Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Then you will be thankful

If you wish to be thankful, get a heart deeply
humbled with the sense of your own vileness.
A broken heart is the best pipe to sound forth
God's praise. He who studies his sins, wonders
that he has anything, and that God should shine
on such a dunghill: "I was once a blasphemer
and a persecutor and a violent man—but I was
shown mercy!" 1 Timothy 1:13. How thankful
Paul was! How he trumpeted forth free grace!

A proud man will never be thankful. He looks on
all his mercies as either of his own procuring or
. If he has an estate, this he got by his
wits and industry; not considering that scripture,
"Always remember that it is the Lord your God
who gives you power to become rich" Dt. 8:18.
Pride stops the current of gratitude. O Christian,
think of your unworthiness; see yourself as the
least of saints, and the chief of sinners—and
then you will be thankful.

 Thomas Watson

Saturday, August 27, 2016

God's palace

"Your boasting is not good!" 1 Corinthians 5:6

Pride is the greatest sacrilege; it robs God of His
glory. What a horrid sin is pride! Chrysostom calls
it "the mother of hell." Pride encompasses all vice.
Pride is a spiritual drunkenness; it flies up like wine
into the brain and intoxicates it. Pride is idolatry; a
proud man is a self-worshiper. How odious is this
sin to God! "Everyone who is proud in heart, is an
abomination to the Lord!" Proverbs 16:5. "I hate
pride and arrogance!" Proverbs 8:13.

Those who look at themselves in the magnifying
mirror of self-love
, appear better in their own eyes
than they are. There is no idol like self; the proud
man bows down to this idol.

Many are proud of their riches. Their hearts swell
with their estates. Pride is the rich man's cousin.
"Your heart has become proud because of your
wealth." Ezekiel 28:5.

Many are proud of their apparel. They dress in such
fashions, as to make the devil fall in love with them!
Painted faces, gaudy attire, naked breasts—what are
these, but the banners which sinful pride displays?

Many are proud of their beauty. The body is but dust
and blood kneaded together
. Solomon says, "Beauty
is vain." Proverbs 31:30. Yet some are so vain—as
to be proud of vanity! Shall dust exalt itself?

Many are proud of their gifts and abilities. These
trappings and ornaments do not approve them in God's
eyes. An angel is a creature of great abilities; but take
away humility from an angel—
and he is a devil! God
loves a humble soul. It is not our high birth; but our
humble hearts
, which God delights in.

Oh, let us search if there is any of this leaven of pride
in us! Man is naturally a proud piece of flesh. This sin
of pride
runs in the blood. There are the seeds of this
sin of pride
in the best of Christians—but the godly
do not allow themselves in it. They strive to kill this
, by mortification.

But certainly where this sin of pride reigns and prevails,
it cannot stand with grace. You may as well call him who
lacks wisdom, a prudent man; as him who lacks humility,
a godly man. "Clothe yourselves with humility toward one
another, because God opposes the proud, but gives grace
to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5. Put humility on, as an
embroidered robe. It is better to lack anything, rather
than humility.

The more value any man has, the more humble he is.
Feathers fly up—but gold descends! The golden
descends in humility. Look at a humble Savior
—and let the plumes of pride fall off!

A humble heart is God's palace! "For this is what
the high and lofty One says; He who lives forever,
whose name is holy—I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit."
Isaiah 57:15 A humble heart glories in this—that it is
the presence chamber of the great and glorious King!

Thomas Watson

Lord smite this sin

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

"Your Word is completely pure, and Your servant loves it." Psalm 119:140

Do we love the holiness of the Word? The Word is preached--to beat down sin, and advance holiness. Do we love it for its spirituality and purity? Many love the Preached Word only for its eloquence and notion. They come to a sermon as to a performance (Ezekiel 33:31,32) or as to a garden to pick flowers--but not to have their lusts subdued or their hearts purified. These are like a foolish woman who paints her face--but neglects her health!

Do we love the convictions of the Word? Do we love the Word when it comes home to our conscience and shoots its arrows of reproof at our sins? It is the minister's duty sometimes to reprove. He who can speak smooth words in the pulpit--but does not know how to reprove, is like a sword with a fine handle, but without an edge! "Rebuke them sharply!" (Titus 2:15). Dip the nail in oil--reprove in love--but strike the nail home!

Now Christian, when the Word touches on your sin and says, "You are the man!"--do you love the reproof? Can you bless God that "the sword of the Spirit" has divided between you and your lusts? This is indeed a sign of grace, and shows that you are a lover of the Word.

A corrupt heart loves the comforts of the Word--but not the reproofs: "You hate the one who reproves--and despise him who tells the truth!" (Amos 5:10). "Their eyes flash with fire!" Like venomous creatures that at the least touch, spit poison! "When they heard these things, they were enraged in their hearts and gnashed their teeth at him!" (Acts 7:54). When Stephen touched their sins--they were furious and could not endure it.

How shall we know that we love the reproofs of the Word?

When we desire to sit under a heart-searching ministry. Who cares for medicines that will not work? A godly man does not choose to sit under a ministry that will not work upon his conscience.

When we pray that the Word may meet with our sins. If there is any traitorous lust in our heart--we would have it found out, and executed! We do not want sin covered--but cured!
When we can open our heart to the sword of the Word and say, "Lord, smite this sin!"

When we are thankful for a reproof. "Let a righteous man strike me--it is a kindness; let him rebuke me--it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it." (Psalm 141:5). David was glad for a reproof.

Suppose a man were in the mouth of a lion, and another should shoot the lion and save the man--would he not be thankful? Just so, when we are in the mouth of sin, as of a lion, and the minister by a reproof shoots this sin to death--shall we not be thankful?

A gracious soul rejoices, when the sharp lance of the Word has pierced his abscess of sin! He wears a reproof like a jewel on his ear: "Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man's rebuke to a listening ear." (Proverbs 25:12).

To conclude, it is convicting preaching which must do the soul good. As a nipping frost prepares for the sweet flowers of spring--so a nipping reproof prepares the soul for comfort!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Desires after Christ

(John Flavel, "The Fountain of Life" 1691)

"Yes, He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend!" Song of Songs 5:16

"Whom have I in Heaven but you? Earth has nothing I desire besides You!" Psalm 73:25

Christ is the very essence of all delights and pleasures--the very soul and substance of them! As all the rivers are gathered into the ocean, which is the meeting-place of all the waters in the world--so Christ is that ocean in which all true delights and pleasures meet!

Are our desires for Christ ARDENT? Has Christ the supreme place in our hearts? Do we esteem all things but dung that we may win Christ and be found in Him?

Are our desires for Christ UNIVERSAL? Is everything about Christ desirable in our eyes? The hypocrite is for a divided Christ. The true believer loves . . .
both His government and His grace,
both His sovereignty and His mercy,
both His Lordship and His priesthood.

Do our desires after Christ lead us to EFFORT--to use all the means of grace to accomplish His will?
He is revealed in His Word--do we read it?
He is preached in the gospel--do we hear it?
He will be found by those who seek Him--do we earnestly seek Him?

Are our desires after Christ PERMANENT--or only a sudden fit of emotion, fear or impulse? If our hearts and our longing for communion with Him--we will only be satisfied when we awake with His likeness. Nothing that this world affords can possibly take us from this goal!

Do our desires after Christ spring from a DEEP SENSE OF OUR NEED of Christ? Has conviction of sin opened our eyes . . .
to see our misery,
to feel our burden of sin,
to understand our inability, and
to make us sensible that the only remedy lies in the Lord Jesus Christ?
Bread and wine are made necessary by hunger and thirst. Christ is only precious to those who need Him!

"My soul yearns for You in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for You!" Isaiah 26:9 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Set your affection

 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. - Colossians 3:2

I find myself often being carried away by the things of this world, i.e., finances, my job, children, etc. This happens because I am not fixing my mind on the eternal, rather, I am engrossed with the temporal more than I need to be. I say this to my shame: Paul's text in Colossians 3:2 is a command for all believers. Let's take a closer look....

This is excellent commentary from Matthew Henry, "The apostle, having described our privileges by Christ in the former part of the epistle, and our discharge from the yoke of the ceremonial law, comes here to press upon us our duty as inferred thence. Though we are made free from the obligation of the ceremonial law, it does not therefore follow that we may live as we list. We must walk the more closely with God in all the instances of evangelical obedience. He begins with exhorting them to set their hearts on heaven, and take them off from this world: If you then have risen with Christ. It is our privilege that we have risen with Christ; that is, have benefit by the resurrection of Christ, and by virtue of our union and communion with him are justified and sanctified, and shall be glorified. Hence he infers that we must seek those things which are above. We must mind the concerns of another world more than the concerns of this. We must make heaven our scope and aim, seek the favour of God above, keep up our communion with the upper world by faith, and hope, and holy love, and make it our constant care and business to secure our title to and qualifications for the heavenly bliss. And the reason is because Christ sits at the right hand of God. He who is our best friend and our head is advanced to the highest dignity and honour in heaven, and has gone before to secure to us the heavenly happiness; and therefore we should seek and secure what he has purchased at so vast an expense, and is taking so much care about. We must live such a life as Christ lived here on earth and lives now in heaven, according to our capacities.
I. He explains this duty (Col_3:2): Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. Observe, To seek heavenly things is to set our affections upon them, to love them and let our desires be towards them. Upon the wings of affection the heart soars upwards, and is carried forth towards spiritual and divine objects. We must acquaint ourselves with them, esteem them above all other things, and lay out ourselves in preparation for the enjoyment of them. David gave this proof of his loving the house of God, that he diligently sought after it, and prepared for it, Psa_27:4. This is to be spiritually minded (Rom_8:6), and to seek and desire a better country, that is, a heavenly, Heb_11:14, Heb_11:16. Things on earth are here set in opposition to things above. We must not dote upon them, nor expect too much from them, that we may set our affections on heaven; for heaven and earth are contrary one to the other, and a supreme regard to both is inconsistent; and the prevalence of our affection to one will proportionably weaken and abate our affection to the other."

Albert Barnes commentary is quite good as well, short, sweet and to the point, "Set your affection - Margin, “or mind.” Greek” think of” - φρονεῖτε  phroneite. The thoughts should be occupied about the things where Christ now dwells, where our final home is to be, where our great interests are. Since we are raised from the death of sin, and are made to live anew, the great object of our contemplation should be the heavenly world.
Not on things on the earth - Wealth, honor, pleasure. Our affections should not be fixed on houses and lands; on scenes of fashion and gaiety; on low and debasing enjoyments."

Isn't that what the whole world chases after? Material things, wealth and happiness through wealth, drugs, and immoral behavior? Yet, there is no satisfaction in any of these temporal vices. 

Verse 4 says 'when Christ, who is our life'. As I read Matthew Henry's commentary on this verse, I was very blessed. Here is what he says, "Observe, (1.) Christ is a believer's life. I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me, Gal_2:20. He is the principle and end of the Christian's life. He lives in us by his Spirit, and we live to him in all we do. To me to live is Christ, Phi_1:21. (2.) Christ will appear again. He is now hid; and the heavens must contain him; but he will appear in all the pomp of the upper world, with his holy angels, and in his own glory and his Father's glory, Mar_8:38; Luk_9:26. (3.) We shall then appear with him in glory. It will be his glory to have his redeemed with him; he will come to be glorified in his saints (2Th_1:10); and it will be their glory to come with him, and be with him for ever."

Those who are risen with Christ are to seek the things above, where Christ is. It is our union with Him that causes us to seek the things above, prayer is essential in this seeking. May God cause us to earnestly seek the eternal more than the temporal, to have this world grow more dim by the day as we draw closer to our departure and His coming. Our pilgrimage on this earth will soon be over!  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Sinner Humbled – The Saviour Exalted

The sinner humbled. 
Two great truths are necessary to be pressed upon the sinner in order to humble him and to bring him to the foot of the Cross, and these are the deep corruption of human nature and the sins he has been guilty of either privately in the sight of God, or publically in the sight of the world. The depravity and deceitfulness of the heart are to be laid open, and all the dark and lurking holes where sin lies hid – the false reasonings, apologies and excuses by which he deceives himself are to be examined and tried by the light of Scripture. So that, when the abominations of his heart and the guilt of his life are proven against him, this will be the means, by the influences of the blessed Spirit, of bringing down his proud heart. And when the Spirit of God says, “Thou art the man,” the sinner will fall down and yield to the Great Conqueror in the day of His power. 

The Saviour Exalted.
 The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. He is the end of the Law. The law shows us our sin, and when searching doctrines and truths that are terrifying to sinners are preached, the carnal heart will rise in enmity against them. Upon this, the devil strikes in and denies the truth; or, if the doctrine brings conviction, he tells the sinner there is no salvation for such a wretch. It is now the Minister’s business to exalt the Saviour by telling the truth about Him, and nothing but the truth. He is the brightness of His Fathers glory and the expressed image of His Person. He is that glorious Person in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and therefore able to save to the very uttermost. He is able and willing to save, and this is clear from His eternal existance, the glory of his works, and the extent of his power. By showing Christ to the sinner, the sinner knows His Name and will, therefore, trust in Him. The apostles and apostolic men preached Christ, and if we preach anything else we lose our time, for He is the Head Corner-stone. 

Lachlan MacKenzie