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.