Archive for August, 2010

Daily Devotions with Spurgeon: 31st August

August 31, 2010

Divine, Ever-Living, Unchanging

But the word of the Lord endures forever. Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:25)

All human teaching shall pass away; but we are assured that the Word of the Lord shall endure forever.

We have a divine gospel; for what word can endure forever but that which is spoken by the eternal God?

We have an ever-living gospel, as full of vitality as when it first came from the lips of God; as strong to convince and convert, console, sustain and sanctify as ever it was in its first days.

We have an unchanging gospel which is not today green grass and tomorrow dry hay but always the abiding truth of God. Opinions alter, but truth certified by God can no more change than the God who uttered it.

Here, then, we have a gospel to rejoice in. Feed on the Word today and all the days of your life.

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Better Than Mills & Boon

August 30, 2010

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
It is not proud, it is not rude.
It does not insist on its own way,
It is not easily angered,
It keeps no record of wrongs.
It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
It always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.

St Paul, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

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Running the Race

August 30, 2010

HT: Ben Witherington

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Daily Devotions with Spurgeon: 30th August

August 30, 2010

Solace, Security, Satisfaction

Although my house is not so with God; yet he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. For this is all my salvation and all my desire; will he not make it increase? (2 Samuel 23:5)

These are David’ words, but they may be mine today. Here is a sigh: things are not with me as I could wish; there are trials, cares, and sins. These make the pillow hard.

Here is a solace, “He has made with me an everlasting covenant.” Jehovah has pledged Himself to me, and sealed the compact with the blood of Jesus. I am bound to my God, and my God to me.

This brings into prominence a security, since this covenant is everlasting, well ordered, and sure. There is nothing to fear from the lapse of time, or the natural uncertainty of things. The covenant is a rocky foundation to build on for life or for death.

David feels satisfaction: he wants no more for salvation; he is delivered, and he is delighted. The covenant is all a man can desire.

Turn this day to the Lord Jesus, whom the great Lord has given to be a covenant to the people.

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Daily Devotions with Spurgeon: 29th August

August 29, 2010

Plentiful Refreshment

Their soul shall be like a well-watered garden. (Jeremiah 31:12)

Oh, to have one’s soul under heavenly cultivation; no longer a wilderness but a garden of the Lord! Walled around by grace, planted by instruction, visited by love, weeded by heavenly discipline, and guarded by divine power, one’s favoured soul is prepared to yield fruit unto the Lord.

But a garden may become parched for want of water, and then it starts to wither. How soon would this be the case. were the Lord to leave us! A garden without water soon ceases to be a garden at all: nothing can come to perfection, grow, or even live.

But when irrigation is kept up, the result is charming. Oh, to have one’s soul watered by the Holy Spirit uniformly, every part of the garden having its own stream. Bringing not only its heat, but its refreshment; each plant receiving just what it needs.

Lord, water me today and cause me to yield You a full reward.

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Daily Devotions with Spurgeon: 28th August

August 28, 2010

Out of Any Circumstance

As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. (Psalm 55:16)

I must and will pray. What else can I do? What better can I do? Betrayed, forsaken, grieved, baffled, Lord, I will call upon You. I encourage my heart in the Lord, who will bear me through this trial as He has borne me through so many others.

The Lord alone shall save me. I desire no other helper. I will cry to Him evening, morning, and noon, and I will cry to no one else, for He is all-sufficient.

How He will save me I cannot guess; but He will do it. He will do it in the best and surest way. Out of this trouble and all future troubles the great I AM will bring me as surely as He lives. This shall be my song all through today. Is it not as a ripe apple from the tree of life? I will feed upon it. How sweet it is to my taste!

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Daily Devotions with Spurgeon: 27th August

August 27, 2010

Choice Men

I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10)

It is no mean thing to be chosen of God. So eminent is this privilege, that whatever drawback may be joined to it we very joyfully accept it. We choose the furnace, since God chooses us in it.

We are chosen as an afflicted people and not as a prosperous people, chosen not in the palace but in the furnace. In the furnace beauty is marred, strength is melted, glory is consumed, and yet here eternal love reveals its secrets and declares its choice. So has it been in our case. In times of severest trial, God has made to us our calling and election plain. We chosen the Lord to be our God, and He has shown that we are assuredly His chosen.

Therefore, if today the furnace be heated seven times hotter, we will not dread it, for the glorious Son of God will walk with us amid the glowing coals.

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Fr. Barron on New Atheism

August 26, 2010

Short and astute comments on the intellectual vacuity of the new atheism. Also, a little primer on the argument from desire. (“Qoheleth” is the Hebrew word for “teacher/preacher” and references the Book of Ecclesiastes.)

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Oldies But Goodies

August 26, 2010

He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats


How do I love thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,–I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!–and, If God choose,
I shall love thee better after death.

Sonnet From The Portugese XLIII
Elizabeth Barrett Browning – Sonnet on love


Love’s Philosophy

The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In another’s being mingle–
Why not I with thine?

See, the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower could be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;–
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Daily Devotions with Spurgeon: 26th August

August 26, 2010

He of Tender Conscience

I will judge between sheep and sheep. (Ezekiel 34:22)

Some are fat and flourishing, and therefore they are unkind to the feeble. This is a grievous sin and causes much sorrow. The Lord takes note of these proud and unkind deeds, and He is greatly angered by them, for He loves the weak.

Is the reader one of the despised? Is he a mourner in Zion and a marked man because of his tender conscience? Is he judged harshly by others? Let him not resent their conduct; above all let him not push and thrust in return. Let him leave the matter in the Lord’s hands. He is the Judge. Why should we wish to intrude upon His office? He will decide much more righteously than we can. His time for judgment is the best, and we need not be in a hurry to hasten it on.

Patience, my soul! Patience! The Lord knows your grief. Your Jesus has pity upon you!

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Daily Devotions with Spurgeon: 25th August

August 25, 2010

Food and Rest

I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. (Ezekiel 34:15)

Under the divine shepherdry saints are fed to the full. Theirs is not a windy, unsatisfying mess of mere human “thought,” but the Lord feeds them upon the solid, substantial truth of divine revelation. Jesus Himself is the true life-sustaining Food of believers.

When filled with holy truth the mind rests. Those whom Jehovah feeds are at peace. No dog shall worry them, no wolf shall devour them, no restless propensities shall disturb them. They shall lie down and digest the food which they have enjoyed. The doctrines of grace are not only sustaining but consoling: in them we have the means for building up and lying down.

This day may the Lord cause us to feed in the pastures of the Word and make us to lie down in them. May no folly and no worry but meditation and peace mark this day.

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Socializing With Our Non-Christian Friends

August 24, 2010

Patrick Mitchel is blogging his way through John Dickson’s book The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission

In Patrick’s latest post, he notes Dickson’s point that believers should imitate Jesus and become a “friend of sinners”. As Dickson puts it, “Our entire life, including our social life, should demonstrate the Lord’s desire to have fellowship with sinners.” I.e., if we don’t socially interact with and have non-Christian friends how can we possibly engage in regular spiritual conversations? Thus, Dickson challenges believers: “is your social life orientated towards the good of others – being with them, befriending them, doing good to them and speaking to them about Christ when opportunity invites?”

This is a good question, but is there a straightforward answer? How specifically and practically should believers live out our social interaction with non-Christian friends (I don’t really like the contrast between “sinners” and “believers” – we all fall short and miss the mark, we’re all sinners). As I asked Patrick, should we go down the pub with our non-believing friends? Out to a club for a boogie? Only go to (more neutral?) restaurants/cafes? Only in peoples’ homes? It’s not always easy to decide where we draw the line on our social activities. Getting the balance right requires a lot of discernment and Christians will, no doubt, disagree about the options.

What do you think? Where do you draw the line and why?

Although this shouldn’t really need to be said, nonetheless, it is important that our friendships are authentic. To place yourself in the company of others with the ulterior and driving motive to convert them rather than genuinely being there as a friend is, at best, disingenuous. Moreover, your “friends” will see through such a deceptive ploy. Only when there is true relationship, when our friends know that we genuinely care for them, will we be best placed to engage in any gospel-based conversations that arise; conversations not sermons! In all things we should strive to be a locus of grace, reflecting the love and beauty of Christ.

It’s difficult to get this right. When something wonderful has happened in and to your life, you want to share it immediately with those you care most about, your family and friends. You want to tell them all about it, so that they too can share what you’ve found. Yet again, this is really tough. I’m sure we’ve all known bible-bashing bores. Their hearts are in the right place, but their application is misguided. Personally-speaking, I wish I’d the wisdom of Solomon to get these things right. 

What books/resources have helped you find the right balance? What do you recommend? How do you go about socializing with your non-Christian friends?

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