Thursday, March 22, 2012

Grace Gems again:

Robert Murray McCheyne quotes:

1. For every look at self--take ten looks at Christ!

2. The greatest need of my people--is my personal holiness. Take heed to yourself. Your own soul is your first and greatest care. Keep up close communion with God. Study likeness to Him in all things.

3. Unfathomable oceans of grace are in Christ for you. Dive and dive again--you will never come to the bottom of these depths!

4. Get your texts from God--your thoughts, your words, from God. In great measure, according to the purity and perfections of the instrument, will be success. It is not great talents God blesses--so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is a powerful weapon in the hand of God.

5. A man is what he is on his knees before God--and nothing more.
6. Live near to God--and all things will appear little to you in comparison with eternal realities.

7. Lord make me as holy as a pardoned sinner can be!

Where do you go in times of trouble?

Who do you go to for help?

Ultimately our only help can come form God and from His word.  Yet sometimes we desperately need humans to help us figure it all out, to encourage and comfort us. Sometimes good books are helpful too. There is such a lack of good counselling around. This group sets a very high standard....see what you think?

Book quotes

When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.
— Desiderius Erasmus

It is with books as with men, a very small number play a great part: the rest are confounded with the multitude.

Writing a book of poetry is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.
— Don Marquis

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


By John Angell James, 1859


All the affections of the soul have their opposites—as love and hatred; joy and grief; hope and fear. These, though seemingly antagonistic, can be shown to work harmoniously, and sometimes, as in the case before us, to accomplish the same object. There are many passages, as this treatise proves, in which the believer is called upon to hope, to hope perfectly, to have the full assurance of hope—and yet as many in which he is as earnestly called upon to fear. To say nothing of the texts of the Old Testament, which was a system of bondage and fear, there are many to the same effect in the New Testament, under which we have "not received the spirit of bondage again to fear—but the spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind." "Work out your salvation," said the apostle, "with fear and trembling." "Let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." "Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear." Very many others might be selected—but these will suffice to show that fear, as well as hope, is a Christian grace, and a grace to be exercised not only by the unconverted—but the converted man; not only by the man without hope—but by the man who has hope.
Now as these two are antagonistic in their nature, how can they be exercised by the same individual, in reference to the same object? Does not perfect hope, as well as perfect love—cast out fear? Certainly. But then it must be perfect love in one case, and perfect hope in the other. "God has wisely ordained that these two opposite principles of love and fear should rise and fall like the two opposite scales of a balance, when one rises the other sinks. Light and darkness unavoidably succeed each other. If light increases—so much does darkness cease, and no more. And if light diminishes—so much does darkness prevail. So it is in the heart of a child of God; if divine love decays, and falls asleep—the light and joy of hope go out, and dark fear arises. And if, on the contrary, divine love prevails and comes into lively exercise—this brings in the brightness of hope, and drives away black fear before it." (Jonathan Edwards)
Another of our old divines represents the matter thus—"Fear and hope in the soul of a Christian are like the cork and lead to a net; the cork keeps it from sinking, and the lead keeps it from too much floating. So it is here, fear keeps hope from degenerating into presumption—and hope keeps fear from sinking into despair. If you detach fear from hope—the soul will be lazy; and if you detach hope from fear—the soul will sink into despondency. Therefore there must be fear with true hope." (Bates, vol. 3, page 185)
Let us, however, examine this a little further. Can any hope, however strong and assured, altogether exclude fear? Certainly not. And the greater the object, the greater will be the liability to fear. To be totally without fear is the condition of 'possession and fruition'. A man in the pursuit of an earthly object, however confident he may be of ultimately possessing it, must admit, theoretically, at least, the possibility, if not the probability, of his losing it. The thought must, and does, occasionally cross his mind, that after all he may be disappointed, and the consequences of disappointment must be at the same time present to his thoughts. This fear may be, and is, far less than his hopes; it may not materially lessen the assurance of his mind that he shall succeed—but it is there, and it is useful to him—for it keeps him in action—it sustains as well as prompts exertion.
So is it in the divine life. As long as heaven is an 'object of hope', and not the 'subject of possession'—there must be some degree of fear mingled with it. And this proves that even the full assurance of hope does not mean, as we have shown, a man's being as certain of reaching heaven at last, as if he were already in it. The Christian hope, like the Christian love, when it is perfect, does exclude fear. But what fear? That fear which has torment—the servile spirit of bondage, which, like a specter, is ever haunting and terrifying the imagination, filling the soul with such trembling forebodings of wrath to come, as prevents all joy and peace in believing. This is the fear which both love and hope shut out, and keep out from the soul; a fear that is ever trembling under an apprehension of an angry God and a coming hell; a fear that upon every fresh discovery of sin, and every fresh sense of guilt, is thrown into despondency and wrapped in darkness; a fear that, under every new sight of our spiritual enemies, difficulties and dangers, and every new consciousness of our own weakness, sinks into a paroxysm of despairing helplessness; a fear that turns the soul more frequently to the threatenings of God's Word than to his promises; that is more frequently at Sinai than at Calvary, and is more apt to dwell upon the torments of hell than the felicities of heaven.
Such a fear is the spirit of bondage, which is decidedly opposed to the spirit of adoption, and shows that the soul is not yet brought into the liberty with which Christ makes his people free. This fear which has torment—hope casts out. But a fear that produces reverence and caution, that makes its subject watchful against sin, and, in a modified and chastened sense, afraid of coming short of the heavenly felicity—hope does not cast out. In fact, the more hope there is, the more of this godly fear, there will be.
How closely and how beautifully are these two affections united by the Psalmist—"The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him—in those who hope in his mercy." Holy fear and confident hope therefore may not only exist together—but must exist together. This striking passage, in which these two affections are so balanced, we should all have as a frontlet before our eyes, and engraved, as upon the palms of our hands. Satan, so skillful in the art of temptation, and so successful in the business of destruction—has machinations adapted to all constitutions and cases And while he tempts the fearful to despair—endeavours to seduce the confident to presumption, careless security, unwatchfulness, and sin. He never so glories in his triumphs, as when he can make their very expectation of heaven, by its inflating them with some degree of spiritual pride, the occasion of their fall. Holy fear will be to our joy, what the cooling influence of water is to the heated iron—that which prevents it from firing the whole, by the rapidity of its motion and the intensity of its friction.
We see, then, what is the Christian's true temper of mind. There should be a prevailing, sustaining, assured hope of eternal life—such as is attended with no serious, perplexing, much less tormenting doubt of its final possession—and such as shall enable the believer to go on his way rejoicing. Yet this, attended with so much fear of falling short, as while it does not materially interfere with his strong consolation—shall keep him watchful, diligent, and prayerful. Thus hope and fear, like the two angels that led Lot from Sodom to Zoar, shall conduct the Christian from the city of destruction—to the celestial city!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mental Health and physical causes (in the area of Autism):

I came across this today which I find fascinating! I think in years to come we will be most surprised to discover how many of our mental health issues are related to physical issues.

George Muller, a man of prayer who listened to God.

I have been an ardent fan of George Muller for many, many years. Why? Because he was a tremendous man of faith and prayer, and the Lord blessed and used Him hugely in this. But just recently I heard something interesting about him that I had not known before. For most of his life Muller would wake up and pray and pray and pray...but He became convicted that he should rather read God's word first; not for preparing to help/teach others but for 'lstening' to what God wanted to tell his soul. So for the last 30 or so years of His life he never prayed his glorious long prayers of faith until He had first 'listened to God', and He testifies to the glorious blessing this was to him. We serve the magnificent God of the universe, the King of King who loves us with an everlasting love - how wonderful that He stoops to talk with us! Will you listen to Him? Take leisurely delight in reading and meditating on His precious word, for in our delighting in Him does He talk to us!

Christ's moment of greatest suffering....

 was also His moment of greatest triumph, for it bought our salvation!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The omnipotent God is your God!

from grace Gems

(James Smith, "The Believer's Companion in Seasons of Affliction and Trouble" 1842)

"With God all things are possible!"
Matthew 19:26
The omnipotence of Jehovah is ruled by His wisdom and holiness, His justice and love. He can do everything consistent with those attributes--but nothing contrary to them.
God's omnipotence is altogether on the believer's side. All that God consistently can do--He will do for His people. Nothing is too hard for the Lord.
He can make us contented in the most trying circumstances--and happy in the deepest affliction. He can so bring down our minds to our condition--that we shall glory in tribulation. He can turn darkness into light, and bitter into sweet; and bring the richest joy out of the deepest sorrow.
The omnipotent God is your God! His omnipotence is engaged for you!
Do not look at your difficulties--but at the omnipotent God as engaged for you!
Do not look too much at what you are--but at what your God can make you!
Do not dwell on your own weakness--but on the Lord's strength!
Call nothing impossible. "Is anything too hard for Me? Do not I fill Heaven and earth, says the Lord?" His ways are in the sea, His paths in the mighty waters, and His footsteps are not known! It is possible for God to hold you fast . . .
  in the most slippery path,
  when surrounded by the most determined foes,
  and feeling the greatest weakness--and He will do so!
None shall be able to pluck you out of His hand!
It is possible for God to supply all your needs, in the most trying times; as He did Elijah by the ravens, and the poor widow by the increase of the oil and meal. And He will do so! Only seek the Lord, trust in the Lord, leave difficulties with the Lord--and you shall not lack any good thing. He will display His wisdom, sovereignty, pity, and power in dealing with you; and perhaps fill you with wonder, surprise, and love, at His ways.
All that God is--He is to you!
All He has--He has for you!
All He has promised--He will fulfill in you!
Ever, ever remember that all things are possible to . . .
   your God,
   your Father,
   your Savior,
   and your Friend!
"I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength!" Philippians 4:13

Do Not Be Surprised at Trials and Afflictions

If we know anything of growth in grace and desire to know more, let us not be surprised if we have to go through much trial and affliction in this world. I firmly believe it is the experience of nearly all the most eminent saints. Like their blessed Master, they have been men of sorrows, acquainted with grief, and perfected through sufferings (Isa. 53:3; Heb. 2:10). It is a striking saying of our Lord, "Every branch in Me that bears fruit [my Father] purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit" (John 15:2).

It is a melancholy fact, that constant temporal prosperity, as a general rule, is injurious to a believer’s soul. We cannot stand it. Sicknesses, losses, crosses, anxieties and disappointments seem absolutely needful to keep us humble, watchful and spiritual–minded. They are as needful as the pruning knife to the vine and the refiner’s furnace to the gold. They are not pleasant to flesh and blood. We do not like them and often do not see their meaning. "No chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness" (Heb. 12:11).

We shall find that all worked for our good when we reach heaven. Let these thoughts abide in our minds, if we love growth in grace. When days of darkness come upon us, let us not count it a strange thing. Rather let us remember that lessons are learned on such days, which would never have been learned in sunshine. Let us say to ourselves, "This also is for my profit, that I may be a partaker of God’s holiness. It is sent in love. I am in God’s best school. Correction is instruction. This is meant to make me grow."

~ J.C. Ryle


Our tears...(from Grace Gems)

Bottled in Heaven!

(Charles Orr, "Incense from Golden Vials")
"The Lord has heard the voice of my weeping!" Psalm 6:8. There is a prayer of tears. What speaks more loudly to our hearts, than tears?
Israel's sweet psalm-singer once said when in earnest, tearful prayer, "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. Tears add much to the fragrance of prayer. The tears which are set flowing by the emotions of the heart--are bottled in Heaven and written in God's book!

O dear praying saint, pray on! Never will one tear be lost! It is too precious! Diamonds and pearls are mere trifles--compared with your tears! Never a word of your prayer, however feeble it may seem to be--will fail to reach the ear of God! Amid the many prayers that are ascending to the throne of grace from this lower world, and amid the noise of angels' shouts and songs--He will catch the sweet strain of your feeble heart-cry, and record it in Heaven! The perfume of a prayer is never lost!