Our Amazing Identity

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“The myrtle trees that were in the valley.” Zechariah 1:8

The vision in this chapter describes the condition of Israel in Zechariah’s day; but being interpreted in its aspect towards us, it describes the Church of God as we find it now in the world.

The Church is compared to a myrtle grove flourishing in a valley. It is hidden, unobserved, secreted; courting no honor and attracting no observation from the careless gazer. The Church, like her head, has a glory—but it is concealed from carnal eyes, for the time of her breaking forth in all her splendor has not yet come.

The idea of tranquil security is also suggested to us—for the myrtle grove in the valley is still and calm, while the storm sweeps over the mountain summits. Tempests spend their force upon the craggy peaks of the Alps—but down yonder where the stream flows which makes glad the city of our God—the myrtle trees flourish by the still waters, all unshaken by the impetuous wind. How great is the inward tranquility of God’s Church! Even when opposed and persecuted, she has a peace which the world gives not, and which, therefore, it cannot take away! The peace of God which passes all understanding, keeps the hearts and minds of God’s people.

Does not the metaphor forcibly picture the peaceful, perpetual growth of the saints? The myrtle tree does not shed her leaves—she is always green. Just so, the Church in her worst time—still has a blessed verdure of grace about her; nay, she has sometimes exhibited most verdure when her winter has been sharpest. She has prospered most, when her adversities have been most severe.

Hence the text hints at victory. The myrtle is the emblem of peace, and a significant token of triumph. The wreaths of conquerors were bound with myrtle and with laurel; and is not the Church ever victorious? Is not every Christian more than a conqueror through Him who loved him? Living in peace—all the saints fall asleep in the arms of victory!

Our Necessary Poverty

J. C. Philpot

 

Today’s Daily Portion

“The poor have the gospel preached to them.” Matthew 11:5

What is the gospel? Is not the gospel a proclamation of pure mercy, of super-abounding grace? Does it not declare the loving-kindness of God in sending his only-begotten Son to bleed and die, and, by his obedience, blood, and merit, to bring in a salvation without money and without price? Is not this the gospel? Not clogged by conditions, nor crippled by anything that the creature has to perform; but flowing freely forth as the air in the skies?

The poor to whom the gospel is preached, value it; it is suitable to them; it is sweet and precious when the heart is brought down. But if I stand up in religious pride, if I rest upon my own righteousness, if I am not stripped of everything in the creature, what is the gospel to me? I have no heart to receive it; there is no place in my soul for a gospel without money and without price.

But when I sink into the depth of creature poverty, when I am nothing and have nothing but a mass of sin and guilt, then the blessed gospel, pardoning my sins, covering my naked soul, shedding abroad the love of God, guiding me into everything good, and leading me up into enjoyment with a Three-One God, becomes prized.

When such a pure, such a blessed gospel comes into my heart and conscience, has not my previous poverty of spirit prepared me for it? Has not my previous beggary and necessity made a way for it, made it suitable to me, and when it comes, makes it precious to me? We must, then, sink into poverty of spirit, that painful place, in order to feel the preciousness, and drink into the sweetness and blessedness of the gospel of the grace of God.

Our Rest

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

With what brightness does the truth appear, written with beams of heavenly light–Jesus, the Rest of the weary!

“Come unto me.”

The Father has made His Son the resting-place of His Church. He Himself has vested His whole glory in Christ. He knew what Christ was capable of sustaining. He knew that as His fellow–one equal with Himself–He could with safety embark the honor of His government in the hands of His Son. He confided therein Himself! His government, and His Church–all in Christ.

To this “tried stone” He would now bring His people. He found it strong enough for Himself, and He knows it to be strong enough for them, and with confidence He invites the weary to come and repose upon it. Jesus but echoes the heart of the Father when he says, “Come unto me–I will give you rest.”

Never did the tongue of Jesus utter words more learned, more eloquent, more persuasive. Just the word we need. By nature, we seek rest everywhere, and in everything, but in Jesus. We seek it in the sensual world, we seek it in the moral world, we seek it in the religious world–we find it not. We seek it in conviction, we seek it in ordinances, we seek it in doing the works of the law, and still it evades us. We go from place to place, from means to means, from minister to minister, and still the burden presses, and the guilt remains, and we find no rest.

No; and never will we find it, until it is sought and found solely, wholly, exclusively, and entirely in Jesus. Rest for the sin-weary soul is only to be met with in Him who bore the curse for man’s transgression. Here God rests, and here the sinner must rest. Here the Father rests, and here the child may rest. Jesus is the great burden-bearer, for God and for man. Listen again to the melody of His words: “Come unto me–I will give you rest.” See, how He invites you, without one solitary condition. He makes no exception to your guilt and unworthiness. The word is, “Come unto me;” in other words, believe in me.

To “come” is simply and only to believe. And oh! how can we fully set forth the “rest” to be found it Jesus? Let those testify who took their guilt to His blood, their vileness to His righteousness, their sins to His grace, their burdens to His arm, their sorrows to His heart. Let them tell how, in a moment, their sense of weariness fled, and rest, sweet, soothing rest to their soul succeeded. Are you, my reader, a sin-weary soul? Then, to you is this invitation addressed: “Come unto me–to me, a Savior whose willingness is equal to my ability. To me, who never rejected a single soul that sought salvation and heaven at my hands. Come unto me–I will give you rest.”

Our Christlikeness

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“And they took knowledge of them—that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read ‘lives of Christ’, beautifully and eloquently written—but the best life of Christ is His living biography, written out in the words and actions of His people. If we were what we profess to be—and what we should be—we would be pictures of Christ! Yes, such striking likenesses of Him, that the world would not have say, “Well, it seems somewhat of a likeness;” but they would, when they once beheld us, exclaim, “He has been with Jesus! He has been taught of Him—he is like Him! He has caught the very idea of the holy Man of Nazareth, and he works it out in his life and every-day actions!”

A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness. Never blush to own your religion; your profession will never disgrace you—take care you never disgrace that. Be like Jesus—very valiant for your God. Imitate Him in your loving spirit—think kindly, speak kindly, and do kindly, that men may say of you, “He has been with Jesus!” Imitate Jesus in His holiness. Was He zealous for His Master? So you be; ever go about doing good. Let not time be wasted—it is too precious. Was He self-denying, never looking to His own interest? Be the same. Was He devout? Be fervent in your prayers. Had He deference to His Father’s will? So submit yourselves to Him. Was He patient? So learn to endure. And best of all, as the highest portraiture of Jesus, try to forgive your enemies, as He did; and let those sublime words of your Master, “Father, forgive them—for they know not what they do,” always ring in your ears. Forgive, as you hope to be forgiven. Heap coals of fire on the head of your foe—by your kindness to him. Good for evil, recollect, is godlike. Be godlike, then; and in all ways and by all means—so live that all may say of you, “He has been with Jesus!”

Our Necessary Burdens

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion.” Amos 6:1

Bunyan says, in his plain, homely language– “A Christian man is never long at ease; when one fright’s gone, another does him seize.”

Sin will never let him rest long, nor Satan let him rest long, nor God let him rest long, nor his own fears let him rest long. He cannot be at ease until his conscience is purged with the blood of sprinkling; until his soul has been blessed with a feeling sense and enjoyment of the love of God; until he has sweet manifestations of pardoning mercy, blessed revelations of Christ to his soul, with the voice and witness of the Spirit in his breast. This is not the ease of Moab (Jer. 48:11), but the ease of which the Psalmist speaks when he says, “His soul shall dwell at ease” (Psalm 25:13). All ease but this is the sleep of the sluggard; carnal ease as opposed to spiritual. If then he drops into carnal ease, and for a time sin does not seem to plague, nor Satan tempt, nor the world persecute, the Christian man feels that he is getting wrong; he has lost a burden, but not in the right way, and would rather have the burden back than be left to have his portion among those who are at ease in Zion.

Our Annointing

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.” –1 John 2:27

Have you ever had a solitary drop of this holy anointing oil fall upon your heart? One drop, if it be but a drop, will sanctify you forever to the service of God.

There was not much of the holy anointing oil used for the service of the tabernacle, when we consider the size and quantity of what had to be consecrated, for Moses had to anoint therewith the whole of the tabernacle of the congregation, as well as all the vessels, with all their various accessories. When he went through the sacred work, he touched one vessel after another with a drop of oil; for one drop sanctified the vessel to the service of the tabernacle. There was no repetition of the consecration needed; it abode.

So if you ever had a drop of God’s love shed abroad in your heart–a drop of the anointing to teach you the truth as it is in Jesus; a drop to penetrate, to soften, to heal, to feed and give light, life, and power to your soul–you have the unction from the Holy One; you know all things which are for your salvation, and by that same holy oil you have been sanctified and made meet for an eternal inheritance.

 

The Church

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. – John 4:34

With Jesus as our example, the heart desire of every believer should be to seek God’s will and to then make diligent effort to bring it to pass.

Just like every Christian throughout history, each of us has a local church experience. Our lives as believers are lived out in fellowship with those of like faith. God has called us and declared that we be sent as light in a dark world, salt for a creation in dire need of preservation.

Darrell L. Guider, in his book Missional Churchdescribes this work in his discussion of missional community, a group of believers committed to fulfilling God’s purpose for His church. I will quote him as a launching point for my presentation as follows:

The purpose of missional communities is to be a source of radical hope, to witness to the new identity and vision, the new way of life that has become a social reality in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. […] As sign, foretaste, agent and instrument of God’s reconciling love and forgiveness, the church makes Jesus Christ visible in the world.

– Darrell L. Guider, Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America

And so the journey begins. It is my hope that what is presented here will move myself and those who God brings here to seek His will and then, through His strength, work toward the end that He directs us to.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Prayer Request

Was at our small neighborhood park last week when a new resident arrived with her small dog. He’s a puppy of about 10 months and she runs him out in the open space. He spotted us (my dog and me) and came charging over.  In an attempt to gain control the owner ran after her dog and tried stepping on his leash. Eventually she stomped on it and was able to stop him. Our dogs get along great but she is trying to train him so that’s why she was trying to stop him.

Well I was back out there today and she told me that she hurt her knee trying to step on the leash. From the way that she was walking I could tell that it was probably very painful. And so she is worried about a sprained or torn ligament. She did say that since yesterday it showed at least a small improvement which is a good sign.

I don’t believe that she is a Christian but when I told her that I would pray that God would bring healing to her knee she was very appreciative.

She was planning on driving up to a different town today and is probably already on her way.  My prayer is that the Lord would touch her knee with his Physician’s hand during her 4 hour drive and that she would arrive with no pain. I added that she would see through this healing the ability of God to heal something much greater and more important – that being our need for reconcilliation with Him (healing the relationship).

And so I invite you, the reader, to join with me in praying for her. Her name is Elizabeth.

thank you!

Larry