In the Fires

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” ‘Glorify ye the Lord in the fires’ Isaiah 24:15 (ESV), not when they have passed or you are out of them and they are only memories, but in them.”

~Amy Carmichael, 1867-1951

When we’re going through trials, we cannot be so focused on the “fire” that we neglect that greater Light. It’s important that we stay in God’s word – remembering that the encouragement that threads through the Bible was put there for strugglers like us.

“Some, though dead to the world, have not that joy in God which it is their privilege to possess. They meditate too much upon their own infirmities, and too little upon the perfections and promises of their God.

O brethren, look at God as the God of salvation, as the God of your salvation, and you shall have your fears turned into confidence, and your sorrows into thanksgiving and the voice of melody.”

~Charles Simeon from his sermon titled “The Christian’s Boast” from Habakkuk 3:17-18. Read the entire message here.


“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

God, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer’s; He makes me tread on my high places” Habakkuk 3:17-18 (ESV).

Eliza Spurgeon

Eliza Spurgeon’s prayer life made a strong impression on her son, Charles, and her husband, John.

It’s encouraging to read about and see first hand the heart of godly moms for their children – and their God.

“Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes a godly mother.

Certainly I have not the powers of speech to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed on me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me.

How can I ever forget her tearful eye when she warned me to escape from the wrath to come?

How can I ever forget when she bowed her knee, and with her arms about my neck, prayed, ‘Oh, that my son might live before Thee!’ ”

~Charles Spurgeon, 1834-1892

“As I came home one evening and went upstairs, I heard the voice of his mother pleading for her boy Charles, and talking to him and the others, and pouring her heart out in prayer in such a way as I never did in my life, and as I never heard before.

It is for the encouragement  of mothers that I mention this, that you may pray for your children, for God is a prayer-hearing God, and a prayer-answering God.”

~John Spurgeon, 1811-1902


I stumbled across those thoughts on a website called The Bible Truth Chat Room. I don’t know enough about the site to recommend it. I was just encouraged by what I read there from the Spurgeons.

The Next Step

 

It’s not too difficult to find time to read God’s Word, but to go a step further and thoroughly think through what we’ve read is another story altogether.

Maybe we’re just too busy.

Yet, I hear the wisdom of an old friend who said that people usually find time to do the things that they really want to do.

May God give us a desire to take that next step and meditate on what God has revealed to us in the Bible.

In J.I. Packer’s classic, Knowing God, his definition of “meditation” serves as a enticing explanation of what it means to ponder the things of God.

“Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God.

Its purpose is to clear one’s mental and spiritual vision of God, and to let His truth make its full and proper impact on one’s mind and heart. It is a matter of talking to oneself about God and oneself; it is, indeed, often a matter of arguing with oneself, reasoning oneself out of moods of doubt and unbelief into a clear apprehension of God’s power and grace.

Its effect is ever to humble us, as we contemplate God’s greatness and glory and our own littleness and sinfulness, and to encourage and reassure us – ‘comfort’ us, in the old, strong, Bible sense of the word – as we contemplate the unsearchable riches of divine mercy displayed in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

~J.I. Packer, Knowing God


“And she [Martha] had a sister called Mary, who sat at the the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving” Luke 10:39-40 (ESV).

A 16th Century Post-it Note

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I don’t have the best of memories, but thankfully, I do have Post-it Notes. I have one on my computer at work right now to remind me that there’s an important recording at 1:30 Monday afternoon. Or is it 2:30?

The fact is we all need reminders. And that holds true for spiritual matters as well. These truths from an ancient catechism prompted me to recall some very important truths that serve to warm a Christian’s heart. I’m hopeful that will be your experience.

Question 1.
What is thy only comfort in life and death?

Answer.
That I with body and soul,
both in life and death,
am not my own,
but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ;
who, with his precious blood,
has fully satisfied for all my sins,
and delivered me from all the power of the devil;
and so preserves me
that without the will of my heavenly Father,
not a hair can fall from my head;
yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation,
and therefore, by His Holy Spirit,
He also assures me of eternal life,
and makes me sincerely willing and ready,
henceforth, to live unto Him.

~The Heidelberg Catechism, 1563


“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” Philippians 4:8 (ESV).

John Newton | I Believe

 

April 3, 1759 – In a correspondence to a new friend of his, John Newton took time to explain his Christian beliefs. It stirred my heart to “hear” his pen proclaim the wonderful truths that saints down through the ages have held dear. Hopefully, you’ll find encouragement here too.

“I believe that sin is the most hateful thing in the world. I believe that I and all men are by nature in a state of wrath and depravity, utterly unable to sustain the penalty or to fulfill the commands of God’s holy law; and that we have no sufficiency of ourselves to think a good thought.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the chief among ten thousand; that He came into the world to save the chief of sinners, by making a propitiation for sin by His death, by paying a perfect obedience to the law in our behalf; and that He is now exalted on high, to give repentance and remission of sins to all who believe; and that He ever lives to make intercession for us.

I believe that the Holy Spirit (the gift of God through Jesus Christ), is the sure and only guide into all truth, and the common privilege of all believers; and under his influence,

I believe the Holy Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation, and to furnish us thoroughly for every good work.

I believe that love to God, and to man for God’s sake, is the essence of true religion, and the fulfilling of the law; that without holiness no man shall see the Lord; that those who, by a patient course in well-doing, seek glory, honor, and immortality, shall receive eternal life. And I believe that this reward is not of debt–but of grace, even to the praise and glory of that grace whereby He has made us accepted in the Beloved. Amen.”

You can read all of the letter when you click here.

John Piper highlighted the life of John Newton at his 2001 Bethlehem Conference for Pastors. You can listen to and/or read his presentation here.


Let us praise, and join the chorus

Of the saints enthroned on high;

Here they trusted Him before us,

Now their praises fill the sky:

“Thou hast washed us with Your blood;

Thou art worthy, Lamb of God!”

~John Newton, 1774

Good Friday

 

If we’re not intentional, Good Friday will come and go without much reflection on what this day is all about. Hopefully, God will use this short excerpt from a Charles Spurgeon sermon to stir a determination to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Can you not see Him as they fling Him on His back, stretch out His hands and feet to the wood—and then drive the cruel nails through their most tender parts?

Can you not see Him as they lift Him high between earth and heaven, and then dash the cross into its place, dislocating all His bones, till He cries out, ‘I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint. You have brought Me into the dust of death?’

Yes, He is accomplishing it all!

Jehovah’s wrath is pouring over Him, wave after wave, and He is meekly bowing His head to it all!

Jehovah’s sword is being driven into His heart, and He is baring His breast to receive it—for your sakes and for mine! Sinner, He does it altogether. He can do it! He is doing it! He has done it, for He bowed His head, saying, ‘It is finished!’ and gave up the ghost!

That which was first a purpose, then a covenant, and then a work initiated, is now a work achieved!

Jesus Christ has redeemed His people with His own most precious blood!’

~Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon Gems


But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” Ephesians 2:13 (ESV).

Mercy’s Door

 

Here’s a short excerpt from a message from 18th century preacher Joseph Bellamy of Cheshire, Connecticut. It’s a passionate plea to the man who is living in rebellion of his Creator. The Christian can look back on a time when he was that rebellious man. Sadly, the lost person is there now.

“Do you know that this is God’s world? That you are God’s creatures and subjects? That He is your Lord and owner? That He has an entire right to you and an absolute authority over you? That you are entirely dependent upon Him, infinitely indebted to Him, and absolutely under His government?

Do you know that the Lord your God is a great God and a great King, infinitely worthy of all love, honor, and obedience? Do you see what a great evil it is to rise in rebellion against the Most High, slight His authority, throw off His government, break His laws, go contrary to Him, and do the abominable thing which His soul hates?

Do you see what contempt this casts upon God and how it tends to grieve His heart for a worm to set up himself against the Almighty, for a creature absolutely dependent to turn his back upon His Creator in whose hands are his life and breath?

Do you see the grievous error of loving sin more than the infinitely glorious God, of delighting in earthly pleasures more than in the Supreme Fountain of all good, of being more concerned to please fellow-rebels and secure their favor than to please the sovereign Lord of the universe and secure His favor?

Look around! See what you are doing! See where you are going! Consider what the end will be! Can your hands be strong or your heart endure, O guilty rebel, when God Almighty shall come forth to deal with you according to your crimes?

Behold, now is the day of grace. God is ready to be reconciled.

A door of mercy is opened by the blood of the Son of God.

Pardon and peace are proclaimed to a rebellious and guilty world. Repent, therefore, and be converted that your sins may be blotted out.”

I found this message in the book Salvation in Full Color, a collection of Great Awakening sermons. Our church used it in a book study a few years ago.