ALL CALL TO ARMS! WATCHMAN, WHAT OF THE NIGHT? UPDATE 2

Morning

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“Watchman, what of the night?”
Isaiah 21:11

What enemies are abroad? Errors are a numerous horde, and new ones appear every hour: against what heresy am I to be on my guard? Sins creep from their lurking places when the darkness reigns; I must myself mount the watch-tower, and watch unto prayer. Our heavenly Protector foresees all the attacks which are about to be made upon us, and when as yet the evil designed us is but in the desire of Satan, he prays for us that our faith fail not, when we are sifted as wheat. Continue O gracious Watchman, to forewarn us of our foes, and for Zion’s sake hold not thy peace.

“Watchman, what of the night?” What weather is coming for the Church? Are the clouds lowering, or is it all clear and fair overhead? We must care for the Church of God with anxious love; and now that Popery and infidelity are both threatening, let us observe the signs of the times and prepare for conflict.

“Watchman, what of the night? What stars are visible? What precious promises suit our present case? You sound the alarm, give us the consolation also. Christ, the polestar, is ever fixed in his place, and all the stars are secure in the right hand of their Lord.

But watchman, when comes the morning? The Bridegroom tarries. Are there no signs of his coming forth as the Sun of Righteousness? Has not the morning star arisen as the pledge of day? When will the day dawn, and the shadows flee away? O Jesus, if thou come not in person to thy waiting Church this day, yet come in Spirit to my sighing heart, and make it sing for joy.

“Now all the earth is bright and glad

With the fresh morn;

But all my heart is cold, and dark and sad:

Sun of the soul, let me behold thy dawn!

Come, Jesus, Lord,

O quickly come, according to thy word.”


Evening

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“Let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.”
Psalm 72:19

This is a large petition. To intercede for a whole city needs a stretch of faith, and there are times when a prayer for one man is enough to stagger us. But how far-reaching was the psalmist’s dying intercession! How comprehensive! How sublime! “Let the whole earth be filled with his glory.” It doth not exempt a single country however crushed by the foot of superstition; it doth not exclude a single nation however barbarous. For the cannibal as well as for the civilized, for all climes and races this prayer is uttered: the whole circle of the earth it encompasses, and omits no son of Adam. We must be up and doing for our Master, or we cannot honestly offer such a prayer. The petition is not asked with a sincere heart unless we endeavour, as God shall help us, to extend the kingdom of our Master. Are there not some who neglect both to plead and to labour? Reader, is it your prayer? Turn your eyes to Calvary. Behold the Lord of Life nailed to a cross, with the thorn-crown about his brow, with bleeding head, and hands, and feet. What! can you look upon this miracle of miracles, the death of the Son of God, without feeling within your bosom a marvellous adoration that language never can express? And when you feel the blood applied to your conscience, and know that he has blotted out your sins, you are not a man unless you start from your knees and cry, “Let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.” Can you bow before the Crucified in loving homage, and not wish to see your Monarch master of the world? Out on you if you can pretend to love your Prince, and desire not to see him the universal ruler. Your piety is worthless unless it leads you to wish that the same mercy which has been extended to you may bless the whole world. Lord, it is harvest-time, put in thy sickle and reap.

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


SOUNDING THE ALARM!

Author’s Commentary:

Brother’s and Sister’s the Time is at hand and an “All Call To Arms” has been issued!!  The Blessed Holy Spirit of the Lord is alerting all “Prayer Warriors to be on their “Assigned Walls” and to pray for our Nation without seizing !  He has given two particular Scriptures that we are to arm ourselves in Prayer and  Battle with in quite time with Jesus Christ in whom ALL victory has been given in His Name:  “JESUS CHRIST!”


MATTHEW 28:18

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

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We walk by Faith and not by Sight!  Though we are weak in the flesh; we are strong in the power and might of the Lord!

2 CORINTHIANS 5:7

(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

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2 CORINTHIANS 13:4

For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.

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EPHESIANS 6

2016 PRAYER WARRIORS ARM YOURSELVES!


EPHESIANS  6

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;

That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:

22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.

23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

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JOHN 3:16

JOHN 3:16

PSALM  91

91 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

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PRAYER:  AUGUST 08, 2016  1:57 P.M.

FATHER, I HUMBLY ASK THAT BY YOUR HOLY SPIRIT “ALL PRAYER WARRIORS” WILL TAKE HEED TO THIS MESSAGE YOU HAVE GUIDED ME TO PUT FORTH FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST.  THANK YOU FATHER FOR THE LEADING OF YOUR HOLY SPIRIT AND ALLOWING ME THE HONOR OF SERVING “YOU” ACCORDING TO YOUR WILL AND NOT MINE.  THANK YOU FOR TAKING THIS POT OF CLAY AND MOLDING IT TO BE A VESSEL TO YOUR GLORY; FOR KEEPING YOUR GLORY AND RIGHTEOUSNESS FORTHRIGHT IN MY SIGHT OF SPIRIT BY KEEPING MY “VIEW” ON THE CROSS YOUR SON WHO WILLINGLY TOOK IN MY PLACE.  A PICTURE I SEE IN THE SPIRIT WHEN LIFE’S DAILY TASKS TAKE MY FOCUS OFF OF YOU AND PUTS THIS “POT OF CLAY” AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUOUS WORK IN ME FATHER TO MAKE ME A JEWEL FOR YOUR SON, JESUS CHRIST.  LORD, I LIFT MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS THAT ALL OF YOUR CHILDREN TO BE SEEK THE KINGDOM OF GOD FIRST, TO BE STRENGTHENED IN JESUS CHRIST AND THE GIFTS OF THE ARMOUR OF GOD BE REVEALED TO THE FULLEST BY YOUR HOLY SPIRIT!

IN THE POWER AND THE AUTHORITY OF THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST:  AMEN AND AMEN


 

Chris Tomlin – Whom Shall I Fear [God of Angel Armies] [Lyrics]

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CAN PRIDE WITHSTAND THE CROSS OF CHRIST?

JOHN 3:16

JOHN 3:16

Morning

“These were potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work.”
1 Chronicles 4:23

Potters were not the very highest grade of workers, but “the king” needed potters, and therefore they were in royal service, although the material upon which they worked was nothing but clay. We, too, may be engaged in the most menial part of the Lord’s work, but it is a great privilege to do anything for “the king”; and therefore we will abide in our calling, hoping that, “although we have lien among the pots, yet shall we be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.” The text tells us of those who dwelt among plants and hedges, having rough, rustic, hedging and ditching work to do. They may have desired to live in the city, amid its life, society, and refinement, but they kept their appointed places, for they also were doing the king’s work. The place of our habitation is fixed, and we are not to remove from it out of whim and caprice, but seek to serve the Lord in it, by being a blessing to those among whom we reside. These potters and gardeners had royal company, for they dwelt “with the king” and although among hedges and plants, they dwelt with the king there. No lawful place, or gracious occupation, however mean, can debar us from communion with our divine Lord. In visiting hovels, swarming lodging-houses, workhouses, or jails, we may go with the king. In all works of faith we may count upon Jesus’ fellowship. It is when we are in his work that we may reckon upon his smile. Ye unknown workers who are occupied for your Lord amid the dirt and wretchedness of the lowest of the low, be of good cheer, for jewels have been found upon dunghills ere now, earthen pots have been filled with heavenly treasure, and ill weeds have been transformed into precious flowers. Dwell ye with the King for his work, and when he writes his chronicles your name shall be recorded.

Evening

“He humbled himself.”
Philippians 2:8

Jesus is the great teacher of lowliness of heart. We need daily to learn of him. See the Master taking a towel and washing his disciples’ feet! Follower of Christ, wilt thou not humble thyself? See him as the Servant of servants, and surely thou canst not be proud! Is not this sentence the compendium of his biography, “He humbled himself”? Was he not on earth always stripping off first one robe of honour and then another, till, naked, he was fastened to the cross, and there did he not empty out his inmost self, pouring out his life-blood, giving up for all of us, till they laid him penniless in a borrowed grave? How low was our dear Redeemer brought! How then can we be proud? Stand at the foot of the cross, and count the purple drops by which you have been cleansed; see the thorn-crown; mark his scourged shoulders, still gushing with encrimsoned rills; see hands and feet given up to the rough iron, and his whole self to mockery and scorn; see the bitterness, and the pangs, and the throes of inward grief, showing themselves in his outward frame; hear the thrilling shriek, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And if you do not lie prostrate on the ground before that cross, you have never seen it: if you are not humbled in the presence of Jesus, you do not know him. You were so lost that nothing could save you but the sacrifice of God’s only begotten. Think of that, and as Jesus stooped for you, bow yourself in lowliness at his feet. A sense of Christ’s amazing love to us has a greater tendency to humble us than even a consciousness of our own guilt. May the Lord bring us in contemplation to Calvary, then our position will no longer be that of the pompous man of pride, but we shall take the humble place of one who loves much because much has been forgiven him. Pride cannot live beneath the cross. Let us sit there and learn our lesson, and then rise and carry it into practice.

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

THANKSGIVING NOVEMBER 2013

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Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.
The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well as the iron and coal as of our precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

RELATED LINKS
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A Not-So-Traditional Thanksgiving 

 

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A.D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

Read more: Thanksgiving Proclamation http://www.infoplease.com/spot/tgproclamation.html#ixzz2CxiM1Wk4

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CHARLES SPURGEON ON THANKSGIVING

1 Thessalonians 5:18  (KJV)

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

TITLE. A Psalm of Praise; or rather of thanksgiving. This is the only psalm bearing this precise inscription. It is all ablaze with grateful adoration, and has for this reason been a great favourite with the people of God ever since it was written. “Let us sing the Old Hundredth” is one of the every-day expressions of the Christian church, and will be so while men, exist whose hearts are loyal to the Great King. Nothing can be more sublime this side heaven than the singing of this noble psalm by a vast congregation. Watts’ paraphrase, beginning “Before Jehovah’s awful throne, “and the Scotch “All people that on earth do dwell, “are both noble versions; and event Tare and Brady rise beyond themselves when they sing—

“With one consent let all the earth To God their cheerful voices raise.”

In this divine lyric we sing with gladness the creating power and goodness of the Lord, even as before with trembling we adored his holiness.


EXPOSITIONVerse 1. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. This is a repetition of Ps 98:4. The original word signifies a glad shout, such as loyal subjects give when their king appears among them. Our happy God should be worshipped by a happy people; a cheerful spirit is in keeping with his nature, his acts, and the gratitude which we should cherish for his mercies. In every land Jehovah’s goodness is seen, therefore in every land should be be praised. Nearer will the world be in its proper condition till with one unanimous shout it adores the only God. O ye nations, how long will ye blindly reject him? Your golden age will never arrive till ye with all your hearts revere him.

Verse 2. Serve the LORD with gladness. “Glad homage pay with awful mirth.” He is our Lord, and therefore he is to be served; he is our gracious Lord, and therefore to be served with joy. The invitation to worship here given is not a melancholy one, as though adoration were a funeral solemnity, but a cheery gladsome exhortation, as though we were bidden to a marriage feast. Come before his presence with singing. We ought in worship to realise the presence of God, and by an effort of the mind to approach him. This is an act which must to every rightly instructed heart be one of great solemnity, but at the same time it must not be performed in the servility of fear, and therefore we come before him, not with weepings and wailings, but with Psalms and hymns. Singing, as it is a joyful, and at the same time a devout, exercise, should be a constant form of approach to God. The measured, harmonious, hearty utterance of praise by a congregation of really devout persons is not merely decorous but delightful, and is a fit anticipation of the worship of heaven, where praise has absorbed prayer, and become the sole mode of adoration. How a certain society of brethren can find it in their hearts to forbid singing in public worship is a riddle which we cannot solve. We feel inclined to say with Dr. Watts

“Let those refuse to sing Who never knew our God; But favourites of the heavenly king Must speak his praise abroad.”

Verse 3. Know ye that the Lord, he is God. Our worship must be intelligent. We ought to know whom we worship and why. “Man, know thyself, “is a wise aphorism, yet to know our God is truer wisdom; and it is very questionable whether a man can know himself until he knows his God. Jehovah is God in the fullest, most absolute, and most exclusive sense, he is God alone; to know him in that character and prove our knowledge by obedience, trust, submission, zeal, and love is an attainment which only grace can bestow. Only those who practically recognise his Godhead are at all likely to offer acceptable praise. It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves. Shall not the creature reverence its maker? Some men live as if they made themselves; they call themselves “self-made men, “and they adore their supposed creators; but Christians recognise the origin of their being and their well-being, and take no honour to themselves either for being, or for being what they are. Neither in our first or second creation dare we put so much as a finger upon the glory, for it is the sole right and property of the Almighty. To disclaim honour for ourselves is as necessary a part of true reverence as to ascribe glory to the Lord. “Non nobis, dominc!” will for ever remain the true believer’s confession. Of late philosophy has laboured hard to prove that all things have been developed from atoms, or have, in other words, made themselves: if this theory shall ever find believers, there will certainly remain no reason for accusing the superstitious of credulity, for the amount of credence necessary to accept this dogma of scepticism is a thousandfold greater than that which is required even by an absurd belief in winking Madonnas, and smiling Bambinos. For our part, we find it far more easy to believe that the Lord made us than that we were developed by a long chain of natural selections from floating atoms which fashioned themselves. We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. It is our honour to have been chosen from all the world besides to be his own people, and our privilege to be therefore guided by his wisdom, tended by his care, and fed by his bounty. Sheep gather around their shepherd and look up to him; in the same manner let us gather around the great Shepherd of mankind. The avowal of our relation to God is in itself praise; when we recount his goodness we are rendering to him the best adoration; our songs require none of the inventions of fictions, the bare facts are enough; the simple narration of the mercies of the Lord is more astonishing than the productions of imagination. That we are the sheep of his pasture is a plain truth, and at the same time the very essence of poetry.

Verse 4. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving. To the occurrence of the word thanksgiving in this place the Psalm probably owes its title. In all our public service the rendering of thanks must abound; it is like the incense of the temple, which filled the whole house with smoke. Expiatory sacrifices are ended, but those of gratitude will never be out of date. So long as we are receivers of mercy we must be givers of thanks. Mercy permits us to enter his gates; let us praise that mercy. What better subjcct for our thoughts in God’s own house than the Lord of the house. And into his courts with praise. Into whatever court of the Lord you may enter, let your admission be the subject of praise: thanks be to God, the innermost court is now open to believers, and we enter into that which is within the veil; it is incumbent upon us that we acknowledge the high privilege by our songs. Be thankful unto him. Let the praise be in your heart as well as on your tongue, and let it all be for him to whom it all belongs. And bless his name. He blessed you, bless him in return; bless his name, his character, his person. Whatever he does, be sure that you bless him for it; bless him when he takes away as well as when he gives; bless him as long as you live, under all circumstances; bless him in all his attributes, from whatever point of view you consider him.

Verse 5. For the Lord is good. This sums up his character and contains a mass of reasons for praise. He is good, gracious, kind, bountiful, loving; yea, God is love. He who does not praise the good is not good himself. The kind of praise inculcated in the Psalm, viz., that of joy and gladness, is most fitly urged upon us by an argument from the goodness of God. His mercy is everlasting. God is not mere justice, stern and cold; he has bowels of compassion, and wills not the sinner’s death. Towards his own people mercy is still more conspicuously displayed; it has been theirs from all eternity, and shall be theirs world without end. Everlasting mercy is a glorious theme for sacred song. And his truth endureth to all generations. No fickle being is he, promising and forgetting. He has entered into covenant with his people, and he will never revoke it, nor alter the thing that has gone out of his lips. As our fathers found him faithful, so will our sons, and their seed for ever. A changeable God would be a terror to the righteous, they would have no sure anchorage, and amid a changing world they would be driven to and fro in perpetual fear of shipwreck. It were well if the truth of divine faithfulness were more fully remembered by some theologians; it would overturn their belief in the final fall of believers, and teach them a more consolatory system. Our heart leaps for joy as we bow before One who has never broken his word or changed his purpose.

“As well might he his being quit As break his promise or forget.”

Resting on his sure word, we feel that joy which is here commanded, and in the strength of it we come into his presence even now, and speak good of his name.


EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGSTITLE. This is the only Psalm in the whole collection entitled “A Psalm of Praise.” It is supposed to have received this appellation because peculiarly adapted, if not designed to be sung, when the sacrifices of thanksgiving were offered. See Le 7:12. The Greeks think it was written by David, who here invites all the world to join with the Israelites in the service of God, whose divine sovereignty he here recognises. Samuel Burder.

Whole Psalm. If we are right in regarding Psalms 93-99 as forming one continuous series, one great prophetic oratorio, whose title is “Jehovah is King, “and through which there runs the same great idea, this Psalm may be regarded as the doxology which closes the strain. We find lingering in it notes of the same great harmony. It breathes the same gladness; it is filled with the same hope, that all nations shall bow down before Jehovah, and confess that he is God. J.J.S. Perowne.

Whole Psalm. This Psalm contains a promise of Christianity, as winter at its close contains the promise of spring. The trees are ready to bud, the flowers are just hidden by the light soil, the clouds are heavy with rain, the sun shines in his strength; only a genial wind from the south is wanted to give a new life to all things. “The Speaker’s Commentary, “1873.

Whole Psalm. Luther would have immortalized his name had he done no more than written the majestic air and harmony to which we are accustomed to sing this Psalm, and which, when the mind is in a truly worshipping frame, seems to bring heaven down to earth, and to raise earth to heaven, giving us anticipations of the pure and sublime delights of that noble and general assembly in which saints and angels shall for ever celebrate the praises of God. Ingram Cobbin.

Verse 2. The first half of this verse is from Ps 2:11, only that instead of “with fear, “there, where the psalmist has to do with fierce rebels, there is substituted here “gladness” or joy. F.W. Hengstenberg.

Verse 2. Serve the LORD with gladness. It is a sign the oil of grace hath been poured into the heart “when the oil of gladness” shines on the countenance. Cheerfulness credits religion. Thomas Watson.

Verse 2. Serve the LORD. It is our privilege to serve the Lord in all things. It is ours to please the Lord in loosing the latchet of a shoe; and to enjoy the expression of his favour therein. The servant of God is not serving at the same time another master; he has not been hired for occasional service; he abides in the service of his God, and cannot be about anything but his Master’s business; he eats, he drinks, he sleeps, he walks, he discourses, he findeth recreation, all by the way of serving God. Serve the Lord with gladness. Can you bear to be waited upon by a servant who goes moping and dejected to his every task? You would rather have no servant at all, than one who evidently finds your service cheerless and irksome. George Bowen.

Verse 3. Know ye that the LORD he is God, &c. From the reasons of this exhortation, learn, that such is our natural atheism, that we have need again and again to be instructed, that the Lord is God; of whom, and through whom, and for whom are all things. David Dickson.

Verse 3. It is he that made us… we are his. Now, the ground of God’s property in all things is his creating of all… Accordingly, you may observe in many scriptures, where the Lord’s propriety is asserted, this, as the ground of it, is annexed: Ps 89:11-12, the heavens, the earth, the whole world, and all therein is thine. Why so? “Thou hast founded them.” And so are all the regions and quarters of the world, northern and southern, western and eastern; for Tabor was on the west and Hermon on the east; all are thine, for thou hast created them. So sea and land, Ps 95:5. As all things measured by time, so time itself, the measure of all, Ps 74:16-17. “Thou hast made the light, “i.e. the moon for the night and the sun for the day. He lays claim to all the climes of the earth, and all the seasons of the year on this account; he made them. This will be more evident and unquestionable, if we take notice of these particulars:

1. He made all for himself. He was not employed by any to make it for another, for in that case sometimes the maker is not the owner; but the Lord did employ himself in that great work, and for himself did he undertake and finish it. Pr 16:4 Col 1:15-16.

2. He made all things of nothing, either without any matter at all, or without any but what himself had before made of nothing. A potter when he makes an earthenware vessel, if the clay be not his own which he makes it of, he is not the full owner of the vessel, though he formed it: “the form is his, the matter is another’s; “but since the Lord made all of nothing, or of such matter as himself had made, all is wholly his, matter and form, all entirely.

3. He made all without the help or concurrence of any other. There was none that assisted him, or did in the least co-operate with him in the work of creation… Those that assist and concur with another in the making of a thing may claim a share in it; but here lies no such claim in this case, where the Lord alone did all, alone made all. All is his only.

4. He upholds all things in the same manner as he created, continues the being of all things in the same way as he gave it. He does it of himself, without other support, without any assistant. All would fall into nothing in a moment, if he did not every moment bear them up. So that all things on this account have still their being from him every moment, and their well-being too, and all the means which conduce to it; and therefore all are his own. David Clarkson.

Verse 3. It is he that hath made us. The emperor Henry, while out hunting on the Lord’s day called Quinquagesima, his companions being scattered, came unattended to the entrance of a certain wood; and seeing a church hard by, he made for it, and feigning himself to be a soldier, simply requested a mass of the priest. Now that priest was a man of notable piety, but so deformed in person that he seemed a monster rather than a man. When he had attentively considered him, the emperor began to wonder exceedingly why God, from whom all beauty proceeds, should permit so deformed a man to administer his sacraments. But prescntly, when mass commenced, and they came to the passage, Know ye that the Lord he is God, which was chanted by a boy, the priest rebuked the boy for singing negligently, and said with a loud voice, It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves. Struck by these words, and believing the priest to be a prophet, the emperor raised him, much against his will, to the archbishopric of Cologne, which see he adorned by his devotion and excellent virtues. From “Roger of Wendover’s (1237) Flowers of History.”

Verse 3. It is he that hath made us… we are his. Many a one has drawn balsatalc consolation from these words; as for instance Melancthon when disconsolately sorrowful over the body of his son in Dresden on the 12th July, 1559. But in “He made us and we are his, “there is also a rich mine of comfort and of admonition, for the Creator is also the Owner, his heart clings to his creature, and the creature owes itself entirely to him, without whom it would not have had a being, and would not continue in being. F. Delitzsch.

Verse 3. He that made us, i.e. made us what we are, a people to himself; as in Ps 95:5, 1Sa 12:6, and De 32:6. It was not we that made ourselves his (compare Eze 29:3). “He (and not we ourselves) made us His people, and the flock whom he feeds.” Andrew A. Bonar.

Verse 3. Not we is added, because any share, on the part of the church, in effecting the salvation bestowed upon her, would weaken the testimony which this bears to the exclusive Godhead of the Lord. F. W. Hengstenberg.

Verses 3, 5. Know ye what God is in himself, and what he is to you. Knowledge is the mother of devotion, and of all obedience; blind sacrifices will never please a seeing God. “Know” it, i.e. consider and apply it, and then you will be more close and constant, more inward and serious, in the worship of him. Let us know, then, these seven things concerning the Lord Jehovah, with whom we have to do in all the acts of religious worship.

1. That the Lord he is God, the only living and true God; that he is a being infinitely perfect, self-existent, and self-sufficient, and the fountain of all being.

2. That he is our Creator: It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves. We do not, we could not make ourselves; it is God’s prerogative to be his own cause; our being is derived and depending.

3. That therefore he is our rightful owner. The Masorites, by altering one letter in the Hebrew, read it, “He made us, and his we are, “or, “to him we belong.” Put both the readings together, and we learn, that because God “made us, and not we ourselves, “therefore we are not our own but his.

4. That he is our sovereign Ruler. We are his people, or subjects, and he is our prince, our rector or governor, that gives laws to us as moral agents, and will call us to an account for what we do.

5. That he is our bountiful Benefactor;we are not only his sheep whom he is entitled to, but the sheep of his pasture, whom he takes care of.

6. That he is a God of infinite mercy and good (Ps 100:5); The Lord is good, and therefore doth good; his mercy his everlasting.

7. That he is a God of inviolable truth and faithfulness; His truth endureth to all generations, and no word of his shall fall to the ground as antiquated or revoked. Matthew Henry.

Verse 4. Enter into his gates; for to the most guilty are the gates of his church open. Francis Hill Tucker.

Verse 4. With thanksgiving. On the word hrwt the word used in Le 7:12 for sacrifices of thanksgivings], Rabbi Menachen remarks: All sacrifices will be abolished; but the sacrifice of thanksgiving will remain. George Phillips.

Verse 4. The former part of this Psalm may have been chanted by the precentor when the peace-offering was brought to the altar; and this last verse may have been the response, sung by the whole company of singers, at the moment when fire was applied to the offering. Daniel Cresswell.

Verse 5. His mercy is everlasting. The everlasting unchangeable mercy of God, is the first motive of our turning to him, and of our continuing stedfast in his covenant, and it shall be the subject of unceasing praise in eternity. As the Lord is good, and his mercy everlasting, so the full perfection of these attributes in a perfect state will call forth praise unwearied from hearts that ever faint. W. Wilson.


HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHERWhole Psalm. This is a bunch of the grapes of Eshcol. It is a taste of what is still the promised land. The Jewish church came to its perfection in the reign of Solomon, but a greater than Solomon is here. The perfection of the New Testament church is here anticipated. This psalm teaches,

1. That there will be a joyful state of the whole world (Ps 100:1). (a) To whom the address is given—to “all lands, “and all in those lands. (b) The subject of the address—”Make a joyful noise.” What a doleful noise it has made! (c) By whom the address is given, by him who secures what he commands.

2. That this joyful state of the whole world will arise from the enjoyment of the Divine Being (Ps 100:2). (a) Men have long tried to be happy without God. (b) They will find at last that their happiness is in God. The conversion of an individual in this respect is a type of the conversion of the world.

3. That this enjoyment of God will arise from a new relation to him (Ps 100:3). (a) Of knowledge on our part: he will be known as the Triune God, as a covenant God, as the God of salvation—as God. (b) Of rightful claim on his part; (1.) by right of creation—”He hath made us; ” (2.) By light of redemption—”Ye were not a people, but are now the people of God, “&c.; “I have redeemed thee: thou art mine”; (3.) by right of preservation—”We are the sheep, “&c.

4. That this new relation to God will endear to us the ordinances of his house (Ps 100:4). (a) Of what the service will consist—”thanksgiving” and praise. (b) To whom it will be rendered. Enter into his gates—his courts—be thankful unto him—bless his name. That this service will be perpetual; begin on earth, continued in heaven. This fact is founded—

5. That this service will be perpetual; begun on earth, continued in heaven. This face is founded—(a) Upon essential goodness. “For the Lord is good.” (b) Upon everlasting mercy. “His mercy, “etc. (c) Upon immutable truth. “His truth, “etc. G. R.

Verse 2. Serve the LORD with gladness.

1. For he is the best of beings.

2. For his commandments are not grievous.

3. For he is your Saviour, as well as Creator; your friend, as well as Lord.

4. The angels, so much greater than yourself, know no reason why they should not serve him with gladness.

5. In serving him you serve yoreself.

6. You make religion attractive.

7. You get fitness for heaven. George Bowen.

Verse 2 (first clause) A true heart,

1. Is humble—serves. 2. Is pious—”serve the Lord.” 3. Is active—serves. 4. Is consequently joyful—”with gladness.”

Verse 2. (first clause). “Serving the Lord with gladness.” See “Spurgeon’s Sermons, “No. 769.

Verse 3. Know ye that the LORD he is God. That you may be true amid superstition, hopeful in contrition, persistent in supplication, unwearied in exertion, calm in affliction, firm in temptation, bold in persecution, and happy in dissolution. W. J.

Verse 3. We are his people. We have been twice born, as all his people are. We love the society of his people. We are looking unto Jesus like his people. We are separated from the world as his people. We experience the trials of his people. We prefer the employment of his people. We enjoy the privileges of his people. W. J.

Verse 4. A Discourse of Thankfulness which is due to God for his benefits and blessings. A Sermon by Thomas Goodwin. Works, vol. 9 pp. 499-514. Nichol’s edition.

Verse 4.

1. The privileges of access. 2. The duty of thankfulness. 3. The reasons for enjoying both.

Verse 5.

1. The inexhaustible fount—the goodness of God. 2. The ever-flowing stream—the mercy of God. 3. The fathomless oceansthe truth of God. “O the depths!” W. Durban

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God is Jealous

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Morning

“God is jealous.”
Nahum 1:2

Your Lord is very jealous of your love, O believer. Did he choose you? He cannot bear that you should choose another. Did he buy you with his own blood? He cannot endure that you should think that you are your own, or that you belong to this world. He loved you with such a love that he would not stop in heaven without you; he would sooner die than you should perish, and he cannot endure that anything should stand between your heart’s love and himself. He is very jealous of your trust. He will not permit you to trust in an arm of flesh. He cannot bear that you should hew out broken cisterns, when the overflowing fountain is always free to you. When we lean upon him, he is glad, but when we transfer our dependence to another, when we rely upon our own wisdom, or the wisdom of a friend–worst of all, when we trust in any works of our own, he is displeased, and will chasten us that he may bring us to himself. He is also very jealous of our company. There should be no one with whom we converse so much as with Jesus. To abide in him only, this is true love; but to commune with the world, to find sufficient solace in our carnal comforts, to prefer even the society of our fellow Christians to secret intercourse with him, this is grievous to our jealous Lord. He would fain have us abide in him, and enjoy constant fellowship with himself; and many of the trials which he sends us are for the purpose of weaning our hearts from the creature, and fixing them more closely upon himself. Let this jealousy which would keep us near to Christ be also a comfort to us, for if he loves us so much as to care thus about our love we may be sure that he will suffer nothing to harm us, and will protect us from all our enemies. Oh that we may have grace this day to keep our hearts in sacred chastity for our Beloved alone, with sacred jealousy shutting our eyes to all the fascinations of the world!

Evening

“I will sing of mercy and judgment.”
Psalm 101:1

Faith triumphs in trial. When reason is thrust into the inner prison, with her feet made fast in the stocks, faith makes the dungeon walls ring with her merry notes as she cries, “I will sing of mercy and of judgment. Unto thee, O Lord, will I sing.” Faith pulls the black mask from the face of trouble, and discovers the angel beneath. Faith looks up at the cloud, and sees that

“‘Tis big with mercy and shall break

In blessings on her head.”

There is a subject for song even in the judgments of God towards us. For, first, the trial is not so heavy as it might have been; next, the trouble is not so severe as we deserved to have borne; and our affliction is not so crushing as the burden which others have to carry. Faith sees that in her worst sorrow there is nothing penal; there is not a drop of God’s wrath in it; it is all sent in love. Faith discerns love gleaming like a jewel on the breast of an angry God. Faith says of her grief, “This is a badge of honour, for the child must feel the rod;” and then she sings of the sweet result of her sorrows, because they work her spiritual good. Nay, more, says Faith, “These light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work out for me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” So Faith rides forth on the black horse, conquering and to conquer, trampling down carnal reason and fleshly sense, and chanting notes of victory amid the thickest of the fray.

“All I meet I find assists me

In my path to heavenly joy:

Where, though trials now attend me,

Trials never more annoy.

“Blest there with a weight of glory,

Still the path I’ll ne’er forget,

But, exulting, cry, it led me

To my blessed Saviour’s seat.”

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get rid of their foreign gods

dailydevotion

September 13, 2013
Getting Serious
1 Samuel 7:3-17
Read

Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you are really serious about wanting to return to the LORD, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Determine to obey only the LORD; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the LORD.

Then Samuel told them, “Gather all of Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you.” So they gathered at Mizpah and, in a great ceremony, drew water from a well and poured it out before the LORD. They also went without food all day and confessed that they had sinned against the LORD. (It was at Mizpah that Samuel became Israel’s judge. (1 Samuel 7:3-6)

Reflect

Samuel became the last in the long line of Israel’s judges (leaders), a line that began when Israel first conquered the Promised Land. A judge was both a political and a religious leader. God was Israel’s true leader, while the judge was to be God’s spokesman to the people and administrator of justice throughout the land. While some of Israel’s judges relied more on their own judgment than on God’s, Samuel’s obedience and dedication to God made him one of the greatest judges in Israel’s history.

Samuel urged the Israelites to get rid of their foreign gods. They could easily pledge allegiance to God, but discarding their images would show that they were “really serious.”

Idols today are much more subtle than gods of wood and stone, but they are just as dangerous. Whatever holds first place in our lives or controls us is our god. Money, success, material goods, pride, or anything else can be an idol if it takes the place of God in our lives. The Lord alone is worthy of our service and worship, and we must let nothing rival him.

Respond

If you have “foreign gods,” ask God to help you dethrone them, making the true God your first priority. Pray that you can become like Samuel, who lived a life in obedience to God.

GOD’S PERFECT PEACE/CHARLES SPURGEON

PEACE

Where do you find peace?

“A child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!”

Isaiah 9:6-7 NLT

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Isaiah 26:3 NLT

I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give you isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

John 14:27 NLT

Peace is a person

“His peace of mind came not from building on the future but from resting in what he called “the holy Present.”

C.S. Lewis on George Macdonald1

If you were navigating in strange waters or tracking through the wilderness, you would feel at peace with a competent navigator. As we move through spiritual territory that’s frightening, new to us, or full of trouble, what a comfort and support to have the Lord God, creator of peace, walking with us. He knows the way!

A Sermon
(No. 49)Delivered on Sabbath Morning, November 4, 1855, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.


“Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen,”—Romans 15:33.

AUL ONCE ADVISED the Romans to strive. Three verses before our text he actually gives them an exhortation to strive, and yet he here utters a prayer that the God of peace might be with them all. Lest you should think him to be a man of strife, you must read the verse. He says: “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.” That is a holy strife, and such a strife as that we wish always to see in the church, a strife in prayer, a surrounding the throne together, besieging God’s mercy seat, a crying out before God, until it actually amounts to a striving together in our prayers. There is also another kind of striving which is allowed in the church, and that is striving earnestly after the best gifts: a sweet contention which of us shall excel all others in love, in duty, and in faith. May God send us more strife of that kind in our churches, a strife in prayer, a strife in duty; and when we have mentioned these strifes we find them of so peaceable a kind that we come back to the benediction of our text: “Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.” Without any preface, we shall consider, first, the title—”the God of peace;” and secondly, the benediction—”the God of peace be with you all. Amen.”
    I. First of all, the title. Mars amongst the heathens was called the god of war; Janus was worshipped in periods of strife and bloodshed; but our God Jehovah styles himself not the God of war, but the God of peace. Although he permits ware in this world, sometimes for necessary and useful purposes; although he superintends them, and has even styled himself the Lord, mighty in battle, yet his holy mind abhors bloodshed and strife; his gracious spirit loves not to see men slaughtering one another, he is emphatically, solely, and entirely, and without reserve, “the God of peace.” Peace is his delight; “peace on earth and goodwill towards men.” Peace in heaven (for that purpose he expelled the angels): peace throughout his entire universe, is his highest wish and his greatest delight.
    If you consider God in the trinity of his persons for a few moments, you will see that in each—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—the title is apt and correct, “the God of peace.” There is God the everlasting Father, he is the God of peace, for he from all eternity planned the great covenant of peace, whereby he might bring rebels nigh unto him, and make strangers and foreigners fellow-heirs with the saints, and joint-heirs with his Son Christ Jesus. He is the God of peace, for he justifies, and thereby implants peace in the soul, he accepted Christ, and, as the God of peace, he brought him again from the dead; and he ordained peace, peace eternal with his children, through the blood of the everlasting covenant; he is the God of peace. So is Jesus Christ, the second person, the God of peace for “he is our peace who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” He makes peace between God and man. His blood sprinkled on the fiery wrath of God turned it to love, or rather that which must have broken forth in wrath, though it was love for ever, was allowed to display itself in loving-kindness through the wondrous mediatorship of Jesus Christ; and he is the God of peace because he makes peace in the conscience and in the heart. When he says, “Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden “he gives “rest,” and with that rest he gives; the peace of God which passeth all understanding,” which keeps our heart and mind. He is moreover the God of peace in the Church, for wherever Jesus Christ dwells, he creates a holy peace. As in the case of Aaron of old, the ointment poured upon the head of Christ trickles down to the very skirts of his garments, and thereby he gives peace,—peace by the fruit of the lips, and peace by the fruit of the heart, unto all them that love Jesus Christ in sincerity. So is the Holy Ghost the God of peace. He of old brought peace, when chaotic matter yeas in confusion, by the brooding of his wings: he caused order to appear where once there was nothing but darkness and chaos. So in dark chaotic souls he is the God of peace. When winds from the mountains of Sinai, and gusts from the pit of hell sweep across the distressed soul; when, wandering about for rest, our soul fainteth within us, he speaks peace to our troubles, and gives rest to our spirits. When by earthly cares we are tossed about, like the sea-bird, up and down, up and down, from the base of the wave to the billows’ crown, he says, “Peace be still.” He it is who on the Sabbath-day brings his people into a state of serenity, and bids them enjoy

“That holy calm, that sweet repose
Which none but he that feels it knows.”
And he shall be the God of peace when at life’s latest hour he shall still the current of Jordan, shall hush all the howlings of the fiends, shall give us peace with God through Jesus Christ, and land us safe in heaven. Blessed Trinity! however we consider thee, whether as Father, Son, or Holy Ghost, still is thy name thrice well deserved, the God of peace, and the God of love.
    Let us now enter into the subject, and see wherein God is a God of peace. We remark that he is the God of peace, for he created peace originally. He is the God of peace, for he is the restorer of it; though wars have broken out through sin. He is the God of peace, because he preserves peace when it is made; and he is the God of peace because he shall ultimately perfect and consummate peace between all his creatures and himself. Thus he is the God of peace.
    First of all, he is the God of peace because he created nothing but peace. Go back in your imagination to the time when the majestic Father stepped from his solitude and commenced the work of creation. Picture to yourself the moment when he speaks the word and the first matter is formed. Before that time there had been neither space, nor time, nor aught existing, save himself. He speaks and it is done, he commands and it stands fast. Behold him scattering from his mighty hands stars as numerous as the sparks from an anvil. Witness how by his word worlds are fashioned, and ponderous orbs roll through that immensity which first of all he had decreed to be their dwelling place. Lift up now your eyes and behold these great things which he has created already, let the wings of your fancy carry you through the immensity of space and the vast profound, and see if you can discover anywhere the least sign or trace of war. Go through it from the north even to the south, from the east even unto the west, and mark well if ye can discover one sign of discord; whether there is not one universal harmony, whether everything is not lovely, pure, and of good report. See if in the great harp of nature, there is one string which when touched by its Maker’s finger giveth forth discord, see if the pipes of this great organ God has made do not all play harmoniously, mark ye well, and note it. Are there bulwarks formed for war? Are there spears and swords? Are there clarions and trumpets? Hath God created any material with which to destroy his creatures and desolate his realms? No; everything is peaceable above, beneath, and all around; all is peace, there is nothing else but calm and quietness. Hark when he makes the angels. He speaks—winged seraphs fly abroad, and cherubs flash through the air on wings of fire. He speaks, and multitudes of angels in their various hierarchies are brought forth, while Jesus Christ as a mighty Prince of angels is decreed to be their head. Is there now in any one of those angels one sign of sorrow? When God made them did he make one of them to be his enemy? Did he fashion one of them with the least implacability or ill-will within his bosom? Ask the shining cohorts, and they tell you, “We were not made for war, but for peace. He has not fashioned us spirits of battle, but spirits of love, and joy, and quietness.” And if they sinned, he made them not to sin. They did so; they brought woe into the world of their own accord. God created no war. The evil angel brought it first. Left to his free will, he fell. The elect angels being confirmed by grace, stood fast and firm; but God was not the author of any war, or any strife. Satan of himself conceived the rebellion, but God was not the author of it. He may from all eternity have foreseen it, and it may even be said in some sense that he ordained it to manifest his justice and his glory, and to show his mercy and sovereignty in redeeming man; but God had no hand in it whatsoever. The Eternal abjures war; he was not the author of it. Satan led the van, that morning star who sang together with the rest, fell of himself, God was not the author of his confusion, but the author of eternal and blessed order. Look, too at God in the creation of this world. Go into the garden of Eden: walk up and down its bowers; recline under its trees, and partake of its fruits. Roam through the entire world. Sit down by the sea-shore, or stretch yourself upon the mountain. Do you see the least sign of war? Nothing like it. There is nothing of tumult and of noise no preparation of destruction. See Adam and Eve: their days are perpetual sunshine, their nights are balmy evenings of sweet repose. God has put nothing in their hearts which can disturb them; he has no ill will towards them, but on the contrary, he walks with them in the evening under the trees in the cool of the day. He condescends to talk with his creatures, and hold fellowship with them. He is in no sense whatever the author of the present confusion in this world; that was brought about by our first parents through the temptation of the evil one. God did not create this world for strife. When he first fashioned it, peace, peace, peace, was the universal order of the day. May there come a time when peace once more shall be restored to this great earth, and tranquility to this world! Do you not observe that God is the God of peace because he created it originally? When he pronounced his creation “very good,” it was entirely without the slightest exception, a peaceful creation. God is the God of peace.
    But, secondly, he is the God of peace because he restores it. Nothing shows a man to be much fonder of peace than when he seeks to make peace between others; or, when others have offended him, he endeavors to make peace between himself and them. If I should be able at all times to maintain peace with myself, and should never provoke a quarrel, I should of course be considered a peaceful spirit, but if other persons choose to quarrel and disagree with me, and I desire and purposely set to work to bring about a reconciliation, then everyone says I am a man of peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they are the children of God.” God is the great Peacemaker; and thus he is indeed the God of peace. When Satan fell, there was war in heaven. God made peace there, for he smote Satan and cast him and all his rebel hosts into eternal fire. He made peace by his might and power and majesty, for he drove him out of heaven, and expelled him by his flaming brand, never again to pollute the sacred floor of bliss, and never more to endanger Paradise by misleading his peers in heaven. So he made peace in heaven by his power. But when man fell, God made peace not by his power, but by his mercy. Man transgresses. Poor man! Mark how God goes after him to make peace with him! “Adam, where art thou?” Adam never said “God, where art thou?” But God came after Adam, and he seemed to say with a voice of affection and pity, “Adam, poor Adam, where art thou? Hast thou become a God? The evil spirit said thou wouldst be a God, art thou so? Where art thou now poor Adam? Thou wast once in holiness and perfection, where art thou now?” And he saw the truant Adam running away from his Master, running away from the great Peacemaker, to hide himself beneath the trees of the garden. Again God calls, “Adam, where art thou?” But he says, “I heard thy voice in the midst of the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” And God says, “Who told thee that thou wast naked?” How kind it is. You can see he is a Peacemaker even then; but when after having cursed the serpent, and sent the cursed obliquely on the ground, he comes to talk to Adam, you see him as the Peacemaker still more. “I will,” said he, “put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed. It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” There he was making peace through the blood of the cross. Do not conceive, however that that was the first preparation of peace God ever made. That was the first display of it, but he had been making peace from all eternity. Through the covenant he made with Jesus Christ from all eternity, God’s people were at peace with God. Although God saw that man shall fall; though he foresaw that his elect would with the rest depart from rectitude, and become his enemies, yet he did long before the fall draw up a covenant with Jesus, wherein Jesus stipulated that he would pay the debts of all his people, and the Father on their behalf did actually and positively forgive their sins, and justify their persons, take away their guilt, acquit them, accept and receive them unto peace with him. Though that was never developed until the fall, and though to each of us it is not known until we believe, yet there was always peace between God and the elect. I must tell you a tale of a poor bricklayer who met with an accident, and every one thought he was going to die, and he did die. A clergyman said to him, “My poor fellow, I am afraid you will die. Try to make your peace with God.” With tears in his eyes, he looked the clergyman in the face, and said, “Make my peace with God, sir? I thank God that was made for me in the eternal covenant by Jesus Christ, long before I was born.” So beloved, it was. There was a peace, a perfect peace which God made with his Son. Jesus was not our ambassador merely, but he was our peace; not the maker of peace merely, butour peace; and since there was a Christ before all worlds, there was peace before all worlds. Since there always will be a Christ, so there always will be peace between God and all those interested in the covenant. Oh, if we can but feel we are in the covenant, if we know we are numbered with the chosen race, and purchased with redeeming blood, then we can rejoice, because God has been to us the Restorer of breaches, the Builder of cities to dwell in, and hath given us peace which once we lost; he is the Restorer of peace.
    Thirdly, he is the preserver of peace. Whenever I see peace in the world, I ascribe it to God, and if it is continued, I shall always believe it is because God interferes to prevent war. So combustible are the materials of which this great world is made, that I am ever apprehensive of war. I do not account it wonderful that one nation should strive against another, I account if far more wonderful that they are not all at arms. Whence come wars and fightings? Come they not from your lusts? Considering how much lust there is in the world, we might well conceive that there would be more war than we see. Sin is the mother of wars; and remembering how plentiful sin is, we need not marvel if it brings forth multitudes of them. We may look for them. If the coming of Christ be indeed drawing nigh, then we must expect wars and rumors of wars through all the nations of the earth; but when peace is preserved, we consider it to be through the immediate interposition of God. If then we desire peace between nations, let us seek it of God, who is the great Pacificator; but there is an inward peace which God alone can keep. Am I at peace with myself, with the world, and with my Maker? Oh! if I want to retain that peace, God alone can preserve it. I know there are some people who once enjoyed peace, who do not possess it now. Some of you once had confidence in God, but may have lost it; you once thought yourselves to be in a glorious state from which now you seem to have somewhat departed. Beloved, no one can maintain peace in the heart but God, as he is the only one who can put it there. Some people talk about doubts and fears and seem to think they are very allowable. I have heard some say, “Well a sailor in the sunshine knows his reckoning, and can tell where he is, he has no doubt; but if the sun withdraws, he cannot tell his longitude and latitude, and he knows not where he is.” That is not however a fair description of faith. Always wanting the sun is wanting to live by sight; but living by faith is to say, “I cannot tell my longitude and my latitude, but I know the Captain is at the helm, and I will trust him everywhere.” But still you cannot keep in that peaceful state of mind unless you have God in the vessel to help you to smile at the storm. We can be peaceful at times, but if God goes away, how we begin quarrelling with ourselves! God alone can preserve peace. Backslider! hast thou lost it? Go and seek it again of God. Christian! is thy peace marred? Go to God, and he can say to every doubt, “tie down doubt,” and to every fear, “Begone.”—He can speak to every wind that can blow across thy soul, and can say, “Peace, be still; “for he is the God of peace, since he preserves it. Trust in him.
    Fourthly, God is the God of peace because he shall perfect and consummate it at last. There is war in the world now; there is an evil spirit walking to and fro, a restless being, eager, like a lion to devour, walking through dry places, seeking rest and finding none; and there are men bewitched by that evil spirit who are at war with God, and at war with one another; but there is a time coming—let us wait a little longer—when there shall be peace on earth and peace throughout all God’s dominions. In a few more years we do look for a lasting and perpetual peace on earth. Perhaps, to-morrow, Jesus Christ, the Son of God will come again, without a sin offering unto salvation. We know not either the day or the hour wherein the Son of man shall come; but by-and-bye he shall descend from heaven with a shout, and with the noise of a trumpet; he shall come, but not as once he came, a lowly and humble man, but a glorious and exalted monarch. Then he will cause wars to cease. From that day forth and for ever they will hang the useless helm on high, and study war no more; the lion shall lie down with the kid and eat straw like the ox; the cockatrice and the serpent shall lose their hurtful powers; the weaned child shall lead the lion and the leopard, each one by his beard with his little hands. The day is coming, and that speedily, when there shall not be found on earth a single man who hates his brother, but when each one shall find in every other a brother and a friend; and we shall be able to say, as the old poet did, but in a larger sense, “I know not that there is one Englishman alive with whom I am one jot at odds more than the infant that is born to-night.” We shall all be united; rationalities will be levelled, because made into one, and the Lord Jesus Christ shall be king of the entire earth. After that time shall come the consummation of peace, when the last great day shall have passed away, and the righteous have been severed from the wicked, when the monster battle of Armageddon shall have been fought and won when all the righteous shall have been gathered into heaven, and the lost sent down to hell. Where will be the room for the battle then? Look at the foemen, bruised and mangled in the pit, perpetually howling, the victims of God’s vengence; there is no fear of war from them. There is Satan himself, crest-fallen, bruised battered, slain; his head is broken; there he lies despoiled a king without his crown; there can be no fear of war from him; and mark the angels, who were once under his supremacy, can they arise? No; they writhe in tortures, and bite their iron bands in misery; they have no power to lift a lance against the God of heaven; and look on sinful man, condemned for his sin to dwell with those fallen being; can he again provoke his Maker? Will he again blaspheme? Can he oppose the gospel? No, injured in dungeons of hot iron, there he is, an abject, ruined spirit; ten thousand times ten thousand lost and perished sinners are there; but could all unite in solemn league and covenant to break the bands of death and sever the laws of justice, he that sitteth in the heavens would laugh at them, the Lord would have them in derision. Peace is consummated because the enemy is crushed. They look up yonder; there is no fear of war from those bright spirits; the angels cannot fall now; their period of probation is passed for ever, a second Satan shall never drag with him a third part of the stars of heaven; no angel will totter any more, and the ransomed spirits, blood-bought, and washed in the fountain of Jesu’s blood, will never fall again. Universal peace is come, the olive branch hath outlived the laurel the sword is sheathed, the banners are furled, the stains of blood are washed out of the world; again it moves in its orb, and sings like its sister stars; but the one song is peace, for the God who made it is the God of peace.
    II. Now we come to the benediction. “The God of peace be with you all.” I am not about to address you concerning that inward peace which rests in the heart. I am sure I wish above all things that you may always enjoy a peace with your conscience, and be at peace with God. May you always know that you have the blood of Jesus to plead, that you have his righteousness to cover you, that you have his atonement to satisfy for you, and that there is nothing which can hurt you; but I wish to address you as a church, and exhort you to peace.
    First, I will remind you that there is great need to pray this prayer for you all, because there are enemies to peace always lurking in all societies. Petrarch says there are five great enemies to peace—avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride. I shall alter them a little, but use the same number. Instead of avarice I shall commence with error. One of the greatest means of destroying peace is error. Error in doctrine leads to the most lamentable consequences with regard to the peace of the church. I have noticed that the greatest failings out have been among those who are most erroneous in doctrine. Though I admit that some called Calvinists are the most quarrelsome set breathing, this is the reason—while they have the main part of the truth, many of them are leaving out something important, and therefore God chastices them because they are some of his best children. It may be a sign of life that they are so eager after truth, that they kill one another in order to get it; but I wish they would leave off their quarrelling for it is a disgrace to our religion. If they had more peace I might hope better for the progress of truth. Everyone says to me—”Look there at your brethren! I never saw such a set of cut-throats in my life. I never saw a church, where they have the gospel, where they are not always falling out.” Well, that is nearly the truth, and I am ashamed to confess it. I pray God, however, to send a little more peace where he has sent the gospel. There are, however, strifes among our opponents which we do not see. The bishop uses his strong hand, and the people dare not disagree; the pastor has such power and authority, that the crush of his mailed hand is sufficient to put down everything because there is no freedom. Now, I would rather have a row in the church than have the members all asleep. I would rather have them falling to ears than sitting down in indifference. You never expect dead churches to have strife, but where there is a little life, if there is error, it always begets strife. What is the most litigious denomination now existing? No one would have a difficulty in pointing to our excellent friends the Wesleyans, for just at this moment they are quarrelling and finding fault with one another, splitting up into numberless sections, and making reformed churches, and so on. What is the cause of it? Because they are in the wrong track altogether with regard to church government, and with regard to some other things. John Wesley was a good man at making churches, I dare say; but he did not understand what the church ought to be in these days. He might do for a hundred years ago but he bound his poor followers too tightly, and now they are trying to break out into freedom and liberty. If they had been right at first they might have gone on, and a thousand years would not have spoiled their system. It would have done now as well as then. Error is the root of bitterness in the church. Give us sound doctrine, sound practice, sound church government, and you will find that the God of peace will be with us. My brethren, seek to uproot error out of your own hearts. If one of you do not really believe the great cardinal doctrines of the gospel, I beseech you, then, for the good of the church to leave it, for we want those who love the truth.
    The next enemy to peace is ambition. “Diotrephes loveth to have the pre-eminence,” and that fellow has spoiled many a happy church. A man does not want, perhaps, to be pre-eminent, but then he is afraid that another should be, and so he would have him put down. Thus brethren are finding fault, they are afraid that such an one will go too fast, and that such another will go too fast. The best way is to try to go as fast as he does. It is of no use finding fault because some may have a little pre-eminence. After all, what is the pre-eminence. It is the pre-eminence of one little animalcule over another. Look in a drop of water. One of these little fellows is five times as big as another, but we never think of that. I dare say he is very large, and thinks, “I have the pre-eminence inside my drop.” But he does not think the people of Park Street ever talk about him. So we live in this little drop of the world, not much bigger in God’s esteem than a drop of the bucket, and one of us seems a little larger than the other, a worm a little above his fellow worm; but, O how big we get! and we want to get a little bigger, to get a little more prominent but what is the use of it? for when we get ever so big we shall then be so small teat an angel would not find us out if God did not tell him where we were. Whoever heard up in heaven anything about emperors and kings? Small tiny insects: God can see the animalculae, therefore he can see us, but if he had not an eye to see the most minute he would never discover us. O may we never get ambition in this church. The best ambition is, who shall be the servant of all. The strangers seek to have dominion, but children seek to let the father have dominion, and the father only.
    The next enemy to peace is anger. There are some individuals in the world that cannot help getting angry very quickly. They grow on a sudden very wrathful; while others who are not passionate, who take a longer time to be angry, are fearful enough when they do speak. Others who dare not speak at all, are worse still, for they get brewing their anger.”Nursing their wrath to keep it warm.”
They go into a sulky fit, disagreeing with everybody, eternally grumbling; they are like dogs in the flock—only barking, and yielding no fleece. O that nasty anger! If it gets into the church it will split it to pieces. Somehow or other we cannot help getting angry sometimes. O that we could come into the church and leave ourselves behind us! There is nobody I should like to run away from half so much as from myself. Try, beloved, to curb your tempers; and when you do not exactly see with another brother, do not think it necessary to knock him on the eyes to make him see, that is the worst thing in all the world to do, he will not see any the better for it, for”The man convinced against his will,
Is of the same opinion still.”
    Then envy is another fearful evil. One minister, perhaps, is envious of another, because one church is full and the other not. How can teachers agree in the Sunday-school if there is any envy there? How can church members agree if envy creeps in? One member thinks another is thought more highly of than he deserves. Why, beloved, you are all too much thought of; but, after all, it does not matter what you are thought of by man, it only matters what God thinks of you—and God thinks as much of Little-faith as of Great-heart; he thinks as much of Mrs. Despondency as of Christiana herself. Drive, then, that “green-eyed monster” away, and keep him at a distance.
    Again, there is pride, which gives rise to ill-feeling and bad blood. Instead of being affable to one another, and “condescending to men of low estate,” we want that every punctilio of respect should be given to us, that we should be made lords and masters. That I am sure can never exist in a peaceable church.
    Here, then, are our five great enemies. I would I could see the execution of them all Banish them, transport them for ever, send them away amongst lions and tigers; we do not want any of them amongst us; but though I thus speak, it is not because I conceive that any of these have thoroughly crept in amongst you, but because I would have kept them away. I am most jealous in this matter. I am always afraid of the slightest contention, and I desire the God of peace to be ever with us.
    Now let me briefly show you the appropriateness of this prayer. We indeed ought to have peace amongst ourselves. Joseph said to his brethren when they were going home to his father’s house, “See that ye fall not out by the way.” There was something extremely beautiful in that exhortation. “See that ye fall not out by the way.” Ye have all one father, ye are of one family. Let men of two nations disagree; but you are of the seed of Israel, you are of one tribe and nation; your home is in one heaven. “See that ye fall not out by the way.” The way is rough; there are enemies to stop you. See that if ye fall out when ye get home, ye do not fall out by the way Keep together; stand by one another, defend each other’s character, manifest continual affection, for recollect you will want it all. The world hateth you because you are not of the world. Oh! you must take care that you love one another. You are all going to the same house. You may disagree here, and not speak to one another, and be almost ashamed to sit at the same table even at the sacrament; but you will all have to sit together in heaven. Therefore do not fall out by the way. Consider, again, the great mercies you have all shared together. You are all pardoned, you are all accepted, elected, justified, sanctified, and adopted. See that ye fall not out when ye have so many mercies, when God has given you so much. Joseph has filled your sacks, but if he has put some extra thing into Benjamin’s sack, do not quarrel with Benjamin about that, but rather rejoice because your sacks are full. You have all got enough, you are all secure, you have all been dismissed with a blessing, and, therefore, I say once more, “See that ye fall not out by the way.”
    Now, dear brethren is there anything I can plead with you this morning, in order that you may always dwell in peace and love? God has happily commenced a blessed revival amongst us, and under our means, by the help of God, that revival will spread through the entire kingdom. We have seen that “the word of the Lord is quick and powerful.” We know that there is nothing that can stop the progress of his kingdom, and there is nothing that can impede your success as a church except this. If the unhappy day should arrive—let the day be accursed when it does come—when you amongst yourselves should disagree, there would be a stop to the building of the Lord’s house at once, when those that carry the trowel and bear the spears do not stand side by side, then the work of God must tarry. It is sad to think how much our glorious cause has been impeded by the different failings out amongst the disciples of the Lamb. We have loved one another, brethren, up till now, with a true heart and fervently and I am not afraid but that we shall always do so. At the same time, I am jealous over you, lest there should come in by any possibility any root of bitterness to trouble you. Let us this morning throw around you the bands of a man, let us unite you together with a three-fold cord that cannot be broken, let us entreat you to love one another; let us entreat you by your one Lord, one faith, one baptism, to continue one; let us beg of you, by our great success, to let our unity be commensurate therewith. Remember “how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” The devil wants you to disagree, and nothing will please him better than for you to fall at ears among yourselves. The Moabites and Anmonites cut down one another. Do not let us do that. “Those should in strictest concord dwell,
Who the same God obey.”
It is continual bickering and jealousy that has brought disgrace upon the holy name of Christ. He has been wounded in the house of his friends. The arrows we have shot at one another have hurt us more than all that ever came from the bow of the devil. We have done more injury to the escutcheon of Christ by our contentions than Satan has ever been able to do. I beseech you, brethren, love one another. I know not how I could endure anything like discord among you. I can bear the scoff of the world, and the laughter of the infidel, methinks I could bear martyrdom; but I could not bear to see you divided. I beseech my God and Master to suffer me first to wear my shroud, before I ever wear a garment of heaviness on account of your divisions. While I feel that I have your love and affection, and that you are bound to one another, I care not for the devils in hell, nor for men on earth. We have been, and we shall be omnipotent, through God; and by faith we will stand firm to one another and to his truth. Let each one resolve within himself—”if there is strife, I will have nothing to do with it.” “The beginning of strife is like the letting out of water,” and I will not turn the tap. If you will take care not to let the first drop in, I will be surety about the second. Brethren, again I say, for the gospel’s sake, for the truth’s sake, that we may laugh at our enemies, and rejoice with joy unspeakable, let us love one another.
    Though I may not have preached to the worldly this morning, I have been asking you to preach to them, for when you love one another, that is a beautiful sermon to them. There is no sermon like what you can see with your own eyes. I went to the Orphan-house, last Wednesday, on Ashley Down, near Bristol, and saw that wonder of faith—I had some conversation with that heavenly-minded man Mr. Muller. I never heard such a sermon in my life as I saw there. They asked me to speak to the girls, but I said, “I could not speak a word for the life of me.” I had been crying all the while to think how God had heard this dear man’s prayer, and how all those three hundred children had been fed by my Father through the prayer of faith. Whatever is wanted, comes without annual subscriptions, without asking anything, simply from the hand of God. When I found that it was all correct that I had heard, I was like the queen of Sheba, and I had no heart left in me. I could only stand and look at those children, and think, did my heavenly Father feed them, and would he not feed me and all his family? Speak to them? They had spoken to me quite enough, though they had not said a word—Speak to them? I thought myself ten thousand fools that I did not believe God better. Here am I, I cannot trust him day by day; but this good man can trust him for three hundred children. When he has not a sixpence in hand he never fears. “I know God,” he might say, “too well to doubt him. I tell my God, thou knowest what I want to-day to keep these children, and I have not anything. My faith never wavers, and my supply always comes.” Simply by asking of God in this way, he has raised (I believe) £17,000 towards the erection of a new orphan-house. When I consider that, sometimes think we will try the power of faith here, and see if we should not get sufficient funds whereby to erect a place to hold the people that crowd to hear the Word of God. Then we may have a tabernacle of faith as well as an orphan-house of faith. God send us that, and to Him shall be all the glory.

Nearness to Christ

swordani thumbup

Hebrews 4:12

    For the word of God

is 

     quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged

sword

    , piercing even to the Dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and

is

     a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Morning

“I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.”
Jeremiah 33:3

There are different translations of these words. One version renders it, “I will shew thee great and fortified things.” Another, “Great and reserved things.” Now, there are reserved and special things in Christian experience: all the developments of spiritual life are not alike easy of attainment. There are the common frames and feelings of repentance, and faith, and joy, and hope, which are enjoyed by the entire family; but there is an upper realm of rapture, of communion, and conscious union with Christ, which is far from being the common dwelling-place of believers. We have not all the high privilege of John, to lean upon Jesus’ bosom; nor of Paul, to be caught up into the third heaven. There are heights in experimental knowledge of the things of God which the eagle’s eye of acumen and philosophic thought hath never seen: God alone can bear us there; but the chariot in which he takes us up, and the fiery steeds with which that chariot is dragged, are prevailing prayers. Prevailing prayer is victorious over the God of mercy, “By his strength he had power with God: yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Beth-el, and there he spake with us.” Prevailing prayer takes the Christian to Carmel, and enables him to cover heaven with clouds of blessing, and earth with floods of mercy. Prevailing prayer bears the Christian aloft to Pisgah, and shows him the inheritance reserved; it elevates us to Tabor and transfigures us, till in the likeness of his Lord, as he is, so are we also in this world. If you would reach to something higher than ordinary grovelling experience, look to the Rock that is higher than you, and gaze with the eye of faith through the window of importunate prayer. When you open the window on your side, it will not be bolted on the other.

Evening

“And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment.”
Revelation 4:4

These representatives of the saints in heaven are said to be around the throne. In the passage in Canticles, where Solomon sings of the King sitting at his table, some render it “a round table.” From this, some expositors, I think, without straining the text, have said, “There is an equality among the saints.” That idea is conveyed by the equal nearness of the four and twenty elders. The condition of glorified spirits in heaven is that of nearness to Christ, clear vision of his glory, constant access to his court, and familiar fellowship with his person: nor is there any difference in this respect between one saint and another, but all the people of God, apostles, martyrs, ministers, or private and obscure Christians, shall all be seated near the throne, where they shall forever gaze upon their exalted Lord, and be satisfied with his love. They shall all be near to Christ, all ravished with his love, all eating and drinking at the same table with him, all equally beloved as his favourites and friends even if not all equally rewarded as servants.

Let believers on earth imitate the saints in heaven in their nearness to Christ. Let us on earth be as the elders are in heaven, sitting around the throne. May Christ be the object of our thoughts, the centre of our lives. How can we endure to live at such a distance from our Beloved? Lord Jesus, draw us nearer to thyself. Say unto us, “Abide in me, and I in you”; and permit us to sing, “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.”

O lift me higher, nearer thee,

And as I rise more pure and meet,

O let my soul’s humility

Make me lie lower at thy feet;

Less trusting self, the more I prove

The blessed comfort of thy love.