Pray Thee With Fervent Heart, Knowing That Our Prayers Shall Be Heard

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“He was heard in that he feared.” — Hebrews 5:7

Did this fear arise from the infernal suggestion that He was utterly forsaken.

There may be sterner trials than this—but surely it is one of the worst to be utterly forsaken?

“See,” said Satan, “you have a friend nowhere! Your Father has shut up the affections of His compassion against you. Not an angel in His courts will stretch out his hand to help you. All heaven is alienated from You; You are left alone. See the companions with whom You have taken sweet counsel, what are they worth? Son of Mary, see there Your brother James, see there Your beloved disciple John, and Your bold apostle Peter—how the cowards sleep—when You are in Your sufferings! Lo! You have no friend left in heaven or earth. All hell is against You. I have stirred up my infernal den. I have sent my missives throughout all regions summoning every prince of darkness to set upon You this night, and we will spare no arrows, we will use all our infernal might to overwhelm You! And what will You do, You solitary one?”

It may be, this was the temptation; we think it was, because the appearance of an angel unto Him strengthening Him removed that fear. He was heard in that He feared; He was no more alone—but heaven was with Him. It may be that this is the reason of His coming three times to His disciples — as Joseph Hart puts it — “Backwards and forwards thrice He ran—as if He sought some help from man.” He would see for Himself whether it were really true that all men had forsaken Him; He found them all asleep; but perhaps He gained some faint comfort from the thought that they were sleeping, not from treachery—but from sorrow, the spirit indeed was willing—but the flesh was weak.

At any rate, He was heard in that He feared. Jesus was heard in His deepest woe; my soul—you shall be heard also.

Two Possible Responses to Goliath – Part 2 (repost)

Originally Posted on December 15, 2015

By Larry Cook

In Part 1 (Link Here) we considered a survey of Americans on the subject of their fears. This survey sought responses on the level of fear experienced in eighty-eight domains. These domains included terrorist attacks, government tracking of personal data, insects, public speaking, and eighty-four others. Interestingly, the designers of the survey did not include the fear of God in the eighty-eight.

I find this omission interesting not because I would expect a secular institution such as Chapman University to consider the fear of God a valid and rational thing, but more so because it is, at the very least, a possible fear in the universe of fears, and therefore adequately valid to justify its inclusion.

But those of us united in Christ are not to fear the exclusion of this foundational element of our faith by a secular university conducting a survey. We all, to a greater or lesser degree, understand that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And we hold this to be true regardless of what might or might not be put forth by the unbelieving world.

Charles Spurgeon, in the following quote, presses on us the vital nature of the fear of God by implying that we need not consider moving forward in our religion unless and until we grasp this fundamental concept. He writes:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning and the foundation of all true religion. Without a solemn awe and reverence of God there is no foothold for the more brilliant virtues.

But lest we fail to consider the corresponding attribute of God, namely His mercy, Spurgeon reminds the believer of the love God showed us in our redemption.

The roaring thunder of the law and the fear of the terror of judgment are both used to bring us to Christ, but the final victory culminating in our salvation is won through God’s loving-kindness.

And so we ask, where does this leave us?

If we are to be faithful to God’s Word, then according to Revelation 14:7, we will proclaim God’s command that all are to fear the one who will judge, to give glory to the one who made heaven and earth, and to worship him who made the sea and the springs of water.

But we must do so with compassion, remembering that the man or woman to whom we speak these words is lost and without God in this world. We must muster the same level of compassion that Jesus displayed when he tells the unbelieving world in Mathew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

God bless you.


© The Christian’s Report, 2016

Two Possible Responses to Goliath – Part 1 (repost)

Originally Posted on Dec 12, 2015

By Larry Cook

As American Christians, our lives have changed over the years, and it seems that they will continue to change as events in the world around us more threatening with each new report of terrorism.

By its very definition, terrorism is intended to provoke fear in the minds of its victims. And beyond the acts themselves, we are often further provoked to a fearful state by our government and the media.

Chapman University published The Chapman University Survey of American Fears, Wave 2 (2015), which they say “provides an unprecedented look into the fears of the average American.”

The survey asked respondents to rate their level of fear about eighty-eight different fears. The top ten are shown on this graphic.

Top10Fears-740x572

What should be the Christian’s response to questions about our fear of things such as terrorist attacks, running out of money in the future, pandemic, or any of the other eight-eight fears listed on the survey?

1 Samuel 17 tells the story of two possible responses to a fearful situation. Taking place during a battle between Israel and the Philistines, it paints a picture of a Philistine soldier, great in stature and might, who challenged the men of Israel to find one man from their ranks to come forward and fight with him one-on-one.

Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle. And they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them.And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. And his shield-bearer went before him. He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

Ultimately, there was found not one Israelite who could face the fear which this Philistine created. Beyond that, we are told that they were, “greatly afraid.” Other translations describe their condition as, “terrified” and “deeply shaken.” One can’t help but visualize these men cowering down in the hope that they would not be called upon by their captain as the one who would face this Goliath.

Thus we have a portrait of one possible response to a fearful thing, in this case an opposing soldier of great size and strength.

Now David, a shepherd and the youngest son of Jesse, did not join his three brothers who served under King Saul and against the Philistines. But during the time of this battle, when Goliath was challenging the men of Israel, he was sent to the camp with supplies.

After his arrival on the battlefield, and upon hearing the challenge put forth by Goliath, David asked the men of Israel, “…who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

David realized that the sovereign God of Israel was in control of the situation, and that if anyone should be fearful it was Goliath for attempting to defy the armies of this living God.

After convincing King Saul that he was capable of facing Goliath, 1 Samuel 17 describes the encounter as follows:

40 Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.

41 And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance.43 And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth,that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord‘s, and he will give you into our hand.”

48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David.51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52

Scripture reveals not the slightest hint that David experienced fear. In fact, David met the giant’s threat with a threat of his own. But David’s trust and confidence was not in size nor in armor. He went forth to meet the giant in the strength of almighty God and proclaimed to the Philistine as much.

It seems that, in David’s mind, the outcome was never in question. David took to heart the admonition in Deuteronomy 3:22, which says, “You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.”

And so what does this story inform us about how we should deal with fearful events in this life?

We have two choices. We can choose to narrow our perspective to this world and focus on the harm that might come to our flesh. Or we can remember that our God is sovereign over all things.

Job 5:22 tells us that destruction and devastation are not stir up fear in God’s people.  “At destruction and famine you shall laugh, and shall not fear the beasts of the earth.”

Gill comments that by laugh, what is intended is that through faith the believer shall trust in God’s provision for protection and sustenance.

At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh,…. Not deride and despise them, and make a jest of them; for good men have a reverence and awe of the righteous judgments of God upon them, when they are in the world, Psalm 119:120; but the sense is, that such shall reckon themselves safe and secure amidst such calamities, provision being made for their protection and sustenance; and be cheerful and comfortable, putting their trust and confidence in the Lord

Thus it should be clear to those who would follow Christ that we should meet the trials of this day, whether “natural” or man-made, with a calm resolve that our times truly are in the hands of a sovereign God.

In Part 2, we will consider with interest the fact that the fear of God is not included in Chapman University’s list of fears.


© The Christian’s Report, 2016

Our Enemy, Our War, and Our Assured Victory

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“Michael and his angels fought against the dragon—and the dragon and his angels fought back.” Revelation 12:7

War always will rage between the two great sovereignties—until one or other is crushed. Peace between good and evil is an impossibility; the very pretense of it would, in fact, be the triumph of the powers of darkness. Michael will always fight; his holy soul is vexed with sin, and will not endure it. Jesus will always be the dragon’s foe, and that not in a quiet sense—but actively, vigorously, with full determination to exterminate evil.

All His servants, whether angels in heaven or messengers on earth, will and must fight; they are born to be warriors! At the cross, they enter into covenant never to make truce with evil; they are a warlike company, firm in defense and fierce in attack. The duty of every soldier in the army of the Lord—is daily, with all his heart, and soul, and strength—to fight against the dragon. The dragon and his angels will not decline the affray; they are incessant in their onslaughts, sparing no weapon, fair or foul.

We are foolish if we expect to serve God without opposition—the more zealous we are, the more sure are we to be assailed by the myrmidons of hell. The church may become slothful—but not so her great antagonist; his restless spirit never allows the war to pause; he hates the woman’s seed, and would gladly devour the church if he could. The servants of Satan partake much of the old dragon’s energy, and are usually an active race.

War rages all around, and to dream of peace—is dangerous and futile. Glory be to God, we know the end of the war. The great dragon shall be cast out and forever destroyed, while Jesus and those who are with Him shall receive the crown. Let us sharpen our swords tonight, and ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen our arms for the conflict. Never a battle so important; never a crown so glorious. Every man to his post, O warriors of the cross, and may the Lord tread Satan under your feet shortly!

Our Witness To The Truth

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 3, 4

The truth was in Gaius—and Gaius walked in a the truth.

If the first had not been the case—the second could never have occurred. If the second could not be said of him—the first would have been a mere pretense. Truth must enter into the soul, penetrate and saturate it—or else it is of no value. Doctrines held as a matter of mere creed—are like bread in the hand, which ministers no nourishment to the body. But doctrine accepted by the heart, is as food digested, which, by assimilation, sustains and builds up the body.

Truth must be a living force in us, an active energy, an indwelling reality, a part of the woof and warp of our being. If truth is in us, we cannot henceforth part with it. A man may lose his garments or his limbs—but his inward parts are vital, and cannot be torn away without absolute loss of life. A Christian can die—but he cannot deny the truth.

It is a rule of nature—that the inward affects the outward, as light shines from the center of the lantern through the glass. When, therefore, the truth is kindled within, its brightness soon beams forth in the outward life and conversation.

It is said that the food of certain silkworms, colors the cocoons of silk which they spin—and just so the nutriment upon which a man’s inward nature lives—gives a tinge to every word and deed proceeding from him.

To walk in the truth, imports a life of integrity, holiness, faithfulness, and simplicity—the natural product of those principles of truth which the gospel teaches, and which the Spirit of God enables us to receive. We may judge of the secrets of the soul—by their manifestation in the man’s life. Be it ours today, O gracious Spirit, to be ruled and governed by Your divine authority, so that nothing false or sinful may reign in our hearts, lest it extend its malignant influence to our daily walk among men.

Joshua’s Obedience

C. H. Spurgeon

Excerpted from his sermon, Joshua’s Obedience

…if we get no outward prosperity here, I trust you and I, if we love Christ, and are filled with His Spirit, can do without it. Well, if we must be poor, it will soon be over, and in heaven there shall be no poverty. Well, if we must fight for it, in order to maintain our conscience, we did not expect to come into this world that we might—

“Be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease.”

If it must come to this, that we must suffer hunger and even nakedness itself, we shall not be worse off than the apostles—better men than we, we shall not be brought lower than the martyrs—with whose names we are not worthy to have ours coupled. Let us, then, run all risks for Christ. He is no soldier who cannot die for his country, he is no Christian who cannot lose his life for Christ. We must be willing to give up all things rather than sell the truth or sell the right, and if we come to this, we shall have such courage within our spirits, such a quiet consciousness of the presence of God the Holy Spirit, and such sweet smiles from the once suffering, but now reigning Savior, that we shall have to bless God all our days for these light afflictions, which are but for a moment, which shall work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

I may not have spoken much to the comfort of God’s people, but I shall be glad if I have said only half a word that may tend to nurture in the midst of our church earnest obedience, practical piety, real positive godliness carried out in ordinary life. We have plenty of doctrine, plenty of thinking, plenty of talking, but oh, for more holy acting! It is sickening to see the inconsistencies of some professors. It is enough, indeed, to make the world ridicule the church to see how many profess to follow Christ, and then keep any rule rather than God’s rule, and obey anybody sooner than the Lord Jesus Christ.

Brethren, let us pray to God that our hearts may be sincere in the Lord’s ways, and that we may be guided by His Spirit even to the end.

Our Witness

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“And you shall be My witnesses.” Acts 1:8

In order to learn how to discharge your duty as a witness for Christ—look at His example. He is always witnessing—by the well of Samaria, or in the Temple of Jerusalem—by the lake of Gennesaret, or on the mountain’s brow. He is witnessing night and day; His mighty prayers are as vocal to God—as His daily services. He witnesses under all circumstances; Scribes and Pharisees cannot shut His mouth; even before Pilate He witnesses a good confession. He witnesses so clearly, and distinctly—that there is no mistake in Him.

Christian, make your life a clear testimony. Be as the clear brook wherein you may see every stone at the bottom—not as the muddy creek, of which you only see the surface—but clear and transparent, so that your heart’s love to God and man may be visible to all. You need not say, “I am true!” Be true! Boast not of integrity—but be upright. So shall your testimony be such that men cannot help seeing it.

Never, for fear of feeble man, restrain your witness. Your lips have been warmed with a coal from off the altar; let them speak as heaven-touched lips should speak. “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening withhold not your hand.” Watch not the clouds, consult not the wind—in season and out of season—witness for the Savior, and if it shall come to pass that for Christ’s sake and the gospel’s you shall endure suffering in any shape, shrink not—but rejoice in the honor thus conferred upon you, that you are counted worthy to suffer with your Lord. Rejoice also in this—that your sufferings, your losses, and persecutions shall make a platform—from which the more vigorously and with greater power you shall witness for Christ Jesus. Study your great Exemplar, and be filled with His evangelistic spirit. Remember that you need much teaching, much upholding, much grace, and much humility—if your witnessing is to be to your Master’s glory!

For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my iniquity; for it is great. – Psalm 25:1

Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

– Psalm 119:133

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue;

– 2 Peter 1:5a

Follower of Jesus, be encouraged to:

  1. Praise God and thank Him for enabling you to continuously overcome certain sins through faith in Him and in His strength.
  2. Confess your ongoing sins to God, knowing that you are already forgiven, and ask for that he would fill you with the desire and ability to repent from those sins.
  3. Pray that God would reveal to you those sins which you are not aware of so that you might live more fully in Jesus’ righteousness, with which he has clothed you.

 

All scripture KJV.

Invitation to the Ordinances Through Our Faith

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“If you believe with all your heart—you may.” Acts 8:37

These words may answer your scruples, devout reader, concerning the ordinances. Perhaps you say, “I would be afraid to be baptized—it is such a solemn thing to avow myself to be dead with Christ, and buried with Him. I should not feel at liberty to come to the Master’s table—I would be afraid of eating and drinking damnation unto myself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”

Ah! poor trembler, Jesus has given you liberty, do not be afraid. If a stranger came to your house, he would stand at the door, or wait in the hall; he would not dream of intruding unbidden into your parlor—he is not at his home—but your child makes himself very free about the house; and so is it with the child of God. A stranger may not intrude—where a child may venture. When the Holy Spirit has given you to feel the spirit of adoption, you may come to Christian ordinances without fear.

The same rule holds good of the Christian’s inward privileges. You think, poor seeker, that you are not allowed to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; if you are permitted to get inside Christ’s door, or sit at the bottom of His table—you will be well content. Ah! but you shall not have less privileges than the very greatest. God makes no difference in His love to His children. A child is a child to Him; He will not make him a hired servant; but he shall feast upon the fatted calf, and shall have the music and the dancing—as much as if he had never gone astray. When Jesus comes into the heart, He issues a general licence to be glad in the Lord. No chains are worn in the court of King Jesus. Our admission into full privileges may be gradual—but it is sure.

Perhaps our reader is saying, “I wish I could enjoy the promises, and walk at liberty in my Lord’s commands.” “If you believe with all your heart—you may.” Loose the chains of your neck, O captive daughter, for Jesus makes you free!