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Thrice-burnt China

The finest china in the world is burned at least three times, some of it more than three times. Dresden china is always burned three times. Why does it go through that intense fire? Once ought to be enough; twice ought to be enough. No, three times are necessary to burn that china so that the gold and the crimson are brought out more beautiful and then fastened there to stay.

We are fashioned after the same principle in human life. Our trials are burned into us once, twice, thrice; and by God’s grace these beautiful colors are there and they are there to stay forever.
– Cortland Myers

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The LORD rules over everything

Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? – Job 2:10 (JPS)

As I wrote yesterday in my blog, I was pleasantly surprised by the blessing that the Lord gave me. But something else happened, that disquieted me. After the phone call, we were about to start our morning prayers, and clearly I and my wife were very nervous. How would the day be? Would I be able to travel for a whole day? How about eating out? We were very nervous and even thought of asking our cousin to postpone the trip. Then as we started to pray, something happened.

Suddenly the Spirit of the LORD moved us to realize our errors. Say, if the LORD has given a severe affliction yesterday, like I had to endure last year, what would have we done? We would have accepted it as a lesson that the Lord is teaching us, that He would give enough grace and strength to go through the trial, we would have praised Him for considering us worthy to stand such a trial and we would have thanked Him for the lesson He taught us using the trial. Yes, we would have accepted the evil from the hand of God, because we know His loving hand is behind the rod that chastens us.

But the moment a blessing comes our way, something good comes our way, we are wary of so many things that could go wrong. Our attitude is so tuned out, that till we started praying and the Holy Spirit made us realize, we did not understand that this good, this blessing is also from the same loving hand of our Father. That He may choose this very blessing to teach a valuable lesson to us. That He would give enough grace and strength to go through the day. That if I praised Him for the affliction, then I must praise Him more than ever for this blessing; thank Him that He considered this poor man’s prayer and is showing me a favor that I do not deserve; that even in this blessing, the good Teacher has a way to teach His lessons.

Yes, the Lord rules over everything – both good and bad; whatever reaches you, who is under His mighty arm, reaches you only because God our Father allows it; whatever we receive, an affliction or a blessing, it is only because our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ has given us enough grace to sustain, to endure without falling.

So, for the last one year, the Lord taught me that He is the Ruler over everything and whatever He allows in my life is aimed at my sanctification and edification; but my mind has taken it only for the afflictions and trials. Yesterday the LORD corrected my learning. God our Lord is the Ruler of EVERYTHING. And, if we humble ourselves, we can always learn from our blessings as well as from our afflictions. True devotion is not only accepting evil from God, like Job did; but also accepting the two-fold blessing in an equanimous manner, just like Job did. Amen.

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Your share in the Savior’s Victory

“Thou art my King, O God: Command deliverance (victories, margin) for Jacob”
(Psalm 44:4 RV).

Here is no foe to your growth in grace, no enemy in your Christian work, which was not included in your Savior’s conquests.

You need not be afraid of them. When you touch them, they will flee before you. God has promised to deliver them up before you. Only be strong and very courageous! Fear not, nor be dismayed! The Lord is with you, O mighty men of valor– mighty because one with the Mightiest. Claim victory!

Whenever your enemies close in upon you, claim victory! Whenever heart and flesh fail, look up and claim VICTORY!

Be sure that you have a share in that triumph which Jesus won, not for Himself alone, but for us all; remember that you were in Him when He won it, and claim victory!

Reckon that it is yours, and gather spoil. Neither the Anakim nor fenced cities need daunt or abash you. You are one of the conquering legion. Claim your share in the Savior’s victory.
– Joshua, by Meyer

“IS”

My grace is sufficient for you. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

A devotion by Prebendary H. W. Webb Peploe.

It had pleased God to remove my youngest child under circumstances of peculiar trial and pain; and as I had just laid my little one’s body in the churchyard, on return home, I felt it my duty to preach to my people on the meaning of trial.

Finding that this text was in the lesson for the following Sabbath, I chose it as my Master’s message to them and myself; but on trying to prepare the notes, I found that in honesty I could not say that the words were true; and therefore I knelt down and asked God to let His grace be sufficient for me. While I was thus pleading, I opened my eyes and saw a framed illuminated text, which my mother had given me only a few days before, and which I had told my servant to place upon the wall during my absence at the holiday resort where my little one was taken away from us.

I did not notice the words on returning to my house; but as I looked up and wiped my eyes, the words met my gaze, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

The “is” was picked out in bright green while the “My” and the “thee” were painted in another color.

In one moment the message came straight to my soul, as a rebuke for offering such a prayer as, “Lord, let Thy grace be sufficient for me”; for the answer was almost as an audible voice, “How dare you ask that which is?” God cannot make it any more sufficient than He has made it; get up and believe it, and you will find it true, because the Lord says it in the simplest way: “My grace is (not shall be or may be) sufficient for thee.”

“My,” “is,” and “thee” were from that moment, I hope, indelibly fixed upon my heart; and I (thank God) have been trying to live in the reality of the message from that day forward to the present time. The lesson that came to me, and which I seek to convey to others, is, Never turn God’s facts into hopes, or prayers, but simply use them as realities, and you will find them powerful as you believe them.

2 Corinthians 12_9

It is done!

“Seeing then that we have a great high Priest, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14, 16).

Our great Helper in prayer is the Lord Jesus Christ, our Advocate with the Father, our Great High Priest, whose chief ministry for us these centuries has been intercession and prayer. He it is Who takes our imperfect petitions from our hands, cleanses them from their defects, corrects their faults, and then claims their answer from His Father on His own account and through His all-atoning merits and righteousness.

Dear child of God, are you fainting in prayer? Look up. Your blessed Advocate has already claimed your answer, and you would grieve and disappoint Him if you were to give up the conflict in the very moment when victory is on its way to meet you. He has gone in for you into the inner chamber, and already holds up your name upon the palms of His hands; and the messenger, which is to bring you your blessing, is now on his way, and the Spirit is only waiting your trust to whisper in your heart the echo of the answer from the throne, “It is done.” — A. B. Simpson

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The love of God endures forever

Few days back, I had to endure some severe pain in my body. No medication, no pain killer, nothing worked. I was in tears because of the intensity of the pain. My entire family did not know how to deal with the situation. Though some suggested that I should be admitted to the hospital right away, I was in no condition to travel.

In such a severe pain, I wanted to divert my mind and opened my email, and there was this email I receive daily from gracegems.org, with the title, “HE cannot love you more – and He will not love you less.” As soon as I saw the heading, to be honest, my mind thought that it is going to be a devotional, where it says, God loves you so much and He would deliver you from this affliction… apparently, my mind has become so tuned to this century Christian teaching. But it was a devotional from Spurgeon and it was exactly opposite to what I thought… and it brought tears into my eyes… tears of joy and tears of love. And I surrendered myself, with all the pain and affliction, to the love of God and soon, the pain became tolerable. This is the devotional.

He cannot love you more–and He will not love you less! – Charles Spurgeon

“Having loved His own who were in the world–He loved them to the very end!” – John 13:1

Christian, God’s love to you is always the same. He cannot love you more–and He will not love you less!

Never, when afflictions multiply, when terrors frighten you or when your distresses abound–does God’s love falter or flag. Let the rod fall ever so heavily upon you–the hand that moves, like the heart that prompts the stroke, is full of love! Judge not the Lord by feeble sense–but trust Him for His grace. Whether He brings you down into the depths of misery, or lifts you up into the seventh Heaven of delight–His faithful love never varies or fluctuates–it is everlasting in its continuity!

“His faithful love endures forever!” – Psalm 136:1

“I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love!” – Jeremiah 31:3

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends!” – Lamentations 3:22

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Grace versus Sin

Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. – Romans 5:20

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Many years back, I was talking to a pastor and when we were talking about the grace of God, he looked straight at me and made a startling statement: “Patrick, I care a lot about my congregation. I don’t want them to go to eternal damnation. So, I never preach them about grace.”

Okay, “startling” is a mild word to express what I felt. Even today, when I think about it, I am not sure if I know the exact word to express how I feel about this statement. Preaching Christ without any mention of grace, at least IMHO, is an impossible task. And isn’t it by grace, we receive salvation?

Anyways, I asked him to explain and he used the above verse, Romans 5:20, to explain why Christian preachers must not speak about grace. Apparently, there are certain “Christian” preachers who say that since grace abounds much more than sin, it is okay for a Christian to continue sinning. Actually there are some preachers who encourage their church members to sin more, so that the grace of our Lord abounds much more. So, this pastor hates the concept of grace, since it leads to a sinful life, and hence does not preach about grace.

Honestly, it left me at a loss of words. Later I came to know about the false doctrine of “hyper-grace”, but that was the first time, I have ever heard that the grace of our Lord was being abused to continue in sin. It is wrong, but it is also wrong not to teach about grace. All both the preachers have to do is to read further. Because the first two verses of the 6th chapter in the Epistle to Romans clearly contradicts the “hyper-grace” doctrine.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? – Romans 6:1-2

If a Christian received the grace of the Lord at Calvary, when he or she realized that while grace is freely given, it cost our Saviour Jesus Christ so much suffering, then they will not continue to sin. Let us go back to Calvary. Let us look at the sufferings and afflictions of our Lord and let us grow in the true grace of our Redeemer, so that we live a holy life – by His grace. Amen.

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In sadness

Once I heard a song of sweetness,
As it cleft the morning air,
Sounding in its blest completeness,
Like a tender, pleading prayer;
And I sought to find the singer,
Whence the wondrous song was borne;
And I found a bird, sore wounded,
Pinioned by a cruel thorn.

I have seen a soul in sadness,
While its wings with pain were furl”d,
Giving hope, and cheer and gladness
That should bless a weeping world;
And I knew that life of sweetness,
Was of pain and sorrow row borne,
And a stricken soul was singing,
With its heart against a thorn.

Ye are told of One who loved you,
Of a Saviour crucified,
Ye are told of nails that pinioned,
And a spear that pierced His side;
Ye are told of cruel scourging,
Of a Saviour bearing scorn,
And He died for your salvation,
With His brow against a thorn.

Ye “are not above the Master.”
Will you breathe a sweet refrain?
And His grace will be sufficient,
When your heart is pierced with pain.
Will you live to bless His loved ones,
Tho” your life be bruised and torn,
Like the bird that sang so sweetly,
With its heart against a thorn?

Bird in rain

Humility – Copernicus

Read this recently in “2000 + Bible Illustrations” and thought of sharing it.

Nicolaus Copernicus was a famed astronomer born in Poland on February 19, 1473. He was a mathematician whose accomplishments changed men’s ideas of the universe. Also he was a well-known writer. Although highly educated in astronomical science, he was much more – he was a child of God who had learned to know and trust his Savior, Jesus Christ.

When he was critically ill with his final illness, his book, On Resolutions of the Celestial Bodies, just off the press, was laid in his arms.Nicolaus-Copernicus-HD-Wallpapers-2013
At the close of his life, he did not think of himself as an astronomer or scientist, but as a sinner who needed the forgiveness of his Savior. He asked that the following epitaph be written on his gravestone:
“Lord, I do not ask the kindness Thou didst show to Peter. I do not dare ask the grace Thou didst grant to Paul; but, Lord, the mercy Thou didst show to the dying robber, that mercy show to me. That earnestly I pray.”

James 3:13“[Two Kinds of Wisdom] Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”

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Misunderstood – Grace

There are so many things in the Bible that are so misunderstood. It comes because of ignorance and most importantly, taking a Biblical verse out of context. And one of the important things that is so misunderstood is the grace of God.

Let me explain that by something that happened when I was a kid. I was raised Roman Catholic. When I was 10 years old, they had decided its time for me to have my first confession and my first communion. A priest came and we were there, some eager boys, listening carefully about confession. The priest explained how first of all, we needed to repent for our sins and then only we have to go to confession booth. After some 30 minutes of explanation, the priest wanted to make sure whether we have to understood the concept of confession. So, he asked, “So, if you want to go to the confession, what is the first thing we need to do?” I was an eager kid and I raised my hand immediately, shouting, “Father, Father, I know the answer.” The priest was very pleased with my eagerness and allowed me to answer that question – except I don’t think he was ready for the answer I had in mind. My answer was, “If we have to go to the confession, the first thing we have to do is SIN.” (DISCLAIMER: I am not a Roman Catholic anymore. I am a Christian. I do believe in confessing my sins to the LORD Almighty and repenting, but not to a priest and then telling 10 Our Father in Heavens and 20 Hail Mary’s.)

Unfortunately this is the attitude today with some Christians who have misunderstood one of the most beautiful verses in the Scriptures.

Romans5 20

Where sin increased, God’s grace increased even more. When we sinned, the LORD’s grace increased much more so that our sins are forgiven. It is such a beautiful verse and has provided comfort to millions of sinners and made them into saints. But then, suddenly people started taking it out of context and started arguing something like this. So, if I sin more, then the grace of the LORD will increase, right? So, I can sin more and more, so that the grace of the Lord will increase further more.

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There is a small problem with this. It just means two things. First of all, it tells that we are reading the Bible with a very wrong mindset. If we think that there could be a verse that could be used as an excuse to lead a sinful life, that means clearly that we are reading the Holy Bible with the wrong attitude. It is called the HOLY Bible for a reason. It is the Word of the LORD, the Most Holy, Holy, Holy God. So, when someone puts such an argument with a verse taken out of context, it just shows that they have no or little understanding of the nature of our God.

Second, it also shows that we have not read the Bible properly. Just two verses later, the Spirit of God gives the answer for this question through Apostle Paul in very clear terms. Paul asks this very question in Romans 6:1.

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Then, he goes on to answer that question in a very emphatic manner.

God forbid! How shall we, who are dead to sin, live any longer therein? – Romans 6:2 (KJV 21)

Yes, dear friend, when we sinned not knowing of the Holiness of the LORD Almighty, His grace increased more and our sins were forgiven. Now, by His grace, we are dead to sin, so, may God forbid, let us not sin anymore. May the LORD, in His grace, help us overcome the temptations. Amen.

Philippians 1:6“… being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

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