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

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

How Repentance is Given

O RETURN to the grand text: "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." Our Lord Jesus Christ has gone up that grace may come down. His glory is employed to give greater currency to His grace. The Lord has not taken a step upward except with the design of bearing believing sinners upward with Him. He is exalted to give repentance; and this we shall see if we remember a few great truths.
    The work which our Lord Jesus has done has made repentance possible, available, and acceptable. The law makes no mention of repentance, but says plainly, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." If the Lord Jesus had not died and risen again and gone unto the Father, what would your repenting or mine be worth? We might feel remorse with its horrors, but never repentance with its hopes. Repentance, as a natural feeling, is a common duty deserving no great praise: indeed, it is so generally mingled with a selfish fear of punishment, that the kindliest estimate makes but little of it. Had not Jesus interposed and wrought out a wealth of merit, our tears of repentance would have been so much water spilled upon the ground. Jesus is exalted on high, that through the virtue of His intercession repentance may have a place before God. In this respect He gives us repentance, because He puts repentance into a position of acceptance, which otherwise it could never have occupied.
    When Jesus was exalted on high, the Spirit of God was poured out to work in us all needful graces. The Holy Ghost creates repentance in us by supernaturally renewing our nature, and taking away the heart of stone out of our flesh. Oh, sit not down straining those eyes of yours to fetch out impossible tears! Repentance comes not from unwilling nature, but from free and sovereign grace. Get not to your chamber to smite your breast in order to fetch from a heart of stone feelings which are not there. But go to Calvary and see how Jesus died. Look upward to the hills whence comes your help. The Holy Ghost has come on purpose that He may overshadow men's spirits and breed repentance within them, even as once He brooded over chaos and brought forth order. Breathe your prayer to Him, "Blessed Spirit, dwell with me. Make me tender and lowly of heart, that I may hate sin and unfeignedly repent of it." He will hear your cry and answer you.
    Remember, too, that when our Lord Jesus was exalted, He not only gave us repentance by sending forth the Holy Spirit, but by consecrating all the works of nature and of providence to the great ends of our salvation, so that any one of them may call us to repentance, whether it crow like Peter's cock, or shake the prison like the jailer's earthquake. From the right hand of God our Lord Jesus rules all things here below, and makes them work together for the salvation of His redeemed. He uses both bitters and sweets, trials and joys, that He may produce in sinners a better mind toward their God. Be thankful for the providence which has made you poor, or sick, or sad ; for by all this Jesus works the life of your spirit and turns you to Himself. The Lord's mercy often rides to the door of our hearts on the black horse of affliction. Jesus uses the whole range of our experience to wean us from earth and woo us to Heaven. Christ is exalted to the throne of Heaven and earth in order that, by all the processes of His providence, He may subdue hard hearts unto the gracious softening of repentance.
    Besides, He is at work at this hour by all His whispers in the conscience, by His inspired Book, by those of us who speak out of that Book, and by praying friends and earnest hearts. He can send a word to you which shall strike your rocky heart as with the rod of Moses, and cause streams of repentance to flow forth. He can bring to your mind some heart-breaking text out of Holy Scripture which shall conquer you right speedily. He can mysteriously soften you, and cause a holy frame of mind to steal over you when you least look for it. Be sure of this, that He who is gone into His glory, raised into all the splendor and majesty of God, has abundant ways of working repentance in those to whom He grants forgiveness. He is even now waiting to give repentance to you. Ask Him for it at once.
    Observe with much comfort that the Lord Jesus Christ gives this repentance to the most unlikely people in the world. He is exalted to give repentance to Israel. To Israel! In the days when the apostles thus spoke, Israel was the nation which had most grossly sinned against light and love, by daring to say, "His blood be on us and on our children." Yet Jesus is exalted to give them repentance! What a marvel of grace! If you have been brought up in the brightest of Christian light, and yet have rejected it, there is still hope. If you have sinned against conscience, and against the Holy Spirit, and against the love of Jesus, there is yet space for repentance. Though you may be as hard as unbelieving Israel of old, softening may yet come to you, since Jesus is exalted, and clothed with boundless power. For those who went the furthest in iniquity, and sinned with special aggravation, the Lord Jesus is exalted to give to them repentance and forgiveness of sins. Happy am I to have so full a gospel to proclaim! Happy are you to be allowed to read it!
    The hearts of the children of Israel had grown hard as an adamant stone. Luther used to think it impossible to convert a Jew. We are far from agreeing with him, and yet we must admit that the seed of Israel have been exceedingly obstinate in their rejection of the Saviour during these many centuries. Truly did the Lord say, "Israel would none of me." "He came to his own and his own received him not." Yet on behalf of Israel our Lord Jesus is exalted for the giving of repentance and remission. Probably my reader is a Gentile; but yet he may have a very stubborn heart, which has stood out against the Lord Jesus for many years; and yet in him our Lord can work repentance. It may be that you will yet feel compelled to write as William Hone did when he yielded to divine love. He was the author of those most entertaining volumes called the " Everyday Book," but he was once a stout-hearted infidel. When subdued by sovereign grace, he wrote:
The proudest heart that ever beat
Hath been subdued in me;
The wildest will that ever rose
To scorn Thy cause and aid Thy foes
Is quell'd my Lord, by Thee.

Thy will, and not my will be done,
My heart be ever Thine;

Confessing Thee the mighty Word,
My Saviour Christ, my God, my Lord,
Thy cross shall be my sign.
The Lord can give repentance to the most unlikely, turning lions into lambs, and ravens into doves. Let us look to Him that this great change may be wrought in us. Assuredly the contemplation of the death of Christ is one of the surest and speediest methods of gaining repentance. Do not sit down and try to pump up repentance from the dry well of corrupt nature. It is contrary to the laws of mind to suppose that you can force your soul into that gracious state. Take your heart in prayer to Him who understands it, and say, "Lord, cleanse it. Lord, renew it. Lord, work repentance in it." The more you try to produce penitent emotions in yourself, the more you will be disappointed; but if you believingly think of Jesus dying for you, repentance will burst forth. Meditate on the Lord's shedding His heart's blood out of love to you. Set before your mind's eye the agony and bloody sweat, the cross and passion; and, as you do this, He who was the bearer of all this grief will look at you, and with that look He will do for you what He did for Peter, so that you also will go out and weep bitterly. He who died for you can, by His gracious Spirit, make you die to sin; and He who has gone into glory on your behalf can draw your soul after Him, away from evil, and toward holiness.
    I shall be content if I leave this one thought with you; look not beneath the ice to find fire, neither hope in your own natural heart to find repentance. Look to the Living One for life. Look to Jesus for all you need between Hell Gate and Heaven Gate. Never seek elsewhere for any part of that which Jesus loves to bestow; but remember,
    Christ is all.
From 'All of Grace' by C.H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Morning Prayer

(by S. E. Pierce, 1820)

We again draw near unto You, O Lord our God, beseeching You to grant us audience with Your Divine majesty. We appear before You in the name and Person, righteousness and sacrifice, intercession and advocacy of the holy and immaculate Lamb. At Your throne of grace, as the monuments of Your sacred mercy, we desire to extol and praise Your most holy name.

O Lord, we have nothing in ourselves--but sin. We are all impurity--to us belong shame and confusion of face. We are in the uttermost sense--lost, undone, sinful, guilty, and vile. We entreat You to behold us in Christ Jesus. View us in Him, O Lord.

O let our souls be under the mighty, all-constraining, all-conquering influence of Your everlasting love today. We beg You to keep us this day from sinning against You. Lord, we are in ourselves, and when left to ourselves--as unstable as water. O support us. O defend us. O be near unto us this day, and uphold us with the right hand of Your righteousness.

Lord, we are full of sin; O lead us to the fountain opened for sin and impurity! We are all emptiness in ourselves. Lord, lead us to the fullness of Jesus for the supply of all our needs.

Blessed God and Father, do most graciously sympathize with us. Guide us with Your eye. O keep us near Yourself. Allow no iniquity to have dominion over us; save us from ourselves! Save us, O Lord, from our constitutional sins, tempers, and corruptions. O let them be kept under control, and subdued by the omnipotent power of Your grace.

We beseech You, O Holy Spirit, to bring our minds and hearts under the mighty power of all-conquering grace. O Lord, let not sin, nor Satan, prevail against us. We leave ourselves with You, Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Testimony for Christ


~Up until the fall of 2003, I lived the most sexually immoral, godless life one could imagine. My sin of choice was homosexuality.

~Before I continue, I want to make clear that homosexuality is not genetic; it truly is a sin of choice. Homosexuality is birthed out of lust. Romans 1:24 says, ‘wherefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves’. God gives them over because they refuse to repent and believe. An interesting find on a word study of the word ‘lust’ took me from the Greek word ‘epithumia’; meaning -‘a desire for what is forbidden’-, to the root word ‘thoo-mos’, which translates ‘the wine of passion, inflaming wine, which either drives the drinker mad or kills him with it’s strength.’

~ The more I read God’s word, the more I come to understand just how wicked and vile the human heart truly is, which is where lust lies. In Matthew 15:19, Christ teaches this, “for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies; these are the things which defile a man”. The word fornication is from the Greek word ‘porniea’ from which we get our word ‘porn’. It means ‘to act as a harlot, or indulge in unlawful lust, things that are forbidden’, it is defined by Thayers Greek definitions as ' adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.' You can take it all the way back to the root word ‘pe-prasko’- which metaphorically means ‘sold under sin, entirely under control of the love of sinning’ .  Homosexuals are acting out and living out what lies within their own hearts! This is true with all sexual immorality; it is birthed out of the lust of the sinful human heart. It is also what defiles man, as Christ Himself teaches.

~Another key verse is found in James 1:13 and 14. James says,” Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed {or allured, deceived} by his own lust {or forbidden desires}.” God’s word makes it clear that all sin is chosen and acted upon by the sinner, as he/she gives in to the forbidden lust within their own hearts; not one person will escape accountability apart from repentance and believing in the Gospel. The body of Christ must understand this in order to prevent from compromising the truth when proclaiming the Gospel to homosexuals.

Now, back to my testimony…

Things had started to unravel for me not long before the fall of 2003, I was miserable, depressed, suffering financial problems, and drinking constantly. I even asked God at one point why he didn’t help me, but my conscience replied, ‘he’s not going to help you as long as you continue to live the way you are living.’ There comes a point when the conscience becomes seared, the mind given over to total depravity, and all hope is gone. I praise God that wasn’t the case with me. For anyone here who has come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit in regards to your sinful condition, I urge you to cry out to God as the tax collector did,- ‘O God, have mercy on me, a sinner’. There may not be another opportunity for you to do so. I say that because of the affect sin has on the heart. It hardens; after a period of time, the gospel no longer penetrates such a hardened heart. From his book, “Justification and Regeneration”, Charles Leiter says this,~quote~ “One of the most fearful things about sin is its power to harden the one who practices it. The deeper a man goes in sin, the less sin bothers him. It should shock us to remember that Adolph Hitler was once a little boy playing with toys just like other little boys. Yet, we must face the fact that the world is NOT the way it is because it has a few ‘bad’ people like Hitler; the world is the way it is because it is made up of MULTITUDES of people just like us. There is deep wickedness in each of us. If a motion picture of even our past thoughts, let alone our past actions, were to be played on a large screen before our family and acquaintances, EVERY ONE of us would run from the room in shame. Man knows the beginning of sin, but NO MAN has ever known the end of sin”~ unquote~

~The woman with whom I’d spent 13 years of my life had a daughter, I loved this child like she was my own and the thought of not seeing her every day was heartbreaking to me. So this weighed heavily on me as well. But, God does work all things for His glory.

~ In November of 2003, I received the most devastating news that anyone could ever hear, and I was brought to my knees. My proud sinful arrogant heart was shattered into a million pieces…my mom, who I love so much, was diagnosed with lung cancer. I remember driving home from work and crying so hard, I could barely see to drive; it was at that point I cried out to God, and he heard me! My mom has since gone on to be with the Lord, and I am thankful God used her to humble me, and save me! The best way I can explain what’s happened to me is with God’s word, from Ezekiel 36:25-32, God says, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will be careful to observe my ordinances…so you will be my people, and I will be your God. Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness, then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations. I am NOT doing this for your sake,” declares the Lord God. GOD and GOD ALONE is responsible for changing me from the inside out.

~ In his exposition of Psalm 51:2 “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin”, Charles Spurgeon says this…’it is NOT enough to blot out the sin, - his person is defiled. The dye is in itself immovable, and I, the sinner, have lain long in it ‘til the crimson is ingrained. But Lord, wash, and wash, and wash again ‘til the last stain is gone, and not a trace of my defilement is left.’

~I am a miracle of God, He took a middle aged woman who had lain long in sin; and in His timing, by His grace, He broke through years and years of rebellion and hardness in a way that only He could…not because I prayed a prayer, or made a decision, or walked an aisle; ~Paul Washer says this about these methods of salvation, quote- “As a result, the majority of Americans believe they have been born again/regenerated even though their thoughts, words, and deeds are a continual contradiction to the nature and will of God” unquote. God has done a work in my heart; that is why I can say ‘I am a new creation in Christ’! I have been born from above!
By the way, the little girl I mentioned earlier now lives with me; God has been gracious and is allowing me to raise her.

~ I praise the Lord Jesus Christ for taking the wrath of God upon Himself on that cross, for suffering the full force of God’s anger at my sins and satisfying that anger. I praise the Lord Jesus for being raised on the third day and giving me all hope of complete forgiveness, and eternal life. I praise the Lord Jesus that he saved a wretch like me….