Our Necessary Chastening

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Evening Thought

I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto you, O Lord, will I sing. Psalm 101:1

How shall we enumerate all the blessings which result from the chastening of love? We might tell how prayer is quickened, how pride is abased, how weanedness [detachment from worldly things] is attained, how charity is increased, how character is formed, how meditation and solitude are sweetened, how Christ is endeared, and how God is glorified.

It will be recollected, that in the ark of the covenant there was “Aaron’s rod that budded.” Our glorious covenant of grace has, too, its rod—its budding, its blossoming rod—and precious is the nature and rich the variety of the fruit which it bears. But in that ancient ark there was also the “pot of manna.” “Mercy and judgment,” bitter and sweet, light and shade, are blended in the covenant dealings of God with His people. The rod and the pot of manna go together. If the one is bitter, the other is sweet. God will never send the rod unaccompanied with the manna. Jesus, exhibited in the word, and unfolded by the Spirit, in the sweet sympathy of His nature, in the tenderness of His heart, as the “Brother born for adversity,” is the manna—sustaining and strengthening the believer, passing under the covenant-rod of God. Thus, if afflictions be grievous, the fruit they bear is gracious.

In the history of the Jewish Church there is yet another type, beautifully illustrative of God’s dealings with the chastened Christian. I allude to the pillar, which guided the pilgrimage of the Church in the wilderness. By night it was a pillar of fire, and by day it was a pillar of cloud. The darkest night of weeping that can possibly enshroud the child of God has its bright light—its alleviation, its promise, its guiding. And in the most prosperous period in the Christian’s experience, it is ordered by unerring wisdom and infinite love that there should be some counter-dispensation of trial, to preserve the just balance of the soul. It has been well remarked, that “Things never go so well with God’s children, but they have still something to groan under; nor so ill, but they have still some comfort to be thankful for.”

I would have you, then, my reader, not overlook the truth, that the covenant of grace has made provision for everything in the life of a child of God, especially for the life of suffering. It strews the richest blessings and the most profusely upon the chequered path—the path inlaid with stones of various colors, and yet each one most needful and most precious. “Oh you afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold I will lay your stones with fair colors, and lay your foundations with sapphires.” It is true that the covenant has anticipated as much the perilous season of prosperity, as the dark hour of adversity; but it always supposes the way to glory to be one of trial and of danger.

A heavenly-minded man will learn to look upon the earthly distinction and wealth which the world, so lavish sometimes of its favors, may confer upon him, as a trial and a snare, to one desirous of bearing the cross daily after his crucified Lord; and yet for this specific form of danger the covenant of grace amply provides. Be satisfied, my reader, with any station your God may assign you; believing that for every station in which He places His child, there is the grace peculiar to its exigencies treasured up for him in the everlasting covenant.

Grace and Glory

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“The Lord will give grace and glory.” Psalm 84:11

Wherever the Lord gives grace, he in and with that grace gives glory. We, therefore, read, “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Thus he has already made them, even while on earth, partakers of his glory; and this by making them partakers of his grace; for as in the bud is the bloom, and in the bloom the fruit, so in budding grace is blooming glory–grace being but glory begun, and glory being but grace finished.

But what is “glory?” Viewed as future, in its full consummation, it is to be with Jesus in realms of eternal bliss, where tears are wiped from off all faces; it is to see him as he is; to be conformed to his glorious likeness; to be delivered from all sin and sorrow; to be perfectly free from all temptations, trials, burdens, and exercises, and to dwell forever in that happy land, “the inhabitants of which shall not say, I am sick;” where a weary body, a burdened conscience, a troubled heart, a faint and weary mind, are utterly and forever unknown.

In a word, it is to have a glorified body re-united to a glorified soul, and for both to be as full of happiness and holiness, bliss and blessedness, as an immortal spirit can hold, and an immortal frame can endure, drinking in to the full, with unutterable satisfaction but without satiety, the pleasures that are at God’s right hand for evermore.

But no human heart can conceive, nor human tongue unfold in what the nature and fullness of this glory consist; for “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him.” Yet all this glory will the Lord give to those upon whom he has already bestowed his grace. He gives them grace now, to bring them through this wilderness world, this valley of tears, this scene of temptation, sin, and sorrow; and when he lands them on that happy shore, he gives them there the fullness of his glory. Then will be fully accomplished the Redeemer’s prayer and will–“Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me; for you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).

Their right and title to the enjoyment of this predestinated inheritance are securely lodged in the hands of their covenant Head; and he living at God’s right hand to save them to the uttermost, all their temptations, enemies, sins, and sorrows can never hinder them from reaching the shore on which God has decreed they shall safely land. Satan may spread a thousand snares to entangle their feet; not a day or scarcely an hour may pass that they are not burdened with indwelling sin; a myriad of lusts may start up in arms from the depths of their carnal mind; and many a pang of guilt and chill of despair may seem at times wholly to cut them off from eternal life. But yet, where the Lord has given grace he will give glory; for when he gives grace with the left hand, he gives glory with the right; yes, we may say that with both hands he gives at once both grace and glory; for as grace and glory flow out of the same loving heart, and are given by the same loving God, they may be said to be given by both hands at one and the same time.

A portion or foretaste of this glory is given on earth in every discovery of the glory of Christ; as the Lord speaks, “And the glory which you gave me I have given them”–already given them; and this he did when “he manifested forth his glory, and his disciples believed on him” (John 17:22; 2:11).

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 this, 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.