The little things…

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31 esv

The prince of preachers, Charles H Spurgeon, (c.1869) reflects on this…

I would, with special earnestness, beg you to believe that God is in little things.

It is the little troubles of life that annoy us the most. A man can put up with the loss of a dear friend sometimes, better than he can with the burning of his fingers with a coal, or some little accident that may occur to him. The little stones in the sandal make the traveler limp; while great stones do him little hurt, for he soon leaps over them.

Believe that God arranges the littles. Take the little troubles as they come and bring them to your God, because they come from God. Believe that nothing is little to God, which concerns His people. To Him, indeed, your greatest concerns may be said to be little; and your little anxieties are not too small for His notice.

The very hairs of your head are all numbered; you may, therefore, pray to him about your smallest griefs. If not a sparrow hops upon the ground without your Father — you have reason to see that the smallest events in your career are arranged by Him, and it should be your joy to accept them as they come, and not make them causes of irritation, either to others or to yourselves.

This is a truth on which you may rely implicitly, and exercise yourselves continually, until you lull the sharpest pains, calm the most feverish excitements, and obtain the sweetest repose that a Christian can indulge in.

Everything in the future is appointed by God. All is in the hand of the great King. The Lord is King; let his people rejoice!

Christian wakefulness

MORNING & EVENING, is a nourishing collection of devotional thoughts by the prince of preachers, Charles H Spurgeon. The entry for the morning of March 5th is a blessing to read and ponder.

“Let us not sleep, as do others” – 1 Thess. 5:6

There are many ways of promoting Christian wakefulness. Among the rest, let me strongly advise Christians to converse together concerning the ways of the Lord. Christian and Hopeful, as they journeyed towards the Celestial City, said to themselves, “To prevent drowsiness in this place, let us fall into good discourse.” Christian enquired, “Brother, where shall we begin?” And Hopeful answered, “Where God began with us.” Then Christian sang this song—

“When saints do sleepy grow, let them come hither,
And hear how these two pilgrims talk together;
Yea, let them learn of them, in any wise,
Thus to keep open their drowsy slumb’ring eyes.
Saints’ fellowship, if it be managed well,
Keeps them awake, and that in spite of hell.”

Christians who isolate themselves and walk alone, are very liable to grow drowsy. Hold Christian company, and you will be kept wakeful by it, and refreshed and encouraged to make quicker progress in the road to heaven. But as you thus take “sweet counsel” with others in the ways of God, take care that the theme of your converse is the Lord Jesus. Let the eye of faith be constantly looking unto him; let your heart be full of him; let your lips speak of his worth. Friend, live near to the cross, and thou wilt not sleep. Labour to impress thyself with a deep sense of the value of the place to which thou art going. If thou rememberest that thou art going to heaven, thou wilt not sleep on the road. If thou thinkest that hell is behind thee, and the devil pursuing thee, thou wilt not loiter. Would the manslayer sleep with the avenger of blood behind him, and the city of refuge before him? Christian, wilt thou sleep whilst the pearly gates are open—the songs of angels waiting for thee to join them—a crown of gold ready for thy brow? Ah! no; in holy fellowship continue to watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.

A call to prayer from Spurgeon…

‘We need times of refreshing, both at home and abroad. The enemies of the gospel are exceedingly busy and crafty, and we can only meet them by power from on high. The needs of our nation grow upon us, and only One can multiply our loaves and fishes so as to feed the multitude. We ourselves being compassed with infirmities need to be daily girt with fresh strength; and our churches being made up of imperfect men and women can only be kept in healthy, united action by the Spirit of our God. Brethren, all these are reasons for incessant, importunate prayer.’
— Charles Haddon Spurgeon

God could not love you more!

Charles Spurgeon on “I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself!” Jeremiah 31:3

He loved you without beginning. Before years, and centuries, and millenniums began to be counted — your name was on His heart! Eternal thoughts of love have been in God’s bosom towards you. He has loved you without a pause; there never was a minute in which He did not love you. Your name once engraved upon His hands — has never been erased, nor will He ever blot it out of the Book of Life.

Since you have been in this world — He has loved you most patiently. You have often provoked Him; you have rebelled against Him times without number, yet He has never stayed the outflow of His heart towards you; and, blessed be His name — He never will. You are His, and you always shall be His. God’s love to you is without boundary. He could not love you more — for He loves you like a God; and He never will love you less. All His heart belongs to you!

“As the Father has loved Me–so have I loved you!” John 15:9

Omnipotence

Omnipotence is the attribute of God (alone) describing His unlimited power, and ability to do anything He pleases. Commenting on this, the great 19th century preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon writes….

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Omnipotence may build a thousand planets, and fill them with treasures; Omnipotence may crush mountains into dust, and cause all the seas to evaporate, and destroy the stars, but Omnipotence cannot do one unloving thing toward a believer. Oh! Rest assured, Christian, a harsh act, an unloving action from God toward one of His own people is quite impossible. He is just as kind to you when He throws you into prison as when He takes you into a palace; He is as good to you when He sends famine into your house as when He fills your cupboards with plenty. The only question is, “Are you His child?” If so, He has rebuked you in affection, and there is love in His discipline.

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A Saturday night Savior

Charles Spurgeon brings hope to the Saturday night sinner (and all of us) as he speaks of Jesus Christ, using this text from Hebrews 2:18:
“He himself hath suffered being tempted.”

It is a common-place thought, and yet it tastes like nectar to the weary heart—Jesus was tempted as I am. You have heard that truth many times: have you grasped it? He was tempted to the very same sins into which we fall. Do not dissociate Jesus from our common manhood. It is a dark room which you are going through, but Jesus went through it before. It is a sharp fight which you are waging, but Jesus has stood foot to foot with the same enemy.

1215538_sun_rise_5Let us be of good cheer, Christ has borne the load before us, and the blood-stained footsteps of the King of glory may be seen along the road which we traverse at this hour.

There is something sweeter yet—Jesus was tempted, but Jesus never sinned. Then, my soul, it is not needful for thee to sin, for Jesus was a man, and if one man endured these temptations and sinned not, then in his power his members may also cease from sin. Some beginners in the divine life think that they cannot be tempted without sinning, but they mistake; there is no sin in being tempted, but there is sin in yielding to temptation.

Herein is comfort for the sorely tempted ones. There is still more to encourage them if they reflect that the Lord Jesus, though tempted, gloriously triumphed, and as he overcame, so surely shall his followers also, for Jesus is the representative man for his people; the Head has triumphed, and the members share in the victory. Fears are needless, for Christ is with us, armed for our defence. Our place of safety is the bosom of the Saviour. Perhaps we are tempted just now, in order to drive us nearer to him. Blessed be any wind that blows us into the port of our Saviour’s love! Happy wounds, which make us seek the beloved Physician.

Ye tempted ones, come to your tempted Saviour, for he can be touched with a feeling of your infirmities, and will succour every tried and tempted one.

(from CHS’ Morning & Evening devotions for October 3rd)

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“He shall not be afraid of evil tidings”

Are you afraid of getting bad news? Commenting on Psalm 112:7 (above), the great Charles H Spurgeon, in his fine Morning & Evening devotional book, writes this….

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Christian, you ought not to dread the arrival of evil tidings; because if you are distressed by them, what do you more than other men? Other men have not your God to fly to; they have never proved his faithfulness as you have done, and it is no wonder if they are bowed down with alarm and cowed with fear: but you profess to be of another spirit; you have been begotten again unto a lively hope, and your heart lives in heaven and not on earthly things; now, if you are seen to be distracted as other men, what is the value of that grace which you profess to have received? Where is the dignity of that new nature which you claim to possess?

Again, if you should be filled with alarm, as others are, you would, doubtless, be led into the sins so common to others under trying circumstances. The ungodly, when they are overtaken by evil tidings, rebel against God; they murmur, and think that God deals hardly with them. Will you fall into that same sin? Will you provoke the Lord as they do?

Moreover, unconverted men often run to wrong means in order to escape from difficulties, and you will be sure to do the same if your mind yields to the present pressure. Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Your wisest course is to do as Moses did at the Red Sea, “Stand still and see the salvation of God.” For if you give way to fear when you hear of evil tidings, you will be unable to meet the trouble with that calm composure which nerves for duty, and sustains under adversity. How can you glorify God if you play the coward? Saints have often sung God’s high praises in the fires, but will your doubting and desponding, as if you had none to help you, magnify the Most High? Then take courage, and relying in sure confidence upon the faithfulness of your covenant God, “let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Sound exhortations from the ‘prince of preachers’
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This address automatically changes to the current day’s address…

Moving a thousand books – again

The offices at our church were damaged by water coming through the flat roof last spring. When the leak was spotted, my kids and I were able to remove my pastor’s library (over 1,200 books) to another room in under 20 minutes! Thankfully only a couple were damaged by water. The rooms are now ready for occupancy again — nicely painted, with brand new, tile floors. And it’s time to move all those books back in. Of course, they need to be reorganized (so they can be found as needed), and shelved appropriately. So far, I have several hours invested in this process! But it is, for me, a labor of love.

These dear books, accumulated over 20+ years since seminary days, stand alongside the Word of God as the “tools” of a preacher’s trade. Dr George Grant writes in a similar vein about the great prince of preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, of the last century….

But in the midst of the busyness of his life and ministry, he always found time to read. Books were his most constant companions and bookstores were his most regular haunts. He was born in the little Essex village of Kelvedon in 1834. Both his father and grandfather were pastors and so he was raised around books, reading, and piety. As a youngster, he began a life long habit of diligent and unending reading—typically he read six books per week, and was able to remember what he had read and where he had read it many years later. He particularly loved old books. He claimed in his autobiography that before he was ten years old, he preferred to go into his grandfather’s study and pull down an old Puritan classic and read rather than go outside and play with friends.

…In time, his personal library numbered more than twelve thousand volumes.

The books were all shelved in Spurgeon’s study at Westwood, his family home. Of course, Spurgeon was not merely a collector. He was utilitarian, if anything. He viewed his books as the tools of his trade. And the shops where he found them were essentially his hardware stores. As a result, the books were used. They were hardly museum pieces, despite their scarcity or value. They were the natural extensions of his work and ministry. He once wrote, “My books are my tools. They also serve as my counsel, my consolation, and my comfort. They are my source of wisdom and the font of my education. They are my friends and my delights. They are my surety, when all else is awry, that I have set my confidence in the substantial things of truth and right.”

Thankful for the privilege of studying and preaching the Word,
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Put Your House in Order

Our Sunday morning sermon was on these sobering words from Isaiah 38…

38:1 In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover.” 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 and said, “Please, O Lord, remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. (esv)

I hope to have the audio of the message online here by Tuesday. In the meanwhile, here are a couple of key points made by C.H. Spurgeon

The text says, Set thine house in order. This shows that we are not to destroy it, nor even to injure it Our body should be the temple of the Holy Ghost. Nothing should be done by us that may injure our body; for, in the case of the believer, it is a precious thing, ordained to rise again at the last day, since Chris Jesus has bought it, as well as the soul which it contains, with his own blood. Nor are we to waste our substance, for this is the accusation which, of old, was brought against the unjust steward, that he had wasted his master’s goods.

We are to set our home in order, that is, our own house. Some persons are very busy setting other people’s houses in order, and oh, how fast their tongues will go when they are sweeping out their neighbor’s kitchen, or dusting our his cupboard! Set your own houses in order, sirs, before you attempt to arrange the affairs of other people.

Again, the tenant himself must do it Set thine house in order. You must not leave it to a priest; you must not ask your follow-man to become responsible for you. You must make personal application to him who can set all in order for you, even to him who came into the world, and died for this very purpose. If you need oil for your lamps, you must go to them that sell, and buy for yourselves, for your fellow-virgins can give you none of their oil. Set thou thine own house in order. This is the chief business of every living man as a tenant under God.

— pdb

God’s choice of believers

A favorite Spurgeon quotation, from book two of his Lectures to My Students, is about the doctrine of election. Spurgeon says,
“I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite sure that if God had not chosen me I should never have chosen him; and I am sure he chose me before I was born, or else he never would have chosen me afterwards; and he must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why he should have looked upon me with special love. So I am forced to accept that doctrine”

Nevertheless, we can confidently say with the OT and the NT: Seek the Lord while He may be found, for all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved!

yours by divine mercy,
Pastor David