Tag Archives: Heart

From “Morning Thoughts” by Winslow

“And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord.” Luke 22:61.

His Lord’s solemn prediction of his sin he seemed quite to have forgotten. But when that look met his eye, it summoned back to memory the faded recollections of the faithful and tender admonitions that had forewarned him of his fall. There is a tendency, in our fallen minds to forget our sinful departures from God. David’s threefold backsliding seemed to have been lost in deep oblivion, until the Lord sent His prophet to recall it to his memory. Christ will bring our forgotten departures to view, not to upbraid or to condemn, but to humble us, and to bring us afresh to the blood of sprinkling. The heart searching look from Christ turns over each leaf in the book of memory; and sins and follies, inconsistencies and departures, there inscribed, but long forgotten, are read and re-read, to the deep sin-loathing and self-abasement of our souls. Ah! let a look of forgiving love penetrate your soul, illuminating memory’s dark cell, and how many things, and circumstances, and steps in your past life will you recollect to your deepest humiliation before God. And oh! how much do we need thus to be reminded of our admonitions, our warnings, and our falls, that we may in all our future spirit and conduct “walk humbly with God.”

A Thought on Passion

Have you ever had so much on your heart and mind that you just didn’t know what to do with it all? When you tried to express what you were thinking and feeling that it just came out all garbled and nonsensical, and the more you tried to be clear the more obvious it became that you were being anything but “clear?” Have you ever been so excited, so filled with enthusiasm that you just couldn’t hardly contain yourself, and you just had to share it? When was the last time you really felt passionate about something. I’m talking about the kind of passion that’s defined as “boundless enthusiasm.”

When you read the word “passion” what comes to mind? A person, an idea, a thing? When was the last time you felt “boundless enthusiasm” for someone or something? Do you still have it? If not, why not?

It’s amazing the variety of things people can be passionate about. You name it, and there’s probably someone somewhere who’s passionate about it. What is it that ignites passion? Why do some things hold our passion for a lifetime, and some only for a little while? Why is it that some passions die? Why is it that some people go from being passionate about one thing to being passionate about something else, and why is it that some people can’t find anything to be passionate about?

Passions can lead people to other people, places, things, and ideas; some of which are good, and some bad. Passion can make all the difference between those who accomplish little and those who accomplish a lot, and often it’s what we’re passionate about that defines who we are, what we become, and most importantly what we do, and why we do it.

It’s easy to recognize passionate people. You can see it written all over them. Passion shows itself. It moves people to action. Passionate people are difference makers, risk takers, go-getters. They’re the kind of people who would pursue their passion in the dark, who would do it regardless of the outcome, who would sacrifice time, money, effort, whatever it took to do it, and not regret a moment spent in their pursuit of it. Passionate people are fighters, and they’re lovers, and they have no idea what the word “quit” means. Passionate people are above all people of determination and perseverance.

So, who or what are you passionate about, and why? And, when you think of people who are passionate who comes to mind? Now, think about this… “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

From “Zion’s Wayfarer” by Joseph Philpot

“The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” _53:6

What heart can conceive, what tongue express what the holy soul of Christ endured when “the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all?” In the garden of Gethsemane, what a load of guilt, what a weight of sin, what an intolerable burden of the wrath of God did that sacred humanity endure, until the pressure of sorrow and woe forced the drops of blood to fall as sweat from his brow. The human nature in its weakness recoiled, as it were, from the cup of anguish put into his hand. His body could scarcely bear the load that pressed him down; his soul, under the waves and billows of God’s wrath, sank in deep mire where there was no standing, and came into deep waters where the floods overflowed him (_69:1; _69:2).

And how could it be otherwise when that sacred humanity was enduring all the wrath of God, suffering the very pangs of hell, and wading in all the depths of guilt and terror? When the blessed Lord was made sin (or a sin-offering) for us, he endured in his holy soul all the pangs of distress, horror, alarm, misery, and guilt that the elect would have felt in hell forever; and not only as any one of them would have felt, but as the collective whole would have experienced under the outpouring of the everlasting wrath of God. The anguish, the distress, the darkness, the condemnation, the shame, the guilt, the unutterable horror, that any or all of his quickened family have ever experienced under a sense of God’s wrath, the curse of the law, and the terrors of hell, are only faint, feeble reflections of what the Lord felt in the garden and on the cross; for there were attendant circumstances in his case which are not, and indeed cannot be in theirs, and which made the distress and agony of his holy soul, both in nature and degree, such as none but he could feel or know.

He as the eternal Son of God, who had lain in his bosom before all worlds, had known all the blessedness and happiness of the love and favor of the Father, his own Father, shining upon him, for he was “by him as one brought up with him, and was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him” (_8:30). When, then, instead of love he felt his displeasure, instead of the beams of his favor he experienced the frowns and terrors of his wrath, instead of the light of his countenance he tasted the darkness and gloom of desertion–what heart can conceive, what tongue express the bitter anguish which must have wrung the soul of our suffering Surety under this agonizing experience?

 

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

“My Beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.” – Son_5:4

Knocking was not enough, for my heart was too full of sleep, too cold and ungrateful to arise and open the door, but the touch of his effectual grace has made my soul bestir itself. Oh, the longsuffering of my Beloved, to tarry when he found himself shut out, and me asleep upon the bed of sloth! Oh, the greatness of his patience, to knock and knock again, and to add his voice to his knockings, beseeching me to open to him! How could I have refused him! Base heart, blush and be confounded! But what greatest kindness of all is this, that he becomes his own porter and unbars the door himself. Thrice blessed is the hand which condescends to lift the latch and turn the key. Now I see that nothing but my Lord’s own power can save such a naughty mass of wickedness as I am; ordinances fail, even the gospel has no effect upon me, till his hand is stretched out. Now, also, I perceive that his hand is good where all else is unsuccessful, he can open when nothing else will. Blessed be his name, I feel his gracious presence even now. Well may my bowels move for him, when I think of all that he has suffered for me, and of my ungenerous return. I have allowed my affections to wander. I have set up rivals. I have grieved him. Sweetest and dearest of all beloveds, I have treated thee as an unfaithful wife treats her husband. Oh, my cruel sins, my cruel self. What can I do? Tears are a poor show of my repentance, my whole heart boils with indignation at myself. Wretch that I am, to treat my Lord, my All in All, my exceeding great joy, as though he were a stranger. Jesus, thou forgivest freely, but this is not enough, prevent my unfaithfulness in the future. Kiss away these tears, and then purge my heart and bind it with sevenfold cords to thyself, never to wander more.

From “Rylisms” by James Ryle

Numbering Our Days

“So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, NASB).

I once heard a comedian say, “Life is like a roll of toilet paper — the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!”

Perhaps you have noticed how the pace of Life has picked up over the past few years; things seem to be moving faster and faster; Time seems to be turning into a blur. It was just yesterday, wasn’t it, that the big Y2K scare had people building bunkers and stocking up with beans and bullets? And here we are now — already pushing to the close of 2008.

With the upgraded pace of Life comes multiple choices of how we will spend our Time — and our lives. What will we do with what has been given to us? How will we steward our talents, resources, and opportunities. What will be the end of all our labors?

Shortly before his death, George Bernard Shaw was asked a most curious question by a eager young reporter. “Mr. Shaw,” he began, “you have visited with some of the world’s most famous people. You’ve known royalty, renowned authors, great artists, brilliant teachers, and admired dignitaries from every part of the world. You have conversed with scientists and celebrities alike. If you could live your life over and be anybody you’ve ever known – who would you choose to be?”

Shaw answered with hardly a hesitation, “I would choose to be the man George Bernard Shaw could have been – but never was.”

Shaw died one month later – died as a man bound within the limitations of a life that did not reach its full potential, that did not achieve its highest purpose.

May you so number you days, even in the midst of this blistering pace, so that you have no regrets as your turn the final corner on this thing called Life. May you exit this world and enter the next with a heart of wisdom and a life well-lived.

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

“This man receiveth sinners.” – Luk_15:2

Observe the condescension of this fact. This Man, who towers above all other men, holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners-this Man receiveth sinners. This Man, who is no other than the eternal God, before whom angels veil their faces-this Man receiveth sinners. It needs an angel’s tongue to describe such a mighty stoop of love. That any of us should be willing to seek after the lost is nothing wonderful- they are of our own race; but that he, the offended God, against whom the transgression has been committed, should take upon himself the form of a servant, and bear the sin of many, and should then be willing to receive the vilest of the vile, this is marvellous.

“This Man receiveth sinners”; not, however, that they may remain sinners, but he receives them that he may pardon their sins, justify their persons, cleanse their hearts by his purifying word, preserve their souls by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, and enable them to serve him, to show forth his praise, and to have communion with him. Into his heart’s love he receives sinners, takes them from the dunghill, and wears them as jewels in his crown; plucks them as brands from the burning, and preserves them as costly monuments of his mercy. None are so precious in Jesus’ sight as the sinners for whom he died. When Jesus receives sinners, he has not some out-of-doors reception place, no casual ward where he charitably entertains them as men do passing beggars, but he opens the golden gates of his royal heart, and receives the sinner right into himself-yea, he admits the humble penitent into personal union and makes him a member of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. There was never such a reception as this! This fact is still most sure this evening, he is still receiving sinners: would to God sinners would receive him.

From “The Selected Writings of Joseph Philpot”

“Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord.”2Ki_22:19

This tenderness of heart was a mark in Josiah, on which the Lord, so to speak, put his finger; it was a special token for good which God selected from all the rest, as a testimony in his favor. The heart is always tender which God has touched with his finger; this tenderness being the fruit of the impression of the Lord’s hand upon the conscience. You may know the difference between a natural conscience and a heart tender in God’s fear by this — that the natural conscience is always superstitious and uncertain; as the Lord says, it”strains out a gnat, and swallows a camel.”It is exceedingly observant of self-inflicted austerities, and very fearful of breaking through self-imposed rules; and while it will commit sin which a man who has the fear of God in his heart would not do for the world — it will stumble at mere unimportant trifles at which an enlightened soul would not feel the least scruple.

But here is the mark of a heart tender in God’s fear — it moves as God the Spirit works upon it. It is like the mariner’s compass, which having been once touched by the magnet, always turns toward the north; it may indeed oscillate and tremble backwards and forwards, but still it will return to the pole, and ultimately remain fixed at the point whence it was temporarily disturbed. So when the heart has been touched by the Spirit, and has been made tender in God’s fear, it may for a time waver to the right hand or to the left, but it is always trembling and fluctuating until it points towards God, as the only and eternal center of its happiness and holiness.

 

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian

PRAYER (5)

Prayer works like the 911 emergency system.  All you need to do is dial those numbers and your instantly connected to a dispatcher.  In front of the dispatcher is a readout that lists your telephone number, address, and your name.  Also listening in are the police, the fire department and the paramedics.  You might not be able to say what the problem is.  Perhaps a loved one has just suffered a heart attack and you are so out of control that all you can do is scream into the telephone.  No problem.  The dispatcher doesn’t need all the details.  He knows where the call is coming from, and help is on the way.  There are times in our desperation and pain when we pray 911 prayers.  We’re overwhelmed.  Sometimes we don’t know the words to speak.  But God hears.  He knows our name and our situation.  Help is on the way; He’s already begun to bring the remedy.  “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.  For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning that cannot be uttered.  Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:26-28 NKJV).  Speaking of prayer, John Bunyan said, “In prayer it is better to have a heart without words, than words without a heart.”

From “Day-by-Day By Grace” Bob Hoekstra

David Confessing God as His Strength

The LORD is the strength of my life . . . The LORD is . . . my strength, in whom I will trust. (Psa_27:1 and Psa_18:2)

Living by grace involves depending upon God to work in our lives. For the greater part of his life, David was an outstanding Old Testament example of such living. This was certainly evident in the way David frequently confessed the Lord as his strength.

For each adult who lives in this fallen world, strength is demanded just to deal with every day responsibilities and challenges. When you add the calling and desire that believers have to please and honor God, much strength is needed day by day. David confessed the Lord as his strength for living. “The LORD is the strength of my life.” How wonderful to know that the Lord is with us to impart His strength in us for every aspect of our lives, whether home, or work, or ministry, or whatever.

In our earthly pilgrimage, we need strength to stay on course. The world, the flesh, and the devil want to prevent us from progressing down the Lord’s perfect path. David found in the Lord the strength for this need as well. “It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect” (Psa_18:32). At times, when walking along our designated path of life, we get trapped in circumstantial nets, laid by the enemy of our souls. When David experienced these traps, he cried out to God for the necessary strength. “Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, For You are my strength” (Psa_31:4). At other times along our path, the problem is not a trap, but an all-out battle. Once again, David found the strength he needed in His Lord. “For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me” (Psa_18:39).

Sometimes, the need for strength pertains to what is going on within (or flowing forth from within). The thoughts we are thinking, and the words we are expressing might need to be anchored again in the will of the Lord. David also knew how to turn to God for this essential strength as well. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer” (Psa_19:14). When he weakened within and stumbled in failure, David still knew where to turn for the only help that will ever prove sufficient. “My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psa_73:26). Whatever the need for strength, David learned to rely upon the Lord. “The LORD is . . . my strength, in whom I will trust.”

O Lord, my strength, I need Your strength for daily responsibilities, strength for staying on track with You, strength for periodic battles, strength for weaknesses within, strength to please You. You are my strength; I trust in You!

From “Evening Thoughts” by Winslow

“For the Lord will not cast off forever: but though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” Lam_3:31-33

Oh! what emptying, what humbling are necessary in order to make room for the lowly Lamb of God in the heart of a poor believing sinner! And for years after the first reception of Jesus, are this emptying and humbling needed. If it were not so, would our dear Lord discipline as He does? Would He cut off this and that dependence? would He take us off of creature trust, and that sometimes in the most painful way? Oh no! by these means He seeks to establish Himself in our affections-He would have our whole hearts. And when thus unhinged from earthly trust, when emptied of confidence in self, when deprived of earthly comforts-oh how unutterably precious does Jesus become! Then do we see Him to be just the Jesus we want, just the Savior that we need; we find in Him all that we ever found in the creature, and infinitely more-wisdom, strength tenderness, and sympathy, surpassing all that men or angels ever felt, or could possibly feel for us. Then it is His blood and righteousness are endeared; then we fly to His fullness of all grace; and then the tender, bleeding branch takes a firmer hold on its stem, and henceforth looks only to it for all its vigor, its nourishment, and its fruit.

“As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can you, except you abide in me.” Ah! beloved reader, if you are His child, He will cause you to know it, and will endear Himself to you as such. And this is seldom done, save in the way of severe discipline. Shrink not from it, then. All the good that the Lord ever takes from you, He returns ten thousand-fold more in giving Himself. If you can say, “the Lord is my portion,” then what more do you, can you, want? And remember, too, the Lord will deprive you of nothing that was for your real good. He is the judge of what is best for you-not yourself. We are but imperfect judges of what tends best to our spiritual or temporal benefit. That which we may deem absolutely essential to both, the Lord in His wisdom and love may see proper to remove; and as frequently, that the removal of which we had often besought the Lord, He may see fit to retain. Thrice Paul prayed for the removal of his infirmity, and thrice the Lord denied his request: but the denial was accompanied by a promise, calculated to soothe into sweet acquiescence every feeling of the apostle-“My grace,” said the Lord, “is sufficient for you.” Let it ever be remembered by the tried believer, that supporting grace, in the season of trial, is a greater mercy than the removal of the trial itself. The Lord Jesus did seem to say to His servant, “I see not that it would be for your good to grant your prayer, but I will enable you to bear the infirmity without a murmur: I will so support you, so manifest my strength in your weakness, my all-sufficiency in your nothingness, that you shall not desire its removal.” “Lord,” he might have replied, “this is all that I desire. If You in Your wisdom and love do see fit still to afflict me, I am in Your hands to do with me as seems good in Your sight. The continuance of the trial will but prove the strength of Your grace, and the tenderness and sympathy of Your heart.” After this, we hear no more of Paul’s thorn in the flesh: the grace of the Lord, doubtless, proved all-sufficient for him.