Our Increasing Strength

C. H. Spurgeon

This  Morning’s Meditation

“They go from strength to strength.” Psalm 84:7

There are various renderings of these words—but all of them contain the idea of progress. “They go from strength to strength.” That is, they grow stronger and stronger. Usually, if we are walking, we go from strength to weakness; we start fresh and in good order for our journey—but by-and-by the road is rough, and the sun is hot; we sit down by the wayside, and then again painfully pursue our weary way. But the Christian pilgrim having obtained fresh supplies of grace, is as vigorous after years of toilsome travel and struggle—as when he first set out! He may not be quite so elated and buoyant, nor perhaps quite so hot and hasty in his zeal as he once was—but he is much stronger in all that constitutes real power, and travels, if more slowly—far more surely.

Some gray-haired veterans have been as firm in their grasp of truth, and as zealous in diffusing it, as they were in their younger days; but, alas, it must be confessed it is often otherwise, for the love of many waxes cold and iniquity abounds—but this is their own sin and not the fault of the promise, which still holds good, “The youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall—but those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint!”

Fretful spirits sit down and trouble themselves about the future. “Alas!” say they, “we go from affliction to affliction.” Very true, O you of little faith—but then you go from strength to strength also. You shall never find a bundle of affliction which has not bound up in the midst of it sufficient grace. God will give the strength of ripe manhood—with the burden allotted to full-grown shoulders.

The Trial of our Faith

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7

Trials and temptations are the means which God employs to manifest to the soul the reality and strength of the faith which he bestows upon it; for there is in every trial and temptation opposition made to the faith that is in the heart; and every trial and temptation, so to speak, threaten the life of faith. And they threaten it in this way–Under the trial God for the most part hides himself. He puts forth, indeed, a secret power whereby the soul is held up, or otherwise it would sink into utter despair, and be overcome and swallowed up by the power of unbelief. Hence comes the conflict between the trial that fights against the faith and the faith which fights against or rather under the trial.

Now, when in this trial, in this sharp conflict, in this hot furnace, faith does not give way, is not burned up, is not destroyed, but keeps its firm hold upon the promise and the faithfulness of him who has given it, this trial of faith becomes very precious. It is precious to the soul when God again smiles upon it, and becomes thus manifest as genuine. It is precious in the sight of God’s people, who see it and derive strength and comfort from what they witness in the experience of a saint thus tried and blessed; and it is precious also in the sight of God himself, who crowns it with his own manifest approbation, and puts upon it the attesting seal of his own approving smile. But above all things, it will be found precious at the appearing of Jesus Christ, and that not only in his various appearings in grace, but in his final appearance in glory, for of that the Apostle mainly speaks when he says that “it may be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”

Our Two Natures

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“What will you see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies.” Song of Solomon 6:13

Are you not often a mystery to yourself? Warm one moment, cold the next; abasing yourself one hour, exalting yourself the following; loving the world, full of it, steeped up to your lips in it today; crying, groaning, and sighing for a sweet manifestation of the love of God tomorrow; brought down to nothingness, covered with shame and confusion, on your knees before you leave your room; filled with pride and self-importance before you have got down stairs; despising the world, and willing to give it all up for one taste of the love of Jesus when in solitude; trying to grasp it with both hands when in business.

What a mystery are you! Touched by love, and stung with enmity; possessing a little wisdom, and a great deal of folly; earthly-minded, and yet having the affections in heaven; pressing forward, and lagging behind; full of sloth, and yet taking the kingdom with violence!

And thus the Spirit, by a process which we may feel but cannot adequately describe, leads us into the mystery of the two natures, that “company of two armies,” perpetually struggling and striving against each other in the same bosom. So that one man cannot more differ from another than the same man differs from himself.

But do not nature, sense, and reason contradict this? Do not the wise and prudent deny this? “There must be a progressive advance,” they say, “in holiness; there must be a gradual amendment of our nature until at length all sin is rooted out, and we become as perfect as Christ.” But the mystery of the kingdom of heaven is this–that our carnal mind undergoes no alteration, but maintains a perpetual war with grace–and thus, the deeper we sink in self-abasement under a sense of our vileness, the higher we rise in a knowledge of Christ; and the blacker we are in our own view, the more lovely does Jesus appear.

How Christ Loves His Church

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“You are absolutely beautiful, My beloved! There is no spot in you!” Song of Solomon 4:7

Having pronounced His Church positively full of beauty—our Lord confirms His praise by a precious negative, “There is no spot in you!” As if the thought occurred to the Bridegroom that the carping world would insinuate that He had only mentioned her lovely parts—and had purposely omitted those features which were deformed or defiled—He sums up all by declaring her universally and entirely lovely, and utterly devoid of stain.

A spot may soon be removed, and is the very least thing that can disfigure beauty—but even from this little blemish, the believer is delivered in his Lord’s sight. If He had said there is no hideous scar, no horrible deformity, no repulsive ulcer—we might even then have marveled. But when He testifies that she is free from the slightest spot—all these other forms of defilement are included, and the height of wonder is increased.

If He had but promised to remove all spots in heaven, we would have had eternal reason for joy. But when He speaks of it as already done—who can restrain the most intense emotions of satisfaction and delight! O my soul, here is marrow and fatness for you; eat your full, and be satisfied with royal dainties!

Christ Jesus has no quarrel with His spouse. She often wanders from Him, and grieves Him—but He does not allow her faults to affect His love. He sometimes chides—but it is always in the tenderest manner, with the kindest intentions—it is “My love” even then. There is no remembrance of our follies. He does not cherish ill thoughts of us—but He pardons and loves as well after the offence—as before it! It is well for us that it is so, for if Jesus were as mindful of injuries as we are—how could He commune with us? Our precious Husband knows our silly hearts too well—to take any offence at our follies and faults.

The High Mountain

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“Get up into the high mountain.” Isaiah 40:9

Each believer should be thirsting for God, for the living God—and longing to climb the hill of the Lord, and see Him face to face. We ought not to rest content in the mists of the valley—when the summit of Tabor awaits us. My soul thirsts to drink deep of the cup which is reserved for those who reach the mountain’s brow, and bathe their brows in heaven. How pure are the dews of the hills, how fresh is the mountain air, how rich the fare of the dwellers aloft, whose windows look into the New Jerusalem!

Many saints are content to live like men in coal mines—who do not see the sun; they eat dust like the serpent—when they might taste the ambrosial food of angels; they are content to wear the miner’s garb—when they might put on king’s robes; tears mar their faces—when they might anoint them with celestial oil. Many a believer pines in a dungeon—when he might walk on the palace roof, and view the goodly land and Lebanon. Rouse yourself, O believer, from your low condition! Cast away your sloth, your lethargy, your coldness, or whatever interferes with your chaste and pure love to Christ, your soul’s Husband. Make Him the source, the center, and the circumference of all your soul’s range of delight.

What enchants you into such folly, as to remain in a pit—when you may sit on a throne? Do not live in the lowlands of bondage, now that mountain liberty is conferred upon you. Rest no longer satisfied with your dwarfish attainments—but press forward to things more sublime and heavenly. Aspire to a higher, a nobler, a fuller life! Upward to heaven! Nearer to God!

Our Shepherd

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“Israel worked to get a wife—and to pay for her he tended sheep.” Hosea 12:12

Jacob, while expostulating with Laban, thus describes his own toil, “This twenty years have I been with you. I did not bring you animals torn by wild beasts; I bore the loss myself. And you demanded payment from me for whatever was stolen by day or night. This was my situation: The heat consumed me in the daytime and the cold at night, and sleep fled from my eyes.”

Even more toilsome than this, was the life of our Savior here below. He watched over all His sheep until He gave in as His last account, “Of all those whom You have given me I have lost none.” His hair was wet with dew, and His locks with the drops of the night. Sleep departed from His eyes, for all night He was in prayer wrestling for His people. One night Peter must be pleaded for; anon, another claims His tearful intercession. No shepherd sitting beneath the cold skies, looking up to the stars, could ever utter such complaints because of the hardness of his toil—as Jesus Christ might have brought, if He had chosen to do so, because of the sternness of His service in order to procure His spouse!

It is sweet to dwell upon the spiritual parallel of Laban having required all the sheep at Jacob’s hand. If they were torn of beasts, Jacob must make it good; if any of them died, he must stand as surety for the whole. Was not the toil of Jesus for His Church the toil of one who was under suretyship obligations to bring every believing one safe to the hand of Him who had committed them to His charge? Look upon toiling Jacob—and you see a representation of Him of whom we read, “He shall feed His flock like a shepherd.”

Our Advocate’s Pleading

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul. You have redeemed my life.” Lamentations 3:58

Observe how positively the prophet speaks. He does not say, “I hope, I trust, I sometimes think, that God has pleaded the case of my soul”; but he speaks of it as a matter of fact not to be disputed.

“You have pleaded the case of my soul.” Let us, by the aid of the gracious Comforter, shake off those doubts and fears which so much mar our peace and comfort. Let this be our prayer, that we may be done with the harsh croaking voice of doubt and suspicion, and may be able to speak with the clear, melodious voice of full assurance.

Notice how gratefully the prophet speaks, ascribing all the glory to God alone! You perceive there is not a word concerning himself or his own pleadings. He does not ascribe his deliverance in any measure to any man, much less to his own merit; but it is “you” “O Lord, You have pleaded the case of my soul. You have redeemed my life.” A grateful spirit should ever be cultivated by the Christian; and especially after deliverances, we should prepare a song for our God. Earth should be a temple filled with the songs of grateful saints, and every day should be a censor smoking with the sweet incense of thanksgiving.

How joyful Jeremiah seems to be, while he records the Lord’s mercy. How triumphantly he lifts up the strain! He has been in the low dungeon, and is even now no other than the weeping prophet; and yet in the very book which is called “Lamentations,” we hear the voice of Jeremy going up to heaven, “You have pleaded the case of my soul; you have redeemed my life!” O children of God, seek after a vital experience of the Lord’s loving-kindness, and when you have it, speak positively of it; sing gratefully; shout triumphantly!

Our Receiving of Christ Jesus

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord.” Colossians 2:6

The life of faith is represented as receiving—an act which implies the very opposite of anything like merit. It is simply the acceptance of a gift. As the earth drinks in the rain, as the sea receives the streams, as the day receives the sunlight—so we, giving nothing, partake freely of the grace of God. The saints are not, by nature, wells or streams; they are but cisterns into which the living water flows; they are empty vessels into which God pours His salvation.

The idea of receiving implies a sense of realization, making the matter a reality. One cannot very well receive a shadow; we receive that which is substantial—so is it in the life of faith, Christ becomes real to us. While we are without faith, Jesus is a mere name to us—a person who lived a long while ago—so long ago that His life is only a history to us now! By an act of faith—Jesus becomes a real person in the consciousness of our heart.

But receiving also means grasping or getting possession of. The thing which I receive, becomes my own—I appropriate to myself that which is given. When I receive Jesus, He becomes my Savior, so mine that neither life nor death shall be able to rob me of Him.

All this is to receive Christ—to take Him as God’s free gift; to realize Him in my heart, and to appropriate Him as mine.

Salvation may be described as the blind receiving sight, the deaf receiving hearing, the dead receiving life; but we have not only received these blessings, we have received Jesus Himself. It is true that He gave us life from the dead. He gave us pardon of sin; He gave us imputed righteousness. These are all precious things—but we are not content with them; we have received Christ Himself. The Son of God has been poured into us, and we have received Him, and appropriated Him. What a heartful Jesus must be—for heaven itself cannot contain Him!

Our God of Providence

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“Ruth left and entered the field to gather grain behind the harvesters. She happened to be in the portion of land belonging to Boaz, who was from Elimelech’s family.” Ruth 2:3

“She happened.” Yes, it seemed nothing but an accident—but how divinely was it overruled! Ruth had gone forth with her mother’s blessing, under the care of her mother’s God—to humble but honorable toil; and the providence of God was guiding her every step! Little did she know, that amid the sheaves—she would find a husband; and that he would make her the joint owner of all those broad acres; and that she a poor foreigner, would become an ancestor of the great Messiah!

God is very good to those who trust in Him, and often surprises them with unlooked for blessings. Little do we know what may happen to us in the future; but this sweet fact should cheer us—that nothing which is really good for us—shall be withheld from us!

The word “chance” is banished from the Christian’s vocabulary—for we see the hand of God in everything. The trivial events of today or tomorrow, may involve consequences of the highest importance. Take comfort—our Lord deals as graciously with all His servants—as He did with Ruth!

How blessed would it be, if, in wandering in the field of meditation tonight—we would “happen” to come upon the place where our Kinsman Redeemer will reveal Himself to us! O Spirit of God—guide us to Him. We would sooner glean in His field—than bear away the whole harvest from any other! O for the footsteps of His flock, which may conduct us to the green pastures where He dwells!

This is a weary world when Jesus is away—we could better do without sun and moon—than without Him. But how divinely fair all things become—in the glory of His presence! Our souls know the virtue which dwells in Jesus, and can never be content without Him. We will wait in prayer this night—until we “happen” to come upon a part of the field belonging to Jesus—wherein He will manifest Himself to us!