Thursdays With Spurgeon—The Proof In The Longing

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 AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

The Proof In The Longing

My soul is consumed with longing for Your laws at all times. (Psalm 119:20) 

     Can you say that your heart pines for God as the watcher through the midnight sighs for the dawn, or as the traveler over burning sand longs for the shadow of a great rock? Oh, then, though I would not have you rest in longings; indeed, I know you never can. Yet they are a proof that you are spiritually alive! Heart longings are far better tests than attendance at sacraments, for men who are dead in sin have dared to come both to baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Eager desires prove spiritual life much better than supposed attainments, for these supposed attainments may all be imaginary. But a heart breaking for the longing that it has for God’s Word is no fancy. It is a fact too painful to be denied! … 

     We have not reached perfection, but do not let us, therefore, be discouraged, for the apostle of the Gentiles said, ‘Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect’ (Philippians 3:12). … When a man thinks himself so good that he cannot be better, he is probably so bad that he could not be worse. … 

     The fuller a man is of grace, the more he hungers for grace! Strange it is to say so, but the paradox is true—the more he drinks and the more he is satisfied and ceases to thirst in one sense, the more he is devoured with thirst after the living God! … This it is to be a true child of God: To always have a yearning soul toward God’s Word, to be eager after His commandments at all times. May the Holy Spirit keep us ever hungering and thirsting after God and His truth.

From Holy Longings

In a recent interview that I did, I was asked how someone should deal with the fact that they are struggling to be balanced in their leadership. My reply was, “The very fact that they are feeling the struggle should be a great encouragement to them. People who don’t feel the tension of wanting to get better are blinded to their deficiencies and never seek help.” 

The proof of our growing maturity is in our longing for growing maturity. 

The psalmist in this great chapter is thrilled with what God’s Word has already accomplished in his life, and yet he is still longing for the Holy Spirit to do an even greater work in his heart. This is the tension in which every maturing Christian should live. The devil would love to whisper to your heart, “Your longing for more proves that you are still immature.” This is an utter lie! As Spurgeon reminds us, the more of God we have, the more of God we will crave.

My friend, never be satisfied with what you have already attained. Be delighted with what God has done, but crave that He will continue to do more and more and more! These longings not only delight God but bring Him great glory.

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Thursdays With Spurgeon—Delightful Judgments

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 AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Delightful Judgments

My soul is consumed with longing for Your laws at all times. (Psalm 119:20) 

     Search God’s Word and you will have before your eyes the ultimate judgment of unerring truth, the last decree from the supreme authority from which there is no appeal! The Bible contains the verdict of the Judge of all the earth, the judgments of God who cannot lie and cannot err.

     Thus, God’s Word is rightly called His ‘judgments.’ It is a Book not to be judged by us, but to be our judge—not a word of it may be altered or questioned. But to it we may constantly refer as to a court of appeal whose sentence is decisive. … 

     Our judgments must be daily more and more conformed to the judgments of God that are laid down in Scripture. And there must be in our spirit a longing after holiness until we delight in the Law of the Lord and meditate therein both day and night. We will grow to the likeness of that which we feed upon, heavenly food will make us heavenly minded! The Word of God received into the heart changes us into its own nature and, by rejoicing in the decisions of the Lord, we learn to judge after His judgment and to delight ourselves in that which pleases Him. 

From Holy Longings

The 119th Psalm is an amazing chapter—176 verses arranged as a love letter to both God’s Word and the God who gave us His Word. Every one of these verses extol the value and beauty of God’s commands, decrees, precepts, statues, law, and judgments. 

As Spurgeon pointed out, “judgment” does not mean a sentence of guilt pronounced against us, but a standard for determining the rightness or lawlessness of something. God’s Word is the final judgment on sin and righteousness. 

The psalmist who penned this beautiful prose more than likely had only the first five books of our Bible—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy—and yet he finds such delight in these words because of the awesome God they reveal. Look at his delight…

  • I delight in Your decrees (v. 16) 
  • Your statues are my delight (v. 24) 
  • I delight in Your commands (v. 47) 
  • I delight in Your law (v. 70)
  • Your commands give me delight (v. 143) 

As Spurgeon said, the more we delight in God’s Word, the more we will meditate on it; the more we meditate on it, the more it will change our hearts to make lifestyle judgments that are pleasing to God. 

No matter whether you’ve never really studied the Bible, or you are an “old pro” with a well-worn Bible close at hand, may we all continue to grow in our delight of God’s Word and our reverence of the God revealed to us in the Word. 

If you would like some Bible studies to help get you started, check out:

And you can also check out a previous post were I shared three steps to better Bible studies.

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The Advent “Nicknames” Of Jesus

Most of us who have nicknames didn’t receive them at birth, but they were given to us later on. It might have been because of a memorable incident, or even a character trait that we are known for.

But think about Jesus. Even before His first Advent, He was given numerous “nicknames” or titles that foretold what He was going to do. In the Christmas carol “O Come O Come Emmanuel” four of Christ’s nicknames/titles are key for us today.

It’s so important for us to look back at these First Advent titles because they give us perspective for today and hope for Christ’s Second Advent.

Paul makes it clear that we are living in a time of both already and not yet. We have redemption (Ephesians 1:7), and we are waiting for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). Jesus has already paid for our freedom (First Advent), but we are still awaiting the rewards that will come with His Second Advent.

O come, O come…

  1. …Emmanuel

Literally, this means “God is with His people.” The prophesy was originally given to the prophet Isaiah (see 7:14 and 8:6-10), but it was repeated when Jesus was born (Matthew 1:23). Only One Who was fully God and fully Man could pay the price for our ransom from sin.

  1. …Rod of Jesse 

David, the son of Jesse, prayed, “Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?” (2 Samuel 7:18). Yet God was going to continue to keep David’s family line alive (although at times it looked like the dead stump of a long-forgotten tree) to give a throne to Jesus as the King of kings that would once and for all crush satan’s tyranny.

  1. …Dayspring 

When I think of Dayspring, I think of light exploding immediately into the darkness (Isaiah 9:2 and Luke 1:77-78). Jesus Himself told us of His victory over the darkness: I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you] (John 16:33, AMP).

  1. …Key of David

Only Jesus holds the key to open wide our heavenly home (Isaiah 22:22; Revelation 1:8)!

What do you need? 

  • Ransom? Emmanuel paid it! 
  • Power to defeat satan? The Rod of Jesse gives it! 
  • Encouragement to press on? The Dayspring lavishes it! 
  • Assurance of your eternal home in Heaven? The Key of David opens it! 

All our longings—all our O come! O come!—are satisfied in Jesus. His First Advent is the already, and His Second Advent gives us hope for the not yet.

If you’ve missed any of the other Christmas carols we have already looked at, you can check them out by clicking here.

10 Blessings From Obeying God’s Word

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

The entire 119th Psalm is a love song to God for His amazing Word. Quite simply it is “far exceeding anything conceived by man” (v. 129, AMP) and “a miracle Word” (v. 129, MSG).

In the 8-verse section called Pe, the psalmist says, “I can’t think of any better response to Your Word than to obey it!” In Pe, here are ten blessings that come with that obedience—

  1. Light … this is the discernment that allows for the “Aha!” revelations of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Understanding … the blessing of comprehending what God is saying to us.
  3. Longings fulfilled … nothing but God’s Word will ever satisfy like God’s Word!
  4. More clearly seeing God’s face as He shines upon us.
  5. God’s mercy and favor.
  6. A greater understanding of God’s love.
  7. Secure paths that keep us from sin’s snares.
  8. Freedom from satan’s extortions … this is literally what the phrase redeem me from the oppression means in verse 134.
  9. Greater obedience.
  10. Learning God’s Word so that I can teach it to others.

The psalmist also gives us good insight into how to respond to those who reject God’s Word: Rivers of tears gush from my eyes because people disobey Your instructions” (v. 136). With all the blessings that come from obeying God’s wonderful law, why would you ever want to try to live any other way?!

If you have missed any of the messages in our P119 series, you can access them all by clicking here.

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Links & Quotes

link quote

“The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.” —C.S. Lewis

My thankful lips shall loud proclaim the wonders of Thy praise,
And spread the savor of Thy Name where’er I spend my days. —Isaac Watts

“A sure sign of spiritual growth is that you take every problem and crisis immediately to Jesus. You have learned that you have a place to go.” —David Wilkerson“If you want to walk as Jesus walked, you can’t allow your human passions to be inflamed by headlines. Christ died for every lost soul on this earth, including abortion doctors, murderers, rapists, child molesters.” —David Wilkerson

Proud of our State Governor Rick Snyder for signing the bill that protects our freedom of religion.

Another man I have always admired is Ronald Reagan. Yesterday was the anniversary of his powerful speech at the Berlin Wall. The Daily Signal has some pictures from that memorable day, and here is the video of President Reagan’s words—


Mouth to mouthI’ve notice that when someone feels physically tired, mentally unengaged, spiritually embattled, emotionally dry, or just plain worn out, they have an audible physical sign that is almost universal.

Those people sigh.

A sigh is an involuntary response that signifies frustration and a call for help. It should also be a reminder of the best place to find that help.

In Psalm 119, the chapter is organized in 8-verse segments. I like to look at the “bookend” verses of each section, as it usually gives a good idea of what that section is focusing on. The section called kaph has this bookended statement—

My soul faints with longing for Your salvation … Preserve my life according to Your love, and I will obey the statues of Your mouth (Psalm 119:81, 88).

Follow this progression:

  • When God created man, He breathed a soul into him. So we are created by His breath.
  • Jesus said that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. God’s Word is inspired, which means it is literally God-breathed. So our soul is sustained by the breath of God.

The psalmist says his soul is sighing and wasting away, but he recognizes that his God-breathed soul can be restored through the God-breathed word. So in verse 88 he is asking God to give him mouth-to-mouth (or perhaps mouth-to-soul) resuscitation! 

The psalmist talks about clinging tenaciously to God’s Word as if it were his only lifeline … because it is! So whenever you find yourself sighing, let that be a reminder that you can get your spiritual resuscitation from the breath of God: His Word. Hold on to it as if your very life depended on it … because it does!

If you have missed any of the messages in our P119 series, you can access them all by clicking here.

Furious Longing

Furious longingThere is a passage of Scripture in the Book of James which has caused many people to propose many different explanations. I’m not a theologian, but here’s my take on this—

Or do your think the Scripture says without reason that the spirit He caused to live in us envies intensely? (James 4:5)

Envy in the Greek is a neutral word; it becomes a virtue or a vice depending on its context. I could long for a deeper relationship with my wife (virtue), or I could long for a drug that gives me a temporary escape (vice). The Greek word for envy can mean pursue with love (virtue), or lust after forbidden desires (vice).

“The spirit [God] caused to live in us” came from a loving Creator, and was intended for us to long for Him. When God created man in His image, He said, “Let Us create man like Us.” In the Triune God there is a furiously intense longing among Father, Son, and Spirit. Each part of the Godhead longs for the entire Godhead to be glorified—this makes the Godhead indivisibly and gloriously One. This is the same spirit God placed in man.

Of man God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” The God-implanted spirit of man longs to give love and to receive love. Our God-implanted spirit longs to connect.

But for what do we long? We were made to long for intimacy with God. If we substitute or exchange this with a longing for temporary worldly things, we are rightly called by James “adulterous people” and “an enemy of God” (James 4:4).

“But God gives more grace” (James 4:6) that we will turn from our temporary longings to long after Him. James almost seems to be saying that those in the church have their hearts hanging in the balance. Of the other eight times this Greek word for envy is used in the Bible, they are in the positive (or virtuous) connotation.

James is imploring us—longing for us—to not be the exception. Longing for us to humbly admit our need for God and to receive even more divine grace. Longing for us to tip our hearts toward God and renew the passionate, furious longing for which we were created.

O God, I want my passion to burn furiously for You alone. Jesus, may I follow Your example to only do what pleases the Father. Holy Spirit, may I hear Your voice if my heart ever begins to turn toward anything but my Beloved.

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