Thursdays With Spurgeon—The Wonder Of Christ

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.

The Wonder Of Christ

     Works of art require some education in the beholder before they can be thoroughly appreciated. … Because of failures in our character and faults in our life, we are not capable of understanding all the separate beauties and the united perfection of the character of Christ, or of God, His Father. … 

     You cannot fail to notice that men, through the alienation of their natures, are continually misrepresenting God because they cannot appreciate His perfection.… Men will misunderstand Him because they are imperfect themselves and are not capable of admiring the character of God. …

     Did you ever notice, when you read the history of Jesus Christ, that you could never say He was noble for any one virtue at all? … 

     It is because of the complete perfection of Jesus Christ that we are not accustomed to say of Him that He was eminent for His zeal, or for His love, or for His courage. We say of Him that He was a perfect character, but we are not able very easily to perceive where the shadows and the lights blended, where are the meekness of Christ blended into His courage and where His loveliness blended into His boldness in denouncing sin.

     We are not able to detect the points where they meet. And I believe the more thoroughly we are sanctified, the more it will be a subject of wonder to us how it could be that virtues that seem so diverse were in so majestic a manner united into one character. It is just the same of God.

From Mercy, Omnipotence, And Justice

As we grow in our understanding of processes and techniques, our appreciation of a work of art or a symphony grows as well. We may go from “Oh, I like that” to “That is amazing” to “This is an exquisite masterpiece! 

Christians should experience the same wonder and awe of the character of God seen in Jesus and revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. 

I believe the reason the angels around God’s throne are constantly calling out, “Holy, Holy, Holy!” is because at every moment they are perceiving a new facet of His sheer awesomeness. They are calling out to one another, “Did you see that?! Holy!” And another responds back, “Yes, and look at that! Holy!” 

We are invited to join in that chorus. The apostle Paul prayed that our eyes would be opened and our vision expanded to see new depths, and heights, and widths, and lengths of the awesomeness of our God (see Ephesians 3:16-19).

Thursdays With Spurgeon—Struggling For Perfection

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.

Struggling For Perfection

     My own experience is a daily struggle with the evil within. I wish I could find in myself something friendly to grace. But hitherto I have searched my nature through and have found everything in rebellion against God. At one time, there comes the torpor of sloth, when one ought to be active every moment, having so much to do for God and for the souls of men, and so little time in which to do it. At another time, there comes the quickness of passion; when one should be calm and cool and play the Christian, bearing with patience whatever has to be endured, there come the unadvised word and the rash expression. Anon, I am troubled with conceit, the devilish whisper—I can call it no less—“How well you have done! How nobly you have played your part!” Then calls out distrust, foul and faithless, suggesting that God does not regulate the affairs of men and will not interpose on my behalf. Yet what would I not give if I might but be perfect! Sometimes I think that if God’s people mentioned in the Old and New Testaments had all been perfect, I should have despaired. But because they seem to have had just the kind of faults I grieve over in myself, I do not feel any more lenient toward my faults, but I do rejoice that I also may say with each of them, “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.” He will most assuredly, beyond a doubt, bring to perfection my faith, my love, my hope, and every grace. He will perfect His own purposes. He will perfect His promises, He will perfect my body, and He will perfect my soul. … That day, however, I believe, shall not come until we enter into the joy of the Lord and are glorified together with Christ in heaven. Then, but not till then, shall He present us “faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).

From The Autobiography of Charles Spurgeon

I love that the Bible shows us imperfect people being loved by a perfect God. 

As Spurgeon said, it’s not that we should excuse our faults and imperfections by saying, “At least I’m not as bad as him,” but that we can say, “I’m grateful God’s grace reaches even me!” 

God is for you! He wants you to stand “faultless before the presence of His glory.” So right now—today!—the Holy Spirit wants to help you. Will you let Him? 

Don’t Go—Flow

“…My time has not come…” —Jesus (John 7).

Jesus never rushed. He was never late. He was never early. Nor did He ever remain silent when He should have spoken. Nor did He ever misspeak. 

His timing and His wording were always spot on.

This wasn’t just a “Jesus thing,” as He told His followers that we could flow in God’s timing just as He was doing. 

We don’t have to try to figure out our timing or our wording by external standards (v. 24). But when we are so immersed in the same Holy Spirit that directed Jesus, we simply flow in His living water to where we need to be, when we need to be there. Whether it’s time to speak or time for silence, the Holy Spirit can again flow our thoughts and words perfectly. 

Others won’t understand. 

They have their own agenda, and they will want me to be a part of their plans (vv. 3-5, 18, 32-36, 42, 52). I must listen to the unmistakable voice of the Spirit and squelch the voices of the crowd. 

A mark of a godly leader is one who flows with the Spirit of God.

Don’t go with the flow of culture or others’ agendas. Don’t try to figure out where you need to be or what you need to say. Simply flow in the Spirit. Then your timing and your wording will be just as spot-on as Jesus showed us. 

This is part 38 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts in this series by clicking here.

Thursdays With Oswald—How God Prepares Us For His Service

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

How God Prepares Us For His Service 

     Preparation is not something suddenly accomplished, but a process steadily maintained. It is easy to imagine that we get to a settled state of experience where we are complete and ready; but in work for God it is always preparation and preparation. … 

     In writing to the Philippians Paul mentions two “perfections”: “not as though I…were already perfect” (3:12); “Let us therefore, as many be perfect…” (3:15). The first refers to the perfection of attainment; the second to the perfection of adjustment to God. … When we are sanctified, we are perfectly adjusted to God, but we have done nothing yet, we are simply perfectly fit to begin. … Think of Christ’s eyes fastening on us and pointing us out before God as He says—“Father, that is My work; that is the meaning of Gethsemane, that is the meaning of Calvary. I did all that man’s work in him, all that woman’s work in her; now You can use them.” … 

     When we are first put right with God, it is the great general principles that are at work, then God begins to make the conscience sensitive here and there. Don’t quench the Spirit. His checks are so tiny that common sense cannot detect them. … When He checks, never debate, but obey at once. … He does not come with a voice like thunder, with strong emphatic utterance—that may come ultimately; but at the beginning His voice is as gentle as a zephyr. At the same time it carries an imperative compulsion—we know the voice must be obeyed. The “go” of preparation is to let the Word of God scrutinize.

From So Send I You

When we invited Jesus into our lives to be our Lord and Savior, we are perfectly ready to be used in service for God.

Now begins the saint-ifying process. The Holy Spirit will gently, but insistently, point out what we need to address. The more sensitive we are to those “checks,” and the quicker we are to obey the Spirit’s prompting, the better prepared we are to answer God’s call to “go.”

Are you letting the Voice of God scrutinize you, so that you can be prepared to be used in service for Him?

My “I” Crossed Out

sweet-i-crossed-out“You shall be blameless before the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 18:13).

“Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

Blameless = complete, whole, entire, sound; from the root word “to be finished.” 

Perfect = finished, not needing anything else to be completed.

I cannot be perfect on my own.
I sin.
I strive but always fall short.

But the Cross of Jesus is the “I” crossed out!
From the Cross Jesus said, “It is finished.” 
There was nothing needing to be completed.
Finished.
Perfect.
Entire. 
Sound.

I, too, must take up my cross.
This is the only way to have my “I” crossed out.

Jesus said, “You are in Me and I am in you.”
As long as I remain in Him I am blameless.
I am perfect.
I am complete.
“Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God” (Deuteronomy 18:13, KJV).

Hallelujah! What a Savior!
I am complete in Him!
Today I will walk out this perfection.
Every day.
Jesus, may You be seen in me as I remain in You.

I am only perfect in You!

Thursdays With Oswald—The Feast Is Just Beyond The Fight

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

The Feast Is Just Beyond The Fight 

     The feast is just beyond the fight; when you have been through the fight, there is the wondrous joy and triumph of the feast. We learn to thank God for the trial of our faith because it works patience. The thing that is precious in the sight of God is faith that has been tried. Tried faith is spendable; it is so much wealth stored up in heaven, and the more we go through the trial of our faith, the wealthier we become in the heavenly regions. … 

     We are so impatient—“I thought God’s purpose was to make me full of happiness and joy.” It is, but it is happiness and joy from God’s standpoint, not from ours. God always ignores the present perfection for the ultimate perfection. … 

     God gives us a new revelation of His kindness in the valley of the shadow.

From The Place Of Help

The Apostle James said essentially the same thing when he wrote—

Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith through experience produces endurance leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed in your faith, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

If you’re in a fight, stay in the fight. God has a great reward for you!

The Counselor Brings Reproof

Search meNo one likes being rebuked, but it is necessary. In fact, it is vital for healthy growth. As a Dad, I didn’t look forward to the times I had to rebuke my children. But what’s the alternative? What happens if I just let misbehavior slide? We must rebuke those we love if we want them to mature.

The Counselor—the Holy Spirit—not only teaches us, but He reproves us as well because of His love for us. And we all need it!

  • The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (Jeremiah 17:9)
  • For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing… (Romans 7:18)

This knowledge of my wickedness becomes even more painful when I think that Jesus calls us to perfection (Matthew 5:48). I can’t “do” perfect on my own. But thankfully Jesus didn’t tell us to “do” perfect things, but to BE perfect.

The Holy Spirit reproves us—that is, He shows us where we are deviating from the mark—so that we can BE perfectly at one with Jesus, with our lives demonstrating Christ’s perfect nature.

Warning: the enemy wants to pervert The Counselor’s reproof. He wants to whisper to you that God is mad at you, that you’ve blown it too many times, that you’ll never be good enough.

Just like Jesus countered all of satan’s temptations with the Spirit-breathed Scripture, you need to do the same thing. You tell him, “My Father loves me so much that He sent His One and Only Son to die on a Cross for me! He wants me to display the glory of Jesus in my life because that’s what brings Him pleasure. He only reproves me because He loves me. If He didn’t care about me, He would leave me alone!”

Because He loves you and wants the very best for you, here’s what you can boldly pray:

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

I will be continuing my series on the Holy Spirit as our Counselor this Sunday. If you are in the Cedar Springs area, please come join us!

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