“Let it come to you now as from Jesus. Forget that it is spoken by the minister, or written in the text. Hear it only as spoken by Jesus, by that same Jesus who has redeemed you from death and hell by his most precious blood. He addresses it to you rather than to others…

I want the enquiry to come to my own soul and to yours this morning, as if Jesus really stood before each one of us, and again said, “Lovest thou me?”…No outward religiousness renders this enquiry needless. Are we professors of religion, are we very constant in attending to outward forms of worship? Do we enter very heartily into all the public exercises of God’s house? Yes, but there are thousands who do that, hundreds of thousands who do that every Lord’s-day, and yet they do not love Christ!

…We know others to whom the end-all and be-all of religion is an orthodox statement of doctrine. So long as the preaching is according to the confession of faith, and every word and act is piously correct, they are well pleased; but no love to Jesus ever stirs their bosoms; religion to them is not an exercise of the heart at all — it is mere brain work, and hardly that. They know nothing of the living soul going out towards a living person, a bleeding heart knit to another bleeding heart, a life subsisting on another life and enamoured of it. We know brethren who carry this very far, and if the preacher differs from them in the merest shade, they are overwhelmed with pious horror at his unsoundness, and they cannot hear him again: even if he preach Christ most preciously in all the rest of his discourse, it is nothing, because he cannot sound their “Shibboleth.”

What is orthodoxy without love, but a catacomb to bury dead religion in. It is a cage without a bird; the gaunt skeleton of a man out of which the life has fled. I am afraid that the general current of church life runs too much towards externals, and too little towards deep burning love to the person of Christ.

If you preach much about emotional religion, and the heart-work of godliness, cold-blooded professors label you as rather mystical, and begin to talk of Madame Guyon and the danger of the Quietist school of religion. We would not mind having a little spice of that, even if we were blamed for it, for after all the realizing of Christ is the grand thing. The faith which is most blessed is faith which deals most fully with the person of Jesus Christ, the truest repentance is that which weeps at a sight of his wounds, and the love which is most sweet is love to the adorable person of the Well-beloved.

I look upon the doctrines of grace as my Lord’s garments, and they smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia. I look upon his precepts as his sceptre, and it is a rod tipped with silver; and I delight to touch it and find comfort in its power. I look upon the gospel ordinances as the throne upon which he sits, and I delight in that throne of ivory overlaid with pure gold; but oh, his person is sweeter than his garments, dearer than his sceptre, more glorious than his throne; he himself is altogether lovely, and to love HIM is the very heart’s core of true religion.

…You may have all the externals of outward religiousness, and yet the secret of the Lord may not be with you. It will be vain…to love the wedding-feast but not the Bridegroom. Do you love HIM? that is the question. “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?”

 — Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1876.

“Once near Kailas, I asked directions to the nearest village. Out of spite, the villagers deliberately sent me down a dangerous jungle path. As night came on, I came to a river that blocked my path..I could hear the sounds of wild animals nearby. With no way to cross the river, I sat down and prayed, thinking that the end of my life was at hand.

When I looked up, I saw a man on the other side of the river beside a fire. He called to me: “Do not be afraid! I am coming to help you.” I was astonished to see him wade purposefully across the swift river. Coming up to me, he said, “Sit on my shoulders and have no fear.” As easily as before, he walked straight across the current with me on his back. He set me down on the far bank, and as I walked beside him, both he and the fire disappeared.”

— Sadhu Sundar Singh

“When you come to the edges of yourself and you see the limits of your love, your generosity, and your willingness to give of yourself…instead of despair, just whisper a prayer to the God who loves you. He’ll do for you, in you, and through you what you cannot do for yourself. He never rolls His eyes or breathes a heavy sigh when it He looks at you. He loves you. May you–right in the midst of your limits and your need–look to Jesus who intends to finish what He started in you. May you focus more on His goodness than on your ‘badness’ because He’s better than you know and loves you more than you can comprehend. Walk freely today, knowing you (like the rest of us) are a work in progress. And you get to be; without the condemnation. Blessings on your day this day!”

— Susie Larson

“One morning I stood outside the large iron gate of a local police court and temporary prison.  There were people waiting there, some out of curiosity, and some because they had a relative inside.

I waited expectedly for the opening of the gate. I heard the shuffling of heavy feet. They came close.  Then I heard sounds of loud voices, and one especially that got louder and more shrill. It was the voice of a woman.

The gates opened wide, and I witnessed a sight, which, if eternity could wash away from my mind, time never can.  It was a woman. Two policeman walked in front and two behind. One stalwart man firmly held the right arm and the other the left.  Her hair was uncombed and matted and disheveled. Her right temple was blackened with bruises.  Clots of dried blood stood upon her left temple. Her clothes were torn and bloodstained.  She tried to wrench her arms from the grasp of the policemen.

The very atmosphere of the morning was laden with her curses and oaths. She tossed her head wildly as the six policemen dragged her down the passageway.

What could I do?  One more moment, and the golden opportunity to be of help would be gone.  Could I offer a prayer?  No, there was not time. Could I sing? It would be absurd. Could I give her money?  She could not take it. Could I quote a verse of Scripture?  She would not heed it.

Whether it was a divine suggestion or not I did not stop to think, but the impulse of a burning desire which filled my heart as she passed made me step forward and kiss her on the cheek.

Whether the police were taken off their guard by my extraordinary action and relaxed their grasp, I do not know, but with one wrench she freed her arms and clasped her hands as the wind spread her matted disheveled hair, and she looked toward the gray skies and said, “My God!”

She looked around wildly for a moment and then said, “My God, who kissed me?  My God, who kissed me? Nobody has kissed me since my mother died.”  Lifting her tattered apron, she buried her face in her hands, and like a little lamb she was led to the vehicle which took her to prison.

Later I went to the prison in the hope of seeing her, and at the door stood the warden.  When I approached the warden, he said, “We think her mind is gone.  She does nothing but pace up and down her cell asking me every time I go in if I know who kissed her.”

“Would you let me go in and speak to her?” I asked.  “I am her only and best friend …”

The door was opened and I slipped in.  Her face was clean, her eyes were large and beautiful, and she said, “Do you know who kissed me?”

And then she told me her story:

“When I was a little girl seven years old my widowed mother died.  She died very poor, although she was of genteel birth. She died in a back basement in the dark.  When she was dying she called me to her, took my little face in her hands, and kissed it, and said to me, ‘My poor little girl, — my defenseless little girl.  O God, have pity on my little girl, and when I am gone protect her and take care of her.’  From that day to this, nobody ever put a kiss upon my face until recently.”

Then again she asked me, “Do you know who kissed me?”

I said, “It was I who kissed you.”

Then I told her of Him whose life was so much more tender than mine could ever be and how He went to the cross and bore our sins upon Himself and was wounded for our transgressions that He might put the kiss of pardon upon our brow.

In Him she found light, and joy, and comfort, and salvation and healing and love.  Before she was released from the prison the warden testified not only to the change in her life, but to its beauty. She was made through Christ the means of salvation to numbers of others who were down as low as she had been and who had been bound with heavy fetters as those with which she herself had been bound.”

— Evangeline Booth

“Where do you immediately turn when you need help? In this digital age, many of us grab our phone or computer. We quickly Google a question to find out the answer…although technology can be a blessing, it can also be a curse. The curse comes when we turn to Google before we turn to God. We need God, not Google, first.

Consider the beautiful verse from Psalm 121:1-2, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Today’s parent, if being honest, might find the following statement more of a reality: “I turn my eyes down to my phone – where does my help come from? My help comes from Google, the holder of all information.”

In this screen-driven world, we can get our wires crossed. The answers to your family’s problems aren’t found on homepages or search engines. The answers you need are found in the ancient pages of God’s Word and by speaking to the Source of wisdom Himself.

…Think about it. Could you go a whole day without talking to God?…Could you go a whole day without your cell phone or Wi-Fi? Ouch, that would hurt more wouldn’t it? We are ever dependent on our calorie trackers, social media posts, playlists, texts, and emails. Instead of nurturing a dependency on the Divine, we’ve nurtured a dependency on data. We talk to God once in a while at our convenience, but we need our phones and devices 24/7.

Today our idols aren’t golden calves or wooden images. But maybe they’re phones and tablets and laptops and flatscreens.

… Today our idols aren’t golden calves or wooden images. But maybe they’re phones and tablets and laptops and flatscreens. Of course technology should be used and can be used for good in your family life. But if you follow the culture’s growing dependence on technology, you won’t need God nearly as much as you need WiFi. It’s time for families to go against the grain and make sure God comes first, way before Google.”

— Arlene Pellicane

“The others in the house played cards and danced or had what they called a good time until long past midnight. I could not pray with those noises in my ears. To get up early to pray was not the answer, for once I was up, my mind went rushing on to my schoolteaching, which, by the way, I was finding difficult.

At last I hit on the plan of asking the Lord to wake me up at two o’clock in the morning, after the house had settled to quiet, when I would arise for an hour’s prayer and Bible study. This worked wonders. Always a sleepyhead, it was wonderful to me to be awakened each morning, as I was, and in the quiet of that still hour Christ became so real to me that often I felt I could have touched Him, if I but put out my hand.

I was learning what Dr. A. W. Tozer calls “the awareness of His presence.” It satisfied me as nothing on earth had ever done, and filled me with a joy of communion that is inexpressible. It was in this Arabia that I learned fellowship with Christ, a living Person-to-person fellowship which henceforth became dearer than anything else in life to me.”

— Isobel Kuhn

“Jesus, who so often says “Whoever loves Me . . .” “Do you love Me?” is concerned about our LOVE!

He is concerned about a special kind of love. It is the love which is shadowed in the relationship between a bride and her bridegroom; that is, it is an exclusive love, a love which places the beloved, the bridegroom, above all other loves, in the first place. As a Bridegroom, Jesus has a claim to “first love”. He who has loved us so much wants to possess us completely, with everything we are and have. Jesus gave Himself wholly and completely for us. Now His love is yearning for us to surrender ourselves and everything that we are to Him, so that He can really be our “first love.”

…Jesus has the right to make such a claim upon our love, because there is no one like Him. No one is so full of glory, so full of royal beauty and powerful love as Jesus. His love is so overwhelming, so tender so intimate, so fiery and so strong. No human love could ever be compared with it.

…In Gethsemane, Jesus waited with such yearning in His heart for His disciples to stand by His side and show Him their love, but He sought and waited in vain. While He was in Bethany before His passion, He had also looked for love. There He found someone, who sympathized with Him and understood how heavy His heart was, because the time had come for Him to begin His road of sorrows. This was Mary. Her love had shown her how deeply grieved was His soul, and she did what she could do for Him. Her entire concern was to comfort and refresh Him. That is why she did not give her money to the poor (and so incurred the disciples’ reproach), but rather “wasted” it on Jesus Himself (Matt. 26: 8, 12). She wanted to comfort and refresh Him, because He was so grieved.

I shall never forget the time when it sank into my heart that because Jesus is the same today as He was yesterday, and because His heart is still suffering today, He is waiting for us to make Him happy and to refresh Him, yes, as the scriptures say, to be comforters for Him (Psalm 69:20). Since that time, my first concern has been Jesus Himself and not my ministry for Him, although I have throughout sought to fulfill that ministry. Now I was concerned about if one may express it this way the ministry unto Jesus. Since that time adoration has burned in my heart. I was grieved for Jesus’ sake, because He received so little love in words and songs of adoration. Since then adoration has never been lacking in my prayer life…

Jesus is yearning to have fellowship with us and to hear words of love drop from our lips. He is waiting for us. He wants us to be close to Him…Jesus is waiting for our love. As important as our sacrifices and our obedience to the commandments are for God (the rich young ruler sacrificed, and kept the commandments), they are not enough. Sacrifices and obedience do not necessarily yield the “eternal, divine life”. Love does not necessarily pulsate through them. Jesus is pulsating life and love and He wants to impart His nature to us. Therefore, only our love, which stems from the divine, eternal life which He has granted to us, is the proper response to His love for us. This love leads us to keep His commandments, which are His wishes for us. It will lead us to bring Him many gifts, and to offer Him sacrifices-but in a different spirit.

This love has radiant power. It radiates happiness and great joy. The Bridegroom is the Master of joy, who has been anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows (Psalm 45: 7). His bride participates in this great joy. She belongs to Him, the Sun of love, Who shines forth in light and joy. She is united to Him in marriage. His joyful radiance falls upon her being. It is love which brings more bliss and joy than anything else into the world. The joy of an earthly bride is but a faint shadow of the true, eternal joy of the bride of the Lamb.”

— Basilea Schling

Recently a precious resource for sisters in the body of Christ was passed on to me by the founder — who faithfully laboured for ten years to make it the blessing that it is to so many. I consider it a privilege and sacred responsibility to be entrusted with the ministry of womenofchristianity.com and will be beginning to add new content there soon. I invite you to dive into the priceless resources available there if you have not already—truly it is a treasure trove for women in the body of Christ

“So often is the Holy Spirit mentioned in the New Testament, that my difficulty is not so much the discovery of evidence, as the selection of texts. Eighteen times in the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans Paul speaks of God the Spirit. In fact the place which the Holy Spirit holds in the minds of most professing Christians bears no proportion to the place which He holds in the Word of God…

I shall not spend much time in proving the divinity and personality of the Holy Spirit. They are points which are written in Scripture as with a sun-beam. I am utterly at a loss to understand how any honest-minded reader of the Bible can fail to see them. Above all, I am unable to comprehend how any unprejudiced reader of the Bible can regard the Spirit as nothing more than “an influence or principle.” 

We find it written in the New Testament, that the Holy Spirit was “seen descending in a bodily shape.” (Luke 3:22.) He commanded disciples to do acts, and lifted them through the air by His own power. (Acts 8:29-39.) He sent forth the first preachers to the Gentiles. (Acts 13:2.) He spoke to the Churches. (Rev. 2:7.) He makes intercession. (Rom. 8:26.) He searches all things, teaches all things, and guides into all truth. (1 Cor. 2:10; John 14:26; 16:13.) He is another Comforter distinct from Christ. (John 14:16.) He has personal affections ascribed to Him. (Isaiah 63:10; Ephes. 4:30; Rom. 15:30.) He has a mind, will, and power of His own. (Rom. 8:27; 1 Cor. 12:11; Rom. 15:13.) He has baptism administered in His name together with the Father and the Son. (Matt. 28:19.) And whoever shall blaspheme Him has never forgiveness, and is in danger of eternal damnation. (Mark 3:29.)

…whatever individual Christians have, are, and enjoy, in contradistinction to the worldly and unconverted, they owe to the agency of God the Holy Spirit. By Him they are first called, quickened, and made alive. By Him they are born again, and made new creatures. By Him they are convinced of sin, guided into all truth and led to Christ. By Him they are sealed unto the day of redemption. He dwells in them as His living temples. He witnesses with their spirits—gives them the spirit of adoption, makes them to cry ‘Abba Father’, and makes intercession for them. By Him they are sanctified. By Him the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts. Through His power they abound in hope. Through Him they wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. Through Him they mortify the deeds of their bodies. After Him they walk. In Him they live. In a word, all that believers have from grace to glory—all that they are from the first moment they believe to the day they depart to be with Christ—all, all, all may be traced to the work of God the Holy Spirit. 
(John 6:63; 3:8; 16:9, 10; Eph. 4:30; 1 Cor. 6:19; Rom. 8:15, 16, 26; 2 Thess. 2:13; Rom. 5:5; 15:13; Gal. 5:5, 25; Rom. 8:1, 13.)

…Give Him the honor due unto His name. Give Him in your religion the place and the dignity which Scripture assigns to Him. Settle it in your minds that the work of all three Persons in the blessed Trinity, is absolutely and equally needful to the salvation of every saved soul. The election of God the Father, and the atoning blood of God the Son, are the foundation stones of our faith. But from them must never be separated the applicatory work of God the Holy Spirit. The Father chooses. The Son mediates, absolves, justifies, and intercedes. The Holy Spirit applies the whole work to man’s soul. Always together in Scripture, never separated in Scripture, let the offices of the three Persons in the Trinity never be wrenched asunder and disjoined in your Christianity. What God has so beautifully joined together let no man dare to put asunder.”

— excerpt from “The Holy Spirit” by J.C. Ryle

“In the captivating booklet Expectation Corner, one of the characters, Adam Slowman, was led into the Lord’s treasure-house. Among the many wonders revealed to him there was the Delayed Blessing Office, where God stored the answers to certain prayers until it was wise to send them.

For some who pray expecting an answer, it takes a long time to learn that delays of answers are not denials. In fact, in the “Delayed Blessing Office,” there are deep secrets of love and wisdom that we have never imagined! We tend to want to pick our blessings from the tree while they are still green, yet God wants us to wait until they are fully ripe.

…The Lord watches over us in all the difficult places, and He will not allow even one trial that is too much for us. He will use His refining fire to burn away our impurities and will then gloriously come to our rescue.

Do not grieve Him by doubting His love. Instead, lift up your eyes and begin praising Him right now for the deliverance that is on its way to you. Then you will be abundantly rewarded for the delay that has tried your faith.”

— Streams in the Desert