Tag Archives: Blessing

From “Light and Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes” by Horatius Bonar

The Christians Continuance In The Law.

“Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”- Jam_1:25.

It is of ‘blessedness’ that the apostle is speaking here; the blessedness of doing, not of believing, or rather, of doing as the result of believing. Paul dwells on the latter, James on the former. Both are to be kept in view. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven (Psa_32:1); and blessed is he ‘that believeth’ (Luk_1:45; Joh_20:29). But blessed also are ‘they that do His commandments’ (Rev_22:14); blessed are ‘they that keep His testimonies’ (Psa_69:2); blessed is the man ‘that delighteth greatly in His commandments’ (Psa_62:1). Let us see the apostle’s statement here.

I. The law-This is the Hebrew torah, the Greek nomos, the Latin lex, and the English law; all of them expressive of two great ideas,-a superior that instructs and enjoins, an inferior that learns and obeys. It touches our minds as instruction; and our wills as precept. Through these two it touches or operates upon our life. In some parts it touches more the former, as in the psalms, in others our wills, as in the ten commandments, though sometimes it is mixed, as in Proverbs and the prophets. We do not take up the question whether ‘law,’ as used by James, refers exclusively to the Sinaitic code. We affirm, however, that it includes these, as is evident from Jam_2:8; Jam_2:12; Jam_4:2, where two of the ten are specified, and the summary of the law is given, ‘the royal law.’ Plainly, then, the apostle refers to the moral law in his epistle. If any one say that James was writing to Jews, we answer, (1) Paul, writing to Gentiles, uses law in reference to the ten commandments (Rom_13:8-10). (2) This makes no difference, for they were believing Jews, members of the body of Christ.

II. The perfect law.-By this we understand the same as in Rom_7:12 : ‘The law is holy (as a whole), and the commandment (each of its commandments) holy, and just, and good.’ It is altogether ‘perfect,’ complete in all its parts; not reduced, or narrowed, or modified; fully unfolded; more fully now than ever; established (Rom_3:31); not destroyed; fulfilled by Christ, and to be fulfilled by us as His disciples. The law is now expanded to the uttermost, and exhibited in all its parts; held forth in all its fullness. Never was its excellence and righteousness seen so gloriously. Some of the excellent names applied to it are,-(1) spiritual, Rom_7:14; (2) holy, Rev_7:16; (3) just, ib.; (4) good, ib.; (5) fiery, Deu_33:2; (6) perfect, Psa_19:7. The 119th Psalm is full of expressions denoting in manifold ways its excellence and glory; its entire and divine perfection.

III. The law of liberty.-It is only bondage to the unforgiven. To those in reference to whom its penalty has ceased, it is a law of liberty. Obedience to it is true liberty. The greater the obedience, the greater the liberty. Disobedience is bondage. ‘I will walk at liberty, for I seek Thy precepts’ (Psa_119:45). Twice over in James it is called the law of liberty; for the law, fulfilled in Christ, and presented to us in the gospel, though unchanged and unmodified, is a law of liberty. In obeying it we are enjoying and exercising true freedom.

IV. We are to look into it.-This means stooping down so as to gaze closely into, as in 1Pe_1:12. We are to study the law, the whole law. It will unfold its riches to us. There is no terror in it now to make us shrink back. It smiles on us. Let us hide it in our hearts. Thus David speaks: ‘I will meditate in Thy precepts’ (Psa_119:15); ‘In His law doth he meditate day and night’ (Psa_1:2). ‘Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things’ (Psa_119:18). ‘Thy servant did meditate in Thy statutes’ (Psa_119:23). Psa_119:30; Psa_119:40; Psa_119:48; Psa_119:71; Psa_119:78; Psa_119:93-95; Psa_119:97; Psa_119:99; Psa_119:131; Psa_119:148. In the cross we see the law magnified and made honourable; let us then study it as thus illustrated and interpreted by the cross. The cross is a magnifying glass for revealing the breadth and purity of the law, yet with all that could terrify us taken away.

V. We are to continue in it-Looking and study is not enough. We are to abide in it, be molded thereby. ‘I do not forget Thy law’ (Psa_119:153). ‘I will have respect unto Thy statutes continually’ (Psa_119:117; Psa_119:112; Psa_119:102; Psa_119:93; Psa_119:83). It is not a look, nor even a compliance, nor many compliances; it is a continuing in the law that is enjoined on us. Steep yourself in its spirit; abide in it (Pro_28:4). ‘Thy law is within my heart’ (Psa_90:8).

VI. The blessedness of so doing-That man shall be blessed in the doing; not merely after the deed, but in the doing. In keeping Thy commandment there is great reward. ‘Great peace have they that love Thy law’ (Psa_119:165); that delight in the law (Psa_119:24; Psa_119:77). The apostle delighted in the law, found blessedness in keeping it. Obedience is blessedness. Each act of obedience is so. Fill the whole life with such acts, and you fill it with blessedness. Love is the fulfilling of the law, and each act is a flowing out of love to God and man. All acts of love are blessedness.

We are delivered from the law’s condemnation. We are ‘not under the law, but under grace.’ But shall we obey it the less? No, the more; for to this end we are delivered, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us. The condemnation of the law is cancelled, that the righteousness of the law might be free to exhibit itself in us, who are still ‘under the law to Christ;’ for the law is still good, if a man use it lawfully.

 

 

From “Morning and Evening” by C.H. Spurgeon

“Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord!”  – Deu_33:29

He who affirms that Christianity makes men miserable, is himself an utter stranger to it. It were strange indeed, if it made us wretched, for see to what a position it exalts us! It makes us sons of God. Suppose you that God will give all the happiness to his enemies, and reserve all the mourning for his own family? Shall his foes have mirth and joy, and shall his home-born children inherit sorrow and wretchedness? Shall the sinner, who has no part in Christ, call himself rich in happiness, and shall we go mourning as if we were penniless beggars? No, we will rejoice in the Lord always, and glory in our inheritance, for we “have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but we have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” The rod of chastisement must rest upon us in our measure, but it worketh for us the comfortable fruits of righteousness; and therefore by the aid of the divine Comforter, we, the “people saved of the Lord,” will joy in the God of our salvation. We are married unto Christ; and shall our great Bridegroom permit his spouse to linger in constant grief? Our hearts are knit unto him: we are his members, and though for awhile we may suffer as our Head once suffered, yet we are even now blessed with heavenly blessings in him. We have the earnest of our inheritance in the comforts of the Spirit, which are neither few nor small. Inheritors of joy for ever, we have foretastes of our portion. There are streaks of the light of joy to herald our eternal sunrising. Our riches are beyond the sea; our city with firm foundations lies on the other side the river; gleams of glory from the spirit-world cheer our hearts, and urge us onward. Truly is it said of us, “Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord?”

Voice of the Past – R. A. Torrey

THE SECRET OF BLESSEDNESS IN HEART,
BEAUTY IN CHARACTER,
FRUITFULNESS IN SERVICE,
AND PROSPERITY IN EVERYTHING

By R. A. Torrey

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psa_1:1-3.

IN these verses, God speaking through the Psalmist sets before us the secret of blessedness in heart, beauty in character, fruitfulness in service, and prosperity in everything. Are not these the four things that we all desire for ourselves? These verses tell us in the plainest sort of way how we may obtain them. They tell us that if we will not do three things and will do two things, we shall have blessedness in our hearts, beauty in our characters, fruitfulness in our service, and prosperity in whatsoever we do.

I. THE THREE THINGS WE MUST NOT DO.

The three things that we must not do are, First, Walk in the counsel of the ungodly; second, Stand in the way of sinners; third, Sit in the seat of the scornful, i.e., we must come out from the world and be separate in our walk, in our standing and in our sitting. As to our walk, we must not walk in the counsel of the ungodly; we must get our directions as to our walk from God and not from the world. We must not ask what the world does or advises, we must ask what God tells us to do. As to our standing, it must not be in the way of sinners; as to our sitting, or continuous fellowship, it must not be in the seat of the scornful. We will not dwell on these three things that we must not do for the words are so plain as to need no comment; what they need is not so much to be expounded as to be obeyed, and furthermore, if we do the two things which we must do we will be sure not to do the three things which we must not do.

II. THE TWO THINGS WHICH WE MUST DO.

The first of the two things which we must do is “Delight in the law of the Lord.” The Law of the Lord is God’s will as revealed in His Word and these words tell us that it is not enough merely to read God’s Word; indeed, that it is not enough even to earnestly study God’s Word, we must delight in God’s Word. We must have greater joy in the Word of God than in any other book, or in all other books put together. Now doubtless many of us will have to admit that we do not delight in the law of the Lord. Probably we read it, quite likely we study it diligently, but we read it and study it simply because we think it is our duty. As to delighting in it, we do not. If many of you were to reveal the exact facts about yourself, you would have to say, “I would rather read the newspaper than the Word of God. I would rather read the latest novel than the Word of God.” When I was thirteen years of age, I was told that if I read three chapters in the Bible every week-day and five every Sunday, I would read the Bible in a year, and I started out to do it, and I have read the Bible every day of my life from that time to this, but for years I did not delight in it. I read it simply because I thought I ought to, or because I was uneasy if I did not, but as for delighting in it, it was the dullest, stupidest book in the world to me. I would rather have read last year’s almanac than the Bible. And what was true of me then, and remained true for years, is true of many a professed Christian to-day. They may study the Bible every day but simply do it from a sense of duty or because their conscience is uneasy if they do not.

What shall one do if he does not delight in the law of the Lord? The answer is very simple.

(1) First of all, he must be born again. The one who is truly born again will love the Word of God. The Lord Jesus says in Joh_8:47, “He that is of God heareth God’s words: Ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” The little Greek word which is translated “of” in this passage is a very significant word. It really means and should be translated “out of,” i.e., in this connection “born of”; and what Jesus said was that the one that was born of God would have an ear for God’s word, and that the reason that the Jews did not really have an ear for God’s Word was because they were not born of God. One of the clearest proofs that a man is born of God is that he loves, delights in God’s Word. I have seen men and women pass in a moment from an utter distaste for God’s Word to an abounding delight in God’s Word by simply being born again.

“But,” some one will say, “how may I be born again?” God Himself answers the question in a very simple way in Joh_1:12. “But as many as RECEIVED HIM, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” According to these words the way to be born again is by simply receiving Him, receiving the Lord Jesus. The moment any man, woman, or child really receives Jesus to be to themselves all that He offers Himself to be to anyone, to be their Saviour from the guilt of sin by His death upon the cross, to be their Saviour from the power of sin, by His resurrection power (Heb. 7:25) and to be their Lord and Master, to whom they surrender the entire control of their lives (Act_2:36), that moment that man, woman or child is born again and with the new life thus obtained they will get a new love, a love for God and a delight in His Word.

(2) In the second place, in order to delight in the law of the Lord we must feed upon it. Jeremiah says in Jer_15:16, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them ; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.” The reason why many do not delight in the Word of God is because they do not eat it. They read it ; they skim over it, they smell of it, but they do not eat it, and yet they wonder why they do not delight in God’s Word. What would you think if some day some friend came to visit you who had never eaten strawberries, and you should get for him a dish of our wonderful California strawberries. You tell him how delicious they are and set them before him you are called away but in an hour or two you come back and you say to your friend, “How did you like those strawberries?” He replies, “I did not care for them. I have seen many things that I have enjoyed more.” In surprise you say, “What, did not care for them?” “No, they seemed very ordinary to me.” For a moment you are puzzled, and then you say to him, “Did you eat the berries?” “No,” he answers, “I did not eat them. I smelled of them and I have smelled many things that smell better.” Well, that is the way that many, even of professing Christians treat the Word of God. They just smell of it, they skim over a few verses, or many verses, or many chapters, but they do not stop to eat a single verse. They do not chew the words, swallow them and assimilate them. Oh, how different the Word of God becomes when we really eat it. Take for example, the most familiar passage in the Bible, the verse that most of us learned first of all, Psa_23:1, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” It sounds beautiful even when we merely read it, but how sweet it becomes when we stop and ponder it, weigh the meaning of the words, chew each word in it. When we ask ourselves first of all, “Who is my shepherd?” And then stop for a while to meditate upon the fact that it is JEHOVAH who is our Shepherd. Then ask ourselves, “What is Jehovah?” “My Shepherd.” And then stop and think what is involved in being a shepherd and what it means to have Jehovah as our SHEPHERD. Then ask ourselves “Whose shepherd is Jehovah? My Shepherd.” Not merely the Shepherd of men in general but my own Shepherd. A stranger entered a Presbyterian Church one day and was shown to a pew. The congregation rose to read the 23rd Psalm. A young lady sitting next to him, handed him one corner of her Bible as they read. As they read the first verse, he took a pencil out of his pocket and drew a line under the word “My.” When the service was over, the young lady said to him, “Do you mind telling me why you drew the line under the word My?” “Well,” he replied, “The Lord is my Shepherd. I was wondering if He were yours.” Next dwell on the word, “I,” then on the word “shall” with all the certainty that there is in the word then on the word “not” then on the word “want” and ask yourself all that is implied in the statement, “I shall not want.” Ah, the old familiar verse becomes so much sweeter as we eat it, chew and chew it and swallow it and digest it and assimilate it. If we thus eat different portions of the Bible day by day we would soon find a joy in it that we find in no other book. The only word that would express our relation to the book would be “DELIGHT.” The second of the two things that we must do is “meditate in the law of the Lord day and night.” These words tell us how to study the Word and when to study it.

(1) First, How to study it. “MEDITATE” therein. We live in a day in which meditation is largely a lost art. It is largely a lost art in all our study. We send our children to school, they are not allowed to think; they are simply crammed and crammed we cram them with physiology, biology, psychology and all the rest of the ologies ; until they themselves become mere ape-ologies for real thinkers. We try to see how many branches we can cover in a few years and how much of each branch we can cram in. A child in the Grammar School grade has twelve studies; a child of thirteen will be set to writing a criticism on Tennyson’s “In Memoriam.” This is a good way to develop conceited fools, but it is no way to develop thinkers. Set a child of thirteen to criticizing Tennyson’s “In Memoriam” and by the time she is eighteen she will be criticizing the Word of God itself. But cram, cram, cram, is the word of the hour in modern education. If our children studied fewer subjects and really studied and mastered those they did study, they would know more and be of more use in the world. But it is in Bible study especially that meditation is a lost art. We try to see how many chapters we can study in a single day. We get up a chart that covers the whole plan of the ages and all of God’s dealing with men, angels and devils, from the eternity back of us to the eternity before us and expect to master it in thirty minutes or an hour. This is an excellent plan for making ourselves think that we are very wise; it is a miserable plan for getting the real nourishment out of the Word and the real honey out of the rock. We should not so much say, “I will read so many chapters in a day,” as “I will spend so much time each day in really studying and feeding upon the Book.” Sometimes we will give to a single verse, or a single word, that will arrest our attention, all the time we put into Bible study that day. There is no greater enemy to successful study than hurry, and this is especially true of Bible study. One night I was teaching a Bible class in Minneapolis. A travelling man from New York, a very active member of St. George’s Episcopal Church, dropped into my class. He had to take the train for the Far West soon after the class and I walked down to the station with him. As we walked he said to me, “Tell me in a word how to study my Bible.” That is a pretty large contract to put into a single word, How to study the Bible, and I replied, “If I must put it into one word, that one word would be Thoughtfully. Think on what you study; look right at it, weigh it, weigh every word, turn it over and over and over meditate upon it.”

But the words of the Psalmist tell us not merely how to study the Word but when to study it, “DAY AND NIGHT.” Many people are asking, “Must I study the Bible fifteen minutes every day, or a half hour a day or two hours a day?” “Day and night,” replies the Psalmist. This, of course, does not mean that we should be sitting with an open Bible before us every moment of the day and night. But it does mean that having had some regular time for Bible study, that after that time for Bible study is over we should carry away in our mind and heart what we have studied and meditate upon it as we go about our business, our household duties, or whatsoever we have to do. Oh, how much lighter and pleasanter the drudgery of life becomes if we go about it with the Word of God in mind and heart, meditating thereon in the midst of our wearing toil. I know of nothing else that will keep one in such perfect peace and abounding joy in these days of war and gloom and agony as meditating on the Word of God day and night.

III. THE RESULT.

And now what will be the result of our separating from the world in our walk, in our standing, in our sitting and of our delighting in the law of the Lord and meditating thereon day and night?

1. First of all, we will have blessedness in heart. “Blessed is the man,” says our text that “walketh not/etc. The Hebrew word translated “blessed” is a very peculiar word in the Hebrew. It is not a participle at all, but a noun and a noun in the plural. Literally translated it would be “blessednesses of the man,” i. e., how manifold and varied is the blessedness and happiness of the man that does not do these three things and does do these two things. This world knows no joy so varied, so full, so manifold, so wonderful as the joy that comes to the one who is separated from the world and who meditates on the Word. I know all about the joy that comes from reading good literature; I have been a passionate devourer of books from early childhood. When I was a boy. I would get a book and hide away in some corner and devour it until my mother would come and say, “Oh, Archie, why don’t you take your gun and go out hunting?”

But all the joy that I have found in the study of the best literature, in the study of science, in the study of philosophy, can never for a moment compare to the joy that I have found in meditating on the Word of God. So sweet has that joy become that oftentimes I am tempted to say that I will read no book but the Bible. I remember one night the first winter I was in Chicago. I had been very busy that day, answering my correspondence, and teaching in the Bible Institute in the morning, studying in the afternoon, and preaching that night. I got to my house late, after 11 o’clock, pretty thoroughly tired. I sat down for a little while to find rest in Bible study before I went to bed. I was reading the Bible through in course and had reached the last book in the Bible. In those days I did not care as much for that book as for other books sometimes I had even been tempted to wish that the book was not in the Bible, but as that was where I was in my reading the Bible in course, I began reading the 11th chapter of the book. When I reached the 15th verse, The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever, such joy swept into my soul as I took in the meaning of the words that I do you know what I did? Of course you do. I shouted aloud. I was not brought up to shout in meeting. I was brought up in the Presbyterian and Episcopal churches. I never heard anyone say “Amen” except where it came in the regular place in the service until after I was in the ministry, and the first time a man said “Amen” when I was preaching it so upset me that I nearly lost the thread of my discourse. I cannot shout to this day in public, but, oh, when alone with God and His Book sometimes such a joy sweeps into the soul that nothing but a shout will give relief.

2. Second, we shall have beauty of character, “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water.” What is more beautiful than a well-watered tree in full leaf, the maples and the oaks and the beeches in the East, our palms and pepper trees and umbrella trees here in the West? Well, the one who refrains from doing the three things mentioned above and does the two things mentioned will be just like that tree in full leaf. His character will be full of beauty. If we had time, I could show you from the Word of God how every grace of character is the result of Bible study. The Psalmist says in Psa_119:9, “Where withal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” In the 11th verse he says, “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Nothing else has the power to keep a man from sinning and nothing else has the power to adorn a man with all possible graces of character that the study of the Word of God has.

3. Third, we shall have fruitfulness in service. “Bringeth forth his fruit in his season.” Do we not all long to be fruitful Christians? So many of us are fruitless. The great secret of being fruitful is intelligent study of the Word of God. The Apostle Paul in writing to Timothy in 2Ti_3:16 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” The Revised Version says, “complete, furnished completely unto every good work.” How? Through what the Apostle has just said, through the study of the inspired Word of God. A man may study everything else in the world, psychology, philosophy, pedagogy, and even theology, but if he does not study the Word of God he is not fitted for real work for God. He will have no measure of success in winning souls. But a man may be quite ignorant of other branches of knowledge but if he really studies and understands his Bible, he will have all the knowledge one needs to be a fruitful Christian and an efficient winner of souls.

4. Fourth. There will be one other result of not doing the three things and doing the two things, and that is prosperity in everything: “whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Are we not all seeking for prosperity ? There is no other way to get it than the way laid down in our text, but this road to prosperity is safe and sure. No one ever walked it without becoming prosperous in whatsoever he did. This, of course, does not mean necessarily that he will have what the world calls prosperity. He may not become a rich man, but he will have real prosperity in everything he undertakes. Some years ago I preached in Chicago a sermon on “The Power of the Word of God,” or “The Advantages of Bible Study.” I had in my congregation that morning a young man who was leading a rather defeated life. He was a Christian, but not a very effective Christian. He was a married man with a small family of children and was getting $12.50 a week. His work required him to get up at two or three o clock in the morning to go on the market to buy for the house for which he worked. As he listened to the sermon that morning he made up his mind that instead of getting up at two o clock or three o clock in the morning, he would get up at one or two o clock in the morning in order that he might have a solid hour for Bible study before going to his work. He came on in his Christian experience by leaps and bounds and he came on in his business relations too. “Within a year he went into business for himself. The first year he made $5,000 in his business, the next year I have been told that he made $10,000, and some one has told me that the next year he made $15,000, and he has gone on advancing from that day until this; but that is not the best of it, he came on in his Christian character and in his efficiency in Christian service. He is to-day one of the most used laymen in Chicago, identified with and a leader in every aggressive movement that is taken up by the Christians of the city, a tower of strength in his own church, a generous giver to the work of Christ at home and abroad, with three sons and one daughter following in his steps. “Whatsoever he doeth prospers.”

Now I am not saying that if anyone will begin to study the Bible an hour a day he will spring from $12.50 a week to $5,000 a year, but I am saying, and what is better, God’s Word says it, he will have real prosperity in everything he undertakes. Do you want blessedness in your heart, beauty in your character, fruitfulness in your service, and prosperity in everything you do, then stop walking in the counsel of the ungodly, stop standing in the way of sinners, stop sitting in the seat of the scornful and begin to delight in the law of the Lord and meditate therein day and night.

 

 

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian

LIVING IN THE FLOW OF GOD’S BLESSINGS

When they were slaves in Egypt, the Israelites had to pump water from the Nile River to irrigate their crops and put food on the table. Can you imagine slaving every day on an old foot pump just to get by? But then things changed for the better. God told them, “Go in and take over the land…flowing with milk and honey…not like the land of Egypt…where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot” (vv 8-10 NIV). There’s a lesson here. You can reach a place in your walk with God where you get “off the pump and into the flow”; where you stop “sweating it,” because God’s goodness flows into every area of your life. But this promise is conditional–it’s for those who obey God: “Observe therefore all the commandments I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land” (v. 8 NIV). Obedience is like having the right access code. It enables you to make withdrawals on God’s blessing because you are walking in His will. We all want to live in the flow of God’s blessing, right? Yet too few of us do. Who are these “blessed” people? (1) Those who act on God’s instructions. (2) Those who confront the giants of fear in their life. (3) Those that refuse to be swayed by the “wilderness mentality” of others. (4) Those who have the faith to say, “The Lord…will lead us into that land…[He] will give it to us…do not be afraid (Nu 14:8-9 NIV). And you can be one of those people.

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian

WEATHERING THE FINANCIAL SHAKEUP (3)

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale was a young minister during the Great Depression.  His salary had been cut twice.  He says: “Everyone was frightened and depressed.  Businesses were failing.  Nobody could borrow money.  The pressure got worse, and for the first time I was terrified.  I said to my wife, ‘We’re in a desperate situation.  We can’t pay the bills.  What are we going to do?’  Her answer startled me: ‘We’re going to start tithing!’  I said, ‘With what?  It’s impossible.’  ‘Not impossible,’ she replied, ‘essential.’  We’re going to get by on 90 percent of your salary.  Tithing is an act of faith and if we have faith as a grain of mustard seed, nothing will be impossible.’  She was right, we did get by.  Money didn’t pour in, but there was always enough.  Furthermore, the act of tithing seemed to calm my fears and stimulate my mind.  There’s an invisible reservoir of abundance that’s tapped when you obey God’s law.”  The Bible says, “The blessing of the Lord makes…rich…and…and adds no sorrow” (Pr 10:22 NLT).  God’s ability to bless you doesn’t depend on what’s happening in the economy.  When you honor Him with your tithes and offerings, He will ‘open …the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing…there will not be room enough to receive…And…{He} will rebuke the devourer for your sakes”(Mal 3:10-11 NKJV).  In the Old Testament when God’s people “began bringing their gifts to the…temple” there was “enough…and plenty to spare.”  Why?  Because the Lord had “blessed His people.”  Would you rather depend on man’s economy or on God’s blessing?  The choice is yours!

From “Winslow, Evening Thoughts”

     Something to add to my letter on forgiveness….

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? until seven times? Jesus says unto him, I say not unto you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22

IF there is a single exercise of divine grace in which, more than in any other, the believer resembles God, it is this. God’s love to man is exhibited in one great and glorious manifestation, and a single word expresses it-forgiveness. In nothing has He so gloriously revealed Himself as in the exercise of this divine prerogative. Nowhere does He appear so like Himself as here. He forgives sin, and the pardon of sin involves the bestowment of every other blessing. How often are believers called upon thus to imitate God! And how like him in spirit, in affection, and in action do they appear, when, with true greatness of soul and with lofty magnanimity of mind, they fling from their hearts, and efface from their memories, all traces of the offence that has been given, and of the injury that has been received! How affecting and illustrious the example of the expiring Redeemer! At the moment that His deepest wound was inflicted, as if blotting out the sin and its remembrance with the very blood that it shed, He prayed, as the last drop fell, and as the last breath departed, “Father, forgive them.” How fully and fearfully might He have avenged Himself at that moment! A stronger than Samson hung upon the cross. And as He bowed His human nature and gave up the spirit, He could as easily have bowed the pillars of the universe, burying His murderers beneath its ruins. But no! He was too great for this. His strength should be on the side of mercy. His revenge should wreak itself in compassion. He would heap coals of fire upon their heads. He would overcome and conquer their evil, but He would overcome and conquer it with good: “Father, forgive them.”

It is in the constant view of this forgiveness that the followers of Christ desire, on all occasions of offence given, whether real or imaginary, to “forgive those who trespass against them.” Themselves the subjects of a greater and diviner forgiveness, they would be prompt to exercise the same holy feeling towards an offending brother. In the remembrance of the ten thousand talents from whose payment his Lord has released him, he will not hesitate to cancel the hundred pence owing to him by his fellow-servant. Where, then, will you find any exercise of brotherly love more God-like and divine than this? In its immediate tender, its greatest sweetness and richest charm appear. The longer it is delayed, the more difficult becomes the duty. The imagination is allowed to dwell upon, and the mind to brood over, a slight offence received, perhaps never intended, until it has increased to such magnitude as almost to extend, in the eye of the aggrieved party, beyond the limit of forgiveness. And then follows an endless train of evils-the wound festers and inflames; the breach widens; coldness is manifested; malice is cherished; every word, look, and act is misinterpreted; the molehill grows into a mountain, the little rivulet swells into an ocean, until happiness and peace retire from scenes so uncongenial, and from hearts so full of all hatred and strife. But how lovely in its appearance, and how pleasurable in the feelings it enkindles, is a prompt exercise of Christian forgiveness! Before the imagination has had time to distort, or the wound to fester, or ill-minded people to interfere, Christian love has triumphed, and all is forgiven!

How full of meaning is our blessed Lord’s teaching on this point of Christian duty, in our motto! It behooves us prayerfully and constantly to ponder His word. True love has no limits to its forgiveness. If it observes in the bosom of the offender the faintest marks of regret, of contrition, and of return, like Him from whose heart it comes, it is “ready to forgive,” even “until seventy times seven.” Oh who can tell the debt we owe to His repeated, perpetual forgiveness? And shall I refuse to be reconciled to my brother? Shall I withhold from him the hand of love, and let the sun go down upon my wrath? Because he has trampled upon me, who have so often acknowledged myself the chief of sinners, because he has slighted my self-importance, or has wounded my pride, or has grieved my too sensitive spirit, or, it is possible, without just cause, has uttered hard speeches, and has lifted up his heel against me, shall I keep alive the embers of an unforgiving spirit in my heart? Or rather, shall I heap coals of fire upon his head, not to consume him with wrath, but to overcome him with love? How has God my Father, how has Jesus my Redeemer, my Friend, dealt with me? Even so will I deal with my offending brother. I will not even wait until he comes, and acknowledges his fault. I will go to him, and tell him that at the mercy-seat, beneath the cross, with my eye upon the loving, forgiving heart of God, I have resolved to forgive all, and will forget all.

 

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian – Give Your Children These Four Things

    Something every parent should give their kids.

GIVE YOUR CHILDREN THESE FOUR THINGS

     Give your children these four things: (1) Instruction.  “Do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.  Teach them to your children” (Dt 4:9 NIV).  It is not the responsibility of the government or the school system to instill character and convictions in your child; it’s your job!  And God will hold you accountable for it.  (2) Correction.  “Discipline your children while there is hope” (Pr 19:18 NLT).  Children who know how far they can go are relieved of a great burden.  Knowing your authority will stand gives them security.  When they learn that no really means NO, they’ll be able to say it to others, and to their own impulses.  (3) Blessing.  “Joseph said to his father, ‘They are my sons’…And he (Jacob) said, ‘Bring them….and I will bless them.”  Old Testament parents laid hands on their children because they believed the blessing of God was transferrable.  If nobody did this for you then start a new tradition,  for with God’s blessing comes peace, long life, and prosperity (See Dt 28).  That’s why the enemy has attacked you so often; he’s trying to break the link through which the blessing of God comes.  Don’t let him.  (4) Example.  A great preacher once looked into the crib of his infant son, and prayed: “Lord, if ever You made a man, make me one now.  Let my life, my example and my prayers mold him into someoneYou can use.  And, Lord, let me die twenty-four hours before I say or do anything that would cause him to stumble.”