Thursday, October 27, 2011

Being Presumptuous

This is a piece that was passed along to me by my BFF. It is very heavy and will cut you deep, but I feel that it is something that God wants each of us to understand. It is very lengthy so get your notebooks out! Be blessed.

"Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins."—Psalm 19:13.

ALL SINS are great sins, but yet some sins are greater than others. Every sin has in it the very venom of rebellion, and is full of the essential marrow of traitorous rejection of God. But there be some sins which have in them a greater development of the essential mischief of rebellion, and which wear upon their faces more of the brazen pride which defies the Most High. It is wrong to suppose that because all sins will condemn us, that therefore one sin is not greater than another. The fact is, that while all transgression is a greatly grievous sinful thing, yet there are some transgressions which have a deeper shade of blackness, and a more double scarlet-dyed hue of criminality than others. Now the presumptuous sins of our text are just the chief of all sins: they rank head and foremost in the list of iniquities. It is remarkable, that though an atonement was provided under the Jewish law for every kind of sin, there was this one exception: "But the soul that sinneth presumptuously shall have no atonement; it shall be out off from the midst of my people." And now, under the Christian dispensation, although in the sacrifice of our blessed Lord there is a great and precious atonement for presumptuous sins, whereby sinners who have sinned in this manner are made clean, yet, without doubt, presumptuous sinners, dying without pardon, must expect to receive a double portion of the wrath of God, and a more wonderful manifestation of the unutterable anguish of the torment of eternal punishment in the pit that is digged for the wicked.
I shall this morning, first of all, endeavor to describe presumptuous sins; then, secondly, I shall try, if I can, to show by some illustrations, why the presumptuous sin is more heinous than any other; and then thirdly, I shall try to press the prayer upon your notice—the prayer, mark you, of the holy man—the prayer of David: "Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins. "
I. First, then, WHAT IS PRESUMPTUOUS SIN? Now, I think here must be one of four things in a sin in order to make it presumptuous. It must either be a sin against light and knowledge, or a sin committed with deliberation, or a sin committed with a design of sinning, merely for sinning's sake, or else it must be a sin committed through hardihood, from a man's rash confidence in his own strength. We will mark these points one by one.
1. A sin that is committed willfully against manifest light and knowledge is a presumptuous. sin. A sin of ignorance is not presumptuous, unless that ignorance also be willful, in which case the ignorance itself is a presumptuous sin. But when a man sins for want of knowing better—for want of knowing the law, for want of instruction, reproof, advice, and admonition, we say that his sin, so committed, does not partake to any great extent of the nature of a presumptuous sin. But when a man knows better, and sins in the very teeth and face of his increased light and knowledge, then his sin deserves to be branded with this ignominious title of a presumptuous sin. Let me just dwell on this thought a moment. Conscience is often an inner light to men, whereby they are warned of forbidden acts as being sinful. Then if I sin against conscience, though I have no greater light than conscience affords me, still my sin is presumptuous, if I have presumed to go against that voice of God in my heart, an enlightened conscience. You, young man, were once tempted (and perhaps it was but yesterday) to commit a certain act. The very moment you were tempted, conscience said, "It is wrong, it is wrong"—it shouted murder in your heart, and told you the deed you were about to commit was abominable in the sight of the Lord. Your fellow-apprentice committed the same sin without the warning of conscience; in him it was guilt—guilt which needs to be washed away with the Saviour's blood. But it was not such guilt in him as it was in you, because your conscience checked you; your conscience told you of the danger, warned you of the punishment, and yet you dared to go astray against God, and therefore you sinned presumptuously. You have sinned very grievously in having done so. When a man shall trespass on my ground, he shall be a trespasser though he have no warning, but if straight before his face there stands a warning, and if he knowingly and willingly trespasses, then he is guilty of a presumptuous trespass, and is to be so far punished accordingly. So you, if you had not known better; if your conscience had been less enlightened, you might have committed the deed with far less of the criminality which now attaches to you, because you sinned against conscience, and consequently sinned presumptuously.
But, O! how much greater is the sin, when man not only has the light of conscience, but has also the admonition of friends, the advice of those who are wise and esteemed by him. If I have but one check, the check of my enlightened conscience, and I transgress against it, I am presumptuous; but if a mother with tearful eye warns me of the consequence of my guilt, and if a father with steady look, and with affectionate determined earnestness, tells me what will be the effect of my transgression—if friends who are dear to me counsel me to avoid the way of the wicked, and warn me what must be the inevitable result of continuing in it, then I am presumptuous, and my act in that very proportion becomes more guilty. I should have been presumptuous for having sinned against the light of nature, but I am more presumptuous when, added to that, I have the light of affectionate counsel and of kind advice, and therein I bring upon my head a double amount of divine wrath. And how much more is this the case, when the transgressor has been gifted with what is usually called a religious education; in childhood he has been lighted to his bed by the lamps of the sanctuary, the name of Jesus was mingled with the hush of lullaby, the music of the sanctuary woke him like a matin hymn at morning; he has been dandled on the knee of piety and has sucked the breasts of godliness; he has been tutored and trained in the way he should go; how much more fearful I say, is the guilt of such a man than that of those who have never had such training, but have been left to follow their own wayward lusts and pleasures without the restraint of a holy education and the restraints of an enlightened conscience!
But, my friends, even this may become worse still. A man sins yet more presumptuously, when he has had most special warning from the voice of God against sin. "What mean you?" say you. Why, I mean this. You saw but yesterday a strong man in your neighborhood brought to the grave by sudden death; it is but a month ago that you heard the bell toll for one whom once, you knew and loved, who procrastinated and procrastinated until he perished in procrastination. You have had strange things happen in your very street, and the voice of God has been spoken loudly through the lips of Death to you. Ay, and you have had warnings too in your own body; you have been sick with fever, you have been brought to the jaws of the grave, and you have looked down into the bottomless vault of destruction. It is not long ago since you were given up; all said they might prepare a coffin for you, for your breath could not long be in your body. Then you turned your face to the wall, and prayed; you vowed that if God would spare you, you would live a godly life, that you would repent of your sins; but to your own confusion you are now just what you were. Ah! let me tell you, your guilt is more grievous than that of any other man, for you have sinned presumptuously, in the very highest sense in which you could have done so. You have sinned against reproofs, but what is worse still, you have sinned against your own solemn oaths and covenants, and against the promises that you made to God. He who plays with fire must be condemned as careless; but he who has been burned out once, and afterward plays with the destroying element, is worse, than careless; and he who has himself been scorched in the flame, and has had his locks all hot and crisp with the burning, if he again should rush headlong into fire, I say he is worse than careless, he is worse than presumptuous, he is mad. But I have some such here. They have had warnings so terrible that they might have known better; they have gone into lusts which have brought their bodies into sickness, and perhaps this day they have crept up to this house, and they dare not tell to their neighbor who stands by their side what is the loathsomeness that even now doth breed upon their frame. And yet they will go back to the same lusts; the fool will go again to the stocks, the sheep will lick the knife that is to slay him. You will go on in your lust and in your sins, despite warnings, despite advice, until you perish in your guilt. How worse than children are grown-up men! The child who goes for a merry slide upon a pond, if he be told that the ice will not bear him, starteth back affrighted, or if he daringly creepeth upon it how soon he leaves it, if he hears but a crack upon the slender covering of the water! But you men have conscience, which tells you that your sins are vile, and that they will be your ruin; you bear the crack of sin, as its thin sheet of pleasure gives way beneath your feet; ay, and some of you have seen your comrades sink in the flood, and lost; and yet you go sliding on, worse than childish, worse than mad are you, thus presumptuously to play with your own everlasting state. O my God, how terrible is the presumption of some! How fearful is presumption in any! O! that we might be enabled to cry, "Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins."
2. I said again, that another characteristic of a presumptuous sin was deliberation. A man, perhaps, may have a passionate spirit, and in a moment of hot haste he may utter an angry word of which in a few short minutes he will sincerely repent. A man may have a temper so hot that the least provocation causes him at once to be full of wrath. But he may also have a temperament which has this benefit to balance it, that he very soon learns to forgive, and cools in a moment. Now, such a man does not sin presumptuously, when suddenly overcome by anger, though, without doubt, there is presumption in his sin, unless he strives to correct that passion and keep it down. A man, again, who is suddenly tempted and surprised into a sin which is not his habit, but which he commits through the force of some strong temptation, is guilty, but not guilty of presumption, because he was taken unawares in the net and caught in the snare. But there are other men who sin deliberately; there are some who can think of a lust for weeks beforehand and dote upon their darling crime with pleasure. They do, as it were, water the young seedling of lust until it grows to the maturity of desire, and then they go and commit the crime. There are some to whom lust is not a passer-by, but a lodger at home. They receive it, they house it, they feast it; and when they sin they sin deliberately, walk coolly to their lusts, and in cold blood commit the act which another might haply do in hot and furious haste. Now, such a sin has in it a great extent of sinfulness, it is a sin of high presumption. To be carried away, as by a whirlwind of passion, in a moment is wrong; but to sit down and deliberately resolve upon revenge is cursed and diabolical. To sit down and deliberately fashion schemes of wickedness is heinous, and I can find no other word fitly to express it. To deliberate carefully how the crime is to be done, and, Haman-like, to build the gallows, and to set to work to destroy one's neighbor, to get the pit digged that the friend may fall into it and be destroyed, to lay snares in secret, to plot wickedness upon one's bed—this is a high pitch of presumptuous sin. May God forgive any of us, if we have been so far guilty!
Again, when a man continues long in sin, and has time to deliberate about it, that also is a proof that it is a presumptuous sin. He that sins once, being overtaken in a fault, and then abhors the sin, has not sinned presumptuously; but he who transgresses to-day, to-morrow, and the next day, week after week, and year after year, until he has piled up a heap of sins that are high as a mountain, such a man, I say, sins presumptuously, because in a continued habit of sin there must be a deliberation to sin; there must be at least such a force and strength of mind as could not have come upon any man if his sin were but the hasty effect of sudden passion. Ah! take heed, ye that are sodden in sin, ye that drink it down as the greedy ox drinketh down water, ye who run to your lust as the rivers run to the sea, and ye who go to your passions as the sow to her wallowing in the mire. Take heed! your crimes are grievous, and the hand of God shall soon fall terribly on your heads, unless by divine grace it be granted to you to repent and turn unto him. Fearful must be your doom if unpardoned, God should condemn you for presumptuous sin. O "Lord, keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sin."
3. Again: I said that a presumptuous sin must be a matter of design, and have been committed with the intention of sin. If at your leisure at home you will turn to that passage in the book of Numbers, where it says there is no pardon for a presumptuous sin under the Jewish dispensation, you will find immediately afterward a case recorded. A man went out on the Sabbath-day to gather sticks; he was taken in the act of Sabbath-breaking, and the law being very stringent under the Jewish dispensation, he was ordered at once to be put to death. Now, the reason why he was put to death was not because he gathered sticks on the Sabbath merely, but because the law had just then been proclaimed, "In it thou shalt do no manner of work." This man willfully, out of design, in order, as it were, to show that he despised God—to show that he did not care for God—without any necessity, without any hope of advantage, went straight out, in the very teeth of the law, to perform, not an act which he kept in his own house, which might perhaps have been overlooked, but an act which brought shame upon the whole congregation, because, infidel-like, he dared to brazen it out before God; as much as to say, "I care not for God. Has God just commanded, 'Ye shall do no manner of work?' Here am I; I do not want sticks to-day; I do not want to work; not for the sake of sticks, but with the design of showing that I despise God, I go out this day and gather sticks." "Now," says one, "surely there are no people in the world that have ever done such a thing as this." Yes, there are; and there are such in the Surrey Music Hall this day. They have sinned against God, not merely for the pleasure of it, but because they would show their want of reverence to God. That young man burned his Bible in the midst of his wicked companions—not because he hated his Bible, for he quivered and looked pale at the ashes on the hearth when he was doing it; but he did it out of pure bravado, in order to show them, as he thought, that he really was far gone from any thing like a profession of religion. That other man is accustomed sometimes to stand by the wayside, when the people are going to the house of God; and he swears at them, not because he delights in swearing, but because he will show that he is irreligious, that he is ungodly. How many an infidel has done the same—not because he had any pleasure in the thing itself, but because out of the wickedness of his heart he would spit at God, if it were possible, having a design to let men know that though the sin itself was cheap enough, he was determined to do something which would be like spitting in the face of his Maker, and despising God who created him! Now, such a sin is a masterpiece of iniquity. There is pardon for such a one—there is full pardon to those who are brought to repentance; but few of such men ever receive it; for when they are so far gone as to sin presumptuously, because they will do it—to sin merely for the sake of showing their disregard of God and of God's law, we say of such, there is pardon for them, but it is wondrous grace which brings them into such a condition that they are willing, to accept it. O that God would keep back his servants here from presumptuous sins! And if any of us here have committed them, may he bring us back, to the praise of the glory of his grace!
4. But one more point, and I think I shall have explained these presumptuous sins. A presumptuous sin also is one that is committed through a hardihood of fancied strength of mind. Says one, "I intend to-morrow to go into such-and-such a society, because I believe, though it hurts other people, it does me no hurt." You turn round and say to some young man, "I could not advise you to frequent the Casino—it would be your ruin." But you go yourself sir? "Yes." But how do you justify yourself? Because I have such strength of principle that I know just how far to go, and no further. Thou liest, sir; against thyself thou liest; thou liest presumptuously in so doing. Thou art playing with bombshells that shall burst and destroy thee; thou art sitting over the mouth of hell with a fancy that thou shalt not be burned. Because thou hast gone to haunts of vice and come back tainted, much tainted, but because thou art so blind as not to see the taint, thou thinkest thyself secure. Thou art not so. Thy sin, in daring to think that thou art proof against sin, is a sin of presumption. "No, no," says one; "but I know that I can go just so far in such-and-such a sin, and there I can stop." Presumption, sir; nothing but presumption. It would be presumption for any man to climb to the top of the spire of a church, and stand upon his head. "Well, but he might come down safe, if he were skilled in it." Yes, but it is presumptuous. I would no more think of subscribing a farthing to a man's ascent in a balloon, than I would to a poor wretch cutting his own throat. I would no more think of standing and gazing at any man who puts his life in a position of peril, than I would of paying a man to blow his brains out. I think such things, if not murders, are murderous. There is suicide in men risking themselves in that way; and if there be suicide in the risk of the body, how much more in the case of a man who puts his own soul in jeopardy just because he thinks he has strength of mind enough to prevent its being ruined and destroyed. Sir, your sin is a sin of presumption; it is a great and grievous one; it is one of the masterpieces of iniquity.
O! how many people there are who are sinning presumptuously to-day! You are sinning presumptuously in being to-day what you are. You are saying, "In a little time I will solemnly and seriously think of religion, In a few years, when I am a little more settled in life, I intend to turn over a new leaf, and think about the matters of godliness." Sir, you are presumptuous. You are presuming that you shall live; you are speculating upon a thing which is as frail as the bubble on the breaker; you are staking your everlasting soul on the deadly odds that you shall live for a few years, whereas, the probabilities are, that you may be cut down ere the sun shall set: and it is possible, that ere another year shall have passed over your head, you may be in the land where repentance is impossible, and useless were it possible. O! dear friends, procrastination is a presumptuous sin. The putting off a thing which should be done to-day, because you hope to live to-morrow, is a presumption. You have no right to do it—you are, in so doing, sinning against God, and bringing on your heads the guilt of presumptuous sin. I remember that striking passage in Jonathan Edwards' wonderful sermon, which was the means of a great revival, where he says, "Sinner, thou art this moment standing over the mouth of hell, upon a single plank, and that plank is rotten; thou art hanging over the jaws of perdition, by a solitary rope, and the strands of that rope are creaking now." It is a terrible thing to be in such a position as that, and yet to say, "to-morrow," and to procrastinate. You remind me, some of you, of that story of Dionysius the tyrant, who, wishing to punish one who had displeased him, invited him to a noble feast. Rich were the viands that were spread upon the table, and rare the wines of which he was invited to drink. A chair was placed at the head of the table, and the guest was seated within it. Horror of horrors! The feast might be rich, but the guest was miserable, dreadful beyond thought. However splendid might be the array of the servants, and however rich the danties, yet he who had been invited sat there in agony. For what reason? Because over his head, immediately over it, there hung a sword, a furbished sword, suspended by a single hair. He had to sit all the time with this sword above him, with nothing but a hair between him and death. You may conceive the poor man's misery. He could not escape; he must sit where be was. How could he feast? How could be rejoice? But O, my unconverted hearer, thou art there this morning, man, with all thy riches and thy wealth before thee, with the comforts of a home and the joys of a household; thou art there this day, in a place from which thou canst not escape; the sword of death above thee, prepared to descend; and woe unto thee, when it shall cleave thy soul from thy body! Canst thou yet make mirth, and yet procrastinate? If thou canst, then verily thy sin is presumptuous in a high degree. "Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins."
II. And now I come to the second part of the subject, with which I shall deal very briefly. I am to try and show WHY IT IS THAT THERE IS GREAT ENORMITY IN A PRESUMPTUOUS SIN.
Let me take any one of the sins; for instance, the sin against light and knowledge. There is greater enormity in such a presumptuous sin than in any other. In this our happy land it is just possible for a man to commit treason. I think it must be rather difficult for him to do it; for we are allowed to say words here which would have brought our necks beneath the guillotine if they had been spoken on the other side the Channel; and we are allowed to do deeds here which would have brought us long years of imprisonment if the deed had been done in any other land. But I suppose it is just possible to commit treason here. Now, if two men should commit treason—if one of them should wantonly and wickedly raise the standard of revolt to-morrow, should denounce the rightful sovereign of this land in the strongest and most abominable language, should seek to entice the loyal subject of this country from their allegiance, and should draw some of them astray, to the hurt and injury of the common weal; he might have in his rebellious ranks one who had joined incautiously, not knowing whereunto the matter might tend, who might come into the midst of the rebels, not understanding the intention of their unlawful assembling, not even knowing the law which prohibited them from being banded together, I can suppose these two men brought up upon a charge of high treason: they have both, legally, been guilty of it; but I can suppose that the one man who had sinned ignorantly would be acquitted, because there was no malignant intent; and I can suppose that the other man, who had willfully, knowingly, maliciously and wickedly raised the standard of revolt, would receive the highest punishment which the law could demand. And why? Because in the one case it was a sin of presumption, and in the other case it was not so. In the one case the man dared to defy the sovereign, and defy the law of the land, willfully, out of mere presumption. In the other case not so. Now, every man sees that it would be just to make a distinction in the punishment, because there is—conscience itself tells us—a distinction in the guilt.
Again: some men, I have said, sin deliberately, and others do not do so. Now, in order to show that there is a distinction here, let me take a case. To-morrow the bench of magistrates are sitting. Two men are brought up. They are each of them charged with stealing a loaf of bread. It is clearly proved, in the one case, that the man was hungry, and that he snatched the loaf of bread to satisfy his necessities. He is sorry for his deed, he grieves that he has done this act; but most manifestly he had a strong temptation to it. In the other case the man was rich, and he willfully went into the shop merely because he would break the law and show that he was a law-breaker. He said to the policeman outside, "Now, I care neither for you nor the law; I intend to go in there, just to see what you can do with me." I can suppose the magistrate would say to one man, "You are discharged; take care not to do the like again; there is something for your present necessities; seek to earn an honest living." But to the other I can conceive him saying, "You are an infamous wretch; you have committed the same deed as the other, but from very different motives; I give you the longest term of imprisonment which the law allows me, and I can only regret that I can not treat you worse than I have done." The presumption of sin made the difference. So when you sin deliberately and knowingly, your sin against Almighty God is a higher and a blacker sin than it would have been if you had sinned ignorantly, or sinned in haste.
Now let us suppose one more case. In the heat of some little dispute some one shall insult a man. You shall be insulted by a man of angry temper; you have not provoked him, you gave him no just cause for it; but at the same time he was of a hot and angry disposition; he was somewhat foiled in the debate, and he insulted you, calling you by some name which has left a stain upon your character, so far as epithets can do it. I can suppose that you would ask no reparation of him, if by to-morrow you saw that it was just a rash word spoken in haste, of which he repented. But suppose another person should waylay you in the street, should week after week seek to meet you in the market-place, and should, after a great deal of toil and trouble, at last meet you, and there, in the center of a number of people, unprovoked, just out of sheer, deliberate malice, come before you and call you a liar in the street; I can suppose that, Christian as you are, you might find it necessary to chastise such insolence, not with your hand, but with the arm of that equitable law which protects us all from insulting violence. In the other case I can suppose it would be no trouble to forgive. You would say, "My dear fellow, I know we are all hasty sometimes—there, now, I don't care at all for it; you did not mean it." But in this case, where a man has dared and defied you without any provocation whatever, you would say to him, "Sir, you have endeavored to injure me in respectable society; I can forgive you as a Christian, but as a man and a citizen I shall demand that I am protected against your insolence."
You see, therefore, in the cases that occur between man and man, how there is an excess of guilt added to a sin by presumption. O! ye that have sinned presumptuously—and who among us has not done so?—bow your heads in silence, confess your guilt, and then open your mouths, and cry, "Lord have mercy upon me, a presumptuous sinner."
III. And now I have nearly done—not to weary you by too long a discourse—we shall notice THE APPROPRIATENESS OF THIS PRAYER—"Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins."
Will you just note, that this prayer was the prayer of a saint, the prayer of a holy man of God? Did David need to pray thus? Did the "man after God's own heart" need to cry, "Keep back thy servant?" Yes, he did. And note the beauty of the prayer. If I might translate it into more metaphorical style, it is like this: "Curb thy servant from presumptuous sin." "Keep him back or he will wander to the edge of the precipice of sin. Hold him in, Lord; he is apt to run away; curb him; put the bridle on him; do not let him do it; let thine overpowering grace keep him holy; when he would do evil, then do thou draw him to good, and when his evil propensities would lead him astray, then do thou check him." "Check thy servant from presumptuous sins."
What then? Is It true that the best of men may sin presumptuously? Ah! it is true. It is a solemn thing to find the Apostle Paul warning saints against the most loathsome of sins. He says, "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth, fornication, uncleanness, idolatry, inordinate affection," and such like. What! do saints want warning against such sins as these? Yes, they do. The highest saints may sin the lowest sins, unless kept by divine grace. You old experienced Christians, boast not in your experience; you may trip yet, unless you cry, "Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe." Ye whose love is fervent, whose faith is constant, whose hopes an bright, say not "I shall never sin," but rather cry out, "Lord, lead me not into temptation, and when there leave me not there; for unless thou hold me fast I feel I must, I shall decline, and prove an apostate after all." There is enough tinder in the hearts of the best men in the world to light a fire that shall burn to the lowest hell, unless God should quench the sparks as they fall. There is enough corruption, depravity, and wickedness in the heart of the most holy man that is now alive to damn his soul to all eternity, if free and sovereign grace does not prevent. O Christian, thou hast need to pray this prayer. But I think I hear you saying, "Is thy servant a dog, that I should do this thing?" So said Hazael, when the prophet told him that he would slay his master; but he went home and took a wet cloth and spread it over his master's face and choked him, and did the next day the sin which he abhorred before. Think it not enough to abhor sin, you may yet fall into it. Say not, "I never can be drunken, for I have such an abhorrence of drunkenness;" thou mayest fall where thou art most secure. Say not, "I can never blaspheme God, for I have never done so in my life;" take care; you may yet swear most profanely. Job might have said, "I will never curse the day of my birth;" but he lived to do it. He was a patient man; he might have said, "I will never murmur; though he slay me, yet will I trust in him;" and yet he lived to wish that the day were darkness wherein he was brought forth. Boast not, then, O Christian; by faith thou standest. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
But if this need to be the prayer of the best, how ought it to be the prayer of you and me? If the highest saint must pray it, O mere moralist, thou hast good need to utter it. And ye who have begun to sin, who make no pretensions to piety, how much need is there for you to pray that you may be kept from presumptuously rebelling against God.
Instead, however, of enlarging upon that point, I shall close my few remarks this morning by just addressing myself most affectionately to such of you as are now under a sense of guilt by reason of presumptuous sins. God's Spirit has found some of you out this morning. I thought when I was describing presumptuous sin that I saw here and there an eye that was suffused with tears; I thought I saw here and there a head that was bowed down, as much as to say, "I am guilty there." I thought there were some hearts that palpitated with confession, when I described the guilt of presumption. I hope it was so. If it was I am glad of it. If I hit your consciences, it was that I meant to do. Not to your ears do I speak, but to your hearts. I would not give the snap of this my finger to gratify you with mere words of oratory, with a mere flow of language. No, God is my witness. I never sought effect yet, except the effect of hitting your consciences. I would use the words that would be most rough and vulgar in all our language, if I could get at your heart better with them than with any other; for I reckon that the chief matter with a minister is to touch the conscience. If any of you feel, then, that you have presumed against God in sinning, let me just bid you look at your sin, and weep over the blackness of it; let me exhort you to go home and bow your heads with sorrow, and confess your guilt, and weep over it with many tears and sighs. You have greatly sinned, and if God should blast you into perdition now, he would be just; if now his fiery thunderbolt of vengeance should pierce you through, if the arrow that is now upon the string of the Almighty should find a target in your heart, he would be just. Go home and confess that, confess it with cries and sighs. And then what next wilt thou do? Why, I bid thee remember that there was a man who was a God. That man suffered for presumptuous sin. I would bid thee this day, sinner, if thou knowest thy need of a Saviour, go up to thy chamber, cast thyself upon thy face, and weep for sin; and when thou hast done that, turn to the Scriptures, and read the story of that man who suffered and died for sin. Think you see him in all his unutterable agonies, and griefs, and woes, and say this—
"My soul looks back to see
The burdens thou didst bear
When hanging on the accursed tree,
And hopes her guilt was there."

Lift up your hand, and put it on his head who bled, and say,
"My faith would lay its hand
On that dear head of thine,
While, like a penitent, I stand,
And there confess my sin."
Sit down at the foot of his cross, and watch him till your heart is moved, till the tears begin to flow again, until your heart breaks within you; and then you will rise and say—
"Dissolved by his mercy, I fall to the ground,
And weep to the praise of the mercy I found."

O sinner, thou canst never perish, if thou wilt cast thyself at the foot of the cross. If thou seekest to save thyself thou shalt die; if thou wilt come, just as thou art, all black, all filthy, all hell-deserving, all ill-deserving, I am my Master's hostage, I will be answerable at the day of judgment for this matter, if he does not save thee, I can preach on this subject now, for I trust I have tried my Master myself. As a youth I sinned, as a child I rebelled, as a young man I wandered into lusts and vanities: my Master made me feel how great a sinner I was and I sought to reform, to mend the matter; but I grew worse. At last I heard it said, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth;" and I looked to Jesus. And O! my Saviour, thou hast eased my aching conscience, thou hast given me peace; thou hast enabled me to say#151;
"Now, freed from sin I walk at large;
My Saviour's blood's a full discharge
At his dear feet my soul I lay,
A sinner saved, and homage pay."

And O! my heart pants for you. O that you who never knew him could taste his love now. O that you who have never repented might now receive the Holy Ghost who is able to melt the heart! And O that you who are penitents would look to him now! And I repeat that solemn assertion—I am God's hostage this morning; ye shall feed me on bread and water to my life's end, ay, and I will bear the blame for ever, if any of you seek Christ and Christ rejects you. It must not, it can not be. "Whosoever cometh," he says, "I will in no wise cast out." "He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him." May God Almighty bless you; and may we meet again in yonder Paradise; and there will we sing more sweetly of redeeming love and dying blood, and of Jesus' power to save#151;
"When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guest Blogger: Mrs. Lockhart (My Mnlaw)

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 KJV
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV

Nothing New Under the Sun…

King Solomon was the wisest man to ever live. He is ascribed as writing the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. This phrase, “nothing new under the sun,” has been very instrumental in my development and walk with the Lord. Coming to this realization can be very beneficial to anyone if they are willing to embrace the truth of the phrase. Whatever you are going through, whatever you are encountering, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not the first to tread those waters. Our dilemma arises when we make them unique to us with statements like, “you just don’t understand” or “if it was not for bad luck I would not have any luck at all.” That maybe true, your particulars may be unique to you but the essences of your situation is not that different from anyone else’s. We all have or have had inner struggles and outer disappointments. Solomon so pointedly stated in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Many of us are guilty of “looking through rose-coloured glasses.” We see things through our own eyes and the way we want them to be instead of looking through the eyes of God as to how they actually are. Isaiah told us in 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” When we become so head long in being head strong we are only hurting ourselves. We deceive ourselves into believing that condescending is a sign of weakness. By doing so, we fail to realize that wisdom is speaking and this is what is best for us. Our carnal way of thinking and fleshly desires are in constant warfare with our spirit man. Because we have not totally surrendered to the will of God, we find ourselves in situations that make us very uncomfortable. Solomon was inspired to leave it on record for our learning how not to make the same mistakes that he made. He had the best of everything, a great relationship with the Lord, wisdom, wealth, and much more. He wrote the Proverbs with instructions for practical living. He starts with “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction,” Proverbs 1:7. In chapter 9 verse 10 he said, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Solomon recognized that wisdom and knowledge are the key components to living this life. This is something that we can not get on our own; we must seek the Lord to obtain it.
Finally, Solomon said this, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” No matter what the mysteries and apparent contradictions of life are, we must work toward the single purpose of knowing God. We can enjoy life, but this does not exempt us from obeying God’s commands. We should search for purpose and meaning in life, but realize that they cannot be found in human endeavors. We should acknowledge the evil, foolishness and injustices in life, yet maintain a positive attitude and strong faith in God. Getting to know God in His fullness truly is the conclusion of the whole matter and this has been so since the days of Adam and Eve.

My Mnlaw has had a great impact on my walk with the Lord. She has allowed God to use her through some of my lowest points and been there to cheer me on in my highest. She always recognizes when I need a "Mommy Break" and helps me out! She's truly a blessing from God.

Birthday Blessings

I want to take the time out and say a Happy Birthday to my loving husband! I am so thankful to God to have him in my life for another year! We've spent the last 13 years growing up together and I have learned so much from him. Every day has not been a walk in the park, but we have always been better for it! Thank you for loving, forgiving, teaching, protecting, and providing for me! You are truly God sent and I thank God for you!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Overcoming Adversity

"....I will never leave you nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

It sucks to have to grow through difficult situations, but boy when GOD brings us through and we recognize that his grace alone was the reason, what a time of rejoicing!

When we are "growing" through, it feels as if no one in the world understands, the pain is almost unbearable, we feel so alone, and worst of all it feels like things will never get better. In that point of lowliness, there is an unspeakable peace, because at this low point ALL you have is the strength of the Lord. This is the most perfect place to reside in times of trouble. It's a refining period, but we must be willing vessels.

When God brings us through this storm, it is our duty to recognize him for who he is. We must take the lessons learned and move forward, not repeating that same dreadful pattern.

This quote came from a devotional I was reading, "There is no trial that faces you, no temptation that overtakes you, no problem that afflicts you without God's loving hand embracing you."

Peace and Love.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Day at the Pond

"So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat, drink, and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun." Ecclesiastes 8:15 NIV

Obviously I had the wrong thing in mind when my son informed me that he would lovvvvvvvve for me to come to school for A Day at the Pond. When I arrived, I discovered that we would be fishing ( Well, the only problem with this is that I was completely overdressed (was headed to work afterwards). I mean high heel shoes dressed up. Nevertheless, I'm a mama and a mama has to do what a mama has to do! I fished and baited my hook with a worm dressed up.

We go through great lengths to ensure that our kids are happy. The time we had was great and memorable. Being a parent is a tough job, but we have to embrace each moment. I was so self-conscious initially because I thought I looked ridiculous. That all changed when my son, who is very vocal, acted as if I was wearing tennis shoes and a jogging suit! He was just happy I was there. We sometimes focus on the wrong thing when all we have to do is enjoy life no matter what others think!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Birthday Blessings

Twelve years ago today I, yes I (no one had endured 14 hours of labor pains but me!) brought life into this world withGod's guidance. It is so hard to believe that my first born is 12! She is truly a blessing to me, and because of this I want to make sure that I am the example that God wants me to be to her precious soul. She is busting the tween stage wide open with the love of all of the latest music and dances, trendy clothes and shoes, and unfortunately the dreaded "attitude"! I pray for God to give us a balance. I'm sure you guys remember how it was living in the house with your mom when you hit puberty. You just wished she would disappear because she did not understand you at all! I was that hormonal child! I have come to appreciate my mother a lot more.

I was reading an article with Michelle Obama and she said that President Obama was opposed to their daughters watching the Kardashians. She didn't mind as much because she wanted them to be able to critically watch something and be able to express what they learned from it. So, because I respect Mrs. Obama and the way she runs her household, I put this way of thinking to the test. Yesterday my daughter was listening to The OMG Girlz. They were singing a song that said, Gucci this, Gucci that, Gucci erthing! Gucci erthing!" I immediately explained to her my new rationale for allowing her to listen to certain things. I asked her what she felt she could learn from the songs that The OMG Girlz were singing or their message. Of course she looked at me like I had grew another head, and that I had personally attacked her with no regard to her new favorite girl group!

Even with that, because my little baby girl is busting the teenage stage wide open, I want to make sure that she holds herself to a higher standard. That she takes the road less traveled and always hold on to God's will for her life. As mothers, we must remember, we can't redo today. We have to make the best of the time when we have it. It is so precious. Happy Birthday!

Peace and Love.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Lesson in Humility

So I had class the other night and it's a pretty good ways away. I was delighted when my professor announces at the beginning of class that he will be letting us go early! "Yes!", I thought. Well his definition happened to be only 15 minutes earlier than he normally lets us out.:( Well, instead of being thankful for those fifteen minutes, I grumbled and complained all the way down the highway! I was immediately convicted because I was being ungrateful! And the worst part about it was that morning I had an amazing devotional on clothing ourselves in humility and letting EVERY thing that we do glorify God! Well my phone rang as I pondered this episode and it was the hub. He asked if I would stop and get him something to eat. All I could do was chuckle. The 15 minutes that I did not appreciate were taken away!

The point is that we have to be humble in everything all of the time. More importantly, we have to get the lesson in the small things, like 15 minutes, not something larger that could be detrimental.

Peace and Love.

16. Aretha's performance of Precious Lord during the unveiling of the MLK monument! *tear*
17. My hub and kids for inspiring me to always be better
18. God for allowing my dear friend to survive breast cancer (I love u, V!) Support breast cancer not just this month, but all of the time!)
19. My convenient hairdresser! 24/7!
20. Cowboy boots, tennis shoes, and flip flops!

What are you thankful for today?

Pockets of Peace

I absolutely LOVE the aforementioned
title! My BFF hipped me to this little saying one day as we were talking. She explained to me that life is hard, but we have to enjoy the pockets of peace that we encounter. Well I was immensely blessed this past weekend with more than my fair share of pockets of peace. My wonderful daughter is turning 12 this week so we traveled to see her favorite music group (Mindless Behavior followed by Diggy Simmons). I'm sure this isn't making sense to a lot of you, but they are equivalent to The Boyz, ABC, and for some of the more seasoned ladies, such as myself, New Edition in the "Bobby Brown Mr. Telephone Man days". Let me get back on track! So we picked her best friend and her mom up and we headed out. The girls enjoyed themselves soooo much! They screamed the entire time! I actually fell asleep during the last act and yes I was in a room with hundreds of screaming tweens, but when I need a nap, I take a nap...voluntarily or involuntary.

The best pocket of peace were:
1. Getting to take an UNINTERRUPTED shower!
2. A great nights sleep and waking up on my own terms (not to one of my 5 year olds prying my eyelids open to "see if I'm up.")
3. Exercising in the hotel as I watched my favorite show, Golden Girls!
4. Great company (The Fair's rock!).

On the way home, we stopped and visited my family. It's always great to be in one room with my grandma and her "girls" and my cousins. I got free dinner when I stopped by my bro's to check out his new pad.

And then it was back to business as usual! I missed my brood and was glad to be home. I came through the door in full "Mama Mode": washed dishes, ironed clothes, combed hair, signed folders, packed lunches, completed lesson plans, and watched tv with the hub. It was definitely back to business, but the pockets of peace sustained me and I was very grateful.

Savor those moments when God blesses you with those pockets of peace. They are well worth it.

11. Pockets of Peace
12. My I pad 2 (it has made even ME become more organized!)
13. God's grace
14. Comfy clothes
15. My Journalism students

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, October 14, 2011


To be selfish is probably one of the worst characteristics that a person can possess. Selfishness is in complete contradiction of what God has ordained us to do.

Webster's dictionary defines selfishness as being concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well being without regard for others. I think we all suffer from this. Some more extensively than others.
2 Timothy tells us that "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, proud, blasphemers,disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy." We are all guilty of a couple of these I'm sure. Jesus was definitely not selfish, making the ultimate sacrifice. This man gave his LIFE. We, on the other hand, can't even let go of pettiness. We aren't willing to sacrifice for another without grumbling and complaining. We complain about helping our fellow man. It's a problem any time we have to do something outside of what WE want to do.

We can even be selfish in the fact that we take pride in the "getting someone told" mentality. We also like to point out others people's faults when we should be concentrating on our own shortcomings. We say and do whatever we feel without regard to the other individual. What we don't realize is that we are damaging relationships.

One thing that you have to understand is that selfishness hinders love. When we are so concerned with ourselves, we aren't focused on anyone else. So when there are opportunities to "love" another person, we can't because they are not our focus. We are not in tune with other individuals which in turn means that we are not fulfilling what God has purposed for us to do. We are always looking for what someone else can do for us or we have our lips poked out about what someone did not do for us that WE felt like they should have!

We have to get the mind of Christ. if we believe the word of God, be the word of God. Possess the fruits of the spirit and selfishness will completely be removed from your life. Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

Peace and Love

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Trusting God can be a very difficult task especially when you have for years not done it. What else makes it difficult is the fact that a lot of times we have so many layers of "junk" from all of those years of getting it wrong that we can't accept God's leading because our baggage or layers dictate our lives.

For years I thought getting to the root cause of my problems would deliver me and help me fully trust God. Boy was I wrong. Although I think it's healthy and good for the flesh, it definitely won't set you free. What sets you free is making the decision to trust God. Acknowledging that you are weak and lowly. Acknowledging that HE is the supreme power. Acknowledging that without HIM you are absolutely nothing. It's called submission. It's called humbleness.

What happens is, we get on a roll. We decide okay! I'm going to trust God! No more doing it myself. That goes well for two maybe three weeks. Things are good. The husband is acting right, the kids are together, finances in tact; then the old challenges (or the old devil as I like to refer to it) comes in and shakes things up a bit. The wheels fall off the wagon and everything is a mess. "What happened?", you wonder. What happened is you got comfortable. You thought everything would be "perfect" forever. And that's the first step to failure. Being unrealistic. Life happens. Bad things happen, but it's all in how we handle the situation when faced with adversity. It's real easy to trust God when things are going well, but what happens when your spouse comes home late, when someone wrongs you, when you're laid off from work, diagnosed with cancer, controlled by others. What happens? Do you take matters into your own hands and fall apart? No. You trust God like never before.

As I read Romans 8, I was completely blessedly the entire thing, bur what just struck a cord was verses 38 and 39, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." that's where my hope lies. Regardless of anything, great or small, I cannot be separated from the love of God. It is up to me to trust HIM with my whole heart, never relying on what I think and feel.

Peace and Love.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Getting Past the Past (Repost)

Thank God for my mnlaw and this on time CONFIRMATION this morning! I have truly been a prisoner of my past and it is definitely time to move on! Have an amazing day!

In order to move forward in life, we have to “let go of the past.” But have you ever wondered exactly how to do that? First, understand that we take hold of things in our minds with our thoughts. Our thoughts become words and actions that determine the direction of our lives. It’s that simple. If you want to choose a new direction for your life, you have to choose new thoughts. If you want to let go of the past, you have to quit thinking about it, quit talking about it, and quit reliving every negative experience.

Oftentimes, when we see someone who has hurt us, that pain and offense is stirred up, and we start thinking about what happened again. But in that moment, you have a choice to make. One of the best things you can do, instead of rehearsing the hurt, is to pray for that person and speak blessing over them.

Remember, forgiveness is for you. Letting go of bitterness is for you. Don’t let the past hold you back from what God has in store for your future any longer. Get past the past by choosing right thoughts because God has victory and blessing in store for your future!


Father God, I humbly come to You today. I choose to let go of the past. I choose to release those who have hurt me so I can embrace the best that you have for me. Help me to forgive, help me to love, and help me to stay on the good path You have for me in Jesus’ name. Amen

Thursday, October 6, 2011

TGIF; Understanding What God Has Given

Os Hillman is right on time! I am desperately seeking God for my own purpose to do HIS will. Enjoy!

Understanding What God Has GivenTGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os HillmanThursday, October 06 2011"We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us." 1 Corinthians 2:12 God desires for us to know what He has freely given to us. One of the responsibilities of the Holy Spirit is to reveal His plans and purposes to us. They may be hidden for a time, but if we seek Him with our whole heart, we can know what He has given to us.

John the Baptist understood this principle. When asked if he was the Messiah, he replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven" (Jn. 3:27). John understood his role in the Kingdom of God. He came to pave the way for the Messiah; he was not the Messiah himself. His ministry on earth was very brief, yet Jesus described his life in this way: " 'I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he' " (Mt. 11:11).

Once we understand what God has given to us, we can walk freely in our calling. However, if we strive to walk in a role that He never gave us, it will result in frustration and failure. God wants to reveal His plan to us by His Spirit. This requires a willingness to seek and accept what He gives us. It may be different from what we thought. It may require adjustments to follow His path for our lives. As we learn from the life of John the Baptist, obedience requires death to our own wills.

Ask God to reveal what He has freely given to you. Pray that you receive and embrace only those things He has reserved for you to receive and to accomplish in your life. Then you can be assured of a life full of meaning and purpose, and you can look forward to hearing those all-important words someday, "Well done, My good and faithful servant."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Guest Blogger Leshemia

The blogs just keep getting better and better! This one comes from my old college road dog, Lashemia. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did! Have a great day!

I love birthdays! I love the fact that this day is YOUR day...God chose this day for you to grace the world with your presence.  I love to make a huge production of birthdays..and I love for a big production to be made of my birthday.  That being said, my wonderful, loving husband couldn't care less about him, it is just another day. Nothing special.  I attribute our differing attitudes to our parents always made us feel like a million bucks on our birthday--special dinner, parties--the whole nine yards.  Lamont's parents, on the other hand, didn't really make a production of birthdays...they were just another day.  So we have both brought those same attitudes we were raised with into our we are not newlyweds, but this is something that we have never seen eye to eye on.

His birthday was Saturday and for weeks prior to his birthday, I gave his gift an immense amount of thought and consideration.  I called a babysitter to watch the kids so that I could take him out for a spectacular birthday evening.  Those were MY plans..this is what I'D want him to do for MY birthday.  Of course, since this is something that I'd want, surely he would be thrilled by this too, right? WRONG!  Two days before his big day, he tells me "Hey, the Florida vs Alabama game is on Saturday night and I can't wait to watch it!"  HOLD UP...PUMP THE BRAKES!! Are you kidding me right now??? My response was "You do realize that is your BIRTHDAY, right?"  With a shrug of his shoulders, he was done with the conversation.  

See, MY expectations were that he would be as giddy as I was about his birthday.  Tarah wrote in this very same blog a few weeks ago about expectations...I probably shouldn't have had any, but I did.  I will admit that I was more than a little crushed when he wasn't as excited as I thought he should be, but that is where the perspective portion of this story begins.  

My husband is in the Air Force...yes, we are a military family.  We have moved so many times, that my children walk into the airport and remove shoes, jackets and take laptops out of their cases--without being told to do so.  Last year, Lamont was on a 365-day deployment--yes, one full year.  So that means he missed birthdays, holidays, first day of school, sports that the kids were in, etc.  

After he shrugged his shoulders about his birthday, he went on to explain that to me, just being able to be on American soil for his birthday is gift enough.  To wake up on his birthday and see his wife and kids--not just a photo--is all he could ever ask for.  At that moment, I knew that my expectations were wayyy out in left field.  He gave me a new perspective on this.  So many times, we don't want to see things from others perspective.  So often we take for granted the little things that actually make up a life.  It's not about the big moments and the over the top stuff, it's about the simplest joys and the smallest things that bring us joy.  I thank God everyday for bringing him home safely and also for the man that he is to me and to our children.  

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Thanking God

I have been inspired to do something new on  my blogs. Don’t be surprised if from now on there’s not a list.  What I will be doing is for each blog I will compile a list of ten things that I am thankful for. "O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people."Psalm 105:1. I want to make known his deeds!  I challenge each of you to come up with at least ten things per day that you are thankful for (although I’m sure as good as God is we could come up with ten million per day!).  You may not feel like writing them down, but tell somebody about his goodness!

1. Waking me up this morning.
2. A soft hand squeeze from the hub to welcome me into the morning.
3. A warm hug from my eldest daughter.
4. Freedom.
5. God’s presence.
6. My mother-in-law for keeping the babies.
7. My mom for letting me borrow her car so I won’t have to burn so much gas.
8. This quote: “No matter what we may have to face in the uncertain future, may we hold fast to Christ, our still centre, who overcomes confusion, panic, and evil.”
9. A quiet ride in the car from work.
10. A job.

What are you thankful for?