On Becoming Fit For Heaven

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory.” Zechariah 6:13

Christ Himself is the builder of His spiritual temple, and He has built it on the mountains of His unchangeable love, His omnipotent grace, and His infallible truthfulness. But as it was in Solomon’s temple, so in this; the materials need making ready. There are the “Cedars of Lebanon,” but they are not framed for the building; they are not cut down, and shaped, and made into those planks of cedar, whose odoriferous beauty shall make glad the courts of the Lord’s house in Paradise. There are also the rough stones still in the quarry, they must be hewn thence, and squared. All this is Christ’s own work. Each individual believer is being prepared, and polished, and made ready for his place in the temple; but Christ’s own hand performs the preparation-work.

Afflictions cannot sanctify, excepting as they are used by Him to this end. Our prayers and efforts cannot make us ready for heaven, apart from the hand of Jesus, who fashions our hearts aright. As in the building of Solomon’s temple, “there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron, heard in the house,” because all was brought perfectly ready for the exact spot it was to occupy—so is it with the temple which Jesus builds; the making ready is all done on earth. When we reach heaven, there will be no sanctifying us there, no squaring us with affliction, no planing us with suffering. No, we must be made fit here—all that Christ will do beforehand; and when He has done it, we shall be ferried by a loving hand across the stream of death, and brought to the heavenly Jerusalem, to abide as eternal pillars in the temple of our Lord.

“Beneath His eye and care,
The edifice shall rise,
Majestic, strong, and fair,
And shine above the skies.”

God’s Word

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105

O what a change takes place in the soul’s feelings toward the word of God when God is pleased to quicken it into divine life! Nor, indeed, need we wonder why there is such a marked revolution in our feelings toward it; for it is by the power of God’s word upon the heart that this wondrous change is effected. “Of his own will he begat us with the word of truth” (James 1:18). Other books may instruct or amuse; they may feed the intellect, charm the imagination, and cultivate the mind. But what more can they do? I do not mean by this to despise or set aside every other book but the Bible, for without books society itself, as at present constituted, could not exist; and to burn every book would be to throw us back into the barbarism of the Middle Ages. Let, then, books have their place as regards this life; but what can they do for us as regards the life to come? What can our renowned authors, our choice classics, our learned historians, our great dramatists, or our eloquent poets do for the soul in seasons of affliction and distress? How powerless all human writings are in these circumstances. Is it not as Deer well says–

“What balm could wretches ever find

In wit, to heal affliction?

Or who can cure a troubled mind

With all the pomp of diction?”

Now here is the blessedness of the word of God, that when everything else fails, that comes to our aid under all circumstances, so that we can never sink so low as to get beyond the reach of some promise in the word of truth. We may come, and most probably shall come, to a spot where everything else will fail and give way but the word of God which forever is settled in heaven. Then the word of grace and truth which reaches down to the lowest case, the word of promise upon which the Lord causes the soul to hope, will still turn towards us a friendly smile, and still encourage us under all circumstances to call upon the name of the Lord, and to hang upon his faithfulness who has said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

Thus, under circumstances the most trying to flesh and blood, where nature stands aghast and reason fails, there the word of God will come in as a counselor to drop in friendly advice, as a companion to cheer and support the mind by its tender sympathy; and as a friend to speak to the heart with a loving, affectionate voice. We need not wonder, then, how the word of God has been prized in all ages by the family of God; for it is written with such infinite wisdom, that it meets every case, suits every circumstance, fills up every aching void, and is adapted to every condition of life and every state both of body and soul.

Our Preservation on the Threshing Floor

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“For I will give the command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as grain is sifted in a sieve—yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.” Amos 9:9

Every sifting comes by divine command and permission. Satan must ask permission before he can lay a finger upon Job. Nay, more, in some sense our siftings are directly the work of heaven, for the text says, “I will sift the house of Israel.” Satan, like a drudge, may hold the sieve, hoping to destroy the grain; but the overruling hand of the Master is accomplishing the purity of the grain by the very process which the enemy intended to be destructive.

Precious—but much sifted grain of the Lord’s floor—be comforted by the blessed fact that the Lord directs both flail and sieve to His own glory, and to your eternal profit. The Lord Jesus will surely use the fan which is in His hand, and will divide the precious from the vile. All are not Israel that are of Israel; the heap on the barn floor is not clean provender, and hence the winnowing process must be performed. In the sieve true weight alone has power. Husks and chaff being devoid of substance, must fly before the wind—and only solid grain will remain.

Observe the complete safety of the Lord’s wheat; even the least grain has a promise of preservation. God Himself sifts, and therefore it is just and effectual work; He sifts them in all places, “among all nations”; He sifts them in the most effectual manner, “like as grain is sifted in a sieve”; and yet for all this, not the smallest, lightest, or most shriveled grain, is permitted to fall to the ground.

Every individual believer is precious in the sight of the Lord, a shepherd would not lose one sheep, nor a jeweler one diamond, nor a mother one child, nor a man one limb of his body, nor will the Lord lose one of His redeemed people. However little we may be, if we are the Lord’s—we may rejoice that we are preserved in Christ Jesus.

Buddy – Answered Prayer for Closure

A week ago at this time I was sitting where I am sitting this morning. At that time I was waiting for nine o’clock to arrive when I would be able to call our veterinarian about taking Buddy in for surgery. The events that followed on that day are recorded here:  My Times Are in Your Hands

During the past week I have struggled without success to find closure on the death of this companion who I often referred to as Mr. Bud.  I have been praying throughout the days for something, exactly what I did not know, but something that would allow me to experience one final burst of emotion followed by a confident peace. Continue reading “Buddy – Answered Prayer for Closure”

Our Full and Complete Pardon

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“In those days, and in that time, says the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found–for I will pardon them whom I reserve.” Jeremiah 50:20

Some have feared lest in the great day their sins should be brought to light, and they put to shame by the exposure of their crimes to open view. But that will not be the case with the dear family of God. We read indeed that “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake;” and while some awake “to everlasting life,” others will awake “to shame and everlasting contempt,” because their sins will be remembered and brought against them as evidences of their just condemnation. But the wise, who “shall shine as the brightness of the skies,” will rise to glory and honor and immortality, and not one of their sins will be remembered, charged, or brought against them. They will stand arrayed in Christ’s perfect righteousness and washed in his blood, and will appear before the throne of God without spot or blemish.

We can scarcely bear the recollection of our sins now. But what would become of us if the spirit of one unburied sin could flit before our eyes in the day when the Lord makes up his jewels? If any one sin of the Lamb’s wife could be remembered or brought against her, where would be the voice which John heard in Revelation, as “the voice of a great multitude, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigns?” Now what was this voice? “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white–for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Rev. 19:7, 8).

But suppose that any of the past transgressions of the Lamb’s wife could be brought against her on that marriage day, any one instance of unfaithfulness to her plighted troth, would it not be sufficient to prevent the marriage, mar the wedding supper, and drive the bride away for very shame? No, there is no truth in God’s word more certain than the complete forgiveness of sins, and the presentation of the Church to Christ at the great day faultless before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy.

Our Renewal in the Lord

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Travelers

“But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” Isaiah 40:31

How different the religion of a living soul is from the religion of a dead professor! The religion of a dead professor begins in self, and ends in self; begins in his own wisdom, and ends in his own folly; begins in his own strength, and ends in his own weakness; begins in his own righteousness, and ends in his own damnation! There is in him never any going out of soul after God, no secret dealings with the Lord, no actings of faith upon the divine perfections.

But the child of God, though he is often faint, weary, and exhausted with many difficulties, burdens and sorrows; yet when the Lord does show himself, and renews his strength, he soars aloft, and never ceases to mount up on the wings of faith and love until he penetrates into the very sanctuary of the most High. A living soul never can be satisfied except in living union and communion with the Lord of life and glory. Everything short of that leaves it empty. All the things of time and sense leave a child of God unsatisfied. Nothing but vital union and communion with the Lord of life, to feel his presence, taste his love, enjoy his favor, see his glory–nothing but this will ever satisfy the desires of ransomed and regenerated souls. This the Lord indulges his people with.

“They shall renew their strength.” They shall not be always lying groaning on the ground, not always swooning away through the wounds made by sin, not always chained down by the fetters of the world, not always hunted in their souls like a partridge upon the mountains. There shall be a renewal of their strength; and in their renewal, “they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

My Times Are In Your Hands

My times are in your hands.

Psalm 31:15a

I experienced a slight detachment from reality as I listened to Dr. Stewart describe the picture that the x-rays painted. Our family dog Buddy, at eleven yeas old, was experiencing internal bleeding resulting in a pooling of blood and possibly other fluids in his abdominal cavity.

Source?

Unknown.

Our visit to our veterinarian yesterday came at the end of a week in which our previously healthy and active canine companion progressed from sluggishness to lethargy.  Dr. Stewart was clear in presenting the only option for treating the condition. We would need to run him down to the emergency animal surgical center in Fort Pierce and spend the night testing, prepping, and submitting Buddy to abdominal surgery.  He advised us that, because of his age, surgery would tax Buddy’s system and that recovery would be longer than would be the case for a younger dog.

Referring us to the x-rays, he pointed out the large mass in Buddy’s abdomen and told us that it could be the spleen, the liver, or just a large tumor. He told us that Buddy’s low platelet count indicated that there was also internal bleeding.

Feeling overwhelmed, my mind quickly found refuge in the thought that this was an occasion which seemed to point to only one end. That end being to euthanize Buddy. It was difficult to process that thought, but it seemed to be the only way to avoid subjecting our beloved family member to a difficult and in no way guaranteed operation. Continue reading “My Times Are In Your Hands”

Our Savior In His Sufferings

“The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6

How shall we account for the sufferings of Christ, which were intense, and mysterious, if not on the ground of their vicarious character? Those sufferings were intense in the extreme. There was a severity in those who, if not required by Divine justice, would be perfectly unaccountable. Heaven, earth, and hell, all were in league against Him. Survey His eventful history- mark every step which He took from Bethlehem to Calvary; and what do we learn of His sufferings, but that they were of the most extraordinary and intense character.

His enemies, like dogs of war, were let loose upon Him. His professed followers themselves stood aghast at the scenes through which their Lord was passing- one betraying Him, another denying Him, and all, in the hour of His extremity, forsaking Him. Is it any wonder that, in the anguish of His soul, His suffering humanity should exclaim, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” In that awful moment, all the waves and billows of God’s wrath, due to the sins of His people, were passing over Him. The Father, the last resource of sympathy, veiled His face, and withdrew from Him His sensible presence; and on the cross, draining the cup of sorrow, He fulfilled the prophecy, which spoke of Him- “I have trodden the wine press alone; and of the people there were none with me.”

His sufferings, too, were mysterious. Why a holy, harmless being, whose whole life had been one act of unparalleled beneficence, should be doomed to persecution so severe, to sufferings so acute, and to a death so painful and ignominious, the denier of the atonement must be embarrassed to account. But the doctrine of a vicarious sacrifice explains it all, and presents the only key to the mystery. “He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” All the mystery now is gone. He was “made sin for us.” He was “made a curse for us.”

He bore the sin, and consequently the penalty of sin. Had we been left, Christian reader, to bear our sins, we must inevitably have borne alone the punishment of our sins. But Jesus took upon Him our sins. For this, He became a party in the covenant of redemption; for this, He assumed our nature; for this, He sorrowed in Gethsemane; for this, the law of God exacted its utmost claim; and for this, the justice of God inflicted the utmost penalty.

Oh, what a truth is this! The Son of God offering Himself up a sacrifice for sin! He who knew no sin- who was holy, harmless, and undefiled- not one thought of evil in His heart, yet made sin, or a sin-offering! Oh the greatness of the thought! If God had not Himself declared it, we could not have believed it, though an angel’s tongue had announced it. God Himself must proclaim it; and because He has so proclaimed it, we believe it. And God alone can write it upon the heart.

Our Present Rest

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“For we who have believed enter into rest.” Hebrews 4:3

To rest is to ‘lean’ upon something. Is it not? So spiritually. We need to lean upon something. The Lord himself has given us this figure. “Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?” The figure of “a rock” on which the Church is built, “the foundation” which God has laid in Zion, points to the same idea, that of leaning or dependence. Now when the soul comes to lean upon Jesus, and depend wholly and solely on him, it enters into the sweetness of the invitation.

Have we not leaned upon a thousand things? And what have they proved? Broken reeds that have run into our hands, and pierced us. Our own strength and resolutions, the world and the church, sinners and saints, friends and enemies, have they not all proved, more or less, broken reeds? The more we have leaned upon them, like a man leaning upon a sword, the more have they pierced our souls. The Lord himself has to wean us from the world, from friends, from enemies, from self, in order to bring us to lean upon himself; and every prop he will remove, sooner or later, that we may lean wholly and solely upon his Person, love, blood, and righteousness.

But there is another idea in the word “rest”–termination. When we are walking, running, or in any way moving, we are still going onwards; we have not got to the termination of our journey. But when we come to the termination of that we have been doing, we rest. So spiritually. As long as we are engaged in setting up our own righteousness, in laboring under the law, there is no termination of our labors. But when we come to the glorious Person of the Son of God, when we hang upon his atoning blood, dying love, and glorious righteousness, and feel them sweet, precious, and suitable, then there is rest. “We who have believed enter into rest,” says the Apostle. His legal labors are all terminated. His hopes and expectations flow unto, and center in Jesus–there they end, there they terminate; such a termination as a river finds in the boundless ocean.

Our Claim

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“Are they Israelites? so am I.”
2 Corinthians 11:22

We have here a personal claim, and one that needs proof. The apostle knew that his claim was indisputable, but there are many persons who have no right to the title who yet claim to belong to the Israel of God.

If we are with confidence declaring, “So am I also an Israelite,” let us only say it after having searched our heart as in the presence of God. But if we can give proof that we are following Jesus, if we can from the heart say, “I trust him wholly, trust him only, trust him simply, trust him now, and trust him ever,” then the position which the saints of God hold belongs to us–all their enjoyments are our possessions; we may be the very least in Israel, “less than the least of all saints,” yet since the mercies of God belong to the saints as saints, and not as advanced saints, or well-taught saints, we may put in our plea, and say, “Are they Israelites? so am I; therefore the promises are mine, grace is mine, glory will be mine.” The claim, rightfully made, is one which will yield untold comfort.

When God’s people are rejoicing that they are his, what a happiness if they can say, “So am I !” When they speak of being pardoned, and justified, and accepted in the Beloved, how joyful to respond, “Through the grace of God, so am I.” But this claim not only has its enjoyments and privileges, but also its conditions and duties. We must share with God’s people in cloud as well as in sunshine. When we hear them spoken of with contempt and ridicule for being Christians, we must come boldly forward and say, “So am I.” When we see them working for Christ, giving their time, their talent, their whole heart to Jesus, we must be able to say, “So do I.” O let us prove our gratitude by our devotion, and live as those who, having claimed a privilege, are willing to take the responsibility connected with it.