Thursdays With Spurgeon—The Blessing Of A Promise-Keeping God

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 Blessing Of A Promise-Keeping God

     I do not believe we can preach the gospel if we do not preach justification by faith without works; or unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; or unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah. … 

     All the purposes of man have been defeated, but not the purposes of God. The promises of man may be broken. Many of them are made to be broken. But the promises of God shall all be fulfilled. He is a promise-maker, but He never was a promise-breaker; He is a promise-keeping God, and every one of His people shall prove it to be so.  

From The Autobiography Of Charles Spurgeon

God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through? (Number 23:19)

For the word of God will never fail. (Luke 1:37)

Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. (Joshua 23:14)

But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever. (Psalm 146:5-6) 

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for His glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

Our God is a promise-making, promise-keeping God!

12 Quotes From “The Strenuous Life”

Teddy Roosevelt believed firmly that a nation rose or fell as individuals exercised strong character or lived a slothful life. He not only preached it, he lived it! The Strenuous Life is a collect of TR’s speeches that emphasized what he called “the manly characters.” Check out my full book review by clicking here. 

“We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort; the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life.” 

“A man’s first duty is to his own home, but he is not thereby excused from doing his duty to the State; for if he fails in this second duty it is under the penalty of ceasing to be a freeman. In the same way, while a nation’s first duty is within its own borders, it is not thereby absolved from facing its duties in the world as a whole; and if it refuses to do so, it merely forfeits its right to struggle for a place among the peoples that shape the destiny of mankind.” 

“If we stand idly by, if we seek merely swollen, slothful ease and ignoble peace, if we shrink from the hard contests where men must win at hazard of their lives and at the risk of all they hold dear, then the bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by, and will win for themselves the domination of the world. Let us therefore boldly face the life of strife, resolute to do our duty well and manfully; resolute to uphold righteousness by deed and by word; resolute to be both honest and brave, to serve high ideals, yet to use practical methods. Above all, let us shrink from no strife, moral or physical, within or without the nation, provided we are certain that the strife is justified, for it is only through strife, through hard and dangerous endeavor, that we shall ultimately win the goal of true national greatness.” 

“Scant attention is paid to the weakling or the coward who babbles of peace; but due heed is given to the strong man with sword girt on thigh who preaches peace, not from ignoble motives, not from fear or distrust of his own powers, but from a deep sense of moral obligation.” 

“Strive manfully for righteousness, and strive so as to make your efforts for good count.” 

“We are in honor bound to put into practice what we preach; to remember that we are not to be excused if we do not; and that in the last resort no material prosperity, no business acumen, no intellectual development of any kind, can atone in the life of a nation for the lack of the fundamental qualities of courage, honesty, and common sense.” 

“If a man permits largeness of heart to degenerate into softness of head, he inevitably becomes a nuisance in any relation of life. If sympathy becomes distorted and morbid, it hampers instead of helping the effort toward social betterment.” 

“The quality of self-help is so splendid a quality that nothing can compensate for its loss; yet, like every virtue, it can be twisted into a fault, and it becomes a fault if carried to the point of cold-hearted arrogance, of inability to understand that now and then the strongest may be in need of aid, and that for this reason alone, if for no other, the strong should always be glad of the chance in turn to aid the weak.” 

“The Bible always inculcates the need of the positive no less than the negative virtues, although certain people who profess to teach Christianity are apt to dwell wholly on the negative. We are bidden not merely to be harmless as doves, but also as wise as serpents. It is very much easier to carry out the former part of the order than the latter; while, on the other hand, it is of much more importance for the good of mankind that our goodness should be accompanied by wisdom than that we should merely be harmless. If with the serpent wisdom we unite the serpent guile, terrible will be the damage we do; and if, with the best of intentions, we can only manage to deserve the epithet of ‘harmless,’ it is hardly worth while to have lived in the world at all.” 

“The boy who is going to make a great man, or is going to count in any way in after life, must make up his mind not merely to overcome a thousand obstacles, but to win in spite of a thousand repulses or defeats.” 

“Softness of heart is an admirable quality, but when it extends its area until it also becomes softness of head, its results are anything but admirable.” 

“A man is worthless unless he has in him a lofty devotion to an ideal, and he is worthless also unless he strives to realize this ideal by practical methods. He must promise, both to himself and to others, only what he can perform; but what really can be performed he must promise, and such promise he must at all hazards make good.” 

More quotes from TR are coming soon, so stay tuned! 

Thursdays With Oswald—On Rituals And Vows To God

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.

On Rituals And Vows To God

     There is a use for ritual in a man’s religious life. Because anything is necessary at one time of life, it does not follow that it is necessary all through. … When a man is in a right relationship to God ritual is an assistance; the place of worship in the atmosphere are both conducive to worship. …

     Any amount of futile religion is based on this line of things—“I have been eating too much, but now Lent has come and I will fast for a time.” There is nothing genuine in it, it has not the grip of God about it. When a man comes into the presence of God he refrains himself and remembers that he is not there to suffer from his own reactions, to get comfort for himself, to pray along the line of “O Lord, bless me.” He is there to refrain from his own personal needs and to get into the scope of God’s outlook. … 

     No man can keep himself a Christian, it is impossible; it is God Who keeps a man a Christian. … Jesus Christ came for the weak, for the ungodly and the sinful, and He says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” not—“Blessed is the man who has the power to decide and to keep his vow.” Jesus Christ calls the man who says—“I cannot do it; others may have the strength, but I haven’t.” Jesus Christ says to such, “Blessed are you.” It is not our vows before God that tell, but our coming before God, exactly as we are in all our weakness, and being held and kept by God.

From Shade Of His Hand

These words from Oswald Chambers are his commentary on Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes 5:1-7. In this passage, Solomon warns against making hasty vows. Solomon says it’s better to remain silent than to make a vow and not follow through.

Chambers reminds us that it is impossible for us to keep a vow in our own strength. We don’t make vows to try to impress God, or as a part of a ritual, or because we think we need to do something special to “make up” for where we’ve fallen short. God wants us to come to Him in our weakness and say, “I can’t do this, but Christ in me can do this. I need Your help!” This is the posture and attitude that God honors and delights to help.

Links & Quotes

link quote

“It is the disagreeable things which make us exhibit whether we are manifesting the life of the Son of God, or living a life which is antagonistic to Him. When disagreeable things happen, do we manifest the essential sweetness of the Son of God or the essential irritation of ourselves apart from Him?” —Oswald Chambers

“Without the Holy Spirit no good thing ever did or ever can come into any of your hearts—no sigh of penitence, no cry of faith, no glance of love, no tear of hallowed sorrow. Your heart can never beat with life divine, except through the Spirit; you are not capable of the smallest degree of spiritual emotion, much less spiritual action, apart from the Holy Spirit. Dead you lie, living only for evil, but absolutely dead for God until the Holy Spirit comes and raises you.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Man was created ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ Whether that is best pictured as being in love, or like being one of an orchestra who are playing a great work with perfect success, or like surf bathing, or like endlessly exploring a wonderful country or endlessly reading a glorious story—who knows? Dante says Heaven ‘grew drunken with its universal laughter.’” —C.S. Lewis

“Our Lord will come! This is one of the great certainties of the unknown future. He may tarry, but He will come at last. Many obstacles may seem to rise up, but He will come. Men may not desire Him, but He will come. The Church may be cold, but He will come. Earth may think she has no need of Him, but He will come! The scoffer may say, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?’ but He will come. satan may do his utmost to oppose, but He will come. This is the great future certainty which Christ and His apostles have proclaimed to us. Our Lord will come!” —Horatius Bonar

“[God] does not bless us begrudgingly. There is a kind of eagerness about the beneficence of God. He does not wait for us to come to Him. He seeks us out, because it is His pleasure to do us good. God is not waiting for us, He is pursuing us. That, in fact, is the literal translation of Psalm 23:6, ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life.’ … God is never irritable or edgy. His anger never has a short fuse. Instead He is infinitely energetic with absolutely unbounded and unending enthusiasm for the fulfillment of His delights.” —John Piper

“When it comes to spiritual matters, you and I will never know our potential under God until we step out and take risks on the front line of battle. … Sitting safely in the shelter of Bible discussions among ourselves, or complaining to one another about the horrible state of today’s society, does nothing to unleash the power of God.” Read more of this post from Jim Cymbala.

Putting a probe on a moving comet is just too cool! Check out the latest news from the Philae lander.

Alan Trammell has always been one of my all-time favorite Detroit Tigers. Here’s proof that he is just as classy off the field as he was on it.

Thursdays With Oswald—Eternal Life Now

This 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.

Oswald Chambers

Eternal Life Now

   But to the soul alone with God the secret is known and made real, and already a Paradise has begun that presages a grander and a greater blessedness than has entered into the heart of man to imagine.

From Christian Disciplines

Far too many Christians think of Christ’s promise of “eternal life” to mean something we get later, as in after we die. They falsely think that they have to just hang on during this life to finally get eternal life, if only they’ve hung on long enough.

That’s not at all what Jesus meant! 

The Gospels record Jesus talking in present tense about being Life and having His fullness of life flow through us. He talks about the oneness we can have with the Father, just has He has, right now. He tells us the Holy Spirit will be a constant companion to us, revealing more and more of God’s mind to us about this present eternal life.

Don’t wait until after death to live in eternal life; live in it right now … today!

Blessed Insurance

ImmersedI’ve been bailed out by an insurance company many times. Homeowner’s insurance for the damage caused by a falling tree, medical insurance for surgery, auto insurance for car wrecks.

But here’s the thing about insurance: It’s only helpful after you’ve had a problem.

  • Workman’s comp is good after you’ve been injured
  • Auto insurance is good after you’ve smashed your car
  • Health insurance is good after you’re sick
  • Life insurance is good after you’re dead

Sadly, many people treat God like an insurance policy. They try to handle their lives themselves, and then after they’re beat-up, tossed around, and kicked to the curb they pray that God’s insurance will bail them out. It’s like they’ve changed the words of the old hymn to, “Blessed insurance, Jesus is mine!”

God desires for us to have a blessed assurance! He wants us to know His love and involvement in our lives every single day. Look at the assurance in these verses—

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him. (1 John 5:13-15)

If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)

The Bible isn’t just a book to be read, it’s a book to be prayed. Get His Word in you, and stay immersed in His Word, and watch how your prayers change. You don’t have to wait for prayer to be your insurance policy, but you can live every day in a blessed assurance that God is for you.

Read the Bible, pray the Bible, and watch God do amazing things!

I will be continuing our series on prayer—If You Will Ask—this Sunday at 10:30am. Please join me!

11 Quotes From “God’s Favorite Place On Earth”

God's Favorite Place On EarthI loved this book! Please read my full book review of God’s Favorite Place On Earth by Frank Viola by clicking here, but my one-word review is: Wow!

Here are a few quotes that especially caught my attention—

“Jesus talked a lot about losing, taking up our cross, denying ourselves, and laying down our lives. These are the fruits of brokenness before God. It’s not hard to spot a Christian in ministry who isn’t broken. Unbroken people don’t know how to lay their lives down and lose. They only know how to try to win. If they’re criticized they retaliate. If they’re attacked, they return fire. If misunderstood, they defend in anger. They are capable of doing all sorts of damage to others in order to save their own ministries and keep their reputations. 

“On the contrary, people who have been broken by the hand of God know how to turn the other cheek. They know how to go the second mile. They know how to give their coats when asked for their shirts. They know how to speak well of those who misrepresent them. They know how to return good for evil. They know how to lose. And in so doing, they exhibit the Spirit of the Lamb and allow God to win.” 

“All service must flow out of a razor-sharp desire to please God rather than a desire to get noticed by others. If it does not, it will lead to either complaint or criticism.”

“As high as God is going to elevate you is as deep as He digs to lay the foundation. Sometimes the brightest light comes from the darkest places. And what doesn’t destroy you ends up defining you in some significant way.”

“Suffering is worldwide and neck deep. But for the Christian, suffering has a special purpose. It’s the chiseling of God designed to transform you into the image of His Son.”

“A Spirit-led man or woman is someone who has faced tragedy, faced loss, looked unbearable and exquisite pain in the face … and has stood his or her ground. With their garments still smoking, these men and women have said before God, mortals, and angels: ‘It is well with my soul. God’s enemy has thrown his best at me, and I’m still here. I’m still on the Rock. I’ve not sunk. I’m still standing. I’ve not been destroyed, and I’ve not gone under. I will continue to follow my Lord, come hell or high water, He is still on the throne!’”

“Christ saves as the Son of God, but He feels as the Son of man.”

“Faith often takes a nosedive when we are on the brink of tragedy. At such times, we forget the Lord’s words. Sometimes confessions and creeds, as important as they are, are not enough to move God to act. Only falling at His feel and weeping will suffice.

“Every crisis in our lives is an opportunity to broaden, deepen, and heighten our revelation of Christ.”

“Basing your faith on God’s performance—what you think He should do according to what you’ve been taught about His promises—is a profound mistake. … Thus the only solid basis for unwavering faith and an unshakable devotion is to believe that God is … and that He does ‘all things well,’ no matter what takes place.”

“Christians aren’t saved from troubles or delivered from problems. We have been given an ascendant life to rise above them.”

“Sharing what one has with others is what keeps our hearts detached from earthly treasures.”

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