God’s “protective shade”

God’s “protective shade”

PALMTREE

The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.

Psalm 121:5 

Secure with the keeper

It was dark and cold that November morning when the Livingstone family woke up to say farewell to their son David. He was leaving Scotland for the heart of Africa. Mrs. Livingstone made coffee; Mr. Livingstone dressed warmly to walk his son to Glasgow. David got the family Bible and read the comforting words of Psalm 121 with the family.

A dozen years later, Dr. Livingstone was contemplating a trip deeper into the unexplored interior of Africa along with his wife and children. Just before he left, he received a letter from his mother-in-law, Mary Moffat, who was also a missionary. “My dear Livingstone,” she began. “Hitherto I have kept up my spirits and have been enabled to believe that our Great Master may yet bring you out in safety.” She said that she was clinging to the promises of Psalm 121 and Psalm 91. “Unceasing prayer is made for you.” Then she added, “Every petition, however fervent, must be with submission to his will.”

Protected? Yes. Submissive to his will? That, too.

Jesus guaranteed us that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33). But no matter what happens, we can never be separated from God’s love or God’s purposes. He promises to preserve us from evil but not to pave over every pothole in life’s road.

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Psalms with devotionals by William J. Petersen and Randy Petersen (Tyndale) entry for October 17

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

THY DESIRE OH LORD, HAS WON MY HEART IN CHRIST

Morning

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“I will praise thee, O Lord.”
Psalm 9:1

Praise should always follow answered prayer; as the mist of earth’s gratitude rises when the sun of heaven’s love warms the ground. Hath the Lord been gracious to thee, and inclined his ear to the voice of thy supplication? Then praise him as long as thou livest. Let the ripe fruit drop upon the fertile soil from which it drew its life. Deny not a song to him who hath answered thy prayer and given thee the desire of thy heart. To be silent over God’s mercies is to incur the guilt of ingratitude; it is to act as basely as the nine lepers, who after they had been cured of their leprosy, returned not to give thanks unto the healing Lord. To forget to praise God is to refuse to benefit ourselves; for praise, like prayer, is one great means of promoting the growth of the spiritual life. It helps to remove our burdens, to excite our hope, to increase our faith. It is a healthful and invigorating exercise which quickens the pulse of the believer, and nerves him for fresh enterprises in his Master’s service. To bless God for mercies received is also the way to benefit our fellow-men; “the humble shall hear thereof and be glad.” Others who have been in like circumstances shall take comfort if we can say, “Oh! magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together; this poor man cried, and the Lord heard him.” Weak hearts will be strengthened, and drooping saints will be revived as they listen to our “songs of deliverance.” Their doubts and fears will be rebuked, as we teach and admonish one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. They too shall “sing in the ways of the Lord,” when they hear us magnify his holy name. Praise is the most heavenly of Christian duties. The angels pray not, but they cease not to praise both day and night; and the redeemed, clothed in white robes, with palm-branches in their hands, are never weary of singing the new song, “Worthy is the Lamb.”

Evening

James 1:2-3 (KJV) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations, Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

James 1:2-3
(KJV)
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations, Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

“Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.”
Song of Solomon 8:13

My sweet Lord Jesus remembers well the garden of Gethsemane, and although he has left that garden, he now dwells in the garden of his church: there he unbosoms himself to those who keep his blessed company. That voice of love with which he speaks to his beloved is more musical than the harps of heaven. There is a depth of melodious love within it which leaves all human music far behind. Ten of thousands on earth, and millions above, are indulged with its harmonious accents. Some whom I well know, and whom I greatly envy, are at this moment hearkening to the beloved voice. O that I were a partaker of their joys! It is true some of these are poor, others bedridden, and some near the gates of death, but O my Lord, I would cheerfully starve with them, pine with them, or die with them, if I might but hear thy voice. Once I did hear it often, but I have grieved thy Spirit. Return unto me in compassion, and once again say unto me, “I am thy salvation.” No other voice can content me; I know thy voice, and cannot be deceived by another, let me hear it, I pray thee. I know not what thou wilt say, neither do I make any condition, O my Beloved, do but let me hear thee speak, and if it be a rebuke I will bless thee for it. Perhaps to cleanse my dull ear may need an operation very grievous to the flesh, but let it cost what it may I turn not from the one consuming desire, cause me to hear thy voice. Bore my ear afresh; pierce my ear with thy harshest notes, only do not permit me to continue deaf to thy calls. Tonight, Lord, grant thine unworthy one his desire, for I am thine, and thou hast bought me with thy blood. Thou hast opened mine eye to see thee, and the sight has saved me. Lord, open thou mine ear. I have read thy heart, now let me hear thy lips.

A BASKET OF SUMMER FRUIT

A basket of summer fruit

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“Thus hath the Lord God shewed unto me: and behold a basket of summer fruit. And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said the Lord unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more.” Amos 8:1,2

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Peter 3:1-10

For thousands of years the Lord came not, although sin was rampant and the darkness dense, nothing could excite the Lord to an unwise haste. Nor on the other hand did he stay beyond the proper hour; for when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, made under the law. In heaven we shall probably discover that Christ came to die for our sins precisely at the only fitting moment, that in fact redemption’s work could not have been so wisely accomplished at the gates of the garden of Eden as on Calvary; and that the reign of Herod and the Roman Caesar afforded the most fitting era for the sacrifice of the Cross. And so shall it be with regard to the second advent of our blessed Lord and Master. We are apt to say, “Why are his chariots so long in coming? Do not the virgins sleep because the bridegroom tarries, the wise as well as the foolish, have they not all slumbered and slept?” And many are the servants who say in their heart, “My Lord delayeth his coming,” and are ready therefore to beat their fellow-servants, to drink and to be drunken; but cheer your hearts, you who look for his appearing. He will not come too hastily, for why should the sun arise until darkness has had its hour? Nor will he delay his appearing one moment beyond the proper time, for should not the sun beam forth in the morning? We know and are persuaded that when he shall stand a second time upon the earth, it shall be as much the fulness of time for him to come, as it was the fulness of time when he came at first.

For meditation: We know that Christ was born at the right time (Galatians 4:4) and that he died for us at the right time (Romans 5:6). We cannot tell when he will come again, but it will be at the right time (Acts 17:31). The right time to trust in him is now (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Sermon no. 343
29 October (Preached 28 October 1860)

JESUS BEGAN AND ENDED IT AT THE CROSS

He who began will not quit

JOHN 3:16

“And I am sure that God, who began a good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.”

Philippians 1:6 
Let this encourage God’s holy people to endure persecution patiently and remain firm to the end, obeying his commands and trusting in Jesus.

Revelation 14:12 

About this week’s promise:

God’s promise to continue working in our lives requires perseverance on our part.

Whether you are an athlete undergoing grueling physical conditioning, an employee struggling under a mountain of work, or a Christian suffering persecution, the key to perseverance is a clear vision of the goal.

While the goal of an athlete is to win the race and goal of the employee is a job well done, the goal of the believer is nothing less than eternity in the presence of the Lord.

The writer of Revelation encourages Christians to keep their eyes on Jesus, who will reward the faithful, and to obey his Word to the end. When you feel like giving up, remember the glory that awaits you as a child of God.

From the TouchPoint Bible with commentary by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers (Tyndale) p 1136

For more on this week’s topic, check this Tyndale resource:

I Told the Mountain to Move by Patricia Raybon (2005)

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

“For the head of Christ is God”

Morning

JOHN 3:16

“I have chosen you out of the world.”
John 15:19

Here is distinguishing grace and discriminating regard; for some are made the special objects of divine affection. Do not be afraid to dwell upon this high doctrine of election. When your mind is most heavy and depressed, you will find it to be a bottle of richest cordial. Those who doubt the doctrines of grace, or who cast them into the shade, miss the richest clusters of Eshcol; they lose the wines on the lees well refined, the fat things full of marrow. There is no balm in Gilead comparable to it. If the honey in Jonathan’s wood when but touched enlightened the eyes, this is honey which will enlighten your heart to love and learn the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Eat, and fear not a surfeit; live upon this choice dainty, and fear not that it will be too delicate a diet. Meat from the King’s table will hurt none of his courtiers. Desire to have your mind enlarged, that you may comprehend more and more the eternal, everlasting, discriminating love of God. When you have mounted as high as election, tarry on its sister mount, the covenant of grace. Covenant engagements are the munitions of stupendous rock behind which we lie entrenched; covenant engagements with the surety, Christ Jesus, are the quiet resting-places of trembling spirits.

“His oath, his covenant, his blood,

Support me in the raging flood;

When every earthly prop gives way,

This still is all my strength and stay.”

If Jesus undertook to bring me to glory, and if the Father promised that he would give me to the Son to be a part of the infinite reward of the travail of his soul; then, my soul, till God himself shall be unfaithful, till Jesus shall cease to be the truth, thou art safe. When David danced before the ark, he told Michal that election made him do so. Come, my soul, exult before the God of grace and leap for joy of heart.

Evening

Come to me and I will set you free. Love Jesus

“His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.”
Song of Solomon 5:11

Comparisons all fail to set forth the Lord Jesus, but the spouse uses the best within her reach. By the head of Jesus we may understand his deity, “for the head of Christ is God” and then the ingot of purest gold is the best conceivable metaphor, but all too poor to describe one so precious, so pure, so dear, so glorious. Jesus is not a grain of gold, but a vast globe of it, a priceless mass of treasure such as earth and heaven cannot excel. The creatures are mere iron and clay, they all shall perish like wood, hay, and stubble, but the ever living Head of the creation of God shall shine on forever and ever. In him is no mixture, nor smallest taint of alloy. He is forever infinitely holy and altogether divine. The bushy locks depict his manly vigour. There is nothing effeminate in our Beloved. He is the manliest of men. Bold as a lion, laborious as an ox, swift as an eagle. Every conceivable and inconceivable beauty is to be found in him, though once he was despised and rejected of men.

“His head the finest gold;

With secret sweet perfume,

His curled locks hang all as black

As any raven’s plume.”

The glory of his head is not shorn away, he is eternally crowned with peerless majesty. The black hair indicates youthful freshness, for Jesus has the dew of his youth upon him. Others grow languid with age, but he is forever a Priest as was Melchizedek; others come and go, but he abides as God upon his throne, world without end. We will behold him tonight and adore him. Angels are gazing upon him–his redeemed must not turn away their eyes from him. Where else is there such a Beloved? O for an hour’s fellowship with him! Away, ye intruding cares! Jesus draws me, and I run after him.

ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO THE COLLECTIONS OF CHARLES SPURGEON(C)

COME TO GOD’S MOUNTAIN OF REFUGE!

Where do you turn when threatened?

MEGIDDO

“Send your light and your truth; let them guide me

Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live.

There I will go to the altar of God, to God — the source of all my joy.

I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God!

Why am I discouraged? Why so sad?

I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again — my Savior and my God!”

Psalm 43:3-5 

An appeal for guidance

“Being lost in the darkness can be a very frightening situation. But imagine if you were also being pursued by people who were out to kill you!

This was the psalmist’s urgent dilemma, and he didn’t know which way to turn. But he did know to whom he would cry out for help. He asked God to show him the way, to guide him in the truth, and to lead him to the Lord’s presence.

Pray that God will guide your steps.

Set your sights on your final destination — God’s dwelling place — and encourage yourself with the prospect of living joyfully in the Lord’s presence.

A pray for today…

Dear God, guide me with your light and truth…

From The One Year® Book of Bible Prayers edited by Bruce Barton (Tyndale) entry for October 11

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

PEACE, FAITH, HOPE

Morning

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“It is a faithful saying.”
2 Timothy 2:11

Paul has four of these “faithful sayings.” The first occurs in 1 Timothy 1:15, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” The next is in 1 Timothy 4:6, “Godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation.” The third is in 2 Timothy 2:12, “It is a faithful saying–If we suffer with him we shall also reign with him”; and the fourth is in Titus 3:3, “This is a faithful saying, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.” We may trace a connection between these faithful sayings. The first one lays the foundation of our eternal salvation in the free grace of God, as shown to us in the mission of the great Redeemer. The next affirms the double blessedness which we obtain through this salvation–the blessings of the upper and nether springs–of time and of eternity. The third shows one of the duties to which the chosen people are called; we are ordained to suffer for Christ with the promise that “if we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” The last sets forth the active form of Christian service, bidding us diligently to maintain good works. Thus we have the root of salvation in free grace; next, the privileges of that salvation in the life which now is, and in that which is to come; and we have also the two great branches of suffering with Christ and serving with Christ, loaded with the fruits of the Spirit. Treasure up these faithful sayings. Let them be the guides of our life, our comfort, and our instruction. The apostle of the Gentiles proved them to be faithful, they are faithful still, not one word shall fall to the ground; they are worthy of all acceptation, let us accept them now, and prove their faithfulness. Let these four faithful sayings be written on the four corners of my house.

Evening

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“We are all as an unclean thing.”
Isaiah 64:6

The believer is a new creature, he belongs to a holy generation and a peculiar people–the Spirit of God is in him, and in all respects he is far removed from the natural man; but for all that the Christian is a sinner still. He is so from the imperfection of his nature, and will continue so to the end of his earthly life. The black fingers of sin leave smuts upon our fairest robes. Sin mars our repentance, ere the great Potter has finished it, upon the wheel. Selfishness defiles our tears, and unbelief tampers with our faith. The best thing we ever did apart from the merit of Jesus only swelled the number of our sins; for when we have been most pure in our own sight, yet, like the heavens, we are not pure in God’s sight; and as he charged his angels with folly, much more must he charge us with it, even in our most angelic frames of mind. The song which thrills to heaven, and seeks to emulate seraphic strains, hath human discords in it. The prayer which moves the arm of God is still a bruised and battered prayer, and only moves that arm because the sinless One, the great Mediator, has stepped in to take away the sin of our supplication. The most golden faith or the purest degree of sanctification to which a Christian ever attained on earth, has still so much alloy in it as to be only worthy of the flames, in itself considered. Every night we look in the glass we see a sinner, and had need confess, “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Oh, how precious the blood of Christ to such hearts as ours! How priceless a gift is his perfect righteousness! And how bright the hope of perfect holiness hereafter! Even now, though sin dwells in us, its power is broken. It has no dominion; it is a broken-backed snake; we are in bitter conflict with it, but it is with a vanquished foe that we have to deal. Yet a little while and we shall enter victoriously into the city where nothing defileth.

CHARLES SPURGEON(C)