This is my comfort in my affliction-Your Word

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Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 1
Volume 31 www.spurgeongems.org 1
MY COMFORT IN AFFLICTION NO. 1872
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON JULY 7, 1881.
“This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your Word has quickened me.” Psalm 119:50.
IT is almost needless for me to say that, in some respects, the same events happen unto all men alike—in the matter of afflictions it is certainly so. None of us can expect to escape trial. If you are ungodly, “many sorrows shall be to the wicked.” If you are godly, “many are the afflictions of the righteous.” If you walk in the ways of holiness, you shall find that there are stumbling blocks cast in the way by the enemy. If you walk in the ways of unrighteousness, you shall be taken in snares and held there even unto death. There is no escaping trouble! We are born to it as the sparks fly upward. When we are born the second time, though we inherit innumerable mercies, we are certainly born to another set of trou- bles, for we enter upon spiritual trials, spiritual conflicts, spiritual pains and so forth—and thus we get a double set of distresses, as well as twofold mercies.   He who wrote this 119th Psalm was a good man, but assuredly he was an afflicted man. Many times did David sorrow and sorrow sorely. The man after God’s own heart was one who felt God’s own hand in chastisement. David was a king and, therefore, it would be folly on our part to suppose that men who are wealthier and greater than we are, are more screened from affliction—it is quite the reverse. The higher up the mountain, the more boisterous the winds. Depend upon it, that the middle state for which Agur prayed, “Give me neither poverty nor riches,” is, upon the whole, the best! Greatness, prominence, popularity, nobility, royalty bring no relief from trial, but rather an increase of it. Nobody who consulted his own comfort would enter upon dignities attended with so much labor and sore travail. Child of God, re- member that neither goodness nor greatness can deliver you from affliction! You have to face it, whatever your position in life—therefore face it with dauntless courage and extort victory from it.   Yet, even if you do face it, you will not escape it. Even if you cry to God to help you, He will help you through the trouble, but He will probably not turn it aside from you. He will deliver you from evil, but He may yet lead you into tri- al. He has promised that He will deliver you in six troubles and that in seven there shall no evil touch you, but He does not promise that either six or seven trials shall be kept from you. One like unto the Son of God was with the three holy children in the fire, but He was not with them till they were in the fire—at least not visibly—and He was not so with them as either to quench the flame, or to prevent their being cast into it. “I am with you, Israel, passing through the fire,” may well describe the Covenant assurance.   May we realize the fire if only thus we can realize the Divine Presence! Gladly may we accept the furnace if we may but find the company of the Son of God with us there. Every child of God among you can, with the Psalmist, speak of my affliction. You may not be able to speak of my estate, my heritage, my wealth, my health—but you can all speak of my affliction. No man is a monopolist of misery. A portion of the black draught of sorrow is left for others. Of that cup we must all drink, little or much, and we must drink of it as God ordains. So far, then, one event happens to all.   My objective at this time is to show the difference between the Christian and the worldling in his affliction. First, Believers have in their affliction a peculiar comfort— “This is my comfort in my affliction.” Secondly, that comfort comes from a peculiar source— “For Your Word has quickened me.” And, thirdly, that peculiar comfort is valuable un- der very special trials such as are mentioned in the context.   I. First, then, Believers have their PECULIAR COMFORT under affliction. “This,” says David, “is my comfort in my affliction.” “ Thi s”—dwell on the word, “ this, ” as different from the c onsolations of other men . The drunk takes his cup and he quotes Solomon, “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that are of heavy
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hearts.” And, as he quaffs his cup, he says, “This is my comfort in my affliction.” The miser hides his gold, takes down his purse, and chinks it. Oh, the music of those golden notes! And he cries, “This is my comfort in my affliction.” Men mostly have some comfort or other. Some have allowable comforts, though they are but of minor quality. They find comfort in the sympathy of men, in domestic kindness, in philosophic reflection, in homely content—but such comforts generally fail—always fail when the trial becomes exceedingly severe.   Now, just as the wicked man and the worldly man can say of this or that, “ This is my comfort,” the Christian comes forward and, bringing with him the Word of God brimming with rich promises, he says, “This is my comfort in my af- fliction.” You put down your comfort and I put down mine. “ This is my comfort”—he is evidently not ashamed of it. He is evidently ready to set forth his solace in preference to all others. And while others say, I derive consolation from this , and I from that , David opens the Holy Scripture and cheerfully exclaims, “ This is my comfort.” Can you say the same? “ Thi s” in opposition to everything else—this promise of God, this Covenant of His Grace—“ This is my comfort.”   Now read, “ this ” in another sense, as indicating that he knew what it was . “ This is my comfort.” He can explain what it is. Many Christian people get a comfort out of God’s Word, out of believing in Christ and out of religious exer- cises, but they can hardly tell what the comfort is. A rose smells sweetly to a man who does not know the name of the rose. A rose-grower tells me, “This is the Marshal Niel.” Thank you, dear Sir, but I do not know who Marshal Niel is, or was or why the flower bears his name. But I can smell the rose all the same. So, many people cannot explain doctrines, but they enjoy them. After all, experience is better than exposition. Yet it is a splendid thing when the two go together, so that the Believer can say to his friend, “Listen, I will tell you, ‘ This is my comfort.’”   “I saw how happy you were, dear Friend, when you were in trouble. I saw you sick the other day and I noticed your patience. I knew you to be slandered and I saw how calm you were. Can you tell me why you were so calm and self- contained?” It is a very happy thing if the Christian can turn round and answer such a question fully. I like to see him ready to give a reason for the hope that is in him with meekness and fear, saying— “This is my comfort in my affliction.” I want you, if you have enjoyed comfort from God, to get it packed up in such a form that you can pass it on to a friend! Get it explained to your own understanding so that you can tell others what it is, so that they may taste the consolation with which God has comforted you. Be ready to explain to young beginners—“ This is my comfort in my affliction.”  Again, “ thi s” is used in another sense, that is, as having the thing near at hand . I do not like speaking of my comfort from God and saying, that is my comfort, that is the solace which I enjoyed long ago. Oh, no, no! You need a comfort that you can press to your bosom, and say, “ This is my comfort,” this which I have here at this present time! “ Thi s” is the word which indicates nearness. “This is my comfort.” Do you enjoy it now? You were so happy once. Are you as happy now?— “What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!  How sweet their memory still!”  Yes, that is very well, Cowper, but it would be better to sing— “What peaceful hours I now enjoy!  How sweet the present hour”?  “ This is my comfort.” I still have it with me—as my affliction is present with me, so my consolation is present with me!  You have heard, the classic story of the Rhodian who said that at such and such a place he had made a jump of many yards. He bragged till a Greek, who stood by, chalked out the distance and said, “Would you mind jumping half that length now?” So I have heard people talk of what enjoyments they once had, what delights they once had. I have heard of a man who has the roots of depravity dug out of him and, as for sin, he has almost forgotten what it is! I would like to watch that brother when under the influence of rheumatism. I do not want him to have it long, but I should like him to have a twinge or two, that I might see whether some roots of corruption do not remain. I think that when he was tried in that way, or if not just in that way, in some other, he would find that there was a rootlet or two still in the soil. If a storm were to come on, perhaps our brave dry-land sailor might not find his anchor quite so easy to cast overboard as he now thinks it is. You smile at the talk of modern perfectionism and so do I, but I am sick of it! I do not believe in it. It is so utterly contrary to that which I have to learn every day, of my own unworthiness, that I feel a contempt for it. Do have your comforts always handy—pray God that that which was a consolation years ago may still be a consolation, so that you may say, “ This is my comfort in my affliction.”
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Again, I think the word, “this,” is meant as pleading it in prayer . Let me read the previous verse, “Remember the Word unto Your servant upon which You have caused me to hope.” That is Your promise which you have made me to hope upon, Lord—fulfill it to me—for this, Your promise, is my comfort in my affliction and I plead it in prayer! Sup- pose, Brothers and Sisters, you and I are enabled to take comfort out of a promise. We have, in that fact, a good argu- ment to plead with God. We may say, “Lord, I have so believed this promise of Yours that I have been persuaded that I had in my possession the blessing promised to me. And now, shall I be ashamed by this, my hope? Will You not honor Your Word, seeing You have caused me to rest upon it?” Is not this good pleading? “Remember Your Word unto Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope, for this is already my comfort. And You will have given me a false comfort and led me into error if Your Word should fail. O my Lord, since I have sucked my comfort out of the expecta- tion of what You are about to do, surely by this You are pledged and bound to Your servant—that You will keep Your Word!” Hence the word “ this ” is seen to be a very comprehensive word. May the Spirit of God teach each of us to say of our priceless Bible, “ This is my comfort in my affliction.”   II. We pass on to note, secondly, that this comfort comes from A PECULIAR SOURCE—“This is my comfort, for Your Word has quickened me .” The comfort, then, is partly outward, coming from God’s Word, but it is mainly and pre-eminently inward , for it is God’s Word experienced as to its quickening power within the soul.   First, it is God’s Word that comforts . Why do we look anywhere else for consolation but to God’s Word? Oh, Brothers and Sisters, I am ashamed to have to say it, but we go to our neighbors, or relatives and we cry, “Have pity up- on me, have pity upon me, O my friends!” and it ends with our crying, “Miserable comforters are you all!” We turn to the pages of our past life and look there for comfort, but this may also fail us. Though experience is a legitimate source of comfort, yet when the sky is dark and lowering, experience is apt to minister fresh distress! If we were to go at once to God’s Word and search it till we found a promise suitable to our case, we should find relief far sooner. All cisterns dry up—only the fountain remains. Next time you are troubled, reach down to the Bible. Say to your soul, “Soul, sit still and hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace unto His people.”   You read one promise, and you feel, “No, that hardly meets the case. Here is another, but it is made to a special character and I am afraid I am not that character. Here, thank God, is one that just fits me, as a key fits the wards of a lock.” When you find such a promise, use it at once. John Bunyan beautifully pictures a pilgrim laid by the heels in Giant Despair’s castle and there beaten with a crab tree cudgel till one morning he puts his hand into his bosom and cries to his brother, Christian, “What a fool have I been to lie rotting in this noisome dungeon, when all this time I have a key in my bosom which will open every door in Doubting Castle!” “Say you so, my Brother,” says Christian, “pluck it out, and let us use it at once!” This key, which is called Promise, is thrust into the first lock and the door flies open! And then it is tried upon the next and the next with quick results. Though the great iron gate had a rusted lock in which the key did terribly grate and grind, yet it did open and the prisoners were free from the vile durance of their mistrust! The Promise has always opened the gate and every gate—yes, the gates of despair shall be opened with that key called Promise, if a man does but know how to hold it firmly and turn it wisely till the bolt flies back.   “This is my comfort in my affliction,” says the Psalmist—God’s own Word. Dear Friends, fly to this comfort with speed in every time of trouble—get to be familiar with God’s Word so that you may do so. I have found it helpful to car- ry “Clarke’s Precious Promises” in my pocket, so as to refer to it in the hour of trial. If you go into the market and are likely to do a ready-money business, you always take a checkbook with you. So carry precious promises with you, that you may plead the Word of God which suits your case. I have turned to promises for the sick when I have been of that number, or to promises to the poor, the despondent, the weary and such like, according to my own condition, and I have always found a Scripture fitted to my case. I do not need a promise made to the sick when I am perfectly well. I do not need balm for a broken heart when my soul is rejoicing in the Lord—but it is very handy to know where to lay your hands upon suitable Words of cheer when necessity arises. Thus the external comfort of the Christian is the Word of God.  Now for the internal part of his consolation. “This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your Word has quickened me .” Oh, it is not the letter , but the Spirit which is our real comfort! We look not to that Book which consists of so much binding, so much paper and so much ink, but to the living Witness within the Book! The Holy Spirit embodies Himself in these blessed Words of God and works upon our hearts so that we are quickened by the Word! It is this which is the true comfort of the soul.
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When you read the promise and it is applied with power to you. When you read the Law and it works with force up- on your conscience. When you read any part of God’s Word and it gives life to your spirit— then it is that you get the comfort of it! I have heard of persons reading so many chapters a day and getting through the Bible in a year—a very admirable habit, no doubt—but it may be performed so mechanically that no good, whatever, may come of it. You need to pray earnestly over the Word, that it may quicken you, or otherwise it will not be a comfort to you. Let us think of what our comfort is in the time of affliction from our soul’s being quickened by the Lord. Comfort comes thus—God’s Word has, in past days, quickened us. It has been a Word of Life from the dead. In our affliction we, therefore, remember how God has brought us out of spiritual death and made us alive—and this cheers us. If you can say, “Whatever pain I suffer, whatever grief I endure, yet I am a living child of God,” then you have a wellspring of comfort! It is better to be the most afflicted child of God than to be the happy worldling. Better be God’s dog than the devil’s darling. Child of God, comfort yourself with this—if God has not given me a soft bed, nor left me a whole skin, yet He has quickened me by His Word and this is a choice favor. Thus our first quickening from spiritual death is a sunny memory .   After we are made alive we need to be quickened in duty, to be quickened in joy, to be quickened in every holy exer- cise and we are happy if the Word has given us this repeated quickening. If, in looking back, dear Friend, you can say, “Your Word has quickened me. I have had much joy in hearing Your Word. I have been made full of energy through Your Word. I have been made to run in the way of Your Commandments through Your Word”—all this will be a great comfort to you. You can then plead—“O Lord, while You may have denied me much of the joy that some people have, yet You have often quickened me. Oh, be it so again, for this is my comfort!” I hope I am speaking to many experienced Christians who can say that God’s Word has very frequently refreshed them when they have been in the depths of distress and fetched them up from the gates of the grave. And if they can bear this testimony, they know what comfort there is in the quickening of the Word of God and they will ask to feel that quickening influence, again, so they may be of good comfort.   Brothers and Sisters, it is a very strange thing that when God wills to do one thing, He often does another. When He wants to comfort us, what does He do? Does He comfort us? Yes, and no. He quickens us and so He comforts us. Some- times the roundabout way is the straight way. God does not give the comfort we ask for by a distinct act, but He quickens us and so we obtain comfort. Here is a person very low and depressed. What does a wise doctor do? He does not give strong drink to act as a temporary stimulus to his spirits, for this would end in a reaction in which the man would sink lower. No, he gives him a tonic and braces him up. And when the man is stronger, he becomes happier and shakes off his nervousness. The Lord comforts His servants by quickening them—“This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your Word has quickened me.”   I speak to some of you who have endured long affliction and it is a joy to see you out, again, tonight. Has not God’s Word often quickened you in affliction? Perhaps you have been sluggish when in health, but affliction has made you feel the value of the promise, the value of the Covenant blessing—and then you have cried to God for it. You may have been worried about worldly cares, but you have been obliged to drop them in the time of affliction and your only care has been to get nearer to Christ and to creep into your Lord’s bosom!   Sometimes in prosperity you could hardly pray, but I guarantee you, you prayed when you were ready to perish and pined at death’s door! Your affliction quickened your prayers. There is a man trying to write with a quill pen—it will not make anything but a thick stroke—so he takes a knife and cuts fiercely at the quill till it marks admirably. So we have to be cut with the sharp knife of affliction, for only then can the Lord make use of us! See how sharply gardeners trim their vines. They take off every shoot till the vine looks like a dry stick. There will be no grapes in the spring if there is not this cutting away in the autumn and winter! God quickens us in our afflictions through His Word. Our sorrows are made to have a salutary action on our souls. We receive by them spiritual revival and health and, therefore, comfort flows in to us. It would not be wise to pray to be altogether delivered from trial, though we should like to be. It would be a pleasant thing to have a grassy path all the way to Heaven and never to find a stone in the road—but though pleasant, it might not be safe. If the way were a fine turf cut every morning with a lawnmower and made as soft as velvet, I am afraid we should never get to Heaven at all, for we should linger too long upon the road!   Some animals’ feet are not adapted for smooth places and, Brothers and Sisters, you and I are of a very slippery- footed race! We slip when the roads are smooth! It is easy to go down hill, but it is not easy to do so without a stumble.
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John Bunyan tells us that when Christian passed through the Valley of Humiliation, the fight he had there with Apollyon was very much due to the slips he made in going down the hill which descended into the valley. Happy is he who is in the Valley of Humiliation, for, “He that is down need fear no fall.” But his happiness will largely depend upon how he came down. Gently, you that are on the hilltops of delight and prosperity. Gently, lest, perhaps you slip with your feet and mischief come of it! Quickening is what we need and if we get it, even if it comes to us by the sharpest tribulation, we may gladly accept it. “This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your Word has quickened me.”   III. Lastly, and very briefly, there are certain PECULIAR TRIALS of Christians in which this peculiar comfort is specially excellent.   Kindly look at the Psalm and notice, in the 49th verse, that the Psalmist suffered from hope deferred . “Remember Your Word unto Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope.” Long waiting for the promise to be fulfilled may make the soul grow weary—and hope deferred makes the heart sick. At such a time this is to be our comfort— “Your Word has quickened me.” I have not yet obtained that which I prayed for, but I have been quickened while I have been praying. I have not found the blessing I have been seeking, but I am sure I shall have it, for already the exercise of prayer has been of service to me— this is my comfort under the delay of my hope, that Your Word has already quickened me!   Notice the next verse, in which the Psalmist was suffering the great trial of scorn . “The proud have had me greatly in derision.” Ridicule is a very sharp ordeal. When the proud are able to say something against us that stings—when they laugh, yes, and laugh greatly, and treat us like the mire in the streets—it is a severe affliction and under it we need rich comfort. If at that time we feel that if man’s word stings, yet God’s Word quickens, then we are comforted! If we are driven more to God by being scorned by men, we may very cheerfully accept their contempt and say, “Lord, I bless You for this persecution which makes me a partaker of Christ’s sufferings.” I say it becomes a comfort to us to be quickened by the Word when the ungodly are despising us.   At the 53rd verse you will see that David was under the trouble of living among great blasphemers and doers of open wickedness. He says, “Horror has taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake Your Law.” He was horrified at their vices—he wished that he could get away from and never see or hear that which distressed him so much. But if the very sight and sound of sin drives us to pray and forces us to cry to God, the result is good, however painful the process may be! If men never swore in the streets, we should not so often be driven to cry to God to forgive their profanity. If you and I could always be shut up in a glass case and never see sin or hear of it, it might be a bad thing for us. But if, when we are compelled to see the wickedness of men and hear their curses and reviling, we can also feel that God’s Word is quick- ening us, even by our horror at sin, it is good for us! We have great comfort in this peculiar species of affliction, though it is exceedingly grievous to tender-hearted, pure and delicate minds who dwell near to God.   Just read the 54th verse, and you will see another of David’s trials indicated. “Your statutes have been my song in the house of my pilgrimage.” He had many changes. He had all the trials of a pilgrim’s life—the discomforts of journeying in places where he had no abiding city. But, “ This ,” he says, “has been my comfort in my affliction.” Your Word has told me of a city that has foundations. Your Word has assured me that if I am a stranger upon earth, I am also a citizen of Heaven. “Your Word has quickened me.” I have felt myself so strengthened by Your Word that I have been glad to feel that this is not my rest. I am glad to feel that I must be away to a better land and so my heart has been happy and, “Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.”   Lastly, in the 55th verse, you see David was in darkness . He says, “I have remembered Your name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept Your Law.” Even in the night he could derive comfort from the quickening influence which often comes to the soul from the Scriptures—even when we are surrounded by darkness and sorrow. I will not go over that ground, again, but certain it is that when our soul is shrouded in distress, it often becomes more active and gracious than when it is basking in the sunlight of prosperity.   All along, then, dear Friends, your comfort and mine is the Word of God, laid home by God, the Holy Spirit, to our hearts, quickening us to an increase of spiritual life! Do not try to flee from your troubles. Do not fret under your cares. Do not expect this world to bring forth roses without thorns. Do not hope to prevent the springing up of briers and this- tles. Ask for quickening! Ask for that quickening to come, not by new revelations nor by fanatical excitement, but by
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God’s own Word quietly applied by His own Spirit! So shall you conquer all your troubles, overcome your difficulties and enter into Heaven singing hallelujahs unto the Lord’s right hand and holy arm which have gotten Him the victory!
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON—Psalm 119:49-64. HYMNS FROM “OUR OWN HYMN BOOK”—481, 119 (SONG III), 482.
Adapted from The C. H. Spurgeon Collection , Version 1.0, Ages Software.  PRAY THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL USE THIS SERMON TO BRING MANY TO A SAVING KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST.

JESUS IS TESTED IN THE WILDERNESS-IN CHRIST WE ARE OVERCOMERS

16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me. 17 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel;  Isaiah 48:16-17

16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me. 17 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; Isaiah 48:16-17

Luke 4:1-30

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

4 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”

24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

PREPARE THYSELF, TAKE LORD’S SUPPER AND WATCH FOR HIS RETURN

Morning

“This do in remembrance of me.”
1 Corinthians 11:24

It seems then, that Christians may forget Christ! There could be no need for this loving exhortation, if there were not a fearful supposition that our memories might prove treacherous. Nor is this a bare supposition: it is, alas! too well confirmed in our experience, not as a possibility, but as a lamentable fact. It appears almost impossible that those who have been redeemed by the blood of the dying Lamb, and loved with an everlasting love by the eternal Son of God, should forget that gracious Saviour; but, if startling to the ear, it is, alas! too apparent to the eye to allow us to deny the crime. Forget him who never forgot us! Forget him who poured his blood forth for our sins! Forget him who loved us even to the death! Can it be possible? Yes, it is not only possible, but conscience confesses that it is too sadly a fault with all of us, that we suffer him to be as a wayfaring man tarrying but for a night. He whom we should make the abiding tenant of our memories is but a visitor therein. The cross where one would think that memory would linger, and unmindfulness would be an unknown intruder, is desecrated by the feet of forgetfulness. Does not your conscience say that this is true? Do you not find yourselves forgetful of Jesus? Some creature steals away your heart, and you are unmindful of him upon whom your affection ought to be set. Some earthly business engrosses your attention when you should fix your eye steadily upon the cross. It is the incessant turmoil of the world, the constant attraction of earthly things which takes away the soul from Christ. While memory too well preserves a poisonous weed, it suffereth the rose of Sharon to wither. Let us charge ourselves to bind a heavenly forget-me-not about our hearts for Jesus our Beloved, and, whatever else we let slip, let us hold fast to him.

Evening

“Blessed is he that watcheth.”
Revelation 16:15

“We die daily,” said the apostle. This was the life of the early Christians; they went everywhere with their lives in their hands. We are not in this day called to pass through the same fearful persecutions: if we were, the Lord would give us grace to bear the test; but the tests of Christian life, at the present moment, though outwardly not so terrible, are yet more likely to overcome us than even those of the fiery age. We have to bear the sneer of the world–that is little; its blandishments, its soft words, its oily speeches, its fawning, its hypocrisy, are far worse. Our danger is lest we grow rich and become proud, lest we give ourselves up to the fashions of this present evil world, and lose our faith. Or if wealth be not the trial, worldly care is quite as mischievous. If we cannot be torn in pieces by the roaring lion, if we may be hugged to death by the bear, the devil little cares which it is, so long as he destroys our love to Christ, and our confidence in him. I fear me that the Christian church is far more likely to lose her integrity in these soft and silken days than in those rougher times. We must be awake now, for we traverse the enchanted ground, and are most likely to fall asleep to our own undoing, unless our faith in Jesus be a reality, and our love to Jesus a vehement flame. Many in these days of easy profession are likely to prove tares, and not wheat; hypocrites with fair masks on their faces, but not the true-born children of the living God. Christian, do not think that these are times in which you can dispense with watchfulness or with holy ardour; you need these things more than ever, and may God the eternal Spirit display his omnipotence in you, that you may be able to say, in all these softer things, as well as in the rougher, “We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

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Tree of Life and Fearing No Evil

Morning

 

“If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?”
Luke 23:31

Among other interpretations of this suggestive question, the following is full of teaching: “If the innocent substitute for sinners, suffer thus, what will be done when the sinner himself–the dry tree–shall fall into the hands of an angry God?” When God saw Jesus in the sinner’s place, he did not spare him; and when he finds the unregenerate without Christ, he will not spare them. O sinner, Jesus was led away by his enemies: so shall you be dragged away by fiends to the place appointed for you. Jesus was deserted of God; and if he, who was only imputedly a sinner, was deserted, how much more shall you be? “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” what an awful shriek! But what shall be your cry when you shall say, “O God! O God! why hast thou forsaken me?” and the answer shall come back, “Because ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.” If God spared not his own Son, how much less will he spare you! What whips of burning wire will be yours when conscience shall smite you with all its terrors. Ye richest, ye merriest, ye most self-righteous sinners–who would stand in your place when God shall say, “Awake, O sword, against the man that rejected me; smite him, and let him feel the smart forever”? Jesus was spit upon: sinner, what shame will be yours! We cannot sum up in one word all the mass of sorrows which met upon the head of Jesus who died for us; therefore it is impossible for us to tell you what streams, what oceans of grief must roll over your spirit if you die as you now are. You may die so, you may die now. By the agonies of Christ, by his wounds and by his blood, do not bring upon yourselves the wrath to come! Trust in the Son of God, and you shall never die.

Evening

“I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.”
Psalm 23:4

Behold, how independent of outward circumstances the Holy Ghost can make the Christian! What a bright light may shine within us when it is all dark without! How firm, how happy, how calm, how peaceful we may be, when the world shakes to and fro, and the pillars of the earth are removed! Even death itself, with all its terrible influences, has no power to suspend the music of a Christian’s heart, but rather makes that music become more sweet, more clear, more heavenly, till the last kind act which death can do is to let the earthly strain melt into the heavenly chorus, the temporal joy into the eternal bliss! Let us have confidence, then, in the blessed Spirit’s power to comfort us. Dear reader, are you looking forward to poverty? Fear not; the divine Spirit can give you, in your want, a greater plenty than the rich have in their abundance. You know not what joys may be stored up for you in the cottage around which grace will plant the roses of content. Are you conscious of a growing failure of your bodily powers? Do you expect to suffer long nights of languishing and days of pain? O be not sad! That bed may become a throne to you. You little know how every pang that shoots through your body may be a refining fire to consume your dross–a beam of glory to light up the secret parts of your soul. Are the eyes growing dim? Jesus will be your light. Do the ears fail you? Jesus’ name will be your soul’s best music, and his person your dear delight. Socrates used to say, “Philosophers can be happy without music;” and Christians can be happier than philosophers when all outward causes of rejoicing are withdrawn. In thee, my God, my heart shall triumph, come what may of ills without! By thy power, O blessed Spirit, my heart shall be exceeding glad, though all things should fail me here below.

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JESUS HAS ALL AUTHORITY AND HEALING!

Image

Luke 4:31-44

Jesus Drives Out an Impure Spirit

31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. 32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.

33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.

Jesus Heals Many

38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

40 At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.

42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Charles Spurgeon

Morning

“Thou shalt love thy neighbour.”
Matthew 5:43

“Love thy neighbour.” Perhaps he rolls in riches, and thou art poor, and living in thy little cot side-by-side with his lordly mansion; thou seest every day his estates, his fine linen, and his sumptuous banquets; God has given him these gifts, covet not his wealth, and think no hard thoughts concerning him. Be content with thine own lot, if thou canst not better it, but do not look upon thy neighbour, and wish that he were as thyself. Love him, and then thou wilt not envy him.

Perhaps, on the other hand, thou art rich, and near thee reside the poor. Do not scorn to call them neighbour. Own that thou art bound to love them. The world calls them thy inferiors. In what are they inferior? They are far more thine equals than thine inferiors, for “God hath made of one blood all people that dwell upon the face of the earth.” It is thy coat which is better than theirs, but thou art by no means better than they. They are men, and what art thou more than that? Take heed that thou love thy neighbour even though he be in rags, or sunken in the depths of poverty.

But, perhaps, you say, “I cannot love my neighbours, because for all I do they return ingratitude and contempt.” So much the more room for the heroism of love. Wouldst thou be a feather-bed warrior, instead of bearing the rough fight of love? He who dares the most, shall win the most; and if rough be thy path of love, tread it boldly, still loving thy neighbours through thick and thin. Heap coals of fire on their heads, and if they be hard to please, seek not to please them, but to please thy Master; and remember if they spurn thy love, thy Master hath not spurned it, and thy deed is as acceptable to him as if it had been acceptable to them. Love thy neighbour, for in so doing thou art following the footsteps of Christ.

Evening

“To whom belongest thou?”
1 Samuel 30:13

No neutralities can exist in religion. We are either ranked under the banner of Prince Immanuel, to serve and fight his battles, or we are vassals of the black prince, Satan. “To whom belongest thou?”

Reader, let me assist you in your response. Have you been “born again”? If you have, you belong to Christ, but without the new birth you cannot be his. In whom do you trust? For those who believe in Jesus are the sons of God. Whose work are you doing? You are sure to serve your master, for he whom you serve is thereby owned to be your lord. What company do you keep? If you belong to Jesus, you will fraternize with those who wear the livery of the cross. “Birds of a feather flock together.” What is your conversation? Is it heavenly or is it earthly? What have you learned of your Master?–for servants learn much from their masters to whom they are apprenticed. If you have served your time with Jesus, it will be said of you, as it was of Peter and John, “They took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

We press the question, “To whom belongest thou?” Answer honestly before you give sleep to your eyes. If you are not Christ’s you are in a hard service–Run away from your cruel master! Enter into the service of the Lord of Love, and you shall enjoy a life of blessedness. If you are Christ’s let me advise you to do four things. You belong to Jesus–obey him; let his word be your law; let his wish be your will. You belong to the Beloved, then love him; let your heart embrace him; let your whole soul be filled with him. You belong to the Son of God, then trust him; rest nowhere but on him. You belong to the King of kings, then be decided for him. Thus, without your being branded upon the brow, all will know to whom you belong.

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Revelation Of God’s Word By The Holy Spirit

John 14:26              King James Version (KJV)
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Thank you Father for the guidance of you Holy Spirit and the revelation of your Holy Word by Him!  Your name be praised and revered.  Amen.

Morning

“But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock.”
1 Samuel 13:20

We are engaged in a great war with the Philistines of evil. Every weapon within our reach must be used. Preaching, teaching, praying, giving, all must be brought into action, and talents which have been thought too mean for service, must now be employed. Coulter, and axe, and mattock, may all be useful in slaying Philistines; rough tools may deal hard blows, and killing need not be elegantly done, so long as it is done effectually. Each moment of time, in season or out of season; each fragment of ability, educated or untutored; each opportunity, favourable or unfavourable, must be used, for our foes are many and our force but slender.

Most of our tools want sharpening; we need quickness of perception, tact, energy, promptness, in a word, complete adaptation for the Lord’s work. Practical common sense is a very scarce thing among the conductors of Christian enterprises. We might learn from our enemies if we would, and so make the Philistines sharpen our weapons. This morning let us note enough to sharpen our zeal during this day by the aid of the Holy Spirit. See the energy of the Papists, how they compass sea and land to make one proselyte, are they to monopolize all the earnestness? Mark the heathen devotees, what tortures they endure in the service of their idols! are they alone to exhibit patience and self-sacrifice? Observe the prince of darkness, how persevering in his endeavours, how unabashed in his attempts, how daring in his plans, how thoughtful in his plots, how energetic in all! The devils are united as one man in their infamous rebellion, while we believers in Jesus are divided in our service of God, and scarcely ever work with unanimity. O that from Satan’s infernal industry we may learn to go about like good Samaritans, seeking whom we may bless!

Evening

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”
Ephesians 3:8

The apostle Paul felt it a great privilege to be allowed to preach the gospel. He did not look upon his calling as a drudgery, but he entered upon it with intense delight. Yet while Paul was thus thankful for his office, his success in it greatly humbled him. The fuller a vessel becomes, the deeper it sinks in the water. Idlers may indulge a fond conceit of their abilities, because they are untried; but the earnest worker soon learns his own weakness. If you seek humility, try hard work; if you would know your nothingness, attempt some great thing for Jesus. If you would feel how utterly powerless you are apart from the living God, attempt especially the great work of proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ, and you will know, as you never knew before, what a weak unworthy thing you are. Although the apostle thus knew and confessed his weakness, he was never perplexed as to the subject of his ministry. From his first sermon to his last, Paul preached Christ, and nothing but Christ. He lifted up the cross, and extolled the Son of God who bled thereon. Follow his example in all your personal efforts to spread the glad tidings of salvation, and let “Christ and him crucified” be your ever recurring theme. The Christian should be like those lovely spring flowers which, when the sun is shining, open their golden cups, as if saying, “Fill us with thy beams!” but when the sun is hidden behind a cloud, they close their cups and droop their heads. So should the Christian feel the sweet influence of Jesus; Jesus must be his sun, and he must be the flower which yields itself to the Sun of Righteousness. Oh! to speak of Christ alone, this is the subject which is both “seed for the sower, and bread for the eater.” This is the live coal for the lip of the speaker, and the master-key to the heart of the hearer.

All rights  belongs tothe collection  Charles Spurgeon(C)