Those Born of the Spirit

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell where it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8.

Mark how striking is the figure. The wind bids defiance to man’s governing power. It is as sovereign in its influence as it is irresistible in its strength. We cannot command it, nor can we control it. It is alike out of our power to summon it, as it is to soothe it. It comes, we know not where; it goes, we know not where. “So is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

We do not say that the Spirit is not resisted- He is resisted, strongly and perseveringly. But He is not overpowered. All the enmity and carnality of the heart rises in direct opposition to Him; but, when bent upon a mission of love, when, in accordance with the eternal purpose, He comes to save, not all the powers on earth or in hell can effectually resist Him.

Like the mighty force, He bears down all opposition, sweeps away every barrier, overcomes every difficulty, and the sinner, “made willing in the day of His power,” is brought to the feet of Jesus, there meekly and gratefully to sit, “clothed, and in his right mind.” Who can withstand the power of the Spirit? Whether He speaks in the “still small voice” of tender, persuasive love, or whether He comes in the “mighty rushing wind” of deep and overwhelming conviction, His influence is quenchless, His power is irresistible. He effectually works in those who believe.

But His operation is as sovereign as it is mighty. He comes to whom He will; He comes when He will; He comes in the mode He will. He blows where He wills; we hear the sound, we see the effects; but how He works, why He works, and why in a particular way He works, He reveals not to mortals. Even so, O blessed and eternal Spirit, for so it seems good in Your sight.

Our Divine Leading

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“And David inquired of the Lord.”
2 Samuel 5:23

When David made this inquiry he had just fought the Philistines, and gained a signal victory. The Philistines came up in great hosts, but, by the help of God, David had easily put them to flight. Note, however, that when they came a second time, David did not go up to fight them without inquiring of the Lord. Once he had been victorious, and he might have said, as many have in other cases, “I shall be victorious again; I may rest quite sure that if I have conquered once I shall triumph yet again. Wherefore should I tarry to seek at the Lord’s hands?” Not so, David. He had gained one battle by the strength of the Lord; he would not venture upon another until he had ensured the same. He inquired, “Shall I go up against them?” He waited until God’s sign was given.

Learn from David to take no step without God. Christian, if thou wouldst know the path of duty, take God for thy compass; if thou wouldst steer thy ship through the dark billows, put the tiller into the hand of the Almighty. Many a rock might be escaped, if we would let our Father take the helm; many a shoal or quicksand we might well avoid, if we would leave to his sovereign will to choose and to command.

The Puritan said, “As sure as ever a Christian carves for himself, he’ll cut his own fingers;” this is a great truth. Said another old divine, “He that goes before the cloud of God’s providence goes on a fool’s errand;” and so he does. We must mark God’s providence leading us; and if providence tarries, tarry till providence comes. He who goes before providence, will be very glad to run back again. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go,” is God’s promise to his people. Let us, then, take all our perplexities to him, and say, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Leave not thy chamber this morning without inquiring of the Lord.

From J. C. Philpot’s Daily Portions

December 24

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn your statutes.”

Psalm 119:71

We may have everything naturally that the carnal heart desires, and only be hardened thereby into worldliness and ungodliness. But to be brought down in body and soul, to be weaned and separated from an ungodly world by affliction sanctified and made spiritually profitable–to be brought to feel our need of Christ, and that without a saving interest in his precious blood our soul must be forever lost–how much better it is really and truly, to be laid on a bed of affliction, with a hope in God’s mercy, than to be left to our own carnality and thoughtlessness.

Affliction of any kind is very hard to bear, and especially so when we begin to murmur and fret under the weight of the cross; but when the Lord afflicts it is in good earnest; he means to make us feel. Strong measures are required to bring us down; and affliction would not be affliction, unless it were full of grief and sorrow. But when affliction makes us seek the Lord with a deep feeling in the soul that none but himself can save or bless, and we are enabled to look up unto him, with sincerity and earnestness, that he would manifest his love and mercy to our heart, he will appear sooner or later.

The Lord, who searches the heart, knows all the real desire of the soul, and can and does listen to a sigh, a desire, a breath of supplication within. He knows our state, both of body and soul, and is not a hard taskmaster to require what we cannot give, or lay upon us more than we can bear. But very often he delays to appear, that he may teach us thereby we have no claim upon him, and that anything granted is of his pure compassion and grace.

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“Encourage him.”
Deuteronomy 1:38

God employs his people to encourage one another. He did not say to an angel, “Gabriel, my servant Joshua is about to lead my people into Canaan–go, encourage him.” God never works needless miracles; if his purposes can be accomplished by ordinary means, he will not use miraculous agency.

Gabriel would not have been half so well fitted for the work as Moses. A brother’s sympathy is more precious than an angel’s embassy. The angel, swift of wing, had better known the Master’s bidding than the people’s temper. An angel had never experienced the hardness of the road, nor seen the fiery serpents, nor had he led the stiff-necked multitude in the wilderness as Moses had done.

We should be glad that God usually works for man by man. It forms a bond of brotherhood, and being mutually dependent on one another, we are fused more completely into one family.

Brethren, take the text as God’s message to you. Labour to help others, and especially strive to encourage them. Talk cheerily to the young and anxious enquirer, lovingly try to remove stumbling blocks out of his way. When you find a spark of grace in the heart, kneel down and blow it into a flame. Leave the young believer to discover the roughness of the road by degrees, but tell him of the strength which dwells in God, of the sureness of the promise, and of the charms of communion with Christ.

Aim to comfort the sorrowful, and to animate the desponding. Speak a word in season to him that is weary, and encourage those who are fearful to go on their way with gladness.

God encourages you by his promises; Christ encourages you as he points to the heaven he has won for you, and the spirit encourages you as he works in you to will and to do of his own will and pleasure. Imitate divine wisdom, and encourage others, according to the word of this evening.

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“The desire of our soul is to your Name, and to the remembrance of you.” Isaiah 26:8

How sweet and expressive is the phrase, “The desire of our soul!” How it seems to carry our feelings with it! How it seems to describe the longings and utterings of a soul into which God has breathed the spirit of grace and mercy! “The desire of our soul,”—the breathing of our heart, the longing of our inmost being; the cry, the sigh, the panting of our new nature; the heavings, gaspings, lookings, longings, pantings, hungerings, thirstings, and ventings forth of the new man of grace—all are expressed in those sweet and blessed words, “The desire of our soul!” And what a mercy it is, that there should ever be in us “the desire” of a living soul; that though the righteous dealings of God are painful and severe, running contrary to everything nature loves; yet that with all these, there should be dropped into the heart that mercy, love, and grace, which draw forth the desire of the soul toward the Name of God.

This is expressed in the words that follow, “With my soul have I desired you in the night!” If you can say no more about the work of grace upon your heart than that—can you really use these words as descriptive of feelings experienced within, “With my soul have I desired you in the night?” Is your soul longing after the Lord Jesus Christ? Is it ever in the night season panting after the manifestation of his presence? hungering and thirsting after the dropping-in of some word from his lips, some sweet whisper of his love to your soul? These are marks of grace. The carnal, the unregenerate, the ungodly, have no such desires and feelings as these; there is nothing in their heart corresponding with “the desire of the soul” unto the Name of God. But it is the case with all the righteous; for “the desire of the righteous shall be satisfied.”

C. H. Spurgeon

Daily Checkbook

“Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain”— Psalm 76:10

Wicked men will be wrathful. Their anger we must endure as the badge of our calling, the token of our separation from them: if we were of the world, the world would love its own. Our comfort is that the wrath of man shall be made to redound to the glory of God.

When in their wrath the wicked crucified the Son of God they were unwittingly fulfilling the divine purpose, and in a thousand cases the willfulness of the ungodly is doing the same. They think themselves free, but like convicts in chains they are unconsciously working out the decrees of the Almighty.

The devices of the wicked are overruled for their defeat. They act in a suicidal way and baffle their own plottings. Nothing will come of their wrath which can do us real harm. When they burned the martyrs, the smoke which blew from the stake sickened men of popery more than anything else. Meanwhile, the LORD has a muzzle and a chain for bears. He restrains the more furious wrath of the enemy. He is like a miller who holds back the mass of the water in the stream, and what He does allow to flow He uses for the turning of His wheel. Let us not sigh, but sing. All is well, however hard the wind blows.

Source: http://www.sermonaudio.com/daily.asp

hat tip to:  Reformed Christian Heritage

 

 

Matthew 19:23-30

23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

 

Hymn – I Will Praise Him

Acapella Arrangement by Sam Robson

Words & Music: Mar­ga­ret J. Har­ris, 1898

When I saw the cleansing fountain
Open wide for all my sin,
I obeyed the Spirit’s wooing,
When He said, “Wilt thou be clean?”

Refrain

I will praise Him! I will praise Him!
Praise the Lamb for sinners slain;
Give Him glory, all ye people,
For His blood can wash away each stain.

Though the way seems straight and narrow,
All I claimed was swept away;
My ambitions, plans and wishes,
At my feet in ashes lay.

Refrain

Then God’s fire upon the altar
Of my heart was set aflame;
I shall never cease to praise Him
Glory, glory to His Name!

Refrain

Blessèd be the Name of Jesus!
I’m so glad He took me in;
He’s forgiven my transgressions,
He has cleansed my heart from sin.

Refrain

Glory, glory to the Father!
Glory, glory to the Son!
Glory, glory to the Spirit!
Glory to the Three in One!

Christian, Don’t Wait Until November

Followers of Jesus Christ in the United States of America, in less than four months we will go to the polls and record our choice for those who will serve as our local, state, and federal elected officials.

Believers and unbelievers alike will approach that day with the hope that our lives, and the lives of our fellow countrymen and countrywomen, will be filled with hope for our future as a result of those who we elect.

Is this a child’s dream? A baseless desire?

Not according to God’s word it isn’t.

The God of Israel has spoken;
    the Rock of Israel has said to me:
When one rules justly over men,
    ruling in the fear of God,
 he dawns on them like the morning light,
    like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning,
    like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.

2 Samuel 23:3,4

Is it possible that we could find ourselves under the rule of men and women who would serve in such a manner that the promises in 2 Samuel 23 would be fulfilled?

Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testament expands on the joys of living under the rule of such a government:

These words are a further description of the king’s duty, which is not only to rule with justice and piety, but also with sweetness, and gentleness, and condescension to the infirmities of his people; to render his government as acceptable to them as is the sunshine in a clear morning, or the tender grass which springs out of the earth by the warm beams of the sun after the rain.

I realize that this nation is as far removed from these ideals as a horse’s tail is from its nose. But I ask myself why God would tell us of such a government if attaining the same was not possible?

I therefore must say that it is absolutely possible. But how?

Maybe we should approach our King, find his ear through our prayers, confess our sin, and beseech him that he would find favor on our nation.

Might we be able to find within God’s provisioning that single mustard seed worth of faith which would shake the upcoming elections at their very foundation?

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Romans 13:1

See here? Is it not God who put our current government in place? Can not the same God answer his people’s prayers and install a government that governs with “sweetness, and gentleness, and condescension to the infirmities of his people?”

Meet with your God each morning, noon, and night. Cry out to him the words which he gives us in 2 Samuel 23 and Romans 13.

Do this for your family, your church, your nation. But most of all do this that God might be glorified through the faith of his people working as salt and light in this darkened world.

God bless you all, my prayer for God’s strength in your prayers is ongoing.

Larry

Posted at: The Christian’s Report on July 9, 2016