Live Near to God

Prayer is the link that connects earth with Heaven! Live near to God, and all things will appear little to you in comparison with eternal realities!

When you gaze upon the sun–it makes everything else dark. When you taste honey–it makes everything else tasteless. Likewise, when your soul feeds on Jesus–it takes away the sweetness of all earthly things–pride, pleasure, fleshly lusts, all lose their sweetness.

‘Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!’ (Hebrews 12:2). Keep a continued gaze! So will the world be crucified to you–and you unto the world!”

– Robert Murray M’Cheyne

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Be Cautious of Grace Denial

“Beloved, mistake not the nature and the evidence of growth in sanctification. In all your self-denial in this great work, be cautious of grace denial. You will need much holy wisdom here, lest you overlook the work of the Spirit within you.

You have thought, it may be, of the glory that Christ receives from brilliant genius, and profound talent, and splendid gifts, and glowing zeal, and costly sacrifices, and extensive usefulness.

But have you ever thought of the glory, the far greater, richer glory, that flows to Him from the contrite spirit, the broken heart, the lowly mind, the humble walk, the tear of godly repentance that falls when seen by no human eye, the sigh of godly sorrow that is breathed when heard by no human ear, the sin abhorrence, the self loathing, the deep sense of vileness, and poverty, and infirmity that takes you to Jesus with the prayer: ‘Lord, here I am; I have brought to You my rebellious will, my wandering heart, my worldly affections, my peculiar infirmity, my besetting and constantly overpowering sin. Receive me graciously, put forth the mighty power of Your grace in my soul, and subdue all, and rule all, and subjugate all to Yourself! Will it not be for Your glory, the glory of Your great name if this strong corruption were subdued by Your grace, if this powerful sin were nailed to Your cross, if this temper so volatile, if this heart so impure, if these affections so truant, if this mind so dark, if these desires so earthly, if these pursuits so carnal, if these aims so selfish, were all entirely renewed by Your Spirit, sanctified by Your grace, and made each to reflect Your image? Yes, Lord, it would be for Your glory, through time and through eternity!’ “

– Octavius Winslow, Morning Thoughts

Little Sins Multiplied, Become Great

“Avoid every kind of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

“Little sins multiplied, become great. There is nothing less than a grain of sand–yet there is nothing heavier than the sand of the sea when multiplied.

Little sins are very dangerous! A little leaven, leavens the whole lump. A little knife, may kill. A little leak in a ship, may sink it.

Though the scorpion is little–yet will it sting a lion to death! Just so, a little sin may at once bar the door of Heaven, and open the gates of Hell! The least sin damn us–if not pardoned by the death of Christ!”

– Thomas Brooks

The Sinfulness of Sin

“In order that by means of the Commandment the unspeakable sinfulness of sin might be plainly shown.” Romans 7:13

“The Christianity which is from the Holy Spirit, will always have a very deep view of the sinfulness of sin. It will not merely regard sin as a blemish and misfortune, which makes men and women objects of pity and compassion. It will see sin as the curse which cursed God’s beautiful creation, the cursed thing which makes the whole earth groan and struggle in pain, the abominable thing which God hates, the thing which makes people guilty and lost in his Maker’s sight, the thing which deserves God’s eternal wrath and condemnationIt will look on sin as the cause of all sorrow and unhappiness, strife and wars, quarrels and contentions, sickness and death!

Above all, it will see in sin the thing which will ruin us eternally–unless we can find a ransom, lead us captive–unless we can get its chains broken, and destroy our happiness, both here and hereafter–unless we fight against it, even unto death.

J.C. Ryle, Holiness

Directions for Reading Christian Books

“Because God has made the excellent, holy writings of his servants, the singular blessing of this land and age; and many may have a good book, even any day or hour of the week, who cannot at all have a good preacher — I advise all God’s servants to be thankful for so great a mercy, and to make use of it, and be much in reading. For reading, with most, does more conduce to knowledge than hearing does, because you may choose what subjects and the most excellent treatises you please; and may be often at it, and may peruse again and again what you forget, and may take time as you go to fix it on your mind. And with very many, reading does more than hearing also to move the heart — because lively books may be more easily accessed than lively preachers.

Especially these sorts of men should be much in reading:

1. Masters of families, who have more souls to care for than their own.

2. People who live where there is no preaching; or bad preaching — which is worse than none!

3. Poor people, and servants, and children, who are forced on many Lord’s days to stay at home, while others have the opportunity to hear the Word preached.

4. And non-working persons that have more leisure than others have.

To all these, but especially masters of families, I shall here give a few directions.

Direction 1. I presuppose that you keep the devil’s books out of your hands and house. I mean cards, and idle tales, and play-books, and romances or love-books, and false, bewitching stories, and the seducing books of all false teachers, and the railing or scorning books which the men of several sects and factions write against each other, on purpose to teach men to hate one another, and banish love. For where these are allowed to corrupt the mind — all grave and useful writings are forestalled; and it is a wonder to see how powerfully these poison the minds of children, and many other empty heads.

Also refrain from books that are written by the sons of Korah, to breed distastes and discontents in the minds of the people against their governors, both magistrates and ministers. For there is something in the best rulers, for the tongues of seditious men to fasten on, and to aggravate in the people’s ears; and there is something even in godly people, which tempts them too easily to take fire and be distempered before they are aware; and they foresee not the evil to which it tends.

Direction 2. When you read to your family, or others, let it be seasonably and gravely, when silence and attendance encourage you to expect success; and not when children are crying or talking, or servants bustling to disturb you. Distraction is worst, in the greatest businesses.

Direction 3. Choose such books as are most suitable to your state, or to those you read to. It is worse than unprofitable, to read books for comforting troubled minds, to those that are blockishly secure, and have hardened, obstinate, unhumbled hearts. It is as bad as to give medicines or remedies contrary to the patient’s need, and such as nourish the disease. So is it to read books of too high a style or subject, to dull and ignorant hearers. We use to say: That which is one man’s meat, is another man’s poison. It is not enough that the matter is good — but it must be agreeable to the case for which it is used.

Direction 4. To a common family begin with those books, which at once inform the judgment about the fundamentals, and awaken the affections to entertain them and improve them. Such as are treatises of regeneration, conversion, or repentance.

Remember that they are not the most learned, who read most — but those who read that which is most necessary and profitable.

Direction 5. Next these, read over those books which are most suited to the state of young Christians for their growth in grace, and for their exercise of faith, and love, and obedience, and for the mortifying of selfishness, pride, sensuality, worldliness, and other the most dangerous sins.

Direction 6. At the same time labor to methodize your knowledge; and to that end read first and learn some short catechism, and then some larger catechism. And let the catechism be kept in memory while you live, and the rest be thoroughly understood.

Direction 7. Next read (to yourselves or families) the larger expositions of the Creed, Lord’s Prayer, and Ten Commandments; such as Thomas Watson on the Commandments; that your understanding may be more full, particular, and distinct, and your families may not stop in generals, which are not understood.

Direction 8. Read much those books which direct you in a course of daily communion with God, and holy ordering your daily life.”

Richard Baxter, Christian Directory

Dive and Dive Again into the Riches of His Grace

“The riches of God’s grace!” (Ephesians 1:7)

“The incomparable riches of His grace!” (Ephesians 2:7)

“The unsearchable riches of Christ!” (Ephesians 3:8)

“Millions of dazzling pearls and gems lie hidden in the deep recesses of the ocean caves.

In the same way, unfathomable oceans of grace are in Christ for His redeemed people. Dive and dive again–you will never come to the bottom of these depths! One gem from that ocean, is worth all the pebbles from earthly streams!”

“I pray that out of His glorious riches, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being!” (Ephesians 3:16)

“And my God will supply all your needs, according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus!” (Philippians 4:19)

Robert Murray M’Cheyne

God’s Arrows Never Miss

“God is a righteous judge–and God is angry with the wicked every day!” (Psalm 7:11)

“God not only detests sin, but is angry with those who continue to indulge in it. We have no ignorant or indifferent God to deal with; He can be angry, nay, He is angry today and everyday with you–you ungodly and impenitent sinners! The best day that ever dawns on a sinner, brings a curse with it. From the beginning of the year even to its ending, there is not an hour in which God’s oven is not hot, and burning in readiness for the wicked, who shall be as stubble before Him!”

“If he does not repent, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready!” (Psalm 7:12)

“What blows are those which will be dealt by that long-uplifted omnipotent arm! God’s sword has been sharpening upon the revolving stone of our daily wickedness, and if we will not repent, it will speedily cut us in pieces! Turn or burn is the sinner’s only alternative.” 

“He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; He makes His arrows into fiery shafts!” (Psalm 7:13)

“Even now God’s thirsty arrow longs to wet itself with the blood of the ungodly! His bow is bent, His aim is taken, His arrow is fitted to the string–and what, O sinner, if the arrow should be let fly at you even now! Remember, God’s arrows never miss the mark, and are, every one of them, ‘instruments of death.’ Judgment may tarry, but it will not come too late. The Greek proverb says, ‘The mill of God grinds slowly–but grinds to powder!’ “

– Charles Spurgeon, Treasury of David