Month July 2017
C. H. Spurgeon
This Morning’s Meditation
“And when he thought thereon, he wept.” Mark 14:72
It has been thought by some that as long as Peter lived, the fountain of his tears began to flow whenever he remembered his denying his Lord. It is likely that it was so, (for his sin was very great, and grace in him had afterwards a perfect work). This same experience is common to all the redeemed family according to the degree in which the Spirit of God has removed the natural heart of stone. We, like Peter, remember our boastful promise, “Though all men shall forsake You—yet I will not.” We eat our own words—with the bitter herbs of repentance. When we think of what we vowed we would be, and of what we have been—we may weep whole showers of grief.
Peter thought on his denying his Lord. The place in which he did it, the little cause which led him into such heinous sin, the oaths and blasphemies with which he sought to confirm his falsehood, and the dreadful hardness of heart which drove him to do so again and yet again.
Can we, when we are reminded of our sins, and their exceeding sinfulness, remain stolid and stubborn? Will we not make our house a Bochim, and cry unto the Lord for renewed assurances of pardoning love? May we never take a dry-eyed look at sin, lest before long we have a tongue parched in the flames of hell.
Peter also thought upon his Master’s look of love. The Lord followed up the rooster’s warning voice with an admonitory look of sorrow, pity, and love. That glance was never out of Peter’s mind so long as he lived. It was far more effectual than ten thousand sermons would have been without the Spirit. The penitent apostle would be sure to weep—when he recollected the Savior’s full forgiveness, which restored him to his former place. To think that we have offended so kind and good a Lord—is more than sufficient reason for being constant weepers. Lord, smite our rocky hearts, and make the waters flow!
Christ, Our Refuge
Today’s Morning Thought
“Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?” Solomon’s Song 8:5
Was ever a poor pilgrim more honored? Was ever a lonely traveler in better company? How can you be solitary or sorrowful, be in peril, or suffer need, while you are journeying homewards in company with and leaning upon Jesus? But for what are you to lean upon your Beloved? You are to lean upon Jesus for your entire salvation. He is “made of God unto you wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption;” and for each one of these inestimable blessings you are to depend daily upon Christ.
Where can you lean for pardon, but upon the atoning blood of Jesus? Where can you lean for acceptance, but upon the justifying righteousness of Jesus? And where can you lean for sanctification, but upon the sin-subduing grace of Jesus? This leaning upon the Beloved, then, is a daily coming up out of ourselves in the great matter of our salvation, and resting in the finished work of Christ–no more, in Christ Himself. You are to lean upon the fullness of your Beloved. He is full to a sufficiency for all the needs of His people. There cannot possibly occur a circumstance in your history, there cannot arise a necessity in your case, in which you may not repair to the infinite fullness which the Father has laid up in Christ for His Church in the wilderness. Why, then, seek in your poverty what can only be found in Christ’s riches? why look to your emptiness when you may repair to His fullness? “My grace is sufficient for you” is the cheering declaration with which Jesus meets every turn in your path, every crook in your lot, every need in your journey. Distrust then your own wisdom, look from your own self, and lean your entire weight upon the infinite fullness that is in Christ.
The posture is expressive of conscious weakness and deep self-distrust. Who is more feeble than a child of God? Taught the lesson of his weakness in the region of his own heart, and still learning it in his stumblings, falls, and mistakes, many and painful, in his self-inflicted wounds and dislocations, he is at length brought to feel that all his strength is outside of himself. He has the “sentence of death in himself, that he should not trust in himself.” “I am weak, yes, weakness itself,” is his language; “I am as a reed shaken of the wind; I stumble at a feather; I tremble at an echo; I recoil at my own shadow; the smallest difficulty impedes me; the least temptation overcomes me.
How shall I ever fight my way through this mighty host, and reach in safety the world of bliss?” By leaning daily, hourly, moment by moment, upon your Beloved for strength. Christ is the power of God, and He is the power of the children of God. Who can strengthen the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees, but Jesus? In those who have no might He increases strength. When they are weak in themselves, then are they strong in Him. His declaration is–”My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Lean, then, upon Jesus for strength. He has strength for all your weakness; He can strengthen your faith, and strengthen your hope, and strengthen your courage, and strengthen your patience, and strengthen your heart, for every burden, for every trial, and for every temptation. Lean upon Him; He loves to feel the pressure of your arm; He loves you to link your feebleness to His almightiness, to avail yourself of His grace. Thus leaning off yourself upon Christ, “as your day, so shall your strength be.” In all your tremblings and sinkings, you will feel the encircling of His power. “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
Evidence of the Work of Grace in Our Heart
J. C. Philpot
Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers
“But my eyes are unto you, O God the Lord–in you is my trust; leave not my soul destitute.” Psalm 141:8
The very cry is a pledge that the Lord will not leave the soul destitute. Strange though it be to us; it is the light that shows darkness; it is life that makes us feel deadness; no, more, it is fertility and fruitfulness that make us feel barrenness; it is riches that make us feel poverty; it is God’s teaching and presence that make us feel destitution. This very mourning over our barrenness; this very feeling of our inability to do good, is a proof of the life of God in the soul, an evidence of the work of grace in the heart.
“Leave not my soul destitute.” This is something genuine; this is heart-work; these are the footsteps of the flock; these are the leadings and teachings of God the Spirit in the hearts of the redeemed. These things are saving; these things will lead the soul to eternal glory. And he that knows any of these things by personal experience will one day see the glory of the Lord face to face.
What do we, then, know of these things? Can we lay our experience side by side with this experience of the Psalmist, and say, “My eyes are unto you, O God the Lord; in you is my trust; leave not my soul destitute?” Wherever that prayer is, it will bring an answer; and wherever that answer is, there will be matter for everlasting praise. Blessed are the souls that know these things from genuine heartfelt experience. They will shine forth as stars forever and ever; and when the Lord of life and glory comes a second time without sin unto salvation, then shall they also appear with him in glory.
The Believer’s Treasure – Forgiveness of Sin
C. H. Spurgeon
This Evening’s Meditation
“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Romans 8:33
Most blessed challenge! How unanswerable it is! Every sin of the elect was laid upon the great Champion of our salvation—and by the atonement carried away. There is no sin in God’s book against His people—He sees no sin in Jacob, neither iniquity in Israel; they are justified in Christ forever! When the guilt of sin was taken away—the punishment of sin was removed. For the Christian there is no stroke from God’s angry hand—nay, not so much as a single frown of punitive justice. The believer may be chastised by his Father—but God the Judge has nothing to say to the Christian, except “I have absolved you—you are acquitted.”
For the Christian there is no penal death in this world, much less any second death. He is completely freed from all the punishment as well as the guilt of sin, and the power of sin is removed too. It may stand in our way, and agitate us with perpetual warfare; but sin is a conquered foe to every soul in union with Jesus.
There is no sin which a Christian cannot overcome—if he will only rely upon his God to do it. Those who wear the white robe in heaven, overcame through the blood of the Lamb, and we may do the same. No lust is too mighty, no besetting sin too strongly entrenched; we can overcome through the power of Christ. Do believe it, Christian, that your sin is a condemned thing. It may kick and struggle—but it is doomed to die! God has written condemnation across its brow. Christ has crucified it, “nailing it to His cross.” Go now and mortify it, and may the Lord help you to live to His praise, for sin with all its guilt, shame, and fear—is gone!
“Here’s pardon for transgressions past,
It matters not how black their cast;
And, O my soul, with wonder view,
For sins to come—here’s pardon too!”
Christ’s Presence in Our Toils
J.R. Miller, “Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ” 1890
“He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.” Mark 6:48
Jesus always sees our toils and distresses in this world. We do not see Him — and sometimes we think that He has forgotten us; but that is never true. He never forgets us, nor is He indifferent for a moment.
On the heights, while the battle was in progress, stood a group of men watching the struggling armies on the plain below. In this group was the American general Sheridan, who watched the mighty strife with the keen eye of a soldier. King William was also there; but his interest was different from Sheridan’s. His son was in the thick of the fight — and he watched the battle with the eye of a father, as well as of a king.
Just so, Christ looks down upon our struggles in this world. He sees us straining and toiling; He beholds all our battles and strifes. He sees us in the waves and in the storm. He sees us, not merely with the eye of the calm spectator — but with the eye of tenderest love!
This is a great thought! If we can only get it into our hearts — it will give us wondrous courage in the hour of toil, sorrow, or struggle. Jesus knows . . .
when the battle is hard,
when the night is dark,
when the temptation is more than we can bear.
The winds were against His disciples — even though Christ sent them out to sea. We learn here, that even when we are doing the things God which has bidden us do — we may encounter great opposition and difficulty. We may even be beaten back, and find the trial too great for our strength. Many of the Lord’s disciples have to make their voyage over very stormy seas — on their way to glory. For some, duty is often very hard. Indeed, a true, noble, courageous, holy life — must always exist in the face of opposition and contrary winds.
Our Sin, Our Grievous Sin
C. H. Spurgeon
This Morning’s Meditation
“Even you were just like one of them.” Obadiah 1:11
Brotherly kindness was due from Edom to Israel in the time of need—but instead thereof, the men of Esau made common cause with Israel’s foes. Special stress in the sentence before us is laid upon the word you; as when Caesar cried to Brutus, “and you Brutus”. A bad action may be all the worse, because of the person who has committed it.
When we who are the chosen favorites of heaven sin—we sin with an emphasis. Ours is a crying offence, because we are so peculiarly indulged. If an angel should lay his hand upon us when we are doing evil, he need not use any other rebuke than the question, “What, you? What are you doing?” Much forgiven, much delivered, much instructed, much enriched, much blessed—shall we dare to put forth our hand unto evil? God forbid!
A few minutes of confession may be beneficial to you, gentle reader, this morning. Have you never been as the wicked? At an evening party, certain men laughed at a dirty joke—and the joke was not altogether offensive to your ear—even you were just like one of them. When harsh things were spoken concerning the ways of God, you were bashfully silent; and so, to on-lookers, you were as one of them. When worldlings were bartering in the market, and driving hard bargains, were you not as one of them? When they were pursuing vanity with a hunter’s foot, were you not as greedy for gain as they were? Could any difference be discerned between you and them? Is there any difference?
Here we come to close quarters. Be honest with your own soul, and make sure that you are a new creature in Christ Jesus; but when this is sure, walk jealously, lest any should again be able to say, “Even you were just like one of them.” You would not desire to share their eternal doom—why then be like them here on earth? Come not into their secret—lest you come into their ruin. Side with the afflicted people of God—and not with the world.
“Turn us unto you, O Lord”
J. C. Philpot
Today’s Words for Zion’s Wayfarers
“Turn us unto you, O Lord, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.” Lamentations 5:21
If we do not wish to deceive ourselves, if God has made us honest, if he has planted his fear in our hearts, if he has begun and is carrying on a good work in us, there will be evidences of the existence of the life of God within. Life is the commencement of salvation as an inward reality; for whatever the eternal purposes of God are, or whatever standing the vessel of mercy has in Christ previous to effectual calling, there is no more movement in the soul Godwards until life is imparted, than there is natural life and motion in a breathless corpse that lies interred in the churchyard.
But wherever divine life is implanted there will be certain fruits and feelings that spring out of this life. One fruit will be ‘complaint’, and this will arise sometimes from a feeling of the burden of sin, and at others from a sense of merited chastisement from God on account of it. But wherever this complaining is spiritual, there will be accompanying it “an accepting the punishment of our iniquity,” and “a putting of our mouth in the dust.” Thus where there is spiritual life there will be complaint, confession, and submission; the effect being meekness, brokenness, and humility.
This breaks to pieces self-conceit and self-justification, and the result is a searching and trying our ways whether they are of God. The fruit of this search will be, for the most part, a solemn and painful conviction that the greater part have been in the flesh; or, at least, there will be many anxious suspicions which cannot be relieved except by an express testimony from the Lord himself. This produces a going out of soul unto him, the cry now being, “Let us turn again to the Lord;” and towards him the heart turns as to the only Source and Author of every good and perfect gift. As the quickened soul knows that he is a heart-searching God, this appeal will purge away much hypocrisy and insincerity, and deepen uprightness, sincerity, and godly integrity. And the blessed fruit and end of all this sifting work will be a coming down of gracious answers, divine testimonies, smiles of the Savior’s loving countenance, soft whispers of God’s eternal favor, and the blessed witness of the Spirit within.
Chastening – Our Path to Partaking in God’s Holiness
A. W. Tozer: “We must hide our unholiness in the wounds of Christ as Moses hid himself in the cleft of the rock while the glory of God passed by. We must take refuge from God in God. Above all we must believe that God sees us perfect in His Son while He disciplines and chastens and purges us that we may be partakers of His holiness” (The Knowledge of the Holy, 107).
J. C. Philpot
Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers
“Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous–nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto those who are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:11
It may be said of spiritual exercises as the Apostle speaks of chastening generally, of which indeed they form a component part, that “for the present they are not joyous, but grievous; but afterward they yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto those who are exercised thereby.” Why the Lord allows so many of his people to be so long and so deeply tried about their saving interest in Christ, why he does not more speedily and fully manifest his pardoning love to their souls, is a mystery which we cannot fathom. But I have observed that, where the first work was not attended with deep and powerful convictions of sin, it is usually the case, as if what was lacking in depth has to be made up in length, and a slow, continuous work compensates, as it were, for a shorter and more intense one.
I consider it, however, a great mercy where there are these exercises, for I am well convinced that exercise is as much needed for the health of the soul as of the body. Without movement the air becomes pestilential, and water putrescent. Motion is the life of the natural, and equally so of the supernatural, creation; and what are exercises, doubts, and fears, accompanied as they always are by desires and prayers, but means by which the soul is kept alive and healthy? As Hezekiah said, “O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit.”
But if you cannot see what good exercises have done you, can you not see what evil they have kept you from? They mainly kept you from being entangled in a worldly system; they have preserved you from resting in the form without the power, and kept you from that notional dead-letter faith which has ruined so many thousands. (This extract was taken from a letter to a friend.) Without exercises you could do without a revealed Christ, without manifested pardon of sin, without the love of God being shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit.
And here most are, who are not exercised–resting in “a name to live,” and in the doctrine without the experience. But, being sick, you need a physician; being guilty, you need mercy; and being a sinner, you need salvation; and all this, not in word and name, but in reality, and divine revelation and application. Your exercises give you errands to the throne of mercy, and make you see in Christ and his precious gospel what otherwise would neither be seen nor cared for.
At the same time, it would be wrong to rest in exercises as marks and evidences of grace. Thirst is good as preparatory for water; hunger is good as antecedent to food; but who can rest in thirst or hunger? Without them, water and food are not desired; so, without exercises, Christ, the Water and Bread of life, is not desired nor longed for. But these exercises are meant to quicken longing desires after Christ, and eventually make him very precious.
“All truth is given by revelation, either general or special, and it must be received by reason. Reason is the God-given means for discovering the truth that God discloses, whether in his world or his Word. While God wants to reach the heart with truth, he does not bypass the mind.”
― Jonathan Edwards