Thursday, April 30, 2009

God Says "Viewer Discretion Advised"

"Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity and revive me in Your ways." -- Ps. 119:37

"I will set no worthless thing before my eyes." -- Ps. 101:3

The manufacturing plant for practically every seed-choking weed of destruction is the television and internet medium where we "live, move, and have our being." Before you use that mouse or remote, here are three categories of "viewer discretion advised" questions regarding how your eyes and the media should relate.

First, regarding your time: Am I skipping or delaying something important in order to watch this now? What are my other social and entertainment options besides watching television or going out to see a movie? How much time have I already spent on media today? How much time have I spent surfing the net, blogging, or maintaining an online presence through social network sites? In the last week, how much time have I spent on the spiritual disciplines, building relationships, or serving in my local church compared to time spent consuming media? After investing the time to view this, will I look back on it as time well spent?

Second, regarding your heart: Why do I want to watch this program or visit this internet site? What do I find entertaining about it? Am I seeking to escape from something I should be facing by watching this -- or seeking comfort or relief that is only found in God? What sinful temptations will this program or website present? Do I secretly want to view something in it that’s sinful -- watching because I'm bored, which says what about my heart? Am I watching simply because others are, seeking to fit in? How have my online relationships impacted my face-to-face relationships, especially my face-to-face relationship with God? What motivates me to create and maintain a blog, MySpace, or Facebook presence? Am I attempting to impress others? Could I fast from all television and internet activities [and cell phone & texting??- MT] for a single day?

Third, regarding the content: What worldview or philosophy of life does this program or film present? Does this program conflict with the Bible's view of man's nature, sin, or God? What does this program or film seek to glamorize or consider important? Who are the heroes of the story, and why? Is sin shown as having negative consequences, or is it glorified and rewarded -- or worse, appealing and seductive? Is the humor coarse? Is violence or sexual content integral to the story line, or is it used gratuitously to entertain or titillate? Does the program portray materialism as "the good life;" helps me to understand my surrounding culture better without tempting me to sinful compromise? When I’m chatting online do I communicate graciously, consistent with the gospel, or arrogantly or crudely?

- C.J. Mahaney

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bring Your Children to Jesus

"Bring him unto Me!" Mark 9:19

In despair, the poor disappointed father turned away from the disciples to their Master. His son was in the worst possible condition, and all means had failed; but the miserable child was soon delivered from the evil one, when the parent, in faith, obeyed the Lord Jesus' word, "Bring him unto Me!"

Your children are a precious gift from God, but much anxiety comes with them. They may be a great joy or a great bitterness to their parents. They may be filled with the Spirit of God or possessed with the spirit of evil. In all cases, the Word of God gives us one recipe for the curing of all their ills: "Bring them unto Me!"

Oh, for more agonizing prayer on their behalf, while they are yet babes. Sin is there, so let our prayers begin to attack it.

In the days of their youth, we shall see sad tokens of that dumb and deaf spirit, which will neither pray aright nor hear the voice of God in the soul; but Jesus still commands, "Bring them unto Me!"

When they are grown up, they may wallow in sin and foam with enmity against God! Then, when our hearts are breaking, we should remember the great Physician's words, "Bring them unto Me!" Never must we cease to pray for them until they cease to breathe. No case is hopeless while Jesus lives.

The Lord sometimes allows His people to be driven into a corner, in order that they may experimentally know how necessary He is to them. Ungodly children, when they show us our own powerlessness against the depravity of their hearts, drive us to flee to the Strong One for strength and this is a great blessing to us!

Whatever this day's need may be with our children, let it like a strong current bear us to the ocean of divine love! Jesus can soon remove our sorrow. He delights to comfort us. Let us hasten to Him while He waits to meet us!

- C. H. Spurgeon

Monday, April 27, 2009

Running from Sin

"She grabbed him by his garment and said, 'Sleep with me!' But leaving his garment in her hand, he escaped and ran from the house." Genesis 39:12

In contending with certain sins, there remains no mode of victory except by running away quickly. He who would be safe from acts of evil must hasten away from occasions of it. A covenant must be made with our eyes not even to look upon the cause of temptation, for such sins only need a spark to begin with and a blaze follows in an instant!

Who would casually enter the leper's hut and sleep amid its horrible corruption? He alone who desires to be leprous himself would thus court contagion. If the sailor knew how to avoid a storm, he would do anything rather than run the risk of weathering it. Cautious pilots have no desire to try how near the quicksand they can sail, or how often they may touch a rock without springing a leak; their aim is to keep as nearly as possible in the midst of a safe channel.

This day I may be exposed to great peril; let me have wisdom to keep out of it and avoid it. The wings of a dove may be of more use to me than the jaws of a lion. I may be an apparent loser by declining evil company, but I had better leave my coat than lose my character! It is not needful that I should be rich, but it is imperative upon me to be pure. No ties of friendship, no chains of beauty, no flashings of talent, and no shafts of ridicule must turn me from the wise resolve to run from sin. I am to resist the devil and he will flee from me. But the lusts of the flesh I must flee or they will surely overcome me!

O God of holiness, preserve your Josephs. May the horrible trinity of the world, the flesh, and the devil never overcome us!

- C. H. Spurgeon

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Be Strong, Be Courageous, Endure Hardness

"Woe is me--that I dwell among these scoundrels of Meshech! It pains me to live with these people from Kedar!" Psalm 120:5

As a Christian, you have to live in the midst of an ungodly world, and it is of little use for you to cry, "Woe is me!"

Jesus did not pray, "O that you should be taken out of the world!" And what He did not pray for--you need not desire! Better far in the Lord's strength to meet the difficulty and glorify Him in it.

The enemy is ever on the watch to detect inconsistency in your conduct; be therefore very holy. Remember that the eyes of all are upon you and that more is expected from you than from others! Strive to give no occasion for blame. Like Daniel, let your godliness be the only fault which they can discover in you.

Seek to be useful as well as consistent. Perhaps you think, "If I were in a more favorable position, I might be able to serve the Lord's cause. But I cannot do any good where I am!" But the worse the people are among whom you live, the more need they have of your exertions! If they are crooked, the more necessity that you should set them straight! If they are perverse, the more need have you to turn their proud hearts to the truth. Where should the physician be but where there are many sick? Where is honor to be won by the soldier but in the hottest fire of the battle?

When weary of the strife and sin which meets you on every hand, consider that all the saints have endured the same trial! They were not carried to heaven on beds of ease and you must not expect to travel more easily than they! They had to hazard their lives unto the death, in the midst of the battlefield and you will not be crowned until you also have endured hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Therefore, "Be courageous! Be strong!" 1 Corinthians 16:13

- C. H. Spurgeon

Friday, April 24, 2009

He Who Eats the Grapes of Sodom

"As long as he is a Nazirite, he must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or skins." Numbers 6:4

Nazirites had taken, among other vows, one which debarred them from the use of wine. In order that they might not violate the obligation, they were forbidden to drink the unfermented juice of grapes, nor even to eat either fresh or dried grapes. They were, in fact, to avoid even the appearance of evil.

Surely this is a lesson to the Lord's separated ones, teaching them to come away from sin in every form; to avoid not merely its grosser shapes, but even the appearance of evil. Strict walking is much despised in these days, but rest assured it is both the safest and the happiest course. He who yields a point or two to the world is in fearful peril. He who eats the grapes of Sodom will soon drink the wine of Gomorrah!

A little crevice in a large dike may soon break open so that a whole town is flooded. Worldly conformity, in any degree, is a snare to the soul, and makes it more and more liable to presumptuous sins.

Doubtful things--we need not doubt about; they are wrong to us!

Tempting things we must not tarry with, but flee from them with haste!

Careful walking may involve much self-denial, but it has pleasures of its own which are more than a sufficient recompense!

- C. H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Book of Revelation

Why was the book of Revelation written? It was not written primarily, let me assure you, in order that people might be able to work out the date of the end of the world! That is a very grievous misunderstanding of the book.

The book of Revelation was written in order that God's people, who were passing through terrible persecutions and terrible adversity, might still be able to go on rejoicing. It is a book that showed them the ultimate victory of the Lord over Satan and all the other forces. They were to rejoice. It was written for men and women who had been in trouble, and was meant to primarily help them, not primarily for people who were to live two thousand years later.

And so it has been a help to Christian people in every age and in every generation. If your understanding of Revelation does not help you rejoice, then you are misunderstanding it.

- Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Six Biblical Guidelines for Loving Each Other Amid Differences

1. Avoid gossip

The New Testament warns against gossiping. The Greek word translated “gossip” means whisper or whisperer. In other words, the focus is not on the falsehood of the word but on the fact that it needs to be surreptitious. It is not open and candid and forthright. It has darkness about it. It does not operate in the light of love. It is not aiming at healing. It strokes the ego’s desire to be seen as right without playing by the rules of love.
For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find...that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. (2 Corinthians 12:20)
2. Identify evidences of grace in each other and speak them to each other and about each other about that grace.

The church in Corinth was deeply flawed. But Paul found reason to thank God for them because of “the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:4). The most flawed pastor on this staff—and we are all flawed—is a work of grace. It honors Christ, and keeps criticism in perspective, to see it and say it often.

3. Let’s speak criticism directly to each other if we feel the need to speak to others about it.

The point is not that we will always agree on everything, especially the practical application of shared principles. Paul’s word in Romans 12:18 is, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” It may not be possible, but we should try.

4. Let’s look for, and assume, the best motive in the other’s viewpoint, especially when we disagree.

When Paul deals with disagreement in Romans 14, one of the things he appeals to is that those with opposite practical convictions have identical heart-motives. “The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God” (Romans 14:6). Christ-honoring passions, Paul says, can unite us in spite of differences of application.

5. Think often of the magnificent things we hold in common.
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!” (Psalm 40:16)
To mention a few things we hold in common: the Elder Affirmation of Faith, the sovereignty of God, the supremacy of his glory in all things, the majesty and meekness of Christ, the all-sufficiency of his saving work, the precious and very great promises summed up in Romans 8:28 and 8:32, the value and sweetness of the Bible, the power and patience of the Holy Spirit in transforming us, the hope of glory, a profound biblical vision of manhood and womanhood, a common global mission to see the nations know Christ...

6. Let’s be more amazed that we are forgiven than that we are right. And in that way, let’s shape our relationships by the gospel.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.... And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. (Ephesians 4:32-5:2)
“The one who is forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47). In other words, think more of your own sins and how amazing it is that God saved you than you do about the other person’s flaws.

- John Piper

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

All They Have to Enjoy is this World

"Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity!" Psalm 119:37

No Christian enjoys comfort when his eyes are fixed on vanity. I do not blame ungodly men for rushing to their pleasures. Why should I? Let them have their fill. That is all they have to enjoy! A godly wife who despaired of her husband's salvation was always very kind to him, saying "I fear that this is the only world in which he will be happy; therefore I have made up my mind to make him as happy as I can in it."

Christians must seek their delights in a higher sphere than the insipid frivolities or sinful enjoyments of the world. Vain amusements are dangerous to renewed souls. It is when the Christian departs from God, becomes spiritually starved, and endeavors to feed on vanities that the devil discovers his vantage hour. O, for grace to sincerely pray, "Remove vanity and lies far from me!" Proverbs 30:8

- C. H. Spurgeon

Pride Cannot Live Beneath the Cross

"He humbled Himself." Philippians 2:8

Jesus is the great teacher of humility of heart. We need daily to learn of Him. See the Master taking a towel and washing His disciples feet! Follower of Christ--will you not humble yourself? See Him as the Servant of servants and surely you cannot be proud! Is not this sentence the compendium of His biography: "He humbled Himself"? Was He not on earth always stripping off first one robe of honor and then another until, naked, He was fastened to the cross; and there did He not empty out His inmost self, pouring out His life-blood, giving up for all of us, until they laid Him penniless in a borrowed grave?

How low was our dear Redeemer brought! How then can we be proud?

Stand at the foot of the cross, and count the purple drops by which you have been cleansed. See His thorn-crown; mark His scourged shoulders, still gushing with encrimsoned rills; see His hands and feet given up to the rough iron spikes, and His whole self to mockery and scorn; see the bitterness, and the pangs, and the throes of inward grief, showing themselves in His outward frame; hear the horrid shriek, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me!"

If you do not lie prostrate on the ground before that cross, then you have never seen it! If you are not humbled in the presence of Jesus, you do not know Him. You were so lost that nothing could save you, but the sacrifice of God's only begotten Son. Think of that, and as Jesus stooped for you, bow yourself in humility at His feet.

A sense of Christ's amazing love to us has a greater tendency to humble us than even a consciousness of our own guilt. May the Lord bring us in contemplation to Calvary. Then our position will no longer be that of pompous pride, but we shall take the humble place of one who loves much because much has been forgiven him. Pride cannot live beneath the cross!

Let us sit there and learn our lesson and then rise and carry it into practice.

- C. H. Spurgeon

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Tenderness of Jesus

"He will carry the lambs in His bosom, holding them close to His heart." Isaiah 40:11

Who is He of whom such gracious words are spoken? He is the Good Shepherd. Why does He carry the lambs in His bosom? Because He has a tender heart, and any weakness at once melts His heart. The sighs, the ignorance, the feebleness of the little ones of His flock draw forth His compassion. He purchased them with blood, they are His property; He must and will care for that which cost Him so dear.

"He will carry the lambs in His bosom, holding them close to His heart."

Here is boundless affection. Would He put them in His bosom if He did not love them much?

Here is tender nearness--so near are they that they could not possibly be nearer.

Here is hallowed familiarity--there are precious love communications between Christ and His weak ones.

Here is perfect safety--in His bosom, who can hurt them? They must hurt the Shepherd first.

Here is perfect rest and sweetest comfort.

Surely we are not sufficiently sensible of the infinite tenderness of Jesus!

- C. H. Spurgeon

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Which Jesus is Lacking?

Iain Murray encourages all evangelicals to read the 1994 Catholic Catechism. Mr. Murray quotes Pope John Paul, who when in Australia speaking to priests, said, ‘Jesus did not want a church without priests. If priests are lacking, then Jesus is lacking in the world, as is his Eucharist and his forgiveness... We share in the work of Christ, the eternal High Priest.’ Murray says, 'Men and women died rather than assent to such teaching.'

It is always interesting to read and hear such things from catholic leaders, especially the pope, since Jesus Himself said, regarding His work when He was upon the cross, "It is finished!"

Jesus said His work is finished, yet the pope, John Paul, 2000 years later says it is lacking without human priests. Every catholic ought to be honest, thinking long and clear on this one--Jesus and the pope don't agree-- I wonder who is right? There's no wondering.

One of the most grievous things about this in our day is that there are thousands of professing "evangelical" catholics that sincerely believe they are Bible believers and at the same time are devoted to the catholic church and catholic faith. But you cannot be both-- it is either one or the other but not both. Either Jesus Christ and the Bible are right, thus leaving Catholici sm wrong and in error, or Catholicism is right and the Bible is not true. You cannot have both, even though nice, sincere people say they believe both.

You can't have a long, short trip; or a clear sunny, cloudy day, or a hot and cold cup of tea, or a tall, short man; neither can you have a biblical catholicism. Simply impossible, because you cannot have a Saviour who said, "It is finished" and then have a Saviour, of whom the pope says, "If priests are lacking in the world, then Jesus is lacking in the world, as is his Eucharist and his forgiveness... We share in the work of Christ, the eternal High Priest." Utter falsehood, pure and simple. Which Jesus is lacking? The catholic Jesus obviously, but not the Jesus of the New Testament. The fact is, the catholic Jesus is lacking but the Jesus revealed in the pages of the Bible is not lacking because they are not the same.

- Mack T.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Iain Murray's Winter Travels

It is a strange thing to tear pages off on our calendars and to find one has moved from January to April, but that was the position this morning when we got home from Australia. We had been away since Jan. 23. Our travels started with a memorable week at John MacArthur’s church in Sun Valley, California. It was a privilege to be there at the time of his 40th anniversary at Grace Community Church; his ministry is a most heartening evidence that real usefulness requires no concession to the popular culture of the day. Serious preaching that honours Scripture, backed by a praying people, will gather hearers and build churches. While sovereignty determines the measure of blessing, the biblical principle remains sure. John MacArthur’s ministry is a great encouragement to many of us. One of the things I valued most on this visit to Sun Valley was the opportunity to meet with numbers of the church members ; the part they play in=2 0the continuance and fruitfulness of their senior pastor’s ministry is vital. The Lord’s Day begins with a large number of elders on their knees at 8 am. And both in Britain and Australia I meet or hear of people of all ages who are gaining help and strength from Dr MacArthur’s broadcast ministry.

From California we crossed the Pacific to Sydney, arriving in some of the hottest weeks of the southern hemisphere’s summer. As many of you know, in the State of Victoria bush fires were to burn out of control for five weeks, destroying 2,000 homes, and taking an estimated 173 lives. Like poor Britain, Australia now has little time for any public recognition of God, and such public mourning as there was made no reference to the penitence to which such events call us all. In that connexion I have been listening to recorded sermons of S. Lewis Johnson on Hosea, preached some years ago (hear them on They reminded me of how Scripture, truly preached, is relevant to every situation, and what a great thing it is to preach it in a day when God is shaking confidence in man.
Our first purpose for being in Aus tralia was to see family, and to meet with friends. The pleasure anticipated was more than fulfilled, and we are thankful.

Again we were given reminders of how the providence of God enters into the very details of all our lives. One of our most valuable experiences was the loan, while we were there, of some 19 ring-binding files compiled by Dr J.Graham Miller who died last year. These were his personal records, covering a great part of his 94 years, and tracing events through New Zealand, the New Hebrides, and Australia. Getting into these bulging files was like entering a rich and vast quarry, and it was soon apparent to me, that with minimal editorial work they contained a most valuable autobiography. All that it called was something similar to what I did on the Diary of Kenneth MacRae a long time ago. (Thirty years ago I first preached in Graham Miller’s pulpit in Hurstville, Sydney, little knowing that I was to succeed him there).

So hours, days and weeks went into this projected book, and it was also no accident that in Sydney I was with others who equally revere Graham Miller’s memory. They were able to help in important ways. It is due to20the kindness of his friends, Richard and Rob yn Phillips, that Jean and I have a Sydney ‘second home’. Robyn has looked after Banner interests in Australia in various ways since 1985, and is taking a main part in assisting the preparation of the book. Jean was also free to help me and Don Jamieson, another friend of Dr Miller’s, had all the expertise to deal with photographs. We cannot promise any publication date – it may not be this year – but we are sure the result with be an uplifting testimony to the goodness of God in the lives of Graham and Flora Miller. So highly were they regarded in Vanuatu (the former New Hebrides) that a time of national mourning was appointed by the government on his death.

In Sydney we also had many healthy hours walking and swimming (where better to swim!). Sundays were mostly spent at St Giles, Hurstville and at Rivesby Presbyterian Church. Kevin Murray is now minister of the former and Peter Barnes at the latter. It was a privilege to preach in my former pulpit again. Our Australian time ended with six days in Perth, WA, where I had four commitments. Here also we enjoyed being with old friends. On the fine War Memorial, in King’s Park, we found the name of Jean’s uncle who died with Australian pr isoners in Burma. Western Australia is eight times the size of Britain and the growth in Perth is very impressive. The preachers find that affluence and glorious weather do not commonly lead to spiritual hunger, but a witness is being maintained and the Christian fellowship is a blessing as it is everywhere.

Some of you remember us regularly in prayer and we are deeply grateful. We shall not know in this world the part that intercession has played in the real history of the church. Coming up are conferences that we pray will prove important. The Youth Conference meets at Leicester, April 24-27, to be followed by the Ministers’ (27-30). May there be conversions and lives changed through the Youth Conference! Then we expect to be in the States, May 20-June 22, for various things, after that hope is for quiet weeks in my study and garden. We all need to be preserved from giving out more than we take in.

With much attention now being given to Calvin, I hope why the Reformation was necessary will be understood afresh. We need the martyr spirit back again, and discrimination between brotherly love and only tepid20reaction to God-dishonouring error. All evangelicals should read the 1994 Catholic Catechism. Pope John Paul, when in Australia speaking to priests, said, ‘Jesus did not want a church without priests. If priests are lacking, then Jesus is lacking in the world, as is his Eucharist and his forgiveness... We share in the work of Christ, the eternal High Priest.’ Men and women died rather than assent to such teaching.

I am thankful that, after many years, I at last got into print ‘Charles and Mary Colcock Jones’ in the new Banner title Heroes. If you don’t read anything else in that book I hope some of you may read that and come to admire these two Christians as we have long done. Among recent reading, MacArthur’s The Truth War (Jean indebted to his Extraordinary Women); Tentmaker’s reprint of John B. Adger’s Autobiographay, and the paperback life of C.H. Nash (Melbourne Anglican evangelical). In Sydney it was encouraging to see the work of Reformers’ Bookshop in Stanmore, ably led by David Hann. Such book shops are not common these days and need our support. Too few churches recognise sufficiently the life-changing power of good books. Whatever our si tuation, our common need is for higher views of the Person and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. How needless our petty concerns would become if we but saw Him more clearly!

- Iain Murray

Thursday, April 9, 2009

He Did Have Some Wisdom

- Here's my strategy for the Cold War: 'We win, they lose'.

- The most terrifying words in the English language are: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

- The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so
much that isn't so.

- Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U. S. was too strong.

- I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run
them through the U. S. Congress.

- Government is like a baby: its an alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of
responsibility at the other.

- The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.

- It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking
resemblance to the first.

- Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it; if it keeps moving, regulate it; if it stops moving, subsidize it.

- Politics is not a bad profession; if you succeed, there are many rewards; if you disgrace yourself, you can always write a book.

- No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.

- If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Present Day Idolatry

We pity the poor heathen who adore a god of stone and yet worship a god of gold! Where is the vast superiority between a god of wood and one of flesh? The principle, the sin, the folly is the same in either case; only that in our case, the crime is more aggravated because we have more light--and sin in the face of it. The heathen bows to a false deity, but he has never known the true God. But we commit two evils, inasmuch as we forsake the living God and turn unto idols! May the Lord purge us all from this grievous iniquity!

"The dearest idol I have known,
Whatever that idol be;
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee!"

- C. H. Spurgeon

Idolatry becomes factual and present when we put anything at all before our relationship with the living God.

- Mack T.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rise Up and Come Away

"My Beloved spoke and said to me, Rise up, my love, my beautiful one and come away!" -- Song of Solomon 2:10

Lo, I hear the voice of my Beloved! He speaks to me! He bids me "Rise up!" and well He may, for I have long enough been lying among the pots of worldliness. Why should I cleave to the dust? From lower loves, desires, pursuits, and aspirations, I would rise towards Him.

He calls me by the sweet title of "My love" and regards me as beautiful! This is a good encouragement for my rising. If He has thus exalted me, and thinks me thus lovely, how can I linger in the dark tents of Kedar and find congenial associates among the world?

He bids me "Come away!" Come away further and further from everything selfish, groveling, worldly, and sinful! He calls me from the outwardly religious world which knows Him not, and has no sympathy with the mystery of the godly and holy life.

"Come away" has no harsh sound to my ear, for what is there to hold me in this wilderness of vanity and sin? O my Lord, would that I could come away; but I am stuck among the thorns and cannot escape from them as I would! I would, if it were possible, have neither eyes, nor ears, nor heart for sin!

You call me to Yourself by saying "Come away!" and this is a melodious call indeed. To come to You is to come home from exile; to come to land out of the raging storm; to come to rest after long labor; to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes! But Lord, how can a stone rise, how can a lump of clay come away from the horrible pit? O raise me, draw me--and I will run after You! Your grace alone can do it. Send forth Your Holy Spirit to kindle sacred flames of love in my heart and I will continue to rise until I leave life and time behind me, and indeed come away!

- C. H. Spurgeon

Monday, April 6, 2009

Take Sorrow and Sin to the Same Place

"Look upon my affliction and my pain--and forgive all my sins!" Psalm 25:18

It is well for us when prayers about our sorrows are linked with pleas concerning our sins; when, being under God's hand, we are not wholly taken up with our pain--but remember our offences against God. It is well, also, to take both sorrow and sin to the same place. It was to God that David carried his sorrow. It was to God that David confessed his sin.

We must take our sorrows to God. Even your little sorrows you may roll upon God, for He counts the hairs of your head. And your great sorrows you may commit to Him--for He holds the ocean in the hollow of His hand. Go to Him, whatever your present trouble may be--and you shall find Him able and willing to relieve you.

But we must also take our sins to God. We must carry them to the cross, that the blood may fall upon them, to purge away their guilt, and to destroy their defiling power.

The special lesson of the text is this--we are to go to the Lord with sorrows and with sins in the right frame of heart. Note that all David asks concerning his sorrow is, "Look upon my affliction and my pain." But the next petition is vastly more express, definite, decided and plain, "Forgive all my sins!"

Many sufferers would have put it, "Remove my affliction and my pain--and look at my sins." But David does not say so--he cries, "Lord, as for my affliction and my pain, I will not dictate to Your wisdom. Lord, look at them--I will leave them to You. I would be glad to have my pain removed, but do as You will. But as for my sins, Lord, I know what I want with them--I must have them forgiven! I cannot endure to lie under their curse for a moment!"

A Christian counts his sorrow lighter in the scale than his sin. He can bear that his troubles should continue, but he cannot support the burden of his transgressions.

- C. H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Showers of Blessing

"I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing." Ezekiel 34:26

Here is sovereign grace, "I will send down showers." Is it not sovereign, divine mercy--for who can say, "I will send down showers," except God? There is only one voice which can speak to the clouds, and bid them beget the rain, "Who sends down the rain upon the earth? Who scatters the showers upon the green herb? Do not I, the Lord?" Grace is the gift of God--and is not to be created by man.

It is also needed grace. What would the ground do without showers? You may break the clods, you may sow your seeds--but what can you do without the rain? As absolutely needful, is the divine blessing. In vain you labor--until God bestows the plenteous shower, and sends the needed grace down!

Then, it is plenteous grace. "I will send down showers." It does not say, "I will send them drops," but "showers." So it is with grace. If God gives a blessing, He usually gives it in such a measure that there is not room enough to receive it. Plenteous grace! Ah! we need plenteous grace . . .

to keep us humble,
to make us prayerful,
to make us holy,
to make us zealous,
to preserve us through this life,
and at last to land us in heaven!

We cannot do without saturating showers of grace!

Again, it is seasonable grace. "I will send down showers in season." What is your season this morning? Is it the season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. Is it a season of great heaviness and black clouds? Then that is the season for showers. "I will send down showers in season."

And here is varied grace. "I will give you showers of blessing." The word is in the plural. All kinds of blessings God will send. All God's blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If He gives converting grace, He will also give comforting grace. He will send "showers of blessing."

- C. H. Spurgeon