Thursday, April 18, 2013

By Patte Smith

I would have despaired (fainted),
unless I had believed
that I shall see
the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
~ Psalm 27:13

We are preparing to go to the killing place again this morning. As I prayed I was heavy-hearted.
I find it tempting to give in to a state of grief over the poor little babies.
I thought of the wise words of my dear missionary friend John Barros 
(who serves as a full time missionary to the perishing outside a notorious abortuary). 
John told me: "Go with expectation!"
Then, the Lord Jesus reminded me of His sweet fragrance,
which He gives us to bring forth & manifest,
when we speak with His voice, through His Word.
Whenever we are tempted to despair,
may the Holy Spirit remind us
that when we are led by the Savior,
in spite of what we SEE (or do NOT see)
we are never truly in a state of defeat,
but of victory!

Thanks be to God,
who in Christ
always leads us in triumphal procession
(which always causeth us to triumph in Christ),
and through us
spreads the fragrance
of the knowledge of Him
For we are the aroma of Christ to God
among those who are being saved
and among those who are perishing,
to one a fragrance from death to death,
to the other a fragrance from life to life.
Who is sufficient for these things?
For we are not,
like so many, peddlers of God’s Word,
but as men of sincerity,
as commissioned by God,
in the sight of God
we speak in Christ.

~ II Corinthinians 2:15-17

To whom are we the noxious aroma (smell/odor) of death unto death? 
Beloved, to those who are offended by the Word of God, who willfully reject His divine command; 

"You shall not murder", we are the stench of death. Why? After all we preach the terrible truth!"The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23"There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end is the way of death."  (Pr 14:12;16:25) If they persist in their evil plan to slaughter their baby, our presence in Christ & upon the hearing of His Word, becomes the means of their increased guilt and condemnation.  We even warn them that unless they show mercy on their babies & repent of their plot to shed innocent blood, they will perish; "But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed." (Romans 2:5) The mothers & fathers & accomplices to the murder of babies draw death & heap condemnation on themselves by refusing the gracious offers of life & eternity in the Law & gospel of Jesus. 

To whom are we the sweet fragrance of life unto life? 
To those who embrace it as perfume, obey the command to repent & believe & are saved!
For the ones who respond in humble obedience to the demand of the living Word of God & His holy commandment, the message we bring is a delightful message of LIFE. It leads to fear of the Lord! 

The Law of the wise is a fountain of life,
turning a person from the snares of death...

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, 
that one may turn away from the snares of death.
~ Proverbs 14:27

The fear of the LORD leads to life; 
then one rests content...
~ Proverbs 19:23

May we be faithful to Jesus, to the lost mothers & their abortion-imperiled infants in their affliction. May we never cave into the pressure to conceal (obscure, suppress) the life-affirming, life-giving, soul-saving message of the righteous demands & threatenings of Law & gospel.

Blessings are on the head of the righteous, 
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence...
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, 
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
~ Proverbs 10:6 & 11

With the divine assistance of the Holy Spirit, who makes us conscious of our unfitness & the deep sense of responsibility we have to love our neighbors, we devote ourselves to this gospel labor. We go in the triumphal, equipping power of Jesus Christ. We trust the Savior to sustain & carry us, anoint & empower us & to grant us His peace as we sow the gospel seeds of life & eternity in the field of blood & souls. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Take Me to the King

By Patte Smith

I heard a beautiful gospel song called "Take me to the King". 

I thought of how true it is that Jesus is
Who we need.
Who we REALLY need.
What a good reminder.
As I prepare to go to the mothers & their babies
I want to take them to the King.
I want to speak with HIS Word, 

which is HIS Voice.
I don't have all the answers.
I don't have all knowledge,
all wisdom
or all resources,
but I know the One who does.
May we take them to the King.

I want to take the women to the King. 
Leave them at His feet. 
Help them see that it is their SIN 
which has brought them there. 
And unless they repent 
& cast themselves upon the mercy of the Savior, 
sin will take them all the way to hell. 

Surely there are sinners who would be wrought upon by the grace of Christ at the killing place today. Come, let us go, we shall take them to the King! 

A woman of the city, who was a sinner...
brought an alabaster flask of ointment,
and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, 
she began to wet His feet with her tears
and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed His feet 
and anointed them with the ointment... 
Then turning toward the woman He said...
“Do you see this woman? I entered your house; 
you gave Me no water for My feet, 
but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 
You gave Me no kiss, 
but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss My feet. 
You did not anoint My head with oil, 
but she has anointed My feet with ointment. 
Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—
for she loved much. 
But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 
And He said to her,
“Your sins are forgiven...Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
~ Luke 7:37-38, 44-48,50 

This case now before us is the offering of a poor returning wanderer, who, under a deep sense of gratitude, brings the best she has to her Lord, and is accepted by His grace...
The grace of God has frequently chosen the lowest of the low, and the vilest of the vile. Recollect how, in the pedigree of our Lord, you find the name of the shameless Tamar, the harlot Rahab, and the unfaithful Bathsheba, as if to indicate that the Saviour of sinners would enter into near relationship with the most degraded and fallen of our race.
Do you not hear from the throne of mercy the echoes of that sovereign proclamation, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion"? Grace has pitched upon the most unlikely cases in order to show itself to be grace; it has found a dwelling-place for itself in the most unworthy heart, that its freeness might be the better seen. Do I address one who has greatly fallen? Let this thought comfort thee, if thy heart bewails thy sin—let this give thee hope of mercy, that in the election of grace some of the grossest blasphemers, persecutors, thieves, fornicators, and drunkards, have been included, and in consequence thereof they have been forgiven, renewed, and made to live sober, righteous, and godly lives. Such as these have obtained mercy that in them first God might show forth all longsuffering as a comfort and encouragement to others to cry unto the Lord for mercy...
The "woman which was a sinner," is now before us a weeping penitent; the sinner "of the city," a public sinner, is now openly a follower of the holy One...
The grace of God brought this woman in a way of providence to listen to the Saviour's discourses. In a former part of this chapter it appears He had been preaching the gospel, and more especially preaching it to the poor. Perhaps she stood in the street attracted by the crowd, and, as she listened to our Saviour's talk, it seemed to hold her fast. She had never heard a man speak after that fashion, and when He spoke of abounding mercy, and the willingness of God to accept as many as would come to Him, then the tears began to follow each other down her cheek; and when she listened again to that meek and lowly preacher, and heard Him tell of the Father in heaven who would receive prodigals and press them to His loving bosom, then her heart was fairly broken, she relinquished her evil traffic, she became a new woman, desirous of better things, anxious to be freed from sin. But she was greatly agitated in her heart with the question, could she, would she, be really forgiven? Would such pardoning love as she had heard of reach even to her? She hoped so, and was in a measure comforted. Her faith grew, and with it an ardent love. The Spirit of God still wrought with her till she enjoyed a feeble hope, a gleam of confidence; she believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, that He had appeared on earth to forgive sins, and she rested on Him for the forgiveness of her sins, and longed for an opportunity to do Him homage...
The woman, almost unperceived, came close to Him, and, as she looked and saw that the Pharisee had refused Him the ordinary courtesy of washing His feet, and that they were all stained and travel-worn with His long journeys of love, she began to weep, and the tears fell in such plenteous showers that they even washed His feet. Here was holy water of a true sort. The crystal of penitence falling in drops, each one as precious as a diamond. Never were feet bedewed with a more precious water than those penitent eyes showered forth. Then, unbinding those luxurious tresses, which had been for her the devil's nets in which to entangle souls, she wiped the sacred feet therewith. Surely she thought that her chief adornment, the crown and glory of her womanhood, was all too worthless a thing to do service to the lowest and meanest part of the Son of God. That which once was her vanity now was humbled and yet exalted to the lowest office...
There a sweet temptation overtook her, "I will even kiss those feet, I will humbly pay reverence to those blessed limbs." She spake not a word, but how eloquent were her actions! better even than psalms and hymns were these acts of devotion. Then she bethought her of that alabaster box containing perfumed oil with which, like most Eastern women, she was wont to anoint herself for the pleasure of the smell and for the increase of her beauty, and now, opening it, she pours out the costliest thing she has upon His blessed feet. Not a word, I say, came from her; and, brethren, we would prefer a single speechless lover of Jesus, who acted as she did, to ten thousand noisy talkers who have no gifts, no heart, no tears. As for the Master, He remained quietly acquiescent, saying nothing, but all the while drinking in her love, and letting His poor weary heart find sweet solace in the gratitude of one who once was a sinner, but who was to be such no more.
Grace, my brethren, deserves our praise, since it does so much for its object. Grace does not choose a man and leave him as he is. My brethren and sisters, men rail at grace sometimes as though it were opposed to morality, whereas it is the great source and cause of all complete morality—indeed, there is no real holiness in the sight of God except that which grace creates, and which grace sustains. This woman, apart from grace, had remained black and defiled still to her dying day, but the grace of God wrought a wondrous transformation, removing the impudence of her face, the flattery from her lips, the finery from her dress, and the lust from her heart. Eyes which were full of adultery, were now founts of repentance; lips which were doors of lascivious speech, now yield holy kisses—the profligate was a penitent, the castaway a new creature. All the actions which are attributed to this woman illustrate the transforming power of divine grace. She exhibited the deepest repentance. She wept abundantly. She wept out of no mere sentimentalism, but at the remembrance of her many crimes. She wept for sorrow and for shame as she thought over her early childhood, and how she had slighted a mother's training, how she had listened to the tempter's voice, and hurried on from bad to worse. Every part of her life-story would rise before her as a painfully vivid dream. The sight of those blessed feet helped her to remember the dangerous paths into which she had wandered; the sluices of grief were drawn up, and her soul flowed out in tears. O blessed Spirit of grace, we adore thee as we see the Rock smitten and the waters gushing.
Note the woman's humility. She had once possessed a brazen face, and knew no bashfulness, but now she stands behind the Saviour. She did not push herself in before his face; she was content to have the meanest standing-place. If she might not venture to anoint his head, yet, if she might do service to his feet, she blushed as she accepted the honour. Those who serve the Lord Jesus truly, have a holy bashfulness, a shrinking sense of their own unworthiness, and are content to fulfil the very lowest office in His household. That is no service for Christ when thou wouldst need ride the king's horse, and wear the king's garment, and have it said, "This is the man whom the king delighteth to honour." That is serving thyself rather than Christ, when thou covetest the chief place in the synagogue, and wouldst have men call thee 'Rabbi'. But that is real service when thou canst care for the poor; when thou canst condescend to men of low estate, and become a teacher of the ignorant and an instructor of babes. He serves well who works behind His master's back, unknown and unperceived—toiling in the dark, unreported, unapplauded, and happy to have it so. See, beloved, how in a woman who was once so shameless, grace plants and makes to flourish the fair and modest flower of true humility.
What she did was practical. Hers was not pretence, but real and expensive service. The religion of some professors stops short at their substance; it costs them nothing, and, I fear, is worth nothing...This woman's alabaster box was given freely, and if she had had more to give, she would have given it...
Oh, that Jesus should ever accept anything of me, that He should be willing to accept my tears, willing to receive my prayers and my praises! We cheerfully accept a little flower from a child, but then the flower is beautiful, and we are not far above the child; but Jesus accepts from us that which is in its nature impure, and upbraids us not. O grace, how condescending thou art; see, believer, Jesus has heard thy prayers and answered them; He has blessed thy labours, given thee souls as thy reward, and at this moment that which is in thy heart to do for hHm he receives, and He raises no objection, but takes what thou bringest to Him, takes it with joy. O grace, thou art grace indeed, when the offerings of unworthy ones become dear unto Jesus' heart...
At the last great day, the Lord will justify His grace before the eyes of the whole universe, for He will allow the grace-wrought virtues of His chosen ones to be unveiled, and all eyes shall see that grace reigns through righteousness. Then shall they for ever be silenced who accused the grace of God of leading to licentiousness, for they shall see that in every case free forgiveness led to gratitude, and gratitude to holiness. The chosen shall be made choice men. Grace chose them notwithstanding all their deformities; but when it has cast about them a supernal beauty, they shall be the wonder and admiration of the universe, evidently made to be the noblest and best of mankind. Show me where grace ever created sin! You cannot, but lo, in what a manner has grace created holiness! It is not ashamed to let its chosen sheep appear before the great dividing Shepherd's throne, for of them all it shall be said, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink." Grace does not smuggle men into heaven, but brings them up to heaven's requirements through the Spirit and the blood...
Love—its source: it bubbles up as a pure rill from the well-head of grace. She loved much, but it was because much had been forgiven. There is no such thing as mere natural love to God. The only true love which can burn in the human breast towards the Lord, is that which the Holy Ghost Himself kindles...
Its secondary cause is faith. The fiftieth verse tells us, "Thy faith hath saved thee." Our souls do not begin with loving Christ, but the first lesson is to trust...
Grace is the source of love, but faith is the agent by which love is brought to us...
Love in the narrative before us shines in the fact that the service the woman rendered to our Lord was perfectly voluntary. No one suggested it, much less pressed it upon her. It takes the gloss off our service when we need to be dragged to it, or pushed forward by some energetic pleader. Brethren, the anointing was impromptu with her. Christ was there, and it was at her own suggestion that she anointed His feet. Mary of Bethany had not then set the example: the woman who was a sinner was an original in her service. In these days we have many inventors and discoverers for our temporal use and service, why should we not have inventors for Jesus who will bring out new projects of usefulness? We are most of us content to travel in the old rut, but if we had more love to Jesus we should be more eccentric, and should have a degree of freshness about our service which at present is all too rare. Lord, give us the love which can lead the way!
Her service to Jesus was personal. She did it all herself, and all to Him. Do you notice how many times the pronoun occurs in our text? "She stood at His feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment." She served Christ Himself. It was neither service to Peter, nor James, nor John, nor yet to the poor or sick of the city, but to the Master Himself; and, depend upon it, when our love is in active exercise, our piety will be immediately towards Christ— we shall sing to Him, pray to Him, teach for Him, preach for Him, live to Him...How much better will you go tell to others the way of salvation, if you go to do it for His sake! Then you court no man's smile—you fear no man's frown. It is enough for you that you have done it for the Master...
The woman's service showed her love in that it was fervent. There was so much affection in it—nothing conventional; no following chilly propriety...Little did she care how it looked; she knew what she meant. She could not do otherwise. Her whole soul went out in love, she acted naturally as her heart dictated, and, brethren, she acted well. O for more of this guileless piety, which hurls decorum and regulation to the winds. Ah, throw your souls into the service of Christ; let your heart burn in His presence, and let all your soul belong to Jesus. Serve not your Master as though you were half asleep, do not work with drooping hands and half-closed eyes, but wake up the whole of your powers and passions: for such love as He has shown to you, give the most awakened and quickened love in return. O for more of this love!...
Now, beloved ones, we encourage you to show this. For our sakes, for your own sakes, for Christ's sake, do not hesitate—if there be anything you can do, though you are uneducated in the divine school, do it. Though there may be a dozen blunders in the method, yet do it, for Christ will accept it. The Pharisee may cavil—...—let him cavil, you can bear it, Christ will defend you, Jesus will accept you; and as a reward for doing what you can, He may be pleased to give you grace to do more, and may breathe over you a full assurance of faith, which had you been idle you might not for years have attained; and He may give you a peace of conscience in serving Him which, had you sat still, might never have come to you. I beseech all of you who love Jesus, do not hide the light you have under a bushel, but come out and show it. If you have but a little faith, use it; if you have only a grain of faith, turn it to account. Put the one talent out at interest, and use it for the Master at once, and the Lord bless you in such a work, by increasing your faith and love, and making you to be as this woman was, a highly favoured servant of this blessed Master. May the Lord give every one of you His blessing, for Jesus' sake.

Excerpted from the sermon "The Woman Was a Sinner" by Charles Spurgeon

Every truth leads towards holiness; every error of doctrine, directly or indirectly, leads to sin. ~ Charles Spurgeon