Our Eventide

I don’t know how a believer in their 20s or 30s, even 40s and 50s might respond to this morning’s devotional from Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, but at 64 years of age I can report that it strikes a chord in me. Even in the midst of many trials I find that God is always faithful to see me through them while calming my anxieties.

Having come to fullness of faith in my 40s, I can only speculate how it might have struck me if I had read it as a believer in my younger days.

I also cannot give a first-hand account of the light that comes at one’s hour of death, but in reading of the experiences of others who have passed through that period, I am confident that it will be a time of joyful experience.

Here’s this morning’s devotional:

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“At evening time—it shall be light.” Zechariah 14:7

Oftentimes we look with forebodings to the time of old age, forgetful that at evening time—it shall be light. To many saints, old age is the choicest season in their lives. A balmier air fans the mariner’s cheek as he nears the shore of immortality, fewer waves ruffle his sea, quiet reigns—deep, still and solemn. From the altar of old age—the flashes of the fire of youth are gone—but the more real flame of earnest love to Jesus remains. The pilgrims have reached the land of Beulah, that happy country, whose days are as the days of heaven upon earth. Angels visit it, celestial gales blow over it, flowers of paradise grow in it, and the air is filled with seraphic music. Some dwell here for years, and others come to it but a few hours before their departure—but it is an Eden on earth.

We may well long for the time—when we shall recline in its shady groves and be satisfied with hope—until the time of fruition comes. The setting sun seems larger than when high in the sky, and a splendor of glory tinges all the clouds which surround its going down. Pain does not break not the calm of the sweet twilight of old age, for strength made perfect in weakness, bears up with patience under it all. Ripe fruits of choice experience are gathered as the rare meal of life’s evening, and the soul prepares itself for rest.

The Lord’s people shall also enjoy light in the hour of death. Unbelief laments; the shadows fall, the night is coming, existence is ending. “Ah no!” cries faith, “the night is far spent, the true day is at hand. Light is come, the light of immortality, the light of the Father’s countenance!”

Gather up your feet in the bed, see the waiting bands of spirits! Angels waft you away. Farewell, beloved one, you are gone—you wave your hand. Ah, now it is light. The pearly gates are open, the golden streets shine in the jasper light. We on earth, cover our eyes—but you behold the unseen! Adieu, brother, you have light at even-tide, such as we have not yet!

Our God, Our Lord, Our Father

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“The Lord looks down from heaven; He observes all mankind.” Psalm 33:13

Perhaps no figure of speech represents God in a more gracious light—than when He is spoken of as stooping from His throne, and coming down from heaven to behold the woes—and to attend to the wants of mankind. We love Him, who, when Sodom and Gomorrah were full of iniquity, would not destroy those cities until He had made a personal visitation of them.

We cannot help pouring out our heart in affection for our Lord—who inclines His ear from the highest glory, and puts it to the lip of the dying sinner, whose failing heart longs after reconciliation. How can we but love Him—when we know that He numbers the very hairs of our heads, marks our path, and orders our ways!

Especially is this great truth brought near to our heart, when we recollect how attentive He is, not merely to the temporal interests of His creatures—but to their spiritual concerns. Though leagues of distance lie between the finite creature and the infinite Creator—yet there are links uniting both. When a tear is wept by you—God beholds it! “Like as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him.”

Your sigh is able to move the heart of Jehovah; your whisper can incline His ear unto you; your prayer can stay His hand; your faith can move His arm. Do not think that God sits on high taking no account of you. However poor and needy you are—yet the Lord thinks upon you. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards Him.

Our Amazing Identity

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“The myrtle trees that were in the valley.” Zechariah 1:8

The vision in this chapter describes the condition of Israel in Zechariah’s day; but being interpreted in its aspect towards us, it describes the Church of God as we find it now in the world.

The Church is compared to a myrtle grove flourishing in a valley. It is hidden, unobserved, secreted; courting no honor and attracting no observation from the careless gazer. The Church, like her head, has a glory—but it is concealed from carnal eyes, for the time of her breaking forth in all her splendor has not yet come.

The idea of tranquil security is also suggested to us—for the myrtle grove in the valley is still and calm, while the storm sweeps over the mountain summits. Tempests spend their force upon the craggy peaks of the Alps—but down yonder where the stream flows which makes glad the city of our God—the myrtle trees flourish by the still waters, all unshaken by the impetuous wind. How great is the inward tranquility of God’s Church! Even when opposed and persecuted, she has a peace which the world gives not, and which, therefore, it cannot take away! The peace of God which passes all understanding, keeps the hearts and minds of God’s people.

Does not the metaphor forcibly picture the peaceful, perpetual growth of the saints? The myrtle tree does not shed her leaves—she is always green. Just so, the Church in her worst time—still has a blessed verdure of grace about her; nay, she has sometimes exhibited most verdure when her winter has been sharpest. She has prospered most, when her adversities have been most severe.

Hence the text hints at victory. The myrtle is the emblem of peace, and a significant token of triumph. The wreaths of conquerors were bound with myrtle and with laurel; and is not the Church ever victorious? Is not every Christian more than a conqueror through Him who loved him? Living in peace—all the saints fall asleep in the arms of victory!

Our Necessary Poverty

J. C. Philpot

 

Today’s Daily Portion

“The poor have the gospel preached to them.” Matthew 11:5

What is the gospel? Is not the gospel a proclamation of pure mercy, of super-abounding grace? Does it not declare the loving-kindness of God in sending his only-begotten Son to bleed and die, and, by his obedience, blood, and merit, to bring in a salvation without money and without price? Is not this the gospel? Not clogged by conditions, nor crippled by anything that the creature has to perform; but flowing freely forth as the air in the skies?

The poor to whom the gospel is preached, value it; it is suitable to them; it is sweet and precious when the heart is brought down. But if I stand up in religious pride, if I rest upon my own righteousness, if I am not stripped of everything in the creature, what is the gospel to me? I have no heart to receive it; there is no place in my soul for a gospel without money and without price.

But when I sink into the depth of creature poverty, when I am nothing and have nothing but a mass of sin and guilt, then the blessed gospel, pardoning my sins, covering my naked soul, shedding abroad the love of God, guiding me into everything good, and leading me up into enjoyment with a Three-One God, becomes prized.

When such a pure, such a blessed gospel comes into my heart and conscience, has not my previous poverty of spirit prepared me for it? Has not my previous beggary and necessity made a way for it, made it suitable to me, and when it comes, makes it precious to me? We must, then, sink into poverty of spirit, that painful place, in order to feel the preciousness, and drink into the sweetness and blessedness of the gospel of the grace of God.

Our Rest

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

With what brightness does the truth appear, written with beams of heavenly light–Jesus, the Rest of the weary!

“Come unto me.”

The Father has made His Son the resting-place of His Church. He Himself has vested His whole glory in Christ. He knew what Christ was capable of sustaining. He knew that as His fellow–one equal with Himself–He could with safety embark the honor of His government in the hands of His Son. He confided therein Himself! His government, and His Church–all in Christ.

To this “tried stone” He would now bring His people. He found it strong enough for Himself, and He knows it to be strong enough for them, and with confidence He invites the weary to come and repose upon it. Jesus but echoes the heart of the Father when he says, “Come unto me–I will give you rest.”

Never did the tongue of Jesus utter words more learned, more eloquent, more persuasive. Just the word we need. By nature, we seek rest everywhere, and in everything, but in Jesus. We seek it in the sensual world, we seek it in the moral world, we seek it in the religious world–we find it not. We seek it in conviction, we seek it in ordinances, we seek it in doing the works of the law, and still it evades us. We go from place to place, from means to means, from minister to minister, and still the burden presses, and the guilt remains, and we find no rest.

No; and never will we find it, until it is sought and found solely, wholly, exclusively, and entirely in Jesus. Rest for the sin-weary soul is only to be met with in Him who bore the curse for man’s transgression. Here God rests, and here the sinner must rest. Here the Father rests, and here the child may rest. Jesus is the great burden-bearer, for God and for man. Listen again to the melody of His words: “Come unto me–I will give you rest.” See, how He invites you, without one solitary condition. He makes no exception to your guilt and unworthiness. The word is, “Come unto me;” in other words, believe in me.

To “come” is simply and only to believe. And oh! how can we fully set forth the “rest” to be found it Jesus? Let those testify who took their guilt to His blood, their vileness to His righteousness, their sins to His grace, their burdens to His arm, their sorrows to His heart. Let them tell how, in a moment, their sense of weariness fled, and rest, sweet, soothing rest to their soul succeeded. Are you, my reader, a sin-weary soul? Then, to you is this invitation addressed: “Come unto me–to me, a Savior whose willingness is equal to my ability. To me, who never rejected a single soul that sought salvation and heaven at my hands. Come unto me–I will give you rest.”

Our Christlikeness

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“And they took knowledge of them—that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read ‘lives of Christ’, beautifully and eloquently written—but the best life of Christ is His living biography, written out in the words and actions of His people. If we were what we profess to be—and what we should be—we would be pictures of Christ! Yes, such striking likenesses of Him, that the world would not have say, “Well, it seems somewhat of a likeness;” but they would, when they once beheld us, exclaim, “He has been with Jesus! He has been taught of Him—he is like Him! He has caught the very idea of the holy Man of Nazareth, and he works it out in his life and every-day actions!”

A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness. Never blush to own your religion; your profession will never disgrace you—take care you never disgrace that. Be like Jesus—very valiant for your God. Imitate Him in your loving spirit—think kindly, speak kindly, and do kindly, that men may say of you, “He has been with Jesus!” Imitate Jesus in His holiness. Was He zealous for His Master? So you be; ever go about doing good. Let not time be wasted—it is too precious. Was He self-denying, never looking to His own interest? Be the same. Was He devout? Be fervent in your prayers. Had He deference to His Father’s will? So submit yourselves to Him. Was He patient? So learn to endure. And best of all, as the highest portraiture of Jesus, try to forgive your enemies, as He did; and let those sublime words of your Master, “Father, forgive them—for they know not what they do,” always ring in your ears. Forgive, as you hope to be forgiven. Heap coals of fire on the head of your foe—by your kindness to him. Good for evil, recollect, is godlike. Be godlike, then; and in all ways and by all means—so live that all may say of you, “He has been with Jesus!”

Our Necessary Burdens

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion.” Amos 6:1

Bunyan says, in his plain, homely language– “A Christian man is never long at ease; when one fright’s gone, another does him seize.”

Sin will never let him rest long, nor Satan let him rest long, nor God let him rest long, nor his own fears let him rest long. He cannot be at ease until his conscience is purged with the blood of sprinkling; until his soul has been blessed with a feeling sense and enjoyment of the love of God; until he has sweet manifestations of pardoning mercy, blessed revelations of Christ to his soul, with the voice and witness of the Spirit in his breast. This is not the ease of Moab (Jer. 48:11), but the ease of which the Psalmist speaks when he says, “His soul shall dwell at ease” (Psalm 25:13). All ease but this is the sleep of the sluggard; carnal ease as opposed to spiritual. If then he drops into carnal ease, and for a time sin does not seem to plague, nor Satan tempt, nor the world persecute, the Christian man feels that he is getting wrong; he has lost a burden, but not in the right way, and would rather have the burden back than be left to have his portion among those who are at ease in Zion.

Our Annointing

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.” –1 John 2:27

Have you ever had a solitary drop of this holy anointing oil fall upon your heart? One drop, if it be but a drop, will sanctify you forever to the service of God.

There was not much of the holy anointing oil used for the service of the tabernacle, when we consider the size and quantity of what had to be consecrated, for Moses had to anoint therewith the whole of the tabernacle of the congregation, as well as all the vessels, with all their various accessories. When he went through the sacred work, he touched one vessel after another with a drop of oil; for one drop sanctified the vessel to the service of the tabernacle. There was no repetition of the consecration needed; it abode.

So if you ever had a drop of God’s love shed abroad in your heart–a drop of the anointing to teach you the truth as it is in Jesus; a drop to penetrate, to soften, to heal, to feed and give light, life, and power to your soul–you have the unction from the Holy One; you know all things which are for your salvation, and by that same holy oil you have been sanctified and made meet for an eternal inheritance.