Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Just wanted to let you know...

...that Alexander Farms now has pages on Facebook and Twitter.  We will be sharing updated information from our farm website here.  Below are the links for both of them.

AlexanderFarms On Twitter

Alexander Farms on Facebook

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summers Are for Seeking Christ- Wonderful Exhortation!



Memorial Day is here, school is nearly done, and the days are growing longer and hotter. The firstfruits of summer have arrived.
As the summer season approached in 1995, Pastor John (Piper) reminded his church of the spiritual benefits of summer, along with the annual temptations to spiritual laziness in his article, “Setting Our Minds on Things Above in Summer” (May 31, 1995).
He writes:
Every season is God’s season, but summer has a special power.
Jesus Christ is refreshing, but flight from him into Christless leisure makes the soul parched. At first it may feel like freedom and fun to skimp on prayer and neglect the Word, but then we pay: shallowness, powerlessness, vulnerability to sin, preoccupation with trifles, superficial relationships, and a frightening loss of interest in worship and the things of the Spirit.
Don’t let summer make your soul shrivel. God made summer as a foretaste of heaven, not a substitute. If the mailman brings you a love letter from your fiancĂ©, don’t fall in love with the mailman. That’s what summer is: God’s messenger with a sun-soaked, tree-green, flower-blooming, lake-glistening letter of love to show us what he is planning for us in the age to come — “things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Don’t fall in love with the video preview and find yourself unable to love the coming reality.
Jesus Christ is the refreshing center of summer. He is preeminent in all things (Colossians 1:18), including vacations, picnics, softball, long walks, and cookouts. He invites us in the summer: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). This is serious summer refreshment.
Do we want it? That is the question.
Christ gives himself to us in proportion to how much we want his refreshment. “You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13, RSV). One of the reasons to give the Lord special attention in the summer is to say to him, “We want all your refreshment. We really want it.”
________
Resources on the spiritual value, and temptations, of summer —
~Shared on Desiring God blog

Saturday, May 26, 2012

As your days--so shall your strength be!

 

(James Smith, "Comfort for Christians!")

"As your days--so shall your strength be!" Deuteronomy 33:25

Here is a precious promise for a trying day! It belongs to every Christian who is traveling to the Celestial City. It provides for every part of life's journey; for every day--as each day may require.

It is especially suited to the dark days, the wintry days, and the trying days--when all our earthly props fail us; the days when our fellow man cannot help us.

Fellow pilgrim! Are you dispirited, depressed, and cast down? Are you looking back upon the past with sorrow--and forward into the future with fear? Cheer up! The Lord will not lay on you more than He will enable you to bear--nor will He allow any other to do so.

However weak you may feel in yourself,
however rough the road you may need to travel,
however heavy the burden you may have to carry--
God will supply you with sufficient strength for the day!

He has never allowed you to be crushed yet, though you may have staggered under some heavy burdens. He who has helped you in the past--is still your helper today. He will also help you in all the future. "As your days"--be they as troublesome as they may--"so shall your strength be."

Whether your day brings life or death, joy or trial--it does not matter. God will send you exactly what you need to pass through it! Do not look at your trials, do not dwell on your inability--but lay hold on the promises of God and seek His grace to exercise faith in Him.

Then let Satan suggest what he pleases, or the flesh object as it may--you will be able to say, "I will not fear; for as my day--so shall my strength be. He who has promised--will also fulfill His promise."

Blessed Lord, I praise You for this precious promise! Help, oh, help me to trust in it; and day by day as duty or trials may require--enable me to look to You and expect sufficient strength from You!

"On the day I called--You answered me; You increased strength within me!" Psalm 138:3

Thursday, May 24, 2012

We are Marvels and Miracles of God's Preservation, Patience and Mercy



(John MacDuff, "Evening Incense" 1856)

O my Father, it is of Your compassions alone, that I am not consumed!

My way Zionward is well-studded with Ebenezers, testifying "Thus far the Lord has helped me!"

The pillar of Your presence has guided me through many a perplexing path!

Your love has smiled through many a threatening cloud!

Your restraining grace has arrested me in many a slippery way!

When "my soul was among lions"--how often have You "sent Your angel" to rescue me and shut the lions' mouths! I am truly a marvel and a miracle of Your preservation, patience, and mercy!

"Hold me up--and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An Example, from Daniel, of How We Should Be Praying

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans-- in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying, "O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,  
Note how Daniel comes before God; praising and acknowledging who He is.

we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
We now see confession of sin.

 To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, 
 Praise and acknowledging what belongs to God

but to us open shame,
 What belongs to us and next we see why.

 as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. To us, O LORD, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. 


To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him. He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem. As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth.
 Here is the answer!  Is this not the gospel message; believe and repent.

  Therefore the LORD has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice. 
Take note that Daniel did not shake his fist at God and ask Him why He was doing this to them.  He acknowledged the righteousness and person of who God is and his understanding and acceptance of why this was happening to them.

And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly. "O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name." While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the LORD my God for the holy hill of my God, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. He made me understand, speaking with me and saying, "O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved. Therefore consider the word and understand the vision.
(Dan 9:1-23)


Is this not beautiful?  and challenging?  and inspirational?  There is so very much to learn through this prayer.  I look forward to meditating upon it. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

By the Right Way All is Well


"He led them forth by the right way."—Psalm 107:7.
Changeful experience often leads the anxious believer to enquire "Why is it thus with me?" I looked for light, but lo, darkness came; for peace, but behold trouble. I said in my heart, my mountain standeth firm, I shall never be moved. Lord, thou dost hide Thy face, and I am troubled. It was but yesterday that I could read my title clear; to-day my evidences are bedimmed, and my hopes are clouded. Yesterday I could climb to Pisgah's top, and view the landscape o'er, and rejoice with confidence in my future inheritance; to-day, my spirit has no hopes, but many fears; no joys, but much distress. Is this part of God's plan with me? Can this be the way in which God would bring me to heaven? Yes, it is even so. The eclipse of your faith, the darkness of your mind, the fainting of your hope, all these things are but parts of God's method of making you ripe for the great inheritance upon which you shall soon enter. These trials are for the testing and strengthening of your faith—they are waves that wash you further upon the rock—they are winds which waft your ship the more swiftly towards the desired haven. According to David's words, so it might be said of you, "so He bringeth them to their desired haven." By honour and dishonour, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution and by peace, by all these things is the life of your souls maintained, and by each of these are you helped on your way. Oh, think not, believer, that your sorrows are out of God's plan; they are necessary parts of it. "We must, through much tribulation, enter the kingdom." Learn, then, even to "count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations."

 
"O let my trembling soul be still,
And wait Thy wise, Thy holy will!
I cannot, Lord, Thy purpose see,
Yet all is well since ruled by Thee.
 
Charles Spurgeon's Morning Meditation, May 22

Song of Confidence



Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt receive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. (Psalm 138:7)

Wretched walking in the midst of trouble. Nay, blessed walking, since there is a special promise for it. Give me a promise, and what is the trouble? What doth my Lord teach me here to say? Why this—"Thou wilt receive me." I shall have more life, more energy, more faith. Is it not often so, that trouble revives us, like a breath of cold air when one is ready to faint?
How angry are my enemies and especially the archenemy! Shall I stretch forth my hand and fight my foes! No, my hand is better employed in doing service for my Lord. Besides, there is no need, for my God will use His far-reaching arm, and He will deal with them far better than I could if I were to try. "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." He will with His own right hand of power and wisdom save me, and what more can I desire?
Come, my heart, talk this promise over to thyself till thou canst use it as the song of thy confidence, the solace of thy holiness. Pray to be revived thyself and leave the rest with the Lord, who performeth all things for thee.
Charles Spurgeon, Faith's Checkbook, May 22

Monday, May 21, 2012

The sovereign decrees and allotments of Your infinite wisdom!


O my Father, let me feel, even amid the troublous changes of life, that what I am apt to call painful vicissitudes--are the sovereign decrees and allotments of Your infinite wisdom!

Let me rejoice that every bitter drop in the 'cup of life'--is appointed by my Heavenly Father! May I submissively drink it, saying, "May Your will be done!"

What I cannot now comprehend--be it mine to wait the disclosures of that blessed morning when, standing at the luminous portals of Heaven, I shall joyfully acknowledge that, "You have done all things well!"
I look forward to that time when all Your inscrutable dealings will be unfolded, when inner meanings and purposes now undiscerned by the eye of sense--will be brought to light, and all discovered to be full of infinite love! Other refuges may fail--but I am as secure in You, as everlasting love and wisdom and power can make me!

Blessed Jesus! I would seek to cleave closer and closer to Your cross! May I follow You, O Lamb of God--wherever You see fit to lead me. May I never feel as if I would wish one jot or tittle regarding me to be altered--when the reins of universal empire are in Your hands!
(John MacDuff, "Evening Incense" 1856)
Photo Credit:  google.com,liveholiness.com,the-path-of-prayer

We Dare Not Doubt


 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron. (Isaiah 45:2)

This was for Cyrus; but it is evermore the heritage of all the Lord's own spiritual servants. Only let us go forward by faith, and our way will be cleared for us. Crooks and turns of human craft and satanic subtlety shall be straightened for us; we shall not need to track their devious windings. The gates of brass shall be broken, and the iron bars which fastened them shall be cut asunder. We shall not need the battering ram nor the crowbar: the Lord Himself will do the impossible for us, and the unexpected shall be a fact.
Let us not sit down in coward fear. Let us press onward in the path of duty, for the Lord hath said it: "I will go before thee." Ours not to reason why; ours but to dare and dash forward. It is the Lord's work, and He will enable us to do it: all impediments must yield before Him. Hath He not said, "I will break in pieces the gates of brass"! What can hinder His purpose or balk His decrees? Those who serve God have infinite resources. The way is clear to faith though barred to human strength. When Jehovah says, "I will," as He does twice in this promise, we dare not doubt.
Charles Spurgeon, Faith's Checkbook, May 20th
Photo Credit: http://citizenimpulse.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/newpath.jpg

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Sermon all the Week



An honest, consistent, holy character--is a sermon all the week. The godly Christian--pure of heart and unspotted by the world--is the best preacher of the gospel. The revival which is most urgently needed--is a revival of practical godliness. Sunday preaching is not enough; we need more "sermons all through the week."

Let us go down to the core. The only basis of good character is a renewed heart--a heart in which Jesus Christ lives, a heart which is in the habit of obeying Christ's commandments. Such a man draws his motives of action from his deep, abiding love to Jesus. Up from the very roots--comes his daily devotion to those things which are pure and honest and lovely and of good report. Rooted into Christ, he is not easily shaken. He does not bend to trickery or yield to temptation. The world cannot move such a man. What does he care for its changing, frivolous fashions; his fashion is to do the will of his holy Master.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:1-2
 (Theodore Cuyler, "Wayside Springs from the Fountain of Life" 1883)
Photo Credit: http://www.123rf.com/photo_946858_two-people-walking-down-a-path-in-the-forest.html

He Always Gives What is Best


"And he requested for himself that he might die."—1 Kings 19:4.
It was a remarkable thing that the man who was never to die, for whom God had ordained an infinitely better lot, the man who should be carried to heaven in a chariot of fire, and be translated, that he should not see death—should thus pray, "Let me die, I am no better than my fathers." We have here a memorable proof that God does not always answer prayer in kind, though He always does in effect. He gave Elias something better than that which he asked for, and thus really heard and answered him. Strange was it that the lion-hearted Elijah should be so depressed by Jezebel's threat as to ask to die, and blessedly kind was it on the part of our heavenly Father that He did not take His desponding servant at his word. There is a limit to the doctrine of the prayer of faith. We are not to expect that God will give us everything we choose to ask for. We know that we sometimes ask, and do not receive, because we ask amiss. If we ask for that which is not promised—if we run counter to the spirit which the Lord would have us cultivate—if we ask contrary to His will, or to the decrees of His providence—if we ask merely for the gratification of our own ease, and without an eye to His glory, we must not expect that we shall receive. Yet, when we ask in faith, nothing doubting, if we receive not the precise thing asked for, we shall receive an equivalent, and more than an equivalent, for it. As one remarks, "If the Lord does not pay in silver, He will in gold; and if He does not pay in gold, He will in diamonds." If He does not give you precisely what you ask for, He will give you that which is tantamount to it, and that which you will greatly rejoice to receive in lieu thereof. Be then, dear reader, much in prayer, and make this evening a season of earnest intercession, but take heed what you ask.
- Charles Spurgeon's Evening Meditation, May 19th
Photo Credit: http://wwwnotamomentwasted.blogspot.com/2011/03/he-answers.html

CONDEMNED Awaiting Execution by Conrad Murrell (Gospel Tract)

CONDEMNED Awaiting Execution
 
A certain Prince travelling through France visited the military port of Toulon, where convicted criminals were held. The general, as a courtesy to the Prince’s rank, said he was welcome to set any of the prisoners free whom he should choose. The Prince, desiring to make the wisest use of this privilege, spoke to many of the prisoners in succession, asking why they were condemned to death.

“Falsely accused,” cried one. “Unfair trial and prejudiced witnesses” grumbled another. “Unjust and unreasonable laws” was the contention of another who had rebelled against civil authority. Still another complained that he had been the victim of the corrupt social and economic system. They were all innocents who had been ill-treated and oppressed.

At last he came to one who, when asked the same question, answered: “My Lord, I have no reason to complain. I have been a very wicked and rebellious wretch. I account it a great mercy that I am still alive.”
The Prince fixed his eyes upon him and said: “You wicked wretch! It is a pity you should be placed among so many honest men! By your own confession you are bad enough to corrupt them all, but you shall not stay with them another day.” Then, turning to the officer, he said, “This, sir, is the man I wish to see released.”
The bitter remorse that filled the hearts of the other men as they saw their companion walk out free while they, themselves, remained to face their doom can be better imagined than told. Any one of them might have been set free instead, had they only confessed their guilt.

But infinitely greater remorse awaits every reader of these lines who refuses to confess his ruin, guilt and righteous condemnation, and receive the pardon which God offers only to confessed sinners.

Only sinners who have been pardoned and cleansed will be in heaven. Jesus says: “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32) “the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim 1:15)

His cross, His blood, His righteousness
My hope, My only plea,
My sins deserve eternal death
But Jesus died for Me.

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)

~Conrad Murrell

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Our good works instantly lose all their value when...


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

"But when you give to the needy--do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret." Matthew 6:3-4

There are some people who want every good thing they do, to be well advertised. If they give money to some good cause--they want to have it noticed in the papers. If they are kind to the poor or relieve some case of distress--they are particular that the matter should be duly published. They take pains that their charities shall not fail to be credited to themselves.

But this is not the kind of spirit which our Lord enjoined on His disciples. He told them that seeking publicity marred the beauty of their charities; that instead of announcing to others what they had done--they should not even let their own left hand know that their right hand had been doing commendable things.

Of course, Christ did not mean that we should never give to charities--except where the act would be absolutely secret. It is the heart-motive that Christ was enforcing. His disciples should never give for the sake of men's praise. Our good works instantly lose all their value--when any motive but the honor of God and desire for His approval, is in our heart. We should not even think about our charities ourselves--but should forget them, as the tree forgets the fruits it drops.

We should train ourselves therefore to do our good deeds--without seeking the praise or recognition of men. We should not be so anxious to have our name posted on every gift we send. We ought to be willing to do good, and let Christ have all the glory--while we stay back unknown and unrecognized.

Florence Nightingale, having gone like an angel of mercy among the hospitals in the Crimea until her name was enshrined in every soldier's heart--asked to be excused from having her picture taken--that she might be forgotten, and that Christ alone might be remembered as the author of all the blessings which her hand had distributed!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

12 Marks of True Repentance

 
1. We name our sin as sin and do not spin it or excuse it, and further, we demonstrate “godly sorrow,” which is to say, a grief chiefly about the sin itself, not just a grief about being caught or having to deal with the consequences of sin.

2. We actually confessed before we were caught or the circumstantial consequences of our sin caught up with us.

3. If found out, we confess immediately or very soon after and “come clean,” rather than having to have the full truth pulled from us. Real repentance is typically accompanied by transparency.

4. We have a willingness and eagerness to make amends. We will do whatever it takes to make things right and to demonstrate we have changed.

5. We are patient with those we’ve hurt or victimized, spending as much time as is required listening to them without jumping to defend ourselves.

6. We are patient with those we’ve hurt or victimized as they process their hurt, and we don’t pressure them or “guilt” them into forgiving us.

7. We are willing to confess our sin even in the face of serious consequences (including undergoing church discipline, having to go to jail, or having a spouse leave us).

8. We may grieve the consequences of our sin but we do not bristle under them or resent them. We understand that sometimes our sin causes great damage to others that is not healed in the short term (or perhaps ever).

9. If our sin involves addiction or a pattern of behavior, we do not neglect to seek help with a counselor, a solid twelve-step program, or even a rehabilitation center.

10. We don’t resent accountability, pastoral rebuke, or church discipline.

11. We seek our comfort in the grace of God in Jesus Christ, not simply in being free of the consequences of our sin.

12. We are humble and teachable.

-Jared Wilson
Shared on Thoughts on the Way Blog

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Should it be according to your mind?

"Should it be according to your mind?" Job 34:33

Thus the infinitely wise God appeals to us--His poor foolish creatures.

We want our own way.
We wish to carve for ourselves.
But God loves us too well, to allow us to do so!

He has drawn the plan of our lives.
He has marked out the paths we are to tread.
He has fixed the bounds of our habitation.
Yes, He has numbered the very hairs of our head!

He has arranged everything to secure our spiritual and eternal good. This He has told us in His Word--and yet we are not satisfied. But, "Should it be according to your mind?"

(James Smith, "Food for the Soul" 1867)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Permanent Happiness

 
"Do not look alone at his attractive exterior; seek to know what ends actuate him. It is the loveliness of pure, high principles that remains verdant the longest--yes, forever verdant. These, and these alone, can make you permanently happy. Without them, an angel's grace, an angel's form would lose its attractions; with them, the plainest exterior soon grows beautiful to the eye of a loving wife."
  (Timothy Shay Arthur, "Lovers and Husbands. A Story of Married Life" 1847)

 Actuate means: to incite or move to action; impel; motivate
 Verdant means: green with vegetation; covered with growing plants or grass

I thought this statement was a very good.  I have grown up in a home with a mother and father who both put the Lord as first priority in their lives.  After that, they endeavor to keep their marriage as the priority relationship.  They are both wonderful people.  I am truly blessed to be their daughter!

Someone once told my sister and I that we had a very high standard in our dad to line suitors up with.  This is completely true.  Our dad's chief motivation is the Lord, and he does truly cherish his wife.  Thus, he has  a happy wife, and happy children.  Our parents, like all, have rough times too.  But they come through - because the Lord is the center of their love and motivation.  I hope that I can walk in the example of my mother's love and commitment to the Lord, and that someday I will be blessed with a husband who's actions and principles are motivated, as my father's, by a love and commitment to the Lord.

Photo Credit:
http://myheartisalwayshome.blogspot.com/2011/04/and-dash-of-love.html

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The only fire which will burn away the dross!


"God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness." Hebrews 12:10

How would the great work of sanctification go on in a person--if they had no trials?

Trouble is often the only fire which will burn away the dross which clings to our hearts.

Trouble is the pruning-knife which Christ employs in order to make us fruitful in good works. The harvest of the Lord's field is seldom ripened by sunshine only. It must go through its days of wind and rain and storm.

"Before I was afflicted I went astray--but now I obey Your Word." Psalm 119:67

(by J. C. Ryle)


Photo Credit:
http://www.m300ministries.org/blog_m300_director/view/533/the_refinery

Friday, May 11, 2012

"Be still--and know that I am God!" Psalm 46:10

 This is God's message to His people, even during the most terrible convulsions of nature, the most cruel wars, and the most painful trials! The Lord reigns and works, even in the most dreadful circumstances.

The Lord is constantly doing His will, and accomplishing His purposes--and He never forgets His promises.

Be childlike. Run to your Father's arms and nestle in His bosom! Realize safety in your Father's love and power. He will tenderly . . .
  hold you in the hollow of His hand,
  hide you under His wings, and
  carry you in His bosom as the shepherd does the lamb.

"Be still," for though painful at present--your trial will soon be over. Know that God is supreme and works all things after the counsel of His own will. Know that God never loses sight of you, or forgets your frame and your weakness. Exercise patience, relieve your burdened heart by prayer--and wait in full expectation of a blessing.

As the darkest cloud, often bears the most fruitful shower--so the darkest circumstances, often usher in the choicest mercies. Only . . .
  yield yourself to God,
  keep close to the loving heart of God,
  and submit to the will of God.
Then you will be able to . . .
  carry any cross,
  bear any trial, or
  endure any affliction!

Be silent, be calm, be still--the Lord rules as King forever!

Do not complain--for it will displease the Lord.
Do not murmur--for it will grieve Him.
Do not fear--for it will dishonor Him.

Instead, be still--for your safety is provided for.
Be still--for your needs shall be supplied.
Be still--for all things shall work together for your good.
Be still--for God bids you, and all will end well.

Take me into Your nearness, dear Lord, and help me to be still. Calm my foolish fears and my fearful imaginations. In all of life, help me, O Lord, to be still.

 (James Smith, "Comfort for Christians!")


Photo Credit:
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yAkRnyUIBZg/TmzB5YQvHnI/AAAAAAAAAfw/NZ-SNBgK3f8/s1600/lighthouses.jpg

What Does the Church Need?

by James Smith (1856)
 
"Our gospel came to you not simply with words — but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction." 1 Thessalonians 1:5
 
"We have," said one pastor, "the gospel regularly preached, the prayer meetings are continued, the church is in peace — but very few souls are converted to God! What does our church need?" 

It needs the presence and power of the Holy Spirit! For unless the Holy Spirit works — your minister may preach, your church may meet — but no real good will be done! God's work is carried on, not by might nor by power — but by the Spirit of the Lord Almighty. It is the Spirit who must . . .
   open the heart, 
   quicken the soul, and 
   sanctify the person!

And if the Spirit works — then the feeblest ministry is efficient, and the smallest church prospers!

All the success that followed the preaching of Peter, and the labors of Paul — was from the Holy Spirit. Therefore Paul says, "God gave the increase." Then the church felt her need of the Spirit; she realized her dependence on that divine Agent; she prayed with faith, fervor, and importunity for the blessing; and God answered her prayers, and filled His servants with the Holy Spirit and with power!

But now-a-days, we merely talk of the Spirit — rather than feel our need! We boast of our instruments — rather than realize our dependence on the Almighty Agent!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Can A Believer Lose Salvation?~ Steve Fuller

This was a fantastic post by Steve Fuller on Living By Faith Blog!  He did such a great job of approaching biblically a much "debated" topic, the assurance of salvation, in a concise and clear way!  This is well worth the read!

 
Lose salvation?

Two Sundays ago I preached from Matthew 5:28-30, where Jesus calls us to sexual purity and motivates us with a strong warning –
“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.”
He does not mean this literally — because elsewhere Jesus says sin is not caused by our eyes — but by our hearts (Mark 7:21).
So Jesus is saying — spare no effort to fight sexual sin, because if you continue in sexual sin you could end up in hell.
Whoa.
So how should we understand this?

Two wrong ways to understanding this warning
One wrong way would be — “This warning can’t apply to me, because I am already saved, and believers can’t lose salvation.”
The problem with this response — is that Jesus gives this warning to believers — His disciples (Mat 5:1-2).
And — many similar warnings are given to believers — like in Rom 8:13; 1Cor 15:1-2; Gal 5:19-21; Gal 6:8; Eph 5:5-6; Col 1:22-23; Col 3:5-6; and Heb 10:26-27.

So this warning must apply to believers.

Another wrong way to understand this warning would be to say — “This warning means I could lose salvation — I can be genuinely trusting Christ and born again but still end up in hell.”

This is wrong because Scripture teaches that when God saved you He started a work in you which He will continue until you enter heaven — which means no genuinely saved person will face hell.
I see that in passages like Jer 32:40; John 10:28-29; Rom 8:28-30; Phil 1:6; and Jude 1:24-25.

So how should we understand Jesus’ warning?
The warning is given to believers.  And it warns that if we continue in sexual sin we could face hell.
So how does this warning fit the truth that we can’t lose salvation?

Here’s how –

When God saved us He supernaturally changed our hearts so we repent of sin and trust Jesus as Savior, Lord, and Treasure.
But that’s not all.
He also changed our hearts so we fear Him and respond to His warnings.  You can see that in Jeremiah 32:40
I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them.  And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.
So one crucial difference between saved people and unsaved people is that saved people fear God and respond to His warnings.

How this works
So when saved people face sexual temptation, they hear Jesus’ warning and say to themselves –
If I pursue sexual sin, I could face hell.”
Because God has changed their hearts, this causes them to fear — and to cry out to Jesus for help.
And as they pray, and fight to trust God’s promises, the Spirit  strengthens their faith, shows them Jesus’ glory, and satisfies their hearts so they don’t sin.
But saved people are not perfect.
So sometimes when they face sexual temptation, they sin.
But — because they have been saved — it won’t be long before they hear Jesus’ warning, and say to themselves –
If I continue in sexual sin, I could face hell.”
And because God has changed their hearts, this causes them to fear — and to turn back to Jesus for forgiveness and cleansing.
And when they turn back, confessing their sin, He loves them, washes them clean, assures them of their forgiveness, and strengthens them to fight again.

What about someone who doesn’t respond?
What if someone faces sexual temptation, ignores Jesus’ warning, and sins?
And what if he continues with no repentance, no remorse, no confession?
Then — unless something changes — that would probably show he was never saved in the first place.
And — tragically — he will face hell.
Not because he lost salvation.  But because his continuing in sin without repentance, remorse, or confession shows he never had salvation.

Don’t misunderstand
We are not saved by our sexual purity or by fighting against sin.
We are saved only one way — by faith alone in Christ alone (Eph 2:8-9).
So to be saved we don’t first need to become more sexually pure.
To be saved we turn to Jesus as we are — in our sexual impurity — and trust Him to save us, forgive us, change us, and satisfy us in Himself.
When we do that –
  • God forgives all our sin — past, present, and future (1John 1:9).
  • God changes our hearts so we desire Jesus more than anything (Luke 18:27).
  • God pours His love into our hearts, satisfying us completely (Rom 5:5).
  • God changes our hearts so we pay heed to His warnings, fight against sin, and turn back to Him when we sin (Jer 32:40).
So we don’t get saved by becoming more sexually pure.  We become more sexually pure by becoming saved.

A long and windy road
Picture the road to heaven as a steep mountain road, with treacherous turns of sexual temptation — turns with such steep drop-offs that — if we fall — would mean eternal destruction.
When God saves you, and places you on this road to heaven, He promises to keep you on this road — which means nothing can pluck you off this road — nothing can cause you to fall from this road.
But if this road has treacherous turns of sexual temptation — how can He promise to keep you on the road?
Two reasons –
One is because at every treacherous turn He’s posted a warning — “If you come near — you could fall to eternal destruction.”
The other is because He’s changed your heart so you pay heed to His warnings.
By God’s grace — every saved person will respond to God’s warnings and turn back before going over the edge to destruction.

Two take-aways
First, respond to God’s warnings.
Understand that if you are pursuing sin then you could face hell.  But also understand that the moment you turn back to Christ, pleading with Him for help, He is running to you with everything you need.
Second, rest in God’s promises.
If you are trusting Jesus as Savior, Lord, and heart-satisfying Treasure — know that He will keep you from stumbling, He will not let you stumble off the road to eternal destruction, He will surely bring you to heaven.
Your eternal destiny is secure.  You cannot lose salvation.

~Steve Fuller from Living By Faith Blog (I highly recommend this blog!)

The sovereign decrees and allotments of Your infinite wisdom!


"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised!" Job 1:21

O my Father, let me feel, even amid the troublous changes of life, that what I am apt to call painful vicissitudes--are the sovereign decrees and allotments of Your infinite wisdom!

Let me rejoice that every bitter drop in the 'cup of life'--is appointed by my Heavenly Father! May I submissively drink it, saying, "May Your will be done!"

What I cannot now comprehend--be it mine to wait the disclosures of that blessed morning when, standing at the luminous portals of Heaven, I shall joyfully acknowledge that, "You have done all things well!"

I look forward to that time when all Your inscrutable dealings will be unfolded, when inner meanings and purposes now undiscerned by the eye of sense--will be brought to light, and all discovered to be full of infinite love! Other refuges may fail--but I am as secure in You, as everlasting love and wisdom and power can make me!

Blessed Jesus! I would seek to cleave closer and closer to Your cross! May I follow You, O Lamb of God--wherever You see fit to lead me. May I never feel as if I would wish one jot or tittle regarding me to be altered--when the reins of universal empire are in Your hands!
 (John MacDuff, "Evening Incense" 1856)

Photo  Credit:
http://i282.photobucket.com/albums/kk275/shaybonham/Nature/Trees/trees.jpg

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The last river that we must all pass over~ but don't be afraid!

 

The Israelites were necessitated first to pass over the Jordan River, before they could enter Canaan, the promised land. But no sooner had the feet of the priests, who bore the ark of the covenant, rested in the water--but the proud waves saw it and fled, and the swelling streams were driven back, and congealed in heaps to enable them to pass over with safety.

Every child of God resembles an Israelite in this respect; he is passing through the wilderness of this world, and traveling to the land of promise. DEATH is that Jordan River which runs between this wilderness world--and our heavenly Canaan. Death is that swelling stream which overflows the banks of every mortal creature. It is that last river which we all must pass over!
But this is the happiness which believers have--that Jesus Christ, our High Priest, who bears the everlasting covenant upon His shoulders, has already dipped His feet in the streams of this water, so that the streams of bitterness are diverted, the sting of death plucked out, the waters of the salt sea dried up; yes, the power of the curse cut off, so that death is but a sure step to glory!

Why then am I afraid to die? The channel is dry! I see the footsteps of my Savior at the bottom--and Heaven and happiness on the other side! The waters cannot overwhelm my soul!
They may go over my sins,
they may go over my foes,
they may go over my miseries,
they may go over my troubles,
but my soul shall pass over to its eternal rest!

Lord, therefore fit and sanctify me for death--and then take down my earthly tent. I cannot be with You too soon!

"I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!" Philippians 1:23

~Thomas Sherman

Monday, May 7, 2012

Which Jesus Do you Follow?

What About all the Religions that Profess to Believe in Jesus?
In this three-minute video clip, Mark Spence, from Living Waters, will prepare you to have a ready answer to this question. 

 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Let's Look at Salvation . . . What is it really?

Voddie Baucham is one of a kind!  How blessed we have been through the teaching of this man.  We listened to this message by him on our way to church and were so challenged and encouraged that we wanted to share it with you.  Was Nebuchadnezzar saved?  Are you?  Did he do something to earn salvation?  Did you?  Do you need to do something?  These are just a few of the questions that Voddie sheds some light on.  I walked away realizing some inconsistencies in what I believe and how I verbalize some things in regard to salvation.  You will learn a bit of history and perhaps be challenged to take a second look at the scripture in line with what you think salvation is all about.   Well worth 56 minutes of your time.  Consider it an investment!
 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Two Signs


Let DESERVED! be written on the door of Hell;
but on the door of Heaven, THE FREE GIFT!

"For the wages of sin is death--but the gift of
 God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord!"
    Romans 6:23 
 (Richard Baxter, "The Saints' Everlasting Rest")

Friday, May 4, 2012

                                                 
“The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be;
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
And worship only thee.”

Taken from Charles Spurgeon's Morning Meditation, May 4th

It will cost you something!


(J. C. Ryle)

"And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me, cannot be My disciple." Luke 14:27

Do you wish your soul to be saved?

Then remember, you must choose who you will serve.
You cannot serve both God and mammon.
You cannot be on two sides at once.
You cannot be a friend of Christ--and a friend of the world at the same time.

You must come out from the people of this world, and be separate; you must put up with much ridicule, trouble, and opposition--or you are lost forever. You must be willing to think and do things which the world considers foolish, and to hold opinions which are only held by a few. It will cost you something! The stream is strong--and you have to stem it. The way is narrow and steep--and it is no use saying it is not. But depend on it, there can be no saving religion without sacrifices and self-denial.

"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:17-18

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Do not be anxious about anything!


This short devotional really spoke to me this morning.  I don't know that I have ever thought about dealing with our cares and worries the same way we deal with our sin.  -Laying them at Christ's feet and leaving them there; they should no longer be binding to us.  He has our paths planned, and we will be able to serve Him more completely and with greater joy if we will lay our worries at His feet and simply trust His promises and walk down the path He has set before us.

(James Smith, "Daily Food for the Lord's Flock!" 1848)

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God!" Philippians 4:6

Prayer is . . .
  always seasonable,
  always necessary,
  and always profitable!

We should do with our cares as we do with our sins--carry them to Jesus, and cast them on Him.

In every place the throne of grace is near--at all times God is accessible to us. Every trouble furnishes us with a message to Him!

"Cast all your care upon Him, for He ever cares for you!" 1 Peter 5:7

~Posted by Brittany