Monday, September 1, 2014

Butterfly-Hunting!

"As children catch at butterflies, the gaudy wings melt away in their fingers, and there remains nothing but an ugly worm!"

Such is the end of all earthly ambitions! They cost us a weary pursuit, and if we gain our desire, it is destroyed in the grasping of it!

Alas, poor rich man, who has wealth, but has lost the power to enjoy it!

Alas, poor famous man, who in hunting for honor, has learned its emptiness!

Alas, poor beautiful woman, who in making a conquest of a false heart, has pierced her own with undying sorrow!

A butterfly-hunt takes a child into danger, wearies him, trips him down, and often ends in his missing the pretty insect. If, however, the boy is able to knock down his victim with his hat, he has crushed the beauty for which he undertook the chase, and his victory defeats him!

The parallel is clear to every eye. For my part, let me sooner be the schoolboy, dashing after the painted insect than his father worrying and wearying to snatch at something more deceptive still.


It is time that I am done with all butterfly-hunting!
My years are warning me that I may hope soon to be with Christ Himself, and see greater beauties than this whole creation can set before me! I am now bent on pursuing nothing but that which is eternal and infinite. Keep me to this resolve, I beseech you Lord.
 
[Charles H. Spurgeon]
 
 
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Matthew 6:19-21 ... Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
 
 
Mark 8:35-36 ... For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.  For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

 
 
Colossians 3:2-3 ... Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

This Perfect Pattern

Oh that this blessed Scripture might always lie warm upon our hearts. A Christian's whole life should be nothing but a visible representation of Christ. It is not only our liberty but our duty and glory, to follow Christ inviolably in all His moral virtues.

Other patterns are imperfect and defective, but Christ is a perfect pattern!  Of all His children, they are the happiest, who come nearest to this perfect pattern.

[Thomas Brooks]


     



1 John 2:6 ... He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
 
 
1 Peter 2:21 ... For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
 
 
Proverbs 4:18 ... But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Two Friends

Winnie The Pooh ~ If there ever comes a day when we can't be together keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever.
 
[A. A. Milne]
 

 
 
Proverbs 27:9 ... Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.
 
 
 
Proverbs 27:17 ...  Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.


Ecclesiastes 4:9 ... Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
 
 
Romans 12:10 ... Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;❤

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Believers' Graces

The believers' graces are  weapons to defend them,  wings to elevate them,
jewels to enrich them,  spices to perfume them,  stars to adorn them,  cordials to revive them, and  evidences for Heaven, when death is near.

When grace flourishes, sin cannot thrive. 
Grace is Christ's portrait drawn on the soul. 
The river of grace can never be dried up, for the Spirit of God is the spring which feeds it.

Here on earth, Christ puts His graces upon His spouse; in Heaven He will put His glory upon her.

[Thomas Watson]


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Romans 6:14 ... For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.



Hebrews 4:16 ... Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.



Titus 2:11-14 ... For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Let My Life be Filled

"When men have much to say in a letter, and perceive that they have little paper left, they write closely."

Looking at the shortness of life, and the much that has to be written upon life's tablets, it befits us also to do much in a short space, and so to write closely.

"No day without a line!" is a good motto for a Christian.

A thoroughly useful life is very short, for it is but a span but how much may be crowded into it for God, our souls, the Church, our families, and our fellows!

We cannot afford wide blanks of idleness. We should not only live by the day, but by the 20 minutes, as Wesley did. He divided each hour into three parts.

So scanty is our life's space, that we must condense and leave out superfluous matter giving room only to that which is weighty and of the first importance.

Lord, whether I live long or not, I leave to your discretion. But help me to live while I live, that I may live profitably. You can give life more abundantly. Let me receive it, and let my life be filled, packed and crammed, with holy thoughts and words and deeds to Your glory!

 
[Charles H. Spurgeon]
 
 
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1 Corinthians 7:29 ... But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;
 
 
 
2 Thessalonions 3:6 ... Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
 
 
John 10:10 ... The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Best Friend

Some brothers are not friends. But the brotherhood of Jesus is one that possesses all the qualities of truest Friendship. The man Christ Jesus, the Elder Brother, illustrates the word; "There is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother."

Of all the gifts of God, next to Himself, there is not one so precious as a true friend. This is a treasure which no gold can buy, no genius invent, no power produce. The wealthiest are poor without it, and an empire's crown would be a worthless bauble, if, amid the crowd of courtiers who do it homage, there are none who, for his own sake, love the wearer of it.

Friendship implies reciprocity, mutual sympathy, respect, affection, service. It is much more than kindness shown by one and received by another; much more than beneficence on the one hand and gratitude on the other. There are conventional uses of the word which give a very inadequate idea of its true meaning. A mere acquaintance, known enough to be recognized in the street, is sometimes so designated. With more reason we might thus speak of one who has done us some valuable service. Those also for whom we feel compassion and sympathy, or to whom we have ourselves shown kindness, we may regard as friends, because we have "befriended" them.

But "friendship" implies much more; there must be corresponding communion. It is not enough that one should render and another receive affection and service, each must love and serve the other; kindred sympathies stretching their tendrils to intertwine each with each. Beneficence however generous in the one, and gratitude however sincere in the other, are not enough to secure the special charm of friendship, when the interests, honor and happiness of both are shared.

Such true friendship gilds all pleasures, soothes all sorrows, decorates with flowers the roughest path, and cheers with songs the darkest night. A true friend, strong to help, wise to counsel, tender to sympathize, unselfish, unchanging is a priceless gift from God. Oh, then, what must be the blessedness of those to whom Jesus, the model Friend, the infinitely mighty, wise, tender, and faithful One, says, "YOU ARE MY FRIENDS."
 
[Newman Hall]
 
 
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John 15:15 ... Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
 
 
James 2:23 ... And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
 
 
Proverbs 18:24 ... A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Walk in Righteousness

If we walk in righteousness He will carry us through.

[A. B. Simpson]





Psalm 15:1-2 ... Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?  He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.


1 Peter 3:13-14 ... And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;


Isaiah 33:15-16 ... He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;   He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Most Generally Prevailing and Ensnaring Sin

Covetousness is a sin from which few people are entirely free. It is eminently a deceitful sin! It is decried and condemned in others—by multitudes who live in the habit of it themselves! It is very difficult to fix a conviction of this sin upon those who are guilty of it!

Whether drunkards or profligates regard the warnings of the preacher or not, when he declares that those who persist in those evil practices, shall not inherit the kingdom of God, they at least know their own characters, and are sensible that they are the people intended.

But if the preacher adds, "nor the covetousness person, such a man is an idolater" the covetous man usually sits unmoved, and is more ready to apply the threatening to his neighbor than to himself! If he now and then gives a few dollars to some charity he does not suspect that he is liable to the charge of covetousness!

I consider covetousness as the most generally prevailing and ensnaring sin, by which professors of the gospel, in our materialistic society, are hindered in their spiritual progress. A disposition deeply rooted in our fallen nature, strengthened by the custom of all around us, the power of habit, and the fascinating charm of wealth is not easily counteracted.

If we are, indeed, genuine believers in Christ, we are bound by obligation, and required by our Scriptural rule to set our affections on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. Christ has called us out of the world, and cautioned us against conformity to its spirit. While we are in the world—it is our duty, privilege, and honor to manifest that grace which has delivered us from the love of the world. Christians must indeed eat and drink, and may buy and sell, as other people do. But the principles, motives, and ends of their conduct, are entirely different, they are to adorn the doctrine of God their Savior, and to do all for His glory!
 
[John Newton]
 
 
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Ephesians 5:5 ... For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
 
 
Psalm 119:36 ... Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
 
 
Luke 12:15 ... And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Thoughts of God

The thoughts of a great man on earth; how valued! With what feelings then, shall we ponder the thoughts of God! We treasure the thoughts of the wise and the good for their own sake  but how is their value enhanced when they are personal, and have a special reference to ourselves? These "Thoughts of God," are thoughts toward us. "I know the thoughts that I think towards you." "Your thoughts which are to us." "How precious also are Your thoughts unto me, O God."



We peruse with additional interest the diary, the recorded thoughts  of those with whom, while living, we interchanged hallowed friendship, and whose regard and love we had been privileged to enjoy. In opening the "Divine Diary"  unfolding the Divine Thoughts as these are recorded in Sacred Scripture  we have the elevating assurance, "this Great Being loves ME, pities me,  carries me on His heart!" If it is consoling to be much in the thoughts of a revered earthly friend, then what must it be to occupy the thoughts of ONE, better than the best, more loving than the most loving human relative?



An earthly father writes his son in a distant land, 'You are never absent from my thoughts.' Such, too, is the comforting declaration of our Father in Heaven. The humblest and loneliest of His children on earth can say, "I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinks upon me!"
 
[John MacDuff]
 
 
 
 
 
Psalm 139:17-18 ... How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.


Psalm 40:5 ... Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.


Jeremiah 29:11 ... For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Golgotha!

Golgotha was a spot of all others the most disgraceful; and so He who occupied the loftiest seat of honor in heaven stooped to the very lowest, in order to lift up to the highest those for whom Golgotha had been a more fitting place.

Golgotha was a region of death. Here was the palace of the last enemy; here he held his revels. It was death's chief temple; here ghastly sacrifices were continually offered up. Here, at the very citadel of death, they led Christ to do battle with death.

Golgotha! There is a legend that it was the very center of the earth's surface, the middle point of the habitable globe. We think nothing of the legend, but very much of the truth it suggests. For the cross of Christ is the true center of the church, where all believers meet, of all tribes and nations, of all parties and sects. Here all may forget their differences; here all, who from different directions converge, are one church.

Golgotha! There is a legend that the body of Adam was buried there, and that the blood of Christ trickled down until it reached the bones; which then were clothed again with flesh and revived. We think nothing of the legend, but very much of the truth which it suggests. For when by faith the blood of Christ is applied to our guilty souls, the old Adam, dead by sin, lives again, but lives renewed and purified. Christ is the second Adam, who remedies the ruin of the first, and by whom paradise lost becomes paradise regained.

Golgotha! It was the "place of a skull." And all are going there. Every possession, every enjoyment, has death for its goal. However beautiful the path, it leads us ever onward to Golgotha. How closely does affection bind us to our friends! But they, too, are traveling to Golgotha; and every day brings us nearer to that "place of a skull." Those who have everything to make life happy, as well as those to whom life is a dreary waste of disappointment, are on their way to Golgotha! Those who are radiant with health and beauty, as well as those who are sickly or deformed, and to whom existence is a burden, are on their way to Golgotha! Those who have riches, and honor, and fame, and power, as well as the poor, the unknown or despised, are on their way to Golgotha!

But if by faith we are disciples and followers of Jesus, our Golgotha is changed by His. No longer the place of a skull, it becomes the gateway of glory. Sorrow turns to joy, sickness to health, poverty to riches, when, in company with Jesus, we are on our way to Golgotha. Yes, afflictions all become blessings, and death is life, through the grace of Him who was led to Golgotha.
 
[Newman Hall]
 
 
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John 19:17-18 ... And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:  Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
 
 
Matthew 27:33-34 ... And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,  They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
 

 
Mark 15:22 ... And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.
 
 
1 Peter 3:18 ... For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: