Go Higher in The Presence

“Friend, go up higher.”—Luke 14:10.

HEN first the life of grace begins in the soul, we do indeed draw near to God, but it is with great fear and trembling. The soul conscious of guilt, and humbled thereby, is overawed with the solemnity of its position; it is cast to the earth by a sense of the grandeur of Jehovah, in whose presence it stands. With unfeigned bashfulness it takes the lowest room.
But, in after life, as the Christian grows in grace, although he will never forget the solemnity of his position, and will never lose that holy awe which must encompass a gracious man when he is in the presence of the God who can create or can destroy; yet his fear has all its terror taken out of it; it becomes a holy reverence, and no more an overshadowing dread. He is called up higher, to greater access to God in Christ Jesus.

Then the man of God, walking amid the splendors of Deity, and veiling his face like the glorious cherubim, with those twin wings, the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, will, reverent and bowed in spirit, approach the throne; and seeing there a God of love, of goodness, and of mercy, he will realize rather the covenant character of God than His absolute Deity. He will see in God rather His goodness than His greatness, and more of His love than of His majesty.

Then will the soul, bowing still as humbly as aforetime, enjoy a more sacred liberty of intercession; for while prostrate before the glory of the Infinite God, it will be sustained by the refreshing consciousness of being in the presence of boundless mercy and infinite love, and by the realization of acceptance “in the Beloved.”

Thus the believer is bidden to come up higher, and is enabled to exercise the privilege of rejoicing in God, and drawing near to Him in holy confidence, saying, “Abba, Father.”

“So may we go from strength to strength,
And daily grow in grace,
Till in Thine image raised at length,
We see Thee face to face.”  C. H. SpurgeonMerry Christmas.

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Peace in

“There is no spot in thee.”—Song of Solomon 4:7.

AVING pronounced His Church positively full of beauty, our Lord confirms His praise by a precious negative, “There is no spot in I thee.” As if the thought occurred to the Bridegroom that the carping world would insinuate that He had only mentioned her comely parts, and had purposely omitted those features which were deformed or defiled, He sums up all by declaring her universally and entirely fair, and utterly devoid of stain. A spot may soon be removed, and is the very least thing that can disfigure beauty, but even from this little blemish the believer is delivered in his Lord’s sight. If He had said there is no hideous scar, no horrible deformity, no deadly ulcer, we might even then have marvelled; but when He testifies that she is free from the slightest spot, all these other forms of defilement are included, and the depth of wonder is increased. If He had but promised to remove all spots by-and-by, we should have had eternal reason for joy; but when He speaks of it as already done, who can restrain the most intense emotions of satisfaction and delight? O my soul, here is marrow and fatness for thee; eat thy full, and be satisfied with royal dainties.
Christ Jesus has no quarrel with His spouse. She often wanders from Him, and grieves His Holy Spirit, but He does not allow her faults to affect His love. He sometimes chides, but it is always in the tenderest manner, with the kindest intentions: it is “my love” even then. There is no remembrance of our follies, He does not cherish ill thoughts of us, but He pardons and loves as well after the offence as before it. It is well for us it is so, for if Jesus were as mindful of injuries as we are, how could He commune with us? Many a time a believer will put himself out of humour with the Lord for some slight turn in providence, but our precious Husband knows our silly hearts too well to take any offence at our ill manners.  C. H. Spurgeon

 

Blessed Hope

“The hope which is laid up for you in heaven.”—Colossians 1:5.

UR hope in Christ for the future is the mainspring and the mainstay of our joy here. It will animate our hearts to think often of heaven, for all that we can desire is promised there. Here we are weary and toilworn, but yonder is the land of rest where the sweat of labour shall no more bedew the worker’s brow, and fatigue shall be for ever banished.

To those who are weary and spent, the word “rest” is full of heaven. We are always in the field of battle; we are so tempted within, and so molested by foes without, that we have little or no peace; but in heaven we shall enjoy the victory, when the banner shall be waved aloft in triumph, and the sword shall be sheathed, and we shall hear our Captain say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

We have suffered bereavement after bereavement, but we are going to the land of the immortal where graves are unknown things. Here sin is a constant grief to us, but there we shall be perfectly holy, for there shall by no means enter into that kingdom anything which defileth. Hemlock springs not up in the furrows of celestial fields. Oh! is it not joy, that you are not to be in banishment for ever, that you are not to dwell eternally in this wilderness, but shall soon inherit Canaan?

Nevertheless let it never be said of us, that we are dreaming about the future and forgetting the present, let the future sanctify the present to highest uses. Through the Spirit of God the hope of heaven is the most potent force for the product of virtue; it is a fountain of joyous effort, it is the corner stone of cheerful holiness. The man who has this hope in him goes about his work with vigour, for the joy of the Lord is his strength. He fights against temptation with ardour, for the hope of the next world repels the fiery darts of the adversary. He can labour without present reward, for he looks for a reward in the world to come.  C. H. Spurgeon.

On this day

On this day twelve years ago much of the world watched transfixed by the events of 9/11.  Disbelief, uncertainty, fear, horror filled the air.  Today, we paused to honor those fallen, as well as those left behind to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” on this day.  We do so with musical tributes, speeches, flowers, poems, stories, candles, the ringing of bells, wreaths, but most of all with memories.

There are other days written on our collective psyche – December 7, Katrina (August 23), and others.  These days mark and unite us in a common bond of sorrow, and pain, but they also create within us the knowledge of precious fabric of life and love, and the need to be more like you O Lord filled with courage, hope, peace, forgiveness, and that blessed assurance.

Today, O Lord help us to remember, and care for those who need your special touch of comfort and love as we all walk through the memories on this day.  In Jesus’ name. Amen

“May the God of…

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Do you remember these lyrics, “There is no secret what God can do, what He done for others, he’ll do for you?”   This song is not sung that often in today’s churches, however the meaning is true.  Our God is no respecter of person.  He showers blessings upon us each day.  He grants forgiveness to his beloved yet wayward children who frequently mess up. And yet, in His infinite mercy and grace God fills us with His spirit.  We are the recipients of divine hope, immaculate grace, priceless joy, and unmerited love.  Our most wonderful Lord provides us with peace that passes all understanding if we trust in His word. 

Rest in the holy and comforting knowledge that this day you are the recipient of God’s hope.  And may that knowledge strengthen you.  

Just Another Day

Just Another Day

Just another day for millions around the globe. But for believers it is another opportunity to praise the living God.  Another day to love your fellowmen. Another day to engage in loving service. Another day show the world your talents and fulfill those divine instructions.  Another day to be imitators of Christ.  Another day to love ourselves as Christ loves us.  Another day to heal the sick, bring sight to the blind. Another day to comfort the broken-hearted and wounded.  Another day to find the lost and lonely and show them the way to Christ.  Another day to fight the forces of darkness with the light of Christ. Another day to show the world the beauty around us, and celebrate the joy of the Lord which is our strength. Just another day to show mercy and grace. Another day to say “yes” to Him. No matter how many times predictions are made about the end of all days, the day nor the hour will not be revealed until the Son of Man appears in His glory.  But we have a blessed assurance; “My people shall dwell in quiet resting places.” Isaiah 32:18

No panic, no hysteria, no hoarding up on supplies for believers, because we dwell in the quiet resting places of the most high God.  And in his arms we are sheltered from the storms of life.

Yes, it is just another day, but what a wonderful day for us to show Him to the world.
Glory to God in the highest. Peace and goodwill to all mankind.  Just another day!

A Prayer for Peace, Growth, and Recovery

I wanted to share a classic devotional from St. Francis of Assisi from my meditation book, A Daybook of Grace.

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we received. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

May we all aspire to become willing vessels of peace, love and mercy this day.  Amen.

Order with Peace

This meditation by C.H. Spurgeon is powerful.  I am being lead to share it with you this morning.

Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path.” Joel 2:8

“Locust always keep their rank, and although their number is legion, they do not crowd upon each other, so as to throw their columns into confusion.  This remarkable fact in natural history shows how thoroughly the Lord has infused the spirit of order into his universe, since the smallest animate creatures are as much controlled by it as are the rolling spheres or the seraphic messengers. It would be wise for believers to be ruled by the same influence in all their spiritual life.  In their Christian graces no one virtue should usurp the sphere of another, or eat out the vitals of the rest of its own support.

Affection must not smother honesty, courage must not elbow weakness out of the field, modesty must not jostle energy, and patience must not slaughter resolution.  So also with our duties; one must not interfere with another; public usefulness must not injure private piety; church work must not push family worship into a corner.  It is ill to offer God one duty stained with the blood of another.

Each thing is beautiful in its season, but not otherwise.  It was to the Pharisee that Jesus said, “This ought ye to have done, and not to have left the other undone.”  The same rule applies to our personal position; we must take care to know our place, take it, and keep to it. We must minister as the Spirit has given us ability, and not intrude upon our fellow servant’s domain.  Our Lord Jesus taught us not to covet the high places, but to be willing to be the least among the brethren. Far from us be an envious, ambitious spirit, let us feel the force of the Master’s command, and do as he bids us, keeping rank with the rest of the host.

…let us see whether we are keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace, and let our prayer be that, in all the churches of the Lord Jesus, peace and order prevail.”

Amen.

Breaking Bad

After my prayer and meditation I began writing in my journal about a family whose father’s health is declining rapidly, and the situation did not appear hopeful.  I wrote, “This is a hard time.”  Then I was struck almost immediately by the word “hard,” and I thought how often  we label something bad, or look at painful images.  “It’s a bad day;  This is a bad report; I got up on the wrong side of the bed; I’m having a bad hair day.”  Or we watch shows like, “Breaking Bad, Desperate Housewives (I know it’s been cancelled), Basketball Wives, Revenge, Scandal, Hell’s kitchen, I Hate My Teenage Daughter”.  Our language is sprinkled with words that pull us down, and not lift us up.  We say, “This is horrible!!” with exaggerated gestures and raised voices.  It is no wonder our attitudes and behaviors reflect the current culture.   We are like that double minded man who is unstable in all his ways, because he is being tossed around by everything around him.

I’m not saying we should not define tragedies.  I am saying our daily language needs some refinement.  Philippians 4:8-9 asks us to meditate on the things which are of good report, and the God of peace will be with you.  Peace of mind will evade us, if we constantly bombard our minds and speak language that does not reflect the God of peace.

I challenge you to avoid using those words that do not reflect the God of peace, and only use words that lift up the name and character of our Lord Jesus Christ for one day.  Let’s go for “Breaking Good, instead of Breaking Bad.”

Bring the Light

Keep the altar of private prayer burning.” C. H. Spurgeon

Is it quiet where you are?  Your home peaceful and secure?  Does your mind, body and spirit reflect the light and presence of God?

If not, then perhaps your sanctuary and private altars has not touched the throne of God.  It is easy for our minds to become confused, our thoughts twisted, our passions aflame with wrong desires and emotions.  Our thoughts, desires, passions must not be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing our of minds daily with prayer.  The flame of prayer purifies our thoughts, and as it does the mind is clear, and we can hear from God.

It’s a beautiful day.  Enjoy it, but don’t forget to go to the altar and pray.  The light of your prayers will cast a heavenly glow for someone desperately searching for the it.