Saturday, 30 April 2016

Oh, do not waste life!

Oh, do not waste life!
(George Everard, "Mind Your Steps!" 1884)

"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:16 

Be careful to make the very best use of your time. Make the most of each passing day. Instead of trying to kill time — strive to make it so fruitful of good to yourself and others. Hours and moments are golden — yes, more valuable than pearls and diamonds — and to squander and waste them is folly beyond description! Until we reach eternity, we shall never know how much good has been obtained or wrought...
  by a moment's earnest prayer,
  by a passing opportunity seized,
  by five minutes given to read a helpful book,
  by a quarter of an hour given to visit some suffering saint.

How much Christ accomplished in the three years of His public ministry! He was always intent on the work He had to do, so that tens of thousands were taught and benefited. And though we are so sinful, and our power so feeble in comparison — is not His life to be a pattern for ours?

Oh, do not waste life! Map it out prudently, and think well of the work to which you yourself are called.
No lost hours through late rising in the morning!
No mornings or evenings worse than lost, in drinking in the poison or the vanity of a worthless novel!
No moments thrown away in idle gossip and foolish talking!
No, no — our was life given to us for this! Use it far better and more wisely. Remember that...
  the time is short,
  the work is great, and
  the outcome is for eternity!

Soon will the great bell toll, which will usher you into a future state. Brother, sister, make haste to do all the work allotted to you — to do it well, that the Master may be glorified, and your crown the brighter.

"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Psalm 90:12

Saturday, 23 April 2016

This would help you more than anything!

This would help you more than anything!
(George Everard)

A wandering of the mind in prayer is an evil to be carefully avoided. I imagine there is no child of God but has continually to lament wandering thoughts — something coming in to divert the attention, and often carrying you miles away from the presence of the Lord. Even those who most grieve and regret this evil, find that it often comes and disturbs them. It meets them in the sanctuary, it meets them in family worship, it meets them in their private devotions. It is a weed that is ever growing, and no remedy has yet been found that can completely root it out of the garden of the heart.

Yet some guidance may be given in the matter. Strive to be very definite in your prayers. Think of what you most need, and then put it very distinctly before the Lord.

Also, endeavour always to speak as to a living person. If you could more fully realize and always recollect that when you pray, a living Redeemer and an omnipotent Friend bows down the ear to hear, that He is close by you, that you are not speaking into the air — but that you speak your words to one who as truly sees you and hears you as if you saw Him with your very eyes before you — this would help you more than anything!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

He was infinitely happy and glorious without us!

He was infinitely happy and glorious without us! 
(James Smith, "The Pastor's Evening Visit")

"Christ that loved us." Romans 8:37

No condition can possibly be more dreary, than to feel that no one loves or cares for us!

There is something peculiarly sweet and pleasant — in being the object of another's love. Even the love of a poor child is sweet. But to be loved by one who is most wealthy, most exalted in station, and most honourable in character — must be peculiarly delightful!

How, then, should we rejoice; how happy should we be — who are loved by the Lord Jesus! Especially when we consider:
on the one hand...
  how despicable,
  how poor,
  how worthless, and
  how unlovely WE are!
And, on the other hand...
  how glorious,
  how wealthy,
  how worthy,
  how lovely JESUS is!

To be loved by Jesus — is to be preferred before the possession of a world!

Think of...
  the glory of His person,
  the vastness of His possessions,
  the number of His angelic attendants,
  the unlimited sovereignty which He exercises,
  and the excellent character He bears!

Also bear in mind — that He knew what loving us would cost Him — how He would be treated by us and by others — for our sakes!

Yet He fixed His love upon US!

He loved US — just because He would!

He passed by others more dignified in nature, more exalted in station — but He chose US!

He did not, could not, NEED us — for He was infinitely happy and glorious without us!

Yet He loved us!

He still loves us!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Like coins from the same mint!

Like coins from the same mint!
(Letters of John Newton)

My dear sir,
I could write a long note indeed, upon your very great mistake in considering me as a great man. If we could have a personal interview — I think you would be quickly undeceived! Ah! how different I am — from what perhaps I appear to be to others when in the pulpit.

Your mistake, however, has done me good. A whole quire of invective from an enemy could hardly have given me so keen a sense of shame. The Scriptures assure us that our hearts by nature, like coins from the same mint — are all alike. I hear my fellow-Christians complain of evils similar to what I feel. Otherwise I would have reason to conclude that there could not be one believer upon earth — so inconsistent, so evil, so vile beyond expression — as myself!
Ah, dear sir! what would you have thought of me — had you seen me when I lived among the slaves? The sight of me would have been offensive to your eyes, and my vile speech would have struck you with horror! I was miserable and despicable in every view — the common mark of scorn and insult! My whole wretched amusement and pleasure seemed to lie in blaspheming the name and person of Jesus, and in feeding my imagination with schemes of wickedness!

Some of my unhappy companions have perished in their sins — who have just cause to charge the ruin of their souls to my account! For Satan himself, had he been upon earth in a bodily shape — could hardly have been more industrious in tempting to infidelity and profligacy than I was!

There is seldom a day of my life, in which my thoughts are not led back to my former state of estrangement from Him, and that pre-eminence of wretchedness into which my sins plunged me!

Yet, it is of grace that my poor story is not much worse. The Lord is my keeper — therefore I am still preserved. "By the grace of God — I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10

I am, dear sir, your affectionate friend and servant,
John Newton, 1778

Friday, 1 April 2016

The best Physician!

The best Physician!
(Thomas Watson)

Christ is the best Physician.

Christ  is the most skilful Physician. There is no disease too hard for Him. "who healeth all thy diseases." Psalm 103:3. He can cure the gangrene of sin — even when it comes to the heart. He can melt a heart of stone, and wash away black sins in His crimson blood! There are no desperate cases with Christ. He has those salves, oils, and balsams which can cure the worst diseases.

Christ is the cheapest Physician. Sickness is not only a consumption to the body — but the purse! (Luke 8:43). Physicians charge fees — but Jesus Christ gives us our cures freely. He takes no fee. "And he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." Isaiah 55:1. He desires us to bring nothing to Him but broken hearts. And when He has cured us, He desires us to bestow nothing upon Him but our love — and one would think that was very reasonable.

Christ heals with more ease than any other. Other physicians apply pills, potions, or remedies. Christ cures with more ease. Christ made the devil go out with a word (Mark 9:25). So when the soul is spiritually possessed, Christ can heal with a word, nay, He can cure with a look. When Peter had fallen into a relapse, Christ looked on Peter — and he wept. Christ's look melted Peter into repentance — it was a healing look.

Other physicians can only cure those who are sick — but Christ cures those who are dead. "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;" Ephesians 2:1

Christ cures not only our diseases — but our deformities! The physician can make the sick man well; but if he is deformed, he cannot make him lovely. Christ gives not only health — but beauty. Sin has made us ugly and misshapen. Christ's medicines do not only take away our sickness — but our blemishes. He not only makes us whole — but lovely. Christ not only heals — but adorns.

Last, Christ is the most bountiful Physician. Other patients enrich their physicians — but here the Physician enriches the patient! Christ advances all His patients. He not only cures them — but crowns them! (Revelation 2:10). Christ not only raises from the sick-bed — but to the throne! He gives the sick man not only health — but Heaven!

Oh, the love of this heavenly Physician! Christ Himself drank that bitter cup which we should have drunk, and by His taking the bitter potion — we are healed and saved! Thus Christ has shown more love than any physician ever did to the patient.