Rejoicing in Our Afflictions

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“Doth Job fear God for nought?”
Job 1:9

This was the wicked question of Satan concerning that upright man of old, but there are many in the present day concerning whom it might be asked with justice, for they love God after a fashion because he prospers them; but if things went ill with them, they would give up all their boasted faith in God.

If they can clearly see that since the time of their supposed conversion the world has gone prosperously with them, then they will love God in their poor carnal way; but if they endure adversity, they rebel against the Lord. Their love is the love of the table, not of the host; a love to the cupboard, not to the master of the house.

As for the true Christian, he expects to have his reward in the next life, and to endure hardness in this. The promise of the old covenant was prosperity, but the promise of the new covenant is adversity. Remember Christ’s words–“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit”–What? “He purgeth it, that it may bring forth fruit.”

If you bring forth fruit, you will have to endure affliction. “Alas!” you say, “that is a terrible prospect.” But this affliction works out such precious results, that the Christian who is the subject of it must learn to rejoice in tribulations, because as his tribulations abound, so his consolations abound by Christ Jesus.

Rest assured, if you are a child of God, you will be no stranger to the rod. Sooner or later every bar of gold must pass through the fire. Fear not, but rather rejoice that such fruitful times are in store for you, for in them you will be weaned from earth and made meet for heaven; you will be delivered from clinging to the present, and made to long for those eternal things which are so soon to be revealed to you. When you feel that as regards the present you do serve God for nought, you will then rejoice in the infinite reward of the future.

The Grace We Pray For

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment–lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.”–Isaiah 27:3

The Lord Jesus Christ, who lives at God’s right hand, has to send down supplies of his grace continually to keep your soul alive unto himself. Without this life being kept up and maintained by these continual supplies of his grace, you cannot pray, or read, or hear the word, or meditate with any feeling or profit. You cannot love the Lord and his blessed ways; you cannot submit to his righteous dealings; or hear the rod and him who appointed it. You may approach his throne, but your heart is cold, clouded, and unfeeling; your spirit sinks under the weight and burden of the trials and difficulties that are spread in your path; nor are you able to do anything that satisfies yourself, or that you think can satisfy God.

By these painful but profitable lessons, you are experimentally taught that you need the life of Christ as well as the death of Christ, the resurrection of Christ as much as the crucifixion of Christ; Christ as an ever-living, ever-gracious, ever-glorious Mediator, to send down supplies of his love and power into your soul, as much as you needed him to die upon the cross for your redemption.

On Our Continuing Sin

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Evening Thought

For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin. Psalm 38:18

The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

SEEK, cherish, and cultivate constantly and habitually a broken heart for sin. Do not think that it is a work which, once done, is to be done no more. Deem it not a primary stage in your spiritual journey, which, once reached, never again occurs in your celestial progress.

Oh no! As in the natural life we enter the world weeping, and leave it weeping, so in the spiritual life—we begin it in tears of godly sorrow for sin, and we terminate it in tears of godly sorrow for sin—passing away to that blessed state of sinlessness, where God will wipe away all tears from our eyes.

The indwelling of all evil—the polluting nature of the world along which we journey—our constant exposure to temptations of every kind—the many occasions on which we yield to those temptations, the perpetual developments of sin unseen, unknown, even unsuspected by others—the defilement which attaches itself to all that we put our hands to, even the most spiritual and holy and heavenly, the consciousness of what a holy God must every moment see in us—all, all these considerations should lead us to cherish that spirit of lowliness and contrition, self-abhorrence and self-renunciation, inward mortification and outward humility of deportment, which belong to and which truly prove the existence of the life of God in our souls.

And what, too, prompts a constant traveling to the atoning blood?—what endears the Savior who shed that blood?—what is it that makes His flesh food indeed, and His blood drink indeed?—what is it that keeps the conscience tender and clean?—what enables the believer to walk with God as a dear child? Oh, it is the sacred contrition of the lowly spirit, springing from a view of the cross of Jesus, and through the cross leading to the heart of God.

Backsliding Christian! do you feel within your heart the kindlings of godly sorrow? Are you mourning over your wandering, loathing the sin that drew you from Christ, that grieved the Spirit, and wounded your own peace? Are you longing to feed again in the green pastures of the flock, and by the side of the Shepherd of the flock, assured once more that you are a true sheep, belonging to the one fold, known by, and precious to, the heart of Him who laid down His life for the sheep?

Then approach the altar of Calvary, and upon it lay the sacrifice of a broken and a contrite heart, and your God will accept it. The door of your return stands open—the pierced heart of Jesus. The golden scepter that bids you approach is extended—the outstretched hand of a pacified Father. The banquet is ready, and the minstrels are tuning their harps to celebrate the return from your wanderings to your Father’s heart and home, with the gladness of feasting, and with the voice of thanksgiving and of melody.

The Love of Jesus

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“Love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”–1 John 4:7-8

If ever you have loved Jesus with a pure affection; if ever you have felt him near, dear, and precious to your soul, that love can never be lost out of your heart. It may lie dormant; it does lie dormant. It may not be sweetly felt in exercise; but there it is. “If any man loves not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema” (1 Cor. 16:22). You would be under this curse if the love of the Lord Jesus Christ were to die out of your heart. But this love is often sleeping. When the mother sometimes watches over the cradle and looks upon her sleeping babe with unutterable affection, the infant knows not that the mother is watching its slumbers; but when it awakes, it is able to feel and return its mother’s caresses.

It is so with the soul sometimes when love in the heart is like a babe slumbering in the cradle. But as the babe opens its eyes, and sees the mother smiling upon it, it returns the smiles, and stretches forth its arms to embrace the bending cheek; so when the eyes of the soul are opened to see the smiling face of Jesus stooping to imprint a kiss of love, or drop some sweet word into the heart, and there is a flowing forth toward him of love and affection–this is the power of love.

The Christian’s Two Natures

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”–2 Corinthians 4:7

Be not surprised if you feel that in yourself you are but an earthen vessel; if you are made deeply and daily sensible unto what a frail body God has communicated light and life. Be not surprised if your clay house is often tottering; if sickness sometimes assails your mortal tabernacle; if in your flesh there dwells no good thing; if your soul often cleaves to the dust; and if you are unable to retain a sweet sense of God’s goodness and love. Be not surprised nor startled at the corruptions of your depraved nature; at the depth of sin in your carnal mind; at the vile abominations which lurk and work in your deceitful and desperately wicked heart. Bear in mind that it is the will of God that this heavenly treasure which makes you rich for eternity should be lodged in an earthen vessel.

We are to carry about a daily sense of our base original to hide pride from our eyes. We are to be despised by others; and by none so much as by our own selves. We have ever to feel our native weakness, and that without Christ we can do nothing; that we may be clothed with humility, and feel ourselves the chief of sinners, and less than the least of all saints. We thus learn to prize the heights, breadths, lengths, and depths of the love of Christ, who stooped so low to raise us up so high.

Mighty!

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“Mighty to save.”
Isaiah 63:1

By the words “to save” we understand the whole of the great work of salvation, from the first holy desire onward to complete sanctification. The words are multum in parro: indeed, here is all mercy in one word.

Christ is not only “mighty to save” those who repent, but he is able to make men repent. He will carry those to heaven who believe; but he is, moreover, mighty to give men new hearts and to work faith in them. He is mighty to make the man who hates holiness love it, and to constrain the despiser of his name to bend the knee before him.

Nay, this is not all the meaning, for the divine power is equally seen in the after-work. The life of a believer is a series of miracles wrought by “the Mighty God.” The bush burns, but is not consumed. He is mighty to keep his people holy after he has made them so, and to preserve them in his fear and love until he consummates their spiritual existence in heaven.

Christ’s might doth not lie in making a believer and then leaving him to shift for himself; but he who begins the good work carries it on; he who imparts the first germ of life in the dead soul, prolongs the divine existence, and strengthens it until it bursts asunder every bond of sin, and the soul leaps from earth, perfected in glory.

Believer, here is encouragement. Art thou praying for some beloved one? Oh, give not up thy prayers, for Christ is “mighty to save.” You are powerless to reclaim the rebel, but your Lord is Almighty. Lay hold on that mighty arm, and rouse it to put forth its strength.

Does your own case trouble you? Fear not, for his strength is sufficient for you. Whether to begin with others, or to carry on the work in you, Jesus is “mighty to save;” the best proof of which lies in the fact that he has saved you. What a thousand mercies that you have not found him mighty to destroy!

Our Fiery Affliction

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.”–1 Peter 4:12

The “fiery trial,” then, is not a strange thing which happens only to a few of the Lord’s family, but is more or less the appointed lot of all. Do we not hear the Lord saying to his Zion, “I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction?” All then who are chosen, must pass through the furnace of affliction, and all know experimentally the fiery trial, for by it they are made partakers of Christ’s sufferings.

But this is indispensable in order to be partakers of his glory. “If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Thus they suffer with him, “that when his glory shall be revealed, they may be glad also with exceeding joy.” And this suffering with and for Christ in the furnace of affliction salts the soul, preserves it from corruption, communicates health, gives it savor and flavor, is a token of interest in the everlasting covenant, and is a seal of friendship and peace with God.

The Office of the Holy Spirit in Salvation

Octavius Winslow

Morning Thoughts

And when He (the Comforter) has come, He will reprove the world of sin.” John 16:8.

This is the great office of the Spirit- this is His first work, prior to His bringing the soul to rest on the great sacrifice for sin. Not a step will the soul take to Christ, until that soul has been brought in guilty and condemned by the law of God. And this is the work of the Spirit. “No man,” says the excellent Newton, “ever did or ever will feel himself to be a lost, miserable, and hateful sinner, unless he is powerfully and supernaturally convinced by the Spirit of God.”

And what is the instrument by which the Spirit thus powerfully and supernaturally convinces of sin? We reply, the Law. “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” “The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.” The law, brought into the conscience by the Holy Spirit; condemns the man, and leads him to condemn himself; it holds up to view the holiness of God- the purity and inflexibility of every precept- contrasts it with the unrighteousness, guilt, and misery, of the sinner, and thus prostrates the soul in the dust, exclaiming in all the lowliness of self-accusation, “the law is holy, just, and good- I am guilty, guilty, guilty.” Through this instrument- the law of God- and thus effectually, does the Holy Spirit convince the soul of sin, and lay it low before God.

Finding Spiritual Pasture

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Devotional

“I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”–John 10:9

There is a finding pasture in PROVIDENCE. A sweet and healthy pasture indeed this is–to watch the Lord’s providential dealings with us spread through a long series of years. It is seeing the Lord’s providential hand which makes the commonest temporal mercies sweet. Every nibble of grass or lock of hay which we can believe to be specially provided for us by the hand of that good Shepherd becomes thereby doubly sweet.

But O what pastures in GRACE has God provided for his hungry sheep! Look at the promises and declarations, the sacred truths and heavenly consolations scattered up and down the Scriptures of truth.

But of all spiritual pasture thus provided for the flock, the chief is the flesh and blood of the Lord Jesus. This is his own divine declaration–“For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed” (John 6:55). And every communication of grace to the soul out of the fullness of Christ, every promise applied with a divine power to the heart, every truth which drops with heavenly savor, every season of encouragement; in a word, every part of God’s word which the soul can eat and feed upon is spiritual pasture. Thus the prophet found it of old–“Your words were found, and I did eat them; and your word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by your name, O Lord God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16).

Our Eyes on God

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“In my flesh shall I see God.”
Job 19:26

Mark the subject of Job’s devout anticipation “I shall see God.” He does not say, “I shall see the saints”–though doubtless that will be untold felicity–but, “I shall see God.” It is not–“I shall see the pearly gates, I shall behold the walls of jasper, I shall gaze upon the crowns of gold,” but “I shall see God.”

This is the sum and substance of heaven, this is the joyful hope of all believers. It is their delight to see him now in the ordinances by faith. They love to behold him in communion and in prayer; but there in heaven they shall have an open and unclouded vision, and thus seeing “him as he is,” shall be made completely like him.

Likeness to God–what can we wish for more?

And a sight of God–what can we desire better?

Some read the passage, “Yet, I shall see God in my flesh,” and find here an allusion to Christ, as the “Word made flesh,” and that glorious beholding of him which shall be the splendour of the latter days. Whether so or not it is certain that Christ shall be the object of our eternal vision; nor shall we ever want any joy beyond that of seeing him.

Think not that this will be a narrow sphere for the mind to dwell in. It is but one source of delight, but that source is infinite. All his attributes shall be subjects for contemplation, and as he is infinite under each aspect, there is no fear of exhaustion. His works, his gifts, his love to us, and his glory in all his purposes, and in all his actions, these shall make a theme which will be ever new.

The patriarch looked forward to this sight of God as a personal enjoyment. “Whom mine eye shall behold, and not another.” Take realizing views of heaven’s bliss; think what it will be to you. “Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty.” All earthly brightness fades and darkens as we gaze upon it, but here is a brightness which can never dim, a glory which can never fade–“I shall see God.”