WHAT’S YOUR BABYLON?

God cares for the persecuted

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The stress of captivity

 

Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem. We put away our lyres, hanging them on the branches of the willow trees. For there our captors demanded a song of us. Our tormentors requested a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!” But how can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?

Psalm 137:1-4

Your Babylon

In captivity in Babylon, the Jews wept for their homeland and prayed for the day when they might return. But when the day of their release from captivity finally came and they were allowed to return, only about fifty thousand (out of hundreds of thousands) made the trek back to Jerusalem. Why?

For one thing, some of the Jews were making a good living in Babylon — a better living than their fathers had made in Jerusalem. Others had married Babylonian spouses and become assimilated into Babylonian culture. They had forgotten Jerusalem. Can you blame them? Seventy years of captivity is a long time.

Whatever the reason, some of the Jews weren’t like the writer of Psalm 137, which apparently was written shortly after their return from exile.

The Bible speaks of heaven as our Jerusalem and suggests that where we are now living is Babylon on earth. How comfortable are you in your Babylon? How are you faring there? Have you forgotten that you, too, are an exile, a pilgrim in a foreign land? What are you looking ahead to?

from The One Year® Book of Psalms with devotionals by William J. Petersen and Randy Petersen (Tyndale) entry for November 11

Digging Deeper: For more on facing persecution, read Jerry Jenkin’s Shadowed, a novel about keeping faith in the last days. Tyndale House Publishers (hardcover 2005, softcover 2006).

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

ROAD TO EMMAUS

Morning

Psalm46-10[7]

 

Forsake me not, O Lord.”

Psalm 38:21

Frequently we pray that God would not forsake us in the hour of trial and temptation, but we too much forget that we have need to use this prayer at all times. There is no moment of our life, however holy, in which we can do without his constant upholding. Whether in light or in darkness, in communion or in temptation, we alike need the prayer, “Forsake me not, O Lord.” “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.” A little child, while learning to walk, always needs the nurse’s aid. The ship left by the pilot drifts at once from her course. We cannot do without continued aid from above; let it then be your prayer today, “Forsake me not. Father, forsake not thy child, lest he fall by the hand of the enemy. Shepherd, forsake not thy lamb, lest he wander from the safety of the fold. Great Husbandman, forsake not thy plant, lest it wither and die. Forsake me not, O Lord,’ now; and forsake me not at any moment of my life. Forsake me not in my joys, lest they absorb my heart. Forsake me not in my sorrows, lest I murmur against thee. Forsake me not in the day of my repentance, lest I lose the hope of pardon, and fall into despair; and forsake me not in the day of my strongest faith, lest faith degenerate into presumption. Forsake me not, for without thee I am weak, but with thee I am strong. Forsake me not, for my path is dangerous, and full of snares, and I cannot do without thy guidance. The hen forsakes not her brood; do thou then evermore cover me with thy feathers, and permit me under thy wings to find my refuge. Be not far from me, O Lord, for trouble is near, for there is none to help.’ Leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation!'”

“O ever in our cleansed breast,

Bid thine Eternal Spirit rest;

And make our secret soul to be

A temple pure and worthy thee.”

 

Evening

HOLY HOLY HOLY BIRD

 

“And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem … and they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them.”

Luke 24:33-35

When the two disciples had reached Emmaus, and were refreshing themselves at the evening meal, the mysterious stranger who had so enchanted them upon the road, took bread and brake it, made himself known to them, and then vanished out of their sight. They had constrained him to abide with them, because the day was far spent; but now, although it was much later, their love was a lamp to their feet, yea, wings also; they forgot the darkness, their weariness was all gone, and forthwith they journeyed back the threescore furlongs to tell the gladsome news of a risen Lord, who had appeared to them by the way. They reached the Christians in Jerusalem, and were received by a burst of joyful news before they could tell their own tale. These early Christians were all on fire to speak of Christ’s resurrection, and to proclaim what they knew of the Lord; they made common property of their experiences. This evening let their example impress us deeply. We too must bear our witness concerning Jesus. John’s account of the sepulchre needed to be supplemented by Peter; and Mary could speak of something further still; combined, we have a full testimony from which nothing can be spared. We have each of us peculiar gifts and special manifestations; but the one object God has in view is the perfecting of the whole body of Christ. We must, therefore, bring our spiritual possessions and lay them at the apostle’s feet, and make distribution unto all of what God has given to us. Keep back no part of the precious truth, but speak what you know, and testify what you have seen. Let not the toil or darkness, or possible unbelief of your friends, weigh one moment in the scale. Up, and be marching to the place of duty, and there tell what great things God has shown to your soul.

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Communion with Christ

Morning

KILL DEVIL HILL NC 09 2013

 

“Yea, he is altogether lovely.”

Song of Solomon 5:16

The superlative beauty of Jesus is all-attracting; it is not so much to be admired as to be loved. He is more than pleasant and fair, he is lovely. Surely the people of God can fully justify the use of this golden word, for he is the object of their warmest love, a love founded on the intrinsic excellence of his person, the complete perfection of his charms. Look, O disciples of Jesus, to your Master’s lips, and say, “Are they not most sweet?” Do not his words cause your hearts to burn within you as he talks with you by the way? Ye worshippers of Immanuel, look up to his head of much fine gold, and tell me, are not his thoughts precious unto you? Is not your adoration sweetened with affection as ye humbly bow before that countenance which is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars? Is there not a charm in his every feature, and is not his whole person fragrant with such a savour of his good ointments, that therefore the virgins love him? Is there one member of his glorious body which is not attractive?–one portion of his person which is not a fresh lodestone to our souls?–one office which is not a strong cord to bind your heart? Our love is not as a seal set upon his heart of love alone; it is fastened upon his arm of power also; nor is there a single part of him upon which it does not fix itself. We anoint his whole person with the sweet spikenard of our fervent love. His whole life we would imitate; his whole character we would transcribe. In all other beings we see some lack, in him there is all perfection. The best even of his favoured saints have had blots upon their garments and wrinkles upon their brows; he is nothing but loveliness. All earthly suns have their spots: the fair world itself hath its wilderness; we cannot love the whole of the most lovely thing; but Christ Jesus is gold without alloy-light without darkness–glory without cloud–“Yea, he is altogether lovely.”

Evening

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“Abide in me.”

John 15:4

Communion with Christ is a certain cure for every ill. Whether it be the wormwood of woe, or the cloying surfeit of earthly delight, close fellowship with the Lord Jesus will take bitterness from the one, and satiety from the other. Live near to Jesus, Christian, and it is a matter of secondary importance whether thou livest on the mountain of honour or in the valley of humiliation. Living near to Jesus, thou art covered with the wings of God, and underneath thee are the everlasting arms. Let nothing keep thee from that hallowed intercourse, which is the choice privilege of a soul wedded to the well-beloved. Be not content with an interview now and then, but seek always to retain his company, for only in his presence hast thou either comfort or safety. Jesus should not be unto us a friend who calls upon us now and then, but one with whom we walk evermore. Thou hast a difficult road before thee: see, O traveller to heaven, that thou go not without thy guide. Thou hast to pass through the fiery furnace; enter it not unless, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, thou hast the Son of God to be thy companion. Thou hast to storm the Jericho of thine own corruptions: attempt not the warfare until, like Joshua, thou hast seen the Captain of the Lord’s host, with his sword drawn in his hand. Thou art to meet the Esau of thy many temptations: meet him not until at Jabbok’s brook thou hast laid hold upon the angel, and prevailed. In every case, in every condition, thou wilt need Jesus; but most of all, when the iron gates of death shall open to thee. Keep thou close to thy soul’s Husband, lean thy head upon his bosom, ask to be refreshed with the spiced wine of his pomegranate, and thou shalt be found of him at the last, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Seeing thou hast lived with him, and lived in him here, thou shalt abide with him forever

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03/09/2014 Our lives should be a sacrifice of worship to the Lord

dailydevotion

Psalms 26:2

(KJV)

Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

 

God or self which?

Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me? And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?

Zechariah 7:5-6

Suggested Further Reading:

1 Corinthians 11:19-22

Is it not true that some of you do not use the day of rest and the house of prayer for their real purpose, which is that man may meet with God? There was a man who professed great love to his friend, and therefore he would spend a day in his company. He rapped at the door, and the servant said the master was not at home. It does not matter said he, I will wait inside and take my ease; I shall do quite as well though the master be not at home if you will bring me abundance to eat and drink.  So he entered, and took a chair and made himself very comfortable, and feasted to his heart’s content; and he went home boasting that he had enjoyed the visit. Then his companions asked him. Was the master there? Oh no, he was not there. But I thought you went to see him?  He had pretended a great desire to have converse with his friend but evidently he was false, for if he had gone to see the master, and the master had not been at home, he would have said Well, I will call another day, but I have missed my errand this time.  So there are some who go up to the house of God; they think they go there to worship the Lord; they have no enjoyment of his presence, they have no communion with his Son, they have no in dwellings  of his Spirit, but they enjoy the day for all that, which shows they did not go to worship God at all. When we put the question to them.  Did ye at all fast unto the Lord?  their answer must be, No, truly, we only sought self; we did not seek the Master’s presence.

For meditation: Everything in our lives should be a sacrifice of worship to the Lord (Romans 11:36-12:1). Do you really meet with him when you talk to him, sing to him and listen to his Word or are you simply playing a superstitious religious game? God does not accept lip-service (Isaiah 29:13; Amos 5:21-23).

Sermon no. 438 9 March (1862)

All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon(C)