The Christian Pilgrimage & The Dove

Morning

My Heart’s Desire

“The things which are not seen.”
2 Corinthians 4:18

In our Christian pilgrimage it is well, for the most part, to be looking forward. Forward lies the crown, and onward is the goal. Whether it be for hope, for joy, for consolation, or for the inspiring of our love, the future must, after all, be the grand object of the eye of faith. Looking into the future we see sin cast out, the body of sin and death destroyed, the soul made perfect, and fit to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light. Looking further yet, the believer’s enlightened eye can see death’s river passed, the gloomy stream forded, and the hills of light attained on which standeth the celestial city; he seeth himself enter within the pearly gates, hailed as more than conqueror, crowned by the hand of Christ, embraced in the arms of Jesus, glorified with him, and made to sit together with him on his throne, even as he has overcome and has sat down with the Father on his throne. The thought of this future may well relieve the darkness of the past and the gloom of the present. The joys of heaven will surely compensate for the sorrows of earth. Hush, hush, my doubts! death is but a narrow stream, and thou shalt soon have forded it. Time, how short–eternity, how long! Death, how brief–immortality, how endless! Methinks I even now eat of Eshcol’s clusters, and sip of the well which is within the gate. The road is so, so short! I shall soon be there.

“When the world my heart is rending

With its heaviest storm of care,

My glad thoughts to heaven ascending,

Find a refuge from despair.

Faith’s bright vision shall sustain me

Till life’s pilgrimage is past;

Fears may vex and troubles pain me,

I shall reach my home at last.”

Evening

“The dove came in to him in the evening.”
Genesis 8:11

Blessed be the Lord for another day of mercy, even though I am now weary with its toils. Unto the preserver of men lift I my song of gratitude. The dove found no rest out of the ark, and therefore returned to it; and my soul has learned yet more fully than ever, this day, that there is no satisfaction to be found in earthly things–God alone can give rest to my spirit. As to my business, my possessions, my family, my attainments, these are all well enough in their way, but they cannot fulfil the desires of my immortal nature. “Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.” It was at the still hour, when the gates of the day were closing, that with weary wing the dove came back to the master: O Lord, enable me this evening thus to return to Jesus. She could not endure to spend a night hovering over the restless waste, nor can I bear to be even for another hour away from Jesus, the rest of my heart, the home of my spirit. She did not merely alight upon the roof of the ark, she “came in to him;” even so would my longing spirit look into the secret of the Lord, pierce to the interior of truth, enter into that which is within the veil, and reach to my Beloved in very deed. To Jesus must I come: short of the nearest and dearest intercourse with him my panting spirit cannot stay. Blessed Lord Jesus, be with me, reveal thyself, and abide with me all night, so that when I awake I may be still with thee. I note that the dove brought in her mouth an olive branch plucked off, the memorial of the past day, and a prophecy of the future. Have I no pleasing record to bring home? No pledge and earnest of loving-kindness yet to come? Yes, my Lord, I present thee my grateful acknowledgments for tender mercies which have been new every morning and fresh every evening; and now, I pray thee, put forth thy hand and take thy dove into thy bosom.

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

FOR BETTER OR WORSE

The blind beggar

JOHN 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

JOHN 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

“And as he went out of Jericho…. blind Bartimaeus…. sat by the highway side begging.” Mark 10:46

Suggested Further Reading: John 9:39-41

To be both blind and poor, these were a combination of the sternest evils. One thinks it is scarcely possible to resist the cry of a beggar whom we meet in the street if he is blind. We pity the blind man when he is surrounded with luxury, but when we see a blind man in want, and following the beggar’s trade in the busy streets, we can hardly forbear stopping to assist him. This case of Bartimaeus, however, is but a picture of our own. We are all by nature blind and poor. It is true we account ourselves able enough to see; but this is just one phase of our blindness. Our blindness is of such a kind that it makes us think our vision perfect; whereas, when we are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, we discover our previous sight to have been blindness indeed. Spiritually, we are blind; we are unable to discern our lost estate; unable to conceive the blackness of sin, or the terrors of the wrath to come. The unrenewed mind is so blind, that it perceives not the all-attractive beauty of Christ; the Sun of righteousness may arise with healing beneath his wings, but this is all in vain for those who cannot see his shining. Christ may do many mighty works in their presence, but they do not recognise his glory; we are blind until he has opened our eyes. But besides being blind we are also by nature poor. Our father Adam spent our birthright, lost our estates. Paradise, the homestead of our race, has become dilapidated, and we are left in the depths of beggary without anything with which we may buy bread for our hungry souls, or clothing for our naked spirits; blindness and beggary are the lot of all men after a spiritual fashion, till Jesus visits them in love.

For meditation: Spiritually the unconverted are very often exactly the opposite of what they think they are. It can also be true of Christians, for better or worse (Revelation 2:9; 3:1,8,17,18).

Sermon no. 266    7 August (1859)

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

“Of whom shall I be afraid?”

Morning

KING OF KINGS GLORY

“And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”
John 10:28

The Christian should never think or speak lightly of unbelief. For a child of God to mistrust his love, his truth, his faithfulness, must be greatly displeasing to him. How can we ever grieve him by doubting his upholding grace? Christian! it is contrary to every promise of God’s precious Word that thou shouldst ever be forgotten or left to perish. If it could be so, how could he be true who has said, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I never forget thee.” What were the value of that promise–“The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” Where were the truth of Christ’s words–“I give unto my sheep eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” Where were the doctrines of grace? They would be all disproved if one child of God should perish. Where were the veracity of God, his honour, his power, his grace, his covenant, his oath, if any of those for whom Christ has died, and who have put their trust in him, should nevertheless be cast away? Banish those unbelieving fears which so dishonour God. Arise, shake thyself from the dust, and put on thy beautiful garments. Remember it is sinful to doubt his Word wherein he has promised thee that thou shalt never perish. Let the eternal life within thee express itself in confident rejoicing.

“The gospel bears my spirit up:

A faithful and unchanging God

Lays the foundation for my hope,

In oaths, and promises, and blood.”

Evening

1 John 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
Psalm 27:1

“The Lord is my light and my salvation.” Here is personal interest, “my light,” “my salvation;” the soul is assured of it, and therefore declares it boldly. Into the soul at the new birth divine light is poured as the precursor of salvation; where there is not enough light to reveal our own darkness and to make us long for the Lord Jesus, there is no evidence of salvation. After conversion our God is our joy, comfort, guide, teacher, and in every sense our light: he is light within, light around, light reflected from us, and light to be revealed to us. Note, it is not said merely that the Lord gives light, but that he is light; nor that he gives salvation, but that he is salvation; he, then, who by faith has laid hold upon God, has all covenant blessings in his possession. This being made sure as a fact, the argument drawn from it is put in the form of a question, “Whom shall I fear?” A question which is its own answer. The powers of darkness are not to be feared, for the Lord, our light, destroys them; and the ****ation of hell is not to be dreaded by us, for the Lord is our salvation. This is a very different challenge from that of boastful Goliath, for it rests, not upon the conceited vigour of an arm of flesh, but upon the real power of the omnipotent I AM. “The Lord is the strength of my life.” Here is a third glowing epithet, to show that the writer’s hope was fastened with a threefold cord which could not be broken. We may well accumulate terms of praise where the Lord lavishes deeds of grace. Our life derives all its strength from God; and if he deigns to make us strong, we cannot be weakened by all the machinations of the adversary. “Of whom shall I be afraid?” The bold question looks into the future as well as the present. “If God be for us,” who can be against us, either now or in time to come?

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

Repentance unto life!

Repentance unto life

images16CDVWX2

Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

 Acts 11:18

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 3:1-14

Can they be sincerely penitent, and then go and transgress again immediately, in the same way as they did before? How can we believe you if you transgress again and again, and do not forsake your sin? We know a tree by its fruit; and you who are penitent will bring forth works of repentance. I have often thought it was a very beautiful instance, showing the power of penitence which a pious minister once related. He had been preaching on penitence, and had in the course of his sermon spoken of the sin of stealing. On his way home a labourer came alongside of him, and the minister observed that he had something under his smock-frock. He told him he need not accompany him farther; but the man persisted. At last he said, I have a spade under my arm which I stole up at that farm; I heard you preaching about the sin of stealing, and I must go and put it there again.  That was sincere penitence which caused him to go back and replace the stolen article. It was like those South Sea Islanders, of whom we read, who stole the missionaries articles of apparel and furniture, and everything out of their houses; but when they were savingly converted they brought them all back. But many of you say you repent, yet nothing comes of it; it is not worth the snap of the finger. People sincerely repent, they say, that they should have committed a robbery, or that they have kept a gambling-house; but they are very careful that all the proceeds shall be laid out to their hearts  best comfort. True repentance will yield works meet for repentance; it will be practical repentance. Yet farther. You may know whether your repentance is practical by this test. Does it last or does it not?

For meditation: As with faith, repentance without works is dead. Jesus could tell that the repentance of Zacchaeus was practical and real (Luke 19:8-9).

Sermon no. 44       22 September (Preached 23 September 1855)

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

 

BLESSED HOLY SPIRIT

The whole earth will hear

images16CDVWX2

Power of the Spirit

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.t when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywherein Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Acts 1:8
I love to tell the story of unseen things above, Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love; I love to tell the story because I know ’tis true, It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.

I love to tell the story! Twill be my theme in glory — To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I Love to Tell the Story, Arabella Catherine Hankey (1834-1911)

I Love to Tell the Story

Kate Hankey, the daughter of a prosperous London banker, grew up in a stylish London suburb. She started a Bible class for girls in her neighborhood, and then, when she was only eighteen, Hankey went to London to teach a Bible class of “factory girls.” In her twenties, she started other Bible classes for factory girls.

When she was in her early thirties, Kate Hankey became seriously ill. Doctors said she needed a year of bed rest. She was forbidden to teach her Bible classes for twelve months. During her long, slow recovery, she wrote two lengthy poems. The first, at the beginning of her convalescence, later became the hymn “Tell Me the Old, Old Story.” The second, written ten months later, became “I Love to Tell the Story.”

After ten months she felt strong enough to leave her bed. She soon returned to her Bible classes in London and continued teaching for many years. When she became too old to teach the factory girls regularly, she started a prison ministry in London — even then she continued to tell the story of Jesus.

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Hymns by Mark Norton and Robert Brown, Tyndale House Publishers (1995), entry for June 8.

 

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

SHE STOOD AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS!

Is Your NameThe gift of salvation

The need for Christ

Jesus knew that everything was now finished, and to fulfill the Scriptures he said, “I am thirsty.”

John 19:28 

I have a great need for Christ, I have a great Christ for my need.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)

 

I’m thirsty

One of the women who lingered at the foot of the cross had once known thirst that ordinary water couldn’t quench. She had been an outcast among her peers.…She had a great need, and nothing could fill the emptiness, the void within her. Then came the day when she met Jesus. Although her accusers had already given up on her and would readily have stoned her, Jesus saw her need, and rather than give up on her, he faced her accusers and saved not only her life but her soul as well. From that moment forward, Mary Magdalene was a devoted disciple of Christ, following him even to the foot of a brutal cross. When Jesus cried out in thirst, the soldiers mistook it for weakness of the flesh and thrust sour wine to his lips. What they didn’t comprehend is that Jesus’ words were a declaration of his completion of his Father’s work. He was thirsty because he was being poured out as an offering, not only for the grateful woman who knelt at this feet but also for generations of people to come.

JESUS, you poured out your life like an offering and gave me living water that saved and restores my soul. Help me to take that same living water and extend it to those around me who are thirsty. Please us me to reach out to the abandoned, the scorned, the unlovable, with your sacrificial love.

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Praying through the Bible by Cheri Fuller, Tyndale House Publishers (2003), entry for May 31.

Digging Deeper: For more on salvation, read Why Sin Matters by Mark McMinn (Tyndale, 2004)

 

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

MAKE KNOWN CHRIST’S GLORY

Christ is glorious let us make him

known!

SUNSHINE

And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.

Micah 5:4

Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 16:13-18

Why is it that we have seen the Church endure to this day? How is it that we are confident that should even worse times arrive, the church would weather the storm and abide till moons shall cease to wax and wane? Why this security? Only because Christ is in the midst of her. You do not believe, I hope, in the preservation of orthodoxy by legal instruments and trust deeds. This is what too many Dissenters have relied upon, but they are like broken reeds if we rely on them. Neither can we depend on parliament and its laws. We may draw up the most express and distinct form of doctrine, but we shall find that the next generation will depart from the truth unless God shall be pleased to give it renewed grace from on high. You cannot secure the life of the church by any particular system. History shows that churches have prospered, as well as failed, under different systems. The fact is that forms of government have very little to do with the vital principle of the church. The reason why the church of God exists is not her ecclesiastical regulations, her organisation, her formularies, her ministers, or her creeds, but the presence of the Lord in the midst of her; and while Christ lives, and Christ reigns, and stands and feeds his church, she is safe; but if he were once gone, it would be with her as it is with you and me when the Spirit of God has departed from us; we are weak as other men, and she would be quite as powerless.

For meditation: The foundation rock on which the church is built is neither Peter and his supposed successors nor Peter/s creed and its successors, but the immovable Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16,18; 1 Corinthians 3:11).

Sermon no. 560 20 March (1864)

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