Our Strength

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“His bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.” –Genesis 49:24

Our ancestors, you know, were celebrated bowmen. Victories were won at Cressy and Agincourt by the English cavalry, who were skilled in the use of the bow. Latimer says, in a sermon preached before the king, that no man could be a good archer who did not learn from his boyhood; and the custom he tells us was for the father to put his hands upon the son’s hands, to teach him how to shoot, and throw the whole strength of his body into the bow. When the boy drew the bow, it was not the strength of his own arm that drew the string, nor was it the keenness of his eye that directed the arrow to the mark. The child appeared to draw the bow and to direct the arrow; but the hand of the father was upon the hand of the child, and the eye of the father was guiding the eye of the child; thus though the child seemed to draw the bow, it was the strength of the father that really pulled the string.

So in the case of Joseph to whom our text refers, “the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.” God put his hands upon the hands of Joseph, drew the bow for him, directed the arrow, and hit effectually the mark. Apply this to your experience. When you pray effectually, it is not you that pray; it is the Spirit of God who prays in you; for he helps our infirmities, and intercedes for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. When you believe, it is the Spirit of God that works faith in you; when you hope, it is the Spirit of God that produces hope in you; when you love, it is the Spirit of God that sheds abroad love in you; it is the arms of his hands that are put upon your hands, and they are made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.

Telling our Story

Has God led you to the place and to the person or people that He would have you tell the story of a God who saves His people? If not, I would encourage you to pray that He would guide you to this place.

And when the time comes to share the life giving message of Jesus Christ, please rest assured in the knowledge that He has equipped you to reach those who He has placed before you.

I approach my evangelistic efforts with the belief that God will place before me some who he is or will in the future be calling.  Armed with this belief, I speak as though I were speaking to someone within whose heart and mind the Holy Spirit is at work. Perhaps that is not the case, but that is not for me to know.

I just watched a video (added below) that I believe is an excellent resource for a Christian engaging in evangelism, especially but not necessarily exclusively in a one-on-one situation.

Dr. Lawson delivers a sermon on Jesus and the Book of Revelation with conviction and force. It is well worth watching and I think it would be difficult for a believing person to not get a return on the time invested.

But beyond that, I also believe that this sermon is a story that, if adopted to one’s style, would serve as the foundation for an excellent gospel presentation. I’ll let you decide if that’s the case with you. But whether or not it is, I would still highly recommend this video for it’s truth. Here it is:

 

 

 

The Throne of Grace

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:16.

The throne of grace is for the needy. It is always a time of need with a child of God. “Without me,” says Jesus, “you can do nothing.” There is not a moment, but, if he knows his real state, he is in need of something. What a blessing, then, is the throne of grace! It is for the needy. It is for those who are in need- upon whom all other doors are closed, with whom all other resources have failed, who have nowhere else to look, nowhere else to fly. To such is the throne of grace always open.

Is it a time of trial with you? then it is a time of need. Take your trial, whatever it be, simply to God. Do not brood over it. Do not cherish it. This will not make it sweeter, or more easy to be borne. But taking it to Jesus will. The very act of taking it will lighten it, and casting it upon His tenderness and sympathy will make it sweet. Is it a time of spiritual darkness with you? then it is a time of need. Take your darkness to the throne of grace, and “in His light” who sits upon it you “shall see light.” Is it a time of adverse providences? then it is a time of need. And where can you go for guidance, for direction, for counsel, for light upon the intricacies of the way, but to the God of grace? Is it a time of temporal distress with you? then it is a time of need. Take your temporal cares and necessities to the Lord, for He who is the God of grace is also the God of providence.

Thank the Lord for every errand that takes you to the throne of grace. Whatever it is that sends you to prayer, count it one of your choice blessings. It may be a heavy cross, a painful trial, a pressing need; it may be a broken cistern, a cold look, an unkind expression; yet, if it leads you to prayer, regard it as a mercy sent from God to your soul. Thank God for an errand to Him.

The Consoling of our Soul

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Evening Thought

For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw near unto God. Hebrews 7:19

THE Holy Spirit teaches the believer to plead the atoning blood of Christ. He puts this great and prevailing argument in his mouth; and when sin seems a mountain, when unbelief would suppress the aspiration, and a deep consciousness of unworthiness would cause the soul to “stand afar of ,” He opens to his view this precious and encouraging truth, the prevalency of the blood of Jesus with God on behalf of His people. In a moment, the mountain is leveled, unbelief is checked, and the soul, unfettered and unrestrained, draws near to God, yes, to the bosom of its Father.

What a view does this give us of the love of the Spirit, as the Author of prayer! Who has not experienced it who is not yet a stranger to the blessed exercise of communion with God? How often has guilt caused the head to hang down, and the sense of utter vileness and worthlessness has covered the soul with shame, and even the very destitution has kept back the believer, just as the penury, the wretched covering, the loathsomeness of the poor beggar have kept him from the door—then does the blessed Spirit, in the plenitude of His grace and tenderness, unfold Jesus to the soul, as being all that it needs to give it full, and free, and near access to God. He removes the eye from self, and fixes and fastens it upon the blood that pleads louder for mercy than all his sins can plead for condemnation; he brings, too, the righteousness near, which so clothes and covers the soul, as fits it to appear in the presence of the King of kings, not merely with acceptance, but with delight. Beholding him thus washed and clothed, God rests in his love, and rejoices over him with singing.

Nor must we overlook the understanding which subsists between God the Father and the Spirit. The Father, the searcher of hearts, knows the mind of the Spirit. He understands the desire and the meaning of the Spirit in the souls of His saints. He understands the “groanings which cannot be uttered.” He can interpret their sighs, yes, He can read the meaning of their very desires. And, when feeling has been too deep for utterance, and thought too intent for expression, when the soul could but groan out its needs and requests, then has God understood the mind of the Spirit.

Oh the inconceivable preciousness of a throne of grace! To have a God to go to, who knows the mind of the Spirit—a God who can interpret the groan, and read the language of desire—to have promise upon promise bidding the soul draw near; and when, from the fullness of the heart, the mouth has been dumb, and from the poverty of language, thought could not be expressed—that then, God, who searches the hearts, and knows what is the mind of the Spirit, should say, “Never did you, my child, pray to me as you did then—never was your voice so sweet, so powerful, so persuasive, never were you so eloquent as when my Spirit made intercession for you with groanings which you could not utter.”

It was, perhaps, your last resource; refuge failed you, no man cared for your soul; friends failed you, your heart failed you, all forsook you and fled; and, in your extremity, you did betake yourself to God, and He failed you not. You did find the throne of grace accessible; you did see a God of grace upon it, and the sweet incense of the Redeemer’s precious merits going up; and you did draw near, and sigh, and groan, and breathe out your needs, and did say, “It is good for me to draw near to God.” Yes! “He knows the mind of the Spirit.”

The secret desire for Jesus, the longing for Divine conformity, the hidden mourning over the existence and power of indwelling sin, the feeblest rising of the heart to God, the first sigh of the humble and contrite spirit, all are known to God. Oh let this encourage you, dear reader, when you feel you cannot pray by reason of the weakness of the flesh, or the depth of your feeling; if the Spirit is interceding in you, your heavenly Father knows the mind of the Spirit, and not a sigh or a groan can escape His notice.

Setting Our Affection on Things Above

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Col. 3:1-2

To win heaven, the mind must become heavenly; and to be heavenly, it must habituate itself to heavenly things and heavenly pursuits. It is a law of our mental constitution, that the mind assimilates in its tone and habits of thought with the subject which most engrosses its study. Hence it is that we sometimes become men of one idea.

Now the contemplation of divine and spiritual themes has a powerful tendency to spiritualize and sanctify the mind. It seems impossible to breathe a heavenly atmosphere, and not be heavenly; to study holy things, and not be holy; to admire the image of Christ, and not resemble Christ; to have frequent communion with Jesus upon the throne, and not catch some stray beam of His glory.

And apart from Christ nothing is really pleasant and satisfying to the heavenly mind. Without Him, what a dreary, lonesome wilderness would this be! But with Christ in the heart, and the heart resting in Christ- He in the center of our souls, and our affections and desires centering on Him- the desert loses its solitude and its desolateness. To have the eye resting on Jesus- all our heart-springs in Him- the spirit in frequent excursions where He dwells in light and glory- to lean upon Him and converse with Him as though He were actually walking by our side, sitting at our table, associating with us in our callings- this, this is heavenly-mindedness. Such is the counter-attraction to the “things on the earth,”- the secularizing pursuits, the low-thoughted cares, the carnal enjoyments- which we so deeply need. And this powerful counteracting influence which we possess is a realization of our resurrection with Christ, and His enthronement in glory.

Bible Reading

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“Open you mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Psalm 119:18

To the question often earnestly propounded- “What is the best method of reading, so as to understand the Scriptures?” I would reply- Read them with the one desire and end of learning more of Christ, and with earnest prayer for the teaching of the Spirit, that Christ may be unfolded in the Word. With this simple method persevered in, you shall not fail to comprehend the mind of the Holy Spirit, in portions which previously may have been unintelligible and obscure.

Restrict not yourself to fixed rules, or to human helps. Rely less upon dictionaries, and maps, and annotations. With singleness of aim, with a specific object of research, and with fervent prayer for the Holy Spirit’s teaching, “you need not that any man teach you;” but collating Scripture with Scripture, “comparing spiritual things with spiritual,” you may fearlessly enter upon the investigation of the greatest mysteries contained in the sacred volume, assured that the Savior, for whose glories and riches you search, will reveal Himself to your eye, “full of grace and truth.”

Precious Bible! so full of a precious Jesus! How do all its clouds and darkness melt into light and beauty, as He, the Sun of righteousness, rises in noontide glory upon its page! Search it, my reader, with a view of seeing and knowing more of your Redeemer, compared with whom nothing else is worth knowing or making known. Love your Bible, because it testifies of Jesus; because it unfolds a great Savior, an almighty Redeemer; because it reveals the glory of a sin-pardoning God, in the person of Jesus Christ. Aim to unravel Jesus in the types, to grasp Him amid the shadows, to trace Him through the predictions of the prophet, the records of the evangelist, and the letters of the apostles. All speak of, and all lead to, Jesus. “They are they which testify of me.”

Our Spiritual Blessings

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” –Ephesians 1:3

O, could our faith but embrace a little, were it only a little, and O, could we daily come and drink but a few drops of this pure fountain of immortal joy, in the sweet realization of being blessed, already blessed, fully blessed, unalterably, irreversibly blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ, what strength and consolation would it impart to our often cast down soul! Look at the words; examine them again and again; think over in your mind, one by one, the spiritual blessings that you most covet. Is it pardon? Is it peace? Is it the love of God shed abroad in your heart? Is it the spirit of adoption, enabling you to cry, “Abba, Father?” Is it communion with God? Is it the enjoyment of his presence and smiles? Is it deliverance from every doubt and fear? Is it a large measure of his fear in your heart, a subduing of all your lusts and corruptions, a godly, holy life, and a happy, blessed death? Are not these the spiritual blessings which you prize above house or land, wife or husband, child or relative, or any earthly good? With these, then, and with every other are you blessed, already blessed, if you are one of God’s saints and a believer in Christ Jesus. God has not yet to bless you, beyond giving you a foretaste here and the full enjoyment hereafter. He has already blessed you with them all in Christ Jesus.

Our Fountain of Life

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“With You is the fountain of life.” Psalm 36:9.

What a fountain of life is Jesus! The dead, on whose ear falls the sound of His voice, live. There is grace in Christ- quickening, regenerating, life-giving grace; and to whomsoever that grace is imparted, he that was lying cold and inanimate in the valley begins to move, to live, to breathe, and to arise. One touch of Christ, a whisper of His voice, a breath of His Spirit, begets a life in the soul that never dies.

What a fountain of life is Jesus! Think of its superabundance . There is a fullness of life in Christ. The grace that is welled in Jesus is as infinite in its source, as it is divine in its nature. An uncreated fullness, it must possess an inexhaustible overabundance. Had the Father deposited this life-giving grace in all the angels in heaven, it had long since been exhausted.

Think of the myriads, thirsting for holiness and for happiness, who have knelt and slaked their thirst at this fountain- think of the myriads who have here filled their empty vessels, and have gone away with joy and hope springing high in their minds. Think of the myriads whose sins His blood has washed, whose souls His righteousness has clad, whose corruptions His grace has subdued, and whose sorrows His love has comforted. Think of the iniquities which He has pardoned; of the backslidings which He has healed; of the grief which He has removed; of the tears which He has dried; of the souls which He has saved.

Think of the myriads once drinking from the stream below, but who are now drinking from the fountain head in glory. And yet is this fountain as full as ever! Not one hair’s breadth has it sunk. Jesus is as full of pardoning grace for the guilty, and of justifying grace for the vile, and of sanctifying grace for the unworthy, as ever. He is full enough to meet the needs of every poor, thirsty, panting soul who ventures near.

Oh, what a precious truth is this! Precious, indeed, to him who feels his own insufficiency, poverty, and need. What, reader, is your need? what your sorrow? what your trial? what your infirmity? what your burden? Whatever it may be, repair with it to this fountain of living water, and despair not of a gracious welcome and of an adequate supply. It is a fountain, and a living fountain. It needs no persuasion to flow, for it flows spontaneously; and wherever it flows there is life.

Our Indeed Blessing

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“O that you would bless me indeed!” 1 Chronicles 4:10

An “indeed” blessing is what the soul is seeking after which has ever felt the misery and bitterness of sin, and ever tasted the sweetness of God’s salvation. And these “indeed” blessings are seen to be spiritual and eternal. Compared with such blessings as these, it sees how vain and empty are all earthly things, what vain toys, what idle dreams, what passing shadows. It wonders at the folly of men in hunting after such vain shows, and spending time, health, money, life itself, in a pursuit of nothing but misery and destruction.

Every passing funeral bell that it hears, every corpse borne slowly along to the grave that it sees, impresses it with solemn feelings as to the state of those who live and die in their sins. Thus it learns more and more to contrast time with eternity, earth with heaven, sinners with saints, and professors with possessors. By these things it is taught, with Baruch, not “to seek great things” for itself, but real things; things which will outlast time, and fit it for eternity.

It is thus brought to care little for the opinion of men as to what is good or great, but much for what God has stamped his own approbation upon, such as a tender conscience, a broken heart, a contrite spirit, a humble mind, a separation from the world and everything worldly, a submission to his holy will, a meek endurance of the cross, a conformity to Christ’s suffering image, and a living to God’s glory.

As, then, the gracious Lord is pleased to indulge it with some discovery of himself, shedding abroad a sweet sense of his goodness and mercy, atoning blood, and dying love, it is made to long more and more for the manifestation of those blessings which alone are to be found in him. For his blessings are not like the mere temporal mercies which we enjoy at his hands, all of which perish in the using, but are forever and ever; and when once given are never taken away. They thus become pledges and foretastes of eternal joys, for they are absolutely irreversible.

When Isaac had once blessed Jacob in God’s name, though the blessing had been obtained by deceit, yet having been once given, it could not be recalled. He said, therefore, to Esau, “I have blessed him, and he shall be blessed.” So when the Lord has blessed his people with any of those spiritual blessings which are stored up in his inexhaustible fullness, these blessings are like himself, unchanging and unchangeable; for “he is in one mind and none can turn him;” “The same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Our Necessary Labor

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.”

– 1 Thessalonians 1:3

It is air and exercise that keep the body healthy. So it is spiritually. The graces of the Spirit need to be often exercised and well aired to keep them healthy–aired with the pure breath of heaven, and exercised with the operations of the Holy Spirit drawing them forth into activity and energy. And just as in nature a man gains health and strength by using his limbs and working his muscles, so in spiritual things these graces of the Spirit gain strength by use and exercise. Faith by working hard, hope by enduring much, and love by laboring long in the face of difficulties, become each more strengthened, more confirmed, more active, healthy, and energetic.

It is a false faith to sleep all day in the sluggard’s arm-chair; it is the hypocrite’s hope who endures nothing for Christ’s sake; it is love in ‘lip and tongue and name’ that undergoes no labor to please the beloved Object. Look at these things in the light of your own experience. See whether you can find not only faith in your heart, but its work; not only hope, but its patience; not only love, but its labor. The Apostle remembered without ceasing their work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope. His eye was fixed not so much upon their Christian graces as their exercises of them, and as he saw their faith working diligently, their hope suffering patiently, and their love laboring unweariedly for the glory of God and the good of his people, he was satisfied they were the graces of the Spirit wrought in their heart by a divine power.