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Grace Gems

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#1041
nChrist

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From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
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An ocean of consolation!

(James Smith, "Gleams of Grace" 1860)

"For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ!" 2 Corinthians 1:5

There is great consolation in Christ's unvarying love. The love of Jesus is always the same. It never ebbs--but flows on in one continuous stream. His love is . . .
  as ancient as eternity,
  as strong as omnipotence, and
  as unchangeable as His nature.

Creature love may fail, and creatures who love us today, may hate us tomorrow--but as Jesus ever lives, so Jesus ever loves. In His . . .
  covenant engagements,
  perfect sin-atoning work,
  tender sympathy,
  constant care,
  prevalent intercession,
  precious Word, and
  unvarying love--
there is an ocean of consolation!

Jesus is . . .
  our Substitute, restoring that which sin took away;
  our Surety, paying all the debts we would contract;
  our Shepherd, taking charge of our persons . . .
    to nourish them,
    to preserve them, and
    to set them before His Father's face forever.

His obedience is our righteousness.
His blood is our ransom price.
His death is our life.

There is consolation in Christ's tender and constant care, which extends . . .
  to all our circumstances,
  to all that concerns us,
  even to the very hairs of our heads!
He cares for . . .
  our needs--to supply them,
  our holy desires--to grant them,
  our eternal salvation--to secure it.

There is always consolation in Christ. Whatever may be our outward circumstances, and they may be very trying . . .
  in poverty and pain,
  under losses and crosses,
  however tempted or tried--
there is still consolation in Christ!

Creatures may prove crosses,
ordinances may be like wells without water,
providence may frown,
the meal barrel may be empty,
and the brook may dry up--
but there is still consolation in Christ.

Though . . .
harassed with doubts,
tormented with fears,
tortured with temptations,
shrouded in darkness, and
drinking the wine of astonishment
--there is still consolation in Christ.

All within may be discouraging, disheartening, and depressing--
  our evidences may be lost,
  our fears may be great,
  our convictions may be painful,
  and our terrors may be dreadful--
but there is still consolation in Christ.

Our immediate prospects may be dark . . .
  all going out--and nothing coming in,
  all losses--and no gains,
  disease may be working in our body,
  old age may be creeping upon us,
  our business may be failing,
  claims upon us may be increasing,
  our families may be increasingly trying
--but there is still consolation in Christ!

Yes, though the crops fail,
though provisions give out,
though resources are cut off, and
poverty stares us in the face--let things be as bad as they may, and threaten to be ever so much worse--there is still consolation in Christ.

Yes, when all without us is dark, and all within us dreary;
when friends are removed, and enemies increase;
when with Jacob we are ready to look around and before us, and say, "All these things are against me!" There is still consolation in Christ!

As there is always consolation in Christ--we should learn . . .
  to know and love Christ,
  to know and love Him well,
  to know and love Him experimentally,
  to know and love Him in His person, offices, and work,
  to know and love Him in His relations, characters, and love,
  to know and love Him as our unchanging source of supply, comfort, and peace.

We should trust Christ at all times and in all circumstances.
However our experiences may vary--He is ever the same!
His Word is like the great mountains!
His heart is an ocean of love!
His faithfulness reaches to the very Heavens!

He is our strength, and we must look to Him to strengthen us.
He is our wisdom, and we must look to Him to counsel us.
He is our righteousness, and we must look to Him to justify us.
He is all in all to us, and therefore we must . . .
  look to Him for all,
  go to Him with all, and
  expect Him to bring us through all.



#1042
nChrist

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From Grace Gems:
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O that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes!

(James Smith, "Gleams of Grace" 1860)

"You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes!" Psalm 119:4, 5

THE COMMAND. "You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently."
God's precepts are to be kept--we should keep them . . .
  in our minds and memories, and
  in our practice and daily behavior.

They are to be kept diligently . . .
  as our rule of conduct,
  as our guide in all of life.

They are to be kept with sincerity, promptness, and careful attention.

We should keep them as the command of God--of God who is our Father, the source and giver of all good things.

We should keep them too, as those who must give an account.

THE DEVOUT ASPIRATION. "O that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes!" This aspiration expresses a love to the precepts, and an approval of them. It intimates that there are hindrances or difficulties in the way of keeping them . . .
  Satan hinders,
  the world hinders,
  the flesh hinders.

This aspiration is a recognition of our weakness--and a desire for Divine strength. Divine influence is necessary to enable us to keep God's statutes. He who gives the precept--must give the wisdom and the strength, necessary to observe it. He who requires obedience--is ready to give us ability to render it. Let us then take every precept to His throne of grace, and with a hearty desire to do all that God commands, just because he commands it, and with a view to His glory; and cry out from the depths of the soul, "O that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes!"

Beloved, if we perform duty in a right spirit, it will soon become our delight. It will . . .
  bring us near to God,
  keep us dependent on Jesus, and
  lead us into close fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
It will preserve us from a thousand snares--and introduce us to a thousand unknown, and unexpected joys!

Gracious Lord, direct us daily, that we may keep your precepts diligently!



#1043
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True riches and honor!

(James Smith, "Gleams of Grace" 1860)

"Godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come!" 1 Timothy 4:8

"Riches and honor are with Me. Yes, enduring wealth and righteousness!" Proverbs 8:18

Riches and honor fascinate worldly men--they will therefore risk anything and everything in the pursuit of them. Tell a poor man how he may get a fortune, or a rich man how he may rise to honor--and they are all attention, and are prepared to do your bidding. To meet this disposition in man, Wisdom presents itself as the source of riches and honor, saying, "Riches and honor are with Me. Yes, enduring wealth and righteousness!" Wisdom represents Christ. To possess Christ, is to possess unsearchable riches! (Ephesians 3:8 )

THE WEALTH OF GODLINESS. "Riches are with Me." That is, all things necessary for life and godliness. The godly man is a truly wealthy man. A little of earth, with God's blessing, will go a long way with him. But the riches of godliness, are principally riches of grace--answering to that in nature, which procures food, clothing, medicine, residence, pleasure, and knowledge:
A godly man has bread to eat, which the world knows nothing of--even the bread of life, which came down from Heaven.
He is clothed with the best robe, even the Savior's righteousness; and wears the garments of salvation every day.
For his use, are the leaves of the tree of life, which heal the soul; and the famous balm of Gilead, which restores spiritual health, and preserves it.
To him, the Lord is a strong refuge, to which he may continually resort.
Of the divine rivers of pleasure he may drink.
He has an unction from the Holy One, and knows all things necessary for him to know.

The riches of grace, prepare for the riches of glory . . .
  a glorious heavenly mansion,
  a crown of righteousness, and
  an unfading and incorruptible inheritance!

Godliness is true wealth. It puts a man in possession of all that he will need in life and in death--and all that he can enjoy throughout eternity! The godly man is always rich, and though he may appear to be poor--as there is much laid up for him in Heaven! These are desirable riches, they cannot be lost!

THE DIGNITY OF GODLINESS. "Honor is with Me." Not the honor of the world, which is like a fading flower--but "the honor which comes from God alone." Jesus, the King of Heaven, is the source and giver of all spiritual honor. All His people are raised to dignity. What honor can exceed this, to be . . .
  the bride of the only begotten Son of God;
  the children of the Most High God,
  the brethren of the Lord of life and glory,
  the joint heirs with Jesus, who is Heir of all things,
  the forever friends of God, and
  made eternal kings and priests!
O the dignity conferred on every believer in Jesus--the poorest, the weakest, the most despised of them!

A godly man is always honorable. He may be despised now, his sun may be obscured by some cloud at present--but it will soon burst forth in splendor and glory! The world knows him not--but then it knew not Jesus. He is like Jesus in his humiliation now--but he will be like Jesus in his glorification before long.



#1044
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God is love!

(James Smith, "Gleams of Grace!" 1860)

"God is love!" 1 John 4:16

God is love in His nature. As God's nature is love--so His love must be like His nature.

Is He INFINITE? Then His love must be infinite love; and so it is, for it not only surpasses expression--but is beyond conception. "The love of God which surpasses knowledge."

Is His nature ETERNAL? Then His love must be eternal, and it is; as He says, "I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself!"

Is He IMMUTABLE? Then His love must be immutable, and it is from everlasting to everlasting the same. "For I am the Lord, I do not change; that is why you . . . are not consumed!"

Is He WISE? Then His love must be wisely fixed, wisely exercised, and wisely displayed.

Is He JUST? Then His love must be just; and it is, for by loving His redeemed people--He never interferes with the rights of others, or in any way injures them.

Is He FREE in the exercise of His perfections and prerogatives? Then His love must be free, and it is as free . . .
  as the shining of the sun,
  as the falling of the shower,
  as the descent of the dew!
God loves freely, without looking for a cause or reason in man.

Is He OMNIPOTENT? Then His love must be all-powerful; and blessed be His holy name, His sweet and gentle love always goes hand in hand with His omnipotence.

Is He HOLY? Then His love must be holy love, and so it is, for while it is fixed on the sinner--it never, directly, or indirectly, in any manner, or in any measure sanctions sin.

God is love, and the love of God is God Himself loving, in accordance with all the glorious attributes, and sublime perfections of His divine nature.

In Christ we were chosen,
in Christ we were blessed with all spiritual blessings,
in Christ we are preserved,
and in Christ we are loved.

To believers, God is love--pure, unmixed love.
All His thoughts of us are loving thoughts.
All His words to us are loving words.
All He does in us, for us, or to us--He does out of pure love!

"Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her!" Ephesians 5:25



#1045
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The description of the godly man

(J.R. Miller, "Evening Thoughts" 1907)

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." Psalm 1:1-3

In this Psalm, the description of the godly man is first negative:
  There are certain things he never does.
  There are places in which he is never seen.
  He does not make wicked men his advisers.
  He is not seen with those who are evil.
  No one ever sees him among mockers.
Thus the godly man is known by what he does not do.

Then there are certain things that the godly man does:
He loves God's word, reads it, and feeds upon it.
He is careful to live where his life may be nourished by the streams of grace.

As a result, he is like a tree in his beauty and in his fruitfulness. Fruit is the test of Christian character.

Then the godly man's life does not wither in heat or drought. It is perennial, and lives in all kinds of weather.

Another feature of his life is that everything he does prospers--not always in worldly things--but even in his losses and trials, he is still blessed. For, "We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!" Romans 8:28



#1046
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God keeps a tear-bottle!

(J.R. Miller, "Evening Thoughts" 1907)

"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book!" Psalm 56:8

Tears are sacred in God's sight. The Psalmist said that God keeps a tear-bottle, into which He puts the tears of His people. This means that God in Heaven hears the plashing of earth's tears. It means that His people's sorrows are sacred to Him, that He cherishes them, keeping them as memorials.

Our tears are precious to God, also, because in our sorrow He brings to us blessings which we never could receive but for our sorrow. One of our Lord's Beatitudes is for the sorrowing: "Blessed are those who mourn." It seems strange to us that mourning ones should be put among the blessed or happy ones. The reason is, because only those who suffer can get God's comfort, and this is such a blessing that it is worth while to have sorrow just to receive it.

God holds the tears of penitence as most sacred. Those who weep over their sins, cause joy in Heaven.

"When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them!" Luke 7:37-38



#1047
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A New Year's Resolution

(Matthew Henry)

"My times are in Your hand!" Psalm 31:15

Firmly believing that my times are in God's hand, I here submit myself and all my affairs for the ensuing year, to the wise and gracious disposal of God's divine providence. Whether God appoints for me . . . .
  health or sickness,
  peace or trouble,
  comforts or crosses,
  life or death--
may His holy will be done!

All my time, strength, and service, I devote to the honor of the Lord Jesus--and even my common actions. It is my earnest expectation, hope, and desire, my constant aim and endeavor--that Jesus Christ may be magnified in me.

In everything I have to do--my entire dependence is upon Jesus Christ for strength. And whatever I do in word or deed, I desire to do all in His name, to make Him my Alpha and Omega. I have all from Him--and I would use all for Him.

If this should prove a year of affliction, a sorrowful year to me--I will fetch all my supports and comforts from the Lord Jesus and stay myself upon Him, His everlasting consolations, and the good hope I have in Him through grace.

And if it should be my dying year--then my times are in the hand of the Lord Jesus. And with a humble reliance upon His mediation, I would venture into the eternal world looking for the blessed hope. Dying as well as living--Jesus Christ will, I trust, be gain and advantage to me.

Oh, that the grace of God may be sufficient for me, to keep me always a humble sense of my own unworthiness, weakness, folly, and infirmity--together with a humble dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ for both righteousness and strength.



#1048
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Lord, how can we know the way?

(J.R. Miller, "Evening Thoughts" 1907)

Thomas said to Him, "Lord, how can we know the way?"
Jesus said to him, "I am the way" John 14:5-6

This is the first day of a new year. We are setting out on a journey of which we can have no knowledge in advance. The road is one on which we never have gone hitherto. We know not what any day will have for us . . .
  what our duties will be,
  what burdens shall be laid upon us,
  what sorrows we shall have to endure,
  what battles we shall have to fight.

We cannot see one step before us! How can we know the way?

As we sit in the quiet, this first evening, and ask the question, we hear an answer which is full of comfort. Jesus says to us, "I am the way!"

All we shall have to do, therefore, will be to follow Jesus. He has made a way through this dark world for us. He has gone over all the journey and opened a road for us at great cost. He went over the way Himself--we shall find His shoe-prints at every step.

He has a definite way for each one of us. Every mile of the journey He has chosen--and every place where I pitch my tent He has selected for me!

"Leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps!" 1 Peter 2:21



#1049
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We shall have some hard climbing in our upward journey

(J.R. Miller, "Evening Thoughts" 1907)

"And of Asher he said: Your shoes shall be iron and bronze. As your days--so shall your strength be!" Deuteronomy 33:24-25

Asher's portion would be rough and hilly. Common shoes of leather would not last. The promise meant that Asher would have shoes that would endure the wear and tear.

For us, the promise suggests that we shall have some hard climbing in our upward journey--or we would not need iron shoes. It assures us also that we need not dread any hardness we may find in our life for the future, for it will be provided for. We shall have shoes of iron to wear, and then we shall not mind the steep and rugged paths.

God leads us nowhere, without providing for the special difficulties in the way.

We have the same assurance in the words that follow, "As your days--so shall your strength be." For easy days, we need less divine help and receive less. Then when the hard days come, the help will increase accordingly. There is not a step in all our journey for which God will not give us help, when we come to the place where we need it.

"Your shoes shall be iron and bronze. As your days--so shall your strength be!"



#1050
nChrist

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However low we may sink!

(J.R. Miller, "Evening Thoughts" 1907)

"The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms!" Deuteronomy 33:27

Of course God has no arms; but He reveals Himself to us in human language--the only language we could understand.

We know what a mother's arms, a father's arms, mean to a child. But human arms are frail, and any hour their embrace may be withdrawn. The other day a child was grieving by his mother's coffin--but the arms which had clasped the boy always so tenderly, could not move to comfort him.

But the arms of God are "everlasting." God holds His redeemed children in the strong embrace of His love! No matter what may come to us of danger, of calamity, of terror--they will still and ever enfold us.

These arms of God are ever and always "underneath" us. However low we may sink away in pain, in weakness, in sorrow--we shall never sink out of the divine arms! Jesus said no one can snatch His loved ones out of His hands.

In death, when we shall sink out of every human embrace--we shall still be in the clasp of God's love and His everlasting arms will be underneath us. Such a word as this assures us of eternal security in God's love!






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