Our Christlikeness

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“And they took knowledge of them—that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read ‘lives of Christ’, beautifully and eloquently written—but the best life of Christ is His living biography, written out in the words and actions of His people. If we were what we profess to be—and what we should be—we would be pictures of Christ! Yes, such striking likenesses of Him, that the world would not have say, “Well, it seems somewhat of a likeness;” but they would, when they once beheld us, exclaim, “He has been with Jesus! He has been taught of Him—he is like Him! He has caught the very idea of the holy Man of Nazareth, and he works it out in his life and every-day actions!”

A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness. Never blush to own your religion; your profession will never disgrace you—take care you never disgrace that. Be like Jesus—very valiant for your God. Imitate Him in your loving spirit—think kindly, speak kindly, and do kindly, that men may say of you, “He has been with Jesus!” Imitate Jesus in His holiness. Was He zealous for His Master? So you be; ever go about doing good. Let not time be wasted—it is too precious. Was He self-denying, never looking to His own interest? Be the same. Was He devout? Be fervent in your prayers. Had He deference to His Father’s will? So submit yourselves to Him. Was He patient? So learn to endure. And best of all, as the highest portraiture of Jesus, try to forgive your enemies, as He did; and let those sublime words of your Master, “Father, forgive them—for they know not what they do,” always ring in your ears. Forgive, as you hope to be forgiven. Heap coals of fire on the head of your foe—by your kindness to him. Good for evil, recollect, is godlike. Be godlike, then; and in all ways and by all means—so live that all may say of you, “He has been with Jesus!”

Our Necessary Burdens

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion.” Amos 6:1

Bunyan says, in his plain, homely language– “A Christian man is never long at ease; when one fright’s gone, another does him seize.”

Sin will never let him rest long, nor Satan let him rest long, nor God let him rest long, nor his own fears let him rest long. He cannot be at ease until his conscience is purged with the blood of sprinkling; until his soul has been blessed with a feeling sense and enjoyment of the love of God; until he has sweet manifestations of pardoning mercy, blessed revelations of Christ to his soul, with the voice and witness of the Spirit in his breast. This is not the ease of Moab (Jer. 48:11), but the ease of which the Psalmist speaks when he says, “His soul shall dwell at ease” (Psalm 25:13). All ease but this is the sleep of the sluggard; carnal ease as opposed to spiritual. If then he drops into carnal ease, and for a time sin does not seem to plague, nor Satan tempt, nor the world persecute, the Christian man feels that he is getting wrong; he has lost a burden, but not in the right way, and would rather have the burden back than be left to have his portion among those who are at ease in Zion.

Our Annointing

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.” –1 John 2:27

Have you ever had a solitary drop of this holy anointing oil fall upon your heart? One drop, if it be but a drop, will sanctify you forever to the service of God.

There was not much of the holy anointing oil used for the service of the tabernacle, when we consider the size and quantity of what had to be consecrated, for Moses had to anoint therewith the whole of the tabernacle of the congregation, as well as all the vessels, with all their various accessories. When he went through the sacred work, he touched one vessel after another with a drop of oil; for one drop sanctified the vessel to the service of the tabernacle. There was no repetition of the consecration needed; it abode.

So if you ever had a drop of God’s love shed abroad in your heart–a drop of the anointing to teach you the truth as it is in Jesus; a drop to penetrate, to soften, to heal, to feed and give light, life, and power to your soul–you have the unction from the Holy One; you know all things which are for your salvation, and by that same holy oil you have been sanctified and made meet for an eternal inheritance.

 

The Church

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. – John 4:34

With Jesus as our example, the heart desire of every believer should be to seek God’s will and to then make diligent effort to bring it to pass.

Just like every Christian throughout history, each of us has a local church experience. Our lives as believers are lived out in fellowship with those of like faith. God has called us and declared that we be sent as light in a dark world, salt for a creation in dire need of preservation.

Darrell L. Guider, in his book Missional Churchdescribes this work in his discussion of missional community, a group of believers committed to fulfilling God’s purpose for His church. I will quote him as a launching point for my presentation as follows:

The purpose of missional communities is to be a source of radical hope, to witness to the new identity and vision, the new way of life that has become a social reality in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. […] As sign, foretaste, agent and instrument of God’s reconciling love and forgiveness, the church makes Jesus Christ visible in the world.

– Darrell L. Guider, Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America

And so the journey begins. It is my hope that what is presented here will move myself and those who God brings here to seek His will and then, through His strength, work toward the end that He directs us to.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Prayer Request

Was at our small neighborhood park last week when a new resident arrived with her small dog. He’s a puppy of about 10 months and she runs him out in the open space. He spotted us (my dog and me) and came charging over.  In an attempt to gain control the owner ran after her dog and tried stepping on his leash. Eventually she stomped on it and was able to stop him. Our dogs get along great but she is trying to train him so that’s why she was trying to stop him.

Well I was back out there today and she told me that she hurt her knee trying to step on the leash. From the way that she was walking I could tell that it was probably very painful. And so she is worried about a sprained or torn ligament. She did say that since yesterday it showed at least a small improvement which is a good sign.

I don’t believe that she is a Christian but when I told her that I would pray that God would bring healing to her knee she was very appreciative.

She was planning on driving up to a different town today and is probably already on her way.  My prayer is that the Lord would touch her knee with his Physician’s hand during her 4 hour drive and that she would arrive with no pain. I added that she would see through this healing the ability of God to heal something much greater and more important – that being our need for reconcilliation with Him (healing the relationship).

And so I invite you, the reader, to join with me in praying for her. Her name is Elizabeth.

thank you!

Larry

A New Direction

Please note the following addition to my About page:

To my brothers and sisters in Christ,

I am grateful that the Lord has used my somewhat feeble efforts to offer you encouragement as you walk down the path that the Lord has set before you. I hope that He has guided my hand in such a way as to bring a needed word or thought to your mind when needed.

We are, without doubt, instructed by God to encourage our fellow travelers. And this is aptly so, as life without the encouragement of others would seem to be unbearable.

It is with this reality in mind that I intend to continue to strive to bring encouragement to the readers of these pages.  However, this update to my About page is necessary as I am embarking on a journey that will involve enlarging the scope of this blog.

Following a nearly year long season of searching for answers in response to God’s prompting, I believe that I am now able to present some of what I’ve learned over this time.

It is my hope and intent to bring to light areas within the North American Christian experience which I believe God is calling out for reform.

I ask for your prayers as I begin this voyage. Please pray that I would exercise faithfulness to God and to God’s Word. Please pray that I would be able to express my understanding of scripture with clarity. And please pray that God would use my ongoing efforts to bring about greater enlightenment of His plan and purpose in this world.

I thank each one of you for the blessing that you have been to me over these past several years. May God richly bless you, your loved ones, and those with whom you gather in His name. And as a way of previewing where this is all leading, I pray that God would use you to bless your unsaved neighbors and fellow citizens in whatever country you may reside in.

In and through the love of our Saviour,

Larry

The Gold Standard

The malleability of gold presents a problem with jewelry. Pure gold is too soft to withstand the demands of life. For this reason, gold is usually alloyed with other precious metals like copper, silver, and platinum to increase its durability.

– U. S. Gold Bureau

Our world is a world of pragmatism. Courses of action are many times chosen based on the practical consequences of a particular choice. Gold, as explained in the quote above, must be alloyed if it is to be of use. In other words, its usefulness is dependent on its purity being compromised.

Now we know that God operates in a different manner. We aren’t even able to comprehend His ways. Scripture tells us:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8, 9

And so it is that when God compares His people to gold, he speaks of purity as the characteristic which will bring them to usefulness.

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.

Malachi 3:3

The point which I hope is made is that we might be well-served if we were to measure the progress of God’s purifying work in our hearts by the degree to which our tenderness is increased.

Do tears sometimes flow when a sermon is preached?

Are we ever overcome with emotion when we hear a testimony of God’s faithfulness?

Do we at times find ourselves reduced to sobbing when reflecting on the sin in our lives?

I pray that the Lord would continue His work in you, and that with each passing day you would experience a more contrite heart and an increasingly broken spirit.

– Larry

 

 

 

A String of Pearls (Spurgeon) Part Eight

A SERMON
DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, AUGUST 28, 1870,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
– 1 Peter 1:3-5

The best I have reserved for the last. Out of the seven treasures of the Christian the last comprehends all, is better than all, though what I have already spoken be everything—it is A BLESSED GOD.

We left this to the last, though it comes first, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is joy to have heaven, it is joy to possess a new life to fit me for heaven, but the greatest of all is to have my God, my own Savior’s God, my Father, my own Savior’s Father, to be all my own. God Himself has said, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” He has not given you earth and heaven only, though that were much, He has given you the heaven of heaven—Himself. Herod spoke of giving the “half of his kingdom,” but the Lord has not given you the half of His kingdom, nor even the
whole of His kingdom only, but His own self the blessed God has in covenant made over to you. Will not this make you rejoice? I think you may go forth with those that make merry and rejoice before God with a joy that knows no bound, “Sing unto God, sing praises! sing, unto God, sing praises!” “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice.”

Brethren, the practical point is, show your gratitude and your joy by blessing God. You can bless Him with your voices. Sing more than you do. Singing is heaven’s work, practice it here. At your work, do if you can, quietly raise a hymn and bless the Lord. But oh! keep the fire on the altar of your hearts always burning. Praise Him, bless Him. His mercy endures forever, so let your praises endure. Bless Him also with your substance. He is a blessed God. Do not give Him mere words, they are but air, and tongues but clay. Give Him the best you have.

In the old superstitious times the churches used to be adorned with the rarest pearls and jewels, with treasures of gold and silver, for men then gave mines of wealth to what they believed to be the service of God. Shall the true faith have less operative power upon us? Shall the “lively hope” make us do less for God than the mere dead hope of the followers of Rome? No, let us be generous at all times, and count it our joy to sacrifice unto our God. Let us give Him our efforts, our time, our talents.

Bless the Lord this afternoon, you Sunday school teachers. Teach those dear children under a sense of your own obligations to God. You, who go from house to house this afternoon, you, who will preach in the streets and lift up your voices in the corners of the thoroughfares, preach as those who are begotten unto a lively hope by the abundant mercy of God. Preacher, live you more intensely and ardently than you have ever done. Deacons, serve the church more thoroughly than you have done as yet. Elders, give your whole souls to the care of Christ’s flock, which He has redeemed with His blood. Each one of you workers for Jesus Christ work not for Him after an ordinary sort, as men do for a master whose pay is no larger than he can be compelled to make it, but work with heart, and soul, and strength for Him who loved you to the death, and poured out His soul to redeem you from going down into hell. Thus prove that the divine nature is truly in you, and that you possess the “lively hope” implanted by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

The Lord bless you all, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

A String of Pearls (Spurgeon) Part Seven

A SERMON
DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, AUGUST 28, 1870,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
– 1 Peter 1:3-5

Time fails us, therefore we must mention the sixth blessing at once, and it is INVIOLABLE SECURITY.

The inheritance is kept for you, and you are kept for the inheritance. The word is a military one, it signifies a city garrisoned and defended. Think of a city besieged—Strasbourg, if you will—that is an emblem of your condition in this world. The enemy pours in their shot, they keep up the fire day an night, and set the city on a blaze, and even thus Satan bombards us with temptations, and beleaguers us with all the hosts of hell. Our great enemy has determined to raze the citadel of our faith even to the ground, his great guns are drawn up around our bastions, his sappers and miners are busy with our bulwarks. Even now it may be his shells are tearing our hearts, and his shot is setting our nature in a blaze. Herein is our confidence, our great Captain has walled us around, He has appointed salvation for walls and bulwarks. We are safe, though all the devils of hell surround us, for we are garrisoned by omnipotence. Each believer is kept by that same power which “bears the earth’s huge pillars up,” and sustains the arches of heaven. Jerusalem, you are besieged, but you may laugh your enemy to scorn, he shall never break through your ramparts—

“Munitions of stupendous rock
Our dwelling place shall be,
There shall our soul without a shock
Our vanquish’d foemen see.”

Continue reading “A String of Pearls (Spurgeon) Part Seven”

A String of Pearls (Spurgeon) Part Six

A SERMON
DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, AUGUST 28, 1870,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
– 1 Peter 1:3-5

The fifth is exceedingly rich, but we can only give a word where many sermons would not exhaust—AN INCORRUPTIBLE INHERITANCE—“an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away.”

God has been pleased in His abundant mercy to prepare for his people an inheritance. He has made them sons, and if children, then heirs. He has given them a new life, and if a new life, then there must be possessions and a place suitable for that new life. A heavenly nature requires a heavenly inheritance, heaven-born children must have a heavenly portion.

Continue reading “A String of Pearls (Spurgeon) Part Six”