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RECENTLY READ AND RIPE FOR CONTEMPLATION

RECENTLY READ AND RIPE FOR CONTEMPLATION

COUNTING THE COST

If any reader of this paper really feels that he has counted the cost, and taken up the cross, I bid him persevere and press on. I dare say you often feel your heart faint, and are sorely tempted to give up in despair. Your enemies seem so many, your besetting sins so strong, your friends so few, the way so steep and narrow, you hardly know what to do. But still I say, persevere and press on.

The time is very short. A few more years of watching and praying, a few more tossing’s on the sea of this world, a few more deaths and changes, a few more winters and summers, and all will be over. We shall have fought our last battle, and shall need to fight no more.

The presence and company of Christ will make amends for all we suffer here below. When we see as we have been seen, and look back on the journey of life, we shall wonder at our own faintness of heart. We shall marvel that we made so much of our cross, and thought so little of our crown. We shall marvel that in “counting the cost” we could ever doubt on which side the balance of profit lay. Let us take courage. 

We are not far from home. It may cost much to be a true Christian and a  consistent believer; but it pays. 

J C RYLE   (Holiness page 81/82 James Clark & Co. Edition 1956)

FOOD OF LOVE

The food of love is a sense of sin,

and a grateful sense of forgiveness.  

If you and I felt more deeply the guilt of our past lives, we should love Jesus Christ better.

If we had but a clearer sense that our sins deserve the deepest hell, that Christ suffered what we ought to have suffered in order to redeem us from our iniquities, we should not be the cold hearted creatures we are.

We are perfectly monstrous in our want of love to Christ, but the true secret of it is a forgetfulness of our ruined and lost estate, and a forgetfulness of the sufferings by which we have been redeemed from that condition.

O that our love might feed itself and find renewal of its strength in remembering what Sovereign Grace has done.

C H Spurgeon

( Flashes of Thought No:508 1880)

DIFFICULT TIMES

Steadiness of mind and heart under trial, is one of the highest attainments of faith. There is little exercise of faith when all things go well. But if God raises a storm, permits the enemy to send wave after wave, and seemingly stands aloof from our prayers, then, still to hang on and trust God, when we cannot trace Him, this is the patience of the saints.

Matthew Henry

When in prosperity, we are ready to think our mountain will never be brought low; so when in adversity, we are ready to think that our valley shall never filled up. But to conclude that tomorrow must be as this day, is absurd as to think that the weather, when fair or foul, will be always so.

Matthew Henry

Oh, He is a sweet Master! One smile from Jesus sustains my soul amid all the storms and frowns of this passing world. Pray to know Jesus better. Have no other righteousness, no other strength, but only Jesus. Soon we shall see Him coming in the clouds of heaven. May you be kept faithful to death. 

Robert Murray M’Cheyne

TEARS FOR SIN

Let your tears fall because of your sins;

but,

at the same time,

let the eye of faith steadily behold the Son of Man lifted up,

as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,

those that are bitten by the old serpent  my look unto Jesus and live.

Our sinnership is that emptiness into which our Lord pours His Mercy.

C H Spurgeon

 From Breaking the Silence   ( A Letter written from Menton  31/12/1891 approx 1 month before his death on 31/1/1892)

Adversity

Adversity is the best University.

Schola crucis est Schola lucis. 

School of the Cross is the School of Light.
Or

The School of Affliction is the School of Instruction.

Afflictions teach us to know God, not only in His power and greatness, in His anger, and His hatred for sin, but also in His Goodness and Mercy: For God so sweetens the bitter cup of affliction that a Child of God will taste more of God’s love in one month’s affliction than in many years of prosperity.

Add to this – afflictions teach us to know God experimentally and affectionately not just cerebrally but cordially (not just with the mind but the heart) so to know Him, as to love and fear  Him, and to fly to Him as our Rock and Hiding place in the day of our distress.

He that seeks after God in the night of adversity does not seek Him to see Him, to know Him formally or superficially, but to embrace Him, lean on Him, and know Him experimentally.

Here is rich comfort for the Children of God, under the greatest afflictions.
For the best of  Saints are subject to the worst afflictions.
This is the lot of all God’s children, Christ Himself was not excepted or exempt.

Let us labour that we may reap good by our afflictions and that “the good” may abide upon us after our recovery from the afflictions.

Let us labour that the good we get by afflictions may not vanish away with our afflictions after we are recovered; so we may be able to say with David ” It was good that I was afflicted” and to say that it was good; not only after the event but to say “it is good that I am afflicted now and it will be good if I am afflicted in the future.”

We need to be good Scholars in the School of Afflictions; for if we are, God will either deliver us out of affliction with much blessing or send us to Heaven by our afflictions to our eternal blessing. Amen

Extracted, edited and compiled by Jeff Maxwell ©

© Jeff Maxwell 2014

CHRIST IS ABOVE ALL

CHRIST JESUS

Christ has come to us that we might come to Him.

Christ has many joint heirs, but no successors.

Christ in the heart is better than corn in the barn.

Christ in the heart is Heaven on earth.

Christ is a great Saviour for great sinners.

Christ is a physician who asks no fees.

Christ is all in all to all His people.

                   “My Christ, he is the heaven of heavens:

                          My Christ what shall I call?

                  My Christ is first, my Christ is last,

                         My Christ is all in all ………………………………………… Mason

Christ has gone from our sight, but abides in our hearts.

Christ is in all believers and all believers are in Christ.

Christ is not loved at all, if not loved, above all.

Christ is our adornment, as well as our atonement.

Christ is the hope of our glory, and the glory of our hope.

Christ is our mercy, merit, myrrh, and our mirror.

Christ is our patron and our pattern.

Christ is preparing saints for heaven, and heaven for saints.

Christ is the souls sole solace.

                 “I have heard the voice of Jesus,

                       Tell me not of ought beside;

                 I have seen the face of Jesus.

                        All my soul is satisfied.

Christ sends none away empty but those who are full of themselves.

Christ sweetens our comforts and sanctifies our crosses.

Christ’s crimson blood cleanses crimson sins.

Christ was born a man that we might be born again.

Christ’s merit covers our demerit.

Christ pleads for us above, let us plead for him bellow..

Christ receives the Devil’s castaways.

Christ may wait long, but he will not wait forever.

C H Spurgeon ( The Salt Cellars 1889  vol 1 A-L  page 111 Et seq.)

x

Prayer Week 5

Prayer Week 5

“Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.” — Proverbs 4:13.

BLESSED God, our hearts  praise you, our inmost souls exults in your Name, for the Lord is good, and His mercy endures for ever. Your people praise You, O God, for all that you have been to them, and we can  make known Your worthy praise because of our personal experience of Your goodness. You have dealt well with Your servants, O Lord, according to Your word. We bless You for teaching us from our youth, for some of us have known You, even from our childhood, and Your word was precious to us even in our earlier days, when, like young Samuel, we were spoken to of the Lord. Now You have borne and carried us these years in the wilderness with unchanging love and goodness, and there are some in Your presence this morning who know, You are GOD — You have made and keep us; You do not forsake the work of Your hands. “Your mercy endures for ever,” so let Your praise endure for ever,

O Lord, we would cling to You more firmly than before: we would say, “Return unto your rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with you, for You have delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears and my feet from falling.” We would this week “take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.” We would pay our vows to the Lord now, in the courts of the Lord’s house, among His people.” Blessed be the Name of the Lord, we have been brought low, but the Lord hath helped us; we have often wandered, but He has restored us; we have been tried, but He has preserved us; yea, we have found His paths to be “paths of pleasantness” and all the ways of His wisdom to be “ways of peace.” We bear our willing witness to the testimony of the Lord, we set our seal that “He is true” and we cry again “Bind the sacrifice with cords, even with cords unto the horns of the altar.” From from now on let no man trouble us, for we “bear in our body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” We are His branded servants now and for ever. Our ear is nailed to our Master’s door-post, to go no more out for ever.

And now, Lord, we beseech You, hear the voice of our cry. Your people would first  ask You to deepen in them all the good works of You grace. We do repent of sin — give us a deeper repentance! May we have a horror of sin, may we dread the very approach of it, may we chastely flee from it and resolve, with sacred jealousy, that our hearts shall be for the Lord alone. We have faith in Jesus, blessed be Your name, but strengthen and deepen that faith! May He be all in all to us; may we never look elsewhere for ground to rest, but abide in Him with an unwavering, immutable confidence, that the Christ of God cannot fail nor be discouraged, but must for ever be the salvation of His people. We trust we can say also that we love the Lord, but Oh that we loved Him more! Let this blessed flame feed on the very marrow of our bones. May the zeal of Your house consume us, may we feel that we love the Lord with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul, with all our strength, and hence may there be about our life a special consecration, an immovable dedication unto the Lord alone.

O Lord Jesus, deepen our knowledge of You. You have made the first lines of Your likeness upon our character; go on with this work of sacred art till we shall be like You in all respects. We wish that we had greater power in private prayer, that we were more often wrestling with the covenant angel. We long that the Word of God was sweeter to us, more intensely precious, that we had a deeper hunger and thirst after it. Oh that our knowledge of the truth was clearer and our grip on it, more steadfast. Teach us, O Lord, to know the reason of the hope that is in us, and to be able to defend the faith against all comers. Plough deep in us, great Lord, and let the roots of Your grace strike into the roots of our being, until it shall be no longer I that live, but “Christ that lives in me.” Holiness also of life we crave after. Grant that our speech, our thoughts, our actions, may all be holiness, and “holiness unto the Lord.” We know that there be some that seek after moral virtue apart from God. Let us not be of their kind, but may our desire be that everything should be done as unto the Lord, for You have said, “Walk before Me, and be perfect.” Help us so to do, to have no master but our God, no law but His will, no delight but Himself. Oh, take these hearts, most glorious Lord, and keep them, for “out of them are the issues of life,” and let us be the instruments in Your hand, by daily vigilance, of keeping our hearts, so that in hearts we go not astray from the Lord our God. Until life’s latest hour may we keep the sacred pledges of our early youth. We do remember when we were baptized into the sacred Name — Oh never may we dishonour that sacred ordinance by which we declared that we were dead to the world and buried with Christ. Some of us do remember our early covenant with God, when we made over to Him ourselves and all that we had. Oh, in life’s last hour when we bow ourselves for weakness, may it be to bless that sacred bond and to “enter into the joy of our Lord.” And if You have taught us anything since then, if You have given us any virtue or any praise, may we hear You say, “Hold fast that which you have, that no man take thy crown.” Oh let no brother or sister become distinguished in grace and then decline, let none bear fruit and afterwards become barren, but may our path “shine more and more unto the perfect day.” It is this our spirit craves after with strong desire, that all of our life from the commencement with Christ to its ending, with our being with Christ, may glorify and bring help to His Church.

And now hear us again while we cry unto You. Our chief desire is for Your cause in the earth. We are often very heavy about it. ‘The days seem to us to be neither dark nor light, but mingled; oh that the element of light might overcome the darkness! We do pray you, to raise up in these days a race of men that shall know the gospel and hold it fast. We do feel that we have so much superficial religion, so much profession without true possession to back it up. Oh, Lord, may our churches be built with precious stones, and not with wood, hay, and stubble. May we so know the gospel that no one can beat us out of it; may we so hold it that our faces shall be like flints against the errors of the age; so practice it that our lives shall be an argument that none can answer, for the power of the gospel of Jesus. And with this be pleased to grant to Your churches more power over the sons of men. Oh Lord, make You ministers throughout all the world to be more fruitful in soul winning. Let us not rest without sowing the good seed beside all waters. Forgive us our coldness and indifference; forgive us that we sleep as do others, for it is high time for us to awake out of sleep. Oh Lord, do help us to live while we live; shake us clear of these cerements, these grave-clothes, which cling to us; say to us, most blessed Jesus, what You said concerning Lazarus of old, “Loose him, and let him go.” May we get right away from the old death and the old lethargy, and live under the best conditions of life, diligently serving God. Convert the nations, we pray You! Help our dear brethren who stand far out in the thick heathen darkness, like stone sentinels; let them bear their witness well, and may the day come when the Christian church shall become a missionary church, when all over the world those that love Christ shall be determined that He shall conquer. You have not yet made the church “terrible as an army with banners;” would God she were. May those days of Christian earnestness come to us, and then shall we look for the latter Day of Glory.

And now, Father, save any that remain unconverted. May this day be the day of their salvation. We would most earnestly entreat that some word may drop into the most careless heart; and this prayer especially, convert this day in this house of prayer, if it may please You, some that shall be very earnest Christians in years to come; take hold today of some who You have ordained to be like Paul, who shall be missionaries to the ends of the earth! Take hold of some that are specially set against You, some that are very bold spirits even in sin, thorough-hearted in their wickedness — convert such now! Say to them, “See I have made you a chosen vessel to bear my name unto the Gentiles,” and may there come such power with it that they may not be disobedient to the heavenly vision. Your Church needs such men. Oh that such were brought out to-day! We put it up as a prayer to be registered in heaven, and we mean to look for its answer, that You would today take hold of some men that shall become afterwards leaders in the Church of God, this day striking them down with the sense of sin and leading them to Christ.

Lord grant all this, with the forgiveness of our sins. The acceptance of our persons, and assist us ever to live to Your Glory, for Jesus sake. Amen

 C H Spurgeon for Sermon No: 1418 June 9th 1878

Edited, adapted, and modernised by Jeff Maxwell ©2012

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