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Friday, December 31, 2010

Thou crownest the year with thy goodness

Thou crownest the year with thy goodness.   Psalm 65:11a

In the providence of God I turned to Psalm 65 this morning and quite honestly it is so full of our great God that I believe we could spend all the days of the rest of our lives in it and not mine all of its wealth! Truly HE is worthy of all our praise, honor and love! Blessed be God who chose us (the unworthy ones) and causes us to approach him(the high and holy One) and makes us fit (worthy) to approach him, in order that we may dwell in his courts, that we may be satisfied with him and his goodness! Who is He? He is the God of our salvation; the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea! Blessed be His name!

Before reading the entire psalm please take note of verse 11,  the psalmist writes:

"Thou crownest the year with THY goodness; and thy paths drop fatness"

Oh how the people of God have much to rejoice in as we close another year in the history of our lives,  always remembering that history is nothing less than 'His story'. He who goodness is, he that is full of goodness from eternity to eternity, he crowns our year with goodness! Oh that we might fellowship with Him, that we might lay our head on his breast and rest and then as we rise to walk in this world may we more fully realize his goodness to us and in us and around us. Because in HIS paths drips the very fat of this goodness. Oh that we might continue in His way! Also as we walk his paths may we call others to come and go with us.


Father, we give you thanks, you who alone are worthy of our thanksgiving and praise. Thank you for calling us out of darkness and into the kingdom of your dear Son. Praise your holy name for washing us in the precious blood of Jesus, thank you for adding His righteousness to our account. Thank you for crowning our year with your goodness. Help us now as we begin a new year, give us grace that we may serve you acceptably with reverence and godly fear. Guide us into your path, the path where the goodness drops fatness, in order that the world may know that you have sent your Son, and that you have loved us just as you have loved your Son!


Psalm 65

Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed.  O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.  Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away. Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea:  Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power:  Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.

They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.  Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.  Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.

Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.  They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side.  The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

By the grace of God--I am what I am!

By the grace of God--I am what I am!

In his old age, when he could no longer see to read, John Newton heard someone recite this verse, "But by the grace of God I am what I am."
1 Corinthians 15:10. He remained silent a short time, and then said:

I am not what I ought to be. Ah! how imperfect and deficient.

I am not what I might be, considering my privileges and opportunities.

I am not what I wish to be. God, who knows my heart--knows I wish to be like Him.

I am not what I hope to be. Before long, I will drop this clay tabernacle, to be like Him and see Him as He is!

Yet, I am not what I once was--a child of sin, and slave of the devil!

Though not all these--not what I ought to be, not what I might be, not what I wish or hope to be, and not what I once was--I think I can truly say with the apostle, "By the grace of God--I am what I am!"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Luke 6:27-36

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,  Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 

And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.  Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.  For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.  And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.  And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.  Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Friday, December 24, 2010

But when the mower comes!

From a letter by John Newton by way of Grace Gems.


Dear friend,
In preferring a warm heart to a full head--you certainly judge by the rule of Scripture. The Lord looks to the heart--not to the stature, the popularity, the intellect, the rank or wealth of a person. These are to the man--no more than ornamental trappings to a horse!


"All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field!" Isaiah 40:6. The mass of mankind may be compared to grass. And those who are distinguished by intellectual or external accomplishments of any kind--may be compared to the flowers which look more gaudy and are perhaps a little taller than the grass. But when the mower comes--the scythe finds no difference! Both fall by the same stroke, and wither with equal speed!


Indeed I believe that the most lively grace and the most solid comfort--are known among the Lord's poor and insignificant people. Every outward advantage, has a tendency to nourish the pride of the human heart; and requires a proportionable knowledge of the deceitful SELF and the evil of sin--to counterbalance them.

If I were qualified to search out the best Christian in the country, I would not expect to find him either in a professor's chair, or in a pulpit. I would give the trophy to that person who had the lowest thoughts of himself--and the most admiring and loving thoughts of the Savior. And perhaps this person may be some bedridden old man or woman, or a pauper in a workhouse.

Love to Jesus is not to be measured by the amount of knowledge we have, or how well we talk--but rather by the simplicity of our dependence upon Him, and the uniform tenor of our obedience to His will.

Your affectionate friend and servant,
John Newton

Sunday, December 19, 2010

a plain book designed for plain people

From the letters of John Newton

Oh, what a reminder for me personally.


All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 
 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:        John 16:13

 

A few minutes of the Spirit's teaching will furnish us with more real, useful and experimental knowledge--than toiling through whole folios of commentators and expositors! It will be our wisdom to deal less with the streams--and be more close in applying to the fountain-head. The Scripture itself, and the Spirit of God--are the best and the only sufficient expositors of Scripture. Whatever men have valuable in their writings--they got it from Scripture; and the Scripture is as open to us--as to any of them. There is nothing required but a teachable, humble spirit; and academic learning, as it is commonly called, is not necessary in order for this.

As a minister, I endeavor to avoid all panaceas, singularities, 'hidden truths' and 'new discoveries' in Scripture. I wish to advance nothing which I cannot maintain upon the authority of the Bible in our English language--which I deem sufficient to make us and our hearers wise unto salvation.

The New Testament is a plain book designed for plain people. The gospel is to be preached to the poor and simple, who are just as capable of receiving it as the educated--and in some sense more so. I therefore lay little stress upon any academic learning--which depends upon a knowledge of original Greek and Hebrew languages, or requires a larger degree of capacity and genius to be understood.

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 

  2 Timothy 3:15

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thought

"Being disappointed and discontented with life is often the result of thinking we DESERVE more from God; while being happy and contented is a result of being amazed at all the bounty God has already GRACIOUSLY rained down upon us."

 

from Free Grace Press

Friday, December 17, 2010

God's Servant

Isa 42:1-16

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare his praise in the islands.

The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemiesI have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools. And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.



Oh that we might see the GLORY in God's Servant, His Son the Lord Jesus Christ!

Paul wrote to the believers at Corinth; "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

Has He shined in your heart?