Sunday, 19 February 2017

Our poor prayers
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,

Is prayer a reality with you, dear friends, or is it a mere mockery?

Is it a sort of religious rite that you feel bound to perform, or has it become as essential to your spiritual being as breathing is to your natural being? Is it now to you a matter of course that you should pray? Is it as natural for you to ask of your Father who is in heaven as it is for your little children to ask of you who are fathers on earth?

Prayer should be to you an instinct of your new nature, as natural to your spiritual being as a good appetite is to a man in health. There should be a holy hunger and thirst to pray, and the soul never prays so well as when it is reminded, not by the hour of the day or night, but by its real needs; and when it resorts to its place of private prayer, not because it thinks it ought, but because it feels that it must, and shall, and will go there, and is delighted at the privilege of having communion with its God.

Someone perhaps asks, “Why do you pray, when everything is settled by the divine decree?”

It is true that everything is so settled, and it is for that very reason that we do pray. The Spirit of God leads us to desire exactly what God has decreed, and though we cannot open and read the book of his decrees, the Holy Spirit can read that book, so he guides us to pray in accordance with its secret records, and he also makes intercession for us “according to the will of God.”  A true prayer is the echo of the eternal purpose. Our prayers are the shadows before God’s mercies. He who can truly pray has first read the heart of God, and then spoken out what is there.

Our poor prayers are blotted, and blurred, and stained with sin, but our great high Priest sprinkles them with his own most precious blood, and so purifies them, and then, with his own dear hand, he lays them before the mercy-seat, and for his sake they are sure to be accepted.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

One puddle, if we wallow in it
From ‘The Golden Key to Open Hidden Treasures’ - Thomas Brooks

One sin stripped the fallen angels of all their glory.

One sin stripped our first parents of all their dignity and excellency.

One fly in the box of precious ointment spoils the whole box.

One thief may rob a man of all his treasure.

One disease may deprive a man of all his health.

One millstone will sink a man to the bottom of the sea, as well as a hundred.

One puddle, if we wallow in it—will defile us.

Just so, one sin allowed and lived in—will make a man miserable forever.

Some will leave all their sins but one. Satan can hold a man fast enough by one sin which he allows and lives in—as the fowler can hold the bird fast enough by one wing or by one claw.

Satan is content that men should yield to God in many things—provided that they will be but true to Satan in some one thing. The devil knows very well, that as one grain of poison may poison a man, and one stab at the heart may kill a man—just so, one sin unrepented of, one sin allowed, retained, cherished, and practiced —will certainly damn a man.

Though all the parts of a man's body are healthy, except only one part—that one diseased and ulcerous part may be deadly to you. Just so, one sin allowed, indulged, and lived in—will prove killing and damning to you.

It is horrid hypocrisy, damnable folly, and astonishing impudency—for a man to beg the pardon of those very sins which he is resolved never to forsake.

These things should be frequently and seriously thought of, by such poor fools as are entangled by any lust.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

"For me to live is Christ!" Philippians 1:21
(Charles Spurgeon)

The believer did not always live to Christ. He began to do so when God the Holy Spirit convinced him of sin, and when by grace he was brought to see the dying Saviour making a propitiation for his guilt. From the moment of the new and celestial birth, the man begins to live to Christ. Jesus is to believers the one Pearl of great price, for whom we are willing to part with all that we have. He has so completely won our love, that it beats alone for Him; to His glory we would live — and in defence of His gospel we would die; He is the pattern of our life, and the model after which we would sculpture our character.

Paul's words mean more than most men think; they imply that the aim and end of his life was Christ — nay, his life itself was Jesus. In the words of an ancient saint, he did eat, and drink, and sleep eternal life. Jesus was his very breath, the soul of his soul, the heart of his heart, the life of his life.

Can you say, as a professing Christian, that you live up to this idea? Can you honestly say that for you to live is Christ?

Your business — are you doing it for Christ? Is it not done for self-aggrandizement and for family advantage? Do you ask, "Is that a mean reason?" For the Christian it is. He professes to live for Christ; how can he live for another object without committing a spiritual adultery?

Many there are who carry out this principle in some measure; but who is there that dare say that he hath lived wholly for Christ as the apostle did? Yet, this alone is the true life of a Christian — its source, its sustenance, its fashion, its end, all gathered up in one word — Christ Jesus.

Lord, accept me; I here present myself, praying to live only in Thee and to Thee. Let me be as the bullock which stands between the plough and the altar, to work or to be sacrificed; and let my motto be, "Ready for either!"

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Rattles and baubles
(Thomas Brooks, "The Unsearchable Riches of Christ")

Weak Christians are usually much concerned and taken up with the poor base things of this world. They are much in carking and caring for them, and in pursuing and hunting greedily after them. All which does clearly evidence—that their graces are very weak, and their corruptions very strong.

Certainly there is but little of Christ and grace within, where the heart is so strongly concerned about earthly things. Where there is such strong love and workings of heart after these poor things—it shows the soul's enjoyment of God to be but poor and low. Those who are rich and strong in grace, look upon the world with a holy scorn and disdain.

The greatest bargain which a soul rich in grace will make with God for himself is this, "If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God:" So it was with that brave soul in Genesis 28:20-21. Jacob desires but bread and clothing. Mark, he asks bread—not dainties; clothing—not ornaments.

Grown men prefer one piece of gold, above a thousand new pennies. A soul who is strong in grace, who is high in its spiritual enjoyments, prefers one good word from God, above all the dainties of this world. Souls who know by experience what the bosom of Christ is, what spiritual communion is, what the glory of heaven is—will not be put off with things which are mixed, mutable, and momentary. "Lord," he prays, "Warm my heart with the beams of Your love—and then a little of these things will suffice."

It is childish to be concerned more with the rattles and baubles of this world, than with heavenly riches.

A little of this world will satisfy one who is strong in grace, much will not satisfy one who is weak in grace, nothing will satisfy one who is void of grace.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Bought with a high price! 
Spurgeon, "Bought with a Price

"For ye are bought with a price:"  1 Corinthians 6:20

Refresh in your souls a sense of the fact that you are "bought with a high price."

There in the midnight hour, amid the olives of Gethsemane, kneels Immanuel the Son of God; he groans, he pleads in prayer, he wrestles. See the beady drops stand on his brow, drops of sweat, but not of such sweat as pours from men when they earn the bread of life, but the sweat of him who is procuring life itself for us. It is blood! It is crimson blood! Great gouts of it are falling to the ground! O soul, your Saviour speaks to you from out Gethsemane at this hour, and he says: "Here and thus I bought you with a price." Come, stand and view him in the agony of the olive garden, and understand at what a cost he procured your deliverance.

Track him in all his path of shame and sorrow until you see him at Gabbatha. Mark how they bind his hands and fasten him to the whipping-post. See, they bring the scourges and the cruel Roman whips; they tear his flesh; the ploughers make deep furrows on his blessed body, and the blood gushes forth in streams, while rivulets from his temples, where the crown of thorns has pierced them, join to swell the purple stream. From beneath the scourges he speaks to you with accents soft and low, and he says, "My child, it is here and thus I bought you with a price."

But see him on the cross itself when the consummation of all has come. His hands and feet are fountains of blood, his soul is full of anguish even to heartbreak; and there, before the soldier pierces with a spear his side, bowing down he whispers to you and to me, "It was here and thus, I bought you with a high price."

O by Gethsemane, by Gabbatha, by Golgotha, by every sacred name collected with the passion of our Lord; by sponge and vinegar, and nail and spear, and everything that enlarged the pain and increased the anguish of his death, I implore you, my beloved brethren, to remember that you were "bought with a high price," and "are not your own."

Sunday, 15 January 2017

We would soon hear all the dogs of Hell baying with all their might against us! 

(Charles Spurgeon)

"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." John 15:19

There would be much more persecution than there is — if there were more real Christians. But we have become so like the world, that the world does not hate us as it once did. If we would be more holy, more true, more Christ-like, more godly — we would soon hear all the dogs of Hell baying with all their might against us!

Remember, my brethren, whoever you may be, that if there is no distinction between you and the world around you — then you may be certain that you are of the world. For, there must always be some marks in the children of God to distinguish them from the ungodly. There is a something in them which is not to be found in the best worldling — something which is not to be discovered in the most admirable carnal man. A something in their character which can be readily perceived and which marks them as belonging to another and higher race, the twice-born, the elect of God, eternally chosen by Him — and, therefore, made to be choice ones through the effectual working of His grace.

"I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." John 17:14

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Holy ground!

(Alexander Smellie, "The Secret Place" 1907)

"And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." Exodus 3:5 

I have no need to go to the loneliness of Sinai to meet with God. I find holy ground much nearer home. But I wonder whether I take my sandals off of my feet.

God reveals Himself to me in His written Word. It is His sanctuary. By its agency, my deepest life is created, quickened, sustained. Listening to it, the saints have heard the very voice of their Lord. But do I reverence God by my frivolous use of the words of Scripture? And, whenever I open the Book, do I remember that God has breathed the Spirit of Life into its chapters and verses? Mine is culpable levity.

He reveals Himself in my history, as truly as ever He did in the history of Israel. In it, the devout heart will trace...
  His perfect providence,
  His power,
  His wisdom,
  His stern hatred of sin,
  His overflowing goodness.

Best of all, He reveals Himself in Christ. But if Christ brings Him close to me, He teaches me fresh reasons for standing in awe of Him.

His life shows me what God is — spotless, righteous, faithful, unflinchingly holy.

And His Cross has a more impressive message still. Here are God's infinite gentleness and shoreless mercy. Side by side with these are God's  abhorrence of my iniquity, and His unconquerable justice. He is holy, holy, holy — even in the brightest and sweetest manifestation of His grace. Yet I do not always worship Him "with trembling hope and penitential tears."

Not a day passes, that I am not standing in the courts of His house. Not a place can I visit, where the Spirit of glory and of God may not overshadow me. I pray for tenfold more thoughtfulness and adoration and humility.