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.

How We Are Loved

C. H. Spurgeon

Today’s Morning Meditation

“I will love them freely.” Hosea 14:4

This sentence is a body of divinity in miniature. He who understands its meaning, is a theologian; and he who can dive into its fullness, is a true spiritual master. It is a summary of the glorious message of salvation, which was delivered to us in Christ Jesus our Redeemer.

The meaning hinges upon the word “freely.” This is the glorious, the suitable, the divine way by which love streams from heaven to earth—a spontaneous love flowing forth to those who neither deserved it, purchased it, nor sought after it. It is, indeed, the only way in which God can love such as we are.

The text is a death-blow to all sorts of fitness, “I will love them freely.” Now, if there were any fitness necessary in us—then He would not love us freely, at least, this would be a mitigation and a drawback to the freeness of it. But it stands, “I will love you freely.”

We complain, “Lord, my heart is so hard.” “I will love you freely.”

“But I do not feel my need of Christ as I could wish.” “I will not love you because you feel your need—I will love you freely.”

“But I do not feel that softening of spirit which I could desire.” Remember, the softening of spirit is not a condition, for there are no conditions; the covenant of grace has no conditionality whatever; so that we without any fitness may venture upon the promise of God which was made to us in Christ Jesus, when He said, “He who believes on Him is not condemned.”

It is blessed to know that the grace of God is free to us at all times, without preparation, without fitness, without money, and without price!

“I will love them freely.” These words invite backsliders to return—indeed, the text was specially written for such, “I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely.” Backslider! surely the generosity of the promise will at once break your heart, and you will return, and seek your injured Father’s face!

Buddy – Answered Prayer for Closure

A week ago at this time I was sitting where I am sitting this morning. At that time I was waiting for nine o’clock to arrive when I would be able to call our veterinarian about taking Buddy in for surgery. The events that followed on that day are recorded here:  My Times Are in Your Hands

During the past week I have struggled without success to find closure on the death of this companion who I often referred to as Mr. Bud.  I have been praying throughout the days for something, exactly what I did not know, but something that would allow me to experience one final burst of emotion followed by a confident peace. Continue reading “Buddy – Answered Prayer for Closure”

A Love Like No Other

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“Your marvelous loving-kindness.” Psalm 17:7

When we give our hearts with our alms—we give well—but we must often plead to a failure in this respect. Not so our Master and our Lord. His favors are always performed with the love of His heart. He does not send to us the cold meat and the broken pieces from the table of His luxury—but He dips our morsel in His own dish, and seasons our provisions with the spices of His fragrant affections. When He puts the golden tokens of His grace into our palms, He accompanies the gift with such a warm pressure of our hand, that the manner of His giving is as precious as the blessing itself. He will come into our houses upon His errands of kindness, and He will not act as some austere visitors do in the poor man’s cottage—but He sits by our side, not despising our poverty, nor blaming our weakness.

Beloved, with what smiles does He speak! What golden sentences drop from His gracious lips! What embraces of affection does He bestow upon us! If He had but given us pennies, the manner of His giving would have gilded them; but as it is, the costly alms are set in a golden basket by His pleasant manner of giving. It is impossible to doubt the sincerity of His charity, for there is a bleeding heart stamped upon the face of all His blessings. He gives liberally and upbraids not. Not one hint that we are burdensome to Him; not one cold look for His poor pensioners; but He rejoices to show mercy to us—and presses us to His bosom—while He is pouring out His life for us. There is a fragrance in His spikenard, which nothing but His heart could produce; there is a sweetness in His honeycomb, which could not be in it unless the very essence of His soul’s affection had been mingled with it. Oh! the rare communion which such singular heartiness effects! May we continually taste and know the blessedness of His marvelous loving-kindness!

While We Were Yet Sinners,

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“Those who are whole have no need of the physician, but those who are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Mark 2:17

The Spirit glorifies Christ by revealing what Christ is to an emptied, lowly, penitent soul. And this He does by unfolding the great truth of the Bible- that Jesus died for sinners. Not for the righteous, not for the worthy, but for sinners, as sinners; for the unrighteous, for the unworthy, for the guilty, for the lost. Precious moment, when the Eternal Spirit, the great Glorifier of Jesus, brings this truth with power to the heart!

“I had believed,” exclaims the transported soul, “that Jesus died only for those who were worthy of so rich a sacrifice, of such immense love. I thought to bring some price of merit in my hands, some self-preparation, some previous fitness, something to render my case worthy of His notice, and to propitiate His kind regard. But now I see His salvation is for the vile, the poor, the penniless. I read that ‘when we were without strength, Christ died for the ungodly,’ that ‘while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,’  that ‘when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son,’ that ‘it is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,’  that it is ‘without money and without price,’ that it is ‘by grace we are saved,’ and that it is ‘of faith, that it might be by grace.'”

This good news, these joyful tidings, this glorious message of free mercy for the vilest of the vile, believed, received, welcomed, in a moment the clouds all vanish, the fogs all disappear, the face of God beams in mild and softened luster, and, amid light and joy, gladness and praise, the jubilee of the soul is ushered in. Oh, what glory now encircles the Redeemer! That soul venturing upon Him with but the faith of reliance, traveling to Him in all weakness, and in the face of all opposition, brings more glory to His name than all the hallelujahs of the heavenly minstrelsy ever brought.

Our Keeper

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“He will keep the feet of his saints.” –1 Samuel 2:9

The Lord sees his poor scattered pilgrims traveling through a valley of tears, journeying through a waste howling wilderness, a path beset with baits, traps, and snares in every direction. How can they escape? Why, the Lord keeps their feet, carries them through every rough place, as a tender parent carries a little child; when about to fall, graciously lays the everlasting arms underneath them, and when tottering and stumbling, and their feet ready to slip, mercifully upholds them from falling altogether. Thus the Lord keeps the feet of his saints.

But do you think that he has not different ways for different feet? The God of creation has not made two flowers, nor two leaves upon a tree alike; and will he cause all his people to walk in precisely the same path? No; we have each our path, each our troubles, each our trials, each peculiar traps and snares laid for our feet. And the wisdom of the all-wise and only-wise God is shown by his eyes being in every place, marking the footsteps of every pilgrim, suiting his remedies to meet their individual case and necessity, appearing for them when nobody else could do them any good; watching so tenderly over them, as though the eyes of his affection were bent on one individual; and carefully noting the goings of each, as though all the powers of the Godhead were concentrated on that one person to keep him from harm.

Our Spiritual Betrothal

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“Thus says the Lord; I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your espousals, when you went after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.” Jeremiah 2:2

Salvation is a gift, the choicest and richest gift which the hands of a Triune God, whose name is Love, can bestow. It is a portion, an inheritance, an estate, a treasure, an eternal reality. The full possession, the entire enjoyment, the complete acquisition of this predestinated weight of glory, is indeed reserved until a future state; but the pledges, the first fruits, the early ripe clusters, the first dew-drops of this eternal inheritance, are given to the elect while upon earth.

The everlasting enjoyment of the presence and glory of Christ is often compared in Scripture to a wedding. Thus we read (Rev. 19:7) of “the Lamb’s wife,” and of “the marriage of the Lamb.” So the Church is said to be “brought unto the King in clothing of needlework,” as the bride, in Eastern countries, was brought by the father to the bridegroom. But we read of “espousals” also, which always preceded the celebration of the marriage. “I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your espousals.” “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” So Joseph was “espoused to the virgin Mary, before they came together,” that is, before they became man and wife. Now this espousal was a necessary prelude to marriage, though it was not the same thing. And, therefore, a betrothed virgin was punished as an adulteress by the Levitical law, if she was unfaithful to her espoused husband. To be betrothed had the nature of marriage in it, though it was not the same thing as marriage. The parties did not live together, and were not put in possession of each other.

Thus, it is in this life that the spiritual betrothment takes place, and the spiritual marriage in the life to come. “I will betroth you unto me in righteousness and in judgment, and in loving-kindness and in mercies; I will even betroth you unto me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord” (Hosea 2:19, 20).

Our Loving Heavenly Father

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32.

Look at the cross; behold His precious Gift transfixed to it, and that by His own hand, and for your sins. Then look at your present circumstances, survey your needs, your trials, your chastisements, your bereavements, your heart-sickening, heartbreaking tribulations, and know that God still is love. If He had love strong enough, deep enough, to give you Jesus- to tear Him, as it were, from His bosom, and to transfix Him on yonder accursed tree for your iniquities- has He not love enough to bow His ear to your cry, and His heart to your sorrow? Will He not rescue you from this difficulty, deliver you out of this trouble, shield you in this temptation, supply this need, and support, succour, and comfort you in this grief? Oh yes, He will! doubt it not! The cross of Calvary is a standing pledge- standing until sin and guilt, need and woe, shall be known no more- that God, who “spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will with Him also freely give us all things” necessary to our good, and promotive of His glory.

Our Children

C. H. Spurgeon Faith’s Checkbook entry for today, the 11th day of February, 2017, is especially and painfully relevant. It was not quite 24 hours ago that a father backed his SUV over his 3 year old child at a tree farm in Vero Beach, Florida. I don’t know the family, but that didn’t prevent me from offering up my prayers for both the family and also the child.

There can be found in print and online much thought on the eternal state of children (including the unborn) who die at a young age. The bible offers us no clear answer. And I certainly do not want to delve into a theological discussion which would not be appropriate for this blog. But based on what is revealed about our God in creation, the written Word, and most fully in His Son, to me there is no question. I choose to believe that those who depart this life at a young and tender age, even though tainted by inherited sin, fall under the love and mercy of God. I will leave it at that.

I do not know this family, and therefore do not know if they are believers. But I learned this morning that an elder at our church does know him. I will eventually learn of the family’s faith and will post an update at some point. In the meantime, I ask that you pray for the Surma family in what has to be a time of profound grieving.

As for today’s Faith’s Checkbook entry, I would encourage all of us to continue to pray with great fervor for our own children as well as those close to us through family and friends.  Here is that entry:

Are the Children In?

I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring. (Isaiah 44:3)

Our dear children have not the Spirit of God by nature, as we plainly see. We see much in them which makes us fear as to their future, and this drives us to agonizing prayer. When a son becomes specially perverse, we cry with Abraham, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before thee!” We would sooner see our daughters Hannahs than empresses. This verse should greatly encourage us. It follows upon the words, “Fear not, O Jacob, my servant,” and it may well banish our fears.

The Lord will give His Spirit; will give it plentifully, pouring it out; will give it effectually, so that it shall be a real and eternal blessing. Under this divine outpouring our children shall come forward, and “one shall say, I am the Lord’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob.”

This is one of those promises concerning which the Lord will be inquired of. Should we not, at set times, in a distinct manner, pray for our offspring? We cannot give them new hearts, but the Holy Spirit can; and He is easily to be entreated of. The great Father takes pleasure in the prayers of fathers and mothers. Have we any dear ones outside of the ark? Let us not rest till they are shut in with us by the Lord’s own hand.

An Ancient Love Story

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“And these are ancient things.”
1 Chronicles 4:22

Yet not so ancient as those precious things which are the delight of our souls. Let us for a moment recount them, telling them over as misers count their gold. The sovereign choice of the Father, by which he elected us unto eternal life, before ever the earth was, is a matter of vast antiquity, since no date can be conceived for it by the mind of man.

We were chosen from before the foundations of the world. Everlasting love went with the choice, for it was not a bare act of divine will by which we were set apart, but the divine affections were concerned. The Father loved us in and from the beginning. Here is a theme for daily contemplation. The eternal purpose to redeem us from our foreseen ruin, to cleanse and sanctify us, and at last to glorify us, was of infinite antiquity, and runs side by side with immutable love and absolute sovereignty.

The covenant is always described as being everlasting, and Jesus, the second party in it, had his goings forth of old; he struck hands in sacred suretyship long ere the first of the stars began to shine, and it was in him that the elect were ordained unto eternal life. Thus in the divine purpose a most blessed covenant union was established between the Son of God and his elect people, which will remain as the foundation of their safety when time shall be no more.

Is it not well to be conversant with these ancient things? Is it not shameful that they should be so much neglected and even rejected by the bulk of [professing Christians]? If they knew more of their own sin, would they not be more ready to adore distinguishing grace? Let us both admire and adore tonight, as we sing–

“A monument of grace,

A sinner saved by blood;

The streams of love I trace

Up to the Fountain, God;

And in his sacred bosom see

Eternal thoughts of Love to me.”