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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Power of Silence

Psalm 46:10  Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Is there any note of music in all the chorus as mighty as the emphatic pause? Is there any word in all the Psalter more eloquent than that one word, Selah (Pause)?

Is there anything more thrilling and awful than the hush that comes before the bursting of the tempest and the strange quiet that seems to fall upon all nature before some preternatural phenomenon or convulsion?

Is there anything that can touch our hearts as the power of stillness?

There is for the heart that will cease from itself, "the peace of God that passeth all understanding," a "quietness and confidence" which is the source of all strength, a sweet peace "which nothing can offend," a deep rest which the world can neither give nor take away.

There is in the deepest center of the soul a chamber of peace where God dwells, and where, if we will only enter in and hush every other sound, we can hear His still, small voice.

There is in the swiftest wheel that revolves upon its axis a place in the very center, where there is no movement at all;

And so in the busiest life there may be a place where we dwell alone with God, in eternal stillness, There is only one way to know God. "Be still, and know."

God is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.

~Selected~

All-loving Father, sometimes we have walked under starless skies that dripped darkness like drenching rain.

We despaired of starshine or moonlight or sunrise. The sullen blackness gloomed above us as if it would last forever.

And out of the dark there spoke no soothing voice to mend our broken hearts.

We would gladly have welcomed some wild thunder peal to break the torturing stillness of that over-brooding night.

But Thy winsome whisper of eternal love spoke more sweetly to our bruised and bleeding souls than any winds that breathe across Aeolian harps.

It was Thy 'still small voice' that spoke to us.

We were listening and we heard.

We looked and saw Thy face radiant with the light of love.

And when we heard Thy voice and saw Thy face, new life came back to us as life comes back to withered blooms that drink the summer rain.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Growth And Ability By Suffering

Progress and growth are also secured by sufferings. All nature declares it.

Growth, development, increase, is by that expanding power which creates a creak and a groan and an ache within the organism; and in the spiritual life it is like that.

We speak about growing pains. I believe that is considered to be unscientific now, but it is a very useful phrase.

Yes, there are growing pains, and the sufferings of Christ in the members of His Body are related to growth.

The difference is this, that in what we have called growing pains it is the growing that is actually taking place which causes the pains, while here, in what we have before us, it is the pains which produce the growth afterward.

We grow by means of suffering, there is no doubt about it. 

Show me a mature spiritual life, and you show me the embodiment of much suffering of some kind-not always physical...a life which has gone through things.

Paul found his turning point there “that we should not trust in ourselves, but in GOD who raiseth the dead”; a new discovery from the depths.

Where he touched bottom, he discovered GOD in a new way-”GOD who raiseth the dead”.

Such knowing of Him comes along that line. The values of suffering are there.

But then note what he says again “GOD… who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able…” Oh, there is a lot in that!

That speaks of stock in trade, the means for service, does it not?

We may often have bad times about our lack of ability in many ways, comparing ourselves with other people and deploring our lack of ability in this and that.

Oh, for ability! But what is the greatest ability after all?

The best and most fruitful ability is to be able to help people in the deep experiences of spiritual life;

To be able to explain to them the meaning of GOD'S dealings with them, to be able to show them what is intended to be the outcome of it all,

To be able to give them some support by counsel which comes from real knowledge...some of that comfort which we ourselves have received of GOD.

That is real service, that is, building up the Body of Christ, the House of GOD-being really able, in a spiritual way, to strengthen the sorrowing.

That comes through suffering.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Songs Of Confidence

Psalm 138:7  Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.
 

Wretched walking in the midst of trouble. Nay, blessed walking, since there is a special promise for it.

Give me a promise, and what is the trouble? What doth my LORD teach me here to say? Why this...”Thou wilt receive me.”

I shall have more life, more energy, more faith. Is it not often so, that trouble revives us, like a breath of cold air when one is ready to faint?

How angry are my enemies and especially the archenemy!

Shall I stretch forth my hand and fight my foes!

No, my hand is better employed in doing service for my Lord. Besides, there is no need, for my GOD will use His far-reaching arm, and He will deal with them far better than I could if I were to try. 

Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the LORD.

He will with His own right hand of power and wisdom save me, and what more can I desire?

Come, my heart, talk this promise over to thyself till thou canst use it as the song of thy confidence, the solace of thy holiness.

Pray to be revived thyself and leave the rest with the LORD, who performeth all things for thee.

~C.H. Spurgeon~

Friday, May 20, 2016

What Is GOD Doing With His People?

How do you pray for the LORD'S people in times of trouble?

Of course, we are all tempted to pray for their deliverance,to cry to the LORD that they may escape.

It may be right at times to pray thus, but suppose the Lord does not deliver?

He does not always deliver at once.

He allows the situation to continue, to become long drawn out.

The enemy will encamp upon that fact and give it his own twist and interpretation-‘God is not doing anything; He has left His people, is standing back, is not concerned.’

There is no answering voice, no slightest indication that He is taking any account at all.

It is like that very often, and that is a real playground for the enemy.

GOD apparently makes no response.

How shall we be delivered from going to pieces, from being overwhelmed in such a time and under such conditions?

Only by grasping this thought of GOD; and then we have to begin to pray along other lines.

If GOD does not act to deliver His people, there is a deeper and a higher thought and purpose than their deliverance, and He is at work upon that;

And deeply in them He is going to reproduce the patience, the endurance, the longsuffering of Jesus Christ.

Meekness and gentleness-these are foreign things to our natures; under stress, under adversity, under the cruel hand of tyrannical men, to say, ‘Father, forgive’!

He could say “I am meek and lowly in heart.”

Oh, you see-the image of His Son.

Such testing conditions are a terrible challenge to our natural dispositions.

Our whole nature revolts against meekness and lowliness and wants to rise up and be even with the other one, or be the master.

Our nature does not accept and delight in opposition, antagonism, frustration, persecution, and all such things.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Losses Overcome

Joel 2:25  And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

Yes, those wasted years over which we sigh shall be restored to us.

God can give us such plentiful grace that we shall crowd into the remainder of our days as much of service as will be some recompense for those years of unregeneracy over which we mourn in humble penitence.

The locusts of backsliding, worldliness, lukewarmness, are now viewed by us as a terrible plague. 

Oh, that they had never come near us! The LORD in mercy has now taken them away, and we are full of zeal to serve Him.

Blessed be His name, we can raise such harvests of spiritual graces as shall make our former barrenness to disappear.

Through rich grace we can turn to account our bitter experience and use it to warn others.

We can become the more rooted in humility, childlike dependence, and penitent spirituality by reason of our former shortcomings.

If we are the more watchful, zealous, and tender, we shall gain by our lamentable losses.

The wasted years, by a miracle of love, can be restored.

Does it seem too great a boon? Let us believe for it and live for it, and we may yet realize it, even as Peter became all the more useful a man after his presumption was cured by his discovered weakness. 

LORD, aid us by Thy grace.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Friday, May 13, 2016

Unadorned Life

1Ch 4:23  These were the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work.     
Anywhere and everywhere we may dwell "with the king for his work."

We may be in a very unlikely and unfavorable place for this; it may be in a literal country life, with little enough to be seen of the "goings" of the King around us; it may be among the hedges of all sorts, hindrances in all directions; it may be furthermore, with our hands full of all manner of pottery for our daily task.
     
No matter! The King who placed us "there" will come and dwell there with us; the hedges are right, or He would soon do away with them.

And it does not follow that what seems to hinder our way may not be for its very protection; and as for the pottery, why, that is just exactly what He has seen fit to put into our hands, and therefore it is, for the present, "His work."

~Frances Ridley Havergal~
     
Go back to thy garden-plot, sweetheart! Go back till the evening falls, And bind thy lilies and train thy vines, Till for thee the Master calls.
     
Go make thy garden fair as thou canst, Thou workest never alone; Perhaps he whose plot is next to thine Will see it and mend his own.
     
The colored sunsets and starry heavens, the beautiful mountains and the shining seas, the fragrant woods and painted flowers, are not half so beautiful as a soul that is serving Jesus out of love, in the wear and tear of common, unpoetic life.

~Faber~
     
The most saintly spirits are often existing in those who have never distinguished themselves as authors, or left any memorial of themselves to be the theme of the world's talk; but who have led an interior angelic life, having borne their sweet blossoms unseen like the young lily in a sequestered vale on the bank of a limpid stream.

~Kenelm Digby~

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Threshing Instrument Challenges.


The threshing instrument is at work and it is being found out whether they have got the real thing, or whether it's only a profession - it is at work.

The day has already begun when this very thing is coming to the whole of the professing church. Let there be no mistake about it.

It asks, or confronts with the question: What are you? What have you? And then as it proceeds with its work, it separates; it separates, it discriminates.

You see what it is doing? There is the chaff. There are the husks; there is that which is apparent, on the outside; there is that covering - there it is!

And the sharp threshing instrument gets to work to separate between what is merely and only external, outward, and that which is truly inward - the grain - to separate them. Yes, it's a great discriminating ministry.

Another prophet, the prophet Jeremiah, whose life and ministry had so much to do with the false, the false in Israel, asked the question in the Name of the Lord, of the people.

His question was: "What is the chaff to the wheat, saith the Lord of hosts? What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord of hosts".

Chaff, chaff! That which is so light, so flimsy, so superficial, and can be so easily carried away by any draft that blows - it goes with the wind; the light stuff.

Oh, I am not trying to make up something this afternoon. Anyone who has any concern about the state of things today, will feel a poignancy, a pain, over the superficial­ity, the lightness, the frivolousness, of a great deal of Christianity.

Indeed, indeed, it seems that some people have laid themselves out to make it so; turned Christianity into having a good time, and the best of both worlds!

All their attractions are - "Come and have a good time!" And when you look into it to see what it is, it is all so light, so frivol­ous, so superficial.

There's a lot of that today. I'm not exaggerating, and God knows how I hate anything like unnecessary criticism, but the spirit of a prophet (I don't claim to be a prophet) but the spirit of a prophet demands that the ministry of the sharp threshing instrument shall come alongside of every other kind of ministry, to first challenge, and then to dis­criminate, to separate between what is true and what is false.

The chaff may be a deception - it may be a deception.

You may go to the wheat-field where it's all growing, standing up, and take hold of an ear and when you press it, you find nothing in it - husks! It's empty! It's a lie! It's a deception.

Do you think God is going to be ministered to by that sort of thing? Just an outward deception?

No, the sharp threshing instrument... a ministry of such character will always find out whether the thing is true or false.

It's a very necessary thing. It's necessary for it to be done in you and in me - finding out whether there's any deception about our position, any lie in our position - how far it is true.

And I say again, God needs a ministry that will do this, that will, by His mercy, make those who are in a false position realize how false their position is, and seek for reality.

Chaff! Would you like to feed on chaff? How much satisfaction and growth would you find in a diet of chaff?

And is it not true that there's very, very much today in ministry, in Christian life, on which Christians are feeding, that brings no satisfaction - it's empty.

It is not ministering to their spiritual building up, and strength, and constitu­tion. It's not doing that!

There's far, far too many Christians who are in spiritual debility, because of the lack of solid food - real food - bread corn.

How necessary it is. The Lord must have a ministry that finds out, and discriminates between that which is only chaff, and never, never does build up, and that which ministers to spiritual stature, and full growth.

If we take the Great Servant, the Lord Jesus, that One who did satisfy God, with all the other aspects of His ministry - how true these things were of Him.

How challenging He was to the situation in His day! Oh, it was not possible for Him to be anywhere without the state of things being exposed.

It was a vital part of His servanthood to challenge, to challenge! And how thoroughly He did it. 

Yes, in that respect He was a sharp threshing instrument, having teeth. And how true again it was of Him, that He was all the time  discriminating, setting things in their place: this is the truth, and that is the falsehood.

This morning we referred to the Vine - Israel, as God's vine.

And we read from Isaiah, chapter 5, how the vine had disappointed the Husbandman.

Then Jesus came in. And we have to put a circle around one word: "I am the true vine" - the true Vine. "This is but a tradition; this is but a profession; this is an empty thing - a pretense. I am the true Vine, I am the Truth".

His presence, as well as His ministry, had that effect of dividing between the false and the true.

~T. Austin Sparks~

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Listen For The Signal

2Samuel 5:24  And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines.
 

There are signs of the LORD's moving which should move us. The Spirit of God blows where He listeth, and we hear the sound thereof.

Then is the time for us to be more than ever astir. We must seize the golden opportunity and make the most we can of it.

It is ours to fight the Philistines at all times; but when the LORD Himself goes out before us, then we should be specially valiant in the war.

The breeze stirred the tops of the trees, and David and his men took this for the signal for an onslaught, and at their advance the LORD Himself smote the Philistines.


Oh, that this day the LORD may give us an opening to speak for Him with many of our friends! Let us be on the watch to avail ourselves of the hopeful opening when it comes.

Who knows but this may be a day of good tidings; a season of soul-winning. Let us keep our ear open to hear the rustle of the wind and our minds ready to obey the signal.

Is not this promise, "Then shall the LORD go out before thee," a sufficient encouragement to play the man? Since the LORD goes before us, we dare not hold back. 

~Charles Spurgeon~

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

God Finishes His Work

                                                    
Psa 138:8  The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands. 

He who has begun will carry on the work which is being wrought within my soul.

The LORD is concerned about everything that concerns me.

All that is now good, but not perfect, the LORD will watch over, preserve, and carry out to completion.

This is a great comfort.

I could not perfect the work of grace myself. Of that I am quite sure, for I fail every day and have only held on so long as I have because the LORD has helped me.

If the LORD were to leave me, all my past experience would go for nothing, and I should perish from the way.

But the LORD will continue to bless me. He will perfect my faith, my love, my character, my lifework. He will do this because He has begun a work in me.

He gave me the concern I feel, and, in a measure, He has fulfilled my gracious aspirations, He never leaves a work unfinished; this would not be for His glory, nor would it be like Him.

He knows how to accomplish His gracious design, and though my own evil nature and the world and the devil all conspire to hinder Him, I do not doubt His promise.

He will perfect that which concerneth me, and I will praise Him forever. LORD, let Thy gracious work make some advance this day!

~Charles Spurgeon~

Monday, April 25, 2016

Seekest Thou Great Things For Thyself?

Jer 45:5  And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest. 

Whatever schemes and projects the LORD'S people may devise that they may prosper and get on in the world, he rarely suffers their plans to thrive.

He knows well to what consequences it would lead; that this ivy creeping round the stem would, as it were, suffocate and strangle the tree.

The more that worldly goods increase, the more the heart is fixed upon them; and the more the affections are set upon idols, the more is the heart drawn away from the LORD.

He will not suffer his people to have their portion here below. 

He, therefore, says to them in his providence, as well as in his word, "Seek them not."

But you will perhaps say, "What are we then to seek?" I will tell you in one word, - Realities.

What are these great things that you are seeking after? say in religion.

Could you see them in their right light, you would see that they are but shadows.

You feel, for instance, your deficiency in gift in public when you are called upon to pray, or in private when you converse with those who possess readier speech,

And you want what are commonly called gifts, such as a greater fluency of utterance, more ability to quote Scripture, and a more abundant variety of expressions, so as to make a deeper impression on the hearers...

The real want being that you might stand higher in their estimation.

But what would these gifts, if you had them to the fullest extent, so that men might almost worship you for them, do for you when you shall be called upon to lie upon a death-bed--when eternity is in view, and your soul has to deal with GOD only? 

You will want no gifts then. Grace will be the only thing which can do you any good.

~J. C. Philpot~

Monday, April 18, 2016

He Refines Them

                                                         
They were living to themselves; self with its hopes, and promises and dreams, still had hold of them; but the LORD began to fulfill their prayers.

They had asked for contrition, and had surrendered for it to be given them at any cost, and He sent them sorrow;

They had asked for purity, and He sent them thrilling anguish; they had asked to be meek, and He had broken their hearts; 

They had asked to be dead to the world, and He slew all their living hopes;

They had asked to be made like unto Him, and He placed them in the furnace, sitting by "as a refiner and purifier of silver," until they should reflect His image;

They had asked to lay hold of His cross, and when He had reached it to them it lacerated their hands.

They had asked they knew not what, nor how, but He had taken them at their word, and granted them all their petitions.

They were hardly willing to follow Him so far, or to draw so nigh to Him.

They had upon them an awe and fear, as Jacob at Bethel, or Eliphaz in the night visions, or as the apostles when they thought that they had seen a spirit, and knew not that it was Jesus.

They could almost pray Him to depart from them, or to hide His awfulness.

They found it easier to obey than to suffer, to do than to give up, to bear the cross than to hang upon it.

But they cannot go back, for they have come too near the unseen cross, and its virtues have pierced too deeply within them.

He is fulfilling to them His promise, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32).

But now at last their turn has come. Before, they had only heard of the mystery, but now they feel it. 

He has fastened on them His look of love, as He did on Mary and Peter, and they can but choose to follow.

Little by little, from time to time, by flitting gleams, the mystery of His cross shines out upon them.

They behold Him lifted up, they gaze on the glory which rays from the wounds of His holy passion; and as they gaze they advance, and are changed into His likeness, and His name shines out through them, for He dwells in them. 

They live alone with Him above, in unspeakable fellowship; willing to lack what others own (and what they might have had), and to be unlike all, so that they are only like Him.

Such, are they in all ages, "who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth."

Had they chosen for themselves, or their friends chosen for them, they would have chosen otherwise. 

They would have been brighter here, but less glorious in His Kingdom. They would have had Lot's portion, not Abraham's.

If they had halted anywhere-if God had taken off His hand and let them stray back-what would they not have lost?

What forfeits in the resurrection?

But He stayed them up, even against themselves. Many a time their foot had well nigh slipped; but He in mercy held them up.

Now, even in this life, they know that all He did was done well.

It was good to suffer here, that they might reign hereafter; to bear the cross below, for they shall wear the crown above; and that not their will but His was done on them and in them.

~Anonymous~

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Broken Things

                                                      
Job 41:25  When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves. 

God uses most for His glory those people and things which are most perfectly broken. The sacrifices He accepts are broken and contrite hearts.

It was the breaking down of Jacob's natural strength at Peniel that got him where God could clothe him with spiritual power.

It was breaking the surface of the rock at Horeb, by the stroke of Moses' rod that let out the cool waters to thirsty people.

It was when the 300 elect soldiers under Gideon broke their pitchers, a type of breaking themselves, that the hidden lights shone forth to the consternation of their adversaries.

It was when the poor widow broke the seal of the little pot of oil, and poured it forth, that God multiplied it to pay her debts and supply means of support.

It was when Esther risked her life and broke through the rigid etiquette of a heathen court, that she obtained favor to rescue her people from death.

It was when Jesus took the five loaves and broke them, that the bread was multiplied in the very act of breaking, sufficient to feed five thousand.

It was when Mary broke her beautiful alabaster box, rendering it henceforth useless, that the pent-up perfume filled the house.

It was when Jesus allowed His precious body to be broken to pieces by thorns and nails and spear, that His inner life was poured out, like a crystal ocean, for thirsty sinners to drink and live.

It is when a beautiful grain of corn is broken up in the earth by DEATH, that its inner heart sprouts forth and bears hundreds of other grains.

And thus, on and on, through all history, and all biography, and all vegetation, and all spiritual life, God must have BROKEN THINGS.

Those who are broken in wealth, and broken in self-will, and broken in their ambitions, and broken in their beautiful ideals, and broken in worldly reputation, and broken in their affections, and broken ofttimes in health; those who are despised and seem utterly forlorn and helpless, the Holy Ghost is seizing upon, and using for God's glory. "The lame take the prey," Isaiah tells us.

O break my heart; but break it as a field Is by the plow up-broken for the corn; O break it as the buds, by green leaf seated, Are, to unloose the golden blossom, torn; Love would I offer unto Love's great Master, Set free the odor, break the alabaster.

O break my heart; break it victorious God, That life's eternal well may flash abroad; O let it break as when the captive trees, Breaking cold bonds, regain their liberties; And as thought's sacred grove to life is springing. Be joys, like birds, their hope, Thy victory singing.

~Thomas Toke Bunch~

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sources Of Endurance: Vision

Lastly, there is vision. Moses endured as seeing Him who is invisible (Heb 11:27).

Heb 11:27  By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

To see the invisible, when skies are dark, is always to have power to win through.

What inspired Robert the Bruce to endure? It was his vision of a liberated Scotland. What inspired Columbus to endure? It was his vision of a continent ahead.

Every inventor, every explorer, every artist wrestling with his dreams, endures as seeing the invisible. 

Never was there endurance like the Master's. It was radiant with peace and joy. It did not falter even in Gethsemane.

It was equal to the agony of Calvary. And at the back of it, from first to last, inspiring, animating, and sustaining it, was the unclouded vision of His Father's face.

We too can practice that same presence. We can do it when life is very difficult. We can do it when the way is dark.

We can do it when we cannot understand.

And, doing it, we come to be so sure that underneath are the everlasting arms, that endurance passes into joy.

~George Morrison~

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Cross Seeks To Remove Whatever Serves Satan


Why has the Holy Spirit come? Oh! Not that we might have blessings and what we call power and influence and opportunity and service.

No, He has come as Representative and Agent of the Christ, who has secured the rights of God in His own Person.

To bring about the recognition and realization of the rights in this earth, that is the work of the Holy Spirit.
 
The second thing that comes out of this is that the Holy Spirit always demands the ground of the Cross for His activity, if the glory of God is in view.

But then, the Cross registers the removal of all that serves Satan.

What was it that served Satan in Cain? Covetousness, personal ambition, jealousy, pride!

That worked itself out in the murder of Abel which was an expression of hatred for God.

What was it that served Satan in Balaam? Greed, covetousness, world-gain.

The Cross registers the removal by destruction of all that served Satan, and for us it is gathered up in one word: SELF.
 
What a wide word that is - what a comprehensive word! The stronger term is “the flesh”.

Some people do not know what you mean when you talk about the “flesh”.

They begin to think of positive vices and iniquities of deep dye. But the “flesh” is only another term for “self”.

Self is a very subtle thing, a many-sided thing.

It includes self-interest, self-glory, self-preservation, self-realization, self-advancement - all those considerations of influence and good-standing and prestige and following, and being understood and spoken well of.

The phases of “self” are legion, and they, every one of them, serve Satan.
 
Moreover, they serve him in this other sense, that they divide the rights of God and usurp the place of God: and therefore, wherever there is the slightest suggestion or insinuation of self, the Glory of God is obscured and the Cross has got to be applied there.

The Cross is not applied in the work of God just because God wants us out of it for the sake of having us out of it, to humble, to crush, to break us; no, it has this great end in view - HIS GLORY.

The Cross, dear friend, means utter devotion to God’s glory.

~T. Austin Sparks~