Thoughts on this world

We are instructed by God to not love the things of this world. Over the past 20 years, but especially the last 3 weeks, He has been steadily working in my heart and mind to enable me to obey this command.

But as this process unfolds, a realization emerges that separates the things that we experience from what the world offers us. And chief among those experiences are the ones that involve relationships with people.

The people in our lives assemble a tapestry that will endure throughout eternity. Jesus tells us that we will remember the times when we assisted those who were in need.

This last three weeks has been a time of reflection for me. I have pondered with gratitude the unlikely reality that at a time when I was not seeking Him, God called me; and through His love He brought me out of a dark existence and delivered me into His amazing light.

Regardless of how one interprets the current situation viz. the “virus”, it would seem apparent that God has determined that this nation’s corruption, immorality, and denial of His sovereign and righteous reign have reached the point where He will not allow the situation to continue unabated.

When I consider all that is contained in the idea of being a witness to God’s judgement on our nation it is overwhelming. I’m sure that the last three weeks have been an emotional roller coaster ride for most, if not all, people in this land. I’ve experienced fear, anger, and sadness in varying combinations and degrees.

Throughout, I never doubted that the God who was at work in this situation is a God who is faithful to His people. And so even when I was in the depths I knew that God had placed His care on those who fear Him.

If there are particularly difficult days in your life during this season I’m moved to remind you that God is already, through His Spirit, teaching you about the glory that will ultimately be revealed to you in its fullness.

For me, I am happy to report that I’ve made significant strides in letting go of the things of this world. It’s not a finished work but I thank God for the progress that I’ve seen. As for those things in this world that are lasting, and I’m speaking only of heart matters here, the music videos below captures a small bit of my past life and brings to mind some of the people that I’ve known.  And while no nation is without sin, I believe that for much or even most of our country’s history there was an abundance of goodness throughout this land.  It’s plainly apparent in my memory and I think also wonderfully so in the videos.

 

Through Much Tribulation

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Morning Thought

“I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.” –Isaiah 48:10

According to God’s own testimony, it is “through much tribulation” that we are to enter into the kingdom; and therefore there is no entering into the kingdom of grace here, or the kingdom of glory hereafter, without it. But let this be ever borne in mind, that whatever affliction befalls the saints, it is laid upon them by the hand of God, and that for the express purpose of putting them into a situation and of making them capable of receiving those comforts which God only can bestow.

None but Jesus himself and the Father can comfort a truly afflicted heart. And he can and does from time to time comfort his dear people by a sense of his presence; by a word of power from his gracious lips; by the light of his countenance; by the balm of his atoning blood and dying love; and by the work and witness of the Spirit within. And as they receive this consolation from the mouth of God, their hearts are comforted. How good the Lord is of his own free grace to bestow such blessings upon his redeemed family! May he give us much of them! And may he, wherever he has bestowed upon any of us everlasting consolation, or even a good hope through grace, comfort our hearts as we journey through this valley of tears, and may our consolations be neither few nor small.

Encouragement

Pray for faith. Pray for great faith. Pray for a faith that will provide strength and resolve, confidence and courage. Receive this faith and with it, through it, and by it glorify the God who blessed you with it.

Trust in God as a small child trusts in their mother and father. Be fearful in nothing, knowing that your Father in heaven loves you and that He is a faithful God. He will not leave nor forsake you.

Love God and love others as you love yourself.

In Time of Suffering

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“Though He was a Son—yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” — Hebrews 5:8

We are told that the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering, therefore we who are sinful, and who are far from being perfect—must not wonder if we are called to pass through suffering too. Shall the Head be crowned with thorns—and shall the other members of the body be rocked upon the dainty lap of ease? Must Christ pass through seas of His own blood to win the crown—and are we to walk to heaven dry-shod in silver slippers? No, our Master’s experience teaches us that suffering is necessary, and the true-born child of God must not, would not, escape it if he might!

But there is one very comforting thought in the fact of Christ’s “being made perfect through suffering” — it is, that He can have complete sympathy with us. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are.” In this sympathy of Christ, we find a sustaining power. One of the early martyrs said, “I can bear it all, for Jesus suffered, and He sympathizes with me, and this makes me strong.” Believer, lay hold of this thought in all times of agony. Let the thought of Jesus, strengthen you as you follow in His steps. Find a sweet support in His sympathy!

Remember that, to suffer is an honorable thing — to suffer for Christ is glory. The apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to do this. Just so far as the Lord shall give us grace to suffer for Christ, to suffer with Christ—just so far does He honor us. The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions! The regalia of the kings whom God has anointed—are their troubles, their sorrows, and their griefs. Let us not, therefore, shun being honored. Let us not turn aside from being exalted. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us up. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.”

Our Faith Walk

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“We walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Cor. 5:7.

This walk of faith takes in all the minute circumstances of every day’s history; a walking every step by faith; a looking above trials, above necessities, above perplexities, above improbabilities and impossibilities, above all second causes; and, in the face of difficulties and discouragements, going forward, leaning upon God. If the Lord were to roll the Red Sea before us, and marshal the Egyptians behind us, and thus hemming us in on every side, should yet bid us advance, it would be the duty and the privilege of faith instantly to obey, believing that, before our feet touched the water, God, in our extremity, would divide the sea and take us dry-shod over it.

This is the only holy and happy life of a believer; if he for a moment leaves this path and attempts to walk by sight, difficulties will throng around him, troubles will multiply, the smallest trials will become heavy crosses, temptations to depart from the simple and uptight walk will increase in number and power, the heart will sicken at disappointment, the Holy Spirit will be grieved, and God will be dishonored. Let this precious truth ever be before the mind, “We walk by faith, not by sight.”

Our Understanding in Light of God’s Holy Spirit

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Morning Thought

“We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” –1 Corinthians 2:12

What thick clouds of darkness spread themselves at times over our souls; all things out of sight; our signs and tokens buried, as it were, in mist. It is like a sea fog, that comes out of the bosom of the vasty deep, and hides all objects from view. The ships are on the sea, notwithstanding, but this deep fog prevents their being seen. So with our souls at times–all is misty, cloudy, and no signs can be seen of the work of God upon our hearts. And yet we “know” them, by receiving the Spirit of God, for it is the only way whereby they can be known. We can only see light in God’s light; only believe by God’s faith; only love by God’s love; therefore can only know the things freely given to us of God by the revelation of the Spirit.

What we know savingly, experimentally, feelingly, we know only by divine teaching. How dark our mind often is; how low we sink at times; it is only the Son of God that can enable us to rise; only by the revelation of his Spirit can we believe that we are his. We know he is God when he shines forth, as we know the sun when it blazes forth in the summer sky. We know him by the teaching of the Spirit, but cannot see him until our eyes are divinely opened. The sun may shine in all its glory–does that communicate light to the eyes of the blind? or warm the corpse lying in the coffin? The blind see not; the dead hear not; the living, the living alone see and know the Son of God.

 

Our Fiery Trials

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Evening Thought

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; but rejoice inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings. 1 Peter 4:12, 13.

IF, dear reader, you are in possession of real faith, even in the smallest degree, expect its conflict and its trial. It is truly remarked by the holy Leighton, that God never had but one Son without sin, and never one without suffering. The existence of faith seems necessarily to imply the endurance of suffering—not because of any intrinsic defect in faith, but in consequence of the impurity of the heart in which that faith is lodged; its perpetual admixture with the alloy of a mind but partially renewed, its constant contact with the objects and scenes of sense and of earth, render trial as essential to the purification of faith, as the flail to the pure wheat, and as the crucible to the precious metal.

The trials and temptations, therefore, with which God visits His people, are designed as tests of faith. Without them we should lack some of the strongest evidences of experimental Christianity. Who would wish the stubble and the chaff to render doubtful the existence of the true grain, or the tin and the dross to obscure the luster of the fine gold? Welcome, then, every trial and test of your faith. Welcome whatever stamps its reality, increases its strength, and heightens its luster. Nor be surprised that this, above all the graces of the Holy Spirit, should be a mark for the great enemy of God.

As faith is the grace which most glorifies God, which brings the greatest degree of joy and peace into the soul, and which constitutes its mightiest shield in the conflict, it becomes an especial object of Satan’s malignant attack. The most Christ-exalting, God-honoring, and sanctifying of all the Spirit’s graces must not expect to escape his fearful assaults. If this “gold ” was “tried in the fire” in the sinless person of Jesus, is there not a greater necessity that in our fallen and corrupt nature it should be subjected to a second process of trial?

It was tried in the Head, to show that it was real gold; it is tried in the members, to separate it from the alloy with which t becomes mixed in its contact with our hearts. In the one case, the trial was to stamp its divine nature; in the other case, the trial is to purify it from the human nature. Thus are we honored to suffer, in some small degree, as our Lord and Master suffered. Therefore, beloved, “rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

Our Necessary Perspective During Time of Trial

Originally Posted on August 10, 2017

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“Every branch that bears fruit he prunes, that it may bring forth more fruit.”

John 15:2

The Lord empties before He fills. He makes room for Himself, for His love, and for His grace. He dethrones the rival, casts down the idol, and seeks to occupy the temple, filled and radiant with His own ineffable glory. Thus does He bring the soul into great straits, lay it low, but to school and discipline it for richer mercies, higher service, and greater glory. Be sure of this, that, when the Lord is about to bless you with some great and peculiar blessing, He may prepare you for it by some great and peculiar trial.

If He is about to advance you to some honor, He may first lay you low that He may exalt you. If He is about to place you in a sphere of great and distinguished usefulness, He may first place you in His school of adversity, that you may know how to teach others. If He is about to bring forth your righteousness as the noon-day, He may cause it to pass under a cloud, that, emerging from its momentary obscuration, it may shine with richer and more enduring luster. Thus does He deal with all His people. Thus He dealt with Joseph. Intending to elevate him to great distinction and influence, He first casts him into a dungeon, and that, too, in the very land in which he was so soon to be the gaze and the astonishment of all men. Thus, too, He dealt with David, and Job, and Nebuchadnezzar; and thus did God deal with His own Son, whom He advanced to His own right hand from the lowest state of humiliation and suffering.

Regard the present suffering as but preparatory to future glory. This will greatly mitigate the sorrow, reconcile the heart to the trial, and tend materially to secure the important end for which it was sent. The life of a believer is but a disciplining for heaven. All the covenant dealings of His God and Father are but to make him a partaker of His holiness here, and thus to fit him for a partaker of His glory hereafter. Here, he is but schooling for a high station in heaven. He is but preparing for a more holy, and, for anything we know, a more active and essential service in the upper world. And every infirmity overcome, every sin subdued, every weight laid aside, every step advanced in holiness, does but strengthen and mature the life of grace below, until it is fitted for, and terminates in, the life of glory above.

 

Pray Thee With Fervent Heart, Knowing That Our Prayers Shall Be Heard

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“He was heard in that he feared.” — Hebrews 5:7

Did this fear arise from the infernal suggestion that He was utterly forsaken.

There may be sterner trials than this—but surely it is one of the worst to be utterly forsaken?

“See,” said Satan, “you have a friend nowhere! Your Father has shut up the affections of His compassion against you. Not an angel in His courts will stretch out his hand to help you. All heaven is alienated from You; You are left alone. See the companions with whom You have taken sweet counsel, what are they worth? Son of Mary, see there Your brother James, see there Your beloved disciple John, and Your bold apostle Peter—how the cowards sleep—when You are in Your sufferings! Lo! You have no friend left in heaven or earth. All hell is against You. I have stirred up my infernal den. I have sent my missives throughout all regions summoning every prince of darkness to set upon You this night, and we will spare no arrows, we will use all our infernal might to overwhelm You! And what will You do, You solitary one?”

It may be, this was the temptation; we think it was, because the appearance of an angel unto Him strengthening Him removed that fear. He was heard in that He feared; He was no more alone—but heaven was with Him. It may be that this is the reason of His coming three times to His disciples — as Joseph Hart puts it — “Backwards and forwards thrice He ran—as if He sought some help from man.” He would see for Himself whether it were really true that all men had forsaken Him; He found them all asleep; but perhaps He gained some faint comfort from the thought that they were sleeping, not from treachery—but from sorrow, the spirit indeed was willing—but the flesh was weak.

At any rate, He was heard in that He feared. Jesus was heard in His deepest woe; my soul—you shall be heard also.