Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The sweet waters of repentance


And there you will remember your conduct and all your deeds by which you defiled yourselves. You will despise yourselves because of all the evil deeds you have done. — Ezek. 20:43 NET

by C.H. Spurgeon

When we are accepted of the Lord and are standing in the place of favor, and peace, and safety, then we are led to repent of all our failures and miscarriages toward our gracious God. So precious is repentance that we may call it a diamond of the first water, and this is sweetly promised to the people of God as one most sanctifying result of salvation. He who accepts repentance also gives repentance; and He gives it not out of “the bitter box” but from among those “wafers made with honey” on which He feeds His people. A sense of blood-bought pardon and of undeserved mercy is the best means of dissolving a heart of stone. Are we feeling hard? Let us think of covenant love, and then we shall leave sin, lament sin, and loathe sin; yea, we shall loathe ourselves for sinning against such infinite love. Let us come to God with this promise of penitence and ask Him to help us to remember, and repent, and regret, and return. Oh, that we could enjoy the meltings of holy sorrow! What a relief would a flood of tears be! Lord, smite the rock, or speak to the rock, and cause the waters to flow!


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Evidence of His Love — withheld and given according to His Love


The dove could not find a resting place for its feet because water still covered the surface of the entire earth, and so it returned to Noah in the ark. He stretched out his hand, took the dove, and brought it back into the ark. He waited seven more days and then sent out the dove again from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there was a freshly plucked olive leaf in its beak! Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. — Gen 8:9-11 NET

by C.G. Trumbull

God knows just when to withhold from us any visible sign of encouragement, and when to grant us such a sign. How good it is that we may trust Him anyway! When all visible evidences that He is remembering us are withheld, that is best; He wants us to realize that His Word, His promise of remembrance, is more substantial and dependable than any evidence of our senses. When He sends the visible evidence, that is well also; we appreciate it all the more after we have trusted Him without it. Those who are readiest to trust God without other evidence than His Word always receive the greatest number of visible evidences of His love.


It's so amazing to me, to think of the ways of God, and how He deals with His favored children. So often He removes supporting evidences of His infinite love and holy plan. At times He asks us to walk many days simply trusting -- trusting His heart when we cannot see or understand His hand. Or, to walk in faith, in silence, with the emotions of faith quieted, perhaps numbed in physical or spiritual pain. And yet, in all, full supply or lack of evidences, it is LOVE at work.

He's working out a masterpiece picture with our name on it. And everything He gives or withholds on that path is a holy good. He loves us too much to give us less than our spirit health requires. So trust! And walk on, in faith. The dove will return in proper time, and the waters will recede, kissed by the canopy of covenant sign, and future grace. Alleluia!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Lord waits so that He may be more gracious to us


Therefore will the Lord wait that He may be gracious unto you. Isaiah 30:18

by C.H. Spurgeon

God often delays in answering prayer. We have several instances of this in sacred Scripture. Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the dawn of day-he had to wrestle all night for it. The poor woman of Syrophoenicia was answered not a word for a long while. Paul besought the Lord thrice that the "thorn in the flesh" might be taken from him, and he received no assurance that it should be taken away, but instead thereof a promise that God's grace should be sufficient for him. If thou hast been knocking at the gate of mercy, and hast received no answer, shall I tell thee why the mighty Maker hath not opened the door and let thee in?

Our Father has reasons peculiar to himself for thus keeping us waiting. Sometimes it is to show his power and his sovereignty, that men may know that Jehovah has a right to give or to withhold. More frequently the delay is for our profit. Thou art perhaps kept waiting in order that thy desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire, and that if he keeps thee waiting thou wilt see thy necessity more clearly, and wilt seek more earnestly; and that thou wilt prize the mercy all the more for its long tarrying. There may also be something wrong in thee which has need to be removed, before the joy of the Lord is given. Perhaps thy views of the Gospel plan are confused, or thou mayest be placing some little reliance on thyself, instead of trusting simply and entirely to the Lord Jesus. Or, God makes thee tarry awhile that he may the more fully display the riches of his grace to thee at last. Thy prayers are all filed in heaven, and if not immediately answered they are certainly not forgotten, but in a little while shall be fulfilled to thy delight and satisfaction. Let not despair make thee silent, but continue instant in earnest supplication.



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Faith like (fewer) potatoes

I've heard some food researchers call potatoes a bad food, but this is fairly significant evidence against weekly consumption:

A new study suggests that the more potatoes in a woman’s typical diet, the more likely she is to develop gestational diabetes, a serious complication of pregnancy.

In a 10-year study, researchers found 854 cases of gestational diabetes in 21,693 pregnancies among women participating in a larger health study. The women completed food questionnaires every four years, which gave the researchers a picture of their long-term habitual diet.

After adjusting for other diet and health characteristics, they found that compared with those who ate no potatoes, women who ate one serving a week had a 20 percent increased risk, two to four servings a 27 percent increased risk and five or more servings a 50 percent increased risk of developing gestational diabetes.

Link here: Potatoes and Pregnancy.

Blessings on your health journey!

Note: This should probably be filed under #FirstWorldProblems.

Even if -- Following God in extremities

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.. — 2 Cor 2:14

If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. — Dan. 3:17-18

Life of Praise Devotional

God gets His greatest victories out of apparent defeats. Very often the enemy seems to triumph for a little, and God lets it be so; but then He comes in and upsets all the work of the enemy, overthrows the apparent victory, and as the Bible says, “turns the way of the wicked upside down.” Thus He gives a great deal larger victory than we would have known if He had not allowed the enemy, seemingly, to triumph in the first place.

The story of the three Hebrew children being cast into the fiery furnace is a familiar one. Here was an apparent victory for the enemy. It looked as if the servants of the living God were going to have a terrible defeat. We have all been in places where it seemed as though we were defeated, and the enemy rejoiced. We can imagine what a complete defeat this looked to be. They fell down into the flames, and their enemies watched them to see them burn up in that awful fire, but were greatly astonished to see them walking around in the fire enjoying themselves. Nebuchadnezzar told them to “come forth out of the midst of the fire.” Not even a hair was singed, nor was the smell of fire on their garments, “because there is no other god that can deliver after this sort.”

This apparent defeat resulted in a marvelous victory.

Suppose that these three men had lost their faith and courage, and had complained, saying, “Why did not God keep us out of the furnace!” Would God have been as clearly glorified? Here is a great lesson: If there is a great trial in your life today, do not own it as a defeat, but continue, by faith, to claim the victory through Him who is able to make you more than conqueror, and a glorious victory will soon be apparent. Let us learn that in all the hard places God brings us into, He is making opportunities for us to exercise such faith in Him as will bring about blessed results and greatly glorify His name.

Life of Praise, quoted in Streams in the Desert.

Defeat may serve as well as victory
To shake the soul and let the glory out.
When the great oak is straining in the wind,
The boughs drink in new beauty, and the trunk
Sends down a deeper root on the windward side.
Only the soul that knows the mighty grief
Can know the mighty rapture. Sorrows come
To stretch out spaces in the heart for joy.



Friday, January 15, 2016

Urgent prayer to an Always God = His deliverance, in His time & way

It will so happen that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered. For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who survive, just as the Lord has promised; the remnant will be those whom the Lord will call. — Joel 2:32 NET

by C.H. Spurgeon

Why do I not call on His name? Why do I run to this neighbor and that when God is so near and will hear my faintest call? Why do I sit down and devise schemes and invent plans! Why not at once roll my self and my burden upon the Lord? Straightforward is the best runner — why do I not run at once to the living God? In vain shall I look for deliverance anywhere else; but with God I shall find it; for here I have His royal “shall” to make it sure.

I need not ask whether I may call on Him or not, for that word whosoever is a very wide and comprehensive one. Whosoever means me, for it means anybody and everybody who calls upon God. I will therefore follow the leading of the text and at once call upon the glorious Lord who had made so large a promise.

My case is urgent, and I do not see how I am to be delivered; but this is no business of mine. He who makes the promise will find out ways and means of keeping it. It is mine to obey His commands; it is not mine to direct His counsels. I am His servant, not His solicitor. I call upon Him, and He will deliver me.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Hedged in for Good


You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

— Ps. 139:5-6

Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? — Job 1:10

My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. — Jas. 1:2-3

God hedges in His own that He may preserve them, but oftentimes they only see the wrong side of the hedge, and so misunderstand His dealings. It was so with Job (Job 3:23). Ah, but Satan knew the value of that hedge! See his testimony in chapter 1:10. Through the leaves of every trial there are chinks of light to shine through. Thorns do not prick you unless you lean against them, and not one touches without His knowledge. The words that hurt you, the letter which gave you pain, the cruel wound of your dearest friend, shortness of money—are all known to Him, who sympathizes as none else can and watches to see, if, through all, you will dare to trust Him wholly.


 — Anonymous, quoted in Streams in the Desert.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Loved with abiding Love

For the Lord will not reject us forever. — Lam. 3:31 NET

by C.H. Spurgeon

He may cast away for a season but not forever. A woman may leave off her ornaments for a few days, but she will not forget them or throw them upon the dunghill. It is not like the Lord to cast off those whom He loves, for “having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” Some talk of our being in grace and out of it, as if we were like rabbits that run in and out of their burrows; but, indeed, it is not so. The Lord’s love is a far more serious and abiding matter than this.

He chose us from eternity, and He will love us throughout eternity. He loved us so as to die for us, and we may therefore be sure that His love will never die. His honor is so wrapped up in the salvation of the believer that He can no more cast him off than He can cast off His own robes of office as King of glory. No, no! The Lord Jesus, as a Head, never casts off His members; as a Husband, He never casts off His bride. Did you think you were cast off? Why did you think so evil of the Lord who has betrothed you to Himself? Cast off such thoughts, and never let them lodge in your soul again. “The Lord hath not cast away his people which he foreknew” (Romans 11:2). “He hateth putting away” (Malachi 2:16).