Thursdays With Spurgeon—My Element

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. 

My Element

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! (Philippians 3:20—4:1). 

     Do you know what it is to feel that the life that is in you is first in Christ and still flows from Him, even as the life of the branch is mainly in the stem? ‘I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20). This is to be in Christ! …     

     This expression is very short but very full: ‘In Christ.’ Does it not mean that we are in Christ as the birds are in the air that buoys them up and enables them to fly? Are we not in Christ as the fish are in the sea? Our Lord has become our element—vital and all surrounding! In Him we live, move, and have our being. He is in us, and we are in Him. We are filled with all the fullness of God because all fullness dwells in Christ and we dwell in Him.

From The Watchword For Today: “Stand Fast”

Years ago I was taking a class, and the teacher asked us to write down some of the different roles we had in our life. I wrote down things like son, brother, employee, team captain. After everyone had finished their lists, the teacher asked the students to share some of their roles. As each one listed a role, the rest of the class would raise a hand if that role also applied to them. One person said, “Christian,” and nearly every hand in the classroom went up. Except mine.

Being a Christian is not a role I step into; it’s who I am. It impacts everything I think and everything I do. 

Birds don’t step into the air when they want to fly. Fish don’t run to the water when they want to swim. Birds and fish always live in their element. We are in our element in Christ when we can always say, “In Him I live, and move, and have my being.” 

The devil has always used doubt and uncertainty—“Did God really say…” he asked Eve, and “Are you really the Son of God,” he mocked Jesus. He wants to do the same thing to you today, making you think you have somehow missed out on being in Christ. 

But if Christ is your Savior and your Lord, stand fast in that. Let nothing move you. Counteract the devil’s doubt-inciting accusations with truthful as-it-is-written statements from God’s Word. Immerse yourself in Christ and make Him your constant element—just as a branch connected to a stalk, or a bird in the air, or a fish in the ocean. You are in Christ, Christ is in you, and Christ is in the Father. Which means Jesus has taken you into the Father with Him. Live, and move, and have your very being in His presence every single moment!

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The Gift Paid For

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

On Resurrection Sunday we celebrate the greatest Gift ever—Jesus our Savior conquered sin and death!  

I don’t know about you, but many times when I’m given a gift, I feel like I need to give a gift back to the giver. I want this gift to seem appropriate for the gift I was given so that the other person knows that I really appreciated their thoughtfulness. But there is a danger if we try to do this with God’s Gift to us.  

One of the psalmists wondered how to repay God. After praising God for the salvation He worked, the psalmist asks, “How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me?” (Psalm 116:1-6, 12). 

As I said, not only is there a danger in trying to give God a gift that somehow reciprocates what He’s given to us, but how do you give a gift to the One who needs nothing (see Acts 17:25; Psalm 50:9-12)? 

Let me try to explain it this way. What if a rich friend gave me a house, all its furnishings, and all its food? He said, “I want to provide this place for you to live and not concern yourself with your housing or food needs. The house has no mortgage, I will pay for the utilities, and I will keep your kitchen stocked with food.” 

I would, of course, exclaim, “Wow! Thank you!” But what if I then began to make monthly mortgage payments, or started leaving money in the cupboard to pay for the groceries? Wouldn’t I really be saying to my friend, “I’m not sure you can afford this.” Or maybe even, “Let me give you something so you won’t think me ungrateful and then end up taking back your gift.” 

In my attempt to give back to my generous friend, I’m really questioning his resources that will allow this gift to continue or his motivation for blessing me. 

The psalmist in Psalm 116 gives us two ways we can express our gratitude to God for His Gift of Jesus (Psalm 116:13-14).  

  1. I will lift up my cup of salvation. This isn’t lifting up a cup to say, “Cheers,” but lifting it up for a continual refilling because He is the only Source that can refill it. 
  2. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord. One picture of our relationship with Jesus is a marriage, where Jesus is the Bridegroom and we are the bride. At almost any wedding you may attend, the bride and groom make vows to each other that essentially say, “I only have eyes for you. My heart is only longing for you. I’m devoted to you forever, no matter what!” 

In my Good Friday message, I said that Jesus IS the perfect Gift. When He said, “It is finished,” He left nothing undone. 

For me to then say, “Thank you for that Gift. Now I must do _____,” is to really say, “I don’t think the Gift was perfect. There are still some things needed to complete it.” 

Or it might be fear speaking that says, “If I don’t give something back, You may withdraw Your Gift from me!” 

I think these stem from two misconceptions: 

Misconception #1: “God does loving things.” Truth #1: Yes He does, but more than that God IS love.

God is love. He could never love you more than He already does, so stop trying to earn His love. And He could never love you less than He already does, so stop worrying. 

Misconception #2: “God supplies my needs.” Truth #2: Yes He does, but more than that God IS provision. 

God is provision. He never runs low. He is never dependent on someone else. He is never short-changed. He knows exactly what you need, and He can perfectly provide for you each and every moment. 

Don’t try to repay God for sending His Son Jesus, but celebrate God’s Perfect Gift by continuing to let Him fill your cup of salvation, honoring your vows to Him, and living securely and joyfully in His love and provision. 

If you’ve missed any of the other messages in our series Christmas Unwrapped At Easter, you can find a list of all of those messages here. 

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Thursdays With Spurgeon—No Other Name

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. 

No Other Name

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! (Philippians 3:20—4:1). 

     What is it to be in the Lord? Well, brothers and sisters, we are in the Lord vitally and evidently when we fly to the Lord Jesus by repentance and faith and make Him to be our refuge and hiding place. Is it so with you? Have you fled out of self? Are you trusting in the Lord alone? Have you come to Calvary and beheld your Savior? … There is no shelter for a guilty soul but in His wounded side! Have you come there? Are you in Him? Then stay there. You will never have a better refuge! In fact, there is no other. No other name is given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved [Acts 4:12]. I cannot tell you to stand fast in the Lord unless you are there. Hence my first inquiry is, are you in Christ? Is He your only confidence? In His life, His death, and His resurrection, do you find the grounds of your hope? Is He Himself all your salvation and all your desire? If so, stand fast in Him.

From The Watchword For Today: “Stand Fast”

I am reminded of two of the stanzas from a Charles Wesley hymn:

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease—
’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the pow’r of canceled sin,
He sets the pris’ner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

If you do not know this Savior for yourself, don’t wait another minute to invite Him into your heart! If you do know Jesus as your Savior, stand fast in Him no matter what life may throw at you!

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Thursdays With Spurgeon—Don’t Let Your ‘Well Begun’ Be Only ‘Half Done’

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. 

Don’t Let Your ‘Well Begun’ Be Only ‘Half Done’

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! (Philippians 3:20—4:1). 

     The start is not everything, but it is a great deal. It has been said by the old proverb that ‘well begun is half done,’ and it is certainly so in the things of God. … See to it that you lay a good foundation. It is better to have no repentance than a repentance that needs to be repented of! It is better to have no faith than a false faith! It is better to make no profession of religion than to make an untruthful one! … We should learn early on the difference between grace and merit, between the purpose of God and the will of man, between trust in God and confidence in the flesh. If we do not start aright, the further we go, the further we will be from our desired end and the more thoroughly in the wrong we will find ourselves.

From The Watchword For Today: “Stand Fast”

Some people love wearing the label “Christian” but they never surrender to the lordship of Jesus. This is scary because Jesus says that these are the people to whom He will have to say, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21-23). 

In the biblical passage Spurgeon used as his text, we read some important words. First of all, we need to live as citizens of Heaven, not as citizens of Earth. That means we need to always follow God’s laws, not the passing fads of culture. 

Second, the apostle Paul calls Jesus both Savior and Lord. We don’t get to choose one and ignore the other. We cannot say, “Thank You, Jesus, for saving me, but I’ll take it from here.” 

Finally, we need to not only stand firm, but as Paul also says in another letter, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12). No assumptions. No coasting. No merely going through the motions of Christianity, but keeping a humble heart that responds to the correcting word from the Holy Spirit. 

Let’s make sure that our walk with Jesus is never described as only “half done.” But instead, let’s begin well, walk well, and rejoice to hear our Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

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Poetry Saturday—The Bag

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Away despair! my gracious Lord doth heare.
         Though windes and waves assault my keel,
         He doth preserve it: He doth steer,
         Ev’n when the boat seems most to reel.
         Storms are the triumph of His art:
Well may He close His eyes, but not His heart.

Hast thou not heard, that my Lord Jesus di’d?
         Then let me tell thee a strange storie.
         The God of power, as He did ride
         In His majestic robes of glorie,
         Reserv’d to light; and so one day
He did descend, undressing all the way.

The starres His tire of light and rings obtain’d,
         The cloud His bow, the fire His spear,
         The sky His azure mantle gain’d.
         And when they ask’d, what He would wear;
         He smil’d and said as He did go,
He had new clothes a making here below.

When He was come, as travellers are wont,
         He did repair unto an inne.
         Both then, and after, many a brunt
         He did endure to cancell sinne:
         And having giv’n the rest before,
Here He gave up His life to pay our score.

But as He was returning, there came one
         That ran upon Him with a spear.
         He, who came hither all alone,
         Bringing nor man, nor arms, nor fear,
         Receiv’d the blow upon His side,
And straight He turn’d, and to His brethren cry’d,

If ye have any thing to send or write,
         I have no bag, but here is room:
         Unto my Father’s hands and sight,
         Beleeve Me, it shall safely come.
         That I shall minde, what you impart;
Look, you may put it very neare My heart.

Or if hereafter any of My friends
         Will use Me in this kinde, the doore
         Shall still be open; what he sends
         I will present, and somewhat more,
         Not to his hurt. Sighs will convey
Any thing to Me. Harke, Despair away. —George Herbert (**spelling is 1663 English**)

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Poetry Saturday—Before The Throne Of God Above

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Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea,
A great High Priest whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heav’n He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart,
No tongue can bid me thence depart. 

When satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me,
To look on Him and pardon me. 

Behold Him there! The risen Lamb,
My perfect, spotless righteousness;
The great unchangeable “I AM,”
The King of glory and of grace!
One with Himself I cannot die,
My soul is purchased by His blood;
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God,
With Christ, my Savior and my God. —Charitie Lees Bancroft

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Poetry Saturday—Mental Depression

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

Depressed and weary sank the mind in gloom, 
Gloom deep as night in which there is no moon; 
      Times rushing down its darkening cloisters past
      Conflicting thoughts, unhindered, blast on blast,
Until the very brain did shriek and rave in turn,
Reason’s control in madness by it spurned.
      Sudden it ceased, one mighty wrench, then fled
      And stillness o’er the whole its silence spread;
Whilst from the fullness of the immortal soul
Deep tender music did its charm unroll.
      Lifting the burden from the anguished heart
      Sent forth its floods and healed the inward smart;
So! in the midst is heard the Saviour’s voice,
Soulfully sweet, inviting to rejoice;
      And there resounds divinely full and free,
      “Sad, weary heart, be still and come to Me.”
Soon in the soul the sound of quiet rest
Breathes real and low and draws us to His breast,
      Where Jesus, looking in our faces smiled,
      Soothes us to sleep because He loves His child. —Oswald Chambers
 

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Poetry Saturday—The Lord Will Provide

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Though troubles assail
And dangers affright,
Though friends should all fail
And foes all unite;
Yet one thing secures us,
Whatever betide,
The Scripture assures us,
The Lord will provide.

The birds without barn
Or storehouse are fed,
From them let us learn
To trust for our bread:
His saints, what is fitting,
Shall ne’er be denied,
So long as ‘tis written,
The Lord will provide.

We may, like the ships,
By tempest be tossed
On perilous deeps,
But cannot be lost.
Though satan enrages
The wind and the tide,
The promise engages,
The Lord will provide.

His call we obey
Like Abram of old,
Not knowing our way,
But faith makes us bold;
For though we are strangers
We have a good Guide,
And trust in all dangers,
The Lord will provide.

When satan appears
To stop up our path,
And fill us with fears,
We triumph by faith;
He cannot take from us,
Though oft he has tried,
This heart-cheering promise,
The Lord will provide.

He tells us we’re weak,
Our hope is in vain,
The good that we seek
We ne’er shall obtain,
But when such suggestions
Our spirits have plied,
This answers all questions,
The Lord will provide.

No strength of our own,
Or goodness we claim,
Yet since we have known
The Savior’s great name;
In this our strong tower
For safety we hide,
The Lord is our power,
The Lord will provide.

When life sinks apace
And death is in view,
This word of His grace
Shall comfort us through:
No fearing or doubting
With Christ on our side,
We hope to die shouting,
The Lord will provide. —John Newton


Thursdays With Spurgeon—Such Love!

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.

Such Love!

     Our Savior so loved us that He stripped Himself of His robes of radiance. Listen, you children of God, it is the old story over again, but it is always new to you. He stripped Himself of His bright array. He laid aside His scepter and His crown and became an infant in Bethlehem’s manger among the horned oxen. Thirty years of poverty and shame the King of heaven spent among the sons of men, and all out of love to us. Jesus the heavenly lover, panting to redeem His people, was content to abide here without a place to rest His head that He might rescue us!

     Do you see Him yonder in the garden in His agony? His soul is exceedingly sorrowful even to death! His forehead, no, His head, His hair, and His garments are red with bloody sweat. Do you see Him giving His back to the smiters and His cheeks to them who pluck off His hair? See Him, as He hides not His face from shame and spitting, dumb like a sheep before her shearers and like a lamb that is brought to the slaughter! He opened not His mouth but patiently bore it all on our behalf. See Him with the Cross upon His mangled shoulders, staggering through Jerusalem’s streets, unwept for and unpitied, except by poor feeble women! 

     See Him, you who love Him, and love Him more as He stretches out His hands to the nails and gives His feet to the iron. See Him, as with power to deliver Himself He is made captive. Behold Him as they lift up the Cross with Him upon it and dash it down into its place and dislocate His bones. Hear that cry, ‘I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint’ (Psalm 22:14). Stand, if you can, and view that face so full of grief. Look till a sword will go through your own heart as it went through His mother’s very soul. Oh, see Him as He thirsts and has that thirst mocked with vinegar! 

     Hear Him as He prays and has that prayer parodied, ‘Look, He is calling for Elijah! … Let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down’ (Mark 15:35-36). See Him as they who love Him come and kiss His feet and bathe them with their tears. Will you not love Him who did all that friend could do for a friend? He who gave His life for us?

From The Church’s Love To Her Loving Lord

My friend, if you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I ask that you would consider this amazing act of love all for you. Jesus went through all of this for you! Won’t you accept His love and invite Him into your heart today? 

If you do have a personal relationship with Jesus, look again at your Beloved Savior. Let this love rekindle your heart to share Christ’s love with everyone around you.

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Thursdays With Spurgeon—The Assurance Of God’s Love

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.

The Assurance Of God’s Love

Tell me, O you whom I love, where you feed your flock, where you make it rest at noon. For why should I be as one who veils herself by the flocks of your companions? (Song of Solomon 1:7)

     It is well to be able to call the Lord Jesus Christ by this name without an ‘if’ or a ‘but.’ A very large proportion of Christian people can only say of Christ that they hope they love Him. They trust they love Him, but this is a very poor and shallow experience to be content to stay here. It seems to me that no one ought to give any rest to his spirit till he feels quite sure about a matter of such a vital importance. We are not content to have a hope of the love of our parents, or of our spouse, or of our children! We feel we must be certain there. And we are not to be satisfied with a hope that Christ loves us and with a bare trust that we love Him. … 

     ‘I know whom I have believed,’ says Paul (2 Timothy 1:12). ‘I know that my Redeemer lives,’ says Job (Job 19:25). ‘You whom I love,’ says Solomon in the Song as we have it here. Learn, dear friends, to get that positive knowledge of your love to Jesus, and be not satisfied till you can talk about your interest in Him as a reality that you have made infallibly sure by having received the witness of the Holy Spirit and His seal upon your soul by faith that you are born of God and belong to Christ. …  

     Why do we love Jesus? We have the best of answers: because He first loved us! … Why do we love Him? Because before this round earth was fashioned between the palms of the great Creator, before He had painted the rainbow or hung out the lights of the sun and moon, Christ’s delights were with us. He foresaw us through the glass of His prescience. He knew what we should be….

From The Church’s Love To Her Loving Lord

God wants you to know how much He loves you. He went first because we didn’t have any way to approach Him. But Jesus made it possible for us to come close to God through His substitutionary death on the Cross for our sins. And now the Holy Spirit is speaking clearly to your heart to trust that this is absolutely, irrevocably true: GOD LOVES YOU! 

As Spurgeon said, don’t be content with merely thinking this is true, but ask the Holy Spirit to help you know this is true! 

Listen to these words—This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. … This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. … We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:9, 13-14, 19)

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