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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Favorite Pastor Quotes 5

Favorite Pastor Quotes 5


Putting Clouds over the Sun!
Charles Naylor
 

little boy was walking down the street rejoicing in the possession of a bright new penny. He was going to buy some candy with it — and he could almost taste it already! But just then he dropped his penny upon the sidewalk — and an older boy seized it. The little boy began to cry and demanded his penny, but the other boy only laughed derisively. It was a mean trick. It spoiled the whole day for the young boy, and ever after when he thinks of the incident, he will have an unpleasant feeling. The older boy put a dark cloud over the little fellow's sun that day, and the shadow will be cast upon him through other days.
A number of people were sitting in a room talking over a matter. During the conversation one man made a charge against another, insultingly comparing him with a man whose conduct had been quite unfitting. The charge was like a dagger in the man's heart. He knew it was both untrue and unjust. He was conscious of the uprightness of his conduct. He had always held the other man in high esteem, and to be thus publicly wounded by him, was almost unbearable. He made no defense, but he went out of that room with an aching heart, humiliated and wronged. His friend had put a great cloud over his sun.
Years have passed, but the darkness of that cloud has not yet all passed away. When he thinks of the injustice, there is still a pang in his heart. He does not feel bitter toward the other person — he has forgiven him; but the close tie has been broken. He has never since been able to confide in the one who did him such an injury.
faithful minister had labored for years for souls. He had been successful — and had been a blessing to many. One day a certain person spoke of him half jestingly in a manner that aroused the suspicions of some others who were present. These suspicions grew until they became whispers, and the whispers grew until they became open charges. The minister could not prove them to be false. They hindered his labors. They bowed down his head with sorrow. Someone had put a cloud over his sun and over his name — and for years the dark shadow of it rested upon his life.
How easy it is to put a cloud over someone's sun — to make some life dark which might have been bright! It may seem only a little thing — but sometimes a little cloud can make a dark shadow. We may not see either the cloud or the shadow — but the heart that is darkened, both sees and feels.
How many times parents, by unkind words or actions, becloud their children's sky! One way in which parents do this is by telling the faults of their children to visitors, in the presence of the children. There is scarcely anything more disheartening to a child than this. He feels humiliated and hurt. He feels, and justly feels, that he has been mistreated. It sinks down into his soul and rankles there. It discourages him, and if it is often repeated — he comes not to care if he is at fault. Constant reproof and faultfinding — make a child's life gloomy and sad. That is not the way to cure faults — it is the way to make them worse!
I once knew a young saint who had a rich experience of salvation. A certain relative who opposed her religion began finding fault with her — and kept doing so at every opportunity. The result was that that young life was beclouded and a deep melancholy settled down over her. Her cheerfulness gave way to sadness and moroseness. The song of joy, once so often upon her lips — was stilled. Someone had put a cloud over her sun, and her life was never what it otherwise might have been.

Children may darken the hearts and lives of their parents. How many times is the mother-heart or father-heart grieved by the conduct of the children! It may be that they are only thoughtless — or they may be disobedient and willful. Young people, cherish your parents, try to make their lives as bright as you can. They have many cares. These are enough for them to bear, without your adding a single one. When you have grown older and they have gone out of your life — you may look back with a pang of regret at the times when you caused their hearts to ache. Brighten their lives while you may — then when you look into the open grave where Father or Mother is being laid to rest, your conscience will not smite you.
We are told that "no man lives unto himself." There is a circle of influence about our lives which affects every other life that we touch. We brighten or darken the lives about us. We lighten or make heavier the burdens of others. Every unkind word or look — makes a shadow on some life. Every slighting remark, every sarcastic fling, every contemptuous smile — puts a cloud over somebody's sun.

Lack of appreciation has darkened many a life. How much better it would be to take away the clouds, and to banish the gloom! You can do this just as easily as you can bring clouds. It is just as easy to speak kind words — as to speak unkind ones; and you will feel much better over it yourself. You can encourage and help — you can speak words of appreciation. When people please you — then let them know it. When people do well, or even when they try to do well and fail — then you can show that you appreciate their efforts. You can be cheerful and courteous and kind. That will make sunshine for others.
There are enough clouds in life at its best, in this world of sorrow. Be a sunshine-bearer! Drop a little good cheer into every life you touch. No matter what disposition you are by nature — you can form the habit of being cheerful and encouraging. Even when you have heavy burdens yourself — you can be encouraging and helpful to others.
Do not let your troubles be mirrored on your face. One's face can smile and his words can be cheery — even if his own heart aches. I am not writing a mere theory. I know what pain and gloom and heaviness are. I know what burdens are. During the first few months of my illness everyone knew how I felt. My face told the story without words. I finally saw that that would not do, and deliberately set to work to get the gloom out of my face and out of my words. You who read what I write, know something of my success. You can do the same by the grace of God.
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 The most hideous blasphemy ever to be spewed from the pit of darkness!

(Don Fortner)

Universal atonement is the most hideous blasphemy ever to be spewed from the pit of darkness! No greater blasphemy ever spewed from the pit of Hell, than the blasphemous assertion that Christ died to redeem the multitudes who suffer the wrath of God there!

Universal love, universal grace, and universal redemption--is meaningless love, meaningless grace, and meaningless redemption. To preach such is to preach a meaningless gospel, a meaningless god, and a meaningless savior! 

There is . . .
  no love except distinguishing love,
  no redemption except a particular redemption,
  no atonement except a limited atonement,
  no deliverance except an effectual deliverance, and
  no grace except irresistible, omnipotent, saving grace!

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

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Favorite Pastor Quotes 4

Favorite Pastor Quotes 4



The harlot in your bosom! 

(Thomas Watson, "The Godly Man's Picture Drawn with a Scripture Pencil")

"Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

There is usually one sin that is the favorite--the sin which the heart is most fond of. A godly man will not indulge his darling sin: "I kept myself from my iniquity." (Psalm 18:23). "I will not indulge the sin to which the bias of my heart more naturally inclines." 

"Fight neither with small nor great--but only with the king." (1 Kings 22:31). A godly man fights this king sin. If we would have peace in our souls, we must maintain a war against our favorite sin, and never leave off until it is subdued.

Question: How shall we know what our beloved sin is?

Answer 1. The sin which a man does not love to have reproved--is the darling sin. Herod could not endure having his incest spoken against. If the prophet meddles with that sin--it shall cost him his head! "Do not touch my Herodias!" Men can be content to have othersins reproved--but if the minister puts his finger on the sore, and touches this sin--their hearts begin to burn in malice against him!

Answer 2. The sin on which the thoughts run most--is the darling sin. Whichever way the thoughts go, the heart goes. He who is in love with a person cannot keep his thoughts off that person. Examine what sin runs most in your mind, what sin is first in your thoughts and greets you in the morning--that is your predominant sin.

Answer 3. The sin which has most power over us, and most easily leads us captive--is the one beloved by the soul. There are some sins which a man can better resist. If they come for entertainment, he can more easily put them off. But the bosom sin comes as a suitor, and he cannot deny it--but is overcome by it. The young man in the Gospel had repulsed many sins--but there was one sinwhich soiled him, and that was covetousness. 

Mark what sin you are most readily led captive by--that is the harlot in your bosom! It is a sad thing that a man should be so bewitched by lust, that if it asks him to part with the Kingdom of Heaven--he must part with it, to gratify that lust!

Answer 4. The sin which men most defend--is the beloved sin. He who has a jewel in his bosom, will defend it to his death. The sin we advocate and dispute for, is the besetting sin. The sin which we plead for, and perhaps wrest Scripture to justify it--that is the sin which lies nearest the heart.

Answer 5. The sin which a man finds most difficulty in giving up--is the endeared sin. Of all his sons, Jacob found most difficulty in parting with Benjamin. So the sinner says, "This and that sin I have parted with--but must Benjamin go! Must I part with this delightful sin? That pierces my heart!" A man may allow some of his sins to be demolished--but when it comes to one sin--that is the taking of the castle; he will never agree to part with that! That is the master sin for sure.

The besetting sin is, of all others, most dangerous. As Samson's strength lay in his hair--so the strength of sin lies in this beloved sin.This is like a poison striking the heart, which brings death.
A godly man will lay the axe of repentance to this sin and hew it down! He will sacrifice this Isaac; he will pluck out this right eye--so that he may see better to go to Heaven.
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Choosing to Do HARD Things

"I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me!" Colossians 1:29
The man who seeks only easy things—will never make much of his life. One who is afraid of hard work—will never achieve anything worth while.
In an art gallery, before a lovely masterpiece, a young artist said to Ruskin, "Ah! If only I could put such a dream on canvas!" "Dream on canvas!" growled the old master. "It will take ten thousand touches of the brush on the canvas—to put your dream there!" No doubt, many beautiful dreams die in the brains and hearts of people—for lack of effort to make them realities.
On the tomb of Joseph II, of Austria, in the royal cemetery at Vienna, is this pitiable epitaph, prepared by direction of the king himself. "Here lies a monarch who, with the best intentions, never carried out a single plan."
There are too many people who try to shirk the hard things. They want to get along as easily as possible. They have ambition of a certain sort—but it is ambition to have the victory without the battle; to get the gold without digging for it. They would like to be learned and wise—but they do not care to toil in study, and "burn the midnight oil," as they must do—if they would realize their desire. They wish to have plenty of money—but they hope to get it from some generous relative as an inheritance, or to have some wealthy person endow them. They have no thought of working hard year after year, toiling and saving as people have to do—to earn for themselves, with their own hands, the fortune of their dreams. They may have a certain longing to be noble and Christlike, with a character that will command respect and confidence—but they have not the spirit of self-denial and of earnest moral purpose, which alone can produce such a character.
They may want to be godly and to grow into worthy manhood—but lack that passionate earnestness which alone will yield vigorous piety, and manly virtue, and the heroic qualities of true Christlikeness. Mere "holy dreaming" will yield nothing better than spiritual effeminacy! No religion is worthy—which does not seek to attain the best things; and the best can be won only by the bravest struggle and the most persistent striving!

In all departments of life this indolent, easygoing way of getting on—is working its mischief. There is much of it in school or college. It also abounds in the trades and professions. A successful business man says that the chief reason why so many young men never get advancement nor make anything worth while of their lives—is the lack of thoroughness. They do only what is easy, and never grapple with anything that is hard. Consequently, they do not fit themselves for any but the easiest places, and no position of importance ever can be easily filled.

Indolence is the bane of countless lives! The capacities in them are never developed, for lack of energy. They do not rise—because they have not the courage and persistence to climb.

A mark of all noble character—is its desire to do hard things! Easy things—do not satisfy it. It is happiest when it is wrestling with some task which requires it to do its best. Young people are fortunate when they are required to do things, which it seems to them they cannot do. It is under such pressure, that they grow into their best.
One is usually thought to be particularly favored, who misses difficult experiences and the enduring of hardships in youth. "Until I was fourteen years old," said a lady in middle life, "I never had a disappointment of any kind." It was regarded as remarkably fortunate that her early life had been so easy—so free from anxiety or burden. But those who knew the woman well—saw in this very fact, the secret of much in her life that was not beautiful. Her indulged and petted girlhood—was not the best preparation for womanhood. She had not learned to endure, to submit to things that are hard. She had not grown strong, nor had she acquired self-discipline. Even in her mature womanhood, she was only a spoiled child who chafed when things did not go to please her.
It is not so easy—but it is better, if young people have disappointments, burdens and responsibilities, and do not always have their own way. Thus, they will be trained to self-restraint, and taught to submit their wills to God's.
Of course, not always do people get the lessons and the character they should get—out of the hard things of earlier years. Some are not good learners in life's school. Some grow bitter in disappointment, and lose the sweetness out of their lives when they have to endure trial.
But in all that is hard—there is the possibility of blessingThe goal of noble living, is to gather new virtue and grace—from all life's struggles, cares and sorrows.

It is perilous presumption, to rush into the battle when we have no business in it, when it is not our battle. Yet, on the other hand, we are not to be afraid of any struggle or temptation, when it lies in the way of our duty. It is cowardly to shrink from the battle—when we are called into it. When God leads us—he means to help us. No task which he assigns, will ever prove too hard for us—if we do our best in Christ's name. When we face a new condition for which it seems to us, that we have neither strength nor skill, the only question is, "Is it our duty?" If so, there is no doubt as to what we should do, nor need we have any fear of failure. Hard things become easy—when we meet them with faith and courage.
Some people have a habit of skipping the hard things. It begins in childhood in school. The easy lessons are learned, because they require no great effort—but when a hard one comes in the course, it is given up after a half-hearted trial. The habit thus allowed to begin in school-work easily finds its way into all the life.
The boy does the same thing on the playground. When the game requires no special exertion, he goes through it in a creditable enough way. But when it is hotly contested, and when only by intense struggle can the victory be won—he drops out. He does not have the courage or the persistence to make an intense effort.
The girl who lets her school lessons master her, who leaves the hard problems unsolved and goes on—soon begins to allow other hard things to master her. The home tasks that are disagreeable, or that would require unusual effort—she leaves unattempted. It is not long until the habit of doing only the easy things and skipping whatever is hard pervades all the life. The result is that nothing brave or noble is ever accomplished; that the person never rises to anything above the commonplace.
In many ways does this habit of failing at hard things hurt the life. These difficult things are put in our way, not to stop us in our course, but to call out our strength and develop our energy! If we never had any but easy things to do, things requiring no effort—we would never become strong! If we timidly give up whenever we come to something that is hard—we shall never get beyond the attainments of childhood! If we decline the effort, and weakly say we are not able to make it—we have lost our opportunity of acquiring a new measure of strength and ability.
We should not forget, that no one ever did anything of great value in this world—without cost. A quaint old proverb says, "One cannot have an omelet—without breaking eggs!" If we would do anything really worth while, that will be a blessing in the world—we must put into it not merely easy efforts, languid sympathies, conventional good wishes, and courtesies that cost nothing. We must put into it thought, time, patience, self-denial, sleepless nights, exhausting toil.
There is a legend of an artist who had found the secret of a wonderful 'red' which no other artist could imitate. The secret of his 'color' died with him. But after his death an old wound was discovered over his heart. This revealed the source of the matchless hue in his pictures. The legend teaches that no great achievement can be made, no lofty attainment can be reached, nothing of much value to the world can be done—except at the cost of heart's blood!
"I laborstruggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me!" Colossians 1:29

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Favorite Pastor Quotes 3

Favorite Pastor Quotes 3



For me!


"The Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me!" Galatians 2:20
Is Jesus precious to my heart?
Is He the object of my supreme admiration and delight?
Does He have my warmest affection?
Do I love Jesus above all?
I must light the torch of my affection for Christ--at the altar of Calvary. I must go there, and learn and believe what the love of Jesus is to me--the vastness of that love--the self-sacrifice of that love--how that love of Jesus . . .
  labored for me,
  and wept for me,
  and bled for me,
  and suffered for me,
  and died for me!
Can I stand before this love--this love . . .
  so precious,
  so great,
  so enduring,
  so self-consuming,
  so changeless--and know that . . .
    His sin-atoning sacrifice was for me,
    His cross was for me,
    His agony was for me,
    His scorn and insult was for me,
    His death was for me--
and feel no sensibility, no emotion, no love to Jesus? Impossible!
Do not be cast down, then, in vain regrets that your love to Christ is so frigid, so fickle, so dubious. Go and muse upon the reality and the greatness of the Savior's love to you--and if love can inspire love--while you muse, the fire will burn, and your soul shall be all in flame with love to Jesus!
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Matthew 17:1-6

(1) Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; (2) and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. (3) And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. (4) Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." (5) While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" (6) And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.
New King James Version 

Jesus clearly calls this mysterious occurrence a "vision" (verse 9). It was not reality but a glimpse of what the future held for Jesus Christ.
The word "transfigured" in verse 2 sounds esoteric, but it is merely the passive form of the Greek word metamorphoo, meaning "changed in form" or "transformed." This same word is used in the well-known Romans 12:2, ". . . be transformed by the renewing of your mind. . . ." Unlike Matthew and Mark, Luke uses the phrase egeneto heteron, translated as "was altered" and meaning "became different" (Luke 9:29). In the vision, the three disciples saw Jesus change to the form He will have in God's Kingdom, which He alluded to in Matthew 16:28.
Why did Moses and Elijah appear with Him? This is where the events of Matthew 16 become important. These two servants of God were the most revered among all the Old Testament figures. Moses, the Great Lawgiver, personified the Law, and Elijah, the Archetypal Prophet, the Prophets. Evidently, the vision depicted Moses and Elijah speaking to Jesus in a servant-Master relationship, but the disciples failed to see this vital distinction.
Notice how Peter puts it. "Let's make three tabernacles, one for each of you." The other accounts say he did not really know what he was saying, meaning that he had missed something in his fear, that he spoke without thinking it through (Mark 9:6Luke 9:33).
What happened as a result of his thoughtless comment? Notice that Matthew writes, "While he was still speaking. . . ." This is a big clue. God, immediately seeing that the disciples did not understand, took steps to make it plain. To paraphrase what God says, "Look! Jesus is MY beloved Son, and He has MY highest approval. Listen to what HE says! He is far greater than Moses and Elijah, the Law and the Prophets."
This is why the transfiguration occurred. God wanted to make it very clear to the disciples that His way of life is based on the life and death and life again of Jesus Christ, not on the Jews' traditional beliefs. He had to stun the disciples so that they would put Jesus and His teachings on a higher level than Judaism—even higher than the teachings of Moses and Elijah.
Whatever Jesus says is far more important to our salvation than the minutiae of Moses' law or the vagaries of prophecy. In many instances, Jesus makes upgrades to Old Testament law, giving a higher, spiritual meaning (for instance, Matthew 5:21-22). Hear Him!

~Richard T. Ritenbaugh~
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Why?


Instead of a river, God often gives us a brook--which may be running today, and dried up tomorrow.
Why?
To teach us not to rest in our blessings--but in the blesser Himself.
"Hold me up--and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117
"So do not fear--for I am with you! Do not be dismayed--for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand!" Isaiah 41:10
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BIBLE MEDITATION:
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” Psalm 19:7

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Speaking about the Bible a saint once said, “I have no greater pleasure than to be in a nook with the Book.” Do you think that way?

The Bible is the book that the martyrs held to their bosoms as the flames crept closer and closer. This is the book that the saints put their head upon as they went from this world into the next. This is the book that gives bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, life to the wayfarer, strength to the weak, and a weapon to the warrior.

God’s book rejoices the heart. It is completely trustworthy. There are over 6,000 promises in the Bible and not one has ever been broken.

ACTION POINT:
What would happen in the life of the church—and in your life—if you spent as many minutes in your Bible as in the newspaper? The television? Your cell phone?

~Adrian Rogers~

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Favorite Pastor Quotes 2

Favorite Pastor Quotes 2


Grounded in Truth


If we'll let the truths of Scripture fill our minds, guard our emotions, and influence our conduct, God will richly reward us. I'm talking about spiritual blessings here (though He at times chooses to bless materially as well). By reading and meditating on His Word, you'll learn to understand His ways. This isn't something we can figure out on our own, because His ways are unlike ours--they are higher, bigger, and eternal.
Also, your relationship with the Lord will grow increasingly more intimate because He chooses to reveal Himself to those who seek Him and obey His instructions. When you see that God always keeps His promises, your confidence in His faithfulness will soar. No matter what the situation, you'll know you can trust Him. Then He'll transform your worries into joyful anticipation about what He's going to do next in your life. Even if hard times await, you'll be convinced that the Lord will work them out for good.
A life grounded in truth is powerful. Those who live by the Word develop spiritual discernment, which guides their choices and guards against deception. Because they demonstrate wisdom and godliness, the Lord enables them to impact others greatly. Since He knows they can be trusted, He also gives them greater responsibilities and opportunities for service in His kingdom.
With all this available to us, wouldn't it be wise to invest our time and energy in building the truth of God's Word into our lives? The other activities which clamor for our attention seem so important or pleasurable, but none of them can offer us the spiritual riches of a life grounded in truth.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~
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For Just a Little While

Today's Scripture will start with the very last word of 1 Peter 1:4, just so you know who it is talking about, and go through verse 7,
...you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Notice in verse 6 it says, Though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials.  That phrase "a little while" literally means a season.  The King James Version says, Though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.
I like the phrase "a little while".  That tells me the season is going to end.  It is not forever.  Every season ends.  Winter ends.  Spring ends.  Summer ends.  Fall ends.  Every season has a beginning, and every season has an end.
If you are in a trial right now and feeling the weight of it, you are grieved because of it,  I have good news.  It will not be forever.  Things are going to change.  It may not seem like it, but that season will come to an end.
Even if you are not experiencing a trial today, I am confident you have gone through such a season, and it is likely that you will probably experience such a season again.
When you do, or if you are today, be encouraged.  God's Word wants you--and me--to remember it is for just a little while. 

~Bayless Conley~
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Developing a Tender Heart

The Lord wants to give each of us a "heart of flesh" so that we will be pliable and responsive to Him. When touched by the finger of God, a tender heart yields to the pressure and assumes the form He desires, much like a lump of clay that allows the potter to determine the shape of the vessel.
To aid in this process, God has sent the Holy Spirit to indwell each believer and awaken responsiveness in him or her. By yielding to the Spirit's promptings with ready obedience, the heart becomes increasingly tender and sensitive to His leading. The Lord is able to impart greater understanding of His Word to a soft heart because it has faithfully accepted and obeyed previous teachings.
Any resistance to God will result in hardening. But those who are accustomed to intimacy with Christ--which is the result of submission to Him--will be quick to deal with sin and return to the place of obedience and blessing.
People with tender hearts stay closely connected to the body of Christ, seeking to build up and encourage others in their walk of faith. Such individuals are not only receptive to what God wants to tell them; they are also teachable, in that they are willing to listen and be corrected by others.
This week when you read your Bible and pray, let your heart be soft toward the words of God. As He pokes His finger into each hard area, listen to His instructions, and rely on the Spirit's power to help you yield and obey. Let Him shape you into a beautiful and useful vessel.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~
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A Word of Encouragement

I want you to look today at a passage of Scripture that helps guide us in what to say, who to say it to, and when and how to say it.  Isaiah 50:4-5,
"The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary.  He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned.  The Lord GOD has opened My ear; and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away."
First, we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  He will teach us how to speak a word in season to the person who is weary.  As it says, He will awaken our ear.
Jesus made it very clear in Matthew, chapter 10 verses 19-20, that the Holy Spirit is quite able to give us the right words to say at the right time.  In Isaiah 51:16, God says, "I have put My words in your mouth."  In Isaiah 57:19, He says, "I create the fruit of the lips."
Chances are there is someone in your world today who needs to be given a word of encouragement.  The key is being sensitive and available.  Sometimes we are so embroiled in our own struggles that we don't even give a thought to the fact that there may be someone around us who needs encouragement...a coworker, a neighbor, your spouse, your child.
I personally think our children need to be given encouragement every day.  Like the little boy said, "Daddy, let's play darts.  I'll throw, and you say ‘Wonderful!'"  Children crave affirmation and encouragement.
There is someone who you either have contact with now, or you will have contact with, who needs encouragement.  And you are God's messenger.

~Bayless Conley~
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Finding Clear Guidance


How can you be sure you’re making the right decision? Sometimes it may seem as if God plays hide and seek when we’re trying to know His will, but that’s not the way He operates. He wants to give us clear direction. The real question is, What do you need to do to hear His voice?
Clear the pathway. We have two main obstacles that hinder our discernment: sin in our life and our own strong desires about the situation. To receive the Lord’s guidance, we must repent of all known sin and make our desires secondary to His.
Exercise patience. Sometimes it takes a great deal of strength to stand still when everything within you is shouting, “Hurry! Time is running out!” But if you rush ahead of God, you may miss His will.
Persist in prayer. The Bible clearly instructs us to keep coming to the Lord with our concerns. As we continue to pray, He will gradually weed out anything confusing until we come to His conclusion about the matter.
Search the Scriptures. The Word of God has an answer for every need, and the Holy Spirit knows just how to point us in the right direction. I remember times while I was reading the Bible that a verse jumped off the page and supplied the exact answer I needed to make an important decision.
So often when we’re faced with a critical choice, all we want from the Lord is a quick answer. But He delights to meet with us in order to deepen our relationship with Him. Don’t let the urgency of your need keep you from enjoying the intimacy of His presence as you seek His will.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Favorite Pastor Quotes

Favorite Pastor Quotes

One of the secrets of happy and beautiful life!

(J.R. Miller)

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

One of the secrets of happy and beautiful life
, is to live one day at a time. Really, we never have anything to do any day--but the bit of God's will for that day. If we do that well--we have absolutely nothing else to do.
 
Time is given to us in days. It was so from the beginning. This breaking up of time into little daily portions means a great deal more than we are accustomed to think. For one thing, it illustrates the gentleness and goodness of God. It would have made life intolerably burdensome if a year, instead of a day--had been the unit of division. It would have been hard to carry a heavy load, to endure a great sorrow, or to keep on at a hard duty--for such a long stretch of time. How dreary our common task-work would be--if there were no breaks in it, if we had to keep our hand to the plough for a whole year! We never could go on with our struggles, our battles, our suffering--if night did not mercifully settle down with its darkness, and bid us rest and renew our strength.

We do not understand how great a mercy there is for us in the briefness of our short days. If they were even twice as long as they are--life would be intolerable! Many a time when the sun goes down--we feel that we could scarcely have gone another step. We would have fainted in defeat--if the summons to rest had not come just when it did.

We see the graciousness of the divine thoughtfulness in giving us time in periods of little days, which we can easily get through with--and not in great years, in which we would faint and fall by the way. It makes it possible for us to go on through all the long years and not to be overwrought, for we never have given to us at any one time--more than we can do between the morning and the evening. 

If we learn well the lesson of living just one day at a time, without anxiety for either yesterday or tomorrow, we shall have found one of the great secrets of Christian peace. That is the way God teaches us to live. That is the lesson both of the Bible and of nature. If we learn it, it will cure us of all anxiety; it will save us from all feverish haste; it will enable us to live sweetly in any experience.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

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We not only need help every day--but every moment!

(James Smith, "The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion")

"Help me, O Lord my God! O save me according to Your mercy." Psalm 109:26

We not only need help every day--but every moment!

Our weakness is extreme.
Our foes are numerous and mighty.
Our duties are difficult and arduous.
Our dangers are great and imminent.
How, then, shall we be able to stand, to conquer, to overcome?

Our God has said, "I will strengthen you--yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness!" Blessed be His holy name--He is as good as His Word!
He has helped us in every need.
He has helped us out of every difficulty.
He has helped us all through our journey until this day.
And tonight He is as ready to help us as He ever was.
  His ear is open.
  His heart throbs with infinite love to us.
  His throne of grace is accessible.
  His mercy is rich and free!

With such thoughts as these in our minds, O Lord, we approach You tonight, confessing to Your honor--that you ever have helped us; and now beseeching You to help us quite through the rough journey of life. Help us, O our God . . .
  to conquer our inbred lusts;
  to overcome and crucify the old man;
  to mortify the flesh with its vile affections;
  to overcome this present evil world;
  and to tread Satan under our feet.

Help us, as Your chosen people, holy and dearly loved by You--to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; and, above all, love, which is the bond of perfectness. Save, O save us, from all pride, self-sufficiency, high-mindedness, and worldly wisdom.
Make us humble, meek, and deeply spiritual.
Fill us with the spirit of Jesus.
Produce in us the temper of Jesus.
Enable us exactly to copy the example of Jesus.
O make us Christ-like and holy!

"Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love; turn unto me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies." Psalm 69:16

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All that we need drops from His palm!

(James Smith, "The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion")

"The eyes of all look to You--and You give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand, and satisfy the desires of every living thing." Psalm 145:15-16 

All our supplies come from God, therefore our dependence should be on Him, and our expectations from Him. Creatures act towards us in kindness and sympathy--according to His direction. 

The eyes of all creation are upon the Lord, and all the tribes of His creatures are fed by His hand. How much more, then, should His children look to Him, seek from Him, and expect to be supplied by Him! 

Whatever God does--He does wisely and seasonably; and whatever He gives--is in season. When our needs are felt, and our cry is heard--then our supply is certain. It is but for God to open His hand--and all that we need drops from His palm! When God's hand opens--our desires will soon be satisfied. Every temporal mercy, every spiritual gift, and all the supplies needed by our souls--lie in the hand of God for us. He loves for us to fix our eyes on Him, to lift up our voice to Him, and seek every blessing from Him. 

Merciful Lord, You have fed us this day. Your loving heart and open hand have supplied all our needs. We gratefully acknowledge Your wondrous goodness, and bless You for Your suitable supplies. And now, O Lord, close up the day with us in mercy--give us a sense of Your forgiving love, and faith in Your protecting care. Help us to cast every care on You, and to fall asleep tonight as on a parent's bosom. Let Your peace pervade us, and inspire us with strong confidence in Your providential protection.

"Behold, as the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress--so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till He shows us His mercy." Psalm 123:2

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If chastisement were not necessary

(James Smith, "The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion")

"No chastening seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11 

Afflictions are always painful--and days of affliction are often gloomy. But as we are training for eternity, as we are maturing for Heaven, and as afflictions are necessary discipline--we must be afflicted. If chastisement were not necessary--then our loving Father would never use the rod. But as every one of us needs correction--He chastens every son whom He receives. God's chastisements are intended for our instruction--they are designed to teach us . . .
  the evil of sin,
  our need of grace,
  the holiness of God,
  the preciousness of Jesus,
  the emptiness of the world,
  and the blessedness of Heaven. 
These are lessons of the deepest importance to us--lessons that we are slow to learn; and therefore we must have line upon line, and stroke upon stroke.

Heavenly Father, help us to bow to Your sovereign will, to bear with patience every stroke of Your rod, and to learn the holy and important lessons which You intend to teach us. May we not only submit to Your discipline--but, seeing the love which ordains it, and the need there is for it--even acquiesce in it. Keep us from fretting at pain, repining at losses, or giving way to too much grief at bereavements--knowing that all these things come from You, and that You design them for our good. Help us to understand that every trial and every trouble is a blessing--and will end in eternal glory. Sweet thought! 

O for grace to yield ourselves to You--and to sweetly acquiesce in all Your paternal dealings!

"Blessed is the man whom God corrects--so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty." Job 5:17 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Work of the Ministry # 11

The Work of the Ministry # 11

Pressing On for the Prize

"Brethren, I count not myself yet to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13, 14).

When Paul was pressed into journeying over to Macedonia, he little realized what great spiritual values lay in the city of Philippi. For him it must have been a time of extreme bewilderment. There seemed to be no way open for his ministry. The Spirit forbade him to speak the word in Asia. When he made an attempt to move towards Bithynia, the Spirit of Jesus would not allow him to proceed. It must have appeared very negative, with the Lord only saying "No" to all his plans and prayers. But God is never negative. He only checks and restrains because He has some better thing in view. At last the apostle discovered a way of life. When all his own ideas and plans had been rejected, when he was brought to a standstill, then the vision of the man of Macedonia gave him the clue to the Lord's direction.

What a wonderful sphere then opened up to him! He not only moved into a new continent: he entered into a much richer phase of spiritual ministry. And of all the churches which came into being as a result of this move, there was none to be compared with Philippi. It is very clear that the saints of that city were a great comfort and joy to the apostle as indeed they must have been a real joy to the Lord. How often must Paul have thanked God for checking and disappointing him when he had so strongly tried to work in Asia. How thankful he must have felt, too, that he had obeyed the Spirit. If Paul had forced matters, as we are often tempted to do; if he had brushed aside the Spirit's restraints and just pushed on; he would have missed Philippi, and nobody knows how great a loss that might have been. It may be that we also have been knowing disappointments and apparent frustration. And it may be that Lord now wishes to reveal to us His purpose in His strange dealings with us. He sets before us that which is of supreme importance, the prize. Let us be careful not to miss it.

A Spiritual Man's Ambition

As we read this letter to the Philippians, we get the impression of great confidence and intimacy between the writer and the readers. The love and understanding are such that the apostle is able to disclose his own deepest thoughts and desires. Many people would have misunderstood him. They might have thought that he was claiming some spiritual superiority or special privileges. The Philippians, however, would not do this. They would sympathize  with his aspirations. Indeed they would share them. They would feel that this "prize" of which Paul wrote must be something of supreme importance. It evidently was to him, and he sought that it should be for all the people of God. One cannot but feel that when the letter had been read to the assembled church it must have clarified their vision, challenging every earthly and unworthy motive, and revealing the great goal for the redeemed. They, too, were destined for the prize, and must bend all their spiritual energies to obtain it.

Paul was a man of great spiritual attainment. Yet he confessed that there was something more. The Philippians were fine, spiritual Christians, some of the very best; and yet the apostle was clearly not satisfied with them either. This should cause us to think. What is this prize, which ought to be gained, but which may be lost?

What the Prize Is Not

Perhaps it will help us if we first consider what the prize is not. Of course it is not salvation; that hardly needs to be said. Paul was so assured of everlasting life that it mattered little to him whether he lived or he died. He was not reaching out for the satisfying of personal needs at all. They were fully provided for in Christ. He could say, "I have all things, and abound" (4:18). Yet he still stretched out eagerly for the spiritual prize.

1. Personal Position

This could not have been concerned with his own personal position or apostleship. Most of us would truly covert to be an apostle Paul. If we had anything like the position which he held among the people of God, we should feel that all our highest ambitions were realized. But this is not the prize. It is one of the perils of our day, this wanting to be a great figure among the Lord's people, to be given a prominent place in evangelical circles. When we first turned our back on the world, we probably decided that we wanted no place for ourselves. We were willing to be just nothing, so long as Christ should be magnified. But, all too subtly, those personal ambitions are apt to grow up again, often disguised as being for the glory of the Lord. The truth is that we want to enjoy the praise of men. We say, and perhaps we think, that we want it all for the Lord, but the fact remains that we are pressing on towards a goal which after all is earthly and personal. We seek a position among men.

Paul already had this position. He was outstanding and preeminent in the work of the gospel. He was the great apostle of the nations. He could have been even more popular if he had cared to compromise a little. But to him this was certainly not the prize; and neither must it be to us.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 12 - Personal Possessions)