The title of my blog "Watercolourdreams" is not associated in any way with any other user of this name that may be found on the internet or otherwise. My name came simply from a dream to oneday be a watercolour artist.
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"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ". 2 Timothy 2:3
"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing". 2 Timothy 4:8
Christian soldier, for encouragement in every conflict--look up to your Captain for supplies--and look forward to the glory that awaits you! The war will soon be over. Your discharge will soon be signed and sent to you. Home is even now in view!
The promised land will be far above our greatest expectations!
The glory to be revealed will far exceed our most enlarged desires!
The weight of glory will transcend our most comprehensive thoughts!
A crown is reserved for you! Not a corruptible crown of laurel or myrtle--but a diadem. A diadem of glory! More durable than gold, more costly than any earthy monarch's crown. Gold, pearls, and precious stones--are not to be compared to it! Its gems will sparkle brighter that the stars on a winter's evening! As a whole, it will shine brighter than the sun on a summer's noon!
It is a crown of glory--a most glorious crown. Not merited by your labors or sufferings in the Lord's service--but graciously promised, and gratuitously bestowed. Promised by your glorious Leader, preserved most carefully in the palace of the Most High God--to be awarded to every faithful soldier at the final and grand review.
Yes, it will be placed on your brow by His hands, who . . .
won you to His service,
led you to the battlefield,
made you victorious, and
will rejoice in your honor and happiness forever!
It will be worn before God's own throne, before the angelic hosts, among God's saints forever. What thrilling joy, what ecstatic pleasure, what inconceivable delight--will you realize, when you first feel it rest on your brow! What a look will your Savior give you--when you lift up your head that He may place it on you, and your eye meets His!
Grace, free grace will shine most gloriously on that day! The songs of the enraptured company will be divinely sweet. O how our blessed Savior's heart will dance for joy! How His eyes will sparkle with delight! His mighty spirit will realize full satisfaction--to see the whole of His redeemed people collected, arranged, and glorified before Him!
Not one missing!
All whom the Father gave Him--there!
All for whom He offered up Himself as a sacrifice--there!
All to whom He sent the Comforter--there!
All who enlisted under His banner and were sworn into His army--there!
Those who were once wounded, weeping, and lagging behind the regiment--there! O glorious salvation--in which every poor, maimed, weather-beaten, discouraged soldier of the cross shall share!
What a prospect is this! How bright, how glowing, how enchanting!
Then, O with what rapture we will sing, "Unto Him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and His Father--to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever! Amen."
Surely, surely we ought to be fired with love, filled with zeal, and prepared for every conflict, however arduous--by such a glorious prospect!
(James Smith, "The Good Soldier's Prospect!" 1864)
"Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober." 1 Thessalonians 5:6
What an anomaly! Drowsing on the verge of eternity!
A Christian is one who, in contrast to the unregenerate, has been awakened from the sleep of death in trespasses and sins, made to realize the unspeakable awfulness of endless misery in Hell, and the ineffable joy of everlasting bliss in Heaven; and thereby brought to recognize the seriousness and solemnity of life! A Christian is one who has been experientially taught the worthlessness of mundane things--and the preciousness of divine things! He has turned his back on Vanity Fair and has started out on his journey to the Celestial City.
Nevertheless, it is sadly possible . . .
for him to suffer a relapse,
for his zeal to abate,
for his graces to languish,
for him to leave his first love, and
become weary of well-doing.
Yes, unless he is very much on his guard, drowsiness will steal over him--and he will fall asleep!
Corruptions still indwell him--and sin has a stupefying effect!
He is yet in this evil world--and it exerts an enervating influence! Satan seeks to devour him, and unless resisted steadfastly--will hypnotize him!
Thus, the menace of this spiritual "sleeping sickness" is very real.
Slumbering saints! What an incongruity!
Taking their ease, while threatened by danger! Lazing, instead of fighting the good fight of faith! Rusting, instead of wearing out in His service! Trifling away opportunities to glorify their Savior, instead of redeeming the time!
How startling and reprehensible is a careless Christian, who has departed from God, bewitched by a world which is doomed to eternal destruction!
"....that now it is high time to awake out of sleep..." Romans 13:11
"....they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place" Jeremiah 50:6
Even true Christians are prone to wander from their resting place. Every sinner is a wanderer, and while sin dwells within us--we shall always feel a disposition to wander. This is against our better judgment, our solemn profession, and our new nature--yet still there is the disposition to wander, and it is called into exercise by a variety of things:
1. A love of novelty--a desire to see, possess, or enjoy something new--will sometimes set us wandering.
2. The weakness of our graces, as faith, hope, and love--is at other times the occasion of it.
3. The power of corruption within us, which at times works with peculiar force and power--makes us restless.
4. The temptations of Satan, which beguile, bewilder, and captivate us--lead us from our resting-place also.
5. And so do the errors that abound and spread all around us.
False views, Satanic temptations, powerful corruptions, and the weakness of grace--are the principal things which lie at the root of our backslidings.
Reader, are you a restless wanderer?
If so, return, return unto Jesus.
Go to Him, and confess your sins.
Go to Him, and entreat His pardon.
Go to Him, and prove the kindness of His heart.
Go to Him, and be happy once more in His grace and love.
O Savior, bring me back from all my wanderings by Your invincible grace; let me enjoy rest in Your precious love, and keep me near Your loving heart and bleeding side forever!
(James Smith, "Christ Exalted, Saints Comforted, and Sinners Directed" 1855)
If we look at the comparisons which are made use of by the Holy Spirit to set Christ forth--we behold something more of His loveliness.
He is compared to a MOTHER, and is said to have more than a mother's tenderness, kindness, and care. His concern for His people is constant, He never loses sight of them for a moment, and He pledges His Word that He will never forget them!
He is the CITY of REFUGE, with . . . the broad and clear road, the gates wide open, and the hearty welcome awaiting every sinner who approaches to escape the threatened vengeance!
He is the STRONGHOLD, which emboldens, supplies, and secures all the prisoners of hope.
He is the ROCK, which shades, shelters, and refreshes the weary traveler.
He is the DAY-STAR, which betokens brighter scenes, and guides the vessel of mercy across the boisterous deep--to the haven of perfect redemption and safety.
He is the SUN of RIGHTEOUSNESS, whose rising . . . cheers the benighted pilgrim, makes glad the weary citizen of Heaven, and produces moral beauty and fruitfulness in our world.
He is the APPLE-TREE among the trees of the forest . . . whose blossoms are beautiful, whose shade is refreshing, and whose fruit is sweet to the taste.
He is the BREAD of LIFE, which came down from heaven . . . satisfying the hungry, strengthening the weak, and giving life unto the world.
He is the BRAZEN SERPENT, which heals easily, instantly, and perfectly--all who look to Him by faith.
He is the WATER of SALVATION, which . . . cleanses the filthy, refreshes the weary, and makes glad the city of God.
He is the only WAY, which leads from sin, condemnation, and wrath--to life, holiness, and heaven!
He is the HEAD, which thinks, plans, and contrives for the welfare of the whole of His mystical body.
He is the DOOR, which admits to . . . the pastures of Divine truth, the privileges of His Church below, and His Father's glorious presence!
He is the FOUNDATION on which all must build for eternity, and which alone is able to support our hopes and sustain our souls--amidst the wreck of matter and the crash of worlds!
He is the CORNER-STONE, which unites, beautifies, and strengthens the whole building of divine mercy.
He is the TEMPLE, where God . . . meets with us, accepts us, and imparts His blessing to us.
He is the ALTAR, which sanctifies both the gift and the giver.
He is the VINE, which communicates life, nourishment, and fruitfulness to all its branches.
He is theROSE of SHARON and the LILY of the VALLEY--fragrant, lovely, attractive, perfuming, and unequaled in beauty and grace!
He is the FORERUNNER, who is gone before His flock . . . removing the obstacles, marking out the road, and ready to receive them as they finish their course.
He is the FRIEND . . . who loves at all times, whose mind never changes, whose love never cools, and who never neglects a friend in distress.
He is the greatest, best, and most glorious GIFT of GOD--including, securing, and conferring--every good thing upon those who sincerely receive Him.
He is the KINSMAN . . . who redeems the forfeited inheritance, who ransoms all His poor relatives from slavery, and whose name is held in renown.
He is the LAMB of GOD, who took up, expiated, and forever put away--the sins of all who trust in His blood.
He is the MESSENGER of the COVENANT, who . . . brings good news from God, carries all our requests to God, and ever stands as a Mediator between us and God.
He is the PEARL of GREAT PRICE, or the priceless pearl, which . . . all who sincerely seek--find, all who find--may claim, and all who possess--are enriched forever!
He is the PHYSICIAN, who . . . heals all disorders, restores every patient to perfect health, and bestows medicine and care, freely.
He is the RANSOM, which . . . procured our release, ensures our liberty, and preserves us from going down into the pit!
He is the RIGHTEOUSNESS, which . . . justifies us from all charges, entitles us to eternal life, and enables us to lift up our heads with boldness in God's presence.
He is the TRUTH, which . . . enlightens the mind, purifies the heart, and regulates the life.
He is the FIRE, which . . . purges our dross, brightens our graces, and cleanses our consciences from works which deserve death.
He is the SHEPHERD, who . . . knows every sheep, watches over the whole flock, and never loses a lamb, by disease, accident, or beast of prey.
He is the CAPTAIN of SALVATION, who . . . collects His soldiers, disciplines His troops, and leads them forth to certain victory over sin, the world, and the devil.
He is the LADDER, by which we . . . rise from this earth, lose sight of carnal things, and ascend to the presence of God!
He is the SURETY . . . who engaged for us in the everlasting covenant, who is held responsible for our salvation, who has pledged to set us before His father's throne forever.
He is the WALL of FIRE, which surrounds, enlightens and infallibly protects--all His redeemed people!
He is the chief among ten thousand, and the ALTOGETHERLOVELY ONE!
Precious Lord Jesus, allow me . . . to know You more fully, to trust You more heartily, to serve You more diligently, to enjoy You more frequently, to imitate You more closely, to exalt You more highly, and to show forth Your salvation from day to day!
Your love--is my heaven, Your presence--is my delight, and Your service--is the joy of my heart!
Let me daily . . . walk with You, work for You, and bring glory to You!
Oh, send Your Spirit to my poor heart . . . to exalt You, to honor You, to endear You to my soul!
Use me to bring . . . lost sinners to Your cross, believers to Your throne of grace, backsliders to the path of obedience.
Be my . . . strength in life, solace in death, and eternal portion beyond the grave!
(James Smith, "Christ Exalted, Saints Comforted, and Sinners Directed" 1855)
"Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest!" Psalm 55:6
The trials of a believer are often severe. Many a storm has he to endure, many a river to ford, and many a fire to pass through--in his way home to the promised land. Little did the Christian think, when he first stepped into the liberty of the gospel--that there were such rough roads, dark nights, and terrible storms before him; but, more or less, every traveler to Mount Zion must experience them. It is generally found to be a rough road, which leads to the celestial city. Many a Christian has found his courage fail him, and his heart misgive him, on his way home.
The darkness is sometimes so dense,
the cross is at times so heavy,
the disappointment is at some seasons so great--
that the stoutest heart quails, and unites with the timid spirit, in exclaiming, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest!"
These trials are necessary, to . . . try our sincerity, exercise our graces, and render the promises sweet and precious.
When all goes smooth, and everything is pleasant . . .
we attach but little importance to the promises,
have little power in prayer, and
are too apt to over-value ourselves.
But trying times . . .
endear the throne of grace,
strip us of pride and self-importance,
and strengthen our trust in Jesus.
Never is Christ so precious--as in times of peculiar trial. Never is the Bible so valued--as in the day of trouble and distress. The wilderness with its barren burning sands, its storms and tempests, its dangers and its difficulties--endears the promised land; and makes the pilgrim occasionally to cry out, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest!"
Rest! O how sweet is the thought of rest--to the weary, way-worn, exhausted traveler! Rest! O how sweet is the thought of rest--to the afflicted, tried, and tempted Christian! He most generally thinks of Heaven as a place of rest:
rest from suffering,
rest from sorrow,
rest from toil, and
rest from conflict.
Rest with Jesus.
Rest in the home of God.
Rest, perfect and perpetual rest.
Peaceful and glorious rest.
We have the foretastes of it occasionally now, which makes us at times long for its fullness and perfection. Like the grapes of Eshcol, which when tasted, stimulates us to hasten across the wilderness, that we may take possession of the promised land; so the inward calm, the secret repose, the rest at times enjoyed in the soul--urges us on, and makes us cry out, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest!"
To love, and be loved--is real happiness. Our highest honor, and our sweetest happiness below--is to be beloved of God. For if God loves us--He will withhold no truly good thing from us.
"Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest. " Hosea 14:4
What will God do for His people? He will love them freely!
He will prefer you to all others--setting His eye and His heart upon you.
He will take you into fellowship--the nearest, dearest, sweetest fellowship with Himself.
He will make you happy with the persuasion of the facts . . .
that He has loved you with an everlasting love,
that He delights in His love to you, and
that He will forever love you freely!
O blessed state--that the great, the infinite, the holy Lord God, will love a worm like me . . .
preferring me even to the angels;
indulging me with the freest, sweetest fellowship with Himself;
and sweetly persuading my soul of His eternal love to me!
WHY does He love me? Just because He will. The cause, the reason--is to be found in His loving heart, and sovereign will alone. Not because I am good, or amiable, or can repay His love--for He loves freely, and fixes His love on the most unlikely and unworthy objects!
How precious the Lord's people are to Him!
Notwithstanding all their unworthiness and sinfulness.
Notwithstanding all their departures from Him, and unkindness to Him.
There is nothing on earth, or in heaven, except His only begotten Son--that is as precious to the heart of God, as His people are!
God's love is always free and unchangeable. Everything outside of God will change--but His love is immutable!
"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." Jeremiah 31:3
Lord, help me to believe the love which You have for me--and to love You in return! O shed abroad Your sweet love in my heart, and fill that heart with glowing love to You!
"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name." Matthew 6:9
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not". 1 John 3:1
Beloved, we have a heavenly Father.
He has adopted us into His family.
He not only wears a father's name--but he has a father's heart.
He loves every believer with a father's love.
He watches over each of His children with a father's care.
Yes, we have a Father--and He is always near us.
His heart is ever disposed to do us good.
He will not withdraw His eye from us!
He bids us . . .
to cast every care upon Him,
to expect every blessing from Him, and
to carry everything that troubles us, to Him.
Does providence frown on us, perplex, and trouble us? Let us not fret, complain, or forebode--but go and tell Father!
Does Satan tempt, suggest evil thoughts, or endeavor to mislead us? Let us not parley with him, be alarmed at him, or yield to him--but go at once and tell Father!
Everything, whether painful or pleasant--should lead us to our Father in heaven. He loves to listen to our broken prayers. He loves to sympathize with us. He never chides us for coming too often, or refuses to listen to us. Happy child, who has such a Father! And wise is that child--who carries everything to his Father--who tells Him all, keeping nothing from Him. When we carry our cares or our troubles to Him, He says, "Leave them with Me. I will manage them. I will settle them."
Christian,run to your Father from every foe--and from every danger! Tell your Father everything that vexes, grieves, or troubles you. Trust your Father to manage all your affairs.Honoryour Father, by consulting Him on all matters, by confiding to Him all your secrets, and by making His written Word your daily rule on all points.
"The righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles." With childlike simplicity, filial confidence, and honest hearts--they go and tell their Father!
(James Smith, "Precious Things from the Everlasting Hills" 1853)
Jesus calls you to His throne of grace. He is there waiting to hear, relieve and bless you. You are to go to Him just as you are--and receive from Him all you need.
He will give you:
wisdom--to direct your steps;
peace--to keep your hearts;
strength--to do His will;
righteousness--to justify your souls;
and rest--unspeakably sweet.
He is glorified in bestowing these blessings upon you. He calls you this morning, this moment--to receive all you need--without money and without price. What a precious Savior is Jesus! What a kind and tender Friend!
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16
"Come!" He says, "Come to Me! Do not go to SELF, to the world, to the empty cisterns which creatures idolize; but come unto Me, and I will do immeasurably more than all you can ask or imagine!
Your sins--I will pardon;
your graces--I will revive;
your comforts--I will restore;
your holiness--I will increase;
your efforts to glorify Me--I will crown with success;
Some people come to birthdays regretfully. They do not like to think that they are growing older. But there is no reason for regret, if only we are living our years as we should live them, as we may live them.
Empty years--are a dishonor. Years filled with sin--are blots in the calendar. We should be ashamed to come to a birthday at the close of a year of idleness, indolence, neglect, or unfaithfulness. Jesus said we must give account for every idle word we speak. It will be an unhappy reckoning that we must make, after an idle year, or for idle hours and days in a year.
But there need never be a shadow of regret in coming to a birthday, when we have lived our best through all the days. If we go through a year walking with God--we shall come to its close with enlarged life, with nobler character, with richer virtues--in every way a more godly man or woman.
Growth is a law of life. When growth ceases, death is beginning. God counts our age, not by our birthdays--but by the advances which His eye sees in our inner life. Growth, too, is not marked by height or weight or by accumulations of money or property or earthly honor--but by an increase in godly character.
"But the very hairs of your head are all numbered." Matthew 10:30
What a promise is this! All that befalls you, to the very numbering of your hairs--is known to God! Nothing can happen by accident or chance. Nothing can elude His inspection. The fall of the forest leaf--the fluttering of the insect--the waving of the angel's wing--the annihilation of a world--all are equally noted by Him! Man speaks of great things and small things--but God knows no such distinction.
How especially comforting to think of this tender solicitude with reference to His own covenant people--that He metes out all their joys--and all their sorrows! Every sweet--and every bitter--is ordained by Him. Even "wearisome nights" are "appointed." Not a pang I feel, not a tear I shed--but is known to Him. What are called "dark dealings," are the ordinations of undeviating faithfulness. Man may err--his ways are often crooked; "but as for God--His way is perfect!" He puts my tears into His bottle. Every moment His everlasting arms are underneath and around me. He keeps me "as the apple of His eye." He "bears" me as a man bears his own son!
Do I look to the FUTURE? Is there much of uncertainty and mystery hanging over it? It may be, much foreboding of evil. Trust Him! All is marked out for me. Dangers will be averted; bewildering mazes will show themselves to be interlaced and interweaved with mercy. "He keeps the feet of His saints." Not a hair of their head will be touched.
He leads sometimes darkly, sometimes sorrowfully; most frequently by cross and circuitous ways, which we ourselves would not have chosen; but always wisely, always tenderly. With all its mazy windings and turnings, its roughness and ruggedness--the believer's is not only a right way--but the right way--the best which covenant love and wisdom could select.
"Nothing," says Jeremy Taylor, "does so establish the mind amid the rollings and turbulence of present things--as both a look above them and a look beyond them; above them--to the steady and loving hand by which they are ruled; and beyond them--to the sweet and beautiful end to which, by that hand, they will be brought." "The Great Counselor," says Thomas Brooks, "puts clouds and darkness round about Him, bidding us follow at His beck through the cloud, promising an eternal and uninterrupted sunshine on the other side." On that "other side" we shall see how every apparent rough blast has been hastening our boats nearer the desired haven.
Well may I commit the keeping of my soul to Jesus in well-doing--as unto a faithful Creator. He gave Himself for me. This transcendent pledge of love--is the guarantee for the bestowment of every other needed blessing. Oh, blessed thought! my sorrows are numbered--by the Man of Sorrows; my tears are counted--by Him who shed first His tears, and then His blood for me! He will impose no needless burden, and exact no unnecessary sacrifice. There was no unnecessary drop in the cup of His own sufferings; neither will there be in that of His people. "Though He slays me--yet will I trust in Him!" "Therefore comfort one another with these words."
"When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches".Psalm 63:6
It is a law of life--that our thoughts build our character.
If we meditate on the purity, the holiness, the goodness, the love, the righteousness, of Christ--these qualities will print themselves upon our own hearts.
Paul has given us an infallible direction for the best spiritual culture. "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things". Philippians 4:8
"But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part..." Luke 10:42
Paul prayed that his friends, "may approve things that are excellent", Philippians 1:10
We must be always making choices in this world. We cannot take up everything that lies in our path--and we ought to choose the best things. Even among 'right things' there is room for choice, for some right things are better than others.
There are many Christians, however, who do not habitually choose the best things--but second-rate things. They labor for the food that perishes--when they might labor for the food that endures unto everlasting life. Even in their prayers, they ask for temporal blessings, when they might ask for spiritual treasures!
They are like "the man with the muck-rake", in Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress'--who only looks 'down' and drags his rake among the weeds and worthless rubbish--while over his head are crowns which he might take into his hands! They are like Esau, who sold his valuable birthright, for some lentil stew. They toil for this world's vain things--when they might have been laying up treasures in heaven!
We only have one life to live--and we ought therefore to do the best we possibly can with it. We pass through this world only once--and we ought to gather up and take with us the things that will truly enrich us--things we can keep forever!
It is not worth our while, to toil and moil, and strive and struggle--to do things that will leave no lasting results when our life is done--while there are things we can do which have eternal significance!
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." Colossians 3:1-2
Recently I have been getting SPAM in my comments. Thankfully I moderate. Is anyone else having this problem and what can we do about it? Most have been vulgar and another was advertising airline ticket buying. I am saddened by this happeneing and am considering shutting down my blogs.
"The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower." (Psalm 18:2)
Do rocks defend me from blasts, from whatever quarter they blow? So does my Rock!
Is the blast from hell? Well, He has the keys of hell and of death!
Is it from sin? He is my righteousness!
Is it from Satan? He has conquered principalities and powers!
Is it from afflictions? He is my sympathizing and loving High Priest!
Is it from losses? He is my exceeding great reward!
Is it from crosses? He makes all things work together for good to His people!
Is it from anguish? He is my joy!
Is it from darkness? He is my Sun!
Is it from doubts? He is my Counselor!
Is it from deadness? He is my life!
Is it from enemies? He is my shield!
Is it from temptation? He is my deliverer!
Is it from false friends? He will never leave me, nor forsake me!
Is it from solitude or banishment? He is everywhere present!
Is it from disease? He is my healer!
Is it from death? He is the resurrection and the life!
O glorious refuge! O sure defense! O everlasting fortress! Here do I defy the worst that earth and hell can do!
Henceforth will I live by faith, in the MAN who is . . . my hiding place from the wind, my shelter from the tempest, my stream of water in a dry place, my shadow of a great rock in a weary land-- until every blast has blown over, and not a threatening cloud appears in my sky--until my heaven is beautified with everlasting day, and every storm is swept from the air which I breathe!
"And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."(Isaiah 32:2)