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Richard Myers

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #100 on: June 07, 2011, 07:07:20 AM »
Sanctification a Living Principle

"Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul" 1 Peter 2:11 

We should consider the words of the apostle Paul, in which he appeals to his brethren, by the mercies of God, to present their bodies "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God." ... Sanctification is not merely a theory, an emotion, or a form of words, but a living, active principle, entering into the everyday life. It requires that our habits of eating, drinking, and dressing be such as to secure the preservation of physical, mental, and moral health, that we may present to the Lord our bodies--not an offering corrupted by wrong habits but--"a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God." Romans 12:1.
 
Let none who profess godliness regard with indifference the health of the body, and flatter themselves that intemperance is no sin and will not affect their spirituality. A close sympathy exists between the physical and the moral nature. The standard of virtue is elevated or degraded by the physical habits. Excessive eating of the best of food will produce a morbid condition of the moral feelings. And if the food is not the most healthful, the effects will be still more injurious. Any habit which does not promote healthful action in the human system degrades the higher and nobler faculties. Wrong habits of eating and drinking lead to errors in thought and action. Indulgence of appetite strengthens the animal propensities, giving them the ascendancy over the mental and spiritual powers. 

"Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul", 1 Peter 2:11, is the language of the apostle Peter. Many regard this warning as applicable only to the licentious; but it has a broader meaning. It guards against every injurious gratification of appetite or passion. It is a most forcible warning against the use of such stimulants and narcotics as tea, coffee, tobacco, alcohol, and morphine. These indulgences may well be classed among the lusts that exert a pernicious influence upon moral character. The earlier these hurtful habits are formed, the more firmly will they hold their victims in slavery to lust, and the more certainly will they lower the standard of spirituality. 

Bible teaching will make but a feeble impression upon those whose faculties are benumbed by indulgence of appetite. Thousands will sacrifice not only health and life, but their hope of heaven, before they will wage war against their own perverted appetites. One lady, who for many years claimed to be sanctified, made the statement that if she must give up her cigarettes or heaven she would say, "Farewell, heaven; I cannot overcome my love for cigarettes." This idol had been enshrined in the soul, leaving to Jesus a subordinate place. Yet this woman claimed to be wholly the Lord's!

Wherever they may be, those who are truly sanctified will elevate the moral standard by preserving correct physical habits, and, like Daniel, presenting to others an example of temperance and self-denial. Every depraved appetite becomes a warring lust. Everything that conflicts with natural law creates a diseased condition of the soul. The indulgence of appetite produces a ruined stomach, a torpid liver, a clouded brain, and thus perverts the temper and the spirit of the man. And these enfeebled powers are offered to God, who refused to accept the victims for sacrifice unless they were without a blemish. It is our duty to bring our appetite and our habits of life into conformity to natural law. If the bodies offered upon Christ's altar were examined with the close scrutiny to which the Jewish sacrifices were subjected, who with our present habits would be accepted? 
 
With what care should Christians regulate their habits, that they may preserve the full vigor of every faculty to give to the service of Christ. If we would be sanctified in soul, body, and spirit, we must live in conformity to the divine law. The heart cannot preserve consecration to God while the appetites and passions are indulged at the expense of health and life.

Paul's inspired warnings against self-indulgence are sounding along the line down to our time. He presents for our encouragement the freedom enjoyed by the truly sanctified. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:1. He charges the Galatians to "walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh." Galatians 5:16, 17. He names some of the forms of fleshly lusts--idolatry, drunkenness, and such like. After mentioning the fruits of the Spirit, among which is temperance, he adds, "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." Verse 24.
 
There are many among professed Christians today who would decide that Daniel was too particular and would pronounce him narrow and bigoted. They consider the matter of eating and drinking of too little consequence to require such a decided stand--one involving the probable sacrifice of every earthly advantage. But those who reason thus will find in the day of judgment that they turned from God's express requirements and set up their own opinion as a standard of right and wrong. They will find that what seemed to them unimportant was not so regarded of God. His requirements should be sacredly obeyed. Those who accept and obey one of His precepts because it is convenient to do so, while they reject another because its observance would require a sacrifice, lower the standard of right, and by their example lead others to lightly regard the holy law of God. "Thus saith the Lord" is to be our rule in all things.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #101 on: June 10, 2011, 10:52:07 AM »
Eternal Life, the Truth

"The soul that sinneth, it shall die" Ezekiel 18:20

Only through Christ can immortality be obtained. Said Jesus: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life." John 3:36. Every man may come into possession of this priceless blessing if he will comply with the conditions. All "who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality," will receive "eternal life." Romans 2:7.

The only one who promised Adam life in disobedience was the great deceiver. And the declaration of the serpent to Eve in Eden--"Ye shall not surely die"--was the first sermon ever preached upon the lie that one may possess eternal life while sinning. Yet this declaration, resting solely upon the authority of Satan, is echoed from the pulpits of Christendom and is received by the majority of mankind as readily as it was received by our first parents. The divine sentence, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20), is made to mean: The soul that sinneth, it shall not die, "just believe". We cannot but wonder at the strange infatuation which renders men so credulous concerning the words of Satan and so unbelieving in regard to the words of God.  

Had man after his fall been allowed free access to the tree of life, he would have lived forever, and thus sin would have been immortalized. But cherubim and a flaming sword kept "the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3:24), and not one of the family of Adam has been permitted to pass that barrier and partake of the life-giving fruit. Therefore there is not an immortal sinner. Before we enter heaven to live with Christ forever, we must first become saints upon this earth. What does this mean? It means that we are filled with His Spirit and we then love God with the whole heart and our neighbor as ourselves. That is easily seen by the keeping of the commandments. If we do not keep the law of God, then we do not love God supremely, nor our neighbor as ourselves.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #102 on: June 15, 2011, 07:22:37 PM »
God Versus Self, the Greatest Battle Ever Fought

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord." Jeremiah 29:13, 14

For some time I have been contemplating the words of an unbeliever. "But the reality of it is that we have to look inward for salvation, not upward. True Salvation lies within ourselves, and we are the masters of our own destinies. To believe otherwise, is to accept that we have no control over anything, and I can never ever accept that."

If it were only unbelievers that professed such thinking, it would not be so troubling. But, there are within the ranks of professing Christian churches similar teachings. Today, new age spiritualism has gotten a foothold in the church. The mantra is "the battle can be won if we will just choose to do right and not do evil. "Look for the goodness and strength from within yourself." Ask Oprah, she will tell you so.  How far has this teaching gotten? How subtle is the lie? Very, very subtle. So much so that many who profess to be teaching victory over sin, have to make excuses for their sins because looking within has not worked. We must cease thinking that there is any good thing in fallen man and look to Jesus as our only hope.

By sin we have been severed from the life of God. Our souls are sick and rotten. The sense of sin has poisoned the springs of life. By nature we are alienated from God. The Holy Spirit describes our condition in such words as these: "Dead in trespasses and sins;" "the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint"; "no soundness in it." We are held fast in the snare of Satan; "taken captive by him at his will." Ephesians 2:1; Isaiah 1:5, 6; 2 Timothy 2:26. God desires to heal us, to set us free. But since this requires an entire transformation, a renewing of our whole nature, we must yield ourselves wholly to Him.

The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness. Many realize their helplessness; they are longing for that spiritual life which will bring them into harmony with God, and are striving to obtain it, but in vain.  Let those desponding, struggling ones look up. When sin struggles for the mastery look to the Saviour. His grace is sufficient to subdue sin. Let your grateful heart, trembling with uncertainty, turn to Him. Lay hold on the hope set before you. His strength will help your weakness; He will lead you step by step. Place your hand in His, and let Him guide you. Man has no compass within to guide himself. He must look to Jesus for his guidance.

He will set free the captive that is held by weakness and misfortune and the chains of sin. He is always near. His loving presence surrounds you. Seek Him as One who desires to be found of you.  God's promise is, "Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #103 on: June 29, 2011, 11:42:10 AM »
Jesus said "Spare it This Year."

"And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down." Luke 13:9

Christ in His teaching linked with the warning of judgment the invitation of mercy. "The Son of man is not come," He said, "to destroy men's lives, but to save them." Luke 9:56. "God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:17. His mission of mercy in its relation to God's justice and judgment is illustrated in the parable of the barren fig tree. 
 
Christ had been warning the people of the coming of the kingdom of God, and He had sharply rebuked their ignorance and indifference. For a little time the day of probation lingered for them. There was still time for them to know the things that belonged to their peace.

Jesus warned them with this parable: "A certain man had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?"

Christ's hearers could not misunderstand the application of His words. David had sung of Israel as the vine brought out of Egypt. Isaiah had written, "The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant." Isaiah 5:7. The generation to whom the Saviour had come were represented by the fig tree in the Lord's vineyard--within the circle of His special care and blessing. 

God's purpose toward His people, and the glorious possibilities before them, had been set forth in the beautiful words, "That they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified," Isaiah 61:3.  And Isaiah 5:2 "And He looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes." God in His Son had been seeking fruit, and had found none. Israel was a cumberer of the ground. Its very existence was a curse; for it filled the place in the vineyard that a fruitful tree might fill. It robbed the world of the blessings that God designed to give. The Israelites had misrepresented God among the nations. They were not merely useless, but a decided hindrance. To a great degree their religion was misleading, and wrought ruin instead of salvation. 
 
n the parable the dresser of the vineyard does not question the sentence that the tree, if it remained fruitless, should be cut down; but he knows and shares the owner's interest in that barren tree. Nothing could give him greater joy than to see its growth and fruitfulness. He responds to the desire of the owner, saying, "Let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it and dung it; and if it bear fruit, well." 

The gardener does not refuse to minister to so unpromising a plant. He stands ready to give it still greater care. He will make its surroundings most favorable, and will lavish upon it every attention.  The owner and the dresser of the vineyard are one in their interest in the fig tree. So the Father and the Son were one in their love for the chosen people. Christ was saying to His hearers that increased opportunities would be given them. Every means that the love of God could devise would be put in operation that they might become trees of righteousness, bringing forth fruit for the blessing of the world. 

Jesus did not in the parable tell the result of the gardener's work. At that point His story was cut short. Its conclusion rested with the generation that heard His words. To them the solemn warning was given. "If not, then after that thou shalt cut it down." Upon them it depended whether the irrevocable words should be spoken. The day of wrath was near. In the calamities that had already befallen Israel, the owner of the vineyard was mercifully forewarning them of the destruction of the unfruitful tree.

The warning sounds down along the line to us in this generation. How often has the tender gospel message thrilled our hearts! We have taken the name of Christ, and are outwardly members of the church which is His body, but have we produced fruit? Is His character, "the fruits of the Spirit," seen in our lives?
 
Are we cumberers of the ground? God in His great mercy has not cut us down. He loves us and gave His Son for us. Looking upon us He cries, as He cried so many centuries ago concerning Israel, "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel? . . . I will not execute the fierceness of Mine anger. I will not return to destroy Ephraim; for I am God, and not man." Hosea 11:8, 9. The pitying Saviour is saying concerning us, Spare it this year also, till I shall dig about it and dress it. 

With what unwearied love did Christ minister to Israel during the period of added probation. Upon the cross He prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23:24. After His ascension the gospel was preached first at Jerusalem. There the Holy Spirit was poured out. There the first gospel church revealed the power of the risen Saviour. There Stephen--"his face as it had been the face of an angel" (Acts 6:15)--bore his testimony and laid down his life. All that heaven itself could give was bestowed. "What could have been done more to My vineyard," Christ said, "that I have not done in it?" Isaiah 5:4. So His care and labor for you are not lessened, but increased. Still He says, "I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day." Isaiah 27:3.  "If it bear fruit, well; and if not, then after that"-- 
 
The heart that does not respond to divine agencies becomes hardened until it is no longer susceptible to the influence of the Holy Spirit. Then it is that the word is spoken, "Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?"

Today He invites you: "O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God. . . . I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely. . . . I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. . . . They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine. . . . From Me is thy fruit found." Hosea 14:1-8.
 

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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A Thought For Today
« Reply #104 on: July 04, 2011, 03:00:46 PM »
God Blessed America!

"Why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?"1 Cor. 10:29

In the seventeenth century the English reformers, while renouncing the doctrines of Romanism, had retained many of its forms. Thus though the authority and the creed of Rome were rejected, not a few of her customs and ceremonies were incorporated into the worship of the Church of England. It was claimed that these things were not matters of conscience; that though they were not commanded in Scripture, and hence were non-essential, yet not being forbidden, they were not intrinsically evil. Their observance tended to narrow the gulf which separated the reformed churches from Rome, and it was urged that they would promote the acceptance of the Protestant faith by Romanists. 
 
Many earnestly desired to return to the purity and simplicity which characterized the primitive church. They regarded many of the established customs of the English church as monuments of idolatry, and they could not in conscience unite in her worship. But the church, being supported by the civil authority, would permit no dissent from her forms. Attendance upon her service was required by law, and unauthorized assemblies for religious worship were prohibited, under penalty of imprisonment, exile, and death. 

When first constrained to separate from the English church, the Puritans had joined themselves together by a solemn covenant, as the Lord's free people, “to walk in all his ways, made known or to be made known to them.” Here was the true spirit of reform, the vital principle of Protestantism. It was with this purpose that the Pilgrims departed from Holland to find a home in the New World. It was the desire for liberty of conscience that inspired the Pilgrims to brave the perils of the long journey across the sea, to endure the hardships and dangers of the wilderness, and with God's blessing to lay, on the shores of America, the foundation of a mighty nation.

The Bible was held as the foundation of faith, the source of wisdom, and the charter of liberty. Its principles were diligently taught in the home, in the school, and in the church, and its fruits were manifest in thrift, intelligence, purity, and temperance. One might be for years a dweller in the Puritan settlements, and not see a drunkard, nor hear swearing, nor meet a beggar. It was demonstrated that the principles of the Bible are the surest safeguards of national greatness. The feeble and isolated colonies grew to a confederation of powerful States, and the world marked with wonder the peace and prosperity of “a church without a pope, and a State without a king.” 

Eleven years after the planting of the first colony, Roger Williams came to the New World. Like the early Pilgrims, he came to enjoy religious freedom; but unlike them, he saw—what so few in his time had yet seen—that this freedom was the inalienable right of all, whatever might be their creed. He was an earnest seeker for truth, with Robinson holding it impossible that all the light from God's Word had yet been received. Williams “was the first person in modern Christendom to assert, in its plenitude, the doctrine of the liberty of conscience, the equality of opinions before the law.” He declared it to be the duty of the magistrate to restrain crime, but never to control the conscience. “The public or the magistrates may decide,” he said, “what is due from men to men, but when they attempt to prescribe a man's duty to God, they are out of place.

In that grand old document which our forefathers set forth as their bill of rights—the Declaration of Independence— they declared: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And the Constitution guarantees, in the most explicit terms, the inviolability of conscience: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office of public trust under the United States.” “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” 

“The framers of the Constitution recognized the eternal principle that man's relation to his God is above human legislation, and his right of conscience inalienable. Reasoning was not necessary to establish this truth; we are conscious of it in our own bosom. It is this consciousness, which, in defiance of human laws, has sustained so many martyrs in tortures and flames. They felt that their duty to God was superior to human enactments, and that man could exercise no authority over their consciences. It is an inborn principle which nothing can eradicate.” 

God blessed America the land that I love, He stood beside her and guided her when she would follow. But, that has ended. America is no longer that once great Protestant nation she used to be. She has now embarked upon that path revealed in Scripture. The Bible is no longer held as the foundation of faith. She is leading the nations of the world.


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #105 on: July 19, 2011, 07:08:08 AM »
The End for Those Who Twist the Truth

"A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD."  Jeremiah 25:31 


The minister who has sacrificed truth to gain the favor of men will soon discern the character and influence of his teachings. It will be apparent that the omniscient eye was following him as he preached from the pulpit, as he walked the streets, as he mingled with men in the various scenes of life. Every emotion of the soul, every line written, every word uttered, every act that led men to rest in a refuge of falsehood, has been scattering seed; and then, in the wretched, lost souls around him, he will behold the harvest. 

Saith the Lord: "They have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace." "With lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life." Jeremiah 8:11; Ezekiel 13:22.  

"Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! . . . Behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings." "Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock: for your days for slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; . . . and the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape." Jeremiah 23:1, 2;  25:34, 35.

Ministers and people will soon see that they have not sustained the right relation to God. They will see that they have rebelled against the Author of all just and righteous law. The setting aside of the divine precepts gave rise to thousands of springs of evil, discord, hatred, iniquity, until the earth became one vast field of strife, one sink of corruption. This is the view that will appear to those who reject truth and choose to cherish error. No language can express the longing which the disobedient and disloyal will feel for that which they have lost forever--eternal life. Men whom the world has worshiped for their talents and eloquence will now see these things in their true light. They will realize what they have forfeited by transgression.

Very soon the people will see that they have been deluded. They will accuse one another of having led them to destruction; but all will unite in heaping their bitterest condemnation upon the ministers. Unfaithful pastors have prophesied smooth things; they have led their hearers to make void the law of God and to persecute those who would keep it holy. Then, in their despair, these teachers will confess before the world their work of deception. The multitudes will be filled with fury. "We are lost!" they cry, "and you are the cause of our ruin;" and they will turn upon the false shepherds. The very ones that once admired them most will pronounce the most dreadful curses upon them. The very hands that once crowned them with laurels will be raised for their destruction. The swords which were to slay God's people will be employed to destroy their enemies. Everywhere there will be strife and bloodshed. 
 
"A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, He will plead with all flesh; He will give them that are wicked to the sword." Jeremiah 25:31. For six thousand years the great controversy has been in progress; the Son of God and His heavenly messengers have been in conflict with the power of the evil one, to warn, enlighten, and save the children of men. Soon, very soon, all will have made their decisions; the wicked will have fully united with Satan in his warfare against God. The time will soon come for God to vindicate the authority of His downtrodden law. The controversy is not alone with Satan, but with men. "The Lord hath a controversy with the nations;" "He will give them that are wicked to the sword."

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Vicki

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #106 on: July 19, 2011, 09:20:24 AM »
That is difficult to read. I wanted to place my hands over my face and cry, "Woe, woe!" for these lost souls who are turning their back on the truth so as not to offend anyone. Yet by doing so the offenses abound! These are our friends, relatives, neighbors! Yet they allow ministers and others to deceive them by not studying for themselves. Lord, open their eyes before it is forever too late! He calls but many refuse to hear. Woe!   :'(

Richard Myers

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #107 on: July 19, 2011, 09:33:33 AM »
It is a sad truth to contemplate, but we must not turn our eyes from the reality. Today, many are in the "valley of decision".  Today, all may turn to Christ with the whole heart.  The message for the churches today is very pointed and very easy to understand. None need err, if only they will stop and pray about it.

Revelation
  3:14   And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 
  3:15   I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 
  3:16   So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 
  3:17   Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 
  3:18   I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 
  3:19   As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 
  3:20   Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 
  3:21   To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 
  3:22   He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 
 


All need to study for themselves in the light of this message from Christ. It is applicable to the churches today. The truth is poured forth both for condemnation and for encouragement. Millions have been deceived and promised life when there is no life while sinning. The wages of sin is death. All sin, not just the great sins.  To those who know to do good and doeth it not, to them it is sin.  Unless there is true heartfelt repentance, there is no salvation.  Life is in Christ. If we are not abiding in Christ and He in us, then there is no life in us.  Temporal life, but not eternal life. It only comes with Jesus. 

The message to the false teachers is clear. It is much needed today that all may understand what is going to happen very soon. It is not a pretty picture. There is no eternal torment, but it will seem like an eternity for those who have misled so many.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Mimi

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #108 on: July 19, 2011, 10:50:07 AM »
I was reading about it yesterday and here our brother posted it today. It is a horrible scene!
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Richard Myers

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #109 on: July 28, 2011, 06:51:59 AM »
Law, the Reality of Life

"But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."  1 Corinthians 9:27 


If one throws a rock into the air, he ought not stand underneath it. It will come down. If one removes the air filter from his car, drives on a gravel road for months, the engine will suffer. There is a close relation between the moral law and the laws that God has established in the physical world. If men would be obedient to the law of God, carrying out in their lives the principles of its ten precepts, the principles of righteousness that it teaches would be a safeguard against wrong habits. But as, through the indulgence of perverted appetite, they have declined in virtue, so they have become weakened through their own immoral practices and their violation of physical laws. The suffering and anguish that we see everywhere, the deformity and disease now flooding the world, need not be, if God's moral law and the physical laws of our being were obeyed. By his own persistent violation of these laws, man has greatly aggravated the evils resulting from the transgression in Eden. How dishonoring to God is all this! How opposed to His design that men should glorify Him in their body and spirit, which are His! How destructive, too, to the health and happiness of mankind!

Against every transgression of the laws of life, nature utters her protest. She bears abuse as long as she can; but finally retribution comes, and the mental as well as the physical powers suffer. Nor does the punishment fall on the transgressor alone; the effects of his indulgence are seen in his offspring, and thus the evil is passed on from generation to generation.

Many complain of providence when their friends suffer, or are removed by death; but it is not in the order of God that men and women should lead lives of suffering, and die prematurely, leaving their work unfinished. God would have us live out the full measure of our days, with every organ in health, doing its appointed work. It is unjust to charge Him with a result which, in many cases, is due to the individual's own transgression of natural law.

Because mankind have, by the transgression of these laws, departed so far from God's purpose in their creation, and have brought upon themselves such untold woe, a reform in habits relating to health has become an important branch of the great work of God in the earth. The soul temple has been polluted, and men are called upon to awake, and win back their God-given manhood.

There is an intimate relation between the mind and the body; they react upon each other. In order, then, to reach a high standard of moral and intellectual attainment and to secure a strong, well-balanced character, the laws that control our physical being must be heeded; both the mental and the physical powers must be developed. Such a training will produce men of strength and solidity of character, of keen perception and sound judgment,--men who will be an honor to God and a blessing to the world.

In the providence of God, the laws that govern our physical being, with the penalties for their violation, have been made so clear that intelligent beings can understand them, and all are under the most solemn obligation to study this subject, and to live in harmony with natural law. Health principles must be agitated, and the public mind deeply stirred to investigation.

As in everything else, the Bible is the standard on this subject. The teaching of the Bible has a vital bearing upon men's prosperity in all the relations of life. Compliance with its requirements will be a blessing to both soul and body. When we make a full surrender to Christ, He sits on the throne of the heart. The Holy Spirit indwells sinful man and gives power to the mind to control the flesh. It is kept under, as the Apostle Paul tells us.  We are partakers of the divine nature and  manifest all of the fruits of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is not only love, joy, and peace, but temperance also, which is self-control. It is God's desire that we possess health of body as well as health of mind.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #110 on: August 08, 2011, 09:00:50 AM »
Fear God and Give Glory to Him!

"Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." Revelation 22:12 


We have been looking with joyful expectation for the soon coming of our Lord in the clouds of heaven. We have not dared to be among those who say, even in their hearts, "My Lord delayeth his coming;" for upon such, a fearful woe is pronounced. Enoch walked with God, and held communion with him, and God instructed his servant in regard to the second advent of our Lord. Says the inspired word, "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." The doctrine of Christ's coming was made known at this early date, to the man who walked with God in continual communion. The godly character of this prophet is to represent the state of holiness to which the people of God must attain, who expect to be translated to heaven.  How few understand!
 
The doctrine of the coming of Jesus was to have a marked effect and influence upon the lives and characters of men, and one of the great teachers, one of the purest examples among men, proclaimed it to the inhabitants of the old world, prior to the flood, and prior to his own translation to heaven. This great event,--the advent of our Lord in all the glory of heaven,--must be brought to the attention of men, and all should live with reference to this, the day of God that is soon to dawn upon us. The expectation of Christ's coming was to make men fear the Lord, and fear his judgments upon the transgressors of his law. It was to awaken them to a realization of the great sin of rejecting the offers of his mercy. 

We are on the verge of the eternal world. The judgments of God are already begun to fall upon the inhabitants of the land. God sends these judgments to bring men and women to their senses. He has a purpose in everything that He permits to take place in our world, and He desires us to be so spiritually-minded that we shall be able to perceive His work in the events so unusual in the past, but now of almost daily occurrence. 

We have before us a great work, the closing work of giving God's last warning message to a sinful world. But what have we done to give this message? Look at the many, many places that have never yet been even entered. Look at our workers treading over and over the same ground, while around them is a neglected world, lying in wickedness and corruption,--a world as yet unwarned. San Francisco would have long ago seen devastation, except the warning message has not yet been fully given to them.

We may filled with hope, courage, and joy as we contemplate the things which God has prepared for us that love him. "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming, for ye are our glory and joy"? "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are the children of the light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet the hope of salvation." "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."

Almost two thousand years have passed since John heard this great truth, and the Lord has not yet come to reign. But shall we give up looking for his appearance? Shall we say, "My Lord delayeth his coming"? See how the specifications of the prophecies have been and are fulfilling right before our very eyes. Let us lift up our heads and rejoice; for our redemption draweth nigh. It is nearer than when we first believed. Shall we not wait patiently, filled with courage and faith? Shall we not make ready a people, to stand in the day of final judgment? Let us go forth proclaiming
  "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." Revelation 14:7  
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #111 on: August 08, 2011, 09:30:41 AM »
Amen! Yes, to stand as did Enoch amidst wickedness second only to that which we see around us today. Notice what enabled him to stand. He took periods of solitary rest, communing with God. That gave him strength to go back among the people and give the warning. His example was given to us for a time such as this.

Quote
Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
... said the man who walked with God in continual communion. We will not obtain such boldness without the experience of Enoch. 
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Richard Myers

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #112 on: August 08, 2011, 11:05:32 AM »
It is past time for the sleeping church to awaken to her opportunities and responsibilities. To us is granted the privilege of hastening the soon coming of Jesus!
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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #113 on: August 18, 2011, 03:14:05 PM »
Unity in Doctrine and Spirit

"that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." Ephesians 3:19


After the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the Jews, the priests, and the rulers of this world expected to see the disciples of Christ cast down and discouraged, because their Lord had been put to death. The disciples might have reasoned that they were in danger, and that they would better go out of Jerusalem; some might have said, "Do not stay there, but if you do stay, do not mention the name of Christ; for he is regarded as an impostor." But Christ had said, "Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye are endued with power from on high." After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they were to begin their work in Jerusalem, and let it extend from this city to the uttermost parts of the earth. Did any one lose his life in exalting Jesus before the people? Was any one killed?--Yes, Stephen was killed. Their enemies expected that terror would come upon the disciples, and that they would be afraid to speak the message of God. But hear what Peter says: "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by wonders and miracles and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you as ye yourselves also know: him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it." 

God wants his witnesses to present the genuine in contrast to that which is false. There were many converted under Peter's preaching, and it greatly disturbed the people; and as they spake to the people, the Sadducees came upon them. The disciples remembered the falsehood which these great, and supposedly good men had so zealously circulated,--that the disciples had stolen him away by night while the Roman guard slept. Can you be surprised that the Sadducees were grieved because those who believed, preached the resurrection of the man they had murdered, when the number of those who believed was about five thousand? The seed that Christ had been sowing while he was on earth, sprang up. Many were waiting for this God-given testimony to come from the disciples in reference to Christ and his resurrection, and they believed when they heard it; for it revived the testimony they had heard from the lips of Jesus, and they took their stand in the ranks of those who believed the gospel of Christ.

We have on record another testimony that proves the boldness of the disciples. When Peter and John had bidden the paralytic arise in the name of Jesus, and he had been healed, the people were amazed; and the Scripture says, "And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you: and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name, through faith in his name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know; yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled." 

"And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, and Annas the high-priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high-priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, if we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole." The disciples were not afraid to proclaim the truth. They expected that they would be persecuted. "Whom ye crucified." Why did they not keep that back?--Because it was a testimony that they were to bear before the great men of the earth. "This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." Then they asked in this council, "What shall we do to these men?" I expect that this question will be asked many times in reference to those who keep the commandments of  God in these days of peril as time is about to close. The priests acknowledged that a notable miracle had been wrought, but they said, "That it spread no further among the people, let us straightly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people; for all men glorified God, for that which was done. For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was showed. And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is." They said, "Lord, thou art God," and we shall have to say the same thing. 

When the authorities come between us and God, we shall receive help if we only trust in him as did the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, and with them we shall be able to say, "Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is." But while we trust in God, no one should be presumptuous; and that we may not take an unwise course, we should pray constantly. We should not rush into danger unless God sends us there; nor should we call our brethren cowards because they are cautious in their plans that they may not unnecessarily provoke the rulers and powers of the earth. What was the strength of those who in the past have suffered imprisonment and death for Christ's sake?--It was union with God, union with the Holy Spirit, union with Christ. They had fellowship with God and with his Son, and the multitude that believed were of one mind and one soul. We may safely seek to be of one accord in doctrine and spirit, and if this were done, we would be in harmony with God's will. If selfishness and pride and vanity and evil surmising were put away, we would become strong in God, and the door of our heart would be open for the entrance of Christ; the baptism of the Holy Ghost would fall upon us, and we should be filled with all the fullness of God. Then we should know what is the length and depth and breadth and height of the love of God which passeth knowledge,--we should know something of the mystery of godliness. We would be able to speak, as did Peter and John, of the things which we had seen and heard. What we need is a living experience in the things of God. We need the transforming grace of Christ to bring into subjection every thought of the mind, every power of the intellect. The physical, mental, and spiritual powers should be under the control of the God of heaven who gives us life, who gives us food, who gives us every blessing. He is the God of Israel, therefore we will accept him, and him alone will we serve.   
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #114 on: August 30, 2011, 08:58:49 PM »
Faith That Truly Believes in The Word of God

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, ." Romans 8:28   


The fact that we are called upon to endure trial shows that the Lord Jesus sees in us something precious which He desires to develop. If He saw in us nothing whereby He might glorify His name, He would not spend time in refining us. He does not cast worthless stones into His furnace. It is valuable ore that He refines. 

God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him. 
 
All that has perplexed us in the providences of God will in the world to come be made plain. The things hard to be understood will then find explanation. The mysteries of grace will unfold before us. Where our finite minds discovered only confusion and broken promises, we shall see the most perfect and beautiful harmony. We shall know that infinite love ordered the experiences that seemed most trying. 

He who is imbued with the Spirit of Christ abides in Christ. The blow that is aimed at him falls upon the Saviour, who surrounds him with His presence. Whatever comes to him comes from Christ. He has no need to resist evil, for Christ is his defense. Nothing can touch him except by our Lord's permission, and "all things" that are permitted "work together for good to them that love God."

Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service of God supreme, will find perplexities vanish and a plain path before their feet.  As a little child, trust to the guidance of Him who will "keep the feet of his saints." 1 Samuel 2:9.  As we commit our ways to Him, He will direct our steps.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #115 on: August 31, 2011, 05:28:15 AM »
Amen! Priceless counsel.
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Richard Myers

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #116 on: September 04, 2011, 07:56:08 AM »
Simple Trust

""By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; . . . for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." Hebrews 11:5.   


When we learn to walk by faith and not by feeling, we shall have help from God just when we need it, and His peace will come into our hearts. It was this simple life of obedience and trust that Enoch lived. If we learn this lesson of simple trust, ours may be the testimony that he received, that he pleased God.  In every phase of our character building we are to please God. This we may do; for Enoch pleased Him though living in a degenerate age. And there are Enochs in this our day. 
 
For three hundred years Enoch had been seeking purity of heart, that he might be in harmony with heaven. For three centuries he had walked with God. Day by day he had longed for a closer union; nearer and nearer had grown the communion, until God took him to Himself. He had stood at the threshold of the eternal world, only a step between him and the land of the blest; and now the portals opened, the walk with God, so long pursued on earth, continued, and he passed through the gates of the holy city,--the first from among men to enter there. 
 
With the word of God in his hands, every human being, wherever his lot in life may be cast, may have such companionship as he shall choose. In its pages he may hold converse with the noblest and best of the human race, and may listen to the voice of the Eternal as He speaks with men.  He may dwell in this world in the atmosphere of heaven, imparting to earth's sorrowing and tempted ones thoughts of hope and longings for holiness;  like him of old who walked with God, drawing nearer and nearer the threshold of the eternal world, until the portals shall open, and he shall enter there. He will find himself no stranger. The voices that will greet him are the voices of the holy ones, who, unseen, were on earth his companions--voices that here he learned to distinguish and to love. He who through the word of God has lived in fellowship with heaven, will find himself at home in heaven's companionship.     

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #117 on: September 16, 2011, 10:03:14 AM »
Faith and Works

"By grace are ye saved through faith." Ephesians 2:8


"By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Since we can be saved only through the grace of God, which is a free gift, why is it that man will to his own hurt, lift himself up in pride and take glory to himself for his supposed good works? The divine favor, the grace of God bestowed upon us through Jesus Christ, is too precious to be given in exchange for any supposed meritorious work on the part of finite, erring man. Man has nothing in himself. The most exalted does not originate from man, but is the endowment of his Creator, and can purchase nothing from God. Gold and silver cannot buy the favor of God; for the wealth of the world is the intrusted talent of the Lord. Let no one think that costly offerings to benevolent enterprises will elevate him in the sight of God, or purchase for him the favor of Heaven, or procure for him a place in the mansions which Jesus has gone to prepare for those who love him. The precious blood of Christ is wholly efficacious. "Ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." "Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price."     

The sinner's only hope is to rely wholly upon Jesus Christ. "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Our acceptance with God is sure only through his beloved Son, and good works are but the result of the working of his sin-pardoning love. They are no credit to us, and we have nothing accorded to us for our good works by which we may claim a part in the salvation of our souls. Salvation is God's free gift to the believer, given to him for Christ's sake alone. The troubled soul may find peace through faith in Christ, and his peace will be in proportion to his faith and trust. He cannot present his good works as a plea for the salvation of his soul.

From the testimony of Christ we can see that we are regarded by the Lord according to the kind of fruit we bring forth, the kind of works we perform; for they are an index of the way in which we regard Christ. "If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings; and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." These were Christ's words during the last interviews he had with his disciples before his death. The fruits of the life testify to the state of the heart. Jesus said, "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever." "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." 

Christians are to be the representatives of Jesus Christ; they are not to be pretenders. Shall the world form its conceptions of God by the course of those who only take the name of Christ, and do not his works? Shall they point to those who claim to be believers, but who are not believers at heart, who betray sacred trusts, and work the works of the enemy, and say, "O these are Christians, and they will cheat and lie, and they cannot be trusted"? These are not the ones who truly represent God. But God will not leave the world to be deceived. The Lord has a peculiar people on the earth, and he is not ashamed to call them brethren; for they do the works of Christ. They make it manifest that they love God, because they keep his commandments. They bear the divine image. They are a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men. They co-operate with heavenly intelligences, and the Lord is most honored and glorified by those who do the most good works.

True piety of heart is made manifest by good words and good works, and men see the works of those who love God, and they are led thereby to glorify God. The true Christian abounds in good works; he brings forth much fruit. He feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, visits the sick, and ministers to the afflicted. Christians take a heart-felt interest in the children that are about them, who, through the subtle temptations of the enemy, are ready to perish. Fathers and mothers, if you have guarded your own children from the wiles of the foe, look about you to save the souls of the children who have not such care. Have an interest in the souls of those for whom Christ died. There are youth all around us to whom the members of the church owe a duty; for Christ has died for them upon the cross of Calvary to purchase for them the gift of salvation. They are precious in the sight of God, and he desires their eternal happiness. The saving work of Christ is complete only when the members of the church do their part, arising and shining because their light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon them. Christ calls for voluntary co-operation on the part of his agents in doing earnest, consistent work for the salvation of souls.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #118 on: September 23, 2011, 12:45:05 PM »
Martin Luther

The Bible and the Bible Only


With his mind stayed upon God, Luther prepared for the struggle before him. He thought upon the plan of his answer, examined passages in his own writings, and drew from the Holy Scriptures suitable proofs to sustain his positions. Then, laying his left hand on the Sacred Volume, which was open before him, he lifted his right hand to heaven and vowed "to remain faithful to the gospel, and freely to confess his faith, even should he seal his testimony with his blood."
 
When he was again ushered into the presence of the Diet, his countenance bore no trace of fear or embarrassment. Calm and peaceful, yet grandly brave and noble, he stood as God's witness among the great ones of the earth. The imperial officer now demanded his decision as to whether he desired to retract his doctrines. Luther made his answer in a subdued and humble tone, without violence or passion. His demeanor was diffident and respectful; yet he manifested a confidence and joy that surprised the assembly.

"Most serene emperor, illustrious princes, gracious lords," said Luther, "I appear before you this day, in conformity with the order given me yesterday, and by God's mercies I conjure your majesty and your august highnesses to listen graciously to the defense of a cause which I am assured is just and true. If, through ignorance, I should transgress the usages and proprieties of courts, I entreat you to pardon me; for I was not brought up in the palaces of kings, but in the seclusion of a convent."

Then, proceeding to the question, he stated that his published works were not all of the same character. In some he had treated of faith and good works, and even his enemies declared them not only harmless but profitable. To retract these would be to condemn truths which all parties confessed. The second class consisted of writings exposing the corruptions and abuses of the papacy. To revoke these works would strengthen the tyranny of Rome and open a wider door to many and great impieties. In the third class of his books he had attacked individuals who had defended existing evils. Concerning these he freely confessed that he had been more violent than was becoming. He did not claim to be free from fault; but even these books he could not revoke, for such a course would embolden the enemies of truth, and they would then take occasion to crush God's people with still greater cruelty.
 
"Yet I am but a mere man, and not God," he continued; "I shall therefore defend myself as Christ did: 'If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil.' . . . By the mercy of God, I conjure you, most serene emperor, and you, most illustrious princes, and all men of every degree, to prove from the writings of the prophets and apostles that I have erred. As soon as I am convinced of this, I will retract every error, and be the first to lay hold of my books and throw them into the fire. 

"What I have just said plainly shows, I hope, that I have carefully weighed and considered the dangers to which I expose myself; but far from being dismayed, I rejoice to see that the gospel is now, as in former times, a cause of trouble and dissension. This is the character, this is the destiny, of the word of God. 'I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword,' said Jesus Christ. God is wonderful and terrible in His counsels; beware lest, by presuming to quench dissensions, you should persecute the holy word of God, and draw down upon yourselves a frightful deluge of insurmountable dangers, of present disasters, and eternal desolation. . . . I might quote many examples from the oracles of God. I might speak of the Pharaohs, the kings of Babylon, and those of Israel, whose labors never more effectually contributed to their own destruction than when they sought by counsels, to all appearance most wise, to strengthen their dominion. 'God removeth mountains, and they know it not.'"
 
Luther had spoken in German; he was now requested to repeat the same words in Latin. Though exhausted by the previous effort, he complied, and again delivered his speech, with the same clearness and energy as at the first. God's providence directed in this matter. The minds of many of the princes were so blinded by error and superstition that at the first delivery they did not see the force of Luther's reasoning; but the repetition enabled them to perceive clearly the points presented.

Those who stubbornly closed their eyes to the light, and determined not to be convinced of the truth, were enraged at the power of Luther's words. As he ceased speaking, the spokesman of the Diet said angrily: "You have not answered the question put to you. . . . You are required to give a clear and precise answer. . . . Will you, or will you not, retract?"

The Reformer answered: "Since your most serene majesty and your high mightinesses require from me a clear, simple, and precise answer, I will give you one, and it is this: I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the councils, because it is clear as the day that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture or by the clearest reasoning, unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the word of God, I cannot and I will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me. Amen."

Thus stood this righteous man upon the sure foundation of the word of God. The light of heaven illuminated his countenance. His greatness and purity of character, his peace and joy of heart, were manifest to all as he testified against the power of error and witnessed to the superiority of that faith that overcomes the world.   

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Mimi

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Re: A Thought For Today
« Reply #119 on: September 27, 2011, 08:45:13 AM »
"Come let us reason together" says our God. What you are looking at here is so important. Many want to disconnect "character" from religion. Character is religion. If our religion does not change our character, then what good is it? The alcoholic knows of the power of the gospel when he accepts Jesus Christ into his heart. How about the "common" sinner? Is God's grace of no avail for the "little" sins? How absurd the thought!  That grace only goes to others and is not for me and my "little" sins, is a false gospel. The truth will set us free indeed! From our "little" sins of unkindness and pride. Selfishness is sin. Christ suffered and died that we might die to self and live unto Him. Baptism is a representation of this death to self and a new birth of a new creature. That new creature does not reveal selfishness (sin). As we see this sin in us, we know that we are not connected to Christ. But, we ought not despair. Where is He? He stands at the door of the heart, knocking, wanting back in. Shall we open the door today and invite Him in? Yes! We do not want to deny Jesus His reward for all He has done for us. Reflecting His character is His reward! You and I have this power to bless our Saviour today!

A few weeks ago I prayed "that prayer" asking God to reveal to me anything in my life, the unknown sins, needing to be repented of, those things I am blind to. It was not long before a stark revelation was given. It was crystal clear. It came somewhat by surprise but not a complete surprise, for a specific instruction given as a child by a well-meaning grandmother was at its core. It took root and consequently bore fruit all these years. That was the revelation - its origins and prolonged practice. The thoroughness of the instruction was something that laid as a small thorn embedded in my mind. That, in itself, should have raised a red flag and a need to investigate. The Holy Spirit was consistently making me uncomfortable all those years.

The revelation had to do with an element of pride that I silently suspected might exist but fought against because my grandmother would never knowingly instill error. She was a Christian and as a child, I trusted her.

God was not slow to answer my prayer. He showed me it did exist! How grateful I am to have had that so clearly revealed. Now it is the object of my study. Thank you, Lord Jesus.       
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89