Surely a Christian should be willing to give up anything which stands between him and heaven. A religion that costs nothing is worth nothing! A cheap Christianity, without a cross, will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown. (J. C. Ryle)
We shall never see much change for the better in our churches in general till the prayer meeting occupies a higher place in the esteem of Christians. (Charles H. Spurgeon
Sometimes it is so with me that I would rather die than pray! (Thomas Shepherd)To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing. (Martin Luther
Prayer will keep us from sin and sin will keep us from prayer! (Jonathan Edwards)
A church building may be filled to overflowing, but what that church body is on their knees together before God, that is what they are and no more. (Paraphrase of Jonathan Edwards)
We might as well preach to stone walls! “For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words–but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction!” 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5. The gospel is preached in the ears of all men–but it only comes with power to some. The power which is in the gospel, does not lie in the eloquence of the preacher–otherwise men would be converters of souls. Nor does it lie in the preacher’s learning–otherwise it could consists of the wisdom of men. We might preach until our tongues rotted, until we should exhaust our lungs and die–but never a soul would be converted, unless there were mysterious power going with it–the Holy Spirit changing the will and heart of man. O Sirs! We might as well preach to stone walls, as preach to men–unless the Holy Spirit is with the Word, to give it power to convert the soul. (Charles Spurgeon)
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8. “Do you love Me?” John 21:17. Does not Jesus in thus appealing to me, in effect say: “For you, I left the realms of glory, and the adoration of ten thousand times ten thousand holy ones! For you, I became incarnate, took on the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. For you, I obeyed the law, and wrought a perfect righteousness for your justification. For you, I endured the cross, and despised the shame. For you, I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to those who plucked off the hair. For you, I endured the crown of thorns, and gave My hands and My feet to be nailed to the tree. For you, I shed My blood, and laid down My life! I loved you with a love of pity and compassion–when you were dead in trespasses and sins! I opened your eyes, revealed to you your sinfulness and guilt, and awakened your cry for mercy. I sought you in your wanderings–and found you! I brought you up out of the horrible pit, and miry clay–and set your feet upon the rock. I have loved you with an everlasting love–and therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you! All this I have done for you–do you love Me? “We love Him, because He first loved us!” 1 John 4:19. (“Every Day!” Author unknown, 1872)
Because the Lord loves you!
“For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6. “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.” Revelation 3:19. My Dear Friend, Because the Lord loves you–He appoints trials for you. Like most effectual medicines, they are neither pleasant to the taste nor in their operation, when first taken–but afterwards they yield a harvest of righteousness and peace. He sends them not for His own pleasure, but for our profit. He could relieve you in a moment, but He does not. The plain inference is, that it is good, it is best for us to be afflicted! I have had my trials, and I can from experience bear testimony to His all-sufficiency and faithfulness. He does all things well. How can He who is infinitely wise and good, do otherwise? “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:11-12. (Letters of John Newton)
“Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD!” Deuteronomy 33:29. Were God’s ancient people distinguished among all nations for their privileges and blessings? Then much more happy are God’s spiritual Israel. They are redeemed from a viler slavery than that of Egypt, and with a more glorious manifestation of power and grace. Believers now have not the tabernacle in the wilderness, nor the temple at Jerusalem–but they have all the precious realities typified by them. They are not mere outer-court worshipers, but have access to the Holy of holies through the blood of the Lamb. They are not fed with the manna of the desert, but with “the True Bread of Heaven.” They do not drink of the waters of the rock of Horeb, but of the river of life flowing from the Rock, Christ Jesus. They do not have in prospect an earthly Canaan, but a heavenly city, whose builder and Maker is God. They do not have a temporal inheritance–but an incorruptible, undefiled and unfading inheritance! Israel of old had the shadows, Christians now have the substance. “Surely God is good to Israel–to those who are pure in heart!” Psalm 73:1. (Every Day! Author unknown, 1872)
“As God has said: I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:16-18. That very church which the world likes best, is sure to be the church which God abhors most! “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud . . . lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them!” 2 Timothy 3:2-5. (Charles Spurgeon, 1834-1892) “We have learned to live with unholiness in our churches, and have come to look upon it as the natural and expected thing. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a church meeting, where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to church with a stick of striped candy, in the form of religious movies, games and entertainments.” (A. W. Tozer, 1897-1963)
We have the unspeakable consolation!
“He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all–how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32. We have the unspeakable consolation of knowing that the same divine and compassionate Redeemer who suffered, and bled, and died on for us–has the entire management of our affairs; and that nothing can happen in the course of providence, which is not appointed by Him “Who loved us and gave Himself for us!” In proportion to our persuasion of His love for us, should be our confidence in His government over us. And what proof of sincerity, or what pledge of love, can we desire–which is not given by His past dealings on our behalf? If He died for us on the cruel cross–then certainly He will now, when all things are put under His power, “make all things work together for our good!” We may rest assured that the love which He manifested for us on earth, is but a pledge of the love which He still bears to us–and that He will neither forget nor forsake us, until He has accomplished the grand end of His mission, by our deliverance from all evil, and our joyful entrance into the glorious kingdom of Heaven! Oh! how cheering to know, that amidst the joys of Heaven–Jesus has not forgotten any one of His “little flock” for whom He suffered in the garden and on the cross! (James Buchanan, “Comfort in Affliction” 1837)