Quote from "Stepping Heavenward" by Mrs. E. Prentiss

"She says I shall now have one mouth more to fill and two feet the more to shoe, more disturbed nights, more laborious days, and less leisure or visiting, reading, music and drawing.

Well! This is one side of the story, to be sure, but I look at the other.

Here is a sweet, fragrant mouth to kiss; here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery. Here is a soul to train for God; and the body in which dwells is worthy of all it will cost, since it is the abode of a kingly tenant. I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom, while I minister in Christ's name, I make a willing sacrifice of what little leisure for my own recreation my other dear darlings had left me. Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her tenderest cares, to her lifelong prayers! Oh, how rich I am, how truly, wondrously blest!"

Thursday, January 5, 2017



I'm listening to the pitter patter of water splashing around my front window, as I'm snuggled warm and safe from the wintery elements, and am so thankful for this rain.   I'm thankful the fires in TN and NC are out.  I'm also so sorry for the families who have lost their homes and family members due to the fires.   [If you are looking for a way to help hurting families, search Renee Hand on my facebook page.  She is gathering things together to deliver to many folks north of us.]   As the children are already resting in their beds, (I doubt with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads), I reflected on the fact that I haven't written in forever.  Everyday I think of things I want to write about, but I never get a chance
 to sit down and type away.  So today, even though I've already taught all morning, picked up my sweet girl from college, lunched and led our Bible study group at  the house, worked for a few hours, and went to a Women's event tonight at church, I'm going to stop and write.

We are entering the season of Advent, and have begun decorating our little Jesse tree as we do short devotions daily as we approach Christmas.   However, I never wrote during November, so I'm going to step back a bit as I ponder on all the blessings that surround my life.   First of all, I'm thankful to the Lord for saving me and calling me His own.    This may seem like hogwash to someone who doesn't know Jesus personally, and I get that.  But to anyone who has tasted and seen the goodness of our Lord, you can't help but be overwhelmed by His grace and mercy towards those He calls His own.  I'm truly thankful, and wish I had adequate words to express how my heart rejoices in Him.
USED: Give Thanks to the Lord 8x10 Art Print Christian Bible Verse Thanksgiving:  

Next, I am thankful for my hard working, fun, handsome husband.   Our journey in this life has taken us through beautiful sunshine filled mountains, and some difficult dark valleys, but we have trekked through together hand and hand.  It has made our love richer and stronger.   Out of that overflow of love for one another, the Lord has blessed us with 8 wonderful children, 2 children-in-loves through marriage, and 2 beautiful grands.    The privilege of raising these children for the kingdom of God, and sharing their joys and pain, is an incredible thing.   You never knew your heart could love so deep, or hurt so much.  You rejoice with them over their joys and accomplishments, and your heart breaks for the things that they struggle with in this life.  When they are little, you try to fix everything for them, but it's not too long in parenting that you discover that you can't.  You can pray for them, encourage them, love them, then you must watch them fly, flounder, fall, and prayerfully rebound.   It's a beautiful thing to realize that the Lord, who is the perfect parent, does the same for us.   However, He is far more patient, and does nothing in fear of His reputation as we are tempted to do or wring His hands in worry.  

I'm also thankful for my family (Moms, Dads, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc) and friends who fill my life from end to end.   Family and friends who I can go without seeing or speaking to for literally months or years, and we are as comfortable as if we only spoke yesterday.  Ahhhh, the sweetness of friendships.    I'm thankful for women who fill my life from my various Classical Conversation groups, Potter's Hand group, Kiokee Baptist Church, my sweet K-Group ladies, Grace Fellowship, old neighbors, classmates, coworkers, and more.   I'm rich in people whose steps I've walked beside, enriching my life in so many ways as our paths have crossed throughout the seasons.

Choosing to live thankfully may be difficult at first.   I'm a half glass full (and overflowing) kind of girl, so honestly it's not too big a struggle for me.   But, I can tell you if you can habitually put it into practice it can change your life.    It's hard to be thankful, and gripe in the same breath.    So when you are tempted to complain, look at life or a situation with a half glass empty attitude, find something to be thankful for.   It works! 

I'll end this post with a poem I found along the way.   May we all choose to live our lives full of thanksgiving.   

A Thanksgiving

For summer rains, and winter’s sun,
For autumn breezes crisp and sweet;
For labors doing, to be done,
And labors all complete;
For April, May, and lovely June,
For bud, and bird, and berried vine;
For joys of morning, night, and noon,
My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine!
For loving friends on every side;
For children full of joyous glee;
For all the blessed Heavens wide,
And for the sounding sea;
For mountains, valleys, forests deep;
For maple, oak, and lofty pine;
For rivers on their seaward sweep,
My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine!
For light and air, for sun and shade,
For merry laughter and for cheer;
For music and the glad parade
Of blessings through the year;
For all the fruitful earth’s increase,
For home and life, and love divine,
For hope, and faith, and perfect peace,
My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine!
~~John Kendrick Bangs

Friday, May 6, 2016

India, Homeschooling, graduation, girl's weekend, great reads, and rest

It has been a while since I've had time to blog.  I finally took a deep breath from the busy-ness of the past year.   There are so many things I would like to write about as you can tell by the title of this blog.   However, it's late Friday night.  I will be writing on all those things asap.   I'm excited about them all.  We had graduation rehearsal tonight for child number 4.  I'll say what every old person says, "Where has the time gone?"   Except I know where they went.   Years of school, church, co-ops, friends, family, great days, hard days, days of disappointment, days of thankfulness, sick days, messy days, and fantastic-joy filled days.   It's been and continues to be an adventure.   So tonight as I await my little girl's arrival from an out of town birthday trip, I'm thanking the Lord for allowing us the privilege of raising children for His kingdom.   I'm trusting He will take my meager attempts, successes and failures, and bless them.   I'm thankful that He is giving me 4 more chances to lean on Him and grow as a Mom and teacher.  Tomorrow we watch our fella walk across the stage and towards the next stage of his life.  What an exciting day.

I'll add some graduation pictures later.   Good night and God bless.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Great Advice!

"Times of discouragement, suffering, and opposition will come to every Christian, so it's worth preparing ourselves for situations like these, before we are in the thick of it.  Here are some things that can help a Christian to stand firm in times of trouble:  developing a routine of personal Bible-reading and prayer that can keep you going when facing difficulties; memorizing key passages of Scripture that you can bring to mind at moments of stress or crisis; developing friendships with mature Christians who will pray for you and look out for you; reading about Christians who have suffered and being inspired by their perseverance and achievements...Why not choose one of these practical steps and start putting it into action?"  ~Mary Davis "Women of Faith from the Old Testament" 

{This looks like a Bluedorn picture, but unfortunately I saved it to my photos without the name.  However, I have three of her books, and this beautiful art looks like her work]

Monday, April 20, 2015

They Called Him Uncle Tommy, but His Name Was Harry

Yesterday was the celebration of my Uncle Tommy's life.  He had been a victim of that insidious disease Alzheimer's.   My Uncle Paul who conducted the ceremony described him as a sweet older brother which I found so interesting.    So many times in families you hear how the oldest was mean, bossy, demanding, etc.    Maybe my ears tuned in to those comments because I'm an oldest and know I could definitely be some of those things.   He said they had their scuffles, but never once did his older brother punch or hit him.    He was a sweet brother who would turn away from conflict except when it came to war.   He was still in high school when the Korean War began.   My grandfather had to sign he could go because he was only 17.   But he felt the need to join the battle.   It was so interesting to me that my Uncle Paul described the reasons many joined the wars of their generation was not only strong love for their country, but their strong faith in the Lord.    That's a thought I am going to have to chew on.    Don't get me wrong I believe it.   I've read books on Stonewall Jackson and his letters to his wife during the civil war which were full of scripture and love of the Lord but, I guess too many movies and stories have made it all about American Patriotism alone, and not their faith.   

He led the way for his brothers whether it was football, his love for country joining the military, or his faith.   You see all 3 of my uncles and my father were military men at some point.   Uncle Tommy later became an accountant, but my father, Uncle Billy and Uncle Paul (chaplain) were all military men and being the eldest son he was the first.
I love, love, love hearing the stories of a person's life.   My Uncle Paul was actually married before my Uncle Tommy and when he asked Uncle Tommy to come to his wedding he said he didn't want to witness a murder.    Of course, he came and supposedly sat in the back row.   My uncle Paul laughed and said if you knew him, it wasn't a mean comment but his humor.    Soon after Aunt Marilyn (Uncle Paul's wife and I believe Aunt Sue's cousin) got a call from Aunt Sue that Uncle Tommy had called and asked if she would date him.    Of course, she did and as they say "the rest is history."   My Uncle Paul did say he couldn't come home for the wedding, but wished he could have been their for "the murder".   

Uncle Paul contributes he and his siblings strong faith to their mother and father.    Grandma Williams was the godliest woman they all knew even today.    She was a mighty prayer warrior.    His father, Grandpa Harry Williams,  was a baseball man for the beginning of the children's growing up years.   I remember seeing newspaper clippings at my Aunt Sara's house of him from his baseball career.   His mother, my Grandma Williams, would faithfully take all the children to church on Sunday.   There were six of them and my daddy was the youngest.   While they were at church, my grandfather was at baseball.   When he could no longer play, he coached or umpired.    Then he was captured by the Lord and saved.   What a wonderful memory for his family.   He then played an active role spiritually in the lives of his children.    Uncle Tommy had a godly heritage.

My Aunt Edna and cousin Leslie both talked about a story when he was young and outran a bull.   They (Edna and Tommy) were supposed to be home by three and cut through a cow pasture.   But in that pasture there was a bull and then a run to get out of the pasture.   Aunt Edna made it in time to get out of the gate but Uncle Tommy had to jump through the barbed wire and made it without one scratch!.   .

After his service to his country, he went back to finish school.   He was 23 years old and went back to high school.   What courage and dedication that was to obtaining an education.    He saw that Uncle Paul was going to college afterwards and thought if his brother could do it so could he.   So he worked nights for the power company (I think) and went to school during the day to get his degree.   

My earliest memories of Uncle Tommy and Aunt Sue were from when we came home from Germany.   I was ten years old.   After apartment living on 17 Frieburger Strasse in Heidelburg Germany, my siblings and I thought they had the biggest house ever with a huge back yard.   We laugh now about how we returned as adults and it was a nice sized, beautiful home, but not the mansion of our memories.    We loved being there.   There home was full of laughter and love.  Not only did Uncle Tommy and Aunt Sue surround us with their love, it was hard to believe their teenage children (our cousins) would give us so much attention.    I mean we knew they were in  high school and were football players and a majorette and we were only 10, 7, and 4.   We loved any time we got the chance to visit.

My last visit at their home my sister Sandi and I were at a home school conference in Tennessee and we wanted to stop by on our way home.    My sweet aunt Sue was already in the early stages of battling Parkinson's disease and although she had always been an excellent cook, it was too difficult now.   We went to KFC where they refused to let us pay for our lunch.   They were the type of family that was truly excited to spend time with you and you always left them full of joy.   I believe I saw them at my Uncle Wally's funeral, but that was my chemo year and my memories are very blurry.   Chemo brain is real.   That's another thing that I never doubted.   When I was battling cancer, I knew they were praying for me.

So why did they call him Uncle Tommy when his name was Harry?    I hope my cousins at some point tell me their version of this story.   When I was looking at the pictures before the service, my brother asked the same thing when we saw his name plate on the table that said Harry Carroll Williams.   Carroll was my grandmother's maiden name.  She was a descendent from Charles Carroll of Carrolton who signed the Declaration of Independence.    Harry was my grandfather's name as well.   So where did Tommy come from.   My father said a girl he dated didn't like calling him Harry so she called him Tommy.    My Uncle Billy said he thought that's what their grandfather called him and it stuck.   My Uncle Paul said that a neighbor friend held him up as a baby and said he should be named Tommy and it stuck.      Whatever the reason, he was always Uncle Tommy to me, my brother and sister.
As my cousin Greg told me before the service, he is out of pain, home with the Lord and it's a good thing.    That's the wonderful thing about knowing your family knows Jesus personally.   You can rejoice that they are in a better place where there is no more horrible diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or cancer.    They will reunite with their family that has gone before, and more importantly spend eternity in the presence of our Lord.     Although we may shed tears for our loss of a great man, we rejoice that we will one day see him again and we rejoice that he is absent from the body and present with our Lord.

Please continue to pray for his family and especially my Aunt Sue.     That stinking Parkinson's is kicking her behind.    I LOVED seeing the sweet attentiveness from her daughters-in-love.   The love of her children and their wives did my heart good.    She is still one of the sweetest people I know.  I would love for you to pray that her last days may still be her best days, that a cure for this disease is found, that she will be strengthened by the Lord during this sad time, and that she would be continually surrounded by the love of family and her God.   

Thursday, March 26, 2015


It's been a while since I've written, but this subject has been in my heart for a while.  I wrote it two nights ago and wasn't sure whether to put it on the blog or if it was just for me and the Lord.   Then when my teens got out of youth last night, I asked (like I do every Wednesday night) the following question:  what did you guys talk about?   They told me boredom like when you get bored reading the Bible.   I about jumped out of my seat and told them I couldn't wait to show them what I had written the night before.   So here's my story.

It was my turn to be a help in children's church.   The leaders were presenting the Gospel message and I caught myself rehashing the Gospel message a little ahead of them in my head with a blah, blah, blah attitude as if to say "okay, I got it, move on!"   Then I came to myself.   My heart hurt when I realized I had become bored of the Gospel.

You may think that I live in the South and have heard it all my life so it's not surprising.   I have lived here most of my life, but was Catholic most of my growing up years.  However, went to Windy Gap camp one summer and accepted the Lord Jesus as my Savior.   But, when I got back home, although I was excited and believed, I pretty much went the same way in life except my conscience guided me or convicted me for a few years before I knew how to walk out my faith.   Then as a  young mom, I came to the end of myself, and in my 1984 Mazda truck in the work parking lot on my lunch hour listening to "Focus on the Family" I surrendered my all to the Lord and wanted more.   I wanted to grow in my faith.   Those first years following that moment were exciting years.   I was studying God's Word, continually being amazed at His Grace towards me, soaking in sermons from the pulpit, and joy was overflowing from my heart.  Although I still had many struggles, they seemed such  light afflictions compared to what Christ was doing in me.   He was with me, and I knew it.  

Now I am older, and I see many older Christians becoming cynical towards the church.  In fact, statistics show a larger portion of the population that call themselves Christians no longer feel they need to be a part of a church.   And I get being disappointed in the church, because we are just people in the Church.   People are messy.    We get it wrong and we fail a lot.   But the Scriptures are clear.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church
and gave himself up for her,   Eph 5:25
Hebrews 10:24-25 says 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another
on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together,
as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another
and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Because Christ loves the Church, and I want to not give up meeting together, I will continue to go to Church to be challenged, to have opportunities to learn, and to encourage one another towards love and good deeds as I look towards the return of Jesus.    I wonder if the walking away from the fellowship of other Christians is not only from hurts, but getting bored of the Gospel.

Although I was guarding myself from becoming a negative, cynical person, I didn't see the boredom creeping up in my life.    Scarier thought for me was if I'm bored of the Gospel, why should my children and grandchildren be excited about the Good News?

Fortunately for the Grace of the Lord that convicts us, it grieved me that I would get bored over the greatest gift of all.  It grieved me that this news wasn't being treasured in my heart.   Most of all, it grieved me how it would grieve my Savior that I would yawn at the news of His sacrifice.

What was the cure for my boredom?     Although I don't want to be like Lot's wife and look back because I think I'm missing something.   I do want to look back and remember the joy of my salvation.   I wanted to remember, really remember, who I was before Jesus saved me.  I want to remember the guilt I felt for my many sins, and the freedom I felt when Christ flooded my heart with His Spirit.   I want to recall the excitement of the Gospel.      Secondly, I purposed to stop myself the moment I feel that ho-hum yawn towards the things of God and pray for the Lord to light the fire in my heart again, and flood my soul anew with the joy of my salvation.   Lastly, I pray the Lord will not allow me to become a comfortable, cynical, complacent Christian, and that He will remind me daily of the Gift that He is.   Because, if we really embrace the Truth of the Gospel, we will never be bored, but should be the happiest people of all!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Merry Christmas

Eventually this month I will put my Christmas letter up on the ol' blog, but I haven't got there yet.

What's happening in your world?  We have already begun the fun, busy Christmas season.  We had our co-op Christmas party last Thursday in our classes.   I went to the home school mom party at a sweet friend's home Friday evening.    We hosted the sign language Christmas party Monday night.   Tuesday night we went with friends to The Lights in the South.   Today after work and school we are visiting an aunt and then the children have church tonight.     In all this busyness, I am trying to keep up with our Advent readings to keep our focus on Jesus and as cliche as it sounds "the reason for the season".      Now don't think we get it perfect, we may have to do 2 or 3 sometimes to just stay on track because we had a wee one fall asleep as we read "The Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens or on the way home from one of our escapades.   I will put up several ideas for Advent this week.    Today I am going to leave you with a short Christmas clip.     May you be blessed this Christmas season.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Hope you are all living a life full of Thanksgiving to our great God and Creator.    We are reminded more to be thankful this season of year, but we would do well to be thankful always.

Go here to hear Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the
year of our

Friday, June 13, 2014

Preach It!!

We have a dangerous, demanding, yet supremely delightful and destiny-fulfilling God-authored, Christ-centered, cross-shaped, and resurrection empowered –WHOLE GOSPEL, that is not just in word only – but in power in the Holy Spirit, with much assurance! God desires that His people recover and are captivated and motivated with a passion for His-Story – the Big, Good News Story that’s played out on the stage of life with a God-entranced view of the world; that’s hope-filled, joy-abounding, Spirit-empowered, Christ-exalting, and devil-crushing, and world-conquering!And it is too good to keep to ourselves! So, tell it out and shout it out, and let the whole wayward world know that GOD is great and good and the gospel is the greatest news ever to fall own human ears!

To read this entire sermon go here!    

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Be Still

I am not sure about you, but I need this reminder often.   I KNOW He is Lord, but I am not often still.

I can keep so busy that I don't enjoy the moment I am in, give adequate attention to my husband, children, or home.   I often wake up running to the Y, home to prepare breakfast, school, chores, errands, appointments, etc. and before I know it I have sped through an entire week.   Sometimes, like this week, it cannot be helped.   I am thankful to be able to help my mom while she recovers from surgery on 2 broken bones.   However, sometimes, I get too focused on the list of to do's and not enough on His Word, in prayer, or the sweet blessings that surround me.  This is a reminder to me today that as I get my ever growing list done, take time with the Lord, sing with my family as we live out our days together, let His Word fill my heart and home, be thankful, and laugh.    Hope you have a wonderful, joy-filled week!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Yes Lord, Even This

It has been a busy, busy week.    We are testing this week.   Which means I have to take the kiddos to be tested every morning from 8:45 until 11:45.    We were down a vehicle, yet have found a vehicle through a friend that she let us use this week.  We have decided to purchase it and it has so helped from Tuesday on with our many plans.   We have had so much to do it has still been a juggling act.    Looked something like this:

Went to North Augusta to check out car
Went to Waynesboro to check out house for repairs
Basketball with kiddos that evening
Computer #1 quit turning on (have to figure out time to repair)

Pick up milk for milk co-op
Friend comes to visit :D
Begin soaking beans

Pay Bills
One son has afternoon job downtown
Earth Fare for their $2.99/# healthy chicken and Aldi for a few things including pizza for the night
Another son has afternoon job in country
Daughter & grandkiddos come over the afternoon
Rusty works that night
Walk with sister
Cook beans with ham and bone (saved from a previous meal to put in crock pot tomorrow)

Weigh in for team lean before testing
Visit with a wonderful friend during testing
Home to make lunch before afternoon classes at the house
Great group of students/moms come over & have a short discussion on "To Kill A Mockingbird" then
Dissections of hearts and eyes
Dog begins having puppies
Rusty goes to work
Aunt Fran picks Praise & I up for dinner before churches sip & clip tea for VBS
Come home to another puppy
Christopher begins throwing up
Clean floors, walls, and more laundry
Quick blog update
Begin homemade yogurt
Soak freshly ground wheat dough for tomorrow's bread
Start cole slaw before cabbage goes bad

Meet sister a bit early to pick up niece
Husband's appt with orthopedic guy to discuss MRI
Clean up church after testing
Son works in Appling in afternoon
Finish bread
Refrigerate yogurt

This weekend:
See granddaughter's last soccer game
Do mom's taxes
Catch up housework
Nephew comes in to spend his spring break with us (yay)
Sew for orphans
Plan co-op classes for next year to send in
Boys work

Amidst it all, I still had to make breakfast, lunch & dinner for the masses and they still wanted clean laundry (of all the nerve!!)   At one time, this kind of week would have MAJORLY stressed me out and I can honestly say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU LORD!!!

Thank you that I am still alive to clean the puke off the walls and all the way down the hall.
Thank you Lord that I will mop the bathroom 1,000 times while my dog has puppies.
Thank you Lord that I will be behind on cleaning, but still have a home to clean and am well enough to do it.
Thank you Lord for friends and family who still come over to cut into creatures during their busy week for Biology and overlook the things we haven't got to in all our craziness.
Thank you Lord for work for my husband, and my boys.
Thank you Lord for healing me, loving me, saving me, filling me with peace and joy through it all and blessing me with family and friends to share this journey of life with.   It's a great week and YES LORD, I thank you for all of this and so much more.

(Got to run.....hear a toilet being hugged!!!)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.
Be still.

~St. Patrick

Friday, January 17, 2014

Happy New Year

I have pondered what I'd write on this New Year's post, and I came up with a hodge podge of thoughts that I am going to attempt to put down.   Think of this more of a "quilt" type post with lots of different patterns and colors, and maybe (hopefully) I can wrap up the end and have designed a decent pattern from my rambling thoughts.

Seems like every New Year as I pack up the tree, I am moved to super clean out everything, organize every thing from my home, my calendar, my school schedule, our menu plan, our exercise schedule, to any other schedule I use. There's something about starting a fresh year that makes me want a clean slate.   Not just external things, but internal things as well.    When I take a true gaze inside, I am usually not too excited about what I see.  I am definitely still a major work in progress.   The older and "wiser" I get, the more I know that I don't know.    Yet, (praise the Lord), I am not what I was.   I may get disappointed in my actions/thoughts, but I no longer dress in a coat of shame that I did my younger years.   Instead I will keep my eyes on the Lord and try to keep that inward hook that focuses only on myself packed away.

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; 
my soul shall exult in my God, 
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
 he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, 
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, 
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10   

Although I am not a person that suffers from ADHD, you would think my cleaning and writing habits suffer from it.   I started this 15 days ago and have got distracted by legitimate life in a big home schooling family things.   Then my cleaning usually goes like this.   1) Take down the tree.   2) Nope, get down the boxes from the attic.   3) Nope, lets go through the boxes and decide what we will ever use again and goodwill whatever we won't.  4) Okay now we will put the Christmas stuff in the boxes.  5) Did the dryer go off?   Let me get the clothes out and fold them.   6)  Is it  11:00?  Before I get the clothes away let me get things ready for lunch.  7)    Me:  Hey guys, put away dishes so I can make lunch."    Then I fill the sink up with warm water so I can wash as I cook.    Things are started.   Let me check on how the tree is going.   8)  Back to packing up tree until the next step in preparing lunch unless I heard the washer stop.    If it's sunny, let's hang out the laundry.    9)   Start hanging laundry, but before I go in I better pick up this trash the dog must have found.   Then they may end up with me cleaning off the back porch.   10)   Wait a minute, it's lunch time.   Hey guys, let's put away laundry so we can eat.   When you add this to my school days....well I'll just let you imagine how that could go.    I have to stay intentionally focused during school days or my guys would all still be in 2nd grade at the rate I could wander.   Anyway,  every year I make goals.   Family, school, personal goals in all kinds of areas.    I have found even if I don't come close to meeting them all, I accomplish more than I would have if I hadn't dreamed so big.      So this year's goals are almost identical to last year's goals except I replaced the books I wanted to read, my children needed to read, trips we went on, etc. with new books, different trips, etc.   Most of all I want the Lord to be foremost in my life.    More than checking off another accomplishment off my list (or being neglectful of the many duties I do have), I hope to press into Christ and draw nearer to Him this year.  

The truest lengthening of life is to live while we live, 
wasting no time but using every hour for the highest ends. 
So be it this day. 
~Charles Spurgeon

While reading Pastor Wade Trimmer's New Year post (that you can find here), my heart just rejoiced and resonated with the truths he shared.     I hope this little paragraph that I borrowed will encourage you as much as it did me:
        Negativity says the best is behind and the worst is ahead. Faith says yesterday ended last night 
        and there is no time like the present. In fact today is God’s gift to me that’s the reason why it’s 
        called the Present! Negativity lives by the TGIF view of life (Thank God It’s Friday). Faith lives 
        by the TGIT philosophy (Thank God It’s Today!). Faith lives each day as the first day of the rest 
        of my life and it lives each day if it were the last. If you live as though each day were your last, 
        someday you will wake up to discover that you were finally right! 

The sermon at Kiokee from Pastor Steve gave a few weeks ago also spoke to my heart about what my desires should be this coming year and always.   He asked us do we want to thrive, strive, survive?   What is my greatest desire?   What will be my passion?   Paul's singular passion was Jesus.   He would endure all things just to have Jesus.   We don't need Jesus AND, we JUST need Jesus.     He then gave 4 points about what will happen when Jesus becomes our singular passion from I Cor. 3-4:2.  1)  God is explained.  (When Paul saw Jesus for who He was, He saw God for Who He was....and of course, is).    2)  My life is transformed from glory to glory, a work of the Holy Spirit, not earned. 3)  Thanksgiving replaces entitlement (4:1).  Paul never carried a sense of entitlement, instead in all things he told us not to lose heart.   Why?   The mercy of a gracious Father who doesn't give us what we all deserve.   Hell.   4) Truth Matters.   It doesn't matter what you think it says.   It matter what it says.   The foundation IS his Word.   It keeps us accountable and is our guide.  

So as I clean out, plan, and move forward I discover once again amidst my striving, my planning, and struggles that the singularly most important thing this year and every other is that I want and I need Jesus to be my magnificent obsession.   Although I may have piles of papers to sort, children's clothes to put away, a pantry to clean, good books to read, weight to lose, exercise to fit in, and loads of school to teach and do with the munchkins, it all doesn't really matter if my priorities are out of whack.  They are as filthy rags says Isaiah (64:6).   OUR righteousness means nothing, nada, zilch, kaput.   Again I must be reminded that the things that need the most decluttering is my mind and heart.  Lord Jesus, let it be so!   Be my magnificent obsession.   

“If you don't feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, 
it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. 
 It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. 
Your soul is stuffed with small things, 
and there is no room for the great.”
John Piper,
A Hunger For God


Thursday, January 16, 2014

On the Method of Grace....George Whitefield

In our American Literature class this year (where I have used "Words Aptly Spoken:  American Literature"), we have read so many books such as "Tom Sawyer", "An Old-Fashioned Girl", "Billy Budd," "Edgar Allen Poe's Pit and the Pendulum," "Call of the Wild", "Red Badge of Courage", and more.    This week's assignment was to read 3 early American sermons.   The sermon below was so good, I had to add it to my blog this week.   Please take time to read it and I hope it speaks to your heart the way it did mine.    If you'd like to listen to it being preached as you read it, begin at this first link and it will lead you to the next.

The Method of Grace

Jeremiah 6:14 — “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace. 

As God can send a nation or people no greater blessing than to give them faithful, sincere, and upright ministers, so the greatest curse that God can possibly send upon a people in this world, is to give them over to blind, unregenerate, carnal, lukewarm, and unskilled guides. And yet, in all ages, we find that there have been many wolves in sheep's clothing, many that daubed with untempered mortar, that prophesied smoother things than God did allow. As it was formerly, so it is now; there are many that corrupt the Word of God and deal deceitfully with it. It was so in a special manner in the prophet Jeremiah's time; and he, faithful to his Lord, faithful to that God who employed him, did not fail from time to time to open his mouth against them, and to bear a noble testimony to the honor of that God in whose name he from time to time spake. If you will read this prophecy, you will find that none spake more against such ministers than Jeremiah, and here especially in the chapter out of which the text is taken, he speaks very severely against them — he charges them with several crimes; particularly, he charges them with covetousness: says he in the 13th verse, ‘from the least of them even to the greatest of them, every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest, every one dealeth false.’ And then, in the words of the text, in a more special manner, he exemplifies how they had dealt falsely, how they had behaved treacherously to poor souls: says he, ‘They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace.’ The prophet, in the name of God, had been denouncing war against the people, he had been telling them that their house should be left desolate, and that the Lord would certainly visit the land with war. ‘Therefore,’ says he, in the 11th verse, ‘I am full of the fury of the Lord; I am weary with holding in; I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together; for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days. And their houses shall be turned unto others, with their fields and wives together; for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord.’ 

 The prophet gives a thundering message, that they might be terrified and have some convictions and inclinations to repent; but it seems that the false prophets, the false priests, went about stifling people's convictions, and when they were hurt or a little terrified, they were for daubing over the wound, telling them that Jeremiah was but an enthusiastic preacher, that there could be no such thing as war among them, and saying to people, Peace, peace, be still, when the prophet told them there was no peace. The words, then, refer primarily unto outward things, but I verily believe have also a further reference to the soul, and are to be referred to those false teachers, who, when people were under conviction of sin, when people were beginning to look towards heaven, were for stifling their convictions and telling them they were good enough before. And, indeed, people generally love to have it so; our hearts are exceedingly deceitful, and desperately wicked; none but the eternal God knows how treacherous they are. How many of us cry, Peace, peace, to our souls, when there is no peace! How many are there who are now settled upon their lees, that now think they are Christians, that now flatter themselves that they have an interest in Jesus Christ; whereas if we come to examine their experiences, we shall find that their peace is but a peace of the devil's making — it is not a peace of God's giving — it is not a peace that passeth human understanding. It is matter, therefore, of great importance, my dear hearers, to know whether we may speak peace to our hearts. We are all desirous of peace; peace is an unspeakable blessing; how can we live without peace? And, therefore, people from time to time must be taught how far they must go, and what must be wrought in them, before they can speak peace to their hearts. This is what I design at present, that I may deliver my soul, that I may be free from the blood of those to whom I preach — that I may not fail to declare the whole counsel of God. I shall, from the words of the text, endeavor to show you what you must undergo, and what must be wrought in you before you can speak peace to your hearts. 

But before I come directly to this, give me leave to premise a caution or two. And the first is, that I take it for granted you believe religion to be an inward thing; you believe it to be a work in the heart, a work wrought in the soul by the power of the Spirit of God. If you do not believe this, you do not believe your Bibles. If you do not believe this, though you have got your Bibles in your hand, you hate the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart; for religion is everywhere represented in Scripture as the work of God in the heart. ‘The kingdom of God is within us,’ says our Lord; and, ‘He is not a Christian who is one outwardly; but he is a Christian who is one inwardly.’ If any of you place religion in outward things, I shall not perhaps please you this morning; you will understand me no more when I speak of the work of God upon a poor sinner's heart, than if I were talking in an unknown tongue. I would further premise a caution, that I would by no means confine God to one way of acting. I would by no means say, that all persons, before they come to have a settled peace in their hearts, are obliged to undergo the same degrees of conviction. No; God has various ways of bringing his children home; his sacred Spirit bloweth when, and where, and how it listeth. But, however, I will venture to affirm this, that before ever you can speak peace to your heart, whether by shorter or longer continuance of your convictions, whether in a more pungent or in a more gentle way, you must undergo what I shall hereafter lay down in the following discourse. 

First, then, before you can speak peace to your hearts, you must be made to see, made to feel, made to weep over, made to bewail, your actual transgressions against the law of God. According to the covenant of works, ‘The soul that sinneth it shall die;’ cursed is that man, be he what he may, that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them. We are not only to do some things, but we are to do all things, and we are to continue so to do; so that the least deviation from the moral law, according to the covenant of works, whether in thought, word, or deed, deserves eternal death at the hand of God. And if one evil thought, if one evil word, if one evil action, deserves eternal damnation, how many hells, my friends, do every one of us deserve, whose whole lives have been one continued rebellion against God! Before ever, therefore, you can speak peace to your hearts, you must be brought to see, brought to believe, what a dreadful thing it is to depart from the living God. And now, my dear friends, examine your hearts, for I hope you came hither with a design to have your souls made better. Give me leave to ask you, in the presence of God, whether you know the time, and if you do not know exactly the time, do you know there was a time, when God wrote bitter things against you, when the arrows of the Almighty were within you? Was ever the remembrance of your sins grievous to you? Was the burden of your sins intolerable to your thoughts? Did you ever see that God's wrath might justly fall upon you, on account of your actual transgressions against God? Were you ever in all your life sorry for your sins? Could you ever say, My sins are gone over my head as a burden too heavy for me to bear? Did you ever experience any such thing as this? Did ever any such thing as this pass between God and your soul? If not, for Jesus Christ's sake, do not call yourselves Christians; you may speak peace to your hearts, but there is no peace. May the Lord awaken you, may the Lord convert you, may the Lord give you peace, if it be his will, before you go home! 

But further: you may be convinced of your actual sins, so as to be made to tremble, and yet you may be strangers to Jesus Christ, you may have no true work of grace upon your hearts. Before ever, therefore, you can speak peace to your hearts, conviction must go deeper; you must not only be convinced of your actual transgressions against the law of God, but likewise of the foundation of all your transgressions. And what is that? I mean original sin, that original corruption each of us brings into the world with us, which renders us liable to God's wrath and damnation. There are many poor souls that think themselves fine reasoners, yet they pretend to say there is no such thing as original sin; they will charge God with injustice in imputing Adam's sin to us; although we have got the mark of the beast and of the devil upon us, yet they tell us we are not born in sin. Let them look abroad into the world and see the disorders in it, and think, if they can, if this is the paradise in which God did put man. No! everything in the world is out of order. I have often thought, when I was abroad, that if there were no other argument to prove original sin, the rising of wolves and tigers against man, nay, the barking of a dog against us, is a proof of original sin. Tigers and lions durst not rise against us, if it were not for Adam's first sin; for when the creatures rise up against us, it is as much as to say, You have sinned against God, and we take up our Master's quarrel. If we look inwardly, we shall see enough of lusts, and man's temper contrary to the temper of God. There is pride, malice, and revenge, in all our hearts; and this temper cannot come from God; it comes from our first parent, Adam, who, after he fell from God, fell out of God into the devil. However, therefore, some people may deny this, yet when conviction comes, all carnal reasonings are battered down immediately and the poor soul begins to feel and see the fountain from which all the polluted streams do flow. When the sinner is first awakened, he begins to wonder — How came I to be so wicked? The Spirit of God then strikes in, and shows that he has no good thing in him by nature; then he sees that he is altogether gone out of the way, that he is altogether become abominable, and the poor creature is made to live down at the foot of the throne of God, and to acknowledge that God would be just to damn him, just to cut him off, though he never had committed one actual sin in his life. Did you ever feel and experience this, any of you — to justify God in your damnation — to own that you are by nature children of wrath, and that God may justly cut you off, though you never actually had offended him in all your life? If you were ever truly convicted, if your hearts were ever truly cut, if self were truly taken out of you, you would be made to see and feel this. And if you have never felt the weight of original sin, do not call yourselves Christians. I am verily persuaded original sin is the greatest burden of a true convert; this ever grieves the regenerate soul, the sanctified soul. The indwelling of sin in the heart is the burden of a converted person; it is the burden of a true Christian. He continually cries out, “O! who will deliver me from this body of death,' this indwelling corruption in my heart? This is that which disturbs a poor soul most. And, therefore, if you never felt this inward corruption, if you never saw that God might justly curse you for it, indeed, my dear friends, you may speak peace to your hearts, but I fear, nay, I know, there is no true peace. 

Further: before you can speak peace to your hearts, you must not only be troubled for the sins of your life, the sin of your nature, but likewise for the sins of your best duties and performances. When a poor soul is somewhat awakened by the terrors of the Lord, then the poor creature, being born under the covenant of works, flies directly to a covenant of works again. And as Adam and Eve hid themselves among the trees of the garden, and sewed fig leaves together to cover their nakedness, so the poor sinner, when awakened, flies to his duties and to his performances, to hide himself from God, and goes to patch up a righteousness of his own. Says he, I will be mighty good now — I will reform — I will do all I can; and then certainly Jesus Christ will have mercy on me. But before you can speak peace to your heart, you must be brought to see that God may damn you for the best prayer you ever put up; you must be brought to see that all your duties — all your righteousness — as the prophet elegantly expresses it — put them all together, are so far from recommending you to God, are so far from being any motive and inducement to God to have mercy on your poor soul, that he will see them to be filthy rags, a menstruous cloth — that God hates them, and cannot away with them, if you bring them to him in order to recommend you to his favor. My dear friends, what is there in our performances to recommend us unto God? Our persons are in an unjustified state by nature, we deserve to be damned ten thousand times over; and what must our performances be? We can do no good thing by nature: ‘They that are in the flesh cannot please God.’ You may do many things materially good, but you cannot do a thing formally and rightly good; because nature cannot act above itself. It is impossible that a man who is unconverted can act for the glory of God; he cannot do anything in faith, and ‘whatsoever is not of faith is sin.’ After we are renewed, yet we are renewed but in part, indwelling sin continues in us, there is a mixture of corruption in every one of our duties; so that after we are converted, were Jesus Christ only to accept us according to our works, our works would damn us, for we cannot pt up a prayer but it is far from that perfection which the moral law requireth. I do not know what you may think, but I can say that I cannot pray but I sin — I cannot preach to you or any others but I sin — I can do nothing without sin; and, as one expresseth it, my repentance wants to be repented of, and my tears to be washed in the precious blood of my dear Redeemer. Our best duties are as so many splendid sins. Before you can speak peace in your heart, you must not only be made sick of your original and actual sin, but you must be made sick of your righteousness, of all your duties and performances. There must be a deep conviction before you can be brought out of your self-righteousness; it is the last idol taken out of our heart. The pride of our heart will not let us submit to the righteousness of Jesus Christ. But if you never felt that you had o righteousness of your own, if you never felt the deficiency of your own righteousness, you cannot come to Jesus Christ. There are a great many now who may say, Well, we believe all this; but there is a great difference betwixt talking and feeling. Did you ever feel the want of a dear Redeemer? Did you ever feel the want of Jesus Christ, upon the account of the deficiency of your own righteousness? And can you now say from your heart, Lord, thou mayst justly damn me for the best duties that ever I did perform? If you are not thus brought out of self, you may speak peace to yourselves, but yet there is no peace. 

But then, before you can speak peace to your souls, there is one particular sin you must be greatly troubled for, and yet I fear there are few of you think what it is; it is the reigning, the damning sin of the Christian world, and yet the Christian world seldom or never think of it. And pray what is that? It is what most of you think you are not guilty of — and that is, the sin of unbelief. Before you can speak peace to your heart, you must be troubled for the unbelief of you heart. But, can it be supposed that any of you are unbelievers here in this church-yard, that are born in Scotland, in a reformed country, that go to church every Sabbath? Can any of you that receive the sacrament once a year — O that it were administered oftener! — can it be supposed that you who had tokens for the sacrament, that you who keep up family prayer, that any of you do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? I appeal to your own hearts, if you would not think me uncharitable, if I doubted whether any of you believed in Christ; and yet, I fear upon examination, we should find that most of you have not so much faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the devil himself. I am persuaded the devil believes more of the Bible than most of us do. He believes the divinity of Jesus Christ; that is more than many who call themselves Christians do; nay, he believes and trembles, and that is more than thousands amongst us do. My friends, we mistake a historical faith for a true faith, wrought in the heart by the Spirit of God. You fancy you believe, because you believe there is such a book as we call the Bible — because you go to church; all this you may do, and have no true faith in Christ. Merely to believe there was such a person as Christ, merely to believe there is a book called the Bible, will do you no good, more than to believe there was such a man a Caesar or Alexander the Great. The Bible is a sacred depository. What thanks have we to give to God for these lively oracles! But yet we may have these, and not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. My dear friends, there must be a principle wrought in the heart by the Spirit of the living God. Did I ask you how long it is since you believed in Jesus Christ, I suppose most of you would tell me, you believed in Jesus Christ as long as ever you remember — you never did misbelieve. Then, you could not give me a better proof that you never yet believed in Jesus Christ, unless you were sanctified early, as from the womb; for, they that otherwise believer in Christ know there was a time when they did not believe in Jesus Christ. You say you love God with all your heart, soul, and strength. If I were to ask you how long it is since you loved God, you would say, As long as you can remember; you never hated God, you know no time when there was enmity in your heart against God. Then, unless you were sanctified very early, you never loved God in your life. My dear friends, I am more particular in this, because it is a most deceitful delusion, whereby so many people are carried away, that they believe already. Therefore, it is remarked of Mr. Marshall, giving account of his experiences, that he had been working for life, and he had ranged all his sins under the ten commandments, and then coming to a minister, asked him the reason why he could not get peace. The minister looked at his catalogue, Away, says he, I do not find one word of the sin of unbelief in all your catalogue. It is the peculiar work of the Spirit of God to convince us of our unbelief — that we have got no faith. Says Jesus Christ, of the sin of unbelief; ‘of sin,’ says Christ, ‘because they believe not on me.’ Now, my dear friends, did God ever show you that you had no faith? Were you ever made to bewail a hard heart of unbelief? Was it ever the language of your heart, Lord, give me faith; Lord, enable me to lay hold on thee; Lord, enable me to call thee my Lord and my God? Did Jesus Christ ever convince you in this manner? Did he ever convince you of your inability to close with Christ, and make you to cry out to God to give you faith? If not, do not speak peace to your heart. May the Lord awaken you, and give you true, solid peace before you go hence and be no more! 

Once more then: before you can speak peace to your heart, you must not only be convinced of your actual and original sin, the sins of your own righteousness, the sin of unbelief, but you must be enabled to lay hold upon the perfect righteousness, the all-sufficient righteousness, of the Lord Jesus Christ; you must lay hold by faith on the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and then you shall have peace. ‘Come,’ says Jesus, ‘unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ This speaks encouragement to all that are weary and heavy laden; but the promise of rest is made to them only upon their coming and believing, and taking him to be their God and their all. Before we can ever have peace with God, we must be justified by faith through our Lord Jesus Christ, we must be enabled to apply Christ to our hearts, we must have Christ brought home to our souls, so as his righteousness may be made our righteousness, so as his merits may be imputed to our souls. My dear friends, were you ever married to Jesus Christ? Did Jesus Christ ever give himself to you? Did you ever close with Christ by a lively faith, so as to feel Christ in your hearts, so as to hear him speaking peace to your souls? Did peace ever flow in upon your hearts like a river? Did you ever feel that peace that Christ spoke to his disciples? I pray God he may come and speak peace to you. These things you must experience. I am not talking of the invisible realities of another world, of inward religion, of the work of God upon a poor sinner's heart. I am not talking of a matte of great importance, my dear hearers; you are all concerned in it, your souls are concerned in it, your eternal salvation is concerned in it. You may be all at peace, but perhaps the devil has lulled you asleep into a carnal lethargy and security, and will endeavor to keep you there, till he get you to hell, and there you will be awakened; but it will be dreadful to be awakened and find yourselves so fearfully mistaken, when the great gulf is fixed, when you will be calling to all eternity for a drop of water to cool your tongue, and shall not obtain it. 

Give me leave, then, to address myself to several sorts of persons; and O may God, of his infinite mercy, bless the application! There are some of you perhaps can say, Through grace we can go along with you. Blessed be God, we have been convinced of our actual sins, we have been convinced of original sin, we have been convinced of self-righteousness, we have felt the bitterness of unbelief, and through grace we have closed with Jesus Christ; we can speak peace to our hearts, because God hath spoken peace to us. Can you say so? Then I will salute you, as the angels did the women the first day of the week, All hail! Fear not ye, my dear brethren, you are happy souls; you may lie down and be at peace indeed, for God hath given you peace; you may be content under all the dispensations of providence, for nothing can happen to you now, but what shall be the effect of God's love to your soul; you need not fear what sightings may be without, seeing there is peace within. Have you closed with Christ? Is God your friend? Is Christ your friend? Then, look up with comfort; all is yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's. Everything shall work together for your good; the very hairs of your head are numbered; he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of God's eye. But then, my dear friends, beware of resting on your first conversion. You that are young believers in Christ, you should be looking out for fresh discoveries of the Lord Jesus Christ every moment; you must not build upon your past experiences, you must not build upon a work within you, but always come out of yourselves to the righteousness of Jesus Christ without you; you must be always coming as poor sinners to draw water out of the wells of salvation; you must be forgetting the things that are behind, and be continually pressing forward to the things that are before. My dear friends, you must keep up a tender, close walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. 

There are many of us who lose our peace by our untender walk; something or other gets in betwixt Christ and us, and we fall into darkness; something or other steals our hearts from God, and this grieves the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Ghost leaves us to ourselves. Let me, therefore, exhort you that have got peace with God, to take care that you do not lose this peace. It is true, if you are once in Christ, you cannot finally fall from God: ‘There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus;’ but if you cannot fall finally, you may fall foully, and may go with broken bones all your days. Take care of backslidings; for Jesus Christ's sake, do not grieve the Holy Ghost you may never recover your comfort while you live. O take care of going a gadding and wandering from God, after you have closed with Jesus Christ. My dear friends, I have paid dear for backsliding. Our hearts are so cursedly wicked, that if you take not care, if you do not keep up a constant watch, your wicked hearts will deceive you, and draw you aside. It will be sad to be under the scourge of a correcting Father; witness the visitation of Job, David, and other saints in Scripture. Let me, therefore, exhort you that have got peace to keep a close walk with Christ. 

I am grieved with the loose walk of those that are Christians, that have had discoveries of Jesus Christ; there is so little difference betwixt them and other people, that I scarce know which is the true Christian. Christians are afraid to speak of God — they run down with the stream; if they come into worldly company, they will talk of the world as if they were in their element; this you would not do when you had the first discoveries of Christ's love; you could talk then of Christ's love for ever, when the candle of the Lord shined upon your soul. That time has been when you had something to say for your dear Lord; but now you can go into company and hear others speaking about the world bold enough, and you are afraid of being laughed at if you speak for Jesus Christ. A great many people have grown conformists now in the worst sense of the word; they will cry out against the ceremonies of the church, as they may justly do; but then you are mighty fond of ceremonies in your behavior; you will conform to the world, which is a great deal worse. Many will stay till the devil bring up new fashions. Take care, then, not to be conformed to the world. What have Christians to do with the world? Christians should be singularly good, bold for their Lord, that all who are with you may take notice that you have been with Jesus. I would exhort you to come to a settlement in Jesus Christ, so as to have a continual abiding of God in your heart. We go a-building on our faith of adherence, and lost our comfort; but we should be growing up to a faith of assurance, to know that we are God's, and so walk in the comfort of the Holy Ghost and be edified. Jesus Christ is now much wounded in the house of his friends. Excuse me in being particular; for, my friends, it grieves me more that Jesus Christ should be wounded by his friends than by his enemies. We cannot expect anything else from Deists; but for such as have felt his power, to fall away, for them not to walk agreeably to the vocation wherewith they are called — by these means we bring our Lord's religion into contempt, to be a byword among the heathen. For Christ's sake, if you know Christ keep close by him; if God have spoken peace, O keep that peace by looking up to Jesus Christ every moment. Such as have got peace with God, if you are under trials, fear not, all things shall work for your good; if you are under temptations, fear not, if he has spoken peace to your hearts, all these things shall be for your good. 

But what shall I say to you that have got no peace with God? — and these are, perhaps, the most of this congregation: it makes me weep to think of it. Most of you, if you examine your hearts, must confess that God never yet spoke peace to you; you are children of the devil, if Christ is not in you, if God has not spoken peace to your heart. Poor soul! What a cursed condition are you in. I would not be in your case for ten thousand, thousand worlds. Why? You are just hanging over hell. What peace can you have when God is your enemy, when the wrath of God is abiding upon your poor soul? Awake, then, you that are sleeping in a false peace, awake, ye carnal professors, ye hypocrites that go to church, receive the sacrament, read your Bibles, and never felt the power of God upon your hearts; you that are formal professors, you that are baptized heathens; awake, awake, and do not rest on a false bottom. Blame me not for addressing myself to you; indeed, it is out of love to your souls. I see you are lingering in your Sodom, and wanting to stay there; but I come to you as the angel did to Lot, to take you by the hand. Come away, my dear brethren — fly, fly, fly for your lives to Jesus Christ, fly to a bleeding God, fly to a throne of grace; and beg of God to break your hearts, beg of God to convince you of your actual sins, beg of God to convince you of your original sin, beg of God to convince you of your self-righteousness — beg of God to give you faith, and to enable you to close with Jesus Christ. 

O you that are secure, I must be a son of thunder to you, and O that God may awaken you, though it be with thunder; it is out of love, indeed, that I speak to you. I know by sad experience what it is to be lulled asleep with a false peace; long was I lulled asleep, long did I think myself a Christian, when I knew nothing of the Lord Jesus Christ. I went perhaps farther than many of you do; I used to fast twice a-week, I used to pray sometimes none times a-day, I used to receive the sacrament constantly every Lord's-day; and yet I knew nothing of Jesus Christ in my heart, I knew not that I must be a new creature — I knew nothing of inward religion in my soul. And perhaps, many of you may be deceived as I, poor creature, was; and, therefore, it is out of love to you indeed, that I speak to you. O if you do not take care, a form of religion will destroy your soul; you will rest in it, and will not come to Jesus Christ at all; whereas, these things are only the means, and not the end of religion; Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to all that believe. O, then, awake, you that are settled on your lees; awake you Church professors; awake you that have got a name to live, that are rich and think you want nothing, not considering that you are poor, and blind, and naked; I counsel you to come and buy of Jesus Christ gold, white raiment, and eye-salve. But I hope there are some that are a little wounded; I hope God does not intend to let me preach in vain; I hope God will reach some of your precious souls, and awaken some of you out of your carnal security; I hope there are some who are willing to come to Christ, and beginning to think that they have been building upon a false foundation. Perhaps the devil may strike in, and bid you despair of mercy; but fear not, what I have been speaking to you is only out of love to you — is only to awaken you, and let you see your danger. 

If any of you are willing to be reconciled to God, God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is willing to be reconciled to you. O then, though you have no peace as yet, come away to Jesus Christ; he is our peace, he is our peace-maker — he has made peace betwixt God and offending man. Would you have peace with God? Away, then, to God through Jesus Christ, who has purchased peace; the Lord Jesus has shed his heart's blood for this. He died for this; he rose again for this; he ascended into the highest heaven, and is now interceding at the right hand of God. Perhaps you think there will be no peace for you. Why so? Because you are sinners? Because you have crucified Christ — you have put him to open shame — you have trampled under foot the blood of the Son of God? What of all this? Yet there is peace for you. Pray, what did Jesus Christ say of his disciples, when he came to them the first day of the week? The first word he said was, he showed them his hands and his side, and said, ‘Peace be unto you.’ It is as much as if he had said, Fear not, my disciples; see my hands and my feet how they have been pierced for your sake; therefore fear not. How did Chris speak to his disciples? ‘Go tell my brethren, and tell broken-hearted Peter in particular, that Christ is risen, that he is ascended unto his Father and your Father, to his God and your God.’ And after Christ rose from the dead, he came preaching peace, with an olive branch of peace, like Noah's dove; ‘My peace I leave with you.’ Who were they? They were enemies of Christ as well as we, they were deniers of Christ once as well as we. Perhaps some of you have backslidden and lost your peace, and you think you deserve no peace; and no more you do. But, then, God will heal your backslidings, he will love you freely. As for you that are wounded, if you are made willing to come to Christ, come away. 

Perhaps some of you want to dress yourselves in your duties, that are but rotten rags. No, you had better come naked as you are, for you must throw aside your rags, and come in your blood. Some of you may say, We would come, but we have got a hard heart. But you will never get it made soft till ye come to Christ; he will take away the heart of stone, and give you an heart of flesh; he will speak peace to your souls; though ye have betrayed him, yet he will be your peace. Shall I prevail upon any of you this morning to come to Jesus Christ? There is a great multitude of souls here; how shortly must you all die, and go to judgment! Even before night, or to-morrow's night, some of you may be laid out for this kirk-yard. And how will you do if you be not at peace with God — if the Lord Jesus Christ has not spoken peace to your heart? If God speak not peace to you here, you will be damned for ever. I must not flatter you, my dear friends; I will deal sincerely with your souls. Some of you may think I carry things too far. But, indeed, when you come to judgment, you will find what I say is true, either to your eternal damnation or comfort. May God influence your hearts to come to him! I am not willing to go away without persuading you. I cannot be persuaded but God may make use of me as a means of persuading some of you to come to the Lord Jesus Christ. O did you but feel the peace which they have that love the Lord Jesus Christ! ‘Great peace have they,’ say the psalmist, ‘that love they law; nothing shall offend them.’ But there is no peace to the wicked. 

I know what it is to live a life of sin; I was obliged to sin in order to stifle conviction. And I am sure this is the way many of you take; If you get into company, you drive off conviction. But you had better go to the bottom at once; it must be done — your wound must be searched, or you must be damned. If it were a matter of indifference, I would not speak one word about it. But you will be damned without Christ. He is the way, he is the truth, and the life. I cannot think you should go to hell without Christ. How can you dwell with everlasting burnings? How can you abide the thought of living with the devil for ever? Is it not better to have some soul-trouble here, than to be sent to hell by Jesus Christ hereafter? What is hell, but to be absent from Christ? If there were no other hell, that would be hell enough. It will be hell to be tormented with the devil for ever. Get acquaintance with God, then, and be at peace. I beseech you, as a poor worthless ambassador of Jesus Christ, that you would be reconciled to God. My business this morning, the first day of the week, is to tell you that Christ is willing to be reconciled to you. Will any of you be reconciled to Jesus Christ? Then, he will forgive you all your sins, he will blot out all your transgressions. But if you will go on and rebel against Christ, and stab him daily — if you will go on and abuse Jesus Christ, the wrath of God you must expect will fall upon you. God will not be mocked; that which a man soweth, that shall he also reap. And if you will not be at peace with God, God will not be at peace with you. Who can stand before God when he is angry? It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God. When the people came to apprehend Christ, they fell to the ground when Jesus said, ‘I am he.’ And if they could not bear the sight of Christ when clothed with the rags of mortality, how will they hear the sight of him when he is on his Father's throne? 

Methinks I see the poor wretches dragged out of their graves by the devil; methinks I see them trembling, crying out to the hills and rocks to cover them. But the devil will say, Come, I will take you away; and then they shall stand trembling before the judgment-seat of Christ. They shall appear before him to see him once, and hear him pronounce that irrevocable sentence, ‘Depart from me, ye cursed.’ 
 Methinks I hear the poor creatures saying, Lord, if we must be damned, let some angel pronounce the sentence. No, the God of love, Jesus Christ, will pronounce it. Will ye not believe this? Do not think I am talking at random, but agreeably to the Scriptures of truth. If you do not, then show yourselves men, and this morning go away with full resolution, in the strength of God, to cleave to Christ. And may you have no rest in your souls till you rest in Jesus Christ! I could still go on, for it is sweet to talk of Christ. Do you not long for the time when you shall have new bodies — when they shall be immortal, and made like Christ's glorious body? And then they will talk of Jesus Christ for evermore. But it is time, perhaps, for you to go and prepare for your respective worship, and I would not hinder any of you. My design is, to bring poor sinners to Jesus Christ. O that God may bring some of you to himself! May the Lord Jesus now dismiss you with his blessing, and may the dear Redeemer convince you that are unawakened, and turn the wicked from the evil of their way! And may the love of God, that passeth all understanding, fill your hearts. Grant this, O Father, for Christ's sake; to whom, with thee and the blessed Spirit, be all honor and glory, now and for evermore. Amen. 

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He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. (His thoughts on Luke 16:9)


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