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The Glory of His Grace

Oh, the beauty of His precious love;
The splendor of His grace.
As He by sovereign mercy
Has led us to this place.

This place, secured by Him with whom,
No mortal man can touch;
This place of hope within the veil
Where angels dwell and such.

Our eyes are made to see the One,
Who died to set us free.
Our ears are made to hear His call,
And follow joyfully.

Our hearts are made to yearn for Him,
And seek Him through His Word.
Fulfill the plan, designed by Him,
Proclaim His glory heard.

Throughout our time on earth and more,
Throughout eternity.
To magnify His precious name,
Who sets the captives free.

Oh, with a burning heart for Him,
With eagles wings we soar,
Above the world of sin and strife;
This land of wanting more.

None other is so loving,
None other is so kind.
To carry us above the dust,
And leave this world behind.

So with me now, let’s venture on
Behold Him face-to-face;
Exalt the glory of His cross;
The glory of His grace.

Michael E. Wood

Pursuing a True Love....

My prayer is that God would do such a work of grace in our hearts, as we start this New Year, that we will pursue His Word with even more excitement and desire than we would a lover. You Jesus, are the "Lover of My Soul"

As I was reading the text below, I was asking myself, "Is this how you feel about the Word of God"? With each paragraph my heart was breaking because of the realization that I do not love the Word of God, as I ought.

Thomas Watson from "A Godly Man is a Lover of the Word"

A godly man shows his love for the Word by:

Diligently reading it. The Word is our Magna Carta for heaven; we should be daily reading over this charter.The Word shows what is truth and what is error. It is the field where the pearl of price is hidden. How we should dig for this pearl! A godly man's heart is the library to hold the Word of God; it dwells richly in him (Col. 3:16)
By diligent conversing with Scripture, we may carry a Bible in our heads.

Frequently medita…

Okay - I admit it- I'm confused!

Let us talk about the "unregenerate" man--Those who are spiritually blind; those who God has not done a work of grace in their hearts; those who are still in darkness and do not know the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ; those who are operating purely in the "old nature" and have not been "born again". Perhaps some of my readers might shed some light on this subject. Here is what I am struggling with, of late:

Among the "unregenerate":

1) What makes some men "givers" instead of "takers"?

2) What makes some men capable of using and defiling as many women as they possibly can--while others have too much respect for the dignity of a women's body and heart not capable of using them to gratify their own sexual needs?

3) What makes one man desire to help an old woman across the street; while another man sits in his car irritated that the old woman is taking too much time to cross the street; thus making him late to h…

Full Purpose of Heart

"If we satisfy ourselves in mere notions and speculations about the glory of Christ as doctrinally revealed unto us, we shall find no transforming power or efficacy communicated to us thereby.


But when, under the conduct of that spiritual light, our affections do cleave unto Him with full purpose of heart, our minds are filled with the thoughts of Him and delight in Him, and faith is kept up unto its constant exercise in trust and affiance on Him - virtue will proceed from Him to purify our hearts, increase our holiness, strengthen our graces, and to fill us sometimes ‘with joy unspeakable and full of glory.’


This is the just temperature of a state of spiritual health - namely, when our light of the knowledge of the glory of God in Christ doth answer the means of it which we enjoy, and our affections unto Christ do hold proportion unto that light; and this according unto the various degrees of it - for some have more, and some have less.


Where light leaves the affections behind, it …
As C. S. Lewis so memorably said. "Christian humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less," It is to be no longer always noticing yourself and how you are doing and how you are being treated. It is "blessed self-forgetfulness."

Do You Love Reproof?

Some will say, "Oh, come on now--Does anyone love reproofs?" "Who wants to be corrected or criticized?"

Here is what Thomas Watson has to say:

"A corrupt heart loves the comforts of the Word, but not the reproofs: "They hate the one who rebukes in the gate." (Amos 5:1O). "Their eyes flash with fire!" Like venomous creatures that at the least touch spit poison, "When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth." (Acts 7:54). When Stephen touched them to the quick, they were mad and could not endure it.

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

Answer 1: 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.

Answer 2: When we pray that the Word may meet with our sins. If there is any traitorous lust in our heart, we would ha…

Are you "A Great Lover"?

Funny how the world uses that expression to describe someone who (in most cases) hasn't a clue what love really is. A godly man is a lover of the Word. A man who loves the Word will be a "great lover" in every aspect of his life; for it is only through the Word that one learns what love really is and learns how to truly love others.

Thomas Watson writes in "A Godly Man is a Lover of the Word":.

Chrysostom compares the Scripture to a garden set with ornaments and flowers. A godly man delights to walk in this garden and sweetly solace himself. He loves every branch and part of the Word:

1. He loves the counselling part of the Word, as it is a directory and rule of life. The Word is the direction sign which points us to our duty. It contains in it things to be believed and practiced. A godly man loves the directions of the Word.

2. He loves the threatening part of the Word. The Scripture is like the Garden of Eden: as it has a tree of life in it, so it has a flamin…

This is WAR!

As I was reflecting on the passage in Psalm 119: "Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee", this thought entered my mind, "How can one hide something that
they do not possess?" In other words, in order to "hide the Word in my heart", I must first actually become familiar with it--I must read it, I must embrace it, I must grab a hold of it--then, and only then, can I hide it (store it) in my heart.

Then I read this excerpt:

Keep the Word, and the Word will keep you: as the first receiving of the Word regenerated your hearts, so the keeping of the Word within you will preserve your hearts. "Let the word of God dwell richly in you" Let it dwell, not tarry with you, in its commands, promises, threats; in all that is in you, in your understandings, memories, consciences, affections, and then it will preserve your hearts.

"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." It is the slipperiness o…

The World Cannot Understand This. Do you?

My best friend works as a "test evaluator". She reads hundreds of answers to standardized essay questions from children in schools throughout the United States and it is her job to score them. The companies philosophy is that "nobody fails". They instead call a failing score, "delayed success". "Self-Esteem" has become the worlds answer. They think that if we feel better and better about ourself we will be happy! The Truth is, that as we feel worse and worse about ourselves we actually find the key to true and lasting happiness-a happiness that the world cannot understand.


By nature we are thoroughly in love with ourselves--but as the Divine work of grace is carried forward in our souls, we come to loathe ourselves. Those who have been saved from penalty of sin, are being made increasingly conscious not only of sin's polluting presence, but of its tyrannizing power! How can we explain the fact, that the Christian finds himself growing wor…

"REALITY" Check

Please Note: This is a very atypical post; but, one I thought would help many (especially men) who may get their feelings confused by images--especially, when it comes to "online" relationships. Many men (and some women) place way too much emphasis on how a person looks and get involved in a "romantic" online relationship for the wrong reasons. Emotions and "feelings" are often sparked by an image; which result in feelings based on "fantasy" and "illusion". People can even think that they are "in love" only to finally meet and be very disappointed or feel that they were "tricked". On the flip side, some men may dismiss a woman based on her online image, only to discover that they dismissed a very beautiful woman.

My recommendation to Women: If you decide to use the Internet to look for a potential spouse, post the most unflattering picture of yourself that you can find. If a man sees you at your worst and is sti…

"Father Knows Best"

In response to a young woman's letter to her father (asking for his advice), he writes:

MY DEAREST GRACE,

I received your valued letter; and in return, I have to say, that the first essential to a pleasant and productive employment of your time is, the regular and systematic distribution of it. This does not supersede the relaxations of society, domestic concerns, light reading, and exercise out & indoors.

The truth is, that the zest of the last is greatly heightened by the previous tension and fatigue which you may have incurred throughout those parts of the day which are given to the more serious pursuits of instruction and self- improvement. Regulate your hours, then; for it were quite vain to offer any advice to those who will not relinquish the habit of living at random, and living as they list.

With this as my great preliminary advice, I would further recommend:

(1) that the first time of your day should be devoted to religious meditation and prayer, both of which would b…

A Little More "Pink" for the Soul

"You shall call His name Jesus--for He shall save His people from their sins"
Matthew 1:21

Our salvation from the pleasure of sin is effected by Christ's taking up His abode in our hearts, "Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20).

Our salvation from the penalty of sin was secured by Christ's sufferings on the Cross where He endured the punishment due our iniquities.

Our salvation from the power of sin is obtained by the gracious operations of the Spirit, whom Christ sends to His people.

Our salvation from the presence of sin will be accomplished at Christ's second advent, "We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior. He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like His own!" (Phil. 3:20, 21). And again we are told, "We know that when He shall appear--we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2).

It is all of Ch…

In case you didn't get what you wanted for Christmas...

God delivers us from the love and pollution of sin--by bitter disappointments. God has plainly warned us of the vanity of all earthly pursuits.

"When I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 2:11)

This was written by one who was permitted to gratify the physical senses as no other ever has. Yet we do not take this warning to heart, for we do not really believe it. On the contrary, we persuade ourselves that satisfaction is to be found in things under the sun--that the creature can give contentment to our hearts. As well attempt to fill a circle with a square!

The heart was made for God--and He alone can meet its needs. But by nature we are idolaters, putting things in His place. Those things we invest with pleasing qualities which they do not possess, and sooner or later our delusions are rudely exposed to us, and we discover that the pl…

Beauty?

You know what touched my heart this year? I will tell you one of the things that stood out to me above almost everything else that I experienced and observed over the past year.

There is a police officer, who works for the city that I work for. I have gotten to know this man over the course of the past year. Not only is he a man of integrity, honor, virtue and courage--he is also a physically gorgeous man (almost flawless). All the women in the office talk about him. All of the single women in the office have a “crush” on him and all the married women get “silly” when he comes around.

Throughout the year, I would listen to the conversation that women would have regarding this man, saying things like, “Dang, if I wasn’t married”; or, “I wonder if he’s happily married, cause he is one good looking man”. I would tell my married co-workers, “How would you feel if your husband was expressing those same things about some new good looking woman at his office?”

They would get quite and ponder fo…

The Flesh!

I have been in prayer and meditation all day, regarding something that the Lord has laid very heavy on my heart. I have written out my feelings for hours and have deleted every single one of my thoughts-dismissing them as ridiculous. Then, at 9:05 p.m., I receive an evening devotional from one of my "dead men" websites that sums everything up (that I have been trying to express). Praise and thanksgiving to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Here it is:

God's sin-purging medicine (Arthur Pink, "A Fourfold Salvation" 1938)"

God chastens us for our good--that we may share in His holiness." Hebrews 12:10

Chastening is God's sin-purging medicine, sent . . . to wither our fleshly aspirations, to detach our hearts from carnal objects, to deliver us from our idols, and to wean us more thoroughly from the world.

God has bidden us, "put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed." (Col. 3:5)…

The "Perfect" Gift

One man's meditations, as we approach Christmas Day:

As I awoke this morning and saw the time was 5:38 a.m. my first thought was to go back to bed; but, then my mind went back to when I was a kid; finding it hard to sleep on Christmas Eve--because of the excitement of what Christmas morning held. I couldn't go back to sleep because of the excitement of seeing the unwrapped gifts under the tree, and the prospect of unwrapping the one's that were yet wrapped concealing the gift's in particular that had my name on them which seemed to have been calling out to me for days.

I can remember the overwhelming joy of receiving those things of which I had hoped for, and I recall the memory of those things of which (at that time) did not strike me as being of great value; or, the disappointment of not receiving that which was expected.

My, how some things change over the years; and, how our appreciation of the things we valued at one time lose their allurement and the things we saw l…

A Gift Exchange

A young man and woman, who were very much in love, and who were both very poor, desperately wanted to give one another a special gift for Christmas to express their devotion to one another. The woman knew that her beloved needed a watch chain for his prized pocket watch which was given to him by his father who had died several years earlier. She knew that he had never carried the watch because he was fearful that he would lose it without a chain. He valued this watch more than anything in his possession.

The woman decided that she would find a way to buy him a chain for that watch and surprise him with it at Christmas; and find a way she would.

While walking by a shop window one day, the man spotted the most beautiful hair combs that he had ever seen. They were shiny gold and adorned with opals and mother-of-pearl. He knew that he must find a way to buy those for his beloved for Christmas. She had long and lovely hair that (when let down) almost reached the back of her knees. He had no …

Bah, Humbug!

I’m trying to understand the “gift exchange” thing among adult members of a family and friends. As a Christian, if any member of my family or a friend is in need of something, I certainly don’t wait until Christmas, if I can supply that need. In addition, in our family and circle of friends, everyone has more than they need to begin with.

Typically, we used to spend a great deal of time and money finding each other gifts, wrapping them up, and then opening them at Christmas. It seemed completely ridiculous to me.

We would all spend hundreds of dollars trying to guess what someone might like or enjoy, and only got it right (maybe) 30% of the time. People ended up with stuff they didn’t want, need or even like very much; but, they would put on a little smiley face and thank the giver and then make little humorous comments on the ride home like, “What was she thinking?”

I finally couldn’t take it anymore. At Christmas dinner (about 10 years ago) I shared my concern and proposed an alternati…
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
be all else but naught to me, save that thou art;
be thou my best thought in the day and the night,
both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word,
be thou ever with me, and I with thee Lord;
be thou my great Father, and I thy true son;
be thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;
be thou my whole armor, be thou my true might;
be thou my soul's shelter, be thou my strong tower:
O raise thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise:
be thou mine inheritance now and always;
be thou and thou only the first in my heart;
O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, thou heaven's bright sun,
O grant me its joys after victory is won;
great Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be thou my vision, O Ruler of all.

Do you know?

Do you know the history of this hymn that so beautifully expresses the desire of t…

Morning Coffee Time

"Let our confidence be uniform. In all thy ways acknowledge him. Take one step at a time, every step under divine warrant and direction; every plan for yourself in simple dependence on God.

It is nothing less than self-idolatry to conceive that we can carry on even the ordinary matters of the day without his counsel. He loves to be consulted. Therefore take all thy difficulties to be resolved by Him.

Be in the habit of going to Him in the first place—before self-will, self-pleasing, self-wisdom, human friends, convenience, expediency. Before any of these have been consulted, go to God at once.

Consider no circumstances too clear to need his direction. In all thy ways, small as well as great; in all thy concerns, personal or relative, temporal or eternal, let Him be supreme."

Charles Bridges (1794–1869), from A Commentary on Proverbs (Banner of Truth, 1846/1968) pp. 24–25.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your wa…

He could not accept deception....

"He was despised and rejected by men." Isaiah 53:3

One reason why Christ was despised and rejected, was because He repudiated empty profession. Nothing so infuriated the Jews, as Christ's exposure and denunciation of their vain pretensions.

Being omniscient--it was impossible to impose upon Him! Being inflexibly righteous--He could not accept deceptions! Being absolutely holy--He must insist upon sincerity and reality.

When they declared "Abraham is our father!" He answered, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham!" When they added "We have one Father, even God," He replied, "If God were your Father, you would love Me . . . you are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do!" This so riled them, that they exclaimed, "Aren't we right in saying that You are a Samaritan and demon-possessed!" (John 8:39-48).

Men will not tolerate One who pierces their religious disguise, …

Where is the Power? (Part 2)

While I was reflecting on my previous post, I realized that one of the primary reasons that I was so aware of the absence of the Holy Spirit in the churches that I attended was because of my exposure to the teaching and preaching of the Puritans.

I found myself amused, in a sad way (if that is possible) because I realized that in some (if not many) "reformed" churches today, these men's thoughts and sermons, in reference to the Holy Spirit's power would be viewed as potentially dangerous if not bordering on "charismatic". Of course, they would not admit that, once they knew the source. But, if a lay person were to say the exact same things, they might even be counselled by the Elders. Sad, but true.

One of my favorite Puritans is Richard Sibbes. I found "The Works of Richard Sibbes" in a used book store long before I even knew what "Puritan's" were. When I started reading, my soul was thrilled beyond words. It was like a down pour of f…

Where is the Power?

There is a phenomenon that I have observed over the past 12 years (a very dangerous one) which most "reformed" Christians and churches seem to be oblivious to, or simply do not want to acknowledge--and if someone actually points it out; that individual is avoided like the plague or preceived as having the potential for causing dissension.

What phenomenon and I referring to? If I had to sum it up in one sentence it would be this: "It seems to me that in many churches the Holy Spirit has been removed and "Grace" has taken His place as the third person of the Trinity." You rarely hear the Holy Spirit mentioned in corporate prayers; or from the pulpit; or in private conversations among the congregants. I believe they are afraid of Him. The result is a congregation that is, and individual Christians that are (at least from this writers prespective)--spiritually dead and without power.

After six months of attending one church that preached the "doctrines of …

It is not enough to just be angry...

Natural honesty, moral virtue, prudence, justice, liberality, temperance—these are not the new creature. The Stoics were moralists and had sublime notions about virtue—yet were the deadliest enemies Paul had. Morality is but a counterfeit jewel—not the new creation.

Religious education is not the new creature. Education greatly cultivates and refines nature. Education is a good wall to plant the vine of grace against—but it is not grace.

A form of godliness is not the new creature. Every bird which has fine feathers, does not have sweet flesh. All who shine with the golden feathers of profession, are not saints. Formalists so counterfeit and play at devotion—that others think they are living saints. They are religious charlatans!

Every change of opinion does not amount to the new creature. Man may change from error to truth—yet be no new creature. Here is a change in the head—but not in the heart. He who is changed only in opinion, is not changed with any eternal benefit whatsoever.

Eve…

Thinking about "Love" lately...

"You do not love a woman because she is beautiful, but she is beautiful because you love her." Oscar Wilde

Beauty may excite the mind and stimulate the flesh, but love beatifies its object–"she is beautiful because you love her." This is the essence of grace, and the beatific force of Love–it metamorphoses its object, transfiguring the beloved into the beautiful.

Dante would have us remember that “Love” beautifully metamorphoses both the beloved and the lover himself. Dante’s love for Beatrice indeed transfigured her in his eyes, but equally transfigured him. Like the moon embraces and then throws back to the sun its light, Dante’s love for Beatrice ricocheted back to his very own soul, and thus he describes her as "she who doth imparadise my soul."

Wordsworth referred to such a transfigurational experience when he wrote, “There are in our existence, spots of time—that with distinct pre-eminence retain a renovating virtue. A virtue, by which pleasure is enha…

Salt?

The world will tell you that the answer to all of your sadness and sorrow is to be found in an improved "self-esteem". The "church" will often tell you that to doubt, to question, to be depressed, to be too fixated on your own short-comings shows a lack of faith and/or evidence of a false conversion. Instead of ministering to the wounded, they pour their self-righteous salt into the open wounds of a beloved. Listen to what a godly man; a man who was so saturated by a deep love for Christ, a brain and heart so filled with the Word of God that it flowed freely from his heart to his pen--listen to how he describes a "sincere" believer:

Sincere believers are often cast down by the realization of how far, far short they come to measuring up to the standard which Christ has set before them. According to the yearnings of the new nature--you have sincerely endeavored to follow Christ's example, but being weak in grace and meeting with much opposition from …

Isn't there a "Reader's Digest" Condensed Version? I want answers NOW!

I read this excerpt from a letter John Newton wrote to a friend about discerning the will of God in our lives. How many of us want to know His will without having read His Word. In other words, we want a "Reader's Digest" version.

Let's face it, most of us have welcomed being able to microwave a frozen entree as opposed to cooking a meal from scratch. Cooking a meal from scratch requires that you actually plan ahead: create a grocery shopping list; make a trip to the grocery store; spend time in the lines at the grocery store; spend (sometimes) a great deal of time in the preparation of the ingredients; cook the meal; finally get to sit down and eat the meal; and then, you not only have the dishes that you ate off of to wash; but, all the pots and pans and utensils that you used in the preparation of the meal. Even if a home cooked meal tastes a thousand times better than a frozen entree; and, with a home cooked meal, you usually have lots of left overs to enjoy for a…