A lamp for my feet! – J. R. Miller

A lamp for my feet!

“Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105 God’s Word is represented as a lamp for the feet. It is a “lamp” — not a blazing sun, nor even a lighthouse — but a plain, common lamp or lantern which one can carry about in the hand. It is a lamp “for the feet,” not throwing its beams afar, not illumining a hemisphere — but shining only on the one little bit of road on which the pilgrim’s feet are walking.

The law of divine guidance is, “Step by step”. One who carries a lantern on a country-road at night, sees only one step before him. If he takes that step, he carries his lantern forward, and thus makes another step plain. At length he reaches his destination in safety, without once stepping into darkness. The whole way has been made light for him, though only a single step of it at a time. This illustrates the usual method of God’s guidance.

If this is the way God guides, it ought never to be hard for us to find our duty. It never lies far away, inaccessible to us — but is always near. It never lies out of our sight, in the darkness, for God never puts our duty where we cannot see it. The thing that we think may be our duty — but which is still lying in obscurity and uncertainty, is not our duty yet, whatever it may be a little farther on. The duty for the very moment is always clear — and that is as far as we need concern ourselves; for when we do the little that is clear, we will carry the light on, and it will shine on the next moment’s step.

Jesus said, “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness.” Prompt, unquestioning, undoubting following of Christ — takes all the perplexity out of Christian life and gives unbroken peace. There never is a moment without its duty; and if we are living near to Christ and following Him closely, we shall never be left in ignorance of what He wants us to do.

Our daily prayer should be, “Direct my footsteps according to Your Word; let no sin rule over me.” Psalm 119:133

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– J. R. Miller

Christian Praise and Worship in Songs, Sermons, and Audio Books

To those who love the Lord Jesus – J.C. Ryle

To those who love the Lord Jesus and believe in Him, and yet desire to love Him better, suffer this word of exhortation, and apply it to your heart. Keep before your mind, an ever-present truth, that the Lord Jesus is an actual living person, and deal with Him as such. I fear the personality of our Lord is sadly lost sight of by many Christians in the present day. Their talk is more about salvation than about the Savior; more about redemption than about the Redeemer; more about justification than about Jesus; more about Christ’s work than about Christ’s person. This is a great fault, and one that fully accounts for the dry and sapless character of the faith of many Christians. If you would grow in grace, and have joy and peace in believing, then beware of falling into this error. Cease to regard the gospel as a mere collection of dry doctrines. Look at it rather as the revelation of a mighty living Being in whose sight you are daily to live. Cease to regard it as a mere set of abstract propositions and principles and rules. Look at it as the introduction to a glorious Friend. This is the kind of gospel that the apostles preached. They did not go about the world telling men of love and mercy and pardon in the abstract. The leading subject of all their sermons was the loving heart of an actual living Christ. Nothing surely is so likely to prepare us for that heaven where Christ’s personal presence will be all, and that glory where we shall meet Christ face to face, as to realize communion with Christ as an actual living Person here on earth. Oh, there is all the difference in the world between an idea and a person….The last word of this message.. I want men to read the four Gospels more than they do. I want men to become better acquainted with Christ. I want unconverted men to know Jesus, that they may have eternal life through Him. I want believers to know Jesus better, that they may become more happy, more holy and more meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. He will be the holiest man who learns to say with Paul, “To me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21).

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From Consider Your Ways: Being a Pastor’s Address to His Flock

– J.C. Ryle

Consider the greatness and glory of Christ — Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Some of you have truly been brought by God to believe in Jesus. Yet you have no abiding peace, and very little growth in holiness. Why is this? It is because your eye is fixed anywhere but on Christ. You are so busy looking at books, or looking at men, or looking at the world, that you have no time, no heart, for looking at ‪‎Christ‬. No wonder you have little peace and joy in believing. No wonder you live so inconsistent and unholy a life. Change your plan. Consider the greatness and glory of Christ, who has undertaken all in the stead of sinners, and you would find it quite impossible to walk in darkness, or to walk in sin. Oh, what low, despicable thoughts you have of the glorious Immanuel! Lift your eyes from your own bosom, downcast believer – look upon Jesus. It is good to consider your ways, but it is far better to consider Jesus. Oh, believer, consider Jesus. Meditate on these things. Look and look again, until your peace flows like a river.

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— Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Christian, what hast thou to do with sin? Charles Spurgeon

Romans 6:6  That henceforth we should not serve sin.

Christian, what hast thou to do with sin? Hath it not cost thee enough already? Burnt child, wilt thou play with the fire? What! when thou hast already been between the jaws of the lion, wilt thou step a second time into his den? Hast thou not had enough of the old serpent? Did he not poison all thy veins once, and wilt thou play upon the hole of the asp, and put thy hand upon the cockatrice’s den a second time? Oh, be not so mad! so foolish! Did sin ever yield thee real pleasure? Didst thou find solid satisfaction in it? If so, go back to thine old drudgery, and wear the chain again, if it delight thee. But inasmuch as sin did never give thee what it promised to bestow, but deluded thee with lies, be not a second time snared by the old fowler–be free, and let the remembrance of thy ancient bondage forbid thee to enter the net again! It is contrary to the designs of eternal love, which all have an eye to thy purity and holiness; therefore run not counter to the purposes of thy Lord. Another thought should restrain thee from sin. Christians can never sin cheaply; they pay a heavy price for iniquity. Transgression destroys peace of mind, obscures fellowship with Jesus, hinders prayer, brings darkness over the soul; therefore be not the serf and bondman of sin. There is yet a higher argument: each time you “serve sin” you have “Crucified the Lord afresh, and put him to an open shame.” Can you bear that thought? Oh! if you have fallen into any special sin during this day, it may be my Master has sent this admonition this evening, to bring you back before you have backslidden very far. Turn thee to Jesus anew; he has not forgotten his love to thee; his grace is still the same. With weeping and repentance, come thou to his footstool, and thou shalt be once more received into his heart; thou shalt be set upon a rock again, and thy goings shall be established.

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From Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

The Nature and Basis of Assurance by A.W. Pink

“Blessed are the meek.” Meekness is yieldedness. It is the opposite of self-will. Meekness is pliability and meltedness of heart, which makes me submissive and responsive to God’s will. Now observe, dear reader, these first three marks of the “blessed” consist not in outward actions, but of inward graces; not in showy deeds, but in states of soul. Note too that they are far from being characteristics which will render their possessor pleasing and popular to the world. He who feels himself to be a spiritual pauper will not be welcomed by the wealthy Laodiceans. He who daily mourns for his leanness, his barrenness, his sinfulness, will not be courted by the self-righteous. He who is truly meek will not be sought after by the self-assertive. No, he will be scorned by the Pharisees and looked upon with contempt by those who boast they are “out of Romans 7 and living in Romans 8.” These lovely graces, which are of great price in the sight of God, are despised by the bloated professors of the day…

He who is really honest with himself and has had his eyes opened in some degree to see the awful sinfulness of self, and who is becoming more and more acquainted with that sink of iniquity, that mass of corruption which still indwells him, often feels that sin more completely rules him now than ever it did before. When he longs to trust God with all his heart, unbelief seems to paralyze him. When he wishes to be completely surrendered to God’s blessed will, murmurings and rebellion surge within him. When he would spend an hour in meditating on the things of God, evil imaginations harass him. When he desires to be more humble, pride seeks to fill him. When he would pray, his mind wanders. The more he fights against these sins, the further off victory seems to be. To him it appears that sin is very much the master of him, and Satan tells him that his profession is vain. What shall we say to such a dear soul who is deeply exercised over this problem? Two things.

First, the very fact that you are conscious of these sins and are so much concerned over your failure to overcome them, is a healthy sign. It is the blind who cannot see; it is the dead who feel not—true alike naturally and spiritually. Only they who have been quickened into newness of life are capable of real sorrow for sin. Moreover, such experiences as we have mentioned above evidence a spiritual growth: a growth in the knowledge of self. As the wise man tells us, “he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow” (Eccl. 1:18). In God’s light we see light (Ps. 36:9). The more the Holy Spirit reveals to me the high claims of God’s holiness, the more I discover how far short I come of meeting them. Let the midday sun shine into a darkened room, and dust and dirt which before were invisible are now plainly seen. So with the Christian: the more the light of God enters his heart, the more he discovers the spiritual filth which dwells there. Beloved brother, or sister, it is not that you are becoming more sinful, but that God is now giving you a clearer and fuller sight of your sinfulness. Praise Him for it, for the eyes of the vast majority of your fellows (religionists included) are blind, and cannot see what so distresses you!

Second, side by side with sin in your heart is grace. There is a new and holy nature within the Christian as well as the old and unholy one. Grace is active within you, as well as sin. The new nature is influencing your conduct as well as the old. Why is it that you so desire to be conformed to the image of Christ, to trust Him fully, love Him fervently, and serve Him diligently? These longings proceed not from the flesh. No, my distressed brother or sister, sin is not your complete master; if it were, all aspirations, prayers, and strivings after holiness would be banished from your heart. There are “as it were the company of two armies” (Song of Sol. 6:13) fighting to gain control of the Christian. As it was with our mother Rebekah—”the children struggled together within her” (Gen. 25:22)—so it is with us. But the very “struggle” shows that the issue is not yet decided: had sin conquered, the soul would no longer be able to resist. The conqueror disarms his enemy so that he can no longer fight back. The very fact that you are still “fighting” proves that sin has not vanquished you! It may seem to you that it soon will: but the issue is not in doubt—Christ will yet save you from the very presence of sin.

Having sought in the above paragraphs to heed the injunction found in Hebrews 12:12, 13 to “lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,” and to make “straight paths” for the feet of God’s little ones, “lest that which is lame be turned out of the way,” let us again direct our attention unto those who “have not a doubt” of their acceptance in Christ, and perhaps feel no personal need for what has been said above. The Lord declared that a tree is known by its fruits, so there cannot be anything wrong in examining the tree of our heart, to ascertain what kind of “fruit” it is now bringing forth, and discover whether it be such as may proceed from mere nature, or that which can only issue from indwelling grace. It may at once be objected, But nothing spiritual can issue from ourselves. From our natural selves, No; but from a regenerated person, Yes. But how can an evil tree ever be any different? Christ said, “Make the tree good, and his fruit good” (Matt. 12:33). This is typed out by engrafting a new slip on an old stock…

In considering the basis of the Christian’s assurance we must distinguish sharply between the ground of his acceptance before God, and his own knowledge that he is accepted by Him. Nothing but the righteousness of Christ-wrought out by Him in His virtuous life and vicarious death—can give any sinner a perfect legal standing before the thrice holy God. And nothing but the communication of a new nature, a supernatural work of grace within, can furnish proof that the righteousness of Christ has been placed to my account. Whom God legally saves, he experimentally saves; whom He justifies, them He also sanctifies. Where the righteousness of Christ is imputed to an individual, a principle of holiness is imparted to him; the former can only be ascertained by the latter. It is impossible to obtain a scriptural knowledge that the merits of Christ’s finished work are reckoned to my account, except by proving that the efficacy of the Holy Spirit’s work is evident in my soul.

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– A.W. Pink Studies on Saving Faith Excerpted from two chapters: The Nature of Assurance & The Basis of Assurance

http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/naturebasis.html

J.C. Ryle – William Gurnall – SPIRITUAL WAEFARE

—This Christian warfare is no light matter. Give me your attention and consider what I say;—What saith the Scripture ?—” Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.”—”Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”—” Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

Strive to enter in at the strait gate.”—”Labour for the meat that endureth unto everlasting life.”—” Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace but a sword .”—” He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.”—” Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”— “War a good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience.” Words such as these appear to me clear, plain, and unmistakeable. They all teach one and the same great lesson, if we are willing to receive it. That lesson is, that true Christianity is a struggle, a fight, and a warfare.

J.C. Ryle/William Gurnall – SPIRITUAL WAEFARE

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This world is not your home – James Smith

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You are in an enemy’s land; surrounded by temptations; and have a heart that is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. To honor Jesus in your spirit, communications, and every action, should be your constant aim. You are to live Unto the Lord, For Him who died for you and rose again. To this end, provision was laid up in the everlasting covenant, for this purpose the precious promises were made, and with this design the Holy Spirit is given; that you may serve Him in righteousness and holiness all the days of your life. This world is not your home; Satan’s family are not to be your associates; riches, honor, or pleasure, are not to be your objects; you are to walk as in the midst of snares; watchful, prayerful, depending upon Jesus, and cultivating fellowship with Him. Oh, keep your eye on Jesus as your example; walk by His word as your rule; be not venturesome or presumptuous, but avoid the very appearance of evil. Never leave the Lord’s ways or ordinances, to join the world’s parties or please a carnal fancy. Keep close to Jesus, and follow on to know the Lord. Act as a loving child going home to his father’s house.
So let our lips and lives express
The holy gospel we profess;
So let our works and virtues shine,
To prove the doctrine all divine.
– James Smith