On Ending Our Winter, Beginning Our Spring

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“Can you bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?”

— Job 38:31

If inclined to boast of our abilities, the grandeur of nature may soon show us how puny we are. We cannot move the least of all the twinkling stars, or quench so much as one of the beams of the morning. We speak of power—but the heavens laugh us to scorn. When the Pleiades shine forth in spring with joy—we cannot restrain their influences; and when Orion reigns aloft, and the year is bound in winter’s fetters, we cannot relax the icy bands. The seasons revolve according to the divine appointment, neither can the whole race of men effect a change therein. Lord, what is man!

In the spiritual, as in the natural world, man’s power is limited on all hands. When the Holy Spirit sheds abroad His delights in the soul—none can disturb; all the cunning and malice of men are ineffectual to stay the genial quickening power of the Comforter. When He deigns to visit a church and revive it—the most inveterate enemies cannot resist the good work; they may ridicule it—but they can no more restrain it than they can push back the spring when the Pleiades rule the hour. God wills it—and so it must be.

On the other hand, if the Lord in sovereignty, or in justice—binds up a man so that he is in soul bondage, who can give him liberty? God alone can remove the winter of spiritual death from an individual, or a people. He looses the bands of Orion—and none but He. What a blessing it is that He can do it. O that He would perform the wonder tonight.

Lord, end my winter, and let my spring begin. I cannot with all my longings raise my soul out of her death and dullness—but all things are possible with You. I need celestial influences, the clear shinings of Your love, the beams of Your grace, the light of Your countenance, these are the Pleiades to me. I suffer much from sin and temptation, these are my wintry signs, my terrible Orion. Lord, work wonders in me, and for me! Amen.

Our Most Necessary Faith

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“Strong in faith.” — Romans 4:20

Christian, take good care of your faith—for faith is the only way whereby you can obtain blessings. If we want blessings from God, nothing can fetch them down but faith. Prayer cannot draw down answers from God’s throne except it be the earnest prayer of the man who believes. Faith is the angelic messenger between the soul—and the Lord Jesus in glory. Let that angel be withdrawn, and we can neither send up prayer, nor receive the answers. Faith is the telegraph wire which links earth and heaven — on which God’s messages of love fly so fast, that before we call—He answers, and while we are yet speaking—He hears us. But if that telegraph wire of faith is snapped—how can we receive the promise?

Am I in trouble? — I can obtain help for trouble by faith. Am I beaten about by the enemy? — my soul on her dear Refuge leans by faith. But take faith away — in vain I call to God. There is no road between my soul and heaven—but faith. In the deepest wintertime, faith is the road on which the horses of prayer may travel — ay, and all the better for the biting frost; but blockade the road, and how can we communicate with the Great King? Faith links me with divinity. Faith clothes me with the power of God. Faith engages the omnipotence of Jehovah on my side. Faith insures every attribute of God in my defense. It helps me to defy the hosts of hell. It makes me march triumphant over the necks of my enemies. But without faith—how can I receive anything of the Lord? Let not him who wavers — who is like a wave of the sea — expect that he will receive anything from God! O, then, Christian, watch well your faith; for with it you can win all things, however poor you are—but without it you can obtain nothing. “If you can believe—all things are possible to him who believes.”

Our Increasing Strength

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Thought

“To those who have no might he increases strength.” –Isaiah 40:29

The Lord’s people are often in this state, that they “have no might.” All their power seems exhausted, and their strength completely drained away; sin appears to have gotten the mastery over them; and they feel as if they had neither will nor ability to run the race set before them, or persevere in the way of the Lord. Yet, even then, they have strength; for it says, “he increases strength.” It does not say, ‘he gives, bestows, communicates strength;’ but “he increases strength.” How can this be?

We must have power to feel our weakness. God must put forth his power to enable us to fall down into nothingness and helplessness. It therefore says, “he increases strength.” As though it would imply, ‘Is not the very power to sink down into creature weakness, helplessness, and nothingness, strength?’ It is so in God’s mysterious dealings. And, therefore, “to those who have no might” (in other words, those who are sensible in their own consciences that they have no power at all, who are completely exhausted of nature’s strength and wisdom), to these “he increases strength.”

Now the Lord “increases strength” in a very mysterious way. He often drops strength stilly and secretly into the soul. We are not always to expect very great manifestations. This is not the way in which the Lord usually increases strength. His visits to the soul are often better known by their fruits and effects, and by looking back upon them when they are past, than by any immediate impulse. The strength given is more easily felt than the hand seen which communicates it. In this respect it much resembles the new birth, of which the Lord says, “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell whence it comes, and where it goes” (John 3:8).

Our Fellowship With Jesus Christ

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Thought

“God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” –1 Corinthians 1:9

When God calls his people by his grace, it is to make them partakers of the highest bliss and the greatest glory that he could confer upon the sons of men. And this not only in eternity, but in time; not only beyond, but this side of the grave. He appeals, therefore, to them by his prophet. “Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness?” (Jer. 2:31.) When the Lord calls his people out of earthly pleasures, is it for no other purpose than to lead them into paths of affliction and sorrow? Does he make them leave the flesh-pots of Egypt to starve them in a waste howling wilderness? This was the complaint of the ancient murmurers, that Moses had brought them up out of Egypt to kill them with thirst (Exod. 17:3). Does he take them from earthly delights to abandon them to misery and despair?

O no! He calls them even in this time state to the greatest privilege and highest favor that his everlasting love could confer upon them, which is no less than “the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,” that they may have union and communion with the Son of God by grace here, and be partakers of his glory hereafter. God’s dear Son is, and always has been, the object of his eternal delight. To glorify him has been from all eternity his fixed, his settled purpose; and in pursuance of this settled purpose, he gave him a people whom he formed for himself, that they might show forth his praise. Thus, therefore, the Redeemer addressed his heavenly Father–“And all mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I am glorified in them.”

Our Pilgrimage

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“I am a stranger with you.” — Psalm 39:12

Yes, O Lord, with You—but not to You. All my natural alienation from You—Your grace has effectually removed; and now, in fellowship with Yourself, I walk through this sinful world as a pilgrim in a foreign country. You are a stranger in Your own world. Man forgets You, dishonors You, sets up new laws and alien customs, and knows You not. When Your dear Son came unto His own, His own received Him not. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. Never was a foreigner so speckled a bird among the inhabitants of any land—as Your beloved Son among His mother’s brethren. It is no marvel, then, if I who live the life of Jesus, should be unknown and a stranger here below.

Lord, I would not be a citizen where Jesus was an alien. His pierced hand has loosened the cords which once bound my soul to earth—and now I find myself a stranger in the land. My speech seems to these Babylonians among whom I dwell—an outlandish tongue; my manners are singular; and my actions are strange. I could never be at home in the haunts of sinners.

But here is the sweetness of my lot—”I am a stranger with You.” You are my fellow-sufferer, my fellow-pilgrim. Oh, what joy to wander in such blessed society! My heart burns within me by the way, when you speak to me, and though I am a sojourner, I am far more blessed than those who sit on thrones, and far more at home than those who dwell in their ivory palaces.

Our Name, “Sought Out”

C. H. Spurgeon

Today’s Evening Meditation

“You shall be called, Sought out.” — Isaiah 62:12

The surpassing grace of God is seen very clearly, in that we were not only sought—but sought out. Men seek for a thing which is lost upon the floor of the house—but in such a case there is only seeking, not seeking out. The loss is more perplexing and the search more persevering, when a thing is sought out. We were mingled with the mire—we were as when some precious jewel falls into the sewer, and men gather out and carefully inspect a mass of abominable filth, and continue to stir and rake, and search among the heap until the treasure is found. Or, to use another figure, we were lost in a labyrinth; we wandered hither and there, and when mercy came after us with the gospel, it did not find us at the first coming, it had to search for us and seek us out; for we as lost sheep, were so desperately lost, and had wandered into such a strange country, that it did not seem possible that even the Good Shepherd should track our devious roamings. Glory be to unconquerable grace, we were sought out! No gloom could hide us, no filthiness could conceal us, we were found and brought home! Glory be to infinite love, God the Holy Spirit restored us!

The lives of some of God’s people, if they could be written—would fill us with holy astonishment. Strange and marvelous are the ways which God used in their case to find His own. Blessed be His name, He never relinquishes the search—until the chosen are sought out effectually. They are not a people sought today and cast away tomorrow. Almightiness and wisdom combined will make no failures, they shall be called, “Sought out!” That any should be sought out is matchless grace—but that we should be sought out—is grace beyond degree! We can find no reason for it—but God’s own sovereign love; and can only lift up our heart in wonder, and praise the Lord that this night we wear the name of “Sought out.”

Our Friend, Our Comfort

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.” — Isaiah 48:10

Comfort yourself, tried believer, with this thought—God says, “I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.” Let affliction come—God has chosen me. Poverty, you may stride in at my door—but God is in the house already, and He has chosen me. Sickness, you may intrude—but I have a balsam ready—God has chosen me. Whatever befalls me in this valley of tears, I know that He has “chosen” me.

If, believer, you require still greater comfort, remember that you have the Jesus with you in the furnace. In that silent chamber of yours, there sits by your side One whom you have not seen—but whom you love; and ofttimes when you know it not, He makes all your bed in your affliction, and smooths your pillow for you. You are in poverty; but the Lord of life and glory is a frequent visitor to you. He loves to come into these desolate places, that He may visit you. Your Friend sticks closely to you. You cannot see Him—but you may feel the pressure of His hands. Do you not hear His voice? Even in the valley of the shadow of death He says, “Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.”

Fear not, Christian—Jesus is with you! In all your fiery trials, His presence is both your comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom He has chosen for His own. “Fear not—for I am with you,” is His sure Word of promise to His chosen ones in the “furnace of affliction.” Will you not, then, take fast hold of Christ, and say, “Through floods and flames, if Jesus leads—I’ll follow where He goes.”

Our Quiet and Confident Habitation in God

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“You have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place.” Psalm 91:9

The Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change. Whenever the pillar stopped its motion, the tents were pitched; but tomorrow, before the morning sun had risen, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow paths of the mountain, up the hillside, or along the arid waste of the wilderness. They had scarcely time to rest a little, before they heard the sound of “Away! this is not your rest; you must still be onward journeying towards Canaan!” They were never long in one place. Even wells and palm trees could not detain them. Yet they had an abiding home in their God, His cloudy pillar was their roof-tree, and its flame by night their household fire. They must go onward from place to place, continually changing, never having time to settle, and to say, “Now we are secure—in this place we shall dwell.” “Yet,” says Moses, “though we are always changing, Lord, you have been our dwelling-place throughout all generations.”

The Christian knows no change with regard to God. He may be rich today and poor tomorrow; he may be sickly today and well tomorrow; he may be in happiness today, tomorrow he may be distressed—but there is no change with regard to his relationship to God. If He loved me yesterday, He loves me today. My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is “my strong habitation whereunto I can continually resort.” I am a pilgrim in the world—but at home in my God. In the earth I wander—but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.

Even Our Little Faith

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“She was healed immediately.” Luke 8:47

One of the most touching and teaching of the Savior’s miracles, is before us tonight. The woman was very ignorant. She imagined that virtue came out of Christ by a law of necessity, without His knowledge or direct will. Moreover, she was a stranger to the generosity of Jesus’ character, or she would not have gone behind to steal the cure which He was so ready to bestow. Misery should always place itself right in the face of mercy. Had she known the love of Jesus’ heart—she would have said, “I have but to put myself where He can see me—His omniscience will teach Him my case, and His love at once will work my cure.”

We admire her faith—but we marvel at her ignorance. After she had obtained the cure, she rejoiced with trembling. She was glad that the divine virtue had wrought a marvel in her; but she feared lest Christ should retract the blessing, and put a negative upon the grant of His grace. Little did she comprehend the fullness of His love!

We have not so clear a view of Him as we could wish; we know not the heights and depths of His love; but we surely know that He is too good to withdraw from a trembling soul—the gift which it has been able to obtain. But here is the marvel of it—as little as was her knowledge; her faith, because it was real faith, saved her, and saved her at once. There was no tedious delay—faith’s miracle was instantaneous. If we have faith as a grain of mustard seed, salvation is our present and eternal possession.

If in the list of the Lord’s children—we are written as the feeblest of the family—yet, being heirs through faith, no power, human or devilish, can expel us from salvation. If we dare not lean our heads upon His bosom with John—yet if we can venture in the press behind Him, and touch the hem of his garment—we are made whole. Courage, timid one! your faith has saved you—go in peace! “Being justified by faith—we have peace with God.”

Our Daily Provision

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“Jehoiachin changed his prison clothes—and he dined regularly in the presence of the king of Babylon for the rest of his life. As for his allowance, a regular allowance was given to him by the king, a portion for each day, for the rest of his life.” 2 Kings 25:29-30

Jehoiachin was not sent away from the king’s palace with a ‘supply’ to last him for months—but his provision was given him as a daily pension. Herein he well pictures the happy position of all the Lord’s people. A daily portion is all that a man really needs. We do not need tomorrow’s supplies; for that day has not yet dawned, and its needs are as yet unborn. The thirst which we may suffer in the month of June—does not need to be quenched in February, for we do not feel it yet. If we have enough for each day as the days arrive—we shall never know want. Sufficient for the day—is all that we can enjoy.

We cannot eat or drink or wear more than the day’s supply of food and clothing; the surplus gives us the care of storing it, and the anxiety of watching against a thief. One staff aids a traveler—but a bundle of staffs is a heavy burden. Enough is not only as good as a feast—but is all that the greatest glutton can truly enjoy. Enough is all that we should expect—a craving for more than this is ungrateful.

When our Father does not give us more—we should be content with His daily allowance.

Jehoiachin’s case is ours—we have a sure portion; a portion given to us by the king; a gracious portion; and a perpetual portion. Here is surely ground for thankfulness.

Beloved Christian reader, in matters of grace you need a daily supply. You have no store of grace. Day by day must you seek help from above. It is a very sweet assurance—that a daily portion is provided for you. In the Word, through the ministry, by meditation, in prayer, and waiting upon God—you shall receive renewed strength. In Jesus, all needful things are laid up for you. Then enjoy your continual allowance. Never go hungry—while the daily bread of grace is on the table of mercy! “Give us each day—our daily bread.” Luke 11:3