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!”
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 12:14; Galatians 5:21; 1 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.
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.
C. H. Spurgeon
Today’s Morning Meditation
“We have come to the sprinkled blood, which says better things than the blood of Abel.” Hebrews 12:24
Reader, have you come to the sprinkled blood? The question is not whether you have come to a knowledge of doctrine, or an observance of ceremonies, or to a certain form of experience—but have you come to the blood of Jesus? The blood of Jesus is the life of all vital godliness.
If you have truly come to Jesus, we know how you came—the Holy Spirit sweetly brought you there. You came to the sprinkled blood with no merits of your own. Guilty, lost, and helpless, you came to take that blood, and that blood alone, as your everlasting hope. You came to the cross of Christ, with a trembling and an aching heart; and oh! what a precious sound it was to you—to hear the voice of the blood of Jesus! The dropping of His blood is as the music of heaven to the penitent sons of earth. We are full of sin—but the Savior bids us lift our eyes to Him, and as we gaze upon His streaming wounds, each drop of blood, as it falls, cries, “It is finished! I have made an end of sin! I have brought in everlasting righteousness.” Oh! sweet language of the precious blood of Jesus!
If you have come to that blood once, you will come to it constantly. Your life will be “Looking unto Jesus.” Your whole conduct will be epitomized in this, “To whom coming.” Not to whom I have come—but to whom I am always coming. If you have ever come to the blood of sprinkling, you will feel your need of coming to it every day. He who does not desire to wash in it every day—has never washed in it at all. The believer ever feels it to be his joy and privilege that there is still a fountain opened. Past experiences are doubtful food for Christians; a present coming to Christ—alone can give us joy and comfort. This morning let us sprinkle our door-post fresh with blood, and then feast upon the Lamb, assured that the destroying angel must pass us by.
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.
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
C. H. Spurgeon
This Morning’s Meditation
“When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall bestir yourself.” 2 Samuel 5:24
The members of Christ’s Church should be very prayerful, always seeking the unction of the Holy One to rest upon their hearts, that the kingdom of Christ may come, and that His “will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven.” But there are times when God seems especially to favor Zion, such seasons ought to be to them like “the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees.” We ought then to be doubly prayerful, doubly earnest, wrestling more at the throne than we have been accustomed to do. Action should then be prompt and vigorous. The tide is flowing—now let us pull manfully for the shore. O for Pentecostal outpourings and Pentecostal labors.
Christian, in yourself there are times “when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees.” You have a peculiar power in prayer; the Spirit of God gives you joy and gladness; the Scripture is open to you; the promises are applied; you walk in the light of God’s countenance; you have peculiar freedom and liberty in devotion, and more closeness of communion with Christ than was your accustomed. Now, at such joyous periods—when you hear the “sound of a marching in the tops of the mulberry trees,” is the time to bestir yourself. Now is the time to get rid of any evil habit, while God the Spirit helps your infirmities. Spread your sail—but remember what you sometimes sing, “I can only spread the sail; You alone must breathe the auspicious gale.” Only be sure you have the sail up! Do not miss the gale—for lack of preparation for it. Seek help from God, that you may be more earnest in duty, when made more strong in faith; that you may be more constant in prayer, when you have more liberty at the throne; that you may be more holy in your walk, while you live more closely with Christ.
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.
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!
J. C. Philpot
Today’s Daily Portion
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3
There was a time, child of God, when the world held the chief place in your heart. God was not supreme in your heart. You and he were therefore at variance. But now, through grace, you are brought to make eternity your chief concern. You and God are agreed there; for in the mind of God, eternity as much outweighs time as the stars in the midnight sky outweigh a grain of dust. There was a time when you loved the world and the things of time and sense; and earth and earthly things were your element and home. You and God disagreed upon that matter; because the Lord saw that the world was full of evil, while you saw it full of good. The Lord saw the world under his curse, and you loved its favor and its blessing–seeking madly and wickedly to enjoy that which God had denounced; therefore you could not agree.
Thus you see that in order to be agreed with God, we must have God’s thoughts in our heart, God’s ways in our soul, and God’s love in our affections. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.” But they must become such; and when once God’s thoughts become our thoughts and God’s ways our ways; when once we have the mind of Christ and see with the eyes of God, then God and we become agreed, and being agreed, we can walk together.
What is it to walk together? Why, it is to enjoy union, communion, fellowship, and friendship. Now as we are brought to agree with God, we walk with God. He has set up a mercy-seat on high, and when they thus agree, God and man may meet at the mercy-seat of the Redeemer. As the eyes are enlightened to see the truth of God; as the heart is touched to feel the power of God; and as the affections are drawn forth to love the things of God, we meet at the mercy-seat. It is sprinkled with blood; it contains and hides from view the broken tables of the law. There God meets man in gracious friendship, and enables him to pour out his soul before him and to tell him his troubles, trials, and temptations. And every now and then he sweetly relieves by dropping in a gracious promise, applying some portion of his sacred truth, encouraging him to believe in his dear Son, and still to hope in his mercy.