Clinging to Christ’s Word

One of my favorite authors, Octavius Winslow (1860) said,

 

“Oh, cling to Christ’s Word, as the mariner to the plank, as the mother to her infant, yes, as a humble believer in that divine and gracious Savior who has said, “Him that comes unto me I will in no wise” literally, “I will never, no, never, cast out.”

And when I don’t know
what is the best advice to give,
what to say or
how to pray;
I meditate on Christ’s Word,
I cling to it.
I repeat it to myself;
because O, how much I need to hear it,
to drink from it,
to be established on it.
There is no other way
to build my trust in Him,
unless I cling to His Word.
Source
Source
Source

Today cling to the Word of God, hold fast to it, embrace it and don’t let it go…

Becky

>Summer Children’s Art Gallery -Nino DeBarros-

>I am so happy to have Nino sharing with us today his art. He is a very talented young man (10 yo), who loves to play with his watercolors and know how to take advantage of those accidents that the water makes. I share with him the passion for watercolors.

Nino says,

This picture that I made was actually an accident. I was with my aunt in our kitchen playing around with watercolors when I splashed some blue watercolor onto my piece of paper. Then I spread the watercolors around, and I saw that I happened to make a wave.

Nino, thank you very much for sharing your gift with us today.

A godly man, Octavius Winslow, penned these words about the ocean and I am sure you will enjoy reading them today:

“You grand and beautiful old ocean! upon whose brow time has impressed no wrinkles–flowing on in your majesty and power, in your soundless depths and boundless reach–washing with your waves every shore–whitened with every sail, and bearing upon your bosom earth’s costliest treasures! you are to me the image and the emblem of the ocean of DIVINE LOVE–the Triune love of God the Father, of God the Son, and of God the Holy Spirit–full, limitless, free–restoring a heaven forfeited, and extinguishing a hell deserved. And, as I tread your pearly shore, muse upon your vast expanse, and listen to your sweet music murmuring at my feet, you shall raise my thoughts to Him who made you, fixed your bounds, pencilled your dimples, fanned your wavelets, controls your rage, and bids you do His pleasure.”

Blessings on your weekend, my dear friends.

Becky

 

 

Join the fun, submit your child’s art work here.

>Octavius Winslow’s Book -Help Heavenward- Chapter 9- and few other links-

>I am having a busy day here, but I encourage you to read Matthew Blair’s summary on chapter 9 of this excellent book by Octavius Winslow, Help Heavenward (read it here.)

Help Heavenward Chapter 9

And if you have time please read an excellent and very important post by Diane at Theology for Girls, entitled Discernment and the Elect Lady.

Theology for Girls

Lastly a quote from one of my dearest friends, Elizabeth,

“It’s common to want a quick fix, a cure for getting your troubled soul out of hock… But there’s no greater balm for sin than the cross of Christ, where does flow a bloody tide of forgiveness; removing wrath and pain, filling with peace and joy.”

Have a most blessed day dear friends,

>Octavius Winslow’s Book -Help Heavenward- Chapter 8

>We are now on chapter 8 of this wonderful book, Help Heavenward by Octavius Winslow. (we still have three more chapters to go.)

Chapter 8
Chapter 8: Self Communion

“…Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still”—Psalm 4:4

This chapter asks hard questions; the same questions that Winslow thought necessary to ask in the 1800’s when he said these words which not only describe his days but ours as well,

“We are fallen upon times of great religious, as well as worldly activity and excitement. So strong and rushing, indeed, is the tide, that there exists a fearful and fatal liability in those who profess to walk with God, as did Noah and Enoch, to neglect entirely one of the most essential and effectual helps heavenward—the due, faithful, and constant examination of the spiritual state and condition of their own hearts.”

There is nothing new under the sun, the heart of men is the same since the fall, I read Winslow’s words and it seems that he is describing our days,

“With everything but themselves the great mass of human beings by whom we are surrounded are in the closest communion. Man is in communion with nature in its glories, with science in its wonders, with art in its triumphs, with intellect in its attainments, with power in its achievements, with the creation in its attraction. There is but one object with which he holds no rational, sacred, and close communion,—from which, though the nearest and the most important, he seems the most widely isolated; that object is—himself! He studies not the wonders of his being, the spirituality of his nature, the solemnity of his relations, the accountability of his actions, the immortality of his destiny. He thinks not of himself, and of death, and judgment, and eternity at the same moment.”

We need to recover the disposition and the discipline to commune with our heart upon our bed and be still, and Winslow encourages us to this, by asking us hard questions concerning the true spiritual state before God, about the existence and condition of the love of God in our own heart, about our heart’s feelings for the Lord Jesus, about the ruling principles of our actions, about the heavenly tendencies of our own heart questions about our real and habitual fellowship, about our progress in the Divine life,  with God, about our thanksgiving and praise to God, about the certainty of our possession of heart’s religion; questions “which we must weigh…  personal and serious questions, which must not, which cannot, be evaded without imperilling all that is most dear and precious to your everlasting well-being.”

Have I passed from death unto life? 
Has my heart been convinced of sin? 
Am I a subject of the new birth? 
…{A}nd from a state of insensibility to objects,
and feelings, and hopes that are spiritual, eternal, 
and divine, 
have I been quickened by the regenerating Spirit to walk with God, 
and before the world, 
in newness of life? 
{A}re you sensible that within you all things have been made new?
(Are you sensible )that your heart is in sympathy with objects that are spiritual, 
with enjoyments that are holy, 
with engagements that are heavenly?
—in a word, that your views of sin and self, of God and of Christ and of the gospel, 
are radically, essentially changed, 
and that you seem to yourself the subject of a new-born existence, 
and the occupant of a new-created world?
Do you love God because He is holy?
(Do you love) His law, because it is righteous? 
His government, because it is divine and just? 
His ways, because they are wise, and right, and sure? 
Do you love Him for sending His Son into the world to save sinners? 
Do you love Him as a Father, as a Friend, as a God in covenant relation? 
How stands your heart, O believer! 
with God as to its love? 
What is the warmth and vigour and ardour of your affections? 
Do you so love God in Christ as, under its constraining influence, 
to do what He commands, 
to yield what He asks,
to go where He bids, 
to hate what He hates, 
and to love what He loves; 
yea, to embrace Him with an affection simple, 
single, and supreme, oblivious, if need be, 
of every other claimant, and satisfied, if so He willed it, with Him alone?
Oh, what is the state of your love to Jesus
—frigid, selfish, inconstant; 
or, glowing, self-denying, fixed? 
You ask how your love to Christ may be tested and increased? 
Test it by obedience; 
“If you love me, keep my commandments.”

“Your love to Christ will never increase by feeding upon itself. You must light your torch of affection at the altar of Calvary. You must go there, and learn and believe what the love of Jesus is to you: the vastness of that love,—the self-sacrifice of that love,—how that love of Christ laboured and wept, bled, suffered, and died for you. Can you stand before this love—this love so precious, so great, so enduring, so self-consuming, so changeless, and know that for you was this offering, for you this cross, for you this agony, for you this scorn and insult, for you this death, and feel no sensibility, no emotion, no love? Impossible!”

The questions keep on coming, we still have hard questions to answer in the solitude, on our bed.

What think you of Christ?
Is it with you a reality that Christ died for sinners? 
Do you fully credit the promise by which God has engaged to accept through His sacrifice and intercession all who believe in His name? 
Do you believe Him to be divine, 
accept His obedience as justifying, 
and His death as sacrificial? 
Has it pleased God to reveal His Son in you? 
Is He precious to your heart? 
And do you receive Him, 
trust in Him, follow Him, and hope to be with Him for ever, 
as all your salvation and all your desire? 
Do I love Jesus?
Is He the object of my supreme admiration and delight? 
Is He the chosen, the preferred, 
the supreme Being of my warmest affection? 
Is He precious to my soul? 
And am I trusting believingly, and exclusively, and without mental reservation, 
as a sinner utterly undone, 
self-abhorred, and self-condemned, 
to His atoning sacrifice? 
Upon what ground do you base this hesitation and justify this self-exemption from the great salvation?

“It is not for your worth that you are saved, but for Christ’s worth. It is not on the ground of your personal merit that you are justified, but on the ground of Christ’s merit alone. It is not upon the plea of your fitness, your tears, your confessions, your prayers, your duties, that God forgives and accepts you, but simply and exclusively upon the one plea of the Saviour’s sacrifice. The BLOOD of Christ pardons, the RIGHTEOUSNESS of Christ justifies you, and this is all that you require, or that God demands. The great work is all done—it is not to be done. It is complete, finished, accepted, sealed. And you, as a lost sinner, without holiness, without strength, without one plea that springs from what you are, have nothing to do. Believe, and you are saved. Believing is not doing, it is not meriting, it is TRUSTING—it is the simple exercise of a faith in Christ which God gives, and which the Holy Ghost produces in the heart; so that your salvation, from beginning to end, is entirely out of yourself, in another.”

What is the ruling principle of your heart? 
Have you examined yourself to know?
Commune with your own heart as to its real and habitual fellowship with God. Do we pray? 
What is the character of our prayers? 
Do we pray in the Spirit? 
Is our prayer communion? 
Do we walk with God as a Father, and with Christ as our best Friend? 
And is the throne of grace the sweetest, holiest, dearest spot to us on earth?
“Oh, how needed and wholesome and precious is self-communion now! Never, perhaps, before has your heart been laid open to such inspection, subjected to such scrutiny, submitted to such tests. Never have you been brought into such close contact with yourself; never has self-communion appeared to you so needed, so solemn, and so blessed as in this quiet chamber. Ah, much-abused, much-neglected heart! how have I allowed thee to wander, to be enanmoured, enchained, won, and possessed by others! How has thy spiritual verdure withered, how have thy fresh springs dried, thy beauty faded, and thy strength decayed! How cold, how inconstant, how unfaithful, how unkind hast thou been to thy best, thy dearest, thy heavenly Friend! But for the restraints of His grace and the constraints of His love, and the checks of His gentle corrections, whither, oh, whither wouldst thou have gone? I thank thee, Lord for Thy discipline—for the shaded path, the severed tie, the lonely sorrow, the loving, lenient correction that recalls my heart to Thee!”

Examine yourself by these tests:

Do I know that my sins are pardoned through Christ?  

Have I peace with God in Jesus? 
Am I living in the enjoyment of the Spirit of adoption? 
Have I in my soul the happiness, the joy, the consolation, the hope which heart-religion imparts? 
Or—solemn thought!
—am I endeavouring to quiet my conscience, 
to stifle self-reflection, to divert my thoughts from my unsatisfactory, 
unhappy condition and state of mind by the religious substitutes and subterfuges with which the present age so profusely abounds, 
and which, with those who are ensnared by them, 
pass for real spiritual life?

This chapter is so important;  I wish you could take some time to read it (no need to read the previous ones to understand this one); there are so many riches in it! And what a better time to examine ourselves than today? What a better season than Lent, when we are considering all that it means that Jesus willingly set his face to go to Jerusalem to be hanged on a cross?

Matthew Blair, the host of this reading group wrote an excellent summary of this chapter here.

>Octavius Winslow’s Book -Chapter Five, Trial a Help Heavenward –

>

Octavius Winslow Archive

What a great little book Octavius Winslow wrote, Help Heavenward; I would really like to encourage you to read it. Grace Gems has the whole book on line; and believe me, the chapters are short and full of encouragement for the believer.

Here are my favorite quotes and some of my reflections on chapter 5, Trial, a Help Heavenward.

“That we must through much tribulation enter into the
kingdom of God.”—        Acts 14:22.

If God’s providence has you going through a season in your life which is characterized by trial, be encouraged today as you read the words of this godly man that reminds us that trials in the life of the believer are a blessing, because they draw us closer to God.

“We should have a more vivid conception of the power of affliction as an ingredient of holiness if we kept more constantly in remembrance the fact that all the afflictive, trying dispensations of the believer are covenant dispensations— that they are not of the same character nor do they produce the same results as in the ungodly. They are among the “sure mercies of David.” In the case of the unregenerate, all afflictions are a part and parcel of the curse, and work naturally against their good; but in the case of the regenerate, they are, in virtue of the covenant of grace, transformed into blessings, and work spiritually for their good. Just as the mountain stream, coursing its way, meets some sanative mineral by which it becomes endowed with a healing property, so afflictions, passing through the covenant covenant, change their character, derive a sanctifying property, and thus become a healing medicine to the soul.”

How different are these words than the ones preached in many pulpits today! How comforting it is to know that because of God’s Grace, because He has called us to be in His covenant, trials help us heavenward. He is with us, He is working in us through each one of those trials. It is all about our relationship with Him; our sanctification, our loving Him more than anything in this world. It is about being able to say, “The Lord is Shepherd I SHALL NOT WANT…”

“Trial, too, increases our acquaintance with Christ. We know more of the Lord Jesus through one sanctified affliction than by all the treatises the human pen ever wrote. Christ is only savingly known as He is known personally and experimentally. Books cannot teach Him, sermons cannot teach Him, lectures cannot teach Him; they may aid our information and correct our views, but to know Him as He is, and as we ought, we must have personal dealings with Him. Our sins must bring us to His blood, our condemnation must bring us to His righteousness, our corruptions must bring us to His grace, our wants must bring us to His fullness, our weakness must bring us to His strength, our sorrow must bring us to His sympathy, and His own loveliness and love must attract us to Himself. And oh, in one hour, in a single transaction, in a lone sorrow, which has brought us to Jesus, who can estimate how rapidly and to what an extent we have grown in a knowledge of His person and work, His character and love? I need not enlarge upon other branches of spiritual knowledge which trial promotes—how it increases our personal intimacy with God as our loving Father and Friend; and how it opens our understanding to discern the deep things of God in the Scriptures, so that the Bible in the hour of affliction appears like a new revelation to us. Oh yes, times of trial are times of growth in experimental knowledge.”

Trials are seasons in which we can know Him in a way that we would not know Him otherwise. Trials are seasons in the life of the Christian where he can not only see what is inside of him, but he can also meet God in a new and beautiful way through fervent prayer.

“Trial quickens us in prayer, and so effectually helps us heavenward. The life of God in the soul on earth is a life of communion of the soul with God in heaven. Prayer is nothing less than the Divine nature in fellowship with the Divine, the renewed creature in communion with God. And it would be as impossible for a regenerate soul to live without prayer, as for the natural life to exist without breathing. And oh, what a sacred and precious privilege is this!—is there one to be compared with it? When we have closed the door,—for we speak now of that most solemn and holy habit of prayer, private communion,—and have shut out the world, and the creature, and even the saints, and are closeted in personal, solemn, and confiding audience with God, what words can portray the preciousness and solemnity of that hour! Then is guilt confessed, and backslidings deplored, and care, unburdened, and sorrow unvailed, and pardon sought, and grace implored, and blessings invoked, in all the filial trustfulness of a child unbosoming itself in the very depths of a father’s love, pity, and succour. But precious and costly as is this privilege of prayer, we need rousing to its observance. Trial is eminently instrumental of this. God often sends affliction for the accomplishment of this one end—that we might be stirred up to take hold of Him.”

When trials come, let us see an opportunity to grow in our devotions, to be drawn closer to the One who loves us with perfect love and works all things for good in the life of His children. Let us rest in His arms through prayer and the meditation of His Word; let us see beyond ourselves and up to Him, who is able to sustain us and present us blameless at the day of Christ before God, the Father.

“Trials are necessary to wean us from the world. Perhaps nothing possesses so detaching, divorcing an effect in the experience of the Christian as affliction. The world is a great snare to the child of God. Its rank is a snare, its possessions are a snare, its honours are a snare, its enterprises are a snare, the very duties and engagements of daily life are a snare, to a soul whose citizenship is in heaven, and whose heart would fain be more frequently and exclusively where Jesus, its treasure, is… But God in wisdom and mercy sends us trial to detach us from earth, to lessen our worldly-mindedness, more deeply to convince us how empty and insufficient is all created good when His chastening is upon us, to intensify our affection for spiritual things, and to bring our souls nearer to Himself.”

May God open our ears to hear His Word of comfort today and eyes to see Him sustaining us through the storm.

“Lord, whom have I in heaven but Thee? 
and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee. 
Thou hast stricken and wounded and laid me low, 
but Thou wilt comfort, heal, and raise me up again. 
Righteous art Thou, O Lord, 
when I plead with Thee; 
yet let me talk with Thee of Thy judgments.
Let this trial detach me from the world, 
wean me from my idols,
transfer my heart to Thee, 
and speed my soul with a quicker step
heavenward.” 

Thanks to Matthew Blair @The Octavius Winslow Archive, who invited his readers to read this wonderful book.

>Octavius Winslow’s Book -Help Heavenward-

>I wish I could have the time to blog about every book I read! But then, I would not have time to read…

I mentioned few weeks ago that I was going to be part of this reading group hosted by Matthew Blair at the Octavius Winslow Archive, so yes, I have been reading  along and enjoying this book a lot.  The chapters are short and very meaty; you don’t have to buy the book, because Matthew Blair posts the chapters on his blog, and you can also find them at Grace Gems.

I also said that I was not planning to write about this book, but this week I will. (and who knows… maybe next week too)

It is chapter 4, The Clouds of the Christian, The Chariot of God; this title means that whatever comes to our life that seems like a cloud, is indeed what God has brought us to our lives to bring us closer to Him, to Heaven. We are not to fear, if we are children of God because we have hope in God; Because He has justified us, who can condemn us?

“the darkest dispensations in which He hides Himself shall presently unveil the brightest views of His character and love; and thus the lowering cloud that deepened in its darkness and grew larger as it approached, shall dissolve and vanish, leaving no object visible to the eye but Him whose essence and name is Love. Oh, it is because we have such shallow views of God’s love that we have such defective views of God’s dealings. We blindly interpret the symbols of His providence, because we so imperfectly read the engraving of His heart. Faith finds it difficult to spell the word “Love,” as written in the shaded characters of its discipline; to believe that the cloud which looks so sombre and threatening is the love-chariot of Him who for our ransom gave Himself unto the death, because He so loved us!”

If we could understand this Perfect Love! If we could only see Him in the darkest clouds.

Seeing Him…  is the only way to live through hard providences; seeing His glory brighter than any storm, and the greatest storm, the greatest cloud of darkness is our sinful nature, but Jesus came and took it away.

“So divine, blinding, and overpowering is the essential glory of our redeeming God, that a believing sinner, enveloped by its beams, is changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. All his unrighteousness, his sins, and hell-deservings are consumed and destroyed by the Divine Sun of righteousness: Jesus makes this cloud His chariot, and waits to bless us with its vision.”

Winslow says that also the Divine Truths, (for example, are the revealed doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, Election, Sovereignty, the New Birth, and the Resurrection) maybe regarded as the cloud-chariots of God.

“The gospel is the vehicle in which Christ makes his constant advent to our souls”

We don’t need to understand every single doctrine, every single mystery in the Word; but that we are sinners and Christ is the only Saviour.

“Regard it as one of your chief mercies that your salvation depends not upon reason but upon faith: that you are not called upon fully to comprehend, but unquestioningly to believe and love: that you are not the less saved because your faith deals with obscurity, nor is your faith less real, precious, or saving, because it abjures the wisdom of the sage for the docile spirit of the child, and the learning of the philosopher for the humility of the disciple. Let your great study be the mystery of Christ’s love to sinners—the mystery of Christ’s love to you.”

 God’s providential government over our lives brings us Heavenward, Winslow says:

“Those clouds of providential dispensations, which turn our day into night, bring out to view such constellations of Divine promises, discover such perfections of the Divine character, and present such discoveries of Divine love, as to make even night more wonderful and resplendent than day. Ah, beloved! we should know but little what Christ’s chariot of love was, but for the clouds in which He comes to us.” 

Let us fix our eyes not on the cloud but on the One who is blowing the winds, on the One who brings storms and calms tempests.

“It is our wisdom and our happiness to know that there is not an event or circumstance, a cloud or a sunbeam, in our personal history and experience, that is not a vehicle of Christ. He maketh the clouds His chariot; and His providential dispensations, whatever their form or their hue, are His means of approaching and visiting us. “The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.” 

Let us no fear the storm, let us find our hiding place, the Cross of Christ; let us hide beneath the wongs of the Almighty, let His Love be our shelter!

 The last chariot the Lord has prepared for us to help us Heavenward is death; which shall bring us to our home where we will be able to see the Lord and be with Him forever!

“Let us so live detached from, and above, the world, and creatures, and earthly delights; let us so live in fellowship with God, and in communion with Divine and eternal things, that when the Lord’s chariot gently knocks at our door, we may have nothing to do but to step into it and away to heaven!… Be patient and trustful; the Lord’s time is best, and ere long thou shalt exclaim, “It is the voice of my Beloved that knocketh! the Master is come and calleth for me. Earth, farewell! friends, farewell! parents, kindred, wife, children, home, farewell! Sorrow, suffering, trial, sin, farewell! I go to be with Jesus for ever!” And then a cloud of glory shall receive you out of their sight, and so shall you ever be with the Lord.”

As I read these words I was reminded of Paul, he too knew that to be with Christ is far better…

Under His sun and by His grace…. Daily On My Way to Heaven

Next week we’ll talk about Chapter 5, Bonds Loosed