A New Year’s Resolution “My times are in Your hand!” Psalm 31:15. Firmly believing that my times are in God’s hand, I here submit myself and all my affairs for the ensuing year, to the wise and gracious disposal of God’s divine providence. Whether God appoints for me health or sickness, peace or trouble, comforts or crosses, life or death–may His holy will be done! All my time, strength, and service, I devote to the honor of the Lord Jesus–and even my common actions. It is my earnest expectation, hope, and desire, my constant aim and endeavor–that Jesus Christ may be magnified in me. In everything I have to do–my entire dependence is upon Jesus Christ for strength. And whatever I do in word or deed, I desire to do all in His name, to make Him my Alpha and Omega. I have all from Him–and I would use all for Him. If this should prove a year of affliction, a sorrowful year to me–I will fetch all my supports and comforts from the Lord Jesus and stay myself upon Him, His everlasting consolations, and the good hope I have in Him through grace. And if it should be my dying year–then my times are in the hand of the Lord Jesus. And with a humble reliance upon His mediation, I would venture into the eternal world looking for the blessed hope. Dying as well as living–Jesus Christ will, I trust, be gain and advantage to me. Oh, that the grace of God may be sufficient for me, to keep me always a humble sense of my own unworthiness, weakness, folly, and infirmity–together with a humble dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ for both righteousness and strength. (Matthew Henry)
Closing Comment: His Heaven mine–my Hell His!
It is astonishing that I should so be one with Christ, that all that He is becomes mine, and all that I am becomes His!
His glory mine–my humiliation His!
His righteousness mine–my guilt His!
His joy mine–my sorrow His!
His riches mine–my poverty His!
His life mine–my death His!
His Heaven mine–my Hell His!
The daily walk of faith, is a continuous development of the wonders of this wondrous truth.
That in traveling to Him empty–I should return from Him full.
That in going to Him weak–I should come away from Him strong.
That in bending my steps to Him in all darkness, perplexity, and grief–I should retrace them in all light, and joy, and gladness. (Octavius Winslow)
Market-Driven Christianity “Am I now trying to win the approval of men–or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men–I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10. Religion in America is big business. Scads of money, powerful personalities, huge egos, and positions of prominence, influence, and recognition are at stake in the business of religion, just as they are in any other business. There was a time when the concern of churches and preachers in this country was the glory of God and the truth of God. Today, like any business, the concern is for success. Christianity today is market-driven. The goal of all marketing is to make both the buyer and the seller satisfied. Consequently, market-driven churches, in utter abandonment of God’s glory and God’s truth, in their insatiable quest for success and recognition–do whatever it takes to win customers and keep them. Be warned! False doctrine and worldliness always go hand in hand. Worldliness usually leads the way. The early modernists did not aim at destroying biblical Christianity. They simply tried to make Christianity palatable to an unbelieving world. It cannot be done. When Christianity becomes acceptable to unregenerate people–it has ceased to be Christianity! “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing!” 1 Corinthians 1:18. (Don Fortner)
“Where sin abounded–grace did much more abound!” Romans 5:20. You have one hard lesson to learn, that is–the evil of your own heart. You know something of it, but it is needful that you should know more; for the more we know of ourselves–the more we shall prize and love Jesus and His wondrous salvation. The more you know Him, the better you will trust Him. The more you trust Him, the better you will love Him. The more you love Him, the better you will serve Him. This is God’s way. He is teaching you these things, and I trust He will teach you to the end. Do not be surprised to find yourself to be poor, helpless, and vile. All whom God favors and teaches–will find themselves so. The more grace increases–the more we shall see in ourselves to abase us in our own eyes! I hope what you find in yourself by daily experience, will humble you–but not discourage you. For if our Physician is almighty, our disease cannot be desperate. Our sins are many, but His mercies are more. Our sins are great–but His righteousness is greater. When our sins prevail, remember that we have an Advocate with the Father, who is able to pity, to pardon, and to save to the uttermost!
Think of the names and relations which Jesus bears to us. He calls Himself our Savior, our Shepherd, our Friend, and our Husband! He has made known unto us His wondrous love, His atoning sacrifice, His righteousness, His promises, His power, and His grace, and all for our encouragement! It is better to be admiring the compassion and fullness of grace which is in our Savior–than to dwell and pore too much upon our own poverty and vileness. Remember that He has loved you with an everlasting love–and therefore in loving-kindness has drawn you to Himself. He will surely accomplish that which He has begun. Nothing which can be named or thought of–shall ever be able to separate you from Him! This persuasion will give you strength for the battle! This is the shield which will quench the fiery darts of Satan! This is the helmet which the enemy cannot pierce! Be strong, therefore, not in yourself–but in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Remember, the growth of a believer is not like a mushroom–but like an oak, which increases slowly–but indeed surely. Many suns, showers, and frosts, pass upon it before it comes to perfection. And in winter, when it seems to be dead–it is gathering strength at the root. Be humble, watchful, and diligent in the means of grace; and endeavor to look through all, and fix your eye upon Jesus–and all shall be well. I commend you to the care of the good Shepherd and Guardian of your souls! (Letters of John Newton, March 18, 1767)
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life!
He who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him!” John 3:36. He who believes shall be saved, be his sins ever so many. He who does not believe shall be damned, be his sins ever so few. There is no sin which can damn the one who sincerely believes.
There is absolutely nothing which can save the one who does not believe. The only way to be saved is by faith in Christ. Apart from faith in Him–no one, anywhere, at any time, in any culture, at any period in history, at any age, is saved. (Charles Spurgeon)
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous.” Psalm 34:19. “For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives!” Hebrews 12:6. Health is the greatest temporal blessing that God ever sends us–besides sickness, which is far better.
There is no attribute of God more comforting to His children than the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles–they believe that Sovereignty has ordained all their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all.
I bear my witness that the worst days I have ever had, have turned out to be my best days. And when God has seemed most cruel to me, He has then been most kind. If there is anything in this world for which I would bless him more than for anything else–it is for pain and affliction. I am sure that in these things, the richest tenderest love has been manifested to me. Our Father’s wagons rumble most heavily, when they are bringing us the richest freight of the bullion of His grace. (Charles Spurgeon)
“Without holiness, no one will see the Lord!” Hebrews 12:14. Most men hope to go to Heaven when they die; but few, it may be feared, take the trouble to consider whether they would enjoy Heaven if they got there. Heaven is essentially a holy place;
its inhabitants are all holy; its occupations are all holy. To be really happy in Heaven, it is clear and plain that we must be somewhat trained and made ready for Heaven while we are on earth. We must be saints before we die–if we are to be saints afterwards in glory.
We need the work of the Holy Spirit–as well as the work of Christ;
we need renewal of the heart–as well as the atoning blood;
we need to be sanctified–as well as to be justified. What could an unsanctified man do in Heaven, if by any chance he got there? No man can possibly be happy in a place where he is not in his element, and where all around him is not congenial to his tastes, habits and character. When an eagle is happy in an iron cage, when a sheep is happy in the middle of a lake, when a fish is happy on the dry land–then, and not until then, will I admit that the unsanctified man could be happy in Heaven!
The book of Revelation says expressly, “Nothing impure will ever enter it.” Revelation 21:27. (J.C. Ryle)