We Pray That The Seeds Of Truth Contained In This Blog Will Penetrate The Good Soil Of Your Heart And Bear Much Fruit.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Hindrances To Faith: Looking At Our Surroundings And Not To The Fixed Promises Of Jesus

Mat 14:31  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

The pivot word in this question is "wherefore." Doubt should have a sufficient reason for it. Neither Peter nor any other has been able to find a satisfactory answer to this all-piercing "wherefore " of Jesus.


The implication is, God could allow us to doubt if we had sufficient reason for it. 

The unbelief of the human heart startled and amazed Jesus at every turn. It was like the air on the frozen polar sea, that pierced His sensitive nature on every side.

God made man to believe, organized his whole being on that line, launched him out in such a sea of relationships with nature and the supernatural, with his fellows, with the past and future, that he could not exist, could never plant nor reap, never give nor receive testimony, in fact, never do anything of import, except by the exercise of a measure of faith.

Doubt is no part of our original constitution, and can never be explained, except on the basis of a terrible calamity in our moral nature.

God has never deceived human beings, never played fast and loose with the hopes and fears of His creatures.

The greatest reason for Peter's doubt was the remaining carnality in his soul, which prompted an uneasy fear in such a sudden emergency of danger.

But while carnality is the root of unbelief, there are some other considerations which will enable us to explain it.

I. One hindrance to faith is that of looking at our surroundings, and not to the fixed promises of Jesus.


In the incident of the text we have an example of the power of our surroundings versus the power of the promise of God. 

There were two things upon which Peter might fix his attention; one was the word " come," uttered by the Saviour, the other was the waves of water.

Peter was not destitute of faith, for he asked the Lord to bid him walk on the sea.

He felt an inward inclination to go out to Christ on the water, but wanted the authority of the Master's word like a plank under his feet to authorize him in doing so; and that sublime inward prompting which was evidently of God, never broke down until his eyes were diverted to take in the danger of the waves.

Here we have the conflict in every life, that between the prompting of the inward Spirit to trust God without reserve, and that of the senses which survey the instability of outward things. 

It is a battle between the invisible truth and the visible shadow, the stability of the rock and the motion of the sea. 

The appearance of the waves and the significance of the word " come," were to human reason directly the opposite of each other.

Through all ages, the waves had never failed to drown, and on the other hand, God's word had never deceived any one; so here were two invariable things that met' as opposites; the only question was, which of these invariables was the stronger; which law should have the precedence, that of gravity or that of the word of God?

The word "come," from the lips of Jesus, had more authority than all the rolling seas, for it was the power of His simple word that set every sea in motion. 

The water had the appearance of power, but in the word of Jesus was the real power.

Most of our life is illustrated by this incident. We live on a rolling sea, we are repeatedly shut up to the alternative of trusting either the appearance of things or the invisible truth of God.

If we listen to the blowing of the wind, it will shut out the omnipotent voice of Jesus.

If we look at the white-capped waves of circumstance, we shall not see the outstretched hand of Jesus.

Each of us must come for himself to a fixed, irreversible decision, as to which is reality, the wave or the word, and fasten ourselves to unchangeable truth.

~G. D. Watson~



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Progressiveness In God's Dealings


In the course of our spiritual history God deals with us in ever-deepening ways. Down, down, down, He goes, until He touches bottom to have things true at our very depth.

He undercuts all our professions, doctrines, assumptions, pretensions, illusions, and customs.

There is no mere formalism about this; no mere Jewish ritual in this; no mere outward observance of rites and ceremonies in this! No! 

This has got to go right into the inmost being, in the inward parts. God works toward that.

God is ever working toward the most inward parts. Do you recognize that? 

Do you understand what He is doing with us? 

Oh, He will meet us with blessing on a certain level, as we walk before Him, like the man in Psalm 1.

He will meet us with His gracious provision when we transgress and trespass and fail, and do wrong - He will meet us there in grace. 

But God is going to pursue this matter to the most inward place of our being, and register there His work of grace and redemption.

"Thou desirest...", and David did not come to that until he reached the profoundest, the deepest place of need, of failure, of conscious weakness and worthlessness. Then he cried.

It is not enough to just please God in ordinary ways; it is not enough to observe the ritual of the Law, and go to the ceremonies, and carry out all that which is external.

God is after truth in the inward parts, right down into the depths of our being.

Why? Why? Because truth is a major feature and constituent of the Divine nature.

God is called the God of Truth; Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Godhead, called Himself the Truth - "I am... the truth";

"To this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth"; the Holy Spirit is described as the Spirit of Truth - "when He, the Spirit of truth, is come...".

The Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are characterized by this one feature - truth!

And God desires and has set His heart upon having people who are partakers of the Divine nature, and so He is working ever more deeply toward this end: what is true of Himself shall be true of His children - those begotten of Him - that they should be true sons of God in this sense.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Friday, April 17, 2015

Satan's Tools

Heb 12:1  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  

There are weights which are not sins in themselves, but which become distractions and stumbling blocks in our Christian progress.

One of the worst of these is despondency. 

The heavy heart is indeed a weight that will surely drag us down in our holiness and usefulness.

The failure of Israel to enter the land of promise began in murmuring, or, as the text in Numbers literally puts it, "as it were murmured."

Just a faint desire to complain and be discontented. This led on until it blossomed and ripened into rebellion and ruin.

Let us give ourselves no liberty ever to doubt God or His love and faithfulness to us in everything and forever. 

We can set our will against doubt just as we do against any other sin; and as we stand firm and refuse to doubt, the Holy Spirit will come to our aid and give us the faith of God and crown us with victory.

It is very easy to fall into the habit of doubting, fretting, and wondering if God has forsaken us and if after all our hopes are to end in failure. 

Let us refuse to be discouraged. Let us refuse to be unhappy. 

Let us "count it all joy" when we cannot feel one emotion of happiness.

Let us rejoice by faith, by resolution, by reckoning, and we shall surely find that God will make the reckoning real.

~Selected~

The devil has two master tricks. One is to get us discouraged; then for a time at least we can be of no service to others, and so are defeated.

The other is to make us doubt, thus breaking the faith link by which we are bound to our Father. Lookout! Do not be tricked either way.

~G.E.M.~

Gladness! I like to cultivate the spirit of gladness! It puts the soul so in tune again, and keeps it in tune, so that Satan is shy of touching it--the chords of the soul become too warm, or too full of heavenly electricity, for his infernal fingers, and he goes off somewhere else!

Satan is always very shy of meddling with me when my heart is full of gladness and joy in the Holy Ghost.

My plan is to shun the spirit of sadness as I would Satan; but, alas! I am not always successful.

Like the devil himself it meets me on the highway of usefulness, looks me so fully in my face, till my poor soul changes color!

Sadness discolors everything; it leaves all objects charmless; it involves future prospects in darkness; it deprives the soul of all its aspirations, enchains all its powers, and produces a mental paralysis!

An old believer remarked, that cheerfulness in religion makes all its services come off with delight; and that we are never carried forward so swiftly in the ways of duty as when borne on the wings of delight;

Adding, that Melancholy clips such wings; or, to alter the figure, takes off our chariot wheels in duty, and makes them, like those of the Egyptians, drag heavily.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Beware Lest Thou Forget The LORD

Deut. 6:11  And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;

Deut. 6:12  Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

Fulness is apt to breed forgetfulness.


The multitude of our mercies may act like an opiate and make us heedless toward God.

This is one of our subtlest perils. The bright day puts us to sleep.

There are ten who can keep awake in the Valley of Humiliation, with Apollyon in fierce antagonism, to one who can keep awake on the Enchanted Ground, where the antagonism is found in the rarity of the air and the softness of the encompassing light. 

It is the luxuriant isle which becomes our Lotus-land.

We were all alert when we were driven by the stinging blast, and were in danger of the engulfing deep.

And thus it is true that the bright day brings forth the adder.

A possible poison lurks in our comforts.

We are most in danger when we have no need. 

When we have everything we want we are in danger of losing God.

And so does the Old Testament bid us "beware" and so does the New Testament bid us "watch".


The sentinel of the soul must be continually on guard, and never more so than when the battle seems to be over, and life has become a feast.

Our wills must be exercised in deliberate vigilance when we have left the desert behind and have crossed into Canaan. 

We must open our eyes  in resolute purpose to see the seal of the Lord on the mercies which crowd our way.

No divine privilege must be allowed to pass as a personal right. 

On the forehead of every providence we must read the name of the Lord.

This must be our wonder: "When all Thy mercies, O my God, my rising soul surveys!"

And that healthy wonder will ever be accompanied by the spirit of praise. 

Then will the songs of battle be sung again at the feast.

~John Henry Jowett~

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Grievances Distort Our Vision

This failure to see things in their true proportions is often seen in relation to our grievances.

When a man has a grievance--and many men have them--he is almost certain to have distorted vision.

You can block out the sun by the smallest coin if you hold the coin near enough to the eye.

And we have a way of dwelling on our grievances, till we lose sight of the blue heaven above us.

How ready we are to brood on petty insults! How we take them home with us and nurse and fondle them! 

How we are stung by trifling neglects! A little discourtesy, and our soul begins to fester!

And though hearts are just as warm to us today as they were yesterday when we responded to them, and though the great tides of the deep love of God rise to their flood, still, on every shore, it is strange how a man will be blind to all the glory, when a little bitterness is rankling within.

We are all adepts at counting up our grievances.

Open a new column and count your mercies now.

It is supremely important to see things in their magnitudes, and perhaps you have never learned that lesson yet.

The man who suspects is always judging wrongly.

A jealous woman sees everything out of focus.

If there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things, says the apostle.

~George H. Morrison~
     

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Don't Fret!

Php 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 

Not a few Christians live in a state of unbroken anxiety, and others fret and fume terribly. 

To be perfectly at peace amid the hurly-burly of daily life is a secret worth knowing.

What is the use of worrying? It never made anybody strong; never helped anybody to do God's will; never made a way of escape for anyone out of perplexity. 

Worry spoils lives which would otherwise be useful and beautiful. 

Restlessness, anxiety, and care are absolutely forbidden by our Lord, who said: "Take no thought," that is, no anxious thought, "saying what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed?"

He does not mean that we are not to take forethought and that our life is to be without plan or method; but that we are not to worry about these things.

People know you live in the realm of anxious care by the lines on your face, the tones of your voice, the minor key in your life, and the lack of joy in your spirit.

Scale the heights of a life abandoned to God, then you will look down on the clouds beneath your feet.

~Rev. Darlow Sargeant~

It is always weakness to be fretting and worrying, questioning and mistrusting.

Can we gain anything by it? Do we not unfit ourselves for action, and unhinge our minds for wise decision? We are sinking by our struggles when we might float by faith.

Oh, for grace to be quiet! Oh, to be still and know that Jehovah is God!

The Holy One of Israel must defend and deliver His own.

We may be sure that every word of His will stand, though the mountains should depart. He deserves to be confided in. 

Come, my soul, return unto thy rest, and lean thy head upon the bosom of the Lord Jesus.

~Selected~ 

Peace thy inmost soul shall fill Lying still!

Monday, April 6, 2015

What Is It For You To Be A Christian?

We ought to seek to gather in this world — treasure that we can carry with us through death's gates, and into the eternal world. We should strive to build into our lives qualities that shall endure.

Men slave and work to get a little money, or to obtain honor, or power, or to win an earthly crown but when they pass into the great vast forever, they take nothing of all this with them!

Yet there are things — virtues, fruits of character, graces — which men do carry with them out of this world. What a man IS he carries with him into the eternal world.  

Money and rank and pleasures and earthly gains — he leaves behind him; but his character, he takes with him into eternity!

This suggests at once, the importance of character and character-building.

Character is not what a man professes to be — but what he really IS, as God sees him.

A man may not be as good as his reputation. A good reputation may hide an evil heart and life

Reputation is not character. Reputation is what a man's neighbors and friends think of him; character is what the man IS.

Christ's character is the model, the ideal, for every Christian life. 

We are to be altogether like Him; therefore all of life's aiming and striving should be towards Christ's blessed beauty.

His image we find in the Gospels. We can look at it every day. 

We can study it in its details, as we follow our Lord in His life among men, in all the variations of experience through which He passed.

A little Christian girl was asked the question, "What is it for you to be a Christian?"

She answered, "It is to do as Jesus would do, and behave as He would behave if He were a little girl and lived at our house."

No better answer could have been given. And there is scarcely any experience of life for which we cannot find something in Christ's life to instruct us. 

We can find the traits and qualities of His life, as they shine out in His contact . . .with temptation, with enmity, with wrong. with pain, with sorrow.

The next thing, when we have the vision of Christ before us, is to get it implanted into our own life. 

We cannot merely dream ourselves into godly manhood or womanhood; we must forge for ourselves, with sweat and anguish, the beautiful visions of Christ-likeness which we find on the Gospel pages! 

It will cost us self-discipline, oftentimes anguish, as we must deny ourselves, and cut off the things we love. SELF must be crucified.

It is not easy to become a godly man, a Christlike man.

~J. R. Miller~

Saturday, April 4, 2015

GOD'S Hornets

Exodus 23:28  And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.

What the hornets were we need not consider. They were God's own army which He sent before His people to sting their enemies and render Israel's conquest easy. 

Our God by His own chosen means will fight for His people and gall their foes before they come into the actual battle. 

Often He confounds the adversaries of truth by methods in which reformers themselves have no hand.

The air is full of mysterious influences which harass Israel's foes. We read in the Apocalypse that "the earth helped the woman."

Let us never fear. The stars in their courses fight against the enemies of our souls.


Oftentimes when we march to the conflict we find no host to contend with. "The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace."

God's hornets can do more than our weapons. We could never dream of the victory being won by such means as Jehovah will use.

We must obey our marching orders and go forth to the conquest of the nations for Jesus, and we shall find that the LORD has gone before us and prepared the way; so that in the end we will joyfully confess, "His own right hand and his holy arm, have gotten him the victory." 

~Charles Spurgeon~

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

God Hath Spoken "It Is Done."

Mark 11:24  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. 

Faith is not working up by will power a sort of certainty that something is coming to pass, but it is seeing as an actual fact that God has said that this thing shall come to pass, and that it is true, and then rejoicing to know that it is true, and just resting and entering into it because God has said it.

Faith turns the promise into a prophecy.

While it is merely a promise it is contingent upon our co-operation; it may or may not be. But when faith claims it, it becomes a prophecy and we go forth feeling that it is something that must be done because God cannot lie.

Faith is the answer from the throne saying, "It is done." Faith is the echo of God's voice. Let us catch it from on high. Let us repeat it, and go out to triumph in its glorious power.

Hear the answer from the throne, Claim the promise, doubting one, God hath spoken, "It is done."

Faith hath answered, "It is done"; Prayer is over, praise begun,
Hallelujah! It is done.

~A. B. Simpson~

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Facts Vs. Feelings

2Co 5:7  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)   

By faith, not appearance; God never wants us to look at our feelings. Self may want us to; and Satan may want us to. But God wants us to face facts, not feelings; the facts of Christ and of His finished and perfect work for us.

When we face these precious facts, and believe them because God says they are facts, God will take care of our feelings.

God never gives feeling to enable us to trust Him; God never gives feeling to encourage us to trust Him; 

God never gives feeling to show that we have already and utterly trusted Him.

God gives feeling only when He sees that we trust Him apart from all feeling, resting on His own Word, and on His own faithfulness to His promise.

Never until then can the feeling (which is from God) possibly come; and God will give the feeling in such a measure and at such a time as His love sees best for the individual case.

We must choose between facing toward our feelings and facing toward God's facts.

Our feelings may be as uncertain as the sea or the shifting sands.

God's facts are as certain as the Rock of Ages, even Christ Himself, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

When darkness veils His lovely face I rest on His unchanging grace; In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The True Vine

John 15:1  I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
 

The true vine is that which fulfills the one and only purpose of its existence.

So Jesus brings this illustration over to Himself and His Church, and it is perfectly clear what is the nature of the Lord Jesus.

He is reaching out to all men, embracing the whole world.

He asks ALL the nations into His heart. ALL men are His concern and not any one nation.

He said to His disciples: "Go ye therefore, and make disciples of ALL THE NATIONS" (Matthew 28:19). It is the very nature of Jesus to do that. 

It is quite foreign to Him to be exclusive, small and narrow and self-occupied.... But it is all very well to think of this objectively.

It has to come down to every one of us. What is the proof that Christ is in you and in me?

How can it be known that Christ is in us?

Only in one way...that others are receiving Life through us, that we minister the Life of Christ to others, that when hungry and needy people come into touch with us they feel the touch of Life.

They may express it in different ways, but it amounts to this: 'That man, that woman, has something that I have not got and it is something that I need.

There is something about them that I feel, and it is what I really need.

That should be true of every Christian because Christ is in us, expanding Himself through us and ministering His Life through us.

Oh, do pray, dear friends, every day as you get up: 'Lord, make me a channel of Life to someone today.

Lord, minister Your own Life through me to someone today.

May I bring Life wherever I am. The Lord has no other purpose for you and for me.

We may try to do a lot of things, but if we belong to the Vine we are no good for anything but to bear fruit; and that is to bring Life to others.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Monday, March 23, 2015

Into The Deep

"Launch out into the deep" (Luke 5:4).

How deep He does not say. The depth into which we launch will depend upon how perfectly we have given up the shore, and the greatness of our need, and the apprehension of our possibilities. 


The fish were to be found in the deep, not in the shallow water.

So with us; our needs are to be met in the deep things of God. We are to launch out into the deep of God's Word, which the Spirit can open up to us in such crystal fathomless meaning that the same words we have accepted in times past will have an ocean meaning in them, which renders their first meaning to us very shallow.

Into the deep of the Atonement, until Christ's precious blood is so illuminated by the Spirit that it becomes an omnipotent balm, and food and medicine for the soul and body.

Into the deep of the Father's will, until we apprehend it in its infinite minuteness and goodness, and its far-sweeping provision and care for us.

Into the deep of the Holy Spirit, until He becomes a bright, dazzling, sweet, fathomless summer sea, in which we bathe and bask and breathe, and lose ourselves and our sorrows in the calmness and peace of His everlasting presence.

Into the deep of the Holy Spirit, until He becomes a bright, marvelous answer to prayer, the most careful and tender guidance, the most thoughtful anticipation of our needs, the most accurate and supernatural shaping of our events.

Into the deep of God's purposes and coming kingdom, until the Lord's coming; and beyond these the bright entrancing ages on ages unfold themselves, until the mental eye is dazed with light, and the heart flutters with inexpressible anticipations of its joy with Jesus and the glory to be revealed.

Into all these things, Jesus bids us launch. He made us and He made the deep, and to its fathomless depths He has fitted our longings and capabilities.


~Soul Food~

Its streams the whole creation reach, So plenteous is the store; Enough for all, enough for each; Enough forevermore.

The deep waters of the Holy Spirit are always accessible, because they are always proceeding. 


Will you not this day claim afresh to be immersed and drenched in these waters of life?

The waters in Ezekiel's vision first of all oozed from under the doors of the temple. 

Then the man with the measuring line measured and found the waters to the ankles.

Still further measurement, and they were waters to the knees. 

Once again they were measured and the waters were to the loins. 

Then they became waters to swim in--a river that could not be passed over. (Read Ezekiel 47). 

How far have we advanced into this river of life?

The Holy Spirit would have a complete self effacement. Not merely ankle-deep, knee-deep, loin-deep, but self-deep.

We ourselves hidden out of sight and bathed in this life-giving stream.

Let go the shore-lines and launch out into the deep. Never forget, the Man with the measuring line is with us today. 

~J.G.M~


Friday, March 20, 2015

SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT

John 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  

THIS is spiritual discernment. We may test our growth in grace by our expertness in detecting the voice of our Lord.

It is the skill of the saint to catch “the still small voice” amid all the selfish clamours of the day, and amid the far more subtle callings of the heart. 

It needs a good ear to catch the voice of the Lord in our sorrows. 

I think it requires a better ear to discern the voice amid our joys! 

The twilight helps me to be serious; the noonday glare tends to make me heedless.

And they follow Me! Discernment is succeeded by obedience.

That is the one condition of becoming a saint—to follow the immediate call of the Lord. 

And it is the one condition of becoming an expert listener. 

Every time I hear the voice, and follow, I sharpen my sense of hearing, and the next time the voice will sound more clear.

And I give unto them eternal life. Yes, life is found in the ways of a listening obedience.

Every faculty and function will be vitalized when I follow the Lord of life and glory. “In Christ shall all be made alive.”

My Saviour, graciously give me the listening ear! Give me the obedient heart.

~John Henry Jowett~

Monday, March 16, 2015

What Shall GOD Bring To Pass?

Psa 37:5  Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

What shall God bring to pass? The thing that lies deepest in the heart--"thy way." Does not thy way lie deepest in thy soul--the path that God has led, the path that God is now leading you by?

You may be troubled in your soul, doubting and fearing in your mind, distressed in your feelings; you may sink down to the lowest point that a child of God can sink to; yet that way, in which you are so deeply sunk, if the Lord enable you from time to time to commit it to him, and trust in him, he will bring to pass above what your heart desires.

Look at the movements of your heart God-ward; look at your embarrassments, temptations, and exercises; look at that which rolls backwards and forwards in your mind, that which is tossed to and fro on the waves of your anxious bosom,--what lies nearest, dearest, and deepest,--let honest conscience speak.

That, whatever it be, the Lord tells you, and sometimes enables you to commit, to trust to him. Now whatever it be so committed and so trusted, the Lord has declared in his unerring word of truth, he "will bring it to pass;" he will fulfil it when his time has arrived.

Does darkness envelope it? do mountains of difficulty stand up in the way of its fulfilment? Never mind; God will bring it to pass in the face of all, over mountains and through difficulties, in spite of, and in the midst of, all surrounding obstacles.

He "will bring it to pass,"--that which lies deepest in your heart, nearest your affections, and that which you are enabled in the actings of living faith sometimes to commit into the hands of the Lord God Almighty.

~J. C. Philpot~