Monday, April 30, 2012

Growth in Grace

(Archibald Alexander, "Growth in Grace" 1844)

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen." 2 Peter 3:18
Growth in grace is evidenced by a more habitual vigilance against besetting sins and temptations, and by greater self-denial in regard to personal indulgence. A growing conscientiousness in regard to what may be called minor Christian duties is also a good sign. (The counterfeit of this is an over-scrupulous conscience, which sometimes haggles at the most innocent gratifications, and has led some to hesitate about taking their daily food.)

Increasing spiritual-mindedness is a sure evidence of progress in piety; and this will always be accompanied by increasing deadness to the world.

Continued aspirations for God, indicate the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, by whose agency all progress in sanctification is made.

Increasing solicitude for the salvation of men, sorrow on account of their sinful and miserable condition, and a disposition tenderly to warn sinners of their danger--evince a growing state of piety.

It is also a strong evidence of growth in grace, when you can bear injuries and provocations with meekness, and when you can from the heart desire the temporal and eternal welfare of your bitterest enemies.

An entire and confident reliance on the promises and providence of God, however dark may be your horizon, or however many difficulties environ you--is a sign that you have learned to live by faith.

Humble contentment with your condition
, though it is one of poverty and obscurity--shows that you have profited by sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Diligence in the duties of our secular calling, with a view to the glory of God, is an evidence not to be despised.

Indeed, there is no surer standard of spiritual growth than a habit of aiming at the glory of God in everything.

Increasing love to the brethren is a sure sign of growth; for as brotherly love is a proof of the existence of grace, so is the exercise of such love a proof of vigor in the divine life.

A victory over besetting sins by which the person was frequently led away--shows an increased vigor in grace.

Sometimes the children of God grow faster when in the fiery furnace than elsewhere. As metals are purified by being cast into the fire--so saints have their dross consumed and their graces brightened--by being cast into the furnace of affliction.

A Revolutionary, Liberating Truth

“When you are satisfied with God’s presence and approval in your life, you will no longer obsess about what everyone else thinks about you. You can quit hiding your faults and start living with authenticity, letting people see the real you — the ‘you’ with all the faults and warts — because you no longer depend on their admiration for personal fulfillment.

It is a revolutionary, liberating truth: in Christ, you have all you need for everlasting joy. His approval and presence are all that you need for life and happiness.

He is the only One who should play the role of God in our lives. He has no equals, no partners, and doesn’t want to share the office of ‘God’ with anyone.”

— J. D. Greear, Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary (Nashville, Tn.: B & H Publishing, 2011), 85

Shared by Thoughts On The Way Blog  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Will worrying make matters any better?

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)

"Who of you by worrying, can add a single cubit to his height?" Matthew 6:27

So it is useless to worry! A short person cannot, by any amount of anxiety, make himself an inch taller. Why, therefore, should he waste his energy and fret his life away--in wishing he were taller?

One worries because he is too short--another because he is too tall;
one worries because he too lean--another because he is too heavy;
one worries because he has a lame foot--another because he has a mole on his face.
No amount of fretting will change any of these things!

People worry, too, over their circumstances. They are poor, and have to work hard. They have troubles, losses, and disappointments which come through causes entirely beyond their own control. They find difficulties in their environment which they cannot surmount. There are hard conditions in their lot which they cannot change.

Now why should they worry about these things? Will worrying make matters any better? Will discontent . . .
  cure the blind eye, or
  remove the ugly mole, or
  give health to the infirm body?

Will chafing make . . .
  the hard work, lighter;
  or the burdens, easier;
  or the troubles, fewer?

Will anxiety . . .
  keep the winter away, or
  keep the storm from rising, or
  put coal in the cellar, or
  put bread in the pantry, or
  get clothes for the children?

Even human reason shows the uselessness of worrying, since it helps nothing, and only wastes one's strength and unfits one for doing one's best!

The Christian gospel goes farther, and says that even the hard things and the obstacles, are blessings--if we meet them in the right spirit. They are stepping-stones lifting our feet upward--disciplinary experiences in which we grow.

So we learn that we should quietly, and with faith in God's Providence, accept life as it comes to us--fretting at nothing, yet changing hard conditions to easier ones if we can. And if we cannot--then we must use them as means for growth and advancement.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Wilt thou fail to use so great a privilege?

“God, even our own God.”
- Psalm 67:6
It is strange how little use we make of the spiritual blessings which God gives us, but it is stranger still how little use we make of God himself. Though he is “our own God,” we apply ourselves but little to him, and ask but little of him. How seldom do we ask counsel at the hands of the Lord! How often do we go about our business, without seeking his guidance! In our troubles how constantly do we strive to bear our burdens ourselves, instead of casting them upon the Lord, that he may sustain us! This is not because we may not, for the Lord seems to say, “I am thine, soul, come and make use of me as thou wilt; thou mayst freely come to my store, and the oftener the more welcome.” It is our own fault if we make not free with the riches of our God. Then, since thou hast such a friend, and he invites thee, draw from him daily. Never want whilst thou hast a God to go to; never fear or faint whilst thou hast God to help thee; go to thy treasure and take whatever thou needest-there is all that thou canst want. Learn the divine skill of making God all things to thee. He can supply thee with all, or, better still, he can be to thee instead of all. Let me urge thee, then, to make use of thy God. Make use of him in prayer. Go to him often, because he is thy God. O, wilt thou fail to use so great a privilege? Fly to him, tell him all thy wants. Use him constantly by faith at all times. If some dark providence has beclouded thee, use thy God as a “sun;” if some strong enemy has beset thee, find in Jehovah a “shield,” for he is a sun and shield to his people. If thou hast lost thy way in the mazes of life, use him as a “guide,” for he will direct thee. Whatever thou art, and wherever thou art, remember God is just what thou wantest, and just where thou wantest, and that he can do all thou wantest.
Charles Spurgeon's Morning Meditation, April 27th

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Following Christ!

"If anyone would come after Me--he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me!" Luke 9:23

O that Christians, the very best of them, were not so slack in following Christ!

Some stop to trifle with the perishable things of earth.

Some stop to pick up the gaudy, scentless flowers by the wayside.

Some stop to sleep, forgetting that this is not our rest--it is cursed ground.

Some stop to pick holes and find fault with their fellow-travelers.

Few of Christ's sheep hold on their way as steadily as they might. But still, compared with the world--they are following Jesus Christ. Oh that they would only remember, that those who follow Him most fully--shall follow Him most comfortably!

They are following Christ, and they know where they are going. And even in the dark river, in the valley of the shadow of death--they feel a confidence that their Shepherd will be with them, and that His rod and His staff will comfort them. They would all tell you that they are poor wandering sheep, ashamed of the little fruit they bear. But still, as weak as they are, they are determined to follow on to the end, and to say, "None but Christ--in life and in death, in time and in eternity!"
"Leaving you an example--so that you should follow in His steps!" 1 Peter 2:21

 -J.C. Ryle -

Psychology in the Bible?

 We listened to this message on the way to church today and were very blessed and educated.  The Alexander's HIGHLY recommend this sermon by Voddie Baucham.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Live Much In Heaven

This is the prayer of my heart this morning.

"Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated
at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above,
not on earthly things." Colossians 3:1-2

Live much in Heaven--and earth will grow less attractive.

Jesus, You are my chief joy, my life, my all. Without You
this world would be wretchedness itself. Keep, oh keep me
near Yourself, nearer, nearer still; and allow no earthly
idol to occupy Your place in my heart.
~ Mary Winslow, "Life in Jesus"

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Leave Tomorrow's Cares & Pray For Today~ E.M. Bounds

When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we are, in a measure, shutting tomorrow out of our prayer. We do not live in tomorrow but in today. We do not seek tomorrow’s grace or tomorrow’s bread. They thrive best, and get most out of life, who live in the living present. They pray best who pray for today’s needs, not for tomorrow’s, which may render our prayers unnecessary and redundant by not existing at all!
True prayers are born of present trials and present needs. Bread, for today, is bread enough. Bread given for today is the strongest sort of pledge that there will be bread tomorrow. Victory today, is the assurance of victory tomorrow. Our prayers need to be focused upon the present, We must trust God today, and leave the morrow entirely with Him. The present is ours; the future belongs to God. Prayer is the task and duty of each recurring day — daily prayer for daily needs.
As every day demands its bread, so every day demands its prayer. No amount of praying, done today, will suffice for tomorrow’s praying. On the other hand, no praying for tomorrow is of any great value to us today. To-day’s manna is what we need; tomorrow God will see that our needs are supplied. This is the faith which God seeks to inspire. So leave tomorrow, with its cares, its needs, its troubles, in God’s hands. There is no storing tomorrow’s grace or tomorrow’s praying; neither is there any laying-up of today’s grace, to meet tomorrow’s necessities. We cannot have tomorrow’s grace, we cannot eat tomorrow’s bread, we cannot do tomorrow’s praying. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof;” and, most assuredly, if we possess faith, sufficient also, will be the good.… 
Shared on Grace Fellowship Blog