2002

      January 2002      The Blessed Blessing

      February 2002    Divine Direction

      March 2002        Four Anchors

      April 2002         Nothing's for Nothing

      May 2002          Only Believe

      June 2002          Peace with God

      July 2002             Proper Prayer

     August 2002          True Blessedness

     September 2002    Promise-Eternal Life

     October 2002        Petition Granted

     November 2002    My Portion

     December 2002    Christ's Way

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January's  The Blessed Blessing
   GOD showers upon us the riches of His never failing bountiful goodness. His mercies are new every morning, every noonday, and every evening.
   But He has taught us by the experiences of life, that He Himself is the one all-inclusive blessing sufficient for our every need. He gave Himself once to men in the gift of His Son, and through Him and by His Holy Spirit He is ever renewing the gift of Himself to all who will receive Him.
   This is the blessing for which we thirst, the blessing far exceeding every other gift. If we can but lay hold of this gift, then there will be no restlessness, no darkness, no weakness, no sorrow, no deadness, for who hath God wanteth nothing.
   Give us thou gracious Father both the will and the power to receive Thyself and abide with us and in us through all of time and eternity.

          Psalm 42: 1,2
     " As the hart panteth after the water brooks,

so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
My soul thirsteth for God,
Jesus Christ Almighty for the living God:
"

Rt. Rev. William F. Anderson, Litt.D., LL.D.,           
Boston, Massachusetts.     

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February's  Divine Direction
   WE do not want so much to bring God's approval and blessing down to our plan as to adjust our plans and works to His perfect will.
   Prayer is not only a receiving, but a seeking and finding His direction and illumination.
   Let us, like Jotham, prepare all our ways before Him and go forth with the inspiring consciousness that the things we ask are given because He has asked them in us and wants them for us.
   Let us cover all the coming year with a canopy of His covenant promise and overshadowing presence, and so shall we be "different from all other people of the earth" because "He goeth with us." Thus shall our lives be divinely insured and the Lord shall bless our "going out" and our "coming in, from this time forth, and even for evermore."

          Psalm 121:8
     "The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore."

Rev. Walter E. Edmonds,           
Glendale, California.     

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March's  Four Anchors
Christ"They cast four anchors.....
......and wished for the day."
Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord Acts 27: 29

   A SENSE of security and the dawn of hope! How reassuring and glorious! Four anchors: God, Hope, Duty, and Faith.
   We shall be kept from drifting if, for us, God is not an absentee God but "a very present help in time of trouble."
   Hope is an anchor found close to our God, Who is a God of hope. "Why art thou cast down, O, my soul?..... Hope thou in God."
   Then there is Duty. The path of duty always leads to glory. Every call of duty is a call of God.
    And faith! Faith is confidence. Many good people are full of fears. A conviction that God is, that the best for us all lies ahead, that Duty always reveals the next step we must take, and that Right must inevitably triumph because God is God, will allay our fears. Though clouds and darkness are round about His throne, yet righteousness and judgment are the habitations of His dwelling place.

          Psalm 97: 2
     "Clouds and darkness are round about him:
righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.
"

Rev. Joel Harper           
Spokane, Washington.     

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April's  Nothing's Nothing
Christ"every one that is called by my name:
.... I have created him for my glory"
Jesus Christ our SaviourIsaiah 43: 7

   THERE is not a spider hanging on the king's wall but hath its errand; there is not a nettle that groweth in the corner of the chruchyard but hath its purpose; there is not a single insect fluttering in the breeze but accomplisheth some divine decree; and I will never have it that God created any man, especially any Christian man, to be a blank, and to be a nothing.
   He made you for an end. Find out what that end is; find out your niche, and fill it. If it be ever so little, if it is only to be a hewer of wood and a drawer of water, do something in this great battle for God and truth.

          Revelation 4:11
     "Thou art worthy, O Lord,
Jesus Christto receive glory and honour and power:
Jesus Christ Savior for thou hast created all things,
Jesusand for thy pleasure they are and were created.
"

Rev. C. H. Spurgeon           
from his devotional "Daily Help"     

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May's  Only Believe
Christ"Why are ye troubled?
Jesus Christ and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
"
Jesus Christ our SaviourLuke 24: 38
TROUBLED by reason of their unbelief !
   How it resisted the testimony of those who had seen the risen Christ and yielded not, though He Himself stood before them and spoke to them in tones of wonted greeting! "Terrified and affrighted" even in the presence of Him Whom they loved! Their minds were disturbed by "reasonings," intellectual doubts as to the reality of His resurrection, and the fulfilment of His promise. Their unbelief, so obstinate and unyielding, may serve to establish our faith in their subsequent testimony, but brought to them only distressing unrest.
   Intellectual doubt destroys the peace of the soul. We walk by faith, not by sight. Yet he who believes is more likely to see than he who believes not. Faith in God, in the certified truths of the gospel, in His promises, and in His overruling providence, brings rest.
   God reigns! Not a sparrow falleth on the ground without Him. His kingdom is sure to come in spite of all obstacles. The darkest experiences are but the appointments of His infinite wisdom, and in the midst of them He will manifest Himself. In every garden of Gethsemane an angel; in every lonely chamber the risen Saviour! Do not question, but trust. Be not troubled, "only believe".

          Hebrews 4: 3
     "We which have believed do enter into rest."

Rev. Henry M. King           
"early American Baptist Preacher"     

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June's  Peace with God
Christ"In me ye might have peace."
Jesus ChristJohn 16:33
   How long it took some of us to learn the lesson that there is no peace apart from Christ! We perchance sought it in sinful living only to prove the truth of the Word, "
"There is no peace saith my God to the wicked."
   We pehaps endeavored to find it in the paths of worldly pleasure, but had to learn at last in bitter sorrow,
"The way of peace have they not known."
   Or it may be we tried to obtain it by self-righteousness, but found we were only crying
"Peace, peace, when there was no peace."
   At last we came in penitence and faith to Him who by His atoning death "made peace by the blood of His cross," and we learned that "He is our Peace" and "being justified by faith we have peace with God."
   And now as we commit all our affairs to His loving care the "peace of God that passeth all understanding keeps our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Rev. H. A. Ironside, Litt. D.,           
Chicago, Illinois.     

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July's  Proper Prayer
Christ"Men ought always to pray"
Jesus ChristLuke 18:1
   PRAYER is the most important subject in religion. All other subjects are second to it. Reading the Bible, keeping the Sabbath, attending public worship, the Lord's Table, all these are very weighty matters. But none of them are so important as Private prayer.
1st: Prayer is absolutely necessary to salvation.
   Faith is what saves us, not prayer. No one is saved by their prayer. But, search as you will, you will not find one person that was ever saved except they did pray.
Whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD
  shall be saved.
(Romans10:13)
2nd: Prayer is one of the surest marks of a true Christian.
   The first sign of life in an infant is breathing. The first sign of life in a Christian is private prayer. This is one of the common marks of all God's elect.
They cry unto Him day and night. (Luke 18:7)
   Search again, try to find a holy saint of God in scripture, or in history, that neglected prayer.
3rd: The Bible constantly encourages prayer.
   Search some more. Search the scriptures. Old and New. See if you can find some other religious act more encouraged.
I will therefore that men pray everywhere. (I Tim. 2:8)
Men ought always to pray. (Luke 18:1)
Pray without ceasing. (II Thes. 5:17)
   And God has provided more than just encouragement, He has provided everything needful to make himself totally accessible through prayer. Even His Holy Spirt to aid us. (Romans 8:26) Every objection is anticipated. Every difficulty is provided for.
But : there is nothing so neglected as prayer.
   Search your heart this time. Search and see if you can not find a lack of private prayer. Now quit searching, and pray.
Pray without ceasing.(Luke 18:1)

J.C. Ryle            
Adapted from the book "Practical Religion"     

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August's  True Blessedness
Christ Jesus is our Lord "Blessed is the Man."
Jesus ChristPsalm 1:1Jehovah
   PERHAPS our nearest approach to the psalmist's meaning would be to say, "O, the blessednesses of the man."
   This is not mere happiness. Happiness is rooted in "hap" and depends on what happens. If the right thing happens you are happy. If the wrong thing, you are unhappy.
   Happiness is an emotion. Blessedness is a condition. The drunkard might be happy wallowing in the mire but he wouldn't be blessed.
   Happiness is like the mercury in the thermometer going up and down with the weather. Blessedness is like the life of the palm tree ignoring the dry sand and striking its root down to concealed waters. Blessedness is a state above circumstances.
   There was a strange character who frequently in the prayer meeting said, "I feel as good when I don''t feel good as I do when I do feel good."
   O, the blessedness of the New Birth: relationship to the Father; fellowship with Christ and an ingeritance waiting!

Rev. Will H. Houghton,           
Early 1900s Pastor from New York, New York.     

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September's  The Promise....Eternal Life.
I say unto you "Verily, verily, I say unto you,
he shall never see deathIf a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
"
Jesus ChristJohn 8:51Jehovah
   NOTICE what we may call the majestic simplicity of the words of Scripture. It has been said that the grandest and most pregnant sentence in our language is, "And God said, let there be light; and there was light." Yet in that sentence there is not a word of more than one syllable.
   Fully as pregnant, more mysterious in meaning, yet as simple in form, is our text. "I say unto you." Here, as so often when a mighty truth is to come, the personality of Christ stands forth. Not, "men say," not, "it is said", but "I say."
       I who came down from heaven,
       I who am the truth,
       I who have the keys of death and hell,
       I who am the Resurrection and the Life, say,
      "If a man keep my saying he shall never see death,"
   This stupendous contradiction to the natural mind becomes a mine of light and truth to him whose soul the Spirit of God illumines. He who spake was soon to die after the flesh. He was speaking to dying men. What did He mean, then? That he who faithfully keeps the saying of Christ shall not see that death from which Christ came to deliver man,
       the death of the soul,
       the death of condemnation in hell,
       the death which comes from separation from God,
       the only real death.
   To the Christian, death is a sleep, a passage from earth to paradise, an unconscious journey whose end is light; but to the sinner it is an awful catastrophy, the close of hope, the beginning of the end.
   Abraham was not dead, though for centuries in his tomb. But many who heard Christ with beating hearts and flowing veins were dead even while they lived, because they neither knew nor obeyed Him.

Rev. Edward L. Stoddard,        
Early 1900s Protestant - Episcopal Pastor
from Jersey City Heights, N.J.
     

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October's  Petition Granted

What is thy petition?...What is thy petition
....it shall be granted thee.
{Esther 7:2}
ask/given"Ask, and it shall be given you;
seek/and findseek, and ye shall find;
knock / to open knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
"
Jesus ChristMathew 7:7
   IN this most wonderful of sermons there are few words more wonderful; but disciples of Jesus verify them daily.
"I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice
and my supplications.
Because he hath inclined his ear unto me,
therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.
"
   Asking, seeking, and knocking are the ways in which we reveal our desires; and desire is the key of heaven. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."
   We cannot refrain from asking for whatever we truly desire. We cannot keep from seeking what we know to be infinitely precious. We are sure to knock at the door which is between us and the object of our warmest affections.
   Father, I ask for thy loving-kindness,
which is better than life.
   Son of God, I seek for thy grace,
which in weakness makes me strong.
   Holy Spirit, I knock at the door
which is always opened to the humble and the contrite heart.
   May all thy mercies and my infirmities constrain me to ask without ceasing until thou hast given, to seek without fail until I have found, to knock without fear until it has been opened unto me!

Rev. Wendell Prime, D.D.       
Editor of the New York "Observer"
1888
     

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November's  My Portion
"But one thing is needful:
and Mary hath chosen that good part,that good part
which shall not be taken away from her.
"
Jesus ChristLuke 10: 42
   DO not let me judge Mary lazy. She has done her work and "left" Martha to the cumbrous service she did not "choose" to do. Surely the Master had not favored neglected duty. Work we must, and that hard, for whatsoever our hand findeth to do, we must do it with our might. But let me never lose the one thing needful by choice, for that was Martha's fault. Martha chose excess of service. Mary chose "the one thing needful."
   Every day brings its own cares and duties; every day, like Paul himself, we must serve God "with many distractions;" but amid them all, like him, we must be able to say, "this one thing I do....I press toward the mark."
   Pause, O my soul, and consider! What life am I choosing? Fretful, iritable, do I make my much service an excuse for neglecting prayer and praise and God's word? That is Martha, – blamed.
   Calm, tranqil, do I do what I can in this life, yet careful to serve God always "with a quiet mind"? That is Mary, – praised. What shall I do to-day and always?

Rev. E. Walpole Warren       
Holy Trinity Protestant–Episcopal Church
(late 1800s) New York
     

   Grant, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithful people, pardon and peace, that we may be cleansed from all our sins and serve thee with a quiet mind, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen!

Mr. Collect unkown

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December's  Christ's Way
I am the way, truth, life"I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me.
"
Jesus ChristJohn 14: 6
   THE heading of this Chapter is, "Christ Comforteth His Disciples;" and truly He gives the best comfort simply by telling about Himself. The first verse begins, "Let not your heart be troubled." This verse seems to say to doubting Thomas, "Let not your mind be troubled."
   The sixth verse is a release from perplexity. Heaven often seems distant and unknown, but if He who made the road thither is our guide we need not fear to lose the way. We do not want to see far ahead, only far enough to discern Him and trace His footsteps. Christ does not give us the full revelations of God and heaven at once; we could not bear them now. He gives us Himself, and in that gift everything is secure. If you own the mines you will not lack treasure. If the fountain is yours you will have water day by day.
   Our peace lies not in believing much, but in believing well. If our faith in Him is unwavering He will return it with knowledge. The way to escape from doubts is to think about Christ. What we need is not explanation, but confidence. Sometimes we know not what to believe, but always we know whom we have believed. Religion is not a theory, nor a doctrine; it is the coming of a person to a person, by a person. They who follow Christ, even through darkness, will surely reach the Father.

Rev. Henry Van Dyke D.D.            
Brick Presbysterian Church, New York
     
 
   Mr. Van Dyke is probably best known Reverend, Henry Van Dyke
for his books, such as–– "The Fourth Wise Man." Wisemen
And for his songs, such as–– "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee."

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