Daily Archives: August 20, 2012

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian

PRAYER (2)

Phillips Brooks said, “Pray the largest prayers.  You cannot think of a prayer so large that God, in answering it, will not wish you had made it larger.”  When we love our children we want to be generous with them.  And that’s how God feels about us: “If you, then , though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will Your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask him.”  Some of us have difficulty accepting the gifts God gives us, particularly material things.  One lady said, “I distinctly remember feeling God must have had His wires crossed.  Why would He do that for me?  In fact I felt guilty, as if I’d somehow acquired something God didn’t really want me to have.”  Think how cruel the following words would sound if they represented your attitude as a parent: “I’m too busy.  I don’t want to hear about your lost bike or your school problem.  Don’t bother me with your personal requests.  I’ll take care of everybody else but you.  If you love me you’ll survive on bread and water.  Sure, I’m rich, but why would I give you anything-back off!”  Good parents don’t talk like that!  They want only the best for their children.  So, take a good parent’s feeling for their child, multiply it exponentially, and you’ll only begin to understand how God feels about you.  Nobody’s voice sounds sweeter to Him than yours.  Nothing in the world keeps Him from directing His full attention to your requests.  So come to Him in prayer.

My Prayer to the Father, August 20, 2012

Heavenly Father
I come to You, tonight, Father
In gratitude for all that You are,
And for all that You have done.
You, who, have nothing to prove,
Have shown all,
Have given all,
Have offered all
And it is with thankfulness
Of heart
That I bow down in worship
To give praise and honor
To Your holy name.

Heavenly Father
It is my privilege to come before You,
A privilege given to me
By Your great love,
Bought with great price,
With the precious blood of
Your dear son, Jesus.
I have not nor will ever
Earn it, or be able
To pay for it.
I can only take
And accept it.

Heavenly Father
I pray Father that all
Your children might know
This one truth
Above all others.
Your love
Is a gift.
Freely given,
Freely received.

Heavenly Father
I pray Father that You will
Make us all to know
That Your holy word
Must be spoken in truth
But also in love.
That Your love
Should be tender
And gentle
And patient
And kind
And yet steadfast
And strong.

Heavenly Father
I pray that You will not make
Our love weak
Or soft
Or yielding
Full of acceptance
And correctness…
Let our love
Be
As You have decreed;
Narrow
True
And honest.

In Jesus name, I pray,
Amen.

From “Morning and Evening” by C. H. Spurgeon

“The sweet psalmist of Israel.”
– 2Sa_23:1

Among all the saints whose lives are recorded in Holy Writ, David possesses an experience of the most striking, varied, and instructive character. In his history we meet with trials and temptations not to be discovered, as a whole, in other saints of ancient times, and hence he is all the more suggestive a type of our Lord. David knew the trials of all ranks and conditions of men. Kings have their troubles, and David wore a crown: the peasant has his cares, and David handled a shepherd’s crook: the wanderer has many hardships, and David abode in the caves of Engedi: the captain has his difficulties, and David found the sons of Zeruiah too hard for him. The psalmist was also tried in his friends, his counsellor Ahithophel forsook him, “He that eateth bread with me, hath lifted up his heel against me.” His worst foes were they of his own household: his children were his greatest affliction. The temptations of poverty and wealth, of honour and reproach, of health and weakness, all tried their power upon him. He had temptations from without to disturb his peace, and from within to mar his joy. David no sooner escaped from one trial than he fell into another; no sooner emerged from one season of despondency and alarm, than he was again brought into the lowest depths, and all God’s waves and billows rolled over him. It is probably from this cause that David’s psalms are so universally the delight of experienced Christians. Whatever our frame of mind, whether ecstasy or depression, David has exactly described our emotions. He was an able master of the human heart, because he had been tutored in the best of all schools-the school of heart-felt, personal experience. As we are instructed in the same school, as we grow matured in grace and in years, we increasingly appreciate David’s psalms, and find them to be “green pastures.” My soul, let David’s experience cheer and counsel thee this day.

 

From “Evening Thoughts” by Winslow

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all those who believe.” Rom_3:20-22

Thus does Paul triumphantly establish the perfect freeness and unconditional character of a sinner’s acceptance with God. By “the deeds of the law,” he has reference to those many and fruitless efforts to obey the law which men in a state of nature are found so zealously to aim at. Are you striving, dear reader, to conform to the requirement of this holy, this inflexible law of God? Let me assure you, that all these strivings, all these works, all this toiling, is worse than worthless in God’s holy sight; they are sinful-they proceed from an unregenerate nature, from an unrenewed, unsanctified heart-they flow not from faith and love; and therefore, the heart being thus a fountain of corruption, every stream that branches from it must partake of the foulness of the source from where it flows. Let the failure of the past suffice to teach you that this holy law you can never keep. Let your formal prayers, your lifeless religion, your vows forsworn, your resolutions broken, all confirm the solemn declaration of the apostle: “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight.” Again: “For by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Accompanied by the Spirit of God, it discloses to the soul the sinfulness of the heart and life, and brings it in guilty and self- condemned before God. Now, how is it possible that the law can ever be an instrument of life and an instrument of death to a sinner? It is utterly impossible that it can be. It never yet gave spiritual life to the soul-it never yet emancipated the soul from its thraldom-it never yet conducted it to Jesus-it never yet whispered liberty and peace. It can and does condemn-it can and does curse-and this is the utmost extent of its prerogative. Oh, then, resign all the hope you fondly cherish of life, peace, and acceptance by “the deeds of the law,” and betake yourself to Him who has, by His most precious blood, “redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.”

Having established the incapacity of the law to justify the sinner, the apostle then proceeds to unfold the glory, fitness, and freeness of that righteousness which can and does justify the soul before God. He takes up and argues two important points-the nature of the righteousness, and the instrument by which it is received. With regard to the first, he declares it to be “the righteousness of God”-and nothing but “the righteousness of God” can justify a soul in the sight of God. It must not be the righteousness of angels, nor the righteousness of Adam, nor the righteousness of Moses-it must be the righteousness of God in our nature. Away with every other refuge-away with every other covering; and let not the reader dream of entering with acceptance into the presence of a holy and heart-searching God, clad in any other righteousness than that which the adorable Immanuel wrought out. In this righteousness the believing sinner is safe, and safe forever; take him for a moment out of this righteousness, and he is lost, and lost for ever!

The instrument by which this divine righteousness is received is the second point established by the apostle. He clearly proves it to be by faith. Thus: “Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all those who believe.” How perfectly does this statement of the instrument or medium by which the blessings of pardon and justification are received into the soul harmonize with every other portion of God’s word! Thus, for instance-“By Him all that believe are justified from all things.”

“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Oh see, disconsolate soul, the freeness of the gift! “To him that believes”-not to him that works, not to him that deserves, not to the worthy, but “to him that believes.” “Where is boasting, then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith (in Christ) without the deeds of the law.”

 

From “Music For The Soul” by Alexander Maclaren

A NEW NAME AND A NEW NATURE

If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold they are become new. – 2Co_5:17

Jesus Christ gave the Apostle, whom He called to Himself in the early days, a new name, in order to prophesy the change which, by the discipline of sorrow and the communication of the grace of God, should pass over Simon Barjona, making him into a Peter, the Man of Rock. With characteristic independence, Saul chooses for himself a new name, which shall express the change that he feels has passed over his inmost being. True, he does not assume it at his conversion, but that is no reason why we should not believe that he assumes it because he is beginning to understand what it is that has happened to him at his conversion.

The central heart of Christianity is the possession of a new life, communicated to us through faith in that Son of God who is the Lord of the Spirit. Wheresoever there is a true faith, there is a new nature.

Opinions may play upon the surface of a man’s soul, like the moonbeams on the silver sea, without raising its temperature one degree or sending a single beam into its dark caverns. And that is the sort of Christianity that satisfies a great many of you – a Christianity of opinion, a Christianity of surface creed, a Christianity which at the best slightly modifies some of your outward actions, but leaves the whole inner man unchanged.

Paul’s Christianity meant a radical change in his whole nature. He went out of Jerusalem a persecutor; he came into Damascus a Christian. He rode out of Jerusalem hating, loathing, despising Jesus Christ; he groped his way into Damascus broken, bruised, clinging contrite to His feet, and clasping His Cross as his only hope. He went out proud, self-reliant, pluming himself upon his many prerogatives, his blue blood, his pure descent, his Rabbinical knowledge, his Pharisaical training, his externally religious earnestness, his pure morality; he rode into Damascus blind in the eyes, but seeing in the soul, and discerning that all these things were, as he says in his strong vehement way, ” but dung ” in comparison with his winning Christ. And his theory of conversion, which he preaches in all his epistles, is but the generalization of his own personal experience, which suddenly, and in a moment, smote his old self to shivers, and raised up a new life, with new tastes, views, tendencies, aspirations, with new allegiance to a new King. Such changes, so sudden, so revolutionary, cannot be expected often to take place amongst people who, like us, have been listening to Christian teaching all our lives. But unless there be this infusion of a new life into men’s spirits which shall make them love and long and aspire after new things that once they did not care for, I know not why we should speak of them as being Christians at all. The transition is described by Paul as “passing from death unto life.” That cannot be a surface thing. A change which needs a new name must be a profound change. Has our Christianity revolutionized our nature in any such fashion? It is easy to be a Christian after the superficial fashion which passes muster with so many of us. A verbal acknowledgment of belief in truths which we never think about, a purely external performance of acts of worship, a subscription or two winged by no sympathy, and a fairly respectable life between the cloak of which all evil may burrow undetected – make the Christianity of thousands. Paul’s Christianity transformed him; does yours transform you? If it does not, are you quite sure that it is Christianity at all?