Mar 31, 2009

A message to be taken to heart ! CONDEMN SIN

" And for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." Romans 8:3. 

As sin is the great condemning cause, let us aim to condemn sin, if we would rank with those for whom there is no condemnation. Most true is it, that either sin must be condemned by us, or we must be condemned for sin. The honor of the Divine government demands that a condemnatory sentence be passed, either upon the transgression, or upon the transgressor. And shall we hesitate? Is it a matter of doubt to which our preference shall be given? Which is best, that sin should die, or that we should die? Will the question allow a moment's consideration? Surely not, unless we are so enamored with sin as calmly and deliberately to choose death rather than life, hell rather than heaven. "The wages of sin is death." Sin unrepented, unforgiven, unpardoned, is the certain prelude to eternal death. Everlasting destruction follows in its turbid wake. There is a present hell in sin, for which the holy shun it; and there is a future hell in sin, for which all should dread it. If, then, we would be among "the pure in heart who shall see God," if we would lift up our faces with joy before the Judge at the last great day, if we would be freed from the final and terrible sentence of condemnation, oh, let us be holy, "denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and living righteously, soberly, and godly in this present world." Oh, let us condemn sin, that sin may not condemn us. And let us draw the motive that constrains us, and the power that helps us, from that cross where Jesus "condemned sin in the flesh."

Mar 30, 2009

Devotional - divine chastening

" I know, O Lord, that your judgments are right, and that you in faithfulness have afflicted me." Psalm 119:75. 

The mark of a vigorous love to God is when the soul justifies God in all His wise and gracious dealings with it; rebels not, murmurs not, repines not, but meekly and silently acquiesces in the dispensation, be it ever so trying. Divine love in the heart, deepening and expanding towards that God from where it springs, will, in the hour of trial, exclaim, "My God has smitten me, but He is my God still, faithful and loving. My Father has chastened me sorely, but He is my Father still, tender and kind. This trying dispensation originated in love, it speaks with the voice of love, it bears with it the message of love, and is sent to draw my heart closer and yet closer to the God of love, from whom it came." Dear reader, are you one of the Lord's afflicted ones? Happy are you if this is the holy and blessed result of His dealings with you. Happy if you hear the voice of love in the rod, winning your lonely and sorrowful heart to the God from whom it came. But when love to God has declined, the reverse of this is the state of a tried and afflicted believer; and hard thoughts of God in His dispensations may be regarded as an undeniable symptom of such declension.   

Mar 26, 2009

your children shall be taught of the lord !

"All your children shall be taught of the Lord."- Isa_54:13

 The teaching of God can only be known and realized by those who have seen an end of all creature perfection, and who are completely and experimentally destitute of all wisdom in the flesh. And God's teaching does not leave a man where it found him -- dead, stupified, worldly, unfeeling, and carnal. If he is in distress, it does not leave him in distress; if he feels guilty, it does not leave him guilty; if he is in darkness, it does not leave him in darkness; but it lifts him out of these evils. Thus God's people are continually led to come unto him for his instruction, because they feel that without his special teaching they can know nothing as they ought to know.

 No, the more they have, the more they want to have; for no sooner is the light withdrawn, than the darkness is more sensibly felt. If any text of Scripture has been opened up to them, it makes them want to have others made known in a similar way; if they have had any consolation, and it is taken away, it makes them want it again. So that the more wise and spiritual God's people become, the more foolish and carnal they appear in their own eyes; the stronger they are in the Lord and in the power of his might, the more sensibly do they feel the weakness of their flesh; and the more they are enabled to walk closely with the Lord, the more they discover the wretched wanderings of their base and sinful hearts.

Mar 24, 2009

Devotional - one Lord - united by the blood of christ

" One Lord." Ephesians 4:5. 

The Church is also one in the Son- "There is one Lord." The Lord Jesus is the one Head, as He is the one Foundation, of the Church. All believers are chosen in Christ, blessed in Christ, saved in Christ, preserved in Christ, and in Christ will be glorified. The work of Christ is the one resting-place of their souls. They rely for pardon upon the same blood, for acceptance upon the same righteousness, and for sanctification upon the same grace. One in Christ, all other differences and distinctions are merged and forgotten: "There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free; there is neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Blessed truth! the "righteousness of God, which is unto all and upon all those who believe," imparts the same completeness to all believers in Christ. Upon the breastplate of the great High Priest, now within the veil, every, name is alike written- not a sectarian appellation dims the luster of the "Urim and the Thummin," in whose glowing light the names of all the saints are alike enshrined. What a uniting truth is this! Jesus is the one Head of life, light, and love, to all His saints. He carried the transgression of all- He bore the curse of all- He endured the hell of all- He pardons the sin of all- He supplies the need of all- He soothes the sorrows of all, and He lives and intercedes for all. To Him all alike repair, it is true, with different degrees of knowledge and of faith, and from different points; yet, to Jesus, as to one Savior, one Brother, one Lord, they all alike come. Oh! what a cementing principle is this! The body of Christ- the purchase of the same blood, loved with the same affection, and in heaven represented by the same Advocate, and soon, oh, how soon, to be "gloried together" with Him. What love, then, ought I to bear towards Him whom Jesus has so loved! How can I feel coldly, to, or look unkindly at, or speak uncharitably of, one whom Jesus has redeemed with the same precious blood, and whom He carries each moment in the same loving heart?   

Mar 22, 2009

Devotional - Lord, Save me or I perish - the sinking experience

A beautiful devotional from morrison. 

Beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me— Mat_14:30

The Pathos of a Wasted Life
There are two sights in human life which fill the heart with profound sorrow. The first is that of a person who has sunk. When we see a face made loathsome by iniquity and think that once it was innocent and childlike; when we hear of somebody who bore an honoured name, but is now in the depths of degradation, that is one of life's most piteous spectacles. It arrests even the worldly-minded who cherish no ideals for humanity; how much more must it sadden one who has anything of the vision of Christ Jesus. Men who are sunken—women who are sunken—are the heartbreak of the home and of the city. There is such infinite pathetic waste in a wasted, miserable life. But to the seeing eye and the perceiving heart, there is another spectacle which is not less tragic—it is that of the man who is beginning to sink. Beginnings are always mighty and momentous for every eye that has the power to see. Much of our knowledge and our power today springs from our modern study of beginnings. And in this text we have an instance, not of a man who has sunk into the depths, but of a man who is beginning to sink. Shall we look at him in that light for a little?

Our Best Qualities May Be Our Ruin
The first thought to force itself upon me is that it was Peter's temperament which put him in this danger. He began to sink because he was Simon Peter. The other disciples were all safe. It never occurred to them to leave the vessel. They were men of sagacity and common sense and knew the difference between land and water. But Peter was reckless, headstrong and impetuous, acting on impulse. Peter followed the dictates of his heart, and never waited for his laggard reason. In a sense that was the glory of his character. It made him do what no one else would do. It gave him the charm of daring and enthusiasm of that unexpectedness which always fascinates. But those very qualities that in the hand of Christ were to go to the upbuilding of the Church, sometimes brought him to the verge of ruin. It was only Peter who would begin to walk, and it was only Peter who would begin to sink. He was led into peril on these stormy waters because of what was self-forgetful in him. And it may be there is someone who has not sunk yet, but is beginning to sink, because he has a temperament like that. Our perils do not always reach us through our worst. Our perils sometimes reach us through our best: through what is charming in us, delightful, and enthusiastic. And so like Peter we begin to do what the cold and calculating would never do, and then like Peter we begin to sink. That is why every man needs to be saved not only from his sin but from himself. That is why God, in His holy love to save us, gave us not a message but a Man. For our brightest social qualities may wreck us. A touch of genius may be our ruin. For all that is implied in that word temperament, we need the keeping of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sinking amid Familiar Surroundings
The next thing to arrest me here is that Peter began to sink in very familiar waters. I suppose if you had asked him if he knew them, he would have replied that he knew them, every inch. Some of us, who spend our summers by an ocean or a lake think we are very familiar with them. And if love be at the source of all true knowledge, then indeed it may be that we know them. But if you want a true and perfect knowledge, it is not to the summer visitor you look, but to the fisherman who was cradled by its shores. Now Simon Peter was a fisherman, and all his life had been spent beside that lake. He had played on its shores as a little child; he had known it in summer and in winter. And it was there, in these familiar scenes, amid what was habitual and customary, that he began to sink. There was another occasion when he began to sink, and that was in the High Priest's palace at Jerusalem. He was a stranger there—in unfamiliar scenes—among men and women who knew nothing of him. Here it was different. Here he was at home. He was among those who knew him and who loved him, and here he began to sink. It is a very sad and pitiable thing when a man begins to sink away from home, when he goes away into a distant land and forgets the God of his father and his mother. But the peril for each one of us is the peril of Peter on the lake of Galilee—that we begin to sink amid familiar waters. Beginning to sink in India is sad; beginning to sink at home is almost worse; forgetting the sanctuary and the bended knee, the purity and temperance and tenderness. And if there is anyone who is beginning to sink at home, amid those who love and pray, now is the time to cry as Peter cried, "Lord, save me, or I perish."

Sinking after Loyal Discipleship
Another feature which I note is that Peter began to sink after loyal discipleship. He had known Christ and had loved and followed Him before this hour of peril on the lake. We all remember that great hour in history when Peter had been called to the discipleship. Then he had left all and followed Jesus; he had made the full surrender to the Lord. And from that hour he had companied with Jesus and seen His miracles and heard His words and enjoyed the infinite blessings of His friendship. No one would doubt the reality of that. That self-surrender was intensely real. And Peter loved his Lord and knew His power and was never happy except in His companionship. And it was after all that rich experience—that self-surrender and devoted service—that Peter on the lake began to sink. He was no raw and inexperienced youth. He was one who had heard the calling of the Master. He was no beginner in the higher life. He was a man who had done yeoman service. And the sad thing is that in every community there are men and women who begin to sink, not in their raw and inexperienced youth, but after years of discipleship and service. Sometimes it is the deceitfulness of riches which causes it. Sometimes it is growing absorption in business. Sometimes it is the constant subtle influence of one who is unspiritual in the home. Sometimes it is weariness in well doing and the dropping of the life to lower levels from secret clingings that no one knows but God. No one would say such lives were sunken lives. I am not speaking of moral wrecks and tragedies. I am speaking of men who are still of good repute, still kind at home, still diligent in business. And yet one feels they have begun to sink; they are not the men we remember in the morning; there is a different accent in their speech and a different atmosphere around their character. Men need to be awakened out of their security, as Peter was wakened on the sea of Galilee, to recall their past discipleship and to compare it with what they are now, and then to cry, as Simon Peter cried, "Lord, save me, or I perish."

Sinking While Obeying Christ
Also to be noted is this fact, that Peter began to sink on a permitted path. When he began to sink he was no trespasser; he was going where Christ permitted him to go. Had our Lord cried to him across the water, Thou art a madman if thou triest to come; had He cried to him, Thou shalt not come—on the peril of thy life I bid thee halt; why then we should have understood it better—we should have said it served him right to sink for then he would have been disobeying Christ, and the wages of disobedience is death. The point which I want you to notice is that Simon Peter was not disobeying. Our Lord had not forbidden him to come. And so do I learn that on permitted paths—on ways that are sanctioned by the voice of heaven—it is possible now, as on the lake of Galilee, for men and women to begin to sink. There are ways that are forbidden to every child of man. God writes His flaming "No Thoroughfare" upon them. And just for the reason that this is a righteous universe, the man who sets foot on them begins to sink immediately. But the strange thing is that even when God says "Come," and opens up the way that we may walk in it, even there it is always possible to sink. That is true of the blessedness of home. It is true of all social and Christian service. And man may preach the everlasting Gospel, yet run the risk of being cast away. And therefore amid all our privileges and all the gifts which God has blessed us with, "Lord, save us, or we perish."

Peter Began to Sink When He Began to Fear
Equally notable is this, too, that Peter began to sink when he began to fear. And the Scripture tells when he began to fear: it was when he took his eyes off his Lord. There is not a trace that the wind had grown more fierce while the disciple was walking on the water. It had been just as fierce and the waves had been just as boisterous when he had sprung from the gunwale of the boat. But then he had thought of nothing but the Master, had had eyes for nobody except the Master, and so long as that continued he was safe. Looking to Christ, he could go anywhere. The very sea was as a pavement to him. Looking away from Christ he was as other men, and the perils that surrounded him were terrible. And then he regretted the rashness of his venture and saw nothing around him but the seething waters, and so Peter began to be afraid and beginning to be afraid, began to sink. That is true of every kind of life. It is true especially of spiritual life. In the perilous calling of the spiritual life, to lose heart is to lose everything. And that is why the Lord is always saying to us, "My son, give me thine heart," for only in His keeping is it safe. It is a simple message—looking unto Jesus, and yet it is the message of salvation. To trust in Him and to keep the eye on Him is the one secret of all Christian victory. And when we have failed to do so in the stress of life, as all of us, like Simon Peter, fail, then there is nothing left but to cry with Peter, "Lord, save me, or I perish."

Sinking Unobserved
I think, too, we may reasonably infer that the other disciples knew nothing of all this. When Peter began to sink, they never noticed it. To begin with, all this happened about the time of daybreak. Then the waves were boisterous and in wild confusion, so that the feet of Peter often would be hidden. And if they failed to recognise their Lord when He walked in majesty upon the waters, they were not likely to see Peter clearly. When we see someone on the point of drowning, our first instinct is to give a cry. But we have no hint of anyone crying here, save the disciple himself in his distress. And so I gather from these converging hints that when Peter began to sink into the deeps, no one saw it except himself and Christ. There are some people just like Simon Peter. They have not sunk yet, they are not degraded; they are just beginning to sink. Yet no one at home knows anything about it; no one suspects it or has ever dreamed of it; no one would believe it for a moment. When a man has sunk, then there is no disguising. The story is written that he who runs may read. There is nothing hidden but it shall be revealed, whether of things in heaven or things in hell. But when a man is just beginning to sink it may be utterly different from that; it may be a secret between himself and God. His nearest and dearest may not dream of it; his mother and father may be in total ignorance. And he may come to church and engage in Christian service and take his place at the communion table. And we say of him, How well he is getting on—what a fine young fellow he is turning out to be. And all the time, unheard and unobserved, the man is crying, "Lord, save me, or I perish." It ought to make us very tenderhearted. It ought to make us always very prayerful. There are things happening among us which we never suspect, of which we never dream. For the heart knoweth its own bitterness and a stranger intermeddleth not therewith; but there is One who is not a stranger and He knows.

Christ Is Never Far A way
And so I close by saying that when Peter began to sink, his Saviour was not far away. Immediately He put out His hand and grasped him. How far Peter had walked upon the water the narrative of Scripture does not tell us. Shall we say fifty yards, or shall we say a hundred yards?—it matters not whether fifty or a hundred. If the nearest human hand was fifty yards away, the hand of Christ was not fifty yards away; immediately He put forth His hand and helped him. My brother, just beginning to sink, will you remember that Christ is at your side? All human help may seem very far away; remember that He is not very far away. He is near you now; near you where you sit. You need Him sorely and He is there for you. Cry out now, "Lord, save me, or I perish," and He will do it to the uttermost for you.

Devotional : Believer - Do not be afraid !!

" It is I; do not be afraid." John 6:20. 

Imagine yourself threading your way along a most difficult and perilous path, every step of which is attended with pain and jeopardy, and is taken with hesitancy and doubt. Unknown to you and unseen, there is one hovering each moment around you, checking each false step, and guiding each doubtful one; soothing each sorrow, and supplying each need. All is calm and silent. Not a sound is heard, not a movement is seen; and yet, to your amazement, just at the critical moment the needed support comes- you know not from where, you know not from whom. This is no picture of fancy. Are you a child of God, retracing your steps back to Paradise by an intricate and a perilous way? Jesus is near to you at each moment, unseen and often unknown. You have at times stood speechless with awe at the strange interposition, on your behalf, of providence and of grace. No visible sign betokened the source of your help. There was no echo of footfall at your side, nor flitting of shadow across your path. No law of nature was altered or suspended, the sun did not stand still, nor did the heavens open; and yet deliverance, strange and effectual deliverance, came at a moment most unexpected, yet most needed. It was Jesus, your Redeemer, your Brother, your Shepherd, and your Guide. He it was who, hovering round you, unknown and unobserved, kept you as the apple of His eye, and sheltered you in the hollow of His hand. It was He who armed you with courage for the fight, who poured strength into your spirit, and grace into your heart, when the full weight of calamity pressed upon them. Thus has He always been to His saints. The incident of the disciples in the storm presents a striking instance of this. Behold Him standing upon the shore, eyeing, with riveted gaze, the little boat as it struggled amid the sea. They were often invisible to human eye, but not a moment were they lost to His. Not even when in the mount alone in prayer, were they forgotten or unobserved. He beheld from thence their peril, He knew their fears, and He hastened to their support. Stepping from the shore, He approached them. Oh how majestic did His form now appear- walking like a man; and upon the water, like a God! They did not realize that it was Jesus, and were afraid. But their knowledge of Him was not necessary to their safety. It was enough that He knew them. And just as the storm was at its height, and their fears rose with their peril, He drew near and said, in His own gentle, soothing tone, unto them, "It is I; do not be afraid."   

Mar 15, 2009

Strong Faith

" O you of little faith, wherefore did you doubt?" Matthew 14:31. 

Doubting faith is not doubtful faith. If the believer has not the faith of assurance, he may have the faith of reliance, and that will take him to heaven. All the doubts and fears that ever harassed a child of God cannot erase his name from the Lamb's book of life, nor take him out of the heart of God, nor shut him out of glory. "Unbelief," says Rutherford, "may perhaps tear the copies of the covenant which Christ has given you; but He still keeps the original in heaven with Himself. Your doubts and fears are no parts of the covenant; neither can they change Christ." "The doubts and fears of the elect," remarks another, "are overruled by almighty grace to their present and eternal good; as conducing to keep us humble at God's footstool, to endear the merits of Jesus, and to make us feel our weakness and dependence, and to render us watchful unto prayer." Did ever an unregenerate, lifeless soul entertain a doubt or fear of its spiritual condition? Never. Was it ever known anxiously and prayerfully to question or to reason about its eternal state? Never. Do I seek to strengthen your doubts? No; but I wish to strengthen your tried and doubting faith. I would tell you, for your encouragement, that the minutest particle of grace has eternal glory in it, even as the smallest seed virtually contains all that proceeds from it- the blade, the ear, and the full corn in the ear. Faint not, nor be discouraged in your trial of faith. There is not a sweeter way to heaven than along the path of free grace, paved with hard trials. It was the way which He trod who was "full of grace." Rich though He was in grace, yet see how deeply He was tried. Think not, then, that your sore trials are signs of a graceless state. Oh no! The most gracious saints have been the most tried saints. But do not rest here. There is still richer, surer comfort for you- even the fulness of grace that is in Jesus- grace, ever flowing, and yet ever full. Disclose to Him your doubts and fears. Tell Him you desire Him above all good. Plunge into the sea of His fulness; and He, who has created in your soul a thirst for grace, will assuredly and bountifully give you the grace for which you thirst.   

Mar 11, 2009

Thoughts of a christian cripple

There are some days when your mind is so full - you can't say anything. It was a day like that for me - various things that happened and so many pointers in this day reminded me that i was a religious cripple. I came home and saw an article on tangle (the new site for godtube) - and I saw this video there. 
The video was a myriad of emotions come to life for me ... I can shamelessly say I wept openly in years. The video 
0) reminded me of my state - being a religious cripple
1) reminded me of the sacrifice of Lord Jesus
2) assured me of the constant presence of the holy spirit as a helper during the race of this life
3) conveyed the struggle that the Lord trinity has to keep me in the race
4) assured me of the victory that is mine, in Jesus. 

Above all, it is a call for me 
1) to rededicate my life to the Lord
2) to trust in Him again to bring me to the perfect path
3) to continue to hope for victory - nay - believe the victory
4) believe (remember the cripple who knew exactly what he wanted - to walk!)

I thank God for the constancy of His assurance - for his divine love - for all the miraculous ways he has wrought the plan for my salvation - for the presence of the holy spirit - for everything really. For everything he has done for me!

The Lord uses very many channels to bring us to Him. a tweet, a message , a mail, a shout, anything - really. My 3 minute experience which shook me to a christian re-realization was triggered by a tweet. 
mashableGodTube is Born Again as MySpace-Like Tangle

God bless us all! :)

Mar 10, 2009

Lord Father : Reconciling the world to Himself

" God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself." 2 Cor. 5:19. 

The great glory of our Immanuel is his essential glory. When our faith can firmly grasp the Deity of our adorable Lord- and on this precious doctrine may it never waver!- there is a corresponding confidence and repose of the mind in each particular of His sacrificial work. Then it is that we talk of Him as a Mediator, and love to view Him as the great Sin-bearer of His people. In vain do we admire His righteousness, or extol His death, if we look not upon Him in the glory which belongs to Him as essentially God. From this truth, as from a fountain of light, beams forth the glory, which sheds its soft halo around His atoning work. Oh, when, in the near view of death, memory summons back the past, and sin in battle array passes before the eye, and we think of the Lord God, the Holy One, into whose dreadful presence we are about to enter, how will every other support sink beneath us but this! And, as the Holy Spirit then glorifies Christ in His essential glory, testifying that the blood and righteousness- the soul's great trust- are of the incarnate God, we shall rise superior to fear, smile at death, and pass in peace and triumph to glory. Yes, reader, we shall be satisfied with nothing short of absolute Deity, when we come to die. And, in proportion as you find this great truth the substance of your life, you will experience it the support of your death.   

Mar 8, 2009

A dedication to

Today I want to give a dedication to a site which has meant a lot to me. 
I hope you would visit it and that God would speak volumes to you through the words in the site. 

Back in 2007, I was working from my client location in Bangalore. I already had got the experience of being a believer and it was necessary for me to be in touch with Word even at my workplace. Well, most of the bible related sites were blocked there since the management believed it was unproductive to browse religious content (while my testimony is that 5 minutes of religious browsing can give me a productivity boost for the day !!). One day, I remember clearly praying to God to help me with a site that was not blocked - and remember searching for bible studies. This was the site that was in the search results and was *not* blocked there ! I used to browse it regularly then and used to derive a lot of spiritual help from it's articles. 

Please go through the same and be benefitted. Praise the Lord for an awesome set of believers who manage the site. 


For God so loved the world !

From Ryle...

"The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us..." (John 1:14)

The Bible stands unequaled in all Literature. Yes, there are many volumes of sacred writings held in high esteem by many peoples; works of history, poetry, philosophy, spirituality, humanity, philanthropy and mystery. They each have their place, and have undoubtedly contributed in some way or another to either the maintenance, or advancement of their respective cultures. But, still, none of them equal the Bible in its depth of inspiration, or its sweep of influence.

We readily recognize numerous references from Scripture that fill our daily lives with spiritual trivia. That lump in people's throat is their Adam's apple. A person enduring extreme adversity has the patience of Job. Someone who's been around forever is as old as Methuselah. The dove and the olive branch remain the global symbol of peace; the serpent, an image of evil. Jezebel is to this day the quintessential stereotype of a controlling woman, and Judas is the all-time bad guy.

We speak of walking on water to suggest the impossibility of some task, and soaring with wings as eagles to suggest attaining some great and noble goal. These are but a few of the many famous expressions that come from the Bible.

There is one text of Scripture, however, that towers above and beyond all others. It is without question the single, most known Bible verse in the entire world. And the expression it produces is always one of awe. It is known by the youngest of children who are first learning to read, and it is pondered by the oldest of the aged who stand on the threshold of eternity.

Of course, I'm referring to John 3:16 — "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

It is that singular sentence that stands uniquely alone – needing no commentary, and soliciting only reverence. Indeed, The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

Mar 7, 2009

Devotional - Cleansed by the word

“ Already Ye Are Clean Because of the Word I Have Spoken Unto You ” 
- Joh_15:3
What is the pruning knife of this heavenly Husbandman? It is often said to be affliction. By no means in the first place. How would it then fare with many who have long seasons free from adversity; or with some on whom God appears to shower down kindness all their life long? No; it is the Word of God that is the knife, shaper than any two-edged sword, that pierces even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and is quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. It is only when affliction leads to this discipline of the Word that it becomes a blessing; the lack of this heart-cleansing through the Word is the reason why affliction is so often unsanctified. Not even Paul’s thorn in the flesh could become a blessing until Christ’s Word—“My strength is made perfect in weakness”—had made him see the danger of self-exaltation, and made him willing to rejoice in infirmities. 

The Word of God’s pruning knife. Jesus says: “Ye are already clean, because of the word I have spoken unto you.” How searchingly that word had been spoken by Him, out of whose mouth there went a sharp two-edged sword, as he had taught them! “Except a man deny himself, lose his life, forsake all, hate father and mother, he cannot be My disciple, he is not worthy of Me”; or as He humbled their pride, or reproved their lack of love, or foretold their all forsaking Him. From the opening of His ministry in the Sermon on the Mount to His words of warning in the last night, His Word had tried and cleansed them. He had discovered and condemned all there was of self; they were now emptied and cleansed, ready for the incoming of the Holy Spirit. 

It is as the soul gives up its own thoughts, and men’s thoughts of what is religion, and yields itself heartily, humbly, patiently, to the teaching of the Word by the Spirit, that the Father will do His blessed work of pruning and cleansing away all of nature and self that mixes with our work and hinders His Spirit. Let those who would know all the Husbandman can do for them, all the Vine can bring forth through them, seek earnestly to yield themselves heartily to the blessed cleansing through the Word. Let them, in their study of the Word, receive it as a hammer that breaks and opens up, as a fire that melts and refines, as a sword that lays bare and slays all that is of the flesh. The word of conviction will prepare for the word of comfort and of hope, and the Father will cleanse them through the Word. 

All ye who are branches of the true Vine, each time you read or hear the Word, wait first of all on Him to use it for His cleansing of the branch. Set your heart upon His desire for more fruit. Trust Him as Husbandman to work it. Yield yourselves in simple childlike surrender to the cleansing work of His Word and Spirit, and you may count upon it that His purpose will be fulfilled in you. 

Father, I pray Thee, cleanse me through Thy Word. Let it search out and bring to light all that is of self and the flesh in my religion. Let it cut away every root of self-confidence, that the Vine may find me wholly free to receive His life and Spirit. O my holy Husbandman, I trust Thee to care for the branch as much as for the Vine. Thou only art my hope. 

Mar 6, 2009

Devotional - Throne of grace and mercy

" Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16. 

The throne of grace is for the needy. It is always a time of need with a child of God. "Without me," says Jesus, "you can do nothing." There is not a moment, but, if he knows his real state, he is in need of something. What a blessing, then, is the throne of grace! It is for the needy. It is for those who are in need- upon whom all other doors are closed, with whom all other resources have failed, who have nowhere else to look, nowhere else to fly. To such is the throne of grace always open. Is it a time of trial with you? then it is a time of need. Take your trial, whatever it be, simply to God. Do not brood over it. Do not cherish it. This will not make it sweeter, or more easy to be borne. But taking it to Jesus will. The very act of taking it will lighten it, and casting it upon His tenderness and sympathy will make it sweet. Is it a time of spiritual darkness with you? then it is a time of need. Take your darkness to the throne of grace, and "in His light" who sits upon it you "shall see light." Is it a time of adverse providences? then it is a time of need. And where can you go for guidance, for direction, for counsel, for light upon the intricacies of the way, but to the God of grace? Is it a time of temporal distress with you? then it is a time of need. Take your temporal cares and necessities to the Lord, for He who is the God of grace is also the God of providence. Thank the Lord for every errand that takes you to the throne of grace. Whatever it is that sends you to prayer, count it one of your choice blessings. It may be a heavy cross, a painful trial, a pressing need; it may be a broken cistern, a cold look, an unkind expression; yet, if it leads you to prayer, regard it as a mercy sent from God to your soul. Thank God for an errand to Him. 

Mar 5, 2009

Devotional - Backsliding - 2

Rev 2:4  Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 
Rev 2:5  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. 
Rev 2:6  But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. 
Rev 2:7  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. 

Backsliding is leaving the first love. 
Nevertheless. After these words of promise a stain on the garments of the church is pointed out. 

Thou hast left thy first love. They have not maintained the ardor and devotion of the love of their earlier history. Nothing but the fervent love of the Bride can satisfy the Bridegroom. This change shows that many years must have passed since the last communication of Paul to the Ephesian church. 

Remember . . . from whence thou art fallen. Note what this exhortation includes: 1. They had been at a height of excellence. 2. They had fallen from that height; there had been a spiritual declension. 3. 

Repent. The comparison and its proof that they were retrograding should bring repentance. 4. 

Do the first works. There must be the first love, and the fruits of that love in a renewal of their first works. Unless this is done Christ will come. Not in person, but in providence and judgments. The church with a waning love will be repudiated. 

Will remove thy candlestick. "Thy" refers to the Angel of the church through whom the address is made. To remove the candlestick would be to suffer the church to cease to exist. How signally this has been fulfilled in the case of Ephesus is seen in the fact that not one vestige of the church remains, and of the city itself naught but mouldering ruins. What concerns us, however, is that this warning is addressed to every church which has lost its first love. Unless it repents, and does its first works, its candlestick will finally be removed from its place. 

But this thou hast. There is another ground of commendation. They hate the deeds of the Nicolaitanes. Opinions are not agreed concerning this sect, but it is probable that the followers of a Nicolaus are meant who taught that Christian liberty meant license to commit sensual sins. 

He that hath an ear. The call to solemn attention found at the close of each epistle. 

To him that overcometh. The Christian life is a battle and must also be a victory. The Greek word rendered "overcome," is peculiar to John. It occurs once in his Gospel, six times in his epistles, and sixteen times in Revelation, but only "three" times in all the rest of the New Testament. 

To eat of the tree of life. The symbol of eternal life. The tree is seen in Eden (Gen_2:9; Gen_3:22), here, and in the New Jerusalem (Rev_22:2). 

Paradise of God. Since the tree of life is found in both, Paradise and the New Jerusalem must mean the same. Paul uses the term as a synonym of the "Third Heaven," or Heaven itself (2Co_12:2-4).

Mar 4, 2009

Devotional on backsliding - 1

1Ki 11:9  And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, 
1Ki 11:10  And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. 

From Clarke's commentary

The Lord was angry with Solomon - Had not this man’s delinquency been strongly marked by the Divine disapprobation, it would have had a fatal effect on the morals of mankind. Vice is vice, no matter who commits it. And God is as much displeased with sin in Solomon as he can be with it in the most profligate, uneducated wretch. And although God sees the same sin in precisely the same degree of moral turpitude as to the act itself, yet there may be circumstances which greatly aggravate the offense, and subject the offender to greater punishment. Solomon was wise; he knew better; his understanding showed him the vanity as well as the wickedness of idolatry. 

God had appeared unto him twice, and thus given him the most direct proof of his being and of his providence. The promises of God had been fulfilled to him in the most remarkable manner, and in such a way as to prove that they came by a Divine counsel, and not by any kind of casualty. All these were aggravations of Solomon’s crimes, as to their demerit; for the same crime has, in every case, the same degree of moral turpitude in the sight of God; but circumstances may so aggravate, as to require the offender to be more grievously punished; so the punishment may be legally increased where the crime is the same. Solomon deserved more punishment for his worship of Ashtaroth than any of the Sidonians did, though they performed precisely the same acts. The Sidonians had never known the true God; Solomon had been fully acquainted with him.

Devotional - Honour God the one and only true lord

“Honor God ” 
- 1Sa_2:30

Do I make the honor of God the great object of my life and the rule of my conduct? If so, He will honor me. I may for a while receive no honor from man, but God will Himself put honor upon me in the most effectual manner. In the end it will be found the surest way to honor to be willing to be put to shame for conscience' sake. 

Eli had not honored the LORD by ruling his household well, and his sons had not honored the LORD by behavior worthy of their sacred office, and therefore the LORD did not honor them but took the high priesthood out of their family and made young Samuel to be ruler in the land instead of any of their tine. If I would have my family ennobled, I must honor the LORD in all things. God may allow the wicked to win worldly honors; but the dignity which He Himself gives, even glory, honor, and immortality, He reserves for those who by holy obedience take care to honor Him. 

What can I do this day to honor the LORD? I will promote His glory by my spoken testimony and by my practical obedience, I will also honor Him with my substance and by offering to Him some special service. Let me sit down and think how I can honor Him, since He will honor me. 

And the Lord their God shall save them in that day

Zec 9:16  And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land. 

The prophet breaks forth into a joyful representation of the coming of the Messiah, of whom the ancient Jews explained this prophecy. He took the character of their King, when he entered Jerusalem amidst the hosannas of the multitude. 

But his kingdom is a spiritual kingdom. It shall not be advanced by outward force or carnal weapons. His gospel shall be preached to the world, and be received among the heathen. A sinful state is a state of bondage; it is a pit, or dungeon, in which there is no water, no comfort; and we are all by nature prisoners in this pit. 

Through the precious blood of Christ, many prisoners of Satan have been set at liberty from the horrible pit in which they must otherwise have perished, without hope or comfort. While we admire Him, let us seek that his holiness and truth may be shown in our own spirits and conduct. These promises have accomplishment in the spiritual blessings of the gospel which we enjoy by Jesus Christ. As the deliverance of the Jews was typical of redemption by Christ, so this invitation speaks to all the language of the gospel call. Sinners are prisoners, but prisoners of hope; their case is sad, but not desperate; for there is hope in Israel concerning them. Christ is a Strong-hold, a strong Tower, in whom believers are safe from the fear of the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and the assaults of spiritual enemies. 

To him we must turn with lively faith; to him we must flee, and trust in his name under all trials and sufferings. It is here promised that the Lord would deliver his people. This passage also refers to the apostles, and the preachers of the gospel in the early ages. God was evidently with them; his words from their lips pierced the hearts and consciences of the hearers. They were wondrously defended in persecution, and were filled with the influences of the Holy Spirit. They were saved by the Good Shepherd as his flock, and honoured as jewels of his crown. The gifts, graces, and consolations of the Spirit, poured forth on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2 and in succeeding times, are represented. Sharp have been, and still will be, the conflicts of Zion's sons, but their God will give them success. The more we are employed, and satisfied with his goodness, the more we shall admire the beauty revealed in the Redeemer. Whatever gifts God bestows on us, we must serve him cheerfully with them; and, when refreshed with blessings, we must say, How great is his goodness!

And the Lord their God shall save them in that day - Still all should be God’s doing; they themselves were but as a flock, as sheep among wolves, ready for the slaughter; but they were “the flock, His people,” as He says, “I will increase them like the flock, men, as the flock of holy things, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks, men” Eze_36:37-38.  “As a man saves his flock with all his strength, so He will save His people; for they are His flock.” As in, “Thou leddest Thy people like sheep by the hand of Moses and Aaron” Psa_77:20.
They shall be as the stones of a crown - While God’s enemies shall be trampled under foot, as a common thing which has failed its end, these shall be precious stones; a consecrated  diadem of king or priest, “raised aloft,” so that all can see. “On His land.” It was laid down, as the title-deed to its whole tenure, “the land is Mine” Lev_25:23, and much more our Christian land, bought and purified by the blood of Christ.

Mar 1, 2009

Yet another day to praise the Lord!


It's my birthday tomorrow. Since I am on travel for my work, I will be missing my family a lot. But it's also a time of intense introspection and a moment where I should praise the lord even more for having given me a wonderful 29 years! Praise the lord.

I know He has wonderful plans for me - and I am sure He'll use me in ways beyond what I can think for His glory.


Devotional – encouragement from the lord

"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." - 2Th_2:16; 2Th_2:17

When the Lord is pleased to apply a promise, drop in a word of encouragement, speak home an invitation with power, he administers consolation thereby. It comforts the drooping heart; it speaks peace to a guilty conscience. And this consolation is"everlasting consolation;"for it flows from nothing less than such a source, that is, the eternal love of God; and flows onward to an everlasting ocean of infinite delight. Any intimation of a saving interest in the everlasting love of God is a blessing beyond all price; for the Lord never gives any such intimation but as a certain pledge and foretaste of immortal bliss. He can neither disappoint nor deceive. Once blest, blest forever.

We may indeed for a long time together cease to enjoy the comfort, and even may fall into the greatest depths of darkness and confusion, so as to lose sight of almost all our evidences; but the foundation of God stands sure -- "The Lord knows those who are his."The river of eternal love may seem to flow by and not reach our breast, so high are the banks and hidden out of sight the stream. Still if ever it has watered our soul, it will be one day"waters to swim in"of eternal delight.

Devotional - Making Straight the Crooked


"Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked" (Eccles. 7:13).

North Yorkshire country cottageA devotional from streams in the desert.

Often God seems to place His children in positions of profound difficulty, leading them into a wedge from which there is no escape; contriving a situation which no human judgment would have permitted, had it been previously consulted. The very cloud conducts them thither. You may be thus involved at this very hour.

It does seem perplexing and very serious to the last degree, but it is perfectly right. The issue will more than justify Him who has brought you hither. It is a platform for the display of His almighty grace and power.

He will not only deliver you; but in doing so, He will give you a lesson that you will never forget, and to which, in many a psalm and song, in after days, you will revert. You will never be able to thank God enough for having done just as He has. --Selected

"We may wait till He explains,
Because we know that Jesus reigns."

It puzzles me; but, Lord, Thou understandest,
And wilt one day explain this crooked thing.
Meanwhile, I know that it has worked out Thy best--
Its very crookedness taught me to cling.

Thou hast fenced up my ways, made my paths crooked,
To keep my wand'ring eyes fixed on Thee;
To make me what I was not, humble, patient;
To draw my heart from earthly love to Thee.

So I will thank and praise Thee for this puzzle,
And trust where I cannot understand.
Rejoicing Thou dost hold me worth such testing,
I cling the closer to Thy guiding hand.

Devotional - Walk in His paths

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A beginning of a new month .. A month I hope is a great one for me – One which allows me to be my maximum productive self and a real blessing for my project.

"Shew me Thy ways, O Lord; Teach me Thy paths." -- Psa_25:4.
"He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths." -- Mic_4:2.

THERE IS a clear difference between a Way and a Path. The one is filled with the throb and stir of the world's life; the other is comparatively lonely and unfrequented. The roll of vehicles and noisy traffic fills the one, whilst the other is, for the most part, trodden by the individual, being too narrow and quiet for the crowd. It is a great comfort that God has paths as well as ways.
God's Ways are the great principles on which He acts, the mighty thoroughfares of Creation, Providence, Revelation, Human History, and final Judgment. On these His goings-forth have ever been of old, even from everlasting. To know them is the passionate desire of the purest and loftiest natures. Moses prayed: "Shew me now Thy ways, that I may know Thee," and God graciously granted his request, for to Moses He made known His Ways, but to Israel only His Acts. There is need for us all to know God's Ways, especially in this momentous era; because only so can we enter into His rest. In the Old and New Testaments the same warning is repeated: "they shall not enter into My rest, because they have not known My ways" (Psa_95:11; Heb_3:10). We can look out calmly on this troubled world when once we have learnt to know the divine programme of gathering up all things in Christ, who is the Head; when we walk with Him who is the Way to God (Joh_14:6).
The Paths of the Lord may be taken to describe His personal dealings with the individual, who through sickness, or the care of others, or by lonely duty, is isolated from the ordinary worship of the Church, and shut away from fellowship and Christian Ministry. All such may expect and reckon upon the saving help which will come through God's private communications.
God is faithful to the soul that utterly trusts Him. He always comes on time, not a moment before, nor a moment too late. Remember that all His Paths are Mercy and Truth. Dare to believe that He is coming along a secret pathway to bring the assurance of His mercy and grace to help in this time of need.

Be with me, Lord, as I step out on the untrodden way of this month. I know not what it may bring of joy or sorrow, of temptation or service; but I humbly commit myself and my way to Thee. Make the best that Thou canst of me for Thy glory. AMEN.