Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Let us be therewith content

"having food and raiment, let us be therewith content"- 1Timothy 6:8. 

'having food and raiment, let us be therewith content' - Food and a covering, including habitation as well as raiment. Observe, If God give us the necessary supports of life, we ought to be content therewith, though we have not the ornaments and delights of it. If nature should be content with a little, grace should be content with less; though we have not dainty food, though we have not costly raiment, if we have but food and raiment convenient for us we ought to be content. This was Agur's prayer: Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me, Proverbs 30:8. 
Here we see, [1.] The folly of placing our happiness in these things, when we did not bring any thing into this world with us, and we can carry nothing out. What will worldlings do when death shall strip them of their happiness and portion, and they must take an everlasting farewell of all these things, on which they have so much doted? They may say with poor Micah, You have taken away my gods; and what have I more? Jdg_18:24. 
[2.] The necessaries of life are the hounds of a true Christian's desire, and with these he will endeavour to be content; his desires are not insatiable; no, a little, a few comforts of this life, will serve him, and these may hope to enjoy: Having food and raiment.  ~ Matthew Henry

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Refiner


C.H. Spurgeon
“And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” [Malachi 3:3]
“He shall sit.” The POSTURE would not have been mentioned had it not been instructive. Sitting looks like the attitude of indifference. There is the metal vexed with a white heat—here is the Refiner sitting down! There is the child of God upon the bed of pain and he cries, “My Lord, come and help me!” And there the Refiner sits—He looks on, but does not stir a hand. The child of God is sinking in trouble. He fears, like Peter, that the next step may drown him and there is his Lord, calm and unmoved! When the Apostolic ship was out at sea and tossed in the tempest, Christ was asleep in the back part of the vessel! Unbelief dares challenge His love because of this apparent apathy—how can He sit still and see us suffer?
She mutters—“He is indifferent! He does not care.” “Don’t You care that we perish?” is the cry of Unbelief and before the heart actually utters it, it begins to think, “WHERE is the tenderness of Christ? WHERE is the gentleness of God? Am I thus to be tortured? Am I thus to be tried? Am I thus to be tossed from billow to billow without a Helper?” Yet after all our crying and tears the Refiner stillSITS! Yes, He, to all appearances, disregards our prayers and entreaties and fulfils the description of the text—“He sits.” It is amazing how often God seems utterly indifferent to His people and how Christ, filled with compassion because He has been tried in all points like as we are, yet seems to look down upon our sorrows with undisturbed serenity.
I once heard a Welshman preach in his own native tongue. It was a sermon in which he got into the spirit of his subject and spoke as one Inspired. He used a very simple illustration when he said, “The mother has her dear babe upon her knee. It is time for washing. She washes its face. The little one cries. It loves not the soap; it loves not the water and therefore it cries. Here is a great sorrow! Listen to its lamentations! It is ready to break its heart! What does the mother do? Is she sorrowful? Does she weep? No! She is singing all the while because she understands how good it is that the child should suffer a little temporary inconvenience in order that its face, all smeared and foul, should become bright and beautiful again! Thus does the great Father rest in His love and rejoice over us with singing while we are sighing and crying.”
Ours is but a child’s sorrow, sharp and shallow, of which the greatest source is our own ignorance of the great designs of the Perfecter of men! The Lord pities our childish sorrow, but He does not regard it so as to stop His hands from His cleansing work. “Let not your soul spare for his crying,” said Solomon—and our wise Father, when He is chastening us, does not spare us for our crying. What if the metal that is put into the furnace should be sensitive when the crucible is hot and should cry out, “Oh, take me out! The fire is too hot! I cannot bear it. I am dissolving! I am melting! Take me out”? Would the assayer regard the entreaties of the metal? Ah, no! And so, when we are in the furnace, the Refiner SITS STILL. Why should He be flurried? He knows what He is doing and He knows that His Divine methods are wise and infallible.
HE IS NOT HURTING THE SILVER, BUT DOING IT LASTING SERVICE. He is not even putting it through a NEEDLESS process. He is taking the shortest way of working when He seems to be longest in His assays. There is a haste that is not good speed and God uses not such haste as that—He moves at the pace of perfection and that may seem slow to us. He shall sit as a Refiner TILL you shall ask, “Does He care at all for me?” Carnal reason may judge as it pleases as to the indifference of Him who seems to sit at ease while His people are melted in the flames, but faith is full-well assured that in the attitude of the Divine Refiner there is real attention. Why does the Refiner sit, but because He is resolved to steadily watch the crucible? He will not go away and leave it, even for a moment, lest the heat should grow too great or a certain point should be passed over when His Presence would be essential to the success of the process.
I have often heard that a refiner sits and looks at the silver till he can see his own reflection in it. Our Lord sits as the Refiner at the furnace mouth because He is all attention. He has, as it were, given up all other cares just to sit there and watch His treasure. He is DETERMINED that His servants shall be purified—that the sons of Levi shall be purged, and so there He is, everything else laid aside, giving His whole heart and soul to those whom He is refining.
“Oh” you say “but you exaggerate if you talk about the Lord’s giving all His heart and soul to one of His people.” No, I do not. The Lord Jesus watches each one of His people as intensely as if He had no other. Finite minds must have a center, somewhere, and as that center changes, so our circumference of thought and action shifts. But God’s center is everywhere and His circumference is nowhere!
Each one of us may be in the center of the Divine mind and yet none of the redeemed may be any the less near because of it. Jesus watches each one—you, me, 50,000 others—all of them His chosen ones that are undergoing the purifying process. He watches each one as if there were never another for His blessed eyes to rest upon. He is all attention, watching not as children gaze on soldiers in the fire, but as practical refiners watch their precious metal! Poor, bowed Heart, Jesus is all attention! His sitting down is not because He forgets, but because He remembers!
“God’s furnace does in Zion stand,
But Zion’s God sits by,
As the refiner views His gold,
With an observant eye.”
Always observing, always watching. Jesus shall sit—“He shall sit as a refiner.”
But we may notice more than this. I think I see in the sitting down of the Refiner a settled patience, as if He seemed to say, “This is stern work and I will sit down to it, for it will need care, time and constant watchfulness. This metal may need to be purified in a furnace of earth seven times, but I am set upon the perfecting of the work and, therefore, here I place Myself. I shall bear with this man till I have delivered him from his faults. I shall bear with this woman till I have made something of her—till I have taken away that which weakens and injures her character. I mean to bear with this poor, petulant, unbelieving, complaining, selfish, groaning mortal—My Spirit has given him some love for Me and some life in Me—and, therefore, I will bear with him till his life and love shall have conquered all earthly grossness and he shall be a lump of pure metal fit for My Father’s treasury.”
I find, in looking at the original, that the word for, “sit,” is one which is used many times in Scripture for the posture of a king upon a throne—it is a sort of regal sitting down. So that we have here the POSTURE OF POWER. “He shall sit as a refiner,” signifies, then, I take it, that He who seems indifferent, but who is constantly observant and patient, is seated on His Throne possessing infinite power over all things so that the process which He is watching can be checked or quickened according to His own will and wish. HE REIGNS AS A REFINER. He has power over every coal, over every single jet of gassy flame! He has power over every breath of air that fans the fire and over the furnace to its inmost center and its utmost vehemence. He has power over the metal, itself, and its dross and all that is excellent about it as well as all that is vile.
Oh, this is a grand consolation! He that has undertaken to purify us can do it, for He sits on the Throne of boundless might! NOTHING SHORT OF AN OMNIPOTENT SAVIOR COULD HAVE SAVED ME! It were ill news for me if men could show that Christ were not Divine, for short of a Divine Redeemer I know I shall never be perfected! No strength but that which made me can make me new! Only He that says, “I kill and I make alive,” can ever kill my sin and make me alive unto God. Oh, Christian, this ought to be a delight to you, that He who sits as a refiner sits on the Throne while He is refining you and exercises Sovereign Grace and infinite power while dealing with your soul! Jesus reigns in the work of sanctification, having all things at His disposal, and He CAN AND WILL perform that which He has begun—
Grace will complete what Grace begins,
To save from sorrows or from sins.
The work that wisdom undertakes
Eternal mercy ne’er forsakes.”
Eternal power performs what everlasting love designs.
So I conceive that the text may also teach us the perfect perseverance of Christ in the work of the purifying of His people. “He shall sit as a refiner.” Might not your backsliding, after you had once reached a great height of sanctity, have disappointed Christ and made Him leave you? Yes, if it were not true of Him, “I am God: I change not,” He would have left you to be consumed! But you are not consumed because, from His blessed purpose He will not swerve. Oh, how many times you and I have seemed to make advances towards purity but have gone back, again, to folly, thus manifesting the abundance of our alloy! It did seem as if, at last, the blessed flame of Grace had begun to make us bright and yet we have dulled again back to the old state.
And WHERE is the Refiner? Has He gone? BY NO MEANS! There He is! He has been sitting as a refiner and He is still sitting! That is a blessed text—“He shall not fail nor be discouraged.” There is much to discourage Him, but He is not discouraged! There is much to make Him relinquish the work, but He determines not to fail in it. His mind is made up and well it may be, for He has paid in bloody sweat and in His heart’s blood, the ransom price to purchase us and He will never leave half-effected what He has spent His life to achieve! WHAT HE HAS REDEEMED, HE WILL REFINE! Gethsemane and Calvary have bound the Refiner to His task.
He undertook a stupendous labor and He went through with it till He shouted from the Cross, “It is finished!” And, therefore, we may rest assured that He will go on with the further portions of His great enterprise till, from His Throne above He will say, “It is finished,” as He surveys every one of us, “without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing”—pure lumps of gold and silver brought Home by Himself without a speck of dross about us. Oh, blessed hope! Where should we dare to indulge it but in the Presence of an Almighty Savior whose Immutable oath has bound Him to carry out the work of our perfection?
[Quoted from the sermon – ‘THE SITTING OF THE REFINER’
– C.H. Spurgeon]

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Another YRR celebrity wannabe falls

This is so disgraceful. When will we quit exalting men to celebrity status? I notice a continual growing trend - - - many men who claim to be evangelists, preachers, pastors, etc, and who continually promote 'self'. They plaster their mug shots all over the internet, they promote their latest book, tract, dvd, conference appearance, etc. Tony Miano is notorious for self-promotion; Steve Lawson is another one who makes a habit of promoting his books on dead people.  Make no mistake, these two are NOT the only ones who make a constant habit of self-promotion. The visible church in America is a hideous nightmare. 
This post concerns a man who was a 'rising star' in the evangelical realm, but has sadly fallen into sin. The article I am linking to brings about some very thought-provoking points, including the 9 Marks rules for 'church' - which I adamantly disagree with. I find it odd they insist on church membership, after all, I already belong to the church of Christ. Why must I join an earthly church? In any case, that's not the focus of this post. Here is the link to the article concerning the fallen celebrity wannabe.