Our Position in Christ Assured

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.         John 6:37

Excerpted from Holiness by J. C. Ryle

Let all the world know that the Lord Jesus will not cast away His believing people because of shortcomings and infirmities. The husband does not put away his wife because he finds failings in her. The mother does not forsake her infant because it is weak, feeble and ignorant. And the Lord Christ does not cast off poor sinners who have committed their souls into His hands because He sees in them blemishes and imperfections. Oh, no! It is His glory to pass over the faults of His people, and heal their backslidings, to make much of their weak graces, and to pardon their many faults.

Who is there now among the readers of this paper that feels desires after salvation, but is afraid to become decided, lest by and by he should fall away? Consider, I beseech you, the tenderness and patience of the Lord Jesus, and be afraid no more. Fear not to take up the cross, and come out boldly from the world. That same Lord and Saviour who bore with the disciples is ready and willing to bear with you. If you stumble, He will raise you. If you err, He will gently bring you back. If you faint, He will revive you. He will not lead you out of Egypt, and then suffer you to perish in the wilderness. He will conduct you safe into the promised land. Only commit yourself to His guidance and then, my soul for yours, He shall carry you safe home. Only hear Christ’s voice, and follow Him, and you shall never perish.

Ryle, J. C.. Holiness (pp. 185-186). Heritage Bible Fellowship. Kindle Edition.

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.”

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 Pleadings

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“And shall not God avenge his own elect, who cry day and night unto him?” Luke 18:7

“Behold, he prays,” was the word of the Lord to Ananias to convince him that that dreaded persecutor, Saul of Tarsus, had been quickened by the Spirit. And what a mercy it is for the quickened soul that the blessed Spirit thus helps his sinking, trembling spirit, puts life and energy into his cries and sighs, holds him up and keeps him steadfast at the throne, and thus enables him to persevere with his earnest [pleadings] for mercy, mingles faith with his petitions, and himself most graciously and kindly intercedes within him and for him with groanings which cannot be uttered. This is “praying with the spirit” (1 Cor. 14:15) and “in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 20). This is pouring out the heart before God (Psalm 62:8), pouring out the soul before the Lord (1 Sam. 1:15); and by this free discharge of the contents of an almost bursting heart, sensible relief is given to the burdened spirit.

By this special mark, the convictions of a quickened soul are distinguished from the pangs of guilt and remorse which are sometimes aroused in the natural conscience. Cain said, “My punishment is greater than I can bear,” but there was neither repentance nor prayer in his heart; for “he went out from the presence of the Lord “–the very presence which the living soul is seeking to reach and be found in, and into which the Spirit brings him (Eph. 2:18).

Saul was “sore distressed,” when God answered him, “neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets,” but he goes to the witch of Endor, and in the end falls upon his own sword. Judas repented of his accursed treachery, but went and hanged himself. No prayer, no supplication was in either of their hearts. So it is prophesied that men shall gnaw their tongues for pain, and yet shall blaspheme the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and not repent of their deeds (Rev. 16:10, 11). But the elect cry day and night unto God; and their prayers, perfumed with the incense of their all-prevailing Intercessor at the right hand of the Father, enter into the ears of the Lord of Sabbath.

Our Name, “Sought Out”

C. H. Spurgeon

Today’s Evening Meditation

“You shall be called, Sought out.” — Isaiah 62:12

The surpassing grace of God is seen very clearly, in that we were not only sought—but sought out. Men seek for a thing which is lost upon the floor of the house—but in such a case there is only seeking, not seeking out. The loss is more perplexing and the search more persevering, when a thing is sought out. We were mingled with the mire—we were as when some precious jewel falls into the sewer, and men gather out and carefully inspect a mass of abominable filth, and continue to stir and rake, and search among the heap until the treasure is found. Or, to use another figure, we were lost in a labyrinth; we wandered hither and there, and when mercy came after us with the gospel, it did not find us at the first coming, it had to search for us and seek us out; for we as lost sheep, were so desperately lost, and had wandered into such a strange country, that it did not seem possible that even the Good Shepherd should track our devious roamings. Glory be to unconquerable grace, we were sought out! No gloom could hide us, no filthiness could conceal us, we were found and brought home! Glory be to infinite love, God the Holy Spirit restored us!

The lives of some of God’s people, if they could be written—would fill us with holy astonishment. Strange and marvelous are the ways which God used in their case to find His own. Blessed be His name, He never relinquishes the search—until the chosen are sought out effectually. They are not a people sought today and cast away tomorrow. Almightiness and wisdom combined will make no failures, they shall be called, “Sought out!” That any should be sought out is matchless grace—but that we should be sought out—is grace beyond degree! We can find no reason for it—but God’s own sovereign love; and can only lift up our heart in wonder, and praise the Lord that this night we wear the name of “Sought out.”

Our Quiet and Confident Habitation in God

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“You have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place.” Psalm 91:9

The Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change. Whenever the pillar stopped its motion, the tents were pitched; but tomorrow, before the morning sun had risen, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow paths of the mountain, up the hillside, or along the arid waste of the wilderness. They had scarcely time to rest a little, before they heard the sound of “Away! this is not your rest; you must still be onward journeying towards Canaan!” They were never long in one place. Even wells and palm trees could not detain them. Yet they had an abiding home in their God, His cloudy pillar was their roof-tree, and its flame by night their household fire. They must go onward from place to place, continually changing, never having time to settle, and to say, “Now we are secure—in this place we shall dwell.” “Yet,” says Moses, “though we are always changing, Lord, you have been our dwelling-place throughout all generations.”

The Christian knows no change with regard to God. He may be rich today and poor tomorrow; he may be sickly today and well tomorrow; he may be in happiness today, tomorrow he may be distressed—but there is no change with regard to his relationship to God. If He loved me yesterday, He loves me today. My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is “my strong habitation whereunto I can continually resort.” I am a pilgrim in the world—but at home in my God. In the earth I wander—but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.

Memories of Anita

I decided not to post either C. H. Spurgeon’s morning or evening devotional earlier today because they just didn’t feel right. I am going through a period during which God’s convicting spirit combined with amazing instruction from John Owen on holiness, sin, and temptation in the form of 3 books consolidated into 1 which can be found here. Owen’s writing is hard to read and requires much patience as it sometimes takes several passes over a paragraph before I am able to grasp the intended point.

And so it is in my current spiritual state that I found the two meditations in question a bit out of place. I am not generally averse to messages on dying, and in fact I usually find them enlightening and well worth reading. But on this day I just did not want to post either one of them.

Continue reading “Memories of Anita”

Our Peace

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.” Numbers 6:26

When we offend a person, his face is not toward us as at other times. It was so with Laban towards Jacob; and if we have in any way incurred a friend’s or superior’s displeasure, we watch instinctively his countenance. Is it down or up? Does it wear a frown or a smile? Is it looking upon us with the eye of affection, or are the eyes averted? We can tell in a moment if we know the countenance. Thus is the blessing asked, “The Lord lift up his countenance upon you,” as a kind and affectionate parent upon an obedient child, as a fond husband upon a loving, devoted wife; for such is God to his children–Father and Husband.

And do we not, as children, often provoke him to look upon us with frowning brow, or rather, not to look upon us at all, to “hide his face,” as we read, “that we cannot see him?” The prayer then is, “The Lord lift up his countenance upon you,” with a smile upon it; free, open, forgiving, merciful, and mild, that you may advance to him. When a disobedient child comes home and sees its father’s face not towards it as before, it shrinks away; there is no pressing forward to get upon the knee, no throwing the little arms round the neck and snatching a kiss, but a shrinking away through guilt and shame. So it is in the things of God. When conscience tells us how in this and that instance we have disobeyed, been inconsistent, transgressed, and done amiss, when we go into God’s presence there is a hanging back, a shrinking away, through fear of an ill reception.

But oh, the change in the child when the frown disappears and the smile comes; when the little one is taken once more into the arms and the tears are kissed away! How much more so in the things of God when he kisses away the tears of the disobedient child, as in the case of the returning prodigal! There are no kisses like those kisses of forgiveness, of mercy, and of restoring grace.

“And give you peace.” Oh, what a blessing! As Deer says, “I’ll lay me down and sweetly sleep, for I have peace with God.” It is this that makes the pillow easy in life, and will alone make that pillow easy in death–peace with God through Jesus Christ, peace through the reconciliation, peace through the blood of sprinkling, “the peace of God which passes all understanding.” Many covet great things, high things. But what said the Lord to Baruch? “Do you seek you great things for yourself? seek them not.” Ministers often seek great gifts, great eloquence, great knowledge of mysteries, great congregations, great popularity and influence. They are wrong in seeking these so-called great things. Let them rather seek real things, gracious things, things that will make their souls blessed here and hereafter.

The blessing that the gracious soul most earnestly covets is peace; for this is the sweetest honey-drop in God’s cup. It is true that it does not make the heart overflow like joy, nor to dance with exultation like the first beaming in of the rays of hope, nor melt it down like the visits of love; but it is in some respects sweeter than all, because it so settles down the soul into sweet assurance; it is the realization of the Savior himself, for “he is our peace,” and may thus be called the crowning blessing.

Year’s End Reflection on Going Home

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:1, 2

GOING home! what a soothing reflection! what an ecstatic prospect! The heart throbs quicker—the eye beams brighter—the spirit grows elastic—the whole soul uplifts its soaring pinion, eager for its flight, at the very thought of heaven. “I go to prepare a place for you,” was one of the last and sweetest assurances that breathed from the lips of the departing Savior; and though uttered eighteen hundred years ago, those words come stealing upon the memory like the echoes of by-gone music, thrilling the heart with holy and indescribable transport.

Yes! He has passed within the veil as our Forerunner; He has prepared heaven for us, and by His gentle, wise, and loving discipline He is preparing us for heaven. Amid the perpetually changing scenes of earth, it is refreshing to think of heaven as our certain home.

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”

This is no quicksand basis for faith—no mirage of hope. Heaven is a promised “rest”—exquisitely expressive image! And that promise is the word of Him who cannot lie. Nothing can surpass, nothing can compare with this! Human confidences—the strong and beautiful—have bent and broken beneath us. Hopes, bright and winning, we too fondly fed, have, like evening clouds of summer, faded away, draping the landscape they had painted with a thousand variegated hues in the somber pall of night. But heaven is true! God has promised it—Christ has secured it—the Holy Spirit is its earnest—and the joys we now feel are its pledges and “first-fruits.”

The home to which we aspire, and for which we pant, is not only a promised, it is also a perfect and permanent home. The mixed character of those seasons we now call repose, and the shifting places and changing dwellings we here call home, should perpetually remind us that we are not, as yet, come to the perfect rest and the permanent home of heaven. Most true indeed, God is the believer’s present home, and Jesus his present rest. Beneath the shadow of the cross, by the side of the mercy-seat, within the pavilion of a Father’s love, there is true mental repose, a real heart’s ease, a peace that passes all understanding, found even here, where all things else are fleeting as a cloud, and unsubstantial as a dream.

“Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

But it is to heaven we look for the soul’s perfect and changeless happiness. With what imagery shall I portray it? How shall I describe it?

Think of all the ills of your present condition—not one exists in heaven! Bereaved one! death enters not, slays not, sunders not there. Sick one! disease pales not, enfeebles not, wastes not there. Afflicted one! sorrow chafes not, saddens not, shades not there. Oppressed one! cruelty injures not, wounds not, crushes not there. Forsaken one! inconstancy disappoints not, chills not, mocks not there. Weeping one! tears spring not, scald not, dim not there.

“The former things are passed away.”

There rests not upon that smooth brow, there lingers not upon those serene features, a furrow or line or shade of former sadness, languor, or suffering—not a trace of wishes unfulfilled, of fond hopes blighted. The desert is passed, the ocean is crossed, the home is reached, and the soul finds itself in heaven, where all is the perfection of purity and the plenitude of bliss. Ages move on in endless succession, and still all is bright, new and eternal. Oh, who would not live to win and enjoy a heaven so fair, so holy, and so changeless as this? He who has Christ in his heart enshrines there the inextinguishable, deathless hope of glory.

Enough that God is my Father, my Sun, and Shield; that He will give grace and glory, and will withhold no good and needed thing. Enough that Christ is my Portion, my Advocate, my Friend, and that, whatever else may pass away, His sympathy will not cease, His sufficiency will not fail, nor His love die. Enough that the everlasting covenant is mine, and that that covenant, made with me, is ordered in all things, and sure. Enough that heaven is my rest, that towards it I am journeying, and that I am one year nearer its blessed and endless enjoyment.

*Regarding the next to last sentence in the final paragraph, I differ in how I understand the eternal covenant, and would say it this way:  It is a covenant made before the creation between the persons of the Godhead to secure the salvation of the elect. I don’t see it as being made, “with us”, but, “for us and for our sake.” – Larry