Thursdays With Spurgeon—Present Communion With Jesus

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on iTunes or Spotify.

Present Communion With Jesus

     The desire of a renewed soul is to find Christ and to be with Him. … Past communion with Christ is very well: ‘Therefore I will remember Thee from the land of Jordan…’ (Psalm 42:6). But these are only stale meats, and a loving soul wants fresh food every day from the table of Christ. … 

     A true loving soul, then, wants present communion with Christ. So the question is, ‘Tell me where You feed. Where do You get Your comfort from, O Jesus? I will go there. … Where do You feed Your flock? In Your house? I will go there, if I may find You there. In private prayer? Then I will not be slack in that. In the Word? Then I will read it night and day. Tell me where You feed; wherever You stand as the Shepherd, there will I be, for I want You. I cannot be satisfied to be apart from You. My soul hungers and thirsts to be with You.’

From The Church’s Love To Her Loving Lord

There are so many pictures in the Bible about our continual reliance on God’s presence—from the manna that was only good for each day, to Jesus teaching us to pray for “our daily bread,” to the vivid example of Christians being as dependent on Jesus as a branch is dependent on the vine (see Exodus 16:4-5, 14-17; Matthew 6:11; John 15:1-8).  

All of these mean that we need to constantly abide with our Savior. 

In my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter, I spend two chapters talking to leaders about the need to rest—or sabbath. In fact, I call it sabbathing to give it the emphasis on the ongoing nature of this activity. I wrote—

“Without building in sabbath breaks, we run down emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically, which means loving God becomes a chore, not a delight (Mark 12:30). This then means loving your neighbor becomes nearly impossible (Mark 12:31). Ultimately, this means that we aren’t able to be the compassionate, wise, strong shepherds that the sheep under our care need us to be. … 

“The goal of sabbathing is to infuse more vitality into the shepherd leader for the purpose of pasturing the sheep under that leader’s care. You cannot give hope to others unless you are hope-filled; you cannot give health to others unless you are healthy; you cannot consistently speak wisdom to others unless you are growing in wisdom. All of this healthy growth for the shepherd leader takes place while sabbathing….” 

To reiterate what Pastor Spurgeon said: “A true loving soul, then, wants present communion with Christ.” I hope you will always seek that for yourself.

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? ◀︎◀︎

19 Quotes From “If Ye Shall Ask”

If Ye Shall AskA challenging and educational look at prayer from the unique perspective of Oswald Chambers is If Ye Shall Ask. You can read my book review of this book and another book on prayer Chambers wrote by clicking here. These are some of the quotes that I especially liked from this book.

“Prayer is not an interruption to personal ambition, and no man who is busy has time to pray. What will suffer is the life of God in him, which is nourished not by food but by prayer.”

“The purpose of prayer is to reveal the Presence of God, equally present at all times and in every condition.”

“Our Lord in His teaching regarding prayer never once referred to unanswered prayer; He said God always answers prayer.” 

“As long as we are self-sufficient and complacent, we don’t need to ask God for anything, we don’t want Him; it is only when we know we are powerless that we are prepared to listen to Jesus Christ and to do what He says.”

“If prayer is not easy, we are wrong; if prayer is an effort, we are out of it.” 

“If once we accept the Lord Jesus Christ and the dominion of His Lordship, then nothing happens by chance, because we know that God is ordering and engineering circumstances.”

“A thing is worth just what it costs. Prayer is not what it cost us, but what it cost God to enable us to pray. It cost God so much that a little child can pray. It cost God Almighty so much that anyone can pray.” 

“It is not a prayer that is strenuous, but the overcoming of our own laziness.”

“We must be in continual practice so that when we find ourselves in a tight place we are perfectly fit to meet the emergency.” 

“There is no such thing as a holiday for the beating of your heart. If there is, the grave comes next. And there is no such thing as a moral or spiritual holiday. If we attempt to take a holiday, the next time we want to pray it is a struggle because the enemy has gained a victory all around, darkness has come down and spiritual wickedness in high places has enfolded us. If we have to fight, it is because we have disobeyed; we ought to be more than conquerors.”

“God’s silences are His answers.”

“Can it be said of us that Jesus so loved us that He stayed where He was because He knew we had a capacity to stand a bigger revelation?”

“Some prayers are followed by silence because they are wrong, others because they are bigger than we can understand.” 

“Jesus Christ does not make monks and nuns, He makes men and women fit for the world as it is (see John 17:15).”

“God does not expect us to work for Him, but to work with Him.” 

“God will not leave us alone until we are one with Him, because Jesus has prayed that we may be.”

“A Christian’s duty is not to himself or to others, but to Christ. We think of prayer as a preparation for work, or a calm after having done work, whereas prayer is the essential work. It is the supreme activity of everything that is noblest in our personality.”

“As long as we get from God everything we ask for, we never get to know Him, we look upon Him as a blessing-machine, that has nothing to do with God’s character or with our characters. … Then why pray? To get to know the Father.”

“All other fields have the glorious but risky snare of publicity; prayer has not.”

Can You Have Too Much Blessing?

I seldom turn on religious TV shows, because when I do I typically hear the same two messages: (1) God wants you to be rich; (2) God wants you to be healthy. I believe God is good all the time, but that doesn’t mean those who follow Him always get wealth and health.

Consider this:

After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all of Israel with him abandoned the law of the Lord.

Notice: When Rehoboam was healthy and wealthy, he abandoned God. When things looked bleak—when the future for Rehoboam was very much in doubt—Rehoboam was “walking in the ways of David and Solomon” (2 Chronicles 11:17). When the Egyptians attacked, Rehoboam and his court officials “humbled themselves before God” (12:6).

Health and wealth derailed Rehoboam, but difficulties kept him close to God.

Maybe a better prayer than “Bless me” would be “Build Your character in me.” Or as it says in Proverbs:

Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown You and say “Who is the Lord?” Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

The prayer that Jesus taught us to pray is perfect: Give us today our daily bread—no more, no less. That keeps me focused on my Heavenly Father.

Stopping More Than Enough

There’s a well-known line from the movie Wall Street in which the up-and-coming Bud Fox asks his rich mentor Gordon Gekko, “How much is enough?” By his words and actions, Gordon answers, “It’s never enough, pal!”

The pursuit of More Than Enough is beyond greed. It’s what both the Bible and the Greeks called Mammon: the relentless pursuit of More. It’s an easy trap in which anyone—young or old, rich or poor—can get caught. But God gave us a way out:

When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.

God wants us to acknowledge that He is Provider by deliberately leaving something behind.

Let me state that another way: God provides our daily bread, if I have anything that is More Than Enough, it’s not for me—it’s for others.

This is yet another work-in-progress for my life: I am thinking about how I can deliberately leave the More Than Enough behind for someone else? I have a couple of thoughts, but would love you to expand on this list:

  • Leave a larger tip for my server at the restaurant.
  • Pay for the people in the car behind me in line at the drive-thru.
  • Continue to be a proud member of the Junky Car Club, so I can use my car payment money to help others.
  • Find out what one day of work really earns me, and then give up just one day a month to help others (see One Day’s Wages).
  • Order less food at McDonald’s and giving a donation to The Ronald McDonald House.
  • When I have a buy-one-get-one-free coupon, give the free one away to someone in need.

That’s just the start of my list.

I want to honor God and I want to defeat the More Than Enough monster. I can do both by deliberately leaving something behind. Will you join me?

(And feel free to continue to add to the list of ways we can all deliberately leave something behind.)

%d bloggers like this: