Some old books are a difficult read for me. The opposite is true when it comes to American pastor Edward Payson (1783-1827). Now that I think of it, most all of what I’ve read by him is probably from transcripts of his sermons, his letters, or possibly journal notes – so that may explain it. Regardless, it’s an easy read. I recommend anything of Reverend Payson’s that you might happen to come across.
“Suppose two persons equally desirous to gain your affections; one far distant, and not expecting to see you for a long time; the other always present with you, and at liberty to use all means to win your love, able to flatter and gratify you in a thousand ways.
Still you prefer the absent one; and, that you may keep him in remembrance, you often retire by yourself to think of his love to you, and view again and again the mementos of his affection, to read his letters, and pour out your heart in return.
Such is now your case; the world is always before you, to flatter, promise, and please.
But if you really prefer to love God, you will fix your thoughts on Him, often retire for meditation and prayer, and recount the pleasant gifts of His providence, and especially His infinite mercy to your soul; you will read frequently His Holy Word, which is the letter He has sent you, as real as if it were directed to you by name.”
“It is a vain idea of ours to suppose that if our circumstances were altered we should be more at rest.
My brother, if you cannot rest in poverty, neither would you in riches; if you cannot rest in the midst of persecution, neither would you in the midst of honor. It is the spirit within that gives the rest, that rest has little to do with any thing without.
Men have sat on thrones and have found them uneasy places, while others on the rack have declared that they were at rest. The spirit is the spring of rest, as for the outward surroundings they are of small account.
Let but your mind be like the mind of Christ, and you shall find rest unto your souls: a deep rest, a growing rest, a rest found out more and more, an abiding rest, not only which you have found, but which you shall go on to find.”
~Charles Spurgeon, 1834-1892
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD God is an everlasting rock.”
~Isaiah 26:3-4 (ESV)
It’s helpful to pause amidst the busyness of life to reflect on who we are in Christ Jesus. These thoughts from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones serve as a helpful “tap on the shoulder” to remind us of this glorious life that we as believers have been called to.
“What is a Christian? Paul tells the Colossians that a Christian is a man who has been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.
I no longer belong to the world. I belong to the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of light, the kingdom of glory, the kingdom of God.
Here I am and the world has nothing to do with me. I am not of it. I am in this other kingdom.
Oh, I am still existing in this world, but I no longer belong to it. I have been translated. And my citizenship is now in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, and we know that we shall ever go on and be with the Lord.
He, by dying on the cross, separates me from the world, puts me into His own kingdom, introduces me to God, and makes me a child of God, and an heir of eternal bliss.”
~Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Cross: God’s Way of Salvation
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
~Colossians 1:13-14 (ESV)
“We walk by faith, not by sight.”
~2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV)
This walk of faith takes in all the minute circumstances of every day’s history; a walking every step by faith; a looking above trials, above necessities, above perplexities, above improbabilities and impossibilities, above second causes; and, in the face of difficulties and discouragements, going forward, leaning upon God.
If the Lord were to roll the Red Sea before us, and marshal the Egyptians behind us, and thus, hemming us in on every side, should yet bid us advance, it would be the duty and privilege of faith instantly to obey, believing that, before our feet touched the waters, God, in our extremity, would divide the sea, and take us dry-shod over it.
This is the only holy and happy life of a believer; if he for a moment leaves this path, and attempts to walk by sight, difficulties will throng around him, troubles will multiply, the smallest trials will become heavy crosses, temptations to depart from the simple and upright walk will increase in number and power, the heart will sicken at disappointment, the Spirit will be grieved, and God will be dishonored.
Let this precious truth ever be before our mind: Walk by faith, not by sight.
~Octavius Winslow, Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul
“Reader, your calling is to dedicate yourself – your soul – your body – all that you are – all that you have – all that you can do – a sacrifice to God.
You may not keep anything from Him, who has given more than all heaven for your ransom. Settle this truth, then, steadily in your mind; that there is no acceptance for person, or services, except in the Beloved.
Words and works are worse than worthless, except when offered in faith, and through the merits, and for the sake of Jesus. That fruit is only rottenness, which is not sanctified by His blood, and consecrated to His glory.
Cement yourself, your every intent, – your every doing to Him.”
~Henry Law, Christ is All
“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
~Philippians 3:14 (ESV)
” ‘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.”
“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)