“Nevertheless I am continually with You! You hold me by my right hand.” Psalm 73:23
This is the utterance of a faith which triumphs over contradictory circumstances and contradictory experiences.
Believer in Jesus, bear in mind that this “nevertheless” stands firm for you also, whatever may be the “although” of adverse circumstances and experiences you put before it.
Because of the covenant faithfulness of Him in whose hand of grace and love you are, you can truly say:
Although I am weak and helpless, “Nevertheless I am continually with You.”
Although I am vile and undeserving, “Nevertheless I am continually with You.”
Although I am so foolish and prone to wander, “Nevertheless I am continually with You.”
Although trials and afflictions beset me, “Nevertheless I am continually with You.”
Although all forsake me, “Nevertheless I am continually with You.”
Although I cannot realize Your presence, “Nevertheless I am continually with You.”
Thus, whatever may be your “although,” let the “nevertheless” of your faith always triumph, for . . .
the grasp of Christ’s hand never slackens,
the power of Christ’s arm never fails,
the love of Christ’s heart never changes.
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The path is always open and always free!
Christian! Always remember that all grace, and all light, and all joy is for you in a Person, and that Person is Jesus:
Jesus your Savior,
Jesus your Friend,
Jesus your Helper, and
Jesus your constant companion.
The Lord Jesus never places anything between your heart’s need, and Himself.
The path is always open and always free.
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In the darkest path, faith knows that there is . . .
an omniscient eye watching that never slumbers;
a omnipotent hand working that never wearies;
a loving heart that never changes;
and that both eye, and hand, and heart are, through sovereign grace, engaged in completing the work that grace began.
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The streams of grace never cease flowing, for . . .
Jehovah is the fountain whence they spring,
and Jesus the channel in which they run,
and needy hearts are the vessels they fill.
Oh! for a heart steadfastly fixed on Him, whose heart is so fixed in unchanging love on us.
How slow we are in following Christ! Oh! how impossible it sometimes seems to overcome that natural unlikeness to Christ which we still possess.
How difficult to avoid doing all things to please self, to exalt self—self with its leanings, and longings, and gratifications, and plans, and dislikes.
Believing in the same Lord Jesus as an ever-present friend and sure helper, brings the joy and peace of fellowship. This results in a sure hope of full deliverance from every evil, and a quiet waiting for the Lord’s time and way.
The Holy Spirit is ever working within, when the thoughts are quietly and trustfully fixed on Jesus. A believing and trusting heart is to the Holy Spirit a palace of delight, where He rejoices to heap up His hidden treasures, and unfold his deeper secrets. These treasures, these secrets are all in Christ Jesus. Yes, it is all “in believing,” believing and trusting as a little child.
Leaning on Him, looking to Him, and walking with Him in conscious need, and conscious fellowship, our path will be as the morning light which shines more and more to the perfect day.
Christian! In Jesus alone can you realize a sufficiency for every need, both for time and eternity.
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Jesus Himself is for our heart, trust, and love
In weakness and affliction, how precious it is to know that we have a Person to look to—a Person to lean upon; and that Person such a gracious and faithful friend as the Lord Jesus, who loved us so much as to die to save us. However much the mind may be interested in doctrines, nothing satisfies the heart but the consciousness of the sympathy and love of a real living friend, such as the Lord Jesus is. Doctrine is for our instruction and belief—Jesus Himself is for our heart, trust, and love.
Jesus is not a friend for sunny hours only, but also when the storm comes, and the thick black cloud, for He is in both storm and cloud with His ever-ready hand and His ever-loving heart. No changing providences imply any change in Him. All glory be to His name for evermore!
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We should make heart-work of all our dealings with Christ and doings for Christ. Many professors say and do, without the heart being engaged. As the heart is—so are we before the Lord. We may be very religious, very active, very faithful among our fellows and be much loved by them—and yet be very, very far from pleasing the Lord.
There may be a correct walk, according to man’s judgment, without a correct heart. The trees of the Lord’s planting bear fruit as the result of a good root—a heart rooted in Christ.
The Apostle Paul could say, “For me to live is Christ,” because he could say, “Christ lives in me.” The fruit of his life was Christ, because the root of his life was Christ.
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You may say, “How can I be sure that I am in Christ?”
Very easily. The Word of God gives its judgment concerning those who are in Christ by declaring that “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
The great distinction here is the new creature, or new creation. This new creation, or new life, is distinguished by its manifestations. The heart that possesses this new life has sorrows and joys and desires peculiar to itself.
It has SORROW because of spiritual failure and unfaithfulness.
It has sorrow because of cold-heartedness and lack of deeper interest in Divine things.
It has sorrow because of the ease with which the mind slides away from the consideration of spiritual things, to busy itself with the lesser matters, even the trifles of the day.
It has sorrow because of weariness, and wandering of thought in prayer.
It has sorrow because it is unable to read or meditate on holy things with more profit.
It has sorrow in so soon forgetting what is learned.
It has sorrow because the things known have so little influence in the heart and life.
These are some of the peculiar sorrows of the heart that possesses the new life—the sorrows of those who are in Christ.
The heart that possesses this new life has also its peculiar JOYS. The “old things” of the world are no longer the sources of highest joy, but the “new things” of the gospel kingdom, the kingdom of grace and love. It counts it one of its highest joys to have a realized interest in God’s salvation, and to realize in daily life the presence and love of the Lord Jesus.
Its ruling DESIRES, too, are not after the “old things” of a world-pleasing or carnal-pleasing nature—but after Christ . . .
to live for Him,
to be what He would wish,
to do what He would desire,
and thus better to know and love and serve Him.
This is the judgment of the Word of God concerning those who are “in Christ.” The subjects of this new creation are the objects of God’s everlasting love—and because they are so, He created them anew by His Holy Spirit, making them the subjects of His grace here, and the objects of eternal glory hereafter.
Is this so with you? Then you have indeed a sure foundation for eternity—a firm foundation whereon to build an assured hope of future glory. You are among the number of those whom the Father has given to the Lord Jesus to be the objects of His watchful and ceaseless care in this life, and hereafter to be presented by Him, faultless, before His glorious presence in Heaven.
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What believers need for their continued comfort and peace, is to be daily receiving Christ, not only as their Savior, but as their ever-living friend and helper.
You need to have an unwavering assurance of present salvation, and a bright and assured hope of future glory. You need the consciousness of possessing a faithful friend always with you, who can understand and help you, and overrule all things for your good; one who loves you truly, and whose love nothing can alter.
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What He has done for you is the result of a love without beginning and without end
The Lord Jesus did not die merely to make salvation possible for sinners, if they would but truly repent, and trust in Him, and persevere in faithfulness to the end of life.
He died, not to make salvation possible, but to make it certain, for all whom the Father gave Him. His death ensures that all such shall receive grace to repent and believe, and persevere to the end.
What He has done for you is the result of a love without beginning and without end. Whom He loves, He loves always; notwithstanding all the changes, and perverseness, and unworthiness of the object loved.
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Some things to be remembered!
The Apostle Paul speaks of “putting in mind.” The Apostle Peter also says, “I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them;” and again, “I think it fit to stir you up, by putting you in remembrance.” It is as needful now as in the days of the apostles, for believers to stir up one another by putting each other in remembrance of truths already known. Therefore—
Remember that your salvation is an accomplished fact which nothing can alter.
Remember that your salvation was accomplished when the Lord Jesus died; for by His death was removed the condemnation which your sins deserved.
Remember that you have nothing whatever to do to make the death of Christ effectual for your salvation; for it was made effectual for you personally by God your Father, when, in covenant with His beloved Son, He laid all your iniquities upon Him who bore them in His own body on the cross.
Remember it was because His death was effectual for your salvation you were brought by the Holy Spirit’s quickening influence (which quickening influence is one of the blessings resulting from salvation already provided) to see your need of this salvation, and your utter hopelessness without it.
Remember that your salvation was not accomplished because of any foreknowledge on God’s part that you would, as an awakened sinner, have a desire for reconciliation, and a desire after Christ. This desire for reconciliation, and this desire after Christ, are also blessings resulting from salvation already provided, and cannot, therefore, be any conditions to procure it. They are God’s gracious gift; He foreknowing that you would never have any true desires after Christ, until He awakened those desires by the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Remember that no tears of sorrow for sin, no prayers, no duties of any kind whatever—could have removed you from the position of a guilty criminal before justice, and have left you simply in the position of a child before a loving Father; but that this has been solely the doing of the glorious Three in One—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in covenant—whereby Christ Himself took the criminal position as your substitute, that you might take your place as a child, and look up to God as your Father, seeking daily forgiveness for daily sins from Him as your loving and gracious Father.
Remember that your Father readily gives more abundantly the Holy Spirit to His reconciled children, that they may better understand what He has done for them, and what the Lord Jesus has done for them; and to enable them to look more and more to the Lord Jesus, now at the right hand of God, so that they may receive from Him that grace which will enable them better to love and serve Him.
Remember that the evidence that salvation is yours, and, consequently, that all the good things of the covenant of grace are yours, and that Christ Himself is yours, rests on God’s pledged word.
That word is pledged on behalf of all sinners who are conscious of their guilt, and of their need of Christ, and who trust in Him for all their salvation. That word declares that they shall never perish, and that all the blessings of the covenant of grace are theirs (John 3:16; Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 3:21-23; Philippians 1:6).
You know that through grace you have been made conscious of your guilt and of your need of Christ, and that you rest only in the precious blood of Christ for salvation. Therefore to you is God’s Word pledged, and that Word is unchangeable.
These are a few of the blessings which are yours; and if you have them in constant remembrance, you cannot fail to have much comfort thereby, through the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit. Nor can you fail to render grateful praise, in heart and life, to the God of all grace, who has thus loaded you with benefits.
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The most prominent truths, with their effects in experience and practice, which the Holy Spirit usually teaches out of His Word to the soul that, notwithstanding every hindrance, really follows on to know the Lord, are as follows:
First. The soul experiences a state of unrest from a knowledge of its guilt before God, and inability to obey His law, and procure peace and salvation by its own efforts.
Second. The soul becomes conscious that salvation is through Christ alone, because of His bearing the curse of the law instead of the guilty, and thus looks only to Him, trusts only in Him. This soul is saved though it may not have the full assurance of a higher experience, or a spiritual understanding of the deep things of God.
Third. The soul learns its full acceptance, as well as full deliverance in Christ. It learns its standing in perfect and changeless righteousness before God, and rejoices with thankfulness in having been already made fit for the heavenly inheritance (Colossians 1:12).
Fourth. The soul further learns that salvation is not merely the manifestation of God’s mercy to undeserving sinners, but the manifestation of a Father’s love for His wandering and ruined children, for whom He has made all needful provision, so that they might at last reach the family home above, which His Fatherly love had provided for them. The soul now begins to realize sonship as well as salvation, and consciously takes its position as a child of God.
Fifth. The soul learns that salvation and its attendant blessings are the result of covenant arrangements between the Father and the Son before the world was; arrangements in which the Holy Spirit also had His part and office; and that nothing can hinder the full accomplishment of the Father’s purposes of everlasting love concerning His chosen family.
Sixth. The soul now begins to realize that it is one with Christ in all that Christ is, and has, as the first-born among many brethren, and their representative before the Father.
Seventh. The soul becomes more fully conscious of a hidden life before God, which is more its real life than its outward life among its fellows—a life of daily heart-communion with the risen and ascended—yet ever-present Jesus, as a loving friend and ever-ready helper in all the incidents, and duties, and trials of the daily path; earnestly desiring in all things to please Him and live to His glory; walking also in daily communion with the Father in a loving yet reverential manner, realizing His presence and love as that of a real Father, and earnestly desiring to live always as becomes the child of such a Father.
Such are some of the more prominent truths of the Word of God, which the Holy Spirit generally leads the soul into the experimental knowledge of.
Alas! how few understand the glorious privileges given them by the God of grace and love!
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He will never leave any sinner to die unquickened
The Holy Spirit never fails in due time to quicken with new life, all those whom Christ redeemed from the curse of the law by being made a curse for them.
He will never leave any sinner to die unquickened, for whom Jesus died.
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Our needs are particularly ordained by the Lord for each of His children, with a view to the particular spiritual training of each. Wisely and graciously He works, and with untiring discernment as to what is best suited for each, for He well knows that what is suitable for one will not be suitable for another. No two of His dearly loved ones have been led in exactly the same path of experience, although all are led by the hand of the same Father, and by the hand of the same Friend and Savior, the Lord Jesus (John 10:28, 29).
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Often His best and most blessed help is not in the exercise of His power to deliver, but in the gift of His grace to bear—not in the removal of tribulation, but in giving joy in the midst thereof.
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It is a cause for thankfulness if the Lord Jesus does not permit us to lean on any creature whatever. When we keep quite close to Him and do not even expect rest in anything or anybody else, nothing will move us. Let us then ever remember that Jesus is always with us. We have not to make His presence a fact, but to live conscious of that which is already and always a fact. We rest on that, and what our lips cannot even whisper forth of the struggling within, let our heart speak in silent communings with that loving One, who well knows all we are, and all we feel.
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It is when His perfect power meets our perfect weakness, and His greater grace our deeper ill-desert–that both His power and grace obtain their highest glory in us.
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Avoid all unnecessary things that have a tendency to lead you astray from Jesus.
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True believers are often wretched because they are not what they want to be. They doubt their sincerity because they see so many evils within, some of which, to their great grief, occasionally find an outlet in the daily life.
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It is always well to look above second causes for the secret reason of things, and to the believer such secret reason is ever found in that eternal love which chose him in Christ Jesus before the world was. That love, in union with infinite wisdom, plans all the path of grace, and all the path of providence to the end of the journey here.
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The great cause of the lack of spirituality of mind in believers is that they do not live in daily life as before the Lord, walking as in His presence with a sincere heart, being perfectly sincere before Him, perfectly open with Him in all things, and sincerely desirous of growing in the knowledge of Him.
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It is well to remember that the best help, in every season of need, is the realized presence and love of Jesus
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The heart of God the Father is ever full of love to all His chosen, redeemed, regenerate children. He loves them with an everlasting love. It is love from all eternity to all eternity.
If you would have full joy in Him, and constant strength for all from Him–then you must make much use of Him, as your living and ever-watchful, ever-present friend.
By bringing your need to Him, you not only obtain help, but you give Him glory by acknowledging Him thus, as your only hope and helper. Be intimate and constant in your dealings with Him, as the special friend and helper given you by your Father to be your guide, and strength, and joy all through life.
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Ever remember that this power of the Holy Spirit is given to believers to enable them to look more to Christ, to live more upon Christ, and to realize more fully the presence and love of Christ, and to receive more grace out of the fullness of Christ; for the power by which to live to God, and walk in faithfulness and victory, is the power and grace of Christ!
A Believer should look to the Lord Jesus and walk in fellowship with Him, as One who, though invisible, is yet personally watching over him as his almighty, ever-gracious, wise, and loving friend.
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The religion of the Gospel is the religion of sanctified common sense that can give a reason for things, because guided by the plain teachings of God’s Word.
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The believer carries within him, a foe as artful and deceitful as any outside, but more annoying and more untiring than those outside, because this enemy within is ever at hand and always ready to seize every opportunity to manifest its evil propensities.
Our hearts are ever a sowing and a growing ground. We may be assured that if the wheat is not growing luxuriantly within–then the tares are springing up a prolific crop.
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Our most earnest desire in fellowship with other believers should be increased fellowship with Jesus, increased knowledge of Him, increased likeness to Him, increased love for Him, and a fuller consecration to His service.