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

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Following Christ


"He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" John 8:12

How easy it is to read these words, but how difficult it is to put them truly into practice! It is much, very much, to be thankful for if the Holy Spirit has wrought a real desire in the heart of the reader to "follow" Christ — for such a desire surely cannot be within multitudes of those who bear His name and with their lips sing His praises. Daily does the Christian need to beseech God to strengthen this desire, until it actually becomes the uppermost longing of his soul and the dominant purpose of his life.
It is much, very much, to be thankful for when the Holy Spirit makes us to realize that, of ourselves, we are unable to carry out that desire and "follow" Christ. As He Himself tells us, "Without me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). This fact ought deeply to humble us as we are made to feel our inability to do that which is right, and should forever remove all pride and boasting from us. We are apt to think that this inability is merely a "weakness" or lack of strength. But in reality, it is sin within us, the "flesh," that awful and depraved nature with which we were born into this world. "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom 8:7).
While that "enmity" receives its death-blow at regeneration, it is not altogether dead in the Christian. At times, the remainder of this "enmity" slumbers, and Satan seeks to delude us into thinking it is completely slain, thus taking us off our guard. No, the "flesh" remains in us to the end of our earthly course, and its unchanging tendency is to draw us away from "following" Christ. How this should make us "abhor" ourselves (Job 42:6) — that there is that in us, that which is part and parcel of our very being, which is opposed to Christ!
Now, to "follow" Christ is to take His "yoke" upon us (Mat 11:29). It is to enlist under the banner of the "Captain" of our salvation. It is to yield completely to His lordship. It is to obey His commandments, and thus truly serve Him. It is to seek and do only those things which are pleasing in His sight.
For this, divine strength is needed. "Draw me" (Song 1:4) must be our daily prayer. Only as we "receive" from His fullness (John 1:16) are we enabled to follow "the example" which He has left us. As we are thus enabled to "follow" Him, we shall "not walk in darkness"(1 John 1:6). No, we shall be in fellowship with Him who is "the true light."
Nor must we be dismayed because we do not fully enter into this blessed experience all at once, "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day" (Pro 4:18). The way to get more strength and light is to use what has already been given us. To "follow" Christ is to tread the path of divine blessing. True, it is a narrow path, and oftentimes a lonesome one, for "few" (Mat 7:14) there are who tread it. It is sometimes a rough and thorny path — yet God has provided shoes for our feet (Luke 15:22; Eph 6:15). Yet it is also a most blessed path. It is there we enjoy the Lord's accompanying presence. It is there we are favored with the rich compensations given to those who turn their backs on self-pleasing and the world. - A. W. Pink

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The yoke of Christ!

A. W. Pink


"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
Probably there is no passage in the New Testament more familiar to church-goers than the one (Matthew 11:28-30) of which our quotation is the final clause. Yet, there is scarcely any other that has been so sadly mangled by unqualified novices and unfaithful preachers. The invitation and promise with which it opens have been divorced from the conditions by which they are qualified — so that an entirely inadequate, in fact a false, apprehension of the same has been conveyed of what our Lord there taught. That which is required from those desiring rest of soul — namely, submission to the authority of Christ and the following of His example — is omitted. They emphasize His gift, but are silent upon the terms upon which He bestows it.
Far better instructed thereon than so many of our modern evangelists was good old Matthew Henry. Outlining the whole passage, that helpful commentator pointed out: "We are here invited to Christ as our Priest, Prince, and Prophet, to be saved — and, in order to that, to be ruled and taught by Him.
First, we must come to Christ as our great high-priest Priest and repose ourselves in Him for salvation.
Second, we must come to Him as our Prince or Ruler, and submit ourselves to Him, "Take My yoke upon you." This must go along with the former, for Christ is exalted to be both a Prince and a Savior (Act 5:31). The rest He promises is a release from the drudgery of sin — not from the service of God. Christ has a yoke for our necks — as well as a crown for our heads — and this yoke He requires that we should take upon us.
Third, we must come to Him as our Prophet or Teacher, and set ourselves to learn from Him. We must learn of Him to be "Meek and and humble in heart" — to mortify our pride and passion, which render us so unlike to Him. We must so learn of Christ, for He is both Teacher and Lesson, Guide and Way!"
"My yoke is easy, and my burden is light." This is not a poetic hyperbole, but the language of truth and soberness, and, therefore, is not to be denied or doubted. The Savior was there drawing a blessed contrast with the scribes and Pharisees, of whom He said, "For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers" (Mat 23:4). In order to gratify a domineering spirit, they usurped authority, and, by their inventions and traditions, removed liberties which God allowed, and imposed irksome injunctions which He had never enjoined. They demanded a greater strictness in the observing of the ceremonial law than the Lord did, obtruding severe tasks (under pain of heavy penalties), but offering no assistance unto those who submitted to their dictates. They were the false shepherds who ruled "with force and with cruelty" (Ezekiel 34:4). Such has ever characterized a carnal-priesthood. Now, in sharp and blessed opposition thereto, the great High Priest of God's people presents a yoke which is easy and a burden that is light — and places His everlasting arms beneath those who voluntarily take and wear the same.
Christ is no cruel Egyptian taskmaster, requiring men to make bricks without straw, but "a merciful and faithful high priest" (Heb 2:17), One who can be "touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (4:15). Therefore, it is not fetters and chains which He imposes upon His followers, but a yoke that is pleasant and a burden that is light. As others before us have pointed out, the Greek word rendered "easy" also signifies "good and gracious." So far from Christ's yoke being galling and painful — to the yielding neck it is benignant and delightful. It is designed not for our injury, but for our benefit.
The first reference in His "my yoke" and "my burden" is unto the one that Christ Himself wore and bore, and which He declared to be easy and light. And what did they consist of? Why, doing the Father's will, being about His Father's business. In that will He delighted (Psalm 40:8), and to do that business was what had brought Him down from Heaven to earth (Luke 2:49). Since His followers are predestined to be conformed unto His image, He requires that they should wear the yoke which He sets before them. Christ gives rest not in sin and unlawful pleasures — but from them, by engaging the heart with something infinitely better. It is rest, not in our lusts, but in Himself!
First, the Lord says, "Take My yoke upon you" (Mat 11:29).To take His yoke upon us is to enlist under His banner, to make a public profession of His Gospel, to surrender to His lordship.
"Learn of Me." To learn of Him is to take our place at His feet as little children to be instructed by Him. It is to submit ourselves wholly to His will, to obey His precepts, and to pattern our lives after His example.
Those are the conditions which must be fulfilled by us if we are to obtain rest unto our souls.
Then, second, He assures us "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." That is the inducement to comply with His terms. By those words, each professing Christian reader should honestly and seriously examine himself. They afford a sure criterion by which we may test ourselves and ascertain whether or not we have really taken His yoke upon us.
Each one may identify himself by his answers to these questions: Am I finding the yoke I am wearing easy or difficult? Is the burden I am carrying light or heavy? As John Newton (1725-1807) declared, "This verse alone, if seriously attended to, might convince multitudes that, though they bear the name of Christians and are found among the Lord's worshiping people, they are as yet entire strangers to the religion of the Gospel. Can it be supposed that our Lord would give a false character of His yoke? If not, how can any dream that they are His followers while they account a life of communion with God and entire devotedness to His service, to be dull and burdensome? Those, however, who have made the happy trial, find it to be such a burden as wings are to a bird. Far from complaining of it, they are convinced that there is no real pleasure attainable in any other way."
Christ's commandments are not, in themselves, "grievous" (1 Jo 5:3), but are "holy, just, and good" (Rom 7:12). They are given in love, and are to be fulfilled by love. "In keeping of them there is great reward" (Psalm 19:11). For the keeping of them, full assistance is obtainable from Him if we do but seek the same. It is the way of transgressors that is "hard" (Pro 13:15), but strong consolation is to be found in the way of Christian duty, and in Christ's presence there is fullness of joy. Wisdom's ways "are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace" (Pro 3:17). It must be so, for every part is lighted from above, the whole path is strewn with precious promises, each step is heavenward. The only happiness worth seeking is to be found therein. Yes, it must be so, for there is comfort and contentment in walking with God.
If, then, the way along which the reader is journeying is unpleasant, he is a stranger to Wisdom's ways and is a fool. Those ways are pleasant only to Wisdom's children. The yoke of Christ is irksome and distasteful to the unregenerate, for it makes directly against the motions of the carnal nature. The service of Christ is veritable drudgery to those who are in love with the world and who find their delight in gratifying the lusts of the flesh. To the self-willed and self-seeking, the commandments of the Lord cannot but be offensive — for they require the denying of self and the pursuit and cultivation of personal holiness.
But to one whose heart has been captivated by Christ, to be under His yoke is delectable. If he comes to Him daily to be renewed in the inner man, yields himself afresh to His rule, sits at His feet to be taught of Him the loveliness of meekness and lowliness, enjoys communion with Him, then, His will is "good and acceptable" (Rom 12:2) to him.
"And my burden is light" (Mat 11:30). It is so to those who "learn of him"(Eph 4:20). No burden is heavy, if it is shouldered by love. "Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her" (Gen 29:20)! Is it a burden for a father to work and provide for his wife and children? Not if he has real affection for them. Is it a burden for a fond mother to sit through the night tending her little one when it is sick? So far from it, she refuses to entrust the task unto another. Where there is a genuine desire to please Christ, the wheels of Christian duty run smoothly. Wisdom's children find their burden light, because they have the assurance that their efforts are acceptable to Christ — not for any excellence in their performances, but because they have been done from a desire to glorify Him. What is heavy to flesh and blood, is light to faith and grace, and because it has to be borne but for a moment (2 Corinthians 4:17). The burden is light just in proportion as we lay aside every weight (Heb 12:1), and because He gives strength to bear it.

None can adequately describe the radical contrast there is between the bondage and misery of the service of sin — and the liberty and peace of practical holiness. But anyone who has personally experienced both, need have no difficulty in determining whether he is out of Christ — or yoked to Him. If you have a peace which passes understanding and a joy which the world knows nothing of — you are a godly person. If despite both inward and outward opposition, you find obedience to Christdesirable and agreeable — then, His Spirit must indwell you, and the more you grow in grace, the easier His yoke and the lighter His burden.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Monday, August 24, 2015

What does the Lord require?

This most excellent meditation from Alexander Smellie can be heard here.

God's pool and man's porches

"Inside the city of Jerusalem, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Within these lay a large number of the sick — blind, lame, and paralyzed — waiting for the moving of the water, because an angel would go down into the pool from time to time and stir up the water. Then the first one who got in after the water was stirred up recovered from whatever ailment he had. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years."  - John 5

This verse you will see states that by the Sheep Gate of Jerusalem, there was a pool called Bethesda, signifying "the house of mercy," and that at certain seasons of the year, an angel came down and stirred the waters. Whoever then first stepped in after the stirring of the water, was made whole — no matter what the disease might be under which he was suffering, or how long the period he had been so afflicted.
This evening we are not going to enter into the vexed question about the angel stirring the water — whether it was mythical or whether it was real — whether it merely symbolizes the medicinal and healing powers of the water, or whether an angel actually came down that could be seen by the sufferers surrounding the pool. I need hardly say that for myself I prefer the latter interpretation. John states it was an angel, and I see no reason why we should accept anybody's supposition as preferable to his direct statement. If the angel merely represents medicinal power, I do not see how that clears away the difficulty, as it was only the first one who stepped in that was made whole. To believe in a momentary medicinal virtue capable of healing any and every sickness — to our mind, requires greater faith than to believe it was purely miraculous. We hold therefore that at certain times a direct power came from Heaven, making that porch-surrounded pool a veritable "house of mercy."
All the healing work of the pool was God's work, and His alone; but in our text we have man's work side by side with God's work. There were five porches. In all probability, these porches were built by some charitable people in the city of Jerusalem who had argued something like this, "We have no power to heal the sick — but we can at all events build a shelter for them when they come seeking a cure. It is not in us to move the water into an all-healing pool — but we can build a place so near the water, that when the sufferers come after many a weary mile, they will be able to rest there, secured from the sun, and sheltered from the tempest, and wait in comfort until the angel of mercy stirs it with his wing."
Thus I think you will see we have in our text the union of God's work and human agency. God digs the pool — and man builds the porches. Our subject then tonight is God's pool and man's porches — or the union of Divine mercy and human charity.
First of all we will look at Bethesda as an illustration of God's work and man's agency in the healing of sick souls. It is a high honor, beloved, to be a co-worker with God, no matter in how humble a capacity. To have anything at all to do with Jehovah's work, is an honor compared with which all the honors of this world are paltry and worthless. No star or medal the world ever put upon the breast of any man is so high an honor as that which he has who in some humble way works hand in hand with God.
The Creator, and the creature,
the Father, and the adopted child,
the Redeemer, and the redeemed,
both engaged together in some work — the result of which is the triumph of mercy and compassion; this is a peerless dignity indeed, an incomparable honor.
But lest, dear friends, you and I should get too exalted in mind at the idea of being fellow-laborers with God, let us call to mind a truth well-calculated to keep pride at a distance, or to put it in the dust if present. God can do without us. The pool could do without the porches, and do as well without them. It had none of its healing qualities from them. No poor sufferer was ever eased of his pain because of the influence of the porches on the pool. It was the pool alone that did the work and had all the glory of the cure. If some ruthless hand had laid all the porches low, and left nothing but ruins in their place, the pool would have been as powerful to heal as if they had never existed.
So let us remember, in order to be kept free from any pride of soul that God may use us — that if we were dead tomorrow, God could do as well without us. The pool can do without the porch — but the porch is a worthless thing without the pool; and therefore, child of God, if you have had the high honor put on you of doing anything for your God, you must cast the glory at his feet, and say, "Lord, you have used me — but I know you could have used anybody else! You have blessed me — but you could have blessed anyone else as much! You have employed instrumentality — but you could have done away with it all. You have honored the porch — but all the healing has come from the pool. From first to last, all is of You. You are the Alpha, and You are the Omega."
But remember, on the other hand, that God so ordered it that the porches should be built by man. Although not dependent on human agency, it yet seems to be God's "mode of operation" never to do for man what man can do for himself. Man could not make a pool of Bethesda, so God made it for him. But man could build five porches — so God left man to do it.
You will find throughout scripture history, that our God acts ever after this plan. He warns Noah of a coming deluge, gives him all the directions as to how to build the ark, and by a miracle, He constrains two of every kind to enter the ark when built. Man could not do that. However, He leaves it to man to drive all the nails and shape the timber. That was something that man could do. So it is right through the history of all his saints.
Take for example Israel in the wilderness. To cause bread to fall from Heaven was beyond the power of any man. God does that; but when the bread had fallen, they could go outside their tent doors and gather it; and therefore the Lord did not rain the bread into their mouths — but onto the ground; and if they would not take the trouble to go and fetch what God had given them — they would starve, and it would serve them right. "What you give — they gather," Psalm 104.28, is not only true of the beasts of the forest — but of the children of His love. The gathering makes them prize the gift the more. God digging the pool, does not exonerate man from building the porches.
Let us for a moment look and see how this may be APPLIED in many ways.
This blessed Book is all from God. No human hand dug its deep well of truth. From Genesis to Revelations it makes one glorious Bethesda. It is a house of mercy, and in its chapters and verses there is latent healing power, that needs but the moving of the Spirit to heal anyone. To write this book, and make it a power of healing for souls, is God's work, and His work alone.
But you and I can place this book into the hands of different people, and that is our work. God writes the book — but it is for us to print it, and distribute it on every hand.
He makes this pool of Bethesda; but you and I, perhaps through the agency of a Bible Society, have to help build the five porches. "Faith comes by hearing," and God's most frequent method of salvation is to save men through the preaching of His cross in His sanctuaries. Now that is God's work. Man can neither give himself nor anyone else faith; but man can build the sanctuaries for the gospel to be preached in. Therefore God does not build any chapels by miracles. If men want to have houses to worship in, God says, "that is your work — you must toil, and you must collect, and you must give, and you must pay for it. You can build the brick porch — but it is for Me to make it a Bethesda, a house of mercy to thousands."
No one has power to give peace to an anxious soul, or touch and heal the heart that has been wounded. There is no earthly house of mercy that we possess — no man devised Bethesda — that can give rest to the sin-convinced and self-condemned soul. This is God's work. But we can throw open an enquirer's class as a porch to help the sinner to the house of mercy; and therefore we say that no church is truly complete unless it has the porch of an enquirer's class to shelter the trembling penitents and point them to the pool.
To restore a backslider is as much God's work as to convert a sinner. We have no power to bring back again the soul that has wandered; but we can build a porch to encourage his return — we can look after him in his wanderings — we can take him by the hand, and speak the kindly word of warning and entreaty.
Thus you see, God and His saints work together in happy union. God doing all that man cannot possibly do — and at the same time leaving to him all that can be accomplished by human means. God, in other words, looks after the pool, and says to His saints, "Now you look after the porches."
It has occurred to me that in many ways Bethesda makes a very beautiful illustration of what a Christian church ought to be. I will briefly notice one or two points.
The first thing we observe is — that those porches were only built for the sake of the pool. You cannot imagine any gentleman in Jerusalem having built them merely for the sake of an architectural display. Most certainly they were not built for lounges, and it is equally certain they were not built for people to sleep in. They were simply built to help men to get to the water that could heal them.
Every sanctuary that is built aright, is built from the same motive. It is built simply to lead men to Christ. I fear that it is not a very uncharitable thing to say that if we were to go deeply into the history of many sanctuaries, we should find that a multitude of motives very different from this, helped in their erection. Too often they are built without a thought of their becoming houses of mercy. Many of them have for their foundation stones a previous split in some other place of worship; while many others have arisen more through the pride of some great man — or the bickering of some ill-tempered man, than anything else.
But observe, secondly, that the porches were only of value as they led to the pool. Yonder is a man who has been a paralytic for years. He has heard about the marvelous power of this water, and he says, "I will go and try it." Suppose that when he gets as far as the porch, he sits down and says, "Well, now I have gotten to just where I desire;" and he begins to look around the porch and says, "What a comfortable place this is! How kind of those gentlemen in Jerusalem to ever have built it." And suppose he were to wait month after month, and year after year in that porch. I ask you how much better would he be for it? That porch might just as well be his sepulcher. It has no power to heal him. The man is as diseased as ever, and as far as he is concerned, that porch is simply worthless. In other words, the porch was no good to any man unless he went beyond it.
Do you observe too that those who filled the porches were just the very ones we want to see filling our sanctuaries? You find the congregation described in the third verse, "now in these porches lay a great multitude of disabled folk, of blind, crippled, withered, waiting for the moving of the waters." Here we have the kind of gathering we want to see filling all the spiritual porches of the land.
First of all, there were sick ones. Here is a poor paralyzed man, and there a disabled one. Yonder is one shaking all over with the fever, and there is another fearing instant death through heart disease. All kinds of disease are represented. Oh, I would that all the sanctuaries of England were full of sick souls! all kinds, no matter how bad — and the worse, the more welcome.
Let us see to it, dear friends, that we never seek to be such a very highly respectable congregation, that the presence of any heinous sinners would shock our sensibilities. May the Lord bring in here the most monstrous sinners of East London, and make this Tabernacle a great porch for desperately bad cases! Whoever else is shut out, room must be made for them. A sanctuary unfrequented by "the atrocious sinners" of the neighborhood, is of little service to God, and no annoyance to the devil.
They were not only sick ones in those porches; they were something better. They were those who knew they were sick. They came there with a special purpose, and that purpose was to be healed.
That preacher has delightful work who preaches to a congregation drawn by the same desire. That sermon will most assuredly bear fruit, that is preached to a company of lost sinners who feel their sinnership and have come in the hope of obtaining mercy.
Friend, let me ask you — Have you come here tonight in the hope of being healed? As you wended your way along the road, did you feel like one of those desperate men going to the porch saying, "Oh I wish that God might just stir the water tonight! Oh that there might be a power from Heaven which would give the sermon some magic influence with this heart of mine!" Oh my friend, we hold out the hand and greet you. We are right glad to see you here. This porch was built for just such souls as you — and before long, if not tonight, you will find Bethesda through it.
And then observe that that they were poor people that were there, people that could not in any way afford to have a doctor. The beggars and the riff-raff of Jerusalem were there — men who did not have a penny to give to anyone to help them into the water when it was stirred.
If you had asked one of the Pharisees that Christ speaks about in the sixth chapter of Matthew, to walk into the porch, in all probability he would have gathered round about him the long flowing garments of his respectability lest they touch such creatures, and hold his breath as he walked, lest he get contaminated by coming among such a wretched rabble crew!
I wish that we could see more of the poor and penniless helping to fill our sanctuaries. Members of the church, I beseech you to listen to this word — whoever else may be overlooked or unnoticed, mind that a poor person is not — and whoever else may be left to stand during the service, let it not be such a one. Rather let it be yourself. And whenever you see a man who has unmistakable marks of more than ordinary poverty about him, let him be the one who has the first grasp of your hand. We want this porch to be filled, like Bethesda, not merely with the sick — but with the sick poor.
And observe, lastly here, that there were plenty of them. It is said, "In these porches lay a great multitude." There is nothing easier than to sneer at numbers when they come to hear the preaching of the word, though I never hear them despised when the meeting is of a political or secular nature. I willingly grant that numbers, of themselves, are not worth much; but at the same time let it be remembered that, if there are no fish in the pond, you cannot catch any — and if there is only a handful of people in a chapel, hundreds cannot be saved there. The Holy Spirit cannot turn a pew into a saint; but if there are half-a-dozen lost sinners in the pew — He can change them into six saints who will sing eternal praises to their God. Therefore it is mere false humility to say that one does not rejoice when multitudes flock to hear. May God make every porch in this great east end of London, too narrow for the throngs of the poor and the sick and the spiritually diseased that will crowd into them.

We close then, by observing that wherever we find God placing a pool — we are to build a porch; and where we see Him at work, we are to seek to have a hand in that work — to be fellow-laborers with Him. Where the Lord in his mercy digs a Bethesda — let us as a church add the five porches!  -  Archibald Brown

Sunday, August 23, 2015

This most amazing love!

(David Harsha, "Thoughts on the Love of Christ")
In the death of Christ, we behold the most astonishing exhibition of divine love that has ever been manifested to a lost world. Such love as is here displayed, is without a precedent--without a parallel in the annals of time or in the records of eternity.
To behold the Son of God, the Maker of worlds, bowing His head on the cross, and yielding up His immaculate soul amid the agonies of death--is the most amazing, the most affecting, the most melting sight that mortals ever witnessed!
Around the Cross of Christ there shine the most resplendent rays of divine love that ever beamed from the Sun of Righteousness--that ever emanated from the Deity!
O, my soul, look and wonder!
Behold your Savior bleeding on the cross, bleeding from every pore--that your sins might be washed away in the flowing stream!
See Him pouring out His soul unto death, for your salvation! Is not this a manifestation of unparalleled love to you?
Christ's suffering and dying for us is a great mystery--a mystery of unfathomable love!
How vehement was the love of Christ, that led Him to endure death in its most terrible form, even the death of the cross! "Love is as strong as death; the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it."
Such is the love of Christ!
All the waters of affliction and suffering, all the billows ofdivine wrath that rolled over our blessed Redeemer--were not sufficient to quench the ardency of that love which He felt for a dying world of sinners!

Adulterers and adulteresses

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. - James 4:4


I read this verse this morning; the following commentaries on this text are words you will not hear in most of today's churches....

I beg the Reader to notice what is said of adulterers and adulteresses! Not naturally so only, but spiritually. All coldness and departures from the Lord are adulterous acts towards our lawful right husband. And, therefore, the reproof is given to shew that friendship with the mammon of this world, is as a wife’s treacherously departing from her husband.  - Robert Hawker

Ye adulterers and adulteresses - These words are frequently used to denote those who are faithless towards God, and are frequently applied to those who forsake God for idols, Hos_3:1; Isa_57:3, Isa_57:7; Ezek. 16; 23. It is not necessary to suppose that the apostle meant that those to whom he wrote were literally guilty of the sins here referred to; but he rather refers to those who were unfaithful to their covenant with God by neglecting their duty to him, and yielding themselves to the indulgence of their own lusts and passions. The idea is, “You have in effect broken your marriage covenant with God by loving the world more than him; and, by the indulgence of your carnal inclinations, you have violated those obligations to self-mortification and self-denial to which you were bound by your religious engagements.” To convince them of the evil of this, the apostle shows them what was the true nature of that friendship of the world which they sought. It may be remarked here, that no terms could have been found which would have shown more decidedly the nature of the sin of forgetting the covenant vows of religion for the pleasures of the world, than those which the apostle uses here. It is a deeper crime to be unfaithful to God than to any created being; and it will yet be seen that even the violation of the marriage contract, great as is the sin, is a slight offence compared with unfaithfulness toward God. - Albert Barnes


know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? that an immoderate love for the good things of the world, and a prevailing desire after the evil things of it, and a delight in the company and conversation of the men of the world, and a conformity to, and compliance with, the sinful manners and customs of the world, are so many declarations of war with God, and acts of hostility upon him; and show the enmity of the mind against him, and must be highly displeasing to him, and resented by him. - John Gill

The “friendship of the world” (φιλία τοῦ κόσμου  philia tou kosmou) is the love of that world; of the maxims which govern it, the principles which reign there, the ends that are sought, the amusements and gratifications which characterize it as distinguished from the church of God. It consists in setting our hearts on those things; in conforming to them; in making them the object of our pursuit with the same spirit with which they are sought by those who make no pretensions to religion. - Albert Barnes

May we never forget the Lord's teaching on the hatred of the world towards Christ's true sheep,  "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."  John 15:19
We cannot be friendly towards a world that despises Christ and His followers. We must not embrace the world in any way, shape, or fashion. The love for Christ should drive out any desire for the things of this life, however, if our love grows faint, those old worldly ways will attempt to creep back in. 
The final part of the text is reason enough to stave off friendship of the world, 'whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God'.  
This is a most solemn declaration, and one of fearful import in its bearing on many who are members of the church. It settles the point that anyone, no matter what his professions, who is characteristically a friend of the world, cannot be a true Christian. - Albert Barnes

whoever is in league with the one must be an enemy to the other; God and mammon cannot be loved and served by the same persons, at the same time; the one will be loved, and the other hated; the one will be attended to, and the other neglected: this may be known both from reason and from Scripture, particularly from Mat_6:24. - John Gill

He who will act upon this principle, to keep the smiles of the world, and to have its continual friendship, cannot but show himself, in spirit, and in his actions too, an enemy to God. You cannot serve God and mammon, Mat_6:24. Hence arise wars and fightings, even from this adulterous idolatrous love of the world, and serving of it; for what peace can there be among men, so long as there is enmity towards God? or who can fight against God, and prosper? “Think seriously with yourselves what the spirit of the world is, and you will find that you cannot suit yourselves to it as friends, but it must occasion your being envious, and full of evil inclinations, as the generality of the world are. Do you think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?” Jam_4:5. The account given in the holy scriptures of the hearts of men by nature is that their imagination is evil, only evil, and that continually, Gen_6:5. Natural corruption principally shows itself by envying, and there is a continual propensity to this. The spirit which naturally dwells in man is always producing one evil imagination or another, always emulating such as we see and converse with and seeking those things which are possessed and enjoyed by them. Now this way of the world, affecting pomp and pleasure, and falling into strifes and quarrels for the sake of these things, is the certain consequence of being friends to the world; for there is no friendship without a oneness of spirit, and therefore Christians, to avoid contentions, must avoid the friendship of the world, and must show that they are actuated by nobler principles and that a nobler spirit dwells in them; for, if we belong to God, he gives more grace than to live and act as the generality of the world do. The spirit of the world teaches men to be churls; God teaches them to be bountiful. The spirit of the world teaches us to lay up, or lay out, for ourselves, and according to our own fancies; God teaches us to be willing to communicate to the necessities and to the comfort of others, and so as to do good to all about us, according to our ability. The grace of God is contrary to the spirit of the world, and therefore the friendship of the world is to be avoided, if we pretend to be friends of God yea, the grace of God will correct and cure the spirit that naturally dwells in us; where he giveth grace, he giveth another spirit than that of the world. - Matthew Henry

May the Lord Jesus Christ truly be our First Love, driving out any worldliness that may be courting us. May we not commit spiritual harlotry against our Husband. God forbid it to be so!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Beware of false teachers

"The woman wore purple and scarlet clothing and beautiful jewelry made of gold and precious gems and pearls. She held in her hand a golden gobletfull of obscenities and the impurities of her immorality." Revelation 17:4

Beware of the whore of Babylon's golden goblet, and her sweet wine! Be like the virgin spouse of Christ--who follows Him wherever He goes.

Beware of false teachers! The devil has his ministers--as well as Christ! "Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves!" Matthew 7:15. Yes, they are ferocious wolves--they never have enough! "They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who turn to their own way, each seeks his own gain!" Isaiah 56:11

Oh! false teachers do not feed the flock--but fleece the flock!

They do not convert--but pervert! 
They do not purify--but poison! 
They do not edify for salvation--but destroy for damnation!
Instead of curing souls--they kill souls! 

Just so long as they pilfer the people's money--they care not, though the devil has their souls!

They are dogs and wolves combining together to massacre the flock of Christ! Oh! therefore keep yourselves from Babylon's merchants, who make merchandise of the souls of men, Revelation 18:13.

Oh! the sins of teachers--are the teachers of sins!

Now, beloved, let . . .
  your hearts be upright,
  your judgments sound,
  and your lives holy! 

Love the truth, and 
obey the truth, and 
hold fast the truth! 

Keep yourselves . . .
  from false teachers,
  from false doctrines,
  from false worship,
  from false opinions!

If you will be tasting and sipping of Babylon's golden goblet--you must resolve to receive Babylon's plagues!


William Dyer

How to live the Christ-life

Man cannot naturally live the Christ-life. But Christ has promised to come into our hearts and live in us. In order that we may have Christ dwell in our hearts and that we may live his life — there must be a giving up of our self-life. There must be annihilation of self — that Christ may live. It is truly wonderful and as glorious — as it is wonderful that man can live the life of Christ in this world. But here is the secret: it is man ceasing to live the self-life — and Christ living in him.
Imagine a hollow brass figure in the exact image of a man. Suppose you fill this hollow figure with a kind of life which we shall call self-life. This life goes to using the hands and feet, and eyes, ears, tongue; in short, all the members of this brass figure — but using them in the interest of itself. Now you desire to make a change; you want that image to speak, act, and think only for you. You must first put to death the life that is using the figure, cleanse it entirely out, and then get into it yourself. Once in, you can use all the members of that image for yourself.
Your body is like that hollow brass figure. There was a life in you that used all the members of your body — in the interest of self. But there has been a change. You were made a new creature. The life you once had, was put to death — was crucified; then Christ stepped into your heart, and now he uses all the members of your body for himself. You still live, yet not you — but Christ lives in you. Once you did things for yourself — now you do them for Christ. Just as you once lived purposely and intentionally for yourself — now you do things purposely and intentionally for Jesus, because it is he who lives, and not you yourself.
You remember how once you would plan for yourself. In the evening as you lay upon your bed, and again in the morning and throughout the day you would think about what you were going to eat or drink, what you were going to have for clothing, where you were going to live, where you were going to go, and what you were going to do. But now you are changed; you are a new creature. Now it is not you that lives — but Christ lives in you. Now you eat not for yourself — but for Jesus. You now go, not where self would lead you — but where that life in you loves to go and would have you go. You do things, not for yourself — but for Jesus.
O Christ, I die, that you may live,
That you may live in me;
That all I think or speak or do,
May be, O Lord, all for thee.
May not the least of self remain
 — but all be put to death.
Oh, may I nothing do for self,
Nor draw one selfish breath!
To have my Savior live in me,
To occupy the whole,
To make my heart his royal throne
And take complete control.
'Tis all I ask; 'tis all I wish;
'Tis all my heart's desire,
Content if but a wayside bush
To hold God's holy fire!
Low at your feet, O Christ, I fall
A yielded lump of clay,
For you to mold me as you will,
To have your own sweet way!


Saturday, August 15, 2015

a sin of omission

J.A. Matteson

Too often we consider denial of Christ to be exclusively an act of commission. We think of Peter who, three times, willingly denied that he knew Jesus Christ. Yet, more common, by omission we may also deny our Lord. "But whoever denies Me before men, I will also him before My Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 10:33). Christian, silence in the face of unrighteousness is denial of Christ by omission. To remain silent while ungodliness abounds is tacit approval. On Sunday it's easy to join together singing songs of praise to Jesus Christ, declaring his power and lordship. We confidently declare, "Jesus is LORD!" It's easy to preach to the choir. There is no threat proclaiming Christ among those who also profess him. That's what Peter did in the upper room. How easy it was in a safe friendly setting to boldly state allegiance to Christ. But what happened in the garden when the enemies of Christ arrived? 
Christian, if fear of persecution is silencing your voice from speaking out against unrighteousness, you are denying Christ by omission. The sin of omission is to not do that which we know we should do. The word of God condemns murder; are you condemning publically the brutality of abortion or has fear of reprisal tempted you into silence? The word of God condemns sexual immorality; are you condemning publically fornication, adultery, and homosexuality or has the fear of reprisal tempted you into silence? Denial of Christ through omission of speaking the truth of the kingdom of God is a plague upon the church in our day. Christian, fear the Lord, not men. For it is the Lord Jesus Christ whom you serve and to whom you will give an account. Be bold, courageous, stand fast in the power of his might, and the grace of God will be upon you to the praise of Jesus Christ.


Copyright (c) 2015 Immutable Word Ministries ("...the word of our God stands forever."). Isa. 40:8

Friday, August 14, 2015

The model life

In doing anything, it is always well to have a model by which to fashion our work. In fact, nothing is done without a pattern, either real or imaginary. The little boy making a toy, has in his mind a model by which he is framing his work. Likewise, the sculptor has in his mind a model, and as the "marble wastes — the image grows" into the likeness of the vision in his soul.
To live this one life of ours as it should be lived, we must have a perfect model after which to pattern. Thank God, this perfect model of life can be found. Of all the vast number of lives that have been lived since Adam down to this present day, there has been only one that we can take as a model. This one is the life of Jesus. He says, "I am the life." To live this life of ours well, to live it to the highest degree of perfection — we must fashion it according to the glorious life of Christ. The life of Jesus is the model life for every Christian. He invites us, yes, commands us, to follow him, to step in his steps, to walk as he walked.
There have been many good men in the world — but none of them afford us a true pattern of life. There was a man who said, "Be followers of me," but he immediately added, "even as I also am of Christ." Man may so live, as to reveal to us the life of Christ. We can then follow, not them — but the Christ-life they manifested through them.
Let me here say a word on a subject on which we may have more to say hereafter. The grandest, noblest work man has ever done — is by his life to reveal the life of Christ to another, thereby helping that person to be fashioned more after the image of Jesus.
A little flower grew in a place so shaded, that no ray from the sun could fall directly upon it. A window was so situated that at a certain time in the afternoon it refracted the sun's rays and threw them upon the flower, thus giving it color and beauty, and aiding it to bloom.
Just so, some people are living in the dense shade. No light from Christ has ever shined upon them. If you so live as to refract the life of Christ and turn it upon them, and thus stamp upon them a holier life — you have not lived in vain. To set the life of Christ in its purity and beauty before someone and influence him, though only a little, to live better and love Jesus more — is a work the worth of which can never be computed. He who helps another to a holier way of living, does more than he who gains great worldly honor and riches. Blessed indeed, is that life which causes some other life to be more like Christ. Oh, may this thought seize upon our hearts and fill us with a greater passion to live the life of God.
We are told by the voice of Scripture to be "followers of God as dear children." When children are dear to the heart of the parent, he loves to have them obey him. God's children are dear to him, and he would have them follow him. To follow God is to imitate him, or be like him. This is the true way of life.
"Like as he who has called you is holy — you be also holy in all manner of living." 1 Peter 1:15. Only those who live godly in their entire manner of life, are spending the days of their pilgrimage as they should. Jesus has walked the true way of life; we are told to walk in his steps. If we will step each day just where Jesus stepped, then on looking back, we cannot see a footprint of our own; but if we take a single misstep, our footprint will show our departure from the true way of life. How deep and solemn are the words of Scripture wherein we are commanded to walk even as "Jesus walked"!
Jesus says, "I am the way." There is no other right and perfect way. If we will walk as Jesus walked — then we shall walk in the true path of life. This alone is the pathway that leads up to the golden gates of glory and the sweet fields of Heaven. That bright world of blissencourages us on. If we will follow Jesus and live as he lived — God's approval will be upon us, and his outstretched hand will help us along life's way, and finally over the turbulent river of death — to the sunlit shore of eternal rest. Many times we may become wearied and think the toils of the way almost too heavy; but when we remember that it is the way that Jesus trod — then the heavens open to our view, we look forward to the mansion prepared for us, and the toils of the way grow lighter.
See that aged pilgrim journeying down the western slope of life. The sun is nearing the setting. Long and toilsome has been his pilgrimage — but he has walked in the path that his Savior trod. For many years his life has been hid with Christ in God. In Him he has lived and moved and had his being. Now he is making his last step on the shore of time; he passes out of our sight through the gates, into that land where toils are ended and the sun never sets. But his life was the life of Jesus. He was holy — as God is holy; he walked — as Jesus walked. This is how to live. This is the true way of life, and the only way to life eternal. He who does not live with Christ on earth — cannot live with him in Heaven! He who does not live as Jesus lived — does not live as he should. The life of Christ was the perfect life. Ours is perfect, to the degree that we imitate him.
Take my life, O Christ divine,
Make it holy, just like thine;
Every act and thought and word,
Be an outflow from my God.
Guide my feet and keep my heart;
Let me not from you depart;
Let me breathe your warming love,
That my soul be drawn above.
Draw me, Jesus, closer draw;
Your strong arm around me throw;
Draw me to your pierced side;
In your bosom let me hide!
Teach me all your will and word,
That my life be filled with God;
Teach me, Lamb of Calvary,
How to live this life for thee!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

What our churches need


(Archibald Brown, "What Our Churches Need!")

Alas, what an amount of powerless machinery we have in the so-called religious world!
Powerless, because it has no unction of the Spirit. 
Powerless, because it is the work of man--not the working of God through the man. 
Powerless, because it is dry and artificial.
Powerless, because it is done by men who have never "tarried until they were endued with power from on high." 

Instrumentality is almost worshiped--while the Holy Spirit is well-near ignored!

O, I wish that it were more realized by us all, that apart from the blessed Spirit, our acquirements and preparations are nothing, and can do nothing! God's church is hindered, not helped, by any instrumentality that lacks the Holy Spirit

Where are you going?

We have only one life to live--only one! Think of this for a moment.
 
Here we are in this world of time, making the journey of life. Each day we are farther from the cradle--and nearer to the grave! Solemn thought!
See the mighty concourse of human lives; hear their heavy tread in their onward march. Some are just beginning life's journey; some are midway up the hill, some have reached the top, and some are midway down the western slope. But where are we all going? Listen, and you will hear but one answer, "Eternity!" Beyond the fading, dying gleams of the sunset of life--lies a boundless, endless ocean called Eternity! There, you and I are daily traveling.
Time is like a great wheel going its round. On and on it goes. Some are stepping on--and some are stepping off. But where are these latter stepping? Into eternity! See that old man with bent form, snow-white locks, and tottering steps--his has been a long round, but he has reached his end at last. See the middle-aged man--his round has not been so long, but he must also step off. See the youth--he has been on only a little while, but he is brought to the stepping-off place. He thought his round would be much longer. He supposed that he was just getting started--when that icy hand was laid upon him and the usher said, "Come, you have made your round, and you must go!" The infant that gave its first faint cry this morning--may utter its last feeble wail tonight!
And thus they go. But where? Oh, where? ETERNITY!
If you were to start today and ask each person you met the question, "Where are you going?" and, if possible, you were to travel the world over and ask each one of earth's inhabitants--there could be but one correct answer, "Eternity!"
 
"Oh, eternity, Long eternity!
Hear the solemn footsteps of eternity!"
 
 
 
Only one life to live! Only one life--and then we must face vast, endless eternity! We shall pass along the pathway of life but once. Every step we take--is a step that can never be taken again.
This world is not a play-ground--or a place to trifle with time. Life is not given us to squander nor fritter away. To trifle away time, is indeed, to be the greatest of spendthrifts. If you squander a dollar--you may regain it; but a moment wasted--can never be regained. God gives us all the time we need to accomplish all that He purposes us to accomplish--but He does not give us one moment to trifle away.
We have only one life to live--only one!
 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The love of money

I found this post and believe is is filled with so much truth; I had to share it....


Peddling Christ


I’ve seen the headlines for several news articles the last couple of days that talk about a prominent ‘Christian’ organization’s leader and how much money he is paid by the non-profit organization he runs. I haven’t read the articles but did see just a few sentences in one of them where it actually told the amount this man is paid. I know a lot of non-profit organizations pay the people that run them but I have to question how any company that pays someone to run it can truly be labeled non-profit. If someone’s being paid by that organization…doesn’t that make them a for profit company?

Someone, an individual, is making money off the funds that are given for the purpose of whatever that organization stands for. In this case it is the very man that claims to do so much for others that is making such a high salary from the money given to help those in need.

I think of all the ‘church’ buildings and how they have non-profit status. Some of those ‘church’ buildings pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to their pastors. And they don’t stop there. Many of them pay that same pastor’s living expense, they pay their vehicle expenses, some even pay their vacation expenses. Many of those same ‘church’ buildings also pay music leaders, youth pastors, secretaries, janitors, landscapers… Is that truly non-profit? Can they truly be not making a profit when those in charge of the ‘church’ are being paid…sometimes huge amounts…to run the ‘church’ that is supposedly not making a profit?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Souls are perishing--and ministers are amusing them!


(Archibald Brown)

"But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them--that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood! When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die!' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways--that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood!" Ezekiel 33:6-8

We behold this same evil affecting many of the pulpits of today's churches. Mere morality is taking the place of regeneration, and the atonement by blood is a slighted subject. Instead of beseeching men to be reconciled to God--we find ministers wasting their time in giving Sunday lectures about all kinds of subjects. Rome is burning--and Nero is playing his fiddle! Souls are perishing--and ministers are amusing them!

Friday, August 7, 2015

How lovely is your sanctuary

"How lovely is your sanctuary, O LORD Almighty!" Psalm 84:1

May we not learn from this, dear friends, that no mere outward loveliness of a church building can ever satisfy the spiritual soul? To such, the exterior is a matter of comparative indifference. I know that I will be looked at by some almost in the light of a fossil for venturing such an assertion. Perhaps I am in this respect — but I am still certain I am correct.
In proportion, as one learns to worship God in the spirit — he becomes unconcerned about the particular architecture of the building. As a piece of workmanship, he may admire it as much as any; but as a place of worship, it possesses no more charm than the country barn devoted on the Lord's-day to the preaching of the gospel.
I fear that in the present day, reverence for mere bricks and mortar is becoming a very fashionable error. Beauty of design in the church structure is thought more of, than beauty of holiness in sanctuary worship. This is the result of a religion that goes no deeper than the eye can see. But to the man educated of God, mere external symmetry will be powerless to evoke the psalmist's exclamation of "How lovely is your sanctuary!" He wants something more, something that touches the inner springs of the soul.
During the past five weeks it has been my privilege to see some of the great masterpieces of religious architecture. I have gazed upon the Cathedral of Cologne with exquisite pleasure, and marveled at the skill that could rear a building so vast — and yet so exquisite that it appeared more like lacework than solid stone. I have wandered round about the majestic Cathedral of Milan, built of white marble, and glittering in the sun like a snowdrift. I have roamed through the peerless churches of Venice, the queen of the seas, and been captivated with their exquisite mosaics, altars of boundless worth and pictures beyond price!
But not in any one of these has such a feeling been excited as induced David to utter the words of our text. I left them as I entered, or perhaps more truthfully speaking, with a sickening desire for something that spoke to the heart as well as captivated the eyes.
It is easy to imagine that in any one of these, the great architect could spend a day or week with growing pleasure. All around him would speak to the genius within. He could feast his eyes upon the tapering spires without, and the rich wood and stone carvings within. Every monument would be a study, and every shrine a fountain of delight.
The gifted painter might linger here with ecstasy among the incarnations of a Rubens' genius. But if either the architect or painter were a child of God, his soul would be as unmoved, as his mind was delighted. These things serve the intellectual taste — but they leave the spiritual unsatisfied. No brick, no wood, no stone, no marble, however lavish the skill expended on them, can ever constitute the beauty of the sanctuary in the eyes of the saint. It does not consist in the outward.
Where is it then? I answer, in the worship within.
When David longed for the tabernacle, and thought of its beauty, he went in imagination within the covering. Yes, it was not the place itself that in any way filled his heart — but the worship of God within it. How significant is the second verse, and how clearly it shows what it was that he wanted. "My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." Yes, it was the living God, not lifeless stones or silver, that he valued.
He remembered that it was in the tabernacle that the sacrifices were slain, and there that the typical blood dyed the altars red. It was there that the incense rose in clouds — a sweet-smelling savor unto God. It was there that the united songs of the Levites ascended. It was there that his heart had met with its God, and the thousand hallowed recollections of communion draped the place in loveliness. Beloved, is it not so with us?

excerpt from Archibald Brown's sermon 'how lovely is your sanctuary'

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What shall I give Him?

"What shall I render to the Lord, for all His benefits towards me?"

"What shall I render to the Lord?" Here is a question far easier asked, than answered. I confess that in studying this subject, when I asked my soul this question, and then tried faithfully to answer it, I found myself completely bewildered. I found I had all the desire in the world to render something.But what?

Think for a moment of the possessions of GodWhat can mortal man give to his God? How can the treasury of the Creator--be enriched by the gifts of the creature? The thought of our God's infinite wealth, makes the question of our text appear next door to an impertinence. Listen but to His own words, "I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are Mine! If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all that is in it!" Psalm 50:9-12

The golden veins of the everlasting hills are His, and the hidden treasures of the vast deep belong to Him. Lift up your eyes on high some starry night, and behold the bespangled skies--every glittering speck you see is a rolling world, and every world is the result of His handiwork. The heavens are but His jewel-case!
Now say believer, what you will lay at the feet of Him who can place His hand upon Heaven, Earth, and Hell, and say, "All is Mine!" 

But apart from the possessions of our God, there is another insuperable difficulty to answering the question, and that is our own poverty. It is total poverty talking making a gift to infinite wealth. Ransack your memory, run over your accounts, find out what you possess. What is the sum total? Nothing! Nothing!! Nothing!!! We are miserable bankrupts, not worth a jot. The very bread we eat is the bread of divine charity--and the breath we draw is lent to us. It is utter emptiness, talking of giving to the perfection of fullness. It is the beggar rendering to the benefactor!
If we were able to give Him anything--it would be but rendering to Him what is already His own. What do we have, that we have not first received from God? "Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand!" 1 Chronicles 29:14

The heart's gratitude is all the saint can give in return for divine merciesthat are fresh with every hour, and as numerous as the seconds in the day.

But if thanksgiving is good, remember thanks-living is better; therefore let your whole life join in the harmony! Live for Him who died for you! The highest praise that mortal saint can give, is the praise that vents itself in the exclamation, "For me, to live is Christ!" 

Give Him your love. Nothing testifies to gratitude so much. Indeed, where love is lacking, no true praise can exist. Do not be afraid of loving Him too much. Do not fear being thought a fanatic, or considered an enthusiast. If you could love Him to a flaming passion--you would not love Him half enough. Give Him your love--He asks for it, and will pardon its weakness. 



Read Archibald Brown's entire sermon  -  'What shall I give Him?'