Tag Archives: Wisdom

From “Morning Thoughts” by Winslow

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of men, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1:11, 12

THE great and distinctive truth thus so broadly, emphatically, and impressively stated is the divinity of the gospel-a truth, in the firm and practical belief of which the Church of God needs to be established. The gospel is the master-work of Jehovah, presenting the greatest display of His manifold wisdom, and the most costly exhibition of the riches of His grace. In constructing it He would seem to have summoned to His aid all the resources of His own infinity; His fathomless mind, His boundless love, His illimitable grace, His infinite power, His spotless holiness-all contributed their glory, and conspired to present it to the universe as the most consummate piece of Divine workmanship. It carries with it its own evidence. The revelations it makes, the facts it records, the doctrines it propounds, the effects is produces, speak it to be no “cunningly devised fable,” of human invention and fraud, but what it truly is, the “revelation of Jesus Christ,” the “glorious gospel of the blessed God.” What but a heart of infinite love could have conceived the desire of saving sinners? And by what but an infinite mind could the expedient have been devised of saving them in such a way-the incarnation, obedience, and death of His own beloved Son? Salvation from first to last is of the Lord. Here we occupy high vantage ground. Our feet stand upon an everlasting rock. We feel that we press to our heart that which is truth-that we have staked our souls upon that which is divine-that Deity is the basis on which we build: and that the hope which the belief of the truth has inspired will never make ashamed. Oh, how comforting, how sanctifying is the conviction that the Bible is God’s word, that the gospel is Christ’s revelation, and that all that it declares is as true as Jehovah Himself is true! What a stable foundation for our souls is this! We live encircled by shadows. Our friends are shadows, our comforts are shadows, our defenses are shadows, our pursuits are shadows, and we ourselves are shadows passing away. But in the precious gospel we have substance, we have reality, we have that which remains with us when all other things disappear, leaving the soul desolate, the heart bleeding, and the spirit bowed in sorrow to the dust. It peoples our lonely way, because it points us to a “cloud of witnesses.” It guides our perplexities, because it is a “lamp to our feet.” It mitigates our grief, sanctifies our sorrow, heals our wounds, dries our tears, because it leads us to the love, the tenderness, the sympathy, the grace of Jesus. The gospel reveals Jesus, speaks mainly of Jesus, leads simply to Jesus, and this makes it what it is, “glad tidings of great joy,” to a poor, lost, ruined, tried, and tempted sinner.

 

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

“I will meditate in thy precepts.”   Psa_119:15

There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on his Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. Truth is something like the cluster of the vine: if we would have wine from it, we must bruise it; we must press and squeeze it many times. The bruiser’s feet must come down joyfully upon the bunches, or else the juice will not flow; and they must well tread the grapes, or else much of the precious liquid will be wasted. So we must, by meditation, tread the clusters of truth, if we would get the wine of consolation therefrom. Our bodies are not supported by merely taking food into the mouth, but the process which really supplies the muscle, and the nerve, and the sinew, and the bone, is the process of digestion. It is by digestion that the outward food becomes assimilated with the inner life. Our souls are not nourished merely by listening awhile to this, and then to that, and then to the other part of divine truth. Hearing, reading, marking, and learning, all require inwardly digesting to complete their usefulness, and the inward digesting of the truth lies for the most part in meditating upon it. Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord, and be this our resolve this morning, “I will meditate in thy precepts.”

 

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

“Who of God is made unto us wisdom.”- 1Co_1:30

Man’s intellect seeks after rest, and by nature seeks it apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. Men of education are apt, even when converted, to look upon the simplicities of the cross of Christ with an eye too little reverent and loving. They are snared in the old net in which the Grecians were taken, and have a hankering to mix philosophy with revelation. The temptation with a man of refined thought and high education is to depart from the simple truth of Christ crucified, and to invent, as the term is, a more intellectual doctrine. This led the early Christian churches into Gnosticism, and bewitched them with all sorts of heresies. This is the root of Neology, and the other fine things which in days gone by were so fashionable in Germany, and are now so ensnaring to certain classes of divines. Whoever you are, good reader, and whatever your education may be, if you be the Lord’s, be assured you will find no rest in philosophizing divinity. You may receive this dogma of one great thinker, or that dream of another profound reasoner, but what the chaff is to the wheat, that will these be to the pure word of God. All that reason, when best guided, can find out is but the A B C of truth, and even that lacks certainty, while in Christ Jesus there is treasured up all the fulness of wisdom and knowledge. All attempts on the part of Christians to be content with systems such as Unitarian and Broad-church thinkers would approve of, must fail; true heirs of heaven must come back to the grandly simple reality which makes the ploughboy’s eye flash with joy, and gladens the pious pauper’s heart-”Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” Jesus satisfies the most elevated intellect when he is believingly received, but apart from him the mind of the regenerate discovers no rest. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” “A good understanding have all they that do his commandments.”

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 “Rylisms” by James Ryle

Uncovering Lost Secrets of True Success

“For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8).

Nordstrom’s, one of the most successful retail companies in the world, hosted the top executives from J.C. Penny’s at a business luncheon held in the Nordstrom corporate offices. Penny’s, a company once at the forefront of commercial success, but whose profit margin had now been in steady decline for years, was in desperate need of some sound business advice.

During the lunch one of the execs from J.C. Penny asked his Nordstrom counterpart, “What is the secret of your company’s success?” It was an awkward moment, to say the least; for it is not always prudent to share company secrets with your potential competitors.

Nevertheless, after a slight pause and without saying a word, the Nordstrom executive got up from the table and walked out of the room. Moments later he returned with a large, old book and placed it on the table in front of his counterpart.

“This is the secret of our success,” he said. The Penney’s executive was dumbfounded when he saw that the book before him was a 100-year-old copy of the Franchise Manual for J.C. Penny’s!

Nordstrom was simply doing well what Penny’s had once done – but somewhere along the way had stopped doing. Nordstrom had found and followed the values and guidelines that Penny’s had lost.

When Joshua was divinely chosen to succeed Moses in leading the children of Israel into their Promised Land, God charged him with a single responsibility — “Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it.” The charge was then followed by a powerful promise, which holds true even to this very day — “For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success.”

That’s the bottom line every man and woman seeks.

There is an ancient, time-tested and time-proven manual for success in life. It is the Bible, and we can advance our lives in ways that are pleasing to God and prosperous to ourselves by following the teaching of this Book — just as others have done who have gone before us.

Why not give it a shot and see what happens?

From “Evening Thoughts” by Winslow

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” Col_3:16

The diligent and prayerful reading of God’s holy word is a great means of increasing and promoting spirituality of mind. This, we fear, is not an element in the Christianity of many. It defines a duty sadly and, to a great extent, totally neglected. The tendency of the age is to substitute the writings of man for the Book of God. Let them come but with the robe of religion gracefully thrown around them, and whether they assume the form of history, or story, or song, they are devoured by the professing multitude, who would deem their true spirituality unquestionable! But the Divine life of the soul is not to be fed and nourished by the profound discoveries of science, or the recondite axioms of philosophy, or the brilliant flowers of genius, or the dreams of a poetical imagination. It ascends to a higher and a diviner source; it aspires towards the nourishments of its native climate. The bread that comes down from heaven, and the water that flows, pure as crystal, from beneath the throne of God and the Lamb, can alone feed, and nourish, and refresh this hidden principle. Jesus is its sustenance; and the gospel, as it unfolds Him in His glory and grace, is the spiritual granary from where its daily food is drawn. To this it repairs, oftentimes pressed with hunger, or panting with thirst, weary and exhausted, drooping and faint, and it finds its doctrines and its precepts, its promises and its admonitions, its exhortations and revelations, a “a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees; of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” And thus refreshed and satisfied, the grateful soul adoringly exclaims, “Your words were found, and I did eat them; and Your word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” Truly did Jesus testify, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you;” evidently and solemnly implying, that if there exists no appetite for spiritual food, there is lacking the great evidence of the life of God in the soul. A mere semblance of life, an informed judgment, a “fair show” of religion “in the flesh,” can content itself with anything short of the spiritual aliment contained in God’s word. But the Divine life of a quickened soul, while it disdains no auxiliary to its spiritual advance, can yet feed on nothing but Divine food. The “flesh and the blood of Immanuel can alone meet and satiate its hungering and thirsting. It is from heaven, and its supply must be heavenly; it is from God, and its nourishment must be Divine. Jesus, and Jesus alone, received into the heart, rested in, and lived upon by faith, is the food of a believing man. Nothing but Christ-“Christ all” in Himself, and Christ “in all,” means “in all” ordinances, “in all” channels, “in all” seasons, sustains a soul whose “life is hid with Christ in God.” Dear reader, do you see the importance and feel the solemnity of this truth? Oh, it is a great and solemn one! Except by faith you “eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man, you have no life in you!” Nothing short of Christ-Christ’s righteousness, Christ’s atonement, Christ’s flesh and blood, Christ in us, Christ without us, Christ risen, Christ alive at the right hand of God, yes, “Christ all and in all”-can meet the deep, immortal necessities of your soul. You need all that Christ is in the matter of pardon, and justification, and sanctification, and wisdom, and redemption. If anything less than Jesus had sufficed, if an expedient less magnificent, or if an expenditure less costly, had answered for God and man, then less would save you. But since the incarnate God alone is the Savior of a poor, lost sinner, see that you detract not from, or add to, this salvation by any works of human merit.

Be exhorted, then, to an intimate acquaintance with God’s holy word, as supplying a powerful help to the progress of the soul in deep spirituality. And if your time for reading is limited, limit it to one book, and let that one book be-the BIBLE. Let it be the companion of your hours of solitude; the solace in your seasons of sorrow; the store-house in all your necessities; the man of your counsel in all your doubts and perplexities. Then will your blessed experience resemble that of the psalmist: “Your word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against You. This is my comfort in my affliction: for Your word has quickened me. Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I rejoice at Your word, as one that finds great spoil.”

 

From “Daily Meditation” by Rev. Geo. Bowen

“Lead us not into temptation.” – Mat_6:13.

If you ask me to show you a wise man, I will ask you to find for me a man who, morning, noon, and night, offereth to God this prayer. You find him, and you say to me, ” Why, this is a poor man, a mean man, an ignorant man, an obscure man; I asked him some ordinary questions, and he could not answer them. In his hand was a book, and he told me frankly that having no wisdom of his own, he was obliged to make use of that book. And yet you tell me he is the wisest of men. His wisdom multiplied ten thousand times would not equal the wisdom of some that are known to me.” To this I rejoin: Your wise man and mine are alike in one respect. They are exposed to a common danger. They have an enemy whose power enables him to laugh at all the wisdom of man, and whose malignity will bring everlasting ruin upon those whom he subjugates. Woe then to him who is foolish enough to trust in any wisdom of his own. He is daily led into temptation without knowing it, and daily succumbs; and day by day the fetters of the enemy are more strongly riveted upon him.

No man was ever so far advanced in the divine life, as not to need to utter these words. In fact the holiest breathe this petition with the most frequency. And if an angel should be sent from heaven into the midst of us, it would be ever upon his lips.

” This is a world of temptation, and it would be difficult so to dispose of ourselves as never to encounter temptation.” True: and many advantages flow to the Christian from the fact that he is exposed to temptation. His graces are thus strengthened. His self-knowledge is increased. He relies more implicitly upon the word of God. But the tempter knows how to combine circumstances, and so to adapt his wiles to the spiritual state of a man, as at times to bring an unexpected and powerful temptation to bear upon him. With reference to such temptations as these the Christian offers up this prayer. God gives a man the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit with regard to ordinary temptations, those that he is already familiar with; and gives him a spirit of prayer with regard to others, from which in answer to this prayer, he delivers him. There is one way of dealing with present temptations, and another way of dealing with those that are future. If, relying on our strength of faith, we cease to be apprehensive of new and subtle arrangements by which our affections may become entangled, we are almost certain to sustain damage.

If after all it pleases God to bring the petitioner into temptation, he is not brought into it as other men are. God will indicate, in the trying hour, the way of escape.

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

“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light.” – Joh_1:7

As he is in the light! Can we ever attain to this? Shall we ever be able to walk as clearly in the light as he is whom we call “Our Father,” of whom it is written, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all?” Certainly, this is the model which it set before us, for the Saviour himself said, “Be ye perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect;” and although we may feel that we can never rival the perfection of God, yet we are to seek after it, and never to be satisfied until we attain to it. The youthful artist, as he grasps his early pencil, can hardly hope to equal Raphael or Michael Angelo, but still, if he did not have a noble beau ideal before his mind, he would only attain to something very mean and ordinary. But what is meant by the expression that the Christian is to walk in light as God is in the light? We conceive it to import likeness, but not degree. We are as truly in the light, we are as heartily in the light, we are as sincerely in the light, as honestly in the light, though we cannot be there in the same measure. I cannot dwell in the sun, it is too bright a place for my residence, but I can walk in the light of the sun; and so, though I cannot attain to that perfection of purity and truth which belongs to the Lord of hosts by nature as the infinitely good, yet I can set the Lord always before me, and strive, by the help of the indwelling Spirit, after conformity to his image. That famous old commentator, John Trapp, says, “We may be in the light as God is in the light for quality, but not for equality.” We are to have the same light, and are as truly to have it and walk in it as God does, though, as for equality with God in his holiness and purity, that must be left until we cross the Jordan and enter into the perfection of the Most High. Mark that the blessings of sacred fellowship and perfect cleansing are bound up with walking in the light.

From “Morning Thoughts” by Winslow

“Nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto those who are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:11

The very wisdom seen in this method of instruction- the sanctified discipline of the covenant, proves its divine origin. Had the believer been left to form his own school, adopt his own plan of instruction, choose his own discipline, and even select his own teacher, how different would it have been from God’s plan! We would never have conceived the idea of such a mode of instruction, so unlikely, according to our poor wisdom, to secure the end in view. We would have thought that the smooth path, the sunny path, the joyous path, would the soonest conduct us into the glories of the kingdom of grace; would more fully develop the wisdom, the love, the tenderness, the sympathy of our blessed Lord, and tend more decidedly to our weanedness from the world, our crucifixion of sin, and our spiritual and unreserved devotedness to His service. But “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Nor is the believer fully convinced of the wisdom of God’s method of procedure until he has been brought, in a measure, through the discipline; until the rod has been removed, the angry waves have subsided, and the tempest cloud has passed away. Then, reviewing the chastisement, minutely examining its nature and its causes; the steps that led to it; the chain of providences in which it formed a most important link; and most of all, surveying the rich covenant blessings it brought with it- the weanedness from the world, the gentleness, the meekness, the patience, the spirituality, the prayerfulness, the love, the joy; he is led to exclaim, “I now see the infinite wisdom and tender mercy of my Father in this affliction. While in the furnace I saw it not; the rising of inbred corruption, unbelief, and hard thoughts of God darkened my view, veiled from the eye of my faith the reason of the discipline; but now I see why and wherefore my covenant God and Father has dealt with me thus: I see the wisdom and adore the love of His merciful procedure.”

Other discipline may mortify, but not humble the pride of the heart; it may wound, but not crucify it. Affliction, sanctified by the Spirit of God, lays the soul in the dust; gives it low thoughts of itself. Gifts, attainments, successful labors, the applause of men, all conspire the ruin of a child of God; and, but for the prompt and often severe discipline of an ever-watchful, ever-faithful God, would accomplish their end. But the affliction comes; the needed cross; the required medicine; and in this way are brought out “the peaceable fruits of righteousness;” the most beautiful and precious of which is a humble, lowly view of self.

 

 

From “Faith’s Checkbook” by C. H. Spurgeon

“God Above Human Philosophy ” – 1Co_1:19

This verse is a threatening so far as the worldly wise are concerned, but to the simple believer it is a promise. The professedly learned are forever trying to bring to nothing the faith of the humble believer, but they fail in their attempts. Their arguments break down, their theories fall under their own weight, their deep-laid plots discover themselves before their purpose is accomplished. The old gospel is not extinct yet, nor will it be while the LORD liveth. If it could have been exterminated, it would have perished from off the earth long ago.

We cannot destroy the wisdom of the wise, nor need we attempt it, for the work is in far better hands. The LORD Himself says, “I will,” and He never resolves in vain. Twice does He in this verse declare His purpose, and we may rest assured that He will not turn aside from it.

What clean work the LORD makes of philosophy and “modern thought” when He puts His hand to it! He brings the fine appearance down to nothing; He utterly destroys the wood, hay, and stubble. It is written that so it shall be, and so shall it be. LORD, make short work of it. Amen, and amen.