“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

The third stone we can see in 1 Samuel 24:1-8. The Lord had brought David to Engedi. Saul had become David’s deadly enemy and was hunting him to kill him. While Saul was camped in Engedi, one day David came very close to Saul; and if he had so desired he could easily have smitten him and killed him. On yet another occasion when Saul and his company were fast asleep, David could have killed Saul without any difficulty. On both occasions David withheld his hand from smiting Saul, saying, he would not touch Saul, for he was the Lord’s anointed. God does not want us to use violence against our enemies, nor will He allow us to use earthly weapons. On the other hand God wants us to love those who falsely accuse us. When men try to kill us, we should pray for their salvation. So the third stone which God gave to David was this, that he should not trust any earthly weapon for his protection but put his faith in God that He will protect him, and not allow any weapon of the enemy to prosper against him.

Many years ago a friend of mine came to see me. He showed me a letter which some man had written against me. My friend said to me, “Brother, please give me power of attorney; and I will go to court against this man, I will bear all the expenses. How dare he write such filthy things against you”. I replied, “I believe in Isaiah 54:17, which says that God will not allow any weapon to prosper against me”. From that time for full three months I went on praying for that man who had written the nasty letter. Whenever I met him in the street I would speak to him nicely and kindly. I never let him know that I was aware of what he had done against me so secretly. At the end of three months he came to attend one of our meetings. When the meeting was over he came to meet me. He asked me to let him speak to me for five minutes. There were tears in his eyes. I said to him, “Before you say anything, I want to say that I have already forgiven you”. He was taken aback and said, “How do you know what I have to say to you?” I told him I had known it for three months, but I had already forgiven him and had been praying for him. After that he became a dear friend to me.

We must learn not to use worldly weapons against our enemies. God’s Word tells us that we will be hated and despised and persecuted for the Gospel’s sake. We have to be prepared for the worst. But at the same time we are assured God will work for us. Just as in due time God smote Saul, He will also defeat all our enemies and supply us all our needs, without using any underhand methods; without giving bribes, you will be able to get victory in every matter, whether it be promotion in your office or admission of your children into schools and colleges.


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“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart (Psalm 40:8).

David came to be known as a valiant man. There was reason for David to be proud of his sling and five stones, with which he had been able to kill a lion and a bear and Goliath. David had other qualifications too, of which he could have been proud. He was clever in playing many musical instruments. He was prudent in all matters and not like common shepherds who are usually ignorant and often foolish. Besides all this he was a good-looking man. A young man with so many qualifications might usually expect to rise to a very high position in life.

However, David did not have any worldly ambitions; he had only one longing, to serve the living God, as we see from his words in 1 Samuel 17:26. God was saying to him, “David, if you want to serve me and enjoy my faithfulness, do not depend upon your five stones and sling, nor upon your high qualifications, nor upon your human wisdom. I will take away your five stones and give you five better ones”. As the Lord took Moses to Midian, so now he took David through five great experiences in his life, and gave him always one by one five “greater stones” which he might use as weapons. That is always God’s way with us: He takes away something less valuable and less useful, and gives us instead something better and greater.

According to the standards of his day, David was the best qualified man in the whole country. So he might have thought that because of these qualifications he would be much appreciated by his countrymen. He found that on the contrary, these same qualifications were instrumental in making Saul his enemy, because jealousy was stirred up in him. Saul tried to kill David three times. David had to escape into the wilderness. Thus God brought him to the cave of Adullam (meaning resting place). At the same time God brought Abiathar, the priest, to David and Abiathar brought with him the ephod of the high priest. Thus it was that David learned to speak with God through the priest and the ephod. This is the first precious stone God had planned to give David in the place of the five stones of his sling. So the first stone represents to us the capacity to speak with God and find out His will for every matter in our life and ministry.

We cannot defeat the devices of the enemy merely through our Bible knowledge, or our long prayers and fasting, or by putting on simple clothes. We can do it only by knowing God’s will and doing it. If we continue doing the will of God day by day faithfully, we will see the enemy defeated again and again, and we will be able to appropriate His victory. So may the Lord teach us how to speak with God and find His will, and then obey Him implicitly. This is the first stone God gave to David.


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“… be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2).

Those who are going to get married must make sure of God’s perfect will about their union. They should not be governed by outward appearance, physical attraction, earthly possessions or worldly qualifications. Most people have entirely a wrong conception of married life. Some depend upon beauty, riches and education for happiness. That is why they are disappointed in the end. It is very necessary for those who are going to get married to wait upon the Lord sufficiently in prayer and give Him enough time to make His will perfectly clear and have full evidence of that perfect will. God’s Word says, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17), “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove that what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2). It is by knowing and doing God’s will that we enjoy His favour. In Matt. 12:50 the Lord said, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother”. The life of the Lord Jesus Christ flows like a river in those who are born again. Those who are not born again do not have eternal life and they never find God’s will.

That is why before we solemnize any marriage, we question those who are going to be united, whether they are born again, whether their sins are forgiven and whether they have received the gift of eternal life. The bridegroom and the bride have to pray much individually, and find out the Lord’s perfect will for their union. No one knows what will happen the next day. Our health may fail or our circumstances may change. We do not know how long we will live. Only God knows the end from the beginning. That is why we must know God’s perfect will for our lives. In Psalm 143:10 the Psalmist says, “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness”. Those who are joined together must be able to say truthfully and sincerely, “This person is chosen for me by my Lord, according to His will”. Before they think of gold, silver, job or clothes, they must find God’s will.


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The enormous possibilities of Heaven’s answers rest on its being believing prayer. Our Lord said:-“All things, whatsoever ye, shall ask in prayer, BELIEVING, ye shall receive” (Matt. 21, 22). Hudson Taylor, on his first trip to China, was on board a sailing boat that was all but driven by the tide on shore where cannibals awaited them. The Captain of the boat became frantic. Knowing that Mr. Taylor was a man of God, he anxiously went to him. “Mr. Taylor,” he said, “I have done everything that can be done to save the people on my boat. In a very short time now our boat will be on shore. We will all be caught and eaten unless your God helps us. You believe in a God who answers prayer – pray that He will save us.”
“I will” responded,Mr. Taylor, “providing you will set your sails to catch the wind which my God will send.” “You mean set my sails,when there is not a breath of air stirring?” asked the captain. “Why, I cannot do that. I would become the laughing stock of the entire crew. No, I will set the sails after God has answered your prayers.”
“Then I will not pray,” Mr. Taylor firmly answered, “If you do not have enough faith in my God to set your sails, then I will not call upon Him for help.”
When the captain realized that Mr. Taylor meant what he said he threw aside his pride and set the sails as if the wind were up and blowing in the right direction. In the meantime, Mr. Taylor went to his knees calling upon God for help. After some time Mr. Taylor heard a knock at his door. “Who is there?” he asked. “It is I,” the captain responded. “Are you still praying for wind?” “Yes, I am,” answered Mr. Taylor. “Well,” replied the captain, “you’d better stop praying, for we have more wind than we can manage already.”
D.M. Panton
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Seven Marks of a Right Heart

1) A right heart is a NEW heart (Ezek. 36:26). It is not the heart with which a person is born — but another heart put in them by the Holy Spirit. It is a heart which has new tastes, new joys, new sorrows, new desires, new hopes, new fears, new likes, new dislikes. It has new views about the soul, sin, God, Christ, salvation, the Bible, prayer, heaven, hell, the world, and holiness. It is like a farm with a new and good tenant. “Old things are passed away. Behold all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).

2) A right heart is a BROKEN and CONTRITE heart (Psalm 51:17). It is broken off from pride, self-conceit, and self-righteousness. Its former high thoughts of self are cracked, shattered, and shivered to atoms. It thinks itself guilty, unworthy, and corrupt. Its former stubbornness, heaviness, and insensibility have thawed, disappeared, and passed away. It no longer thinks lightly of offending God. It is tender, sensitive, and jealously fearful of running into sin (2 Kings 22:19). It is humble, lowly, and self-abased, and sees in itself no good thing.

3) A right heart is a heart which BELIEVES ON CHRIST ALONE for salvation, and in which Christ dwells by faith (Rom. 10:10; Eph. 3:17). It rests all its hopes of pardon and eternal life on Christ’s atonement, Christ’s mediation, and Christ’s intercession. It is sprinkled in Christ’s blood from an evil conscience (Heb. 10:22). It turns to Christ as the compass-needle turns to the north. It looks to Christ for daily peace, mercy, and grace — as the sun-flower looks to the sun. It feeds on Christ for its daily sustenance, as Israel fed on the manna in the wilderness. It sees in Christ a special fitness to supply all its needs and requirements. It leans on Him, hangs on Him, builds on Him, cleaves to Him, as its physician, guardian, husband, and friend.

4) A right heart is a PURIFIED heart (Acts 15:9; Matt. 5:8). It loves holiness, and hates sin. It strives daily to cleanse itself from all filthiness of flesh and spirit (2 Cor. 7:1). It abhors that which is evil, and cleaves to that which is good. It delights in the law of God, and has that law engraved on it, that it may not forget it (Psalm 119:11). It longs to keep the law more perfectly, and takes pleasure in those who love the law. It loves God and people. Its affections are set on things above. It never feels so light and happy as when it is most holy; and it looks forward to heaven with joy, as the place where perfect holiness will at length be attained.

5) A right heart is a PRAYING heart. It has within it “the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba Father” (Rom. 8:15). Its daily feeling is, “Your face, Lord, will I seek” (Psalm 27:8). It is drawn by an habitual inclination to speak to God about spiritual things — weakly, feebly, and imperfectly perhaps — but speak it must. It finds it necessary to pour out itself before God, as before a friend, and to spread before Him all its needs and desires. It tells Him all its secrets. It keeps back nothing from Him. You might as well try to persuade a person to live without breathing, as to persuade the possessor of a right heart to live without praying.

6) A right heart is a heart that FEELS CONFLICT within it (Gal. 5:17). It finds within itself two opposing principles contending for the mastery — the flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. It knows by experience what Paul means when he says, “I see a law in my members warring against the law of my mind” (Rom. 7:23). The wrong heart knows nothing of this strife. The strong man keeps the wrong heart as their palace, and their goods are at peace (Luke 11:21). But when the rightful King takes possession of the heart, a struggle begins which never ends until death. The right heart may be known by its warfare, quite as much as by its peace.

7) A right heart is HONEST, UNDIVIDED and TRUE (Luke 8:15; 1 Chron. 12:33; Heb. 10:22). There is nothing about it of falsehood, hypocrisy, or image-acting. It is not double or divided. It really is what it professes to be, feels what it professes to feel, and believes what it professes to believe. Its faith may be feeble. Its obedience may be very imperfect. But one thing will always distinguish the right heart. Its religion will be real, genuine, thorough, and sincere.

A heart such as that which I have now described, has always been the possession of all true Christians of every name, nation, people and tongue. They have differed from one another on many subjects — but they have all been of a right heart. Some of them have fallen, for a season, like David and Peter — but their hearts have never entirely departed from the Lord. They have often proved themselves to be men and women laden with infirmities — but their hearts have been right in the sight of God. They have understood one another on earth. They have found that their experience was everywhere one and the same. They will understand each other even better in the world to come. All that have had right hearts upon earth, will find that they have one heart when they enter heaven.

J.C. Ryle

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Four Marks of Fruit-Bearing Faith

The Christianity which I call fruit-bearing, that which shows its Divine origin by its blessed effects on mankind – the Christianity which you may safely defy unbelievers to explain away – that Christianity is a very different thing. Let me show you some of its leading marks and features.

(1) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always taught the inspiration, sufficiency, and supremacy of Holy Scripture. It has told people that God’s Word written is the only trustworthy rule of faith and practice in religion, that God requires nothing to be believed that is not in this Word, and that nothing is right which contradicts it. It has never allowed reason, a person’s mind, or the voice of the Church, to be placed above, or on a level with Scripture. It has steadily maintained that, however imperfectly we may understand it, the Bible is meant to be the only standard of life and doctrine.

(2) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always taught fully the sinfulness, guilt and corruption of human nature. It has told people that they are born in sin, deserve God’s wrath and condemnation, and are naturally inclined to do evil. It has never allowed that men and women are only weak and pitiable creatures, who can become good when they please, and make their own peace with God. On the contrary, it has steadily declared a person’s danger and vileness, and their pressing need of a Divine forgiveness and satisfaction for their sins, a new birth or conversion, and an entire change of heart.

(3) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always set before people the Lord Jesus Christ as the chief object of faith and hope in religion, as the Divine Mediator between God and humanity, the only source of peace of conscience, and the root of all spiritual life. It has never been content to teach that He is merely our Prophet, our Example, and our Judge. The main things it has ever insisted on about Christ are the atonement for sin He made by His death, His sacrifice on the cross, the complete redemption from guilt and condemnation by His blood, His victory over the grave by His resurrection, His active life of intercession at God’s right hand, and the absolute necessity of simple faith in Him. In short, it has made Christ the Alpha and the Omega in Christian theology.

(4) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always honored the Person of God the Holy Spirit, and magnified His work. It has never taught that all professing Christians have the grace of the Spirit in their hearts, as a matter of course, because they are baptized, or because they belong to the Church, or because they partake of Holy communion. It has steadily maintained that the fruits of the Spirit are the only evidence of having the Spirit, and that those fruits must be seen, – that we must be born of the Spirit, led by the Spirit, sanctified by the Spirit, and feel the operations of the Spirit, – and that a close walk with God in the path of His commandments, a life of holiness, charity, self-denial, purity, and zeal to do good, are the only satisfactory marks of the Holy Spirit.

Summary: Such is true fruit-bearing Christianity. Well would it have been for the world if there had been more of it during the last nineteen centuries! Too often, and in too many parts of Christendom, there has been so little of it, that Christ’s religion has seemed extinct, and has fallen into utter contempt. But just in proportion as such Christianity as I have described has prevailed, the world has benefited, the unbeliever has been silenced, and the truth of Divine revelation been acknowledged. The tree has been known by its fruit.


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No Fruit, No Conversion

Let it be a settled principle in our religion that when a person brings forth no fruits of the Spirit, they do not have the Holy Spirit within them. Let us resist as a deadly error the common idea, that all baptized people are born again, and that all members of the Church have the Holy Spirit.

One simple question must be our rule: What fruit does a person bring forth? Do they repent? Do they believe with the heart on Jesus? Do they live a holy life? Do they overcome the world? Habits like these are what Scripture calls “fruit.” When these “fruits” are lacking, it is profane to talk of a person having the Spirit of God within them.

J.C. Ryle

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