What Do You Know of God?

This question is posed to anyone who is ready to give an answer. Many can speak of a salvation experience; or of a spiritual awakening. Others may answer with what they believe about God. These are not what I am looking for. Neither do I ask for quotes from the Bible except as they support the experience of your daily and constant relationship with God. (Please do not answer if you think God has failed to live up to your expectations.)

10334420_851203868227504_9052069652549057749_n You are invited to submit your answers so as to aid me in a project on which I am working. My own answer to this question is not as easy as I thought it would be.

By your own words how would you convince yourself that God is real? How has God who is Spirit and the Spirit of Christ made you to know Him? How has He revealed Himself to you through the everyday working of your life?   What is the witness of Him that He has given in your heart and your personal life?
Knowing that He works within the parameters of the physical be practical in your answer, specific and concise.  Take your time to think of your best answer; not your whole life story.  We will be blessed to hear from you.  (If you are not able to answer on this blog email at f.rogers@bellsouth.net)

Dear Father, there is more than we are able to comprehend, experience, or to witness of you.  Make us to know how we should speak of you and not of ourselves.  We praise you that for all of life through the good times and the bad you are present and real to us as your children.   In meekness and fear let us give an answer to others that glorifies you.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Related Article: Salvation, Past, Present and Future

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Staying In The Ship

“Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.”   Acts 27:31
774px-The_Shipwreck_engraving_by_William_Miller_after_Turner

Paul’s last voyage was not a pleasant one. From Caesarea he was being sent to Rome as a prisoner to be tried before Caesar. The storm they encountered was causing the ship to break apart as it ran upon the rocks near the beach of Malta. Before this final running aground where the bow stuck and the stem was being broken by the surf there was an opportunity for the prisoners to escape by throwing out the anchor and letting down the lifeboat. This could have been Paul’s chance to avoid being carried to Rome. But, he knew that what was happening was within the realm of God’s plans for him.

The following night, after Paul had been arrested, “the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.” Acts 23:11

Then, during the storm Paul stands to encourage all who are in the ship, “Take heart for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, Do not be afraid Paul, your must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you. So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island.” Acts 27:22-26

Paul trusted God’s plan for him; he trusted His Word; and he was obedient to the will of God. His was the example of the obedience of faith that he preached through the gospel to the Roman Christians.

God’s plans for us may be that we go through the storms and waves of this world. The relationship we are in may break up and seemingly all hope is lost, but in faith we must stay in the ship. Our relationship with God may encounter upheavals; our fellowship with other believers may run aground, but we are called to obedience to stay in the ship and endure through the entire course, even if that means that we are heading toward the final end of this life. Paul endured his last voyage with other prisoners and soldiers; undoubtedly they were non-believers, not knowing the promises or power of God to save His people. Paul is the example for us, even in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation to shine as lights in the darkness.

Cutting Away the Lifeboat

“Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.”  Acts 27:32

God is able: and He promises in His Word never to leave us, nor forsake us. At times He may have to cut away the ropes of anything that might help us to abandon ship. His church is that great ship that has often been run aground, but He has not forsaken her. Many leave the ship, and often have a difficult time finding it again.

Marriage and family are ships that have to bear the storms, many find these relationships on the rocks; but when we rely on God promises, His presence and power as Paul did, we will experience His working through the upheavals to restore these ships, sometimes to better relationships than they were before.

We may be the only one with faith, courage, and perseverance to stay with the ship, knowing the God to whom we belong and worship. We may be the only light that God chooses to save a whole family from darkness and disaster. This is a reality that is accepted with humility, not pride. It can be a heavy burden for us, but in time it will produce the joy that He intends for us. Wherever we are is where God places us; to testify of Him.


Sheet Music: Be Still My Soul
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Crying Out Loud

imagesHow often have you as an adult wanted to cry aloud, but could not? Either you were too reserved, too prideful, or not desperate enough. At a certain time in our lives we pass the stage of childhood and forget what it was like to cry. We don’t know how to cry, nor to whom.

What good does crying do? Nobody wants to hear it, not on this earth anyway. It is not the proper thing for a sane person to do. If this is your thinking I pray that you will reconsider what it means to be a child of God. He knows our needs, our weaknesses, our failures, and our helplessness. He has saved us in Christ and brought us to Himself to hear from us ~ not just our praises, but also our cries.

A baby doesn’t know why he is crying. A child of God doesn’t always know why he needs to cry. We find much weeping, as well as joy, in God’s Word. This wilderness is not the happiest place in the universe; and He expects us to cry to Him in times of distress.

 “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed:
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Psalm 61:2

We should not cry all the time; but in those times when we are overwhelmed He wants to hear from us. His heart is moved, and His Spirit responds to our needs, even when we don’t know what we need. He is able to lead us out of the temptation and danger.

“Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him:
God is a refuge for us.”
Psalm 62:8

When we hold everything inside, or when we turn to some other source, we will not receive what He has prepared for us. Crying and calling to Him are proofs that we trust Him in all our circumstances. More than this, it is during these times of dire need that He reveals more of Himself and His blessings to us. It is through these times that He brings us to know His joy.

0002z5Heavenly Father, draw us to you today.  Enable us to open our hearts to you, to cry to you, and receive what you have for us as your children.  Turn our weeping to joy as you hold us and feed us with the truth of your word.  In Jesus’ name I pray.   Amen.

SELF-DESTRUCTION ~ Part 3

LIFE in Christ for those Left Behind

To the family, parents, and friends I-Will-Come-to-You-by-StudioJRUof one who has committed this final act I want to share God’s comfort.  Such a death can bring grief that is sometimes greater than what is experienced in losing someone by natural means.  Telling you that you are not alone will not help to make this easier for you.  While there are many other families and friends who have experienced this same kind of loss this does not alleviate your suffering.  It is a personal loss as is any loss; as if it has happened for the first time.  God has given each of us a heart that feels and experiences the joys and sorrows of this life.  For some, like your loved one, sorrow may have been all that they knew.  Or perhaps, though a happy child, as far as you knew, he or she had influences in their life that you did not know about.  One such turn of events can trigger a direction that they cannot comprehend or overcome.  (We speak later of this to those whose children have tried unsuccessfully to end their life.)

If you are a Christian, a believer in Jesus Christ, I have already addressed your position in part 1 of this article.  The same Spirit of Christ that has saved you is the one who will speak to your heart through your loss.  He is the one who will bring you through this tragedy to overcome your grief.

Overcoming Guilt
Christ is the same shepherd and provider who will bring you past any guilt that you may have. The parents of suicide victims often ask, “Why did I not know what was going on with my son or daughter?”
“Why did I not see the signs?”
Or if you did see signs, and didn’t know what to do, you may still have to live with this for a while.  I say for a while, because whatever you are dealing with is part of your relationship with the Lord God, your heavenly Father; and He will enable you to overcome to the point of ministering in His name through this tragedy.

The actions of those who take their own life affect the lives of those they leave behind.  Their thinking can poison your thinking.  Satan can use the death of others to damage our own lives; to distract and take our eyes off God’s plan and goal for us.
With so many deaths recently, either by suicide or cancer, my focus on God and my other writings have been threatened; and these were not personal family or friends.

Lee felt badly when she heard about her friend; she had planned to call and get together with her last week, but had not been able to.  I felt guilt from what I thought I could have done for our neighbor’s son.

In all my thinking and praying I realized that we are not God, and we are not responsible for what others do to themselves or to us.  Even when we have done all we can, some cannot be reached so as to stop their torment and desperation.

It is important to remember that even when we cannot see His plan God is working in and through every circumstance in the lives of His children and in the whole world, all to His own glory.  We will have to wait until that time in glory with Him to understand how all this works; but then when we see Him face to face, all these matters will fade into the background of His glory.
Again, I point to the need of keeping our focus on God, our heavenly Father, who through Christ will restore balance and order in our lives as He takes us through the grieving process.

restore to me the joy

 Reconciliation and Renewal
This is also a time of reconciliation and restoration in your relationship with your heavenly Father; a time of renewal in the LIFE of Christ.  You may have been lax in your time with Him.  Let Him restore you through meditation in His word, in prayer, and in intercession for others who have lost a loved one.  Sometimes the best way to get through the grieving process is to realize that there are others who are grieving, even other family members and friends of your own child or spouse.

Getting through grief is not meant to be in a hurry, but gradually, with your goal of overcoming in mind, and eventually in sight, you walk hand in hand with the Lord as He brings you through. (See Grace for Grief and The Path of Grief)

Praising During the Grief
Praise is due to God at all times, but not natural during the grieving process.  It is a supernatural trait of God’s children to be able to praise Him in the middle of crisis.
It is, however, his will for us, as we continue to trust Him in all things.  It is in response, not to the tragedy, but to His love, presence and power with us during, and afterward.
Whatever man does or doesn’t do, God is still sovereign.  He is still God, and His word does not change because of the events in this life.  It is His truth that enables us to go on, when otherwise we would be where our loved ones were when they opted out.  Remember, it is the gift of God’s grace that has given us the faith to overcome.
We cannot lose our faith, but it always tested; and we can expect this gift of faith to be strengthened during such times as these.

Again, I use God’s words to Jeremiah for all times.  Expect and trust that through the darkest times in your life He waits to be gracious to you.

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”  Jeremiah 33:3


You are God’s Witness
in Your Loss
As one who has LIFE in Christ you have a hope that your loved one did not haveSatan cannot take this away from you.  Your heavenly Father wants to show through you who He is, and what He does in times like these.  Draw near to Him.  He is the God of all comfort, love, joy, and peace; so that you, in time, will be able to comfort others.

You may be God’s servant and witness, ready and able to help that one who may be seeking Christ in his or her desperation.  As your own faith is strengthened through your  tragedy you may be the one whom God has prepared to lead them to Christ and LIFE.


For Those Who Have Been Threatened
Since beginning this article I have been reminded that all attempts at suicide are not successful.  What does a parent or spouse do in response to their child or spouse who has tried to kill him/herself?  This depends on what you have experienced in your relationship with them before this happened?  Is there a pattern?
Has your child or spouse been rebellious, unhappy, miserable and critical in their relationship with others and their circumstances?   Are they selfish in their nature toward you and others?  Are they vindictive?  Have they threatened in other ways?
If this is their normal way of life the attempt could be a means of keeping you under their control, of threatening your own state of mind and health.

We don’t like to think that others have had a greater influence over our children than we have; but we must remember that the antithesis began in the Garden.  Satan, in rebellion stole the hearts of our first parents, God’s children.  He is still working today in the sinful nature of man, by a supernatural power, in the minds and hearts of those who have yet to be born of the supernatural Spirit of Christ.  Even we who are in Christ cannot escape a culture that supports all these influences.  We must be on guard for our children and ourselves in the spiritual warfare that we face daily.

The Influences
When we release our children into the world everyday for fifteen or more years their lives are going to be conformed to what they see and hear.  We have no idea what they are taking in from the process of public education, the media or personal relationships.  Our only defense for our children is spoken of in Deuteronomy 6:5-9 and Ephesians 6:1-4.  Even in obedience to these we may not realize the temptations that overtake our children.

Sometimes it seems that the very airwaves are filled with the enemy’s sights and sounds.  The music that is promoted and rings through our atmosphere permeates the sensitive minds and spirits of our children.  Even the music that has lyrics pertaining to God coincides with the music of the world.  We’re not always alert and aware of the words.  The music itself connects with our spirit; and we do not know the power of it.  If you try to take it away you will see how much influence it has.  Our children are brought up with it and will die with it if their hearts are not changed.  Most of the literature, the music, the games, the videos, and the movies out there promote death.  The occult is gradually becoming very popular.  Even the subtlety of it is bringing many children into it; and what does it promote but death?
If they have been on drugs they are susceptible to mood changes; and many are unable to think rationally.

If we know God’s word; if we know the truth; we know that Satan waits to devour our children and us.  He is the god of the world and works to destroy all that God has created for His own.  We also know that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.  His death was not in vain.  The new heart that we receive through His suffering and sacrifice gives the new LIFE to us with the power of His Spirit for the things of God.

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
 For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.   (Colossians 3:1-4)

Love and Support
You must do all that you can to show your love and support; but eventually, you may need to seek help for your child.  You must give your loved one up to the Lord; seeking His wisdom and grace.  You must, in Christ, maintain your own strength; and by your own peace and joy let your child or spouse know that they cannot take away from you what Christ has given.  You can pray for them and with them to know the love of Christ; but if they continue in this desire to end it all you will not be able to stop them.  You will experience grief, but you will not need to carry a weight of guilt. 

You may wonder what you could have done differently with your child or spouse, but at a certain stage you have to let go, believing that you have done the best that you could.  If you have regrets, confess these to the Lord, ask forgiveness, and rest in His grace to continue on; looking always in the future for His wisdom and guidance in your life; and the ability to help them whenever you can.

Reactions to Major Disappointments
If they have never shown any of the above signs, but have had a major disappointment in their life, their attempt may just be a sign that they need extra help to get them through this time.  They will need your special attention; to be assured of your love and encouragement.  Spend time in prayer and devotions with them.  You will not always be with your children during the difficult times in their lives, but this will be an example of how they will personally deal with them and get through them in the future.  As we spoke in the first part of this article about being alone and depressed, you can be aware of these times, engaging your child or spouse in conversation or activity.  Be a sounding board, if that is what they need.  Be aware of their withdrawal and separation from you and the rest of the family.  Follow up with whatever means you have.

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Have they been grounded in the truth of God’s word? Are you?  This may be the time that you can be united in Christ through a joint search for His truths.  A daily time in God’s word, for study, meditation and prayer is needful for a foundation that cannot be shaken in crisis.  Memorization is important, too.  The truths of God’s word written on the mind, and hidden in the heart, are the power and authority that speak when we need faith, assurance and deliverance.

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
 
Psalm 119:11

My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!
Psalm 119:25

I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life.
Psalm 119:93

Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.
Psalm 119:165

To Loved Ones Without Christ
I would say the same thing to you that I said to someone who is desperate and considering suicide.  There is comfort for you, too, in Christ.  According to His word, He does not operate apart from His Son, Jesus Christ.  He has given everything that we need that we may know Him, and receive all the blessings that He has prepared for those that love Him. 

I pray that as read this you may consider what I have written in this entire article, concerning LIFE, true LIFE in Christ.

The Bible teaches that all things were created by and through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the second person of the Godhead.  Colossians 1 says that all things were made through Him; that all things consist in Him; and that in Him God chose that all His fullness should dwell.  In John 1 we read that of His fullness we all receive grace for grace.  In Ephesians 1 the church is His body, the fullness of Him, who fills all in all.

Ephesians 1:11 says that in God’s timing He will bring everything on this earth to an end; to a gathering of all His people in Christ, where all believers will live and reign with Him forever in His kingdom.  In all this we see that God has made Christ the beginning, the center, and the end of all things.  All true life, from the beginning to the end, is dependent on Christ.  God makes this clear to those who read and believe and submit to His truth of Christ.  The Holy Spirit supernaturally gives a new heart so that we can believe; and by His own goodness to turn us in faith and repentance to Him.  He leads us to seek His will for us through His word, The Holy Bible, to have communion and fellowship with Him and Christ through prayer, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper with fellow believers in a local church.

Through this tragedy in your life God may be drawing you to Himself.  As He has said throughout the ages to all believers, “This is my Son, Hear Him.”

“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
1
John 5:10-12

Again, I pray for all who read this, that God may speak to your heart, and give you His peace that passes understanding, that keeps our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

And I know that his commandment is life everlasting:
John 12:50

I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly
.

John 10:10

 Dear heavenly Father, we end this article in praise to You for creating us in Your image.  Having fallen short of the standard and the mark that you had set for us You came in the form of man to redeem us, and reconcile us to Yourself.  Looking back over so many years I can see the paths that you have brought me through by Your own grace.  Had it not been for Your presence, Your power, Your protection; Your provisions for LIFE in Christ I would not be here today.  But in Your plans; through Your love, You now hear my prayer for those who read my witness of You, Your Son, Jesus Christ, and Your Holy Spirit.  Hear our prayer, dear Lord, and save these who are in the snare of the devil.  Give them a new heart and a new spirit  ~ new LIFE in Christ ~ for living in this wilderness until You call them home.
Please hear the cries of these loved ones and walk through this valley with them; by Your light and Holy Spirit bring them out; so as to witness and minister to others in need.
To You be glory, and honor and power.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Grace for Grief
The Path of Grief
The Spirit and Heart of God’s Grace
SELF DESTRUCTION ~ Part 2
SELF DESTRUCTION ~ The Wrong Choice

Life in Death

Beautiful-ButterflySleep did not come easily last night.  My flesh was warring against my spirit.  My joy and peace had been disturbed by yesterday’s activities.  This old soul is no longer able to handle a lot of stimuli; and last night brought to mind many things, good and bad.

It was Emma’s birthday.  The youngest of our six grandchildren, she turned to a beautiful eleven years.  Since we had overslept the morning hour when we usually call I had to keep reminding myself that we still needed to wish her a happy birthday.  Later when we called she had not gotten home from school.

Lee returned my call after work to talk about celebrating on Saturday.  The conversation turned to the latest report from Brad’s uncle Mike, concerning his wife, Brad’s aunt, Zoe, who is dying of cancer.  Her family and friends were talking  about Mike’s Facebook posting about the ordeal they have been going through.  While he has always been private about his personal life he is now speaking freely about things that perhaps Zoe should read.  He speaks so well of her and her Christian faith since he knew her at the age of fourteen.

Jerry has a Facebook account that he never uses, but whenever there is something that we need to know we have access.   As I read I was impressed by Mike’s writings, and, at the same time, my thoughts of losing my family members were beginning to recycle.

During the evening we tried two other times to reach Emma; and it wasn’t until later, after Jerry had gone to bed, that Lee called us from Zaxby’s.  Sadness turned to joy again as we sang “Happy Birthday” and talked to Emma.

As I lay down to sleep my thoughts of Zoe and Emma intermingled ~ thoughts of the older and the younger; thoughts of death and life.

Zoe celebrated her 62nd birthday in January.  Two months later Emma is celebrating her eleventh.  As I have thought about these two girls I remember Zoe from her own witness of life in Christ.  I had never known anyone with this name; and as names have fascinated me I looked up the meaning of Zoe when I first met her.

“Zoe means “life” in Greek. From early times it was adopted by Hellenized Jews as a translation of Eve. It was borne by two early Christian saints, one martyred under emperor Hadrian, the other martyred under Diocletian. The name was common in the Byzantine Empire, being borne by a ruling empress of the 11th century. As an English name, Zoe has only been in use since the 19th century. It has generally been more common among Eastern Christians (in various spellings).”

Because Zoe had done seminars for caregivers she was helpful to me when I knew that we would be taking care of my mother who had Alzheimer’s disease.  Then she and I were in counsel together to help Mr. Roney, a member of my church, when he needed to find help to care for his wife.
She and I both were caring for our mothers at the same time.

Zoe’s body is giving way to death.  She is not walking in the “valley of the shadow of death;” but is now experiencing the darkness of the cavern of death. Christ has lived in her as His own witness. The life of Christ within her is carrying her through to eternal life with Him.

Zoe’s life in the flesh is waning.  Emma’s life is only beginning, and we have seen the same life of Christ within her since a very young age.  She has expressed her faith verbally and through her obedience to Him; in her desire for His word, in prayer and in her relationships with others.  Like Zoe she is comfortable with speaking to others about her faith, and in putting hands and feet to her faith by helping others.
She and her sisters, with Lee, have helped Zoe with cleaning since she has been too ill to do things on her own.

Sony Camera 1st roll 010_2Emma was with us two days a week when Mother was living with us.  Even at the age of three Emma knew how to comfort Mother when she was sad.  She has a wisdom that only God could give.

When Jerry had the three surgeries on his leg, including his amputation, she was as helpful and gracious as any adult would have been.  Nothing was bothersome to her.  She always took these things in stride, even watching the wound treatment and dressings.  She, like her mother, and like Zoe, have many friends.  We all see something rare in her; a life that only God can give; life in Christ, which transcends all of death.

Christ came to overcome death with life. The enemy wanted death for us.  Through it God brings us to Him for eternity.

It is natural that death would keep us thinking about death; but the Spirit of life in Christ brings us beyond those thoughts to think of Him.

We can rejoice in Him even as we think of losing Zoe.  I will always remember her and her part in my own life; and continue to watch what He is doing in Emma and the lives of our family, our church, and within this world; for His own glory and our joy. 

God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
He that hath the Son hath life;
1 John 5:11-12


(As I was writing this Lee called.  I thought she was going to say that Zoe had died.  Instead, her news was about a worse death.  A friend and neighbor she had known since middle school had killed herself.  Because of this and two other suicides of people I knew in the last few months I will share a follow up with another article that I wrote two weeks ago entitled Self-Destruction.)

CHRIST IS PRECIOUS ~ Part 4 Octavius Winslow

In circumstances of spiritual relapse, how precious does Christ become as the Restorer of His saints, as the Shepherd that goeth in quest of His stray sheep and bringeth it back to the fold with rejoicing. How unspeakably dear is the Savior to the wandering yet restored heart! Our backslidings are perpetual and aggravated, our affections fickle and truant,* our faith fluctuating, our love waning, our zeal flagging, our walk often feeble and unsteady; but Jesus withdraws not His eye from His own work in the soul, and never for a moment loses sight of His stray-going sheep…

How precious is Christ in the season of fiery temptation! When the arch-foe comes, robed as an angel of light, with gentle tread, and oily tongue, and soft persuasiveness, seeking to ensnare and beguile the unsuspicious and unwary—leveling his darts at the very foundations of our faith—insinuating his doubts of the truth of the Bible, of the being of God, of the sufficiency of the Savior, of the reality of a future world—thus seeking to shake the confidence, obscure the hope, and destroy the comfort of the Lord’s people—oh, how precious then is Christ as the Conqueror and Spoiler of Satan; as He Who enables the trembling believer to quench the fiery dart in His own blood, and to take refuge beneath His outspread, all-sheltering wing!…He Who, alone and unaided, battled with Satan those forty days and nights in the solitary wilderness—is He Who was “in all points tempted like as we are” (Heb. 4:15) and “knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2Pe. 2:9) and will shortly bruise Satan, crushed and conquered, under your feet (Rom. 16:20).

In the hour of adversity, of trial, of sorrow, oh, how precious is Christ in the experience of the believer! It would seem, beloved, as though we had never really known Him until then. Certainly, we never knew from experience that there was so much that was human, tender, and compassionate in His heart until sorrow touched our own. We had no conception what a fount of sympathy was there. A new bend in your path, a new epoch in your history, or a new stage in your journey, has frosted with the snowflake and swept with the storm-blast of winter the entire landscape of life: fortune gone—friends removed—health failing—poverty threatening—want pressing, oh, how dreary and lonely seems the path you tread. But pause—it is not all winter! Jesus approaches! He unveils a bosom once pierced, shows a heart once sad, and drawing you within its blest pavilion, hides you from the wind and covers you from the tempest. You never thought Jesus had a heart of such exquisite tenderness until now…The creature has left a blank, but Christ has come and filled it. Reverse has made you poor, but the treasures of divine love have enriched you. In the Lord Jesus, you have more than found the loved one you have lost; and if in the world you have encountered tribulation, in Him you have found peace. O sweet sorrow! O sacred grief that enthrones and enshrines my Savior more preeminently and deeply in my soul!

There is a supremacy in the feeling of Christ’s preciousness to the believer, which is worthy of a remark. Christ has the preeminence in the affection of the regenerate. “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee” (Psa. 73:25). Listen to His own words, asserting His claim to a single and supreme affection: “He that loveth father or mother”—brother or sister, wife, or children—“more than me is not worthy of me” (Mat. 10:37). There are natural ties of affection—the parental, the conjugal, the filial; there are ties, too, of human love and friendship, linking heart to heart; but not one word does He Who inspired those affections, Who formed those ties, breathe, denying their existence or forbidding their exercise. Nay, the religion He came to inculcate distinctly recognizes these human relations, and seeks to strengthen and intensify by purifying, elevating, and immortalizing them. But mark the emphatic word employed by Christ: “more than me”!…In a word, Christ should become more supreme and precious to our hearts by all the sweet, sacred relations and affections of life…

Receive as precious everything that flows from the government of Jesus. A precious Christ can give you nothing but what is precious. Welcome the rebuke—it may be humiliating; welcome the trial—it may be painful; welcome the lesson—it may be difficult; welcome the cup—it may be bitter; welcome everything that comes from Christ in your individual history. Everything is costly, salutary, and precious that Jesus sends…The most severe disciplinary dispensations in the government of Christ are as much the fruit of His eternal, redeeming love as was the tenderest and most touching expression of that love uttered from the cross. All is precious, wise, and salutary in the dealings of Christ. His teachings, His woundings, His withholdings, His withdrawings, His slayings, His changed countenance, His altered tones—when, in a word, His uplifted hand lights heavily upon us, smiting us seven times, even then, oh, how precious should Christ be to the believing soul! Then it is we learn by experience what a balsam exudes from His pierced heart for the very wound His own hand inflicted!…Oh, precious Christ! so divine, so all-sufficient, so indescribably precious, may we not welcome with thankfulness and receive with submission all that Thou dost send…

But there is approaching a period—ah, how it speeds!—which will be the most solemn and severe, yet the sweetest and truest test of the sustaining, soothing power of Christ’s preciousness in the experience of His saints: the last sickness and the closing scene of life. Imagine that moment to have arrived. All of earth’s attraction ceases, all of creature-succor fails. Everything is failing: heart and strength failing—mental power failing—medical skill failing—human affection and sympathy failing; the film of death is on the eye, and the invisible realities of the spirit-world are unveiling to the mental view. Bending over you, the loved one who has accompanied you to the margin of the cold river asks a sign. You are too weak to conceive a thought, too low to breathe a word, too absorbed to bestow a responsive glance. You cannot now [affirm] your faith in an elaborate creed, and you have no profound experience, ecstatic emotions, or heavenly visions to describe. One brief, but all-emphatic, all-expressive sentence embodies the amount of all that you now know, believe, and feel; it is the profession of your faith, the sum of your experience, the ground of your hope: “CHRIST IS PRECIOUS TO MY SOUL.” Enough! The dying Christian can give, and the inquiring friend can wish no more. Dearest Savior, be Thou close to me in that solemn moment! Tread the valley by my side, pillow my languid head upon Thy bosom, speak these words of heart-cheer to my struggling, panting, departing soul: “Fear not: for I am with thee” (Isa. 43:5). Then, it will be happiness for me to die—death will have no venom—the grave no gloom—eternity no dread; and, from the measured experience of Thy preciousness on earth, I shall pass in triumph through the shadowy portal into the full sunshine and perfect realization and eternal enjoyment of all that faith believed, love desired, and hope expected of Thy full-orbed glory and preciousness in heaven.

From “The Preciousness of Christ” in The Precious Things of God,
Soli Deo Gloria, a division of Reformation Heritage Books, www.heritagebooks.org.
“CHRIST IS PRECIOUS ~ Reprint from Free Grace Broadcaster, www.chapellibrary.org/

*fickle and truant – changeable and straying.

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Octavius Winslow (1808-1878): Nonconformist pastor; born in London, England, raised in New York, buried in Abbey Cemetery, Bath, England.

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The Spirit and Heart of God’s Grace

Dear child of God,

As I look upward to our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who sits enthroned in sovereignty and majesty,
Ruling over all things,

My spirit cries, “Abba, Father.

 My hope and trust is in Him.

 At the same time my heart is aching for, and with you.

“This is my (our) affliction,
yet we will remember the days of the Most High.”
Psalm 77:11

All of this life is sandwiched between God’s promises revealed,
and His power to fulfill—
His presence always with us to make it palatable.

How well Paul knew the promise of the Father, that “everything works together for good, to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose—that we might be conformed to the image of Christ, His Son.”  Romans 8:28-29.

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Christ while here on earth looked to the Father in His sovereignty for all things. Knowing His promises, presence and power, His heart was, is, and has always been with us.  As one of us He knows, feels, and cares for us in all our heartaches.   As He reigns in heaven today His heart still bleeds for us, and bids us to come to Him.  He bears the yoke of this life and all its adversity with us.           Music: Whispering Hope

Father, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, make us to know your presence with us today. Open our eyes to see you in the midst of all this life.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.