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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Puritan Nuggets of Gold # 17

Confession

Confession is verbal humiliation. (Richard Sibbes)

Many blush to confess their faults, who never blush to commit them. (William Secker)

God puts away many in anger for their supposed goodness, but not any at all for their confessed badness. (John Trapp)

Conscience

Conscience is God's spy and man's overseer. (John Trapp)

Conscience, the domestic chaplain. (John Trapp)

A quiet conscience never produced an unquiet conversation. (John Flavel)

A good conscience and a good confidence go together. (Thomas Brooks)

No flattery can heal a bad conscience, so no slander can hurt a good one. (Thomas Watson)

Peace of conscience is nothing but the echo of pardoning mercy. (William Gurnall)

Even as he who is troubled with a burning fever is hotter than he who is parched with the sun; so is that man more troubled who hath a guilty conscience than a good man by all outward afflictions. (Daniel Cawdray)

As a lamp near expiring, shines more clearly, so conscience, that burned dimly for a time, gives a dying blaze, and discovers Him who is alone able to save or to destroy. (William Bates)

Conscience is God's sergeant He employs to arrest the sinner. Now the sergeant hath no power to release his prisoner upon any private composition between him and the prisoner; but listens, whether the debt be fully paid, or the creditor be fully satisfied; then, and not till then, he is discharged of his prisoner. (William Gurnall)

Oh, it is to be feared that there are many that give themselves to lusts, and carnal pleasures, that so they may put a foggy mist between their conscience and themselves. Others dig into the world, laboring to become senseless, that so there may be an eclipse of this light by the interposition of the earth. Others run to damnable heresies, denying Scriptures, God, heaven, hell. What are these but refuges of guilty consciences? We must distinguish between our carnal concupiscence, and conscience; between deluded imaginations, and conscience; between an erroneous and scrupulous conscience, and a well-grounded and truly informed conscience; and when we have done so, we must follow conscience as far as that follows the Word. (Anthony Burgess)

Conscience is a check to beginners in sin, reclaiming them from it and rating them for it; but this in longstanders becometh useless; either failing to discharge its office, or assaying it to no purpose: having often been slighted, it will be weary of chiding; or, if it be not wholly dumb, we shall be deaf to its reproof: as those who live by downfalls of water, are, by continual noise, so deafened as not to hear or mind it. (Isaac Barrow)

The conscience is not to be healed if it be not wounded. (William Perkins)


Sacrifice?


Matthew 16:21-25 shows us another time in our lives when we can expect the devil to strike, or the third battle we must fight,

From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.  Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!"  But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."  Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."

The cross is a place of sacrifice.  It is a place where you die.  In this passage Jesus is talking about the sacrifice that He is going to give, laying down His life for our sins. 

Peter is being manipulated by the devil to challenge Jesus.  The devil is speaking through Peter, telling Christ to back off a bit, that He doesn't need to sacrifice, that He doesn't need to give that much, or to lay His life down.

Friend, when God is leading you to sacrifice for the sake of His kingdom, count on the devil to be right there doing all He can to stop you.  He will make you believe you should let your temperature cool down a little bit, that you shouldn't be so on fire for God.  That you shouldn't be that sold out! 

Do not listen.  Instead, heed God's call to sacrifice.  You will not regret it!

~Bayless Conley~

Friday, January 30, 2015

Puritan Nuggets of Gold # 16

The Church (continued)

We read once that Christ ever exercised force but once, and that was to drive profane ones out of His Temple, and not to force them in. (John Milton)

God speaks in the Scriptures, and by it teaches the Church herself; and therefore His authority in the Scriptures is greater, the authority of Him that teaches, than of those by whom He teaches as the authority of a king in his laws is greater than that of an officer that proclaims them. (Unknown)

God speaks by the Church (the true Church we mean); but He speaks nothing by her but what He speaks in the Scriptures, which she does only ministerially declare to us; and therefore the authority of God and His law is above hers, who though she publish, yet did not make it, but is herself subject to it. (John Owen)

Those who found the presence and power of the Spirit of Christ breathing in their ministers, either to their conversion, or edification, will be slow to change such a ministry of faith, and holiness, for the liberty of church order. (John Cotton)

Where God does NOT find a mouth to speak, you must NOT find an ear to hear, nor a heart to believe. (Thomas Lye)

Seeing they prosper that love and bear affection to Jerusalem, let men learn to show good will unto Christ's church, though as yet they be no ripe scholars themselves in Christ's school; though they are not grown to perfection let them express a good affection. (Andrew Willet)

Either our beds are soft, or our hearts hard, that can rest when the church is at unrest, that feel not our brethren's hard cords through our soft beds. (John Trapp)




Compromise


Today, I want to highlight for you the third area where the devil will seek to cause you to fail when you are on the verge of a breakthrough.  It is found in Matthew 4:8-11,

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me."  Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan!  For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.'"  Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

If you think about it, the devil offered Jesus exactly what He had come to this world to obtain.  Jesus came to win the kingdoms of this world to our God.

And the devil is saying, "Hey, You can take a shortcut.  I will give You what You want.  You don't have to do it God's way.  You may have to compromise Your integrity, but think of how quickly You will succeed!  You can even avoid the whole sacrifice thing!  You don't have to do it God's way."

Listen, anytime God has set a goal for you, and you are going to obtain something, the devil will always come and try to get you to compromise and offer you substitutes.

He will tempt you by saying things like, "You can get what you want without living by all those narrow, restrictive rules that God puts on people's lives.  You can be dishonest; you can be unfaithful; you can compromise; and you can still be blessed, and you can still be happy."

Do not believe him for a moment.  His way of compromise leads only to ruin!

~Bayless Conley~

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Puritan Nuggets of Gold 15

Christians (continued)

A hypocrite knows more than he is willing to do; but a true saint desires to do what he knows, and to know more than he may do more, and better. (Vavasor Powell)

A saint sails with every wind. As the wicked are hurt by the best things, so the godly are bettered by the worst. (William Jenkyn)

You are to follow no man further than he follows Christ. (John Collens)

The weak Christian is willing to live and patient to die; but the strong, patient to live and willing to die. (John Boys)

Wicked men seem to bear great reverence to the saints departed; then cannonize dead saints, but persecute living. (Thomas Watson)

Martyrdom came into the world early; the first man that died, died for religion. (William Jenkyn)

Saints must be best in worst times. (John Trapp)

Piety shall have riches without rust, wealth without want, store without sore, beauty without blemish, mirth without mixture. (John Trapp)

If there be glory laid up for them that die in the Lord; much more shall they be glorified that die for the Lord. (Sir Richard Baker)

The Church

Many crowd into the church, but make no room for the sermon to get into them. (Thomas Adams)

Everyone that hangs about the court does not speak with the king. (Thomas Watson)

As Christ hath His saints in Nero's court; so the devil his servants in the outer court of the visible church. (William Gurnall)

There is no place for any loose stone in God's edifice. (Joseph Hall)

It is better for a bramble to be in the wilderness than in an orchard; for a weed to be abroad, than in a garden, where it is sure to be weeded out, as the other to be cut down. If a man will be unprofitable, let him be unprofitable out of the Church. But to be so where he has the dew of grace falling on him, in the means of salvation, where are all God's sweet favors ... will God, the great Husbandman, endure this? Whatsoever is not for fruit is for the fire. (Richard Sibbs)

Where satan Will attack Second


Yesterday we saw the first area the devil will attack when you are on the verge of a breakthrough or in a time of important transition.  Today, I want to show you the second area, the area of pride.

We pick up the drama of Satan's attack of Christ in Matthew 4:6,

"If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down.  For it is written:  ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,' and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'"

I believe the devil was appealing to Jesus' pride at this point.  He realized Jesus was solid in His own heart about who He was and what He was to do. 

So the devil took Him to the most public of all places, and told Him, "Now, hey, You need to prove this to everybody else.  If You cast Yourself down, You will have a soft landing because the angels will catch You, and everyone will know that You're the Son of God."

Pride will cause us to do things recklessly, and Satan was doing all he could to get Jesus to act recklessly.  But Jesus answered perfectly, "You shall not tempt the LORD your God."

By the way, the verse Satan quoted to Jesus about the angels catching Him had an ending, which he failed to include.  It says, "To keep you in all your ways."  The Amplified Bible says, "In all your ways of obedience and service."

In other words, you can't do some reckless thing to prove a point to other people and expect God to save you.  Don't let your pride get you out on a limb.  Instead, resist Satan's attack in the area of pride.  Realize it for what it is; it's his temptation to get you to fall!

If you are secure in who you are, you don't have to prove anything to anyone.

~Bayless Conley~

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Who Is Like Our God?


Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. -   Micah 7:18-19 


Have you ever known anyone who truly delights in mercy? Think about it for a moment. How many of us really enjoy extending mercy to others? I am not talking about the kind of mercy that we give in times of need or extend to someone because we feel sorry for them. I am talking about the kind of mercy that the Lord extends to us on a continual basis. And not only does the Lord grant us this mercy, but also the Bible says He loves to do it. Isaiah 30:18 says the Lord waits (or longs) to be gracious to us. Sometimes we need to be reminded of how good God is to us. There is no one like our God.

We also need to be reminded of something else concerning our awesome God: He pardons our iniquities and casts our sins into the depths of the sea. He remembers them no more (Isaiah 43:25). So often, we are the ones who hold on to our sins, not God. We are the ones who condemn ourselves, not God. We are the ones who judge ourselves harshly, not God. And, we are the ones who cannot forgive ourselves, but God does. Jesus says that we are to come to His throne of grace with boldness and to take His mercy with the love to which it is extended to us. Jesus died for us so that we may live in freedom, knowing that all of our sins are forgiven, even the ones we have yet to commit.

To our friends, We pray that today can be a new day for you. We pray that you will accept God's mercy and grace with open arms. We pray that you, in turn, will begin to delight in doing the same for others. We pray that you will fall in love with this awesome God who truly does delight in forgiving all of your sins and waits just to be kind and gracious to you. Ask the Lord to open your heart to receive His mercy and take hold of all that He has for you.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Puritan Nuggets of Gold # 14

Christ (continued)

In the Gospel history, we find that Christ had a fourfold entertainment among men. Some received Him into house, not into heart, as Simon the Pharisee; some into heart, but not into house, as the faithful centurion; some neither into house nor heart, as the graceless Gergesites; some both into house and heart, as Lazarus, Mary, Martha. (John Boys)

Christians

You are those worthies "of whom the world is not worthy," (Hebrews 11:38). You are the princes "that prevail with God," (Genesis 32:28). You are those "excellent ones" in whom is all Christ's delight. (Psalm 16:3). You are His glory. You are His picked, culled, prime instruments which He will make use of to carry on His best and greatest work against His worst and greatest enemies in these latter days. (Thomas Brooks)

The saints of God are called His hidden ones, (Psalm 83:3). Why so? Not only because they are hid in God's decree, and hid in Christ's wounds, but oftentimes God hides them in a time of danger and calamity. He reserved to Himself seven thousand that had not bowed the knee to Baal. The prophet knew not where there was one, but God knew there were seven thousand. (Thomas Watson)

God has made His children, by adoption, nearer to Himself than the angels. The angels are the friends of Christ; believers are His members. ( Thomas Watson)

'Tis strange that the saints, who dare not judge any man, yet are said to judge all things, and to be judged of no man; that they who hurt no man should be said to destroy all men; that those who have nothing, should be said to be heirs of all, and inherit all things. (William Erbery)

It argues more grace to grieve for the sins of others than for our own. We may grieve for our own sins out of fear of hell, but to grieve for the sins of others is from a principle of love to God. (Thomas Watson)

He who is godly is both a diamond and a loadstone; a diamond for the sparkling of his grace; and a loadstone, for his attractive virtue in drawing others to the love of God's precepts. (Thomas Watson)

We are to receive our reward not according to our success, but according to our sincerity. (John Oldfield)

The world does not know, nor is able to make a right judgment of believers. Their infirmities are visible to all - their graces invisible; the King's daughter is glorious within. (John Owen)

Be as holy as you can, as if there were no gospel to save you. Yet when you are as holy as you can, you must believe in Christ as if there were no law at all to condemn you. (Thomas Lye)

A Necessary but Challenging Lesson



There are many lessons for us to learn in God's School of Obedience. With space for just two, I have chosen principles that aren't easy. Yesterday, we learned that Christians must trust the Lord. Today, let's tackle patience: Believers must learn to wait upon Him.

Have you ever wondered why the psalmist coupled the admonition to wait upon God with encouragement to be strong and courageous? The reason is that sometimes delaying is the hardest thing to do.

Modern culture is in such a hurry. Gotta have it now! Gotta do it now! Can't wait! We've been primed to stay in a permanent state of readiness. It takes courage to be still when the world is rushing past. Everything in us hollers, "Go!" while God whispers, "Wait." But people are quick to act, because they are afraid of missing out on something. Believers who buy into that attitude make a move and then hope God will bless them.

God leaves nothing to chance. He does not place a decision before us with the hope that we'll make the right choice. That would be irresponsible and out of character. The Father is more than willing to show His children what to do, because He is personally interested in their welfare. But until the Lord makes clear what is the way forward, we've got to pause and wait. 

Waiting upon God is not passive. It is not lazy. It is not an excuse to be careless. In fact, the opposite is true. Those who pause are seeking His will—which means that they are praying, searching Scripture, perhaps even fasting. And they are still serving the Lord wherever they can.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Monday, January 26, 2015

Puritan Nuggets of Gold # 13

Christ (continued)

As a sacrifice, our sins were laid upon Hm. (Isaiah 53); as a Priest, He beareth them (Exodus 28:38); as an Advocate, He acknowledges them to be His own (Psalm 69:5) (John Bunyan)

He suffered not as God, but He suffered who was God. (John Owen)

Cast thine eyes which way thou wilt and thou shalt hardly look upon anything but Christ. Jesus hath taken the name of that thing upon Himself. Is it day? and dost thou behold the sun? He is called the Sun of Righteousness. Or is it night? and dost thou behold the stars? He is called a "Star," "There shall come a Star out of Jacob." Or is it morning? He is called "the bright Morning Star." Or is it noon? and dost thou behold clear light all the world over? He is "that light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world." Come nearer; if thou lookest upon the earth, and takest a view of the creatures about thee, dost thou see the sheep? "As a sheep before her shearer is dumb." Or seest thou a lamb? "Behold the Lamb of God." Seest thou a shepherd watching over his flock? "I am the Good Shepherd." Or seest thou a fountain, waters, rivers ...? (Isaac Ambrose)

It is a destructive addition to add anything to Christ. (Richard Sibbes)

To forsake Christ for the world, is to leave a treasure for a trifle... eternity for a moment, reality for a shadow. (William Jenkyn)

Since He looked upon me my heart is not my own, He hath run away to heaven with it. (Samuel Rutherford)

There will come a time when in this world holiness shall be more general and more eminent than ever it hath been since Adam fell in paradise. (Thomas Brooks)

As Adam had a world made for him, so shall Jesus Christ, the second Adam have a world made for Him. This world was not good enough for Him; He had a better appointed than that which Adam had, a new heaven and a new earth, according to the promise of Isaiah 66:22, where the saints shall reign. And this world He hath not subjected unto angels. (Thomas Goodwin)

Be not too curious in searching where God has not discovered or revealed. For example, there are great thoughts of hearts as to when God will deliver His people, and set His churches at liberty; and many men talk much of the year 1666. Some say that shall be the year in which antichrist shall be destroyed. Some go to the year 1699, and others pitch upon other times. But, truly, if you will have my judgment, and I am glad to this opportunity to tell you, this is to pry too much into the ark. Remember the text, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in His own power." (Edmund Calamy)

Christ hath told us He will come, but not when, that we might never put off our clothes, or put out the candle. (William Gurnall)


Protecting New Believers


We have been talking about the devil's attack on newborn babes in Christ.  This is something we can expect.  But what are the reasons for it? 

Look at Isaiah 59:15-16, as it provides us with a clue,

So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.  Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice.  He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him.

I want you to think about that.  Truth fails, and the person who departs from evil makes himself a prey, in the same way that a lion looks at a wounded gazelle as prey. 

To me this is a picture of what happens to some new believers.  They depart from evil (get saved) and suddenly it seems like everything is going wrong for them.  And God is not pleased about it!

Where it says He "wondered " literally means He was astonished that there was no intercessor.  This means that there was no one praying.  That is why they became prey!

If we do not pray for those who turn from evil, then they will become the prey of the devil.  We have a responsibility to intercede for people who come to Christ.  It puts up a barrier of protection around them.

Paul wrote to the Colossians about this when he said, Praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ.  Paul didn't just pray for them before they were saved, he also prayed for them after they were saved.  

Oh, may God not wonder in our day, "Where is the intercessor who should be praying for the new babes in Christ?"  

Let's take our responsibility seriously and pray for those who have newly come to the faith.

~Bayless Conley~

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Puritan Nuggets of Gold 12

Children

There is little hope of children who are educated wickedly. If the dye have been in the wool, it is hard to get it out of the cloth. (Jeremiah Burroughs)

This is the difference between religion and atheism, religion doth not grow without planting, but will die even where it is planted without watering. Atheism, irreligion, and profaneness are weeds that will grow without setting, but they will not die without plucking up. (William Gurnall)

What if some prove naught that are well brought up? It is not the generality of them. Will you say that Noah's family was no better than the drowned world, because there was one Ham in it; nor David's because there was one Absalom; nor Christ's because thee was one Judas? (Richard Baxter)

What a mercy was it to us to have parents that prayed for us before they had us, as well as in our infancy when we could not pray for ourselves! (John Flavel)

Christ

When Christ reveals Himself there is satisfaction in the slenderest portion, and without Christ there is emptiness in the greatest fullness. (Alexander Grosse)

The Lord Jesus has provided a common dole of grace and salvation for every poor soul that stands in need of it, only He will have men come and receive it; they shall have it for carrying away. (Paul Bayne)

Know that the Lord has set apart him that is godly for Himself. Therefore, it is no excuse for him to say, "I do but as others do. He is to reckon his hours by the sun, not the town clock. (Thomas Manton)

There are three things to be considered concerning the glory of Christ, three degrees of its manifestation, the shadow, the perfect image, and the substance itself. Those under the law had only the shadow of it and of the things that belongs to it. Under the Gospel we have the perfect image, which they had not. But the enjoyment of these things in their substance is reserved for heaven; we must be "where He is, that we may behold His glory." (John Owen)

Should the Lord Jesus appear now to any of us in His majesty and glory, it would not be to our edification nor consolation. For we are not meet nor able, by the power of any light or grace  that we have received, or can receive, to bear the immediate appearance and representation of them. His beloved apostle John had leaned on His bosom probably many a time in his life, in the intimate familiarities of love; but when He afterward appeared to him in His glory, "he fell at His feet as dead." (John Owen)

God is best known in Christ; the sun is not seen but by the light of the sun. (William Bridge)

No man can know the Father any farther than it pleaseth the Son to reveal Him. (John Penry)

In nature, we see God, as it were, like the sun in a picture; in the law, as the sun in a cloud; in Christ we see him in His beams; He being "the brightness of His glory, and the exact image of His person." (Stephen Charnock)

A Lifestyle of Obedience



According to John 14:21, we express love for Jesus by obeying His commands. To love Him wholeheartedly, we must develop a lifestyle of obedience. Let's look at four aspects of such a lifestyle.

1. Our trust in the Father grows. This confidence comes from believing that the Lord is who Scripture says He is. And God's Word tells us that He is good—as well as faithful to keep His promises (2 Cor. 1:20). Psalm 86:15 calls Him merciful, gracious, loving, and slow to anger. His character remains unchanged by difficult or hard-to-understand circumstances (Heb. 13:8).

2. We develop a deepening ability to wait on the Lord. Delays can be hard in our I-want-it-now culture. But we must resist temptation and wait on Him instead of running ahead.

3. We commit to obey God. Without such a resolve, we'll vacillate at decision time or allow fear to prevent us from choosing His way.

4. Our study of Scripture becomes consistent. The Bible reveals God's priorities, commands, and warnings. It acts as a light, illuminating His chosen path for us while revealing obstacles and dangers along the way (Ps.119:105). Without it, we are like a person who walks in the woods at night without a flashlight.

Becoming a Christian doesn't mean that obedience to the Lord is automatic. It's a lifelong process of growing in our trust and patiently waiting on Him before we act. This requires a steadfast commitment to obey so that we can say no to ungodly choices and yes to God. 

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Puritan Nuggets of Gold # 11

The Bible (continued)

The Scripture is the sun; the church is the clock, whose hands point us to and whose sound tells us the hours of the day. The sun we know to be sure, and regularly constant in his motion; the clock, as it may fall out, may go too fast or too slow. We are wont to look at, and listen to the clock, we know the time of the day; but, where we find the variation sensible, we believe the sun against the clock, not the clock against the sun. (Joseph Hall)

The Lord has more truth yet to break forth out of His holy Word. (John Robinson)

Blessings

Did you never run for shelter in a storm, and find fruit which you expected not? Did you never go to God for safeguard, driven by outward storms, and there find unexpected fruit? (John Owen)

He (God) gives them three jewels more worth than heaven - the blood of His Son, the grace of His Spirit, and the light of His countenance. (Thomas Watson)

To bless God for mercies is the way to increase them; to bless Him for miseries is the way to remove them. (William Dyer)

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayers and worn with thanks. (Thomas Goodwin)

God forgives, then He gives; till He be merciful to pardon our sins through Christ. He cannot bless or look kindly on us sinners. All our enjoyments are but blessings in bullion, till Gospel grace and pardoning mercy stamp and make them current. (William Gurnall)

Chastisement 

None but the godly are capable of desertion. Wicked men know not what God's love means, nor what it is to want it. You fear you are not God's child because you are deserted.

The Lord cannot be said to withdraw His love from the wicked, because they never had it. The being deserted, evidences you to be a child of God. How could you complain that God has  estranged Himself, if you had not sometimes received smiles and tokens of love from Him? (Thomas Watson)

We may feel God's hand as a Father upon us when He strikes us as well as when He strokes us. (Abraham Wight)

God's wounds cure, sin's kisses kill. (William Gurnall)

Better be pruned to grow than cut up to burn. (John Trapp)

Especially look to those sins to which your crosses have some reference and respect. Are you crossed in your goods? Think if you did not over-love them and get them unjustly, or if in your children, see if you did not over-love them and not train them correctly, and so in all things of like kind. In what God smites you, see if you have not in that sinned against Him, and so frame to lament your sins and to seek help against them. (William Whately)


It is in mercy and in measure that God chastiseth His children. (John Trapp)


Wear People with No Holiday Cheer


You, O God, sent a plentiful rain, whereby You confirmed Your Inheritance, when it was wear.  Psalm 68:9

I was shopping in Costco during the summer months and ran into an old acquaintance from a Bible study class we attended together. I asked her how she was doing and her response was, “Well, I have the most difficult time keeping the faith in the summer and during the holidays.” Her words were absolutely honest and sadly enough very true. We grow weary in doing good at different seasons of life. The holidays tend to be one of those seasons.

After talking with so many women at retreats, Bible studies, live radio programs, women’s events and even through emails, we have found that many Christians are basically weary(or at least the people who talk to us). Circumstances, people, finances, negative words and thoughts have all contributed to not having a desire to persevere. We know that the right thing is to persevere, run the race with endurance, and not lose heart, but sometimes it seems too difficult to just keep going, day in and day out.

If we were really honest, most of us would admit to having thoughts like, “How can I do it all? How is this going to work out? Why does life have to be this hard?”  The added pressure of the holiday season demands more of our time and attention. Suddenly we find ourselves having no time to pray or seek the Lord. Instead, we try to spiritualize and justify our position by saying we are doing all these things for others as if we are living a sacrificial life. However, we can’t give others something we do not have. We can become unspiritual in the process. My father frequently said, “When your output exceeds your intake, your upkeep is your downfall.” It is too easy to fall down in the holiday seasons.

 Why? Because God does not ask us to sacrifice but to obey. Jesus defined obedience in John 15 as abiding in Him. We need to take the time to be with the Lord. Lift your eyes toward Him, open your heart in prayer and seek the Lord. He will help you and He is able to provide rest for the weary soul.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Friday, January 23, 2015

Puritan Nuggets of Gold # 10

The Bible (continued)

Read the Scripture, not only as a history, but as a love-letter sent to you from God. (Thomas Watson)

When you hear the Word, say, "There God spoke to my soul." Men forget truths because they are apt to put them off to others, and not to look on themselves as concerned in them. (John Whitlock)

He doth not bid us take a taste of all sins and vanities, as Solomon did, to try them: for they are tried already; but that we should set the Word of God always before us like a rule, and believe nothing but that which it teacheth, love nothing but that which it prescribeth, hate nothing but that which it forbidden, do nothing but that which it commandeth, and then we try all things by the Word. (Henry Smith)

Leave not off reading the Bible till you find your hearts warmed ... Let it not only inform you, but inflame you. (Thomas Watson)

When satan borrows sense to speak one thing, let faith borrow Scripture to speak the contrary. (David Dickson)

The Word of life may be so distorted from the life of the Word, till it becomes the food of death. (Thomas Adams)

Compare Scripture with Scripture. False doctrines, like false witnesses, agree not among themselves. (William Gurnall)

The Scripture is to be its own interpreter, or rather the Spirit speaking in it; nothing can cut the diamond but the diamond; nothing can interpret Scripture but Scripture. (Thomas Watson)

God's truths always agrees with itself. (Richard Sibbes)

In the waters of life, the Divine Scriptures, there are shallows, and there are deeps; shallows where the lamb may wade; and deeps where the elephant may swim. If we be not wise to distinguish, we may easily miscarry; he that can wade over the ford, cannot swim through the deep. What infinite mischief hath arisen to the church of God from the presumption of ignorant and unlettered men, that have taken upon them to interpret the most obscure Scriptures, and pertinaciously defend their own sense! (Joseph Hall)

As there is a foolish wisdom, so there is a wise ignorance; in not prying into God's ark, not inquiring into things not revealed. I would fain know all that I need, and all that I may: I leave God's secrets to Himself. It is happy for me that God makes me of His court though not of His council. (Joseph Hall)

Remember that greatest misery to an honest heart is this, a misdrawing of rules out of the Word of God: you take a word and do not compare it with other Scriptures, and see whether it be temporary and doth absolutely bind. (Walter Craddock)

Do You Really Believe It?


Ephesians 2:4-7 says,

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

There was a time in my wife's life when nothing was going right.  It was before we were married while she was attending Bible school.  Things were so bad that she was ready to drop out, and she wondered where God was in her life.

It was then that she attended a seminar where a woman was teaching on this passage.  As my wife read this, and heard it taught, she saw that God loved her in an amazing way.  That He loves everybody so much He sent Jesus Christ, so that He could make us a showpiece of His great love. 

She realized He wanted to make her life beautiful and full.  He wanted to make it good.  He wanted to do things in her life so that she would be a showpiece for Him, and other people would look and say, "What is it about you?" and she could tell them that God made the difference in her life.  Since that truth dawned on Janet's heart, she has never been the same.

1 John 4:16 says,

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us.

Do you really believe that God loves you and has good things in store for you?  You have heard about God's love, but do you really know it?  Are you really believing the love that God has for you?

Well He does love you, and when you believe it, you will never be the same!

~Bayless Conley~

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Puritan Nuggets of Gold # 9

The Bible

The Bible is the statute-book of God's Kingdom, wherein is comprised the whole body of the heavenly law, the perfect rules of a holy life, and the sure promise of a glorious one. (Ezekiel Hopkins)

The Scripture is the library of the Holy Spirit; it is a pandect of divine knowledge, an exact model and platform of religion. The Scripture contains in it the "credenda", "the things which we are to believe," and the agenda, "the things which we are to practice." (Thomas Watson)

O ye saints, how you should love the Word, for by this you have been converted. Tie it about your neck, write it upon your hand, lay it in your bosom. When you go let it lead you, when you sleep let it keep you, when you awake let it talk with you. (Proverbs 6:21-22). You that are unconverted, read the Word with diligence; flock to where it is truthfully preached. Pray for the coming of the Spirit in the Word. Come from your knees to the sermon, and come from the sermon to your knees. (Joseph Alleine)

The Word generates faith and regenerates us. (Joseph Alleine)

The godly man will read the Word by day, that men, seeing his good works, may glorify his Father who is in heaven; he will do it in the night, that he may not be seen by men; by day, to show that he is not one of those who dread the light; by night, to show that he is one who can shine in the shade; by day, for that is the time for working - work whilst it is day; by night, lest his Master should come as a thief, and find him idle. (Sir Richard Baker)

I will give you this as a most certain observation, that there never was anything of false doctrine brought into the church, or anything of false worship imposed upon the church, but either it was by neglecting the Scripture, or by introducing something over the Scripture. (John Collins)

We hold that neither man nor angel is any wise to add or detract any thing, to change or to alter any things from that which he Lord hath set down in His Word. (John Penry)

I know there is nothing in the Word or in the works of God that is repugnant to sound reason, but there are some things in both which are opposite to carnal reason, as well as above right reason; and therefore our reason never shows itself more unreasonable than in summoning those things to its bar which transcend its sphere and capacity. (John Flavel)

Among the many arguments to prove the penmenship of the Scripture inspired by the Spirit of God, this is not the last and least - that the penmenship of Holy Writ do record their own faults and the faults of their dearest and nearest relatives. For instance herof, how coarsely doth David speak of  of himself: "So foolish was I, and ignorant; I was a beast before Thee." And do you think that the face of Paul did look the more foul by being drawn with his own pencil, when he says, "I was a murderer, a persecutor, the greatest of sinners," etc.? Moses sets down the sin and punishment of his own sister, the idolatry and superstition of Aaron his brother, and his own fault in his preposterous striking the rock. (Thomas Fuller)

As the title set over the head of Christ crucified, was the same in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, so are the Scripture the same, whether in the original, or other languages into which they are faithfully translated. Yet, as the waters are most pure, and sweet in the fountain, so are all writings, Divine and human, in their original tongues. (John Robinson)


Contagious Joy



Jesus calls us to be His “witnesses.” When some Christians hear this word, they worry that they need exceptional skill or charisma in order to share the good news with others. Yet to witness is not to merely speak of the “plan of salvation” to someone. The word literally means to see, hear, or know by personal presence and perception; to testify; bear witness to; give or afford evidence of. When John wrote that he was sharing what he had experienced first-hand, he was saying, “I am full of joy because of the experience of knowing Jesus, and I want to invite you to share in that joy!”

When you’re in love with someone, you are excited about the relationship and time spent together. Likewise, when you’re in love with Jesus, you can’t keep to yourself the joy that comes from knowing Him—it just spills over, bearing witness and strengthening other believers. In fact, as you give testimony of who God is and how He’s working in your life, it makes no difference whether you speak quietly or with great exuberance: in their spirit, Christians will pick up on the deep, genuine gladness in your heart that goes beyond natural happiness. And people who don’t yet know the Lord will find themselves hungering for the relationship you have. In that way, they will be drawn to His Spirit in you.

Witnessing is not a matter of eloquence or talent. It’s an overflow of the personal relationship with Jesus Christ that is conforming you to His image. As you allow the Holy Spirit to increasingly express His life and power through you, contagious joy will be “fruit” of His indwelling presence.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Puritan Nuggets of Gold # 8

Atonement

If the Lord Jesus Christ made full satisfaction unto God the Father, how is it that believers, many of them have their consciences so perplexed in regard of sin, as if there were  no satisfaction at all made? The reason is, because that men do not study this truth, but are ignorant of it. As, suppose that a man do owe three or four hundred pounds to a shopkeeper for wares that he hath taken up there; a friend comes, pays the debt, and crosses the book; but the debtor when he comes and looks upon the book is able to read all the particulars; and not being acquainted with the nature of crossing the book, he is able to read all the particulars, and he charges it still upon himself, because he does not understand the nature of crossing the book. So now it is here: the Lord Jesus Christ hath come and crossed our book with His own blood; the sins are to be read in your own consciences, but we, being not acquainted with the nature of Christ's satisfaction, we charge ourselves, as if no sin at all were satisfied for us. (William Bridge)

If He hides the sin, or lesseneth it, He is faulty; if He leaves it still upon us, we die. He must then take our iniquity to Himself, make it His own, and so deliver us; for thus having taken the sin upon Himself, as lawfully He may, and lovingly He doth, it followeth that we live if He lives; and who can desire more? (John Bunyan)

When the Lord Jesus Christ offered up Himself a sacrifice unto God the Father, and had our sins laid upon Him, He did give more perfect satisfation unto Divine justice for our sins than if you, and I, and all of us had been damned in hell unto all eternity. For a creditor is more satisfied if his debt be paid him all down at once, then if it be paid by the week. (William Bridge)

Obedience will not make amends for past crimes; for obedience is a debt due of itself, and what is a debt of itself cannot be a compensation for another. Obedience was due from man if he had not sinned, and therefore is a debt as much due after sin as before it; but a new debt cannot be satisfied by paying an old. So obedience to the law in our whole course was a debt upon us by our creation ... but upon sin a new debt of punishment was contracted, and the penalty of the law was to be satisfied by suffering, as well as the precepts of the law satisfied by observing them. (Stephen Charnock)

There is no death of sin without the death of Christ. (John Owen)

The wrong that man had done to the Divine Majesty, should be expiated by none but man, and could be none but God. (John Howe)

Christ did not die for any upon condition, if they do believe; but He died for all God's elect, that they should believe. (John Owen)

This precious Lamb of God gave up His golden fleece for us. (Christopher Nesse)

Backsliding

He falls deepest into hell who falls backward. (Thomas Watson)

None will have such a sad parting from Christ, as those who went half-way with Him and then left Him. (William Gurnall)

The best way never to fall is ever to fear. (William Jenkyn)

Grace Should Deliver Us From Ourselves


In Him the whole structure is joined (bound, welded) together harmoniously. (Ephesians 2:21 AMP)

You find a company or lives welded together in an indissoluble, indestructible oneness and you will find there the love of God wrought very deeply into the heart. “That they may be one,” one by the giving love of God through the Son transmitted to the seed. Yes, this matter of Divine love touches so many points all the way round, and why is there such a passion in our hearts as we do speak in these days about this matter? For this very reason: that tragically, grievously, on this earth so very many of those who bear the name of Christian are drawing to themselves, are standing for their own rights, are jealous, envious, divided. And it is just the contradiction of the Divine thought to have a heavenly people on this earth of this kind; the reproduction of this seed which is Christ, which is the embodiment of this love that lets go, this love that knows how to yield, this love that is all the time giving. That is what the Lord is after. It represents a deep work of the Cross within, but surely we can accept nothing less than this?

I do feel that we need so much more of this grace of our Lord Jesus, this love of God, that gets us out of the picture. So often, as you look at people, you can almost see them occupied with themselves, turned in upon themselves. They are just individuals in themselves, tied up. The love of God should release us from all that sort of thing, to say nothing of worse traits of spitefulness and criticism and hurting one another with words. The Lord’s love deliver us from all and make of us part of this heavenly seed, this heavenly people, really expressing the giving, letting go love of God which comes back a thousand-fold. And do not let us do it for that, to get, but to glorify the Lord. The Lord give us grace!

By T. Austin-Sparks

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Puritan Nuggets of Gold # 7

Assurance of Life Eternal (continued)

Assurance of better things makes the soul sing care away, as that martyr said, "My soul is turned to her rest; I have taken a sweet nap in Christ's lap, and therefore I will now sing care away, and will be careless according to my name." (Thomas Brooks)

If a loving heart is without fear of the day of judgment, he is without fear of falling away. (John Cotton)

A soul under assurance is unwilling to go to heaven without company. (Thomas Brooks)

Assurance and comforts are desirable, but fruitfulness is absolutely necessary. The end why the Lord offers us comfort and assurance of His love, is to make us cheerful in His service, and to encourage us in His work, and engage our hearts in it thoroughly. (David Clarkson)

The greatest thing that we can desire, next to the glory of God, is our own salvation; and the sweetest thing we can desire is the assurance of our salvation. All saints shall enjoy a heaven when they leave this earth; some saints enjoy a heaven while they are here on earth. ( Joseph Caryl)

Assurance will assist us in all duties; it will arm us against all temptations; it will answer all objections; it will sustain us in all conditions. (Edward Reynolds)

Atheism

Unless the being of a God be presupposed, no tolerable account can be given of the being of any thing. (Ezekiel Hopkins)

Now, if according to the impiety of atheists, there is no God, why do they invoke Him in their adversities? If there be, why do they deny Him in their prosperity? (William Bates)

There is a conscience in man; therefore there is a God in heaven. (Ezekiel Hopkins)

When we see wicked ones prosper in the world, and godly men crushed and destroyed in the way of righteousness and integrity, it may tempt us to think there is no advantage by religion, and all our self-denial and holiness to be little better than lost labor. "Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency." This irreligious inference carnal reason was ready to draw from the dispensation of outward prosperity to wicked men; but now, if we would heedfully observe, either the signal retributions of Providence to many of them in this world, or to all of them in the world to come, O what a full confirmation is this to our faith! (John Flavel)

Men may have atheistical hearts without atheistical heads. (Stephen Charnock)


Never Doubt

I will give you the treasures of darkness (Isaiah 45:3).

In the famous lace shops of Brussels, there are certain rooms devoted to the spinning of the finest and most delicate patterns. These rooms are altogether darkened, save for a light from one very small window, which falls directly upon the pattern. There is only one spinner in the room, and he sits where the narrow stream of light falls upon the threads of his weaving. "Thus," we are told by the guide, "do we secure our choicest products. Lace is always more delicately and beautifully woven when the worker himself is in the dark and only his pattern is in the light."

May it not be the same with us in our weaving? Sometimes it is very dark. We cannot understand what we are doing. We do not see the web we are weaving. We are not able to discover any beauty, any possible good in our experience. Yet if we are faithful and fail not and faint not, we shall some day know that the most exquisite work of all our life was done in those days when it was so dark.
If you are in the deep shadows because of some strange, mysterious providence, do not be afraid. Simply go on in faith and love, never doubting. God is watching, and He will bring good and beauty out of all your pain and tears.
--J. R. Miller

The shuttles of His purpose move
To carry out His own design;
Seek not too soon to disapprove
His work, nor yet assign
Dark motives, when, with silent tread,
You view some sombre fold;
For lo, within each darker thread
There twines a thread of gold.
Spin cheerfully,
Not tearfully,
He knows the way you plod;
Spin carefully,
Spin prayerfully,

But leave the thread with God.

~L. B. Cowman~

Monday, January 19, 2015

Puritan Nuggets of Gold # 6

Assurance of Life Eternal (continued)

It is the very drift and design of the whole Scripture, to bring souls first to an acquaintance with Christ, and then to an acceptance of Christ, and then to build them in a sweet assurance of their actual interest in Christ. (Thomas Brooks)

To make sense and feeling the judges of our spiritual conditions, what is it but to make ourselves happy and miserable, righteous and unrighteous, saved and damned in one day, ay, in one hour. What is this but to toss the soul to and fro, and to expose it to a labyrinth of fears and scruples? What is this but to cast a reproach upon Christ, to gratify satan, and to keep yourselves upon the rack? Well, doubting souls, the counsel that I shall give you is this, be much in believing, and make only the Scripture the judge of your condition; maintain the judgment of the Word against the judgment of sense and feeling. If you resolve to make sense and feelings the judge of your conditions, you must resolve to live in fears, and lie down in tears. (Thomas Brooks)

Motion is the most perfect discovery of life. He that can stir his limbs, is surely not dead. The feet of the soul are the affections. Hast thou not found in thyself a hate and detestation of that sin whereinto thou has  been miscarried? Hast thou not found in thyself a true grief of heart, for thy wretched, indisposition to all good things? Without a true life of grace, these things could never have been. (Joseph Hall)

Another sure mark of sensible faith and comfort, is this: that they that have tasted of it, CAN NEVER BE SATISFIED, but still hunger and labor for more. (Ezekiel Culverwell)

It may be you have been more earnest and vehement for assurance, and the effects of it, viz., joy, comfort, and peace, than you have been for grace and holiness, for communion with God, and conformity to God. It may be your requests for assurance have been full of life and spirits, when your requests for grace and holiness, for communion with God, and conformity to God, have been lifeless and spiritless. If so, no wonder that assurance is denied you. Assurance makes most for your comfort, but holiness makes most for God's honor. Man's holiness is now his greatest happiness, and in heaven man's greatest happiness will be his perfect holiness. (Thomas Brooks)

My Goal Is God Himself

Attention! Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who serve in the Lord’s temple during the night. May the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion!—Ps 134:1,3
 

Strange time for adoration, you say, to stand in God’s house by night, to worship in the depth of sorrow —it is indeed an arduous thing. Yes, and therein lies the blessing; it is the test of perfect faith. If I would know the love of my friend I must see what it can do in the winter. So with the Divine love. It is easy for me to worship in the summer sunshine when the melodies of life are in the air and the fruits of life are on the tree. But let the song of the bird cease and the fruit of the tree fall, and will my heart still go on to sing? Will I stand in God’s house by night? Will I love Him in His own night? Will I watch with Him even one hour in His Gethsemane? Will I help to bear His cross up the dolorous way? Will I stand beside Him in His dying moments with Mary and the beloved disciple? Will I be able with Nicodemus to take up the dead Christ? Then is my worship complete and my blessing glorious. My love has come to Him in His humiliation. My faith has found Him in His lowliness. My heart has recognized His majesty through His mean disguise, and I know at last that I desire not the gift but the Giver. When I can stand in His house by night I have accepted Him for Himself alone.
—George Matheson
 
“My goal is God Himself, not joy, nor peace,
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God; 
’Tis His to lead me there, not mine, but His
’At any cost, dear Lord, by any road!’
 
“So faith bounds forward to its goal in God, 
And love can trust her Lord to lead her there; 
’Upheld by Him, my soul is following hard 
Till God hath full fulfilled my deepest prayer.
 
“No matter if the way be sometimes dark, 
No matter though the cost be ofttimes great, 
He knoweth how I best shall reach the mark, 
The way that leads to Him must needs be straight.
 
“One thing I know, I cannot say Him nay; 
One thing I do, I press towards my Lord; 
My God my glory here, from day to day, 
And in the glory there my Great Reward.”

~L. B. Cowman~