Month August 2017
To Be Near Jesus
C. H. Spurgeon
This Morning’s Meditation
“Make this promise to me, O women of Jerusalem! If you find my Beloved One—tell Him that I am sick with love!” Song of Solomon 5:8
Such is the language of the believer panting after present fellowship with Jesus, he is love-sick for his Lord. Gracious souls are never perfectly at ease—except they are in a state of nearness to Christ; for when they are away from Him—they lose their peace. The nearer to Him—the nearer to the perfect calm of heaven; the nearer to Him—the fuller the heart is, not only of peace—but of life, and vigor, and joy—for these all depend on constant fellowship with Jesus.
What the sun is to the day, what the moon is to the night, what the dew is to the flower—such is Jesus Christ to us. What bread is to the hungry, clothing to the naked, the shadow of a great rock to the traveler in a weary land—such is Jesus Christ to us. Therefore, if we are not consciously one with Him, little marvel if our spirit cries in the words of the Song, “Make this promise to me, O women of Jerusalem! If you find my Beloved One—tell Him that I am sick with love!”
This earnest longing after Jesus, has a blessing attending it, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness”; and therefore, supremely blessed are they who thirst after the Righteous One. Blessed is that hunger, since it comes from God—if I may not have the full-blown blessedness of being filled, I would seek the same blessedness in its sweet bud—pining in emptiness and eagerness until I am filled with Christ. If I may not feed on Jesus, it shall be next door to heaven to hunger and thirst after Him. There is a hallowedness about that hunger, since it sparkles among the beatitudes of our Lord. But the blessing involves a promise. Such hungry ones “shall be filled” with what they are desiring. If Christ thus causes us to long after Himself, He will certainly satisfy those longings. And when He does come to us, as come He will—oh, how sweet it will be!
A New Spirit – Broken, Tender
J. C. Philpot
Today’s Daily Words For Zion’s Wayfarers
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you–and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
This “new spirit” is a broken spirit, a soft, tender spirit, and is therefore called “a heart of flesh,” as opposed to “the heart of stone,” the rocky, obdurate, unfeeling, impenitent heart of one dead in sin, or dead in a profession. And how is this soft, penitent heart communicated? “I will put my Spirit within you.” The same divine truth is set forth in the gracious promise–“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” But what is the immediate effect of the pouring out of the spirit of grace and of supplications? A looking to him whom they have pierced, a mourning for him as one mourns for an only son, and a being in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. This is evangelical repentance, as distinguished from legal; godly sorrow working repentance to salvation not to be repented of, as distinct from the sorrow of the world which works death.
These two kinds of repentance are to be carefully distinguished from each other, though they are often sadly confounded. Cain, Esau, Saul, Ahab, Judas, all repented; but their repentance was the remorse of natural conscience, not the godly sorrow of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. They trembled before God as an angry judge, were not melted into contrition before him as a forgiving Father. They neither hated their sins nor forsook them, loved holiness nor sought it. Cain went out from the presence of the Lord; Esau plotted Jacob’s death; Saul consulted the witch of Endor; Ahab put honest Micaiah into prison; and Judas hanged himself.
How different from this forced and false repentance of a reprobate is the repentance of a child of God–that true repentance for sin, that godly sorrow, that holy mourning which flows from the Spirit’s gracious operations. This does not spring from a sense of the wrath of God in a broken law, but of his mercy in a blessed gospel; from a view by faith of the sufferings of Christ in the garden and on the cross; from a manifestation of pardoning love; and is always attended with self-loathing and self-abhorrence, with deep and unreserved confession of sin and forsaking it, with most hearty, sincere, and earnest petitions to be kept from all evil, and a holy longing to live to the praise and glory of God.
God’s Leading of the Weak
J. C. Philpot
Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers
“They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them–I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble–for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.” Jeremiah 31:9
Oh how much is needed to bring the soul to its only rest and center! What trials and afflictions; what furnaces, floods, rods, and strokes, as well as smiles, promises, and gracious drawings! What pride and self to be brought out of! What love and blood to be brought unto! What lessons to learn of the dreadful evil of sin! What lessons to learn of the freeness and fullness of salvation! What sinkings in self! What risings in Christ! What guilt and condemnation on account of sin; what self-loathing and self-abasement; what distrust of self; what fears of falling; what prayers and desires to be kept; what clinging to Christ; what looking up and unto his divine Majesty, as faith views him at the right hand of the Father; what desires never more to sin against him, but to live, move, and act in the holy fear of God, do we find, more or less daily, in a living soul!
And whence springs all this inward experience but from the fellowship and communion which there is between Christ and the soul? “We are members,” says the Apostle, “of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” As such there is a mutual participation in sorrow and joy. “He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” “He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” He can, therefore, “be touched with the feelings of our infirmities,” can pity and sympathize; and thus, as we may cast upon him our sins and sorrows, when faith enables, so can he supply, out of his own fullness, that grace and strength which can bring us off eventually more than conquerors.
Our Necessary Perspective During Time of Trial
Today’s Morning Thought
“Every branch that bears fruit he prunes, that it may bring forth more fruit.”
The Lord empties before He fills. He makes room for Himself, for His love, and for His grace. He dethrones the rival, casts down the idol, and seeks to occupy the temple, filled and radiant with His own ineffable glory. Thus does He bring the soul into great straits, lay it low, but to school and discipline it for richer mercies, higher service, and greater glory. Be sure of this, that, when the Lord is about to bless you with some great and peculiar blessing, He may prepare you for it by some great and peculiar trial.
If He is about to advance you to some honor, He may first lay you low that He may exalt you. If He is about to place you in a sphere of great and distinguished usefulness, He may first place you in His school of adversity, that you may know how to teach others. If He is about to bring forth your righteousness as the noon-day, He may cause it to pass under a cloud, that, emerging from its momentary obscuration, it may shine with richer and more enduring luster. Thus does He deal with all His people. Thus He dealt with Joseph. Intending to elevate him to great distinction and influence, He first casts him into a dungeon, and that, too, in the very land in which he was so soon to be the gaze and the astonishment of all men. Thus, too, He dealt with David, and Job, and Nebuchadnezzar; and thus did God deal with His own Son, whom He advanced to His own right hand from the lowest state of humiliation and suffering.
Regard the present suffering as but preparatory to future glory. This will greatly mitigate the sorrow, reconcile the heart to the trial, and tend materially to secure the important end for which it was sent. The life of a believer is but a disciplining for heaven. All the covenant dealings of His God and Father are but to make him a partaker of His holiness here, and thus to fit him for a partaker of His glory hereafter. Here, he is but schooling for a high station in heaven. He is but preparing for a more holy, and, for anything we know, a more active and essential service in the upper world. And every infirmity overcome, every sin subdued, every weight laid aside, every step advanced in holiness, does but strengthen and mature the life of grace below, until it is fitted for, and terminates in, the life of glory above.
Let the suffering believer, then, see that he emerges from every trial of the furnace with some dross consumed, some iniquity purged, and with a deeper impress of the blessed Spirit’s seal of love, holiness, and adoption, on his heart. Let him see that he has made some advance towards the state of the glorified; that He is more perfected in love and sanctification- the two great elements of heaven; and that therefore he is fitting for the inheritance of the saints in light. Blessed and holy tendency of all the afflictive dispensations of a covenant God and Father towards a dear and covenant child!
The Forgiveness of Sin
J. C. Philpot
Today’s Daily Portion
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your loving-kindness; according unto the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” Psalm 51:1
This psalm is very suitable to the needs and feelings of every sensible sinner, for it is not necessary to have committed David’s sin to have a measure of David’s repentance and confessions, and of David’s desires, breathings, and supplications. “Have mercy upon me, O God,” he says, “according to your loving-kindness.” To ask God to have mercy upon us is one of the first cries that a convinced sinner puts up to God. It was so with the tax-collector in the temple; and where it is sincere, God will certainly hear it “according to his loving-kindness,” for he is full of love and kindness to poor, mourning sinners.
How the psalmist also begs of the Lord to “blot out his transgressions according unto the multitude of his tender mercies.” As our sins in thought, word, and deed are a countless multitude, of which every one deserves hell, we need “the multitude of his most tender mercies” to blot them out. We may see the stars in the sky, the sands on the sea-shore, the drops of dew on the grass, the waves rolling in upon the beach; but both our sins and God’s tender mercies exceed them all. How he showed these tender mercies in giving his dear Son to suffer, bleed, and die for miserable sinners; and how we need all these tender mercies to pity and pardon us and our transgressions.
And how earnestly David begged, “Wash me throughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” It is only the washing of God himself that can wash us throughly. If we could shed an ocean of tears it would not wash away one sin; but the blood of Christ cleanses from all sin. In order to make us know this, the Lord shows us and makes us feel the guilt and burden of sin, and that we can do nothing to put it away. Pardon must be his own free gift, and that every sensible sinner is made to feel.