Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Psalm 100:4

“Give thanks to the Father Who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:12

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name; make known among the nations what He has done. Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:8,34


“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” --Ambrose of Milan

“It ought to be as habitual for us to thank as to ask.” --C. H. Spurgeon

“Be thankful, therefore, for the least benefit and thou shalt be worthy to receive greater.” --Thomas à Kempis

Monday, November 17, 2008

Faith in Adversity

"No flowers wear so lovely a blue as those which grow at the foot of the frozen glacier; no stars gleam so brightly as those which glisten in the polar sky; no water tastes so sweet as that which springs amid the desert sand; and no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs in adversity." --Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Untried Faith

"Faith untried may be true faith, but it is sure to be little faith, and it is likely to remain dwarfish so long as it is without trials. Faith never prospers so well as when all things are against her: tempests are her trainers, and lightnings are her illuminators." --Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Melting the Heart

"Though repentance is the act of man--yet it is the gift of God. It requires the same power to melt the heart--as to make it." --William Secker

Saturday, November 15, 2008

William Cowper

William Cowper (pronounced Cooper) was born on this day in Great Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire in 1731. His father was a chaplain to George II. Despite bouts of depression, he became a renowned poet and hymn-writer. With John Newton, he compiled two volumes of sacred texts--which included such hymns as There is a Fountain Filled With Blood, Lord, My Soul with Pleasure Springs, and O for a Closer Walk with God. All are wonderful expositions of the Gospel. I think my favorite though, is God Moves in a Mysterious Way:

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Profitable Affliction

Sin is pleasant--but unprofitable. 
Affliction is unpleasant--but profitable. By affliction, the Lord separates the sin that He hates--from the soul that He loves. He sends affliction--to take the dirt of the world out of the hearts of His children! "Before I was afflicted I went astray--but now I keep Your word!" Psalm 119:67

As waters are purest, when they are in motion--so saints are generally holiest, when in affliction. Some Christians resemble those doltish children, who will learn their lessons--no longer than while the rod is on their backs! In the greatest affliction--the Lord has sealed the sweetest instruction, "It was good for me to be afflicted--so that I could learn Your statutes!" Psalm 119:71

Many Christians are not bettered by the judgments they see when they have bettered by the judgments they have felt. The gold is refined by being in the furnace! Likewise, with the Christian, "I have refined you in the furnace of suffering!" Isaiah 48:10
-- William Secker

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Kind of Outlier

“I’ve always been a kind of outlier between the practical and the pious. I have a liking for both. I can’t get people with both about me so either I have the pious that look down on practicality as a secular thing, or the practical that nauseate the piety” --Grace Chalmers

The World's Deadly Potion

"Flee from youthful lusts--and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace." 2 Timothy 2:22

Flee from youthful lusts and worldly delights. These bees carry honey in their mouths--but they have a sting in their tails! When this Jael brings forth her milk and her butter--then beware of the nail and the hammer! Death is in the pot--while you are tasting the soup!

The world always presents a deadly potion--in the gilded cup of worldly pleasure. If the cup is sinful--do not taste it; reason forbids you to taste known poison! The fish is caught upon the hook--by leaping at the bait! Sin is like a river, which begins in a quiet spring--but ends in a tumultuous sea.
--William Secker

Monday, November 10, 2008


In the world, forgiveness is the end of a process. In the church, it is the beginning of a process.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Oh, For Such

"Prayer should be the breath of our breathing, the thought of our thinking, the soul of our feeling, the life of our living, the sound of our hearing, and the growth of our growing. Prayer is length without end, width without bounds, height without top, and depth without bottom; illimitable in its breadth, exhaustless in height, fathomless in depths, and infinite in extension. Oh, for determined men and women who will rise early and really burn for God. Oh for a faith that will sweep into heaven with the early dawning of morning and have ships from a shoreless sea loaded in the soul's harbor ere the ordinary laborer has knocked the dew from the scythe or the lackluster has turned from his pallet of straw to spread nature's treasures of fruit before the early buyers. Oh, for such." --Homer W. Hodge

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Knowing God

"What were we made for? To know God. What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God. What is the 'eternal life' that Jesus gives? Knowledge of God. What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment, than anything else? Knowledge of God. What, of all the states God ever sees man in, gives Him most pleasure? Knowledge of Himself." --J.I. Packer

Grace Abounding

"Where sin abounded--grace did much more abound!" Romans 5:20

We have one hard lesson to learn, that is--the evil of our own heart. We know something of it--but it is needful that we should know more; for the more we know of ourselves--the more we shall prize and love Jesus and His salvation. The more we know Him--the better we will trust Him. The more we trust Him--the better we will love Him. The more we love Him--the better we will serve Him. This is God's way. We are not called to buy--but to beg; not to be strong in ourselves--but in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. He is teaching us these things, and I trust he will teach us to the end.

Do not be surprised to find us poor, helpless, and vile. All whom God favors and teaches--will find themselves so. The more grace increases, the more we shall see to abase us in our own eyes!

What we find in ourselves by daily experience, will humble us--but not discourage us. For if our Physician is almighty--our disease cannot be desperate. Our sins are many--but His mercies are more. Our sins are great--but His righteousness is greater. When our sins prevail, remember that we have an Advocate with the Father, who is able to pity, to pardon, and to save to the uttermost! Think of the names and relations which Jesus bears to us. Does He not call Himself--a Savior, a Shepherd, a Friend, and a Husband? Has He not made known unto us His love, His atoning sacrifice, His righteousness, His promises, His power, and His grace--and all for our encouragement? It is better to be admiring the compassion and fullness of grace which is in our Savior--than to dwell and pore too much upon our own poverty and vileness.

Remember that He has loved us with an everlasting love--and therefore in loving-kindness has drawn us to Himself. He will surely accomplish that which He has begun. Nothing which can be named or thought of--shall ever be able to separate us from Him! This persuasion will give us strength for the battle! This is the shield which will quench the fiery darts of Satan! This is the helmet which the enemy cannot pierce! We may be strong, therefore--not in ourselves--but in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Remember, the growth of a believer is not like a mushroom--but like an oak, which increases slowly indeed--but surely. Many suns, showers, and frosts, pass upon it before it comes to perfection. And in winter, when it seems to be dead--it is gathering strength at the root. We must be humble, watchful, and diligent in the means, and endeavor to look through all, and fix our eyes upon Jesus--and all shall be well.

--John Newton

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Food to Our Souls

"I have met many preachers who have appeared to be rather more wise than warm, rather more positive than humble, rather more faultfinding than lively, and rather more disposed to talk of speculations than experience. However, let us give ourselves to the study of the Word, and to prayer; and may the great Teacher make every Scriptural truth food to our souls." --John Newton

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jesus Reigns

"Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, rules and reigns!" Revelation 19:6

He who once bore our sins, and carried our sorrows--is seated upon a throne of glory, and exercises all power in heaven and on earth! Thrones, principalities, and powers, bow before Him! His providence pervades and manages the whole universe, and is as minutely attentive to every part--as if there were only a single object in His view! From the tallest archangel--to the smallest ant or fly--all depend on Him for their being, their preservation, and their powers. He directs the sparrows where to build their nests, and where to find their food. He over-rules the rise and fall of nations; and bends, with an invincible power, and unerring wisdom--all events to His sovereign will! So that while many intend other outcomes--their designs all concur and coincide in the accomplishment of His holy will.

Jesus restrains with an almighty hand--the still more formidable efforts of the powers of darkness. Satan with all his hosts cannot exert their malice a hair's-breadth beyond the limits of His permission!

This omnipotent Savior is the head and husband of His believing people. How happy are those whom it is His good pleasure to bless! How safe are those whom He has engaged to protect! How honored and privileged are those to whom He is pleased to manifest Himself, and whom He enables and warrants to claim Him as their Friend and eternal potion!

Having redeemed them by His own blood--He esteems them as His treasure, His jewels; and protects them as the pupil of His eye! They shall not lack any good thing. They need not fear. His unerring eye is upon them in every situation; His ear is always open to their prayers; and His everlasting arms are under them for their sure support! On earth He guides their steps, controls their enemies, and directs all His dispensations for their spiritual good. While in heaven He is pleading their cause, preparing a glorious home for them, and communicating down to them reviving foretastes of the glory which they shall shortly enter into!
--John Newton

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Contentment of Good King Wenceslas

"Contentment can be no passive thing. It is not mere acceptation, rather it is the healthy embrace of both the duty to serve on the one hand and the joy to receive providence on the other. Contentment is not self-satisfaction; it is selflessness." --Duke Wenceslas of Bohemia

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Disputes and Controversies

"I am weary of theological controversies and disputes, and desire to choose for myself, and to point out to others, Mary's part--to sit at Jesus' feet, and to hear His words. I cannot, I must not, I dare not--be contentious! Only, as a witness for God, I am ready to bear my simple testimony to what I have known of His truth, whenever I am properly called to it." --John Newton