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 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!

Knowing Our Christ in His Fullness

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“And you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” 1 Corinthians 3:23

“Christ is God’s.” These are remarkable words, and need to be carefully and reverently opened up. The fullness of the mystery is beyond our grasp. Still, we may attempt to look at it in faith and godly fear. How, then, is Christ God’s? First, he is God’s SON–not a Son by covenant or by office; in other words, not a nominal, but a true and proper Son–a Son by nature, by his eternal mode of subsistence as a Person in the Godhead. “This is my beloved Son” was twice proclaimed by God the Father with an audible voice from heaven.

Second, but he is also God’s SERVANT. “Behold my servant whom I uphold” (Isaiah 42:1). “It is a light thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob” (Isaiah 49:6), and this he was as Messiah. But because he is by office God’s servant, he is not less by nature God’s Son.

Here, however, he is spoken of as the God-man MEDIATOR, the Son of the Father in truth and love, the great High Priest over the house of God; and especially what he is as viewed in union with the Church, the Bridegroom with the bride, the Vine with the branches, the Shepherd with the sheep, the living foundation with the living stones built into and upon it. Christ, therefore, in our text is said to be God’s not only as the only-begotten Son of God, but as “the HEAD of the body, the Church” (Col. 1:18); for, says the Apostle, “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones” (Ephes. 5:30). Christ, then, is God’s, with all those that belong to him–he as much as they, they as much as he. Look, then, at these glorious truths. “You are Christ’s” because by donation, purchase, and possession you are members of his body. “Christ is God’s” as Son, as Servant, as Mediator, as Head of the Church. Then you too are God’s, because you are Christ’s; for the members are one with their covenant Head.

To Be Near Jesus

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“Make this promise to me, O women of Jerusalem! If you find my Beloved One—tell Him that I am sick with love!” Song of Solomon 5:8

Such is the language of the believer panting after present fellowship with Jesus, he is love-sick for his Lord. Gracious souls are never perfectly at ease—except they are in a state of nearness to Christ; for when they are away from Him—they lose their peace. The nearer to Him—the nearer to the perfect calm of heaven; the nearer to Him—the fuller the heart is, not only of peace—but of life, and vigor, and joy—for these all depend on constant fellowship with Jesus.

What the sun is to the day, what the moon is to the night, what the dew is to the flower—such is Jesus Christ to us. What bread is to the hungry, clothing to the naked, the shadow of a great rock to the traveler in a weary land—such is Jesus Christ to us. Therefore, if we are not consciously one with Him, little marvel if our spirit cries in the words of the Song, “Make this promise to me, O women of Jerusalem! If you find my Beloved One—tell Him that I am sick with love!”

This earnest longing after Jesus, has a blessing attending it, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness”; and therefore, supremely blessed are they who thirst after the Righteous One. Blessed is that hunger, since it comes from God—if I may not have the full-blown blessedness of being filled, I would seek the same blessedness in its sweet bud—pining in emptiness and eagerness until I am filled with Christ. If I may not feed on Jesus, it shall be next door to heaven to hunger and thirst after Him. There is a hallowedness about that hunger, since it sparkles among the beatitudes of our Lord. But the blessing involves a promise. Such hungry ones “shall be filled” with what they are desiring. If Christ thus causes us to long after Himself, He will certainly satisfy those longings. And when He does come to us, as come He will—oh, how sweet it will be!

Our Remembrances

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“And when he thought thereon, he wept.” Mark 14:72

It has been thought by some that as long as Peter lived, the fountain of his tears began to flow whenever he remembered his denying his Lord. It is likely that it was so, (for his sin was very great, and grace in him had afterwards a perfect work). This same experience is common to all the redeemed family according to the degree in which the Spirit of God has removed the natural heart of stone. We, like Peter, remember our boastful promise, “Though all men shall forsake You—yet I will not.” We eat our own words—with the bitter herbs of repentance. When we think of what we vowed we would be, and of what we have been—we may weep whole showers of grief.

Peter thought on his denying his Lord. The place in which he did it, the little cause which led him into such heinous sin, the oaths and blasphemies with which he sought to confirm his falsehood, and the dreadful hardness of heart which drove him to do so again and yet again.

Can we, when we are reminded of our sins, and their exceeding sinfulness, remain stolid and stubborn? Will we not make our house a Bochim, and cry unto the Lord for renewed assurances of pardoning love? May we never take a dry-eyed look at sin, lest before long we have a tongue parched in the flames of hell.

Peter also thought upon his Master’s look of love. The Lord followed up the rooster’s warning voice with an admonitory look of sorrow, pity, and love. That glance was never out of Peter’s mind so long as he lived. It was far more effectual than ten thousand sermons would have been without the Spirit. The penitent apostle would be sure to weep—when he recollected the Savior’s full forgiveness, which restored him to his former place. To think that we have offended so kind and good a Lord—is more than sufficient reason for being constant weepers. Lord, smite our rocky hearts, and make the waters flow!

Christ, Our Refuge

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?” Solomon’s Song 8:5

Was ever a poor pilgrim more honored? Was ever a lonely traveler in better company? How can you be solitary or sorrowful, be in peril, or suffer need, while you are journeying homewards in company with and leaning upon Jesus? But for what are you to lean upon your Beloved? You are to lean upon Jesus for your entire salvation. He is “made of God unto you wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption;” and for each one of these inestimable blessings you are to depend daily upon Christ.

Where can you lean for pardon, but upon the atoning blood of Jesus? Where can you lean for acceptance, but upon the justifying righteousness of Jesus? And where can you lean for sanctification, but upon the sin-subduing grace of Jesus? This leaning upon the Beloved, then, is a daily coming up out of ourselves in the great matter of our salvation, and resting in the finished work of Christ–no more, in Christ Himself. You are to lean upon the fullness of your Beloved. He is full to a sufficiency for all the needs of His people. There cannot possibly occur a circumstance in your history, there cannot arise a necessity in your case, in which you may not repair to the infinite fullness which the Father has laid up in Christ for His Church in the wilderness. Why, then, seek in your poverty what can only be found in Christ’s riches? why look to your emptiness when you may repair to His fullness? “My grace is sufficient for you” is the cheering declaration with which Jesus meets every turn in your path, every crook in your lot, every need in your journey. Distrust then your own wisdom, look from your own self, and lean your entire weight upon the infinite fullness that is in Christ.

The posture is expressive of conscious weakness and deep self-distrust. Who is more feeble than a child of God? Taught the lesson of his weakness in the region of his own heart, and still learning it in his stumblings, falls, and mistakes, many and painful, in his self-inflicted wounds and dislocations, he is at length brought to feel that all his strength is outside of himself. He has the “sentence of death in himself, that he should not trust in himself.” “I am weak, yes, weakness itself,” is his language; “I am as a reed shaken of the wind; I stumble at a feather; I tremble at an echo; I recoil at my own shadow; the smallest difficulty impedes me; the least temptation overcomes me.

How shall I ever fight my way through this mighty host, and reach in safety the world of bliss?” By leaning daily, hourly, moment by moment, upon your Beloved for strength. Christ is the power of God, and He is the power of the children of God. Who can strengthen the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees, but Jesus? In those who have no might He increases strength. When they are weak in themselves, then are they strong in Him. His declaration is–”My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Lean, then, upon Jesus for strength. He has strength for all your weakness; He can strengthen your faith, and strengthen your hope, and strengthen your courage, and strengthen your patience, and strengthen your heart, for every burden, for every trial, and for every temptation. Lean upon Him; He loves to feel the pressure of your arm; He loves you to link your feebleness to His almightiness, to avail yourself of His grace. Thus leaning off yourself upon Christ, “as your day, so shall your strength be.” In all your tremblings and sinkings, you will feel the encircling of His power. “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”

Christ’s Presence in Our Toils

J.R. Miller, “Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ” 1890

“He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.” Mark 6:48

Jesus always sees our toils and distresses in this world. We do not see Him — and sometimes we think that He has forgotten us; but that is never true. He never forgets us, nor is He indifferent for a moment.

On the heights, while the battle was in progress, stood a group of men watching the struggling armies on the plain below. In this group was the American general Sheridan, who watched the mighty strife with the keen eye of a soldier. King William was also there; but his interest was different from Sheridan’s. His son was in the thick of the fight — and he watched the battle with the eye of a father, as well as of a king.

Just so, Christ looks down upon our struggles in this world. He sees us straining and toiling; He beholds all our battles and strifes. He sees us in the waves and in the storm. He sees us, not merely with the eye of the calm spectator — but with the eye of tenderest love!

This is a great thought! If we can only get it into our hearts — it will give us wondrous courage in the hour of toil, sorrow, or struggle. Jesus knows . . .
when the battle is hard,
when the night is dark,
when the temptation is more than we can bear.

The winds were against His disciples — even though Christ sent them out to sea. We learn here, that even when we are doing the things God which has bidden us do — we may encounter great opposition and difficulty. We may even be beaten back, and find the trial too great for our strength. Many of the Lord’s disciples have to make their voyage over very stormy seas — on their way to glory. For some, duty is often very hard. Indeed, a true, noble, courageous, holy life — must always exist in the face of opposition and contrary winds.

Telling our Story

Has God led you to the place and to the person or people that He would have you tell the story of a God who saves His people? If not, I would encourage you to pray that He would guide you to this place.

And when the time comes to share the life giving message of Jesus Christ, please rest assured in the knowledge that He has equipped you to reach those who He has placed before you.

I approach my evangelistic efforts with the belief that God will place before me some who he is or will in the future be calling.  Armed with this belief, I speak as though I were speaking to someone within whose heart and mind the Holy Spirit is at work. Perhaps that is not the case, but that is not for me to know.

I just watched a video (added below) that I believe is an excellent resource for a Christian engaging in evangelism, especially but not necessarily exclusively in a one-on-one situation.

Dr. Lawson delivers a sermon on Jesus and the Book of Revelation with conviction and force. It is well worth watching and I think it would be difficult for a believing person to not get a return on the time invested.

But beyond this, I also believe that this sermon is a story that, if adopted to one’s style, would serve as the foundation for an excellent gospel presentation. I’ll let you decide if that’s the case with you. But whether or not it is, I would still highly recommend this video for it’s truth. Here it is:

 

 

 

Bible Reading

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“Open you mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Psalm 119:18

To the question often earnestly propounded- “What is the best method of reading, so as to understand the Scriptures?” I would reply- Read them with the one desire and end of learning more of Christ, and with earnest prayer for the teaching of the Spirit, that Christ may be unfolded in the Word. With this simple method persevered in, you shall not fail to comprehend the mind of the Holy Spirit, in portions which previously may have been unintelligible and obscure.

Restrict not yourself to fixed rules, or to human helps. Rely less upon dictionaries, and maps, and annotations. With singleness of aim, with a specific object of research, and with fervent prayer for the Holy Spirit’s teaching, “you need not that any man teach you;” but collating Scripture with Scripture, “comparing spiritual things with spiritual,” you may fearlessly enter upon the investigation of the greatest mysteries contained in the sacred volume, assured that the Savior, for whose glories and riches you search, will reveal Himself to your eye, “full of grace and truth.”

Precious Bible! so full of a precious Jesus! How do all its clouds and darkness melt into light and beauty, as He, the Sun of righteousness, rises in noontide glory upon its page! Search it, my reader, with a view of seeing and knowing more of your Redeemer, compared with whom nothing else is worth knowing or making known. Love your Bible, because it testifies of Jesus; because it unfolds a great Savior, an almighty Redeemer; because it reveals the glory of a sin-pardoning God, in the person of Jesus Christ. Aim to unravel Jesus in the types, to grasp Him amid the shadows, to trace Him through the predictions of the prophet, the records of the evangelist, and the letters of the apostles. All speak of, and all lead to, Jesus. “They are they which testify of me.”