Our Own Sore, Our Own Grief

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all your people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house.” Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men)

2 Chronicles 6:29, 30

Solomon comes to experience; he puts his hand upon the right spot. It is knowing his “own sore” and his “own grief.” You may know another man’s; that will not profit you. You may read of experience in books, love to hear experimental ministers, and will hear no others; and yet not know your “own sore,” your “own grief.” Like a physician who may know the symptoms of every malady, and yet not have one malady of his own; so you may hear described every symptom of every disease, and yet be untouched by one.

But the man for whom Solomon’s prayer is, he that knows and feels, painfully feels, his “own sore” and his “own grief,” whose heart is indeed a grief to him, whose sins do indeed trouble him. How painful this sore often is! how it runs night and day! how full of ulcerous matter, and how it shrinks from the probe!

Most of the Lord’s family have a “sore,” each some tender spot, something perhaps known to himself and to God alone, the cause of his greatest grief. It may be some secret slip he has made, some sin he has committed, some word he has spoken, or some evil thing he has done. He has been entangled, and entrapped, and cast down; and this is his grief and his sore which he feels, and that at times deeply before God. For such Solomon prays–he casts his net upon the right side of the ship; and says, “Then hear from heaven your dwelling-place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart you know; for you only know the hearts of the children of men.” Yes; God alone knows the heart; he knows it completely, and sees to its very bottom.

 

Our Heavenly Citizenship

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“Fellow citizens with the saints.” Ephesians 2:19

What is meant by our being citizens in heaven? It means that we are under heaven’s government. Christ the king of heaven reigns in our hearts; our daily prayer is, “May Your will be done on earth—as it is in heaven.” The proclamations issued from the throne of glory are freely received by us—the decrees of the Great King we cheerfully obey.

Then as citizens of the New Jerusalem, we share heaven’s honors. The glory which belongs to beatified saints—belongs to us, for we are already sons of God, already princes of the blood imperial; already we wear the spotless robe of Jesus’ righteousness; already we have angels for our servitors, saints for our companions, Christ for our Brother, God for our Father, and a crown of immortality for our reward! We share the honors of citizenship, for we have come to the general assembly and Church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven.

As citizens, we have common rights to all the property of heaven. Ours are its gates of pearl and walls of chrysolite; ours the azure light of the city that needs no candle nor light of the sun; ours the river of the water of life, and the twelve kinds of fruits which grow on the trees planted on the banks thereof; there is nothing in heaven that belongs not to us. “Things present—or things to come,” all are ours!

Also as citizens of heaven—we enjoy its delights. Do they there rejoice over sinners that repent—prodigals that have returned? So do we. Do they chant the glories of triumphant grace? We do the same. Do they cast their crowns at Jesus’ feet? Such honors as we have we cast there too. Are they charmed with His smile? It is not less sweet to us who dwell below. Do they look forward, waiting for His second advent? We also look and long for His glorious appearing. If, then, we are thus citizens of heaven—let our walk and actions be consistent with our high dignity!

Prayer for Ministers

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“Brethren, pray for us.” 1 Thessalonians 5:25

This one morning in the year, we reserved to refresh the reader’s memory upon the subject of prayer for ministers, and we do most earnestly implore every Christian household to grant the fervent request of the text first uttered by an apostle—and now repeated by us.

Brethren, our work is solemnly momentous, involving weal or woe to thousands; we treat with souls for God on eternal business, and our word is either a savor of life unto life—or of death unto death. A very heavy responsibility rests upon us, and it will be no small mercy if at the last, we are found clear of the blood of all men. As officers in Christ’s army, we are the especial mark of the enmity of wicked men and devils; they watch for our halting, and labor to take us by the heels. Our sacred calling involves us in temptations from which you are exempt; above all it too often draws us away from our personal enjoyment of truth into a ministerial and official consideration of it. We meet with many knotty cases, and our wits are bewildered. We observe very sad backslidings, and our hearts are wounded. We see millions perishing, and our spirits sink. We wish to profit you by our preaching; we desire to be blessed to your children; we long to be useful both to saints and sinners. Therefore, dear friends, intercede for us with our God!

Miserable men are we—if we miss the aid of your prayers; but happy are we—if we live in your supplications. You do not look to us but to our Master for spiritual blessings, and yet how many times has He given those blessings through His ministers. Ask then, again and again, that we may be the earthen vessels into which the Lord may put the treasure of the gospel. We, the whole company of missionaries, ministers, city workers, and students, do in the name of Jesus beseech you, “brethren, pray for us!”

To Love God

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“Draw me; we will run after you! Let the king bring me into his chambers.”

Song of Solomon 1:4

How many of us can take the words of the bride into our lips, or have ever been able at any one time of our life to use such an expression? We must have had some sight and sense of the preciousness and loveliness of Jesus before ever we can cry, “Draw me,” from the depth of a sincere heart. For the sincere soul is afraid to approach the holy Jehovah, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, and insult him with mock petitions and words that it does not feel. But if ever that desire has been kindled, and that prayer raised up in your soul, “Draw me, we will run after you,” it must have been the work of the Holy Spirit in your hearts, to raise up those feelings and to give you a living faith in the Son of God.

And “he that believes shall be saved.” Whatever doubts, whatever fears, whatever temptations, whatever exercises beset the path, “he that believes shall be saved.” He that has had given him one grain of spiritual faith in Christ’s glorious person, who has had one sight of his atoning blood, one sip of divine love shed abroad in his heart, is sure to go to glory; he is saved with an everlasting salvation, in his covenant Head.

The Lord that has kindled these strong desires after himself in his soul, will surely fulfill them. As we find he did in the case of the bride; he said to her, after a little time, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds has come, and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.”

The Powerful Root of Practical Love

Devotional by John Piper

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. (1 John 3:14)

So, love is the evidence that we are born again — that we are Christians, that we are saved.

Sometimes the Bible makes our holiness and our love for people the condition of our final salvation. In other words, if we are not holy and not loving, we will not be saved at the judgment day (e.g., Hebrews 12:14Galatians 5:211 Corinthians 6:10). This doesn’t mean that acts of love are how we get right with God. No, the Bible is clear again and again as Ephesians 2:8–9 says, “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one may boast.” No, when the Bible says that we are saved by faith but that we must love people in order to finally be saved, it means that faith in God’s promises must be so real that the love it produces proves the reality of the faith.

So, love for others is a condition of future grace in the sense that it confirms that the primary condition, faith, is genuine. We could call love for others a secondary condition, which confirms the authenticity of the primary and essential condition of faith which alone unites us to Christ, and receives his power.

Faith perceives the glory of God in the promises of future grace and embraces all that the promises reveal of what God is for us in Jesus. That spiritual sight of God’s glory, and our delight in it, is the self-authenticating evidence that God has called us to be a beneficiary of his grace. This evidence frees us to bank on God’s promise as our own. And this banking on the promise empowers us to love. Which in turn confirms that our faith is real.

The world is desperate for a faith that combines two things: awestruck sight of unshakable divine Truth, and utterly practical, round-the-clock power to make a liberating difference in life. That’s what I want too. Which is why I am a Christian.

There is a God of Grace who magnifies his own infinite beauty and self-sufficiency by fulfilling promises to helpless people who trust him. And there is a power that comes from prizing this God that leaves no nook or cranny of life untouched. It empowers us to love in the most practical ways.

 

Devotional is excerpted from Future Grace, pages 257-259
By John Piper. © Desiring God Foundation. Source: desiringGod.org
Used with permission.

Our Assurance

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” John 10:28

The Christian should never think or speak lightly of unbelief. For a child of God to mistrust God’s love, His truth, His faithfulness, must be greatly displeasing to Him. How can we ever grieve Him—by doubting His upholding grace? Christian! it is contrary to every promise of God’s precious Word that you should ever be forgotten or left to perish. If it could be so, how could He be true who has said, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget—yet will I never forget you.” What were the value of that promise, “The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, says the Lord who has mercy on you.”

Where were the truth of Christ’s words, “I give unto My sheep eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, who gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.” Where were the doctrines of grace? They would be all disproved—if one child of God would perish. Where were the veracity of God, His honor, His power, His grace, His covenant, His oath—if any of those for whom Christ has died, and who have put their trust in Him, should nevertheless be cast away?

Banish those unbelieving fears which so dishonor God. Arise, shake yourself from the dust, and put on your beautiful garments.

Remember that it is sinful to doubt His Word wherein He has promised you that you shall never perish. Let the eternal life within you express itself in confident rejoicing.

Our Groanings

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself.” – Jeremiah 31:18

The spiritual feeling of sin is indispensable to the feeling of salvation. A sense of the malady must ever precede, and prepare the soul for, a believing reception and due apprehension of the remedy. Wherever God intends to reveal his Son with power, wherever he intends to make the gospel “a joyful sound” indeed, he first makes the conscience feel and groan under the burden of sin. And sure am I that when a man is laboring under the burden of sin, he will be full of groans.

The Bible records hundreds of the groans of God’s people under the burden of sin. “My wounds stench and are corrupt,” cries one, “because of my foolishness. I am troubled–I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long” (Psalm 38:5, 6). “My soul,” cries another, is full of troubles, and my life draws near unto the grave” (Psalm 88:3). “He has led me,” groans out a third, “and brought me into darkness, but not into light” (Lam. 3:2). A living man must cry under such circumstances. He cannot carry the burden without complaining of its weight. He cannot feel the arrow sticking in his conscience without groaning under the pain. He cannot have the worm gnawing his vitals without groaning of its venomous tooth. He cannot feel that God is incensed against him without bitterly groaning that the Lord is his enemy.

Spiritual groaning then, is a mark of spiritual life, and is one which God recognizes as such. “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself.” It shows that he has something to mourn over; something to make him groan, being burdened; that sin has been opened up to him in its hateful malignancy; that it is a trouble and distress to his soul; that he cannot roll it like a sweet morsel under his tongue, but that it is found out by the penetrating eye, and punished by the chastening hand of God.

Listening to Faith

Faith told Moses that worldly pleasures were ‘pleasures of sin’. They were mingled with sin, they led on to sin, they were ruinous to the soul, and displeasing to God. It would be small comfort to have pleasure while God was against him. Better suffer and obey God, than be at ease and sin.

Faith told Moses that these pleasures after all were only for a ‘season’. They could not last; they were all short-lived; they would weary him soon; he must leave them all in a few years.

Faith told him that there was a reward in heaven for the believer far richer than the treasures in Egypt, durable riches, where rust could not corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal. The crown there would be incorruptible; the weight of glory would be exceeding and eternal, and faith bade him look away to an unseen heaven if his eyes were dazzled with Egyptian gold.

Faith told Moses that affliction and suffering were not real evils. They were the school of God, in which He trains the children of grace for glory; the medicines which are needful to purify our corrupt wills; the furnace which must burn away our dross; the knife which must cut the ties that bind us to the world.

Ryle, J. C.. Holiness (p. 123). Heritage Bible Fellowship. Kindle Edition.

God’s Loving Kindness

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“The kindness and love of God our Savior.” Titus 3:4

How sweet it is to behold the Savior communing with His own beloved people! There can be nothing more delightful than, by the Divine Spirit, to be led into this fertile field of delight. Let the mind for an instant consider the history of the Redeemer’s love—and a thousand enchanting acts of affection will suggest themselves, all of which have had for their design—the weaving of the heart into Christ, and the intertwisting of the thoughts and emotions of the renewed soul with the mind of Jesus.

When we meditate upon this amazing love, and behold the all-glorious Kinsman of the Church endowing her with all His ancient wealth, our souls may well faint for joy. Who is he who can endure such a weight of love? That partial sense of it which the Holy Spirit is sometimes pleased to afford, is more than the soul can contain; how transporting must be a complete view of it! When the soul shall have understanding to discern all the Savior’s gifts, wisdom with which to estimate them, and time in which to meditate upon them—such as the world to come will afford us—we shall then commune with Jesus in a nearer manner than at present. But who can imagine the sweetness of such fellowship? It must be one of the things which have not entered into the heart of man—but which God has prepared for those who love Him. Oh, to burst open the door of our Joseph’s granaries, and see the plenty which He has stored up for us! This will overwhelm us with love.

By faith we see, as in a glass darkly, the reflected image of His unbounded treasures—but when we shall actually see the heavenly things themselves, with our own eyes—how deep will be the stream of fellowship in which our soul shall bathe itself! Until then our loudest sonnets shall be reserved for our loving benefactor, Jesus Christ our Lord, whose love to us is wonderful, passing the love of women.

Our Trust in His Leading

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“He led them forth by the right way.” Psalm 107:7

Trials and troubles often leads the anxious believer to enquire, “Why is this happening to me? I looked for light—but lo, darkness came! I looked for peace—but trouble came! Lord, you hide Your face, and I am troubled. It was but yesterday that I could read my title clear; today my evidences are bedimmed, and my hopes are clouded. Yesterday I could climb to Pisgah’s top, and view the landscape o’er, and rejoice with confidence in my future inheritance; today, my spirit has no hopes—but many fears; no joys—but much distress. Is this part of God’s plan with me? Can this be the way in which God would bring me to heaven?”

Yes, it is even so! The eclipse of your faith, the darkness of your mind, the fainting of your hope—all these things are but parts of God’s method of making you ripe for the great inheritance upon which you shall soon enter. These trials are for the testing and strengthening of your faith—they are waves that wash you further upon the rock—they are winds which waft your ship the more swiftly towards the desired haven.

According to David’s words, so it might be said of you, “so He brings them to their desired haven.” By honor and dishonor, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution and by peace—by all these things is the life of your souls maintained, and by each of these are you helped on your way. Oh, do not think, believer, that your sorrows are out of God’s plan; they are necessary parts of it. “We must, through much tribulation, enter the kingdom.” Learn, then, even to “Consider it a great joy, whenever you experience various trials.”

“O let my trembling soul be still,
And wait Your wise, Your holy will!
I cannot, Lord, Your purpose see—
Yet all is well since ruled by Thee.”