Tag Archives: Grace

A Thought on Missing One Now and Then…

Over the last month, I’ve been taking some time to recharge, but it’s been more than that.  Actually, it’s been more of a reset.  I’ve had to take some time away in order to reset my priorities, and to regain a proper perspective.  In what way, you may be asking, and the truth is in almost every way. Somehow I let my priorities get out of whack, and I didn’t even realize how out of whack they really were at first.  I hate admitting this but it is what it is.  Sometimes it’s not the “what” that gets you in trouble, but the “why.”

I don’t know about you, but if there’s a way I can get into trouble, I’m going to.  I can only imagine where I’d be if I was intentional about getting into trouble, and it’s only by the grace of God that I’ve never gotten what I fully deserve.  What’s so frustrating for me is that I have a rare talent in that even when I’m trying to do the right thing, I can still mess up.  I can’t remember where I saw it, or maybe I heard it….but it goes something like this, “It’s not enough to say or do the right thing, you’ve got to say and do it for the right reason.”  And, that’s even if you get the right result, or even a good result.

On a good day, I can maybe hit two out of three, or even three out of five, but as sure as I’m writing this, I’m going to miss something somewhere.  Now in case, you’re wondering where I’m going with this, it’s here, and I mean this in the kindest way: what I just said about me is equally true for you.  Nobody gets it right each and every time.  Even the highest, most professional of people, miss one every now and then.

And like them, when I miss as I sometimes do, grace is there to bridge the gap… No amount of human effort or skill can build a perfect bridge, can close every gap….I don’t know much, but I know that….and I also know the one who can.

From “Morning Thoughts” by Winslow

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” John 5:24

IF, then, the first implantation of the divine life in the soul is sudden; the advance of that work is in most cases gradual. Let this be an encouragement to any who are writing hard and bitter things against themselves in consequence of their little progress. The growth of divine knowledge in the soul is often slow-the work of much time and of protracted discipline. Look at the eleven disciples-what slow, tardy scholars were they, even though taught immediately from the lips of Jesus; and “who teaches like Him?” They drank their knowledge from the very Fountain. They received their light directly from the Sun itself. And yet, with all these superior advantages-the personal ministry, instructions, miracles, and example of our dear Lord-how slow of understanding were they to comprehend, and how “slow of heart to believe,” all that He so laboriously, clearly, and patiently taught them! Yes, the advance of the soul in the divine life, its knowledge of sin, of the hidden evil, the heart’s deep treachery and intricate windings, Satan’s subtlety, the glory of the gospel, the preciousness of Christ, and its own interest in the great salvation, is not the work of a day, nor of a year, but of many days, yes, many years of deep ploughing, long and often painful discipline, of “windy storm and tempest.”

But this life in the soul is not less real, nor less divine, because its growth is slow and gradual: it may be small and feeble in its degree, yet, in its nature, it is the life that never dies. How many of the Lord’s beloved ones, the children of godly parents, brought up in the ways of God, are at a loss, in reviewing the map of their pilgrimage, to remember the starting-point of their spiritual life. They well know that they left the city of destruction-that by a strong and a mighty arm they were brought out of Egypt; but so gently, so imperceptibly, so softly, and so gradually were they led-“first a thought, then a desire, then a prayer”-that they could no more discover when the first dawning of divine life took place in their soul, than they could tell the instant when natural light first broke upon chaos. Still it is real. It is no fancy that he has inherited an evil principle in the heart; it is no fancy that that principle grace has subdued. It is no fancy that he was once a child of darkness; it is no fancy that he is now a child of light. He may mourn in secret over his little advance, his tardy progress, his weak faith, his small grace, his strong corruption, his many infirmities, his startings aside like “a broken bow,” yet he can say, “Though I am the ‘chief of sinners,’ and the ‘least of all saints’-though I see within so much to abase me, and without so much to mourn over, yet this ‘one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see.’ I see that which I never saw before-a hatefulness in sin, and a beauty in holiness; I see a vileness and emptiness in myself, and a preciousness and fullness in Jesus.” Do not forget, then, dear reader, that feeble grace is yet real grace. If it but “hungers and thirsts,” if it “touches but the hem,” it shall be saved.

A Thought on Peter

I don’t know about any of you, but I have a habit of looking at my past, and when I do, I admit that I often see my failures far more often than I see my successes.  Ask me how I’ve failed, about my short comings, my temptations, my lack of confidence, and I can tell you all of them.  Seeing myself and all the bad things about me has never been my problem, but seeing the good things about myself has been, and quite truthfully still is.

I don’t like admitting this, but it is what it is.  Tonight I was reading about the apostle Peter.  There are times when I see a lot of myself in Peter.  I can look at his life with Christ, and I can see many of his failures in myself.  Peter denied Christ three times.  He told Christ Jesus he would never deny Him.  He did.  I have too.

I don’t like admitting this either, but it’s true.  Like Peter, I didn’t and don’t intend to, but it’s happened, and happens.  Do I go around telling people I don’t believe in Jesus.  No.  Maybe not with my voice, but in so many ways.  There are as many ways to deny love as to accept it, and there are as many ways to express hate, prejudice, bigotry, selfishness, and disdain and intolerance as there are ways to express the opposite.

Peter knew these things, felt these things, showed them in his life-even as He walked with Jesus.  Peter knew his failures.  Jesus knew them, too, and forgave them.  Peter was transformed by the love of Jesus.  Peter in the beginning was as we all are…an enemy…and yet through the love of Jesus became a pillar of the early church, and was so steady and brave in his devotion and love of Christ that he helped to change the world he lived in for Christ.  He lived and died loving Christ Jesus because He had experienced grace in His presence.

In the beginning Peter knew failure…In the end He knew success…in the middle grace had its affect, and it’s effect, and it still does…

 

 

A Small Thought on Grace by Wayne Augden

Sometimes we forget what’s important, and sometimes we fail to realize the importance of what we know.  Sometimes, we know and yet we fail to live out what we know, and there are times when we fail to understand things we experience every day.  Such is the case with grace.  Grace is simply this, undeserved merit, being loved and forgiven when we aren’t deserving or worthy of either one.

Grace cannot be earned!  Being good, following rules, doesn’t get it.  The only thing that gets grace is the willingness to receive it.  For so many including myself that’s the hard part.  That’s the struggle.

I struggle with a lot of things, and I’ve often felt guilty over the fact that I struggle, and yet it’s often in the act of struggling that we learn the value of what it is we want and what we have.

It’s also how we learn to recognize what it is, and what it isn’t.

Grace is free for the taking, but it isn’t cheap…and when you have it, you have no choice but to give it away.

From “Evening Thoughts” by Winslow

“Then Jesus spoke again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Joh_8:12

Are you, my reader, a searcher of this life? Are you breathing for it, panting after it, seeking it? Then be it known to you, that He who inspired that desire is Himself the life for which you seek. That heaving of your heart, that yearning of your spirit, that “feeling after God, if haply you may find Him,” is the first gentle pulsation of a life that shall never die. Feeble and fluctuating, faint and fluttering, as its throbbings may be, it is yet the life of God, the life of Christ, the life of glory in your soul. It is the seedling, the germ of immortal flower; it is the sunshine dawn of an eternal day. The announcement with which we meet your case-and it is the only one that can meet it-is, “THIS MAN RECEIVES SINNERS.” Oh joyful tidings! Oh blessed words! Yes, he receives sinners-the vilest-the meanest-the most despised! It was for this He relinquished the abodes of heavenly purity and bliss, to mingle amid the sinful and humiliating scenes of earth. For this He quitted His Father’s bosom for a cross. For this He lived and labored, suffered and died. “He receives sinners!” He receives them of every name and condition-of every stature and character and climate. There is no limit to His ability to pardon, as there is none to the sufficiency of His atonement, or to the melting pity of His heart. Flee, then, to Jesus the crucified. To Him repair with your sins, as scarlet and as crimson, and His blood will wash you whiter than snow. What though they may be as clouds for darkness, or as the sand on the sea-shore for multitude; His grace can take them all away. Come with the accusations and tortures of a guilty conscience, come with the sorrow and relentings of a broken heart, come with the grief of the backslider, and with the confession of the prodigal; Jesus still meets you with the hope-inspiring words-“Him that comes unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” Then, “return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon you; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon!”

 

From “Music For The Soul” by Alexander Maclaren

THE PARADOX OF LOVE’S MEASURE

Of His fulness we all received, and grace for grace. – Joh_1:16

It is the immeasurable measure, the boundless bounds and dimensions of the love of Christ, which fires the Apostle’s thoughts when writing to the Ephesian Church (Eph_3:17-19). Of course he had no separate idea in his mind attaching to each of these measures of magnitude, but he gathered them all together simply to express the one thought of the greatness of Christ’s love.

Depth and height are the same dimension measured from opposite ends. The one begins at the top and goes down, the other begins at the bottom and goes up, but the surface is the same in either case. So we have the three dimensions of a solid here – breadth, length, and depth.

And I suppose that I may venture to use these expressions with a somewhat different purpose from that for which the Apostle employs them; and to see in each of them a separate and blessed aspect of the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

And that love which thus towers above us, and gleams the summit and the apex of the universe, like the shining cross on the top of some lofty cathedral spire, does not gleam there above us inaccessible, nor lie before us like some pathless precipice, up which nothing that has not wings can ever hope to rise; but the height of the love of Christ is a hospitable height, which can be scaled by us. Nay, rather, that heaven of love, which is “higher than our thoughts,” bends down, as by a kind of optical delusion the physical heaven seems to do, towards each of us, only with this blessed difference, that in the natural world the place where heaven touches earth is always the furthest point of distance from us; and in the spiritual world, the place where heaven stoops to me is always right over my head, and the nearest possible point to me. He has come to lift us to Himself. And this is the height of His love, that it bears us up, if we will, up and up to sit upon that throne where He Himself is enthroned.

So round about us all, as some sunny tropical sea may embosom in its violet waves a multitude of luxuriant and happy islets, so all of us, islanded on our little individual lives, lie in that great ocean of love, all the dimensions of which are immeasurable, and which stretches above, beneath, around, shoreless, tideless, bottomless, endless.

But remember! this ocean of love you can shut out of your lives. It is possible to plunge a jar into mid-Atlantic, further than soundings have ever descended, and to bring it up on deck as dry inside as if it had been lying on an oven. It is possible for us to live and move and have our being in that sea of love, and never to have got one drop of its richest gifts into our hearts or our lives. Open your heart for Him to come in by humble faith in His great sacrifice for you. For if Christ dwell in your heart by faith, then, and only then, will experience be your guide; and you will be able to comprehend the boundless greatness, the endless duration, the absolute perfection, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge,

 

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

“My Beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.” – Son_5:4

Knocking was not enough, for my heart was too full of sleep, too cold and ungrateful to arise and open the door, but the touch of his effectual grace has made my soul bestir itself. Oh, the longsuffering of my Beloved, to tarry when he found himself shut out, and me asleep upon the bed of sloth! Oh, the greatness of his patience, to knock and knock again, and to add his voice to his knockings, beseeching me to open to him! How could I have refused him! Base heart, blush and be confounded! But what greatest kindness of all is this, that he becomes his own porter and unbars the door himself. Thrice blessed is the hand which condescends to lift the latch and turn the key. Now I see that nothing but my Lord’s own power can save such a naughty mass of wickedness as I am; ordinances fail, even the gospel has no effect upon me, till his hand is stretched out. Now, also, I perceive that his hand is good where all else is unsuccessful, he can open when nothing else will. Blessed be his name, I feel his gracious presence even now. Well may my bowels move for him, when I think of all that he has suffered for me, and of my ungenerous return. I have allowed my affections to wander. I have set up rivals. I have grieved him. Sweetest and dearest of all beloveds, I have treated thee as an unfaithful wife treats her husband. Oh, my cruel sins, my cruel self. What can I do? Tears are a poor show of my repentance, my whole heart boils with indignation at myself. Wretch that I am, to treat my Lord, my All in All, my exceeding great joy, as though he were a stranger. Jesus, thou forgivest freely, but this is not enough, prevent my unfaithfulness in the future. Kiss away these tears, and then purge my heart and bind it with sevenfold cords to thyself, never to wander more.

From “Zion’s Wayfarer” by Joseph Philpot

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus–whom God has set forth to be an atoning sacrifice through faith in his blood.” Romans 3:24; _3:25

Before we can have faith in Christ’s atoning blood, we must see the glory of the Person of the Lord of life. “We beheld his glory,” said John, speaking of himself and the other favored disciples, “we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” May I ask you a question, you who profess to know these things? Were your eyes ever anointed to behold the glory of Jesus? Did faith ever contemplate, did hope ever anchor in, did love ever flow forth to the glorious Person of Immanuel? Was he ever precious to your souls? ever “altogether lovely” in your eyes? so that you could say, “Whom have I in heaven but you? and there is none upon earth I desire beside you?”

Now, if you have seen his Person by the eye of faith, you have had faith flowing out of your soul to his atoning blood; for his atoning blood derives all its value, all its validity, and all its efficacy from its being the blood of that glorious Person. Upon that atoning blood we then view infinite dignity stamped. We then view it as the blood of Him who was God-man; and we then see the dignity, immensity, and glory of the Godhead of Jesus, stamped upon the sufferings and blood that flowed from his pure manhood. When we see that by the eye of faith, what a rich stream does it become! What a fountain opened for sin and uncleanness! What value is stamped upon it to purge and cleanse a guilty conscience!

Now, when this is known and felt, the soul is justified. Justification passes over from the mind of God into the bosom of the sinner. He never really was, in the mind of God, in an unjustified state; but he was in his own conscience, and he was as touching the law, and he was as regards his standing as a sinner before the eyes of a holy Jehovah. But the moment he is enabled, by living faith, to touch and take hold of the atoning blood of the Lamb of God, justification passes over into his soul, and he becomes freely justified, pardoned and accepted, through the blood of sprinkling upon his conscience; and he stands before God whiter and brighter than snow, for “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin.”

 

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One of the most clear, concise, posts I’ve ever read, and absolutely true. I pray this is shared by many…

A Particular Baptist Blog

If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
1 Corinthians 14:8

I know that the things we believe and preach place us in direct conflict with the religious world around us. That really shouldn’t surprise us. When our Lord Jesus told the religious leaders of his day the things regularly preached in this house of worship, they started grabbing rocks to stone him to death. So we must never be surprised when lost religionists get upset with us for preaching the gospel. Here are four things which place us in direct conflict with the entire religious world.

 God

That which we believe and preach about God himself is the primary, basic difference between us and those who do not believe the gospel. We believe, according to the plain statements of Holy Scripture, that the one true and living God, the God of the Bible…

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