Posts Tagged ‘Choices’

Catch the Little Foxes

Friday, October 27th, 2017

Catch the little foxes that ruin the vineyards; for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Songs 2:15

Resolve at once, by God’s help, to break off every known sin, however small.

Look within, each one of you. Examine your own hearts. Do you see there any habit which you know is wrong in the sight of God? If you do, resolve at once to cast it off!

Nothing darkens the eyes of the mind so much, and deadens the conscience so surely–as an allowed sin. It may be a little one–but it is not any less dangerous.

A small leak will sink a great ship.
A small spark will kindle a great fire.
In the same way, a little allowed sin will ruin an immortal soul.

Take my advice, and never spare a little sin! Israel was commanded to kill every Canaanite, both great and small. Act on the same principle–and show no mercy to little sins.

You can be sure that no wicked man ever meant to be so wicked at his first beginnings. But he began with allowing himself some little sins, and that led on to something greater, and that in time produced something greater still, and thus he became the miserable being that he now is.

Brethren, resist sin in its beginnings. Some sins may look small and insignificant, but mind what I say–resist them, make no compromise, let no sin lodge quietly and undisturbed in your heart. Remember the Apostle’s words, “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough!” 1 Corinthians 5:6

Many a man could tell you with sorrow and shame, that he traces his ruin to the point I speak of–to giving way to sin in its beginnings. He began habits of deception and dishonesty in little things–and they grew on him. Step by step, he has gone on from bad to worse–until he has done things that at one time he would have thought impossible. At last he has lost his character, lost his peace, and almost lost his soul. He allowed a gap in the wall of his conscience, because it seemed a little one–and once allowed, that gap grew larger every day, until in time the whole wall came down!

Whatever the world may like to think–there are no little sins! All habits are formed by a succession of little acts, and the first little act is of mighty consequence.

The ax in the fable, only begged the trees to let him have one little piece of wood to make a handle–and he would never trouble them any more. He got it, and then he soon cut them all down!

The devil only wants to get the wedge of a little allowed sin into your heart–and you will soon be all his own.

It is a wise saying, “There is nothing small between us and God–for God is an infinite God.”

There are two ways of coming down from the top of a ladder.
One is to jump down–and the other is to come down by the steps.
Both will lead you to the bottom.

Just so, there are two ways of going to Hell.
One is to walk into it with your eyes open–few people do that.
The other is to go down by the steps of little sins–and that way is only too common. Put up with a few little sins–and you will soon tolerate a few more. Even a heathen could say, “Who was ever content with only one sin?” If you put up with little sins, then your path in life will be worse and worse every year.

Jeremy Taylor very clearly described the progress of sin in a man:

First sin startles him,
then it becomes pleasing,
then it becomes easy,
then it becomes delightful,
then it becomes frequent,
then it becomes habitual,
then it becomes a way of life.
Then the man feels no guilt,
then he becomes obstinate,
and then he is damned!

Friends, if you don’t want to come to this, remember the rule I give you this day–resolve at once to break off every known sin!

~J. C. Ryle

The Key to Understanding

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

“The eyes of our understanding are opened when we surrender our human sight.”
~R. J. Rushdoony

One of the interesting facets of human history has been the attempt of man to find a key to understanding. Man has, age after age, tried, both philosophically and scientifically, to understand all things in terms of a master concept. One of the things which made Albert Einstein of such central significance to our generation was the contribution he made to a master concept. His unified field theory gave an interpretation to the time, length, breadth, and width of this universe which enabled man to make vast strides towards the understanding and control of material energy. And yet, important as Einstein’s contribution was, it was no true master concept. It indeed comprehended to an extend the meaning of material energy, but there is more to man and creation than material energy, and a master concept which goes no further is no true key to understanding.

In Proverbs 28:5 we have, very simply expressed, a master concept, a key to understanding, which goes beyond matter to interpret the very essence of man’s life. This is what Solomon said, “Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the Lord understand all things.”

The first point made by this proverb is that there is a relationship between faith and understanding. A man’s life and character is an index to the capacity of his understanding. The wicked man cannot fathom the meaning of judgment or justice. God’s dealings with man are beyond him and only confuse and bewilder him. In other words, spiritual confusion involves also intellectual and moral confusion. There is a measure to which we fall short of the Lord’s requirements of us, we are to that same extent incapable of understanding His dealings with us. We are bewildered and rebellious.

The second point made by Solomon is that “they that seek the Lord understand all things.” When the end of our lives is living in terms of faith in the one living God, we gain the knowledge, in every situation of life and in the face of all things, of the meaning of all things. When our personal life has a divine foundation, we are able to understand the workings of God. It is the judgment or justice of God which is the stumbling block to the natural man; but it is this very same thing, the judgment and justice of God, which provides a key of understanding to the faithful. What naturally makes us rebellious, by the grace of God serves also to open the eyes of our understanding. That which alienates the world from God, draws us closer to Him. What to the natural man is a curse, becomes to the believer a blessing. In faithfulness and trust, we are blessed, and the eyes of our understanding opened. Thus it is that Scripture declares that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Our Lord declared, “If any man will do his (i.e., God’s) will, he shall know of the doctrine” (John 7:17).

This is our key to understanding, faith and trust in the Lord. Of such believers, John wrote, “Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things” (1 John 2:20). In other words, all believers, the whole church, by virtue of its faith, its indwelling Holy Spirit, has spiritual knowledge which enables it to meet and interpret the events of life and become victorious in the face of adversity.

Faith, therefore, is the key to understanding. Men who try to walk by sight are men who walk blindly. They cannot see one step ahead or one hour into the future. But men, who walk instead by faith, walk with confidence in the dark, knowing they have a guide and knowing that all things are under the providential rule and purpose of their Lord and guide. The eyes of our understanding are opened when we surrender our human sight. In the words of Moffatt’s translation of Ephesians 1:17–23:

May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, grant you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation for the knowledge of himself, illuminating the eyes of your heart so that you can understand the hope to which He calls us, the wealth of his glorious heritage in the saints, and the surpassing greatness of his power over us believers—a power which operates with the strength of the might which he exerted in raising Christ from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavenly sphere, above all the angelic Rulers, Authorities, Powers, and Lords, above every Name that is to be named not only in this age but in the age to come—he has put everything under his feet and set him as head over everything for the church, the church which is his Body, filled by him who fills the universe entirely.

~ * ~
Reprinted by permission of the Chalcedon Foundation.
Copyright by the Chalcedon Foundation. All rights reserved.

Men Whose Tongues are Sharp Swords

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

 Men, whose tongues are sharp swords? Yes, some men have tongues like that. Maybe you date men, whose tongues are sharp swords or you’re married to one. What do you do to stop that abusive behavior?

Denial

Maybe you look the other way and pretend nothing is happening. Your family, friends, and coworkers see and hear it, but you can’t look at it. If you admit your spouse has a tongue like a sharp sword, then you must do something about it. The thought of confrontation and the work involved not to tolerate that abuse any longer may overwhelm you. It may seem easier to deny it.

“Cindy” stayed in an abusive marriage for years. She told me, “I thought all men talked to their wives that way. I didn’t think I could do anything about it.” 

Minimization

On the other hand, you may admit you date men, whose tongues are sharp swords, or you’re married to one. Perhaps you recite the children’s rhyme: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never break me.”

That isn’t true. Because of that abuse, you may suffer a broken heart, a crushed spirit, and a lack of self-respect.

You may say, “It’s not so bad. At least he doesn’t hit me. He’s never beat me up.”

He does beat you up with his mouth. Ask your children. They know, and it hurts them to see the way your husband disrespects you.

Rationalization

Perhaps you make an excuse for your husband. You say that he’s tired and works hard. Thousands of people are tired and work hard, but their tongues are not sharp swords.

You yourself may feel tired. You may work a full-time job outside of the home and another one at home. You clean house, shop for groceries, do the laundry, cook the meals, take care of the children, help them with their homework, and take them to their activities. Yet, your tongue is not a sharp sword.

Call to Action          

For your sake and that of your children, get into a free support group at a domestic violence shelter or seek individual counseling from someone who specializes in domestic violence.

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All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Yvonne is a Speaker, Author, Counselor, Cancer Survivor and
serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery.
She is the author of
“Moving from Broken to Beautiful: 9 Life Lessons to Help You Move Forward”
Download her One Sheet at http://www.yvonneortega.com.
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It is a fact of life!

Friday, May 5th, 2017

It is a fact of life, that all of our thoughts, words, and actions are fixed and unchangeable.

Now, at the age of seventy, my work for good or for evil is done.
I cannot go back and repair what has been amiss.
I cannot now do what has been left undone.
I cannot do in a better manner, what has been imperfectly performed.
I cannot recover the hours that have been wasted.
I cannot correct the evils which may have resulted from my errors.
I cannot overtake and stop what I have spoken or written, as it has gone out into the world.
I cannot summon back the opportunities for usefulness which have been neglected.
I cannot obliterate the reality or the memory of wrong thoughts, or wrong motives, or wrong words, or wrong actions.
All that has been thought or said or done in these seventy years, has become fixed as a reality–never to be changed.
Past errors and follies may be forgiven–but they are never to be changed.

The hope of a man at seventy years of age–at any age–is not that the errors, and sins, and follies of the past can be changed–it is only . . .
that they may be pardoned by a merciful God;
that they may be covered over by the blood of the atonement;
that though they must remain forever as facts–facts fully known to the Great Searcher of hearts–their guilt may be so taken away that they will not be punished;
that by the blood shed on the cross, they themselves may be so covered over–so hidden–that they will not be disclosed on the final trial before assembled worlds!

That hope, the religion of Christ offers to all.

How different would men try to make their lives, if they habitually felt that all–literally all–that they do, or say, or think–even their most fugitive thoughts–becomes thus fixed and unchangeable forever!

~Albert Barnes, “Life at Three-score and Ten” 1868

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God Cuts and Polishes His Jewels

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

“They will be Mine in the day when I make up My jewels!” Malachi 3:17

God has many sharp-cutting instruments and rough files for the polishing of His jewels. Those He especially loves and means to make the most resplendent–He most often uses His tools upon! (Robert Leighton, 1611-1684)


Jewels are polished for the sake of removing specks and blemishes from them. They are often cut and polished on purpose to make them look more beautiful. If a large diamond is to be put on the crown of some great king, it is only by cutting and polishing that it can be made to shine with all its brilliance.

When you look at a diamond, you see that it has many faces or sides. These don’t belong to diamonds naturally. When they are found in the mines, they have none of these smooth faces. They are then like little pebble-stones, without any particular shape. These smooth, even sides are made by the jeweler, by grinding and polishing. And they are made on purpose to make the diamond look more beautiful.

In the same way, God cuts and polishes His jewels in order to make them shine more brightly and beautifully in the crown of His glory in Heaven.

Sometimes we see good Christian people who have very heavy trials which they are obliged to bear for many years. And when we see them bearing those trials, we often wonder what it is all for.

God is using those trials just as the jeweler uses the files and wheels–to polish His jewels so as to make them brighter and more beautiful in Heaven.

There was that poor beggar at the gate of the rich man, of whom we read in the New Testament. He was left to be so poor, and to have all those dreadful sores, not because God could not help it; He could easily have made him a rich man and have kept him from having any sores at all, if He had so pleased. But Lazarus was one of God’s jewels, and God was making use of his poverty and beggary and sores–in order to polish that jewel and make it shine more beautifully in Heaven!

All of God’s jewels need polishing!

“I have refined you in the furnace of suffering!” Isaiah 48:10

(Richard Newton, “Bible Jewels”)

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Are You Like This Bee?

Friday, April 28th, 2017

“Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” 2 Timothy 3:4

Did you ever read of the bee in the fable, that found a pot of honey, and thought it would be fine to save all the trouble of flying about the meadows and gathering its sweet stores, little by little, out of the cups of flowers?

Soon it went in the pot and reveled in the sweets; but when it began to get tired and cloyed, it found–poor bee!–that its wings were all clogged and would not open, nor could it drag its body out of the mass. So it died, buried in pleasure!

There are many people, like this bee, who find death in their pleasures!

“You have lived on earth in pleasure and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter!” James 5:5

~Dr. Edmund

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The Devil’s Beans!

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

The other day I was going down the street and I saw a drove of pigs following a man. This excited my curiosity, so that I determined to follow. I did so, and to my great surprise I saw them follow him to the slaughterhouse! I was very anxious to know how this was, and I said to the man, “My friend, how did you manage to induce those pigs to follow you here?”

“Oh, did you not see?” said the man; “I had a basket of beans under my arms, and I dropped a few as I came along, and so they followed me.”

Yes, and I thought, so it is–the devil has a basket of beans under his arm, and he drops them as he goes along, and what multitudes he induces to follow him to an everlasting slaughter house! Yes, friends, and all your broad and crowded thoroughfares are strewn with the beans of the devil!

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes!” Ephesians 6:11

~Rowland Hill

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Hardship and Divine Providence

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

A merchant was one day returning from market. He was on horseback, and his saddlebag was filled with money. The rain fell with violence, and the good old man was wet to his skin. At this he was vexed, and murmured because God had given him such bad weather for his journey.

He soon reached the borders of a thick forest. What was his terror on beholding on one side of the road a robber, with leveled gun, aiming at him, and attempting to shoot him! But the gunpowder being wet by the rain, the gun did not go off–and the merchant, giving spurs to his horse, fortunately had time to escape.

As soon as he found himself safe, he said to himself: “How wrong was I, not to endure the rain patiently, as sent by Divine Providence! If the weather had been dry and fair, I probably would not have been alive at this hour, and my little children would have expected my return in vain. The rain, which caused me to murmur, came at a fortunate moment to save my life and preserve my money!”

And thus it is with a multitude of our afflictions. By causing us slight and short sufferings–they preserve us from others far greater and of longer duration.

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!” Romans 8:28

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The Purposes of God Stand

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Those who reject the doctrine of the total depravity of man must skim over many parts of Scripture, which is unique among the holy books of all religions in that it does not shy away from revealing the evils of even its most prominent characters. The Bible is a book about sin, in fact. It addresses the origin of sin and its only resolution. Heaven is in view, but only as the full restoration of the redeemed man. The Biblical picture of heaven is a place of victory over sin made possible by the atonement for sins by Jesus Christ.

Because it is a book about man’s sin problem, the Bible does not hesitate to point out sin, even when it is in God’s covenant people. We are not presented with a religion of positive thinking, but one with real sinners who often fail their God. Thus, we are shown Noah’s drunkenness, as well as that of Lot. We are shown the disobedience of Moses, the apostasy of Saul, the adultery and murder by David, and the excesses of Solomon.

Sometimes these accounts are so familiar to us they fail to shock us. Take, for instance, the selling of Joseph into slavery by his own brothers. This was perhaps a crueler act then if they had murdered him outright. God may have intended it for good, as Joseph later told his brothers, but their action was no less evil. This, the earlier incest of Reuben, and the murders by Simeon and Levi reveal the nature of Israel’s sons. No virtue can be ascribed to them; all that comes through is the grace of God. Nothing else could have made such men leaders of the covenant people.

All too often, we see only the evil in men and in cultures and fail to see God’s grace at work. Such a perspective leads to cynicism and a defeatist attitude. We ought to remember that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph saw great evil in their day but never saw the fulfillment of the promises in terms of which they lived. Likewise, Christ has made us more than conquerors, but we often personally know only what seems to us defeat. The purposes of God stand, however, and our walk must not be by sight, but by faith. Even our death, the “last enemy” (I Cor. 15:26) will, in the end, be defeated. Like watching a replay when we know the good outcome, our perspective should be one of joy and delight in the certainty of the resolution of all things by a righteous God.

~Mark R. Rushdoony

~ * ~
Reprinted by permission of the Chalcedon Foundation.
Copyright by the Chalcedon Foundation. All rights reserved.

What is True Repentance?

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.” Luke 15:18-20

Notice the spirit of deep self-abasement in the resolution which the prodigal made.

True repentance is intensely personal. The prodigal felt it was his own sin. I have sinned!” He can scarcely see any sin but his own. He sees his own sin in the very worst colors. Study the fifty-first Psalm. See how David again and again speaks. It is my transgression, my iniquity, my sin ever before me.

True repentance beholds the wrong done to God by sin. The prodigal felt that his sin was primarily against God. It was a breach of His holy law. It was opposition to His holiness. It was sin against His goodness, and against redeeming love. So David cries in his bitter sorrow, forgetting for the moment the wrong he had done to Uriah–in the far greater wrong which his sin had done to God: “Against You, You only have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight!”

True repentance makes no excuses.
The prodigal seeks for no palliation, no covering, no cloak. He says nothing of the circumstances which led him to do evil, or of companions who had drawn him aside. He does not attempt to shift the burden from his own shoulders to that of others. He makes no self-justifying pleas–he has too much sorrow, too much true brokenness of spirit, to desire or attempt it. One thing, and one thing only, he sees–his own terrible fall, and his own exceeding guilt.

True repentance takes the very lowest place. Once to be a son was not enough for him–but now he will be content even to be a slave or a hired servant! He feels utterly unworthy. As Jacob felt: “I am not worthy of all the mercies You have showed me.” As the centurion felt when he sent to Jesus: “I am not worthy that You should come under my roof.” So did the young prodigal esteem himself: “I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”

Be sure that God delights in the humble and contrite soul.
Lift yourself up in pride and self-satisfaction–and God will assuredly cast you down.
Cast yourself down in humble confession of your sin–and God will assuredly lift you up.
“God resists the proud–but gives grace unto the humble.”

But we see here the purpose of the heart accomplished. The young man not only made the resolution, but he kept it, So he got up and went to his father.” He turned his back forever on that far country and his old companions–and turned his face homeward. Doubtless it was with many a tear, with many a bitter feeling of regret for all that had passed–since in so different a spirit he had trodden that path before. Yet onward he trudges with weary heart and weary footstep, in the hope that a place may still be found for him in his father’s house.

Do you ask, What is repentance? I can scarcely better describe it than from the path of this wanderer. It is turning the back . . .
on sin,
on the ways of the world,
on the lusts of the flesh,
on the service of the devil.

And it is turning the face God-ward, Heaven-ward, confessing all that is past, looking upward for grace to live holier, with one single desire–to abide in the fear and love of God.

~ George Everard, “Welcome home! Plain teachings from the story of the Prodigal” 1871