Monday, November 24, 2008

An Encouraging Tidbit

"He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you."  - John 16:15

There are times when all the promises and doctrines of the Bible are of no avail, unless a gracious hand shall apply them to us. We are thirsty, but too faint to crawl to the water- brook. When a soldier is wounded in battle it is of little use for him to know that there are those at the hospital who can bind up his wounds, and medicines there to ease all the pains which he now suffers: what he needs is to be carried thither, and to have the remedies applied. 

It is thus with our souls, and to meet this need there is one, even the Spirit of truth, who takes of the things of Jesus, and applies them to us. Think not that Christ hath placed His joys on heavenly shelves that we may climb up to them for ourselves, but he draws near, and sheds his peace abroad in our hearts. 

O Christian, if thou art to-night labouring under deep distresses, thy Father does not give thee promises and then leave thee to draw them up from the Word like buckets from a well, but the promises he has written in the Word he will write anew on your heart. He will manifest his love to you, and by his blessed Spirit, dispel your cares and troubles. 

Be it known unto thee, O mourner, that it is God's prerogative to wipe every tear from the eye of his people. The good Samaritan did not say, "Here is the wine, and here is the oil for you"; he actually poured in the oil and the wine. So Jesus not only gives you the sweet wine of the promise, but holds the golden chalice to your lips, and pours the life-blood into your mouth. 

The poor, sick, way-worn pilgrim is not merely strengthened to walk, but he is borne on eagles' wings. Glorious gospel! which provides everything for the helpless, which draws nigh to us when we cannot reach after it-brings us grace before we seek for grace! Here is as much glory in the giving as in the gift.  Happy people who have the Holy Ghost to bring Jesus to them.
-C.H. Spurgeon 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Shut Up Unto God

This morning I was reading the account of Noah, and the phrase stood out to me, 

"...and the Lord shut him in." Genesis 7:16

I started to ponder what might have gone through Noah's heart during those long months inside the ark. 

At first I'm sure the winds, waves, and storm outside must have been terrifying. The adjustment of a new life caring for hundreds of animals inside of the confines of a wooden box must have held it's stresses. The tedious days of waiting for the waters to abate must have grown weary. I am sure that relationship issues had to be worked through, as nerves at time grew raw, and tempers short. 

Did Noah face loneliness? Boredom? Confusion? Stress? Being shut up in any situation has it's challenges. Long days turn into months as perhaps hopes are deferred, questions remain hanging with no clear answer in sight, stresses do no abate as quickly as we hoped, or relationships are strained. 

Whatever your situation, whatever my situation, verse one of chapter eights can be an encouragement. 

"And God remembered Noah...."

However drawn out our seasons of testing seem, we must remember that there was a time when Noah and his family walked out of that ark onto dry land and the magnificent beauty of the rainbow of God's promise. They were not shut up forever, and their time spent enclosed in the ark made the beauty of God's love and promises that much more precious to them when God did open the door. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

This morn' after elections...

...I am grateful. 

Grateful that:

"My defense is of God, which saveth the upright in heart." Ps. 7:10

"..the Lord shall endure forever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgement to the people in uprightness." Ps. 9:7-8

"The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee." Ps. 9:9-10

"God changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding." Dan. 2:21

"The King's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it withersoever he will." Proverbs 21:1

I am grateful:

That our confidence is not in changing, fallible man, but in an unswerving, faithful, Father who never fails to keep His word. 

That our King is sovereign, never making mistakes, and never ordering circumstances differently than what is best for His children. 

That righteousness will ultimately prevail, showing forth to the entire world, a holy, just, and unblamable King who will forever reign in truth and righteousness. 

Lastly, I am grateful that this King is my king. 

Is He yours?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Amazing, Completely Free Love

"I will love them freely..." Hosea 14:4

This 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 wish I would."

"I will not love you because you feel your need, I will love you freely."

"But I do not that softening of spirit which I desire."

Remember that softening of spirit is not a condition, for there are no conditions; the covenant of grace has no conditionality whatsoever; so that we without any fitness may venture upon the promise of God which was made to us in Jesus Christ, when He said, "He that believeth 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."

-C.H Spurgeon