“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father’s will. Even all the hairs on your head are numbered. So do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” — Matthew 10:29
“How happy are those who can resign all to Him, who see His hand in every trying dispensation, and believe that He chooses better for them than they could possibly choose for themselves.” — John Newton
Observe how the hand of God’s providence causes little things to lead on to great matters. In the least of incidents the greatest results may hinge! The pivots of history are microscopic. Hence, it is most important for us to learn that the smallest trifles are as much arranged by the God of providence as the most startling events.
He who counts the stars has also numbered the hairs of our heads. Our lives and deaths are predestined, but so, also, are our sitting down and our rising up. Had we but sufficiently powerful perceptive faculties, we should see God’s hand as clearly in each stone of our pathway as in the revolutions of the earth.
The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!” — Matthew 21:9
I long for a concert of heavenly praise,
To Jesus, my God, the omnipotent Son!
My soul should awake in harmonious lays,
Could it tell half the wonders that Jesus has done.
I’d sing how He left His own mansions of light,
The robes made of glory that dressed Him above,
Yet pleased with His journey and swift in His flight;
He came on the pinions of covenant love!
Should it not be the business of this life to prepare for the next life, and, in that respect, to prepare to die? But how can a man be prepared for that which he never thinks of? Do you mean to take a leap in the dark? If so, you are in an unhappy condition, and I beseech you as you love your own soul to escape from such peril by the help of God’s Holy Spirit.
Live while you live. Let every moment be spent as you might spend it when you survey life from your last pillow. Let us live for God in Christ by the Holy Spirit. May the Lord quicken our pace by the thought that it is only a little while! A short day will not allow for loitering. Do we not live too much as if we played at living?
Drop no stitches. Do all your work at your best. Do a day’s work in a day, and have no balance of debt to carry over to tomorrow’s account. Soon you and I shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ, to give an account of the things done in the body: therefore let us live as in the light of that day of days, doing work which may bear that fierce light which shines around the great white throne.
What do we say to our self-indulgence, our sloth, our love of ease, our avoidance of hardship, our luxury, our pampering of the body, our costly feasts, our silken couches, our brilliant furniture, our snappy clothing, our braided hair, our jeweled fingers, our idle mirth, our voluptuous music, our jovial tables, loaded with every variety of wine and rich foods? Are we Christians? Or are we worldlings? Where is the self-denial of primitive days? Where is the separation from a self-pleasing luxurious world? Where is the cross, the true badge of discipleship, to be seen except in useless religious ornaments for the body, or worse than useless decorations for the sanctuary?
“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion!” Is this not the description of multitudes who name the name of Christ? They may not always be “living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.” But even where these are absent, there is “high living,”—luxury of the table or the wardrobe—in conformity to “this present evil world.”
“Little children, keep yourselves from idols,” was the injunction of the loving apostle John, and he wrote thus in love, because he knew that, if God sees us making idols of anything, he will either break our idols or break us.
This is the one easily besetting sin of our nature—to turn aside from the living God and to make unto ourselves idols in some fashion or another; for the essence of idolatry is this—to love anything better than God, to trust anything more than God, to wish to have a God other than we have, or to have some signs and wonders by which we may see him, some outward symbol or manifestation that can be seen with the eye or heard with the ear rather than to rest in an invisible God and believe the faithful promise of Him whom eye hath not seen nor ear heard.
Is it possible the Bible is gathering dust on most shelves today because society can no longer take the time to comprehend the deep beauty and power of its words? In his scathing analysis of the fickleness of our postmodern times, author/historian Michael Hoffman argues that we as a civilization need to once again dwell inside the great books of history, beginning with the greatest of all: the Bible. Yet sadly, he observes, we have set it aside because we have lost the aptitude for critical reading with deep concentration because of our near-total immersion in electronic media…
The one thing the world tries to shun is mourning; its whole organization is based on the supposition that this is something to avoid. The philosophy of the world is, Forget your troubles, turn your back upon them, do everything you can not to face them. Things are bad enough without you going to look for troubles, says the world; therefore be as happy as you can. The whole organization of life, the pleasure mania, the money, the energy and enthusiasm that are expended in entertaining people, are all just an expression of the great aim of the world to get away from this idea of mourning and this spirit of mourning. But the gospel says, “Happy are they that mourn.” Indeed they are the only ones who are happy! (…)