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Your God understands you completely, and knows all your past, present and future. He alsoknows your ability, temperament, qualities and possibilities, the trials and triumphs ahead. He ha sa special place for you in His work. He created you in His own image for a special place here,and hereafter. Your highest calling is fellowship with God in all His love, wisdom and grace.
"Thou hast made us in thy likeness, and our souls are restless until they rest in Thee," said Augustine of the Fourth Century. God has made all things for us, that He might make us forHimself. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow ofthe Almighty." P> Yes, God has created, in every heart, a full and complete longing for God, in all Hisintimate love and understanding. He understands us better than all others, including ourselves. When the writer of these lines was an infant, about 18 months old, he realized and sensed that there was a great God hovering over him, but he felt so unworthy and unfit to be in His presence. He had good, honorable parents. When they would sing the old hymns and songs, with stammering infant tongue, he would try to sing the songs, longing to know the God who inspiredthem.
If our PARENTS only realized the innate desires for God and righteousness in the heartsand minds of their little children, they would take less time feeding and clothing their bodies, and take more time feeding their little hungry hearts and minds. When Jesus' disciples tried to push aside the little children who longed to know and love Him, Jesus pushed aside his disciples andtook them up into His arms and blessed them and said, "Suffer - permit - the little children to comeunto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." They never forgot that Divine hug, close to the heart of Jesus, close to the heart of God. All children still long to know God, and to know that He loves them.
On another occasion, Jesus rebuked his ambitious disciples by saying, "Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." This is why it is so easy to win children to Christ. They are so close to God, and so simple and childlike in their sincere longing for God. Almost all of our children could be won to Christ, if some one loved them and loved God enough to bring them to Jesus, in a simple, child-like, tender, heavenly manner.They must be won before that longing to know God is crowded and crushed out of their little livesby subtle, satanic suggestions and snares.
Most great men and women who have done most for God and others, have been won to God through Christ in their early years. Few ever find God after their teens or early twenties. When the writer was a small child of four years, he said to his mother, "Mama, if I'll always be a good boy, won't I get to heaven when I die?". She replied, "No, Arthur, you will have to be born again before you can get to heaven," and just kept on with her house work. If she had understood my heart hunger, she would have stopped her work and invited me to bow at her knees and find God, which I would have gladly done. (Parents, take time to answer the anxious questionsof your little children, and lead them to Jesus Christ; and then bring them up in the way that they should go.)
My young friends, let us see what Jesus says about WHEN you should seek and find God."Seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these THINGS shall be addedunto you." Most people seek food and clothing and all other things, first, then expect God to savethem later in life, after it is forever too late. God can give us material things without our consent, but he cannot save our souls and feed us on the bread and water of eternal life without our consent and full co-operation.
Then let us notice a number of reasons why we should "seek first the kingdom of God" andHis salvation. Here they are:
First, we should seek God and His righteousness first because nothing else can satisfy theheart but God. You can run after the sinful things of the world and try to have a big time, but you are never happy until you yield your heart and life to God, and let the God who made you forHimself live in your heart. God is the source and substance of every good thing. When you have GOD, you have everything. He is the Fountain from which all true joy and pleasures flow. When you have God, you are happy without any thing else. When you have every thing else without God, you are poor, miserable, and blind, helpless, naked, and hopeless. "What shall it profit a man if heshall gain the whole world and lose his own soul"? What will he give in exchange for his soul? When you have God, you have all there is already. You do not have to seek and run after it, andnever find it.
Next, Seek God and His salvation before you form the wrong habits, and get tied down tosinful pleasures which wreck your life, kill your body, blight your mind and damn your soul. Before cigarettes, whiskey, and other destructive things make you their slave and blight and wreck your soul, mind and body. Heart trouble, cancer, and other deadly diseases are sweeping our nation and world because of these terrible habits. God can break you loose from them if you yield your all to Him, but few ever get loose and get to God after they get tied down to these things. God saved me just before I got tied to all these sinful habits. He saved me FROM so much FOR somuch. He can do the same for you now.
Then, Seek God first and lay a foundation for a useful life which will honor you and yourparents, and make you a blessing instead of a curse to many others. Only those who live forOTHERS are appreciated, while they live, and are remembered and honored by OTHERS afterthey are dead.
A boy grew up in our community and gave his heart to God when he was a lad, andafterward served God and others in almost every field of Christian life and service, as well as other useful occupations. After some years, a godly older man in the community said to him, "Youare the only boy in our community who ever amounted to any thing.
My young friends, give your hearts and lives to God before you lead others away from home, God and salvation, and into all kinds of disgraceful, sinful ways. ALL OF US influence OTHERS, and are influenced by others. It will be so much more wonderful to live a Godly, usefullife here, and have your friends and others meet and greet you in heaven, and tell you how you led them to Christ and to heaven, than to have to meet them in hell and have them curse and abuse you through all eternity for leading them to the wrong life and to destruction.
All the few who do find God in after years always say, "Oh, I am so sorry that I did notgive my heart to God earlier, before I wasted my life and led others astray and down to hell." But you never heard any one say, "I am sorry that I gave my heart to God when I was young." God and His Righteousness are worth more than all else. Then why not seek and find Him first, right NOW,if you do not know Him
Seek God before you get tied down to earthly interests and riches, and die like the richfool, and WAKE UP IN HELL, where there is "weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth." "How hardly shall they who have riches enter the kingdom of heaven." Rich men and millionaires are the most miserable people in the world. You cannot have more than your share, while millions are hungry and starving, and be happy and contented. Others can murder you and rob you of your riches, but they cannot murder your soul or rob you of all "true riches" of peace and joy and eternallife, without your consent. There is one thing worse than dying a lost rich man, and that is dyingpoor in every way.
Seek God first and His salvation, before you grieve Him away, and your heart gets so hardthat He cannot talk to you any more. "My Spirit shall not always strive with man." "He that being often reproved and hardeneth his heart and stiffeneth his neck, shall SUDDENLY BE destroyed,and that without remedy." When you shake your head and say no to God, he will soon say no to you FOREVER. "No man can come to me except the FATHER who sent me DRAW him." Children and young people are so much harder now than they were a few years ago. They have so many more opportunities than many of us had when we were young. When we get "past feeling" and God speaks to us no more, we are lost forever, and will regret, for all eternity, that we did not get rightwith God in our younger years.
Then, may we say to your young hearts, you should get right with God before you die in your younger years. Many of my young friends and playmates died in their childhood or younger years.
Young and Grover, my nearest neighbors, both died when just boys, one of them abackslider, and the other never saved. Then there was Torence, Dallas, Hugh, and many other boys grew up with who have been gone from this life for years. They would not listen to God or their playmate. My own brother, McKinley, died at 12 years and went home to heaven. He was one of the first ones that I won to Jesus Christ in my boyhood days. I shall meet him in heaven some gladday.
There is just one thing worse than dying in our younger years, and that is living a long life in sin, and dragging your own friends and loved ones, and many others, down to eternal sorrow and night. There is EVERY REASON for becoming a Christian at the earliest moment, but NOT ONE REASON for putting it off another day or hour. "Today IS the day of SALVATION," "Before the summer is ended and the harvest is passed and YOU are not saved." A man I once knew ran after riches and then died crying, AThe Harvest is passed, the summer in ended, and I am not saved.""He has been in eternity for many years. His family following his example.
Oh, I am so glad that I got saved when I was just a boy. I shall never forget that night in myold country home, when God convicted me of my sins and saved me, after I gave him my all. I had just read a sermon on the Second Coming of Christ and God pulled back the curtains of the future and let me see Christ coming and finding me unprepared, and I know how I would feel if He should come now and find me not ready. I cried in bed and out of bed, and walked around the house, looking up into the sky, begging Jesus not to come until I got ready. I confessed and forsookall my sins, promised God that I would make my past life right with God and others. After I had done all I could do, then I looked up from my bed, where I was then lying and praying, and trusted in Jesus Christ to save me. Immediately, He came into my heart with joy unspeakable and full ofglory. My heart rejoiced and my chest heaved with happiness and joy, and I cried out, "Even so,come Lord Jesus. I am now ready."
Young friends, if You do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, remember that He loved you enough to give His life for you, and will save you from your sins NOW, if you will give them up and trust Him this moment. Do it now. this very hour.
How To Get Saved
May we tell you how to get saved and know that you are saved. So many hearts that arehungry for God are led astray into false hopes and professions of salvation. Some join a church, make good resolutions, or are baptized with water as a substitute for salvation. Others depend on aonce- before, out-of-date profession or experience. It is all right to be baptized and join a spiritual church AFTER you are really saved, but these things cannot save you. You can get into A church without salvation, but you cannot get into the only TRUE Church except by being born into it. "And the Lord added to the church daily such as were saved." Only the Lord can take you into His own church by the "new birth." 'Except ye be born of the water (flesh) and spirit, you cannot enter intothe kingdom of God. For that which is born of the FLESH is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." We can only become a human being by the fleshly birth, and we can only become children of God, and partakers of the spiritual life or nature by the spiritual birth. "Marvel not thatI say unto you, ye MUST BE BORN AGAIN," said Jesus to Nicodemus, a great church leader.Most church leaders and members of our day need to be born again. We may deceive ourselvesand others, but we cannot deceive God.
Then How may we get saved and know that we are saved? First, we must let God reveal to us by His Spirit that we are LOST, and undone, and needto be saved. "No man can come to me except the Father which sent me DRAW HIM." "My Spiritshall not always strive with man." "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." "In the day that ye SEEK me with YOUR WHOLE HEART,I will be found of you." "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will GIVE YOU REST. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall findrest unto your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
We must realize that we are lost before we can be saved. "And the publican stood afar off, and would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying "God be merciful to me a sinner." We must realize how unworthy we are. Then we must realize that the trouble is in our own sinful hearts. After that, we must cry to God, our only hope and helper, and realize that we are sinners and that only through His mercy can we find God. We must confess that we are sinners and hopeless. "God be merciful to me, a sinner." "Grieve not the holy Spirit of Godwhereby we are sealed unto the day of redemption." Each must realize that he is a poor lost sinner,and come to God and cry for mercy.
There are two parts in our salvation, namely: GOD'S part, and OUR part. God convicts usof our sins and then saves us, after we meet his conditions. Our part is to repent of all our sins, and then trust God to save us. We must yield to God's convicting Spirit before He can save us.
Then there are two parts to our finding God:
First, we must completely Repent of all our sins. "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." "Repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." We must repent to escape hell and get toheaven.
Then what do we mean by repentance:
1. Repentance means sorrow and contrition for allour past sins, and life of sin against God and others. Godly sorrow produces repentance. Next, we must confess our sins. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins." We must confess to God and all others that we have sinned against with our words or deeds. This includes restitution or the carrying back and paying for what we may have stolen or cheated others out of. We must confess the lies that we have told, and the unkind words that we have spoken. Next, we must find in our hearts a hatred for all kinds of sins, and a determination to turn from them and live a godly and different life ever afterward. Naturally, when we hate our sins, we forsake them, and say goodbye to the old crowd, old habits and secret and open sins. God cannot save us from our sins until we forsake our sins.
We cannot expect our friends to forgive us for certain sins unless and until we stop sinning against them. Neither can God forgive us until we quit sinning against Him When we are really sorry, we stop sinning against God and others. "If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature;old things have PASSED AWAY, and behold ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW." We must saygoodbye to the old life before we can obtain and live in the new life.
Then after we have been sorry for our old sin life, and hated, confessed and forsaken our sins, we are still helpless before God. There are two reasons why we have to TRUST GOD to save us, namely: First, because we CANNOT SAVE OURSELVES; and secondly, because GODONLY CAN SAVE US. Thou shalt call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins. Matt. 1:21. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." After we realize that we arevery moment, pardon and forgive all our sins, make us NEW CREATURES, and ADOPT US into His great HEAVENLY FAMILY. Then how may we know that we are saved? "The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." Our own transformed nature, plus the witness of God's Spirit, testify that we are now the children of God. "We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren," other Christians which we before feared and hated. "He that hath the Son, hath the witness in Himself." "And hereby we KNOW that we KNOW Him, if we keep His commandments." "Beloved. NOW ARE WE THE SONS OF GOD." "And hereby we KNOW that He ABIDETH in us, by His Spirit which He hath given us." Do you think that we can have Christ and His Spirit dwelling in us and not KNOW it? Read the entire book of First John, and watch the word "KNOW." If salvation is the greatest thing in the world, it is the most conscious and knowable thing in the world.
How To Live The Christian Life
Some who get saved, get discouraged or led away with some temptation, and give up their salvation The same devil who first tried to drag you down to hell, will drag you back into sin and damn your soul if you will listen to him. BUT, please remember, that God will never leave nor forsake you if you keep your heart and life yielded to Him.
After I was saved, the devil would knock all the feeling out of my heart, then tell me that Iwas not saved. But I would begin to say or sing, "I must tell Jesus" and the devil would flee, and God would bless and keep me. "He is able to keep that which we have committed unto Him against that day."
You must keep in contact with God by living a life of prayer and communion with Him. Read your Bible daily, along with other good books. Be faithful in your attendance of church services, prayer meeting, etc. Be faithful in warning and winning souls to Christ. "Shun the very appearance of evil," and stay away from the wrong crowd. If you do make a mistake or blunder, hurry to Jesus Christ and plead the blood and keep close to Him. Obey God's commands and call for your life and He will never forsake you. Other friends may forsake you, but Jesus who died for you will live with you day by day. "The toils of the road will seem nothing where we come to theend of the way." If you just have to give up, always give up to Jesus; and he will carry you through, whatever others do.
Examples Of Great ChoicesRuth's Choice
In the Bible we have a record of one of the most wonderful women of all time, whose record and great choice have influenced the multitudes all down through the ages. Doubtless, multiplied thousands throughout the centuries have been named in her honor, "RUTH," this simple but almost sublime name. Had she made the wrong choice and gone back to her native home, old friends, and customs, her name and record would never have been made and known. The book of Ruth would never have been written.
Doubtless, multitudes who have come up to, and have stood at the cross roads of life,between time and eternity, inspired by Ruth's great choice, have turned in the right direction, and are now in heaven, or on the road to that eternal home.
Think of what it would have meant to her and multitudes if, like Orpah, she had turned back to the old crowd and been lost forever. Let us now listen to her great and sublime testimony and choice: "And Ruth said, 'entreatme not to leave thee, nor return from following after thee: For where thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest I will lodge: And thy people shall be MY people, and THY God shall BE MYGod: Where thou diest, I will die, and there will I be buried: The Lord do so unto me, and more also, if ought but DEATH part thee and me....... And when she (Naomi) saw that she was STEADFASTLY DETERMINED to go with her, then she left off speaking unto her."
My, what a CHOICE, and what a RECORD that followed. If she had sold out for sometemporal record, pleasure or reward, like most young people today, think of what she would have missed. "Good bye, old world, I'm through; I'll go with GOD whatever others do." Mind God and surely you'll find God Say yes to Him, and He'll say yes to you, Whatever others say, or think ordo. "Yes, Yes, I say yes to Thee. Well Hallelujah, He sets ME FREE!"
In the early days of the Holiness Movement, when they were despised, hated, mocked and persecuted on every side, the daughter of a wealthy lawyer chanced to get into a holiness meetingand was marvelously converted. Of course this shocked and alarmed her parents and friends, and they did every thing they could to get her to turn back and save them from the awful reproach, but she could not and would not sell her soul, nor turn back to the worldly way of death.
Finally, her father made a final effort to turn her back by having a special social gathering for her, and all her old friends were invited to attend. When the time for the social gathering came, her parents urged her to stand at the door and meet and greet her old friends. But, instead, she wentup stairs and fell on her knees and prayed while the crowd was gathering in. They were humiliatedby her absence, and her father went upstairs and pled with her saying, "Mary, all your old friendshave come to see you and hear you play the organ; please come down and play just one piece forthem." She was quite a musician. The Lord said, "Get up and go down and play." When she sat on the organ stool and stretched out her hands to play, all was quiet and still, and all eyes and ears turned her way, as she began to play. But instead of some giddy, silly tune, she began to reverently play, "Where He leads me, I will follow: I'll go with Him all the way." And behold, as she played,the Spirit of God seized the hearts of her hearers, and in tears, they fell on their knees and faces,and a great revival broke out, and swept the town and community round about. We once knew a girl who prayed and testified in a public school in Indiana until a revival broke out there.
If more of our Youth would take their stand for God and with God, what would happen in our needy day and generation. Moses' Choice All the great persons of Bible times and since have had to make great choices, involving every thing, risking all earthly treasures and pleasures. Temporal and eternal destinies are settled in moments, not days and years. Moses, the greatest character of the Old Testament, faced thisgreat crisis, and made the right choice. In any great choice, there are always two great elements, namely: Negative and positive, "Refusing and Choosing".
"By faith Moses, when he was come to years, (age of responsibility), refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; CHOOSING rather, (instead), to suffer afflictions WITH THE PEOPLE OF GOD, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, ESTEEMING the REPROACHof CHRIST greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt: For he had respect unto the recompenseof reward" hereafter. ABy faith he FORSOOK Egypt, (the world) not fearing the wrath of the king:for he ENDURED as seeing Him who is invisible."
Now let us check the great principles and purposes involved in Moses' great choice; -- inhis "Refusing" and "Choosing": Following the example of his Godly parents, he risked every thing, even his life, to makethe right choice against sin and for God and heaven.
He REFUSED to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, and later to sit on the throne of Egypt. Doubtless the devil told him that if he would accept this high honor and position, as aPharaoh, that he could do more for his own people by giving them all the honors and treasures ofEgypt, and save them from many Egyptian bondage. Oh, how many sell out for high positions and wealth and gold, in Church and state. In political lines, let us view the choice of the Rich YoungRuler who made the opposite choice: O how many young people sell out their souls, and all future usefulness and happiness, forsome trifling thing worth far less than Pharaoh's throne. But instead of selling himself and his greatnation out to the customs and idolatry of Egypt, he led them out of Egyptian bondage, over the hillsand plains, and across mountains and seas to "Canaan's fair land." "Oh, you need not look for me,down In Egypt's sands, For I have pitched my tent, far up in Beulah land."
My young friend, what are you selling out for? Some fleeting treasure or pleasure whichmay never come to you. The devil rarely keeps his promises, but deceives and lies and destroys. The more you may get of earth's pleasure, the more miserable you are. He promises you everythingand gives you nothing, but God promises you and gives you everything.
A Moses or a Mummy, which? If he had sold out, he might have been buried under apyramid, but he gave all to God, and led the Hebrew Children out of bondage by God's miraculous power. Yes, he wrote the first five books of the Bible, molded and fashioned his own nation, and multitudes throughout the ages, and he still lives today, in that same old fashioned way. His trialswere turned into triumphs. He had the high honor and glorious privilege, with that fearless prophetElijah, of meeting with Christ on the Mt. of Transfiguration, with greater honor than all the thronesof Egypt or the world. Moses knew that the pleasures of sin could never satisfy.
But look at what he chose instead. "I'll take the way with the Lord's despised few: I'm going through, Jesus, I'm going through." What about you? Marvel not if the world hate you. It hatedme before it hated you. AWoe unto you when all men speak well of you; for so did your fathers to the FALSE PROPHETS which were before you. Check the history of those who have sold out God for the world. Whatever keeps you from yielding to God, and serving God, that is your god,and you are an idol worshiper.
You cannot have more than your share of earthly treasures and be happy and contented. It iswhat you ARE and NOT what you POSSESS, that makes you miserable or happy. All our days and treasures of earth will soon be left behind. We gain millions of times more pleasures, here and hereafter, by going God's way to that eternal day. The trials of life are the things which develop character and gain rewards. God is lookingfor those who will suffer for Him today. That which humbles self, exalts God. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." "They that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." We MUST follow Christ to Calvary, if we would follow him to the Resurrection and to the heavenly world. Persecution not only PROVES, but IMPROVESour Christian life and character. If you would find out how much one loves you, find out how much they are willing to suffer for you. The more we suffer for God, the more God blesses us. "These are they who have come up through great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made themwhite in the blood of the Lamb." Those who suffer for God here, will be honored most in heaven.When we dodge the reproach, we miss the glory; the cross, we miss the crown.
"If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For ALL that is in the world: The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father. but is of the world." Then hear the great conclusion: "The world PASSETH AWAY and the lust thereof,BUT he that doeth the will of the Father abideth forever." Well, praise God!! I had rather enjoy God and heaven for all eternity, than to have all the fleeting pleasures, honors and treasures of this world, in Church and state, for only a short time.
When we have God, we have everything, the sources of all blessings and true riches: theriches of grace, peace and joy, the riches of love. "For the kingdom of heaven is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." Well, "Praise God, from who all blessings flow," that makes the heart glad and the countenance glow.
"By Faith Moses forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible" to the natural eye. To be able to look thru and out beyond all earthly treasures and pleasures, and view God and heavenly things is the secret of happiness. While he endured opposition and persecution from Pharaoh and all Egypt, he saw beyond, to the invisible.When he came down from Mt. Sinai with his face shining like an angel, he forgot all about old Pharaoh and his empty throne.
"Now, therefore we are no more pilgrims and strangers, and foreigners, but fellow citizenswith the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom the whole building fitly joinedtogether, groweth unto an HOLY TEMPLE in the Lord: In whom YE ARE ALSO builded togetherfor an HABITATION OF GOD THROUGH THE SPIRIT." When God dwells within, we need notfear all that is without. "If God be for us, who can be against us"
"And now unto Him who is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think,according to the power that worketh in us: Unto Him be glory in the Church, by Jesus Christ,throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." I say Amen? and Amen'
"It pays to serve Jesus. It pays every step of the way" unto eternal day.That Shocking SurpriseBy Arthur L. VessOn a sunlit hill, in a mansion fair,Once lived a man, in splendor there; His estate was large, his mansion grand. None more honored lived in that land.His goods increased, his barns were filled,With corn and wheat, from fields well tilled. He dreamed of years of ease and repose,Nor tho't such days would ever close.With Christ he met one lonely day, And plead for life which fades not away. With loving heart, the Master said:"Give up your wealth, take Me instead."But grieved at heart, he turned away;The price too great, he would pay. And tears he shed. as homeward he trod-His Christ left out, his gold his god.His house was furnished with things so fine; His children were cultured, his wife refined. He moved in circles of the renown and great, Like a king on his throne, in royal estate. His wisdom was sought, by sages wise, His morals and manners, none could despise. He loved his wealth and trusted in gold: For mansions on earth, his heaven he sold.The Spirit then cried, "Your soul is lost; Sit down quickly and count the cost."But thus he answered, A Soul, take thine ease; My barns are filled, I have no disease.Cease your murm'rings, quiet your fears;I have much goods laid up for many years. He lay down to sleep in accustomed repose- Soon racked in pain, in fear he arose.The angel of death stalked into his room:And proclaimed aloud, his awful doom: "You need not pray, you cannot flee-This night, thy soul is required of thee. Then whose shall be thy wealth and gold? And what shall become of thy poor soul? He was shocked and awed with great surprise-With devils in hell, to lift up his eyes.