, and increase, as it were, the acquaintance between God and his soul. "In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord.
11. Afflictions give clear and certain proof of the providence of God, who in six troubles and in seven delivers out of them. They preach his power, who makes his people pass through fire and water, not to ruin, which we might well expect—but to a wealthy place, to heaven and to glory.
12. Afflictions prepare for glory, and make us fit to join the company of those who came out of great tribulation, and have washed their garments and made them white in the blood of the lamb, therefore are they before the throne of God, and enjoy him in all his divine plenitude, world without end.
Shall I, then, despise the discipline of heaven, from which none are exempted, no, not even the Son of God? Yes, all the heirs of glory are brought up in the 'school of the cross'. O royal privilege, inestimable blessing, to be under the care of heaven, and tutelage of God! Away, despondency, begone; you would cast a covering over the love of him who is my tower in troublous days; and make me conclude hard things of him who has thoughts of kindness towards me. Can infinite wisdom be at a loss to contrive, or infinite power confounded to bring to pass, to bring to perfection, my relief? Until then, I shall, I will believe; nor shall I look to means, or tie Omnipotence to them.
Bring Israel to the rock to quench their thirst! What! Can solid flint be converted into a cooling stream? But, lo! the aged rock divides asunder, and lets the promised springs refresh the parched multitude! Omnipotence, rather than not perform, will stop the course of nature, and make the restless billows rise in liquid walls, that Israel's bondaged sons may tread the trackless sand! Omnipotence will bid the raven feed, with morning and evening care, the wandering prophet; and forbid the fire to burn, or even to singe the garments of the glorious martyrs. Yes, to feed his chosen people, he creates and rains down manna from above.
Who, then, should bound his power, or doubt his faithfulness? God will never break his word, whatever men think; nor falsify his faithful promise. Cursed unbelief implies, that either God promises what he never intends to perform, or what he is not able to perfect; both which are blasphemous! Both which, O my soul! abhor, and rather rejoice in tribulation, which, when watered with the dew of heaven, is so far from being a barren soil—that it is the nursery of other graces, and produces endurance; endurance produces proven character; and proven character produces hope; and hope produces strong confidence, and sweet dependence on that God whose love is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit.
Again, in affliction the saints are ascertained of the love and care of God, when their prayers enter into his holy habitation, and their requests are answered to the joy of their soul. Hence it was sin in Israel to chide with Moses, and to quarrel with God, when brought into difficulties and dangers that seemed inextricable every way. Before them the Red Sea forbids them to advance, high hills on every side hinder their escape; and behind advancing hosts, swollen with rage, and ravening after blood, deny a safe retreat. Now man is more than bewildered; all courage fails; faith and hope are low; fears are high; and, alas! their eye is not towards Him who can do all things, and who did instantaneously, to manifest his power, and fix his people's faith in himself, divide the raging floods, and build the restless waters in crystal walls, to bound their steps in ways not known before, and clothe them in shady night which darted pitchy darkness in the eyes of the keen pursuer.
Seeing You, O Governor of men! can make crooked things straight, rough places plain, and affliction even to become a friend—I will rejoice in you forever, nor quarrel at your conduct. Yes, woe to them; nay, woe to me, if I use any unlawful means, or be too anxious to set my nest on high, that I may be delivered from the power of evil. Agitating affliction, like the ebb and flow of the sea—casts out mire and dirt, sweeps its troubled bosom, refines the affections, and purifies the soul. Take courage, O my soul! and mind that in a little while—and sin will be no more, and sorrow will be no more, and temptations will be no more, and troubles will be no more; and time will be no more. But yet a little while, and love, and life and light, and liberty, and joy, and glory, rapture and delight—in a word, God and all his fullness—are yours for evermore!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Conservative, Biblical Couselling Web Site:

I know I have promoted this web site before, but I am going to do so again....they seem balanced and wise and I have not been through every single item on their web site yet, but I have not yet seen something I do not like...take Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for is a secular definition

Whereas here is a discussion of PTSD in the context of an overly simplistic secular solution.
Or look at this article

It deals with many other matters too so keep looking...

Behold your God!

(James Smith, "The Attributes of God" 1863)

The more we have to do with man--the more his littleness, fickleness, and emptiness appear.
But the more we read, think, or have to do with God--the more His greatness, majesty, and infinite sufficiency is discovered! He proclaims Himself, "the Great and Mighty God, the Lord Almighty is His name--great in counsel and mighty in work!" Infinity, omnipotence, and eternity--find a home and a center only in Him.

"His Greatness is unsearchable!" There is more in the works of His hands--than even the angels have ever discovered! There is more in the words of His mouth--than mortals ever conceived. His glory is great unto and above the heavens. "Behold your God!" Isaiah 40:9

Look at His goodness--it runs an endless circuit supplying millions, and supporting all created existences. O how great is His goodness!

Look at His grace--
saving innumerable multitudes from Hell;
saving them at the greatest expense--in the freest possible way;
saving them to the highest honor and greatest glory!
O the exceeding riches of His grace!

Look at His judgments--
He sweeps the ancient world with His broom of destruction!
He makes the cities of the plain into a Hell on earth!
He overthrows Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea!
He encaverns Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their households in the belly of the earth!

O if we could look into Hell, or listen for a moment at the door of the bottomless pit--how dreadful would His judgments appear! We cannot fathom them--but we must exclaim with the apostle, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!"

Look at His power. He speaks a world into existence, sustains it, supports every creature upon it--and perhaps millions of worlds beside it. All these things are alike easy for Him. Difficulty is with man--not with God. "Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the Heaven and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for You!"

Look at His wisdom. It is infinite. Read it in creation's ponderous folio! Then turn to the glorious plan of grace. Here is a display of "the manifold wisdom of God." Angels are learning it--and we can scarcely make out its alphabet at present! But we have . . .
  God for our teacher,
  eternity for our duration, and
  Heaven for the place where we shall fully learn the greatness of the wisdom of God.

Look at His holiness. It is so bright that no mortal eye has seen, or can see it--in its unveiled glory! "Now we see but a poor reflection!" We have but some faint discoveries--for He is . . .
  glorious in holiness,
  fearful in praises,
  constantly doing wonders!

Look at His mercy. It is a boundless ocean--without bottom, bank or shore!
The manifestations of mercy are innumerable!
The proofs of His mercy are like mountains piled on mountains, reaching to the heavens!
The overflowing of His mercy has supplied the needs of unnumbered multitudes.

"Who is so great a God as our God?"

He is a mighty and awesome God--yet so glorious and kind that the feeblest petitioner need not fear!

     ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
We have published James Smith's absolutely superb 35 page page article, "The Attributes of God".
     ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
Feel free to forward this on to your friends.


Grace Gems (choice ELECTRONIC books, sermons & quotes)

Grace Audio Treasures (choice AUDIO sermons)
Sovereign Grace Treasures (choice PRINTED books)

The Attributtes of God:

O glorious refuge! O sure defense! O everlasting fortress! Here do I defy the worst that earth and hell can do

(from Grace Gems)
 Solitude Sweetened: by James Meikle, 1730-1799

Christ the Rock in the weary land
 "He caused him to suck honey out of the rock, oil out of the flinty rock." (Deuteronomy 32:13)

"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my Savior, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the strength of my salvation, my stronghold." (Psalm 18:2)
"And a MAN shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a shelter from the tempest, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." (Isaiah 32:2)
Let the travelers through the parched deserts of Arabia, tell how comforting the shadow of a cloud is—which diminishes the heat in a arid place. Let the desert wanderers tell what it is to hide their scorched shoulders from the burning sun in the shadow of a rock. How much greater reason have I to boast of my Rock! From his pierced side the fountain of life flows—which pours refreshment into my panting soul. Here I have not only shadow from the heat, but shelter from the storm.
What is firmer than a rock? Winds may rend the cedars of Lebanon, and tear them up by their roots: but here the tempests beat, and are baffled; the billows dash, and are broken; time hovers, and corrodes not the flinty mass. Nevertheless, rocks are not armor against every invasion from destruction and ruin. For see, the enraged thunders rend their towering tops, and angry earthquakes toss them from their seats, while the earth beneath opens fearfully, and hides the ponderous heaps. But my Rock  shall stand fast forever, when the foundations of the earth are moved, and the pillars of heaven tremble! There shall I be safe, when the hail shall sweep away the refuges of lies; yes, when God shall rain on sinners—snares, fire, and brimstone, in the furious storm of wrath, I shall sing in safety, being an inhabitant of the Rock of ages, from which I never shall be moved!
No wonder, then, that the saint of God shouts for joy, being an inhabitant on high, and having for his place of defense the fortress of rocks. Sometimes, indeed, the blind world is ready to allege, that their rock has abandoned them, and that if God were their God, surely he would intervene for them—when they see martyrs going to execution; some to the gibbet, and others to be drowned in the sea; some to the rack, and others to the fire. But then their divine Comforter invisibly attends them, and he whose form is like the son of God walks with them amidst the fire, and fans away the flame. This is the Rock from which I am filled with honey, the Rock that pours out rivers of oil for me.
Do rocks defend me from blasts, from whatever quarter they blow? So does my Rock. Is the blast from hell? Well, he has the keys of hell and of death. Is it from sin? He is my righteousness. Is it from Satan? He has conquered principalities and powers. Is it from afflictions? He is my sympathizing and
loving High Priest. Is it from losses? He is my exceeding great reward. Is it from crosses? He makes all things work together for good to his people. Is it from anguish? He is my joy. Is it from darkness? He is my Sun. Is it from doubts? He is my Counselor. Is it from deadness? He is my life. Is it from enemies? He is my shield. Is it from temptation? He is my deliverer. Is it from false friends? He will never leave me, nor forsake me. Is it from solitude or banishment? He is everywhere present. Is it from disease? He is my healer. Is it from death? He is the resurrection and the life.
O glorious refuge! O sure defense! O everlasting fortress! Here do I defy the worst that earth and hell can do. Henceforth will I live by faith, in the MAN who is my hiding place from the wind, my shelter from the tempest, my stream of water in a dry place, my shadow of a great rock in a weary land—until every blast has blown over, and not a threatening cloud appears in my sky—until my heaven is beautified with everlasting day, and every storm is swept from the air which I breathe!
"And a MAN shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a shelter from the tempest, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." (Isaiah 32:2)


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Worship: Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us! ( Hebrews 12 1-3)

I have had months of struggles as I come to terms with a grief so deep - there have been many trails that I cannot talk about, many things to worry about, things to be afraid of... But more and more I find sanctuary in being with my Lord. These were the thoughts He blessed me with this morning as I was tempted again to be swamped with anxiety and about how to overcome this problem...I was thinking about  training my brain to go in the direction it will not naturally go is a bit like the physical training to get fit and ready for a race, isn't it? Both require discipline and self control!

"Contrary to our modern 'christian' thought, worship is not the warm fuzzy 'feeling' one gets when singing a song with your friends to a jaunty tune...rather it is a deliberate act  of self control of the mind, to turn ones thoughts to God  and to meditate on who He is and what He has done for us. In doing this one immediately sees a failing to love Him as we ought, and one must bow in humble confession. The heart follows the mind in adoration, the soul rejoices and one is physically strengthened to love God in all you do...this is love the Lord with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, forsaking the temptation to focus on the worries at hand which crowd out our focus on our precious Lord. No 'AWOLing' in this type of love, spending time with our Emmanuel, using ones brain cannot be avoided, if one is to flee from sin, if one desires righteousness."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lamentations 3:

21 This I recall to my mind,
      Therefore I have hope.
       22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
      Because His compassions fail not.
       23 They are new every morning;
      Great is Your faithfulness.
       24 “ The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,

      “ Therefore I hope in Him!”
       25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
      To the soul who seeks Him.
       26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
      For the salvation of the LORD.

Psalm 27

A Psalm of David.

 1 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
         Whom shall I fear?
         The LORD is the strength of my life;
         Of whom shall I be afraid?
 2 When the wicked came against me
         To eat up my flesh,
         My enemies and foes,
         They stumbled and fell.
 3 Though an army may encamp against me,
         My heart shall not fear;
         Though war may rise against me,
         In this I will be confident.
 4 One thing I have desired of the LORD,
         That will I seek:
         That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
         All the days of my life,
         To behold the beauty of the LORD,
         And to inquire in His temple.
 5 For in the time of trouble
         He shall hide me in His pavilion;
         In the secret place of His tabernacle
         He shall hide me;
         He shall set me high upon a rock.
 6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
         Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
         I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.
 7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice!
         Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
 8 When You said, “Seek My face,”
         My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
 9 Do not hide Your face from me;
         Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
         You have been my help;
         Do not leave me nor forsake me,
         O God of my salvation.
 10 When my father and my mother forsake me,
         Then the LORD will take care of me.
 11 Teach me Your way, O LORD,
         And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
 12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
         For false witnesses have risen against me,
         And such as breathe out violence.
 13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
         That I would see the goodness of the LORD
         In the land of the living.
 14 Wait on the LORD;
         Be of good courage,
         And He shall strengthen your heart;
         Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Psalm 37

A Psalm of David.
 1 Do not fret because of evildoers,
         Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
         And wither as the green herb.
 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;
         Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
 4 Delight yourself also in the LORD,
         And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
 5 Commit your way to the LORD,
         Trust also in Him,
         And He shall bring it to pass.
 6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
         And your justice as the noonday.
 7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him;
         Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
         Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
         Do not fret—it only causes harm.
 9 For evildoers shall be cut off;
         But those who wait on the LORD,
         They shall inherit the earth.
 10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
         Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
         But it shall be no more.
 11 But the meek shall inherit the earth,
         And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
 12 The wicked plots against the just,
         And gnashes at him with his teeth.
 13 The Lord laughs at him,
         For He sees that his day is coming.
 14 The wicked have drawn the sword
         And have bent their bow,
         To cast down the poor and needy,
         To slay those who are of upright conduct.
 15 Their sword shall enter their own heart,
         And their bows shall be broken.
 16 A little that a righteous man has
         Is better than the riches of many wicked.
 17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
         But the LORD upholds the righteous.
 18 The LORD knows the days of the upright,
         And their inheritance shall be forever.
 19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time,
         And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
 20 But the wicked shall perish;
         And the enemies of the LORD,
         Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish.
         Into smoke they shall vanish away.
 21 The wicked borrows and does not repay,
         But the righteous shows mercy and gives.
 22 For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth,
         But those cursed by Him shall be cut off.
 23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,
         And He delights in his way.
 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
         For the LORD upholds him with His hand.
 25 I have been young, and now am old;
         Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
         Nor his descendants begging bread.
 26 He is ever merciful, and lends;
         And his descendants are blessed.
 27 Depart from evil, and do good;
         And dwell forevermore.
 28 For the LORD loves justice,
         And does not forsake His saints;
         They are preserved forever,
         But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.
 29 The righteous shall inherit the land,
         And dwell in it forever.
 30 The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom,
         And his tongue talks of justice.
 31 The law of his God is in his heart;
         None of his steps shall slide.
 32 The wicked watches the righteous,
         And seeks to slay him.
 33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand,
         Nor condemn him when he is judged.
 34 Wait on the LORD,
         And keep His way,
         And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;
         When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
 35 I have seen the wicked in great power,
         And spreading himself like a native green tree.
 36 Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
         Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.
 37 Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright;
         For the future of that man is peace.
 38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together;
         The future of the wicked shall be cut off.
 39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
         He is their strength in the time of trouble.
 40 And the LORD shall help them and deliver them;
         He shall deliver them from the wicked,
         And save them,
         Because they trust in Him.

The King of love my shepherd is

The King of love my shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am his
And he is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow,
My ransomed soul he leadeth
And, where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love he sought me
And on his shoulder gently laid
And home rejoicing brought me.

In death's dark vale I fear no ill
With thee, dear Lord, beside me,
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spredst a table in my sight;
Thine unction grace bestoweth;
And, oh, what transport of delight
From thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days
Thy goodness faileth never.
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
Within thy house forever.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What a kind Friend I have who brings me comfort in the sweetest sweetest of ways!

This morning I woke up with a tune in my head, and I couldn't remember the words bar the first one! O! What a lovely surprise I got when I found it in my hymn book and how the first two lines enveloped me in comfort! What a kind Friend I have who brings me comfort in the sweetest, sweetest of ways!

O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.