Our Condition – God’s Mercy!

mercy2Our Condition–God’s Mercy!

(James Smith, “Gleams of Grace” 1860)

Many of the Psalms are poetic records of God’s mercy towards His ancient people, calling upon them to bless and praise His most glorious name. Israel’s history forms a mirror in which we see our own spiritual history. Oh for grace, so to read it, meditate upon it, and exercise faith in it–as to permanently profit by it. My eye is now fixed upon one important verse, a record of God’s goodness to them, and equally so of His kindness to us, “Give thanks to the One who remembered us in our low estate; for His mercy endures forever!” Psalm 136:23

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Christ a Refuge from the Tempest

Edward D_ GriffinThis Article is part of a PDF posting by Edward Griffin ( 1770-1830)  If you would be interested in the life of this man I found this article: http://www.thisday.pcahistory.org/tag/edward-dorr-griffin-1770-1837/
He was a very godly man and had praying godly parents.
The first part of the message was for the unsaved. In order to shorten the reading I have chosen to post the part that brings comfort to the believer. You can find the whole article here: http://www.puritansermons.com/reformed/griffin10.htm
                                 Christ a Refuge from the Tempest
“And a Man shall be as a hiding place from the wind and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Isaiah 32:2
“This prediction, which was uttered in the days of Ahaz, is thought to have had primary reference to Hezekiah, and to the relief from wicked magistrates which would be experienced in his reign. But in the opinion of the best commentators it had ultimate reference to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Such a retreat does our dear Redeemer afford to those who are fainting under the labors and discouragements of this wearisome life. This valley of tears may well be called a weary land. There are many in it who are ready to faint under the load of affliction, and can say with Job, “My soul is weary of my life.” Many are weary of sin—wearied out with a long course of painful struggles with the world, the flesh, and the devil—are often discouraged with the greatness of the contest, and sink under the apprehension that they shall never get through with safety. These evils press them so hard that they often sigh for the grave where the weary are at rest. But a nearer and more delightful retreat is to be found in him who says, “The Lord has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.” “I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.”
When his Church wandered forty years in the Arabian wilderness, among burning sands, without a shelter or a shade, God covered them by day with a pillar of cloud. What this was intended to signify, appears from the application made of it by the prophet, “Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there—a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.”
At what time a poor fainting soul, weary of affliction, weary of sin, weary of temptation, casts itself under the shadow of this rock, he feels a sensation of relief which nothing else can bring and which none can fully describe.
My brethren, what everlasting thanks do we owe to God for providing such a refuge from the beating tempest—such rivers of refreshment in a dry and thirsty land. What could the weather-beaten pilgrim, what could the faint and weary traveler do without them in such a world as this? How greatly does this view tend to endear the Savior to us. What new motives rush upon the mind to abide in him, that we may every hour enjoy a “hiding place from the wind and a covert from the tempest,”—that we may constantly lie at the fountain of living waters, and feel the permanent shadow of a great rock in a weary land. Why do the people of God find so little relief from the distresses of life and the troubles of conscience—but because they abide no more in their everlasting refuge?
How surprising it is, that in a world where a covert from the tempest is so much needed, it is so much neglected, and that even by those who have often found it a shelter when every other refuge failed. Would it not be strange to see a person ready to die with heat and thirst by the very side of a cooling fountain, and by the shade of an overhanging rock? Yet a still greater wonder is witnessed here.
May not these sweet and heavenly truths be allowed to “light up a smile in the aspect of woe?” Will not mourners in Zion come to this refuge—and dry up their tears? Were you confined to these stormy regions without a shelter, you might well be downcast. But now, what need? I am speaking to those who know the truth of what I say. You have often found refuge here, and seen the agitations of the tempest composed, and all the fury of the storm appeased. The same shelter is ever at hand and is always offered to you; and at whatever time you are afraid—you may always find in Christ a sure retreat. What occasion have you then for these desponding griefs? What abundant reason have you to “rejoice evermore.” And while we thus enjoy the blessed fruits of a Savior’s dying love, let our souls arise and praise him; let a thousand tender recollections rise up in our hearts; let us renewedly devote ourselves to his service, resolving to live to his glory and to die with an eye fixed upon his cross! Amen

The Testimony of David Stockhover

dreamtime-miracle-of-salvationDave Stockhover’s testimony
To the Chosen Workman
The first thing I’d like to say is thank you for the opportunity to share my testimony with you.  I know that a testimony doesn’t save anybody.  But, if used properly, I think it can be a good tool to use to present the gospel and to show the mighty workings of our God.
I  do not want to sound like I’m glorifying my sin because that is not the case. But, as Paul Washer said, “The cross of Christ is most magnified when it is placed against the backdrop of man’s depravity”. I believe this to be true.
My wife and I were married at a very young age. I was 21 and she was 19. The reason for this was the fact that we put the cart before the horse, so to speak. She was pregnant with my son. We were married in February 1991 and my son was born in April 1991. 4 years later, in August of 1995, my daughter was born.
My mother stayed at home with me until I was old enough to get myself off the bus and into the house. I wanted my wife to be able to do the same thing so I worked every available hour I could at my job, as well as picking up side jobs at night, like delivering pizza, to make ends meet. We had very little money so it was a rough time for us. We had loving family that was always there for support if and when we needed it but that did not make it any less stressful.
During this time, we were going to and involved in a Free Methodist church. If you are not familiar with that denomination, they are a twin sister to the Nazarene church when it comes to theology.  There is very little difference between the two. It is in the Wesleyan / Arminian tradition….a holiness church, if you will. At any rate, we were there every time the church doors were open, for the most part. But, I can attest to the fact that I was never saved. Oh, I went to the altar and prayed several times and placed some salve on my conscience but I was never truly saved. I will not speak for my wife because that isn’t for me to judge the heart. I can tell you for a fact that I was a false convert.
Now that I have given some background, back to the story.

Meditating on Isaiah 53

cross1The Report and the Revelation
 He shall grow up before Him .
a tender plant . no form nor comeliness . a man of sorrows
Isaiah 53:1-3
His growth was unique. The Lord Jesus grew up before the eye of God. Here was one Servant Who was fully devoted to His Master. He was tender, and sensitive to His Master’s will. The callousness of the nation and the failure of previous servants did not hinder Him. Though men did not appreciate the beauty of that life, it must have been a continual feast for the heart of God to gaze upon it.
His grace was evident to all. He was a tender plant amidst thorns and weeds. He was a root out of a dry ground, life sustained by nothing around Him but by His communion with His God. He was life amidst death; He was beauty in a scene of ugliness. In His service, it was not only what He did, nor was it only how He did it; but every motive, every movement, every ministry was as perfect as it could possibly be. Every touch, tear, and tender act was calculated for God’s total glory and man’s richest blessing.
His guise is noted by the writer as well. He was unappreciated by those who looked only on the outward. There was nothing outwardly impressive or attractive physically about Him. He chose, by His own will, to avoid anything which might attract human beings to Him apart from the message and ministry He came to complete. His goal was not to gather men around Himself but, as the faithful Servant of Jehovah, to bring men to Him.
His grief is highlighted in these verses as well. He was spurned by men – despised and rejected. His life was marked by sorrows – a Man of Sorrow; He knew shame and scorn from all around.
What wondrous grace that the revelation has been given to us and, by grace, we have believed the report!
1.  Gather up some of the botanical imagery of the Lord Jesus Christ: Psalm 1, Ezekiel 34, Isaiah 53, Luke 23, and John 12.
2.  There are four passages which speak of the Lord Jesus being despised: Isaiah 49:7; Ps 22:6; Ps 119:141; and here. Look at some of the reasons why men despised Him.
3.  Creation is ascribed to the fingers and hand of God – Psalm 8:3. What is the implication then of the fact that it is the “arm of the Lord” which is involved in salvation?

Thy Path Drop Fatness

the_narrow_path_by_armoniasilenziosa-d2zhnuqThy paths drop fatness.” Psalm 65:11

Many are “the paths of the Lord” which “drop fatness,” but an especial one is the path of prayer. No believer, who is much in the closet, will have need to cry, “My leanness, my leanness; woe unto me.” Starving souls live at a distance from the mercy- seat, and become like the parched fields in times of drought. Prevalence with God in wrestling prayer is sure to make the believer strong—if not happy. The nearest place to the gate of heaven is the throne of the heavenly grace. Much alone, and you will have much assurance; little alone with Jesus, your religion will be shallow, polluted with many doubts and fears, and not sparkling with the joy of the Lord. Since the soul-enriching path of prayer is open to the very weakest saint; since no high attainments are required; since you are not bidden to come because you are an advanced saint, but freely invited if you be a saint at all; see to it, dear reader, that you are often in the way of private devotion. Be much on your knees, for so Elijah drew the rain upon famished Israel’s fields.

There is another especial path dropping with fatness to those who walk therein, it is the secret walk of communion. Oh! the delights of fellowship with Jesus! Earth hath no words which can set forth the holy calm of a soul leaning on Jesus’ bosom. Few Christians understand it, they live in the lowlands and seldom climb to the top of Nebo: they live in the outer court, they enter not the holy place, they take not up the privilege of priesthood. At a distance they see the sacrifice, but they sit not down with the priest to eat thereof, and to enjoy the fat of the burnt offering. But, reader, sit thou ever under the shadow of Jesus; come up to that palm tree, and take hold of the branches thereof; let thy beloved be unto thee as the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, and thou shalt be satisfied as with marrow and fatness. O Jesus, visit us with thy salvation! C.H.Spurgeon

After reading this devotional I was vey touched. The path of closet prayer and the secret walk of communion, are things I fight for daily. Yet lack of these in our Christian life causes a leanness in our souls. Thought it would be nice to share Spurgeon’s comments with others.

There go I except for the Grace of God

pastor-steepek-storyYesterday, I had a situation happen that has caused me to be humbled and wonder again at the grace of God.  In order that God will receive the full glory for this situation I will discuss what has happened in the past two weeks.

Firstly, I received an email from the blog of Andrew Alleyne the title was “I Hate Church” I became very upset with the thoughts in this post and sent it on so friends could critique it. The critiques were varied in opinion but I could not get the thoughts out of my mind that Andrew had mentioned.  The most outstanding thought was expressed by some street people who felt unwanted by professing Christians and rejected in the churches. I asked myself this question, “Am I one of those Christians?”

I did not agree with the methods this preacher used to reach these people as it seemed to favor the Emergent Church. However, the remarks of the street people haunted me. Just a few weeks prior to this I had listened to this message on sermon audio.  I knew this Peter Orasuk very well, He was a chosen vessel and God had reached him with His irresistible grace. He became a gospel preacher and many were saved through his preaching.

I have related these stories to show how God worked to prepare me for what I am about to relate:  As my friend and I were getting into my car there was a young man who appeared very unkempt motioning to me he wanted to talk. I was about to drive away than remembered all the things that God had brought before me over the last little while. My friend sitting next to me was a street person whom God reached by His grace. There was some fear but I thought I have got to trust in the Sovereignty of God as I knew this was not a chance meeting. It was a privilege to give this young man some gospel literature and bring the gospel to him. He was very broken and said other Christians had talked with him 2 weeks prior. Of course he also needed help in a temporal way and God provided for that.

When I dropped him off, I was filled with tears as I thought of how I nearly passed by this young man because of his appearance.

“There go I except for the grace of God” I do not know whether I will ever hear from this young man again. I do know by the grace of God I will be more aware of street people and there need of the gospel.
It is our commission,” Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”Mark 16:15

The Lord Jesus is building His Church out of “broken bruised reeds”

Meditations on Thomas’ Confession

Thomas_the_ApostleMy Lord and my God!
John 20:26-29
Thomas missed one meeting (John 20:19-24). He was not with them. We are not told where he was or why he was not with the others. But he missed one meeting; and he missed seeing the Lord Jesus. We are all familiar with his response to the report of the others. He refused to believe and insisted on visible, tangible evidence. He would believe on his own terms and on his own time.
But a week passed. Fortunately, this time he was there. He came into that meeting at odds with his brethren (He told them they were wrong v 25). He came insisting that things had to be as he demanded (v 25). He came to the meeting out of touch with God and His Lord.
Yet fast forward to the end of the meeting. What a change! He is transported from unbelief to worship, from adamant refusal to joyous rhapsody, from stubbornness to submissiveness. All this was accomplished by one look at Christ, at one meeting.
In Isaiah 42:3 we are told that Jehovah’s Servant would be characterized as not breaking the bruised reed and not extinguishing the dimly burning wick. Certainly Thomas was a dimly burning wick whose light was almost going out. How tender and compassionate the Perfect Servant of Jehovah was with him. Rather than rebuke and extinguish the flickering flame, He would trim the wick and cause it to burn brighter than ever. His way with Thomas was marked by grace and truth. Thomas needed no one to tell him that his stubbornness and insistence were wrong. One look at Christ brought all into focus.

Spurgeon Morning Devotion on Philippians 3:8

spurgeon_chairSpurgeon: Morning Devotion
Philippians 3:8 ” I count all things but loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord”

Spiritual knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I cannot know Jesus through another person’s acquaintance with him. No, I must know him myself; I must know him on my own account. It will be an intelligent knowledge—I must know him, not as the visionary dreams of him, but as the Word reveals him. I must know his natures, divine and human. I must know his offices—his attributes—his works—his shame—his glory. I must meditate upon him until I “comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.” It will be an affectionate knowledge of him; indeed, if I know him at all, I must love him. An ounce of heart knowledge is worth a ton of head learning. Our knowledge of him will be a satisfying knowledge. When I know my Saviour, my mind will be full to the brim—I shall feel that I have that which my spirit panted after. “This is that bread whereof if a man eat he shall never hunger.” At the same time it will be an exciting knowledge; the more I know of my Beloved, the more I shall want to know. The higher I climb the loftier will be the summits which invite my eager footsteps. I shall want the more as I get the more. Like the miser’s treasure, my gold will make me covet more. To conclude; this knowledge of Christ Jesus will be a most happy one; in fact, so elevating, that sometimes it will completely bear me up above all trials, and doubts, and sorrows; and it will, while I enjoy it, make me something more than “Man that is born of woman, who is of few days, and full of trouble”; for it will fling about me the immortality of the ever living Saviour, and gird me with the golden girdle of his eternal joy. Come, my soul, sit at Jesus’s feet and learn of him all this day.

Famous Hymns & the Authors

Charlotte_ElliottToday I attended the funeral of a wonderful Christian lady who at 94 went to be with her dearly loved Savior. I learned one of her favorite hymns was the one by Charlotte Elliott, “Just as I Am” This hymn has been sung for many years and there are many stories of people being gloriously converted through the words of this hymn. I cannot authenticate the validity of the story I heard today at the funeral concerning this hymn but I will pass it on as It is probably true.

Charlotte went to be with her beloved Savior in Sept. of 1871. Those disposing of her belongings, discovered in a desk drawer over 100 letters from people who had put their faith in Charlotte’s Savior through the lyrics of, “Just as I Am” It was very touching to hear this but my heart was also filled with praise and adoration to think of the grace of our God who continues to use this hymn as a means to bring His Sons into the Kingdom. Think of it this was over 100 years ago!

She trusted the Savior after a young Christian pastor asked her the question; “I hope you are a Christian” Charlotte became very angry but the Spirit of God would not let that question leave her. She met the pastor again and told him her story asking how she could find this Savior. His reply, “You have nothing of merit to bring God, you must come just as you are” from there the Holy Spirit worked in her heart and she became a child of God.
It was after this she penned these beautiful words:

“Just as I am, without one plea,But that thy blood was shed for me And that thou bids me come to thee,O Lamb of God, I come”

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The Hallelujah Choir

Angels_singing_Signs_of_AngelsThis morning I have been enjoying wonderful thoughts from Psalm 148 and thought I might just jot them down. I pray that this posting may encourage you to read the five Hallelujah Psalms ( 146-150; called this because they all begin and end with Hallelujah)

First sit down and listen as the author wants us to hear the choirs sing a song of praise to Jehovah. In verses 1-6 the angels in heaven begin, than all the hosts of heaven join in to sing of His glories. The sun, the moon, the stars the firmament honor Him as the great creator and sustainer of the universe. In verses 7-8 the author does not stop there; but now the created sea creatures join in their praise. Imagine the fire, hail, snow, clouds and the stormy gale sing forth their praise of Jehovah’s omnipotence. In verse 9 when the author speaks of the mountains, hills, trees, birds and creeping things it took me through a mountain walk, the rustling leaves, the singing of the birds,every where you look there is beauty. My mind’s eye began to sing, “Oh Lord my God, How Great Thou Art”
Verses 11-14 seemed to me like the magnificent finale. The rulers, young men, maidens, old men and children of all the earth raise their voices in praise to Jehovah. He alone is exalted, he is recognized as reigning King. Now Jehovah “raised up a Horn for all His saints for the people of Israel who are near Him” Jehovah has given “His people their dignity and power” ( J.Flanigan, What the Bible Teaches )