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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Yes, He is Altogether Lovely! (and other devotionals)

Classic writings and sermons from the masters of Christian ministry

The Fruit of Sorrow 

Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 
2 Corinthians 7:9 

Recommended Reading
2 Corinthians 7:8-13
Sometimes when a well-known person—athlete, celebrity, politician, religious leader—makes a public apology, it begs the question: Are they truly sorry or sorry they were found out? Only God knows, of course. Said another way, if people (including us) are sorry for sins, shouldn’t they come forth on their own before they are called out?

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth about this matter, saying that “godly sorrow produces repentance” (2 Corinthians 7:10). That is, when we are truly sorry about something, it will be evidenced by our repentance—which includes confession, asking forgiveness, and restitution where needed. There is a false kind of sorrow—the “sorrow of the world” Paul called it. And that sorrow leads not to repentance but to “death.” Yes, sins and errors of judgment are embarrassing and sometimes shameful. But when their magnitude is truly realized, godly sorrow always leads to repentance—a change of mind and direction.

Let sorrow for sin bear its proper fruit—repentance that leads you back to God.

Christianity starts with repentance. 
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

~David Jeremiah~

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Glorify ye the Lord in the fires" (Isa. 24:15).
Mark the little word "in"! We are to honor Him in the trial--in that which is an affliction indeed and though there have been cases where God did not let His saints feel the fire, yet, ordinarily, fire hurts.
But just here we are to glorify Him by our perfect faith in His goodness and love that has permitted all this to come upon us.
And more than that, we are to believe that out of this is coming something more for His praise than could have come but for this fiery trial.
We can only go through some fires with a large faith; little faith will fail. We must have the victory in the furnace.  --Margaret Bottome
A man has as much religion as he can show in times of trouble. The men who were cast into the fiery furnace came out as they went in--except their bonds.
How often in some furnace of affliction God strikes them off! Their bodies were unhurt--their skin not even blistered. Their hair was unsinged, their garments not scorched, and even the smell of fire had not passed upon them. And that is the way Christians should come out of furnace trials--liberated from their bonds, but untouched by the flames.
"Triumphing over them in it" (Col. 2:15).
That is the real triumph--triumphing over sickness, in it; triumphing over death, dying; triumphing over adverse circumstances, in them. Oh, believe me, there is a power that can make us victors in the strife. There are heights to be reached where we can look down and over the way we have come, and sing our song of triumph on this side of Heaven. We can make others regard us as rich, while we are poor, and make many rich in our poverty. Our triumph is to be in it. Christ's triumph was in His humiliation. Possibly our triumph, also, is to be made manifest in what seems to others humiliation.
--Margaret Bottome
Is there not something captivating in the sight of a man or a woman burdened with many tribulations and yet carrying a heart as sound as a bell? Is there not something contagiously valorous in the vision of one who is greatly tempted, but is more than conqueror? Is it not heartening to see some pilgrim who is broken in body, but who retains the splendor of an unbroken patience? What a witness all this offers to the enduement of His grace!  --J. H. Jowett
"When each earthly prop gives under,
And life seems a restless sea,
Are you then a God-kept wonder,
Satisfied and calm and free?"

~L. B. Cowman~

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THE LOVE OF CHRIST FOR US

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in Heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." - Ephesians 3:14-19
Thank God that the Holy Spirit dwells within us with the fullness of His love so that we are not left with our limitations.
As we think on God's love, forgiveness, compassion, and grace we know that there is no way to measure or contain His capacity in these things. Every attribute that God has is eternal and cannot be contained or measured.
UNLIKE HUMAN LOVE
His love has no beginning and no end; it is eternal in every way. His love was upon us before we were formed and will extend to us throughout eternity. Human love most often depends upon the actions of another, but God's love has no dependency or expectation upon another. He is not capable of withholding love or wavering in His love toward us. Even in the midst of our sin and constant "wavering" affections, His love is immeasurable and unmovable.
The same is true with every attribute of God. His forgiveness is eternal in every sense of the word. His grace, mercy, wisdom, power, righteousness, justice and goodness are absolutely measureless and cannot be contained within time or space. Often we misunderstand God's ways with us as being measurable by believing that He is withholding from us (healing, provision, blessings, etc.). Our understanding is limited to our experience or our ability to imagine God's ways, but still everything we know or imagine is contained within the limits of our humanity. We are not able to comprehend that which is not comprehensible.
As humans, we live within the boundaries of time and space; God is the only immeasurable thing we know. So how do we do what Ephesians 3:14-19 says? How do we grasp how long, wide, high, or deep is the love of God if it is immeasurable and uncontainable? We can only grasp it by understanding verse 19: "to know this love that surpasses knowledge..." We must grasp the truth that HIS LOVE for us will always SURPASS our knowledge and our limited understanding.

~Albert Finch Ministry~
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Yes, He is altogether lovely!

(William Dyer, "Christ's Famous Titles")

"Yes, He is altogether lovely!" Song of Songs 5:16

Jesus is most desirable in Himself--and all things that are desirable are in Him. Beauty is in Christ,bounty is in Christ, riches and honor are in Christ. Jesus Christ is the treasure hidden in the gospel, and the pearl of great price. He is the sun in the firmament of the Scriptures, whom to know is everlasting life. He is . . .
  a spring full of the water of life,
  a hive of sweetness,
  a storehouse of riches,
  a river of pleasures, wherein you may bathe your souls to all eternity!

Oh! He is all fullness and sweetness! "He is the chief among ten thousand!" Song of Songs 5:10

You may go to Heaven . . .
  without health,
  without wealth,
  without honor,
  without pleasure,
  without friends,
  without learning,
but you can never go to Heaven without Christ! 
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6

"He loved me--and gave Himself for me!" Galatians 2:20

All that Christ did and suffered--it is for me!

All that Christ has--is mine!


Christ's love is mine to pity me!

Christ's mercy is mine to save me!

Christ's graces are mine to beautify me!

Christ's power is mine to protect me!

Christ's wisdom is mine to counsel me!

Christ's Spirit is mine to comfort me!

Christ's Word is mine to teach me!

Christ's glory is mine to crown me!

Therefore, a grain of saving grace in the heart, is better than a chain of gold around the neck!

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The consummate April Fool!



"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world!" Psalm 19:1-4

He who looks up to the heavens and then writes himself down as an atheist, brands himself at the same moment as an idiot or a liar! The Atheist is the fool preeminently, and a fool universally! To say there is no God is . . .
  to belie the plainest evidence, which is obstinacy;
  to oppose the common consent of mankind, which is stupidity;
  to stifle consciousness, which is madness.

If the sinner could by his atheism destroy the God whom he hates, there would be some sense, although much wickedness, in his infidelity. But as denying the existence of fire does not prevent its burning a man who is in it--so doubting the existence of God will not stop the omnipotent Judge from destroying the rebel who breaks His laws. Nay, this atheism is a crime which much provokes God, and will bring down terrible vengeance on the fool who indulges it!
"The fool says in his heart: There is no God!" Psalm 14:1

The world we live in, is a world of fools! (John Jamieson)

Who in the world is a greater fool, a more ignorant, wretched person--than he who is an atheist? (Jeremy Taylor)

"Take heed, you senseless ones among the people; you fools, when will you become wise?" Psalm 94:8

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Today’s Verses: Judges 1Luke 4:1-30

Today’s Thoughts: Verses vs. Voices

"The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down from here. For it is written:" 'He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered, "It says: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" Luke 4:9-12

Many times my mind taunts me with thoughts like “If you are really God’s child, then why doesn’t He do this for you?” or “If God has really given you this spiritual gift for the body of Christ, why aren’t you any good at it?” Over and over, I hear thoughts that make me feel guilty or condemned and insecure in my Christian walk. I know the Word of God and yet, my mind doesn’t seem strong enough to just stay focused on the verses to overcome the voices. In essence, Satan attempts to discredit us just like he tried with Jesus. Satan said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God”… prove it!  These are the same kind of words we as believers hear in our heads too. We question if we are really saved, we question God’s ability to use us and we question that the promises given to us in His Word are really for us today. In other words, we find ourselves testing the Lord’s ability to save us, protect us, use us and speak to us; thus, saying to Him, “Prove it.”  But Jesus didn’t do that.
Jesus confidently used the Word of God to attack Satan’s use of the Scriptures directly. It is amazing that the Living Word of God (Jesus) quotes the Written Word of God (the Bible) to attack the words of the enemy.
Lately, I have been struggling with a trial that I have failed in the past. The circumstances and people have changed but the trial is the same. I felt myself heading down the same path as in the past. Crying out to the Lord, I said to Him, “OK, Lord, I’ve been here before and have lived through the consequences of failing this test. I know that You have been faithful regardless of my faithlessness. I know that You love me and You have every right to test my heart and try my motives to see which way I will go. Lord, I choose You. I choose to not test You or question You in this. I know that Your promises will come to pass and You don’t have to prove anything to me.” With that prayer, I knew that the temptation to fail had been lifted. Jesus is our example as He was tempted in the same types of trials (with different circumstances and people) but overcame them all.  We, too, can overcome the taunting voices of the enemy to live a life pleasing to God by staying on His side and by fighting His way using His words.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~



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