Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Joy of Salvation

WHERE DOES JOY come from? I knew a Sunday school student whose conception of joy was that it was a thing made in lumps and kept somewhere in heaven, and that when people prayed for it pieces were somehow let down and fitted into their souls. I am not sure that views as gross and material are not often held by people who ought to be wiser. In reality, joy is as much a matter of cause and effect as pain. No one can get joy by merely asking for it. It is one of the ripest fruits of the Christian life, and, like all fruits, must be grown.

—Henry Drummond

 

 

Joy

Joy is a fruit that will not grow

In nature’s barren soil;

All we can boast, till Christ we know,

Is vanity and toil.

But where the Lord hath planted grace,

And made His glories known,

These fruits of heavenly joy and peace

Are found, and there alone.

—John Newton

True happiness is not the honors and pleasures of the body. True happiness is virtue. As many as fight to acquire virtue, to put into practice the commandments of God, these are the truly happy.

—Elder Philotheos Zervakos of Paros (+1980)

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Will of God

Why art thou cast down, O my soul?

and why art thou disquieted within me?

hope thou in God:

for I shall yet praise him,

who is the health of my countenance,

and my God

                                (Ps. 42:11).

 

 

The Will of God

Thou sweet, beloved will of God,

My anchor ground, my fortress hill,

My spirit’s silent, fair abode,

In Thee I hide me and am still.

Thy beautiful sweet will, my God,

Holds fast in its sublime embrace

My captive will, a gladsome bird,

Prison’d in such a realm of grace.

Upon God’s will I lay me down,

As child upon its mother’s breast,

No silken couch, nor softest bed,

Could ever give me such deep rest.

—Gerhardt Tersteegen

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Be Still, My Soul

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Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;

Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;

Leave to thy God to order and provide;

In every change the faithful will remain.

Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend

Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake

To guide the future as he has the past.

Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;

All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know

His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

—Katharina von Schlegel

Thursday, September 11, 2014

How Nature Preaches

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork (Ps. 19:1)

Nature exists not for a merely natural but for a moral end; not alone for what it is, but for what it says or declares. God looks upon nature as a basis of language. The heavenly objects are signs. Signs are vehicles of ideas. They say something. The universe is God’s telephone system, His grand signal system by which He flashes messages from the heights above to the deepest valleys below. The material system is God’s great instrument of conversation. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.”

1. The Fact of Nature Reveals the Being of God

2. The Vastness of Nature Shows His Immensity

3. The Uniformity of Nature Declares His Unity

4. The Regularity of Nature Discloses His Unchangeableness

5. The Variety of Nature Manifests His Exhaustlessness

6. The Adaptations of Nature Unveil His Wisdom

7. The Happiness of Nature Displays His Goodness

Nature tells us to think of God. God would have us contemplate nature. It is not His only revelation, but it is a very great and beautiful one. God’s testimony is of both the works and the Word. Nature is a volume in which the Godhead of the Creator is plainly discoverable. Scripture is the volume in which all may read the Divine will concerning them. Study both.

 

- Hallock

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

God, Thou Hast Made the World Beautiful

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What is man that you are mindful of him,

and the son of man that you care for him?

- Psalm 8:4

 

God—Thou hast made the world so beautiful!

A flock of birds on pinions fleet and strong,

Then—though it were not yet enough to soar—

Gave to them song.

God—Thou hast made the world so beautiful;

A bower of June roses gay abloom,

Then—though it were not yet enough to grow—

Gave them perfume.

God—Thou hast made the world so beautiful;

A million beings, soul their priceless gem,

Then—though it were not yet enough to live—

Gave love to them.

—Theodosia Pearce

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Trees

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Blessed is the man…

He is like a tree

planted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season,

and its leaf does not wither.

In all that he does, he prospers.

Psalm 1:1, 3

 

Trees

In every path of timber you

Will always find a tree or two                                                        

That would have fallen down long ago,                                        

Borne down by the wind or age or snow,                                        

Had not another neighbor tree                                                        

Held out its arms in sympathy                                                        

And caught the tree that the storm had hurled                                

To earth. So neighbors, is the world

In every patch of timber stand

Samaritans of forest land,

The birch, the maple, oak and pine,

The fir, the cedar, all in line!                                                                                                

In every wood unseen, unknown

They bear their burdens of their own

And bear as well another form,

Some neighbor stricken in the storm.                                         

Shall trees be nobler to their kind                                        

Than men, who boast the noble mind;

Shall there exist within the wood

This great eternal brotherhood.                                                        

Of oak and pine, of hill and fen,

And not within the hearts of men?                        

God grant that men are like to these,

And brothers, brotherly as trees.

                                                                                

                                —Author Unknown

 

 

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Christian's Hope

Why are you cast down, O my soul,

and why are you in turmoil within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,

my salvation 6 and my God.

- Psalm 42:5–6

 

WE ARE NOT ASHAMED of the ground of our hope. Our hope rests upon the solemn promises of God, which He made to us by His prophets and apostles, and confirmed in the person and work of His dear Son. Inasmuch as Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead, we who are one with Him by faith are sure that we shall rise again from the dead and live with Him. The fact of Christ’s resurrection is the assurance of our resurrection, and His entrance into glory is the pledge of our glorification because we are made one with Him by the purpose and grace of God. As we fell in Adam by virtue of our being in him, so we rise and reign with Jesus because we are in Him. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living; yet is He the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, and therefore these men are yet alive. Even thus do we believe concerning all who die in the faith that they have not ceased to be, but they all live to Him.

—Spurgeon

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